Thursday, June 27, 2013

Midweek Randoms

*As soon as our summer "break" started, we hit the ground running and haven't looked back.  From new bubble-blowing contraptions, to splash pads, to pools, to SciWorks, to Target trips, to running through the sprinklers, to visits to the playground, to seeing a balloon animal maker at the public library, to building forts, to fingerpainting - It's been awesome.  BUT...

*Cameron Kate has been a H.A.N.D.F.U.L.  And by handful, I mean constantly fussing and whining and saying, "Mama, up!  Mama, up!  Mama, up!" while she clings to my legs and hangs off of my shorts.  And bath phobia is BACK.  AND she's only been napping for TWENTY MINUTES.  So by the time I put her down, pee, and switch over the laundry, she's pretty much waking up.  It's made for some exhausting days and while I wouldn't trade this time with her for anything in the world, I really hope she gets out of this rut!

*T and I are OBSESSED with the show Homeland.  We watched the first two seasons in about two weeks, and are now counting down the days until season three starts in September!

*I have an online shopping addiction.  Hopefully being away from the computer during the summer will help me STEP AWAY FROM GROOPDEALZ.

*I am SO glad I signed on to be a consultant with Rodan + Fields.  I am absolutely loving seeing the products change people's lives, and I am also absolutely loving the big fat paycheck that comes mid-month.  T and I had NO clue it would be so successful, but the risk has more than paid off!!

*I love when it's taco night.

*Cameron is now LOVING dipping food in ranch.  I steamed some carrots yesterday for her lunch and she randomly asked for ranch.  She was in heaven.  So much so that when I turned around, she was dipping her peanut-butter-and-honey English muffin in the ranch, too.  Bleh.

*I can't believe my July due date (from my loss) is approaching so quickly and we're not pregnant yet.  I remember when we lost the baby in December, July seemed so far away, and I thought for SURE we'd be expecting by then.  And here we are.

*Therefore I am LOVING Blue Moon's seasonal agave nectar beer!

*CK is already more tan than I am.  I SWEAR we slather her with sunscreen when we even THINK about going outside.

Well, she's already awake.  I got a whopping fifteen minutes out of her nap today.  Hence the short, random post!  I'll be back when I have time to form a complete sentence!

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Joy.  There is Joy in the big things, Joy in the little things.  But Joy is something that is hard to focus on when you feel like you're sometimes drowning in the opposite.

Today, I am working toward focusing on Joy.  To be honest, it's been difficult for me lately.  From the outside looking in, I know one may think - "What do you mean you can't focus on Joy?  You have a happy marriage, an awesome daughter, a job, a house, your health..."  Which is all very, very true.  But that doesn't discount the ugly, the fears, the sadness, the hopelessness, the jealousy, the worry, and the resentment that inevitably sneak their way into my heart.  And lately, they've all been sneaking their way into my heart more often than I'd like to admit.

So, today I am going to make a list of all the little things that bring me Joy these days...

*Downloading new songs from iTunes to listen to on my runs
*Cake batter ice cream, raw cookie dough, and desserts that are slightly undercooked
*Hearing Cameron Kate call out for me as soon as her eyes open in the morning, with her sweet, sing-songy voice
*Online shopping
*Putting CK's hair in a tiny, Pebbles-like ponytail (by request)
*Chips and dip of any kind
*A weekend of no plans, just me and my little family of three
*Clean sheets
*Cameron's giggle
*A Diet Coke
*My hub's dimples and big brown eyes
*Cold, craft beer
*Having backyard picnics
*Taking CK to gymnastics
*Getting to sleep in later than 6:00am
*Falling asleep on T's shoulder at the end of every day
*Being in the middle of a good book I can't put down
*Pedicures and drinks with the best girlfriends
*Driving with the sunroof open and country music blaring
*Crossing off items on a to-do list
*Running out to this field that has huge oak trees and wooden tree swings, and just sitting and swinging in the quiet with my girl
*Trips to Target
*Milky Ways (not the ones in the sky... the candy bar)

I hope this list inspires me, and you, to focus on the Joy.  And I also hope it inspires Joy to kick the hell out of all the ugly that keeps trying to take up residence in my heart.

