An Overnight Work Trip and Two Kids

It’s official. I have kids. Plural.

I don’t exactly know what I expected but so far having two kids looks like my husband doing all the things. (Thank you, cesarean section for rendering me nearly useless as a partner but keeping me undeniably alive not once but twice.)

He manages all the things with minimal complaint and impressive restraint until he is temporarily freed for an overnight work trip and I finally get a taste of parenting two alone.

I’m two weeks postpartum and have been off pain meds long enough to know that I can survive without them. Progress.

I’ve scheduled a lunch date with a girlfriend to distract me from the evening to come. (Okay, she called me and I happily accepted. I love my girlfriends.) She comes over to catch up and meet the newest. She brings açai bowls. They’re delicious.

Before picking up my daughter from daycare, I take my son to run some errands. I park next to the cart corrals each time so I don’t lift him too long. He’s heavy but he sleeps.

I pick up my daughter from school and she shows off her little brother to all her of her friends. I introduce him to the teachers. One of the women helps me carry Emma’s car seat out to the car. My hands feel full (literally and figuratively) but I’m handling it.

Dinner time goes off without a hitch and we even find time to play Candyland and put together a puzzle before bed. I’m basically a super hero.

Both kids are in bed by 8:30 PM which is earlier than my husband and I have been managing together (#blessed). Having not much else to do (combined with a deep loyalty to my husband which prevents me from watching ahead in our Netflix series), I go to bed.

At the 1 AM feeding, I reach for something on the baby’s book cart. The cart is metal, on wheels, with three grated tiers. It’s repurposed from another room in the house; we have too many bookshelves already.

I forget about the open water bottle. Its contents chug-chug-chugging all over the books serve as an unwelcome reminder.

After a few choice words, I conquer my freeze-reflex, put down the baby, and grab some towels. Several books need to be wiped down. The floor is soaking wet. I recognize that this episode would have destroyed me the first time around but I’m feeling even-keeled and postpartum anxiety isn’t consuming my thoughts. I’m grateful.

At the 4 AM feeding, my daughter wakes up crying. She wants to sleep in my bed. I’m tired so I oblige, patting myself on the back for making it this long though I know I’ve set us back. She waits for me while I feed her brother. She talks the whole time.

Morning comes and I try bribery to get her dressed. She dillydallies. I renege on my bribe. More tears are shed but we finally get out the door. I grab the full trash on the way out for a quick stop at the garbage can. It’s icy but I can’t tell because of the snow. I fall.

Inside, I grab some ibuprofen, anticipating incision pain, and my daughter grabs a Band-Aid for me. I feel bad about reneging on my bribe so I issue a new one.

All in all, I’m pretty proud of myself for making it this far without any breakdowns but the house will stay a mess. Even super heroes need a break.

Give thanks!

Today I am grateful for:

  • Clean dishes
  • Weekends with Freddy
  • Check marks on my wedding to-do list
  • Sunshine
  • Family
  • Countdowns
  • Gatherings with friends
  • Dark-chocolate-covered raisins
  • H2O
  • Snail mail
  • My fiance’s ability to set me up for success
  • September parties with family
  • God’s plan
  • Ada Bible Church messages
  • Pandora, my workout buddy
My heart is full with room to grow!

Great Friends and Founders.

I love Founders. I always run into so many people there! It’s a great gathering place. An excellent watering hole.

Feeling blessed to have such amazing people in my life. Months pass until you’re face to face, and then it’s as if no time has passed at all. That’s when you know you’re lucky.

Positive attitudes are contagious. And magnetic. And when you get good enough, you can catch your own.

I have an exciting week planned! Founders catch-up with a great friend: Check. Left to go this week? Driving range. Rollerblading with friends and “Wine and Pizza Wednesdays” with the roommate, rock climbing, and quite possibly a BBQ and Blueberry Festival! All with friends. All in fun!

I love Grand Rapids.

I also miss my family’s company. I need to make a trip home soon. If only there weren’t so many fun things to do in this city!

Life List 2010: Frederik Meijer Gardens (CHECK!)

I was so productive yesterday that I’ve slacked off already today. I’ve really enjoyed waking up early but today I didn’t even come to consciousness until about 10:30am. Haha. Figures. I will say, however, that yesterday was a great day!

This is how it started: I got a phone call from a friend telling me that he was outside of my house ready for our run. I quickly threw on my running shoes and we hit the pavement. It’s so nice to have a running partner! I held out for way longer than I would’ve on my own and I’ll admit my legs were sore mid day.

