Friday, April 29, 2011

Fight. Fear. Guilt.

My pounding head could not withstand another moment of whining. My patience was stretched too thin, like a rubber band about sting my skin with a sudden snap. The pressure expanded in my chest; was I nearing a heart attack at age 32?



It was fall. 2010.

I was in the midst of my worst mommy moment.



Amelia was nearing 2 1/2 years old. She was having difficulty dealing with boundaries, rules. She could likely feel the stress that entered our household earlier that summer when her aunt had a bad accident and became paralyzed. Our summer was full of concerned houseguests, hospital visits, long weekend days at the rehab center. Amelia was placed in front of a movie a few times too many. She was brushed aside more often than she would like.

My daughter lashed out in anger when things didn't go her way. Rage erupted from her small body and discharged through her hands, fingernails, and teeth. I was afraid of her.

I cried. I worried. Did I do something terribly wrong to create such a monster? I had physical bruises and scratches. I was abused by my own young child.

Finally, my patience could take no more. My stress level was through the roof. One additional outburst from Amelia, and I lost my cool. I yelled. I spanked. I dumped her in her room. As she tried to escape to dig those little claws near my skin, I pushed her back. I pushed her with more force than intended. She fell backward into her room. For a moment, her rage ceased. She looked up at me with those big blue eyes, and I saw the hurt. I felt her fear. I had lost my grip on the calm Mommy voice. I let my stress level go too far. I frightened my child.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Can we go NOW?

Dreaming of our upcoming vacation!

On my agenda? Hours in the pool. Maybe a fruity drink or two.





Photo credits: Hilton Hotels and RGBStock.com

Monday, April 25, 2011

A taste of peace

Ahhh, springtime in the mountains.

We spent our Easter weekend surrounded by greens, reds, and whites. Dogwoods in full bloom. Huge azaleas bursting with red and hot pink flowers. Sunday was an absolutely gorgeous day with clear skies and sunshine. You could see the surrounding mountains miles away.


Amelia's eyes sparkled with excitement when she awoke and realized it was time to check the purple basket she so gently placed beside the door 11 hours earlier. She giggled with happiness as she hugged her new Miss Bunny and played with her funny hopping chick. She wiped her chocolatey mouth on the back of her hand as she finished off the first bunny treat.


Later that morning, we tested her patience at church. We attended a service with family, at a church we had not previously visited. The sermon was a bit long. For us, and especially for Amelia.

"Mommy!", she exclaimed mid-sermon (not quietly), "He is talking too much!" I could see a couple grins and stifled giggles from the people directly in front of us.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Time to feel

Today is Good Friday. The day in the Christian calendar to reflect upon an ultimate sacrifice. And in a few days, we will celebrate the joy of Easter.

My heart is heavy this week from too many personal tragedies among friends. Babies dying before opening their eyes to the light of day. A child battling the effects of chemotherapy. Moms trying to find the strength to overcome their own health issues. Elderly loved ones nearing the end of their lives.

I struggle to understand. My trust waivers, but I stand strong. I focus on my own blessings and give thanks. Through the long Easter weekend (maybe longer), I am going to step away. I need some time to hurt for my friends and laugh with my child. I need time to relax. A few days to unplug.

I will be back when I can write with energy again. And share more tales of the joys in life.
 


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Class of 2014...

- - - - - - -
To the graduating class of 2014,

Pick a career that will allow you to retire early.

Sincerely,
Burned out 30-something
- - - - - - -


Working years are long. Stressful. Monotonous. I don't remember my father working the kind of hours most of us are subjected to these days. Somehow, in the past 10+ years, our society has turned rewarding careers into pressure cookers. More work, tighter deadlines, fewer employees. Low overhead. Save money.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless (almost) Wednesday: Contentment

Contentment: The state of being contented

Contented: Accepting one's situation or lifewith equanimity and satisfaction

Synonyms?
               Gratified.
               Pleased.
               Happy.


We are doing great these days.

    My girl is kind.
       She is smart.
          She is creative.
             (She is potty trained!)

We are finally moving past our nightmare called the terrible twos. I can only remember putting her in one timeout in the past three weeks!

Every night, Daddy and/or Mommy ask her, "did you get any timeouts today?"

