Thursday, November 24, 2011


I started working on the Gratitude Challenge put forth by Let's Take the Metro earlier this week. The challenge to bloggers was to share a list of 100 things we are grateful for on Thanksgiving. This morning, I hovered over the "delete" button, feeling like a failure, having only managed to list 70 items. I was hoping I'd have time to finish up the list this morning. I certainly have oodles more that I'm thankful for. I simply ran out of time. I had some school work lingering that needed to be finished before we headed off for our Thanksgiving family meal. So I sat starting at my screen, ready to scrap the entry.

I changed my mind. You see, one of the things I am most grateful is that my life is so full. The fact that my list doesn't contain a full 100 items is evidence of my gratitude for and dedication to my family, my family that I am eternally grateful for and in love with. It's okay that I didn't get to list all 100 things, because I was too busy enjoying and celebrating them. I could finish it now, but I can hear my daughter's squeals of laughter as she plays with her father downstairs, and I don't want to miss another moment to soak up their joy and love.

Without further ado, 71 things I'm grateful. Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours. Thank you for reading and supporting this blog. Thank you for you.

I am grateful for:

1. Family.
2. Health.
3. Delilah's smile.
4. Ty don' humor.
5. Unconditional love.
6. Home.
7. Purple.
8. Songs.
9. Fire pits.
10. The Beatles.
11. Light.
12. Cozy sweaters.
13. Pretty curtains.
14. Bass.
15. Pillows.
16. Sadie.
17. Seasons.
18. Crunchy leaves in Autumn.
19. Snow in Winter.
20. Green buds in Spring.
21. Sun and heat in Summer.
22. Hot cocoa.
23. Washing machine.
24. Dryer.
25. Hugs.
26. Kisses.
27. The Mail system.
28. Yoga.
29. Spooning.
30. Radishes.
31. Nala.
32. Rowdy.
33. Warm socks.
34. Fuzzy socks.
35. Soft socks.
36. Cute boots.
37. Coffee.
38. Almond Toffee Creamer.
39. To-go cups.
40. Like-minded mamas.
41. Gingersnaps made with real ginger.
42. The zebra blanket.
43. Tea.
44. Lavender honey.
45. Every moment spent with loved ones.
46. Crocuses.
47. Tulips.
48. Irises.
49. Lilies.
50. Lilacs.
51. Bee balm.
52. Sunflowers.
53. Bleeding hearts.
54. The kindness of strangers.
55. The music in me.
56. Pretend tea.
57. Coloring outside the lines.
58. My kitchen.
59. Ukulele.
60. Tall glasses of water.
61. Old friends.
62. New friends.
63. Good friends.
64. True friends.
65. Sisterhood.
66. Education.
67. My support network.
68. My chosen family.
69. Laughter.
70. Tears.
71. You.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Once a Mama, Always a Mama

Dear Delilah,

It seems like it wasn't all that long ago that I read my friend Darlena's account of saying "Farewell" to "Mama". While reading about how her girls went from calling her "mama" to "mommy", I took comfort in the knowledge that her girls are nearly a year and a half older than you, taking for granted that I still had plenty of "mama" time to come. In response to her post, I commented:

This made me tear up! Does 'Mommy' really come so soon? I'll treasure 'mama' even more now, knowing her time here is limited!

Indeed, Mommy really does come so soon. It started last week, when you started referring to your father as "Daddy" instead of "Dada". That was to be expected though; you often hear me referring to him as your daddy, so it was only a matter of time before you started doing so yourself. Still, I didn't expect that 'Mommy' would be riding 'Daddy's' coat tails. Alas, 'Mommy' has arrived.

The first time, I thought you just misspoke. Then you repeated it, with even more conviction "Mommy!" I turned to Daddy, "Did she just call me Mommy?" "She sure did," he responded. The flood of Mommies that followed nearly drown me.

The truth is, I didn't get to hear "Mama" near as often as I'd like. When we are together, I'm nearby, and I do my best to read your cues and anticipate your needs, so it was rare for you call out for me when I was there. From what I've been told by your father and grandma, "Mama" was uttered much more often when I wasn't around, and you were asking for me. Still, I've always just thought that I'd always just be "Mama". Long before I had you, I had friends that referred to me as "Mama", because I apparently have a very nurturing Mama-esque presence. So really, even before I was a Mama, I was a Mama. And I'll always be your mama, just like you'll always be my baby.

