December 31, 2009

Resolutions

1. Be the best wife I can.
2. Be the best mother I can.
3. Be the best lawyer I can.
4. Sleep more.
5. Eat less.
6. Pray more.
7. Doubt less.
8. Laugh often.
9. Forgive always.

And in the true spirit of me, I think number five will be the hardest for me to maintain.

May this be a wonderful year for all of you.

And a special happy birthday to my baby girl, who officially turns one today. This little girl - a baby who used to crawl over to me to be held...but who now crawls over to me, as simply a grip for a place to stand up... so she can take off walking, going her own way. Time flies. I'm determined to soak it all up. This year must be the best yet.

Happy New Year, from James & Stella.

December 27, 2009

11 Years

I'm a big fan of New Year's Eve. On New Year's Eve of last year, Stella was born. On New Year's Eve, eleven years ago, Jason and I began our life together. Our first date....5 pm, coffee at Denny's in Savannah. He had just moved back from Colorado and gave me a call, asking if I wanted to meet up for coffee before I went out with other friends for the night. Not knowing that this one coffee was really going to turn into a first date...and then, a second date, marriage, years of graduate school, moving a zillion more times, and two babies...I went along.

Eleven years, and I still think New Year's Eve is my favorite day of the year. A new year, new chances, new life. Must be something right about this day.

These past couple of years have been crazy. Two years ago, I was holding my two-month old baby boy, when the ball dropped. He refused to sleep, and as such, so did we. Happy New Year, 2008! Last year, I was holding my freshly-baked, four-hour-old baby girl when the ball dropped. Happy new year, 2009! This year...both babies will more than likely be sleeping (happy new year, 2010!!!!). And I might get to hold my husband, alone, this time. We'll see.

I look forward to ringing in 2010 (perhaps this one, a little more quietly than some of the past eleven ones)...but ringing it in wholeheartedly, with a spirit of gratitude and anticipation for the next year.

Who said nothing romantic ever happens at Denny's?

Friends

Today, I took James to see his first movie: Alvin & the Chipmunks - the Squeakuel. I did not know how well James would do, but we go revved up to go. I packed a sandwich and banana to smuggle into the theater. We talked about the movie tickets, the big screen and the chipmunks on the drive there. I was a little nervous, especially in light of James' recent antics and the fact that he's...well, two.

I ordered a giant pretzel and we tiptoed into the movie that had already begun. As we sat near the front and with nobody around us, he settled in and began eating his sandwich. I dropped my entire pretzel onto the theater floor as we were settling in. Nice.

But the movie? He loved it. The chipmunks were a huge hit.

After about fifteen minutes, he started to squirm. He looked behind us, suddenly realizing that there were a ton of people sitting behind us.

He stood up in my lap. "Oooh," he said, pointing to the crowd behind us. "Friends!"

December 26, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Stella Rae

Dear Stella,

Our little star.

Today was your 1st birthday party. Almost one year ago, on New Year's Eve, we welcomed you into this world. And our world was immeasurably blessed. We are so proud of you, and love you so much.

December 17, 2009

Salad for Thought

I rarely take a break to eat at work, let alone surf the web or blog. But today I'm eating my salad at my desk, and it occurs to me just how exhausting it is to be angry at someone, avoiding them at all costs. Especially when I have no real idea where the friendship ended. Just one day, it clearly had ended. And now I have to walk an extra two hundred steps a day to avoid it. And the under-the-breath mutterings I make all day long... that's probably starting to make me look like a lunatic. More than usual lunacy.

Along those same lines, I cannot fathom how difficult a divorce would be. You live with someone for years/decades, then they are gone, and you have to avoid them at all costs? How many extra steps a day does that entail?

So Jason, like it or not, you get to stay married to me forever. If not for the deep love I feel for you, then for the sheer laziness ...I do not want to rebuild a city, or take more steps than necessary. You're stuck with me, homeboy.

