What's in a name

Last night, Addie woke up around 1:30 AM and I rocked her for a few minutes to calm her down and help her back to sleep. When I returned to bed, I remembered what day it was, felt overwhelmed with a forgotten feeling of grief and quietly cried for a while.

Nine years ago today, along with her family and a small group of friends, we celebrated my dear friend Adrienne's 21st birthday. Two days later she lost her life to cancer.

Growing up I was no stranger to death. My parents never hid it from us and I attended funerals for elderly family members for as long as I can remember. Even though I understood what it was like to lose someone I was attached to, this was so different. This was my friend. She was my age. We chose to be in each other's lives. That following year was the darkest time I've ever experienced.

From that time on, I knew if I ever had a daughter, I would make sure that she shared Adrienne's name. As I lay in bed early this morning, my mind came alive with so many memories. I was amazed at how much I remembered and at how much I have forgotten. It is so important to me that Addie knows how incredible her namesake was and how much she meant to me. And so, it is for her sake that I am writing this post today.

Adrienne and I became friends in high school. She moved to Henderson, KY one year before me, so she knew what it was like to be a new kid amongst a large group of people who had known each other since kindergarten. What started out as sitting together in the lunch room quickly turned into getting together for dinner over the weekend with our growing group of girlfriends. Adrienne loved legal dramas and had ambitions of attending law school. Our friendship blossomed and grew stronger as we served on our local "Teen Court" together and strategized our cases over mexican food.

I had moved twice in two years and left many friends behind along the way. Adrienne taught me about having grown-up girlfriends and what it meant to be loyal. Adrienne loved books and she introduced me to the Sweet Potato Queens. Before the rest of the world caught on, we discovered Rebecca Wells and were our very own Ya Ya's. She was the glue that held our group together. We all stood in a circle in the street outside of my house the summer after we graduated high school listening to Michael W. Smith's Friends Are Friends Forever with tears in our eyes. Even though it should have been ridiculously cheesy, somehow it wasn't.

Adrienne was super crafty. She loved making thoughtful gifts for any occasion and sometimes for no occasion at all. She planned and sent out gorgeous invitations for our Christmas get-togethers after we all went our separate ways for college. Adrienne loved food and she loved giving dinner parties. Her favorite meal became one of mine--pina colada chicken with mashed potatoes, sweet peas and crescent rolls with rum cake for dessert--don't thank me, sweet babe, it all came from her.

Since we were sure we would outlive our future husbands, we made plans to buy one big house for all the Ya Ya's after our loves passed on, and share a nurse between us. We were going to sit outside on our wrap-around porch with our IVs, sipping iced tea, giving each other pedicures and talk about the good old days.

Adrienne had an incredible spirit and had amazing optimism, assertiveness and confidence. We always joked that if any of us was ever timid about returning an item at a store, just bring her along and there would be no trouble. Even after she became sick, I never remember hearing fear in her voice. She relapsed twice and reassured us all that everything would be fine, even when I think she knew it wasn't.

Something I always admired in Adrienne was her incredible faith. She was very active in her church and went on service missions whenever she could. Even when it was inconvenient, she worked hard to maintain ties with her church and keep God at the center of her life.

Adrienne had beautiful curly hair that eventually had to be cut short. She was nearly bald and at the mall when she saw some teenage kids looking at her and whispering that they thought she must be a lesbian. She looked right at them and said, "No, I have cancer!" Adrienne was hilarious. I miss her laugh and how when she really got going, she would squint her eyes almost shut and lean back so far it looked as though she would fall over. Sometimes she did.

One of my favorite memories of Adrienne was a night some of the Ya Ya's spent at her parents' house one summer. We had too much to drink and went streaking through the golf course out back. As I stood totally naked atop one of the greens singing the Star Spangled Banner, Adrienne and Lori stole my clothes and locked me out of the house. After a few minutes of exaggerated panic, I was allowed back in and was met with that wonderful laugh I loved.

