Friday, December 16, 2011
Today you are 3 years old. THREE! Three feels so much older than 2. You've been talking about this day "MY berfday" since Daddy's September birthday, so it's big! Physically you've grown taller and thinner since last year. But the biggest change has come in your vocabulary and the hundreds of words pouring from your mouth.
You discovered a musician named Laurie Berkner this year. And, in true Colt fashion, you fell hard and fast for her. It was Laurie-this and Laurie-that. We thanked God in our prayers for Laurie. You begged to hear her in the car, on the TV, and while rocking to sleep at night. I thought she would be the perfect encouragement for potty-training. But you were so excited to watch her video that you couldn't concentrate on thinking about going potty. So we had to send her back to school (we borrowed the video) and you were potty trained by the end of the day.
You're potty trained now! I was so nervous, dreading it really. Diapers are easy. So we waited and waited...which paid off because you were more than ready. But with potty-training came the word "poop" and you pretty much say it all the time. You replace song lyrics with the word poop. You call your brother poopy. You say it just to say it. And you dissolve into fits of giggles each and every time.
Your love for music is apparent and growing every day. You remember every song you hear, coming up with names only you understand and I struggle to remember which of them are which for our car rides.You play all of Mimi's guitars when you visit her house. You love drums. And you're working YouTube like only a toddler in 2011 could. Your fingers are long and skinny, musician fingers; your tune is pitch-perfect.
You go back-and-forth between being a Mommy's boy and a Daddy's boy. You're always a Grandma's boy. One of my favorite things about you has been how open you are to family. You absolutely LOVE going to visit Great-Grandma, Great-Grandpa and Aunt Linda, you ask to go every couple of weeks. You are truly interested in your family members and seeing them and giving hugs.
And your brother - well, you're a wonderful big brother. You've outgrown being enamored, and spend most of your time yelling at him to stop touching your things. But, you know, you reach out and hold his hand almost every time we're in the car.
You are kind, you are empathetic, you are JOYFUL. A love of the movie "Monsters Inc" means that you ask every night if the monsters are going to get you. I respond "no, Honey, I will protect your". And any time I'm sad or stressed or crying you rub my hand and say "Mommy, it's ok. I will protect you".
Some of my greatest joys in life are the nights when I sit by your bed and we sing together; when we have family dance parties; when you say your prayers; when you wake up remembering it's Sunday donut day; when you ask why; when you call me Mommy-Babe. I love being your Mommy.
I love you, Babe!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Instead, I did something equally as wonderful as reading. I made lists. I LOVE making lists. And to make it even better, I made lists of things I'm going to CLEAN next week. I was smiling from ear-to-ear.
At the risk of jinxing it, I am announcing that next week I am taking the three days before Thanksgiving to take off and CLEAN. I know, I know...selfish lady that isn't taking her kids out of school for non-stop weekend-type fun. But my house NEEDS it. I haven't really deep cleaned in so long and it's suffering from a heavy and hectic travel season this year. And, well, let's be honest...I'm officially surrounded by sticky, sweaty, smelly boys that have no real desire to pick up, scrub down, or organize anything in our house.
So my list was making the following lists:
Weekend Prep (subheads include cleaning supplies store trip)
Monday To-Clean (including subheads Colt's room, bathroom)
Tuesday To-Clean (including subheads Owen's room)
John to clean while I'm gone
To Pack for the boys
To pack for me
Isn't it exciting? Then, the very best part (other than a super clean and organized house) is the part where I get to cross the items off the list. Drawing a line through the word or marking an X to the side is one of my favorite things.
Anyway...you'll know where I'll be next week. A few days just me, my house, my ipod tunes, and the smell of non-organic bleach filling my soul.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
So, it’s funny to me that a true turning point in this whole attempt to think like I’m 30, instead of the perpetual 19 I feel like every day, had to do with parking.
A few months ago, you may recall that I attended a dream concert of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys in Tulsa. I loaded up some of my best girlfriends for an all out road trip 90 minutes North. Despite my best attempts, we didn’t plan our dinner very well, and ended up at a subpar restaurant in trendy Utica Square because none of the good ones were open on Sunday (don’t get me started). At that point, we were cutting it close so we ate and then headed to the arena.
Once we pulled up, we had to decide where to park. Time was running out and there were two carloads of us when my friend Brooke said confidently “we’re parking in THAT lot”. THAT lot was the $20 lot. Right across from the arena, it was prime and not all that crowded. But it was TWENTY DOLLARS. No one pays that kind of money, evident by the scores of people lining the main street walking from their $5 lot half a mile away.
But Brooke had been using a certain kind of logic for quite some time and I felt it surge through me as I pulled into the lot. “I’m 30 years old, I work really hard, I make decent money. I’m parking in THAT lot” I announced to my passengers. And I did, and it was awesome, and it made leaving the arena SO EASY.
Now, I’m aware that’s an awfully dorky story. And you’re probably thinking “seriously, $20?”. But that was a big moment for me. We’ve been so entrenched for so long in paying down debt, and we’re not used to this sort of thing…it was a big moment. Despite over a decade of coupledom with my husband, 2 beautiful children, buying 2 different houses, and traveling across the country for business…I still often feel I’m not older than a college sophomore (there's a whole embarrassing story about this, and it's why I don't really work with interns anymore because I "try too hard"). But that night, in addition to my awesome concert experience with awesome people, I felt like a grown-up.
Trying not to recite this logic when I go clothes shopping.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
More than ever this year, I got the comment "how do you do it?" from clients and coworkers. My response each and every time was that I have a rockstar husband. He's one of those that doesn't get phased by taking care of two toddlers by himself. He loves being with them, and they're more than comfortable with daddy time.
It wasn't always this way, and I can't imagine anyone who could naturally take that on. Actually, I've always traveled quite a bit and I have to say that when I first started taking trips we experienced the most difficult period of adjustment. And that was BEFORE kids. It was really hard figuring all the logistics out. I don't know why, but something in John just changed when we had kids and he was more at ease with the travel.
When Colt was a baby and when Owen was first born, we had our parents and sisters down the road that helped A LOT. I don't think we could have done it without them. But now, many times during my time away John won't call anyone. He just handles it.
