Thursday, August 11, 2011

The cutest Biter!!

Senia Mae’s new cute “thing” is scurrying around the house picking up random shoes and carrying them throughout our home spouting “shoes” in the most delicate, sweet angelic voice you ever heard. As the words come out of her mouth her pitch raises into a slight question, “shoes?”, although she is well aware that she is indeed correct. She gets a marvelous reaction out of us, enthralled with the fact that she is becoming a little person, steeping her with oohs and aahs commenting about how smart she is. This is, of course, why she continues to repeat this adorable behavior. Everybody likes a good positive reaction, right?

In the meantime Senia Mae is still cutting teeth. We’ll go through six months of no tooth activity and then suddenly they all want to fiercely appear all at once. This week three incisors are bursting through her tender, swollen gums, causing almost constant discomfort for the poor little tyke. Yesterday we were being cuddly on the couch, enjoying each other after I came home from work. As I laid my cheek on her soft, snuggly face I got caught up in the moment, relishing in the feeling of absolute lovingness that I know is only available to me for a limited time, since independence marches in so quickly and steals those moments away. My heart was filled with that exuberant, abundant love that you can only feel for your child as I suddenly became aware of an intense, sharp, shooting pain in my left breast. I let out a high pitched, tremendously painful scream, realizing that in her own excitement, she bit me! I responded with an exaggerated pout and pretend onset of tears, scolding her with “Oww, you hurt Mommy”, as I caressed the wounded area of my body.

You could see her mind racing frantically, trying to accurately deal with the emotion that followed her realization that she indeed hurt her mother. There may have been some feeling of remorse or possibly even regret, but I will never positively know, because her ingenious little mind redirected, deciding to go with the option works every time, what we call laying on the cute. She looked up at me with those sweet, tender eyes, grabbing something off of the floor and placing it at my eye level as her eyebrows rose in question as the word “Shoes?” slowly crossed her lips! At that moment my eyes almost popped out of my head as I tried to contain my laughter so that she would really understand the consequences of her actions. In reality, she is so much smarter than we give her credit for. We are the ones who are really in for it!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In that moment I had a deeper understanding of what was meant when it was said that life is ever changing. Nothing alive stays the same, it is impossible because there is a beginning, middle, and an end. Weaving throughout those stages we grow and thrive, learn and surrender, teach and praise, and eventually shrivel and waste away, completing the cycle so that it can be passed on to future generations. We are taken care of and then become the care taker, returning the favor with love and admiration, as we accept our limitations and move forward in faith, knowing that our path has been presented. Holding on forever doesn’t necessarily mean you love more and coming to terms with letting go doesn’t mean that your love was or is any less. It just is. Love is love in any stage of the cycle. Change is merely inevitable.

The Significance of Having Curly Hair, page 213

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guess Who's Coming To the Reuinion???


We had a fantastic family reunion over the fourth of July weekend. Kim's father's side of the family gathered at the Lake Lanier, between our home and Uncle Terry's, from almost every corner of the country. Some folks hadn't been seen in ten years, some folks just found the family on Facebook after almost a lifetime of searching, some came distances without their daddy, some came distances to reconnect with their daddy and meet their cousins, and some decided to let bygones be bygones, loving us all anyway!

The truth of the matter is that family creates connections that cannot be found elsewhere. When everyone makes an effort to get together, it brings forth memories that last a lifetime, and also making life MATTER.

We all gathered for a the most spectacular fireworks display, Sparks at the Park, in Dawsonville, then on Sunday night met up for a complete family reunion at the Mellow Mushroom's upstairs function hall. Terry and Vicki made a very special effort by dragging out the old photo albums and making place settings with age old, some forgotten photographs of all who attended. It was loads of fun travelling around the enormous table, viewing each other's cards while learning little tidbits about each other we may never have known.

A piece of paper was laid at each person's seat, intended for writing an unknown and anonymous fact about yourself to be read aloud later. We would have to guess who each fact belonged to. The fun began and comments were made, faces got red, people laughed, and smiles got wider. I didn't realize that Kim had submitted one for the newest and youngest member of the family, Senia Mae, and was totally surprised when Terry read aloud, "Right before I came here I escaped from the tub naked, streaked through the house, peed on the floor, and then slipped in it!"

