Archive for the ‘Koskie Life’ Category

The Year That Was 2011

Friday, December 30th, 2011

The clock is ticking pretty hard right now and I’m running out of time to do this – my annual wrap-up post. I feel like this and a million other things are behind. Namely, three months without a Dear Paisley letter. I have notes, lots of them, and I probably have the time, I just need to make myself see it. She changes so much on a daily basis that writing those letters every four weeks is sometimes impossible to remember everything, catching up on one-fourth of the year feels insurmountable.

I’m not going to lie, 2011 can go ahead and roll in to 2012 and I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. This wasn’t a bad year, it was certainly not a great one. Maybe it was and I just didn’t slow down long enough to see it.

I have some BIG goals for myself in the coming year and I’m the only reason any of those won’t see the light of day … or will … however I choose to act. I’m ready to take back time that is rightfully mine, giving more of it to myself and more of it to Paisley. I’ll toss a little to Shelton too, of course!

It’s hard to say it was a bad year when I look back over the past 12 months and once again I’m reminded of the abundance in my life. So join me now as we take this little walk through my Google Calendar.


Shelton took a position as the interactive marketing director for RSA, a new ad agency in Wichita. A year later, he’s more or less killing it and has truly found “his calling.”

We were asked to be part of the Moments of Joy marketing project with Johnson & Johnson. Emmy-winning photographer Michael Franzini (above, photo credit) and friends came to our house for a half day to shoot us in our own “moment of joy” with Paisley – waking up in the morning! We were chosen as the family to represent Kansas in a photograph coffee table-style book featuring one family from each state. Paisley now reads this book almost daily, and loves flipping to the first page to see our family.

Paisley started walking at 8.5 months old!


Had the privilege of attending a reading by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of one of my very favorite books, Eat Live Laugh. She was spectacular and made me love her story even more.

My dad had a heart catheter procedure. We made light of the anxiety we all shared by video taping the nurse shaving his disgusting hairy chest for the monitors.

We celebrated Paisley’s first Ayyam-i-ha in OKC with the Koskie family, minus Baltimore Koskie representation. We ate plenty of chocolate cake to make up for their absence. She also fit in to the dress my Great Great Grandma Lilly Kelly made for me.


Shelton and I attended SXSWi in Austin with six other couples, a group of some of our dearest friends. We transported a fully baked and decorated cake on our SW Airlines flight to ensure the week kicked off right by celebrating Sarah Sanchez’s 30th birthday. The week included a handshake with Dennis Crowley, A LOT of day drinking, and A LOT of good laughs.

Upon return from Austin I immediately took off to San Francisco to attend IHRSA and meet with the Cybex team to review their new BL Arc machine. It was my first trip to the city and I think it was worth every penny of the $50 cab ride to check out the Golden Gate Bridge.

A follow-up to the Johnson’s photo shoot was a commercial shoot. This was an intense day-long event that had about 15 people in our house shooting, directing, decorating, and a little acting from Paisley and I. It was a bath scene using the Johnson’s Naturals products. Paisley did great, but couldn’t quite understand why we kept getting in and out of the bathtub. The entire team was incredible, took very good care of us, and made a very generous contribution to Paisley’s college fund. The commercial aired during a one-hour special for the “Joy” project, and we’ve heard from several friends that it runs on HULU too. You can see it here now:


We mostly laid low this month, up until THE BIG EVENT on the 27th! Paisley turned ONE!!! Can you believe it?! Ugh, I still don’t think I can and we’re only a few months from the second one. On her actual birthday we went to dinner at Yia Yia’s; not because Paisley would care about a nice dinner for her birthday but because it was also Shelton’s birthday. We had a blow-out bash for the birthday girl on Saturday, complete with a pink tutu, all of our friends and family, and individual watermelon cakes that she refused to touch or eat.


We met up with our dear friend Paul Riedl to do Paisley’s one-year photos in Norman. We sort of snuck in to the OU stadium and caught a photo that few Sooners have. I hope she grows up to be a Sooner too and cherishes this pic as much as I do.

