Becoming a family of 4

Ava had just turned one year old. It was the beginning of June and Garrett’s high school wrestling coach was visiting with his family. I had a strange craving, beer; I am not a beer drinker. Garrett and I joked about the craving as it was something that accompanied me during my pregnancy with Ava. I excused myself, 10 minutes later I was holding a positive pregnancy test in my hand!

Excitement ensued. Baby #2 was coming, Ava was going to be a big sister! Then reality check: I would have to share my love and attention with another kid. Could I do that? Was that possible? Would I be a good mom to 2 kids? Would Ava resent the change? Etc.

The very first statement our doctor made during our visit was: “yes, you will have enough love for both of them.” Apparently being able to love more than one kid is a very common fear.

Here we are a year and a half later. Elliott was born in February and life has been so much better because of his existence. It took us about 2 weeks to wrap our minds around the idea of life with 2. The extra gear, the extra diapers, the extra activity, the extra snuggles…our world expanded.

Ava has done a great job as a big sister. There is the occasional “he pulled my hair” and “don’t push your brother” conversation but even that can be charming.

About Elliott; he brings out of me a love so tender and sweet. It’s amazing to see how different two little people raised in the same environment can be. He is observant, playful, sweet, so happy, so laid back, super attached to me. He celebrates his sister’s shenanigans with enthusiasm, owns the heart of his teachers, has daddy wrapped around his little finger, and as far as me is concerned…he is mine and I am his.

Life is not perfect. I’ve had the occasional meltdown. Some diapers have me made want to set the house on fire. I’ve had to walk out of the room when crying seems to be an untamable monster. Laundry is a never ending task. Taking a shower in peace has become a treat…we can go on and on.

All that stuff is fleeting though. We are collectively happy. Our hearts are full. Who knew humans could love so hard? I still adore my Ava. Elliott is the icing on top of everything that is good. My darling and I are growing up and old together.

Dear Elliott, I want you to know that you are loved beyond measure.

Mom

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A mom in suburbia: 33 signs

My 22 year old self would laugh so hard at this list. The writing is on the wall, I am a middle aged woman trapped in the mainland.

  1. I actually think the gift of appliances is kind of romantic. Thanks hunnie for my sexy miele vacuum.
  2. Yes, that fresh scent is essential oils mixed in all my natural cleaning products…to think I used to mock those people.
  3. Dine in? Mmm, do they deliver? I’d rather direct a Broadway show than get everyone dressed for a meal.
  4. So many highly rated restaurants in the city, so many options for date night! By the time we arrange a babysitter and make the drive…How about take out?
  5. I have seen things only parents could understand. I am damaged goods in the bodily fluids department thanks to my offspring.
  6. Did I mention I enjoy vacuuming the floors? Basically, I have turned into my mom.
  7. Forget the cleaning lady…I just need 3 hours to get this house cleaned the right way. My way! (What is happening to me?)
  8. The sun is out. Break out the chalk. It’s time to draw on the sidewalk. Distant memory of beach days and drinks plays in my mind.
  9. I own a crockpot and use it often. Fail to plan=Plan to fail. #parenting
  10. Yeah, I freeze meals these days. I became one of those people as well.
  11. Gardening is a real thing. Nothing like tomatoes and onions you have shielded from the forces of nature and voracious birds.
  12. Thank goodness Disney produces such high quality movies. Can you imagine watching Frozen a million times if it sucked? Yes. We have watched it at least a million times.
  13. Our Amazon Echo plays Finding Nemo’s soundtrack most of the day. The sad part is that I like it.
  14. I wash my hair in the middle of the night. Those 15 minutes of silence are therapeutic.
  15. I own my share of Lularoe leggings and dresses; bought them in the name of comfort and became one of those people.
  16. I live in music city but rarely go to a musical event. The city is like 25 miles away.
  17. Fine dining: drive-thru hibachi. How things have changed.
  18. At what time is story time at Barnes and Noble? To think I attended a couple of first dates at BN and never noticed the kids section.
  19. Who loves audio books? This girl! Let’s be real, no one wants to read a business book after Llama, Llama red pajama.
  20. I own and wear so many Lee Company branded items…I am pretty much a walking billboard.
  21. My coffee mug is Lee Company branded. Pretty sure I used to have a cute mug with a motivational quote not long ago.
  22. Summertime margaritas in my neighbor’s backyard fill up our social calendar. They have the margaritaville machine!
  23. My online shopping carts are filled with clothes I will not buy because I am in between sizes. What if this is my permanent new size?
  24. I have started using the anti wrinkles products I bought in my mid-twenties. Better late than never.
  25. My patience for drama has worn rather thin. I am more of a “give it to me straight” kind of person these days.
  26. I wish the silly jogger who runs through our cul-de-sac at freaking 4 am would just go away. Our dogs go nuts thanks to you! Why do we have to suffer the consequences of your healthy lifestyle? Buy a treadmill!
  27. I lie, I do like drama; especially the one that unfolds a few times a week on our community Facebook group. I should have real social interaction, I know.
  28. Who knew I would start napping at 30? You sleep when they sleep is pure gold in the advice scale.
  29. Sadly, our dogs only get my attention while I am on the toilet, I am a captive audience at that point.
  30. Did I mention my squatty potty? Oh my! You must buy one like right now!
  31. Love is: “I got this one hunnie”, in reference to a poopie diaper.
  32. Chicken tenders make such a great dinner. Yes, I am one of those people too.
  33. Can I just say Publix sushi is so unjustly underrated?