The crowd exploded with laughter as we each looked at each other secretly questioning, "Was that you?" suddenly realizing that it had to be Senia Mae! We were probably all secret streakers, but of course none of us would slip in our own mess!

As the night wound down, the last digital images were taken, making this event a visibly permanent part of family history. The vast, motley crew gave hugs goodbye, well wishes, and better promises to keep in touch. I couldn't help but think of the song "Merry Christmas From the Family" by David Earl Keene. If you have never heard it look up the lyrics on Google. Everyone who has a family can relate to at least one of the crazy lyrics such as, "Hallelujah, everybody say cheese, Merry Christmas from the Family". Merry Christmas, Happy Fourth of July, ...whatever it is your celebrating, have a great one.... and we'll see ya' next time!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

As we live the life of ease...


It was pouring down rain when we left the party last night. Kim, Senia Mae, and I had to scramble, trying to keep as dry as possible while getting into the car. We were all loaded up, strapped in, belts on, cargo in place, I turn and look at Kim asking, "You've got the keys, right?" For the record, this is an almost daily conversation we have that continuously follows the same endless pattern of forgetfulness.

"No. You had the keys. Remember they were in your pocket?" Kim replied slightly annoyed that we were having this conversation again.

"Yeah. You grabbed them out of my pocket as we were crossing the street. I loaded Senia Mae in the back and you packed up the bags." I said with complete certainty.

So there we sat, belted up in the car for a couple of minutes, going back and forth over who should have the keys as it continuously rained outside. Obviously someone must have had them we were IN the car. Sitting there dumbfounded, the car suddenly locked itself then unlocked, locked then unlocked, beeped, beeped, locked, and just as it was about to autostart, we both realized exactly who had the keys....Senia Mae! She must have grabbed them as I was strapping her in...oops!

Laughing at our craziness, we headed north out of the city. There was a time when we listened to the original White Album from the Beatles...now replaced by Disney Kids Sing the Beatles....which, when you sit down and think about it, is also a little crazy realizing how life suddenly turns around.

Senia Mae has a fit over "Yellow Submarine" and as we listened to it for the seventeenth time in a row I thought, the lyrics are actually create a pretty good mantra. "As we live...the life of ease...every one of us...has all we need...skies of blue...and sea of green...in a yellow....submarine..." And on life goes!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are you there Gram? It's me, Kara!

There are some days I really wonder if my mother's craziness may actually be true. She is almost absolutely certain that Senia Mae is in fact a reincarnation of my grandmother which, on most days, I think is utter insanity. I usually follow the school of thought that agrees "What harm can it do?" letting her believe what she will and simply moving on with my life. What occurred the other day may indeed be blowing my whole theory out of the water.

Months ago my mother was cleaning out some of Gram's belongings, in an attempt to get ready for the "big move" to Georgia. What actually occurs during this process is that she makes piles of Gram's stuff for myself and my sister, so that she doesn't have deal with it all herself. This particular time my pile contained a retro, burnt avocado colored ironing board cover splattered with large bright flowers indicative of that era. It was still sealed in it's original packaging with the intact price tag of $1.69. When I came across the package I questioned my mother about it, her reply was simply "Well your house is fifties style...I thought it would go nicely!" What this really meant was.."Now you have the guilt if you decide to throw it away", which, of course, I didn't have the heart to, so it got tossed aside in my closet.

Senia Mae seems to be very obsessed with the closet itself and anything inside of it's heavenly doors. Now that she is walking she has almost full access to anything she wants as long as I am not looking. The other day she poked her head out of the closet gripping something tightly in her chubby, little hand. As she waddled over she held her hand up showing me the old ironing board cover and her expression was unmistakable, almost as if she was saying to me "Now why would you want to hide this in the closet...I've been holding onto this for years!" I sat there absolutely stunned, as if Gram herself was speaking to me, and thought...could Mom actually be right? :)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Are my thumbs large or are these letters just really small?

I can hardly stop laughing long enough to write this.

My friend Amy is just learning how to text. We had been chatting on the phone earlier this morning about a particularly stubborn situation and ended it with "We'll continue later".

