Spring Ambitions

I’m not a winter-girl. If you’ve ever held my icy hand, you might understand why not. I don’t mind November and getting cozy in a different wardrobe, but the excitement quickly fades and I complain endlessly about how much I hate sweaters, scarves, and boots. Not sure if this is the type of thing I need to apologize for these days, but please don’t find my seasonal stereotypes offensive. Christmas is enough to distract me in December, but on the 26th I impatiently wait for spring.

I must be part grizzly, because I set my alarm clock to springtime. I awaken from my hibernation in March and have an urge to do what I am so reluctant to do in the winter; GO OUT AND DO STUFF. In the winter my errands are a chore, in the springtime they are an excellent reason to get out of the house and find something else to do. My energy level skyrockets and being busy when the season changes is less negative than it is in the colder months.

My enthusiasm for Spring doesn’t seem to be motivating me through my to-do list. We all know that no amount of enthusiasm can give you more hours in the day. Already this spring, my Saturdays and Sundays become Mondays and I feel robbed of my weekends. Every Friday in the office, we all discuss our weekend plans. On Monday we discuss what we actually did. As you can imagine, my to-do list and my I-did list look nothing alike. It’s the difference between fantasy and reality. It’s the difference between marrying Luke Skywalker and marrying a man who puts his t-shirts on backwards.

I welcomed Spring with a standard cold; no dramatic fever or vomiting, just enough to make me feel miserable and bitchy for 6+ days. Now that I am feeling like my usual awful self, I am contemplating my current reason for being bitchy. Today I will blame it on Monday. Passing the cold on to my son, mother, and husband didn’t help.

If you have never visited Washington, D.C. in the springtime, DON’T EVER! I will be forced to hate you if you dare visit D.C. in March to April when we have Cherry Blossoms and parents who think they are clever and original for being their kids to D.C. for spring break. Yes, I am that bitch who ruined your beautiful family photo in front of the Capitol because I walked right through it. And despite the fact that I might be going to the same place you are asking me directions for, I will tell you I don’t know how to get there and walk away.

Also making me miserable this Spring is grass. I love boasting to others in D.C. about our 1 acre yard. I also love bitching about our 1 acre yard when we have neighbors who competitively mow their lawn to see who can have the shortest grass. I think our neighbors have stopped judging our tall grass, because they are nosy enough to notice that nobody is home during the weekdays and the weekends are usually raining. If you are good with numbers, we cut our grass 1 time for every 6 times they mow theirs. #TeachableMoment

After miraculously managing to survive on 4 hours of sleep each night to read 2 entire books, my husband has gotten me the 3rd book in the Hunger Games series. Easy read, but not when you are the mother to an over-achieving 1 year old who wants to get a head start on his terrible two’s. Reading books is like a drug; I shouldn’t be doing it because I don’t have the time, but once I start, it is hard to stop.  I’d like to jump into Game of Thrones next… that is like me getting a good stretch after I wake up from a nap and saying I might try out for the Olympics.

I have a long to-do list, but I am sure you do too. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but I always have Spring ambitions. Eventually, I’ll be realistic.

But now is not that time.

Now is the time for enjoying new possibilities and complaining about my failure to manage my time effectively.

How do you feel about Spring? Fresh start or just more to do?

How I Really Feel About Valentine’s Day in 11 Images or Less

The rumors are true; I do have a heart. Here is the story of How I Met Your Father and my special Love Affair with Mr. Darcy. Enjoy and tell someone you love them!

Mom-Zombies Wear Aprons

I have a lot of things in my house that serve no purpose.I have them simply because I can. They might have been a good bargain or a well intentioned gift, but they serve no purpose in my life. Bath loofahs are a good example. I probably have 10, am always acquiring more, but never-ever use them.

I can take little credit for the meals which are prepared in our house. My husband is chef. I am cooking-assistant (yes, that’s what he really calls me). I peel potatoes, chop onions, boil water, or any combination of the three. The U.S. Navy might call that punishment, but we call that family time. And considering the food and money we save by me not burning it, we call that efficient too.

