Year In Review: 2012

It began with the end of maternity leave and the beginning of life as a working mother in January. It was a sick, sick baby with RSV and realizing that we made some serious errors in naming our baby. It was also our first trip to the pediatric dermatologist about Elle’s hemangioma and that journey.

Elle started rolling over in February and we re-did our master bedroom. Spent a lot of time with friends and acclimating to life on the road for work and enjoyed a relatively mild winter. I started my own little business to take pictures and share them with people I know and took lots of pictures of my friends’ babies.

Through March, I continued to struggle to balance and cover all my bases with a child in daycare and working out of town and keeping a house and a home. After surviving the sudden death of her Dad, Andrea lost her little brother, too. It was a tough, tough start to the year. We got together with my Mom’s friends and their grandbabies, which was super cool to make new friends!

With spring’s beginning, we moved into April when we began swimming classes at the local YMCA, Elle continued to battle the icky sickness and I continued to blame daycare. I continued to struggle to find a work/life/mom balance (that’s a recurring theme through the first four months of 2012, isn’t it?) and struggled with my weight, exceeding my heaviest pregnancy weight and taking a good hard look at myself as I moved ever closer to Lane Bryant sizing. We began the project that probably brought me the most joy in 2012, which was re-doing our patio and backyard area. While it still has a long, long ways to go – April was when the projects truly began in earnest, including the pond.

May blew in with our semi-annual high school girls weekend in Chicago, which was fun and not this year – for whatever reason I was out of sorts. May was also when I learned of a new job opening that sounded absolutely ideal for me, just five miles from home. The job wasn’t even posted yet, but it was at least something as my work continued to leave me unsatisfied, unfulfilled and far away from my baby and Jon. Elle got her first ponytail at school, and I got food poisoning for Mother’s Day. Elle continued to battle sickness and I continued to struggle with the local daycare as the culprit. May was also the month that Jon and I officially became members of the country club (well, technically I did, since we’re not married).

And then, we’d made it halfway through the year with June and Elle seemed to finally beat the sickness and we spent time at Lake Fenton with Great Grandma and in the water anywhere we could find. The pond continued to be the bane of my existence and a great source of pride. Elle turned eight months old and it was a great jump start to the summer. Jon’s brother Rick asked his longtime girlfriend, Jen, to marry him at a party I threw at our house. It was very cool. And then she asked Elle and I to be in her wedding! And Jon will be the best man. Extremely cool.

In July, Elle took her first steps! I got completely frustrated with the election process and the crap that was being taken on women by the men in charge of things. I continued to play in the golf league at the club with my Mom and saw my golf game come back into a semblance of the shape I remembered it being in. Through June and July I had applied for, interviewed (five times!) for and finally been offered the position that I’d learned about in May. July was a great month and I ended up taking time, re-doing our downstairs and enjoying a full week off before beginning my new job. Elle and I spent Fourth of July at Clear Lake with friends and family and we continued to spend time at the pool at Jon’s parents, on the golf course and on the lake at Lake Fenton or at Clear Lake. Frank and Andrea welcomed Joslinn into their lives and we were so excited for a girl!

Then it was August and the beginning of the new job, just 4.2 miles from home! It was a complete lifestyle change and finally, finally as a result of not driving, not being lethargic and not eating CRAP constantly, the weight began to come off. And that helped with my outlook on things. And the challenge of work – and then there photos to take of Josi, of my cousin Logan for his senior pictures. Somehow, I got another case of food poisoning this month too. Two restaurants in town that I dare to frequent still, but with a much keener eye for what I order from the menu.

So then – September. My birthday month when I turned 32 and Jon asked me to marry him – complete with a pretty amazing ring! Crazy. The new job was a huge time drain and less blogging time was available. Back to school kind of made things crazy, too, and between Jon’s time working (wherever it was he was working) and my new job, it was just an adjustment.

In October, Elle turned ONE! And I went all out, an 80-person birthday party, a full Minnie/black and white polka dot theme. It was AWESOME and overwhelming how much stuff Elle got and how many people love her and us enough to show up for a crazy first birthday party. Next year will be much more low key. Elle ate dishwashing detergent resulting in a call to poison control, my Mom and I went wedding dress and shopping and made a purchase and I started making wedding plans! We transitioned from formula to milk, took engagement pictures of Rick and Jen, moved my Grandma Ruth to Michigan from Missouri, saw Postsecret the Play in Saginaw with Mom and her friends. It was a full, full month.

