Tuesday, October 26, 2010


“So, we’re doin’ it, huh? The whole eight hours?”

“Dang straight we are Momma – it’s a national holiday!”

What: Holiday Mart
Who: Mom as a partner in crime – she’s the only one that gets my obsession and can hang the full day with limited bathroom and snack breaks (must be done on the run)
Where: Overland Park Convention Center
When: a Friday, which totally warrants a vacation day and leads into ladies’ night
Why: because it rocks and you get totally consumed with meaningless materialism. But hey – some of the proceeds go to good causes, right?! Plus you can drink and eat while you shop for sparkly, monogrammed, unique, fabulous items. I’m on a high just reliving it…

So, what did we get this year? Watch and you shall see…
Lawson's Goods

Food Stash

Wild wear

BoyMom finds


Best for last - soon to be personalized "Choate Cove" teepee!

Thank you Mom, for continuing to support my habit. When they come out with a patch for the addiction, I’ll consider it.

Cheers to Holiday Mart 2010! Already counting down until next year…

Mom Fouls

You know, like a party foul, but played out by a Mom? Yeah – that was so me this weekend…

Left to our own devices for several days, the kiddo and I enjoyed life as usual, delighting in the fall breeze, shaking pasta boxes at the grocery store, attending fall kid-friendly events and snuggling well into the evenings, his limbs loose and pudgy, falling around me, leaving me to feel like a pile of mush from all the love I felt at the end of the day. There were snacks to be had, naps to be taken, laughs to be shared, wrestling matches to win, peek-a-boo sessions, dance parties, mailbox visits to delight in, car and horse riding, and so much more. Then – there were the incidents:

1) Smackdown: dashing across the kitchen to grab more of Gerber’s best in response to the “more” signs (his sign language gets more insistent the more anxious he is, much like we adults choose to talk louder when someone isn’t listening), I prepared to toss his “lovey” aside to make room to let the applesauce mixing commence. As I went to snag the ear of “Pickles” the blue elephant, I catch a flicker of black movement out of the corner of my eye and instantly perk up with the “oh an insect!” feeling, then begin giving myself a pep talk that included why I needed to save my child’s lovey from this hairy beast. After all, we had already labeled this silky, filthy elephant as something that may constitute a trip back into the house while it was on fire, because, after all, how else would he fall asleep?

As the eight-legged creature got creative and quicker, so too did Mommy’s reflexes and need to panic, grabbing for the first viable squishing object in site. Of course, this happens to be my current favorite pair of shoes, perfectly wedged, delightfully gray and sparkly to match all items, comfortable, and unique. But – it had to do. After minutes of hoisting my arm further back than it went even in my athletic days and relishing in the vibrant “thud” of each whack across Pickles head, I felt I was beginning to earn my gold star for killing the creature that was attacking my child’s object of affection. Very heroic, don’t you think?

Then, I heard it. Next, I saw it. Fear – pure, unadulterated, “what in the hell do you think you’re doing to my lovey?” look of disbelief lining my 13-month old’s face, coupled with a cry that can only be interpreted as “I’m scarred for life by witnessing the act you are doing right now.” Sigh.

I’ve already emptied my cute Pottery Barn vase that housed pumpkins and instead labeled it “Lawson’s Therapy.” The first five dollars in it is marked with “Mom lost her mind and tried to kill my lovey.” Aye yiy yay.

2) Rodeo Retriever: calm, cool and collected, the little man and I blabbered away on our way to the park, exchanging glances, pointing at trees, making friends with the neighborhood dogs and calling everything a “car.” Feeling refreshed from a six-block jaunt, I pulled the stroller near the edge of the park and tied Ellie to it to respect the other parents on site who may not be comfortable with a large dog. Giving her the command to lay down and stay, Ellie offered an understanding glance and relented as I walked away to place L in the swing. Moments later, she started to get that Golden look in her eye that says: “Damnit – I’ve been away from my person for two minutes two long. I’m starting to freak out here. Must.do.something.” So – she did. And, since Chicco’s stroller weighs only 13 pounds while she weighs nearly 100 – she won. Except that when I say she won I mean she made a complete clown of herself and me, dragging the damn stroller through crowds of children, tearing up mulch, causing Moms to grab their children in fear and give me the glance of “You unfit Mother! And unfit dog mother too!” I swear this went on for two minutes – a ridiculously large canine with an even larger heart and pretty big fear factor trying to run from this out-of-control, plastic object that seemed to be terrorizing her on this fine day. So much for making friends with that super cool Mom I was just having a conversation with. She claims to have two large dogs at home and was even kind of enough to point out my iPhone was buried in the sand, my garage door opener now on the slide and the stroller busted for good. She must think I’m a complete idiot. And I must say, I don’t blame her. But on the bright side – L wasn’t in the stroller, so that’s good right? And her kids survived, so there’s another plus? No? Okay…