I’ve been doing a lot more moving lately. I’ve ready Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet more than once and his advice is that for the first stage of the healthy lifestyle transition, you move more and cast aside your worries about modifying your diet; that comes later. I’ve done a little of both but I have definitely put more focus into movement. It’s a good way to go about it too, because exercising makes me want to eat healthy. On the reverse, eating healthy (first) makes me a) hungry and b) less inclined to work out because it doesn’t seem as necessary. Justification at its finest.

After our run, we went up to Biggby for a coffee and got in some small talk before I came back home to make a small breakfast (eggs and toast) for my roommate and me. I’m not a great cook and she is, but it’s nice to offer the skills that I have when I can. I got ready for my day and drove downtown to meet a friend to discuss bringing a non-profit from the east side to the west side of the state. I parked almost on the opposite side of town and walked over. Admittedly, I was more distracted than focused about the project but I did receive an e-mail about another job interview. I have my favorite college professor to thank for that. She left me a message a few days ago regarding a job opportunity she thought was a good for me. Thank you!

After the coffee shop, we headed over to Kendall to see his friend’s jewelery on display. She’s good and she brings such a unique perspective into creating. From there, we decided to hit up Gaia Cafe, a vegetarian eatery in Grand Rapids. Our meal was delicious. I could probably eat there every day. Picked up some good reads and caught up on the happenings of GR before heading to Frederik Meijer Gardens.

I have wanted to go there for years.

It’d never worked out in the past so when my friend suggested it spur of the moment, I thought it had to be right! We spent hours there and took ridiculous pictures (which I love) of art work, our imitation of artwork, and our interactions with art work. It was so nice to be outdoors and walking around appreciating everything there was to see (and there is a lot to see!). The destination was on my 2010 Life List and I’m glad to be able to put a check mark over it. It should not have taken me so long to get there, but I’m glad to have such good company for my first time. Museums and gardens are much more fun for me when I have people who can appreciate both the beauty and playfulness of art and history. Overall, I suggest you go if you get the opportunity. Make a day of it and appreciate the art work in any way you see fit; I certainly did.

By the time we wrapped up at Frederik Meijer Gardens, it had been a full day, but it didn’t end there. I went from the Gardens to a disc golf course to meet up with a friend and his friend (now my friend – I love the way that works!). 18 holes and probably an equal amount of mosquito bites (per person) later, we grabbed a bite to eat together. I must say, I’m getting pretty good at disc golfing.

I had left my computer in the car with my friend when we went to the Gardens so I met up with him at an indoor climbing gym where he instructs before calling it a night and heading home. A full day and a great day!

I love Grand Rapids and the people here. I love being active and enjoying the outdoors. I know, I know… I’ll get down to business soon. In fact, that’s my plan tonight after getting a new phone and before my roommate’s and my first weekly “Wine and Pizza Wednesdays.” But for now, I’m throwing on some work-out gear and heading to the park to rollerblade with a friend!


Love loud. Don't Lose loud.

So many thoughts. Race. Through my mind. At this very. Moment. I’m having a difficult time. Piecing. Them. Together. Bear with me.

I am inspired. And inspiring?

I’ve been told lately that I have become some sort of inspiration for – (get this…) – spontaneity in others’ lives. Me, the child who spent years of her youth wrapped up in her mother’s long skirts, who wouldn’t spend the night at friends’ houses because she liked to be at home, who was afraid to take risks or put herself out there. I’m inspiring others.

The Lord really does work in mysterious ways.

So, I think it’s appropriate to say thank you for inspiring me so that I might Today it feels like there is no greater gift than bringing others through something you have had to be brought through yourself. And I’m still working. Still finding inspiration. Still challenging myself. I’m inspired. And, it would appear also, inspiring.

I leave for Colorado today. My first solo flight. Meeting up with friends. Acting spontaneously. Living in the now. Embracing the unknown. My skin is tingling with anticipation.

I have lived my life by rules. Golden rules. Posted rules. Unwritten rules. I have begun to make my own. To break my own too.

Future, you excite me but I’d like to pay you no mind until your arrival. I have much better things to do today.

I haven’t packed yet. I leave in 3 hours for the aeropuerto.

  • Listen to this song: – The ReArranger.
    • It caught my ear yesterday in a dressing room. And I wish I would’ve learned this lesson earlier in life. To just let things go. To shake them off. To STOP MAKING MOUNTAINS OUT OF MOLE HILLS. I’ve caused many a problem in my life by over analyzing things. It’s a shame.  Love loud – I’m tired of losing loud.

