Sunday, October 29, 2006

Mama Monday #36

Theme: Scary

Warning - be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.

Not 30 minutes after I finished writing this post about my boring life, Sweetie took a scary tumble from halfway down our wooden staircase - about 6 stairs.

She's okay. She just has a small scratch behind her right ear. But, boy!, were she and I both scared! Hubby was home by this point, but he had just gone outside to gather firewood. I was screaming my head off for him, but he didn't hear. Thank goodness Sweetie wasn't seriously hurt! By the time Hubby was back in the house, just a couple minutes later, Sweetie, still crying and scared, was nonetheless calm enough to talk to us and figure out that she wasn't so badly hurt after all.

Also - I'm so totally proud of her! Within minutes Sweetie was much calmer, able to tell us what happened, (I was right there, in the middle. My shoes were too slippy). And then? She picked herself up and headed right back up the full flight of stairs so that she could try again.

When she successfully made it down that time, she was so happy with herself. I did it!, she exclaimed.

Yep, you sure did, Sweetie. Way to get right back on the horse! Just please - pretty please - hold tight onto those reins (or railing, as the case may be) when you get there? My poor heart can't take that much of a scare again.

What Can I Say?

Sweetie is almost - gasp! - 4-years old. She's fully potty trained. She doesn't cry for "up!" anymore. Bedtimes are a breeze. She's always telling me that she doesn't need any help and that she's got everything under control. She listens reasonably well and understands that, when it's just she and I, she has to be just a little bit more helpful than at other times. Basically, in general, life is going pretty well and things are much more smooth now that Sweetie is getting older. The fact that I'm disabled seems to matter less and less as the days go on in terms of Sweetie's care and our daily experiences.

So, that being said, I'm wondering what to do here with my blog. I started Spina Bifida Moms (a dumb name, really. I'd much prefer y'all refer to this place as Sweetie and Me now. But whatever - what's done is done) as a place to discuss my journey into parenthood as well as my daily experiences as a disabled mom raising a healthy, active child. But now the whole disabled mom portion of my mission statement seems rather pointless. Or irrelevant. Or, just so nothing. Like the fact that I'm disabled hardly figures into my parenting at all anymore.

I mean, I know it still, innately, does matter. I'll always have spina bifida and therefore will always have certain challenges to face and overome and certain lessons to teach my Sweetie about myself and about others who face their own challenges. It's just that, right now, things seems so normal. Yes, life is at times crazy, frustrating, stressful, boring, happy, joyful, busy, and cozy. But none of these adjectives have much, if anything, to do with the fact that I'm disabled.

This is all a great thing. Life shouldn't be all about my disability. It's wonderful that life as we know it - and especially life as Sweetie knows it - is not all-consuming around any disability issues I may or may not be facing. We're just a regular family living a regular life.

Trouble is, regular family life for us is pretty boring. Oh, we're busy alright. We've got lots of people to see and lots of things to do. But none of them seem very blog worthy. At least right now. Who cares that we went out to dinner last night? Who cares that I'm probably cleaning my house all day tomorrow? Just - who cares?

I feel like I've got nothing to say here anymore. I feel like the nice little niche I've carved out for myself in the blogosphere - disabled mom spreading hope, good will and cheer - is quickly falling away. I'm much more of a Mommy Blogger than a Disabled Mommy Blogger now. And, let's face it, there are a trillion and one Mommy Bloggers out there, many many of whom have made a great name for themselves and get hundreds of comments a day and are downright "famous" in their own rights, etc., etc., etc. I'm just not standing out anymore. I mean, if ever I was, that is. I'm nothing extraordinary in the Mommy Blogger world. At least that's how I'm feeling lately. Ho hum.

No, I'm not saying goodbye. I'm not even saying I'm going to take it easy here for awhile. I still plan to do my regular "thing" and post multiple times a week and whatnot. It's just that, today and off and on as of late, I'm just feeling less than stimulating. Less than interesting. Less than I'd hope to be here on my blog.

