Sunday, February 28, 2010

Party party

My child LOVES birthday parties! This was her first party at an age where she could interact with other kids and run around. We had a great time!

Amelia said her favorite part was the cake:


With the birthday girl:


Last night, as she is falling asleep in her room, we hear her singing: "Happy birthday, Mommy. Happy birthday, Daddy. Happy birthday, Ma-Moo (grandma). Happy birthday, Ga-Da (granddad)".

This party made quite an impression on our little one! Only a few weeks to go until her own party! We're looking forward to it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A busy & fun family Saturday

Oops - I didn't write yesterday. Time is more precious when the child does not nap. Four days straight and Amelia nap minutes total a big, fat zero. I guess our friend the nap is really gone. But I'll remain hopeful that this is a fleeting phase.

I'm curious to see if Amelia naps when Steve tries to put her to bed today. She'll probably nap like a champ just to make him think I'm crazy or doing something wrong. She's sneaky like that.

Today is a nice, sunny Saturday. We ran some errands this morning and just finished lunch. Amelia's best friend is having a birthday party this afternoon at her favorite indoor play space. This place is so cool. A pirate ship playground in a huge sand pit, multiple bouncy jumps, and air guns that shoot soft foam balls. We're excited to go play there again. And happy 2nd birthday to sweet Hannah!!!

My parents are also arriving tonight, passing through again on the way home from their weeks in Florida. They'll get to experience Amelia after her first big playtime birthday party. An abundance of over-stimulation today, I think. Wish us luck!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Eulogy for naptime

Naptime, you were cherished in our household.
You gave me something to look forward to every day.
You gave me something no one else could give me - silence.

I know you have moved on to another life,
A life with another mom and a young child.
I hope that I will see you again one day soon.
May our parting be brief, and our time apart be peaceful.

Cat Update

Last night was our third vet visit for our cat. Well, let me back up. The appointment was supposed to be today at 10:00. Tuesday night I got the confirmation call for an appointment at 10:00 on Wednesday. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Not surprising, though, since this is the same vet that said I missed an appointment last week that I called TWICE to cancel.

Anyway, they couldn't accommodate Thursday at 10:00, so I had to settle for Wednesday at 6:00. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle the schedule once again. My sister saved me and came over to watch Amelia so I didn't have to struggle with her and a sick cat. Steve blew off a dinner with his boss who was in from out of town to meet me there (thanks, honey!). Whew!

Anyway, so off we went for our 6:00 appointment.

We've discussed many options over the past 9 days. I was ready to do the x-rays to give us another shot at figuring out what's wrong. You know what the vet says? "Oh, it's too late to do x-rays. You'll have to bring him back." Huh??? So, $36 for this visit and all we did was talk about what we've already talked about twice before. So I asked if the visit fee would apply again when we bring him back for x-rays... "of course!" We got ripped off big time, and I'm done with them. Had they not screwed up my appointment in the first place, I'd be getting his x-rays today.

Searched for a vet recommendation and found one that should be good. The exam fees are more, but I called for an x-ray quote and they are about $50 cheaper. And they have late hours (until 9:00!) a couple days a week. So we have a new vet.

I guess the cat update is, we have no update. He has pain meds for 2 more weeks, and we're going to wait it out. Then we'll visit this new vet if he's still not doing well. No more Banfield vet at PetSmart!!! They seriously suck.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One isn't the only lonely number...

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do,
Two can be as bad as one,
It's the loneliest number since the number one.
(Three Dog Night song lyrics)

I have very little "alone time". But often, I feel very alone. I feel like issues and stresses are thrown at me a little too frequently, and I'm the only one who has to work them out.

If I'm sick? Too bad - must take care of Amelia. Pack her lunch. Get her to school. Check my email. Get some work done.

If Amelia is sick? My life comes to a standstill. I have to shuffle any prior work plans. Bring her to the doctor. Wait for a prescription at the pharmacy. My plans get moved aside.

If the cat is sick and the vet screws up the appointment time? Once again, I do the shuffle dance with all my to-dos. Had a work meeting planned? Well, tough. Just cancel on them for the 18th time in the past few months.

I feel like all the family issues that happen, big or small, are dealt with entirely by ME. All alone. Steve has the "real" job, after all. I'm not blaming him - not at all. His work is very demanding and he is awesome at it. And we need him to continue to be awesome at it so we can get paid. But it just sucks for me.

