Fantastic News to Share

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Today at 12:30, I received some of the best news that I have heard in a great long while. My Stepdad received a job offer in Minnesota. He's coming home.

I haven't openly discussed the situation in great detail, but my Stepdad has been working out of state. Ever since August 6th, 2006 Dusty has "visited" or "vacationed" at home for no more than 10 days at a time. His home instead has been an RV and he has worked 12-14 hour days for months in California, Texas, Georgia, Alabama and currently Ohio overseeing refinery turnarounds. The longest job was 6 months, and unfortunately it was getting worse in the way that they jerked him around and backed out on contracts.

You can just imagine what a strain this has been on my parent's marriage. My Mom has run the full gamut of responses in the past 4 years, but most recently was reaching exhaustion. Dusty's been trying to return to Minnesota with a stable job for over a year now, but unfortunately his 35 years of job experience do not equal a Bachelor's degree. There were several opportunities that seemed promising until a candidate arrived touting a degree.

It doesn't matter anymore though!

He's coming home!

Sacrificial Choice

Tony and I have fluctuated waking order too many times to count in our marriage. Sometimes I must rise before him and vice versa. While the commute or scheduled work hours may be out of our control, there is one thing we know for certain: When Tony must wake first, good things do not follow.

Tony is a notorious snoozer. I, on the other hand, like waking up at approximately the same time everyday at the first bell. Not only is Tony a problematic snoozer, but he is a cuddle bug. When he finally does wake, nearly 30 minutes after the first alarm chimed, it is then time to transition to the snuggle phase of preparing for the day. When I wake first, there is no cuddle time, I'm already out of bed because my alarm went off.

Now, I'm not saying that Tony's approach is wrong or that mine is right, but I am just going to flat out say that Tony's doesn't jive with our work schedule. Tony is now the first one dropping a child off at my Mom's, which means that he needs to be accountable to the time he told her he would arrive or if not, as is most often the case, he jips her of sleep by getting up way too early. In addition to this, I'm delayed from getting ready for work because I'm watching Isaac as Tony terrors around the house trying to make up for lost time. And then, he'll remember that he doesn't have a belt on or can't find his wallet . . . so now, not only is my Mom waking up earlier than she should have to, I'm barely catching my bus and am doing so with wet hair.

I made a choice last night.

I will now be the first to wake up. I shouldn't have to. I should be able to enjoy a few extra minutes cuddling with my baby boy, but if I do I know that Tony will not get out of bed to allow the time necessary. Instead of just getting up early, I decided to do something for myself. I got up at 5:30 this morning and went for a quick 2 mile jog. As the sun was rising, it was a gorgeous 55*, and all was right in the world as I spoke with God in the calm.
crisp morning

I haven't run since I experienced the problems with my knee over a month ago, so it hurt. I haven't prayed consistently in who knows when, so it was awkward. My body rebelled against my demands for more speed, just as my flesh told my soul that my prayers would fall to deaf ears. Within minutes both were silenced. My legs remembered their imperfect running form, still compensating for my knee mildly and relished the chance to lengthen and contract their muscles. And God met me on this run, enveloping me in encouragement and love.

I didn't want to give up almost an hour of sleep, just so that my grown man of a husband would get out of bed on time, but I made a sacrificial choice and learned that ultimately I have the most to gain.

In much the same manner, I have made the choice to let Johanna continue Wedded Wednesday's on her blog These Prices. The concept has changed a bit from my original intention and I no longer feel that I can continue to guarantee a useful Wedded Wednesday post. In the same vein that I wrote about on Monday, I would like to focus on my desires for this blog, including the option of not posting on Wednesday if it so happens. I was so encouraged to read that Wedded Wednesday's have helped foster community and allowed so many of you to know that you are not alone in your struggles. For this reason, I think it is really important that under Johanna's direction Wedded Wednesday continue. I'm sure that I will still churn out a fair number of posts regarding marriage, admittedly hopefully no more about our sleep habits, in this space regardless of the day though, so have no fear.

Sometimes a sacrificial choice is for the good of all involved!

