Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Little Bit of Heaven

She's learning a little more about life each day.  Small things, like how beautiful a sunrise is, how good it feels to slip into a cool bed in the middle of a hot afternoon, or how the perfect moment of quiet comes after a long day of chaos.  She takes deep breaths, holds on for one second longer, talks herself out of a tantrum.

And I'm not talking about Ava...

Summer brings a whole new perspective on life for me.  After nine months of waking up early, grading endless stacks of essays, battling with 8th graders about why they need to respect adults/take their grades seriously/stop talking/etc, and feeling beaten down about half the time...finally, when I feel as though I can't take it any more, a reprieve comes.  The air warms, the sun kisses my face, and I breathe long gulps of freedom.  Everything seems better at the beginning of summer break.  I have time for Panera breakfasts in front of the TV while I catch up on The Bachelorette.  Trips to the pool with friends turn into dinner parties and beers on the deck.  If I sleep poorly the night before, I don't have to worry about dragging myself to work - I can simply slip in-between the cool sheets during the long, lazy afternoon.   

Summer allows for so many pleasures, a little bit of heaven each day.

Summer means:

Capris and bare feet

Play-Doh at the table after dinner...because we don't have to rush through a bath-and-bedtime routine

Ava made Play-Doh pancakes as big as her hand and then fed them to a tiny Strawberry Shortcake Happy-Meal doll (who she has dubbed "Ella").  The conversation that took place during this imaginary play:

Me: Ava, what are you feeding her?  Is it vegetables?
Ava: Nooooo.
Me: Is it pizza?
Ava: Nooooo.
Me: Well, what is it?
Ava: Medicine!

Hmmm, future doctor or nurse?  Or a pharmacist?

Playing outside in pajamas and dress shoes

She calls them her white shoes.  She has no idea that they are made to wear with fancy dresses...but who cares?  How often does one wear fancy dresses anyway? 

I'm actually a little envious of her "I'll wear these fancy white shoes whenever I want" attitude.  As a kid, I loved these types of shoes for one reason: they made clip-clop noises when walking.  I always wished my mom would let me wear my dress shoes to school so that I could hear them clip-clop as I walked down the hall or on the concrete at recess...but she wouldn't let me.  Even though I hardly ever wore those dressy shoes due to the fact that occasions to wear dressy shoes are few and far between...she still wouldn't let me. 

I vow to let Ava wear dress shoes whenever she wants. 

Boat rides with friends

The perfect way to spend an afternoon: head up to the Ozdemir's, pack some drinks and snacks, and enjoy a breezy, warm day out on the water.  Ava and Ella play together, Kate toddles behind, and the adults chat or sit quietly in companionable silence as the girls entertain themselves.  The day rounds out nicely by grilling up some chicken, scarfing down dessert...and three little girls splashing around in the bathtub.

Of course the reality of getting two toddlers together is that they fight over the same toys and as you leave, both are in tears over a bag of bouncy balls...but I digress. 

Trips to Manchester, which inevitably means trips to Warvel Park

How does one get to Warvel Park?  On a golf cart, of course.  The benefit of a small town!  We take the golf cart everywhere. 

Water table fun on the deck

Ava quickly realized that standing outside of the water in a dress is not as good as being IN the water...in the nude.

There are many more little bits of heaven waiting for us this summer.  This is only the beginning!  The entire season is stretching out before us and it makes me feel hopeful, happy and content.  Even if you are not a teacher, I hope you take the time to enjoy all that summer has to offer. 

Summer is here and LIFE IS GOOD!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On the Bright Side

Today is a day to remind myself to "look on the bright side" and keep myself in check with this blog.

This morning's pregnancy test?  Negative.  The past three months of pregnancy tests?  Yeah...

It's hard not to feel frustrated.  I know there are millions of couples out there who struggle with infertility and my heart goes out to them, for their suffering, the endless negative tests, the doctor visits, the medications...I can't imagine being in that position, where you want a baby more than anything and for whatever reason, the stars are not aligning.  We've been trying for a mere four months and still, I feel upset each month seeing that single line.  It's hard on me this time because of our past experience. 

