Blog a la Cart

Month: March, 2010

This one goes out to Auntie Kimmy

I have been waiting 11 long months for Sunny to finally be big enough to don this magnificent tutu. Auntie Kimmy and Ann Mae have been even more expectant. It may droop a little low – but that’s how those young hooligans are wearing ’em these days, am I right?

I think the kid’s got potential.

Big props to the Nelson family for making this frilly delight a part of our lives.

Before I knew her

James is clearing out his old laptop thanks to the new computing monstrosity in our home, and he stumbled upon something that he wrote right after I told him I was pregnant. And so today, for the first time, he shared it with me (and permitted me to share it with The Internet). And it reminded me, yet again, of why I promised to spend the rest of my life sharing a bed with his bacon sweat and tolerating his love of hunting. Of why he puts up with my feminist rants and all my crazies. And of why our daughter is the luckiest little girl on planet Earth.

A boy? A girl? Oh, what does it matter, Ashley is pregnant! I’m so excited, scared, anxious, nervous, ecstatic, thrilled, proud, happy, overwhelmed and freakin’ pumped! I don’t even know where to begin!! I’m a whirlwind of emotions all of which comes down on the Happy side of a fence somewhere.

If it were a girl (heaven help that girl with her uncles) I would tend to her and wish her delicate tendencies, but no fear of the forceful things in this world. She would be able to change a tire, check the oil of a car, dance ballet, sail, hunt, pick out fine stationary, have pretty hand-writing, and smell nice on weekends. She would be my shining star – the one piece of this world that would directly challenge her mother for my love in this world.

If it were a boy, he would be able to bake, sew, field dress a deer, fish, speak and act politely, appreciate the arts while not letting them make him soft. He would be amazing, like his mother – full of respect and compromising – but able to stand up for what he believes in. He would be a strong athlete, but also a delicate ballet dancer.

I don’t know. This is amazing. I have all these hopes and realize that they will not come true with 100% foresight for either one or the other, but do know that some of them come true for whatever this child is.

I already love her/him. I’m already scared to death, and I’m already excited beyond my wildest to see how s/he develops.

And *they* say that the way to a woman’s heart is through chocolate… I think *they* need to read this.

When life gives you lemons, eat lemons.

Recently, James and I took a trip down to Roanoke, VA to cheer on our Alma mater as the men’s basketball team competed in the Final Four. Yeah, we’re Div. III, and you haven’t heard of us, and you don’t care, but for us fellow-Ephs this was an occasion of epic purple and gold proportions.

While in Virginia we attended a reception for all alums, family, friends, and fans that had made the trip down south to be a part of this momentous event. As we mixed and mingled with the diverse crowd that had all but one thing in common, a deep deep love of a purple cow, (I know, right? The purple cows. Terrifying. Intimidating. The dream mascot.), I couldn’t help but ogle a wee-babe who seemed around Addison’s age and had a similar crazy mop of hair. She was surrounded by a pack of doting, loving family who passed her around and tickled and played and cuddled while the festivities unfolded. Given that Sunny had stayed up north with my parents because a 10-hour car ride commencing at 4:30 in the morning is anything but a good idea for a 10-month old, I was having intense separation anxiety from my child, and thus transferring emotions onto this adorable babe nearby.

As I watched the circle of adults playing with the munchkin, two individuals stood out as the adoring, proud, head-over-heels-in-baby-love parents. They just had that look in their eyes, that unconditional, completely helpless, completely awed look of parental love. Not to mention that the baby demonstrated a similar preference and affection. It was an awesome sight to behold.

Confident that I had pegged the appropriate people as the parents on which to bestow my blubbering compliments of ewie-gooey-shared-baby obsession, I made my way across the room and looked at the two gentlemen and said, You’re baby is absolutely magnificent. I can’t stop watching her with the two of you. You all are just so in love.

I wish I could put to words the look of delight and appreciation that not only had I complimented their growing family, but that I had recognized, with very little effort, that they, two men, were the obvious and clear parents of that happy, healthy, wonderful little princess.

