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Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Sunshine Day

And she's been happy ever since!

Today I finally found a princess scooter that is exactly the right size for my little Princess. She picked it up right away and was off! I'm not talking about speed or great distance riding, but for an almost 3 year old, I think she did pretty good.
And then there is This Guy. Poor baby Lincoln doesn't get to enjoy any of the fun things that his big sister does. When given the opportunity, it just isn't really the same.
So this is pretty much how our family spent the day. Doing next to nothing. Hooray! We sat and enjoyed each others' company, the kids chased bubbles from our new monkey-bubble-blowing-gun and we played outside. Just a nice to day to appreciate "boring." I'll take it!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Slippery Sweetie

Did I ever mention that my daughter is an absolute girly-girl?

I've always lotioned my kids up after their bath times and pampered them with little rubby massages just when we're doing as much as watching TV together. Elaina has always loved her lotion and chapstick and anything else that Mommy will allow her to use with discretion.

As I was getting ready for work this morning my little lotion lover asked to use some lotion. Since her little body only holds so much skin which is only capable of withstanding sooo much lotion, I offered her to put her lotion on Mommy's legs. And so it began. Little hands that rub so gently. Cold lotion after a hot shower. And reaping some reciprocation on the pampering end from my daughter. And so what if she did use my expensive, beautiful smelling perfume that I received as a gift but will never shell out the money to buy more? And who really cares if she left the pump bottle a slimy mess of lotion and goo? This is one little luxury that I'll sacrifice for. Humble aren't I?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Contrast

Last night my kids were both just darned cute. However biased I may be, they were cute and they were good. Last night. Elaina went outside with her dad to water the plants before coming in for her bath. In the meantime, I started a bath for Lincoln all by himself. Judging from his belly laughs as he splashed in the water, you would have thought it was his very first solo bath he's ever had. Not the case. Lincoln splashed his arms, kicked his chubby little ankles and just enjoyed every drop of his bath with great amusement.

After their bath, Eric and I swapped kids for bedtime and Elaina and I pretended to be in a rocket and that we were saving someone and that we just met for the first time and that we were glued together, etc, etc. We snuggled down tight together and read books and kissed goodnight and the night was done. Sweet!

So then, there are nights like tonight. After dinner, Eric took the kids to the playground to give me some space to get a handful of things done around the house. By the time they returned they were tired and a little bit dirty and it was already past their bedtime. Together, Eric and I tried to get the kids ready for bed by brushing teeth, washing hands and dirty little sandal feet. It was at this point that Elaina nearly came unglued.

Eric took back his charge to Lincoln while I tried to get Elaina jammied up and into bed. She was so mad and so tired and so yelly in throwing her tantrum that I was nearly through with her. Her attitude persisted and so did I. I took many deep breaths and used every tactic I knew to change the subject and divert her attention and calm her down. Finally, I learned that the stem of her anger was that Daddy put the toothpaste on her toothbrush and she wanted to do that.

Oh. Dear. God.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back to the same

Has it really been a week? Only one week since I've posted last? So it has.

So now what? Where do I really begin catching up a whole week? It's not like we were on a fabulous vacation or like my fingers fell off at the nubs and I couldn't type. Do you really want to know what I've been doing? Really?

