Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday Photos! (A Day Late)

Sorry, but the 10 Month Day usurped our usual Friday Photos. So, here a few Saturday Photos. Unfortunately, that doesn't roll off the tongue as easily. Thus, the stupid title. :)


Playing in his Kitchen Enclosure while Daddy and I re-arranged the entire apartment.

Playing quietly on the floor.

Annoyed at the vast number of pictures I'd been taking of him.

And, finally, a little Ham and Cheese for your weekend. :)

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Dear Miles,

Dear Miles,

Ten months. And so much has happened. Such a short amount of time, and yet, long enough for our world to change entirely.

In the past few weeks, so much has changed in our world. Work has become an everyday occurrence, rather than an occasional one. Our weekends have become very hectic and full, where previously they had been rather sedate and low-key. The pace of the Festival has become frenetic and constant, and as a result, I have had much less time to spend playing with you than I would like.

And, of course, Grandma Joy passed away. You barely knew her, but trust me when I tell you that you and she formed a very special bond in her last few days. She adored you. And you were so entirely calm in her presence. I will always look back on those moments and be proud of you.

Life is different, certainly, but as ever, you are taking it all in stride. You start each day by leaning your soft little cheek against mine, a habit you started in your earliest days. You always have a smile for those you know, and a show for those you want to impress. You have started 'cheesing' for people to get attention. You crawl around the office looking for someone you can show off for.

And everyone loves you. When we don't go to the office for a day, I get phone calls asking when you are returning. Uncle Jim says you brighten his day and keep him going - this from someone I had always thought of as a grumpy old man before he met you. Jillian loves to let you steal her glasses from her face. Karla buys you gifts and calls you her boyfriend.

But some days, I think you are most important to your Papo. Even on the worst days, you bring him happiness. On days when nothing seems to be going right, he still looks fondly at you. On days when the stress of it all brings him to tears, you are there, bringing him smiles. And on days when all he wants to do is yell, his voice becomes soft and playful when he speaks to you.

You are, as ever, our sunshine. And we all love you for it. I am so proud to call you mine.

Love, always,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Milestone Achieved!

Miles gets closer to walking every day! Today, he took 5 steps in a row to get to one of his toys! And he took several other sets of steps throughout the evening. Apparently, he is gaining courage in this new endeavor. I'm half excited and half frightened at the prospects this raises.

As always, however, there is another milestone that he has mastered in the meantime. Climbing.

The other day, I caught Miles climbing into his stroller. And, being the Bad Mommy that I am, I did not stop him. Instead, I grabbed the camera.

Climbing into the stroller.


Climbing back down.

As you can see, he is a very skilled climber already. He now climbs strollers, couches, rocking chairs, and yes, even tables. Lock up your valuables, because now, nothing is safe. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Sunlight

I am so blessed. For so many, many reasons. This is just one of them.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Wind

I do not know how to begin describing Friday. It was terrible, in oh so many ways.

I will not complain about the six hours in the car with an increasingly impatient ten-month-old. I will not complain about being late to the Feaste, nor will I brag about dressing in under eight minutes into full costume.

And I will not whine about the fact that my van decided to break down at the cemetery.

It was not a good day.

As always, though, Miles brought light to the darkest of days.

The immediate family had gathered at the grave site. In case you're unfamiliar with my mother's side of the family, that means that some forty or fifty people were trying to huddle under half of a ten foot by ten foot tent to hide from the scorching July sun. Every face held sorrow. There may have been many of us, but each of us held a special connection to this wonderful woman. Three were her daughters, holding each other as tears rolled openly down their faces. Three were her stepchildren, though she never treated them any differently than her biological ones. One sat with the other sisters, tears in her eyes as well. The other two, men raised to be tough, stood stoically, their pain reflected only in the firm set of their jaws and the way they occasionally squeezed the shoulders of their children. Countless numbers of us were grandchildren - steps or biological, some of us with spouses and children of our own - gathered to say good-bye to a woman who had redefined the definitions of the word "Grandmother" over and over again. A few were friends who had grown to become family through long years and shared tragedies. And one was her husband, a self-defined "old cowboy" who refused to look up for part of the service for fear that we may see the water welling up in his eyes.

And each of us was devastated by a loss we knew was coming. A loss we all knew was for the best. But, still, for each of us a loss that has changed us forever.

