Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday Photos!

Studiously coloring the menu while waiting
for breakfast.

Nommin' on strawberries. Mmmmm.

Exploring soap and water on the kitchen floor.

And cleaning up afterward. :)
Happy New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Home.

We have returned!

These last few days have been spent with family, reveling in the warmth and joy of the Christmas season.  It was amazing, and perfect, in so many imperfect little ways, that I hated to leave the place that will always be home.

But, then, we walked into our front door this afternoon.  Miles ran around, rediscovering all of his favorite toys, and squealing with delight at each of them.  Dominic ran straight upstairs, convinced that maybe the cat would be there to play with him.  And Patrick and I stood in the doorway, and sighed the happy sigh of returning to our own space, and our own routine.

I expect that the next few days will be filled with stories of our exploits with extended family.  But for now, we are going to straighten things up, empty the luggage, and just breathe.


Love and happiness to all of you.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

Sitting here in the quiet, sipping my coffee, waiting.  The only light is the glow of the Christmas tree, and its reflections off the surfaces of the red, gold, and silver packages below it.  The scent of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven fills my nose, and I know that someday, when I am old and gray, the smell of cinnamon rolls will remind me of these Christmas mornings.

Soon, this room will be filled with squeals and giggles.  Wrapping paper will fly in every direction as Miles opens one gift, and then another.  There will be chaos, and joy, and laughter in our little home.  Stockings will be delved into.  Hugs, and kisses, and happiness will be exchanged along with the gifts.  Fingers and mouths will become sticky-sweet with cinnamon goodness.  Yes, soon, this room will be filled with the sights and sounds of Christmas.

But for now, it is peaceful, and quiet.  And filled with the excitement of the day.

May your day be filled with joy, laughter, and even some peace.  Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

As we prepared for Christmas last night, Patrick asked me if I had any Christmas Eve traditions that I wanted to pass on to Miles.  At first, I thought of the excitement of unwrapping that first present just before bed,* and reading the story of Christ's birth from the Bible.

And then I remembered my favorite tradition of Christmas Eve.  And it's not one I can really pass on to Miles.

When I was a kid, Christmas Eve was almost always reserved for Grandma Joy.  We would go over in the early afternoon to help make the dinner, then eat waaay too much, and play games until all of my little cousins passed out.  Slowly, people would trickle out until it was just me, my sister, and our cousin Tasha.  Then, it was time for our tradition.

Tasha was only three or four years old when we started this - at her request.  She was concerned that the animals in the woods behind Grandma's house wouldn't get to have a big Christmas dinner like we'd had.  She begged us to help her string popcorn, cheerios, berries, and any other little bits of food we could find into a garland.  Then, we would all troupe out to the woods to find the perfect tree.  In all the years we did this, it was never an evergreen tree, though I never thought of it at the time.  It was always some skinny little tree whose bare, leafless branches were low enough for us to reach.  Ever so carefully, already shivering in the cold, we would wrap our garland on the tree, and Tasha would pronounce, "Now, the animals have Christmas dinner, too."  And we would sing Christmas carols, that the animals might hear, and be cheered by them.

Inevitably, we would be halfway through a song, when out of nowhere, we heard jingle bells.  My sister and I knew our cue well.  One of us would say, "Do you hear that?"  and Tasha would squeal with delight, knowing that Santa was on his way.  We would point into the air, trying to convince one another that we had seen Rudolph's nose.  Exciting as the moment was, though, it was a sign that our evening was over - Tasha had to rush home to get in bed before Santa got there, or he wouldn't leave her any toys!

I had no idea at the time how special those moments were, or how often I would look back on them fondly, wishing that somehow, I could pass this tradition down to my son.  But we live a long way off, now, and won't be at Grandma Joy's on Christmas Eve.  And even if we were, it could never be the same.  Tasha is no longer the three-year-old child waiting on Santa, but a beautiful young woman on the verge of adulthood.  My sister is a married woman.  And I have a child of my own, who is so different from - and yet, so similar to - those three little girls who took food to the animals.

Someday, I will again find a wood, where I can hang a Christmas dinner for the animals.  But it will never be the same as those magical Christmas Eves of my childhood, shared with two of my closest friends.

Merry Christmas.

*Even though we knew it was clothes.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Friday Photos - Christmas Eve Edition!

Miles' Christmas Eve To Do List:
Start with a good cuppa joe.

Look at the festive window and try to figure out
 how to tear down the ivy.
 
Double check that the stockings are hung with care.
Santa has to put those goodies somewhere.

Check the Christmas lights to make sure they work.

Try not to tear into the pretty presents just yet.

Take a nap, to better enjoy the remainder of Christmas.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas.

Wow. Just, wow.

I was going to write something all sappy about the joys of Christmas, etc, etc.  Or perhaps whine about how I have a cold (complete with laryngitis) two days before Christmas.  Or maybe share a cute story from yesterday.

And then I read this blog post.  And I cried.  So, instead of reading more of my drivel today, go visit the link below.  But be prepared: this is a tearjerker.  In a good way.

Merry Christmas!

http://thebloggess.com/2010/12/my-heart-grew-three-sizes-and-now-i-have-an-enlarged-heart-worth-it/

Clarification: I do not know this lady.  I have never read her blog before this morning - like five minutes ago.  Someone had linked this on Facebook, and for whatever reason, I went to read.  And I am so glad I did.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where I Have Nothing to Write . . .

Hey, guys.  Sorry, but you're not getting a real post today.  I just don't have it in me.  Miles has a cold (on top of the itchy eczema), which he has been so kind as to share with me.  Plus, I have nine million things I should be doing rather than blogging, so for today, that's about all you get.

If you're looking for new reading material, though, check out the new tabs at the top of the page.  Those of you who know me IRL already know this stuff, but for my new web friends, it might help explain things. :)

Enjoy your Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vindication! Or Validation! Or Some Other V-something-ation-word!

Yesterday morning, we were planning to have our annual family pictures done.  The outfits were chosen, the appointment was made, the baths had been taken . . .

