Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 in Retrospect

This year has been a year full of changes. The birth of my daughter brought on many changes in my schedule, my environment, and my mental and emotional strengths and states. The most profound change, however, has been a change in perspectives.

This past year zoomed by. The progression of time overflowed with milestones and firsts. We made it through birth, breastfeeding, a RSV-related hospital stay, shots, injuries, illnesses and sleep deprivation. The first breath, the first smile, the first giggle, the first kiss, the first crawling step - all were celebrated briefly before the next milestone overtook the last. Never before have I felt so much like I've been in constant motion.

When the year started, time seemed to move at a much slower pace. A week strolled lazily by, a month trickled away, and a year crept at a snail's pace. As the year progressed, the week went from strolling to a trot to an all-out run. A month's trickle became a full-force flood. A year's snail-pace revved up into a cheetah-sprint. The year passed by so quickly I feel I forgot to blink!

I've learned to appreciate the quiet, somewhat still moments when they happen. I take them as they come, allowing myself to just stop and enjoy the moment. No matter how many things are on my To Do list, I always stop for a hug, a snuggle, or a kiss. I tell my daughter and my husband how much I love them as often as I can. The dishes can wait a bit while I play with Tree Faerie. The laundry won't go anywhere while I take a moment to stop and hug DTTF.

The most important thing to me at the closing of the year is my family. My family comes before everything else. I have made it my goal in life to ensure my family knows how precious they are to me and how much I love them. They make me want to be a better person. These perspective changes have been wonderful for me. I feel stronger and more flexible. I have found peace and excitement, sometimes in the same moment. 2007 has been a wonderful year.

Have a Happy New Year! I hope this next year is more wonderful than the last!

Friday, December 28, 2007


While I was out yesterday with a sick child, which I'll elaborate on later, I got BLING! Heather over at Confessions of a Coal Miner's Granddaughter awarded me with the following:

Aw! A treasure! She thinks my blog is a treasure! This really made my day yesterday. She said she was proud of me for "announcing to the blogosphere that [I'm] Wiccan." Most of you don't know the internal struggle I went through over whether or not to talk about it here. My apprehensions came from IRL experiences where my relationships with certain people changed completely when they found out I was not Christian, even when I'd known the person for years! I was just a little scared. I was relieved, shocked, surprised, and comforted that so many of you still visit my little home on the interwebs. Thank you all so much. And thank you, Heather, for helping boost my confidence in confessing my faith.

Since Heather has already received this award, I won't award it back to her, but anyone who hasn't visited her yet ought to. She's witty, extremely brilliant, and somehow always finds a way to make me chuckle. I love her boldness and her snarky comments. In fact, I just proposed to her - or left her a comment asking that if we ever decide not to be straight, would she marry me? Of course, I just realized she'd have to meet my IRL BFF Manda, because I'd have to marry Manda, too. Neither of them currently live in TN, though... Why do my greatest friends all have to be so far away?

So, I must pass on this award. I am limiting myself to 5, because I could be here all day awarding you all for different reasons. Of course, limiting myself is terribly difficult, but here goes (in no particular order).

Three Boys and Me - Heather, your blog is definitely a treasure! Your anecdotes about being outnumbered by your boys are absolutely hilarious. Your sons are priceless, and your husband seems perfect for you. While I'm sure life isn't ALWAYS fun, fun seems to abound at your house.

Patti-O - Woman, you rock! You make me laugh often, occasionally you make me cry, yet you ALWAYS entertain me. I can hardly wait to read one of your novels (for those of you new to the Patti-O, she's written 3 - one she says will never be published, one that is currently being submitted to publishers, and one that she just finished the first edits).

Mom is in the Fishbowl - Annikke, while yes, your blog is definitely a treasure, I believe you yourself are a treasure. I love reading about your family and your life, and I appreciate the bond we share as WOHMs. There is so much more, though. I love your comments that you leave not only on my blog, but other people's blogs. Your kindness and compassion are obvious in your writing. If I ever make it out to Colorado, I'd love to meet you.

Mom's Happy Handful - Devan, you are certainly an amazing woman! Folks, this woman has 6 beautiful children, ranging in age from 18 to 8 months old! I am in awe of your ability to keep it all together! I love reading about your children and your experiences. The letters and posts written from your baby's perspective are absolutely darling - and believable!

Milk Breath and Margaritas - Amy, these are two of my favorite things, too! I love your writing style and your stories about you and your kids. Keep the posts coming, because I'm hooked!

There are so many more blogs that I treasure. In fact, check the blogroll on the left. As the title proclaims, all of those women rock. (And no, I'm not sexist, but I've been working on connecting with mommy friends and other strong women - something that's lacking IRL.)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gifts Galore

Yule and Christmas were both fabulous! There are tons of stories to tell, but I figured the gifts would be a great starter post, especially since some of you are chomping at the bit to know why I was so excited about the gifts I got for DTTF. Because there is a back story behind each one, let me break the gifts down in the order of their unveiling.

The Book

My dear husband is a huge fan of James Bond. He often boasts about his knowledge of the Bond movies and insider trivia. A couple of years ago we invited Deborah Lipp, the author of several Pagan books, to speak at Festival of Souls. While she was here we discovered she was publishing a book on the James Bond movies. The book was titled The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book. Of course DTTF was very interested in the book. Well, the book was released about the same time as the movie Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig, which was last November. We saw the movie in the theater, and though I had to get up several times to visit the bathroom due to a very active Tree Faerie kicking my bladder (I was almost 8 months pregnant), I LOVED the movie. Nothing more was said about the book until we were discussing ideas for birthday presents for DTTF.

When he mentioned the book, I loved the idea for a Yule present. I really wanted to have the book signed by the author, however contacting Deborah Lipp would be a big step for me because I was harboring a little bit of animosity over a comment she made to me. I have since come to better terms with the comment and know why I took offense to it, so I'll save the story behind that for another day (though I should also add that I don't BLAME her for my reaction to her statement - she's a brilliant woman). So I contacted her.

When he opened the box on Yule and saw that not only did he get the book but that it was personalized and signed by Deborah Lipp, he was ecstatic. He immediately started reading through it, occasionally laughing and reading passages aloud to me. The gift was perfect.

The Movie

In case you don't know by now, DTTF is a movie buff. One of his favorite movies is Bell, Book and Candle starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. It's one of the few movies he owns on VHS, and the copy he has was recorded off TV years ago. We've watched it a couple of times, though the tape is getting old and a little worn. I thought it might be time to replace it with a DVD copy.

When I placed the order on Amazon, I was given the offer to buy a print copy of the original play for only a few dollars more, so I did. His reaction, once again, was perfect when he opened the box Christmas morning to reveal not only the movie, but the play as well.

The Surprise

I received a sudden jolt of inspiration Thursday when flipping through a recent issue of Readers Digest. I saw this cartoon, which gave me the brilliant idea to give DTTF an air guitar for Christmas. Together we own six guitars, so I knew he didn't need another one. This was just for fun.

I called and found out that Yarbrough's Music store here in Memphis just happened to have a couple of guitar boxes for guitars they no longer had in the store, so I went to pick one up. While I was waiting on the kid to come back with the boxes, I perused the guitar straps. I knew DTTF wanted a guitar strap as well, but I wanted one that would fit his personality and was preferably leather. When the kid brought me the boxes, he helped me find the perfect strap - an Eddie Ball black and white with skulls and demons, which was perfect for DTTF.
When I got back to the office, I packed the box with packing material and the strap. I wrote the following poem, printed it, and taped it in place on the packing material:

Throughout the year
You tried to be nice
So I bought you an air guitar
For a really great price!

It never needs tuning
And you won't break the strings.
The volume is perfect
For all kinds of things.

You can play all your favorites
And learn new ones with ease.
Your fingers won't tire -
Playing is a breeze!

So strap on this beauty
And play us a song
Because with this guitar
You can never play wrong!
© Andrea Sumers, 2007

I wrapped it up before leaving the office and put it in the back of the car with the boxes I'd been collecting for wrapping presents. When I got home, I asked him to take the boxes out of the back of the car. He came in with the wrapped box and immediately started trying to figure out what the box contained. He determined it was too light to be a guitar, but it looked like a guitar box. He even tried prying the information from his sister, whom I had let in on the gift. It was a lot of fun listening to him try to work out what was in the box. On the way down to his mom's on Sunday night, he really got on a roll. He told me not to hype it up too much because he didn't want to be disappointed, but I don't think I was doing the hyping. He was doing it all for me. I did tell him that by this point it didn't really matter if he liked the present, though, because by this point it had been so much fun that it was well worth it.

