Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

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Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

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Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

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Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

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I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

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Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

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So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

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We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

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Settling In and Smoothing Out

There are hard parts about this move and the transition from independence to the changes that we have had to come to terms with. I like to think the hardest part right now is that we had to take Punky out of school, because we got so backed up on tuition and it now needs to be caught up. It will get there, but it is a sacrifice that I am so very sad about – she was starting to thrive socially, her teachers kept telling me how much more she was talking and interacting. She’s a shy kid and she’s not exactly a social butterfly – especially when she started school, so to hear those things – made me so happy! And, now, we are back to an only child being at home with adults.

The good part about the move is Miss Punky is sporting the best tan on a toddler I have ever seen. Seriously. Grammy has a small pool and our little fish is out there in her swimsuit as often as she can possibly get an adult to take her out there. She goes on trips to the park with Papa in the wagon.

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Yea, we have a park – literally in our backyard. Do we live in the basement, yea, but we also live in a neighborhood. Last time I pulled Punky around in the wagon – over to the park that is pretty much right across the street, I got to thinking that we didn’t have this when we were living our apartment. We had a cluster of apartment buildings, but we didn’t have ‘neighbors’ or kids playing in the streets. We didn’t have houses to walk past and she didn’t really see lawns being mowed.

Another silver lining, new things to explore. Of course more thing to hurt ourselves on. I fell down one of the three sets of stairs today and busted my knee and threw my camera on the concrete of the garage in the process. I am currently wearing my knee brace, but I think I will live! Punky’s lip is healing up nicely, this morning it was scabbed over, and I was resisting the urge to pull it off, it fell off by itself this evening before dinner.

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My little monkey is such a little curious thing. So it was great to see her be able to explore and enjoy herself. Its super hot, so when we get the chance to make it to the park in the early hours of the day – when it is cooler outside, we take the chance. She finds all sorts of great things to play on and I love capturing the moments. With a pool and a park in our backyard, this summer may be the best yet, no matter where we live!

 

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Another weight lifted off my shoulders this week, when my FMLA was approved for my absences as work. It means that for all things that have gone this last year, my job is being held for me. Thank goodness it was approved. Without it, I likely wouldn’t have a job and I am not dismissive about the fact that there are a lot of things we need to work on and I have a plan in place – but its a weight that makes me feel lighter and a little more free.

With all the weights getting lighter from my shoulders, it feels like someone else is holding onto the reigns and keeping me afloat. My heart isn’t as heavy and for now, I will let someone else push me. (AKA, Miss Punky was insistent that she push me on the swing, no she did not want to sit on the seat, Mommy, you sit and I will push you.) Silly as it is, but being pushed on the swing – really gave me a sense of freedom and it was great to hang out with my little girl in what feels like the longest time we have ever gone since the last time we spent time together.

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We get to spend more time together lately, and with the basement being a smaller space, we spent it closer together. I really do love coming home from work and the three of us going down into the basement and sitting on my bed with  my little girl and talking about what she did that day. We don’t spend all night down there – we sit down to dinner with Grammy and Papa, that’s different for us to, cooked meals and sit down at a table together for dinner, we didn’t do that at our home. So many good things are changing as a result of something that may not have been so good.

Kim and I have things to talk about again. I mean, I can come home and we can just decompress and talk about our day and talk about something other than the mundane and same old thing. We have conversations. We are closer. The metaphor of the small space, the closeness of the basement means we are all becoming closer, bonding and in a way, regardless of what I expected – its a great outcome for us, so far.

 

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Of course, we have only been here for three days – its still the beginning and I have no misgivings that this will be the way this situation will stay. I am sure there will be days when the closeness is the last thing I want, when the lack of private space is the last thing I want, when the constant companionship is something I will want to get away from and have no where to go. But, for now, its just calm and comforting.

We are making new adventures. New memories. We are building new hopes and new plans and new situations. We are exploring, growing and expanding and in all of it, my only hope is that we can bring forth a sense of strength, courage, and determination to our daughter. She doesn’t have to know the circumstances of our situation, the analogies of the bottom in the life we are in right now  – she doesn’t need to know the tears shed behind closed doors or the decisions made in the conversations we have in the dead of night – in the whispers words we speak in desperation of what’s left for us to do.

