Saturday, December 31, 2011


This year has been an interesting one.  Good.  Bad.  Ugly, at times.  I have laughed, and cried, and cursed, and loved.  Life has changed in a few big ways, and a myriad of small ones.  Join me on this journey through 2011.

I began the year with a fifteen-month-old who was finally getting the hang of sleeping through the night.  My sleep schedule, which had been so very erratic, began to flatten out and become (somewhat) predictable.  My hopes were that this extra sleep would 'fix' the broken feeling inside.  The sense of being lost in the fog.  The overwhelming feelings of panic.  It took another two months for me to finally admit that sleep was not the problem.  With some groovy drugs and supportive friends and family, I am ending my year with a sense of contentment and peace that was absent before.

I began my year crammed in a tiny town home with my husband, Stacey, my toddler, and the enormous amounts of stuff that we had all acquired.  I am ending my year stretched out in our spacious duplex, free of much of the stuff, and reveling in the sheer huge-ness of Miles' new bedroom.

This year, I found my stride at Festival, and once again remembered why I love my job so very much, even as we faced one of our toughest seasons yet.

This year, we welcomed our nephew, J, and said good-bye to Patrick's grandmother.

This year, I feel as though I finally *clicked* as a mother.  I finally know what I'm doing.  And most days, I can do it.  And I'm happy.

In so many ways, 2011 has been a turning point for me.  Life has changed.  I have changed.  And even with it's struggles and sorrows, this year has been exactly what I needed it to be - happy.

Here's hoping 2012 is even better.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Photos!

Yes, this is Miles' bedroom.  Or as we like to call it:
Toddler Nirvana.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moom Moom.

It's no secret that Miles has discovered an absolute love for letters.  He points them out on signs while we're driving, and in books while we read.  He has a set of foam letters that he loves to go through over and over again, reciting each one in turn.  He walks around the house singing the alphabet song (without much of a tune, I'll admit), and counts things out using ABC's instead of 123's.

Yes, this child has an affinity for the written word. . .er, letter.

His current favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  We read it, on average, about eleventy-billion times a day.  And he has become so familiar with it that he likes to read along with parts of the book while Daddy or I read.  And now, he has begun to read it on his own.  The following is a fair representation of this book as read by Miles, age 2 years, 3 months:

"A ah B ah C [jibberish] tchee! [tree]
Wee! D F Gee [with a hard g, like in go]! Come H! Tchee!
I K! Tchee!
Hoo come? LM[mumble]P!
Coo [Q]! Aur! [R] S! T! V!
X Y Z! . . .Uhh-oh.
Moom. Moom.
[jibberish] Hug.  Dus' deh pance. [Dust their pants]"

And so on.  I have to say, it's pretty darn adorable.  Especially when he comes to me and says:

"Mom-mom! Book. Moom. Moom."

And my heart melts into my shoes.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Bliss

Three days of calm, relaxing time with family.

A toddler who was spoiled to the point of being overwhelmed by the sheer awesome of all the stuff.

Warm drinks, cookies, and laughter.

A giant stuffed hippopotamus named Potts.




Wednesday, December 21, 2011


As though I needed another reminder that I have a son, Miles has become obsessed with butts and farts.  Whenever he toots, he screams, "Mah butt!"  Unfortunately, whenever someone else toots he yells, "Daadaa butt!" or "Mom-mom butt!" or whoever.  I can't help but snicker (because I am apparently twelve years old), and so Miles thinks it's funny (it totally is) and keeps it up.  He also has started grabbing his hiney in the bathtub and saying "Butt, Mom-mom! Mah butt!"  The child is completely obsessed.

So, it should come as no surprise that his boyishness has spilled over into our Christmas celebrations.

Yesterday, as we were unpacking the Nativity set, I was telling Miles the Christmas story.  As I reached each part of the story, I would put the corresponding figure in the stable.  "This is Mary.  She is Jesus' Mommy.  She and Joseph traveled a long way and when they got where they were going, there was no room at the inn, so they had to sleep in a stable."  And Miles grabbed Mary and Joseph and said, "Mom-mom.  Dada." and put them in the house.  We went through all of the animals, and I put the manger in, and then it was time for the Baby Jesus.  I explained how Jesus was born in a stable, and laid in the manger, and handed the figure to Miles.  Miles took it reverently, and whispered, "Bay-be".  He turned it over in his hands, oh so gently, then grinned and said, "Butt!  Bay-be butt!"

Sure enough, Baby Jesus had bare behind.

There are some aspects of motherhood that nothing could have prepared me for.  Talking about the rear end of our Holy Lord is definitely one of them.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Today, I woke to an overcast sky, a house full of boxes, a sleepy toddler, and the realization that Christmas is only a few short days away.  My initial response, of course, was to panic.  Gifts to wrap! Stuff to bake!  Projects to do with Boy!  Brain overload! No time! No time!

