Girls Weekend Is Coming

So, our annual (well-almost) girls weekend begins this Friday in Chicago. It’s a bunch of girls from my hometown (formerly and current) who have tried to get together each year on Memorial Day weekend since we became old enough to realize that these types of things don’t ‘just happen’ and do, in fact, require some planning to get the group all together in the right place.


The weekend is rapidly approaching. I’m totally thrilled to be seeing my girls for a few days in the city. Of course, I wish I could have it all and not have to travel again and be away from my girlie again, but it turns out (I’ve realized recently) that I can NOT have it all. Total bummer.


I’m certain that our weekend will hold a lot of drinking (at the last one of these, I managed to be the one puking in the bushes the morning-after and got into a too-political debate with who knows who…). I’m certain we’ll laugh really hard – at most of the same jokes we always laugh really hard at. We’ll manage to discuss the facebook antics of people from high school, our in-laws, our children — but none of these at too much length. Instead, we’ll just be old friends, enjoying time and space together with some drinks and each other. I’m getting more excited about it as I write — there is just something about your oldie-and-goodie friends.


You’ll remember that some of us were together at Christmas, but this is the wider group and it’s got gals flying in from Naples, Baltimore, London, a few local Chicagoans and me. And we’re all from little old here! We’ve had emails flying back and forth for a few weeks in the run-up to the event. The email chain alone is at 40 messages.


However, the one big thing looming ahead of me that appeared on the itinerary for the weekend: bring one sassy outfit in case we want to go to the club/local celeb hot spot.


Ok, this brought fear to my heart, frankly. Do they sell ‘clubbing’ clothes in the Target clearance section? What does one wear to a club these days — do you have to wear skinny jeans (or be skinny?) to go to a club. Because I a) won’t wear skinny jeans and b) am not skinny (point a has much to do with point b).


**SIDENOTE: I was at Old Navy the other day and there were a pair of pants that were being marketed as “flattering for all body types” which I thought ‘hell yes, I’ll try those on!’ and I did, and this is what I have to say: Old Navy and your friends who are pushing this skinny jean fad — STOP saying things like ‘flattering for all body types’ because that’s a blatant lie. I laughed at myself in the dressing room mirror and thought – briefly and it passed – about taking a photo of myself to post here to show how NOT flattering they are on all body types. Ok, back to the post.


**Oh, and you can’t find clubbing clothes at Old Navy, either, I don’t think.


So, here’s the thing…I have nothing that I can fathom that qualifies as clubbing clothes. I’ve selected something that I’m wearing and I’m just committing to it (with an underlying fear I’ll get to the door of the club, some over-roided bouncer will give me the once over, shake his head and say ‘we have a dress code’ as I walk embarrassed into the night). And while I’d love to blame not knowing what to wear to a ‘club’ on my mommy role, it’s not that. I’ve never known (or wanted to really) what to wear to a club. SOOOOOooo not my scene. But, for one night, in the city, I am sort of looking forward to the odds-on chance we hit up ‘da club’. I’ll spend the bulk of my time absorbing what one wears to a club and feeling inadequately clothed and then I’ll be drunk and just won’t care anymore…which is my full plan.


I can’t be the only one that fears the club for this reason, right? Can’t be.


But, the weekend is nearing and I’m getting so excited to see everyone again. Last year we were forced to cancel our girls weekend because everyone was either pregnant or had just had a baby — or so it seemed. This year, we’re all-in. And I can’t wait for the weekend to begin!!





The Pony in Her Hair

Today I got a call from Elle’s school aka daycare. That was a first and it made my heart stop. I quickly called back (missed the call?!) and was told Elle had a little accident and didn’t have a change of clothes. Ok, so I suck at keeping clothes at her school. I’ll own that.

Then I talk to Jon and learn that, after I have been talking for days about how I think Elle is ready for a pony because her hair is so long, the teachers at school have put a stupid, mini pony in her hair!!

Truth be told, I wasn’t so upset about the pony (ok, I was…I wanted to be the pony-putter-inner first) but that I wasn’t there to see it. I’m coming to terms with that reality though, because I didn’t cry.

I made Jon take a picture and text it to me.

For your viewing pleasure…

Dear Elle: You’re Seven Months Old

Dear Elle –

You’re seven months old today! And, I’m sitting at our home computer writing this letter to you! Isn’t that great?!

You’re so busy all of a sudden, squirmy wormy all the time. You love to bounce in your Little Einstein bouncer, but you have a new favorite: the walker! Our house is perfect, with hardwood floors that make it easy for you to navigate. We have rolled up the rugs in the living room to make it even easier for you to navigate. You have recently discovered the following: short tables with picture frames on them; electrical outlets; things hanging off door handles; closet doors…in essence, lots of ways to hurt yourself! So, your Dad and I need to do some re-arranging of furniture and some serious little lady-proofing of the house. (That electrical outlet thing just happened this morning, by the way). It’s kind of nice to see you go where you want when you want. Which is to say: you’re still not crawling…though you’re getting closer for sure.