November was the crazy month at work – with many weekends (almost all) worked, working on Thanksgiving for the first time ever and hosting a successful Deer Widows Weekend event. That DWW weekend was also the first time Elle puked – all over me – and I was extremely sick and so was she when the timing absolutely could not have been worse. That silly election came and went and I was a vocal critic of many aspects to the whole thing, especially when it entered into the realm of daycare. It also marked when I finally began decorating for the holidays and got my Snow Village out on display.

And then, December. Filled to the brim with parties and things to do and a challenge in my relationship with Jon that culminated in things back on track and better than ever. Elle has been thrown off her schedule for nearly two weeks now, the holidays brought her more gifts than she could know what to possibly do with and we enjoyed great time with our family and friends.

Tonight, the year that has honestly been the best yet in my existence comes to a close. And I’m okay with that. It’s been a year where I’ve watched my girlie grow into this whole live, real person with opinions and thoughts and a love for a rush of adrenaline. Jon and I have chosen to be married in 2013 and Elle will turn two. I’ll put one full  year under my belt in the new job and I just feel that all in all, I will have hit my stride. Being on the Board at the golf course will be a great challenge, even though it means I’m giving up Rotary (thankfully, kind of).

So, I just know that 2013 is going to be absolutely phenomenal. And I can’t wait for it to begin…just as soon as we have some drinks tonight.

Oh yeah, and my New Year’s Resolution? To do a photo-journalistic photo a day type thing. We’ll see how long it lasts…

Cheers to the New Year!

 

 

Elle’s Empty Box: Christmas 2012

Dear Elle,

Tonight is Christmas Eve – it’s 40 minutes precisely from being Christmas. Last year, I wrote to you about an empty box and what it meant. I re-read it last night to remind myself, as I continued to contemplate what you would get this year in your empty box.

This year, I selected PBS to give in your honor, and what will take the place of a gift for you this year. We will now be a part of “Viewers Like You” and that makes me happy – we get so much from PBS and I’m so glad to support them in your name.

This is your second Christmas, officially. The first where you’ve had a firm grasp and can rip open presents — but you’re still not as enthralled with Christmas as I remain. That will come.

So many times tonight – as we prepared for Santa, as we opened gifts at Grandma and Grandpa Mason’s, as we unloaded the car, as we ate dinner, and more…I thought “it will be sooo many years before we have a Christmas Eve this low-key”. And I’m grateful for that — and looking forward to all the chaos and mayhem you’re set to bring our way!

I pulled up the letter I wrote you (the one I won’t share with the world) and re-read it.

I was proud of myself. Proud of what I wished for you to learn out of this tradition that we began. Proud that we have a tradition, that we are a family, that we have grown so much in the last year, together.

This Christmas is so much fun – and I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as Christmases go.

We’ve got three parties (other than our own at-home celebration) to attend tomorrow, not to mention tonight at Grandma and Grandpa Mason’s and last night here with all of our family on Grandma Wendy’s side.

Anyway – there will be more on those things, but here is what I want you to know.

We spend so much time watching Curious George and Melmo (Elmo) and Clifford the Big Red Dog and Super Why and Martha Speaks, etc. I enjoy the shows enough that I don’t feel compelled to change the channel (and so, so much more than SpongeBob Squarepants).

It seemed only fitting that we contribute to PBS this year, to ensure that when it says, at each show, that this show was made possible by Viewers Like You that WE will be those viewers.

It’s important to support the things – places, people, attractions, events – that you value, because if you do not they will go away. This is true in our community – this is true in the global world of television. It is true in all things that we do.

I hope that I can continue to guide you the way I aspired to do last year on this night and the way I want to tonight.

So here’s to tomorrow morning, to Santa coming and to feeling like we’re a part of something, when they say Viewers Like You.

I love you, girlie.

I love you.

Merry Christmas.

 

Love,

Mom

Dear Elle: December 2012

Dear Girlie,

You’re 14 months old now. Isn’t that incredible? It is to me.

Every day is so new with you – you do new things, you become more YOU.

You are making a lot of different sounds – mainly just gibberish grunting, but there is almost always a point to what you are saying.

You now point at what you want and will take someone by the hand and lead them to what you want, then point at it.

The other day, you did this with your black sparkle shoes. You had worn them to Christmas with Santa at the club, and the following day, you brought me to them, sat down with your feet out, and it was evident you wanted them ON.

