Thursday, November 1, 2012

Forever and Forever


Parenting, for me, has been such an exciting, puzzling, and rewarding journey. We've had our share of ups and downs. Way more ups than downs. And I am very thankful for that.

And a couple of weeks ago, I had one of those "up" moments. A really "up" moment.

When my daughter was born, my first baby, our Aunt Mel gave us a book called, "Guess How Much I Love You.." You probably know the story. I was actually not familiar with the book when I received it, and didn't pay much attention to it until we brought her home from the hospital.

The first day home, I decided to take her to the rocker and read her a book. And that was the book that I chose. It would be her first time hearing it, and my first time reading it. I remember every single moment of reading that book, 5 years ago. It went a little like this...

Page one: Piece of cake. No problem.

Page two: I started to tear up.

Page three: I couldn't even read it anymore. The book actually sticks on that page, still after all of this time, from my tears.

Page four: My husband came in scared something was wrong, and he had to finish the book.

As the months flew by, I was never able to finish the book. I would sometimes get half way through, or close to the end, and I would start crying again. Callie was six months old before I read the book to her from cover to cover without weeping. I would still tear up, but the tears would just fill my eyes.

We continue to read "Guess How Much I Love You." Callie knows it's my favorite book. It's our special book.

A couple of weeks ago, Callie decided to choose THAT book to read to me. She's been reading for a while now, but she's never chosen that book to read. And it went a little like this....

Page one: Tears.

Page two: Tears.

Page three: Tears.

And so on. I was keeping them from "falling" though. I was trying to be strong. But they were there. And they were different. They were proud tears. They were "full circle" tears. My baby is reading to me. And she's reading the first book I ever read to her. It's one of those moments that you just know you'll remember for the rest of your life.

The book ends with a popular saying, "I love you right up to the moon, and back." And that's been our saying all of this time. I ask both kids, at least once a day, "How much does Mommy love you?" And they respond, "Up to the moon and back, forever and ever, and I love you sooooo much!"

So thank you, Aunt Mel, because I am sure when you purchased us this book, you probably had no idea how much it would end up meaning to our family.

I can't wait to hear Callie read it to her children someday...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saying goodbye...

What would you say to someone on the phone, if you knew it would be the last time you'd ever get to talk to them again?

My grandma isn't doing well. She's very fragile. She's withered away to almost nothing, she rarely opens her eyes, and she's in some pain. The hospice team is trying to keep her as comfortable as possible, but sometimes it's just not enough. She's not eating and rarely drinking.

She has said that she's ready to go...

I asked my Dad a few days ago if it'd be possible to call her. See, she went to Arizona in February, so I hadn't seen her since then. We had hope she'd be well enough to fly back home and live in a nursing home. That hope has diminished. No airline would let her board in the condition she's in. I even explained to my 5 year old daughter how Mimi, as we call her, would be home soon and I explained to her what a nursing home was and why Mimi needed to live there. I thought I would see her again, I thought I would be able to hug her again, and I thought I would be able to tell her how much I love her and how much she means to me. So I was crushed when I learned that she wouldn't be coming home. And my Dad had said she wasn't up for a phone call. Until, the Husker game.

The Husker game changed everything. She was awake. She had her eyes open. She was chatty and watching the game. My Dad called me and told me to call her right away. I did. And I had thought so long and hard about what I would say to her if I could talk to her one last time. I was nervous when my sister handed her the phone. I didn't want to say the wrong thing. Yet, I managed to.

"Hi Mimi!! How are you feeling?? I want to tell you how much I love you and I miss you."

She responded that she loves us so much and is so glad she got to talk to me. She told me to take care of my babies and that she's proud of me and she thinks about us all of the time.

I said, "I hear you're watching the game. The Huskers are kicking the crap out of Idaho State!"

Uh oh. My grandma, like most, is very polite and lady-like. I've never heard her say anything close to a swear word. She is still as sharp as ever, because she had the wit to tell me, "That's not very nice language!"

