Saturday, November 28, 2009


The tradition stands. Although we did push it back a little this year. Instead of the day after Thanksgiving tree pilgrimage, we did the day after the day after tree pilgrimage.

Here is our story:

Girl finds tree and directs its destruction:

Girl has second thoughts on tree and thinks on it for a minute:

Girl watches in glee as the sentence placed upon the tree and it is removed from the earth for her amusement and appreciation:

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for family that welcomes us with open arms and unconcerned eyes cast towards the spots of bright red cranberry sauce mashed into their new beige carpet;

I am thankful for our healthy bodies and minds that let us live each day as we choose;

I am thankful for the opportunities that come our way through coincidence and perseverance;

I am thankful for the love and life we share with each other.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


In yesterday's post, I whined about how tired I was. To exemplify this Matt pointed out a bright spot to our weekend, a good thing that I so quickly forgot about in the comments.

When they first opened, Iron Bridge Wine Company was one of our favorite restaurants. Now, they are constantly crowded and thus overpriced, but they still remain one of our favorite wine shops. And boy do they know how to do a wine tasting.

Walking through the door you are greeting with boisterous salutations, instructions about discount deals, a tasting glass, and platters of crudité. Oh, and there is usually a raffle or two too.

It's an idea place to bring a cranky two year old ;), but whatever; she likes the atmosphere. And snacks. You just need to pay special attention to where her sticky little hands are going.

During the hub-a-baloo of 9am drinking, cheese eating and wine selections, Matt forgot all about the raffle drawing. I got a phone call minutes after he left the tasting from the same owner that was hugging customers as they walked through the door.

For moment I felt like I had been there.

Tell Matt to come back, he shouted over the phone in a game show voice, he's won two bee-you-tee-ful wine glasses!

And you know what? They are beautiful. They fall into the same category and good kitchen knives and out shine my collection of Waterford by a mile.

You should hear the sound these glasses make when they clink together! And the two of them together can hold an entire bottle of wine! Thank you Iron Bridge for the bright spot in our weekend.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It has been over 10 days since I last posted. For this I apologize. There have been many stories and moments worthy of note. I start writing the post in my head with little sticky notes on my memory and then .... nothing.


I am tired. I am now 16 weeks pregnant and not getting the 12 hours of sleep a day my body is demanding. So there is nothing. I instead have been choosing to live in the moments and forget them as soon as possible. Sure, they would make great vignettes of our lives and funny to the outsider and even to us in the future, but right now the stories are: terrible.

We have hit the terribles. I always assumed that stories of the dreaded terrible two's were exaggerations or examples of why Matt and I were in fact good parents, because the terribles weren't happening to us.

Sure, that is a little arrogant; especially given that Gracie is only 2 years and 1 month old now. But she's always been relatively mellow. Below the curve in emotional melt downs and above the curve in rational thought.

(At least that is what I imagine she is screaming in her head during the temper tantrums.)

Oh, and the temper tantrums!
~They are because she wants to get dressed, but how dare you take off my pajamas!
~They are because she took off her own pajamas, but how dare you put clothes on me!
~They are because she pooped, but how dare you change my diaper!
~They are because she is hungry, but how dare you put food in front of me!
~They are because she is exhausted from all the tantrums, but how dare you expect me to take a nap!

What is the point of this post again? Oh yeah, I'm tired. Matt is tired. There were way more tears this weekend than smiles. And I will try to get back to capturing the tears for future enjoyment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ho-panes, Hot-cop-ers and Other Assorted Transportation

We are going back to Chicago this weekend. First flight out on Saturday, first flight back on Monday morning. Easy breezy. Each side of the family gets 24 hours and then we are back to Maryland.

The trips are stressful. They take planning and scheduling and diplomacy to a degree where we are usually tired before we even step foot into the airport. As much as Matt and I love our families, trips back are just one more reminder that Chicago isn’t home anymore and that we are 600 miles away from the comforts of our infrastructure.

I may get caught up in the details of the trip, but Gracie, her focus and excitement is on something else completely.


Despite her proclivity towards jewels, Gracie is developing some tomboy-ish tendencies too.

