Monday, July 30, 2012

D+T=Y(ou), Part 5: The Key


He handed her the key in the hot sweltering parking lot.  The exchange was so unceremonious, but what did she expect?  Balloons and hula dancers?  That would be a ridiculous amount of overkill considering how little they had spent for such a big thing.  But perhaps she expected something?  She thought as her t-shirt clung to her back and the sun scorched the part in her hair.
Her husband looked at her as she fingered the keys between her thumb and forefinger.  What had they done? They both knew this was meant to be a significant moment, but what now?
Their first house.  It was an impulse buy in another city, but that is how they often operated - on impulse.  As they walked to their car over the boiling blacktop they both wondered silently when the buyers' remorse would set in.  As they drove to Saint Anthony Place she wondered how she would ever find her way there on her own.  As they turned the key in the door they both wondered if they would be able to get ride of the lingering cat smell before their mothers came to visit.

As they used the bright orange key to shimmy the door open, they surveyed the place they had picked out with absolutely no consultation from their families or friends.  They saw dusty dull wood floors and paint colors that made them cringe.  They saw sparse patches of yellowing grass in the backyard and a dying Maple in the front.  They saw lots of projects, and sweat, and tears.  They saw work and arguments, and money no one had.  But neither of them said a thing.

What is most important to this story is what they DIDN'T see. 
At that moment they didn't see the relationship they would form with the hardwood floors that they would lovingly strip and refinish.  They didn't see that their mangled backyard would soon fill with lush green grass, flowering trees, a garden, sandbox, and patio full of friends.  They couldn't have known the sound of tiny padded pajama feet coming from across the hall into their bed at night, or how much they would appreciate the airplanes overhead and the sound of the local races in the distant summer nights.  She had no idea that the picture window in the front would become such an integral part of her morning as two little boys religiously waved her off.  They didn't see that there was so much love inside of them, just waiting for this house.  They didn't see that this love affair started the minute they turned the key in the jammed side door.

Years later when they would lock the door for the last time, they would leave the same way the entered.  Holding hands, operating on impulse and attempting to appear stoic, while wondering what they had done.  

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Thursday, July 26, 2012

To My Dear Sweet Miles...

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you.
 - Christopher Robin

Dear Sweet, Impulsive, Energetic Miles...

Where do I even begin?  Perhaps at the beginning...  You were my first baby.  With your striped onesie, balancing on a little red throne, I knew I would love you forever.  What I didn't know, was how quickly you would shed away the shell of a baby and turn into a gorgeous full-blown boy.
A boy with the energy to move mountains.
The passion to do something amazing - no matter how small it seems.
A year ago I wished for you words...language that we could share together - so that I could be a better part of your life.  I wanted to understand you, to help you, and to guide you.  I thought words were the answer. 
Now your words have flourished.  You talk endlessly. During church. During naptime. During dinners. And even while you're trying to fall asleep at night.  Your words fill my life with new meaning and something new to love.  When you give me your words, I feel like you're giving me a gift.
When we brought Liam home, you didn't have many words.  Almost no words.  Now we will be bringing home a new baby - a tiny sibling for you to bless with your words.  To sing to.  I hope you love them.  I hope you teach them everything you know about adventures, cars, and loving fiercely.
I hope you are the type of big brother that I know you can be.
I know you will be that type of brother.

I'll love you forever,
Your mama.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Little Liam

"You are my angel, my darling, my star... and my love will find you, wherever you are." 
- Nancy Tillman, author of Wherever You Are
 