The reason you wanted them ON had more to do with the fact that your Uncle Trevor (once, a long, long time ago) was in tap class. And, Grandma and Grandpa still have his shiny black tap shoes (two times too big for your feet) but you LOVE to tap and you love the sound those tap shoes make on the ceramic tile. So, because you had a pair of shiny black shoes at your house, you wanted to tap. It was very clear you knew what you wanted as you stomped around ‘tapping’.

You are also more work – not going to lie. Your sleep remains inconsistent, though you’re going to bed easier and staying asleep better (for the most part). I fear that you will never NOT need a diaper at night as waking up NOT soaking wet hasn’t happened EVER. But, that’s a ways off. For now.

You still have just the six teeth that I can count and I keep feeling around for more, but none yet. They’re definitely getting bigger and coming in more, but nothing new since the six popped through at once.

We have had a few tries with Santa in the last few days — and you haven’t been an up-close fan. From far away, Santa doesn’t seem so bad. From up close, it’s a whole different story altogether. So far, no pictures of Elle with Santa. YET. We’re going to get one – I’m not really caring what you have to say about it!

We have lots of presents beginning to build up around our tree. It’s fun to see it happen, but I have to admit that Christmas shopping and preparing are so different this year. Last year at this time, I wasn’t working (because I’d just had you!) and I had time to decorate and time to do things that this year just are slipping away from me.

You are now in the “Young Toddler” room at school. It’s different teachers and different ‘stuff’ but you learn so much that I can’t imagine you NOT going there. Seriously, so much of what you have come to know I’m certain comes from being with those other kids your same age.

Girlie, this last week, there was a big thing that happened at some other kids’ school in Connecticut. Someday, you may be able to appreciate this, but it was like 9/11. It was something so awful that it made you freeze where you were in time and not be able to look at anything else.

At work the other day, another girl’s Mom was very mad that the news on the TV was showing the bad things that had happened. Very mad. And someday, when you’re old enough, you’ll understand this: Every once in awhile a bad person does a really, really bad thing to really, really good people. Sometimes it’s the words they say and what they want their words to mean; sometimes it’s the things they do and the results they want; and sometimes, it’s just bad. This week, a bad bad person did something to good little kids like you. There hasn’t been a night since when I haven’t thought about those little kids’ Mom’s.

I know that part of the reason I think about those kids’ Mom’s is because I’m your Mom now. It’s incredible, really, how big my love is for you. Sometimes, I feel like you made my heart grow bigger — not just to love you, but to love everyone we know (and even people we don’t know) just a little bit more than I thought I could.

I love you.

Love,

Mom

I Spent the Day With Santa

 

 

I spent the day with Santa today, as part of my job. And let me tell you, THAT is one quick way to restore your faith in people after the insanity of yesterday. Santa with Shoppers-5So, here are some random people with Santa.

You walk along, as Santa’s ‘elf’ and hold the bag of candy canes. Being dressed in regular clothes, you’re inconspicuous. And you watch people. You watch kids, some who believe and some who questionably believe and some who’ve given up,  for whatever reason, in believing.

And you see them all, each of them, and the way their faces light up at the surprise of Santa.

You see the smile spread across their face.

You hear the horns honk from cars as he waves, his bells jingling, and his jolly smile emanating.

It’s AHhhhh-MAZING.

And it was what I needed today.

Despite not wearing the right clothes, or shoes, to be in the cold for so long, I had the best time. We took our time, we interacted with people.

One woman came up and said ‘I haven’t had my picture taken with Santa in over 20 years’ and she hugged him tight.

Some families said ‘oh good, we weren’t sure we’d see you this year’ and parents with kids seemed grateful for the distraction.

In one store, a little girl squealed with delight and the whole store laughed heartily when she, in that little tiny voice reserved for very little girls, said breathily “Sah-ntahhhh, I can’t believe you’re here!!!!!!!”

It warmed my heart (if not my toes).

Honestly, the light that comes over people when they see a man with a white beard, dressed in red velvet is absolutely incredible.

So, Santa Claus, as I always have, I still believe in you.

Thank you for today.

It is the only gift that I need.

 

Uh Oh, It’s Almost Christmas

Where does the time go, seriously?

I don’t think I’ve posted a photo on here in AGES, so in reverse order…here is how trying to get Christmas photos for our Christmas card went:

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Jon looks like he’s skeptical at best, Elle has completely melted down and I’m trying to hold my chin up (to look my skinniest) without appearing to completely look down my nose. How’d I do?

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At this point, we were hoping one of THESE would turn out. These photos were taken AFTER we’d gone to the orchard and had family photos taken in October. That didn’t go how we’d planned.

