Saturday, June 23, 2012

Doesn't Matter How You Get There Just That You Arrived

Sweet Baby J and I many years ago

Many years ago, I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease.  For those of you not familiar, Graves' Disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.  It is basically a ridiculously overactive thyroid.  My thyroid was the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of thyroids. (Admit it. You're doing the Arnold voice in your head right now.)

While my doctor was treating me with medication, he explained that I should not get pregnant during this time because it would be considered a high risk pregnancy.  He went on to say that even if my thyroid levels were at normal levels in the future that I may have trouble with my thyroid putting me at high risk if I ever got pregnant.

To say this news was troubling would be putting it mildly.  When I was diagnosed, Jeff and I were newlyweds so we were not yet thinking about children. 

But let's be honest. 

After I said, "I do", I constantly dreamed of the day when I would be pregnant, when we would have children of our own.

Once my thyroid levels were under control two years later, Jeff and I went about our business as usual.  We were not trying to get pregnant but we were also not trying to prohibit it either.

For the next couple of years, we worked on establishing our careers and obtaining our Master's degrees.  We built a big, beautiful house.  We had a little beagle named JJ who was the sweetest dog ever.

Life was good.  We had a good life.  Things were going well for us.

However, I am not going to lie.  I wanted to have a baby.  I wanted to be a mom.  I wanted that little person to be part of me and part of my husband.  

What I didn't want was to talk about it.  If I talked about and said it out loud, then it would confirm what I already was thinking.  I could not get pregnant.

So, miracle of all miracles, I became pregnant six years after getting my thyroid under control.  Then, thirteen months later, I was pregnant with my second little guy. To say we were shocked would be the understatement of the year!

We were going to have a baby.  I was going to be a mom.  Words cannot describe it. Elated. Ecstatic. Excited. Scared. Hopeful.

Some moms are not as blessed as I am.  Some moms have to have help getting pregnant.

To those moms who are undergoing artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. Your commitment and endurance is inspiring.

To those moms who have adopted children.  Your willingness to open your hearts and your homes to a child is a testament to the warmth of the human spirit.

To those moms who have lost their children.  Your courage to persevere after walking though what I imagine is the shadow-of-the-valley-of-death gives me the strength to face my hardest of times.

It doesn't matter if you are a mom for five minutes or for eighty years.  It doesn't matter if you are a mom to one child or twenty.  It doesn't matter if you have kids via natural birth or via c-section.

At the end of the journey, the result is the same.

You are a mom.

It doesn't matter how you get there, just that you arrived.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Good Thing I'm Not Thin Skinned




I woke up this morning in my own bed.  I awoke of my own accord.  I felt calm and happy.  Glad to be back home from vacation.  Savoring my early morning moments before the little guys get up.

Can you picture it?  It was blissful. *Sigh.*

After about five minutes to myself, J opens the bedroom door.  He greets me with a smile and a, "Good morning, mama!"  J climbs into bed with me for a snuggle.

Pretty great stuff, no?

After a minute or two, out of the blue, J turns to me and says, "Welcome to my world! Punch world!", then punches me in the face.

Holy guacamole!  Did that baby just punch me in the face?!  Why, yes.  Yes, he did. (Now, it was not a hard punch but STILL. It was IN THE FACE.)

While stifling a laugh, I grab his little fist and say, "J, we don't punch people.  That hurts people. Do you understand?" J sweetly says, "Yes, I understand. Sorry, mama."

Now, I can hear sweet baby L chirping in his room so I go get him out of bed and we all troop downstairs.

I make the boys their chocolate milks, then get to work making myself a cup of coffee.  While I am waiting on the coffee, J walks over to me and says, "Whoa, mama!  Your hair is crazy!"  (Now, the kid is talking about my hair?!)

Because I am not caffeinated yet, I ask for clarification, "What did you say?"

J repeats, "Whoa, mama! Your hair is crazy!"

So I have been punched in the face, then told my hair is crazy.  All before I have even had my coffee.  Awesome.

After breakfast, we have a couple of errands to run.  We get dressed and head out to the car.  Once everyone is strapped in, we are off like a herd of turtles!