The mystery box was the last gift opened on Christmas morning. We all stood around while he ripped off the paper. He saw the acoustic guitar box, and his brow furrowed.'

He cut the tape.

He lifted the lid.

He picked up the piece of paper. His sister made him read it out loud.

He was disappointed. I could see it on his face. He loved the guitar strap, but he was still disappointed. Then his sister pointed out that I wrote the poem. Somehow that made it more special to him, even though it didn't erase the disappointment. His mom wants the poem printed on parchment paper and framed, which I think is a great idea.

I did not realize until typing this post that his enjoyment or disappointment really does matter, though I still had a lot of fun putting the gift together. I still think it was a wonderful idea, and several other people agreed. A co-worker of mine is borrowing the idea (which is why I picked up a couple of boxes).

Despite the slight disappointment with him being disappointed and not finding it as funny as we did, Christmas and Yule were still fabulous. We all got great gifts and had loads of fun. I'll tell you all about it later.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Day Before Yule

1 DTY/ 4 DTC

I just picked up one last gift for DTTF, and I'm so excited! I can hardly wait to tell you all what it is, but because he might decide to read my blog, I have to wait until after Christmas to tell you. You're going to love it! YIPPEE!

I finally got the holiday cards in the mail today. Tonight I have to go to Wal-Mart and Kroger, then go home and wrap gifts. This includes DTTF's gifts (except the newest one, which I had to wrap here at work). I'm trying to decide which one to give him tomorrow. I think I'm going to go ahead and give him the one he was trying to guess on.

I also finally found a couple of great gifts for Tree Faerie. I got her a package of "block books." They are books that when closed are soft blocks. I also got her a book called Goodnight Elmo. I was looking specifically for cloth books, so this met my needs, and all for about $20.

I'm so excited about this holiday. I love the gifts I got for other people - so much, in fact, that I don't really care what I get personally! I have had so much fun shopping this season! The only big-ticket-item I still need to purchase is Tree Faerie's new car seat, which after last night is a must. The handle on her infant carrier slipped again. Because I've always made sure to support the seat in more than one way when carrying her in it, nothing bad has happened due to the faulty handle.

The seat was "recalled" earlier this year because the locks on the handle kept slipping. When I contacted the manufacturer, they sent me a kit with instructions to change the handles. After I changed the handles, everything was perfect until I got Tree Faerie out of the car last night - in the seat, of course. She's only about 19.5 pounds, so I still bring her into and out of the house in her carrier. I won't be doing that anymore! It slipped again last night on one side.

I probably won't post anything from now until Christmas, so have a happy holiday week, everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


2 DTY/ 5 DTC

Tree Faerie is currently going through the transitioning process at daycare. Next week is the last week of transition, and she'll be staying through naptime before going back to the infant room for the remainder of the afternoon.

Because the daycare is only open 3 days next week, I went ahead and brought the nap mat I bought last night in case they wanted to try to put her down for a nap in the toddler room today and tomorrow.

Please note the "in case" phrase.

So, I told the infant room teachers this morning, and they sounded like they thought it was a great idea. On my way out to the car, I stopped to talk to the toddler room head teacher because she was in the lobby. She seemed against the idea, which is fine by me, but the assistant director was also sitting there and thought it was a good idea. I proceeded to go out to the car to get the mat.

When I brought it in, the head teacher was back in the room and immediately brought up WHY she thought it was a bad idea. Her reasons for not having Tree Faerie stay for nap-time today and tomorrow were pretty much based around the toddlers that were transitioning out of her room and whether they would have room to have Tree Faerie join them for a nap.

I think I finally convinced her that I really don't care one way or the other whether she naps in the infant room or the toddler room - I was really just giving them the option. This teacher seems to be a little afraid of how I'm going to react. I can see that the next couple of months are going to be interesting while we learn to work with one another. Hopefully I can find a way of ensuring her that I understand she has a job to do and all I want is to make that job easier so she can provide each child in her room with the absolute best care possible.

Wish me luck. Thankfully she's an extremely nice person.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Won the British Lottery


I keep getting a multitude of emails telling me that my email address has won the British Lottery or the AOL Lottery or the Microsoft Lottery and that I need to respond immediately to collect my winnings.

I'm beginning to believe these people are just plain mean. I know it's a hoax. They know it's a hoax. Money is the number one stress factor for Americans. I think it's terrible to tell someone they've one 100,000,000 British pounds, but they have to pay to get it, then they take these people's money and never give them their "winnings". Or they get the person's detailed information (name, birth date, SSN, address, birthplace, etc) and suddenly the person is the victim of identity theft.

Also, dear mean-spirited spammers, if you are going to send me an email telling me I've won the British Lottery, please learn to type. Oh, and I know you must have spell check. Try it. You can do either the British spellings or the American spellings - I don't care which - just as long as I don't have to decipher the email as if I was decoding a secret message. Since you claim to be a lawyer or a doctor (or both), I know you must have attended college. Put that education to good use!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lucky with the In-Laws

4 DTY/ 7 DTC

I must admit I got really lucky when DTTF and I got together - my in-laws are absolutely fabulous! DTTF's sister and her family got into town very early on Saturday, so after DTTF got off work, we packed up and headed down to his mom's for a visit. We had a wonderful visit. I have missed my sister-in-law terribly. I'm in awe of how we've "grown up" together. Six years ago we would have stayed up until the wee hours of the morning playing cards and drinking. Now the times have definitely changed. By the time we get the kids in bed, we're pretty much useless. Oddly, she and I were the two that stayed up the latest, but that was only because she had to feed her youngest around midnight so I stayed up with her.

This was the first time Tree Faerie has met her aunt, uncle, and cousins. DTTF's sister's two boys are absolutely adorable. The 2.5 year old was great at entertaining Tree Faerie. It was so cute to watch them crawl around on the floor together and play with the blocks.

Yesterday after Tree Faerie got her flu shot booster, she and I met the in-laws at Barnes & Noble, then headed over to Build-A-Bear to make stuffed animals for all three kids. We picked out a purple hippopotamus for Tree Faerie and named her Lavender. The holiday song that's been stuck in my head this year is the "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" song, so Nana and I both thought it was perfect. Tree Faerie was giving it kisses and hugs while we were in the store. Lavender has a heartbeat and plays Brahm's Lullaby, which is a song I sometimes hum to her when I'm trying to get her to go to sleep. I'm now totally in love with Lavender, and I love watching Tree Faerie snuggle her and kiss her.

It's amazing how much just a little time with my sister-in-law has really boosted my mood. I'm really looking forward to spending Christmas with her and the rest of the family!

Friday, December 14, 2007

On the 1st Day of Christmas...

8 DTY/ 11 DTC

I love holiday music and know the words to many, many holiday songs. The other night when we toot Tree Faerie to see Santa, one of the ways I kept her entertained was by singing to her. It wasn't until later that I realized I had just provided free entertainment to everyone in the middle of the mall. It's a good thing I'm fairly comfortable with my voice, or at least I'm comfortable with it as long as there is not a microphone in sight. I'm afraid of microphones, but I'll save that story for another day.

I have ALWAYS wanted a huge stuffed animal. I recently discovered part of the reason I never got one - they are EXPENSIVE! I mean, like $600 expensive! So I stopped wishing for a huge stuffed animal.

Last night we went to Wal-Mart for the normal necessities plus several gifts for our nephews. While we were looking around, I saw this really big stuffed monkey. I immediately grabbed it and snuggled it, then went in search of a price. I finally found it on the ear, and to my elated surprise, it was only $20! So, in the cart it went as a gift for myself Tree Faerie. Tree Faerie wasn't crazy about him sitting in the basket behind her, so we finally had to shove his head between his knees to make her more comfortable. Hopefully it grows on her, because I will be very disappointed if she continues to be afraid of it. Of course, she's the kid who's afraid of balls and balloons.

While the monkey is not as big as the $600 bear I was looking at the other day, it is 3 times Tree Faerie's size. I'm so excited! So, on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Yet another opportunity to provide something for my child that I always wanted but never had.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thoughts on Weaning

9 DTY/12 DTC (Days-'til-Yule/Days-'til-Christmas)

I believe the weaning process has officially begun. While Tree Faerie still LOVES to nurse, she's only taking two bottles at daycare, so I only have to pump once a day now. I'm still not producing well since I had the stomach bug, so I have not had any problems with engorgement. In 16 days, I won't have to pump at all.

I won't miss the pumping, but I'm not sure what it's going to do to my supply. I feel pretty empty right now, and I'm still producing at least half as much as I was. When Tree Faerie nurses, sometimes I think, There's nothing in there! What am I going to do if she throws a fit because she doesn't get anything? Of course, she always manages to get milk.

