Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Absolutes

Dear Em,
Sometimes it makes me laugh on the inside when I hear someone without children proclaim an absolute about how their future children or children in general should be raised. It's not that I'm trying to be condescending or mean. I'm actually laughing at myself. You see, I had quite a few pre-motherhood absolutes that are kind of hilarious when I think back at them now.

- "Our child will be sleeping in her crib in her own room after just two weeks."
I remember telling my mom this as we put your nursery together before you were born. I had just heard stories about co-sleeping that were appalling to me. Your daddy & I had talked about it & decided co-sleeping was not for us. In fact, we were going to have you sleeping soundly on your own by the time you were two weeks old. That's how confident we were in our parenting skills.

Seriously, does that sound as ridiculous to anyone else as it does to me?!

When it came down to it, your sleeping had noting to do with us & everything to do with you. In a sleep deprived state, I'm pretty sure we would have done just about anything to get you to sleep. During one week, you would only nap soundly if I was holding you. So, I held you on my chest & enjoyed every moment of the sound of your deep breathing (& doing things one handed). I remember your daddy coming in after work one day & almost scolding me. "If you continue to let her sleep in your arms, she's going to want to only sleep that way." I gave him a death glare. If holding you was what got you to sleep, then holding you was what I was going to do...& I was going to relish every second of it.

What happened to our two week plan? I think I forgot about our two week plan the moment I first held you in my arms. You slept mostly in your swing right next to our bed. At two weeks, I was nowhere near ready to move you to your own room. At three weeks, I cried when we moved the swing a little further away from our bed. At six weeks, you cried & cried one night when we put you in your swing. In desperation, we placed you in your crib in your room & you slept soundly there from then on. You may have been ready to move into your own room, but I was not. I was practically hysterical. I missed being able to see your little face whenever I opened my eyes or hear the sound of your breathing. I may have thought about moving our bed into your room. But we made it through that first transition even with our original plans quickly being thrown out the window.

- "Our daughter will not be all girly & decked out in tons of pink."
I had a hard time at my baby shower. It's just that so much was pink. I kind of roll my eyes about the pink & the frills I wore as a child. I've never been much of a pink person as an adult. I wanted you to wear all colors: greens & yellows & blues. We filled your room with those colors too. It surely wasn't a traditional girl's nursery. I wanted to dress you in clothes that were comfortable & you could really play in. I hoped you would be the type of girl who wasn't opposed to getting a little dirty while you played.

A month after you were born, I had finally had enough. I can't tell you how many people asked how old "is HE?" I realized that if I didn't deck my child out in pink & lace, people automatically assumed my baby was a boy (seriously, if you don't know, try asking "what is YOUR BABY'S name" or "how old is YOUR BABY.") It probably shouldn't have mattered, but it just got under my skin that people assumed you were a boy. That's when I started introducing more pink & lots of headbands to your wardrobe. Before I knew it, your closet was filled with pink, & I had a toddler who adamantly loves pink. We have daily battles when I try to dress you in other colors.

It may not be what I originally had planned for you, but you do look so stinkin' cute. Plus, almost all of your girly clothes are made of cotton. They may be frilly, but they're also comfortable for play & we don't freak out if they get dirty or stained. A little bit of dirty is good for you.

- "We would never let our child kick the back of some one's seat on an airplane."
Having the back of my seat incessantly kicked by a child whose parents did nothing to stop it was one of my biggest pet-peeves. I felt like the parent's of said children needed a lecture on proper parenting.

That was before.

I now realize how impossible it can feel to keep a child still/quiet on an airplane. It's literally exhausting. You are like a little ball of energy & trying to bottle that up on a four hour flight seems like an eternity. Plus, your legs never stop moving. They never stopped when I was pregnant with you & felt you playing soccer with my internal organs. They don't stop now.

