Category Archives: Best Husband

Letter to our 5 year 6 month old

Dear William,

On June, 8, 2017, you turned 5 1/2 years old.

Personality:

These days you seem to be a very sensitive and sentimental person.  You hold on to each moment with a desperation akin to the way my grandma used to save the last bite of food on her plate at dinner.  She had been through WWII, but I’m not sure what your excuse is?  Maybe that you’re 5.

One morning when you had awakened, you told me you’d had the best dream about a Monstro whale and that he was a really nice whale, and he liked you.  And you really liked him.  And  you were so sad that he had left you.  You started sobbing.  I told you that sometimes a goodbye isn’t forever, sometimes it’s just “goodbye for now.”  This gave you hope.  I also told you that sometimes you can see your dreams again the next night.  I know sometimes i have the same dream.  You took hope from that… but then there more tears the next morning, because you didn’t see your whale again.  At that point, I suggested that you draw your whale so I could meet him, too.  You were thrilled with this suggestion!  You sat down the next day and drew out the story, like it was a comic strip story… the initial meeting and how happy you were, the playing time with each other, and the the sadness when you left each other.  Now, whenever we go somewhere, if you see a picture of a whale, you claim it as “your whale.”

Dentist:
I finally found a dentist who was willing to do the work that was needed on your molars without general anesthesia. You met with her for a cleaning and you both just fell in love with each other. It was an instant connection. The first visit was cleaning and x-rays, the 2nd visit, she tackled the toughest two teeth (2 hours in the chair), the next visit she did two more difficult teeth (1 1/2 hours in the chair — you decided to take a nap), the 4th visit she did 2 easier teeth (you told her you were going to take a nap… haha) and the last visit she did just a couple fillings… all on your molars. I am relieved and thrilled that we were able to find someone who is so skilled with teeth, such a good fit for your personality. She is now my dentist, too, and when I leave her office, I feel like I’ve just visited a really good friend. We are so blessed!

Travel and Activities:
We traveled to see my Aunt Marjorie in April, and when we got there you curled up in the hallway under all the family photographs and started crying, “I want Uncle Jim back.”  I know you were grieving his loss, and I know that it wasn’t really real to you that he was gone until we got there and you actually realized that he wasn’t there, but … damn… could your timing have been just a bit better?

We’ve visited Legoland and Sea World several times each in the last six months.  One of the times (for each park) we brought your Grandma D.  You held her hand and acted as her personal tour guide around each park, sharing all the things that meant so much to you.  Your Grandma D. is a true treasure, she just let you lead her around and soul-feasted on your joy in sharing with her.

In April we enrolled you in beginner’s basketball. My boss at work was coaching her son’s basketball team and she said she wanted you to remember her always as the first person who contributed to your fame, so she sponsored you.  We have tried… gymnastics, dance (ballet and tap), swim class (although not as a sport, just to learn), ice skating, aerial arts … and it appears as if basketball is your love.  You LOVE basketball.  You were excited the first night, even though it was orientation, and wanted your ball despite the fact that your ball was flat. You didn’t care. You wondered where your coach was… you’were ready!  As far as I can tell, the stories I’ve heard, you are a willing and eager participant in learning to play the game.

The end of May found us doing a road trip to the Monterey peninsula, with an overnight stop on the way to visit a long-time friend of mine in Ojai, who graciously offered their home to us so our drive wouldn’t so long and sent us on our way the next morning with a delicious breakfast under our belts.  We stopped next at Hearst Castle on the way to Monterey. We also, later, drove up further north to see the Redwoods. We were thrilled to be able to meet our friends, Cat and Jake, and their daughter, Scarlett at both Hearst Castle and the Roaring Railroad camp near the redwoods. It was such a unique trip and you loved having Scarlett there to play with. We also met up with my best friend from high school, Bridgett, who also happens to be a cartoonist and she drew you an octopus in your sketch pad, and her friend, Judy, looked for shells with you. They also brought us a yummy lunch from a local deli. It was just a delight to spend the afternoon on the beach with them! Pictures from our trip can be found here: LINK

Education:
You finished out your Awana season in the Cubbie group, and next year you’ll move up to the Sparks group. You were excited about that and then the next day you randomly realized that by becoming a Spark, you would no longer be a Cubbie.  Child, I think you outgrew being a Cubbie about halfway through the season, as you towered over the other kids in your class.  You are going to thrive in the next level; you are SO ready.

Your teacher at the co-op preschool group you’ve been attending left the group.  She was driving a long distance to teach our little group and traffic in California is increasing rapidly every day.  It just got to be too much for her.  With her leaving, the other child who was your age also left the group, and the remaining children are a year younger than you.  I think the socialization has been good for you, but I’m evaluating whether it’s time to move on.

