Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Leaving the Light On

Toward the end of the summer, I started a part-time job a few evenings a week.
A few evenings a week that take me away from home ... from Daddy, the Beagle, and you.

On top of working full-time already.
I did it for a million reasons ... you're a big one!

It's been a few months, and we've found a groove with the change in our routine. You're thriving ... watching a little too much basketball, in my opinion ... but that's to be expected in the House of Hoops! You've always been a Daddy's girl.

Who looks out for her Mama.

Last night, as Daddy readied you for bed, you turned on the entryway light ... for me.



Photo credit

All by yourself. You remembered to remember me, when I come home in the dark.

I am so lucky to have your light shining in my life, little girl.
Thanks for leaving the light on for me.

Mama loves.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ugly Monster

For Halloween, you were gifted an 'Ugly Doll', a delightful monster-type stuffed pal that is way more cute than ugly. The way you're obsessed with monsters in Scooby, and in movies, your Grandma G. thought you needed this guy in your life.

And, in your true resourceful nature, you've found the perfect use for your Ugly Doll, which you refer to as your monster pillow:



Sweet dreams, my little monster-lovin' girlie!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What You Have

Happy Thanksgiving, village. I hope your days are spent with your favorite people, doing your favorite things.

This year ... the lil' dude is thankful for: (these are true answers)
- eyeballs
- the Beagle
- Daddy
- Mama
- all grandparents
- NaNa
- and, all her littles & besties

Mama is thankful for:
- her besties
- their wine
- scarves
- old recipes
- free time
- spending the holidays with her favorite 79-year old, ever. Grandma!
- her healthy little family

The Dad is thankful for: (again, true answers)
- his family
- health
- the 316 (house/life)
- jobs
- his daughter being a Timberwolves & 'Cuse fan, who can identify players
- friends
- getting the Christmas lights on the house before the ice & snow arrived

And, the Beagle is thankful for:
- long weekends
- the lil' dude's dropsies on the kitchen floor
- his bed
- his doghouse
- leftovers
- the woods
- pig ears

To our family from yours- happy grateful to be day!

"Appreciate what you have." ~ Warren Brokering

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Workshop

It's the time of year when Mama's brain starts working overtime thinking of all the holiday and birthday love to organize and prepare. It's easy to say from Thanksgiving week through Christmas, I will not fully sleep at night, as I prepare for the madness and wonderfulness that is this time of year!



I am most excited about my little helper this year, who actually possesses the desire and ability to help her crazy Mama with projects. We started last night by hand-making Christmas labels. I had been saving all my Starbucks sleeves to repurpose into gift tags. They turned out adorable ... great coffee + recycling = holiday happiness!



But what turned out better, was the experience I had with my daughter by my side.
My daughter who keeps asking if TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY YET?
So yeah, it appears I passed on my crazy celebration gene ... just a little!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mittens

You're my winter baby. In the moments just preceding your entrance into this world, your Grandma G. had two giant gift bags in the entryway to grab on her and Papa's trip to see your face for the first time. One bag was blue, and the other one, the one you received, was pink.

The bag was a sweet explosion of pink and femininity- handmade quilts and afghans, dresses, boots with the fur, books, photo albums, leggings, and the tiniest, sweetest winter hat and pair of baby mittens I'd ever seen. These baby gifts were items she had been collecting for years and years, waiting for the just right moment when she finally had a You to gift.



You wore the hat until it was too small. Here's you on New Year's Eve, 2007, as you attended your first party. I looked and I looked for a photo of you wearing the tiny mittens, which matched the hat perfectly, and were strung together. But, no picture exists, because you did NOT like mittens when you were three weeks old. I would flip back the fleece cover of your carseat and find your tiny pink hands had once again escaped the confines of your soft, sweet mittens. You always have been a determined little human.



And now, three years later, not much has changed. Your mittens are bigger of course, and no longer are strung together by a tethering piece of yarn. Yet, you still do not care for them. We fight this battle everyday. Last weekend, when we played outside, I found you in the backyard, your pink hands bare against the cold and wet snow, and your mittens, abandoned here on the deck stairs.

'Lil' dude, you have to wear your mittens outside," I said.
No Mama. It's too hard for me. I can't use my hands when I wear them things.

How come so much has changed, yet, nothing really has?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Man & the Garbage

We've never let you bring your NaNa to daycare, and as you grew bigger and bigger, this was something you just accepted. You could bring it with you on the way in, but once we reached the driveway, you would bury your face in your pink blanket and give the biggest inhale ever, as if its scent would carry you through the day until you could be reunited.