On one of our most recent flights, you kept kicking the back of the chair in front of you & I kept asking you to stop. We went back & forth for half the flight. You kicked. I gently placed my hand on your legs, praying that you would somehow fall asleep, & reminded you we don't kick other people's chairs. Finally, the man in front of us turned around & said, "Really, I can hardly feel the kicking so you might just want to choose your battles. It's really fine." Apparently, my reminding you not to kick the seat every 35 seconds was more annoying than the actual kicking.

I now look at parent's who fly with their kids like we're part of the same club. It's like a badge of honor or something. We look at each other with eyes filled with pity as we think back to the days of solo flying. Back then, we could read our books & magazines with music playing through our headphones. Back then our biggest worry was if the child behind us would be kicking the back of our chair. Oh, how times have changed.

- "My child will never throw tantrums like that."
I was so sure of myself before being a mom. I was so sure of the superior parenting skills I somehow knew I had even though they'd never been tested. There are times when I smile & want to go back in time & kick the person I was. You know, at times like when my amazing toddler is tantruming on the floor in a public place & my face is hot & red with embarrassment. Who was I to think that if I was a good parent, my child would not throw tantrums? Now I know that tantrums are what happen when your child is two & doesn't know how to appropriately express what she is feeling. The way we react to tantrums will play a part in whether the tantrums continue long into the future. Until then, you're still learning how to express yourself & uncomfortable, embarrassing tantrums are a part of that no matter what kind of parents we are.

- "I will never have a gross mom-car."
I used to pinch up my nose in disgust at the condition of my mom's car. Food & toys & dirt everywhere. "No way," I thought. Someday I will have a sophisticated & clean car. Fast forward to my life with a child. I opted for a car with sliding doors (Ok, but seriously those doors make everything easier. Larger things can fit through them. You could be parked 2cm away from the car next to you & not have to worry about hitting the car with your door. EVERY car should have sliding doors). It wasn't exactly a minivan, but it was close enough. Cheerios, sand, & a sticky substance we're not sure of cover my car on any given day. My car looks more like a zoo than the sophisticated mom-car I had once assured myself I would have.

- "Our child won't watch TV all day. Instead we'll fill her day with play & activities."
This still holds true. Kind of. We do try to limit your TV time. With that said, sometimes TV is our best friend. Like when you wake up at 6am on a weekend & your daddy & I can hardly pry our eyes open. You snuggle into our bed & watch the Spout Network while Daddy & I drift in & out of light sleep until normal waking hours. There are also days where we're all exhausted. I'm not ashamed to say (ok, I'm a little ashamed to say) that we've had some days where we've almost felt too exhausted to parent. On those days, we let you watch TV, a lot of TV, & you couldn't be more thrilled on those days. We're probably not going to win any parenting awards on those days, but you're safe & healthy & alive. So, we're going to call that a win.

- "If a parent tells a child they won't get to do something/get to have something if they're not behaving, they need to follow through."
This is something I've struggled with a lot lately. There are days when I've tried everything else & your behavior is still all over the place. So, I resort to bribery. In my heart, I'm so sure that telling you "if you don't do A,B,C then we won't do X,Y,Z" will get you to do what I've asked you to do. Or maybe that it's just that I've tried everything else. Unfortunately, much of the time the bribe still doesn't get you to do what I've asked you, & I'm not always prepared to follow through. Like when I tell you we're not going to a family BBQ if you don't pick up your toys like I asked you to. You defiantly tell me, "fine, then we won't go." The problem is, we've already RSVPed that we would go & I really want to go.

It's just that sometimes as a parent, I just don't know what to do or if I'm doing the right things at all. I do know that I need to get better at not telling you something that I'm not prepared to follow through on.

- "I will never have an only child."
So, this is the biggest change as of late. I remember thinking of only children in such a negative way. Only children seemed to be people who couldn't share or be by themselves or learn to compromise. In my mind, only children were mostly spoiled. As the oldest of five siblings, I felt like I had learned & grown in ways I never could have without siblings.

