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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two Under Two

Our neighbors have two little boys, Pierce, who is almost two and Roman, who is 10 months (exactly two weeks older than you).

Last night we had the pleasure of watching Roman for a little over an hour while his mom took his older brother to the ER. Pierce ran into a bench and thankfully only ended up needing two stitches on the bridge of his nose. Poor little guy. I am so glad that I was at home and could help out.

But, the point of my post today is that I realized that having two children under the age of two is hard work and I only had to do it by myself for roughly 20 minutes before your dad got home. I don't know how mothers do it!? Valium? You've got one going one way and the other going another. One needs to be changed, while the other wants to be picked up. It has to be a master juggling act, is all I can say about it and that I have A LOT more respect for mothers that do it and make it look so effortless today than I did yesterday. Especially working mothers, like my neighbor. Here's to you, because let's face it, there is NOTHING effortless about having a child, let alone TWO!

Don't get me wrong, aside from you getting noticeably irritated/concerned/jealous when your dad or I held Roman, both of you were delightful together and very well behaved.

We want to have another baby (most days) and have them be close in age, but in doing the quick math, if all goes as planned (the stars are aligned and the universe is on our side) we, too will be members of the distinguished group known as parents of Two Under Two. I sort of shutter at the thought....

My question to all of you mothers of two out there is: A) how did you plan (timing/age wise) for your second child? and B) did you do so knowing that you would have two under two? And, lastly, is it as challenging as it seems? Don't lie!! :)

The best is yet to be.

Day 36/100

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The High Five

From time to time, I'd like to share my High Five, a list of five products that I am loving right now and why.

DISCLAIMER: The High Five will sort of be a random list, but will contain five things that make my life as a mom a little easier, funner, brighter and happier. The High Five may or may not be baby related. Enjoy!

1. Yogurt Covered Pretzels
I felt like I had been living under a rock until I tried my first yogurt covered pretzel. In a word: delicious! I will never forget my first one; Fourth of July weekend just weeks after you were born. OMG! Greatest combination of sweet and salty ever.

2. Flip Video Camcorder
The easiest thing in the world to use and a perfect way to share special, funny and cute Lucas moments with family and friends near and far. I haven't even begun to use this device to it's fullest potential.

3. Cetaphil
According to the Web site: The #1 dermatologist and pediatrician recommended brand of skin cleansers and moisturizers specially formulated to provide effective, gentle skin care to help your skin look and feel its best.

All true and super inexpensive to boot!

I am forever on the quest to find face products that are light weight, nondrying, chocked with SPF and don't smell like perfume. Cetaphil is it! In the two months that I have been using the facial cleanser, moisturizer with 50 SPF (the highest SPF of any facial moisturizer!!) and night cream, I noticed a change in my skin tone and texture. L-O-V-E these products!!

4. Sugar Free Red Bull
This fantastic pick-me-up has actually been banned in some countries because of health risks, including heart attack or stroke according to Australian medical researchers, but on nights when I want/need to stay up past 9:00, it is a must.

5. Fisher Price's Laugh & Learn Learning Home
I have learned that nothing brings you more delight than sitting in vintage cars, being on the swings at the park, crawling and this fun toy in the waiting room at Cranial Technologies.

Your Mommy & Me friend, Brenna has one too and you spent almost the entire two hours we were at her house recently playing with it. I'm thinking we might have to get you your very own...

The best is yet to be.

Day 35/100

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Monday, March 29, 2010

On The Move

Guess where you headed yesterday morning?


Scary! Thank goodness we had the house baby proofed almost a month ago.

It's crazy to think that just a week ago, I could put you on the floor and know that you couldn't get very far by pivoting and scooting around on your belly. Now, you are a little man on the move who has completely embraced crawling. And, if there is a lone Cheerio on the floor, you are sure to find it.

It has been so fun to watch you enjoy your new found independence and explore our ENTIRE house. You are definitely keeping me on my toes and I should be able to lose that last five pounds of baby weight in no time. :)

The best is yet to be.

Day 34/100

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wild Animal Park

Today, your aunt Leah and I took you to the Wild Animal Park. It was hot, but we still had a lot of fun.

We pet an antelope, saw a bat display, pretended we were a butterfly and took a cool ride on the merry-go-round (I even took your Doc Band off so that you could enjoy the wind), but visiting the baby elephant (born February 14) was our favorite activity.







We bought a membership, so we'll be back soon. Next time we want to check out the gorillas!

The best is yet to be.

Day 32/100

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Friday, March 26, 2010

What's Wrong With This Picture?

You eat WAY better than I do. Your diet consists of organic fruits, vegetables, biscuits and crackers, tofu, whole wheat pasta, whole grain oatmeal cereal, free range chicken, yogurt, sugar free apple juice, etc. Last night you had lentils and brown rice while I went through the drive-thru at Del Taco for a Del Classic chicken burrito with extra lettuce, cheese and tomatoes and a, you guessed it, diet Coke. Disgusting, right? Actually, it was pretty damn good considering the only time I have fast food is on road trips.

