Sunday, July 23, 2017

what i learned at church today.

it had been a rough day already and we hadn't even gotten out of bed. you know the kind of mornings i'm talking about, right?

sundays are tough for me in general, but this one was bad. we'd all had a tough night. gid is under the weather, teddy's 2 year molars are coming in, and i have a baby living inside of me who makes me vomit in the morning, nauseous during the day, and whose favorite time to kick box is from hours 2 a.m. - 6 am.

my gut told me we should skip church. my gut told me to go to our favorite breakfast cafe and order all the bacon they had available, but i convinced myself to slip on a dress, wipe the sleep from my dry eyes, and wrestle an agile toddler out of his pajamas and into a comfortable simple church outfit.

my belly was feeling heavier than normal as we walked into the chapel (2 minutes early, thank you very much!) and as teddy realized that we wouldn't be going to the room full of toys, he began to softly protest and whimper.

a woman who i've never talked to before sitting in front of us turned around with an eyebrow raised and said with a scoff, "what? how can he already be pouting? we haven't even started yet!"

there were so many things i wanted to say. i wanted to tell her that i'd gotten less than 5 hours of sleep for the past several nights in a row, and i was this close to serial murder status. i wanted to tell her that teddy is teething and shy, and doesn't like being in crowded places surrounded by people he's unfamiliar with. i wanted to ask her what on earth possessed her to think that making an obvious statement about the mood of my toddler was a good idea, when she could've easily just said "hi," or smiled, or literally just kept her head facing forward and done nothing. no, she felt like it would be a good idea to ask me, a young mother she'd never met before how a small teething toddler could already be pouting, while at church. hey lady- have you met a toddler before? what normal toddler likes church? (anyone who writes a comment about their perfect kid who loves church will be blocked indefinitely. get outta here.)

the hormones kicked in, and i went from "ugh sunday" to "someone get me a machete livid" in a millisecond.

i didn't say any of the things that were sitting on the edge of my tongue. i gave her a tired, thin smile, and said, "well, he's a little boy," and then smiled at teddy, completely aware that this strange woman was talking about him, and said gently, "that's just fine, sweetheart. sometimes i don't want to be at church either." the woman turned around irritated, as though my response was the height of rudeness.

any other day, i'd roll my eyes and move on. not today. i had a lump in my throat the rest of the meeting. of course this week was the one where gid plays the organ and we sit alone, and of course anytime teddy made a sound the woman would give side eye and whisper to her husband, and at one point tears just started spilling out of my eyes, not because of what the woman said or thought, but because i was that tired, and i knew we should've gone the non-church bacon route this morning! i knew it!!

i spent the rest of the meeting in my own thoughts, pondering the many, many times i've said something that i thought could be funny, and when it came out of my mouth, i realized it was just rude. i thought about how many times i might've been that person; the one who just really puts a dark cloud on your day for almost no reason without recognizing it. i thought about how skilled people can be at wearing masks, and how you really never know what kind of a morning or day someone's had, and how it's always a good idea to be kind no matter what. i thought about what a champ teddy is for tolerating church meetings and how proud i am of him. i thought about how in the future, i need to follow my heart when it tells me to get bacon instead of going to church. bacon never judges you, or scoffs at your emotional toddler. bacon feeds your toddler and makes him happy. 

always go the bacon route, alyssa.

i'll never forget what today felt like. i'll never forget sitting in a pew, back aching, belly kicking, tears streaming down my face, with a crying toddler begging to go see the room with the cars. i'll never forget how bacon has never sounded more delicious or righteous than it did today. and the next time i see a tired mom with a cranky kid in target, or at the park, or at the airport, or at church, i'll remember how much it means to have someone in your corner on a day when you. have. just. had it.

thumper's mom was so right when she said "if you can't say anything nice, don't say nothing at all."
anyway, that's what i learned at church today.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

two years old! (with a video!)

he's two, and i'm just over here drowning in pregnancy hormones thinking how much i love him, and how being a mama is so good and so hard.