You were a drooling fool there for awhile, but that’s sort of stopped (you’re still drooling, just not as much) but it seems like there are teeth in our (very near) future.

You’re pretty consistently eating three meals a day – fruit, veggies, oatmeal. There isn’t one thing that we’ve come across that you dislike, so I’m SUPER glad you’re up for fruits and veggies thus far. I hope you keep it up!

Tonight was our last swimming class and your first receipt of a certificate beyond your birth certificate! Woohoo! You are definitely ready for summer in the pool and the lake, so I’m glad of that. You got a life jacket from Grandma Wendy and Grandpa Scott at Easter, so I’m feeling good about how the summer at the lake will play out, too!

Yesterday was our first Mother’s Day together and I had food poisoning (boo!). It’s only just now, tonight, that I’m feeling kind of better and not totally dehydrated! It was such a bummer to be so sick, but your Dad and you trooped all over the neighborhood visiting people and staying away so I could get some sleep. It was all I could have asked for when I was feeling so rotten.

I can’t believe that you’re seven months old — in some ways it feels like it’s been just a blip on the radar and in others, it’s like you’ve always been here. Like you and me, meant to be’s, you know?

You love kitchen utensils, especially the rubbery-spatula things. There are a total of two in your toy bin that used to be in my utensil holder.

You were sick – again – this last month. I got super frustrated with day care, with myself, with the whole situation and spent a lot of time second-guessing my choices to put you in day care. But — they LOVE you there, you seem to LOVE going, and it sure makes my life easier to know you’re well cared for and they care so deeply for you.

The check-up with Dr. Shwayder on the hemangioma went well — and you could be weaned off the medicine in just a few months. We go for another visit in June, but it’s crazy how much it’s gone down and away in just the last month or so. I’m really, really glad that we chose this treatment instead of just letting it go.

You continue to spend lots of time with you grandma’s and grandpa’s and haven’t yet hit your ‘stranger anxiety’ period of life, which I’m grateful for. You seem to like people in general, so that’s exciting.

I follow other blogs and read books and such and one book the other night was saying how you need to find a way to go out to a restaurant, etc., etc. and I have to say, we haven’t ever thought NOT to go out with you. You’re really a great, great girl and you seem to be a relatively easy person to get along with. Grateful for that.

So, that’s it. We’ve reached our seven month anniversary, your seven month birthday. I find myself not able to determine my life without you in it – I tried the other day to see if I could, and I couldn’t. Or rather, I guess I could, but it seemed so empty relative to what we’ve got going now. The three of us are a great little team and I feel like we’re just start to gel.

I can’t wait to see what the next month holds for you, girlie. I know it’s going to be great. Will it be teeth? Crawling? Walking (probably not, but I’m prepared for anything I think)? Mama? Dada? I just can’t wait to see what you’ll reveal to us this month. You’re just the most excellent puzzle I’ve ever known and I love figuring out how we fit…though I still know just how we fit when it’s bedtime…your head in the crook of my elbow, eyes down, hidden from any light that may come in.

And the days when I judge my body for not being smaller, thinner, more fit I realize, too, that you fit just right next to the body I’ve got right now, too, and I’m not quite ready to let that go already. So I’m more ok with the body I live in these days – still trying to get fit for you, for my own health, but I’m beginning to come to grips with the way my body is from the wonder of carrying you.

I love you so stinking much, I can’t even quite do it justice in any words I try to put together. Being your Mom is hard sometimes, but overall it’s the most fun thing I’ve ever had the pleasure and fortune of doing.

I’ve thought a lot about the way I have been ending these letters to you. And I can find no better way to say it than, you fill me up. You make everything in me full…but mainly my heart (and my mind!). I love you, girlie.



Mother’s Day & Food Poisoning, Those Go Together, Right?

Mother’s Day 2012, my first as Elle’s Mom.

Was looking forward to getting nine holes in, to planting some flowers in the yard, working in the pond for awhile, cleaning out the garage, doing some laundry and just catching up on our lives, while spending time together.

That was what I honestly wanted to do on Mother’s Day, silly as it may sound.

We had been invited to my Aunt Linda’s house about an hours drive away but when I drive lots of hours to be able to work each week, driving again for fun just doesn’t sound, well, fun.

So, we turned down that invitation and I was really, really looking forward to doing just what I wanted to do for the day.

Only, Saturday afternoon Jon met me at the high school where I was announcing (in the rainy weather) a Mustang Challenge race in conjunction with the Healthy Community fair. We walked through the high school and decided to grab a quick lunch at the local bar.

