Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bookstore Bargain Bins

I love scrounging around in bookstore bargain bins for design inspiration! This find is one of my favorites -- 1950s advertising!


Home is Where the Heart Is!

Home is also where you drink Baileys at 11am out of a "Freedom Is Not Free" mug and by Noon say: "I get my best drinking ideas when writing Baileys."

-Where your mom grills you for taking your Kindle to the bathroom:

Mom: Why do you need your Kindle to take a shower?!

Me (with Napoleon-Dynamite-like exasperation): Because, I don't know, maybe I'll take a bath! Because, I don't know, maybe I'll use bubbles! Maybe I'll light candles!! Maybe I'll use a loofah!!

Mom (nonchalantly): Well, don't use my loofah.

-Where you listen to the scanner and watch Cops at the same time.

-Where mom and dad help with the baby so you can drink wine... and blog.

Loves!

Friday, December 28, 2012

To NY!

On our way home to NY for New Year's on this quiet, moonlit night! Let the fun begin!

Stopped for dinner... I covered my fries with ketchup and bragged to Mark, "Hey, check it out! Tunbridge Fair style!" He took a sharp turn, and they landed ketchup-side down in my lap. "Hey!! Wait!!! Ahh! Pull over!" Another sharp turn, and my fish burger fell in my purse. After salvaging both, E asked for some of my food. I gave her a veggie pouch instead and said, "Join the food fight!" She took this suggestion literally, squeezed the pouch with all her baby strength, and sprayed it all over the back seat. FML.

Change of clothes, and we're back on the road! Hope to be home by midnight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fun, Little Redesign!

I was inspired by E's blanket to do a little redesign/refocus of the blog.

Strangely, or maybe not so strangely, I like the Dream Diary version better... so much so that I almost made this site the dream diary version, but the day and night themes together make me happy.

Anyhoo, it was a design itch that I finally scratched. I'm sure it'll turn into a design rash that I can only cure by starting all over again in a few months.

And I'm okay with that.

I See You!

Ever since having E, I feel like I see the world differently. I see life, light, and love. The rest is just a sliver of darkness.

xoxo

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day a Guinea Pig Saved My Life

Is it possible that E could have hit the "Terrible 2s" stage a tad early today?

I took her out to eat at Moe's and after the waiters and waitresses greeted us with their signature holler, "Welcome to Moe's!!!" everything went downhill.

I wish that I could write this all out and twist it into a long-winded, comical scene, but it just wasn't that funny. So here's the rundown:

1. Waited in line for 20 minutes.
2. There were no high chairs.
3. Got a glass of water with no help.
4. Spilled water... everywhere.
5. Had to ask for help cleaning up.
6. The waitress replied, "Why?"
7. E tried the table-cloth-pull trick with the paper they put under your food in your meal basket.
8. Queso got all over my shirt.
9. It didn't look like queso...
10. E took her socks and shoes off.
11. E had a temper tantrum and threw herself on the floor.
12. E rolled under the table.
13. I got my meal to-go and ate 3 bites in the car before E threw her second tantrum.
14. E cried for bouncy balls and dogs.

I spotted a Petco. Before I knew it, we were speeding through the aisles. Everything is a dog to E, so I couldn't lose. The only thing different was a "shish" (fish). All other species = dog. Her favorite dog was a guinea pig. That little guy was active too, thank God. She watched him for a full half hour -- ducking in and out of his little igloo, playing peek-a-boo with her and drinking out of his water bottle. He even ate some of his wood chips -- toddler comedy gold!

We also saw birds and a dog getting a haircut. I circled the store about 25 times then went outside, and we saw a plane. "Whoa..." she said.

It was pretty much the baby version of Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Mama FTW!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mama Do!

I have a very independent child. When she was only a few months old, I taught her "Mama do!" and said it in response to every task she attempted to do on her own before her time, like making toast.

Now "Mama do" has taken on new meaning. It is a war cry, a soothing "I'll help," and a shout of success when I accomplish something I feel only Mark could have handled.

This morning, I woke up at E's usual wakey time - 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. The joke was on me as it was the first time in about a week that she kept sleeping. I whispered to Mark that I was heading downstairs for a bowl of cereal. (We're staying at his parents' house for Christmas.)

I got myself settled at the kitchen table with a full bowl of Lucky Charms. As I crunched away, I noticed the box in the den containing E's big Christmas present -- a kitchen set. Due to our schedule this year, I had to ask Santa to bring her gifts early. The trade-off was that he wouldn't have time to assemble the kitchen.

I figured Mark would do it, so I wholeheartedly agreed with Santa's suggestion. But here was my chance to get a head start on a little Christmas magic! "Mama do!!" I thought.

I opened the box to find (what looked like) a pre-assembled set. "Easy!" I thought... Then the instructions: Place both feet at base of kitchen and lift. And in small print: Then call your chiropractor.

After the kitchen was snapped in at its highest level and my back practically snapped in half, the next instruction was to attach all the extra shelves and extended counter with screws, but I had no screwdriver. My father-in-law's desk is in the den, so I started my search there. I sat down in his office chair and said, "Dear Lord, please help me find a screwdriver." I started with the top right drawer where you would expect to find pens. What I found instead was a tray filled with about 35 screwdrivers. I looked up at the ceiling like, "Really, big guy?" and added a "Thank you, Jesus!" I picked a pretty blue screwdriver and got to work. Mama do!

First step, strip all the screws. That's how Mama rolls... but I got the shelves secured and proceeded to place the plates, pots, and pans in their proper places. The rest of the dishes went in the sink -- just like at home!

I sat back and admired my handiwork. It was almost time for E to wake up, and I thought I might end up like Henry Fonda's character in Yours, Mine, and Ours when Lucille Ball comes downstairs Christmas morning and finds him in a closet putting together the last of the presents. And I remembered my dad, who built my sister and I a wooden kitchen set one year and spent countless Christmas nights assembling dollhouses, bikes, setting up video game consoles and stereos. I sent him an early morning "I love you so much" text message.

He also was the one who got downright pissed off when something didn't work correctly, was missing batteries, or easily snapped in half.

I always consoled him, my entire life, told him how we could fix it, that it didn't matter, that we could return it. But let me tell you, after 3 months of waiting for this kitchen set, packing it for a road trip to our in-law's, and an hour of assembly, when that gosh darn, freaking door wouldn't close on E's play oven, I wanted to hurt someone. And I had 35 screwdrivers within reach to do so.

But my can-do, Mama-do attitude came to the rescue. I used a piece of duct tape on the latch to create a little more resistance and keep the door closed.

And in the end, it really didn't matter. E was much more content playing with her bouncy balls than the kitchen set, and I was okay with that.

I love being her mommy, and I loved creating some special Christmas moments for her. On to the next!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

All the Single Ladies

Any single ladies out there? I'm convinced that Dick's Sporting Goods is the place to pick up men, especially at this time of year.

In fact, I'm not so sure they don't sell them there -- too easy? Today while Christmas shopping, I navigated my cart through aisle after aisle of Burlington's finest.

So, I would like a lady to try the following and get back to me about it, preferably before Christmas:

1. Go to Dick's
2. Choose a sporting section -- probably best to choose something you wouldn't mind your future husband doing every weekend for the rest of your lives.
3. Fishing, you say?
4. Go to that aisle.
5. Scope out a fine catch from afar.
6. Approach him nonchalantly while pretending to shop.
7. Don't be skanky -- check for a ring.
8. Say something alluring like, "Nice rod." (This will probably catch his attention even if you're not in the fishing aisle.)
9. Make eye contact, smile...
10. Report back to me.

