Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's Amazing Where Life Takes You

I am currently in the middle of my 3rd reading of The First Husband by Laura Dave and I am so loving it again.

The story itself is sweet, and the writing was bright and funny.  You laugh and cry and feel for the main charachter.  For me personally, the question about what could have been is something that I have thought of, but the decisions I have made I would not have changed.  Especially these days.

So, go, read!  Enjoy! And join the conversation with the BlogHer Book Club this month.  If you haven't been there before, I really do recommend take a look at the reading list and joining the different conversations.  I have found it to be amazing to read the different thoughts and opinions, and also see that my thoughts and experiences are not too different from other people.

Are you still here?  Really, go click on the link and then find a copy of this book to enjoy!

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club. While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dear Birthday Boy

James, today you turn 1.

I don't know if you'll ever know what we went through to have you.  How lucky we are that you chose us to be your parents.

But I hope you will always know how much we love you.

This past year, you've made us a family.

We were blessed with the easiest baby ever.  Even now, 10 days after surgery, you are the happiest baby I have ever seen.

When we get you laughing, and I mean the real giggles, no one can help but laugh with you.

Your daddy wasn't sure what he was getting in to, and I still remember how excited and scared we were about becoming parents last May.

But all that went out the door when we met you for the first time.

I love that you are learning to talk, babbling your way through the day.  You laugh at us and our silly faces, flip through magazines, and test every toy with your thumb to make sure and look for a hidden button that might make noise or light up.

Even your stuffed animals.

There are days I miss our snuggling naps, when you fit on my chest and would sleep for hours with me, so I could inhale your scent.  Right now, you are too busy getting in to the next thing and laughing as you crawl as fast you can to play.

You do everything on your own, at your own pace.  You've shown us that you prefer to figure out your toys rather than us sitting and forcing you to play a certain way.  You also have started mimicing everyone around you, but most noticably your daddy.  When he sits to read a magazine on the couch, you will go get one of the ones we've given to you and flip through it.  You even cross your legs like he does, something we've never shown you, but that the photographer yesterday loved because it made her job easier.

There will be many years to come, more things to learn together, and watching you grow into a man is something I am so looking forward to.  Just don't go too fast, okay?  I need more of your hugs and smiles, and I plan to get them at every opportunity.

Happy birthday, James.  I love you more than I thought it would have been possible to love another person, and I always will

Friday, May 18, 2012

The One Where Our Parenting Choices Save Our Asses

After my little monkey was transferred to the PICU, we were called up and walked in to him sound asleep.

This is the great part.

See, the baby books tell you things about SIDS and how babies should not sleep on their tummy, and how to properly make sure they are sleeping to avoid them not being able to breathe.

My son has slept on his stomach from the moment he came home.  He has never once had issues breathing, and in all honesty prefers that position to this day.  It's how my mom did it, and 3 children and now 4 grandchildren later, we are all fine and sleep well.

Not to mention we all have perfect round heads.

When we walked in the room I immediately thanked God and my mother for the blessing.

You see, with those ugly things keeping his arms straight, the only position he can sleep in comfortably is his tummy.  And that is how they want him to sleep.

Lucky for us that's what he prefers, and while he is miserable and in pain still, he is sleeping soundly and the nursing staff can't believe it.

We win this round....

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What A Difference One Day Can Make

Okay, Internets: Another must read book recommendation from me is Where She Went by Gayle Foreman.

My husband clocks my interest in a book based on how long it takes me to read it, and if I bother to put it down when dinner time comes. In this books case, I read non stop for 3 hours and ended up ordering pizza.

Where She Went Takes place in the span of 1 day, while recounting years in flashbacks. The main character took a little getting used to for me, mainly because he seemed so broken. But once you find out why, and go through the journey with him, it is completely worth the journey.

This is a sequel to another book, If I Stay, which I have not read and do not believe you need to in order to get to the heart of the matter. But I will admit that that book is now on my list to read, if only to take in first hand the beginning of this amazing journey. So, take the leap and read this book.

Want more information? Then visit the BlogHer Book Club and join the conversation there!

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club. While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Baby Toys Everywhere!

As James has grown, his collection of regular toys has grown with him.