And then, through the course of a calm, relaxed (yet, productive) rainy day, filled with music instead of TV and art projects instead of tantrums, my attitude has changed.

Christmas is this Sunday!!!  I get to spend time with family!  And watch Miles' face as he opens his gifts!  And decorate a Christmas tree!  And sing carols as lullabies!  And celebrate! And! And! And!

If you can't tell, I'm suddenly very excited for Christmas, and I plan to shove a month's worth of celebration into the next five days.

Merry Christmas!

Mmmm. Home.

We are mostly moved in, though we still have a few loads of random stuff left to transfer.  Then there's all of the cleaning and unpacking and settling in.

But for now, we are home.  And we love it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Battles & Blessings


  • Stress.  So much that I was losing sleep.
  • Bad timing.  Two parties and moving in one week.  Way. Too. Much.
  • Stressed Mommy = Stressed Toddler.
  • Stressed Toddler = Tantrums
  • Tantrums = Stressed Mommy
  • Repeat.


  • Moving.  We have moved into a place that is so much better for our needs.  More space.  Less crowding.  Open, and unique, floor plan.  Garage.  Larger bedrooms.  Craft room.  Two showers.
  • Warm kitty cuddles on a cool night.
  • Re-connecting with Festival friends I haven't seen in a month and a half.
  • Friends who help us move.  That's how you know they're true friends. :)
  • Dinner and laughter with friends.  I adore feeding people. 
  • A supportive husband, an ornery-but-adorably-affectionate two-year-old, and a roommate who puts up with the crazy that is this family.  My life would be incomplete without these three people.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today is Moving Day!

I expect to:

  • Carry lots of heavy things, most likely injuring myself in the process.  I always seem to.
  • Feed lots of people who help carry heavy things.
  • Gripe about the amount of junk we have managed to acquire in a year.
  • Re-arrange each room at least twice.
  • Begin cursing the odd layout that I love so much about our new place.
  • Sigh heavily.  And often.
On the bright side, I do not expect to:
  • Carry the heaviest things.  People usually push me away from those, on account of me hurting myself.
  • Spend a whole light of time cooking.  Crock pots and frozen dinners are my friends.
  • Keep much of the junk.
  • Have to re-arrange each room more than twice.
  • Hate the layout after the major moving is done.
  • Finish everything in a day.  We have two weeks to deal with the rest. :)

Friday, December 16, 2011


As much I adore my job and live for the moments when I fix a problem for a performer, or hear an audience applauding a show I have helped direct, I am loving my vacation.  And the thing is, I'm even loving the mornings.*

Miles wakes late - around 8:30 most mornings - and then plays quietly in his room for up to half an hour.  Eventually, I hear "Mom-mom? Come."  And that's my cue to join him.  We play for a few minutes, then get dressed, brush teeth and so on, and then head downstairs for breakfast.

That's when my favorite part happens.

I get my coffee, and Miles gets his milk and breakfast, and we cuddle in the recliner together and watch Sesame Street.  We talk about the letters and numbers.  He exclaims every time he sees "Emm-oh!" [Elmo]  I giggle with him at the celebrities acting so silly.  And we spend an hour quietly learning and enjoying together.

And it is blissful.

*Well, once I can drag my behind out of bed.

Friday Photos!

Talking with his cousin, J, who you
can read all about here.

Giving hugs. :)

Fixing J's hat.

Rockin' the pacifier.  Still.

Hanging with his cousin Jaxon at Thanksgiving.

Playing with letters at the library.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just. . . Breathe. . .

I have to keep saying this to myself this week.  See, we sign the papers on our new duplex tomorrow.  Yep.  Ten days before Christmas, and I'm going to be rushing from signing the lease to get to the office Christmas party on time.  I have laundry that needs folding, a kitchen that feels like a disaster (though I'm certain I've spent most of my week cleaning it), and so very much that still needs to be packed.

I've been unable to sleep all week.  I lay down at night, and my mind begins to race with the list of things I need to accomplish tomorrow, and the longer list of things I failed to accomplish today.  When I finally drift off, I spend the entire night locked in a dream where I am trapped somewhere (it's somewhere different every night) and have to spend my dreaming hours trying to figure out how to escape.  I wake exhausted from the effort, and start my day more sleepy than when I went to bed.

Last night, it all began again.  The racing thoughts.  The feeling of being trapped.  The near-panic of trying to do everything.  The stress of moving.  It all came rushing in the moment I laid my head down.

