Friday, November 30, 2012

November's End

See ya November.  Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.  I'm ready to put the gloomy, rainy days of the 11th month behind me and move on to all things festive and hall decking and yuletide.  We had yet another cold drag us down this week and are working on a quick recovery to rally for the opening in the gallery tomorrow night.  I mean, I have new skinny jeans to wear and a desperate need to socialize.  There's no more room for coughing and sneezing here. 

At 7:15 Marguerite said, "I ready to go night night mama.  Really tired."  Music to my ears.  I always read her two books in bed, the second of which she holds tight in her grip as I turn the lights out.  In the dark she whispers, "read it again mama!"  Then we flip pages in the dark to an improvised story of our day and she giggles with each shadowed page turn.   I lay next to her holding her hand while she falls asleep.  Tonight, for the first time, she whispered "I love you so much mama." 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Brow Definition, Standard Oil and the Liquor Store

I admit that I'm pretty slack when it comes to letting my 4 year old wear makeup, but there are limitations.  1.  It's only okay to wear makeup at home.  2.  Mascara has to stay on the counter where your sister can't reach it.  3.  Don't kiss the mirror after you put lip gloss on.

After preschool today she did some experimenting with brow definition.  Whoa G, you were born with brow definition, go easy with the black pencil.

I ventured out after dinner to the monthly Edison Women's Club meeting.  We met at the old Standard Oil building and prepped the Christmas decorations that will be hung on the light posts throughout town:

It was tonight that I learned of the annual holiday party for Edison Women's Club members hosted by Peggy, who lives in her house/liquor store.  Stay tuned, the setting alone is blog worthy.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Some days I'm bored out of my mind and yearn for my brain to fire in a different way.  It's the constant state of responsibility that comes with being a parent that bowls me over with its magnitude.  I felt it engage a few hours after Genevieve was born, that realization that the little baby in my arms was going to need me around the clock and that clock keeps on ticking indefinitely.  No beginning, no end, infinite need. 

Now, a couple of years removed from the underwater world of caring for a newborn, I still feel the weight of the constant state of mamahood, and the circular motion of time soldiers on.  I'm creeping up on a year of being home with my girls full time.  Most days it feels just right and I have the energy and humor to be present and happy.  I use the clock to keep myself challenged and motivated. I tap in to my competitive side and create deadlines and timelines to stomp down monotony. 

Today was different.  I slowed my tempo to half time.  If my job is to care for my daughters and manage my home, I thought to myself, that means my job is 24/7.  So why not move slow?  Take twice as long.  No need to rush, I've got all day and all night.  It was when I was folding laundry like a sloth,

that I realized my new life approach wasn't going to get me very far in the sea of happiness.  So I'm back to it.  Slamming coffee, blaring Dropkick Murphy's, eternally underestimating how long it will take me to get from point A to point B, feeling the adrenaline of a fast approaching deadline, talking too fast and listening too slow.  I'm back on track, with the kitchen timer set.  Go!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

House Project: Curating

The Vallee sisters take their art seriously, a bi-product/benefit of sharing a roof with an art gallery.  We created a proud spot to display their daily masterpieces:

We finally hung their collection of favorites in their room:

Lipstick, popsicles, kitties, flowers and mermaids.  What more could a girl need?

Next up:  cutting a hole in the shower wall to hopefully find the leak.  Not so pretty.

Bug Out Plan

Today started off all heart shaped pancakes and cozy family time watching football:

Then it unraveled into an over-tired two year old and a toddler weary mama.  So, I went to my go-to solution.  Go outside.  My BOB is my bug out vehicle and ultimate survival tool.  Marguerite was asleep in minutes.  I walked fast, breathed in the cold air, and tracked a seal as she made her way up the slough.  Thanks for being there great outdoors.

Drew greeted me with a Margarita.  It's not heart shaped, but it's made with love.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Bona Fide

Drew and I added a notch to our bona fide adult belts today by hosting and cooking our first Thanksgiving dinner.  We had three tense minutes of working out our kitchen hierarchy of control and ultimate power, settled on a stale mate, and carried on with collaboration and humor from there.   We even uncharacteristically high fived at one point.

Here's the spread,

With Grandpa Bob, Grandma Margaret and Aunt Paula here our house was filled with family, food and plenty to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks

Phew!  Just in the nick of time our oven is no longer spewing black soot and smoke.  The oven repairman fixed it in a lucrative 5 minutes.  It was worth the Benny.  Thanksgiving will happen!

