An Honorable Generation

Friday, March 28, 2008 4 Comments A+ a-

"There is something singularly beautiful and appropriate in the music of this wonderful call. Its strains are melancholy, yet full of rest and peace. Its echoes linger in the heart long after its tones have ceased to vibrate in the air."
- Master Sergeant Jari A Villanueva, USAF [Taps]

Two Grandpa Al’s; both served in WWII; one went on to father six children, the other was a father to seven; and as of yesterday, both have headstones at the Fort Logan cemetery in Colorado. One Grandpa Al was mine and was buried before I was born; the second was Jon’s grandfather. It’s a little weird to see how lives intertwine, isn’t it?

When driving onto the property, I couldn’t help but become awed at the sight of thousands of white headstones dotting the lawns. Humbleness set in as I realized how many men and women have died for us, just so that I can enjoy the freedoms that we have. There was a sense of pride when I realized that one of those men was my grandfather. Tears pricked my eyes, both in thankfulness for his sacrifice and sorrow that I never got to meet him.

When the funeral procession started and we wound our way through the cemetery, a hush fell over the car. What an impressive sight, and an awesome honor for a man who served his country well. Jon’s Grandpa Al was awarded the Bronze Star, something he never talked about in his lifetime, discovered by his children only after his death. When they started playing Taps, the tears welled up again. And when the newly folded flag was handed to Grandpa's oldest son and the naval officer said, “On behalf of the President of the United States and the Chief of Naval Operations, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's service to this Country and a grateful Navy”, I felt Jon straighten a little and his shoulders pull back in pride.

Theirs was an amazing generation. A generation who did what was right, soley based on their principles and without having to be asked; a generation full of honor, integrity, and strength. And I fear that we may never see a generation like it again.

Something About a Child

Wednesday, March 26, 2008 4 Comments A+ a-

There is something about the innocence, joy, and sincerity of a child that cures whatever ails you… especially heartache.

Saying Good-Bye

Monday, March 24, 2008 8 Comments A+ a-

Its the stuff movies are made of; a love story that makes you smile. During WWII, a soldier walks into a USO and sees a beautiful woman across the room. He walks up to her and tells her he's going to marry her. She smiles indulgently at him, knowing that's impossible as she's engaged to someone else. Can you guess how the story ends?

Jon's grandpa left this world for a better one last night; Jon and I were saying that it seemed so fitting to join the angels in heaven on Easter Sunday. Yesterday was a quiet, sobering day as we spent Easter with the family, surrounding Grandpa and Grandma C with as much love as possible. It was hard watching family members go in and out of Grandpa's room; sometimes in tears, sometimes with feelings written all over their faces. Its not usually how we spend Easter, usually its such a day of joy and jubilation as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, but this is life and life is hard. Especially when you're saying good-bye to loved ones.

Please pray for the family this week. This has affected Jon far more than I thought it was going to; its hard watching your husband cry. And its sobering to watch the rest of the family grieve. Please pray for those that are here, dealing with the nitty-gritty details of death, while grieving. Please pray for those family members that aren't here, as they grieve alone. Pray for safe travels of the family that is on their way.

Grandpa left behind a wife, six children, eighteen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren (two of which are in-utero and both due in about a month). And that story above? Of course he won the girl's heart; Grandpa and Grandma C were married for sixty-plus years! Amazing, huh?!

I'm a good mommy!

Friday, March 21, 2008 4 Comments A+ a-

"I got a good mommy."

My mother-in-law is currently visiting from out-of-state due to the deteriorating health of her father. [If you think of it, please say a prayer for the family. Emotions are strong and stresses are high as they try to make Grandpa C's last days as comfortable as possible and as family members say their goodbyes.] As Devyn was showing her some things around her room, she stopped and said, "I got a good mommy."

When my mother-in-law shared that story with me, I turned to Devyn in surprise. "Am I a good mommy, munchkin?" I asked her. She smiled shyly and said, "Yes. You're a good mommy, Mommy."

Oh, to have the approval of one whose opinion matters the most!! Its enough to make you stop and think that maybe you are doing something right.