I'll come around. Something is bound to happen here one of these days that is absolutely the BEST story to share with the world. I don't know. Maybe Sweetie and I will get ourselves caught in some caper where, gosh darn it, it sure would be useful if I could just scoop her up and run like the Dickens (which Dickens, you ask? Why, the runniest one, of course!). And hopefully I'll wish I could run for a fun, exciting reason and not for a scary, awful reason. But until such an event happens, you'll all just have to deal with my boring stories and who cares type of anecdotes.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me moan and rant. Now, let's all pray for some fun-filled excitement, shall we? Cool.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #29

On Monday I took Sweetie with me to get my hair cut. She didn't want to go at first, but I reminded her that there were toys there and a T.V. where she could watch videos. That cinched it - she was eager to go!

But first I stopped at the drive-thru window at the bank. Along with my money from my cashed check, the teller slipped me a lollipop for Sweetie. Thank you very much! That should come in handy. :)

So - the haircut is great and Sweetie did very well. She sat and watched a video the whole time. No fussing at all.

Then the time came to leave. But Sweetie didn't want to go. While waving her hands around, she matter-of-factly declared,

I don't want to go, I don't want to go, I don't want to go!

I have a lollipop in the car for you.

Not two seconds later, without skipping a beat...

Um, can you turn that (the video) off for me please?


The last two times I've helped Sweetie out of the car, she's wanted to unclick her carseat buckle herself. I've asked her if she needs help, but she answers,

No thanks. I got everything under control.


On Friday my dad came home early from work. So he, my mom, and Sweetie went outside to play and do some yard work. My dad was in the back yard and my mom was in the side yard when she realized Sweetie had disappeared!

My mom called for her as she looked around, soon deciding to head inside to check.

Are you in here? mom called as she went inside.

Yes! I'm down here! Sweetie called.

Mom thought Sweetie must have gone in to go potty. But, no. She found Sweetie way down the hall, in my parents' bed, with the covers pulled way up over her head.

When asked why she was there, Sweetie explained that she was hiding from the bug (a spider) that was crawling on her outside toys.

Watch out, Sweetie. It's gonna getcha!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

List of Yuck

Writing gig coming to an end - kinda good, kinda bad

Tutoring keeping me busy and stressed

Found out today that I have a UTI, but I have no symptoms - whatever

Blogger sucks!

Busy, busy weekends - hardly home last weekend, more to do this weekend, and at-home parties to attend and host in the coming weeks

House is a mess, as usual

Cut Sweetie's hair tonight - for the first time (my mom usually cuts it) - don't know if I did a good job or not

Just don't feel like talking - was blah/rude to Hubby. Sorry

Surgery in January

Back up to Lebanon in December for more testing and pre-op stuff

Have to finish book club book by this weekend - not gonna happen

Hubby and I are both working and can't take Sweetie trick or treating

My neck has hurt all day - did I sleep wrong? Or is it glandular?

I'm so tired

Should just go to bed - or read - but would rather read magazines than my book, if I read at all

I want to see a friend for lunch on Monday - without Sweetie. But don't want to bother my mom with watching her. Mom's not feeling well and Mondays are her day off from Sweetie

Birthdays and Christmas and car registration and new tires and water bill, etc., etc., etc.....

Fridays are typically great for most people, but they're my craziest days - ugh

Give me strength


Monday, October 23, 2006

Mama Monday #35

Theme: Invisible

I recently found out about a wonderful woman, Joann Ferrara, out of New York City who is working with disabled little girls to make one of their childhood dreams come true - become ballerinas!

I know when I was little, just like most little girls, my dream was to be a ballerina. I didn't even think about the reality of the matter - that I couldn't possilbly do the moves or twirl my body anywhere near as gracefully as a true ballerina could. I don't even remember asking to take ballet classes. But I remember looking at ballet books and "dancing" around the house. In my mind, I was a ballerina. It was possible!

Now, with Ferrara's help, the dream truly is possible for the disabled little girls in her area.

Ferrara is a physical therapist. Her daughter is disabled. Yet she wanted to take ballet classes. But all the available, standard classes wouldn't take her. Too much of an insurance risk. Not the right tools to accommodate her. Not enough staff to help teach.

So Ferrara started these classes, asking area teens to help out and assist each child one-on-one to learn the moves and try out their new skills. Sure, there's no fancy pirouettes and "leaps" are made with the full assistance of the teens. But nonetheless, it is a real ballet class through and through. Followed by an annual recital where the little ballerinas can show off their abilities in all their full glory.

How wonderful people like Joann Ferrara exist - helping disabled little girls integrate into the popular, mainstream activities they had only dreamt about until this point.

