My baby–isn’t so much a baby anymore.

It’s pretty custom to write a fresh blog post for the New Year.  But, this time it’s not about resolutions or solutions.  And, it’s not a trip down memory lane either.  I get tired of reading posts like that.  You know–posts that are full of optimism and hope for the New Year to bring new things.  Posts that ramble on about new goals and ideas.  Posts that reminisce on all the woes and triumphs of the past year.   Seriously though, how many goals do you attempt to achieve in one year and actually achieve them?  Okay, I’m guilty. I’ve written these types of posts.  We all have. But, this year I’m just not feelin’ it.   Don’t get me wrong–I did make a goal list and I’m very excited for 2016.  I’m just choosing not to share it this year, because I’m assuming you’ve read enough of these posts.

  
Maybe it’s because Cora (my youngest) turns 1 today,  and that’s what I want to write about.  The fact that my baby– isn’t so much a baby anymore.  And, it’s totally heartbreaking.   Insert 1,000 tear emoji’s. Sure she will always be my baby, because she is the youngest.   But now, she is a walking toddler.  A freakin’ one-year-old!

  
Each age comes with new responsibilities, stages, and developments.  And, with Cora turning one I’ve slowly entered into this world where my children are starting to fight.  Sibling rivalry has officially begun folks.  Uhh surprise! –Yeah, no.   It’s not fun.

And if you have kids you know how it goes:

Cora is holding a toy.

McKinley grabs the toy.

Cora starts flailing and screaming.  Technically a tantrum. (And not a cute one).  It’s the kind where you actually scrunch up the side of you lip, raise your eyebrows, and say, “Are you serious?”   Then you attempt to correct the situation.

“McKinley, you took that from your sister and she was playing with it.  Please give it back to her and when she is done you can have a turn.”

Boom. Fireworks.

McKinley starts stomping her foot with hand on hip.

My eye starts twitching.

Cora grabs toy from McKinley.

“Hey, that’s mine!” as she grabs back from Cora.

Eyes bulge. Teeth clench.

“If you guys cannot share, then the toy goes.”

Thankfully at this point I can still distract Cora—but with effort.

It’s obviously not all like that.  Now, when McKinley stubs her toe, or is crying about her newest and latest “boo-boo,” Cora toddles over to McKinley and repetitively pats her with both chubby little hands.   And smiles.  McKinley giggles. They hug.  Ah!  I live for these moments.  Every parent does.  Because, It’s better than gold.  It’s a calm and peace that rushes through your mind and body.   Where the world makes sense.  And you understand purpose.  And love simply permeates the room in a profound way.

  
“Cora say, “MA-MA,” come on you can do it!”   McKinley has become an amazing sister.  I think it’s a big milestone–developing that role and understanding what it means to be a sibling.  But, in a year, McKinley has owned it.  Cora cries and in a matter of minutes McKinley returns to the rescue with a teddy bear.

Another aweing thing about having a big One-year-old is that their personality emerges.   Cora is a sweetheart.  And that’s the best word to describe her.  She stumbles over to give my legs a hug while I cook dinner.  And is laid back enough to let me hold her in an Ergo carrier for hours.  She has gentle eyes. You look into them and see a softness. I recognize them, because my father had the same blue eyes.

  
Cheers to parenthood and Happy Birthday to our sweet Cora. We love you!

 ~g 

 

How to: First Birthday Party

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Planning can be overwhelming.  Who do you invite? How long should the party last? The cake, the invitations, the theme…oh and scheduling around snacks and naps… exhale.

The first birthday is special.  Granted, it’s not like they will remember it or anything, but it’s still special.  A right of passage for both the parents and baby.  “Veteran” parents.

