Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Night before the First Day or What I wish I had said.

I wrote this two weeks ago, but the emotions were still so raw, I just couldn't bring myself to post it. I thought about it and knew that someday I would want to remember it all, especially the emotion of the night before...

Day 1 of Kindergarten

What I wish I had said - Kindergarten Orientation
Fill out the forms. Parent names, addresses, every phone number you can think of for an emergency. Allergies,  email addresses, volunteer forms… then… is there anything special I need to know about your child.
I drew a blank, but my mind raced. You gave me three lines and I think I need three thousand and the next two hours to tell you all that I want you to know.
You have my baby girl. The one we longed for, waited for, hoped and prayed for.  She is my special gift and the child that came out of my body in an emergency and has been creating her own emergencies (real or imaginary) ever since.  The day she was born, I knew she looked amazingly like my Nana. A woman whom I loved dearly and brought me immense comfort, happiness and love.

She is my child that can make me laugh without ever trying. She has a smile that can light up my darkest day and make my whole world worth living. Her eyes dance when she is excited and she gets excited about so many things. Please encourage that.  Her giggle is infectious and it comes from the heart.  Her heart is full of kindness and love. She is my child who although she physically left my body, she has never actually stopped touching it. Some days that was such a hassle, she was always under my feet, always exactly where I was or always laying on me. Now I realize how numbered those days were and what a gift I had been given.  My body aches with guilt over the days I went to work, when I should have been home with her and now I know I can never get those days back.
She is NOT her brother. She is more verbal at two than her brother has EVER been in his 11 years of life. If she doesn’t have something to say… poke her… she may be asleep. She talks about talking. She doesn’t need anyone else to have a conversation; she will have a really good two sided conversation all by herself.  She is not mechanical like her brother. She seemed to be born with the knowledge that the men in her life would always be there to fix everything she needed, so why bother to learn how to put anything together. I’d like to tell you that will change, but I don’t know realistically that the men in her life will ever let want for anything.
She is my expressive child. If her brother had emotions, there are days you may never know it. If she has an emotion, I will promise you will always know it, the second it happens. She is the one who fills our home with a roller coaster of emotion daily and sometimes hourly. OK sometimes they change minute to minute. Cole wakes up every morning happy. You know what you are going to get when he walks down the stairs.  It’s a crap shoot daily to see how she is going to wake up, but it’s always an adventure from the minute her feet hit the floor.
She has an imagination that could put many fiction writers to shame.  We often sit in amazement at the stories she can create in her mind and pass them off as completely believable.  (Call and ask first if she says she skipped breakfast) (The child NEVER skips breakfast)
She is my adventure child who is excited and embraces life. New place? She wants to go. Always! Even if it’s just a trip to see what the bathroom is like. New foods? Always! She has tried every food that she has EVER been offered and some she was not offered. There is not much that this one won’t eat. Compare that to my son who doesn’t eat anything that isn’t over processed and has no spice. She wants to experience everything with sight, sound, taste and smell. She wants to soak in new experiences with every piece of her body.
You have this year a chance to give her a lifelong excitement for learning. A chance to know that learning can be an exciting whole body experience. A chance for her to feel loved, respected, powerful, smart, beautiful and special.

I know from orientation that she sees in you that special spark and a love for learning that is infectious. She is excited for tomorrow. She knows in a very real way that this begins a whole new chapter in her life and she can barely sleep thinking about the possibilities.  Thank you for loving your job and loving these children.  Thank you for taking on the awesome responsibility and the great challenge of making this year one they will cherish forever.
I promise with all my heart that I will try not to be one of “those” moms who get TOO involved. I know it is important for her to make her own mistakes and learn her own way.  I want her to know it takes hard work to be successful and that the hard work must come from her efforts. It will mean so much more if she has earned her success.  Please help me if I step over the boundary and help too much. 

As I drop her off  and walk her down that long hallway, both of our hearts will be full of excitement and joy. Mine however will have just the smallest bit of sadness for the loss that is my baby girl and the knowledge that these years so by so very fast and they will be gone before I know it.  That soon I will be watching her walk down the long aisle of graduation and I will wish today could be frozen in time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sucking the Life out of Summer Vacation

"Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."   
- Henry James

Summer Vacation is ALMOST over.
Tomorrow will be the first day that both Cole & Shelby are in school full time.
Tomorrow I will drop both of my kiddos off for a full day and
the house will be quiet.
Why does my tummy hurt when I think about it?

