Thursday, September 29, 2011

moonshine. and the moon shining.

I got all nostalgic about the mountains and seeing Lila playing in the river and it taking me back to my days of tubing down the French Broad as a camp counselor...and then I totally forgot to write about the rest of our weekend in Gatlinburg! I guess that is what happens when you have 3 major events at work in nine days. And then your brain dies. 

We had a great Labor Day weekend trip to Gatlinburg, TN with Brian's parents, brother and grandmother. I had never been to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. And it meant I got to spend at least 20 minutes of the 6 hour drive reading Brian fun facts about Dolly Parton (Pigeon Forge's most famous native) off Wikipedia on my phone. Did you know she has been married for over 45 years and her husband has only seen her perform in public once because he is so shy and does not like to be in the spotlight? Oh, and she has big boobs. 
The 6 hour drive with a toddler? Not so much. My personal limit is five hours in the car and this was pushing it. Especially when Lila decided to go on nap strike so she felt all the pressure changes as we drove through the mountains. Poor little one just cried and cried because her ears hurt. I was never so glad to get her out of the car and run around. 

We had an awesome time exploring the Gatlinburg area, the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and Pigeon Forge. Some of our favorite moments...

The Adorable Apple Barn, a cute apple orchard, store, bakery etc. that sells anything apple you can think of. We stocked up on apple pancake mix, apple butter and enjoyed some delicious apple cinnamon homemade ice cream. Lila enjoyed her nap. 

We also had the whole family down at the river in Great Smokey Mountains National park for a picnic and enjoying the amazing cool mountain air. 

Tennessee is a lot cooler than North Carolina and allows the sale of moonshine. Or more importantly, the tasting of moonshine. It was hilarious to watch the whole family taking mini-shots (imagine tiny communion cups filled with high alcohol content burning moonshine) as they all hopped around from the shock of the first taste. And it was obviously my first taste since responsible mothers have never taken shots out of unlabeled mason jars full of moonshine at fraternity parties. Obviously not. BTW: the peach moonshine was our favorite. 

We also had lots of fun being silly together and spending time watching Lila splash in big rain puddles and not caring about staying clean, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and beautiful moon beams on the mountain tops, and making memories together. Vacays are just the thing you need some time!

If we took a holiday
Took some time to celebrate
Just one day out of life
It would be, it would be so nice
~"Holiday" by Madonna

Monday, September 26, 2011

hear me roar

You know it is time for a haircut when...

You are innocently coloring with your toddler on the floor of the living room after dinner. She stops and looks at you, tilting her head to the side with a confused look on her face. And then buries her crayon in your curly hair, laughing as it sticks in place. And then does it again, and again, and again. Until you realize that you have lost robin's egg blue. Burn.

I almost cut my hair, it was happened just the other day.
It was getting kinda long, I could've said it was in my way.
But I didn't and I wonder why, I feel like letting my freak flag fly,
And I feel like I owe it to someone.
~"Almost Cut My Hair"  by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Thursday, September 22, 2011

more! more!

I had a work meeting today at a very yummy bakery close to my office. I justified the cranberry scone I bought along with my latte, saying I would take at least half of it home to Lila. Funny enough, that trick actually worked and I only ate a few delicious bites. I made it home just as Lila was waking up from her nap and my little one's empty tummy was ravenous. It was like she smelled the pastry bag from upstairs.

As she was drinking a giant cup of milk, I pulled apart a handful of pieces of the scone and put them on her plate at her little picnic table. I started answering a few emails while she ate and soon (way too soon for the amount of food), she came over to me asking for "More! More" with both words and sign language, which means she is very, very serious. 

I told her one minute while I finished my email, knowing I only needed less than the 60 seconds to get it sent out. Fifteen seconds later, Lila toddles over with her empty plate, setting it on the floor in front of me. "More! More!" Less than a minute Lila, Mommy promises. Fifteen seconds later, I realized she had won the battle as she toddles around the corner, now holding the pastry bag that she apparently sneaked off the table. "More? More?" Well played, Lila. Well played.

