Motherly Dichotomies

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I’ve spent some of tonight scrolling through some of my 2009 blog posts – when Libbie was my only child, just a baby, and I was a full-time working mom (and for a fall, a single mom while Mr. V was teaching in Chattanooga). It’s funny to me now how HARD I thought it was to have one baby who was in daycare. But when you’re there … it is hard. 

I can see Joshua, my third, pushing out of the baby stage now. And it’s hard! Still!

Thought you might enjoy this “rerun” from September 2009.

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For some reason I’m having a hard time dealing with the fact that Libbie’s outgrown her 9-month clothes–and she’s 10 1/2 months!

I guess it’s the perpetual motherhood thing. Every time she gets bigger or does something new, it’s exciting. But it hurts a little. It will never be her first laugh, first smile, first solids ever again.

Perhaps this sudden realization on top of the fact that we’re now really weaned (as of yesterday) has just been too much.

I’m sure you understand if you have kids. You want them to grow, of course! But you miss the sweetness of days past. The tiny baby who would sleep on your chest for hours, solely nourished herself on your milk, and you weren’t worry would start climbing your bookcase the moment you turned your back.

I try to pull her to me and she pushes away. Too curious, too anxious to move on to the next thing. She pulls up on the coffee table, little cloth-diapered booty shaking up and down as she tries to steady herself. She loves to dance.

Before my eyes, she is more and more of a little girl and less of a baby. Soon she’ll be eating more real foods, walking, and talking. And then we’ll have new things to look forward to: her first “I love you, Mommy.” First steps. First birthday.

All I can do is love the now. Every moment. I didn’t want to put her to bed tonight even though she was SO tired. She was actually cuddling and giggling as we played our favorite “Ooh! Mommy stole your paci!” game and she got raspberries on her tummy. Those tired eyes peered at me with love, enjoyment at just playing with her mommy. On her lap, a safe place.

The now, it is good. No matter what size clothes she wears.

your life your blog

15 Kids Books about Ballet

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15 Ballet Picture Books

I believed my daughter when she told me she wanted to take gymnastics instead of ballet. I don’t think I should have.

She is a ballerina.

Once she stopped ballet, her level of obsession with it only rose. She insisted on checking book after book about ballet out from the library. I am pretty sure we’ve read most of them now! Here are our favorites.

Our newest favorites are the Tallulah books by Marilyn Singer. Tallulah is adorable and realistic – she thinks she’s much older than she is, she thinks she’s an amazing ballerina, and she doesn’t understand why she can’t have a tutu RIGHTNOW. So, you know, a lot like Libbie. We’re all in love with Tallulah and Singer’s four books about her: Tallulah’s Tutu, Tallulah’s Toe Shoes, Tallulah’s Solo, and Tallulah’s Nutcracker.

Rachel Isadora has several beautiful ballet books, including Lili On Stage and On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC. There are three Lili books, but this one is Libbie’s favorite, because Lili is in a performance of The Nutcracker. The watercolor illustrations are dreamy, and Isadora really shows what it is like to be a child in a professional ballet performance. Isadora also wrote Bea at Ballet, which is better for your 2-to-4-year-old crowd of tiny dancers.

Brontorina just wants to be a ballerina. So what if she can’t fit in the studio? So what if she doesn’t have the right shoes? She WILL overcome and learn to dance! This one is good for giggles and a lesson in overcoming obstacles.

And for some more paleontological fun, read T. Rex at Swan Lake by Lisa Carrier. This T. Rex is tired of being examined by museum visitors and decides to visit the ballet … but can’t stop herself from getting on stage, donning a tutu, and dancing.

Miss Lina’s Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone is Madeline for ballet. Miss Lina’s eight ballerinas do everything in pairs, and everything goes topsy-turvy when number 9 is added to their school.