I have some routines I follow when leaving town - I make sure the house is clean, dishes done, groceries are at least semi-stocked. I set out full outfits including socks for the boys for each day I'll be gone. I check their school sheets to see if any special days are happening (snow cone day or show and tell) and leave the right things. I make sure they're stocked on diapers for school so John doesn't have to run to the store. I try to make sure all laundry is done and put away, but more often than not there's a load left in the dryer. I set medicines out. I make sure I give the boys a bath the night before I leave, because John is not a huge fan of bathing both boys by himself...I'm not normally gone more than 2 nights at a time but still. And I try to pass on my flight and hotel info to him in e-mail form just in case.
We just have this silent routine that makes everything as easy as possible on him. I don't know how we did it, we just did. I'm thankful everyday that he encourages my work and the opportunities it has afforded me.
I've always been a caller - someone who calls when walking to my car or in between meetings. But after
I know that as the boys age, it will not only be emotionally more difficult to travel often but logistically as well. But for now, I'm enjoying the routines and watching the boys thrive with their Dad.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
I won't get overemotional, just so thankful we have this day to celebrate. Colt is my sweet, special firstborn son. He lights up all of our lives, we're blessed to call him our son. Thank you to our judge, our sweet lawyer and friend, our caseworker at our agency, our family, and N for making this day possible.
We are celebrating at home tonight with our family, hot dogs, and cupcakes. Nothing big...just taking time to be thankful. :
Monday, August 29, 2011
I found a SNAKE. INSIDE my HOUSE.
It was crawling...scratch that... SLITHERING on my kitchen floor. It was much larger than the 5 inches John is telling people it was. It was at least a foot long...a ruler is a foot, right? It was at least a foot long. But it might as well have been a python because it was INSIDE my HOUSE. Inside.
When I spotted it on this lazy Sunday afternoon, I did what any good mother would do with her two toddlers in the same room. I screamed and jumped on top of the kitchen counter. "Sssssnnnnaaakkkeee" I squealed to John. "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh" and the shudders were taking over my body like a seizure. Colt asked me what was wrong and I smiled sweetly, grit my teeth and said "nothing, honey, Mommy is just being so silly!". I eyed John to GET OVER HERE THIS IS NOT OK.
He caught the snake, thanks to my quick actions of finding a mason jar and a fork. I'm a downright hero around here. He took it next door and, with our neighbor, determined it to be a garter snake. Then he walked about 300 yards in the field behind our house and let it go.
He let it go. Yes, it's head was still intact. This was unsettling to me, but I assumed I was just being a weenie.
But the consensus among social media, which I took to within minutes of discovery, is that SNAKE IN HOUSE NOT OK. SNAKE IN HOUSE NOT NORMAL. Every single suggestion, except my sister-in-law's (which, she is related to my husband so I assume the lack of common sense is genetic), was to KILLITSHOWNOMERCYCUTTHEHEADOFF.
But nope. It's out there. In that field I can see from my kitchen window. It's going to come back, probably with friends and family. It's a regular AT&T commercial up in my house.
John kept teasing me, as a good supportive understanding husband would do. So I punched him and told him to stop. Colt said "what did Daddy do?". I told him that Daddy was being mean to Mommy. Colt got very serious, walked over to John and pointed to the hallway. "Daddy, you go timeout RIGHT.NOW. We don't be mean to Mommy".
That's right, the 2-year-old put Daddy in timeout. It was the right thing to do. Then Colt took my hand, showed me the window on the backdoor and said "the snake can't get you anymore...it's ok, baby".
Guess who I love more? Geez, that kid eats me up with the sweetness and compassion.
I slept fitfully last night. I now walk with my head down to make sure I don't see any snakes, or worse STEP on one. I have been shaking all shoes before slipping my bare feet into them.
I'm thinking of interviewing realtors this week. We clearly can't keep living here.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
All that swimming and I didn't get a picture of them in their swimming suits until today! We went late afternoon for once, but only stayed about 30 minutes before poor Owen (he got my complexion) was turning very red despite SPF 70. But they LOVE to splash and swim and jump in the pool, float on floaties and play ball. Next summer I'm putting them in swim lessons for sure...they're both little daredevils in the pool!
Learning to bowl, eating spaghetti, building blanket forts, having dance parties, and roadtripping to Missouri where we visited family and stayed in our first hotel as a family.
We've actually had a lovely summer, lots of fun, and we've learned a lot. But we sure are ready for fall-like temperatures. Preferably BEFORE the time change so we have the evenings to play outside...
Thursday, August 04, 2011
I was searching through old financial records the other night and came across a file with all of Colt's hospital records at his birth. Standard procedure in adoptions is that the baby is identified with his birthmother's last name at the hospital...relinquishment is normally long after all are checked out of the hospital, and he was not our child legally. Even after we left the hospital, we were caring for him but we were not legally his parents. He was someone else's little boy.
Colt's birthmother listed his full name with Anderson on his original birth certificate. But the hospital records list him as "Baby Boy" J (her last name). It hit me like a ton of bricks. It's really the only record where his name is something other than Anderson. And to see him referred to as Baby Boy instead of Colton...
It was a glimpse into a different life. How different a path he could have had. What a different person he would be. For most of us, a different name wouldn't change who we are. But for adopted children - the difference in name means a different life.
Not a bad life, I know he would be loved and cared for. But a different life and different family and different house and different love. It was a lot for me to take in. It also brought back a lot of emotions as I remembered how complicated that time in our life was. So, so worth it...but it was just so complicated.
Who would he be if we were not his parents? Who would WE be if he was not our son?
Shortly after that emotional hard hit, I got an e-mail from Owen's sweet, sweet teacher. Owen is moving into the next class at school next week and leaving my favorite (and his favorite) teacher. She wrote to tell me how much she will miss him and how much she has fallen for our little blonde-haired man.
She went on to explain how happy, joyful, jolly, laid-back he is. How all her stories to her husband begin with Owen. How he fills her day with so much joy. She said he reminders her of herself, which really sent me over the edge because that's one of the biggest compliments I could hear because she is just that wonderful. She's full of joy and is so kind and gentle. I love the thought of Owen being a little Mrs. A.
She gets him. She understands him, even though he doesn't talk. She communicates with him, she sees him as a leader in the class and watches how helpful he is, how kind he is to his friends. She really gets him.
So, of course I got weepy. But then it was made even harder because I realize that she sees the "him" that not even John and I get to see very often. She sees him as Owen. Not ColtandOwen. He's not with his big brother, she didn't know Colt before. She just knows sweet, wonderful Owen. I get sad that we don't spend enough one-on-one time with him. He's a different kid when not competing for attention. It's not a bad thing, he's just more laid back and Colt is an attention hog!