Happy Thanksgiving to you!  Here's my list of things I'm thankful for, in random order:

1.  my family
2.  underwire bras
3.  the internet
4.  Hawaii
5.  whipped cream
6.  my garden
7.  preschool
8.  butter
9.  baby wipes
10.  red wine
11.  the white noise machine
12.  rooms with doors
13.  working from home
14.  brie
15.  belly laughing with my daughters
16.  advil
17.  good books
18.  this blog
19.  my latex foam mattress (get one)
20.  friends
21.  pie crust
22.  lactose tolerance (see 5, 8, and 14).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Quote of the Day

Genevieve:  I'm interested in windshield wipers.  I like how they work together, doing the same thing but making different patterns with the rain.  I like how they need each other.

Try, Fail, Accept

It took us two hours to get out the door for a walk.  TWO HOURS of trying to find socks that didn't have annoying seams, leggings with just the right waist band, baby carriers and half broken strollers for the dolls, hunger, pain, crying, more hunger, the hoods vs. hats debate, crooked snaps, bombed out pull-ups, spontaneous gymnastics moves resulting in head bonks, more pain and crying. 

The second we stepped out for our much needed fresh air and change of scenery it started pouring rain.  We made it as far as the Breadfarm, stopped in for a cookie, gave up on the walk and turned for home.  As soon as we shed our soggy layers the sun came out.  That's how we roll. 

Even with all of that effort, they never made it out of their pajamas,

we'll save that kind of elaborate coordination for tomorrow.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

House Project: Mysterious Leak

The plumbers say, "it's a one in a million chance that this could happen."  The tile guy says, "this is impossible, I've been doing this for 30 years and this has never happened."  Well, it's happening.  A big watery leaky river of happening.  Happening through the wall that separates the bathroom from our bedroom.  That's right.  Water is LEAKING from some mysterious source under the shower.  The shower of a zillion tiles, the shower of my dreams, the shower that we enjoyed for three fleeting weeks.

It all started when I walked into our room, slipped in a puddle of water on the floor and immediately blamed Drew for not cleaning up after himself.  "Babe, chill.  I didn't spill any water."  On closer inspection I sourced a slow trickle seeping from under the trim. Sorry hon.

Tomorrow, the undoing begins.  Smashing out pristine tile.  Figuring it out. 

On a drier note, here is the finished cabinetry in the bathroom:

Bathroom hardware and lighting topped my list of favorite things to shop for during this project:

This faucet doubles as a car to drive or a telephone for the girls while they bathe.

As hard as I try to live a simple and minimalist life, I can't control myself when it comes to junking up a window sill:

"Tiny Baby"

If you have a tiny baby doll who needs a hypothermia blanket, just sneak into your mom's baking drawer, snag a silver cupcake liner and PRESTO she'll be thawed out in no time:

This doll is referred to as "tiny baby" in our house.  Her origins are unknown, but she entered our lives somewhere in G's first year and was her first object of devotion.  She gets misplaced for weeks, rediscovered, miraculously lost and found in Costco, carried around in shirt pockets and subjected to blurry photo shoots,

and then disappears again.  We can't quit her.  She's a family fixture. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Quote of the Day

Things that make me coming running from another room...

Genevieve:  Marguerite, I'm going to be putting some pickle juice in your hair, but don't worry, I won't get any in your eyes. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Little Help

Marguerite's birthday party was eclipsed by the plague and rescheduled for this evening.  In the meantime, my oven went on the fritz, leaving my plans of baking a cake and dinner for all botched.  I was about to throw in the towel.  "Want me to bake cupcakes?"  Sarah offered.  "I hear your oven is broken, anything I can do to help with dinner?" Iris texted.  Just like that, our friends rallied.  A meal was shared, Marguerite was showered with love and celebration, and I was reminded of the gift of friendship and that a little help can go a long way.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Note: Part II

Yesterday I mentioned a note I found on my desk five years ago that came back to me via Genevieve's toy basket.  Today, G was sitting on my lap drawing pictures in a little notebook that was unearthed from the trunk that my childhood doll and her things were stored in.  I glanced down as she was flipping through the pages and found this.  A note in neat print from my pre-teen self:

Hello daughter,
You are in my imagination now.  Your father is unknown, or maybe I already know him.  I like loving someone who doesn't even exist.  I'm cleaning this trunk out and making it neat.  I will have it ready for you.

It gave me goosebumps to read it, and embarrassed me just a little.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Note

I was cleaning out the rats nest of a downstairs toy basket after putting the girls to bed, and came across a tattered piece of paper that Genevieve had squirreled away in one of her 57 wallets.  I almost threw it away but for some reason stopped to unfold it.

It was a typed note that had been left on my desk at work nearly 5 years ago,  the day after I announced my pregnancy to my co-workers.  It was from "the German." An eccentric, brilliant, ranting and kind public health statistician who worked on the other side of our partitioned wall.

I intended to save it for some sort of elusive baby book, so here instead on my blog it finds its place:

Andrea, dear
You can see where I could not walk by the "organic pregnancy tea aisle".  No baby should be growing without it I am sure.  I expect I will indirectly be responsible for at least 2 IQ points which in turn may make the difference of her/him living a dramatic, fulfilled life of a philosopher, painter or revolutionary vis a vis a quiet life of an accountant.