Dear Liam.
My Little Liam.  My cuddly, coy, talkative, baby Liam.  I have mixed emotions right now as I write this.  I'm so excited to see you in this new role - as a big brother - a teacher, a mentor, and a playmate.  But my heart breaks at the same time, as visions of you instantly growing up gather steam in my hormonal pregnant head.
I want you to know that you light up my world.  You light up my mornings when you stumble out of your room unreasonably early and hide behind your blankie with that sly little smile and puffy eyes.  You light up my downtime with your enormous pile of books you bring over and expect me to read if I sit down for even a second.  You light up our kitchen with the scraping of the chair across the tile floor and your endless array of questions, demands for chocolate, and insistent attitude to "help".   You light up my afternoons when you stumble out of the bedroom with the most impressive bedhead I've ever seen, and a need to cuddle for many minutes before starting our afternoon play.  You light up my evenings when you get out of your bath and insist on "cuddling a widdle bit" with just your towel on, because putting on jammies right away totally cramps your style.  
You are funny, and silly, and you dance like your dad.  
You are my baby.  My little Liam.
I know how this works, because it happened with Miles when you were born 2.5 years ago.   Very soon I'll bring home a baby.  I hope you love it, but I know I can't expect too much.  I know that you'll instantly seem like a full-blown teenager instead of the tiny bundle of 2 year old energy that I know now.  I know that you will change roles.  I know that we will all change.  I know that I will love you no less.  I know that we will all be okay.
So these next few weeks I'm going to hold you longer.  I'm going to make you cuddle more.  I'm going to squeeze you till you can't stand it.  Little boy, now is the time to cash in on huge piles of books you want read, because I cannot bear to tell you "no".  
Little Liam, I know you won't be my baby forever.  And that makes your mama sad.  Because at this precise moment, and even when I take it for granted, you are my baby...my sweet, tiny, toe-headed baby.  And losing that - although it is morphing into something else amazing - it feels like I'm losing a part of you... a part of us.

I'll Love You Forever, 
Your Mom

p.s. I hope you want to cuddle for many more birthdays.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sunset

As a photographer I strongly dislike photographs of sunsets.  I realize this sounds incredibly snobbish, but I've never once seen a photograph of a sunset taken by anyone - myself included - and thought, "yeah, that's as good as the real thing."  It's like capturing a bunch of fireflies in a jar and hoping they stay as amazing through the nighttime - it just never turns out the way you imagined. 

But tonight I broke my "never photograph a sunset" rule.  It started because I was walking back into my house around 9:30 and I was incredibly confused by this intense weird light that was flooding through my windows.  I thought maybe a car's headlights were beaming straight through my blinds.  When I looked out my window I saw this...
I had to explore further...

 I ran inside to get my camera.  I couldn't put it down.  I have no idea what the recipe is for a perfect sunset, but somehow - tonight - everything fell into place.  Every cloud had a purpose.  I couldn't put my camera down.

And even then...even with everything falling into place, these pictures pale in comparison to what I witnessed.  As I look at these pictures I wish I would have never taken them...because what is in my mind is much more amazing.  Much more beautiful.  It's like I tried to catch ten fireflies and they are already wilting in a jar next to me.   I wish I could bottle the real thing up and send you each a piece of it.  I wish I had a way to share this with those I love and miss.  I hope that as the same sun sets on your part of the world tonight, that you will see something equally amazing so we can imagine we've shared it together.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Mother

This past weekend was a sad one here.  With a number of Americans as volunteers, and a high-school aged American group on site, the news of the Colorado shootings affected a lot of people emotionally.
This weekend also marked the anniversary of a huge massacre that happen in Norway exactly a year ago, killing 77 people - most of which were teenagers at a youth camp.  That story is far from over, with a trial that is still going on, and a number of people wondering how there can be any sort of justice for something so devastating and calculated.

I'm pretty speechless.
I'm the type of person that will continuously play what I imagine the scene to be in my head over and over again - on repeat.  Then, I'm the type of person to take it one step further and plug my own children, or people I love into the scenario - as victims.
It doesn't make for healthy sleeping or eating habits.
So that's how my weekend started when I first heard the news about the movie theater shooting in Aurora.
Then my mind went somewhere else - somewhere it's never gone before.  To their parents.  To the victim's parents.  The parents who let their kids go to the late movie "just this once" on a week night as a special treat, or reward for good behavior.  Or the parents that knew their children, old and young, were going to see that movie, but had no idea what time and at what theater.

Then it got weird.
Because I started thinking about his mom.
When you're raising kids you worry all their lives for things that you can't control.  You worry about their safety.  You worry that they will get into a car accident, or that they will become a victim to bullying.  You worry that they could get kidnapped or raped.  You worry that a perfectly sound building could someday just give out while they're in it.  You worry that they'll end up on Girls Gone Wild, or that they'll someday discovery drugs.  You worry that they'll get hit by a drunk driver on New Year's Ever or that they'll make one terrible decision that could leave them injured, without working legs, or God-forbid, dead. Or you'll worry that one night they will go to the movie theater and never come out.
As a parent, you worry.
But it never occurs to you to worry that someday your son or daughter could create such terror and devastation in the lives of so many people within a matter of a few hours/minutes/seconds.
When you're watching them take their first steps and laugh at your funny faces, your dreams never go there.
How do a mother and father cope with something like this?
How will they ever heal or find happiness again?
It's easy to ask this about the parents that lost their children that night.  That goes without saying.
But how do you heal/cope/find happiness when you maybe feel like you've failed in the most devastating way possible?  When an entire nation/world is wondering what you're going to do, or worse - what you've already done?


