Archive for December, 2012

  • 2012

    Date: 2012.12.31 | Category: Books, Family, Friends, Leela Fish, Life, Mark, Me, Nostalgia, Pets, Sarah, Work | Response: 9

    2012 has come to an end, and I must say it’s been a fantastic year.

    We had some firsts:
    • Sarah had a first birthday and first birthday party!
    • I photographed my first (and second) destination weddings.
    • I took a baby to the beach.
    • I visited Pittsburgh for the first (and second) times.
    • We flew with a toddler.
    • We got to be the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
    • I ran my first 10k with Becki.
    • I led my first big scale donation collection for a family in need.
    • I became a gym regular.
    • I nearly mowed over an NFL quarterback with a stroller.
    • I took Sarah to the zoo (in Indianapolis).

    We traveled to:
    • Dallas, TX
    • Lafayette, LA
    • Indianapolis, IN
    • Pittsburgh, PA
    • Ft. Walton Beach, FL
    • Austin, TX

    I met some of my fellow bloggers for the first time in person including:
    Unapologetically Mundane
    Bluz Dude
    Carpetbagger (and Mrs. Bagger).

    We lost Mark’s grandmother, Sarah’s namesake, and had to battle with that grief.

    But there were babies born to best friends: Susan had Olivia and Tammy had Kiriel.

    We learned what Addison’s Disease is when we nearly lost Leela at the ER Vet clinic.

    I read a lot of books. According to Shelfari, 53 total. (I’m going to do a post on the best and worst soon!) And I gained an awesome reading partner in Noel.

    I redesigned a magazine and won awards for design on The Best of Times.

    2012 did have its share of sorrow, but it was also filled with so much joy and love. Here’s to a happier and beautiful 2013!

  • A Christmas Eve Surprise

    Date: 2012.12.28 | Category: Family, Holidays, Home, Mark, OMG YAY!, Sarah | Response: 10

    This year Mark and I agreed not to do gifts for each other in lieu of getting Sarah her very own plastic fort – complete with slide. And boy was she excited about it!

    But then my husband couldn’t let things go like that. After we unwrapped all the gifts with his family Christmas Eve, Mark turned to me and said, “You have one more.” He pointed behind me. And, sure enough, there sat a perfectly wrapped gift. I had no clue what it was (though, Mark said, he feared I had figured him out when he spent an afternoon last week installing a fancy wireless distributor in our hallway).

    My first thought was jewelry, but I picked it up and it was heavy. I started to unwrap it and saw the Apple logo. I was in shock. I told Mark earlier this year I wanted an iPad to share with Sarah (that was part of my pitch). That way I could enjoy it and she could use it for interactive story books. But, this was a tight year for us, and it wasn’t in the cards. So, you can imagine my surprise when Mark decided that all the extra work he put in at the end of this year would go towards an iPad for me (and Sarah).

    He took some photos of me opening it.

    Shock. Awe.

    And perhaps the most amazing part? This was inscribed on the case he got me to go with it.

    That was the most beautiful part of all. I often say Mark doesn’t have a “romantic” bone in his body, but then he turns around, does something like this and makes me cry on Christmas Eve.

    I hope you all had and continue to have a very Merry Christmas.

  • A New Appreciation for Stay At Home Moms

    Date: 2012.12.18 | Category: Baby, Family, Health, Home, Life, Me, Sarah, Work | Response: 18

    Sarah has been sick – bad sick with RSV, complete with coughing, throwing up, the inability to eat or sleep. Needless to say there was no way she could go to daycare. Mark’s schedule has been cram packed with the end of the year coming on, and both grandmothers and all aunties work. So that meant mamma was staying home with baby girl. Honestly, I was glad to be staying home with her. There’s no one quite like mama when you’re feeling bad, and Sarah agreed.

    She was bad sick though, so this wasn’t just one day home. It ended up being five days.

    I suddenly found myself stuck at home trying to figure out how in the world I was going to fill my days with a toddler without going stir crazy, running into the backyard and screaming. Of course she’s with us on the weekends, but our weekends are always so busy with shopping, visiting, playing outside… none of which can be done with a sick, irritable toddler.

    I’m not going to lie, Thursday and Friday were bad.  Mostly because she was so awfully sick and there was nothing I could do to fix it. She refused to nap, refused to eat and screamed a lot.

    Thursday I resorted to television and help from my mom, and Friday, the worst day of her illness, during which time she ran a 102.5 fever, I don’t really remember what happened. I’m still sort of in a daze.

    I do know that when she was “napping” aka screaming in her crib, I was saddled up to my Mac, desperately trying to finish the magazine to meet deadline. It also didn’t help that I had to spend my evenings after she went to sleep doing the same thing.

    By Saturday we learned she had caught a secondary infection and we started her on antibiotics. After that, her fever went away and she immediately started feeling happy again. At some point over the weekend, I figured out that we could get rid of the irritating silence in the house and break up the monotony by playing music, I introduced finger paints and successfully helped her overcome a couple of her texture issues.

