Grace can now open doors.  Our whole world changed overnight.

Yesterday morning I made my way into the kitchen to grab Grace's milk before I went into her room to start getting her ready.

All of a sudden, I heard a THUMP.

Then the unmistakeable pat-pat-pat-pat of little feet running.

As I peaked around the corner, I saw my beautiful, precious little angel running toward me with a gigantic smile on her face.  She was so proud of herself!

Last night the reality of her new skill sunk in.  With an anvil.

At 1:36 AM - THUMP. Pat-pat-pat-pat.

Grace had opened her door to free reign of the entire house.


I Sorry, I Sorry

I've learned recently that I have to be really careful what I say.  G repeats everything!

While we were at the beach a couple weeks ago, I noticed that G started saying "I sorry" when she got hurt.  She would bang her head on the table. "I sorry."  She would trip over one of her toys.  "I sorry."

Apparently, she picked up on the fact that whenever she gets a bump or bruise and comes over to me, I will inspect the injury and say "Oh, I'm sorry you got hurt."  Or something to that effect.

G has eczema between her toes.  That area of her foot bothers her - especially when I have to put the cream on it.  As soon as she sees that cream in my hand, she starts yelling. "I sorry! I sorry!"

The other day we made quite a sight.  G was squirming.  I had to pin her down just to get the cream on her foot. As I was struggling to hold G down and she was yelling "I sorry! I sorry!" at the top of her lungs, my husband casually strolled by the room.

Just another day with an almost-nineteen-month-old diva.


17 Month Words

Mama Grace (Gace) Daddy Papa Max puppy dog kitty cat shoes sock ball cup milk juice toes fish bunny horse (hoss) bubbles diaper (die-pah) baby boy girl good no bat (although I think she means "that") banana nose eye hot hat donkey dog 


My Latest Enemies

To clarify, I'm talking about the Japanese Beatles, not my precious roses :-)


Snowball Bushes

When I was growing up, my grandmother had a beautiful bush beside her front porch that she called a snowball bush. Now, my grandmother had her own name for things. So, I was never really sure if that was the real name or if that was something she just called it.

The bush grew as big as the front door. Every year I would get so excited to see the big blooms. Then about 10 years ago, it died. My grandmother had Alzheimer's by this time. I never got to ask her if that was the real name of the bush.

Last summer, while strolling through the endless flowers at Lowes, I saw one labeled "Snowball". So, I HAD to have it. J planted it for me. It was a tiny thing and I watered it and cared for it.

Enter summer. My grandfather died, followed by my grandmother. When I finally caught my breath enough to look at my plants, the snowball bush had withered.

This spring, I was getting ready to pull up the dead bush.  I didn't have the heart to do it last year. As I reached down, I noticed tiny green bulbs were beginning to sprout from the ends of the "dead" branches.  I froze. It was a miracle! I could almost her my grandmother's voice. The bush was alive!

Yesterday, after many months of spending weekends cleaning their house, my family held an estate sell at my grandparents. As I walked around to the door, I saw something out of the corner of my eye that made my heart stop. My grandmother's snowball bush - for the first time in 10 years - was in full bloom.

Now, it didn't have all the glory that it had under her touch. It was a little wild-looking. It was not the perfectly trimmed round bush exploding with blooms. Instead, it was a straight shoot into the air - about my height - with about 10 big snowballs.

I can't remember the last time nature has shown me something so beautiful.


Mysterious Mouth Things

Dear Grace,

Today you went to the dentist. I hated that you had to go. I tried really hard not to show you how completely un-cool with dentists I am. I don't think you fell for it.

You have a mysterious place in your mouth that looks like a canker sore. You have had it for months and your doctor initially thought it was just a blister that you kept biting as you gnaw on everything. This week, she thought we should go ahead and get it checked out. So, we found a pediatric dentist and off we went.

Your dad and I took you into the lobby. They had games! They had toys! They had an awesome tree maze on the wall where you slid the little bugs around the tree trunk with your little hands.

Then they called us back.

You sat in my lap on a big cushion seat and laid your head back into the dentist's lap. She was very gentle and reassuring to you, but you screamed like she was pulling out all your teeth anyway.

She got out her dental book and showed us pictures. She sent you to the oral surgeon to make sure she was right. She didn't charge us for our visit and gave you a sticker.

