Posts Tagged With: joy

Baby K is two!

Monday was the second anniversary of Baby K coming into our world.
Y’all, I’m just as awestruck, just as joyful, just as SQUEE as I was that day.
This little girl is more than I could ever hope for!

YBW and I went out to their house in the early afternoon timing our arrival with her waking from her nap.
Three things happened all at once: Baby K woke kind of grouchy, Aunt Gaga (Thing 2) called, and Papa pulled M&M’s out of his pocket.

When she heard her Auntie’s voice, Baby K was all smiles even though she was grouchy. Then suddenly, she climbed out of her mommy’s lap and ran to her Papa.
I was over there like WTF?
That’s when I realized he bribed her with candy.
Classic grandfather move. (imagine me shaking my fist, while also being slightly amused)

Well, it turns out talking to your Aunt and sharing chocolate with your Papa is just what a grouchy-wake-up birthday girl needs.

Presents were tricky, as she really didn’t understand exactly what was going on, but she loves to rip paper, so it evens out. However, she does rip the teeniest little pieces of paper off stuff, so it takes about forty-seven-thousand (possible exaggeration) separate rips to actually unwrap a gift.
Papa and I solved that problem with gift bags, though she pulls out each piece of tissue one at a time so it’s a similar process. (oh, that girl!)

This backpack was a hit.
She said, “A clue! A clue!”
The moment she got it on her back, she waved and said, “Bye!” before turning and walking to the front door.

That girl was ready to go!
Um…peace out, chicken.

My offspring are notorious for their ambivalence toward cake, and it seems to have carried on to the next generation too. So, instead of cake Baby K had ice cream as her birthday treat! A chocolate shake to be exact. From this delicious little frozen custard place not too far from their house.

How it started:

Where we finally put a stop to it:

Birdie took her straight to the tubby while her Daddy and Papa cleaned the mess, and her Mommy started a load of laundry.

Y’all it was spectacular!
She became one with that ice cream and it was an absolute joy to watch. Even when she splashed it all over the rest of us, we couldn’t help but laugh!

This was Baby K’s second birthday in the time of covid. Even though she didn’t get a big ol’ party, we had big ol’ fun!

My daughter’s daughter is precious and beloved.
I’m grateful she was born.
I’m grateful to celebrate her birthday with her.
I’m grateful to be her Birdie.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

adapting here and adapting there

Thing 1, Husband N, Baby K, and their two dogs officially began living in their new house April first. (no foolin’)
YBW took the day off work. We loaded up four vehicles with the last of their things, and off we went.

Baby K has a big girl bed with the most amazing (to her) Moana duvet cover! She’s so tiny in that full size bed, but it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.
In the few days they’ve been there, Thing 1 and Husband N are getting settled in their room, and setting up work space for Husband N who only goes into the office two days a week.
Thing 1 built a kitchen table and chairs and a small storage island too.

After being at the house, YBW and I went out Easter Sunday for a visit.
Baby K came out of her house squealing and shouting, PAPA! BEEEE! (for Birdie) and running to hug us. That did YBW’s heart good, he’s missed his little granddaughter.

That girl had such fun hunting for eggs for the first time out in her brand new yard.

Her mommy found eggs big enough to hold Bluey characters, Moana and Frozen stickers, and even toddler-safe nail polish

color: Berry Sweet

It was so beautiful outside, we just had to sit on the porch and check out her loot! She’s holding her Bluey and singing to her.

After her egg hunt, she sat snuggled in her Papa’s lap before letting him take her to bed for her nap.
They’re coming to our house Wednesday afternoon and staying for dinner. If y’all could have seen the grin on my husband’s face!

My Momma heart is chock full of joy for my girl setting up her home.
I honestly think unpacking and getting settled is harder and more stressful than actually moving all your things. They’re making it work. Husband N goes through a space and cleans it well before Thing 1 begins to unpack. They’re working together to create their home in that precious little house.
My Birdie heart is chock full of joy that my grandbaby is so excited to see me that she runs into my arms when I arrive at her new house.

