It’s summer, it’s hot and I’m past the point in my pregnancy where I can even pretend that being outside doing anything is fun.  I can’t even fake it.  So I don’t try.  I don’t apologize for it either.  Even Addie thinks it’s too hot outside.  On the mornings – early mornings – that we do go outside to play she’ll tell me she’s hot and wants to go in.  She doesn’t have to tell me twice.  That is for sure. 

So, instead of sitting in the house with the blinds drawn all summer, I’ve made it my mission to find lots of fun indoor activities for us to do.  And, truth be told, Addie doesn’t even seem to miss the outdoor playground.  She still gets to ride her bike and go to the pool with her Dad in the evenings and on weekends so she doesn’t much mind all the climate control during the weekdays.

This week Addie started gymnastics (Or manassicks if  you ask her) and dance lessons.    I was a little apprehensive about signing her up because there’s a pretty strict “no parents allowed” policy for her age group.  I thought this was a good time to start, though, because in August she’ll be going to Children’s Day Out two days a week. 

This was the first time Addie has done anything without me and though I prepared her for it ahead of time, it didn’t really register.  Not until she was walking into her first gymnastics class, looked up to tell me something and I wasn’t there.  She ran back to get me and I walked her into the room and then left.  She could see me through the giant wall of windows that separates the waiting room from the gym, but still she sat down on the mat, looking at the door with her bottom lip quivering.  I counted backwards, slowly, from ten, totally blanking out on the conversation I was having with another parent in the waiting area.  I couldn’t watch her like that any longer and just as I made my move to run into the gym and get her, the teacher distracted her with the first activity and that was it.  Poof.  It was over and she was all smiles for the rest of class.

She loves her classes and talks about them all the time.  We were talking over breakfast on Monday before her dance class when she said, “Addie goes to dance.  Mommy can’t help, you wait outside.”  So she gets it and I think she even likes having that little bit of time to herself.  I have to admit, it’s a bit of a blow to the ego.

At the end of dance class this week all of the Mom’s went in the room to take pictures of the dancers.  It was “Rockstars and Divas” day and the kids were all dressed up and looking cute.  I was the last Mom to walk in the room and as I was getting my camera out I looked over at Addison and she was pointing at me and crying.  I thought, ‘Oh, she wants her Mommy.  Maybe I shouldn’t have come in the room.’  So I asked her, “What’s wrong sweetie?”  and she pointed at the door and said, “Mommy, you go outside.”  I was booted from dance class.  My, how quickly the grow.

Here are a few cute videos from Addie’s first gymnastics class.

A: Mommy, Addie’s Daddy at work?

M: Yes, sweetie Daddy’s at work.  Where does your Daddy work?

A:  At hockey.

M: What about Oliver? Does he work?

A: No, Oliver stays home and goes to the doctor.

M: Well, what about Mommy?  Does Mommy work?

A: (shaking head) No, Mommy goes to the store.

Addie and I joined some friends for a morning of strawberry picking last week.  When we made these plans I thought that it would be fun for Addie, but unless those strawberry plants were about five feet tall, I wouldn’t be bending my very pregnant butt over to crawl around a field and pick berries.  Then I got out there and I saw all of the gorgeous, shiny, juicy red berries – many of which Addie was passing up for mushy berries or green berries – and I was forced to join the fun.  I’m that much of a control freak, apparently, that I can’t just let my kid pick the berries that make her happy and call it a day.  I have to get involved and make sure she finds the best berry in the entire field.  It is not a contest.

The girls did a great job picking fruit and filling their little buckets.  When Addison collected more than a dozen berries, she would complain that her bucket was too heavy and empty it into my bucket.  If I didn’t act fast enough the bucket would very dramatically fall from her arm, spilling berries to the ground.  Then she would stand there and supervise while her friend rushed over to pick up every last strawberry. 

Long day in the fields


This excursion could not have come at a better time.  I came across this recipe  for Strawberry Jam a few weeks ago and I’ve been itching to try it.  I had actually planned to buy a few pounds of strawberries at Sam’s Club this week solely for this purpose.

After two full days and four stores I was beginning to give up on my dream of homemade strawberry jam.  I couldn’t find pectin anywhere.  I visited two supermarkets, a Super Target and Hobby Lobby with no luck.  I was about to give up and make a 10 dozen strawberry cupcakes just to use the berries before they grew hair, when I decided to give Super Wal-Mart a try.  If you’re planning to make jam anytime soon, let me save you a lot of time and mileage on your car.  You can find the pectin at Super Wal-Mart in the baking aisle.  I’m not sure it exists anywhere else in the whole world.  

