Friday, August 28, 2009

traveling mercies...

remember that time when i decided to be Miss Independent and drive my sassy lil self and my 9 month old all the way from DC to OBX, all by myself?


and remember when i was starving after 6 hours of driving, and isaac was screaming and it was 234233 degrees outside and we both deserved a break?
and remember when i took him out of the car at Hardee's in the middle of gosh darn nowhereville, so we could have said break...?

and remember how he dropped a Nagasaki blowout while sitting his stroller?
and how Hardee's doesn't have child changing tables?
and how i had to lay him in the only empty booth to strip him down, and watch him fight and roll around in his own diarrhea and have the end result be smeared poo all over Hardee's booth's WHERE PEOPLE ARE EATING?
(serves you right, hardees. bet you've placed an order for a changing table now, HUH).
and how i had diarrhea up to my elbows?
and a purse?
and a diaper bag?
and a naked baby?
and a shart covered stroller?

i can't believe people weren't dry-heaving at the sight.
and remember how i ran to hide in the bathroom to wash my hands and realized...short of PUTTING ISAAC on a roadside, disgusting fast food bathroom floor, i would:
1) not be able to wash my hands.
2) not be able to place him back in his desperate, dripping stroller.
3) not be able to order food and attempt to pay for it with isaac's crap under my fingernails.
4) not be able to ask some other STRANGER to hold my stanking child.
5) not be able to put him in the car, so that i can RUN BACK IN to wash my hands.
6) not be able to wash down the stroller before putting it BACK in my car for the remaining 2 hours of the drive.

remember how i threw his clothes in the trash?
and laid papertowels down in his car seat in case he decided to hit the repeat button.
and remember how i climbed back into my car, and with poop-caked hands, began to cry?

i had some water and some hand sanitizer, and did the best i could -- but -- no amount of alcohol-based sanitizer can cover the stench of this much CRAP.

it was foreshadowing, people -- because that was the week from HELLLLLLLLLLLL.
i was scarred.
isaac apparently had a "virus" and was trying to bust out 4 teeth and just flat out staged a revolt against me.

i say all of this to admit my newfound TREPIDATION when packing up isaac to take him on a roadtrip yesterday.
even if it was only three hours.
even if i can do the drive blindfolded.
even if i feel as though i've rebuilt my confidences, worn trash-worthy clothing for the trip, dressed isaac only in a onesie, and concocted a strategy for all worst case scenarios.

(you'd think i would have re-thought out my driving preferences after that drive from lynchburg to philly, during a blizzard, at 9pm...with a bad alternator. heh. in a t-shirt, no less. coat in the trunk. you a suitcase somewhere. that was fun times on the side of interstate 81...WITH NO CELL PHONE....)

all to say, the drive went well...but we say our prayers now. we double-dip our entire CAR in prayer and yes, try to only drive long distances with daddy along for the ride, too. (he will be joining us tomorrow...because, snap...somebody's gotta pay the bills around here...)

it's been fun to be back home with my baby...though it certainly is a sad reason to make the trek back.

hopefully an evening with my best friend will elevate the mood around here, momentarily...


"huh? no, no. me is rock-solid road trip partner. me luvs talk radio...and taco bell..."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


so i could tell you a million funny stories from this week since they've been mulling around in my head for a while.
like how isaac's been 'wait-listed' for a local playgroup. reminder = he's one.
or how we were given isaac's 'eating' diagnosis.
or what it's like to make my first pot roast and why none of you have ever disclosed the price of roast. i stood at the meat counter with my mouth gaping.

but it all feels wholly inappropriate to overlook the fact that my brother and his wife are losing her dad today.

apparently Ron (my sister in law's dad), and his wife, Chris (SIL's mom...) and their 14 year old daughter were all driving back from Florida on Friday and he had to pull over because of a severe headache. then he collapsed on the side of the road, where a state trooper found them and rushed them to the hospital.

the hospital discovered high blood pressure (245/150), which had caused a brain hemorrhage at the worst possible place in his brain -- a place that was inoperable. he is in a coma, on life support, ventilator, the whole nine. they nearly pronounced him dead that night.

saturday seemed to have some hope. his eyelids fluttered and his feet twitched when pricked. we all thought that brain activity was returning but sunday revealed that was not to be the case.
truthfully, blood was pooling in his brain due to swelling due to infection.

disks of his brain scans were rushed to UPenn and Jefferson Hospital in Phil., and all three hospitals confirmed it is hopeless.

my sister in law stood by her father's hospital bed and told her dad goodbye last night.
they will be taking him off life support this afternoon.
Chris will bury her 53 year old husband on monday.

our hearts have been tearing in two for this family -- a family very close to ours. such a heart wrenching loss for all of them.

one day he's fine. and the next day he's gone. and it casts this aching overshadowing that brings you back to the bare bones of life. to all the things that matter in this life and the things that do not.

death is a reminder that our hearts were not programmed for this world.
we were originally created without death in the equation...
and in our loss, we consciously (and unconsciously) seek out understanding that simply points us to the eternal. our only Hope. the One who conquered death.

and yes, it feels shameful that our family spent a day weeping over a test.
a stupid title that will be left behind when death, in turn, greets us.

focus, allison.


