Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Birthday Owed

Today is my birthday. 
A good one too. 
A legitimizing myself as an adult type one where I am now closer to 30 than 20. 
I've got blue skies, perfect temps, two boys, two dogs, and two cats to keep me company. 

Plus some really nice cards in the mail. I really love getting mail. 

I'm not sure if it's the age or the fact that I'm now a mother, but this is the first birthday I can remember where I feel like it really isn't a big deal. 
Don't get me wrong, I love it. 
I think it's important for everyone to get a day to simply celebrate their presence on this earth. 
Plus I get to eat whatever I want without consequence. It's a birthday rule.

But there's a missing hero in all this celebration: my mom.

Having now gone through that whole somewhat amazing thing of birth myself, I know how kinda, sorta big it is.  

So I try to imagine what it was like for her. 

The eagerness mounting as her belly got bigger. 
How an ordinary day became the one
The pain she went through for hours, laboring to get me out; excitement mounting as our beginning came closer and closer.
Pushing, pushing, puuushing until all of a sudden I was there.
A girl!
Crying, kicking, aching to be warm and cozy again. 
And then she got to hold me.
To look in my cloudy, confused eyes and comfort me with love.
To feel my new skin, hear my new cries, and examine every inch of my tiny little body.
To wonder who I was and what I would become. 
*Sidenote: It is absolutely mind-blowing to me that this happened 26 years ago to the day. 

Who knows what I felt. I imagine some major squishing and fear, coupled with a "what the eff is going on!"and lots of cold air, brightness, and noise.
But then there was warmth and comfort creating a feeling that my lot was improving. 
Some faces, my first taste of sweet, being man-handled as I was measured and checked, and more introductions being made.
All in all, pretty overwhelming I'm sure. 
It's probably a good thing we can't remember being born.

But for her

For her I can see how exciting and scary it must have been to be starting a brand new chapter. 
How my few pounds held so many hopes and dreams and love.
How amazed she must have been that yet again she brought life into the world. 
And how even if I had no conscious idea of anything, she did all that was in her power to make my beginning perfect.

So today is a bit different for me.
While I am so happy to be celebrated, just as I enjoy celebrating the arrival of others, I also feel that I don't dedicate enough time to the actual events of that day.
She does, I'm sure, and I'm glad I've realized how important it is to try.  

I now see that today is my mom's day too. 
Her day to celebrate, her day to remember, and her day to be adored by me for giving the gift of life. 

So thank you mom, for giving me your best, which always happens to be just what I need. 

I really, truly, to-the-core love you.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Our Snow Day

While the north is slammed with cold weather and pockets of snow, I waver between jealousy and a desire to frolick in the 70 degree bliss we are in. 
But it's unnatural, this weather, being that it's January and all.
And it feels especially unnatural when I have no reasons not to go rake leaves.

So the best compromise I can find is procrastinating from executing that horrible chore while reliving Declan's lovely first snow. 

Brings back the jealousy.

Wishin' we were there,


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Black and Purple

We're pulling for you Ravens. 

Last year Mr. Declan wasn't here to bring you luck, but tonight he'll be hugging his Ravens blankie close while his stuffed Poe lets out the occasional "Ca-caw!"

Let's hope that's all you needed.
Well, that and those new players who've done you well. 
And the extra year of experience. 
And Ray Lewis' impending retirement. 

There are SO many reasons why you should win. 
And I really, really, really hope you do. 


On that slim chance that you don't, I want to remember just how proud we've been all week.
How much excitement and unity you've brought to your city.
How it branches to Ravens nests nationwide.
How an eleven-year-old boy in Austin, Texas has worn Ravens gear religiously the past few months.

Mostly, I just want to bottle up that jolt that went through each and every one of us when time stopped. 
When the ball flew impossibly high, dropped into Jones' hands, and ended up in the end zone.
Absolutely glorious.
An incredible game that still makes me cry one week later. 
It was beautiful, amazing, and impossible. 

Last week you made the impossible happen.
We will not forget.

And even though we will love you no matter what happens-

Please, oh, please, go show Brady that it's possible again. 


Friday, January 18, 2013

And Then We Met...

John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love! Only two of my favorite bloggers of all time. They were as sweet and happy in person as they come across on their site. 

Thanks you two for opening your lovely lives to the world!


Christmas 2012

While most bloggers out there managed to celebrate Christmas, make a post delivering the aftermath to all, then clear out and clean out as they headed in to 2013, I just finished looking through our pics yesterday. That's right, Christmas cheer is still alive and well in my heart, if only because I was just too lazy to deal.

