Monday, August 29, 2011

What We Learned: 10 Months

Ten!  That's a lot.  I remember turning ten years old and being thrilled by the idea that it wouldn't be much longer that I could confess my age with fingers.  Ten months seems almost as momentous when you're discussing the age of your firstborn.  He's been my outside baby as long as he was my inside baby.  He has opinions and preferences and thoughts.  He has favorite books and favorite foods.  It took ten months, but I feel like I know this kid.  I know those opinions and thoughts and favorites.  When he's crying I know it's because he is bored and not wet/hungry/tired.  When he's wiggly I know it's because he's tired.  I know what silliness will make him laugh and which acts of ridiculousness will be the equivalent of an "ohmompulease."

Bennett learned that a box of miscelaneous junk is the most fabulous toy ever.

We learned that as long as you seperate the dangerous junk from the safe junk, you have an hour or so to unpack. 

Bennett learned to sit still because scissors are shiny! and new! and verynearmyeyeballs.

We learned that babies don't appreciate going out to dinner to celebrate their very first haircut.

Bennett learned that crawling is for sissies. 

We learned to make excuses.

Bennett learned to use toys to reach and scoop to get what you want.

We learned that people don't buy this genius problem solver bit for a minute. 

Bennett learned to pull up in his crib.

We learned it's time to curb our cussing.

Bennett learned that shots don't hurt.

We learned our baby is a man of steal.

Bennett learned to sleep through the night.

We learned that talking about sleep never gets old.

Bennett learned it's more fun to wiggle, stand and take giant leaps.

We learned that taking monthly photos is becoming a challenge.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flashback Friday: What a Trip

Speaking of hippies...

Let me introduce my dear old friend Janelle.  Janelle and I were attached at the hip for several years.  By attached at the hip I don't mean we hung out at lunch and saw each other on the weekends every once in a while.  We were inseperable.  We had sleepovers nearly every weekend and hung after school a couple of days a week.  We ate together, shopped together, went to church together.  We collected barbies together and then dollhouses and then Blossom hats and Friends posters. 

It was only natural that we'd go trick or treating together.  Like any good couple, we had matching costumes.  Lucky for us, we didn't have to go very far to find them.  It makes me wonder if our mothers were inseperable too.  They both had the same trippy clothes stashed away for a rainy day and they just so happened to match. 

 Of course this was before the scandalous costume trend came along.  With Minnesota winter creaping up on us, we had to wear turtle necks and long johns under our outfits.  Slutty Ciderella and Slutty Kitty were a few years away yet.  I'm not so sure how well that would have gone with the Slutty Hippie outfit.

In the midst of all of our fun sized merriment, we ran down a steep hill to collect the goods.  Maybe it was the platform shoes, or maybe it was running in the dark on a sugar high, but Janelle took a major tumble down a hill and ripped her mother's vintage daisy pants.  We could hardly enjoy our haul worrying over what she might say when she learned her decades old pants didn't survive unscathed. Good thing chocolate can heal all wounds.  It takes a good friend to forgive me for laughing and an even better one to forgive me for retelling the story to the internet!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nashville Farmer's Market

I'm trying to introduce Rocky and Bennett to the real Nashville.  I want them to fall in love with the hills, the architecture, the restaurants, the symphony, the quirky culture and the people.  I want them to see beyond the Ryman, the Honky Tonks and Elvis.   And since I haven't cooked a meal since June, I figured where better to start than the Farmer's Market.  We're not locavores or even hippies, but we do like ourselves some maters.
That's a lot of 'maters.
And fancy heirloom 'maters.
Peanuts.  Lots and lots of peanuts.
And melons
Pinto beans, lima beans, black eyed beans. 
Sure, it was a good excuse to learn how to use my camera.  It was an even better excuse to put the boy in dem oeralls.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Flashback Friday: 4G