Completely forgetting about our earlier conversation, I sent her a very darling picture mail of Senia Mae sitting on the porch. Her response was "Just called hoecake and said come now." I read this statement with a puzzled expression, desperately trying to figure out who hoecake may be and why it was such an emergency.

Come to find out Amy is just learning to text and her thumbs hit the letters NEXT to the ones she had originally intended...thus the name Jorgene resulting in HOECAKE. I was on the floor laughing, hardly able to take a breath.

I mean really....I'm married with children....wouldn't we all want to be a Hoecake once again....if only for a day or two??? :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grammy on the Go


In the age of technology, living far away doesn't mean that you can't be involved with the ins and outs of daily life. We have found this out lately when we are talking to our parents on the phone.

Because we have been using Skype, Senia Mae is used to being able to see them as well as hear them. Yesterday I was talking to my mom on the phone while we were outside playing on the deck. Senia Mae had a fit when she grabbed the phone and only saw a still shot of Grammy. This was completely unacceptable and we had to pull the laptop outside to solve the incompatability problem. Of course, Grammy loved this.

Today in my office, Senia Mae was a little bit crabby, for she chooses not to nap during work hours. You know how it is...too much going on. Sometimes it is difficult to work on patients when she is whining and clawing at my leg and just as I was about to give in I thought of a fantastic idea.

I pulled out the laptop and connected with Grammy on Skype while Senia Mae relaxed in her stroller. I set up the computer so they could see each other and Grammy started singing the age old bedtime hit "Way down upon a Suwannee River". I don't know why I hadn't thought of it weeks ago...it was a total win win situation...and Grammy only had to sing for about twenty minutes and the little one was a gonner!

If anyone else is in need of a Grammy on the go...I'm sure she wouldn't mind me handing out her number!!!! Thanks, Grammy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

That CAN"T be MY kid!!

Senia Mae is at the stage of almost talking. Because she is a girl, and girls supposedly are more verbal at an early age, the sound escaping her lips is expansive jibberish in high and low tones, ok more high than low, that ends up becoming complete conversations with herself or incomprehensive, frustrated conversations with us. Most of the time I find it absolutely hilarious, until today when I frantically searched for the mute button on the child as I stood in the grocery isle, contemplating how to stop up the foghorn better know as my daughter, whose pitch was about to break the glass on the store shelves.

Let me regress. It had been an off day, we were aware that she was not completely herself, and a certain level of crankiness was semi-present, but of tolerable adequacy. The downward spiral began in the car when cookie monster's hard plastic eye bumped into her face as I tossed it playfully at her. Her look said "How could you do this to me?" as her jaw quivered in the calm before the eruptive storm of tears that followed a split second later. Anyone who has been around young children knows this routine, the magnitude is such that the tears take a moment or two to actually rise to the surface. I stifled my laughter as I drowned her with my sincerest apologies, knowing that her reaction was mostly dramatics and tiredness.

After a full day of half finished tasks and what seemed like driving around in circles, Kim and I decided that we needed some "Cheese therapy" and headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant. The outside seating seemed appropriate for our piping little fledgling, since the patio was empty. We thought we could get in and out virtually unscathed, until the group of twelve baseball kids arrived at the table across from us.

Our little one could not fathom why all of those kids were not stumbling all over her with affections and she was going to let them know it! She was letting them have it, waving her hands while spouting her thoughts, as they sat with their backs to her digging into their individual bowls of cheese dip. Finally one of the mothers laughed, observing her emotional display, asking the children to turn around and acknowledge the little girl across the way who desperately wanted to be part of the team. They all cooed and smiled, waving at Senia Mae, as she soaked up every last morsel of juvenile attention available.

Eventually we broke away from the excitement of the restaurant, deciding to walk over to the neighboring grocery store to pick up a few items. As we entered the baby needs aisle, Kim mentioned that she needed to visit the restroom and would be back in a moment. During that time Senia Mae and I could breeze down the aisle, grab what we needed and be ready to go when Kim got back.