Despite my non-existent cooking skills, I like being in the kitchen and enjoy my role as cooking-assistant. Family time, remember? My husband occasionally wears an apron that we got as a wedding gift. It’s a tasteful grilling apron but without a zany one liner about grilling. It just has stripes. As cooking-assistant, I thought it was only right if I had an apron too.

So I made one… Like with a sewing machine… First sewing project… I think you have a good visual now of a misshaped pocket, uneven ties, and more loose threads than your toddler can count. Yeah, that’s my homemade apron you’ve just imagined.

I totally forget my apron exists except on the rare occasion when my husband remembers to wear his. Then I remember to wear mine.

My apron really isn’t good for anything. Except this…

Halloween 2010: 7 months pregnant

Apron + zombie make up + pregnant lady = pregnant lady wearing an apron and zombie make-up

Aprons aren’t just for cooking, ladies!

At least mine isn’t.

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AMAZON.com: That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore: A Zombie Tale

First Year in Pictures

Gallery

This gallery contains 16 photos.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this blog post has 14,000. My son’s first year told through pictures. Happy Birthday, son! ❤

The Moral of Griswold Family Vacations

I have never been a world traveler. I’ve only ever left the country to go to Canada, didn’t go to Walt Disney World until I was 19 years old, flew once on an airplane when I was 2 years old and not again until I was 24, and I have never been on the West Coast.

I can still remember those random winter days when we would gather for a family meeting to discuss where we wanted to go for our family vacation. Being the ten year old history buff I was, I always suggested colonial Williamsburg. I think secretly, I would have rather lived there and was tired of waiting for the invention of time travel. But no worries, my tinkering son will invent time travel very soon.

Apart from my suggestion to time travel each summer for a true getaway, we were realistic about our expectations. Walt Disney World was too expensive, Hawaii was too far, and our family bond would never survive a cross country drive. So year after year I was over-ruled in favor of Ocean City, MD, Niagara Falls, Nags Head, NC, or camping.

Our family vacations were filled with tornadoes, sun poisoning, and bike rides that were a little further than we had thought. Best part? My dad videotaped every second. Yes, as in a camera that holds a full-sized VHS tape sitting on his shoulder. The best souvenir is realizing how much fun we had.

I’ll admit I am now that I’m in my early 30’s (VERY early 30’s) and I have yet to visit Colonial Williamsburg (despite now residing a very short distance away). It has been 7 years since I have been to Walt Disney World but I have never visited there on a family vacation. Although I have been camping recently, I miss the Erie, PA campground we used to visit regularly. As time passed, our family became too busy for vacations.

Why so sad, George? Too much family vacation?

But now our family has grown +1. Although we didn’t think our +1 was ready for a family vacation last summer, I know he will be very soon. We did visit Mount Vernon, VA (best I can do until he invents that time travel) and I suspect we will try camping once or twice this coming summer. I’m finally going to have to learn how to be patient as we wait for our +1 to get older so that we can take him to Walt Disney World in a true Griswold family vacation (green station wagon and VHS camera optional).

But vacations don’t have to be distant or itinerary filled. Instead, they should be filled with sleeping in, turning off the Blackberry (crazy talk!), and spending family time together. Despite all of the places my family and I didn’t travel to, our memories are about the places we did travel to and what we did once we got there.

And we have the home videos to prove it.

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The Best Christmas Gifts Aren’t Free But You Already Have Them in Your Home

With a young son, Christmas was not a major production although we all strived to make it special. It was important that baby’s first Christmas be filled with special memories we will share with him through pictures and stories when he’s a little older. But of course, our good intentioned gifts were not so well received.

In early November when my son went through a surge of developmental milestones, I upgraded Christmas. He was certainly not going be passive about Christmas activities. No, he is a boy who is always exploring, figuring things out, learning, never motionless. Even in sleep, my son reminds me of those grills they use to cook hotdogs on at the super-store snack bar… the one with the rollers.

