Friday, July 30, 2010

Mommy/Daughter Day

Every day at our house is mommy/daughter day. I'm a stay at home mom and I can count on one hand the number of days I've been away from her for a whole day. So today I decided we needed to go to the Niagara Falls Aquarium together. It's only about a half an hour away but I always forget that it exists.

We've been there two other times. The first time, Annabelle was almost 2 years old. We had a birthday party there and while we were waiting for the sea lion show to start, she threw her shoe into the pool. Let that sink in. She took her shoe off of her foot and threw it into the water. She was sitting on my lap the whole time but I was talking so I didn't pay enough attention to her figiting. I only realized this happened when Ryan, a friend or hers, yelled, "Annabelle why did you do that?" When I looked down to see what she did, I noticed her shoe was off. Then I noticed a small brown shoe floating in the water. My friend was taking candid shots from across the pool and happened to catch every moment of my facial expressions as I realized what had happened. They are hilarious! (I tried looking for thos pictures but I can't find them. Grrr.) The sea lion trainer fished out the shoe for me and I was mortified.

This time there was no shoe throwing:) We watched penguins and fish and the seal lion show again. I bought her a small penguin stuffed animal and she got to feed the harbor seals. We were only there for a little under 2 hours but it was nice to have a change in routine. It was great to see her excitement at being able to touch shark teeth and seal fur and star fish. It makes all of the "bad" days worth it for our mommy-daughter bonding time.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bad Mommy

Yesterday was a bad mommy day of epic proportions. Neither Annabelle or myself were in the best of moods and we just exploded! She wouldn't eat, listen, answer my questions, was talking back, and whining. I had(have) a sore back, too little sleep, and was just feeling grouchy. I sent her to time out for talking back, which she whined about the whole time. Then she wouldn't get dressed and we had things to do. I threatened more time outs, taking away privileges, and the ultimate- a spanking.

Now just to set the record straight, I'm not a fan of spanking. I was rarely spanked as a child and I don't want Annabelle to think that lashing out in anger is the way to solve a problem. But I was annoyed by all of the above mentioned things, and I gave her a swat on the bum. It wasn't hard but she screamed like I had stung her with a red-hot poker. And then she said, "Mama, you said we aren't supposed to hit!"

My heart just broke. It still hurts from that one little phrase. I had always promised to be the best mommy I could possibly be and I had failed. And she knows it. I did apologize. I promised to keep my temper better in check. This feeling of defeat, utter failure will help me in the future when I'm overwhelmed. But will she remember my meltdown when she gets older and regret that I'm the mother she got saddled with?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why Was I In Such A Hurry?

Do you remember when you were little and you couldn't wait to grow up? I couldn't wait to be an adult. Then no one could tell be what to do, eat, wear, or when to go to bed. I couls spend all of my time having fun, playing with friends, watching TV. I thought my parents had it made.

Fast forward 20+ years and I wish I was a kid again! I just got back from a sick visit at the doctor's for Annabelle(she has a throat infection), the mortgage, visa and electric bills are all due within the next few days and there are mounds of laundry and other miscellaneous housework to do. This is just a normal day and there will be very little fun to be had today. I don't remember my parents ever really complaining about any of this stuff when I was 10 years old. I knew there were times when money was tight but I thought my parents were living it up after I went to bed. I'm pretty sure now that they were almost ready for bed themselves just like I am most nights. There are too many nights to count were I've looked at the clock, thinking it must be pushing 11pm, and realizing it's barely 9!

So I spent all this time wanting to "grow up" so that I could have some "fun" and now all I want to do is nap. Now I just need to figure out a way to explain this bizarre phenomenon to Annabelle so that she'll realize that being a kid is so much better , most days.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One of My Favorite Spots

1989- I was 11 years old. I was right on the cusp of being a little girl and being a young lady so I was very impressionable. My mom and dad took my sister and I to the 1000 Islands. We stayed in a little run down motel room while my Aunt Pattie stayed in a cottage run by the same family. That was the beginning of many of my happiest childhood memories. We went every year (1990 we ended getting a cottage next to my aunt's so we had much more space) and my parents still go every single year. I brought my boyfriend (now husband) with us the first year we stared dating.

But the reason I'm writing this because of this place.
Boldt Castle

It was the epidemy of beauty and romance to me from the moment that I first saw it. George Boldt loved his wife Louise so much that he bought an island, named Hart Island, and built her a castle. But according to the story, she died, of what exactly they don't say, and George stopped all work on the island. He sent a telegram saying Mrs. Boldt had died. Stop all work. The men working to finish the interior layed down their tools and left the island never to return. That was in 1901.

When I saw it in 1989 it had only recently, 1977, been taken over by a preservation board. It had 76 years of theft and desecration and graffiti. It basically was in ruins. Most of it was dangerous to be around. But we took a boat over to the island anyways and paid the $5 per person to see it. My mom made it magical for me. She had us pretend that we were living in the early 1900's. The Boldt's had invited us to visit their beautiful castle. She told my sister and I that we would have been carrying parasols to keep the sun off of our faces. So we pretended to carry parasols, we spoke with pretend English accents, my dad pretended to carry a cane. We ooh'd and aah'd over every little brick, the pool with it's green water, pretended we saw beauty where there was only rubble.

Every time I go back to see the castle, I see how they are fixing it up. The playhouse is almost finished as is the power house and dove cote. The whole first floor of the castle is finished and this year they did Mrs. Boldt's bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom. The indoor pool is sparkly clean and almost ready for a people to take a quick dip. It's beautiful. I love it. And yet...

