Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, S

Last Saturday we told you your bday was a week away. Every day since you've asked if it's your birthday. Not like last year when you were excited but moved on because a week was just a concept that was still beyond you.

We went to Chick-Fil-A on Tuesday night when the AC was out. I watched you quickly, confidently scale the play area, rushing around, head back, laughing, carefree. The hesitation you used to show, gone. You encouraged Baby R to follow you. Helped other kids down the slide. In these moments, my heart swells with pride.

You love to watch your Little Learners Preschool Spring Show DVD. You squeal with delight when you see yourself and your friends. You sing along with the songs. You already look so much bigger, older, than two months ago. At least once a week you ask me if you get to go back to school yet. I'm thrilled that you love learning!

You are fully potty trained now - you wore Pull-Ups at night longer than you probably needed to. I was scared for you since bedwetting runs in the family, and didn't want to push you too fast. You would get so upset when you did have an accident when you tried to stay dry on your own. Sometimes you would insist you had just had a sweaty sleep. You didn't want to make a mistake. A perfectionist. I try to let you know it's ok for mistakes to happen, but you don't want to hear it. Hone that trait. Use it to be the best you can, but let go a little so it doesn't destroy your world when you have failures. 

Though the tantrums are fewer, your defiance has increased. We had a horrible night a couple of weeks ago. I lost my temper with you. Multiple times. Screamed at you. Need to remember I'm the adult. Pray for patience. I don't know how my mom did it. I don't remember her yelling at us. My dad and I got in screaming fights, but I don't really remember any of them, just that they happened. But that's not the first thing I think of. My impressions of my parents from childhood are loving and happy and blessed. Will your memories of me be so muted? Will the love outshine the yelling?

One of my favorite things you like to do right now is try to knock me over. You are playing, but also testing the waters. When I squat down to your level or sit on the floor, you go as far away as you can, then run at me full speed ahead, and dive into my arms, knocking me back on the floor and smothering me with your hugs.  Full of trust and reckless abandon. And, sometimes, a little passive-aggression when you've been upset with me.

You amaze me with your imagination and creativity. Problem-solving is a skill you already excel at. I am in awe of you. I try so hard not to lament your messy/inconvenient experiments and innovations; I don't want to squelch your curiosity. I want you to have the freedom to learn from experience and mistakes in a safe environment. To encourage you, empower you, instill self-worth and confidence. Those are the gifts I most want to give you.

Happy birthday, beautiful baby. I'll love you forever.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Baby Bullets: 2nd Edition

  • Baby R likes to dunk her bread in water. Future hot dog eating champ in the making?

  • S has been having weird dreams about sharks. Wha? She had another one Tuesday night.
  • Last weekend, S had a fake phone conversation with her best friend's mom, hung up, yelled “Unbelievable!”, stomped upstairs to her bedroom, and slammed the door. Le sigh.

  • It's been 100 degrees (heat index of 112 at times) for the last few weeks. Our AC was out on Tuesday. We had to fix it immediately. For $700.

  • Baby R has hit the "I do it!" stage. When I change her diaper, she wants to take it off. She wants to wipe her bum. She wants to close the diaper cream. She wants to put the tabs of the new diaper on. She wants to put her shorts on. All by herself. No helping Mommy. Just her. She does pretty well with putting her shorts on, actually. Though she usually ends up with both legs in one hole. :)

  • Took S to see "Cars 2" a couple of weeks ago. Her first time to the movie theater! She really enjoyed it, but was ready for a nap by the end. :) It was ok - much more violent than the first one. But had a good message about friendship.
  • During the thunderstorm a few weeks ago, S said that the thunder was "disgusting." Apparently we need to redefine that word...
  • Baby R has been asking to use the potty seat. Yay! Not quite there, but interested.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It's a Secret

Sunday, S was riding around on her Winnie-the-Pooh car that she's much too big for now in the living room. She rolled into the kitchen. I reminded her that toys need to stay in the playroom and she said she was on her way out of town. She was going to visit Aunt J and Uncle K in St. Louis.