Every time your dad is out of town I have to fend for myself when it comes to dinner, which typically means a bowl of cereal or cottage cheese, blue corn chips and salsa.

What's wrong with this picture?

Everything!

My dad always used to say that once I had children that I'd need to learn to cook and he was right. It's time.

The best is yet to be.

Day 31/100

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You Win

We've had some trying times lately, you and I...in particular Wednesday and today. It seems as though you're on an every other day schedule; a good day followed by a bad day. A battle of wills, if you will.

Your witching hours are between 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM. These two hours make me literally and figuratively pull my hair out and stuff you down a drain pipe.

Even at nine and a half months old, you have a mind of your own and at almost 38, you better believe that I do too! More often than not, however, you win. Hands down, you win way more than I do.

I try to do what's best for you when it comes to... EVERYTHING; from naps, feeding, play and bath time, changing, packaging you up in the car for an outing to a host of a zillion other activities, but if you and I aren't on the same wave length, this mommy better watch out! She is going to lose 9.5 times out of 10.

You win so many rounds that I have stopped keeping score. I think it's something like 9956 to 21, which doesn't change the fact that I do know what's best for you. Whether you think so or not.

Now that you are mobile and a lot more independent and patience can't be bought, a lot more wine is going to need to be purchased.

Today, we hosted our first Mommy & Me play group and it was a lot of fun. Afterward, you were exhausted and fell asleep for exactly 28 minutes. When you woke up, you were very irritable and nothing would make you happy, so at wits end I put you in the car and drove you around for over an hour in Friday going home traffic while you slept and I got some much needed peace and quiet. I'd say I won that round, would you? Hmmmm...maybe not, I did mention the peace and quiet, didn't I?

Alas, there are moments that make it all worth while, like this, when we are one. Calm, quiet, connected and in sych. I live for these moments.


The best is yet to be.

Day 31/100

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ready - Set - Go!

Someone learned to crawl today!


The best is yet to be.

Day 30/100

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Wonderful, Exhausting Motherhood

"It'd be nice if something made sense every once in a while" - Alice

How long am I considered a "new" mother? Sometimes I don't feel like I am any more experienced today than I was nine months ago. Sure, I know a few more things, but I am by no means a pro.

My son has been sleeping through the night for months, but how long does my sleep deprivation last? I am tired all the time! Last night I went to bed to sleep at 8:30 and tonight will be similar, I'm sure. I'm "on" all the time, so the minute my head hits the pillow, I'm out!

I love talking candidly with my fellow "new" mom friends about the frustrations that come with our roles and how every day is so utterly mundane, yet also so vastly different from the next. I have found that not all mothers will talk so openly about how hard this is, so it's refreshing to find someone that will. Thanks, Jenn, if you are reading this. I love our walks and talks. We need to be able to vent and be open and honest about our feelings. I do, anyway. It revives me and lets me know that I'm not alone in this crazy wonderful, exhausting thing called motherhood.

I love how Debra Gilbert Rosenberg describes motherhood in her book The New Mom's Companion: Care for Yourself While You Care for Your Newborn:

"New mothers enter the world of parenting feeling much like Alice in Wonderland.
  • Being a mother is one of the most rewarding jobs on earth and also one of the most challenging.
  • Motherhood is a process. Learn to love the process.
  • There is a tremendous amount of learning that takes place in the first year of your baby’s life; the baby learns a lot, too.
  • It is sometimes difficult to reconcile the fantasy of what you thought motherhood would be like, and what you thought you would be like as a mother, with reality.
  • Take care of yourself. If Mommy isn't happy, no one else in the family is happy either.
  • New mother generally need to lower their expectations.
  • A good mother learns to love her child as he is and adjusts her mothering to suit her child."
Nothing else in my life has changed me the way motherhood has, not going away to college, not getting married, not losing a loved one. It's completely shocking and there is a lot that no one tells you about motherhood before you experience it for yourself. It is one of life's greatest mysteries and yet, if we are lucky, we all do it.

I forge ahead knowing that the best is yet to be.

Day 30/100

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's In The Genes

Since I have known your dad, he has owned 13 cars!! Nine modern daily drivers and four vintage vehicles. The vintage ones are the most exciting. They all had original parts and their own unique history. The latest addition in our ever-revolving garage door is a 1973 Porsche 911 RS 2.7.

Your grandfather sells cars.

Your dad sells cars.

Cars are in your dad's blood and from the looks of your face in these photos, it is definitely in yours too.


The best is yet to be.

Day 29/30

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Graduation Day

You successfully completed eight weeks of Kindermusik today and you better believe that your diploma went straight on the refrigerator! I am so proud of my little boy.

You enjoyed the class so much that we have signed up for another eight week session.

If you would like to cultivate a love of music in your child, I highly recommend these classes.

The best is yet to be and let's hope that there are many more diplomas in our future.

Day 27/100

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ink

I missed you while I was away, but my trip to Vegas was everything I hoped it would be and more. I got a little sun, won a little money, had some amazing meals and shared lots of laughs with my friends and got inked!