December 16, 2009

Polygamy? Schmiglamy.

So yes, deep down, I understand why polygamy is illegal. And oppressive. And gross.

But the more busy life becomes and the more I have to do, I am really thinking that I need a sister wife. Now, I must be the First Wife, no questions asked about that. But I kinda "get" it, at this point. Imagine...someone to do half the chores, the laundry, the bills... the stupid day-to-day stuff.

"Whoa there, Angela. I'm sorry, but tonight is your night to roast the butternut squash." Wait, that sounds a little pervy in terms of polygamy. Let me try again.

"Whoa there, Angela. Tonight is your night to hunt down and fold the socks."
There. Now wouldn't that be nice?

On second thought, I really need my very own wife, but I'm not sure there is a term for that (whilst keeping my husband, mind you...so a non-lesbian kind of wife...I think I am missing all the jokes here). In other words, I want to keep the husband- I just want another wife around to assist with all the wifey things. And the childrearing.

Therefore, the applications are officially open to be my wife. I promise not to be overly bossy. Just a little bossy. And we can get mani-pedis every three weeks. But you have to drive.

December 15, 2009

A Merry Fishmas Video (Well, Two)




A Merry Fishmas

Today was James' First Christmas Pageant at school. Mind you, he's two years old and they were promising that the one and two year olds would be singing. My child singing - that's definitely a work-from-home morning, followed by witnessing the signing event. I've been hearing snippets of "twinkle twinkle" and something that sounds like "wish Merry Fishmas" for a few weeks, so I was very excited to attend.


Our nanny went along with me, because she also has a daughter in the school. Stella tagged along in her Christmas dress and was happy, as usual.

We were told to dress the kids in appropriate Christmas attire. Not to be outdone by the crazed stay-at-home moms, I put James in his Merry Fishmas suit. They may have hand-knit baby reindeer on a jumper, but there was no way the stay-at-homes would beat a suit. No way.


The crowd was a bit edgy. You could feel a tad of the parent lunacy in the air. The folks jockeying for a close seat, the ones with the fancy cameras that they purchased just for this event. There were a few that were eyeing my seat. Then there was the real-live giant who sat in front of me. I was worried that I would have to manhandle him to even see my child (and without Jason there to tell me to shut up), so I decided to simply move to the middle of the aisle of the church and crouch down. The crouching, which you may think is silly, was quite necessary, lest James catch my scent or see me. The pageant festivities would have been over if I were spotted.

Needless to say, the whole thing appeared to go off without a hitch, and was quite entertaining. That is, except for this weird little boy in a red Christmas jumper who managed to use his chipper little jumper to romp into the frame of every picture and video I took. James really took to the singing of "Happy Birthday baby Jesus," and seemed to dig the jingle bells that were given to them as instruments.

Of course, there is a "but" - and there is always the Meredith moment. This one came in the social hall, where we were casually feasting on Christmas cake and punch. James' teacher came over to me while James was in the middle of a typical James-two-year-old style fit ("Cake! cake!").


"Oh, why is James fussing?" she asks me.

I look at her, "Well, he just does that sometimes."

"Hmm," she says, "he does not ever act like that in class."
I say, smiling, "That's very fortunate, isn't it!?"

[This is where the fun begins]

"James is such a sweet boy. We just love having him in class. He does say he misses you alot."

"Really? He says that he misses me?"

"Well, he actually always says, 'Mommy's working' or 'Mommy's sick.'"

I swallow. Hard.
"Mommy's sick?" I ask.

"Yes. And the day when we hung up the family tree pictures, he cried. It was very upsetting to him."

I swallow. Again. Harder.

"Oh. Well, so he says 'Mommy sick' and 'Mommy working' and he cries when he sees a picture of our family?"

"Yes."

"Well. Ok. Thanks for stopping by." I turn my back to her. And she walks off.