In the last few months, you went from shunning coloring other people’s pictures to coloring them with vivid colors and you focus really hard to stay in the lines. You prefer to paint things over coloring them. You still prefer to draw your own pictures. To that end, I found the Draw. Write. Now. books that show you step-by-step how to draw things, starting simple and gradually getting more complex.  I will find you with those books pulled out, a piece of paper folded into fours, and you diligently working on drawing something.

One evening after finishing watching the Moana movie, I had instructed you to go upstairs for your bath.  You disappeared and I followed you upstairs… except when I got up there, you weren’t there.  You had tucked yourself into the corner in the living room behind your desk with construction paper and markers, and you were drawing freehand the kakamora (coconut pirates) that you were seeing on the screen like it was the most important thing you’d done you’re entire life.  When you were done, you instructed me to send them to Disney so they would use them in the next Moana movie.

You’ve also had a turn of attitude in the last few months about workbook sheets, you are now seeing the value in them. You still prefer to work on a chalkboard or a slate instead of paper. If we do that, you will sit there with me for 2 or 3 hours and do the work.  We completed one workbook in a weekend that way, you just wanted to keep doing more and more pages. Even in just the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen that you fix your “pencil grip” yourself without a reminder from me. It is so thrilling for me to see each step of progress that you’re making!

You love, love, love to be read to, especially The Magic Tree House books.  You love good story lines that involve adventures,  journeys or mysteries.  Because of that love, I somehow stumbled onto the Five in A Row curriculum for learning.  We have had the BEST time working through those books and we love the flexibility of it to explore every topic and subject we can think of while reading through the recommended classic literature. You are working hard to learn to read and write, sounding out letters, learning how to shape your letters. One day you sounded out Happy Birthday all by yourself, and wrote it down… backwards. That’s OK, if I remember right, Leonardo da Vinci wrote things backwards, too. ha

As you’ve grown and changed in the last few months, I find that you are more analytical and are sometimes a step ahead of me in your mental processing skills. Yet, there are still gaps that I’m seeing as far as the end result of your decisions. I find that I’m working harder these days to evaluate how the things I teach you will impact you as an adult, and find myself pausing more as I respond to you, while I try to give you coping and problem solving skills that will serve you well throughout the next few years. I see everything in that perspective these days because I’m realizing that some of the methods that have been used by the people who taught me were designed to “shut down” the process of learning instead of “working through” the problem to a solution. I see now, in parenting you, how I have “learned” responses that result in panic and anxiety, because of the “shut down” method I was taught as a child resulted in a fear response instead of a “solving” response.

Our sweet boy… I treasure my time with you. You are equal parts silly, funny, sweet and mischievous. You are always on the move, experimenting, and yet you go completely still if I’m reading to you. I love our snuggle time and I love our active time. Time spent with you and your father are the best times of my day.


Love you forever,

Mommy

Pictures from the last few months can be found here:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
Link 5

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Nebraska Recoup, Safari

We recently visited Nebraska and Iowa, and one of the many highlights we had was a visit to the Conservation Park and Wildlife Safari in Ashland, Nebraska.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I briefly glanced at Yelp reviews and thought we’d maybe spend a couple hours there.  Well, turns out, since it was our first visit, we should have allotted an entire day for the place.  Also, out there is the SAC Aerospace Museum, and that could have easily been a whole day thing, too.  So, basically, our trip needed to be about 4 days (or weeks!!)  longer to accommodate our exploration needs.  ha

The conservation park/safari was fantastic.  We saw deer, elk, bison, various birds, we did a short hike to see their bears and wolves, bald eagles, pelicans, water turtles, and even pet their goats  and hear their roosters crow.  And let’s not forget the surprise up-close look at a free roaming red ring snake that scared the bejesus out of William.  He was walking with the ranger, chatting her ear off, and the “twig” moved in the path in front of him.  Eep!

As I’m looking through the pictures from our visit to the safari, I’m truly amazed at the variety of animals they have at their facility and the layout of the land is beautiful for these animals.  It really is like a throwback to another era.  You’re not allowed to drive over 7 mph.  Animals would randomly cross the road to chase each other (the pelicans had a bit of a conga-line going on, which caused a bit of a road block).  One of the bison decided he needed to cross the road to get a drink of water.  Plus, the road was quite bumpy in some areas, so most cars were hardly moving.  So, people were letting their kids roam inside their cars, too.

Our rental car company upgraded us at no cost to a Dodge Durango, which has a 3rd row of seats.  William got his snack bag and set himself up as far away from us as he could in the back of the vehicle and proceeded to have himself a picnic back there.  He was extremely happy with himself and we were finding crumbs and wrappers for days afterward.

 

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When Headaches Strike & You’re Still Loved.

I can’t believe all the stuff that happened this past month, from a 10 day vacation where we made a triangle (although someone told William we made a square and grandma made a line, and now I’m confused, because maybe we DID do a square but I’m too lazy to figure it out), because we went to Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa and then back home.

