Yesterday, I wanted Eva's 18 month birthday post to be joyful and reflect the happiness that she has brought to our lives. The truth about yesterday is that I spent most of it locked away in my bedroom, crying on and off, fighting with my husband, and missing my Mom.
I laid in bed yesterday and read this entire book from beginning to end. It took a few hours. B watched Eva while I laid in bed and read; not wanting to have to engage in reality. I read this book because it is literally the only book I could find in our mostly boxed up house. It was good but it is written by James Frye (the guy that Oprah ripped apart because he made up parts of his non-fiction biographical novel that she featured on her book club) so I was wondering the whole time I read it if it was supposed to be fiction or non-fiction.
Today marks 3 months since she passed away from brain cancer. I had a really hard time at the end of last month too. I will be more prepared next month for this bomb to drop. I miss my Mom every day but I was able to function well this month and did not have many break downs... until this weekend.
I was overwhelmed with sadness that I will never be able to talk to her. I was depressed that she missed hearing about B's graduation. She delighted in his successes and would have been so proud of him. I was sad that she doesn't get to see my baby grow up. I was depressed that I couldn't run all of these important upcoming life decisions (moving, to buy a house or not to) by her for her always wise opinion. I was upset remember how she died and how horrible and painful the whole thing was.
I have not been getting caught up in the "why me" trap lately. Strangely, I have had many moments where I start remembering and re-playing all of the horrible days during that week when she died. I play out all of the terrible moments when my Mom was in so much pain and there was nothing we could do and she just wouldn't die. When I get in this frame of mind, it is hard for me to snap out of the depression. I usually have to take Eva outside or take a shower or something.
Anyways, I do realize that this is a highly personal and fairly depressing post but this is my blog and my record of my reality. The truth is sometimes my reality sucks right now.
Today is my sweet Evangeline Hope's 18 month birthday. It is hard to believe that I am the Mom to a 1.5 year old. She is big, strong, loud, goofy, short fused, and talkative. She spends her days trying to figure out how to say new words, dragging her Dadda around the house by his finger, and dancing like a maniac. She is everything that I ever imagined that she would be.
Thinking back on the past 18 months, it is interesting to note that all of the old cliches ended up being true. Everyone says, "Take a lot of pictures. They grow up so fast! Mine were that age yesterday and now they are 22 and 26" and "These are the best days of your life: even if you're not sleeping" and "Every stage will be better than the last" and "You will fall more in love with her every day".
This morning, like almost every morning, I took a bath with Eva and then left her in there to play while I put on make up in front of the mirror two feet away from the tub. She was splashing and playing like usual so I took a break from painting my face in the mirror to turn around and snap this iPhone picture of her sweet smiling face.
Cutest baby ever. Right? So, then I look over at the side of the tub and see a streak of blood. My heart races immediately because I didn't expect to see any blood next to my baby. I look back at her and see my razor floating next to her. I grab her dripping wet body out of the tub in a semi- panic and start looking for the missing digit or gaping wound that surely occurred. Either way, I am sure it is going to require emergency personnel and an ambulance.
After a full body exam, I realize that the just cut her left hand pointer finger. She must have rubbed that finger along the razor. It was pretty cut up, but nothing requiring a hospital visit. I go to look for Band-Aids cursing myself for not buying the super cute Hello Kitty ones that I saw at Target just a few days earlier. I look in every place that Band-Aids would be stored until I was sure that we don't have any Band-Aids. I am sure we have Band-Aids packed up in a box somewhere but not in this house. I feel terrible. My toddler is crying and shaking her bleeding finger at me and I have no Band-Aid to help stop the bleeding or to try to make her forget about it.
I grabbed some toilet paper and a bit of Magic Tape and made a ghetto-tastic Band-Aid.
Feeling like a total loser Mom for not having the necessary supplies to fix this problem, I try to think of how I can bribe her into forgetting that she has toilet paper taped on her finger and a bleeding wound. I pick her up and put her in the sink in the bathroom. I used to always bathe her in the sink so now she constantly asks to get in sinks. I never oblige her because she is a big girl now. That goes out the window and I put her in the sink.
That works for a few minutes.
She starts crying and whining again and takes off her mommy made Band-Aid so I immediately start thinking of how I can bribe her into forgetting about what I loser Mom I am. Cookies. Cookies solve all problems. I grab a handful of circus cookies and take her on the patio.
That works for the most part. We spend the next half hour cuddling on the porch eating cookies and kissing her boo boo finger. Below she is giving me her boo boo for a kiss.