hey teddy, if you're reading this i want you to know that i think you're the best kid ever. i love your puppy nuzzles and your scary growls, and how when you trip and fall you jump back up and say, "i'm okay!"

my favorite thing about our old house is hearing your little footsteps. hardwood floors get dusty, and i feel like i'm always mopping, but your little shuffle/gallop/runs make it so worth it.

i love how into reading you are, and how much you love being outside. there's a lot of kids who want to watch moana on repeat right now, but not you. no, you want to get as dirty and sweaty as possible, shove rocks up the rain gutter, and stay outside no matter how hot it is. moana's not bad, you know. you could give her a chance.

i love what a little homebody you are. you were that way when you lived in my tummy too. man, those doctors tried everything to get you out, and you were like, "nah, i'm good. i'll just stay here."

i'm just crazy in love with you, okay buddy? if i could choose out of all of the little boys in the world, you're the one i'd want. happy birthday.

my favorite parts of this (poorly made) video is how concerned teddy looks when he sees that the tractor toy candle is on fire, how relieved he is once it's extinguished, and how he still thinks cake is just okay. he had a tiny pinch of a bite, and then asked me for some sausage from the leftover pizza we had. it's fine- i ate the cake with no problems on my own.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017


she's moving constantly. i remember when teddy was around this size getting so worried when i wouldn't feel movement for a few hours. i remember getting lumps in my throat and putting sugary things into my body and then laying down as still as i could, and silently hoping for the tiniest flutter. not this time around. she's always on the move. no sugar rush necessary.

i have that condition where you're sick your entire pregnancy. when i feel myself getting sick, i tell teddy i need to go cough and to give me some privacy, and he waits sadly by the bathroom door anxiously calling out "all done??" until i come out with a forced cheerful reply that i've finished. it's heartbreaking to see him uncomfortable for me. such a protective little bear.

the other day a stranger was telling me how she missed being pregnant; how she felt so feminine and attractive and special and alive and womanly, and i just stared into space, thinking how much i love my babies even though pregnancy, for me, is physically and emotionally exhausting and uncomfortable, and how that's okay. i can be miserable, and still be thrilled to be expecting.

on the bad days i try to remind myself of when we wanted to get pregnant so badly the first time around, and i list ways it could be worse. it helps to soften the exhaustion and frustration.

sleep escapes me. i've never been a great sleeper (until around 2 am, when i suddenly get really good at it) but pregnancy really brings out the insomniac in me. it's hard to be motivated to go to sleep at a reasonable hour when my brain is so desperate to be alert during the rare hours of the night that i have just to myself.

lately teddy is on a breakfast meat craze. he's constantly asking for sausage, bacon or pepperoni. i'm half proud ('cause i love meat too, kiddo!), and half nervous for what's coming in his next diaper.

the past few weeks he's been more clingy than usual. he senses there's something coming, and it's making him uneasy. i've been clingier than usual with him too. neither of us are good with change.


ps- girl names are hard.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

things i'm grateful for today:

i'm writing this from bed, half typing, half watching teddy drift awake from his nap from the view of his nursery monitor. he's so happy to be home. i've told you what a homebody he is, haven't i? his best, happiest mornings are the ones when we've just come home from out of town the night before. he cheerfully inspects his things that we didn't bring, making sure that all his books and toys are in place. he sporadically runs to me several times during the day, wrapping his arms around my neck and smacking his lips on my cheek. home is his favorite, and it's starting to become mine too. he's turning me into a mama homebody.

my heart has been bursting the past few days. i miss my family so much during the summer months. on our road trip home (when i get my best pondering in) i was thinking how lucky i am to have a family that i miss, and not one that i can't stand.

we came home last night to our creaky old house, and as we walked in, i immediately noticed how much better the kitchen looks now that i've finally installed the hardware to our kitchen cabinets. (don't ask me why that was so hard to check off the list- it literally took 5 minutes once the pieces were ordered in.) gid also installed our dishwasher and fixed our dryer, although i think i'll still use the clothesline on sunny days. it's becoming a real home, and i get giddy and emotional thinking about memories we're making and will make. sure- it's small and tired, and has a never ending to do list, but i love this little house so much.

