Carrots for Michaelmas: Musings of a Catholic Wife, Mother, and Occasional Redhead


Our Love Story: Part III
May 28, 2011, 11:19 am
Filed under: Husband

This is Part III. You can read Part I and Part II to catch up.

At the airport Daniel gave me a mix cd to listen to on the plane. It was beautiful. As I flew back to Texas I knew I would give him another chance but I needed a little bit of time and a little bit of convincing that I wouldn’t get my heart broken again.

We talked on the phone almost every day and Daniel sent me letters at least once a week. In late January, Daniel met me and a couple of my friends from college in New Orleans which is close to half-way between Waco and Tallahassee. I said we weren’t officially back together but…we did hold hands all over Jackson Square. And it was a frigid weekend so Daniel HAD to put his arm around me most of the time, just to keep me warm, right?

A few weeks later he drove to Waco to visit me during his college Spring Break. Before he left, he had lunch with my Dad. After getting to know Daniel for a couple of years, my parents adored him and were rooting for us to be together. Daniel explained that he wasn’t sure he was going to make the trip in two 8 hour days of driving or just drive the whole way in one long day. He knew my Dad was in his corner when he said, “Just drive all day and get there. That’s what I would have done to see Margo.” Daniel made the 15.5 hour trip in about 13 hours. I guess he really liked me.

I can remember my excitement as I waited all day for him to arrive and even exactly what I was wearing as I raced out of my dorm to meet him in the parking lot. He had driven to Texas to see me. I was convinced he was in it for the long haul. He told me later that when he told some folks at church that he was driving to Texas to visit a girl, they said, “Must be some girl!” It seems he agreed.

After my mid-terms were over, we drove back to Florida so I could spend my Spring Break there. Daniel told me that he planned to move to Waco in the Fall after he completed his Associate of Arts that Spring. If anything would have convinced me of his commitment to me, it was this. If he was willing to move to a small town in the middle of Texas away from all his family and friends where he didn’t know a soul except for me, he was serious.

When I moved back home for the summer, Daniel and his sister, Vanessa, were in Europe. When he returned, Daniel didn’t propose yet. But, he told me that he wanted to marry me and he didn’t want to wait until we finished school. He moved into a dark and dank tiny apartment down the road from my dorm and worked at a sandwich shop that whole next year. When we came home for Christmas, he told my Dad his intention to marry me and asked for his blessing.

I was pretty sure that he was going to propose during that Christmas break but I didn’t know when. We had plans to meet Daniel’s parents for dinner one rainy December night. Daniel picked me up from my parents house and we drove over to the Stewarts’ to meet up with them. When we arrived, no one was home and Daniel said they must have gone to pick up his Grandma and were on their way back. There was a fire in the fireplace which I should have realized was odd, but I wasn’t thinking about it. A few minutes later, our friend Tom walked in the front door with a blanket and said, “It’s a cold night! Y’all might need a nice blanket,” which he left us with and then walked out the door. A minute later, our friend Brian entered carrying two mugs of hot chocolate. Other friends and my brother arrived bearing my favorite foods, pomegranates, cinnamon covered pecans, and various other treats and would leave as soon as they delivered their cargo. Last, Daniel’s sister came in with a bottle of wine.

Daniel poured the wine and told me that it was ice wine he brought back from Europe the previous summer and that he had bought for this occasion. He gave me a white gold band asked me to be his wife. I don’t remember what words he used when he proposed, but I do remember how happy I was.

We were married the following May in Tallahassee, five years ago today.

During those five years we’ve had ups and downs. Good times and difficult, painful ones. By God’s grace we have made it this far. As we begin our sixth year of marriage, it is far better than we ever imagined. We are more in love than the day we made our vows. I simply can’t WAIT to see him when he gets home from work each day. He is my best and dearest friend. As I look around at our life together: our home, our garden, our faith, our son and our baby girl on the way, I look at my husband and say, “You have made me the happiest of women.” And he has.

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Verdict is in…
May 27, 2011, 5:42 pm
Filed under: Pregnancy

IT’S A GIRL!!!