I went on a whirlwind tour for about a week. I left Wichita for Baltimore where I got to have lunch with Heather and Tilton by the bay, and then spent two days at a fitness conference meeting some incredible people who sort of changed the pace of my year. From there I rode a bus to NYC and hung out w/ my Brooklyn peeps for the weekend. Then, it was my first cross-country flight out to LA for the Biggest Loser 11 finale.

While I was away, Larenda stayed with us to help Shelton with Paisley. It was during all of this that the Joplin tornado happened and we were unbelievably relieved that her and my brother’s house, as well as their respective jobs, were spared.


This month was pretty much when my 2011-bad-mood started. I’d taken a few days off of work and just Paisley and I were headed to Dallas to soak up some fun and sun with Christie and Ada. We made it from OKC to Ardmore when the radiator blew up on the side of I-35. It was a brutal day, that turned in to a God-awful week, that turned in to an painfully large credit card swipe, that all resulted in never making it to Dallas at all. AND THEN when my incredible FIL drove me from OKC to Blackwell to be picked up by Shelton to go home, we were each 20 minutes in the opposite direction when I realized my laptop and luggage were still in Kerry’s truck. The night ended with sangria with friends. The end.

Later that month, Shelton and I ventured to KC for a quick overnight trip to see a Chelsea Handler show, a gift from a friend. This trip was also a fiasco and we were beginning to mull over the benefits of a hermit existence. Her 20-minute show was hilarious.

We started attending the free jazz concerts at Bradley Fair and it was becoming the highlight of our summer, until the World’s Hottest Heat Wave Ever descended upon our fair city. We got three evenings outside with live music watching Paisley run around the gardens, and I’m grateful for each of them.

Paisley gave up her bottle without a fuss!


Shelton and I left Paisley with Grandma Lori so that we could spend an extended weekend in Denver with the Sanchezes. This trip may, or may not, have had something to do with my turning 30 the following week. We ate and drank our way through some excellent restaurants and cool microbreweries in Denver and up the road in Ft. Collins. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this trip. Including eating super glue off of my birthday cake.

I turned 30. I got to spend the day with some of my very favorite people and was surprised by a really nice dinner with my most favorite person.

Early in the month, my Papa Nick lost his very, very short battle with stage four lung cancer. He was a Marine and a pretty cool guy. The day the call came I walked around all day saying to myself “Got’Dammit Ann!,” a phrase he was frequently heard barking at my Grandma. I still laugh every time I think it to myself.


Grandpa’s house finally sold and we packed up the place where we took Paisley home from the hospital. We moved to a beautiful 1927 house in College Hill and are IN LOVE with this new home. We’re super close to the park, even closer to some of our very dearest friends, and a bicycle ride away from Shelton’s office.

Shelton and I celebrated our 9th anniversary. We treated ourselves to a babysitter and went to see The Help and then had the most fan-freaking-tastic Italian meal I’ve ever tasted from a new restaurant, Luca. We said mushy things to each other. And there were flowers waiting for me when I got home.


With our Dallas trip null and void, Christie and Ada braved the I-35 stretch to visit us for Labor Day Weekend. We couldn’t have had a better time! The little girls played, the big girls talked, and the boy just stayed out of the way. We sat on our patio and enjoyed the single best night of the entire summer together.

I went to NYC for a week to work from our main office. This involved a Saturday on Jim’s and Amy’s Brooklyn roof top with a lobster brunch that started late in the morning and wrapped up early in the morning.


I had a chance to speak to Lou Heldman’s Social Media class for the second time. It was as much fun as the first and a great learning experience for myself that I hope to expand on.

With DietsInReview we hosted an aid station at the Prairie Fire Marathon. I was a little disappointed in myself for not running this year, but I also cheered a little harder and louder knowing just how much those runners needed to hear it.

We spent a weekend in Lawrence with the Sanchezes to watch a terribly boring OU win over KU. We also stayed in a hotel where, as Jeremy put it, wouldn’t have been out of the question to see a raccoon giving birth in the hallway. The weekend involved tacos, cupcakes, and an awesome breakfast.