I got my first tattoo in 1993 with four high school girlfriends, all of which I am still friends with: Katie, Kendra, Kristin and Sara. We were all in Phoenix for a mini reunion, attending the graduation of our friends and after breakfast one morning with nothing else planned to do, we decided to get tattoos. We couldn't agree what we would all get, but we did agree where we wanted to get it (our right hips).

We soon found a tattoo parlor and after consent forms had been signed and we drew numbers to see who would go first (I was third), we were pouring though albums of artwork and scouring the walls of the shop to find the perfect design. I chose a sunflower, my favorite flower. Over the years, everyone has added to their tattoo or got another one (or more).

They say once you get one tattoo, you are likely to get another....

I got my second tattoo, a beautiful angel wing on my right ankle, in August 2002 on a weekend visit to help your aunt Leah move into her dorm at U of A. She was going to get one then too, but chickened out at the last minute. She has since gotten one and has had it embellished.

After dinner on Thursday night at Nove at the Palms hotel, my friend Diana and I both found ourselves at Huntington Ink, the most over priced tattoo shop on the strip! We were committed so there was no turning back. My newest addition, taking all of three minutes and didn't hurt a bit, is two small stars on the top of my right foot. I have been wanting them for almost three years and had often drew them on to see how they would look. Once my parents died, I really wanted them in their memory.

Tattoos are permanent and each one of mine has deep and personal meaning. I have no regrets about any of them; they are a part of me and I love them.

The best is yet to be.

Day 26/100

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pretty Things - Update

After posting about this last week, (Pretty Things) I just couldn't get it out of my head, so needless to say, this gorgeous handbag is now mine! For those of you wondering, yes the scarf is really attached.

It will be making the trip to Vegas with me this weekend. :)

The best is yet to be.

Day 23/100

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Viva Las Vegas

March Madness* AKA "The Big Dance" refers to the annual NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament. This tournament, held late March through early April, is a single-elimination tournament in which 65 teams compete against each other over the course of a three weeks for a shot at a national championship.

During this time, teams will be moving up one tier at a time, working through to the Sweet Sixteen, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and eventually into the finals. This is the season where basketball nuts become completely crazy cheering on their favorite team in the hope for a championship.

March Madness is also one of the reasons for my annual weekend girl's trip to Las Vegas! What better place to watch college ball, hang out with my friends, enjoy some fine dining, pampering, the pool and do a little gambling, dancing and celebrating? I have been looking forward to landing on this page of my calendar for weeks....

My good friend, Kathryn's birthday falls right smack dab in the middle of March too, so she is the other reason we go. Although, we try not to let it go to her head, after all, she has earned the nickname Birthdayzilla for a reason! Kat, if you are reading this, you know I love you.

This year will mark my seventh trip, but some have been going for 10 years! I missed out last year because I was pregnant and Vegas is not a whole lot of fun if you can't drink, plus is hard to escape all the cigarette smoke, so I am really looking forward to this year's getaway.

This trip will also mark my first TWO nights away from you. So far, I have spent six single nights away from you, but never TWO consecutive nights and I'm a little nervous. I know you are in good hands, that's not what I'm worried about. I'm worried about me! I am going to miss you so much, but I am going to try to enjoy the time away and be in the moment. I wonder if you'll even notice that I'm gone?

*The term "March Madness" was coined by Henry V. Porter in 1939. Originally the term was used to refer to the Illinois High School Basketball Tournament. Later the NCAA picked it up after a small legal battle with the Illinois High School Association. March Madness was then used to refer to the collegiate national basketball tournament. This was started in 1939 by National Association of Basketball Coaches and only had eight contending teams at the time.

Bear Down, Arizona!! Oh, wait, they didn't even make it to the tournament this year (the first time in 25 years!). :(

The best is yet to be.

Day 23/100

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Someday You're Going To Have A Wallet

Your dad and I get a kick out of talking about all the things you are going to do, be and have like; a wallet, a suit, car keys, a cell phone, a cup of coffee, your own apartment, a date, an interview, etc. and it makes us giggle. We only know you at nine months, so to think of our little nine month old Lucas having and doing all these things is silly and sweet.

You have so many firsts to look forward to!

We're trying to remember and document all of your first everythings, but there will come a day when you experience firsts that we won't be a part of. Really big, super exciting, weird and wonderful firsts like; your first day of school, the first time you tie your shoes, your first kiss, your first broken heart, the day you get your driver’s license and your first car (not necessarily the same day, mind you!), your first pay check, and many years down the road, the first time you truly realize your life is your own.

You will make decisions that will affect your entire life. We hope they will be good ones. You will make mistakes too, but if we've done our job, hopefully you will learn from them.

We want you to have every single opportunity that we had growing up...education, travel and exposure to different cultures, as many pairs of sneakers you can wear out and books you can read, family game nights, vacations and open, honest conversations around the dinner table, a lifetime of warmth, security, support and the best of memories. In short, we want for you what any parent wants for their child: EVERYTHING! :)

That's not too much to ask, is it?

