Saturday, July 30, 2011

our house in the WP.

A video for Miles and Liam....and because anything with music becomes 100x sadder....I plugged in a little ditty by my love Ben Harper, Give a Man a Home.


I am a sentimental creature.  I can't help it.  I find connections to people and things that seem over the top to some people.  So on Thursday when we moved out of our house of 6 years - the first house we bought by ouselves, planned renovations by ourselves, and sold by ourselves....I was a little sad.  It got to the point earlier this week when Dustin started making fun of me by saying things like "This is the last time I will hold my book like this and look at the fan like this in this house." or "This is the last dish I will put in the dishwasher in this house." 
We started out moving day with a lot of help.

We closed yesterday and I made a little video for my sons.  I have to admit that I finally let the tears flow while I was recording it.  However, when I was pulling away from the place I call home - the place I brought home my sons.....I noticed that without us it was just an empty shell....waiting for the next person to fill it with love.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Great Michigan Getaway - part deux

One thing I've learned from getting older is that everything is much more fun when those you love are right there to share it with.  Well, almost everything.....baths are definitely more fun is meditating....and I sometimes like to grocery shop by myself.  But everything else is definitely better when done with those you love.  Including vacation.
The second part of our vacation was spent in Southern Michigan with Dustin's side of the family at their vacation home.  We always love going there, and since it is somewhat closer, we usually get to go more than just once a year. 

The whole family out for pancakes.

The best way to eat cake - naked.

Totally not from vacation, but the day after.  I couldn't resist. :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Off the grid.

Last week we were off the grid.  Well sort of....and not necessarily by choice.  (You should have seen my mom and husband trying desperately and shamelessly to steal wi-fi from the secure connection in the lobby of where we were staying.)
We were on vacation.  In northern Michigan.  Perhaps my favorite place in the United States - maybe even the world.  It might have to do with all of the memories I've had there as a child growing up, or the promise of cool summer evenings (with the exception of this year - booo.), or the mixture of clean sandy beaches mixed with lush green forests.  I get nostalgic just thinking about it.  In fact, Michigan started this big campaign a few years ago, and one of my friends acting genuinely shocked when she found out they didn't hire me as a spokesperson instead of....what's his name?  oh yeah, Jeff Daniels.  I guess he's sort of a big deal.  whatever.  The first part of our vacation was spent up there with my family.
Almost every year, for as long as I can remember we have been traveling up to a small town near Traverse City, MI to a Christian Retreat Center.  That sounds kind of lame, right? 
But it's not. 
It's this crazy anomaly that exists in my world, and it wasn't until this year I learned to appreciate just how special this place is.  It's the type of place where little kids run around without their parents wearing their swimsuits all day.  Where no one gets a key to their cabin because you just don't need to lock it.  Where every day we left our lodge room door wide open to encourage airflow and never thought about hiding our computer or my camera.  Where you know everyone there, because you have been going up with the same people during the same week most of your life.  Where you don't miss a meal because the food is just. that. good.  Where informal extended family reunions happen regularly, and you stay up late playing cards with people you only see once a year.  Where young college students spend the summer on staff scrubbing pots and pans (like Dustin) or perfecting baked oatmeal recipes (like yours truly).
This is that kind of place. 
This year I got to introduce my sons to this part of my life, and I was able to see it in a whole new way.
Miles loved watching the water.

So did Mr. Droopy Drawers

Playing in the drinking fountain

Rachel and Isaac on our way to an adult-only Traverse City adventure.

Liam "enjoying" a boat ride.

Miles kept telling Grandpa to "slow down Granpa!" while wagging his finger at him.

No hands!.....well Miles left one cautionary hand down.

It was so unusually hot that we could only go to the beach in the morning and evening.  We never even made it to the big Lk. Michigan beach.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Because Liam has a tendency to do cute things every once in awhile...

And we have been REALLY bad about recording it.  Soooooo...I put together a short little film of Liam cuteness...okay, so it's not short at all, but I've got a lot of time to make up for.
Things to look for....
His reading of "No David"
"Hey batter batter swing!"
His phone call to Cece (my mom)
Quirky habits and activities that often accompany him. 