Hurting Unit

Monday, June 28, 2010

This weekend was pretty brutal. Friday night we joined with friends for dinner at The Tavern in Blaine. It used to be Bella and the changes were both apparent and subtle. Probably the largest difference was the loudness! Everyone seemed to be talking and enjoying themselves.

Isaac of course loves a crowd and had fun!
Summer 001

This is the best picture I got of Tony's beard this weekend! Turns out there's extra money if he doesn't trim it . . .
Summer 004

While Kierstan's visist was one of the main reasons for our dinner, it was also an opportunity to shower Nancy Jo in some love. Just Thursday night her Mom received a terrible diagnosis of Stage 4 Metastatic Lung Cancer that has spread to her bones.
Summer 008

I grew up playing soccer with Nancy and it's obviously telling of our friendship almost 16 years later that we remain close. Kathy is the mother of 6 children and it seems Nancy has a new nephew or niece daily. Kathy is a very well loved woman who will have great support during this time, no matter how long it is. It's just very hard for us to think that another friend will have to walk this path of cancer with their parent, as Kierstan's Dad passed remarkably quickly at the end of our freshman year of college. Kierstan chose to continue the fight by working for the American Cancer Society and has impacted so many lives through her coordination and fundraising events.

Kathy had her first round of chemo on Friday and Kierstan prepared a basket for her enjoyment while her immune system did it's thing. It came to our attention though as she was making the basket that we don't have any decent pictures of the three of us together! The best one that we had was from the last bonfire we had before Isaac was born, literally a week later! Um, me at 39 weeks pregnant looking like I ate a couple of friends, not pretty. So we had to take a picture of the three of us! And look how well we coordinated!
Summer 014

Saturday, Tony and I slept in a little bit before I got up and cooked us some breakfast. It's such a treat to make scrambled eggs, toast, turkey sausage and this time we even had fresh strawberries! Next up, Gina and I knocked out a 9 hour wedding. Unfortunately I wasn't that much fun to be around, but I was dragging for some reason! We made it through though and Gina even stopped over at our house until about 10:40 afterwards due to the severity of the weather. It's never a good sign if you're choosing your course home based on the likelihood of roads to flood.

Sunday was supposed to be a fabulous filled day, but it was not to be so. We went to church and then came home to make a handoff with Gina. She was going to give me P90x and I was going to give her my images from Saturday, before we were going to join with my Mom, Stepdad, Stepbrother, Nephew and Brother for lunch. After that I was going to sneak in Randine's maternity session and then follow it up with Nikki and Roman's engagement session. And then, I got a migraine.

A migraine.

Something which I've lived without for almost two years!

Plans were canceled and I proceeded to sleep from 12-5:30. The strangest thing though was that my auras kept coming back. Normally they only appear proceeding a migraine, as if to herald it's imminent destruction of plans, but then disappear. It was so weird that they kept coming back.

When I woke up at 5:30 I felt so much better, although my head felt like it'd been run over a few million times, and I went on with my eShoot. It went great, so I'm glad I powered through. Unfortunately church and my shoot were the best things about the day because I was up until well past 1:30 unable to sleep and am a bit of a sleep walking zombie right now.

I hope that you're all doing better!

Beard Challenge

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, somehow my brother convinced Tony that he should grow a beard for a month. He will give Tony $1 per day. The conversation may have been taking place at this moment. My brother totally has a sly look on his face.

Well, the rules of engagement were drawn. Tony was able to shave clean for the wedding on the 12th. He's got a nice baby face. :)

And he's nearing two weeks now, although this is the most recent picture from Sunday.

Tony is one of those guy's who's 5 o'clock shadows have a shadow, or is better called a 12 o'clock shadow. Since we have been together he has never once grown a beard. I really am not sure he'll be able to make it!

Wedded Wednesday: Celebrating Tony

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,

anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.

What a week for my husband. He kicked off the last year of his 20's and celebrated his 2nd Father's Day. Let's just say that this resulted in a little bit of a weight gain for at least myself! First of, from scratch I made this monstrosity: Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl.
Credit: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Mine didn't look half as good as this and nearly resulted in burning the house down, but in the end it still tasted amazing! And Tony thought the from scratch aspect was totally worth it. :)

Next up, I made his birthday cake following Smitten Kitchen's recipe for a Double Layer Cake.
I've literally been begging Tony to let me throw away the leftovers and he won't let me. He's in love with this cake. I suppose that's worth the amount of time that went into it!

