Thanksgiving

Rather than put some lame status on facebook about what I’m thankful for, I thought I’d take the time to write it out here.

First of all, I’m so thankful that I get to live in a place (south Texas) where it’s 70 degrees in the last few days of November.  Today was beautiful and we enjoyed having our feast with the windows open and the sun shining in.

I’m thankful for my family.  I have this pretty cool husband who would do anything for us, and I love him so much.  I feel so lucky to say I’ve been married to him for over five years, and luckier to say that I think we will have quite a few more ahead of us.  I also have the good fortune of being a mother to the sweetest baby girl I’ve ever met.  She is bright and happy and loving, and so much fun to spend every day with.  We laugh a lot and she lets me give her probably a thousand kisses every day and even gives kisses back sometimes, though they’re quite a lot more slobbery than the ones I give her.

I’m thankful for my sister, whom I can complain to about anything that is annoying and rejoice with when everything is going right.  I never knew how strong she is until this march when our babies were born under completely opposite circumstances, and it makes me love her even more.  I can’t even explain how thankful I am that her baby is here today to celebrate the holidays, and I love him so much even though I’ve only met him once.  He is perfect and healthy.  He has such strength for being such a little guy.

I’m thankful for my best friends.  I love our group texts everyday and I miss you so much.  I look forward to the next time we’ll be together again.

I’m thankful that we have food to eat everyday and a place to live and that we have stability in our lives.  A lot of people don’t have what I have, and I’m grateful for all of this every day.  I am thankful for my dog, Alex, who makes me feel less alone while being a stay at home mom.  He also keeps all my secret musings to himself.

There are a lot of things I’m thankful for this year, and every year, and I am most thankful for good health because this gives me time to enjoy the ride that is life.  I am so thankful I can look forward to the future and take comfort in time itself.

Tradition

While waiting in line at HEB today, I snagged my favorite issue of Real Simple magazine.  I am obsessed with their Christmas issue.  Not only does it give beautiful ideas for decorating, but it has amazing gift ideas and stocking stuffer ideas, which if you’re like me you have trouble with.  Filling that damn stocking is hard!  I now have quite a few gift ideas for various people, but mostly for David and Christina.

Anyway, this had me thinking of traditions.  I wouldn’t say that I have any particular memories of any traditions in my family, but I do have great memories.  It all starts with the tree for me.  My mom made all of these ornaments, as in she painted them or crafted them, and I loved them all.  I remember the mice ones vividly for some reason.  We never had anything super matchy-matchy; our ornaments were just completely random.  We did colored lights and garland.  My mom had this snowy village that she would put out, and all of the houses had a lightbulb inside so it looked like whatever tiny people lived in them were home.  My dad put up a Nativity scene and a train set around the tree.  I loved the train, and would play with it for hours and hours, and sometimes he would even play with me.  Probably he just sat there with that parental fascination, that I now know so well, as he listened to the stories my imagination created.  We opened one gift on Christmas Eve and set out cookies for Santa.  (To this day I even make Pam and George let us open one gift on Christmas Eve.)  Erin and I (and sometimes Syra depending on what day we celebrated together) would open our presents in our pajamas looking all crappy while dad snapped pictures of us in all our awkward glory.  The funny thing is I remember so many things but I really don’t remember many of the gifts, which I guess should really be the goal of any parent.

Reflecting on my childhood has really made me think about the traditions I want to start with David for Hazel.  Buying an ornament every year is a must.  Right now we subscribe to the “vintage” tree with a jumble of “vintage” looking ornaments.  I say vintage because we have colored bulb lights with old fashioned ornaments that remind me of the real glass kind from my dad’s childhood.  There is a great section in Real Simple where readers send in their favorite traditions, and I’m going to share my favorites here with all of you, in case you too are looking to add more memories to your holidays.

“In my family, everyone puts money on the table on Christmas Eve.  If you’re little, it’s just a dollar; my grandfather used to put down a $50 bill.  We have fun being together and opening presents all night, leaving the table a mess.  The first person to wake up the next morning and clean it all up gets the cash!”

“Why should stockings sit empty all month?  Once ours are hung in late November, we use them like little mailboxes, leaving each other silly notes and treats in the weeks leading up to Christmas.”

“I love this idea if your extended family can’t celebrate together: Create a family hashtag, so that you can do a quick search to see all the moments captured in each location.”

“Friends of mine do a week-before-Christmas countdown by wrapping seven books and putting them under the tree.  Each night, they have their kids choose one to unwrap and read before the big day.”

Do you have any cool traditions to share?

What To Say

So I feel like I haven’t been blogging a lot lately because I don’t have a lot to say.  Or at least I can never remember what I wanted to write about.  I think it’s all related to my mom brains.  I’m also working on writing something outside of this blog, plus I’m in the middle of reading a book, so between all that and having a sick/teething baby the last few weeks, I haven’t had time for much else.

I do feel that blogging has helped me remember my narrative voice, which is something I definitely had to rediscover.  I thought that I would have written a novel by my age, but other things have inevitably gotten in the way of that goal.  And then you kind of bury it or stash it away somewhere for later and eventually you almost forget it was ever a goal/dream of yours in the first place.  When you find it again and brush off the years of silt that’s piled on top of it, you can reclaim it and reimagine it.  That’s what I’d like to do.

I saw Interstellar over the weekend, and it really jump started my imagination that I thought I’d lost a long time ago.  It was truly an incredible film, and for me it opened up doors I’d long ago let shut.  I used to wonder and ponder over things like space and the unknown, and the last few years I’ve really cared nothing about it.  But Interstellar was just everything in a movie and it was inspiring to know that another human could actually think of that story.  Granted, he is obviously a very gifted individual, but it was so refreshing to see original ideas on the screen.  I am going to see it again next week, and I am so looking forward to it.