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Because it's so true to her form, to want me to be lady-like and to speak her mind, but part of me wanted to cry because that's not exactly how I saw what would likely be our last conversation going. I wanted it to be perfect. And I have been beating myself up about saying the "naughty" word.

I recovered by saying, "Mimi, it's okay when you are talking about the Huskers!" And I told her I loved her, that my children loved her so much, and I handed the phone to my sister.

Was that it? Was that the last thing she'd remember about me? That I had a foul mouth? Which, for the record, I don't think I do.

I know she's going to a better place, with no pain or loneliness. She'll be reunited with her husband, who passed away 20 years ago. She'll be reunited with a son, who she lost when he was a toddler, she'll be reunited with her parents, family, and so many friends. She's at peace with the Lord and I know she's going whip anyone who steps out of line up there right back into shape. And I know someday, I'll see her again and we'll talk for as long as we want to and I'll be able to hug her and kiss her like I want to do so badly right now.

I can't say how long she's going to live. Family is telling me maybe a week or a few more days. By the time this blog posts, she could be gone. Selfishly, I pray that she makes a miraculous recovery and she is able to fly back to Nebraska and that we'll watch a Husker game together soon. If she doesn't, I know she'll be watching over us and cheering right along with us every game day. And I will think twice about ever saying the "C" word ever, ever again.

My Tiny Dancer...

My 5 year old daughter just started her third year of dance classes. We've made it through two years of Tap and Ballet. This year, she wanted to try something new. This year, my little lovely wanted to try Jazz and Hip Hop. As she got ready for class tonight, it made me think.

I could totally handle the Tap and Ballet. Cutesy little outfits, dancing to Taylor Swift or a princess themed song. Hair pinned neatly in a bun, toes pointed, chin up. But we're moving into a whole new world, pardon the Aladdin pun. A world of shorter, more provocative outfits. Sassier music. More suggestive dance poses and movements. And I ask myself, am I ready for this? Is her Daddy ready for this?

The studio does a pretty good job. I don't want to lead you to believe I would allow my daughter to dress like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" dancing to "Baby Got Back." It's not quite that bad. But it's a small step away from a pretty bun and all things princess.

Mostly, I'm afraid of letting her grow up. Finding the balance of keeping her little and innocent, and not hovering over her. It's a small leap, I know, and there will be more. And the leaps will only get bigger.

It sounds so dramatic, but she is my baby. My first-born. So aren't we allowed to hold them a little closer? Wasn't she just a little baby, randomly bouncing to songs on the radio? Doing a little dance to Beyonce's "Single Ladies" in her underwear? Where has the time gone?

When I watch her dance, I beam with pride. My baby is up there, doing what she's supposed to be doing, having fun, and learning life long lessons. She loves the stage. And I love watching her. So right now I don't care if she's dancing to "A Whole New World" or if she's shaking her rump to Justin Bieber. As long as I get to be there, and get to watch her work her magic, I'll be happy. I'll be looking up at her in awe. The courage she has to take the stage and dance her heart out. And taking mine right along with her.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Go Huskers, Part 2!

Ahhh... yes. The big game. The first game of the season. The Huskers. And I had tickets. And I was so, so excited. I was going to go, tailgate, have so much fun. Eat. Drink. Watch the drunks. Witness an arrest. I was so pumped.

I ate. A little. I drank. A little. I didn't see a lot of drunks. And I didn't witness an arrest. Did I mention it was five million degrees outside that day? Yeah. I forgot that part. Oh and how did I get tickets? If you remember from last time, I'm not the golden child. But the golden child already had tickets, so they defaulted to me. Yay me.

So the day started off great. I dropped the kids off at Darci's, my mom had come down to babysit them all day. We left around 10:15 so we would have time to tailgate and hang out. It was me, my sister Darci, her husband Marcus, my sister Frankie, her boyfriend/promised-to-be-husband Jon, a friend, Robert, and his daughter, Maggie. All 7 of us rode with Robert, since my husband said if I drove, we'd have to park in Gretna. I haven't gotten around to blogging about his obsession with the DDPP. If you don't know what that is, it's an entirely different topic for another day :)

Bromance in Full Swing in the front seat.