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Family Photos

Do you remember those family photos I eluded to a few weeks back?  The ones where Liam fell into a perfect Liam-sized black mud hole halfway through the shoot?  Well, we got the results and the photographer did an amazing job - muddy puddle and all. 
Lauren Rutherford is based out of Northern Ireland and will travel throughout all of N. Ireland and some of Ireland to photograph lifestyle sessions on babies, children, families, and weddings.  If you're interested in seeing more of her work, check out her blog here... http://www.laurenphotoblog.com/
In the meantime, let me share a little bit of my family with you...





And of course, my favorite....(deep sigh) swoon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

37 weeks, plus 1 day.

Today I am 37 weeks and 1 day pregnant.  Here - I have the pictures to prove it...

This pregnancy has been very different from the last in many ways, although I'm not sure how much of it has to do with my memory being distorted over time.  I never wrote much about my first pregnancy, and I don't think I took a single mirror picture.  I'm not sure why.  I'm sure there's some sort of psychological reason.
Probably because I gained a lot more weight, was trying to figure out how to mother a brand new toddler, and was pretty much just shell-shocked.
I was also under the delusion that the baby could come at any time after 36 weeks.
I had this idea that after week 36 I was just waiting for it to happen...which does happen for some people. 

Just not for this person.
Liam came at exactly 41 weeks - shortly after I went to the Midwife at 40+4 and she told me that nothing was happening "down there".  I cried...because I thought I was miserable.  The large African American nursing student gave me a big hug, held me tight, and called me "honey".  I went home and took a shot of castor oil - something my sister-in-law had claimed worked for her.
It worked alright.
I had strong early-labor contractions for 48 hours before the midwife - who I had called so often she was about to change her number - finally agreed that I needed to come in because it was just taking too long to progress.
Even then he wasn't too keen on coming out.
Stinker.
It was a total precursor to his personality.

But this one has been really different.  This little person is fierce.  I think he or she has been trying to get out of there since day one.  At least it feels that way.  I've read in a million places that movement should really slow down in these last few weeks.  I'm still waiting for that to happen.  Someone should tell the baby.

A gymnast.  I think I have a gymnast - or a stunt devil - or a dancer on my hands.
This time I actually have the braxton hicks that everyone speaks of.  I think they are induced by the back flips being performed in there at 11:00 at night.  This time my body is yelling at me to slow down.  This time I'm telling myself that I have 4.5 weeks until I meet this little person, which allows me enough time to not freak out, but also extra time so I'm not disappointed if he or she decides to take their sweet time.
I'm trying to embrace this pregnancy thing, because I think it will be my last.  I don't want to regret wishing it away.
We'll see if I feel the same way in 4 weeks.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Slow Motion Playback.


This past week Liam had a terrible tumble.
A tumble makes it sound like he just sort of rolled gently to the ground and got a few cuts and scrapes.
The cuts and scrapes part is right, but, my friends - it was anything BUT a gentle tumble.
Let me replay it for you - because it has been replaying in my own mind for days now.

Last week Liam had started riding Miles' bike and it was starting to become an "issue" as only one toy between two toddler boys can.  Dustin and I decided to get another little bike we had fixed so that they would each have bikes to ride that were pretty much the exact same size.  On Tuesday I brought that bike home for Liam, and the boy has not left a bike seat since.  It doesn't matter which bike he's on - he loves to be behind the handlebars.

Fast forward to Thursday.  Both bikes have hand brakes.  Miles can use his like a champ.  Liam cannot.