And on recital night - the tutus. tiaras and leotards act as a sort of invisibility cloak for the braces, crutches and walkers. All that exists is a fairyland of leaps and twirls... and a room full of gleeming grins full of joy and pride!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Bermudian Bumpkins to Country Pumpkins

A Photo Bonanza!

First - I did promise you some pictures from our cruise...

Our ship

Big, yes? Actually, it was one of the smaller ships in the fleet.

The view from the boat, docked in Hamilton, Bermuda.

One of the many beautiful beaches - Horseshoe Bay

Bye, Bye, Bermuda!


Then, we spent yesterday with our friends in Keene, NH at the Keene Pumpkin Festival. The town last broke the record in 2003 for largest number of jack-o-lanterns gathered in one spot - almost 29,000! We don't know the totals for yesterday yet, but from the looks of it, it might have topped that last record.

Lions and bears, oh my!

Look out above!

Sweetie with her new best friend, Mark!

Bye bye, pumpkins! See ya next year!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #28

You know sunrise and dusk? How it's kind of light outside but not really? Well, Sweetie calls that condition of nature lighty-dark. As in:

Turn out the lights, Daddy. I can't sleep because it's too lighty-dark.


Sweetie was in a rare cuddly mood the other day, so I took the opportunity to plop her on my lap, give her a big squeeze, and sing her a song - You Are My Sunshine.

You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine.

You make me happy, when skies are grey.

You'll never know dear, how much I love you.

Please don't take my Sunshine away.

While Sweetie liked the song, she did inform me that,

I'm not Sunshine. I'm ________

Oh, that's right.

And so I sang the song again, this time replacing Sunshine with her name. She enjoyed this much better.

Then she sang to me.

You are my Mommy, my only Mommy.

You make me happy when skies are grey.

And you know it, how much I love you.

Please don't take my Mommy away.

How cute! It's enough to bring tears to your eyes.

Then, when Daddy came home, Sweetie sang the Daddy version of the song. Aaawwwww. Too, too adorable.

Over the next few days, both Papa Dave and Nana got to hear their own songs. What a great discovery! The song for everybody! What a fantastic way to melt the hearts of everyone within earshot. How loving! How heartfelt! How touching!

...Alas, the song started to lose its appeal after Sweetie serenaded our furniture with the couch version of the song.

Now, after hearing her latest incarnation of the tune - sung about a piece of bread - I'm totally over it.


Before I forget - again - I wanted to announce that I finally made my first sale over at my BlanchardCreative shop! Yay! I sold 1 Milo Tote Bag. Good choice!

I don't know who made the purchase, but whomever you are - thank you very much! I hope you enjoy. Tell your friends!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blogging Project Runway - Amy Style!

I knew in my heart of hearts that Jeffrey would show at Fashion Week. Plus I'd already heard a review of all four finalists shows. So I knew it had to be. But still - there was that doubt.

Yep! He's there! Those tricky Bravo people made it look like he was crying out of shock and sadness in all the previews. But it was really shock and relief. Yay! And the way it was resolved seems fair - take out the shorts and get rid of the wigs.

Now - seen Jeffrey's show and Uli's. Both were good. Didn't like Jeffrey's as much as I thought I would. But loved that third dress (I think) with the short poofy skirt.

Here comes Laura's...

Wow. I liked Laura's. Yes, some of it was very typical of her, but some was out of the box and great.

I'd heard that Michael's collection was the worst of them. But I didn't think it was that awful. Yes, hoochey. Yes, bright. And I think I saw the same exact dress in 2 differnt prints one right after the other. But basically good. Too bad he wasn't great. I've liked him all along.

So - I really do think it's between Jeffrey and Laura. If Jeffrey had been disqualified, I would have hoped for Laura to win. Now I think the fight is between the two of them.

As much as I want Jeffrey to win - he's been so fresh, young, innovative and daring the whole season long - I kind of think Laura's going to take it. Let's see what the judges have to say, shall we?

Huh. Yeah, Michael is definitely out. But it seems like the clear winner is Uli. Maybe followed by Laura. Or Jeffrey (but they hated that one gown). I don't know. Or maybe - oh Bravo - you're tricking us again and editing to make it look like they love Uli most. But someone else will win.

No. I'm sure it's Uli. Fine. Whatever. I just think she did more of the same thing she's done all season long. And by every woman wanting to wear her clothes... Yeah, maybe if every woman is 7 feet tall and exotically beautiful.