A precious, healthy, baby girl. I am overwhelmed with joy. I was hoping for a little gal (although I would have loved another sweet boy!) and when the tech and Dr.  said, “Girl!” I cried so many happy tears. A GIRL! I can’t believe it. And she’s so beautiful. She was sweetly playing with her little tiny toes. AND she looked asleep compared to what Benjamin looked like during his ultrasound. Could I be getting a calm, relaxed baby this time around after my wild little always-on-the-move boy?!

Dr. thought the due date might be closer to Oct. 7th.

Somebody teach me how to make little girl dresses! Anybody got sweet baby girl clothes you’re done with?

We are so grateful for this healthy new life. Praise God.



Boy or Girl?!
May 27, 2011, 12:09 pm
Filed under: Pregnancy

Today is the day. We have our big ultrasound at 12:30 and if baby is cooperative, we’ll find out whether we’re expecting another sweet little man or a precious little lady! We can’t wait to find out! Any last minute predictions?

Our predictions are as follows:

Daniel: Boy

Haley: Girl

Benjamin: “a baby boy AND a baby girl!”

Anybody wanna place a bet?

I didn’t have a chance to finish Part III of our love story last night and tonight we’re having our big anniversary celebration date so no guarantees that it will be up tonight either. Sorry, folks! I’ll have to leave you in suspense wondering, “Do they ever get together!?”



Our Love Story: Part II
May 26, 2011, 1:04 am
Filed under: Husband

This is Part II, you can catch up on Part I here.

I was 18 and Daniel and I had been dating on and off for almost two years. I was offered a full scholarship to Baylor University and accepted into their elite University Scholars Program within their Honors College. It was not an opportunity I could pass up. Although I considered staying in Tallahassee and attending FSU, I decided to move to Texas and attend Baylor. Daniel spent most of the summer doing sustainable agriculture in the Philippines. Although we had planned to have a long-distance relationship, when it came time for me to leave, we decided to break up instead. Ok, I’ll be honest, Daniel decided it would be better to break up. I was heart-broken, but I was excited about starting college and my life ahead.

Even though I missed Daniel a great deal, I wasn’t going to wallow and jumped into life at Baylor. I firmly committed to never dating Daniel again. Getting your heart broken twice is enough, I thought! I didn’t contact him at all but he would call every few weeks and we’d catch up briefly. I started dating a really great guy from Plano and we would enjoy concerts and artsy movies in Austin on the weekends and hung out at the coffee house on the edge of campus. He was a wonderful boyfriend and we had a great time together, but I couldn’t imagine marrying him. Although we had plenty to talk about and some common interests, we simply weren’t on the same page about most important things. So, we ended the relationship after a couple of months before either of us got our hearts broken.

As I was packing to fly home for Christmas, Daniel IMed me (remember, folks, it was 2004) to say, “So I guess I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.” “Actually,” I coldly replied, “my family is meeting me at the airport at 7:30pm and I’ll be spending the evening with them. I’m sure we’ll run into each other sometime over the break.” “See you tomorrow!” he confidently and irritatingly replied before signing off. Surely, he won’t just SHOW UP at the airport, I thought. That would be bold to the point of absurdity! But as the plane made its descent to Tallahassee, I reapplied some lip gloss just in case.

When I stepped off the plane, I was greeted by my parents, my brother, his roommate, and….Daniel Stewart. A bold move, indeed. In his defense, during my time in Texas he and my brother had become very close friends. So, the fact that he was out with my brother was not at all odd….but to show up as part of the Welcome Home, Haley committee…rather unexpected. I gave everyone a warm hug hello and then gave Daniel a rather icy side hug. Yes, a side hug. I thought that would send the right message. I rode with my folks back to their house and Daniel rode with my brother. The word on the street is that when the boys got back in their car, they looked at Daniel and said, “Side hug….ouch.”