After we lost her and people started sharing their memories of her, it quickly became apparant that I was very much not alone. Adrienne touched so many people and had a way of making everyone she cared about feel special.

Today, my lovely friend would have been 30. I still miss her more than I can say.

Grief is a funny thing. When you think you should feel it, or when you prepare to, you don't. And when you think you've moved past it, it jumps up and grabs you at the throat when you least expect it. Each year around these dates, I imagine I will feel empty and devistated, but that is not always the case. Instead, it's the random times that surprise me and suck the air out of my stomach, forcing me to remember to breathe--when I hear certain Jimmy Buffet songs, whenever I go into The Limited, when I accidentally take a gulp of sweet tea, whenever I read SARK, and sometimes even when I look in my sweet baby girl's eyes and think about why she has the name she does.

If you made it through this lengthy read, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Hopefully some of these stories made you smile and will remind you to cherish the moments you have with the friends in your life who really aren't just friends, but kindred spirits... Ya Ya's! 

One of the last photos I have of Adrienne before she lost all that gorgeous hair.

My very dear friend, and fellow Ya Ya, Carmen made this quilt for Addie and gave it to me at my baby shower. The center panel is a transfer of a framed quotation that Adrienne made Carmen when we were in college. This quilt could not be more precious and is one of my most treasured posessions... even though it's technically Addie's!

Quilt-along week one

The assignment for this week was to choose and prepare your fabrics. Well, I am excited to say I'm half way there! Last night I ventured out of the house and with the help of my friend, Kim we were able to choose this coordinating set for my first quilt. I wish I knew of a small locally owned fabric store in town, but until I find one, it's the big chains for now. These are from M'Liss' Fresh From the Garden line at Hancock Fabrics.  Drumroll, please!

I love the whimsy of the larger prints and the colors remind me of a spring or fall picnic. Hopefully that is what this will be used for. The colorful print across the bottom will mingle with the others and also be the back of the quilt. The green fabric will serve as the binding.

Now it's time to wash, dry and iron these beauties so they are all ready for week two. I can't wait to get cutting and working on bringing this project to fruition!

p.s. A friend on Facebook suggested that I try and work with some recycled/repurposed fabric. I will definitely be on the lookout for a pattern that would be more friendly to an eclectic mix, maybe for project #2. If you have any ideas of where I could find one or if you've done one yourself, please let me know!

UPDATE: Ok, so I started searching on Etsy for upcycled fabric and HO-LY CRAP there are some beautiful and really reasonably priced vintage and repurposed items to be had. Uh-oh.

Thank you Sir, may I have another!

I have been thinking about writing this post for about six weeks now. We had an appointment with my midwife yesterday and we heard a heartbeat. That's right, the cat is out of the bag--I'm pregnant.

Announcing a prengancy is such a tricky thing. Who do you tell? When do you tell? How do you tell? That game is over. Now, you all are in the circle. I hope this might explain the lack of posts about recipes, food and coffee (oh coffee...) in general. By the way, those butter cookies I was so excited about? While my family and friends raved about them, they tasted awful to me and I couldn't eat them. So sad. This is also quite likely the true deep down reason for my crafting funk, as I usually do most of my work in the evenings and by the time Addie gets in bed, I barely have the energy to lift a pair of needles. C'est la vie.

As I've mentioned previously, we planned to get pregnant early this year. It took us several months to conceive Addie, so we thought maybe we should start a bit sooner and we could take our time. The first month, we hit the jackpot. Oops (sort of). In all honesty, we are very excited and we never take for granted that we have been able to conceive on our own. Truly, we feel we have been given life's greatest blessing.

Having said that, the last two months have been a challenge to say the least. With Addie, I was not a cute pregnant person. So far, this time around isn't looking much different. On a normal day, I have been completely nauseous from about 3 PM until I go to bed, which is usually around 9. Saying I'm exhausted would be an understatement. Yes, pregnancy with an almost two-year-old is quite another ball game.

