Look at our faces

Yooohooooo! It’s been so long since I’ve fawnlogged. Hello! It’s good to be back!

A few weeks ago we got family photos taken. They turned out so well that I wanted to share them and dispense my family photo advice, as one does after having had a single successful family photo experience. Side note: Isn’t it awful how the internet gives us license to share our opinions as if they’re facts? Every idiot becomes an expert online. In my experience, many of these idiots-cum-experts congregate on parenting blogs and forums. I swear to god, becoming aware of the copious amounts of self-righteous parenting advice online might be my least favorite part of being a mom. How are all these know-it-alls so positive their babies do X or Y because of Z? And why are they so sure every baby is the exact same? I would love to be that stupidly confident for a day, just to know how it feels. I also really hope that, even once, those internet experts look hard at themselves at 2 in the morning and think about what they’ve done. Picture me like Oprah handing out cars.

Anyway, back to the family photos and my own, personal expert opinion. We decided to have them taken in our house, since it’s really our first baby and true love. I’m so glad we did because (a) our house looks fabulous and (b) having them taken at home made the whole experience more comfortable. Tony and I are usually so awkward in formal photos that I think this decision was key! Anything to keep us from feeling awkward and, in turn, making weird faces. (This is also why I highly recommend having a drink before getting your picture taken.  I still wish we had done that for our engagement photos. We got these pictures taken before noon so it didn’t feel right in this case, but I’m not above getting a little tipsy in the name of vanity).

I thought a lot about our outfits. I didn’t want to go too matchy-matchy, but I did want our clothes to look cohesive.  Also, because of our aforementioned awkwardness, we tried to pick outfits we actually wear. Like having them taken at home, I think this led to less anxiety and better photos.

I got the dress I’m wearing on clearance last year at Topshop and have worn it a bunch over the last couple months. The shoes I bought this spring and wear almost daily (they’re sold out in the color I have, but still available in blue and white). Tony has had his pants, shoes, and watch for forever but I forced him to buy a new shirt (this one).

Gail’s outfit was a last minute decision that turned out great! I had been planned to put her in a hand-me-down floral dress we already had, but decided two days before the shoot that I didn’t like it. I ended up getting her this romper.  I love it! It came with a headband but I rarely put anything on Gail’s head so I skipped it. I also ordered her sandals, but they were too small when they arrived. I think it was a happy accident because why cover up those cute, squishy feet? I’m really glad we put her in something solid-colored rather than patterned like I had originally planned. I think it keeps the focus on her sweet lil face.

The fact that our rosebush looks amazing was dumb luck. We inherited that awesome rose bush when we bought our house and pruned the heck out of it, since it was super overgrown. The pruning seems to have made it happy! Somehow we timed the photo shoot to coincide with tons of blooms. Let’s pretend I really have my life together and planned for that!

I’m so happy we got these photos taken! I usually hate pictures of myself but I really love these! And I know I’m always going to be glad that we captured Gail at this moment of critical cuteness. Could she be any cuter? Not to me, she couldn’t!

So, yeah! I love these photos! I love my house! I love my blog! I love my baby and my husband! Thanks for looking at the most narcissistic fawnlog ever! I love you, too!

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It’s a Gail!

We had a baby!

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Gail Matthew Ruzicka/ 5:41 pm September 2nd, 2016/ 7lbs 8oz/ 19″/ the most amazing creature we’ve ever seen

Yesterday was the two week anniversary of her birth, which is unbelievable in every way. Unbelievable that we have a baby, unbelievable that she hasn’t been here forever, unbelievable that it wasn’t just a minute ago that I was still pregnant and totally incapable of imagining life with a newborn.

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The strangest thing about these first two weeks has been time. Never before has time moved so quickly or so slowly. When she’s crying and it’s nighttime and we are trying to calm her, five minutes feels like forty-five minutes. When she’s about to wake up and we’re trying to finish dinner, twenty minutes will pass in a second. When Tony is holding her and she’s looking at him and the ceiling fan is on and there’s music playing, I would give absolutely anything to stop time forever because I’m just sure there will never be a moment better than this in all my life.

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When she was four days old, we brought her to the pediatrician for her first check-up. After her appointment, I waited with her in the lobby while Tony pulled the car around. There was a woman there who ooed and ahhed over her, wanting to know how old she was. When I told her four days old, she seemed delighted.

“My baby is forty years old now,” she said. “It goes faster than you think.”

I waited until I got to the car to cry. As hard as this phase of little sleep and so many diapers and near-constant feeding is, I never want it to end. Can she please stay this tiny and soft forever?

