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Get to know The Archibald Project

10 Jan

If you’ve been following me on Facebook lately or if you saw this announcement, you know that I have a really exciting trip coming up!  At the end of February (actually the day after Joel finishes the BAR) I’ll be boarding a plane to Uganda.  I’m going there with The Archibald Project as part of their Media Mission Team.

From The Archibald Project’s website:
We exist to advocate for the orphan.  Our stories serve to educate and inspire people towards adoption, and because we exist fewer children will be called orphans.

The Archibald Project has documented several adoptions with photographs and films – including one for my friend, Shannon.  You can see the story of their first adoption, through the eyes of Whitney and Nick, here.  And you can read about their second adoption (a sibling group of three from Jinja, Uganda) here.

We dream about a world where all children, even those deemed unworthy by society, have a chance to know love, feel touch, be given grace and mercy, and experience the love of a family. We desire that no child be without a parent(s), but the harsh reality is there are heart breaking circumstances that cause thousands of children to be orphaned every day. We do not think adoption is the complete answer to the orphan crisis, but there is no question that adoption is being used to save and change the lives of children. We have witnessed it firsthand, and we want the world to witness it with us.

We have seen a miracle adoption of a fourteen year old girl be completed just days before she was forced to the streets. We have seen parents travel to the ends of the earth to love a child that some considered unlovable. We have seen children who are underdeveloped solely because they are never touched. We have seen families spend thousands of dollars that they don’t have to rescue a child they have never met. Our pictures have helped a family find and bring home a boy who is HIV positive.

All of the things we have seen are stories. Some stories are beautiful, some powerful, and some heart breaking, but all of these stories need to be told. We tell these stories. We use our cameras to advocate for orphans. We capture precious moments that stir the heart and inspire others to adopt. We show the world little faces still waiting for a family. We let the orphan know that their life and their story matter. We give a face to the faceless and a voice to the voiceless.  We want the world to know that they exist and we will travel anywhere we are called in order see this purpose accomplished.

Myself and the other artists going on the trip applied, along with a lot of other talented and amazing artists, and were interviewed for a spot on the team.  And the 9 of us were chosen to join Whitney and Nick in Jinja, Uganda – a town outside of Kampala.  Our team is made up of photographers, videographers, and writers, all extremely talented, and all with the desire to use our art to help others.

Our job while we’re there will be to document and tell the stories of the kids in an orphanage.  In the mornings we’ll spend time just hanging out with the kids and getting to know them – holding them, hugging them, loving on them, showing them that they matter and that they are cared about.  Because they do matter.  And I don’t even know them yet, but I already care about them.

While we’re there, we’ll be sharing their stories via social media.  I’ll be telling mine here, on my Facebook page, and through my Instagram account.  Follow me those places to keep up with us and to get to know some beautiful kids while we’re there.  I don’t know how often I’ll get to update, but you can get more regular updates through TAP’s Facebook page.  Go like it right now so you can be sure to keep up with what we’re doing.  And check out their website – seriously, you will be so inspired by what you see there.

So, how can you help?  There are a few ways.

If you have a blog, I would love it if you’d repost this for your readers.  The more people that know about what we’re doing, and who see our updates while we’re in Uganda, the better.  I’d be happy to write a guest post for your blog if that’s something you’d like to have.

And since you’ve liked TAP’s Facebook page (You have right?  I knew it.  You rock.), we would really appreciate it if you’d share our posts with your friends while we’re in Uganda as well.  SHARE, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!  The more people that see what we’re doing, the better!

You can pray for us.  We’ll be in a new place, far from home, which can always be a challenge.  We’ll be serving people and trying to tell their stories – you can pray that we would do that well.  That we would meet their needs as they actually are, not just as we think they might be.  You can pray that we would do justice to their stories and tell them with dignity and beauty.

I’m also raising support to help cover the cost of the trip.  The whole trip, airfare included, is $2200.  TAP is a 501c-3 non-profit organization, so your donations would be tax deductible.  If you want to help in this way, email me (rschlieman at gmail.com) and I’ll give you all the details.

