Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Catching up with myself.

October 19, 2010

The past 12 days have been a complete blur. After spending 4 days in the hospital, I feel like I’m 4 days behind on my own life. (which means today would be friday. Awesome.) And I guess that feeling is a little hard to describe. It’s not like my 4 days in hospital were unproductive. I brought my beautiful baby girl into the world and I’m head over heels for her. I don’t know how you can love someone you just met so much, but you can. I worked on recovering from the c-section, had visitors, started walking again. I hated being stuck in bed but all in all my hospital stay was the complete polar opposite of my experience with James.

Since coming home, I’ve been working on getting myself back to normal. It’s going to take longer for some things than for other. For example, getting back to my pre-pregnancy shape. I believe I’m sentenced to a holiday season in stretch pants. wah wah. I’ll have to resist the temptation to succumb to the holiday eats i’ll inevitably be surrounded by. I digress. I still have a pile of thank you cards for my baby shower that are unmailed. I have dozens of emails that I need to return. I probably have a few important phone calls I’ve forgotten to make. My concept of time has been completely disrupted. I can’t completely blame this on my hospital stay. I’ve been doing my best to adjust to being a mother of two. Juggling a 3 year old and a newborn so far hasn’t been as difficult as i expected but my physical state over the next month or so will prove to be an obstacle.

I have my good days and my bad days. Today has been kind of a bad day so far. I feel like the interrupted sleep and the various other postpartum processes may have caught up with me. But I take pleasure in the small things. My kids napping at the same time means i get some Me Time that doesn’t occur in the wee hours of the morning. Curling up with Lucinda in the recliner and nodding off for 5 minutes. Having tickle fights with James. Cuddling up with my husband in the middle of the night when Lucinda goes back to sleep. Being able to sleep on my stomach. Every day I inch closer to feeling like myself again and less like a science project.

And one day I will wake up and I will recognize myself in the mirror again. But for now, I think I’ll be fine being a big zero.

mommy and lu

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Introducing…

October 12, 2010

Introducing Lucinda Maria!

princess

Thursday October 7, 2010 at 8:43 am.
7lbs, 6oz. 20 inches long.

After a 36 hour stay in the NICU for TTN, Little miss Lu was given the clear to move to the regular nursery and we were able to have her in my room. She is doing very well and is well on her way to being spoiled rotten. We arrived home on Sunday October 10th!

She is named for her maternal great grandmother and her paternal grandmother.

James isn’t quite sure what to think yet. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Life and what comes after.

June 8, 2010

One of the things Robert and I have continually been putting off is making a legal will.

Bad us, bad.

We don’t really want to do it because it’s so morbid to think about. We’re positive, optimistic people. Clearly we’re going to live forever.

I guess the most important thing is who would become guardian of the kids. And we haven’t quite figured that out yet.  We have several options but so far nobody really takes the lead for one reason or another.  It’s frustrating to think about and yet we know it would be even more frustrating if something happened to us and our wishes were not laid out.

On a lighter note, Rob has recently informed me of the song he wants played at his funeral.

Baby Elephant Walk by Henry Mancini

His logic is that hearing the delightful melody will keep people from being sad and remember his quirky sense of humor.

And I started to cry bittersweet tears. Because it made perfect sense. After all, our song is Rock Lobster by The B-52s.

So I guess whoever gets the kids has to be a weirdo like us.  Not sure we’ll ever find that person, but we’ll keep trying.

What criteria did you/would you use to determine who gets guardianship of your children?

Wordless Wednesday: 20 weeks

May 27, 2010

How I Married Myself.

May 20, 2010

I’ve realized that these little chapters of my relationship with Rob leading up to our marriage could, in theory, go on forever. While I’m sure some of you would totally love that, I admit that the task seems overwhelming and daunting. Maybe at some point I’ll revisit the day I decided that I should be the one to change countries, or the day I was almost not let into the country, or the anxiety attack I gave myself over the prospect of telling his family that we were getting married.

