New Year's meme for 2011

Well, this is probably going to be depressing, but it seems to be my annual tradition…

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Got separated. Hired a divorce attorney. A lot of other things I’d rather not remember.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I just checked last year’s meme, and this was my resolution:

Sometime in late spring/early summer, I plan to deliver a happy, healthy, preferably human baby. Let’s see how it goes!

So, yeah. I did that. Yay me! I didn’t make any other resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
ME! Plus about a hundred or so other friends and family members.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my dad’s cousin (sort of like an uncle to me). He was a very sweet man, and he’ll be very missed.

5. What countries did you visit?
Huh. I’m not even sure if I left the state of North Carolina this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 31st – Lucy was born.
August 9th – Dave and I separated.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I went from a temp employee at my job to a permanent employee in February. That was a pretty big deal at the time.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My marriage. Enough said.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Technically my health insurance paid for it, but I’m going to say it was the epidural when I had Lucy.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom. I hope that my kids grow up and know that 35 years from now, if they need me, they can call me and I’ll drop everything to be there for them. If that ends up being true, I’ll consider myself a successful parent.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I refuse to answer this for legal purposes. If you know the inside scoop on my life, you can probably guess.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare. Lawyers.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The arrival of Lucy. The sale of my house.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Most stuff by Bruno Mars. For this reason.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Most definitely sadder. But optimistic because I know it’s temporary.
b) thinner or fatter? Well, I’m not pregnant anymore, so I guess I’m thinner.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer. So much poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Traveling. Reading books. Doing fun stuff with my girls.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Moping. Yelling. Crying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with Catie, Lucy, my parents, and my siblings. It was really nice.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
No. Sort of the opposite, in fact.

Unless you count falling in love with your kids, because…

And then the little one noticed my camera.

My god, yes. Them.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Not sure I had one. Probably Hoarders.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
See question 13 – no comment.

24. What was the best book you read?
I don’t think I finished a single book that I started this year.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The Piano Guys. Who knew I’d ever have an obsession with the cello?

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
My parents moved here. We sold our house. I found a rental house for me and the girls.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
A sense of closure.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I’m suddenly completely blank. Did I see any movies this year that weren’t animated? I mean, I took Catie to see “Gnomeo and Juliet” and “Rio,” but those aren’t on my list of fine quality films, so… yeah. I don’t know.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. I don’t think we did anything since I was pregnant and miserable.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If my marriage hadn’t fallen apart, that would’ve been nice.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Total lack of fashion, all functional. I’m working on fixing that, though. I bought some cute boots as a Christmas gift to myself, and my goal is to try to take the time to make myself feel cute, because I feel a lot better about myself when I do.

32. What kept you sane?
It’s probably bad to answer this question with Lexapro, but… yes. Lexapro.

Also, my friends and family who let me vent whenever I needed to. Y’all know who you are. And you’re awesome.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I will admit that I have a huge crush on Matt Paxton, the extreme cleaning guy on Hoarders. Because I love the idea of a man who knows how to clean up after himself. That Corey dude isn’t too shabby either.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Probably the Amendment 26 vote in Mississippi. It’s my home state and I still get worked up about a lot of political issues there. This is one of the few times one of their elections turned out the way it should have.

35. Who did you miss?
I missed my Grandmother a lot this year. She’s Lucy’s namesake, and sometimes I look at my two girls and think about how much she would have adored them. She died 15 years ago, and I still miss her. My sister and I wore some of her jewelry to church on Christmas Eve this year.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
My new friend Tanya, another single mom at Catie’s daycare, who has been an invaluable resource to me over the past few months. It helps to have a friend who’s been through all of this stuff before, and survived to tell the tale.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
Sometimes the people you thought you knew the best, turn out to be complete strangers to you.

Also, I can survive a lot more than I ever thought I could. Who knew?

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“Soap and water
Take the day from my hand,
Scrub the salt from my stinging skin,
Slip me loose of this wedding band.”
— Suzanne Vega, “Soap and Water”

(Yeah. I told you this was going to be depressing. Sorry.)

So, happy new year everybody. Let’s hope 2012 is far, far better than 2011.

The Christmas wrap-up

On Christmas Eve, we did our usual pre-Santa tradition: cookies & milk for Santa, carrots & a bowl of water for his reindeer.