ABC, Easy As 123!

New digital printable in my shop! I made this one from a photo of E's play mat.

Now I'm off to wrap presents and get ready for this crazy little thing called Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

If you haven't seen the movie, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Steve Carell's character, after finding out that the world is going to end due to an inevitable impact with an asteroid, gets drunk on Windex, I think, and passes out in the park. When he wakes up, he finds that a dog has been tied to him, and a note left on his shirt reads, "Sorry."

He keeps the dog, calls him "Sorry," and nonchalantly takes care of him for the rest of the movie. Both he and the dog simply accept that their fates are intertwined. While Steve Carell and Keira Knightly fumble their way through awkward moments, separations, and misunderstandings, Sorry is the constant. By Steve's side, his needs are few -- his routine, simple.

I have no qualms about comparing my love for Ellie to Sorry's love and loyalty. From the moment I knew she existed, I felt that she was mine, I was hers. I could physically feel her in my arms, her warmth, her joy, long before I held her little body close to mine. Though I often compare her to a dog (as she chases after balls, scrounges for food on the floor, and rolls around playfully on her back), I'm the one who sits at attention when she cries, leaps with joy when she comes in the room, and would gladly give my life for hers.

So, though I laughed at how the movie portrayed the characters' reactions to the inevitable end (particularly the guy mowing his lawn, the woman watering her flowers), today, even when presented with the slim chance that the world may end tomorrow, even when I thought I might do something daring like... make a really good dinner, skip doing dishes, and stay up way too late eating dessert, I didn't.

E and I ate leftovers. I cleaned up, gave her a bath, and put her to bed.

I was, with my master by my side, quite satisfied and content with my simple routine, warm snuggles, and a good bowl of scraps. Had the weather been a little warmer, I may have even mowed the lawn.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Digital Vintage Printable - Church in Bethel, Vermont

I was inspired to create a vintage digital printable of the Christ Church in Bethel, VT after my unexpected road trip with E this weekend.

Available for download in my Etsy shop!

This is An Extraordinary Life

This week, when my life was feeling particularly disorganized and chaotic, I remembered a quote from Little Women (the 1994 movie -- I can't remember if this is in the book): "Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts; how can you expect to lead an ordinary life?"  

I don't mean to sound like I'm bragging. I feel that we all have extraordinary gifts that we try to polish and perfect. Consequently, it creates a little chaos, and if I can just learn to accept that as part of the journey, I think I'll be alright.


Anyway, I'm having a very Little Women Christmas season. Presents are hard to come by, so I've been
baking and crocheting happily.

Over the weekend, we went to my in-law's house. I'd been bopping around town without a coat, as mine from last year is too bulky to allow me to fit through doorways while carrying a baby around.My mother- and sister-in-law (Betsy and Kim) always come to the rescue in these situations. First, Kim suggested we visit Becca's and Nathan's pottery studio while Mark watched E -- a rejuvenating baby-free outing! Then Betsy quickly bundled me up in Kim's winter coat.


"Hey, wait a minute," Kim baulked, "That's my coat!" Betsy's generosity knows no bounds. She would gladly give you the coat off of anyone's back if you needed it, including her own. This got us laughing so hard, as Kim was left coat-less. I, on the other hand, the one who generally wears safe colors like blacks, grays, whites, and pastels, was stuffed into Kim's neon green jacket. My sister-in-law bravely dresses in, matches, and coordinates bold colors -- with a talent for fashion I wish I had.

As Kim grabbed another coat from the closet, she insisted I could wear hers for the day but would need it back. The funniest thing is that, I could tell Kim genuinely felt bad about this, even though it was her favorite coat! She quickly dashed off to the kitchen coat closet and, with equal generosity, pulled out her winter coat from last year. It was like new, and she insisted I keep this one. It was neon pink.

It was also lightweight, not too bulky, and warm. I happily accepted!

At the pottery studio, I treated myself to a beautiful hand-made mug. The artist, Becca, has hands about my size, so in shaping the clay, she creates mugs that fit my hands perfectly. I thought this was a selfish purchase, but Kim made me feel blessed to find a mug so perfectly suited for me. Becca had homemade hot cocoa brewing, and I wandered around the studio with my little cup of holiday cheer, bundled in my bright coat.

After, we stopped at the flower shop which was all decorated for Christmas with old-fashioned nutcrackers and sparkly antique ornaments. I found a thick, knitted, purple hat that I tried on, complete with a softball-size pom-pom. Betsy and Kim decided that this would complete the ensemble.

So, here I am, on a Wednesday morning -- drinking my hot cup of tea, cradling my homemade mug in my hands, bouncing around town in my neon pink jacket and my purple pom-pom hat (I won't leave home without either). I carry with me Betsy's warm mom-hugs, and radiate Kim's colorful Christmas cheer. I feel truly loved and taken care of and can't think of anything else I want for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fly Away - Digital Vintage Printable

I've uploaded another digital vintage printable to my Etsy shop! I'm having so much fun making these and can't wait to create the next one! I'm thinking about doing a landscape next...

It's been a creative week so far! I've crocheted 6 balls for E's stocking and gotten lots of freelance work done. Unfortunately, the housework is getting away from me, but it's too late to worry about it now. I'll see how tomorrow goes.

Well, look at me, all anxiety free, in a messy house!

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Life, Take It

Last week a woman in the supermarket approached me and gushed over how beautiful you looked -- with your big brown eyes and little ringlets starting to take shape and frame your precious face. She asked me what motherhood was like and expressed so much excitement about being a mom herself someday.

I told her what I tell most future expecting moms -- something like, "It's amazing, but be prepared for your life to be over. You can't do anything you used to do." I even told one of my coworkers, "Imagine you get home tonight, and instead of going out to dinner with your wife or out to a movie, you have to begin a very detailed routine that involves making dinner, making your baby's dinner, feeding him or her, giving a bath, making and cleaning bottles, and rocking for 3+ hours until the baby and you pass out from exhaustion, usually much later than your usual bedtime and with a possible 2am feeding looming. Then start the process all over again the next night." He stared at me blankly, with terror, I think, and I quickly rushed into, "Oh, but it's still wonderful!!!" in an attempt to grasp and preserve all of his sweet, sparkly dreams of fatherhood as they fell to the floor with a loud, awkward crash.

[The truth is that it is wonderful, and most of the time, a day filled with baby giggles and first words makes a difficult night much more bearable.]

Unfortunately, last night was more of a "my life is over" night than a "this is just a tough evening" night. After 3 straight hours of rocking you at Nana's and Grandpa's, I burst into tears and took my aggression out with a swift punch to the mattress. I finally handed you off to your dad who eventually got you to sleep, and we all passed out at about 3am.

I woke up twice after to check on you. Just as I was settling into a deep sleep, at about 6am, you began to cry. Your dad leaned over to me and said, "Hey, she's up." According to our alternating schedule, it was my turn to be up with you in the morning.

I scooped you up in my arms, got you some breakfast, and proceeded to get angry about how the night and morning had unfolded, while you happily ate a banana and some Cheerios.

My life as I knew it was over. I used to go to Nana's and Grandpa's and watch movies, play games and, at the end of a long day, crawl into Nana's cozily-made-up guest bed, and sleep for 10+ hours.

That last thought was most appealing. I suddenly became very determined to get some more sleep and thought a car ride may help you doze off. So I bundled you up at 7am and hit the road. I drove to the neighboring town for a drive-thru cup of coffee. Halfway there, you started crying. I quickly turned on the radio. The Christmas station was playing an old-fashioned version of I'll Be Home for Christmas. The melody was gentle and calming.