But today I’m just going to write about a theme I tried to make apparent all the way through the series and give you the reason I titled it the way that I did…(in case you hadn’t pieced it together…and that’s okay, not everyone thinks like me.)

Before I turned 18, I never thought that much of myself. Ever. When others thought highly of me, I always questioned their motives. I couldn’t understand how anybody could possibly like somebody like me if I didn’t even like myself. I was goofy and awkward, inarticulate, unattractive and my concept of my self worth was constantly in the shitter. But when I was at home, alone, I would lay in bed and imagine myself an ugly duckling. As cheesy as it sounds, I was waiting for the day I would wake up a swan. One day I realized, that wasn’t going to just happen overnight. I had to learn how to love myself. If I couldn’t even love myself, how could I expect others to love me? A few things clicked in my brain and I realized that the only person who could help me was, well, me.

I started coming to terms with many things about myself. I was goofy and awkward because I had been so used to being by myself that I didn’t know how to be around others. I was inarticulate because I didn’t know what I was feeling and how can I articulate something I didn’t even understand? I was unattractive because I’d made myself believe that. And my self worth? It was okay to like myself. I had to come to grips with that. And that was probably the hardest thing I had to change. After so many years of self pity and self loathing, I had to turn all that around and start fighting. I realized that the reason I had allowed myself to be so down for all those years is because it was easy. It was so easy to surrender myself to the pessimism of life. In order for me to be happy, I had to fight. And that’s a scary thing.

It became much easier when I met Robert. I didn’t realize it then, but he was helping me become a better person in more ways than one. The day that I realized that Robert and I had so much in common we were practically the same person shook me to the core. I am totally, 100% head over heels in love with this man who is exactly. like. me. But if I could love somebody who was exactly like me, doesn’t that mean I can love myself? Isn’t that what that means? I spend a lot of time reflecting on how our relationship came to be, and even though it seems nothing more than a random series of events, I can’t see it that way. I probably will never see it that way. I thank God every day for the way my life has gone in the last six years. You see, when I was in my bedroom with the music on and the lights out, I was imagining a better life between the tears. I imagined one day becoming a mother, something I’d wanted to be for as long as I could remember. I imagined having a family of my own. I imagined slow dancing with my husband in the kitchen. I imagined happiness. The kicker here, is that so far, all of it has been infinitely better than I imagined.

I am married to a man who is completely perfect for me in every way imaginable. He makes me feel beautiful and worthy and giddy with excitement. Five years gone and I still can’t wait to see him when he gets home from work. Maybe we don’t dance in the kitchen as much as I would like, but we have something better.

We have a 2 year old son that amazes us every day. And soon we will have a beautiful baby girl.

How I Married Myself, Part Five

March 25, 2010

You can find the other parts here! 1 2 3 4

After we finished dinner, we all decided to watch Garden State since Robert hadn’t seen it. Robert and I sat beside each other on the sofa. I wanted him to put his arm around me SO bad. It wasn’t long into the movie before Chad decided to turn in for the night. I thought it was a little odd that he would turn in so early. A little while later, I told Cathleen she could have Ginger’s room that night if she wanted. She decided that was more a suggestion than an offer. She told us she was going to go in there and do some of her homework because she’d seen the movie before anyway. And then it dawned on me. They were leaving us alone!

I smiled and said “Alone at last!” and I very cautiously leaned into him. He put his arm around me and then I don’t think anything in the world could have made that moment any better. The movie ended. We turned off the tv and just stayed on the sofa, cuddling. Not saying much. After a little while, I started to fall asleep. He suggested we move to the futon on the other side of the room. We unfolded the futon, laid down, and resumed snuggling. I was so relaxed. So calm. So comfortable. I’d forgotten how nice it was to feel that way. I said goodnight. I was already halfway gone when I hear Robert ask me “Ashleigh? Can I kiss you good night?”

So what you’re telling me, Universe, is that this man that I am unbelievably head over heels for is also an actual gentleman?