Let's see. Verdict coming up after the commercial....

Yay!!!!!! I knew it!!! I told you Bravo was just playin' with the editing. Yay!!!! I had breakfast with a friend about a month or more ago and she asked me who I thought would win and I said I liked Jeffrey. I'm NEVER right about these things! I rock! Jeffrey rocks! Awesome!

Woo hoo! Project Runway is the best!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mama Monday #34

Theme: Life

When I was all of about 6 weeks pregnant, I experienced some spotting. Maybe not anything to be too concerned about, but I wanted to be safe so I called my doctor. The nurse heard my story and thought I was probably okay. But just to be safe she squeezed me in for an ultrasound that day at the hospital.

Trouble was, Hubby and I were leaving that afternoon for his sister's weekend wedding. We were to arrive at the inn in time for the late afternoon dress rehearsal. In fact, we said we'd be there even earlier than that, so we could settle in and relax a bit with my in-laws before all the festivities began.

And no one knew yet that I was pregnant.

How could we explain our late arrival without raising any suspicion or concern? Who knows, but we knew our baby took precedence and we needed to find out that everything was alright.

Long story short - we went to the hospital and waited for as long as we could. More than an hour, maybe closer to two. Then we knew it was getting too late. We needed to leave. And anyway, I wasn't bleeding anymore. And I wasn't in pain. I really believed that all was well. So we left.

We went through that whole weekend whooping it up with our family and celebrating the union of my sister-in-law and her new husband. Yet, in the back of our minds, Hubby and I still had our concerns. Was our baby okay? Did I have a miscarriage and not know it? Was our baby healthy? What was going on?

Come the early part of that next week, we finally got in for that ultrasound. I heard the doctors and nurses talking among themselves. The order for my case?

Check for viability.

The absolute scariest words I'd ever heard.

Luckily, and obviously, they found our little peanut (literally - that's about all she looked like at 6 weeks old). She was right where she should be and all was well. How wonderful to get that amazing confirmation!

My next ultrasound was scheduled for week 16 of my pregnancy. This is when we found out we were having a little girl. And that she was completely healthy. No sign of spina bifida. No Down Syndrome. And her size was right on track. Woo hoo! The best news ever! And so completely conclusive that we felt secure not engaging in further testing. No amnioscentesis needed! Yay!

Sure enough, of course, Sweetie was born in December of that year, 3 weeks early, but perfectly healthy. And so sweet. She acquired her nickname within minutes of being born.

Now, almost 4 years later, I'm having some new health concerns. I've been diagnosed with a severely prolapsed uterus. A hysterectomy is inevitably in my not-too-distant future. We see the urogynecologist next week to confirm the situation (a third opinion), ask more questions and schedule the procedure.

I'm done creating new life. No more tiny toes to hold and midnight feedings to bond through. It's alright. I was done anyway. My body was wrecked too much from my pregnancy with Sweetie and subsequent active life with a small infant. It's not something I'm interested in putting myself through again.

Nonetheless, I'm sad. No siblings for Sweetie. And no heir to carry on the family name (my Hubby happens to be the last male in his entire family). Heck, I even have the absolute perfect name for a little boy now! But it's not to be. Sweetie has many cousins to keep her company and to grow ever closer to as she grows up. Maybe she'll even keep her last name as an adult, perhaps passing it along to her own son one day. What a wonderful gift that would be for her Daddy.

Hubby and I know that my health is more important than keeping alive the dream of one day maybe adding to our family. And so - we've reached the end.

Dear Sweetie - You're not only the light of our lives but you also bring so much joy and life to our home every single day. Daddy and I are so glad to have you. So thankful that you're happy and healthy. And so excited to see what this life holds for you and to experience all your life's adventures right alongside you. We will forever be your cheerleaders, your guides and your anchor. We love you.

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Future Sweetie - Sweet or Sassy?

First off, my NH Blog Con report. The verdict? Relaxed, interesting and surprising. Relaxing because the setting was the informal lounge area of a favorite local restaurant. Interesting because Hubby and I got to meet lots of diverse bloggers with unique points of view. And surprising because the average age of those in the group seemed to be 40-ish or more. Huh. We thought we might be among the older of the attendees, not in the younger set. Still, all in all it was a fun evening and we look forward to next year's gathering.

