Friday, December 31, 2010

The Piece I Left Behind

As we grow up, there are pieces of ourselves that we leave behind.  Some of these pieces just fall off as we leave childhood, but some are pieces that fade.  And as we go through life, with bills and jobs and responsibilities, those pieces become more and more faded.  Then we get married and have kids, and somehow those pieces that were such a necessary part of what made us, us are practically gone.

I love being married to Clif and I love being a mommy to Ainsley and Freddie.  These new pieces help define me now, and I'm perfectly happy with that.  But there are pieces that I miss, that I've pushed aside for later that recently seem to be begging to show themselves.  I'm not really sure why those little pieces have insisted on being noticed now, when I'm in the middle of three year old independence and infant mobility.  When I'm getting ready to leave my home and live under someone else's roof.  When I'm leaving a job where I'm so confident and positive of my ability, for one where I'm maybe not so sure of myself.  But we don't often choose these things.  We don't always get to follow the map we've laid out.  Sometimes those roads are drawn for us.

When I was younger, I was sure...absolutely positive, that somehow I'd be a writer.  I love to write and there was a time in my life when I wrote every day.  I filled diaries with my fears and joys and sadness and hopes.  I wrote stories about my past, about the future I dreamed of or feared.  I created characters from nightmares or people I'd meet in passing.  And then one day I stopped.  It wasn't a conscious decision, but it happens.  Life gets busy, and the dreams that we held as a child take a back seat to the reality in front of us.

You've probably noticed that I've taken a bit of a different approach to the blog.  It's been hard for me to do this because I know how much so many of you love the blog.  But it's something that I've decided I need to do.  That piece of me that I need to recapture, to bring back and color in the details.

I still plan on posting pictures of the kids and telling you all about what's happening in their lives.  However, I'm hoping to add to that a bit.  Make this blog a bit more of a platform for my writing.  Sometimes I'm going to fall flat on my face.  That's hard for me to accept, but failure is part of life I guess.  Other times, I hope I soar.  Either way, I want to know what you think of it, so comment.  Tell me you hate it, tell me you love it, tell me you're forwarding to your friends or tell me you're never reading it again.  I want to know.

I hope you'll keep reading.  I hope you can bare with me through this transition.  I'm going to try and write every day...but I also know that life can get in the way.  So I'll do my best.  And my subjects will still be my favorite people in this world, so at least that won't change.

Thanks for reading this blog for the past few years and thanks for allowing me the flexibility to spread my wings a bit.  We'll see how this goes...

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Favorite Super Hero

Ainsley: Mommy?

Me: Yes Ainsley?

Ainsley: Do you have a cape so I could fly sooooo high?

Me: I think we could find something.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The First Goodbye

It is 6.1 miles to my office. It takes me 12-14 minutes to get there, depending on the lights. I know that route so well, I drive it like I breathe air. And even though I've had plenty of complaints about the way the place is run and the work in general, there are things I'll miss when I'm not going there everyday.

Mostly I will miss the friends that I've found there. The people that make that place run. For the most part, it's a great group of people and it will be hard not to spend my days with them.

Tonight, as I left work, I said my first goodbye, and it was just as hard as I've been imagining it would be. The two people I said goodbye to will be gone for the next week and won't be around when I have my last day...they are definitely two that I'll miss most. My cube-mate and I have worked together for almost 6 years. We're default buddies when it comes to bitching about clients, laughing about kids or gossiping about upper management.

Even though we don't do a lot of socializing outside of work, we've seen each other through wedding plans, babies, family issues and bad health care plans (6 bad health care plans, in my 5.5 years there, to be exact - won't miss that!).

I also said goodbye to her husband...they just got married this fall and they have a beautiful little 4 year old girl who Ainsley loves to play with.

I started crying the moment I pushed through the glass doors and into the cold night air. I hate crying. Especially in front of people. It makes me feel so weak and small. Weird, because in high school and college I went through some ultra dramatic phases where I'd cry over anything and in front of anyone. I'm not like that now. Now, I hide away when I need to cry and I wear sunglasses to hide red eyes and I pretend like my allergies are bothering me. I do all this, so no one can see my weakness.

So as I drove home, I started thinking about all the goodbyes I'd have coming up, and I just kept crying. And then, even though I'm past those ULTRA dramatic phases, I'm still all dramatic and sappy...I started thinking about all the "last times" I'd be doing something over the next week. The last time I would drive to work, the last time I would pick up the kids from daycare, the last trip to our grocery store, etc, etc, etc.