Some of you are asking, WHY, ASH?! Aren’t you a PC liberal? Why are you being so un-PC and  drawing attention to the fact that it was a homosexual couple?

I draw attention to this fact because it is still such a sad, pathetic, prejudiced taboo to be homosexual parents, especially two men. And yet, this interaction, this moment with two complete strangers and their beautiful baby is just one of so many instances that demonstrates that all that a baby needs or deserves is love. And that love can come in any shape, form, gender, race, or number. That what a child needs to thrive is love. Period. End of discussion. If you have people who take on the responsibility of parenting, the work of parenting (as it is an actively engaged role, not an assumed identity), THAT is what matters. THAT is what is at the core of a healthy family. And those two southern gentlemen cradling that babbling baby girl were it. They were a family.

Okay. I’m done with pushing my social agenda. Moving on with the story…

As I crouched around the happy family and we chatted about parenthood and the shared joys and struggles, one of the fathers mentioned that while he was enjoying this new stage of independence (i.e. I CAN CRAWL! AND STAND! AND GET INTO WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT!)  how terribly much he missed the itty-bitty infant stage when she would just ball up on his chest and sleep. I expressed my similar nostalgia and how I yearned for those moments of snugly baby slumber.

Well, Universe, apparently you were listening.

And no, I am not pregnant.

Rather, be careful what you wish for or the Universe will bestow upon you a sick, snotty, flem-filled ball of baby misery that will moan, and wake in fitful congested distress every single hour of your supposed days of rest. The upside of this coughing, sneezing mucus-rag is that the only place that she will find solace is curled up on your chest.

As much as today I feel as though I’ve been run over by a tank with napalm and a bad-attitude towards brick (Me being the wall of brick, or something), I lay in bed, 3:30 in the morning, with my baby heater slumbering across my chest, nestled into the crock of my neck, and was overwhelmed with gratitude that I still get those moments (even when they come with the accompanying boogie-fest). When life gives you lemons, right? Or in Addison’s case, you just eat them. Whole.

There is nothing more centering than being able to provide that kind of peace to your child.

Thank you, Universe.

Did I mention I’m obsessed with this machine?

The Bug may have one too many toys. One too many toys that she loves to systematically remove from their storage bins. And onto the floor. In the middle of a home already covered in, how many?, ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE, boxes.

Awesome.

Having a brand spanking new iMac is fun, almost as much fun as having a brand spanking new domain name. (READ: TIME SUCK)

I literally do not know what to do with myself.

James and I figured that since we were dropping a hefty sum on our move across the country, why not tack a brand new washer and dryer and a brand new 27″ iMac to the bill.

Drop. In. The. Bucket.

We are SO fiscally wise. Or something. If my father-in-law is reading this, I am so so sorry for what I have done to your son. And yes, we have contributed to our IRAs for this tax year.

ANYWAY, I have been literally swooning, and embracing, and French Kissing our new washer and dryer. You see, I LOVE – as in L-O-V-E-S – doing laundry. It gets me hotter than Jacob Black. No joke. So to have two beautiful, elegant, BRAND NEW machines in my possession is not only a novelty, it is like my dream come true . (Sorry, James. It would appear I lied about our wedding day). I think laundry may be going in this house round the clock because CLEARLY every article of clothing, every couch cushion, pillow cover, blanket, towel, window curtain, shoe, puppy, hammer (yeah, it’s loud up in hur) must give the wash cycle a spin. The machines even make a cheery, sing-songy tune when they are complete with their cycles – as though to highlight the joyous, high spirits that I experience when engaging in such tasks.