Hopefully once Addie realizes what is happening, she can forgive me and remove my nomination for 2010's Lamest Mom of the Year. My fabulous midwife gave me several ideas to combat some of these lovely side effects and so far, they are helping. Yesterday afternoon I sucked on some magical ginger candy and felt better than I have since Christmas. I'm wearing Sea Bands and we'll see how they fare today. I'm trying to avoid the prescription on my counter at all costs, so I'm hoping the homeopathic stuff works.

I only have a few more weeks to go in this trimester--thank goodness! Our constant prayer is that I will begin to feel better and that our baby will continue to grow and be healthy. August 20th is the due date. The countdown is on!

Starting somewhere

Through my weekend blog browsing, I found this lovely space along with the perfect project to get me started on my quest to become a quilter. I added the quilt-along button to my sidebar as a visual reminder that I can jump in with no fear and learn something new!

The first assignment is to choose and prepare your fabrics. The patterns I have for Addie's someday quilt are so precious to me, I am going to put those away and save them for when I have some clue what I am doing. This project is for a 50" x 60" lap quilt and my mind is working away to try and figure out what color scheme I want to go with. Or maybe I will just walk into a store and see what jumps out at me. That really is the best part anyway--letting creative impulses take over, grabbing bolt after bolt of material and deciding what works and what doesn't, feeling inspired by the surroundings of fellow crafters and supplies galore, and the excitement of a new project looming ahead that may or may not turn out the way you dream.

I will definitely keep this journey as transparent as possible in the coming weeks so stay tuned. I'm sure it will be an adventure!

What new projects are on your horizon as we come to the end of the first month of the year?

Not so funny when it's true

My favorite stand-up comedy routine of all time is Bill Cosby Himself. It is timeless (well, the humor is, but not his suit), hilarious and nearly void of all the profanity that litters stand-up today. If you have not seen this, go get it. Right now. Watch it this weekend and laugh and laugh until you can't breathe.

The parenting segments are especially my favorite. Whether it's his kids thinking their names are Dammit and Jesus Christ or how parents view "poo-poo" in the first months of a baby's life, it is just so funny. Except when it's true.

This morning Addie was wandering around while Curt was getting ready for work. When she started taking things out from under our bathroom sink and putting them in her mouth, he told her that we only eat things that come from the kitchen. Then he asked her where the kitchen is. She looked up at him, shrugged her shoulders and said, "I dunno." Now, this girl knows where the kitchen is. She knows where her favorite snacks are kept and she knows how to drag us by our fingers into the heart of the home to get her what she wants.

For some reason she thought it would be cute to just give the easy answer that she doesn't know. Then she didn't have to show us anything. How could she show us where the kitchen is if she truly has no idea where to find it? This has been happening more and more frequently. If she is in the middle of something and we ask her a question that she doesn't have time to deal with, she simply responds with, "I dunno!" thinking that she can just keep on going with her activity uninterrupted.

Oh Dr. Cosby, how you know. If only I had spent more time taking notes instead of getting a stitch in my side while listening to your wise words from 1983. Perhaps this should be required viewing material for soon-to-be new parents. We can laugh ourselves silly until our children are born and then shake our heads at how true it all was when those anecdotes come to fruition before our very eyes.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm in the mood for some chocolate cake!


Last night I was super cranky. I was a frown-faced, don't bother me, leave me alone grump. No good. I could try and figure out why I was in such a nasty mood, but as I've discussed before, sometimes it's best to just accept the ickiness, go to bed and move on.

This morning I woke up feeling better, but restless. I had to clean this house immediately, so with a little help from my bug, I made a big dent in the work. And as a side note, if there was ever any doubt that she is my child, let her excitement about using a Swiffer lay any speculation to rest. As much as I love a clean kitchen, I think even moreso I love teaching her to say, "My turn, Mommy!" Not to share her favorite toy, but so she could have a chance to catch some crumbs of her own in those magic static dirt and hair catching cloths!  

Only half way done and I am already feeling deflated and exhausted and it's just barely noon. Good grief! As I trudged to the refrigerator to find something for lunch, I ran across this lovely reminder I made for myself last week.