It was sort of a long ride, I'm not going to lie to you. The discussion was on Hy-Vee, sports, and something about airplane restrooms that I won't repeat here. Thank me later. Or now. It was starting to get a little hot outside, but not too bad. We got to Lincoln, got parked, and began our tailgating. And as the day progressed, it got hotter, and hotter, and hotter. And I've learned a few things about tailgating. There should be at least the five following things at any respectable tailgate.

1. Food/Drink. We'll lump this into one category. Most would prefer alcoholic drinks, if we're getting specific.

2. Music or some other form of entertainment. The gentlemen we were tailgating with had a TV. That works.

3. Proper utensils. I brought the cups, bowls, and plates. All matching and all very pretty. Things no one else brought this time would be tongs and silverware.

4. Entertainment of the physical sort. Like a football. Or a bean bag toss game. And chairs for those who prefer to be less physical, more social.

5. For sure. 110%. A canopy tent. That would have been really, really nice. Especially in triple digit weather.

Oh, and Robert, could have used some sort of fashion advice before he left the house in his red and black shirt, navy shorts, and red and black hat. But, he did remember his sunscreen. Bonus points for you, Bobby. Just not enough to do undo the navy shorts.

No, those are NOT jeans. And yes. This is how Bobby puts on his sunscreen.

And yes. Those are pliers he is using to flip and remove the brats.

Darci and Marcus have this crazy, silly tradition that you have to take a Jager shot before each game. And guess what? When you get there early, you take more than one. I'm pretty sure they took 3 or 4. I'm pretty sure they thought I did, too. It helps if you are quick and dump your shot out while all of their heads are back :) I had one. Haha suckas!!!

This is the ONE shot I actually took.
 P.S. Sort of uncomfortable asking your baby sister to take a photo of you while you take a shot.

On the left. My sort of baby sister. On the right. My really baby sister.
My really baby sister isn't 21, and didn't do any shots, just for the record.

So, it was finally game time. OR I should say an hour before. Because Bobby has to be in to see the band. Apparently it's his favorite part of the game. Wop wop! We got our seats. 45 yard line, East stadium, upper balcony. Awesome seats. Terrible, terrible, non-existent shade. I was there for about a minute. Couldn't take it anymore. I had to go sit outside in the breeze for a few minutes. And that's when the real action began. And I'm not talking about football.

I came back in the stadium just after kick off and TD. I was standing right below my section, getting shade from the balcony. And then it started. Everyone started dropping like flies. Passing out. Having heat strokes. Seriously I saw about 7 people in a 20 minute time frame. And at least a dozen in my line of vision in the first quarter. One was pretty bad. It was an 87 year old woman. She had on long sleeves and pants. She fainted right in front of me, and I caught her before she cracked her head on the concrete floor. If you know me, you know I went through a stage when I didn't really "care for" the elderly. I know it's terrible to say, and I don't feel that way anymore, but in my early 20's I couldn't stand them. Except my family of course. I thought this was God's cruel payback to me. That this lady is going to die here in my lap. I fanned her face, I yelled for for help. She was out of it. Completely. Not talking or anything. The American Red Cross came and helped and took her away. And about 20 minutes later, she was back. Standing beside me. Confused, still. Almost out of water. Heading back up in the sun to find her seat. I stopped her. I asked her where her seat was, and she wasn't sure. I knew she wasn't all together yet upstairs. She was still off, I could see it in her eyes. I told her she could stand by me until half time so she could stay in the shade, and then I'd go help her find her seat and her son. So we chatted a bit. I bought her some more water since she left her purse with her son. I talked her out of going back up, alone, many times. I helped her watch for her son, who would surely be getting worried and come looking for her (only NOT). Half time came and went, and there was no sign of her son. She said we were standing by the stairs he would use to go look for her. Turns out we were not even close. We went up and down and up down until she finally remembered her section and we found her son. She seemed to be lively again and her eyes looked normal. So I informed her son what happened and that his mom would probably need to go home and not stay for the game. They stayed for the game, anyway. And he never once came looking for her. Sad.

