Finding Boots

I have a problem. I love boots. Boots do not love me. In fact, they hate my guts.

I was born with an assortment of bone spurs. My entire life, I have been extremely self conscious about the appearance of my legs. I have several around my knee area. The average person probably does not even notice, but it has always been a sore point for me.

When I was in the 6th grade, a boy in my gym class and I were talking. I told him that I could not bend my leg over a certain angle. He told me that he had never noticed and that my knees looked fine - only a little knobby when you stared at them long enough. I swear I would have married him right then and there.

After many years, I have grown to accept my knees. My calves, however, are a different story. I have spurs on both legs right in the center of the calves. These suckers cannot be seen outwardly, but they are horribly problematic when zipping up boots.

I cannot zip up regular boots. They simply will not close, and since it's my bone there is no chance of smooshing.

Several years ago, I happened upon some boots in a Bass outlet store. These boots were not high heeled, but they were made of a stretchy leather material with no zippers. I had to buy a size larger than I would normally wear, but I snatched them up immediately. Oh how I loved those boots.

Fast forward a couple of years, and the boots were absolutely worn out. The ends were scuffed and the shaft had teeth marks from my dog ransacking my closet.

It took me months of searching store after store and trying on hundreds of boots before I found a replacement pair. (Wouldn't you know that Bass did not make that style anymore!) The replacement boots and I have never quite hit it off. They are wide-calf boots and they will zip up, but I do not like how they are made. The leather is so hard that the dents that boots naturally develop dig into my ankles when I walk. I've had them about two years now and the problems are getting worse instead of better.

So, I find myself in need of new, comfortable boots that I cannot afford to pay a fortune for. Because of my situation, I really need to try them on, so I am not really comfortable ordering them online.

Today was the first attempt. I tried on a few at a massive shoe warehouse during my lunch break, but left with only a heavy heart.

O Beautiful-Boots-That-I-Can-Actually-Wear, where are you?


Crashing Disney Princesses

For Christmas, my parents gave Grace this ride-on toy, complete with lots of bells and whistles (and dancing Disney Princesses):

For Grace's age, the back can convert to a "handle" that goes all the way around and sticks straight out the back for ease-of-pushing. Genius.

Grace loves this thing. She's in a clingy stage now and this is perfect for that. I can push her all around the house so that she is right with me wherever I go.

Yesterday we discovered it has a downfall.

J & I had been taking turns pushing her around. While she was stopped, she started trying to crawl over the handlebar to get out and it turned over on her. She was right behind J, but he could not catch her.

She fell face-first on our hardwood floor.

I cannot even describe for you the tears (mine and hers) and the screaming (hers) that followed.

She now has a "goose egg" right in the center of her forehead.

Five minutes later, she crawled right back to it for another round. I, however, have not recovered yet.


You Looking at Me?

This morning, I awoke to Grace stirring. I clicked the view on the monitor to see what she was up to.

We have one of those monitors with a camera that lets you see your precious little bundle of joy on a handheld device. I got it from the company that I worked for previously. One of the few benefits from the time I was there. But I digress.

Being VERY early in the morning, the monitor was still in nighttime vision mode - everything is in black, white and grey. I saw a white blur. I moved the directional buttons to try to find her in the crib. I begin panicking. Then, suddenly, I saw movement. The white blur began to move further away and take form. I had been looking at Grace's cheek.

She was standing right up against the camera.

As she continued to move her head around, I saw an eye. She continued backing up until I could see her whole beautiful face.

Then, I saw a hand approach slowly, with hesitation, until it was all I could see.

She had grabbed the camera.

I began to hear all kinds of noises as she discovered that she could move the camera. My view on the monitor screen began to spin wildly - Blair Witch style.

This continued for a while, until it occurred to me that she is now completely capable of breaking things. Including cameras that I really don't want to have to replace.

I went into her room to find one very happy baby with a tight grip on the camera. And a heart-melting smile.


The MiL and the Noodles

Today the MiL took Grace shopping with her to the nearest city with a mall.

The MiL bought all her Christmas gifts for this year last year right after Christmas. She spent the whole year bragging about how her shopping was already done. So, now that crunch time quickly approaches, she realized that about 5 of her gifts were missing.

"Hahaha!" I say to her quietly, under my breath. "Serves you right for bragging about it."

So anyway, she decided to go replace the missing gifts today. My sister-in-law and one of her sons went with her and they made a day of it.

When lunch approached, they decided to stop and eat at a pizza buffet. She realized that she had left Grace's solid food at home. So, instead of just giving her formula, she grabbed some noodles off the bar and gave them to her.

Grace ate noodles and loved them.

"So, what's the big deal?", you may ask. She's old enough and she enjoyed them, right?
The big deal is that I was not there. I send Grace's food with her every day. I control her diet. I have never given permission for any "grown-up" food. And most importantly - Grace had never had anything like that before and I, who carried her in my womb, come running when she cries, rock her to sleep every night, take care of her every need and love her with my complete heart, deserved to be the one to feed her something so wonderful for the first time.

I'm heartbroken. Over noodles.


A Tough Two Weeks

Dear Grace,

It has been a miserable two weeks for you and I. You have had an ear infection in both ears. This is the first time that you have truly been sick in your young life. I have wished every moment that I could take away everything that hurts you and bothers you. You are restless and you cannot get comfortable. You do not want your milk or your toys. You especially do not want to lie down and rest.

The doctor prescribed Amoxicillin and breathing treatments. You like the medicine (we have convinced you that it tastes wonderful), but you hate the breathing treatments. You squirm and start SCREAMING when we bring the mask near your face. I really cannot say that I blame you, but it is pitiful to watch. Your Dad is usually the brave one that does the treatments, because I cannot bear to cause you such agony - even though it is only to make you feel better in the end.

You are at a fun stage right now in your mobility development. You can sit up now, which has opened a whole new world for you. Before, when you ended up on your belly, you would lay there and cry - thrashing your arms for added dramatic effect. Now, you can simply sit up. Each time you sit up, you look around to make sure someone is watching you. You love applause, and you get a lot of it!

The down-side to your movement is that I can no longer trust you to your handy gym. Before, you could lay there for a long amount of time, kicking and swatting at the various toys dangling before you. Now, you roll. Somehow you never end up where I put you down!

You no longer allow us to change your diaper. As soon as the old diaper comes off, you start rolling. This has caused quite a few disasters. Your favorite thing to do while having your diaper changed is to reach into the supply basket above your head. You seem to do this at the most inconvenient, messiest times. Your dad and I have to tell you "No". You stop what you are doing, look at us and then resume rolling up to get into the basket. We have not figured out a good solution for this one yet.

You love the Christmas tree. We have lots of ornaments that *do* stuff and you are amazed. Your favorite seems to be one that plays "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". (BTW - If you really do want one, just tell Nana and Papa. I'm sure that they would go buy one for you.) You like shiny, sparkly things (just like me!).

The worst part about your being sick, is that I have been sick too. Really, really sick. It is so hard to care for you when I can barely stand up myself. You don't understand why Mommy takes so long to get your bottle. My coughing scares you sometimes and that breaks my heart! Your Dad tries to step up sometimes with your regular care, but somehow you end up with me again. Thank goodness I am getting better too.

We are working on our Christmas shopping. I love to take you shopping. You love to look at all the stuff. You are the star everywhere that we go. People stop us all the time and try to touch you. (Don't worry - I keep lots of hand sanitizer around for us.)

You Christmas pictures came back and our Christmas cards are printed and in the mail. Of course, you are the cutest, most beautiful baby EVER.

Love forever,