I lost part of Paisley’s Smurf Halloween costume so at the last minute she went as a hippy which proved to be FAR more adorable. We took Paisley to about seven houses on our block, where she said “trick or treat” and “thank you” each time. Then, we handed out candy to about 300 kids, and Paisley helped with each piece saying “I share candy!” Jenna, Josh, Ellie, and our friend Sherry shared in the festivities.


One of our few quiet months, but as you can see, we’d earned it. We spent Thanksgiving in Moore with the Koskies, as usual. This year, Grandma Polly passed the spatula, if you will, down to me and I had he privilege of preparing the entire Thanksgiving dinner. I made the best turkey I’ve ever seen or tasted (give it up for brining!), a fig and turkey sausage stuffing, fresh cranberries, green beans, honey mashed sweet potatoes, and I even baked homemade bread. I was smart enough to leave the gravy and desserts to Grandma!

On that trip we took Emilee and Paisley to see their first movie at the theater – The Muppets. Both did a really great job.


We spent a weekend in OKC with “the crew” at the Crews/Titus Christmas Party, where we always push the limits of becoming an instant diabetic. It’s a rare opportunity to have all of our friends in the same place, and we love it!

I made my way to LA once again for the Biggest Loser 12 finale. It was a lightning fast 48 hour trip that crammed in quite a bit of excitement. I got to meet the Derow twins – Silas and Cian!!! Two sweet boys who I waited anxiously for this year.

Christmas was perfect this year. It was low-key and included all of my favorite things – great surprises from Santa, all of my family, and good food. Paisley was really in to the holiday this year, which made for a pretty magical morning.

We plan on ringing in the new year with the Moreheads, my aunt/uncle and cousins. This is a tradition that I find to be the perfect way to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new. When that clock strikes 12, Shelton and I will mark 11 years as a couple … even though he says we don’t recognize that as an anniversary.

What this list both does and doesn’t say is that we have good jobs that we love. We didn’t have a single medical incident this year and as of this writing all three of us are in excellent health. My heater is blowing really hot air on me right now while I’m watching OU play in the Insight Bowl on my 11-year-old television. My belly is stuffed full with homemade enchiladas and guacamole. I’ve hugged my husband about a dozen times today, and gotten more kisses and “wuv you too”s from my daughter than I can count. In other words, I have every single thing that I need, and when I stop and make myself really look around, I pretty much have everything I want, too.

As my friend Karin taught me to say… this is the Best Life Ever.

Happy New Year to each of you, and thank you for being a part of our year. We look forward to sharing the one ahead with you, too.

Farewell Sandplum Circle

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

I hate how emotionally attached you can become to a house. Afterall, it’s just a house. But, I’m the girl who bawled when my dad sold my riding lawn mower in a garage sale in the 8th grade. I’d named him Wilbur and he’d belonged to my Great Grandpa Morehead. But it was JUST a lawn mower.

I haven’t stopped to do the math, but this move puts me up somewhere around 60 houses that I’ve lived in. Yes, 60. I’ve packed my things and moved them somewhere new no less than 60 times in my life. I’m a professional. This odd gypsy lifestyle is all I’ve really ever known. I don’t love it, but I don’t necessarily hate it.

What I do hate each and every time is the leaving. So many people have one or two homes in their lives. Their bedrooms may even still be peppered with mementos from high school at their parents’ house, along with a pencil-marked growth chart on the kitchen doorway. I don’t have that. I remember that I taught my brother to ride a bike in the second house we lived in in Tulsa. I remember that the three of us ran a mock post office during summer vacation in the house by the cemetery (oh yeah! there was one of those.) I found out I’d been accepted to OU in the house at the lake. Shelton asked me to marry him at our condo in Norman. I found out we couldn’t have a baby in the Victor house. And I found out I was actually carrying a baby in this house.

My memories are scattered to the winds. Maybe that’s why I write, or as Shelton thinks, retain just short of every memory in my life in odd and minute detail because I don’t have a house to walk in to to absorb a flood of memories.