I spent the rest of my Christmas vacation being generally unpleasant to Daniel whenever our paths crossed. Daniel, on the other hand, was kind and warm which made my resolution to not give him the time of day far more difficult. We finally had a chance to really talk things out at my brother’s house on New Year’s Eve. The long and short of it is that Daniel convinced me that we should be together. But, I was scared to get my heart broken again and told him that for the time being, I just wanted to be friends. We spent plenty of time together the following week and he drove me to the airport for my trip back to school. But we parted with a hug, not a kiss, because I wasn’t ready to be anything more than friends…

Can Daniel convince me to give him another chance?! Find out in Part III



Our Love Story: Part I
May 25, 2011, 2:27 am
Filed under: Husband

Last week: “I can’t imagine you being married to anyone other than Daniel. It is such a joy to know you are with such a good and wonderful man.” –My Dad

9 Years Ago: “I don’t want you to ever see that boy again. He is a freak.” – My Dad

As we are celebrating our FIFTH(!) anniversary this Saturday, I thought a few posts about our love story might be fun this week…

I was 15. I knew I liked Daniel immediately after meeting him. We had a mutual friend, Elizabeth, who introduced us and I was instantly smitten. We saw each other at various functions and occasionally talked over instant messenger (how 2002 of us!). I was quite fascinated by him. He could discuss books and ideas. He actually had opinions, some of which were very different from my own, and he could talk about them intelligently and confidently. He wasn’t like anyone I had ever met. And he was so adorably handsome. At the end of my sophomore year Daniel called my house phone (an unprecendented occurrence) to ask me to go see a musical at his high school with him. He arrived at my parent’s door with cut-offs, a Goodwill shirt, shaggy hair, and trucker hat, and no shoes. I thought he looked impossibly cool. My father did not (hence the above quote).

My dad and I have had only a handful of big arguments in my quarter of a century of existence. Whether or not I could date Daniel Stewart was one of them. In my dad’s defense, Daniel did not exactly arrive on the scene in respectable first date theatre attire.

Dad: He is WEIRD.

Haley: *SOB*

Daniel’s plan of attack was to win over my mom first. He would occasionally drop by the house to bring me a Jones Soda or a mix cd and always made a point of chatting with her. She developed the opinion that under his rather homeless-looking garb was an intelligent, thoughtful, kind, and interesting young man. My dad eventually was won over, too, and a few months later when we broke up (oops! Spoiler!) they were both irritatingly on his side.

Broke up, you say? Indeed. After a few months of adorable dateyness, Daniel broke my little 17-year-old heart. Whenever I would upbraid his good name due to my bitter angst over no longer being his high school sweetheart, my parents would retort, “Daniel is just a wonderful young man! Don’t say that about him!” When I told my mom that we had broken up she helpfully replied, “but I like him so much! And he has the handsomest sparkly brown eyes!”

Haley: *SOB*

Luckily, I had somebody on my side—Daniel’s parents. Rumor has it that his mother broke down in tears when he nonchalantly tried to tell his folks over dinner that we’d broken up.

Thankfully, he came to his senses a couple months later. I, however, (the woman scorned) was not exactly….shall we say…gracious. But after several weeks of giving him very icy treatment, I was won over by his charming ways yet again when he switched name plates to sit next to me at a friend’s wedding. When I had to drive home before the festivities were over, Daniel showed up at my house with a slice of wedding cake. He looked very handsome and it was really good cake. I was no match for such chivalry and confections!

For almost a year we spent all our free time together. He would write me notes saying wonderful adorable things. We would stroll through Oven Park, Jones Sodas in hand, and kiss. I was head over heels and Daniel had become my best friend. I knew that I wanted to marry him. I admired his sense of humor, adventurous spirit, genuine kindness, and above all, Christian devotion. And I had completely fallen in love with his family. But things were about to fall apart again…I was about to move halfway across the country for college…

Will our young love survive?! Find out in Part II, dear reader.



Besties
May 20, 2011, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Children, Pregnancy

Benjamin has a little best friend. His name is Ulee and Benjamin thinks he’s just grand. We met Ulee and his mama, Zemi, at library storytime and hit it off.