Thanks for reading all this!  I couldn’t be more excited to go with this group of creative people and bring the stories of these kids back to you.  Stay tuned… there will be so much more coming soon!

The BAR

23 Jun

I’ll just go ahead and say it. I hate the BAR exam. Yep.  Hate.  It.

I thought law school was bad, but the time between law school and the BAR exam is filled with studying, stress, anxiety, and frustration, and is far, far worse.

There is an insane amount of work that Joel has to do to get ready for the exam, and that leaves me to manage literally everything else. I know he has to do it, but I can’t help feeling like all I want to do is run away and disappear until the first of August when the exam is over.

I hate to be complain-y, but I’m just being honest. I’m completely overwhelmed with life right now. I’m teetering right on the edge of a breakdown. Just about every day.

Clara has started preschool, which is helpful to me.  She’s also potty training, which is probably going about as well as can be expected, but is still stressful.  She seems to really like school – every day they send home a little sheet telling me what they did and how she was.  Every day they check the boxes beside: chatty, energetic, happy, cooperative, and friendly.  Sounds pretty accurate.

Lucy is sweet as ever. She’s about to be mobile though, which I am totally not ready for. She can pretty much roll across the room in the blink of an eye if I put her down on the floor.  She’s a wonderful baby – happy and quiet most of the time.  Only fussing when she is tired or dirty.  And she’ll fall asleep almost immediately if you put her head in your armpit and gently hold her arms down.  Quirky, I know.

So, here we are in the middle of summer that doesn’t feel much like summer.  I mean, it’s hot outside and all, but summer is supposed to be for fun and play and vacation.  And we are having anything but that.

We are going to head to the beach for a few days soon, which will be nice.  But Joel will still have to be studying, so I don’t know how much of a break it will really be.  And after that, I am strongly considering going to my parents’ every weekend until the exam is over.  My mom and I want to do things like pick peaches, blueberries, tomatoes, and cucumbers… and then can them, making pickles, jam, salsa, etc.  I’ve wanted to do that for a while, so this seems like as good a reason as any to do it.  The kids will love to spend time with Gigi and Grandad, and we’ll have a fun activity to keep us busy.  Anyway, we’ll see.  I’ve got to get out of here though.

I’m trying to make a list of things I want to do after the BAR is over.  I plan on taking all kinds of classes and getting out of the house by myself some.  I want to take a pottery wheel class again – I still have all the tools from the first time I took it.  And I want to do some cooking/baking classes.  Who wants to join me?

So…

1 Feb

I’ve written about 5 blog posts in the past week and published none of them.  I’m beyond being cheerful or positive.  That’s your fair warning…

I’m past my due date, and I’m not happy about it in the least.  There is nothing that will mess with your head like going past the date you thought for sure you would have a baby… and still not having one.  I guess she is just really cozy in there.  At least one of us is comfortable… cause I’m certainly not.

Every muscle in my body is sore, especially the ones she is using her feet on like a meat tenderizer.  I’m having contractions, but they’re not regular or time-able.  I’m getting phone calls and texts from people asking if I’ve had that baby yet… I promise you, at this point, everyone will know when I have “that baby.”  The whole world will know.  People who really do not care… they will know, too.

I’m hungry, but I have no room to put any food in my stomach.  For lunch I just ate a half of a thing of $0.20 ramen noodle soup.  That’s all I can manage.  The upside to this is that I haven’t gained any weight in the last 3-4 months.  So I don’t dread the weigh-in part of my doctor appointments.  We have eaten out every day this week, which is ridiculous, but the thought of cooking, not being able to eat, and then having to clean up the dishes just makes me angry.