Unfortunately the best part of his birthday revolved around food, as we were on lockdown due to severe weather.
You can see the funnel cloud video on the TV behind us.

The whole entire state was virtually under a Tornado Watch and you can see the majority of the system that came through the metro area here:

We've really been focused on spending time together, even if it doesn't involve much more than a simple meal. Our relationship has really changed in the past year, obviously in some ways due to Isaac, but really so many other things have evolved as well.

Here are my boys on Father's Day, at just the same place as last year, the softball park.

I don't know what I would do with Tony's strength, faith or love for me and our family . . . even if he did take my brother up on a bet to grow a beard for 30 days. :)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

- Tony's birthday was a success, with pictures to come!

- Friday night was the best e-session I've ever shot! Check out the teaser post here.

- Saturday was an interesting wedding with Gina, where not only were my Dad and Stepmom guests, but I knew at least 10 people.

- Sadly, Tony and I are adjusting to his new work schedule. I think that eating dinner between 7:30-8:00 is not helping my metabolism right now though and we may not be able to eat together in the near future.

- Father's day was pretty low key. We splurged on Caribou before church and went with my brother to my Dad's following church. We then spent some time with my in-laws at Tony's softball game. He hit another home-run! He's up to like 7 this year and had never hit one in this league in all of our years together! Crazy!

- My Mom is planning a wine tour at 4 northern suburb wineries in Minnesota in July. Oh yes, they exist and we're going to travel by limo. There's even talk of dressing in old formal dresses! I can't wait!

- I'm working on a logo right now for my photography brand. I've received several offers for free work and unfortunately they never really pan out. I know I have the capabilities, so I just need to go for it!

- I haven't run in probably two months nor played soccer and I feel like crapola.

- Isaac is the sweetest little boy ever and will wake up in the middle of the night and give me kisses. Seriously, adorable.

Wedded Wednesday

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,

anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.

Tomorrow is Tony's birthday. Ah birthday's, they rank in the top 5 opportunities to be reflective.

In most regards, despite aging, Tony is still the man that I married. I think that's one of the reasons I laughed so hard at my brother's text message a few weeks ago. He sent:

Levi: Does Tony turn 30 this year?

Oh boy, did I ever find that funny. Hah! I thought, as if he does! He's only . . . oh my gosh, Tony turns 29 this year.

I've never had a problem with growing older, that annual additional notch doesn't worry me. What does however is that I still remember the man I met at 23. It scares me that time has passed so quickly.

I'm really hoping that the weather cooperates for tomorrow. Regardless my plans won't live up to the surprise party last year or the flat screen the year prior to that! We've got to enjoy every moment of his last year in the 20's, don't you know?

Pipe Dream

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

We received some very discouraging information after conferring with our lawyer. There are still a lot of options, but none look especially appealing right now. It's just such a frustrating situation and hind sight is 20/20, especially from where I'm sitting on my high horse. I feel as though almost every distasteful situation surrounding this bad deal could have been avoided . . . but it'd dragged on for so long that I no longer asked that Tony keep me updated. I know that this is a bad combo and my attitude clearly reflects that.

Just pray for us to keep our lines of communication clear, because we've taken a few hard hits. Somedays they really weigh us down and other days we seem to live in denial. I want off of this teeter totter, but only if I end up some where in the middle.

Gang Signs

Monday, June 14, 2010

The wedding we attended, as guests[!], on Saturday had a photo booth. Three girls and I were trying to come up with silly pictures and by our 4th round in the booth our ideas were pretty lousy. Channeling my old stomping grounds, which are getting more and more ghetto, I told everyone to cop a gansta attitude. Being that it was my idea you'd think I'd come with something better, but oh no. Guess what my gang sign was? I love you. That's right how bad am I?