I'm having a pity party today. It's been a rough day. And I haven't even taken the cat to the dreaded vet appointment yet. My day could get much worse!

Thank goodness for my online mommy friends. At least here, on message boards, and on Facebook, I have someone to talk to. Someone who feels the way I do. Or at least understands.

Thank you, ladies!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do I Dare? And will I survive?

OK, ladies. Help me out here. The no-nap situation is getting worse and worse. Amelia is pushing me too far... almost over the edge. So here goes. I can't believe I'm about to ask this...

Should I throw in the towel and let her give up naps?

I know several kiddos who gave up their naps around this age. Amelia's own cousin stopped napping at 18 months. To me, this sounds horrific. But am I pushing naps on her simply to suit my own needs?

She's still the little green monster when she's tired. But she's even more of a monster - I'd say a purple polka-dot one - when she refuses her nap. I'm talking about screaming, crying, throwing things, banging on the crib. I do not indulge these behaviors. I leave her alone to put on her drama act for 30+ minutes. Until I'm nearly suffering a heart attack. Until I'm so frazzled I'm considering running far, far away for the rest of the week. Until she's worked herself up so much she's nearly in a panic.

Some days, she naps like a champ. 2+ hours of calming silence. But the no-nap fight is getting more and more consistent. Maybe it's time for me to just accept my fate.

If you're currently thinking, "no way! don't give up naps, are you crazy?", then I have a question myself. HOW?

Do I only make her nap when she is willing?

Let her pitch a fit for 2 hours?

Search the world for a fairy who can give me sleepy dust?

Spike her milk with Benadryl? (kidding... don't call the authorities)

I'm at a complete loss here. And my overachiever personality is not handling this well. I can't deal with ignorance. And boy, do I feel like a dummy right now. I can't outwit a kid who isn't even two yet?

Apparently not.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Why do I work so hard?

This is why.


She makes all the effort, exhaustion, and frustration soooo worth it.

What more can I ask for?
I'm in love with my daughter.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This mommy is thankful for sunshine!

Today I was a very Happy Mom.
The SUN came out! Highs in the 60s make for a glorious February day. Lots of playtime at the (oh so crowded!) playground. Even more outdoor playtime at home. Amelia enjoyed herself, napped well from so much activity, and went to bed by 8:30.

Tonight I was a Working Mom.
Busy with some reports for work. Not very exciting to write about... but I got something done which will allow me to spend more time with Amelia tomorrow.

Somewhere in there I was the Perfect Mom.
I did something right. I know I did! So maybe I wasn't as close to perfect as I have/could have been, but today was fun and we're all smiling.

What more could a mommy ask for?

Maybe another day of weekend. That would be nice.

Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Friday! And I'm going to bed.

Woah, what a day! It started out pretty well, visiting friends at my former place of employment. Amelia was all smiles and shyness. Then lunch with an awesome friend who is braving the working world as a brand new mommy.

It all went downhill at nap time. Otherwise known today as "fight the toddler for two hours to get a nap and drastically fail" time. This child turns into an angry green monster when she doesn't nap. Really!


And on another note, Claude the kitty is still pretty sick. Blood work came back totally normal, so we have no clue what is wrong. He's just on pain meds at this point. And the Amelia monster decided to torment him this evening with a laundry basket. Poor, poor buddy.

So here it is, Friday night. I'm sure many people are out to dinner, maybe a movie, possibly socializing with friends. Meanwhile, I am going to bed.

And I'm thrilled about it.

Sunshine finally in the forecast this weekend. I'll be ready to start over with a brand new sunny day. TGIF!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I came across a saying once:

"Children seldom misquote. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said."

I'm sure this will bite us many times throughout Amelia's childhood... especially since it's already starting. Today in school, Amelia stuck her finger in her nose and told her teachers and classmates, "Got boogies!". When Steve came home from work, she stuck her finger in her nose and announced, "Got boogies!". Then she proceeded to the trash can to throw away the pretend boogie. Steve was both amused and somewhat appalled at the same time. What to do?

Hee hee.

Keep in mind, this child has a runny nose practically every day from September through March. I'm constantly wiping her nose. And as happens with such things, boogers are often captured or stuck on her cheek. I always say "oh, wait! let me get the boogie". Then I throw the tissue in the trash.

I guess Amelia really does listen to me!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sometimes I forget my other kid...

