Jul 27, 2011

life lessons from the park

Even though it's been 100 degrees here for the last two thousand days, this morning managed to hover around 75 for a little while.  So, at 8 am, Cara and I made our way to only the most awesome, fenced-in, toddler-friendly park ever.  And we learned a few things.

Life Lesson #1:  Find your courage.  Because, although the big slide seems scary from way up at the top, it's actually really fun.

Life Lesson #2:  You will take a tumble or two.  You will trip over your toes when you run full speed, and you will fall down the side-of-the-mountain-step-thing, but it will be okay.  Refer to life lesson #1 and try again.  (Which she did.  When she got to the top of the side-of-the-mountain-step-thing, she pumped her fists in the air and shouted "BIG GIRL."  H-yeah!)

Life Lesson #3:  You will have to share, even when you don't want to.  No, I'm afraid the entire playground isn't Cara's.  Even though we had it to ourselves for almost an hour, if someone else wants to play on the steps, you can't run over screaming "Cara's steps!"  Besides, it's way more fun to have a little buddy to play with.

Life Lesson #4:  When you get home, mommy will accidentally doze off on the couch while you watch Sesame Street.  Don't take advantage of the situation.  Oops.  My bad. 

Jul 25, 2011

my favorite things, lately

1.  Serious beauty slacker-ness.  As in, I really like not wearing make up, fixing my hair, or shaving my legs (sorry, Peeej).  Long dresses are my friend.  I'm coming to terms with the reality that these days of lazy are numbered.  I'm headed back to work in 13 days, so I'm enjoying it while I can.

2.  Cara at TWO.  She says her prayers, the whole thing, all by herself.  She shows everyone she meets her blue toenails.  She likes lots and lots of hugs.  She still picks her nose, though.

3.  Princess movies.  I had some initial reservations about the princesses, but I've given up.  It's just too hot to do much of anything else, even play in the bathwater outside baby pool in the back yard.  So, we've watched Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and Tangled.  The Little Mermaid was one of my favorites as a child, and I find myself getting a little sentimental about it.  Me, sentimental?  Never!

4.  Sewing gifts.  I have been sewing some adorable baby gifts lately, and I'm about to start on my niece's 3 year old birthday present.  I love it.  True story:  When I picked out the baby gift fabric, the lady behind the counter asked what I was planning to make, so I told her.  Her response was, "oh, that's an interesting fabric choice for a baby..."  Whatev.

5.  Letters to Ames.  My new favorite blog.

Jul 21, 2011

happiness is...

Happiness is my sweet toddler snuggling up under a blanket on the couch.  She looked a little sleepy, so I went to her room to grab her puppy and her blankie.  I handed them to her and gave her a little forehead kiss.  "Tank you, Mommy."

Melt.

Happiness is a two-year-old's unprompted thank you.

Photobucket

Jul 20, 2011

am I whining?

I'm not gonna lie.  The past three or four days have been a leeeetle bit stressful.  I think there are times when being a parent is just irritating or difficult, but most of the time, I really enjoy it.  There is a lot of fun to be had, but for the past few days, the fun has been sprinkled in with some annoyance. 

Remember when I was whining about how things were just a little irritating a few days ago?  I vowed that the afternoon would be better, right?  When Cara is cranky, letting her play outside or taking her into a public place tend to ease the situation a little, so I thought a trip to the library and then to the park might cure our case of the blahs.  I had not taken Cara to the library yet, so on the way there, we talked about the rules and all that stuff.  The first thing I did when we got there was ask the librarian if I needed a new library card.  I hadn't used it in 7 or 8 years, but she assured me that it would still be in the system.  So Cara and I went to read and find some books to take home.

One of the first things to happen was a disaster.  Cara tripped and hit her face on the floor, ending up with a bloody lip.  She cried, as any child with a bloody lip would be expected to do, but I was mortified because we were in such a quiet place.  She did eventually calm down and no one asked us to leave, but it was pretty much downhill from there.  The rules were forgotten, and I think Cara was a little overwhelmed by too many books.  I quickly picked out three books so that we could get out of there.  Wouldn't you know it, my library card was not in the system.  That crazy librarian started to hand me a clipboard of forms to fill out while my two year old ran circles around my legs.  She even seemed shocked that I declined the forms.  So we left with a scabby lip and no books.  *sigh*  At least the park was fairly uneventful.

Fortunately (or really, unfortunately), I now know why Cara was getting a little irritable.  She got another MRSA bump on her little bottom.  This one didn't seem quite as scary and painful as the last one, so I wasn't sure it was really another MRSA bump.  Good thing I'm not a doctor.  What should have been a routine 2 year old well visit with no shots (I asked ahead of time) turned into draining another bump on Cara's bottom with a big needle and a surprise shot.    We were a sad pair leaving the doctor's office yesterday.  After a nap, Cara seemed well enough to join a buddy for a playdate at the children's museum, but it might have been a little too much.  She laid in my lap from the moment we got home until I finally put her in bed for nite-nite. 