I must admit I'm also a little afraid of the hormonal changes weaning will send me through. I'm hoping that if we wean slowly I won't end up on a roller coaster ride of hormonal fluctuations. I'm very emotionally sensitive to hormonal changes and really don't want to have that explosive, uncontrolled feeling that I usually get when my hormones change.

One of the aspects of weaning I want to focus on is night-weaning. Tree Faerie has never been a great sleeper. In fact, it's rare for her to go more than 4 hours without waking up to nurse. Usually she sleeps 2 or 3 hours before waking. Sometimes it's every 45 minutes. I know that most of those times she's just wanting comfort because I can often get her settled back down and back in bed in about 20 minutes or so. I've been practicing only coming to her when she actually demands to nurse instead of coming to her every time she whimpers.

The hardest thing about this is the fact that I DON'T LIKE CHANGE. I have to make changes slowly and prepare myself well for them. Tree Faerie has taken matters into her own hands a couple of times already when I was taking my own sweet time and she was ready for change (like refusing to be spoon-fed and now weaning herself off the bottles). I kept hoping she'd decide to night-wean, but no. She likes the boob too much. I also know that nursing is one of the ways she reconnects with me after being at daycare all day.

Because I don't like change, I tend to procrastinate A LOT. So, right now I'm working on preparing myself for the change ahead, though I'm still having a hard time taking my foot off the brake and putting it on the gas pedal.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Magic of Santa

10 days until Yule/13 days until Christmas

Tree Faerie had her first visit with Santa last night, and she did beautifully! We got a great picture from them, plus DTTF took pictures with our camera. As soon as I download them from the camera, I'll share.

What made the experience even more magical is that...


And we know him well enough that he told us to have a HAPPY YULE! DTTF is supposed to give me his email address so I can thank him for making my daughter's first visit with Santa even more special.

The other countdown I'm keeping track of - 3 days until the SIL and her family are here! I spent an hour on the phone with her this morning (it's her birthday), and we can all hardly wait! Her 2.5 year old even said my name this morning! I almost cried... I have missed them so much.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Only 11 Days Until Yule

And 14 days until Christmas!

My husband and I both enjoy traditions, both the invention and the continuing practice. Since our religious holiday is Yule (or Winter Solstice) instead of Christmas, we had to decide how we intended to celebrate our religious holiday and the Christmas holiday and where gifts and Santa fit in to our traditions. We both intend to include the magic of Santa in our traditions.

The way we decided to work the holidays is Yule will be our spiritual holiday and we will each get to open one gift that night. All other gifts will be saved for Christmas morning to be opened with the family. Santa will deliver his gifts on Christmas Eve after everyone is asleep, so they will be opened Christmas morning as well.

Part of the reason we were struggling is because we know many people who only observe their religious holiday and none others. The problem we had with that is that all of our family observes Christmas, and we're the only ones who observe Yule. We will explain the origins of both Yule and Christmas to Tree Faerie when she's older, but she will get to observe both in a way. Plus, since the current Santa beliefs are based around him delivering all his presents in one night, we were trying to avoid a future debate on the reason Santa delivered toys to Rowan on a different night.

I'm happy with the final decision. Our spiritual practices are not lost in light of other Christmas traditions (such as Santa), yet Tree Faerie will not feel like the oddball for celebrating something completely different than everyone else. Plus this gives us an opportunity to introducing her to other religions and their practices, which I feel is especially important since we practice a minority religion.

Speaking of my minority religion... Several of you asked what Wicca is, and while I don't feel quite up to explaining it in a post today, my husband has done a pretty good job of explaining Paganism at Summerland Grove's website. This is the link to the information page, and there are additional links on the lower half of the sidebar that explain some of the common Sabbats (holidays), tools, and traditions. If you don't want to go check it out, I'm currently working on a post in my head to explain my beliefs, so stick around for a while.

And the countdown continues!


What The Holidays Mean to You

For you, the holidays are about emotional connections and bonds. You are happiest being around those you love.

You celebrate the holidays in a minimalist style. You are likely to only give one great present and decorate your house with a few special items.

During the holidays, you feel magical. You love all of the decorations and how happy people are. You like to sit back and take it all in.

You think the holidays should be decadent and indulgent. You never mind gaining a few holiday pounds... it's worth it!

Your best holiday memories are of childhood foods and traditions. You secretly still wish you believed in Santa Claus.

What do you mean, "...wish you still believed..."? I DO still believe in Santa! If I didn't believe in Santa, he wouldn't still bring me presents!

Monday, December 10, 2007

11 Months

Dear Tree Faerie,

As always, you never cease to amaze me. You're beautiful and intelligent, plus you have a great sense of humor and love music of any kind. As long as it has a beat, you'll dance to it, even if it's just me tapping the spoon on the side of the pan while cooking! If one of us is laughing, you'll laugh, too, and try to make us laugh more. You must be the center of attention, and when you're not, you do everything you can to be so, from the cute babbling to the not-so-cute fit-throwing.

Tooth #2 finally broke through and has slowly been working its way up. It is taking its own sweet time doing so, though, so you've been chewing on everything. You have learned what you are allowed to put in your mouth and what you're not, though that doesn't necessarily stop you from testing the boundaries. Odds are, if it comes off the carpet, it's not allowed, and you're really good about opening your mouth to allow me to remove things without much of a fight.

We managed to only go to the doctor's office twice this month - once for the flu shot and once for your labial adhesion. Thankfully the adhesion should go away as you get older. The day we went to the doctor for that, though, you also came down with croup. We didn't give you any medicine for it because you were scheduled to get the flu shot a few days later. We didn't turn on the heater, and I put Baby Vicks on your feet each night to help us all sleep a little better. I was surprised at how well it worked at keeping your cough at bay!

You got to see Grams and Papaw for Thanksgiving, along with my Grandma and several other members of your extended family. I love watching Grams play with you because her face lights up just like it used to when I was a little girl. It's wonderful to hear you both laughing. You didn't want to try the banana pudding, but there will be other opportunities for you to try it later. You and I wore matching outfits - our striped overalls and red shirts - and Papaw wore his striped overalls, too.

Papaw is growing his beard back out, and you weren't quite sure what to think of it at first. He let you play with it, as I'm sure he will for years to come. He also took us for a ride in his Mule, which I call his Old-Man-Wheeler. You sat very, very still, but you seemed to enjoy yourself. I know I did!

One of your favorite things to do lately is "help" me with the laundry and cleaning. Of course, your idea of helping is by pulling all the clean clothes out of the basket or dryer and strew them around the floor to create your very own pallet.

You also enjoy wiping down different things like the window sills and the bathtub. You even 'wash' yourself when you're in the tub. I finally found a bath mat I like using, and it has saved me a lot of stress.

You are currently transitioning to the toddler room. I'm glad that your daycare transitions you slowly, however you seem to have no problems with the toddler room. They tell me you were great every day and just played and checked things out as if you belonged in there. I was the one who was nervous! But I've talked to the teachers in there, and they are both very nice. I'm sure you'll continue to have a great time!

One of the things I was worried about was that they don't allow toddlers to have bottles, only sippy cups with whole milk. I was afraid you would have a hard time giving up the bottles, but you seem to have taken that into your own hands, similar to when you stopped eating food from a spoon. The only thing I can consistently get you to take from a spoon is yogurt, which I have to feed you again because you had thrush. You've pretty much stopped taking bottles at daycare, though. I was about to take you to the doctor to see if it was an ear infection when you came down with yet another cold. I'm going to wait until after this cold is over before taking you in, because I still want to confirm that it is just your will and not something else wrong. You haven't stopped nursing, so I'm not too worried.

You seem to love your daddy more and more each day. I love how you sit at the bottom of the stairs and holler up at him when he's upstairs and you're not. You call to him quite often when he's not in the room with you, even when he's not home. He loves you so much! He doesn't cave in to you like I do when you throw tantrums, though. And it's not necessarily that I cave in, I just try to get you to stop screaming by distracting you.

You've been practicing your walking skills this month. You now only need to hang on to one of our fingers in order to walk around the house. I can see that you want to take a step completely unassisted, but at the last minute, you just plop on your butt.

On the weekend before your 11-month-birthday, I put up our holiday tree while you were napping. I got the tree put together, lit, and had about half the ornaments on before you woke up. The look of wonderment on your face was well worth the rush! After I finished decorating the tree, we put stuffed animals under the tree instead of presents. I know how much you enjoy ripping paper, so I figured you could play with the stuffed animals and we'll keep the presents elsewhere. Storm has taken over one of the stuffed animals, though. She keeps kneading biscuits on the dog wearing the Santa hat, which your daddy thinks is a violation of the dog.