John 14:1-4
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God; trust also in me.
In my Father's house are many rooms;
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I am going there to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me
that you also may be where I am...

Revelation 21:4

He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Headed South...

North Carolina or BUST!

what does that saying really mean?
why do i have to go to the DMV at the crack of dawn? :)

upside of losing your wallet? shopping with the one shiny, brand-spankin' new replacement card that just arrived in the mail for you and purchasing the most drop-dead gorgeous crocodile full-frame clutch wallet....

...and maybe another hot patent leather double full frame for swanky nights out...cuz they the time.

...and almost a pair of via spiga ankle boots. but i refrained. and now i have nightmares.

am i the only one haunted by shoes????


thank you everybody for your kind words/emails/texts/phone calls of love.

somebody sent the below quote in response to the CFA test and i really, really loved it:

"It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

(Paris Sorbonne, 1910)

have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bad Day, Part II

so there we were.
it was rounding 4pm, and isaac needed a nap.

from my glider in the nursery, rocking in the dark, chad at the computer desk was within my line of sight.

he must have stared at the computer monitor for twenty minutes.

as i closed the nursery door to head back to talk with him, i realize this day is going far too slowly.

we are both starving, and we have a round of rather depressing phone calls to make. but first the excited emails from one of his CEOs, his assistant, and many emails from best friends/colleagues needed to be answered. he certainly stared at his blackberry for a minute before sending off an email that states, "...not this year." his status at work, fortunately, is not dependent whatsoever on these scores. it doesn't really change his position at work, or help/hurt him at all, which is one of the hugest blessings in this equation. (or maybe it's evidence that he's truly insane.) chad just wants the darn designation...well...for the future. and he's got quite the cheering section from his place of employment and everybody just aches to see him succeed. the outpouring of love and encouraging words were a soothing balm to his heart!

i made the decision to head out for dinner.
the house was too quiet.
we needed a change of scenery.
so when isaac woke up, we packed his diaper bag and headed over to King St with our stroller to window shop, walk around the water, and have dinner.

sadly, the weather was quite reflective of our moods.
it rained cats and dogs during dinner, but since we were having an early dinner, it was a relatively empty restaurant except for another family a few tables away. it didn't go over so well when their three year old came over to say hi to isaac and play with him and the mother urgently raced to her child's side and right before MY VERY EYES in my VERY PRESENCE, scolded her child, "NO NO! you don't touch babies! babies are DIRTY! they have GERMS! DIRTY!"

my eyes must have been the size of saucers. i looked at chad to make sure i heard correctly. she has no idea how much venom could have spewed out of my mouth! NOT TODAY, LADY!

isaac was a gem. dinner was tasty! i was thankful we made the decision to head out...and that top shelf margarita certainly hit the spot. :)

until we wanted to walk back to our car.

i stood under the restaurant awning while waiting for chad to get the car -- it was raining so hard it hurt my skin! he pulled up and i took isaac out of the stroller and he took the stroller and ran to throw it in the trunk and i ran to buckle isaac in.

it wasn't until we got home that i realized i had set my WALLET on top of the stroller.
you know.
the stroller that chad sprinted with, into the street. on a busy street.

more crying was the only appropriate response.
because this occurring ON THIS DAY is the only appropriate timing.
because the ONE REFRESHING aspect of our day must be MARRED by such a horrible thing happening.

we scoured the street, knelt down to check the sewer, asked the restaurant, walked the sidewalks.

it was gone.
my license.
debit cards.
credit cards.
store cards.
health insurance.

and i spent the final hour before isaac went to bed, calling to cancel every credit card number i could think of. (FYI = it would be smart for all of you to learn from my wretched experience and write down WHAT is in your wallet, the phone numbers to call, and the CARD NUMBERS. in your moment of disbelief, and while somebody else is waltzing around KING STREET with your credit cards, you don't wanna be wasting time GOOGLING customer service numbers.)

((...and do you want to know torture? do you really want to understand true pain? imagine the following morning. your husband leaves the STATE for the day and is on business 4 hours from home. you wander downstairs and realize you are OUT. OF. COFFEE. oh. no big deal, right? you'll walk down the cafe and get a latte. HA. but WAIT! you don't have ANY HOPE of buying ANYTHING because you don't have a WALLET. not even a dollars worth of change in the house. this is when i personally wished to die. the caffeine withdrawal was too consuming....))

