Friday, April 16, 2010

Power of two

It's been five years (!!) since Aaron and I said "I do." What a wild ride it's been (And I wouldn't change a single thing.) I never forget how lucky I am to have married such a wonderful man. He truly is my best friend ... and a really great dad, too.

What are your middle names?
Michelle and Mark

How long have you been together?
We started dating in the spring of 2000

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Aaron started working at Lillie News in August of 1999, a year after I started.

Who asked whom out?
He asked me out.

How old are each of you?
I was born in 1975; he was born in 1973

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Probably mine (two brothers and a sister), although we see his two sisters and brother at least once a month.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
Finding a work/parenthood/life balance

Did you go to the same school?
I took the direct route of graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 4 years, he took an indirect route to the University of Minnesota after going to UMD & joining the Army (Reserves) first.

Are you from the same hometown?
I grew up in North St. Paul, he grew up in Coon Rapids

Who is smarter?
I think we’re equally intelligent.

Who is the most sensitive?
That’s a toss-up.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We don’t really have one specific place.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Whistler, B.C.

Who has the craziest exes?
Probably me, but I don’t like the word crazy. I’d prefer INTERESTING.

Who has the worst temper?
We’re both pretty laidback.

Who does the cooking?
Definitely Aaron — and he’s really good at it, too!

Who is the neat-freak?

Who is more stubborn?

Who hogs the bed?

Who wakes up earlier?
Me on weekdays; Aaron on weekends

Where was your first date?
Sophia’s on St. Anthony Main and then to Nye’s for polka!

Who is more jealous?
I would have said me in the beginning of our relationship, now I think we have a solid foundation of trust.

What was your worst fight?
Tacos vs. burritos. No, seriously, I can't remember a "worst fight." Any fight is a bad one. Who likes to fight with their s/o?

How long did it take to get serious?
A few months. I liked him from the very first conversation we had (after-hours) at the newspaper, and my crush grew when we became lunch buddies and workout buddies. (Shout out to the NSP Community Center!)

Who eats more?
He eats more when we sit down for dinner, but I snack more throughout the day.

Who does the laundry?
Both of us

Who is more social?
Me. I love meeting people and hearing stories. And staying at wedding receptions/reunions/parties until we're two of the last few standing. (Sorry, Aaron!)

Who is more spontaneous?

Who is more athletic?
Definitely Aaron ... but I enjoy playing softball and kickball and I'm glad I got back into running last year. Oh, and I'm a force to reckon with when it comes to ladder golf.

Who is more well-read?
I am, I am!

Who's better with the computer?
Aaron. He's better with all things technology. I just don't care that much. (I still use a flip phone & I don't text message. Is that so wrong?)

Who's more romantic?
Aaron. Every year on our anniversary he has sent me a bouquet of white tulips — the flower we used as centerpieces on our wedding day. And it's not just about receiving gifts, he's incredibly thoughtful, too. Sometimes the little things mean more than the big ones, ya know?

What was your wedding song?
"Power of two" by the Indigo Girls

What do you remember most about your wedding day?
Celebrating our love with our very favorite people in the world (when else can you host a big party with so many of your loved ones?), the girls getting ready together, our vows (we wrote our own), our soloist Brooke, dedicating songs to our wedding party in the party bus, stopping at the Liffey for Irish Car Bombs, heartfelt speeches, dancing the night away, feeling blessed and lucky and so, so, so happy!

"Adding up a total of a love that's true. Multiply life by the power of two ..."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dad, I need something!

top photo: Adam in his big boy bed. (Finally!) On April 3, we went to an Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Lexington Fire Department (Aaron’s dad is heavily involved and we wanted to show our support). There was not one, but two Easter bunnies roaming around at the park, which made Adam extremely skittish. You can see here, from the look on his face, that he could’ve cared less about the candy and was more concerned that the Easter bunny might somehow sneak up on him and get too close.