Because remember how I used to post video's of Miles, our oldest all the time?  Like here, and here, and even here?  Well I've fell victim to the oldest vs. second oldest problems of less footage.  Don't worry Liam, we love you just as much, and I promise I'll make it up to you during your teenage years when I am more lenient with you after living through everything once with your brother first.  (Because isn't that truly what happens anyways with the second child?)  Everything has a way of evening out in the end.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Diary of a road-weery mother.....

5:45 pm - everyone loads into the car.  Seatbelts, check. Bear, monkey, pooh, blankie, check.  Snacks, check.
5:50 pm - shouting match in the backseat.
5:55 pm - tugging match in the backseat.
6:00 - 7:30 pm - continuous cough-cry and food requests from the backseat while I read intently in the frontseat.  Husband apparently annoyed by noise and asks me to attend to the noises, while I apparently have no trouble ignoring them.
7:33 pm - something smells fishy...not fishy fishy, but just bad fishy.  We pull over to change into pjs and give the boys a wet-wipe bath.  Smell was a false alarm.
7:40 pm - looks like it is going to be a quiet ride.  Cuddly and pacifier sucking rule the roost while I continue with book.
7:42 pm - blankie gets tossed aside.
7:43 pm - pacifier gets tossed aside.
7:44 pm - requests for above discarded items result in continuous cough-cry.
7:45-8:00 pm - repeat previous three activities over and over again.
8:01 pm - silence.
8:02 pm - don't look back, don't look back.  Should I try to steal a glimpse through my makeup mirror?  Don't chance it.
8:05 pm - Someone breaths wrong and chaos ensues.
8:10 pm - crying...serious crying.  I only have two pages left in my book.  Driver is loosing it, but I beg for just enough time to finish.
8:15 pm - I round up fallen comfort items and silence follows.
8:16 pm - Pacifier flies. Repeated request by Liam for unknown object.  Over and over again.
8:18 pm - Driver makes note that Liam sounds like a broken record.....being played backwards (since we can't figure out what in the world he is saying and therefore insisting upon.)
8:23 pm - Adults start just pointing to things in the car and going "Do you want this?"  Each is followed by "no."
8:30 pm - BINGO!  Apparently wanted the shoulder pads to his carseat.
8:31 pm - Wrong again.  Very wrong.
8:32 pm - Padded book produces smiles.  Driver and passenger have a little silent party.  We cave and put on a movie.  Only one is satisfied...and it is the quiet one.
9:00 pm - Youngest wants pacifier and blanket, which involves me unbuckling my seatbelt (don't tell the po-po) and climbing back to get it, therefore giving the car in the right lane quite a show that, if witnessed, would warrant a "talking to" by my mom - the panty police.
9:01 pm - Liam throws pacifier and blanket.
9:02 pm - Liam wants pacifier and blanket.
9:03 pm - Liam throws pacifier and blanket.
9:04 pm - Liam wants pacifier and blanket.
9:05 pm - Liam throws pacifier and blanket.
9:06 pm - Liam wants pacifier and blanket.
9:07 pm - Liam throws pacifier and blanket.
9:08 pm - I play "tough guy" and make him cry it out.
9:11 pm - Driver insists I cave.
9:12 pm - Not happy, I do it.
9:13 pm - Silence.
9:14 pm - Like serious silence.
9:38 pm - Pull into driveway with two happy babies.
10:00 pm-present - Awake children lying in bed showing no signs of going to sleep eventhough it is now almost 4 hours past their bedtime!

Friday, July 15, 2011

If you ever want to know how little your possessions matter....have a garage sale.

Sit at your little card table as people walk away with the things you bought or were given for your home.  Things that you purchased with a plan, or a dream, or just because you thought they were really really cool.
Very humbling.

I'm not a big garage saler - although I did try it out a bit when I was buying baby clothes for the boys. The point is...I know very little about garage sales....but apparently more than my husband.  Our garage sale started at 8am on Friday.  Dustin made a doctor's appt that day for 8:30am.  His response to my questioning his judgement....nobody's going to show up right at 8 am.  Ummmm.... try 6:30am.  These people are SERIOUS and that mistake will not be made again.