There are going to be a lot of tears...and my sunglasses are broken.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Standing Room Only

As the Christmas weekend drew to a close, silly satire versions of the 12 Days of Christmas kept running through my head...

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

12 dozen cookies
11 bags of trash
10 extra pounds
9 noisy toys
8 cramped in-laws
7 bottles of wine
6 inches of snow
5 muddy dogs
4 rooms are not enough
3 inches of floor space
2 cranky children
And 1 very dry, dead tree...

And I thought about building my blog post around that, but kind of cheesy, overdone and we'll move on.

Christmas was great! I have to say that I'd rather have all those people crammed in to my house than travel for Christmas. I love being at home for this holiday and not having a strict agenda. Christmas should be spent in your PJs all day and lounging around watching new movies and playing with toys. Not running from one house to another.

So let me start from the I've said, I was in a very un-Christmasy mood over the past month. This led to me not able to make myself do anything Christmas related. I barely had the house decorated by last weekend. We also had to do all the shopping, all the baking, Christmas Cards, Calendars, cleaning...and then throw the fact that we need to pack and move on top of it all...

Needless to say, last week was a very busy, very stressful week filled with shopping during lunch breaks, baking until 1 AM and cleaning...well, let's just say my house has been cleaner. But now that every one's gone and it's a total wreck, I don't feel so bad about letting that part slip.

Ainsley and I baked Monday and Tuesday of last week. I baked my butt off for two days. Ainsley did not do a whole lot of helping and it's kind of tough to get pictures when your hands are covered in flour, cookie dough and butter. Luckily Freddie slept through all of it and I didn't have him wandering my un-swept kitchen floor trying to drink from the dog bowl.

Tuesday I also finished my Christmas cards so they could hopefully arrive before Christmas. Some did, but I think most did not. Oh well. I got a couple of cards yesterday, so I guess I'm forgiven. At least they made it out this year.

Wednesday and Thursday evenings I shopped...with the kids...not fun. See, we don't do much on week nights because Freddie gets cranky when he's hungry and tired and if I have to run around after picking them up from daycare, well, he's hungry and tired. Plus, it is at these worst moments that Ainsley decides to run down an aisle, knock over a display or throw herself on the floor. So then I have Freddie screaming and me yelling and Ainsley laughing at me. Like I said, not fun. But it had to be done. This week was all about misery and stress, no reason not to add to it.

Thursday night Clif came home and we went through the laundry list of things we needed to do before our guests arrived the next day. Amazingly, we were able to accomplish all of it.

Carolyn and Mike arrived right around noon as I was putting away groceries and Clif was returning from the mall. The chili for our Christmas Even dinner was cooking and the house was in fairly good shape. I felt like I could relax and enjoy their company.

After opening our Christmas Eve gifts (Christmas Jammies for everyone) we headed to Church and then drove around looking at lights. Both kids fell asleep and we were able to transfer them to bed easily.

The next morning Santa had spoiled us rotten. Ainsley spent a good hour opening gifts. Freddie banged on one until the paper came off...I opened the rest. Santa didn't really need to wrap those. Funny all the trouble he goes through for a baby that doesn't know the difference.

We finished up just about the time my mom arrived with a truck full of more presents. So began our second wave.

Finally, Clif's family arrived around 2:30. However, we decided to wait on their gifts. Cam and Amanda would be in on Sunday and we could all open gifts together.

The snow started sometime in the afternoon, I'm not sure when. The next day Carolyn and Mike decided not to risk the drive and Cam and Amanda showed up. I'm not sure if you're keeping track, but it made for 10 adults and 2 kids the whole weekend. Oh and I don't think I mentioned that everyone brought their dogs (I am not complaining family :). And I definitely didn't explain that these FIVE dogs are LARGE dogs. So if you've been in my house, which some of you have, you know it's not really that big. Imagine 10 adults, 2 kids and 5 dogs in my little box of a house. That's right. That's exactly how it was.

But you know, as I walked around snapping these pictures, for once I wasn't thinking about how small my house was. I wasn't wishing for more. I wasn't hoping that one day we could accommodate all these people, because let's be perfectly honest. What normal person has 5 guest rooms? And a dinning room table that seats 14? No one I know. I ain't hanging with the Hilton's and Kennedy's of the world!

