Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Morning, Baby R

You are asleep with your knees tucked under your chest and your bum up in the air. The right side of your hair is sticking out wildly; a knot has formed on the back. I stealthily creep to your closet to get a set of clothes and shoes, then gently quiet the babbling brook emanating from the machine on your changing table. You become aware of my presence and pop your head up. A smile brightens your sleepy face.

"Good morning, pumpkin," I whisper, crossing to your crib. You stumble to your feet, tripping over White Blankie, Pink Blankie (previously known as "Two Blankie"), and the latest addition, Checked Blankie, as well as your musical, glowing Seahorse and Pillow Pet, Duckie. It's a wonder there's room for you to sleep in there.

A smile blossoms on your petal-soft lips. "Time go, Mama?" your teeny voice queries.


You reach for me, and I lift you to my chest. You bury your head in my neck, and I gently squeeze you and breathe in your scent - no longer a baby, not quite a little girl. You are getting too heavy to lift out of there, but you haven't quite made the transition to your Big Girl Bed. Nap time, occasionally, but only once or twice for Night Night.


"Sissy is already downstairs. We've got to take her to preschool."

Your precious mouth makes a perfect "o" shape and you suck in air with a genuine look of surprise, even though we do this every Tuesday and Thursday. "Oh! Sissy go school!"

I quickly change your diaper, and you insist on closing the diaper cream and putting it in your drawer. As I place your favorite Elmo shirt on your head, you challenge me, "I do, Mama! I do!" Together, we finish getting you dressed and head down to the kitchen. Some days you want me to carry you, and some you must walk down on your own, holding my hand and the spindles of the railing for support.

Your eyes light up at the sight of S. "Sissy!"

S is glad to see you, too, most mornings. "Hi, Baby R!"

I set you in your booster seat and you ask for "email" which is oatmeal to the rest of us. You're getting better at using your spoon successfully, but you love to tip the bowl and drink the milk. Which you don't always wait to do until the end. Inevitably there's oatmeal in your hair. It adds a lovely dimension to your bedhead.

You could not be more beautiful.

Friday, September 23, 2011


This has been a crazy week. I had a phone interview Monday, and then they asked me to come in for an in-person interview on Thursday. The position was not what I had originally built my resume for, and I needed a portfolio for it, so I spent a frantic Wednesday putting one together. I came into my office that night to print off some elements for it, and the printer was literally in pieces on the floor. Thank goodness the FedEx/Kinko's is 24 hours - I was there at midnight. I think the interview went pretty well. We'll see what happens. Trying to give it over to God and not worry about it!

I am so thankful to be the featured blogger on Studio 30 Plus this week; I wish I could have offered up a great new post already. Hopefully this weekend. As I mentioned before, please stop by my "5 W's and an H" tab for some of my favorite posts.

Another amazing happening this week is that This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff gave my Etsy shop, Jaborandi Grove, a rave review and is hosting a giveaway for a letter. And what's even better is that if you don't win the giveaway, you can get a special discount for ordering with the coupon code they listed on the review. So stop by!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Featured Blogger on Studio30Plus!

Hey! I'm excited to let you all know that I'm the featured blogger at Studio30Plus this week! Please click on my "5W's and an H" tab to see a list of some of my favorite posts. I'm also going to have one this week about how amazing the online community is, so please stop by later.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing, I Miss You

I realize I took a break from writing after college for about a decade, so this hiatus is nothing in comparison, but now that I've been away from it for a couple of weeks, I'm having pangs of desperation I didn't experience before. Maybe because I didn't realize how important it was to me back then. Suffice it to say, I have a LOT of things floating around in my noggin that I want to share. Hopefully my crazy schedule of three jobs will start to become a routine soon and I can find a time to fit it in. One of the first posts I want to write is about the enormous support system that can be found in the blogosphere/twitterverse. I get choked up thinking about it. For now, it will remain in my heart. Hope to write some this weekend. We'll see.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Guest Post Product Review: Diaper Cream

Hey guys! I'm hanging out at This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff today. I reviewed a diaper cream, so stop by to see what I said!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago Today, America Was Attacked

Today is the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States. As people reflect on where they were that day, I thought I would copy my diary entry here. I was surprised at how long it was, and how many details I had forgotten. I tried to minimize annotations to keep it as much like the original entry as possible.

