Planning

I’m a planner by nature.

 

With a first birthday party nearly as big as our wedding will be, two huge work events that were pulled off in less than three months of planning and a Thanksgiving where we managed to see all our family’s as well as a Christmas for my Mom’s family here at our house, I truly love planning events and get-togethers.

 

However, this whole wedding planning thing is a bit much. There are so many details.

 

And I feel as though I’m getting worse at the details with experience instead of better (or maybe I just take certain things for granted these days?).

 

Either way – take invitation ordering, for example. To order invitations you need to know some things. Like, you need to know what day you are going to get married.

 

We took care of that with a quick deposit at the country club.

 

April 27, here we come!

 

So, I return to my online wedding invitation ordering place and realize that I now also need to know the TIME of said wedding.

 

Which sounds easier than it is in reality.

 

Do you pick a reasonable dinner hour and then plan backward? Do you base it on sunlight so that you get photos at the best time of the day? Do you simply throw all that out and worry about the best time you can possible present to your guests?

 

I went with option number: none of those…the photographer I think I’m going to hire has a seven-hour option that sounds about right. Which means that if I want all the end-of-evening stuff captured by photographers, I need to plan accordingly. Which really means that I need to be done with all the stuff by like 8 or 9 pm. Which means I need to be done with dinner by 7 pm, so we need to eat by 6 pm, which kind of works. So, now I’m debating about whether to do cocktails before the ceremony (everything’s at the same place) or after the ceremony or do the ceremony first, then just let the party begin. And it wouldn’t matter so much if I didn’t need to actually order an invitation!

 

And, do I need to order an invitation right now?

 

Well, play it back. Wedding on April 27, and if you give at least 6-8 weeks, you’re staring at March 1 to mail invites out. Which makes your RSVP date (which you also need to know to have invitations printed) April 1. And you need to have your invites addressed and give yourself time to put it all together. Oh, and not to mention the time it takes once you order them for them to be printed, shipped to your house, etc. And then you have to put them together, address them, etc. So, I really need six weeks before the March 1 deadline, which puts me into early January as an absolute last instant to order invitations.

 

I’m hoping to make this checked off the list by the end of the week, if possible.

 

We shall see.

 

In the meantime, I did commit to a Christmas card, which was remarkable, after having started four different ones on four different sites. I feel ok about them. I liked last year’s much better, but a toddler is significantly hard to photograph when she’s constantly battling to hang on you in some way. So, I feel like I used the best photos that I had and I feel good about that.

 

Anyway – planning, yes. I like a plan. I love a plan in fact.

 

But this wedding planning – it’s a beast.

 

🙂

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At The Big Girl Table

Dropped Elle off this morning to daycare (so I can spend a day doing exactly what I want!) and turned to go to the infant room, where she normally spends Mondays. Except, her name wasn’t on that door. It was on the door for Young Toddlers (normally that’s only Tuesdays). However, today, Young Toddlers it was!

 

We walk in and she was just taking it all in. We were both thrown off our routine.

 

And then, the teacher asked her if she wanted breakfast, which all the kids were eating, so they got her some apples and a muffin.

 

At the big girl table!

 

She wasn’t in one of those high chair things or strapped in or whatever. She was sitting in a little chair, at a little table, eating muffin, watching the morning cartoon, and nibbling on apples.

 

It was amazing!

 

And possessed me all the more to head out shopping for Elle’s Christmas!

 

I can’t believe she grows up so quickly, but I love when there are tiny little milestones like that!

 

Enough cataloging, I’m heading shopping, with coffee. I’m going to call all my friends and try to talk on the phone while I’m going. It’s going to be an amazing day!

Letters to Elle: November 2012

Dear Elle,

You are now 13 months old.

 

You may notice that the date is well-past the 14th, which was the target date for writing you a letter each month.

 

However, what you won’t remember when you’re older (but you’re well aware of now), the changing of jobs and the demands of Mom’s new job have meant that I’ve been SUPER busy and going, going, going all the time. Which has meant that I have prioritized things and blogging became one of the things that got de-prioritized.

 

But in my  head, I’ve been writing to you every night when I fall asleep, when I rock you, when we’re playing some silly game, when I am at my wit’s end because I can’t get through to you.