Way back in April, my grandmother finally got to meet little Bennett.  It meant so much to me that my grandmother finally got to meet the little baby we had all been praying for.  Grandma June had been such a big part of my life growing up, watching me when I got the chicken pox and my mom had to work. She came to Grandparents Day at my elementary school. She cheered me on at my dance recitals and at my graduation.  We were finally able to get the four generations together, and I'm so grateful we captured it on film, or uhh memory.
When I was a tender sweet young thing, I remember making annual trips to Minneota, Minnesota to meet the matriarch of our family, my great grandma Cora.  Grandma Cora had trouble seeing and at four years old, I thought it was so neat that she had hot pink nail polish on her stove and her thermostat.  I just found it unfortunate that she allowed polish on her appliances and not on my fingers.  Trips to Minneota also included spam sandwiches and visits to Aunt Agnes's for a new pair of homemade underwear. 
Now that we live a few hundred miles closer to our parents, Bennett will have two grandmas around for the school plays, football games and bouts of chicken pox.  Instead of meat in a can, he'll have memories of Richie Creme and cow calls.  And it's times like a birthday that remind me just how fast time flies and how in thirty years, it might be me holding a grandbaby.  The first twenty-nine flew, I know the next twenty-nine will be here in a flash.  I wonder what my legacy will be, bad shoes, turkey meatloaf or an online diary of nonsense?

A Week-and-Year Review

I had a pretty fabulous week.  You already heard about my drive, but you haven't seen the pictures.

Don't worry, the car was in park.
Jenni's for ice cream
Rocky gets bored and I get texts like this
I came home to streamers and balloons.  I am told it was Bennett's idea.
I had a great week, a great birthday and I have to say a pretty fabulous year.  My very biggest dreams came true this year.  I became a mom.  I have a beautiful son.  I got a great new job.  I moved to Nashville.  I get to be near my family again. 

Last night over dinner, Rocky and I discussed our before we turn thirty bucket list.  (I'm big into lists, donchaknow.)  I had a really hard time dreaming of things I haven't accomplished yet.  I've been to Paris.  Married a wonderful man.  Bought my first house.  Climbed a mountain.  Swam in the ocean.  Talked to God. 

Sure things aren't always rainbows and sunshine.  Houses could be cleaner.  Bank accounts could be bigger.  Jean sizes could be smaller.  Friends could be closer.  But today, I am happy, content and blessed.  Grateful.  And full of cheese.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baby Boy Done Got His Hairs Cut

Bennett's hair was starting to cover his ears and tickle his nose. My hair trimming skills leave a little something to be desired and his tendency to wiggle made me call in the professionals. He did great.  He sat so still and was the most patient I've ever seen him behave.  I was so proud of my hairy wiggle worm.

Maybe we should start calling him Big Boy Bennett and not Baby Boy Bennett?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Flashback Friday: Tennessee Waltz

We knew we would one day make our way make to Tennessee, come hell or high water.  I'm not sure it was the antebellum homes, the sweet tea or the seersucker, but I knew in my bones that Tennessee was where I belonged. 

Planning my wedding there was a no brainer.  We dragged my photographer and our wedding party around downtown Knoxville so that I could get a picture in front of the Tennessee Theatre.  We marched back and forth across traffic making sure we got a decent image.  Getting the money shot was more about creating an illusion than a romantic moment of meaning.  I suppose that's how I was able to take an iconic wedding portrait and ignore the bag of trash sitting on the curb. 

Well, I've been fantasizing about calling myself a Tennessean for years.  I've finally accomplished that feat and yet, I sit here dwelling on the trash bags and not the big picture.  I notice the traffic and the temperatures and the insects the size of my fist.  I don't take the time to notice the friendly people or the magnolia blossoms still going strong in mid-August.

However, I was able to leave house on time today and decided to take the side roads to work. I passed cows, rolling pastures, red barns and large estate homes. I started to wonder if I had gone way too far south, so I turned left, hoping I’d find my way to the office. The road twisted and turned through the hills, so steep my ears were even popping.  I turned the bend and saw the rising sun peak through the hills.  It was simply stunning. It certainly didn’t hurt that every song on the radio was fantastic too (Go download yourselves some Pistol Annie’s!).

Then, when I got to my desk I heard  a guitar playing from down the hall.  A teenager had parked himself in our lobby while his father was in a meeting.  This kid was good.  He played a little Johnny Cash and even Pachebel. 