As I reflected back about what I loser Mom I was for not paying close enough attention to her while she was in the bath that she was able to grab my razor and cut herself and then not even having Band-Aids on hand
to help heal her, it struck me. Maybe this is what it actually is to be a Mom. Being able to make it work even in the face of adversity. Fixing the problem and keeping my baby happy even when things aren't perfect. I tried to imagine what my Mom would have done. Would she have tried to fix it with cookies or would she have had a better, more effective, wiser solution? I'd like to think that she too would have reached for the cookies.
5 questions that give pretty good insght about where my mind is right now.
1.The best part of October was... watching my almost 18 month old daughter's vocabulary explode 10 fold. It is extraordinaty to witness the process of learning speech. Watching her learn to express herself vocally as her primary form of communication is awesome. Our trip to New Orleans was pretty cool too.
2.The worst part of October was... feeling unsettled as we live out of boxes and anticipate our next upcoming move.
3.For Halloween, I’ll be... being a bit scrooge(esque). Because we are in the midst of a move and we live in an apartment, we won't really be participating. Maybe I will make a holiday treat or two and put a (not really) scary movie on.
4.I hope that in November... we get settled in Maryland. B loves his new job. I get the job of my dreams. We get a undeniable sign from above wherever that we should buy a house. And we find that house.
5.Wifey has posted MilSpouse Secret Santa... I will not be participating.
We are off to B's graduation ceremony this morning. I am so proud of him for finishing this school and doing so with flying colors. Our quickly approaching move is still weighing heavy but in the middle of it all it's important to remember,
It's the little things in life that make it all worth it.
It's the little things: (Perfectly and lovingly) Sewing on my husbands new patch so his uniform reflects his new rate for his graduation ceremony.
It's the little things: A gorgeous Florida sunset. And the fact that because my husband is in the Navy, we have lived within a couple short miles of the beach for years.
It's the little things: Going out to dinner and having slightly more than 50% of the food go into Eva's mouth rather than the floor of the restaurant. Progress.
It's the little things: Freshly squeezed orange juice for birthday morning mimosas.
It's the little things: Finding the motivation to start running again. I went twice already this week. While my 3.5 miles twice this week is surely not anything to boast about, I am happy that I took the time out for myself and the sore muscles are a welcome reminder that I need to be more consistent.
It's the little things: This adorable Vera Wang necklace. And the fact that I was able to untangle it after Eva played dress up with it.
It is my hope and my dream to work in Fleet and Family Support helping families with the struggles that come with being a military family or to work in a VA center helping veterans. This was the specific goal that I had when I was completing my Master's degree. These relevant topics encompass the majority of my research during my program. I imagine this 'job' not being just a job but my career.
Now that we are going to be settled for a few years at Ft. Meade, I am trying to find a job. I want to make a difference. I want to help military families with their struggles and I want to help them achieve higher levels of success. I have applied for a two positions that I think would fulfill these desires.
I am not applying for just any job. It has to be something really special for me to be willing to put my daughter in day care. As a side note, I do realize that I am contributing to society by raising my daughter and I certainly don't feel like I am wasting my time being home with her or anything like that. But, I am ready to work again and contribute both to society and to my family's finances. I am ready to use my education. I am ready to have a reason to wear high heels again everyday.
I feel a bit giddy about the prospect of finding employment doing exactly what I want to do in a career that I imagine would offer the opportunity to help make an impact on the world. Cross your fingers for me!
It's funny how moving forces you to take stock of your material possessions. Because there is no military housing available at Ft Meade and we still haven't decided if we are going to buy a house, we are probably going to move into "extended stay" (ie a hotel room). This means that we wont be able to access our things that have been packed up and will only have the possessions that we drive with us in our car. This will last at least 3 months probably. I will have to choose the clothes that Eva and I will wear for the next couple months and take those with us along with just a couple other key items that we can fit in the car.
Anyways, it got me thinking this morning. I really don't care that much about 'stuff'. I could walk away from everything in our home with very little angst. There are few tangible items that mean very much to me.
My most important, meaningful possessions reside on my fingers. On my left ring finger, I wear my wedding ring. My wedding ring and band that my husband hand picked for me all by himself. He had the second band specially made to match so that it didn't offend his strict sense of feng shui evenness.
On my left pointer finger I wear my Mom's wedding band. It is so simple and modest. She wore it as a symbol of her devotion to my Dad but not as a symbol of her status. I love that. I am reminded of her every time I look down and see it. I love that too.
