Monday, September 26, 2011

Something Missing

Well Hello, Blogland friends!

Can you tell I have been busy? Its only been six+ months since I've posted. Remember that job offer I accepted back in February? Well--let's say that I didn't really have a full understanding of how much time would be left at the end of the day for me when I took it.

Its a classic story, right? Getting back into the full-time world of work after five years of working from home and consulting. All of a sudden in this new world my time is not my own. It has taken some getting used to, and some strong organizational skills to navigate.

I haven't been wholly absent from the social media sphere, however. My Twitter account, though mostly geared toward my work at Ovation has been growing steadily. I am also a regular poster on our blog, OvationNation. And even though I am enjoying the job immensely, part of me is missing. I've been mulling it over for a few days.

I have a family blog, Under A Shady Tree. I have this blog, which combines my love of antiques, crafting, baking. But really, what it all is is storytelling. I am a storyteller through and through. But where do I blog when I have a few precious moments? Under A Shady Tree? Here? I feel pulled in two different directions. What I am considering is closing Under A Shady Tree and posting family content on Vintage Pollyanna. Those of you who read VP get the occasional family tidbit anyhow. And why not? Its part of the fabric of who I am.

And--I'm a marketer, through and through, and I gotta say, the ring that Vintage Pollyanna has as a blog name is so true. It resonates with me, and clearly with the thousands of readers who stop in here to lurk, or to read, or to say hello.

I've missed you guys. I think I am coming home. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ella Starts Pre-School

Get a load of the smile on this kid's face. Think she's excited?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday, Ella!

Our Ella, now three years old--it is just unbelievable!
You have such an amazing personality--
either 100% princess of 100% imp!
Your giggle, your smile, the way you bat your eyelashes at your daddy,
the hugs you give your brother--always his little shadow and into everything he is.
You tell everyone what to do--I think sometimes you are a little drill sergeant--
and yet each night before bed when I am rocking you to sleep
you are the sweetest thing in all the world.
You have our hearts, always,
and we wish you every happiness for every birthday to come.

Love you baby girl--
Mommy, Daddy and James

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 5th Birthday James!

I love you, my dear boy, and am just amazed that you are five.
Five years of great big smiles;
big, warm, hugs;
hundreds of bedtime stories, silly knock knock jokes and impromptu songs;
hours and hours of Mario on the Wii, the Nintendo and the DS;
a million jars of peanut butter;
a bizillion donuts worth of "I Love You's."

You are a sweet, kind and caring young boy
that is pretty good (most of the time) to your sister;
you do a great job being the "man of the house" when Daddy is on the road;
you never, EVER forget to clear your plate;
you are the best little reader I know
and you stole my heart from the very MOMENT I laid eyes on you.

Happy 5th Birthday, my Love.

XOXO Mommy

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No Seriously, I'm Back


That is, if this new life of full-time work, drive the kids back and forth to school, squeeze in laundry and grocery shopping, and oh maybe kiss my hubby once in a while doesn't grind the life outta me.

Well that was cheerful! Aren't you glad you checked in?

Naw, its not that bad. Really its not. The newness has worn off of it though, and while I do still love my job I guess I would say that the bloom is officially off the rose. My company is filled with amazing people doing amazing things but all of that amazingness is REALLY.HARD.WORK.

And it should be, of course. I am working my ASS off. Am I using caps too much, do you think?

Anyhow, now that I have belabored how hard the work thing is, let's talk about home. The kids are doing well. Other than the fact that Ella hurt her arm this weekend and I had to take her to the Doc first thing this morning and he looked at me and said "Do you swing her around by one arm a lot?" At which point I beat him over the head with my bag, grabbed Ella and went screaming from the room. Well, that is what rolled through my head, but instead I calmly answered "No, I do not." Turns out she basically just about dislocated her elbow at some point over the weekend when she fell off of her trike three times and bounced like a madwoman in the bouncy house all weekend long. The actual condition is called "Nursemaid's Elbow." And she is fine. Thank goodness.