it's wednesday, and i need to choreograph some classes, and pick up some flowers and groceries from the market. teddy reminded me that we need ice cream. he's pretty perceptive about what's missing from the freezer. a homebody that loves books and ice cream? best kid ever.

gid brought him into bed with us last night around 3 am when we heard sad little cries coming from his bedroom. (he sleeps with us when we're out of town, and the transition back to his bed is always a little bit of a bummer.) i know work has been stressing gid out, and he's not feeling well, and he still stays cheerful and sweet, even when it's the middle of the night. this morning, while teddy and i slept in, he quietly got ready for work and slipped out early enough so he can come home to us as fast as possible. teddy's been asking for him constantly today.

so grateful for things like morning cuddles and sloppy kisses.

for small arms wrapping themselves around my neck, and requests to read books again and again (and again and again and again and again).

so grateful for family, and building homes and memories.
so grateful for gideon, and for my little theodore.
so grateful for the tiny baby growing in my belly.

so so grateful.

ps- 20 weeks along. due thanksgiving week. finding out what we're having in two days.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

things i don't want to forget.

in the mornings when he begins to stir, gideon quietly pulls him out of his room and slips him into bed with us. the early light is softer in our room, and most of the time teddy drifts back to sleep, but every now and then he army crawls to my side of the bed and wraps himself around me like an octopus- legs around my neck and torso and arms cradling my head. it's brutal for me, but he seems to find it comfortable and i've found it best to just wait till he's snoring, and then roll him off of my face and next to me. i'm sure i'll miss it someday, but man- claustrophobia.

he loves songs and nursery rhymes, and i'm blown away by how many he's picked up on. toddler brain capacity and development is crazy, right? humans are amazing.

he's gotten so affectionate. he regularly walks over to me just to cup his hands on my cheeks and pull my face close to his, or will rest his head on my shoulder and give it a reassuring pat before heading over to his next adventure. i remember thinking to myself during his first year that he wasn't much of a snuggler, and feeling a little bummed about it. so much can change in a year.

he still is very shy around strangers, and it's been tricky finding balance between reassuring him that he doesn't need to be scared, and allowing him to feel safe and validated in his instincts. i'm open to tips from parents with shy kids.

he's been in a toddler bed for a few months now. i transitioned him with the thought that it would give him more freedom to get in and out when he chooses, but he insists on waiting for me to come into his room, and then asks me to crawl into bed with him and pretend to be a mama bear, and then a mama pup, and then a mama penguin, and every other mama animal he knows.

we're still doing two naps a day and i can't decide if i love it, or if i'm over it.

a few weeks ago we were visiting a park by our house, and he found and fell in love with a small abandoned tow truck toy. he gets sad about having to say goodbye to toys (like any toddler), but this was different- when i wouldn't let him bring it home with us, he was devastated, head down low and quietly whimpering "towtrucktowtruck" the whole way home, and the rest of the week. he'd bring it up several times a day, and whimper woefully again to himself. anyway, after looking at every target and walmart in boise and meridian, i found it and bought it for him.

guys. when i handed it to him, his face lit up immediately and he hugged the truck (complete with small pats), and then hugged me tightly before grabbing my face with his free hand, pulling it up to his, and saying "kk yewww mama!"

he's never said thank you without being prompted. my heart melted into a puddle. that tow truck was worth every penny.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

you and i are making a deal right now.

hi. i'm so tired. i've been swamped the past few weeks and i've felt this major shift in my ability to be present with my family, so i took a break from screens and writing and everything else. it felt necessary and important.

here's the thing- i wish so badly that i could be effortlessly incredible at everything i do, but i can't and i'm not because i'm a regular human being.

i'd love it if preparing excellent material for my class at bsu was something i could throw together in my brain while i was falling asleep, and my collaboration deadlines never fell behind. i wish parenting teddy felt like second nature to me, and writing well on my blog took five minutes during one of his naps, and the thought of cooking a meal or cleaning my house didn't make me want to shove bamboo up my fingernails. i wish i was better at time management and wasn't interested in hulu or netflix or facebook or instagram, and could fit everything interesting to me on my calendar, but i can't.