And Miles woke up with a rash.  All over his face.

Needless to say, I cancelled the portrait appointment, and made a doctor's appointment.  Only our regular doctor - we'll call him Dr. B - wasn't available, so we were scheduled with another doctor - Dr. G - from the practice.  Considering our relationship with Dr. B, I didn't mind the change at all.  I went in prepared to give her the entire run-down of Miles' medical history.

Except she already knew it.  Unlike Dr. B, she had obviously read his medical history.  She walked in, said hello, then turned around.  She looked at Miles, smiled as she tickled him, and told me, "He has eczema."  She followed up with a thorough examination, but stuck to her initial diagnosis.  The vindication, however, came in the post-examination discussion.

"Has he shown any signs of sensitivities to foods?"

So, I explained about our suspicions about milk.  How we'd spent months telling Dr. B that milk caused him to have ridiculous diarrhea.  How Dr. B had told us that kids this age didn't have allergies or lactose intolerances.

At this point, she interrupted me.  "Umm . . ." she said, then paused for a long time, trying to figure out a politic way to say what she needed to say, "that's not exactly correct."  She went on to tell me that milk allergies are one of the most common causes of eczema.

We talked about my experiment - the two weeks of dairy-free - and she told me that was precisely what she would have recommended I do.  But, my conclusions were a little off.  I had assumed lactose intolerance, and had therefore switched from regular milk to lactose-free milk - which is still milk.  By trying to make certain that he was getting the proper nutrition, I had inadvertently exposed him to large amounts of something that he was allergic to.  The end result was an outbreak of eczema.

So, I was a little off.  But, if Dr. B had taken me seriously, we would have known it sooner.  Dr. G set things straight, prescribed a heavy-duty lotion, and some antibiotics to deal with the infection that had resulted from him scratching at the eczema.  With that little bit of business out of the way, I asked her out.

Okay, not really, but I did ask her to be Miles' new doctor.  She accepted, after listing her credentials, to make certain that I was making an informed decision.

Her specialty is pediatrics.  Dr. B was a general practitioner.

Kismet.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Decorations

With the countdown to Christmas now standing at five days, I thought I'd share a bit of the Christmas spirit from our home to yours.  Merry Christmas!
Our nativity, on the mantle.  It's small, and definitely a little piecemeal,
but it's ours, and I love it.

The crackling fire that makes it feel even more like Christmas.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care. . .

Grandmary and Grandad bought this for Miles for his first
Christmas last year.  It makes me smile. :)
 

And the one from our first Christmas as a married couple.
 From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.

(P.S. More to follow this week, as I get more photographs.  I love Christmas!)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why Do I Blog?

I have been asking myself this question a lot, lately.  I don't know why it's so important, but I feel this need to define my desire to blog.  I mean, I could never, in a bajillion years, keep a diary or a journal.  I know.  I've tried.  I could probably fill a garbage bag with diaries and journals that I started, and then tossed aside after a whopping three days.  Somehow, my life was never interesting enough to write down, when it was just me reading it.

Of course, to be fair, many of those journal entries looked something like this:

Dear Diary,
It's been a long day! First I got up, ten minutes before my alarm went off!  Then, I went to school.  Nothing really happened.  Then, I came home and had a snack.  Then, I watched TV - All That is the coolest show ever!  Then, I finished my book.  Now, it's time for bed!
Goodnight, Diary,
Love,
Tabitha

Seriously.  I've come across diaries I wrote at age 7 and at age 14, and everything in between, and they're all like that.

Then, I got to college, and decided that I would really like to leave a record of my life - you know, in case anybody 100 years from now cares about how people live now.  For the first time, I managed to make it past day 3.  In fact, I filled stacks of notebooks.  Unfortunately, I filled them all with bad poetry, as young college students are wont to do.  And even that only lasted about a year, before I realized that my poetry really was pretty terrible.  Rather than embarrass myself any further for future generations, I decided to stop while I was ahead (or behind, but whatever).

At that point, I pretty much gave up on the idea of creating a chronicle of my life.  After all, I never did anything particularly interesting, and who was ever going to care.

And then Miles was born.  Suddenly, I have a million little things that I never want to forget.  I thought about trying the old Journal route again, but given my complete failure at keeping anything like that going, I started a blog.  That way, I figured, I could also share the adorable antics of my son with friends and family without telling them all the same story a gobozillion* times.  And they would hold me accountable for writing.  When I don't write for a few days, trust me, I hear about it. :)

But even that isn't the full reason why I blog.  If it was, you wouldn't get so many of these annoyingly introspective posts.  What I've come to realize is that I blog because writing is a release, for me.  When I've had a bad day, I pour it all out onto the keyboard, and my mind calms a bit.  And when I've had an amazingly wonderful day, I pour it all into the keyboard to try and hold on to the fleeting happy moments.

People 100 years from now probably won't care about this blog, or any number of others out there that are just like it.  But in 50 years, I will care.  I will be able to look back at my life, replete with its successes and failures, and know that overall, I was happy.

* As in, gobs of zillions.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Battles & Blessings


Battles:


  • We have just completed Molar Teething Week #4.  And I am so over it.  I am so tired of my baby being in pain that I can't fix for him.
  • Monday was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Napping did not occur.  Screaming did.  By the end of the day, both Miles and I were exhausted and needed a break from one another.  Did it make me feel like a Bad Mommy?  Yes.  But, I would have felt like a Worse Mommy if I had lost my temper at Miles.
  • Miles' nap schedule has been wonky this week.  I only managed to get things done when I decided that he was going to have to sleep in between the errands I needed to run.  I spent a lot of time sitting in the car in a parking lot, playing games on my phone, and waiting for him to wake up.  But at least he slept, and I got a break, which was better than the alternative.
  • Visa had another leak, which included our debit cards, so they were deactivated.  I have been without a debit card all week, and it sucks.
  • I had nine-bazillion things to accomplish this week.  I have accomplished a grand total of three of them.
Blessings:
  • Patrick has been incredibly supportive, even when all I want to do is scream.  He has continually encouraged me to take a few minutes to myself, even when that means that he gives up his time to field Miles.  I am the luckiest woman alive to have him.
  • Even though he's in pain, Miles is still trying to be his up-beat, happy self.  This week was full of frustration and screaming, but it also saw tons of snuggling.  Plus: my first real hug from my son.  Where he stood up, wrapped his arms around my neck, and held on for dear life.  Best.Thing.Ever.
  • The opportunity to perform again, and to portray a historical woman whom I have come to admire.  History is filled with stories, and this woman had some great ones.  I am honored to be chosen to share them this afternoon.
  • Hot cocoa on cold nights.
  • Tiny pea coats.  For boys.  That fit.
  • Quiet moments alone with my husband.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Photos!