The dump truck and fire engine is a thing of wonder. Yes, the two have little in common, but still, every dump truck gets a squeal of delight despite the smells oozing from it; and she seems to think every fire truck was created just for her enjoyment and is mourned with tears and exclamations of 'MY FIRE TRUCK!' when they hurry past.

Even better than these two though? Ho-panes and Hot-cop-ers.

(That would read airplanes and helicopters to those who are not 100% versed in Gracie speak.)

We live close enough to BWI Airport that planes are a regular occurrence. Early mornings, with the mass take-offs are particularly delightful to Gracie. I grew up a mild distance from Midway Airport, so the noise of low flying jets rarely attracts my attention. Gracie on the other hand, must spend a good portion of her day with her ho-pane radar up.

And this 48 hour trip to see family, sure she runs through the list of who she will see during those two days:

Mama, where Unkey Jer at? He’s at work. In Chicago.
Mama, we see Unkey Jer when we take ho-pane to Cago? Yes, love, we will see him.

Mama, where Grandpa at? He’s watching TV. In Chicago.
Mama, we see Grandpa when we take ho-pane to Cago? Yes, love, we will see him.

Mama, where PaPa at? He’s at his cabin in Wisconsin.
Mama, we see PaPa when we take ho-pane to Cago? Yes, love, we will see him.

Mama, where Michael at? (The 19 yr old neighbor boy) He’s making sandwiches. (He works at a Panera)
Mama, we no see Michael when we take ho-pane to Cago. Yes, love, Michael has to stay here and make more sandwiches.

So just like her parents, Gracie’s true thrill will come with the end caps of this trip and her real life encounter with her very own ho-pane.

And you can bet that I won’t be discouraging her from laying claim to the aircraft if that is what gets us through 2.5 hours in each direction without tears or temper-tantrums. She will be fine, me on the other hand, I cannot guarantee there will be no tears of exhaustion on my part.

Monday, November 9, 2009

What Happened to the Cake?

I’ve never really worried about my work performance as it relates to pregnancy before.

I work in a low-key environment where one colleague regularly shows up wearing flannel pajama bottoms and more than a few long time employees take BOTH November and December off every year.

What’s the big deal if I have to take 2-3 months off to pop out some new offspring, right? Nobody, besides the one guy I work with regularly, will even really miss me, right?

I dunno …. I’m nervous this time around.

A few weeks ago I was called into an office a few notches above my own and was offered a detail position, with a good possibility of it becoming permanent. I was beyond excited. There was a glitch though. I was being offered the opportunity because the current holder is pregnant and may not be coming back.

In the spirit of full disclosure I had to tell them I too was pregnant, but that I was 100% sure of my return. The response was nothing but positive and congratulatory, and was told some things needed to be discussed but I would hear something soon.

Maybe I’m impatient. I know I’m impatient. In my opinion though, soon has come and gone.

I think their ignoring me while trying to find a candidate that won’t be lactating in the next 6 months. I know I’ll never know the truth. They can’t tell me the truth if that is the problem. We can't sit down and have a frank discussion to solve scheduling problems if that is the problem. If I never move to that office though I know, deep down, it will be their loss. It is something I would be excellent at.

On Friday, I left work an hour early. My sense of smell is kicked up into bloodhound mode lately, and the smells of the office were getting to me. The Sharpie 2 cubes down, the striper-scent Bath and Body works next to me, 3 Xerox machines running at the same time. I couldn’t take it so I left.

My boss was getting ready to leave for the day when I went to sign out myself and I told him I was leaving early. When he asked why, I told him. The Sharpie, the lotion, the ozone - that’s why.

His response? He laughed and said I had nobody to blame for that but myself, as he signed my leave slip.

I know this man is not sensitive. He doesn’t have any children. I know he didn’t mean to be rude. But I also know he absolutely meant what he said.

I kept thinking about this all weekend. Thinking about things I should have said instead of opening and closing my mouth like a guppy. Thinking about whether there is some sort of ‘mommy glass ceiling’ that I never realized existed here before. I would choose the same path a million times over. I would rather have children and a family than promotions. I would choose going home to be with them hands down to working 12 hour days.

I just …. thought I could have both …. and am dismayed by the revelation of my naivety.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I know Gracie pays attention. That details don't really get past her. They just become absorbed until they are needed at a later date. The mundane of our lives that is part of the auto-pilot of the everyday.