My job has picked up a little bit, my boss is trusting me with a little more responsibility, which I’m really happy about.  We’ve picked our Halloween costumes — we’re the Scooby Doo family this year.  And William wants a Scooby Doo birthday party for his birthday.

I was just getting through the day yesterday at work with a headache, not enjoying myself, really, except when my coworker left early unexpectedly, but my headache was just getting worse and worse.  I think the weather must be changing or something, or allergies are flaring, I’m not sure, but it’s all in my sinuses… and the last couple of weeks I’ve noticed that I have a high-pitched whine in my ears like an old tube TV got left on somewhere … all allergy related, I’m sure.  I can’t believe I’m old enough to have tinnitus.

Anyway, the headache I was fighting yesterday flared into a disabling migraine overnight and I just wanted to cry when I woke up this morning.  Instead of crying, I took an allergy pill and pain meds and laid back down in bed, leaving William to his father.  They woke me at 11 AM to tell me they were going to Ruby’s to get some lunch… because this month, if kids dress in their Halloween costumes, they eat for free.

I just have to say, this man I’m married to blew me away with his love when we were dating.  As a husband, he is so intuitive and he cares so much about me.  He always seems to know just what I need without me ever having to say a word.  And while I’m so sad to be missing out on this fun outing today with my boys, I’m just so grateful for the love he shows to me, for letting me recover in quiet.  As a father, I adore watching them together, because the love they have for each other is so evident, and that they’re doing something special together just the two of them and I just know they’ll come home with some fun and silly stories that I’ can’t wait to hear all about from both of them.

So, I kissed them goodbye and sent them on their way in their “mystery van.”  Well, William licked me goodbye, because that’s what doggies do, you know.  There’s a part of me that’s wondering if they’ll let Tony eat for free, too, because he’s just such an awesome person.

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Letter to our 4 Year 8 month Old.

Dear William,

On August 8th, 2016, you turned 4 years 8 months (or 56 months old).  You are 47″ tall and weigh 50 pounds 4 ounces. You are still wearing the same sizes as last month:  Boys Small for shirts, shorts and pajamas.  I just realized you haven’t worn pants for a few months because it’s been so hot lately, so I have no clue what size pants fit you.

Things we did this month…

7/10 – We saw Secret Life of Pets, the movie, at the theater.  You enjoyed it so much, that as we were leaving the theater, you were stepping on the lights on the stairs saying, “This will make it play again!”

7/11, week of – You had VBS at MOO Church (Walk This Way theme)

7/12 – We had our annual Dress Like a Cow event at Chick-Fil-A

7/16, weekend – Mountain cabin

7/18, week of – You had VBS at the local Catholic church (Cave Quest theme)

7/23, Irvine Spectrum w/ friends

7/30, stayed home (sick)

8/6, Legoland

Recurring events: Library storytime, Spanish library storytime, Saddleback Kids (Sunday mornings)

Monthly interview of favorite things…
Color:  Orange and red.
Song: Jesus loves us this I know, for the Bible tells me so, you like that one?
Movie: Hmmm, let me see. Dino Trucks, I hope that’s coming in my whale.
Food: Watermelon
Snack: Juice and sugar cookies and water.
Dessert: Sugar cookies…oh, uh, cake.  Cake, too.
Fruit: Plum
Vegetable: Broccoli and carrots.
Class: Class?  I don’t have a class. Oh, oh, the Bible School at Saddleback Church and the Bible School at Mountain View Park
Teacher: The ones at Mountain View Park
Store: My favorite store might be WALMART!
Restaurant: Shacks, do you know what I mean by Shacks?  It means Taco Tuesday.
Vacation spot: Big Bear, Michigan, Asia!  What part of Asia?  Restaurants
Toy: Toy fire trucks. Toy garbage trucks.  Toy vets.
Favorite Park:  Splash.  Splash means the water park.
Theme Park: Disneyland, because we haven’t went there for a long time.  Neeah.
Best friend: Bible School!
Favorite Story: Ice Skating Fast
Favorite thing to do with Mommy: Go to Disneyland
Favorite thing to do with Daddy: Go to church
Favorite thing to do with Grandma: Go to the park. Water, water. Splash, splash, splash!
Favorite Shirt: Lightning!
What do you think about being 4?  Not good.  OK, ok, that’s it.  I would be 4.  That’s it.

How did you sleep this month…
You’ve slept really well this month.  You’ve been falling asleep somewhere around 8:30 PM or 8:45 PM.  You’ve been waking up around 6:45 AM.  On weekends, you actually sleep until 7:15 AM or so, and I think that would be your “natural” wake time if given the opportunity to wake on your own during the week.  You prefer that I wake you before I leave for work, though, so you can say goodbye to us and give us kisses.  You enjoy our morning routine.

Things I want to remember about this month…

You were concerned about your father not having a sleeping friend. You have your 2 froggies and your ducky that Grandma H. crocheted for you, I have a bunny rabbit, but your father didn’t have anything.  So, one evening I noticed that you had put nursing bear on your father’s side of the bed.  You don’t use nursing bear anymore, and you hunted him down and relocated him.  Your father was touched by your thoughtfulness.

