Tuesday, May 29, 2007

"Dear Children..."

In honor of the Group Writing Project over at MamaBlogga I have composed the following post. Thank you so much Jordan for the inspiration.

To My Dearest Daughter,

I write this letter, with the intent that someday it just might come in handy. Someday when you are in your teens and you think "the world is against you" or that "everyone hates you" or that I "just don't love you, and only serve to make your life a living HELL". I hope that these words I write now will help soften your heart, and give you a sense of truly belonging.

As I write this, your nearly 29 month old self is sound asleep in your crib for your afternoon nap. You are snuggled in with your THREE blankies, your baby elephant, and your pink "cow/pig", just as I placed you after a wonderful, peaceful moment of snuggle nursing in the glider rocker located in your room. We both look forward to those moments. These days you climb up into my lap, giggle with glee as I tell you how much you are loved. Your response recently has been, "hank you mama! Hank you beary much!" It melts my heart, and blesses my soul.

During these quiet and close moments, I often find myself thinking of you and your future. I have worried that you will never really understand the depth of my love for you. This troubles me greatly. As an adult, I have doubted that my own mother ever loved me as I love you. It just can't be possible. I sit and look into your face and know that there is nothing in the world that I could have possibly done to deserve you. I pull you closer, and wonder how I'll ever let you go. How will I ever survive when you move out of my home?

I am beginning to realize that is a very good thing that as you age, you will begin to show your independence. You will strive to be separate from me. You will be ornery, and sassy, and put your foot down for what you believe. It is a darn good thing, because if it wasn't for your efforts to be an individual, you would always be an extension of me. As we are at this moment, we are very much one. The connection I feel with you is overwhelmingly fabulous. I am certain that if it were up to me, we would never part. The very thought of being physically distant from you makes my body ache. The notion that someday we might be emotionally disconnected is literally unfathomable.

I am sadly aware that as you read this, you may still doubt the breadth of my devotion. From the moment you were in my womb, my journey in life became yours. I have little purpose other than to help you become who you are meant to become. I am so very honored, Sugar Bear, to be your mother. No amount of angry words, or frustrations will ever diminish that devotion. Your happiness and success are my mission in life. I am your biggest fan, and that will NEVER change. Please be patient with dear old mom. She is emotionally messy just imagining a future where you care more about what your friends think than what I think. I may not always be exactly on the same page as you....but honey, I started this book for you, and I'd love to help you make it a best seller.

Now I must go stand at the edge of your crib, and admire your peacefulness, your beauty, your amazing sense of wonderment. Thank you, my daughter for being you.....NOW and ALWAYS!

Bushel and a peck,
Mama

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I Am An Official Homebody

Here it is Memorial Day Weekend, and everyone I know has some sort of plan with friends or family. This weekend is notorious for BBQ's and Campouts. Most people look forward to this long weekend of fun, play and socialization. I DO NOT! I'd rather just stay home.

I am not sure when it happened, but I am sure that it has been a long, long, long time. I do not like to go anywhere on Holiday Weekends. There is just plain too many people in the campgrounds, and even more "crazies" on the road. It has become pretty obvious to me that I don't like crowds. I don't really fancy myself anti-social either, but I am not a fan of large get-togethers. They make me anxious and I am not really all that certain why.

I am not afraid of people.
I am not claustrophobic.
I am not shy.
I am a talker.
I love to laugh.
I get along with most anyone.

So what is my hang up? I hate to admit it, but folks....I think it stems from laziness. Yup...I think it does. I don't enjoying having people to my house. I despise having to do the "before they come clean-up", and I really dislike with a passion the "after they leave clean-up"! It is so much easier to just sit around in my own mess. Unfortunately, I don't really enjoy going to other people's houses much either. I always end up the resident babysitter for everyone's kids and their dog. I think it all comes down to the person with the most worries will watch the kids, because she can't sit back and enjoy herself wondering what her child is up to. It isn't a surprise that this person is always me, and all the other adults figure if Corey is watching.....all is good, so they go have fun. Sorry, but I could have just stayed home and watched my ONE kid thanks! I guess I am too lazy to babysit everyone else's kids on my holiday weekend.

As for camping, I am a nature girl. I do enjoy camping, but I don't like to camp where there are 100 other families camping. I like to be in the peace and quiet of nature. When there is a totally strange family like 50 feet from me....I just can't relax. Sometimes I like to camp with friends or family, but even then, I end up the babysitter, or my FAVORITE...the keeper of the drunks. Nothing is more fun than being the ONLY sober person in a group of drunks. I find myself trying to convince the inebriated ones why it isn't a good idea to take the raft out on the lake to see who can row the fastest at midnight. I chase them down to the raft, steal the oars and spend 10 minutes explaining the dangers. I then have to turn over the oars for two reasons:
A. They are bigger than me, and I don't feel like a midnight swim.
B. 100 feet away they have awoke at least one of the babies sleeping in the tent. I now get to sit in a dark tent and try to lull them back to sleep, and pray that the over sized children I left down at the lake aren't drowning.
Yup.....could have stayed home and relaxed. It is after such weekend vacations that I truly need a vacation. I just don't need that stress.