Also, I wonder if we'd be more patient, more understanding with Owen's speech delay if we didn't have the boys so close in age. It's so easy to get caught up in what Colt's doing and what Owen isn't. Mrs. A doesn't see that...she is able to stay patient because Owen is who he is.
We are BLESSED to have the teachers that the boys have. I don't take them for granted. But I am very, very sad he's leaving her. He is a special, special boy and I love it when he's "favorited".
Don't know what it is lately, but I'm just overcome with emotion and my heart is just full with my family. I'm just so thankful for THESE children. I'm thankful I'm COLT and OWEN's mom.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I'm sure you've noticed, but blogging has been a struggle for me this year. For some reason, I stare at the screen and all the space to fill and I am just blank. But I feel like I'm missing an awesome opportunity to document the amazing experiences of my kid's early years.
I found that Facebook and twitter statuses were easier for me to write, but I wasn't confident in the ability to archive all of those. And I was positive most people didn't want to hear a lot of the small, seemingly mundane moments I wanted to remember.
So at the beginning of the year, I bought a planner. It's a simple planner that is broken out into short rectangles each day...one week takes up two pages. It's just the right size to capture my thoughts without feeling overwhelming. It takes less than a couple of minutes most nights.
And I have written in it every single day since January 1st. I take time every night, even the nights I'm traveling, to write small, wonderful (and the occasional tough) moments. It is a treasure to me, something I look forward to. It causes me to better remember a sloppy kiss or funny saying or a milestone. I've even recorded voice notes on my phone when something great happens in the morning so I don't forget later in the day.
So, it's a small thing, but I'm so proud that I've done it. Knowing I have boys, they probably won't have the interest that girls would in reading these kind of things. Maybe they will. But it is mostly for me.
I wrote this in the beginning of journal:
"I wanted to write this mostly for me...to remember the small moments of these precious days that go by so quickly. I also hope that one day Colt and Owen will look at these and see how much I truly love being their mom. That they'll know I treasured moments big and small. That even the tough days were blessings. And that every night before bed, I take time to reflect on what I love about them. Every day they're learning and loving and surprising me. They're the pleasures of my life. My world begins and ends with my three men...my family. I love you!"
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Things here are good. They're great, actually. And now that I've said that I'm sure I'll get a blow. But as of this moment things are great.
Owen had his ear surgery. We just did a follow-up yesterday and things look great. We could tell a difference in his balance within hours of coming home. He's already much more vocal as well, and every now and then a word will escape. He still whispers words, but he can absolutely understand direction and what we're telling him. So while we wait until his vocabulary bursts onto the scene, we are confident he's made a big change.
The kids together are just so much fun right now. They are interacting with each other exactly as I'd hoped they would. Playing together and looking for each other. When we do things with them one-on-one they both keep asking about their "bubba". They just expect to be together and miss each other when they're not.
Other things are good, too. I've been working really hard and taking on some different responsibilities over the last 7 months (and more) and I was really excited to get a promotion at work. I've wanted it and I'm just so pleased to see it come to fruition. I don't talk much about work here, but just know that I love what I do. I'd have to, to travel like I do and work the hours that I do. They are an awesome agency with management that is so accessible and invested. People are what they're all about...I've been fortunate to spend my career there and look forward to growing even more there. I'm just excited. (is it a faux pas to talk about a promotion??)
Over this last weekend I was able to have one of the most fun experiences I've had in a long time, and help my sister realize a dream. My sister and I have found a common love of concerts. Concerts are not logical, they certainly don't make financial sense. But we absolutely love them and have been to some awesome concerts together. When i heard last year that New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys were going on tour TOGETHER I about died. And when I heard they were coming to TULSA I was immediately sold. The day the tickets went on sale, I bought them and 7 months later my sister, 6 of my favorite girlfriends, and I were on a roadtrip.
I was, obviously, a New Kids fan as a pre-teen. My sister was Backstreet Boys generation and she was OB-SESSED. But she'd never seen Backstreet. I, however, had been to a 1990 New Kids concert (which she also attended but cried and fell asleep because she was 4). Anyway, we lived our childhood Sunday night. I can't even describe the awesomeness, but where else are you dancing your suburban booty off with 10,000 other 30-ish women, and screaming with every shirt that came off an NKOTBSB member? It was so awesome.
Other than that, we're here. We're existing through absolutely unbearable heat. We're stocking away pocket change to pay our electric bill to keep the house cool. Boys are growing. I found my camera battery charger so expect to see some photos very soon!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
I had suspected for some time that he is not hearing well. He does not talk. Like up until two weeks ago, he had said exactly zero true words. He says "aaahhh" most of the time, points, signs...we can communicate but he's not saying any words. We have been to the doctor multiple times over the 16 months of his life, not once has there been a visit where he didn't have thick fluid in his ears.
In fact, he was saying very few consonants at all. We had a hearing test for him last week and sure enough - he cannot hear well. In fact, on the right side you basically have to yell for him to hear you. He certainly isn't picking up on the formation of speech...he hears enough to know something is going on, can read you lips well but cannot figure out how to replicate that in his own voice.
So, tubes should help. We're prayerful it will, anyway! I'm excited for him to discover a whole new world, and hope he's chattering away like his big brother in the next few weeks.
And despite the fact that he bit me so hard I have a giant purple bruise on my shoulder last night, I could still squish him and love him and hug him until he can't take it. So I'll worry until the procedure is over and he's squawking in my ear. I'll even let him bite me without yelling back if it will make him feel better...
If you have a spare thought and prayer tomorrow, please send it our way!
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
As everyone knows, Joplin, MO was hit by one of the worst tornado's in recorded history 3 weeks ago. And honestly that hit home with me even more than the countless small towns that are hit in my own state each year. Joplin is on the way to my grandparent's house in Springfield, MO. I've been stopping there at the Steak 'n Shake and QT for 30 years. I know it. So I was on edge, especially knowing how close it came to my grandparents.
The following Tuesday, May 24th, was shaping up to be the midwest's version of "the perfect storm". For a week there had been buzz of something major happening. And I happen to have a wonderful friend IRL, Nathan (@natecast on Twitter), who was very serious when warning his friends to prepare for the worst. Nathan loves weather, is fascinated with the graphs and models and hook echos and all that stuff...but he's far more than "amateur" in my book and rarely over-hypes anything.