Anyway, I went back up to my seats and it was still hot. Actually I think it was more hot. Darci texted me that she had seats open near her, and they actually caught a bit of a breeze where they were. So I joined them.It was the first time the entire game that I actually sat down. (It was like 4th quarter I think) and got to actually watch the game.

And it was a pretty good game. But I want a do-over. I want a November game. And I still want to see someone get arrested, darn it!!!


Friday, August 24, 2012

I... er... I mean SHE did it!!

We did it. We made it. We, I mean SHE, started Kindergarten....

How'd the first 8 days go, you ask??

Let's start at day 1. Day 1 was hard. Even Craig had to admit that it was harder than he thought it would be. Don't think I'm not onto your wearing sunglasses inside the school, Craig! It was hard. But it was fast. We walked her in. We dropped off her supplies. We hung her backpack. She sat at her seat and started playing with blocks. Bursting with pride. And then. We left. And I could feel my face start to get hot. And I could feel the tears forming. And then I was distracted. Tanner apparently didn't get the memo that you have to be 5 to go to Kindergarten. He was so mad that his sissy got to stay, but he didn't. I told him that it'd be okay, and that we were taking him to the zoo. He said he wanted his sissy to come with us. More tears for me. More tears for him. And Craig? He was still wearing his shades. But guess who didn't cry? Not a single tear. My Callie.

We took Tanner to the zoo and I kept checking the time to see if it was 2:00 so we could go pick up our baby. It took forever. Craig and Tanner rode the carousel at the zoo. I watched. I saw a probably 10 month old little girl riding with her Daddy. She looked like Callie. She had little sunglasses on. She looked so cute. And I had to restrain myself from kidnapping her. Ha. Just kidding. But I did have to restrain myself from walking over to her mother, shaking her, and telling her to enjoy every single second of her baby's life because if she even blinks, she'll miss it. Just like I'd been told a million times. I was that mom. I was that mom who was going to be that CRAZY mom who would actually approach a complete stranger, tears running down my face, and say those words. Would she listen? I lost it. I had held it together so well. Tears filled my eyes but never fell. Until the carousel. And some random baby girl and a dad and her mom.

We picked her up and she didn't look happy. I wanted to know why? What happened? Did she not like school? Was she bullied? Did she get sassy with her teacher and get in trouble? I walked over to her and she looked at me with tears in her eyes. But they weren't "those" tears that you are thinking. She was mad. She was mad at us for being there. She wanted to stay longer.

The next day, she got to ride the bus for the first time. She got on the bus proudly. She was so excited. She marched right up the stairs of the bus and never looked back. Not even a wave. This was much harder than dropping her off at school. I sobbed when I got back to the house. And I couldn't wait until she got home.

We waited for the bus to get back. It was a looong day. But the time had finally come. I was so excited. Tanner was so excited, too. (Oh, and he also missed the memo that he doesn't get to ride the bus, either). The bus stopped and I waited with so much excitement to hear about her day. And the bus door opened, two kids got off, and the bus left. And Callie was not one of the two kids. And I had a mini heart attack. It turns out she just missed her stop. She was still on the bus and thankfully some stranger somehow got her off the bus and she came running home with tears in her eyes.

So, we've made it. We've all cried. All for different reasons. We've survived the first couple of weeks.

Monday, July 30, 2012

And then there's that...

Ohhh boy. It's been quite a July! We celebrated Callie's 5th Birthday. It was actually a really nice day. Hot, but not 100 degrees hot. We had a bounce house, our new swing set all together and ready to go, and a pool. The kids had a blast.

 We went to Adventureland (which was SO much fun!), and Callie went on her first roller coaster (The Dragon!). Tanner had a bout with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease for the first time. And then we kindly passed it on to half of Omaha, not knowing what was wrong with him! I ran my first 5k in 100 degree weather!! And this was all during our one week of vacation!!

