Monday, June 30, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Forgive me for typing this letter. I type much faster than I write these days, and time is of the essence! It seems I never have enough of it.
I wish I had more time this past year to lay with you and cuddle, and read books. You’ve enjoyed going to the library every other week and picking out five books to “buy.” (You always say, “buy” even though I tell you we’re just borrowing them!) We read them over and over, until you can recite them yourself. And lately, you’ve actually started to read lots of the words on your own!
I wish I had more time to watch your favorite shows with you. Every evening after bathtime, you pick one of your favorites to watch: Clifford, Word World, Little Einsteins, or Curious George. You even sleep with a monkey that you call Curious George. (You also sleep with a dog named PJ, a duck named Molly, a bear named Apple Bear, and a penguin named Perry.)
I wish I had more time to swim at the pool with you this summer. I have enjoyed watching you take to the water again. You are fearless, except when you are in the inner tube with Sammi and Rebekah. You’re always afraid it’s going to flip over. But the rest of the time, you LOVE the pool. You are a great natural swimmer. Now I need to get you started in some true swim lessons so you can learn real strokes!
I wish I had more time to drive with you in the car, watching you sing your favorite songs out loud. You can really belt them out! Your favorites are “Our Song” by Taylor Swift, “Kung Fu Fighting” by Bus Stop, and a new favorite is “YMCA” by the Village People. You recently told me you’re going to be on American Idol when you grow up, and I’ll be able to watch you on TV.
I wish I had more time to take you to the movies too. About a week ago, Grandma watched Jackson while Daddy and I got to take you to see “Kung Fu Panda.” It was so nice having alone time with you. I also got to take you to see “Alvin and the Chipmunks” one day when Jackson was at Parents Day Out. You truly are a joy to be around – so smart, inquisitive, funny, and full of passion and excitement.
You have turned into such an amazing little girl this past year. You’ve grown tremendously - learning to read and write, and getting ready for school. You’ve also accepted all of the upheaval and changes we’ve had this past year with true grace; you have welcomed Jackson with open arms, and are so good with him. He adores you, and laughs at your funny faces the most. I can never get him to laugh at me the way he laughs at you!
In just one month, you’ll be starting Kindergarten. And all of a sudden, time will have moved on and I’ll be begging for it to stop. I can’t begin to tell you how much I will miss you during the day while you are at school. I’ve spent the last three years at home with you, and I am so very glad that we made the decision for me to be a stay-at-home mommy. I wouldn’t trade the last three years for anything. We strengthened our bonds, and did a lot of loving and learning together. And who’s going to help me entertain Jackson when you go off to school? :)
So all that’s left to say to you, my big five-year-old girl, is that you are in for an awesome year. I look forward to watching you grow more in to yourself.
And maybe this coming year, time will slow down a bit and we can live part of it in slow-motion. One can only wish…
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The next thing I knew, Jackson came tottering in to the kitchen, crying and screaming. I knelt down to his level, and he ran up to me and fell into my arms. He immediately stopped crying, and I almost heard a sigh. I thought to myself, "How sweet that Mommy makes it all better."
Note to self: don't get too cocky! Remember the rest of Jackson's ten waking hours today? He was mad that I took the phone away from him (he was trying to call China). Mad that I pulled him off the sofa, which he was using to climb onto the bar area behind it. Mad that I wouldn't let him splash in puddles in the street. Mad that I wouldn't let him eat rocks. Mad that I kept him from drowning at the pool. Mad, mad, mad.
Oh, joy! The silver lining is that he isn't an infant anymore. Yay for me! You KNOW how I feel about infants! Or at least how I feel about my own infants. (I like other people's. You can give them back!) I'll choose a temper tantrum over a crying newborn any day. Jackson's temper tantrums are louder, but at least I know why he's crying, as opposed to when he was an infant and cried just for crying's sake.
Monday, June 23, 2008
During the exam, the doctor showed her the eye chart and said, "Can you read that to me?" Katie said no, so the doctor went to the next line of letters that were bigger. Again, she asked, "Can you read that?" Katie said no, again. So the next line of even bigger letters were revealed. The doctor asked, "Can you read that to me?" Katie answered, "Of cblt."
Get it? She was trying to read the "words" to the doctor, just like the doctor asked. But since she didn't recognize those first few lines of letters as words that she knew, she told the doctor no, she couldn't read them. It made me chuckle. My smartypants is such a literal thinker!