As always, thank you for being such a wonderful kid. You have brought so much to our lives! I love you, Tree Faerie!



Friday, December 7, 2007

Finally Friday - Sickies and Such

Tree Faerie only took 2 oz. of breast milk yesterday at daycare, so I finally broke down and called the nurse last night. I told her about Tree Faerie not taking the bottle and being generally fussy, and she suggested I call the doctor this morning to rule out an ear infection because she wasn't really exhibiting any other symptoms except for an occasional cough.

In the wee hours of the morning when she woke me up to nurse, I noticed she felt a bit warm, but because she didn't seem actually hot, I didn't check her temperature until after she got up. Her temperature was not high enough to keep her home from daycare (101 is the cut-off, and the highest temp reading I got was 99.9 - though she wouldn't stay still for me to take her temperature under her arm and I didn't feel it was necessary to subject her to any other temp-taking methods this morning), so I gave her a dose of Motrin and continued getting ready. Before we left the house, her fever was already coming down. When I dropped her off at daycare, it seemed to be back to normal, but I asked her teacher to watch out for an actual fever.

I'm one of those people who believes that a low-grade fever is actually beneficial to the healing process if the fever is caused by a virus. Our bodies heat up in order to make a hostile environment for the virus to live in. Our noses run to try to flush the virus out. I understand the process of how the body works to protect itself. If Tree Faerie was going to be with me all day, I may not have given her the Motrin yet and would have used other methods to make her more comfortable. Since she was going to daycare, however, I gave her the Motrin to make her more comfortable for an extended period of time.

Because she's also exhibiting other symptoms of having a cold, I decided to wait before making a doctor's appointment. I feel pretty confident now that her fussiness and such were signs of this impending cold, and antibiotics won't cure a cold. So, I'm going to keep an eye on her over the weekend and re-evaluate the situation on Monday.

In the past 11 months, I've spent a lot of time worrying about that child. It's all part of the job, right? (11 month letter coming soon)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tears at work are not good

I just depressed myself. I realized this is the first year since my miscarriage 7 years ago that I didn’t mourn on the anniversary of the day. It fell once again on Thanksgiving Day. This year I had a happy Thanksgiving with not only my daughter and my husband, but with Mom, Pop, and some extended family, too. Is this the first sign that I’m really moving on?

100th Post

To continue with tradition, today is my 100th post, therefore I came up with a list of 100 things about me. Some of these I'm sure some of you already knew. Others may come as a surprise. I hope you're all still around by the end of the list... Here goes nothing:
  1. I love egg nog and would drink it year-round if I could.
  2. I hate liver.
  3. I greatly dislike raw onions.
  4. Besides liver and raw onions, I love food.
  5. So much so that when I'm depressed, I eat.
  6. I am a former smoker.
  7. I quit smoking twice.
  8. The first time I quit with self-hypnosis.
  9. I know quite a bit about hypnosis.
  10. I have been hypnotized by a stage-hypnotist (who also does hypnotherapy).
  11. The hypnotist made me shout at a friend, "Out of the pool!" and accuse him of peeing in the pool.
  12. I remember being really p*ssed about him p*ssing in my pool.
  13. There's a video tape of it somewhere.
  14. The second time I tried to quit smoking, I didn't fully quit until I got pregnant.
  15. When I got pregnant (even before I knew I was pregnant), cigarette smoke made me very, very ill.
  16. I ended up in the ER from being so ill the last time I smoked an actual cigarette.
  17. 2 weeks later I found out I was pregnant.
  18. I still sometimes have the urge to smoke.
  19. On rare occasions, I will smoke a clove cigarette.
  20. Oddly, having the cloves around helps keep me from picking up the habit again, even when I don't smoke them (one pack with 20 cigarettes lasted 5 months, and I shared almost half of them; I haven't had any out of the new pack, and I've had it for 2 months.).
  21. My daughter also keeps me from smoking, because I will not smoke around her. Ever.
  22. I enjoy a drink every now and then.
  23. I love margaritas.
  24. And Cafe' Zinfandel wine (a blush - not as sweet as a white zin, but not as tart as a red zin).
  25. I refuse to drink alone or when I'm feeling depressed.
  26. I have an addictive personality (in case you couldn't tell).
  27. Because of this, I have rules for myself about drinking, smoking, and eating.
  28. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mother.
  29. And now that I am one, I wouldn't trade it for the world.
  30. I also wanted to be a writer.
  31. I used to write poetry regularly.
  32. I also used to write short stories.
  33. I started a 'novel' when I was 13.
  34. I wrote about 7 chapters in pencil in a spiral notebook.
  35. Due to my atrocious handwriting and pencil smudging, I couldn't read Chapter 1 by the time I finished Chapter 7.
  36. So I quit.
  37. I get bored easily.
  38. I usually only start short projects or projects with multiple parts.
  39. Because when I get bored, I quit.
  40. I love to crochet.
  41. I also love to sew.
  42. I want to try my hand at quilting.
  43. I know how to knit.
  44. I also know how to do macrame.
  45. I don't do either because they're both time consuming (see #37).
  46. I also like to paint.
  47. But I get frustrated with it because what comes out on the canvas looks nothing like the beautiful image in my head.
  48. But for some reason my husband thinks I'm good at it.
  49. I love my husband.
  50. He's actually my second husband.
  51. I divorced my first husband.
  52. We separated after 14 months of marriage.
  53. We had only known each other for 8 months when we got married.
  54. I met my current husband 5 days after getting married.
  55. He was married at the time, too.
  56. We got together after running into each other after both of us were separated and going through the process of divorce.
  57. My ex-husband's current wife paid for my divorce.
  58. I really like his current wife.
  59. The reason I married my current husband is so I could be on his health insurance because we wanted to have children, and his insurance was better AND more affordable than mine.
  60. I was terrified of getting married again.
  61. I went through a depression afterwards and gained 30 lbs in 6 months.
  62. I'm still working on losing the weight.
  63. I've already lost the "baby weight".
  64. I gained 40 lbs while pregnant.
  65. I think at least half of that was water.
  66. I am still breastfeeding my 11-month-old.
  67. She turned 11 months today (I'll do the letter tomorrow).
  68. My daughter will be raised with the freedom to choose the spiritual path that she feels is right for her.
  69. I do not believe one religion is right for everyone.
  70. I believe everyone should choose the spiritual path that brings them closer to God.
  71. Though I also believe they should be respectful and lawful, as well.
  72. I am Wiccan. This is the path I found that brought me closer to God.
  73. I was raised Christian.
  74. I used to teach Sunday School and lead a church choir.
  75. Christianity was not offering me what I needed spiritually, though.
  76. I have nothing against Christianity or Christians.
  77. In fact, MANY of my friends are Christian.
  78. Some of my friends are Jewish.
  79. And Muslim.
  80. And Pagan (which Wicca falls under).
  81. I am a High Priestess.
  82. And a minister.
  83. And a Reiki Master.
  84. I believe Alternative Medicine and Western Medicine should be used to compliment each other.
  85. I believe there is a place and time for both types of medicine, but not everything falls under one type or the other.
  86. I am an empath.
  87. Complete strangers open up to me and tell me their life story or problems.
  88. I used to try to help everyone.
  89. Though I finally had to admit I couldn't help everyone.
  90. And some people don't want help (even when they ask for it).
  91. My favorite color is purple.
  92. My next favorite is green.
  93. Then black.
  94. I play the trombone.
  95. And the clarinet.
  96. And can kind of play the guitar.
  97. I'm terrible at strumming.
  98. And I can't sing and strum at the same time.
  99. But I can chew gum and walk at the same time.
  100. I'm not sure how I feel knowing I could probably come up with another 100 things about myself.

So, there is my list of 100 things about me. Feel free to ask questions. I promise to answer all of them to the best of my ability.

Note: I noticed the numbers are not appearing, but trust me, there are 100.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Stomach Bugs Are Never Fun

Sorry I was MIA yesterday. I had what seems to be a 24-hour stomach bug. It started at 3:30 yesterday morning and ended at 3:30 this morning. Needless to say, I'm feeling much better now. I did take Tree Faerie in to daycare yesterday morning so I could rest and visit the bathroom as much as necessary. While I was signing her in, her teacher told me about a remedy that a doctor she saw years ago told her about. I've posted the remedy at Fey's Tricks of the Trade. I was surprised at how well it actually worked! *Link is now fixed*

Tree Faerie hasn't been taking her bottles very well at daycare, though she's eating about the same amount of solid food she's always eaten. I'm wondering if she's weaning herself off the bottle. If she is, that's a good thing since she won't get a bottle at daycare after the first of the year. I am still a little worried about her, though. She just doesn't seem quite right. How do you call your doctor and say, "I know I'm in your office every few weeks for one thing or another, but my child is not acting quite like herself and I'm worried. What do I do?" without sounding like a jumpy, over-protective new mom? Heck, I'm on a first-name basis (meaning they know me as Andrea instead of just Tree Faerie's Mom) with the nurses!