Today I am also a cat mommy. I sometimes take my fatty Claude for granted. I complain about the extra efforts involved in taking care of him. I rarely change the litter box without vocalizing my displeasure in the task. I get annoyed by cat fur all over the one couch he's allowed to sit on. But now Claude is very sick. I feel bad for pushing him so far away once Amelia was born. He's a sweet kitty and has been through various medical issues in his life. And he deserves more love from his "mommy" than I've given him recently.

But... where do you draw the line in terms of medical efforts for a 10-1/2 year old, slightly handicapped, obese cat? So far we've spent about $220. He's on pain meds and we'll have test results tomorrow. I hope the tests provide us with a diagnosis, and I hope it's something easily treatable. Hearing his moans and seeing his lethargy today was heart wrenching. He's too gorgeous to suffer!


So today I did my best to be the Perfect Mom for Amelia. She napped today - woo hoo! And I put on my Happy Mom hat for some quality playtime. And as usual, juggled my Working Mom duties as well. But today I was reminded that I am also a Cat Mom. Claude's been there for me for 10-1/2 years, always a warm snuggler when I've needed a good pity party. Poor big buddy. I'll give you all the hugs you need this week... OK?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A few pics from the weekend...

Photobucket Photobucket



Today was fine... I'll give it a B+

Not much to say today. Back to the usual routine after a nice long weekend away. Amelia enjoyed school, but told me (and demonstrated) "push" once we got home. We've had very few incidents so far this year, and I'm curious what happened today. I really enjoy that she can tell me about her experiences now. In her own little one and two-word chatter, at least.

My greatest success today was surviving a no-nap day. Normally this stresses me out and I lose my patience with both Amelia and myself. But I took it in stride and Amelia has behaved quite nicely for being overly tired. Score for Mommy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby weekend!

I'm about to collapse into bed for the night, but had to catch up on my blogging! Spent the weekend in Florida with my life-long friend (since we were two!), her hubby, and their almost 3-week old baby girl. (Steve was at the Daytona 500 with his dad. It's their annual event together each year. Steve's been going for 25 years. So no, missing Valentine's Day was not a big deal. I'm used to it.)

I really enjoyed seeing the new baby and spending time with a new mommy. In a way, it was "fun" to relive those days of sleeplessness and new learnings. I have nearly forgotten that Amelia was ever that small. And this new sweetie seems to have a nice healthy appetite - just like my Amelia! She's driving her mom crazy with feedings right now, but maybe she'll be good to her parents and love veggies one day like mine does.

Although my friend is doing an awesome job already (Really! I was quite impressed), it was nice to have those little chats about our worries and challenges. I often feel very bad about how I'm doing as a mom. I feel like I fail too often at being all that I want to be. But as I put all this extra thought into each day with my writing, I am becoming more & more comfortable with the fact that it's OK to let one, two, or even all three of my mommy personas slide - just a bit - to make the bigger picture what it needs to be that day.

To finish off my update, we had a great time together. Amelia was a wonderful little babysitter for her brand new friend. She brought over toys and pacifiers when the baby cried and had endearing curiosity about everything going on. It almost made me think I could handle having another baby. ALMOST. But not yet.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mommy needed the ice cream sundae... really!

I'm enjoying a hot fudge sundae from McDonald's right now. I've been craving ice cream for nearly a week, and this oh-so-delicious sundae is making me oh-so-very-happy.

Tonight was open house at Amelia's school. She is officially registered for Tues/Thurs 9:00-4:00 for 12 straight months starting September. Is it normal that I get that little panic feeling each time I go to one of these school functions?

Last year it was the tables & chairs. No way was my active girl going to sit in a chair! (You know what... she totally does. And she loves it.)

This year, I'm cutting back one day of school but increasing her hours. She'll be doing "late stay" until 4:00. This means she'll be expected to nap at school. On a little mat. Next to other kids.

Could this spell disaster for my busybody little girl? Even at home, she's hit-or-miss with her naps. And absolutely nothing can be going on within 100 feet of her room. And absolute silence is required. Hmmmmm....

But then again, maybe she'll learn something. These teachers worked magic with her this year. Why shouldn't I expect the same next year?

I know I should be optimistic about everything this year. But that little panic feeling keeps coming back. Mixed with a good dose of mommy guilt. And a struggle to give up more control. Wow, school is so much harder for mommies than it is for kids!