In Tanya and the Magic Wardrobe by Patricia Lee Gauch, Tanya, an impish little ballerina, is going to see Coppélia with her mother and sister. When they show up too early for the show, Tanya’s curiosity takes her back to the wardrobing room and she has an adventure before she even sees the ballet!

This is actually a series, but we’ve only read this one and Presenting Tanya, the Ugly Duckling.

Others worth a mention:

What books about ballet do you and your kids love?

I (Heart) Their Faces

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I found this post hanging out in my drafts folder Friday. I think I never published it because I wasn’t sure it was complete or I was afraid I might be chastised. Three plus years later … it’s interesting to reflect on.

Some days I still have trouble telling people I’m a stay-at-home mom. But as the years have gone by, I’ve realized it’s by far the greatest gift I’ve ever been given! For our family, it works out well.

Some days I fantasize about going back to work just so I can sit still without anyone climbing on me for a few hours. But truly, I love being with my little people and don’t have any desire to ever go back to a 40-hour workweek.

I wrote this January 3, 2011.

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From the beginning of 2010 to the end, this sweet little face has been my job, my every day.

One year ago today was my last day at my much-loved job in Nashville. While I don’t miss the hierarchy of working for a big company, the meetings, or the 7:30 a.m. start time, I do miss my coworkers and the ministry-work I did.

I still feel that loss of identity that comes with no longer working full-time some days. I introduce myself as a freelance writer and editor and almost never as a stay-at-home mom. Despite the fact that it is all I ever wanted to do, my entire life.

Fifteen days ago, I got to see another face for the first time.

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Oh, I love these precious faces of my babies.

In 2011, I hope they will continue to humble me to the point where I don’t care what people think when I say I stay at home.

This post inspired by I Heart Faces.

Five Minute Friday: Laundry

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October 10, 2009

 

I remember the moments sorting through trash bags of hand-me-downs on the floor of my first baby’s nursery, before she was even born.

I cradled each onesie and pair of pants in my hands, wondering what this tiny creature growing inside me would look like, smell like, feel like. How awe-inspiring that she would actually come out of my body, wear these tiny things.

I loved washing them, letting them fluff in the dryer, and even though I couldn’t use detergent with scent they still smelled clean, fresh, and full of promise. I teared up over sleepers, precious with pink flowers and white puppies. I accumulated more clothes than she could have worn and then gave it away by the bagful when she outgrew it.

Her clothes are so much bigger now. Socks with beads that click-clack, jean dresses, zebra stripes, so much pink. Disney princess tops she wears again and again and again. The one pair of jeans – no button, no zipper, no snap – that she will allow to grace her nonexistent hips.

She turns 5 next week. And I still want to zip her up in fleece pajamas and hold her in my lap. Tell her to stop sassing, stop fighting, stop being so very old and be my baby again. Let me smell your head, touch your cheek in wonder, and cry just a little over the wonder of a first child.

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See all kind of musings on laundry at Five Minute Friday this week. 

Be Our Guest: Libbie’s Beauty and the Beast 4th Birthday Party

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First, we’re just going to choose to ignore the fact that this party was over 9 months ago and I haven’t written about it yet. That’s what pregnancy and a baby will do to me. But when my pal Sara at Happy Brown House wrote about her son Asher’s 1st birthday almost a year later … I felt like I had permission to still post this!

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My invitations took entirely too much time, as I tried to “design” them myself. I used this picture of Libbie and Belle from our Disney trip in 2011. And they said something like “Be Our Guest at Libbie’s 4th Birthday Party” with all the pertinent information. (They also said it was optional to dress like your favorite prince or princess, which concerned my grandmother. She was worried I expected her to come in a ballgown. Snort.)

If I had to do it over again, I would just buy something cute off Etsy like this. My time and agony spent over something so ridiculous was not worth any money I saved by creating and printing them myself.

