Oh Yeah, I Have a Husband Too!

It was a combination of two things that reminded me of the existence of my husband.

1- The looming end of my maternity leave {aka: Roy would soon be taking care of our baby on his own for half of every weekday}.
2- Valentine's Day

February ushered in the pink and red explosion in the first isle of the grocery store, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and giant stuffed teddy bears, and I remembered Roy.  I mean really remembered him as more than just, "Daddy".

Greg McCown

In my defense, getting into this motherhood groove hasn't been a walk in the park.  I had to drain all of my energy into it, revolve my every thought around it.  The purpose of my life had shifted.  And Roy {and it's Roy after all} recognized that I needed this.  I needed to regain my footing after the earthquake that reshaped my world, and I needed to do it on my own.

Have I mastered motherhood?  HA!  No, but Roy wasn't waiting for that.  He was just waiting for me to reorient myself.  Waiting for me to have more to say than just, "Can you hand me that burp rag?" or "Shh!  The baby's sleeping!"

Slowly, it came back to me.  Life.  It was bizarre to step outside my bunker of a home and see that it had gone on without me.  People had gotten married, dropped out of college, been promoted, lost a grandparent, traveled to Europe.  Life was still spinning madly forward, and I was excited to be reentering the beautiful chaos with a new purpose and a new little family.

Roy had adjusted to being a dad way faster than I had adjusted to being a mom, but that's just his way.  Adaptable.  Let's things roll off his back.  And always cheering me on as I catch up to him.  Plus it might help that he didn't have any post-pregnancy hormones to contend with.

Valentine's Day weekend was our celebration outside of and separate from parenthood.  The first non-baby related anything for just us.  Roy had something up his sleeve for me, and let me tell you...

I.  Was.  Stoked.

My hair was curled, I swiped some heels from my sister's closet... dude... I even shaved my legs.

I felt fresh, like it was my official "reentering the beautiful chaos" initiation.  We left Camden with my parents -- I checked 40 times to be sure he'd have enough milk for the evening -- and we hit the road.  I didn't know where to, but I couldn't stop smiling anyway.  We were holding hands and laughing 'til I thought my stomach would split.  I was falling in love with him all over again.  Where had I been for the last 10 weeks?

Then we pulled up to Starr Pass Resort.  Fancy!  The plan was obviously to eat at the nice restaurant that our good friend Lynn works at.  We'd never been before, so I was excited.  'Til Roy said, "Where do we check in?"

"Check in?  As in... we're checking into the hotel?  Staying the night?  Without Camden?!"

There's me on the verge of an emotional meltdown.  Rough start to the initiation, right?  We'd never been apart from our baby for more than a couple hours, much less a whole night!  But Roy grabbed my hand and had that look in his eyes like he does when we're about to do something adventerous.  So I let the motherhood anxiety slip through my fingers.  I let us be just us.

So worth it!  After an amazing dining experience on the golf course {which, yes, included fried Oreos on ice cream} we returned to our room and changed for the pools.  Roy so kindly packed a bikini for me.  When he pulled it out of the bag I almost died laughing.

Let's just say my stomach still isn't quite what it used to be.  Between stretch marks and still-loose skin, a bikini would not have been my swimsuit of choice for a few months.  Or maybe ever again.  But hey, I wasn't going to let that stop us from exploring the pools.

So I strutted my motherhood battle wounds as we ran down to the pool.  {Literally, we ran because it was desert cold out.}  We picked the most conspicuous route to the pools, straight through the bar and dining patio in our skimpy getups.  People stared at us.  We laughed.  We are weirdos.

First we tried the lazy river.  It was dark, now, and the pools were empty.  We only had to dip a toe in the water to find out why.  But again, nothing was going to stop us tonight, not even frigid waters.  Roy got up the courage to dive in and he toted me around on an inner tube with the idea that I wouldn't have to get wet.  But he didn't let me stay dry for long.

After one lap around the lazy river we sprinted to the jacuzzi like our lives depended on it.  We made some friends in the hot water, but once they left I promptly encouraged Roy to get on the handicapped lowering chair so I could dunk him in and out of the hot water.  This turned out to be a little less fun than I'd imagined because the thing moved so slowly.  It was more like a torture device, slooooowly lifting Roy out into the freezing air.  Muahaha!

The rest of the night we explored the resort, dressed up in the bath robes like we were important, and just spent time on each other.  We made plans to go see an early movie together in the morning before heading home but... we cracked!  We just wanted to get home to our baby.

Days like these --Valentine's Day, our wedding anniversary, etc. -- they will have whole new meanings now that we're parents.  But in our lives I hope that we take time every day, between the play dates and soccer practices and skinned knees and runny noses, to step back from it all and be just us.  Two weirdos in love.

See Ya Sis

My sister is now a Sister!  Sister Collett: a missionary in the St. Louis, Missouri mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Her decision to serve didn't surprise any of us, I don't think.  She's outgoing and outspoken about her beliefs, with an incredibly strong testimony and a fierce love for people.  This girl is going to do great things and love a lot of people in Missouri.

But we're going to miss her.  It's crazy to think that in 18 months she will return to a walking, talking Camden!  I told her that we will keep a picture of her in the house and talk to Camden about her all the time so that he will know who she is.

Camden and I went to Mexico to spend time with her before she left- a last hurrah.

Some of my dad's family also came to town from Utah.  We loved seeing Aunts Randy and Wanda, who loved seeing Camden.  {Little show stealer ;-)}

It was beautiful in Mexico, but we missed Roy.  He's been working crazy hard with school and his other law activities.  Sometimes it seems like I only see him while we're brushing our teeth in the morning.  So even though Mexico was a nice break from home, I was glad it was only for a few days.  I missed my teeth brushing companion.