You stopped to watch the world go by. I did the same, then noticed you had drifted off.

When I got back to the house and saw you still sleeping in the back seat, I passed the house and drove the entire route again while you slept.

I relaxed. I breathed and let go of my anger. I also allowed myself to let go of how I was defining what my life is, what it should be.

In doing so, it could, instead (in a moment), be cold air on my face, a warm car, a crying baby.

My life wasn't over. It just wasn't sleeping in on a Saturday morning or seeing the Eiffel Tower.

I found my life to be, rather unexpectedly, rather blissfully, a warm cup of coffee, a dirt road, Christmas music, and you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Custom 5x7 Christmas Printable

I've added a new digital, customizable 5x7 Christmas printable (That's a mouthful!) to my Etsy shop! Print it on cardstock, frame, and voila!

I'm having fun experimenting with the digital paper cut-out style. There's one illustration of mine in particular I really want to recreate with this style. But it's almost 1am, and E is stirring, so I better sleep while I can!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

News

Hello, friends! A few new things...
  1. Some of you have asked if you can subscribe to the blog via email. I've added that feature (see right column below). Let me know if you have any questions.

    Please note that this applies only to YMIS, not my YMIS Dream Diary, but I've also added the same feature to that blog. So, mosey on over there, and submit your email address if you want to know when a new vision overwhelms me! Ha!

    I'm considering separating these two blogs more to keep my personal life stories at YMIS a little more private. There will probably always be a link from YMIS to the YMIS Dream Diary  but maybe not from the dream diary back to here. Capisce?
  2. Oh, and I've actually blogged tonight... always a good thing! [new posts below and in the dream diary]
  3. I'm still trying to find a creative focus for my blog/entire life. Last weekend, I met this super sweet woman from California who designs jewelry for Tendai Designs, and she made me feel like I could do more with... everything -- blog, design, art. It was really inspiring! I've decided that the best way to get to that point is to get creative with multiple media just for the fun/heck of it, to rediscover myself a bit as a mom and as an (almost) 30-year-old. It's kind of like the scene in Runaway Bride when Julia Roberts has to decide how she likes her eggs... minus the running away and minus the... eggs. More to come on that...!
  4. E is amazing (nothing new)... just an FYI I'm throwing out there... I love her. :-)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

All Better

I just want to remember this week. We're all sick, fighting some little cold. E has been suffering the worst with congestion and a dry cough. We're all pretty miserable, but she still has more energy than Mark and I combined, and she manages to bring this light into the house that's so precious -- even though she's sicker than the rest of us.

Today, I came home and plopped down in the recliner to rest. I rarely do that when I first get in, as she's desperate for her bottle and some rest time. I hustle around getting a fresh diaper for her, washing bottles, and collecting all of her pre-nap items.

Today, I just sat. I could tell my eyes looked tired, and I must have seemed not quite myself. She got out of my arms and crawled across the living room, through the door into her bedroom. She sat down just inside the door, so I could see only her legs and feet sticking out. I get nervous any time she's not completely in my line of sight, so I decided I better go after her. Just as I was about to get up, her little head poked around the corner. She had a huge, playful grin on her face. This is the hide-and-seek/peek-a-boo game.

She does this a lot in the afternoon but rarely right after we get home. I almost felt like she knew I wasn't feeling well and was trying to cheer me up. At the very least, she was trying to get a reaction out of me even if only for a very selfish reason -- so that I would play with her. It worked. I started laughing, and before I could get up to chase after her, she came crawling back to the recliner as fast as she could.

She stood up holding onto my leg for support. Then she started scratching my knee. I didn't know what she was doing until she looked up at me with a mischievous grin on her face and said, "Ticka, ticka, ticka!"

Any time that she's sad, I sing, dance, or tickle her. To see her try to do the same to make me smile melted my heart. I like to think that this means, even at 11-months-old, she understands the concept of taking care of someone. And I felt incredibly loved and blessed to be that someone today.

I Hate Popcorn Farts

I only get out to the movies about once a month now (instead of 1-2 times a week before E was born). I really cherish that time to myself, in a quiet theater, with no interruptions. I can enjoy a movie, beginning to end, in peace. So, I'm generally pretty happy and not too quick to complain if the movie wasn't great, if there were kids chatting during a key plot point, if the guy sitting directly in front of me was sporting a mohawk. The one and only thing I can't stand are popcorn farts... I'm certain they're from the balding guy behind me, with the faint smirk on his face. His nasty gas quickly melds with the smell of freshly popped popcorn to form a gagging blend of corny rancidness.

I think it's a valid reason to ask for a ticket refund, and I would not hesitate to explain to the cashier my reason for leaving mid-movie.

I don't know why I'm writing about this... but to justify it: The name of the blog isn't "Your Mom is Amazing."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Little Human

For months now, E's main goal has been destruction. No folded t-shirt is safe, no tidy bin of toys, no upright box of Minute Rice.

The lazy susan is always spinning, socks being taken off. Every time I show her how to put together a puzzle, after I look at her with pride and satisfaction with my accomplishment, she claps then quickly pulls it apart.

Three stories into a block tower, and our baby Godzilla saves us the trouble of finishing it by kicking it over.

Though I'm a firm believer in the creativity of destruction, I have to admit I've been expectantly waiting for a sign of creation, a glimpse of her inner architect, graphic designer, or sculptor.

Then, yesterday, it happened! She took a break from opening our mail to play with her blocks. What caught my attention was how quiet she was...

I turned around in time to see her very carefully (with both hands) set a bouncy ball on top of a cylindrical, hollow block to make a little tower.

My heart stopped. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. It was vertically symmetrical yet the height of the cylinder elongated the design, a lovely gift of horizontal asymmetry. And the color choice! A glowing ball of vintage yellow atop a dark purple cylinder. It was modern yet traditional... A perfect balance of old and new -- a tiny tower of order in a chaotic wasteland.

"Ellie!!!" I gasped. "Look what you made!!" I rushed to her side and praised her stacking skills with an almost violent level of enthusiasm.

She smiled proudly then crawled into the dining room to eat a pea off of the floor.

My little starving artist! My little human.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

80s Digital Scrapbooking Cards

Hi, all! I've finally gotten my Etsy shop up and running to sell some of my digital scrapbooking card sets! This is my first and only download for now. More to come!

Here is a sample of what you can do with these cards. To download them, visit my shop!



Friday, November 30, 2012

Moon & Stars

My little astronomer found the moon this week. Each night she spots it out the window at bedtime. Since her two favorite things are lights and bouncy balls, not surprisingly the moon is at the top of her Christmas wish list.

She reaches for it, whimpers, then looks at me pleadingly as if to say, "Please, Mama, hand it to me."

And I tell her, "I will give you the moon... and all the stars too."

And I promise her that she can go there one day if she wants.

As Mark finally quieted her tonight with a sweet "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," I thought our Contact-inspired "Ellie" was making good use of her name already.

"I love you -- to the moon and back, and twice around the world. Love, Mama"

Or, Just Like a Baby

E has finally gotten to the pointing stage, or at least it's the first I've noticed it. She points in the general direction of what she wants and lets out this cry of desperation. I try to resist scrambling like crazy to find the one item to make her happy, but I do patiently try each item I think she wants.

She takes my best-guessed object, which sometimes temporarily pacifies her, then usually throws it on the floor awaiting my next try.

But, hey, we're communicating! And when I guess right, it's bliss and baby harmony for at least 15 minutes until the game starts over again.