I wanted to ask her if she saw 31-year-olds, but your dad thought that might not be a good idea.

The oral surgeon visit went better. Your dad took you back and held you. Apparently, you turn on the screaming drama for my benefit. Who knew?

The oral surgeon confirmed that you have a clogged salivatory gland. He and the army of your dad will be removing this gland in two weeks. It's supposed to be NOT A BIG DEAL.

They won't numb you or anything. Just snip and it's over.

Your dad doesn't want me to go. He says he can't handle us both.

I hate this is happening to you, but it could be so much worse. So, at least we are grateful for that.

Love forever,


Bite Me

Today at daycare, some little punk kid bit my sweet precious baby.

According to the teacher, Grace was playing outside having a great time when this mean little kid in her class had the nerve to just come running up to her and bite her. ON THE HEAD!

Now she has a red set of teeth on the top of her forehead.

Okay, so I know. Kids will be kids. They bite. It happens. My kid will probably bite the other kids soon enough (especially since she's being shown how to do it!).

But, this is the first time in her young life that Grace has had to experience the just-plain-meanness of others. I'm claiming my right to be angry about it!

Luckily for that kid, he gets to remain in anonymity - identity only known by the teacher, his parents and my poor innocent baby.


Dancing to the Blue Light

Today, for the first time in my life, I was pulled for speeding.

I was driving around a curve. I knew I was going a little fast. When I reached the end of the curve, I saw the policeman. He was sitting in a driveway, hidden by bushes. Sneaky, sneaky.

He blinked his lights at me and I instantly slowed.

I continued on my way (5 below the speed limit) and he followed at a pretty good distance behind me. "Safe." I thought.

About a mile down the road, the policeman turned on his lights and pulled me over. I honestly didn't know they did that. I thought if they caught you in a place where there was lots of room to pull over that they would go ahead and do so.

Anyway, I was trembling but not crying. I always wondered how I would act, what I would say, etc. It turns out that I will act like a complete dork. But not a crying dork.

Mr. Officer got my license and registration. He was rude and I was shaking. I told him that I had never been in this situation before, so I was nervous. I didn't want him to think that I was hiding something or acting suspicious for some criminal reason.

Him: "Not even a warning?"
Me: "No Sir" (check out the politeness)
Him: "Well, slow down then."

He let me go.

I did slow down. I set my cruise to make sure of it.


Day Care

Dear Grace,

Today you started daycare.

This decision came after many months of struggle for me that I have tried my best to make you unaware of.

The bottom line is this - your grandma wanted to keep you during the day the first year of your life. We thought it would be a good thing. You have had lots of bonding time and we didn't have to worry too much about expenses. She would have kept you longer - she kept extending the time that she wanted to keep you. But, your dad & I think you are ready for something more.

Now you are over a year old and you are coming to a stage in your life where you are ready to learn school-type things. You have a desire to watch kids your age. It's time.

The daycare is a nice one. The nicest one in our area. I visited the building and met your teacher. I'm using "nice" a lot, but they were very nice too.

Your cousin Meltdown goes there and she adores you. That's a big plus - you know one of the bigger kids who will always be on your side. Unless you pull her dog's tail. She *is* 4, you know.

This morning, I packed you in the car just like I always do. We sang in the car as we were drivinglike we always do.

We got out at a strange place. That's when the confusion began. You snapped to attention - knowing immediately something was going on. We went inside and I handed you over to the nice lady.

You went hysterical.

I could barely talk to the nice lady over your screaming. I wanted to be sure that she had all the instructions to cater to your every need.

She smiled reassuringly at me. She's done this before. A lot.

I kissed you and told you I loved you. Then I left the room.

I had to fill out more paperwork, so I was there for a while. I could hear you all the way down the hall.

When I left the building, I thought that they were going to have to push me out the door.  I may have smiled at you and tried to comfort you, but I want you to know when you are old enough to read this that it was HARD.  I did not want to leave you in the hands of someone I don't *really* know.  Each of your cries broke my heart a little more.  *I* cried too.  All the way home.

I was so upset that I did what I always do when I am broken hearted. I called *my* Daddy and whined over the phone. He assured me that you would be fine - even have fun.

I checked on you during my lunch time. You don't know this. I snuck in the door and peered at you in the high chair during your lunch. You were letting the nice lady feed you. You didn't see me and I worked really hard not to barge through the door and snatch you up.