Imagine me sitting in a grassy field with a handful of volunteers.  Imagine me huge and 9 months pregnant, enjoying the sound of my children playing.   Imagine Miles and Liam off to the side with an older boy they adore - the only other person they'll allow on their bikes.  Imagine Miles and this boy taking turns speeding down the slight incline of a hill toward the Main Building and giggling profusely.  Now...imagine my shock when I glance over and see my little Liam - my cautious, careful, baby Liam rolling down the incline uncontrollably toward the same building.
I was frozen.
I was immobile.
And I sat there shouting calmly "Use your brakes buddy."  like I expected him to know how.
And he just kept getting faster.
I can't get the picture of his tiny body rolling down the hill and gaining speed out of my head.

Now imagine a 9 month pregnant woman sprinting at top speed down said incline.  I'm still sore.

In the many hours and days since this happened I have played and replayed the worst-case scenarios in my head.  I have replayed the tape of his tiny body, so brave, trying to be like the big-boys, gaining speed down that hill, which his oversized aviator sunglasses perched loosely on his little nose.

It's the stuff nightmares are made of.

He didn't have a helmet on.

I'm a bad mom.

It appears the aviators ended up helping the situation.  Because although I didn't want him to hit the building head on, that's exactly what he did.  Well, that's what his face did - straight into a rough stucco wall.  The only damage was a scraped chin. 
Trust me, I know how lucky that is.  I know what could have happened.  Based on the surroundings, hitting the wall head-on was the best case scenario, (besides replacing said wall with a pile of fluffy white dove feathers.)

Because like any person strapped with guilty mother syndrome, I keep replaying the scenario, and every other heartbreaking, life-changing, horrible, could've-been scenario in my sad little head.

It's one of those moments as a mom, or as a human where you wonder - Do I really know what I'm doing?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This is how we roll

video Liam loves riding bike and is just now learning how to do it for the first time.  I took this little video a little over two weeks ago, thinking we would outgrow this "socket wrench" way of pedaling soon and I wouldn't be able to capture it.  But it's still going strong.  Even with our best efforts, he always goes back to this way of pedaling, and in all fairness, he is getting pretty fast at it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

10 Activities I LOVE

In an attempt to keep journaling, I've decided to use one writing prompt a week.  I know, low commitment you say....but a higher success rate is what I say. :)

First journal prompt of July (from last week)....Ten Activities that You Love and Why...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Healthcare/smealthcare

I come from the land of privatized healthcare where you sort of get to choose your own doctor, demand things, and your tidy little insurance policy that you've been paying into will cover all of it (or in my case, I covered the first $200 for every person in our family, and then 10% after that).

I can't complain.  My job offered what I believed to be pretty good health insurance.  I had a few complaints of course - like they wouldn't cover any sort of birth control or infertility - like you couldn't even mention fertility at your doctor's appointment, or you would be charged full price for them to tell you to "try charting for 6 more months and we'll see where you are then." But, for the most part...I can't complain.

First of all - let me be clear - this is NOT a post about the government's recent decision about U.S. healthcare.  In fact, I'm so disconnected from it that I have no idea what is even going on over there.  Friends, at this moment I get all of my U.S. news from Facebook, so please don't assume that I have a clue about what is even going on.  (Which is irresponsible - I admit.)  If you want to email me about how irresponsible that is, then expect an email back with the list of things I did yesterday, which were way more important to me - like catching bugs, painting rocks, and cuddling.

This post is more about the differences between my pregnancy experiences.  My first experience was in the U.S. - Peoria, IL - to be exact -  and was lovely.

My second was/is in the UK - Northern Ireland - to be exact - and is a learning experience.

