Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Other Ones

Up until this moment, there has been an aspect of my life with Alice I have intentionally left out. This little space in the sky was meant to be my reflections on Alice and the life we live together. In doing so, I have left out two little boys, we will call them Owen and Crosby. Owen is three and Crosby, just a baby, at nine months. They are our best friend's children. When Owen was an itty bitty baby, they couldn't get him into daycare for a few months. And being the person I am, unable to say no when they asked, I agreed to watch Owen until he was old enough for daycare. Fast forward a few years, add another baby, and that's my story. I am part time Mama to two very sweet and crazy boys and I love them dearly. They are basically an extension of our family and Alice loves them to pieces. She refers to herself as a big sister and in every way that matters she is. And she's amazing.

"So, why today to tell us this fact?" you ask. "Why tell us at all? And why didn't you tell us from the start?" you wonder.

Certainly not to deceive you. My thought was this, Alice sacrifices a lot in her daily life so Owen and Crosby can be in it. She has to share everything, her toys, her Mama, and our time together. This little space in the sky was going to be the one place free of the boys. Our space based just around our little family. But I feel it would be remiss of me to not share this side of Alice. If one day I never complete the baby books, Alice will always have these stories. I want her to know what a kind big sister she was.

Her relationship with Owen is entirely love hate sibling rivalry. They play hard and they fight just as hard. One second it's peaceful dollhouse play, the next someone's screaming and hitting the other. All day, every day. They are each others best friends and worst enemies all in one.

The dynamics between her and baby Crosby are what has prompted me to write this post. They are so sweet together. Alice has all the patience in the world for Crosby. And he absolutely adores her. He lights up when she enters the room. Alice makes it her place to be the little mama for Crosby. She wants to feed him and supervise his play. She's worked very hard to learn how to safely pick him up and she practices it every chance she gets. She loves being big sister to Crosby and most of the time she is truly very helpful. I love seeing her softer side come out when she interacts with the baby. And in those moments I am so very proud of my baby.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

March Mad-ness

Every year it's the same. Every year, it's only March Madness. I'm so very sick of it.

Let me back up a bit. When we were much more kids than adults, my dear husband and his boys started a tradition. A very bad tradition, in my opinion. They decided, being the avid sport's fans they were, to go out to the bar full time for the NCAA basketball tournament. They'd take a few days off work from their entry level jobs and party all day and night, like the kids they were. Fast forward to now when they are much more adults than kids and the tradition is still going strong. March Madness makes me a single mom.

Now, I'm the first to agree, husbands and wives need time apart. We need our space. We need our own hobbies and interests. We need friends other than each other. I really do agree with all this. But...March Madness and everything it brings makes my blood boil. Year after year, this tradition has become too big. I heard talk from one of the wives of a birth being missed if the baby should happen to come during March Madness. Last year a wife had to rearrange her annual girls weekend gateway because it was accidentally planned during the tournament. I will have two extra house guests until Saturday. Which means I will have three drunk boys coming home several nights in a row waking me and Alice up. Seriously friends, don't get the wrong impression, I like a good party just as much as the next guy. When this tradition was started, us girlfriends took part. We all had little responsibility and it was a great excuse to let loose. Fast forward ten years, we all have huge responsibilities and don't have the luxury to party like we used to. And yet, the boys still do. Maybe they do a few less shots than they use to, but they still demand the March Madness freedom from work and home.

Last year I was fortunate enough to get away for a night of it. My sister had Alice for a sleepover and I got out of town and stayed with a friend. This year I am not so fortunate. With Ellie's well being depending upon me, I can not leave. I'm forced to witness the men become boys. I think I should start planning now for next year. I'm going on a trip. Somewhere great, a spa retreat!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pretty Pretty Princess

It's finally happened. I've given in. You can't see it because, well you're there and I'm here, but I'm waving the white flag. I bought Alice this booster seat. Did you click? No? Well, I'll wait, go look. That's right. Pretty, pretty princess, shoot me in the eye, hot pink. I agreed to strap that thing in my sleek, sophisticated vehicle.

I'm waving the flag in acceptance of who my daughter truly is...a makeup wearing, pink lovely, purse toting girly girl princess. That's Alice. As hard as I tried to convince her she loved trains as much as dolls, the pirate costume as much as Rapunzel's dress, and Darth Maul as much as Flynn Ryder...wait, that one may be true, but not so on all the rest. She will play trains and cars, but Barbies and dollhouse will always be her first choice.