I know I'm just a natural worry-wart. This is the reason DTTF handles the finances.

Speaking of finances, I'm dying to win this giveaway from 5 Minutes for Mom and Parents Magazine.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weekend Recap

This weekend, I was puked on 3 times, changed 5 poopy diapers, and was screamed at often by a baby with thrush. On the upside, though, I made a sock-monkey and decorated our Yule tree with baby-safe decorations.

I'm tired. Back to work.

By the way, after the poison ivy conversations that Friday's post sparked, I've posted several remedies that work over on Fey's Tricks of the Trade. Check it out and leave a comment!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Last Day for NaBloPoMo!

In tribute to posting EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past month, I decided to go ahead and accept a couple of meme tags.

Heather over at Coal Miner's Granddaughter tagged me today for a meme of my 5 favorite things, so here they are in no particular order:

  1. Baby Snuggles! I LOVE baby snuggles, and not just from my baby! I love baby snuggles from all babies, though now I can say I prefer my baby's snuggles.

  2. Drinking Starbucks while browsing in Barnes and Noble! My winter drink is White Chocolate Mocha, and my summer drink is Caramel Frappuccino. I browse many different sections - Occult & New Age, Bargain Books, Crafts, Journals, and now Parenting & Children. I may not buy anything except the coffee, but I love books and I love coffee, so this is the best of both worlds!

  3. Salsa! I LOVE salsa in just about any way you can give it to me - chips and salsa, salsa on omlets or eggs, salsa with my quesadilla or burrito or enchilada. I've even been known to eat salsa with crackers when I didn't have any chips. My favorite salsa is the homemade stuff my mom cans. It is absolutely delicious! My second favorite is the kind I get at El Mezcal, my favorite Mexican restaraunt. Mmmm. I'm drooling now. By the way, pico de gallo is not salsa. Salsa has to be cooked before canning or serving!

  4. A Massage from a good massage therapist! A friend bought me one in May for Mother's Day, and it was wonderful! It had been years since my last massage. I plan to get one for my mother for her 50th birthday in January. I'll get one for myself soon after, unless DTTF decides that's what he's getting me for Yule.

  5. Yarn! I love yarns and fabrics and crafty things. I love making things. I love touching the soft fibers. I'm allergic to wool, though, so all my yarn has to be acrylic or cotton. I've banned myself from buying new yarn until I use up most of my stockpile, but that doesn't stop me from stroking the skeins of yarn in Wal-Mart or Michael's.

The second meme is one that Carrie from Live in the Badlands tagged me for over a month ago. I'm supposed to come up with 7 random things about myself, so here goes (warning, though, some may be gross):

  1. I can't see or hear someone puke without gagging. Most of the time I can prevent the all-out-act, but it's a struggle! This was made even worse when I was pregnant, though after Tree Faerie was born, it went back to normal.

  2. I have a huge scar on my right bicep from being in a car wreck in April of 1987. My late step-dad (he died in 1990 from a heart attack) swerved to miss a dog in the road and lost control of the truck. It flipped several times through a field and I was ejected from the vehicle. I had a compound fracture and the skin around the wound was ground with dirt and had to be removed. I have a patch scar on my butt cheek from where they took the skin graft. During my 3 1/2 week hospital stay, everyone kept telling me how luck I was that I didn't lose my arm. Now I rarely even think about the scar unless someone asks or something scratches it.

  3. I also had a piece of glass stuck in my eye from the same wreck and had 2 dissolving stitches in my right eye. The eye doctor can't even find a scar on my eye from it now.

  4. I used to be allergic to poison ivy until I had a full systemic reaction to it. I was building a fort in my back yard next to a tree that had vines on it. Now, being the good Girl Scout and Southern Girl I was, I knew what poison ivy leaves looked like, but I had NEVER seen leaves on the vines on this tree. I pulled the vines off the tree and used them in making the fort. The next morning, I could barely open my eyes. I had to go get 3 shots, take a round of steroids, and use LOTS of hydrocortizone cream. I had one little bitty outbreak the next summer and haven't had it since, even though I've been around it and helped doctor other people's outbreaks.

  5. I was offerred the opportunity to go to both Space Camp and a journalism symposium in DC, but I had to turn them both down because we didn't have the money.

  6. I entered exactly ONE beauty pagent after being pushed and nudged by various people. I did not have fun and felt very out of place. I didn't win anything, either, probably because I looked mortified at some of the things I'd seen backstage. My mom was very supportive without pushing me one way or the other. That's one of the things I love my mom for - she often let me make up my own mind about things.

  7. I found my first silver hair when I was 17. Since then they've been coming in slowly. I've recently been pondering coloring my hair (I haven't colored it in about 6 years) because I keep seeing full-length silver hairs.

So, those are my random facts. Hmmm. Who to tag... Mom is in the Fishbowl, how about telling us 5 of your favorite things, and Mom's Happy Handful, what are 7 random things about you?

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I ordered DTTF's Yule gift yesterday, so now I have to try to make it home in time to beat DTTF to the mailbox next week. Usually DTTF checks the mail before he comes in the house, and I'm afraid if he sees the package, he'll immediately know what it is.

Of course, while my dear hubby doesn't make it a habit to read my site, I can't tell you what it is just in case he decides to pop on over. So you have to wait, too! Let's just say it's something he really wants, and I've found a way to make it even more special. I'll also get him a couple of small things, but this is the main gift!

I've decided to make sock animals for my nephews and my best friend's boys. I'm going to make two elephants, a monkey, and a cat if all goes as planned. I've already picked up the socks. Now I just need to sit down and make them. I've been debating making Tree Faerie a sock animal or two as well, though I haven't decided. My big-$$$-gift for her is going to be a convertible car seat. I found one that should last her for the next 8 years or so (that might be a slight exaggeration) for around $120 at Wal-Mart. It's made by Graco, and while I trust the brand, I still want to research it before I purchase it. This is the life of my child we're talking about, after all.

For the grandparents, I'm torn between getting them mugs (either regular or travel) with Tree Faerie's picture or something else. I have other things in mind for all of them, but I really liked the idea of the mugs! Is it selfish to give them something bearing Tree Faerie's picture? They are grandparents, after all...

I think for the ladies in my department at work, I'm going to do something cutesy from OrganizedChristmas.Com. I'm specifically thinking of the We Whisk You a Happy Holiday sort of thing. I've already discovered their favorite individually-wrapped-indulgences. I guess I need to decide soon.

For the daycare teachers, I've decided to go with snuggly socks and bath stuff (I know, but I'm stumped, and I know they all like scented bath stuff because they've mentioned it!).

I have no idea what to do for DTTF's sister and her husband, nor do I know what I'm doing for my brother. I also don't know what I'm doing for my boss.

That about sums up my gift-giving list! I didn't realize I was this prepared! Now I just have to make sure all the shopping is done at least a week before Yule...

I've also decided to practice my hand at writing reviews. I posted a food review over at Fey's Tricks of the Trade, so go check it out and let me know what you think. Please be honest and offer suggestions if you have any!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Holiday Ramblings

Well, I bought my holiday cards last night. They're not my usual glittery cards like I get from Target, but I had to go to Wal-Mart (I know the horrors of the place, yes, but I have to pinch my pennies) last night, so I perused their card selection. I found some cute, homey cards with a secular yet warm greeting inside. I got 60 for less than $12, and since my list just keeps getting longer every year, that's not too shabby! I love sending and receiving holiday cards, though I receive a lot fewer than I send.

I also picked up artificial poinsettia flowers to put in the vase on the mantle. The vase is one that my mom made when she took a pottery class at college years ago. DTTF put it on the mantle with the suggestion that we update the arrangement regularly based on the season or upcoming holiday. I forgot how much I enjoy arranging flowers! I didn't take a picture, but as soon as I do, I'll post it. I didn't buy a real poinsettia because I'm terrible at remembering to water my plants, so they always die. I almost killed the aloe plant Random Faerie left with me when she moved to Colorado. It's still alive and doing better, but I really need to re-plant it. That's the only plant I've been able to keep alive, though. I'm glad I'm better at taking care of my animals than that...