Today has been the most devastating day in the country in my lifetime.

I woke up to my radio alarm clock around 7:45am. I intended to go in early to work but I was tired so I lay there listening to the morning show poll people about which of them needed therapy the most. After a few minutes, they said they had just received news that there had been an explosion in one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City. At that point it was uncertain if a plane had been the cause. I listened for a few more minutes, and then they said that a plane had crashed into the other Twin Tower for certain.

I jumped up and quickly got ready for work and went downstairs and turned on the television. There was footage of the first building on fire and while everyone was watching that, a plane could be seen flying directly into the second tower, completely demolishing a large chunk of the 150ish story building. With the first one, it was possibly a fluke, but the second was obviously deliberate. It was a beautiful, sunny, clear-skied morning. The worst part was that they were both commercial airliners. My stomach turned and I couldn't eat breakfast.

I went into the office and everyone was crowded around a TV in L's (the HR person) outer office, watching the horrific footage being replayed, over and over again. I went back to my desk to try to start working and turned the radio on. All the stations were feeding from their TV affiliates. I heard that a plane had also crashed into the Pentagon and my heart jumped. I went back to the office to see the TV. It had very poor reception and was difficult to make out but you could see the billows of smoke from one side of the Pentagon. Teary-eyed, I returned to my desk to try to focus on something else, but of course that was nearly impossible. We soon found out that the planes had been passenger flights from Boston and Washington, DC that had been hijacked. Later we leraned that the terrorists had stabbed several of the staff on board before turning their kamikaze missions on to their targets. Many people made cell phone calls to loved ones from the planes. Things had sort of settled down by afternoon when we learned of another plane crash outside of Pittsburg which apparently missed its target, and another plane that had been destined for Camp David but was apparently shot down. President Bush had been in Florida and given a brief statement in the morning soon after the initial attacks and then boarded Air Force One to return to DC via an undisclosed route that wound up including Shreveport, LA and Omaha, NB.

Then the second twin tower that had been hit collapsed. Not long after it, the first one did as well.

I was supposed to have had lunch with [former co-workers] today but we cancelled due to the tragedy. [One of them] said that it looked like a banana peeling down the sides as the building disintegrated. It wasn't until later tonight that I saw the footage and had to agree.

At one point there was supposedly a car bomb outside a government building in DC and some kind of explosion betweene the Old Executive Offices and the White House, and another plane was forced to land in Cleveland full of bombs. People began to feel we were at the brink of war and panicked to fill their gas tanks and get groceries. I needed both anyway. Luckily I filled up at the station at lunch for $1.64 - $.10 more than yesterday in Martin City, but not an unusual fluctuation. Then I went to Hen House around 4pm and became nervous and stocked up on nonperishables and water. It felt like Y2K all over again only more real. By the time I got home from work, traffic was backed up from the long lines at the gas stations. In Texas gas was reportedly $5/gallon. Later I talked to my dad who said that Casey's General Store in Basehor was at $4.50/gallon and they ran out of gas.

[My roommate] had been sent home early from the Jewish Community Center [where he worked] and [his girlfriend at the time] had been in a building next to one that received a bomb threat so they were evacuated. I decided to cancel my ticket to fly to St. Louis to visit [my sister] on September 22 as the airlines were giving full refunds for all flights, so I went to Mom and Dad's for the confirmation information [I didn't have a computer at the time] and the streets were very quiet for 6:30pm on a Tuesday. The malls were closed, the Royals game cancelled, any venue for large populations anywhere in the country - including Disney World - were shut down.

