Tuesday, July 30, 2013


um, hello. yum. 

feeding her babies with her new kitchen set

carrying her baby in the carseat

getting ready to go down the slide on a rainy day at monkey bizness

brave big boy jacob going down the slide by himself!

going down on her tummy

little mama

first time helping to make chocolate chip cookies. and by helping to make, I mean standing there eating chocolate chips ;)

and the best part-eating the fresh baked cookie! (do I have chocolate on my face??)

Olivia Layne - 19 months

My sweet Olivia, it's been another wonderful month watching you be and become YOU. You are learning at lightening speed and are trying to so many new things all by yourself. You like to put on your own pants (and sometimes you try to put your shirts on as if they are pants, over your legs!) You went down the slide at the park all by yourself this month, you can climb up and down stairs alone (but are pretty unsteady still, so you can be sure my hand is hovering right there to catch you just in case!), you went on your first overnight camping trip and slept like a champ. (you slept better than any of us, and you had a blast playing outside for two full days!) You are becoming a very independent little lady! I'm trying to keep track of your words, and I think the two new ones I heard this month were water (wawa) and more (mo). It is adorable when you say yes, because you always say "yeah" and with this precious little inflection. I need to catch it on video. You are so smart and I can see you thinking about a question I ask you before you answer or respond. Sometimes you will answer with no or yes right away, but then you think about what I actually said and you change your mind. I'm sure all mama's say it, but you seem so smart! You seem to understand pretty much everything we say and you demonstrate the things you know in your actions and responses and play. I can't get enough of watching you. We got to have dinner with one of mommy's dearest friends, Kim, this weekend and she said several times what a happy baby you are, and what a joy you are. It's so true, Olivia! Being around you just makes people smile, especially your mama. I love you so much! xoxo

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Confessions of a Working Mama

It’s been a while since I’ve done a serious post, so it’s about time, right? Apparently my blog is full of pictures of my family, sprinkled with thoughts that too often sound like complaints. Like I’ve said before, though, if I can’t write about what’s going on in my head and heart on my own blog, how on earth will I be able to get any relief? Just letting thoughts become solid matter as letters strung together can be cathartic, don’t you agree? Today’s post is a confessional of sorts. And let me warn you, it might make you uncomfortable. It might make you dislike me. It might make you say “what kind of woman/mother/wife ARE you?!” Maybe I’m the only one who’s felt some of the things I’m going to write about here. But if so, that’s OK. Because I’m me. Not perfect, just perfectly me.

Today my mood is reflected in the weather I glimpse outside when I stretch my neck and see out of the window in the office next to my cube. Gray. Damp. Blah. Not very pretty. Gloomy. Sometimes it feels like when my moods are so down, perhaps they are big enough to cause this weather. Once again I am stuck in a cycle of thoughts, wishing I could be at home with my baby. Longing with such ferocity it seems as though my heart weighs a thousand pounds. Last night Olivia was happy enough, but only with her Daddy. She would push me away, and fuss if I got too near. As if she were afraid I was going to steal her away from the only man in her life. The best parent. As if I were the bad guy. Once again my heart cracked. How many of these cracks can it bear before it shatters? I’m thinking it will never shatter. It is so strong with love that it can crack a trillion times and still hold, without wavering, all the heartaches of all the mothers in all the world. As my sweet played with her Daddy, I dutifully did my daily chores. Picking up clutter. Washing her daily dishes. Packing up her food bag for the next day. Packing up her diaper bag. Things moms do. Oh, but I was bitter. “Why do I have to do this every day? Why can’t I come home and immediately play with my baby? Why do I have to waste precious minutes doing “to-do’s” when I just want “to be?” Of course we all know things need to get done. We all know I’m working on my OCD and I’m doing a darn good job of it! (you should see my floors! There are smudges and crumbs everywhere!) But this working mom is over it. We all also know that every part of my life sometimes looks like an emotional tornado swept through, scattering logic, upending normalcy, toppling sanity, from the longing not to have to work. The tornado shoots itself out through my fingers as I slam the cupboard doors in frustration.

Yesterday when I went to pick up my girl from her nanny, she was having so much fun playing. Just running here and there, having a blast, and excited to show me the things she had been doing. Not even wanting to leave! Crack.