Yes, mixed in with Addie's art and some of my favorite magnets is my word of the year. Not anything fancy--just a simple work of construction paper and jumbo crayon. Just enough to help me remember to take a step back, a deep breath and let a few things go. After all, we can't have cranky grumpy Mommy two nights in a row, can we?

Almost tear free morning

As soon as I became a SAHM I joined the Mom's group at our parish. We have meetings two mornings a month and free childcare is provided. I love the chance to connect with other moms and give Addie an opportunity to be away from me and stretch her independence, if only for 90 minutes. Wouldn't it be lovely if she felt the same way?

Ever since I started attending meetings, leaving Addie in the nursery has been a true challenge. As soon as she sees me walking down the hall, she starts with the, "No, no, no!" and the moment we walk through the door she begins bawling and tries to permanently attach herself to my body.

When we went a few weeks ago, I could hear her screaming (and I mean as though she was being violently assaulted) for 30 minutes into our meeting and I had to go and get her out of there. Not because I couldn't take it emotionally, but because it was causing such a disruption. She was in the arms of a very sweet woman, trying her best to calm my girl. Addie's face and ears were bright red, her eyes and lips were swollen and her face was covered with tears and snot. My goodness.

Needless to say, this morning I was dreading another trip to the nursery. Addie and I talked about it and she seemed cheerful enough about the whole thing. OK, we'll give it another try. This time, I stayed in the room with her for quite a while in an attempt to calm her down and acclimate her to the environment that she has been far too distraught to notice before. Finally, it was time for me to leave as I was already quite late for my meeting. She freaked out for a minute, but all through the rest of the morning, I heard no desperate cries coming from down the hall.

When it was time to pick her up, I peeked in the window and Addie's face was its normal color. She didn't have any signs of tears on her cheeks and she actually seemed to be playing with one of the women inside. WHAT!!! When she saw me, she didn't begin screaming, she just reached out and said, "Hold me." WHAT!!! I was so excited to have a mostly painless trip to the Mom's group that I brought my big girl home and made her some cookies. Well, break and bake cookies, but hey--they still get the wow factor around here.

Good job, little bug! I'm so proud of you!

Following the path

In the true spirit of Mommy Honesty, I have to admit... last night I did not cast on a new project. :(  No, indeed. Still in a crafting funk. Still in need of that burst of inspiration in the form of motivation. For some reason I either end up knitting like a freak for weeks on end or not knitting at all. I am so envious of all the knitting bloggers out there who have unknowingly served as my mentors. They do a little bit each day and have worked that rhythm into their routine. I need to find a way to do that. Hmmm...

Perhaps it would help to not become distracted by other aspirations of taking up and learning an additional skill. Like quilting. I wish I could say this was an original progression, but as many of the other mom and crafting blogs out there will attest, I'm just getting sucked into the path that so many have taken before me. First of course, it was the knitting and now that I've gotten comfortable with my basic skill level, it's time to move on and add another textile into my repertoire.

For months, I have been browsing through fabrics and finally came across several fat quarter bundles that called out to me from their sale bin. As soon as I figure out what in the world I am doing, all of these will one day become a quilt for Addie's big girl bed. At least I can rest assured that we are quite a ways away from this transition so I have plenty of time to find a tutorial that fits the ideas bopping around in my head.

I love the simple and traditional prints mixed in with a few that are modern, and am confident that these will one day come together and turn into something really lovely. In the meantime, Addie and I keep getting them out to play with. She will entertain herself for quite a while just stacking, unstacking, moving piles of fabric around, putting them away and getting them out again. It's so fun to watch. Of course, I have to have my fun as well. Although my creativity looks somewhat different from hers...

Yes, Mommy just meshes everything together in a pile on the floor and imagines what it will all look like once it is bound together in one warm, beautiful quilt. Someday.