On my right hand middle finger I wear my 'push present'. B bought it for me as a gift for giving him the gift of our daughter. I warned him when I was pregnant many, many times that I would be expecting a present. The bigger my belly got, the more insistent I became about receiving a push present. So, after my early and fast labor, B LEFT me at the hospital with our brand new baby and ran to the jewelry store to buy this ring because he was scared that I would be upset that he hadn't bought me a present yet.
Another material possession that I never take off and means the world to me is my diamond earrings. B bought them for me while he was on his last deployment. He had them sent to my work along with 8 dozen long stem red roses.
I guess, judging from this post, diamonds are the key to my heart?! :)
What about you? What are your most important possessions?
Like I mentioned before, I am not a gourmet chef. I am not going to post recipes on this blog very often because quite frankly, there are thousands, probably tens of thousands, actually probably many hundreds of thousands of people who are much more qualified to do that than me.
Eva used to eat anything. As she approaches her 18 month birthday she is becoming more and more selective about what she puts in her mouth. She used to eat cheese by the fistful. Now she wont touch it. She used to joyfully munch on raw veggies. Now she turns up her nose. She used to snack on Cheerios in between meals. Now she throws them on the floor.
I am posting this recipe because I have spoken with a handful of friends and family members over the last few weeks about toddler friendly meals. It seems like all of our sweet babies seem to be getting pickier over time. I made this recipe for lunch today. Eva loved it. B didn't jump up and down over it but he said it was good and he would eat it again (this counts as a compliment in my house).
I found a sweet potato chicken curry recipe on pinterest. I tweaked the recipe fairly heavily to fit our taste buds. I added a potato because I don't eat chicken but left the chicken in the recipe for B. You could make it totally vegetratian by leaving the chicken and bacon out and adding more potato (cut into larger chunks). Eva liked the sweet potato curry and the potato but continued her current aversion to chicken. I served this over jasmine rice. This recipe is super low fat and high in protein. This is one of the few meals in my house that all three of us picky eaters enjoyed.
This is a great fall recipe being slightly sweet, salty, and savory. It was healthful and warm. Perfect for a crisp fall day.
1 can sweet potato puree
1 can (low fat) coconut milk
1 large chicken breast
1 medium white onion
3 cloves garlic
3/4 large potato diced
3 pieces to bacon
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
salt, pepper, curry powder (probably 2 tablespoons at least), cinnamon, tiny bit of sugar
1 large diced tomato
chicken broth to thin recipe if you prefer a more liquid curry (like I do so we can put it over rice). If you prefer a thicker curry, you can add a bit of flour to thicken it and leave the broth out.
Put oil in pan. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is soft. Add diced chicken. Allow chicken to cook all the way through. Cook bacon in separate pan.
In separate bowl, combine coconut milk, sweet potato puree, all spices to taste, and ginger. Mix together.
Add liquid mixture to the pan. Add potato. Add bacon. Allow it to heat through.
Add tomato and cilantro.
Do you know of any easy picky toddler approved, carnivore husband approved, and vegetarian approved meals?
The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement this week recommending absolutely no television for babies and toddlers; especially children under the age of two. The AAP states that the flashing, moving screens of the television is bad for toddler development. They state that a child's language development is harmed by watching television. They explain that there is no proof that children can benefit from the programs but there is definitive proof that parent-children interactions are beneficial so parent's should spend that time actually interacting with their children.
I don't really let Eva watch any TV. Recently (literally in the last week or two), I have started to put on either Sesame Street or Yo Gabba Gabba in the morning while she eats breakfast. I am going to stop putting it on. It didn't really feel right to put the show on and have her completely tune out anyways.
What do you think? Do you follow the AAP's recommendation or do you like the break that the television affords?
For B's birthday, I commissioned our very talented artist friend from high school, Lan Lupinetti (on facebook at TrashFace Art or email traski[at]gmail.com), to do a painting for B. It came out amazing. The picture below makes it look kind of washed out but it doesn't look like that in real life.
From this picture
We had a good time at the Big and Rich concert last night.
I wanted her to wear this little red top but it was way too cold.
Eva slept in her carrier after dancing her tush off. She put on a great show for all of the people sitting around us.
These jerks walked through and then stopped to watch the concert right in front of us (blocking the view of the group of kids next to us). Don't worry, I told them to move. The Mom thanked me.
It was a great evening. I am happy that Eva's first concert was a country one. :)