Stocking on the fireplace, and treats for Santa & his reindeer

Catie was so happy on Christmas morning. She got everything that was on her list for Santa, and then some.

Catie opening her presents on Christmas.

At one point, she said, “This is the BEST! CHRISTMAS! EVERRRR!!!” Considering that I thought it would be the worst Christmas ever (the first one post-separation), I’ll take that as ridiculously high praise.

Lucy seemed a little confused by it all, but she had fun too.

Catie helped bury Lucy in her mountain of presents.

Plus, you know, there was this. Which made me laugh until I cried.

Lucy's new Foofa hat!

I mean, it’s a Foofa hat. Come ON. That’s just funny.

Hope you all had a nice Christmas too.

Merry Christmas Eve

This has been a pretty difficult Christmas for all the reasons you’d expect. There’s been so much upheaval in our lives, and the holidays are a pretty intense reminder of what’s missing.

But, I have these two. And that’s all that matters.

So Merry Christmas. From our house to yours. Hope your holiday season is as bright as these two girls’ smiles. (And the glare on the photos because I took them with my iPhone. It’s Christmas. I’m not busting out the scanner.)

Catie & Lucy school pictures

the mid-December update

Things that have happened in the past week that I haven’t blogged about because holy crap, where did all my free time go? (Oh right, it’s being spent unpacking boxes.)

1. Our house is officially sold. We signed the closing paperwork and handed over the keys this morning. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. Mostly relief, because I’m glad to be done with it, but also a hell of a lot of sadness, because that was my dream house, and it’s gone. And yeah, I know we’ll make new memories in this new house and it will all turn out the way it’s supposed to be. But it’s hard.

2. Dave and his mom have come to visit. There was a lot of hubbub about it before they arrived (long story), but so far all of his visits with the kids have been low-key and drama-free, and I’m crossing my fingers that maybe we can maintain that from now on. I mean, I kind of doubt it, but I’m trying to maintain a tiny bit of cautious optimism. And that’s basically all I have to say on that particular subject.

3. My parents closed on their house here. Their moving truck arrives from Mississippi tomorrow. They’re going to be staying at my house for a few more days while they get things settled (they need to buy a refrigerator, that kind of thing), but it’s crazy to think that we’re going to be living less than two miles away from each other.

4. A personal Single Parent Milestone of mine: while hooking up the DVD player (which I did all by myself, boo-yah), a giant cockroach came scurrying out from behind the TV and was about an inch away from my hand. Since I had no husband to yell to come kill it, instead I grabbed my trusty Dyson with its loooong telescope handle and sucked that disgusting 6-legged bastard up.

(And this is where I tried to find a video of Delta Burke/Suzanne Sugarbaker on Designing Women doing her rant about, “I don’t care what anybody says, I think THE MAN SHOULD HAVE TO KILL THE BUG.” Alas, YouTube has failed me. Oh well, you get the idea.)

I’m sure that seems pathetic, but that was my own personal version of a major crisis (I have a phobia of roaches that I cannot even begin to explain), and I took care of it, so I was proud of myself.

5. This past Sunday, I took Catie to see Disney Princesses on Ice. She was SO excited.

Somebody is excited about Disney Princesses on Ice.

The ice skaters for these shows are really amazing, and it’s definitely worth it if they come your way. Note that I am in no way sponsored to say that. I’m just saying, if you have a little girl in the Disney Princess-loving age range, you will make their week, if not their whole year, by taking them to that show. And it entertained me too, because I am a sucker for watching ice skaters do all kinds of graceful leaps and twirls that I could never do in a million years.

6. The girls had their school pictures taken for Christmas. It’s very hard to get a picture of Catie where she isn’t doing a hard “CHEESE!!” – it’s more like she’s baring her teeth than smiling. But Lucy. Oh my, y’all.

They also took pictures of the two girls together (which I couldn’t get a good picture of with my phone, since they don’t allow proofs to leave the premises, and I was sneaking pictures with my cell phone before the daycare director caught me). But needless to say, that photo company is about to get a whole lot of my money.

7. In the midst of unpacking, we managed to get our Christmas tree up, because I promised Catie I would do it as soon as we got to the new house. (Priorities. My clothes are still packed in wardrobe boxes, but we have the damn tree decorated.) I usually love to put Christmas lights outside, but I’m a little overwhelmed by everything this year, so we just stuck a wreath on the door and I’m calling it done.