(((...thankfully, lanier puchased me coffee on her way to work. i am indebted for life. isaac thanks you, too!!! )))

ok, so you get the point.
it was a pretty bad 24 hour cycle. :)

i so appreciate all of your emails, phone calls, prayers and comments.
if you've known us for a few years, you've probably become accustomed to carrying this burden with us -- and for that we cannot possibly begin to express our gratitude.

we exhaled as we laid in bed that night.

i tried to be positive, "....well....we're not dead...and you know what that means, right?"

he smiled and answered back, "we are not dead. and since that didn't kill us -- it hopefully made us stronger..."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It Is Well....

i feel like today has been a very long day. very long.

it's another one of those days that reminds you that His ways are higher than our ways.

to cut to the chase, Chad will be taking the CFA again in 2010.

after six agonizing months of preparation and study, chad took the CFA Level III on june 6th.

and then the wait began.

it's a long wait. an odd amount of time, where our entire family is left in suspense as the tests are scored. the relief washes over us because the test is over -- and just enough time goes by for life to recalibrate and summer to ensue.

and then...just when you've begun to forget about the hell that is "study season," the emails start circulating that scores are going to be released soon. and the panic returns. from january to june we are turned upside down. and then in august, we remember it's not over. results arrive. and that was today.

the first half of the day was ...surreal.
i was jittery.
and the cycle continued until chad walked in the door.

scores are released at 9am, but since chad gives presentations all day, he waits until he gets home to open the email and uncover the results.

when i heard the door open, i nearly threw up.

it was time.

he walked up the stairs and was all smiles.

he had bought me flowers, thanking me for all of my support (if that's what you want to call it. i waiver between undying love and support and utter frustration and exhaustion over this test...). as he held the flowers out for me, they were shaking. his hands were shaking. he was jittery when i went in for a hug to thank him. we were both clammy, despite our best attempts to have small talk about our days.

he also hadn't eaten all day.

it was 3pm.

i asked if he wanted to eat or would rather log in and get it over with.
he chose the latter.

and so the three of us ascended to our bedroom where our main computer is and got down on our knees to completely release whatever was about to transpire over the following 10 minutes to God. it seems like just yesterday when we did this last year.

a string of "God knows best..." and "scores don't matter," and "no matter what happens, we are still blessed," were uttered between the two of us as tears fell.

and as isaac destroyed our bedroom mini-blinds.

normally i sit on his lap as he logs in and together our faces press close to the monitor. i just couldn't do it this year. i remember his legs almost giving way last year, because they were shaking. and frankly, the monitor scares me and it felt safer to watch from across the room, through my some horror movie as you anticipate something scary popping out at you.

i leaned against my dresser and felt lightheaded, truth be told.

but i will never forget the unspeakable exhilaration of being present when he passed Level 2, and wanted to be ready. i coughed really loudly so he wouldn't hear me turn my camera on, in preparation of capturing what could have been one of the happiest days of his life. (i know that sounds extreme, but after investing 8 years into a life goal...i would have to call it such.)

he pulled up the CFA Server, and with shaky hands, started to log in.

incorrect password.
this happens every year.
every. year.

it's God's way of offering comic relief, i have to believe.

we both let out nervous laughs and agree this must be a very effective chinese torture method.

he logs in again.

incorrect password.

i feel my chest burning.

logs in again...

i stand closer to my left hand pressing hard against my mouth...

and his head falls into his hands and...well...that is that.

it doesn't help morale at all that capital letters across the screen spell out the word: FAIL.

it is a horror movie.
and we live it every year.
and God presses "repeat" annually for reasons that are utterly beyond us.

for some awful reason, my husband desperately, desperately wants a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

this is what was published in the papers back in May, prior to this years exam:

A record 128,600 enrolled to take the Chartered Financial Analyst exam in June, and if history is any guide, more than half will fail during Wall Street's worst shakeout in at least three decades.

Candidates from 154 countries are scheduled to take one of three levels of the CFA exam.

A CFA is the ultimate credential on Wall Street possessed by Bill Gross, who runs the world's biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., and Abby Joseph Cohen, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.'s senior investment strategist. It's especially true after financial firms cut more than 311,000 jobs since global markets started to unravel in 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Of the 49,797 people who took the Level 1 exam in December, just 35 percent passed. Topics range from ethical standards and securities valuation to financial statement analysis and portfolio management.

i guess it's not too crazy of him to desire this designation, but...words can't really describe how crushing it is to pour yourself out and come up short.

the only person in the room with a dry eye was isaac.

sometimes you run out of reinforcing, positive words to say.
sometimes they really aren't even relevant or desired.

it took a few minutes of reeling and speechlessness to grapple with the situation.

personal fulfillment deferred by another year.