So here I sit on this memorial weekend feeling blessed that not one person asked me to "do something". My hubby planned a boys weekend AWAY from our house! Thank you!
I had the privilege of staying home, cleaning house, editing pictures, eating easy meals, and playing with my daughter. Now that is what I call a successful Holiday Weekend! I hope yours was everything you wanted it to be also!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Truth About My Little TV Junkie

Sugar Bear is a TV Junkie! Yup...there it is.....I said it! Don't get me wrong, I have known this for quite some time, but I just have a hard time really admitting it. My daughter loves her some TV viewing, and to be totally honest, her mama loves that she will watch TV at her age. Some kids won't attend to a TV show for longer than 5 minutes. Not my girl....she'd watch it all day if I let her. Now we both know I dont' do that, right? Okay, so maybe on sick days....but not usually!

I think to get a real understanding of how this Junkieness came about, you need to realize that for much of my girls first two years I was a single mama. My husband is a commercial fisherman that not only works off the Oregon and California coasts, but he spent close to 9 months of the year in Alaska the year Sugar Bear was born. It is also worthy to note that even when my husband is home, I have 100% of care duties. That was all part of the negotiation in whether we would have a child. I took on all the work. I am cool with that. So, from these two pieces of information, and the fact that I work 30 hours a week outside of home, you might realize that I can be pinched for time, and desperate for just a 10 minutes to myself.

I don't fancy myself a bad mother, but despite research that suggests children under the age of 2 should see NO television, I made good use of the worlds best product ever.....BABY EINSTEIN! Starting at 3 months of age, I could pop one of these fabulous videos in the machine, and set my little pumpkin in her bouncer in front of the TV and have 25-30 minutes to myself. Sometimes I showered, sometimes I cooked, sometimes I just laid on the couch and went into a short,yet well earned coma. It all depended on what I needed at the time, and my little Sugar would watch those videos in awe. It was a win/win situation.

As she grew, I began to notice the things she had learned from those sessions. By the age of 18 months, she knew most of her shapes. Soon she knew her colors also. She knew the names of all sorts of animals that I never even introduced to her. At the ripe age of 2 years she was proficient in her Shapes, Colors, Numbers 1-10, and nearly all her Letters and the sounds they make. WOW, all this and very little effort. It is apparent to me that my daughter is s visual learner. She is showing little interest in the potty though.....so in a few weeks she will be viewing Potty Power, and we'll see how it goes.

I still worry that the researchers are correct, and I have somehow damaged my daughter. According to them, she should soon be hyper active, aggressive, and FAT! Well, the girl started out with some serious "junk in her trunk" and is slowly thinning down. She is far from aggressive and so far is typically active for a child her age. The research says that no matter what the content, any TV is NOT GOOD! I beg to differ. I ease my worried soul knowing that I don't let her watch all day, and I don't let her watch non-educational, and most importantly, I try to watch with her or at least talk with her about what she has watched. I have no doubt that without those moments of time when I can do what I need to do, and know that she is safely watching a good show, I would not be the happy, loving,and rested mama that my daughter needs. I am grateful that this day and age provides so many choices for great, educational TV viewing.

I'd like to share some pictures....I know you are shocked! About 2 months ago, Sugar Bear's favorite book was this box that her Baby Einstein videos came in. She loved to look at the cover and the picture inside of her favorite characters. On this particular day she insisted that "they" go outside with her. These pictures are so HER. She is a fun girl!

Taking her book swinging.


The book goes for a slide.


The book in the playhouse.




The book at the picnic table.




And a quiet moment with her book.


Don't tell her that outside time can't be alittle about TV watching too. Silly silly girl!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Four For Friday

From this Friday forward, I will be featuring the number FOUR. I am not sure yet what all I might find to post about, but each Friday will bring something new. I searched for an existing MEME that interested me, but I wasn't finding anything that floated my boat, and let's face it...my boat is quickly sinking. A girls gotta sink or swim. I choose swimming, as sinking is just plain scary. Thus....I invented the Four For Friday. Who wants to place bets on how many Friday's it takes me to cry mercy?

This week, I'd like to share FOUR pictures from last summer that make me smile. I only have one week left until summer vacation, y'all and I am soooooooooooooooooooo Ready! I LOVE SUMMER!

