more to me

“Do I have to spell it out for you, or scream it in your face? The chemistry between us could destroy this place.” 

And all of a sudden I’m sixteen. I’m sixteen and we’re brand new and I’d do all over again, step-by-step. 
I promise I haven’t forgotten us. I haven’t forgotten how, why this all started. I promise I haven’t forgotten you.

She is God’s gift to us but you are God’s gift to me.

There will come a day when we are more than the chaotic monotony that is our lives. You are more to me than bottles washed and back rubs. She is the blood in my veins but you are my heart.

I love us then, I love us now. Always, you are my home.

peggy

The TL;DR of this is that I slept this weekend and needed to blog about it.

Thursday, Rosalyn had her “trial” day at daycare, which was basically a freebie day for us to run through our new routine. She cat-napped all day, but I truly would’ve been shocked by anything else so no biggie. When I picked her up it was time for her to go to sleep again and I had visions of a cranky, crying baby in traffic on the way home. And to my delighted surprise neither of those things happened! As it turns out my route from daycare to home mostly goes against the flow of the afternoon build-up. During the drive I called up my mom (Nana) and mother-in-law (Grita – Grandma Rita) to fill them in on the daycare deets. After a few minutes I look back in the mirror and my baby was fast asleep! No muss, no fuss. No pacifier, no white noise. Just, “you know I think I’ll take a little nap now.” It was incredible. I was actually speechless except for the part where I spent the whole evening telling anyone who would listen, “SHE WENT TO SLEEP! BY HERSELF! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!”

Friday was our last day of grandma-care and it was Grita’s. And because I struck gold when it comes to in-laws, she dropped off a crockpot full of dinner in my kitchen before playing with my baby all day. Friday night brought us a screaming baby, the gut-dropping realization that YES she is teething and YES it could be months before the tooth even cuts, and a very-legal-not-at-all-above-the-speed-limit Target run by Dad to find some teething tablets. Against all odds she continued to be THE most adorable human on the earth.

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image2More car seat naps! Be amazed!

Saturday we packed up our whole clan to make our way to my parents’ house. We were only half an hour late and three bags over the “let’s not bring too much” limit so I’m gonna go ahead and give us a gold star for that one. We had a sister’s 24th birthday to celebrate with tacos as well as a baby’s first night away from home to set up for. In painfully cliche fashion, it wasn’t until we were five minutes from leaving that I realized I needed to grab Robin’s food, bowl, and bed as well. Just last year we were filling our car to the brim with dog stuff for HER overnights. I’m so sorry, pup. You’re a champ in every sense of the word and I hope our nightly family walks make you feel loved.

After approximately twenty-five goodbye kisses and exactly ZERO! mom-tears Andrew and I left my ENTIRE HEART AND SOUL behind and checked into a swanky hotel in Midtown for the evening. But not before first stopping to find an ATM and Andy finding me instead in a nearby boutique at the register buying a present for Rosalyn. His eye roll practically had a gravitation pull but he loves me and therefore didn’t question any further my spending $30 on the (organic) stuffed (in a pirate costume) pig. Her name is Peggy.

We celebrated Andrew’s 29th birthday with dinner at Park Tavern. Deviled eggs with jalapeno, candied brussels sprouts with bacon, grilled cheese with fried green tomato. RIP leftovers forgotten in the hotel fridge. You are sorely missed. Our oh-so-sweet rom-com plan was to then walk around Piedmont Park. But about ten steps in we both looked at each other and agreed, “Holy shit it is literal Hell outside let’s call our Uber.” Which we did. With a few Atlanta skyline selfies snuck in so we could in the very least project the image of a romantic walk in the park. That’s all that matters to you guys, right?

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image6Enter the most important piece of any new parent’s date night arsenal: Melatonin. We each popped two and slept for TEN HOURS. Straight. In white, fresh sheets and a thick comforter pulled up to my chin because there’s no baby to worry about suffocating. With the only interruption being MY bladder, not anyone else’s. Ah, bliss. We even used the same white noise that we turn on for Ros with a much more impressive Pavlovian response to its soothing vacuum. After a month of sleeping in 45-90 minute intervals I woke the next morning speaking in exclamation points.