So while it may already seem like it was forever and a day ago, I'm going to take a walk back on good ol' Kris Kringle Memory Lane.

Let's start with a little bit of Christmas Eve. Snow-filled, friend-filled, food-filled loveliness.

{he was very pleased to meet mr. howdy doody}

Our stockings were then hung by the chimney with care, stories were read, heads were kissed, and dreams of who knows what whirled through a certain little mind.

Christmas thus began and ended beautifully, a perfect first for our little boy.

{more to come on our fantastic mr. fox}
{sorry for the crazy face... I love Declan's too much not to share :)}

Merry Christmas January 18th to all, and... 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

To Simply Be

Sometimes it is necessary to sit in silence.

To let the weight of sound roll off of you, leaving a low hum in its place.

Free from television and music, laughing and gossiping, dog nails clicking on the hardwood or cars driving by.

Temporarily released from the everyday demands of life, the joys of existence.

To simply be. 

No doing, watching, cooking, waiting. 

No thoughts of capture this, soak that in, be present, be involved. 

Those are good. They are necessary. But so is a pause. 

A pause that holds time.

Within it are my baby's calming breaths and swallows as he nurses, the innocence of the nursery objects so lovingly chosen, the dog at my feet, the comforting warmth in my arms. 

In this moment I am completed by his uncomplicated need for me and the love I get in return. 

I am fresh, new, whole.

This is his gift to me.

{linking up with Just Write}

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Life Without a Helmet

FYI: I rescind many of my cheerful statements of the other day. Being sick can be nice and give some much needed R&R, but being sick with a baby who (thankfully) got over it in the speed of light... Not as welcome. Not saying that I've got it bad, because you moms who wrangle a toddler while sick, let alone MORE than one child, are superheroes. Remind me to take all my vitamins and shots and homeopathic treatments from now until my kids are in school. That's right. No more sickness for the next eight years!

Besides battling sickness on our home front, we've also come head to head with our first dilemma of parenting: to helmet or not to helmet.

You see, our dear, beautiful child has a little bit of a flat spot on the back of his head. It's like putty that smooshed sideways a smidge and just needs to be smoothed back. Sadly though, skulls don't work that way and instead take time to change. We've worked at lessening it for the past five months or so, somewhat effectively, but it still remains. (The baby baldness doesn't do much good for the whole effect, either.) After HOURS of deliberation and back and forths and professional opinions, we decided on the helmet-less route. I could wax on and on about all the details and facts, but the helmet isn't really the topic on my mind, it's the lesson I'm learning along the way.

One of the specialists we saw said that if she had a child, she did not believe she'd helmet. Ya know, that's a pretty big "if." I think there are many things you can prepare for with babies- feeding, changing, washing, playing, holding. Just being around children for years gave me the sense that most things are small and not to be worried about. (No huge freak outs over here. Well, not yet that is. ;)) But one of the biggest things that I was in no way prepared for was realizing that I am responsible for a small human's future, beyond just getting him there alive.

It all starts with choosing a name. The defining factor of a person. Often the first bit of you that is shown to others. (The name still gets me thinking, and we're eight months in!) Then come the decisions such as this. Decisions that could affect friendships, teasing opportunities, even Hollywood acting gigs! Or maybe not. Maybe it won't be a big thing. Children will find something, anything, to tease about and there is only so much we can do. So what, as a parent, do you sign up for?

I signed up to take care of a child. I chose to be there for him from the beginning, to give him a safe and healthy growing environment full of love, support, knowledge, and help. I signed up knowing that freedom is a big part of development, to let him take control of himself often to learn how something is done. I chose a lifetime of listening, assisting, and watching from the sidelines as mistakes and victories are made.

I hope that all we put in helps shape a wonderful human being. A perfectly imperfect person who we will try to take some credit for, but who is an individual in charge of his own choices. We can try to give him the best start possible, and we are, but it only goes so far. While the idea of giving him a perfectly round head sounds wonderful, it is also unrealistic. And maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it's a lesson in learning to accept what makes us unique and human. It certainly is a lesson in navigating potential guilt-inducing choices.

I don't think this is what he will "hate" us for. I think once hair grows in and his skull grows more, it won't even be noticeable. Everybody has imperfections, and I see that as a good thing. We will love him unconditionally and do what we can to raise him in a confidence-building environment, making sure he knows how wonderful he is across the board.