Instead I was thinking about how lucky my kids are. How they have these people in their lives that love them so much. So much that they're willing to forgo the comfort of a couch seat or the ease of a table to eat at in order to spend time with them on Christmas. And that made me really happy.

So I didn't care that my house was a disaster or that the dogs were dragging mud and snow through the kitchen. I didn't care that we had to eat off of paper plates or that we had to stuff the master bedroom to the brink of explosion with toys and clothes and crap from around my house. I was just really happy that my kids have been fortunate enough to come into this world to so many people who love them.

And through all the boxes and wrapping paper and noisy toys and bad instructions and sugary cookies and late cards...that is what Christmas means. I hope that I'm able to teach that to Ainsley and Freddie and I hope they always remember it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In the middle of the night...

There is definitely crying. Possibly screaming. But it's that very far away, muffled screaming that in a dream seems to be just playing in the background - coming from the speakers in the mall or over the hilltop or the house next door.

Then suddenly...I am awake, and the screaming is very real, not muffled and exactly 2 inches from my right ear. For some reason, my first move is to look at the dimly lit clock...3:34. Then I jerk my head back towards the screaming. It's Ainsley.

I reach over and begin to say "What's wrong?" When I feel the cool wet covering both the kids. Freddie is crying now too. My groggy brain is not registering exactly what is going on. Instead, I look to the ceiling wondering where the leak is coming from (because obviously a leak would come through not only our roof, but the room and floor above my head) and then after a few minutes of confusion I realize the leak is Ainsley.

Our no nighttime accident streak is over.

I pull Freddie out of bed and put him on the floor...still crying, but generally escalating towards the scream. I flick on the light and scoop Ainsley, still partly asleep - I think, out of bed and plop her on the potty. I pull her soaked nightgown over her head and stand there a bit dumbfounded as Ainsley shivers and whimpers.

Poor baby. What a horrible way to wake up.

I'm again drawn back to reality by Freddie's screams. Poor baby, what an even more horrible way to wake up. It's one thing to wake up in your own pee...quite another to wake up in someone else's.

I pick him up and start sifting through the linen closet. I had just changed the sheets earlier in the evening, so the extra set must be right...

in a heap at the foot of my bed...

with milk spilled on them from yesterday's breakfast cereal. Damn! Mental one more set of sheets, or two.

Ainsley is now standing behind me naked, shivering and whimpering "Mommy, I'm all done." I decide to focus my attention on getting her clean and warm. I wipe her down with a baby wipe...we'll need to bathe tomorrow. Then I put her in her warmest jammies. She then curls up on the floor next to my bed and falls right to sleep.

Freddie is still screaming, and wet, and cold and angry.

At the very bottom of the closet I find a pink flannel fitted sheet. Where the heck did this come from? When I say pink, I mean PINK. No flat sheet to match. Not surprised considering I'm pretty sure I've never seen this. Hmmm...yellow flat sheet for a twin bed...done.

I place Freddie next to Ainsley and this only intensifies his screams, but Ainsley remains sleeping. I quickly make the bed, as quickly as one can at 3:47 AM.

I put Ainsley under the covers only to start her crying once again. I call Brinkley to come comfort her and cuddle with her. He obliges.

Get. Freddie. Changed.

We go upstairs and he cries through the whole process.

When I get back downstairs Ainsley is fast asleep, with Brinkley sprawled out next to her. Brinkley is not budging from the bed. I climb in to bed and whip out the boob to finally stop the Freddie screams.

Both children and the dog are fast asleep before I'm kind of awake, kind of uncomfortable with the addition of the 70 lb dog to my bed and kind of thinking about how great it would be to sleep in tomorrow - maybe I should call in sick to work. Oh, and Clif is so sleeping with these kids this weekend. I'm sleeping in the guest room.

Sorry no pics again folks, but I'm at work and just thought this story would make you laugh!

Monday, December 20, 2010

What a Rip-Off


So, really, I just want a sweet little picture of my two children with Santa in cute little Christmas-y matchy, match outfits. Is that so much to ask really? I mean, I'll buy the clothes and comb the hair and wipe the faces...can I just have one little picture of the kids with Santa?

No, I can't...why...because it is ridiculously expensive! I mean ridiculous! I can not bring myself to spend upwards of $35 for my little picture!

I mean, what happened to the days when it was a Polaroid? When they charged like 5 bucks to sit on Santa's lap and take a picture.

I understand that these people need to make a living...but really? You are not a freaking career Santa or elf!! You must have another job the other 11 months of the year. You don't need to syphon $35 out of families during the month of December!