Chad is one of the smartest people i know. and if you know him, you would wholeheartedly agree. it's beyond us HOW this is our reality....again.

and i'm certain there are 51% of the test takers out there banging their heads against the wall, saying the same thing.

i ran the gamut with my encouraging one-liners.
but my husband failed.
i know it.
he knows it.
and there's nothing that will erase those big letters across the horror movie monitor.
it's just flat out HARD to watch your husband be reduced to "FAIL"...and i would trade places with him in a heartbeat. i couldn't think of ANYTHING i wouldn't do to reverse the test results.

many people have suggested he give up.
let the dream go.
move on with his life.
accept that he'll never have his CFA.
and i used to be one of them...

but with so much time invested -- that feels silly.
and i would certainly have quit. because i tend to be the quitter in this house.
but not chad. he astounds me with his persistence and dedication. and he's never even considered giving up. it would be against his DNA to throw in the towel, and so...well...we brace ourselves for another year of endurance, as the goal is still within his power to attain.

so while the score keepers may call him a failure, as i lift his wet face out of his hands, in my heart i know nothing is further from the truth. i see a brave man who annually risks his pride and his personal comfort to strive for the very, very top. of course chad would aim to be in Wall Street's top one percent.

though closure on this season of our lives will be left for another year...i burst with pride.

i am honored to know him.

...and i am honored that he is mine.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, It is well, with my soul.

And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back like a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

big day... we wait...time is certainly standing still...

CFA Level III Exam Pass Rate Drops to 49% From 53% Last Year

By M. Moore

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- A lower percentage of Wall Street job applicants passed the third and final test to become Chartered Financial Analysts, a designation that offers an edge during Wall Street’s worst shakeout in at least three decades.

Forty-nine percent of candidates passed the third stage of the test, down from 53 percent last year, the CFA Institute said in an e-mailed statement today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Moore in New York at

Last Updated: August 18, 2009 10:36 EDT


So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

"LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the LORD always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Psalm 16:5-8

Monday, August 17, 2009

...just another Sunday...

Chad gets up with Isaac.
I sleep in... body is destroyed from pilates.
Coffee brewing.
Newspaper delivered.
An hour of fun in family room.
It’s 9am?
‘we are walking out of this door at 1015!’
Sounds like a record that skips.
Isaac needs breakfast.
I need to pack his bag for church.
…uhm, we’re out of whole milk.
Chad, please run to get whole milk.
I must get ready with Isaac in the bathroom.
Unravels a roll of toilet paper.
Rips pages out of a book.
Crawls into the shower.
Look at watch.
Isaac on verge of pulling entire shoe rack down in closet.
Stomach burning from coffee, no breakfast.
Somebody has missed a morning nap completely.
Drag Isaac to high chair.
Put on makeup while feeding him.
10:07AM, chad walk in the door.
…but the whole milk isn’t organic?!
Contemplate whether non-organic milk is rat poison or not.
Hand Isaac to chad for diaper change, clothing and shoes.
Diaper cream gets all over isaac’s hands, truck, and new Robeez.
How do you get these DARN shoes on anyways?! They don’t buckle or tie?!
Mentally drafting letter to Robeez. Engineering needs improvement.
Switch infant carrier from one car to the other – taking separate cars.
Why the heck didn't I buy him a new carseat yesterday?
Long story.
Holy cow, it’s 500 degrees outside.
Pour bottle of rat poison for Isaac and stuff into diaper bag.
Arms are killing me.
Run upstairs, throw clothes on.
Quads are killing me.
Forgot makeup bag next to Gerber Puffs.
Omg, where are my keys?
Toothpaste on my dress?
Have I even had a glass of water yet today?
Ponytail it is.
What’s burning?
Coffeepot is burning.
Get in car.
Blast air conditioning.
Realize I forgot stuff in the house.
Who cares.
Zone out while asking myself how this occurs every Sunday.
Drive past Mr Henrys.
Memories of being accosted on Election Day.
Red light.
Did I really enjoy living in this city?
Red light.
Why are Capitol Hill traffic lights not motion-sensored?
Please God let my secret illegal parking space be open.
Who goes to Eastern Market when it’s this hot?
Red light.
Isaac asleep.
Stilettos and bricked sidewalks don’t mesh.
Isaac throws his pacifier on sidewalk 4 times.
More sweating.
Running up 3 flights of stairs to the children’s floor.
My quads and abs are waiving a white flag.
Check in.
Wrist bands.
Kiss goodbye.
Grab bulletin.
Quick bathroom stop.
My regular balcony seat.

….we made it….

Friday, August 14, 2009

how is he our kid?

i had horrific nightmares all night.
it was my birthday party, but it was at my house.
except that part was reminiscent of isaac's bday party at my house....but on speed.
like, 500 people, no room to move, devastation of my home.
and then everybody left and for some reason i was on a deadline to get my house clean again and the more i tried, the worse it got and .....well, everytime i'd go back to sleep....the dirty house WAS STILL THERE.....
interpret, please...?

so, today's the day.

for whatever reason, isaac hates food. you may or may not know the details in full, but we are a mixture of completely weirded out and frustrated and...sure...maybe a smidge of worry? bigger smidge of jealously.

do you have any idea how much longer i could put off joining a gym if i just...didn'

well, so, isaac is not normal in this arena. he has been observed by developmental specialists three times since birth and they thinks he's fabulous! he scores above normal in many things! and then she chirps about all of her results and in passing asks, "'s he eating?" she takes a seat when i tell her he is a SPAZ about textures. he nods, and tests him out with a cheerio. negative, ghostrider. he gummed the cheerio and it sat on his tongue for twenty minutes until it disintegrated. he simply will not chew, despite the 8+ teeth we have slaved over. she gave me a bunch of sheets on how to 'encourage' his affection for solids...