And THEN, to have this epic data processing wonder – a wonder in which I never have to wait more than the blink of an eye for the machine to boot up, where SPINNING COLOR WHEEL OF DEATH is but a fantasy, where Photoshop takes mere moments to load – I mean, I just, HOLY HELL! I have removed the noose ’round my neck that was inspired by my dinosaur of a MacBook from the Mesozoic Period (i.e. 2005) and feel like I can breath again – and by breath I mean actually accomplish tasks at an efficient rate and find new and glorious ways to waste my time (HELLO NEW DOMAIN FOR BLOG A LA CART!).

Now I can put to use all the wonderful media goodies that this domain and site have to offer without growing senile attempting to edit photographs and cut movies.

AREN’T YOU ALL JUST THRILLED?!

Here’s a clip of me and the Bug demonstrating her instinctual response to the presence of another’s tongue – and her love of the word YES! And by love, I mean confusion. Or revolt. Or, I thought this whole rebellion thing wasn’t supposed to commence til the tween years.

The hell?!

Cereal Box Business Cards

Successful business is all about out of the box thinking – and what could be more out of the box than business cards handmade out of old cereal boxes?! If you’re looking for a card that will set you a part but won’t break the bank, cereal boxes make sturdy, unique canvases for your networking needs. Not so much a business guru, but want to grab the attention of that dream boat seated in aisle 2? Craft your own calling card that will truly knock the airline socks off that cutie.

Materials:
Cereal boxes
Scissors (even better, a paper cutter for straight edges)
Printer
Computer program like MS Word to format cards

Directions:
1. Munch on some of your favorite Wheaties, and save up those boxes.
2. Cut the boxes so that you have two rectangular “pages” on which to print your cards. (Using a paper cutter helps immensely in keeping all the edges straight).
3. In MS Word, format labels that are sized 3.5 x 2 inches (the traditional biz card) or whatever size you’d like your cards to be.
4. Create your cards’ content in the labels.
5. Often the rectangles from the cereal boxes are smaller than an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Measure your particular rectangles and in ‘Page Setup’ insert your custom size.
6. To help make cutting easier, print the borders of the labels.
7. Now load your cereal box paper into the printer (making sure that the text will print on the blank cardboard side) and print away. (Sometimes you have to help *coax* this heftier stock through the machine).
8. Once you’ve printed, use the paper cutter to dice ’em up into individual business cards.
These cards are cereal killers – in a crushing the competition kind of way.

Photo: Courtesy of Ashley Weeks Cart

10 Months.

To my future opera diva, or my danSing queen, or my rough and tumble little munchkin, or my black-and-blue baby, or my champion of all things NO!,

There are far too many ways to address you these days that it is difficult to even begin this letter. I’ve started and stopped a number of times – and here we are, four days past your 10-month birthday, and still no stereotypical, sappy mommy-blog letter to mark the occasion.

So here is my feeble attempt to encapsulate the most chaotic, and overwhelming month of your life to date. You, little one, are a champ. Despite sleep schedules thrown by new time zones, long plane flights, even longer car rides, sleeping on the floor of various unfamiliar and strange homes surrounded by boxes and forced to slumber next to your Daddy who snores and your Mommy who thrashes, you took it all in stride.

One of my favorite memories of this month, in fact, was seeing you, a silhouette in a darkened room, blissfully playing with a pile of toys at three o’clock in the morning. See, Mommy and Daddy never bought you a travel crib because anytime we’ve travelled in the past, we’ve been visiting folks who could provide us with such a furnishing. Now flash to the week where your crib was on a truck in the middle of the country and your parents were living like nomads in various homes thanks to some very generous family members, and you, my darling, were sans sleeping vessel in which to keep you from having access to an entire room of tempting treats (read: electrical wires, outlets, mirrors and other objects of the fragile variety). To manage this situation we just created a nest on the floor of the various rooms in which we stayed in the hopes that you would, I dunno, stay put. A totally logical concept given your obsession with half crawling/half bear walking and essentially being mobile whenever possible. Each night as we lived like gypsies, we rocked you until you were literally out cold – and then lay you in a pile of blankets in the hopes that you would then remain in that position for the next 12 hours. We slept right next to you, of course, to monitor the situation – and each evening, around 3am you would awake, and before I’d hear you moving, you’d make your way over to the pile of toys and diaper bags and suitcases strewn about the room and begin happily tossing objects so that a rain of toys would rouse me from my slumber. It was precious. And impossible. And thank god your princess crib is back in our lives.