I blame this one completely on Gina for changing my focus setting and my forgetting . . . or it's just a bad picture of a cute moment. I still like it though.

The whole group of college friends. Only two of us are outsiders.

Right before this picture, Tony and I were on the dance floor. Our conversation went like this:
Tony: I love you more today than the day I married you.
Me: Even though you know a lot more about me?
Tony: Yes, I still love you more.
Me: Hey now! Still?
Tony: Well . . . :)

Not to be detered.

We were able to go ahead with our previously scheduled bonfire Friday night! It never once rained, even though the clouds looked heavy with promise. I made a few dips and some BBQ meatballs, but didn't get overly fancy.

Tony got Isaac this chair last year at Gander Mountain and Isaac is just now beginning to love it.

After playing with the little man . . .

Gina grabbed the camera from me so that I could be in a few pictures. I declined and instead ran circles around Isaac to get him to laugh.

He was slightly amused by his crazy Mom.

Perfect summer evening.

Isaac had a blast with Gina's iphone and marshmallows. [FYI: well aware of the choking hazard, but my Mom still felt the need to point out that the Heimlich fails to help when little kids are choking on marshmallows. I had broken off a few small pieces prior to the below picture.]

I could just eat him up.

We had a great evening with a few friends and I was the last one up! Let me tell you, this never happens. Gina rocked Isaac to sleep before she left and we successfully laid him down for a few hours. When he started crying Tony went into the house to try to get him back down. Fast forward 30 minutes without any change on the baby monitor and I came into the house to find Isaac fast asleep with Tony on the couch! I tried to wake Tony twice and failed to transition Isaac to the crib, so I finally let them lie.

Before the end of the evening there was even a little bit of fire jumping.

Aaron and Levi manned the fire and with Nancy's help the place was cleaned up by about 12:30.


Almost Out of Here!

Friday, June 11, 2010

- I smell like sunless tanner, which I applied last night and have showered since.

- We're supposed to have a bonfire tonight, but the rain is threatening. :( Even if we don't, we're still going to have people over and I'm so excited!

- I ate vegetables and only vegetables for lunch today due to lack of planning. I can't wait to leave in an hour. Nummy, nummy food coming my way.

- Speaking of which, I've been having a really hard time balancing my diet lately due to weaning. I've always been a healthy eater, but I think my normal diet has to actually be a diet until I get this figured out. My jeans are all still fitting, but I'm not comfortable!

- We have a wedding tomorrow, the first that I will have attended as a guest this year. I'm really hoping that Isaac behaves well and I'm looking forward to seeing friends.

- I really have to call out that my Wedded Wednesday post wasn't meant to draw people to conclusions, but I was serious that it's not necessarily good nor bad news. We're still stuck in limbo, just with a different position.

- I really need to get some family pictures taken again and I think Gina's up for it, potentially even tonight if the rain holds off . . . but additionally, I super duper need some headshots for my business . . . and a logo while I'm at it!

- Isaac slept in his crib for an hour nap last night. A full hour. Progress people! Progress!

- I have a make up maternity session with Randine and her family on Sunday. Girl is gorgeous and I can't wait to take pics of her 36w belly!

Have a great weekend!

At Long Last!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I finally made it to a Twins game at the new Target Field! Tony has gone to TWO games without me and I seriously debated our choice to bring Isaac. Tony is all about Isaac's first experience and I don't blame him, but since he's already gotten to explore the field I was afraid that Isaac would detract from my first visit. Tony assured me that he would not slack on fatherly help, so we chose to bring him! My Dad got a whole group together through his work to go to the game and was awesome enough to pay for our tickets and transportation!

Isaac first enjoyed a ball game when he was in utero on our Florida vacation, which amazingly was just last March.
2009 Mar 07 006

Tony and I absolutely adored our first outdoor MLB game, even if it was the Grapefruit League, work with me on this one and could not wait until the Twins went outdoors! [We've been to a Saints game, which are a blast in their own right, but it's different when it's the big league!] We were really adventurous parents and brought Isaac to a late season game and tried to get on TV with our sign.