Secondly, Sweetie did awesome at Grammy and Grampy's house. She fell asleep on the way over, so once we arrived she was sleepy and whiney, not wanting to have anything to do with anybody but Daddy. However, about 15 minutes after we got there, Grampy came home and Sweetie lit up. Cool! So Grampy got hugs, then everything was A-okay for the rest of the day. Hugs all around! When Sweetie's 20- month old cousin woke up from her nap (okay, was rescued from her upstairs alone time acrobatic workout routine), the two girls had a blast playing together. Also very cool. It was pretty much the first time the two of them really played together - running around the house while screeching at the top of their lungs, coloring, helping Grampy outside with some yardwork and playfully bossing each other around (I want her to follow me!, Sweetie complained to Grammy. ____, down! was the repeated demand made of Sweetie). Like Grammy noted, it will be interesting to see whose personality dominates whose as the two girls grow up.

Ya know, it's all part of one big question. What's Sweetie going to be like when she's older? Sweetie's two closest friends are both older than she (one is 6 years old, the other is about 10 months older than Sweetie). Because of this, and all the older cousins she has on my side of the family, I think Sweetie is used to playing the "follower" role, while her older friends and cousins enjoy their "leadership" role in the pairing. But with her young cousin, maybe Sweetie realizes that this is her chance to be the boss. Yet we've also seen touching examples of Sweetie taking Baby Cousin under her wing, treating her more gently and "mothering" her a bit (the two were absolutely adorable during a recent trip to the zoo. Baby Cousin would wander off and Sweetie would go after her, speak some gentle words of explanation - who knows what she was actually saying, since none of us were close enough to hear - and take her hand to lead her back to our group).

Also, what types of interests will dominate Sweetie's life? Currently she likes to do puzzles, play on the computer, play Play-doh, and build real and imaginary playlands. She's interested in numbers, learning the concepts of addition and subtraction. She claims to want to be a builder when she grows up. She loves being outdoors, helping Daddy or her grandfathers with cleaning up their yards or going on adventure walks with Nana or Grammy.

She doesn't really like to play dolls and she couldn't care less about all her stuffed animals - except her one Teddy. She likes to hold the occasional tea party and loves Dora. But I'd say those are just about the girliest things she holds dear. Yet if I ask her about her friends at school, she only tells me about her girl friends. I ask her if she ever plays with some of the boys. No, I only play with the girls. I don't like playing with the boys. They're not my friends, only the girls. I thought that comment was interesting. She's already feeling the pressure of boys against girls. And even though her interests tend more towards the physical activities, she's still more comfortable playing with the girls.

Yes, Grammy. I too am interested to see what type of little lady we have on our hands. A wild imagination + great vocabulary skills + a scientifically/
mathematically interested mind + a huge sense of adventure + no sense of fear + a healthy determination + creative/artistic genes stemming back many generations on both sides of the family = (hopefully) one well rounded, multi-talented, happy little girl and future woman ready to set the world on fire.

Not that, at almost 4-years old, I'm pushing her towards any one set of interests over the other. Nor do I think that her current set of interests are fated to determine the end all and be all of whomever she's going to become one day. But the myriad of possibilities does boggle my mind.

Happy and healthy. That's all I really want for her. Oh, and God help her if she truly is more mathematically inclined. Cuz that's going to be all her. Hubby can maybe help a little with geometry, but I won't be any help at all. Good luck to you, Sweetie, is all I can say.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sweetie Saturday #27

I was helping Sweetie with an activity book recently. We were looking at an alphabet page in which a different object illustrated each of the different letters. Most of the objects were recognizable, but Sweetie questioned a few.

What's that, Mommy?

That's a unicorn. Unicorn starts with U.

At that her eyes lit up and she excitedly exclaimed,

A unicorn! I was a unicorn! I dressed up like a unicorn the other day! On the other day when we went outside with your visitors and walked all around!

Yes, you're absolutely right, Sweetie. You were a unicorn for Halloween last year.

The outside walking around with your visitors she's referring to is last year's Keene Pumpkin Festival. Our friends (who sometimes come to our house to visit) live in Keene, so every year we head on out for the day and have some good Fall fun looking at all the jack-o-lanterns, drinking hot chocolate and cider and eating yummy baked apple rings. This year's Festival is next Saturday. We can't wait!