We never planned to have five kids, but we always planned to have at least two (possibly a third). Then it came time to plan for our next child & I realized I didn't want to have another child. I was happy & to me, our little family felt complete. Actually, the only reason I wanted to have another child was so that we wouldn't deprive you of having a sibling. I just don't feel like that's a good reason to have another child.

I told your daddy about how I felt. He was surprised. Really surprised. I had always been the driving force behind pushing up our timeline of having kids. He couldn't believe how my feelings of having multiple kids had changed. Except your daddy felt similar to how I felt. While he would have liked to give you a baby brother as a sibling & someone who could have carried our last name, your daddy was also happy with the way things were & felt complete.

Financially, it would be more difficult to have another child. Practically, we're at a place where we can do more traveling & go on more adventures without having to worry about lugging a bunch of baby gear. Maybe that sounds a little selfish on our part, but I'm OK with that. Other people may not be able to understand our decision to only have one child. That's OK too. I wouldn't have understood either a few years ago. We're at a place where we're just happy & that's that.


So as you can see, our thoughts & plans have changed quite a bit since becoming parents. For me, one of the gifts of motherhood has been the lesson of not being so absolute. We still have some absolutes, but mostly I've learned to go with the flow a little better. I've learned that what works for our little family is going to be different from what works for other families. As long as there is love, that's what truly matters. I've learned that we're going to have to constantly rewrite our plans, & I think it's made me a better person.

I've also learned to laugh at myself. A lot. So, thanks for that.

I love you so,
Mommy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Birthday Party for Little Loves: Decorations & Favors

Dear Em,
This is a four part Series covering your Luau Birthday Party. You can also read about the Luau Party LocationLuau Party Invites, & Luau Party Food

I think we've started a theme with your birthday parties. So, far we've had a lot of fun "decorating" all the attendees each time. Last year your garden party was full of kids dressed up like little flowers & bees. This year your luau was filled with hula dancers.

With your party being at the Children's Museum, there wasn't much of a need to decorate the location. It already looked fun. The only thing we really did was put a "Happy Birthday Emma" sign up on the cork board (we reused the sign that Grandma made you last year) & lined the food table with some grass skirts.


Clearly we needed more decorations than that, right? So, we encouraged everyone who came to the party to become part of the decorations & dress up. We put grass skirts, leis, funky glasses, & flower clips into baskets in one of the corners of the room. I bought almost everything at five below & Oriental Trading Company. Super cheap & super fun= exactly right. Everyone could put on as much or as little as they wanted.


Oh-Em-Gee, it was the cutest thing...especially the glasses. You all were the most adorable decorations I'd ever seen. Even the adults had some fun...you know Daddy & I were in when it came to dressing up.



In hindsight, our choices weren't quite as fun for the boys. While we did have leis & grass skirts in a variety of colors, most of the boys didn't seem all that excited about putting those on. At least we had temporary tattoos. Those were a hit with the boys & the girls. You had your very first tattoo...& then another...& then another. I think you would have spent the whole day filling your body with temporary tattoos if we let you. Daddy & I are a little worried about when you start thinking about real tattoos.

We also gave out hibiscus mini cups (I liked these coconut cups but was worried about spills), passes for a future visit to the Providence Children's Museum, & gift certificates to the gift shop as favors. Those made the boys & girls happy.

I think we'll continue our theme of decorating your party attendees. I already have some great ideas for the next couple years...ideas that are boy & girl friendly.

Next week we'll get to the heart of the matter & talk food. Your birthday cake was so fun. I cant wait to tell you all about it.

I love you so,
Mommy

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Glimpses of Love & Happiness

Dear Em,
Your Aunt Gina is amazing. She is absolutely magical with pictures & videos. She truly has a gift. Last year she made us the most incredible (& wicked long...we have so many pictures) video montage of your first year.

We've watched it so many times, & every time it is so sweet to watch as you grow from a little squishy to a toddling one year old. It's probably your very favorite video.