These damn teachers. Now, I'm a little sensitive since the "Muffins Without Mom" incident, and I also
knew it would not be very kind/prudent/appropriate to curse in the social hall of the church (or to curse at my son's teacher...or to curse in general, I suppose), but I really wanted to take that woman by her fluffy hair and give her a solid headslam wrestling move across the plastic covered table. I wanted to scream, "Can someone please tell me what the hell just happened here?"

Yes, Mommy does work. But, now apparently, James has his teachers thinking that Mommy is also "sick," perhaps a fragile-lay-in-the-bed-with-drapes-closed-all-day kind of mother? I don't believe it for a second. I believe those teachers have agendas. I believe genius teacher decides it's appropriate to tell me stupid crap like that coupled with: by the way, he cries when he sees a picture of your family tree.

Now this is the part of the blog where my mother is reading and probably crying, thinking "Poor James," but James is very matter of fact about everything. He's happy to see me when I am home, but when I work, he simply says "Mommy working," and goes back to coloring or reading. I know this because he does the same thing when Jason is also at work: "Daddy working." And our nanny for that matter. When our nanny leaves each day, he says, "Staci working." It's just what he says when someone is gone.

Now, the family tree picture. I can explain that one. The teachers sent the parents home with a homework assignment to create a family tree. I need an entire blog for my hatred for parental homework assignments and the teachers who assign the projects. Well, they gave me a piece of green construction paper and a piece of brown construction paper. While in the middle of cooking dinner, I made a makeshift tree, stuck some old wrinkled photos of Jason, myself, James and Stella on this ugly little tree and sent it off as the homework assignment. James was simply crying at the family tree because he knows Mommy's art skils are far superior to the effort put into that project: he's simply mad that Mommy performed below tree-making capabilities. Well, you're right to cry on that one buddy.

Ah, ha. I'm laughing. But seriously? We are at the Merry Christmas pageant, having a reasonably swell time, and somewhere in this little teacher's brain, she thinks that kind of pass-it-along story is reasonable/productive/worth repeating? Seriously? Seriously? Someone should roll up your teaching certificate into a long skinny roll and beat you with it.

Keep your mouth shut. Or, in the alternative, repeat after me: "James is nice boy. We love having him in class. He colors very well, and whoa, those alphabet skills."

And then, I cannot help but think about the zillions of years and teachers I have left to encounter. At least sixteen more years of teachers? How am I going to make it? Clearly, I must stop working and stop being "sick," because that's the first step. Once I stay at home and get un-depressed with all my bonbon eating, then maybe, just maybe, I can create a family tree project my son doesn't cry when he sees.

After the pageant performance but before the refreshments and the you're-a-terrible-mother incident occurred, the parents were "released" to go get their kids. I found James, and I tapped him. He looked up and I said, "Hey buddy."

With that, he smiled the biggest smile ever. He reached up to me, wrapped his arms around me and said, "Hi Mommy. Sweet. Fishmas song!"

Aw shucks. As if anything else really matters.

Merry Fishmas, everyone!

Budding Politician?

December 9, 2009

Congratulations...

....to my husband. All of the hard work appears to be paying off!

Now, if we could just find a way to sell the children.... (just kidding!)

So proud of you, honey.

December 8, 2009

Dear Mr. Lion Puppet

Dear Mr. Lion Puppet-

You didn't even make it one whole day in the hands of James.



And where did your eyes, nose and half of your snout run off? And your tail? There's only a nub where your glorious tail once was.



Did it hurt your feelings as ever-eager two-year old James pulled your arms and legs apart, shouting "Lion arm! Lion leg!"



Were you pained as he hand-picked your eyeballs from their paper bag sockets: "Lion eyes! One! Two!" while stealthily hiding them who knows where?



Like Chuck Norris, James is a bit of a ninja. Also, like Chuck....James giveth, and the good James taketh away.

Rest in peace, little buddy.
Maybe your puppet cow friend will fare better.


