Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Twas the Day Before Pre-School


For our little household, tomorrow is a big, big day. And Thursday? Even bigger.

We'll say good-bye to our daycare providers of two years, those that have helped shape, mold and grow our amazing little boy to be the magical creature he is today. Those that held my hand when I left him at just three months old, picture messaged me daily on every business trip,called with every little detail true to my helicopter Mom style, diapered, adored and loved him as if he was their very own. There are no words to show our gratitude for these amazing women who we now call family, so instead we'll leave them with some Vera Bradley, Emi-Jay ties, gift cards and this little ditty:

‘Twas the Day Before Pre-School
'Twas Lawson’s last day, when all through the center,
Not an eye was dry, not even his mentors’;
The coats and hats were hung on the hooks with care,
In hopes that his name tag would remain there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of recess danced in their heads;
And Chrissy in her sweater, and Lawson in his GAP,
Had just settled down for their afternoon nap,
When out in the classroom there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from the cot to see what was the matter.
Away to the circle they flew like a flash,
Tore open the books and on snacks they did nash.
The crafts on the ceiling and the art in a row,
Gave the lustre of kid magic to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a team of amazing teachers he loves so dear,
With sassy young leaders, so lively and dandy,
I knew in a moment it must be Miss Shannon and Mandy,
More rapid than eagles his caregivers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Chrissy! now, Goesha! now, Brooke and Brittney!
On, Ebony! on Lisa! on, Stephanie and Mariah!
To the top of the slide! to the bottom of the wall!
Now hug away! hug away! hug away all!"
So around the daycare, the teachers they flew,
With hearts full of joy, patience and graciousness too.
And then, in a twinkling, I saw in my son’s eyes,
The difference each teacher had made, which was no surprise.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the hallway his friends came with a bound.
They were dressed in kid gear from head to toe,
And their clothes were all tarnished with something-only-a-toddler-would know;
A bundle of toys they flung front and back,
Looking as happy as ever in their little pack.
Lawson’s eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a grin,
All because his awesome teachers, his heart they did win;
He had a charming face and a little flat belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was bright and creative, a right jolly old kid,
And I grew overwhelmed with love, no matter what he did.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke a few words, then went straight to pre-school,
Where he found his new friends and activities to be cool,
And though leaving Canterbury daycare hurt from fingers to toes,
He gave a nod to his classroom and rose;
He hugged Miss Chrissy, to his friends gave a smile
And away he transitioned to pre-school, down the road not a mile
But I heard him exclaim, ere he tottered out of sight,
"What a difference you’ve made – thanks for being my light. I adore you with a full heart and all my might!"


I don't who's going to have it worse these next few days: me or him. All I know is that 'tis two days before pre-school...

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Big Reveal

True to her spirit, her gift of writing and thoughtfulness for others, one of my oldest and dearest friends revealed to her family the gender of her baby #2 in a "gah, wish I would've thought of that!" kind of way:

A high-flying, colorful, magical, squeal inducing moment, indeed.

And a celebration we'll continue today and all the days to come.

Congratulations, Wise family. We love you and are so excited to welcome your baby GIRL!

The Long and Short of It

What gal doesn’t love a list? Especially when she’s required to shop for about 20 of her loved ones, has a smartphone in hand and limited minutes in her life to accomplish all this and more.

That’s why I love that my family has started a trend on Amazon, making their lists and checking it twice, passing along their wishes to be stowed under the tree. With a few clicks through Amazon Wish List, they’ve passed along an image, exact name, price and where to find their favorite items through one simple link, giving the giver the option to grab it in store or nab it online. And it doesn’t even have to be available on Amazon! Sure beats the versions 1-5 SOMEONE keeps bombarding the poor family tree with.

Crap, that’s me.

Speaking of, these are a few of my favorite things:





Champagne taste, beer budget, I know, I know. And this isn't even the half of it (gulp). Think new carpet, a cleaning lady, massage and a sale Marc Jacobs bag in rust! But that's why they call it a "wish" list, right?! Plus, number one on my list is donating to Sunflower House…more to come on that. Or just a happy, healthy smile from my kid...I'll definitely take that.

Whatever your desires for stuff this holiday, make a list, click through it twice and send it along.

That’s the long and short of it…

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

"Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song." - Konrad von Gesner

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. And thank you for caring, for reading...and just being you.

