Wednesday, December 31, 2008


2008 was ... great. Really, really great.

January I spent the whole month home with the lil' dude.
Got RSV.
Realized how hard this would be.
Realized how tough she is.
And me too.

February I went back to work as a Mama.
Brought her to daycare.
She loved it.

March I left for 5 days.
Cried. Hard.
Daddy's girl.

April I was on crutches.
She grew up.
Rolled over.
And over.

May Mother's Day was real.
She wore my old dress.
And sat up.
Wore sunglasses
and went swinging.

June brought sunshine and swimming.
Father's Day,
and a week away from home.
She got some teeth.
Used a sippy cup.

July meant freedom.
She crawled.
Was away a lot.
We vacationed and missed her.
She stood up.

August fun as a family.
The zoo.
State Fair.
Daddy's town festival.

September and she's big.
9 months went fast.
Found her baby.

October and fall arrived.
She walks.
And talks.
And waddles as a bird.
Chews on gourds.

November- how sweet it was.
Said goodbye and it hurt.
Was glad she met him.
Gave thanks.

December in all its glory!
Baby girl now a girl.
Throw party.
Traditions began.
And new.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pushing It

When I act in a certain way, the Dad says I am "pushing it". Then he does this funny gesture with his hands, like, pushing it, and gives me a stern look. Like grating on his nerves about something insignificant- wanting Chipotle twice in one day, wanting him to rub my neck a little more, or heaven-forbid, ripping on his favorite NBA team. Pushing it ...

Last week, I picked the lil' dude up from daycare. She had on her spare outfit- for emergencies. I made a comment about it.
"Lil' dude sat right in the dog's water dish today. Right when I told her no," the daycare lady said.
"Uh-huh, she likes the Beagle's water dish at home too," I said.
She handed me my daughter to zip up her parka.
Then she said, "she's starting to really push her limits here, like, it must be because she just turned one or something."
I just looked at her. Ummm, is she a brat? The daycare lady read my mind. "It's not bad. All kids do it."

Yesterday, I stood in the entryway at daycare, waiting for the lil' dude to be carried downstairs.
We talked a little about our plans for the holiday week, little chitchat about her boys being off school.
"Lil' dude climbed right onto the dining room table today," the daycare lady said.
'Oh, yeah, I guess. Over the weekend, she climbed from the kitchen chair onto the counter by the sink at her grandparents' house. She's ...," I rambled. Oh.
"Exploratory. Very exploratory," the daycare lady finished.

I am pretty sure that is pushing it, little girl. That is generally construed in a negative manner, my dear. You should work on that.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Leaving Joy

Over the weekend, I decided my toenails needed a pedicure very badly.
You can imagine the smile on my face as I went to my vanity drawer to retrieve my grooming supplies, and found this:

It seems the lil' dude has been rummaging around, and leaving little reminders of all things fuzzy and sweet in the form of a tiny finger puppet.
Just reminding you to smile and be happy, Mama.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

All Things Merry & Bright

A happy Christmas to you, lil' dude.

May this year, your second Christmas, just be the beginning of many wonderful Christmases to come.
May you always get the excited tummy feeling the days leading up to Christmas.
May you always wear new pj's on Christmas Eve.
May you always remember the reindeer with carrots as you have Santa with cookies.
May you squeal with delight as you see your stocking brimming with goodies.
May you always be at your grandmas' sides as they prepare all our favorite holiday meals.
May you always be still and silent with awe as you watch the Christmas story unfold at church.
May you always delight more in giving than receiving, just as your Daddy and I do.

Merry Christmas baby girl, Mama loves.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Coming Back as a Girl

Lil' dude- something magical happened this weekend.

We went to Papa & Grandma G's for early Christmas ... you left home as a baby.
And you came back as a girl.

Something changed.
You got a new cell phone in your stocking. When it rings, you hand it to us to open it for you.
Then then put it to your ear and say, "Dada?" When you hear his recorded voice.

You learned "uh-oh" when you drop baby or fall down or lose your sippy cup.
Oh-oh Mama ...

You got your bangs cut! I desperately tried to catch your falling locks as they brushed your cheeks and fell onto the highchair tray. I have a few wisps in a Ziploc bag. Your baby hairs gave way to your girl face. Wow!

You had the patience to sit and help Papa with a puzzle Santa brought the two of you- it's a favorite pastime for him, and he hopes for you too, someday.

You danced and danced and twirled and shook your tushie to the movie Mama Mia. That garnered you the most laughs of any the entire weekend.

How wonderful it all is, lil' dude, Mama's biggest little girl!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


December Baby

December baby, you are my,
December baby, you are my,
December baby, you are my,
December baby, you are mine.

Heard this song by Ingrid Michaelson this morning lil' dude, and it made me think of you!