Her face brightens and her eyes twinkle when she is able to exclaim, "No! No timeouts today!"

Kids crave praise. They want to make us happy.

Amelia makes me happy. Finally, I am having fun being Mommy.


*Definitions from Dictionary.com

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Festivities

Good Friday and Easter Sunday are coming up! We have been enjoying some gorgeous spring weather and fun holiday festivities.


Amelia's very first Easter Egg Hunt:




"All Afloat On Noah's Boat"
Amelia's first preschool performance:



Bravo!
Bravo!

These are the kind of days where nothing beats being a parent. So proud!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Can I see some ID?

My precious Amelia loves her stuffed animals. To her, they are more than just toys.

They are her best friends..


Her students...


Her babies.


A couple weeks ago, Amelia decided to throw a tea party. She helped her favorite fuzzy friends get all dressed up. She arranged them in a circle so they could converse and enjoy each other's company. Then she distributed the "teacups".



I was not invited to the tea party that morning. So I took the 25 minutes of free time to do a little computer work.

When it was time to check on the tea party again, I was shocked. This is the scene I found:


Apparently, Amelia serves more than tea in those cups! Long Island Iced Tea, perhaps?

Looks like a pretty fun party.

And I wasn't invited.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fallen star

(This is a work of fiction for The Red Dress Club)


She was on her way to the Walk of Fame.

My childhood friend.

Actress. Singer.

Superstar.


You didn’t just watch her; you could feel her. Her presence captivated every being in the room. A fly buzzing around a warm spotlight? It too, probably stopped and fell silent.

She achieved greatness – reveled in ever-glowing Broadway lights and eventually made it in Hollywood. Yet I still felt her friendship. She maintained a private connection between us somehow, the only true confidante I had ever known. My best friend.

I was afraid when she faltered. I was shattered when she crashed.

She lashed out at paparazzi. She couldn’t sleep. She turned to negative influences in a feeble attempt to regain the comfort she used to know. This shining star? Squandered her light. My poised friend? Lost her grace.

The future

What will Amelia be when she grows up?

I really don't know yet. Will she use her creativity in the arts? Her intelligence in business? Her height and beauty in fashion?

Sometimes, we get a glimpse into her future. Maybe Amelia will grow up to be a..

Teacher?


Zookeeper?


Blogger? Writer?


Or... maybe a lawyer?
(click below to view the video)



This post prompted from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm a Tuesday Traveler

Pretty please... send some love over to Carrie With Children today! My recent post about Atlanta family activities is featured as today's Tuesday Traveler.
(click the button below to visit)


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Monday, April 11, 2011

An extended family summer

Get up! No lounging in bed today!

I opened my eyes to the sun peeking through the blinds and a smile stretched across my young face. It was not going to be a run-of-the-mill Saturday. Our annual neighborhood picnic was set to begin just before lunchtime. It was always a special day, one I looked forward to year after year. This year? This year was going to be even better. My cousins were visiting from Ohio and would share in the cul-de-sac festivities just outside my front door.

I scarfed down my cereal and giggled at Saturday morning cartoons. The clock ticked and tocked until, finally, it was nearly 10:30. I popped up from the floor, tossing my pillow on the couch. Then I, along with my sister and cousins, bounded down the front porch steps to watch the picnic preparations.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Birthday Fun

I apologize in advance for my lack of creativity on this one, but we're still recovering from a whirlwind birthday weekend. Amelia is officially a 3-year-old. She had a great time being spoiled by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The weather decided to cooperate so we could gather with neighbors, family, and Amelia's BFFs at a nearby park for playtime and cake. My girl is spoiled rotten, but soooo happy!

Weekends like this remind us how blessed we are to be parents.

A special thank you shout-out to BuildASign.com for Amelia's birthday signs! Our girl loved the custom signs on her big day.
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Click the photo to see all their fantastic sign and banner options.


Some highlights of our party weekend:

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A life-size Minnie Mouse balloon!


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Ready.... Aim....


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FIRE!


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Playground time


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Yummy Publix cake - Minnie Mouse, of course!


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Sugar and spice - sweet girls

Here's to a great 2011! Love you, my precious daughter.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Put on your party hats!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my spunky, hilarious, brilliant, and beautiful daughter!

2008...


2009...


2010...