Which leads me to the fact that since that week of sleeping chaos/disruption/poordecisionmakingonyourparentspart you have been our marathon sleeper. 8pm, after bath time, we rock in the rocking chair while you drink a final bottle, and then you happily snuggle up in your crib with your cow blankie and coo your way to sleep. Honestly, that blanket is your BFF 4 eva – I’m already having visions of trying to pry a tattered and worn version of that dear blankie from your 18 year old hands as you head off to college and you’ll be screaming, OVER MY DEAD BODY! Yeah, so I’ve created a monster encouraging this blankie love affair. But there is nothing cuter than seeing you quake with joy upon spotting your blankie – reaching out and clutching that fleecy, silky wonder to your chest and literally curling up your legs and balling up your person to embrace that square with as much of your baby body as humanly possible. You L-O-V-E-S your blankie. Perhaps it is thanks to this obsession that when you awake in the middle of the night, you readily sooth yourself back to sleep and then you awake a bubbly, smiley, babbling bundle at 8:30am.

I am envious of this morning personality as I am of the opposite inclination. I grumble and snarl and suckle my coffee – but then your sing-songy, sweet little voice streams out of the nursery and somehow infiltrates my bear-like loathing of the wee hours (and yes, 8am is totally the WEE HOURS) and you send me off to work with a bounce, A MOTHER FUCKING BOUNCE, in my step.

You are magic. There is no other explanation for my sudden enjoyment of any hour prior to noon.

You also are mobile in a capacity that your father and I can barely comprehend. You are everywhere and into everything and I feel like I need to grow another head and about eighteen extra hands to manage what’s happening in our household. It’s like the Tazmania Devil has taken refuge in our home. It has made unpacking a house filled with ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE (yeah, I know I’ve mentioned this shit before, but seriously?!?!) boxes near impossible. And your grandparents, while leaving the house yesterday after a full weekend of babysitting said, Please, don’t have twins. We can barely keep up with one. Whatever you do, just don’t have twins. Yeah, okay Mom and Mr. MOLECULAR GENETICIST father, I’ll get right on negotiating that arrangement with my ovaries.

YOU HEAR ME UTERUS? NO TWINSIES!

So yeah, what I’m saying is that you are pretty damn able. You pet Ursa and play tug-of-war with her ratty toys. You pull up on anything and everything. The pointier the corner of the table or the more unstable the surface, the more excited you are to pull up – thus the bruises and the fact that you look like you’ve been engaged in a match with Mike Tyson. Probably one of the more pathetic aspects of this pull-up is that you have NO IDEA how to sit down after standing, and your baby legs get tired real fast, so you begin to shake and you look at us with the most pitiful face of confusion and misery like, WTF Me? How do I get down?! HELP ME GET DOWN! (as your bum hovers barely six inches off the ground). I’ll admit, sometimes I let the standing get to the point of desperation just to witness that absolutely adorable pout that accompanies the panic. I have faith that you’ll figure it out – as just today you began squatting and shaking like an athlete pushed to the brink in an attempt to sit back down. It reminded me of wall sits, and the agony of such a workout, and I understood why panicking was the preferred response. But no pain, no gain, er something.

Here, enjoy this bowl of ice cream.

Speaking of eating, while sitting in your highchair you bounce and shake and twirl your wrists in a circle like a gymnast warming up for a floor routine. Eating, it is a serious workout. Now that we’re feeding you adult table food you are FAR more enthusiastic and adventuresome. Of course, you still shake your head violently and purse your lips when you are SICK AND TIRED of whatever lame or boring nutrient we’ve put in front of you, but lasagna, and tacos, and even a veggie orzo salad have become quite popular. You smack your lips and chew that grown up food like you’ve been eating for near a decade. Just one more thing Mommy and Daddy can be proud of.

