So far so good

“So far, so good.”

It’s my go-to statement, without even thinking, every single time someone asks me how my first week of the new job has been going. It’s an easy answer and for new co-workers or acquaintances, it’s a safe answer. But really, that phrase doesn’t give it the justice it deserves.

In all actuality, it’s more than just a new job. It’s a new way of life for my entire family.

And it’s so much better than “so far, so good.”

It’s going great. And I feel so happy and content, even when I’m slightly overwhelmed or confused or just plain lost (which is happening less and less at work). And I’m even happy and content when the baby is still sleeping when I have to go to work in the morning. I’m pretty darned content all the time. I’m just in a good place overall right now and that brings me comfort — and lets me know that I’ve made the best decision.

I’m excited to get to work each day — to see the becoming-familiar faces and the new faces of guests. I am learning the feel of the front desk countertop under my fingertips and could probably walk the ground floor hallway with my eyes covered, not even bumping into the wooden upholstered chairs or 19th-century desks. And I can always count on Millie — a name etched into a corner window from 1888 — to make me smile when I walk past, no matter the task I’m working on or the mindset I’m in at the moment.

The laughs are becoming more frequent and the deep breaths out now outnumber the number of deep breaths I must take in.

And at the end of the day, which arrives much sooner than expected, I am equally as excited to arrive at home as I was to leave 11 hours before — excited to see my hunky hubby and my giggling son.

 

And what a homecoming. Every single day, despite a later bedtime anymore so that I can steal some time with him, Zack is happy. His face just seems to light up every night when he first sees me and that just heals any questioning in my soul.

 

 

 

 

And Scott and Zack have been cultivating this beautiful blossoming relationship. Oh my God, that last sentence was really cheesy. I spent a minute staring at it, laughing out loud, but couldn’t think of anything better. So we’ll leave it. So yes, grab your rakes and garden seeds for the blossoming relationship moment we’re having here. Sun hats optional, unless you burn easily like me.

Scott’s been handling the therapy sessions with Zack and I think it’s really opened up his eyes to all of the intricacies of Zack’s exercises and development.

 

And it’s amazing to see the two of them together — more so than ever before. What a team they make.

My heart just bursts every time I hear my tough-man husband say “Hey, big guy” or throws a huge smile Zack’s way.

 

 

 

 

 

I use every single sense to just take in all of the two of my guys in those precious couple of hours each night. I take in the baby lotion and baby wipe smells, roll my fingers over baby food-stained chubby cheeks and just explode with happiness with each innocent hair pull and hearty belly laugh. And I am just so in love with Scott.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had all of these worries that working so much away from home would hurt my relationship with my two guys, but really, it’s made me appreciate, cherish and love them all the more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So yes, “so far, so good.” And then some.

The best medicine

The baby is sleeping. Scott is out with friends. I am surrounded by a chirp now and then over the baby monitor, the whirring of the washer and dryer, a little Neil Diamond on the radio.

I went to take the dogs outside just now and just sucked in the glorious warmer weather and the fresh, clean smell in the air as stars twinkled brighter than ever above me. “Hello, Spring,” I said to no one in particular, other than the spying neighbor who might really think I’m insane now.

And just like that, life is so good again. My doubts, worries, wondering, swept up in the evening breeze.

I have been surrounded by such love and support and encouragement these past few days. And so much laughter.

 

 

On Friday, Z-Man honestly spent a huge chunk of the day just laughing. And then giggling. And cackling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laughing to himself. Giggling with drool pouring out of his lower lip as I play peek-a-boo. Feet up in the air in a fit of happiness. A loud “ha” as he flips over on the floor. A cackle when I make a face. Just all day laughter. It was so beautiful. Like he knew that his Momma needed a little of what that doctor ordered.

 

 

 

 

 

Daddy and I got out the bubbles for the Dude and wound up entertaining ourselves.

Spending the better part of 30 minutes competing about who could blow the bigger bubble, and then losing it in a ball of sillyness as we watched Zack make a big circle with his mouth as his eyes widened in excitement, all the while as Izzie tried to catch the bubbles in her mouth. We were in absolute hysterics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night, we hung out with some new-parent friends and I felt like a proud Aunt or Mom watching these new little friends of Zack’s crawling, grabbing things and even taking their first steps. I suddenly no longer feel suffocated by the blatant, obvious visual of Zack sitting in one spot, with my support, as babies his age are moving easily across a room.

