Munchkin Love.

B and her best friend Gracie.

Good friends are priceless.

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.  ~Oprah Winfrey

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Dear Brooklyn,

You turned 4 last Saturday. FOUR. Register for you at all? Does for me like crazy, not sure how I feel about it either. People warn you, and I’ve said it over and over – soak it up. This birthday was different, in a good way, but just different. I suppose I could say that I was able to “watch from the sidelines.” Not that I wasn’t right there with you, but as a four year old, there’s less for me to stand over you and do.

The day started out with chocolate chip muffins, your favorite. From there it was your first day at your new ballet class. I loaded you up, black tutu and pink tights, we set out for your dancing adventure. A little hesitation at first, but as I peered through window I watched you soar. You’re very brave, you know.

After ballet we were on a mission to find your perfect birthday dress. You are a fierce little fashionista, mind made up before I can get a word out. You settled on a leopard dress with black lace down the front, black tights, and a black head band with a bow. No pink frills here – all business with this birthday dress.

Home for lunch and naps, neither of which you really did well, I’m sure that little mind of yours was full of anticipation. You managed to make your way down the stairs without resistance, got ready and kept a close eye on our driveway. Minutes later the crew rolled in, your Uncle Robert & Dani, Uncle Richard & Shevaun, Mimi & Papa, and Miss Tina. Party time!!!

Football was on, champagne was poured, we settled into a great day. Those presents gleamed at you and you did your best, but as soon as that little brother of yours woke up it was ON. You are one special little girl, those gift bags were overflowing!

We made pizza’s for dinner, even Papa followed your lead as head chef. Your Daddy was proud to see that Italian in you shine through.

Cake, birthday wishes, lots of hugs and kisses later I tucked you in. You went right to sleep, peaceful celebration.

I must say that I’m pretty sure I’m the luckiest mama on the planet. You make me so proud, the independence you glow, the spirit you have. We do this little thing, you and I, we wink and give thumbs up to each other as if to say “I see you, you see me – life is good.” And it is, it’s soooo good.

I always say that you and your brother are the best things I’ve done with myself. I stick by it. Being your mama is the best thing EVER.

Standing at the sidelines this year for your birthday was absolutely bittersweet. You are no longer a baby, you can do a lot on your own. Your sassy, smart, caring, and warm. You give an energy that we all revel in, and as I stood there in observation I felt nothing short of grateful.

Happy birthday sweet pea, moon and back.

Case of the Mama Mondays

My husband called me this morning after he dropped our daughter off to tell me she had the worst break down ever as far as school drop off goes. Her school is right near his work so he takes and picks up every day. I am very grateful for this as it can be taxing on one person to do this every single day. Every morning he drops her off, watches her kick and scream, and starts his work day. We know this is normal behavior, they get over it as soon as you leave, but sometimes knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.

Today was especially bad he said, lots of kicking and screaming “No DADDDDDYYYYY!!!!

When she woke up this morning she was in a great mood saying ‘good mor-ing!’ to us as Dom brought her downstairs. She asked for me and just laid on my chest for a few silent, still moments. My favorite times. She was acting goofy, dancing to Barney, enjoying pancakes & her ‘bna-na’.

We do this routine 5 days a week and most days go really smooth. Others, like this morning, suck. I miss her, I want to stay home, comfy in our pj’s, coloring, reading, playing, exploring…nap time after lunch while I get myself together, play on Facebook, blog, clean, start dinner, do some laundry. Wake up and go to the park, get home have a snack and wait for Daddy to get home. (Notice in my perfect world there are no meltdowns and tantrums to deal with). 🙂

It has nothing to do with dreading my actual job, that’s not really the case at all. It has everything to do with just having a case of the ‘mama Mondays’.

Taming the Beast.

When I was pregnant with Brooklyn I had crazy heartburn. It was SO much fun that I had to fall asleep sitting up some nights because it hurt that bad. There is an old wives tale that says if you have really bad heartburn your kiddo will be born with a full head of hair.

They were right.

Lots of people told me that she would lost the baby hair and ‘real’ hair would grow back in it’s place.

They were wrong.

She never lost any hair really, it just kept growing and doing its thing.

This morning she woke up looking like this:

If that’s not bed head I don’t know what is. I think that’s a good sign she slept well?

My husband won’t even go near “it”. When I was traveling for work last week he took her rubberbands to school and had her teachers do it. God help us when she’s old enough to do it on her own and mommy is out of town. Not everyone has the mama skillz I do at TAMING THE BEAST.