I seem to be having some trouble letting things roll off my back lately.  So here I am, writing it all out in hopes that now that it's off my chest, it's also out of my system.  Sorry for all the blah, and I promise my next post will be upbeat and happy.  Fingers crossed.

(pic totally stolen from my friend's facebook page)

Jul 16, 2011

thank goodness for nap time

Today has been a rough day, and I think it's mostly my fault.  Grrr...

I woke up a grump this morning, I think because I knew my husband was going to be gone all day.  He is out of town doing a good deed, but I miss him anyway.  He was so sweet all morning, letting me sleep in a little, bringing me coffee, fixing breakfast, playing with Cara.  I just couldn't shake the fuzzies in my head quick enough.  Cara seemed to be in a good mood, though, so I hoped for the best as my hubby left.

Things were okay for a little while, but then Cara remembered that she learned how to open up the storage ottoman the other day, and, boy did she want to get in there again.  She was not happy at all that I wouldn't let her play with our long lost coasters and Wii remotes.  Three outfit changes later (actual clothing to a Belle dress to just a t-shirt), and things had only gotten worse; the incessant clinging and whining were almost enough to send me over to insanity.  I could tell nap time was getting close, so I made lunch, thinking that would soothe the fussiness a little.  Cara didn't want to sit in a chair like a big girl, she didn't want to sit in her highchair with the tray, and she certainly didn't want to sit in her highchair pushed up to the table.  She wanted to sit in my lap to eat lunch.  Once I was sufficently covered in Cara's lunch, I was feeling very thankful for nap time.  Except that Cara got out of her bed three times.  I had to sternly tell her to STAY IN THE BED before she finally stayed in the bed and fell asleep.  At least I managed to get a shower while she slept.

I hate that I couldn't get over myself this morning and do something other than say "no" to my child, and I'm pretty sure my grumpy mood transferred over to her.    I'm resolving that this afternoon will. be. better.  Never too late to start fresh, right?

Jul 13, 2011

the traveling book salesman

I am good at selling things.  Not like a used car salesman, but I worked in retail all through high school and most of college, and I learned a thing or two about selling nice-but-not-necessary stuff.  I am not the friend you take shopping when you are on a budget because my sales mentality kicks in, and I will most definitely help you buy an entire outfit, accessories and all, when all you needed was a pair of pants.  You'll look great, though. :-)

Because I have been there, done that, I am also easily persuaded by a nice, polite salesperson, especially a sunburned, sweaty someone standing at my front door.  Last summer's sweaty salesperson was pitching educational books, and obviously, I was sucked in.  I felt terrible for this girl.  She was a college student far away from home (like across the country far away), and she was walking in July in South Carolina.  She was way too bubbly and adorable for 100 degrees and 100% humidity.  I'm sure I don't need to explain how easily I was swept up in educational books. 

I would have loved these books as a child.

I'm sure they'll give Cara a huge advantage when she starts school.

Learning will be fun!  Heck yeah!

I even bought a second set (at half price, of course) for my pregnant friend.  Bubbly, sweaty girl hit the jackpot when she knocked on my door.

But, don't worry, we've had no retail regret.  Cara actually does love the books, and I definitely think they have helped her learn her shapes, colors, and numbers.  We keep them in the living room so that Cara can show off her brilliance when we have guests.  People are always impressed by the toddler who identifies ovals and semicircles.  (cue evil laugh)

All of this made me feel particularly bad for the young (very young) gentleman who showed up at 9:30 last night. Yes, you read that right, 9:30 last night.  We have a huge picture window in our living room, and we hadn't closed the curtains yet because we are lazy.  As usual, I was asleep on the couch while PJ watched a movie.  We were so obviously home and available that I guess Mr. Young and Sweaty couldn't resist knocking on our door.  And, because we were brought up with southern manners, we let him in, sat him on the couch, and gave him a glass of ice water.  Bless his heart, he told us that he had been having a bit of difficulty selling his books because this is the third year in a row that this company has sent people to our little town. 

I hope it was obvious from the beginning of his little visit that we were not planning to buy any more books, especially when we showed him the ones we bought last year, but he was nothing if not enthusiastic.  We got the sales pitch plus a little of his life story.  He was from Massachusetts...what evil person sent this boy from Massachusetts on his bike to South Carolina in July??  The heat index yesterday was 112.  That's pretty unbearable for people who have grown up here; I'd call that cruel and unusual for someone who grew up in Massachusetts.

That poor boy stayed and chatted with us for half an hour.  This is partly our fault, especially because I kept asking him questions like "do you have to ride your bike all the way across town to get home tonight?" and "how exactly did you get this job?"  I felt pretty bad sending him out into the dark on his bike with no sale, but I kept asking myself why I should feel bad.  He signed up for this gig, and he seemed to enjoy it (or he was really good at faking it).  I just hope, for his sake and for his sales, that he doesn't knock on any other doors at 9:30 at night.

