To Plum at Four

(Late again on this birthday update – time and tax season are to blame.  But now, here we are, just around the corner from Pickle’s 6th, so Plum certainly deserves a small ode to her 4th.)

To Plum at Four

And just like that, you turned the corner from toddler to kid.  Little to big.

 

My sweet Plum with the “golden” hair and silly hula moves.

You are the brightest star.  I finally understand what it means when they say someone is “beaming” because your huge smile IS sunshine.  Actual sunshine.

You love to play and be heard.  You love your own space.  Your hugs are always lovely surprises.

You are brave.  You love to run.  You love to help (until you don’t).  You love Elsie cat so much we worry slightly for her safety.  You are good at being part of a team.

You are silly and smart, fun and funny.  You are confident.  You work hard.  And more than anyone I know, the camera catches the essence of you.  Perhaps because you don’t hold back, or perhaps because you just can’t help but let your light shine through.

You are my middle, and perhaps – unsure when to lead and when to follow – you just decided to do it your own dang way in your own sweet time.   And I love you for it.

Happy birthday Plum.  Four is awesome, and so are you.

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Summer Lovin’

Yes, there was snow a week ago. But that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about sunshine and the longer days that are just around the corner.

Admission: I am on the receiving end of some ribbing for my love of planning.  It is possible that my mother actually gifted me with a framed a greeting card that said something like, “All spontaneous fun must be planned in advance!” or something like that.

I just like to know what the plan is.  And I’m kind of bossy.

But I’m not making any apologies for my summer to do list this year!  Summer around here is short, and there is much to do before the arrival of fall (and Pickle starting 1st grade. WHAT?!)

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Summer Fun To Do List 2016

  • Pick up subs and have an afternoon/evening picnic/swim at a local lake
  • Attend a Minor League Baseball game
  • Strawberry picking
  • Ice-Cream-for-Dinner Night
  • Weekly trips to our favorite local spot with ice cream, farm animals and an amazing sand pile (aka kid heaven)
  • Surprise the kids with a day off from school to go to the beach and have fun
  • At least 2 weekend trips up to Maine to stay with family
  • Go visit my sister and the new baby for a long weekend (probably with at least one of my kiddos tagging along)!
  • Trip to the Zoo
  • Solo trip to the Coast for some outlet shopping and a great lobster roll (okay, maybe I’ll bring a friend, or my husband)
  • Mini golf
  • As many al fresco dinners on the deck as the weather and mosquitoes will allow
  • Bring the big kids to two of the great “for kids” shows at our local professional theater
  • Make ice cream with the kids
  • A few evenings hosting friends for cookouts and play time in the yard
  • An evening with cookies, bug spray, and a picnic blanket at a local bandstand concert.

I was going to add “backyard camping” to the list, but I think my husband would kill me (and make ME be the one to sleep in the buggy tent).

A few of last year’s photos from our favorite ice cream spot/farm/giant sand pile/kid heaven:

 

Happy Spring to all!  Summer is on the way – what is on your list?

You Get What You Need

I want a cup of tea.

Not herbal. The real stuff. With milk and sugar.

And I want someone to make me popovers.

Which I will eat warm with a little butter and cinnamon sugar.

 

I want someone to wash my duvet cover and then put it back on my comforter. Because if we’re honest with each other, that is a four-person job.

 

I want a week to declutter, shuffle and reshuffle, purge (stuff, not vomit – though both usually make you feel better), think about writing something, nap.

 

I want dinner to be done, meals planned. But really, I want to do that stuff myself.

I want a bedside clock for my husband that isn’t the brightest clock on the planet.

I want the socks paired.

Oh the socks.

 

I want not to worry about the four RSVPs, camps, birthday party to plan.

I want to be grateful that I have parties, camps, birthday parties to worry about.

I want new work shoes that I don’t have to break in.

I want to use the hours between 8:30pm and 10:30pm wisely at least once a week.

I want to figure out how on earth to spend more time being and less time doing.

 

I want to cook every day. Walk every day. Sleep more. Pick up less. Read to my kids more. Explore more. Love more. Give more.  Fight more for the things I think are worth fighting for. And sit on a blanket on the grass in the sun.

 

I want to spend more time doing silly and creative things, and less time wondering what could have possibly spilled on the floor to make it that sticky.  I want more time with my kids. I want more time with my husband. I want more time by myself.

I want more time having grown-up conversations. With wine. I want more music in my house. I want less dust. I want my kids to eat less yogurt.

 

I want more dancing in my life.

 

And I want the thank you notes to write themselves.

 

Pistachio Turned Two

A few weeks late my dearest little.
You turned two.  TWO!
And cried when we sang to you.
And passed on the cake, too.
Because now it’s time to do things your way.
Because you’re two.

Our puzzle doer, our book reader, who loves to show us and tell us that you get it, that you’ve got things figured out. You ask for what you want. Your demands are most often reasonable, a banana, a book, a binkie, a blanket, and bed.

Our blonde, dimple-cheeked boy, with the adorable almost-buck-toothed grin and throaty giggle.  I worry about that mischievous glint in your eye, but I don’t worry much.

Our curious boy, who tries to stump us, by suggesting random animals and items during our nightly singing of “Old MacDonald.”  I never knew that Old MacDonald’s farm contained a bear, an ear and a blanket.  And I do not know what sound an ear makes.

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THS unfiltered. I'll eat you up I love you so.