I bring you Friday Photos!  This week, as narrated by Miles!

I like books.  Not so much the reading, but it's fun to turn the pages!

Can I help you, Mommy?  I'm rather busy playing here. 
Okay, you have your picture.  Can I take it off, now?

Cuddling with my bestest buddy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Silliness

As a continuation of my unintentional theme of "Funny Stories About Miles" this week, Patrick encouraged me to share the following little anecdote which occurred last week.*

The scene: our living room.  Miles was playing quietly by himself, for a change, so I was addressing Christmas cards.  Miles began playing a new game I like to call Running Into the Kitchen, Opening and Slamming Cabinet Doors, Then Running Out and Yelling Hi Before Doing It All Again (RIKOSCDTROYHBDIAA for short)**.  He was averaging about three rounds of this game for each envelope I addressed (recipient and return).

I knew something was wrong when I finished an entire envelope without a single "Hi!"

I stood up to go check on the Suddenly Silent Miles (SSM), but it turned out to be unnecessary.  Because at that moment, he emerged from the kitchen.  Sopping. Wet.

I couldn't help it.  I cocked an eyebrow and asked, "Did you find the dog water?"

Miles looked up at me, grinning from ear to ear, and shrugged his tiny shoulders.  Then, rather clearly, said "Ess.  I did."

I lost it.  His adorable little soaking wet smile and unabashed admission of guilt were too much.  I laughed.  I literally doubled over, and laughed until I was gasping for air, and my eyes were watering.

Miles turned his head sideways, and looked at me, concerned.  He walked over, pointed up, and said, "Uhstairs?"

"Do we need to go upstairs and change you?" I asked, still trying to get it under control.

Very seriously, he looked at me, all trace of humor gone, and he said, "Ess.  Uhstairs." And then signed "please".  It was clear he thought his Mom-mom had lost her marbles.

Until I scooped him up and airplaned him up the stairs to the sounds of his squealing delight.  I love Mommyhood. :)

*Or, as I like to refer to it, the Week of Teething and Illness Hell.  Or WoTaIH for short.  Go ahead.  Try to pronounce it.  I dare you. :)

** I have a talent for names, no?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Normal Conversation with My Husband


Patrick: "I am made of chocolate."

Me: <eyebrow raised> "Really?  That's too bad.  You may not make it through the week."

Patrick: "Why?  Are you going to nom me?"

Me: "Yep."

Patrick: "I'll call in sick."

Glad he got that off his chest. . .


I actually posted this on my mommy forums the other day, but it was a cute enough story that I thought I should share with everyone.
Monday afternoon, Miles was sitting on the floor, playing quietly.  Out of nowhere, he suddenly let out this really frustrated growl, and then started whimpering.  I went over and sat down next to him and asked him what was wrong.  He got very serious and 'talked' to me (in complete gibberish) for about 45 seconds straight.  His facial expressions were priceless.  Obviously, he was telling me all about his problems.
When he took a breath, I said, "I see.  I can understand why you're frustrated."
He said, "Yeah," and sighed heavily, and then got up and went back to playing.
I have no idea what it was all about, but it was hysterical.  I love my son. :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Butt Cream!

In Miles' short life, I have had the pleasure of causing him to laugh on many occasions.  With tickles, and silly faces, and random noises.

And the other day, with Butt Cream.

Diaper changes in recent months have become a test of skill and speed.  The challenge is to hold him down with one hand, while removing the old diaper, wiping him down, and putting on a new diaper with the other hand.  Meanwhile, he is twisting and turning and doing everything he can think of to try and escape my grasp so he can throw himself headfirst off the changing table.

So, we try to distract him.  Toys are useless.  The wipes container will do in a pinch, if you're quick.  But the real fascination is in the tube of Butt Cream.  He'll turn it over and over, chew on one end, and stare at it as though it might suddenly do tricks.

When I handed him the tube the other day, he said, "This?" and held it up to me, asking for the word.

"Butt cream," I explained.

The peal of giggles that emanated from him was so genuine and sudden that I dropped the clean diaper.  I looked at him as I picked it up, and repeated,

"Butt cream!"

The giggles started afresh, and I continued chanting "Butt cream! Butt cream!" over and over again, all the while bobbing my head to the rhythm.  By the time his pants were back on, we were both breathless from laughing.

It wasn't until I was telling the story to Patrick much later that I realized:  I've lost my mind.  And for the most part, I kinda like it. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Begins!

This weekend was a whirlwind of Christmas.

There were rehearsals for a Christmas show, Patrick's work Christmas party, and my favorite: Our annual Christmas extravaganza for our friends.

When I was in college, I started the tradition of inviting all of my closest friends over for a simple Christmas dinner, a gift exchange, and a relaxing evening of games and socialization.  At first, that meant ten people crammed into a dorm room eating chicken I had prepared in my crock-pot (which may or may not have been against the rules), exchanging hand-made trinkets, and talking until the wee hours of the morning.

Yesterday, fifteen of our closest friends gathered in our townhome, eating all day long to try to make a dent in the enormous amounts of food, and playing cards and chatting until we all parted company at the Very Late Hour of 10:00 pm!  Ah, how parenthood changes you . . . :)

In all seriousness, however, it was a lovely day.  At one point, I looked down from the stairs over a living room filled to the brim with people I love dearly, and never seem to see enough.  People had gathered in pairs or groups, talking and laughing.  A fire crackled and popped in the fireplace.  Miles was running from person to person, putting a hand on one, crawling into the lap of another, while Dominic followed behind, sniffing for any scraps of food that may have made it to the floor.  Snow was glittering outside in the twilight, and cold winds whistled, trying desperately to find a crack to come in.  But inside, viewed from the stairs above, all was warmth, and peace, and love.