Well this was a new store and there many new options including organics, some with essential oils as well as zinc oxide, a few brands from California which had to be superior because they are just so aware on that side of the country....needless to say I was not as decisive as I could have been and Senia Mae started letting me have it. At first I appeased her by lettting her hold the Burt's Bee's box. That lasted for a total of three seconds as she dropped it, flailing her arms and talking loudly in angry jibberish, enjoying the loud echo that followed her squeals. I tried to hush her as another mother walked by holding her toddler's hand, thankful that her's was much better behaved in a public place, as I thought to myself, "What is taking Kim so long?".

We paced the aisle a few more times, grabbing a few toys as we went, my brain completely denying my obvious embarassment as I read ingredient labels, determined to purchase only the best for my firstborn. After what seemed like fifteen minutes of trying to contain an erupting verbal volcano strapped to the front of my body while repeatedly scanning a very small, specific section of the baby aisle, Kim finally returned from what seemed like the other side of the earth. I looked at her in desperation.

"While we are here do you want to pick out a few Mother's Day cards?", she happily asked. I was ready to toss over the kid and hide somewhere in a close by trashbarrel. No, this was not a not a good time to skim over the greeting cards for that perfect little something. Senia Mae's outburst had three mothers leaving the aisle talking under their breath. I was frazzled and somewhat mortified, she was usually an exemplary example of good behavior.

After you've been together a while words aren't as necessary to get your point across. Obviously my expression said that I was ready to get the heck out of the store as we quickly headed to the checkout.

Once we got back in the car and drowned out Senia Mae's noises with Justin Bieber, I asked Kim what took her so long. She explained that she had to use the restroom, but it was one of those times that you had to be completely relaxed. The task was hard to accomplish with the sound of that kid's scream resonating all the way behind the closed door of the restroom. "It almost sounded like Senia Mae" she commented. "It was Senia Mae. That's why I was so embarrassed! There was nothing I could do to get her to stop screaming. As you were in there dealing with yourself I examined every ingredient in ALL of the butt pastes. Sounds like you could have used some!"

"That's why you were apologizing to the checkout lady", Kim commented with a smile. We drove home in complete hysterics, knowing full well that this episode was just the very beginning of what awaits us during the crazy journey of life called parenthood!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Change is happening... as I see her walking away


This past week the world's oldest man died at the noble age of one hundred and fourteen. During a press conference a few months back he was asked the secret of his longevity. He replied frankly "Being able to accept change." They were wise words from someone who had endured over a century of tremendous industrial, technical, civil, and personal change, taking each step with stride while accepting life's cyclical pattern of continual evolution, renewal, and recycling.

With that being the case, I realize the emotional struggle I am inevitably going to wrestle over the next eighteen years. I am generally very open to change after I have a few months to marinate my feelings on the subject. There is no time to follow this schedule with children, for they change quicker than the blink of an eye, and if you are not paying attention, you may even miss it.

Senia Mae started walking last week. We had been busy, immersed in our own pastimes while she scooted around on the floor, as an innate voice told us to pay more attention to her. After sitting on the floor for a moment, I noticed a very different confidence in her gait, quickly deciding to get the video camera in case this was the moment we had all been waiting for.

As soon as I turned on the camera, as if she knew this moment should be caught on film, Senia Mae went from a squat to a stand and walked all the way into the living room, like there was absolutely nothing to it. We hollered, clapped, and roared with delight as she trotted around the house with pride, completely enjoying the praise. I can honestly say that two minute time slot was one of the proudest moments of my life. My heart was so full, brimming with emotions so much more than love alone, I wanted to shout the exciting news from the rooftop, so that everyone could share the joy of this baby turning into a toddler. It was then that I realized that there was no turning back from this point, the days of holding onto my baby were over.

Although this week has been truly amazing, for it is absolutely awesome watching her blossom into her own little person, proud as a peacock as she struts around showing off her new found freedom, the feeling itself is bittersweet. There is some sadness surrounding the finality of her no longer being completely dependent on me. It is difficult to put into words, but there is a certain primal energy that miraculously appears with the birth of a child, fragments of your heart, soul, and infrastructure that you were completely unaware even existed. A sense of completeness permeated my being, knowing that her complete survival was dependent on my thoughts, actions, and nurturing ability.

Of course she still needs me, but its intensity is changing, which, I must admit, is equally as cool. This morning as the three of us snuggled under the covers, I held onto her a little closer, savoring the blessings in my life. For even though she's catapulted herself gracefully into toddler hood, she's always going to be my baby.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What things go together!