James is also doing great--well, except for that he had a fever for three days last week and I tried sending him to school all doped up with Motrin for one of them because I had a REALLY IMPORTANT MEETING which is I am sure exactly how he got sick in the first place, from some other mother saying "Oh honey, here, you're fine, suck down this Motrin and I'll pick you up at 1 when your fever magically appears. " I know. I STINK. Anyhoo. He's fine now, and had a great weekend.

BTW, did you know we have a pool this year? I have never had one and I am so totally and unabashedly psyched about it! Plus, I get to watch Chris be the pool boy and pretend I am sipping a Mojito and my address is Wisteria Lane. He opened it this weekend and it should be all ready to go this Saturday which is his birthday!

Alright, I better stop now, or else you will call the police and ask who took over my body because the Allison you know does NOT write like this on her blog. Let me clue you in--I do, sometimes. It feels darn good, too.

Maybe I'll do it again sometime.

PS Ella fell asleep in my arms tonight while I rocked her and sang her favorite good night song. If I am lucky enough to hold on to those moments in my mind forever I will be happy. I want to be 90 years old, surrounded by my family and remembering the moments when I rocked Ella to sleep and hugged James goodnight and he says "You are the best Mom, Mom, EVER." Truly amazing. My heart is full.




Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh Where Has Allison Gone?

Hmm, to work, to work, to work!

I had hoped it wouldn't be quite so long between postings, but I guess something had to give! I felt terrible when I had to put Vintage Pollyanna aside, and now look at me, I am not blogging on Shady Tree, where I've been documenting my life for the LAST FOUR YEARS!

I have read other blogs and seen how sometimes the authors come and go, ebb and flow, but I was always pretty consistent. NOT ANYMORE!

I was in Tulsa last week visiting my grandparents with my husband, my kids and my younger sister. Amy was talking about how she missed the blog and I felt a little pang. ME TOO!

Well, folks, here's to trying. Maybe if I can get here a few times a week I can get back in the swing of things. So I promise to put up some recent pics of the kids later in the week. Want to see if I keep my word? Check back! And Amy, thanks for being a great sister and for giving me that little nudge that I needed. Love you!

And BTW, I had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday, and I hope all of you Moms out in Blogland did too. Mom, you know I miss you and I think of you often. A little lately I think of you in a happier way and less in a sad way. You will always be with me. xoxo

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Little Star Twinkles

My little girl singing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star."

She makes my heart melt!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Grab Bag Assortment of Photos and Thoughts

Hello? Is anyone out there still reading? I haven't posted for ten days, so if I have lost all of my Bloggy friends I won't be too surprised!

I have been back to work for two weeks now and I have to say, it is thrilling and disconcerting all at the same time. Dropping my little ones at school at 7 in the morning is tough--but when they literally RUN into school and start laughing and playing I have to feel pretty good.

We had some bumps in the road last week--not the least of which was the call I received around 12:30 on Friday letting me know that James had a temp of almost 102. I raced out of work to get him and got to see nap time in full swing for the first time. The kids were all on cozy costs with their special blankies and lovies and favorite stuffed toys from home, backs being rubbed by the teachers--it was a sweet scene. My heart broke a little when I saw my boy, passed out from his fever--but I collected him and then Ella and brought him home and made him comfortable. In times like those it is good to know that you have loving professionals who can take great care of your children!

So work is great for me--I am turning my space at work into the "Un-corporate office" and am filling it up with vintage everything! Books, artwork, even a great repro birdcage that Dad brought down last weekend. I will post pics when I have it completed!

On to the photos of the kids . . . ENJOY! (And hopefully it won't be ten days until I post a again!) xoxo Allison

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Man of the House (this Week)

My boy has been Man of the House all week while his Dad is in Maine for work.
He has taken his job very seriously, watching over Ella and I with great care. What a love!

After I posted this, I saw how the little pic of me in my sidebar is looking at this pic of James. Sweet! The look on my face is the way I feel about him--like I could just eat him up with a spoon!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ella Bella Schmella

That's what James calls Ella, and I love it.

I had the brains to grab my camera tonight, and was snapping pics of my girl since she was being extra-special silly.