and while i reeally want to be awesome at all of these little side things going on in my life right now, i want more to not be a mom who spends most of her time glued to her phone, or stressing about choreography, or checking her email constantly, or worrying that too much time between blog posts has passed, right? like, that person sounds like the worst, right? i can't think of any gig, or social media site that should ever be more interesting than teddy pretending to be a puppy, which he does 75% of the day lately.

and my instinct is to give up on everything but family- like, if you can't do it 100%, then don't do it at all. but that's dumb too, right? it is. and the crazy thing is, i know so so many people, women especially, who feel this way. like they're drowning, but trying really hard to look put together because they don't want anyone to know that they're human, and having a horrible day (or month, or year, or whatever).

so you and i are making a deal right now. i'm going to take it easy on myself, and so are you. we're not going to think degrading things about ourselves, and we're going to do our best to build each other up. we're going to look at our phones less, and give our loved ones more. because the internet is hollow and fake, and our people are real, and warm, and something we can wrap our arms around and feel something with. we're going to try to not eat garbage (all the time), and find one beautiful thing in the mirror every morning, and other shiz like that.

what are your tips for being more in touch with the things most important in your life?
i want to care more about the real things and less about the fake ones.

Friday, March 10, 2017

dear march,

i can't believe you're here already. i can't believe you're almost halfway over, march! the past few weeks have been so blurry, i know i'm usually hungry for that busy feeling, but right now having nothing to do on my list sounds pretty amazing. maybe that'll happen for me next month... (ha.)

dear teddy, could you slow down? please? just a little. you're killin' me over here, buddy.

dear semester, could you hurry up? i'm over you.

dear house, if you could stop having small break downs here and there, that'd be just greeeeat. 

dear plane tickets, why are you so expensive? 

dear gid, you're a rockstar. it's the crazy time at work and you're handling it like a champ. i admire you, and wish i was more like you. 

dear clouds, you send the softest, most lovely light into my little home.

dear weekend, take your time.

ps- i know i haven't written in weeks. I've been swamped, and promised myself to try not to let keeping up with writing here stress me out. thanks for listening. i'll be back soon.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

the perfect little t-strap. (discount code inside!)

one of my biggest goals for the new year is being more selective of the things that i buy. (not only for myself, but also for teddy and our home.) over the years i've caught myself buying things for the wrong reasons and then i find myself with a shocking amount of excess in my life.

so, new goal: only buy things that i love. i've noticed such a difference already. dressing teddy is so much more fun when i know that everything in his closet has been carefully and thoughtfully purchased. (it's made me love getting him ready for the day, and i know i've saved money by not mindlessly raiding online sales.) 

a few months ago i came across this small business called mon petite shoes, and they make the most beautiful shoes for babies and toddlers with simple and elegant lines and design. these shoes have soft soles, allowing little feet to grow and develop while still offering support.

i actually gasped when i opened my package from the mail. they are gorgeous.
(i think they're actually even better in person. i can't seem to take a picture that does them justice, and i'm always getting questions about them when teddy wears them.)

julie, the founder of the small business (nicest person ever, btw) began making these shoes for her two little girls in 2014, and since then her shop has grown to offer two darling styles in about a dozen colors. we have both the t-strap and the oxfords (both in the cognac color because i cannot even handle it). these shoes are handmade with love, which sounds cheesy until you've touched them with your own two hands and have convinced yourself that you need all of them. i dare you to buy just one pair, guys. double dare.

showing a little thigh, ha!
so going back to my goal- only buy what you love. when i slide teddy's chubby feet into these shoes, when i see him running with his funny little toddler shuffle in them, i feel like they're making already beautiful memories even more beautiful for me. they're the kind of thing i'd keep in a memory box- something for his kids someday to wear. i have zero buyers remorse.

also- i have a tiny pair of the t straps sitting in a box labeled baby #2, and i'm not embarrassed about it even a little bit. (also not pregnant, in case you're wondering. that box won't be opened for a while, ha!)

you can get yourself a nice little discount using the code happypear15! big thanks to julie, for making such darling shoes, and to her kind assistant jenn for being so lovely to work with. we love this company and these shoes so much!