This is why I finally broke down and got my hot fudge sundae. I drove directly from open house to the drive-thru. I deserve it!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Proud mommy of a genius girl!

(Disclaimer: The following post is not even remotely unbiased.
It's written by a mommy who thinks her kid is the best person in the world.)

Amelia truly astounds me every day by the things she knows and does.

This girl has a memory like nothing I've ever seen. Maybe all little kids have this kind of memory... but I like to think Amelia is just a super genius. Hey, I'm allowed to be subjective. I'm the mom.

My parents came for a quick one-night visit as they pass through on their way to a Florida vacation. They used Valentine's Day as an excuse to spoil Amelia with even more gifts and toys. And non-stop attention.

One of Amelia's new gifts was a set of picture/letter flash cards. A for apple, B for bee, C for car - 52 in all, with uppercase and lowercase letters. I was going through the deck one by one, showing Amelia all the pictures. At 22 months old, she already knew a word for almost every single picture! She got maybe 10 wrong out of the whole deck.

In rapid-fire succession, Amelia yelled out "airplane! apple! bee! cat! car! girl! house! octopus! spider! tree!", and so on. That alone impressed the heck out of me. I knew Amelia had a lot of words already, but hearing her spout them off one by one and attach them to a correct picture was awesome.

There were several she didn't know. Like queen. Or pear. Or kite. I told her those words. Then she played this game all over again with her grandma. We cheered her on with every correct word and repeated for a second time the ones she did not know.

A couple hours later, as we were eating dinner together, Amelia started saying "queen! pear! kite!", etc. She repeated several of the new words we'd taught her earlier that evening. And when we got home, she played with the flashcards again - and got even more correct than she had before. She absolutely, without a doubt, knows at least 5 brand new words! And she learned them after seeing the picture and hearing the word only twice. Her memory and ability to learn quickly is really fascinating.

I think she's brilliant. :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh, the decisions! Classes & Parties...

This week we're registering Amelia for next year's preschool class. I cannot believe she's already signing up for a 2's class! How can she be so old already?

I spent a good bit of time over the weekend trying to choose between all the options her school offers. If they'll let us start with the July summer program, Amelia will begin attending Tues & Thurs only, but from 9:00 - 4:00 (instead of 9:30-1:30). This extra time will make up for my loss of a school day (Wednesday), and allow me to be in the office for a couple more hours when I do go in. I'm nervous about how she'll handle the nap time, but otherwise think she will do wonderfully.

Steve & I were not planning on having a birthday party for Amelia this year. But after talking to friends and my sister (who really wants to attend a party for her niece), I decided that we will host a party again this year. The local park/playground already has their pavillions booked, and all the other locations I found were just too much money. I'd rather spend more on parties in the future when she really cares and will remember it all. So I'm in party planning mode again!

Last year I needed everything to be absolutely perfect. I wanted everyone to walk away from the party talking about how cute & unique it was. Now I wonder... why? This year, as I honor my pact to myself for more balance, I understand that I can go the simple route and the day will be just as fun. I'm hoping for nice weather so we can set up some tables in the yard. I want a bubble machine so the kids can enjoy popping & running through the cloud of shimmery bubbles. I want a cute cake, and maybe we'll order pizzas. Done. And Amelia will think it was just as magical a day as she had last year. I'm excited for party day now!!!

Still can't believe my little baby girl is going to be TWO. Thirty-nine days left before her birthday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Getting better at balancing!

I've really made a conscious effort to manage my life over the past few weeks, and I do think it's made a difference.

I'm never going to stop trying to be "perfect" - call me anal, if you will. I want the best of everything for my girl. I want to follow all the rules to make sure she learns what she needs to learn and has fun doing it.

I don't see the Working Mommy role leaving anytime soon. I need that bit of outside purpose in my life. I need to stay current in the industry. And I don't want to give up the extra mad money I'm able to earn.

But in order to be the Happy Mommy, I knew I had to let little bit of each of these go. I've set a time each evening to completely stop working - no checking email, no thinking about the latest crisis, etc. Just like walking out of an office for the day, I have to walk away from that part of my life. And I have to relax Amelia's "rules" a little bit. She's 22 months old, not 22 years old. She can't understand everything we want of her just yet. She's trying, and we have to be happy with that. She's a brilliant and sweet little lady, even if she does test me with her spunk and curiosity.