A preacher who had barely known her in life spoke in parables, trying to comfort people he would never know. Songs chosen by Grandma were played on a tiny CD player by a man from the funeral home. Illogically, I found myself wondering why he had chosen this line of work, and whether he found it rewarding, or heart-wrenching, or if, somehow, years of sorrow had dulled it to the point that death was merely business as usual.

In any case, when the CD began playing "Holes in the Floor of Heaven, " I was yanked out of my pondering, returned to the reality at hand, tearing up to realize that there were no raindrops in sight to prove the singer was right.

Instead, the wind began to blow. It started out as a soft breeze, cooling us from the all-consuming heat. Gradually, though, the wind gathered strength until the edges of the tent were flapping wildly.

In that moment, Miles turned his face to the wind, smiled, and waved good-bye, his tiny hand slowly rising upward as the wind began to fade away, just as suddenly as it had come. He turned to look at me, his face a question mark, wondering if I understood. To emphasize his point, he pointed to Courtney's orange armband, an homage to Grandma's favorite color, then turned his face to the wind again, and raised his hand high over his head, waving good-bye once more.

And I held him, and I smiled. Because my precious boy had shown us all the truth. Grandma is now in the warmth of the sun. When it rains, she will be there in the raindrops. And when the wind blows, she will be there, encouraging us to move forward.

As she always has.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

How to say good-bye?

Tuesday morning, my Grandma Joy passed away.

I don't really know what else there is to say about that. Especially since I haven't had time to process it yet, so it doesn't really feel real yet. Or maybe it's hard to realize that it just happened. I said my good-byes to her on Friday when she was awake and aware.

I don't really know yet. But tomorrow is the funeral. 3 hours away. And tomorrow night we open our Feaste. So, I'm not really sure how much grieving I'll be able to do with part of my brain going, "I only have x number of hours to get back." Plus, I'm certain part of my brain will be doing that whole, "Has Miles had enough to eat today? How do I allow him some play time throughout this horror of a day? Did I bring enough diapers?"

I'm a mess. Please ignore me for the next few days. I'm bound to be a big ol' bundle of bitch.

Because, you know, that's a great way to deal with the world, right?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Life in a Nutshell

Work. Festival is getting crazier by the minute. I'm being paid now, which means more days at the office, and fewer spent at home in relative relaxation. And our Cinderella Ball is happening this week. And Academy is the week after that. And then Gypsy Revel, Media Party, Site Day, and our Festival opening. Pretty much one after the other.

Oh, and I'll turn 27 sometime in there.

Life. It's also getting a little nuts. First, there was the mold in the ceiling. In the baby's room. And dealing with the apartment office being absolutely not pleasant about it. Then, there's the kerfuffle of dealing with a doctor's appointment that they called to confirm five times. When they left a sixth message on our answering machine, we assumed it was more of the same. We showed up only to be told that the last message was actually informing us that they had cancelled the appointment. It's really not much more than a silly inconvenience, but life seems to be riddled with them lately.

Lilo. I don't know how else to say this, but she has to move to a new home. She growled at the baby. A couple of times. We've tried training, but she's only gotten more cranky as Miles gets bigger and more mobile. So, we are in the process of acclimating her to a new home, with older, calmer children. I feel like I'm abandoning a pet that has stood by me for years, but honestly, I could never forgive myself if she bit Miles, especially since I know now that that's a possibility. I was so hoping they would be best friends. To see her avoid him, and to see him shy away from her, breaks my heart in so many, many ways. I will probably write more about this, as I am really having a hard time with it.

Grandma. Wednesday afternoon, I received a call from my mother. Grandma's Hospice nurse had just left, and had told Mom to "gather the family". He anticipated that Grandma would be gone within 48 hours. We left three hours later, and have spent the last five days with Grandma. For the most part, she's fairly out of it, but for a few brief moments on Friday, she was entirely coherent, and understood entirely what was happening. She asked to see Miles, and when he came in, he laid his head against her, and babbled quietly at her for several minutes, as she smiled at him and patted his back. By Saturday morning, though, she was sleeping, and has not yet woken completely since then. We came back home today, because we had to, but we are painfully aware that she could go at any moment. I don't know what else there is to say about that.

Miles. Through all of this, he is, as always, our light and our joy. He lifts our spirits when nothing else can. He knows how to throw us all into fits of giggles by doing nothing more than showing us a cheesy grin. He knows how to melt our hearts by cuddling with a dying woman he barely knows, giving her more comfort than any of us know how to. He knows how to make us smile when we want to cry, and how to make us celebrate the little things.