This week has not been so hard so much as new. New routines, packing lunches the night before, rousing the kids out of bed at 6 (I never had to do THAT before I started working!). I actually sang both of them to sleep tonite and they were doing this crazy thing--I think its called "yawning." I don;t know because that has never happened in this house before!

I am glad to see that all of the NEW has not changed my little sweetheart. She is still funny, and bossy, and just shining so brightly. Now it just seems that more people get to see that.

Yesterday her teacher told me that when James' class came through to go downstairs and play in the gym, each and every one of the kids in the class stopped to hug my little peanut.

No wonder she knows how to shine for the camera. She has her own little paparazzi!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Unexpected Beauty

I purchased a Christmas Cactus back in November and it never bloomed around the holiday. Imagine my surprise when I was dusting last week and found that one whole side of the plant was covered with blooms! I hadn't seen them because they were on the window side. A beautiful surprise!

As you can see my blogging as slowed to a near stall. No excuse for it really--just life taking over.

I started my new job as Marketing Director at Ovation Benefits yesterday. Starting on a Friday was pretty fun! Ironically, 11 years ago I did some freelance work with the Ovation partners to help them develop their company name. Now here I am full circle, returning to them as their Marketing Director. I AM THRILLED. The outfit is smart, entrepreneurial, funny and filled with ideas about how to reduce chronic health problems for employees, thereby recognizing significant cost savings for employers and saving lives in the process. This organization is really not much of a departure from the work I have been doing for the last 9 years. I am looking forward to long relationship with them!

Chris stayed home with the kids yesterday, but they will begin attending school full-time on Monday. We spent several hours this past Wednesday and Thursday with each of them in their respective classrooms, which are side-by-side. If one or the other gets lonely their teachers have promised to give them some time together. The staff is wonderful and the kids already have been hugging their teachers and playing with their friends. I know that when I drop them off Monday they will be fine, I will be the one who needs a binkie!

Of course I am grappling with the guilt that many mothers feel when they have made the decision to return to work. I wasn't even really thinking about doing it until the fall when Ella would enter pre-k, but I knew that if the right opportunity came along I would strongly consider it.

One of the great perks with this new job is that I will be able to work from home one day a week, and the hours are very flexible so that I can not have to worry too much about beating traffic to pick up the kids before their school closes.

I have to thank a few people who have really been there for me over the last month and a half as I went through the most arduous interview process of my life. Chris of course, and my Dad and my sister, and then my friends Flan, Katie and Molly, and a few others who would be too shy to see their names here. I know that I have a strong network of friends and family who help to guide me through these difficult, exhilarating, and rewarding experiences. Thanks to each of you!

Now I am off to enjoy the weekend. I hope you will to, and thanks for reading!



Friday, February 18, 2011

Love You, Mom

Mom, Dad, Amy, James & I, 2006

Yesterday was a hard day for my Dad, my sister, my grandparents and I. I know we were all thinking about Mom all day. She passed two years ago on February 17th and I remember that day as a blur. It is tragic losing a parent, and even more so when you aren't at all expecting it. I have a lot of feelings about her death, but mostly I try to remind myself to celebrate her life instead of mourning her absence.

I was looking at some old photos and found these two that are remarkably similar. The first is of Mom holding my little sister Amy:

The second is Mom holding James when he was just six weeks old:

What do I love most about these photos? You know it--her smile.

In her poem "Remember" Christina Rossetti's last two lines say,

"Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad."

I don't know that I think of Mom any less, but I try not to be so sad.

It may sound cliche, but remember to tell your family how much you love them, because one day you may no longer have the chance.

I told my Dad the other day that even though I had a truly wonderful, almost idyllic childhood, right now what I am most grateful for is the adult relationship I had with my Mom. Talking with her about motherhood, about parenting, about juggling work and home, about the weather, about recipes--those things are what resonate with me right now.

Like any teenager and young adult obsessed with themselves, there were a few years where I was not close with my Mom. Once I grew up a little and got out of my own way, I had the wonderful opportunity to look at her as a friend. I am so glad that I did.

I love you my Mother, my friend. And I smile while I am writing that.



Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Love Day!