And that's when I gave in.  I took a deep breath, centered myself, and began talking to God.  See, I have this impossible urge to try and deal with everything myself.  And it never works.  I have to admit that I can't do it alone.  So, laying there, in the dark, breathing deeply, I told God everything.  And I asked for help.

For the first night in a week, I slept like a baby.  A dream began with Miles being taken from me - the catalyst for several of my 'trapped' dreams.  But I wouldn't allow myself to be trapped this time.  Instead, I walked straight up to the man who had taken him, sized him up, and knocked him flat with one blow to the face.  I picked up Miles and cuddled him, and slept peacefully for the rest of the night.

I will get through this week.  Even if I have to punch it in the face.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I have an . . . interesting history of female friends.  Starting in elementary school, with a controlling best friend who would go on to scorn me later for being too nerdy.  In middle school, I had two 'friends' who treated me like absolute trash, but hey, at least they'd talk to me.  High school helped me find a few nerdy, quirky girls who I became very close with, and college introduced me to a few more.  Still, when I got married, my bridesmaids were my sister, a friend I'd known most of my life, one of the few rare girlfriends from college, and my best guy-friend.  Girl friends were somewhat hard to come by, in my world.

And then I started Festival, and met some of the most amazing women in the world.  I can now name a great number of girlfriends that I can call on at any time, for any reason, that I know will always be there for me.

Of these friends, a few are special.  They are my She'endre - my sisters-by-choice.*  These are women who are more family than friends.  Women who will always catch me when I fall, support me in my endeavors, and tell me honestly when I'm wrong.  Women who will laugh with me, cry with me, hug me, applaud me, and pray with me.  Of all of my many blessings, I count my She'endre high on the list.

So, to each of my She'endre (you know who you are): I love you.  Thank you for showing me what it's like to have true female friends.  You all rock.

*She'endre is a Lowara Romani word, and its literal translation really is "sister(s) by choice".  I stumbled upon it by accident while researching my Romani character for the Festival.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Mondays have become my favorite day of the week.  Mainly, because Miles goes to daycare on Mondays.  And for five glorious hours, I can go grocery shopping, or finish crafts, or pack boxes (or watch television) without interruption.

Mondays are my day to catch up.  To rejuvenate myself.  To be alone with my thoughts.

On Mondays, I have five hours to be completely selfish.  And it makes me a better mother for the rest of the week.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Battles & Blessings

  • Getting everything packed.
  • Keeping up with an increasingly active two-year-old.
  • Keeping up with a continually-ravenous two-year-old.  He must be going through a growth spurt.
  • Trying to entertain said two-year-old.  For eight hours a day.
  • Motivation.  I lack it.  Muchly.
  • The opportunity to go through everything and get rid of the junk that has filled our home.
  • Cuddles from an increasingly affectionate two-year-old.
  • Witnessing Miles' first kiss.  He kissed Scarlett right on the lips on Friday.  Too cute.
  • Being included in Miles' games and adventures.  He makes everyday life exciting and fun.
  • Patrick's work Christmas party: an opportunity to dress up and go out as a couple.

Friday, December 9, 2011


God help us, we have entered the Terrible Twos.

Okay.  I really don't feel I can call it that, yet.  There have been tantrums, yes, but so far, two is my favorite age. He's becoming independent.  He's self-aware.  He learns new things  He is super affectionate.  And loves to play, both alone and with me (or others).  He is curious, and adventurous, and filled with the magic of the world.  He can communicate his wants and needs, and is learning to be patient when he has to wait.

But, Lord help us if we dare to use the 'n' word: "No."

All hell breaks loose.  Arms and legs fly.  His body becomes a mass of wildly swinging jello.  The screams are ear-piercing, shrill, and loooooong.*  Tears rush down a face contorted with righteous toddler rage that we, the Evil Overlords, dared to tell him 'no'.

Most times, I just leave him to scream and walk away.  Other times, like today, he chooses to throw these massive fits in the middle of a thrift store whilst helping an unfortunate young performer find costume pieces.**

Picture this:

You are wandering through the aisles of your local thrift store, looking to score some bargains on some gently-used clothes.  Rushing down the aisle toward you is a two-year-old pushing a toy truck he found at the other end of the store, moving faster than those little legs should allow.  A half second later, you see his mother, looking a tad frazzled, round the corner and spot him, fast-walking after him, while still trying desperately not to knock over clothing racks or elderly women who block the aisle, oblivious to the chaos that has entered their lives.  A few seconds behind her, a young man holding two pieces of clothing that he obviously did not pick out for himself, saunters after, trying to keep up.  Or possibly to distance himself.