A conversation with Adam in March:
Me: “Good night Adam. Sleep tight.”
Adam, eyes wide open: “Did you hear that noise?”
Me (getting a little freaked out): “What noise?”
Adam (in a terrified whisper): “I think the Easter bunny is downstairs!”
Me: “Adam, the Easter bunny isn’t coming for another month. That’s a long time.”
Adam: “He’s not coming now? He’s not coming tomorrow?”
Me: “No.”
Adam: “Ok. Good night.”

Another conversation April 1:
Me: “The Easter bunny is coming in a few days, Adam. You’ll get to find Easter eggs and your Easter basket! Maybe you’ll even get some candy!”
Adam: “He’s coming now?”
Me: “No, in a few days.”
Adam: “To our house?”
Me: “Yes.”
Adam: “I don’t want him to come to our house.”
Me: “Your dad and I will let him in and let him out.”
Adam: “I don’t want him here.”
Me: “Ok. What if we ask him to drop off your basket with the neighbor?”
Adam: Silence.
Me: “What if we tell him not to come this year?”
Adam: “Good.”

Easter came and went without a whole lot of hoopla this year (besides the fact that Adam was terrified of the Easter bunny). I’m embarrassed to admit that we didn’t even make it to church.
Aaron’s daycare provider had an egg hunt for the kids on April 1, where I discovered that he really doesn’t like jellybeans (what?!) but loves those icky marshmallow Peeps. Guess who ate all of his jellybeans?
On Saturday we went to the Lexington egg hunt in the morning, where he scored a bag of Cheez-its and one plastic egg that we redeemed for a book. He got knocked down about a second into the start of the egg hunt (sheer chaos) and immediately started crying, so it was really Aaron who grabbed the crackers and egg on Adam’s behalf.
We enjoyed a more relaxed egg hunt on Easter Sunday at my parents’ house. This time the eggs were filled with coins rather than candy. His godparents, Auntie Trish and Uncle Shawn, bought him a stuffed bunny and singing card, which he will probably still be listening to in January, and he went nuts over a plastic golf set purchased by my parents (not delivered by the Easter bunny) and had fun “kipping the ball” around their backyard. Aaron has since purchased a “real” club for him from Golf Galaxy because the kid has become obsessed with golf (and baseball … and Joe Mauer … and anything with a ball, really. If he isn’t interested in playing sports when he’s older, I will be shocked.) Aaron has been SUCH a good dad, too, playing in the backyard for hours with the little squirt. I can't wait until I can lift/bend/run again and get my ENERGY back!
At 4 p.m. we went over to Grandma Patti’s house where he was spoiled yet again—this time with candy, toys, and rain boots (Patti used the boots as a basket. Really cute idea.) We ate more good food, hung out with the fam, and visited until nearly 8:30. We celebrated my brother and sister-in-law’s 26th birthday, too (the twins actual bday is April 10). I really am blessed to have married into such a wonderful family.

The big news in our household is that Adam is now sleeping in a big boy bed!!!!!!! We bought him a twin bed and started the transition a few weeks ago and he’s exceeded our wildest expectations. The first few nights I sat next to his bed until he fell asleep, and now we just have to read him a few books and tell him “We’re all in the house together and if you need anything, just yell for one of us.” With that in mind, he typically falls asleep about 10-15 minutes after we leave his room.
Actually, the first night Aaron told him that, about five minutes later—as we were watching the end of Idol—we heard an urgent, “Dad! Dad! I need something!” coming from Adam’s room.
Aaron went up to investigate. “What do you need, buddy?”
“I need something.”
“What is the something you need?”
“Um, I need lunch?”
It was pretty cute. I think he was testing Aaron’s theory to make sure we’d respond asap if he called for one of us.

In sad news, a friend’s dad passed away right before St. Patrick’s Day, at the young age of 69. She was extremely close to him, being the baby in a large Catholic family, and I can’t stop thinking about how final death is. How he was here one minute and now he’s not. How she can’t share news with him and he won’t get to see her kids grow up and she can’t hug him or kiss him or tell him she loves him. How her mom is a widow now. ☹
And another friend of a close friend’s mom passed away—very suddenly—while vacationing in Vegas. She was only 62. One minute she was simply going on vacation; the next minute her kids were flying out to Nevada to say goodbye.
I didn’t like it when my friend’s grandparents started dying, and I hate it now that we’ve moved onto the next line of defense—our parents. My dad just turned 60; my mom just turned 59. In my eyes, they’re both still so YOUNG. They haven’t had a chance to enjoy retirement yet. Can you imagine working hard your whole life and then Death cheating you out of your hard-earned retirement years? I can accept that death is part of the natural cycle of life, but I can’t accept it when someone dies suddenly before the age of 80.