He still spends time in his play yard, but more and more he wants to be out.  The toys he plays with are in there with him, and when we open the gates they come out with him.  We've managed to continue to confine his things there when he's asleep, and while it isn't exactly organized, the clutter is at bay.

The few toys we do have outside the gated zone sit in a red cloth bin.  It isn't a collapsible one, and has heavy wire creating a solid frame for those things he doesn't play with regularly.  We found it on clearance at Walmart, and for $3 we couldn't say no.  It sits on a shelf within reach, and we can easily get the toys if he seems to need something new.

Now, his bath toys are a different story.

I am afraid of mold.  So, after a bath, every possible surface around the tub and sink where I can set a toy to drain down the drain is occupied.  It makes for interesting positioning when washing your hands if you opt to in that bathroom.  But I don't know what else to do with the toys!

So, here is where you come in!

I need to hear from anyone who has had success with organizing tub toys in a way where things are moldy or icky after a day or two.  He is too small for daily baths, so every other day is about right for timing.

Please, help!

Now, if you are looking for more tips on getting organized, please visit BlogHer and join the conversation there about getting your kids organized.  Also take a moment to sign up to win an iPod touch by sharing a moment when you were along and realized you were having a Life Well Lived moment.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mommy Monday

This next card comes from my MIL.  Reading it made me smile and nod:

"Take a few minutes for yourself, but hold him as much as you can.  He won't stay little for long!  There's no such think as too much love but there is such a thing as too much stuff."

I completely agree.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The One Where Our Parenting Choices Come Back to Bite Us in the Ass

James is actually pretty independent.

He will play for hours on end with his toys alone.  When we all hit the floor to play, he goes between us and his toy area and just examines everything.  He is a true free spirit in that way, with no real rhyme or reason to anything.

We've been lucky that he enjoys doing his thing.  Earlier this week, my FIL had to watch him for about 90 minutes, and James never made a peep.  He played in his play area with his toys, would stand and "talk" through it with his grandfather, and then go back to playing.

Like I said, he's independent, and he likes it that way.  We are pretty lucky.

So, we have had our pre-op visit for next week's surgery.  On May 16th, James is having the cleft in his palate repaired.

We're already anxious about it, what he'll go through, and what we'll need to do to get him through it.  The thought of him being operated on makes me nauseated, and A can't talk about it because this is his son.  This is the child that he won't let people give a strange look, and he has to surrender him to people with sharp instruments.

The surgeon explained the procedure to us carefully, explaining what will be happening and discussing with us about recovery.

That's when the worst news came.


My little climbing monkey will be spending 3-4 weeks in what the doctor referred to as "no-nos".

Basically, in order to prevent him from tearing anything he will not be allowed to put anything in his mouth.  And to insure this happens he will be in "restraints" that will keep his arms straight.

They will need to be worn at all times unless he is sitting with us and we can prevent him from putting things in his mouth.

Like his thumb.

I'm not looking forward to this.  I cried on the drive home because I just cannot imaging him in those things when he is so used to be oning his own doing everything.  We've never had to restrain him, even stopped swaddling him at the hospital after being born so that he would be able to sleep.

So, now surgery is looming, but I feel as if the worst will be the weeks following.  Luckily I have the two weeks following the procedure off, planning to spend time with my mom during her visit, so we'll be able to focus on him without work interfering.

But it's still going to be heartbreaking.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The One Where I Get (A Little) Political

Coming from CA, seeing same sex couples together, openly, has never been something new.  It's not just because of my proximity to San Francisco, but it was just something that happened.  I can't even remember when it became the norm, I don't remember it when I was small, but it did.

When A moved to CA, his closest friend made comments about watching "his rear" while in the city.  There were inappropriate comments made, laughed at, and life moved on. 

But things changed.

During the almost 5 years there with me, my husband's views mellowed and changed.  He actually worked with people of different religions and ethnic backgrounds, as well as sexual orientations, and being exposed to it in that way, he became a more accepting person.

Just before James was born, we learned that a relative of his had finally come out of the closet.