Every year I say...Next year. Next year, I'm going to just suck it up and do it. Then next year comes and I just can't possibly spend the money on it.

And let me tell you this silly Santas out there...when I make my millions, I will still not come to your stupid mall and set my children (or great-grandchildren considering the rate at which I am collecting these millions) on your stupid lap. I will hire my own personal Santa, set him up right next to you and only charge $10!!!!

So there!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Dear Ainsley and Freddie,

Tonight I was making dinner and this is what I heard...

I love that you are each others best friends and that you can always make each other laugh. I know you are young, but I hope you always remember how much you love each other.

In a few years, there will be kicking and screaming and punching and crying. You will hate each other and you will not want the other around. I will show you this video and you will be annoyed with me and your sibling even more, because you won't be able to imagine a scenario in which you would give that person the time of day.

But I will remember.

I will remember how Freddie smiled every time he heard Ainsley's voice. I will remember how Ainsley cried when she would accidentally knock Freddie over. I will remember how Freddie searched the room for Ainsley and craned his neck so he could see her. I will remember how Ainsley was a big ole cranky pants in the morning until Freddie gave her a big slobbery kiss, and then she would light up like the sun. And I will remember the beautiful sound of your little giggles at the kitchen table.

And when you are at your lowest point with your sibling, I'll remind you of all these things and how much you love each other. But you won't believe me and you'll go on being hateful and spiteful and annoyed with the other.

Unfortunately, that time will last longer than it should. I guess it's just the way of the world. You will grow apart at some point. One of you will go to college, or get a job, or get married or have babies...and these childhood times will be far from your mind because you have too much to focus on in the present.

There will be times when this sibling of yours is the only person you can turn to. When the whole world is against you, and he/she is the only one left standing with you. This is the person that has seen you through your lowest lows and highest highs. You won't be able to remember a time that he/she wasn't around. You'll have spent every birthday and holiday and special moment with this person.

It's then, when you realize all this about your little brother or big sister, that I hope you can sit and giggle with one another again.

PS - Ainsley, I totally saw you stealing your brother's puffs!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Christmas Story by Ainsley

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Way Behind

So I know I'm way behind on blog posts. I haven't even told you all about Thanksgiving or Christmas prep or anything really. I'll I've done is whine about my stupid new job and my stupid move. I appreciate all of you that have wished me well...I just wish I were more excited. I'm just not at all. I have sooooo NOT been in the Christmas spirit and I really just need to snap out of it. Life isn't fair and I know that and I need to get over it and move on. I have one very special little girl who is so looking forward to Santa and Christmas, and I just can't fathom the idea of her being disappointed because mommy's in a funk. So, starting right more negativity.

So, let's catch up shall we :) We'll start with Thanksgiving.

We traveled to Connecticut to visit Uncle Cam, Auntie Amanda, Auntie Keek and Uncle Oliver for the holiday. Other than getting out of the metro DC area, the trip was not bad. I expected it to be much worse than it was.

We didn't do a whole lot while we were there, just hung out with the family and visited Clif's grandparents and Aunts and Uncles, who all live about an hour and half from where we were staying.

But it was so nice. Thank you to Cam and Amanda for hosting.

The week after Thanksgiving, my very good friend Tara came over for dinner with her sweet baby girl, Ava. Ainsley just adored her.

Oh, have I mentioned that Ainsley keeps asking me for a baby sister? Pretty much every other night she says "Mommy, do you have my baby sister in your belly?" I sure as hell hope not, Ainsley!

She also told Freddie that he should go away so she could have a baby sister now. Poor Freddie!

Speaking of Freddie...full on crawling now and in to EVERYTHING!!! Know what's not so much fun...a Christmas tree, with a newly crawling, very curious, ultra rotten baby boy! He also can pull up and even switch he's not cruising yet, but he will pull up on the coffee table then transfer to the couch and vice versa. He has 4 teeth now and at his 9 month check up today he weighed 22 lbs 4 oz.

Ainsley is a crack up every day. And goodness is she smart. I mean, I always knew she was smart and I know I'm her mom, so I'm biased...but really, she amazes me.

She'll take a drink of something and say, "Mommy, look at my moose." I asked her what she meant. " moosestasch!"

She's also started scolding me...putting her hands on her little hips, pointing her finger and saying " know better!" Hmm, wonder where she's heard that?