The best is yet to be.

Day 22/100

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Happy St. Patrick's Day

The best is yet to be.

Day 22/100

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Keeping Our Children Safe

People in San Diego are understandably enraged and confused: a convicted sex offender (who, in the past, had beaten and raped young girls and got only five years in prison) was let out on parole...to rape and kill a young woman again.

This is a heartbreaking story and I, too am outraged and very scared for my child's safety.

Thousands Gather to Mourn Chelsea King
Outpouring of Grief Revitalizes Shaken Community at Teen's Memorial Service

By Lisa Fletcher
POWAY, Calif., March 13, 2010

More than 6,000 mourners held sunflowers tied with blue ribbons as they said goodbye to Chelsea King, the straight-A student and cross-country runner who was known for her kindness and compassion.

"She was a person who brought sunshine and light to school every day," said Dakota Douglas, Chelsea's friend and cross-country teammate. "She was an incredible person, was nice to everyone. I just can't believe that she's gone. School's not the same without her."

King, known for her gentle spirit, helped plan a prom for developmentally disabled kids, packed relief boxes for those in need in Africa and served as a peer counselor at her school.

During the memorial, a giant monitor over the high school football field reminisced of happier days -- Chelsea laughing with her friends, loving life. The school band filled the air with music; Chelsea had played the French horn in the band.

As everyone grieved, there was a message of hope. This strongly Christian community praying together that something good would ultimately come from something tragic, that laws would change, eyes would be opened and accountability would be had.

Chelsea went missing while running in a Rancho Bernardo park last month, just outside of San Diego. Thousands in this close-knit community turned out to search for her. Volunteers passed out flyers by the thousands and tied blue ribbons on trees across the city to remind people she was missing.

This community is now turning that same energy into demands for change -- outraged that a paroled sex offender may have slipped through bureaucratic cracks.

"This is just an assault to everybody's child," said Christy Georgedes, as she choked back tears. "I've got three daughters and she's my fourth daughter, and this is going to stop! So we're going to show our love today but after that, beware. You just watch how powerful things are going to get."

Parents we spoke with say they will do anything within their power to change the laws if necessary, but most of all they will demand accountability from those whose job it is to track the whereabouts of convicted predators.

Police arrested convicted sex offender John Gardner three days after Chelsea's disappearance. Two days later, her body was discovered in a shallow grave.

Terri Francy, who has kids at Poway High School, told us this community won't stop until families have the protection they deserve.

"Seven times that he [Gardner] violated parole and had they got him, had they put him behind bars where he should have been, then he wouldn't have been out there to commit this crime," Francy said. "I hate to live in the 'what ifs' and 'it shouldn't have happened,' but it's true. It shouldn't have happened. We want to stop it now."

It is unclear whether Gardner violated his parole or whether the state didn't properly track him. But enough questions have been raised that on Friday, Gov. Schwarzenegger ordered a probe into the way the state handled Gardner's case.

Officials say that Gardner, who's now charged in Chelsea's death, is also the focus in the murder investigation of 14-year-old Amber DuBois, whose body was found in a neighboring community last Saturday.

Gardner was released early from prison in 2005, after molesting a 13-year-old girl.
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My friend Wendi sent me a link to the Web site Family Watchdog and I was shocked to find that there are 15 (!!) registered sex offenders within a five mile radius of my house!

As a parent, it is our job to keep our children safe. We have to do our best to prepare them in case they are ever in danger or threatened in any way. I have a nine month old and I'm already thinking about this stuff!

I'm afraid these days, it goes a lot further than "Don't talk to strangers" and “Look both ways before crossing the street”. There's Internet stalking, identity theft, bullying, child predators in our parks and playgrounds, child abductors, substance abuse, etc., etc., etc. How do I teach my son to be safe without frightening him? It's enough to make you want to put a GPS tracking device in your child!

A parent should never ever ever have to bury a child. My heart goes out to the parents of Chelsea King. May they find peace.

The best is yet to be.

Day 20/100

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I was either a saint in a former life or the universe felt like it owed me one because you were just awesome on our trip to visit your grandparents in the Bay Area. You are a super traveler and I couldn't be happier.

I was so nervous because we haven't made that trip since before Christmas; my stomach was literally in knots before each flight. I know it's only an hour and a half gate to gate, but that can seem like an eternity to a new mom. Plus, you are a very different baby now than you were three months ago. Thankfully my worry was for not and you were a champ. Well, until halfway through our flight home when you reached out for the cup on the tray table of the poor girl sitting next to us and dumped her entire drink in her lap. Luckily, she was a great sport about it and forgave you almost instantly. Those baby blues come in very handy!

Our visit was nice, but a little stressful. You barely ate a thing while we were away. It seems as though all that delicious homemade baby food (Bon Appetit) has turned you into a foodie and you wouldn't touch the Earth's Best, even though it was the same stuff you devour at home (peas, sweet potatoes, rice and squash). Apparently it tastes a lot different.