Sandplum Circle will probably be more special than some of the others. I mean, I’ve practically forgotten we lived in that apartment on Webb. For one, it’s one of the places I’ve lived longest – 2 years and 2 months. More than any other this place actually felt like home. That’s probably because this is where my couple turned in to a family.

On July 14, 2009 Shelton and I woke one morning to a smattering of needles and jars of liquid hormones and stuck my belly for the first time. Our entire IVF treatment took place in the master bedroom of this house. Sixty-seven long, painful, nerve-wracking, hope-filled days ended with sitting on the sofa in our living room and hearing “You are absolutely, positively pregnant!” from M. This house is where I puttered around for nine months anxiously filling a nursery, obsessing over MORE SLEEPER GOWNS!, and where I brought my darling Paisley Joon home. I rocked her to sleep last night in her nursery one last time, and couldn’t get over how she once spanned the length of my chest, and last night her feet dangled over the arms of the rocker; and then she bid me “nigh-nigh!” as I closed her door. She sat in a bumbo on the kitchen counter and had her first bite of solid food. At eight months she took off from the fireplace and walked across the living room for the first time. And she stood on her tippy toes at the big dining room window to see the dogs in the neighbor’s backyard and learned to say puppies.

This was Paisley’s first home, and I hope it’s not the first of many for her.

This was a family home though. My sister and I both had our baby showers here, and we both celebrated our daughters’ first birthdays here. I made Ellie’s 1st birthday cake and Jenna made Paisley’s. This is also where I met my niece for the first time. We hosted the first all-Koskie gathering outside of Oklahoma here, and no one was worse for the wear.

It hasn’t always been easy living here – be it preparedness for showings or the haul across town to the east side – but it has been fun, and very memorable. If I hadn’t spent every dime (and more) to my name on Paisley, I’d probably have the cash to buy this place, and I probably would have. Honestly though, I’d rather have Paisley than put any house, anywhere, in my name.

When the next family moves in, the ghosts we’re leaving in these walls are really happy ones. I can only hope that the families before us in the Fountain house (build in 1927… there are a few!) left the same juju for us.

Dear Brandi: Month 360

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Dear Brandi,

The time has come. Today you turn 30. Yeah, I said it. What?

If I were your shrink, I’d tell you why you’ve had so much anxiety about this birthday. It’s because you vividly remember the birthday party that was thrown for your dad when he turned 30. There were over the hill banners and candles, joke pills for old-people ailments, a wheelchair, diapers, and more. To a six-year-old, 30 was the end of the road. But now that you’re here, with 30 slapping you in the face, as you can see, it’s really just the beginning. Wouldn’t you agree?

You were given some great advice last winter from a woman who was on the cusp of turning 40, and she told you that the only thing she regretted about turning 30 was how much time she spent regretting turning 30. You never take advice, because you’re too stubborn and independent, but I’m proud of you for taking this little nugget. In the past six months, you’ve actually become less hesitant about your birthday, and have embraced all that lies ahead of you in the next ten years. That kind of wisdom can only come with age. Or a fuzzy wine induced state of delirium.

Your twenties were one hell of a ride, right? No other decade will likely bring as much change as this one did. You left home; went to and finished college (GO SOONERS!); met, fell in love with, and married your best friend; bought a house, then another; started a career; begged the Internet for money; had a baby with that money; ate sushi (and liked it).

If you had ever made one of those “where I’d like to be when I’m 30 lists” I don’t remember it. I know you talked about wanting three kids by the time you were 30, and let me tell you, getting one-third of your wish is more than enough. Seriously, that infertility thing did you guys a favor. Just think how tired you’d be… and how sexy you’d look in a minivan! I know you wanted to be happily married, and you nailed that one on the head. You wanted to have a successful career, and while that definition is certainly subjective, it fully meets your criteria. You wanted to have a boob lift, and as you can clearly see, that hasn’t worked out for you. Yet. (PS, put “make friends with a plastic surgeon” on your endless and stroke-inducing to-do list.)