That said, the rest of our alone time was priceless, filled with Mother and Son moments I will not soon forget. The hugs, the games, the routine, the love, the smells, the magic – all so indescribable and all so amazing. Thank you buddy, for trusting and loving Mommy, fouls and all. These are just the first of many. Don’t worry – I’ll keep that therapy jar of yours full. Hey – maybe we’ll even have a fundraiser. At a park. Without Ellie…

And don’t tell Daddy, ok? He may not leave us home alone again…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Step Two

You've read about step one. Now, catch it on video:

Congratulations buddy - we can't wait to see what you'll do next. And we'll be by your side every step of the way with open hearts and all the love and support one can muster. Because you, little one, deserve all the magic this world has to offer.

PS: The camera shaking is due to a blanket draped over my head and me making ridiculous faces of encouragement. Whatever it takes, right?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lucky in Love

A light breeze trickles in through the cracked window, just an inch from its frame so as not to tussle the hair too much of our resting son in the back. The air is crisply lined with the scent of fall, the memories of the day laden in our minds and the threads of our clothes. Soon, there are tears to match the falling leaves that had been such a significant part of our family’s day…slow and wandering, meaningful and beautiful. Tears of joy. Tears of disbelief. Tears of wonder. Each making its way down one by one as I hold his little hand, his eyes growing heavier as 7:30 drew nearer, his body for once calm from fatigue as we shared several magical minutes. His skin feels just as soft as the day we brought him home, the only difference that more dirt lines his nail beds, his chubby feet hang a bit lower in the car and his hair a bit longer on his collar. Other than that…just the same. The little baby I fell in love with at the first signs of understanding of his being. The little baby who will always remain that way, as with so many in a Mother’s heart.

My husband enters the car, his strut still joyful even as the evening grows longer and the event of running in to grab cat food was his recent mission, a less than thrilling task. Taking in his profile, I marvel at my first love, the contours of his face just as handsome as the ones I had picked out in a picture and labeled as “the one” before fate ever crossed our paths. The man who stands by through celebrations, contemplations and disappointments that real life throws my way. The man who takes me at face value, through additional pounds, tantrums, quirks, undomestic habits, long hours, stubborn charades and of course, all the good stuff too. And I marvel…

How did I ever, ever, in a million years get so lucky in love?

I think I’ll quit asking and just keeping taking it in, bit by bit, ounce by ounce as the little droplets of magic that have become my life to create a pool of savored gratitude that, for some reason, is all mine.

Because, after all, life doesn’t get much better than being lucky in love. Agreed?

Friday, October 15, 2010

18 Dresses

For the most part, the car was silent, the road pulling us North as our eyes danced across the changing of the leaves as they whisked past us, the reds, yellows and oranges blurring together as the camouflage for fall. My mind was reeling over meeting evaluations, securing a photographer, missing my family and deciding what my up do was going to be the next day…

Jess and Eric’s wedding.

The espresso-colored dress lined the backseat next to me, the sides perfectly hemmed, little dog hairs trailing across the back reminding me that clutter and responsibility awaited me at home, despite my excursion of the weekend. I tried to daydream as my parents exchanged light-hearted conversation, and I thought about how much we had changed, our roles looking more like peers than parent to child, child to parent with the welcoming of a grandchild and the entry into the 30s. I also thought about how much I loved and appreciated them, and how I should hold on to these moments on our trek to Rochester, Minnesota…for it’s not every year one gets the opportunity to share a road trip with only their parents, bathed in comfortable, adult silence and stretches of road ahead.