My nephew, Austin, is at the tender age of three and a half; a time in his life when he is intuitively figuring out what things go together: peanut butter and jelly, toothbrush and toothpaste, mommy and daddy, cereal and milk, Aunt Kara and Aunt Kim.

While he was visiting our home last month, we noticed something very strange involving how the photos and magnets were arranged on the front of the refrigerator. There has always been a photograph of Kim posing with her brother Joey at the family reunion a few years ago. Austin has never met him because he is on the other side of the family. Apparently when he saw a picture of Aunt Kim with a man...he knew the match was NOT right...Aunt Kim goes with Aunt Kara. His solution was to stick a magnet over Joey's side of the picture.

At first we thought it was just random and removed the magnet, but it happened three or four more times! We laughed and laughed when we realized what he was doing...he was protecting our relationship! Aunt Kim goes with Aunt Kara..that's right Austin! All of my fears about how to explain situations to kids went completely out the window...he gets it...it's the adults that have the issues with it! What a hoot!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I'm finding that my own wisdom IS BabyWise


One of the most significant parenting lessons I have learned surrounds the age old saying "Fake it until you make it". I have found that method to be successful in all areas of life. Parenting takes up a lot of your time, seriously, I wonder why we weren't yachting through Europe for the last five years, for we had all of the time and money in the world (compared to now at least LOL)! But alas, LIFE happens while you are trying to catch up and get it together, hence the statement of faking it.

I have joined this fantastic Mom's group in my town. The group has get togethers a few times a month and includes busy, working Moms that also want to have socially integrated, balanced, happy children. Perfect. When I found out the details it worked for me because I didn't really have time for coffee and gossip, but still wanted to make time to ensure that my child is thriving, as well as being able to pick other brains about specific parenting issues.

We met Thursday morning at a petting zoo and all of the kids were thrilled, running around with brushes petting the sheep, ponies, donkeys, and random chickens that blazed through the barnyard. Senia Mae is not actually walking yet, so I had her in the front facing Snugli carrier, which happens to be her favorite place close to me, so it almost guarantees that she will just chill out, having a good time without any extra ruckus.

After a hayride, we got dropped off at picnic tables for a quick lunch. Unfortunately there were some very hungry chickens that jumped on the table, plucking a succulent piece of sandwich out of a particularly sensitive toddler's hands, resulting in a complete meltdown. Her mom soothed her, but to no avail; she was upset and was not going to rest until those chickens got theirs.

The chaos died down eventually, after the farmer supplied us with some squirt bottles to swat away the aggressive chickens, but you could tell this mom was still a little embarrassed at her child's over-reaction to a what should have been a fairly mild situation. By this time I had Senia Mae standing on the grass, holding on to the front of her stroller, playing with the straps. She was giggling away and appeared to be in hog's heaven. You know, whatever works, if the kid is happy I'm going to let her be.

The mom came up to me commenting on how "well adjusted" Senia Mae appears to be, asking if I follow the suggestions of the book BabyWise. I let out a deep laugh stating that I would love to follow that protocol and am hoping the information is being transferred via osmosis, for all of my best parenting books have been left to collect dust on the dresser, sitting there ready for whenever I have a spare moment to learn a few "tools of the trade"!

I did and still do have the best intentions, being able to accept the fact that my parenting skills are mostly coming from instinct and what I feel is right. I don't know if I just have a great kid, or she just has very cool parents, or maybe she's just too young to have got to the troublesome age yet...but for now things are going fine....naturally. Of course a chiropractor's kid is going to be WELL adjusted...it's just what we do!

Friday, April 8, 2011

THEY were right - it IS different when it's your own kid!

Anyone who really knows me is acutely aware that I am the biggest vomit phobe on the planet, so extremely phobic that most of my life I wouldn't have even considered getting pregnant due to the remote possibility that it might be accompanied by morning sickness. Crazy, yes, I know. I never said that I don't have issues.

There is a certain critical parental role that has played over and over in my head, like a lost Brady Bunch re-run, because the time would eventually come, leaving me to wonder if I was going to be able to pull through during my child's moment of need. Would I be able to see beyond the barf and actually be a supportive, nurturing parent or would I flee the scene praying that everything would turn out o.k?