Everyone Else Is Doing It

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 22 Comments A+ a-

Do you remember when I did this? I was starting to get the itch again. Then when I saw this on Jessica’s blog, the urge became stronger. And then when I saw all the cute bobs on The Bachelor on Monday night [head hidden in shame, yes we watch that show], I knew it was time. I’m pretty sure I like it; I need to spend some time figuring out how to make it flip, etc. but you get the idea.

To Do or To Ignore

Monday, March 17, 2008 9 Comments A+ a-

I am around… I am just too busy reveling in the fact that I’m feeling more like myself with each passing day to stop and blog about it.

That and I’m actually getting things done around the house for the first since oh, about a year! In the midst of my depression/anxiety, I discovered the best way to deal with those to-do lists that nagged at me constantly. Ignore them! Yep, seriously, folks, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or got too much to do, grab a book and pretend the lists don’t exist. It’s a temporary solution that has worked well for me since Hudson was born. Those 0-9 month clothes sitting in Hudson’s dresser, well, that can wait until he goes to kindergarten, right? Or the bathroom that looks like toilet paper exploded in there? Its biodegradable, surely we can wait 5-10 years and it’ll look good as new. And those piles of laundry… well, they’re well-hidden by the fact that the washer and dryer are in the basement and any guests stay upstairs when visiting. I see no need in pointing out that Hudson has gotten lost in the mountains of towels, onsies, and jeans.

Seriously, folks, you think some of this is in jest, but I kid you not that this was my coping mechanism for the past year. I became an expert at putting my head in the sand whenever I thought about my large, overwhelming to-do list. But now that I’m seeing a therapist that is actually interested in helping me create some coping skills when it comes to my crazy life and that I seem to be on the right (lower) dosage of medication, I’m happy to report that I’m actually starting to feel like myself again, so much so that I’ve cleaned out Hudson’s dresser. Jon can actually pull out pants or a top and not wonder if it’s going to fit him. I also painted Hudson’s room over the weekend and tackled the mountainous range of laundry that’s formed in the basement. (In my defense, I WAS without a working dryer for two weeks. The new one just arrived last Thursday and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since.) And as far as the bathroom is concerned, I swear I’ll get to that tomorrow or Wednesday. But it does look like of pretty in there… all white and fluffy… I’m sure that’s what Hudson was thinking too, when he got his hands on the stuff.

I’m back and feeling great!


Wednesday, March 12, 2008 9 Comments A+ a-

That sound was my heart falling… again… for this little guy!

Stitches were taken out on Monday and none too easily I might add. He is most definitely afraid of anything resembling a doctor, a hospital, a nurse, or the like. But the cut is healing nicely, don’t you think?

Oh, my feet hurt!

Monday, March 10, 2008 6 Comments A+ a-

I have not shopped that purposefully, for that long, EVER! My sisters, Mom, Devyn, and I completed a four-hour shopping spree yesterday afternoon; it seriously felt more like a marathon than an opportunity for bonding. We did not stop for food, we did not stop to gaze; we went with objectives and did not stop until we were done.

We all have several weddings to attend this year; we have three save-the-date cards hanging on our fridge and know of at least three more coming up, not forgetting Courtney’s big wedding in December. Dresses for these events ranked pretty high on the “to shop for” list. Christine and her husband, Caleb, are also going to Hawaii in June (lucky them) and vacation clothes were a must on her list. Courtney graduates with a degree in Psychology in May (I am so proud of you, babe) and needed a graduation dress. It was also Allison’s birthday (hope you had a wonderful day, Alli) and she decided to treat herself to some pretty new tops. My only purpose on this trip was to buy some new, pretty underthings. My drawer is now full of colorful, lacy, satiny underthings; nothing cotton was allowed and was actually prohibited by the husband.

The dressing rooms were full of laughter, chatting, encouragement, and direct honesty. “Yeah, you’re right; this does make me look like a balloon.” Outfits were thrown over fitting room doors, and what didn’t work for one sister, was tried on by another sister. “Alli, that color looks absolutely amazing on you! Why don’t you buy that color more often?” There was bickering. After all, it wouldn’t be a sister outing without the bickering. (We’re all too much alike for there not to be.) “That’s it, I’m outta here, you guys are taking forever!” And if a dress was too small or big, the other sisters were off to find the correct size.