This is Tree Faerie's first Christmas holiday, and I would really like for her to see both my parents and DTTF's mom. Yule (Winter Solstice - our holiday) will be focused more on the spiritual aspect of the season, and we each get to open one gift that night. We'll have our Outer Court Yule celebration on the 22nd. My family gets together at my grandma's on Christmas Eve, but DTTF has to work. That 3 hour drive does not sound appealing with just Tree Faerie and me because I can't keep her entertained and drive. She gets bored easily, and once she gets to the point of fussiness, she needs active distraction. Christmas day will be spent with DTTF's family. I don't know if we're going to do Santa at our house or at DTTF's mom's house or both. I know it will all work out, but until it does it will be burrowing itself in my worry-center.

This weekend I get to pull out the holiday decorations and decide what I'm putting where. I was also debating touching up the paint in Tree Faerie's room so we can move us all upstairs. Hmm. If I get that done, maybe I can get the border hung and her room set up. Then I can pick a day for us to move upstairs so we can get a bit of help in exchange for dinner. Hmm. My wheels are turning...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Starting next week, Tree Faerie will begin transitioning to the toddler room at daycare. The transition period lasts 4 weeks. During the first week, one of the infant room teachers will take her to the toddler room for about 15 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon. On Week 2, one of the toddler room teachers will come get Tree Faerie and take her to the toddler room for about 30 minutes in the morning and afternoon. Tree Faerie will spend an hour in the morning and afternoon on Week 3. The last week of transitioning, Tree Faerie will go to the toddler room in the morning and stay through the morning nap, then go back to the infant room.

This morning I talked to the head teacher of the toddler room she'll be moving into. The woman was very nice and personable. I was really nervous about the transition and she was able to ease my nervousness quite a bit. The toddlers only take one nap a day around mid-day, and they don't give the toddlers bottles at all, only sippy-cups. They are given regular whole milk or juice during the two snack-times and lunch. This means I won't have to pump anymore starting the first week of January. While I'm kind of happy about it, I'm also kind of sad. My baby is growing up!

So, do any of you have words of wisdom to help me through this transition? I'm sure Tree Faerie will be fine with it. I'm the one who has a problem with change. If you would prefer, you can email me at asumers at gmail dot com.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Busy as a Bee

I have a lot of work to get done today and impending deadlines. Hopefully we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming shortly. I'll catch up on all of your posts then.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I <3 My Husband

When Tree Faerie went back down for her morning nap at 10 AM, I decided to nap, too. Two and a half glorious hours later, I woke up. DTTF had taken Tree Faerie out of the bedroom when she woke up so she wouldn't wake me.

I love my husband dearly!'

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Weekends = Rest, Right?

In my pre-mommy days, I could find time for a nap or sleep in until noon if I was exhausted.


Now I just get sleep when I can. Last night Tree Faerie was up every 45 minutes again. The culprit? I'm sure it was Tooth #2. That's right, Tooth #2 is taking it's own sweet time. It broke the surface a week or two ago and has SLOWLY been working it's way up.

Okay, so maybe it stopped. I don't know. I can't see any other tooth appearing, and that one is just BARELY above the surface.

Anyway, did I think to myself, It's okay because it's the weekend and I'll be able to get rest later? No, because there are other things that still have to be done while wrangling the child!

I know I complain a lot here about the lack of sleep, and I know that it will get better as she gets older. I also know that when we decide to have another I'll be right back in this cycle.

Who knows? Maybe the next one will know what sleep is...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Turn the Heat On!

This is the first time since summer set in that we have turned our heater on. It probably won't be left on, however the AC people came out to clean the heater, so we had to turn it on to test it. While it is nice to have the chill out of the air, we are trying to conserve as much as possible. I am thankful to have a heater to use when I want, though!

Yesterday we had Thanksgiving lunch at my grandma's. My mom and dad got to play with Tree Faerie, and fun was had by all. DTTF's mom did not join us because DTTF's sister will be coming up in 3 weeks and she wanted to get her house put back together after re-doing the flooring. She was missed, but we still had a good time. I miss my mom, even though we talk nearly every day. It's just not the same as getting to see her.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am Thankful

I am thankful for
  • my daughter
  • my husband
  • my family - immediate, extended, and in-laws
  • the roof over my head
  • the job that pays the bills
  • that there aren't more bills than my job will pay for
  • a good daycare that only charges an arm instead of an arm AND a leg
  • great friends, both IRL and online
  • great food
  • nap-times
  • sleep
  • showers
  • good health
  • and the perseverance to make it through when my health is not good
Happy Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tell Me Again

What are the pro-sides to owning a home? I forget sometimes and need to be reminded.

This morning I awoke to the wonderful sounds of rain and thunder. I love rain (as long as it's not every day), especially hard rain. DTTF heads off to work and I proceed to get Tree Faerie and myself ready for the day. Tree Faerie decided to scream through two-thirds of my shower. After I finished my shower (including taking an extra minute to use the Netti pot - which will be a post for another day), I finally convinced her to stop screaming while I brushed my teeth and got dressed.

Now, DTTF and I are currently sharing a closet because mine still has not been put back together after the whole air conditioner incident. So, I open his closet and see a wet spot on the carpet. I look up to find the ceiling around the light fixture is soaked and the water is dripping down from the end of the bulb. It's a good thing I didn't turn on the light, right?

So, I said a few explicitives, got the bucket from the laundry closet to catch the water in, grabbed the towel I had just used to dry off, and proceded to clean up and set up the bucket. I didn't leave the closet door open because Storm (the cat) loves going in the closet, and I was afraid she'd try to play with the water and tip the bucket.

While I continued getting Tree Faerie and myself ready, I called DTTF to tell him the news. After I nursed Tree Faerie, which made her much happier and more forgiving, I went upstairs to find out where the leak was coming from. Turns out it is leaking around the flashing from the air conditioner. So, I grabbed another bucket and set it under the main drip in hopes to at least slow things down.

When DTTF and I were house-shopping last year, I was really excited about owning a home. Now? Not so much. At least not this home. I've got a list running in my head of things to look for on our next house-shopping adventure. To name a few:

  • Single Story
  • Unattached
  • Either proof that the carpet was just replaced or plans to replace the carpet upon purchase
  • Or hardwood flooring
  • At least one window on each side of the house to allow air-flow
  • A clean fireplace or a gas fireplace
  • A happy neighborhood - and scouting it out well before signing on the house
  • Not for sale by owner, that way I can't say that the owner lied to me
  • Either new appliances (less than 5 years old) or no appliances
  • A useful yard, preferably with room for a workshop

That's just off the top of my head. We've made it a year in this house; I can make it 4 more. Our original plan was to be in this house for 5 years because this is our 'starter-home.' Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dragonflies and Totems

I believe everyone has a totem of sorts, a particular creature they relate to well or that keeps popping up throughout their lives as a source of inspiration and courage. Some people have more than one, but so far everyone I've come across has at least one. My husband's main totem is a bear, while my main totem is fey (faeries and the like - explaining fey will be a post for another day). Tree Faerie's totem is obviously a dragonfly.

Since the moment of conception, I have focused on dragonflies for Tree Faerie. The online baby journal I started during my pregnancy was done in purple and green dragonflies. The decorations for her nursery are centered around dragonflies. Every time I saw a dragonfly, I thought of my baby.

The moment Tree Faerie was born, a purple and green dragonfly landed on Panda's (a close friend) shoulder across town. While Memphis is in the south, winter is still cold and does not bear dragonflies, so a dragonfly on January 6th is a bit odd. We spent 2 nights in the hospital after birth in a lovely private room. This print was on the wall (that's Mr. Chomps in the photo):

It wasn't until we were packing up that we noticed that the picture contained more than just the pretty tulips. In the upper right corner was our little friend:

See what I mean? They're everywhere! Since her birth, I've had dragonflies fly alongside the car all the way from the grocery store to the house, which is about 2 miles. We've had entire swarms hover over us. We've had dragonflies land on us at various times. While I've always liked dragonflies and taken notice of them, I have never had this much direct contact with them!

My next tattoo (I currently have 2) will be a dragonfly on my left shoulder. I haven't settled on a design yet, but as soon as I have the perfect design, under the needle I will go! That dragonfly will be my tribute to my Tree Faerie. The symbol of a dragonfly different meanings according to different cultures, including luck, freedom, and change. Tree Faerie is all of these things to me.

I leave you with a bit of old-world lore. What creature are you most drawn to and what does it mean to you?

The Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened that their friend was dead - gone forever.

One day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired and the sun felt so warm that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept his body changed, and when he woke up he had turned into a beautiful blue tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying. So, fly he did! And as he soared, he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed.

Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended!

But his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. He then understood that the time would come when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Let the Holidays Begin!

Welcome to the beginning of Thanksgiving Week! The local radio station that plays holiday music from Thanksgiving until New Years started 2 weeks early. The stores had holiday decorations out before Halloween was even over. The shopping rush has already begun. Whether people are just making plans to hit certain stores on Black Friday or people are trying to avoid the worst part of the rush by shopping now, the stores are already bustling.

For Thanksgiving, we're taking DTTF's mom (Nana) to my grandma's house (Grandma) where my mom (Grams/Mom) is meeting us. I can hardly wait! I love getting to visit with my mom. Even though I talk to her every day or two, it's not the same as seeing her face-to-face! Plus, I can't get her to send me pictures of her new haircut, so I have to see it for myself.

Sometimes I really wish my mom and I lived nearer to each other, especially now that Tree Faerie is here. There are so many times when I would love to be able to pick up the phone to tell my mom, "Hey, could you come over for a few minutes/hours to play with Tree Faerie so I can get such-and-such done (or take a nap)?" I would have no problem asking this of my mom. When I ask DTTF's mom, I'm always afraid I'm burdening her because I know she has so much she's trying to get done with her house, her horses, her property, or barrel racing, not to mention her time-consuming job. Plus, when she comes to visit, I always feel like I need to visit with her, too. Don't get me wrong - I love my mother-in-law dearly and love talking to her. My list of Things-to-Do-When-Tree-Faerie-Is-Otherwise-Occupied just keeps growing, especially since that "otherwise occupied" usually means napping or asleep at night. Naps are not long enough to actually finish a project, and at night I need sleep, too, now more than ever.

I guess I just need to make a schedule of when I want certain things done by and have someone, even DTTF, come over to entertain her while I accomplish things.

Tangent over. Back to the original topic.

We're taking Nana with us because I don't feel right about leaving her 'alone' on Thanksgiving. If she had said she couldn't make it, we would have made plans here. I think that's the way it should be since DTTF's sister now lives in Florida and can't be here for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of my sister-in-law... SHE'S COMING IN FOR THE HOLIDAYS! (Can you tell I'm excited?) She, her husband, and her two boys (a 2.5 year old and a 2 month old) are flying in around the middle of December and will be here until after Christmas! We can hardly wait! DTTF occasionally giggles with anticipation, which is absolutely adorable.

So, enjoy the holiday music and the shopping mad-house, and make sure to tell your family how special they are to you!

Speaking of the holidays, over at An Island Life, you can enter to win Mom Spit, the alternative to the lick-and-wipe method! You can also enter to win Babylegs from Queen Baby and enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate to Out to Tea, makers of adorable hair accessories, featuring non-slip clips and adjustable fabric headbands.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Where's My Sunday Rest?

My head is stuffy and aching and I'm exhausted. Tree Faerie has been rather whiney this evening, though I don't know the specific reason. I gave her Motrin before bed and just got her tucked in. Now it's my turn.

I need a break.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Tag, I'm It!

So, Kelly the Culinarian tagged me, and since I've only done one of these since starting this particular blog in January, I thought I'd go ahead and give this one a shot.

1 How long have you been blogging?
Technically I've been blogging since May of last year after I found out I was pregnant. I'm not giving out the web address to the entire public, but if you're interested in seeing that one, let me know and I'll hook you up. This blog is my first public blog, and I started it on July 2, 2007.

2 What inspired you to start a blog and who are your mentors?
Manic Mommy and Random Faerie were both major inspirations in the starting of this particular blog. Random Faerie has been suggesting I give blogging a shot for years. I've taken her off my blogroll for the moment because her site is currently being reconstructed. She's been blogging since before blogging was cool, and it was always such a joy to read her posts. Manic Mommy is wonderful at making stressful situations hilarious with her writing style. Part of the inspiration also came from the number of blogs I read on at least a weekly basis that all seemed to have this friendship, this special bond, that I wanted to share. A lot of times I feel like I'm doing this motherhood thing all by myself. Blogging helps keep me connected with other mothers and helps boost my confidence in being a mother. It's my link to other great moms out there.

3 Are you trying to make money online or are you doing it for fun?
I'm doing this for fun, but I figured while I'm already at it, why not see if I can generate a bit of income, too! Personally, I'd love to be like Dooce and have my site support my family, but I'm not holding my breath for that one.

4 What three things do you love about being online?
A. Connectedness without having to actually meet face-to-face. I can let it all hang out here without worrying about what people think or whether or not they'll still like me tomorrow after I've said something offensive today.

B. Meeting people (okay, Kelly, I'm borrowing your last two). There are some amazing women (and men) out there, but sometimes they're hard to find. I've looked locally, and either they're in hiding like I am or there really are none locally (I prefer to believe they're hiding). So, I branched out.

C. Getting feedback. Especially getting feedback from people I know are not trying to kiss up to me for any reason. It's sad to think that people online tend to be more real than the people talking to your face, but sometimes it sure seems that way.

5 What three things do you struggle with online?
A. Tangents. I get online to look up something or do something specific (like writing a blog post), and something 'sparkly' catches my eye. Off I go, reading about some new scam or health kick instead of fulfilling my original intent.

B. & C. Okay, I can't really think of anything else I struggle with online. I, like Kelly, would like to improve my readership, though I'm slowly taking the steps to do so. Struggle is such a heavy word, though.

That's it. Now it's my turn to tag, right? Okay, hmm.

I'm going to be a puss, but I'm admitting it before you can call me one, so it's okay.

Dear Readers...


Now run with it and leave me a comment if you post it on your blog!

(Oh, and Carrie, I will do your tag at some point!)

Friday, November 16, 2007

This Week in Summary

Well, folks, we made it to Friday. I was beginning to think the end of the week would never come! These trials that come our way now prepare us for future experiences, right? And what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger? And this too shall pass?

If anyone had said any of these cliches to me this week, I might have actually choked them. Or at least I would have had the urge to choke them and might have glared at them just a tiny little bit.

The High Points of this week:
  • I'm really not a bad mother. I can actually take care of some things on my own and have gotten better about not panicking about the things I can't.
  • I have actually gotten more than 4 hours of sleep in a row at least three times this week! It's a new record!
  • I <3>
  • I love baby snuggles!
  • I got the flu shot, but it didn't make me sick. Plus, it gave me an opportunity to try the Vicks Vaporub (the adult kind) on a shot site that I KNOW would be sore without it. It really and truly works! (Plus, did you know it actually says on the jar that it's great for muscle and joint aches? Who knew? I'm learning a lot more now that I've started reading ENTIRE labels instead of just what I want to know.)
  • I love blankets. Soft, snuggly blankets are divine! Since it's been chilly lately, I've had more opportunity to snuggle under one or two. The only thing I need to go with it is a good book and time to read it. I'll take snuggling with Tree Faerie instead, though, especially since I know I won't always have the opportunity to snuggle with her when I want to. The books can wait.

The Low Points of this week:

  • Labial adhesion. Creepy, but thankfully not dangerous. We're going to monitor it instead of using the hormones right now because according to the doctor, if they have it this young, the child will usually develop it again and again. We really don't want to give her hormones, even absorbed through the skin, for years. Cross your fingers that she didn't get mine and my mother's plumbing and isn't prone to bladder and kidney infections, otherwise getting a urine sample will be difficult.
  • Croup. While Tree Faerie is apparently having a "calm" case of croup, its still not much fun. She is so precious, and while I love that she wants to snuggle a lot while she is sick, I don't want her to be sick. I keep telling her to stop kissing those babies at daycare, but what can I say? I was the same way! Plus, I like having a kissy baby! I just wish she'd be a little pickier about who she kisses.
  • Darkness. Why does it have to get dark so early? Plus, half of the week was even dark during the day! I NEED SUNSHINE!

Okay, so I had 6 high points and only 3 low points. That's not such a bad week! All I needed was a change in perspective!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Love You More - A Review

As I removed the book from its packaging, I ran my hands over the dust cover, introducing myself to the book. I felt the slick raised form of the mother and child transition into the rougher, yet softer, image of the rolling hills in the background. My expectations were high for this book to be special, not only because I had been looking for a book with this message, but also because I knew the background story and had read of the author's journey through life. As I cracked the cover for the first time, I held my breath in hope and wonderment.

I Love You More not only met my expectations, it exceeded them. Laura Duksta guides you through this expression of love with wonderful words carried along by rhyme and rhythm. The images illustrated by Karen Keesler are full of color yet are simple and soft. The experience of reading this book is almost like a hug in itself!