I've always loved home decorating.  As a child I wanted to be an interior designer, until my mom informed me that some people will expect you to decorate their homes in their taste....and that's not always going to be your taste.  (what?!)  Anyways, I've also always fancied myself a bit of a frugal finder.  I hate digging through garage sales myself, but if there is a table being thrown out for free on the better believe I'm taking it with me.

The things I sold on Friday and Saturday were things I had acquired in all of my 8.5 years of marriage...every piece with a history behind it.
But that doesn't really matter.  Because at 6:30 am on Friday morning people started sifting through our possessions in my dirty garage and all along my uneven driveway (it should again be noted that the garage sale didn't officially start until 8am and that I didn't have ANYTHING priced or any signs up at all).
And those people didn't stop coming until 2pm that afternoon.
And they came back the next day.
They didn't care that I bought the poppy painting from a street artist in Florence.  They only feigned interest when I told them about how I had refinished the headboard myself.  And they shrugged me away when I told them I had taken, printed, and framed those three prints for my son's nursery.
Come to find out, none of it really matters.  Because they are just things.  And you can't take them with you.

On a happy note, you can use the money you made selling above-mentioned things to fly your family across the globe to a little country in the UK.  As Dustin said after counting our earnings....."now Liam can go too!" :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

In the thick of it.

I'm officially in the thick of it.  I'm not talking about moving, or packing, or even summer vacation.  I'm talking about something way more serious.....

Dun dun dun....
The terrible threes. 
Whoever called them the terrible twos spoke too soon.  They mistakenly make you think that the worst of it happens from months 24-36.  Those dummies. I hate them....okay, strongly dislike them (hate fuels wars, remember.).
I thought for sure we were on the tail end of it.  Who knew it would get worse?

I feel like a soldier in the bunker some days....waiting for the next attack. 
I swear I have a sweet child.  You all should meet him from 6-7 a.m.  or 7-8 a.m.  SO sweet.  So thoughtful.  So cuddly. So gentle.  So many wonderful things.
It's from 7am-7pm that's the problem. 

What I'm starting to realize is that Miles probably mourned the loss of his foster mom much longer than I realized.  We thought he was just a serious baby.  By the time his funny, charming, and energy-filled side really came out he had a little brother and was quickly approaching the "terrible twos" - (stupid misleading phrase).  I feel like I have yet to really know the person he is going to grow into.  I'm hoping his real personality is hidden away within the tantrums and hitting.  Because I can see glimpses of it you guys.

And I've started to pray.  I pray for patience and I pray that Liam will survive (just kidding - Liam's fine).  But most of all I pray that my child's morning and evening personality - the one I like to call his "pajama" personality (it's like he's superman and has a costume that changes who he is and what he can do) will be the personality that he grows to embrace.  His real personality.  From the hours of 7am-7pm I often feel like I'm working so hard to bring that personality back out.

I've read that this is a phase.  People have told me that it is a phase.  God, PLEASE let it be a phase.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Oh cool!

What a week.  Heck, what a summer!  And in the wake of it all I am watching my boys grow up.  Fast.  All of the sudden they are doing and saying things that make my day brighter, my heart bigger, and my step lighter.

Last weekend we went to Lake Michigan for a quick trip to celebrate the 4th with Dustin's family.  As always, we had a ton of fun and always love going up there.  The boys loved hanging out with their cousins...this family is full of boys!

Some things about what the boys are doing right now.
  • Miles is REALLY into cars....okay, where have you been for the last two years?  No - I mean it's grown into this obsession with driving cars - real cars.  Everytime he is next to one of our cars he tries to get in - and can.  He can get into other people's cars too - especially unlocked ones in parking lots.  Trust me.  We've had to start locking our cars in our garage.  Except the other day I was outside talking to a friend when Miles ran into the house, found my keys, came back out to the car and proceeded to unlock it AND put the key in the ignition.  Luckily that is where I stepped in and realized what was happening.  I am SO in trouble.
"Driving" Papa's truck - a super treat.
  • Speaking of other people's cars.  That is now one of Miles' favorite phrases - "Other people's."  It is important to point out what is "other people's" stuff and what is ours.
  • Speaking of cars.  Miles now feels the need to tell everyone that leaves our house to "not hit me" while patting his head.  It's cute, but confuses a lot of guests.  Do his parents hit him?  Did he get hit by a car one time that only hit the top of his head?  The kid's got a healthy fear of being hit by an automobile.
  • Liam constantly will poke his head through things, pop up behind things, or look through things and say "I see you!"  It is pretty darn endearing.
  • Miles has started using the phrase "Oh cool!" constantly.  I thought it was pretty funny until one day when Dustin was trying to get him to look at something sort of lame and Miles said "oh cool" while walking away and not even giving Dustin the time of day.  Now I think it is hilarious.
  • Liam has started gulping for air about things that excite him.  You know how you suck in your breath when you get excited about something?  Well, I must do it a lot because Liam does it ALL THE TIME.  The only difference is that he sounds like he is choking on a chicken bone when he does it and he's usually pointing out not-so-exciting things, like a goldfish cracker he found under the couch from 2 years ago.  