At daycare this morning I was regaled with a story about such things.

Yesterday, Gracie was playing house (aka in the kitchen setup) with her two year old love J. The teachers said they were being good so they weren't really paying attention, until they started to notice the conversation they were having. Key words. Gracie's key word of 'honey'. That got their attention, so they started watching them play.

Gracie was bossing J around in the kitchen, telling him what to do and he allowing her to do so. After all her instructions were over, she picked up a purse, put it on her shoulder and declared, "Bye bye honey! I go work. You make me dinner!" and walked away from him.

The teachers erupted in laughter and started counting the minutes until they could pass the story onto me.

First of all: I have never demanded that Matt make me dinner. I have occasionally demanded that Matt be the one to order pizza or Chinese, but never a demand to cook.

Second of all: Do I have a bossy kid? I keep getting reports of this, but I just don't want to believe it.
I know I am bossy, but one of my most distinct childhood school memories is of my 2nd grade teacher making me stand in front of the class while she lectured me on the evils of tattletaling. My recollection of my tattletailing was because some boys in the class were calling me names. That episode drove me so far into a shell, I was afraid to raise my hand to even answer a question much less report on the cruelties inflicted by other kids now that they knew *I* would be the one in trouble if I told.
I don't want this for Gracie.

Finally: Where did she get the idea that I actually want to go to work? And leave Matt at home? Hell no kid, if I have to go to work, so does daddy.

This is me and Matt reflected though Gracie's eyes. Despite the 'of all's' of this, I embrace it. We are raising a strong little lady who knows her own mind.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The Wii generally tells me I have the body of a 40 year old.

Johns Hopkins Prenatal Genetic Counseling Department says I have the woumb of a 20 year old.

Averaged together you get my actual age of 30-ish, but I'm going to go with the country's best doctors on this one and start claiming 20 all over again.

Today we had part 2 of our NT ultrasound, which primarialy checks for Downs Syndrome. I go because it is one more chance to see the creature inside of me kicking around. Our first attempt was a week ago and V2 was still a smidge to small to run the test. So back we went this morning.

The good part of having to use 6 hours of leave for this adventure was that since my blood had been drawn last week we received immediate results today. Hence my declaraton of a 20 year old woumb. They handed me a little peice of paper with a graph on it declaring that our risk of having a Downs baby is the same as someone 20 years old, 1 > 10,000. We'll take those odds.

So without further delay, the first good picture of the newest member of our family.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Moving Up

True to our word, we did in fact get Gracie's new room together in a flurry this weekend.

And you know what? Totally worth it.
For the first time in weeks she not only fell asleep quickly in her bed, but slept soundly through the night. This morning, instead of the usual identifying cries announcing she is awake, she padded out of her room and into our bathroom. With a smile.

Here is the new - big girl - room.

As it looks right now....

As it will look when I create my polka-dots. (Cut me some slack on the artists rendering, OK? This took me a good 20 minutes to do.)

And the official big girl bed. Just high enough not to roll out, but low enough to scale out of.

This new room will bring us peace, right? Right?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween was .... challenging this year.

Gracie didn't want to wear her costume.
Gracie didn't want to say trick or treat OR thank you.
Gracie didn't like any costume that had teeth, including cutsie dinosaur heads on other toddlers.
Gracie didn't like any kind of head / face gear, including but not limited to: clown makeup, any kind of face paint, and masks both scary and cute.

We did however manage to snap a few pictures while she wasn't screaming or holding onto one of us for dear life. And then my camera started malfunctioning, so 1/3 are blurry and 1/3 won't download onto the computer even though I can see them *in* the camera.
This is what we are left with:

Our pumpkins.
Daddy pumpkin, Mama pumpkin, Gracie pumpkin and Little Ricky pumpkin. Gracie refused to touch the innards this year, so beyond decreeing we make 'happy faces' she had nothing to do with the process.

Gracie in costume and trick or treating.
Kind of. There was a death grip on fingers and a blatant refusal to actually take part in the act of trick or treating beyond acceptance and devouring of chocolate products.

Happy Halloween - let's hope 2010 is both more and less eventful.