Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bootacular!



Happy BOO day!
We're ready to settle in and watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with the lil' dude (and her GIANT bucket of sugar!)



And ... the lil' dude alligator extraordinaire!

Happy haunting.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sneak Peek

At the lil' dude's house, we've got Halloween on lock.

Any guesses as to what she'll be dressed as this year?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hoard

I know why people become those crazy, out of control hoarders.

It's because they have children.

Yesterday I ventured into the rafters above the garage in search of a t-shirt the lil' dude wore last fall for an event later this week. Picture the scene in Christmas Vacation where Clark is rifling through junk in his attic, and that was me for awhile yesterday. I have saved every single thing my nearly-three daughter has ever owned. I'll remind you she is an only child, and only grandchild. Her Godfather manages a shoe store, and her Fairy Godmother can't show up without something in hand. Imagine what our rafters look like.

Out in the open is her tiny bathtub, a Bumbo seat, booster seat, highchair, infant car seat, two bases, a swing, an exersaucer, a bouncy seat, a stroller, and a vintage school desk I haven't restored for her yet. What's more vast are the rainbow colored Rubbermaid totes and bins bearing all the rest of her stuff. After the first 6 or 8 totes, I got smarter about my cataloguing. I started labeling the tops with a Sharpie: 3-month onesies. Bird costume. Receiving blankets. Pacifiers. Bottles. Swimsuits. Crocs. Board books. Boston Red Sox hoodie. Jungle gym. Boppy pillow. Her first Columbia snowsuit. All her mini-Uggs. 9-month onesies. Her first Easter, birthday, and Christmas dresses. All her first bibs Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and birthday. Her first rubber duckies and foam bathtub insert. Burp rags, first jeans from Auntie H., Carhartt bib overalls from JW's daddy, tiny blue lifejacket, and handmade baby gifts from co-workers.

This is why people hoard.

How on earth am I ever going to downsize all of her stuff? How can I ever part with any of the tiny items that still smell like Dreft all these months, (and years) later?

How am I ever going to explain to her when she turns 18 that I have seven storage units full of Rubbermaid bearing her name and my memories?

It's tied to the same, insane mechanism in my brain that made it hard for me to part with my old cellphone, the pink Razr I had right next to me when I delivered her. It's the phone I used to text out her name for the first time, and to snap pictures of her chubby cheeks to show her village. It's the phone I bawled into when I talked to my own Mama when I was still pregnant and she was Never Coming Out a week (or so!) beyond November 27.

I know all of these things are just that: things. Material things that people aren't supposed to be so consumed with. Everything that should and does matter is already housed deep inside of me where it belongs. Her first steps, words, and falls. Her first laugh, black eye, and flu. It's all in here, wrapped up in the biggest, pinkest bow and bubble wrap where I'll keep it safe forever.

The countdown to her third birthday is on, and December 7 is very quickly approaching. I am well aware of that.
Could you tell?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Summer Photos

Recently, my sweet mother-in-law emailed me some photos from a weekend in August the Dad, lil' dude, and Beagle were home.

Did you know when I am not the one to dress my daughter, or see her, I always want to know what she wore for clothing? I know. It's random and maybe a little obsessive. But I can't help it. I just want to know what I missed.

These pictures are fun for many reasons. It's beyond the midway point in October. Summer seems like it was ages ago. I wasn't with on this trip, so I got to see the lil' dude (and her outfit).

Here she is talking to to Grandma S's garden frog. I heard they had quite the conversation.


And then there's THIS picture. I still don't have the right words for this.

It was taken the first weekend in August. The lil' dude was barely beyond two and a half.

But this picture!

It's wonderful.

And terrifying.

And amazing.

And impossible.

And unbelievable.

And obvious.

The picture!


How in the world was my two and a half year old on a BIKE?

Look how long her legs were. And are, now.

The other sweet thing about the picture is that's the very street where the Dad and Uncle D. learned how to ride their bikes, too.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thank You

I have written about this before.

And last season.

And just recently.

The Minnesota Twins. This email was in my inbox this morning, and it sums everything up perfectly.


To Sunny Days. To Division Titles. To Speedy Squirrels. And to Over Three Million FAITHFUL.



2010.

It was quite the incredible year. From opening a new ballpark, to putting up 94 wins and capturing the Central Division title, it was a year that will be indelibly etched into memory.

True, the ending was not the one everyone hoped for. But as we reflect on the year, you can be certain this disappointment will only breed a deeper commitment.