“Good morning! Wow look at all this milk I pumped! Let’s get smoothies for breakfast! I can’t wait to show her Peggy! Do you want to split a scone?!”

We picked up our perfect, precious, angel babies (!!!) and went to have birthday lunch with Andrew’s family. My ridiculous high was eventually dulled by the horrendous ninety-before-noon temperatures that had me wondering why do we even have hair?? Time to chop this mess off and let my neck breathe.

Since last week Rosalyn has begun what we’re hoping to be the up curve of her sleep regression. Last night was a recent record of almost five hours before needing to eat! In her crib! Fantastic! I have these visions of three-year-old Ros still carrying her pirate pig around and therefore have been forcing it upon her with no shame. It’s the first thing she sees when she wakes up. I sleep with it so it smells like me. “OH MY GOD ROSALYN LOOK ITS PEGGY THE PIG!”

image7I may be drunk with power/rest.

bump photos

I tried my hand at some DIY maternity photos and it was a semi-success! I only say semi because a photographer working with a tripod and remote just can’t produce the same work as a photographer free to interact with and react to her subjects. Overall though, I’m pleased with the finished photos! I just wanted a handful of print-worthy photos to hang with our engagement and wedding ones. That is, whenever I get around to actually printing any of those…

We used the vein of granite by my parents’ property as the backdrop and the blanket you see in a couple of shots is a family heirloom on my dad’s side. This Georgia December has been particularly warm so we didn’t have to bundle up as I had feared. We had a fun afternoon joking around as we ran back and forth from the camera, racing against a dying battery (someone please come find my charger before I get hysterical). My Canon was a trooper and held on until I attempted to look through the photos at the very end – win!

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If anyone has discovered the secret to keeping pregnant hair volume post partum then I’m allllll ears.

it’s a girl! let’s go to the mountains

This past week has been a wonderful whirlwind. Wednesday we confirmed my sneaking suspicions that this babe is in fact a she! It feels so good to be able to use her name. Rosalyn Virginia. I cannot wait to meet our little Ros come February – or March depending on how much she likes her current digs.

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image10Thursday we packed up the pups and made our way up to North Georgia for a long weekend. We stayed in a small, two room cabin that was rough around the edges in all the best ways. Upon unpacking it was realized that we had plenty of hiking fixin’s and yet the hiking backpack was nowhere to be found. The nearest store was at least 45 minutes away but the vision of Rachel huffing & puffing her way up a mountain with a Target bag in hand was enough motivation to get back in the car. It ended up working out for the best and we found a really great deal on two hiking packs with 2L water bladders (yes, I did take every opportunity to sneak the phrase “water bladder” into conversation – its too much fun to say). The real adventure came on the drive home when a missed turn was realized 20 minutes too late. With no service my phone was relegated from GPS to flashlight. For what its worth, we DID have a map but maps are completely useless when there are no lights, no signs, and approximately three million trees. Did you know not one church located near a mountain will miss the opportunity to use the name “Mount Zion _________ Church”?? Oi. We eventually made it back though, and the sweet new hiking gear eased our frustrations (WATER BLADDER!).

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IMG_8676-1Friday was hiking day. I spent some time researching the different options; with Robin being as anxious and reactive as she is its best for everyone involved if we stick to quieter areas. You know what I didn’t think of though? The “path less traveled” is HARD. Whoa, logic. I knew we wanted to use the Indian Grave Gap trailhead along the Appalachian Trail. I wasn’t sure how long of a hike we’d feel up to however, so we picked a few marks of varying mileage. The shortest option was Indian Grave to Tray Mountain, a round trip of 5 miles. Now, here’s the second thing I didn’t think of: ELEVATION. In the couple of miles it takes to reach Tray Mountain there’s an elevation of about 1500 feet. In case you don’t have a mind for number estimation, much like myself, that translates to, “steep as shit”. My goal was accomplished: we passed a total of five people during a very popular hiking season. Gee, I wonder why. Robin, you don’t even know the lengths (and heights) we go to for you. In the world of hiking, 5 miles clearly isn’t a huge deal. But it was the farthest we had ever taken the dogs and my asthma + shortness of breath combo warranted quite a few breaks just to be safe. It’s funny looking at how much water and food we packed, just in case we wanted to an 8-mile or even 12-mile jaunt. LOL NOPE. Post-hike was a well-earned shower followed by dinner in Helen, the best hot chocolate in the world, and people-watching all the lederhosen-clad Oktoberfesters. We were one of those Oktoberfesters this time last year. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss a good brew but I guess hot cocoa will do for now…

IMG_8679-1I owe my Taurus MAJORLY after all we put her through this weekend. She went hiking, too.