I got out the camera yesterday to snap a few pictures of Hazel.  It’s been awhile since I’ve used a real camera instead of my iphone.  The pictures on my Canon are so much better than I can ever hope to get from my phone, and to capture her happy disposition gives me a satisfaction that can’t be described.  Years from now I can look back and remember how truly happy she always was (or possibly still will be) and that it wasn’t just smiling for the camera.  She is almost always as happy as she looks.  Unless she’s sick or teething.

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That Baby Life is Busy

Hazel has been teething for a few weeks now, and the tooth is through but not all the way.  So I’ve been dealing with that annoyance, and then of course, she had to get sick.  I suppose it isn’t surprising since their immune systems are lower while teething, so she is bound to pick up something.

Baby colds are pretty terrible.  Not only could she not breathe, she couldn’t eat or sleep because of it.  We had to go four different places to find a freaking NoseFrida, and then she hates having it used on her.  So then one of us has to hold her down and the other has to suck out the snot and boogers from where they lie deep within her head, probably past her brain.

And so of course when you’re dealing with copious amounts of mucous, you get sick yourself.  It could be from the baby’s snot that has probably coated every inch of her skin, even though she’s only been awake for twenty-three minutes, or possibly the fact that she had to sleep with us if any of us wanted a few hours of sleep.  Even the dogs were probably annoyed after the first night of hardcore screaming for no apparent reason.  Alex gave me the side-eye several times, probably saying “Shut that baby up!”

I had never had to take her temperature before, as this was her first bout of sickness, so I was super nervous to have to stick something up her poor little baby butt.  I was grossed out and mortified at the shame I would surely cause her.  I coated the metal part of the thermometer with water-based lubricant, and nervously inserted it.  And guess what?  She didn’t notice and she didn’t care.  And then I was a pro, didn’t even need David’s help.  The things first time moms worry about for no reason, I could probably go on and on, but that’s probably a whole post for a different time.

Anyway, we all survived, and she is back in her own bed sleeping like a freaking champion.  She’s mostly recovered, except she still has some serious drainage from her nose every once in a while, which requires wiping or sucking out.

I was sick over the weekend, but am feeling slightly better.  I didn’t get to go see Interstellar, so I’ll be catching that in IMAX this weekend.

Pretty soon David and I will be cleaning the house in preparation for Thanksgiving, in which P&G will be coming down to visit.  Hopefully they don’t bring more sickness with them on the plane, but I’m sure they will be wearing full HazMat gear, right guys?  We will put up our beautiful Christmas tree this weekend so we have time to enjoy it.  We are leaving for IL on December 20th, weather permitting, and I want to have plenty of opportunity to stare at my tree with my baby.

I’ll try to post again soon.  Happy Veterans Day!

Figure It Out

There are parts of motherhood that are extremely confusing.  You are basically doing it on your own, and advice from other people can help, but is usually useless.  Trial and error can help, but a lot of the time you have no clue what you’re doing.

Hazel is teething right now.  It’s probably the most annoying thing about having a baby.  She pretty much hates her life.  We started giving her ibuprofen so she will sleep at night, but during the day she is in pain, and I sometimes have to give her some so she can even take a nap.  So she’s tired all the time.  And when the F*** IS THIS TOOTH GOING TO COME IN?!  It’s right there.  Sharp as hell, just poking through all nice and crooked.  For days!  When will it decide to come through all the way?  Weeks?  And it’s only the one, which means when it comes in the one next to it will probably start to come through and we will be right back where we started.  So I’m just suppose to give her ibuprofen for the next year and a half?  The bottle says don’t use for more than ten days in a row.  Annoying.

This leads me to another confusing part of being a parent: the dosage on the bottle.  It gives weight and age, and then corresponding dosage.  Um, okay.  My baby is gargantuan, so do you go with the weight or the age?  We’ve been going with weight.  Apparently a 6-12 month old baby is supposed to be less than eighteen pounds?  My baby is more than twenty, which puts her in the 12-18 month category.  Yeesh.

Feeding solids gets confusing too.  Every baby is different, and you pretty much just have to guess when your kid is ready for something like eggs or cottage cheese.  I am also guessing at how much to feed her.  Because I have no freaking idea.  I had just figured out how much formula to feed her in a day, and then it’s time to give her real human food.  So you start with single grain cereals.  And then you add fruit and veggie purée and then you have to guess how much of that you’re supposed to be giving.  Then you need to do three meals a day and you need veggies, protein, fruits, cereals, and formula.  WTF.  I feel like Hazel is already needing the three meals, and I’m already giving her finger foods and things she has to chew.  Feeding her and making her food is turning into a lot of work.  Meal planning, ya know?

It’s not always as simple as giving her what we make, because if we have pizza for dinner, Hazel obviously has to eat healthy foods, so I have to make her something different.  My baby eats better than me anyway.  I feel like as I learn to cook her meals, our meals will morph into healthy things, because that’s what I’ll be making her already.  I go to Whole Foods for this kid!  She eats only fresh food, and I would eat McDonald’s probably every day because I’m gross like that.  I don’t want her to get our bad habits.  Sorry, this was off topic!

ANYWAY, I’m glad to have my sister, because we can complain to each other about how confusing this all is.  I always tell her that we must not be doing it completely wrong because they are still alive and not deathly ill or anything.  That is my parenting style in a nutshell.  Maybe the next child will be more fortunate because I’ll have some kind of elusive baby wisdom that I couldn’t possibly have had with the first.

By the way, if you have any input on any of these confusing topics, please share.  I really have no idea what’s going on anymore.