And So It Begins… (Part I)

The Recap: Weekend Tales, As Condensed As Possible

This past week has been utterly fulfilling/captivating/inspiring/frustrating/testing/liberating/breaking/and satisfying. My last post sounds a little dramatic for how excited I feel about life right now but the subject matter hasn’t lightened any. I haven’t had any new revelations or results (though I should know more by Wednesday), but I’m choosing to put it out of my head until I know more. Just know that my positive outlook doesn’t mean that my “dramatic moment” has all but dissipated. It just means that I’m really choosing to just focus on the positive things in my life – and I’m grateful for any prayers you may send my way. 🙂

Having addressed that, let me just say that leaving my computer home this weekend was probably one of the best things I could have done – although I did wish I had it every night to recap but it would’ve either left me dragging in the morning or cutting my nights short. THAT, my friends, would’ve been a true loss.

I came back up to Grand Rapids on Thursday after enjoying a lovely morning spent with my mother, knocked out a necessary conversation and caught up, beat a friend in putt-putt golf before spinning out on a go-kart race track, made an appearance at the annual “Trash Bash” party hosted by one of the fraternities (made up of good friends of mine), and ended the night in the duplex community where I sent my checks to all this semester to pay for my empty room. I saw a ton of familiar faces, touched base with many friends, and shook my head several times at the stereotypical “waste-cases” who were seen flaunting or stumbling from party to party. I also took some time to reflect on where I’ve been. Let’s be honest; it hasn’t been that long since I was right in the midst of the celebrations! Ahh, college life! I’m lucky to have gone to GVSU. I learned a lot from this place and I made a lot of great friends (and great mistakes! haha).

Friday began just the way I would want to begin my last day before graduation – with a few beers, close friends, a shared cigar, sunshine, and meaningful conversation (My mom is probably scoffing and ruffling her feathers at this knowledge – regretting telling her friends that I blog, but there you have it! 😉 Haha). I moved out of my duplex and moved all of my stuff into a friend’s garage before meeting up with my parents, aunt and uncle, cousin and cousin-in-law at a tapas bistro downtown. My sister came out after she got off work and my immediate family shared some dessert together on the concierge level of our hotel before I headed out with my sorority little. She, my little, and I went out for the first time in Grand Rapids together (she just turned 21) and spent a relaxing evening together at some of the tamer bars downtown. …It’s amazing how much she teaches me, even though I am supposed to mentor her; I’m fortunate to have her in my life.

Saturday morning – I graduated! I hadn’t talked to anyone about sitting next to each other so I was a little nervous about just getting thrown into line and swept up among the masses without anyone to share the experience with, so imagine my surprise when I saw one of my first and favorite friends from freshman year sporting a cap and gown! Yes! I quickly squeezed in line with him and am glad to say we cracked jokes throughout the whole ceremony. I couldn’t even tell you what the speech was about. Just the way I had imagined it 🙂 THANKS, MOM AND DAD!

After graduation, I snapped a few quick photos before walking over with my mom, dad, sister, and godparents (aunt and uncle) to Founder’s. I’m obsessed. It was the perfect afternoon. We got right in, got a table outside, shared some brews, appetizers, and sandwiches and just appreciated one another’s company. It was a little “non-traditional” to go there instead of some nice, higher-end restaurant, but I’m so glad everyone was willing to try something new. After that, my parents, godparents, and I headed down to Holland to check out the Tulip Festival. We had some photo shoots, shared a ton of laughs, and left when it started to sprinkle.

The night – ideal. I went out with my sister to Z’s and met up with some of my all-time favorite people. My parents came out! We headed over to The B.O.B and I got to introduce my parents to the people they’ve been hearing stories about for five years. I can’t describe it but it was just such a good night. Everyone was in a good mood. There wasn’t any drama. I got to catch up with friends from GVSU/former students/friends from the past/etc. I just felt like I was surrounded by amazing, caring, positive people the whole night. Who wouldn’t love that?!? 

The night ended with three of my friends walking me back to my hotel so I wouldn’t have to walk home by myself. I didn’t even having to ask them! Gentlemen. I like that they look out for me so I thanked them by bringing them to the concierge level for cookies – but the cookies were gone 😦 We caused mild trouble before calling it a night – a good wind down from the excitement of the evening!

Sunday morning came extremely early but we (family) packed up our things and headed to Mars for church. Rob spoke and, as usual, I loved the message. The whole point centered around repentance in the literal translation – seeing something in a new light/redefining your thinking/etc. Afterwards, we went out to breakfast.

Side note: Grand Rapids hosts the best breakfast joints – PERIOD. I think you may think you know of a better breakfast restaurant in particular, but Grand Rapids has to beat yours out; the entire city is populated with them. Restaurant chains, be damned – GRap offers unique cafes and restaurants on nearly every corner!