Pulling out of the driveway, while playing with his truck in the backseat, I hear J say, "Larry, the Driver, where are we going today?"

I say, "Are you pretending your truck is named Larry?"

J answers, "No, mama.  I am pretending you are Larry, the Driver."

Crap fire and save the matches! My kid thinks I'm manish! What's that deal?!

Okay, let me get this straight.  I got punched in the face, told I look bad AND now I am a guy named Larry.  And all of this took place before 11am.  


It's a good thing I'm not thin skinned.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Road Way, WAY Less Traveled

 Hanging out in the car.

Last Friday night, Jeff: Want to go to MN and visit my family?

Me: You mean fly there?

Jeff: No, I mean drive there.

Me: You want to drive to MN. With a 3 year old and a 19 month old.  In the car. For 13 hours.

Jeff: Yes.

Me: Um, no.

The next morning, Jeff: Wanna go to MN?

(Leaning toward no) Me: I am not sure about such a long trip with these guys.  They are so little.  How about flying there?

Jeff: Well, I just checked online and it would be $700 each to fly there.

(Blank look, mouth agape) Me: What?!  That's ridiculous!

(Going in for the kill) Jeff: If we want to go, we are going to have to drive.

(Faltering) Me: I don't know....

(Seeing his opportunity) Jeff: It won't be that bad.  We can leave today and drive halfway.  Spend the night somewhere and drive the rest of the way the next morning.

Me: Today?  Leave today?

Jeff: Yeah. I'll change the oil and mow the grass and we can head out.

(Finally caving) Me: *Sigh.* Okay.  This is crazy, but okay. I can do a load of laundry and throw some things together.

So...after doing several chores around the house, going to get a new tire (don't ask), and packing, we are finally headed out!  

And....we're off like a herd of turtles!!

And the trip wasn't so bad except for:

*Kids crying if we dared to turn off Mickey on the iPad. (If I NEVER hear another Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, it will be too soon.)

*Baby L sucking on a rock outside of Culver's that was covered in God-knows-what and eating Cheerios off the floor in the hotel room. (Just threw up a little in my mouth thinking about it.)

*Kids not eating anything the entire trip except mayo and chocolate chip cookies. (Insert Mom-Of-The-Year-Award here.)

*Baby L waking up at 4am in hotel room scared because he didn't know where he was and not going back to sleep. (No sleep for anyone.)

*Getting lost in Chicago at 11pm at night.  Stupid, stupid Chicago.  (Chicago Department of Transportation, if you are reading this, your road signs stink!! And so does your toll booths every 500 yards!!!)

We arrived in Minneapolis on Sunday afternoon around lunch time. We are having a great time visiting with all of the family, especially all of the cousins.  (There are nine kids all together.) Tons of fun!

So far, we have been to the park, the zoo, and the Mall of America. It is great watching all of the kids interact, especially the older ones with the younger ones.

My in-laws handed Jeff and I a drink when I walked in the door.  (I love these people!)  This trip certainly warranted one, or four.  Kidding, kidding!  Mostly.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Play-Doh Is The Bane of My Existence

The Culprit

Previously, I spoke of the many different types of parenting styles.  I talked about the differences between how Jeff plays with the boys versus how I play with the boys in The Tower of Terror.

When I play with the boys, we do nice, quiet things like paint, color, play in the sandbox or build train tracks. One of the quiet, safe, things the boys and I like to play is Play-Doh. 

J (3) loves making tractors, tanks, dump trucks, snakes and dinosaurs out of Play-Doh. L (19 mo) enjoys squishing and trying to eat the Play-Doh. J enjoys picking out a color for him and for his little brother, L.  With his sweet little voice, J always asks, "Which color do you want, mama?"  And I pick whichever color happens to be left over.

For my boys, Play-Doh takes up hours of their time.  Okay, not hours, more like one hour.  But still!  One hour is a really long time in little kid time.

While we are playing with Play-Doh, we have the best time!  We make dump trucks and fill them with the "rocks" we make.  Then, J and L squish the Play-Doh, laugh like this is the funniest thing ever and we start all over again.