 

And yes, all of those things are happening in our lives.

 

You have begun this thing where you wake up SCREAMING at 3 AM (or some other completely inopportune moment of the morning) and are inconsolable for a long, long time. This past month or so has certainly been the most challenging time since I became your Mom but is also incredibly fun. But challenging, too. Did I mention challenging?

 

I have gone to blogs, to sites, to try to find HOW to discipline a toddler who is just 13 months old. Unfortunately, it turns out that a girlie your age doesn’t really GET discipline because your whole world is so new, and expanding so much every day, that it’s nearly impossible. So, redirecting it is. It’s sort of tough to get used to, for both your Dad and I, but we’re working through it.

 

Speaking of, your Dad was working CRAZY BUSY hours the last month or so, which was good for our bank account but not so great as it was also Mom’s busiest time at work too. It meant that you spent more time than normal with Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. And had several overnights with them, too.

 

It is getting incredibly hard to take you out places – maybe if we went more toddler-friendly places it wouldn’t be so hard, but you’re not content to chill in a stroller, you want to go and be up and moving and seeing and finding and getting into, well, everything. So, it’s been a lot of time around home when we are together.

 

You got a bad stomach flu and we had our first puking incident, too. Which was less than awesome. Only, as I caught your puke in my hands, I felt as though I’d crossed some mommy-threshold into the ‘club’. So, you were sick and I had my BUSIEST time of work. Literally, the stretch following your puke, those four days are the craziest for me. Which meant that I wound up sick on the Thursday/Friday of the weekend at work. Somehow I pulled through and only when it was all said and done, Monday did I finally find a way to rest and relax a little bit before it was Midnight Madness/Black Friday and I worked 16 hours straight. All in all, way too much stress. Somehow we made it through and next year will be different, but you hung in there. I felt a lot of guilt because I wasn’t able to be the Mom I wanted to be, and add to that your Dad was working so much…it was just a lot and I’m uber-glad that it’s over.

 

You’re teething, I think. Molars maybe? Or something. I can’t tell what the deal is. I think teeth.

 

Because you’ve been acting so finicky and not yourself, I finally took you to the doctor on the Friday after Thanksgiving (they were open!) and you had a tiny little ear infection. So, you’re on antibiotics now and seem to be more and more yourself everyday (which actually means more work for me, but I’m glad to have it now!).

 

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it was pretty low key since I had to work that night. We went to Grandma Wendy’s and we went to Aunt Jen and Uncle Rick’s, too. And since you were still recovering from feeling so ucky, you and Dad hung at home and slept while I worked. We celebrated with Aunt Jill, Uncle Mike, Ryan, Logan, Uncle Trevor, Ashley, Aunt Jody, Uncle Steve, Brittany, Uncle Bill, Grandma Carrell, Grandma and Grandpa and us. It was a nice day.

 

As our dish to pass at the Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house, we took noodles from Zehnder’s in Frankenmuth. While your Dad showered, you and I headed to pick up our dish. Zehnder’s was NUTS on Thanksgiving which is bizarre to me, but it was. And I ordered a full pan of noodles (way too much by the way). Only, what I didn’t contemplate was how I was going to get both you – a crazy toddler with a mission-possible attitude – and a full pan of hot noodles across the restaurant, up the stairs, across the parking lot and into the car without losing my mind.

 

Thankfully, we were thankful for the nice guy that worked in the kitchen who helped us out and carried the pan to our car with us. Thankful for the little things we were that day!

 

You are climbing EVERYTHING in sight. The couch, which you run back and forth on. The hearth at the fireplace. Chairs, babies in your room at school, the coffee table, stairs whenever you find a way to make a break for it. As bad as it is, we try to take precautions, but we’ve ‘let’ you fall a few times. Doesn’t matter, you don’t seem to equate the falling with the climbing.

 

We have tried to get family photos taken for about a month now — which is a joke. You are so darn busy and challenging to photograph now. It is largely why there aren’t more pictures posted to facebook of you — there’s so little time to click away when you need to be chased or cajoled into doing whatever it is we’re trying to do.