Mommy evolution

Ever since I finished that last hat on the morning of Christmas Eve, I have been on a crafting haitus. There are many projects to work on, with mounds of yarn and piles fabric to choose from, but for some reason I cannot get motivated. In this little break, I have had some time to reflect on my motivation for crafting and how this has changed over the years.

I used to be completely anti-crafting and decorating. I sat on our couch while my roommates in college filled our apartment with Christmas cheer. Post-college, I had friends with crafting tables who made wreaths to hang on their front doors and created beautiful scrapbooks for every trip, event and occasion. Many of these women were already married, but a few were not. I always thought it was nice, but I had no desire to partake in any of these sorts of activities. Instead, I watched Sex & the City and related with nearly every fiber of my being to what Carrie Bradshaw felt and experienced as a single woman. My, how things have changed.

About a month ago, I caught an old episode when I was up late for whatever reason (probably knitting). I can't remember the theme of that particular show, but I sat there feeling completely disconnected to what was going on. Not only could I not relate to what was happening, but at one point I actually remember thinking, "Screw you, Carrie!"

GASP!!! Blasphemy!!!

What has happened to me? If I stop and think about the me I was ten years ago, I know that I would not recognize who I am today. I loved going out, dancing, flirting, drinking, buying shoes and eating at restaurants I couldn't afford... And now?

Most of the drinking we do is at home and consists of cheap wine, not cosmos. All my best moves are showcased in Addie's room when we have family dance parties in the evening just before bed. A nice restaurant is a once-in-a-while kind of thing. I do nearly all of my flirting with babies Addie and I run into while we're out, and not nearly enough with my husband. It has been years since I've spent more than $40 on a pair of shoes because quite frankly, I'd rather spend the money on yarn.

The road between these two places (the ten years ago me and the me of today) has many, many stories. If I really stop and think, it probably makes a lot of sense that I have come to where and who I am now. There was so much insecurity and heartache that eventualy led to settling into myself and a willingness to explore parts of my identity that I tried to suffocate.

Dating party girl has morphed into knitting stay-at-home-mom. I am now officially one of those women that the sirens from Sex & the City roll their eyes at and become nauseated over. It makes me sad for a second, but really, it's OK. Whenever I have a moment of nostalgia and I miss my freedom as a single gal, I can just pop in a DVD or watch a little late night TBS and remember that while it was fun, those in fact, were not my glory days. Not at all. I know that just because I'm not living on the edge anymore doesn't mean I've lost my edge.

Today I can rest assured that I have even stronger friendships, a closer family, a stable and happy marriage, a beautiful daugher and a me that is secure enough to appreciate every bit of it. All of my old fears and preconceptions about staying home, taking care of my family, cooking, cleaning, and crafting as much or as little as I want are definitely out the window. Tonight, this still sassy 29 year-old mama will enjoy a little OAR on Addie'e playlist, some snuggling with my hubby by the fire, perhaps some yummy take-out and dusting off my needles to cast on something new.


Is there anything cuter than a little girl in pigtails? I don't know if I can tell you. I have had somewhat of a saga throughout Addie's short life trying to get her hair to work with me in this specific way. However, in the last few months, her little locks have grown quite a bit and I decided to try again. Success!

She put up a pretty decent fight as I tamed these pesky strands into place. Sorry, love. You are out of luck! Much to your chagrin, I can promise that you will surely see many more of these side piggies in your future... followed by lots of extra sweet kisses.


After I wrote about New Year's resolutions, and I mean that same day, I read a post written by a wise friend. She talked about her holiday and then mentioned that she was still deciding what her theme for the year would be, along with this link. I was intrigued and had to check it out! I am not trying to steal anyone's thunder, but this idea spoke to me and gave me a sense of calm.

I held onto this new concept for about a week and determined that my word for 2010 will be: gentleness. As I ruminate on the type of mother, wife and friend I want to be, along with how I wish to relate to myself, this word stood out above all others. I know I can be rigid, hold high expectations, demand perfection and I am quick to frustration when things don't go the way I feel they should. In those ways especially, my worst enemy is myself. Knowing that, the best antidote is to allow gentleness to take over instead of anxiety or irritation.