Like taking his first steps. Tonight, only moments after we returned home. He stood up to show off for Daddy, then took one faltering step toward him, and then another, and a third. I'm sure he would have taken even more steps, but I couldn't contain my excitement, and I let go a squeal that scared him into sitting down. I have never been more proud of anyone in my life. He is truly an amazing boy. And I am so happy that I get to call him mine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bad Mommy

I know how much you love my Bad Mommy stories, so here's another.

I feed my kid lemons. No really. He loves them. See:

He's hysterical, because he'll take a slice of lemon and go to town devouring it. Inevitably, though, this face comes out:

I know, I know. I'm a terrible mother. Call social services now.

I'll probably still be looking at this picture and giggling to myself. :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fixing the Toys

Miles often amuses me greatly as he plays. One of the things I find most amusing is this:

Whenever he gets a toy he likes, one of the first things he does is turn it upside down. And bang on it with whatever is handy. In this particular case, he had just finished beating it with the blue ring in the bottom corner of the picture. Those rings are a favorite tool. Because that's the only thing I can imagine that he could be doing - fixing the toys.

I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous. But you haven't seen how methodical this kid is. He very carefully turns the toy over, observing any changes in how it behaves. Then, he sits back on his knees and watches it as though it might spontaneously jump back over to upright. When it doesn't, he will crawl away, and find a tool. Any sufficiently solid toy will do, so long as he can comfortably hold it in one hand. Then, the real work begins. He taps on the bottom of the toy, tentatively at first, then harder until it resounds with a certain quality of "Thwang!"

Then, he places the tool on the floor beside him, and carefully turns the toy back over. He'll press a few buttons, and before long, he's playing with the toy as it was intended to be played with. I have seen him do this with this car toy, a toy xylophone-gator, his new keyboard, and his pop-up animal toy (more about that one later this week). I have watched him, and the only conclusion I can come to is that he is fixing the toys.

Because, you know, apparently they were broken when I bought them. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My Favorite Picture

This is one of my favorite pictures of Miles, for a few reasons:

1) He's 'reading'. I am SO glad that this boy has an affinity for books. Often, he uses them as toys, tossing them around with wild abandon. But occasionally, like in this photo, he will sit quietly and simply page through them, as though he understands, somehow, how to use a book.

2) He's reading his Bible stories book. He is fascinated by all things related to religion. He loves to stare at the cross on his wall. Church makes him utterly happy. And his Bible stories book is the one he's most likely to be looking at on any given day.

3) He's sitting in a rocking chair that is just his size. I think child-sized furniture is absolutely adorable. Especially if it looks exactly like adult furniture, only miniaturized.

4) That particular tiny rocking chair belonged to his daddy as a small child. I love that connection that has been forged between the past and the present - as though the wheel of time has come full circle.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm Not a Bad Mommy, I Was Just Born 50 Years Too Late

Okay. You all have been very patient with the lack of real updates lately, so as a reward, I promise to post every day this week. And I further promise to post pictures with every post this week. Starting today. Here goes!

Since it's been a few days, let's start with a Bad Mommy post. I know how much you all enjoy seeing proof of my terrible lack of parenting skills. To that end, I offer you Exhibit A:

Yes, that is my handsome son. And yes, he is in the dresser drawer.

I wish there was a fascinating story here, but really, there's not. The truth is that Miles became interested in the dresser one afternoon, so Patrick pulled it open and put him in it. Miles thought it was hysterical and hammed it up for the camera, as you can see.

Interestingly enough, this picture reminds me of something my Grandma Joy said to me, not long before Miles was born. I was complaining about how expensive babies are, and the fact that we hadn't yet found a crib for Miles. (If you'll recall, we never did get one until he was . . . what? three months old?) In her incredibly practical way, she says:

"You don't need all that crap. Just clean out a dresser drawer, line it with blankets, and there you go. Instant baby bed."

I started to laugh. But she was serious. She couldn't fathom why I was spending money on a place for Miles to sleep, when I had a perfectly good dresser drawer right there.

I guess things have changed a little since Grandma had kids. I often joke about being called a Bad Mommy, but honestly, we're a LOT more protective of our kids now. In Grandma's day, it wasn't unusual for kids to fall off of playground equipment and break an arm. It was rather expected that children would burn themselves at least once on a hot stove. Kids played with cast iron pots and pans, and probably pinched their fingers more than once. And, apparently, babies slept in dresser drawers without mothers fearing a call from Social Services.

I don't really know where I'm going with this, other than to point out how seriously protective we are of our children in modern times. Interesting, no?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not Friday Photos. Sorry.