First try?  Pregnant...then miscarriage. 
Second try?  Negative. 
Third try?  Ava.  

I feel that I am in "reality check" mode...because really, trying for 6-8 months is actually average.  But I had naively believed that since it was so easy the first time, surely it would be easy this time too.  I guess I'm learning that things don't always go the way you think they will - but that good things DO come to those who wait.

There's the "bright side" talking.

I placate myself each month.  I think, "Well, another month of drinking!  Of not feeling nauseous!  Of not being moody!"  But I don't really fool myself. 

However, after much soul-searching and advice from friends, I know that I have to be patient and that when the time is right, we will be blessed with another baby.  I need to stop stressing about the "timing" because it's not really in my control.  Sure, it would be great to avoid going back to school during a first trimester, but I did it once before.  It would be awesome to have a baby due in the doldrums of winter or early spring so that I can have a long maternity leave, home with a new baby for 6 months or more...but who knows where my life will be when that time comes?  Who knows if I'll be teaching full time in another few years, or doing photography full time?  I hate not having much control, but I think if I just...let go...it would help.  But letting go is so hard!  My mind somehow speeds itself up on overdrive and the thoughts scribble themselves all over my brain. 

For now, it's another month to trick myself into looking at the bright side and focusing on other things.  This summer is already jam-packed with weddings to attend, photography sessions, bachelorette trips to Florida, friends coming to town to visit and birthday parties.  My life is full, it really is.  And hey, they say that thinking positive yields good things.  Worth a shot, eh?* 

*(but if you have any baby dust, send it my way, okay?)


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Balancing the Weekends

During the week, Jeremy and I make big plans for the weekend.  We email friends, plan game nights, hire a babysitter and go to dinner...our weekend nights are precious to us, a time to kick back and have fun after the work week.  The weekend days are another story.  We often come up with big to-do lists that we email back and forth during the week, tweaking and erasing and perfecting until we decide what we'll do to pass a Saturday afternoon.  Sometimes it means yard work.  Sometimes it means picking up around the house, doing laundry, or grocery shopping. 

This weekend it meant a trip to Garfield Park.  Because, as Jeremy likes to say, "I don't want to just sit around all day and do nothing."  The sun was peeking through the clouds at random intervals, warming the slightly chilly air, so we donned sweaters and jackets and headed out.

I had a selfish reason for agreeing to a park date: a new spot to take pictures.  I was hoping to get shots of Ava running through a field of dandelions or peeking out from behind a tree...but the pull of a jungle gym complete with stairs to walk up and slides to come down was too much for her.

At least I was able to catch her interaction with a squirrel.  Poor dude had no idea what was coming his way.
Thankfully, squirrels are faster than toddlers.

Going to the park on a Saturday morning may be part of a normal routine for some: these are the families who regularly go on picnics, who head to baseball practice and soccer games, who are always on the go.  We are not that family.  While it is nice to be outside enjoying the spring weather, to watch your kid run freely and go down the slide 20 times in a row, it is not something I am naturally drawn to.  I am more likely to be found in my pjs at 11am on a Saturday morning, debating with Jeremy which fast food place we should choose for lunch. 

Thankfully, I have a husband who sometimes pushes me to get out the door and play.  And by play, I mean taking Ava somewhere picture-worthy so I can capture the moment.  Hey, I can't let go of all my controlling tendencies.

And with the weather warming up, I actually do want to be outside.  Unfortunately, we've had a lot of cloudy and rainy days lately, so even though Saturday was spent outdoors...Sunday was back to normal, huddled inside in our pjs the entire day while the clouds opened up and drenched everything in sight.

I like the balance between the two.  Some days I agree with Jeremy: I don't want to just sit around and waste the day away.  The urge to be productive or to play outside with Ava pushes its way to the forefront of my mind and makes things happen.  Other times, I'm perfectly comfortable spending a day inside, lounging on the couch or the floor of the playroom while Ava entertains and chats and pulls me up with her little hands to have a tea party.  Or help her change her baby doll's diaper.  Or color.  Or attempt to eat an entire bag of carrots.  Whatever floats your boat.

Balance is good.