Sunday, April 26, 2015

finding my memory

Thanks to that app called "Timehop," I am able to see my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts from this day a year ago.  And two, and three, and four and five years ago.  It's pretty awesome.  It's a tiny little flashback to look forward to each day.  

Tonight I got curious and wanted to see more of this day, one year ago.  I took to iPhoto.

Oh, man.  The memories come flying right back.  Jude was 9 days old and I was clearly still in that newborn "fog."  Still adjusting, still in some pain (but healing) from birth, exhausted, and completely in love and obsessed with that little miracle of a human being in my arms.

We were still living in our old place at the time...our sweet little treasure-box house.  My great-grandmother's china hutch was stuffed into the corner to give us as much space as possible for more important know, the floor gym and bouncy seat and swing. 

My hair, which was most likely unwashed, was twisted into one of those blobs that you only wear because there isn't any chance you'll be leaving the house that day.  I'd forgotten what makeup was and I was most likely sweaty (Who knew that sweating a lot after you have a baby is a thing?  I sure didn't).  I lived in yoga pants and nursing tanks, along with that gray sweatshirt robe that Mom got me for Christmas.  The yellow notepad on the arm of the couch was for recording Jude's feedings.  The blue chevron water cup never left my side.

The leopard-print snuggie was for the long, dark, quiet and lonely nights when Jude was wide awake and all he wanted was to be by his mommy.  When it was calm or softly raining outside I'd open the windows, and the boy and I would get all wrapped up together.  Oh, how precious.  The memory is so close I can feel it.  I truly treasured those moments and now I wish I could take one of them back and re-live it., one year later, I'll go to bed and sleep through the night.  AMEN!!!


Monday, April 20, 2015

My One Year

It has been:

the messiest year,

the most emotional year,

the busiest year,

the most frustrating year,

the craziest year,

the hardest year of my life.

And it has been, without a doubt:

the absolute best year of my life.

Our boy turned 1 on Friday.  All evening and into the night on Thursday, April 16, all I could think about were the memories of "one year ago."  

One year ago, we were eating our last dinner out as a family of two.  (We went to The Quarry of course, and I had my usual grilled Caesar with salmon...still counting carbs up to the very last second!)

One year ago, we were working out in the weight room.  (The fastest I could walk on the treadmill was 2.7 mph and I was huffing and puffing.)

One year ago, we were double-checking our bags, then loading them into the car.

One year ago, Tom was taking Ny-Quil and going to bed. (At 8:30 pm.  If you have read Jude's birth story, you know why this ended up being kind of funny.  At the time I was not amused.)

One year ago, we were waiting for my sister to arrive at our house.

One year ago, I sat straight up in bed with sudden labor, pain ripping through my abdomen, thinking WHAT WAS THAT??

I laid in bed last Thursday night, not able to shake the one year ago memories off and go to sleep.  

I couldn't get his sweet, fresh newborn face out of my mind.

I finally drifted off at 12:00, whispering "happy birthday" to my sweet boy on the video monitor.  He was snuggled up with his bear, perfectly content.  And one year old.

 Since Tom and my nephew also have birthdays in April, my family got together over the weekend to celebrate all of them in one swoop.  Here are some snapshots:

Jude's daycare provider decorated her home on Friday for his birthday!

Saying goodbye to one of his playmates before leaving on Friday.  He loves his daycare and all of his buddies.

 Friday night was all about BAKING.  I don't bake very often so this is a rare occasion.  The dark chocolate fudge cake balls and vanilla cupcakes turned out great, but not without some frustrating moments.  My kitchen was a disaster!  It looked like Frosty the Snowman puked all over it once I was done.  I think that's why I don't like baking...flour gets EV.ER.Y.WHERE.  And powdered sugar.  And granulated sugar.  And egg shells.  And butter wrappers.  And all the things.  

I want to be a great baker.  I want to create beautiful and delicious cakes and muffins and scones...but I just don't have the patience for it!  Measure this, measure something else, get it to this perfect temperature, don't let it sit out for too long, mix this at this speed for this many minutes, AHHHH!!!  Frustrating!  I'm a much better cook than I am a baker...I would much rather create food with my senses than be confined to a recipe.  Maybe someday soon I'll be in an extra-patient mood so I can try my hand at these.

