Thankful, jingle-jingle

It started. The listening-to-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving thing. The older I get, the more I seem to find my inner Santa Claus, my inner Christmas lover. Even if it means money and stress and snow. Because it means happier things, too. The holidays mean family, noticing the everyday things on special days and sharing laughter and lots, lots, lots of love.

So who cares that it was 60 degrees the other day, with the door open and an Autumn Fruits candle burning on the mantle while I danced along with Zack to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”?

I have one more day of work and then a few days with family near and far, family via in-laws and steps and everything in between, but beautiful, beautiful family nonetheless. Scott and I have hosted Thanksgiving for several years now, since the first year we lived in our home and Scott forgot to take the guts out of the turkey before putting the bird in the oven. We’ll have his parents and grandparents and my parents and niece. I’m beyond excited.

Before the relatives, I’m having time with my other family — the moms and their babies that I hold in the same place in my heart that I hold Z-Man. There’s been a lot of that lately, especially with Owen No. 1.

These two have such a bond. I hope they are lifetime friends.

Well, that goes for all of our lil friends… Hailey and Chase and David and Owen2 and Lexie and Olivia and the friends still to come (Big Shout Out here to my dearest, oldest friend Allison who is going to become a Mommy this week. I love you!)

Z-Man is pushing himself and is accomplishing so much lately. We’re having one of those moments where after all of our waiting, after we reach the point where we become frustrated with the plateau, the waiting, the delays… BAM. He smacks us in the face with holding his sippie cup on his own, standing up like a brave, brave boy and taking cautious steps toward walking.

I no longer worry whether Zack will learn to walk. I hold on for the ride of my life, patiently and with muted prayers on my lips, but I fake the confidence the best way I know how. I don’t cry for him as much; I laugh with him more, two of us in belly laughs with scrunched-up noses.

He will be a great big brother.

And we will always have these moments — the petting of cats, the eyes reaching up in curiosity, legs standing stiff and strong.

We aren’t just thankful this week, but it’s nice to be reminded once in a while. To focus once in a while. To have someone stand up, even if you hear a diaper scrunching when they do so, and literally or figuratively smack you across the face with a smile.

“Wake up, silly! There are Christmas songs to listen to and dance to and friends to play with and imitate and tell secrets to and a heck of a lot of smiling to do. Won’t you smile with me?”

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A family of four

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been cookin’ things up in the Zee Household and Zack told me it was finally time to let the world know.

 

It’s not that I haven’t had much time lately or that I didn’t have much to say. It’s that I had something big, growing figuratively in my heart and most literally in my belly. It’s that I had to hold it tight all to myself, a precious secret that doesn’t come by in life all too often.

It’s the whirlwind of emotions that come with a new chapter, a new discovery; the talks and plans and dreams we have battled between making and not making; editing and revising. And in the end, we decide just to live. And to love. Because through it all, we’re pretty darned good at that loving thing. (We think so at least, and Z-Man tells us we’re pretty good at what we do)

Z 2 2 B will be joining our Love Fest, happy thoughts willing, in May. S/he has already proven themselves to be quite a handful, at least if morning sickness and difficulty is concerned, but those 18 years of being grounded ought to set them straight really quickly, so don’t worry.

Scott and I are so excited to become parents again, to have a tiny human being wrap us around its itsy-bitsy little finger and then grow into a crawling, giggling, beautiful toddler. We pray that “the kids” grow up loving each other, playing with each other and pushing each other; that they are as much friends as they are siblings and that they will always have the others’ back. We hope that we learn from every parent mistake we’re sure to make and that we always take a time-out for a spontaneous pre-bedtime tickle and an extra splash at bedtime.

That we never forget the big things but don’t let them be the only things we see. That we are steered instead by guts and heart and that good ole-fashioned love fest we’ve wanted all our lives.

To those of you who knew, thank you for being good secret-keepers and vent-listeners.

I no  longer believe in being lucky. Only blessed.

So yes, we’ve been great. Oh-so-great. My husband and my first-born are playing upstairs, filling our hallways and stairways with echoes of laughter. I can’t even imagine the beautiful harmony that will happen when we add one more giggle to our repertoire.

Another chapter in our adventure. In our journey.

Care to join us?

 

Click your heels together three times

The Z-Man and I went on an adventure to New Jersey together this past weekend — just the two of us. (Daddy needed a Sanity Break, plus he got lots done around the house!)

I needed Jersey. Every now and then, usually between two and three months from my last visit, I just crave the sights I grew up around, the people who made me who I am today. I yearn for the bridges and road signs and twisted tree branches and sounds that bring me back to 10 and 16 years old. I need Chicky Kisses and Papa Bear Hugs. And I hope Zack grows up wanting and loving those things, too.

Considering the fact that on Friday I was taking photos of flowers and red leaves at my parents’ house and on Sunday we were trudging around in snow from an unexpected storm that left them without power for several days and left Zack and I to have a slumber party with Aunt Alice Saturday night, everything went great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had the most fun just watching everybody gobble up Zack and his happy personality. Many of those we saw this weekend haven’t seen Big Man in three months and he has changed SO much. He was part of a Pumpkin Party with delicious food; he received Chochie’s infamous kisses and pulled on Pop-Pop’s nose. There were cousins and aunts and grandparents and even extended family. There were hugs and truck noises and laughs and picture-taking. And a really cute video of him eating turkey pieces floating around Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My aunt has been through an unimaginable year yet her love for Zack was so huge, so obvious. I just kept whispering to Zack, “You are loved so much, you are loved so much.”

I love seeing my aunt as a “Chochie”, my dad as a grandfather, my niece as a proud big cousin. I loved seeing my grandmother on her hands and knees offering Zack pumpkins from her Halloween lights and little cousin Ryan singing Bob the Builder to an amazed Z-Man, taking in his every move.

It was such a beautiful adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are so loved, you are so loved, you are so loved.