Camden's first border crossing was a success.  The officers just glanced at the carseat and didn't even ask to see any paperwork {yes, I was paranoid and brought not only his birth certificate, but our wedding certificate}.

So we made it back for Alexa's goodbye party at my parent's house.  Tons of people came out to support her.  She was smothered in love and good wishes.

Good food, good people, and a good-looking future for my little sis.

We got one last sentimental diaper change in before we said goodbye for 18 months.

Love you, Lex!  Somehow I don't think Camden will be able to forget you.

Anyone who wants to write her can get her contact info from her Facebook page under "info".  Write her!  She will love it!

Nap Slap

Aw, a sleeping angel.

Okay, the fact that I took a picture should clue you in here-- this is a momentous occasion.  He's sound asleep, and he's not in my arms!  Ah, sweet victory!

Who knew something so simple could make me so happy?  Look!  Time to write!  Or maybe I should be showering?  Anyway, this is a little part of parenthood I wasn't prepared for.  No one warned me about the nap slap.

nap slap (n.) to be slapped in the face with the reality that your child will not nap during the day, which will leave you without a life of your own or the ability to accomplish even the most menial tasks.

I know every baby has his or her little things.  Like sensitive skin or milk allergies or what have you.  Camden, bless his little heart, hates missing out on the fun during the day.  He wants to be up and partying at all times, preferably always attached to me.  By noon this leaves me still in my pajamas, ravenously trying to eat an energy bar with one hand while rocking the baby in the other.  This nap slap has me unraveling.

Camden is a perfect nighttime sleeper.  In fact, he officially sleeps through the night!  Even if he does get up to eat, he'll go right back down in his crib and babble to himself until he falls back asleep.  But Heaven help you if he so much as glimpses his crib during daylight hours.  You'd think I was trying to stick him in a pot of boiling water!

For a while I let this frustrate me.  I read the books, I tried their tricks, I tried their schedules.  I asked advice from lots of other mamas, but none seemed to have my same problem.  Online I found that there are thousands going through the exact same thing we are, but the advice there was only disheartening.  "Stick it out, the baby will get it in a few months!"

"But we don't have a few months!" I told Roy.  "I'm going back to work!"  I imagined Roy stuck in this position all day and unable to get any studying done for his classes.

So one day Camden and I were battling it out with this desperate timeline in the forefront of my mind.  I was trying to convince him to sleep in his pack n' play.  His car seat.  His bouncer.  Anywhere but in my arms!  The frustration was exhausting me.  And then he suddenly looked up at me and gave me his big cheesy smile.

Oh, that kid knows how to play me.

Since that gummy grin, we're dancing to a different tune.  I do what works.  Sometime's that leaves me trying to work the computer mouse with my foot, and sometimes {if I'm lucky} that leaves me going for an hour drive in the car.  I try the crib sometimes, ready for the day when he realizes his crib is awesome.  But for now I just try not to forget how short this time is.  He's changing so fast, and soon he won't be able to sleep in my arms anymore.  So I smile and hug him close and watch the forty billionth episode of Friends.  He's still just a tiny guy, and I don't want to rush his growing up.

But he is growing up a little every day.  He has discovered toys:


And he can actually kind of reach for them and {of course} pull them toward his mouth.

Best of all: he laughs!
Roy takes Cam for the first hour in the morning, letting me get an extra bit of sleep.  One morning I woke up to the sweetest, head-thrown-back type of laughter.  It's so clear and high-pitched, like someone's rocking out with a wind chime.  Roy was playing with his feet and the kid was just cracking up over and over.  I thought I was going to melt.

Uncle Zac is able to get him to laugh too.  He and Camden are total buds.

Training him early

On a completely unrelated note; Camden had his first set of immunizations.  He's a tough little guy, but his mama is a teary mess when he's in pain.  When the nurse asked me to "hold him down" on the table, I wanted to pick up my baby and run screaming from the building!  But it was lightening fast and he only cried for a minute.  He's a warrior.

Love this life.

Arranged Friendship

Two weeks ago Camden met his best friend for the first time.

 Roy Camden + Kenneth Cade = BFFs

Long before these boys were born their parents arranged their eternal best friendship.  The only obstacle {other than the slight chance that these boys will have wills of their own} is distance.  Despite our extreme persuasive abilities, the McAffees still live in Utah.  

But there are friends worth driving 12 hours for, even worth consoling a crying baby on a crowded airplane for.  Lucky for us, both the Tietjens and the McAffees agree.  Thus, our kids will basically think that they're cousins.

Kenny couldn't make it down.  The joys of having a real world job, right?  But for months Andrea and I had planned her and baby Cade's trip for their fateful meeting.  Speaking of fate... of course poor Cade got sick just a week before the trip.  We mommies stressed each other out with what ifs and debating whether or not they should still come down.

After ironing out a few rules, we decided they should still come.  By the time they got here Cade was almost 100%, but we still followed our strict anti-sickness protocol.  We sanitized doorknobs like crazy people, washed our hands between babies, and we kept them far, far apart.

Poor Cade, watching the other baby get played with!

Of course that was sad.  It wasn't the epic meeting we had originally planned, but we still bent the rules enough for some pictures.

Totally worth the risk.

It was a fantastic week.  We didn't hit up any touristy spots, we didn't visit my family--heck!  We barely stepped outside of the house!  We did our normal daily routines, but together.  Nursing?  Cleaning spit up off the couch?  Rocking babies to sleep?  Sooo much more fun when there's another mama and baby doing it all along side you.