Even Devyn joined in on the act. When I pulled a shirt off the rack and held it up for a closer look, Devyn looked at it thoughtfully, then shook her head, “I no like that shirt, Mama.” I sighed, because she was actually right. Not my style. And because Devyn did absolutely amazing (not a tantrum or tear to be found) on our four-hour shopping excursion, Nana treated her to new earrings at Claire’s. Devyn now has about 20 earrings to choose from and especially adores her new turtle earrings. Thank you Nana!

As exhausted as I was at the end of it, and as much as my feet hurt, it was a wonderful day. The temps were in the low-sixties and few clouds in the sky; perfect weather for our local outdoor mall. And even when I was annoyed at the length of time two sisters were taking in one store, I forgot about it the minute I saw Devyn skipping between the two of them on our way to another store. Life really is sweet! But I don’t think I’m up for another four-hour shopping marathon any time soon.

Going to Work

Friday, March 07, 2008 6 Comments A+ a-

My heart broke a little a few weeks ago.

We were hanging out at my parents’ house, when Devyn ran up to me and told me that she “was going to work”. I looked at Mom, in dismay, and said, “My little girl is playing that she’s going to work?!” At her age I played house and mommy, but my little girl is jumping on her little car and going off to work. [Granted, she still plays mommy and house too, but the “work” playing definitely threw me for a loop.]

It’s been weighing on my heart, obviously since I’m still thinking about it weeks later. But then Devyn and I had another conversation this morning and it made me feel a little better.

She crawled into my lap, facing forward, until our faces were inches apart. “Going to work, Mommy?” she asked.

I nodded, “Yes, Munchkin, I’m going to work today.”

She was thoughtful for a moment, “Am I going to Nana’s house?”

“Yes, I’m dropping you and Bobo off at Nana’s house.” I paused, my heart still aching that I have to drop them off every day. “Munchkin, do you know that I don’t like leaving you? That I love you, even if I have to go work?” She smiled and nodded her head in agreement. I continued, “Would you be happy if I didn’t have to go to work?”

Her face fell and she answered, “No, then I wouldn’t get to see Nana and Alli.” I had to bite my cheek to keep from laughing; obviously that she has her priorities straight, first Nana, then Aunt Alli, and then, finally me. I gave her a quick hug and she scampered off to play.

I realize how terribly fortunate I am that my children get to be watched by my mom and sister; and even though I’d prefer to be the sole caretaker, I know they couldn’t be in better hands.

And God help us all if Devyn (and/or Hudson) ever realize how deep my mommy guilt runs; they’d be able to get away with anything!

Genetics? Or A Boy Thing?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008 17 Comments A+ a-

It’s a call that I know Jon’s parents received often, a call saying something has happened, come get your son, and take him to the nearest doctor, Urgent Care, or ER. Jon’s trips to these places are legendary, the family often jokes that the staff at the local ER were on a first-name basis with Jon and his parents. I, myself, can’t count how many times I’ve sat in a waiting room (with Jon’s parents) as we waited for a surgery to end, a concussion to be looked over, or stitches to be administered. I knew what I was getting myself into when I said “I do” and Jon continues to be put our medical insurance to the test. Now, he’s passing his torch on to his son.

I was at work when I got a panicked call from my sister, Alli. She blurted out a quick story and ended it with, “You need to come get Hudson and take him to the doctor.” I paused. “Are you kidding me?!” was the first thought that came to mind. The second was, “He JUST turned one!” I made a quick apology to my boss (I’d only been at work a half hour) and rushed back to my parents house, where Hudson sported a big gash above his eye.