Friday, February 10, 2017

real life.

i've spent too much time looking at screens this week. i can tell because i'm feeling quiet, lonely, and tired, and like my life is only okay. (which is ludicrous, because my life is amazing.)

teddy has started this new screaming thing. not cute squeals of delight. no. he does a blood curdling scream when he doesn't get his way. it makes him shake angrily, and sometimes he even throws himself onto the floor prior to, or following it. i tried ignoring it for a few days, and recently have started giving him 2 minute time-outs when he does it, which is showing slow progress. (now after screaming, he stops and quietly says to himself "no no no.")

i've been so off lately. i've been feeling achy, light headed, exhausted, and (heads up- TMI) my chest has been sore. i took one of my leftover pregnancy tests, and after seeing the clear negative still couldn't let it go. sure that i was peeing more than usual, i convinced myself the test may be old and went out to buy one of those early detecting pregnancy tests which also declared a clear negative. i spent the rest of the afternoon confused and frustrated by my disappointment. wasn't i just telling myself that teddy is driving me nuts and there's no way i could handle another baby right now?

there's nothing like two freshly failed pregnancy tests to make you sensitive to the abundance of darling baby pictures on social media. it's all i could see yesterday. and when i didn't see cute baby things, i saw beautiful pictures of thin pregnant women, or world traveling supermodels, or incredible white farmhouses, or professional dancers, and with every scroll of my finger i saw only what i felt i didn't have in my life, and it wasn't until i turned off the screen and cleared my head that i was able to acknowledge how ridiculous my feelings were, and that the pictures i'd been looking at were designed to make me feel that way in order to drive sales and clicks, and how stupid i was being to fall into the trap of comparing myself to that part of the internet; a fantasy land that is endlessly tailored, nipped, and tucked. i know this.

so no, i don't look like a zen yoga instructor on a strict diet of lettuce and chickpeas, and no, i don't live next door to my parents or my sisters (or anyone) who can watch my baby for me at a moments notice so i can fly to nyc spontaneously to watch hamilton for a night, and no, i don't have a nanny, or a cook, or a cleaning person to keep things at home under control while i go and pose for pictures taken by a skilled photographer that make me look like i casually have my perfect life together. i don't have those things; because that's not real life.

you know what i do have? i have a toilet full of pee right now, because i don't want to flush and wake my napping baby. i have a vase of dying sunflowers sitting on my kitchen table. i have a pantry with cookies inside and the thighs to back it up. i have a sink with dirty tupperware in it that i refuse to wash because i think that dirty tupperware is the worst. i have the most perfectly imperfect house that needs new windows, a new front door, and also has a leaky sunroom ceiling. i have an internet browser with plane ticket searches, an email my mom sent saying she and my dad are visiting next month, and several full online shop basket tabs open, waiting for me to commit and press "finalize order". i have a cable one bill, and a parking ticket sitting next to the computer that i still haven't paid because i like to wait until the last minute, because that's me living on the edge these days. i have two failed pregnancy tests in my bathroom trash can.

i have a sweet toddler who screams right now, and it drives me crazy. i have a husband who holds my hand, hogs the covers, is willing to clean dirty tupperware, and is the love of my life.

that's what's real. and important.
my little family is all that matters.

take that social media strategists.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

things i don't want to forget.

in case you haven't heard- utah and idaho are getting record amounts of snow this winter, and i. am. so. over. it. today when we rolled out of bed at 9:30 (thanks, teddy!) it felt extra calm and quiet, and i knew- i knew before i pulled the curtains open that there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground.

the past few weeks the snow has been irritating me, and i begrudgingly decided we should play in it for a few minutes this morning. teddy loved it. it improved my mood a little. getting outside is important.

it's time for me to buy a new pair of boots for him, and i'm a little devastated. he's growing too quickly.

thanks for the fun morning, sweetheart.

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