Friday, November 18, 2011

According to Ainsley - Playtime

Ainsley (bossy): Mommy, you be the teacher and I will be all the babies.
Me: Okay Ainsley, but we can only play for a bit before I have to go make dinner.
Ainsley (whiney): But Mooooommmmmmy!  I want to play dollies.
Me: Well, you can play while I make dinner.
Ainsley (again, whiney): Nooooooooooo, I want you to play with me.
Me: Ainsley, we'll play for 10 minutes, but I have to make dinner.  You are able to play on your own sometimes.
Ainsley (sad): I can't play by myself.
Me: How about we just play?

So we play with the barbie dolls and dozens of little princess figurines that are the babies.  All the babies get dropped off at daycare and the teachers begin the day.  I get a little glimpse into what life is like for Ainsley at daycare.  She orders me around to match her daycare day.

Ainsley (again, bossy): Okay, now it's time for the babies to go down for a morning nappy.  But the big girl, who is 4, she gets to play and watch Dora.
Me: Is that what happens at your school?  All the babies go to sleep and then you play and watch Dora?
Ainsley: Yes.
Me: What do your teachers do then?
Ainsley: They are rocking the babies and feeding the babies bottles and then they clean up from breakfast.
Me: Do they play with you?
Ainsley: No, I play by myself.
Me: Okay, well now it's time for me to make dinner, so you can play by yourself.
Ainsley (crying): NOOOOOOOO!
Me: Ainsley, if you play by yourself at school, why can't you play by yourself here?
Ainsley (cross between duh mom and sweet as pie): Because you're here Mommy.
Me (putty in hands): Oh...okay...well...I guess I can wait to make dinner.

I think we had grilled cheese that night instead of the dinner I had planned.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I Left My Heart In Richmond

We left Richmond 10 months ago.  Life has been dramatically different since last January.  This weekend I got to go back and pretend like everything was the same.  It was the first time that I returned and didn't stay in my house.  It was the first time that I returned without my family.  It was the first time that I wasn't there on official "unload the house" business.

I went to visit my sweet friend Nicole.  I haven't seen her since February.  And since then it seems that we've also had trouble connecting through email or the phone or whatever.  You know, life just gets busy.  So we started weeks ago trying to plan a visit.

I landed on her doorstep Saturday afternoon with just one bag and my pillow.  No diapers or baby dolls or sippy cups.  She answered and the last 9 months just melted away.  I immediately felt like I hadn't moved away, like I was just stopping by on a Saturday for a glass of wine and some girl talk.

It was amazing spending the time with her and seeing some other friends along the way.  I woke up yesterday missing my family but wishing that I could prolong the visit a bit longer, wishing that I didn't have to jump in the car and return to my new life.  That I could instead just bring my family back and stay where I've always felt at home.

After breakfast, I said my good-byes and headed back up 95.  The short trip was exactly what I needed to reconnect with some old friends, but it left me feeling a bit sad.  It left me missing weekly lunches with Tara, and fire pits on the deck with Brian and Nicole, and Ledo's on the weekend's with Jeff and Amy.  It left me wanting 12 minute commutes to work, fenced in back yards for my dogs, my own house with a purple room for Ainsley and monkey's on the wall for Freddie.  It wasn't always an easier life, but it was a bit simpler. 

As I merged on to the beltway my heart was heavy and I could feel the tears burning my eyes...but as I pulled up to the house there was a beautiful little girl waiting to greet me and jump into my arms.  So for now, this is where my family is and this is where I belong.  Richmond will have to wait.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Girl After Her Mamma's Heart

Ainsley watches me intently as I streak colors across my eyelids.

"Mommy, can I wear some make up?" She pleads.
"Not today Ainsley.  Only grown ups can wear make up outside."

She is disappointed, but knows her urging "please" will not change my answer.  I let her play on the weekends, when we have no where to go and not much to do.  She loves to tickle her cheeks with the brushes and feel the cool silk of the sponge.

Manicures and pedicures are a weekly routine.  She chooses 2 or 3 or 4 colors to brighten her fingers and toes.  Then there are stickers that we use for even more decoration.

She plays dress up and carries purses and walks around in heels.  She is a girly girl to the core, and I have to say that I love it.  I truly believe that you feel better on the inside if you take the time to put yourself together on the outside.  And vice versa.  If you feel good on the inside, it radiates out. 

