meeting jack christopher.

oh my goodness. there are so many things.

i guess i'll start at the beginning.

001.jpg

kidding.

but i never did get to share this photo i took of myself and this little jellybean when i found out he existed, back when i was SURE he was a girl. part of me feels bad about that, and then the other part of me is like, well luca was sure he was a girl too, so.

it is worth mentioning, though, that amidst the excitement about his existence, there was also an underlying feeling of ...how is that going to work, exactly? and it's a question that could only be answered once he arrived.

i've said it before, that meeting luca blew my heart wide open. and in some ways, it feels like he taught me what it means to really love another person with your whole self. he changed and rearranged my understanding of the concept. to be quite honest, i often wondered not only what it would be like when he had a sibling, but when i had my own kids. i know somehow it all works out, and a mom love is different than an aunt love, but it shocked me, with luca, to learn how big love could be. and while an even bigger and broader kind of love was something i believed existed, i just couldn't wrap my mind around the reality of it exiting in me.

but if meeting luca was learning what love is, then meeting jack was learning how love can expand, how there's room for more, how it goes deeper and wider than i ever knew i was capable of.

it happened the instant i saw him, and it is so real it feels obvious.

of course. of course it's you. of course i love you. of course my heart is big enough.


last tuesday, after i got home from work, is when i got the text. THE text. which is not the text you think it is. it did not say "i'm in labor." or "you should probably come now." it was actually more along the lines of "i'm having the same kind of contractions i've been having for a few days." followed by "it could be something. he may not come for another week, i don't know." and then "definitely don't leave." but also "i want you to be here but i can't tell you what to do."

it wasn't the words she said or the progression of her contractions (both were uncertain), it was the tone of the conversation and the way she had, in that moment, decided to tell me about "nothing." it felt exactly like last time.

i hopped in the car, without being totally sure how the next five days would play out, but five days were all i had. and then i saw a rainbow, and i still didn't know whether jack would come quickly or stay put for another week, but i was suddenly sure.

whatever happened, it was going to be good.

we spent wednesday walking around target and home goods (both of us + luca in the cart) and pacing the kitchen and doing squats in the living room (her). she asked me if i felt nervous that i'd come and she wasn't in (active) labor yet while she laid on the couch with her feet up, only to have her contractions slow and stop once she did.

i'll probably write more about this later, because i can't help myself, but i was never worried about the timing with jack like i was with luca. i went to bed that night thinking about a post i'd read recently about how waiting for active labor is like watching for the water to boil––staring at it doesn't make it happen faster––and how true that is. i fell asleep quickly.

maybe we just needed to stop looking, because three hours later, we were up again.

it was all very exciting, getting up at 1:30 in the morning to then sit in the living room while timing contractions. without any frame of reference, having not been there for this part last time, it felt like time was passing very slowly, in increments of 6 or 7 minutes.

by 4am, i had gotten ready, put makeup on my face, drank two cups of coffee, and eaten breakfast. lee teased me about eating oatmeal at 2:30am, but guess who wasn't starving at the hospital before jack was even born? ME.

we got to the hospital around 5:30, and for a minute it felt like a small eternity of more waiting. when they're checking you in, you can only have one person with you, so my mom and i waited in the waiting room, trying to lounge on tiny couches and over multiple chairs. this seems wildly dramatic when you consider that we were the only two out of anyone who got any sleep that night. my defense to you is this: just because i got three hours of sleep that night doesn't make three hours enough.

she got a room pretty quickly, bumping the girl in front of her because that girl wasn't as far along as T was. this type of thing is what made spending all that time waiting at home seem worth it.

then, she got the epidural (during which my mom and i had to wait outside, loitering in the hallway) and then some oxygen and then, shortly after, a baby.

my heart.

i got to cut the cord. my hand was shaking and my eyes were blurry with tears and i laughed at myself. like the love was exploding out of me. of course, of course, of course.

i still get weepy when i think about it. (with the added weepiness that comes with living so far away.)

these parents, y'all. he doesn't even know how lucky he is.

also, T is eating because (1) the kitchen was closing for an hour so it was either now or never (or, in an hour) and (2) she did not have the option to eat oatmeal at 2:30am.

that photo cracks me up, but that is what real life (and love) looks like.

pre and post bath.

luca meeting jack was pretty casual. he does things at his own pace, so there wasn't anything particularly noteworthy about them meeting, it's more about them being.

for example, he was very excited to see T and lee, and he knew that because pops was there when he woke up that it meant he'd be meeting the baby too. (T and lee did a great job preparing him in general, but also for this process.) he came in the room quite excited, got one look at jack, and then remembered he had a donut waiting for him. but later, he would ask T what she was holding, and then answer his own question.

he was interested when he was, and not interested when he wasn't.