And as cheesy as it sounds, that's what Christmas  should be.  And I can't wait for next year's gathering.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cards


Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I gushed about Shutterfly?

Well, I would like to re-state my love for them, and possibly up the ante to absolute adoration.

In case you hadn't guessed, my Christmas cards arrived.  And they are awesome.  Cute, adorable, high-quality - all of those things that you look for in a card.  Plus, they feature my son in all his glory.

I unveil to you, dear readers, our 2010 Christmas card:



Cute, no?  So classic.  So adorable.  In a word: perfect.

So, once more, Shutterfly rocks, and you should totally go check out their site.  Like, now. :)

Disclaimer: Shutterfly gifted me with 50 free cards in return for all of the nice things I said about them last time.  There is no incentive this time, I just had to let you know how well they turned out!

Secondary Disclaimer:  I absolutely did not get up at 6:00 to post this.  I wrote it last week, and scheduled it to post.  Yep, it's been sitting here, ready to go since Thursday, and I made you wait for it. Neener-neener. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Battles & Blessings

This week has passed a bit more quickly than I would have anticipated, given how looooong last week was.  Hope yours went well, and that you are enjoying your weekend!

Battles:

  • Miles went to bed late on Tuesday, and refused to sleep all day Wednesday.  He was a bear, I was frustrated, and nothing much was accomplished.
  • I struggle to find the motivation to work while Miles is sleeping.  I am nearly always tired, but I hate to nap while he does, because I never know how long it will last.
  • We're still struggling with the fact that Miles will often scream and/or struggle for half an hour or more when it's naptime or bedtime.  I had kinda hoped that sleep would have become a non-issue by now.  Some days, I still wake up wondering how much longer before he sleeps well.
  • I have an all-day rehearsal today, followed by Patrick's work Christmas party.  While I am looking forward to the events, I am not looking forward to the fact that I probably won't see much of Miles today.  Don't worry, he's sleeping as I write this, so I'm not wasting precious time. :)
Blessings:

  • This week was in no way like last week.  Miles was happier, overall, and there was far less screaming. Also, less snot.
  • Miles gave me his first real hug on Thursday.  Normally, when I ask for a hug, he will lean against me, and allow me to hug him.  Thursday, he stood up, wrapped both arms around my neck, and squeezed. My heart glowed.
  • Patrick has, as always, been amazing this week.  I am so incredibly blessed to be married to him.
  • I carved out an hour on Wednesday to do some basic crafting.  It's been awhile, and I really enjoyed it.  Plus, Miles now has a personalized clock to hang on his wall. :)
  • Most of my Christmas shopping is finished!
  • Our Christmas cards arrived and I love them.  I will give you a preview of them next week.
  • Gifts we ordered are beginning to arrive, minimizing my crazy paranoia that they won't be here in time for Christmas - even though it's still early.
  • We are celebrating Christmas with some of our favorite zany friends on Sunday.  There promises to be much food, many gifts, and tons of laughs.  It will be wonderful to see everyone again!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Photos!

Watching the squirrels.


Passed out in front of Star Trek.

Drinking a 'potion'.

Playing with Daddy and Johnny.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

25 Somethings

Okay, so I did this for Facebook, and I realized that some of my readers may not know these things either.  Enjoy!


1) I am neurotic about keeping my fingernails clean.  Any little speck of dirt makes me nuts.  If I need something random to do with my hands, I'll probably be cleaning my fingernails.

2) I have to work really hard to keep my thoughts to myself.  Sometimes, they're not very nice, and other times, I just know they're going to come out wrong no matter what, even if they're meant in a nice way.

3) I  am not very good at number 2.

4) I really enjoy cooking, and especially baking, but I rarely get the chance.  I don't do anything fancy, and I have several friends who are far better at both, so I'm quite self-conscious about sharing my goodies.  I still do it, but I'm always worried they'll hate it.

5) Despite my best efforts, things rarely go the way I plan them.

6) I have deleted my ideas for this one four times because they were a) cheesy and b) oversimplified my appreciation of my blessings.

7) I collect antique books - especially Shakespeare.

8) I love living here, but I miss living close to family.

9) I feel a little smug about the fact that I have awesome in-laws. :)

10) I used to read 2-3 books a week.  Since Miles was born, I think I've only finished 3 books, total, though I've started several.  I just never seem to have enough time to devote to books anymore.

11) Miles is as stubborn as me, and even though that makes him really difficult some days, a small part of me is proud of him for not giving up on things.

12) I'm finding it far more difficult to write about myself than I thought it would be.  I could easily write 25 things about Miles, though. :)

13) Though it is incredibly stressful and time-consuming, I love working for the Renaissance Festival.  I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know so many talented performers.

14) I worry about my friends and family constantly.  I am always afraid that something terrible is going to happen to one of them, and I won't be there to help them through it.

15) Despite my "don't mess with me" attitude, I'm really very sensitive.  I will usually take whatever criticism or insults someone decides to give with a straight face, but when they're not around anymore, I will cry about it for an hour, and it will bother me for weeks (or longer).

16) I am very protective of my family - both blood and chosen, and I would go to the ends of the earth for any one of them.

17) I am a firm believer that there are two types of family - the type that you're born into, and the type you choose for yourself.  I am lucky enough to have both.

18) I love to do crafty things, but I haven't had much time since Miles was born.

19) I paint.  Mostly non-objective alien cloud-looking things.  I am more than willing to share my artwork, but I don't do it for the purpose of sharing.  I do it because it is therapeutic.

20) I am a morning person, provided that I get enough sleep.  I have not been a morning person for 14 months. :)

21) I love theatricality and stories.  If the story is good, or even if it's just very theatrical, I will be enthralled by it until the end.  Even if it's badly written/acted/whatever.