I say finally because everyone "knew" and just never said anything.  He struggled with it, and admitted to the family he had been in counseling for years to come to term with things and had been drinking.  The need to talk about came after spending a night in jail for a DUI, apparently not his first, because he was depressed and didn't know where to turn.  His religious upbringing made who he was a bad thing, and he didn't think he could be honest with everyone.  This is something he had struggled with for over 30 years.

During the year we were here before James was born, we attended that church a few times.  I loved it, the community, the singing, and the joy.  But A only took away the fact that they were still preaching about things that he no longer held true.  He had lost a close friend from work, who happened to be gay, back in CA to cancer.  Listening to the pastor talk about homosexuals in the blatant way he did, and the community agreeing, killed him.

We had always said that James would attend Sunday school and church, would be taught as we had each been growing up, and had planned on baptizing/presenting him to the church.  But when the time came, we couldn't.  We discussed everything and it boiled down to our responsibility as parents.

We want him to be a good, strong man someday.  Someone who will stand up to bullies, not just for himself but for others.  We want him to be able to make his own decisions about things, to be with the person he loves and who loves him even more than we could, no matter who that person is.  We will support him, love him, and want him to learn that love should be unconditional and the greatest thing ever.

So, eventually we will teach him about religion and God.  His grandmother will take him to services if we cannot, and we will sit down and discuss what was preached.  We will teach him that he has the right to make decisions for himself, that he doesn't have to take the words he heard that day as something that is not up for discussion and thought.  He will get to make his decisions about religion, finding a fit for him and his beliefs once he is old enough.

We will teach him love and tolerance for all people.  Even his enemies will deserve compassion, and he will learn this through our words and actions.

That's our job.

And I will point to the things that have transpired in the last 48 hours, from the election in NC, to both our current president and vice president taking a stand that gay marriage should be allowed, and hope that it will be a history lesson about the way things were once, and how things can change.

Because they need to change.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Pirate's Life

Saying Goodbye

I think one of the things about my husband's family that drew me in immediately are his father and grandfather.

They never once have made me feel like I was nothing other than a part of the family, one of theirs.

I never had that feeling from my own father.  I knew I was not his favorite, that was my sister, so I just never thought differently about it.  My father's father was never a part of our lives, and my mother's father always seemed distant.  There was never a time where I can remember any of these men being a strong influence.  I do know that I never relied on approval from men, have always been comfortable in my own skin, and while lonely while single, I never craved having a boyfriend.

Most of my friends had different relationships with their fathers.  Once of my closest friends, someone I've know for almost 20 years now, introduced me to her family a long time ago and they took me in. 

Her mother is a typical "eat, you need to eat" type even when I was overweight and knew it.  She still will do that, and when A met them I warned him about it.  He learned after the first visit to not eat before going because they weren't satisfied with being told we had just come from lunch.

Her father, from the first day, called me his other daughter.  He always talked with me, hugged me, and just made me his own.  All my memories of him are warm ones, from discussing sports, talking about fishing, or just telling me about the house they lived in and showing me how proud he was of his grandchildren.

In 2008, he was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer.  I don't remember the name, only that it was a rare form, and he was given a short time to live.

But his strength carried him forward.  Almost 4 years later, he did everything he could, and my friend became his caregiver, watching him start to fade away.

He finally passed yesterday.  He'd been in a coma for a couple of days, and they had been told this was coming, but it still didn't make it any easier.  I wish I could have been there, could have said my goodbyes to a man who I came to love as my own father, and who will be so missed by all of the family.

I can't be there, and I can't stop crying, but I also will never stop thinking about him.  I will also always know he is still somewhere watching over all of us.  And I hope he'll be proud of us all as we move forward without him.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mommy Monday

Well, it's been a four weeks since the last one of these, so today you will be getting fours peeks into the words of wisdom shared wtih me at my baby shower in March of 2011.

The first card actually wasn't signed.  It simply says:

"Be patient.  Give it time, they will calm down soon.  You are doing great!"

The next card is from my husband's great aunt:

"Have patience.  Plan to lose sleep so take naps when the baby does"

Then there's my husband's grandmother, James' great grandma, who actually does do this:

"Bring me the baby when I want him.  If he cries I will bring him back."

Before I go on to the next card I do have to say that this little boy love his great grandparents.  They are the ones who babysit for us whenever we want to go out, and they have their place set up so he can play and swim all summer.

