Sunday, August 29, 2010

Preppin' to Party

“Soooo, what are you doing for his birthday party?” – a question I’m asked recurrently as of late, with a milestone of year one behind us as soon as September 13. To which my response is way too long, overly excited and of course, perfectly planned for now secretly six months.

To combat the slight sadness I feel for leaving the baby years behind, the hubby and I are planning for an all out intimate bash to welcome in the toddler years for the amazing ones they promise to be. Here’s the plan:

Theme: Storybook
Invites: “Mr. Birthday” books lined with an insert created by graphic artist, Eric Gapsch
Guests: Around 30 of our nearest and dearest, decked out in their day-to-day or their favorite storybook character
Place: Nana and Poppa’s House – because it’s always spotless!
Activities: guests will be asked to share their favorite first-year memory of the little man, which we’ll save for him to recall fondly one day; slide show, pictures, “poster session” of favorite milestones and guzzling of adult beverages
Gifts: guests have been asked that if they choose to bring a present, to please bring a board book that will be donated to Children’s Mercy patients here in KC; since our little squirt is so completely blessed, it’s time to pay it forward!
Smash Cake: Chosen by Daddy from his favorite nearby bakery, mimicking the cover of Lawson’s favorite book “I Love You Through and Through”
Food: Light appetizers that align with children’s reads; example: Jen’s famous meatballs will be accompanied by the book “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”
Drink: Mike has brewed his own beer for the occasion, which will be affectionately called “913,” both for his son’s birth date and for our area code (representin’ Joco!)
Birthday boy’s attire: prince hat and customized tee, complete with GAP jeans of course and Converse sneakers
The memories: priceless

Needless to say, we’re looking forward to it. One could even say we’re channeling a bit of Tori and Dean, minus the baby goats, ball pit and cotton candy. But, I can’t imagine a better reason to celebrate and go overboard, can you?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

End of an Era

I lay awake that night, the whir of the video monitor beside me, a shedding cat tucked in the crook of my arm and a snoring husband near my side. I admired him for being able to slumber, a peaceful look around his half-open mouth, making it appear as if he was at ease as the world continued to whiz by him.

Meanwhile, thoughts tumbled recklessly through my mind as I stared into the dark, the only light belonging to the TV that still needed a stand in the corner of our room. All was silent, except the nagging voice in my head that screamed:

It’s an end of an era. It’s all happening to soon. Those moments – you’ll never get them back.

To which my heart tried aimlessly to reply:

But I promise – I swear – I enjoyed every minute! The really tough ones, the exhausting ones, the ridiculous ones, the calming ones, the magical ones, and the ones you don’t talk about – I cherished them all!

I thought about what it would be like the next morning – to walk into his room with a bottle in hand versus offering myself as an entrance to his day. I wondered if he would feel rejected, or perhaps if he just wouldn’t notice the transition, but instead be focused on “just get me the milk whatever way you need to – I’m hungry!” After all, we’d been down to one feeding a day for nearly two weeks, my heart and soul holding on to those magical moments each morning where nothing came between the two of us, cuddling, staring, sharing in only a way mother and child can.

When it came down to it, the time felt right for both Mother and Son – in an unspoken language that seemed to offer peace mixed with fright with a side of “holy cow yet another step of letting go.” Saturday marked the day that, for the first time, he would no longer need me for his milk supply. An idea that seems so insignificant to many, yet one that might as well be historical for some. This was me – hell, I might as well have gone out and had the date tattooed on my ankle or something for the angst it was causing…

So yes, there are things I won’t miss such as lugging my pump to work, managing the stares when nursing somewhere mostly obscure but still public, the late night calls to girlfriends and lactation consultants, the shower sprays, the ugly nursing bras, feeding in the car or God knows what other places, spending hours away from events or tied to the home because of the logistics it takes, the soaking tees, trying to hover under a “hooter hider,” the storing, the rinsing, the tugging and pinching and on and on…

