Archive | July, 2011

The Gift

30 Jul

There’s a story that hasn’t been told. One that centers around a friend, a necklace, and a plane ride. Today is the right time to tell it.

The moving truck was filling up fast. The rooms empty except for a few cardboard boxes. I got a phone call from a friend saying she wanted to stop by. I dreaded this moment. When she arrived we chatted until it was time to say goodbye. She handed me a card and a silver padded envelope. I didn’t want to cry so I waited to open it after she left.

Inside the envelope was a necklace. A lotus flower fashioned on a silver circle. “New Beginnings” the card read, “wear your necklace daily as a reminder to embrace new experiences and opportunities…just like the lotus, rising from muddy beginnings into something beautiful and celebrated.”

And I did wear it. Everyday. It helped me walk around the block. Unpack a box. Get a library card. Sleep at night. Meet a friend.

It became a habit to wear it. Like brushing my teeth. I felt that by wearing it, my dear friend, who I was used to talking to almost daily on the phone was right there with me.

She did stay with me. (And still does.) A phone call from her makes my day. We always chat easily. She’s honest and real and funny as hell. She’s also a very experienced traveller (with and without babies). Naturally she was the first person I called after booking my sans Ryan trip back East. She was confident I could handle it.

The morning of the trip arrived. My bags were packed. I got dressed and put on my necklace. I can travel by myself, across the country, on a plane, with a baby (a very squirmy baby).

We went through security. A lady folded my stroller for me. We boarded the first leg of our flight. I was seated next to a man who had twins, twice. He had nothing under his seat so he gave me his extra room. We arrived in Dallas. We had lunch. We survived our 3 hour layover. We had our last bathroom stop before boarding. I pushed Abigail into the bathroom. She was playing with my water bottle and lost her grip. I quickly reached down to grab it before it fell on the floor. When I stood up I felt a tug. My hand went to my neck. The necklace had been caught on the handle of the stroller and was now broken.
My eyes were filling up fast. I didn’t have time to cry. Our flight was boarding. I put the necklace into my backpack and headed out of the bathroom. A few hours later we landed in Richmond. I had done it.

I couldn’t believe the timing of the necklace breaking. In the past few months I had grown so much. I was stronger and braver. It wasn’t just the necklace that helped me adjust. It was the thought behind it. A friend I never wanted to leave unselfishly gave me all the support in the world. Every call, every text, every note she continues to bless me with makes it a little easier to be away. It isn’t surprising that her name is Joy.

There’s a monster at the end of this post…

28 Jul

Behind every monster pop…Is an official taste tester…

Who always gives her honest opinion.

Dinner S.O.S

26 Jul

Yesterday wasn’t the best day. As I casually mentioned in a previous post, Abigail has decided that two naps are for babies and one nap is sufficient for a big girl like her. (I know. She is a baby, but try telling her that!) It’s been a little messy. Because when the experts say that the transition to one nap will result in a longer afternoon nap they are lying. In our house, it’s means business as usual for the morning nap and then nothing for the rest of the day! It is awesome!

Actually I am the liar now. It’s been a lot of tears, a lot of whining, and yesterday, a lot of vegetables.

I decided that Monday was the perfect day for whipping up a quick little vegetable lasagna. Little did I know it would be the same day as Abigail’s ultimate breakdown. It was horrible – for over an hour Abigail rolled around on the floor, carried on, and flung every snack I offered across the kitchen. (Hank thought it was the best day of his life.)

I had unsuccessfully tried to get her to take an afternoon nap twice, but gave it one more shot because she was just. so. tired.  At four o’clock I realized a nap was not happening and I had to face the counter full of needy vegetables. I was beyond frustrated and totally drained. I had no idea how dinner was going to get finished.

The whole point of making this lasagna was because I was really hoping that Abigail would like it. It wouldn’t even be finished now for her to give it a try. And it wasn’t a big deal, but when you get your mind fixated on something it becomes a big deal.

Suddenly I understood why there was a “repeat play” on the Baby MacDonald DVD and we fired that puppy right up. (And I would just like to add that I’m really sorry to all of the “repeat play” using parents out there that I totally judged for needing that button because I so get it now.)