P.s. I put her CD on my Christmas list for Santa- we can listen if we're good girls!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Lil' dude, there's a saying like, "Give until it hurts." Well, giving should never hurt. It should lift your spirits and make you smile and feel good overall.

I was watching the news early this morning at the gym- the TV's without audio but with the horribly delayed captions instead. I didn't get the whole story, but the pictures were enough.
At a gas station, two cops were inside. The video caught a little boy walk in in his pajamas- shorts and a tank top. He was maybe 4 or 5. No shoes. In the dead of winter. I caught a caption that said, Grandma thought the boy was sleeping in her bed but she couldn't find him. You hear stories like this all winter long.

When I was little, we lived in a suburb of a big metropolitan area. I was 5 or 6; my brother a baby.
Across the street and kitty-corner to us was a brown house where a single mom lived with her son, a kid with long, blond curls named Herb. I remember his face. I became friends with Herb as we built snow tunnels and made snowballs. He was very sweet. He had dirty clothes; his mom wasn't around much. I think she worked nights. As soon as school was over each day, you could bet Herb and I were outside playing until I was called in for dinner. No one ever called Herb in for dinner. He was always too polite to join our family at mealtimes.

One night after playing, my Dad asked if Herb had mittens, as he had never seen him with any. "I don't think so," was my reply.

A few days later I heard my Dad telling my Mom about Herb as they washed and dried the dishes. "I gave him a pair of my work gloves- he didn't have anything to wear on his hands. Nothing to keep him warm," he said.

Sure enough, the next time I saw Herb he finally had gloves on- my Dad's. He didn't mention the gloves, nor did I. We just played like two little kids in love with the snow and imagination.

Herb and his mom moved away before the snow melted. I missed him. But I never forgot him, or my Dad's gift to him.

See, lil' dude, it's as simple as that. Just give what you can, where you see it needs to be given. Take a lesson from your Papa and do it quietly. Do not ask for recognition, do not boast. Just give until ... it feels good.

Tomorrow, you and I are going to a couple charities here in town to drop off two bags full of new baby clothes, winter jackets, mittens, stuffed animals, and books. Last week, you helped me drop off 11 big cans of baby formula to the food shelter a few blocks from where we live. The volunteer who took our donation touched my sleeve and had tears in her eyes. It's that simple. I want you to see we have it good, and there are others who aren't as fortunate as our family. We will help, and we will give.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A New Week

What a weekend. What a long weekend ...

I still love you, even though you puked on my brand-new sweats from Victoria's Secret. Even though you stained them orange with your turbo-charged baby puke. Even so.

All you want for Christmas is Health. No more colds, fevers, crusty noses, or rattling chests. Where does this stuff come from? You were pretty miserable Friday night and into Saturday. You fought naps yesterday like your life depending on staying awake. You only wanted to be held- preferably by Mama. Lil' dude, the Dad is great for things like that too. If he's willing to watch Peter Pan with you instead of something on ESPN- just do it.

So this morning, as you yawned and stretched and gave me the stink eye for waking you up at 7:15am (see- naps would have been great yesterday) we had a little talk about this week. You are going to get healthy and back to being my crazy little girl ASAP.

Then, I filled your belly with hot grown-up oatmeal and threw a blanket over your face as we hit the -30* windchill that is our outside- ready to start our new week!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Look For It

Lil' dude-
Just a quick note to remind you, simply, that I love you.
In case things get so busy or time goes too quickly or our to-do lists get too long.
I just wanted you to know that matter what is going on around us, I will always love you and it will always be the most important thing I do.
So even if you have to look for it ... look into the midst of chaos or bustle, it's there.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Lil' dude, one year ago today, Daddy and I brought you home from the hospital. I know I know, but I can't stop with the nostalgia. So, bear with me as I unwrap all these tiny memories. I'm not the only one! Just now, I received an email from your Gigi, and she said:

2008 was surely her year of change-hard to believe it was just a year ago that I spent the greatest week holding her (watched her sleep) and drank coffee. What a wonderful year this has been-she is pretty much the perfect package.

So yeah, chica, you just might be surrounded by the sappiest, happiest women ever.

I'd apologize to you for that, but you know ... I am just not that sorry!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Letter from Mama, v12

To my sweet, amazing one-year old daughter:

Happy birthday.

It has taken me some time to put this letter together; yet I know what I want every word to say.
Everything has gone so quickly I want to scoop up all our memories and put them someplace safe; someplace dark, secret, and close by. It amazes me 12 months ago, I looked at your face and I didn't even know you. Then time crept by and I learned you like to sleep on your tummy most. You did not like those pacifiers with the flat bottom. You liked being very warm. I learned things about you and you about me. And here we are today. And I know you better than anyone else. It's so simple for me. Mama knows, is all.