That day it was cloudy in the morning, cool outside. By noon the sun had come out and the air was so thick you could hardly breathe. Everyone who has been around tornadoes know this is a very, very bad sign. Nathan began sending regular updates to his friends telling us an approximate time of arrival of severe weather. The National Weather Service told residents of the OKC metro area to stay off the roads between 3-6pm. And the State of Oklahoma closed early and sent home non-essential personnel. Schools were closing early.
All that backstory so you know how serious it was. All day, I could only concentrate on where we should go. Few people have basements in Oklahoma, our house is no exception. Our normal spot for tornado safety is the master closet or pantry. But I had a very, very bad feeling about this. And I wanted to be underground. All day I worried, wondered where the right place was. Was I overreacting?
Our good friends B&D have an underground storm shelter in their garage. They had extended the offer to take cover any time, but I knew that Nathan and his wife and daughter were already planning on going there. I texted B, she said to come on over. So at 3:00 I picked up the boys from school and began to get ready to ride out the storm.
By 4:00 tornadoes had already started firing west of us. And the largest was tracking right toward our house. B&D live about a mile north of us, and I took the kids and headed over. John couldn't leave work, and we assured him the right thing to do was stay put on the east side of town. By 4:00 it was too late...he'd be in the middle of the storms if he left.
By 4:30 the rest of us were at the house and Nathan began to get very nervous. He felt like it was the right time to get in the storm shelter. At this point Owen was glued to my hip, unwilling to even move to the other hip he was so tense and scared. Colt was sucking on his paci, running his blankie through his hands. He doesn't normally have those items during the day but I was so grateful I brought them. He was glued to my leg.
Speaking of, I had packed for the apocalypse. I think Brooke must have thought I was INSANE when it took two trips to come into her house. Everything from electronics to snacks to an entire pack of diapers and wipes, extra clothes, jackets...I think I truly was prepared for our house to be demolished. Also, I think I was planning for a roomy basement instead of a cellar to take cover in.
Anyway, the storm shelter. We decided to head down. And immediately I felt a rush of emotions. As we lowered Colt inside and I saw him staring up at me, I began to get very scared. I crawled in, they handed Owen to me and I began to get a whole new kind of emotion. Panic. Panic that we were really down here, that it was so bad and unpredictable outside, and panic that suddenly 3 women (one pregnant) and 5 children were in the ground in a concrete shelter only 3 feet wide. And the guilt I had was immense. If I had realized how small it was, I would have never put B&D in the position I did. That shelter is for THEIR family's safety and it wasn't clear if Nathan and Derek would even fit.
So imagine, fear, panic, guilt all hitting me at once...and after a few minutes down in the ground, my kids hot and sweaty and glued to me, we realized we couldn't breathe. There was a small air hole, but no circulating air. It was in their garage on one of the muggiest days I've ever felt. Of course we were all in jeans, long sleeves and tennis shoes (because if there is debris you need to be covered) so we were pouring sweat. The door on the top of the shelter was a sliding door built into the garage floor. And all I could think about was that if the tornado hit the house and debris piled on top of the shelter, it would be hours before anyone arrived to dig us out. My heart was racing.
L, panicked and pregnant, voiced her fears first. She'd been the first to get in and was farthest from the opening of the shelter. As her anxiety grew, it became even harder to get a breath. And she had to move. We maneuvered around and I concentrated on getting her to the other end. I moved into her spot. I lasted about 7 seconds before I felt exactly the same way. Thoughts of my children melted away and all I could think about was getting air. I was prepared to leave the kids there and take shelter above ground. It was a drastic, terrifying, completely self-involved feeling I had. I was out of my mind. B moved into my spot. Owen and I stood and stuck our head out of the shelter, hoping Nathan and D would give us the all clear before everyone had to hunker down.
And eventually they did. The tornado had been skipping around but it was now far enough east that we knew it had missed us. All told we were in the shelter for somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. But it felt like an eternity. As everyone was getting out, again I looked down and saw Colt staring up at me. All 5 kids had been so quiet and so sweet and calm...I was embarrassed that I had panicked like I did.
So we moved inside, hung out for about 30 more minutes before feeling safe enough to head home. John was taking shelter at his work as the storms moved his way, and my mind was with him while he did. The kids calmed down, Colt discovered B&D's iPad with "Phineas & Ferb" episodes. Owen gave my arms a rest and played with his friend W. Nathan continued to watch the weather, and every now and then as footage of damage was aired, I would look over and see him with his eyes closed. Almost like he was in prayer or disbelief. I knew that he was processing as many emotions as the rest of us were.
By 5:30 I loaded the kids up and headed home. I called John to tell him about the experience...how close the tornado had come and how I felt like a complete failure as a mother with my reaction inside the shelter. How I felt such heavy guilt for imposing on B&D. And then I turned on the news. And saw that the tornado had destroyed structures just 3 miles north of our house. And worst of all, they were asking for search party volunteers to look for a 3-year-old boy who was missing.
His name was Ryan. His pregnant mother had done everything we're supposed to do when a tornado is headed our way in Oklahoma: she got in the bathtub of an inner room in the house, covered herself and her THREE children with a mattress and waited. And the tornado demolished their home...sucking her three children out of her arms and tossing the family like rag dolls around the neighborhood. His older sister was in critical condition when they found her, his mother unconscious, his baby brother was killed. And they couldn't find Ryan. When they did find him 3 days later, it was too late.
I cannot get over the fact that this woman lived my nightmare. She lived what I'd feared and prepared for all day. Her babies were taken from her in the worst way. And then I knew...no matter what had happened or how I'd reacted, everything I'd done that day was the right decision. Taking them out of school early, imposing on B&D, getting underground...it was all the right decision because a mere three miles separated me from my nightmares coming true.
I have continued to think about that. I've lived in Oklahoma my entire life, had close encounters with tornadoes before. It is part of who we are as Oklahomans...our memories and experiences are dotted with devastating effects of mother nature. But I'd never lived through a storm like that as a mother. It's brought entirely new meaning to preparations and disaster plans. While on my way to get the kids, I'd called my mom and mother-in-law and sister to let them know where to meet should the storms hit and take out cell towers. So that we'd all know we were ok. So we'd know when to start looking for someone. It seemed so reactionary and over-the-top at the time, but it was necessary. I have to start thinking like that.