  • Miles has started imitating how I will sometimes try to get his attention.  (Isn't it crazy how you don't realize you are doing these things until it is imitated for you by your child?).  I (apparently) say "pssst" a lot when I want him to look at something that is sort of cool.  As in "come here, I have a secret cool thing to show you."  Only his sounds more like a "fffffft" and is generally attached to phrases such as "mommy, I need water." at 3 a.m.
  • Liam has been talking like CRAZY.  I wish I could list everything here and that I would have kept better track of what he said when, but now it's to the point where he just imitates everything we say.  My favorites right now are "TOUCHDOWN WASHINGTON!" "Mommy, I need flipflops" and the other day when he (to the joy/chagrin of D's family) called his nana's famous Nana Rolls "Papa Rolls."  (Papa rather enjoyed it.)
This is a fun age and I'm really enjoying where it is going.  I have loved staying home with them this summer, and it is a good thing I don't have to worry about going back in the fall, because it might have been just too hard to leave these two guys when the time came. (As I write this they are sound asleep in their beds.....ask me again tomorrow around 4 p.m. when we have our daily "crumble")

Thursday, July 7, 2011

clicker happy

What do you get when you give a seven-year-old a film camera for Christmas?  A whole LOT of recorded crap.
Today I was sorting through my loads of stuff when I came across not one, not two, but THREE boxes of old photographs.  Remember when people used to use film cameras?  (I had a student one time inform me that her mom used to have a camera that shot with film and you could even buy it in COLOR! seriously.)  Anyways, I've been taking pictures for a long time...and apparently I've kept every roll of film, along with the extras, doubles, rejects, you-name-it since I was in elementary school.  That's over 20 years of pictures.  I've also been keeping a scrapbook(s) for that that means that these three boxes were filled with photographs I hadn't looked at for YEARS.  So I looked through them.
Man was I glad I did.
Partly because I had a good time doing it, and partly because I was able to get rid of a lot of photos I hope my kids never see.  (How lucky am I that I didn't grow up in the digital era?)
If only I had a scanner....
There were a lot of pictures that made me happy, sad, disgusted, and even laugh out loud.  So I started piles......
Pile #1 - the largest - to be thrown away.  This ranged from pictures that were embarrassing to just plain ridiculous.  Is this someone's hand in front of the lens?  Better keep it in case the FBI needs me to crack a case from 1992.  Does this picture of me with my mouth open and food spilling out of it really need to be preserved for my children?  Probably not.  This pile is filled with bad compositions, and just plain bad choices.
Piles #2 and 3 - pictures of my brothers and parents.  I didn't keep all of them...just the really funny ones.  The ones that made me giggle.  Did you know that my youngest brother almost never wore clothes and that my middle brother can floss his nasal passage with dental floss...never fear, it is well documented.
Piles #4-8 - pictures of my dear friends and our shenanigans.  Seriously funny.  Some are seriously embarrassing.  But all were seriously worth keeping. 

I don't plan to keep any of these piles, but I do have big plans for piles 2-7.  I plan on sending them off to each person that I love more because of them.  I even plan to set up a little commentary based flip book for each person since I won't be there with them when they look at them.  (And it's only REALLY funny if you know what I'm thinking as I saw these.)  Because I think I'm seriously funny, and I want someone else to relish in these memories we've made.