The other stressful thing about our trip was the fact that my in-laws have recently put their home on the market and with viewings happening at any given moment (with notice fortunately), the house has to be kept pretty much immaculate. A lot easier said than done, especially with a nine month old... you come with a ton of gear! We made it work, but it wasn't fun.

I just realized that I didn't take any photos (other than a couple not-so-great iPhone photos) on this trip of you at the park, or with your great aunt Judi or cousins, or in the loving arms of your grandma. Next time.

I love traveling almost as much as I love coming home!

Here's to a great week...

The best is yet to be.

Day 19/100

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25 Random Things About Being A Parent

Another great e-mail forward (that's two in three weeks) sent to me by a fellow mom of three. Thanks, Natalie!

1. It is very hard to determine if you’re really done having children. You are. And then you aren’t. And then you hold a sweet little baby and fall in love. And then the baby poops all over you. It’s very difficult to decide.

2. A well-balanced meal is anything the kids will eat without complaining.

3. When you say you’re going to "slip into something more comfortable," you mean your favorite flannel pajama bottoms and your Jayhawks hoodie.

4. Coffee.

5. No matter how many pictures and videos you take, it’s never enough.

6. Sleep is for the weak. And that doesn’t change until the kids are out of the house.

7. Every single emotion you have is heightened with your children. You are happier, angrier, more worried, more defensive, and more devastated when something bad happens to them. All of this is because you love them more than you ever knew was possible.

8. Don’t bother asking a parent about anything interesting, like the latest book read, movie watched, or lecture attended. It all ends with the same word: Nickelodeon.

9. Wine.

10. Dinner will never be quiet again. But then it will be too quiet.

11. There is no greater joy than seeing your child succeed at something. A close second though is seeing them fail and pick themselves back up and try again.

12. Watching a child learn to read is one of the joys no one tells you about. It is magical, and it happens so quickly.

13. You can never receive too many handwritten notes or pictures that say "I Love You", even when they’re not spelled right.

14. The matching $100 sweaters you bought your kids for the holiday picture were totally worth it — even though you ate ramen noodles for the rest of the month. You’ll have that picture forever.

15. No matter how crazy your kids drive you, and regardless of their age, when you peek at them fast asleep at night you can’t help but wonder how you’ve been so blessed.

16. You will lose all practical knowledge and the ability to win at Trivial Pursuit. But you will be an expert on Lightning McQueen, Fancy Nancy or a host of other commercial characters.

17. You may have been a star athlete, drama queen, or chess club champion in your heyday, but your biggest competitive rush now may come from outbidding someone on eBay to win an auction. Probably buying something for your kids.

18. Those guys that wrote Love and Logic must have had nannies to raise their kids.

19. "Walk of Shame" has a whole new meaning when you’re parent. It becomes the 500 feet between your car and the emergency room, carrying your child, who on your watch....

20. Someone needs to write the Santa Claus/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy manual for parents. It is impossible to be prepared for the depth and breadth of questions posed in your child’s lifetime. ("Why does Santa’s wrapping paper look just like yours?") Parents need a job aid that can be accessed quickly and on the down low.

21. Whenever you hear the phrase "Uh-oh" followed by a long pause, grab your camera and your stain stick and start looking."

22. In your younger days you would have thought it was too "Big Brother" to microchip your kid. Now, it’s tempting...very tempting.

23. While you used to compulsively check Web sites for great shopping deals, now you compulsively check the sex offender registry to make sure no predators are living nearby.

24. On the rare occasion you get a "date" with your spouse, the conversation revolves around poop, Gymboree and whether or not it’s cool to drive a minivan.

25. When it’s all said and done, no one could have ever explained how you could love so deeply, hurt so badly, tire so quickly, and still experience more joy than you’ve ever known...all for a child.


The best is yet to be.

Day 19/100

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Party City

It has been a magical first year...so far, we still have three months to go and I can't wait to celebrate! What they say is true about having children, the days are long, but the years are short. You were once, not so long ago, a tiny newborn and now you are a growing, learning, changing, on-the-go, toddler and this has been the best year of my life.

Back to the celebration part...

I was surprised recently to overhear fellow moms already planning their soon-to-be one year old's birthday parties and down right shocked at how elaborate these plans sounded. What, I don't understand I thought to myself, what is there to plan? Place your pride and joy in their highchair, let him go crazy with a cupcake, take a dozen cute photos for the baby book and toast your partner to a job well down. Hip hip hooray, you all three survived the first year!

I don't believe that children's birthday parties need to be huge, over the top affairs or include entertainment in the form of hiring the Wiggles, a man on tilts or renting a bouncy castle. Why do parents do this to themselves? Who needs that pressure? When did birthday parties get so out of hand?