And in the end, I'm sure there will be a point where he informs us of numerous other ways in which we failed. But we will be able to say that we did our best, took all information given and went with what we thought was right.

What more can truly be expected?

And since I can't resist throwing in a few quick facts anyway :)... 

**Head shape can vary drastically in degree. As said above, we took professional opinions to make our decision. His is mild, purely cosmetic, and will likely result in the same outcome with or without a helmet. It might be a gut-wrenching decision to make, but it is an informed one.**


Monday, January 7, 2013

Kleenex and Cuddles

Our house has been hit. With the two youngest down and out it's lucky we have an older, more experienced gentleman to take good care of us. He's been doing such lovely niceties such as fixing me soup. And bringing a trash bag over for my growing mountain of dampened tissues. And doing all sorts of things for the baby since he valiantly battles his sickness and marches on, unlike his couch potato mother who smothers herself with blankets. 

All I'm trying to say here is glory hallelujah for that husband of mine. He's taken care of us with nothing but a smile.

Eight months in and this is the first time we've had a sick boy on our hands. And what a sweet sicky he is. Declan is a well-adjusted, happy baby, but a cuddler he is not. So when he chose to lay his rosy cheek on my shoulder Sunday, we knew something was up. When we realized he wasn't even attempting glances at the numerous televisions all around, the decision was made to head on home. Since then we've been wallowing in couch cuddles, books, wavering fevers, and ibuprofen. Add a splash of naps, and the heavenly exersaucer for entertainment, and you're a fly on the Murray house wall.

I'm certainly not complaining. 

I got to feel the weight of my baby uncharacteristically relaxed on my chest, something that took me immediately back to the newborn days. I got to cuddle next to him as we napped on the couch, trying my darndest not to drool on his fuzzy little noggin. I got to be a mama, to comfort and kiss and hug and snuggle. And while I might have enjoyed it a bit more had I been sans snot, I'm glad I was forced to lie down and soak in the rare pause of my child's ever-evolving self. 

{Linking to Just Write 67}


Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Torn Heart

After lugging far too many bags through three airports, we are settling back in to life in Austin. It hurt my heart a bit to return. Not because I don't love it here, I do, but more because of what I had to leave behind. Practically speaking, it's harder here. No home prepared vegan meals unless we fix them; no help with the baby when we need a break; no one but ourselves to deal with the mini-dogs Tegan sheds off. 

What hurts the most though is all emotional. Leaving my parents and friends in a place where I can't just run over for a visit. Letting go of any hopes for snow. Not being present for what is most likely Ray Lewis' last game in Baltimore. Knowing that the next time my baby will experience my city he will probably stand on his own two feet. All of that is simply hard. 

Coming in the door was painful on Thursday. I cried (not that that is a huge rarity these days with all the hormones... will that never end?!) and told Peyton I was done here. Ready to be home. Ready to raise my children with a surrounding village that I know and love. But after a few somewhat harsh (though practical) words from him, I realized that there is nothing we could do about it that day. The band-aid had just come off and I had to take it. 

There are definitely ways to not just cope, but thrive, here. Like the much needed girl's night I had with other Baltimore transplants just a few hours after our return, complete with red wine, Whole Foods pizza, and lots of Ravens talk and Declan loving. Or the glorious smell of my new candle filling the kitchen air. Or sitting quietly in front of a raging fire watching Declan practice scooting. These are moments that definitively show that I am also home here. It makes it easier to simply "be" but harder to choose our future. 

Home is where the heart is, but my heart is completely torn. I love two places and two lives. (I'd probably love more if I tried, so please, use force if I attempt to add another home base to my list.) Who knows where the future will take us or what path we'll choose to walk. I can just hope that we are lucky enough to have these choices. In the meantime I will do my best to appreciate this place, these people, and this town. I will try to fill our days with love, fun, warmth, and memories of Austin that will glow brightly for years. And yes, I will probably on occasion cry. Because sometimes that's all you can do. 

Let's go Ravens!!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ring in the Reflections and Renewal

2:00 a.m. last night found me changing a screaming baby out of soaking clothes. (If there's one thing that Dex hates in life, it's getting his midnight snack delayed.) As I stood there, trying to wrestle him dry, having long ago given up on the pacifier that was doing nothing but adding time to the experience, I realized that the city was alive with drunk strangers celebrating a fresh start. Visions of confetti flying, girls in golds and silvers and guys in 2013 top hats filled my head. The world alive in phases full of dancing, kissing, cheering, and merriment. Luckily jealousy was nowhere to be found, as the desire for sleep and a soothed baby topped all. "Happy new year, sweet boy," I whispered as he finally nestled against me.

