26 November 2012

Hakuna Matata.

Remember the 'Friends' episode when Rachel takes Joey to a silent auction and he bids on the sailboat, thinking he was just guessing as to how much it costs?  In reality, he ended up, of course, with the highest bid, and perplexed as to how that happened, even though he fully knows that he wrote his name and bid down.  I'm feeling a bit like Joey, but on a much less dramatic (and costly!) scale.  (Oh, and Garrett, someday we'll watch old 'Friends' episodes together which will be the only way you understand this reference.)

Anyway, so Garrett and I went to the FeZtival of Trees on Saturday and along with the raffles and craft fair, was also a silent auction.  Some big ticket items like gorgeous hand-carved birdhouses and a stunning rocking horse quickly drew bids into the triple digits.  The one set of items that caught the eye of my very observant two year old was a beautiful, lush, oh-so-soft-and-cozy blanket featuring the impish Simba and his pal Nala from The Lion King, a giant coloring book also featuring said lions, a box of 24 Crayola colored pencils, and an adorable lion from the Build-a-Bear workshop. So sure, I put my name (and bid!!!!!!) down, never thinking I'd win. Ok, win is the wrong word.

Yep. I got a call telling me mine was the highest (!!!) and honestly, my first thought was channeled back to Joey-what? I actually have to pay for it? I thought I was just writing down my name and a number. A guess. Ha! Not really, I knew what I was doing, and it's really sounding a lot more dramatic than it actually was.  And it IS a nice haul, having picked it up today on my lunch hour.  How convenient for me to work but a two minute drive from the Kora Shrine.  Why couldn't I have won one of the raffled trees?! But seriously, the blanket is beautiful, soft, and will no doubt keep our tot comfy and cozy during the long winter, while occupied with the pencils and massive coloring book.

Oh well, that's 4 insta-gifts that will not need to be worried about until wrapping commences on the 24th of December. Speaking of wrapping, and putting things together on Christmas eve, listen up, Garrett--I'm so excited about one of your gifts this year, that on Sunday, I couldn't help but open the box it arrived in, (while you were napping of course) just to make sure that all the parts were accounted for (they were!). Of course it was all I could do not to assemble it then and have it waiting for you when you woke up.  I restrained myself, but that doesn't make me any less excited for Christmas morning. No, no...not giving anything away here.  Let's just say that I hope this provides you much entertainment on the snowy days of winter ahead. The countdown begins...

25 November 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

I have a confession.  There's something innate within in me that is like a switch automatically turned on the moment Christmas music is available.  I'm not talking about the stores that start playing it around Halloween. I'm talking post-Thanksgiving, when you realize in a panic you only have 30 something shopping days left, and you're scouring past emails for that 20% off something or other.  You need background music to get you through it.  Queue up the holiday classics! 

There's a local station here known for its 'light rock' that I refuse to listen to any other time of the year. However, the moment Thanksgiving passes, it's the only station I tune into from then until December 26th.  It's the one time of year I forgo my NPR morning and evening commute and revel in listening to the songs I've heard a zillion times, singing along at the top of my lungs (sorry, Garrett). Sure, I could do without Alabama's "Christmas in Dixie" or any Karen Carpenter song, but I listen anyway, hoping to hear the few songs that for me, truly mark the beginning of the season.

For nostalgic reasons, two holiday songs that get me in the spirit are Wham's "Last Christmas" and Band Aid's "Feed the World (Do they know it's Christmas)".  I hear "Last Christmas" and I think of my sister and I lip syncing to George Michael, using hairbrushes for mics and sashaying across the room, pretending to be cooler than we actually were.  We still go nuts every time we hear it, whether we are together or not.  And Band Aid...well, as a child of the 80s, that's all that needs to be said.