As we got closer, I watched the contemporary windmills twist in the wind, taking in the billboards of civilization coming up around the corner and began to wonder how I was going to get around in this “tiny town.” Pulling into the main drag, I marveled at the Trader Joes, Super Target and all other things holy that you could ask for in a city.

Dropping my things in the quaint room and watching my parents stroll side by side to their car, I marvel at the number of years shared between them, and find myself wondering how they make it work. Then, deciding to get less deep, I frisk for my phone and searched for Laney in my favorites. Minutes later, we’re together, as if time stood no chance in the distance and months that tried to separate our friendship, talking like sisters, reviewing outfits, curling hair and gossiping. It was almost as if the letters A, X and O dangled over our heads again on a late Friday night.

As the rehearsal began, I stare at my beautiful friend, that, although seemed a bit stressed with the big day looming ahead and a church full of quasi non-compliant guests, looked beautiful and excited about what lay ahead. Her outfit perfectly planned, her nails done, her shoes uncomfortable, she was graceful and stunning…with a smile to match. Watching her with her husband to be, one could almost feel the warmth of patience, love and kindness that grew between them in the midst of all the madness.

The hours led late into the evening, introducing me to girls who I might as well have known for 15 years as we shared laughter and child stories over drinks. The bride’s family fit the stereotypical Northern exposure, welcoming and embracing us with gentleness, inclusiveness and humor as a way to let guests know “you’re welcome here.” Slide shows were viewed, new friendships were made and anticipation of the big day ahead was on everyone’s minds. Not to mention the buzz of the downtown, a martini-like atmosphere with a romantic, suburban feel that’s hard to come by anywhere else.

Morning arrives, and is typical, the girls are dolled up with coifed hair – antique pony tails on the side, up dos with loose curls and a face of porcelain beauty and a perfectly placed veil lined the bride. Dresses are put on, makeup applied, sandwiches carefully consumed so as not to stain the silk and the calming of the bride occurs. Pictures are snapped, the tears begin and the hustle and bustle of it all begins. The zipper of the expensive gown goes awry, leaving the clan to scramble for a well-executed pin montage. The necklace the bride dreams of wearing snaps and is tied with floss, leaving little to show in pictures and a lot to recall on such a fun event. Jokes are shared, last minute preparations are completed, and then the two are introduced and celebrated to spend their life together.

Later, the sun beams gently on our faces, the weather a gift from some higher spirit that understands how deserving this girl is. Last minute pictures are taken, thank goodness avoiding the “perch on your partner’s leg” pose, the entrance into he reception is announced and dancing commences until the wee hours of the morning. A candy bar is populated, along with the liquor one, pizza is delivered and bobby pins begin to fly out from all the fun. It is an evening to never forget.

But the most memorable: those faces. Two people so deeply in love, who have been through the tough stuff and celebrated the rockin’ stuff along the way. Two people who have shared deep secrets when it was hard to be vulnerable, who have made across-state moves, who delight in fireworks and sports, have built a home and opened their hearts. Two people who, just years ago, weren’t even sure they were going to take that first dance together. Now here they are today, standing before the world and proclaiming their love for all of its beauty, righteousness and fortitude. Two people who share inside jokes, share sacred values and appreciate one another for just who they are. Two people, who, undoubtedly, will sit side by side in those porch chairs and silently, with love, watch the sun dip beneath the horizon and breath a sigh of contentment that this is the life they have chosen, with each other.

Jess and Eric – thank you for my 18th dress experience. While I know it’s not 27 and most likely will not warrant a reporter following me around for days, it truly is a day in writing for me that I’ll remember always. Wishing you the best and celebrating your love today and always – happy marriage, dear friends!

Step One

“Ok, I’ll bring…er, MAKE cupcakes for the party…see you then!” I waved to the half-time teacher, making a mental note not to forget a quick run to the bakery for the harvest party next week. You know, to find some delicious, fluffy cakes that look like I had spent hours dropping the perfect amount of frosting, painting on pumpkin faces and made with the kind of love only a mother can achieve. Yeah…mothers who never sleep maybe…

Stealing one last glance toward my son, I marvel at the profile of his cheeks, still lined with babyness, but his eyes growing wiser and braver with the passing of the minutes and caught my breath like I do so many times when indulging in these moments. As I pivot to walk away, Miss Shannon stops and greets me with her kind smile, then launches right into:

“I hear Lawson took his first few steps here yesterday!”

