Monday, February 27, 2012

The More Things Change, the More Things Stay the Same



I surprised the lil' dude Friday with some new mermaids for bath time. From the Dollar Store. That girl couldn't wait to get into the tub! I wish I could be more like her, reveling in the simplest and smallest of pleasures. The smile on her face when I handed her the 4 little pieces of plastic Chinese crap was priceless and unfeigned. Genuine happiness.

I watched her in the bathtub a few times this weekend, in and out of the bathroom as I completed the rest of the lists in my life. She played and sang to herself until the water ran cold. My daughter, always one to make the most out of any situation, squeezing every last drop of goodness out of everything she can. It was then as I wrestled her 39 pounds into her hooded name towel, and slathered her goosebumped body with lavender Aveeno (just as I did when she was brand-new) I realized that while she is change, change, changing on a daily basis, she's staying the exact same. The root of what makes her HER is still strongly intact deep inside.

She still loves and requests bath time. When she starts to melt in the evenings, a suggested bath is all it takes to light her face back up.

The girl will sleep 12-14 hours every night; and goes to bed without a fight.
But she's not a morning person.

She has a high tolerance for pain, sometimes it startles me how little pain and affliction appears to affect her.
(last summer, she put a pointer finger on a hot deli case, and her entire fingertip bubbled up in an angry blister. She said, Oww, to her Dad and put her finger in her mouth.)

She's a comfort seeker in her NaNa and lil' Beagle stuffed lovey. She still brings them with each morning when we leave the house, and leaves them in her carseat all day. For all I care, she can continue this practice until she's 20.

She loves to pick out books at bedtime, and insists no pages are skipped in her favorites.

She won't drink chocolate milk. Goldfish are still her #1.

She craves alone time and her independence.

She possesses absolutely no sense of urgency. (Sing it with me ... 10 days overdue ... 31.5 hours of labor ... )

She still requests special trips to her Grandparents' by herself.

Her favorite haunts are still Target, the coffee shop, library, Barnes & Noble, and Daddy's happy hour spot.

And she, absolutely without a doubt, is still my very, very most favorite there ever was.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finally



This morning the lil' dude had her 4-year-old well child appointment. About 90 days post-birthday, but we had to select a new Ped. since hers left. We were both ecstatic to see nurse K. though, who has been the lil' dude's primary weigher, stat-taker, and fawn-overer since she was 5 days old. We love her. My girl and her favorite nurse talked about school, her sparkly Toms, and horses.

First, she had a hearing and vision screening- we knew the drill since we did it at kindergarten screening last fall. The sight of my little girl, self-pirated with the eye paddle, reeling off Square! House! Circle! Circle again! Heart! made my breath catch. When did she get so big and capable?

She weighs 39 pounds- 73%.
She's 42" tall- 84%.
When asked, she stated her entire name. She mirrored the shapes the doctor drew on paper; jumped, balanced, and copied as instructed. She fell in love with Patches, the plastic giraffe reflex tool the Ped. used on her knees. She now wants one for Christmas.

And when the doctor and her were discussing preschool (since her three children are grads), the lil' dude excitedly said ...

I am not going to preschool next year! When summer is over, I'm going to KINDERGARTEN on the BUS at my NEW SCHOOL- FINALLY!

Oh shit. Oh shit for so many reasons!

1. My baby is counting down the days until she goes to Kindergarten.
2. My baby is counting down the days until she goes to Kindergarten.
3. When she sees that big shiny yellow bus on our street at 7:05am, on Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 and she's not on it, it's going to be bad, y'all. Real bad.

Oh shit for so many reasons.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Micro

Forgive me ... I am like the rest of America, capturing our everyday lives on my phone.
It's true; Instagram is my new best friend. It's is to photography what Twitter is to blogging.
Microscopic.
But more manageable, in my opinion.
There are three things I never, ever leave the house without:

My Epipen.
My iPod.
Kissing my peeps.

I'll always have Instagram at my fingertips; and in my daughter's face.



The drive on my way into town; this is where the horses roam, too. On sunny days, when they're loose, the lil' dude's grin is as big as their fences.



Putting together Daddy's retro puzzle in record-breaking time, this one hoards recognizable pieces so she can finish on her own terms. Remind me to tell you how her great-Grandma D. did this very same thing last fall, while recuperating at a nursing home. It's in her genes ...



My favorite photo of the weekend. This medium-ish dog will contort himself into all sorts of crazy positions to soak up any and all sun spots in the house.



Plastic horse love.



I want her to express her individuality anyway she wishes. With orange paint in her hair? Sure.



I water-colored for the first time since 1988. I definitely did not hate it.



Sunday School's lesson for the week: have a servant's heart. Which, she already does. That girl loves to dust, throw things away, and run the lint roller along the edges of the furniture where the Beagle rests his ample haunches.