I woke up *very* quickly. I pretended to mull over the answer in my head. “Hmmm can you kiss me good night? I don’t know….Um….well…. Yes.”

As far as first kisses go, I would rate it an 11. It was nowhere near my first kiss, but it may as well have been. What a difference a kiss makes when there is true emotion behind it! This was completely different than anything I’d ever experienced. I’d never kissed anyone who really loved me. It was electric. It sent chills down my spine and made my face hot.

Another night, not much sleep.

I woke up early again. Rob was still asleep. As soon as Chad went to work, I took a shower. I started singing to myself. I couldn’t contain my happiness. The night before was like some wonderful dream. The first song to emerge from my lips was “The First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes. All of a sudden, I understood. I really understood. I got dressed and laid back down on the futon. My hair was still wet. I couldn’t find a hair dryer. Rob awoke as I got comfortable. He smiled and kissed me good morning. Then he commented that my hair smelled like oranges. And then he pretended to eat my hair. He didn’t have too long before he needed to leave. He went to go have a shower. I fell asleep while waiting for him. He came back out and when I was asleep, he sat on the couch and waited, hoping I would wake up again. Finally, Cathleen came out and encouraged him to go ahead and wake me, that I probably wouldn’t mind.

We spent about an hour kind of giggling to ourselves about the night before. I helped him pack the rest of his things. It was finally time for him to leave. I would be in Dallas two more days, without him. I walked down to the parking lot with him, holding the CD I had made. I’d waited to give it to him. I wanted him to listen to it on his way home. If things hadn’t have gone well, I probably wouldn’t have given it to him at all. Beside the car, I started to well up. I didn’t want to cry in front of him. I wanted to be strong. We wrapped our arms around each other and kissed goodbye. He drove away as I walked back up to the apartment.

Cathleen came out of Ginger’s room and found me sitting on the sofa, staring at the wall. Tears were rolling down my cheeks as I tried unsuccessfully to suppress the lump in my throat. The only thing I could say was “I promised myself I wasn’t going to do this!” and to this day I’m not exactly sure what I meant. I could have meant I promised I wouldn’t fall for a guy that lives that far away, I could have meant I promised I wasn’t going to put my heart on the line again, but thankfully I think she thought I meant that I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry. The only promise I’d made on that note was not to do it in front of him.

At least that one, I kept.

How I Married Myself, Part Four

March 23, 2010

You can find the other parts of the story here! 1 2 3

The first morning, I could hardly contain myself. It was now daylight, there were few plans for the day, and the man in the middle of stealing my heart was in the next room.

One thing I’ve come to know in the years that Robert and I have been together, is that when he is not well – rested, he becomes extremely irritable and has a low-tolerance for all things silly. A lot of people are this way, but I was not this way on this particular day. This particular day, I was extremely unpredictable. Well, let’s face it. I was just plain annoying. So to be clear, we have one irritated and grumpy man in his late twenties, and we have an annoying 19 year old. Um, So have you ever tried to mix oil and water? It just didn’t work. As soon as I realized the day wasn’t going well, I started to shut down. In retrospect that was probably even worse. We all walked to Good Records that evening for their fifth anniversary party. Rob got stuck inside during a show by a band he wasn’t all that crazy about, and the rest of us were congregated outside chatting with some of the girls from Eisley (I told you they were a small band). When we went back to Chad’s apartment, I was asleep by 8:00pm. I spent the first half of the day being annoying and the second half of the day being anti-social. Oh yeah, the way to charm the guy you’re in love with. For sure.

But the next morning, lo’ and behold. I started my period. This…explained so much. However, I was completely unprepared. It was the first time I’d started a period in 2 years. (Ah, stress.) Thankfully Chad lived with his sister so I was able to temporarily borrow some of her stuff until I was able to get to a store to replace them. This is going to sound strange to a lot of you, and I know it, but I took it as a sign. IT WAS A SIGN. My life was officially going in the right direction. I was over the moon excited (despite how painful it was after a two year gap). It was sunday morning. I was given two gifts that day. My other gift was a new day and a new chance. I figured I’d better start it off on the right foot. I made custom omelets for everyone. The way to a man’s heart….

