Monday, December 31, 2012

The One With All the Resolutions

So, obviously, I have not done a stellar job at keeping this space up to date. I offer no more excuses, because who wants to hear that crap? You are just going to have to take my word for it that things have been pretty good since we last checked in here. Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas, now New Years, soon Sody's birthday...too much. Always too much at the end of the year, in the best possible ways. I love fall and winter, I love having holidays to plan for and decorating and making crafty things, I love that Sody gets it all now and shares it all with us completely. Even when we make a homemade gingerbread house together and the whole thing falls apart in front of our eyes. I even love that.

And right now it is New Year's Eve. Sody and Joe are watching Duck Tales, I am cooking a big pot of black eyed peas on the stove for good luck. (Good luck would be having someone else besides me help me eat the damn pot of beans, but alas, that ain't gonna happen in this house.) I used to hate making resolutions at the end of the year and found it incredibly pointless...but now I kind of like the idea of taking stock. Nothing wrong with assessing and seeing where you wanna go from here. So, without futher ado:


1. The obvious first: be better about keeping the blog more up to date. This is going to be easier now that my fabulous husband got me a new and desperately needed laptop. Bigger better faster and fancier, and I haven't even scratched the surface of what it can do. But in the meantime - I don't have any more excuses. I have the means and with Sody I have plenty of material. I think I get caught up in feeling like it's too time consuming -  like I either need to post the latest picture of her (and I don't take as many pictures of her anymore) or I need to say something Big and Meaningful in each post. I need to get away from that and just write whatever happens to come to mind. Sody does at least one hilarious/bizarre thing a day, I just need to tell you about it. Document before I forget it. Like the time last week when Joe's minor road rage caused him to call another driver a choice name, and then Sody piped up from the backseat, "I'm NOT an asshole!" You want to hear that stuff, right?

2. Consume less: drink, food, junk for the house that we don't need, junky TV my head doesn't need.

3. Don't let Sody watch so much TV. We have gotten waaaaaaaay too lax.

4. Write more.

5. Talk less.

6. Work on another baby?  This is a maybe. I am scared to pull the trigger. Not really having the money or the space for another baby will do that to you. But, god, how awesome of a big sister would Sody be? I could cry right now thinking of it.

7. Don't take my husband for granted. I think I do this sometimes and I need to not.

8. Find a hippie, all-natural deodorant that actually works. I'm sure I am starting to alienate people at the office.

9. Find a new job, or at least be on my way to working towards something new. Something meaningful. Something career-like. I have been spinning my wheels for way too long and getting nowhere and it needs to end here. My job takes me away from my kid for way too much of the week - I need that time to matter.

10. Finally start that Etsy site I have been meaning to start for, I dunno, the last three or four years? How long has Etsy existed? Doing this means I would have to actually craft enough of something to sell it, whereas I seem to have crafting ADD:  I try one thing, love it, get bored, and quickly move to the next project. I need to find my medium and stick to it.

11. Dole out a little more structured discipline for the little one. Stick with time-outs if she deserves one, follow through on consequences, etc. Turns out I am kind of a softy parent. I don't want a spoiled brat because of that.

12. Be a little easier on myself about dinnertime. I am either guilty that we aren't having proper family dinners at the dining room table, or that we aren't all eating the same meal, or that dinner isn't a lovingly prepared hot homemade meal every night. I want to let go of that guilt and realize that nope, it isn't perfect now, and it doesn't need to be. She's little, Joe and I both work full time, this is our crazy life right now. Dinner is going to be boxed (organic!) mac n cheese and frozen veggies more often than not. Big deal.

13. On that same note: spend less on groceries. I really need to work on that. I fall into the trap of finding so so so many recipes I want to try and then end up with so so so many half full jars of specialty ingredients sitting in the fridge. And a husband and kid who would be much happier if I had made the $1.99 boxed mac n cheese. Sigh.

14. Less coffee, more tea.

15. Be more present with Sody, even with every endless game of Candyland I don't really want to play. My time with her is so limited in general that I need to truly BE there when I am with her. Like every other stage of her life, this time is so fleeting and soon I am going to be wistful for the times when she wanted nothing more than to play a game with me. I need to be less distracted, think less about the next moment. Be in the present moment.

16. Stop overthinking things. (This is just a general life rule that I will probably never break out of, but still a good reminder right now.)

Ok, I gotta stop because I could boss myself around forever...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fall Time, Fall Time, What to Do

We have been busy tackling a whole mess of fall time activities. 
The proof:

                                     Went to Apple Hill, where Sody rode her first pony.

We went to a gorgeous wedding on a farm to watch Mommy's old friend Nicole marry Nick.  This is Sody posing near the awesome display of paper cranes that Nicole made.  The whole wedding was full of beautiful touches like this and it all turned out really personal but also really pretty and classy. Unfortunately I didn't actually get many great shots of all those gorgeous touches or the setting or even the bride and groom, buuuut....