I was excited to order my favorite chicken quesadilla — but after it took nearly an hour and a half to get our food, I was annoyed. And when the food came, it wasn’t made right at all. The peppers and onions were still crunchy and the spray that they use on the griddle/grill was overwhelming on the outside of the tortillas. And then, there was the salsa and sour cream. The sour cream was smooth – not like it was terribly cold, in hindsight – and I used it anyway. Because it tasted so not good, I needed condiments for sure.

So, that was at 3:30 when we finished our food. Came home and about 7 or 8 I said to Jon ‘That Nite Cap food sure isn’t sitting right with me” and I made myself a bowl of yogurt and granola to try to bland my stomach up.

No dice.

I even poured myself a glass of wine, but one sip into it and I couldn’t stomach it either.

By 10 p.m., I was breathing heavy and couldn’t handle it. And that’s when it started…the, you know, the vomiting.

And over the course of the next twelve hours, it happened about four more times. My Dad brought over some Pepto, which I took gladly, and then that just made me more sick.

So, my Mom stopped by at about 9 a.m. with Vernors (and warmed some up for me), water, gatorade, Mrs. Grass soup, Coconut water, Saltines, etc.

I slept in blocks of two hour stretches looking out the window at how nice it was. Finally, at 4, I called Jon and he and Elle were at my Mom and Dad’s. He came and picked me up at home and I proceeded to lazy around at my parents house. I ate a few Saltine’s bit by bit and tried to get more water in me. My Mom made some Mrs. Grass soup for me, and that actually tasted alright, though a bit salty.

My Dad had started dinner, so I felt obligated to take some bites, which I did of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and some chicken. And it seemed to be alright. We went to Jon’s parents later to drop off gifts (Jon’s Mom is sick with the flu) and I fell asleep on the couch, so we headed home where I fell asleep on our couch.

And at 10 p.m., I woke up to rid my body of any sustenance I’d put in earlier in the day. Slept on the couch until about 5 a.m., when I went and laid in bed for a little while until elle woke up at 7.

Jon got me a great patio heater for Mother’s Day (which I’ve been wanting) and an umbrella base, which we needed desperately. It was set to be a great day, but the damn food at the Nite Cap did me in. And it pisses me off.

I feel like I should get a do-over or something.

Anyway, Mother’s Day and Food Poisoning do not go together, for the record.

I Miss Her

It’s been years – now – that she’s been gone.

And with the passing of time — years — it is easier missing her than it was the day before…most days. That does not mean to say that it is easy, missing her, just that it becomes different on a daily basis.

I don’t know what it is lately – the spectre of Mother’s Day on the horizon, being a mother myself, watching friends and co-workers lose their parents. But whatever it is, lately she’s been on my mind.

Quite honestly, at no other time is she more than just a tear-fall away than when I look at my daughter.

“She’d really think you were something, girlie,” I said to Elle the other afternoon as I changed her diaper. And Elle smiled and flapped her arms as though trying to fly (her latest trick) and my heart paused, wishing that she were here to meet Elle. Wishing she were here for me, to witness my life as a mother.

Oh, it makes me so sad that she’s not here for  me on my own journey of motherhood. It disappoints me that I missed out on appreciating – while she lived – how hard it must have been for her after becoming a mother herself. I wish from the depth of my heart that we would have commiserated over becoming a mother.

My Grandma died nearly six years ago. Six YEARS. It could be days – it could be hours, but it’s been YEARS.

In many ways, her death changed the course of my life.

I’ve been writing this post for a few days now — but tonight, as I rocked Elle to sleep, it hit me again.

I heard her voice ‘Hey Linds’ and I remembered the way her hands would move, the extremes she would go to (much like my mother these days) for anything big or small.

The past week has been particularly rough with her on my mind all the time. And Friday, as I watered the patches of dirt where I’m trying to grow grass in my yard, as I tended to the Stella D’Oro lillies planted in memory and because of her and my Grandpa, two yellow butterflies flew around my head.

Butterflies were our thing, my Grandma told me, before she died. They connected her and my Mom and me.

And the yellow — that was classic Grandma and Grandpa.

I felt more whole, somehow, with them close. I lead a full life, but there are pieces of me that have left with those I love, big road blocks in the spots where the passing of someone I love have altered my path in life.

I am comforted by the message of the yellow butterflies — or perhaps just their presence.

I’ve been looking for a word to describe my relationship with my Grandma — and I haven’t found it yet. In my head, it was kindred. But when I looked up the definition, it didn’t quite fit. We were meant-to-be’s maybe, in that we were meant to be in each other’s lives. I’m not sure. I’m still searching for a way to capture all that she was – and remains – to me.

