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Archive for November, 2006

Remembering the Match Girl

Yesterday morning I got up early in hopes of buying a $99 flat screen TV and only succeeded in realizing I was crazy to be up that early and everyone else who got in line super early and actually snagged one of those TVs was insane. I spent a half hour in the store and went back home to bed, fully clothed and ready to face the shopping day after 8:00.

I have to admit most of the shopping we did yesterday was for us. My birthday was Thanksgiving Day and Nathan’s birthday is in another week so we had a little gift money burning holes in our pockets. We did end up getting our TV, but not the $99 one we’d hoped for. We also picked up some DVDs, one of which was Disney’s The Little Mermaid. I’ve loved that movie since the first time I saw it and have watched it countless times over the years. I know every bit of dialogue and song lyrics by heart. I was sure someone around here would advertise the movie for way less than what it cost when it was released last month and I was right; we picked it up at Target for less than $9.

For those of you who don’t know, The Little Mermaid is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s short story by the same name. I’ve never read the story, but I understand Disney departs some, as Disney is apt to do, and the mermaid does not die at the end of the movie like she does in the original story. I don’t fault Disney for doing this because their target audience was more likely able to process a film with lively Calypso music than a tragedy in which the heroine dies.

Knowing this, I was surprised to see added to the bonus disk a Disney animated short based on another Hans Christian Andersen short story called The Little Match Girl. I remembered this story well from when I was a kid, but somehow I had forgotten all about it as I got older. It’s a holiday standard when you’re a kid, but unless you have a kid to read the story to you kind of forget about it as you get older. At least that’s what happened to me.

The story is sad and tragic and every time I heard it I felt bad for the little girl and angry that no one ever helped her. Surprisingly, Disney did the story justice and didn’t change a thing (except for setting the story in Russia, I guess). I sobbed and sobbed last night as I watched this story and sobbed again as I re-watched it. When Nathan came into the room I played it for him and cried again. It has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of animation I’ve ever seen. I went to bed last night thanking the Lord for my family, my house and the ability to stay warm in the winter.

Luckily you don’t have to buy the DVD to see it. Somehow The Little Match Girl has landed on YouTube. It’s set to the beautiful String Quartet No. 2 in D by Alexander Borodin and I dare you to hold back the tears at the end.

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Guilty party, table for two

Autumn fell down the stairs on Saturday.  I was in her bedroom gathering clothes to take to the consignment shop and Nathan was in the kitchen brushing dog hair off another item we planned to take with us.  We had just been downstairs and neither of us put the gate back in place.  I guess we both thought the other had done it.  Next thing I knew I heard Nathan shout, “Autumn, no no no no!” and then the thud thud thud as Autumn toppled down the stairs.  Nathan rushed down and I ran out of the room to follow.  When I reached her, Nathan was already holding her.  She was screaming but seemed to be otherwise ok.  I think she was scared more than anything.  Nathan said she mostly slid down on her butt and hit her head when she reached the landing.  The little piece of skin that connects her top gum to her upper lip split and she bled a little.  About 10 minutes later she was her babbling, happy self again.  Mom and dad have yet to recover…

Nathan and I told our mothers what happened and it’s amazing how different their reactions were.  Nathan’s mom, mother of three boys and grandmother of five children said, “Well, they all have to do that at least once,” and proceeded to tell us how Nathan’s brother Dirk fell down some stairs onto a concrete landing when she was pregnant with Nathan’s youngest brother.  My mother, on the other hand, looked horrified that we had put her precious only grandchild in danger.  Luckily we were in Burger King at the time and Autumn was happily sitting in front of my mother eating French fries, so I think Grandma knew things were going to be okay.

I really feel like I dropped the ball.  Nathan does too.  Neither one of us blamed the other because we both knew we screwed up.  Things could have been much worse and we’re very lucky Autumn wasn’t seriously hurt.  Our job is to protect her because she has no way of doing that for herself right now.  She’s like a lemming being led over the side of the cliff, and the best way to make sure she doesn’t fall is to make sure she can’t get to the edge in the first place.  That’s meant to be both literal and metaphorical which leads me to another subject…

I’ve had a great time with this blog these past 14 months.  I love writing and I love sharing our lives with people, but now that Autumn is a year old I think I need to start reigning things in a little bit.  I’ve put our lives out here for anyone to see, and if I’m going to be a good parent I have to realize that, like the stairs, the internet is one more potential threat to my daughter.  Nothing has happened.  I’m just trying to be proactive and follow the example of some fellow bloggers who prefer to limit the world’s contact with their children.