One Monday after I got home from work and I kissed and hugged you, and I heard about all that you’d done that day, I said jokingly, “You were so busy today, I bet you didn’t even have time to think of me!”  You replied in all seriousness, “That’s not true!  I thinked of you LOTS today.”

Every night as I snuggle you to sleep, you have a little routine you like to do.  Your father turns out the light and you whisper, “One, two, three, DADDY, IT’S BRIGHT IN HERE!”  And your father comes back and turns your room light on and says, “It’s not bright in here, THIS is bright!”  And you giggle and giggle, and then whisper, “One, two, three… ” You do this four times and you love it so much.  You told me one night, “We can do this every night!”

I picked up a bunch of Disney story books on discount at Marshall’s.  There’s a Star Wars book, a Disney pets book, a Mickey Mouse book, and you love having one of the stories read to you each night while you’re in your bath.  We also read a Bible story, too, and I love this book because the pictures are somewhat realistic and each story has a call out of some historical information about tools used, or clothing or instrument or something, in that time period.  Fascinating stuff.

You really enjoy your teeth brushing routine.  You lift your little hand and help guide me where the toothbrush needs to go next.  I’ve found that letting you hold my hand while I brush helps you feel like you’re in control (you’re not) and it helps you not gag when I get to your molars.  I switch it up with you, some nights I let you “guide” my hand, other nights I ask you to point to where the toothbrush should go next.  We have about five minutes of flossing to go with it, both before and after you brush.

We attended Chick-Fil-A’s Dress Like a Cow Event and you really enjoyed playing with the other kids in the play structure.  After we had eaten our food, you went back in and then came back out and told us, “Someone told me to find the purple bird and that is very hard to find.”  You placed your hand on the table and said, “So, can you get a milkshake for dessert?  Thank you.”  And you turned and left for the playground.

One of the days at your VBS was “crazy hair day” and we bought some temporary hair color, one can of red and one can of blue.  You thought it was pretty cool and everywhere you went that day, you proudly showed how we had colored your hair for crazy hair day.


Grandma dropped you off at your third VBS and she texted me this note, “Dropped the little one off.  He’s got this figured out now about going to different churches and comparing the toys. Ha”

You were very excited about going up to our mountain cabin, and so I tasked you with packing some food for yourself in the ice chest that we bring up for the weekend.  You said, “OK!”  I came back a few minutes later and you had 12 hot chocolate packets on the counter and 8 straws.

When I came to your VBS finale, your Grandma hadn’t told you I would be coming.  You spotted me and were so surprised to see me, you wrapped your arms around my neck and said, “I’ve missed you SO much!”  Then you looked around and asked, “Where’s my daddy?”  I told you that daddy couldn’t make it, but wished that he could, oh, so much!  You accepted that answer, and then as we walked to the sanctuary together, you proudly introduced me to everyone, “This is my mommy, but my daddy couldn’t make it.  He wanted to, though.”

When we were driving to the mountains, your father asked you, “Do you know what time it is?”  You replied, “Uhhhh, it’s past my bed time.”  I looked at the clock reading 8:40 PM and I said, “You’re right about that!”

You are very much into making lists. I have no idea where you get that from.  I make grocery lists and, as I always do, I leave them on the counter or table to add to them as I think of things.  Nowadays, I come back and it has scribbles from you at the bottom.  When I ask you about them, you tell me, “That’s my list.  See here, it says cookies and toys.”  While we were in the mountains, we told you we needed to go to breakfast and you said, “Well, on MY list of things to do is to go to the candy shop…. that’s on William’s list.”

While in the mountains, you said, “This is the best day ever, isn’t it?”  Your father replied, “Sure, are you happy?”  You replied, “Kind of.”  Surprised, you father asked, “Why ‘kind of’?”  You replied, “Actually, I am completely happy.”

Photo: Caramel apple from candy store


On your list of things to do in the mountains was to go fishing in the lake, hike Castle Rock, watch movies, eat salmon, and smoosh bugs.

For your first time fishing, we had quite the adventure.  It was kind of special that it was in a lake that we frequently visit.  Your father bought you a fishing pole, had to get a fishing license, and then he blew up an inflatable boat and put you in it and pushed you out until he was knee deep.  At one point, he decided it might be a good idea to get in the boat with you, but it turned out to be an ill-planned idea, because he got in the front of the boat and you were in the back and that meant in order not to squish you, he had to do a perpetual sit-up.  He got quite the ab work out!  You told me, “So, if I see a cute fish I’m not gonna cook him.”

Picture of first time fishing…


Picture of “I’m giving the fish sea weed!”


The next morning you woke up, startled, you cried out, “MOMMY!!”  I flopped my hand on your back and you said, “Oh, you were right there all along!”  I asked you what you wanted to do that day and you replied, “Hike Castle Rock!”  I started laughing and said, “Your daddy was thinking you would forget about that.”  You replied, “But I didn’t. HA HA!”