Deepest sympathy -

James' Mom

December 7, 2009

JD in Puppet Making

So our nanny is out sick today, and I am home playing real mommy today. Proof is in the pudding - when I woke James up, he said, "Wow! Mommy's home!" Okay, so my two-year old already understands that mommy being home is a total crapshoot. But I believe it makes me being home significantly more special than if he saw me hovering over him like a hawk every single day.



Anyway, we've had a great morning, despite both of the kids having a new cold of some sort. Stella's been coughing and her nose running loose all over the place. James has had a hanger-on cough for the better part of two weeks. Strangely, three doctors visits later, the diagnoses being that both are just fine with minor colds.



For breakfast, we all had organic blueberry waffles (okay, frozen, but still) and fruit. Sang countless rounds of ABC's with the special (Q-Walrus-T-U-V) version. And then while Stella "read", James and I embarked on a "huge" art project - that being the art of the lion paperbag puppet.




Well, it was a huge success. Minimal glue on table and hands, and no temper tantrum when the puppet couldn't be held immediately. 10:30 am - no big catastrophe's and a lion paperbag puppet?



Heck, who needs a law degree? Today, I got my JD in puppetry.

December 6, 2009

Stella Walks

Just a little over 11 months, and baby girl is starting to walk. She started out with four steps last night, and tonight, she made several steps in a row, several times. Two babies in two years, and now, we are almost rid of the crawling. Unreal.

Love you, Stella girl. So proud of you!

There's a Wocket in My Pocket


So you become a parent and not only does your brain turn to mush... but then you are expected to read actual mush to your kids, and with expressive voices.
Who made up all these rules?

'Tis the Season....

'Tis the season to be tired...
Fah la la la la... la la la....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

"Tanks"giving

Thanksgiving was a great time. Last year, I was enormous and pregnant with Stella, and really it took every ounce of gumption I had to cook crockpot mac and cheese (and we all know how difficult crockpot cooking is).


This year was considerably "easier," in that I wasn't hauling around (ah-hem) 60 pounds of fetus - but it was still quite the challenge, kid-wise. My folks came up along with my grandparents. We had a big ole turkey (not a tofurky) cooked by Jason, and cooked to perfection it appeared. Lots of salad, stuffing, homemade biscuits. It was a pretty big success and "a good time was had by all who were in attendance."

Poor Stella girl was sick most of the week, and she was not in the best of places. But being the Southern lady she is... she was a trooper. James held approximately 20 puppet shows, so the entertainment was grand.


The following day, we humped it to the Christmas Tree farm. James was in true 2-year old form, but we still managed to have a nice time with the "grandpa goat" and the baby goat.


After everyone left on Saturday and it was just the four of us again in our "quiet" house, I asked James if he had a nice Thanksgiving. He said, "Yes, happy. Tankgiving. Happy."


November 28, 2009

A B C

So James officially knows his alphabet song...
"...L-M-N-O-P-Q-
WALRUS- T-U-V..."

November 21, 2009

Best Day Ever



Today was the best day ever (well, maybe not ever. My birthday weekend was probably the best ever...

And it was not due to anything special. We went to the Georgia Aquarium. Then a haircut for shaggy snuffle-saurus, James. Then naps for the kids, while Jason and I did P90X Yoga. Then we went to Mall of Georgia and had dinner super late (7:00!) at a little hole-in-the-wall pizzaria on Buford Drive. Still, today was the best day ever.

There were only two James temper tantrums. Stella was happy as a lark. Jason and I managed to volley back and forth some adult conversation.
Best day ever.

November 19, 2009

And the Truth Shall Set You Free

Recently, I have found out some interesting truths about a person I considered a friend. Well, the truth is... this person is a liar. And the scary kind of liar. The look-you-in-the-eye-shed-tears kind of liar. The quick on the feet with a cover-up lie kind of liar. The freaky kind. Whatever. For me, this friendship was on a "three-strikes you're out" budget. One lie can be overlooked for the sake of team friendship. Two lies can chop away at the soul of the thing, just ever so little, make the conversations a little more grating, one-sided. But three lies, well, that is simply the end of the friendship road for me (and henceforth, the end of bad friendship analogies in this blog post!)

