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 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:

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.

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...'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."

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."