You're inquisitive and gentle. You take in your surroundings very aptly. One night, as Daddy fed you dinner, I laid on the couch. I didn't feel so well. When you were finished eating, you walked slow circles around the living room pausing at my side, touching my arm, asking to come up for a hug. As though you sensed something was off and Mama needed you.
You're completely unabashed and fearless. You have a high tolerance for pain and little to no memories of what has scared or hurt you. I love your willingness to pick yourself up and keep going. For such a tiny creature, you have a huge will.
You apparently share a few loves with me. We're both in love with Daddy. When you first get to peek at him in the mornings, your face instantly lights up. He taught you how to give kisses, something the two of you shared exclusively until I coaxed one from you a few days ago! You love music- any melody, any tune. I know it calms you down. Music does much of the same for me. I can't wait until we can split an iPod, an ear bud each listening to our old favorites over and over again. I already have a list penned for our first download. Books ... you are such a book worm, lil' dude. If I don't see you or hear you at home, I can bet you're in front of your jam-packed bookshelf, happily thumbing through your books. You know which direction is the right way up. And you have your favorites there too.

Yesterday, we were in your closet, putting away birthday loot and organizing things. I decided it was time to pack up all your baby things such as your rattles, teethers, soft crib toys, pacifiers, and bottles. You watched me intently, then proceeded to hand me the rest of the stack, one by one, as though in agreement with the decision. Such a big girl. You clutched baby tight though, you and baby have a very special bond. It was the first gift I picked out for you when I Christmas shopped for my baby girl. Have I told you I had a doll like yours when I was little? She was all I ever needed; her name was Bayrea. Same small body, same smooth plastic head. Peas in a pod, huh?

On the day you were born the round planet Earth turned toward your morning sky, whirling past darkness, spinning the night into light. -Debra Frasier, On the Day You Were Born

Can't wait to see what you'll do the next 12 months. Shine like the sun, baby girl.
Mama loves.

And the Beginning

Miss lil' dude at 12:37pm, one year ago.

Miss lil' dude at 12:37pm today.

Happy, happy birthday baby girl.
Daddy & Mama loves.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Getting the Show on the Road!

One year ago today, I was in labor.

Well, sorta. I was in the maternity ward, I was hooked up to a dozen monitors. I was wearing the gown. I was waiting for the baby to get moving. Per usual. And not much was happening.

We drove to the hospital at 4:40am. I joked about wanting the Tremendous Twelve from Perkins before I checked in. The Dad assured me the PB&J and Vitamin Water breakfast I had at home would sustain me. Ha. I was ready to eat the cotton out of my pillow by the time I was actually given food ... 31.5 hours later.

I don't think I will ever remind the lil' dude I was in labor with her for 31.5 hours. I mean, I won't say it to make her feel bad. (It will come up in casual conversation someday though) Because it wasn't bad. Some of it was, yeah, bad. But just a tiny portion. Teeny tiny in the grand scheme of things. I remember at 5am as I got undressed and hooked up to Pitocin my sweet nurse telling me her shift ended at 3pm and we would have a baby by then. I remember doing the travel math in my head, figuring when the grandparents would ascend upon our room, meeting their first grandchild for the very first time.

Well, that nurse came and went. She was there later when part of my water broke. She apologized when she left, an hour late even, that very little had happened on her shift. Barely anything.

"It's OK," I told her.

The Dad had sent some texts that afternoon as I slept on and off. He called the Grandma's at dinner time, apologizing for getting them all excited for nothing. "Yeah, around a 3. Not all the way to it," I heard him say.

Then, I began to feel something, finally. Wow. It is as indescribable as they say. They gave me something via the IV. It made me feel awesome. High, loopy. I couldn't have the epidural yet because I wasn't to a 4. I had been there for 13, almost 14 hours. Sigh.

Around 9pm, my 2nd (or was it 3rd?) fabulous nurse said, "close enough," and the Anesthesiologist showed up. I loved him.
So, as the clock neared midnight on December 6th, I smiled, thinking, one of these days, little baby, I will get to meet you. And I fell fast asleep.

Friday, December 5, 2008

St. Nicholas Day

When I was in high school, I took German as my language requirement. I'm part German so the decision was easy. I wanted to learn more about my ancestors, their cultures, their traditions. It was in German class I learned about St. Nicholas Day.

In Germany, tradition has it children put a boot, called Nikolaus-Stiefel, outside their front door on the night of December 5th. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and treats, while checking up on the children to see if they've been good.

Since I learned more about St. Nicholas Day, I thought it would be a tradition I would want to incorporate into my children's lives one day. A tradition that was maybe unique to our family, not something everyone else had to celebrate. That's the beauty of becoming a parent- establishing your own traditions is solely up to you. It's not something I take lightly!

The lil' dude left her boots out last night. Since her feet are so tiny, St. Nicholas left her gift wrapped neatly for her to find at breakfast time this morning.

Her eyes got big as I sent her gift on her lap. I helped her open an end to get started.