But I will tell you one thing I will miss and cherish at the same time: this era. This era that meant, for 15 to 30 minutes every few hours, that the world stood still while your hearts connected in ways indescribable. That “liquid gold” was this one-of-a-kind chemistry potion meant only for this little being you created, that nourished him with all the things he needed, without you having to lift a finger or know the periodic table. A time when, even at 2 a.m., you knew another Mom was out there gliding gently in her rocking chair, doing just the same and experiencing waves of emotions that cannot be put into words, but only felt with the heart. The gift I had been given of having any sort of supply at all. So many gifts…

So thank you, Mr. L, for riding this out with me. For obsessing day after day about ounces and freezing and transport and intake and so very much more. For having more conversations with the word “breast” and “milk” in it versus any other topic (yes, even handbags). For sticking by when the going got rough, from tube feeding to strikes to supplementation and more.

This is an era I will never forget…

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Needing a Lift

No, this post isn't in response to the fact that we're near weaning and the "girls" are never gonna be the same...but don't think it's not something I've pondered!

Instead, I want to write a senseless ramble in an effort to erase the "badness" of the day, to restore my faith in humanity and remind me that, as the saying goes: "Life Is Good."

Today has been the kind of day that started way to early with priorities completely out of whack. The kind of day that, instead of letting your child naturally wake with a smile, snuggle in your arms, dance to his song and read a few books, begins with whisking him off to school half-asleep, biting back tears as it takes two teachers to remove him from your neck. It was the kind of morning that, despite best efforts, left me feeling as the energy I am putting toward work isn't resulting in anything at all. The kind of day that hard-to-swallow emails are exchanged, the weather warrants swinging instead of meeting, and bad news seems to hit you from a million directions. The kind of afternoon that leaves you fearful of what man is capable of, and wondering exactly what kind of happy pills we all need to be on to reverse some of this madness. The kind of day that, though you know it's just not that rough and you need to spend every moment being grateful, still feels a bit hard. So, how did I find my happy place?


A perfect marriage of edge and style, black leather and grommets, heels that can last for hours, and a zipper up the back followed by a unique slope near the ankle. The kind of shoe that "isn't like you at all," turns heads, particularly paired with the right top and boyfriend jeans, and are paid frequent visits throughout the day.

Call me superficial. Expect that instead I should have called on a higher power or Oprah. But, these, paired with this:

Made it allllllll better.

I needed a lift. So sue me that it came in 3-inch heels...

Friday, August 13, 2010

So, What Makes You Different?

With the latest rum on her “life list” and a glass of the bubbly perched in front of us, I stared in wonder across the marble-lined table, marveling that Karen Walrond, blogger extraordinaire and all around remarkable woman sat in my company. Dressed to suit her style, she was comfortable yet sophisticated, a pair of natural bracelets lining her wrists, earrings that swayed with her purposeful movements, eyes that exuded confidence and experience, skin radiant and even and a smile that was as intoxicating as it was warm. She is the kind of woman that, upon entering a room, felt like an instant friend – one you could learn from, laugh with and share your innermost secrets.

Struggling to find the right words to influence our conversation thanks to the combination of a) leaving my four-month old baby for the first time to travel b) a nasty cold that decided to consume my body c) all-around celebrity envy, I grew thankful as she led the way through our conversation, giggling at her casual commitment to words such as “dude” and “right?” It felt as if I were sitting at the kitchen table at home at one of my treasured girls’ nights.

Then suddenly, she sprung it on me, a question that has been bubbling through my mind ever since she asked. A question that I wanted to so badly to impress her with so that she would remember me, appreciate me and recall me as someone that she too, could develop a friendship with:

"What makes you different?”

You see, Karen is on a quest to find all things unique, positive and beautiful in life – starting with people. A firm believer that everyone is stunning, she recently penned “The Beauty of Different,” photographs faces of ordinary people with extraordinary stories and asks them this question to build upon the graciousness, confidence and vulnerabilities that make this world one that reaps kindness, generosity and spirit in its smallest moments.