This first picture features Sugar Bear and her Papa Mike. I love this picture because my baby girl suffers from shyness around people she doesn't know, or doesn't see very often. This particular day, it took her no less than 3 hours to warm up to her Paternal Grandparents, but when she finally did, it was sweet, innocent and good!



This second picture features my darling girl sitting in the grass while we were on one of our evening walks. Our summer evening walks are truly moments of bliss. Sugar Bera, the nature girl, adores to see the sites, and mama, the photo freak, gets giddy about all the great photo moments. However, I can not help but smile exceptionally big for this picture, as it displays her favorite hat so well. I am quite certain I have at least 1000 picture of her in this hat. :)



The third picture just melts my heart. Look at this girl! Isn't this a pose fit for model? This has to be one of my very favorite pictures I have ever taken. It was just the perfect moment, and I captured it. sigh.....this is what makes photography to fullfilling for me. Look at those eyes! I had my camera mojo going on that day! I am constantly on the hunt for the perfect picture....I am chasing it!



This last picture not only makes me smile, it makes me laugh out loud. This was taken while visiting my brother and his family when they vacationed at the lake. It was the first outing for the bikini...and boy did my girl know how to work her baby fat or what?. :) love love love it. OH, and I entered this photo in a cute kid contest and it won most humorous. High Five!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fear of Spending

There are definitely days when I am forced to wonder, "How on earth did I get ever get so blessed with the fear of spending?" WHY ME?????

My childhood was very blessed. I certainly don't think that I was spoiled, but my parents definitely met my needs. They were typical middle class parents, and did their best to ensure that I had a happy childhood. I didn't get everything I wanted, but I had plenty. My father worked hard, and my mother kept busy being a wonderful stay at home wife and mother. We lived on a farm, so there was plenty of work. My bother and I did not receive an allowance for our chores, but we were rewarded with many "yes" answers when we wanted something.

I didn't know it at the time, but my parents were thrifty. They were careful, and had no debt outside a small mortgage loan, which they paid off quickly. They saved money before buying anything. They only used credit for emergencies, and had it paid off by the time the bill hit the mailbox. Being a typical kid I wasn't aware of the whole money balancing act that families must endure. I just knew that there was never stress over money in our home. My parents encouraged me to save my babysitting and summer job money for college, and so I did. It was a simple as that.

It wasn't until I went away to college that I noticed that this wasn't true in most families. As I made new friends and we discussed the bigger things in life, I realized that a majority of people live in debt. This was a foreign concept to me. When all my friends were struggling to get by, I was carefully doling out the money I saved. It didn't feel stressful to me...it was natural. It was at this time in my life when I realized that I was a natural saver. It came so easy for me to just do with little, and/or save for something I really wanted.

I recall quite vividly a trip to the grocery store in the early fall of my sophomore year. My three roommates proceeded to walk around the store and blindly place items in their baskets. I had previously perused the sale ad, and had a list. I only got the things on my list and I even used a few coupons. I took quite a teasing that day, but a week later when I was still eating on my $25 of food and my roommates needed to go back for more, I smiled. Being thrifty fit me...and it still does.

Here I am 13 years later, and I am still one of the most thrifty people I know. Currently we have ZERO debt. I have been blessed with a good job, and my husband has a very difficult, but good paying job. Through out our nearly 11 year marriage we have never acquired credit card debt, nor car payments. We bought used cars, and worked our way up to our first new vehicle last year. We take great pride in knowing that we made good decisions, and paid off our house a few years ago. Some might be thinking that we must make an awful lot of money. Don't get me wrong, we do well, but I also know several people that have similar incomes and are in so much debt they can't see straight. In fact I get angry when people just assume that I am LUCKY. Granted, I am fortunate, but I also know that my spending habits have certainly helped get me where I am today.

I have gone without.....not the basic needs, but I have gone without things that I wanted. I am simple. I am easily pleased. I do not NEED what many others find necessary. Of all my friends, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I spend the least amount of money on myself or my daughter. I know this.

So where is the problem? You may be thinking, "Whatever.....just pin a rose on her nose!" The point of this post is not to brag about my financial status. Nor am I trying to say that my way of spending is the way to go. I just needed you to see where I have come from, so that you may understand where I am now. Though I embrace my everyday thriftiness, I honestly feel that I have developed a fear of spending. I second guess most purchases that go beyond the basic needs. If it costs more than $20 I practically need to sleep on it. It is rare, rare, rare for me to buy a single thing that isn't reduced in price. A perfect example is the fact that our 11 year old waffle iron failed on us this past weekend. I am currently on the hunt for the best deal ever for a new one. It would make me feel so guilty to just simply go to the store and buy a new one without making sure there wasn't a better deal out there. Waffles are a luxury...right? I mean we don't have a basic right to waffles.

