Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Autumn Window

The sun has finally set on my Autumn window. It is officially time to transport the lovely array of mama-and-little chicken-do-it-yourself -creations to it's final resting place. And though I am finding it hard to dispose of such sentimental pieces of art, I know that the spirit of Christmas will influence my inner Martha Stewart to whip up some new fabulous flair. I'll once again be able to kiss my fingers, wave my hand in the air and shout "Viola! That's how it's done!" And though I am infatuated with the season and the things it brings - cooler weather, lots of family and friends, and the never-ending competition to see who can re-fashion Thanksgiving leftovers into tasty new concoctions- I'm ready to dive into the Christmas spirit.

I'm thrilled about picking out a tree, hanging snowflake garland, and putting up our stockings, transforming our little apartment into a wintery wonderland (on a budget, of course!). I'm anxious to indulge in peppermint bark and sip from big mugs filled with cocoa. I'm curious about making homemade marshmallows and wondering if I'm courageous enough to confront the task. I'm excited about our holiday travels. I'm even more excited to see old friends and their beautiful little additions.

I want to make this a memorable season for our family. I want Lola to look back on photos and videos of our Christmases and see the magic that I'm envisioning.

So good-bye to you Autumn window, resting place for pumpkins clothed in stickers and many a layer of paint and varnish! Good-bye to you Autumn window, where pipe cleaners are regularly worn as accessories! Good-bye to you Autumn window, safe haven to the only butternut squash I've ever enjoyed! Good-bye to you Autumn window, keeper of hand-and-foot printed turkeys!

You've made your mark Autumn window. You have been the embodiment of love and joy and creativity. You have done me proud!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sunshine After the Rain

I normally love cold, wet, indoor-snuggling kind of weather. Then I gave birth to a "little" who is now 18 months and shows little to no  interest in staying indoors. So we improvise. I bundle her up, thick socks, rain boots, beanie, sweater, and the littlest mittens for the littlest hands! I make sure her beanie is one that covers her ears because that's what my Grandma always says to do. We set out on foot to run our errands, bringing the stroller just in case she gets too tired. Lola brings along her lamb, which reminds me of cinnamon. If only it had the warm scent of cinnamon. Let me tell you, it is far from that! It still has a hint of chicken grease with an afterthought of spaghetti squash innards. Trust me, we've lathered, soaked, and washed it thoroughly. The poor thing is tainted.

What can I say? She loves hard. Her stuffed animals and babies take a beating because she just loves them that much!

30 Little Things

Day 18:

Baby, it's cold outside.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

pre-Thanksgiving Chaos

I enter the grocery store. Instantly I'm hit with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Babes tucked away like a kangaroo's joey, as their mama pushes a shopping cart, fully loaded with Thanksgiving deliciousness. Business men and woman with grab-and-go coffee juggle the basket, the cell phone, and the shopping list, all during their lunch hour. Families pace aisle after aisle debating the canned or fresh route for their traditional holiday sides. 

Normally, this would overwhelm me. But as my sidekick and I stand with my four-item basket in hand, surrounded by Thanksgiving's big-timers ,  I get a sense of peace. I feel no stress, no negativity. The consistent beeping of bar-coded items being scanned brings me joy. The sight of frozen spinach, canned dinner rolls, Cornish game hens and canned cranberry sauce hold their own to mighty eighteen-pounder, yams, marshmallows, potatoes, fresh cranberries, all the beginnings of  traditional home-cooked fixin's. It is all Thanksgiving. It is done out of love.  And as I hear the S.O.S from a flooded cashier, I smile. I'm hooked. I'm hooked on this holiday's crack that is about family, friends, loved ones, sweet and savory, PUMPKIN!!!, stuffing, turkey, wine, more pumpkin, chilly weather, mittens, and food comas.

This holiday season is about sharing joy, being with loved ones and making new traditions and memories. The high speed, high energy, hustle and bustle of this time of year isn't for everyone, but I think it's for me!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

30 Little Things

Day 16:

Wow! I'm way behind!

Boots and mittens.
Sunshine after the rain.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sleep Deprivation

Working part time and being a full time mom can be difficult. Most days, I make it through with flying colors. Others, I feel like I'm running on fumes, or close to it. Yesterday was a fume kind of day. Lola has been teething, so we aren't able to rest much at night. On mornings I have to work, I sluggishly wake my eyes and begin convincing myself that a nap is in order. My tiny three hour shift flies by as usual, then my real day begins! I take the Miss to breakfast, enjoying her little sounds as I sip bits of caffeine fuel from a deep mug. I am astonished at the piles of food she consumes. She shovels in fistful after fistful as if she were competing in a toddler's eating contest.

After breakfast, we walked around a little more. The game plan: get her tired before I get really tired. A couple blocks later, we made it home. We sat, snuggling up with a blanket, watching Backyardigans. I was tired and irritable. I finally got Lola down for a nap in her crib and then I was out. At last! Sweet sleep. The good kind of sleep. The type where you feel your head getting heavy and can recollect everything until you can't.  When Lola woke up, I still felt tired.I tried snugging her to sneak her back into dreamland, which usually works. It didn't. I began to get irritable once more, as all us parents know we do, and finally I had enough of myself! I became frantic. I was a mom on a mission. I quickly layered Lola up, grabbed my coat and she and I headed out the door.

We stopped to get something to drink and paced over to the park. We plopped on the bench and my recovery began. Lola snacked on cheese, apples, raisins, and grahams. As I began to sip I realized I had spent the majority of our day being miserable. I know that many of the things that happen are beyond my control. The tantrums, the making of messes, the disinterest in what's for lunch, the poop-filled diapers only minutes after her diaper's been changed. Those things are all part of the age. All unavoidable at times. All inevitable. So where did I go from here? I began to focus on the little things.