I will always be grateful for B&D not hesitating to open their shelter to us. For B remaining calm and collected in the shelter making the kids laugh while I freaked out. For D and Nathan taking care of all of us as they watched the weather move through. And John is so grateful that he knew we were taken care of, that we would be safe even if the tornado was right on top of us. It's just awesome to have friends who love you like family.
I continue to pray for the victims of the Oklahoma storms that day, and for Joplin and Alabama and Mississippi, too. And certainly Ryan's family as they recover from losing their two precious sons. This has been a terrible season. We're on a waiting list to have our own underground storm shelter installed because I want to be underground. No matter how hard it might be, I need to know my family will be underground, and not being ripped from my arms.
Motherhood changes everything...I just didn't realize all the ways it would.
**Thanks for reading! I know it's long, just needed to get the story out there.**
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
I used to write stories. Lots of stories, long and short. My mind was constantly forming plots, characters, names. That’s how I started writing. In third grade we had a writing challenge for mystery stories and my teacher liked my “book” so much she kept it for future classes as an example. That’s when I knew I had a gift. She remains one of my heroes, as the woman who spurred my love of reading and introduced me to the world of putting my imagination on paper. If I ever wrote a book, it would be dedicated to her…I’ve known that since I was 9 years old.
This love continued for a long time. I wrote stories through high school. And in college, by nature of schedules and “growing up” I moved away from stories. By then maybe this narcisstic phase of writing began. AOL instant messenger was created. People were creating webcites on GeoCities. Napster was all the rage and sharing music files was as intimate and creative as any blog is today.
And then, blogging appeared. I’m still so infatuated…scratch that, completely IN LOVE with blogging. I love reading blogs. I love finding new blogs. I scour my Google reader multiple times a day and have several blogs that make my heart leap when I see new entries. I think back on blogging and how it was a lifesaver, a true lifesaver, when I was going through this mad journey to find my sons. But more than that, just an outlet to release all my weird random thoughts and celebrity obsession and house design. Being a young professional, newlywed, discovering friendship in a new world…all chronicled on my blog in a precious gift to my future self and maybe a daughter-in-law one day (because, let’s be honest, my sons won’t ever appreciate it like a woman would).
But lately I find myself thinking in only two ways: 140 character tweets/Facebook posts and PowerPoint slides. I really am struggling to find the motivation to write anything more. I often think of things I want to write, but by the time I sit down to do it I’m too tired or distracted to follow through. Plus I doubt anyone reads anymore, it’s just too long between posts.
All that to say I do have something I want to write. Last week so many were victimized by monstrous tornadoes. And even though I’ve lived in Oklahoma my entire life, I had an all new experience as one giant tornado touched down less than 5 miles from my home. My children changed everything. And I think the best way for me to move on, to deal with the emotions of that day and that experience is to write. And, so I will…
Monday, April 25, 2011
I guess I could be depressed, except I really don't have anything to be depressed about. My life was pretty wonderful at 29, I can only imagine it will get better.
One of the things Owen has taught me is to just enjoy the moment. To not stress about their every little next development and just enjoy the wonder that is my children in that moment. Several weeks ago my grandparents were in town and Owen was very close to walking. In fact he took his first steps while they were here, but before that I kept rooting him on and saying "he's so close" and my grandmother smiled and said "oh, he has his whole life to walk...just let him crawl for now".
A month later and, sure enough, he walks 90% of the time. In fact, I'm kind of missing the crawl! But she's right - he has his whole life to walk and to run and to rush around. He's still not saying very much, but he has his whole life to talk. We're still feeding him formula IN A BOTTLE at night to go to sleep (a big no-no according to the books for a 14-month-old) but I don't even care...he has his whole life to put himself to sleep and drink regular milk. I'm savoring every bottle and every rock and every babble.
Love the lyrics to the song "Let Them Be Little":
Let them be little, 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh, just let them be little
It was a wild and crazy Easter. Four celebrations actually: our Easter morning and indoor egg hunt (because it was raining of course), then lunch at John's parents, egg hunt at church, then dinner at my mom's. I was so tired when I got home I couldn't even move an Easter basket to the table. It was fun and the boys got to see all their loved ones but still...next year I'm aiming for a little more low key.
My latest obsession is The Hunger Games series. And my new Nook that I got for my birthday. Actually, the Hunger Games series ON my Nook. Yes, 30 is good to me so far.
Colt's new obsession is "Monsters Inc". He's so funny, he doesn't obsess over "Cars" or "Toy Story" like so many kids do. No, his favorites are "The Incredibles" and "Monsters Inc". What would we do without Pixar?
We have a REAL LIVE LANDSCAPER coming to our house tomorrow! I'm so excited to have our flower beds cleaned out and a new tree planted. And he's fixing our fence. We were very responsible with our tax return AND we sold John's Honda (since he has a company car now) to pay down debt so we're treating ourselves to a landscaper. I feel so...old...
Headed to bed...with no promise of being a better blogger anytime soon! Maybe, but probably not!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Me: "you have to be good the next few days while mommy is gone."
Colt: "go? Where Mommy go?"
Me: "I get to go on an airplane for work."
Colt lights up: "airplane! Mommy airplane? Go on airplane with Mommy?"
Me: "I wish you could go with me! It would be fun to fly on an airplane. Do you remember when we went on an airplane, just the two of us?"
Colt: "uh-HUH! Let's go mommy. To the airplane."
He takes my hand and starts to walk to the door. How I wish I could bring him with me!
Then as I dropped them off at school I was squeezing Owen and he was giving me his famous slobbery, open mouth kisses I started tearing up. Only a few days away, but I'm telling you those cheeks are addictive. Irresistible.
I imagine it's only going to get harder.
Colt is talking like crazy. "what dad mommy?" is heard most often. School bus, choo-choo, chuch, school, ice cream, pizza are all things we see on our morning drive. He is getting better at understanding and verbalizing right and wrong choices. And his memory is phenomenal.
Owen is taking lots of independent steps. It's awesome to see him get so excited when he does it. Before we know it, walking will be like breathing and that excitement will fade. But for now we're practicing and celebrating every step and he's soaking up the attention.
Life is good!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
What ended up happening is the story of my life. It turned into a spring cleaning kind of session. Which is not all that bad, and I'll admit is a bit of a high for me. I like cleaning, I love all day cleaning sessions. I'm just not loving cleaning every single night after kids are in bed and all I really want to do is fall into bed for a "Teen Mom 2" marathon.