Isaac's a big Twins fan!
On the way to 6 007Picnic_0432

And he had great fun enjoying the game on Tuesday, especially because the Twins pounded the Royals! It was pure drama throughout the day Tuesday due to the rain, but it cleared up at 6:00 and turned into a BEAUTIFUL evening!

There were several times that Tony and I tag teamed Isaac, but he honestly did great!

This is as close to smile picture I get these days. Boys. I tell you.

He ate numm numm's and tried mustard mixed with ketchup for the first time with inconclusive reviews.

Such a gorgeous field. Really so few complaints!

We had great seats, right under Minne and Paulie.

My Dad just adores any time he gets to spend with Isaac. I mean, rightly so. :)

Our only problem happened when my hubs tried to get Isaac to lick the ice cream. I didn't even see what happened, all I know is that this happened.

All in all, it was a fantastic evening and Tony was able to get Isaac to sleep on his shoulder in the middle of the 8th inning with a little bit of singing.

I approve of our new ballpark!

Mourning the Loss of Youth: Edited

Do your boobs hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?
Can you throw them over your shoulder like a Continental soldier?

When I was 13 I read an old ladies birthday card with the above remix and I think I've been traumatized since. I think the "over your shoulder" part is the least appealing personally. I always have thought that I had a great ability to appreciate the moment as lived, instead of dwelling in hindsight. I'm sure I'm not alone in having a Mom constantly telling me that I would wish for the body that I currently despised, which never once made me appreciate it at the time, but all the same I wish I'd listened a little bit.

One thing I should have done pre-pregnancy and baby was celebrate my body more, especially my breasts. Not to give too many intimate details or spend paragraphs painting a picture about what I had previously and where I'm at now, but I was happy. Tony was happy. Happiness abounded.

All that being said, I certainly wouldn't change any of my choices, save one: I would have worn a lot more strapless tops and dresses and walked around the house braless, if I'd only known . . .

Keeping it real. :)

Sorry ladies, I wasn't even realizing that I was propagating a lie by finding humor in the article! Basically, breastfeeding or not, after the pregnancy hormones strike your body your boobs will begin their southern descent.

Wedded Wednesday

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wedded Wednesday is a collaboration
of married bloggers sharing their inspirations,

anecdotes, struggles and thoughts regarding
the amazing union of two separate people, as one.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, Tony and I have been walking on dollar bill shaped egg shells lately. Our necessities have pushed us to live past our means as we first rode out his change to commission only and now have been hoping and praying for our business venture to pan out.

Photography money, family handouts and other support has kept us going, but I'm not going to lie there's been heavy reliance on our line of credit and a credit card, singular so far. Monday night some of these issues came to a head because as they say, the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing expecting different results! We simply can not continue on as we are, because well our resources will soon be exhausted, there's no choice in the matter.

Tony and I have lived in a little bit of an alternate universe for awhile as numerous issues have taken time to resolve or we hoped that they would and I find it laughable that just last week I seriously thought that my saved photography money had a prayer to be invested towards a new camera body. It can't be used until I know that it won't be needed for our house!

At the end of our discussion Monday night, Tony kept repeating, "We'll be all right. Have faith. Have faith." I just wanted to scream at him, "Have faith in what?" We made these plans, God does not have to honor something that is apart from His will. I felt completely hopeless. It seemed so apparent that clearly our desires were not aligned with God's desires. And yet Tony kept repeating, "Have faith." Hah I thought, "What could possibly change in the near future that hasn't happened in the last 6 months?"

Well, I'm not laughing now. A lot can happen. Not necessarily good, not necessarily bad, but certainly a lot more action has taken place than the words we've been fed up until this point.

More to come, as always.

Moral of the story, don't challenge God. He's got His own timelines and can move mountains.

Saturday & Sunday

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Saturday featured a little bit of a change in plans. You see our friend Jon is getting married this coming Saturday, and his bachelor party was Saturday. Our original plan was that Tony would go in the evening when I attended my friend Randine's blessingway. Friday night, Tony tried to get me to go for him turning the bachelor party into an all day event . . . let me just tell you, that didn't fly.