Picture of “Logs”


While hiking you said, “I saw on the map that it was not a very long walk, but it lied. It is a very long walk.”

Picture: Tree mailbox… there’s a mailbox in the tree and the mail is 1 BC.


You still like to wedge yourself between us when we hug, and so we try to sneak hugs in and while in the mountains you said, “I’m on my way!” and ran and wedged yourself between us.


After our day on the lake, since you didn’t catch any fish, you said you wanted to eat some salmon. So we went to Denny’s and you ordered your salmon. I suppose it’s noteworthy that it was your first meal that wasn’t on the child’s menu.

One of your favorite things in the mountains is the ice cream truck.  After we got back from our hike, you waited patiently out front of our cabin for the ice cream truck. He didn’t come that day and you were very sad.

On the 20th, you came down with a slight fever, we weren’t sure what was causing it. You weren’t complaining of pain, you just seemed tired.  We thought maybe it was related to not drinking enough water, so we asked the your VBS teacher to be sure and remind you to drink water.  The next morning, when your grandma came to pick you up, the teacher told her that you had mentioned you were a dragon, so she told you dragons drink lots of water.  Seemed to be the encouragement you needed for that day, anyway.

That night, you went upstairs for your bath, under your own motivation, at 6:23 pm.  You were in your pajamas and in bed by 7:10pm, although you had a bit of trouble falling asleep.  It was delayed because you heard kids riding their bikes under your window and they were hooting and hollering while they did so.  In their defense, it was still light outside and it was kind of early for you to be in bed.  You were so curious about who they were.  Then, a couple days later, you saw our neighbor and her two boys riding their bikes and you assumed it had been them, and you stood in your window and yelled at them that they needed to go home, eat dinner and go to bed. That you were tired and just wanted to sleep.  Thank goodness the mom of those two boys adores you and thinks you are sweet and funny.

The evening before, I had fallen asleep with you while I was snuggling you to sleep.  I love those times that I do that, although, I usually find myself awake at 1 AM and transfer myself to my own bed.  But the following morning, you sweetly asked me, “Mommy?  Did you sleep with me last night?”  I told you that I had fallen asleep with you and how much I loved that.  🙂

Sometimes you get unexpected lessons in nature about the cycle of life.  One morning, getting in the car for VBS you and your grandma saw a coyote with someone’s pet cat going across the street in the community.  My immediate question was, “Have you seen all of OUR cats this morning?”  She replied, “Yes.”  And then I asked what color that kitty was, she said, “Black and white.”  I hope it wasn’t, but am afraid it was the kitty we reunited with his owners a couple weeks ago.  That thought made me sad, because that was a really sweet kitty, but I know that by the grace of God, our very own Tug was saved from the jaws of a coyote about 6 years ago, so it’s totally possible.
One Saturday as we pulled in the Spectrum for an outing with friends, you said, “I’m smart!”  I said, “Yep, you are.”  You said, “How about smarty pants?  Am I a smarty pants?”

After we had lunch at the Spectrum, we went out and walked around, rode on the ferris wheel and then we stopped at a fountain (which apparently was a Pokemon stop, based on all the people who were walking around with their phones out and poking at them).  You started a waterfight with me and, well, it was a hot day and it seemed like a good idea.  So we ended up drenched and it was very fun.

One afternoon, you went out to the back yard and picked some aloe vera and came back inside and told me that you were going to heal daddy’s wound on his back with the helpful plants.  You informed me that you had already healed the chair’s wound with it.

The next day, your grandma texted me that you guys had witnessed a fender bender on the way to the library. So, I guess in that instance you were able to see how accidents happen so quickly and how noisy they are.

Sometimes on Monday mornings I like to be extra silly to help with the tough separations that we all feel after a fun weekend together.  So, one Monday, I hitched you up on my hip and proceeded to just walk right out the front door with you.  You were perplexed and surprised and asked where we were going.  I told you I was going to walk to work with you.  You knew I was kidding, but were still a little sad when I turned around to go back into the house. But we had some special moments looking at the half moon that was still in the morning sky and the hibiscus flowers that hadn’t yet opened their blooms for the day.

A few days later, I came down sick, so apparently your fever wasn’t related to dehydration.  Your father got called into work on an emergency situation (the A/C in the server room went down) and so it was just you and me for the day.  We had been planning to go to Legoland that day, but my car’s engine was in pieces in the garage and I felt that your father needed his car so he could come and go as need be, instead of calling Uber.  So, I canceled our plans and we had a movie day instead.  We managed to watch Shrek, The Princess and the Frog, and some Scooby Doo episodes.  It was so funny, because some of the language in the Shrek movie is questionable for your age, I turned the volume to the lowest setting.  When your father came home that afternoon, he was supposed to start working on my car and, instead, he sat down and started watching your movies with you and complained about the volume being too low.  I reminded him that he was supposed to be working on my car.  haha

You had left one of your toys on the couch, a light saber.  I accidentally sat on it, and pulled it out.  You instantly asked, “Did it feel good?”  I asked you, “Did what feel good?”  You replied, “Sitting on the light saber?”

