Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Long Live The King!

July 1, 2006 - 3 hours old

About this time, 4 years ago, we were at the hospital awaiting the arrival of our second baby boy (very comfortably, I might add...I was in false labor two weeks early and had a shot of morphine in preparation for being sent home before a really nice nurse decided to let us "stay"). Morphine administered and epidural in place, I was having trouble with the most basic questions and requests, but I was comfy for the first time in weeks, if not months and let J know every few minutes ("I love morphine...I love you...!") The friendly nurses wanted to make small talk and I thought I was doing great until J had to carefully suggest that maybe I shouldn't worry about talking anymore since I wasn't making much sense.

I remember watching the clock tick down to 3 a.m., when my doctor said she would be back, while J slept and the nurses came quietly in and out. I knew that in a few hours we would meet the baby that would make us a family of four. a 'real family' we said. No longer a young couple with only one child. Junior would have a brother and we would have our two little boys. In a matter of hours, my life would never be the same again.

He arrived into my world, far more angry at his entry than his brother was. His dad laughed at the first sight of his indignant little face and I cried. He had a full head of dark, dark hair, was handsome beyond belief and he immediately peed on the doctor (his very favorite story). Bubba did everything 'more' than his brother from the start. This was fine, but since Junior was our only frame of reference up to that point, we had been expecting some version of him in our second son. Bubba cried louder, ate better and slept harder than his brother and we learned very quickly that he would own a different personality.

Four years later, Bubba remains the most intense child of my three. He still makes us laugh (and sometimes still makes me cry...) and is anything but mild mannered. We used to say that the word that would best describe him is fierce. He is very determined (as I write, he is lying awake upstairs, fighting off sleep and waiting for his birthday to officially be here) and he is the one I will be butting heads with for years. But he is also my hugger, my cuddler, my sweet boy who will randomly stop what he is doing to run and find me to tell me he loves me. He will also run to tell me that Sis is crying (as if it isn't loudly obvious), that she has something in her mouth or that he wasn't the one to smack her (sure...). He tells Junior every day that he is his best friend. He has a tender heart and a practical side (after threatening to call the police to come take me away the other day, I overheard him remorsefully telling Junior that if I went away, no one would take care of them and there would be no one to make them breakfast.) He is fiercely committed to his make believe world and heaven help you if you address him as other than whatever character he is being at the moment (i.e. peter pan, the hulk, invisible brother, etc. etc.) or if you fail to acknowledge his invisible lion pet (who wouldn't stop scratching Sis until I threatened to spank his bum for every time his 'pet' got out of hand).

This sweet middle child, who seems to pride himself on being a polar opposite of his brother, is one of my three greatest joys and I am so proud to be his mom.

Happy Birthday Iron Man! I wubba you and have from the second I laid eyes on you...

1 year

2 Years

3 Years

4 years

(he hasn't taken his crown off all day, and has told me more than once that he can do what he wants because he is the Birthday King. I suppose he's right...)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BFF's and Making Chunky Look Good!

Those who remember Raffi will be happy to know he has resurfaced from a recent hiatus under Junior's bed to be his constant companion again. Or, his BFF, as this sign he made on Sunday testifies. Where did my 6 year old learn the term 'BFF?' (best friends forever, for you old timers...) He didn't learn it from his mother. He has probably been watching iCarly behind my back.

Meanwhile, fearless Sis has been ruling the local waterslides every week. She is not deterred by the cold water, the bigger kids that knock her over or the fact that she has rolls of fat on her knees and her belly hangs out of her swimsuit (the girl is stuffed into it and it is about the cutest thing I have ever seen. She is so smooshy!) It's not everyone that can pull off being that chunky in swim gear.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Parable of the Pans

Britny and I spent a few hours last night packing everything from my kitchen into boxes in preparation for the new floor and cupboards being installed over the next few days (yay!!). The kids and I are moving soon, but unfortunately, moving day is juuuust far enough away that leaving the kitchen packed up until then is unreasonable (boo!). So, we packed a few permanent boxes (decor, cookbooks, etc.) flung the rest into whatever boxes and laundry baskets I could find, and treated ourselves to sour cream lemon pie from Marie Callendars. Everything from the cupboards now resides in the family room (and was a real treat to tear through 20 boxes looking for my cell phone charger after dinner tonight) and all the appliances are sitting in my living room. The kids were weirded out to be grabbing drinks from the fridge that is now where the couch used to sit. And we microwaved our dinner in the family room and ate it on the back porch. There is nothing in the kitchen. Not a shelf (yet), not an elevated surface, my voice eches in there and I know for a fact that the floor is the cleanest it will ever be again. It feels like Wonderland around here. As I was pulling dusty, never used things from the back of the pan cupboard, I came across what was left of the pan set that J and I bought when we were first married. I had a genuine chuckle when I remembered 'the parable of the pans.'