 

You still LOVE school and your teachers, which is so nice. You actually were sad one day recently when I picked you up. It makes me feel slightly better that you love it there. The other morning, when dropping you off, one of the little boys was ‘making eyes’ at you and was SO HAPPY you had arrived. It was slightly terrifying – and I haven’t told your Dad. He can discover that little budding romance on his own and we’ll see how he feels. I’m pretty sure he’ll want to throw up.

 

Today, even, you found my lipstick, took the top off and tried to put it on your lips. You love makeup and things that I do – you like brushing your hair, brushing your teeth, putting on makeup. You also love books – flipping the pages, reading them. You’re really beginning to babble a lot and you’ve introduced inflection now. Take counting, for instance. You make the sounds like you’re counting, but the words aren’t right, you’re just jumbling sounds around. But you make the right intonation when you’re counting. Or with ABC’s. You aren’t saying words exactly, but close. You also LOVE to dance. So, we dance a lot more around here now. Even your Dad does a little move or two every now and then which cracks me up.

 

You very much enjoy slamming cabinet doors and going into rooms we’d rather you not go in. You are beginning to sort of put yourself to sleep – we rock a little bit and then lay you down and you’re good to go. It’s kind of a relief. You’re sleeping better and you’re now up to 21 pounds! We’re headed to size 4 diapers once we run out of these!

 

You remain in 12 month clothing, which is good because we have lots of outfit options to choose from, but it always weirds me out a little bit that you’re still at least a couple months behind what size clothes the stores say you should be wearing.

 

Tomorrow I have the day off, so I’m taking you to daycare so I can go do some Christmas shopping. I’m (semi-guiltily) looking forward to a day doing EXACTLY what I want, when I want, where I want, with no one else. I’m even looking forward to sitting and eating lunch all alone. It’s going to be fantastic and revitalizing.

 

So, anyway, back to you – you’re busy, you’re a lot of work and the last 4-6 weeks have probably been the most challenging I’ve had since becoming a parent. But, thankfully (hello, November!) we have a great ‘village’ and support system. I don’t know what we’d do without them.

 

I’m so glad that of all the Mom’s in the world, you picked me to be yours. It makes my heart ache sometimes the way that I am capable of loving you, without really realizing how much I love you. And that love’s growing bigger, as you do.

 

Keep filling me up, girlie.

 

Love,

Mom

 

 

BRUTAL Week Recap

At work, this week was our Deer Widows Weekend.

It’s the biggest event we have of the year and it welcomes our highest volume in shoppers and sales are always strong. It’s something women do year after year. It’s really cool.

But on Wednesday morning, our first run-in with Elle’s puke happened.

All. Over. The. Bed.

Our bed.

I’d gotten her out of bed and she sort of made a gagging reflex, but I didn’t think much of it. We were laying in bed and she was sleeping, I was reading the paper. She woke up at 6 AM and while we were playing, I slipped my finger into her mouth to feel what sort of new-teeth action was going on.

And then, it started.

Puke.

Everywhere.

All over her, her hair, the sheets, the comforter, me. I stuck my hands out trying to catch it, but that didn’t work. (I think that’s also how you know you’re a Mom – your first reflex is catch your kid’s puke).

I didn’t know what to do – how to move from the bed to the bathroom to wash off without ending up with a huge mess.

Strategically, we made it to the shower, where Elle was just a wreck and I was holding her, both of us just trying to get rinsed clean. What a mess.

So, in the meantime it was a Wednesday and a school day for Elle. I call school and cancel her day there. I call my Mom, who has meetings she really shouldn’t miss, so I go to Jon’s parents. Jon’s Mom was awesome and came to our house immediately so I could get ready for work, because I had a big day getting ready for Deer Widows Weekend.

Elle continued to be sick throughout the morning, and I was just overwhelmed, quite honestly, with trying to get ready for the big weekend and be a good Mom.

I had made plans for the weekend because I’d be working so many hours (and Jon is still working 16 hours a day all overnight) for Elle to stay at grandparents houses.

Thursday Elle was with my Mom and still had a touchy stomach – and I headed to work.

And then, about Noon, it felt like a goldfish took up residence in my stomach.

I tried to ignore it.

I tried to battle it down.

But I couldn’t. I left work early, finally, after our all staff meeting.

It was awful.