I thought I would feel so sad when they moved. I don’t really.
I mean, I miss seeing them every day, but I know they’re just a forty-five minute drive away. And when I see them in their new space, creating a home that works for them, I feel pride and joy.
When I’m home and I don’t hear a little voice saying, “Papa!” as she runs down the hall, I’m not sad like I expected, I’m grateful we had that time. Of course, when I’ve got a drink on the table and she doesn’t come over and snag it and chug it down as fast as she can then run away, I’m super happy she’s at her house.

We’re adapting here.
They’re adapting there.
It is as it is.
It is as is should be.
And I am content in my grateful life.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

this is the Christmas of my childhood

In the process of preparing to move, I went through my little two drawer file cabinet. Wedged into the very back of a file folder was a small stack of recipes.
These recipes are older than I am.
I set these particular recipes aside, put them in a safe place.
You know how that goes…
Meanwhile, Thing 1 has patiently waited for nearly five years for me to present her with the apple butter recipe. This recipe came from the next door neighbor, and is in her handwriting.
My mom made this apple butter as long as I can remember. Thing 1 loved when her Grandmommy would make it for her when she was a little girl. I think this might be her ‘golden ticket’ recipe.

It feels serendipitous that I came across these as we were coming into this time of year.
Advent is sacred to me. This most anticipatory time of year. When we’re enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, filled with love and hope and light.
Having these recipes in my hand at this time of year is perfect because they are absolutely the Christmas of my childhood.

My grandmother added her thoughts to the recipes she wrote out, and in the upper left corner you can see the words: Good Toots Recipe!
‘Toots’ is the pet name my grandparents had for their beloved and longtime friend. Grandaddy always called her Toots, but to me, she was ‘Little Grandma’ because she was small of build.

Little Grandma made these gingerbread men every single year. They were, and remain my very favorite cookie. They always had red hots as eyes, and hard silver dragées as buttons. They snapped in the most perfect way, and had the spiciest ginger flavor.
She only made them at Christmastime.
In the years since Little Grandma’s been gone, I’ve eaten many gingerbread men. Some disappointing ones. Some damn fine ones. But none as delicious as the ones she made.

I’ve been saying to my own baking guru Thing 1, I want to make Little Grandma’s gingerbread men. This is my childhood, I say.

Then I stop for a moment and I think, this is my childhood, and realize I’m actually hesitant to bake from this recipe.
How much of my love for these cookies is directly linked to loving Little Grandma? How much of my love for these cookies is about being excited to spend time with her in her little craftsman house in Clarendon? How much of my love for these cookies is about nostalgia?
Are they actually as delicious as I remember?
Can I just go to World Market and buy some Nyakers Swedish gingerbread men and be content?
Will Thing 1 and I bake these cookies and break my heart?
Will one of the last precious things from my childhood be broken?

That’s my fear talking. My anxiety. My sadness.
I’m sad that I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about when I remember. I’m sad my sacred and precious Christmas tradition memories are foreign to my daughters, to my husband.
I’m fearful that I’ll ruin those memories by trying to recreate them.

I have to stop and breathe.
I have to be more mindful.
Perhaps it isn’t about recreating as much as it is creating something new from something sacred.
After all, Christmas is about hope.

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Eeyore

The beanie crisis is over.
Here it is ready to be wrapped and sent to Thing 2.

I’m still pretty fucking salty with Love Your Melon.
I was able to get a kids beanie, but it feels more like a draw than a win.
I’m joyful my daughter will get what she asked for.
This silver paper and snowy ribbon are helping tip the joy scales.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

grateful for joy and sadness

Thing 2 and Boyfriend M were here last weekend.

Thing 1 was thrilled to see her sister!
Baby K was excited to spend time with her Auntie!
Loads of peek-a-boo, story reading, block building, and media table play. (dried beans are excellent for sensory play)

Friday saw us at 2 Silos.
Even though it was chilly, the sun came out and we enjoyed our beers.

