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!"