I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas. 
I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bananas. 
~"Apples and Bananas" by Raffi

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

i'll keep dancing anyway

As an event planner, my work flow comes and goes in waves. Down time when I am planning for an event, big build up right before, the high of getting it all out there and done, slowly wrapping up the details afterwards, and then crash. The fall is always busy with fundraising event for my job and this month is the pinnacle, with five events in six weeks. This week in particular included a golf tournament in Wilmington on Monday and a 5K this upcoming Saturday. Four days apart. Basically I don't sleep for multiple nights in a row, take some Ambien to try and grab a little rest and then run like crazy again. Not really the best for my sleep or body but it must be done. Don't feel bad for me, I thrive off of my job and the excitement of seeing my work played out into an amazing event.

On Saturday night, I had worked all day trying to get some last minute details done that could not be completed until right before the event. I had to leave the next day to drive down to Wilmington to start the prep work for the tournament. As I wrapped up my work in the evening, I realized the printer labels I had bought were the wrong size...doi! So I jumped in the car to run to Walmart, praying they for one time actually had the exact thing I was looking for. I was feeling so tired and turned on the radio hoping for something to distract me. 

Apparently our Christian radio station felt my pain and announced they were playing something to get me dancing, so crank the radio up. And then God gave me just the pick me up I needed to make it through the next two days, put on a successful golf tournament, raise a lot of money, and fall asleep last night mid-sentence to Brian.

When life wont play along and right keeps going wrong
And I cant seem to find my way
I know where I am found so I wont let it drag me down
Oh, I'll keep dancing anyway
I'm gonna move, I'm gonna move, I'm gonna move 
~"Move" by MercyMe

Thursday, September 15, 2011

kicking and screaming

You trick yourself into actually thinking you have a choice about what and when you eat dinner. But there is no choice, in reality. It seems so normal to be able to sit and enjoy a wonderful meal you made (or lovingly bought pre-made). Such a simple request. And then you had a toddler. 

I sit her down at in her high chair at the food court at the mall, trying to toddler food prep as fast as my hands can cut fruit with a flimsy plastic knife, pour milk into the sippy cup, and simultaneously blow on the chicken strip as she screams "HOT! HOT!" at the top of her lungs. I am starting to sweat and the odd non-parent is glancing over. I finally have her contained and content, happily chewing away at her Chick-fil-a and giving me silly smiles. 

I breathe a sigh of relief and start eating my delicious indulgence of a Five Guys burger. If I am going to eat a burger, I go big or go home. As I am half way through enjoying my yummy dinner, I start noticing Lila glancing around and pushing her chicken to the edge of her plastic placemat. Uh oh. 

I start eating faster. She appears to sense my panic and starts swinging her leg, kicking her high chair. I am now inhaling my burger. She counters with a loud screech, knocking her sippy cup over. Now parents and non-parents alike are craning to see why no one is attending to the clearly distraught and neglected child. I reach in my purse and pull out the last resort, the squeezable applesauce. I know from experience the eating is over. I have approximately 45 seconds to throw away trash, pack up the bags and get her in the stroller before she sucks the end of the fruit. I am over by 10 seconds. 
And the toddler fit ensues. The kicking and hitting, the high pitched bellow, the throwing of the Grinch stuffed animal. I am now that mom, head down and refusing to make eye contact as Lila arches her back against the constraints of her evil stroller straps. "NO, NO MOMMY!" She screams as I walk us across the mall, trying to turn herself around in her stroller until the very moment I walk out into the parking lot. Silence. "Hi Mommy! Bye bye? Haha!"