Two songs that always tug at the sentimental string are "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", but ONLY the Judy Garland version, and the Ray Conniff Singers medley of "Jolly Old St. Nicholas/Little Drummer Boy". *sniff*

But there's one song that truly sends my Christmas spirit soaring and it's the kind of song that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, I picture myself twirling round and round, arms flailing, feet skipping.  Don't laugh.  Ready?  Johnny Mathis' "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  Yep, I love me some Johnny Mathis. I can't explain it, I just do.  And so, on this first official holiday weekend, no one in my household is spared from listening for these iconic Christmas songs and it's made everything else we do so very festive.

Friday night began with the annual Brunswick tree lighting.  A little crying, a little hot chocolate, arrival of Santa by firetruck...all pretty normal.  Saturday, Garrett and I went to the FeZtival of Trees put on by the Kora Shriners of Lewiston.  We went for the first time last year, and while very crowded, it's lovely and fun, and Garrett had a blast.  

Upon walking in, Garrett immediately wrinkles his nose, tugs at my hand and questions, "Popcorn?!"  Yep.  Let's get some.  

Next, it's heading upstairs to where all the trees are.  Here's how it works.  Each tree is decorated by a company, business, or organization and hanging on the trees are gift cards galore, or items donated by the company to win or under the tree, are big ticket items like stuffed animals, sports stuff, ride-able toys, etc. In other words, it's a feast for the senses of both young and old.  If you want a shot at any of these items, you must buy raffle tickets and send the ticket spiraling down into a candycane holder along with your hopes that your ticket could possibly be the lucky one drawn.   We bought 20 tickets.  

We really wanted this car. 

And this elephant.
Santa is squishy.

Another pitstop for popcorn shoveling.

Ooh pretty!

Look who someone spotted!

One of the many candycanes we dropped our tickets in.

Next up for today was a trip to our favorite playground.  It was almost bitterly cold because of the wind, which would explain why we were the only ones there! However, that did not stop us from a little ball play.  Future basketball or soccer player in the making?

Have I mentioned how much I love my winter coat?

Finally, a little playtime on the slides and then we called it a day.

The rest of the day was spent as any Sunday during the holiday season should be--napping (him, not me), making delectable pumpkin breads (me, not him), and dancing to the soundtrack of the season.  Let the festivities begin!

21 November 2012


Thanksgiving Eve. The start to the holiday madness...the season of giving and sharing, taking, and hoarding.  (After all, Black Friday, is just a day away.) I saw an accurate post recently--something like "only in America do we trample each other for what's on sale the day after giving thanks for what we already have".  I've never partaken in any of the BF madness.  There's never been anything I've wanted badly enough to endure the long lines and crazies.  

That said, this Thanksgiving, I'm giving thanks for the simple things.  Quality time with my little family, a delicious meal, beautiful weather, and a four day weekend. I'm thankful for the great state we live in, wonderful friends, a great job. I'm thankful for commuting with my child every single day, to hear the songs he's learned ("Humpy Dumpy", Wheels on the Bus, etc), the new phrases he's picked up ("Oh well!", "Alright, so!", "Oh, dear") and the imaginative way he tells us stories.

I'm thankful for the way he greets me every day when I pick him up from 'school', shouting "Mommy!", running to me and flinging himself into my waiting arms.  I'm thankful for the way the way he tears through the house shouting "Daddy's home!" when T walks through the door, home from work, and then flinging himself yet again, this time into T's waiting arms.  

I'm thankful for having started reading and singing to him since day one, so that now he practically knows our favorite books and songs by heart, and sometimes 'reads' them aloud to me, or finishes the sentences as I read to him.

I'm thankful for his kind self, and the small ways he shows me that he's learning to be this kind self.  I'm thankful when he says thank you.  

On this Thanksgiving eve, what are you thankful for?

My aromatic brine.

All tucked in for the night.

Carrot chomping.

11 November 2012

What's in a name?

When Garrett first started to talk, I became Mom.  No matter how many times I referred to myself as Mama...he persisted on Mom.  And with it, came a variety of tones.  It made me think of him as an angsty 14 year old, who would roll his eyes and say "Moooooooom". But it could also be sweet.  Like when he'd stand at the edge of his crib and the little voice would sound tentatively over the monitor..."Mom? Mooom?" As if to wonder, is anyone there?