Things could be described as . . . tense around our house lately. For two months straight either Tony or I were working on Saturday. Working consisting of Tony almost an hour away or me either at the hospital for an undetermined length of time or shooting a wedding. We can do the whole weekend warrior thing well, but not in conjuncture with Tony coming home between 7-8:00 each night. It's gotta be an either or, not late evenings and no weekends! There wasn't a lot of fun being had. There wasn't a lot of time even being spent together to lend itself to fun! Money was driving our decisions and clearly at this time, that additional dollar is not worth the stress on our relationship. So, I made the only decision available to change our circumstances, I quit the hospital photography. Last weekend was jam packed and Tony worked down south, so I had sooo been looking forward to spending quality family time together Saturday, at least for the day!

Tony relented Saturday morning and while it rained drearily almost the whole time we were together I thoroughly enjoyed going nowhere and doing nothing with my family. It was so fulfilling to just be at home without obligations. Don't ask me how though, at some point Tony turned on The Fast and The Furious. This may be a little known fact on this blog, but anyone that knows me in real life knows that I have issues with watching movies. I may sit and watch tv shows for the same length of time as a movie, but not an actual movie. There's just too much commitment to a movie choice! And then we watched 2 Fast 2 Furious. Absolutely ridiculous, but I just have to laugh. I mean seriously, I've probably watched 6 movies so far this year and these two are included now. I told Tony that it was his fault if I dreamed of Paul Walker that night and he cast some serious doubts on the probability of a baby #2, by saying that he would be as well! Hah!

That evening Tony brought Isaac to my in-laws as I went to my blessingway and he went to his bachelor party. I hate posting about the blessingway without posting my pictures, but unfortunately the computer was screwy last night and I wasn't able to upload them for access today. So, for the time being, I'll talk about the blessingway without them! Randine is a coworker who I've come to love from my previous position. As so many mother's who experience a traumatic hospital birth the first time, Randine has invested herself in the beauty of childbirth. She has acted as a doula, is studying to be a midwife and fully support the Trust Birth initiative. She is just an amazing resource and amazing friend. I'm thoroughly looking forward to the beginning of July when I'll be photographing her 2nd child's birth at her home.

The blessingway is a spinoff of a Native American tradition and has been taken hold by both Christian and secular mothers as an opportunity to bless the mother and celebrate her upcoming birth. I had never heard of the event before Randine, so it was very fitting that I should attend my first in her honor! It was an intimate evening with 7 attendees and birth stories and an excerpt from The Red Tent were shared. Randine sat with her feet in a foot bath and received a foot massage and light neck massage in a supportive manner as we all chatted good naturedly regarding birth. We were also asked to write Randine a note to be placed in a scrapbook and sign up to deliver a meal if we were available after the birth of the baby (great idea!). We also had dinner together with a beautiful table set with a centerpiece of candles. There was one large pillar candle in the center with numerous medium sized candles surrounding. The significance of the large candle was that it was to be lit by Randine when she began labor, and everyone in attendance was to take a smaller candle and light it when notified of Randine's labor as a reminder to pray for her. I think it's just the neatest idea. It was such a beautiful evening!

Sunday then we went to church together and when we came back we made use of the gorgeous day by packing up for a picnic. I must say, the original idea was to trek it to a nearby beach or park, but just as we were about to leave Isaac started getting extremely cranky. He has been battling his first year molars for a few weeks now, so I doped him up with some Walgreen's knock off Tylenol, love the recalls, and thought we should still make a go of it. Tony however disagreed and didn't think it would be a good idea to leave with Isaac as worked up and in pain as he was . . . so, we had a picnic in our back yard!

Isaac loved the cool watermelon on his gums and didn't think I was feeding him fast enough!

Um, Tony's face says it all, but he doesn't like watermelon. The two times he's tried it he's thrown up!

Summer = a fruit stained kid!

I just love this picture. Knowing it's from Tony's perspective, in our backyard, happy child, Allie in the background!

I just kind of, a little bit, love this kid.


It was just such a great way to spend the afternoon! It was so cute how Isaac predominantly stayed on the blanket too. Just a few times he wandered off within the same section of the backyard and then he'd hurry back to us. Love.

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