Here's a shortened glimpse of your first year...

video

Imagine our excitement when I received an online link to your second year montage on Tuesday night. It is one of the most precious gifts we've ever been given.  I can't tell you how long your Aunt Gina must have spent on it. Your daddy & I laughed & teared up as we watched you dance & spin & twirl & laugh &...well, grow. We watched our very favorite photos & videos & listened to our most loved songs. It was such a special moment to snuggle with Daddy & relive so many of our precious moments, moments of such love & fun & happiness.

The next morning, you & Nonnie snuggled up with me as we watched your second year together. Your eyes sparkled as you clapped your hands to the music & watched all the images. As soon as it ended, you asked to watch it again. Later, Aunt Gina asked you what part was your favorite, & you said "Me!" Seriously, BEST PRESENT EVER.

We're so lucky to to have your aunt Gina in our family, but for those who don't have a photo & video magician in the family, she has an esty site: http://www.etsy.com/shop/BixMontage.

We actually just watched it all again & laughed & smiled just as much as we did the first time. I truly think memories are the most precious gift of all.

I love you so,
Mommy

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Birthday Party for Little Loves: Luau Party Invites

Dear Em,
This is a four part Series covering your Luau Birthday Party. You can also read about the Luau Party LocationLuau Party Decorations & Favors, & Luau Party Food

So, this post is going to be a little lame...mostly because I can't find your leftover birthday party invites. I'm kinda bummed. I've saved all of your invites/announcements since you were born. Sigh, oh well.

I knew we were throwing you a luau party. I had picked up a bunch of stuff for the party the year before when I was shopping for your garden party (more on that later). I was thinking an invite with some cute hula dancers would be perfect. Maybe a flower or two. I had actually hoped to have one of my friends make some fun artwork that I could scan & print out on all of the invites. You know, something cute...something fun. Unfortunately the night before I needed the invites, I still hadn't asked my friend if she would mind making something for us (I was a little overwhelmed & was lucky if I put on clothes that matched that day). Whoops (clearly I won't be winning mother of the year anytime soon).

So, there I was sitting in our office after tucking you into bed (I learned that lesson after making your garden invites last year) trying to figure out what to do. I googled luau and hula dancers in an attempt to steal some artwork from the internet (I know, I'm wicked lame). You know what? Most of the pictures listed on google were sexy hula dancing pictures. Not really the theme I had planned for a 2.5 birthday party.

Luckily, I stumbled on artwork I could buy during my google search. That was something new I had never known you could do. For about $10, I could buy the art work & didn't have to create anything myself. In my time crunch, that sounded perfect to me. I can't remember what site I found (I know, wicked lame again), but there's a lot out there for those that are artistically challenged/in a time crunch to choose from. You can make something original without having to really do it yourself.

I filled the pages of your invites with drawings of a blonde hula dancing kid & Hawaiian flowers. Instead of writing "RSPV" I wrote "Aloha back to Julie." It was fun. It was cute. It was quick. It was easy. So, sorry I somehow didn't keep an extra to show you...or remember where I bought the artwork. It was fun...I swear.

Next week, I'll recap the decorations/favors. I promise I'll be less lame & include things like pictures & intelligent writing.

I love you so,
Mommy

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Birthday Party for Little Loves: Luau Party Location


Dear Em,
This is a four part Series covering your Luau Birthday Party. You can also read about the Luau Party InvitesLuau Party Decorations & Favors, & Luau Party Food

It's Wednesday, & it's time to recap your 2.5 birthday bash. I was going to start with the invites, but when I think about it there was something that came even before the invites. The first thing we did was to decide where to have your party. Remember, we had your 1.5 garden birthday party in our backyard? The backyard was ideal for a garden party, but it involved a lot of decorating & set-up & cleaning before & cleaning after & cooking...it was a lot of work.

This year we thought it would be fun to have your party at a place that would be lots of fun but also a little less work. I looked at a farm with a petting zoo, a gym, & a few other places. In the end, we wanted something fun, age appropriate, inexpensive, & all inclusive. After looking through the details, we decided on the Providence Children's Museum.