Anyway, John took the boys out of the house for a few hours while I dug out the bleach and a new Swiffer Wet Jet. I was proud of my progress, until John came home and incredulously asked me "what did you even do while I was gone?".
Enter crazy woman.
In one breath of rage, I spit out every single thing I did in those hours he was entertaining toddlers away from home. But he couldn't notice. Because there was still a lot to do (especially in our room) and I'd ended up doing SPRING cleaning instead of regular cleaning. My rage went something like this:
"What did I do? WHAT DID I DO? Well, for your information I sortedtheboysclothessweptandmoppedalltilefloorscleanedthemicrowavecleanedoutthefridgedustedthetopofthefridgepolishedallthewoodfurniturecleanedtheboysbathroomCLEANEDTHECANOPENERBLADEscrubbedtheupholsterydid4loadsoflaundryincludingtheboyslinensandwipeddowntheappliances!"
Don't worry, I'll break it down for you as I had to with John. It got me thinking about all those thankless chores we do that our families won't ever notice but that have to be done. I even asked my Twitter friends to chime in...here are just a few of those things:
- Cleaning the microwave
- Stain prepping kid's laundry
- Sorting kid's clothes by size and season
- Storing kid's clothes by size and season
- Cleaning the ceiling fans
- Cleaning the top of the fridge/cabinets
- Cleaning the thingie that catches water from the dispense on the fridge
- Washing windows
- Dusting things on top shelves and mantle
- Dusting blinds
- Cleaning out the fridge
- Vacuuming couch cushions
- Pantry organization
- Sanitizing doorknobs
- And my personal favorite: cleaning the blade of the electric can opener (go check it right now, you'll see what I mean)
Any way, do you agree/disagree? What thankless, unnoticeable chores am I missing?
Monday, March 07, 2011
One song he sang was a Carpenter's classic, "Sing a Song". I don't know if he actually sang this a lot or not, but to me when I think of that song it's his voice I hear. This weekend on Netflix, we turned on a Sesame Street special and Colt was instantly mesmerized. It was a 20 Year special and it went through all the things that had happened on Sesame Street in 20 years (I believe this was a 1989 special) and I was hooked, as well. And of course teared up along the way.
At the end of this special, they sang that song, the voices of children singing it. It brought back a lot of memories, but hit me especially hard as I really, for the first time, listened to those lyrics as a parent.
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
Sing of good things, not bad
Sing of happy, not sad.
Sing, sing a song
Make it simple
To last your whole life long
Don't worry that it's not good enough
For anyone else to hear
Just sing, sing a song.
Colt loves music. Of course, I'm just eternally proud of him anyway but his interest in music has always fascinated me. He has been able to recall songs and words and dances since he was just a few months old. He had favorites before he could crawl. He could do hand motions before he could speak. He loves any show with music, and he's quite demanding in what is played in the car.
Recently he's started actually singing, not just listening. And if that tiny 2-year-old voice in perfect pitch doesn't pierce your heart then I don't know what will. It is heartbreakingly sweet. And I love that he will sing anywhere, anytime. I love that he expects his mom, his Grandma, his Mimi to sing anytime he asks. In the middle of the restaurant? Bring on some "Roll the Gospel Chariot". At the park, better sing "Jesus Loves Me" for all the world to hear. He loves music, and loves to sing. Always.
So the words of this song are like my mantra for him. I want him to ALWAYS sing. Sing loud, sing strong. Don't worry that it's not good enough. Sing happy songs. JUST SING. I always want that for him.
But I know there will come a time, far too soon actually, where he won't sing anyplace and anytime. I know there will come a time when he will be embarrassed, when someone will make fun of him, where someone will stop him from doing so. And I won't be able to help. It is part of life, experiencing that hurt. And for some reason, listening to that song this weekend made me ache inside.
As a parent, I've lived very much in the present. I don't read a lot of parenting books. I just live in the moment and do what feels right. And I've surprised myself with some of the ways that I naturally parent. But living in the present means I've spent little time thinking about how to handle things in the future. How to answer questions, how to handle discipline, how to handle hurts. Oh, I think about it but I don't really prepare.
The idea that one day I won't be able to protect Colt's heart, to protect his and Owen's feelings...that one day I won't be able to be in the moment for them...it's just overwhelming. It's painful and sad and makes my heart pound.
I love being their mom. I love being their protector. I love being their encourager. So since I won't be able to always fix things for them, in the meantime I will just encourage them to sing without worrying. What's the old saying, "dance like nobody's watching".
Colton and Owen - just sing. Sing anything, anywhere, anytime and don't let anyone stop you. Sing and be happy. Don't live life like it's an American Idol audition - I hope you just simply sing a song. I will always sing with you.
Darn you, Sesame Street. *sob*
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I am SO sick of my kids being SICK. I mean that in a really loving way, honestly I'm sick of watching them go through ear infections and strep throat and RSV and now pneumonia...it breaks my heart when they hurt and I can't help. I mean, technically I can: I am their caretaker. But I can't immediately take their pain away.
Sunday morning Colt woke up and began vomiting uncontrollably. In the 25 minutes it took us to get ready to go to after-hours urgent care, he's thrown up on his bed, our bed, our couch, our chair, the kitchen floor, the bathroom floor, the bathtub, and the carseat. Everytime he moved he threw up. At the time we assumed a stomach virus. But it was accompanied by a high fever around 103.
He tested negative for flu and strep at urgent care and they sent us on to the ER. Already my wonderful, saintly mother had taken Owen and I would not see my precious baby son for 5 days. Because despite urgent care having major concerns about our VOMITING AT WILL, LOSING CONSCIOUSNESS, RAGING FEVER TODDLER...the ER wait was long. Over three hours we waited for blood work and exam. At this point, every stinking sign was pointing to meningitis and I was about to lose it if we waited another hour and got in and couldn't do anything because we were too late. THAT is what was racing through my head.
But as we sat there, and watched 3 people be called back in the three hours we were there, Colt suddenly woke up, drank a bottle of VitaminWater, ate some graham crackers and began running around hysterically. Fine. No fever. And I did not want to wait one more minute, especially when they said that there were still 5 in front of us. So we took him home.