Addie was my helper in the kitchen, naturally.  She mashed the berries, sealed the jars and acted as quality control inspector.

And to prove to my daughter that I wasn’t a total control freak, I didn’t grab the masher from her to smooth out the lumps that she missed.  Although I may have been very, very tempted.

…examples she will give her therapist someday when discussing her traumatic childhood.  Surely sharing this video with the internet qualifies.

Yesterday evening Addison had a touch of a fever.  It came out of nowhere and she was acting fine. I think  it could have been the result of an afternoon of running around in the sun, watering her herb garden and stomping around in her kiddie pool.  I gave her some Tylenol and sent her to bed thinking I might need to stay armed with the Tylenol in case her temperature rose again and she woke up during the night.

She didn’t.  But I did.  At 2:30, this baby growing inside of me starting kicking hard enough to startle me out of sleep.  It’s been happening more and more over the past few weeks and I’m truly worried about this girl’s internal clock and how long it will take me to reset it once she joins us in August.  Admittedly, I am a light sleeper but I rarely had this problem when I was pregnant with Addie.  I simply can’t sleep with someone kicking the small of my back – whether from the inside or the outside.

The baby wasn’t settling down anytime soon and laying there in bed not being able to fall asleep was torture.  I told myself I needed to check on Addison to make sure her fever hadn’t returned.  She had, afterall, just whimpered over the monitor.  A sure sign that she’d be up wailing any minute.  But really, I just needed a change of atmosphere.  I grabbed the Tylenol, slipped out of the bedroom and tip-toed upstairs careful not to wake Oliver.  If he knew I’d left the room he’d thump up the stairs, break down Addie’s door and whip his tail against the side of the bed until everyone in the room acknowledged his presence. 

Addie woke up when she heard the click of her door and she turned her nightlight on.  She saw it was me in her room and scooted over in the bed, patting the pillow next to her.  She said, “Oh, hi Mommy.  Lay down right here.” She gave me a kiss on the cheek when I climbed into the bed next to her.  I never greet her that sweetly when she wakes me up at 3:00 AM.  I could learn a lesson or two.

Addie and I are just back from a two-week trip to New England.  This was the longest trip we’ve taken yet.  I was nervous about it, not only because I’d be doing the solo-parenting thing for two weeks, but also because if things didn’t go well we were stuck.  Like that one trip when Addison refused to drink any fluids because I didn’t pack the pillow she likes to lay on while she drinks her milk.  I only wish I were kidding. This is the kind of diva I am living with.  That visit almost landed her in the ER for dehydration.  But it was a short one, comparatively. Only six days.  So, I was nervous about two whole weeks. Plus, this would be the longest she’s gone without seeing her Dad and I was worried about a melt down. 

Only one paragraph into this post and already with all of the worrying, right?  Somebody get me a Valium. 

We haven’t taken a trip to visit family in a while because of all of Oliver’s medical issues over the winter.  Traveling just wasn’t in the budget with all of our veterinary bills.  With me progressing in my pregnancy (read: getting bigger and bigger) I didn’t want to wait too much longer to travel (read: buckle my expanding stomach into an airplane seat for four hours).  And since I won’t be traveling again before Baby #2 comes along, I wanted to make the trip a long one. 

I was a little concerned (that’s just another word for worried) about how Addie would react upon seeing her family for the first time in so many months.  I dread her clinging and burying her head in my shoulder when someone tries to say hello.  Surprisingly, she did great.    She’s mostly overcome the stranger anxiety that has plagued her since she was an infant.  The first day of our trip, I could almost see the little wheels spinning in her head every time someone greeted her.  She was like, “Oh, you’re smiling ’cause I’m here?  Great!  Let’s hug it out!” It was a pleasant change from some previous visits when she would warm up for only a day or two before we left.

Addie did ask for her Dad while we were away but she would quickly tell me that he was working when I said he wasn’t available.  It was as though she thought he was on a long business trip while we were hanging at Auntie Jen’s house.  As much as she missed her Dad, she was still upset the day we packed up to leave.  She was screaming when I deflated her air mattress.  I can’t say I blame her, she had cousins to play with, grandparents, aunts and uncles to dote on her, puppies to chase and a trampoline to jump on for hours a day.  It was must have felt like being in a traveling circus.  And now that we’re settled back in Houston, I kind of miss the circus too.

My shadow

My garbage disposal

My pound puppy

My pain in the ass

My alarm clock

My cancer patient

My daughter’s best friend

My heart dog