We spent some time at the Fort Worth Stockyards that day. It was the middle of February and it was 70 something degrees that day. My mind was blown. We talked and laughed, and we finally clicked. We walked up and down the streets, wandering in and out of the gift shops. I bought a snow globe that played “Deep In the Heart of Texas”. We drove into downtown Fort Worth and wandered around a little more. We went to Barnes and Noble. Rob tried to find “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris and I tried to find “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” by Dave Eggers. We both ended up leaving pretty empty handed. I remember thinking “Our hands wouldn’t be empty if you would just take mine in yours!”. I’m extremely cheesy. We drove back to Deep Ellum. Cathleen decided she wanted to cook dinner since I’d made breakfast for everyone. She asked Chad to drive her to a grocery store so she could buy what she needed. As a side effect of Chad and Cathleen being gone… Robert and I finally had some time to ourselves. We sat beside each other on the sofa, not sure of what to say to each other. There were a lot of things that we weren’t saying. Many elephants in the room. I don’t think either of us knew how to begin talking about it. But here we were, finally alone. This is what I wanted, right? I wanted to be alone with him so we could talk and laugh and maybe even flirt? The lock on the door clicked and Chad’s sister walked into the apartment.

Another wasted moment.

Ginger had come to pick up a few things. She’d agreed to stay at her boyfriend’s place while we were all here. By the time Ginger was ready to leave again, Chad and Cathleen had arrived with the groceries. I stood up off of the couch and walked into the kitchen to help Cathleen prepare the dinner while the boys watched The Simpsons. I knew he had to leave the next morning. I was suddenly internally devastated by all the wasted moments over the course of the last two days. I held on to a small amount of hope. It was only 7:00pm, after all…

How I Married Myself, Part Three

March 22, 2010

Missed Part one? Part two?

So I boarded the plane armed with 2 magazines and a brand new book I bought at the airport news stand. I had my portable CD player and a whole booklet of cds. It was a total 5 hour flight and 2 hour layover. I didn’t read a word of my material. I had my music on but I wasn’t really listening. I was nervous as hell. As it turned out, Eisley was playing a show in Dallas the night of our arrival. It was the perfect place to meet for the first time. Lots of people around, live music, good times. I admit I was relieved that our first meeting was going to be very public and yet very private. Everyone else would be distracted by the band to notice that I was staring hopelessly at Robert.

My flight ended up being delayed because of snow in Minneapolis. Thus, I was late getting in. When Chad picked me up, we rushed back into Deep Ellum and arrived at the show which was already in progress. The place was packed but it took me less than 5 seconds to find Robert in the crowd. I can’t explain it, really. I worked my way through the crowd and appeared at his side! We hugged excitedly, and then turned to face the stage. I spent the next hour struggling not to reach out and grab his hand, or to lean my head on his shoulder. Gosh he smelled good. He looked good. I just wanted to touch him. Any kind of physical contact would do. I stopped listening to the music and at that point I could just hear it in the background. My knees were turning into jello, my heart was racing, and I hadn’t even spoken to him yet.

When the show was over, we finally got the chance to talk. Naturally we talked about the show and how good it was and how lucky we were that they’d scheduled a show that night after I’d already bought my plane tickets. The group of us (Robert, Chad, Cathleen,myself, and a few more people from the forum) decided to go get coffee at a place down the street. At this point Cathleen had been away to school so we hadn’t seen each other since our trip to Toronto several months before. We spent the bulk of the evening catching up and being giddy teenagers. Did I want to secretly run away somewhere with Robert and spend two more hours just staring at him, making sure he was real? You bet. But I still was unsure how he felt about me. The awkwardness was unexpected. I’d never really been in that situation before. We kind of had to feel each other out before we could really interact with each other.