Seriously, this can get annoying, especially when it comes to big purchases. I have been coveting a Digital SLR camera for nearly 6 months. I want one so very badly. Can I afford one? YES! Funny thing is.....that isn't EVER the question I ask myself. Usually it is, "Do I need one?" or "Do I deserve one?" and most importantly, "Can I find a good deal?" argh............this is where I step all over myself with questions, anxiety, and doubt. Just when I convince myself to just buy the silly thing...I start losing sleep, and feel ill. WHY ME? Why is it that most people in this world could just slap down the old credit card and snap that camera up and never think a thing about it? Yet I can hardly stomach the idea of making the purchase without losing hours and hours of sleep, and several layers of my bottom lip as I bite at it while scouring the Internet for the BEST DEAL EVER on the darn thing? ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH

So here I sit wondering, "Is there a Camera buying season? Will it go on sale after the summer? Do I really need it?" Seriously.....I need help. Who else on earth can easily afford something, but talk themselves out of it because a stupid fear of spending? The funniest part is that I will spend weeks worrying about this only to have my husband come home one day with a new $1000 Remote Control Helicopter to match the other one or two he already has.......Good Grief.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Things I Do.....To Reassure Myself

Slowly but surely I am beginning to realize just how very insecure I can be. I have always fancied myself to have fairly high self-esteem, but recently, I am having to admit that I often do things just to reassure myself that I am on the right track.

Late last summer, I noticed small grayish specks on my daughter's teeth. I totally freaked out. If you know me at all, you are quite familiar with the fact that I am not only a worrier, but I am a tad paranoid. The moment those darn specks wouldn't scrap off, I just knew Sugar Bear had the beginnings of tooth decay. I am a well educated woman, and I had been doing all the "right" things. No juice, no sugary treats, lots of water, brushing her teeth 1-2 times a day, fluoride drops, and so on. However, there was one thing that I had continued to do regardless of much research that it could cause tooth decay. Sugar Bear was a night nursling. In fact she continued to nurse 3 times a night until she was nearly 18 months of age. I didn't mind our nightly cuddles, as she co-slept with me, and I enjoyed our sweet together time. It is, however widely known that milk on the teeth at night can cause bottle rot. At the sight of those horrible grey spots, I declared, "dear lord, I gave my daughter boobie rot!" It was a horrible feeling.

I quickly set to hooking her up with a dentist appointment. It was easier said than done. Not a single dentist in our area cared to see a 19 month old. They all just told me to bring her in when she was 3. ummmmmm....no....she has grey spots. Finally a sweet lady dentist took pity on me and took a look. ummmmmm....yeah....waste of time, and only served to cost me $90, freak me out more, and fluoride varnish Sugar's lips and tongue. THANKS! So, I made yet another appointment for her with a pediatric dentist 1.5 hours away. A busy busy busy practice, so the earliest they could see her was 2 months away. I proceeded to be the best toddler tooth brusher on earth, and obsessed over those darn spots. Fun thing happened....they slowly disappeared before the appointment came. With much soul searching, and serious intellectual contemplation I put two and two together and realized that quite possibly the 50-100 blackberries my daughter had been foraging in our yard all summer might have stained her teeth. When the appointment finally rolled around there wasn't a grey spot to be seen, but they took my word for it, and patted me on the back for having a toddler with perfect little white teeth, and a healthy eater.

Okay, so if you made it this far....you deserve a prize. All of this brings us to today, 6 months later. Our return visit to the pediatric dentist was scheduled for today. They give you half off if you stay on a 6 month schedule of fluoride varnishing. YOU KNOW I CAN'T PASS UP A SALE! So away we went. Did you know that everyone and their dog thinks I am NUTS for taking a 2 year old to the dentist? How many times do I have to hear, "They are JUST baby teeth!" or "why are you spending money on teeth that are going to just fall out!" ugh.... Why does everything have to be an argument? Why am I constantly having to defend my parenting decisions? Can't I just take my kid to the dentist if I want to?

Well, it appears that I need reasons. So here they are:
-It is recommended by the American Pediatric Association
-It is recommended by the Pediatric Dental Association
-It is HALF OFF!
-and lastly, It makes me feel better when I am told that I am doing a good job keeping her teeth clean.

I honestly, think that this last reason is really why I NEEDED to go today. I find that like many other things, I have a hard time believing that I am doing this parenting thing correctly. I need reassurance that I am doing well.