Note of caution:  I am not aware that this product was checked out by the FDA, FDC, CDC or any other slow-moving ineffective watch-dog.  So I suggest you make an appointment with your physician - or better yet try it and see if you like it.

Fond Greetings across the cubicle.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Solid Eight

Wes and Drew risked blowing out their forty-something backs, shed some knuckle blood, and successfully squeezed the former upstairs couch into the girls' room.  It did go in, but will never come out.  Unless a chainsaw is involved (which I'm sure they'd be really excited about).

It was worth it!  We have a reading spot in their room now, and a spot for me to sleep the next time I am forced to hold a night time barf vigil.

Here we are all cozied up before bedtime:

Last night, for the first time in YEARS, I got 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep.  Marguerite made it all the way through the night in her own room in her own bed without needing me, Genevieve made her midnight crawl to our bed without waking me.  I woke up this morning feeling disoriented, grateful, and......rested.  Hallelujah.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Back in Action

I was down and out for 36 hours.  Drew stayed home from work yesterday to take care of the girls and I mostly slept and whimpered from the couch.  I woke up this morning craving coffee - a sure sign of recovery.  My house was thrashed, my spirited daughters were back in action,

and I did my best to step my game up.

We postponed Marguerite's birthday celebration, needing a couple of days to regroup from the plague.  Not wanting the day to be completely mundane for my newly crowned two year old I decided a lunch date was in order, with a mermaid visit, of course:

And the Smith & Vallee machine cranked out a well timed gift of two new step stools:



My mom always made a big deal of the very minute that marked the anniversary of my birth.  I remember those birthday afternoons of my childhood, sitting at the counter after school, eating my snack and debriefing our day.  She would peer over her shoulder to keep tabs on the clock.  I'd feel the anticipation build as the minutes ticked on.  At 4:07 she'd sing happy birthday and hug me.  Even as a kid I understood the importance of my mom's role in my birthday, that it was a day I shared with her.  As an adult I've learned to thank her for giving birth to me when I get my happy birthday call. 

This evening, as we sat down to dinner as a family, finally all recovered from the latest virus that knocked us down like dominoes, I started watching the clock.  I remembered what was happening two years ago.  Eleven days overdue, laying in the hospital with my pitocin drip, worried that it wasn't going to work and generally apprehensive about the whole induction process.  The woman in the room next to me screamed like she was being torn apart by wolves, another woman had her baby in the hallway outside my door not quite to her room in time.  And there I was, 7 hours into induction and no nothing.  Just boredom and fear. 

The nurse talked to me about my pending labor.  I told her I was sure it would take forever.  She flipped through my charts and took notice that I had a long haul the last time around.  She said, "that's not going to happen this time.  You know how to push.  You know your body can do this.  Three pushes is all it's going to take."  I was surprised by how sure she sounded, and skeptical at best.

At 6 p.m. my water broke.  At 6:10 it was game on.  The gritty, powerful, unrelenting pitocin driven contractions slammed in on me.  I barely coped for the three hours it took me to dilate.  My body decided to push and I ignored everyone around me telling me to hold back and went with it.  There was no way in hell I was going to linger on that precipice for longer than I had to.  I forced myself to relax, gathered everything I had, and with one push my 9 lb 8 oz Marguerite launched into this world.  This day, this time, 9:04 p.m. marks her place.  Her start as a daughter, sister, granddaughter, cousin, niece. 

"Happy Birthday baby" I whispered as I snuggled in bed with her tonight.  "I not a baby mama.  Silly.  I two now." 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rocking Chair

If I didn't have my rocking chair,

I have no idea how I would have made it through this day. 

Portrait of an overdressed, overheating mom (who probably needs to pee) holding her sick baby.

Drew came down with his own man sized version of the girls' latest bug.  If you can't beat them, join them.

I didn't rock him in the rocking chair, for the record.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An Hour

7:24 and both girls are tucked into bed and, wait for it, sleeping!!  Falling back onto daylight savings is where it's at.  I'll take the dark evenings in trade for peace and quiet. 

Grandpa Bob and Grandma Margaret visited today and kicked off the Marguerite birthday festivities.  Sister is going to be two on Thursday! 

I especially like this two men and a baby shot. She's pretty important:

On our end of day walk Genevieve looked up and said, "look mama, that tree is naked!"

I thought something was wrong with my camera settings until I realized, oh, it's getting dark.  Right.

So we wended our way home in the twilight, greeted by a few jovial duck hunters spilling out of the Longhorn Saloon at our last turn home.  We caught the cusp of the nocturnal side of Edison we rarely encounter what with all the bath time, story time, bed time, middle of the night crying time we signed up for four years ago. 

It was worth it.