Instead, she will only know happy. She will only know the memories and the joy. I will only allow her to know the light and the peace and the childhood that she is to have. She is not a grown up and by whatever means necessary, she will not have to be one as soon as I had to be one – I will keep her little and I will let her be a child for as long as I possibly can keep her that way.

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Being a grown up is over-rated and believe me when I say if I could figure out how to go back and make that part stop, be a child longer, savor the playful moments longer, linger in childlike joy and entertain my teddy bears and Barbies just a little more – I would! Alas that’s not allowed, once you are grown up, there’s no turning back and I will not force my baby to grow up. I won’t.

So we are making the best and we are slowly getting out of the holes and smoothing out the bumps. Its not a fix all and its most certainly not the end, but the beginning is looking bright.

Oh and as a side note, all heavy shit aside, I am so proud and pretty darn excited that my kid loves Minnie Mouse and Batman equally! 😉 Its a pretty fantastic thing to me. Raising a kid without stereotypes is my ultimate goal and so far, it’s working out. She thinks for herself and that’s just the way we want her to be!!

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Making Traditions that Last

I think its a pretty regular theme of my parenting to give Punky lasting memories and consistency in her childhood.  I think this is why it’s so freaking awesome to be able to actually interact with our child during the holidays.

Of course, we are all about the Easter Bunny in this house. From the mom who sends over 100 letters from Santa to kids everywhere, I am not holding punches when it comes to Easter either.

I have no idea where the ideas of eggs and chocolates and bunnies came into play on a day that was supposed to be reserved for a man who rose from the dead in a really long, time honored tradition throughout the church circuit.

Regardless – I don’t really care why the holiday was given quirks. Much like Christmas and other religious holidays. I am sure people think that the ‘spirit of the day’ is ruined, but I love that it’s more about family and traditions, and the magic of the season.

If you believe people can rise from the dead and walk the Earth, and not eat your brains – more power to you. I don’t think that my traditions of coloring eggs and hiding them through out my house – gathering with my family with a free meal and filling my toddler with a complete and total sugar high is taking away from yours. Really. We can all celebrate the holidays – it doesn’t have to mean the same thing to every where.

So, without further ado – here’s our version of an awesome Easter Eve festivities.

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My mama and my sweet niece are coming to visit me from 3 hours away tomorrow. Which means, I needed to spruce up my apartment a bit. This was my preparation station for the eggs. We dyed eggs last year, but Punky wasn’t really able to participate – so this year was super exciting for me.

However, I got the fake eggs, that look like real eggs, because I was hoping that she could dye them with less mess and possibly less cracks. When we went to dunk them in the vinegar, they didn’t sink! They floated to the top. So … that was a bust.

I had to make a quick trip a block down the street to the grocery store for real eggs, while Kim prepared the boiling water for my return. Miss Punky was less than thrilled to be stopped in the midst of her Easter fun. That was the first of many tantrums this evening.

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Those eggs were ‘making colors’ for what felt like FOREVER. I finally convinced her to pull them out, after another tantrum of course, but we got her to pick them up, gingerly as a two year old can, and transfer to the carton. We only had 1 spill!

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Basically, one of those orange ones was supposed to be yellow and when she pulled it out, she dropped it into the orange bowl and flipped out! I just told her the egg needed a little orange too! The things I make up – I never really noticed all the strange things moms say to their kids until they come out of my mouth.

After a meltdown over bath vs dinner – her mothers did win – a time out and snotty nose later, we ate dinner, had a talk about nice girls getting a visit from the Easter Bunny, she then proceeded to pull her pants down and waddle to the bathroom. “I hafta go potty.”

That’s new. Well, not completely new. But the pulling her pants down was pretty new. She sat on the potty and didn’t do anything, but it seems like more a thing right now for her. We aren’t proactively doing anything, we are still formulating a plan of attack to be honest. The whole thing intimidates the shit out of me. She’s initiating the moments though, so right now, I figure if we keep responding, one of these times she may actually pee in there.