Saturday Thing C and Thing G came over.
We played Bye Felica, Uno, and Phase 10, and had burgers and dogs for dinner.
YBW and I had all the joy at all of our kids in the same place at once.

Thing 2 went through my shoes and took home four pair. (less things for me to move)

Thing 1 drove her sister and Boyfriend M to the airport Sunday afternoon.
Baby K cried when they drove out of the driveway.
So did her Birdie.
A LOT!

I was making leftovers for my lunch Monday and asked Thing 1 when we made that particular meal.
She told me it was Wednesday, because “they came on Thursday. As short as they were here, it felt like an eternity.”
She’s right. They weren’t here all that long, but it felt good and long.

I’m sad they’re gone, but chock a block full of joy and gratitude they were here.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

September gratitude

Today is October first.
The official start of Halloween month!
But before I get all SQUEE about that, I’m going to express my gratitude.

September was straight chaos. But it was also quite lovely.
As I look back on this month I find myself grateful for both.

I’m also grateful for:

a porchlife lunch with Mike and Josie
Husband N’s willingness to transport a 16 foot ladder
a successful and fun flea market day with YBW, his brother and sister-in-law
meeting with the builder about electricals in the new house
stackable jewelry organizers
a tearful conversation with YBW

Target run with Thing 1 and Baby K (sassy thing chose her own new shades and bag)

finally getting to talk with Jessica
Husband N’s mad landscaping skills
cool Autumn mornings
Thing G seems content at his mom’s
winery day with Nora and Dale’s family
joyfully ‘hate watching’ the Twilight saga with Thing 1

bathroom construction progress

windows open for several days in a row
playing a game called Bye Felicia
making good use of my instant pot
two of my alternative healthcare providers
Saturday morning snuggles with YBW and Baby K
exercising my 19th amendment right and responsibility by voting early
TJXrewards points

inventing this ridiculously delicious cocktail with Thing 1

having airline miles to purchase tickets for Thing 2 and Boyfriend M to visit in November
the post office in Old Town Manassas
taking a chance on the curated bundles at Bards Alley and getting some great reads
red toenail polish
CBD oil capsules
being in the car by myself

My heart is full of gratitude as I look back at this lovely and chaotic month.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

thoughts that hatch in the middle of the night

It’s the middle of the night and I’ve been up for hours. Thoughts swim around in my brain. Angry little fish bumping into each other but never giving way to get anywhere.
I don’t write. Not even in my journal.
I don’t read.
I barely even scroll instagram.

I want to do these things. I just don’t.
You may find yourself wondering, mais pourquoi pas? (You also may find yourself having no fucks to give. Either way, we’re cool.)
I don’t know why.
I do know I’m not behaving in my normal way and that has everything to do with it.
I do know I’m feeling the pressure of getting ready to leave one house and get settled into another.

I find it difficult to just be.
There are more people in the house. Two of which I am especially eager to spend time with after being apart for so long. But I’m used to being alone more than I’m with other humans.
This situation is tricky but can be managed.
I need to take time for myself. I need to read and write. I need to journal. I need to organize and prioritize. I need to rest.
But damn if I don’t want to spend as much time as possible with the mad little toddler running around my house!

Thing 1 and I talked a little bit about this Wednesday morning. She’s used to being more quiet too. She’s got the mental load for her little family with the curious situation of being in someone else’s house. She’s constantly aware of what Baby K or the dogs are and what they’re doing. She’s adapting to being an adult while living with her mother. It’s easy to fall into old patterns.

I’m tired of feeding five adults and a toddler.
If I don’t feel like feeding YBW and myself, it’s no big. But now all these other people are depending on being fed. Now, Husband N is quick to ask if he can help do anything, and follows detailed directions well. And Thing 1 does cook occasionally, but for the most part I’m doing the heavy lifting.
This needs to stop.
Thing 1 and I will make a meal plan and create a schedule of who cooks when and that will solve this situation.
We’re both game, we just haven’t done it yet.