A post shared by Cate Simms (@sarkytartlet) on

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Celebrating his Scandinavian heritage.

A post shared by Cate Simms (@sarkytartlet) on

Our cuddly guy, the one most likely to climb into my lap, and cuddle into my side. Always willing to snuggle in the low light before bed.  Longer legs dangle now, but your head still fits perfectly between my ear and my shoulder.

I love how you love your siblings, and how they love you.  The three of you are so joyful in the mornings, when you greet each other in your room, tickled that you’re all together another day, making that laughing, glorious noise that can only be created by gaggles of small delighted children. You are gifts to one another.  You are gifts to us.

I love you so much my dear littlest one. Happy birthday to you.

To my firstborn at midnight.

To My Firstborn at Midnight

I wake you gently at midnight.

And you yawn and stretch,

Your mouth widening into the imperfect “O” I suddenly remember from years ago,

When your limbs were not so long, your sleep not so solid.

When you were still so small you fit in my arms. And we spent minutes and hours in the glow of the hall nightlight.

Your face, grown, is still yours.

And your crooked yawn is the same.

And I can’t quite believe how heavy you have become as I pick up your slack, warm, lanky body that smells like spit, and sweet sweat, and blankets.

And I am glad. And tired.

Because the middle of the quiet nights with you are mine alone.

It will be years until another person knows your midnight yawn.

For now, it is all mine.

 

 

Of Long Labors and Crinkly Whales

Recently, I was asked to offer some words of encouragement and advice to a friend expecting her first child. My first piece of advice? Pay no attention to even the most well-intentioned pieces of advice. With that said, here are a few things I’ve learned on my 3 trips to baby town.

 

  1. Doctors don’t want to scare you, so they don’t tell you exactly how long labor will last. But I will. Labor will last a long time. A few days. Yes, days. I know only two women whose first labors lasted less than 24-hours. Two. (I’m not counting scheduled C-sections.) And when you’re 40 weeks pregnant, anxious to meet your little one, in pain, and don’t know what to expect the whole process will seem excruciatingly long, miserable, and sometimes a bit out-of-control, no matter how well you plan. But you will be okay. You will.

 

  1. Get one of these.
rockn

Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

 

  1. People with children who are teenagers or older will tell you to enjoy every minute, that it all goes by so fast. Those people are wrong. You won’t enjoy/savor/cherish every minute. In fact, I think it is far more likely that you’ll find a lot about caring for an infant to be tedious, repetitive, messy, exhausting and not-so-fun. BUT, it gets better, and there are lovely, quiet, rewarding, amazing moments.

 

  1. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re doing everything wrong. You aren’t.

 

  1. Forget what the books and registry guides say. Children don’t need much: love, warmth, a food source, and when they get a little older, a toy that makes a crinkly crunchy sound. You have enough and you are enough. Get this whale for the crinkly toy part.
Franky the Hanky Whale by Lamaze

Franky the Hanky Whale by Lamaze

  1. Don’t feel bad about asking for what you need. If someone asks what they can do to help, tell them to bring food and hold the baby for an hour while you shower and nap. Never underestimate the restorative power of a shower and a nap. (In the reverse, if someone is over-staying their welcome, don’t feel bad about asking them to leave.)

 

  1. Bring your own pillow to the hospital. The bed is uncomfortable enough. Don’t add to your misery by sleeping on a pillow encased in rubber.

 

You got this, Mama.

Things I Love Thursdays

A few of my recent favorites…

1. This post from Like Real Life, one of my favorite mommy blogs (though dangitall, there has to be a less condescending term for a blog that is mostly about parenting and written by a mother).

“It is not all a pleasure, although there are many moments of pleasure. It is not all fun even though there are plenty of fun moments. It’s that all those moments, whether a pleasure or a pain add up to something. It’s an exhausted, messy kind of happiness, like finally crawling up the stairs to bed at night and seeing them sleeping, breathing slowly, their soft little fingers twitching in a dream.”

This speaks to me as a parent, and just as a person.  All our moments add up to something.  They add up to a life.

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2. This Side Table. I have no idea why I love this, but I do.  It won’t go with anything in my house, but I don’t think I care.  (There is a good chance I just used my husband’s credit card to order it. It was on sale!  Merry Christmas to me!)

Sterling Lighting Hexagon Frame Side Table image from Houzz (click on photo to go there).

Sterling Lighting Hexagon Frame Side Table image from Houzz (click on photo to go there).

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3. These customized library totes for kids by SixpencePress.  Because I am a big dork.  I’m contemplating getting these for my 3 dumplings for Christmas.  We love books.  And we love our library.  They’ll be psyched about getting a personalized tote bag instead of a My Little Pony, or 2.5 foot tall Imaginext Ultra T-Rex, right? Who needs toys when you’ve got totes?!

Little Boy Explorer Library Tote by SixpencePress. Click on image for link.

Little Boy Explorer Library Tote by SixpencePress. (You can choose the hair color you want!)

 

Little Reader Bookworm Library Tote by SixpencePress.

Little Reader Bookworm Library Tote by SixpencePress.

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4. My final favorite is this quote by Charlie Chaplin:

You need power only when you want to do something harmful. Otherwise, love is enough to get everything done.

You tell ’em, Charlie.

Image from Charlie Chaplin Official Website

Image from Charlie Chaplin Official Website

 

(As always, links are for your convenience.  None of them are affiliate links.)