The Year of You

learning to live without limits

on the day that you were born — April 30, 2017

on the day that you were born

In anticipation of Chase’s upcoming sixth birthday, I decided to repost what I wrote last year about his birth. This still captures exactly what I remember from that momentous day. I still do not understand how it is possible that I have an almost six year old!

Originally posted May 1st, 2016

Today, I have a 4-year-old. Tomorrow, I have a 5-year-old. We have moved through these 5 years in the blink of an eye yet Chase’s birth seems so long ago. It’s an odd sensation…time. I, however, remember the events of his birth so clearly. I remember Wayne Randazzo calling Jason at 11pmish on Sunday May 1st to see if Jason was covering the news that next morning. We awoke, turned on the TV to find that Osama Bin Laden was dead. I remember laying there watching TV and then, just like that labor started (I blame both Wayne and Osama). I remember busting out my laptop to send a few last work emails at 3am (come on folks, it’s me). I remember eating and thank god I did for I would not eat again until 6pm….14 hours later. I remember finally leaving for the hospital at 5am on Monday May 2nd. I remember being offered a wheelchair and politely declining, I could walk the 20 feet. I remember Buffy the Vampire Slayer on TV ( it was 6am after all). I remember throwing up….a lot. I remember Shirley trying to take a picture of me, and her stating that I would want to remember this. I remember asking Jason to ask her to leave (sorry, mom. I love you and I know you meant well). I remember Jason eating a BLT, and I remember my disgust both from the fact that he was allowed to eat and also that bacon does not mix with nausea. I remember shuffling through the hallways telling Jason that we were “one and done” (child-birth ain’t no joke… It hurts). I remember being in a sleep deprived delirious drugged state…….14 hours into labor getting ready to push and loudly proclaiming “let’s do this” to which the doctor and nurses stopped to laugh. I remember seeing him for the first time, waiting for the first sound….the first cry. You don’t realize it going in, but that cry is all you want in that moment. I remember holding him, I remember the love that I felt, that feeling of instant love that you don’t really get anywhere else in life…..that Love that I feel every day. Happy birthday eve to the little boy who taught me how to love unconditionally. You make me so proud. (and fun thing, the hospital gives you a newspaper on the day your baby is born. We hit the jackpot that day when it comes to newspapers…and healthy baby boys)

Family Walks — April 28, 2017

Family Walks

Going for an evening walk with the boys is getting to enjoy the simple pleasures in life; the spider webs, the yellow car, the pinecones and of course the airplanes. It is questions that don’t have answers; so many “whys?”. It’s enjoying a fresh outlook where anything and everything seems amazing and inspiring. It’s exploring. It’s the adventure. It’s my nerves on edge as I convince myself that they won’t run from the sidewalk to the street. It is the melted popsicles both on their clothes and on the sidewalk. It’s little legs too tired to walk any further. It’s little hands reaching for mine. It’s racing down the street to get to our house. Who will win? I always do, but I never run.

Birthday Week — April 21, 2017

Birthday Week

Birthdays are a big deal to me, and turning thirty-one was no different. If I am going to insist on a year of you then you damn well know I am going to insist on a week of birthday celebrating. When Jason asked what I wanted to do for my birthday this year, I had three objectives: 1.) do something active 2.) be outside (weather permitting) 3.) find something the kids could do and wouldn’t complain about. Knowing that I could only reasonably control the first two requests, hiking it was!  The Pere Marquette trails had been on our radar for some time, so we decided to go for it. We got the kids going early that Saturday morning, packed-up the car and made the drive to Grafton. I love Grafton this time of year. Traditionally, we make a trip to Grafton in April with friends, but it just didn’t time out this year. Being in “the Key West of the Midwest” just feels right in April.

We arrived at the Pere Marquette visitor’s center, located maps, sun screened/bug sprayed and just went for it. Like just found a trail and started walking. Anyone who really knows me knows that “just going for it” is not my style when my kids are in tow. I like to know where I am going and how I can get back to safety if needed. Yes, we had a map, but it was not to scale and was printed in black and white BUT referenced color coding! How does that happen? I took a deep breath, and all was okay. Jason took charge of navigation and if Jason is calm, I can eventually get there. He has that calming effect on me.