Sody and I did end up taking some funny pictures in the fancy Porta-Potty on site... 

...and we also met this cool llama named Ted. He's my buddy. 

Then we went to our little "pumpkin patch"- at least what passes for a pumpkin patch for city kids - at the back of a local floral shop that transforms to a mini-Halloween wonderland each year. We picked out a bunch of nice ones, but full disclosure: we ran out of time to actually carve any this year.  HALLOWEEN  FAIL.  

Note the awesome fangs. 

And of course, there were costumes! She chose Dorothy this year.  I was hoping she would be down with recycling the cheeseburger costume from last year since it still fit, but no go. Joe and I recycled the ketchup and mustard shirts for various parties, and I also busted out a Cleopatra get up for one parade I took Sody to...thankfully no pictures of that one. 

Sody's school Halloween potluck, tons of fun and tons of chaos.  This is the best shot I could get because standing still and posing for pictures is pretty much impossible for her lately. These two little ladies with Sody are her besties Francesca and Cate.  Francesca also happens to live across the street from us and it's pretty dang funny to watch them yell at each other across our very loud and busy street. (possibly not as funny to our other neighbors, however...) 

The main event: Trick-or-treating! Remember how I said Sody isn't great at standing still for a picture? We headed out with Francesca, and it was so crazy busy in our neighborhood that is was slow to navigate and we actually didn't get a lot of loot.  She was happy, but I was selfishly hoping for a bit more so there would be something good to steal after she went to bed. Because I am a wonderful mother. 

Last but not least, we made a Dia de Los Muertos altar for my Grandma Bee, with the traditional offerings: marigolds, a candle, and a favorite snack (we put out dates).  I neglected to set out her favorite drink this year because...well, Grandma liked gin-and-tonics.  Not the thing to have within reach of the three year old. Or mommy and daddy, for that wouldn't have lasted through the night...


Saturday, October 20, 2012


As usual, we were running late in the morning, trying to do the mad scramble of clothes-brush teeth-breakfast-and-maybe-if-we-are-lucky-a-slight-hairbrushing-and-barrette (that part hardly ever happens) before loading into the bike trailer by 7:30 to get to school.  7:30 hardly ever happens either, but that is the goal. Anyway, we were running late and Sody was stalling, trying to convince me she was sick and wanting to stay home for the day.  (Btw, what's up with that? I thought I had at least a few more years before she would be trying to pull that one...)

SODY: But I just want to stay hooooooome. I want you stay with meeeeee.

ME: I can't stay home, I have to go to work. They are expecting me there and I will get in trouble if I don't go.

SODY: You will go to jail?

ME: Uhh, I hope not...

Jail looms large with this one.  Any time you mention a policeman or being bad in general, she usually brings up going to jail. No idea why.  I am assuming she picked it up on the school playground, because in general if she ain't with us that is where she is - school.  8ish to 5 ish, 5 days a week.  It's a lot of time. My good friend Melissa once told me - back before Sody started school and I was nervous about her being there full time - "Preschool is great! They teach your kid all the stuff you forget to teach them!" And she has been so right about that. So far - it's almost been a year now that Sody has been there - it has been a great experience.  Love the teachers, love the songs they teach, love the Spanish Sody is picking up, love all the little friends she has there. She clearly loves her school and I am so grateful for that. There is no way I would be able to drop her off in the morning and head to work without worrying if we all didn't love the situation.

I wish I could be a fly on the wall at her school to see what she is like there all day without us.  I get an idea, of course, from her teachers.  They use words like "happy girl" and "wild." I think she might wear them out a little with insane repetition and question asking (join the club), but in general I think she is good there and well-liked. And I see how happy and hyper she is when we pick her up at the end of the day, and usually she doesn't want to leave.  Just how it should be.

Lately we have been working hard at having family dinners at the actual dining room table at an actual decent dinner-ish hour (this isn't as easy as it sounds, people).  Amongst our dinnertime conversations we ask Sody the best and worst parts of her day. Here were her answers from yesterday:

Best part of her day - doing art projects with Teacher Ana
Worst part of her day - not doing art projects with Teacher Ana


Monday, October 1, 2012

Still Here, I Swear

Hey. Remember us? I have given out this blog address to a couple of friends at work lately and it made me realize how ridiculously long it's been since I updated this here thingamajig.  Whoops.  No good reason for the disappearance, just your basic not-enough-hours-in-the-day problem that is the plague of my entire life and that which will probably follow me to my grave. Sigh. The scourge of the working mother. (which, by the way, doesn't the term "working mother" just sound suit wearing, briefcase carrying Diane Keaton in "Baby Boom"? So grown up lady with a real career? That's what I always think of when I hear that term. I don't think of me in my ratty t-shirts with the sleeves cut off, rolling into work on my bike whose seat is held together with duct tape. Yet here we are.) And I also have to mention that my computer is so insanely old and nearly dead that half the time when I turn it on it doesn't work.  So I would rather not spend my precious little free time at night yelling obscenities at my computer trying to post on here. Besides, if I wanted to yell at something that drives me nuts because it's not doing what I want it to, I could yell at Joe. (JUST KIDDING JOE! I LOVE YOU!) But I am here now, so let's catch you up, shall we?