Our friends, mentioned above, are named Mark and Cricket (yes, Cricket. It's a nickname she picked up as a child and it's stuck all these years). On our way home from my cousin's wedding this summer, we stopped in to visit them and go out to dinner.

Sweetie, Hubby and I headed to the restaurant in our car and met Mark and Cricket, who had driven their own. As we got out of the car, Sweetie wondered where our friends had gone.

Where'd Crick and Market go?


As I mentioned in an earlier post, Sweetie claims not to have missed us while Hubby and I were away on our cruise. Oh, really???.......

This past Monday, as usual, was a Mommy and Sweetie day. When her Daddy got home from work that evening, Sweetie was so excited to see him that she ran up, calling his name, and gave him a big hug.

Hi Sweetie! I missed you.

I missed you too, Daddy.

Huh. Eight days away and she doesn't miss us. Eight hours and she does. Whatever.

Another thing - dropping her off at school this week has been torturous. On Tuesday she acted as if she was walking to her death sentence - head hung low and slow tiny steps. It took awhile to get her into her classroom and, once there, all she would do was sit on my lap and declare over and over that, I don't want to be here. Finally the teacher came to my rescue, scooped Sweetie up and I headed off to work as my Sweetie screamed and cried, Mommy! I want my Mommy!!!! (Five minutes later, I'm told, she was fine and had a great day).

Similarly on Thursday, she also didn't want to go to school. But this time the fight started at home. Then, when we got to her school, she wouldn't get out of the car for me. She unbuckled herself from her carseat and scooted over to the far side of the back seat, crying all the time that, I don't want to be here!

I finally said that if she didn't come with me I'd have to call one of her teachers out to the car to take her inside, and I started to reach for my phone (which, it turns out, I didn't have with me). Sweetie didn't want the teacher to come, though, so she reluctantly walked in the building with me. Again with the crying and carrying on once we reached her room. But this time the teacher was much more quick to help me out. She took the screaming Sweetie and I left. Another instance where, I'm told, two minutes later Sweetie was fine and all smiles for the rest of the morning.

Anyway, this was so frustrating for me, considering I'm not able to physically pick her up and make her go places she may not want to go, and heartbreaking as well - how could I leave my Sweetie when she's calling so desparately that she wants to be with me?!

Every school day when I get to work I call my mom to tell her that Sweetie's all set. Likewise, I called her these past two instances, this time complaining/worrying about Sweetie's behavior. But my mom said not to worry too much about it. It's probably just Sweetie's way of "getting back" at us for leaving her last week. She may say that she didn't miss us. And, true, the vacation week itself went very smoothly for both Sweetie and my parents. But now that we're back to the regular routine, Sweetie probably just wants to make sure that we won't be leaving her again for an extended period of time anytime soon.

Yeah, okay. I guess I buy that. I just hope Sweetie's okay with playing with Grammy and Grampy for a little while today while Hubby and I go off to the NH Blog Con dinner. Because it seems to me that all she wants is to be at home or at Nana's house. Everywhere else - especially without Mommy and Daddy - is no good at all. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Heck, I Didn't Even Change A Diaper For The First Week!

Don't worry - Hubby was on Diaper Duty during Sweetie's first week of life. And then - pretty much never again. Oh well.

So, yeah. My point is - I don't like change. I just don't do very well with it. One of the great things I like about my job, in fact, is the routine of it all. Some days are more routine than others, of course. And the number of what if's and OMG!'s that could throw my plans for a loop pretty much number in the bajillions. But more often than not, things go along at a pretty regular, expected clip and that's the way I like it. Amen.

Now things are getting a little "changy" at work and I'm not sure I like it. New boss, new computers, new processes to learn and new people to interact with. I'm not going to get into specifics because I've vowed to myself never to talk about work here (ahem - isn't that, like, the #1 Cardinal Rule of blogging? - LEAVE WORK OUT OF IT!). And, anyway, none of the changes are necessarily bad. Some are actually quite wonderful! But they're changes nonetheless and it's kind of freaking me out. Where is my schedule?! Where is my known timeframe for project completion?! Where is my sanity?! Has anybody seen my cow????!!!!!