While on vacation, I decided to go to the doctor. I'd been feeling so tired lately, my hair has been falling out in clumps, and I've been working out and eating right for over a year and my weight never seemed to really budge, no matter how hard I worked. I was so, so tired and sore all of the time. So when I went to doctor, she found a lump on my throat. And she uttered the words "thyroid cancer." I'll tell you now, so you aren't in suspense, I do not have cancer. I went to an ultrasound, had blood work done, and it turns out I have something called Hashimoto's Disease. I had never heard of it before. But after talking with my doctor, it explains all of my symptoms. The time they have you wait for your results, I just have to say, is the worst part. Not knowing for days. After the doctor suggested the "c" word. I was a bit nervous. Although I kept repeating to myself that it couldn't be cancer, I'm too young to have cancer (which I know is not true.) So when I got the news that I was in the clear from cancer, and had this other disease I'd never heard of, I was just relieved.

So now I'm taking medication. And I haven't noticed much of a difference, so far. But I'm so looking forward to feeling better. And to have my hard work actually pay off as far as my working out goes. I can't wait to have energy. And I can't wait for my hair to grow back in. There's no cure for Hashimoto's Disease, but it's so easy to treat. Just take a pill every day. I don't have a scientific definition, you can google it if you want to, but basically my immune system attacks my low-functioning thyroid.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me thoughts and prayers and listened to me vent and obsess and wonder and worry. If you have Hashimoto's Disease, I'd love to hear about your experience with it.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Baby Blues...

Shortly after giving birth, a lot of women go through what they call "Baby Blues." It's a hormonal, emotional, mixed up time that a lot of women (and husbands!!) endure. But, our bodies get back to normal (ha, right!) or at least our hormones do. And we slowly get over it. Everyone told me the signs to watch for, and what to do on your bad days. But no one told me it came back. No one told me that you'd go through all of these emotions all over again. Can you have those same feelings all over again?

I feel like I do. I feel like I just had her, and my emotions are everywhere. She's not even gone yet (meaning, kindergarten) and I miss her. And I feel all of this pressure.

I want her to be independent, I want to push her to do her best, I want her to listen, I want her to show respect, I want her to be kind and compassionate. I often find myself in a panic. Do I discipline her too much? Not enough? When she's not with me, is she using her manners? Have I prepared her for the sticky situations she might come acrossed on the bus? In the classroom? On the playground? How do you teach her to stand up for herself without being mean? Would she do the right thing if a stranger approached her? Are my expectations in line with her age or are they too high? Are they too low?

How do I let her go without being scared? I grew up in a really safe, small community where neighbors looked out for each other, where your teachers taught your parents or siblings, and know your family inside and out. It won't happen like that here. And I don't want any of my fears rubbing off on her. (I never, ever bring up how I am a little sad around her, just for the record) I want her to be confident. I know she's just a kid. And maybe all of the questions come because I'm still trying to figure out how to be a mom of a big kid. I've only ever been a mom of a little kid. And maybe the lack of confidence I'm feeling is not in her, but in myself.

I know a lot of you are probably thinking, lady, it's kindergarten. It's not a big deal. Every kid does it, right? But right now, this is my mountain. It's my climb. We're weeks away from the peak and the thought of looking over the edge is scary. Wondering if I did the job right?

Time will tell. I think she's pretty amazing. I think she has two parents who love her and show her how to love. Scratch that. She has two parents, lots of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, family, and friends supporting her. She's smart, funny, and beautiful. I am pretty confident she will breeze through her kindergarten year. I just hope I can keep up for the ride. And keep in mind that this is the first time I've had to really let go, but it won't be the last.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

She's Gone Country...

Most of you know, and maybe some of you don't believe, I grew up in the "country." Don't laugh. Not back-woods-toothless-barefootandpregnant-country. It was more like hospitality-repsectyourelders-okayyesdirtroads-country.

We had gravel roads to our house. It took me 20 minutes to get to school, and not because of traffic. Unless you count the combines. When you drive by, passing drivers wave. Really busy ones give you the finger. No, not that finger, the one finger wave. I remember asking my dad when I was younger, why he waved at everyone. You can pretty much assume he knows everyone, but what he said was very important. You never know when a stranger could be a friend, or if you were in some kind of trouble, if you are nice and respectful to people, they will help you.