22) I really don't understand people.  I find it really difficult to get inside their heads, even if I know them really well.  I do, however, have a great intuition about what people will like.

23) My least favorite household chore is laundry.  My favorite is cooking.

24) I adore hats, and if it was up to me, hats would still be common-place for both men and women.

25) I love classic movies - especially from the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn era.  Movies were so much more . . . innocent.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Play Date!

Ever been on a blind date?  Think of the anxiety.  And the nervous excitement.  The fear that everything will be awful.  Or that it will be great, but the other person will hate you.  That you'll have zero in common.  Or that you'll have weird things in common.  That you'll have nothing to talk about.  But you go anyway, hoping that it will all be okay.

I had actually managed to get married without having ever been on a blind date.  High school sweethearts and all that.  I had watched my friends go on them (and inevitably complain about them).  I had even set up a few for friends that didn't know each other.  But I had never actually experienced it.  I thought I had escaped scot-free.

And then, I became a mommy.

I have two friends with children.  One lives an hour away and our lives never seem to coincide correctly to get together regularly.  The other lives forty minutes away in the opposite direction and is a working mom.  Because of this fact, Miles has had almost zero interaction with other children in his age range.  In a moment of delusion that I was actually a Good Mommy, I decided that Miles needed to start socializing with other toddlers.  But that meant meeting other mommies.  Mommies I didn't already know.

Cue panic attack.

Seriously, if this is what the idea of a blind date was like, I could not fathom why anyone would ever go on one.  My chest tightened up.  I began to hyperventilate.  My palms were sweaty, and my face itched.*

And then I realized that I had no idea of how to go about meeting other moms.  My breathing slowed.  My heart rate returned to normal.  The itching stopped.  I wouldn't have to meet other mommies.  I had no way of knowing how to find them!

Enter the internet.

Like those weird people who meet their spouses online,** I met my first new mommy friend online.  You know that awesome board I talked about the other day?  There was this lady there who I had been talking to for ages.  Her son was a few months older than Miles, and did some of the same zany things.  After months of talking to her online, we realized that we live in the same area.  Like, less than 10 minutes away.  Inevitably, someone suggested we get together.  And I got all excited and agreed.

And then had a panic attack.  Tight chest.  Hyperventilating.  Itching.

What if our kids hated each other?  What if Miles pulled Elliot's hair?  Or pushed him over?  What if two minutes around another toddler brought out the worst in Miles?  What if the mom was weird?  Or was one of those judgy moms that scare me so much?  Worst of all, what if the kids got along great, but the mom and I had nothing in common?  Would I have to continue playdates for the sake of my kid, dreading them each time?  My head was not a fun place to be.

But, I steeled myself, and met Elliot and his mommy at the mall's indoor play area.

And she was awesome.  We talked for an hour and a half, without any of those awkward pauses.  We talked about the difficulty of being a stay at home mom, and the challenges of raising an active boy.  We talked about our husbands, and our lives pre-kiddos.  And when the boys were getting restless and were ready to go, I found that I wished we had more time.

So, we got together again yesterday, at the library's literacy center.  The boys climbed on the train table and tried to escape and turn off the lights and throw crayons.  And in between chasing them, and correcting them, and pulling them down from yet another table, we got to talk.  And once more, the boys were ready to leave before we were.  So, we said our good-byes, and made tentative plans for another playdate next week.

And I'm glad I went on that blind playdate.  Even if the panic it caused nearly killed me. :)

*Yeah, when I get nervous, I itch.  Weird?  Probably, but what else is new.

** Hi, Mom!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Like Father . . .

Like son.


Miles has a new fascination: the computer.

The best thing about having a mommy who is a teacher is that she is always finding new ideas for me to entertain Miles.  Over Thanksgiving, she introduced me to an awesome  website she found: Fisher-Price's Online Learning Games.  It has games like Peek-a-boo for infants and toddlers.  The beginner games only require that he push the keys - any keys, in any order.  Each key press results in something happening on the screen, which makes him giggle.  He can sit there and play for several minutes at a time, and he's learning to be gentle with it.  When he gets excited, he tends to bang on things, but he is discovering that when he does that with the computer, it gets taken away.  It's teaching him self-control, and cause-and-effect.

And it's adorable to watch him sitting at a tiny laptop - it's just his size.

Yes, I am a Bad Mommy.  My son is 14 months old, and I am already encouraging him to play video games. Next week, we'll move on to other dangerous activities, like watching TV and climbing on tables.

Oh, wait . . .

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hair



Miles had his first haircut today.

We got out the safety scissors,* and sat him down in his rocking chair, and I trimmed his hair, while Daddy entertained him.  He wiggled a lot, but I managed to get it (relatively) even.

 I really didn't want to cut it.  I had this whole irrational thing about cutting his hair for the first time.  It was cute, and shaggy in all sorts of weird places.  None of it was even, but it didn't matter, because he was a baby and it was adorable.  As far as I was concerned, we could have left his hair alone forever.

And then I saw this picture.  And I knew I had to cut it.


That's right.  Somehow, in my sentimental motherly concern for the beautiful hair on my boy's head, I totally missed the fact that he had:

A Baby Mullet.

Don't get me wrong.  Mullets have their place,** but my child's head was not it.  I had visions of the other toddlers at playdates pointing at him and laughing, derisively.  I imagined him saying, in his adorable little gibberish-filled way, "Hey, guys, iz coo.  Iz all bizness inna front and party inna back."

And the other toddlers would all give him the side-eye and say, "Wuz wrong wit dis dude?  Wuz born in wrong decade?"***

So, I steeled myself, and trimmed his hair.


And then cried at how grown up he looks.  Repeatedly.

* I'm not even kidding.  We couldn't find the regular ones. . .

