Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mom, Wife, Me.

As a mom, you feel such a responsibility to take care of and protect your children. I have learned what sacrifice means and I know how it is to put your children's needs and desires in front of your own.

In the beginning when my health was not good and body was wracked in pain, I still tried to nurse my children. I did things that were important to them and their growth. The same is true today and every day of my life. Forever and ever.

There is something deep inside you that pulls at you that drives you to comfort and care and love your children. I have never known anything like it and it has had a profound effect on me.

So it is with mixed emotions that I say that one of my best friends and I are headed for a mommy-vacation. No husbands and no kids. We are headed to a spa and will be relaxing and gossiping and dreaming and sharing ideas for two whole days.

I am so excited about being a woman. A girl. Laughing about our lives, sharing tears over our sorrow and challenges and all that we have been through as friends. This was her idea and it took me a year to do it. A YEAR! That is my life. And partly, my reluctance because I didn't feel it was appropriate to get away for a few days.

But the boys are three now. We have Karen and family support and Mike is amazing with the boys.

SEE THIS MIKE? I KNOW how excellent you are and much they adore you. And how deeply connected you are to them. You defy society's stereotype dad and really take on so much more than the traditional father duties. You are their father and friend and mentor and oh, so special. SEE? I KNOW IT!

And while my heart is tugging at me and making me feel like I am doing something frivolous and selfish, the woman in me is yelling - "Stephanie, it's time!"

I do know it. It's time. Let the people around you help you. Let your husband help you. Do something just for you. And I know when I get back, I will feel rested and rejuvenated.

Being a Mom is more...more than I knew or imagined it would be. I love my little boys so much and being around them is a great joy. But I know that I am also a woman and a wife. And while we have had our husband and wife vacation - it's time for me to step out on my own and remember who I was before I was a mom. She is somewhere in there, I just know it.

~ Stephanie

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I find that after becoming a mother, my eyes immediately focus in on news stories regarding children. And there are some days...that it is deeply depressing and I can't bring myself to look at the news for several days. I am overwhelmed by the number of children injured or killed at the hands of a parent or close relative.

Well I. AM. LIVID.

The recent story on the missing little girl, Caylee Anthony - fuming!

Both the mother and grandmother are lying to the police and withholding information - by their own admission!
* The daughter is telling police that there are only some things she can tell them and she will be honest about those things.
* The grandmother received a TIP on her grandaughters whereabouts but the grandmother doesn't have time to check the answering machine all the time.

All the while, time is slipping away.

As a mother, you put your child in front of your own life. Mothers that I know would never choose their own life over that of their child. So then why would Casey Anthony not call authorities after her child had been missing for a month? The grandmother says that the woman that took Caylee has something on Casey. What?

A Mother, in her right mind, would put the child's safety first and let her own chips fall where they lie. Even if it meant jail or death. Sorry if you disagree but this woman, this "mother" either killed her daughter or values her own safety above her daughters.

Either way, she is no mother, does not deserve custody and should remain in jail.

I read a recent article today and even more is coming out in recorded 911 and jailhouse conversations. Unfortunately all this press is making me ill because the police don't seem to be any closer to finding her - that is, if they are putting it in the paper.

At the end, both women, mother and grandmother will find themselves in horrible positions. They will each lose a child - and each - had the opportunity to prevent this from happening.

Until then, I am hoping that this crazy Mother turned her daughter Caylee over to someone who actually cared enough to get her away from her mother and that she is safe - away from these horrible people.

~ Deeply sad

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mojo recouperation

She caught me.

She saw me do it but I wasn't embarrassed. Not one bit.

She saw my impression of Molly Shannon hit her cheerleader pose and yell "SuperStar!" except that I yelled "I juuust made SIX Meals!

It was like stress melted right off of me. All those days spent stressing about menus and ingredients and cooking and just losing my whole love of cooking...I mourned my cooking mojo.

But there is more than one way to slice an onion!

One day while getting my hair cut and complaining about the whole process of dinner, my hair dresser reminded me of the Dinner A'Fare across the street. We talked about it and I went home to find time in my schedule.

Can you believe, it actually took me 6 weeks to put it into my schedule? That's my life.

I had Karen coming over, I had set up my account, selected my meals and I was good to go.

They ask you to bring a cooler or a laundry basket to carry out the food. I left home not wanting to be late and headed out to cook my meals.

Fresh foods and good recipes all for me to cook in a short period of time and without the planning and research and time in the kitchen. It was the recipe finding and shopping I dreaded the most and Dinner A'Fare took that completely off my plate.

I arrived and I was the only one there. At first I was kind of...lonely. They, I realized I could talk to myself and people wouldn't think I was crazy. I had six meals and each took about 15 minutes to make. I learned that making egg rolls is embarrassingly easy. I realized how expensive it would have been for me to make the pasta primavera. It was nice and relatively quiet - lots of music. No one tugging on my pants, pulling them down and mooning a child while I chopped onion. No searching online, in magazines or in my cookbooks. FANTASTIC!