As a teenager, I couldn't wait to get out of there. I wanted to be "free" from all of it. Everyone knowing your business, no where cool to shop, and I wanted to see what else was out there.

Even up until recently, if you asked me if I would ever move back, I would laugh and say no way. But today, today I miss it. I miss not having neighbors to worry about, leaving your doors unlocked, church with the same small group of people you've been praising God with your entire life. I miss the closeness and warmth that the "country" offers.

And sending Callie to kindergarten at a school that has SIX kindergarten classes? Don't even get me started. It seems too big, too impersonal, and I wish I could send her to a much smaller school. The school I attended was a K-12 school. I went to the same school my entire life, with pretty much the same group of 35 or so kids. Like brothers and sisters to me. I wish she could have that.

Who knows if I'd actually really be happy there. I might have been in the "city" life too long. Two minutes to Target, Hy-Vee up the street, no gravel roads, a million restaurants and shops.... I probably couldn't really do it. And my husband is soooo not a country boy. He wouldn't last a day in the field, or standing it cow poop fixing fences, and he's terrified of horses. Needless to say, I know living on a farm will never happen for us.  But thank God I still have home. Or what I call home. My dad's farm has everything that gives me a bit of comfort.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Wanna Wake Up Where You Are....

Today is my Anniversary with my husband. We've been married for 7 years. But our story goes so, so much farther back than that. We started dating when I was only 16. Of course we had our break ups and high school drama. We met at Hy-Vee (shocker!) and have been together ever since. I remember seeing him in passing, but I didn't really know who he was until I had to do a catering event. And he was the guy who had to pick myself and a few other girls up afterwards. My first impression, I'm not gonna lie, is that he was a big dork. He had beer cans in the back of his truck, and a sticker that said "Girls Rule." Little did I know at the time, that was NOT his truck, but a friend's. Still. And then he started singing to the Backstreet Boys on the way back to the store. Needless to say, it wasn't love at first sight :)

It didn't take long, though, for us to be attracted to each other. His parents were out of town one weekend, sorry Rita and Jeff, and he had a little party. I went with a friend of his. I wouldn't call it a date, well, maybe it was a date. Okay so maybe I was on a date with one of his friends when we had our first kiss. I obviously wasn't too into the friend of his, and Craig made me laugh. A lot. And smile. When my "date" left, Craig asked me to stay a little bit later, and I did. We watched MTV (back when they played music videos) and just hung out, and had our very first kiss. I remember like it was yesterday.

We dated off and on for a while. Breaking up, then getting back together, it was hard to avoid one another when we worked together. Even when he was mad at me, or I was mad at him, it never lasted long. I couldn't walk by him without smiling, and he'd tell you the same.

Then, I graduated high school. I was dating Craig at the time of my graduation, and I let him know that I was moving. To Minnesota. Over six hours away. We tried the long distance thing, and it was hard. He would come visit me a lot on the weekends, but it wasn't enough. After 3 months, he dropped out of college and transferred stores to be with me. We moved in together in September of 2001. We were just babies, living on love, ramen noodles, and Supermarket Sweep.

After I finished school, we moved back to his hometown. He finished college and remained with Hy-Vee. We got engaged, got married, and moved to Omaha. Our wedding day was so much fun. I am so thankful for all of the family and friends that surrounded our day with love and support. The wedding was short and sweet, and the reception.... let's just say we spent more on beer than we did food. But everyone had a great time.

We now have a house, two kids, a fish, and a dog. Thirteen years later. Our idea of fun is playing basketball with Tanner, or listening to Callie read to us. We go to Target alone on our really crazy nights. And maybe even dinner. Our house is usually a little messy, very chaotic, and our laundry never seems to be done. But it's ours. Together.

Our big night was spent at Applebee's (Callie picked), with both of our kids. We usually go to some fancy restaraunt and order steak and wine, but this time we were at your neighborhood grill, ordering Mac-N-Cheese and applesauce. Instead of fancy plates, we ate out of little red baskets. And we had a blast.

All of this has been created in 7 years. I can't wait to see what the next 70 will bring.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mom Prom 2012

You guys, I am so excited. Really.