What an amazing year to be ending, and an even more exciting one up ahead. While I have resolved not to make any resolutions, because making them seems to make them that much less likely to stay put, I do see each year as a fresh start. After the coziness of the holidays and the gathering of stuff, the new year brings a time to cleanse and purge. Organize. Clean. Appreciate. It brings a sense of knowing what you have, seeing what you can accomplish, and hands out new energy to get there.

Today I will look excitedly at the possibilities this year brings. I will try to organize my life and plans, getting what I can lined up to feel my future appropriately controlled. I think there is peace in having things scheduled- the mani/pedi marked down for tomorrow, our flight times and confirmation scratched in, and all the bills for the upcoming months flagged. This control allows opportunities for more spontaneity. It ushers me forward to enjoy the days, rather than worry that I'm forgetting a tidbit that will bite me later. 

With this planning though I will also reflect. I will look at the year that brought me here. The year that was good down to the core. While our blog has quite a few events missing (such is life as a bad blogger), it does manage to show some important moments. If you're new, I hope you get to know us a bit better. If you're a follower, thank you so much for journeying with us. 

Without further ado, here's a rundown of our 2012. 



Alas, no blog posts. My mom, Tegan, and I drove cross-country from Baltimore to Austin to enjoy a bit more time together sans baby. Thoughts of boy nurseries swirled in my head. And I ended the month off celebrating my first quarter century with a fantastic group of friends at the Clay Pit. 



I made some resolutions for my 25th year. (I kind of dread actually going back through those...) And we shared our first sewing project: the super easy DIY dog bed



The third trimester marked my first posts on pregnancy, here and here. It also included my last solo trip to Baltimore for our wonderful baby shower. Peyton kept himself from missing me too much by beginning work on the nursery, but that is a post that is yet to be posted. A llllong time coming, I know. 



To usher in a new season and new life, we did a quick house update by freshening up the front door. The back bedroom was in a state of renewal as well with paint all over, new furniture, and fun finds. Instead of posting these updates, I decided to procrastinate and enjoy life as a pregnant chica, which included seeing friends at another great shower for our little man.



Well, we had a baby, five short days after squeezing in my maternity photos and praying that my mom would make it in time. She did, and on May 11th at 9:27am we all welcomed sweet Declan into the world. What an amazing, amazing time those next few weeks were, and while filled with loads of happiness and pictures, they were also bittersweet. Overall I learned to always try and soak in the '"now"



As can be imagined, our main focus was sweet boy, but we also managed to enjoy our first family trip and begin the weekly photo project.



Baltimore. Athens. Baltimore. Yay, yay, yay! Declan got to meet lots and lots of friends and add two new states to his already growing list of travels. He transitioned out of his stretching/grunting baby phase to adding smiles and little "heh heh" laughs. 



It hit me that I have now become old while far too young, Declan slept through the night for the first time (that would have been nice last night...), and we filled our month with baby love and relaxation.



Declan turned four months and added laughing to his growing list of achievements. Peyton showed off his woodworking skills with a beautiful handmade gift for D. And my money spending desires were quashed by well thought up husband tactics. 



Austin City Limits came and went, Peyton added another year to his life resume, and we actually posted TWO things (one and two) for the pinterest challenge! The whole month ended by celebrating Declan's first halloween with fantastic family coordinated costumes.



America had that little thing called an election, and even though we voted early, I still got caught up in the day. Declan got his first two teeth, ate his first food, and then six weeks of travel began along with an unplanned blogging hiatus. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Bristol where Declan was loved on lots by his Nana and Papaw and then we were lucky enough to help with the gorgeous wedding of Preeti and Brian.



Baltimore and Bristol. Sickness and sleep. Present buying and wrapping. Declan's first Christmas! There was snow before and after the day itself, a wonderfully crisp walk in the park day of, and lots of game playing all around. Declan enjoyed the month by mastering circles and backward scooting and is currently testing his legs by jumping fiercely. 


WHEW!! And that is why you want the new year to be a fresh start. Looking back at the year before is exhausting stuff (if you even made it this far!).  How lucky we are though to be able to say it was ours. 

What are your thoughts on New Year? Are you a reflector, purger, resolution maker? Or do you think it's all silly and arbitrary? I'd love to see any recaps you have of 2012, or hear any 2013 plans!

And in the wise words of Jimmy, "Have a very fruitful (365) day(s)!"