It started with the opening of a new ballpark. Target Field.

A glimmering 40,000 seat testament to the beauty of outdoor baseball. A seemingly magical ballpark that opened to the waiting eyes of the faithful from every corner of Twins territory. With wonderful views and wide-open skies that were perfect for fireworks and flyovers. There were shimmering walls. Natural grass. Memorable statues. Sun-drenched outfield. Star-filled nights.

And a 100% electrified atmosphere.

And there was baseball.

Baseball as only the Twins can play.

Denard's day of three-baggers. Justin's amazing start. Frankie's pitching. Carl's 'stache and Gardy's 800th win. Numbers 573 and 574 off the bat of the ageless Jim Thome. There was Danny Valencia's beginning. There was Delmon Young and his extensive RBI collection.

There was Cuddy doing whatever it took to win, while the local hero, Joe Mauer, ripped the cover off the ball during a second-half hitting tear. And there was a new clubhouse, baptized with its first playoff champagne.

Then there were those moments that can't be scripted. A rainbow landing in right field. A falcon perched on a foul pole. A squirrel that wanted to play third base. And, of course, there was a sunny, 65-degree day in April that cosmically welcomed baseball's return to the great Minnesota outdoors.

But mostly, most importantly, there was you. Over three million of you, clad with Twins read and blue, cheering with all the gusto you have, making Target Field the greatest place in the world to be.

We are grateful.
So here's to you.
Thank you.


And just as the sun sets in the west, and the buds return to branches every spring, we'll be there again and again as the Twins take the field for another season.

Baseball is in our blood and defines our family, and we're proud of that lineage.
So here's to us.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Role Reversal

Reading to you is probably the most favorite activity we share. It's something I looked forward to while pregnant, and even before. If we're shopping and you ask for a book, you've got it. I love books so much. You take books to bed with you to read by Gloworm's light every single night. In the morning, your books are neatly stacked in a pile on your rocker.

This month, you've started reading to me at bedtime and I almost can't handle it.
You are so proud each time you turn the page.
I am so proud each time you turn the page.



It's time to pick out books, lil' dude! I say every night before 8.
It's our favorite, most magical time.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Someone

Someone got her haircut Saturday morning.
Someone made our breath catch when we looked at her.
Some one's Daddy had a little harder time with the new look.
Someone is awfully unapologetic for the brazen ways she's growing up.
Someone is surprising her parents every single day.
Someone is so loved by so many.





That someone is you!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Intent

This book was in my mailbox last week:



Bless her blonde head, she won't even see it coming.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Patch







The pumpkin patch is an annual tradition for our family. This year, you were lucky enough to have your Uncle D. join you in your hunting! Once again, you shocked my socks off when you asked where the cats were from last year! I take that as a good sign ... that your memories are triggered because you had a positive experience and so much fun last time.

You're my favorite pumpkin picker, ever.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Letter from Mama, v34



It's October and that means playoff baseball. Of course, that doesn't mean much for our beloved hometown team year after year, but nonetheless, this state is brimming with hope and on the edge of its collective seat believing again. There's such a lesson in this. We assume the opening series will end poorly. We'll remove our rally caps and pack away the gear. We'll shake our heads, sad, angry, disappointed in the way the season ended. But you know what? For the weeks between clinching the division and awaiting home-field advantage and pitching lineups, the hope took root once again. You can't help but feel yourself praying, reaffirming, predicting. It's simply human nature to have hope, to remain optimistic even when history has a nasty way of repeating itself, even when we continually have to face the giant. We're always the underdog in some sort of way, and we're always trying to slay some dragon. And those battles begin with hope. Believing in something bigger than ourselves, and giving in completely. This doesn't make us foolish, this isn't an example of insanity. This is life and how we live it. I hope you always have a burning sense of hope in your belly. Feel the fire and stoke it. For everything begins with hope.