I went to the doctor yesterday.  The poor lady walked in and said, “Yaay!  It’s your due date! Congratulations!” To which I responded by bawling.  She was very understanding and helpful, and said she would schedule me for an induction in 7 days.  February 7.  She checked everything out and only a little progress since last week – but the baby is in -3 station, which is super low, and I could have told you that from the way it hurts anytime she moves, but whatever.  So the doctor went to go call the hospital at the end of my appointment and came back with the news that their induction schedule for next Thursday is full.  But you know, 80% of people go into labor before their induction date once they’ve been scheduled, and she would call me today to give me a time to be there once someone else delivered.  Awesome.

I’m running out of things to do.  I’ve been on walks.  I’ve shopped at Target.  I’ve painted.  I’ve cleaned.  I’ve done the laundry and (GASP!) put it all away about 3 times.  I’ve started my taxes.  I’ve watched everything on the DVR.  I’ve had lunch with friends.  I could, and probably should go clean the house again.  That is not happening.  So, to anyone who comes to visit me, just know that about 2 weeks ago, my house was spotless.  Bathrooms were sparkling.  Floors were mopped.  Clutter was gone.  Toys were put away.  That’s not what my house looks like anymore.  I won’t apologize for it, but just know that it WAS clean at one point.

I’ve spent hours on pinterest picking out recipes I won’t make for months, crafts I won’t do for years, plants I will probably never be able to find, and quilts I have no clue how to make.

In short… I’m done.  My poor family – I’m probably making them miserable.  So, now that I’ve had my pity party and made you miserable, too – maybe you can help me out.  If there’s actually anyone who still reads this blog because I am terrible at keeping it updated…. Leave me a funny story, a joke, something to make me smile…

I’m going to go buy myself flowers and chocolate or something dumb like that.

The post I wrote, but got deleted somehow

27 Sep

So, there was this day, about 3 weeks ago, where I went to the doctor.  We were having our anatomy ultrasound, so Joel was there with me.  Ultrasounds are always fun – you get a peek at the little creature that’s causing so much change and insanity.

We’d already had an ultrasound saying that we were having a boy, so we were just expecting confirmation of that, along with seeing the heart beating, moving around, and various other things.

So, you can imagine my shock when we were informed that we are, in fact, having a GIRL, not a boy.

I wrote a long and emotional post about my feelings on the matter a couple of days later, but when I went back to edit and publish it, it was gone.  Maybe that’s for the best.

Basically, I was a complete and total disaster for about 3 days.  Crying.  Sitting at my kitchen table crying.  By myself.  Because right after the ultrasound, Joel had to leave me, still at the doctor’s office, to go to class.

I should mention, I have a ton of great friends and neighbors.  My neighbor, Sarah, came over to sit with me for a few minutes and make sure I was ok.  And our neighbors Jodi and Todd brought over chocolate for me after seeing a facebook post about how I couldn’t find any in the whole house.  I am so appreciative of the people who care enough to do things like that.  Thank you guys.

It wouldn’t have been so much of a shock, and certainly not a disappointment, except that we had already been told it was a boy.  I had set some expectations.  I had the little boy with a personality, a face, plans for a nursery… well, you get it.  So, when all that was shattered, I was crushed.  I kept repeating to myself that the important thing is that she is healthy.  And it is.

I had several friends who, absolutely correctly, reminded me that whatever this baby ends up being, it’s exactly who God intended to be in our family.  They are right.  I knew that.  But my heart was having a hard time catching up with my head.  And, if I’m completely honest, it’s still getting there.  I’m sure that this little girl will be beautiful, adorable, precious, and just what we need.  But I’m not quite to the point of excitement that I was when I thought we were having a boy.  I will get there.

I suppose there’s a good case here for not finding out what you’re having.  Maybe we’ll go that route if we have another.  I guess we’ll figure that out later.

Anyway, there have been other things going on, too.

We had Clara’s 2nd birthday party last weekend, which meant a ton of family in town to help celebrate.  Cake baking.  Decorating.  Cleaning.  Busy-ness.  It was a Sesame Street themed party, which turned out perfect.  When my parents got in on Friday night, I had already baked and prepped the cakes and was just waiting for the icing tip my mom was bringing.  Once they arrived, I got busy creating Cookie Monster cupcakes and an Elmo cake.