She's also using her words more, which is great! A few weeks ago, I shared our progress with my mom, describing the word games and our use of flash cards and sign language.

Mom's response: It's just like Helen Keller!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quick (and by quick, I mean long) Update!

I. Am. Exhausted. But I have to write a little lot of something.

Monday and Tuesday nights I stayed up and worked on my design blog. I've gotten 4 new requests to join LinkedIn, and I didn't want to do that without having my site in some kind of professional format. I also had some good inspiration from my sister-in-law at www.pugsandpics.com. She recently redesigned her site, and it looks great!

Mine is nothing super fancy, but it's designy enough and gets the job done. And I'm excited to update it with new design work. Right now I have lots of old work on there, but it's somethin'!

I tried Adobe Muse for the first time. I thought of it as an upgraded version of Image Ready, but it actually does tons more -- some really nifty things to streamline coding, etc., which I know (almost) nothing about. Still, like the old Image-Ready designed sites, this one is very graphics heavy, but if anyone's accessing it on dial up, they have more problems than I can even begin to accommodate.

In other news, I'm still updating the Dream Diary. I'm kind of down on myself for falling in love with a hobby so quickly (as usual) and devoting so much time (including blog time) to it.

At the same time, this is one of the traits I like best about myself -- my willingness to try anything new, to steer my ship in a new direction without fear! And I promised myself that I wouldn't freak out if this blog didn't have a focus. The entire purpose of this blog was to write more. I've never stuck with any project as long as I've stuck with YMIS, and that's saying something! So, instead of running away from YMIS and becoming some crystal-ball-gazing gypsy who blogs about her Spirit guides (still can't believe that happened in the last 2 weeks), I decided to incorporate it as part of the blog.

I feel like YMIS and me are officially an old married couple -- and we came to a compromise. I know this sometimes means that I'll be neglecting this blog to update my dream diary, and I'm okay with that -- this is my journal, my world. I do hope my readers will take an interest in both, but if not, I'll just remind myself that this wasn't why I came here in the first place.

Speaking of the Dream Diary, regardless of the conclusion of finishing the book (I'm getting there!), I do feel more at peace in my life than I've felt in a long time. When I get angry or lose my temper, I feel uncomfortable with it and can't dwell in that state for long, and I'm happy about that.

Did I say quick post? Yeah, right. I should know myself better!

For those of you wondering about E, she's doing great! She's almost 11 months old, which means I started this blog almost a year ago too! She's had some separation anxiety with day care but overall is doing fantastic. She's an amazing kid, and I love her more every day.

Her recent obsession is bouncy balls. She gets as many as she can in her arms and carries them around the house. She looks like a giant sun with planets orbiting her. Some days I feel like one of those planets. She is literally the center of my universe.

Weather in VT
There's a little snow sticking this week, and we're due to get more tonight!

Listening to
Ain't No Mountain High Enough! (plus E laughing at my dancing) (best combo ever)

Monday, November 19, 2012

I Don't Know Anything... Scrapbooking Card

I said this to E at the doctor's office today after I let her play on the floor. Love her!

Click to enlarge, right click to save. For personal use.


Free Scrapbooking Cards - Best Mom/Dad Ever!

I've been meaning to make up some more parent-related journaling cards for use with Project Life or other scrapbooking pages -- for print or digital use.

Click the image to enlarge, then right click it to save.
For personal use only.



I Bought a $9 Seal.

E is absolutely obsessed with bouncy balls lately. I took her to the toy store today to find a medium sized one that I could fit in my purse to keep her busy at doctor appointments, etc.

When we got inside, she started going "oooh!!" at *everything*. She finally spotted a plastic seal toy that made her ecstatic. I let her hold it then told her we needed to pick out a ball. We went to the front of the store where they had a few different bins, and we sat on the floor. She picked her favorite one but wouldn't let go of the seal.

I told her to pick *one* toy and held out the seal and ball for her to choose. She grabbed both. I tried again, and she quickly took both. Finally I said, "We need to put the seal back..." She tightened her grip on the seal in her left hand, ball in the right, and squirmed away from me. Before I could catch her, she quickly got down on her belly and started crawling out of the store on her elbows, holding both toys in her hands! It was the strangest military crawl I've ever seen, but it served its purpose. Fourteen dollars later we left with the ball... and the seal.

I told the store owner, "I'll do better next time." Her response: "So will she..."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Project Life - Week 30

Hey! Remember when I used to do Project Life?! Well, I'm back at it, trying to catch up so that I can have this printed for E's birthday in January!

This page puts me halfway through August. Not too bad!



Home Again

Well, I've been slacking on my writing and wanting to finish the story about my weekend trip to New York before tackling my next posts. So, I'll wrap up my weekend trip:

Friday
On Friday, I had to drop off E at my sister's day care and work the morning. I had hoped to work from my parents' house where it'd be quiet, but their Internet service was out. So was my sister's. My mom called me from her office at the high school and asked if I wanted to bring my laptop and work there. That sounded like the perfect solution. I drove across town and into the school parking lot.

The night before, E had woken up almost every hour. The broken hours of sleep I got were plagued with weird dreams. In the most vivid, Ellie, Mark, and I were floating above my parents' house, being pulled toward the sky. We landed on a platform and an alien woman gestured to a large door. We had to make a decision to stay on Earth or transport to a new planet. Other families were being brought through the door and disappearing with a bright flash of blue light. Mark and I discussed our options and decided that we didn't trust the blue light -- that it was more likely to disintegrate us than transport us to a new planet. We opted to stay on Earth, and a ramp descended for us.

I woke up in a daze which stayed with me all day. It was like the dream never ended, and being back in my old high school wasn't helping me snap back to reality. To add to the illusion, a guy I graduated high school with is my mom's boss. They work in food management for the city schools, so I could hear him on the phone making deals with cheese suppliers.

I blinked my eyes a few times. Yep, definitely awake. He covered my lunch for me -- from the school cafeteria, and I sat in the break room that hadn't changed in 12 years, eating my school lunch. Class let out, and I could hear the buzz of excitement outside in the hallway. I heard a muffled yell from one of the kids, "I'm Hitler!! AHH!!!"

I blinked again. Yep, still awake. I got a text from my sister that E was doing fine. I asked my mom if I could use the restroom before heading out. She gave me the key to the faculty bathroom. It was upstairs, next door to my 6th grade science classroom. On my way back out, I went to wash my hands, but there was no sink. There was a counter where a sink should be... but no sink. I blinked again. On the other side of the bathroom I spotted a stand-alone sink separate from the counter. I washed my hands and left.

Saturday-Monday
The rest of the weekend was fairly normal, so let me run through the highlights:

On Saturday we went shopping with my nieces: Julia (5) and Emma (8). They were fun to shop with. We checked out the makeup first. I found a great shade (peach parfait) lip butter by Revlon -- my favorite lipstick! It was on display next to a picture of Emma Stone who is beautiful! I decided to buy it and tried it on when I got back to my sister's house. I asked Emma and Julia, "So, what do you think? Do I look like Emma Stone? My niece, Emma, said "Um... Yeah, well, except for your hair." Julia studied me closely then said, in all seriousness, "Yeah! Except for your face."

On Sunday, we celebrated my dad's birthday with a spaghetti dinner, cake, cookies, and ice cream. It was great to all be together as a family at home.

