Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Letter to Olivia

To My Peanut,

My first-born,

My Olivia,

You make me smile everyday with your joy and sweetness. I love that you elate when we open your door in the morning and jump up and down in your crib. I especially love that you wake up and lay quietly for a long time before deciding that it's time to start the day. Then you babble or sing before yelling out our names.

I love that you make up songs. I sang to you throughout my pregnancy - at choir, in the car, in the shower, and even during work when I would hum in the rare instances of down time. I sang after your surgery, and I sang during your spica diaperings. I sang when I didn't know what else to do, making up words to the beat of familiar cadences describing the mundane, reliving each moment of the day through song. I sang hymns, anthems, and top 40s. I sang Broadway and Disney, a karaoke wanna-be. And the reward, 21+ months later is that you sing, as I did at a young age, making up songs that list out what you see and love and do. You have a tiny, melodic voice that lifts my heart. I pray that you find solace in music, that it envelops you when you are sad, surrounds you when you are elated, and fills your world in inexplicable ways.

I love the way you smell and feel. When I pick you up in the small room at daycare, I squeeze you tightly and drink you in deeply. You are mine, and I cherish this one action each workday.

I love the way you say Leedo for Vito [the cat] and glubs for gloves. You say so many words with incredible articulation and intelligibility, but it's the imperfections that I delight in. I know it will not last, a stamp of childhood that fades slightly each day. You try to echo so much: okadoke for okey dokey and upadaze for oops-a-daisy, and you smile with my giggles. I find your intonations so full of attitude and drama, and I wish it could last. Or that you could retain the nymph-like shell currently shielding me from the drama sure to come when you shed this outer-layer and develop into a teenager, when the intonations are intentional and the sarcasm mastered. In those future moments, the dead-pan okay won't be a simple imitation of your adult cohorts but a possible dagger, meant to inflict emotional damage. I cling to the knowledge that you are too little for this; you are finding your voice, exploring how words feel and fit and flow.

I love that I am scooonnng [strong] to you because I run. I hope to teach you that women are strong and capable of so much more than before. I hope you love yourself as much as I love you. You have such confidence now. May this asset embed itself in your being but not so much that it edges out your sensitivity. You care so deeply for others and have come home to tell me about being sad when a friend didn't share. You yell kayful! to the TV when peril strikes. You empathize, something I am amazed to see in a person so small.

I love that you pray. For Daddy first, then Mommy. That you know to pray quietly and with your hands together. You know Jesus as a baby in the Nativity, but my heart tells me there is a belief there, too. And you say Amen. For this, I am grateful.

And this is my memory for you. Save it for a time when you need uplifting, when you've had a bad day or wish to hear kind words. Let the words pick you up and carry you through.

And I, baby girl, will do the same.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Simple Things

Frank and I didn't spend a ton of money on Christmas this year. Good thing. She was thrilled with the boxes that everything shipped in.

Lesson learned.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

40 Before 40 Checklist

If you read the post from last year, you'll learn I don't really make resolutions. I set goals, which some people would argue is exactly what a resolution is. However, I'd like to think of a goal as having an end date, a moment in time when you can check the item off the list and say, "Done." Resolutions are often ways people try to make themselves healthier, wealthier, or wiser but tend to be vague, such as "Go to the gym more." Maybe it's my profession, but I want these things to be measurable!

Last year, I put a big priority on weight loss, and I am pleased to say I lost 20 POUNDS! My BMI is slightly above 25%. I finally found my happy pace, and it's about 1 - 1.5 minutes quicker than a year ago. I can fit in almost all of my pre-baby clothes, and what could not be salvaged was donated to my sister-in-law. So, it's time to set my sights on other things. Having crossed the age barrier and entered the 30s, I've decided to make this more of a 40 before 40 list. That means, when next year rolls around, don't complain; some of these items will be checked off in future years.