Cheers to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Perspective


"Who's that, Mommy?" my son asks, his red-rimmed eyes peeking over the edge of the SUV's large window frame, struggling to lift his head from the virus that decided to take over his body Thanksgiving week.

I strained through my blind spot to see what he was observing, determined to answer all of his curious questions in an effort to whet his growing appetite of the world. As the car slows near the red light, I spot a woman teetering in the grass nearby who I may have inappropriately assumed was out of her mind, flailing her hands, talking to herself, not dressed in enough clothing for the cool fall air, a tattered sign dragging in her loose fingers and a small plastic bag dangling out of the other hand. As I struggle to come up with an age-appropriate, PC answer, I hear my son say:

"That's a lady. A nice lady. She's looking for flowers."

There it was: the perfect answer.

What a gift to see the world in this light. May he hold on to that forever. And may we inhale in little bits and pieces of it too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Llama Love

Remember that fun story time adventure the MOMS Group went on earlier this month? It was here I fell in love with the Llama Llama books, chock full of invaluable lessons, fun rhymes and bright, cheery pictures for the wee ones:


Right now we're obsessed with the "Llama Llama Misses Mama," perfectly timed for a happenings and emotions that occur at daycare drop off and everything in between. And even more perfect for our pre-school adventure we begin December 1.

Check 'em out - you might even find yourself finding some llama love.

For No Reason

Have you ever pondered that both really awful and really spectacular things seem to happen for no reason? This fall, both instances have played a role in our lives, but in this moment right now I'm going to cherish these little "no reason" buds:

Thanks to the hubs for supporting me on what has turned out to be a not-so-stellar week. Ok, and for providing a little extra TLC post work holiday party last evening as I was apparently coping (avoiding?) with some of these "no reasons."

There may be many "no reasons," but this small gesture and a million others give me endless reasons to adore and love you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Inches and Feet


“This better not be some ploy to stock your closet even MORE full of shoes,” the hubs warns, his face lined with slight hesitation, coupled with annoyance.

“No, I swear…I need a half-size smaller!” I said, rotating the block of ice perched across the sides of my feet, wincing as I tucked them in a new position.

You see, nearly overnight, my tootsies went from a size 8 to at least a 7.5, no warning, no reason, no nothing, causing me to slip out of my shoes constantly and create odd muscle injuries in the process. What gives?

Age? Weight loss? Gain? Surely it can’t be that baby…he’s over two years old now?!

So while WebMD, Mayo, Armstrong and Google can’t help me out with these feet that have lost inches, I’ll take it. Because one size smaller in anything is, well…awesome. Ok, maybe not so much for the males in the group or when it comes to bra sizes, but again, I’ll take it. For that only means one thing:

A trip to Nordys.

Join me, won’t you? We have foot wear to purchase!

Finding the Light


“It seems to me that you’re right, there’s an awful lot of darkness goin’ on right now,” my friend agrees, his head shaking side to side as his glasses fall further down his nose, our subjects ranging from Penn State to Lisa Irwin to the European economy (um, not to mention ours) and more. He continues in his philosophical way, his hands following his heartfelt emotions as his words pour out and I clung to each, for each contained wisdom. “But you see, I think the answer is: you just gotta look for the light. And spread the light. Because really, what else is there?”

Tucking these words in my heart for safekeeping as I so often do, I went on with my day, dodging between meetings, putting out fires, trouble-shooting issues, catching up on assignments, training others and trying to wrap my brain around the next 12 hours which contained two significant events: touring my son’s soon to be preschool and attending a major town hall with a new CEO that no one was quite sure what he was going to say as part of a major company merger. Normally, these types of things don’t phase me, but lately…

The “finding the light” conversation had started with me divulging that for the first time in my 31 years, I was concerned I was beginning to lose faith in humanity. That unearthing those glittery stones of goodness were becoming harder to mine. That fear and anxiety were feeding the corners of my mind versus the regular rosy thoughts that generally circulated and always started with the good in people were winning the battle. That I was doubting others’ intentions, their sanity and if I could ever in a million years truly trust any being with my child other than myself with him by my side. That I was bored, restless, unmotivated, scared and tired. More than ever, I needed to find the light…

My drive home was silent, the natural drum of the radio even too much for me to take in my current emotional state. Concern over what kind of Mom and wife I’d be when I arrived since I’d been baking since five a.m., running around like a mad woman and balancing this, that and the other clouded my vision and I did my best to slap on a smile as I entered the mess that is currently our home. And then, it happened.