Helpful questions and Tips for planning: 

1. How many people do you need to invite?  Is that number Small or big?

2. Party at home or renting a place?

3. Choose a day & time. (Usually afternoon before or after nap and I would not make party longer than 90 minutes).

4. Theme. Pick theme after a favorite book or toy.

5. Invitations. (homemade or buy?) – Check out photos below for a “how to” invitations.

5. Supplies: Snacks, plates, napkins, plasticware, cups, decorations.

6. The cake.

7. The party:

  • Friends & family gathered around playing with birthday girl/boy
  • Cake & photos
  • opening gifts
  • playing with gifts and more visiting

 

How to: Ladybug invitations

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Materials

  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • ribbon
  • stamp collection
  • pencil
  • sharpie
  • White card stock & red construction paper 
  • Rubber cement
  • Cup (for tracing)

Steps

1. Trace cup onto white card stock for circles.  Cut out the circles.

2. Cut halves out from red construction paper.

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3. Glue down and hole punch at top.

4. String ribbon through hole and tie a bow.

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5. Stamp or write on the front ” NAME turns 1!”

6. Use a sharpie to draw on ladybug dots.

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7. On the back stamp: When, where, what, time, & RSVP

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~The chance for growth is infinite!~ Georgia




Milestone: 1 YEAR

Happy Birthday McKinley!

McKinley is truly an amazing daughter. I know I know…every parent thinks their child is amazing and wonderful and the best. But duh, if a parent didn’t feel like that about their children then I would be confused…possibly even concerned.

McKinley has grown into this free spirited little girl. My little hippie. Her heart is bigger than her body and her hugs sweeter than sugar. She is silly, funny, happy, and bright. Brilliant actually.

Watching McKinley’s growth has been soul changing. Life altering. Inspiring. Faith building. Empowering. The vocab list goes on, but every writer knows that telling you is one thing and showing you is another. I want to show you.

When I think of McKinley’s life, I think back to when my husband and I found out we were pregnant. McKinley was planned, after an unplanned pregnancy, and unfortunate miscarriage. To me, that’s when this adventure began. No matter what, if you are adopting, doing surrogacy, in vitro, etc… It’s a process. And in any given process you will find love and commitment.

I took the road less traveled by and it has made all the difference.

McKinley’s birth was a struggle, but a precious gift. 19 hours of labor, with some unforeseeable aftermath complications, and high levels of stress. Though, it was all worth it, because I met the most beautiful girl. That’s what life is all about. The struggles and sacrifices. And then, the gifts. Gifts of love, growth, and enlightenment. I’ll never forget seeing her wide awake eyes. It was, I swear, the most breath taking moment.

Here is a look back at some of those struggles and gifts:

Me Pregnant

Me Pregnant

McKinley's Born!

McKinley’s Born!

McKinley had Jaundice.

McKinley had Jaundice first week.

First Month : Smile

First Month : Smile

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Second Month: McKinley holds head up

Three months: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (and first time failing board exam)

3rd month: I graduate with Masters degree in Social Work (& first time failing board exam)

That same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

Same month (3rd): we moved in with my parents.

4th month: McKinley pushes up, and my husband leaves his job.

4th month: McKinley pushes up! My husband leaves his job.

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

5th month: McKinley eats cereal & I create McKinleyMilestones Blog

6th month: Dad starts law school & McKinley Sits up

6th month: My husband starts law school & McKinley Sits up

7th month: Mom fails exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

7th month: I fail exam again, but McKinley pulls herself to standing!

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & Mom quits her job (something she was committed to emotionally, intellectually, and physically since the inception of the business, because she helped develop it.- and still hurts to think about today)

8th month: McKinley starts to teeth!!! & I quit my job.

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & Mom passes the board exam!

9th Month: McKinley meets Santa & I finally pass the board exam!

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, then is diagnosed with Stage3B lung cancer.

10th month: My father & Grandpa (Pawpaw) almost dies, and then is diagnosed with Stage 3B lung cancer.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! Dad does extremely well in law  school, is asked to be a TA and research assistant.

11th month: McKinley is practically walking! My husband does extremely well in law school, is asked to be a TA, and research assistant.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

12th month: Dad gets internship/job at law firm. Mom gets published. McKinley walks.

Through all of these hardships and accomplishments, my husband has been my rock, and McKinley my light. I love you both an insane amount.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

~The chance for growth is infinite!~ Georgia

How to: A Unique Gift

We give gifts because it feels good and it feels right.  I’m a giver and interestingly enough, The Giver is still my all time favorite book.   I love the act of giving because it brings me joy.  I can’t help it.  It’s probably why I got married young. I wanted to give myself fully to someone.  Also probably why I became a therapist. I wanted to give advice and help people.