It didn't take you long to adopt a blanket at daycare that acted like your pseudo-NaNa. Pink in color and emblazoned with Dora, your Daycare NaNa did its trick to comfort, pacify, and occupy you.

One day last week, you told Daddy your Dora NaNa was missing. That a man put it in the garbage. He didn't put a lot of stock into your story, because let's be honest, your imagination is epic. As the week wore on, we learned Dora was in fact missing, and you were insistent it was gone.

A few days later, I received an email from your beloved Daycare Lady with this photo, and this note:



"I found it!!!!!
And it was not in the garbage. And the lil' dude sure knows she is loved because I ripped the house apart the last three days looking for it. With her on my tail."

And all is right with the world again!

Thanks Daycare Lady ... you're our super heroine in a pink cape and mask!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beautiful

A few mornings ago, you and I were getting ready together in the bathroom. You saw me curling my hair, and asked what I was doing.

"Curling my hair. Does it look nice?" I asked.

NO! you shouted emphatically. I heard the Dad start to snicker from the bedroom.

But before I could speak to the insensitivity of what you said, you added, It looks beeeeeeeeeeaaaaaauuuuuuuutifuuuuuul! drawing out each sweet syllable.

You're lucky I didn't have mascara on yet.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

First Snowfall

On the very first snowfall of the season ...



There was a girl ...
Who donned her boots, hats, and mittens ...



For some snowman-making magic ...



There was a dog ...
Who never leaves the girl's side ...



And when the girl introduced the dog ...



To her snowman ...



The very first snowfall of the season ...
Was forever marred.

Friday, November 12, 2010

V

Five years ago today, I became a wife.

His wife.

When I was younger, and single, I never knew what people meant when they said they love their spouse more today than they did the day they married them. For me, hearing that, made me feel bad for those people, like I felt like they were getting slighted in their marriages. How can you not absolutely love your spouse 100% on your wedding day?

Until, that is, I got married, and lived the years in my marriage.

There's no way to prepare yourself for this. Wedding days are only a down-payment of the love and commitment you'll put toward your life together. It's the smallest, smallest, fraction of what you'll be as the long days and quick years stack up. It's the biggest act of blind faith you'll ever commit.



And if you're lucky, as lucky as I am ... you'll have taken that flying leap of faith and promised commitment with someone like I have.

Someone who no matter what the circumstance, says, "we'll figure it out. We'll get through it. We'll prepare for it. We'll manage it," so there is no doubt in your mind that you'll ever be alone.

Someone whose emails and texts that say, "God, I love you," unglue you. The love contained. The passion.

Someone who knows you better than you know yourself, but doesn't gloat about it. The silent strength.

Someone like my husband.

Five years ago, we got married in front of 268 of our family and friends. We boarded a plane for Maui two days later, still punch-drunk on newlywed love and exhaustion. We talked about five years from then, how we would return to the land of sun, Mai Tais, and never-ending ocean.

Except, we're not returning. Not this year, not yet.
And you know what? That does not matter.
I'd spend our anniversary at a Super 8 in Wahpeton, North Dakota, if it meant spending it with you.

Instead, we're heading to a sweet, quiet town on the river between our state and the next.
Just the two of us.

Me, more in love with you, than the day I married you.

Wifey loves.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vet·er·an

Definition of VETERAN

1
a : an old soldier of long service
b : a former member of the armed forces
2
: a person of long experience usually in some occupation or skill (as politics or the arts)
— veteran adjective


A post I wrote on Memorial Day, in 2009:

Not just today, Memorial Day, but every day. Every day I think about both of my grandfathers, wishing I could be close enough to their grave sites to touch the cool stone bearing their name and service information, close enough to watch the lil' dude as she squats to feel the flowers left behind.


For my Grandpa D., you spoiled me, your only granddaughter, each day you were alive. I can still hear your laugh in my head.


For my Grandpa R., you had the biggest heart of anyone I've known. I hope you know how proud I am of the fight you put up.

So not just today. Every day. Thank you both for the honor you did our families and the commitment you served. I am blessed to be your granddaughter.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letter from Mama, v35



Well, here it is. The very last letter I will write to my two-year old daughter. You'll be three a month from today. It makes me cry, but they are (mostly!) happy tears. These 35 months have been the very best of my life, and each day I am grateful I was chosen to be your Mama. You're such a gift to me, Daddy, the Beagle, our families, and your village. I can't think of one person who doesn't love you, and I don't blame them! Like trick-or-treating last weekend with Daddy ... even the neighbors love you, as you came home bearing a pumpkin overflowing with love in sugar form. Your heart, your spirit, your gratitude, your light, your will. You are a fiery little package at 32 pounds.