The good news is that today I not only heard that I am doing a great job on Sugar Bear's teeth, but that she is darling, and one of the most well behaved 2 year olds they have had the pleasure of working with. What mom doesn't want to hear that? However, I think they might have been blowing a little smoke up my you know what, because my brilliant daughter figured out the sure fire way to ensure that the dentist stays a healthy distance from you and only gets close enough to look in your mouth for 2.5 seconds. Literally, at the very same moment they called her name to see the dentist she loudly announced, "mama, I am beary (very) POOPY!" It was a proud proud moment! That's my girl!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Can we say, "OBSESSIVE?"

Hello, my name is Corey, and I am obsessive compulsive. Yup...I totally am! It isn't debilitating but it is there. It rears it's ugly head in many different facets of my life, but the part I find most interesting....yet totally annoying is when I have a new Hobby. I just can't get it out of my head. I think about it allllllllllll the time. I research it. Purchase for it. Talk about it. Practice it. Perfect it. Teach others to do it. Talk about it (did I say that already?). You get the picture.



Speaking of "picture", that right there is only part of my current obsessions. I BIG part, but only a piece of the madness. You may have noticed that I have yet another new banner. Seriously, I had to sit on my hands all week as I was wanting to make a new banner. It wasn't that I didn't like the last one....it was that I had so much fun making it and seeing how cool it looked, that I NEEDED to do that again. I needed it....I wanted it....I had to do it! So a new banner it is. Bare with me......you may see new banners entirely too often for awhile. I can't help it! Honestly.....CAN'T HELP IT!



As you know, my newest obsession is this here Blog. I find myself enjoying this new adventure very much. Actually it isn't just my Blog that has me all giddy. I get all excited when any of my blogging buddies posts a message on their Blog too. It is all good! I didn't need another hobby, that is for certain, but I am glad I started it. Can't say my husband is as thrilled.




My constant obsession, Photography is alive and kicking. This here Bloggy poo is the perfect place for me to "talk" about it. Life is good! Today I wanted to share with you some more pictures of my nature girl. I have been like OVER THE TOP since winter has been over, and the ability to take pictures outside returned. Nothing is better than outdoor photography. Oh...in these particular photographs, Sugar Bear is wearing a creation of one of my previous obsessions. Yes, there was a day when all I wanted to do was crochet or knit. I still do every now and again...but who has time?


Yes, by far, this is my most rambling post yet. Sorry!


Here are a new recent favs:
















Thursday, May 17, 2007

Racing Day

My eyes have been opened....and I am not sure I like what I see! I am lazy....yup, I said it L-A-Z-Y! There is no way to deny it now. I have seen it, and I have to accept it and CHANGE pronto if I want my daughter to be a happy, healthy,and active person.

One of Sugar Bear's favorite TV shows is The Backyardagins. I have to admit that I can't help but love this show. It is so colorful, happy and cute. There is an episode that we have seen like 10 times, because they only make like 10 episodes a season, but it airs everyday. There is a ton of repeating, but toddlers love seeing things over and over. This particular episode is called, "Racing Day!" The characters participate in a wonderful race that includes running, skiing, kayaking, and so on. It is very fun, and has catchy little songs. Sugar frequently sings these songs with a huge smile on her face. Often I can't help but chime in also.

About 2 weeks ago, while we were outside playing, Sugar Bear told me she was going to race. She planted her little feet on our deck, and squatted down with her hands on the deck and said rather loudly, as most toddlers only know how to talk at full volume, "Ready, set, GOOOOOOOOOO!" and she was off running. She ran around the corner of our deck, then around the next corner and turned around and came back. As she passed me sitting in my lounge chair she announced, "I WIN!!!!!!" She was certainly proud of herself. I was beaming too, as I am always admiring her brilliance. Then the dreaded words came out of her mouth. Can you guess what they were? Come on....I know you can! "Mama's turn!" oh sigh...you mean I now have to get off my duff and run? Say it isn't so! UGH!

I slowly pried my fanny up off the chair, and got into the position. My little pumpkin climbed up into the lounger and announced, "Ready, set, GOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I started jogging around the house thinking, "gee....this is fun....NOT! I hope I don't have to do this many more times." In the back ground I could hear Sugar Bear singing the "racing day" song. As I rounded the corner coming into the home stretch, I spied the huge smile on my daughter's face as she announced me a winner! I have to say that it melted my heart a little, but it didn't make the jogging any more enticing. I flopped back into the lounger that Sugar had abandoned to take her turn to race again. This time she waited for me to yell the "Ready, set, GOOOOOOOOO!"

As my girl ran her race, I thought to myself, "wouldn't it be lovely if she would just entertain herself with this little race game, and I could sit here basking in the late afternoon sun reading a magazine? I could look up every now and again and excitedly proclaim her a winner, clap my hands for her and give her a high five. Surely that would meet both of our needs, right?"