Yesterday was my first attempt at exercising this new intention. After an exciting morning of taking Addie to the Explorium, we were both really worn out. Once she was asleep for her afternoon nap, I sat at my computer and stared at this very page for around 30 minutes before I decided today was just not the day for me to write. I gave myself permission to walk away and instead, lay down and take my very own nap.

Normally the guilt from not living up to the commitment I have made to myself--blog every week day--would have taken over the rest of my afternoon & evening and consumed my energy and focus. Not yesterday. I honored my wish for gentleness and gave myself the break my body told me I needed. I must say, it was so freeing and emotionally, I feel well.

This afternoon, while Addie colors and we sit with each other in creativity, I think I will make a reminder for myself that I can put somewhere in our home. My own expression of gentleness that I will see frequently and thus be reminded throughout the year that I can take a deep breath, relax and work on letting go.

She would like to thank The Academy

Every so often, Addie reminds me in a somewhat painful way that she is, in fact my daughter by displaying (ahem) a flair for drama. The other evening she was playing with one of her new chairs and despite our warnings, refused to sit on her bottom. She was on her knees, facing the back of the chair, and when she leaned forward, the chair tipped over and took her with it. Our girl was fine, but it definitely scared her and she flew into a massive crying/screaming fit.

I immediately grabbed her up and cuddled her on the couch explaining that's why we tell her to be careful, etc. etc. She was nestled into my chest until she decided to throw her head back in an exaggerated wail, all while she reached behind us for the box of tissues. She grabbed one, and began wiping her eyes as she continued to sob. There was nothing Curt and I could do to keep from laughing.

That is, until we caught the evil look our daughter shot at us for having the audacity to scoff at her pain. We quickly bit our lips (literally) and held it together until Ms. Addie calmed down. I mean, hilarious.

It's moments like these when I wonder what this incredible girl will choose to do with her talents as a young woman. Will she join a drama club? Will she take to the stage in the form of modern dance, or perhaps a show choir? Will she utilize these gifts in an entirely different way, channeling her passions for lobbying or some sort of sales (because lets face it, those folks are actors too, most of the time)?

Who knows. What I can say is that she is not even two years old and yes, she is that good. Drama, in its highest form. Whatever path she does choose, we will of course hand her our greatest support... even if it is masked in fits of laughter.

A few inches of fun

Yesterday we finally made it outside to enjoy the several inches of snow we were blessed with last week. (Yes, I am actively working on a change of perspective here!) We were only out for a little while, as Addie's cheeks and fingers grew bright pink very quickly--it was so much fun to watch her go.

Her first time out in the snow to just run and play was a success! She kept picking up handfuls and throwing it in the air, exclaiming, "SNOW!!!" Adorable.

And of course, there was lots of fun with Daddy.

The temperature will be back in the 40's by the end of the week so all of the magic will soon be gone. All reports indicate we are due for another 1/2 inch or so tonight and every little bit helps. So until the big melt we will take what we can get and love every minute of the beauty that is a blanket of white.

Kick in the pants

I think it appears fairly evident from my posts the past few days that I have been in a bit of a funk. My attitude has been one of "the glass is half empty" variety and it has finally caught up to me. New Year's resolutions? Bleaugh. There's snow on the ground? Not enough for me. Bleaugh.

I am a firm believer in feeling what you are feeling even when it's yucky; however, yesterday afternoon was the wake-up call I needed to give myself a jolt and snap out of it. We did in fact, end up with some added accumulations and a final total of around 2 1/2 inches of white stuff--not bad for central KY. Addie and I didn't make it outside, but we did have her first cup of hot chocolate together. It was so sweet on many levels and we both enjoyed it immensely.

Then the horror began. After her sugar high wore off she crashed, and in a big way. Daddy had to work late so I was left alone with tantrum after tantrum, meltdown after horrendous meltdown. It was the kind of afternoon/evening where at the end of it I was wondering if I was really cut out to be a mom, let alone one that stays home with her child full time.