 

 

 

 

Before they got there, Joel put together Clara’s present from my Grammy.  She got her a trike – which is awesome.  This late-night assembly project just reminded me that we have entered yet another new phase in our lives.  I call this one the put-together-complicated-toys-and-riding-devices-the-night-before-a-big-event phase.

The next morning, we put out the rest of the food.  Seriously, the easiest party food/decorations I’ve ever done.  Meet Oscar, Big Bird, and Grover!

 

 

 

  

 

 

The cupcakes were a huge hit with the kids, and the cake (my rum cake) was a big hit with the adults.  I call it a success when the kids recognize the characters on the cupcakes and the food table.  And aside from a crazy tantrum and swatting off half of Elmo’s face before we got to sing happy birthday, everything pretty much went off without a hitch.

 

 

 

Anyway, other things… let’s see… I’m still doing Crossfit, about twice a week.  I love it there.  They’re really good about making sure I don’t push myself too terribly hard, but still get a good workout.  I’ve definitely gotten slower, but I think about it like this: if I can finish a workout, I call that a victory.  I don’t know whether it’s just that this pregnancy is so very different or if the fact that I’m keeping so active has something to do with it (the opposite of what I did with Clara), but I’m feeling really good.  I’m 22 weeks and just have a small bump, which is weird to me, and people keep asking me if I’m sure I’m pregnant.  That’s a weird question.  Are you sure you’re pregnant?  Just think about that for a couple of seconds.  Yep.  I’m sure.  I don’t really know how to answer those people, but I guess they mean it as a compliment.  Strange.

We’re about 1/4 of the way through Joel’s last year of law school.  I can’t tell you how happy I will be to see him walk across that graduation stage.  I’m not sure that I’ll have words for it.  But I do know this, they should put my name and Clara’s name on that diploma, too.  There’s a lot of uncertainty about what will happen after the bar exam.  We’re not sure what the job market is going to be like – without getting too political, I’d be inclined to say it will have a lot to do with the outcome of November’s election.  If you happen to know someone who does federal law enforcement, works in a DA’s office, or works for the US Attorney’s office, I would love to talk to you.  Joel would love to work in one of those fields and he has a law enforcement background.  Right now, I feel like all I can do is pray, iron his dress shirts on interview days, make sure he has a hair cut before an interview, and pray some more that there would be some job for him after graduation and passing the bar.  I guess we will see…

Look out later today (or maybe tomorrow) for a birthday post.  Today is Clara’s real birthday, and we are taking her to the children’s museum, out to lunch, and to get a milkshake (because she drank half of the one I got last night and totally loved it).  I’m bringing my camera, so I should have lots of fun things to share.

Dear Clara – 17 Months

1 Mar

Well, my munchkin, you’ve almost reached that giant milestone: The Year-And-A-Half.  One more month and you’ll be there.  Hard to believe.

You are so full of personality.  You make the most hilarious faces when we’re playing around.  And when you get mad… well, if looks could kill.

The other day, you fell asleep on my lap while we were watching the Food Network.  Alton Brown talking about peanuts apparently wasn’t too entertaining to you – but I don’t mind.  I enjoyed cuddling with you, and I can’t remember the last time you fell asleep in my arms.  It was sweet.

You’ve taken to growling whenever you see your stuffed lion or tiger.  And your new favorite thing is Elmo.  It’s kind of amazing how quickly you attached to him.  It must be something about the huge eyes, bright colors, and silly voice.  Cookie Monster is a close second, and I think Ernie is gaining ground as well.  You actually sit quietly for almost a whole hour when we watch Sesame Street.  We don’t watch it a lot, but usually you like to watch it in the morning while you eat your breakfast.  That’s cool.