Cleaning. Yep. That's it. Cleaning.
Every Memorial Day weekend our friends, a family of 5, descend upon our house for 3 days and 2 nights. As much as I love hosting them, I love having all of my house work out of the way before they arrive, while not looking like we are their friends, the Messy Messerson's. Did you know I have a control issue when it comes to clutter and mess? Maybe you've caught on.
Not all of last week was consumed with cleaning. Eric worked 16 hour days three days in a row last week, leaving me at (almost) single parent status morning and night. Luckily, I got by just fine without incident. I already knew that my blogging would be taking a backseat and that cleaning around the kids' bedtime was going to be a priority. Getting through the week just made it all the better to have my husband home for a nice, long weekend together.
On Thursday, I took Lincoln to see an ear, nose and throat specialist. In the past 8 months or so, Lincoln has had more than his share of ear aches and ear pain. His pediatrician made the referral to the ENT doctors that I used to work for. It was great to see all my old friends and introduce them to my kids. The doctor came in and checked Lincoln over, he ordered a hearing screening and then made the recommendation for the procedure for ear tubes. Lincoln is not really a critical case to worry over, the doctor seemed to base his decision mostly on his history and the fluid that seems to be collecting in his ears. Basically, he feels that Lincoln will be relieved of any current discomfort he has in his ears while eliminating the recurring ear aches that he is mostly prone to. It was actually a relief to me to hear his recommendation, knowing that my baby boy will soon find relief without his ears bothering him and hoping that this will cease some of Lincoln's bouts of the fussies that usually occur at bedtime. Just maybe he'll even get his smile back.
Now, onto our weekend. Derek and Beth arrived Friday evening much later than they had anticipated. We had dinner and prepared for the next day. On Saturday morning, Beth and I share the tradition of hitting up her parents' housing allotment's garage sales. This marks our third year we've gone out together and we always look forward to a great day of treasure hunting. The dad's on the other hand, get the fine collaboration of looking after 5 kids: ages 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7; Lincoln being the youngest and the only boy. The guys have learned not to ask when we'll be back, how much money we've spent and "what are you gonna do with that?" Beth and I did have a great day of scavenging deals and sharing girl time without the chatter of little mouths interrupting every other minute. The dads did a great job of tending to our children by taking them to an amped-up community park complete with a ferris wheel and a mini kid's roller coaster. Everyone was happily tattered and tired when we joined together for dinner at our favorite pizza shop and shared the highlights of our day. The girls enjoying a goodie bag of everything sparkly and girly from a garage sale free box: True love!The next day, we said goodbye and took a family nap. A long overdue rest for all of us. Come to think of it, I wouldn't mind still sleeping; three days later. Before they left, I helped with bath time and cleaned 3 little girls and dried 4 little girl heads with enough hair to gag a horse. We did not do a thing for the rest of the day. I picked up here and there, but was otherwise content with just leaving things a mess wherever they landed. I'm on a break. Later in the evening, we did manage to peel ourselves from our new lazy state of being and headed to the playground.Monday was our town's annual Memorial Day parade which is all of about 6 minutes and includes the high school band, the Lion's Club, a handful of war veterans and any kid who wants to march or ride their bike in the line-up. The parade concludes with the fire trucks, with Daddy on board) and the ambulance services. Everyone goes through town and to the local cemetery for a memorial service. Lincoln ate Goldfish crackers with his friend Cole and Elaina flitted about with her best friend, Ali. Hey, they were both being good, what can I say? Just when I thought I had neglected my share of the blogosphere for long enough, a friend of mine called and away went my blog time once again. So there you have it! A week in a nutshell. Or some nuts in a weak-shell. However you want to put it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Neverending Race: Non- Winner

Lately, I feel nearly defeated. Defeated by my own sense of responsibility, order and standards.

It seems like despite my efforts of maintaining a certain stream of organization and keeping up with whatever curve balls come my way, I am always finishing last. Not only last place in the race, but reaching the finish line (unfinished) every night after midnight.

Warning: Complaining to follow!

I don't know how it happens but by the time I get home from work at 5:00, we eat dinner, play or bathe children every other night and try to have the kids tucked in bed by 8:30. That's what we do. In theory, it sounds as though I should have a full 2.5 hours to myself to still make it to bed by 11:00. So, what happens to those 2.5 hours?? That's what I want to know!

Admittedly, this past week has been exceptionally busy with being away from home for almost 5 days. And then I was so thankful for the arrival of the weekend. Saturday found me doing a Tastefully Simple show, followed by a muddy outdoor graduation party which we drug the kids to right at their regular bedtimes, and then when the rest of the family went home, I joined some friends at their bonfire / cookout as my friend was announcing the sex of their baby (still pregnant) by food- coloring cupcakes blue for a boy and pink coloring for a girl. It was blue cupcakes all around!