The young man catches up to the mother and the boy in the shoe aisle.  He finds them by the sounds of torturous screams.  He turns the corner to find the mother seated on the floor between two racks of shoes, the toy truck behind her, out of reach of little arms.  She is trying to keep his little toddler head from bashing into the hard tile-over-concrete floor, but the boy seems determined to break away at any cost.  Any time there is a break in the screaming, the young man can hear the mother trying to reason with the drooling, snot-faced thing that was so cute five minutes ago.  Finally, in exasperation, she hauls the toddler up, and carries him out of the aisle like a football - a kicking, screaming, gooey football.

And then, the mother calmly walks the young man over to the jewelry counter and points out a few items that will complement his new costume.  Quietly, barely audible over the screams of "Truck! Truck!", she asks, "Does that give you a basic idea of what you need?"  The young man nods, and thanks the mother.  She says, "You're welcome," apologizes for the toddlers behavior, wishes the young man a good day, and walks out of the store, the flailing snot-monster still raging, locked in a fireman hold over her shoulder.

No panic.  No fears of judgement.  No breakdowns.  I was the mom who had her shit together, for once, and who walked out of that store in charge, and wrestled that two-year-old into the car without feeling like I needed a stiff drink.  For that moment, I felt like SuperMom.

And then I got home, collapsed in my recliner, and let Elmo baby-sit for the remainder of the evening.

*Boy, that kid has a set of lungs.

** I doubt he'll ever have children after today.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I get so excited about moving.  The very thought of More Space! Better layout! Playroom! Garage! makes me all giddy.  I imagine a perfectly spotless, well-decorated, beautiful home that fulfills all of our needs as a family.

My imagination.
About a week before the move, though, the reality sets in.  I realize that moving is more Find Boxes! Pack All the Things! Live With Boxes Everywhere! and There Are Boxes We Still Haven't Unpacked from Our Last Move!
Reality.  Except with less organization.  And no flat screen TV.
Patrick and I spent the entire evening packing last night.  We managed to pack most of the dining room.  And fill our living room with boxes.  In all of the four or so hours we spent packing, we didn't even manage to pack an entire room.

We have entirely too much crap to move.  I think I'm just going to dump it all in the trash and start over.

And then, as I'm going through it, I realize; "Oh, it's my random art project from sixth grade.  I can't throw this away.  Even though I can't tell what it is, it's part of my life that I can't let go."  So, it gets packed lovingly in a box that I will open in six months and stare at quizzically before dumping the entire contents into the trash.

I hate this process. :p

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My kid may be slightly spoiled. . .

In preparation for our move in nine days (eep!), I spent Saturday cleaning, sorting, organizing, and packing Miles' toys.  I started by dumping everything he owned onto his bedroom floor.*

The scene was. . .overwhelming.

Really overwhelming.

Somehow, in his mere two years of life, Miles has managed to accumulate an un-godly amount of stuff.  Trucks.  Blocks.  Musical instruments. Action figures.  Stuffed animals.  Balls.  Stuff.  Most of it, he plays with for a few seconds, once in a great while.  A few things hold his attention for hours.  So, I made it my mission to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.  To choose a few things to keep out, a few things to store, and a few things to throw out.  I pumped the Christmas music, and buried myself in the chaos.

Two hours later, this was the scene in the bedroom:

And this was the box of toys to send into storage:

And the box bound for Goodwill:

All in all, a rather successful culling.  Now, for the rest of the house. <sigh>

*Thank God for Aunt Ninel for watching him during all of this.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lessons of Mommyhood

  1. Never brag about how well-behaved your two-year-old is at the beginning of dinner out.  He will prove you wrong before the meal is over.
  2. Accept offers of free baby-sitting whenever you can.  Sometimes, it's as good for the sitter as it is for Mommy and Daddy.
  3. Children can acquire a stunning amount of crap in their first two years.  More on that tomorrow.
  4. No matter how exciting a move may be, part of your Mommy heart is saddened at the thought of painting over the crayon marks on the wall.
  5. Toddlers are ridiculously adorable in wee hats and pea coats. :)
Sorry for the crappy quality.  I took this picture in the dark with my
phone's camera. I'm lucky you can even see him. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Battles & Blessings

  • Exhaustion.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Sick toddler.
  • Sick Mommy.
  • Christmas stress.
  • Moving stress.
  • Disorganization. To.the.max.
  • Cuddly sick toddler.
  • Supportive husband (who brings apple pie and coffee ice cream on bad days)
  • Time to rest.
  • A move-in date for our new duplex! We officially get the keys on Dec 15!
  • Time with friends.
  • Free baby-sitting.
  • Goodwill.  Seriously.
  • Lists.
  • The internet. Specifically, my Mommy forums. Love.
  • Hot chocolate and frozen Thin Mints.