There are many things that are similar and many things that are different.  These may just be differences between the practices I went to, or they may be international differences - I'm still not sure.  I just think they're interesting to note.
  1. This may have just been my practice back home, but we had a really pretty dimly lit waiting room with fabulous magazines.  Here - think minimalistic with two magazines that have been read and reread by millions.
  2. I have to carry my pee in a cup to the doctor.  Yup.  You heard that right.  I have to carry it around in my purse - in the zippered pocket between my chapstick and pens.  (Don't worry - if you ever ask to borrow a pen, it is in a separate zippered department.)  I'm still trying to figure out why they can't just have me do it there.  I mean, every appointment they give me a cup for the next appointment, and they are in a very obtainable spot to where they could give me the cup as soon as I walked in the door.  Trust me - I'm not lacking the ability to produce a sample on command these days.
  3. They haven't weighed me once, or done an internal exam since I've been pregnant in this pregnancy.  It makes me wonder why they do them back home so frequently.  In fact, I have yet to get undressed for a doctor.
  4. I've only met my OB twice.  The second time was on Tuesday.  If everything keeps going well, then I may meet him one more time, but everything else (including delivery) will be done by a midwife.
  5. The midwife I see at every appointment will not deliver me.  In fact, she doesn't even go to the hospital where I will have the baby.
  6. I haven't paid anything, and will not pay anything for this entire pregnancy - including my prescriptions, dental appointments, delivery and epidural.  The only thing they would charge me for a a private room (see #6).
  7. I have to share a ward with possibly 5 other women after the baby is born - unless I want to pay around $50 for my own room - which I'm seriously considering because I'm a spoiled brat that doesn't like social interaction after giving birth. And if this birth is even half of what the last one was, everyone will wonder when the bride of Frankenstein walked in the door, and when the witch was going to leave. I know this isn't the case with every hospital where we're from, but mine had private rooms, which was really nice if you're as tired as I was and plan on staying the night.
  8. I can go home within hours of the birth if I choose to.
  9. They endorse home births here.
  10. They promote epidurals as a complete last resort.  In fact, the first informational DVD I watched from the hospital told me that they can only guarantee an epidural to be performed between 9:00 and 5:00 during the weekdays.  This was all the motivation I needed to sign up for a birthing class just so I could CLARIFY that this was in fact false.  You'll all be happy to know that the DVD was outdated and I can get an epidural at 1:00 a.m. on a Sunday if I want to. 
  11. They also offer water births.  I know quite a few places in the U.S. do this, but my hospital didn't.
  12. I have to take my own diapers to the hospital for the baby.
  13. I'm going to take a shot in the dark and assume that they won't give me a free giant water bottle with shaved ice and the hospital logo when I get there.
  14. They promote eating during labor and even bring you tea and toast... although I don't remember being hungry during labor - mostly just tired, angry, and nauseous.  
  15. I never had to make emergency appointments with my last pregnancy, but this time I have had to make one because of some severe pains I was feeling.  I was amazed at how they got me in within the hour, ordered a series of tests, and responded really openly to my concerns.  (Nothing was wrong of course - I'm just a big baby.) 
  16. Oh yeah...and their maternity leave?  The government helps to pay for it, and it is usually a minimum of 6 months - although that doesn't apply to me. :)
That's all I can think of so far.  Most of my hang-ups in the beginning were because I was too afraid to ask questions, or to ask for things because I wasn't sure how the system worked.

Everything seems to be going as planned. Only a little over a month. Yikes.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ten Things I Know to Be True on Tuesday

  1. They don't eat peanut butter here.  I KNOW!  They have it...and actually I like it better than the peanut butter in the States, but I guess they only use it for sautes and to please ExPats.  I just found out last week that most of the cringe at the thought of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or any sort of dessert with peanut butter in it.  Consider my mind blown.
  2. Everyone is so nice here that they won't tell me when I do something wrong.  In the past month I've discovered an entire list of things that I've been doing wrong up in here...mainly to do with the kitchen in the main house.  I feel like every-other day for the past month I've had to go to someone and apologize for my ignorance.  It is really getting tiring.  Therefore I've decided to make a handover manual for the next resource couple that covers specifically kitchen and housekeeping - so that they aren't made to look like the ungrateful fool that I have turned out to be.
  3. Kids don't embrace the laziness that a rainy day allows like adults can.  That's just unfair.
  4. When I say "The baby is due in a month" it seems way longer in my mind than "The baby is due in 4 weeks."
  5. Young people (early 20s) stay up really really late.  Like, they are going to bed after I've already awoken for the morning.  When I think about it, it makes my stomach hurt.
  6. If I love a baby name, Dustin will always ho-hum it.  I think it is secretly his attempt at having ownership over the names of all of our children.  He'll wait to drop his favorite on me until I'm well overdue, and then I'll be too shell-shocked and exhausted to care.  It's what happened with Liam.
  7. Miles is officially starting to get an Irish accent.  You can hear it most when he says things like "now", "house", "out", and "water."  It's pretty amazing.
  8. Today I miss watermelon and Michigan peaches.
  9. Today I also miss Michigan.
  10. Because of the overwhelming generosity of people that don't even know me, I have more clothes for this baby leading up to 6 months than I did for any other child.  This amazes me and humbles me.  
For the origin behind "Ten Things I Know to Be True..." click here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

If Extreme Fort-Making Were a Sport...

