Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The parenting learning curve

Last year, my first year being a mother, I was THAT mother. You know, the one who really never had a clue. The one who forgot picture day. The one who forgot to pay for school nearly every month. The one who paid the housekeeper in pennies because I forgot to have cash on hand and OH MY GOD GOING TO THE  BANK FELT LIKE TOOO MUCH WOOOOORK. The one who lived in pajamas and hated mothers that took showers and wore make up (seriously, who do you think you are?!).

You know, I was the one you wanted to pat and tell that things would get better, but you also didn't want to seem condescending, so you just walked past in the grocery store aisle while I begged Kate to quit crying and broke down in my own tears.

Ahhh, memories.

And that, my friends, is why I take so much pleasure in the fact that I can measure how much I've grown as a parent by the things I haven't forgotten in the past few months. In fact, twice in the last month I've wanted to high-five myself for remembering things that, on the surface, aren't that big of a deal. But to me, they just prove that I have finally started to pull my shit together.

Because this year, I was NOT the mommy who had to explain to their kiddo that they had forgotten it was Pajama Day. Because I remembered, and I had Kate in her pajamas, and while I think she is too young to realize that everyone was in their jammies, I KNEW. And I felt like a BAD ASS.

And today, when I took Kate to school, I was NOT the mommy who packed a lunch that she didn't need, because it was their special Thanksgiving Day lunch. No, I was the mommy who not only KNEW it was Thanksgiving Day at school, but I brought the MOTHER F*CKING NUGGETS for said feast (I just gave myself a fist pump.)

Honestly, I know I've talked a lot on this blog about feeling like a failure. It is a running theme in my life as a mother. Because I think that when you care so much about something, when there is a person in your life that means the sun, moon and stars, it is easy to feel that way. Because you can NEVER give, be, or do enough.  Except on those days that you come through. Those days that they look at you like you are a super hero. Or sometimes it is just the days that you can look at YOURSELF like you are a super hero. And those days? Those are the days you can feel good, the days that make it all worth while. Even if its just because you brought the MOTHER F*CKING NUGGETS to school.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This mommy's gift list: Edition 2

Soooo, yeah. I know I said this gift list would be comprised of "affordable" gifts, but maybe I should add "aspirational" gifts as well, because I found the coolest vase/art piece and I just MUST share. It is just a little pricier than, say, a family on one income (cough) might spend for a vase, however, if you look at it as an ART piece, consider it an INVESTMENT (and art, is like, SO much safer to invest in than, say, your Roth this year. ART is forever. Hello? Are you listening Ben? Honey, I'm talking to YOU).

This Candle Wax Vase ($350) is a hand-blown glass vase from Design Within Reach, created by artist Andi Kovel and her partner Justin Parker, one of the top glassblowers in the country. With this glass vase, they have basically created the most beautiful canvas for you -- you simply burn different colors of candles in the vase, allowing the wax to drip and collect, filling the vase like those sand jars you probably made as a kid.

What I like best about this piece is the idea of making it into a beautiful record of time. If I owned this vase, I would tie different colors to a specific experience or memory. For example, I might burn orange candles for every one of Kate's birthdays. And red candles for all our anniversaries. And white candles for romantic evenings together, and purple candles for evenings spent entertaining. And once the jar is totally filled, you can look at it and see those special experiences that you had during the time it took to fill the vase and feel like you have a one-of-a-kind piece of art that reflects the life of your family.

So I'd probably fill it and keep it, as a record of our lives. However, the really cool part is that if you fill it and want to start again, you can actually SEND BACK the filled vase to the artists and they will provide you with a new one to begin again. I LOVE it!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A broken heart

You may remember that recently, Kate went back to Mother's Day Out a few times a week, and I began slowly regaining the sanity I lost over summer break. And unlike last year where Kate would scream bloody murder when I handed her over to the nice teacher lady, now Kate wiggles out of my arms as soon as we get in the building and run downs the hall to her classroom in a mad dash to THE FUN. THE FUN AT THE END OF THE HALL!!!

It makes me happy. And it makes me happy to see her when I pick her up. All disheveled and covered in some mystery substance and GLOWING because of all the fun she had during the day. One day I walked up to the door and saw my angel chasing one of the boys around the classroom with her arms outstretched and her little legs pumping and giggles just pouring out of her mouth. Another time I showed up and she was sitting quietly on a carpet square with the rest of the class, in anticipation of snack time (huh, so food bribery DOES work). In those moments, I see her for what she is -- a truly happy little girl and I feel proud and accomplished for my part in that.