School stuff is packed
orientation is over
clothes are picked out
alarm clocks are set for earlier than we have seen in months
Deep breath... Mama will get through this.

Cole decided to fish today.
He rarely does that, but somewhere in the back of his brain he knew.
Knew that this was the LAST day of summer.
He was going to enjoy summer till the very last second.

Because you don't know what tomorrow will bring....
ALWAYS enjoy today.

He caught about 20 fish today. He was awesome about taking them off the hook and getting them back in the water!

Shelby danced around while waiting on bubba to produce a fish to pet.

Eventually, she just gets tired of waiting.

Monday, August 8, 2011

An Amazing Summer! Pt 1 of who knows!

For those of you who follow along on facebook, I think it looks like we have spent the ENTIRE summer on vacation. Honestly, it FEELS like we have. It feels like I am emptying bags and luggage and repacking every week.  I think the kiddos are looking forward to going back to school just so they can settle into a routine! In less than a week I will have 2 children in school full time. I am refusing to blog about that right now for fear of my mother emotions taking over and I end up blubbering like an idiot.

We left the week after Cole got out of school, loaded the car  and went  to Toronto for 10 days. Daddy, who had to work there for the week was able to join in for some fun time in the evenings and weekend. This would be the kids first exposure to things like a subway, LARGE open markets, and their first official trip out of the country. They were troopers about exploring, finding our way when we got lost and just in general being really relaxed and taking in all the really cool sites! Although Toronto was not on my "Bucket List" of places I wanted to see, I think it is one of the most amazing cities in the world! I am so glad we went.

Toronto is amazingly diverse both ethnically and culturally. It is very interesting to see these groups intertwined in the same restaurants, museums, areas and just on the street. It proved for some great conversation starters and learning moments for both kids.

We enjoyed the CN tower, Casa Loma (A Real Life Castle), The Science Museum, Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and and trip to a wonderful park.  The kiddos were Subway Pros by the end of the week and they were really good at asking for directions. Cole's comment at the end of the week was "Ya know mom, you can find nice people willing to help anywhere." It is my hope that he carries that knowledge his entire life.

On the way home, Border Patrol asked if we had anything to declare. I laughed and said, "Yeah, I have a 5 year old that can't/won't walk in flip flops, an 11 year old that is tired of his little sister, more dirty laundry than I want to deal with, 10 open bags of snacks and lots of left over Canadian coins. Border Patrol boy was not amused.

At the CN Tower

They make a Moose noise when they do this, which I find soooo funny. I doubt others find it that amusing.

Cole was trying to spin her till she puked. What a loving brother!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


"The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all."
Walt Disney Company

Those that are close to us are aware of the hole outside my back deck.
It was going to be a pool.
Life got in the way.

Doesn't it always?

It's was easy for a while to focus on the hole.
To be angry at what wasn't there.
To get irritated at all that got in the way of the goals and dreams.
It got to be an annoyance.
I wanted it gone, filled in, fixed, seeded.

How embarrassing
this hole in my yard
in my life
Seriously.. the hole has been there through
Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring.

There was no longer even a plan for this hole.
It was just empty dirt.
Weeds grew.. I quit trying to control it.
and then this...

It wasn't my plan.
It wasn't my goal.
We threw lots of bird seed outside this winter.
Birds like sunflower seeds.

Who knew that something so bad...
could grow beauty.
If only I allowed it to grow.
If only I gave up on "my plan"
If only I allowed myself to let go.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Joy in our life

"Happiness is a warm puppy." Charles Shultz

She came to us when a friend went to look at her at a local shelter and called me to say, I think this is your dog.  My husband disagreed, but he went to see her at my constant nagging.  Joy was already a celebrity. She had been featured on the front page of our local paper with a story that she had been abused and had a broken pelvis.

This was our first introduction to Joy.
When we arrived at the shelter, they explained she was in her own special pen to keep her from running or jumping to help her pelvis heal. They also explained that a man had brought her to the humane society (that only took cats) and told them if they didn't take her, he would just go kill her. They quickly agreed as they could tell she had been injured. The vet stated he thought she may have been pregnant and her owner had kicked her to kill the babies. They were nervous about how she would react to men and children.
Troy went in to the pen first. She rolled over on her back and that was it. Troy scooped her up and said lets get her home.