You will adjust to daycare. Experts have told me this. And, when you do, you will like it. Who knows? You might even learn to take a nap.  When the nice lady told me you would be taking a two hour nap at the same time every day when we met, I laughed at her silently and thought "Good Luck".

When I picked you up, you were playing. You started flipping out the moment you saw me. You pushed away all the other kids and teachers to get to me. I snatched you up and you held on for dear life. Both of us did.

I love you so much, my sweet little angel.

Love forever,


The MiL and the Car Seat

It's been a while since I have sat down and complained about the MiL to anyone. We continue to have these incidents where she takes it upon herself to make decisions for Grace that she does not bother to get my opinion.  Then, after the fact, she brags to me about it.  I'm tired of it, but I've pretty much stopped complaining to J. It is his mom and it makes him uncomfortable when I  bring up something that disagrees with her sacred Order of Things.  Most things are technically minor, but I still stay pretty irritated.

Having said all that, the latest battle, which I'm now facing alone, is over the car seat.  I was informed about two weeks ago that Grace is now One, so therefore it is time that we can lose the heavy-as-all-get-out infant car seat for the much more convenient forward-facing variety.

Well, I have a problem with this.  My child is petite. She's not quite the recommended 20 pounds. (She's probably 19 something by now, but still NOT 20.)  Besides, I've read tons of information about how much safer rear-facing car seats are, so I'm not in a terrible hurry to switch.

I told the MiL this and expected to have a reprieve of the subject until I (the PARENT) brought it up again.

Saturday, the MiL bought a forward-facing car seat and informed us that we would no longer need to leave the infant car seat with Grace when we drop her off in the mornings.

Sunday night, the MiL watched Grace while J & I were at choir/orchestra practice and brought her to church.  She informed me that "Grace loves the new carseat. She did so much better than that other one."

A background note...Grace hates driving in the dark. Sometimes she screams the entire ride. Apparently the forward facing car seat is the solution to this problem.  But, it is a solution that I would like to implement.  When I feel that Grace is big enough.


No Takebacks

Grace's little friend Sophia (~18 months) just got a new little brother.

Sophia is a mild-mannered child.  She rarely throws a tantrum and is just all-around pleasant to be around.  She's the baby in the nursery that I want Grace to watch and learn from. Or until this week, that is.

Sophia's not taking to the role of a big sister in a now-family-of-four so well.  In fact, she does not want anything to do with her little brother.

This week, at the doctor's office after his check-up, her mom packed up new baby Elliot.  Sophia looked directly at him.  "Bye-bye Baby." she said. And she grabbed her mom's hand and headed for the door.

Her mom scooped her up while trying to stifle her laughter. "Sophia, I'm sorry honey, but we can't just leave him here."


My Little Valentine

Here's the Valentine's card we are sending out this year...

We bribed Grace to hold her hand out for this photo (the full version is in a previous post) by offering her a forbidden cell phone to play with!

The idea (my sister-in-law's) was to make a cut in the printed photo on top of her hand & below her hand and insert a lollipop so that it would look like Grace was handing the recipient a lollipop. This would have been super-cute, but I ran out of time and someone ate all the lollipops that I bought for this project!

So, they will just have to settle for irresistible cuteness.


A Busted Tire, A Dented Rim and a Long Drive Home

Today, my lunch break ended dramatically.  I hit a pothole.

You see, this pothole has been in this location a very long time.  I knew it was there.  But, today, I hit it.  Today there was an oncoming car in the other lane and stopping was out of the question, so in that split-second decision between pothole and hitting another car head-on, I chose pothole.  I probably made the wrong choice.

The thud as my car landed back onto the ground after sailing in the air was as deflating as my tire (and my wallet and my pride and well, you get the point) was about to be.

I pulled over to get out and survey the damage.  The tire had already sunken.  Panic set in as I called my husband (who was 4 hours away from me).  He didn't pick up.

Then, I looked up.  Like a mirage in the desert, there was a tire place right beside where I pulled my car off the road.  I carefully rolled it into the parking lot.

After waiting about an hour, I learned that I would need a new rim and four new tires.  Apparently, the tires in my year-old car were so worn down that all of them needed to be replaced.  They could have it back to me tomorrow.

Problem.  I work an hour and a half away from home.  No one could come get me or take me home.  So, I paid them a $10 fee and let them put my spare on.