Every time I go back, I remember holding my parasol, laughing and singing and having the best time with my mom, dad, and sister. I remember my dad jumping out at us from behind the many doors and walls to scare us, to hear us scream. There was an innocence to that time. They say now that there were dark reasons behind the building of the castle, that Louise my have been killed or maybe just got fed up and left her husband. People complain the some of the refurbishment isn't quite what it should be. That it is not done up in the right era, that is being made too commercial. But I chose to dream about the man who loved his wife and wanted her to be a princess. It is a place of dreams to me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


My mother-in-law is having a garage sale this weekend. We have have lots of junk so we will be sending it on over to her house to sell. But the process takes forever. Our basement is packed high, up to the rafters, wall-to-wall stuff. Mark loves to save things, always stating, "But we might need it." So I slowly whittle away at the stuff.

Right now I'm going through all of Annabelle's old clothing. Four years worth of memories packed away in diaper boxes. Each outfit and onesie lovingly folded away and placed in a marked box so that I could easily find them if we ever needed them again. We don't need them anymore and no one I know has any baby girl's, so I'm hoping to make a little bit of money. But it doesn't make it any easier to look at each and every one of those pieces of clothing. I can remember her wearing every piece; footie jammies, holiday dresses, jeans and onesies.

There are some outfits that I am keeping. I simply cannot imagine another little girl wearing her elf pants. They are red, pink, and white striped pants with little attached footies. I would put her in those pants all the time for more than 6 months, red shirts at Christmas time, pink at Easter. We got our monies worth on those (they were free, from a friend of mine's cousin who had never put them on her daughter!). I keep having little flashback memories while holding her tiny little shoes in my hands. It makes it so hard to believe that she was ever that small or that she is now so big!

I love all of the things that she does now that she's 4 years old but I miss my little baby girl. I miss the way she would curl herself into a tiny ball and fall asleep on my stomach when she was only a few weeks old. I miss breast feeding even though it was so awful at the time, but it was me and Annabelle time and no one else could do what I was doing. I miss smelling her baby smell and seeing the dimples in her elbows and knees. I miss the awe and wonder we all felt when she did something new. I would brag about how easily her first tooth came in, e-mail everyone I knew all of her latest stats from the doctor, cheered her first steps. Some of my family and friends laughed at me because I was such a new mom, thinking that everyone was as amazed as I was.

I'm still amazed at her and even though I don't always brag out loud to every person I pass anymore, I'm still so proud of her and things she can do. She can write her name, count to 20, dress and undress herself and she can almost go potty completely on her own now (she's too short to reach the light switch in the bathroom). And she's starting pre-k this fall!

Going through all of her all things made me remember how much we have accomplished together as a family. She is brand new to me every day but at the same time she's always been here.

As NeYo put so perfectly - You're the best thing I never knew that I needed.
I love you Annabelle Rae.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Summer is so busy this year! Most of the people thatI know are married and already have kids by now so we don't usually have much to do over the summer. No weddings, showers, etc. But this summer is just flying by! Every weekend we've parties, get togethers, vacations plus we're building a deck which is taking forever! I'll probably speak on that subject soon because my head will explode if I don't.

There are only 6 more weeks or so until school starts for Annabelle. I feel like I need to fill every free moment with fun, crafts, playing, outings and trips because this is her last free summer before school starts. I know that it will be awhile before summer vacation will mean something to her but I can remember counting down the days until school started again. My husband still gets a jittery stomach every September remembering his anxiety being back in school.

I hope Annabelle really loves school. Making friends, learning new things, having a favorite teacher- all the new experiences that she will be able to start having in just 6 short weeks. So right now my house is a mess but I'll have more than enough time to clean up someday real soon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Time!

Is there anything better than being invited to a friend's house who has a pool, in the middle of July, during a 92 degree day? No, there's not. That's what Annabelle and I did yesterday and it was great! We swam for almost 4 straight hours, only taking a break for some lunch.

The only downfall is that, with my white English/Scottish skin, I ended up with a sunburn. Even though I reapplied sunscreen two times while we were there. Luckily Annabelle got her Daddy's skin and she didn't get toasty like her Mama. I'm just glad it isn't a bad one and is already starting to feel better. I obviously can't handle 5+ days in the heat and humidity. I guess it's a good thing we don't live down south. I'll take our often lovely Buffalo weather any day of the week:)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Next Step

In two months from tomorrow, my little girl will be starting pre-k. The idea of that simply boggles my mind. One moment she was a sweet, chubby baby, barely able to hold up her head and now we are getting ready for school. Time goes by so quickly, and while I try to focus on the here and now with her, I am really very excited about this next big step. I can't wait to buy her a backpack and school supplies. And school clothes! I have had to buy her a new fall/winter wardrobe every year of her life for the past 4 years, it's the inevitable when you have a child that insists upon growing:) But this year, it will be school clothes. I want her to look cute everyday because it will not be just me seeing her adorable-ness.

I can't wait to see what she will be learning, meet her teachers, and watch her making new friends. I hope that she will love it. She is not much of a morning person and she is in the a.m. session (which I had asked for). I am worried that getting up, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, dresses, and out the door by about 8:50 will be almost impossible. I will do it even though it will probably involve lots of counting, threatening of time-outs, and eventually some good old fashioned yelling.

But even with some of those negatives, I'm looking forward to seeing my little bug march into that classroom and start one of the most important sections of her life. I'm sure that I will miss her some during that 2 1/2 hours she will be gone but I am looking forward to it as well. Time to exercise, clean the house or just watch TV. So my excitement is twofold. One part for Annabelle and one part for me.