Things To Do Before I Die
1. See a bull fight
2. See the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain
3. Go to a presidential inaugural ball
4. Go to the Olympics Opening (or Closing) Ceremony
5. Go whitewater rafting
6. Spend New Year’s Eve at Times Square
7. Visit a Hollywood movie set
8. Visit Graceland
9. Visit all 50 states
10. Visit Australia
11. See the Egyptian pyramids and sail the Nile River
12. See a shuttle launch
13. See the Oscars, or at least watch the red carpet live
14. See the Eiffel Tower
15. See Mt. Rushmore
16. Eat at Carnegie Deli
17. Go dog sledding
18. Go on an archeological dig
19. Go parasailing
20. Go hang gliding
21. Go to synagogue
22. Become a member of the Mile High Club
23. Learn to play the piano
24. Make a piece of stained glass
25. Learn sign language
26. Take a painting class (watercolor)
27. Take a pottery class
28. Take a cooking class
29. Go to clown college
30. Shave a man’s face
31. Fly a plane (at least sit at the controls)
32. Ride in a semi truck
33. Drive a Harley Davidson motorcycle
34. Watch a sea turtle hatch
35. Take a hot air balloon ride
36. Ride in a fighter jet
37. Ride in the Goodyear Blimp
38. Ride in a Zorb
39. Meet a movie star
40. Swim with dolphins
41. See the inside of a Mormon temple
42. See the 82nd Airborne All American Chorus perform
43. See a taping of the Oprah show
44. Drive in Europe on the left side of the road
45. Spend El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico
46. Learn to hula hoop
47. Go on a Mexico mission trip with church
48. Host a foreign exchange student
49. Volunteer to teach English as a Second Language
50. Join the church choir or praise band
51. Own my own craft business (halfway in 1998)
52. Go snowmobiling (Jan. 1993 in Alaska)
53. Take a riverboat cruise (7/4/97)
54. Drink a bottle of Dom Perignon (10/98, 1/05)
55. Register to become a bone marrow donor (1/12/99)
56. Pet a monkey (5/8/99)
57. Skydive (9/5/99)
58. Ride a gondola in Venice (2/13/01)
59. See the Kentucky Derby (5/4/02)
60. Ride an elephant (5/18/02)
61. Go to the circus (5/18/02)
62. Have a baby (6/17/03)
63. Take a dance class (1/19/05-3/9/05)
64. Go inside the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile (4/19/06)
65. Walk a labyrinth (4/26/06)
66. Milk a cow (10/7/06)
67. Go to a World Series game (10/27/06)
68. Go to a Jimmy Buffett concert (4/24/08)
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Anyway... guess what we have living under our front porch?
Can you see it? No, the camera isn't broken or unfocused. Those things that look like spots on the lens are actually fingerprints on my windows. (Have I mentioned I'm not a good housekeeper?)
I was sitting with Katie in the LoveSac this morning, and saw a bit of fur on the front porch. I got up and looked out and saw this little dude just hanging out, sniffing the air. I grabbed the camera, and he noticed me watching him. He scurried off the side of the porch, down to a little hole that's been dug under the concrete slab. I had seen the hole, but thought it was the bunnies back at work (like every summer). Nope. Apparently, we have a groundhog/woodchuck living with us. Wikipedia says they are called Marmota monax. I have no idea if a groundhog is different from a woodchuck or how they might even differ, but if you Google "woodchuck" a photo of our little dude appears. Here he is going under our porch:
I emailed the photos to Dan at work, and he said he'd come home tonight and "take care of him." Aack! What does that mean? Groundhog stew? Dan started singing, "Great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts..." from Caddy Shack. Poor guy. (The groundhog, not Dan!) I also called the city, and they said they don't remove animals from private property but could refer us to a service we could hire. Anyone have any ideas of how to evict our vermin?
I would prefer not to have a Bill Murray trilogy going here. First Groundhog Day, then Caddy Shack?! That doesn't bode well!
Jackson has also been a joy the past few days. I think one major factor is that he hasn't been sick. I haven't wiped his nose in at least a week, which is a record for him. And I think his pre-molar teeth have finally broken through. He's been laughing and even used sign language for the first time to say "more." His favorite thing to do these days is run past Katie with his signature "catch me" screech, and see if he can bait her into a game of chase. I love watching them do this, but I also have a tiny bit of dread because (I can hear my mom's voice saying this), "Someone always gets hurt." Of course.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
The way you hide bedtime books in your shirt.
You always do bathtime.
Pretzel rods, chips & salsa.
Your passion for politics and efforts in trying to educate me on them.
Dancing to "Just Another Day in Paradise" with Katie.
No matter which episodes of Friends is on, you say "This is the best one!" without fail.
Tag-teaming the kids with me.
Playing airplane with Katie.
Your stability, loyalty, kindness, work ethic, passion, strength.
You always have tears in the last scene of The Color Purple.
Your belief that I will make a million someday.
Strong arms for holding babies and for falling asleep in.
Letting the kids chase you with the oven mitts.
Your ability to fix anything.
The way you sometimes remind me of my dad.
Your voice of reason.
Never saying no to a Boy Scout, Girl Scout or lemonade stand.