Thing G will move to his mother’s over the next ten days. (She lives five minutes away so it’s not going to be a ‘great big move’ it’s just him shuttling his stuff over there.)
This makes YBW sad.
I feel his sadness.
I also feel a bit of relief. Thing G is one thing I can stop actively concerning myself with in this time when I have so many things on my plate. I can slip him off the plate knowing he’s safe and well loved at his mom’s and give myself that small sense of one less thing to pay attention to.

Baby K is exhausting.
Parenting is a young person’s game. That’s why grandparents are a bit older. Forty nine years and sixteen months are not always the perfect combination. But I cannot express my love, joy, and gratitude that I have this opportunity to be with her. To watch her learn and grow. To experience her sense of humor. To build a strong relationship with her.
I understand how truly blessed I am to be involved in her daily life no matter how tired I get.
She’s nearly mastered coming down the stairs in a safe way! And not only do I get to witness that, I’m helping her learn how to do it!

I miss YBW.
We’re never alone anymore. Which is simply the way it is, but I didn’t realize how it would feel.
I suggested we do a ‘date night’ even if we don’t go out, just plan to be together.

We’ve offered to look after Baby K so her parents can spend time together.
It would do them some good to just be.

It’s been just over a month. Literally, less than forty days. We’re still in survival and adjustment mode. I mean, good God, how could we not be? But survival mode simply isn’t sustainable.
Now’s the time to get our selves organized. Our routines. How we choose to be in this house together as one big family. How we choose to be in this house together as two small families.
I know we can do this.
I know we’re all willing to do this.
I think we’re all at a place where we kind of know we need to tweak it.
All it takes is open and honest communication and a willingness to be flexible.

You know, I’m feeling better already just from writing about it.
Of course, I’m still not ready to sleep…
Maybe I’ll take a nap with Baby K later today?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

tricked out kitchen in a smart house

When it comes to the new house, YBW is eager to make it a smart house. He’d love for there to be a central command (thingie) that we can tell to do what we want it to do. You know, like saying “OK Google” or “Alexa” but it’ll be connected to all of our house and have it’s own name.
It feels so Varrick to me.

(For those of y’all that don’t know, this is a The Legend of Korra reference. I did not enjoy Korra anywhere near as much as it’s predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender, which I absolutely adored.)

Anyway…
YBW is all about making the house work for us. To be able to control lights and thermostat and even the garage door from a tablet. That if we weren’t sure we’d turned out the lights on the ground floor he could push a button from the bedroom so we didn’t have to go down and back two flights of stairs. He wants the house to do as much as possible from a central hub.
I love to watch his brain work. See his face get all excited at the smart house possibilities. He’s committed to making our forever home one that does all the things we need, and many of the things we want.
For the most part, I’m interested in learning how to use it once it’s set up, but I’m less enthusiastic about choosing how to set it up. He’s cool with that, as long as he can get his geek on. He’s super patient when I ask questions that probably aren’t applicable, or he just explained to me.
I’m more concerned about surround sound for the big tv, and speakers around the house so I can play music. But there is a bit of pleasure at the thought of being able to turn things on and off from a screen…
We each love what we love, right?
My husband loves science and math and tech and super cool nerdy things. He is getting to play with that in creating a smart house that works for him.
I support this fully!
I’m like, get your geek on, bud! Hook it all up and make it do your bidding. (But please let the command be “Zhu Li do the thing” so I’m constantly amused.)

I want to get my geek on in the kitchen!


This picture is the kitchen at the model.

My kitchen will have a bigger island (my favorite design option). It will have another row of cabinets above the wall cabinets up to the ceiling. The hood vent will be hidden behind cabinetry. And the lower cabinets will have more drawer units than cabinets with doors.
All the cabinetry will be navy and look a little something like this.