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The first time we took her to the grocery store required as much courage as anything I’ve ever done. Putting her down to sleep at night demands another leap of faith– there is an approximately one in four chance she’ll wake up, and the stakes are higher in the wee hours of the morning.

Thinking about the future, her at four months or four years or forty years, gives me the strangest, most indescribable feeling. It’s impossible joy and infinite sadness all at once, mixed with something like nostalgia for the present moment. What is that feeling? I don’t think there’s a word for it in the English language, or maybe any language. It’s a different kind of love than I’ve ever felt before.

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She loves tummy time and going on walks outside and this song:

She hates baths but likes getting her hair washed. She is the sweetest baby and Tony and I can’t believe how lucky we are to have her.

 

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Matt

Last week we got the impossibly sad news that Tony’s close friend, Matt, had died. It was a freak accident, and it still doesn’t make any sense.

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This winter, Matt helped us move a used stackable washer and dryer into our house. We had to pick it up from this guy’s basement. The basement stairs were steep, and the washer/dryer was heavy and unwieldy. Tony and the guy who sold it to us pushed from the bottom, while Matt lifted the dolly from the top. Because of the way the machine was weighted, Matt ended up doing nearly all of the work. He was drenched in sweat by the time we got it loaded onto the truck, while Tony and the guy looked like they’d just woken up from a refreshing nap.

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That washer/dryer.

We sold that stackable washer and dryer for a side by side when we found out I was pregnant. The person who bought it from us on Craigslist told us that his wife was going to use the stackable for her new pet grooming business.

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Current washer and dryer

There are a lot of things in our house that would be different if it weren’t for Matt.

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This spring, Matt was part of the crew of family and friends that helped us demolish our back porch. It was an all day project, and Matt was a huge help. I know he was a huge help because, when I told my incredibly hard-working grandpa about Matt’s death, the first thing he said was, “He was the one who worked really hard with us on your back porch.”

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Matt, eating a bagel while pulling down our back porch.

The point of demolishing our back porch was to make room for a new laundry room/mudroom/bathroom addition, which will look something like this when finished:

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We have a contractor for the project, and he’s already done a lot of the framing. It’s taking shape, and we’re hoping we can get it all done before the baby arrives.

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There’s an easy metaphor about Matt in our house. The metaphor says something about demolition and construction. It talks about death and new life and explains how something so sad could happen in the midst of something happy. I don’t know what that metaphor is, but I believe it exists. It’s important for me to believe that it exists.

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Matt was also in our wedding as Tony’s best man.

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I was annoyed with Matt throughout a lot of the wedding planning. I was annoyed with Matt beyond wedding planning, actually. One of my most terrible traits is my ability to write people off. Do something that I dislike and I will remember it for months or years. I have a small social circle and a hideous ability to not care if it gets smaller.

Matt struggled with addiction, which sometimes made him self-centered and unpredictable. He also lost both of his parents unexpectedly and tragically within the last four years. I didn’t cut him nearly enough slack. I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to be empathetic. Or I did, sometimes, but it wasn’t often and it wasn’t enough. There were many times when I was frustrated with Matt.

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And then he’d do something, like work all day demolishing our back porch, and I’d have to admit even in my own small, weak, and stupid heart that Matt was a good friend. Matt was a complicated person, but there isn’t anything—shouldn’t be anything—complicated about loving someone who cares enough to help all day tearing down your back porch.

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I would give a lot to be able to tell Matt what his friendship meant to me, even when I wasn’t good at showing it.

Tony says that Matt and I are alike. He says this about the way we relate to people, our senses of humor, our ability to like things that are uncool wholeheartedly and thus, through the transitive properties of sincerity, make them cool. Tony says that we are alike in that we always believed in him, more than he believes in himself. How absolutely terrible for Tony, to have lost a friend who always believed in him. That is a loss that I know Tony will always feel.

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It isn’t hyperbole to say that Matt’s death is a tragedy. I know it is a tragedy for Tony, and for me, and for our baby who will never get to meet the funny, smart, caring, and complex person that was Matt. It’s a tragedy for anyone who knew Matt, or would have known Matt.

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After we loaded the stackable washer and dryer into our house, Matt, Tony, and I went and had breakfast. I don’t remember what we talked about, or what we ordered, or what I did later that day. I do remember that we had a good conversation, and a really good morning. I am so glad I have that memory of Matt. I’m glad that this memory is tied to our house, and that there are many things in our house that remind us of Matt.  We don’t need the reminders, but we can find comfort in them.

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