Here goes:
1. Run Broad Street with Frank.
2. Learn more about my new camera, including reading a book or taking a class, so that I can use the aperture.
3. Bake a flavored cake from scratch (forget vanilla or chocolate, my sights are set on bigger and better things!).
4. Take Liv on a plane.
5. Buy a new-to-me car.
6. Baby numero dos.
7. Lose 10 more pounds and be below 25% BMI.
8. Blog more than 35 times per year (shame on me for 2010!).
9. Buy a new computer (which will help #8).
10. Get my insurance fitness reimbursement AGAIN!
11. Run the Disney World Princess Half-Marathon. In a tutu. And a tiara.
12. Learn to knit. Make a scarf.
13. Renovate our kitchen.
14. Renovate our bathroom.
15. Buy a single family home with 4 bedrooms and a driveway.
16. Unpack the office.
17. Go to San Francisco.
18. Buy a coffee from the first Starbucks in Seattle.
19. Take a piano lesson. Or two.
20. Consign any clothes that our child(ren) have outgrown at least once.
21. Take a baking class.
22. Take another cake decorating class.
23. Repaint the living/dining room.
24. Replace the hardware on all the doors in our entire house.
25. Write a letter to the editor.
26. Grow an herb(s?) which is then used in our family's cooking.
27. Baby numero tres?
28. Move to any of the following towns: HT/HF, Na, or WW.
29. Run a mile with Olivia, who will also be running.
30. Volunteer with Olivia once per year.
31. Run 500 miles in one calendar year.
32. Make a speech at an event.
33. Read a "classic" novel.
34. Learn and then do some DIY home project that would usually involve paying someone.
35. Sew or make a school costume for Olivia (or any other future child).
36. Pay off a credit card or debt (note: just one, not all).
37. Swim for fitness (meaning go to the gym with the sole intent of "swimming laps" or whatever that means).
38. Have dinner at a 5 star restaurant.
39. Go to Europe.
40. Write a chapter of a novel.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Spread the Word!

I just read a brilliant tip for babies in spica casts located on Maggie's blog A One and a Two!!! I'm sharing the idea for anyone who has wandered onto my site because it's so fantastic! She has found success using diaper covers instead of 2 diapers. Sidenote: depending on the type of spica cast, some people use 2 diapers, one smaller and one larger [to cover and act as a catch-all]. You'll note on my site that we used an adult incontinence pad (always fun to buy as a 30 year old...) and a larger, outer diaper.

I find the idea of using a diaper cover extremely economical and earth-friendly, and, and let's be real, more importantly [because spica casts are NOT CUTE], diaper covers are sooooo adorable these days! I won't lie, I'm a little jealous that we didn't come up with it or read about it, but that's why I'm opening my mouth and spreading the word!

Maggie's post on diaper covers is located here. Check out her blog, too, as she manages TWINS (!), one of whom is in a spica. Thanks, Maggie! Stay strong; I'm rooting for you and Charlie! And Davey, too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I read a "Mom-Tip" once from someone whose child hated having their hands cleaned after meals. This person suggested pouring water on the highchair so that the Clean Hands Hater could play and "wash" their hands simultaneously. Brilliant! We went through this with Olivia so I decided to try it. She loved it. Her hands, however, were no cleaner than when we started, and I had the added bonus of not only cleaning her hands but also removing the now beloved water.

Rating: A+ for creative way to entertain a child; F for cleanliness but also for inducing more tears than the original act would have done...

Recommendation: Sing a song and use baby wipes. Be fast and distract!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You Get What You Give

And then there was that time when we had a snow day. Frank cooked chili in the slow cooker. The whole family had cabin fever and went for a joy ride to Dunkin' Donuts. Olivia was so excited that she giggled in the car as we pulled in the lot. We picked up fresh, just-baked French bread from a local market before returning home to enjoy chili.

We gave it to Olivia at 6pm. She loved it.

She gave it back to us around 8:30pm.

Aaaah, memories.

Snow Day

Things are getting better with the computer but still ever so slooooow...

As I sit snowed in for the third time this winter, I have been attempting to patiently update the blog and add some pictures. Included here are pictures I took of Olivia decorating the tree.

For Christmas, Santa gave me a Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR, which I had been begging for. I was getting annoyed that all my pictures of Olivia were coming out blurry, an unfortunate by-product of having a mobile child. Sidenote: we are incredibly happy to have a mobile child after watching her develop post-DDH surgery & cast. However, my point-and-click was NOT holding up. So Santa did me a solid and Black Friday shopped.

The pictures are coming out amazing, but it's totally accidental. I have no idea what I'm doing. If I see something that I think would look pretty as a photograph, I try to quietly snap the memory. Look for future pictures to come. I will say, I'm deleting more than I did previously and editing as best as possible. I'll be looking for more information on how to use the camera, which is currently set to basic sport mode.

The other delightful outcome of this holiday season was that Olivia completely understood it! Her Christian daycare instilled the idea of Jesus' birth, so she sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus the entire month. On Christmas Eve, she knew that Santa was coming and bringing her presents but only if she was asleep. It was perfect. I have a lot of photos to sort through, so look for those in the, hopefully, near future.

But our holiday cards came out just lovely. So thank you, Santa, for making me quite the happy mommy this winter. And a happy mommy means a happy house!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We are alive and well.

My computer, however, is not. I type this from a distant land known as "the in-law's."

Please [continue to] be patient as I figure out how to get blog posts up without my computer shutting down.

In the meantime, enjoy any remaining holiday cheer with your family!

PS: Half-marathon completed in 2:34!
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