three days into that, i realized this was a losing battle. he'd start screaming the second i'd place him in his highchair and ANYTHING i attempted to give him caused him to arch his back so hard i half expected the high chair to tip over.

fastforward to today.
he's been referred to a clinic for an 'eating evaluation.' i have no idea what it will entail but hopefully they'll help isaac get over this hump. he obviously doesn't realize many of his dreams will come true when he incorporates CHEEEEEEESE into his diet. hello!? and he obviously missed the memo that ONLY during babyhood is weighing more and packing on the pounds a positive thing. people would kill to be a baby again! to forego utensils, disregard table manners, and endless amounts of high fat fare!...... and you're just WASTING it, isaac.

he will live to regret it, i'm certain.

so wish us luck this afternoon.
during the scheduling phone call, i asked if i know....bring him in starving. you know, like they told me to do when i would meet with the lactation consultant, in order to heighten interest in fooooood when he was a newborn. (by the way, that just doesn't seem right. he was 3 weeks old! not even reaching his due date yet! "please bring him in hungry...make sure he is reeeeaaaaallly hungry.")

i got silence from the receptionist...

...." bring him in happy."

well, HA. hungry is easier to guarantee than happy. i can guarantee hungry....but ma'am, i will try my best to show up with him ....happy.

and so we scratch our heads. he just can't be our kid....he hates food?!
(ah, brings up the DNA story again....i will write it all out soon!)

so off we go.
keep you posted.


planning to see Time Traveler's Wife tonight.....
very excited.


isn't it true that coffee just TASTES better from your favorite mug? chad brought me coffee is the bad mug today. the step-child mug. i hate that mug. and coffee just didn't hit the spot because of it.
what kind of husband IS HE?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

deep considerations...

i wonder if arlen specter really grasps how old he is.

eating sushi while paying the bills seemed like a fun combo, but the soy sauce container smells raunch on my desk the following morning.

time to shave, isaac is petting my leg hair.

i seriously doubt my ability to work out repeatedly. even if i spend money to do it. i just don't trust that i can do it.

don't go off bragging about perfecting the 'last minute payment' of mortgage. cuz at the last minute, you might lose your mortgage payment stub booklet thingy. and drop two eggs and a full box of pasta on the ceramic floor. and misplace birthday money. and myriad of all bad, horrible things that must happen in a rather unfortunate series....

Monday, August 10, 2009

somebody around here got a promotion...

i mean. did they go over his strengths and weaknesses in the annual review? did he get a raise? stock options? equity? is he partner, now?

Hello Morgans!

Starting this Sunday, Isaac is eligible to move up to the 12-17 month olds’ class.
We promote on the first Sunday of each month, so his name has been officially added to the roster for the 12-17 month olds.
You can sign him in under the yellow sign on the 2nd floor, if you have not begun doing so already.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Have a great week,

Bev B,

Children’s Ministry Administrator

Capitol Hill Baptist
525 A Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

isaac was rather thrilled, though not surprised by said promotion.
we asked him how he'd prefer to celebrate, so:

clearly saturday was spent recuperating:

and back to business as usual bright and early monday morning:

hey, at least one of us is being promoted, right?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

jail...jail...and oh wait, more jail....

welcome to the baby jail.
prison stripes unintentional but totally optional.

given how exhausted i am over dragging the high chair in and out of the kitchen, i've permanently affixed our portable booster thingy to a chair and shoved it in front of the TV for occurrences such know...peeing. and makeup. or whatever. leaving the room without fear of isaac 'stirring' the toilet water (not while i'm using it, of course) with his hands and/or eating toilet paper....

....or electrocuting himself in my absence....

whatever. baby jail works really well for both of us. i have to believe he approves of it, because guess what...we're out of options. too large for the swing, too angry for the exersaucer and too curious for his own good.

speak of large. and jail.....
it was pediatrician day!

"holy hannah, get me OUTTA HERE....."

despite isaacs effort to avoid eating at all costs, i've managed to shove enough calories into his body that he stores the excess in his thighs and hovers anywhere between 50th - 90th percentile, depending on the measurements of different body parts....

i'll let you guess where his noggin fell on the spectrum...
which is noteworthy, because i fully expect that cranium to be full of academic scholarship goodness, buddy. i will pull these pictures out and remind you of your brain potential for every C you get on your senior report card. oh wait. didn't i recently wax all poetic about not caring where you went to college? haaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

it's quite appropriate that they stab needles into babies/toddlers/children/spawn right next to a psychedelic puzzle that makes your brain bleed out of your soothing....

to my great dismay, the puzzle failed to calm Monster Brain down.
bottle did the trick...

and we were on our merry way.... jail #3.

my baby had his first official hair cut, which is the only appropriate thing to make your friend do when she's going through this. i am so sorry did WAY too much, considering you are recovering. but it was good to see you -- you look great. and i'm glad our boys were able to bond over cranberries (HE DID!) and yogurt puffs (old hat...) and that we were able to share a pot of coffee. :) i love you! and...well...i love free stuff too. and now i have LOTS of free hair to stash away in the baby book..... SOB.

