"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes-and ships-and sealing-wax-
Of cabbages-and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings."

- The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carrol
(From Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's Been A Long Time

I can't believe I haven't written in this blog in five months. I mean, I can and I can't. But my apologies to my readers. Here's the thing. Life is busy. BUSY. Like a bee! And I am exhausted most of the time it seems. Like prop my feet up, pour a heuugee glass of win, and devour ice cream in front of the TV while looking like a zombie exhausted.

Toddlers make me tired.

My toddler makes me tired.

Abigail is five days short of her 19-month mark. She is far less a baby and far more a kid these days. She speaks in sentences like, "Doggy go bark." Or, "I see 'em, mama." And the way her sweet little bow of a mouth moves when she talks, and the sound of her voice is absolutely one of the most adorable sights and sounds ever.

Except when it's not. Which is usually when she has thrown herself onto the floor with hot tears streaming down her chubby cheeks, and a face as red as a beet as she screams about something but most of the time you aren't...quite...sure...what.

Abbey is also walking. Strike that. Running. Well, attempting to run. Today that resulted in a faceplant on concrete and a fat lip. But it's clear that she wants her little body to move a lot faster than it's currently able.

Abbey loves music. She always has, but this love grows deeper all the time. But now it's really becoming a necessity. Her daycare gave us a CD of her class' favorite tunes. Old standards like "You Are My Sunshine" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider" make an appearance. And new favorites like "Animal Action" or the "Freeze" dance have become standard. So standard that a recent family vacation involving a 3 hour card ride would have been pure unadulterated hell had it not been for this CD. One minute - screaming. Pop the CD in, and next thing you know there's a smiley, happy toddler clapping her hands and bobbing along to "Slippery Fish" in the back seat. So we are now officially "that couple" who drives along while listening to kids tunes. Go ahead and mock us now.

But I think the biggest surprise I've faced is the non-stop action this kid employs. She is one busy bee. Always going. And though she still takes an afternoon nap, it's really more a time of quick re-set. Like the production crew between the matinee and evening performance. You're really spending that time running around like a maniac trying to put some sense of order into the chaos that was the preceding four-six hours.

I'll tell you one thing, though. At the end of the day, on that sweet, "Love you, Mama" is the perfect prelude to the recovery cocktail. And mommy's reset button.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cracker?! Cheese?!

Now that my child is nearly fourteen months old (!?!?!?), I have come to that fork in the road that I hear so many parents talk about, whine about, cringe over, and let out exasperated sighs. Mealtime is becoming chaos.

Currently, our child's diet consists primarily of cheese and crackers. She asks for these items on a regular basis. Usually yelling. Cracker?! Cheese?! Open the refrigerator, or what I think she has decided is the cheese storage box, and immediately you will hear, "CHEESE!?!?!" shouted from a wee voice as if her life depended on it. The cheese is either the organic string cheese, or (don't judge) good 'ol pasteurized American cheese. In my defense, the American slices come from the milkman weekly. So at least it's local. But Abbey loves the stuff. Asks for it regularly. As for the crackers - mostly graham crackers. Whole wheat - that's a win, right?

I had always hoped that our child would be an adventurous eater, although I always knew that could be a long-shot. I eat pretty much anything. My husband...not so much. Abbey seems to enjoy most things that are orange or white in color. Again, cheese. Umm...bananas. Hmm...yogurt. Waffles, pancakes or French toast. And occasionally, a blueberry or strawberry. Oh, and French fries. Mac and Cheese, but it has to come from a box and only the shell shaped pasta. And crackers. Of course. That's about it.

I will say that a new bond has definitely been forged between Abbey and the canine members of our family, since Abbey's culinary outcasts are hurled onto the floor to the delight of our four-legged companions.

So, what to do? I know a lot of parents struggle with this. I want my kiddo to have a good diet. I do. It's important to me. But here's the thing. I have no desire to spend my weekends/evenings/free time creating deliciously healthy meals en masse that are then packaged into colorful, recycled, sustainable, BPA and every chemical possible free containers with cute stickers on them with "Abigail" adorned on them. Not gonna happen. I'm lucky if I brush my teeth and shower these days. And though I'm not a huge fan of pre-preared grocery bought food - I understand the negative impacts, I read the stories about the obesity epidemic in our country, I know it starts with me and the habits I set for my child, I get it. But please for the love of God can someone point me to healthy, tasty, offerings that might exist in say, the freezer aisle? That require a minute or less in the microwave? Preferably something that has a vegetable hidden somewhere in it? Do such items exist?

Monday, November 28, 2011

One. Year. Old.