Our big summer trip was to New Jersey. Duh. We had a blast with all the family members and this time around we even got to go hang out at Mom Mom and Pop Pop's new beach house. Fun was had, sun was soaked up, junk food was eaten.  We covered all our NJ bases.

                                Pop Pop and his ladeez (Sody and her Cousin Ryan)

   A whole hell of a lot of Finlaws.  Not sure why Sody looks so distressed here, but it cracks me up.

                  Stone cold chillin' in the lake at Bayberry Cove (where the beach house is)

Bayberry Cove had a little Halloween-in-August party complete with trick or treating. We had to improvise a costume with what we had around the house, so Sody was a kitty: inside out gray t-shirt, mom's makeup to make whiskers on face, colored cardboard ears taped to a headband. Ryan's costume was "Miss Bayberry" with a sash made out of duct tape.  DIY, y'all.

Back to Brandywine Zoo, the scene of The Fall of 2009.  (I fell down some stairs here with 6 month old Sody in a baby carrier, my knee got skinned to bits and Sody hit her head.  Motherly panic and Sody's first emergency room trip ensued - not to mention many many dollars for a doctor to tell us absolutely nothing because she was perfectly fine). I am happy to report no one fell this time!

Joe's sister Courtney is getting married next year and Sody is going to be a flower girl. We went to a dress shop to look at gowns and Sody FLIPPED out at the mirror set up.  She had never seen anything like this, where you can see your reflection at so many angles at once. It ruled. She spent soooooo long watching herself, singing, laughing, acting like she was playing with a bunch of friends. Her best quote: "There are so many Sodys!!"


                                                          Isota: Washers Champion.

           This is one of my favorite pictures ever. I have no idea why she is examining this donut.

                                                               Shiny Happy Siblings

See ya next time East Coast! Missing you already...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Vote for Sody Lou

We entered Sody in a photo contest.  She is about ten thousand light years behind the kid in first place, but let's try and turn it around...Go here to cast your vote:

Voting ends 7/1. 

I shouldn't tell you that I have been sitting here checking out the competition on the Parents site and finding that absolutely no kid there holds a candle to mine... but, uh, well...I really can't help it if I gave birth to THE CUTEST child that ever lived, right?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Auntie Beth Comes to Visit

Oh, what can I say about Auntie Beth? Beth is my best friend. Beth lives too far away in Washington. Beth is the one who I was randomly paired with to share a dorm room when I started college, and here we are nearly 18 years later. (Yes, it pains me to think I started college almost 20 years ago, but I shall save that for another woe-is-me-and-my-old-ass day...) Beth is the yin to my yang. Where I am an annoyingly talkative and hyper open book, Beth is an oasis of calm. A gorgeous, kind, generous, amazing listener who is a bit of an enigma. (That was for you, Beth - you can kill me later.) Also, she is the one who started this blog for us right before Sody was born, so you can go ahead and blame/thank her for all these silly and increasingly rare updates.

At any rate, it had been about a year and half since I had last seen my Beth, which is far too long in best friend world. So she made an impromptu and much needed visit down here to stay for a few days, and it was the best medicine in the world. I'm not sure she was quite prepared for the bundle of energy that is Sody at age 3 (the constant barrage of questions/fact sharing that Sody started the second we picked her up at the airport brought on one of my favorite Beth quotes of the trip: "Wow, you DO take after your Mommy!") but she rolled with it. We had adventures. We ate a lot.  We tried to convince her to move here.

some dorks taking pictures in the Chez Panisse bathroom

We didn't have enough time!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Right, Mommy?

Sody logic, as of late:

"Dogs don't eat you, only rats. Right, Mommy?"

"If you have too much food in your mouth you choke. And then you die. And then you are sad because have no more kids. Right, Mommy?"

"A car can squash you because it has sharp wheels. And then you die. And you have no head and your head breaks open. Right, Mommy?"

Sody (after a very large man walked by the house): "That man was fat."
Me: "Yes, but it's not polite to say that."
Sody: "We only say that in the house. Right, Mommy?" that's: animals eating you, death by food or car, and rudeness about larger people...we are laugh riot over here, huh?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter, a List

Dyed eggs with Best Bud Trent. Yes, it was a mess. (I may have bitten off more than I can chew with overseeing this project.)