As an infant, she was always so calm, mellow, and unflappable.
Unless you took her into a carwash.
Hell. Broke. Loose.
It still does.

Friday, February 17, 2012

How Can It Be



The February sun is becoming more and more flirtatious. We've had the best winter ever.
Well, not ever.
Since the start of WWI, though.
The mildness of this season has been good- for everyone and everything.

So, the lil' dude has already been riding her bike the past few weeks. Her and I were home alone yesterday afternoon, and after she self-requested a nap, and then slept for 3 straight hours, I kept my promise and we headed outside.

While she slept, I quickly called my Mama to ask her how to use my fabulous new French press the Dad bought me for Valentine's Day. I mentioned our impending bike ride, and she said, "She can ride her tricycle the entire walk?"

I told her no, she rides her Little Mermaid bike, a regular 2-wheeler (plus training wheels) she brought home from her grandparents' last summer.

"A real bike? How can it be?"

Trust me, I don't know the answer. She pulled on her Uggs, turned on her iPod, and I laced up my shoes and harnessed the Beagle. Away we went into that delicious sun.

And I had to really, really move it to keep up with her. She can steer, pick up pedaling when presented with an incline, and sing out loud while obeying most pedestrian traffic laws.

How can it be?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mashup

What do you get when you combine this hardcore fan of classic rock, underground rap, blues, and jazz ...



With this girl ... who'd happily spend her last $5 bill on iTunes ... who lovey, love, loves alt-folk, country, and today's Top 40?




You get Kid Rock. The best of both worlds



Seriously, this little girl dances to be the beat of her own drummer, as she should. Here she is, all the world a stage, in a customized ensemble, handpicked by herself. New Nikes. A Twins cheerleaders dress. Fuzzy sweater. Beauty & the Beast crown. Dance, dance, dancing like no one's watching.



I love her fiercely.



I bought a new (bigger!) iPod last month, and finally went through my old one to gift it to the lil' dude. I added all her playlists I've made her this far, cleaned out all the explicit lyrics songs, and loaded it up to its 8gb gills.

I've written before about my obsession with music, that it stems from my Dad, and how happily, I'd passed the gene onto my daughter. Some people's sense of smell triggers the most powerful memories; for me it's my sense of hearing. I am transported anytime I hear a particular song. I think of songs when I think of my besties, each of them has a particular song or overall artist that plays in my background when they're on my mind. The summer the Dad and I began dating is an entire playlist burned into my soul. I remember the first CD I bought: Green Day's Dookie. The first song I ever requested to be played on repeat, as I am prone to still do, was Dan Seals and Marie Osmond's Meet Me in Montana in the summer of 1985. My older cousin nannied for my brother and I, and she had that record. We played it all summer long. I fell in love with country music when I was just 5 years old.

Won't you meet me in Montana,
I wanna see the mountains in your eyes.
Woah, woah, I had all of this life I can handle,
Meet me underneath that big Montana sky.


My taste in music ranges from one end of the spectrum. The concerts I saw in 2011 are a true testament to my versatility: Backstreet Boys/New Kids on the Block, The Band Perry, Train, Maroon 5, and my all-time favorite artist, Matt Nathanson.

Country is my roots, but alt-folk is probably my desert island genre of choice. Some of my favorite are:

Matt Nathanson (obviously)
Matt Kearney
Matt Hires
Matt White
James Morrison
Brett Dennen
Peter Bradley Adams
The Civil Wars
Wakey! Wakey!
Scars on 45
Joshua James
Ingrid Michaelson
Michael Logen
The National
Elenowen
Calhoun
Trent Dabbs
Young the Giant
Joshua Radin
Joe Purdy
Gregory Alan Isakov
Missy Higgins
Erin McCarley
The Script
Lifehouse
The Fray
OneRepublic

I could go on and on.

There are TV shows I credit for finding some of my favorite artists. Hands down, and I am not embarrassed to admit, the CW's One Tree Hill probably deserves most of my credit (and gratitude!) for exposing the very best musical talent anywhere. I have watched the show since its pilot, nearly 10 year ago, and each season, I race to its website and then iTunes to find the music I just hear and now, desperately need in my life. Bands like The Avett Brothers, The Barr Brothers, Rosi Golan, Belle & Sebastian, Calexico, Citizen Cope, Dawes, Aimee Mann, Trespassers William, Tyler Hilton, Bethany Joy Lenz ... seriously, The. Best. Music. Ever.

Grey's Anatomy is another show with fabulous musical stylings. ABC's entire Music Lounge online is pretty fabulous, actually. I'm constantly memorizing lyrics or the hooks of songs I heard for the first time, trying to find out what I just heard. There's just that MOMENT when you hear a song for the first time and you KNOW you need it. Like, at the end of the The Warrior and Tommy and Brendan are fighting for the title, and The National's About Today is playing. Tears running down my face for what was the best scene of the best movie I'd seen in a long time, plus that song! That song!