We didn’t arrive back at Chad’s apartment until the wee hours of the morning. We all went our separate ways and found places to sleep. But I didn’t sleep. I laid in Chad’s sister’s bed and thought about the man in the other room. And I wondered if he was thinking about me, too. It took everything I could not to start crying. I was overwhelmed. All I wanted to do was sneak out and spend time with him one on one. I became less grateful for the mutual meeting place with every second that ticked by 4:47:13am….. 4:47:14am…. I finally fell asleep somewhere around 5am and woke up a mere 3 hours later.

It was a disaster. After all of the anticipation, I nearly let one sleepless night flush all this potential down the toilet.

How I married myself, part two.

March 19, 2010

Missed part one? Find it here!

I admit to you that when January rolled around, a major incentive to actually purchase a plane ticket to Texas was when Rizob2 said he’d like to make the 5 hour drive from his hometown to Dallas to spend the weekend with us, that is, if he was invited. I told him not to be silly and that I would love to see him. I think I did a back-flip off of my computer chair.

It was during this time that my grandmother had started living with us. Prior to Christmas, she had broken her hip and was a poor candidate for surgery. It was performed under spinal block due to her terrible COPD. Something happened to her sciatic nerve in the process and she was left unable to walk. When I wasn’t at work, I was with her. Getting her medicine, water, food, carrying her to the toilet, giving her sponge baths. She always asked me what was going on in my life. One day I mentioned that I was excited to meet someone on my trip to Texas. She stopped me and asked me “What’s his name?” I felt my cheeks get hot as I said “Robert.” My grandma looked me in the eye and grinned from ear to ear. “You’re going to marry that boy, aren’t you?” I laughed it off. “Grandma, don’t be silly. I’m excited to meet him because he’s a nice guy and a dear friend and I’m excited to spend time with him. Besides, don’t you think it would be a little foolish of me to want to marry someone that lives so far away?” She rolled her eyes at me and said “I know that look, honey. You’ve got it bad.”

A short time later, days, weeks, I don’t recall exactly how long. I’d had a particularly bad day. I tromped downstairs to my room and I curled up on my bed and hugged my pillow. Grandma was right. I had it bad for this guy. The last time I had it so bad for someone, it blew up in my face. I wasn’t sure I could handle that again. I’d made such forward strides in my life. I couldn’t bear to backpedal anymore. I had finally started pulling myself together and here comes rizob2 threatening to knock me off my feet? I started to cry. My denial fell down in curtains all around me and all I could do was hope that I’d be able to hold it together when I finally got to see him, touch him, interact with him. I turned on Garden State and cried myself to sleep.

At this point all my friends and family had reached the conclusion that Robert and I were already a couple. Despite my repeated attempts to cease and desist all rumours to the contrary. They would not go away. My friends would joke “Ashleigh, why don’t you just move to Texas, already?” Why couldn’t they accept that I was just very good friends with this guy? My denial was still, evidently, impaired. I decided I was going to make Robert a mix cd, as a belated Christmas gift. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him it was actually a belated Valentine’s day gift. Right, because THAT would be embarrassing. The track list to the CD was the following

If She Wants Me – Belle and Sebastian
Come Away With Me – Norah Jones
Existentialism on Prom Night – Straylight Run
Fair – Remy Zero
Chariots Rise – Lizzie West
Dice – Finlay Quaye and Beth Orten
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
Blue Eyes – Cary Brothers
Into Dust – Mazzy Star
It’s Good to be in Love – Frou Frou
Maybe I’m Amazed – Jem
In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel
Orange Sky – Alexi Murdoch
Playground Love – Air
Red Right Ankle – The Decemberists.