"jail is getting ooooold."

and thus concludes our day on the go.
today was pretty rough on him and so i'm curious to know how long he'll nap for?! it's 530...and i still have to go grocery shopping and put him in JAIL #4 for the day = SHOPPING CARTS.....

::: shudder :::

wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


so for my REAL birthday, we had a family dinner out. dinner included all of my favorite food groups. cheese + wine + bread + baby + hubby. :) we coulda done w/o the mosquitoes, but apparently they couldn't help but celebrate with us, too.

isaac behaved like a real life doll, very appropriate behavior when mommy is tired and partied out! of course he hasn't quite grasped the whole "look at the camera and smile" idea, which is quite odd (and maybe a little annoying?) for a child who has a camera shoved in his face about...oh...4 hours a day.

he's got a new obsession. teeth.

can i get another round, please?.....

NEWFLASH: isaac ate BREAD! like, real LIVE bread! granted, it's sitting right in front of him in the above photograph, however i had to mince it into such small pieces it's not really visible to the naked eye. HOWEVER!? he ate it and you will clap right now for our success.

i guess it's at this point i should tell you that we have an 'eating evaluation' with some developmental therapists next friday. awesome. my kid is 1 and already employing a therapist. who OF COURSE doesn't take our insurance. (here we go TAX RETURN 2009!) so we shall allow the professionals to assess his aversion to textures and test out his 'eating form' and his sensory responses. for OBVIOUS reasons, this raises some red flags and is a little worrisome, but we are being promised that this is very normal and resolvable. which is good cuz mama is getting REAL tired of sitting there for 45 minutes, three times a day, feeding a 12mth old with EIGHT TEETH, nothing but jarred pureed food for infants. end rant.

so, between baby showers, birthday parties, family visits, more birthday parties, more hosting friends in town, more birthday parties....yada yada, we're ready for some down time! and we very much look forward to our vacation next month! it will be nice to get away for some peace and quiet, just the three of us. we're really trying to start a tradition where just the three of us get some QT alone for a week..... in this city and in this world of crazy hustle/bustle/travel schedules/social events, it will be nice to hole up with my husband and my baby to reconnect, beachfront, in solitude for a week....

i'm droooooling.
bring on september!

aaaaaand i hear isaac awake from his nap....

PS: when i look at that first photograph, i wonder who the heck isaac looks like. not me. not daddy. and then i remember back to the day he was discharged and we were notified that his DNA was such that it was impossible for him to be my child, given my DNA. that was a REAL COOL conversation in my post-partum delirium. remind me to tell you that story sometime......

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


ever feel like you're driving in a car with a pit in your stomach because you're not that thrilled about your destination? i guess you could say that's how the last few weeks have been for me. truthfully, i've had this feeling since chad turned 30 back in march. and i was in a car with no breaks and no pit stops allowed. 30 was fast approaching and i had no control over it!

well, the destination is THIRTY and i have finally arrived.

can you say gorgeous flowers?! my good friend lanier orchestrated the cake, flowers, you know....everything!

you could say the angst surfaced when a good friend celebrated her 30th in February and chad celebrated his in March and i knew mine was fast approaching. i remember having this conversation with chad in the car about...well...a psuedo-mini-midlife-crisis. obviously 30 is not midlife but i think this season of my life represents a great divide between who i was and who i am now and what i'll never be again.


thanks to my loving and supportive parents, i HONESTLY grew up thinking i could do anything. become anything. go anywhere. succeed at whatever i chose. because of this, i spent my junior high years FULLY believing i'd be an astronaut. (i wish i were kidding.)

then in high school i went through a very 'live in the moment' phase and chose to not think about the future at all. then i was going to start a restaurant. then i was going to go to harvard. then i was going to become a famous singer (purchased the guitar and all!), then i was going to go to med school and become a surgeon. you know...a surgeon who doesn't have to see blood or deal with guts.

then i was going to become a radio host which quickly transitioned into whitehouse press secretary....

at least they made "30" look classy and pretty :)

it's pretty obvious why i was voted "Class Dreamer of 1997," when i graduated HS. should i add that it was insulting at the time because i had to pose for the yearbook photo seated between Class's Most Shy and Class's Most Quiet.
uhmmm....i was not impressed with this form of notoriety....

i never saw it coming. my husband had convinced me it was a dinner for our anniversary...and then opened the door...

unfortunately, this overactive imagination and false sense of opportunity did not translate into much ambition in college. i would give my right arm to go back to college, though it was because i have the world's most amazing friends. not because i did anything stellar in the classroom....

with that said -- i did actually graduate and proceeded to cry for 2 weeks. i do not deal well with closure. at all. so i moved home and continued to my job search.