On Monday morning, I brought E back to my sister's house for day care. I walked her over in her stroller -- on all the sidewalks I played on as a child, over the same cracks and bumps that I remembered. I couldn't believe it had been 20 years since I had pushed my doll stroller over the same sidewalk imperfections. I remembered how the concrete tilted under my feet and how my bike wheels dipped into each groove. It was so surreal.

In the evenings, Mom sang E songs that she had sung to me as a baby. We harmonized a pretty version of My Bonnie to put E to sleep and stayed up late looking through old photos found in my grandparents' house after they passed away.

Dad told me a story about how, a few weeks ago, he was having trouble moving the furniture around on the carpet in their apartment. That week he had a dream that he was at my grandparents' old house, and Grandpa was pointing to a box on the floor in his bedroom closet. My Dad later went to the house, and there was a box there. He opened it and in it found carpet gliders for moving furniture.

We talked about death, life, parenthood, shared ghost stories and speculated about the future.

On Monday afternoon, E and I headed back to Vermont. She did great. The only time she cried was on the ferry, and I have to admit that experience was a little scary for me as well. We boarded at about 5:00 in the evening, after dark, and the water was so rough. Everything was black, though you could make out the horizon line from faint lights shining on the shore. As the ferry tipped back and forth, it made metallic creaks and bangs. I tried to focus on the horizon line, but the boat was tipping so much, it would disappear on each side every time the boat dipped. It was disorienting. Waves crashed into the front of the ferry and splashed loudly over our windshield.

E started to cry, and the only song I could think to sing was, "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream." It worked, for both of us, and I know that this is a big part of what being a mom is about -- throwing yourself into new situations, doing everything you can to make it work, and pretending everything is okay for her (and me too sometimes) until it is, until the next time it isn't. And I felt like a superhero, in a way. I turned a scary journey on a big ship into a gentle boat ride down a stream. Anxiety conquered!

For now...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Start Spreadin' the News!

I had meant to blog more about my trip home to New York with just me and E this weekend. So, I'm not going to dwell on my lack of writing but instead will back track a little bit and pretend it's Thursday. I'm actually writing in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

E's day care is closed Friday and Monday this week. My sister, who owns a day care of her own, offered to watch her. She and my parents live 5 hours away in New York, in the town where I grew up, and I thought this might actually be a good opportunity to visit, as my job had ok'd me working from home these 2 days. I would work from my parents' house, send E next door to my sister's house Friday and Monday for day care, and get to spend some quality time with family over the weekend.

The only problem was that Mark couldn't take the time off work, so E and I would be on our own for a 5-hour road trip and 4-day vacation. I knew I would have help from my family, but it's not the same as having my husband who knows E's schedule, preferences, and tricks for soothing her. Still, I'm always up for an adventure! I made a (very long) list of everything we needed, Mark helped me pack the car, and off we went!

Though E's carseat limit is usually about 20 minutes, she got used to being in the car after the first hour and did pretty well. Before we left, I had dressed her in cozy pajamas and had toys and snacks handy. I left at her afternoon-nap time, and she slept most of the way to the ferry. She had a few weepy moments, like when she realized the trip was indeed going to be longer than 20 minutes. But, soon after, I looked back and saw her bopping her head in time to Maneater which I had turned up to drown out the whimpers (and in hopes that it would calm her down, which it did).

She fell asleep soon after and woke up when I rolled my window down to get my ferry ticket. She loved watching the water and waving to the other passengers. Though I've had a baby for 10 months now, I'm always surprised to catch some couple giggling, pointing, waving, and cooing in the direction of my car. My immediate thought is, "You guys seem nice, but I don't swing that way."

This time I even waved before realizing E was in the back seat putting on her own, little baby show.

After a diaper change in the car and a quick snack, I realized I left my phone in the back seat and reached behind me to search for it. Eventually I felt the corner of it under my scarf and propped my elbow against the steering wheel to lunge for it which, of course, pushed the car horn. A loud "HONNNK" broke the silence of a lazy afternoon on the lake. A seagull startled and took flight. I felt like an impatient a**hole city driver. In a car. On a boat.

I decided to get E out for some fresh air and to see the water. After 5 minutes of bundling her in winter coat, hat, hood, and blankie around her legs, we stepped out of the car only to have the wind nearly blow us over. E screamed and tightened her grip on my shoulder. I fell back against the wall of the ferry and grabbed onto a railing suddenly realizing the purpose of having randomly placed railings on a ferry. A thin layer of ice had formed beneath my feet. The wind pushed me so hard that my feet started to slide out and away from the ferry wall. I quickly leaned forward, grabbed the car door handle, and ducked back inside the car.

E's wind-whipped cheeks were red beneath terrified eyes. "Wooo!!" I said. "Was that fun?!" The look on her face said, "No."

I got her out of the winter gear and tucked her back in her carseat in time to drive off the ferry.

The rest of the trip went well. She whined a little but mostly napped until we met up with my parents.

Oh and, in the meantime, I killed a chipmunk -- the first casualty of my driving in 14 years (that I know of) if you don't count that time there were 500 frogs in the middle of the road that runs along the lakeshore.

Mom and Dad were kind enough to meet us an hour from home, to make the trip a little easier. We had dinner at a restaurant, then Mom rode with me in my car to help with E. Also, Dad assured me that the chipmunk was probably a red squirrel, a natural bully and troublemaker of the squirrel world, so I felt better after convincing myself that I had swiftly assassinated a squirrel drug lord and/or rapist.

E had one awful screaming moment before we made it home. By then it was dark out, so I pulled over to rock her in my arms in the dirt parking lot of a roadside diner. Though the neon sign hanging from the door was flashing "OPEN," there wasn't a car in sight except for one lone Ford pickup truck abandoned in the grass. Bundled in my arms, E stared wide-eyed at the flashing neon sign, completely captivated. I did the same, at the blanket of bright stars above. The cold air curled around my feet, and it was just us in that moment. I stopped and thanked God... for all of it.

Then an old man came stumbling out of the diner, got into the "abandoned" pickup truck, and drove off down the road.

We decided it was time to do the same, ducked into the warmth of the car where Grammie was waiting, and headed for home.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It Doesn't Matter Who You Voted For if...

...you're a moron.

Before I go to bed, one quick rant...

Though I am personally pleased with the outcome, this has been one of the worst election seasons I've been through in my life. The Facebook candidate bashing was pointless and ridiculous on both sides.

But what got me the most was the downright stupidity of people.

I saw people who fully supported a candidate's views/plans vote opposite because of rumors and false information... from Facebook. Are we really that naive??

Side note: I thought chain letters and email hoaxes went out of style in 89. Why are they resurfacing? Are we getting dumber?

And the cherry on top of the crap pie: One of my friends who repeatedly bashed Obama throughout the election and made my FB days a living hell with constant negative and false political blasts just wrote, after the results were in, "Can't we all just get along, be mature, and respect the losing candidate?"

Yep. I have from Day 1 by never opening my mouth, by letting FB be my place to share stories and laughs with the friends and family members I love -- by keeping politics out of it.

Now I feel obligated to go to her house and spray paint, "Romney eats poop" on her front door... Not because of any hatred I feel for Romney -- I would have accepted and respected him as a president. I surely wouldn't text all my friends racist comments nor blast someone's inbox with photos
of him punching babies... But just to even the playing field a bit... and because of the sheer fact that people are morons, and I'm terrified that will never change, and that no president is going to be able to fix the ignorance in this world...

This is why I want to spray paint profanity on someone's house and why I'm blogging angrily at midnight... Now to get back to the important things like sleeping... And this.

Can I Just Whine for a Moment?

I know that this entire post will fall under the category of first world problems...