It didn't take the lil' dude long to realize the tearing noise of the wrapping paper sounds much like the tearing noise of ripping up magazines or newspapers. She loves that. She became real excited!

St. Nick brought the lil' dude some Little People animals that will match a Christmas gift Santa is bringing her. Those old guys work together in a centuries-old partnership bringing good girls and boys holiday cheer.

So, happy St. Nicholas Day, lil' dude. Here's to the first of many of our family traditions.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

To Borrow

To borrow the words from one of my favorite bloggers, I found this and it's as though my very sentiments have been given life on someone else's pages. Read:

I'm chasing you now, little one. When did it happen that I started chasing you? When did any of this happen? It's all such a beautiful blur.

Sometimes I wonder how on God's Green Earth it all came to this, but mostly I just laugh and smile and marvel at how damn fun it all is.

I do not lament the days behind us. You and I and your mother are making the best of what we've been given. And when every minute is better than the last, why would I stop to fret over the passing of time?

Time passes. Children grow.

You're no longer a baby. You're a genuine little girl.

You & Me

Hey lil' dude. Good morning to you!
I wanted to show you something. Take a look at this picture. It's the last picture of you and I together. It was taken one year ago today.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. Daddy came home from work to bring me to the clinic for my 40 week appointment. I felt glad for the first time in 7 days. I knew today we would be able to schedule and induction, meaning, when the doctors would help Mama get started on having you. You had went from being my Thanksgiving turkey to my Christmas ham. I knew the end was in sight, I knew Daddy and I would be meeting you finally. I guess you just knew how much Mama loves December. You wanted to join the other birthdays we celebrate, like your auntie M's, which is today. Your Papa. Great-auntie R., your second cousin E., Uncle W. December has always been very important and very fun for our family. Of course you would arrive in December. We would check into the hospital early, at 5am, on Thursday, December 6.
But, as I was saying, I remember that day in the photo like it was yesterday. It was auntie M's birthday. I managed to get dressed. I put on makeup, I wore jewelry- I had a fabulous new green necklace I wanted to show off. A necklace today you love to touch and look at! I knew this would be the last time I would go out with friends as me, and not your Mama. Auntie M. was happy to see me, of course. Everyone made sure I could squeeze into the table fine. They ordered me root beer in a frosty mug, and hung up my vest for me. It was cold out, and snowing lightly. Daddy came too, later. He seemed preoccupied though, his mind elsewhere. Like on you, sweet baby girl, and how in two days from now, we would finally get this show on the road. The waitresses were sweet too, marveling how I was 7 days overdue and still living life. I just laughed, agreeing. But nothing is more important to me than be surrounded by the people I love, and celebrating their lives. Just as we would yours in a few days. But not on December 6 ... no one can tell you what to do, babe. But that's another story, now isn't it?

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Tree ... A Tree for Me

How to choose a Christmas tree? There is an exact science.
eHow says, Look for a tree that is the right height (keep in mind that a separate stand will add about 6 inches) and width, is reasonably even all around, has a straight trunk, and has as few dead needles as possible. The needles should feel springy, not dry and brittle. If you're going to put it in a stand, make sure it has a length of trunk that is long enough on the bottom, or branches you can take off without ruining its contours.

Or, if you're the lil' dude, her exact science is more like, "Mama! This one. This is the Christmas tree for me. It is my size!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Today was my due date, one year ago.
I am thankful my pregnancy was normal, happy, and healthy.
I am thankful my delivery was normal, happy, and healthy; enough so I am willing and able to go through it again.

I am thankful for flexible jobs allowing us to stay home with a sick kid.
I am thankful for wonderful daycare.
I am thankful for insurance.
I am thankful for the lil' dude's grandparents who are all healthy and a huge part of her life.
I am thankful we live in a safe neighborhood where we sleep sound.
I am thankful for the money that affords her the diapers I wish, warm winter clothes, and books to read at bedtime.
I am thankful for her village- the people like her "aunties", Fairy Godmother, her uncles, grandma-greats, and neighbors who can and will help.

I am thankful to be a Mother, for this, I am forever thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

American Dream

There is a page in my baby book describing the events of my 3rd Christmas, written in my Mom's handwriting.
You asked for a Cabbage Patch Doll- but they are too spendy at $30! So Grandma S. made you one.
I remember that doll. He was bald, and I named him John. Those homemade Cabbage Patch Kids had weird noses. You could go to the craft store and pick their head out. They came in boxes with clear plastic over their faces. Weird. Creepy. And it just wasn't what I wanted. Nice try, Mom.

A few weeks ago, the American Girl catalogue arrived at our house. Two arrived; one in my name and one in the Dad's. How did they know we have a daughter? A daughter who will undoubtedly want an American Girl doll someday.
Christmas 2011; you asked for an American Girl doll- but they are too spendy at $90! So Grandma G. made you one.