When she came back, I asked how her trip was.

"It was good. J & K had some toys they wanted to get rid of, so I brought them home."

"Well, that was nice of them."

"Yeah, and they made me a puzzle." She showed me her Melissa & Doug Rainforest Jigsaw Puzzle.

"Ooh, I like those colors!"

"Yep, they painted it themselves."She set it down and picked up my old Samsung. "And they made me this phone."

"Wow! They are really talented to be able to make that phone for you," I said, suppressing a smile. "So how are they doing?"

She made her concerned face. "Not very good. Both their doggies and their kitty died."

What? "Oh my. How sad. What happened?"

"Well, not really, they thought they were dead, but this guy took them, and then J & K found out and they wanted to kill him."

"What? I don't think that's a very good thing for them to do. I think it would be better for them to call the police."

She looked at me defiantly. "Well, this is my story."

"You're right. Sorry."

"But yeah, they did, they called the police and the firemen, and the police went to the guy's house and got the dogs back, but not the firemen, just the police. But the kitty was still dead."

(She threw a "Seriously?" in there, too, at some point. I really need a built-in recording device in my palm that I can turn on and off discreetly. I always miss the best phrases.)

"Well," I said, "I should probably call them and let them know how sorry I am that all that happened."

"No, you can't call because they are really sad. Nobody can go anywhere because they are all sad. And it's a secret. But I'm going to tell everyone in town." In town?

"I thought it was a secret?"

"It is, but just for you. Not for me."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lamentations of a Working Mother

Bright pink chalk handprint on the hip of my black dress pants

Photos and artwork blanket my office

Crying on the way to work after spending a long weekend together

Rushing home over lunch to have a few extra moments with the girls

Constantly recalculating the cost of living and the cost of loving

S says she wishes she was sick so I could stay home with her

At drop-off, she cries and says she wants to go home

She sees things I wouldn't let her see at home

She does things I wouldn't let her do at home

She eats things I wouldn't let her eat at home

Thankful for the care providers, knowing they are great

But nothing is as good as mom

Grabbing a banana and granola bar to eat for breakfast at the office 

Needing to workout but not willing to spend another hour away from them

Dreaming of whipping up healthy homemade organic creations

Throwing another frozen pizza/chicken nuggets in the oven for supper

Using food prep time for cuddle and play time instead

Tripping over piles of dirty clothes that spilled out of the hamper

Lamenting the dusty ceiling fan as it spins above me in bed

If only I was at home I could

Have a clean house

Have the laundry done

Have dinner on the table when DH came home at night

Have happy children

Knowing that being home wouldn't solve all those problems

Feeling guilty just the same


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Clever Girls Collective

Last week I received notice that I've been accepted to the Clever Girls Collective. Woot! For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the Clever Girls Collective is

a social media agency founded by women who decided to use our combination of traditional marketing experience and knowledge of social network “secret handshakes” for good.
As experienced new media professionals and nationally recognized, award-winning bloggers, we know first-hand what motivates someone to write a post, share love for your product in 140 characters, and Like your brand on Facebook.
Our network of vetted, professional and brand-safe influencers is ready to amplify your message immediately.

You know I'm all about sharing my opinion, so this seemed like a perfect fit for me! I'm excited to see where this road takes me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kids Birthday Parties

I always thought we would keep our kid's parties low-key. I would hear of these insane parties with 100 guests, live ponies and a bounce house and think, "Those parents are CRAZY! And spoiling their kids!"

I used to think my birthday parties were typical for the time. From kindergarten through 4th grade or so, we celebrated my December birthday with kids just coming over to our house. We played a couple of games, I opened presents, and we ate cake. I think that part of it is/was pretty normal. But I never thought about how many kids were there before. Each of those years, I invited the whole class. That was around 20-25 kids. My mom had to corral 25 kids - in her house - for a couple of hours. Insanity!