Sunday was a happy day of sorts. It marked the last day of turkey hunting season for Eric. Up until now, I've practiced some level of restraint when it comes to how much I dislike hunting season. Eric has been out of the house before 5 a.m. and in bed by 10:00p.m. for like 3 weeks now. He works a full day of work there in the middle, but usually stalls out on any additional projects that I could use a hand with. So, when Eric came home on Sunday, he was all mine. We gave our living room a face lift with all new pictures on the walls. Added some new metal wall decor to our front foyer. And ended up swapping out some displaced pieces to other rooms. After what seemed like a full day of must-do projects, I still haven't gotten everything done. Another factor that contributes to my super-freakish-cleaning spree is that we're expecting company this weekend and I don't want to look like a dirty pack rat who sits in front of the tv all day. NOT!

As if I didn't already have enough personal pressure on myself for getting crap done around here, I feel like I've neglected my blog and my blog-friends almost entirely. I still haven't replied to this friend's kind thank you, still haven't written thank you's for Lincoln's birthday gifts, still haven't sent any reply to a friend who passed down two giant bags of hand me down clothes for Elaina, haven't vacuumed my house in over a week, still ignoring the soap scum and mildew that's hosting a reunion party in my bathroom and I still haven't slept over 6 hours a night since we were on a our mini-vacation at the grandparents' houses. My most important fault of negligence is that I have yet to craft Lincoln's birthday letter to him. For that, I feel like crap. Remorse and crap. My poor, poor second child. This is why I am so happy about having only 2 kids just like I always wanted. (By the way, that's a whole other blog topic I wanted to write about someday too.) I can't imagine what things I would let slip off my to-do list if I had a whole other kid to care for too.

So, just to not make this post entirely self-pitying and ridiculous to the non-OCD people, I'll conclude by telling you the good things that have been happening around here. Lincoln is now about a 65/35% walker now. He's walking about 65% of the time and getting around just fine. He's had some bouts of the fussies / clingies lately and I can just about see the giant molars under his gum line waiting to erupt. Elaina has been going sans diaper overnight and nap time for about 3 weeks without incident. Eric worked all day Monday to complete some landscaping in our front yard and bring in some lush and colorful plants. And me? I'm just hoping to beat that darned clock one of these days and feel like I've finally got the upper hand in the race. Only time will tell. Otherwise, I'll be back to more complaining.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Party Tour: Part 3

Our third and final party of this weekend was my mom's retirement party. It was excellent timing since we were already in town and wanted to be a part of the most deserving recognition for my mom as she's taught at the same school for 27 years. Her fellow teachers were especially generous with gift giving and ever so thoughtful with a tribute video that had me wiping tears from my eyes more than once. I've always been proud of my mom for her hard work, commitment and genuine compassion for every one of her students year after year. This is something that just doesn't come so natural for some teachers these days, yet my Mom's only ambition was for them to learn. And over 1,000 students did just that by being in her classroom.Her next career move is that of full-time-long-distance Grandma. I know there have been times that my Mom's heart has been heavy when my brother or I call her on the phone and relay stories of all of us being sick and miserable and when our lives seem to be spiraling out of control in meeting deadlines, fulfilling commitments and trying to be full time parents. For the past 2 years, my Mom has been counting down to this. "Honey, you know I'd be there to help you if I could. When I retire, I'll be there whenever you need me." So, Mom, you're going to be retired soon enough and we'll take you whenever we can get you. Even when we're not sick. Especially then. This is a good thing. For all of us! This little guy can't wait to have you come to share his toys with him. Lincoln has been drilling Colin for all of the things that you'll need to teach him too. These guys have even put together a little song for you. (Leave that noise box at your place though, mmmkay! Elaina has made sure the notes are flawless. Of course. What else would my daughter be doing?I don't think your grandchildren can wait any longer. Look Grandma H., your fan club has decided to pack every single toy into their tent and camp out until your very last day of school. "Grandma? Can you come over to my house?"

Congratulations Mom! For all of your years teaching such valuable lessons in the curriculum and in real life, you've touched so many families and impacted so many individuals. For more than 32 years, you've taught lessons, corrected homework, organized people, wiped tears, soothed hard feelings and cared with a genuine heart. And you did the same in the classroom day after day.

We are so proud of your career that has been your life's work and we look forward to enjoying the Grandma and Grandpa who are not on strict weekend-only schedule for visits and don't have to rush to record mid-quarter grades to get to come out and play. Here's to making every day a snow day, minus the snow, and the only bus duty you'll be responsible for is to determine whose going to be driving your bus to our house to visit.