It all started when we were engaged. J wanted to go to one of those sales pitches where they lure you with free stuff in order to sell you timeshares/vacations/kitchenware. We went for the free stuff but walked out of there completely suckered. To this day, I am ashamed of the amount of money we talked ourselves into spending on pots and pans so lets just get wild and say they were forty thousand dollars (they weren't, dad...). What got us was not the amazing sales pitch we got, but our solid belief in that we were doing what the other one wanted. That's not to say we were not impressed with what the pans could supposedly do. Waterless, greaseless cooking!! ("so healthy!") practically self cleaning... ("more time to spend with each other, babe...") and on and on. In addition, with the purchase of the pans, we could get a great deal on their different styles of china ('Babe! China! Surely in our future together we are going to want china to eat Thanksgiving dinner off of for the next half century....Someday the kids will fight over it for its sentimental value...") Despite this, we both recall getting through the presentation and feeling like we could live without forty thousand dollar pans. But when that salesman sat us down and pitched his 4 piece 'student deal' we looked at each other and completely caved.

What followed was some classic miscommunication, the details of which would spark good natured arguments for the next eight years as to who was more responsible for the purchase. I recall looking at him and seeing the excited "should we go for it?" look on his face. He recalled me looking gooily at him as though I couldn't live another day without those pans, and he wanted to give me what I wanted. He claims that he didn't realize that pans weren't supposed to cost forty thousand dollars and my argument is that I was taken in by the idea of purchasing the very first possession for our future together, and he seemed interested, so... (Although I will admit to being fully aware that pans did not have to cost that much, but what my baby wants...!) We should have genuinely talked it over and walked out of there and straight to walmart where we could have furnished our entire kitchen for half the price. But, neither of us wanted to tell the other one 'no.'

We bought the pans. To our future shame and chagrin we bought forty thousand dollar pans that came with a manual and an instructional video but did not, in fact, cook anything waterlessly or greaselessly :-) It turned out that the pans burned everything, needed to be washed by hand and treated with a special polish. On top of that, we misunderstood '4 piece set' to mean four different pans. It actually meant a pot, a frying pan and a lid for each. We used them out of sheer stubbornness for a year or so until we really began to resent them and caved in to a $20 walmart set that had teflon and wasn't carving little monthly nicks out of our meager finances.

Over the years, the subject would come up and each of us would cheerfully blame the other for influencing the purchase, but what it really comes down to is that both assumed we knew what the other wanted and neither of us did. We ultimately determined that everyone has to make some dumb financial decisions and even though the amount we paid was exorbitant, it was a lesson learned much more cheaply than by overextending ourselves on a fancier car or house than we could afford. We called it the 'parable of the pans' and figured that when our children inherited the pans (because we assumed that only when our great-grandchildren were cooking on them, would they be worth the price), we could use it as a teaching opportunity. We would remind them that communication is crucial and also that it's never a good deal to sign up for something that only gives you 48 hours to reconsider (long before we had even received the product). Ironically, this was a concept we completely forgot when we signed ourselves up for a vacation credit deal, remembered it in our sleep and cancelled by the following morning. We thought the 'parable of the pans' might be a good lesson for us to remember to actually communicate, instead of assuming we know what the other is thinking.

I hate to say it, but we did not learn that lesson well enough, and the fall out has been extremely "expensive." I'm processing my life and my situation, but I am not trying to be a victim. As such, I can acknowledge that although nothing I did or could have done gave him permission to cheat, I bear some blame for cracks in our relationship and one of those things was not being open to better communication. I assumed I knew what he was thinking and I think he did the same, but neither of us really asked. We laughed and we planned and we walked through many peaks and valleys together and there was certainly enough substance to our actual relationship that it would have been fixable with the right kind of work. But if it is only an option for one person, it's not an option at all. My focus right now is not regretting 'buying the pans,' but being grateful that I didn't also 'buy' the china. On my good days, I can see some value in that.