I had the American Girl "Kirsten" books when I was little. I still have them. But, I never had the doll. My neighbor and BFF had the Samantha doll. Oh, the lust. I love the concept- getting girls to love reading by introducing to them vibrant characters spanning decades of history. The different eras taught girls how cool history is, how girls are just as important as boys. So, the American Girl company capitalizes on girls' imaginations by creating the dolls ... the $90 dolls. You want to buy Kirsten's holiday St. Lucia outfit? $22. She should have the holiday wreath that the Swedish women balanced atop their braids, $16. Your Kirsten doll has a doll too ... Sari, and she's $16. And it goes on.

It makes me sad knowing little girls all over have an American Girl doll on their Christmas lists. They whisper to Santa: I want Julie. Addy. Kaya ... Kit, Josephina, Molly. Samantha ... Santa, this is Samantha's last year. They are taking her away for good. I want her ...
And on Christmas, there won't be an American Girl doll, because there is food to buy, sisters and brothers who have Christmas lists too, bills to pay. I'm sorry honey. I know how much you wanted her. Because I did too.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The Dad: "Good morning wifey."
Me: "Hello. Are you done?"
TD: "Yep, we were in and out in 15 seconds."
M: "Did she cry?"
TD: "Nope. She didn't even know it was happening."
M: "She's so tough!"
TD: "It took longer to get her coat and hat off. Just pulled down her tights and put the needle in her thigh."
M: "Dropped her drawers and got down to business, nice."
TD: "The nurse said to her, awwww, lil' dude, you are always dressed so cute when you're here,"
M: "That's because she just saw her Monday. Sorta popular."
TD: "Now we're going to the post office. Goodbye to you."

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Maybe it's the time of year- Thanksgiving being a week away.
Maybe it's Mama hormones.
Maybe it's the very realization things can change in an instance.
Everything good can turn bad.
Be taken away.
That nothing precious, normal, perfect, loved can be taken for granted.
I don't know what, but I know this.

As I sit in the lil' dude's ancient, creaky rocking chair, smoothing her hair and calming her down while we give her Nebulizer treatments, I realize how lucky we are and how good it is.
As I look at her small, pink mouth, form an O as the mask is put on her, and the tube runs the length of her body, I know this is a simple, normal procedure. As her wet, sad eyes search mine to understand this, I can only imagine what it is like for Mamas and families and babies where something like this is their normal.

I think of her and her story.
And hers.
Hers too.

And I think what it would be like to celebrate my daughter's life in days survived. 99. 100! 101 ...
To update pictures after the masks come off and the eyes open.
After surviving another surgery.
After becoming a miracle.

I don't know what it is that makes me go here. But I know this.
I am so very, very lucky, indebted, grateful, and blessed for my daughter and her normal.
So very blessed.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Because sometimes, it only takes a bath.

With some good-old-fashioned bubbles.

To give a girl something to smile about.

Making everything OK.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Broken Record

It's deja vu in the world of lil' dude today ...
Double-ear infection.
10 days of antibiotics.
Neb treatment x2/day.
Love, hugs, and boogers galore.

We just did this 12 days ago.

Oh, no. There is more. Something new and exciting.
As a side effect of this round of meds, the lil' dude's poop will be pink or red.
I am really hoping pink. I love pink and it's my favorite color.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You + Me

Three years ago, I knew we'd be great.
And we really, really are.
Thank you for making difficult days bearable.
For believing in me.
Making me laugh.
I love you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Grandpa ... to the man who loved his family, hard work, and a good piece of pie.
Thank you for being the greatest influence I've known.
I love you.
Be good.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Letter from Mama, v11

Happy 11 months old, lil' dude!
This month we celebrate your last month of babyhood. If you want to get specific, you've been out of that stage for awhile now, but it's just the technicality associated with numbers. In 30 days, we will celebrate you turning 1.

You're such an independent little girl now. To see you walk around in slow, purposeful circles, lightly trailing your fingertips along the wall ... amazes me. I see you crouch down low. You peer out the sliding glass door at the raindrops. You put your finger out to stab at a crumb. You hold it in front of your eyes as you examine it. Having you as a daughter has shifted my perspective to that of yours. I feel like I see the world through your eyes now, everything is much bigger, clearer, intentional. As I sit beside you to look at those raindrops, I quietly appreciate them for what they are to you. You love everything and take your time soaking it all in. You make me breathe more, see longer, smile quicker.

November, how much I love November. When Daddy and I first learned of you, we had 250 days to wait. I circled November 27 on our calendar at home, and in my day planner at work. Slowly slowly, those days began to go away, as you grew bigger and bigger. November came, I cried happy tears. Your month. Our month. November went, I cried frustrated tears. Mama could not fathom waiting anymore days for you to come. 250 had been enough, but you weren't ready. So we waited until you were.