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE birthdays and I think they should always be celebrated so that birthday boy or girl, no matter what their age, feels extra special on their special day. For a one year old, that can be done simply; at home, surrounded by family members, cake and ice cream and balloons. Even when you are old enough to have real friends to invite to a party, it doesn't need to be a ton of work or super expensive to be memorable or fun. Otherwise, it's an event for the adults, especially if alcohol is being served. ;)

When I was growing up I only remember having one some what bigger than usual birthday party and it was for my Sweet Sixteen. It was a blast! My mom had designed a scavenger hunt and got all of her friends in our neighborhood to participate. It was great fun, but it was also held a full month and a half before my actual birthday because I have a birthday that falls right smack dab in the middle of summer, when everyone I knew was on vacation, including me and my family. We might run into that with you too, since you are also a June baby. I'm sorry!

My birthdays growing up usually consisted of having my favorite meal for lunch (a Kid's Meal at Burger King...such a treat!) or dinner (my mom's lasagna, which is always better the next day) and then going to a movie of my choice with my mom. Great days!

At any rate, birthdays are suppose to be fun and not contests to see who can outdo each other. Needless to say, we don't have any plans yet for your big first birthday, but I know they will include family, lots of photos and a hose. :)

The best is yet to be.

Day 16/100

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pretty Things

Let me preface this by saying that I have spent too much time in the same three rooms of my house the last two days!

With so much blue, boy, cars, trucks, dinosaurs and rough housing in my life these days, a fellow blogger's recent post, entitled simply Pink inspired the following tribute to girly things, also known as a wonderful daydream:



Crystalline Bubbles Perfume Bottle
Anthropologie


Dawning Lark Bed
Anthropologie


Heart-printed Lounge Pants
The Gap

Floral Note Cards
Papyrus


Madeline Smart Technology™ Make-Up Table
Pottery Barn


Alfresco Bag
Antropologie

Brightly painted toe nails, beautiful bathroom accessories, comfy, yet feminine pyjamas, stationary almost too pretty to write on, delicious bedding, long silky dresses that you make feel gorgeous and just big enough handbags. These are a few of my favorite things.

After "Girl" Has Never Been My Strong Suit, you didn't think I had it in me, did you? Thank you, Blondie 'N' SC for the inspiration.

Time to go shopping!

The best is yet to be.

Day 15/100

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Don't Forget The Lyrics

Every now and then I forget the words to popular nursery rhymes and children's songs. I make them up as I go and end up sounding completely ridiculous. I hope I'm not the only mom that does this!?! I suppose it shouldn't matter because I know you just like to hear me sing, at least I think you do. But I can tell you are growing weary of hearing the ABC's and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" for the thousandth time. "You Are My Sunshine" is still good for a few rounds, but soon I even start to get sick of it.

In an effort to expand my children's song book repertoire, I finally downloaded a favorite nursery rhyme CD from iTunes, aptly titled "Favorite Nursery Rhymes". Go figure! It is chocked full of good stuff, including; "This Old Man", "The Farmer in the Dell" and "Old King Cole", along with 15 other old familiar tunes.

In my quest to find new music and lyrics, I found this interesting article about the true meaning behind some of these childhood favorites. Brace yourself!

Songs of Death and Destruction


Nursery rhyme lyrics sound like sugar and spice and everything nice, but many have real meanings that would send children into therapy for the rest of their lives. These seemingly innocent lyrics actually conceal nightmarish stories about beheadings, the black plague, and war. They’ve traditionally been passed down from generation to generation, and, even though it’s good to be honest with children, in the case of these lyrics, the old adage, “What they don’t know can’t hurt them,” holds true. But just for adults, here are the disturbingly real meanings of nursery rhyme lyrics you sang as a kid:

“Ring Around the Rosy”

Remember holding hands with your friends, giggling and happily skipping in a circle while singing these lyrics, “Ring around the rosy/A pocket full of posies/Ashes, ashes/We all fall down?” Well, guess what? You were singing about the bubonic plague that devastated London in the 17th century! The “ring around the rosy” lyrics describe the rosy red, ringlike rash that plague victims developed. Thinking that the plague was carried by bad odors, people kept sweet-scented posies in their pockets. The lyrics “we all fall down” and “ashes, ashes” refer to the countless deaths from the disease, and the burning of victims’ bodies.

“Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary”

The sweet-sounding lyrics, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary/How does your garden grow?/With silver bells and cockle shells/And pretty maids all in a row” actually refer to the gruesome reign of England’s Queen Mary Tudor, known as “Bloody Mary.” A devout Catholic, Mary demanded the torture or execution of countless Protestants. The lyrics’ “silver bells” refer to thumbscrews, the “cockle shells” refer to torture devices fastened to the genitals, and the “maids” refer to a beheading contraption called the “Maiden,” that was used before the invention of the guillotine. You just might think twice next time you feel like ordering a Bloody Mary!

“Rain, Rain, Go Away”

The singsong lyrics, “Rain, rain go away/Come again some other day” are actually about Spain’s attempt to wage war against England by sea in 1588. The mighty Spanish Armada set sail with a fleet of more than 130 ships. But heavy rain, which inspired the lyrics, “Rain, rain go away,” and speedy English vessels defeated the Spanish attackers and crippled their fleet, leaving them with a mere 65 ships.