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.  
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, September 12, 2011

breezy mountain day

I closed my eyes and heard the sound of the river as it rushed over the rocks, getting caught in swirling pools between the boulders. I can still taste the salty mix of M&M's, raisins, sunflower seeds and peanuts we would munch in the canoes for a snack. I hear the sounds of the girls laughing, reaching over the wooden edge of the boat to cup a palm full of cool mountain water and splash it on each other's arms. 
Those days working as a camp counselor always seem closer than the many years ago when I go back to the mountains. I think back to the mornings waking up at dawn to hear the birds chirping outside my cabin and pulling my sleeping bag closer against the morning chill. I hope Lila has a summer at camp when she is older, a summer filled with lake dives, hand built camp fires and friendship bracelets. 
As I watched her surprised look of excitement as I let her feet edge into the cold water, I giggled along with her. She edged out along the riverbed, squealing with glee as the water climbed higher on her legs. Reaching over and patting the top of the water with her hands, she would try to catch the leaves drifting by. I closed my eyes and laughed, knowing my girl felt the same warmth of the mountains in her heart as I still do today.
Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, 
you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
~Winnie the Pooh

Friday, September 9, 2011

too cool for school

Since I went back to work when Lila was four months old, she has stayed two days a week with a wonderful lady named Tammy at her home daycare. She was amazing for our baby, loving her, teaching her, helping her grow from a baby to a toddler. We loved knowing Lila was safe in Tammy's home, being taught to sit up, then crawl, then walk with her Tammy-Momma to celebrate with her at every milestone. But in the last few months, we felt it was time for Lila to move to an educational center where she could have more interaction with kids in her age group. We were also ready to have her a little closer to our house, since Tammy's daycare was 30 minutes from our home and work. 
So we said goodbye to Miss Tammy last week after a year at her home. We will miss her and I know Lila will be excited for our playdates at her house every now and then! Today was Lila's first day at her new daycare, The Goddard School, which is an educational center that has centers throughout the country. They focus on teaching skills through different activity centers and a focus on flexibility and fun (duh, who doesn't like to play?). 

Getting Lila ready for her new "school" was totally overwhelming as there are five million forms, medical releases, labeling of all her extra clothes and food items, etc. I totally had a freak out moment where I felt like she was actually going off to start her school year and you guys, she is only eighteen months old! She still drinks her milk sippy cup next to me in bed every morning while watching Fresh Beats Band. And then two seconds later she is sharing her toys with Andrew and giving me an annoyed hand wave while I try to kiss her goodbye. I am so five minutes ago. 
To prepare for her big day, we got our first haircut last night from Auntie KT to trim up her bangs that keep falling in her eyes. Which I then collected and put into a ziplock which my sister labeled "creepy". 

I packed up her little lunch of whole wheat pita slices, steamed carrots, sliced strawberries, string cheese and a Trader Joe's Apple Banana Crusher (her favorite snack EVER!) I ordered these adorable cup and plate labels for Lila from Cherry Hill Designs. This is not a sponsored post but boy, do I think they are super cute and they totally stay on and do not fade in the dishwasher. 

We had to pick her perfect first first day of school outfit. Which of course had to match her new cupcake backpack. And the Grinch. 

Her day was amazing, minus the first hour of the day when she apparently sat with her Grinch and pacifier crying and watched the other kids play. Until it was snack time. And then all was right with the world. She played hard outside and didn't want to come in from their super cool playground. She made a painting with her handprints. Fell asleep in under a minute during nap. And tried to trade her string cheese for a little boy's chicken at lunch...obviously. We celebrated with pizza dinner for a successful first first day of school. The first of many first days to come. 

We don't need no education, We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom, Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey teacher leave them kids alone 
~"Another Brick In the Wall" by Pink Floyd

Thursday, September 8, 2011

grande soy caramel macchiato

My boss and I are taking a road trip to Wilmington tomorrow (about 3 hours away) for a monthly meeting we have in that town to plan a golf tournament there. The golf tournament is in a few weeks so thank God the 6 hour roundtrip drive for an hour and a half meeting is our last one until next year's event. Seriously people, carbon footprint? Conference call? 2011? Ever hear of them? 

The only perk in this otherwise waste of my day is that my boss and I meet up at Starbucks to hit the road. Meaning I get to splurge on one of these lovely drinks and enjoy it the whole way there. Okay, who am I kidding, it will be gone before I get out of Raleigh. 
The sad thing is that I have been thinking about that coffee goodness since I packed up my work bag at 5pm. All evening. Like there is not a Starbucks five minutes from my house where I could just get one tonight. Apparently I need more suspense and anticipation in my life. 