Jul 12, 2011

Cara's birthday outfit

I think this is the most excited I have been about a sewing project ever (I'm sure I'll say that again about the next project).  I knew I wanted Cara to have a special outfit for her birthday, and then I saw this dress.  I LOVED the buttons as decoration, so I began a brainstorm of how to make this work for Miss Cara's special outfit.  I settled on a romper because it seems more playful than a dress, and I decided I would use the buttons to make flowers on the top of the romper.  And this adorable outfit was born:


This was my first time attempting embroidery, and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  This was also the first time I was a little sad that I don't have a serger; that paisley pink fabric ravels very, very easily, and I had to do a little repair work after it was washed.  A little more high maintenance than I usually like, but I can forgive this little romper because it is SO STINKIN CUTE! :-)


Jul 10, 2011

you are two

Dear Cara,

My sweet baby girl, you are two.  I guess we should stop calling you "Baby Cara" now, but I don't think we will.


Sometimes your daddy and I can hardly believe it's been ONLY two years since you joined our little family.  We wonder what we used to do with all of our time.  You have filled up our days with fun and joy, and we wouldn't trade that for anything.  Not even for two more gummies.


You have the most awesome two-year-old personality ever.  You are so spunky and independent.  You like to wave and say "hi" to the people we pass in parking lots, and you love it when strangers tell you that you are cute.  You won't let me help you walk down the front steps anymore, but you still want cuddles and kisses from mommy if you trip.




We are so amazed by how smart you are.  You already know your shapes and colors, all the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, and you can count to ten!  Your daddy and I love to listen to you talk and sing, and your teachers at school think their conversations with you are hilarious.  You always have so much to tell us!




I love you and Daddy more than I thought I could ever love anything in the world.  You have taught me how to be less selfish and how to find joy in everyday moments.  I am so excited to see what you are like when you grow up (but I can wait a long while to find out).



Thank you for letting me be your mommy.  I love you to the moon and back.  Happy birthday, Baby Cara.

Jul 5, 2011

an enlightened princess is what we're hoping for...

(Side note:  I know today is the day for 4th of July recap posts, but I don't have one.  We had a blast, but we didn't take any pictures.  It's a little hard to chase a toddler around a pool and wield a camera anyway, and I think we were having too much fun to even think about it.)

Cara had her first Disney movie experience this past week, and she is now hooked.  We took her to Disney World last summer, and for being only a year old, she had lots of fun, but I doubt she really remembers all that fun.  She does recognize herself in the pictures we have on the fridge of her sitting in Belle's lap, but before she saw Beauty and the Beast, I don't think she knew what that was all about.

Cara with Princess Belle last summer

We bought a set of Disney princess CDs to help us entertain Cara in the car on our very long drive to Florida, and she really liked them.  They have a few songs from the movie and an audio version of the story, and Cara likes to listen to them while she plays in her room or takes a nap.  Since she liked them so much, I added a few Disney princess movies to our Blockbuster queue, starting with Beauty and the Beast (one of my personal favs). 

I didn't really think Cara would sit still for an entire movie, but she amazed me with her attention span.  And now, she is OBSESSED.  It's actually pretty cute, because she will tell us what is about to happen while we watch the movie and she has sort of her own running commentary.  "Bye-bye, Papa."  "Belle crying."  "Belle's yellow dress."  "Oh no, movles!"  (We have to remind her that "wolves" involves a "w" sound, not an "m" sound, but man, is it cute.) 

I have little twinges of guilt over letting my turning-two-on-Friday baby girl watch an entire movie.  We probably watch too much TV around here as it is, but movies add a whole new element to TV time...it's an hour and half pretty much uninterrupted TV.  Is that bad?  There's a part of me that says "YES," but there's another part of me that delights in the conversations we have about the movie while it's playing and at random moments throughout the day.  I don't think Cara understands the entire story, but she's got a lot of it down.  She recognizes Belle's emotions and remembers the sequence of events, and she loves Belle's yellow ballgown.

And then there's the whole "princess" concept.  Am I teaching her to base her value on her beauty?  Am I teaching that her goal in life should be to bag a prince?  I like that Belle looks past the Beast's appearance to love him for his heart, and I also like that Belle loves to read even if the town thinks that makes her weird.  Look at the inside for true beauty?  Be yourself? 

Am I overthinking this a bit?

Jul 3, 2011

mama's got a new dress on!


I think I'm starting to really like making my own clothes.  I love the way this dress turned out.  It's the same pattern as the first dress I made for myself, but the bodice is different.  This style of bodice suits me and my tiny top much better, and I figured out how to add darts under the arm to make it fit perfectly.  This dress just came together so easily, even the tension on my sewing machine cooperated, and I think that makes me feel even better about the whole project.  It was simply...a pleasure.


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