Picture: I’m the curb painter!

I ordered toilet paper from Amazon.com, and when it came, you absconded with the box and the toilet paper and said, “This is my little house!”  I wasn’t thrilled to have this in the middle of the living room, but I knew it would be funny to me later, so I took a picture of you in your little house.

Playdoh continues to be one of your favorite things to occupy yourself.  You could create things for hours on end, especially if it’s food related. You love to cook, pretend or otherwise.  You also really enjoy sharing all your creations (and toys) with your cat, Tug.  You treat him like a sibling and it really is the sweetest thing.

 

One afternoon, you came inside bearing an aloe vera plant cutting.  You declared, “This is the helpful plant. It will help daddy’s owie on his back heal.”

 

A conversation while you were in the bath tub:
What is this?”  I asked.
No, no, I want to keep it.  You replied.
But what is it? I asked again.
It’s just something I want to keep, you said.
But what is it?  I asked, yet again.
It used to be a paintbrush.  You answered.

You tossed your froggy in the air and it landed in the shutters.  We laughed and laughed over that one.  You kept saying, “Look at my froggy!!”

You love music and you always surprise me by hearing the beat or subtle sounds that normally don’t get noticed by themselves.  It’s interesting, because if you don’t like a song, you just sit down and refuse to participate.  Like the “head and shoulders, knees and toes” song, that is an instant turn off to you.  So, when your Grandma D. texted me this, it made me smile, ” Song: “driving in my car”. Cute song with actions & sounds…steering wheel, wipers, no muffler so have motor sound, wave”hi” to friend, horn. Wm got into that song!”

Mazda created the 1,000,000th Miata and it’s presently on tour.  It had a stop at the Mazda headquarters in Irvine.  I stopped and saw it on the way to work one morning, the same day that your Grandma D. brought you over to my work for a family lunch at the deli.  I suggested that she take you by to see the Miata.  That it was special to me since I’ve driven a Miata for 25 years now.  I was tickled when she later texted me this picture of you.  Although, she said you enjoyed the long fountain that is in the breezeway there more than the Miata.

When we were at Legoland, there was a little girl in the playground that you hit it off with right away. Pretty soon, you two were running around together. You got on the motorcycle together and then, hilariously, you both got off the motorcyle and, holding hands, ran to the store where you proclaimed, “OK, here’s the restaurant.  What would you like to eat?”  It sounded like you were really on a date!

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You have some markers that stick together, bottom to top.  You had about 8 of them all stuck together in a long line.  You looked at me, holding that long stick of stuck together markers and said, “I heard in Korea Legos look like this.”

Your father barbequed some skewers for dinner. When he brought them inside, you looked at them and said, You eat off of a chopstick?   I guess skewers do kind of look like chopsticks.  ha

This is the time in your life when you are learning the foundations of navigating social situations which, I think most adults would even agree, can be very complex.  Children, especially if they have younger siblings, tend to be on the bossy side, and you were encountering that in some instances while you were at VBS.  One day in particular comes to mind, when I called at lunch time to see what you were up to, I could hear you crying.  I asked your grandma D. why you were sad and she said the other kids had knocked your tower of blocks down.  I asked why they had done that, as I wasn’t sure if you were playing a game with them or something else. She said it was because it was time for you to go.  I asked if there was a rush that she needed to be somewhere on time, she said she didn’t know it had happened before she had arrived.  So, I asked to speak to you, I got your side of it and I commiserated with you, validated your feelings and told you what they had done wasn’t right.  And I told you if that ever happened again, to tell the kids to stop it, and since there wasn’t any deadline from your grandma’s point of view, to be sure and put the toys away when the teacher instructs you to do so, but finish what you were doing.  I find myself giving you words to use, encouraging you to have courage and to always remember to be kind, so that hopefully the behavior you don’t like is something you realize isn’t OK and so you won’t imitate in YOUR future social interactions.  In other words, don’t be afraid to stand up for something that is the right thing.  It is never OK for people to treat you (or anyone) poorly.

 This month’s picture of you isn’t all that great in terms of photography, but I feel like it represents YOU.  You are all about jokes, laughter, and full of vibrant, beautiful LIFE.  And, yes, when  you fall asleep at night, I still lay my hand over your heart to feel it beating.
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Love, Mommy

More pictures from this month can be found here:  LINK

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Filed under Best Husband, Letter to William, Our Kid is Cute

Vacation: The Mitt (Part 4) — Journey to Boyne City

After our visit in Kalkaska, we loaded back up in our rental car and got back on the interstate.  We’re driving along and wouldn’t you know it?  We found that road painting truck again.  I was kind of surprised, because DON’T THESE PEOPLE HAVE A HOME SOMEWHERE?  Shouldn’t they be having the “What are we having for dinner?” conversation that unites couples everywhere with SOMEONE?