2011 - all grown up!  

Princess Amelia,

Mommy and Daddy love you so much! We wish you a very happy birthday. Watching you grow and learn has been the greatest joy in our lives. We are so proud of our 3-year-old!

Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Does neon make me look fat?

November 2007.
Babymoon.

A chance to get away from it all and celebrate our last big vacation before the arrival of our bundle of joy.

Whose bright idea was it to go to Las Vegas?

A pregnant woman in Las Vegas fits in about as well as a small-town country girl without a penny to spend.

As my husband and I snaked our way through the crowded Vegas sidewalks, I felt enormous. Amidst all the young and pretty people, I was a whale. My feet were aching and my jacket barely zipped over my protruding belly. The guys handing out those little strip club cards? Took one look at me and quickly pulled in their outstretched arms. I could barely even entertain myself at the roulette wheel for fear of choking my baby with secondhand smoke.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Get outside!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pier 1. All opinions are 100% mine.

There is nothing like a cold and snowy winter to make me celebrate springtime. I am thankful for the sun, the flowers, and the playground fun. The stores replace blankets and fireplace accessories with outdoor furnishings, colorful floral decor, and dinnerware fit for joyous entertaining.
Amelia and I spend a lot of time outdoors in the spring. We take walks to the neighborhood duck pond and romp in the backyard. I have a dream to one day transform our small, plain backyard into a cozy place to relax while I watch her play. 
Have you seen the fabulous seasonal items at Pier 1? I have. This outdoor swing is my dream item. I can just see myself curling up with a book, swinging gently, while my girl giggles and plays on her slide.


Or perhaps this chair? It looks incredibly comfortable!

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Or, I could go with colorful cheer. These chairs and outdoor stools make me grin:

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I don't know if I will get a chance to realize my outdoor seating dreams this year, but I definitely want this lovely new doormat:
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I might as well make our front door welcoming and colorful!
To all my readers, I wish you a happy and cheerful spring. Check out Pier 1 when you have a chance. You'll be glad you did! They have just about everything to spruce up your decor - inside and out.
You can also join the Pier 1 Tweetups:
Atlanta - April 5
NYC - April 20
Visit Sponsor's Site

The first time

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The first time I tucked you in, wonder outweighed fatigue. I could not sleep because I couldn't take my eyes off you.

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The first time you rode in a car, you slept through it. For me, the world became a frightening place to drive.

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The first time Daddy danced with you, I melted.

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The first time you walked, I cheered you on.

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The first time you rode a horse, I held on tight.

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The first time you walked far from my side, I was proud and a little bit sad.

In a few days, you become a three-year-old. Whatever firsts may come our way over the upcoming years, two things are certain:

(1) I will always be there because you are always in my heart

(2) I will always be your cheerleader because I am proud of you

Happy almost birthday, my princess! I love you always and  forever.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Springtime in the ATL

You may not immediately think of Atlanta as a great family vacation destination, but look closer! My city has so much to offer. Great restaurants, nightlife, and fantastic outdoor activities and museums for families.

I admit, I am a suburbanite at heart. I don't venture into the city very often, opting instead for the comforts of home and the convenient shopping in the 'burbs. But since having a small child to entertain, we've found ourselves in the city so much more often. Springtime in the ATL is gorgeous! We have mild, sunny days before the heat of summer kicks in.

Here are my Top 5 Family Activities in Atlanta:

  • The Georgia Aquarium - Whale sharks, beluga whales, tropical fish in all colors of the rainbow, adorable sea otters, penguins, and more. The highlight of the GA Aquarium? No question, it's the massive viewing area the whale sharks, hammerheads, and giant groupers call home. I could sit for hours in front of that wall of fish; it has such a calming effect. Also not to miss? The brand new AT&T Dolphin Tales show! Opened to the public on April 2nd, this show includes drama, music, and high-flying dolphin stars. We were invited to a sneak preview of the show on April 1st. It was a lot of fun! Some elements are a little bit scary for small children, but my 3-year grasped my hand and did just fine. (Thinking of visiting the GA Aquarium? Here's a tip... go early! The aquarium can get very crowded in the afternoon, and there are several small windows for viewing throughout the facility. In large crowds, these areas can become more frustrating than fascinating. So get there early!)
 
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