It took a Baby MacDonald and a half before I had the lasagna in the oven. It wasn’t ready in the way I had hoped it would be, but I spooned a little of the vegetable mixture on an extra noodle and much to my surprise she ate it. Every squash, onion, zucchini, red pepper, and mushroom. Oh sweet victory. 

By 6:30 she was asleep and I felt like a mess.  I went to bed feeling disappointed in myself for losing my patience. My daughter needed me more than she needed a vegetable lasagna, but for some reason I couldn’t let it go. I wish I could have done things differently. I should have fixed a peanut butter sandwich and cuddled up with Abigail and watched Baby MacDonald on continuous loop together.

And it’s funny. Today was better. We cleaned up the mess and then made a new one. Because life is messy. It’s a lot of dinners and dishes. But it’s also forgiveness, patience, and some really great leftovers. Bon Appetit.

PS:  Give the lasagna I made a try!  You can find it here.  (I used 1/2 zucchini and 1/2 yellow squash instead of all yellow squash.)

*Moms of toddlers be warned, prep time isn’t really 20 minutes.  But you knew that.

What happened to arrrr naptime?

23 Jul

Sleep patterns seem to be a-changing around here.  Nap time has been blown off course. It’s kind of making me feel like my head is screwed on backwards.

At least I’m not the only one.

Stuff

21 Jul

Scotch tape, hair clips, golf tees. Earrings, a rubber band, loose change. All I saw were little piles of stuff. I knew what had happened. They were objects put hastily out of Abigail’s reach. But I was still irritated. Why didn’t I just put the stuff back where it went? Was the top of the mantle or a random bookshelf really a better place? Suddenly I wanted all of this stuff to just go away.

I looked over and the counter was piled with even more stuff. I had been shopping in the valley yesterday. I started putting away some of the groceries I had gotten at Trader Joe’s, still kind of bummed that I hadn’t been able to get any Spicy Chai Latte. It was completely sold out. Oh well, it was just more stuff I probably didn’t need.

I switched a load of laundry and grabbed a basket to start collecting the random things that needed to be put away when Susie unexpectedly came by — with Spicy Chai Latte mix. She was with me in Corvallis yesterday and witnessed the “no more chai” disappointment and she’s just that kind of friend. The kind who drinks her chai in moderation and is happy to share with a friend who prefers an IV drip. Boy was I happy she had that stuff.

I walked out to get the mail. I could recognize that handwriting anywhere. Heather. A card written in her oh so sweet and sincere way. A letter from her always makes me cry because our hearts are just connected by this tiny thread across this great distance. A thinking of you gift — my very own “Run.” sticker from the very best person to get one from. Because she knew I could use a little motivation and I was so grateful that she had thought to send me that stuff.

The dryer buzzed. I opened the hallway closet to grab the clean clothes and I saw a pair of gloves my mom sent a few weeks ago. My grandmother’s gardening gloves. Gloves that fit perfectly and made me smile. Because even though she died when I was very little I still get to discover new things about her — like the fact she had small hands too. I’m lucky that my mom saved that box of stuff.

Lately my thoughts are sprinkled over the day. Coming and going at their own whim so I use a journal to jot stuff down. Because all of this stuff I see and think about is a reminder. Of where I have been, where I am headed, and what I want to accomplish. It’s not a mess, but the story of me. A beautiful, haphazard story that just goes on and on and on.

Let’s Salsa!

19 Jul

When a toddler on a veggie strike suddenly feels like dipping string cheese into a container of salsa you resist the urge to say, “Hey! No double dipping” and just go with it.

You like that? Care for a triple dip?

Ohhhkay, and I’m going to have to stop you right there. We can’t get anymore of that until Saturday…salsa doesn’t grow on trees you know.

At least she’s eating something that’s growing somewhere.

**Photocredit: Thanks to Olivia for providing the single hair clip that has remained in our hair for more than 10 seconds.

Parental Judgement

18 Jul

Abigail is a gal after my own heart. She loves to vacuum. Most of the time I put her in the pack-n-play because when she “helps” it really means she wants try to ride on top of the canister or push it into the back of my feet or press the button that makes the cord retract. All completely safe activities. But sometimes I have a lapse in good parental judgement because she is just so darn cute when she “vacuums.”

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