Monday, more dry heaving and really high fever. Called the pediatrician - it's a stomach bug we don't need to see him, let it run it's course. By Wednesday his fever was scary high and it had gone on long enough. I KNEW all along this wasn't a stomach bug, I KNEW something was very wrong. I just knew. Finally got into our pediatrician and sure enough - pneumonia. Covering 3/4 of his right lung. One shot of antibiotic and the next day he was like a new kid.
So, today I decided we needed to bring Owen home. I MISSED that baby's sweet cheeks. He'd stayed at my mom's since until Wednesday, we didn't know Colt wasn't contagious. Pick him up early from school for a treat, get him home and BOOM 102 fever. Welcome Home, Baby! Once again called the pediatrician, once again we were told to "watch and see". And I know that works on kids about 90% of the time. But I was riding high from my "I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH MY PNEUMONIA-RIDDEN BABY" victory. So I marched poor sleepy Owen to urgent care where they found two bulging, bright red ear infections.
I just have to laugh. Smile about my mother's intuition. Laugh about how FUNNY it is that the kids got THIS sick and caused me to miss a week of work after missing 5 days over the previous 2 weeks for snow days. All while John was gone. ALL while John was gone.
I'm freaking Supermom.
And ready for Daddy to come home tomorrow!
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Today you turn 1. It's been a year since you came into our lives. It's hard to imagine a day without you...it feels like you've been with us forever.
I look at pictures from July 4th, 2009 and my first thought is not about your brother's first Independence Day. It's how it was 3 days before I got the biggest surprise of my life. I remember being tired and that day in particular convinced me I needed to take a test. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would turn out the way it did. I didn't even tell Daddy I was taking it! I was alone as my world turned upside down and I paced the house until your dad got home, my heart pounding. I was afraid I would be robbing Colt of his parents, afraid I couldn't give YOU the kind of undivided attention your brother had received. It's a feeling that didn't leave me until the moment you were born. But Daddy - we;;, he was SO happy and SO excited so immediately after hearing the news that those few moments after telling him were the calmest of my entire pregnancy. Mommy tends to worry, so I did.
Clearly I had nothing to worry about!
From the moment I saw you on the ultrasound, I wished you would be a boy. I wished, I prayed, I dreamed of bringing a brother to Colt. I knew that our lives would be infinitely sweeter if there were brothers so close. I could hardly contain my excitement when I found out my wish had been granted. Colt began calling you Bubba the day you were born, and since then you've adored him. He's the funniest person you know.
One of my very favorite things about you is that you are so focused. Focused is a way of saying quietly stubborn. You don't back down. Ever. And when you accomplish whatever it is that you're focusing on (getting somewhere, knocking something over, pulling something apart) you sit back and clap for yourself with the biggest grin. You know what it means to accomplish your goals and I have no problem cheering with you - even if it means cleaning up a hundred blueberries off the floor before your brother stomps through them.
I feel like I could describe you with a million S-words: strong, sturdy, stubborn, sweet, silly, sensitive, snugly, social...you get the picture. You very much enjoy just sitting in my lap and watching your surroundings. You lay your head on my shoulder when you get shy or sleepy. You cling to me when I try to put you down, as if to say "no, Mama, I want more". You don't say too many words and you don't have to. I can read you like a book by looking in your eyes.
You're sensitive, something I joke about as your ability to produce crocodile tears and dramatic wails grows each day. If someone sets you down, especially when you're sleepy, it genuinely hurts your feelings. So you're promptly scooped back up and your round cheeks are kissed a hundred times to make up for it. That's the way we do it here.
Your giggle is infectious, I've taken more video and recorded your voice more times than I can count. Your grin is so wide, your four teeth so pearly white. You indulge my snuggling. Your hair is growing so fast - so blonde in person and so red in photos. You laugh like me, smile like your Mimi. You eat everything and store up reserves in your round, puffy cheeks. You drum like crazy and love rhythms but could care less about the melodies. You are mesmerized by Mickey Mouse and clap whenever he comes on TV. You love the bath and splashing. Your official first words were "boobear" for blueberry and "ah duh" for all done; I mean you can say mama dada but intentional words had to do with food, of course! Your favorite things are your baby blankets and your giraffe rattle.
I have soaked in every detail of your first year, living in the moment knowing how fast it goes. I am a much calmer, more patient, more relaxed mom since you arrived. I didn't know how having a second son would affect our life; I just couldn't predict the joy.
Thank you for blessing us, thank you for letting me be your mommy, thank you for being the exact perfect fit for our little family. Your brother may have created our family, but you completed us.
Love you forever, like you for always, as long as you're living, my baby you'll be.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
But we're ALL ready for Dad to come home.
Anyway, I wanted to just list a few things I want to hold onto, memories I've cherished that I know will slip away.
- So close to walking. He's such a fast crawler I can hardly keep up with him.
- When he arrives at the location he was crawling to, he sits back and starts clapping. Like "yay! I made it, let's celebrate!".
- He lifts his arms when he wants to be picked up, just as tall as he can. He often throws his head back to look up at me and almost tips himself over. It's the best feeling to see him be able to communicate that he wants to be picked up and snuggled!
- He has a death grip on my arm when he doesn't want to let me go. And really, he's just playing a game with everyone. Anyone who is holding him and trying to pass him to someone else to hold, he'll wrap his arm around their's and not let go. Then he'll bury his face in your neck/shoulder and it causes you to say "aw, Sweet Baby, you just want me" and you'll kiss his head and squeeze him tight. He does this because he wants the kisses...he rarely cries when you actually pry him off and pass him on. Something about him loving the cuddles makes me melt.
- He's talking a lot more, still no real words but he's being direct about communicating. I think we all do enough talking for him, he just doesn't feel the need to chime in!
- He DOES, however, know how to scream when he's in his high chair and out of puffs or fruit. There is NO tolerance for such deprivation.
- He has been extra snuggly, as well. He's always been very affectionate, but it's clear being away from Daddy and having so much extra time with Mommy is affecting him. He wants to see me all the time and if I even step out of a room he starts calling for me to make sure I'm still there.
- He's SUCH a good helper in the kitchen. Loves to stir and pour and measure things. Since I haven't really spent a lot of time in the kitchen before now, this is encouraging and exciting to me.
- He has a new sign for singing - he tells me the song he wants and starts shaking his head and body like a bobblehead. I think it's supposed to be a dance, but it always means sing.
- I now know Phineas and Ferb episodes by one word each, often in regards to an obscure reference in the episode. There's kickball, mom, girl, knight, monkey, restaurant, watchin', Mars...
