Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Egging

Both my boys have charmingly started referring to both coloring and hunting for eggs as "easter egging." So, for family home evening on Monday night, we "easter egged" and had a blast.

It should be noted that after several lectures and admonitions to "be careful of the dye" and "don't knock the cups over" I went and knocked the green dye all over the counter. The boys had a good time letting me have it for not being careful. I went ahead and let them have this one :-)

Bubba dyed 3/4 of his eggs pink, not because it was his favorite color, but because it was the dye cup closest to him. After awhile I figured this out and started swapping the cups so he would get some variety.

Yes, we dye eggs in our undies (the boys, that is. Sis and I remained fully clothed.) And yes, Bubba is engaging in an Easter activity wearing Halloween undies. I don't care because I am delighted that he is wearing undies at all. The boy has been potty training for well over a year. Up until this week, he kept telling me that he would potty like a big boy "next thursday."

Junior made me the blue egg on the back row in the middle. He called it a "love egg" and woke me up this morning by bringing it to me in bed. Not to eat, just to reverently hold. I love that boy.

We found Monster face stickers to put on the colored eggs. Very "Eastery", no?

We eat a lot of scrambled eggs in our house, but apparently not enough boiled ones. The boys were sorting out their eggs one last time before bed when Junior asked if he could eat one. While I was at the sink peeling it, I heard a crunch and a laugh from Junior. Bubba, also wanting to eat one, did not realize that the shell needed to be removed first and took a big bite. The best part was that he didn't seem to be enjoying the crunching, but kept on going until Junior laughed at him (and I admit it, I laughed a little too. I couldn't help it). He put it down and said "I don't like these eggs."

I bet!

He is particularly sensitive to being laughed at though (poor kid) and did not want to cooperate with taking a picture of his snack. I'm a sensitive mom and I took one anyway. Look at that face!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Run or Walk?

I drive Junior to school every morning. Although I have never actually made him tardy, there are some mornings when we are running later than others. On those kinds of mornings, I shoo him out of the car in front of his school and urge him to run up to his classroom. Then we all sit and watch as he ambles slowly up the sidewalk. I roll down the window and shout "Junior, run!" He looks up in surprise and jogs back to the open window. "What?" he says.

So I stepped it up a notch when he really did need to run and made the instructions even clearer "Bye, Junior. Have a good day at school. You need to run as fast as you can up to your room. Run, not walk. Okay?" That definitely helped a little.

However, for the last week or two, we have been on time. Junior says his goodbyes to us all by name several times, double checks to remember who will be picking him up that day and heads up the sidewalk toward his class. About 3/4 of the way there, he checks and stops, turns and runs back to the car "Oh yeah, mom. Am I supposed to run or walk?"