 

I feel so happy to see what’s in store for us and to have this extra time to enjoy his weight in my lap, to treasure the million little steps that make one big accomplishment happen.

 

I pray my friends realize how blessed their babies’ accomplishments are, but more than that, I wish I could hit the “pause” button for them, just for an instant, to make sure they really feel the awesome beauty in having a little one’s hand let go of your hand as she trudges forward on her feet all on her own and with such strength.

 

 

But most of all, I realized how much I love how they without-a-doubt, unconditionally, with-all-their-might l-o-v-e our son as if he was their own. It leaves me breathless.

 

 

 

 

And now Zack is giving me one more present to carry with me to my work-away-from-home on Monday — a semi-squirm, half-creep motion across the floor.

 

It involves hoisting the butt up in the air, throwing one side forward with all his might, resting on the ground and repeating on the other side. I no longer have enough blankets to cover the area he uses to roll and maneuver anymore, so The Dude is slowly getting acquainted with our hardwood floors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I can’t get this smile off of my face.

 

 

 

I am so happy.

Letting Go

I still have a couple of hundred business cards with my name and title on them that will never be handed out.

And I will never again be able to work in my pajamas. Man, that sucks.

There are stories I was looking forward to writing; events I was excited to cover.And there are so many contacts and sources who have become acquaintances, friends and people I really admired and respected. (There were also those that made me laugh, shake my head or scream in disgust in the privacy of my car or home).

The business cards will be thrown out (unless anyone has any grand crafts ideas using the buggers). The stories may or may not be written, someone else’s byline at the top of the article one day. The events will go on without me (Flight 93/9/11 10-year-anniversary; a three-year murder case that could see the death penalty in a trial this summer…). Some of the people may stay in my life — maybe I’ll bump into them in a downtown coffee shop; maybe they’ll even visit my new place of employment.

This feeling of absolute anxiety is normal for leaving behind something you love in order to find yourself — and your family — in a better place, literally and figuratively.

I had to start a list of things I will NOT miss about this job. And it’s a long list. With each added item, I feel a little more comfortable with my decision.

The scanner squelching away at 3 a.m. Leaving my dinner cold on the table as I dash off to an evening house fire. The mess of notebooks, papers, pens and cameras that winds its way from my office upstairs all the way down the stairway to the dining room and living room below. The court cases filled with unbearably descriptive images painted of child abuse, neglect, kidnapping, death. Going eight hours without eating because I’m trapped on a mountain-top five-vehicle car crash scene, wading through spilled ice cream from a truck and learning about two men that died there that morning. Sitting in a courthouse for hours for a hearing that gets continued. Being told that there is a special place in Hell for reporters and lawyers. (OK, that one I sort of enjoyed) Eight-hour days that turn into 10 or 12-hour days — in a job where overtime hasn’t existed for more than a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I will  leave this job with my pride, integrity and maturity in tact. But there are many more things on my list.

 

So that list is long.

Then why is there this lump in my throat?

The scanner, camera and office key card are being turned in this weekend. And that door is literally going to swing shut forever.

I can’t imagine what tomorrow — my last day — will be like. For that matter, I can’t even imagine my new life, new job. I’m so excited though. I think I’ll be looking forward to this new chapter once I can officially close the door on this one.

I’m ready. Ready to give it a whirl. Put on my best business suit and my count-on-me smile and do what I need to do to be a great employee who is respected, trusted and appreciated. Then I’m more than ready to look my husband and son in their beautiful eyes and know that I can finally give them 100 percent of my time and attention. And love. That I’m really there, in the moment. That I hear their breathing, see their smiles, smell baby lotion and a hard days’ work worth of sweat. That I can love them completely because I love my life completely.

I need to listen to Zack’s first words instead of the police scanner.

I need to say “I love you” more often to Scott instead of “I’m almost done with this story” or “I have to go to a meeting tonight.”

I need to spend my downtime taking more photographs and learning every button and option on my amazing camera. So that I can capture more of the beauty around me that I might have been missing.

I need to read those books my “twin” is sending me in our first installation of our mailbox book club instead of writing an e-mail to my editor on a Sunday night or Saturday morning when I’m off of work.

I need to live.

 

I’m breaking through, breaking free. Minute by minute, I can slowly feel all of this pressure coming off of my shoulders. I can feel a sense of relief. I can feel life.

 

 

 

 

I’m ready.

