Monday, January 26, 2009

A Very Special Package

My grandfather Irv was an amazing woodworker.

The homes of his family and friends are full of gorgeous handmade pictures, furniture, and children's toys. As he and my grandmother traveled the world together, he collected wood from the countries he visited to use for future projects. The woodshop attached to my grandparents' home was his pride and joy and he treasured the time he spent there crafting gifts for the people he loved.
I miss my grandfather every day. His death in January 2007 was one of the hardest things I have ever been through. But I am comforted by the things in my home that remind me of him. The clown pictures that he was well known for.....
The chess board he made and shipped to me in Fairbanks, Alaska when I decided that the long, cold, dark winters there were a good time to revisit my chess game.....

And recently, my mom brought me several wooden toys that he made for me when I was younger. They're waiting in Baby Peterson's room for her to be old enough to play with them.

One of the most treasured pieces my grandfather ever made, however, was a cradle that he completed in June 1978, 3 months before I was born.

This cradle is now 30 years old and has criss-crossed the country numerous times. Each time a new grandchild was born, it was packed up and sent to the expectant parents. Since my brother and I were here in Colorado, and my three cousins were born in Florida, that makes 4 cross-country trips! It's been with my Uncle Chet and Aunt Barbara since the youngest cousin Ali was born 22 years ago.
Plaques with our names and birthdates were placed on the cradle after each of our births.

Now that the next generation is on its way....this old cradle made the trip yet again. My uncle Ray built a VERY sturdy crate for it and it arrived on Hogan Court last week. Brian recruited some neighbors to help him break into the crate.

Ryan and Chris then got to work putting the pieces together to reassemble the cradle.

It didn't take long until it was in one piece and had taken its place in our living room.
Every time I come downstairs, I see this beautiful antique cradle that was so lovingly made by my grandfather. The wear and tear of the wood is testament to the lives this piece of furniture has touched. And after being empty for over 2 decades, it's patiently waiting for a new baby to arrive and fall asleep inside. Although my grandpa will never be able to hold his great-granddaughter in his arms, I think this is the next best thing and I am so thankful to have this piece of him to share with my daughter.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Bowl Full of Wishes

On January 10, my mom hosted a wonderful baby shower for me at my house. In many ways, this shower was similar to many baby showers I have attended in the past.

A pretty table, yummy food and drinks, lots of chatting amongst the women in attendance, and plenty of oohing and aahing over the ADORABLE baby clothes and gear.

I was the happiest girl in the world that three VERY special out-of-town guests were able to join us. Granny Sharp (Brian's grandma, and baby Peterson's great-grandmother) has been in town since the previous weekend from Costa Mesa, CA, and my aunt Cathy and cousin Casey flew in for the weekend from Tampa, FL.

It meant so much to me to have them all join me on this very special day!

We were also thrilled to have Casey's artistic talents available. Mom had decided she wanted to make me a diaper cake...which are usually made out of disposable diapers. But knowing my wishes to cloth diaper baby Peterson; she, Casey, and Cathy managed to make a diaper cake out of cloth diapers!! Look how beautiful it is! It made a great centerpiece for the table.
The guests started arriving around 2 p.m. and I was so excited to see all the women from different parts of my life. Family and extended family, neighbors, an old college buddy, a childhood friend, the women in my bookclub, a friend from work, and some of my mom's closest friends, many whom have known me my entire life! I felt so lucky to have all these amazing women in one place.

Brian and my brother Adam even stuck around for a while to visit with everyone. (before heading across the street to drink beer and watch football...)

My friend Amanda was so sweet to offer to bring a cake to the shower. She coordinated everything with my mom, but wouldn't tell me anything about this surprise. Well, I was definitely surprised when I saw the cake!

Luckily I was not involved in the decapitating process...

As I talked to my mom about this shower, I told her that I wanted it to be a little different. I yearned for a meaningful, genuine gathering of the most important women in my life. In order to facilitate that goal, my mom included the following request in the shower invitations she sent to my friends and family.

Birth Beads are a modern day way to honor the expectant mother. When taken to the birthing experience, they symbolize the support, strength, and positive energy of those who gifted them. They carry with them energy and power. They can be used as a visual and tactile focal point during labor and held for strength and endurance during the birth process
Please bring (or send) a small trinket or bead that symbolizes your w
ish for Rachel and baby in labor and birth.

(These beads will be used to make a necklace for Rachel to wear during labor)

I had no idea how amazing this ritual would turn out to be. After some visiting and munchies, we all sat down in my living room, and starting with my Aunt Cathy, everyone in the circle explained the bead or trinket they had brought with them, and then expressed their wish for me and/or for my baby. Needless to say, we were all in tears before Cathy was done and the tears kept right on flowing until Susie finished.

I was so overwhelmed by the thoughtful, kind, funny, and empowering messages that were offered. Every single person there said something that was so meaningful and representative of my relationship with them. As I reflected on the shower later, I initially wished that I had recorded what everyone said so I'd always be able to remember their wishes and share them with my daughter. However, in retrospect, I realize that's not really the point. The feelings of love and support I got from those moments are what will last. I truly believe that during the most difficult parts of labor and new motherhood, I will draw on those wishes and prayers and blessings to give me strength. And Brian knows to remind me during labor about all the amazing women who gathered in my home to send me on my way to motherhood and to use their power and love to give me strength when I need it most.

I received so many beautiful, thoughtful, and useful gifts at this baby shower. We're so lucky to have such generous people in our lives who have provided us with almost all the baby gear and clothes we'll need. However, the best gifts I have received in preparing for Baby Peterson's arrival are the words that were spoken by all of you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dear Placenta,

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I've Been Showered

On January 4, I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with family and friends at a shower held for me in Colorado Springs.

The shower was hosted by dear friends of my mother-in-law's (and dear friends of mine), Diane and Linda. It was a gorgeous Colorado Sunday. The snow was falling outside and the fireplace was burning inside. Many of my favorite people were there...including some special out-of-town guests. Brian's aunt Julie and cousins Alison and Katie Sharp were in town and were able to join us for the shower. Soon-to-be Great Grandma Sharp also made it just in time (despite a few airplane mishaps along the way). My mom, mother-in-law, sister-in-law Susie (and her sister and mother), as well as many great friends were able to join us.

I was treated like a princess and could feel so much love from all the special women who gathered there.

It was such a wonderful day and I am so thankful to everyone who came and even those who couldn't make it, but sent their love. It is amazing to spend time with women who have known Brian most of his life and to hear their stories about his youth. I am always thankful that Brian's "extended Colorado Springs family" has welcomed me so warmly and is treating us and our baby so generously.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmases and Chanukah

What a wonderful holiday season it was. Despite all the frantic running around and preparations leading up to Christmas, it was a joy to spend time with both our families, enjoying each other's company, and relishing a few luxurious days off of work to do nothing but read, knit, eat, talk, nap, and wear pajamas.

We spent Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day with the Petersons in Colorado Springs.

The day after Christmas, we headed up to my parents' house to celebrate with them. Dad was resplendent in his Christmas usual....

And I even got to see my dearest, oldest friend Angela (who was home for Christmas for the first time in years). We're going on 28 years of friendship!!!

As you can imagine, it was a very baby Christmas....

And during all the Christmas festivities, I made sure to make use of my gorgeous new menorah; a gift from my Great Aunt Sylvia.
It was a wonderful weekend with both our families. Afterwards, however, this was about all we had energy for......