I had really high hopes for this year's Mom Prom. If you don't know what that is, and you consider yourself a friend of mine, where the heck have you been? :)

I nearly tear up as I write that as of right now, we only have 39 tickets left. 39. Out of the 280 we are selling. (We also reserved some tickets for contests, giveaways, and certain sponsored tickets). This year's prom will have 300 women. 300 women who want to make a difference. 300 women who want to have fun, get dressed up, and take a night all to themselves. Which, let's be honest Mommies, doesn't happen nearly enough. 300 women strong. Last year we had about 150. I can't even imagine what we could do at NEXT year's prom. The Qwest (okay, I refuse to call it Centurylink Center, yet)? What venue could possibly hold the hopes that we have for the coming years??

This year's Mom Prom beneficiary is Ted E. Bear Hollow. If you aren't familiar with this amazing organization, they offer counseling services to children and families who have lost a loved one. Free. I honestly hope my children never have to set foot in that building, but if the tragedy ever happened, I thank God that they would have a place to go. A place where they won't feel different, or alone, or lost. A place where they can go and be with other kids their age who have gone through a similar situation, a place that will help them understand, a place where they can build themselves back up.

We did "The Morning Blend" this week. It was fun, but nerve-wracking. I have to thank my husband. He has been so amazing with me being gone a lot for different Prom related reasons. And even running my daycare for a few hours! I think the kids have more fun with him than me!! We sported our dresses, that we bought for $25 from Max I. Walker for the Ultra Chic Boutique going on this Saturday!!

Judy Daniell, Jessica Hudson, and myself

If you can't come to Mom Prom this year, you can still donate. Go to Watch out for pictures of this year's Prom. It's going to be a night to remember!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Ahhh. My vacation. I agonized over it, planned my time, my wardrobe, where the kids would be when and with who. I figured out who would take care of our dog, Lucy. I didn't make arrangements for the fish, but that darn fish just has will to live like I've never seen. I am pretty sure she gets fed once a month. I got paperwork ready, I made lists, I scrutinized for months before vacation. And then it was here. And then it was gone.

It was amazing. Craig and I had so much fun together. Not that we don't have fun together regularly, but this was a different kind of fun. The "wehavenostressinourlivesnodiaperstochangenomouthstofeedbutourown" type of fun. It was so relaxing. So nice to eat a meal with no interruptions, to really talk to each other about things like music, books, movies, and just get away from it all. To feel like we did before we had all of the stress and responsibilities. Did we miss the kids? Like crazy. I cried nearly every night. But I knew they were having a blast. One day when I called, they were swinging at the park, and Callie informed me that she "can't talk to you right now, Mommy. I'm on a swing and I need two hands for this." So I know that if she has to choose between the swing and me, the swing wins.

Our trip started in Ft. Lauderdale. We relaxed, shopped, and anxiously awaited boarding our cruise. We ran into one of Craig's co-workers on the flight. Small world, huh? Even smaller that they were then on our next flight and leaving for cruise as well. (Not the same as ours, though.)

We boarded the Carnival Miracle on Sunday. We were all so excited to get on the ship and explore. We had so much fun people watching, sun bathing, and playing all of the silly games that cruise ships have to offer. Craig even took a dance lesson. On a stage. In front of people. (Well, about half of the lesson until he decided to quit!)

Our first island was Grand Turk. We went to the beach, shopping, and just relaxed. I swam in the ocean, and Craig just tried not to get an even worse sun burn. (Yes, just a day into the cruise, he was a lobster!)

Our second island was the Dominican Republic. We had a not so good experience there. We went to La Romana via shuttle, and were dropped off at the "market." I really don't even want to talk about what happened in our 15 minutes there. We then took a shuttle to a little village, where we got to see some amazing views, beautiful streets and buildings, and some relax time.