I threw the last of the pan set away last night and it kind of made me sad. It is not something that will be kept around for a laugh anymore, but I think I may have finally learned my lesson. Sometimes the things you don't talk about CAN hurt you. Not asking when something feels wrong CAN turn around to bite you. Honesty might suck sometimes, but it does build a bridge of communication if it is done with love and respect. If I ever sail the murky waters of another relationship, fixing this aspect of myself (and being ok with hearing the answers) is going to be paramount and will be something I will take with me. The world probably won't end if you disagree or refuse to bring potentially unpopular subjects up. It just might end if you don't though.

I'm starting to wonder if those pans might have been worth every penny after all!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


My dad has been asking for videos of the kids and although I have six months worth on my flip video camera, I just barely figured out how to get them off and onto the computer. So, I am sharing two of my favorites. Lately when I have done my running while Sis is down for a nap, the boys often join me in the basement and swing on the swing down there or play with the lego set. The last few times, Junior has started to dance to the music I have cranked up and I finally convinced him to let me film him. It is a little less enthusiastic than the moves he was busting when he thought I wasn't watching, but you get the idea. He has names for all his moves (i.e. squirmy, robot, shuffle, etc.)

The other video shows why Sis cringes a little when Bubba comes into the room (on the other hand, she automatically starts laughing when Junior does). In the future, when Bubba is complaining that Sis is bugging him, I am just going to show him this video. What goes around comes around. Junior is the one who caught this particular act on camera. My favorite part is that I didn't realize what happened and pretty much ignored it (in my defense, we were really late for T-ball...)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

If you don't calm down and go get jammies on like I told you to, then I am going to take the plungers away....!

The kids partied hard today! First thing this morning was a primary party and then a cousin birthday party immediately after. They made pirate headbands and have not taken them off. At one point, while in the car, Bubba began to cry some serious crocodile tears which I ignored as long as I could. When I finally lost my patience enough to inquire the reason for the fit, it turned out he was upset that he had lost his pirate hat.

It was on his head and somehow he missed that....

This insta-morphing into pirates has caused some negotiations this evening about what pirates do and do not do. For instance, (according to Bubba) pirates do not take baths, they do not clean up toys, they do not eat anything but go-gurts for dinner and they do not listen to their mothers. I disagreed vocally with all of these things and he and I had to do some making up before I put him to bed.

In happier news, I had to pick up Junior a new plunger at the Dollar Store (sterile, name written on it to differentiate from the 'real' household plungers. Any questions refer back a few posts). He played with the old plunger so much that it cracked and he has been bugging me for days (DAYS!!!) for an intact one. I finally picked one up today and before I could throw the old one out, Bubba inherited it. He picked it up reverently and asked me:

"Can I have this one? Forever!!??"

"Uh, sure" (wondering why I spent so much on Christmas and how do I make this work for his birthday in a few weeks).

He asked me to cross off Junior's name and put his in case there was any mistaking who was the new owner of the cheap, dollar store plunger with a big chunk missing out of it. They played with their new 'toys' all evening. Even I, who has seen Junior use it as the main object of his playing for weeks, was shocked at how many things you can do with a plunger (aside from the obvious). For example; oars, a walking cane, swords, tails, ninja pole (Bubba asked me to 'be the ninja that fights him' and after I came up with my best moves and let him kill me once, he told me that 'I could go back to my computer or the kitchen.' He clearly wasn't impressed.) The title of this post is something I actually found myself hollering when it was time to get ready for bed and no one was listening. I filed it away in the "things I never, ever, ever expected to say" section of my brain and then took a moment to mourn my really expensive college degree. After the kiddos were down, I filled a big garbage sack with toys headed for DI. I can see now how pioneer kids made rocks and sticks work as toys. They both took their plungers to bed with them tonight. I am going to take it on faith that they are listening when I tell them that plungers with names on them never go in the toilet.