And then one day, I dropped him off at daycare, and he waved, smiled and said "Bye, Mama!"  Mama! Finally! I had progressed to Mama...no transition...no introduction...I was just simply Mama. I think I must have smiled the whole day, that day.  Mama.  And yet, for as long as I waited to hear it, I began to miss the simple "Mom".  Oh I know he'll be saying it soon enough...and then for the rest of his (and my) life...but I began to miss the way it sounded from him at this age.

And then today, without warning, came Mommy this and Mommy that.  What? Mommy?  Endearing, sweet, and wonderful...but I was still reveling in the sound of Mama, and now all of a sudden I'm Mommy. I'm not even sure where he's heard Mommy...and so I wondered what made him do this switch now. What is the thought process in a 2 1/2 year old's mind to make this decision?

Obviously, I'm not complaining.  I love anything that comes out of his mouth.  It just serves as reminder that I shouldn't take for granted the sweetness of right now, because it is fleeting and temporary, and soon enough, it'll be something new and different, though hopefully always nice. :)

07 November 2012


A historic day in our great state and nation…one that I will happily explain to you when you’re older and can understand.  For now, it’s sufficient to just say equal rights for all and four more years! Forward we march...

You just passed the 2 ½ year mark.  Astounding. You’re almost a totally different kid than you were a year ago, in that your personality has blossomed, your vocabulary has exploded, and your independent (stubborn) streak has continued to rear its…challenging head.  You are definitely a product of your parents.  You say ‘Hi’ to almost anyone we pass in the store.  That is definitely NOT a trait you picked up from us.

We’ve had such fun lately…enjoying the last shred of decent weather before we hibernate for what promises to be a long, frosty winter.  We survived the latest weather tumult…unlike some of our friends in other places who dealt with much worse conditions.  We had wind and rain but thankfully, nothing serious. Superstorm Sandy, as it is now known, spared our state from her wrath.  You, blissfully unaware to the possibilities for days without power, had only one observation the night Sandy hit. “Too windy, Momma! Too windy!”  Yes, Boo, it WAS too windy.  You even experienced your first earthquake, although, much like our dog who remained unfazed, you weren’t interested.  “More Dinosaur Train?” was your response.

There are so many things that I wish I could remember from our daily interactions that make me chuckle, or even crack up, about things you say, how you say them, and the expressions you deliver.  Your memory amazes me. We have so many little games. 

But there are two things you do that stand out as favorites for me.  The first is the way you come barreling full-speed at me when I pick you up from daycare.  When you’re playing outside, and you see me come down the hill, you stop what you’re doing and run full force into my waiting arms, chanting “Momma, momma momma.”  It makes my heart melt.  You DO miss me.   I also love the way you do this for daddy.  For example, when he came through the door last night, you came bursting from the living room, sliding in your socked feet across the kitchen floor, yelling “Dada dada dada” as he scooped you up into a gigantic hug.  He’s glad you miss him too.

My other favorite is how you are first thing in the morning or just before bed.  I love our nightly bedtime routine, when we’re finally sitting in the rocker, reading together, and you snuggle in close, trying to stifle that yawn until it escapes and signals that it’s time to head into dreamland.  I love how you yell Wait, Momma! before I turn out the light so we can blow kisses to each other.  

Or first thing in the morning, when I have to get you up to get ready for ‘school’, and your cozy slumbered warmth is radiating as I pick you up and sit in the rocker for a pre-dressing snuggle.  Your tiny little voice is barely audible as you try to tell me about your dreams or what you want to wear that day.  Sometimes you may still be half asleep, but it’s a reminder to me that even though you are so busy and on the go and fast and independent, you’re still my little cuddlebug.

Christmas is coming! What wonders will await us this year, with your greater sense of awareness and understanding? So much to look forward to! I can’t wait to experience it all again through your shiny eyes.  For now, just a little fall fun.