We lingered behind them for awhile, and then the person behind Tony roared past us and the truck with a great big gust of wind, and that was all we were waiting for.  A cue that passing them (when safe to do so, of course) was legal.  With that, Tony floored it and we were on our way.

I remember road trips with my mom and brother with great fondness.  It was the adventure we had together as a family that bonded us with mutual experiences which we would remember with love and alchemy for the rest of our lives.  We would stop and take pictures with interesting sites and pose with each other, an arm slung around each other’s shoulders, as proof that we had been there, here is what “there” looked like at that moment in time, and we loved each other, by golly.  See?  Evidence.  Look how happy we were together!
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OK, well, maybe that’s a bad example.  Let’s try again a couple years later when we were older and more mature …

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Uh… well. Huh.

Well, this road trip experience with Tony and William was quite similar.  Except now that I’m the adult I can eject myself the moment the car stops and close the door, leaving the madness contained inside strapped helplessly in the child’s car seat in the back!  It’s not always awesome to be a grown-up, but sometimes it has its perks!

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Because now I’ve got a kid in the back seat whose toes seem to suddenly be  7 inches long and they reach into the front seat and poke us in the armpits.  This kid, who when he climbed in the car, the first thing he said was, “I don’t like this car. It doesn’t have a snapper.”  Confused, we asked what a “snapper” was.  He didn’t expound at all, instead he exclaimed with great delight, “Oh!  Here’s the snapper!”  And he reached with his extended toes and started snapping the cigarette lighter cover repeatedly.  OH, OF COURSE.  THE SNAPPER.  YIPPEE!!  Then we have the “Are we here  yet?” question.  And, everything beyond that is just bonus.  Pure bonus.   For your viewing pleasure, a video with lots of bonus footage!!  Go ahead.  Watch it.  You know you want to.

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And I began to ask myself why I was being a hero.  Exactly what kind of bonding are we experiencing here?  The survival type of bonding?  A weird twist of the Stockholm Syndrome, except William is our captor?  And that’s when the internal negotiation begins with myself.  When the “I will never…” part of it becomes the “the trip is over two hours and we need to concentrate on where we’re going.  Yes, I know we stay on this interstate until it doesn’t exist anymore, but we need to concentrate, dammit!  Concentrate on the silence.”  And I hand the child his iPod which has short movies on it.  And breathe a sigh of relief at the instant silence in the car.  Suddenly, the trees are greener, the grass is prettier, the road ahead melts back into a possible harbinger of good things instead of a never ending connect-the-dot maze leading straight to hell.  Suddenly, I can enjoy the journey instead of wondering where the hell our destination is.

And then your child hands his iPod back to you and tells you he’s done.  He doesn’t want to watch a movie. He doesn’t want to play games.  And you hear, “Dun dun dunnnnnn” in your head and momentarily give consideration to actually picking up a hitchhiker, because a real live person would certainly entertain the child, wouldn’t they?.

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There might have been a slight bit of panic in my mind when Tony handed me his cell phone and said, “Here, call my dad and find out where they are.”  I reply, “What do you mean, find out where they are?”  And then I call his dad and find out that they are not at his aunt’s farm, that no one is at his aunt’s farm, his aunt’s farm where we are supposed to go and sleep is empty of people, and all of the people who might welcome us to his aunt’s farm, those people are all over at  Uncle Al’s house having dinner.  A nice, grown-up, leisurely dinner at 8:45 PM with elderly people, whose children have left home and live on their own as successful contributing members of society.  So they have no comprehension of my anxiety, which was rapidly escalating because of the REASON of that anxiety, a delirious 4 year old in the back who needs to go to bed.  And Tony’s all, “Calm down, it will be OK!”  And I hand the phone back to Tony, while his dad is explaining something about how to stop by Uncle Al’s house, and said something along the lines of, “I can’t deal with this…”

We found Tony’s aunt’s farm, laid out just as he remembered it, stretched out along a hillside.  A barn standing across a single lane dirt track, a tool shed of sorts beyond that, a meadow beyond the barn, all framed like a perfect picture by tall trees.  Grateful to be there and grateful that out in the sticks of Michigan, people don’t always lock their doors.  Shocked that it was still light outside at 9 PM and grateful that I had packed black out drapes, we hustled inside and set up for William’s bath and bedtime, and prayed for a good night’s sleep.

The road trip wasn’t done yet.   The next day we had TWO MORE HOURS, maybe longer, depending on how fast Tony’s dad planned on driving, and how many stops he might be thinking of making.

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Filed under Best Husband, I have Family, I Left Home for Awhile, Our Kid is Cute

Simple Resolutions.

