Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bye! See ya later! Have Fun!

This is Miles' new favorite farewell.  He says it to everything he is leaving, whether it is a tree, ("Bye tree!  See ya later! Have fun!") or a house, or even his friends.  And I love it.
Can you think of a more cheerful way to leave a room?  Let me break it down for you.

1.  "Bye tree!"  Acknowledging that you are leaving is the ultimate sign that whatever (whoever) you are leaving means enough to you that you want to acknowledge that you are in fact leaving.  If you like someone, you say don't just sneak out of the party while they're in the bathroom.  Whoever you are saying goodbye to is important.

2.  "See ya later!"  Who can be sad about that?  This promise of a quick return, and future fun times to be had can't make anyone sad.  No one ever cries when they say it....because it is so hopeful and full of casual affirmation that there WILL be a return, and it will be glorious.  No one is allowed to be sad when one shouts over their shoulder "See ya later!"

3.  "Have fun!"  A commanding sentence that insists that the fun go on even without the person that is leaving.  A reminder that life will go on, fun times are the order of the day....keep growing and getting beautiful.  Enjoy the moment so you can tell me all about it when we speak again.  Soak up every moment I miss, because I want to know all about it when I return.   

So tomorrow morning as we drive away, all I have to say is...
Goodbye Peoria!  See ya later!  Have fun! *hiccup*

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

the ending of an era.

I haven't allowed myself to get ridiculously sentimental about very many things throughout this process, because believe me....I could find a way to cry about just about everything right when I loaded my jewelry polisher into the moving van, knowing I wouldn't see it again for two years, or when I was sitting outside with my dear friends last Saturday and in the midst of the laughter could have broken down into a fit of sobs just knowing how much I would miss out on over the next two years.
But I don't.
Until now.  
I've allowed myself this one pass, because yesterday I had to say goodbye to something that has been the one constant in my life since I was 20 (11 years for those of you keeping score).  I said goodbye to my dear 1996 Honda.
Trust me, I know it is ridiculous to be so upset about a car - especially a car I've barely driven over the last three years.  I mean, it's just this unfeeling thing that can't love me back.
But it's the unfeeling thing that:
My parents made me buy one summer when my black Corsica stranded me one too many times.
I drove all over northern Michigan with my two dear friends that summer we worked at a camp and used it to escape.
Drove me to my wedding.
Moved me out to Central Illinois.
Then drove me home to Ohio many times to visit my parents.
Had a CD player I used to learned Portuguese.
My brother crashed into our barn when I asked him to park it, and he told me he "knew" how to drive a stick shift.
Served as our only car for the first 2 years of our marriage.   
Dustin would pick me up from work in, and my coworkers and I would all watch him from the window as he would check tire pressure, and then correct it furiously with a bike pump.
I thought was the coolest car around 11 years ago.
I still think of fondly.

I've laughed in that car, cried in it, and even yelled in it.  

So yesterday before the young teenage girl that was buying it, came to get it, I took it out for one last drive.  I cracked open a Diet Coke, and rolled the windows down (and not just because the air doesn't work).  I filled it up with premium gas (don't tell my husband), took it through the automatic car wash (the most expensive one of course), and even made a mix CD of my favorite tunes ever played in that car that I then popped in the CD player so that it wouldn't miss me while we were apart.

Don't get me wrong.  I know that it's just a silly car.  A "thing".  But I think what I'm sad about isn't the car itself, but what it represents.  This was one of my last connections to a time when I was a child - completely dependent on my parents and the adults around me.  Time keeps moving on, and this one last constant - I finally had to let it go.  
The Honda driving off into the sunset.
Of course, my youngest brother Isaac pointed out that Dustin has been wearing the exact same Cubs shirt since before we've met, so I've still got that.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Movie Monday

Miles has been learning all sorts of things lately, and I wanted to share them with you while they were still fresh.
A Tribute to Mator:

Learning to swim.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mini Posts

  •  Today Liam got his first official haircut.  He looks like such a handsome little boy.  See for yourself:        You may remember that he received this haircut a few months ago, but it doesn't really count because it wasn't by a real stylist (sorry mom) and he pretty much just looked the same.  This time he has lost his little baby look which made this momma pretty darn sad....not to be overshadowed by the fact that he may be the only 20 month old to receive his first haircut....and still not really need one.

  • Besides Zippy.  Have any of you read A Girl Named Zippy?  I'm a sucker for a good memoir - especially one that is funny and I can relate to.  That's this book.  This little girl grew up in Mooreland, IN and recalls her childhood in a small town. 