** In the past.  Where they belong.

*** Yes, toddlers speak like LOLCats.  Where do you think the cats learned to speak?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Honesty

It's rough being a mother.  It's harder than anyone ever tells you.  And even if someone had told me how difficult it is, I wouldn't have believed them.  Believe me.  It's rough.  And the worst part is, I have spent 14 months trying to figure out how to make it look easy.  Trying to focus on the good, and not talk about the difficulties.  Now, I'm going to be honest.

I am overwhelmed.

That seems like such an innocuous statement.  But literally, from the day Miles was born, I have had only a handful of moments where I didn't feel entirely overwhelmed by him.  My brain is constantly in overdrive.  My body is exhausted.  I am, in a very real sense, entirely overwhelmed by my son.  In every way possible.

I am overwhelmed by his energy, which is endless.  I am overwhelmed by his refusal to sleep, even at 14 months old.  I am overwhelmed by his screaming, which makes me want to pull my hair out and scream myself, because I don't always know how to calm him.  I am overwhelmed by his stubbornness, his outbursts, and by his sheer intensity.


But that's just the bad stuff.

I am also overwhelmed by his laugh, which fills my heart with such joy that it wants to burst.  I am overwhelmed by his mischievous grin when he tickles me.  I am overwhelmed by his squeals of joy, and by his soft sighs when he sleeps.  I am overwhelmed by his unconditional love for me.

Mostly, I am overwhelmed by trying to be the best mother for him at every moment.  And I am overwhelmed by the fact that I'm not always.

I don't like to admit it, but it's true.  I am not the mother I want to be.  I make mistakes, and I lose my temper and have to walk away, and I don't always know how to comfort my son.  I want to be better, for him, because he deserves nothing but the best.

But I am imperfect.  And that is okay.  I am trying to learn this.

So, there you have it.  I am a mommy.  And I am overwhelmed by my child.

And truth be told, I think most mommies are.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Battles & Blessings

I am privileged to be a part of a wonderful community of mommies.  These ladies are supportive, friendly, honest, and kind.  Some days, they are the only thing that helps me keep my sanity.  And I've never met a single one of them.

When I was planning my wedding,* I found this wonderful site called The Knot.  It was a great resource for brides-to-be.  I used it to find vendors, get ideas, and most importantly, check items off of their handy-dandy checklist.  Once I was married, I checked out their post-marriage sister-site, The Nest, but it was never really for me.  However, when I found out I was pregnant, I discovered the third part of their little conglomeration:

The Bump.

It had articles and checklists, which I loved reading, but best of all, it had a forum-based community of other women who were going through exactly what I was.  Almost two years later, some of the women I met there have become friends.  Many more have become acquaintances that I sometimes pester with questions and random vents about my life.**

My favorite board is the Stay-at-Home Moms Board.  It's full of women that are intelligent and level-headed, and is refreshingly free of the drama that seems to plague many of the other boards.  Don't get me wrong: sometimes it's fun to read the drama, but when I have a serious question, I'm heading straight for "my board."

One of my favorite traditions on that board is the weekly "Battles and Blessings" post.  It makes me think about not only the rough patches I've had, but also the little joys that come with being a mom.

So, with my overly-long explanation out of the way, here is my first installment of Battles & Blessings.

Battles:

  • Miles and I both have colds, so we have both been cranky and tired all week.
  • Naps have been almost non-existent all week.  And with them, any 'me-time' I usually manage to squeeze out during the day.
Blessings:

  • One of my bestest friends found out that she is pregnant.  I am so excited for her, and I cannot wait to see what an amazing mom she will be.
  • My forum boards, especially the stay-at-home moms board.  It has kept me from going entirely insane.
  • Dominic is turning out to be a terrific addition to our family, and the transition, so far, has been much easier than I might have expected (knockonwood).
  • I have been able to spend two nights this week in the company of friends who truly accept me as I am, faults and all.
  • My wonderful and amazing husband has worked extra hard to make sure I get at least some time to myself when he gets home from work.  He has taken over bedtime duty and overnight duty a few times this week, which has made the week so much more bearable.
  • Christmas is coming, and with it, the opportunity to start some fun family traditions with Miles.


I'm sure I have a dozen more blessings to write up, but Miles has awoken crying.  Again.  So, farewell for now, and enjoy your weekend. :)

*It seems like a lifetime ago.  Has it only been 3.5 years?

**Because it's Oh, So Tragic, ya' know?***

*** I have no idea where Miles gets his dramatic flair.  Why do you ask?

^

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Photos!

Morning Face.

Silly Face.

Hanging out with Mommy at the Zoo.

Playing with Aunt B - Who just found out she's going to be a Mommy!!!

Aunt Stacey and Miles are excited for Aunt B!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Busy Day, or Reasons Today's Post is Crappy

Brief update:

  • Yesterday sucked.  Sick toddlers are no fun.
  • Today is better.  Less snot, and far less screaming.
  • I have to try and finish everything that I didn't do yesterday.

Today's To-Do List:

  • Tidy living room in preparation for Shakespeare night. - Check!
  • Sweep and mop floors, cuz they're getting gross. - Check!
  • Laundry, because nudity is bad, mmkay? - Started.
  • Vacuuming.  No one likes fuzzy feet.
  • Grocery shopping.  Food is good.
  • Finish Christmas shopping.  Presents are good.
  • Cash check. Money equals food.  And presents.
  • Make an appearance at the office Christmas Party.  Because it's the polite thing to do.
  • Make potato soup for supper.  Crowds of people demand food.
  • Relax with a cup of cocoa and read Act II of Twelfth Night with the Shakespeare crowd.  Because after this day, that will be the only thing I will be capable of.  Except perhaps staring at a wall and giggling in a far off way that displays my obvious insanity.
Sorry, no time for a real post.  Look for Friday Photos tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Lessons of Mommyhood

Lesson #106: Never take a sick toddler anywhere.  Especially somewhere that requires waiting.  Even if it's just for a minute.

Today was Dominic's first vet visit since coming to live with us.  We wanted to get him checked out, and establish a relationship with a vet, just in case we need one in the future. (We had one for Lilo, but we weren't crazy about him, and his office was 20 minutes away.)