What I’m getting at here is that you have an incredible life. Some might even say enviable. You might not take fancy vacations, have ever owned a brand new car, or feel the relief of a zero-balance credit card, but what you do have is more valuable than all of those things combined. You’re happy. You know by now that money does not buy that… that being happiness. It’s that intangible thing that every person on earth is chasing and you found it. At the tender age of 30.

If you’re as smart as you sometimes give yourself credit for, you will spend the next ten years continuing to do the things that you love, pursuing the things that make you happy, and filling the gaps with new. Yes, new, as in change, different, and unfamiliar. You will do more things that scare you, and live to tell the tales. You must make more time to do that ONE BIG THING that is begging to be done. Get off of Twitter, and Facebook, and Scrabble and just do it already. I think you’ll find it’s going to be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done and likely one of the most fulfilling. (Yes, to the rest of you that’s vague but Brandi knows exactly what I’m talking about.)

That THING will only be a notch or two less fulfilling than being Paisley’s mom. Can you believe that kid? And that she is YOURS? No single job you have is ever going to be as important, enlightening, pure, or dramatic as being her mother will be. She is going to break your heart, but don’t ever break hers. She is also going to fill it to a point of bursting, and you will need to make sure you do the same for her… often. I hope you’ll allow yourself to develop just enough patience that you can learn from her as much as she will from you.

Never stop being and doing all the things that make you, you. It gets old sometimes, but hopefully having the sense-of-humor of a 12-year-old boy will not tire any time soon. Sometimes that stupid stuff just needs to be noticed and laughed at. Embracing your curly hair is one of the smartest things you’ve ever done, followed only by your decisions to finally try (and love) cream cheese, avocados, rice, and bell peppers.

There’s a cheesy top-40 song (admit it, you love them) playing on the radio right now that says “It’s gonna be a good, good life.” And it is. Why wouldn’t it be? You’ve worked so incredibly hard to get yourself where you are, all with the goal of enjoying a good life. It may not always feel like “THE” good life, but it certainly “A” good life.

Don’t forget your 20s. I’ll even allow you to call them your roaring 20s. (get it?! haha) You spent that entire decade with Shelton and are better for it. You attended five Dave Matthews concerts, stood first row at a Counting Crows concert, and actually on stage for a Korn concert (you went through a phase, it’s OK). You had sushi with Jillian MIchaels, enjoyed dinner in Marc Cherry’s home, had the gall to ask Cedric the Entertainer to take a picture with you at LAX,  interviewed Donald Trump and Jimmy Fallon, and have made friends with a few incredibly inspiring Biggest Loser contestants. You’ve put your feet in both oceans and skied down mountains, and while you’ve yet to obtain the legal document that allows you to leave this island, you still have the brochure to a resort just outside of Fiji and I have no doubt that you will get there. You graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree, and have never felt more proud. You’ve made some of the best friends a girl could ask for, hung on to them tightly, and cleared out the cobwebs of those who didn’t quite make you a better person. You were told you couldn’t have a baby and you pretty much kicked that noise in the throat and pursued a relentless four-year fight to get her here. And she’s perfect! You’ve written for national publications and helped launch a formidable competitor in the health space. You became an aunt, a wife, a mom, an in-law, and according to NPR once, an expert. You’ve appeared on a national morning show, the front page of newspapers, national radio, in a published book, and as an endorser on a book jacket. You became quite an excellent cook.. why you ever eat at restaurants escapes me. You’re really good at it. (PS – seriously, give up on baking already.) You ran a half marathon in 3 hours and 12 minutes just 5.5 months after having a baby. You’ve still never learned math, but you’ve mastered Google and use Shelton on IM as a personal calculator. You were proposed to over cheddar bay biscuits and married in flip flops, and have built a marriage to be proud of. You have had a blast.

When we check in again at 40, I want to see another list that is as accomplished, positive, entertaining, and memorable. Just get that THING done, and get a passport already.

Brandi… this is the best life ever.