Oh. wait wait wait.  So what if I don't have a scanner, I do have a camera, so now, fresh out of the ol' Nikon is a tiny little snippet of my trip back in time........

I think I went as the third wheel to this dance with my best friend Tiffani and her boyfriend.  For the life of me I can't figure out why I didn't have a date....I was definitely working it.

This is the most recent picture, but if my friend Audra sees this, then I know I won't be the only one that laughs out loud.

This is my baby brother 22.5 years ago. Wasn't he cute?  90% of my early photographic career was spent with him as my subject, and I have the portfolio to prove it.

And this is my middle brother...obviously impressed by the situation.

I wish I could show you the really good ones, but unfortunately for you I'm just not comfortable with terrible and somewhat incriminating images of me and mine floating around cyber space....but MAN I wish you could see just how glorious it was.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

BFs forever and eva

Lately it has been a lot of fun watching M and L play together.  Partly because it means I get to sit down and enjoy a nice cupcake and cup of tea at the kitchen table while they run around and entertain each other, but also because it is just plain fun to watch.  They love each other. 
Don't get me wrong...they fight.  They argue.  They steal each other's toys.  They push each other down.  And they make each other cry. 
But 49.5% of the time they love each other. (That's almost half!)
I love watching them kiss each other good night.
I love when one is crying and the other ones goes to get his cuddle toys (for Miles, Liam gets Bear and Monkey, and for Liam, Miles gets his silky or Pooh).  (Usually the one that is crying doesn't deserve his cuddle toys because said boy is in TROUBLE, but it is so darn cute that I let it happen while I'm "not looking".)
I love when they call each other's names followed by "where are you?!" throughout the house.
I love when one goes outside, but has to come back to get the other, because they want to play outside with their brother.
I even love these fake argument things they've been doing, which usually start out of nowhere, and go like this....
M "mommy"
L "no!"
M "daddy"
L  "no!"
M "brush teeth"
L "nnnno!"
M "Monkey"
L  "no!"
M  "Cooper"
L "no!"
M  "H"
L "nnno!"
and so on....I think you get the idea.
I love the way they mimic each other when one does something funny - the other one is guaranteed to follow closely behind.
I love that they wrestle on our bed.
I love that they make each other laugh.
I love that they love each other.

This is how Liam talks on his play phone.  One hand in the air....always.
Come to think of it, so does Miles....which leads me to believe they learned it somewhere...will someone promise to tell me if I do this and just don't realize it?

And my eternal hope for that they will always find a best friend in each other.

That's possible, right?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Well, it's garage-sale seriously people, I'm going to do it. 
If I can get my butt in gear.
Because I need to cleanse my life of this stuff.
But now I'm resisting for a whole new reason.  This weekend we went up with Dustin's family to their house up near Lake Michigan.  I was supposed to stay home and get ready for the garage sale - get some major stuff done in record time.  Instead I decided at the last minute that it was too depressing to spend the weekend by myself when my neighbors were all imbibing in family cookouts and late-night gatherings.  Packing up my life and putting pricetags on stuff I bought with wild plans for my house suddenly seemed like a downer.  So I ditched it all and went up north to sandy beaches and time with family.  (Real Simple magazine says you need two weeks to put together a garage about 3.5 days?) 
We had a lot of fun.  And pictures will follow.  But this post isn't about that.  This post is about the first experience I had with what I can only imagine is going to gradually get worse as our departure day draws closer. 
We were getting ready to leave to come home and I had picked up all of the toys, including the toy track that Miles played with all weekend.  As we were getting ready to head out to the car, he discovered the track tucked away in the closet and pulled it out.  I explained to him that we had to leave it there, and that we were going home.  He lost it.
He was exhausted, and emotional...but I have never seen anything so sad in my life.  He just sobbed....and kept saying over and over again that he "don't want to leave."  He fell into my arms and went limp with anguish.  I had to pick him up and carry him outside as he clutched my neck and sucked up huge sobs against my shoulder.  He was just so sad.  It made me sad.  I am so excited to go on this adventure.  But I know me.  I know how I am.  And I'm just wondering who is going pick me up and carry me onto that plane when I have to say goodbye to my family and friends and no longer want to.