I got there a few minutes early, anticipating the inevitable barrage of paperwork that comes with going anywhere new.*  We arrived, and were immediately taken to an exam room and handed a clipboard and a pen.  I rolled up my sleeves and dove into the paperwork frenzy.

It was a single page.  Front only.  Lots of white space.

Which meant that I now had several minutes to wait in the tiny exam room with a Very Worried Dog and a Very Cranky Toddler.  Not a good mix.  Dominic laid under my feet, whining, probably expecting to be left here or worse.  Miles, meanwhile, ran laps around the room.  In the space of two minutes, he asked for Goldfish and a book, pushed the doctor stool around the room a half-dozen times, threw his Goldfish angrily at the floor and tried to take the dog's leash from me.  And then I wiped his nose.

All hell broke loose.  He threw his head back, arched his spine, and wailed.  He punched and kicked and tossed and turned like a fish flopping around on a dock.  Snot and saliva flew.  Eardrums were pierced.  Bruises were inflicted upon an unsuspecting and helpless Mommy.

Who was still trying to hold on to the dog and keep him calm.

Blargh.

In the end, the vet came in, Miles calmed down, the dog was given a clean bill of health, and we went home.  Where Miles promptly fell into a deep sleep, exhausted from his first-class tantrum.  And I fell into a heap in my chair to blog and watch the neighbors call the cops on each other repeatedly.  For an hour.

Ahh, it's so relaxing to be a stay at home mom!

* Seriously, there's a reason I don't go to new restaurants anymore.  By the time I finish the paperwork, I'm famished! :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Icky Sickies

I am the mother of a snot-monster.

Seriously, the kid's nose hasn't stopped running since yesterday morning.  And this morning, when I got him out of bed, he had dried snot all over his face.  Disgusting, but true.  And, of course, his nose hurts, so wiping it has become this major struggle.  Every two minutes.

So, I pulled out the snot-sucker.  I have never, ever used the thing on him.  But then, he's never been this congested before.  I held him down, and fought with him, and in the end, he was breathing through his nose.  Briefly.  Then, exhausted from our epic struggle, he fell fast asleep.

I'll probably be cleaning dried snot again in an hour.

It wouldn't be so terrible, except the kid was already on the verge of extreme crankiness because he has four molars coming in, all at once.  We have been fighting these teeth for almost three weeks now.  So far, he's done wonderfully.  He gets a little fussy for awhile, sometimes, and then I put on the Orajel and life returns to sunshine and rainbows.

But now, with this cold, he just can't force himself to be happy.  He tries.  He played with eighteen toys in the space of ten minutes this morning in an effort to distract himself.  When that didn't work, he climbed into my lap, put his head on my chest, and whimpered.*  I tried comforting him, but he assumed I was trying to put him down for a nap, and he bucked backward and climbed back to the floor, looking again for comfort in his toys.  And so the cycle continued.  Over and over again for the next hour.  Until I pulled out the snot-sucker and he finally fell asleep.

As if that weren't enough, I woke up with congested sinuses this morning.  It's going to be a long week.

*And then blew his nose on my robe.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Boy's Best Friend


This is the little bundle of energy we adopted this weekend.  He is a Dauschund-Beagle mix, and it's not hard to tell.  He has the face and markings of a beagle, but his body is all dauschund.

His name is Dominic Deagle.  And props to your nerdiness if you get the joke.*

So far, here is what we know about the little guy:


  • He travels well in the car.  On our way back home last night, he curled up on the floor of the van and slept the entire way.
  • He loves to go for walks, and never pulls.  Until he sees a squirrel.  Then, he points, and gets really confused when you want to keep walking instead of chasing the squirrel.
  • Our place is surrounded by squirrels.
  • He is intelligent - five hours after getting him and changing his name, he was already beginning to respond to it.
  • Someone loved him once.  He is house-trained and wants to sleep in the bed.
  • He plays fetch.  And he usually brings it back. 
  • He loves Miles.  That's why he came home with us.



*If not, google Dominic Deegan for a delightfully cute webcomic.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Happy Black Friday!

Hope your Thanksgiving was amazing.  Ours was great.  We ate too much, visited with family, played games, and then went across the street to my family's gathering and did it all again.  I would love to do a Friday Photos today, but the internet connection that comes through my phone takes forever to upload even one picture.  And for some reason, Patrick's 93 year old grandmother doesn't have high speed wireless available for us.  Weird. :)

So, instead, you get another day of my mad ramblings.  Since I can't do Friday Photos, I will instead share some of the adorable things Miles has been doing lately, and allow your imagination to fill in the pictures.


  • We have an old back scratcher that had gone in the Goodwill box.  It has a curved top and, for some strange reason, wheels on the other end (maybe to give yourself a mini back rub?).  Anyhow, Miles pulled it out and has been 'vacuuming' with it.  Sometimes, he will even make the "vrrrrrrr" noise while he does it.
  • Miles likes to 'help' with dinner, now.  Whenever someone is cooking, he gets into his cabinet and pulls out all of his pots and pans and bangs them around on the floor.  The other night, he then picked up one of the pots and handed it to me, trying to get me to put it on the stove.
  • He likes to "squish" faces - or have me do it.  I put my hands on either side of those chubby cheeks and press in a little until he's got a fish face.  Then I do it to myself.  He thinks it's hysterical.
  • He's fascinated by any minor change to my face.  When I pull him up in my lap, I give myself finger-glasses (where you make spectacles out of your fingers).  He starts giggling immediately, and then pulls my finger-glasses onto his own face.  Then he'll lean in until we're eye to eye, with only my fingers in between.  He will giggle for several minutes at a go when that happens.
  • He has learned how to tickle.  Any exposed flesh gets a poke, and if you don't giggle, he'll poke even harder until you do.  He also likes to lift my shirt about an inch so he can see my belly, and then tickle me.  He usually gets tickled back at that point, and a vicious cycle ensues, usually resulting in both of us lying on the floor giggling uncontrollably.
  • His language skills are progressing so fast.  Kids his age generally have one or two words.  Miles has about 8-10, and another dozen or so that we can interpret.  And he now has about 15 signs, including more, help, please, thank you, and music, which get used the most.  When he starts throwing a tantrum, I can often de-escalate it by asking him to sign or tell me what he wants.  His only real meltdowns come when he is either really tired, or when he can't find the word or sign he wants.  And I'm really proud of the fact that he uses the sign for 'please' every time he asks for something.  We're working on 'thank you'.
I could go on and on, but there is leftover turkey to eat, and relatives to visit.  Enjoy your weekend, and I will post again on Monday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday.  Mostly because it's impossible to commercialize like Christmas, but also, because it's a welcome reminder to count my blessings.  So, on this most glorious of holidays, I am thankful for:

Miles.  I cannot imagine my life without that crazy little monster who makes me want to pull my hair out one minute, and then gives me a kiss the next.  He is so amazing in so many ways, and I don't know how I've made it this far in my life without him.