Let the record show, I'm not against pink and plastic Cinderella high heels, it's just all so foreign to me. I am not a girly girl. I grew up on a horse farm wearing muck boots and ponytails. I spent my days outside in the barn. I shoveled horse shit. Alice is afraid of flys. She wouldn't have made it. In middle school I begged my father to paint my room black, and when he wouldn't I had to settle for black bedding instead. You couldn't have paid me to wear pink. In high school the extent of my morning primping was brushing my teeth. The first time I purchased makeup was when I was 26 years old. Seriously. Up until then, if I wore makeup at all, I used the free Clinique samples my sisters would pass along to me. As you can see, I'm at a disadvantage raising Alice.

Parenting is a juggling act, try to balance the world for your child. I try to show Alice that there is more to life than just princesses. I don't want her to grow up thinking beauty is only on the outside and her worth comes from her physical appearance. I want her to know she's beautiful with or without the pink frilly dress, with or without lip gloss, and my favorite part of her body will always be her round tummy. I let her see girls can do anything boys can. She sees me with a screwdriver in my hand far more than her father. And I'm proud to say I'm learning from her. She's taught me that it's fun to be a little fancy and that a dash of pink here and there is A-okay. She enjoys watching me get dressed up to go out for a girls night or a date. She's making me appreciate shoes, pretty shoes. So, if this is who Alice is, I'm on board. I will support her and her girlyness as long as she ventures to the dirty tomboy side every now and again, she can even do it wearing five necklaces, two rings, high heels and a tutu if she wants.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Not So Truthful Tuesday

I had all intentions today to tell the story of my one secret I carry around every where I go. It's with me when I wake in the morning and right by my side when my head hits the pillow every night. My one truth that only the closest to me know. The one thing I don't speak of, because it's just that painful. The truth that haunts me and my future.

But I can't.

I suppose I don't have the courage, yet, to put it out there for the world to read. To be that vulnerable. If I put it in print it will be too real. I hope to be brave enough soon, for I do think it will be helpful. There's something therapeutic about seeing it in letters.

Defining Moments

There are certain moments in life, after them things are changed. Defining moments, I suppose. The thing that makes these moments unique is the way you feel after them, stunned and stupefied. I can only describe it is an out of body experience where you are in utter disbelief, for one moment you forget what has happened and then like an anvil it comes crashing down on you with a weight like no other, never to be forgotten again.

I think back to high school, I remember this feeling vividly the day I got caught with alcohol at my grandparents house having a pseudo party. Try as hard as I might, I could never go back to the day before. Things had changed permanently because of one little moment in time. And in that moment I was stressed and frazzled, clueless as to how to proceed with the recent discovery.

There's one specific second, literally a second, that changed everything concerning my mom and her illness. In that defining moment I could never go back to the other side. I had learned too much, and in my head my brain was stuck repeating "Oh my God." A day spent in shock.

And again the day I found out I was pregnant with Alice. Not all life changing moments are bad, there are just as many good ones. They still have the same affect on a person. Alice was planned, we tried for months to conceive. Yet, the moment the test showed a positive, I lost all breath. It could not be undone. And that is earth shattering. The idea that the world would never again be the same sent me into a frenzy of thought that stayed with me until my head hit the pillow that night.

The thing about these moments is you go on. You can not live in a state of shock forever. The next day you wake up. And the recent change infiltrates itself into your life. The mind blowingness of it all gradually lessens. Day after day you shower and eat lunch and feed the dog, all the while it becomes just another part of life again.

A few days ago, I woke with much hope for Ellie girl. She was scheduled for a simple surgery that should have made life better for quite awhile. I spent the day thinking of Ellie, eager to hear good news from the doctor, instead I was told the previous days diagnosis was in fact wrong. Instead of a simple, removable polyp in her ear, I was told it was a very large inoperable cancerous tumor. She had weeks left at best. Words were said about quality of life and having to make a decision in the near future. I was in disbelief. How could it be possible? I dropped her off at the vets that morning happy. And now my poor Ellie cat is home no better than before. The tumor, in the side of her head, is making eating extremely difficult. At this point, her breathing is barely affected, but we've been told that will change. So, for as many days as she wants I will syringe feed her five times a day. Every day I will watch her a little different than before. Every day I will watch to see if it's time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Dear Mother Nature,


Bravo. Well played. Point Mother Nature. I see what you did today, your humor is not lost on me. I can appreciate a good prank. But, it kinda feels like you've won on a technicality. To be fair, I did only request for you to change the weather, which you did. At present there is zero snow accumulation outside my front door. Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for this. I was dreading the shoveling and the wet snowboots cluttering the entrance to my home. But it feels like I was played. You changed the weather like it was one giant mood swing. Are you pmsing? Because if you are, just say so and I'll completely understand. You caused a lot of inconviences today constantly making it appear as it was going to snow any minute. Have a look at just one tiny example, three emails I received today.