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And then of course, just like the camera battery in the middle of the photo shoot, Elle needed a recharge. This was probably somewhere in the midst of Elle pulling the stockings off the mantel and the beautiful stocking holder onto her head, miraculously only skimming the edge of her noggin.

🙂

We also attempted family photos with a local photographer. I will say that the final edited photos came out better than I would have thought they could, but they weren’t what I had hoped. It really is hard to find great photographers, because so many people (hello, self) stumble into the photography market thinking they can be photographers. There’s way more to it than a digital SLR is all I can say…

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We also hosted Elle’s first birthday party back on October 13. Here’s what it looked like…

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Damn Pinterest – it always looks better in the pro shots, but this was definitely the over-the-top monstrosity I was going for. Minnie themed without being TOO Minnie Mouse-y.

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My Aunt-in-Law, Laura, did all the fabulous desserts, including Elle’s cake. She is a master in the kitchen and this all was just as easy as paying her — which is how I like to do parties these days!

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The Minnie cupcakes are amazing. Here’s an uber-close up.

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Elle may in fact have an Oleg Cassini cake server in her hands, happily stabbing her cake. She wasn’t THAT into the cake, I have to admit. I think us adults did more damage on her behalf than she actually did. Which is amazing, because I feel like she tears everything ELSE apart.

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We worked for weeks and weeks leading into her birthday for her to hold up one finger when you asked how old she was. And here she is, holding up one finger on both hands. She’s advanced and ready for ‘two’ I guess.

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The only picture of the three of us that day. Well, the only one where at least 2/3 of us are looking in the same direction. There was a lot to be distracted by.

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Elle’s Uncle Trevor got her her very first Tiffany’s, carrying on a family tradition that my Grandpa began. It was overwhelming to me – but Elle thought it was fantastic (so did I, but it made me tear up, I’ll admit).

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Did I fail to mention that I got Elle and I matching outfits? Except I didn’t wear red pants? Yup, totally matched. Sort of dweeby, but there’s only so long you can actually pull that off…so…I did it. It kind of made me want to puke, but I kind of secretly liked it, too.

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Did I mention the distractions…err…how I may have invited 80 people…

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…and then…

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This was Elle’s actual birth-day. What you can’t see by my selective posting of photos is that the outfit she’s in in this photo is the SAME ONE we put her to bed wearing the day before. You can obviously see the tired-ness in my face and general appearance here. It was a big night the night before.

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My Mom and Dad got Elle a baby jogging stroller and a baby, Abby. Elle can be seen here sitting on the box it all came in 🙂

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I took these the day before the big party and had them printed at Meijer as 5×7’s and used self-adhesive magnets that Jon’s Mom, Karen, gave me. It was PERFECT. I just stuck them around the house on different magnetic surfaces or on fridges and people could take any that they wanted. It was kind of a favor, but whatever…and the magnet was thin enough that you could still put the whole thing in a frame without ruining the picture itself.

Here are a few others I printed for that day:

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A few days later, we took engagement photos in the park here in town with Jon’s brother and his fiance, Jen. I thought I did an alright job!

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Not too shabby, right?

Anyway, that’s pretty much where we stand at the moment. Or at least the goings on in October.

And to think that I began this post to complain about how I have no Christmas shopping done. And then got distracted…which is why I have no Christmas shopping done.

Well, if you were planning on having a present from me and this blog is any indication, you can expect your gift sometime in February.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the pics and tonight’s catch up post.

 

Elected

It’s true.

 

I’ve been elected.

 

To the board of Clio Country Club – the golf course where we are members and whatnot.

 

There were four of us running for three spots. So it was kind of a bummer when a guy who I thought for sure would be re-elected ended up not being…

 

I’m the only woman on the board.

 

Seriously.

 

Our golf course (country club if you would call it that) is very, very blue collar. Which is something I love about it.

 

Anyway, I actually really wanted to be elected. Oddly, my Dad is on the board too. He and I have differing perspectives on lots of things, so I don’t think that we’ll be taking over the world any time soon, but it’s nice to know we’ll share this in common.

 

I’ll just share with you the bio I sent in for the ballots and you can do the rest. Mine took up one side of the sheet – the other three guys were on the other side with one paragraph apiece.

 

I also submitted a photo of myself (oddly enough, this one when I was nine months pregnant, but I feel like I looked pretty damn good, honestly, at least from the neck up).

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Herewith, my entry for electability…

The reorganization meeting with the rest of the board is tomorrow. And so, the 3-year term begins!