So I thought I might be devastated, but the freedom to release this liar from my life feels euphoric, right and downright special. Instead of dwelling on a parasitic situation, I will forget about it. I will hug and love my little fireball babies to the best of my non-child-centered-parent ability. My husband and I will attempt another P90x workout tonight (oh, the humanity). I will work diligently and carefully and at all hours of the night (and morning). I will take care of those who really matter.

And finally, I will spend a teeny-tiny amount of energy blogging and trying to allow people to find humor in the not-so-sunny side of parenting. And for those who think parenting is this static, serious situation -well, the "ESC" key...it's the top button on the left side of your keyboard. Push it.

If only there was an "ESC" key in the day-to-day....

Playroom-palooza







The Letters are Cool

November 18, 2009

Self-Righteous Parenting

I find it incredible...the self-righteous parent. You know 'em- those who think their children do no wrong, need no discipline, should be given everything under the sun. The parents who find no humor in the ridiculousness of a two-year old temper tantrum....those that think poop is improper to discuss. Really? Since when is poop not funny? Oh, right. You think it's not funny - you, the self-righteous parent.

Ah yes, the parents who really believe that they have raised the perfect child (that children really are not born sweet/difficult/colicky/strange/silly; that it is all about their excellent parenting only); that it is acceptable on some planet to let their child dictate his/her own bedtime, birthday presents, family vacations... that it is some sort of crime to spend a weekend away from the children.

To you self-righteous parents, I say: good luck. I am staying tuned to see your self-righteousness come to full fruit during your perfect kid's teenage years. Whooo-hooo.
A funny two-year old temper tantrum is temporary; a lifetime of a disappointing, spoiled, ill-disciplined child living at home because you have created an emotional imbecile... well, that's forever.

November 15, 2009

BlogVice: The Best Baby Food on the Planet






Sprout Baby Food

Certified organic? Yes.

Handy-dandy zip-top containers? Yes.

Founded by a real-chef for his real-baby? Yes.

Smells and looks good enough for you to eat? Yes.

Pricey? Yes.





But incredible. Awesome flavors like Sweet Potato and White Beans, Peach Rice Pudding, and Pasta with Lentil Bolognese... they really are good enough for the big folks to consider eating.

Drawback? They make fewer flavors than I would like (at least ...only a few are carried here in the South), but the few flavors I can get my hands on... are great. Stella loves these flavors, considerably more than the run of the mill green beans and peas.

Runner up? Earth's Best Organics. All of the characteristics of the above, minus Tyler Florence and trendy packaging.

After switching to vegan myself, and turning our family to organic and mostly vegetarian (still working on Jason!), I cannot stomach Gerber or Beech Nut. I'm an official baby food snob. Oh well.

November 13, 2009

The Definition of Family...

So Dictionary.com defines family as "parents and their children, considered as a group whether living together or not." While I think this a bit close-minded definition (hello, what about grandparents, cousins, etc)... I am revising this definition to fit with the health of our family lately.


Family is: "parents and their children, considered as a group, bonded together through each one's designated role as a 'germ incubus,' spreading cooties to each other through fingers in mouths and noses and ears and eyes... and acheiving said individual roles by unintentional (or often intentional and slyly) planting said fingers in others noses and mouths and ears and eyes, resulting in days and days of misery and wailing and nashing of teeth."


November 8, 2009

Happy 30th Birthday, 8th Anniversary, and Big Weekend Out



We just returned from a kid-free weekend. Our relaxation tank has been near full for the first time in two years, and our love tank is overflowing. We walked in the door, and James came running: "Mommy! Daddy!" Yay... it was so very sweet. We received excited smiles and spitbubbles from Stella, with a bit of dadadadada, and bababababbaba. It is fantastic to be home.