That's one reason I love the idea of Cafe Kids Spa.  A full service spa that caters to the needs of girls.  The owner developed the concept to empower the inner beauty of young ladies while promoting self esteem and providing them with outer beauty kid friendly spa enhancements.

Today's Juice in the City deal for the Washington DC area is $24 for a kids mani/pedi spa package.  Click here for details.

Ainsley and I may be making an appointment some day soon.

This is a sponsored post by Juice in the City.  Click the button below or on my sidebar to see deals in your area or subscribe to daily emails.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Um...I Don't Do Grassy Hills

It had been 2.5 tough miles.  I was used to running 2.5 miles, but 2.5 miles of mostly hills?  Um, no.  My legs were on fire and my breathing was quick and raspy.  But finally we were on flat surface and I knew the end was near.  I just had to push through the last half mile or so.

I rounded the corner and saw the racers ahead of me going off the road and down into the woods.

What?!?!  No, no, no!  I did not sign up for an off-roading race.  I have touch and go knees.  I have an ankle that's been sprained 4 or 5 times.  One misstep and I'd be out of commission.  I do not run on grass.

But what could I do?  Just stop.  No way.  I'd been training for months.  It had been years since I ran a race.  I couldn't just stop.

So I did it.  I stepped up on the curb and headed down the grassy hill.  The path wasn't too far, but my first thought as my foot hit the damp, leaf-covered ground was "I'm going to fall.  Oh man, please don't let me fall."

And then it happened.  Almost before I finished the thought, a hidden root jumped right up and pulled me down.  I tried to stop it, but at some point I realized my effort was futile.  So I gave in and let my body crash to the ground.  I was stunned.  I couldn't remember the last time I had fallen so hard.  I was face down in the leaves, my hands and legs covered in mud.  A few runners stopped - checked on me, helped me up, found my iPod.  I don't think I even thanked them.

Suddenly, I was fighting back tears as they asked if I was okay.  I just nodded.  I knew if I spoke I wouldn't be able to stop the flow.

I walked to the path and started running again, slowly.  My legs were like jello.  Every step was shaky and cautious...and then another hill.  I couldn't do it.  I stopped.  I walked.

"No, no!"  I heard a voice come up on my left.

I looked over.  A woman about my age, blond and in a pink shirt.

"You can't stop now.  We're almost done.  I've been trying to catch you the whole race, you have to beat me."

I ran again, we crossed the finish line together.

And that's how I ran my first 5K in 5 years.

Me and a purple cat...I mean, Ainsley.  She ran the Kid's Fun Run after my race.

My dirty, ripped pants.

It looks worse than it is...just a scratch really.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Better Late than Never...

As a kid, not much can beat trick-or-treating.

You get to dress up and pretend all day.

You get to ring random doorbells.

You get to eat more candy than Mommy and Daddy ever allow.

As a mommy, not much can beat trick-or-treating.

You get to witness the anticipation and excitement.

You get to listen to oohhhs and awwws over your adorable children.

You get to steal candy from little bags.

Happy (belated) Halloween!

I'm linking up with Tracy from Sellabit Mum and Jessica from Four Plus an Angel for Boo in the Blogosphere!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Me 1 - Anxiety 7,409, But I'm Catching Up!

We all have it.  Our very own comfort zone.  Some have larger, more daring zones, and others - like me - have tiny little spaces that we feel secure.  I have a very hard time stepping out of my comfort zone.  This zone includes the spaces inhabited by my husband, my children, my sister, and my mom.  Put me anywhere else and I have some sort of anxiety over it.  It may just be a tiny bit of anxiety, but it's still there.

However, plop me down in the middle of a house with a bunch of girls I don't know?  Major anxiety.

I see others step out and join groups and go to church and make friends...all things that I feel like I can't possibly do.  What if I don't know what to say?  What if I do something wrong?  What if everyone stares at me? 

I recently realized that an old friend of mine from college lives in my area.  She was one of my sorority sisters and we were always friends but haven't really spent much time together since leaving school.  We have friends in common, so we'll bump into one another now and again, but it has definitely been over 2  years since I've spoken to her.  We reconnected on Facebook and she asked me to come to a book club.  It was something she and a friend were just starting.  I couldn't make it to the first meeting.  I was both disappointed and relieved.  Disappointed because here was a chance to do something social and maybe meet new friends and hang out with an old one.  Relieved because of the dreaded anxiety that I knew would weigh on me if I could have gone.