(fortunately, my ambition served me well and i DID complete an internship in DC in 2001, and by early 2002, started driving to DC on days i didn't have class to interview for Hill positions....)

The Greatest Man Ever....

when i ready to give up...i told my parents i was going back to school for nursing. they were utterly exasperated by my ventures...yet...agreed i could do it.

two days later i landed a job with the Senate.
close call.

two years after that...i was appointed by the WH to head over to Iraq to work with the Coalition Provisional Authority/Green Zone with Ambassador Bremmer. sure. why not. hazard pay. single. 6mth commitment. WAR TIME COMMUNICATIONS DEPT!? resume!? killer story....I AM ALL IN! what's to lose....

then i moved to chicago.
to work at a publishing house. (huh?!)
i know.
got married....came back to DC....did more publicity stuff....and had a baby.
oh...and started my own photography business....(gosh i really AM so random)

3 course dinner with loved ones....

my twenties were CHOCK FULL of 'sky's the limit' situations and i truly felt unleashed. unfettered. the possibilities were endless. i had time to change my course, jump ship, go back to school, do WHATEVER I WANTED.....

the best game i ever played at a party..."2 truths & a lie"

i guess the last few months, i have reflected on all of this.
i can no longer close one door and open another without consequences.
i have a house.
a husband.
a baby.
commitments, people!

"after party" at our penthouse suite at Lorien Hotel & Spa

i've also started to wonder, "wow....30s, huh? next is 40s...and then 50s....," and have asked myself if i am proud of the past 30 years. what contribution have i made to those around me? what eternal contribution have i made to the Kingdom? is God pleased with my life thus far? what's left on my to-do list? what adventurous accomplishments do i still have left to make?

at any rate -- 30 has marked a season of transition. my choices may be limited and my future has more of a purpose of singularity and i'd probably be lying to say that i don't mourn the loss of 'freedom' in a selfish, strange way....not freedom from my family, but freedom from OPTIONS in this world, places to travel, things to take on....i would take my family with me on all of these imagined adventures if i could -- but i cannot -- so i choose my family first and foremost and let go of all these crazy, wild ideas in my head....

i guess it's called growing up, for a reason...

my goal is to embrace a more settled and stable life. to master ONE thing at a time, rather than to clutter my life with half-hearted projects and lists and ideas and ...and, in haphazard fashion like i did in my 20's....

now that i am THIRTY, i KNOW who my friends are.
i KNOW what i love.
i KNOW what i have chosen to embrace and commit to.
i KNOW what my gifts and strengths are, and what my failures and weaknesses are...

and i know TRULY (i'm not just saying this!) that i would not trade anyTHING or anyONE for my family. my baby. my husband. my life of increasing peacefulness.

gifts & more wine.

because, ultimately, what i have today is exactly what i wanted at the end of a long day on Capitol Hill. i still may eat take out and sleep odd hours. i may still wear heels at inappropriate times and neglect vacuuming my house. i may even still pretend i'm a government employee and wish the world were Republican....

but i do it all from my home, next to my baby, and exhale that i'm on the otherside of that. my 'drama' so far today is baby poop on PJs, coffee getting too cold and birthday phone calls interrupting my Intense Blogging Project de Jour. :)

and so i embrace 30 (gosh in the same way i embrace that my baby is ONE.....see! this week is so freaking dramatic?!) and am excited to see what THIS DECADE will bring! this year is a culmination of all my previous years....each of us is made of choices, experiences, happy times and sad molds us and we become a product of it all.

the Morning greasy buffet. hit the spot!

and i am pleased with the result. where i am. who i love. where my priorities lie. and i am ultimately thankful that God has led and ordered my steps. He set my course and i could never express my gratitude ENOUGH for that....

oh hey, isaac! welcome to the club...where you been all my life?

so, farewell, twenties. it was a fun, crazy, impromptu decade full of insanity that somehow brings me to TODAY!

and thanks to everybody who has stuck by my side during that decade. your friendships mean more than you'll ever know. thank you for celebrating with me and for joining life with me. and you know....for throwing that ridiculously AMAZING party to help me over this hump. :)

i love you all.

...and i love growing up...

Monday, August 3, 2009

365 Days of Joy.....

oh, isaac.

21 weeks pregnant

my heart brims with so many differing and complicated emotions, as you are now a full year old. the emotions are mixed: thrilled, proud, astounded...sad? i'm sure the sadness stemmed from the huge undertaking recently, virtually removing all evidences that a baby lived in your room. from your swing, to your swaddle, to you burp rags, to you baby the hospital cap you came home in...little trinkets that cause the memories of the past year to rain down on me. how far we've much we've many treasures are stored in my heart! i grasp each day for the mental snapshots that will remain etched on my mind, but the frames all blur together and all of the sudden...what!'re 365 days old, now.

first night being admitted...

when i would nurse you as a newborn, you were as long as the distance from my wedding band to my elbow, nestled close. wasn't it...just...yesterday? and every night, i take another mental snapshot of you laying across my lap and wish time to freeze. your feet now dangle over the arm rest and our days are numbered for when you'll be able to comfortably fall asleep in my arms. i treasure the weight of your head in my left arm. i look at you and will become a man.