Still, the last thing I do before I go to bed is go in and check on you. You generally are asleep on your back or side, with NaNa right up by your face, and one or both feet sticking out of the covers. That's exactly how I sleep. It makes me smile. But, recently, I find your foot, and watch and watch and watch until it connects to the rest of your body and you are SUCH a big girl. I bet by next summer you'll need a real bed, that Daddy will be dismantling your toddler bed and you'll ask him with a trembling lip, where'd the other one go? just as you did when we took down your crib. That's what happens in life- we outgrow things and get bigger and bigger. It can be hard, there's no doubt, but at least we are lucky enough to be on this side of it. Growing is good, it's a gift. It's just really hard on your Mama sometimes!

Tomorrow morning I am taking a "Cradle to School: Ready to Learn" class for parents of children ages birth through five. You're closer to five than you are to birth! Mama needs a little preparation for the next stage of life, I think. It's mind boggling, but doesn't necessarily surprise me you're already pushing towards those stages. Daddy and I continually talk about how adept and smart you are. How perceptive you are of your surroundings. How even the smallest details fail to escape you. You have a iron-clad memory and shock me with everyday connections, like pointing out vehicles on the roads that match the ones everyone in your village drive. It's freaky ... and fantastic. For the past month, you've gotten into the true spirit of the holidays and your impending birthday, by poring over magazines and catalogues full of toys. Seriously, at dinner tonight, you sat at the counter with your Pottery Barn Kids, American Girl, Fisher Price, and Little Tikes pages and told about EVERYTHING that was awesome, in your opinion. Your focus and calmness reminds me of your buddy Big T and the way he studies and obsesses over sports pages, magazines, and programs. You're just like him, in that sense, only as it relates to consumerism.

One more month, lil' dude. I know you're ready.
I am getting there ... too.

Mama loves.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Breaking Bread

Today, I am going to be one of those people who blogs about their animals like they're children.

Because, the BeagleWeagle is my wittle, bittle, baby Brown doggie woggy!

Sick.

Speaking of, he is. That's what you get for wrestling an entire loaf of wheat bread onto the kitchen floor, and McGyvering it open with your teeth.

Last night, the Dad found the remaining 1/3 of the loaf, still in the plastic bag, in his dog dish.

In his dog dish! Like ... 'hey, Humans. Caretakers of mine? Yeah, listen. I am Too. Full. to eat the rest of this loaf of bread, but I so call DIBS on it for later.'

He was one bloated Beagle the rest of the evening. As he lay in his bed later, on my side of the bed, snoring, his stomach made some awful sounds. I am surprised, and grateful, those sounds led to nothing.

This morning, I told the lil' dude all about her fat doggy and his misbehavior. Her lip began to tremble ... she looked at me with her huge, sad hazel eyes and said, that was MY bread!

Oh yeah, have I mentioned we're in THAT stage now?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dry It

You've added a new request to your bedtime routine now. You demand your hair be dried before getting tucked in.
One morning you woke up, and told Daddy you didn't like it when your pillow got wet.

I don't blame you one bit! No one likes a soggy bed.



In the less-than-five minutes it takes to dry your new 'do, you and I sure do have a blast. You sing and scrunch your face into weird contortions in the mirror and whip your head around dramatically. I know I'll remember this forever, you on the sink in your favorite pajamas, holding a stuffed pal and singing your ABC's at full throttle. The feel and scent of your clean, slippery hair, and your pink cheeks and neck, flushed from the dryer's heat.

And on the nights I can't tuck you in, Daddy is there in my place, doing his thing for his best girl.
The thought of that kills me dead, right there.

I can't think of anything sweeter!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What if God Was One of Us

Yesterday was Reformation Sunday, and the lil' dude and I learned about Martin Luther in Sunday School.

The teacher told the class how Martin Luther wanted to see change in his church. He wrote a letter, posted it on the door of the All Saints church, and went onto make history. She asked each of her students yesterday to draw their vision of God to hang on the door of the church, in honor of the day.

The lil' dude and I got busy- her God has a brown, oval face, pink, curly hair, big teeth with a tongue, and pink eyes.

And, a Timberwolves t-shirt.



Bless her heart. And His.