Creep on in

01/31/2011 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Motherhood, Small Fry | 6 Comments
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Every night before bed, I simply must do it.

I just won’t feel settled otherwise.

Sneaking into Small Fry’s room has become as routine as brushing my teeth or changing into pj’s. I just have to take one last look at my sweet girl before our day ends. And of course listen to her breathe.

I’ve been performing this ritual every single night, with few exceptions, for almost three straight years.

Some nights, I’ve gotten busted. I used to freeze in place, hoping to blend into the shadows. Or, lunge for the floor and crawl out of her room on my hands and knees.

One time, after I accidentally woke her with my creepy mom death stare, I hit the ground and froze beside her crib. Waiting for the tell-tale steady breathing to resume. After what felt like an eternity, I dared to look up. And what did I see? Two little eyes peering over the crib bumper, like, “crazy lady, what are you doing down there?”

That was back when I didn’t want to wake her. When I’d do ANYTHING for her to just sleep.

But now? It’s much more fun.

I might crawl into her bed to feel her breath on my cheek or wrangle one last snuggle. Or, like last night, she’ll pop up, still asleep, and kiss the air, searching for my face. Or she’ll talk. Unconscious mumblings about Dora or Foofa or the peanut butter and jelly sandwich she ate for lunch.

Sometimes it’s too much to bear and I can’t imagine ever letting her out of my grasp.

But most nights it’s just a sweet little ritual. That I’ll probably repeat until the day we send her off to college.

25 weeks: a basketball under my shirt

01/30/2011 at 8:43 pm | Posted in baby sunshine, pregnancy | 10 Comments
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I think I’ve popped. Like, popped.

I was getting dressed this morning and my belly just seemed rounder. And bigger. I tried taking a shot without the camera in front of my face, but I get freakishly dizzy standing up for long periods of time (i.e. more than a minute). So after my first few self-portrait attempts failed, I gave up and aimed through the viewfinder.

I couldn’t get over my basketball, so I just had to share!

Also? It’s time for another happiness list:

Small Fry saying “Guess what? I love you.”
Cracker Barrel mac-and-cheese
Valentine candy
crafting up some goodies for the big 3rd birthday celebration
a whole afternoon to myself (thanks, Mom and Dad)
Target
Carolina basketball
toaster waffles
cold canned pears (and peaches)
60-degree weather
soaking in the tub with People magazine

What’s on your happiness list today?

Friday goodies

01/28/2011 at 9:35 am | Posted in just plain fun | 5 Comments
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Small Fry is bouncing off the walls this morning because our Nana is coming to visit! I’m also secretly bouncing off the walls. It’s been way too long since we’ve seen Nana. She’s digging out of the snow and driving all the way here from the mountains. Can’t wait to squeeze her.

Here’s what else made me smile this week:

This hilarious site my pal Mandy discovered; would DIE if one of my posts ends up there!

– Miss Banshee’s Bachelor recaps on Mama Pop.

– This lovely site for Small Fry birthday party ideas.

– Thought about making these party favors, but better judgment is telling me that sharp objects and toddlers don’t mix. (Filing away for the future).

– More hilarious reality show recapping, this time American Idol (which, like the Bachelor, I can’t stop watching).

Hope you have a happy weekend!

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You Capture: happy

01/27/2011 at 10:21 am | Posted in Small Fry, snap happy | 22 Comments
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toddler in truck

Look at that face!

It’s a real departure from Small Fry’s typical forced smile/grimace for the camera. Because? She is HAPPY.

She loves, loves, loves getting to captain her daddy’s truck. She pretends to steer, plays with the buttons and checks out the contents of the center console. Even in the freezing cold, sitting in that truck is pure bliss.

So when I looked up this week’s You Capture theme on Monday and discovered “happy,” I knew that our little weekend photo shoot in the truck would be perfect. Serendipitous.

toddler in truck

No, these aren’t the truck keys. I think they belong to a storage unit. But Small Fry didn’t need to know that. Holding those keys gave her power! and independence!

Lord help us when she turns 16.

toddler in truck

toddler in truck

For more happy images, check out I Should Be Folding Laundry today!

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Happiness is: two bags

01/26/2011 at 9:39 am | Posted in DIY, Happiness is | 4 Comments
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vintage beaded purse

I inherited this beautiful little beaded bag from my grandmother Lillian, and I love it. It’s so unique and delicate. I can’t wait to have an occasion to carry it. Which, with the excitement in my life, might be to Target. But still.

The best part about this treasure was discovering a little hand-written note tucked into the interior pocket that told when grandma had received the bag and from whom. Then, when I showed the bag to Small Fry, she of course grabbed the tissue paper and yanked everything out of the box. Thank goodness she did, because we might not have otherwise discovered the little Christmas tag from my grandmother’s uncle to her, when the gift was given. In 1939.