Lindsay Carpenter
Candidate, Clio Country Club Board of Directors

When you hear my name, what registers may be Scott and Wendy Carpenter’s daughter or Bill and Rosemary Carpenter’s granddaughter. I am immensely proud of both of those definitions – but I am also now a dues-paying member of Clio Country Club and I’m running for its Board of Directors.

I am a mother – to Elle Mason and the future wife of Jon Mason. I’m running for the Board because I believe passionately and whole-heartedly in the lessons I learned here, the friendships I made and now, as a member myself, the experiences and memories I’m building with my family and this large, caring, community of golfers.

Since my first jobs washing dishes and tending to carts at the “old” clubhouse, I’ve gone on to receive my BA in English from Alma College where I was a four-year all conference golfer; completed my MBA through the University of Phoenix; served as a member of the Board of the Clio Rotary Club; a member of the Birch Run Area Chamber and CVB’s marketing committee; a member of the Circle Michigan marketing committee and; on Clio’s Vision 2020 Economic Development Task Force. I am currently employed as the Assistant General Manager at Birch Run Premium Outlets.

The work that has been done to create a thriving golf course and membership has been tough and inspiring. It is important to the health and longevity of this golf course that my generation begin to learn from those that have been here longest. That is what I seek to do as a board member – preserve the magnificence of the golf course and bolster its membership. We must continue and build upon the work that has already begun and instill the nostalgia that I feel for this majestic place in those members or future members who may not yet understand or embrace what so many know and love about this golf course.

As a third generation member of Clio Country Club, I understand what this place can mean to a family. I look forward to preserving what we have so that – someday – a fourth generation will feel the same way about it here as I do.

I ask for your support and vote to serve on your behalf as a member of Clio Country Club’s Board of Directors.

Thank You.

Ebb & Flow

Sometimes I feel like I capture the good stuff in the blog – at least recently – so since this is kind of my only way of looking back on what’s gone on in our lives, I wanted to be honest.

 

Jon and I have been at it – it being each other’s throats – which lasted a full week, about a week ago.

 

It was the culmination of my work schedule being Ca-razy busy and Jon working 16 hours+ overnight at the windmill farm in Munger/Reese. And my being essentially a single parent during that time, with Elle sleeping like poo and work demands heightened, not to mention trying to keep a house or a home in some semblance or order. I think I didn’t even trim my toenails for the four week stretch where everything descended into chaos.

 

And then, his work was over and he was laid off, and my work was still uber-busy with the Black Friday nutties out to shop. And he was tired and trying to ‘catch up’ on sleep or get back on some sort of schedule.

 

And finally, after two solid days of not talking, then two solid days of me yammering, nagging, yelling, Jon (in his Forever Lazy…I can’t even begin to describe how when you are really pissed at someone, how much it just makes it even worse when said grown adult is wearing a DAMN FOREVER LAZY) took to walking around, as I followed him trying to have. it. out. And he walked himself right into our bedroom.

 

Silly man.

 

He was cornered. I actually thought he might open the slider and head out onto the deck in the snow and jump to the patio below. Or lock himself in the bathroom.

 

And I think I was scaring him.

 

As well I should have been. I was fed up and tired of feeling like I was the only one putting effort into the house, the home, the parenting, the relationship.

 

So, we talked it out.

 

And the talking brought out my question

 

“Do you feel like you’ve even been pulling your weight around here lately?”

 

And then, finally…

 

“No.”

 

Ahhhhh…that felt good. It wasn’t going to be like that forever, with me running ragged and Jon just enjoying clean underwear and jeans daily, as I battled the mountains of laundry, dusting and general cleaning (a lot of which went, frankly, undone by me too).

 

I will say this: next time, I’m just cornering him in a room he can’t get out of as that seemed to work really well.

 

Anyway – I just wanted to say that relationships are hard work. They should say that in books. It’s not just that there are ups and downs — they are actual hard work. I mean, don’t get me wrong, days like the last few are AWESOME and I wouldn’t trade my days with Jon and Elle for anything. But days like those when Jon milled about in his damn Forever Lazy (and it’s bright freaking blue, too) and did NOTHING to help out – from daycare drop off to taking out the garbage, to folding laundry, to changing the f-ing roll of toilet paper – those days are challenging.

 

So, I want to capture that here – so that I can remember when it ebbs again, that it will quickly ‘flow’ again too.

 

It’s the ebb and flow of relationships. So long as it flows far more than it ebbs…I’m good.