Going 50 miles an hour makes my ride home completely unbearable.  Everyone passed me as if I was standing still.  I had to set my cruise so I could successfully suppress my lead-foot urges.

I finally got a hold of J, who called the dealership.  They could work me in, so I limped into the parking lot a couple of hours later.  Okay, maybe just two hours, but going 50 miles an hour will not only put me half to sleep - it puts my sense of time way off.

4 hours later (and this time I'm sure about the time), the service guy came and gently broke the news to me that my rim was dented beyond repair by the dealership.  He recommended a specialty place in the hopes that we could save the outrageous expense of ordering a new one.

So, now I'm in a rental car for who-knows-how-long.

Stupid pothole.


So Where Am I, Anyway?

Though you might find me on Twitter (thanks to Twitterberry on my phone), I have not had the chance to be online a lot in the last month. It's because for the last month, I have been working on a project that involves me commuting one hour (per direction) each day. While I am so unbelievably grateful for the work, being gone all day and then coming home to an energetic almost-one-year-old is physically (and sometimes emotionally) exhausting.

Since my daughter is PRIORITY ONE, I just cannot seem to find the time to get online. As soon as Grace sees me head towards the computer, she crawls directly to the dogs' water bowls and starts sticking her hand in. All the while, she watches me with a big grin on her face.

The decision to take this job was a hard one. I would love more than anything to be able to afford to stay at home with my daughter. But, that is just not financially possible for us. I have to work.

With the economy the way that it is, project management work is hard to come by. So, I had to take a major, major pay cut. But, on the bright side, the work I am doing now stays at WORK. By the time I get in the car, I have left work completely behind.

Because of the commute, it was a hard decision. I have to be an hour away from Grace. I miss her so much while I'm gone that it's unbearable at times. I got some grief from others (thanks Mom) to reinforce my depression.

The bottom line was that I HAD to work and there were NO jobs in my area unless I took something for minimum wage WAY outside my chosen field. Since those pesky lenders require us to pay a mortgage and all, I'm completely stuck.

So, I hope you'll bear with me through this stage! I'll check in when I can.


3 Days of Doctor

Dear Grace,

A few weeks ago, you had an ear infection. At your follow-up appointment at the end of December, much to our relief everything looked fine. However, you never stopped coughing or having a runny nose. This past weekend, you began running a fever. Your dad had to hold me back from running you straight to the emergency room. So, Monday we took you to the doctor as soon as we could get you worked in.

We thought it was just another cold or something, but the doctor told us you was showing signs of pneumonia (insert my terrified thoughts of panic here). On top of this, you had lost a few ounces since your last visit (which of course, is a big deal to a baby). So, the doctor gave you an antibiotic shot (which you hated) and ordered you to come back the next day.

Four hours later, when the shot had completely worked in your system, your fever broke. On Tuesday morning, you woke up with clear nostrils for the first time in weeks. I took you back for your follow-up. Fever was still gone and according to the doctor your nose & throat looked good. But, your ears looked "Yucky". I'm sure that the doctor said "Yucky" to lessen my anxiety as your mother. But, I saw the face that she made when she saw your ears. She ordered the antibiotic shot again with another follow up visit for the next day.

This time, you saw the needle coming and began squirming as soon as it came into your line of vision. It took every ounce of strength inside of me (plus knowing that it was ultimately for your good) to let them give you that shot without tackling them to the ground and saving you from that horrific look of panic on your face. This time, you didn't stop screaming as soon as I picked you up. You screamed until you were dressed, walking out the door and had the miraculous Puffs in your mouth.

You had such a good day for the rest of the day. You felt better (with the exception of the accident that caused the humongous bruise that is now on your forehead - which is a different story). You laughed and played and were back to your normal little self.

Yesterday, Daddy took you to the follow up because you were feeling well enough that I went on to work. Your ears looked better this time, but there was still enough infection that they gave you the shot again. This time, you screamed as soon as you saw the needle. Daddy was surprised that you realized what was going on enough to be afraid. Silly Daddy. He didn't realize just how much you have learned about cause & effect lately!

The good news that you don't have to go back until your one-year check up. I cannot believe that time is so close now. I have no idea what happened to this year. Your birthday right around the corner.

I hope you feel better completely soon sweetheart.

Love Forever,