We are planning S's 4th birthday party. The big question is who to invite. Last year we had a crazy thing happen where every single person we invited actually came to the party. And since the kids were 3 or under, their parents came, too, often with siblings. Which meant that even though she only invited about 8 kids, by the time you added in their families and our families, there were 50 people at this party.

And because Baby R was only 9 months old at the time, she was still taking a morning nap, so I had to schedule the party between naptimes, which meant it overlapped lunch. So we ended up feeding those 50 people hamburgers and hot dogs.

How did something so small turn out so big?

This year, hubs and I are determined to keep it under control. Being able to shift the time a bit will help. But inviting fewer people is clearly the biggest factor. I know, everyone says to only invite the number of kids equivalent to your child's age, so for S's 4th birthday, there should only be 4 kids. That's a great idea in theory. But what do you do when there are kids from preschool, daycare, our friends' kids and neighbors? She sees all of them on a regular basis.

I've come to grips with the large quantity. We have to have the party outside to accommodate them. My fear now is that it will either be record-setting hot next weekend or raining, and then we'll have 50 people in our house. Pray for nice weather...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby Bullets

I'm stealing the idea of a bullet point update from my friend KLZ at Taming Insanity. I'm so behind, I'll never catch up if I try to actually, I don't know, WRITE what we've been up to. But there's so much, bullet points would even be too long, so this is just an installment. (Keep in mind the days referenced are relative. These are notes from the last month or so.)
  • S yesterday singing: Twinkle twinkle little star, How I wonder what's in my tummy. ?
  • S kicked the back of my seat while I was driving, and I asked her politely not to. She was making vroom noises, so I asked if she was driving. No, I'm vacuuming with my leg. Of course, you are.
  • We lost Baby R's blankie for a couple of days. It was NOT good. Luckily she has adopted a second one which she lovingly refers to as "Two."
  • I had a nightmare that coyotes took Baby R when we were playing in the unfenced back yard. Woke up, terrified. Finally got back to sleep. Then I dreamt they attacked us in the playset. Not a good night's sleep.
  • This morning S said the thunderstorm must have broken the water on the refrigerator so we needed to call the water helpers.
  • S playing that she was running a store and had to close up shop for a bit. "If you need anything, just call me, ok? My phone number is 913-69."
  • This morning Baby R woke up asking to play with the neighbor boy, P. Awwww....
  • S, driving her Cozy Coupe, put her arm on the back of the seat and turned around so she could back out.
  • This am S was talking about the tantrum she had last night when I left, and I told her I was sorry she was so upset. She said, "Oh it wasn't you, it was me."
  • Baby R has started putting things in her "pocket," i.e. down her onesie. So now when I change her, interesting things fall out.
  • She has also started walking down the stairs. And now can turn doorknobs. Look out!
  • S asked if I could wash off her drumsticks after she ate, and she could use them to play drums. I've decided maybe we recycle too much.

And there you have it, folks. The first Baby Bullet update! More to come...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


"Go ahead and get some rest now. You might as well sleep while you can." The nurse smiled and gathered her clipboard on her way out of our spacious birthing room.

"Sweet!" DH leaned back in the recliner and closed his eyes. I shook my head, amused, and tried to relax amid the excitement. The hurried pace of our independent life would soon be replaced with something slower, deliberate, though busy in its own way.

The epidural had taken its effect, and I felt more comfortable, weightless, relaxed than I had in months. Within a few minutes, my heartbeat had slowed, and I was breathing the deep, even breaths of childless sleep.

About an hour later, subconsciously, I noticed the steady beeping of the monitors had changed, and then I was startled fully awake by the nurse rushing in and flipping on the lamp directly above me.

"Are you light-headed? Do you feel ok?" she asked.

"I'm fine," I mumbled. Or at least I was, before you woke me up, I thought to myself.

She slipped the oxygen mask over my face. "Your blood pressure has dropped to 90/40." She increased the saline drip on my IV. "We've got to get that back up." She checked the monitors, looked at her watch, and typed some notes.