When you get tired, oh man, you are hilarious.  You make silly noises and crack up at them, and walk around the room looking at the ceiling making silly faces.  I’m not sure what you’re doing, but it makes me laugh!

You’ve certainly mastered cause and effect… the other night I was giving you a bath, and you started splashing, so I jumped back and squealed and you cracked up.  After a while of doing that, you held out the bath crayon for me to help you write something on the wall, and as soon as I was close enough,  you started splashing again.  Little stinker.

You are trying to learn how to put on your coat, and you get really frustrated when you can’t figure it out.  I don’t know what we’re going to do when it gets really warm, because you seem to think that coats are a necessary accessory for leaving the house every single time.

You got some blocks for Christmas, and you still love playing with them.  At first it was to knock them down, but now you actually build towers, too.

That little spot on your head where you had surgery has healed up beautifully.  You can’t even tell it’s there unless you know already, and sometimes your Daddy and I even forget about it.

You have these super tight ringlets in the back of your hair, and the top is a bit of a looser curl.  I am never going to want to cut your hair.  It is long enough now for ponytails, but you don’t like to sit still for those.  You do, however, like it when I put little clips in your hair and you ask for them constantly, if only so you can pull them out and ask me to do it all over again.

I think you’ve outgrown all of your 18 month pajamas already – lengthwise.

You’ve started doing this funny little thing where you shrug your shoulder – just one of them.  I think you know that it’s cute.

You have a TON of words now – and probably more than I realize.  Sometimes you repeat the same thing over and over again, but I just can’t figure out what it means.  Favorites include: tree, house, home, car, truck, cup, fruit snacks (na nacks), grass, chair, turtle, lion (who is now named Yadi – your doing), elmo, cookie monster, ernie, off, on, go, bye bye, mine, and occasionally we’ll get a love you “wuv oo” and a thank you “tank oo.”

You remember people when they’re not here.  Every day when I get you up, you ask for your daddy.  And even people who you don’t see every day – you ask for your nani and papa and your grandad and gigi a lot.  We try to tell you where they are, but it’s hard because I don’t think you really get that, and all you want is to see them.  We’re going to have to start skyping and facetiming more often.

I’m pretty sure that you really grow inches at a time, and usually overnight.  I swear, sometimes you wear pajamas one night, and when I try to put them on you a few days later, they no longer fit.  What in the world!

I am so excited for this summer with you!  I’m planning lots of fun things for us to do together – going to the beach, swim lessons, field trips around Raleigh, and hopefully lots and lots of fun!

Well, my munchkin, there’s so much more to tell you – I think of things all day long, but when it comes time to write them down, I run out of time and I swear, every time I sit down to write this, you wake up from a nap, need a drink or a snack, or have a dirty diaper.  It’s kind of humorous actually.  But more than anything, I want you to know that we love you very very much.  I hope that you know that.  And I hope that your daddy and I are teaching you the right things to help you become the beautiful, caring, compassionate, loving girl that we know you can be.  We will definitely mess it up, I’m sure we have already, but hopefully you will cling to the good stuff.

The Cruelty of Law School

2 Feb

There is a special kind of cruelty that the families of graduate students know.  I think it’s probably true for any grad school, not just law school, but that happens to be my specific experience.

The first year is tough.  There is so much work that the student pretty much disappears.  You might see them enough to say goodnight before you go to sleep, and if you’re in the unfortunate situation where you work weekends, like I do, you might get to say goodbye to them before you leave on Saturday morning.  Besides that, there’s not much time together.  Exams start and everything ramps up as they study for those first law school exams, wanting to do their best.  And who can fault them for that?

Then comes Christmas break.  That glorious, beautiful, and much needed break after the first semester.  All of a sudden your student is around all the time again.  But there’s also lots of traveling to be done, parties to attend, christmas shopping, decorating… well, you get the picture.

And then second semester hits.  Once again, your student disappears.  And so it continues.