i don't remember if him holding jack was his idea or someone else's, but once he was on board, he reached out his arms and very impatiently told my mom "over here! excuse me, over here!" (he said this again when he asked to hold him at home a few days later too.) and while his face isn't showing his cheesiest smile here, he is wearing his lowkey excited face. the one where, i think, he must be thinking i'm trying to play it cool but OH MY GOSH THIS IS SO EXCITING. i love it, and i recognize it easily, also because my dad has this same face.

a baby is not a very exciting thing to a three year old, but you can tell the love is there. he sings to him, he says "it's oh-tay" when jack cries, and every once in a while, when he hears jack make a noise, he'll look over and check out the situation. otherwise, he eats his donut and plays with his toys and watches his tv show.

then, finally (FINALLY) after T and lee and mom and dad and luca, i got to hold him. and i couldn't stop staring at him.

eventually, we all headed home. luca needed lunch and a nap and i couldn't stop thinking about how there are two of them. that this split is a forever thing now. do i go back to the hospital with jack, or stay home with luca?

this one felt like a no-brainer. my whole morning was jack, so it only made sense that my whole evening would be luca, and i am so, so thankful for it.

we took that first selfie because i happened to think of it just as he asked for my phone to take photos. i'll let you take pictures if you take one with me firstand also i need a kiss. and also i could eat him up, with how cute and sweet and lovey he is.

this is the thing. he has learned how to take pictures and it's probably his top favorite activity, or maybe it's near the top, just falling short of smacking balloons (from his birthday, and also the "big brother" balloon he got in the hospital). and, in pure auntie style, i cannot delete a single one, though they are all of his toys and the floor and his finger covering the lens. i taught him how to say "photographer" and of course he doesn't say it correctly, which only makes the whole thing better.

we played legos and ate dinner and facetimed with my siblings and took videos of us talking and laughing and i gave him chocolate and let him stay up past his bedtime.

it was the best way to end one of my very favorite days.


the rest of my visit looked like this.

until next time.

august, in photos.

hello from the other side. of my room. where my desk is. because i have a desk now. like a real writer or something like that, i don't know. but here i sit.

sorry i am not posting any photos of it, but my room is tragically messy because it's very small and there is no real room for a desk in here but i fit one in anyway. for the sake of feeling like a legitimate person by having somewhere to write other than, you know, my bed. which is where i also sleep and watch tv and eat dinner sometimes and i just wanted another place to sit that wasn't my bed.

(have i mentioned i'm watching netflix again? madam secretary is what did it for me.) (and also being employed.)

okay, but for a post dedicated to photos, i sure have a lot of words and a total of ...four photos to share.

one.

because many of the photos i take are of this sweet boy i spend my days with. he has squishy cheeks, chunky thighs, and the most infectious laugh that seems less intentional and more like it just bursts out of him.

(and, you know, i don't post those here. or anywhere.)

two.

because solo coffee shop hangs are a thing i miss about being unemployed.

three.

because, have you read any of shauna niequist's books? i'm new. and obsessed. (and starting from the very beginning, yes i've seen all the instagram posts about present over perfect.)

four.

because i found this mug today and it could not be more perfect. (so yes, i went ahead and bought it for myself.)


five.

because this month was full with things that warrant their own space on the blog. like H's visit to nashville. like J and abby's wedding. like that other semi-spontaneous trip i took to charlotte last week that i will be posting about tomorrow.
 

for someone who is newly employed, i worked ...not a lot of days this month. oh well.

charlotte | because life is short.

five days after flying home from connecticut, i hopped in the car and drove to charlotte.

not because i missed my family––i'd literally just seen them for an entire week, but because T and lee moved into their new house, and i just didn't feel like waiting another month to see it. much like that time i went to charlotte for less than 48 hours when luca learned how to give high fives, life was happening and i wanted to be part of it (and also i happened to have extra time off work).

i've been listening to that new switchfoot song, "live it well," a lot recently and each time it feels like, YES. THIS. because i think life is less about YOLO and living it up and more about trying your best to live well, because you only have one shot at it.

sometimes, that looks like spending the weekend unpacking boxes, and shopping at babies r us and buy buy baby and ikea, and letting your nephew dump out all the toy bins in his play room. because he has a play room.

i've since been informed that pop's rule is that luca can't dump out another bin until he cleans up his first one. to which i replied, what are aunties for if not for letting him dump out all the bins at once?


on friday, i watched luca while T got some work done. on the one hand, it was a bummer that she had to work an extra day that week. on the other hand, i soaked up all the luca time i could get.

it didn't occur to me until like three days after i got home that this was the last time i'd visit where it would be JUST luca. i don't know why i didn't think about it before, but it makes me extra glad i went, and extra glad for the one-on-one time.

this dinosaur costume is a favorite of his. he likes to wear it and rawr and chase you. "run away!" he'll tell you.

on saturday, we did all the baby-prep things. shopping, room rearranging, pack-n-play building. as an aunt, and also a nanny, i found the whole thing to be quite enjoyable. i could talk to you for hours about bottle and pacifier and stroller preferences. i think it's a mix between being super into baby things, having babysat so much and using lots of different brands and products, and having a sister who is pregnant.