The boys love to go to the Jr. Museum (Tallahassee Museum, if you’re fancy) and run around and show each other all the animals. Benjamin even wrote a little song about Ulee. It’s mostly just repetition of “Ulee, Ulee, UUUUUlee!”

Check out Ulee’s avant-garde sliding technique! Benjamin opted for traditional. Cuties!

Sweet, adorable Ulee and his mommy and daddy are moving to Washington state to live on a communal farm which is so great! But we’re sad to lose such a good friend.

In other news, we’re all recovered from being sick. What I thought was food poisoning was just the worst stomach flu I’ve ever experienced. Daniel got hit with it a couple days after me and then my dad got it a couple days after him. Seriously. AWFUL. But we’re better now. Baby seems to be doing great! I’ve been feeling lots of little kicks. Here’s a belly pictures at 16 weeks (I’m almost 20 weeks, now) that Daniel took at his sister’s wedding at the beach:

I can’t believe that next weekend will be our fifth anniversary (FIFTH? has it really been that long?)! We already went on a little anniversary trip to Animal Kingdom last month but we’ll get a big present the Friday before our anniversary: our gender ultrasound! I can’t wait to know if Benjamin is getting a little sister or a little brother. We’ll find out in a week!



From Bad to Worse…
May 7, 2011, 8:36 pm
Filed under: Misc

That was our week. It all began on Sunday when after a weekend of runny nose and coughing, Benjamin started wheezing. He had what could have been his first bout of asthma, something Daniel has been concerned about from the very beginning because he had such awful childhood asthma and still has it to a degree. So Sunday and Monday was filled with dr.’s offices, pharmacy pick-ups, breathing treatments, and nebulizer purchases.  Benjamin also did a neat trick where he would cough in the middle of the night and then vomit because he had coughed so hard. Lots of laundry, not much sleep.

Wednesday late in the night Daniel and I both awoke to hear dogs barking. There’s several dogs in the neighborhood so I didn’t think much of it. In the morning, however, we discovered that one of our two chicken coops had been ripped into and nothing was left except for a few clumps of feathers. We’re guessing that a pack of stray dogs tore into the chicken wire. We know that one of our ladies, Peregrina, bit the dust because a neighbor found her in their yard quite dead. Daughter (named by Benjamin) was discovered merrily wandering behind some houses down the street and is safely back with the rest of the flock. As to Sophie and Feven…we’ll never know. They probably kicked the bucket, too, or they would have found their way back to the coop.

On Thursday I made a very bad decision. On my way to teach ballet, I had a hankering for a taco. I am not a fast food eater. I really almost never eat it. But on this particular Thursday, I quenched this desire by purchasing a taco from Taco Bell. NEVER AGAIN. I woke up at midnight and spent the next 10 hours vomiting in my first and hopefully last excursion into the world of food poisoning. Even water was impossible to keep down so my OB-GYN prescribed me some anti-vomiting meds which helped a little bit. Later on Friday I went in to the Dr.’s office so they could check my dehydration and see if I needed an IV so I wouldn’t start having pre-term contractions but they determined that if I was able to keep some fluids down, I was probably out of the woods. But really, I WILL NEVER EAT FAST FOOD AGAIN. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so sick. Today I’ve been able to drink and have some chicken broth and oatmeal. I still feel completely wiped out but I think the worst is over. It was also scary to be so ill whilst being pregnant. I was worried that it would affect our little one and I felt so ill that it had me in tears. Way worse than labor.

So that brings you up to date. Next week has to be better, right? It’s a good thing my husband takes such good care of me and we’ve got family in town to help with Benjamin during a crisis.

Speaking of Benjamin, the other night we left his door open and our door open so we could hear if he was having any trouble breathing. He was fast asleep but the light was still on in our room because Daniel was reading and I was listening to Harry Potter and dozing. Daniel got up to get something and I awoke to a little boy running into our room, jumping into the bed, and climbing under the covers. We’re pretty sure he was asleep the whole time. It seems we might have a little sleep walker in our midst…but he sure is a cutie.