It turns out that Alli and Hudson were playing in her bedroom when he noticed an electric cord. And we all know about his obsession with electric cords. He pulled on it and down fell Alli’s pedicure, foot soaking machine… right on top of his eye. Poor thing cried hard and loud for a minute but was soon his smiling self, all while blood continued to drip into his eye. By the time I got there, Mom had done a wonderful job of cleaning out and Devyn was doing her best to play soothing big sister. “It’s ok Bobo, its ok.” But the moment Alli and I left to take Hudson to Urgent Care, Devyn broke down and started crying. My mom said that she was so scared about Hudson’s owie and the blood.

Mom joined me at Urgent Care after dropping Devyn off at school. I was never so grateful for Devyn to be going to preschool, where her mind could be taken off of Hudson’s trauma. Once at Urgent Care, they ushered us right in, confirmed that stitches were needed, and had me try to administer the numbing agent to Hudson’s head. It was soon apparent that wasn’t going to work. So out came the Papoose board and Hudson was soon straight-jacketed. Mom stroked his hair, while I held his head still and alternated between singing “Jesus Loves Me” and “You Are My Sunshine”. Between the two of us, Hudson fell asleep with the numbing agent taped to his head. When the doctor and nurse came into do the stitches, Hudson was a force to be reckoned with. It was the hardest thing in the world to sit in the chair, across the room, and listen to the fearful sobs of my baby boy. He wasn’t in pain, of that I’m certain, but he was absolutely terrified by being held down and having strangers work on his face.

On my way back to work, I started shaking and the queasiness set in. I had done what Moms have done for ages, and will continue to do for generations to come; I was calm, I offered security in the face of fear, I was steady in the midst of chaos. I was everything that I needed to be at that moment. But the minute I was alone and the crisis had passed, I was a mess. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, its hard work being a mother. And I’m happy to report that Hudson is back to being himself; climbing chairs, couches, tables, and getting into mischief of all kinds. I know this trip was just the first of many to come, especially since he’s his father’s son.

On our way to Urgent Care; I know it looks like I painted that red on there but its real. And as you can see, he’s still smiling.

This is Hudson wrapped up mummy-like in the papoose contraption. And yes, he’s sound asleep.

One papoose and two stitches later, he is not a happy camper!

From Zero to Sixty

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5 Comments A+ a-

I have to admit that I’m a little paranoid regarding Hudson’s vocabulary because of the issues we’ve had with Devyn. (An update on her in a moment.) Whenever I read about how much other babies Hudson’s age are talking, I pause and wonder if I should be worried. He still doesn’t say Mama, Sissy, Devyn, Hi, Bye-Bye, or Ball. But he can say Dada quite clearly (why am I surprised? Devyn called me Dada until she was 18 months old) and is quite vocal whenever he wants his dada’s attention. I am excited to report, though, that more words and phrases are starting to emerge.

Recently we were having a good-bye dinner with friends that are moving to Hawaii; Kamma taught Hudson how to say candle, as he was quite infatuated with the candles sitting on their bookshelf. Then this morning at breakfast, when Hudson refused to take another bite of Cream of Wheat, I asked him if he was “all done”. He smiled that mischievous, toothy smile at me and said (clear as day), “all done”. He is quite proud of his new words and repeats them often. However, no amount of coaxing will produce either Mama or Sissy. *Sigh* We’re starting to see this stubborn streak in Hudson and I’m sure we’re just beating our heads against a brick wall until he’s ready to say those words himself.

As for Devyn, I am amazed at the progress she’s made in the three months since she first started going to speech therapy. There are times when Jon and I exchange a look over her head, both in awe of her conversational skills and wondering when she’s going to take a breath. Devyn still has some speech-sound issues, meaning she get particular letters and sounds mixed up. She’ll often replace D with K, confuses G and T, etc. Since Devyn aced her hearing test, Miss Deb (the therapist) believes that this is mostly due to the fact that she’s only been talking for a short time and should remedy itself. But to speed things along and at Miss Deb’s suggestion we’ve been working with flash cards and appropriate sounds. I haven’t seen a difference there yet, but I know that perseverance will pay off. It’s wonderful to watch her self-confidence (and vocabulary) blossom.

So, at the moment, we have a man of few words (literally) and a chatter box that won’t stop. Fun, huh?!