DECOR

 

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  • I made this board with pictures of Libbie’s fourth year. It is just a piece of white foam board with pink tulle glued to it. I used a sparkly letter L, some scrapbook princess pieces, and Beauty and the Beast characters cut out from a Disney brochure to decorate it. It says “Little Beauty” in scrapbooking stickers at the bottom.
  • We had yellow streamers hanging near the food.
  • I made a Lumiere out of egg cartons, cardboard tubes, and an old granola bar box. TRUST ME, I AM NOT CRAFTY ENOUGH FOR THIS. It took way too long and I promise I will never be that insane again.
  • My mom and I hacked something we saw on Etsy for the centerpiece. It’s a yellow bucket from Hobby Lobby filled with flower foam. We then made the dress and the mirror to go in it along with a fake rose. The dress and the mirror were taped on to skewers so they would stay in the foam.

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ACTIVITIES

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(This is Libbie’s friend Ethan with Tiffany from Stuff Parents Need and her daughter, Darah!)

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My cousin Brianne with David, the “pi-yate.”

  • As kids and parents entered, we showed them to the crown-making station. These were kits from Hobby Lobby. Even the boys liked making crowns.
  • (By the way, I had told the boy-moms that since Libbie’s birthday is so close to Halloween, the boys could just wear their Halloween costumes if they wanted to dress up! They were all Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Ha!)
  • I made homemade yellow playdough with glitter to play with on another table, along with Beauty and the Beast coloring pages and crayons.
  • We had a TV playing the movie (pretty quietly) for the duration of the party.
  • My sister dressed as Belle and read the kids stories from fairytale storybooks we have.

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(I had such a little baby bump! Hard to believe that baby is 5 months old now.)

FOOD

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I went for a French food theme. (Also, things I tried to make and gave up on: Cogsworth Cupcakes, Edible Teacups.) What I did make:

  • Vanilla cupcakes (these are the best!) with homemade buttercream and rose decorations
  • Tangy Baked Brie with French bread
  • fruit with dip and relish tray
  • assorted mini savory pastries (frozen and heated up), including mini quiches and spinach puffs
  • croissants with ham and cheese and condiments
  • coffee, juice boxes, and sodas (the party was at 10 a.m., so coffee was a necessity!)
  • I used a mixture of black and white (similar to these) and turquoise paper plates and napkins and plastic silverware.

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Our favor bags were filled with little playdoughs, candy, and other trinkets. My mom bought lollipop toppers from Etsy and then we forgot to put those suckers in the bags! Oops!

My mom cut out, colored, and decorated all of the dresses on these bags. She said she would never do this for anyone except Libbie!

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It was a fantastic party, but it was a LOT of work and I can’t see myself doing something quite so elaborate any time in the near future. In fact, Libbie tried to tell me this year her party was going to be in the same room with a different princess. I informed her that this year her party was going to be Mommy and Daddy at home with some cake. We don’t get big parties every year!

 

Slightly Frightening

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jessieandlibbie

 

When I posted this on Facebook, it appeared that I’m not the only person scared at how much Libbie and I look alike. It’s sort of crazy! Granted she’s stayed blonde much longer than I did … but otherwise, she’s my carbon copy.

Her vivid imagination is also reminiscent of my own as a child (and, well, I still have it!). I’m never quite sure if she’s telling me something that actually happened or something she’s made up in her head. Her pretend play is vivid and lovely.

(Also, I was bemused when yesterday in the span of five minutes she took her baby to the “nursing room” and pretended to breastfeed her, then put the baby in a “sling.” Not to mention the soothing words she said to the baby doll are awful similar to the things her momma says to Baby Joshua. Hello, are our kids watching us? YES.)

It’s unnerving to realize how similar Libbie is to me – in looks, personality, creativity. I will say she’s an extrovert, whereas I think I’ve always been introverted (or maybe that was just a product of moving to Virginia and being overweight? I don’t know.). It makes me even more determined to help her avoid the issues I’ve dealt with my whole life.

Do you have any “carbon copy” kiddos?