This gorgeous picture, however, shows the vanilla buttercream frosting I made.  OH MY GOSH!  It was perfect!  I used the Williams-Sonoma recipe for the frosting as well as the cupcakes.

Saturday -- my sister's family arrived so the real fun could begin! 

My niece and I had a kitchen floor tea party  :)

The neighbor girls came over to play...

Almost birthday time!

My big boy!  Grandma and Grandpa N. gave him a trike!

He LOVED his cupcake!

 My mom made this beautiful layered strawberry cream cake.  Apparently I did not inherit her baking genius.

Aren, Jude and Tom: the birthday boys!

I'm off to do a very important soundcheck for a gig that I am SO excited about...... can't tell you about it yet, though.  :)

Have a great week!  Love, Betsy

Monday, April 6, 2015


Iowa is a great state to live in for a lot of reasons.  The changing of seasons is one of my favorites.  We get to experience four of them, each of them beautiful...yes, even winter. :)

I'm 33 years old, and it never fails: SPRING amazes me!  Every year.  I think that is why Easter is my favorite holiday.  Yesterday was a beautiful Easter day.  

Throughout the day yesterday, I was reminded of my son's birth last year.  He was born during holy week (Thursday, April 17th, 2014).  It was the day before Easter when we brought him home.  It was an incredible feeling of "newness."  Yes, I was completely and utterly overwhelmed, but I also felt new.  New baby, new life, new outlook, new priorities, new awareness.  Outside the house, I saw new leaves, new grass, new baby ducks.  The world sparkled!  Everything was overtaken by this "newness."

Jude Thomas, 24 hours old.

Yesterday I was walking into church with my guitar for the Easter service and breathed deeply.  NEW, fresh, spring was heaven!  Finally, finally, I feel like winter is behind us and we can embrace the new.

Here are some snapshots from our Easter weekend...

On Thursday, we stopped at our neighbors' house during our walk so Jude could meet his little friend Jonathan.  These two were so cute together!  I cannot get enough of their pudgy baby legs.  And their giggles.  So sweet!

That evening, I worked on a new design for my chalkboard in the entry way: 

I'd like to thank Pinterest for the design.  None of that is a result of my own creativity.  :)

On Friday, I was blessed to spend the day with two of my wonderful music teacher colleagues for some professional development.  We took a lunch break at one of my favorite Mason City restaurants, The Hungry Mind.  Herbal tea instead of was slightly chilly outside!

And the famous club sandwich, which was as big as my head.

We made a quick stop at Hallmark to pick up a card for a colleague who has been out on medical leave, and I got to see this former student of mine working there!  I'm so proud of him...he is planning to go to college to play his saxophone and be a music teacher!

And then this happened:

I'm going to call this a Mason City Classic.  Seriously...this town keeps me on my toes.  I'd say this was odd, but...for MC, it's not.  :)

I went over to the church to practice an Easter song with my friend Molly.  Trinity church is beautiful.  I love to take pictures of the sanctuary when it's quiet and empty.

Jude received an Easter basket from his wonderful daycare provider! :)

It was one of those "perfect" Saturdays.  I had a relaxing morning with a friend at Cabin Coffee, Jude ate quinoa for lunch (LOVED it) and Tom got to go golfing at the Country Club.  I was a little jealous even though I'm the World's Most Terrible Golfer. 

Easter Sunday: HE IS RISEN!

When we were setting up for our offering song...

I told Tom that Jude was laying down his addiction, his burden, his the foot of the cross.  LOL.  Actually, he just dropped his binky.

After church, Jude had his Easter lunch...or should I say, wore it?  This boy loves sweet potatoes and squash.  He loves it all over his FACE!  I need a power washer for this kid.

Naptime = mimosa time for mommy and daddy...

And dinner, which I sadly didn't take pictures of... pork loin, cheesy potatoes, kale salad, and rolls.  Just for the two of us.  It was lovely and delicious.

Later on, Jude destroyed the magazine basket while we watched the Cubs season opener!

He has slept THROUGH THE NIGHT the past two nights!  HALLELUJAH!!!  Quick, find some wood for me to knock on.  It's been great and I hope it continues forever.  The past 6 months have been up-and-down, a roller coaster of sleep patterns.  Mama needs sleep.  Mama also needs the bags under her eyes to go away. 

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Love, Betsy