I glanced over at DH still sawing logs as the nurse quietly left the room. I figured I'd let him be. There was nothing either of us could do right then. 

Feeling like I sounded like Darth Vader with the mask on, I eventually fell back into a light sleep. It wasn't long before the beeps changed again. I turned up my mouth in a slight smile in expectation of an adjustment to the oxygen mask as a couple of nurses raced in. The shock of being flipped on my side and and having a hand unexpectedly - and surprisingly painfully, given the epidural - thrust between my legs caused me to gasp aloud.

"The baby is in distress. We need to check to make sure that the cord isn't around its neck."

My breath caught in my throat, and my heart pounded in my chest. I looked over at DH, blinking back tears. I wanted to call to him, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get the words out. Plus I was enveloped in scrubs; there was no way for him to reach me.

"Your contractions are too intense for the baby. Its oxygen rate dropped dangerously low. Things are ok now. We'll keep a close eye on you. The doctor may have to do a C-section."

A pit formed in my deadened stomach.

The nurses left. I took a few deep breaths and steadied my voice. This time, I woke DH up. We watched the monitor, the peaks and valleys indicating the undulations my uterus made to bring our precious child into the world. There were points that rocketed off the chart, and I was thankful I couldn't feel the contractions associated with them.

The rest of the night was filled with rest punctuated by alarms from the monitors. The doctor arrived. She determined that my blood pressure was not responding to their attempts to raise it, so the epidural would have to be turned off. Lord, give me strength.

She also knew I didn't want a C-section if it could be avoided. She gave me a drug to reduce the intensity of the contractions, hoping they would still be strong enough to birth the baby naturally.

By 6am, I had stalled at 8cm. We decided the safest course of action was surgery.

A whirlwind of prep, fear, additional drugs, surprise and awe rocketed us through the next hour as we welcomed our first child, a healthy baby girl. The cadence of our lives was changed forever.

This week's prompt was to write about a time that rhythm, or a lack thereof, played a role in your life. And don’t use the word “rhythm.” Concrit is always welcome!

Friday, July 15, 2011


Emeline tilted her skinny-jean-clad hips toward the wall of glass, watching the 747s approach the orderly runways with seemingly illogical markings. Obviously the pilots had to learn what those meant, but it just looked like sidewalk chalk gone wild to her. She fidgeted impatiently with the cameo locket whose chain perpetually encircled her slender neck. Her twin sister, Jasmine, was coming to visit for the first time since they had both fled home for college. She to the West to major in music history at USC; Jasmine to the East to study at Juilliard.

Emeline wiggled her toes from excitement in her TOMS. They were a parting/good-luck gift from her sister. Emmie loved them. She wasn't one to spend much on clothes; these shoes were by far the most expensive item in her wardrobe. But it was just like Jazz to choose something so perfect for Emmie, without regard to cost and at the same time, with a company that was philanthropic in its own right.

She imagined the look on Jasmine's face when they first saw each other. Emeline had chopped off her long, wavy, blonde hair into a straight bob and dyed it bright red, wearing it in a mussed, bed-head style. Would Jazz even recognize her? Emmie smiled to herself; of course, she would. The connection between their souls was such a tight bond, Emeline believed Jasmine could find her in the middle of Times Square on New Year's Eve.

Emmie's vintage gingham top reflected back at her in the window as she squinted her eyes and tried to figure out which plane was her sister's. The aircraft that were circling above appeared to be tiny models in the sky, but as they approached the runways, they became larger, and she could make out the logos on their tails.


Jet Blue.

That must be it. Emeline smiled, unable to contain her joy. She had so many things to tell Jasmine; they had decided to save their limited cell minutes and wait to talk in person this week. Emmie was debating what she would ask Jazz about first when she noticed the Jet Blue plane seemed to be going faster than the others she'd seen land. She looked more closely. The wheels didn't appear to be down. Her heart caught in her throat.