Our third island was Aruba. I was in love immediately. We went to De Palm Beach. We snorkeled, we ate, we drank, we did the water park, we did the banana boat. Has anyone seen "Jaws?" The one where the kids are paddling the banana boat along, ever so serenely? This is what I thought we'd be doing. We went to get on and they required life jackets. "Overly cautious" I thought. We were tied to the dock and I saw the guy let us go. And then I saw that the rope was also tied to a boat in front of us. I was so not aware of what I was in for. And I wish I had a picture or video to show you just what happened. The guy drove the boat with us straddling this tiny air raft, flying through the air, being pelted with salt from the ocean. I have never held on for dear life quite like I did this day. The guy gave us directions before we got on the raft. I couldn't remember them! I didn't think they were important! I thought we were paddling the boat! He said something about sharks, something about the easiest way to get back on if you fall off (!!XXX!!!) and I couldn't remember any of it. I remember telling Craig "I don't want to do this anymore! I don't want to do this anymore!" Oh, and he said he wouldn't go over 15 MPH but anyone on that raft will tell you that was a LIE!!!!!! He was twisting and turning and I kept holding on and holding on. Then, he flipped the raft over. On purpose. I was in the ocean straight up "Jaws" style, with my life jacket, my contacts barely intact, and no memory of my directions. They very leisurely came back around, we got back on the raft, and I couldn't wait to be on land. Looking back, it really was super fun, but I can't say I'd ever do it again. The rest of the day in Aruba was spent shopping. Much more my cup of tea:)

Aruba day was also my birthday. I am pretty sure, thanks to my husband and family and friends with us, that every single passenger knew it was my birthday. Between shouting it out when I was the "lucky" girl chosen for trivia, or shouting it out in the dining room, or elevator, or anywhere, I can say I've never had so many strangers sing "Happy Birthday" to me ever in my life.

After Aruba we were on to Curacao. I also had a lot of fun here. We shopped, walked around, and relaxed. The buildings were so, so beautiful.

It was such an amazing trip. We missed the kids, and it was good to be back home, but I am so glad that we went. We are already planning the next one. WITH the kids this time :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stop the Clock.

Time is just going too fast for me. Everytime I turn around Tanner's saying new words, Callie's mastering a new skill, the newest being reading, and I get a year older. I wish I had a pause button because I know I am going to want these times back someday. Even during my worst day. Even when the kids are all screaming, the dog's whining, and all I want to do is go to the bathroom without eight kids beating the door down for something. I do have to stop and remind myself that they aren't little forever. Someday, they'll want nothing to do with me, they'll just want to go out with their friends.

I am getting a break from all of it soon. I'll be on a cruise with my husband, for the first time in six years. We are really, really looking forward to it. But I can't help but feel guilty about what I'll miss. Or that Tanner will be confused about where his parents are. At least he'll be with people he knows and loves.

I am looking forward to spending quality time with my husband. We don't get enough time to ourselves. I am looking forward to eating a meal without cleaning up a spill, getting more milk, cutting up someone else's food, or picking corn out of my hair. I'll have 11 days that I don't have to change any diapers, tell anyone to brush their teeth or feed the dog, and I will get to sleep whenever I want to. And go to the bathroom whenever I want to. I won't have to watch Dora, do dishes or laundry, or play Old Maid. I actually won't watch TV at all. I won't have to check my emails, I won't be on Facebook (unless there's free WiFi somewhere, then I'll post a pic to make you all jealous!), and I can disconnect for 11 days.

All of those daunting chores will go to someone else. Mostly, my sister, my mom, and my neighbor. They get all of the dirty diapers and snotty noses, but they also get all of the hugs and kisses. They get the five minutes of cuddle time both of my children require before starting their day. They get the bedtime stories and fun games. They get the smiles, they get to see Tanner jamming out and listen to Callie read them a book. I have never left them for this long of a time, and I am sure it will be harder on me than it is on them.

Sure, there will be moments on vacation where I want to hit the pause button. When my feet hit the sand and it's 80 degrees outside and I have all day to relax, explore, shop, and be with Craig and other friends and family. But it's a different kind of pause button. I can't wait until the kids are a little bit older and they can go with us next time.

Until then my sister and her husband, my neighbor, and my mom are more than happy to care for the most important gifts God has ever given me. And I know they will be just fine....