Our kid shakes her head NO and chews food! Watch out, Newton! Best not put this baby next to an apple tree!

Your mastery of the raspberry is, I think, proof enough of your brilliant mind. If anyone sticks his/her tongue out in your general direction, s/he will be met with a spray of saliva-filled genius. Kind of like your sixth-sense of wintry, snow suits and their accompanying sleeves of death. You can tell when we are about to swaddle you in fleece before we’ve even removed the item from your closet. Perhaps it’s your (brilliant) reading of the temperature in the house and thus the weather for the day, but you know when those snow suits are coming out to make your life miserable. Because we obviously enjoy torturing you – which is what any native Californian would say about the demand to brave “wintry mixes.” I can’t say that you are enjoying this new layering requirement.

And in recent news, you’ve sprouted two brand new teeth – adding to your already impressive spread of choppers. Choppers that you tested out on Daddy, I might add, when you were frustrated and did NOT want to be put in your sleep sack, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. We don’t quite know how to handle this new weapon, but it hasn’t happened since so we are just living in denial, because obviously you’ve now got that impulse out of your system and it will NEVER happen again.

Obviously.

And so my little monster, your parents have started an orthodontic fund in preparation for what’s coming down the pipe. But I must say, you are the most precious, scraggly-toothed monster on the planet – and Mommy and Daddy can’t get enough of that ridiculous grin. Happy 10 Months and welcome to life as a New Englander!

143 Mama

NO!

Hey everyone! LOOK! Look at what the Bug has learned to do!

** Now let’s just pretend for a moment that there is a video clip here wherein you witness the Bug violently and determinedly shaking her head back and forth**

Vision conjured?

Okay great. Thanks for that. Our home is still a sea of boxes – so the ability to locate the cord that connects the video camera to our computer is literally like finding a bum in Greenwich, CT. Impossible.

So anyway, this violent head shake. Every parents’ dream, right? To have a child that has learned how to express herself? Especially when that expression is to show disgust, dislike, disdain and straight up defiance.

The kid is all, Vegetables, are you kidding me? FUCK NO!

Removing me from my joyous, warm bath where I get to eat bubbles and chew on rubber duckies? You are out of your mind!

Shoving my arms through sleeves, i.e. vicsious wormholes of death? You are mistaken!

Stupidly, James and I initially encouraged this expression because we were THOSE overeager first-time parents who obviously thought that their kid was the next Einstein because she had made the correlation between the utterance, NO, and the head shake that accompanied said word. We were a little, um, enthusiastic:

JESUS CHRIST! LOOK AT HER! SHE IS BRILLIANT! A GENIUS! LOOK AT HER SHAKE HER HEAD! SUCH GRACE! SUCH MAGNIFICENCE! SUCH DETERMINATION!

Yes, it was as if we were watching an Olympic sport.

No, not curling. ICE DANCING!

These boasts of pride were accompanied by our own repeated and excited expressions of, No-ne-no-ne-NO! while shaking our own heads to applaud and validate the behavior.

And then my parents came to visit and their first thought?

FUCKING IDIOTS!

My mother spent all weekend trying to get Addison to unlearn the most powerful word in the English language. No amount of yeses, yeahs, or yays would deter Sunny from her new found power. And trust, it is power.

Our picky eater can now tell us exactly how she feels about every god-forsaken morsel of food we dare put near her lips. WHY ARE YOU POISONING ME PEOPLE?! Give me the Cheerios! HAND OVER THE CHEERIOS OR I SHAKE MY HEAD UNTIL IT FALLS OFF!

Sunny gets particularly annoyed with Ursa when she tries to invade Addison’s personal space and lick up the stray carrots, yogurt, squash, any vegetable of the green variety, that has been sprayed violently out of her mouth in revolt. She now grasps Ursa’s snout and pushes away while shaking that head and looking ironically reminiscent of a wet dog – long baby hair flying back and forth for extra emphasis.