  • Speaking of books.   I am currently reading this book and love it.  
  • I read a lot of parenting books.  I use the word "read" loosely because I mostly just skim for quick answers, or only make it through the first half before I put it down.  (It has a lot to do with the fact that I don't think any one book is going to work for my kids.  No one else has raised my one else has walked into a room that's walls are FILLED with highlighter drawings done during what was supposed to be nap time....but that's a whole other post.)  I like this book because it is easy to read, and I have really picked up some cool ideas for how I want to raise my kids.  Word of caution though...this guy obviously has perfect kids that he can reason with.  I'm a little sick of hearing how Timothy is so responsive to all of his trendy parenting practices, and will jump at just about any suggestion he makes.  However, the point is that I was able to take a few things away from it that I will actually use.  It has been well worth my trip to the library.
  • Speaking of libraries.  I am now the proud owner of a library card.  That's right, I'm packing the plastic - the gateway to my learning - the reading rainbow if you will.  Since I haven't been allowed to own a library card for the last 6 years (something about my "village" not wanting to pay library taxes) I have gone a little crazy.  The librarians already know me by name.  AND I discovered two days ago that I can go to any library in the area.  Do you know what that means?  Now everytime I pull into a township I do two things....look for the local library and the closest Dollar General.
  • Speaking of Dollar General - new favorite store.  Every small town has one.  They sell greeting cards for 50 cents - who does that?!
  • Speaking of saving money.  I think I've mentioned that instead of getting a new phone I activated my father-in-law's old one.  I thought this would work great, but it takes me ten years to type out a single text message that is more than just three words long.  I can already think of 5 times today alone that I had something really witty and charming to say to someone, but couldn't get up the gumption to power through a text.  So sad.

I might submit this picture to a modeling agency for further work.
  • Speaking of my cell phone.  I put it on this obnoxious ChaCha ringtone thinking it would be funny, and a really good conversational piece...."Hey!  Look at my old-school cell phone!".  So far the only times it has gone off were in the pubic library and in the coffee shop where I was by myself and people just gave me dirty looks.
  • Speaking of dirty looks.  We took Miles to see his first movie yesterday.  We went to see Cars 2 at the theater.  It was so much fun to see his excitement at seeing the big screen and to hear him laugh out loud at some parts.  I loved seeing it through his eyes.  Liam on the otherhand only lasted an hour and then he and I had to leave to go buy diapers.  Liam the buzz kill.
  • And last but definitely not least:  My new favorite thing...crowded 4 wheeler rides right before dusk.  I love it (and so do my Aldo sandals).   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Potty Humor - Emily Post, do not read.

Today I was in Walgreens when I happened upon a young, in-love slobbering-all-over-their shoes high school couple admiring the hair products (which, if their hair was any indication, they were not lacking).  All of the sudden I heard a loud, horrible act of flatulation.  As I stood there silently dry-heaving it came to my realization that it was actually the girl who had done it, and was quite proud of herself.  I even saw a high-five pass between the couple.
I must be a prude.
Don't get me wrong, I've been surrounded by the passing of gas my whole life.  I've just never "took" to it I guess.  In fact, I can't even get myself to type out the word in this post.  FAR....see I can't do it.
I grew up in a family with three brothers.  As the lonely female presence under the age of 25 I was on my own in many ways.  Having three brothers who viewed flatulation as a competitive sport didn't help either.  I tried to be an example for them.  At one time I even convinced my brothers that I could count on two hands the number of times I had ever done it in my entire life.  As we washed dishes I let one slip and stated matter-of-factly, "Welp, that's number 9".  I had them going for a good ten years before they realized that maybe it wasn't the whole truth.
My very first high school boyfriend was two years older than me and was known for doing it in classrooms to get a laugh.  He never did it in front of me, but it only lasted about a month (our relationship - not his gas) and I was continuously bombarded by people in his classes with "funny" stories.  When I ended it I couldn't tell him it was because of his gas, so I made up some other lame excuse that he resented me for for years to come.
One time in high school I was dating a boy from a different school and he was introducing me to one of his best friends.  During our conversation in a quiet hallway outside of the auditorium my shoe made some horrifically realistic tooting sound.  I tried desperately (desperately I tell you!) to not only convince them it was my shoe, but to reinvent the sound that was so realistic in the first place.  His friend just continued to make fun of me while I died of humiliation and wanted to throw up.  (Some people faint from embarrassment. I choose the much more lady-like approach of puking my guts out.)
I actually can say with all honesty that I never did it in front of Dustin the entire time we were dating and engaged.  Don't get me wrong...there was plenty of it going on the longer we dated - just not from my end.  One time one of my friends convinced me that if he really respected me he wouldn't do it in front of me.  So I told him that, and he really tried...I truly believe that. 
It wasn't until four days after our honeymoon as we were moving into our new house that I let my guard down.  I wanted to hang a plant from the ceiling in our kitchen and needed Dustin to steady the chair.  As I was stretching up to hang up the plant and Dustin's face was conveniently at bum-level, one delicate little one slipped out and my husband went into shock.  Needless to say he let go of the chair.  He went through the seven stages of your-perfect-wife-just-did-it-for-the-first-time....including shock, denial, mourning, confusion, realization, snickering, and then full-on rolling-on-the-floor laughter.  After my initial reaction of devistation I realized just how funny it was and found a way to laugh at it myself.   I mean think about I had held out for so long.  Then the minute I have him wrangled in and tied's clever is what it is.
And now I've come full circle.  I'm again surrounded by three boys that think of it as a competitive sport (Miles is winning).  I hope they never do it excessively in public, or high-five over it in the presence of others.  I hope they realize that people really do remember who did it every day to get a laugh in Mrs. Steck's social studies class in third grade, and that it may affect their dating lives later on.
I promised myself that I wouldn't laugh when they did it, and that I would teach them to politely say "excuse me"  and move on.  But let's be real.  Life is often about learning to laugh at yourself. In the  meantime I've learned that it really is a tiny bit funny....and if you can't laugh at a little bit of flatulation, then what can you laugh at?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Post Vacation Synopsis.....