Here’s the box it came in:

box from The May Co. in Baltimore

Another new treasure is this awesome tote that Laura made for Small Fry. Back in August at the BlogHer conference, the Nickelodeon booth was screen-printing free Dora and Diego t-shirts for kids. By the time I got there, they’d given out everything except kids’ large sizes. And I figured that when Small Fry is big enough to fit in it, she might not be so interested in Dora anymore. Wishful thinking? (Shame on mommy).

So I gave the shirt to my brilliant sis and asked her to make something with it. Look what she did!

Dora the Explorer tote bag

I love everything about it — the funky fabric, the ric-rac around the Dora design, the size (perfect for road trips). Small Fry declared upon receiving it that it would be “good for the grocery store.” (I photoshopped out her real name, which runs just above Dora’s head). She loves this bag. Right now it’s stuffed with farm animals. For the grocery, you know.

We're not torturing Dora. Really.

01/25/2011 at 10:59 am | Posted in Motherhood, Small Fry | 7 Comments
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Poor Dora. This is what happens when a poop explosion of mighty proportion coats everything but the cars sitting outside in the driveway. After scrubbing Small Fry I came downstairs to this sight, and it made me laugh out loud. Marc is so clever.

Our tag-team effort on Saturday was worthy of live television coverage.

After I entered Small Fry’s dark and very pungent room to discover that our little lovely had slept in a giant smear of poo, I hollered for Marc and we sprung into action. Usually this big a mess will startle Small Fry awake. Not this time.

The poo was everywhere. Hair, fingers, eyebrows, crusted to the soft skin on her back.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

But whatever logic my brain could summon kicked into gear, and I picked her up as gingerly as possible and hauled her off to the tub. Marc tackled sheets, bedding, pillows and lovies. Including Dora.

Confession: the accident was (mostly) my fault. I forgot to change Small Fry out of her big-girl panties and into a pull-up for naptime. Since she’s been potty training, she saves up all of the good stuff for sleepy time and usually wakes up with a load in her pants.

It’s gotten so bad that she’s constipated herself by withholding (which the doctor assures us is normal), and we’re graced with a poo-storm every three days or so.

She pees in the potty like a champ. But there’s something about dropping a deuce that scares her. Or embarrasses her. We’re not sure. Again, the doctor says it’s normal.

He also said to back off on the poo-in-the-potty talk and give her some time.

AND. Don’t forget to wrap her little butt in a pull-up while she sleeps.

Lesson learned.

Sorry, Dora.

4011 and other random mom-knowledge

01/24/2011 at 10:29 am | Posted in Motherhood | 28 Comments
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Yesterday at the grocery store I was going through the motions at the self-check-out when I plopped down my bananas and without giving it any thought, punched in “4011.” Then I loaded up the bags and the child into the car, flipped the CD back to the song I knew Small Fry would request (All the Single Ladies, FTW) and assured her before she even asked that no, we would not be going through the car wash. Which is near the grocery store. Which terrifies her.

As we rounded the corner out of the parking lot, I got to thinking. I sure know a lot. About nothing.

Really.

Since I became a mother three(!) years ago, my brain has stashed away all sorts of little nuggets that I otherwise would have no reason to know. Like the code number for bananas. And the price on a four-pack of Yo Toddler yogurt.

And these things:

– the best places to buy diapers/wipes/formula/jar food/undershirts/bunny crackers/EVERYTHING

– the exact price of a gallon of organic skim milk

– how to fold a crib sheet (and change said crib sheet in the dark with one eye open)

– what toddler toothpaste tastes like

– just how full I can stuff the washing machine/dishwasher so that they still function

– what butt paste is and how to use it

– what croup sounds like and what to do (steamy bathroom, stat)

– my child’s voice in the middle of a playground teeming with other kids

– how to clean up juice/Mylecon (never buy the pink!)/ground-in play doh stains from the carpet

– the exact temperature she has to reach before we go to the ER in the middle of the night

– the last time she pooped

– what it’s like to be at the mall before any of the stores are even open

– the words to “The Wheels on the Bus” and eleventy hundred other songs I’d forgotten

– just how fun the Target clearance rack can be (hello $2 toddler pants)

– how to clean someone else’s ears, butt, teeth and everything in between

– how awesome and empowering it feels to be a mom with a superhero-brain that can hold all this stuff. And more.

Tell me … what would you add to this list? What’s taking up space in your mom-brain?

Friday goodies

01/21/2011 at 3:07 pm | Posted in just plain fun | 5 Comments
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tulips

Pictured above is one of the things that gets me through winter: a vase of fresh-cut flowers.

Tulips are my favorite, and I think it’s serendipitous that they’re in season during the longest, coldest months of the year. Small Fry picked out these orange ones, and they hold center court on our kitchen table amongst the vitamins and napkins.