Alas, when Sugar Bear finished her race, it was very obvious I would not be getting out of my turn. That afternoon, we took turns racing at least a dozen times. Sugar Bear loved it....and I was pleased that she burnt off some energy, and that she was learning to enjoy moving her body. It must be said that I value good health, and that as my daughter grows I encourage her to eat well, and stay active. It must also be noted though....that I haven't exercised since I as 6 months pregnant, and that my eating habits are not what they should be. It is painfully obvious to me that I can no longer kid myself that encouraging her to "do as I say, not as I do" is the best way to go about things. If I truly want to make a difference I need to walk the walk. I have to ask myself what message I want to send her? "Exercise is for children, but mommies sit on their fannies!" or "Exercise is for everyone, and it is fun!"

So, this is it.....I need to shake off my laziness...and get in there an play, run, jump, and smile while doing it. Sometimes I am tired, but honestly we all know that I'd be a lot less tired if I had a healthy body. There is just no denying it friends.....I'm afraid that everyday is racing day, and I certainly want to be a winner!

(Video removed to protect Sugar's name.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

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Crackers and Cheese....what does this mean to me?

"Crackers and Cheese Mama!" This simple little sentence might mean nothing to you but, it certainly means a whole lot to me. It means that my little girl is growing up, and instead of lamenting about it....today I rejoice. This short little utterance brought a huge smile to my face.

For several months now I have been asking Sugar Bear everyday on our way home each night, "honey, what did you eat today?" This question has always been answered the same. "I dunno, mama!" In my longing to share in her day....the time that I miss while being at work, I hoped that someday she would remember, and excitedly tell me. I was never discouraged...and I just kept right on asking.

Late last week when I posed the usually familiar question I expected to get the very familiar answer. Instead, I heard the sweetest little voice from the backseat say, "Crackers and Cheese Mama!" Even typing that just now made me smile. Call me silly but I even called my babysitter to verify and sure enough....my girl had crackers and cheese for snack. It was a thrilling moment. Today, when I asked, she actually remembered a bit of what she had for lunch. Woo hoo......how exciting!!!

I know that I sound like such a weirdo being so impressed with something so simple, but seriously.....this is BIG for me. It is incredibly hard for me to be away from my daughter each weekday while I work. It is horrible to feel like she has this whole other life that I am not a part of. The simple fact that now, Sugar Bear and I can have a little conversation about her day makes me feel just a tiny bit more connected to her life while I am away at work.

The amazing thing about this to me is that it sort of happened over night. Now she even has an answer to my ponders about, "what did you do today?", "did you have fun today?"...and so on. All these questions used to only illicit the "I dunno, mama!" remark. Today we had a lovely conversation. It went a little something like this:

Mama: "Sugar, what did you eat today honey?"
Sugar Bear: "Cheese and peanut butter mama"
Mama: "ooo that sounds yummy. Did you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch?"
Sugar Bear: "yes....right!"
Mama: "what did you do today?"
Sugar Bear: "I play with friends today!"
Mama: "oooo....that sounds fun!"
Sugar Bear: "yes...right!" (she likes to validate my comments!)
Mama: "Honey, did you have fun today?"
Sugar Bear: "Yes mama! sooooooooooooooo fun today!"

I have to tell you....this simple little back and forth banter left my heart full, and I just know that one more laugh line cracked across my face as I smiled and giggled with my girl. Life is good....my girl remembers....and listens.....and answers! When did she get so grown up? Usually, you will hear me whining about her growing up too fast. Today though, I am realizing just how much I love her at each and every stage. Yes, I will miss the stages gone by....but it is getting better and better. I adore hearing her little thoughts, and sharing in her stories. How can one little person have so much potential to just amaze the pants off me? It is a crazy ride, and I wouldn't miss this for the world! I have so much to look forward to.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Warm Fuzzy....and snuggly good!

My silly girlfriend Julie tagged me back, but this time with 10 things that make me feel all warm and fuzzy good inside. This is just up my ally. I love to think about the awesome things in life. Thanks Julie!
So here they are in no particular order.

1. Getting an unexpected phone call from a friend whom I haven't spoken with in quite some time.

2. Rocking my sweet girl into a drowsy warm good place each night.

3. Warm soup on a cold day.

4. Laying bed reading a good book.

5. Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

6. Having someone positively comment on something I have made for Sugar Bear to wear.

7. Sharing pictures I have taken.

8. Putting on warm jammies from the dryer.

9. Special kisses from my daughter.

10. Hearing Sugar Bear's sweet voice on the phone when she is off visiting Grandma and Papa.


I tried to not have too many of them include Sugar Bear, but I have a crush on her, so it is hard. tee hee.....

Saturday, May 12, 2007

It's all about Perspective, Right?