    I even got in on the art, and made some “mistletoes.”

    I also managed to bake a lot for Christmas and Sarah, in the mean time, turned a cardboard box into a slide and colored pictures we printed off the Disney Junior website. I also cooked a couple of  great dinners (and even managed to get Sarah to eat this one successfully after she refused to eat anything but sweet potatoes for four days). So by the time today rolled around and I finished my brief, but hectic, two hour stint at work this morning, I was ready for stay at home mom time and I really enjoyed it.

    Turns out I just needed a mostly well baby, some background music, a little joint play time and a little personal time for each of us.

    It probably sounds horrible that I didn’t take staying at home all day with my baby for five days as naturally as a mom should, but we found our rhythm and eventually really enjoyed it. Good thing too because I’m going to have a long time off for Christmas!

    Suffice it to say, I have so much respect for moms who do this all the time, especially with more than one child and I now understand why they do so many great craft  and cooking projects. Something’s gotta keep mama sane too!

  • Double Trouble

    Date: 2012.12.13 | Category: Family, Health, Home, Life, Mark, Sarah | Response: 10

    The past few days Sarah has developed a cough that’s gotten increasingly worse to the point that it made her throw up last night. It’s so bad, in fact, that she hasn’t been able to sleep much, and when she does it’s interrupted by racking coughs and tears. This had me texting nurse/mom Cassie last night on my last leg, and hustling it over to the local pharmacy for some vapor rub. Fortunately, it eased things enough that she could sleep.

    This morning though, she had a low fever and the same awful cough. When I called daycare to tell them she wouldn’t be in, they told me there had been a confirmed case of croup in her classroom. I immediately called the doctor right after they opened, repeatedly re-dialing through the busy signal. My doctor was booked up, but we got in with another one in the practice.

    In the mean time, I texted my sister to let her know what was going on because her little boy is in the same daycare class with Sarah. Turns out she was debating on whether or not to take him to the doctor as well. Unfortunately, by the time she called the doctor’s office (20 minutes after me) they had no appointments with any of the doctors left.  Tis the Season!

    So we talked about it and decided to see if J could share Sarah’s appointment with her. After my sister pressured the receptionists, we found out they could, but my sister has no sick time at her new job. So Mark and I picked J up and the four of us went to the pediatrician’s office.

    When we got there, they tried to hassle us at the front desk about the double appointment (and this after Shannon had called, confirmed and paid the co-pay), but after they talked to the doctor, it was quickly smoothed out.

    Thank goodness we had a short waiting time in the waiting room and in the doctor’s room.

    The doctor was J’s normal pediatrician and was great with both of them.

    Turns out J had a double ear infection, and they both have RSV, hence the racking coughs. The two of them didn’t seem to mind too much though, but that may have been because they were having too much fun playing with one another.

    We went home and had color time while I fixed lunch.

    And then we had lunch time. J wanted all the fish and Sarah wanted all the sweet potatoes. Hey, whatever works.

    At this point I felt like I was owning it. Two kids? No problem!

    And then nap time came. Bless his heart, J went right down for his nap. But Sarah? Well she’s been screaming for about an hour now. So maybe I don’t have this. But I’m certainly giving it my best effort. And in only a few hours time, I am very very tired.

  • A Problem with Textures?

    Date: 2012.12.12 | Category: Family, Holidays, Sarah, Weirdness | Response: 17

    About a week ago, I decided that I would make homemade clay ornaments. And with that clay, I was going to get each of the dogs’ paw prints and a hand print from Sarah. After the ornaments baked, I had visions of sitting Sarah at the table with a paintbrush and letting her decorate her perfect little hand print, while I inscribed dates and names on each ornament, strung them up and hung them from the Christmas tree.

    With this perfect holiday image in my mind, I went to town making the clay. I somehow managed to coat my entire kitchen in cornstarch, but I was undeterred. I dug out the rolling pin, measured Sarah’s hand, and used cups to create the perfect oval for her to press her hand into. I sat her in her high chair, brought the clay over, grabber her hand… and she flipped out. And by flipped out, I mean she screeched, tears pouring like I had burnt her, when her hand had yet to even touch the clay.

    At this point, my husband said, “Just leave it, she obviously doesn’t want to do it.” But dang it, I spent all that time making that clay and visualizing how perfect this was going to go that I wasn’t going to give up so easily.

    So, I took her out of the high chair and put her on the couch with a video. Surely, I thought, that was going to distract her enough to let me get the desired hand print. But as soon as she saw that little clay oval coming towards her, she went into inconsolable hysterics. So, I showed her how Leela could do it. No luck. Then Bonnie. Sarah only cried harder. Finally, I, being the mean mother that I am, pried her hand open, and made her do it… only to have her hand fold up in a fist and destroy the ornament.

