Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Header fun

I made myself a new header courtesy of this talented lady's tutorial.  10 minutes, some cute pics and VOILA!  Hope you like it.

(For Jojo:  No more black.  Better?)

Monday, January 25, 2010

I can help and so I did

I've been struggling with how I want to help the people of Haiti.  I did the "would you care to donate ($1, $5, $10) to the Haiti relief efforts?" while grocery shopping last week.  I chose the $10 option because I could.  I walked out of the grocery store feeling pretty good that I gave a little.  But it wasn't enough.  It's never enough.  While scrolling through my Reader yesterday, I stopped in at Life in Progress (an offshoot of House in Progress, which was the very first blog I ever read waaaayyyyy back when) and made my way through Jeannie's most recent posts.  Late last week she wrote about the Haitian refugees that have been making their way into Chicago and that she was offering to collect small donations of food, toiletries, and clothing and making a trip to the Chicago Christian Industrial League/ A Safe Haven Foundation where the refugees have been provided shelter.  Her post was exactly the kick I needed.  I knew the money would eventually get to the people in Haiti but I also knew I wanted to do something to help the people who came here with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Last night, Noah, my mom, and I made a trip to Walmart to pick up as much as we could for these refugees.  I had a $100 gift card burning a hole in my pocket.  Yes, of course I could always use a $100 gift card but I don't NEED it.  These people NEED toothpaste.  They need towels.  They need blankets.  So that $100 gift card bought them those things.  And today I dropped the bags off with Jeannie, met her for the first time (she was SO lovely), and walked away knowing I did the best I could.  Because at the end of the day, I know there will be a child who now has crayons and a coloring book to make her happy again, at least for a few minutes.  I know a woman will have a set of clean towels to use.  I know a man will have a good shower with all the necessities.  I know a baby will have a blanket to be wrapped up in and kept warm.

I don't say all this to pat myself on the back but to remind myself that I'm so lucky.  I take for granted so much in my life and to imagine it all taken away in an instant devastates me.  What little I am able to do may make a world of difference to someone else.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

18 Months

Dear Noah,

First, I am so sorry I missed your 17 month letter.  To be honest, you and I have been at odds for a couple of months now and I may have missed the letter on purpose.  I didn't have very positive experiences to write about last month.  Of course you were as cute as ever but your little personality was truly starting to come through and I started wondering if you were being a troublesome toddler to make up for the easy infant you once were.  After reading SO MANY books and blogs and forums I began to realize that you weren't being extra troublesome or extra were just being 16/17 months old.  You were EXACTLY as you should have been.  You're EXACTLY as you should be today.  I cannot begin to tell you how much of a relief that was to hear.  So let's begin this letter, your 18 month letter, on a positive note.  Today, I fell in love with you all over again.

It's true!  I did.  We were in the basement playing, jamming to your music on my iPhone, and just being silly and when you stopped to look at me, you said "Mama" so softly and leaned in to kiss me.  It was such a tender, sweet moment...a moment unlike any we have had in a long while.  My heart swelled and burst into a million pieces.  And that's when I fell in love with you all over again.  I looked at you and really saw you.  Not the cranky toddler you have been lately but the sweet, gentle little baby you once were and are again.  It was simply magical.  I've been a mother long enough now to know we will always have our days (weeks, months) when we're at odds but I will hold today in my pocket and pull it out every time I need a little extra patience, a little extra strength.

Let's see, this month you have:
1) Started saying multi-syllabic words and stringing phrases together.
2) Begun to understand how to use "Please" when asking for something (Puh!).
3) Grown an inch or maybe two because none of your clothes fit.
4) Learned to catch a ball...two arms out and a big ol' goofy grin on your face when it actually works.
5) Finally stopped crying yourself to sleep after an extra minute of rocking and singing before bed.
6) Know every body part and delight in telling everyone where your (insert random part) is.
7) Can tell the difference between a tractor, a dump truck, and a bulldozer...major accomplishment according to you.
8) Become obsessed with trains (CHOO-CHOOOOOOOOOO!).
9) Learned how to hug back (best thing ever.).
10) And the crowning achievement: stopped crying at the gym daycare!

You're quite an accomplished little 18 month old!  Now we just have to work on your incessant screaming to get my attention.  Seriously, using your words is a much better tactic to get me to pay attention to you.  And grabbing canned goods off the shelves of the grocery store and chucking them to the ground isn't going to get you that balloon at the end of the trip.  This I promise you.