 From the outside:
From the inside:
Why we did it:
It was raining outside (are you surprised?).
I thought it would change their lives.
 Why WOULDN'T you make a fort?

How long it lasted:
About 10 minutes.

Who was most excited about it:
Mom (a.k.a. Me)

Who benefitted most from extreme fort making:
No one comes to mind.  Maybe the ants that enjoyed the cookie crumbs that remained long after the fort was a goner?

Why this won't be pinned on Pintrest:
Because forts seem way cooler than they actually are to toddlers.  These two would have been just as happy if I would have thrown a blanket over their heads and said..."where'd Liam go?"
Wait, I take that back...they would have been happier.


Friday, July 6, 2012

The person that people could count on...

I wish I was the souvenir you kept your house key on
I wish I was the pedal brake that you depended on
I wish I was the verb 'to trust' and never let you down
(pearl jam, 1998 - the year I graduated)

It is 4:30 in the morning here.  I went to bed last night completely dead to the world, with barely enough energy to trudge into my bedroom and climb into bed.  Now here I am without a single ounce of sleep left in me.
It might have a little to do with the fact that the sun is up already, or that my husband has a hard time giving 80% of the bed to a giant pregnant lady.  But I can't really blame either of those factors. 
You see, I woke up from one of those "thinking dreams".  Ugh, the dreams that force you to lie awake for at least 45 minutes afterwards, analyzing every aspect of its existence.

I've been surrounded by high school aged students all week.  This seems relatively harmless because  I spent the previous 7 years of my life surrounded by high school kids.  The difference is that those high school kids were in my classroom.  These high school kids are having this wild adventure learning about themselves and forming memories outside my window until the wee hours of the morning...literally.  They're sitting in workshops discussing bullying and stereotypes, are going to dances every night, and are finding boyfriends and girlfriends.  When you think back to school, how much of what defined you as a person happened inside the classroom between the hours of 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.?
So that is the only excuse I can come up with as to why I awoke from a well-deserved slumber at 4:00 in the morning - because I was having one of those collage dreams, where your mind replays many small scenarios in your head that you never thought as significant, but really they are the things that made you into who you were - and a bit of who you are.
If you've been reading long enough (God help you), you might remember this post from many months back.  I wrote it for my students about the things I wish I would have done differently in high school.  Even looking back on that list I cringe a little because of all the things I would change - almost two years later.
Friends, there were things I did right.  I swear it.  A lot of things.  They're just hard to remember at 4:00 in the morning.  Instead I remember the tiny instances I would love to snatch back and change.  I think about what would happen now if I went back to high school (God help me) as the person I am today.  Would it make any difference?  Would people's lives be better because I am a different person?
I don't think I was cruel, but I don't think I was the fore-runner in building up the underdog either.  And that sucks to think about.
Because I want my kids to have perfect lives.  I want them to make perfect decisions, and choose perfect friends.  I want them to not wake up at 4:00 in the morning when they're 32, haunted by how they could have been better... done better.
That's totally realistic, right?

In my early-morning, horizontal, sleepless thinking I've come to the conclusion that none of us were supposed to be perfect in high school.  What then, would be the point of living this long and forming life after high school?  If I didn't make mistakes in my teenage years, what sort of a parent would I be for my kids when they get to be that age? 
I'll bet you're all wanting a big and juicy list of the things that have kept me up now for almost an hour and half.  Trust me, you wouldn't be interested.  In hindsight they are silly things - things that others have probably forgotten already.  Things some people never even realized I thought about.
Let's just put it this way.
I wish I had been more of the person that people could count on...
  • count on to stick up for them.
  • count on to stick up for myself.
  • count on to be selfless.
  • count on to build them up.
  • count on to rise above.
Simple enough, right?  Tell that to my high-school flannel wearing self.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Dark Hedges

Perhaps you've seen them on this season's season premiere of Game of Thrones....I didn't, because I don't watch it, but according to Dustin this little landmark that is just a few miles from our house was on it.  And is poorly marked.  We just now found it after living here for nearly 10 months.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dear Baby...