- He loves the songs off the Phineas and Ferb soundtrack, but lately he's been open to others. We make up a lot of songs (I have a great made-up one about the Incredibles if you need it), but the other night he asked me for a song about honey. So we now sing "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies and he likes to listen to it in the car.
- He also has a favorite P&F song he calls "Mom". I thought he was asking for it the other day but he yelled "NO! Not Mom. Mommy song." I figured out that the day earlier I'd begged to listen to one of MY favorite songs ("let's listen to one of Mommy's songs") and he liked it and now we can add Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried" to our list.
- He prayed last night, on his own, for every member of his family. It melted my heart as he listed each person off, and I thought what a blessing for each of them.
- He's obsessed with cleaning (me = proud) and sweeps, vacuums, and wipes down tables and chairs anytime I'll let him.
- Also obsessed with haircuts and the haircut kit we have at home. He likes to comb my hair over my face like Cousin It. Makes him laugh and laugh.
- He's desperate for Owen to walk. He loves to take people's hands and lead them to his play room, and he keeps trying to grab Owen's hand and about takes his arm off trying to lead him somewhere. He can't wait for his brother to walk hand-in-hand with him.
- They are really loving playing together. They like to hide behind curtains and under blankets and play peek-a-boo. The other day they were in another room, I couldn't see them but I could hear both their giggles over and over. Exactly what I'd dreamed of!
So blessed to have had these few weeks with them. My mom and stepdad and sister have stayed overnight during the snow days at various times and the boys just LOVE it. They love having extra family there and showing off and getting extra snuggles. My feet may be cold, my skin dry, my car salty, and my driveway covered in snow but the precious times with the boys have been worth every second!
Friday, February 04, 2011
Here are some of our adventures from the cell phone perspective. Luckily Aunt Julia was here to help us out over the few days!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Anyway...it got me thinking about my phobias, fears, and anxieties. What makes me afraid? My top ten:
1) Driving at night or inclement weather - self-explanatory, right?
2) Getting into a cab at night while on a business trip alone - I am a master at cabs, thanks to the travel I do for work. But there's something about how alone and vulnerable I feel especially at night getting into a cab. I always think about the opening scene from "The Bone Collector" with Angelina Jolie. I like to be on the phone or texting info about my whereabouts to my husband during this time.
3) When my kids sleep late - because my mind immediately thinks they must not be breathing.
4) Carbon monoxide - I should probably just have a detector installed in the house. I'm terrified we'll get poisoned, and my big fear is that I wake up woozy realizing this is what's happening and I'll be the only one that survives. Wow. Heavy.
5) Taking both kids in public by myself. Yep, 11 months later and I'm STILL nervous about this.
6) Flying - always. It's easier now, but not completely relaxing.
7) Being the closest cubicle to the front door at my office - I'm always afraid some lunatic workplace shooter will come through the door and I'll be first. I'm moving cubicles in a few weeks though, so yay! Although now I'll be further from the door and any escape route...
8) Cold calls - for anything. Sometimes even to order food.
9) Driving underneath bridges or overpasses - call me crazy but I feel like if they're going to collapse I have a much better chance at survival if I'm on the overpass versus underneath. I nearly have a panic attack everytime I get stuck underneath one.
10) Open Water - While I loved Hawaii and I loved the snorkeling in calm, supervised waters, my dad had a real near-death experience with the powerful ocean and I also did not like AT ALL snorkeling out in the open water. Drowning, sharks, jellyfish...all big fear. I cannot watch "The Perfect Storm" without wanting to throw up.
So a common theme in my fears is death and death of my loved ones, right? I figure that's probably everyone's fear.
Things I'm NOT afraid of: clowns, the dark, heights. Among other things. When I started this post I really thought it would be fun and light (spiders, casseroles, etc.). Huh...guess not.
I will say that I've calmed down A LOT on my conspiracy theories and my fears about random crime and bad things happening since I stopped watching any "Law and Order" episodes. My husband and I made a deal that he would stop cussing if I would stop watching "Law and Order". Let's just say I held up my end of the bargain while I'm patiently waiting for Colt to yell the f-word when we miss a red light.
I still watch "Criminal Minds" but that's about it. Cutting those shows out of my life helped more than I realized they would. I sleep better at night, too. Anyway...would love to hear other's fears!
Monday, January 10, 2011
We've grown accostomed to the flexibility and the trust that being a long-term employee brings. We have both worked at the same places for our entire marriage. Which means that while our personal and family life did a complete 180, full of tumultuous and joyous seasons of change, our professional life has been steady and reliable. We've both enjoyed different positions within our respective companies, promotions and the like; but pretty much the same.
This new job also means a dive into more training on his new company, their policies, his position. And it means he will spend 6 weeks in training in Dallas in the near future. I am pretty grumbly about this period of time away. I think that is an extremely long time to ask employees to be away from their families and I'm especially sensitive because we have very small children who are very attached to their dad. So, I am grumbly. Even at my busiest travel seasons I'm not away more than 2 nights at a time.
He will be home on the weekends, but that's not enough to make me feel any better about it. Now, I realize that some people (military spouses in particular) can't feel bad for me. They deal with their spouses being away with NO break for a year or more at a time. I cannot even imagine! I know a lot of people are dealing with tough economies, spouses working miles and miles away permanently. Commuting between cities.
But I've really thought about this for a while, and I don't think it makes my experience or my discomfort any less real or crappy. Just because someone has it worse than me, doesn't mean that what I'm going through is any better for myself. I see a lot of people saying things like "my kid is always sick with step, but so-and-so has cancer so I can't complain". Not that I want a world of complainers, BUT I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to talk about your problems or vent your frustrations. It is a fact in life that someone ALWAYS has it worse than you do. Period. I realize that, and accept that.
I've been making a point to tell that to my friends when they're expressing their frustrations and then suddenly feel guilty about it. "Yes, someone has it worse, but that doesn't make your experience any less valid". I know it can get annoying when people complain all the time, but I also think it's ok to talk about what you're struggling with.
Sigh...just me trying to justify my frustration with John being out of town for so long, I guess. We'll get through it, my sister is practically moving in and my mom and in-laws are ready to help as needed. So I am blessed and will have it much easier than most! This is stemming from a GOOD thing, a great opportunity. And when he returns, he'll be going to a job he LIKES and that hopefully treats him well.
We should all be so lucky.