8. I don’t usually get into all of the symbolism about new years being a fresh start, but let me tell you, 2011 is free to kiss my butt on its way out. I’m so looking forward to 2012 and the promise of new beginnings and clean slates. I already cannot wait for January 1st.

moving day recap

So! We survived the move last weekend. I mean, sort of. The quick and dirty of it went like this:

  • Packed like a maniac for the few days leading up to the move.
  • Both kids went to daycare on Friday to save mama’s sanity.
  • Cats were locked in bathrooms to keep them from darting outside while stuff was being moved. (I did not want a replay of the time Beaumont got locked in a moving truck.)
  • The movers showed up and packed what was left (mostly the kitchen).
  • My mom got sick 2 days before Moving Day, and spent most of the day absolutely miserable. (Like, the furniture was gone, so she just lay down on the floor and went to sleep.)
  • All of my stuff wouldn’t fit on one moving truck. Crap.
  • The movers and I ran one truckload over to the new house.
  • Decided that my mom needed to go to Urgent Care, so I sent her off while finishing up with the movers.
  • Back to the old house to get the last of my stuff.
  • The movers finished unloading my stuff right as the Time Warner dude came to hook up my cable & Internet. (Good timing there!)
  • Mom picked up the kids from daycare on her way back from Urgent Care.
  • Since the movers were finished, Catie and I went back to the (empty) old house to retrieve the cats.
  • The cats freaked the ever-loving crap out, as you’d expect.
  • We had take-out for dinner.
  • I decided that instead of a celebratory cocktail at the end of the day, I’d opt instead for a celebratory Vicodin, because my back was in excruciating pain.
  • With all the craziness, we (even the baby) finally collapsed into bed sometime after 1 a.m. INSANITY.
  • The end.


    I was worried about how Catie would adjust to this move, since she isn’t exactly a stellar sleeper anyway. She’s been doing ok. She insists that she doesn’t want to sleep on her bed, she only wants to sleep on the air mattress. Which, you know, FINE. I don’t really care where she sleeps, it’s not important enough to make a big fuss about it, as long as she’s in her own room. So we set up the air mattress for her right next to her bed.

    She’s still been crawling into bed with me every night around 3 or 4 in the morning, but I’m not complaining about that either. I’m cutting her some slack while she gets through this initial adjustment phase. I’ll start putting my foot down about her staying in her own bed after she starts to feel settled here.

    On the up side, she is very excited about her “Bright! Green!” room. Of course, since we hung up her purple curtains, it kind of looks like Mardi Gras in there, but we’ll just call that a tribute to her Louisiana heritage. And she’s decorating her room with those removable vinyl wall stickers. She’s chosen a theme of horses, Disney princesses, and dinosaurs. Which… well, that pretty much sums up Catie in a nutshell right there. It’s perfect for her.

    Lucy is doing pretty well too. The movers broke her crib (like, the wood has split), so that sucks, but we’re dealing with it. (Solution: turn the broken side of the crib toward the wall so she can’t fall out of it. I’m not shelling out for a new crib at this stage of the game.) It seems that now that she’s able to roll herself onto her tummy at night, she sleeps much better. Sometimes she wakes up and fusses (like, not real crying, just making noise) for less than a minute, then she goes back to sleep. That’s been a life-saver.

    Oh, speaking of Lucy:

    6 month appointment

    She had her 6-month checkup last week, and was deemed basically perfect. In case there was any doubt.

    She also weighed in at 17 pounds, 14 ounces, and 26 inches tall. Big girl! She’s becoming quite the foodie, which is awesome and hilarious to witness.


    Now, the fun part starts: figuring out how to decorate this place.

    And you know the best part of that? I get to decide where I want my stuff to go, and I don’t have to ask anyone else their opinion. That’s kind of awesome.

    Almost happy*

    Warning: I’m totally scattered right now, so this post is going to be really disjointed and all over the place. I’ll throw in a bunch of cute kid photos to make it worth your while.

    It appears that I am going to be moving in about, oh, a week and a half. I’m kind of in denial about it. My parents are running around the house throwing all of my stuff into boxes, while I focus on the kids or work or whatever, but la-la-la, I’m not thinking about packing. It seems to be working so far, since I haven’t freaked out yet.

