Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Mommy, I think it was the best day I've ever had."

I almost want to cry remembering her say those words, with her sweet little face looking up at me from her bed as I kissed her goodnight.

The story is probably going to sound mildly shallow, but only to those who don't know my oldest child and our family.  You see, Ainsley just got to go to her first American Girl store and for her it was better than Disney World (and yes, she's been there).

She loves her dolls.  (This I don't get because I never played with dolls). She earned her dolls.  And I'm not intending to sound prideful when I say she paid for half of her first one and all of her second.  The fact of the matter was that she wanted them when there weren't any birthdays or Christmases on the horizon and that's how it had to play out.  But the important part is that they are dear to her and she has devoured nearly every book (at least twice).  So when a store opened up in our part of the universe several months back, I knew she would love to go.  Our world is a little crazy-busy, so an opportunity didn't present itself until a couple days ago when John was off work and could hang out with the rest of the wee ones.

So she planned and planned and changed their outfits a few times and smiled and smiled and could hardly contain herself all morning.  It was almost like she was nervous.  The trip to the store was part of a Christmas gift from my mom, so we picked up Mimi on our way. 

I don't believe the child stopped smiling the nearly two (!) hours we were there, and we did it all: the hair salon, the cafe, the browsing, and the picking out of an outfit thanks to a gift-card from a very sweet school friend.  Ainsley is well known for her indecisiveness, so my mom and I were well-prepared for the stay.

What I wasn't prepared for was how I would feel about it.  We all love our children and naturally want them to be happy, so when we see them (or at least when I see mine) over-the-top thrilled I get a little teary, especially when it is for something so simple.  And I know it sounds silly to say because we were at a store, for crying-out-loud, but it is Ainsley and she isn't a demanding child, and hardly spoiled, and it was a very, very special trip for her.  I wish I had more pictures, but she was so serious and so focused on every little detail of the store that I could barely get her attention.  She would occasionally stop in her wanderings and whisper in my ear "Mommy, there is just so much here.", or "Mommy, I just can't believe it".  And I would smile and want to pick her up and snuggle the daylights out of her.

And while we were sitting in the cafe having our dessert (thank you so very much for the treat, Mom!), it was hard to keep my mind from wandering to someone who would have loved to be there as much as my little girl.  John's mom also loved dolls and loved Ainsley and would have equally loved to be there with us. But she can't because she is no longer with us and it was hard.  Very hard.  She is missed every day, but especially on days like this one when she would have been just as in awe of the store as her granddaughter and just as excited to be there.  She had wanted so badly to take Ainsley to Chicago someday to visit The Store, but life and sickness changed everyone's plans and dreams and so there we were, with one less in our party than there ought to have been.  Oh, how I wish it was different.

But everything else about the outing was perfectly perfect, from the girl who thought the Hermoine costume on Ainsley's doll was "so cool!" (cue lots of smiling from my baby), to the server who (of course) knew we had "McKenna" sitting at the table with us, to the hairdresser who spent loads of time teaching Ainsley how to care for her doll's hair.  It was lovely.

So thank you, Mimi, for so generously treating us at the Cafe' and some "hair accessories".  Thank you, Nancy, for passing on a love for dolls and understanding more than I ever will how much little girls love them.  And thank you, Ainsley, for sharing and demonstrating child-like wonderment to this tired momma.  I forget what that's like sometimes.  Well, a lot of times.  Thank you for reminding me to stop rushing around so much and just stand and stare in awe and smile at what I have been so generously been given.   I love you, sweet girl.

Friday, December 28, 2012


I tend to favor ugly shoes.  The uglier and comfier, the more I love them and even get silly-attached.  I've owned this particularly unattractive pair for about 10, 11, 12 (?) years and I can't imagine how many miles they own.

I was at my mom's a couple weeks ago - once again wearing these bad boys - when I realized something felt funny when I walked.  Felt sort of...floppy, or "ploppy", as the trips like to say. Then it dawned on me that it had been like that for a few days and, when I checked out my shoes I noticed this:

They're both like that.  How embarrassing. I'm 42 years old and who knows how long I've been strolling around with irreparably broken shoes.  And you know what's even more mortifying?  I'm still wearing them.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!

I try to have extra cash around during the holidays because the kids need to start loving to help others out, even when it might be the last little bit you have on your person. They had been fascinated by this gentleman on the way in to Sam's because he was singing carols at the top of his voice our entire way in, so they were extra-excited to donate on the way out.  And their gifting was rewarded.  Not only was he still singing, but he started handing out bells like crazy (Annie had one but declined to get in the photo) and had the kids join in on Jingle Bells.  I think Johnny would have stayed all day and the girls were beside themselves with singing their hearts out and ringing so everyone could hear.

It was about the coolest thing that's happened to them in a long time.  So Merry Christmas and Thank You, Mr. Salvation Army ringer.  You made our day.  You probably made our week.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Huge Waste Of My Time

If this pic is unclear, let the words "Fat-Free Half & Half" scream at you from the carton.  My coffee accepts only full-fat half & half, or heavy cream or anything else normal like that.  Anything else is just a waste of calories and time and money.  And don't let that picture on the front fool you; an entire cup of this stuff can be dumped in a perfectly lovely cuppa joe and the flavor and consistency are barely changed. I exaggerate, but not by much.

How I ended up with Fat Free nastiness instead of what is used to make things right in the mornings at Chez Laird is beyond me.  But I'm frugal and can't throw anything away, so now I'm Miss Grumpy McGrumbly in the a.m. because I'm forced to ruin my wakey-wake-happy juice.

Next time I'm at the grocery I'll have to pick up a pint of heavy cream to make it right.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Probably Only Funny To Me

I've been running for 27 years.  I have a wide range of racing mileages under my belt. This is, by far, the most hilarious running sticker I have ever seen. Ever.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Things To Fling - December

1. Turning 42.  This one hit me hard. But my actual birthDAY was lovely because John took the day off work and we briefly luxuriated in 2-parent parenting on a non-weekend day.

2. Carpool.  I just hate it.  And the newbies and G-parents picking up are beyond frustrating.  Also the woman who insists, every day, on driving past all of us rules-followers and weaseling in some random way to pick up her kid before everyone else.  Ballsy, but reprehensible.

3. The Triplet Tummy.  It's buggin' the tar out of me lately. It's driven by vanity, but I'm allowing myself a few days of self-pity.  I'll get over it.