I can already picture her, age 15, flipping that hair in comparable abhorrence when her parents are being SO UNCOOL! And we DON’T UNDERSTAND HER AT ALL!

On that note, I made James watch Sixteen Candles with me last night, because, A. Brilliant movie and B. Proper education for a parent who will one day father a 16-year old girl himself.

In the scene where Sam weeps in the hallway at the high school dance because she has been SO EMBARRASSED by the nerdy kid dancing with her in front of her crush, James looks at me, totally perplexed, and is all, WTF? Why is she crying?

<deepdramaticonedayyouwillunderstandsigh>

Oh baby, you just wait…. just wait.

T-Shirt Bag

Introducing the T-shirt bag! Pick out a T-shirt that you no longer wear on your person, but you have been hoarding in your closet (and you aren’t ashamed to bring to the market). Tee up all the groceries you want, it’s in the bag!

Materials:
T-shirt
Scissors
Large bowl
Pen (for tracing)
Needle and thread

Directions:
1. Lay out the T-shirt flat and cut off the sleeves along the curved seams.
2. Place large bowl at neckline of shirt and trace a semicircle. Cut along this line to create the opening for the bag.
3. Turn T-shirt inside out and sew the bottom hem closed.
4. Turn right side out and ENJOY!

Photos: Courtesy of Ashley Weeks Cart

First I’m dumb and 18, then I’m sentimental and 26. Bear with me.

Cycles. I can’t stop thinking about cycles.

I’m transported back to my freshmen year of college. A time that I can only define as, well, DUMB. Gloriously, wonderfully, naively, stupidly dumb. Such is the life of a college freshman. A time when I thought it perfectly acceptable to roll around public spaces in full on sweat suits, with absolutely no athletic intentions. A time when consuming a block of cream cheese and a box of wheat thins at 2 o’clock in the morning was just an amuse bouche to my later 3 am feeding of nachos, or calzones, or bagel supremes (bacon, egg, cheese all on a toasty bagel) or hey, how about an entire large Papa Gino’s pizza. HELLO Freshman 15! (and by 15, I mean 40). A time when the days of the week were defined by drinking acronyms (Wet Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Sloppy Sunday (please note this doesn’t even include the weekends wherein my soul interest lay in mapping out the campus party-route and engaging in a riveting game of 7-11-doubles with some bottles of sweet sweet Arbor Mist (wine that costs approximately $2 and is literally as sweet as fruit juice))) You get the idea. I was clearly pretty awesome. And by awesome, I mean fat and drunk off cheap wine and greasy eats all the while dressed like a hobo.

That kind of awesome.

This was also a time when it was completely appropriate to share note-taking responsibilities in an Abnormal Psychology course with my two biffles – thus relieving each other of GASP! the bi-weekly duty of, ya know, actually paying attention in the $5,000 class our parents were paying for us to so diligently attend. It was due to this mutual agreement and sharing of academic responsibilities that we decided that it was best if all of our notes were held in one, as in singular, as in UNO notebook – and come exam time we would just rotate the use of said notebook to study accordingly. Come spring, I was on the first rotation with the ONLY book of notes for which one needed to study for the final exam, and during possession of this resource, I took a jaunt home three hours away for a family wedding. I decided to bring the notebook with me, because obviously that meant I would study. Or at least I might learn something by osmosis; just by having it close to my person I would absorb some of the contents inside without ever cracking a page. I returned from the trip, notebook unopened, and promptly went to bed to sleep off my wedding hangover and recharge the batteries in prep for exam time. The next morning, I went to retrieve the notebook in order to power study since my rotation was nearly up and I needed to hand off the notes to my fellow-slacker that evening. I very quickly realized that I had left the notebook, the ONLY notebook, sitting on my desk – at home – as in a 3 hour drive from my current location.

Like I said, dumb.