Following breakfast, (my apologies if this is starting to drag – I did a LOT this weekend and although it’s all worth mentioning, I’ve just lived it!) my family headed home and I headed back to Allendale to pick up a friend for our road trip to the east side to celebrate the birth of our mutual friend. Let me tell you – I love road trips and the insights you gain when on them. I also love spontaneous decisions, such as this was, that throw people together with not much more than an idea of how the trip will go. It holds some sort of promise that you don’t get when every detail is planned.

When we arrived, we headed out to play some disc golf. I’m terrible. Atrocious. But I gained a new disc from a new friend to use for practicing. He got it for free so he didn’t mind passing it off. It’s now spending time in my trunk so that whenever anyone wants to play, I’m ready! (That thought will lead into Part II which will follow this blog, so enough about that now). During our game, it started downpouring. Unfortunately, we did end up with one phone casualty but it was a blast to play through the storm. We came back drenched to the bone and had to scrambled around for clothes before heading to a friend’s house to watch the Red Wings game. The birthday boy’s friend provided food, a pool table, darts, and ping-pong. We also met up with some of the people we had disc’ed with earlier and were introduced to some new friends. We eventually called it a night at a decent hour (though not too soon to feel short-changed). I dare say it was one of the most enjoyable “birthday parties” I’ve been to in quite some time.

 And that was my weekend. Fast forward to now and you’ve really only missed a lunch and a road trip back in terms of location changes. But I’ve started to gather ideas for a new project – to be continued in Part II…

Sunny Sunday, I have to pass you by.


Sunday. The day of rest work… Weird.

I’ll be heading into work today. I have to get everything wrapped up today so that Monday I’m smooth sailing and can take care of all of the little things that will get sent back to me right before the deadline. I don’t mind putting in the extra work; it needs to get done. However, giving up my Sunday is not ideal. I put in over 70 hours this past week – my first real taste of busy season, so I’m told – and I’m exhausted. Not to mention, I’m missing disc golf for this today!

With everything wrapping up on this end, I’m starting to see things move in my life. Thursday is my last day at work. We get out at 3pm and head right into our April 15th party. Friday is my sorority formal in Grand Rapids followed by a Sunday morning at Mars Hill with my girlfriends. Back to Westland for appointments and meetings on Monday then back to Grand Rapids for grad fest (unless I can work my way out of it). Off to Rochester for some ink on the 22nd and Grand Rapids to see Carrie Underwood in concert on the 23rd. I graduate on the 1st and have a 25 page paper to start and finish before then. Then I move – possibly in with a friend/in a place by myself/or with complete strangers. May 8th is Mother’s Day. The 11th is my 23rd birthday. And I’m finishing up this “planned spontaneity” in Chicago that weekend to see friends that mean the world to me. Welcome to my fast-paced life – taking some time to live it the way I want to live it!

Carpe diem! I’m so filled to the brim with excitement and anticipation; I imagine these next few days will crawl as I (try not to) look ahead of the moment. 😉

I did manage to get a jump-start on the adventure this weekend, however, despite my 70 hours.

Taking a trip to East Lansing on Friday night with a friend to meet up with some of our other friends from college proved that I have people in my life which are well worth a late night road trip even when the thought of a Saturday work day looms overhead the next morning! I feel very fortunate to have such good friends in my life – and friend that don’t let circumstance get in the way. It can be a frightening thing to go through changes in life that have the potential to shuffle around friendships and have people choosing sides. It’s an amazing thing to realize that the fear is unfounded and that I have friends that are above drawing lines. Who wants lines anyway?

“Here Comes the Sun” The Beatles

Bean & Leaf Cafe: a rainy day, coffee shop Sunday afternoon

Today is a rainy day Sunday.

Despite my long laundry list of things to accomplish, I find myself at the Bean & Leaf Cafe in downtown Rochester, sitting at a window seat table, looking over the corner intersection. The leaf design artfully displayed in the foam of my dirty chai latte is expanding into an unrecognizable spattering of browns and creams and there’s a cool wave of air coming from the window that washes over my hands, reminding me to take hold of my drink from time to time for a warm up and a sip.

Days like these remind me to take deep breaths, to stop, to just be. There’s something about rainy days that inspire me, make me stretch out my fingers and attempt to come up with something new – be it blog, perspective, or adventure. Good thing too because I’m already one blog short of my weekend quota. I’m going to go ahead and make the executive call that one long, insightful entry is the equivalent of two quick commentary-styled entries. So buckle up; this might take a while.