I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, 
but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee.  
~Flash Rosenberg

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

pinning for fall

I haven't done a Pinterest post in a while, which is sad because it is basically my favorite time waster ever. I would just like to go on the record though and say that Pinterest needs to get with the times and get an Android app. Because lots of cool people do not have iPhones. Step up Pinterest. 

We spent this last weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with Brian's family and I came home in the mood for fall. Maybe it was the slightly tinted leaves already turning beautiful shades of buttery yellow, burnt orange and cherry red. Maybe it was the air that did not choke me like a wet paper towel on my face when I opened the door. Maybe it was wearing my super cute Ann Taylor khaki jacket I bought last spring to replace the corduroy jacket I have been wearing since high school. The only thing I still own from high school. Cause you know my hips can't fit into any pants from then. I like big butts and I cannot lie.
Source: via Lindsay on Pinterest
I want to feel boots on my feet and a sweater on my arms. Without sweating profusely.

My slow cooker better be busy this fall. And my tummy better be full of pumpkin. I'm just sayin. 

Maybe I will head over to Michael's and buy supplies to make a fall wreath with Lila instead of using all those coupons as bug killer smushing paper. Or maybe I will just shrug my shoulders, say "Eh, screw it" and go buy a radically expensive one. It's a toss up really.

My brother-in-law Peter makes the best risotto on planet Earth. Maybe I will bribe him with free MBA paper editing if he makes this for me. That is my idea of "homemade" by the way. 

I want to put these adorable pants on Lila's little toddler butt right this second. Girls can rock the monsters too.

Monday, September 5, 2011

mom autopilot

There is that moment as a mom. Where you see your child right in front of you, but just out of reach as it is happening. When your body goes into mom autopilot and you move before you can even think to move. But you still can't make your feet move any faster. I watched her reach for the hot cup of coffee from across the room and gasped as she grabbed it from the table that should have been out of her reach, turning it upside down as she pulled it off. I heard her scream as the hot liquid hit her face and I ran to grab it away from her, scooping her up and running with her to the sink. My body knew to turn on the cold water and spray her face with the sink hose when all I could think was "Oh my God, her face. Oh my God."
Thank God for being at the house of another mom who acted in the same quiet, calm mom movements, testing the coffee temperature and giving me a silent look that let me know it was way too hot. Who quickly followed me up the stairs and turned on the cold water in her tub without needing explanation. Who yelled down to Brian to call our friend who is a PA before I could even finish the sentence. Who quickly packed Lila snacks and a fresh sippy cup of water as I watched the allover redness from her screaming fade away and the angry red burn mark outline appear. Who stopped and had her husband pray over Lila before we whisked her out the door to the Emergency Room. 
I held it together until my parents arrived, racing into the parking lot just moments after us, seeing the look on her face and knowing I did not exaggerate on the phone. And then the tears started to fall. The nurse quickly assessed us and by then, Lila was able to focus on the Ritz crackers and singing songs in her G's (grandpa) lap while we prayed for the doctor to hurry up. While we were waiting, our sweet friend Josh walked into the ER holding an adorable stuffed monkey and a talking Minnie Mouse. He apparently had left his house where we were not long after us, ran over to Target and came by just to try and do something to help. Thank God for friends and their sweet hearts. 
We watched the redness slowly start to fade and the doctor confirmed that by God's grace she had only suffered first degree burns (which apparently is not as bad as third degree...sneaky doctors labeling burn levels backwards). He said we were really lucky since he had seen coffee burns much worse than hers. He says lucky, I say covered in prayer. After several days of Ibuprofen for swelling and silver burn cream, it just looks like a small sun burn. My heart is slowing returning to a normal beat, helped by the little one giving her new Minnie big kisses on the nose.

You want to protect your child from pain, and what you get instead is life, and grace; and though theologians insist that grace is freely given, the truth is that sometimes you pay for it through the nose. 
And you can't pay your child's way. "
~Anne Lamott