Emeline's hand formed a fist around the pendant she had previously caressed as she watched, horrified. The nose of the plane hit first, the clamor of screeching metal perceptible through the glass, not only as sound, but as physical vibrations. Her fist pounded forward against the window in defiance, breaking the clasp on the necklace as it hammered again and again in syncopation with her screams, willing the catastrophe to end. The body of the plane was next, pitching the tail up and forward before falling back and collapsing as a trail of dominoes, flames erupting in staccato explosions.

Despondent, Emeline felt her body start to give out, and she leaned her forehead against the window for support. Plump tears fell in a cadence down her cheeks as she closed her azure eyes behind her Buddy Holly-style glasses. The muscles in her hand relaxed, suddenly exhausted, and the necklace slid from her grasp. The locket bounced as it hit the industrial carpet and sprung open, revealing aged photos of two towheaded girls. The chain continued it's descent, coming to its final resting place on top of her left shoe.

This week's prompt was to write about your character (or yourself) and a pair of his or her shoes. Those shoes can be real or symbolic, they can hurt or be super comfy but I want to see what they say about the life of the person wearing them. Concrit is always welcome!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things I Like About Me

I've seen several tweets and blogs around this week about a link Elena at Ciao Mom has started where we list things we like about ourselves. Those of you who have followed me for awhile are familiar with my insecurities in that area, so I'm always hesitant to do a post about such things, though I find it empowering to do so. I think it's awesome that BlogHer started the Own Your Beauty campaign as that led me to write this and this. And since it's been several months since I've done something in that vein, I thought I would link up with Elena and the other fabulous women who've joined in.

So here's my list:

  1. I like my friendly, outgoing personality.
  2. I like my ability to forgive fairly easily. It's difficult for me to hold a grudge.
  3. I like the color of my hair. Maybe not everything else about my hair - I have a love/hate relationship with the curls/frizz - and sometimes I wish it would stop getting darker, but in general, I like the auburn.
  4. I like that I'm loyal. It takes a lot for me to give up on a relationship.
  5. I love my C-section scars. They are like badges of honor for me. Especially the second one since I knew exactly what I was going to have done to my body, but I did it anyway because I knew it would be worth it.
  6. I like that even though I may not be the best at being a Christian, I make an effort, despite obstacles, to grow in my faith.
  7. I love that I sing and dance with my girls with no regard to how silly I am being. In fact, I like to think that when they are my age, they will look back on their childhood and find that times we danced around the kitchen singing were some of their favorite memories.
  8. I like that I really make an effort to nurture friendships that are important to me. Though I may not be as available as I was before I got married and had munchkins, I try to call, visit and organize get togethers as often as I can.
  9. I like that my calves are still well-toned. Apparently you can't undo 20 years of dancing with 15 years of slacking and gaining weight.
  10. I like that I still have an appetite for learning. I always envisioned myself taking classes for no credit at college just for fun. I did that for awhile, but haven't had the time or money to continue. But then I realized that the world is my classroom. And having kids lets me re-learn a lot of things I'd forgotten.
So there you have it. Now what about you? What do you like about yourself? Link up!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

To Blog, Or Not To Blog; That Is the Question

Today's Working Mommy Wednesday prompt was to explain when I started blogging and why, and if I still blog the same way/for the same reasons.

I have always loved reading. I would devour books as a child, just like my mom. I would re-read my favorites over and over again, hiding under the covers with a flashlight after bedtime eagerly anticipating phrases and scenes. Words have always been fascinating to me - I love to say "Lolita Davidovich" just because it sounds cool. (And I like her as an actress, too.) Spelling and grammar came naturally to me, though I must credit my teachers and phonic reading techniques, too.

Once I was of an age to begin to write stories myself, I dove in with glee. Writing became an integral part of me. So much so that when I became eligible for the advanced honors English class, I declined to enroll in it because there was almost no creative writing element to the curriculum. I ended up minoring in creative writing in college.

After I graduated, I started working full-time and didn't really have a reason to write. I kept a journal, and occasionally jotted down ideas or paragraphs for stories for "someday", but that was it. I found creative outlets in other areas: scrapbooking, card-making, graphic design.