You have become a new man these past five years, as I've watched you father our two kids. You've been my compass, guiding me as I make decisions as a mother. You've been my sounding board, my Kleenex, my coach and my cheerleader. Thank you.
I can only hope that our son will grow up to be like you, and our daughter will marry a man even half as wonderful to her as you are to me. I love you, Hooney!
1. How to love with all my heart. 2. An appreciation of poetry. 3. A love of musicals. 4. How to make cinnamon toast. 5. A belief in God. 6. How to drive a boat. 7. That people do things in different ways, and no one’s wrong. 8. How to love Tom T. Hall. 9. To laugh like I really mean it. 10. Always go for what I want. 11. To believe in myself. 12. Not to leave my shoes in the living room. 13. How to steam artichokes. 14. To take classes I thought I’d fail. 15. That success has nothing to do with how much money I make. 16. To face life head-on. 17. Keep trying, no matter what. 18. To bat and catch fly balls. 19. To follow my heart. 20. How to tell jokes. 21. To have confidence in my abilities. 22. To use a computer. 23. That Boone’s Farm isn’t really wine. 24. Hard work pays off. 25. How to use a wok. 26. Sacrifices pay off. 27. K-Mart jeans are just as good as any other jeans. 28. How to mow the yard. 29. Happy hour starts when the titmouse sings. 30. Love goes beyond the bedroom. 31. Girls shouldn’t wear baseball caps. 32. Don’t measure other people by your yardstick. 33. To say, “Yes, sir.” 34. Respect for others. 35. How to hunt. 36. An appreciation for history. 37. If you lie, you’ll get caught. 38. Love with all your heart, even if it means getting hurt. 39. How to take good photos. 40. An education will take you far. 41. How to travel foreign lands. 42. Taking risks helps you grow. 43. It’s okay to show your emotions. 44. There’s more to dancing than jiggling around. 45. Ask for advice but don’t always follow it. 46. Always challenge myself. 47. Big trucks are fun to drive. 48. Etiquette isn’t evil. 49. Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do. 50. Being strong doesn’t mean you have to be tough. 51. To make lists and be organized. 52. Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are good! 53. Carving meat is an art. 54. Cards and notes can mean a lot to someone you love. 55. I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. 56. A camping trip can be even better than any fancy vacation. 57. Have faith. 58. True love is worth every ounce of effort, pain and sacrifice. 59. Always have a P.M.A. 60. No matter how old I get, I’ll always be Daddy’s Little Girl.
Friday, June 13, 2008
I got tears in my eyes over the photo of a boy holding one of those Parents brand pop-a-bead bug toys. That was our toy. It was given to Katie by my pledge sister, Eve, when she first met Katie. Jackson played with it too, but I decided at the last minute to include it in the box of toys we sent over. I wasn't sure it would be a toy that anyone would even want, since it's mostly just for babies. But now that I see the photos, I realize what an outrageous thought that was! We are so blessed with abundance in America that we have different toys for every single stage of a child's life. It's easy to forget that some kids don't have even one, much less a choice. Of course they'd be happy with a pop-a-bead toy!
My other thought while looking at the photos is that I'm so grateful to the soldiers who are able to hand out the toys on our behalf. Sometimes our pastors at church talk about how the church should be the hands and feet of Christ, and carry out God's mission. I feel the soldiers are doing that for God and for the rest of America. Thank God for them!
I am a lucky, lucky woman. I am an American. I am safe and secure at home. I am blessed with food and clean water. I have a college education. I have entertainment at my fingertips, and a closet full of clothes. I have FREEDOM. And I'm even luckier to be able to raise my children in America.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
After the pool, Katie played at Beth's house while Beth and I went to get haircuts. Then I picked up Jackson, and we all went back to Beth's. Dan met us there, and Sean grilled steaks for dinner. It was a wonderful end to a great day.
I loved being able to say yes to Katie for (almost) anything today. I loved being able to actually listen to her when she came running up to me for something. I loved holding her in the pool and singing to her. I loved talking in the car. I loved cuddling in the morning and at bedtime. And I also loved getting to see Jackson again.
As I tucked Katie in bed tonight I said, "I'm so happy to be your mommy." She replied, "I'm so happy to be your kid." Ah, heaven.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Today, Jackson and I got some good one-on-one time, and it was nice. Grandma and Poppy took Katie to the zoo. I went to their house to pick her up after lunch, and they said I could leave Jackson there so he could have his own time with them. I jumped at the chance to have Katie to myself too! She and I met some more out of town friends before they headed to the airport (not the Omaha friends - these were the Seattle friends), then we got to shop for her birthday. The best treat of the day was Dan and I took Katie to see Kung Fu Panda tonight. She loved sitting between us, laughing at the silly panda (and crying at the scary parts). When we got home, we all picked a favorite book to read, and cuddled on our big bed and read books before bedtime. It was so nice and quiet and wonderful to focus on just one child at a time. (Now I laugh, thinking back on the days when I thought ONE kid was hard. How do people do it with more than two?!)