Mama and Baby: 1 Year Ago

This particular transition is bittersweet. On the one hand, it's delightful that the novelty of the new word has you singing my praises (or my new name, at least) throughout the day. On the other hand, this is a step toward the very grown up and somehow flat sounding "Mom". I appreciate that you're easing me in gradually, throwing in a "mama" here and there as you sing-song "Mommy Mommy Mommy Mommy Mama Mommy Mommy Mama Mommy!" I hope that there is still some time left before Mama gets phased out entirely. Why? Because Mama has a little baby, but Mommy has a little kid, and Mama's not quite ready to give up her baby yet.



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Monday, November 21, 2011

Home Sweet New Home

Dear Delilah,

When we found out that we were expecting you, your father and I went through the typical range of emotions. We were so excited to start our family, and simultaneously so scared of the unknown. One of the things we worried most about was our tiny little house. It didn't seem possible that it would be big enough for us and a baby, but we weren't in a position to move. We made it work. Not just work, we made it thrive! We turned the tiny room we had been using as a closet into the brightest, happiest, tiny, little nursery you ever did see. We set up the corner of the living room as a play area. We got rid of a couple of kitchen chairs to make room for your high chair. We made just enough room for you, and made the best of our little home.

We have so many happy memories in that home. Many of your "firsts" took place in that itty bitty bungalow, and even though it was small, it was cute and cozy. It was ours. Still, the older (and bigger) you got, the smaller the house seemed to become. Your father and I would trip over each other's feet while preparing dinner. We kept all of our clothing in the dreary basement, because our bedroom had no space for it. Any time we wanted to entertain guests, we had to hope for fair weather, so we could take advantage of our large backyard to compensate for the lack of space inside. Grandparents coming to town for the weekend stayed in a nearby hotel because there simply wasn't room to host them. The time was coming. We would need to move.

Just about six months ago, your father and I were doing some casual house-hunting, and we fell in love with a house. It was perfect. Plenty of space for our family to grow. From the first time we looked at it, we saw a playhouse for you in the back yard. We saw the cozy basement full of your friends eating popcorn at a slumber party. We saw space for a little brother or sister for you, some day. We saw a house that you could grow up in.

Home Sweet New Home!
On Friday, the very long process of the "short sale" of this house came to end. Nearly two months after moving into it (that's too long of a story for even your long-winded mama to get into!) it is officially ours! We have settled in nicely, and you have adjusted beautifully to our new home. In fact, with more space to explore, your physical development has exploded! With carpeted expanses of floor, you started crawling, months after you learned to walk! You climb the stairs like a pro. You navigate the back yard with ease. You climb in and out of the bed we transitioned you to within a week of moving like you've never known a crib.

Delilah's last time walking on the first grass she
ever walked on at our first home.
Saying goodbye to that little house that was overflowing with memories was bittersweet. You won't remember living there, but your father and I will never forget the life and joy you brought to our first home. We treasure the memories we are making here in our new home, the home that you will grow up in, and look forward to the wild ride ahead of us. We're home at last, and we're here to stay!



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Friday, November 11, 2011

2 Years!

Dear Delilah,

Happy Birthday!

Delilah's Birthday Pancake
You are two years old today. The day is only half over, and has already been filled with so much joy. It blows my mind that two years have passed since your birth. In what feels like the blink of an eye, you've gone from this:

To this:

In the two years I've spent as your mother, I have learned so much from you. I have learned more about my values and goals, and about what is most important to me in life. I have made progress in growing into the person I want to be, to living the life I want to live, in order to set the best example for you that I'm capable of. I've learned that no parent is perfect, and that I will mistakes. I've learned that making mistakes, and owning up to them, will allow you to learn much more from me than if I were some how capable of parenting perfectly.

You are growing and blossoming into one incredible little human being. Even at 2 years old, you radiate peace, empathy, beauty, and grace. You are a loving, friendly, accepting child with a hunger to explore and understand the world around you. You have given me the gift of truly understanding and experiencing unconditional love.

Happy Birthday Delilah. Thank you for the most challenging and wonderful two years of my life. Thank you for being my baby, and for making me a mother. Thank you for being the daughter I always hoped for, and more.



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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Let it Snow!

Dear Delilah,

This year, for the first time since I was a child myself, I can't wait for the first snowfall. The local weather people are predicting that today could be the day. So far, all we've got is some cold drizzle, but I keep peeking out the window in anticipation, hoping to see some sparkling white flakes drifting down. Why would someone who otherwise disdains winter and all that comes with it be so excited for the snow to the fly? Well, that someone is now a mother, and the joy of watching you discover your world far outweighs the annoyance of snow and the bitter chill of the impending winter.