 

Seven Months Old

Scott and I had a “Zack Moment” tonight. I was holding The Dude while he sat on the counter in the kitchen as Daddy finished up dinner preparation for the adults. I kept leaning in to steal a smell of baby lotion and dried peas (haha it sounds worse than it really is) and I saw my partner in love and life staring at his son with such peace and love.

 

 

 

 

 

It’s moments like this that make it hard to believe Zack is seven months old. There are some days that it seems like a lifetime. Like we’ve been shoving peas into his mouth on pretty-colored spoons all our lives. Days where his hair, now lying down and landing in front of his eyes, make him look like a boy instead of a baby.

 

 

 

 

 

But then there are the days where it doesn’t seem like it’s even been seven weeks. Moments where I still feel frustrated or burnt out or helpless. Days where he is still very much the smallest of dudes who needs his Momma and Daddy so much — and more than he probably ever will again.

 

It’s an amazing place we’re in. The clock is always ticking and we just have to hop on the second hand and enjoy the ride, stealing moments wherever we can — even if it’s a seemingly-mundane instant in the kitchen on a Tuesday night.

 

 

 

 

Z-Man doesn’t have an exact weight or length (our next doctor’s appointment isn’t until May) but we’re guessing he’s in the mid 17-pound range. (Maybe more?)

His hair is, as I’ve hinted, getting really long and laying almost completely flat now. It’s coming in in a very, very light blond shade, so with his old brown tips, he looks like a two-toned Duders. We try to smoothe it to one side or the other (and sometimes I try to mold it back into the mohawk) but it always comes flying down — usually right back into his eyes. We still do get some crazy sticking-up-in-every-direction moments though.

 

Zack is beginning to fit pretty well into Size 9 Months clothes, although his legs are still on the short side and anything larger than 6 Months will fall right off of his butt at this point. We just started Size 3 diapers, too! Wooooo!

He sleeps through the night again now after a short glitch with that system last month. We put him to bed usually between 7:15 and 7:30 at night and the first chirps of baby babbles aren’t heard over the monitor until around 7 or so in the morning.

 

With the exception of today, we’ve started switching to one longer nap in the afternoon, which is great for everybody involved. Every now and then it’s still a 30-minute nap in the morning and an hour or so in the afternoon, but we much prefer the two or two-and-a-half hour naps. Mmm.

 

 

I mentioned the peas already, but that’s not where the fun ends. The Dude started baby foods this month and is in absolute love.

 

If he were ever to leave his Momma, it would probably be for food, not another girl.

 

 

He has three main meals a day — oatmeal cereal with a fruit in the morning, rice cereal with a veggie in the afternoon and then wheat cereal with a veggie at night.

So far we’ve tried green beans (not bad), peas (keep ‘em comin’), carrots (oh heck YES), apples (hello, world!) and now peaches (he’s in love!).

Sometimes it’s a pretty messy process (carrots the other night ended up all over his face after he and Momma had an absolute gigglefest in mid-feeding) but most of the time, things stay pretty clean.

 

The one issue I do have with feedings this month, little fella? The mandatory poop during breakfast. I mean, seriously.

EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Things are going along just swimmingly. Dude is eating spoonful after spoonful. Momma is humming along to some Sirius channel and chugging coffee like it’s nobody’s business. Then a spoonful comes back out. Then another one. Then there’s a squirm. Then the grunt.

And then comes the face.

 

 

I’m-pooping-I’m-pooping-I’m-pooping, he thinks with a grunt and then — voila! — a smile.

Momma puts the spoon down, sits back, checks for “the face” and continues her coffee until the process is over.

 

Every morning. Every single morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Z-Man got a new sippy cup the other day — it’s sort of a trainer for a real sippy cup, really. When I handed it to him for the first time, he grabbed both handles and lifted it immediately to his mouth. Hooray, I thought. But now it’s sort of hit and miss.

Sometimes, I turn away for a second and suddenly hear him gulping the cup I had laid down next to him. Other times, I hold it to his mouth, put his hands on the handles and… it falls with a thud to the floor. On repeat.

 

 

 

 

Dude tested out his bouncer/jumparoo for the first time this month. At first, he was very, very skeptical of the whole thing — all that bouncing and music playing and feet on the floor stuff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However it’s slowly but surely becoming a little cooler each day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The big exercise we’re working on this month is sitting. Sitting and holding himself in a neutral position. Sitting and reaching for something. Falling backwards and pulling himself up. Falling forward and pulling himself up again. Sitting. Sitting. Sitting, sitting and more sitting. Sitting on the floor. In the Bumbo chair. In the pack ‘n’ play. On a kitchen counter. Just sittin’ our lives away here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our physical therapist Kathleen is impressed with his progress and has given us some hopeful thoughts lately, but I have to admit, I’m ready, ready READY for all of our hard work (especially Zack’s) to pay off in the day that he sits up all on his own, smiling at his new accomplishment. We worked this hard with getting him to tolerate Tummy Time and I remember reaching the point where I thought the battle would never end. And it was right about then that he made oh-so-proud and so wonderfully happy.