Ever have one of those weeks where everything feels overwhelming, and you have to break it down into simple steps, one thing at a time, so that when you actually do something, it’s recognizable as progress?  I’ve been feeling that way lately.

I don’t know why I let myself get out of the habit of making lists… lists are the balm to the interior part of me that tends to get overwhelmed. The part that gets frustrated and feels like nothing is getting done. It’s the organization to the chaos.  And I really love being able to cross something off instead of taking a step (like making a phone call) and then having to add that back onto the list because someone didn’t return the call, or it didn’t get resolved.  Let this post remind myself, I LOVE LISTS!! LISTS!

Anyway, last night when we got home from the mountains, I turned on my Keurig machine.  I was unpacking and doing a bunch of different things, so when I went to make a cup of decaf later that night and found the machine off, I thought maybe I had just imagined myself turning it on.  So, I turned it on again, made my coffee and went to bed, leaving it on for my early morning cup of coffee.   This morning, I came downstairs, it was still dark outside, chilly in the house, and… it was off again.  I muttered to myself about adding that to my list — find out why my Keurig machine is turning off.

I got to work to realize I didn’t know what model the thing was and Keurig makes a whole bunch of models; even though it’s a very basic model with no programming, still … model is important.  I intentionally bought a simple model — cheap and uncomplicated.  So, I got home and went to look for the model, muttering to Tony that I didn’t understand why it was turning itself off, like it’s got an auto-off feature or something… and he’s muttering back to me that he didn’t touch it. He knows better.  I was reassuring him that I KNOW he knows not to touch my coffee machine.

Suddenly, it all made sense.  We do have a little person in the house.  He does have extended reach these days.  Yup.

And now I know my very basic Keurig machine has an auto-off button.  Beyond feeling silly about that, I have to say I’m glad I can just simply cross that off of my list.  The relief, people, it’s palpable!

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Filed under Best Husband, Our Kid is Cute, Who I am

Theme Park Christmas, Queen Mary Chill Style

The final holiday event that we wanted to attend this year is one that we started going to in 2012. I think it was a fairly new event at that point, as it’s become better every year since then. Their Santa was the only one that didn’t freak William out and the following year, we found that they were using William’s Santa picture on their website for the event!

We did something different this year, and took a weekday off instead of attending on a weekend.  First thing we did was to tour through the ice sculptures.  Personally, I always find ice sculptures to be simply amazing and it’s one of the the primary reasons I do this event. Their theme this year was A Christmas Carol, the story of Scrooge, a little spooky, but then the movie itself is a little scary, so it’s to be expected.

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After that, we had signed up for an ice skating session, which is something I’ve always wanted to do there, but just never have.  it’s pricey, but it’s a neat memory to have.  Skating on ice in front of the Queen Mary is just way cool.  One thing they had there which I haven’t seen anywhere else is “ice skating assists.”  Little penguins or pandas on skis with handles for little ones to hold onto to get their balance. William loved it because it gave him confidence to be independent, and I loved it because I didn’t have to hover over him for too long.

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William and I rode on the wave swing that is on loan from the Neverland Ranch.  I’ve done the ride a couple times before, at this event and at the county fair.  I love swings and so does William, so I knew William would love it.  He did!  He laughed the entire ride!

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We had lunch on the Queen Mary and checked out their Christmas decorations. It’s just a special sort of thing to visit the Queen Mary, we always enjoy it and this was the first time we decided to take the time to wait to be seated and actually eat on the ship.  The ambiance was far, far better than eating out in the Chill area.  All the food there, whether in the event area or on the ship, is overpriced. Turns out, the overpriced food on the ship was worth the wait & the price.  Soooo much better than the “carnival style” food served at the event.   As a bonus, there was a 4D showing of a shortened version of the Polar Express, which (ironically) we had just let William see the full movie the evening prior to us going, so he was enthralled and it was kind of fun to have the 4D experience.

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Our day continued as we headed back out to the event.  Tony managed to get a picture of William with their gingerbread character, and then we rode on the World’s Biggest Rocking Horse.  We did a couple sessions with the Chill Santa. The second session was much better as Mrs. Claus was with him and she is the bearer of candy canes.  For William, the entire visit with Santa is all about the candy cane.  If there’s no candy cane, then it is all pointless.  The first session had no candy cane, and the broken candy cane I had in my purse was not a worthy consolation.  The second session, he was given a candy cane and when he was getting in the stroller, it flew out of his hand and shattered on the ground and landed in a puddle.  He was devastated. Thankfully, Mrs. Claus was understanding of the dilemma and gave him another!

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It had started raining by 5pm,  which helped to expedite our departure.  William wanted to take one more turn through their maze, he was hoping to see the fairy who was blowing bubbles in there, but he was disappointed to find that she wasn’t there the 2nd time through.  Despite that, we were pleasantly tired and had put a full day of good experiences in.

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We had a good experience and I hope to do the event again next year.

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Filed under Best Husband, Our Kid is Cute