I couldn't believe how much the party package included. We had use of a party space for 90 minutes, unlimited time in the Museum exhibits, paper cups, plates, napkins, utensils, "draw on me" table cloths & crayons, apple juice, ice cream sandwiches, $2 museum gift shop gift certificates for each child, & a complimentary museum pass for each child. The party came at a great price too. We have a museum membership, which includes a discount for parties. For everything the party included, I thought it was an amazing deal.

We actually didn't do much to get ready until the night before. Your nonnie remarked how much less stressed out we were than we were getting the house ready the previous year. She was right, it was kind of amazing.

The day of your party came. We arrived a half hour early to set up. Our room was already set-up with a large table in the center of the room, another table for food on the side, & a smaller table for gifts. Each table was covered in bright, yellow paper table cloths that all the kids enjoyed coloring on. Chairs were set-up on along the walls for extra seating, & fun artwork covered the walls. Nonnie played with you in the museum while Daddy & I set our things up. We quickly set up the food & fun things for the party &  put on some music. In no time at all, we were done. We were ready.

During your party, I was actually able to enjoy it. Instead of rushing around preparing things, I was able to really watch you laughing & playing with your friends. Being able to take in the special moments was priceless.

After the party fun in our private room, we let you kids loose in the museum. You played with Grandma & Papa while Daddy, Nonnie, & I cleaned up. It probably only took us 15 minutes to clear the food & party items & load them into our car. I asked for a broom but was told not to worry. They had people to clean up. We were all free to enjoy the museum.

Everyone had a blast in the various rooms & exhibits. You had fun with water, went food shopping, played with a giant light-brite, pretended to be in a spaceship, built things with blocks & magnatiles, played with mirrors, & got to see how air moves things. Instead of playing as a group, each family who came explored whatever area they wanted to, but we ended up bumping into everyone at some point. You had a chance to enjoy the museum with everyone who came to your party.

Most of the kids left the Children's Museum kicking & screaming, including you. As we drove home, I smiled knowing you had so much fun & there was no mess waiting for us at home. Sigh, what a perfect combination.

I love you so,
Mommy

P.S. Tune in next week for a recap of your invites.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hair

Dear Em,
When you were born, you had a head of dark hair. I remember your grandpa looking at you, looking at me, smiling, & saying "thank you for this hair." I guess your daddy had been a baldy baby. I wasn't surprised by your thick, dark hair. I had had a head of thick, dark hair when I was born.

Then something surprising happened. Your dark head of hair fell out. It wasn't all at once. It was little by little. We just kept noticing that your hair was getting shorter, lighter, & less thick instead of the other way around. Most people were shocked that as it came back in, you were a blondie. I guess that shouldn't have been a big surprise. Your daddy had bleach blond hair as a child. I've always had dark brown. You're a true mix of our childhood-selves.

Still, I think we all had pictured that you'd be a little girl with dark, curly hair. Actually, when I was six months pregnant, your Daddy & I were on the Boston subway. We watched a sweet little girl with a mop of dark, curly hair dance around her parents. She was probably two. Your daddy looked at me & smiled, "I just know that's what our little girl is going to look like," he said.

Instead, you were a beautiful, semi-baldy baby with fine, blond hair. Your daddy was pretty thrilled he had a while before he would have to worry about doing anything with your hair. I, on the other hair, had tons of bows but no baby hair to put them in. Don't worry, I went to plan B. You wore lots of hats & headbands your first year.


It's not that I need you to have long, elaborately fixed hair. Have you ever sat in a circle of girls? There's almost always girls playing around with other girls' hair. I'm not really sure why. It's just what you do as a silly, little girl. Having a little girl enables me to be a silly little girl again, as I can play around with your hair. Little girl hair is the best. You can go a little wacky & a lot of fun.

By the end of your first year, I could finally put one top pony tail in your hair. It kinda stuck right up in the air, but it was cute. When you were 1 & 1/2, your nonnie put pigtails in your hair for the first time. They were so sweet, but she had also used half a bottle of hair spray to plaster them in place. I didn't try pigtails again for a few months.

