Monday, July 30, 2012


I returned last night from a blissful three day weekend in AZ with three other mamas of toddlers. And what a weekend it was. The scene of our bliss was the Montelucia Resort and Spa where the spa is rated #1 in AZ. Because I'm trying to watch the Olympics while posting here, I will resort (ha..get it? Resort? resort?) to pictures.

We arrived around lunchtime on Friday, hungry and ready for some pool time. (Kathy, me, Christiana and Lisa M.)
After a bit of a rough start (major room screw-up), we finally settled in for lunch (and free drinks courtesy of Brian the manager charged with fixing our problem)
and an afternoon of pool lounging. (We also got comped one of our two rooms for both nights and two bottles of wine!).
 Our view of Camelback Mountain from one of our suites.
The main pool.

We went out for supper in Old Scottsdale but alas, no pictures were taken! I was so exhausted that all I really wanted to do was go to bed. We came back relatively early and that's just what I did and ended up sleeping 10 amazing, uninterrupted hours. We got up and had a light breakfast on our porch before heading to yoga.
After a proper "second" breakfast, we spent the remainder of Saturday in the Joya spa and in the terrace pool.
Before entering the spa, you choose a stone representing an area of your life you would like to focus energy upon and then place it on the pedestal.
The Joya Terrace and pool.
 Lunch poolside.

After our spa treatments, you could retire to the "Whisper Room" for a nap. And oh yes, yes I did. The beds were oh so comfy and with the drapes drawn around it was quite cozy. They provided pillows and very, very soft blankets. It was HEAVEN.
I finally emerged from the spa at 7pm only to find it was...raining. In a place notoriously known for their lack of rain, I found it amusing that I was walking back across the grounds in the rain, nothing on but my pool coverup (my swimsuit was still wet and I was showered and lotioned...not a good combo). The rain was actually a good thing as there were only a few people out who I had the potential to flash with my bare bottom!

We were all pretty tired so we stayed in the room, ate/drank our leftover wine/cheese/crackers, watched a bit of the Olympics and headed for another early bedtime. We repeated our previous morning (yoga, breakfast) and then headed back to the room to shower and pack.
I will definitely be back. It was so restful and very much needed.
A short note about Len and the girls: all fared quite well. Ms. Julie watched the girls all day Friday and then helped Len with supper and the bedtime routine. Len took the girls to the pool on Saturday and to soccer on Sunday. Ms. Julie came over both evenings to again help with supper and bedtime. This has the added feature of getting the girls used to her putting them to bed so Len and I can finally go out for an evening prior to them going to bed--something we have not done since Kate was born.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I decided to go with the nicer post title, Transitions, rather than what I was going to use: Something's Gotta Give.

We've been home with Lucy almost a year and I still feel like we are all hanging on by a thread most days. The only person getting any real sleep is Lucy, mostly because she can sleep through a tornado. The problem is that she is also an early (and I do mean EARLY) riser. As in 5:15-5:30am. I have moved her bedtime all over the place (after waiting a few weeks to see if it is working before shifting it again) to no avail. Her bedtime has ranged from 6pm to 9pm and every quarter hour in between. The one unchanging equation is her wake up time. It is always within 15 minutes of 5:30am. Nana even bought a clock that shows the moon and sun which we fortify with a daily and nightly explanation of what solar object she needs to see in order to be out of bed. That has not worked.

On top of that, I'm afraid we have compounded the problem.  Here's the scenario: Lucy wakes up every morning with loud LOUD!! cries. Most of the time she is not actually crying with tears nor is she even standing up. I thought she might just be dreaming but no, within a minute or two, she is standing up and screaming for DADDDDDYYYYY or MAMAAAAA. So it's not a stretch to see who else is going to be awake....EVERYONE, and none of us are happy about it. In order to avoid waking Kate, either Len or I make a mad dash down the hall as fast as we can, whisk her out of the room and try to get the door closed before she lets out another ear piercing wail, then she spends the next 45 minutes thrashing about in our bed until we both are so bruised we just get up. We are successful in keeping Kate asleep approximately 63% of the time. The other 37% finds both girls awake and demanding to be let out of jail their cribs which means we will all be up because 4 people in a queen sized bed sucks.

And let me just say that waking up every single day with your feet flat on the floor and running is not good for your stress levels (see previous post on adrenal depletion). It just sets off the day on a bad foot (so to speak).

Then there's naptime. Kate, always the notorious non-napper, has not wavered in her belief that naps are designed mainly to keep her from having a full and happy life. I still put her in there because about 7% of the time she will actually fall asleep while bellyaching about how she's not sleepy. The rest of the time she will mullygrub about in her crib for about 20 minutes before standing up and either calling quietly for me or worse, standing over at Lucy's side of the room trying to wake her up. Somedays, like today, Lucy will wake up and not be able to go back to sleep.

Speaking of today, Lucy woke at 3:30am....and never went back down. NEVER. WENT. BACK. DOWN. OMG, really?? I have no idea which karmic god I have irritated but I'm sorry for whatever it was. Truly.