Noah, for all of our battles and tears, there are so many happy moments.  I am so lucky that I get to experience all of this with you.  You've taught me patience, gratitude, and how to love with abandon.  I am so grateful to you and so damn lucky.  SO damn lucky.

I love you.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

TGGA Update

For those of you following along at home and riveted by the TGGA (The Great Gym Adventure), I just wanted to inform you that Noah made it an entire HOUR today without a major meltdown.  When I left him, I swear the caretaker was crossing herself and slowly backing away like he might combust at any moment.  Yes, he cried.  A lot.  And yes, I felt terrible when I closed the door on him.  But he (WE!) did it.  I spent most of my yoga class watching the clock and waiting for the staff to come get me which kind of ruined the whole relaxation purpose of yoga, but they never came.  Let me repeat:  they never came.  As soon as the instructor Namaste'd us or whatever you want to call it, I hightailed it to the childcare room and when I walked in Noah was calmly playing with a toy phone.  He saw me, acknowledged me with a "Mama" and continued on his merry way.  I about fell over dead.  He didn't even CARE that I was back. The caretaker (Miss Elena, let's just put her name out there, ok?  Ok.) let me know that he cried for about three minutes after I left, abruptly stopped and had been playing happily ever since.  So happily that he didn't want to leave and screamed at me for a good ten minutes after we left.

People, I feel like I conquered some sort of Mama Mountain.  Make fun of me all you want but this is an empowering feeling.  I can leave my kid in the care of a stranger and he's ok.  I'M OK.  It's only taken me 18 months to figure it out.  18 loooooooooonnnnnggggg months.  But we did it and that's awesome.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bicycle theft is a serious crime and I am the crime stopper

K's story about a random stranger trekking through her yard to dodge cab fare reminded me to tell you how I ended up with a strange bike in my back yard.  To set the scene, this is a picture of our back gate leading out to the alley (let's all pretend it's May right now...wasn't that so pretty?  Now it is covered in a foot of snow.  F#*^$#@ing snow.  Ahem.  Moving on.):

To the right on your screen is our dilapidated, 100+ year old one-car garage (oh, that reminds me, I have a short story about that too, you lucky kids, you).  Inside that garage is my car, our bikes, our stroller, and miscellaneous crap Tim can't find a home for.  It leans to the left, is rather squat and may topple over with the next big wind storm.  Anyhow, I woke up last Monday morning and peered out into our backyard from our bedroom window.  From my perch I saw a red bike leaning against the tree back there. That tree up in the left hand corner, yep, right there.  Just to frame this for you, our next-door neighbors had a break in about 6 months ago and had their big-ass TV stolen along with video games and equipment right out of their basement and in broad daylight.  I can touch their house from my window if I wanted to and I didn't hear a thing.  I've been on hyper alert ever since and jump at all sounds I hear coming from the back yard/alley.  Somehow I end up with a bike in my backyard and of course I didn't hear a thing.

So I walk outside to investigate (I am a master investigator) and sniff around the bike.  It was a pretty nice bike, looked brand new, the front tire was off but sitting with the bike, and there was a U-lock around the frame and back tire.  I moved the bike into the garage and that's when I noticed that the garage door lock looked like it was kind of messed with.  That pissed me off.  I just can't stand that people think they can mess with stuff that's not theirs.  The door looked to be fine, still locked when I went out there, so I know they weren't able to get in and take anything.  So how do we think this all went down?  Was it a prank and the jokesters were going to come back and get the bike but I moved it into the garage too quickly and now it's gone (to them)?  Was the rider drunk and thought this was their backyard?  Did some bum steal it and couldn't get the lock off so he/she ditched it in our backyard?  Tim suggested we put out flyers and someone could come claim it.  I suggested that whoever lost it is an idiot and doesn't deserve the bike back.   I still think my first theory is on target.  What would you do?

Ok, second story about the garage.  Some of you have already heard this because it really was my crowning moment.   We have lived in this house over two years now and the entire time we have lived here Tim has parked his car (a 4 door Prius for those of you who need a frame of reference) in the garage.  We decided that because when we moved in Tim told me my SUV was too big and wouldn't fit.  I believed him.  So I spent two winters shoveling my car out, through pregnancy and infancy, and two summers sweating bullets because I have a dark leather interior and wasn't ever smart enough to find parking under a tree.  Tim luxuriated in the garage for two years without a care to the weather.