Went to Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Woke up to Easter baskets and and egg hunt. She did not really buy the whole bunny-leaving-stuff concept. She kept referring to the goodies in her basket as "The toys you bought me, Mama."

Got dolled up in a pretty little white dress and her fancy sweater and pink tights and gold shoes for a fancy brunch with the grandparents. Wanted her nails painted just like mine - smurf blue for the fingernails, hot pink on the toes.

Ate nothing that wasn't sweet at brunch: fruit, ambrosia salad, french toast, juice, four plates of desserts. (we sat right next to the dessert table and I just plain gave up after a while)

The dress took a hit: stained with blue cupcake frosting, blackberry juice, and dirt from the tumble she took outside while trying to burn off some energy. She fell fairly hard and stood up bawling: "I'm all covered in diiiiiiiirt!!"

Refused to nap. (How could she when her mother let her eat sugar all day?)

Passed out on the drive home Sunday night.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

If I Don't Write it Down, Did it Really Happen?

I miss writing. I miss having a notebook stashed in my bag just in case the mood strikes and I have to write something down. I have carried a notebook in my backpack every day since at least college - where I was semi-famous for disappearing for large chunks of the days, running off to a cafe to read and imbibe way too much caffeine and scribble in journals like any self-respecting, moody, college age girl would - and I still usually do carry a notebook around, but right now it just stares back at me. Taunts me. Wonders when I will come back to it. And I look back at it and feel like writing is a chore lately, like I need to force myself to document my days, which is the exact opposite of how I want to feel when I am writing down my life. There is so much that factors into why I feel like this: no time, no drive, not as much time with Sody (who provides the best material), feeling like all my random thoughts get out through other channels like facebook or twitter or texts or good old fashioned actual conversation, etc etc etc. But my main problem is that I just never want to write because I feel like I should, I want to write because I want to.

So I sit and wait for inspiration. But waiting for the desire means that I am missing out on documenting all the stuff happening right now: the big and the small and the dumb and fun and the everyday goodness we are surrounded by. The way Sody is now, her disposition and her intense gregariousness and all the silly things she repeats so often that we think there is no way we could ever forget them. And of course we will...I know it from looking at the journals I kept when she was a baby. But I just don't want to forget any of the little details that make her HER right now: how she is obsessed with "Annie" and how she sings "It's a Knock Hard Life" instead of "It's a Hard Knock Life." Her little way of blowing a kiss that ends with a thumbs up. How she came up with her own way of saying how much she loves us: "I love you four times!" Her tantrums about teeth brushing almost every single night. How she found Cate, a best friend at school. The way she waves and says goodbye to her friends at school at the end of the day - something about it just seems so grown up to me. Watching her as a walking, talking, potty trained, school-attending little lady doing the things one does in polite society - and watching her do them unprompted - takes my breath away. Just her saying thank you when she is served a meal in a restaurant can make me so incredibly proud and happy and I know that if I never ever do any other thing with my life, I did this: my kid. My amazing and heart-stoppingly perfect kid.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

How to Turn Three for the Second Time

Sody's first Third Birthday was on her actual birthday, January 2. It involved a family trip to Chuck E. Cheese, fun with Grandpa and Grandma and a few presents. In other words, a nice little age appropriate low key birthday celebration. I am slightly mortified that I haven't even mentioned the day til just now - my baby is THREE! it's a big deal! how can I have a blog about her and not talk about her birthday?! - but I am going to pretend that my sloth in blog-keeping is only because I was waiting to talk about her second Third Birthday as well.

Birthday #2 was this past weekend. Slightly late but hey, at least it's still January. And let's face it: she is three and has a limited awareness of the calendar, so she doesn't care when her birthday party is. Actually, closer to the truth is that she wouldn't even realize she needed a birthday party. But since Mommy loves a theme and everybody likes cake, a birthday party it was. A few of Sody's buddies, the accompanying parents who are our buddies, pre-nap start time: your basic preschooler rager.

Theme: The Sound of Music (Sody's favorite movie)
Food: Quasi-Austrian (apple strudel, red cabbage salad, "schnitzel" with noodles - it was really chicken nuggets)
Cake: golden yellow from a mix (THE HORRORS. what have I become?? a mix?!) with homemade chocolate frosting and decorated with edelweiss
Decorations: warm woolen mittens, snowflakes and cream colored ponies, of course.
Dress: Sody and I wore our white dresses with blue satin sashes. No one else embraced the theme - not even a single Hitler mustache in the bunch. Hmph.

So we frolicked and sang and ate and partied and wished Isota a happy birthday again. She deserved it.