Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Reflection

The same thing happens every year around the New Year.... I hibernate a little and have very little interest in doing much of anything.  The weather in Pittsburgh is not helpful at all.  It's cold and dreary and this year I have zero interest in taking a baby out into that crap if we have nowhere specific to go.

I recognized what the cause of my hibernation and blahs were many years ago and know it will pass as quickly as it comes. 

My dad died in May 1995, and the time that is the most difficult for me is around the New Year.  I'm a pretty reflective person anyway and for the last 15 years, the turning of the new year has always had the element of "one more year that my dad isn't here."  It's during the reflection of all the blessings where that element hits me the hardest each year.

After all, 2010, has been so wonderful in so many ways...we got married, had a healthy, beautiful baby girl, a son growing positively into a young man and a little girl more settled and secure in herself.

One other contributor is the missing of my son...
Andrew goes to visit his dad every year this time of year and I miss him terribly when he's gone. It's hard because between his birthday at the end of November and Christmas, things are so busy and hectic, he and I spend a lot of our time doing what needs to be done with school, activities etc. that we run out of time for some of the one-on-one fun time we both like.  Then as soon as Christmas is over, he's gone until it's time to go back to school.  This year it's bothered me moreso.  He needs the time with his dad and the rest of the family for certain, but it's hard because all of his time when he's out of school, he's gone and I'd like some vacation time with him too.  Such is life.

However, I recoginze his absence as a piece of my end of the year blues.

I have a fantastic husband who understands me and gives me space when I need it, doesn't take it personally and connects in just the right amounts.  He fully admits he cannot relate to the feelings about my dad, but understands me. He's loving and compassionate and gives me what I need. Exactly what I need.

Again, another blessing.

I don't take anything about my life forgranted.

And I'm definitely not a 'woe is me' type of person. Just someone who is in touch with all her feelings --good, bad and ugly.  Writing is cathartic and allows me to reflect on these feelings later as well. 

I miss my dad. Some days are harder than others...still.
I miss my son.

I'm grateful for all the blessings in my life...every. single. day.

2010 Reflection, part 1

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The House the Kids Built

One last Christmas post....I think. :)

The kids were excited to do gingerbread houses this year and I found a score at Costco! One kit that had a house and a toy shop...for...$3.97.  YES!  One for each of them and less than four bucks for the enjoyment!

 holding the sides and roof together...
They asked how long, I told them until next year.

 Let the frosting begin!

 Apparently True Blood visited...

Decorate the house, eat a little, decorate, eat, decorate, eat...


Happy Gingerbread Housing!


The Sharp Knife...of the Tongue

I have two difficult relationships in my life.  One with Reagan's mother.  The other with my mother-in-law.

They're very similar people, actually. Though neither of them would admit that.

I written about the relationship with my stepdaughter's mother to varying degrees in the past --vented the behaviors that piss me off, the egregious accusations against my family and the petty complaints about my sheer presence in my stepdaughter's life.

Over the last several months, with the settling of my postpartum hormones, I recognize that I don't care what she says and does with one exception.  That exception is Reagan

There's the saying that has been so overused, but that is so accurate, "When you know better, you do better," is totally applicable to her mother.  In the last 3+ years, I've come to see, she doesn't want to know better.  The difference is, our shared interest is older and able to comprehend a lot more of the hurt. 

It blows my mind that people don't realize how impactful words can be...especially to children.

I guess because I was a kid when I learned that lesson, I expect adults --MOTHERS--to know it.

In the past, there was so much chaos that happened, was said and that Reagan endured...there were neverending conversations about it all. It was exhausting for all of us.  However, this child needed a place to talk about it all and get it out. 
Oh, there were definitely games played on her end--stirring up trouble trying to play both sides against each other etc.--just as kids try to do between their parents.  That's all ceased.  Now it's just a simple "dumping of the crap" each week. We get through it quickly and we're done with it.

I'm glad she has a safe place to discuss her feelings and whatever her reasoning is for it being me, doesn't really matter to me.

School and its normality has been a big presence in her life as well and the routines that she's come to expect make things easier for her. 

Quite honestly, Lily, has been an important part in Reagan's security in our home and family.  I've seen her grow into a more confident person, someone who feels like she 'fits', and is just happier.  We ensure she knows what's going on with her schedule between here and her mom's if anything veers from the norm so that she knows and understands where she'll be and why anything has changed. 

A few months ago, we were eating dinner--all 5 of us sitting at the table--and out of the blue she said, "I want to start calling you 'mom'."  I smiled at her because I knew where it had come from. I simply said, "As I've always told you, whatever you choose to call me, is ok with me and if you want to call me 'mom', I'm happy with that too."  

I'm thrilled she's in a place where she feels completely happy and secure in our family and the last 3 1/2 years of our developing relationship have been meaningful to her as well.