Sis has decided that now she is one, she should walk everywhere (crawling is for babies). I am torn between mama-pride and the overwhelming side of me that wants to figure out how to keep her my baby forever. She has also transitioned over to real milk and digs it so much that she is most often seen with a sippy attached to her face. I switch it out with plain water sometimes, but she is getting wise to me (she'll take it but look mournfully at me while shaking her head "no"). I dig her new pink pony jammies and am starting to wish I had picked them up in every size for her to grow into until pink pony jammies are not fashionably acceptable to her anymore.

When she is kind of tired, I like to go sit down where she is playing. She will see me, stop what she is doing, crawl as fast as she can up into my lap and will nestle her head on my shoulder, tuck her legs up and pat my back. When she isn't tired she will just climb over and grab my face with her little razor baby nails, which isn't nearly as fun. Worth it though, because the moments of cuddling are like medicine for my battered heart. It's the back patting that clinches it.

My kids melt me every day and even parenting alone, although it is harder, is full of those soul defining moments. Being a mom is the most valuable thing I have and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Remember Log and The Rock?

I found 'Log" and "The Rock" on Sis's feet a few weeks ago, courtesy of Junior, who gets an enormous kick out of the artistic freedome he gets from a roll of tape. Sis didn't even notice...

Speaking of not noticing, Junior also experiments with putting toys down the back of her pants just to see how big they can get before they bug her (then he forgets about them and so does she.)

It's awesome!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Are We There Yet?

On top of being a sentimental junkie, I have a crazy head for details, particularly dates. I can tell you that I flew to Europe on the 7th of January, 1999 and flew home on the 20th of May. I can tell you that J and I unofficially decided we wanted to be married on April 10 and that he got down on one knee on the 20th of July. I know that Junior was admitted to the hospital with a broken arm as a baby the same day that Sis was admitted with an infection five years later. I told J he would be a daddy for the first time on June 7, 2003 and in a really ironic turn, he shared with me that he had "checked out" of our relationship exactly 7 years later.

Today, I hit the official year mark since my life turned upside down. 365 days since I have felt emotionally secure on almost any level. 365 days since I could take my husband’s love for me as a given. 366 days since I had the happy, fleeting thought "I have everything I want" as I looked at my newborn daughter and considered the rest of my beautiful family. Knowing myself like I do, June 7 will never pass by again, just like any of the other dozens of days that hold some meaning for me, without a thought. I keep trying to tell myself that it is just a day, and I know realistically it will never again hold as much sorrow as this first 'anniversary.' But it will come around every year and every year, I will think about the emotional 'hit and run' blow I got from the person I loved most. I will work on not giving power to something so silly, but for now, I can't imagine not dreading the day every year. I have been fearing it more than my wedding anniversary coming up in August. I know me and I know my weaknesses and one of the few things I truly ever treasured about my personality is my sense of tradition and sentimentality. I can no more forget the days that hold shadows every year than I can keep from wanting to celebrate and make a huge deal out of birthdays and holidays. I used to enjoy being a 'rememberer' and and tradition maker, but it has been one solid year of that aspect of myself bringing me nothing but pain. I know it won't always be this way, but remembering still hurts at the moment.

One week after my birthday, I recieved word from J that he had finally filed paperwork for divorce. Several days after that, my children came home from a visit with him talking about his "girlfriend, who goes everywhere we go." He had had her around the kids for several weeks without my knowledge (supposedly she would just 'happen' to be where they went, but they never knew her name). I thought I was more prepared than I was, but I don't suppose there is any getting ready for things like that. So, not a great week, but my biggest challenge lately was this last weekend. It was the first weekend that I knew my children would be around her and I was sick about it. It is among the worst of feelings to know that you have to hand your kids over and get no say in who they get to be around while they are not on your watch. Worse, that it is their father that is perpetuating such a horrible, helpless feeling.

Not only is it offensive to have to know my husband has left for another woman, I have to know she is around my little ones and being presented as a "friend." It just feels like such a dirty trick on them. I would never want them to have the truth but at the same time, it is horrifying to me that this woman, who has been a predator to the health of our family unit since before 2 of my kids were even born, is now someone who gets to be around them regularly. They still don't know her name (or don't remember it) but I will cringe to hear it in my home out of the mouths of my children. I know my role as their mom. I will smile and encourage them to like whoever their dad is with, but it might actually take years off my life. If you ever wonder what it might be like waving your kids out the door to hang out with the "other woman," imagine sending them off on a playdate with Hitler or Voldemort and you about have it pegged. Okay, I know she isn't evil and that she is probably nice to them (for now) but if their father is putting someone who is not their mother in the role of 'partner,' the last person I want is someone who who can't possibly ever love them. Love requires unselfishness. She has assisted in one of the most selfish acts out there. She pursued a man with a wife and children and she is not anyone I want in any capacity around my kids. But, for the moment, she is their father's choice. So, twice a week and every other weekend, I don't get one on the matter.