Don’t worry, I’m not leaving.  I am going to have to re-think the content and layout and decide where to go from here.  There will be fewer photos, and the pics I have of Autumn on Flickr will only be available to friends and family.  If those of you who read this regularly would still like to see them, you can join Flickr and have me add you as a contact.  Flickr is free!

I don’t know if I’ll be around to post as much, but when I do, I plan on steering the focus away from Autumn and talk more about my life as a whole with little doses of Autumn peppered here and there.  After all, I’m not planning on changing the name of the blog. 

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The First One

I felt much better by the afternoon yesterday. Today I woke at the same time even though I don’t have to go to work. I just couldn’t get back to sleep. My mind keeps going back to where I was a year ago today; in the hospital waiting for my girl to arrive.

She’ll be one year old at 5:06 this evening. Being a mother has been the most wonderful experience and I feel so foolish for being scared of it all these years. It took Nathan and I a long time to decide whether or not we wanted to be parents and now we can’t imagine our lives without Autumn. It’s hard to remember what kind of lives we had before her.

For Autumn’s birthday party invitations, I created DVDs with a photo slideshow of my favorite pictures taken throughout the year. I created a similar video to share here because, you know, this post isn’t sappy enough already. Anyway, here it is.

The song is “Daughters” by John Mayer.



Autumn’s first year on Vimeo

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Ick

Tomorrow is Autumn’s birthday and today I feel like hell. I woke up at 4 am with the worst headache.  I went to the bathroom and then checked on Autumn, who was very much awake and very much happy to see me.  Her head shot up as soon as she saw me and she stood up with a big grin on her face and bounced like she was ready to party.  I was half tempted to bring her back to bed with me, but I knew how that would turn out and since we both needed more rest I simply popped the binky back in her mouth and laid her back down in her crib.

My mom came over last night to see Autumn and told me my dad had the flu.  We’ve all been around a lot of people lately so it’s likely someone contaminated us with their sickness.  Right now I feel like I’m on the cusp of a nasty episode in which I’m either going to evacuate my stomach, my bowels or both.  Of course I couldn’t call in to work today because I’m taking tomorrow off for Autumn’s birthday.  I guess I could have called in, but no one ever believes you when you call in sick before a planned vacation day.

I really hope I feel better by tomorrow.  I’d hate to have to reminisce about my daughter’s first birthday by remembering how many times I had to flee to the bathroom.

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Autumn’s birthday party was pretty much a success.  Our house is totally not equipped to handle as many people as were there yesterday, but everyone was gracious and we all had a good time.

One of the first guests to arrive was this guy here:

 

I don’t recall sending an invitation out to him, but he seemed pretty interested in the shrimp and the cooler full of beer we were keeping chilled out on the deck.  He arrived right after Nathan took Molly to Ryan and Marla’s for the afternoon.  Molly would have freaked because a squirrel has never gotten this close in the two and a half years we’ve lived there.

In spite of our best efforts, Autumn only took a half hour nap in the morning. She usually takes an hour to an hour and a half nap, but she must have known something was up because the house was clean.  I was worried that she wouldn’t make it through the afternoon and she did have a few bouts of crankiness that forced us to speed through the festivities a bit. 

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the day.  You’ll notice there are no pictures of her opening gifts because she was not interested in the gifts at all.  She was, however, totally enthralled with the Mylar balloon Grandma Mary tied to her gift bag and stared dreamily up at that while Mama opened up the gifts. 

 
Aunt Lisa, Ashley and Spencer arrived early (earlier than the squirrel, actually) and brought this chair with them.  It plays music and recites the ABCs and the little lamp lights up when you sit down.

 
This was the first outfit of the day.  My mother made that dress for me and I wore it on my first birthday, although later on my mother looked at how big it is on Autumn and said, “Maybe you wore that on your second birthday.”  Whatever the case, I thought it looked very nice.

 
Yummy Costco birthday cake. Notice the backwards “1.” We eventually turned it around.

 
The whole time Autumn was sitting in front of the cake, my mother and Autumn’s Aunt Lisa were trying to get her to stick her hands in the thing.  You’ll notice she is no longer in the green dress.  It was not able to stand up to Grandma Mary’s fruit salad.

 
The balloon!

 
Mmm…cake

 
Going…

 
going…

 
…gone!

She went right into the bathtub after this and on to her third outfit for the day.  She finally took a decent nap while Nathan and I said goodbye to our guests and cleaned up the house.  The thank you notes are written and in the mail and, the new clothes are washed and the new toys put away with the old.  It was a lot of work and we were all exhausted at the end of the day.

Now if we can keep the house clean until Christmas we’ll be all set.

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Friday photo: Noodlerama

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