Today, in the car as we rode home, I asked her about her day. She babbled on in her secret toddler language for a little bit and I told her I was glad she had fun. Then, I did something I regret -- I asked her a question I really didn't want the answer to.

Me: Kate, you love school. Do you want to go to school MORE?

Kate: (quietly) Yes.

Kate: (louder) Yes.

Kate: (yelling in a happy, joyful, OMG kind of way) YES, YES!!

Me: Do you mean, like, you want to go every day of the week?


Kate: (tiny, quiet, reverent whisper) yeeeeeeesssssssssss.


(Insert sound of my heart breaking here)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This mommy's gift list: Edition 1

It is that time of year again -- the time you scramble to find moderately priced gifts that you actually want to give someone or actually want to receive. In an effort to make it a little easier this year, I'm doing a holiday gift list of things I see that I think are pretty freaking cool. If you happen to see something you like here or want to buy someone, feel free to throw it on your own holiday wish list. This is NOT, however, an "every mommy will love this gift" type gift guide however, because, well, frankly... I think my taste is a little questionable. Soooo, there you have it.

Also, this is going to be a random assortment of posts rather than one good gift list because I find random things that just make my weird-o-meter go WEEEEEE!! regularly and I can't stand the thought of leaving some magnificent find out just because I already posted. Especially when that flower vase made out of a beaver skull would have been SO PERFECT IN YOUR LIVING ROOM!!!

Today's first selection comes to you thanks to Parents magazine and their fine, FINE reporting. Behold, the Koziol bird salt and pepper shaker (I know, you just whispered "awesome" under your breath. You are right. It IS awesome). This bad boy can be found on Amazon.com for a mere $36, and I just love the idea of having this on my counter. Tacky? Maybe. But I dare you to SAY THAT TO MY FACE.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Early morning pep talk

My morning conversation with my always tactful husband, before heading to my old office to meet with a bunch of co-workers from my past life:

Me: Seriously, I can not believe how big this zit is, how embarrassing.

Ben: Haha, your co-workers will think I beat you.


Ben: You know, because it looks like you have a black eye.


Me: So my zit is so big it looks like I have a black eye?


Ben: Uh, no, its just because its so CLOSE to your eye. And big.


Me: You suck.

Ben: Sorry.

Me: You think I'm not already feeling crappy about this huge zit on my face without being told it looks like a BLACK EYE?

Ben: Sorry.

Me: So its so big it looks like a black eye, huh?

Ben: Sorry.

Me: You really know how to make someone feel good about themselves.

Ben: Sorry.


Ben: Besides your black eye, you look really pretty.


Me: You suck.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shout out to my peeps-in-law

My sister-in-law Nikki crafts and blogs over at Lilybug Designs, and I was inspired (read: GREEN WITH ENVY, the kind of envy that is special to only children) by her new blog look. This was courtesy of my OTHER sister-in-law, who created the fabulous Lilybug Designs logo (Holla Ashley!)

So of course, I waited until the most inopportune moment and BAM! I hit poor Ashley up for my very own EdelSpot (which now, due to rebranding and cool-ness factor is edelspot, all lower case) logo. Okay, actually, she very sweetly offered to make me one because she knew I was hopeless. And check out the fantastic design she created (look to my right, wait, no, your right. Look right that way--->).

And thanks to her inspiration, I have found myself futzing with the rest of the blog the last few days, hence new colors, photos, etc. There are still some kinks to be worked out, but like life, this blog is a work in progress (seriously, it took me damn near three hours, two glasses of wine and a minor meltdown to get that button posted) so I hope you guys enjoy the new look!

To Ashley -- Thank you so much for taking the time out of your life to create a new edelspot logo and look that I LOVE and am proud to post on my blog!
To Nikki -- Thanks for sharing your web designer with me, and helping me figure out how to post that button html without throwing my computer out a window. Ben also thanks you, because he would have to murder me if I destroyed our computer in a fit of rage.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shhhh, they know too much already

I mean, seriously. How. Do. They. Learn. It?

I have never, and I mean NEVER walked around the house, grabbing things in my greedy little hands and yelling, "MINE!!!!"

Not even in my most thrilling Supermarket Sweep fantasy, where anything and everything I can see COULD possibly BE mine, do I verbally stake claim to each item (I'm too busy shoving steaks in my cart, because, COME ON, THE MEAT IS WHERE THE MONEY IS. Strategy, baby. Strategy)

So you can imagine my shock and awe when I realized that not only does my kid know the WORD "mine" but also very heartily grasps its concept. The first time she clutched a toy to her chest and said "mine," I was dumbfounded. And to be fair, that toy WAS hers, so I held a certain amount of pride in her first declaration. But after a few more instances where I had to keep my voice as non-snarky as possible when I told her that she was, in no uncertain terms, INCORRECT when she labeled that television remote as "mine," I realized we might have a situation on our hands. And then, I had to think, where does she LEARN this shit?