Well, NOW you should probably run! (bless his heart :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A chance meeting backstage when we were both still too young to drive. Days at the Reel Theater and the years after of reminiscing about them. Rubin and Ed. A first kiss on my birthday. Rides on his motorcycle. Visits until the early hours at his work. Late nights in both of our dorms when we didn't want to say good-bye. Letters from California. Boston Market, sunset, the poem he memorized and the way his voice shook a little with nervousness when he proposed. A beautiful, perfect ring. A beautiful, perfect August day. Watching the glow in the dark fish from the end of the pier at our honeymoon resort in Mexico. Hunkering down and weathering tropical storm Chantal without getting evacuated. A cute baby gecko that lived in our room. A funny little first apartment with the kitchen in the front hall. A psychotic cat who ate all the box elder bugs plaguing the house. Cooking dinner together. The gym, dinner, The Simpsons, Blind Date and bed...every night. Flirty emails every day. Love notes on the bed or the bathroom mirror. Warming his hands when he went to scrape the cars in the morning. Him letting me warm my feet on his every night. Reading Lord of the Rings and homemade bread. Long talks about our future and our family and our love and comfort with each other. Sleeping in. Driving to Southern California in the summer in an un-airconditioned car and our unique ways of cooling off. Army fatigues and a sad good-bye at the Oakland Airport. Letters every day for five months so he would know how much I loved and missed him. The look of joy and relief on his face when we finally found each other in the crowd at his basic training graduation. The best hug ever in a long line of amazing hugs. A perfect first anniversary weekend before I had to fly home. Driving through the front gates at Fort Jackson for the last time after AIT and being so excited we filmed it. 3 weeks on the road, visiting friends and family and seeing America. Virginia, D.C., Gettysburg, New York, Boston, Niagara Falls, Church History sites and just reveling in being together every day after 5 months apart. Evenings laughing and cuddling up against the cold and reviewing what we had filmed that day as we "camped" on an air mattress in the back of the new SUV. Wal-Mart Parking lot and a birthday gift. Showering at truck stops. A lot of dollar menu meals and a lot of wrong turns. No rush. Coming home to feather a new nest. Selling plasma, counting out change and eating a lot of spaghetti to pay the bills. A positive pregnancy test. 2 consecutive weekends devoted to watching the first 2 seasons of 24. BBQ chicken pizza on '24' nights thereafter. Piles of lilacs every birthday, roses every Valentine's Day. Curling up in the same hospital bed and watching in awe as JS, only a few hours old, breathed and became ours. Adding to the love note book. Acquiring a magic blanket (the standard by which all other blankets would be judged). Disneyland trips 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Fondue Parties. Late, late nights frosting cookies or making bread for marketing treats. Another summer in California together with J's first self-created company. So proud. Company #2, working together to make it work. Touring house after house, looking for one we could picture ourselves in. Finding one. Having to paint almost every room twice. Winging it through home improvement projects. Getting 'Lost.' Working out together in the mornings. A second joyful baby boy. J getting up most mornings with the kids so I could sleep. Company # 3. Constant "scheming". Cheering him on, still so proud. Planning future vacations and how we wanted to raise our children. Always gratefully coming home to a clean house, 'thanks honey, you are perfect.' Covers turned down for me every time I came to bed after him. Feeling like a "real family" with 2 kids. "Want to watch something funny?" Dreaming about moving back to our home town and building our "forever home." Laughing at our boys and talking about the kids to come. It's a girl! Talking, not about everything we should have, but always talking. Arguing current events, comparing pasts, dreaming futures. A family. Loving our kids, working together. How could I have known?

Last week I managed to not care for three days in a row where he was or what he was doing. I felt like I had maybe turned a corner.

Then, there are the days when I miss him so, so much that everything aches...not just my heart.

I can't help it. I still miss my best friend. And I still feel stupid for feeling that way.

I know...

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Patrick's Day - not just a day to wear green....

Those who know me know I love my holidays and even St. Patrick's Day gets the crap celebrated out of it around here :-) Last year I made a huge deal of it for the boys and they have freakishly good memories for children who consistently can't remember where they put the coat/shoes/socks/backpack they took off only hours before. So, there was no getting out of it this year, crushing situational depression notwithstanding (I have no idea if I used that word correctly...) Of course we always start with a traditional all green Irish breakfast...

Green eggs, lime yogurt and green gatorade

Lunch was: green milk, green mac and cheese and green jello (if you have a clear cup, you can put a few drops of food coloring in the bottom without letting the kids see. When you pour the milk in, it goes in white and comes up green.) You can do the same thing with cereal, just put the food coloring under the dry cereal and then pour the milk in. It completely blew Junior's mind and I told him it was "leprechaun magic." Sometimes I'm brilliant and sometimes it's a struggle to get my shoes on the right feet. Depends on the day... :-)

Green Jello!

No actual reason for this picture. Just that her chunky little legs are cute in her leg warmers. We were keeping her green striped pants clean until dinner.

Traditionally, "Lucky" the leprechaun has left gold coins all over the house for the boys to find, but only two at a time to prolong the fun. They got a kick out of finding coins in places they had just been. Junior was a little impatient about the rate at which gold coins were arriving, so he left out a note for 'lucky' asking him to step it up a little ("Do you have more Gold?"). 'Lucky' left a note in return reminding him to be a nice boy!

Quiet Time involved building leprechaun houses with legos

Britny, Jared, Mike and kids joined us for a Green feast: Pesto chicken pasta, green salad, green apples, broccoli, green bread, green jello and green milk.

After dinner, Jared took on all seven kids at once in a marathon wrestling match

Not bad for a guy who had an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago...

Green Shamrock cake and mint brownie ice cream for dessert and it was time to put 7 kids completely hopped up on sugar to bed! Thanks again to the Bradshaws (and mike... :-) for joining us.

Happy St. Patrick's Day 2010!