I Love You More is a flip book - or a book that starts from either end and meets in the middle. The 'front' half is from the mother's perspective on love in response to her son asking how much she loves him. With phrases like, "I love you longer than the longest path ever found. I love you prettier than the prettiest flower ever found," this pulled at my heartstrings and dampened my eyes. My daughter kept reaching out and rubbing the colorful pictures.

When we reached the middle, we turned the book around and started the journey again from the son's perspective when answering his mother's question of how much he loved her. My favorite phrases from his perspective read, "I love you longer than the longest lollipop ever lasted. I love you louder than the loudest rocketship ever blasted." As we reached the center of the book again, I felt a sense of wonderment, love, and completeness. This book is perfect!

I Love You More is the product of Laura Duksta’s incredible personal journey in taking her biggest challenge and turning it into her biggest blessing. At the age of 11, she lost all of her hair to alopecia areata. After 19 years of wearing wigs and pretending to be someone she wasn’t, Laura made a decision on her 30th birthday to throw a coming out party as “The Bald Chick” and never looked back. While it took her many years to love herself and to allow others to love her, the lessons she learned along the way are as heartwarming as they are inspiring. She believes that when people know they are loved, anything is possible. Her mission is to share her story so that others might see that no matter what challenges they are facing, anything is possible with love. She is now fulfilling this mission through her book, school programs and inspirational talks.

Illustrator Karen Keesler earned the nickname “Hippie” from her love for people and the planet. Upon hearing about Laura’s book, Karen took a bag of pastel chalks that she bought at a yard sale for 50 cents and drew the perfect pictures for the text. Together they become known as the author and illustrator dynamic duo, Hippie and The Bald Chick.

I already have plans to buy several copies of this book for friends and family as gifts for the holidays. We will continue to read this every night before bed. What more perfect way can there be to tuck my daughter in feeling full of love and joy?

***Disclaimer: This is a free review. No money was exchanged or additional offers made in return for completing this review. The only transaction was the receipt of a reviewer's copy of the book. If you would like your book reviewed, please email me at asumers [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Doctor's Visit

I don't have much time to post because I have to take Tree Faerie to the doctor again. I'm not taking her for her cough and congestion, though she has another cold right now. Oh, no. Nothing as normal as that.

***Warning: Your stomach may flip. Mine did.***

I'm taking Tree Faerie to the doctor because her labia has fused together about 85 to 90%.

*waiting for the shock to dissipate some*

I first noticed it yesterday morning, but I wasn't thinking clearly yesterday morning. After her bath yesterday evening, I took a look again just to be sure that's actually what I was seeing. Yep, that's what I was seeing. So I did some research this morning and found out that 1-2% of girls between the ages of 6 months and 6 years get this. Apparently, if the labia gets irritated, either by irritants like bubble bath or a bad diaper rash or more sinister things that I refuse to think about (and I'm absolutely certain do not apply here), when it heals, the two sides sometimes heal together. It's not necessarily dangerous, but depending on how much is fused, it can lead to bladder infections and urinary tract infections, things I'm naturally prone to anyway. Thankfully the treatment is easy and non-invasive. If they decide to treat it, the doctor prescribes an ointment that contains estrogen that you apply to the area to help it separate, then maintain the separation by treating the area with Vaseline or KY daily for a while (hopefully not 6 years, though).

So, I'm off to the doctor. Coming soon - the review for I Love You More, a fabulous flip book.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Torrential Tuesday

Rain was not in today's forecast yesterday morning, but I awoke this morning to thunderstorm warnings. The bottom just keeps dropping out of the sky at random, with mild spitting in between. Welcome to Fall in Memphis - cold and wet.

This morning Tree Faerie woke up around 5:30 very fussy. As my mind became more cognitive, I realized that she was kind of coughing/clearing her throat and was stuffy. Uh oh, I thought, another cold. I sure hope this one doesn't come with a fever.

So, I walked her, snuggled her, laid her back down, snuggled her, walked her, then finally put her in her carseat to help her breathe. We got about another hour of sleep or so that way. She was really cranky after she finally got up, and during one of her screaming fits (probably the one after I suctioned the gunk from her nose), I noticed Tooth #2 looked like it was poking through. Sure enough, it was breaking through the skin. No wonder I had a cranky baby! I gave her a dose of ibuprofen, which she took graciously. I didn't hold her down or anything! She opened her mouth, I squirted some in, she swallowed. Rinse. Repeat. I was shocked but thankful!

Once the ibuprofen kicked in, I had a happy baby again, and she didn't seem very stuffy anymore. She still coughed occasionally, but they weren't croupy-sounding. She was even dancing on the way to daycare to Prince's Let's Go Crazy! I love that kid. She is absolutely amazing!

I just called daycare to check on her, and she's still a happy baby, so I feel better. Whew!

Finally, check out this contest from Mamanista and Best Buy. You could go wireless, too!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day! To all the veterans I hold dear to my heart, thank you for serving this great country of ours. This includes, my mother, my step-father, my biological father, 3 uncles, and lots of friends. While I may not always agree with the reason for our military involvement in some things, I definitely support the people who serve in the military. It takes a lot of honor and commitment to endure some of the hardships you encounter, and I admire you for it. Again, thank you.

In other news...

***Warning: I'm talking about Breasts again! If you don't want to know, skip to the next ***.

I have ANOTHER plugged duct! The first one cleared out Friday night, bringing wonderful relief and leaving only a little tenderness. Yesterday evening, I discovered another one slightly to the right of where the first on was. I don't know what I'm doing that keeps causing these, but I do not enjoy them in the least. I slept with the heating pad last night, which made it feel better, and it's moving down today. The moving part is only painful when it actually moves or when it's time to pump. The rest of the time, I'm fine.

***It is now safe to read again.***

We had a good weekend. NaBloPoMo is actually rather difficult because it's hard to find time to just sit and write when I'm at home. Any down time I have at home is spent doing other things. But a short post is better than no post at all, right? Saturday night we went to a chili cookout at a friend's house in the country. I really admire that she drives SO far to come to work. I don't see me doing that in this life. We all had a great time. Sunday was spent doing laundry and taking it easy. No major drama and nothing stressful = my kind of weekend.

This morning I got my flu shot, and Tree Faerie will have hers on Saturday morning. I figure with her in daycare and me working, we can't afford to get the flu. DTTF isn't getting the flu shot, but he's a big boy and can take care of himself. I bought Vicks Vaporub just for the occasion and even shared!

For those of you who don't know, if you put Vicks Vaporub on the shot site after getting a shot, it relieves and reduces the soreness. A lady who works for one of our clients told me about this a few hours after Tree Faerie got her 4-month shots. I didn't use it immediately, but the next day her legs were really tender, and she screamed whenever the daycare teachers touched her legs. I had to go pick her up from daycare because they couldn't console her. I put Baby Vicks on her thighs as soon as we got home (and yes, she screamed), and within 30 minutes I had a happy baby again instead of a scream-monster. I've been a believer ever since.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Short

I absolutely love my daughter's laugh, especially when she seems to chuckle from her toes! A great Sunday, though we're still waiting for T00th #2 to pop up. It's taking forever and making a cranky babe.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tribute to November

What could be better than hanging out with awesome people (including my daughter and hubby) in the cool November evening, eating chili and smores, and enjoying a bonfire?

At the moment, I can't think of anything...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Finally Friday - Breastfeeding

Well, it's finally Friday, and I'm counting down the hours until the weekend officially starts (2 hrs, 53 minutes from right now). Of course, I'm going into the weekend with a plugged duct that's working it's way out. Not fun. Thankfully it is working it's way out and not sticking around to cause mastitis. I caught it early, so I was able to begin treatment immediately. Ah, the joys of breastfeeding.

I know that breastfeeding does not work for everyone, either because of their beliefs or their bodies. Personally, I still find it amazing that my body produces Tree Faerie's food. Sometimes it amazes me even more that she actually likes it and prefers it over solid food! I think she'd nurse pretty much all day if I let her. She tries to nurse all night. Just call me Mama' Buffet...

Still, I wouldn't trade it for the world. I know I will be sad when we wean in a few months, though the bonds we created over the past 10 months will hopefully last forever. Thankfully, Tree Faerie likes to snuggle, so at least I'll still get snuggles and kisses. I want her to be weaned by the time she turns two, not because I think it's wrong for a toddler to still nurse, but because I don't think it's for me. My parenting style is mostly baby-led, so I'm hoping she'll take the reins and decide she's done nursing before I have to force the issue.

Of course, when I say force, I mean to gradually reduce the number of nursing sessions until we ultimately cut them out entirely.

And because I have a plugged duct, this is what is on my mind as we head into the weekend.