September 9, 2014

Wedding Shower, Party of One

I've been missing my mom lately. Quite a lot in fact. And as the holidays approach I know it won't get much easier in regards to realizing how much we are missing out on by not having her here.

Still, there seems to be plenty of "firsts" that are not holiday-related. First musical I saw without my mom. My niece's first birthday without my mom. Other birthdays without my mom. The first sneak peak of the new Downton Abbey season without my mom. The list goes on and while some are mostly nostalgic, there are others where I can honestly feel this physical void where she should be. 

Some very special young friends of ours are getting married next month. I have known the groom since he was born and the bride since she was a little girl. Even though we haven't kept in contact as much over the past few years, I was blessed to be invited to the wedding and of course the wedding shower which was held the other week.

Here's where my mom would normally come into play.

You know the cardinal rule that women usually go to the bathroom in pairs? Well it was kind of like that for my mom and I in regards to wedding/baby showers. Not that we'd be afraid to go alone...we always knew all the guests and it's always a friendly reunion...I guess there was comfort in having someone to attend with. We could carpool and not feel awkward being the first to show up or whenever we needed to leave. We'd even pitch in most of the time for one of the bigger registry gifts to give. My mom and I sort of had a buddy system going when it came to those kind of events.

I almost didn't go to this wedding shower. Her absence was a very present reminder that she's not here. We're still living life and life will always continue to move forward for all sorts of celebrations and every day occurrences such as her favorite TV shows. 

Being afraid to go to a wedding shower to see people you love may sound silly but it was another "first" I guess I hadn't been prepared to experience. I'm sure there's still many more to come.

August 24, 2014

Traveling Toddler

After a week of beach and sun, we are back! I'll post more later about our trip but first I wanted to share a new travel tip for some of my friends that mentioned they'd be flying soon with their littles.

This was our third round of flights with a baby/toddler. We've been trying to do a big family vacation once a year and so far, so good.

2012 - Oregon - Noah was 7 months old and the worst part about flying with a baby was lugging all the needed items around: Car seat, bassinet, etc. Most of all was the car seat situation. I paid $50 for one of those Brica car seat carriers/covers. It has wheels and you can wear as a backpack. Neither function worked comfortably whatsoever. Needless to say, it was a pain.

2013 - New Mexico - Noah was 19 months and Aaron was 6 months. After the Oregon fiasco with the carseat, I decided to RENT a convertible seat thru our car rental company for Noah. We brought Aaron's bucket seat, checked it at the gate, and then carried him around it in. Still lots to lug around but we got through it. However, the rental agency's car seat for Noah was disgusting AND it was the $40 Cosco seat that you can buy at Walmart. So we paid the rental agency double what we could have paid for a brand new seat. The hubby thought we could have just ran to a local Walmart to buy one, but the logistics of making that happen weren't possible. Plus, you can never guarantee that the store will have one in stock.

2014 - South Carolina - Noah is 2 1/2 and Aaron is 19 months. I decided to do a whole lot more research. I did NOT want to rent (because of cost and germ factors). We already owned one Cosco convertible seat that belongs in grandma's car, so I went ahead and purchased another. Then I found this neat little gadget for $14 called the Traveling Toddler. Ordered it using my Amazon Prime account (free two-day shipping), and BINGO! Once you learn how to hook it up and take it apart, it was a cinch using it at the airport. No more having to lug TWO car seats around, just hook up to the carry-ons we had and we were good to go. Plus Aaron was able to ride in one of them the majority of our time getting around the terminals. We had so many positive reactions from other parents and random passengers on how convenient and easy that looked. Such a great idea!

So here's the info to the Traveling Toddler. We loved it! And yes, it came with a little extra finagling, but it cut down on so so so much time and energy we'd always used in getting our car seats to and from the airport.

Traveling Toddler (link)
(Hint: Your car seat must have the three anchors to be able to work...top and sides. Although I'm pretty sure that all seats now have these as regulation.)

Pictures of our Traveling Toddler and suitcase/carseat:



July 31, 2014

Summer Days Drifting Away

Summer is flying by.

Summer is flying by!!!

I'm really enjoying my boys. Aside from the learning curves and temper tantrums, this is the age that I couldn't wait to reach. We're doing things and finding new ways to have fun. Now that Aaron is 18 months old, he will get to start at Mom's Day Out in a few weeks in addition to big brother Noah. It'll be the first time I can drop them both off at the same place, kiss their cheeks, hug and wave goodbye for a few hours.

Now if I can just make it through the rest of summer. If I could bribe my kids to not play outside, I would. This is Texas, people. Until then, a lot of popsicles and sprinkler fun is usually on the menu in the afternoon. In fact, it's such an expectation I should start making my own popsicles. But who has time for that?

Hardly a day goes by that Noah doesn't ask to do poppers or fireworks (obviously, every day should be the 4th of July). Aaron is playing so well as Noah's little sidekick until he doesn't want to play and then Noah gets upset that he can't make his brother do his bidding. And then there is the squealing. They're like little banshees that set one another off. Aaron screams then Noah screams then they both scream. Constantly. It's earsplitting, but a happy earsplitting that we're trying to tone down without squelching their zeal for excitement. My boys love life!