After our overly sensitive two year old was tucked into bed, I got to put together the basket. Since my niece is coming to visit tomorrow, I didn’t want to leave her out of the festivities, even though I know the Easter Bunny is going to visit her house too. I know how it feels to sit in someone else’s house and watch another kid get presents on a day that’s not their birthday and not get anything.

So, she has a ‘bowl’. It’s all I had. I had to borrow the basket I got for Punky! Quick thinking, some Easter grass and a whole ton of chocolate later, and I’m pretty proud of my modest make of Easter this year – when finances are tough and we are pretty much broke. But that’s a post for another day.

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So here’s to starting more traditions with my dear one and making her childhood everything it could ever be. And, I will let the magic of her childhood continue for as long as it absolutely can!!

Easter dress and family fun tomorrow! Sure to be a post on that.

Sickly Mommy and a 15/52 picture

So, I’ve been literally voiceless for going on three days. I was feeling better in the middle of the night last night, but woke up with such a heavy head that I nearly got in an accident taking Punky to school this morning. I figured it best not to go to work again – albeit – unpaid. This is going to suck for a finances, for sure.

Speaking of finances, we are looking for a new place to live, this apartment building, we have been living in for nearly 10 years or a little less, has decided to up my rental fees and late fees without my knowledge – just all of a sudden. Like I wasn’t already struggling to pay the rent in the first place.

So, I’ve been looking on Craigslist for a little duplex or town home to rent, we don’t really need much, but where we are living right now – they pay utilities, so it’s hard to beat in the financial department when it comes to having to pay my own utilities again. Ugh. It’s been ages since I’ve had to add that expense on top of everything else.

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In other news, we got Punky’s preschool picture proofs back and I can’t decide which one I like. I thought I liked the one of her on the right, because she’s looking at the camera, but then Kim pointed out she looks like she might want to eat my liver (aka: evil shitface) in that picture. So, then I thought, well, I like the one on the left too – but I just can’t decide.

Maybe I will just get both. Like – really, I kind of wish I had more to choose from than these two. They look so similar, but of course, our daughter, can’t be bothered with pictures when I’m paying someone to take them!

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Unrelated to anything at all – I hate the weather in the Midwest. For real – we had a shorts and tank top day and then two days later, we had snow. Which is likely why I am now feeling so crummy.

While at my vendor fair for my Etsy shop, I bought Miss Punky a ‘peashooter’ and a bunch of water beads. I didn’t even know these things existed, but boy are they great to shoot at each other. Punky very much enjoys shooting me and the door and in general just throwing them everywhere.

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We are going over to Grammy’s house to dye Easter eggs tonight and my Mama is coming to visit us on Easter Sunday. Which means, I really do need to kick this sickness out of my body – or I am going to be absolutely no fun at all!

14/52 – Discovering a Nurturing Side

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So my little one has been carrying around two very important babies lately. They both had the name “Ga Ga – Goo Goo” until just a few days ago. Now they are Molly on top and Shell on the Bottom.

That sling there, is a makeshift baby carrier out of my infinity scarf, because I can’t ever get those scarves to look right on me. So I put them to better use.

She has twins and she loves them so much, she popped them into the carrier and waddled around the apartment with them.

This week, I got a wisdom tooth out, and man have I been in some pain for the last two days. I have been hopped up on pain meds and Miss Punky has been (even if she bumps my sore cheek) trying her best to take care of me. Kisses and pets on the face come with the nurturing side of our little one.

Its refreshing and sweet.

We are exploring all the ways our darling toddler emerges into her personality. I love it. I love watching it.

We went to another little friend’s birthday party and it was a ‘dress up’ and be fancy toddler dance party. I picked up a cute little dress at a consignment shop and she looked damn cute in it!

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Her favorite part of going to other kids’ houses is to play with their toys, LOL.

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We took some time to relax and decompress together, which makes me smile so big.

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We also got her some new jammies. They are freaking adorable!

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10/52 – Exploring the Sandbox

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After I picked Miss Punky up from school today, it was about 5:30 and it was pretty nice outside. No wind, not too hot, not too cold, so I decided it was the perfect time to get her to the park for a bit. No sooner did we get our feet in the sand than the rain came sprinkling in.

We didn’t get to play long, but it was enough for her to know that she likes sand! We will be going back on Thursday after school again.