5lbs 2oz

painful to look at, even now...

and so our lives peel away in layers and the 'infant' layer of your time with us is now safely packed away in bins and boxes...and embedded in our hearts forever.

i've mulled over why all my loved ones have joyous birthdays, and with great anticipation we plan, and purchase gifts and ultimately celebrate another year...and why i feel a deep ache sometimes with yours.

he was ok...huge relief...

after much meditating, i've realized i don't mark the days of my life, or the length of my years according to my parents birthdays. or my siblings. or my friends, for that matter. i don't reflect upon my life, when i celebrate their birthdays.

3 days old...

but with you, isaac, i've never been more acutely aware of the measure of a year. a week. a minute. you bring exponential value to every second. it's here. and then it's gone. and while that moment was enjoyed to it's fullest -- it's the fullness of it that pangs the heart. i relished every second of this year to an extent i never knew i had the capability of and ...and it now exists as a part of my memory. but as a building block of you who are and will become. and there's the twist. i mourn, in part, the passing of time, all while fully appreciating my great responsibility in your rearing.

day after delivery -- i missed my baby shower!

though God is eternal and lives in timelessness, he has given us the framework of time. and the limits of time. and power of time. but, isaac, i pray you understand from an early age that life is precious, yet, fleeting... we don't live forever and we have no control regarding our length of days here on earth....

that said, my prayer is that you live life sharing the urgent message of Christ. as your mother, i could not be more proud of you already! i look into your eyes and wonder what you will become, or how you will understand your calling, or what manner of work you will choose. i wish i could protect you from the pressures you will encounter to seek wealth...fame...fortunes. achieving any of those should never be your loftiest goals and i pray you will be shielded from those empty snares of this life.


day 1 of life...

it doesn't matter what preschool you go to...
or what elementary school you attend.
or where you apply to college.

it honestly doesn't matter when you start walking...
or when you will say your first word.
or when you will be potty trained.

it honestly doesn't matter what sports you play...
or when you get a cell phone.
or who you take to the prom.

while all of those things will be exciting and while i'll relish every milestone we shared together, i continually guard myself against giving you identity in such silly things. my heart's desire is such that i truly want you to find your confidence in Truth.

all earthly confidences are simply doors for which anxiety and fears can enter.

fears about health.
fears about money.
fears about acceptance.
fears about status and popularity.

fear should never define the child of God.

rather than toiling over your current social baby calendar and your eating habits.
or fussing over your appearance and your vocabulary (all very fun and valuable things!)
....i attempt to reset my focus daily on shaping your values and setting your sights on far loftier things.
i don't pray that you'll be the next president, or a famous doctor or lawyer. i don't set my thoughts on cultivating your ambitions to be (yes! again! wonderful things!) anything but inside the will of God.

'car seat test'

and so...

isaac, baby, i pray that you will grow to be a humble man.
i pray that you will be light in this dark world.
i pray that you will love all people, particularly your enemies.
i pray that you will be tempered and wise, understanding life is brief.
i pray that you will be merciful and forgiving.
i pray that you will be a peacemaker and pure in heart.
i pray that you will expect great miracles through faithfulness and depend only on God's grace.
i pray you will find your satisfaction in your relationship with God and drink deeply from the water of His word.
i pray you live against the grain, embracing that this life is just our entree into something far more endlessly remarkable and glorious. understanding that all of humanity's shallow ambition falls short in the light of His glory.
i pray you bear the fruits of the Spirit, that you are characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

and i pray that as you grow and fulfill your calling, and as you shed your childlike dependence on me, that you will transfer your dependence upon God the unshakable foundation of our life. and i pray that Jeremiah 29:11 will resonate in your heart, and also be a reminder to me that God plans our lives, despite our best guesses!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

...and so my momentary sadness evolves into hope. and joy. and gratitude.
we've tucked one year under our belts and side-by-side step toward the future. i can only pray that one day, when my little baby is a tall in stature, striking in presence, and and a fully grown man (hey, i'm just basing it off his daddy!), that you will define success by winning souls for Christ. period. and that in spite of my imperfect and often faltering hand in your upbringing, i will hold no regrets. i will look back at our years together with nothing but amazement. i know my memories with you will be most vibrant -- as you were my first. my miracle.

first time going to church

....and finally, that you will understand that never has another baby been born just like you, predestined to be an intricate part of this family, yes...but infinitely more important, predestined before the beginning of time, to be an intricate and necessary human being with an irreplaceable role to accept in The Great Story...forever. and ever.

Every joy or trial falleth from above.

Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;

We may trust Him fully all for us to do;

They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.


Exactly 365 Days Old...