Then I got pregnant with S.

I wanted to chronicle my maternity for posterity, and a friend had found a website where you could upload photos and stats and make diary entries. Cool! So for the next nine months, I did just that. And after S was born, I continued to update it for the first year. At that point, I decided it wasn't really the most appropriate place for us anymore considering it was called "". What was I going to do - keep it running until she was out of high school?

I didn't write anything in cyberspace for a few months, just keeping handwritten notes around. As a New Year's resolution the first of the following year, I decided to open a private account on Blogger, still using it simply to post updates about our lives for ourselves and our family. Over the next few months, I began incorporating more emotion and voice to my posts instead of just updates on daily life. I became more familiar with blogs and joined Mamapedia. I saw that they were accepting submissions for articles and sent in a post. They accepted it!

I hurriedly started a new blog that was open to the public and had pseudonyms to resolve my privacy concerns. At this point I still concentrated on family stuff because I didn't have any followers which was fine with me. I just needed to have a public blog to link to for when I submitted posts. Which I started to do more often.

That fall, I found Kludgy Mom's Back to School/Back to Blogging tutorial and really got into blogging and working at developing a blog others would be interested in. I was kind of fumbling for focus at that point. I still wanted the blog to be about my family, but I wanted to do more with it than just make it a diary. And at the start of the next new year, I found The Red Dress Club. And I felt I'd come full circle. A reason to write other than just to chronicle our lives and occasionally get up on my soapbox.

So that's where I'm at now. Still blogging for the same reason, but letting it encompass all of who I am as a woman, not just a mother.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Could Have Been On the News

I literally chuckled to myself at my desk when I read that today's prompt is to talk about an embarrassing moment. My life is the inverse of most people's; it's always embarrassing with occasional normal moments. Where to start? So I'm going to cheat a bit on this one. KLZ and I did a top-10-embarrassing-moments blog swap last year, so I am using one of them today. I've expounded on it a bit here, though.

• • • •

You know how you see news stories and think, "What an idiot? Who would do something so dumb?" This is one of those stories. 

After I graduated from college in December '97, a friend of mine got engaged. Her wedding was to be in Portland in February, and I had gotten a plane ticket to fly out the Wednesday before and spend a long weekend helping her with preparations and celebrating.

The Sunday before I was to leave town, I went to bed with a headache. Monday morning I woke up and had a full-blown head cold. But I was in serious denial. You can't fly with a sinus infection, people, you just can't. At least, not without wanting to die. So I did what any delusional person who had spent money she didn't have on a plane ticket she couldn't change. 

I took drugs. Lots of them. I tried one brand when I got up at 8am. It didn't put a dent in my symptoms by 10am, so a friend suggested a different cold medicine. I took it. Immediately. By 4pm, I was feeling worse instead of better, so I tried something else. After what felt like 800 hours instead of 8, the workday was over. I slogged out the door into the freezing cold.

You know how "friends don't let friends drive drunk?" Well, they shouldn't let you drive whacked out of your mind on cold medicine either. To make things worse, I had to stop to get gas. (I’m the kinda gal who waits until the light has been on for a few days before filling up. What can I say? I like to live on the edge.)

I pulled into a gas station near home. It was rush hour and the place also did oil changes, so it was crowded. It was killing me to wait my turn; I just wanted to go home so I could get warmed up and sleep. 

Finally, I pulled up to the pump, left the car running and started the gas pumping. I engaged the gadget that keeps it flowing, then got back in and closed my eyes for a little catnap in the warmth of my car. (This was before the days of exploding gas stations from static electricity/cell phone use.) After a few minutes, the tank was full again. I opened my groggy eyes, put the car in gear and pulled away.


Oh. My. GOD. I looked in my rearview mirror, expecting to see gas spewing out of the stand. Thankfully, they invented an auto-shut off for morons who forget to take the nozzle out of the tank.