I had the privilege of going out for a chat over some drinks with a friend this weekend. It was one of those good chats that come around only every so often but leaves you feeling like you know a little more about yourself as well as the other person. I got the opportunity to delve into what I’m doing in the moment – just opening up to possibilities and listening for direction – with him. I think him agreeing to meet up with me last minute and asking innocent questions which led into the conversation fulfilled a purpose unplanned by me. It was a talk that lasted a few hours but managed to reconvict me; that’s powerful.

I’m looking forward to moving to Grand Rapids. People ask me why and I don’t have a definite reason. I love the city and I feel like there is much more to discover there. I left prematurely for this internship and although I don’t have a purpose in returning – job/relationship/home – my decision to return is purposeful. It’s a  sensation; I feel pulled to Grand Rapids. I decided today that my first step will be hooking into Mars Hill. I think the closer you work with God, the closer you come to living the life you are called to live. So there you have it: Step 1. Why am I moving back to Grand Rapids? To get involved.

The conversation also gave me some insight into career decisions. I wish that I could sit here and proclaim my career calling definitively, but I can’t. I still don’t know where I’m headed, but I do know that I cannot allow myself to take the easy road. And I have renewed conviction. Some people can follow the path of least resistance but that’s not me. Struggle defines all of us – and how great to struggle for what I want or the chance to discover what I want? I know that life is a series of decisions and that happiness isn’t some end result but rather the journey through those decisions – so I know that I could be happy taking the path that’s stretching out ahead of me, but it will take me in a direction that I’m not willing to go. I might fall into my career, but not this way. Not yet.

Side note: Chai lattes are perhaps the best drinks; even when you let them sit and they become cold, they’re delicious.

I just discovered that I can throw my camera memory card right into my computer. In celebration of that, let me share the latest image from the card:

Although it was probably inappropriate to get my camera out mid church service to take this picture, I had to. This couple stands in each other’s arms every service. They sway in perfect rhythm with one another as they sing and every so often, one of them pats their hand on the other’s side – as if to say, “I’m here for you.” I think this is what love looks like.

At this point, my thoughts are apt to wander. My long laundry list of things has begun to creep back into my mind. The cool breeze washing over my hands can no longer be warmed by the cup beside me. And I’m faced with a decision: Do I cut this short (short because it needs to be the equivalent of two) or do I order a hot tea and travel in a new direction with my thoughts? Or I could order a hot tea and open up the book beside me which I have not had the time to open in a while. Hmm…decisions.

I think spending time with myself is delightfully addicting. Not in an anti-social way; it recharges me for the social atmospheres that I love (and those I don’t). I told my aunt as I was leaving that it feels a little ridiculous to set aside everything I need to do in order to sit in a coffee shop with a book, computer, set of headphones, journal, and my thoughts – but she assures me that it’s necessary to take some time off. I think she’s right. I have a smart aunt.

I think it’s also part of accepting who I am and what I enjoy. Silly that you have to learn to accept those things about yourself. I don’t know what else I could be doing on a rainy Sunday, but I’m sure many people would scoff at my ideal. So be it. To steal a page from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project (the book beside me), I’m just being Meg.

Being Meg. What does that entail? Well, coffee shops and blogging on rainy days, obviously. It’s interesting to get other’s perspectives when asking that question. At work, it seems to be popular consensus that I’m happy-go-lucky. Always in a good mood. While that might be far from the truth on a lot of days, it’s nice to hear. I never thought of myself that way – but perhaps that’s my new approach being exhibited in my life. That, or I’m a great pretender 😉 haha. I’ve heard that I’m difficult to read – not like “most girls.” I don’t really know what that means. Whenever I hear that, I want to argue on behalf of those women. They can’t really all be so similar. We’ve all got things that make us unique. I’d also like to believe that everyone gets the opportunity to hear that at some point in his/her life. It’s important to feel like you have something that sets you apart – and you do!

I like seeing those things in other people and letting them know. I sat through a presentation the other day that was well delivered. I sent the speaker an e-mail thanking him for his time and sincerity (I hope it’s true sincerity – but even if not – kudos for delivering in such a way that I’m led to believe that it is!). I didn’t get any response and I suppose I thought I would, so this isn’t a very good story or illustration of the point I’m trying to prove… but I think it’s important. And I think a lot of times those kind words are lost on people but sometimes they’re conveyed at just the right time and that makes up for those previous pearls cast among the swine. Haha, I couldn’t help throwing that in. I by no means mean to say that this man is a swine for not recognizing my kind words. Ha. No, I’m not saying that.

Alright, I’ve gotta stop putting off responsibility. I’ve crossed over the necessary “recharge” time and am now just avoiding the inevitable. Shameful. I gotta bust my own butt sometimes so I can get my act right. Back to the grind…after just a few more songs from the James Morrison channel on first…Haha.