Now, November means family and the beginning of the Holidays. I cannot wait for you to experience all the traditions Daddy and I love so much. Again, as I anticipate our memories together this month, I can't help but see things through your eyes. How much you will love homemade pumpkin pie with real whipped cream!, playing Bingo on Thanksgiving with all your cousins. Cheering Daddy on as he cuts down our beautiful Christmas tree. You will put your tiny hands out in front of you, and shrug your shoulders as if to say, what is all this? Do you know I love it? and you will point and grab for our hands to lead us that direction. And we will see it all again, for the first time and it will be better than ever.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

In the Night

Oh, my poor lil' dude. The return of the peach gummy worm.

You have a double ear infection and huge barking cough. Last night I rescued you from your crib as you tossed and turned restlessly at 2am. We went into the dark, you and I a tangle of blankets and pj's and girl bodies. You nestled under my neck, your fine baby hairs tickling my nose. We sat that way for three hours; you just wanted to be held and comforted. We never really slept, yet we weren't really awake. It was dark and quiet and just right for a couple of gals to rock silently in the night waiting to feel better, normal, right.

Feel better, baby girl.
Mama loves.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day for Voting!

That is what the adorable, ancient little election judges said this morning- tiny little ladies in turtlenecks and gold jewelry.
Lil' dude- you made your voting debut! You were content the whole 36 minutes it took Daddy and I to vote. You watched all the commotion at the tiny fire station that is our precinct. You smiled when you were told you were the tiniest voter ever! You even got a red sticker like Mama and Daddy did.
Today is a big, big, day. We're making history today in so many ways. You know Daddy and I will always support you, and encourage you to make the choices you want to make. Because it matters. You're lucky you will have a say in your future and your government and your life. Please know voting and participating is both a privilege and a right. I was encouraged the same way growing up, in fact, your grandma-great, Mama's grandma, is still the head election judge in her tiny town. Today, she is that lady in a turtleneck and gold jewelry.
So remember, you are a tiny person but you have a big say!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sweet November

November is one of my favorite months.
Lil' dude, it's the beginning of your story.
The Dad and I moved into our house, our first home together, on November 1.
We were married on November 12.
And when we learned about YOU, your due date was November 27.
So I can't help but love it like crazy. All the feelings and emotions and excitement and promise. It's our month, lil' dude, and it belongs to us. It's also your last first month ... another reason to heart Sweet November.

Friday, October 31, 2008


So, a baby bird walks into a Halloween party and says ...

Then & Now

Happy Halloween, Internetz!

Today, I am living vicariously through my daughter. I am so anxious for tonight, to take the lil' dude Trick or Treating. I feel like a kid again, when my parents would force my brother and I to sit through dinner fascists! before we could go Trick or Treating with Dad. How we would come home and dump our orange buckets onto the floor and sort everything into piles. All the pumpkin taffy and Bits O' Honey would go to the parents. Yuck! while we counted out every Snickers and Skittles to see who had more. I was the kinda dorky kid who liked the retired teachers who gave out stickers, notebooks, or pencils. Loved that stuff. We always went to Grandma Pancake's last. She made us special treat bags full of our favorite candy and a $5!

This was the lil' dude and I last year baking cookies. That is powdered sugar adorning my bump. I ate way more than I was able to share with my friends ... all that sugar and food coloring did a body good though, just look how she turned out a mere 365 days later!

Happy Halloween ... go make some memories with the ones you love best.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Moving On

The lil' dude's baby swing sits in our dining room- or at least it did. Last night I hauled it over to a prego-mama friend's house as she settles in on the last 8 weeks of her pregnancy. It was bittersweet; the swing was a big part of the lil' dude's life. She easily spent entire afternoons swinging and snoozing away.

I put the lil' dude in the swing a few nights ago for the sole purpose of taking one last picture of the queen on her throne. She burst into hysterics. Apparently, she's over the past and prefers walking around and around the house holding her doll by the neck.

This was the lil' dude on her first Tuesday ever. The Dad and I took her to her Ped's appointment to check her for jaundice and weight gain/sustainment. She was exhausted when I got her home, so my mom and I hurriedly assembled the swing and loaded her into it. Hours went by ... she never stirred.

But, those days are long gone. It won't be long and I'll take her to meet her new friend who will be all swaddled into this swing and the lil' dude will point at him or her, and smile. And I will remember. I will point at the lil' dude and smile, telling her how she used to sit in that swing and take long naps. Then I'll watch her hurry off, taking big steps.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pulling the Plug

I had a girls' night last night; the lil' dude was sweetly tucked in and snoozing when I got home.

The Dad recapped their evening together: watermelon, some baby food, rice, and sausage. A bathtub and some bubble-bath basketball games. A rocker, a book, and a sleepy baby. And to bed without her pluggie.

I didn't say anything to this. I didn't need to. We co-parent the lil' dude, we stand by each other's decisions and rules and reinforcements. But, her pluggie? She isn't even a year old.