I always have a tough time adjusting when Joel goes back to school for a new semester.  Just when I’ve gotten used to having him around all the time again and sharing those mundane daily decisions with him again, which I have to make by myself when he’s in school – and he’s gone again.  It’s just the way law school is.  But it is difficult.

He’s been back in school for about a month now, and I am still trying to get used to doing everything by myself again.  When you’ve gotten used to having two people share the responsibilities of a household, it’s really easy to feel inadequate when the laundry and dishes and trash starts to pile up, and when you forget to think about dinner for your family until 5pm, when it’s entirely too late to really cook anything and have it ready by a decent hour, considering you don’t have any food in the house because the grocery trips are now all your own again as well.

All three of us were also sick the first couple weeks that he was back in school this semester, so that didn’t help my attitude much.  I found myself, sleep-deprived, foggy, and easily irritated, yelling at my 16 month old for doing something she shouldn’t be.  Not my best mom moment.  There have been several of those over the past few weeks.  Just the same way you have bad days at work, bad driving days, bad cooking days… I now have bad mom days.  Might be the worst of all.

I don’t mean for that to sound complainy.  I’m incredibly blessed in my life.  But the reality is that it is really hard for me to entirely change things like this every 4 months or so.  I suppose I’m a creature of habit.  Maybe we all are.

I am really thankful for a few friends who tell me that it’s ok to have bad days, even bad weeks.  And I know that they mean it.  And even though I know that deep down before they say it, sometimes you just really need to hear someone say those words.

Christmas, Christmas time is here

2 Dec

I always look forward to Christmas.  It is one of my absolute favorite seasons of the year.  I say seasons because I like for it to last as long as a season.  In fact, I propose that we add a new season to the calendar.  Spring, Summer, Autumn, Christmas, Winter.  That is how it should go.

But as much as I look forward to it every year, THIS year I am even more excited about Christmas.  Because this year, I get to see my daughter really experience the fun and excitement of the Christmas season for what is really the first time.  Her actual first Christmas was last year, but she was only 3 months old, and honestly, as cute as she was, she was still kind of a blob, and not very interested.  This year, she is pointing at lights, decorating the tree, gasping in delight at the lights on the neighbors’ houses, and talking to santa.  It really is SO much fun!

We’re planning to take her to see Santa for the first time, drive around to see the Christmas lights (where’s the best place?  anyone??), bake Christmas cookies, and any other fun holiday activities we can think of.  We are open to suggestions.

We’ll be doing traveling to see family, and participating in the Hein family Christmas celebration for the first time in a couple years.  We’re really excited about that!  There are still family members on that side (Joel’s family) that haven’t met Clara yet!

A really good day.

7 Nov

I have lots of pictures to post from Halloween and Clara’s birthday party.  I will try to do that this week, but today, I am just having a really good day.

I had coffee and creamer in the house this morning, so my coffee was fantastic, which always makes for a better morning.

Clara and I headed out to the gym, and even though it was a tough workout, it felt good to be back.  I have a goal in mind, and I’m slowly but surely making my way there – between eating right and working out, I’ve lost about 50lbs since having Clara, and I am finally starting to feel like myself again.

Mondays are our long days without Joel, which doesn’t always make for lots of fun, but today we met up with Heather and little Lulu at the playground.  Clara absolutely LOVES to be outside, but since our yard isn’t exactly conducive to running around and playing, we have to find other places.  Someday we will have grass and a sandbox and a swingset, but for now we will frequent the parks to get our outdoor fix.  Anyway, it was a gorgeous day, the fall colors perfectly set against the carolina blue sky.  I love it.  Fall is definitely my favorite season.

The kiddos loved playing together at the park.

A little young for showing off that midriff… but I can’t buy shirts long enough to cover her belly!  She has a loooooong torso!

Clara thinks she’s so big!