This morning I dressed her in a skirt and sandals, but it is uncharacteristically cold, and she needs pants and socks. Why didn’t I think of that? Why did I have to rush around to drop her off and get to a job I don’t even like? Why did Jeff have to bring her adequate clothing? Why isn’t he watching her during the summer, when I would give almost anything to be able to? Crack.

And my mind wanders. And wonders yet again. If I were at home with Olivia, would she have a stronger attachment to me? Would she prefer me over Jeff, even just sometimes? If Jeff kept her during the summer, would she become bored with him, and more excited to see me at the end of the day? If we move and I get to stay home with her next year, will it be “too late” for our bond? Is it ever too late to be a stay at home mom and the benefits that go with it? If we had another baby, could I do something differently to make her love me more? And there it is folks. BAM. We don’t want more kids. I don’t want another baby. And yet, I think about this non-existent, never-to-be child and wonder if she would love me more. Wonder what I could do to create a better, stronger relationship, deeper love. Almost as if I want to replace the baby I do have. My heart. Replacing my heart. Ouch. How could these thoughts make it into my brain? I would NEVER trade Olivia. EVER. Not for a baby who loved me more. Not for ANYTHING. So what is my mind doing? It’s sabotage. It’s my discontent playing tricks. Dirty, unfair tricks.

I take the thoughts back, wrestle with them and turn them around. I remind myself of how good we have it. How special that daddy/daughter bond is. That she really DOES love me. That we are lucky to have two steady incomes and a loving nanny.  The sun peeks out. The clouds part. The rain stops. A vision from two days ago of Olivia pulling my face to hers so she can snuggle me covers over EVERY SINGLE CRACK. And I get excited about going home. Picking her up. Seeing how lucky she was to have such a fun and happy day. Watching her show me, excitedly, what she played with. Looking at how brilliant her smile becomes when she rushes to her Daddy. Appreciating all the support, encouragement and help my sweet hubby gives me each day. (For example, last night after I was finished rocking my sweet baby to sleep he said, "hurry! We have to watch the bachelorette!") Enjoying the special time Cade and Olivia have together, especially when he offers to play with her after dinner each evening, to give us a little more time to finish eating! Cherishing the way their giggles mingle together like music. Taking on the privileged burden of the DOING, the providing and caring and preparing for my family each evening. BEING a mother. And though it may not look the way I dream of it, BEING exactly what I want to be and what I am.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I wish summer would never end!

trying on her gorgeous hat her abuela made

jeff trying it on, too

wearing the shirt great grammy gave her AND grammy's necklace!

the necklace looks good on everyone ;)

her new wall art

Cade working on a DVD holder

play time!

flipping the boat!! So exciting! 

help from neighbors


 reading a story :)
Annual Garretson campout-cherry face!
 We tried camping for the 2nd time in our 5 year marriage. We just aren't big on camping, but we wanted to give it another go after the first attempt was a disaster of no sleep and leaving early in a bit of stress. The daytimes were such fun with 4-wheeling, playing in the dirt with cousins, family chats and yummy food and snacks. The nighttime? Not so fun. Our tent was actually really nice and comfy, we even had an air mattress. Despite the cold we were cozy and warm and Olivia hardly moved all night, which is not even normal at home! Jeff, Cade and I, on the other hand, tossed and turned and woke up because of howling wind. It took a long time to fall asleep and it was hard to stay asleep. I think we were pretty exhausted the next day, but we still managed to play hard. I'm sorry to say I think it might be our last overnight attempt for another 5 years. We shall see. At least we gave it our best shot again! Maybe next time we'll try to take a few more day trips during the week, and not just the weekend, because I'm always bummed we miss out on so many relatives that come after we're already gone. It's a great tradition, this reunion, that started with my granddad's family, and I hope it can stay alive with the younger generations.
Olivia's own table and chair that grandma made

Uncle Bill (86) and Aunt Norma (82)

family ride (Olivia fell asleep!)

playing with cousin Grayson

telling him what to do ;)

wearing daddy's hat

uh-oh. she's becoming quite the brave climber/gymnast and Mama might have a heart attack!

playing with grandpa

sitting with grandma

cooking the eggs and maybe not quite fully awake!

 off they go! I tried to get a group picture but they left in a different direction! just a glimpse at what the 4-wheel/motorcycle rides look like :)

grammy and granddad

grammy and Olivia

norma and bill

olivia and isaac