On whispy clouds. The way they float in fast and changed right before our eyes.

On thick-foamed chai tea-mistos. The way each sip is both subtle and full of flavor. The way gobs of cinnamon are just along for the ride.

In evening park visits. The sound of children playing. 

On this tree. I photographed it two days ago. It has changed so much in a matter of days.

In chilly weather. The way her little cheeks and nose get perfectly rosy.

In silhouettes. The way trees look bigger than remembered.

Simply changing my focus and honing in on the simplest joys of motherhood and life made this day so much better. We are going to have bad days. It happens sometimes. But maybe by altering my perspective I'll come to realize that my situation isn't as horrible as I had thought.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

30 Little Things

Day 15:

Evenings in the park.
 Warm drink in my hand and Lola by my side.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Piles O'laundry

7 A.M. rolls around, and my eyes plead with my mind for the right of passage back into dream land. And just before I drift off into that land of peaceful beginnings, I catch a glimpse. Lola has rightfully claimed her spot in our bed, once again. And rather than huff with annoyance, I put my arm around her, pulling her in a little closer. I breathe her in, studying every minute change her face displays. She smiles. I tell Pieter, sarcastically, "It's probably because one of us slept well!"

I ask for the blinds to be opened. I wanted to take in the leaves and their beauty. I indulged in their richness and the depth of their color. It was beautiful and breezy. I planned out my day, running down the mental list I had been adding to for (what seems like) an eternity. Yesterday was laundry day, so there were still piles upon piles of folded laundry waiting to be put way. But the beauty outdoors keeps distracting me. It had been decided! We would go outside, and then maybe I would come back ready to clean! I took my time getting the girl and myself ready for the day, toe-pruning baths, lotioning, dressing, followed by intermissions brought to you by Sesame Street. Sometimes, it just feels that good to stretch out a morning's routine. Especially when cleaning does not sound appealing!

The walk to the park was more pleasant than normal. The trees become more and more vibrant with each passing day. Layers upon layers of sharply shaped leaves offer a view like no other. Their limbs outstretch like arms in every which direction, shading Midtown, perfectly.

 Simply being outdoors was revitalizing.

The park is empty again, but that didn't phase Lola.

 Arriving home, I felt energized, fueling on English Breakfast tea, dates, and Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life. I started off with the never ending loads of laundry. And just after I had finished putting the first away, I heard Lola yelling from the living room, angrily. She had spilled her cup of grapes into a laundry basket-abyss of tube socks. After calming her down and showing her that it wasn't that big of a deal, it quickly became her new favorite way to eat grapes.

Unfortunately, I didn't get everything crossed off my mental to-do list. But there are other days. The four loads of laundry, however, did make it onto hangers and into dressers.

30 Little Things

Day 14:

Getting a picture that both Lola and I come out good in is never easy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lola's Picks- The Beatles

Yesterday, it was Neil Young. Today, it's The Beatles! Yes!

Lola's Picks- Neil Young

We are a classic rock, country rock, acoustic folk lovin' family. Our attempt to expose Lola to music worthy of shaking in her boots is paying off.

Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Little Things

Day 12:

Little pointers.
Watching leaves float by.

Day 13:

De la Rosa dulce de cacahuate.
 My childhood memory.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is It True? Can It Be?

It is absolutely, 100%, true! We are officially the proud parents of an 18 month old, and loving every moment of it! Every day presents a new opportunity to fall in love with her little spirit a little more. My heart warms and melts for her every morning, even after the long nights, still snot filled and congested. She is beaming with light and joy...and energy, and makes every part of 'keeping us on our toes' worth it. Her facial expressions, ever changing, causing consistent gut-wrenching spouts of laughter. The way her silly little feet pick up her silly little legs to run as fast as she can, is still so charming. The way she rocks her Bieber flip in the front and her spirally curls in the back is freaking adorable! What a wonderful blessing she is and will continue to be! The sweetness of her little garbanzo face is so heartwarming- so innocent. The tiny sound of ongoing chitter-chatter with the occasional splash of 'dog', 'baby', or 'bubble', is so sweet. 

 I could not imagine my life without her, nor do I care where I would be! I am here, now, and I am happy, but above all else, I am fulfilled. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My little sidekick and I made plans with my good friend, Jaunessa, for a park-picnic, caravan style. It has become our goal to rally up the girls and do mom-esque things, like power walking matching strollers, lattes in hand! So Jaunessa and Jess met us at the apartment, where our little gals were prepped and packed in their own jogger. It was the perfect day. It was bright and breezy- the tree lined streets, shaded by giant canopies of leaves decked to the tee in Autumnal hues.This Friday morning power-walked-trek to the park set the tone for a wonderful weekend. 

McKinley Park is a mile's worth of beauty. Big shade trees scattered though the grounds offer the perfect lunch lounge for picnickers. A rose garden lines half of one side and is the Shangri-La for early morning yoga practicers. It is a place of inspiration and expression for artists and a moment in time for lovebirds. There is a huge pond filled with ducks, turtles, and swans.

 A giant, wooden playground area is tucked away on another side and is flocked by jogging strollers, the chariots of little beings. The area is warm with the sound of children's chatters and rich in the scent of damp wood. Babies are swaddled and wrapped and Bjorn-ed while their moms recap on last night's episode of Private Practice, which was intense, by the way!

After letting the girls explore, we settled down on our picnic blanket, soaking up the sun, munching, and enjoying each other's company! Like I said, a great way to start the weekend!