Stripped

I briefly scanned through a recorded Oprah recently that talked about how much *stuff* we have in our lives. Stuff was primarily defined as electronics and technology – cell phones, laptops, countless hours spent on Facebook, blogs, iphones, email…*ahem*, all the things we are doing right now. Yeah, I’m totally guilty. Everything is so accessible that it makes it hard not to be.

Brooklyn gets a bath every night after dinner. Anytime that I’m giving her a bath I either bring my iphone to check email, FB, etc…or I clean up our bathroom. I let her play and I’ll give her my attention, but it’s shared. Because clearly seeing everyone’s updates on FB is far more important than giving her my undivided time. She’ll only be this small and innocent forever, right? Right…

It applies to my husband too, friends, family, everyone really. At Christmas I almost kicked my brother’s ass because he was OBSESSED with the app ‘words with friends.’ We are all guilty of it but for me, personally, time to scale it back a bit.

Scaling it back means no phones at the dinner table, B’s bath’s, playing with her in our living room, etc…Giving Dom my undivided attention rather than talking to him while scrolling through gmail. It’s just all about stopping for a second to focus on the people in my life and not what’s flying all around me. Pretty sure I won’t have missed too much if I login and read blogs 2 hours later than I thought I was going to. We need to bring back the true meaning of quality time with one another.

I know my life will only get ‘busier’ as this 2nd baby makes his/her arrival. It’s a balance to maintain yourself, be a good mom, still socialize, etc…but I’m going to do it. Without 24 hours of technology in my life.

It’s a bit hypocritical of me to claim this while writing this blog, eh? Worth mentioning I’m sitting at JFK airport waiting to catch a flight home from a work trip, so I suppose in this instance it’s okay. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to do any stripping here…

All about B.

Even though this was technically Brooklyn’s 2nd Christmas, it was a first for us on many levels. Given that she was just about 3 1/2 months old last year we really didn’t do much in the way of gifts, etc…This year, however, it was all about B.

She looks deceptively innocent in her Christmas dress. Please, don’t let her fool you. Here is a special project she worked on during the Christmas break. It was called Operation destroy the kitchen.

Having a little one allows you to watch all the cheesy cartoons (although we did when she wasn’t here too), decorate more, make christmas cookies, put up more lights, go look at lights, buy more gifts, and just love on the idea that her little imagination is about to embark on years to come of Santa and the North Pole, reindeer landing on the roof, her daddy reading Twas the Night before Christmas, and me, teaching her lines from classics, like Christmas vacation.

We spent Christmas Eve at my mom & dad’s house, as I have every December 24th of my entire life. I don’t know if next year we can swing that having her and a little baby in tow but whether it be at their house or ours I’m sure we’ll spend it together.

We opened gifts.
We played in new castles.
We read new books.
We made breakfast with Grandpa:
We had a wonderful Christmas.

This definitely sucks.

Brooklyn’s school handed us a letter yesterday that informed us it will be closing on:

December 23, 2009.

Next week. Next Wednesday. Done. I took her to her classroom, got back in my car and cried like a big baby. I loved her school, her teachers, the curriculum, the LOCATION. I couldn’t believe it but at the end of the day it was this stupid economy’s fault. Their enrollment had dropped 25% in the last year which totals about $600k in revenue over a years time. They just explained that many parents had been laid off and no longer needed to have someone look after their little ones. Sucks all the way around. But the timing, the timing REALLY sucked. And the notice? Ahem, what notice?

I suppose there was not much to be done there though. Had they given us more of an advance we would have yanked our kids out earlier and they would have gone into even more debt.

So, news broke. It sucked. I cried.

Put my big girl pants back on and realized this was a solvable problem. We got on the phone and secured a few places that had 1 or 2 openings in her age classroom and as of this morning my husband had already toured, got reviews, and wrote a registration check. Crisis averted, I suppose. The location is on his way to work, not mine, but it will only really be inconvenient when he travels. The school is very well known for having a great program put together and he seems to think that she’ll do great there. Mama still needs to pay a visit just to double check but I think we got lucky. There are 150 stray kids that need a new home now and I know we got in this new school right in time.

When I first got used to the idea of Brooklyn being in someone elses care I still had crazy anxiety that it would all be okay. After a few weeks it was, and I never looked back. We’re starting over again and I’m sure it will all work out just fine.

It could always be worse and I know this. I could be having to figure out how to cover the $900k that Kids R Kids is now in debt, but someone else has that worry this holiday season. And that, my friends, REALLY sucks.

Face plant.

You should see the other kid…

Okay, okay. So technically Brooklyn got in a fight with the pavement, not another kiddo. She was pushing something at school that decided to take off without her and the first thing to hit the ground was that poor little nose of hers. Ouch!