Monday, March 15, 2010

things that raising my children has qualified me for

With an uncertain future looming, I have had to think a lot about going back to school. I do have a Bachelor's degree, but I am finding that what i wanted to do with it doesn't fit as well with the single mom lifestyle and priorities. So, I have been exploring other options and just plan to use my Bachelor's degree as a springboard. Although I did a lot of work on the side for J's various companies, I have been out of the actual workforce for six years now. I have been assessing my skills and realized that I have gained some valuable ones in mothering these particular kids. I am going to bypass the usual given ones like Chauffeur, House Cleaner, Accountant, Cook, etc. etc. I like to think that my children's unique talents have prepped me for much more specific careers.

Mothering Junior: Art critic or Physical Science Teacher (I know more about how things work than I ever did before he got curious).

Mothering Bubba: Terrorist Negotiator (he is three and a middle child. Can I get a 'hear, hear?')

Mothering Sis: Calf Roping (she will give you about 5 seconds to change her diaper before squirming away).

Think any of these will stand up in a resume?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Welcome to the Adventures of Log and The Rock

Junior has been an artist since he could grip a crayon. I have a huge folder full of his many creations and if you saw it, you would assume that I have kept everything he has ever done. However, you should see the piles that I don't keep. At one point, the boy went through a ream of paper a week. If he is mad at you, you will get a personalized drawing of yourself with a big X across your face. That's when you sleep with one eye open!

Lately, his art has taken on a cartoon-style theme with adventures featuring 'Log and The Rock.' You would never know that two boring, (usually) inanimate objects could lead such a life of peril. They started out mostly being chased by bears (I have several more versions of the above picture).

Sometimes they take to the high seas. As you can see, Log is at a disadvantage and knows it since the pirate he is facing has a gun and he only has a sword. Rock has lost both sword and pirate hat as he is being grabbed off frame by a large octopus. Poor Log...poor Rock!
In honor of Valentine's Day, Log and The Rock had to escape a very angry 'heart guy' over the edge of a waterfall.

Sometimes Log and The Rock are joined by their friends Cracker and Tomato. Rock somehow drew the short straw in this scenario.
Here we have Log, The Rock, Tomato and Cracker on a voyage to the moon. Log is saying "Give me a cheesecake!" No, I don't know why. Neither did Junior when I asked.

Poor Log and The Rock in danger again, hanging off the edge of a cliff while a hungry alligator snaps below. They are joined in this particular peril by Cracker and Tomato (who has been squished. We haven't seen him since...) and some new friends, Snowball and Icicle. The people above are very concerned if not at all helpful.

Log and The Rock have fooled the Easter Bunny by dressing up as a bunny and an easter egg. They have stolen the irate Easter Bunny's basket. Judging by the smiles, this is a good natured chase as opposed to the life and death flights of the earlier frames. Phew!

We leave Log and The Rock enjoying the fireman's pole at the local firestation. It's nice to know these two get some fun in in between running for their lives and hanging off the edges of cliffs.

I am hugely entertained by this kid!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Loved this...

well worth reading...


Monday, March 1, 2010

My bad...

"Mom, I want to know why you are crying" Junior called from his bedroom

"Yeah!!!" echoed Monkey Do (Bubba)

Oops. Great. Since the very early days, I have managed not to cry in front of my boys, which is no small thing, since I find a reason to at least once a day. It is not as often though that I get the noisy, messy, the world is ending, sitting on the kitchen floor variety going. This time, I thought the boys were asleep since they had been so deceptively quiet. Little monkeys...

Tonight's perpetrator was the text J sent right after he had dropped the baby off. I let him take the baby all on her own to see his mom while she was on a layover at the airport. His initial request was to switch his usual Tuesday with the kids to today so he could orchestrate this get together. "Take just Sis on Monday and then keep your usual Tuesday schedule" was my suggestion. His mom had not seen her since she was 2 weeks old (but has seen the boys very recently) and I thought additional kids might be more of a distraction. Nothing is worse than having taken the high road to have it slap you in the face and leave you crying on the kitchen floor where apparently, your children can hear you. Moments after J left, a text buzzed through on my phone.

Home in 10. Need anything?