You know what, let me put a different spin on it... Instead of complaining about how hard yesterday was, let me tell you how amazing my daughter is.

Next week she'll be 10-months old. She's a baby still, so my expectations are low in terms of her maturity and empathy. This must be why she always surprises me.

I've been having leg problems since I gave birth to her. It comes and goes, so I honestly think it's related to how active E is on any given day and how active I have to be to keep up with her. This week, out of the blue, it got worse. I'm still in the "all is okay" mindset, but my doctor had concerns. Blah.

I made my appointment yesterday for 2:20 in the town where E has day care. I picked her up at 1. By the time I got there, got her ready to leave, and got her day report, it was too late to go back home. So I panicked a bit.

Now I'm out with a 10-month old for 2 hours who had lunch an hour ago. I have no snacks, no diapers, no wipes, no toys. I had to pee.

I stopped at a cafe and got a salad. I figured I'd share it with her but didn't realize until after that they had tossed nuts in it -- not baby safe. Ugh. In order to use a restroom with E, I had to put her on the floor (Ew!) under my sweater and hope she didn't scream. I explained to her that I wasn't leaving her there. The thought of a mother doing that made me want to barf in the toilet. I pushed back the nausea and with all my other anxieties and got out of there as fast as I could. E, trusting me completely, sat and giggled at herself in front of a full-length mirror on the floor.

I scooped her up and planted a huge thank-you kiss on her cheek. I got to the car and realized I still had 50 minutes until my appt., and E was getting a little restless. For the heck of it, I called the doctor's office to see if they had an earlier opening. They didn't but said if I got over there right away they may fit me in sooner.

I drove there, signed in, and got camped out on the floor with E, with my salad. She wasn't content with me sitting in a chair, and I don't blame her. Mamas should be close and easily accessible. Once secure in the fact that I couldn't get away from her very quickly, she played contentedly, ventured around a bit, pulled herself up on a table, and asked me "want dat?" in the direction of everything she wasn't supposed to play with. She respected my nos and opted to play with her iPod (an old one of mine I found in my purse).

Just as I was opening my salad and taking my first bite, they called me. I patiently scooped up my salad, my fork, E's iPod, my coat, her coat, her hat, my purse, and E herself, and headed in. I didn't realize the fork was sticking out from under my arm as I walked through the waiting room door and unintentionally scraped some wallpaper off the wall. I blame the nurse for not helpin' a mother out.

E quietly sat with me through the preliminary checks -- blood pressure (higher than usual but okay), pulse (always high), and temp (a Mama-cool 98.7 degrees).

When the clock struck 1:45 (previously 2:45 -- beyond E's nap time), all hell broke loose.

Side note: Daylight Savings means nothing to me any more. My time is measured in naps and feedings, my schedule determined by the cranky cry of a baby. How... liberating? Am I really writing that word?

"Hell" for E is whining, not listening to me, getting into trouble, and interacting with strangers in odd ways... A little embarrassing and stressful for me but ultimately bearable and downright funny at times.

I know I heard the doctor say:
"This has been going on too long...
"...concerned about your leg pulse..."
"...concerned about leg weakness..."
"We want to run some tests..."
"Does anyone in your family have lupus?"

And though I'm 99.9% sure they're just being thorough and cautious, I usually freak out. I hate diseases, needles, and despise blood-work, but I just nodded and smiled as they explained the 9 (yuck) tests they want to do.

And while all that was going on, I just played with E... kept her from using the foot pedal to raise the patient table up and down, laughed at her when she made funny faces at the doctor -- showing off her new teeth. I played blocks and sang to her to keep her from pushing the nurse's legs while she took 6 tubes of blood from my arm, and after 6 minutes of it, when I thought I couldn't take it any more, I looked into E's eyes, almost pleadingly, praying to God for strength, and he gave it to me instantly in the form of the biggest, goofiest, widest 8-tooth smile I had ever seen.

She crawled over to me, and wrapped an arm around my leg as the nurse said, "We're done!"

Two more tests at the hospital today then hopefully no more! E will be at day care, and Mark is going with me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Awkward Family Friday!

It's no secret that, when I get nervous, I talk too much -- which would be fine, except I usually say the first thought that jumps into my head, and my filter that prevents inappropriate phrases from slipping out temporarily shuts down

So, on Tuesday, I came home from E's 9-month checkup and asked Mark if I could share my awkward doctor's office moment with him. I needed to put it in perspective and see if it was as bad as I thought it was.
I spilled my guts: "Ok, so I got my flu shot today, so I can go with you tomorrow in case you pass out. (Though, Mark's a trooper with needles, he occasionally passes out minutes later in the parking lot. It hasn't happened in years, but I like to be there just in case.) You know how I get nervous around needles... Well, I told that story about how one of E's first words was "vagina."

Mark assessed the situation and said, "Oh, that's not too bad..."
I continued, "Ok, Part 2. I meant to tell the doctor that I would be back with you in the morning, because you sometimes pass out after your flu shot... But what I said was, 'Mark sometimes goes down on me after his flu shot.'"
 
Mark: "That's just hilarious... but still not worse than what I said today..."
Me: "Wait, what?? You had an awkward moment!?"
 
Sidenote: The difference between us is that I tend to overreact to my awkward moments and dwell on them for weeks... Mark tends to tell his casually, as if this is just how the cards fall sometimes...
 
So, he began his story, casually, almost in passing:
 
"Yeah, so today I was talking to the boss's wife in the break room, and she's always interested in what new things E is doing. I mentioned that she's getting really tall, and she said that her kids were always short -- that it was hard for them to play sports like basketball, etc. Then, what I meant to say was, 'Spud Webb was a great basketball player, and he wasn't very tall.'
 
What I said was 'Spuds MacKenzie.'"
 
For those of you who don't know or remember (I didn't), this is Spuds Mackenzie (left).

As I almost suffocated from laughing so hard, Mark continued, "She said she would tell her son... I also told her that Spuds MacKenzie couldn't dunk or anything but was still a great player... Spud Webb was actually known for dunking."
 
Amazing.

Logic 101

Hey, guys! Just in case you're wondering, the cure for heartburn is not a Chocolate Fudge Pop Tart.

I just want to save you all from the hell I experienced when, at 4am, I thought, "Hmm. Tums are round. Pop Tarts are square... Both of those things are shapes, so they must work the same."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Hate When...

I put her down for her nap, and she opens her eyes halfway, and looks at me so betrayed, pleading, "But, Mama, don't you love me and want to hold me for the rest of my life??"

And the answer is: "Yes... and I will."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankencrap

Mark thinks this "Frankenstorm" may be a load of crap... I get it -- those crazy alarmists out to scare the rest of us. Well, I like a little scare every now and then to keep life interesting and momentarily suspend me in a state of "what-ifs" and "holy craps." --That is, until our second hour without electricity and after I've gone into the kitchen for the third time and hit the light switch, snorted, and said, "Oh yeah."

So our conversation about the storm over the last few days has gone something like this (me, the storm enthusiast, and Mark, the logical loon):

Me: They're saying this storm could be big.
Mark: It'll probably be nothing.
Me: I don't know... The news is saying...
Mark: Alarmists.
Me: Did you see the projected path? I know it could change, but...
Mark: It's off the coast, may not even make landfall.
Me (2 days later): News says it shouldn't cause the same flooding as Irene, but we should prepare for possible power outages.
Mark: Let me see that...

Why do boys do this?! We're on an email list with our friends, and a female friend from Texas wrote the other day, "Will be thinking of you guys when the storm hits." A male friend replied: "It'll probably be nothing."