Your hair is so long now, blond with beautiful, curly ringlets on the bottom (I just chopped mine & for the first time ever your hair is longer than mine). I'm We're having a blast with different hair styles & accessories. Your hair was in pigtails a lot for a while. When we realized we could pull your hair up into one ponytail, that's what you requested almost everyday for a while ("I want one pony, just like Mommy!"). Then I started playing with putting your hair in a bun after your bath. After that, you wanted a "bunny bun" everyday so that you could be a ballerina. 

Recently, we've gotten more creative with "two bunny buns." It's a nice do in the summer heat.


A few weeks ago I realized your hair is long enough to braid. I almost teared up as you rocked your very first braids. The best part? The wild, crimpy hair you have when we take the braids out.


Then yesterday, Nonnie put two french braids in your hair. Oh Geeze, I'm going to have to learn how to do french braids. But seriously, you looked so stinkin' cute. Sigh, having a little girl is so fun.

Your very favorite hair style right now? It's what we like to call a "messy bunny bun." It's quick & easy & you're happy. You're also super stylish. Haha.


I can't believe how lucky I am that you will patiently sit for me while I play with your hair.

I love you so,
Mommy

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, America

Dear Em,
What a blast we had celebrating the fourth of July this year. The holiday falls on a Wednesday, & it kinda bummed a lot of people out. We're making the best of it.

I'm taking the next two days off & your Daddy is taking Friday off. I'm so excited about the time off to enjoy our family & friends. We have lots of fun Rhode Island plans.

We haven't really talked to you about what Independence Day means, other than to tell you it's America's birthday. Recently, your daddy & I have been watching America: the Story of Us, a miniseries documenting the history of America. The miniseries depicts the fight for American Independence with details I had never learned before (you can watch it on Netflix now, it's pretty amazing, I definitely recommend). It really shows you what we're celebrating on the Fourth of July.

So far, our celebrations have mostly been about family, parades, & fireworks. Looking back on our last three Independence days, it's been such a fun holiday to celebrate with you.

In 2010 you were just six months old. We celebrated with Nonnie & Daddy's family with a neighborhood parade & a BBQ. After a super fun & super long day, we skipped out on the fireworks.


You were the cutest little 6 month old in the parade.

In 2011, you were one and a half & we got to celebrate with Nonnie, Papi, Aunt Gina, Uncle Greg, & Uncle Jared. We had a BBQ with corn hole, ladder ball, & trampoline jumping in the yard & then headed out to enjoy your first amazing fireworks in Wakefield, RI.


We're so glad you loved the fireworks!

This year we enjoyed the fireworks right off the ocean in Narragansett, RI on the 3rd with Nonnie. You really got into them this year, telling us what color each one was. Of course, the pink ones were your very favorite but you also enjoyed pointing out the blue ones (your daddy's favorite color) to Daddy. I loved hearing the crash of the waves as we watched the explosive colors. 

This morning, the rain stopped just in time for us to be in the neighborhood parade again. We ended the night with an amazing dinner cooked on the grill by Daddy & our very own sparkler & firework fun.

Waiting for the fireworks


Wishing everyone near & far a happy fourth of July. God bless America. I feel so fortunate to live here & be raising you in this beautiful country.

I love you so,
Mommy

Monday, July 2, 2012

Resolutions Revisited

Dear Em,
Can you believe the first six months of 2012 have already flown by? Sometimes I feel like we need a moment to stop & catch our breath. With the first half of the year over, I've been thinking about the goals I set for myself this year. Remember this post where I talked about six goals I had for 2012? Sometimes it's hard to follow through with the resolutions I've set the whole year through. The best way I know to stay on track is to periodically go back to the goals I've set & check in with how I'm doing. I thought the six month point was as good a time as any to do just that...