I laid on the couch at my Mom’s house that night and finally threw up.
Finally. Relief.

Thankfully.

Since I had to be on camera at 5 AM Friday, awake by 3:30 AM, I just relaxed.

I was weak during Friday morning. I felt bad. I felt totally icky. But I did ok on TV – the clip was alright. I was live for four segments from 5-7 AM all morning Friday.

Then I made it until 8:30 Friday night after the reception, which I hosted.

And Saturday began early and lasted late.

And so did Sunday.

But I knew it was important to battle through it all.

And today, at work, all of a sudden, it came over me again. The public restrooms weren’t yet unlocked at work and with just three of us in the office, I wasn’t going to be ill in the office, so I high-tailed it home, battling the minutes. I made it JUST in time. And I called back to the office and said “I feel so bad, there’s just no way”.

I’ve spent the remainder of the day on the couch, periodically doing some loads of laundry.

My house is a disaster.

Jon’s Mom, my Mom and my brother and Jon have all had the sickness too.

Just, ugh.

This is brutal.

And, I’ve got to work Thanksgiving day, Friday and Sunday. Ugh. Just ugh.

So ready for this holiday shopping season to be complete!!

She Loves Me Back

Elle has turned the corner in the last 5 weeks or so to where she’s crazy — she’s ALL toddler, MOST of the time. Which is to say that she doesn’t respond well to ‘No’ (she just keeps doing what she’s doing, laughing in my face) and with the attention span of a gnat, she flits from one thing to another causing as much disruption as possible.

 

But she’s really darn cute, too.

 

Despite all of this, the other day I was overcome with a feeling as her Mom that I was unfamiliar with. I’ve had frustration and guilt and fear and love. But there was something new to what washed over me in an instant one afternoon a week or so ago.

 

I have been toying with the idea, thinking it and mulling it over to discover if it really was what I believed it to be – that I wasn’t off base.

 

And here it was:

 

She loves me back.

 

I mean, I have loved this girlie from the moment I knew there would be a baby, let alone a girlie and then let alone ELLE. But, for the first time, I felt like she loved me back. I mean, she’s NEEDED me since before she was born…but love…that became something mutual between us only very recently.

 

I don’t know if it’s that she’s entered into the separation anxiety stage of her life so that she is sad to see me go away and overjoyed to see me come back or if it’s just how our relationship has evolved, but it made me feel like she’s a person, a real person, capable of developing bonds and relationships with people.

 

Maybe this sounds bad? I don’t know…but it’s how I’ve felt.

 

I thought about while putting her to sleep many nights lately. It’s like I’ve been in this relationship where I was putting in all the effort to see if I could get the other person to like me back…perhaps love…and then, suddenly, magically, it worked. Nothing changed on my end, I’d been doing what I’d been doing for over a year. But her, she changed. And that puts it over the edge. I am confident now that we’ll forge a great relationship as mother and daughter and a great friendship as people who fell in love – even if it wasn’t at the same time.

 

It’s certainly an odd sensation to be overcome with, but I don’t know how else to describe it. My girlie loves me back — I can’t think of any better discovery in the world!

 

Daycare Is No Place For Politics

I had a troubling thing happen this afternoon, Election Eve.

Quite remarkably, I’ve avoided heated confrontation this election cycle. This is partially due to Jon’s calming influence on me (“it’s not worth it” he says) and partially due to age and perspective. Either way, I sort of stayed the course this afternoon (to use election-ease on you) and stayed true to myself at the same time. I am able to rest easy tonight.

I had today off, after working the weekend. I enjoyed my day, with Elle at school, truly doing mainly nothing. Jon heads to work at 6 p.m., so at about 4:15, I was off to pick her up from ‘school’ aka daycare.

Let me intercede and say that I chose Elle’s daycare because of its location – convenient – and my knowledge of its owner, who I went to high school with. I chose the daycare because the teachers, manager and owner seemed (and still do) truly invested in the care of my child. It was all run on the up-and-up. I’ve never really thought twice about Elle’s care there – other than the fact that they often call her Ellie (which I’ve asked them not to) and that it’s quite religious-oriented, which I am not comfortable with at all. But I ignore my misgivings about the praying before eating, the religious songs playing daily, the Christian rock station in the entry way, because I understand that no child care locale is perfect, and this is what I have to reconcile. These are my problems – not Elle’s, not the teachers or anyone else.