whatever it is, i can't wait until i'm a mom and think, HAHA remember how easy it was when i didn't have to make all these decisions myself?

luca and i made sure to check out all the bed situations. can you imagine sleeping in a pirate ship? can you imagine trying to get your kid to sleep in a pirate ship?

on sunday, we had brunch at my parents' house.

where i made the pancakes and T and lee got to have three other people entertain luca while they napped on the couch.

kidding. neither of them were actually sleeping, but they look cozy like they could be.

later, luca and i had a bit of play time before his nap, and before i left.

we put this puzzle together, and it turns out, he's never actually sat and participated in this kind of activity before. which i sort of knew, because he was always pulling out this spiderman puzzle, that is the hardest of all the puzzles he has (but, spiderman), and he would have me put it together while he remained interested for .3 seconds before he started playing with other toys. but it's been a while since we've attempted a puzzle together.

maybe it's because this one was a cars puzzle, and much smaller. maybe it's because he's older and more focused. maybe it's because i had a few pieces put together to get him started. whatever it was, he stuck with it and put together like 90% of the puzzle by himself. telling me where each piece should go AND putting it together.

i couldn't have asked for a better way to end my trip. the first one i took to their new house, and the last one i'd take while they were still a family of three.

when your brother marries your best friend.

these are my people.

these are my people.

last week, i spent the whole week in connecticut. first, prepping for the wedding. then, celebrating the marriage. and after that, being exhausted.

it has been a full week and it feels like i am still recovering, but it was so, so good.

on sunday, i flew to boston and H and abs met me there. it was, without sharing all the had-to-be-there details, hilarious and memorable and so much fun.

things you need to know.

+ we went to the sowa open market, then quincy market, then legal harborside.
+ i woke up at 4:50am to catch my flight, and i have the bags under my eyes to prove it.
+ art galleries are my favorite. heart eyes for daaaays. (especially because this one had air conditioning and couches.)
+ that was maybe the best mac & cheese i've had. ever.
+ that dessert (ice cream balls covered in chocolate) was free. and delicious.
+ my flip flop broke in the restaurant and my other shoes were ...a block away.
+ and don't miss that guy who photobombed us in our mirror selfie.

on monday, achilles and i had a small photo shoot (I LOVE HIM) (he thinks he is a lap dog?) and it was also my dad's birthday and later my mom and i snuggled up while watching the olympics because it is like feast or famine with window-unit air conditioning.

i think it's worth documenting that although we are all wearing birthday hats (T and J are sharing) in the photo, we all eventually took them off because they are uncomfortable to wear, but my dad continued to wear his throughout the night as he opened his gifts. because it was his birthday and he can party how he wants to.

the only photo i have from tuesday is this one of me and luca and his blue donut mustache.

it turns out, this is the only photo i have of the two of us from the entire week. and it was also probably the only time we played together all week, too.

on wednesday, the real fun began.

we got manicures and pedicures and brought things to the venue and had the rehearsal and the dinner and about half way through here is where i stopped taking my own photos because sometimes i want to forget where my phone is and just be.

super grateful to H, who kept hers in hand and managed to keep that balance of taking photos while also being present. i should also mention that any formal photos here are taken with H's (or someone else's) phone so the quality is sub-par, but i couldn't not share. because, obviously.

okay okay. WEDDING DAY. it was a thursday. to me, this has always been a thing. T got married on a thursday. J got married on a thursday. but it occurs to me (over and over) as i talk about it with other people that not everyone is as familiar with the thursday wedding trend as i am.

so. thursday.

honestly, i don't really know how to describe this day, other than to say i was overjoyed. whether it was helping abs put on her dress or walking down the aisle or finally sharing the speech i'd written for them, i mostly had this overwhelming sense of I'M JUST SO EXCITED TO BE HERE. i thought there would be an overflow of emotions, which always leads to an overflow of tears, but it wasn't a lot of anything except pure joy.

this includes the part, post-wedding, when i drove abby's car back to their apartment and got to hang out as they opened their cards before standing at the counter and eating cake right out of the container.

everyone always pauses after i tell them about this dynamic. is that a good thing, or... they want to know. it feels obvious to me, but i guess it's probably as obvious as a thursday wedding. YES, i always say. when your people love each other, it's a really good thing.

everything else post-wedding feels like a blur. it caught me off guard how exhausted i felt, but looking back, it kind of makes sense. a wedding is no small thing, no matter how exciting. happy things can be tiring too.

on friday, we had a family picnic (during which my cousin took photos, so there is proof of said exhaustion all over my face/our faces in case you didn't believe me) and then lee and i had a spontaneous photo shoot and then we had friendly's. (because, hunka chunka peanut butter fudge ice cream is a thing that exists at friendly's.)


here are some of my favorites that my cousin took during the wedding with a camera that is not an iphone. i decided to separate them because they deserve to not be mixed in with our low-quality selfies.