I know I'm supposed to post pictures for Friday. And I will try later, but right now, I don't have the latest ones on my computer, and I'm too tired to deal with it. You may get Saturday photos, instead. Sorry.

Miles is being freaking adorable, as usual, and also, freaking hyper, which isn't, necessarily. Every time he's fallen asleep today has been from sheer exhaustion. He will literally squirm and wiggle, even as his eyes droop to closed. On the plus side, that means no more kicking me as I try to convince him to nap. On the down side, though, it means he's getting over-tired, and apparently, isn't sleeping well enough to compensate. He stays pretty zonked for up to an hour after waking up.

Honestly, I'm too exhausted to think straight enough to write more. So, good-night unto you all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


We're not moving. Because apparently, painting over mold will kill it.

Right. I'm still not letting my son sleep in that room. That means three months of living crammed into one bedroom. Ugh.

Anyhow, anyone who reads this has already heard this whole story. I'll not beat a dead horse. Just look forward to three months of me whining about sharing a bedroom with a nine month old, my allergies to mold causing my eyes to itch until I can't see straight, and my utter frustration with the laws that are supposed to protect us as tenants.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Quick Update

Hey, everyone. I know you want to hear cute stories about Miles. And trust me, I have plenty to share with you. But right now, I just don't have the time. Between tons of Festival stuff piling up, a baby who gets into everything, family visiting for the holidays (hooray!!), and oh yeah, mold in my ceiling that means we have to move about Now-ish, I just haven't had the time to write. I promise, I will write again soon. Really.

In the meantime, a picture of cuteness to make up for the lack of Friday photos last week. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth

I know I haven't posted for awhile, and you're anxious for news of Miles, but today, I have only a few minutes and there are some things I should really say today.

I know it's not 'cool' to be patriotic anymore. And there are days that I want to bang my head on the wall because of some of the stupid things we Americans do from time to time. But honestly, I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else.

Americans are granted more freedoms than any other country in history. There are places in this where you can be executed for disagreeing with your government. Or for practicing the 'wrong' religion. Or for any number of other things. We are so unbelievable lucky to live in a country that allows us all to think what we want to, say what we want to, and do what we want to. Our freedoms make us special, even when they cause us to disagree.

As Americans, it is easy for us to take all of this for granted. To talk about how stupid our country is. How it's 'going down the tubes' or at least 'in the wrong direction'. To get all worked up over political divisions, the problems with health care, immigration, sexism, racism, unemployment, the terrible economy. And on, and on, and on.

But here's the thing: we're allowed to talk about it. We're allowed to disagree, and to voice our concerns. We're encouraged to say what we think.

And though there are many reasons I love this country, that is why I am unafraid to say that I am proud to be an American.

God bless, and have a Happy Fourth of July.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dear Miles,

Dear Miles,

Congratulations, my little Monster. You have now been in the world longer than you were in my belly. And you are a whole Nine Months Old (as of yesterday)!

As I write this, you are playing at my feet, using a plastic spoon to tap out a rhythm on my chair legs, and playing with an empty box. You have become very good at sitting and playing by yourself, but you still want the comfort of knowing that Mommy is nearby.

Your personality shines brighter and brighter by the day. You are inquisitive, and happy, and ornery. One minute you will be examining a small bit of chainmail, lifting it up and dropping it to see how it moves, and to listen to how it sounds on different surfaces. Your little eyebrows knit in concentration, trying to figure it all out. The next moment you are standing up, bouncing and clapping your hands to a song on the radio. Then, you're climbing into my lap, only to lick my forehead and climb back down, smiling that mischievous smile you've inherited from your daddy. You smile all the time, and you seem determined to make everyone else smile, too.

Soon, I know, you'll be talking up a storm, and running all over creation. Already, I find it difficult to keep up with you. At the office, Erica has started coming to play with you so I can actually work. At home, I usually find myself waiting for naps to do anything. In fact, I've had to stop and start this letter many times, so I could pull you out of whatever trouble you are trying to get into.

You are getting to spend lots of time with Daddy, now. Mommy is back in the Renaissance Festival for a third year, so Daddy chose to stay home in the evenings with you. I come home to hear tells of wild crawling chases across the living room, and soft cuddles and singing before bedtime. One thing is certain, though: you seem to LOVE this time. And Daddy loves it, too.

My sweet, mischievous little Monster; I Love You. You bring such joy to my life every day.

Love, always,