I didn’t know when I was looking at the daycare that it was so religious-based. Didn’t even know it while I toured it and spoke with the manager and owner. Only when I began the paperwork process did it allude to the Christian influences of my child’s care.

And despite my own beliefs, I chose to enroll my child there, because I wanted to begin building friendships with kids her age and with parents of kids her same age. I have envisioned my child sharing time and space and ‘we’ve known each other since pre-school’ stories with her peers as she’s graduating high school. I did not make my child’s daycare decision lightly.

But today…today my gut told me to look elsewhere. And all because of this $2 billion election and because men and women who normally agree on the majority of things have singled out the minority of things to disagree upon.

Today’s event: I got to Elle’s school at 4:15ish and followed another Dad into the room. Elle was thrilled to see me and me her. Her teachers told her they loved her, rubbed her back, updated me on her day. It was everything I would hope for my child’s care.

Everything.

And then, I went to the touch screen computer where I punch Elle in and out everyday (kind of like work, right?!). And there, attached to the counter, directly below the screen, was a print out.

This print out.

And my stomach turned.

In fact, ironically, it flip-flopped.

I was absolutely sickened by what I had seen. And I didn’t know how to react. I took a breath, I walked to the car with Elle in my arms, conscious of not embarrassing her or myself or Jon or our families who have to come in and out everyday.

I wanted to leave and drive home and let it go.

I truly did.

But I couldn’t.

I’ve felt silenced in this election, felt ostracized, felt sometimes as though my views should be hushed because it’s not worth the controversy.

And today was the straw.

I was sick that the employees of the SCHOOL where I send my child may be being bullied into thinking one way or another. I was sickened that the owners and management should be so absolutely biased – outwardly so – regarding their personal and business preferences. I was terrified that the views of the owners and managers – and thereby the school’s employees – would be transferred onto my child.

I felt as though school were a safe place.

I turned around, I punched my security code into the door and walked into the manager’s office.

“Ummm…” I started, unsure of what was going to come out next.

Rather ungracefully, I continued,”I’m really bothered by that list you’ve got at the computer…I’m just uncomfortable with it…”

The manager looks at me like a deer in headlights, as though she perhaps had never thought that there were people in the world who thought differently than her.

“I don’t know,” I say, throwing up my hands. “It just bothers me.”

And I walk out.

I didn’t have a tone. I wasn’t upset. I just wanted MY VOICE TO BE HEARD. Which is something that I don’t know will happen anywhere else this election season. It was that I considered Elle’s daycare a safe place — and today it wasn’t. It became just as ugly a battleground as Ohio.

I was upset. I was shaken. I came home and woke Jon and told him what had happened, and he told me that this is what we can expect, when political groups are encouraging employers to sway the votes of their employees. That this is the new normal. That Jon wasn’t upset I’d woken him attests to the fact that the situation merited being bothered.

I tell my Dad and my Uncle Bill. They shake their heads. But there is nothing to say.

I go to Jon’s parents, looking for guidance and insight I’m sure they can offer.

And there really isn’t any.

This is the climate of politics in our world today.

I decided I would sleep on it, I would decide in the morning if it warranted a note to the school’s owner. I didn’t want to react on emotion alone, I wanted experience, education and insight to guide my way. I did not want to embarrass anyone – my daughter, my fiancee, or the rest of our families.

And I returned home tonight, checked my email, already having the blog begun and the title of this blog post in mind.

And then, from the owner:

“I wanted to personally apologize for the front desk posting. I completely agree with you and I am thankful you voiced your concern to Bxxxxx. It was removed immediately.
Although we may want to support ending abortion that is simply not the time or place.

My apologies, “

I was heartened by her truly heartfelt and quick response. I was glad to have spoken up.

But that last sentence.

…although…support ending abortion…not the time or place…

I had actually hoped that I had been reading more into it being posted from “Right to Life” than was necessary. I had hoped that it was ignorance, where that posting came from, that it was just the website they happened upon. I was hoping it was complete naivete. I sort of hoped that they had simply printed any old email they’d gotten…but it seems it was on purpose. It was thoughtful, purposeful.

