Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nursing for an Entire Year!!!


There are only a handful of moments in my life where I get an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. You know what I'm talking about. The proud moments in your life. The times you feel like you are on top of the world. You faced something hard head on and SUCCEEDED.
Bye-bye pumping station. Until next time...

For me, these have been...

1. Earning the title of MVP on my high school volleyball team
2. Earning an athletic scholarship
3. Letting parts of my past go as much as I wanted to hang on to them (learning forgiveness)
4. Becoming Chancellor Scholar Athlete of the Year my final year in college
5. Earning a 3.8 GPA a couple semesters in a row during college and graduating in four years (while balancing 18 credits, playing volleyball and holding a part-time job)
6. Moving to Minnesota on a whim knowing only my brother
7. Starting over from heart break, empty and lost and building incredible amazing new relationships with strangers who are now some of my bestest friends
8. Allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of hundreds of people
9. Marrying my husband
10. Traveling and exploring parts of the world
11. Writing an entire 300+ page novel
12. Giving birth to my son Jackson
13. ....and now this...

I talked about this awesome feeling in an earlier post. The day when you wake up and you feel it... MAGIC. You do something for YOU - something HARD and GRUELING and CHALLENGING, but you keep getting up and keep on truckin' because you know when you finish, you'll feel so damn proud of yourself, it's ridiculous.

The moment when you realize how strong you really are. 

I don't need anyone else slapping me on the back or handing me an award. It's a feeling that I've only created and I'm treasuring it.

I successfully nursed for an entire year. Why is this such a big deal for me? Maybe because nursing was SO hard for me. SO SO SO hard. Painful. A HUGE time commitment. But I knew if I kept at it, I could and would do it. And I did.

I remember at 6 weeks, I thought a year seemed so incredibly far away. I was cracked and bleeding and so sore. Every latch made me feel like one of Dexter's victims - like he was sticking his razor blade to my skin drawing blood for one of his slides. I wasn't sure I could hang on. But I did. People told me to give up, but I wanted this. I needed this. Maybe a control thing? Maybe because I'm crazy? I don't know. 

Three pumps a day at work, 5 days a week, 25 minutes a a smelly, gross bathroom. Yes, I says I shouldn't have to pump in a bathroom. Sadly, it was my only option. At 8 months I dropped a pump. I was pumping twice a day at work. 11 months I went to once a day. This week Jackson turned one, and I'm doing one pump for 5-10 minutes each day. Next week I drop all pumps.
At least Jackson likes my pump parts...

So tell me this. Why am I sad??? I hate lugging that big ol' pump bag around and cleaning my parts and bottles out every night. Drives me crazy. And now I'm sad!?!?!? What gives?

This is when I know the moment is pure. Real. One that means something. And I grow. I'm a force to be reckoned with.


Jackson’s First Birthday Party with 70 of His Closest Friends

Big or Small Party? Which way to go?
Happy Birthday Jackson James

I’m officially a mom of a one year old!!!! There are so many emotions going through my head and heart today. First and foremost I wanted to recap Jackson’s first birthday party.
Jackson's 1 year Birthday Invite

Karl and I went back and forth on the size of the party. We first settled on small because we didn’t have a whole lot of time to devote to planning, and well…space was a huge issue too. We still live in a town home and there was no way we could invite everyone we wanted to. Weather is always sketchy in Minnesota in the spring (hello snow). We knew our families wanted to be included, but that meant inviting EVERYONE on all both sides. Right there, we were already at 60+ some family members.  There was no way our house could hold that many people – not even our garage.

We told Karl’s parents the dilemma and they offered up their home. Did they know what they were in for??? Karl’s sister offered helping, which was HUGE for me. HUGE. We ran with it. We kept the list down as much as we could.

The day of the party 70 family and friends showed up to Karl’s parent’s house. Holy PARTY. Can you feel my stress level? But this wasn't about me...
Birthday boy!!

This is when my mantra became: Go big, or go home. They only turn one once. Right??? Are you laughing at me yet?

In attendance? The oldest guest: 86 years old. The youngest: 10 days old. The variety of people was insane, but we loved every single one of them. And we KNOW they love the three of us. A pretty overwhelming feeling if you ask me.

We could not have done ANY of this without the help of Karl’s sister. She is crazy AMAZING at planning, organizing and setting up parties. She rocked the show. When I think about all she did for us, I get choked up. Party planning does not come easy for most of us. But I know she did this because she loves Jackson [that much]. I’m not an aunt so I don’t know how that feels just yet, but Kelly has taught me a lot about love. She has a LOT of it and shows it better than anyone I know.
Kelly's stellar party planning skills

Jackson, Kelly and Ben

My older brother supplied all the burgers thanks to his sweet discount from Cargill! I mean, these were the burgers they send to places like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebees. YUMMY!

My friend Kimbra worked feverishly on making the YUMMIEST carrot cake of all times. Not just one, but a smash cake for Jackson that looked like a puppy bowl (since he LOVES puppies) and a sheet cake and 100 mini cupcakes!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, I haven’t had a cake that good…well, since…ever.
Front of the smash cake
Back of smash cake
Adorable puppy sheet cake!

My grandma supplied some entertainment. A Polish tradition is to set four objects in front of Jackson and whatever he reached for would be his destiny…. A shot glass, a rosary, a golf ball and coins. Jackson selected the golf ball right away and then the whiskey glass. Hmmmm. The next Adam Scott (2013 Masters winner)?
My grandma supplying some entertainment through a Polish Tradition

And the gifts!! WHOA!!! Jackson is SET!!! And now he has some really awesome toys to keep at grandma and grandpa’s when they watch him! Jackson was spoiled though. My brothers and sis in law found a really cool bike I've never seen before!! Jackson is so lucky to have such neat uncles and aunts on BOTH sides!
Jackson's cool bike!

Yes, the house was PACKED and there were around 10-15 little adorable energetic people running around and it felt like I was back in college at an awesome keg party trying to slide my way through a ton of people (minus the kids). But these were all people we love and who love Jackson. I looked around. I soaked it in and saw how happy Jackson was and how many people adore him. It was pretty cool and insane all rolled into one. Jackson had no problem going to other people and loving them up. I LOVED THIS!!! He impresses me EVERY SINGLE DAY so much.
The little people

We stripped Jackson down, stuck him in Grandma Judy’s highchair from when she was a little girl, and everyone sung Happy Birthday to Jackson and he rocked back and forth before his cake came. He was so sweet. He IS sweet. He quite didn’t know what to do with the cake and gagged on it a little. Then cried. We tried. But that’s OK. He made our hearts smile.
Our little man getting ready to dive in
What is this? Sugar?
Wait, they are all singing for me!!
I'm not sure my mom will be OK with me eating sugar... Guys, I'm serious here...
Maybe just a little taste...
Don't make me!
It is pretty....
Nope. Not my thing, mom.

I created a photobook last week of a bunch of pictures I took over the year, but it didn’t arrive in time, so I also whipped together a video slideshow of Jackson in a matter of a day. I have no idea how I did this or when. I really don’t. But it has brought me to tears every time I’ve watched it.

A whole year whizzed by in the 12 minute video – and that’s exactly how time feels right now. Time and life is cruising by so fast. So much has changed in such a little of time, but for the first time I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be and I’m doing exactly what I should be doing. I am happy. Busy. Challenged. Tired. Amazed. Every single moment of the day. Pushed beyond my limits. But I come out stronger every time. The craziest part of it all is I am happy. Happy. So very happy. And I feel incredibly blessed.