The light.

The kind of light that shines as a toddler sporting a Super Man cape made of blankets and Mommy’s running shoes greets you at the door. The warm smile from my husband as he prepared dinner and said the words, “you look tired: how about I take care of all this?” The quiet, still conversation I hold with my two-year old for a good 20 minutes about his day’s moments, an instance so rare among constantly moving limbs and lips. Phrases such as “Mommy – you breaka my heart!” watching him dance about the room truly as no one was watching, the kisses he plants on his six animals he constantly totes around as he carefully arranges them on the fireplace and then there was the cuddle session: 45 delicious minutes of classical music playing, the three of us sprawled on the carpeted floor, over 100 tuck ins and each of us, face to face, silent and loving with our souls’ very own eyes.

Now that, my friends, is light.

Light, indeed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friends and Family

With things seeming well, a bit bleak, retailers are kicking it up a notch before Black Friday to ensure they make their numbers for the holiday season. For example, today's the last day for Friends and Family (40% off) for both Loft and GAP. I don't know about you, but I think some of these items would be stellar under the tree:






Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Story Time


“I know it’s super last minute – hope you can join us!” I typed madly across the screen, inviting the small MOMS group I throw together to this month’s event. Having just received my 10-millionth email of the day, this time from a local shopping center, I happened to pop it open in a work avoidance effort and discover that Pottery Barn Kids was hosting story time the coming Saturday. Daydreaming of darling kiddos in their PJs, each hugging teddy bears and listening intently to the teller, I decided to go ahead, even with just five days notice to a group of extremely busy women.

And surprisingly, we had a pretty good turnout:



Arriving early to the store, we were greeted from the friendly staff members who sat patiently by while our children rode their expensive display bikes, messed with the wooden trains and found comfort in their perfectly made beds. Soon, we were invited to the back and asked to form a circle on one of their classic rugs near a set of bunk beds, a rolling cart of hot chocolate, popcorn and cookies nearby. As the kids eagerly gathered their treats and found just the right spots, the store employee, clad in a robe, slippers and teacher voice began, featuring three memorable books from the store’s collection.

As the storyteller rattled on in her sing song voice, most of our kiddos sat patiently, enjoying popped corn for the first time, taking in the rhymes of the story and engaging in the games they played in between. Sure there was a bit of taking a break to explore and even some asking of “can we buy something from here when we’re done?” mid-way, but hey – that’s why they host these types of events, right?!

Three books were read (and went immediately on my Amazon list), a fashion show was had (so pumped the little dude agreed to sport his new Uggs), snacks were consumed, games played and book club cards signed. Even a little hot chocolate was spilled on that rug and very little fretting was done about it.


The outcome?: funny comments that can only come from young children’s mouths, glowing eyes as they took in every word, hilarious questions and even more comical actions as they attempted to play games. Plus, a set of chill parents who had found a little free treasure on a Saturday night.

So all in all, a fabulous event-I highly recommend it. Check out the other story times available at a Pottery Barn Kids near you and enjoy!

The End.

How Will We Choose?

Several days back as the fall leaves filled the air, we checked the white day care mailbox generally lined with gorgeous drawings, fun projects and important notes. This time, we found these:




An envelope we anxiously await twice a year.

Best gift ever if I do say so myself.

However will we choose?!

PS: Thanks for your patience with the quality of photos: these are pics of proofs on paper shot with an iPhone 3G - yikes!

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Used to Be Quasi-Cool...


Then we found ourselves at the Yo Gabba Gabba concert on Sunday evening.

But the great thing? A load of parents who also looked as if they wore the “cool” label decades back were also in tow, mouthing the lyrics to the insanity that is the Disney show, shaking their hips appropriately and delighting in the wonder that lined their children’s faces.

And in this crowd included us, a pair of happy-go-lucky-I-can’t-believe-we-just-dropped-cash-on-this-show-plus-an-extra-60-for-the-tee-and-“flashlight”-thingy. But the truth?

We totally loved it.

Honest truth?