Just think about all those poor moms who were waiting and praying swim lessons were canceled, all for naught. They still had to deal with the cold wet weather you provided. As a mother yourself, you should be ashamed. I lost my lunch bunch day, never to be gotten back. It's just gone. Dust in the wind. And to top it off, I didn't even get to Instagram adorable pictures of my child frolicking in the inches of snow you promised.

You may have won this time, but you can bet your ass I'll be bitching in the August heat.




P.S. If you skip spring and go straight to summer, there will be hell to pay.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

I am writing to you today with a request, a favor if you will. You have been such a kind mother the past few months, it's probably not proper for me to even be asking, but if you can find it in your heart to honor my request this one time, I will not ask for anything else.

This is what is predicted, but I know you have it within you to change the future. If you felt it was right, you could spare us from the snow. See, oh wise goddess, tomorrow is lunch bunch for Alice at school. Which translates into an extra two and a half hours of "me" time every Wednesday. If you decide to continue on with your winter weather plan, I will not only lose the extra two and a half hours, but with Alice home from school, I will lose productivity for the entire day. You, being a mother, must know what a snow day does to one's house.

In addition, you have blessed us with a few warm days recently. I know it's only early March and those lucky days were just a tease of the future. However, it does seem wrong to regress so severely. After all, you sent the signal to nature. You told them spring was on its way. It doesn't seem fair to the tulips and daffodils to force them to suffer through snow. Surely their beautiful blooms will be affected. Everywhere you look are signs of spring. People's attitudes have been lifted with the hope of warmer days filled with time outdoors, enjoying your beautiful handiwork. You don't want to be responsible for bouts of depression, do you?

Mother Nature, if look down deep within your heart I'm sure you will see a simple weather change really would be in our best interest. If you do this for me tonight, I will not gripe about the heat and humidity in August. I promise. But, if for some reason you do not choose to honor my request, I will do my best to enjoy the beauty you bestow upon us, with minimal complaints. I will watch my girl make snow angel after snow angel. I will listen to the delight in her laughter as she throws snow balls for Marley to catch. I will savor four year old Alice playing in the snow because before I know it she will no longer be little.

Thank you in advance for your graciousness,



Friday, March 1, 2013

Picking Friends

"Mama? Which friends did I take to school yesterday?" Alice asked me as we were preparing to leave for school.

"I don't know. Alice. Please put your shoes on, I don't want to be late."

"MAAAMA I have to pick my friends."

This conversation, or a variation of, can be overheard in my house five days a week. There is great consideration put into the decision. "Friend" picking is an art form. I feel I must stop myself and clarify for those who have no idea what I'm talking about. To Alice, dolls, barbies, babies, and most importantly in her eyes, princesses of varying size are her friends. She refers to herself as their Mama, though from the way it sounds she's more like their dictator. Anyway, she is allowed to bring a friend or two in the car for the ride to school and can bring one into school for the day.

A lot goes into picking friends. Somedays it's a breeze, the favorite doll of the day accompanies her. Other mornings it's as stressful as picking a presidential running mate, or so I imagine.

"I DON'T KNOW WHO TO PICK," she whines at me when I'm rushing her along.

There are mornings when she stews and worries over which doll hasn't been fortunate enough to visit school yet or which Barbie can't possibly come because they've been too grumpy and need to take a nap while she's gone. And then there are the times when she's selected the lucky winner but can't find the obvious partner to join them. "How can Rapunzel possibly leave Flynn Ryder at home?" Or, "it wouldn't be fair to Cherry Jam if Strawberry Shortcake gets to come and she doesn't! We just have to find Cherry Jam." I've grown used to the morning selection process, but every now and again she shocks me. Seemingly without any rhyme or reason a blast from the past from the bottom of a basket will be the chosen one. Yesterday she took blinking Dora. Blinking Dora has seen better days. She was acquired during Alice's younger, artistic period. Dora has black sharpie eye shadow on her blinking eyelids and the whites of her eyes are now filled in black as well. Her underwear has also been decorated with said sharpie. Dora's hair, which used to be fastened neatly in two pig tails, now flows freely in one big tangled mess. Why Dora, who is never played with these days, was selected is beyond me.

Once we are safely fastened in our seats, there is often more discussion regarding the morning decision.

"Mama? Do you think Merida is jealous of Pocahontas because I didn't pick her?"

"I don't know Alice. Maybe," I tell her.

"She probably is. But Merida has gotten to go to school lots of times. This is Pocahontas's first time. You must be super excited to come into my school, Pocahontas. Just wait till you see my cubby!"

She really is the most adorable kid in the whole entire world.



Except your kid. I'm sure your kid is equally as adorable.