I really do love Valentine's Day!

I took the kiddos to get balloons today and they came home with these.

I had to laugh when James had initially picked a Sponge Bob Valentine's Day balloon, but then he said "I think it is just a little silly, Mom, and I would rather have one with cursive on it." So that's what he got!

You might notice that the dress Ella is wearing is the same one she wore in the Christmas card photos. I am a little short of red clothing for her. I was laughing to myself when she and I were picking out an outfit this morning, because she has to much PINK. She's a girly girl!

I am about to start making a heart-shaped chocolate cookie / bar with the kids for Chris. My Dad gave me a wonderful old heart-shaped baking pan and I am excited to use it.

I snapped this photo of the pups yesterday. I feel like it is a great example of puppy love.

Have a wonderful day!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mmmmm . . . a Yummy Saturday

What a wonderful day it has been today.

I am sitting here blogging while the aroma of minestrone is filling the house. Don't you love a homemade soup that fills you up with warmth and love? I always chop some prosciutto and caramelize it with some onions in the beginning to add a wonderful depth of flavor.

I am just about to begin making bread from this recipe. It is a tried and true recipe that gives you lovely homemade bread in under two hours. You can't ask for much more heaven than that. Well, after you have slathered it with some Kate's Butter from Maine, or Cabot.

I just put Ella down for her nap. Lately she has been wanting to sing the pretty song, which is actually "You are My Sunshine" but I sing "You are so pretty" in the first line instead. She loves it.

James and Chris are at this very moment sitting in the XL Center in downtown Hartford watching a Monster Jam Truck Show! James was so excited about it--this morning he woke up and told me that he had had a dream that was "Momster Jam-ish." I add "ish" a lot to things I say, it is a little quirk of mine that he has picked up. I can't wait to see the excitement on his face when they get back home. A little alone time for Daddy and his boy is a good thing.

Before Ella's nap we made Valentine's Day cards for Chris and James. Ella is so insistent "Mommy, I CUT!" and "Mommy I GLUE!". What a personality! Sometimes on the phone my Dad calls her "his little Pumpkin." I love that--but sometimes it is more like his "little Jack O' Lantern," you know, one with a wicked face. She is a sassy girl, for sure.

Wow, look at this--all writing and no photos. I guess you can tell that I am enjoying a moment of quiet.

My bloggy friend Stephanie has been in my thoughts lately. I enjoy her writing style. I used to write much more in my blog, but got somewhat turned off to sharing so many private thoughts. I was reading her blog and remembering how good it feels to get my thoughts out. Not for anyone else, but just for me. And then a family friend let me know that she had started a blog. Her writing style is wonderful, and her thoughts are interspersed with poetry and photos from my home town. Reading her posts, and Stephanie's posts made me want to begin to write more again. So here I am.

And did you see my new banner? James drew it a few weeks ago. Lovely for Valentine's Day, don't you think?

I hope you all have a wonderful Love Day on Monday.



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just Some Goings On

My girl napping. I love this--two lovies, a pillow pet, her favorite cowboy blanket (handmade by a family friend) and her Minnie.

I was making dinner the other night and she had been very busy playing. "Look Mom!" she said, "an ice cream cone!"

And then, of course, she licked it!

Here is what my son has been playing a lot of lately.

Chris got an old Nintendo off of Ebay and James get to play it for a little while every day as a special treat. We are taking an extended break from the WII--he gets a little too riled up. I like that the Nintendo Mario game is a little less involved.

The kids were excited to get a package from Peepaw last week--in it was this fabulous chapter book on American Indians that James has been pouring over.

I was so happy to see him reading it. Sure he comes across words h doesn't know, but he sounds them out on his own and asks me what they mean.

And he's pretty happy about being such a good reader!

And here is a little video I shot of one of Ella's new stomping temper tantrums:

That's it for now--I have an interview tomorrow for full time work with a company that I really admire. It is my second in the interview process and involves a webcast presentation that I had to put together. I have enjoyed being challenged a bit, but of course I am feeling guilty at the prospect of going back to work full time. We see how it shakes out. Wish me luck!