Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Little Valentine

With Valentines right around the corner, I am lucky enough to have a new Valentine this year. Alice was around last Valentine's Day, but she was barely a month old and pretty busy sleeping, eating and pooping. This year is a whole different story. I now have on my hands a little ball of mommy loving goodness. This morning when I went to get her out of her crib, she was whining and fussing.  As soon as she saw me she did a little squeal and reached her little arms out and wrapped them around me. And there goes my heart.
I never realized how much passion and love could come from such a tiny person. Having a toddler is much like having a dog. They forget your transgressions quickly and love you unconditionally.  Everyday I feel lucky to be her mom and be the recipient of those sweet squeezes and wet kisses.  It is so much emotional responsibility to be the person who makes it all better, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love that she needs me and that I make her feel better when she is upset or hurt. It is part of being a mom and it is a really key job. I am showing her that love and affection are an important part of life. It is a way to communicate feelings and show people how special they are. As parents we are preparing our children for life. I am a firm believer that it is important to be able to give and receive love and it makes you a healthier and happier person.
I certainly can't take all the credit. Hugging seems to be a natural thing for little people. Right now she is in the "hug everything soft" phase. She spends a good part of her waking hours aggressively hugging her stuffed animals. Micky and Minnie are high on the list, closely followed by the big lion. But the number one is Violet the talking dog. Violet sings and talks and is very entertaining to a one year old. When I use the word aggressive, I am not exaggerating. She wraps those little arms tight around said item and hugs and turns side to side while squealing. Very sweet, very passionate. Borderline manic. It is no different when she hugs us. Manic passion on most occasions. It is not just necks that she hugs. She will hug arms, legs, backs, feet, whatever she can get to when the mood strikes. It is not strange to be sitting on my couch and feel your leg being squeezed. When you look down there is a little person wrapped around your calf like a sloth hanging onto a tree. She hugs for as long as she deems necessary and then goes back to playing or watching a show.
The sweetness of having your child love you is something that cannot be replicated. Spouses have made a concious decision to love each other. Children have engrained love that is not a choice, it is a fact. They love you because you protect them, because you provide for them, and because that is what they are programmed to do. I know we will go through phases where that love is not as obvious, but I will know that deep down it is still there. I will chersish these precious moments of her unconditional love and affection and tuck them into my memory so that when she is a belligerent tween and a surly teenageer I can pull those memories out and remember my sweet little baby girl. It may sustain me when at 10 she blames me for a bad haircut, at 13 when she refuses to be seen with me, or  at 15 when she hates me for merely existing. Hopefully the memories will prevent me from killing her when she has gotten a speeding ticket or gone over her cell phone minutes.  I will know that in that evil 16 year old is my sweet little one year old with chubby arms and soft cheeks who hugged her mommy with all her might every chance she got. That thought helps me to enjoy every second of baby love and soak it all up. I will continue to remind myself not to rush hugs and allow a few more minutes of snuggles before bedtime. This short time of her as a toddler is all I get and I want to have lots of memories to carry me through the tough times of young adulthood and into the adult friendship that will hopefully be there after.
This Valentine's Day will be one of much love at our house. This year I get two Valentines, each with their own special brand of love to give.  Both are sweet and both leave me feeling as if I am the luckiest girl in the world. Of course, a side of choclate and roses with those sweet baby hugs would never be refused...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Easy Life

Life is not easy. It is hard. Being a mom is hard, being a wife is hard, being a friend is hard. Life is busy and there are a million things going on all the time. Because of this fact of life, I am always searching for things that will make my life easier. I am a sucker for any product that seems like it will make a necessary evil easier, or will improve my life. I am open to trying now things and if you tell me it is great chances are I will try it.
A few years ago I discovered the magic eraser. I know many of you have heard me go on and on about the wondrous joy of this cleaning product. I cannot say enough good things about how awesome it is. I know that it is advertised to clean marks off the wall, but don't even bother. If your paint is not gloss it will leave marks. However, the eraser has other much more impressive talents. It will clean a bathtub like no body's business. We live in an old house with an old porcelain tub. The easiest way to clean the grime off the bottom (which has gotten worse since a little person takes an actual bath all the time) is the eraser. You can see the scum balling up like pencil eraser refuse. I really heart instant gratification cleaning. I like to see that I am making a difference. Cleaning something that looks clean already is not high on my priority list. When I clean with the magic eraser I can see the magic happening! It also works great for cleaning the sink (kitchen and bathroom) especially the stains in the kitchen sink. I basically use it for everything and the best part is they now have generic ones that work just as well. Win, win.
My number one easy, time saving product is the Intuition razor. Again, I have often spoken of the joys of this one to friends, family, basically anyone that will listen. It is awesome. It has the shave cream right on the razor so all it takes is some water. Cuts down shave time by 3/4. I thank you, my husband thanks you, anyone who sees me in a skirt thanks you. It is not the best shave, but it is certainly the fastest. The other downfall is that it is not cheap, but these days, saving a few bucks on my razor is not high on my list. Taking a shower as fast as possible is. I can save money on generic waffles but I have to get in and out of the shower before a one year old tears my house apart.
My new great find, thanks to my mother, is the Mrs. Meyers cleaning spray. Not only does it work well to clean the kitchen, it smells awesome. One product, two objectives. Cleaning and making things smell nice. I personally like the lemon verbena scent, and I love walking into a clean kitchen and it smells like a nice candle has been lit. Since I would have to buy a candle to have one, it seems easier just to clean the counters and enjoy the aftereffects of that. I have not tried it in the bathroom to clean yet, but I would imagine it would work fine for counter tops and fixtures. Bonus, your bathroom will smell great!
My last awesome product that I love is not a time saver but it is awesome and I would be remiss not to mention it. Well, technically it is a time saver because it keeps you from having to go to great lengths to freshen your house. We have two cats and a dog, a litter box, an old house with windows that don't open, a baby, a diaper genie, and several pairs of smelly shoes. All of these things can cause a house to become a little smelly. Enter Freshwave gel to save the day. I happened upon this stuff at Bed, Bath and Beyond and the sales girl, seeing an easy target, immediately sold me on it (she didn't have to try hard. I liked the container). Fresh Wave is this gel/jelly stuff that looks like tiny gooey blocks. Weird, I know. You open it and put it around your house and it absorbs odors. We keep it by the litter box and I have been very pleased with the outcome. When things are smelly in that area I just give the jar of stuff a little shake and it does its thing. The only way to totally get rid of litter box funk is to throw the litter box away, and in turn throw the cats away. Since that is a non option (much to my husband's dismay) I am always on a quest to find something that helps. Freshwave is not cheap. But, it does come in a big jug for a little discount and then you can refill your containers. Also, if you get those nice coupons in the mail for Bed, Bath and Beyond, they are helpful. I have also used it in the Little Lady's room when the poop smell is overwhelming (amazing how that can hang around) and in other rooms when they smell stale or stuffy. Also, it is nontoxic which in this house is a plus!
I am sure there are other things that will come along that I will fall in love with. These are just a few that I am always telling people about and thought I would share. I am not one to only use the tried and true standbys...I like to try new things and am always on a quest for something that will save me time and energy (two things which are a commodity these says!)


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