As with work, there are the changes I see in Sweetie. She's only a few months away from 4- years old, people! But she's just a toddler! How can this be?! 4- year olds can't possibly be classified as toddlers anymore. Yet my Sweetie's a toddler, right? I mean, she was a toddler just yesterday. How can she go from turning from 2 to 3 - right in the heart of Toddler Town, to turning from 3 to 4 - fully adjusted to life in Little Girl Land? Cuz she seems totally at home with her little big girl self. But I'm not comfortable, no siree bob!

Sweetie knows some basic math now. She knows about the days of the week. She knows that we live in New Hampshire. She's a big helper to her little cousins and younger friends. And she says things like Cool! and Oh yeah, Babah! Maybe not barometers for Big Girl status to you all, but shockingly mature seeming to her Mommy and Daddy here, who are watching slack-jawed in the corner as Sweetie tells us about her plans for her future (she wants to be a builder when she gets big) and her theories on how the world works the way it does (It's dark outside because it's bedtime and then the sun will come up and it will be daytime because it's light outside and I will be BIGGER! But not this day. On another day when it's light outside again.)

Change is good, I know. And necessary, of course. Without it we can't grow or learn or experience new joys and challenges or make new friends. Some changes are great and some are the pits. But whatever change brings, one thing is for certain. Change is inevitable.

At least parenthood has gotten me somewhat used to the idea of change. I mean babies, toddlers and children in general are nothing if not changeable. One day they LOVE spaghetti, and the next day they don't even want to look at it. Those daily, seemingly trivial changes I can now deal with pretty well. I have to.

But the ultimate change of growing up, never to return to the former baby years - or work changes where things are now going to be done in different ways by different people from now on. Those changes are more difficult to comprehend and accept. You know life, good or bad, will not be the way it has been. It will not be entirely comfortable and/or familiar - at least for the time being.

Of course you'll find your groove again and settle into an all new, maybe even better, way of being. But the loss of what once was will always clench your heart, at least a little bit.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mama Monday #33

Theme: Taste

Seven years ago today about 100 members of our friends and families gathered to honor our union, celebrate our love, and toast us on our new life together. Good food and drink added to the fun. We dined at a beautiful English manor-type establishment and were all treated like kings and queens. The food was so outstanding, in fact, that our guests were too busy enjoying the bounty to think about clinking their wine glasses to get us to kiss.

Six years ago today we brought out the top of our wedding cake, lit a candle, and enjoyed the moment. However, since my parents' freezer - where the cake had been stored - was at some point unplugged for some amount of time, we didn't dare taste it. It still looked good, but who knows what was going on inside.

Most of our anniversaries since have involved going out to dinner to celebrate. As we do with our vacations, we also do with our celebrations - we follow our taste buds! It's a real treat for us to splurge with tasty food and beautiful surroundings. Whether it's a gourmet meal at an upscale jazz bistro, or our favorite chain restaurant, we love sharing our anniversaries together over really wonderful food.

Seven days ago we were embarking on our Bermudian cruise. Our first cruise ever! And, boy did we have fun. Talk about food! So much food it was hard to choose what to eat. From waffles and eggs to lobster and quail - the choices were virtually endless. Sadly, the only dissappointment regarding the food on the cruise were the desserts. Specifically (as I mentioned in yesterday's post) the "celebration cake" they offered in honor of birthdays and anniversaries. All four couples at our dinner table were celebrating anniversaries last week, so we were actually saddened that we'd be subjected to several of these cakes. However, after talking to some crew members, we upgraded and were "allowed" to get a different type of cake, which was better. So it all worked out in the end. Another culinary excursion successfully and happily sated!

As for tonight, there'll be no major celebration. At least concerning food. Originally I had hoped to go out to eat tonight, even though we already officially celebrated our anniversary with the cruise. But now I'd rather just stay home and remain quiet. So maybe tonight it will be popcorn shrimp and french fries or a heaping bowl of spaghetti. But whatever it is, we'll enjoy our time together, celebrate our love, and have fun with our Sweetie, appreciating all the wonderful things the last seven years have brought to us.

Happy Anniversary, Pumpkin Eyes. I love you. Thanks for showing me a taste of your world, for encouraging me to explore my own interests and dreams, and for joining me for many, many more years of wonderful, exciting adventures together.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

We're Baaaaaacccckkkk!

Hello! Greetings from sunny..... New Hampshire. Yes, we're back from our Bermudian cruise. Had a fabulous time. Glad to be home, though, if only to see our Sweetie again. Although, apparently, she didn't miss us.