Finally, the last card for today.  This is from my husband's aunt, James' great aunt:

"Expect the unexpected and go with it!"

Patience, support, and flexibility.  Definitely words of wisdom.

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Have A New Role!

When it comes to the day to day chores, we have always had an interesting balance.

I do the cooking, prefer to load the dishwasher, and generally handle the grocery shopping.

He does the unloading of the dishwasher and all the other housework, including all our laundry.

When it comes to insects, A is very good about all things with multiple legs that have managed to get in the doors and windows.

Now, the most interesting thing I've learned living here with central air is that insects can make it in  through the vent.  The system just sucks them in, and they literally pop out in the room.  We've had a beetle, some spiders, and even a moth mange to get in.

Never a problem.  That's my husbands job.  He takes them and either gets them back outside or squishes them if I am particularly in need of making sure they are truly gone.

But yesterday we redefined one critical part of this routine.

Apparently, anything with a stinger is off limits for him.

Go figure.

A yellow jacket managed to get through, and while it was alive and dazed, unable to actually fly, I had no real issue with it.  They just don't bother me.  I've always ignored buzzing things with stingers, so I just told him to get it out.  Which he hemmed and hawed at until I finally told him to take James and I would handle it.

I don't think I've seem him that relieved in a while.

The little guy was dropped outside on a bush, and I went back in and returned to playing on the floor with my little climber.

So, now we know: stingers are bad and handled by me.  *flexes muscles*

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Really Didn't Have Any Idea

I've just finished reading You Have No Idea by Vanessa Williams and her mother, Helen Williams.

Yes, that Vanessa Williams.

I told my husband that the book fascinated me because I really never stopped to think about her as anything other than the Miss America who had nude photos published back when I was a teenager.  I'd seen her in movies, her song Saved the Best for Last was my senior prom theme, and she was on Ugly Betty.  That was it.

I couldn't stop reading her words, everything that she had been through, how she handled it all.  Add to that the segments from her mother, the commentary and notes, and the story had me crying and laughing.

I miss my mom, and am counting the days to her visit this month.  As I read about the relationship these two women have had, the support and family that they shared, even when they didn't agree, I smiled and realized that their words had brought me in and made me a part of their story.  And that their bond is something I could see with my own mother.

Now, I normally avoid celebrity biographies.  Actually, I think this may be my first read about anyone other than a dead president for a history assignment.  But this book I would read again and again.  It's a story that is beautifully told and easy to get los in.  You should give You Have No Idea a read and join the conversation with the BlogHer Book Club.

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club. While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May is Here!

I wish my lapse of writing was due to the hazards of pulling double duty last week as A returned to the workforce.

Well, it was that, but then it wasn't, and then it was just the craziness of work.

My husband went through orientation for 2 days, then reported to work on the third day for his first shift at 11pm.  He'd been told during orientation that he would work from 11 until at least 2, sometimes 5 if it was busy on the overnight shift.  We discussed it, and considering they warned him the hours were bare minimum for his job, agreed that it would work.  He could sleep until noon, then be up with James until he napped and then we'd all have dinner together.

It was bordering on perfect.

Then he asked for his schedule.  He was scheduled from midnight to 6, 6 nights a week.

Once he woke up on Thursday, he told me what had happened and looked miserable.  He had been missing James all week, wanted to be home with him to do things with him, and this shift would mean he would sleep until James was going down for a nap, and would basically only see him for a few hours a night.

Then he looked at me waiting.

And I told him to do what he needed to be happy.  We never wanted that, for him to not be here for James, so if that was going to be a problem then he needed to discuss it with his manager and explain what he was promised.

They told him to go home because they didn't want to waste anymore time training.

By Saturday, his sleep schedule was back to normal and life has continued.

What did we learn last week?

That A needs to be here for James as much as possible, so it has to be part time work where he really only gets the 20-25 hours a week maximum he said he wanted to work.

And that James whines and makes noises to get his daddy's attention when he hasn't seen him for a bit.  Which is cute for the first minute or so, then it begins to grate on your nerves if it is seriously a whine.

So here we are, back at the beginning...