I Tweeted My Daughter’s Birth

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I’d told a few friends leading up to Paisley’s delivery day that I was going to tweet the entire birth. They didn’t believe me. Just like they didn’t believe I was going to start a web site, ask for money, and talk about my ovaries. I’m a believable girl!

I just thought it would be fun to keep everyone posted on the goings on of the day. And because my Twitter automatically updates my Facebook status, many other friends and family, like my grandma, who couldn’t be at the hospital, we’re able to follow along, play-by-play.

What I realized the next morning is that I’d inadvertently given myself a priceless gift – a transcript of the day. The next morning, while Shelton and our hours-old baby slept, I went through my phone reliving the day one tweet at a time. There had already been moments I’d forgotten, and the chronology of the day was completely out of order in my head. I wish this were a complete thread; we only started tweeting a couple hours in to the morning when friends requested a dedicated hashtag (#PaisleyJoon was born). I also don’t have any of Shelton’s tweets, nor the many, many replies with cheers, encouragement, and blessings. But I do have most of my tweets, and it’s something I treasure.

In light of Paisley’s first birthday being tomorrow, I thought it was fitting to clean up the list and republish it to share here.

(Note: all times are PST, add two hours for local time.)

Wishing my @Skoskie the happiest 30th birthday!! We’ll have to rain check that sushi lunch my love.

Filling out epic amounts of paper medical history. Seriously get some #EHR. ( ie @pulseehr) 5:53 AM Apr 27th

Mmmm breakfast! Virgin snocone. 6:03 AM Apr 27th

Started the petocin. 6:36 AM Apr 27th

Broke my water. At a three. Fetal monitor in place. 7:23 AM Apr 27th

Damn these contractions are not cool. 8:18 AM Apr 27th

Ps I’m starrrrrrving!!! 8:19 AM Apr 27th

Wow. Getting her into the bathroom and back is quite the logistical undertaking. (via @skoskie) 8:52 AM Apr 27th

Resident checked me at a SEVEN but second opinion still says three. Getting pain meds. 9:02 AM Apr 27th

I don’t want to fill out your stupid birth plan. Get baby out alive, that my plan. I dt care if u make eye contact or if I hv piture water. 9:09 AM Apr 27th

Ahhhhh yeah. Thank you for the newbane(?). Pain meds are niiiice. 9:32 AM Apr 27th

That was a big contraction. 9:50 AM Apr 27th

Shelton is so proud of his signs. 10:07 AM Apr 27th

#paisleyjoon will be our hash for birth watch, or whatever we are calling this @jeremysanchez @bowlerjim 10:44 AM Apr 27th

Dilated 3.5 #paisleyjoon 10:45 AM Apr 27th

Babys heart rate has dropped to 70 couple times. She is ok seems to be when I chg positions. Precaution did epidural. #paisleyjoon 12:03 PM Apr 27th

Really hard decide to do epidural. Few tears. Procedure was brutal!!!! @skoskie was amazing. Now I’m trap bed and numb. #paisleyjoon 12:05 PM Apr 27th

Dilated 4. #paisleyjoon 12:06 PM Apr 27th

Took a mini nap after kicked out all the fam. ;) felt good. #paisleyjoon 1:02 PM Apr 27th

Heart drop again. So scary but no one concern bc isolated incidents. #paisleyjoon 1:04 PM Apr 27th

Kegal with epidural.. Odd, funny, impossible. Lol!! #paisleyjoon 1:08 PM Apr 27th

Dilated 5. Dreaming of chicken strips from pumphouse. #paisleyjoon 1:23 PM Apr 27th

The only reason I know contracts bc monitor. Feel nothing. They look big Makes sad bc they weren’t that terrible. #paisleyjoon 1:30 PM Apr 27th

4:15 I was six. 5:00 I’m nine. #paisleyjoon 2:56 PM Apr 27th

I’m a ten. Talk to you when I’m a mom. ( tears) #paisleyjoon 3:10 PM Apr 27th

Introducing Paisley Joon Koskie!!! Perfectly healthy. 7lb 7oz 18″ at 7:05pm. #paisleyjoon 5:42 PM Apr 27th

Meeting Elizabeth Gilbert

Friday, February 18th, 2011

I accidentally read Eat, Pray, Love. Accidentally because I had no intentions of reading it and then my good friend Amy raved about it and made me promise I’d read it before I watched the movie. So I promised, grabbed the book at the airport the next morning, and a week later I finished the book.