We missed you Sweetie.

I didn't miss you, Mommy and Daddy.

Reason I was able to hold back the tears when saying goodbye to Sweetie last Saturday morning: She pushed my face away, saying No kisses! No hugs! Nothing!

Reason I was able to hold back the tears when saying hello to her yesterday: Daddy got to her first - at her insistance and allowance of hugs and kisses - and then she didn't want me. Only Daddy. I only got a polite, Hi Mommy.

Further gems from Sweetie on yesterday's ride home from the bus station:

No, Mommy, I want Daddy to sit next to me. Not you.

Duck your head, Mommy, so I can see my Daddy.

Daddy, you're so silly. (I'm) silly too. We are both so silly. And Mommy, you're....just fine.

Wow. I always knew I was somewhat reserved, but who knew I was such a total wet blanket? Kids - they do speaketh the truth. So, so sad.

Anyway, like I said, we had a wonderful time on our cruise. Only the last full day of sailing home was rough waters. Not so bad for me, but Hubby almost got sick a few times, despite taking pills and wearing acupressure bands on his wrists.

Our cruising days, both coming and going, were cloudy and cold. But every day in Bermuda was beautiful! We shopped, beached, ate and drank. We had lots of fun with our dinner mates - 3 other couples all around our age and, ironically, all there to celebrate our respective wedding anniversaries. (Which, unfortunately, meant 4 "celebration cakes" which we all quickly agreed tasted like wet newspapers. After 2 of those we wised up and asked for a different kind of cake. So our third was a cheese cake - better than the soggy papers. And the last was a vanilla cake - the best of them all, although still not totally delicious. The rest of the abundant food offerings we great, though. So s'all good in the end.)

I'll write more later. I've got lots of stories to share. But for now I've got to stop. My head is still spinning from the motion of the ocean and I'm having trouble looking at the screen. I fear it's going to be several days before my equilibrium completely equilibriates.

But, for now, I'll leave you with this picture. Sure, it doesn't really prove that we were on a cruise. But it proves we were together, with drinks, having lots of fun. Which, after all, is all that really matters, right? Right.

Maybe I'm not such a total wet blanket after all.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Could I Have Some Cheese With My Whine?

Hey there bloggers! My name is Courtney Wallace, and I am a 27-year-old woman and mommy with Spina Bifida. Let me first start off by saying that I am so excited that Amy has asked me to be a guest blogger for her while she’s on her long awaited cruise. Have a ball for me would you Amy?

Okay, so let me just tell you that being a mommy with Spina Bifida hasn’t been easy for the past 6 1/2-months. First of all, my wonderful husband of almost 3 years was deployed to Afghanistan with the Navy, which left me to be a pseudo single parent to our very busy 11-month-old daughter, Caylee. I say pseudo single because lets face it, I was a chicken and didn’t want to do it by myself so I moved back to Indiana with my parents so that I would have the extra help. Let me just say that was probably the most stressful decision that I have had to make in a long time. If any of you have moved back home after the tender age of 21, especially with children of your own…you’ll know just what I mean. It was a very stressful time for me with my husband gone, being my daughter’s sole caretaker, and trying to let my parent’s comments just roll off my back. I know they meant well, but come on now! Whew!!! I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to make it through what I was sure was going to be the longest 6 months of my life.

Well now my husband is back (since 9/14/06 around midnight) and we are going through the current stress of moving back to our current duty station in Jacksonville, Florida. Things have been different, but they seem to be getting better everyday. Then again, I’ve been told at times that I could very well be delusional when it comes to these kinds of things. My daughter is still getting used to having her daddy back while also dealing with the separation from my mom, step-dad and other members of my family. She still isn’t really sure about being left alone with her daddy, but hopefully that too will pass. Let’s all hope that that passes sooner rather than later or I will probably lose my sanity soon. I can’t remember the last time that I had a minute to myself.

I think I’ll stop venting for now, as my brain needs to get ready for bed. In closing, I want to leave you with this…just when you think that your life is too hectic to deal with, just remember that there is someone else out there who is or has been in your shoes. I recommend a nice glass of wine (or several if you feel the need) and lots of chocolate.

Take care for now, and I hope that you enjoyed reading my post / vent! Maybe even some of you can relate to my situation.