But on Christmas morning, after we had all raised our expectations to insanity, we presented him with his first gift. I don’t remember what gift #1 was (I have mom brain) but I will never forget what he did with it. After concluding that the object he was holding had an external layer which could be extracted from unidentified item, he carefully tore a small piece away. It was like he already knew his family is full of pranksters and it might be a trick. He paused for a long moment, holding the gift in one hand and the torn piece of wrapping paper in the other.

Then…

He put down the gift in favor of the torn piece of paper.

We were all amused and continued to watch him examining the scrap, after all, he was what we all considered “our Christmas gift.” He looked again at the object he had removed the paper from and picked it up again. Surely he was going to tear into it now!

Very carefully, he held the scrap of paper up to the area where he had removed it.

I looked at the tree and knew I had a lot of unwrapping to do.

As I opened his gifts and presented them to him, he continued holding onto that tiny scrap of paper. Occasionally, he showed interest in some of his gifts, but it wasn’t until an empty cup caught his attention that he let go of the torn wrapping paper.

In the days that followed Christmas, he has taken a liking to some of his gifts. But now, we might have had a few more coins in our pockets if we had just taken some spoons from the kitchen, dug old remote controls out of the couch cushions, or given him the lid from a shoebox. For his first birthday on Friday the 13th, I’m thinking giving him a post-it note.
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Baby’s First Christmas and a Mommy Meltdown

I have been waiting for this Christmas for a long time… at least since I used to pretend that Luke Skywalker was my husband, I was a waterbed salesman (yes waterbed salesman), and we had half a dozen little Cabbage Patch Kid babies.

Fast forward a few (or many) years later and things didn’t work out with Luke Skywalker. Instead, I married a twitchy dude who would probably kill himself if he ever picked up a light saber and although I had big aspirations to be a waterbed salesman, I grew up to be a graphic designer, a writer, a bookkeeper, a teacher, and now working in politics (the dysfunctional US government kind).

Although it seems my most of my childhood dreams never became a reality, the bestest one did.

I became a mom.

Shortly after discovering I was pregnant and due in January 2011, I began thinking about how different this Christmas would be. Even though I stopped asking Santa for Barbie dolls a long time ago, I never truly outgrew that feeling that wakes me bright and early every Christmas morning. Now, I look forward to sharing that with my son.

Developmentally, I understand that my 1 year old my son is not likely to remember this Christmas, but I have been a crazy-lady about trying to make it special. Bless my husband for dragging me back to reality each time I slip away. Until now, I have been a mellow-mommy; I don’t over react to baby things I don’t understand, I don’t try to compete with other moms, and I try my best not to overwhelm adult conversations with stories about my son.

But baby’s first Christmas seems like a big freakin’ deal! They even make special bibs and ornaments for the occasion! Target even has an entire end cap of keepsake merchandise! (I should totally caps-lock this entire paragraph for dramatic effect).

On Saturday I had a for-better-or-for-worse moment with my husband about Christmas. He called me out on being a Christmas-zombie obsessed with the commercialism of the season and totally out of touch with the spiritualism of the season.

Point well taken.

After re-evaluating my Christmas expectations, I made a wish list for my son that contains a few things that can’t be gift wrapped and placed under the tree.

  • Open new pajamas on Christmas Eve:  This has been a family tradition for years.
  •  Write Santa a letter: Children aren’t children for long, but I hope for many years to come this is a part of our family holiday traditions.
  • Donate old toys: My son is still growing into his toys, but in the future this is an excellent way to clean house and make another family’s Christmas special.
  • Elf on the Shelf: My husband and I adopted an Elf long before our family started to grow. This is a fun tradition when properly and reasonably maintained (I’m looking at you, over-achieving Elf on the Shelf moms).
  • Remember the ‘reason for the season’: Although I was slightly out of touch this year and obsessed with spoiling my son, it is truly important for our family to recognize and celebrate the birth of Christ through music, decor, and participation in church services.
  • Christmas Sweaters: This year we begin a new and humorous tradition with our family including colorfully knitted creations!

This is a simple wish list with reasonable expectations. To summarize, it’s all about family.

Merry Christmas!