 

 

 

So I tell myself to remain patient. The luck of the game for us is that we really stare each milestone right in the face like a bad staring contest that no one wins. We treasure the accomplishments so much, but it takes some frustrating moments to get there.

 

For now, I dream.

And I cherish every single moment. The sitting up, the lying down, the staring up at his Momma, the cooing to his Daddy, the quick grab of animal fur with a giggle. I love these moments.

Here’s to another great month. (Seriously, they somehow each keep getting better!)

Rollercoasters, ramblings and rainbows

Sometimes, if I can’t share everything, I don’t want to share anything at all.

Hence the gap in posts — public ones at least — this last week or so.

You see, as much as I would have loved 50 or more people taking a poll on What-Should-Wendy-Do-With-Her-Life, I had to do this one on my own.

I’m leaving my job. And taking another one.

It was an absolutely easy decision in the end. Stress, frustration(s), pretty much being on-call 24 hours a day and no possibility for money or advancements as well as a lot of recent events made this decision so much easier than I ever thought it would be. I refuse to go into details about any work — my old job or my new job — in a public forum, so there’s not much more to say. My career as a journalist was a fantastic one that taught me a lot about the person I am and the world in which I live. But it just wasn’t the fairy-tale job I thought it was after my first journalism class my sophomore year of high school. I am disillusioned.

My new job should be really exciting. The only thing that would be better might possibly be being a stay-at-home mom, but even that might get a little old after a while. I’ll be spending more time away from home in a totally different field, but I have fallen in love with the team atmosphere at this place, the surroundings, the quick commute and well, yes, the (huge!) increase in pay and significant loss of stress. Not to mention that while there will be many hard days in this new position, I get to leave it at work and make home just home. I really expect that my family will benefit from this change as well in the long run.

I’m so excited.

But it’s hard to move past something you love, which is why I had to do this in my head and in quiet moments away from the computer and even away from my friends and family.

I’m confident I’ve made the right decision.

(Plus, no more laptops, notebooks, scanners, cameras and business cards floating around the dining room!)

It will be hard — really hard — to leave The Duders for a 10-hour block of window at a time, but I am so content knowing that the time I do get with him and Scott will be a stress-free, happy, cheerful, ready-to-play, ready-to-love Me. Not that witch that’s been hangin’ around lately. Oy, she’s annoying.

We’ve also been really busy this past week or so.

After Nicole’s fantastic visit, I had a Mommy-Baby Playdate with Hailey and her Mommy, Owen and his Mommy and even a new friend!

Then, Cousin Dan and his amazing girlfriend Dorothy did a quick visit and went skiing with Scott. I just loved seeing the two of them in their special moments, their special world that is just so beautiful to watch.

A visit from Zack’s Great Aunt Janet and Great Uncle Leon completed our recent doorbell ringings. I love having so many of Scott’s family around us.

And I would be remiss to not mention another special date — what would have been my Mom’s birthday. She was a Leap Year baby, so somewhere between Feb. 28 and March 1 this year I felt a profound loss and a deep love all at once. My one friend Krystal and I have bonded over our membership in the Motherless Daughters Club lately, a club whose membership is especially painful once you’re a mother yourself. It’s nice to know that someone really understands.

I celebrated my mother and her life the way I always do each year — in the kitchen. This time, it was cupcakes in our favorite colors — yellow and purple. Good therapy and yummy, too!

(As I type this, ‘The Rose’ is playing on my cheesy Sunday afternoon choice of music — Sirius Love. Makes me think of Mommy every time.)

And now, I’m enjoying the last few hours of a busy weekend.

My hunky hubby has a fire going in the fireplace, the baby is quieting down and snuggles are in my future!

It’s going to be an emotional week, I’m sure — my last five days as a reporter. But I also know that all of that messy garbage weighing down my shoulders will likely be gone with the closing of some files, the flipping of a cover on a notebook, the quiet leaving of some items on my desk in the office.

Memories to be added to yet another chapter in this beautiful life so far.