Here it is.....Mother's Day Weekend. It really has me thinking, and recalling a little something I wrote last year. I had written it up for my online Baby Board that I am a member of. I couldn't get it out of my mind this week, so I looked it up. I'd like to share it here today.

Written on 5/15/06:
"so here is the deal....I didn't receive anything other than a card from my mom for Mother's day. DH was out of town and didn't get me anything. I wasn't surprised by this and had really thought about it ahead of time and decided it was okay. So I had a nice Mother's Day. I focused my energy and thoughts on my daughter. I enjoyed every minute with her yesterday, and did lots of thinking about how close I came to never being a mom, and how blessed I am. I smiled so much yesterday. I really felt good.

Then....I come to work...and EVERYONE keeps asking me what I "got" for mother's day, and when I tell them that I didn't "get" anything......they all pout and frown and tell me how sad that is.....and I tell them that I am okay with it...and they want to give me a hug and feel all sad for me..... so NOW I feel icky. NOW I feel like my Mother's Day wasn't good enough. NOW I am sad.....what the heck?

It really must all be about perspective. I think that usually in my life I tend to CHOOSE to be happy, and it works for me. I feel that life is too short to spend feeling sorry for myself, and if I choose to make lemonade out of the lemons that come my way...then I will have led a blessed life. I honestly couldn't care less about the "material gifts" of Mother's Day, so why now...am I feeling sad. Well, I think it is because I have been told that I "should" be sad! So here I sit, trying to steer my mind back to the happy place...the place that knows that it doesn't matter what I "got" on Sunday. It is what I "get" each and every day being Sugar Bear's mom. She appreciates me everyday....and she is starting to really really really show it, when she runs to me when I pick her up after work....when she calls out, "momma??" when she is in another room and smiles so big when she finds me...When she comes to me in the middle of playing just to hug my leg.

I sit here looking forward to the day when she comes home from school with that little handmade pipe cleaner flower and the biggest most proud smile on her face. I look forward to the day that I proudly wear the sloppy, glitter decorated foam sun visor she so proudly made me. I have so much to look forward to. So to all those doubters of my "happy Mother's Day".....I loudly say, "I am blessed...and each and every day is Mother's Day simply because I am so honored to be Sugar Bear's MOM!" Thanks for letting me share. I needed to regroup. It's all good now!"

This year, I am planning a very similar Mother's Day. It will be great. We have no where to go...and no big plans. We will have a wonderful day TOGETHER. I can't wait!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Love of Nature...Is it nature or nurture?

My Daughter LOVES to be outside. She thrives in nature. Her curiosity while out of doors is insatiable. She is a go getter....and just can't seem to see, hear, smell, and touch enough new things. It has me wondering....is it nature or nurture that is making her so enthralled with NATURE?

I think it is worthy to note that Sugar Bear is not as exuberant in other settings. In fact, when she is presented with a situation where PEOPLE are involved she is an entirely different child. When in the presence of people that she doesn't know very well, or hasn't seen for quite some time, she is extremely withdrawn and shy. She sits quietly, and simply takes everything in. She hardly speaks, and doesn't want people to look at her or speak to her for at least 15 to 30 minutes. After that period of time, she will slowly open up, but it could be hours and hours before I see actually start behaving like she would if only I were around. Sugar Bear has been this way since about one year of age.

You get this girl outside though...and she will try and do just about anything. She loves animals, and shows nearly no fear of them. She will stand on a hay bale and yell out, "Hi Cows!", and if we let her, she just might crawl over the feed trough and climb right up on a cow. She readily explores her outdoor environment and doesn't ever shy away from a creature she spies. She loves insects and can spend hours playing with her favorite, ladybugs. She isn't afraid to pick up caterpillars, and slugs.....umm yeah, by the way, does anyone have a good solution to removing slug slime off hands? Man that stuff is industrial. Where was I? Oh yes....she marvels at birds, butterflies, and is the resident champion chicken chaser. We have two bunnies in our yard that she regularly runs down until they are too tired to flee, then she triumphantly strokes their soft fur. She yells "bye Goats" as we pass them every morning on our way into town, and she yells "Hi Goats" as we come back. She never tires of the experiences that nature has to offer, and I have yet to see her shy away from it.

Not all children are like this. My nieces for instance, are not so thrilled with the creatures that roam our planet. Those same chickens that Sugar Bear just can't seem to get close enough to, had better not get within 10 feet of my niece Sara. Those same bugs that my daughter wants to hold and talk to, are best when stomped under foot if you ask my niece K. However, neither K nor S have ever shown any hesitation when it comes to people. They thrive in the presence of an audience. This all just gets me wondering....why is Sugar Bear a "Nature Girl", and my nieces "People People"? Is it something we did, said or encouraged? or were they just destined to be this way?