After I’d finished the mix I’d so carefully prepared, I came to two realizations. 1, I really liked the music featured on The OC. and 2, as my Grandma told me, I had it bad. BAD. How could I give this CD to this guy when he probably doesn’t even like me better than a friend? How could I set myself up like that? And then I stopped myself and realized that this guy knew me better than my best friends. He knows all my past transgressions with boys. He knows about my struggle with depression and self-worth. He knows I look forward to our conversations. He sent me a package for Christmas full of his own mix CDs, a stuffed owl from his alma mater, and about 4 bottles of bubble bath from Bath and Body Works because he also knows I prefer bubble baths to showers. I decided there was something here. Whether it was romantic love or a deep friendship, I didn’t quite know. But I was determined to find out.

How I married myself, part one.

March 19, 2010

I screwed up when I was a teenager.

That was the one thing I could always count on. If I got lucky enough to have a relationship of any kind, it wouldn’t be too long before I pulled a Lorelai Gilmore and called it off for any reason I could think of. I wasn’t ready for a commitment. We wanted different things. He was too interested in a sexual relationship and for reasons that are frighteningly unclear to me to this day, I had all manner of severe anxiety when it came to all things physical. I really mean, even a makeout session would send me spiraling into physical illness to the point where I called it off just so I could stop throwing up all the time.

Finally, after mussing around with different boys (never sex, foreplay, but not sex) and my self-appreciation finally completely hit the bricks, I called off boys altogether. This was not too long after the incident with my step-father. My life had started to improve somewhat and I wanted to spend some time healing before hurting myself all over again. I was overweight, not doing well in school, working full time, recovering from depression I didn’t really realize I had. I wanted to find myself, I wanted to know without a doubt that I deserved happiness. That I deserved love. If I can’t love myself, how can I expect anyone else to love me? I was 18 years old and that moment changed my life forever.

I’d been a blogger for a few years at this point. If you can call livejournal a blog. At the time it seemed more like a haven for scene kids and loners. But regardless, I belonged. Through livejournal I was able to discover bands I wouldn’t normally have any exposure to in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The internet made it so much easier to expand my world. On the internet, even though I was somewhat of a faceless nobody, I was still me. I made friends, friends I still have to this day. In the midst of my musical explorations, I was turned onto a band called Brand New. I fell in love. Hard. Very hard. Obsessed, even. If I was having a bad day, I would lock myself in my room, turn on their album Deja Entendu (this is 2003) and crawl under the blankets and listen for sounds I hadn’t noticed before. It was about this time my unrequited love for a boy reached it’s tipping point. I slid back into a state of depression for a little while. Immersed myself in music. After a little while, I was over the whole thing. I was bored one day and I started looking up bands that Brand New had either toured with or mentioned on their website. That’s how i found Eisley.

I hated it. I deleted the song just as quickly as my kazaa lite had found it for me.

Months went by and I started looking for new bands again. I don’t know what made me do it, but I looked into Eisley one more time. I was hooked! At the time, the band was so small their website consisted of a message board and an aol chat room. (hello, 2004!) I joined and lurked for a little while until I got familiar with the dynamic of the place. Everyone was very friendly. It made it a lot easier on me. Among all the other screen names in bright colors on the aol chat, was rizob2. Man, did that guy crack me up! I became friends with rizob2 and many others over the coming months. In August of 2004, Eisley announced they were opening for Snow Patrol (which was a big deal even at the time) and there was going to be a show in Toronto! Exciting! A friend of mine and I decided we were going to fly to Toronto to see Eisley with Snow Patrol and it would be awesome. A few members of the forum decided to tag along even though they were from Denton (Steve) and Dallas, Tx (Chad), and one of them was from Rochester, NY (Sarah). None of these people were rizob2.

The weekend (September 2004) we all spent together in Toronto was amazingly fun. We all got along so well, Cathleen (my friend) and I decided we would visit Chad in Dallas the following February. In the time between September 04 and January 05, my friendship with rizob2 started to straddle the “are they? aren’t they?” line. I was in severe denial. I mean, how freaking stupid would I be if I fell for a guy 8 years older than me that lives 2000 miles away? yeah right. I’m SOOOO not going there!!

Stay tuned for part two!