Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Forgotten Blog...

***In the midst of all the insanity written about below, I apparently forgot about this post.  And I am sad because I was really passionate about it at the time, and I still am.  Since then, Layla has done MUCH traveling, and will continue to do so.  She got her feet wet early, and I love hauling all of her stuff around so we can keep going places. (Well, not really LOVE, but you know.)

Anyway, I originally wrote this in August when Layla was about four months old.  That seems like such a long time ago, and I guess it really was.  This year she will get some more miles under her belt...Germany, Greece, and Baltimore if we can make it happen.  She sees my family all the time, and knows and loves them.  But it's imperative to me and D that she continue to see, meet, and understand her family and heritage that are still in Europe.  I honestly can not WAIT to take her to Greece.  The family there is HILARIOUS and they will love her to pieces.  Her first view of a large body of water will be the Aegean Sea.  She will taste new food, hear more languages, and experience new cultures.  She might only be 1 1/2 at the time, but she has to start somewhere.

One of my favorite quotes about travel is from St. Augustine - "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page."***

Before Layla was born, D and I had a long talk about putting a moratorium on traveling. This was a hard decision for us. We both love to travel. A lot. D's family lives thousands of miles away. We don't really have a choice there...we have to go so we can see them. However, we had traveled during my entire second trimester. D had been going to ATL one week a month for about a year, and we were both ready for a break. So we decided to be still, have a kid, and figure out how to be parents.

Sure enough she showed up with all of the insanity that a newborn brings. I remember thinking, at one point, that we would never go anywhere again. Babies have so much paraphernalia. I sat around looking at all the stuff thinking there was no possibility that we would pack up all this crap, and go somewhere.  I also enjoyed being at home. Our little family was fun...unless the tiny one was losing her mind. Although, even then, we were still our little team.

But then things settled. D started going to ATL again (not the kind of traveling we like.) And I was getting the itch. The travel bug that used to be calmed with a quick trip to Denver to see my friends and the mountains I love, a drive to Columbia or OKC for the weekend or surprising each other with a few days someplace that we both enjoyed. Fortunately, my genius husband picked up on this. For my birthday we went to Baltimore to see my brother and sister-in-law. I was nervous how a 14 week old would do on the trip, but Layla rocked it. She couldn't have cared less about flying, taking off or landing. She loved meeting her aunt and uncle and four legged cousins. Once we were home, I was so happy that trip went well I was genuinely looking forward to our next one.

We started discussing Christmas in Germany and what that would look like. And then, over the last few months, things just kept coming up. A big one is that D needs to spend more time in ATL. About a year and a half ago we had to have the talk about possibly moving there. It wouldn't have been a permanent thing, but he was needed there for an extended period of time. I wasn't a huge fan. My fam is here, and they are a huge part of our life. We were also getting ready to try to start a family. Obviously, we didn't go but D's trips there did become more frequent. Once again, we are at that place. No, we aren't moving, but we will be spending more time there.  While I'm not looking forward to weeks in a hotel, I would rather be there with him than here without him.  This first trip is shorter; a test of sorts. If it goes well, we will probably go back again for a longer stretch.

Thus, we are about to kick off four months of craziness. Sunday we head to Chicago for a week.  It's a business trip for D, and we are tagging along. Although now its turning into a bit of good time. I'm excited to see folks that I don't get to see very often. Including one of Layla's suitors. :) He is about 18 months old. I hope he is prepared for D's list of requirements. We get home next week, and a few days later D's parents arrive! We are so excited. Although, they are WAY more excited to meet their granddaughter. We will have them for two weeks of fun and hilarity. They head out, and three weeks later we head to ATL for three weeks. We are home for three weeks, then back to ATL for a week, and from there Germany for three weeks. We won't be home till after the new year.

As I think about all of that now, it dawns on me that we are stupid. Or something close to it. Layla will be five months old on Sunday. (She will get her own post for that.) And we are going to haul her and her stuff all over creation, stick her in hotels, her car seat, planes, strollers, new cultures, communities, with new people and places and food. But, man, I really can't wait. It will be hard and tiring, with delays and frustrations, but she gets to go. She won't remember it, at least not this trip. But we are going to get her started. I don't want her to be afraid of any of it. I want her to go with an open mind. To see new places, experience new cultures, and understand that our little world is nothing compared to what is out there for her to see. I can't physically imagine her leaving EVER right now, but when that time comes I want her to go where she is called. Be it Kansas City, LA, Russia, Brazil, wherever. I have my husband because his parents taught him to have an open mind and to follow his dreams. He was horrible at English, had to beat hundreds of other candidates to get one of five spots to attend college in the States, and he worked hard to find a job that would bring him back. Through all of that, his parents supported him. He is the youngest of four, and I can't imagine how hard it is to have him so far away, with a daughter-in-law who speaks broken German, and now a new granddaughter that they haven't met yet. I want to be that solid support. I want her to see it and taste it and decide for herself where she should be.