When I finished, I realized that in roughly 90 minutes, I created 6 different meals that I knew would work well with Mike and me and several the boys would eat. I could focus on my family, no more stressing about food - I had healthy choices. Just superb. I felt calm and rejuvenated and in a small way, my mojo made a move in the positive direction. I might be healing. I WILL be coming back. Soon. (If you register within 24 hours you get an extra meal!)

Hey YOU and YOU! And you baking that frozen lasagna..."I just made 6 meals!!!"

~ Superstar Mom

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Laugh till we cry

I had such a wonderful time with the boys this week. Mike was out of town and it was just me and the boys.

I am growing more confident in taking the boys with me on errands. This weekend the errand was for Play-doh. We only had these tiny little containers that you could hardly build anything out of.

Sunday Morning I laid out something to cover the table and handed each one his own cup of Play-doh. We also had an assortment of cookie cutter shapes, rolling pins, special Play-doh scissors and this little garlic-press type thing that made "hair".

After they had been sitting for 30 minutes, I grabbed my own cup and sat down to play with them. We cut out stars and diamonds. We made cut-outs of seahorses, penguins and sharks. I was very careful not to mix colors. Yes, the control freak comes out in me at Play-doh time. I had yellow, Jamie had green and Nathan had blue.

I made a little girl out of clay with long hair and a "dancing" dress per Jamie's request. Then Jamie wanted me to make a little Jamie - boy for him. He promptly squashed it. I made sure that his green boy didn't touch my yellow girl.

I started making things and saying, "what's this?" Jamie guessed quickly each time.

The last thing I made was a bunny. I crafted a lower quarters. Created the head. Made some floppy ears. And Jamie jumped in.

"Bunny needs a back pack"

I responded all adult-like, "No it doesn't (laugh laugh laugh) that's where the tail goes". I moved his hand away.

"No, he needs a BACKPACK!"

"No, (more and more laughter from me). Look! Here's his tail! His eyes!"

I am now laughing so hard that I am crying. In and of itself, this is not a humorous conversation. Unless of course you are me. Sitting at the table with your charming son Jamie. And he is one of the great loves of your life. And I cannot stop laughing. And the boys say, "Mommy don't cry!" and I tell them that I am laughing and sometimes when I laugh, I cry.

And not like I hadn't known it before but these were tears of great joy and great love. And I was more than just a little overwhelmed at how much I loved him, loved them both and how happy I was in my life.

Shortly after, we picked up the Play-doh, the little rabbit is all smooshed up and back in the yellow cup. And you should know, that after that, I let them smoosh up the colors all they wanted.

And the green and blue looked lovely together.

~ Blissful Mama

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Are we passing Elmo in the fast lane?

My boys turned three a few weeks ago.

They also finished potty training...well, let's say they are 95% which is good enough for me, granted I am hoping for a 100% in the next month or so.

As a reward for wearing underwear 24 hours a day, they would get a special gift. They would get their very own ATV racing helmet!

This was a big deal. We've been talking about it for several months. We pass by the motorcycle store Xtreme Machines almost every day.

The big day had come and we pulled into the lot. Not knowing what to expect, I took a big breath and carried my "babies" in.

The men were really nice and helped me locate some helmets quickly. The boys were more than anxious to try on these giant helmets. The looked so large, like my full face helmet for skydiving or my once used motorcycle helmet.

TheY chose colors. I waited for the sales guy to retrieve the new helmets.

The boys made themselves at home immediately locating a 70cc ATV and playing with the keys. They had not graduated past their 12v Fisher Price ATVs with max speed of 5 mph. These 70cc ATVs will go up to 20 mph and you can adjust the speed as they learn. I asked the sales guy about them. His 3 year old is already riding one. I know that these are inevitable and the boys will have them. I mean, am I ready for this? I still have the blankets the nurses wrapped around them when they were born!

They looked like such big boys sitting up straight on those little ATVs. When they put the helmets on, they looked a bit like...well, bobble heads. My sweet little boys. These helmets would replace the Elmo bike helmets we purchased a year ago. Were we coming to a new right of passage? Were they going to be decked in racing gear - head to toe - before we knew it?

I was excited for them and at the same time, just a wee bit melancholy for the speed that the last three years had come.

We drove home, the boys talking about their racing helmets the whole way. We went immediately to the back yard and pulled out their 4-wheelers. This was it. The beginning of the end. I am just one soccer game and a prom away from college.

And then I heard the words that reminded me that they are still just 3. Lovely, delightful, funny 3.

As I handed the new racing helmet to Nathan, he said "No Mom. I want the Elmo helmet".