Dear Abbey,

You are one year, one week, and one day old.

You are almost walking. Almost. You're certainly standing, scooting and climbing. You're also no longer bald. In fact you have these adorable little curls that are cropping up. You definitely have your Mommy's eyes and nose, and maybe hair, but there is no doubt that you look a lot like your father. You have four teeth now. Four. You like to use them to eat all by yourself. Because you're a big girl now. A toddler, technically. That's what they tell me. You prove that when you throw food at me when I try to feed you. Heaven forbid.

You love music. Love it. You dance and sing and bounce around with your tongue sticking out. You also talk. Like, for real. Your vocabulary consists of the following: no, yes, puppy, mama, dada, Dante (all dogs are Dante, evidently), cracker, cheese, baba, ouch, ball, book, night night, up, down, this, that, nana (which I think is banana), hi, hiya, bye-bye and my personal favorite, "mwah", usually accompanied with a blown kiss.

I recently looked at some pictures and videos of you over the past year. I admired how much you've grown with an ache in my heart knowing that I can never get those tender moments back. At the same time, I look forward to watching you grow and explore every day. Until you're 25. And we finally let you date.

But know this.

You will ALWAYS be my baby. Even next year. Even when you go to pre-school. Even when you are off to your first school dance. Even when you go to college. Even when you meet that "special someone". You will always be my first-born. My precious baby girl.

I cannot believe how much has changed this past year. How quickly it all went by. I cannot believe how much I love you - I didn't know it was possible to feel such love for someone. I love you, Abigail Marie. With all my heart. Happy birthday, punkin.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Dear Abbey,

You are 11 months and six days old. Your mother is in denial about your age. I refuse to believe that we are on the final countdown to your first birthday. That time keeps marching forward so relentlessly. That soon - very soon - you are going to transition from "infant" to "toddler". That transition is already well underway, in fact. Because, toddle, you do. You are standing. Pulling up and standing with the assistance of various pieces of furniture. Like it's nothing really.

You are also talking. I am a bit more convinced of this fact that n your father. It's not that he doesn't believe what you're saying, sweetheart. He's just not very good with accents. He can barely understand the British, my love, so don't be offended that he doesn't fully grasp your baby dialect. But I know that when you say, "Dadu", you mean, "Dante" our little dog. I've heard you say "up". And "that". "Row" a la Row Row Row Your Boat and "all done." All as clear as day. "No" has been a favorite of yours for a while now - usually accompanied by aggressive head shaking, but it's delightful that you've also added "yes" to your repertoire - accompanied by adorable head nodding.

You also have more hair. Finally.

But the biggest change that I'm noticing lately, which brings me back to this whole denial thing, is that you really are more and more becoming less like a baby and more like a kid. You make up silly games. A favorite is you rest your head on the ottoman, Dad and I say, "sleepy Abbey" and you pop up and scream, "ahhh!" Like a little monster. It's frickin' adorable.

Sometimes, I let myself think back to where we all were a year ago. You, still in my belly. Me anxiously awaiting your arrival - big as a house-boat. I had a vague idea of what I expected from you then, my love. But let's be honest here. You have far exceeded my expectations. And you've certainly taught your old Mom a thing or two over the past nearly one year. Keep it up, kiddo.

I love you.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

10 months

Dear Abbey,

You turned ten months old this week. Suddenly you are much less like a baby and much more like a kid. You say things that actually, in many ways, resemble words. Actual English ones. Slightly different from the German/Mandarin Chinese dialect you've been sporting. You have mastered the gesture of shaking your head "no". For additional emphasis, you have also mastered the art of slapping things away when you really mean no. Particularly food. Oh, and kicking and screaming. That's a fun communication tool that has appeared as well.

You're also getting ready to walk. I'm pretty sure you'll get there by your first birthday. But in the meantime, you can really get a move on when you're crawling. You are very grabby. You reach for everything. Especially things you aren't meant to have. You could be surrounded by toys, find one tiny piece of lint, and immediately put it in your mouth. Nice. So, pretty much - all (you know what) is breaking loose around here trying to keep tabs on you.

But you are also so incredibly sweet. You rest your head - on purpose - on my chest and your Daddy's chest when you're tired, or if you just want to snuggle. You smile and squeal with delight when you see us after a day at work.

Those are some of my very favorite moments, punkin. It makes that smear of baby oatmeal that's been pasted on my arm all day and I just notice on my way to bed totally worth it.

I love you,

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I love this time of year. When I die, I hope that someone makes a comment in the early weeks of fall about how it reminds them of me because I love this time of year with every fiber of what makes me me. I love it. Loooovvee.