Maybe even more than this guy, though he did admit, as you’ll see here he was ready to party (note I don't know how to rotate videos and they take two hours to download!):
video
Who could have totally left once the light spinning thing-a-ma-bob was placed in his little hand. Well, that is on the second round: the cheaper one that looked just like a glow stick? Not cutting it. Already at age two, he recognized what the other kids had and desired the same. Ay yay aye. But we were happy to purchase it for him, particularly since it kept him patiently seated while waiting for the show to begin. Oh and the tee and plush sets you ask? Yah, we may have gotten a bit caught up in all the excitement…

So much so that Mommy may have gone bananas and stood on her seat and shook her tush as if she were in Zumba class when Michael Jackson came on. Both boys look totally ashamed. And when she threw her hands up in “OPP style” to the hip-hop tune “I Like Bugs?” Grounds for pure red in the face, but also a few sneaky grins from the wee one, who looked a bit alarmed his Momma even know of such things. But who could help themselves??? I mean, seriously – at the core, it was a rap concert:
video
Ok, and there was a bit of this:
video
But overall a complete blast.

And in the eyes of our two-year-old, made us totally cool. Even if the word “cool” doesn’t lend us much street cred anymore these days.

We’ll take it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

From Head to Toe

As the frost lines our once green grass and the catalogues begin pouring in, I find myself getting a little over the top and going bananas over "things." I mean, you already know my love for retail therapy and giving gifts, but I swear there is something in the air that goes straight toward my brain and makes me fall for "stuff" even harder this time of year. My Christmas wish list already contains well over 30 items and is on its third version...feel free to confirm with my head-shaking family members. I feel quite guilty about it all, but much like what happens with my relationship with chocolate, we just.keep.pressing.on. So with this said, allow me to share two things that I've recently fallen for that still exist within our Dave Ramsey plan:

Emi-Jay hair ties:
Recently I had spotted them on Sheridan French's blog and was intrigued, but not yet sold (though anything SF says I immediately croon over because, well, I want to be her). Then, I was delighted to find them perched in a corner booth at Holiday Mart, saw a pic of Jennifer Anniston sporting it, tried it in my own 'do and was sold. Yes - I'm ever marketer's dream.

Bottom line: love the color selection, they look darling on the wrist and even cuter with in the hair, giving it some lift with a lazy updo that says "I tried." Swoon!

Since dressing head to toe is always key, what about the tootsies? I despise spending money on socks because of course the washer monster constantly eats them and immediately after purchasing I lose the patience to a) find them in the backyard from my dog's mouth b) match them up and put them away. But, there is some pressure to have some cute tootsies these days because each Saturday we have Kindermusik and there are no shoes allowed. Since Dave is not down with pedis, this calls for a little sock action. After two weeks of sporting the hubs' that are supposed to be white but are more gray and contain unsightly holes (blech), I decided I needed to woman up and spend some dough. Much to my glee, I spotted a whole wall of fantastic looking, girly, crazy socks at Forever 21 in Dallas. At 95 cents each, about 10 of them came home as mine:

So take that all you Kindermusik parents with adorable, patterned matching socks. I'm bringin' it this week!

And speaking of head to toe, this is a darling read from Eric Carle's newish collection:

Rhyming and encouraging kids to replicate the actions, it's a blast.

From head to toe, now you know!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Girlsgiving


"Megs, I didn't know you were serving a real Thanksgiving!" the girls crooned, marveling at the light feast that lay before them. That, coupled with the disbelief that I had actually made all the items myself (though totally cheating on the main dish), made for a fabulous Girlsgiving, which included an evening of laughter, celebration of friendship and story swapping well into the evening.

So what did we consume besides several bottles of wine? Given my lack of skill in the kitchen, that it was a work day and daycare sent my kiddo home under the weather, I went for simple and tasty:
Honey Baked Ham:

Maple Cornbread from this month's "Real Simple" magazine:

Green bean casserole (the dish that caused the most groans of joy):

Mini quiche as an appetizer:

And pumpkin bars and candy bar treats for dessert:



So eat, drink and be merry we did, delighting in our bond, planning for the holidays and thanking our lucky stars for one another.

Happy Girlsgiving, indeed.

Now back to the treadmill!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dazzle and Smile

Truth be told, I like to do both. You know, sport glittery ensems and accessories daily and also walk around with a big ol' grin on my face. Because, life is good...why not dazzle and smile?

Problem is, when it comes to Kate Spade, I need to choose one for my Christmas list:


So, whatcha think? Dazzle or smile?

And I promise to continue to do both where it really counts.