All I do know is that I somehow find myself encouraging Sugar Bear's interest in the creatures of nature, yet I embrace and validate her apprehension around people. I challenge her to see new things, and I get giddy when a new opportunity to experience a new form a nature presents itself to us. However, I never push nor encourage her to be more bold with those folk whom she isn't ready. So am I creating who she is becoming? or is she already there?

The pictures I wanted to share with this post I took while my nieces were at our house visiting. We were playing outside when I spied a young frog jumping in the grass. Sugar Bear had only seen a frog in books and on her Baby Einstein videos, so I was eager to catch it and show her.




Sugar Bear was instantly delighted, and she quickly asked to hold it. I had to tire the poor thing out before it would finally stay in her hand long enough for her to really experience it....and for me to get a picture.




K, seeing that Sugar had held the frog, and survived, wanted to give it a try. Both her mother and I were so surprised. K actually held the frog for a few seconds, before it jumped toward her and her squeal could have been heard for miles. :)



At that point it was a loss cause trying to get S to hold it.



This event was nearly 2 months ago...but Sugar Bear still talks about the day we caught the frog. In that moment....we were living....and loving every minute of it!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not so sure what I was EXPECTING!

Something amazing happened to me yesterday. I am really not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was a whole lot more. I was so very honored to be given the opportunity to capture a special moment in time. A moment....A miracle....An amazing stage of life. Pregnancy....it really doesn't get much more incredible than that.



I have had an interest in photography for as long as I can remember. It started small, as a child. I got my first camera in 5th grade. I didn't take many pictures at that point, but I enjoyed the whole process. In High School, I took a photography class, and learn all the ins and outs of my Dad's old Minolta. I experienced the dark room, and enjoyed photographing for the School Annual. While in college, I played around with my old 35mm and simply took pictures of friends and events. I cherish those pictures....as they captured those good times. A few years into my marriage, I got a new 35 mm, and thats when I really started to find the joy in picture taking. Along with it, I began scrap booking. It thrilled me to see my pictures proudly displayed on a pretty page. I took pictures of my pets, and pictures of my nieces and nephew. I took 8 rolls of pictures on my trip to Hawaii, and 12 rolls in Washington D.C. My scrapbooks are very LARGE!

About a month before giving birth to Makenna, I started to worry that I wouldn't be able to take the pictures at her birth, and what if they didn't turn out....I worried and worried. I so badly wanted to have good pictures of those amazing first moments. I made an impulse (so not like me) purchase of a small point and shoot digital camera. This way, I could view the pictures on the little LCD screen and make sure someone got the shot. whew....I relaxed a little.

It has been an amazing ride since that first digital purchase. What an incredible little invention. You can take a picture, check it out to make sure all is well, and get it on your computer and printed out within minutes!!! You can email them, and post them online. You can play with them, and make invites, thank yous and collages. FUN FUN FUN!!!!! It has become an addiction for me. Nearly a year after my first purchase, I felt the need to have a better camera. Along came my Canon S2 IS. WOW....now the fun really began. I started taking portraits of Makenna and my nieces.....and then my friend's baby. OH the joy....I just can't stop. I love capturing the moment, the face, the features, the personality. I am not sure how many pictures I have taken in the last 28 months alone, but it is well over 20 thousand. I am looking to purchase my 3rd camera in a little over 2 years. I am drooling over a Digital SLR. Maybe I can combine Mother's day, my 11th anniversary (july) and my 33rd birthday (sept) and buy myself one. I have to earn it you know! :)

This all leads me to yesterday.....the moment that literally left me welled up inside. The opportunity arose for me to photograph a friend of a friend in her 38th week of pregnancy. I was excited and nervous....and so was she. Soon though, we relaxed and just had fun playing. My vision was to capture the moment...capture this phase....HONOR this amazing MIRACLE. I personally feel that there is nothing as incredible as creating life. I have never understood how we can take for granted the most unbelievably wonderful gift. Nothing compares to feeling your baby grow and move inside your body. You are making a person....and not just any person...you are making the most perfect gift of a person. The pregnant belly is beautiful....because it holds that gift. I so badly wanted to honor that gift.




While I was taking the pictures....I wasn't sure I was really getting the results I wanted, and as I traveled home, I worried that I would be disappointed. I am not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was so much more. I stayed up an hour past my bedtime, so that I could finish editing and have the proofs ready for today. I just couldn't stop. I am not sure if anyone else will get it....and it really doesn't matter, because for me I did it. I was successful. They are beautiful. They say it all.



I do have one regret....I wish so badly, that this belly was mine....and my gift. I wish that someone had felt the NEED to capture my moment in this way. I will be equally honored if I am ever given this opportunity again. I am so blessed to have shared in this moment.




















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