On the flip side, I also have a lot of friends who either just had babies or are having babies, and I love, love, love the “Baby Boom.” Some of my closest friends had babies or are having babies. Karla had Aliza in September, AJ had Violet in January, Amanda had a baby boy, Mason, on April 7, and Amy had a baby boy, Broder, on April 9. My childhood friend Gina is due at the beginning of May, Megan is due with #2 at the end of October (yeah!), her sister is due in July, and two of my coworkers are due in July or August (one coworker is in my department and we’ve become friends through our shared pregnancies, the other is leaving in two weeks and I’ll probably never talk to her again). I keep waiting for other friends—both those here in town and those living out-of-state—to make “the announcement.” Bring on the bambinos!

As far as my own pregnancy, I’m pretty sure people stare at me with a mixture of awe/terror as I waddle into week #34. I hate feeling self-conscious. I especially feel that way when people ask, “You have HOW MUCH time left in your pregnancy?” then try to recover the shock in their voice by saying, “I didn’t mean it like that. You look good! You can’t even tell you’re pregnant from behind!” Well, good, because the last time I checked, I wasn’t carrying the baby in my ass. It’s hard not to feel defensive when someone tells you that you look HUGE.

Speaking of where this baby is hanging out, I think Button recently dropped lower in my pelvic region. Yahoo! I’m feeling so much better than I’ve felt in a long time. I was carrying so high that I could feel Button’s kicks right below the underwire on my bra and I’m pretty sure he/she was squashing my lungs, making it hard to breathe. Now I can get up out of a seated position without huffing and puffing, I can walk without waddling (as noticeably), and I can fall sleep without feeling like I’m squishing my baby (I know babies are cushioned by amniotic fluid but it's still a weird sensation to feel your baby moving underneath you at night, ya know?) I can even lie on my back for a few minutes at night without getting a panicky suffocating feeling. I wonder if this shift in how I’m carrying means Button is head down now? My doc said she won’t check until 36 weeks, so I guess – even if Button is preparing to launch – it wouldn’t really matter just yet, because he/she could still spin around in that little space and wind up transverse. I hope, hope, hope the baby is head down eventually because I would love to be spared a cesarean section.

One coworker said she loved her two c-sections and wouldn’t want a vaginal delivery. Really? She said she’s had friends tell her, “After you deliver naturally, it looks like a bomb went off down there” and “sex just isn’t the same afterward” (I disagree — your body is very, um, elastic and meant to stretch.) Another friend had four c-sections and said it was as easy as “making a dentist appointment and coming home with a baby.” Really? It’s MAJOR SURGERY. It freaks me out to think of being prepped for surgery (with Aaron suited up in scrubs to make it even more scary/real) and it freaks me out to think of having to lie flat on my back on the examining table —all naked and spread eagled … unable to move … as surgeons cut me open and REMOVE MY ORGANS (uterus, ovaries, intestines) to pull out the baby and placenta. It freaks me out to think of the risks of blood clots and painful gas buildup in my abdomen after they stitch me back up and the possibility of the c-section scar getting infected. I don’t want to have to take morphine for the pain and I don’t want to deal with a longer recovery. If the surgery is necessary (Button is breech, distressed, the cord is prolapsed, his/her noggin is just too big to squeeze through my birth canal) then by all means, safely remove my baby via c-section, but if it’s simply a matter of convenience, I’d rather endure painful contractions and an hour and a half of exhausting pushing again.

And last, but not least, spring has finally sprung!!! It is amazing how just seeing the sun again can boost everyone’s spirits.

"April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go."