Tomorrow Katie and I are planning a park playdate, then I hope to take her to the pool before Jackson returns home. These two days have been nice, helping to relax me and fill up my "gas tank" for the days ahead.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I got fired from a job seven years ago. My boss there, J, was someone I truly felt was a close friend. He was like a big brother to me, which meant a lot at the time because it was just a few years after my own brother died. So it was nice to have that figure in my life. Yep, I know. That was my first mistake - I should never have made such a tight friendship with my boss.
Anyway, I was his assistant and covered his butt on many occasions. I was overwhelmed with the work load I kept getting (some of the stuff was his job, but he kept passing the buck to me). After a while, I got frustrated doing that and kind of turned into a witch some days. I figured out that I needed to look for a new job, but had barely started the process when I got fired. I know part of it was my fault: I had a pretty bad attitude at that point, and was frustrated at my boss because he was my "friend" but wasn't going to bat for me. He turned on me and during the meeting where I was fired, I was told I mistook "friendliness for friendship." Ouch. That was a hard blow to me. I was covering for him lots of times out of friendship, and was willing to put up with a lot if he would just help me.
So, I was fired. It was pretty rough because I had let my job consume my life; all my friends were from the office, and my weekend free time was spent with them. So getting fired not only took away my means of living, but also my social network. It was isolating. The hardest part of it all was my "friend" had fired me and didn't show even a flicker of remorse.
Of course I recovered and lived to tell the tale. The day after I was fired, my dad called first thing in the morning. He said, "Go look out the window." I did and said, "Yeah?" His answer? "Did you notice? The sun came up. All is not lost. It's a new day."
Looking back on the firing, it was probably one of the best things that could happen to me at the time. My pride was wounded and my trust was a bit broken, but I changed careers, got to spend a month off at the pool, and also learned an invaluable lesson about making my job my life.
So... on to the forgiveness part. I've held an inner grudge against J for a long time. Every time the pastor at church preaches about forgiveness, J's name pops into my head and I kind of just roll my eyes. In more recent years, I've actually become a little more receptive to the idea of forgiving him... I just haven't done it or made any "official" moves toward it.
Last week I read something in a book about forgiveness, and J's name popped into my head again. I finally thought to myself, "I really should just let it go and move on." And that very same day, Dan was reading the local paper and there was a Letter to the Editor, written by J himself. If that ain't a nudge, I don't know what is!
I told Dan that I should write J a letter, and Dan thinks I'm crazy. So, I'll settle for writing a blog entry. Get it out in the open, let it go, and move on. Here's what I would say if I wrote that letter or spoke to J:
"Hey! Remember me? The girl you threw to the wolves? Yeah, not so nice, huh? You and I both know it was a mistake, and we both carry the blame. But it would have been nice for you to give me some warning or the dignity to walk out on my own. I read your Letter to the Editor last week, and it sounds like you have changed a bit since I last saw you. The new church you're going to seems to have made an impact on you. I hope so. Is it too much for me to wish that you've seen the error of your ways? Yes, I guess so - that sounds pretty boastful of me. Oh, well. It's all water under the bridge now. I hope you're doing well. I hear your family has grown. I'm sure you're a fun and goofy dad. I wish you the best, and want you to know I forgive you. Take care."
And, now folks, it's done. Here I am, moving on. Thanks for letting me clear the air!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
I found an AWESOME website called Block Posters where you can turn any photo into a full-size wall mural. I did it with a photo of Katie and Jackson (taken by my friend Tammy), and here's the result. This is a photo of my computer room with the mural above our wonderful LoveSac:
I think I'm going to reprint the photo a lot larger just to try it. I'm also thinking of printing one from our cruise or Jamaica, and putting it in our beach-themed bathroom. My neighbor Sheryl is also going to do a big one of Busch Stadium for her son's room. Maybe I'll get her to send me a photo once it's installed and I can share it with you.
My other great discovery was while we were in Vegas. Beth and I went to a mall and I found this cool nail art stamp set at a kiosk. I love to decorate my nails and toenails. (Just ask the tweens on my street! I'm the coolest grown up they know. Yeah, right!) This Konad Nail Art system has little silver discs that are engraved with designs. You swipe colored polish over the design, use a little squeegee to remove the excess, then push a rubber stamp over the design and the paint is stuck to the stamp. And then you apply it to your nails with the stamp pad. It's so fun!
I'm hoping to regularly post about "Things I Love" on my blog, so keep checking back to see what I uncover. And if you have any cool things you love, leave me a comment and let me know about it!