"Right to sleep," he said. "Not even a fuss."

Somehow, I knew that would happen; she's simply too easygoing. She slept until 6:43am when she started to make noise. She was probably looking for her pluggie, but she didn't sound too stressed. I was stressed.

The pacifier embodies baby to me, it is the epitome of what baby means. I think it is so sweet and comforting, so natural and safe. And all of a sudden I am losing that. And I just might not be ready.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Morning

That is not my baby wearing her first piggytail. No, that is definitely not my baby looking very much a girl person this morning.
No, that is not my baby.
That is my little girl.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


As you very well know, it's common to be handed down some one's legacy, to be left a fortune, or to be the heir to something fabulous. When my Grandma Pancake passed away four years ago, the family went through her estate and handed everyone the things her and Grandpa had deeded out. I, the only granddaughter, received her string of pearls, wedding silverware, and collection of Buddhas. Grandma Pancake was not Buddhist, I don't think she practiced any sort of religion, ever. She once took a ceramic class and made a miniature Buddha, swathed in purple robes. That sat on her kitchen shelf my whole life. She also made a 2" Buddha in deep gold, bronzes, and greens. He sat by her hutch in the dining room. She never said why she made them, liked them, or displayed them. But I got them. There was also a small wooden one someone brought back for her from the Philippines, or Hawaii. I have them all in my office ... she meant for me to have them for a reason. They surround me now.

Five years ago, I had to walk past the Dad's office cubicle to get to my office. That is how I met him. He immediately caught my attention- I should say his cube immediately caught my attention. The Dad is a graphic designer, he works in animation and motion graphics. In his cube were 20 or so McDonald's Happy Meal toys ... all arranged perfectly, lovingly. Now he was 25 at the time. I know, weird, right. But after I found the courage to stop and say hello to him and ask him about his toys, I realized they were simply professional inspiration. As a designer, cartoons inspired him. The figures were mostly from Disney Pixar movies- Toy Story, Monsters, Inc. A few random Nemo, Lilo & Stitch. The Dad said he loved Pixar movies, owned them all, and wasn't ashamed. Oh, my heart!

One day, as I was packing my office to move across town into our new office space, I stole Mike, from Monsters, Inc. off the Dad's desk and held him ransom. I would send cryptic letters through our courier service demanding things like beer to return him unharmed. The Dad laughed at me, he knew exactly which of his buddies had gone missing, from exactly which spot on his perfectly organized desk he was snatched. It was around then the Dad told me someday, his toys would go to his children. I told him for as mint of condition as they were in, he could probably make some cash off eBay. No, he said, they'll be for my kids.

Last night, the Dad came home with an ice cream pail, brimming full of bright plastic faces. He gave his legacy to his daughter. I said to him, "Babe, your desk is going to be so empty now ... it'll be so different."

"Naaa," he said, "I have pictures of the lil' dude instead."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Written in the Stars

SAGITTARIUS - The Happy-Go-Lucky One (Nov 22 - Dec 21)
Good-natured optimist. Doesn't want to grow up (Peter Pan Syndrome).
Indulges self. Boastful. Likes luxuries and gambling. Social and
outgoing. Doesn't like responsibilities. Often fantasizes. Impatient.
Fun to be around. Having lots of friends. Flirtatious. Doesn't like
rules. Sometimes hypocritical. Dislikes being confined - tight spaces or
even tight clothes. Doesn't like being doubted. Beautiful inside and
out. 14 years of bad luck if you do not forward.

I received an email forward today, your typical straight-to-spam junker. But I decided to read this one, and found the lil' dude's Zodiac sign and its "truest description ever" according to the forward.

Good-natured optimist So true! Has been since day 1.
Doesn't want to grow up Again, true. Really likes playing with toys and make-believing.
Indulges self Sometimes she eats or drink so much and so fast she pukes.
Boastful She is the first to clap or shout hoorays when she walks, puts the ball in the hoop, or eat all her veggies.
Likes luxuries If a clean butt and warm feet count, yes.
and gambling teetering on her tiny bench on tiptoes, standing up in the tub, lunging for the Beagle's neck ... all gambles.
Social and outgoing I've always said she'd go home with the mailman if she could.
Doesn't like responsibilities The Dad tells her to clean her room or put things away and she looks at him like he has two damn heads.
Impatient You mean when she screams as I prepare her meals, or undress her?
Fun to be around Endless fun. Could play peek-a-boo with her for hours.
Having lots of friends MY friends want to know when they can see her. I am just her handler nowadays.
Dislikes being confined - tight spaces or even tight clothes When she wedges herself between the couch and the railing; under a dining room chair, between her crib and laundry basket and screams like her tush is on fire. Doesn't mind wearing tights though.
Beautiful inside and out There is absolutely no doubt there.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

All Because Two People Fell in Love

Today is a very important day, lil' dude.
Today is your great-grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary ... Mama's maternal grandpa and grandma.