Friday, June 21, 2013

An Ending... And a Beginning

This morning was the end of an era.  Cameron Kate got all dressed and ready for her VERY LAST day at her school, which just so happens to be water play and ice cream truck day...

And I drove to my school to have my VERY LAST day as Curriculum Coordinator.  To empty out my drawers, pack up the last few boxes, answer a couple more emails... and end this chapter of my life.

I am DONE being a full-time working mama (for now, at least).  Sacrifices will be made, pennies will be pinched, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches will be eaten.  It will all be worth it, though, because I'll be  seeing a little more of this...

And doing a lot more of this...

There are no words to explain how excited I am about this opportunity, this beginning.  I am so ready for a change for not only me, but for my daughter and my husband.  It's time to get out a freshly sharpened pencil and a clean sheet of paper and start writing a new, beautiful chapter of life...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summer Bucket List

Well, I've jumped on the Summer Bucket List bandwagon, thanks to inspiration from my sister, author of Doc Momma, and also my friend Amanda, author of Goat & Lulu.  I tend to get overwhelmed by long to-do lists, and even though Summer Bucket Lists are fun, I feared that a long list would lead me to worry too much about to-do-ing rather than just en-joy-ing.  Also, I've only got one little nugget of a toddler who doesn't sit still for long, so it was easy to whittle down my list to tasks that suit her stubbornness interests.  Thanks to a blank template from Funky Polkadot Giraffe, I was able to customize my own list with all kinds of fun fonts and my choice of to-dos.

T minus 2 days 'til our summer 2013 is officially underway!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Life is Really Just Beautiful Moments...

I watched this a few weeks ago, and haven't been able to get it off my mind.  So I want to share it, pass it forward, and hopefully others will be as beautifully affected by the life of Zach Sobiech as I have been.

"It's really simple, actually... it's just... try and make people happy."
"Life is really just beautiful moments, one right after the other."


Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 16th

My father was a passionate man.  A man who loved to travel, a man who had a loud, booming laugh, a man who truly loved his kids.  But he was also a man who was very, very troubled.

And on June 16th, 1990, he took his own life.

It was a Saturday.  And it was the Saturday before Father’s Day.

Every now and then, June 16th just so happens to fall ON Father’s Day.  Like this year.  And I hate when that happens – I prefer to compartmentalize the two.  Keep June 16th on one side, as a day to feel an ever-present ache in my bones to have known my father better, an ever-present sadness to have experienced childhood with a dad, an ever-present anger that he abandoned his wife and four kids so selfishly…  And then I’d like to keep Father’s Day as a day to celebrate the most amazing dad I’ve ever known – my husband.  But, I don’t get that luxury this year.  Instead I will have to find a way to let myself swim through a sea of emotions on Sunday, allow myself to feel both sadness for the twenty-three-year-old hole in my heart and happiness for the man who is my daughter’s hero.

And that’s okay, because life is kinda complicated like that.  A constant ebb and flow.

So Sunday will be tough.  But I will allow myself to dip down to the lows and reach up to the highs.  And I will thank God for exactly where I am and who I am today.  Though the path to get here has been hard to understand sometimes, I will forever be grateful for the beautiful life that I live. 

June 16th, 1990, was a day full of endings.  But June 16th, 2013, can be a day full of new, a day full of beginnings – all because of the man who taught me what it means to love unconditionally.  My husband, my very best friend, my rock – a man who I don’t do enough for, a man I owe my happiness to, a man with the purest and kindest heart.

And, most importantly, the most incredible dad I have ever known.

Happy Father’s Day, T.  Though no one will ever be able to erase the scars left from that fateful Saturday night twenty-three years ago, you have managed to prove to me that I can let go and live and love and never worry about being abandoned.  I love you.  Cameron adores you.  And we are both so lucky to be yours.  YAWILFT.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


So, Cameron Kate pretty much talks from the moment she wakes up until the minute I put her in her crib for bedtime.  There was a day, many months ago, when I wondered if she'd ever talk.  Then she woke up one morning (I swear!) saying 3-word phrases (her first being:  "diaper, poop, shoooo-weeeee!").  She's at this magical age now where everyday she's saying something new, and I want to always remember these little toddlerhood moments though there's a lot about toddlerhood I'll gladly forget.  