Now this is why I moved to Tennessee!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

[Champagne] Bubble [Wrap]

A little over two years ago, Rocky and I purchased a bottle of champagne in Paris.  We asked the clerk to suggest a bottle that might peak in two to five years.  We were willing to splurge on a bottle of bubbly, going over our typical $10 price range.  You might as well spend a few Euros more when you're going to save it for a special occassion.  Two years, two months, and two days later, we finally arrived at our reason to celebrate.  We had moved into our first Nashville home.

At least I can say the champagne was worth the wait.  I just wish I could say the same for our move.  When we had originally fantasized about opening that bottle of champagne, Rocky would be recruited to a Tennessee firm and I'd get to take my time finding just the right position.  Ironically, it was my job that brought us back.  We would be moving into a restored Greek Revival, complete with white pillars and a rocking chair front porch.  Instead, we're being conservative and renting a 900 square foot townhouse (albeit in my dream neighborhood).   We'd have season tickets to a winning Vanderbilt football team.  I knew it was a fantasy, but sometimes reality is so hard to stomach.

The move didn't just break a few dreams; it broke a heck of a lot of dishware too.  At last count, we've lost a margarita glass, a champagne glass, two dessert bowls, two pasta bowls one bread plate and a dining room chair.  We haven't unpacked all of our precious wedding gifts and I don't intend to until we've settled into more permanent digs.  I'm a little scared of what I will find.  We sprung for a nicer bottle of bubbly, but I wish I had invested in a lot more bubble wrap.  Bubble wrap for my breakables and my reality. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Flashback Friday: Peace Out

You know when you are seven years old and you think you are so smart and so cool?  You parade around the house flashing peace signs because you're one part hippie, one part sweet seniorita in your flower girl shoes and your Easter hat.  You assume you are the cat's meow with bangs and dimples and your lace socks folded over.  Your dad tells you to say cheese, and just before he snaps the photo your sister sneaks around the corner.  She isn't cool enough to throw a peace sign at the camera.  She doesn't know to take fashion ues from a banana sticker.  Nope, she's wearing my hand-me-down dress and four year old jelly shoes.  Yet, she still steals the show.  I look like a fool and she's so sweet she gives me a toothache.

Twenty-something years later and she's doing it again.  Mary just has to smile at Bennett and he loses it.  Meanwhile, I'm doing Jim Carey imitations and dancing like a hyena to earn even a fake little giggle.  Like the kid thinks I deserve a break.  Mary spins the boy in a recliner, cackles.  Mary walks into the room and he grins.  Who knows what's going to happen when he's a big kid and he starts slipping him cookies before dinner.  We're all in trouble.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Treading Water

I feel like I’ve been running in place for the past month. Everything feels temporary and strained. Between odd hours at the office, my clothes in boxes, a baby who can’t sleep because he is outgrowing his playpen and a cold war fought over thermostats and ceiling fans, I am a bit overwhelmed. It certainly isn’t helping that the date for our move to temporary digs are in limbo thanks to popcorn ceilings and a renegade moving company.  I wasn't just running in place, I was treading water.

So with the bar exam behind us, we planned a relaxing weekend at the farm. I should have learned by now that plans are for fools. Three hours in the car is too long for Bennett these days. His need for a break turned our easy drive into four hours of prayer for naps. Saturday night he woke up every two hours and would only be consoled by middle of the night feedings. I missed most of church on Sunday because the only time he was silent and content was when the preacher handed him the microphone. On top of all that, I learned that my wedding dress didn’t make the trip to Tennessee without a few battle wounds.

When we were finally able to make it to the pool, Atticus reminded us all to lighten up. Rocky was playing with Bennett, making silly noises, splashing and kicking. I don’t think Atticus realized it was just a game and he started frantically whining from the sidelines. He couldn’t take it anymore. Even though he’d never been in the pool before, he jumped in to rescue his brother. Unfortunately, swimming is not a natural instinct for this yuppie mut. Atticus could paddle with his front paws, but couldn’t get his hind legs to do the same. I had to jump in and save him. Poor Atticus was just treading water too.