We had a fantastic weekend, even if the weather once again did not cooperate. We had some playtime at the mall yesterday and went to the fantastic indoor playspace this morning. Amelia is still afraid of the slides, but she really loves to bounce! We had a nice time. We live for weekends!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is there room for Sad Mommy in here?

Today started awesome - I got my home cleaned! This wonderful housekeeper was here for 5 1/2 hours!!!! Everything is dust-free and sparkling. I may never go to the spa again. For the same money, if not a little less, this feels just as good. Really!

But as the day went on, it turned bad. Really bad.

A high school friend passed away suddenly today. Apparently of a heart attack. He was 31 years old. I'd lost touch with him for several years, but remember him well. We occasionally walked together after school to where our moms worked. He took me on a Valentine's Day date once. He held my hand on a church bus trip. He sat with me in the hallway at school after lunch. He was the first one to notice when I got my braces off, and he said "Wow. You look beautiful." I'll never forget that. He was a football player and hung out with the popular crowd. But for a time, until the pressures of popularity and cliques changed both of us, he liked ME. He was a sweet and funny person and he will be missed. My heart aches for his mom who was my 4th grade teacher. And also for his father, brother, and all who loved him. Such terrible news. He meant a lot to me throughout some really difficult teenage years.

Amelia was a nightmare all afternoon. Because the housekeeper was still here, Amelia did not nap. Which turned her into a grumpy, crying disaster of a child. I love her with all my heart, but WOW. For such a little person, she can knock me down good.

And she threw my cell phone in the toilet tonight.

Steve is working late. I put Amelia to bed early. I'm going to crawl in bed with a book and hope this day ends quietly, with promise of a much better tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Retreat into the work-at-home mommy's mind

Work-at-home moms really don't get enough credit.

Stay-at-home moms are praised for their devotion to their families and personal sacrifice (as they should be).

Working moms are looked upon as the "have it all", savvy, modern women of today (again, well deserved).

But until people try to do regular office work with a toddler hanging off their arm, trying to crawl in their lap, or destroying something in the house, I don't think this particular balancing act is easy to comprehend. Oh - and don't even get me started on trying to have a work-related phone conversation with an almost two-year-old in the same room. Thank goodness for email!

I'm starting to think I should drop Amelia off at random offices around town to see how different folks handle her while simultaneously satisfying the needs of bosses and clients. Maybe I'd learn a trick or two.

My husband asks me why I've added this blog to my ever-growing list of things to do. Sure, it seems like a project at times. But more often than not, I look at this blogging time as my way to capture a few precious moments each day where I may retreat into my mind and leave everything else behind. Whether anyone enjoys reading or not, it's therapeutic to spill out the contents of my brain on a daily basis. My husband should be happy; I'm probably bugging him a lot less because of it!

Today my mind is trying to figure out how to add some structure and sanity back into my work days. I know, I know, structure is not exactly a toddler-friendly word. But I'm wearing myself down trying to be all things to all people. The money I bring in by working is extremely helpful to our household. We're blessed with a lot of things. And honestly, I'm not willing to give up the little luxuries I'm able to enjoy here & there. Work also keeps me current in my industry so I can make an easier transition back into that world someday. But I think it's time I set my foot down. Here's the plan:
I should determine the work hours that balance best with Amelia's needs.

I should tell everyone I work with/for that this is how it's going to be.

I then pray I don't get let go because of it.

Then I stick to my schedule no matter what.

I know I'm the one at fault most of the time, checking email at all hours. I'm going to figure out a way to fix that. And I need to concentrate more on managing the expectations of others and less on jumping through hoops to exceed expectations.

One set of arms tugging on me at a time would be nice.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mommy loves Amelia

Sometimes I let my patience issues turn into crankiness.

Sometimes I worry so much about work issues that I push her aside more times than I should.

Sometimes I allow the control freak in me to make things harder than they really should be.

But when my girl really needs me, nothing will keep me from giving her everything I possibly can. Having such a sick little one is difficult. It's tiring, emotionally draining, and stressful. Amelia had a better day yesterday, but she's still refusing almost all food. Her spunk and humor are not quite there, and I can tell she just wants quiet time with me. We watched a lot of TV together yesterday. Not the most educational of days, but it made her happy. And I found some peace in a slower day where my priority was crystal clear.

I love this girl with all my heart. And I'll strive every single day to make sure she knows it.
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