Dear Baby,
I'm so excited to meet you.
That's exactly what I should be saying right now - exactly 5 weeks until your estimated date of arrival.
I should be saying how my life has always felt empty - like there is a tiny hole just waiting for your arrival.
I should say that I've been pining to meet you, preparing a room for you, and holding up little baby clothes with deep sighs and tear-filled eyes.

Dear Baby,
These are all things I want to tell you.
And I will.
Someday.
Because hindsight is always  20/20.
The thing is that I'm already absolutely head over heels in love with these two little boys that I've already gotten to know.  And I'm trying to remember what it is like to hold such a tiny little person.

Dear Baby,
I know that I will love you.
I know that when you get here there will be no way I could imagine my life without you.
I know that I'll adore every ounce of your being, from you tiny eyelashes, to you itty bitty toes.
I know these things.
And I know that how I feel at this moment holds absolutely no weight.

Dear Baby,
I feel really unprepared for your arrival.
It might be because I've actually enjoyed having you along for the ride in there, knowing that it will probably be the last time I carry a tiny person inside me.
It might be because I have others that demand I feed and bathe them everyday - two little ones that want to play catch and build big jets when I could be sitting with my feet up enjoying every kick and punch that you deliver.
It might be because three seems like something older, more experienced people do.
It might just be because I freak out easily.

Dear Baby,
I promise you this:
I promise to love you forever.
I promise to not ever make you eat liver.
I promise to encourage a healthy love for ice cream and bumper cars.
I promise never to tell you that a dream of yours is ridiculous.
I promise to always join you in eating popcorn with a movie, funnel cakes at the fair, and dessert after a meal.
I promise you will have a special place in my heart, that is dedicated only to you.
I promise to love you forever.

Love,
Your Mama

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thirty Day Challenge: Last Two!

Well, I did it.  I got a late start, multiple times had to do more than one entry a day, and am even finishing up a little late, but I officially did it for the entire month of June. 
Below are my last two entries...

Journal Prompt #29:  What are some of your goals for July?  Remember to make about 3-5 attainable goals.  I can't believe it's almost July already!

Journal Prompt #30:  Today's prompt is all about saying thank you.  Think specifically about this past month and someone who deserves a big thank you for something that they have done for you.

As you can see I got a bit lazy at the end with the picture taking - blurry pictures and all.  (I didn't even erase the date on the top picture - GASP!)  My goal is to continue to do one prompted journal entry every week - much more attainable with my new sleep schedule, which is pretty much 14 of the 24 hours of the day. Work also keeps getting busier, and I have a sneaking suspicion that life won't get easier after baby number three is born.  Maybe they'll come out washing dishes and doing laundry though....that would be a bonus.

Once again, this challenge was inspired and driven by a blog I was introduced to at the beginning of June (hence the late start), so be sure to check out...  http://www.iheartrunwithscissors.com/
She is an art teacher (like me!) and adoptive mom (like me!), so of course she's awesome. :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mom and Boys Beach Day

On Saturday Dustin took all of the volunteers to a theme park in Scotland.  We didn't go since it was going to be a super long day, and since I wouldn't get to ride any of the rides anyways.  Instead we decided to have a quiet Saturday and enjoy the terrible weather that Saturday had to offer.

Just in case you were wondering... it's still cold here.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dustin's Birthday

On Friday Dustin turned 32.  So I sent him off for the day to Belfast to run some volunteers into the airport (trust me - it gets better) and to buy himself a new raincoat for his birthday.  Everyone kept commenting on how cruel it was to send my husband off to the city on his own for his birthday, but if it was my birthday I can't think of a better plan than to head off into the city and do exactly what I wanted to do all day without having to worry about whether Miles "wanted" to go into this store, or whether Liam "needed" the sweeties at the checkout counter.  I thought it was a pretty good gift.
Okay, okay...I did do more than just ship him off.  I brought him breakfast from a local breakfast place (because I had gone out for breakfast with some dear friends that were leaving - the same ones he was driving to the airport.) and then the boys and I decorated the house for his return.  Trust me...he didn't get back until 5:00 - he must have had a good time.

 Then when he returned we went to see Ice Age 4 - totally his choice (although I'm supposed to say it was for "Miles last day of school celebration". bah.) And we returned home to enjoy an ice cream roll cake I had slaved (SLAVED I tell you!) over the day before.
Hopefully he had a good birthday.  I know we all enjoyed it. :)  The boys loved the movie, and I'm not just talking about the two youngest ones.