I called my father, hysterical – because obviously he was going to MAKE THE BAD MAN GO AWAY! I blubbered and stammered and inaudibly explained that I was in fact a stupid moron and all he said was, Go back to bed. I’ll see you in three hours. <click>

Lo and behold, three hours later, my father arrived at my entry doorstep like a knight in shining armor, notebook strapped to his chest like fucking Excaliber. It was like a scene out of romantic drama, except the dude was my dad and he was holding pages of paper rather than a bouquet of roses or a sparkling diamond.

Freud would have a field day with this shit, huh?

He handed over the notebook, kissed me on my head, and said, It’s nice to still feel like you need me every once and awhile, hopped back in the car and drove three hours back to Cambridge in time for an afternoon meeting.

My father? He. Is. The. Shit.

That, my friends, is a lesson on how to win your daughter’s favor. For eternity. Some might call it enabling. I call it fucking brilliant. He now has permanent leverage.

Oh, you can’t make the trip for Thanksgiving with the family this year? *coughsixhourroundtripFORAFUCKINGNOTEBOOKcough* Yeah, so, do you want to be in charge of the sweet potatoes or mashed?

Except my father never lords this over my head, because as I mentioned, he is the shit. This is a man that drove to New York City with a car full of lumber to build me a lofted bed on a fifth story WALK UP apartment in Harlem so that I could live with my hetero-life mate for six weeks one summer. A man who flew across the country to help execute the dream nursery complete with wallpaper scrapping, chair molding installation, and painting of cow spots all in one weekend. And then a man, who despite a pulled hamstring, loaded up an entire moving van full of furniture with my husband last weekend, drove across the state, and then unloaded each item in a mere 24-hour period.

And that’s not to mention that my mother is equally as dedicated and doting. A woman who bequeathed whatever furniture, rugs, paintings, etc. I desired for my new big girl home. A woman who has decorated and arranged every home I’ve lived in since graduating (that would be now FIVE spaces). A woman who has single handedly outfitted my child – for life – with the most beautiful and stylish of clothing, blankets, bibs, toys, dolls, shoes, books, etc. There are maybe 20 items in her entire nursery that I can claim came from someone other than my mother. The woman, she is serious about grandmother-hood. A woman who has fought like a mama-badger anytime she felt one of her babes was wronged or hurt by another party, empowering and encouraging and reminding each of us that WE ARE SPECIAL, damnit.

My parents are the kind of people who have time and time again put their children before themselves. When I wanted to go on a school-field trip or visit friends in Costa Rica or Greece or Australia or Sweden or France – they sacrificed their own vacation time to allot finances for my adventures. Parents that, to this day, rearrange their schedules for airport pick-ups, or life transitions, or babysitting demands, or medical needs, all just to make my life, their daughter’s life, easier.

As they continue to provide that level of support, flexibility, and altruistic impulse as I make this enormous life change, I can’t help but hope that I’ve inherited and learned this amazing ability through the experience of its benefits. Maybe that whole osmosis theory will hold up and I’ll be able to offer a comparable level of unconditional, selfish love to Addison. Not sacrifice, that is not the appropriate word, for as my mother has explained, she lives vicariously through our happiness, just as I already feel that deep, inextricable need to ensure Sunny’s joy and fulfillment before my own.

So these lessons, these cycles, have all been made clear as we move 165 (ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FIVE) boxes into our new home. It would not be possible without my parents’ support (now here for their second weekend in a row diligently hanging curtains, arranging clothes, throwing away boxes, cooking meals, babysitting Sunny so we can go watch our friends in concert, and providing the emotional support needed to get unpacked and settled). And next weekend they’ll make the trip yet again to babysit fulltime so that we can go celebrate our dearest friends’ engagement in Washington, DC. I can only imagine the decorating bonanza my mother will have in my absence.

I’m reminded, yet again, of why we made this move.

And I can’t help but mention that today we put to use the rain shield for the stroller – for the first time ever – because we had to…

… and I didn’t even mind.