I’m salty about paying so much for a brand new house and having wire shelving, so…
I may want to trick out the pantry.
I’m already designing closet systems for our closet, probably Pax from IKEA, but I’m also looking at Easy Closets.

The laundry room is on the bedroom level (thaaaaaank yooooou) it’ll start out boring, but I’ll fancy it up too.
With a roof deck, main level porch deck, and ground level back yard, I’m getting excited about designing outdoor spaces too. Plant life and lighting, water features and accessories will create beautiful spaces for us to be outside.

Now, if YBW’s smart house can control outdoor lights and fountains, etc. or could somehow make my laundry run, I’d be inclined to get as excited as he is!
“Zhu Li do ALL the things!”

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

one week in

One week in and we’re (mostly) settled.
Baby K’s room is organized and furnished.
Seven large (reusable) shopping bags of food and one cooler of frozen food found a place in our cabinets and freezers.
Dog beds, food, treats, leashes and harnesses organized.
Thing 1 and Husband N haven’t yet organized their clothes in their room, or been able to put some things away. But they have comfy pillows upon which to lay their heads. And yesterday, I (think) I fixed the shower curtain rod so it won’t fall down randomly in the middle of the night.
We’ve got new magnetic cabinet locks in the kitchen, and gates at the stairs. We say, “Off!” more than we ever have before, but the giant puppy is learning he can’t express his love by climbing up the front of us. And even though dogs aren’t my chosen animal, he and I are becoming especially close.

I’m joyful to be around my daughter and her family!
I am also exhausted!
I don’t know if it’s that I’ve forgotten how hard it is to be a stay at home mom, or if I just blocked it! Of course, when my babies were babies I was twenty years younger.
Baby K keeps us on our toes.
I’m having a hard time not wanting to spend all my time with her.
In the past, if they were here, it was for a limited time and I had to get as much time in as possible. Now, they’re here all the time. I’m beginning to realize I can pace myself.

Thing 1 and I ran to Target yesterday. With the exception of the drive here, a pediatrician and vet visit, it’s the first time she’s been out in the world since they left here in March. She didn’t quite know what to do with herself!

I’m working to remember that my life is different than it was a mere week ago. I’m working to remember that I’m separate from my daughter and granddaughter. That I can do my me things while they do theirs.
That said, I’m currently watching Baby K, clad only in a diaper, go through a stack of CDs while her mama tells her, “No ma’am.” and is guiding her to put them back in the bag from where they came.
I’m amused.
I’m joyful.
I’m doing my me thing while still enjoying being with my daughter and her family.

From Baby K’s room at the opposite end of the hall from mine, I just heard Thing 1 tell Baby K, “Come here and let’s get dressed. I’m tired of you being a diaper baby.”
I giggled.
Exhausting or not, why would I want to miss that?

Humans are so much more adaptable than we realize.
We get all complacent. Inertia keeps us stuck in our ruts.
But when presented with an opportunity to adapt (for the most part) we’re super capable!

One week in and I’m realizing how truly blessed I am to be with my granddaughter.
One week in and I’m realizing how exhausting it is to have a toddler in the house.
One week in and I’m realizing my daughter is a grown woman and mother and doesn’t need me to actively mother her.
One week in and I’m realizing balance is the thing that will keep us going.


We got this!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Friday feels

Today is the first day I’ve stopped and taken a big breath this week.
I needed it!
Of course, stopping and breathing gave me the opportunity to be all in my feels.

gratitude
Even though it took two full weeks, Thing 2’s covid test came back negative
I got to hug Meredith and her Mommy when their family returned from a forty-five day cross-country trip
My gloriously supportive friends who encourage me to think outside the box

than central air

joy
YBW and I put down the deposit for our house yesterday, and will sign the contract Wednesday

excitement
Road trip with YBW (we leave for GA in the morning and return with Thing 1’s family on Monday)
Baby K will be here all the time
I’m going to tutor select students this virtual school year (kind of like being an ‘at home’ substitute teacher)

It was an exceptionally great week to be me!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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