I watch Glee. For the music.
I watch The Voice. For the music. (and a little for Adam Levine)
I'll watch the first season of anything that debuts on the CW. For the music.

Just writing this post about music makes me insanely happy.
Give me a roadtrip with customized playlists and Starbucks, and I'll drive for days.

Despite our stark musical differences, there are artists and bands the Dad and I can listen to simultaneously.

Johnny Cash
John Legend
Eminem
Jay-Z
The White Stripes
Foo Fighters
Alicia Keys
Paolo Nutini
Gnarls Barkley
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Tom Petty

On our bucket list is seeing any live performance at Red Rocks.

That brings me back to this diva, our musical love child. She shares both of our style and preferences when it comes to music. Her favorite bands?

Lady Gaga
Beyonce
Sugarland
Lady Antebellum
Luke Bryan
The Black Keys
Atmosphere
Jason Aldean
Train
OneRepublic
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Taylor Swift
Katy Perry

But her faaaaavorite?



Still the same, after all these years!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hearts



On the wall by the stairwell in my house hangs these glittery, pinky, lovely hearts. I love hanging the lil' dude's creations all over the house. But there's just something about coming home, and walking into the heart of the house, welcomed by the love sight.

I hope your Valentine's Day is just like that ... coming home to your favorite spaces and people, knowing that's where love lives for you.

The more glitter, the better.

Mama loves.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lane

I was rummaging through old computers in our home office yesterday afternoon looking for really old music in extinct iTunes libraries. I was a woman possessed and I didn't stop until I had what I was looking for.

Then I made the mistake of clicking on an old iPhoto library ...

And all of a sudden, it was dinnertime, my people were starving, and my eyes were wet.

Here's some of the best memories I will ever have.

My Sunday trip down memory lane started with this furry face the day we scooped him out of that fenced-in pen at the farm.
The day the Dad made me REALLY love him ... the day he admittedly didn't want a dog. But he made my Beagle dreams come true.



The rest of these pink pictures, though forever imbedded in my soul while simultaneously coursing through my veins, made me so entirely grateful ... again ... for my place on this planet.

Enjoy.
























Monday, February 6, 2012

Icing

She woke up on Saturday, took one look at the trees, and shouted with glee, there is frosting on the trees!







Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hoarders: the Preschool Edition



I have always fostered her love of her stuffed menagerie, because I admit I am (still) obsessed with stuffed animals myself.

In the corner of our bedroom sits my writing chair- a beloved college graduation gift from my parents.
Settled lovingly on top of that sits a replica of my baby blanket- my Grandma made me for my 21st birthday to "replace" my old one she made me in 1980. (I still sleep with that sucker, for the record)
That chair also holds two of my adored and best friends from childhood- a soft-bodied cloth doll my Mama made me when I was tiny- he's named Andy. And, a tan, oatmeal-textured stuffed bear with hard, knobby eyes.

The bear was again a gift from my Mama when I had pneumonia the spring of my 7th grade year. What 7th grader still receives stuffed animals and actually loves them? I was that kid. I remember being pretty sick, but more so being devastated that I was missing the start of track season. My Mama felt bad, and brought the bear home for me along with my arsenal of drugs.

Years ago, post-marriage but pre-baby, I was thrifting with my Mama and friend KAH in my parents' town when I spotted an exact replica of my oatmeal bear in an overpriced antique shop. I snatched him up; I felt the hot threat of tears, silly enough, seeing how he was abandoned along the way in his life. I rescued that stupid bear. He sits in another meaningful chair in my home to this day!

My daughter loves her stuffed animals, each and every one. She sleeps best when she is literally surrounded by her crew. As my Mama says, "I have never met a kid who actually played with the stuffed animals they owned." I bring them home with me on work trip as her souvenir, I love having that stuffed sweetness peeking out of my carry-on. I even bought her the sweetest, raggiest gray dog from Anthropology in Boise. Yeah, that was cheap.

I couldn't help it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Cup o' Happiness



If I had to paint a bulls-eye on my favorite piece of parenting, it would be perspective.

Yesterday, I picked the lil' dude up and ran through her day- preschool, daycare, plans for the evening, etc.
Before I could even get to it, she proclaimed, At snack today? Know what we had?
HOT COCOA WITH MARSHMALLOWS!


That was loud and proud and full of unadulterated joy.
Pure joy.
In a cup.

So, thanks, Age 4 for always, always, always giving me perspective.
For reminding me endlessly that life really is about the smallest stuff.
Stuff in a cup.

Mama loves.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Story About a Jar

Thanks to my Mama friend AJ for sending this to me ... enjoy!

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls...

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls.'

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.....

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented...

The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with a friend.


Amen, sister!
LDM

Wednesday, February 1, 2012