“London Bridge”

Aside from its well-known lyrics, “London Bridge is falling down/Falling down, falling down/London Bridge is falling down/My fair lady,” are stanzas set to a cheery tune describing disaster after disaster endured by the famous bridge throughout history. The lyrics detail how the bridge was first cobbled together with wood and clay, which “will wash away.” In the 980s, invading Vikings completely demolished the bridge. It was rebuilt, only to be destroyed by a tornado in 1091. The bridge was ravaged by fire numerous times, including 1666’s Great Fire of London, which attacked its arches and foundations.

This ditty, however, has nothing to do with Fergie’s version of “London Bridge,” and its suggestive lyrics, “How come every time you come around/My London, London Bridge wanna go down,” which probably shouldn’t be explained to children, either!

Good to know!

The best is yet to be.

Day 13/100

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Sister, My Friend

"Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there." - Amy Li

We've been there through life's sorrow and pain
But together we have always endured the strain
We've argued and bickered and made each other mad
But if you weren't my sister, my life would be so sad
We've cried till we laughed and laughed till we cried
Sometimes for no reason; we didn't even know why
We've whispered our deepest secrets only sisters could share
I love my sister dearly because she really cares
So whether we are together or we are far apart
You're my sister, my friend and forever in my heart.

I love you, Leah.

Happy 26th!

The best is yet to be.

Day 12/100

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nine Months

What a month! You are turning into a toddler right before our very eyes...

This month you:
  • Attended your third birthday party.
  • Went to your first Super Bowl party and watched the New Orleans Saints (31) beat the Indianapolis Colts (17).
  • Met my favorite dog, Winston.
  • Learned how to clap and can do it upon hearing "clap", "pat", "good job", and "yay Lucas" AND seeing it on TV.
  • Went in a swimming pool for the first time.
  • Had professional photos taken at Sears Portrait Studio.
  • Have almost eight teeth! The last three weeks have been torturous waiting for those incisors to break through.
  • Were fitted for and started wearing the Doc Band.
  • Fell in love with the swing and everything else there is to see and do at the park.
  • Love cause and effect toys (Silly Town, blocks) and games (peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek).
  • Are able to roll a ball back to me, hand me objects and feed me snacks from your stash. There are Cheerios and puffs are over this house!
  • Had to have your crib lowered because you are almost at the stage where you are pulling yourself up on things and that's just dangerous.
  • Rock back and forth on your hands and knees and scoot backwards. Thank goodness we had the house baby proofed in anticipation of you crawling soon...we hope. :)
  • Your eyes are still blue.
The best is yet to be.

Day 11/100

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Friday, March 5, 2010

Guest Post

I didn't get a guest post from your aunt Leah last month, but I think this one more than makes up for it!

Dear Lucas,

My 26th birthday is fast approaching so I thought that I would share with you 10 important things that I’ve learned so far in my life.

Of course you will be too young to understand them for a while but eventually, you will and I am just looking ahead. Enjoy:

1. Cherish your relationships. I don’t care if it’s with your mom or with a girl in high school that you fall in love with, cherish them. Don’t take them for granted and certainly tell people how you feel. Never assume they know. Take the time to understand these relationships and what makes each of them special.

2. Go to concerts and really enjoy them. I mean, get out of your seat and dance your butt off! That’s what concerts are for anyhow! Also, really take the time to listen to the lyrics in songs. They will help you get through a lot of things in your life. I don’t know where I would be without a lot of music out there.

3. Take pictures whenever you can. You will want these memories as your grow older. As you surely learn, I have lots of scrapbooks full of memories and I am grateful that I’ve started this hobby. I hope that you will be interested in photography too.

4. Keep in touch with your friends, at least, the ones that you care about. Even the friends that you haven’t seen in a few years, you never know when you’ll run into them again. You also never know when you’ll need to turn to one of these friends for something or other.

5. Do one thing that challenges you mentally and/or physically every year. It can be anything…. I am attempting to run a half marathon in September and that scares me to death but I know that if I train hard, I can do it. Just know that you can do anything you put your mind to.

6. I hope you find something in life that you are passionate about are able to pursue that. Focus on deciding what will motivate you to get out of bed in the morning. I really think that that is the key to true happiness. I just know that I need to work in the music industry for me to be truly happy in this life.

7. Don’t be a flake. I know too many people that say one thing but never get around to actually doing it and that drives me insane! Why is it so hard to stick to your word? Your mom is the opposite of a flake so I am sure that we don’t have to worry about you becoming one.

8. Worrying is pointless and doesn’t really help anyway. I worry way too much about everything and anything but it’s gotten much better the older I get. So, save yourself the trouble and time and just don’t get into the worrying habit at all.

9. Don’t obsess over what people think of you. I used to do this endlessly but just this year I have really come to an understanding that it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you. As long as you are happy with who you are, then it’s all good.

10. My favorite quote of all time says it all, “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” I hope you love endlessly.