Last call: June 2.

I'm thrilled for you Mom!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Party Tour: Part 2

Any guesses on what party took place this day??!?!

Lincoln's first birthday party!
This was such a busy, great day, I think that picture-narration will just work best for the highlights of the day. A great day to celebrate our big boy turning one year old and to celebrate our mother's on their special day.
Not only was this cake cute as ever, it is my favorite on this earth. My Mom's cake is a strong runner up though. Don't stop baking Mom!
Lincoln's "smash cake" just for him!
He was hesitant at first to get his hands so "involved," but after a little encouragement and a nudge of his fist into the cake, he put his best effort forward.
And he loved it too! I'm teaching this boy right!
My sweet boy looking every bit delicious!
Trust me that Elaina ate her share of cake and an ice cream cone after that. The child ate nothing resembling nutritious all weekend long.
Evan kept asking if we were going to play a party game. Huh? A party game for a one year old's birthday party? Um, not exactly. So, since I purchased books as party favors for each kid, I had them put on their party crowns and race to see who could open their present first. That counts as a game, right?
My lovely husband and equally darling son. It seems as though Eric didn't get behind the camera even once and it appears as though I wasn't even in attendance at my own son's birthday party. Isn't this what big sisters are for? Helping the wee ones to open their gifts. And play with them first.
Finally, it was Mother's day also and it was great to have both of our mom's to spend the day together and celebrate Lincoln, our family coming together and having children that we love so dearly.
While I'm not sure why this picture copied sideways (since it wasn't when I posted it), this is my Mother's Day card from my little munchkins. On the back there is a certificate to enjoy a massage at a local relaxation center that I've wanted to go to. I have to say, my family is good to me! Thank you Love!

A great day to celebrate Lincoln, our wonderful mother's and being together as a family to share such happy moments! It's about time!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Party Tour: Part 1

Um... maybe you noticed a short hiatus here on the blog-front.

Sorry.

On Friday evening we loaded up the truck with piles and piles of luggage, the dog, two whiney kids and one mommy in desperate need of a break. We headed to the grandparents' houses for an extra long weekend.

Late Friday night, we arrived at Eric's parent's house to visit, play and stay the night. Eric's sister stopped by to visit with cousin Evan in tow to play with the kids. Elaina always enjoys playing with "Eban" as they make up their own jumping and chasing contests. This night it was the marching band parade equipped with children armed with sets of pan lids as cymbals and stock pots serving as the drum sets. *Joy.* They really had a good time and we enjoyed our visit.

Saturday morning was the first stop of our party tour. We headed to my parent's house to drop off the boys so that my mom, Elaina and myself could go to my cousin's baby shower. While it was nice to see so much of my family that I generally only get to visit at Christmas, Elaina had an agenda all her own. Which didn't include sitting in the house on a sunny, crisp, spring-like day watching someone else open presents. She and her co-conspirators (cousins: Kari and Aidan) found the trampoline much more exciting. And just because I didn't want to see anyone crack their pretty little skulls, I was the keeper of the jumping children for much of the baby shower. That is, until they decided to pull out the water guns and find cooler ways of entertaining themselves. Happy Baby Shower Abby.... I hope it was good. I wouldn't know. Elaina LOVED it!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Happy Birthday Lincoln

Dear Lincoln,

My sweet, handsome boy. Good God, you have a gift my baby, every time I look at you, I just melt. My angel boy.

Lincoln, I don't even have enough words to express what you mean to me. You are my dessert. Sweet and delicious and I can't even get enough of you. And like dessert, I never expected you to show up when you did. It was the most perfect timing as if I had custom ordered you and you finally arrived. Of course we wanted another baby and of course, we wanted a boy if it were up to us. And in the whole lottery pool of adoption, we hit the jackpot. Like the super grand prize with monthly installments of riches. I would have never thought I could be so selfish to ask for such a perfect boy and receive all of my heart's desires wrapped up in a soft, blue blanket with stunning blue eyes. How could I think I was was worthy of you?