Everyone at the station had stopped what they were doing and was staring in my direction, mouths agape. They knew they were witnessing something most people only hear about or see on AFV.

Dumbfounded, I got out of the car, gathered up the hose, thinking, "This isn’t really happening. How much does a new pump handle cost? A thousand dollars? Two? Ten?" As I was trying to figure out how I would pay for to replace it, I saw that I had parked on the hose. So I set down what I had gathered so far, got back in my car, drove forward 6 inches, then got back out to resume my humiliating clean-up. 

I hefted my load toward the convenience store, unsure what to say, when an employee met me halfway looking irritated. "I got it," he grumbled.

"I'm so sorry," I said, almost in tears.

He turned and walked away, and I slinked back to my car, spending the whole ride home in complete disbelief.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rockin' the Baby

(Click on the icon for the link to her post!)

As a follow up to Shell's fun link up, Rockin' the Bump, she decided to take it to the next step so we could show off our cute baby pics!

My kids are CLEARLY the cutest babies ever, so it was tough to narrow it down to just a few of each of them, but I wanted to spare you the thousands of pics I have of each. Not to mention to incredible ones our professional photog, Miss Rebecca, shot (including those on the masthead here).

Without further ado, here are my fave amateur pics of S:

Happy girl!! Big smiles at 8 wks.

The sitter sent this to me at work. I was having a tough time going back to work after maternity leave.

Getting ready to go for a walk with Mama!

This one always makes me laugh because I think she looks like a pirate with that headband on.

And of course, not to be outdone, here are some pics of Baby R:
Brand new - buckled in for the car ride home from the hospital.
Our little princess's first Christmas!
Big smiles at 8 weeks, just like her sis.
Checking out her first parade on the 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Slow Down and Breathe

We had a fantastic time in St. Louis for our Fourth of July, but now I'm playing catchup, so I'm going to recycle a post that some of you may have missed. It was featured on Studio30 Plus a couple of weeks ago. Hope you enjoy it!

•    •     •    •     •    •     •    •     •

She runs away from me, squealing, as I try to put her Pull-Up on.

"S, come here now!"

Frustrated, I chase her down and thread her legs through the night-night diaper as we call it.

"What book do you want to read?"

Still laughing, she starts baby talking to be silly.

"S, choose a book or we aren't reading one!" My pulse is racing by this point.

"Ok, ok. Umm, this one."

Inwardly I groan. "Hop on Pop" is longer than what I have time for tonight. I'm supposed to meet the neighbor out front in 10 minutes to go for a walk. I need to start exercising again and finding a partner to walk with is a huge step in the right direction.

"All right." I begin reading quickly and skip a few words here and there.

S interrupts me, "Why did they fall off the wall?"

"I don't know, honey." I continue reading, and S continues peppering me with questions. "Let's just finish the story, ok?"

The day's unfinished tasks scroll through my mind. Finally, the book is over. I turn off the light and turn on her music. Currently, she's fond of listening to Journey's Greatest Hits. I lie down with her for two songs, our agreed upon timeframe.

"Let's snuggle," she says, wiggling over to me.

"Ok," I say, a bit surprised. Lately she's more interested in Daddy than me.

She puts her arm around my neck. "I love you, Mama."

My heart melts a little, the beat slows. "I love you, too, baby. So, so much."

"Don't Stop Believin'" ends. The iPod shuffles. "Who's Crying Now" starts.  Lying still, I decide to just go for the walk and not worry about the laundry tonight.



A long pause. "I..."

"What is it, baby?"

"I really love you."

"Aw, honey, I really love you, too."

A small, three-year-old hand reaches for mine in the dusk. I remind myself to savor these fleeting moments. I breathe in her freshly-washed hair, feel her soft fingers tracing the shape of my hand as I used to do to my mother. I knew Mom's hands as well as my own and wonder if S will remember mine when she has a child someday.

The second song ends. I kiss S on the forehead, and start to get up.

"Mama, could you please stay til I fall asleep?"

"Of course, baby."

The walk will have to wait.
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