I primarily read non-fiction. I like real, human stories that I can connect with. I like learning about other people’s lives in an incredibly intimate way. Their words to my eyes, that always seems so personal to me. I’m not sure how I hadn’t found my way to EPL any sooner, but now I’m so glad that I did.

My life in no way parallels that of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author. I’m madly in love with my husband and I like my little suburban-esque life. I don’t own a passport and hers is probably as thick as the Oxford Dictionary. I studied French and she prefers Italian. However, in so many ways I needed to hear her story. I was six months postpartum when I read Eat Pray Love and so bogged down in the chaos of my new role as mom that the lines between me-me, work-me, wife-me and mom-me were beginning to blur into an indecipherable fog. Reading Eat Pray Love helped me make it acceptable within myself to be all of these versions of me while individually nurturing the branches of myself. It may have also helped me find a little bit more purpose in my sporadic yoga practice.

When I learned that Liz Gilbert was visiting Wichita for a book tour promoting her new book Commitment, the must-read follow-up to Eat Pray Love that I recommend to anyone married, engaged, divorced, or thinking about marriage, I made sure to get tickets immediately.

Last night, I had the overwhelming privilege to attend Liz’s reading at WSU. I caught myself trying to fight back tears as she read a wonderful selection from Commitment and shared anecdotes about her life with Felipe and as an author. She was warm, funny, genuine, gracious, beautiful and wise. She had adorable little messy pigtails held in place by clippies, wore a sundress with leggings and a long-sleeved shirt underneath and tall black boots. She didn’t have on a drop of makeup, and she was gorgeous. She was gorgeous because she was completely comfortable in her own skin and in her sense of self. There’s a confident beauty in that, and while little of our lives parallels (I like good wine, she could care less), I like to think that I have a little of that too.

I asked her if she still speaks to Ketut, the medicine man she befriended during the “Love” portion of Eat Pray Love in Bali. She responded yes, and that her husband had actually seen him two days ago. (She laughed that the day she flew to Raleigh, he flew to Bali.) I also asked what she thought of the movie, and it wasn’t the canned PR answer I kind of expected. While I really didn’t care for the movie at all, mostly because it botched the ending and a few other details, she said that she didn’t think it was right for writers to take these big Hollywood checks and then complain about the movie. Overall she appeared to have liked it. She also raved about the hot guys who were cast to play the men, and spoke of how when she met Julia Roberts she was star-struck and all she could muster was “You’re pretty.” She said that when standing a foot away from Julia Roberts her beauty is striking and that if she weren’t a movie star, the only other career option that would be fitting would be as a fairy.

If you haven’t had a chance to read Eat Pray Love, I encourage you to make it the next addition to your nightstand. It’s a delicious book, almost literally, and it will feed your mind, your soul, and even a craving for a really good pizza.

2010: That’s a Wrap

Friday, December 31st, 2010

2010… oh where oh where to begin.

(I promise, this isn’t going to be a poem.)

We started the year how we have begun the last five… with the Moreheads and Swarts in a themed New Year’s Eve party. This is the first one that I awoke from sober and not hungover. That whole being-in-my-third-trimester thing got in the way. By then we knew she was a girl and the bigger my tummy got the more anxious we grew.

February brought with it the death star, otherwise known as my kidney stone. This little event landed me in the hospital for two days and in a state of pain that I had never, and even after childbirth, have still never found anything to compare it to.

By March we had just eight short weeks left until the baby would arrive and our weekends were filled with showers. With two in Wichita and one in Oklahoma City, we were blessed to have so many friends and family travel for us and to celebrate with us. We started birth classes and were close to being the first people ever expelled from one. Clearly, we never know where the line is. But when you give us such good material as a hot pink crocheted uterus, teacher nuns are just asking for it.