She's a daddy's girl.
She's been on our couch ever since. I saw her chase a a ball once. Only once. Mostly her entire purpose in life is to be catered to and soak up love. If she could potty in the house, her feet would never touch grass.

You'll notice there is no collar. She doesn't like them. It is rare she leaves the house!

A majority of pics we have for her are on the couch. She seems to think it is beneath her to sit on the floor.

She serves as an arm rest/pillow for the kids, snuggle partner for Troy and constant source of noise for me. She is the first one to go upstairs to bed on Cole's couch at night, she is the last one up in the morning when we have to drag her off the couch and herd her outside. The is the first to bark until she is fed and the last one to get their snack at night. She does not appreciate me talking on the phone and will bark until I hang it up. I have to go outside to have a quiet conversation.

The picture above was a perfectly sunny day.
Beautiful, warm and dry. the other children were in the yard.

She's a daddy's girl. She is very clear about it. I am just here to take care of her every whim until he comes homes at night.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The late Chicago Day 2 & 3

Just in case anyone was wondering, we did come back from Chicago. I have just been negligent in posting about it! I was going to skip day 2 and 3 all together, but I reminded myself that I am never going to be a regular scrapbook person, so this is going to serve as our online scrapbook.

Day 2: We went to the Science and Industry Museum, with the rest of Chicago, who were clearly on Spring Break. Troy dropped us on his way to work,  and we stood in line for 40 mins to get tickets. Luckily the place is big enough that we were able to still see everything we wanted without too much of a wait.  Dinner for Day 2 was McCormick and Schmick and we checked out of the Felix, one bed hotel room and into the Hyatt. AMEN for two beds. After two nights of our children sleeping with their feet in our ribs, it was nice to spread out a little! For those of you wondering, our children have become quite accustomed to eating in nice restaurants when we go out of town. So far, they have been exceedingly well mannered with only the slightest bit of threatening. Shelby is quiet anywhere she gets to eat really good food!

It was the closest they were going to get to a beach.
Day 3 - Navy Pier and Chinatown. The original plan was to take a water taxi from Navy Pier to Chinatown, however, we learned after walking several blocks in the cold that the water taxis didn't start until the NEXT day. So we took an exciting taxi ride back to our car and drove to Chinatown. Chinatown was wonderful and we wandered from bakery to bakery buying up all the sweet top buns we could find for my BFF Lora. This was my first time to experience these wonderful things, they are YUMMY! They are now on Troy's shopping list every time he goes back.

I didn't know what everything was, but I am guessin it's all YUMMY!

AWESOME Spring Break 2011.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Break Chicago Style Day 1

Hello from Chicago!

Daddy had to work in Chicago for a couple days so we figured it was a great way to get in a cheap Spring Break vacation. Yes, we are aware that everyone else is headed to the beach and we are still freezing, but we're having a blast in the cold!
We arrived Monday night and checked into Hotel Felix (thank you Priceline). Hotel Felix is the only LEED certified, eco-friendly hotel. It is considered a "boutique" hotel, which we now know means small. The hotel is beautifully renovated and has a wonderfully comfortable bed and is within walking distance to the Magnificent Mile, where we spent all of  the day today!

Inside the hotel lobby

Immediately upon getting here we checked in and went directly to Gino's East Pizza for authentic Chicago Deep Dish Pizza! YUM!

Shelby and Cole  loved that you could draw all over the walls!

New York can keep their pizza! We're a Chicago style family!
Today, while Troy worked, the kiddos and I went on a marathon shopping spree in downtown Chicago. We started our morning at an amazing little breakfast spot called Yolk. Cole had smores pancakes and I got crepes. It was the best way to start the morning!

Cole has been asking for a year to go to the Lamborghini store. He now knows why we don't own one!

Yeah, he's cool!
We went to Hershey, American Girl Store, The John Hancock Center, Filene's Basement, Disney Store, Crate and Barrel, Lego Store. Neiman Marcus and then to eat at Life is Food before we wandered back to pick up daddy at the hotel at finished of at Ed Debevic's 50's diner for dinner.

We're eating WELL on Spring Break!
Onward to day 2!
I'm tired.