1) Work on being healthy: I lost 8 pounds this winter. I did most of it on the treadmill & by cutting down portion sizes (I know I said I don't like dieting, but I hit a plateau with exercise & it had to be done). I don't know that I spent a whole lot more time outdoors this winter, but we did bundle up more often & head to the park (having a mild winter made it a little easier). Living a healthier lifestyle helped me to fit into a bridesmaid dress (as well as much of my clothing that had previously felt a little tight), & finish a 5k while pushing you in the stroller at my best time ever. Looking ahead, we signed up for the Warrior Dash in September & I'm hoping that will motivate me to keep in shape. The past few moths have gotten busy & I haven't been as good about planning time for fitness. I have to continue to work on this.

2) Take time for me: This one has been more of a struggle for me. There are times I do well with this & there are times things are too busy & time for myself is pushed to the side. I'll continue to work on it, but I think this may always be something I struggle with.

3) Read 2 books a month: This is another one that I wish I had done better with. I started off really well with this. I read while I ran on the treadmill (& was so proud of my multi-tasking me-time). Then April & May came with a whirlwind of things to do & I got off track. I think I've read 9 books. Not too bad, but I'm hoping to do better in the summer sun.

4) Making time for friends: This one I'm really excited about, because we've had so much fun reconnecting with some of our friends this year. We've planned a once a month Thursday Night Dinner with some of my college friends (which I posted about here, here, here, & here), have had fun movie/dinner nights at out house, and a couple game nights. It's been so fun to see the new milestones some of our friends have reached this year & to be more a part of it all. Our guest room has been used more this year than any other year, & I'm loving it. I especially love that you've been able to get to know some of the people we hold so dear in our hearts as well. 

5) Home Projects: Originally we were planning to get many of these projects done in February & March. When I found out my company would be laying off 60% of it's employees, we put most of our projects on hold until I found out I still had a job. This past month & a half has been a whirlwind of home improving activities.
  - Replace the curtains in the living room/dining room: This actually grew to replacing the curtains in the family room, guest room, & living room/dining room. They're not all up, but I'm hoping they will be by the end of July.
  - Paint front door & shutters: We haven't done this yet. Your daddy was actually excited about this one until he realized I wanted to do it ourselves. Now he doesn't think it's necessary. Sigh, hopefully we'll get this done in the fall.
  - Replace the pebble front walkway: After talking to our handyman about this for months, the project should finally be finished today. I'm so excited. I may roll all over the new paver stone walkway in happiness when I get home from work.
  - Put a curtain up over the office closet: Done!
  - Organize the basement storage areas: Yeah, so we'll be putting this off until 2013. It's hard to try to do this now that we've added so many things to the mess (i.e. a highchair & crib). We'll be donating a lot to family & we're waiting to clean it out until then.
  - Design a bedroom for a little girl & move you into the larger bedroom: You moved last week into your new room! There's a couple things we're waiting to get delivered & then your room will be completely finished (& I'll do a blog reveal).
- There were a few things I added to the mix. We added a little garden around our mailbox, refinished the deck in the back, designed & decorated a new guest room, & replaced the last few old light fixtures in our house. We'll be replacing the door handles upstairs, & we'll repainting a couple rooms & doors.

6) Milestones for us to work on together.
  - Say goodbye to the highchair & hello to the booster seat: Done in January.
  - Potty training: Done in April.
  - Moving you into your new bedroom, saying goodbye to the crib, & saying hello to a big girl bed: Done last week.
OMG, I can't believe how much you've changed & grown in six short months!

Wow, it's been a busy six months. It was actually nice to look back at this list, because I didn't realize how much we accomplished together until I did. Don't get me wrong, I've still got  lot to work on. Finding a balance for me time is going to be an on going process. Convincing your daddy that the family room we painted three years ago needs to be repainted is going to be an ongoing process. Overall, I'm happy with the goals I set for this year & where we've taken them.

I can't wait to see where the next six months takes us. Sigh, I can't wait to see our paver stone walkway at the end of today.

I love you so,
Mommy
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