I mentioned it earlier this week, but I think you're undergoing a change. Naps are a bygone thing of the past, though I am not convinced you don't need them. A few times a week on the 10 minute car ride home you'll pass out cold, mid-sentence. It is so sweet to have someone sleeping in their carseat again! Your face looks the same, same dimpled nose and Hollywood lashes, just less baby chub and soft lines than that of your infant profile. Yesterday morning, you absolutely lost your shit over a yellow sweater. Yes, a yellow sweater. I dressed a very sleepy you in tights and a dress, but once I got the sweater buttoned up and you woke up more, that was the end. You screamed, GET THIS THING OFF ME! so violently, I was completely surprised and taken aback at your early morning outburst at something so trivial. I removed the sweater as fast as I could, and you just sat in my lap and hugged me and cried and cried. I felt helpless; so I just held you and wiped tears and whispered Mama things to you until you calmed down. I know you struggle with communication and politeness on a daily basis, and how could you not. Life is hard. Growing up is hard, and can be scary. You're completely normal, just another little girl learning the ropes.

So far, you're doing great.
Mama loves.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Even Sunshine Burns if You Get Too Much

I don't sugarcoat things. I don't make things up. But, I have been known to over-exaggerate, it's one of my finer qualities, just ask your Dad.

Anyone reading this blog might think I assume or portray you as 100% perfect, (which you are to me), when in reality you're not. That would be impossible- you're two! Things are not always cherries and marshmallows around here- they just usually are. People have told me now that we're on the cusp of three that three is more difficult than two. I loved two and still do. We're really close to three ... and I can't help but wonder what that's going to be like. I am excited! I think you should go out of two with a bang! Go big, or go home. Like:

A. Saturday, you and your bestie E. emerged from her room covered in magic marker. You showed everyone your hands, which resembled Smurfs, then after a little examination, it was noted you were both colored all over your legs, torsos, and backs. What cute, naughty little teamwork you two have!

B. Yesterday morning, you and I sat down on the carpeted square for Bible stories at Sunday school when you ran to the corner and shouted, I DON'T WANT TO LISTEN, and proceeded to snarl, glare, and pout your way to the end. I take it you weren't ready for your day to begin when I woke up at 9:30am? Just a hunch.

C. Last night you and I were laying in your bed reading and looking at your baby pictures- at your request. It was already 20 minutes after your bedtime, so I put everything away and shut off the lights per usual. You screamed and cried and wailed for your Mama. That is weird. I promise, that never happens. I can't think of anyone who goes to bed better than you, except for the Beagle. So I went back in and picked you up and swayed with you to get your crying to stop. We kicked it old school, and it felt good. After you calmed down, I put you back in bed and ... the crying, wailing, and general unhappiness resumed. This time I shut the door and told Daddy he better go in after you. He did, and I could hear you asking for me from where I was pacing, sad-like, in the kitchen. I just didn't know what to do. He said you kept looking over his shoulder for me. SOB! That was a first, and I don't know what prompted it.

I'll remind you that no matter what, I'll love you. I don't care how many parents at Sunday school give me THAT look, or how many shirts you stain. I promise, I don't care. We're in this thing called life together. I've never had a two year old on the cusp of three who had a shitty Sunday. I am learning just as you are. I am grappling just as you are. I am trusting blindly just as you are. And when worse came to worse yesterday, we shared a gigantic piece of homemade pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing and suddenly, things were cherries and marshmallows again.

I have a Joan Collins quote on the fridge that says something like, "Never appear to be lost. If you are, head straight into the nearest bar." That's my mantra and since we're in this thing together, we might as well head into a bakery anytime we're lost, OK?

Mama loves.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Setting Sun

We had some gorgeous end-of-September days this week so the lil' dude and I took great pleasure against the evening sun as we decorated the entire driveway with art.





Her new favorite is instructing her subject to lay flat so she can run a chalk outline, then add things like hair and smiley faces to her people. I was more than happy to oblige, not caring I was still in my work clothes, or what the cars driving past thought.



That's called living without abandon.



When we were kids, my aunt and uncle had an outdoor pool. My cousin, just two years older than I, spent a lot of time home alone in the summers. His parents always told him to never swim alone- ever. Well, one hot, August day, he called my Grandma and pleaded his case: he needed to swim, and he needed her supervision. I remember her telling us the story of when he called. She looked around her kitchen. Things were baking, she was about to can green beans. She was busy. Life was happening. Yet- she said she knew the time would come when my cousin wouldn't call her to swim with him. He'd grow up.

So, she turned everything off and joined him at the pool for a memorable afternoon.

That story has never left me. When the lil' dude asked me this week to lie down the driveway, in my dry-clean only pants, car full of shopping bags, dinner ready to be prepared, toilets needing scrubbing, I just said yes, literally dropping everything.

Because I know there will be a time when she won't ask anymore. But we'll always have that evening in the setting sun.