Then, April 1 came and my bulging belly lodged itself in my throat. We were just four short weeks away from a day that, all cliches aside, literally changed my life. We celebrated Shelton’s 30th with a few friends over a surprise dinner at the first of the month because I knew we’d be a little tied up on his real birthday, April 27, with a due date of April 26. Suddenly, time stopped. I didn’t think we were ever going to get that baby out. She must have been pretty content where she was because she didn’t want to come out, and we had to induce… on April 27. I tweeted the entire delivery day, start to finish, on #PaisleyJoon @brandik.

I can write this whole year-in-review post, but really, the whole year can be summarized in this one sentence:

I became a mom.

Four words that most five-year-olds can write, and yet eight months later when I say them or write them they can bring me to tears. On April 27, 2010, we celebrated two birthdays, the 30th for my incredible husband, and the arrival of our beautiful and healthy daughter, Paisley Joon Koskie.

The months since then have been a ride like none other. They’ve literally blurred together and I swear to all things holy I cannot believe we’re about to enter 2011.

We survived the summer, and I mean that. By the time August rolled around I felt like I was holding myself together with loose strings and frayed patches. My idealistic dream to be super mom – holding down a full-time job in addition to caring for Paisley full time – began to fill in with heavy fog. We had a lot of help from friends, my grandma and my understanding bosses, but time was proving that we needed to crunch numbers and get some extra help. Finally, relief that I didn’t realize I even needed.

Fall was focused on my big goal: running a half marathon. At that New Year’s Eve party I committed to running a half marathon. I’d never done this before, nor was I a runner. I wish I could have blamed the decision on a drunken epiphany, but no, I was stone-cold sober. I wanted to do it for me. I wanted to do it to force myself to lose the baby weight and get back in shape. So when I woke on the morning of October 10, 2010, once again, I couldn’t believe I was finally at the date that had been haunting me for months. I just kept telling myself “nothing but finish line” because for months so many people had told me there wasn’t a chance in hell. Well, I crossed that finish line three hours and 12 minutes later and collapsed into a sobbing, jelly-legged mess. There are a few moments in my life that I will never, ever forget, and even fewer that make me damn proud of myself, and this is one of them. I did it. And it won’t be my last.

These last few months of the year have been filled with watching Paisley grow, and just trying to keep up with her and life. She changes every single day, and at least once a week crosses some new mile marker that forces us to reconcile that she will not always be this tiny and new.

When I stop to look back on this year, I’m so overwhelmed by how to describe it, summarize it and archive it that even what I’m writing doesn’t do it justice. The most significant thing that will ever happen to me happened. I mean, how do you come to terms with that? My mind is different, my heart is different, hell, my boobs and even my hair are different! I’ve tried my best to embrace our new normal, and yet, I don’t think either of us has still really defined what that is. I catch us trying to live “that life” and it feels so wonky and out of place we might as well be trying to force square pegs in round holes.

On January 1, 2011, Shelton and I will have been a couple for ten years. Which means, as 2010 closes, it’s not just another year, but it’s a decade for me. It’s the last year of my 20s; by this time next year I’ll be a 30-year-old. Who I was then and who I am now are people I often wonder if they’d recognize one another if they met.

So as the ball drops on another year, all I have to say is thank you. Thank you to my friends. There are those of you I hold so near and dear I’d be broken without you. Thank you to my family whose support seems to come from a well so deep because you never tell us “no.” Thank you to my husband for also never telling me no, but also helping to shape so much of my life! Thank you to my perfect daughter, for making me finally want to be and do all things I always say I’m going to do; for slowly but surely making me appreciate mornings; and for lighting up when you see me like no person has ever done before.

And thank you to the universe and the heavens and whoever is in charge up there. My life seems to intersect with good luck, good health, and blessings more times than I can count.

As my friend Karin inspired me to say…. this is the best life ever.

Happy new year. I hope when you look back on 2010, it’s as positive and inspired as mine was.