I came home (unable to find the ticket info) and Mom and Dad called - they have been in Manitoba with Dad's cousin and her husband visiting Mom's family since Saturday. Mom and I talked quite a bit about the situation and Dad insisted that they come home tomorrow. I argued that they should stay there but Dad's worried about gas prices getting worse and everything else. I don't know if they can even get across the border at this point. I think it could get worse if we declare war on someone tomorrow, but it could calm down. It's hard to say, but everyone is telling people not to travel. All flights are cancelled until further notice, and all those that were in the air were diverted to other places, one of them being KC. All international flights have been deferred to Canada. I'm worried about my friends in Colorado Springs where the Air Force base is, and my friend, Tracy, who's a flight attendant for United – two of the planes that crashed were United planes.

I lived in a bubble that kept me safe from any idea of possible war; the three greatest tragedies of my lifetime were the Challenger explosion, the Gulf War and the Oklahoma [City] bombing. This was the greatest attack on America since Pearl Harbor and a much greater magnitude. In some ways it's almost seemed like a movie – we've become so desensitized to violence – but at the same time, it's so shocking and unbelievable. [My boss] and I were all trying to figure out why today, and her theory was that it's 9/11, or 9-1-1 – emergency. That was echoed by reporters on the news tonight. We don't know much at this point, however, since no one has come forward to take responsibility, and Bin Laden has denied any link at this juncture. God bless America.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Glad for cooler weather. And a little cross-promoting never hurts, right? "Autum" seasonal wall letter sets are now available at Jaborandi Grove.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Guest Post: Divorce

This is a guest post of a friend of mine who has been through hell and back in the last year. She has her own blog and has been about to boil over, keeping her story safe inside for fear her ex will find it and use it against her in court. I told her she just needed to get it out, and offered space here for her to vent.

•  •  •  •  •  •

I didn’t hate the father of my children a year ago on this date. On this date in 2010, we were fine. Seriously dating other people, a year since our do-it-ourselves-friendly divorce (and three since we had separated), we were still the model of How To Co-Parent Correctly. I had believed for a long time that he agreed with me that our marriage was an unintentional, immature mistake; one made by two dumb kids unprepared to really know what forever and ever actually meant. After all, we spent more time choosing our majors in college than we did choosing each other as life partners, so as longtime friends I was confident we both wished each other happiness and peace in our future journeys.  

I was wrong. Because while I wished for him a future with someone who could appreciate the great qualities he had, he apparently didn’t reciprocate, and I am still learning this in a very expensive, immeasurably painful way. So mea culpa.

And $@& him. Because three weeks after he got engaged, I got hit with the first two court issues.

What I’ve learned since the divorce about that never-met-a-stranger easygoing fella, is that he is a man who had been lying to me about how much his new job was paying him, and when his salary and commission quadrupled, he decided to stop splitting the costs we had always shared. So despite that I had stayed home with our children for seven years, spending a year trying to find a job that still paid less than any before kids, and was receiving less financial support than I could have asked for initially - he informed me he was done. Perfectly logical. And I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact his 24 year-old fiancee (let’s call her Other Mother*  from here on, shall we?) soon quit her job. Surely.

However, The Courts disagreed, and awarded me more. Lots more. But.. nearly a year later of games and appeals and overall legal asshattery, he still owes me tens (is twentys a word?) of thousands of dollars in back child support. Meanwhile my home has one working car currently, because we can’t quite shoulder the cost of a new car payment with childcare and full-day kindergarten expenses and kids’ therapy and autism specialists and medicine with no reimbursement. 
Last spring my boyfriend and I bought a house in the radius of the kids’ school, so they could be guaranteed placement, and a month ago we were told by a little birdie that it was going to be used against me in court that I wasn’t legally attached to the house (since I wasn’t on the title), so we called an ordained friend that Tuesday, and got married over pizza and wine on our Thursday lunch break.

The tiramisu was better than any wedding cake I’ve ever had, but I sure could use a honeymoon eventually.

I learned in the last year that this gem of a guy is more than willing to block me from doctor appointments, and authorize medical decisions without my consent. That he will go so far as to pull one paragraph out of a blog post I’d once written, twist the context, and have his Decepticon attorney try to obliterate my character in court; refusing to look me in the eye while I sat on the witness stand and cried from shock. And hurt. And humiliation. Because I literally didn’t understand what the hell would possess my once-best friend to be so cruel.