In the past year, you have captured my heart. You have caused my heart to ache with worry over sicknesses which have landed you in the hospital and kept us up at night. And you have touched my heart in a whole different way than your sister. You've made me a mother of two. With that, I've learned a whole new capacity of love. You are my son and you are all of my heart.

Being a mother to a son is new to me. Maybe it's more a cross between second child and gender differences together. I'm having to relearn to be a new parent in your new world. As a second child myself, I know just how loved you will be regardless your birth order. I am constantly reminding myself to slow down and make time to teach you and make things special for just you. I want that for you . I want nothing but the best for you.

In my first year of being your Mother, I have felt more blessed than any other mom that ever had the privilege of having a son. You are special, Lincoln. Special because God made you ours. And by the way you resemble your Dad and look like your sister, you weren't meant for anyone else. You have a quiet calmness about you. You are cautious and you are thoughtful. Although you are not overly generous with your smiles, your whole face just sparkles when you flash your baby teeth smile between your sweet baby face cheeks. And I know which smiles are just for me.

In the past couple months, you've matured so much. You are a true toy-boy and play very well on your own already. You've developed a special fondness for cars and wheels as well as your soft, silky edged blankets that go with your tasty thumb. Although you are a little man of few words (like your Dad) you've learned to obey and you like routine. I don't know if you've ever reached a maximum fullness after meals because you appreciate food that much and you seem to like every food presented to you. (Alleluia!) Over the past few months, your sleeping habits have become like clockwork and you like your rest. In the early months of your life, you didn't seem to like to cuddle and snuggle as much as you do now, but I think that you do it because you know how much your Mommy needs to hold you and squeeze some love into you for a few special moments each day. For the most part, you are a very easy baby. Best of all, you are a perfect fit into our lives. With you, our family is complete.

Until you came along, I never knew just how much I wanted and needed a son. You've opened up my world and given me the opportunity to become a new parent all over again. I can't wait to see what this year has in store for us. This is your new age of development and learning. There is so much I want to show you and share with you. There is so much fun to be had and memories to make. Lincoln, my love, thank you for capturing my heart by becoming our son and making me the most proud and honored mother that I could ever dream of being.

All of my love and abundant happiness be yours Lincoln,
Love, Mommy

Grace

May seventh.

Three years ago today, we held our baby Ava in our arms for the last time. It was this day that our hearts felt broken beyond repair, our eyes ran out of tears and our hopes of ever becoming parents seemed less than dismal.

To this day, I don't really even know how we got by losing our second child. We were still recovering from the loss of Ella. Ava was meant to heal us. She was our angel that was going to fill our arms and our hearts and our home with love. From the moment that her soul lifted up to heaven, I only felt pain and emptiness right down to my bones. A feeling that's more than despair. Crumbling. Debilitating. I promised myself that I would never smile again. I was convinced that I would never even begin to think that I could find happiness in anything without a child of my own to love. I truly didn't know what our future had in store for us. I was empty. And so, with a painful heart, I continued to pray. What else did I really have left? It wasn't like it was the very first time that I ever called on God for healing and protection. It wasn't the first time that I cried in vain over losing my baby. It's not like God didn't know the pain that paralyzed our hearts. I needed to tell God that I was angry. How could he take our two daughters to heaven when we needed to love them so badly? And why us? We deserved a baby. Why not the crackheads and the teenagers who don't have an ounce of responsibility or affection for their children? God needed to know that sometimes I just wanted to yell and scream and shake a stick at the entire world and beat my anger out onto anything in my path. How did He let this happen?

I still don't know.

What I do know is that God had a plan. Just when we began to try to pick up the shattered pieces of what was left of our lives, the hope of adopting a baby girl fell into our laps. It was like a dream come true and an answer to our prayers when we got the call that changed our lives. We were going to have a daughter. Elaina was going to be born into our family. She was and continues to be nothing short of a miracle. We had a daughter.

Almost 2 years later, God had yet another miracle in store for us. Just hearing of a baby boy who was about to be born and still in need of a family, our minds trembled with excitement and disbelief. A baby boy for us? Did we really deserve to be this blessed? Our wonderful baby boy, Lincoln filled our arms and our hearts with love and reminded us what a miracle felt like.