All I know is that as I look into my girlie’s eyes, as I rock her to sleep, as I watch her learn moment-by-moment, I wish that they would have known one another. And I’m secretly glad that I still miss her this way – tears and all.


I Am Obsessed with Yardening

I seriously am obsessed with my yard.

My moved into the new house in March 2011, and last summer all we could muster were a few hanging baskets (which, by the way, were dead in July due to a lack of attention and water). Mowing the lawn was as extensive as we got.

There was also the one day that I planted creeping phlox out front by our address rock and put solar lights on the address light.

That was a big day.

But now, I’m obsessed.

With the pond and getting it into some state that isn’t incredibly embarrassing.

With dandelions and they’re continued presence in my lawn.

With the dead spots under the trees, with the weeds, with the overgrowth on the trees that are in desperate need of a trim (much like my own hair – turns out there’s not enough time for either).

With a color scheme and how yellow, white and purple will look together and should I add in some red or pink (pink, really?) and should I consider geraniums at all? (See, OUT.OF.CONTROL).

By the way, this is the patio in its finished state. Isn’t it just great? It’s HUGE (like, literally, three times the size it was in usable space, but the foot print stayed the same. Crazy!)

Anyway, obsessed.

But, I hit a new obsession-low tonight.

I am traveling for work and am in Champaign, Illinois. I forgot my iPhone charger at home, so I made a trip to the local Target (where I spent $149 on lots of things, including the car charger and several guilty-I-travel-for-work-so-I-bring-home-gifts-for-Elle trinkets and the first pair of jeans that legitimately fit me post-baby). Anyway, on the drive to the store, I am driving and realize the lawns are BEAUTIFUL in Champaign, Illinois. I have an ah-ha moment realizing that there’s the University of Illinois here and it’s an ag-friendly kind of a place.

So, I take note of a few particular lawns that are phenomenal. I mean, PHE-NOM-E-NAL. Crazy good.

I leave Target, and want to be sure to drive back by the awesome lawns and gardens.

I get my phone prepared and roll down the window. I want to get a clear shot. But how, I’m driving at approximately 30 mph (way slower than the speed limit by the way)?

Somehow I have video selected instead of photo, so I capture the steering wheel and a flash of my favorite garden ever, paired with audio of myself saying ‘Are you kidding – did I even get a picture at all?’ and then saying ‘oh hell’.

I take a quick left into the subdivision and circle back around the opposite direction (now on the same side of the street as the house/lawn/garden I’m envious of) and I’ve planned this quite well. No cars coming, so I have a moment to take a picture while stopped/slowed.

I think we can all agree that at this point, I’ve taken yard-stalking and yard-envy to a whole new level, right?

Oh no, it gets better.

I’m on a kick to get back into running and am bound and determined to create the habit in my life. So, I’m on day three of habit-creating (I’m told it takes 21-27 days to create a habit…so…I’m three days in).

I pull into the hotel, directly from Target and set out with my iPhone in hand for a run. Mainly because I don’t want to lose the day light to capture the photos of my lawn envy…so, I’m off. Through the neighborhood, down the hill, up the hill, around the bend, down the road, up the hill, by the guy mowing the lawn where I’m thinking to myself the entire time…WOW these lawns are AMAZING. I mean, not just the one lawn, but MOST of the lawns. It’s like they’re all in some weird competition.

Plentiful hostas, lots of yellow iris, naturalized lawns with all sorts of randomness.

The edges where the mulched garden meets the grass are mounded nicely and neatly and perfectly and there is no mulch in the grass, no grass in the mulch. And there is mulch EVERYWHERE.

I turn around to grab the photos I came for and run back up the hill (as I turn around I realize how much downhill running I did to get the 1.2 miles away from the hotel).

And I finally come to my yard of envy.

And it’s even better than I thought.

Do you see that? Straight line of impatiens or something with evenly spaced trees, with hostas interspersed along the back in regular, equa-distant intervals, interspersed with what appears to be purple salvia.

And then, what I came for.

What I aspire to.

Some day, folks.



I’m a Spelling Cheerleader

It strikes me every now and then that I have become a cheerleader who loves to spell (I suppose most cheerleaders really embrace spelling…G-O or L-E-T-S-G-O or…I digress.)

Anyway, the following are regularly coming out of my mouth…

“E-L-L-E…that’s how you spell (clap, clap) ELLE!”

“It’s a B-A-T-H bath time, bath time. It’s a B-A-T-H bath time, bath time.”

“P&J’s PP & J&J. P&J, PP & J&J” (this last one is specifically when she has to get a shirt on over her head which she HATES after her B-A-T-H bath time).

Anyway — I laugh at myself when I do it, but it also entertains me greatly!