Liam OBVIOUSLY too cool for the pool.
You know those vacations you go on where you think to yourself on the way home, "that was one heck of a vacation"?  I just had such a week.  Our dear group of friends decided to escape the sweltering Illinois weather by hightailing it to the gulf coast - St. Joe style. We packed up our cars, our children, and our babysitters (we took our two favorite twenty-somethings) and hit the road in search of white sandy beaches, bloody marys by the pool, and seafood dinners at night.
We were not disappointed.

Our trip started out on Friday when Dustin packed our tiny little hatchback full of beach gear and babies.  We got in tons of pool time, lots of eating, and even some much-needed adult time when our awesome twenty-somethings took over every night around bed time.

Our week started on Saturday, which also happened to be the day I lost my cell phone - never to be seen again.  I know this seems like an irrelevant beach update sub-point, but it was a surprisingly large part of our trip.  Mostly because I couldn't stop talking about it.  There was something liberating about not having a cell phone all week.  However, when I finally reactivated my father-in-laws old school flip phone circa 2006 I was slightly disappointed to hear that all I had missed out on for an entire week was one returned call from a friend and one wrong number meant for someone named Marliese from her aunt named Marliese.  I think Orlando Bloom and all of my super popular friends lost my number.

We spent many late nights out on the porch laughing endlessly at our own antics, as well as those of a speedo-clad Youtube celebrity that shall remain nameless.  (Mostly because I want to forget about him and his wily ways.)

Miles and Liam both learned to love the water - following the fearless lead of their good buddy Caleb.  

These friends....started out as my husband's high school friends...and have turned in to so much more for us.  To all live in one house, to laugh together, and love each other....that's pretty amazing.  I have to say that on Sunday as I was sitting around catching up on things I had missed, I missed them.
The only dreadful thing is this:
This weeklong vacation, this wrap-up to this chapter in our lives.....THIS is going to be the hardest part.  I can't help but think of it as a terrible joke - a tease of the universe.
  Another example of everything we're leaving behind.
But I do know this:
I know that no matter where we end up, no matter where the road leads us, these will be our dear friends....our chosen family.
(Especially if one of the above mentioned couples gets a the pool they've been semi-promising me.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

country livin'

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I grew up on a farm.  So did Dustin.  So when we made the decision to move in with his parents for a few weeks during our transition, we knew we were going back to familiar ground.  All-terrain familiar ground.  And Dustin's parents willingly (although naively) welcomed us with open arms.  But there were a few things I forgot about living on the farm from when I was in high school....
  • You can't put the mail out in your pj's.  Perhaps it is the 1/2 mile trek to the mailbox that will deter you from doing so, but my days of reaching out from behind the storm door in nothing but my skivvies - hoping the neighbors aren't armed with binoculars (or just good eyesight) are over.
  • Your cute little strappy sandals from Aldo just won't cut it.  You want to run to the grocery store for a quick trip?  Well the car is parked through wet grass, followed by dusty gravel, followed by more wet grass.  Good luck.
  • They won't just fix your cable on the same day.  My in-laws lived without internet access for days.  If this had happened to me I would have lost all my hair, broke out into hives, and probably fell into the fetal position resulting in an unsolicited hunger strike.  Luckily for the internet service, and for all those involved, my in-laws are much better people than me.
  • Going "into town" is an ordeal.  I've been making a running list for running into "the city" for days.  Today I get to go.  I'm giddy.
  • Dropped calls.  They happen.
  • Toads live there.  So do cats, and lovable stinky dogs, and even cows.  Go figure.
  • There are no small fenced in areas in which to contain your children while you enjoy an iced tea on the deck.  Oh you have to go to the bathroom quick?  Good luck finding your children after the 30 seconds it takes them to hide in some obscure place within the umpteen acres you now call home.  They're probably rolling around in motor oil (this really happened) or starting the combine for an early harvest.  So you think they will willingly answer your desperate calls when you finally emerge from the house?  Guess again sista.
  • Small towns really are small.  A few days ago I had to run to four different places including the library, post office, thrift store, and grocery store.   I parked my car only to realize that they were all within a block of one another.  Jack. pot.
  • Bugs are loud.  If you city folk think sirens, traffic, and gunshots are serious noise pollution, you should go running right before sunset on a country road.  My ears might still be ringing from the cicadas and grasshoppers.
  • Peace.  It's peaceful...and slow-paced....and dreamy.....and relaxing.....and wonderful, and if you walk down the road in the early morning before the sun decides to scorch the daylights out of the is the most beautiful place to be.
3 boys getting ready to do some serious farm work.  I've never seen Liam so excited as when Dustin pulled up in the tractor.