I love the quirky ways of our days.

Cheers to being 33!

PK

A happy mom in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Thick as thieves

Just when I think the love I feel for my kids can’t be more overpowering it reaches a new high. Becoming a parent has been an exercise of broadening my perspective on a daily basis.

When Ava was our only child I thought there could be nothing more powerful than the love I felt for her and what I imagined she felt for me. Elliott’s arrival proved me wrong. Seeing them love each other tops anything I have felt before.

We, humans, are finite when it comes to the infinite universe that is love.

My biggest wish is for Ava and Elliott to love, support and respect each other for as long as they live. I pray for my kids to be best friends, adventure pals, accountability partners…whatever life calls for.

This picture is not a great picture yet I love it. This picture captures their relationship so well. This picture makes my heart swell…they are best friends.

PK

I love you in the valley

Love, the force that makes the world go round. Love, with its impetus lives collide and become one. Love, its fruit takes flesh and bones in our sons and daughters.

Love is more than moons, stars and promises. Love is blue, thorns and cloudy skies. Love is covenant through pastures and valleys.

I have loved and been loved through high and lows. I have roamed freely on foreign lands hand in hand with my beloved, blissful love. Yet nothing makes me feel as grounded as loving through the valleys.

In the valley I have found true friendship, encouragement, stillness, compassion, hope, resilience, truthfulness, freedom…your hand and embrace.

In the valley, I have felt your love like a thousand waves washing over me, I don’t walk alone. In the valley, I have drank your silent tears, you are the salt of my earth. In the valley, I have heard the song of your dreams, even in hopelessness we can dance under the stars. In the valley, I have seen your eyes, free from pretense and agendas. I have stared into your vulnerable soul and found myself right there…tucked so close to your heart, we beat as one.

Your pain is my pain, your gain is my gain, your valley is my valley, this is our love.

I love you in the valley, this is my fortune.

PK

Growing up is hard to do

Life has changed drastically for us in the last 3 years. Changing states, starting new jobs, buying a house, getting married, adopting two pups, nurturing a garden, becoming parents…so much to fit in a short sentence broken up by commas.

Growth has been chaotic. We have experienced growing pains as individuals, as professionals, as a family and as parents. Growth is wonderful but a price must be paid.