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image3-1Saturday was spent sleeping off a monster dehydration headache and babying my protesting muscles. Relaxation was aided by an unexpectedly fancy cabin bath set-up with double opposing shower heads. I felt conflicted with the simultaneous thoughts of, “This is an incredible waste of water… BUT I AM A SHOWER QUEEN!” Coincidentally, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law Scott & Summer were also cabin-ing this weekend not too far away from us. So we met up for lunch in Helen for more lederhosen-watching plus a trip to the Christmas Shoppe (anyone else pronounce this “Shop-ee”?) to expand our ornament collection. If y’all don’t already have yourselves a Christmas Pickle then you need to remedy that situation this year.

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IMG_8824-1Later that night we hunkered down for a campfire and s’mores — an experience that quickly turned into a couples therapy exercise as we figured out we hadn’t really built a real fire since, like, never (thanks, gas fireplace! you da best). Veni, vidi, vici and we got to enjoy our mallows (blackened and melty, there is no other way) in the company of no less than twelve hundred billion stars. Stars like God intended. A humble reminder that we’re the tiny ones, not them. Air that clear and fresh is worth having to bundle a blanket around your pajamas. Pineapple print, naturally.

year one

Rachel_andrew_wedding-241smallToday Mr. Redmon and I celebrate our first set of three hundred and sixty-five days as a married couple. There was a small part of me that was a little sad when this date made its way closer to us. We had racked up a fair amount of dating anniversaries and it was almost like someone hit a reset button. I know, I know. Who’s counting? It’s not a competition. We’ll catch up though. It’s fun looking back at who we were six and a half years ago at our first one year anniversary. Hand over my heart, by the time we hit that first year I knew he was my husband. But I had enough self-awareness to know that smart seventeen year old girls aren’t supposed to say things like that out loud unless they want a face full of eye rolls and lot of oh-you-just-waits. We were just babies back then. Bright-eyed and full of new love and no idea of what was in store for us except that we were in it together. I imagine I’ll say that same sentence about us another seven years from now, too.

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Rachel_andrew_wedding-188smallThis first year has had a lot of hard moments for me as an individual. And the wonderful thing about having him as a husband is that I didn’t have to deal with it all as an individual. Share the joy and halve the pain. There’s a misconception that each partner has to meet 50/50 in the middle for a successful and happy relationship but its just not true. Sometimes its 50/50 but its impossible to live in the middle of the tight wire all the time. More often than not you’re sliding up and down that scale. Most of the time its 60/40 and then 25/75 and then 10/90 and then 55/45. And every once in awhile its 20/20 and you need to come together to make up that missing 60 percent. Life is always moving and we have to move with it and at times that’s going to mean taking your partner’s hand or throwing them over your shoulder so they don’t get lost in the tide. This entire first year Andrew has been carrying me on his shoulder or watching my back when I insist on running myself. I would say I don’t know how to thank him but I know there will come a day or week or decade that I’ll need to do the same for him. That’s the real beauty in it though. The not keeping tally or carefully doling it out so you’re never giving more than you’re receiving. It might even out in the end, or it might not. It doesn’t really matter.

Rachel_andrew_wedding-180smallI’ll wrap this up here as my better half is currently texting me weird selfies from downstairs. Happy anniversary, love! I can’t wait for year two with you.

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I, Rachel, take you Andrew to be the husband of my days, the companion of my house, the friend of my life. We shall bear together whatever trouble and sorrow God may lay upon us. And we shall share together whatever good and joyful things God may bring us. With these words and all the words of my heart I marry you and bind my life to yours.