And I realized. Our kids are smart folks. They KNOW things. And as they get older, they get SMARTER. I'm fairly certain that I'm going to have to start some in-depth strategizing with Ben by the time Kate is two to keep ahead of her.

In the meantime, I'm buying a label machine and making sure everyone can read that certain items, like the remote or the ice cream in our freezer, belongs to: "Liz THIS IS MINE Edelbrock." Not sure this addresses the root of the "mine" problem with Kate, but it sure as hell makes me feel better having staked claim to all the real goodies in the house. So really? Problem solved.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Breakfast of champions

The spoon just wasn't cutting it.  Luckily, what we lack in manners and finesse, we make up for in enthusiasm.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And time marches on... all over my face

Last night, around 4 a.m. when I was on my SECOND potty break of the evening, I realized that someone had stolen my young, cooperative body and replaced it with this old, crotchety one that I'm living in now. And the pisser is, I never got to say goodbye... it was like I was young and carefree one moment, and the next I'm waking up two or three times a night to pee, my metabolism is slowing down to a creepy crawl and my back hurts when it rains. I mean SERIOUSLY. What a bummer.

A few weeks ago, I took Kate to Little Gym for the first time, and when I came home to report on the day, Ben asked me if there were any other moms I thought I could be friends with. (Since I'm a little thin on parent friends, my husband likes to play matchmaker. Like a friendship Yenta). I told him that there were several nice women, but they all seemed a little older than me, like they were in a different stage in life. Ben looked at me with sympathy. Huh, weird. I gasped. "You don't think those OLDER women actually were MY AGE do you?! AM I THAT OLD?!?!" I ran to the mirror to asses. Fine lines, check. A little sun damage here and there, check. A little more weight around the ol' middle, check. Well SHIT. Look at that chick in the mirror. When did I become HER??

When you look in the mirror every day, you don't see it. I knew I was getting older, but it was such a slow progression I didn't really notice the change. Until something made me stop and look, and, well, whoa. I AM those "older" women.

I remember a few years ago I asked my mom when I would feel like an adult. In all her wisdom, she shared with me that I'll never really feel like I have it all together, like I think an adult SHOULD feel. Rather, some day I'll look in the mirror and realize I've gotten older, and I just have to ACT like I've got it all figured out. 

Well, Hell. Better start writing about something intelligent now and then. Wouldn't want you guys to catch on that this old lady doesn't know SHIT about life... still.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gnomes, and witches, and candy, OH MY

So I may have mentioned that my 30th birthday was this past weekend (eye roll, I know. I've mentioned it in, like, my last 15 posts). It was amazing, so don't think that my bloggy silence is because I don't have anything good to say. Rather, there are so many moments, gifts, blessings and surprises that I need time to assimilate it all before I can get it down for consumption.

In the meantime, I have to post my obligatory Halloween post, lest I be the ONLY blogger on the Internet that doesn't have one. So, shall we jump to it?

Kate was a garden gnome. And a candy corn witch. All in one day, not, like, spread out over a week or so. And, you are probably thinking, why TWO costumes  (I know Ben was sure thinking that). And that is simple. Because one costume was AWESOME and one was ADORABLE, and when you have a kiddo who is both awesome AND adorable, how do you choose? You must let them express both aspects of their personality, obviously, and so we had a day full of costume wearing.

Ironically, we spent the morning in our yard, doing a complete overhaul of our flower beds. So it was ONLY appropriate that Kate was a garden gnome during the day. Which. Was. Awesome. She really got into character, especially when she decided to climb down into a hole that we dug for a new shrub and would pop out every so often and giggle. It was like a drunk gnome really did just climb out of our bushes. And yes, in the last picture that is dirt on her nose. Because what self respecting gnome doesn't like to rub their face in dirt?

That evening, Kate was in a fairly foul mood, so the adorable but devilishly evil candy corn witch was an extremely appropriate costume. Luckily, as the night went on and she realized that she got to socialize with strange children and her favorite neighbors, oh, and the whole eating candy thing, she perked right up. Ignore the fact that I wasn't going to allow her any candy. Because this crafty witch is also a genius when it comes to satisfying junk food cravings, and she figured out the unwrapping thing on her own. And she consumed several pieces before she was caught and the jig was up. Just an FYI -- Hershey Kisses are apparently her favorite, and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are worth licking the chocolate off, but the peanut butter part will be discarded wherever (i.e. the living room carpet, the grass, mommy's hand, etc.)