Last winter, you weren't yet walking, and weren't able to do much more than roll around a bit in the snow. Still, even though you couldn't do much playing in the snow, your appreciation for its beauty was evident, and inspired in me an awe that I never could have imagined that I'd recapture. This year, there will be snow people, there will be angels, and there will be snow ball fights. There will be cuddling by the fireplace sipping hot cocoa to warm up after an afternoon spent outside surrounded by fluffy white magic.

You are as ready as can be. Daddy took you shopping for a properly fitting coat and snow pants. You can now walk, crawl, climb, and throw. You love being outside, just wandering and exploring the yard, and with a blanket of snow over it, there will be even more to discover and enjoy.

I have looked back nostalgically on some of your firsts. I now realize that there will always be firsts to celebrate, and new ways of looking at the same old things. As I write this, the big orange city trucks are making their way down our block, sucking up the last of the leaves piled on the boulevard. Before long, the boulevard will be piled up with dirty plowed snow, our cars will be covered in a layer of salt and sand impossible to wipe clean until spring, and thanks to our beloved Sadie, our white yard will be littered with flecks of yellow and brown. But the first snowfall, that first beautiful, clean, fluffy, pristine snowfall comes first, and I can't wait to share it with you.



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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just as a Flower Needs the Sun...

Dear Delilah,

Last year, you were a bit too young to really grasp the activities surrounding Halloween. This year, well, you were still too young to really grasp a lot of the activities surrounding Halloween. When I wrote to you last year about your first Halloween, (side note: were you the cutest little mouse ever, or what?) I made some speculations about what this Halloween might be like. Specifically, I said "Next year, you’ll probably be able to take a more active role in choosing your costume. You’ll get to trick-or-treat for real, and we might even let you eat some of the candy!"

Well, most of that came true! You still weren't all that involved in picking out a costume this year. Without having a frame of reference for what costumes and Halloween are all about, you usually responded "yes" or "no" when we asked "What do you want to dress up as for Halloween?" When we hit the second stores to do our costume shopping, we started offering you choices, which do you like better? This bear, or this lady bug? "Meooooooow!" You'd answer. ( hindsight, maybe you were telling us you'd like to dress up as a cat?) We settled on a frog costume (which sadly ended up being too small) and a sunflower costume that was perfect for our cool weather, with lots of room for warm clothes underneath.

Our first Halloween adventure took place on Saturday, when we headed downtown to trick-or-treat at some of our favorite local businesses. Our first stop was the store Daddy works for, and you were the first trick-or-treater!

Trick-or-Treating Downtown
(click photo to enlarge)
We trick-or-treated downtown for about an hour, and no matter how many stores we went to, you always seemed surprised to receive a piece of candy to put in your bag. I know that many people have mixed (or straight out anti) feelings about trick-or-treating on days other than Halloween, but this was a fun, safe experience, and it helps promote local businesses. Grandma Laurel and Grandpa Bruce were visiting, and they loved seeing the shops. Grandma Laurel even did some shopping and did her part to help boost our local economy! Daddy said the trick-or-treating brought 200 people through the store, and since the candy was cleverly located all the way at the back of the store, every single one of those people got to see their selection of musical instruments and accessories.

On Sunday night, we carved our pumpkins. This was still a bit too grown up of an activity for you, so you mostly supervised. Here I go speculating again, but next year, I hope that you'll help us decide how to carve them, and help pull the guts out. Daddy hates that part!

Yesterday, you got to wear your costume at daycare for a little Halloween party, and brought home some goody bags. Auntie Janelle got a special Halloween treat just for you, so Daddy took you over there to trick-or-treat. After that, you and Daddy passed out candy at our house until I got home from work, and then we set out for some treats on our street.

(click photo to enlarge)
You had so much fun marching up and down the street in your costume, dragging that candy bag behind you. You never did say "trick or treat" (or "thank you" for that matter!) so there's another hope for next year! We explained that we could only go to houses with lights on, so every time you saw one, you pointed and exclaimed "light!" And yes, this year, we are even letting you eat some of your candy. Daddy "inspected" it and left you over half of it! This Halloween has been your first experience with candy, and let me say, you are a big fan of the sweet stuff! We're big ol' meanies and are limiting you to one piece per day. Kind soul that you are, you even fed some of the Reese's Pieces you picked out last night to mama!

It is incredible how much you've grown in changed in the past year as it flew by. Before we know it, you'll be leaving your father and I behind to trick or treat with your friends, and we'll have to be much more sneaky about stealing half of your candy!



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