Lofty thoughts for a five month old that I can barely handle leaving for just a few hours. But we will get there. Assuming we survive the next four months...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday, Layla!

***WARNING*** Long, sappy Mom post ahead. It might be rambly, too.

Daniel and I always knew we wanted kids.  There was always a debate about how many, but we figured we would start with at least one, and see how we all did.  When we decided it was time, I was nervous. I had no reason to think we would have any problems, but as many moms and women who want to be moms know, the anxiety that can come with pregnancy and all that surrounds it is ridiculous.  We were so so lucky.  Pregnant in the first month.  A perfectly normal pregnancy with the typical symptoms and such.  And a great birth experience.  I am so unbelievably grateful for how it all went.  It's weird to think how worried I was about everything.  God, I am sure, was just laughing and laughing while He handled everything.

One year ago today, I was in the midst of labor.  Long, painful, unmedicated, induced labor. I, of course, chose unmedicated.  But that's where I was.  A long night, a long morning, a long afternoon.  I was fine with the contractions. I was fine with the pain.  I was even fine with only getting to eat the popsicles that my lovely nurse was sneaking to me.  I was not fine, however, with the fact that our tiny little person didn't want to come out.  On Monday afternoon (April 9, 2012), after 18 hours of labor, I finally asked for an epidural when I still wasn't making any progress.  And two hours later, when she still wasn't on her way out, I was getting worried.  I had no problems with a C-section.  They exist for exactly such situations, and I trusted our doctor 100%.  I was worried about WHY I would need one.  She wasn't budging.  Not a centimeter.  Her heart rate was starting to go up and down, and our doctor had been suggesting surgery for a couple of hours.  Was she ok?  Was she stuck? Did she have the cord around her somehow?  Millions of these questions were flying through my head.

It didn't take long to make the decision to move ahead with surgery.  And thank the dear Lord for modern medicine.  Less than fifteen minutes later I was in the operating room, and fifteen minutes after that, our precious little lady was born at 5:54pm.  She did have the cord around her neck three times.  She wasn't ever going to come out on her own.  And because of the concern for her inhaling meconium, they tried to keep her from crying until she could be cleaned up, and checked out.  The silence was deafening. I couldn't see her.  I could just see Daniel running around like a crazy person.

And then she cried.  Much relief and many tears. I still couldn't see her, but Daniel was taking pictures and telling me how beautiful she was.  We hadn't fully decided on a name, so I kept asking if she looked like a Layla.  D got the final say on that, and so there she was.  Layla Kathleen Erika Grammatikos.  The poor kid won't ever be able to fit her name on anything, but we liked it so she is stuck with it.

And now here I am writing about Layla's first birthday!  This year has flown by.  Even in the first few months that seemed so hard and they seem like the blink of an eye. It has been the most amazing year.  Laughter, tears, sleepless nights, hugs, love, and so much more.  I did not know what to expect when this little thing came into our world.  But she is so perfect.  She is sweet, and funny.  She loves to cheer for herself and to find her Papa when she can't see him.  She claps and 'raises the roof' when it's bath time.  She blows kisses and says 'please', 'thank you', and 'more'.  She dances ALL THE TIME, and her booty shaking just kills me.  She is so smart, and is a quick learner.  (This could be prove to be rough for us as she learns to walk, and takes over the house even more.) She LOVES her grandparents and the rest of the family.  She Skypes with D's family every week, and waves and chats with them.  She pulls up on everything, and holds on to things so she can walk.  I don't think it will be long before she is running around.  She loves to wave to everyone, no matter where we are.  An extrovert, I think. :) She doesn't say much yet, but she listens and obeys, and understands what I am saying to her.  She responds with her sign language, and it's the cutest thing ever.

Daniel and I are closer than we could ever have been without her.  I can't imagine only being the two of us, instead of the three of us.  I didn't know you love a tiny thing so much, but sure enough, it's amazing.

Zwerg, you are the best thing that ever happened to us!  You make our lives so much brighter!  You love your Papa so much, and give him the best kisses and pats.  And every morning when I come to get you out of bed, we play hide and seek, and you laugh and laugh. It makes my day.  We are so thankful that God blessed us with you.  I can't wait for this next year when you will learn even more, and be such a fun little person! We love you!  Alles Gut zum Gebertstag, Layla!

Reading with Papa

Enjoying the sunshine

My precious lady

Silly girl!

Almost one!

Visiting Papa at work

What time is it? BATH TIME


Opening presents!
My little one year old!