I especially want to remember how she tends to speak like she was born in Boston - like "hay-a" for "hair."  And also how she will stand and dictate every little thing I do, all day long.  "Mama make coffee.  Coffee hot.  Mama eat apple.  Mama close door.  Mama wash hands.  Mama dry hands.  Mama sit down."  Sometimes I feel like I'm on a reality show! 

Anyway, in an attempt to remember some of my favorite little things Cameron says and does, I've been trying to capture them via my iPhone.  Some are hard to get on video, as they happen sporadically, and some I've painstakingly tried to recreate.  Some I'll just have to record in my brain and try to remember how her sweet little voice sounded.

For a lot of these, I know I'm probably the only one who can decipher her little toddler dialogue.  You see, she says probably 200+ words... we've lost count.  And while I can understand pretty much everything that comes out of her mouth, I know to some people it sounds like she's speaking a foreign language.  But I love her little toddler language and want to capture every bit of it on video!  Here are some of my attempts...

"Excuse me, mama." - if anything is in Cameron's way - a chair, a towel, a toy, me - she always says, "Excuse me," though it usually sounds more like "Sue-me."  "Excuse me, towel."  "Excuse me, Ellie."  "Excuse me, hairbow."  Here's the best I could get:

Also, I think I've mentioned it before, but she calls herself "KK":

"You got it, KK!":

And she also always refers to herself in the third person.  Like if she's about to fall, she'll say, "Careful, KK!"  Or if she hits herself accidentally, she'll say, "Sorry KK."  Love it!

Her very best friend is her teacher, Erika, with her other teacher, Shannon, coming in a close second:

And yes, she knows that mama's name is "Jessie Peele!":

There's something about the way she says fingernails - "finNAILS" - that makes me giggle.  She always emphasizes the wrong syllable!:

We've also done a LOT of teaching her (or TRYING to teach her!) what patient means:

AND we're always telling her the rule is "No fuss!":

And obviously, it's sinking in.  Here are a couple gems of her bossing Ellie around (and yes, she calls him "Ella" in Spanish, but TJ refuses to change the elephant's name!).  Listen carefully as she tells him, "HEY!  NO FUSS ELLIE!  NOT NICE!  LISTEN!  NO MA'AM!"

And as you can see, this little girl has some weird obsession with rags.  She will spend 25+ minutes placing a rag on top of one of her stuffed animals or dolls over, and over, and over again:

We've also always loved how she says, "Right there!":

And whenever she gets hurt now, she'll run up to me and ask me to kiss her boo-boo.  She'll then say, "All better!"  Though this is the best I could get since I didn't want to intentionally give her a boo-boo just for video's sake:

She is OBSESSED with her sunglasses or, as she calls them, her "funGLASSES":

And one of my most favorites - if anyone in her vicinity sneezes, she says, "Bless you!"  Bonus points if she knows your name, then you get a personalized bless you:

And two others just for fun:

A few other things she's saying that I love or that have caught me off guard:

*"Love you so much!" - makes my heart melt.

*She uses the word "too" all the time, and in the grammatically correct way.  Like if I say, "Do you wanna wear a hairbow?"  She'll say, "Wear hat, too!"  Something so small, but impressive in my opinion!

*Another word that impresses me is her use of "another."  Like, "another book!" if she wants to read another one.

*And speaking of books, as we search for the right book to read before bedtime, I guess I always say, "How about.... this one?!"  because now she does that every night.

*When we're leaving a store and walking through a parking lot, she'll point to different cars and say, "Not yours!"  Until we get to my car, at which point she says, "Mama's car right there!"

*She's also got an awesome memory.  The other day I asked her if she wanted to get ice cream, and she sat and thought for a minute - then finally she responded with, "Ice cream, Kindermusik, Gracie!"  (or, in toddler language, "eyes keem, kindeemuuusk, gay-see") because the last time we went to get ice cream was right before Kindermusik, with her friend Gracie!  I was so impressed!