About 2 weeks ago, she invited me to the second meeting.  They were reading Bossypants by Tina Fey (Side note: funny and I am so crushing on Tina Fey.  Like seriously, Tina, if this gets back to you...I think we could totally be besties!  Call me :).  I agreed to go.  The group was meeting last night.

I stressed about it most of the day.  I was distracted and withdrawn when I got home just thinking about how it would go.  Could I really just walk into some one's house that I didn't know and chit-chat?  Those are the situations that nightmares are made of.  That is not just out of my comfort zone, that is like in another comfort galaxy that I will never visit.

But I kept telling this Jaime!  DO IT!!  You must do this!!!!

So, at 6:40ish I got in my car, typed the address into my navigation and went.  I was way beyond anxious and nervous.  I actually started hoping that I'd get lost and not be able to go.  But then...suddenly there I was.  Somehow, I managed to carry myself to the door and knock.  And when the host answered, I actually smiled and said "Hi I'm Jaime."  I barely even recognized myself.

I walked in and saw my old friend and met the other girls and at was a bit awkward.  But for the most part, they were all my age, we all had kids and husbands, we all worked.  So we actually had a lot in common and I was able to contribute to the conversation and once the initial introductions were made and small talk was established, I felt comfortable.

Over the last 2 weeks, I almost chickened out countless times.  I thought of every excuse, but I refused to let myself type that email.  Refused to give in to the anxiety.  And I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself and now my comfort zone is just a little bit bigger.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

According to Ainsley - Bedtime

Yay, According to Ainsley is back!  I really love this weekly theme, I'm sorry it's been gone for so long.  I like the idea, that one day when Ainsley is older, I can let her read all of these.  I'm sure she'll get a kick out of them.

Okay, so a little background on this one.  Ainsley's a bad know, right?  If you've read my blog at all over the last 3.5 years, then you know this.  She doesn't go to sleep without a fight, she can't put herself to sleep, and she doesn't sleep through the night.

One night, last week was particularly bad.  I was at my wits end and could feel that I was getting ready to snap.  I had been lying with her for over an hour and I had diapers to wash and a basement to clean and lunch to pack and it was going on 10 o'clock.

So I got up, told her to stay in bed and not to wake Freddie and I walked out of the room.  She immediately started screaming and I decided I just needed to let it happen.  So I went down stairs.  I wasn't downstairs 5 minutes when I heard little feet and sniffling coming down the stairs. 

Clif and I walked her back upstairs and we both sat in bed with her.

Clif: Ainsley, it's time for bed.  You need to go to sleep.
Ainsley: I know, but I am not tired.
Me: If you don't go to sleep you'll be really tired tomorrow.
Ainsley: Can the puppies come in here?
Clif: Sometimes, does Brinkley get in bed with you?
Ainsley: Yes, he likes to come in my bed and then we can cuddle.
Clif: Does it wake you up when he gets in bed with you?
Ainsley: Yes.
Clif: Is that when you come into Mommy and Daddy's room?
Ainsley: Yes.
Clif: Well how about, instead of coming into Mommy and Daddy's room you cuddle with Brinkley and go back to sleep.

She thinks about this.

Ainsley: Well, I do sometimes go back to sleep.  But sometimes I have to come in your room so I can tell you something and then I am going to come back to my room and cuddle with Brink Brink and go back to sleep.
Clif: So you don't want to sleep with us, you just have to tell us something.
Ainsley (giggles and sighs): Um, yes Daddy.  I don't want to sleep with you sometimes.  Sometimes I just want to tell you something and come back to my room because my room is so beautiful.
Clif: Okay, well from now on how about you just tell me something then come back to your bed.

She thinks again.

Ainsley: Um, well, I think that I don't want to sleep in my bed. I think that when I wake up I will just sleep in your bed.

That night, Clif went to bed and I sat at the foot of Ainsley's bed while she didn't go to sleep.  I fell asleep propped up against her stuffed animals.  When I woke up at 3AM, she was snuggled up next to me at the foot of the bed.  I went to my own bed and 30 minutes later, she's opening the door and climbing in between us.  And so begins our nightly dance...
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