60 years ago, Grandpa was two weeks shy of his 25th birthday, and Grandma was just 17. Within six months, they would have their first baby. There are no wedding photos; they could not afford a photographer. Grandpa had returned to small, small midwestern town after fighting for the Army during WW II where he served in both France and Germany. He spent two months in the hospital after he was wounded by shrapnel. He received a Purple Heart for his commitment to his country.
Grandma had just graduated from high school a few months prior to their wedding day. She had grown up fast, managing her family's household as her mother, your great-great grandma, worked away from home during the week as a baker and cake decorator. Grandpa and Grandma married quietly, settled on a 160 acre farm where they live to this day. Then, what you know as your family all began ...

Between 1949 and 1966, Grandpa and Grandma had five kids, including your "GiGi", Mama's own Mama. Grandpa worked over-the-road construction for 40 years and Grandma stayed home, working to raise a family. She is proud to say today all her kids graduated from high school, and two from college. 2007 was a 'bumper crop' as Grandma called it, for great-grandbabies. You, born last, were the 4th baby born becoming #54 in our family.

I have never met a more proud, practical woman, lil' dude, than your great-grandma. I have learned so much by standing at her elbow and sitting on her lap. I am proud to say Grandma has helped make me the person I am today, she has influenced my growth, fueled my passions, and encouraged my dreams. One of Grandma's traits I admire most is her ability to put things in perspective. There is always a silver lining to every cloud, everything happens for a reason, feeling sorry for yourself gets you nowhere, and the good Lord only gives you as much as you can handle. I can close my eyes and hear her say those very words. It helps me keep my perspective.

And oh, the sweet memories I have of Grandpa too. He spoiled me like there was no tomorrow. He used to let me take a brand-new box of Lucky Charms and dump it into a mixing bowl until I found the prize. That was against Grandma's rules you know. He would let me spend the day with him watching him work in the barn or shed. As I arranged your nursery, I added pieces Grandpa made for me as a child. The rocking chair he made for Papa and Gigi's wedding. The toy box I got for Christmas when I was three. The shelf that hangs on the wall I got when I was 13, where I stored my Malibu Mist and Exclamation! perfumes. The tiny doll bench you sit on as you play ... all from Grandpa. All in perfect shape because I always wanted to take special care of the things Grandpa made for me. I am so glad I saved them for you, they all have his name and dates on them, too. We'll never forget.

In 60 years, lil' dude, you can imagine there were some tough times for Grandpa and Grandma, as you will learn as you get older. It's not to say you can't manage what life throws at you though, you will be tested. You will be angry. You will cry. You will get up off your knees, dust them off, and get about your business. This I know because the generations before you have. Grandpa has had some health issues over the last 10 years or so. Today, as he has for the past six years, he battles Parkinson's Disease, which robs him of his ability to control his body. It has made me sad to see this big, powerful man in my life lose a little bit of himself each day, each year, to the disease. But his eyes hold the same twinkle. He remembers the punch line to jokes even if it takes him 10 minutes. And faithfully by his side each day has been Grandma, her perseverance, her faith, her love pushing them on. Late this summer, Grandpa was admitted to a nursing home. No one knew if he would come home. Well, I take that back. Both he and Grandma knew he would go home again. Daddy and I took you to see him on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and there, in his tiny room, was the quilt off their bed, his old slippers, and a note on his dresser.
For the nurses/staff:
R. does not wear a part in his hair; please do not comb it with a part. Just comb it straight back.
Thanks, S.

It was a note from Grandma. After her heart was breaking that her husband of 60 years would not sleep in the same house as her, when she was scared of being alone, of just not knowing, she had remembered, she had known to leave that note. She knew Grandpa needed one less thing to be different as he struggled. She knew how he needed it to be, what he wanted, like no one else could.

I take you ...
to have and to hold,
from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
until death do us part.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

'Cuz It Is

Life. Is. Good.
Life. Is. Good.

Even though you woke up today covered in pee; in a 60* house and shivered through a hasty bath; even though you have a nasty cold and Mama had to hold your forehead down to pry off the boogs; even though your voice is very tiny and scratchy, even though you couldn't drink out of your sippy cup today without nearly drowning; even though you went to bed late last night and had to be woken up this morning which confused you; even though you were bit between the eyes at daycare yesterday; even though that red mark on the back of your neck Monday night has now been confirmed as yet another bite; even though it was only 32* outside; even though Mama shoved 4 layers on you today including your hat and new mittens you couldn't pull off; even though you sneezed and sniffled the whole car ride in and had copious amounts of green snot running into your hood, towards your ears, and onto your lip; even though your sad, wet eyes said, Mama, we should stay home and take hot bubble baths and wear jammies and maybe have some juice and use the pluggie all day long I dropped you off ...

Life is Good.