My favorite gifts to give are the unique ones.  And honestly it’s hard trying to think of unique gifts.  Especially for those few people who you have NO IDEA what to get for them.  Here is a unique gift idea:

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Calendar Gift : This is the gift that just keeps on giving. A gift for each month!

Materials:

  • Colored Paper
  • Stamp collection w/ pad
  • ribbon
  • glue stick or tape or Zots (whichever you want)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • hole punch

Step 1: Making the envelopes. See below left for dimensions. (LeftHeight = 5 inches, Top w/ tab= 3.5 inches, and bottom without tab =3.25 inches).  Draw out this design 12 times on the same color paper or different colored paper (up to you).

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Step 2: Then Cut them out using scissors.

Step 3: Next turn over each cut out and fold in the tabs & glue the tabs down.  Then fold and glue together to create a mini envelope. (see photo below)

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Step 4: Make 12 envelopes. Look around the house for cute tags or little pieces of paper that you can write on to put inside the envelopes!

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Step 5:  Use stamp collection to stamp on the Month & Year to each envelope.

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Step 6: Write on the tags or pieces of paper the different gifts of the month you are giving.  In the picture below (lower left hand side) you can see my “June” gift is attending the Opera.

Step 7: Once you have thought out all your gifts and written them onto the tags, place them into the corresponding envelope.

Step 8: Hole punch each envelope, cut out 12 pieces of ribbon, and tie a bow to secure each months gift.

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Step 9:  I then glued two sheets of card stock paper together to create a “board.”  I took real envelopes and cut them in half, glued them down to the board  to create “sleeves” to slip my gifts into!

~The chance for growth is infinite~  Georgia 

Human Condition

It’s taken me approximately three years to start avidly writing again and only about twelve to finally start blogging.   Crazy right?  What always held me back was finding a topic area to write about consistently.  Sure, “life” seems like the obvious choice I should have chosen those twelve years ago, when I was writing dark poetry in high-school, but at the time it seemed unoriginal.  I was the girl who had to be different, because everyone around me seemed the same.  And come on…predictable equals boring.  That’s probably why countless times in my life I’ve been called a weirdo.

Then, freshman year of College, my incredibly sexy english teacher asked me, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”   I said,

“A writer.”  And, I was not saying this because he was sexy.  It was the truth.

“Well then, what do you plan to write about?”

“An autobiography,” I responded.

He crossed his arms, “what makes you think people want to read about your life?”  My cheeks flushed… my jawed dropped…and I’m pretty sure we call this condition embarrassment.

“Because, I’ve seen things people my age have not.”  That was the end of the conversation, but I was left wondering, then what do I write?

~McKinley deep in thought~

You should know that today is a special day.  It’s McKinley’s ½ Birthday.   And we’ve spent the day reflecting (a common practice in the household) on the things we have learned the past 6 months.

McKinley’s Journey includes learning:

  • 1)      To hold her head up,
  • 2)      To roll both ways,
  • 3)      To reach & grasp for objects,
  • 4)      To sit,
  • 5)      To eat cereal,
  • 6)      To crawl,
  • 7)      To screech & babble
  • 8)      Her likes & dislikes
  • 9)      And other codes of communication.

My journey includes learning:

  • 1)     New responsibility becoming a mother
  • 2)     A new meaning of life & evolving love
  • 3)     The DSM-IV (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders)
  • 4)     Administration, Childhood development, Intervention Theories & Techniques, Ethics-and basically anything Social Work related.
  • 4)     Never to plan on the plan, but have one.  And, it’s okay to abandon the plan.
  • 5)     No one can take your education from you.  It’s worth the money.

Later in life I realized people want connection, want to feel like, Oh hey, I’m actually not alone.  You see, we enjoy reading about the human condition.  Therefore, autobiographies are awesome and sexy teachers suck.   I’m not writing because I have something interesting to say, or have random experiences that you don’t.  I’m writing for me, the weird girl who doesn’t have to be different anymore, to write.  And, I don’t love any one thing enough to consistently write about it, other than my family.