All my love to you Lucas.

Your Aunt Leah

Great advice, sister. Thank you for being so good to me and my son. We love you.

The best is yet to be.

Day 10/100

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Middle Place

The Middle Place is Kelly Corrigan's memoir of her fight with breast cancer as well as her father's battle with prostate cancer.

My sister-in-law gave me this book for my birthday back in June, but I didn't have a chance to read it until over the holidays. I LOVED this book and it has been on my mind ever since I put it down.
I highly recommend it.

Aside from the tender and honest way Corrigan writes about her family, loss and personal battles, what I appreciated and related to most was her description of the "middle place", the period between raising her own children and still being a child herself.

"It is one thing to be a man's wife--quite another to be the mother of his children. In fact, once you become a mother, being a wife seems like a game you once played or a self-help book you were overly impressed with as a teenager that on second reading is puffy with common ideas. This was one of many things I had learned since crossing over into the middle place--that sliver of time when childhood and parenthood overlap. One day you're cheering your daughter through a swimming lesson or giving her a pat for crossing the monkey bars or reminding her to say "please," and the next, you're bragging to
your parents about your newest trick--a sweet potato recipe, a raise at work, a fix for your ant problem. It's a giant Venn diagram where you are the only member of both sets."

I shed more than a few tears reading this book and couldn't help but think about my own middle place. Here I am, a new mother experiencing more joy and frustration than I probably ever have before in my life and I don't have my parents here to share it with. They aren't here to tell me I'm doing it all wrong or doing it all right. I don't have them to consult, commiserate or argue with, bounce ideas off of, or ask them what they did with me when I was Lucas' age.

Yet, I'm still in that middle place.

Just because I lost my parents, does that mean I stopped being a kid myself? A daughter? Hmmmm, now which one of you faithful Letters For Lucas readers is going to tackle that $25,000 question? It's a hard one. Even at 35 I felt like their kid and then with their deaths I had to grow up...fast. I had big time adult decisions to make and a younger sister to care for and advise and a brand new marriage.

Don't get me wrong, I don't need an "'atta girl", but validation is always nice, especially coming from your parents. No one can argue with that. They raised me well and I have to believe that they would be proud of me and the mother I am becoming.

My parents spirits push me forward and I do see them in my son. Becoming a mother made me realize how much they loved me and well, that has to be enough.

The best is yet to be.

Day 9/100

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Safety First

The baby proofer (Baby Safe Home) we hired is here today outfitting our house with baby gates, drawer and cabinet latches, toilet locks and furniture braces, all in an effort to keep Lucas safe.

We discovered that our home is
NOT protected by a carbon monoxide detector. I am sick over this and needless to say we are having one installed right now.

My parents died of carbon monoxide poisoning, so this is a topic that is very near and dear to me.

I feel like such an idiot! I was under the impression that all homes built after 1980 (in this country) were automatically equip with one. I didn't know how wrong I was!!

In North America, only
some state, provincial and municipal governments have statutes requiring installation of CO detectors in construction - among them: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia, as well as New York City.

Please, please, please check that your home has one and if not, get one immediately!!

The devices, which retail for $20-$60 and are widely available, can either be battery-operated or AC powered (with or without a battery backup). Battery lifetimes have been increasing as the technology has developed and certain battery powered devices now advertise a battery lifetime of over 6 years. All CO detectors have "test" buttons like smoke detectors.

CO detectors can be placed near the ceiling or near the floor because CO is very close to the same density as air.

Since CO is colorless, tasteless and odorless, detection in a home environment is impossible without such a warning device. It is a highly toxic inhalant and attracts to the hemoglobin (in the blood stream) 200x faster than oxygen, producing inadequate amounts of oxygen traveling through the body. It can kill.

For more information, please visit the Public Safety and Security Information Hub Web site.

The best is yet to be and I will sleep a little better tonight.

Day 8/100

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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tipping Point

I used to cringe when I would see a family get up from a table at a restaurant leaving behind what looked like a bomb went off. I thought, how rude or I hope they left a big tip because someone is going to have to pick that up.

Ever since you started eating solid foods and can be kept mildly entertained by munching on Cheerios and biscuits while your dad and I try to enjoy a meal out, after we are done, I get down on my hands and knees and pick up your crumbs. I also apologize profusely to our waiter, but that should be a given. Is this what is expected of me or am I just being neurotic? Don't get me wrong, I'm not armed with a slew of cleaning products or anything, but I do pick up food thrown/dropped on the floor, mop up spills, and just generally try and keep the mayhem under control.

I really don't know what the protocol is on this. I have never worked in food service, but I certainly appreciate how hard wait staff and bus boys work. My question to all of you moms out there is, what do you do? Do you clean up after your kid or tip more when your tot makes a mess? Perhaps it depends on the mess and the type of establishment and how often we frequent it, etc. A handful of Cheerios isn't really a big deal, but if it's a entire bowl of peas and carrots, maybe so? I don't know, you tell me.

The best is yet to be.

Day 7/100

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