Friday started out awesome. Massages and lunch at World Peace Cafe in Sandy Springs. We checked into the Ritz in Buckhead around two o'clock and then took a three-hour undisturbed nap. Amazing. We had a bit of a Top Chef foodie themed weekend. All we did was eat and sleep. First on Friday night, we had drinks at the Lobby Lounge then went to Craftbar - chef Tom Colicchio's Atlanta restaurant. Craftbar was incredible. I had a cauliflower, collard green and black truffle oil soup and salad. Jason (being a terrible vegetarian, I might add) had the pork belly and bone marrow. Ick. But he loved it. The atmosphere at Craftbar was incredible. Very woody and amazing and warm.


At 9:00, we hopped a cab to Woodfire Grill, restaurant of Top Chef's current contestant Kevin Gillespie. Our reservation was for 9:30, and by 10:30, we had still not been seated. This did not bother us at all because we were seated in the bar area and they fed us complimentary snacks. Snacks make everything better. And wine doesn't hurt.
By 10:45, we had been seated at an incredibly cozy table in the corner... on our way to the table, there he was - Kevin! Now, I had my hopes that we would see him. Afterall, this season of Top Chef had not quite wrapped yet, so I could assume that he would be back at his job. But these were just Top Chef hopes. But there he was, right in the open kitchen and going to prepare our food. I was so stoked.
By midnight, after a five course chef's tasting menu, with special vegan dishes for me (yay!) and scallops, quail and more pork belly for Jason, Kevin Gillespie came to our table to check on us. After apologizing repeatedly for the wait (as if we cared! we had a blast!), we chit-chatted about Top Chef, the new notarity of Woodfire Grill. So cool. Nicest guy in the world. He took pictures with us, and sometime around 1 am, we were back in a cab to the hotel. This night was the most amazing date. Ever.

Saturday was much more laid back and uneventful. Lunch at Sunflower Cafe, followed by a ridiculous nap. Dinner at Bluepointe, drinks at Twist, back at the hotel by 11. Nightynight.


I started to miss the babies pretty bad come Saturday evening. By Sunday morning, I was throwing clothes into any suitcase I could find... I was ready to come home.

Seeing James and Stella after three days apart was amazing and delicious. Sometimes I miss the "single" life, just me and Jason. But all it takes is a day away...and I miss those babies with all of my heart. Thanks to Staci for giving us this amazing weekend. I started my 30th year with a bang, and with a cup full of love, joy and gratefulness.


Love to you all -
M

October 31, 2009

He's Two... and it's already Halloween?

So our boy is now two years old. We celebrated with a Thomas the Train birthday party with family, and he had a great time. He's definitely two. And there really is no doubt. He's definitely two. Two, two, two. That's all I think about, and all I hear in my mind. He's one tough little cookie, and I blindly attribute it to the fact that it "must" be sheer talent and brillance, and not merely a case of the bad-boy-bratdom. At least, that's what I am hoping.






Today was Halloween, and we did the lamest thing ever. The mall and then Publix for "trick or treating." Oh well, it worked out fine in the end.


Oh, and Stella is 10 months old today. Where did THAT time go?




We had doctor's checkup appointments earlier in the week. Both are healthy and wonderful. James has entered into "average" stats - he's now in the 75% percentile for height, and 50% for weight at 27 pounds. Stella is at 95% for both, weighing in at a brick house of 22 pounds. Go girl! She needs the heft to take on that brother of hers.



Life has been so chaotic lately... I feel as if there have been no free moments.

I am looking so forward to next Friday. I turn 30 this month, and Jason and I are headed to an adults only weekend in Atlanta... restaurants, drinks, hotel, spa days... I cannot wait. It's just what the shrink has ordered!