So the sleeping thing is hot and cold. Some nights she does well, others not so well. However, we have moved past the night time pull ups. Ainsley, my friends, is FULLY potty trained. She has been sleeping in big girl panties for 2 weeks now and so far only 1 accident...which was totally my fault because I forgot to put her on the potty before bedtime and when I realized it she was so close to sleep I just couldn't disturb her.

Finally...we got our Christmas tree a couple of weekends ago. Last year, I made some beer bread and hot cocoa while we decorated. So, we decided to do the same this year. I got everything ready and then we go to put the lights on...all strands are busted. Lesson learned: check the lights before making the bread and cocoa.

We ended up decorating the next day, but never really finished, I still have boxes of stuff sitting everywhere waiting to be put out. See the above note about Christmas spirit. But I vow to have it done by this weekend.

So I think that about does it. You're all caught up. This weekend we will be doing all of our Christmas shopping since we haven't bought one gift. Oh and I just ordered my Christmas cards tonight, so hopefully you'll get them before the new year :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Little Steps, Big Changes

When Ainsley was a baby, she did everything right in order. She sat herself up, then she crawled, then she pulled herself up and finally she walked. Her teeth came in all in perfect order...bottom right-center, bottom left-center, top right-center, top left-center.

Freddie is all messed up. So he still doesn't crawl...not really. I mean, I think he could. But he doesn't. He can't quite balance correctly, so he maybe shuffles once or twice, then falls on his belly. Then he gets so frustrated that he just cries until someone rescues him, unaware that he can just roll over himself. However, he pulls himself to standing all the time. His teeth have also come in randomly. Started normal...bottom right-center. Then skip all other center teeth and go right to the bottom left incisor. Then bounce up to the top left incisor. Random.

Here's a video to show his progress...

Know what this means? This means we're in for some big changes, life gets a whole lot harder when they're mobile.

Seems we're due for a lot of changes this coming year. Yesterday, I quit my job and accepted a job in DC. I have very mixed emotions about this. A lot needs to happen in the next 5 weeks before I start a new job and I'm nervous, sad, excited, anxious, relieved...everything you can possibly feel, I'm feeling.

Last night I asked my mom how it was that Clif could actively look for a job every single day for 18 months and find nothing in Richmond...whereas I never once looked for a job. I updated my resume, and three times my current boss said "Hey, apply to this," I did and here I am with a job. Mom says I must really be meant to be there and not here.

My very stubborn, dominant self wants to fight against this "meant to be" idea! I have never dealt well with someone or something telling me I had to, or could not, or must do something. The more submissive self, which is this tiny little speck of my personality, just wants this whole ordeal to be over with. Well, my stubbornness is finally giving in and I'm going, so hey God, hope you have something really great planned for us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Excuses, Excuses

I really have none. I know I've been MIA and I don't have a good excuse. I'm busy, but I'm always busy. And I'm tired, but I'm always tired. Basically, I haven't felt much like blogging. I've had a lot on my mind and I was just afraid that anything I wrote would become a stream of conscious whine-fest, with no clear point. Because really there is no resolution in my head, at least not one I'm really happy with. So, I'd just write in circles and go round and round...

But, right now, I don't want to talk about any of that. Instead, I have so much to tell you about the kids. Maybe another day I'll let you into my crazy head...but not now :) Moving on...

Freddie is growing up by leaps and bounds. He has 3 teeth, he is just so close to crawling and this weekend he began pulling himself up to standing. He's babbling mamamamama and babababa and didadidadida. He is moving all over the place. The crawling thing really frustrates him and it is evident that he has his mommy's short temper.

So, he can scoot and roll and even crawl here and there, but when he isn't getting what he wants quick enough he just looses it.

Ainsley is becoming a little girl right before my eyes. Every day one of those little baby things that was such a part of her infancy, toddler years and baby-ness just disappears, and she replaces it with a little girl thing. She can write and recognize the letter "A," she knows all of our rules and really does try to follow them. She's kind and helpful. She puts her shoes away every day when we get home. She loves her baby brother. And biggest of all, she is going to bed, in her bed, on her own! I know, you don't believe me. You probably had to read that line again to make sure you didn't misread. But it's true. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. Does it work every night? Hell, no! But we are on the right track.

So there's an update. I will try to spend this week posting pictures from Thanksgiving, Christmas tree decorating and everything else that we've done since I buried my head in the sand. Hope you all are doing well and had a wonderful Holiday.

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