When Curt walked through the door and I started telling him about how awful the past few hours had been, I burst into tears. Addie saw my breakdown and timidly came over to me, put her face in mine and softly said, "Hi, Mommy." Super cute, but still the tears kept coming. Once our girl was in bed, my hubby was able to give me some good comfort and lots of reassuring words. I went to bed early with a bowl of ice cream and a lot of time to think.

For the past several weeks, we have been flooded with family. We were surrounded by loved ones who adore Addie and soak up much of her time and energy when we are all together. In turn, this gave me the opportunity to have a nice, solid break. I was not the only one responsible for Addie's entertainment or well-being. I was not the only person available to make sure we all ate three meals a day. I got to relax and be lazy and I really really enjoyed it.

Then comes reality in all of its loveliness, marching through the front door. Game over. Back to being Mommy, the one and only. I knew it would be an adjustment for myself and my girl to return to just the two of us every day. I thought it would be harder on her but I think it's safe to say I was wrong.

This week has certainly been one of getting back to normal and hopefully today I have found it. In my secret pouting this week I have managed to become queen of my own pity party, thinking after only a few days that I already need a break. But the morning after a large bowl of mint cookie crunch ice cream, I see things in a different light.

My reality actually is quite lovely. I have a loving and supportive husband who works really hard to ensure that we are provided for and that I can stay home with our incredible daughter. Ah... my daugher. Whatever lies ahead as we approach the "terrible twos," at least I get to be there to see her in all her tantrum glory (which, in the right perspective, is actually quite amusing). As a good friend and SAHM once told me: when you stay home with your kids, they see the best of you and the worst and they know you better than anyone. I believe the same is true in reverse as well. Sometimes it feels like we are in an abundance of ugliness, but it always always ends, and the flip side of that is filled with moments that can never be replaced and beauty that I will never forget.  

So thank you Addie, for teaching me that breaks are good, but life really is better. Even when it's hard and even when we stumble, it really is better. Especially when there's ice cream.

You call this snow?

All week, our local news and weather reports have been freaking out about this huge snow storm we were supposed to get today. Yesterday we were told that there was a "winter storm warning" all across the viewing area. I was extatic. If it has to be 20 degrees outside, at least there should be snow, right? I had big plans for Addie and me--fabulous snowed-in activities...

We would draw snowmen on the windows with our, I'm sorry, her new set of window markers. We would bundle up, head out into the white stuff and make my babe's very first snow angel. We would drink hot chocolate for me, warm for her, with marshmallows on top. Maybe we would even be able to snuggle on the couch and sneak in an afternoon movie because, after all, how often do we get five inches of snow around here?

I suppose I should have asked myself that last question just a little bit more seriously because it is 12:30 in the afternoon, half way through our epic blizzard and THIS is our view out the back door:

This is why all of the schools were cancelled today? This is what was giving our weather people such pee-your-pants excitement? Seriously? Seriously.

I was quite irritated this morning when our "winter storm warning" was downgraded to a "winter weather advisory" and it quickly became clear that our prescribed five inches would actually be more like two, if we were lucky. Barely enough to make a footprint, let alone a glorious snow angel. I swore that I would never listen to another weather man, or woman for that matter, ever again! Curt tried to reassure me that it wasn't their fault and that it's weather, it changes at the last minute, they can't help it and besides, they have to talk it up for ratings.

Addie and I can attest that those ratings really helped out the grocery stores as well. Yesterday she and I braved Senior Discount Day combined with the pre-epic blizzard stocking-up crowd, all because we were actually out of juice and bananas. What should have been a quick trip took more like 45 minutes due to the slow moving carts that took up most of the aisles. Addie just nibbled on her sugar cookie from the deli while smiling and waving to her many admirers, as I tried to keep my cool while imagining the fun that awaited us today--surely it would all be worth it.