Patrick.  He is my rock.  My other half.  My teammate, and my friend.  I am so incredibly blessed to have such a loving, forgiving, affectionate, and intellectual husband.  And after being together for almost 12 years, he still makes my heart flutter when he walks in the room.

My friends.  They have been here for me through thick and thin, always giving of themselves, lending a hand whenever I need it.  Often, I don't even know I need it until they offer.  These are the people that share my secrets, and my adventures.  People that I trust implicitly, even with my precious child.  People who laugh with me, cry with me, and support me in so many, many ways.

My family.  I could list each of them out, and say a million wonderful things about each of them, but then this post would go on for a hundred pages.  They have been there for me, whenever I needed anything.  I can call them anytime, and I know they will be there.  And more than anything, they are the ones who taught me about unconditional love.  Because I know I'm hard to love sometimes, but that never mattered to any of them.

My job.  As awful and difficult as it can be some days, it also has provided me with more opportunities that I would have ever imagined.  Opportunities to grow as an actress.  Opportunities to meet people I would never have met otherwise.  Opportunities to perform for huge crowds, and to touch people on a very individual level.  But more importantly, it has offered me the opportunity to become a better person.  Under the guidance of Maestro, I have learned to appreciate the talents of people that are difficult to love, and by doing so, I have come to love them.  I have learned patience, and the importance of tact.  I have learned to speak the truth with kindness, to temper its unkind nature.  And I have learned, once more, to trust in God, for He has a plan for each of us.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, and take the time today to count your blessings.  You may find you are luckier than you could have ever believed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm a Klutz

So, I fell down the stairs.

Yeah, that sounds way worse than it was.  Honestly, my feet slipped out from under me and I landed on my back, bruising my back and my tail bone, and whacking the back of my head hard enough that I had a headache all day, yesterday.

Yes, I'm really talented at falling.  Also, I think Stacey's staircase is trying to kill me.

For anyone out there who doesn't know about our living situation, here's an overview:

We are renting a townhome, with Stacey, who may as well be my sister.  Miles and Patrick and I have the two bedrooms on the second floor, Stacey's bedroom is in the basement, and the main floor is a common area.  Rent is way cheaper, and honestly, she was at our place 90% of the time anyway.  This way, I just don't have to worry about her driving home when she's so sleepy she can hardly keep her eyes open.

So far, it's been awesome to have her here.  And I'm not just saying that because I know she'll read this.  It really is awesome.  I'm not even sure if she's human.  Humans should have more flaws and annoying habits.  Her worst one?  Blaring Disney music while she showers.  Which I can totally dig.*  I'm sure my list of annoying habits is about to drive her away, but in the meantime?  She does the dishes most days, which lightens my load considerably.  And she watches Miles while I cook dinner, or any other time I ask.  And last night, when I was so stiff and sore from my tumble, Stacey took over so I could just sit and whine about how much I hurt.  And she sat, and listened, and sympathized.  Because she's an awesome friend.

Even if her stairs are trying to kill me.

*She has no idea that I sing and dance along downstairs with Miles every time she showers.**

**Oops.  Guess she does now! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Housewifery

With the Festival put to bed for the year, I find myself in an unusual place:

At home.

There's no office to go to.  There are errands to run, certainly, but they can be accomplished in an hour's time.  And our evenings?  Free.  And our weekends?  Empty.*

So, I find myself focusing on taking care of the house.  My kitchen hasn't been so regularly cleaned in months.  My floors are vacuumed 3-4 times a week.  All of my laundry has been cleaned, folded, and put away.  And best of all, I have time to cook again.

I love cooking.  It reminds me of my mom teaching me how to brown hamburger, and fry chicken, and my grandfather teaching me how to make breakfast, and my grandmother teaching me how to make stuffed peppers.

Which is what I made for dinner last night.  With Miles underfoot.  Crazy child.  While I browned hamburger, he opened his cabinet and played with his pots and pans.  While I boiled peppers and mixed ingredients, he played with magnets on the refrigerator.  And when the timer was going off, telling me that I was about to overcook the peppers and ruin the meal, Miles started screaming bloody murder.  For no reason.  He just wanted attention.  But I didn't know that at the time.

Cooking with children underfoot should be considered an extreme sport.  It certainly got my blood pressure up. :)

*Except, of course, this weekend, since it's Thanksgiving. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quiet Moments

In these rare, quiet moments, when Miles is sleeping, I sit, alone in my chair, and I think.

I think of a time when toys did not decorate my living room.  A time when there was no jelly to clean off the couch.  A time when I could come and go when I pleased, without worrying about a nap schedule.  A time when sleeping in on the weekends meant not getting up until noon.  I think of a time before Miles.

And it hurts.

Because I didn't know how much I was missing.

I turn my thoughts to the present.  And I wait for him to wake up.

I wait for that angelic smile that will melt my heart.  I wait for the tousled hair, that will never stay brushed.  I wait for the hugs, and the kisses, and the mess.  I wait for the thundering of tiny footsteps running through the living room.  I wait for the tickles, and the giggles.  I wait for the soft hugs, and the piercing squeals of happiness that cannot be contained.

And my heart sings for the joy of it.