So a few weeks ago I was driving home from somewhere (most likely Tarjay because I spend more money there than anyone should) and Noah was starting to fall asleep in his car seat.  If he falls asleep in the car there is no possible way he will stay asleep through the transfer into the house and then into his crib.  He's 17 months old, not 7 weeks.  And there was NO WAY I was going to lose my precious two hours of nap time.  I'm singing and clapping and yelling his name and asking him to point out body parts as his head is flopping over, his eyes slipping closed, and his finger in his mouth.  I circle our block three times and NO parking spots.  This is kind of odd but I chalk it up to some holiday performance at the school down the block and all the spots are filled with parents.  At this point I'm desperate and decide to just pull into the alley, nose the front of my car into the garage, get Noah out and into bed, and then come back down to move the car out to the street.  I open the garage, nose the car in and decide to keep going.  I know most people would be like, um, but my husband, my smart, uber-intelligent, husband, told me it doesn't fit and would stop the car.  I am not most people.  Nor do I always believe my husband.  So I slowly kept going, knowing I would stop if I heard a crunch or bad noise and...nothing.  No noise except the overhang of ivy brushing the top of my car.  At this point I'm halfway in and decide to get out to make SURE I'm not going to kill my car.  People, there is seriously a centimeter of clearance between the garage door and the luggage rails on my roof.  SUCCESS!  I finish pulling my car in (and yes, Noah is now asleep in the back seat) and run him into the house.

The best part, the absolute BEST part, was calling Tim and telling him he was WRONG.  What he finally admitted was that he never actually TRIED to get my car into the garage and he just eye-balled it and decided it wouldn't fit.  For two years he LIED to me and it was all to his advantage.  The string of expletives that left my mouth was enough to make a truck driver blush.   End result:  Tim's reign in the garage is over, mine is just beginning, and I hope he has so much fun digging his car out of the snow every morning before work.  I'll just pull the covers over my head to drown out all his bad language.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 1 of The Great Gym Membership Adventure

Noah HATED the gym daycare.  Hated it like nobody's business.  It started off fine, I eased myself out of the room and within minutes I heard his wailing.  I kept walking.  The ellipticals and treadmills have TVs on them and I tuned to the channel that monitors the daycare room.  The poor, poor woman watching all the kids had to hold Noah the entire time he was in there.  And of course my parental guilt set in and I didn't even make it 15 minutes into my workout before I was back in there, picking him up, and apologizing to the caretaker.  She was awesome and completely gracious and told me that every new kid does this and he'll adjust as long as I keep trying.  So we go back tomorrow morning.  And he WILL like it.

I guess this just goes to show me that I need more time apart from my child.  He's so dependent upon me and doesn't feel comfortable if I'm not in the same room.  What seemed cute at first is now a bit of a drag.  Don't get me wrong, I love that it's ME that my child prefers but at some point he has to be ok with someone else taking care of him.  If I don't break him of this now, or soon, I can see how I'll end up with one of those mama's boys and that doesn't sound appealing in the least.  Today we got 15 minutes.  Hopefully tomorrow we can make it to 30 minutes.  

Friday, January 1, 2010

Getting fit in the New Year aka predictable resolution

I joined a gym today.  Like where you workout and stuff.  And I joined because I can't let Tim have all the glory.  We walked into the gym to sign him up today and within, I kid you not, two minutes I was inquiring about family rates, and month to month, and oh, do you have childcare?  You do?  Fantastic!  Here's my credit card.  And Tim totally called it...he told the sales guy on their walk through that by the time they got back to the front I would want to join too.  It's irritating being married to someone who knows you so well.

So I'm going to be FIT!  and FABULOUS! in the new year.  I also received a Wii Fit Plus (thanks Nintendo and Sam!  Best party ever!) and then a Wii to go along with it (that Tim bought me for Christmas...I am not THAT cool).  So I am going to be getting myself into all kinds of shape.  However, I am already fighting with my Wii Fit Plus.  I did my initial body test last night and my Wii Fit Age is 42.  FORTY TWO.  WTF Wii?  I know my crinkles are getting a little deeper and I may need to lose a couple of pounds but sheesh.  Apparently I have balance issues.  And a lack of balance makes the Wii think you are OLD.  Or OLDER.  Consider this a warning to all of you with new Wii Fit's.  She's kind of bitchy.

Regardless of the Wii's opinion, I am going to crank it out and get myself into shape.  $1/hour for someone else to watch my kid while I do yoga or watch Real Housewives of the OC on the elliptical?  Hell yeah.  Count me in.