It is very sweet.  I love watching their creativity and hearing them laugh.  And my kind of activity!  No one is jumping off of things or trying to tackle each other!

HOWEVER, it is the "after Play-Doh fun time is over" that I hate.  The truth is... Play-Doh is the bane of my existence.

The reason? Play-Doh never ends up back in the boxes.  

Sometimes a giant blob is left out on the table, only to be discovered in the morning as I am cleaning off the table for breakfast. 

Or sometimes I find pieces of it ground into the carpet, only to discover it when I end up with a Play-Doh splinter.  

Or, my personal favorite, little slivers end up lying around, only to be discovered by L who tries to eat them.

*Sigh.* I know, I know! Right now, you are asking, "Why do I keep letting them play with it if they never put it away?"  Well, I am either a glutton for punishment, have selective amnesia or just trying to survive. I think I am going to with the later.

Because even though Play-Doh is the bane of my existence, for one moment, for one hour, it was glorious!  The kids were laughing and playing together and it was wonderful!  No screaming.  No fighting. No yelling.  Magical, I tell you!

My point? Hmm, I guess my point would be that the good outweighs the bad. Hands down. Every time.

So, Play-Doh even though you are the bane of my existence, I will continue to tolerate you because you bring my kids happiness.  And really, it's that simple.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why Yes That Is My Bikini Top Floating In The Ocean

Every year growing up, we would take a summer vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC. Dad, my brother, C, and I would all pack-up and head south to the beach.  We always had a great time with days spent laying at the pool, walking on the beach and playing putt-putt golf.

One year in particular stands out.  This particular year, I was sixteen.  I felt sassy and bold. And I had this fabulous leopard print bikini.  I mean it was FABULOUS. It was safe to say that I was rocking that bikini. 

So, on one of these fun summer beach days, after laying at the pool for most of the morning, Dad, C and I decided we would go for a walk on the beach.

All three of us leave the pool, walk down the deck to the beach and begin our leisurely stroll.  I am enjoying walking with my feet in the ocean, feeling the wind in my hair and smelling the salty ocean air.  I am feeling good and confident in my new cute bikini.

After we have walked about a two miles or so, I pause to look out at the ocean and take it all in when I notice a beautiful shell laying in the sand. I bend down to pick up the shell and as I stand back up I notice something in the water. I think that looks like...oh cheese and biscuits! It's my bikini top floating in the water!!  Holy crap on a cracker!

I scramble forward to grab my top and throw it around my girls but this has not gone unnoticed.  The boys volleyball game behind me comes to a halt and they are all whooping and hollering.  Just let me crawl in a hole somewhere.

Frantically, I look around and find my Dad and brother walking ahead of me oblivious to my humiliation.  I scamper up to them and say, "Um, guys, we need to head back to the hotel. RIGHT. NOW. My bikini top is broken."  As I tell them this, I am holding my bikini top in front and in back.  Oh yeah.  I'm rocking that bikini now.

Right now, you may be thinking, "Why didn't her Dad or brother offer her their shirt?" And the answer is, "They didn't wear a shirt."  Why?  Well, because it makes good sense when you don't tan and only turn varying shades of red to not wear a shirt when going for an hour walk on the beach. Obviously.

So, my Dad says, "Let me take a look at it."  Like he can MacGyver fix my bathing suit with a grain of sand and a sea shell. I am going to die from embarrassment.

I say, "Dad, let's just go!" and stomp off back down the beach towards our hotel. Trying to muster enough courage to get down the beach and back to the hotel.

Once back in the hotel room, I loudly declare, "That's it! I am not wearing a bathing suit the rest of the time!!"

Turns out the clasp in the back of my bikini top broke.  And I guess to be fair, I was wearing a strapless bikini top which I should have known wouldn't really be able to support all of my, um, assets. Ahem.

Dad took some dental floss and "fixed" the clasp problem on my bikini. Super classy, Dad.  I did end up wearing the bikini again that trip but only with a shirt.  

That was the last time I ever wore a bikini.  

RIP sassy leopard print bikini. RIP.

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