On Christmas Day, she shared some new feelings that were heartbreaking.  I'm unable to fix it for her. 

And that is the only time I get angry about it anymore. When she is hurt.

My mother-in-law is careless with her words as well and neither of them care enough or are unselfish enough to realize the impact of their sharp tongues. 

My stepdaughter shouldn't know that her mother hates me. 
My mil excuses herself because "that's the way she is".

I expect nothing different from either of them.  They've proven themselves over and over again.

And all I can say to BOTH of's not me you're hurting.


Sweet Potatoes

After a few days of a baby whose schedule was out of whack, yesterday was a DREAM! She was happy during her awake time--playing, "talking", reading books, listening to music, rolling over...
She was just happily awake and went to sleep without fussing or struggle.  It was a really peaceful, enjoyable day after a couple days where she wasn't on her schedule due to holiday stuff and running around.

Here's a typical day for Lily regarding sleeping and eating:

7:30am--wake up, bottle
9:00am--ready for nap
11:30am--wake up, bottle
1:30pm--ready for nap
4:00pm--wake up, bottle
7:15pm--up from catnap
 In bed between 8:30pm-9:00pm

I've been giving her rice cereal once a day in addition to her bottles.  She doesn't love it.
But, she's seemed hungry still, at times, despite her 8ounce bottles, so I knew it was time to add some food.

How can this baby girl already be old enough to be eating food? Sigh.

I'm going to be making her baby food which is new for me since I didn't do that with Andrew. I'm excited about it actually!  However, I had picked up one Gerber stage 1 package  for when she was ready to start.

Last night we gave her sweet potatoes for the first time! 

Yep, she loved them!

Christmas Day 2010

Santa evidenced by the half-eaten cookies, missing carrots, almost empty glass of milk and of course the letter he left for the kids.

Santa brought Lily an exersaucer! She's excited!

Rollerblades for Andrew

A digital camera for Reagan

Reagan was ecstatic to give Andrew the gift she chose for him at the Santa Secret Shop at school!

This frame was VERY specific on her list...
it got the biggest cheer. ♥
Waaaaaaaaayyyyyy too early after Santa didn't get any sleep, but  Lily's face CRACKS me up!

Merry 1st Christmas, Lily! We love you so much!!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Pajammies

Christmas 2010

When I was a little girl, my brothers and I always got new pjs for Christmas. We'd open them on Christmas Eve and wear them to bed that night.  After Andrew was born, I began that tradition with him, as well. Several years ago, my mom started getting them so that Andrew and my nephew had matching pjs. As my niece was born and then when Reagan came into our lives, my mom continued with the girls too. This year, Reagan and Lily had matching pjs too!

Lily's 1st present too!

11 years old and 5 months old ♥


 Christmas Eve 2010

This is one tradition I really love and I'm hoping my kids will continue with their kids someday...


[S]He Looks Like a Pink Nightmare

"[S]he looks like a deranged Easter bunny"

One of Andrew's favorite Christmas movies is A Christmas Story. When he was 4, I swear he watched it no less than 25 times that year.  It's been a big part of our Christmas time! We watch it each year (not 25 times), but it's always on while we're wrapping gifts or working on gingerbread houses or things like that.

After Halloween, I saw this costume and COULD NOT resist! I paid $3.74 for this treasure to make my family laugh! :)

Merry Christmas, Ralphie!

A Few Traditions

Our family has formed a few traditions over the last 4 Christmas seasons together. The kids look forward to them and George and I do too. ♥  Things like: picking out our tree, seeing Santa, getting a new ornament, putting out luminarias, and making gingerbread houses.

Christmas Eve we headed to see Santa. This year it was perfectly timed! We were third in line. THIRD!

Of course, I was excited for Lily's first visit!  She did great and was so enamored by all of the activity around her, it was difficult to get her to look at the camera, but she smiled and I was happy!

Andrew and Reagan told Santa a few things they had on their lists, wished him a Merry Christmas and were happy.
Our Family ♥
When I was a little girl, my family started putting luminarias out on Christmas actually started here in Pittsburgh and continued when we moved to Arizona. Our entire street would particpate (we lived on a dead end), but when we lived in Arizona we lived on a street with only 2 houses, so it was just us.

Andrew and I continued doing them when he was little and we lived in Tennessee. This year, we're in a new house and we decided to do as many as we could and put them up and down our street instead of just our house.

When my mom was visiting in August/September, she got the bags for us and made us promise, we'd continue doing them. :) 

You're welcome, Mom.

The kids filled up the bags with sand, added the tealights and at night, Andrew and I put them out.

We had a total of 66 bags that we lined our walkway and the street with.
(we ran out of sand. ;) )