    I tried salvaging it and baking it anyway, but all I got was a broken piece of clay with something resembling finger prints on it. So much for that vision of holiday fun.

    I’m a little nervous, because I bought a groupon to the painted pottery place in hopes we could do a Santa plate with hand prints. I know paint isn’t clay, but I have a feeling her reaction will be the same.

    At school they do hand print art all the time, so I asked them how she does with it and her teacher immediately replied, “Oh she HATES is, she curls her fingers up and wants nothing to do with it.”

    So my next thought is, well maybe we’ll try and do foot prints. But now I have visions of her smashing plates in an attempt to get away.

    So, do I settle for letting her paint her own plate?

    I’m not sure if this is just a texture issue or what is going on? She has no problem playing in mud or bubbles. Maybe it’s just making her do something against her will? Now that I can understand.

  • Helping the Puppies and Kitties

    Date: 2012.12.10 | Category: Dogs, Friends, Holidays, Kitties, Love, Pets | Response: 9

    It’s easy to get down sometimes when life isn’t going the way you planned. I’m struggling through some things in my life right now that I will overcome eventually, but they just make some days seem gray. It also makes my writing a bit lackluster, so I haven’t been blogging as much here or over at Sweet and Saucy.

    But then there are really beautiful moments that shine through the gray.  In particular, my friend Cassie’s daughter Claire (who is 5) came up with the idea (on her own, no less) to make life better for rescue dogs and cats this year for Christmas.

    Claire is a beautiful little spirit. When I was up in Pittsburgh in October, away from my own sweet girl, Claire attached herself to me, and we quickly became fast friends.  Granted a lot of our time was spent teaching her how to play the “Hanging with Friends” app, but more of it was spent in hugs, snuggles, questions and answers. And even though Cass and I aren’t sisters, I feel like Claire is my niece.

    I’ve loved animals ever since I was a kid, and we own two rescue cats, so Claire’s  cause is close to my heart.

    So far, the response to Claire’s request for supplies for the local animal rescue has been amazing.


    Aren’t people wonderful sometimes?

    But if you want to play Santa Paws and help her out in her mission to save the kitties and puppies, check out this Amazon wishlist they have set up. You can pick what you want to send and be confident in knowing all your donations go to Animal Rescue.

    I’ve made Cassie promise to take pictures of the final donations and their delivery, and I’ll share them here when it’s all said and done.

  • The Season is Upon Us

    Date: 2012.12.03 | Category: Family, Holidays, Home, Life, Mark, Sarah | Response: 12

    It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner, especially with higher than normal temperatures that had me digging through a box of Sarah’s summer clothes I had already optimistically stowed away to find something cool she could wear to a baby shower today. But that’s ok. We like playing outside, and today’s perfect upper 70’s temperatures allowed us to do just that.

    I’ve been curious to see how Christmas would go this year. Last year, Sarah was crawling and showed little interest in the Christmas tree, preferring instead to pull up on the coffee table and play with flashing, bright toys.

    We put the Christmas tree up at mom’s house first, and there the only thing she cared about was using the box the tree came in as a slide.

    This year I put the Christmas tree up at our house while she was napping. When she woke up, she walked straight to it and said, “TREE!” Then she quickly discovered the dog ornament. And, using good reasoning skills, she now calls it the “dog tree.”

    I should also mention that she’s rather attached to a wooden painted “store” (star) my friend who lives in Qatar brought back for us. And, in perhaps the most telling moment, she found my ornaments of a red Starbucks cup, plucked it off the tree, put it up to her mouth and let out an enthusiastic, “MMmmmm!” Erm, maybe mama should lay off the coffee.

    We also went to visit Santa this year. And because mall Santa is so expensive just to say hi, we opted for the free Bass Pro Shop Santa. I wasn’t really sure what to expect… but I was pleasantly surprised to see Santa with a real beard, a friendly Mrs. Claus and a great set of picture taking elves. Plus, free!

    This was the photo we got.

    Would you believe me if I told you she wasn’t scared of Santa? Guess what she was scared of?

    That’s right, those life sized reindeer that some local hunter probably shot and had taxidermied. She was terrified of them and couldn’t get away from them fast enough. Good thing Santa was patient and had a good grip.

    This is the first year I think Mark and I will truly experience the parent Christmas gift insanity. Even though I know that’s not what the season is about, I really wanted to do something nice for Sarah this year that she would love. Mark and I both opted out of gifts for ourselves, and instead decided to do it big for Sarah. As a consequence, I had to do battle with all the people working at Toys R’ Us, haul home a giant box that wasn’t loaded properly into the truck by Toys R’ Us employees that nearly took out a car behind me on my way out of the parking lot, and am now faced with something that is in about 8 million pieces that will have to be assembled on Christmas Eve. But trust me when I say that it will be totally worth it.

    So have you kicked off the season yet?