We have lost the simplicity of our DINK (dual income no kids) days, and been rapidly consumed by the intricate logistics of child rearing. Our morning routine revolves around a little human whose bath is incomplete without a rubber ducky. Our house is a giant playroom where dogs eat toys and our kid eats kibble.

Growing up: One day she will go in search of new adventures.

I feel like a creature emerging from a cocoon. I am this new version of me. A mom, a wife, a professional (who takes her job way too seriously)…a less charming and sociable Karol. A more focused and intentional person; I have changed. I guess this change is growth.

When you are little, like Ava, you grow without any awareness of it. This is the first time in my life when I am aware of my growth (change, whatever), and it feels so weird. I am aware of what is being left behind and don’t know what to think about it.

Here is what I love about where I am today:

  • Itsy bitsy spider (genius)
  • Garrett
  • I like my job
  • My dogs are clowns that still make laugh and don’t destroy as much stuff anymore
  • Confidence…that sucker takes time and experience to build up
  • My best friend’s beverage of choice is whole milk…that will never go out of style 🙂

I miss my family and the few great friends in life who reside in the promised land (South Florida).

I don’t think I miss the “fly by the seat of our pants” Karol and Garrett…those have not been lost 🙂 Our luggage has gotten heavier but now we travel with the BEST sidekick on earth: Ava.

Growing up is hard to do…I suppose that is why some people decide to skip it all together. I have decided to grow up before I grow old…even if a few aches are involved.

PK…still living in the country.

Little sunshine

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Just love. That’s all I feel for this beautiful little person. It amazes me to think that at some point in time we all were THAT cute.

I wonder what goes through her mighty mind, what she thinks of us, what she wonders. Her eager eyes are consuming the universe around her at a speed only matched by light. Little babbles have turned into sweet “mama” and “daddy” (I melt). Her fingers try to imitate mine as we sing itsy bitsy araña…she applauds her own effort prompting the same response from her audience. Does she know just how adorable she is?

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It will soon be a year since her arrival into our world (weird expression since she was so real in my world long before her birth). A year that feels like a year and a half because of its many long nights…yet, it has gone by so fast. A year in which I have slowly grown into the woman who lovingly answers the call when she says “mama”.

I am Karol, mother of Ava, mother of two crazy puppies, wife of the awesome Garrett Feldman. I am blessed and content…I am in love with my little love…soon to be one year old.

PK

3 years of life in the country.

I don’t have to dwell in the future

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January 1, 2016: the new year had just rang when my angel said ‘mama’ for the first time. She said it in front of 3 people, daddy included. There was no denying, I was starting 2016 with my title officially announced by my baby. Talk about joy!

Parenting is a lot of things (in my short experience), but perhaps the three that I think about the most are: awesomeness, responsibility and reward. I am baffled by the speed at which my baby has grown. Whatever happened to my little sleepy kitten?

Ava is barely 7 months old and already sits, stands, crawls and takes steps while holding onto objects. When did this happen? It is awesome and rewarding to see this little human cub become a person of her own…one who calls me mom.

I am always thinking of the future…it keeps me going. I need to envision, visualize, dream, plan, device the future, then talk about it, then make it happen. That energizes me. That keeps me going. I need to be in the future at all times.

Not too long ago something struck me. I don’t think too much about Ava in the future. I think about work in the future. Garrett and me in the future. Life in general in the future…but not Ava. I worried. Was this a defense mechanism in case something happened? After all, raising a human is a task you embrace a day at a time. Was I afraid of dreaming up a future that might not come? Where was my faith? Did I not want that future? Then the answer came to me.

I don’t think too much about Ava in the future because for the first time in my life the present is overwhelmingly perfect. I want to enjoy it, savor it, make it mine. I want the present to slow down, I want the past to come back and hang out for a while. I want the present to linger, because it’s perfect.

For the first time in my adult life the present is where I want to be. She keeps me going. I am in love with that little one who calls me mom.

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PK