Long story short, this has been the longest year of my life and I keep hoping to wake up healed. I had hoped to be in a very different place by this time this year. I hoped we would be well on the road to recovery. I didn't think I would be here. I had so much hope and faith in J's ability to do the right thing up until the minute he left. The hope is gone, and I am still reeling from that. I'm still trying to picture myself being happy this way and my future as being anything but scary and lonely. For the record, my faith in him isn't gone. Whoever he is now, I still feel like I know who he was and I have tremendous faith in my own power of discernment. I don't believe he will walk his current path forever and regardless of how angry or sad or disillusioned I get, I feel like part of me will always root for his better side. One way or another, I believe someday he will genuinely walk tall as a good man. Even after the year we have had, I believe it. I have no doubts about his potential even when I am furious or sad about the things he is doing at the moment.

I keep trying to remember that I only have to do these first anniversaries once. There is only one first Christmas alone, one first Valentine’s Day apart, one first year mark, etc. As things start to circle around again, I pray that they get easier not having the memories of the year before. I am praying for peace, I am praying for forgiveness, I am praying to understand that I may never actually understand and some days I am simply praying for the energy to shower and fix something besides macaroni and cheese. I pray that June 7 of next year will see me much more hopeful and without some of the load I can't seem to put down. I also pray to thank God for the amazing friends and family that have helped carry me this last year. I know I am blessed.

The Party!!!

Since it isn't everyday (or every year) that your only daughter turns 1, I went all out for Sis's birthday. Planning it was both a fun and a nice distraction from less awesome year marks :-) I decided to have a strawberry theme and everything from the menu to the bows in her hair matched.

My good friend Amy who runs the business Flowerz In Her Hair did Sis's blessing hair band and also created these bows to match her strawberry outfit. I know she is talented, but even I was amazed at how cute they turned out! She matches outfits, so if you have a little girl (or a big one, I often 'borrow" Sis's flower clips) she is your woman. She is super nice and super talented and is so not paying me to say all this! :-) Her link is on my sidebar if you want to check her out.

Because it too almost two full days to bake and create, I am posting pictures of the food for posterity. Enjoy:

I didn't get as great of a shot as I wanted to, but the cake was served on an antique cake stand my aunt sent me for my birthday! It was perfect (thank you again Aunt J!)

Try to pretend that the floor under the table is a real one and not masonite and plywood (that's what I have been doing for the last two months :-( Cross your fingers for us for the cabinet company to get it together soon so we can fix everything! Britny brought homemade strawberry shortcake to be a delicious alternative to the real cake, which was pretty but not as tasty.

Candy Strawberries (in case you couldn't tell...)

Crackers and Boursin

Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry Spinach Salad (Thanks, Britny!)

No close up, but still featured...Strawberry Pretzel Cream Cheese Salad, Chicken Salad Croissants and strawberry shaped PBJ's (strawberry jelly, of course).


Sis and Grandpa K

Sis and Grandpa Mike (for some reason I only got pictures of her with the Grandpa's. Whoops!) Thank you to everyone who made it. We missed everyone who couldn't!

Not so sure about getting her fingers dirty (you would never know this the way she smashes anything else on her tray during regular meals!)

Getting the hang of it!...

Still not thrilled, but at least I didn't have to clean it out of her hair. If I recall, Bubba needed a full bath after his first cake experience.

Happy Birthday, Sunshine!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

One Year Later - Still Beautiful...

A year ago today, we were sitting in Star Trek (me very uncomfortably) as we squeezed in one last movie date before we would check in at the hospital the next morning to become parents of three. So began what feels like both the longest and shortest year of my life. I can't believe my baby girl is one already! She is a joy. The boys and I call her 'sunshine' or 'sunny' because she is such a light in this home. I don't know what I would do without my girl.
June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010