And it makes my body ache – almost more now, after reading the response. I believe that they love the children they care for. I believe they have the best in mind for the families they serve.

But what – what – do they hope to accomplish for the women raising and rearing the children they entrust to them the large part of most days? By forcing their views (in my opinion, by even HAVING those views on women’s reproductive rights) what do they do for the women they watch struggle to pay the daycare bill on time, get to drop-off and pick-up on time? Where does the absence of options get us in any situation, especially this one?

It’s not simply about me – it’s about respect for WOMEN – all women that walk through the door of your business. It is about understanding your role as a touchpoint of your local community. It is about having faith – true faith – in more than god and religion, but in the human condition and its resilience in the face of adversity – whether that is parenting or NOT parenting.

Out of curiosity, I looked it up. You can too, here.

There is no reason for this to be an issue that divides us, that triggers participation in your democratic duty to vote.

There is no reason for this to keep us up at night, for this to be the reason that an individual votes one way or another. But it should absolutely be the reason that you maintain your voice, so that if you encounter a situation like I did today, that you can speak up, you can voice your opinion diplomatically, and move on. And live to work and play together another day.

Perhaps Congress should take note.

And the politics should stay out of daycare.

Milk & Guilt

It’s back.

Guilt, that is.

It was gone for awhile there, I’d achieved good balance.

Now?

It’s back.

It has to do with being incredibly busy at work (November 25 my life will become a bit more calm on that front!), the holidays around the corner, planning a wedding, and trying to find time to be a Mom in there, too.

While I had Monday off, every day since I’ve worked until at least 6:30 (my day normally ends about 5:30). When I work late, that means someone else picks Elle up from day care and there remains one hour of play time before bed – in which we have to squeeze a bath, dinner, books and a little love.
I have to work all weekend long with Monday and Tuesday as my days off.
I spent tonight getting my hair done, which felt like a silliness I ought to have cancelled, but it had been three months since highlight or trim and I have to do a lot of media interviews, etc., in the coming weeks. Would like to look as good as possible, I guess.

I’m hoping guilt looks good on me too, because until Nov. 25, I think it’s sticking around.

 

What’s also sticking around is a gross milk smell.
I’m so, so, so over milk.

 

Stopping at the store for a gallon of milk?

Hate it.

The room it takes up in my fridge?

Hate that too.

Tonight, my Mom had Elle and they texted to ask me to pick up milk on my way home. Which it’s kind of like – I get off the expressway, at the gas station which is two miles from home and here I am SOCLOSE to home and yet, I have to stop, get out, etc. I wish I could order milk from the Rally’s drive thru at the gas station.

Anyway, I do go in and get the milk (2 gallons for $5 – that’s a deal!). I put both gallons in the back – in Elle’s car seat – because that way I know I’ll remember to give my Mom one gallon and keep one for myself.

And my plan worked perfectly. My Mom got her gallon o milk and I had mine.

I also had in my backseat my makeup carrier (hello, old school Caboodle) because I did some TV segments today and wanted to ‘freshen up’ when I did them.

I set the milk on top of the makeup case.

I leave my parents house and drive the nine houses – no turns, no bends in the road, no potholes to speak of – to our house and pull in the driveway.

I open the rear driver-side door to grab Elle and the milk – but before I get to grabbing anything, that damn gallon o milk hopped right out of the car, flipped over and landed squarely on its head – right on the pour spout area.

In my head, I think I thought – in the instant before it hit the ground – that it would be like Rubbermaid and not break.

It wasn’t.

The pour spout area got rammed up into the jug itself, which forced the plastic to break, which really meant that milk began jetting onto the driveway.

Ugh.

F’ing milk.

I turn it right-side up and don’t even bother evaluating the situation. I just grabbed Elle and headed inside. Figured the milk would be ok for a minute.

The milk’s in my fridge now – I was forced to clean out my fridge so that I could have the jug stand up since I already had milk here. I’m so annoyed by milk right now. It’s a good thing it does a body good, because otherwise it’d be OUT of my house.

Anyway – it was a mess. A nice, hot mess. Or cold mess – cold like a tall glass of milk I suppose.

F’ing milk.