Alas, this is Kentucky. A crop dusting now and again is really all we can hope for and these scattered snow showers are no different. Who knows? Maybe this afternoon the heavens will open and we will get so hammered by big juicy flakes that I will be forced to eat every singe one of these words. A girl can hope. Either way, one thing I can predict without a doubt is that there is plenty of hot chocolate in the afternoon forecast at the Clayton household, with lots of white fluffy stuff on top!

Talkin 'bout a resolution

Everywhere I turn, all week long, I have been confronted with people talking about their New Year's resolutions. Especially on TV and in the blogosphere, it seems to be the topic of choice. I don't know if I was so consumed with preparing for Christmas or what, but making resolutions for 2010 was not on my radar at all, until now.

This year, for some reason, I am really feeling the pressure to come up with something interesting and relevant that transcends the typical: I want to be healthier, I want to save money, I want to be a better mom, a better person, blah, blah, blah. The funny thing is that what I want most for myself and my family doesn't really fall in the "resolution" category. I want to have a baby in 2010. I want to have a book published in 2010. And this year (gasp), I am going to turn 30. What are all of the things I wanted to accomplish before I hit the big 3-0? Is a trip to Greece out of the question for this summer? (Sadly, I think the answer to that may be yes, but at least I have my flower cups.)

For the past week, I have continued to go blank whenever I try and explore the subject. It feels really strange because I have never had trouble with resolutions before. Usually I can come up with a long and detailed list of ways I am going to kick this next year's butt. But 2010? I got nothin'.

Would it be ridiculous to resolve to come up with a resolution? Hmmm... Yes. It would. Or maybe I should simply resolve to relax a little bit, become more decisive and put less pressure on myself in general. Eh... That'll do.

That didn't take long

Yesterday afternoon I walked into Addie's kitchen space
to find this scene waiting for me...

I mean, I love this girl! In case you can't tell, the oven door is open, a cookie is sitting right on the burner of the stove and Elmo's lifeless body is laying in the fridge. Poor Elmo.

After a while, I brought Addie over and asked her if she thought we should take Elmo out of the refrigerator. She looked me in the eyes with her infamous furrowed brow, said, "No, Mommy." and walked away. Well alright then. At least his head isn't in the oven.

p.s. That is a mini wooden stand mixer over on the right... with a cupcake in the bowl. I cannot tell you how much I adore that this exists and that my daughter has one. Thanks Memere & Pepere and hooray for KidKraft!


Addie's second Christmas proved to be quite a bit more exciting than her first. At nearly 21-months-old she was really into opening gifts, wearing her Christmas dress and being showered with endless attention. So many images over the last two weeks warm my heart and make today a little bit sweeter while we miss Daddy back at work.

Santa brought a new kitchen and a table & chair set. Little Ms. was quite pleased to say the least!

Papaw's gift of a pretend fish tank was a huge hit.

Then it was off to Indy to see my side of the family. The tradition of my dad reading The Christmas Story continued, even if Addie's attention wandered.

Yeah, she likes presents.

Especially if it's Elmo.

Or Nemo.

She had more fun with Uncle "Bip"'s new iPod Nano than anyone else.

And we entered the new venture of washing our hands almost by ourselves with a little help from GiGi's gift--a step stool.

I must say, it is somewhat strange to be the Mommy at Christmastime. I deeply appreciate all of the work my parents put into making that time of year so special and meaningful to us kids. It is quite another thing to have all of that magic resting on your shoulders. We are still trying to figure out what traditions will be ours and it may take years before we find our Christmas rhythm. (It may take years before I find a make-ahead cinnamon roll recipe that seems reasonable, and until I do, it's Pillsbury y'all.)

Then again, maybe we have found our rhythm but it's me who needs to settle into it. Traditions do take time to build, but with my stubborn self, it will surely take a while for me to feel like it's ours. Until then, what we have managed to create is still pretty incredible and we have a girl who is none the wiser that it took Santa's helpers until 12:30 AM to get her kitchen furniture together. Christmas memories--best way to start the year.