We set out on a trail that was described as moderately difficult (side note, moderately difficult to Pere Marquette State Park equates to 92 flights of stairs/elevation). The kids were ready for the adventure. It was an absolutely beautiful perfect day: sunny, a decent breeze and not too hot. We also started pretty early and avoided any potential for crowds which we saw coming in as we were leaving that day. We ended up logging four miles on the trails. Chase made the entire trek without a complaint. Shane had to ride on Jason’s shoulders for a bit. Four miles is a lot for little three year-old legs. We finished our hike, picnicked under a tree and the boys played soccer in an open field with Jason. I stayed back, admiring my blessings from a distance on what ended up being a perfect way to celebrate my birthday.

The next day after our hike was Easter Sunday. I am big on birthdays, but I love holidays. I mean LOVE holidays and the traditions and family time that are associated with most holidays. As I looked through the pictures from that day, I can’t help but laugh so I am going to let this amazing collage of pictures tell its own story.

The rest of the week included my actual birthday, finishing the living room design projects, family swim night at the Y, and bowling with my dad’s side of the family. It was a good week.

We ended my birthday week with the Belleville Area Humane Society 5k Race for the Rescues. The entire family including both dogs participated in this race. We decided to go after the race in groups based on speed and activity (walking/running). Jason took Forrest Gump (our dog) and ended up crushing the race. Jason was fourth overall and Forrest was third overall dog. Chase decided he wanted to run, so I pushed Shane in the jogger and Chase completed his second 5k in under 33 minutes! I can’t tell you how proud I was of his determination during that race. Melissa took Lt. Dan (our other dog) and walked the race (not by Melissa’s choice). We had hesitations if Lt could actually finish a 3 mile walk, but with a bit of coaching from Melissa, he crossed the finish line with some pep left in his step. It was a great way to spend a sunny Sunday morning.

When I look back through this thirty-first birthday week, I find a common theme: Family. Being in Australia made me miss out on three weekends worth of family time.   It made me realize just how blessed I am to have so many amazing people to love.

Lush Life — April 14, 2017

Lush Life

I was driving home the other day, sun roof and windows open wondering “do other people have “an anthem”.?” I have one…and I have had one for over a year. I can’t be alone, right? To me, an anthem is a song that gives strength and that instantly changes your mood in a positive way. My anthem is my jam, it doesn’t get old, and it is surprisingly not Billie Jean (as I am sure most of you are assuming). If you do not have an anthem, I suggest you find yourself a power song that resonates throughout your soul….a song that builds you up when you need it. If you already have one that is fantastic. I would love to know what that song is if you feel like sharing. Mine is “Lush Life” by Zara Larsson. Give it a listen, if you like, don’t get too caught up in the lyrics just focus on the theme. It is my jam.

As I sit here rambling on about anthems, I am just a few days shy of the big THREE ONE. Thirty was monumental, but thirty-one kinda feels like an acknowledgment that I am now “in my thirties”.  This last year of my life has been the most transformational of years. It was a year of questioning and adventures.  Was I where I wanted to be, how was I spending my time, what is my purpose in life, do I enjoy what I am doing? If the answers were no, I grabbed the situation by the horns and didn’t let go until I found what I wanted to do. It wasn’t until recently when I realized that I had been through the trenches of Saturn Returns. Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Saturn Returns?  Me neither, until a few weeks ago. If you are in your late 20’s/early 30’s, you need to read The Skinny on Saturn Returns: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger by Shannon Kaiser. You just need to read it…do it now. I believe in the power of Saturn returning. It made me live a little bolder, and definitely inspired me to do more, but ultimately I learned that Saturn is a little bitch.

Now that Saturn has moved on along in its orbit, I am ready to take on the new challenges and adventures that thirty-one will bring. I am beyond excited to see what this next year has in store for me and my family and I will continue to live life according to my anthem, and make this year my year, all over again.