It was sent to me, but it was not for me. The statement and the question were ones I had received from him hundreds of times when he was still playing the role of husband and dad, but this time, they were for my "replacement.". Five little words and they kicked my butt. 'Home' is now with his mistress and not his wife and kids. The worst part was that I had felt like I had an effective day emotionally after a weekend of grappling with fears and feelings far too big for me (as well as 2 out of 3 kids sick). I felt like I had finally had some kind of break-through in separating the J that I married and everyone misses, and the man who is making my life miserable. Junior had asked me yesterday who my best friends were. I rattled off a list that included him and his brother and sister.

"and dad?" he asked.

"Dad and I are good friends" I said after a slight hesitation. It really occurred to me then that I was not friends with this man anymore (I know, I know... some things take some time to sink in and he and I have been friends for half of our lives. It's an adjustment.)

"I love dad very much" I said next, with no hesitation at all and in absolute sincerity. I am not friends with him at the moment but he gave me my three great treasures regardless of what he has also taken away. I will always love him for that.

"You remember at Christmas, when he came to our house and after school the other day when he came up to the door with me and talked to you? That means he is your friend, mom...I think."

"You are absolutely right. Dad and I are great friends and we love you guys to death" was my immediate response. Sometimes, the truth is worse than the lie. I would lie all day long if it kept my boy from one extra burden.

My poor Junior should not be worrying about whether or not his dad is friends with his mom. I thought we had done a pretty good job of showing as united an effort as possible, but he is no dummy. Five stupid words that I received on accident knocked me off my feet. Five words that used to be directed at me on almost a daily basis. Five words that reminded me so completely of my loss and the way my life should be. But to let my kids hear me cry like that and confuse them further is almost unforgivable. I've tried so hard to protect them. I took a deep breath and slowly walked upstairs. They were both sitting up in bed with identical concerned looks.

"I'm sorry guys" I said and gave them each a hug.
"It's okay" Junior said (in a quivery voice that almost made me lose it again) "are you sad because you miss dad?'
"Yeah, I do miss dad. Sometimes moms get sad when dads make bad choices, and sometimes you just have to cry to feel better." I said. "It's okay to cry sometimes."
"We know moms get sad" Bubba piped up (ouch...).

We talked a little longer and told a few stories and then they fell asleep for real. I went back to my spot on the kitchen floor by the pantry (strangely a comforting place for crying) and just sat there drained wondering for the millionth time whether I said/did the right thing. The theatrical tears were over but they only slowed to a steady drizzle. I knew I couldn't sleep, so I decided to run. Apparently it IS possible to run for two miles straight while in tears. Who knew? At around one mile, my sadness began to convert to anger. I'm talking serious rage. Rage toward him and the waste he has made of so many of my years and putting us in this situation so he can chase being "happy." Rage at the fact that he can do this to me and I don't get the luxury of cutting him from my life. I still have to see him several times a week and act cheerful for the kids. It never fails to be a downer for me. Rage toward "her" and her selfish home-wrecking sense of entitlement (who does this to a family????). Rage toward me for putting up with crap I shouldn't have and ignoring so many signs. More rage toward me for feeling like daily I have to air out all my imperfections to myself to try to figure out what I could have done differently even when I know that's pointless. Rage at life in general because I am really not where I want to be and can't do anything about it other than be sad and mad. Rage because I had some insightful moments today and the last thing I expected was another kitchen floor episode.

Running and crying will both drain you, but I'm still grateful for my nightly friend Ambien (don't even talk to me about possible sleeping pill addictions. We'll cross that bridge later). I so want to be past this. I keep hearing that things will get better and there will come a time when the small things will not derail me. When I will not care where he lays his head at night and where he refers to as 'home.' I want to fast forward to a life when I don't have to carry tissues everywhere I go because I never know when the waterworks will turn on. I want a life where I am no longer 'programmed' to care about J and worry about how he is doing (I'm insane...I know! I possess a freakish amount of loyalty and I managed to land someone who doesn't want/need it). I want to take genuine joy in my days again and not feel like I am constantly waiting for another blow. This isn't a life. It's just survival, and I really, really miss looking forward to my future. I really miss taking joy in my children without worrying about how they are doing and what they are going to miss out on. I miss feeling genuinely relaxed. It has been so long since I haven't felt wound up.

On nights like this, I usually try really hard to determine what I CAN do, even if it is just an attitude adjustment, but I've got nothing tonight. Breathing is all that is on the agenda and even that feels hard. I do however, have a plan for tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.