I’m really psyched that a new Whole Foods is getting ready to open around the corner from our house. Their fresh-cut flowers are the best in town, and I love that you have to walk through that display to get into the store. I can never resist stopping.

Here’s some other stuff that made me smile this week:

– Discovering Band Back Together, thanks to Tiffany and Molly

– Katherine’s wonderful Daily Hope e-mails

– The Boden spring catalog. And this one too.

– The Shutter Sisters’ beautiful book that I hope will arrive in tomorrow’s mail (thanks to my friend Viki for showing me her copy)

– Homemade Valentine project ideas for Small Fry and me to tackle

You know what else made me smile this week? YOU.

I’m still reeling from the wave of support and love after Wednesday’s post about depression during pregnancy. I sat down last night to reply to each and every comment, but the tears kept coming and my fingers just wouldn’t work. Please know how very grateful I am. I need you guys, and I’ll be leaning especially hard come May. Thank you.

Happy weekend! xo!

You Capture: circles

01/20/2011 at 10:06 am | Posted in Small Fry, snap happy | 12 Comments
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First things first: THANK YOU.

I cannot tell you how much your outpouring of kindness and love means to me. Hitting “publish” yesterday was one of the most difficult things I’ve done in a while. But you guys? Gave me the courage to do it again. And again. I know the response won’t always be positive, but I realize now that there is tremendous value in being honest and forthcoming on this blog. Sharing the good and the bad. Being more real.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not gong to change the title to “un-swell” or anything. I’m just going to be more ME.

Brace yourselves.

I’m excited to get back into the swing of things with You Capture. Getting behind my camera is some of the best therapy possible. And, I love the creative challenges Beth gives us each week. Like today’s: circles.

Small Fry and I spent nearly every waking minute outside yesterday because temperatures finally soared above 30 degrees. All the way to the 50s! We took a walk, rode big-girl bike, dug in the dirt, kicked around the Dora ball … and best of all, spent a lot of time on the porch blowing bubbles.

And here’s what happens when Small Fry gets tired of the camera clicking away in her face:

Check out more circles over at I Should Be Folding Laundry!

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Scared …

01/19/2011 at 9:13 am | Posted in PPD | 39 Comments
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… to write this post.

… that these words will worry my family and friends, so many of whom read this blog.

… of revealing too much about myself. (I know it makes no sense. I’m a blogger, so I should be perfectly comfortable plastering my life on a billboard, right? Not so much. I’m actually a very private person. Who tends to gloss over the tough stuff on this blog and gets twitchy writing¬† about something not-so-swell).

… of depression and anxiety. Again. But this time, while pregnant.

… of the fact that I often feel sad, angry, anxious. Way too often.

… of the intrusive thoughts that have crept back into my brain.

… of the crying.

… that sometimes I don’t want to do anything more than sit. Just sit.

… that I have a hard time enjoying so many of my favorite things.

… that simple tasks, like a trip to Target, completely exhaust me.

… that feeling this way is hurting my husband and my daughter and the teensy little life baking in my belly.

BUT.

I got help.

And I’m starting to feel better. Just a little bit. But it counts.

One of the positive outcomes of my postpartum depression was the wonderful network of people and resources that built up around me and stands ready. Doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, fellow “warrior moms,” my family, my friends.

My village.

So it was a no-brainer to turn to them when things got bad.

I waited longer than I should have to get help because I really believed that once my physical health improved, my mental health would follow suit. But even though I don’t spend a lot of time hugging the toilet anymore, my mood seemed to be getting worse. My anxiety deepening.

A very small part of me fears that I’m jumping the gun by saying out loud that I’m suffering from depression and anxiety. Like it’s just hormones. Or something to be expected while pregnant (and I should just suck it up).

But really. I remember what this feels like, and it’s real.

Before baby, after baby, whenever. It’s real.

I started medication last week, and I’m scared of this little pill. But hopeful. Because I’ve done my research, gotten a zillion trusted medical opinions and discussed it with Marc. The benefits outweigh the (rare) risks. And it might even help prevent the onset of postpartum depression after the baby is born. Wouldn’t that be a small miracle?

I’m also in counseling and have a wonderful relationship with my OB.

I reached out. I took care of myself. And I’m already starting to feel better.

Clearer-headed. Much less likely to cry. A little lighter (despite the fact that this medicine has caused my nausea to make a comeback).

So why publish this post? Why risk so many people knowing these intimate details of my life?

Because if there is even one new mom or mom-to-be who might be reading this, who might be feeling the same way, and who might, as a result, get help, it will be worth it. A million times over.

Also. Because one of the biggest lessons I learned through my experience with PPD and the one thing I hold onto is that it WILL get better.

It will.

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