As far as answering her request…the jury is still out. Me, a woman who is never at a lack for words, has been humbled, flustered and frazzled by a question so simple, yet so profound. So, like all things challenging, I’m going to start small to get to big by creating a list and seeing where it goes. I’m beginning to think I don’t know myself at all, which makes me a little sad. Or – is this what makes me different? Attempt one:

- Thinks you should wear the big diamonds, use the good dishes and vacuum in your wedding dress
- Extremely emotionally intelligent and perceptive
- Can turn my feet nearly all the way backward
- Believes nothing could have prepared her for how much she’d love her child and is fearful of what would happen if anything negative ever happened to him
- Obsessed with tattoos but can’t commit to one (in fact, have already had one removed)
- Love for all things that sparkle (smiles, shoes, jewels, shiny pavement, light, etc.)
- Natural swimmer – just got in one day when a small child and did four laps
- Can type and read at record paces
- Gains confidence from others’ opinion of herself
- Thinks a messy house means you’re really living life
- Tears up immediately at stories involving children or a beautiful sunset
- Has a love affair with Prosecco
- Favorite times of year include Valentine’s and Mother’s Day and back to school
- Thinks chocolate, massage and a bubble bath really can soothe the soul
- Loses her breath over a stunning pair of shoes, a great handbag or just one glimpse of her child
- Is baffled by the patterns we follow as humans, both in our first year of life and well beyond
- Curses whoever created makeup
- Will plan any party – particularly a wedding, shower or birthday
- Is torn between being a glamour girl vs. the girl next door
- Can beat herself up for a simple mistake for well over a day
- Is certain friends mean family
- Thinks compromise with a spouse can be really, really tough, but is extremely important
- Believes that transparency and communication can fix all sorts of things
- Feels most comfortable in an old house that has floors that creak
- Is nearly certain we know nearly nothing about hormones
- Agrees that socialization is key to our survival
- Believes you unconsciously choose your partner based on what’s missing in your soul
- Affirms that deep down, we’re all equals
- Has no appetite for politics, but a hearty one for food
- And much, much more…I’ll keep you posted

So, dear friend, what do you think makes me different? And better yet, what makes you different?

Think about it…let me know…

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's Here! It's Here!

“You’re telling me you’re actually going to drive your behind to FedEx even though the little note they left said they’re going to deliver it tomorrow?” Mike says in disbelief, most likely trying to correlate how the girl who won’t even rinse her dish after dinner will physically get into her car to pick up a package. But, as any true lady knows, one will do anything for jewelry…

So alas, it’s here in all it’s glory, even more fabulous than I could’ve imagined. There is so much to love: from the light weight on my neck, it’s perfect shape, the font, the shininess, the significant meaning behind it and of course the anticipation of questions and comments on such a unique piece. You know, the piece I’ve been lusting after that now resides squarely on my neck? Yes, it’s here. It’s mine. And I love, love, love it.

Thanks again to Mike’s colleague who is an avid reader and spilled the beans, working her feminine magic that involves guilt to push him to purchase it for our anniversary. I’ll go to bat any day for you girl. Because this item, I just love.

Did I mention that already?

Monday, August 9, 2010


“Yes, switched at surgery – that’s what we think happened,” I say to the nurse on the line who mechanically whisks through a list of questions, barely processing my reports as it was not a life or death situation.

“Sooooo… no fever. No teeth. No rash. No – nothing?”

“Nope,” I say. “Nothing. Just a missing smile and new character that can only be described as Oscar the Grouch.”

Giving in and most likely mentally labeling me as a “first time Mom,” she sets me up with Dr. S as Dr. D is out of town and gets me in an hour from the call date. Rearranging my day to make the visit happen, I speed off to daycare, half excited to see his darling, albeit cranky face just a mere few hours after having started the workday. We had spent the wee hours of yet another morning tucked in the confines of his nursery chair, rocking…rocking…rocking…but not to sleep like the animals do in “The Going to Bed Book.” In this case we were more reenacting “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” when all the Whos found out their toys were missing. Read: inconsolable crocodile tears without a known cause.