To me, this isn't a "Don't worry, everything will be ok" type of response.

I take it as a personal attack against my optimism -- which I admit is a little misplaced in hoping that a storm will wreak havoc in our lives. I don't want anyone to get hurt or have their home damaged -- but a little power outage may be an exciting challenge for a day or two. Just a change from the day to day routine. Something to speculate about around the water cooler.

And, yeah, I totally see how I create my own emotional Frankenstorm probably to add some excitement to my life some days... But that's another topic of emotional exploration that I don't want to explore right now.

My point is that boys are mean (or just need to be 100% logical/doubtful all the time)... therefore challenging my ability to read a map (with a single-direction storm flying at us). Or would much rather say "Wow, that was one hell of a storm..." instead of later admitting that they had an emotional reaction to something that turned out to be nothing.

-Which annoys me, and I don't know why. Maybe I need my emotions validated. Can he say, "I hope it'll just pass over us, but we should get some extra supplies." Or even better: "Holy crap balls!!! Let's head for the hills!" That sounds fun. And validating.

As much as I'm annoyed by this difference in our reactions, it has a good side too...

Yesterday I wanted to call one of the local B&Bs to see if they had a room we could use for Ellie's first birthday. Mark said, "I don't think they're open."

"Well, I just want to call and check," I replied. Mark: "They took the sign down months ago." Me: "Well, maybe they're not open for business but would still be willing to rent a room. You know the owner, maybe you can talk to her."

To Mark: sign down + door closed + no lights on = business closed.

To me: sign down -> try knocking -> try calling -> try new place ...

There's never an end to trying until I succeed (or get distracted by something else). There's always moving forward and life and hope. There's always a next step, other opportunities. We balance each other well this way.

And I love when his logic loses out and I can show him a world where anything is possible and God truly exists -- through us and our actions (and sometimes beyond that).

Anyhoo, in this situation... I'm starting to hope that he's right about Frankenstorm being a load of Frankencrap.

Regardless, we're all stocked up with extra water, diapers, and food! And a little bit of excitement from the lady who needs things to stay interesting around here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Wait

I've been trying to get this shot (well, not this one) all summer! I think I may have missed my opportunity this season, but we'll see what next weekend brings.

I've watched this calf grow up as I passed this farm each day on my way to bring E to day care. She has a habit of wandering out of the barn and settling under the crooked tree just as the sun rises over the mountains, evaporating any foggy mists in its path. She soaks up the warmth, and the crooked tree glows in a massive halo above her. The reason the tree glows so much is because a colony of spiders have spent the night weaving intricate webs from branch to branch, each strand strung with beads of morning dew.

It's breathtaking -- warm, and magical. If I could only capture it with my camera. Each day that the shot was just perfect, I had E with me. I couldn't pull over and leave her in the car while I ventured out to get my photo. I'm adventurous enough to take her with me, but I knew to get just the right angle I'd have to walk alongside the busy highway in a spot that I wouldn't be very visible to oncoming traffic -- definitely not baby nor mommy safe.

I decided to wait. Each day that I passed that perfect photo, I took it in and gave it more thought -- what angle I would get, which lens I would use. I wondered if the iPhone would be sufficient if I could just capture that moment.

This Saturday morning I was finally alone on that road, and though it wasn't the perfect moment, I thought I would scope out the scene. This is the photo I took -- the lighting is right, the cow was there, but that's about it. I now know that I need my digital SLR, possibly my telephoto lens, and just the right moment. I need to get there before sunrise on a warm, fall morning and wait.

Before I had E, I wouldn't have waited. I would have gotten a hurried, okay shot and been just fine with it. Now I'm suddenly fine with waiting. In fact, it's more than fine. I'm enjoying waiting, enjoying wondering if I really need this photo, taking pleasure in planning my next visit to that dirt road.

I don't know what's changed. I suppose I don't have time to do the things I used to do. I'm forced to slow down and focus all my energy on some seemingly small tasks -- bathing a baby, making dinner, reading a bedtime story.

These are the important things. I know that now.

So, this photo is not my extraordinary shot, my breathtaking moment. This photo is my wait. And I might just love it more.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Today Was a Good Day

Happenings
Today was a good day... Even though E got up at 3am and only took one (very) short nap, I felt motivated to get my butt out the door and over to my friend's house for her son's 1st birthday party.

We had planned to go to another friend's wood moving party today, but Mark was sick, and E is still sniffling a bit, though she seemed up to stopping by the birthday party which was closer to home.

This was one of our first long outings I've done on my own (if you don't count that trip to New York a few months back), and I think we did great! She was so well-behaved and loved socializing with everyone. This is when I'm so glad she has day care!

She fell asleep on the way home, and we had some fun family time tonight. Just an all-around good day (more pics on Instagram).

And now I'm excited to plan E's party in January! Thinking about undertaking the sprinkle cake... Hmm...

Weather in VT
Gorgeous, sunny, high 60s!
Birthday cake, laughing babies, campfire time, and good friends!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Why Does Blue Have to Use Clues?

Happenings
I've been putting Sesame Street on for E lately. Though I thought Blues Clues was her favorite show, it turns out that she thinks any show geared toward her is Blues Clues -- including Sesame Street. And thank God, because I can only watch Steve solve so many dog mysteries before I go crazy.

Also, I've found myself over-analyzing it. Like, if Blue can show Steve all these imaginary worlds and step into books, etc., why can't she show him exactly what she wants? Why does she have to place clues? Instead of a clue, couldn't she just put her paw print on what she wants? Like, a glass of lemonade -- instead of a glass, ice, and lemons?? Is this just a game to her?!

Well, it's a game I'm sick of playing. Sesame Street tackles the more important issues -- like the generation gap between a caveman father and his cave-son in this skit with Bert and Ernie. Bert (cavedad) keeps finding trash Ernie has left around the cave -- a piece of paper, a dinosaur juicebox. Each time he finds a piece of trash, Ernie is ordered to take it to the dump. Ernie just wants to bang on his drum all day.

Instead, he has to make several individual trips to the dump before (in this scene) wondering out loud how he can gather all of his trash into one container to make only one trip to the dump each day.

After Ernie's speech, Bert tilts his head to the side and says, exasperated, "Dreamer..."

Ernie then flips his drum upside down to use as a trash bin.

Watching this scene, I realized... I am Ernie, but I'm still making multiple trips (literally and figuratively) to the real/proverbial dump to remove the clutter from my house/brain -- taking the long way around, dreaming of ways to live more efficiently, more happily, more family-focused.

And, like Ernie, I am a "dreamer" -- proud of it! What I love most about this skit (beside the fact that it's pretty funny) is that Ernie took something fun, that he loved to do, flipped it and used it to make his life better. The answer was right in front of him, just upside down. It may be an unconventional solution, but that's why it works!

Next time Ellie says, "Up! Up!" for me to flip her upside down, maybe I'll take a peek too -- into an opposite world where boxes hang from the ceiling and drums become bins.

Quote of the Day
E on the swing: Woah.... woah!!!
Me: I've never heard you say that before! We need to do more exciting things!

Listening to
Jenny Jenkins, Lisa Loeb

Weather in VT
Beautiful! Sunny, warmer, and I took E to the park today and for a walk!

Get to the Choppah!!

Yesterday morning I overheard Mark talking to E in his best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice--

Ellie! Stop taking yo socks off!! It's cold outside! I can't protect you like this!

Yeah, I love him.

Monday, October 15, 2012

You Know What?