It's amazing how God brought us through this journey to parenthood. He turned a once angry and hopeless shell of bitterness into the most proud and fulfilled mother ever. I never thought that one day I would recover from my anger and emptiness to the extent that I have. While I can't say that I don't cry over my babies in heaven (I do) I remind myself that if it weren't for them, we would have never been blessed with Elaina and Lincoln. This can't be explained by mere luck. God allowed us to walk through the fire and not get burned. I didn't know this was possible. I'm not the first to proclaim that all things are possible with God. This is true. And He works miracles. Even for us.

Lincoln turns one today. Our beautiful angel boy who came into our lives and has given us happiness beyond compare. The baby boy that we wanted so desperately, yet felt overly blessed already to ask for more. And without him, our lives wouldn't be nearly so full. Full of smiles and hugs and kissing and cuddling and love. Another miracle to make our lives complete. Fulfilled. Proud.

With this, I send my love to Ava and Ella. I know that they chose Elaina and Lincoln to be their brother and sister in our family and that they can feel our hugs and love through them. I know God works miracles and that He can mend hearts. I know that I will always be the mom to hold her kids tighter and love them a little harder because they are sharing our love with our angels.

Lincoln is one.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Let them eat cheese

A few months back, over dinner time, I got so frustrated with Elaina's ever-so-limited menu options that I told her that when she turns 3, she will no longer have a choice in what she eats at mealtimes. My statement was mostly off the cuff and had no idea at the time that she would take my words to heart. Yet, she has.

It's no secret that Elaina is an extremely picky eater. Just maybe I've complained about that here more than once. She's probably on her 63rd consecutive day of eating grilled cheese for at least one meal (sometimes twice a day) with her second option being pizza. I can't complain about her getting enough fruit in her diet since she easily accepts apples, applesauce, bananas and grapes. She laughs in the face of a vegetable. This doesn't however, prevent me from offering her a bite of anything that we're eating for her to taste. Her standard answer as of late has been been, "No thank you. When I turn 3, I eat big people food." Or "Mommy, I'm not 3 yet."

While I admire her for her manners and her acceptance (we'll see) of the eat-everything-at-3 rule, a slight, sneaky idea crossed my mind. What if her birthday just happened to come early this year? Kinda like she turns 3 maybe, oh let's say, 45 days early. Is that wrong?

Okay, okay, okay. I know it's wrong. I'm not really a bad person that would intentionally fraud my child out of her respective birthday celebration just to get her to eat a vegetable. Just a thought. And my husband and mom have already put the kaboosh on my idea anyway.

So, July isn't really that long away is it? Just another 5o grilled cheese sandwiches away.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Finding Gold

I spent my morning rummaging through a neighborhood garage sale seeking out bargains and treasures. Despite the intermittent drizzle of rain, I really had an enjoyable time and found both bargains and treasures.

The one and only downfall of garage saling is coming home and cleaning up my finds. And so, after the many hours I spend out collecting my deals, I spent the next several hours cleaning them up to look fresh and new and find homes for everything. At one point, my house was such a complete disaster that my Type A personality kicks into super anxiety speed and I begin to think of all of the million and 8 things that I need to do while I'm going about my business.

By the end of the day, my kids were fed, order was restored to most of the surface areas in my house and I sat down for the first time all day to feed my baby his bottle. As Lincoln cuddles up on my lap and we feel each other breath and then his eyes close from his hard day of playing, I know that everything is right in my world. Everything.

Friday, May 02, 2008

On a Roll

Just for the record Ladies:

If you feel like you hardly ever get a break and you just need some down time with your girlfriends, let me fill you in a little secret. Play Bunco.

Tonight was our third monthly Bunco night with the girls and it has been everything we had hoped it to be. A fun filled evening together to sit around, catch up, snack and roll the dice of chance. Bunco has got to be the most simplest of games, requiring only a little bit of your attention along the way. And can you say FUN??? So fun in fact that I ended up going home with a prize tonight. We had a Cinco de Mayo theme and my prize was a cactus in a terracotta planter.

By the way, anyone know how I can get a cactus prick out of my thumb?
Yes I am serious.