    (Oh, did I mention that my dad is here for Thanksgiving? He booked his flight before he knew that he’d be moving up here 3 weeks from now. We’re glad to have him. Even though he and my mom bicker like… well, like a couple that’s been married for almost 42 years, I guess. But Catie and Lucy both adore him, so it’s good to have him around. Most of the time. I’m personally getting a little tired of the “So hey, why DID your marriage fail, anyway?” inquisition. Sigh. Thanks for that, Dad.)

    Ok, moving on! Other random stuff, which I shall number to make it seem more like an ordered list of events, and less like I’m in dire need of ADHD medication.

    1. I’ve been sick for over two weeks now. I finally gave up and went to the doctor, where I found out that I have both a sinus and ear infection. So that’s fun. Hooray for antibiotics!

    2. Lucy seemed to be coming down with the same crud that I have, and I freaked out at the thought of her being as sick as I am. Turns out she got something much milder than me. She was a little feverish for a day or so, and she seems to have a bad case of Drippy Nose, but other than that, she’s still her normal happy, cheerful self. Thank God for small favors. The Drippy Nose is gross, but it’s manageable.

    Had to take a break from packing to take the (still drippy-nosed) baby for a walk.

    See? She sure doesn’t LOOK sick.

    3. Catie had her second appointment with a counselor. It was good. We took silly pictures of ourselves in the waiting room.

    Making silly faces.

    She seems to be doing pretty well. We’re working through it as best we can.

    4. We’re having a ridiculously mild fall, and I have to admit that I’m loving it. I adore the in-between weather when the highs are in the 60s, it’s so nice. I’ve been taking Catie to the playground a lot lately, even though I’ve been sick and I’m sure I sound like I’m going to keel over and die of tuberculosis right next to the monkey bars. On Sunday, I had to take a break from all of the cleaning and packing and take both of my girls to the playground.

    I didn’t get any pictures of Catie at the playground, because it’s impossible to take a non-blurry photo of a whirling dervish. That girl never stopped moving for a second. But while we were there, I thought I’d try Lucy out in the baby swing for the first time. I balled up my hoodie and stuffed it in the swing behind her to keep her from flopping around too much.

    Lucy's first time in the swing.

    She LOVED it. Like, I’ve never seen her laugh that hard for that long, ever. It was fantastic.

    5. Also on the topic of Lucy’s first milestones, last night we gave her a taste of her first “real” (non-pureed) vegetable. It was my mom’s green beans, which are already really soft, and then I chopped them up into tiny, non-choke-able baby-size pieces.

    Lucy, aka The Mess-Maker

    She loved them, but hoo boy, what a mess. Still, it was pretty hilarious to watch her lean over and try to slurp the green beans off of the high chair tray. So overall? Totally worth it.

    Lucy, aka The Mess-Maker

    Yeah. Definitely worth it.

    6. I just checked and verified that, yep, I am indeed moving in NINE DAYS. Ok, maybe I am starting to freak out a little.

    * This is the name of the song that was playing on my iPod when I started typing this. It’s by a band called K’s Choice. Seemed appropriate.

    a good Monday

    I don’t usually have nice things to say on Mondays. I especially don’t have nice things to say when I’m sick and have almost lost my voice entirely. But two very good things happened today:

    1. I took Catie for her first appointment with a counselor. She was mostly interested in the fact that the therapist had toys in her office, but the two of them seemed to hit it off really well. I’m going to take it as a good sign that she cried when it was time to leave. We’re going back next week.

    2. I have a house! I was really stressed about finding a rental house here, because they seem to get snatched up before I could even see one. But this house became available last week, and after I saw it, I immediately filled out an application to lease it.

    If I was looking to buy a place, I would’ve been turned off by the powder blue siding. And a lot of the inside is dated (fruit-themed wallpaper in the kitchen, etc.). But it’s a rental, so I don’t care. Hell, maybe I need some pastel cheeriness in my life right now. It has all the spaces that I need – a playroom for the girls, an office for me, etc. It’s surrounded by enormous shade trees. It’s an area that’s full of little kids, and there’s a neighborhood playground within walking distance.

    And, it’s exactly 1.6 miles from my parents’ new house.

    So it’s perfect. I’m really excited to get us into our new space, and start working on setting up our new little life.