They always say, "Don't worry....it's different when it's your kid." I never believed them, thinking of how I would explain my lack of compassion when Senia Mae was old enough to confront me about it, for in the back of my mind I really did not know if I would pass that unbelievable test of strength. Well today was the day.

We were driving around a curvy road and the car slowly began to smell of gastric juices. Thinking nothing of it I kept driving until I heard these strange gurgling sounds followed by the most pitiful, scared cries I have ever heard. I immediately KNEW what was going on. I had imagined that my reaction in this situation would be complete panic followed by meltdown (me, not the kid)in which during time the child would get lost somewhere on the side of the road. I know, awful parenting. Well that is NOT what happened!!!!

I pulled the car over, got her out of her seat, changed her clothes, wiped her down while soothing her and everything was FINE. I made it, she made it. Yes, we were a little smelly, but I am a good parent!!! All of that worrying for nothing. When it's your own child your protective instinct kicks in and you don't even realize that you are delving in a pile of warm, juicy vomit! Like I said, I never claimed to NOT have issues!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Little Miracles


Spring has sprung in Georgia, which means dust, pollen, and allergens are blossoming in every crack and crevice available to any loose particle. It was quickly becoming a hectic morning...you know how it is...trying to get one last thing done before leaving for work. This particular morning we decided to wash the dust ruffle under the mattress to remove any unwanted "extras".

We both were hefting the massive pallet in an upright position toward the ceiling, grunting as we tried to avoid an accidental crash landing on the baby who thought the whole scene was absolutely fascinating. Her little angel's face said it all. "What's under there?" was the question her expression translated, even though she is still unable to actually speak in formulated words.

Just then Kim commented, "What is that wooden spoon doing between the mattresses?" I smiled remembering the old Italian wives tale that had said a wooden spoon under the mattress would make a little girl, I had secretly placed it there when we were trying to get pregnant and completely forgotten about it. Now our little girl was observing and enjoying our re-discovery of the "little miracle" that happened when we weren't even paying attention!

Who ever said don't believe everything you hear?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First birthday, first BLOWOUT!


Anyone who is not yet a parent probably does not completely understand the undertone of this particular title. I know I certainly could not have comprehended it's embarrassingly intense magnitude just a little over a year ago. Here's how it all went down.

We had just celebrated Senia Mae's first birthday with handfuls of our family and friends at our side. Hats, balloons, cake, and the color pink exploded everywhere - it was fantastic - and Senia Mae had a ball being handed off to all of her adoring fans. We got so caught up in the moment that we forgot to take a cousins photo with my sister's two boys.

This morning we rose, ate breakfast, and got re-dressed for the un-birthday photo. Senia Mae was looking like a doll in her new denim miniskirt, silver metallic leggings, and long sleeved rock n' roll pullover, topped with ringlet pigtails. The family gathered in the living room while Momma worked with the tripod, setting up the angle, dimensions, and lighting perfectly.

We all took our places, squeezing in closely as Momma set the red blinking light, hurriedly running to her place at the rear of the family lineup. That's when my Mom heard the sound. "I heard like a rumble" she said, "but thought nothing of it." Famous last words. The first photo needed to be retaken due to a conflict of poses.

During the quick break I instructed my mother to readjust her positioning of Senia Mae, requesting that she face her forward in order to show off her adorable ensemble. I reached behind my daughter, helping my mother rotate her on her forearm. My hand plunged into something warm, soft, and fluffy. Pulling my hand back quickly I stared at my fingers, covered with this yellow-brown substance, in shock, confused about just how one of the cats could have thrown up all down Senia Mae's back without any of us knowing. After another few moments, with laughter shaking the walls of the living room, I realized that no cat had thrown up on my daughter, she had just given us her first blowout, meaning the explosion is so intense that it blows right out of the diaper, and this warm, fluffy substance all over my hands was indeed POOP! It had come up the back of her diaper, all over my hand, all over my mother's red sweater, up the back of her shirt, and was currently dripping down my mom's elbow. That perfect, petite little package of cuteness secretly exploded with a silent "rumble" and looked away as the damage was uncovered. Here's how the photo ended up. Enjoy!