Caught off guard, I watched as she assessed my body language, and then carefully caught myself training my body to relax and respond to this information. I was delighted to find that indeed, I was thrilled to hear the news.

“Oh yes – how exciting! We’re so excited!” were the words I felt come stumbling out of my mouth, my body continuing to make its way to the door in the urge to grab the phone and call Mike to see if there was something he forgot to share yesterday from pickup.

I had heard about this moment. About the rules that exist at day cares that “your child never takes their first step with us.” Well, I was about to bust up this covert operation going down right here.

Still processing, I grabbed for the pink coolness of my phone and spoke excitedly into the voice dial, calling for Mike’s work. Answering on the second right, I dive right in:

“Sooo – how is work?” I ask, this seemingly normal as I generally call to report how drop off went in the morning. After some meaningless dabbling back and forth, I push harder…

“Um, is there anything L’s teachers shared with you yesterday that we forgot to chat about?”

Silence…followed by a whole lot of “ummms” and some questions to buy time. Had he had a Twix in front of him, I think the non-sweets guy would’ve even stooped to that level.

Finally: “They weren’t supposed to tell you!!!! I told them not to tell you!”

Apparently, the director had not become part of this plan, leaving Momma in the know.

So, the first steps have been had. And I couldn’t be more excited. It’s a little bit like Santa…you don’t quite see him, but you know he exists with all the delicious presents and joy and cheer in the world all tucked into his round belly and mysterious bag.

And thanks, Miss Shannon, for being a whistle blower. Don’t fret – the first time I see the magic of one in front of the other will be like all my little dreams coming true all at once and it won’t matter when, where, how or why.

Because, after all, it’s just step one. And there are so many more amazing ones to come.

Monday, October 4, 2010

If The Shoe Fits

“Wait, what? I don’t understand…he has shoes that aren’t sandals that he wears without socks?”

My brain began to ache as I tried to describe my Mommy dilemma to my only girlfriend who would understand. Keep in mind this is the same dear friend I called hysterically on my way to work when I thought I had gestational diabetes, the one whose lap I laid in when I missed my child so much it hurt and the one I asked questions that I can’t even write here because it could put me on some porn Google list (because of child birth questions) or land me in Family and Child Services for my lack of Mommy knowledge. Let’s face it – she went through the journey first so she could be our wise, o-chosen-one.

So asking her a question like: “Soooo – you need different sizes of shoes based on if the child is wearing socks or not, right?” leaves you feeling safe and protected, rather than judged and just plain stupid. Ok, I still felt a little stupid, but a safe stupid nonetheless.

I mean, seriously, no one told me this rule. And shoes on non-walking toddlers who aren’t teetering about in glass shards? Ridiculous. No one is happy about this situation in our household, but toddler room rules indicate that yes, shoes must be worn. And so came our trek to Stride Rite and Nordstom where we learned that I’d been squeezing that pudgy little foot into shoes two sizes too small, that red marks shouldn’t be a part of his foot wardrobe and the anatomy of a kiddo who was in the pre-walking stage.

And to think I’d been so focused on leopard print heels for the last few years…

Either way, those places have got it down. At Nordy’s, first-timers get a balloon, can eat the crayons, the sales gal climbs on the floor with you and you even get a Polaroid of the event. Now THAT’S service! Granted, we left with shoes that fit well, but ended up in a Frankenstein stance because they were a bit too advanced. I can’t blame the sales lady – after all, I’d work to sell those sparkly Converse, even on a one-year old boy. Yes, they’re THAT cute.

A size 4.5 wide and no-grip socks later, we’re happy Stride Rite campers. Exhausted, but content. And now the frequency of shouting from the back seat and a little leather PediPed bouncing off the back of my head is no longer a daily occurrence.

So even though we’d both rather be roaming the streets in bare feet as some higher spirit intended, we’re satisfied. Because if the shoe fits, we’ll take it.

Now remind me this again in three months when I’m still trying to jam him into this pair…