I love myself. Yep, that's right... I love myself.
 
I just realized that I'm professing my love for... me. (ahem)
 
And that's weird.
 
But, it's not, really... because who knows me better? Who knows all my weaknesses, all my imperfections, every single shortcoming better than me? No one. In fact, those who think that they've discovered new reasons to not like me -- they're wrong. There are plenty of old reasons to not like me: 1. I'm not a reliable friend: I don't always call, I don't make plans to get together, and I have a mix of good and bad moods that all run into each other. 2. After being totally calm and respectful and nice for months, I will occasionally tell someone to go screw themself. Yeah, that happened today. 3. Um, I don't dress well (if that's important to people), and lately I only shower every other day if my hair looks okay.
 
Ok, the list could go on... and people can decide to not like me for other reasons -- like Facebooking about my (incredibly amazing) daughter too much or for eating too many Pop Tarts, but I will not allow myself to be affected by those things -- because those things are all coming from a place of good intentions and not from my list of shortcomings.
 
And that list? Yeah, I'm working on it. So, if someone's going to judge me, I sure as hell hope they're working on their own list too.
 
Anyway, the point is, I just walked myself through a really embarassing moment from last week -- where all those shortcomings were present -- twisted, warped, and awkwardly shaped into a very strange situation in which I poured my soul out in a big, pukey mess to someone I don't know very well, which would usually result in a self-loathing pity party on a Monday morning.
 
And... I just realized that if I were to continue with this metaphor, I'd be eating my own puke. So, let's say that I poured my soul out like a songbird's melody, and I absorbed it back into myself, and I was 100% okay with it. In fact, I loved it. It was me. All of me -- and it was, dare I say it, beautiful.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Some Call It Parental Abuse. We Call It Bedtime.

Happenings
So, 3 days ago E started refusing her pacifier. We think she figured out that it makes her fall asleep, and she'd rather stay up with us. She used to occasionally do that, but now she's quit, cold turkey! She won't go to sleep without it, so I've been on a mad hunt to find a transition object quickly... Bunny, bear, dog, blankie... Nothing has worked -- except passing out from exhaustion.

Tonight I think I found the perfect combination of factors: Radio on pretty loud (U2 was most successful -- Daddy's girl!), rocking fast in time to the music, her big toe stuck in my armpit, one hand holding onto my shirt collar, and the other around my neck, holding onto my ponytail. Success!

Quote of the Day
CW: Wow, your hair is huge today.
Me: I've been listening to 80s music.

Listening To
We Belong, Pat Benatar

Weather in VT
Sunny but cold! First snow yesterday!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happiness is...

Ottoman by Vampire weekend... "Today is for you." Yes, I think I'll take today. Just for me...
Last night I got about 4 hours of interrupted sleep. Mark tried to get up with E, and she screamed hysterically until I woke up and got her. Dada just wouldn't do -- I had to calm her down first.
Though I'm far from perfect, I am the mom who will sing all the songs from Blues Clues to my daughter at 2am to calm her down, and lay awake with her for hours (even while saying, "E, this is ridiculous!").
Mark and I wrote this song for her the first day we heard her heartbeat, a mix of all my anxieties about parenthood, and a few promises to her that I intend to keep!
Rain keeps a-fallin' on this dreary day
But I can't stop smilin' 'cause I met you
And sun keeps a-callin' me from far away
Promise of happy days with you
And I... will wait for you
And I will stay awake with you
And I will be right by your side
And I will start the day with you
And I will run away with you
I'll be yours, and you'll be mine
But rain keeps a-fallin' on this dreary day
And I'm fallin' more in love with you
And sun keeps a-callin' me from far away
Promise of happy days with you!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

50% of the Time It Works Every Time

Happenings
It's just been a busy week so far, so no exciting things to share.

Well, that's not entirely true. I finally cleaned all the main rooms in our apartment and made them much more baby friendly! That was nice!

Today I was exhausted and not quite so productive, but I realized something: if I only have my life together 50% of the time, that's not so bad. I'm a "glass is half full" kinda girl, and this week that meant that at one point half the dishes in the sink were rinsed, half of my clothes were folded, and half of my dining room table was cleared.

And that's good enough for me right now!

Quote of the Day
The world feels heavy today...

Listening To
Early Mornin' Rain - Peter, Paul, and Mary!

Weather in VT
Cold and rainy...

Friday, October 5, 2012

Crockpot Love Poem

Happenings
Today was just a regular day... Except that, I'm in love with my crock pot. I can't even begin to explain to you how much I love that thing. Tonight I made our favorite meal (meatloaf) in it (see the glorious pic on Instagram). So, tonight I think I'll express my crockpot love in a poem!!


When the house is cold, and my love is working late,
When my home is so dreary, I question my fate,
I lift up my chin and say, "You know what?!"
I think I'll make love to my dear, old crockpot!

It's not the kind of love making with tender caresses,
But one of peeling veggies and measurement guesses!
Then a broth starts to brew, and my worries I've forgot,
For I've poured them all into my dear, old crockpot!

In ten minutes flat, I've made something of a stew,
I've added my entire pantry, and some other things too:
I've filled it with love, fears, dreams, and sweet wishes,
And, if anything cooks long enough, it's delicious!

When my husband comes home, the house smells so sweet,
His eyes grow wide, his belly aches with defeat!
He asks me, "What did you make? Did it cost a lot?"
"Only five dollars, for I've used my crockpot!"

When it comes to cooking, I'm somewhat of a beginner,
But my crockpot and I can make a candlelit dinner!
Green beans, squash, chicken, melon of honeydew,
Just throw it in the crockpot, and call it a "stew."
  
Quote of the day
Me (before hanging up the phone): Wait...
Mark: What?
Me: I just... wanted you to know that I know that I'll never meet anyone in my life like you.
Mark: Aww, that's so sweet... you know, I feel the same way about you.
Me: You do?? But I feel like I'm just crazy half the time...
Mark: Well, that's what I mean! :-)

Listening to
Hey Jude, the Beatles

Weather in VT
Cold, rainy, overcast -- foliage!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Mind is Blown...

Almost every weekday for the last 5 years, I've driven by the same house on my way to work. You know the cliche Vermont Victorian with the perfect lawn, neatly trimmed hedges, plants hanging on the porch.

I always wondered who lived there, what they were like. I imagined (by the look of their all-American dream home) that they were conservative, self-made millionaires. They were Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in Father of the Bride, the loving father in his white cardigan playing basketball with his daughter in the driveway, Mom weeding the garden. Nice cars in the garage, porch swing, blooming flowers bursting out of every crevice of their perfect Victorian estate.

I never actually saw these people... They must have left work before I did and come home after I drove past in the evening. I never saw what kind of car they drove either or Super Dad mowing the lawn or playing with the kids in the driveway. I had to leave the daily happenings of their life up to my imagination.

Then today, out of the blue... a clue! Finally, a hint as to who these people really are! As I was approaching their house, I saw that (for the first time in 5 years), they had put something new on their porch. From down the street, I could tell that it was a porch flag. It looked like Super Dad had spent hours constructing the flag pole with an architect's eye for angle and optimum light reflection, probably using a protractor, measuring tape, and a level... simultaneously.

I thought, "Here it is... they've finally added the cherry to the top of their American-dream-home sundae... the American flag!" I imagined Super Dad saying, "We're not just a family any more... we're an American family..." as his wife, son, and daughter stood back to applaud his handiwork.

But as I got closer, I realized it wasn't an American flag, but a... Bernese... mountain dog... puppy flag. Wait, what??












WHAT???