We must have worn Clara out with all that playing and sand-eating, because she fell asleep right as we pulled in the driveway at home.  She never stays asleep when I take her out of the car anymore, but miracle of miracles, she did today.  She laid her little head down on my shoulder and passed right out again when I took her out of the car and stayed asleep all the way inside and up the stairs into her bedroom.  I had a sentimental and nostalgic moment from when she was a tiny baby and used to sleep on my chest, and just sat down in the glider in her room with her in my arms, head on my shoulder, and sat there with her for about 30 minutes.  Best 30 minutes of my day.  Hands down.  I miss my tiny, snuggly, sleepy baby girl, but my active, wild little 13 month old hardly ever slows down enough to snuggle anymore.  I have to take the chances when I can get them.

That is the anatomy of a happy day.

Thankful Thursday

3 Nov

I’m stealing the title of this post from my friend, Sus, who is awesome and totally won’t mind if I borrow her title. (Right, Sus?)

1. Today I’m thankful for the sunshine and leaves changing colors.  They make me happy.

2. I’m thankful for my calendar that keeps me organized and sane.  Most of the time, that is.

3. I’m thankful for great friends and neighbors who help us out when we need it the most.  In particular today, our neighbor, Sarah, who is going to watch Clara for us on Saturday!  You’re the best.

4. I’m thankful for a washer and dryer that work… now I just need to get them into action.

5. I’m thankful for freeze-dried fruit, which seems to be the only thing that Clara wants to eat lately.  Thanks Trader Joe’s.

What a week!

5 Oct

Hey internets!  I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise.

I have lots of things to post soon – Clara’s birthday letter, birthday party stories and photos, and even more than that.  But the problem is that I have hardly seen my computer for the past several days.

Ok, so that doesn’t explain why Clara’s birthday letter is over a week late.  That has more to do with the fact that I can’t seem to collect my thoughts to write it.  I have started it.  I guess it hasn’t really sunk in yet that she’s actually a year old.  A YEAR??  It really is hard to believe.

The last few days really have been a whirlwind.  Saturday I drove down to Wilmington to shoot a wedding at Figure 8 Island (which is amazing, by the way).  Mary (my second shooter) and I stayed at Millie’s house that night and stayed up entirely too late laughing and telling crazy wedding stories from this year, and ended up getting only 2 hours of sleep.  Sunday morning we headed back north to Topsail Island for an engagement shoot, and then drove home to Holly Springs.  Whew!

Monday I packed up some stuff for Clara and took her to Greenville, where my parents live.  They had agreed to watch her for me when a whole host of crazy things came up for Tuesday and made it impossible for me to keep her with me.  I have a suspicion though that they loved ever second of it!  I stayed there until Monday evening, and we all went out to dinner with my Grammy, who was thrilled to see her great-grandaughter unexpectedly in town.

I have to say, I surprised myself by being really emotional when I left Clara behind.  I never expected to be that weepy mom that cried when leaving their kid behind for a couple of days in the more than capable hands of the grandparents.  But I am.  I drove home with misty eyes and a sad heart.  But I know that Clara had a great time!  My parents have an awesome yard and a big swing and lots of grass and my little girl loves to be outside.  She was in hog heaven.

Tuesday morning I got up pretty early and got in the car to drive to Sapphire, NC.  Where is that, you ask?  Well, it’s about an hour past Asheville up some of the craziest, windiest roads I’ve ever driven.  It is beautiful though.  I met some of my clients up there for their engagement session and a camp that the girl used to go to.  It was a fun time, and then I drove back.  By the time I got home, I was so tired, and had spent over 24 hours in the car since Saturday.

So what did we do today?  Drove to meet my parents in Keanansville to pick up Clara, and then continued down to the beach for a few days.

Last night I could hardly sleep.  I was having dreams of careening down mountain roads out of control.  And in between those dreams, I kept hearing babies crying and waking up to look at the monitor, but wait, Clara wasn’t even there.

I sorta wish I was at home, but I’m just glad to be somewhere for a few days in a row and not get in the car again until Saturday when I drive to Beaufort for another wedding.

Maybe I’ll even get to finish that letter….