So, Lucy managed to wake Kate up but after I had been in there several times and checked diapers, bedtime loveys, etc and found nothing amiss, I made the following pronouncement:

ENOUGH! I am going back to bed with your father. You can either go back to sleep or you can sit up and play with your toys, sing songs, tell stories, whatever you like. I will be back when the moon on your clock switches over to the sun and not one minute before that. I love you both. Goodnight.

Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I went back to my bed, turned off the sound on the monitor, put on my eyeshades and slept until 6:15. I woke up to both of them still awake. Kate was laying down and talking to her doll but Lucy was still just sitting there, occasionally wailing and then waiting to see if there would be a response.

All of these things combine to make the hours between 3pm and bedtime A LIVING HELL. They fall more. They cry more. Their ability to handle even minute chastisement shrinks to infinitesimal levels. Did I mention there was a lot of crying?

So now I'm eyeing this room.
I love having a guest room because I really enjoy having people come stay with us but good golly, I need to sleep more than I need a guest room. So, I've started planting the idea in the girls that when they get to move into big girl beds they also get their OWN ROOMS! Yay! Kate was excited by the idea. Lucy? Her brow furrowed and she said no. I reassured her that she wasn't moving out, that we would all still be here but that she would now have her own big girl bed and her own big girl room. She looked worried. Perhaps I will move Kate into the new room and leave Lucy in the room she's used to. That may be an easier sell.

I have no idea if this will work but I've honestly run out of ideas. The girls are just so different in their sleep habits. Lucy sleeps about 10 hours a night with a 1-2 hour nap. Kate does best on 12 hours of night sleep and no nap but she still wants her alone time. I've noticed at every playgroup that Kate tends to find something to play with and then moves away from everyone, especially Lucy, to have some quiet play by herself for a while before joining her friends.

There aren't many times when Kate is alone frankly. Lucy still shadows Kate every waking minute. Len and I are trying to rectify that to some degree on the weekends by spending some one-on-one time with each child alone. Last weekend Lucy came with me to do some shopping and then we had supper out. Kate asked to stay home and read books with Len so they did that for an hour (!!) and then went out for Chinese crispy duck. Both girls really enjoyed it so we'll make sure to keep that individual time in the rotation.

In the meantime, I've started pricing out what it will take to turn the guest room into either Kate's or Lucy's room. The designer in me is excited by the new project!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another China baby finds a home

Len went to high school with Julie and has remained in contact with her all these years. She adopted their beautiful daughter, Emma Rae, 6 years ago and is now headed back to China to bring home her sister, Remi Jane. Her original blog followed her journey to Emma Rae and you can read it here if you like.  She has now started a new blog to follow their journey this week to China. I have added it to the blog roll over on the right but you can also click here to follow along.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Complete and Utter Chaos. It deserves all caps. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am an organization freak. I thrive in order. When I was working I never left the office unless my desk was cleaned off and all the paperwork was filed. It was self-preservation really. When I was teaching I didn't have time to come in and organize my desk to face high-schoolers before school started...I simply had to be on top of things in order to face a class-full of teenagers when I was barely out of my teen years.

See? I mean, did you write, "Hey girl" in your teacher's yearbook? My students did.
 I have no idea what I had them doing but one of my students, David B., (far left of pic) was more focused on the camera!
 I sure had a lot of hair.
Based on the number of classes and extra-curricular activities I was in charge of, keeping organized was crucial to my survival. (They left off cheerleader coach)

Years later, when I became a designer/project manager, keeping organized was the only thing that allowed me to stay on top of all the projects/clients/contractors involved.

Fresh out of LSU and working in DC doing corporate design.
Later, in residential design, I was also one of  the stylists for the photo shoots...we found these Harry Potter glasses in our client's house while we were waiting for the photographer to do his test shots.
You really have to be on your game when the guy renovating your bathroom wears this shirt to work...and it was one of my own bathrooms no less.
We were nothing if not professional.
Ahh. But I digress. And that is part of the problem you see, because it seems that every time I get started on a project, I end up veering off the path and down the rabbit hole and the next thing you know I have dragged out old yearbooks and photo albums, then I'm scanning in photos and trolling through my digital archives looking at pictures and yet another day goes by without me getting anything substantial done.

As I stood in my kitchen this morning assessing how much of my smoothie I could suck down before one of the girls noticed it and tried to scale my body to reach the cup, my eyes surveyed the room looking for any flat surface that wasn't occupied by detritus. Finding nothing, I grabbed the camera and took a pictorial jaunt through our house.

It wasn't pretty. The stylist in me cringed.
 It's not that it's dirty. After all, we do have someone come in to clean. It's just messy. And cluttered. And the problem with a house when it gets this cluttered is that inertia starts to take over and suddenly you just don't even know where to begin. And if you do begin, you are liable to come back and find that someone else has put something on the surface you just took pride in cleaning off.

I wonder if the people portrayed on Hoarding: Buried Alive are remunerated for their humiliating turn on tv....that could be my new part-time job!


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