I'm trying to take it all in but the summer heat gets in the way. So for those celebrating Christmas in July...bring on the holidays!



July 3, 2014

Stuff My Kids Say - London Bridge

Noah has been memorizing a ton of songs left and right. In fact, I'm genuinely surprised when he bursts out singing all the lyrics to something I had no idea he knew. Some are hit and miss but for the most part, he's got them down.

Makes me realize two things:
1 - My kid is smart
2 - My kid is now listening to everything I say. (Yikes!)

Here's Noah's rendition of London Bridge:

London Bridge is falling down, 
Falling down, 
Falling down.

London Bridge is falling down,
My favorite lady.

July 2, 2014

Swim Lessons

Today marks the completion of the boys' first ever round of swim classes. I debated over putting them in a local swim school that is summer long and teaches a core foundation that has proven successes at the toddler level (a.k.a. the "expensive" lessons). My other option was to choose a nearby rec center, minimal cash out of pocket and a short, two-week session. Both my boys are total water babies, but having never done an actual structured class, I decided to test the waters (pun intended) and see how they liked the rec center version of swim classes.

Overall, it was fun. After the first morning marathon of getting the boys and myself dressed and ready to go in swim gear, plus towels and clothes to change in after, etc., I was ready to call it quits and couldn't quite remember why I wanted to do this in the first place. (Not to mention that it was raining right up until we stepped into the freezing pool.) But we got into a routine and it's been surprisingly worth it. I'm so thankful to my mother-in-law who came out each day as well to swim with Aaron while I tackled Noah. The best part of the class, and why I would recommend it to any parent of babies/toddlers, was that I learned something as well. I'm more confident in how to continue to teach my boys to swim and I feel armed and prepared to go.

Now if someone wanted to pay me to get back in the water. Did I mention how much I dislike pools and swimming? It's a motion thing.

Happy Summer!

May 25, 2014

Leaving

There are times I loath social media. I use it on a regular basis myself, but the times when you want to block it out comes with a cost.

A song we used to sing in church held the following words:

"You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say,
'Lord, blessed be Your Name.'"

2014 seems to be the season where I'm learning the truth of those lyrics and choosing to act upon them. I woke this morning to the news that a sweet friend passed away in a car accident last night. Just like that...gone. She was raising funds to become a missionary to Nigeria and I'd had the privilege of getting to have lunch with her a few months ago. The change in her was astounding, her entire being living and breathing for Nigeria. She was selling everything; leaving everything she'd ever known to follow her calling.

I hate all the cliche comments people tend to leave such as "God, needed her home," or "Another angel for Heaven." (Worst of all is the use of "RIP") As I know personally now, there is nothing to ease or replace the grief that her family and fiancee must be feeling. Yet, I still cannot help but being thankful for those last moments with my mom. I had the time to say goodbye. Susanna's family did not and I only pray that they have no regrets. If they are anything like her, then I know they will have that peace.

Her Facebook page has become a memorial of written memories, photos and condolences. So has my mom's. And my friend Joey. And my friend Nita, etc., etc...Why is social media so important in the healing process when we lose someone? The recipient will never read it, never accept a friend request or "like" your words of comfort. We don't take down their page or remove traces of their online presence like you cancel out the rest of every little thing to which their names were attached (i.e., bank accounts, insurance, library cards). Maybe it's comforting to express your feelings knowing there are ___ (insert # here) other "friends" who want to share in your grief.

I may share with those Facebook friends but in all honesty it hurts. Social media only increases the acknowledgement of the void left by a loved one or friend. Their page will never be touched again. Never edited. Never added to. It's left in its own time capsule while we continue on.

However, I still wouldn't take it away.

I'll miss you Susanna.






May 21, 2014

Quiet Moments

I'm cleaning up after the boys have had lunch and, as every mom can attest, scowling at the fact that my kitchen floor needs a severe mopping. Moment of truth: it's been weeks since I mopped. Days since I've swept. Oh, here and there I've thrown down a disinfectant wipe and used my foot to scoot around a couple of problem spots; but a full mopping of the floor is never on my radar.

(Second moment of truth: I will never secretly think haughty thoughts of my friends' kitchen floors now that I have toddlers. I get it now.)

Thinking about my floor stirs a memory of my mom from when I was little. For years I still had to take a "nap" and usually I opted to do so in my parents' bedroom. I remember how calm and quiet our home was during those parts of the day. Often, I would come out from resting and the kitchen would be spotless. I remember how when my mom mopped the floor she would turn the kitchen chairs upside down onto the table, mop and then sit and read and snack on something while she waited for the floor to dry. The lights in the house were off, fans quietly whirring and pockets of natural light shone in through the windows. That was usually where I'd find her. It wasn't spoken, but we were forbidden to walk on that floor while it was wet and freshly clean - a floor that wouldn't keep it's shine for too long what with two kids who loved the outdoors. The older I became, I enjoyed helping her flip the chairs on and off the table though I never actually mopped.

I know that my mom had 30+ years to learn how to maintain and create a home. It's hard to keep that in mind while I have two munchkins undermining my every move to have at least one corner of our house clean. It's my hope to one day obtain that moment of calm. I want my boys to feel at peace in their own home and maybe later appreciate those quiet moments...

...and a clean kitchen floor.