As I arrive at daycare, he catches my eye through the kid-drawn windowpane and attempts to catapult himself out of his highchair, plowing objects such as sippy cups, puffs and even humans out of the way in an effort to reach my arms. I watch as one of his teachers manages a half-smile and does her best to wrestle clean a pair of sticky hands linked to a super-wriggly 21-pound toddler body. I once again find myself thinking: “I hope these gals are pulling in some bank for all the hard work they do with our kiddos…”

On our drive, I look back to find him deep in thought, his truck blanket with the little tabs wrapped loosely around his thumb, his blue eyes lighting up with the warmth of the sky. Though he’s not smiling, I can feel that pieces of his heart are at ease, and I get the familiar feeling that I’m whole again – just like any time my son is nearby. And suddenly, four a.m., two extra trips to daycare and a rough three weeks are worn away like sand overtaken by the evening tide. I marvel at the complexity that is already so alive in his little mind – the preferences he’s building, the joy he’s experiencing, the thirst he has for learning – and make a mental note to capture yet another one of these magical moments for all time. Because, as everyone says, it all just goes too fast.

Thirty minutes pass and I snap out of my trance as we’re called back and pulled into a room that houses the most amazing wooden dragon in one corner, leaving us mesmerized and me ecstactic that I don’t have to rummage to find a tongue compressor to entertain him until the doctor walks in. Soon, greetings are exchanged, body parts are checked and we are on our way with a clean bill of health (phew!), the assertion the ear tubes still look great and advice to “let him cry it out a bit longer” as a way to nab these anonymous new behavior changes. Not to mention what I sensed was a little bit of “did I really go to medical school all these years to deal with crap like this?” from the friendly doc, despite his best efforts to wave, giggle and smile with L and avoid rolling his eyes at me.

Calmer, I return L to school and my own self to work, leaving a few minutes to once again Google what this could all be about. Night waking, night terrors, growth spurts, teeth, UTIs, tummy problems…so many options. And what I discovered was:

It was me.

Me who is struggling to let her baby boy grow into the independent, strong-willed character that she so lustfully admires in others. Me who shudders when he pushes away or cannot be consoled by his mother’s unconditional love. Me who frets at setting certain boundaries because of the faux ramifications it could mean for our relationship later down the line. Me who broke down upon receiving his first one-year birthday card in the mail last week. Me who, deep down, thought he was always going to be that little burrito that needed his Momma for all things living and breathing. Me.

So now whose turn is it to visit the doctor?



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It All Started With Sperry

It all started with these...

An innocent, beyond-precious little pair of nude Sperrys perched in Stride Rite’s window, complete with detailed sides and ties, the kind of leather you can use as a pillow and to top it off…they fit in the palm of my hand. Ridiculous in so many ways because a) my kid doesn’t walk b) therefore he doesn’t wear shoes c) he can’t identify with designer brand names, nor do I want him to d) he’ll outgrow them in a month e) as far as I know he won’t be yachting anytime soon.

But with this list came a plethora of justification for this little find, such as: a) I did pull a horrible Mom move the other day at the Plaza and practically let the little guy burn his feet off standing to view the fountain, so shouldn’t he have some sensible footwear to protect him from these situations? b) he’s a boy, so he doesn’t get nearly the cute stuff chic babies get c) surely those unreasonable ties will help keep the shoes on his feet when he tries to Houdini his way out of them d) think of how many compliments he’ll get on his shoes e) Carter at school just started wearing shoes e) he’ll definitely need them in the toddler room.

Needless to say, the complete asinine purchase now lives in L’s closet to be worn with his new plaid shirt, loose GAP jeans and newsboy cap. Out of control much? I think so.

To top it off, the purchase of the Sperry’s turned into a “Forget Dave Ramsey and your core values” extravaganza that led to these purchases:

- The Kors lookalike booties I've been dreaming about (when I wasn't dreaming about Roberto from "The Bachelorette") and that I feel so LA in it's ridiculous
- Danskos with a little bit of kick and shine for meeting season
- Flats that will go "with everything"
- Hand lotion from L'Occitane
- Boyfriend jeans
- Painters' shirt
- Yet another sparkly tank
- Gorgeous hand towels that will go with my muted nectarine guest bath we'll never get painted

Not to mention a Blue Chip Cookie and a delicious lemon drink from Cold Stone.

Don’t even make me bust out the justification list of these puppies. Just admire how cute they are, will ya? And pass me the Nordy’s catalog…I’m on the hunt for a perfect fall handbag…