~ Mama of racin' boys

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The gift of a life

Traditions in skydiving.

There are so many and it is one of the things I loved about the sport when I jumped. For example, whenever you do something for the first time, you will here a chorus of "Case of Beer!!!" The skydivers will hold you to it too. They will expect that you bring a case of beer the next time you are at the drop zone.

One of the other traditions is the gift given to your rigger when you have a reserve ride. You see, each skydiver has a main parachute and a reserve parachute. If for some reason your main fails you, your reserve is there ready for you. It's your "Plan B", or as morbid as it sounds, your last chance to live. Your rigger is the one responsible for maintaining it, making sure it is packed perfectly so that it will deploy when you need it most. Whenever a skydiver is forced to deploy his reserve, it's considered a "save". Your life was "saved". The rigger is given a gift for making sure that reserve opens as perfectly as possible giving the skydiver another day and another chance at life. This wonderful life.

In the past, the rigger was given his favorite alcoholic drink. My husband, who is an FAA Master Rigger, first brought home Guiness. Then he began to bring home wine. I was able to enjoy the reds and whites his customers brought to him. It was fun to see what he brought home. I can't remember how many saves Mike has now, but I was one of his first.

Last night, Mike came home late from a long day and handed me a small box. He said, "I got this for a save." I looked at the box and saw 120gb. Hmmm. "A back-up drive?" I asked.

"No. It's 12,000 songs"

Process that for a minute folks. TWELVE THOUSAND SONGS. I took it all in. "Mike, that's like $12,000 worth of music".

Mike told me that a customer, Steve, brought the little back-up drive in with 12,000 songs. Six decades worth of music. His gift to Mike for his "save".

I felt like a little kid! I couldn't wait to look at the songs that Mike had gotten as a gift. I KNOW it was his but the size of the files meant that it had to go on our home computer which has about a terabyte.

It took like AN HOUR to download. I paced. I waited. I dreamt of all the songs that would be on the list. Would there be duplicates? What were his favorites? I almost felt like I was about to meet someone. Someone important.


The songs were download and I started to scroll. I grinned. Then giggled. I laughed out loud. Who do I pay first?

Janis Joplin! The Beatles! Garth Brooks! Mary Chapin Carpenter!

There were familiar favorites. There were new ones by artists I didn't know. There was depth here. This was someone open to all music. He explores different genres. This wasn't a music snob but a music lover. Someone like me. Good music fills my soul. My music collection soothes an aching heart, focuses a scattered brain, lifts my spirit and calms my hectic day. I can relive favorite memories as the first few notes are played.

This collection had years of careful thought into it. Not every song from every album was included. He picked his favorites. The ones that moved him. This was more than a gift. THIS was filled with passion and love and intensity and frivolity. His memories and experiences all were represented by the songs that filled this little box.

I think the gift of the music kind of hit me. Skydivers are by nature, risk takers. Regardless of what you read or hear, it is a calculated risk. They are confident that their reserve will open, that they are safe to some extent. But it's huge you know...falling from the sky...and 120 square feet of fabric opening above your head, slowing you down to the point that you can run or walk out of your landing. Do we take for granted that it will open each time? Expect it to be there so that when it happens, it's a non event?

I can't speak for all of the skydivers but the irony of this moment was so clear to me. A life in music.

A little box with 120gb. HIS LIFE. In music and words and melody. His life in a little box. Given to Mike as a gift. A gift of thanks for HIS LIFE.

~ Stephanie

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm back!

Quick apologies for the hiatus - some things just got in the way of posting but I am back...

What's happened in the last two months?

The boys turned 3! They are deliciously sweet and funny... My favorites from the last few months are:

"No! I not!" (Jamie when you ask him to do something and they don't want to)

"Please Jamie, Please switch. Don't say no." (Nathan pleading with Jamie to switch cars with him)

"Happy BIIIIRRRRRD Day to YOU, Happy BIIIIIIRRRRD Day to YOU!" (Jamie singing this song)

"The poop is coming! The POOP is COMING!!!" as my son Nathan races by

"Jamie - X Pee, X Pee Jamie" This is when they stand at either side of the toilet and pee across from each other forming an "X".

Other funny stuff:
Nathan's unusual attachment to a floral dress and his "Doc Hudson Hornet with the Red Wheels underwear". After wearing it for a day he'll say, "No Dad, this is not dirty, this is clean. Need to wear it".

Jamie using his new clubhouse outside (oddly resembles a Starbuck's) and asks you if you want "Coffee Coo - Latta and a coppee cake" as he hangs out the window.

Oh yes - and we are almost done with Potty training...a few remnants and we are DONE DONE DONE!

I love age 3! So independent and so so funny. Another post will quickly follow, it's been sitting for reasons that will be more clear when you read it...

Until next time...

~ Mama to three-year olds!