The mild temperatures, the cooler nights that are perfect for sleeping. The need for a warmer blanket. The sunny afternoons that possess just the perfect light. The shorter days. The bountiful end of harvest. The tale end of summer merging with the hinted beginning of autumn. It's absolutely delightful. It's also the time of year when I feel most like myself. I know, that's sort of a strange statement, no? But true. There's something almost academic about this time of year. I suppose it's seeing all the younger folk returning to school and the return of college football to the television. But it's this time of year that always makes me turn my focus inward and re-authenticate myself. Get back in touch with what's important.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a day that was as close to perfect as it could probably be. The baby slept in. I mean SLEPT IN. Two whole extra, blissful, wonderfully delicious hours of sleep. So, the day was off to a wonderful start from the get-go. And when Abbey woke up, she was rested, and happy, and so adorable and playful. We enjoyed a little family time as she crawled around our new living room, moving from toy to toy while the husband and I savored our morning coffee - a second cup! In peace! Sip, ahh. Smile.

Then, we packed up the car and drove to Boulder and took in the farmer's market, which was delightfully uncrowded due to the big football game. We gathered necessities for a local, organic, delicious dinner. Free range steaks, corn picked that morning, fresh dill, rustic home-made bread. We walked around, smiled and just enjoyed the beautiful day. We grabbed a couple of sandwiches and drove to Chautaqua for an impromptu picnic, packing up and leaving just in time for the rain showers to settle in and for Abbey to take a nice, long nap on the way home. And then, we enjoyed what was left of the day - playing with Abbey, relaxing. Until it was time for the kiddo to go to bed, and we savored a perfect dinner, and relaxed.

I went to bed last night completely exhausted from an exquisite day with my family. I slept deeply. I awoke happy. And I sit here remembering and acknowledging what a sweet and positively charmed life I live, if I could just take a moment to enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


What a day.


Typical morning craziness. Out the door by 7.30. Drop the kiddo at daycare by 8. Check in with work by 8.15. Back-to-back meetings from 9am - 2pm. Crazy catchup afterward with a flurry of emails. Network crash. Shit. Can't do web programming that I need to do with no internet. Reassess to-do list and plan for the next day. 4pm, time to go get the kiddo. Walk to parking lot. Admire museum en route. Drive to daycare. No parking available in drop-off lanes. Shit. Circle around the block. No parking available. Shit, shit. Circle around the block. Park. Finally. Check in with security. Answer the old, grumpy security guy's questions ("Do you work for the State?" "No, I sort of work for the city." "Sort of? Either you do or you don't"...ugh...seriously, I have to explain this now?). Get my security badge, walk through metal detector, collect car keys, spy the kiddo playing perfectly happily on her own. Ahh. "Abbey?" [insert squeals of delight from my daughter]. Smile. Get the daily report from her teachers. No afternoon nap. Shit. Oh, well. Collect her things. Back to the car. Strap her in. Let the crying begin. Get in the car, drive away. Traffic. Child crying, "sshhh, sshhhh, sshhhhit this isn't working." Traffic. More crying. More traffic. Crying becomes red faced screaming. Nothing helps. Turn up NPR. Try to tune out. Impossible. Traffic, traffic, traffic. Shit, shit, shitty shit. 35 minutes pass. Finally pull into driveway. Screaming ends. Ahh. Grab work bag, baby bag, lunch bag, and baby. Enter the house. Where is the husband? "Hello? A little help here? Hello?" Upstairs to the bedroom. Locate husband. Give frazzeled update. Plop kiddo on the floor to play. Change out of work clothes. Go to kitchen to make bottle. Notice puddle of dog pee on hardwood floor. Shit. "Dante!" Clean up mess [insert muttering here]. Hear solid thud from ceiling above. Loud baby cries. Shit. "Is she okay?" "She's fine." More cries. Wailing. Rush upstairs with baby bottle. "What happened?" "She was crawling and crashed." Grab baby and soothe. Move to nursery, get ready for baby's bath. Crying, crying, crying. And then...bathtime. Ahhh. Happy baby. Assess the day with the hubs. Marriage banter here. Typical check-in. Baby rubs eyes. Time to get out. Into the nursery. Sing bunny foo foo. Into pajamas. Calm, soothe. Bottle. Snuggle. Sing songs. Head nuzzle. Kiss on the cheek. Rock in the chair.

And then.

A kiss.

My first kiss from my daughter.

Big, sloppy, poorly placed, and uncoordinated.

Absolutely perfect.

Tears form (mine this time).

A kiss really does make everything better.

Kiddo off to bed...sleep...mommy off for some well-deserved "me-time". Cocktails will be involved.