*And lastly... whenever you tell Cameron it's time to do something she doesn't want to do - get out of the bath, eat dinner, take a nap - she holds out one finger and says, "1 more minute!"  Such a manipulator!

I'm mostly documenting this for my memory, trying to capture these little moments like lightening bugs in a jar so that I can watch them light up and enjoy them up close.  I'm not unaware that one day, and one day too soon, she'll be all grown up.  But for now, I'm doing everything I can to live and love each moment with this little girl, who truly is my sunshine.

P.S.  If you ever want to follow our shenanigans via YouTube:  Our YouTube Channel

Monday, June 10, 2013

10 More Days...

10 more days as a full-time working mama... 10 more days as a full-time working mama... 10 more days as a full-time working mama... 10 more days as a full-time working mama... 10 more days as a full-time working mama...

She's as excited as I am!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Letting Her Fall

I’m really, REALLY trying not to be a helicopter parent.

You know the ones.

The ones who are always there, always hovering – always wiping every snot drip and chin drool and helping their children on every single piece of playground equipment.

Almost always, these helicopter parents are first-time moms.  Guaranteed.  I have first-time-mom-radar.  Because I am one.  We all have this what-the-heck-am-I-doing look on our faces, all the time.  We’re constantly looking around us to see if anyone is watching as our child screams in Target and we give in and open the puffs container and just hand the stupid thing to our toddler, who is clearly the boss. 

We are also always wondering if we’re doing things the way you’re SUPPOSED to, because six months into this gig and we’ve already done about half of the I’D NEVER DO THAT’s that were neatly scribbled on our “When I become a parent…” list.


Back on topic – being a helicopter parent.  Or trying NOT to be a helicopter parent.

You see, I’m that mom who imagines every possible worst-case scenario for my child.  If she’s giggling and climbing onto the couch, I’m all OMIGOSH YOU’RE GOING TO FALL OFF AND BREAK YOUR NECK.  And that may not sound too extreme, but y’all – I’m that crazy about every scenario.

So as Cameron becomes a fiercely independent and stubborn toddler, I really am trying to let go of my controlling personality and just let her live.  And experience trial and error.  And maybe even a few bumps and bruises.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to let her climb all over the furniture and hang from the rafters, but if she’s running across the driveway and giggling and chasing Bailey, I’m going to stop running after her with my arms ballooned around her just in case she falls.

Sometimes, I just have to let her fall.  Because that’s the only way she can learn how to get back up.

The other day we were outside eating ice cream by a picnic bench, and she decided she wanted to run and push the stroller all over the sidewalk.  At first, I (of course) was frantically running right behind her, arms sprawled out wide… and then I passed a storefront window and saw how ridiculous I looked.  All bent over and running wide-legged with bent knees and a DON’T FALL DON’T FALL look on my face.  After a quick laugh at my ridiculousness, I parked my butt back on the bench and watched her and held my breath.

Wanna know what happened?

She fell.

I swear it happened in slow motion.

She fell and I saw her sweet little knee skid right over the sidewalk.  I waited for her to realize that it hurt like hell, and then she started crying and screaming, “Mama, knees!  Mama, knees!” and ran over to me with her arms above her head so I could scoop her up and kiss her and tell her it was all gonna be okay.  We slapped a little bandaid on her first boo-boo, gave it a kiss, and before I could blink she was back to her wild shenanigans.

As a mom, and especially as a first-time mom, I have GOT to learn that she’s going to get hurt.  Be it skinned knees, sprained ankles, or a broken heart – she’s going to experience pain, and that’s okay.  It is from pain that we grow.  It is from pain that we learn.  And it is from pain that we heal, both from the support of others and the strength we sometimes don’t realize we possess.

As a parent, there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain.  But as much as we want to, we can’t shield our children from all of life’s boo-boos.  I am sure this will continue to be a constant struggle for me, but it’s something I’m working on each and every day.

Because what happened when I finally let go that day by the picnic tables?  She fell.  But she realized she was gonna be okay – and she got back up.