I know he supported Other Mother telling my sweet baby girl, my soul, my heart, my mini-me, that it’s a grand idea to call her Mommy, because she is her new Mommy, dontchaknow. Which makes perfect twisted sense if you hear that after the daycare provider and my daughter called me in May to tell me, giggling, that I’d need to pick up my Mother’s Day gift after work, Other Mother decided to take it home instead, saying there had been a mistake and it was actually for her.  

I’m going to let that

for just a bit.  

I learned that this man, this father who in theory was there to battle through the heartbreaking first couple years of our son’s autism diagnosis, would inexplicably, inexcusably,
unforgivably, wait until the end of summer to file a motion to try to move the kids to the school by his new house. I mean, we had to have visits and social stories and months of preparation for our son to transition from Kindy to first grade in the same school with the same people. Yet this Pile of Parenting Fail wanted to wait until there was one week to the beginning of school to announce a new educational galaxy.

There literally isn’t enough teeth-clenching-barely-controlled-rage-disguised-as-witty-sarcasm to explain how wrong that was. I had nightmares for weeks about it. Weeks.  

So that is why I recently found myself in court again: in the fourth motion on our docket, at the sixth hearing in nine months, not crying. This time I was pissed and totally ready to Chuck Norris him by pulling his heart out through his tear ducts. Because at this point I was done wishing him well or trying to understand what happened or what boundaries are being obliterated or why mediation didn’t work or what I could have done differently or how it was possible he could still


Because it doesn’t matter anymore. It is what it is what it is, and all I can do is keep trucking until it’s over.

So, because as sheer logic should follow, I won. Big. And my ex, my ulcer, my kids’ sperm donor, got a serious tongue lashing from the judge. Which was glorious. But not before I added another couple K to the eternal bill I owe my attorney.  Who as of now doesn’t seem as willing to call our deal done if I just name a future child after him. Hmph.

So as you think about your upcoming Labor Day weekend, have second thoughts if it includes an invite to a lavish Midtown wedding replete with trolleys and chocolate fountains and (apparently) a smallish orchestra: you may be friends with the peach I just told you about, and you never know if there might be a surprise guest. Because karma
surely is saving up a grandaddy of an event to visit these two, and I’ll give every mythical unicorn cent I’m supposedly owed if she unleashes it then. I have no doubt karma is a mamabear, too.

* Have you seen
Coraline? Yeah, it’s my life, totally. No joke. 

•  •  •  •  • 

After hearing all she's been going through over the past year, my heart hurts for her. So please give her some love.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Guest Post About Guest Posting… And Cake

I'm excited to say that Jen from Dear Mommy Brain is visiting today! And after you read this, you will wonder why she questions her brilliance when you read this and this. She's a working mom, in the trenches like many of us, and not afraid to share it. So please go peruse her site when you finish reading here. 

A Guest Post About Guest Posting…  And Cake

When Jennifer invited me to her home to guest post, my first reaction was, “YAY!  A new blog friend!”

Then as time wore on, I started to get more and more nervous. 

And just like in real life, I started to worry that what I had to offer wouldn’t be good enough. 

What if I wasn’t funny enough?

What if I looked like a shlub?

What if my cake tasted like sawdust?

I worried because this writing gig is tough. 

I read lots of blogs and I’m amazed at how easy they make it look.  Bloggers that are making appearances all over the interwebz, cranking out quality material as fast as McDonald’s cheeseburgers...  While I’m sitting here staring at a computer screen for two hours trying to string together 250 words.

In school, I was always pretty decent at writing reports, but when it came to creative writing; my mind went blank.  My Type A personality just isn’t capable of making stuff up.

So, when I started my blog nearly a year ago, I thought I would post about practical tips for working moms.  It would be like writing a research paper.  Piece of cake.

But the reality is, as I got more involved in the blogging community; the more I realized that wasn’t where my heart was.  Sure, I still love to post recipes and the occasional household tip, but what I’m really passionate about is sharing the struggles (and joys) of life as a busy working mom.

And it still isn’t easy.  But I guess sharing your heart never is.
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