Sunday, May 31, 2009

Playing in the sandbox

As most of you know, my brother, Noah, is a Tech Sergeant in the Airforce National Guard. A couple weeks ago he deployed to Qatar (North of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East) for a 6-9 month tour of duty. There is a chance he may come home as early as September 22 (thus the countdown to the left) but with the military being the military, we aren't counting too heavily on that.

In the weeks leading up to it, we had been trying to prepare Nathaniel for his beloved Uncle Noah's disappearance. Uncle Noah is one of Nate's best buds and for him to be away for so long, would no doubt be unusual. Throw in several dozen family get togethers with no Uncle Noah sightings and you have the makings for real confusion on the part of a three-year-old. So we did our best to talk to him about it, educate him, and warn him of what to expect. 

On the day he left I told Nathaniel the story of Uncle Noah's plane ride to the desert to fight the bad guys (apparently there are no actual bad guys in Qatar to fight directly, thank God, but the reason he's there is to help in this mission so it works to explain why he's gone). Immediately following, every plane Nate saw he was convinced held Uncle Noah and when he'd go to bed at night, sad yet again that he wasn't going to see Uncle Noah the next day, he'd say "I ride airplane to see Uncle Noah?". Breaks your heart, doesn't it?

Since my brother's departure, we have been fielding constant questions of "Where Uncle Noah?" and "Uncle Noah come over visit all day?" (FYI - "all day" = "today"). But when you ask Nate where Uncle Noah is he'll quickly answer "in the desert" so I know he gets at least some of it.

Well, this morning the day started as any other. I woke to the sound of Alex fussing in his crib. I got up to feed him and then started my morning routine. Shower, dress, hair, make-up. Somewhere in that routine Nathaniel usually wakes up yelling "Where Boo Bankie? Oh, NO! Boo Bankie GONE!"

Today though, he woke up and said "Where's Uncle Noah?". Having answered this question a time or two before, I asked "Where do YOU think Uncle Noah is?". Nathaniel looked up at me with his weery, sleepy dusted, morning squint and said "He far far away in the desert, playing in the sandbox" :) Then he said "crab gonna PINCH him" and started pinching his cheeks with his fingers like claws. It was SO cute. And so genuine.

So when we talk about Uncle Noah, being in the hot desert, fighting bad guys so that the rest of us can sit at home and have our freedoms and our rights, I'm not sure my three-year-old quite gets it. All he really understands is that his favorite Uncle Noah is missing.  There are parts of war, I guess I'd rather he NOT understand right now, though. So for now, I'm ok with him picturing his beloved Uncle Noah playing in the sandbox, getting pinched by the crabs until we see him again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

These are the moments!

Today was the kind of day I absolutely adore as a Mom.  

Last night was a late night getting the boys to bed so I was hoping that might afford me a rare moment to sleep in past 6 AM.  Ha!  I don't know what made me think THAT as I should have known better.  Alex is like a little alarm clock.  I could bake cookies on his predictability.  You can tell when it's been three hours since he ate, you are unable to forget if it's nap time, and when 6 AM rolls around, it doesn't matter if he went to sleep at 5:00, he'll be up and hungry at 6 o'clock sharp.  Nathaniel on the other hand, will sleep until he's gotten his 10 or so hours of sleep.  Again, predictable, but in a different way.  

So today Alex woke up ready to eat promptly at 6:00.  The perk today, though, was that it was just the two of us for almost 3 hours before he went down for his nap and his brother got up.  We got to play peek-a-boo, crawl around on the floor, sing songs, dance to CMT (country music videos), and snuggle with no interruptions or shared attentions.  With two kids in the house, that's a rare treat.  It's special for me, and necessary, I think, for them.

Since Alex had gotten up so early after going to bed so late, he was ready for his nap a little earlier than usual and so he was down for the count before Nathaniel got up at 9 AM.  Another rare opportunity to give Nate my full attention.  We ate breakfast at his little table together, each with our cereal and "coffee" (mine is actual coffee, of course, but Nate's special blend "coffee" consists of milk in a coffee mug).  We set up a highway to drive his cars on, shared a riveting story of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, chased ghosts, and ran from monsters.  And we snuggled while Nate played his new favorite game of "baby".  Which, if you know Bug well, you know snuggle time is a special treat in and of itself!  We even got to do our own little dance to CMT and when I tried to sing to my favorite CMT videos, Nate sweetly told me "No, you can't sing songs!  That's enough!".  It was pure bliss.  Really!  

It's days like these that feed my soul.  A sprinkle of little moments like these betwixt the chaos, the routine, and the everyday rigamaroar.  It's just enough to breathe wind into my sails and keep me going when the going gets tough. 

Now both my boys are up and rip roaring ready to go so I must go back to the balancing, splitting my time, and sharing my attentions in this tug of war to love my boys equally! 

Friday, May 29, 2009

10 on 10

Another project I find interesting and think I'll partake in...10 on 10.

Taken from another blog I follow here and originally devised here.

The task is to take a photo once an hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month. The premise is to document your life (or 10 hours of it) via snapshots of everyday goings on. The goal of which is to find beauty among the ordinary things in your day.

Truth be told it's just a great way for me to share more photos and you KNOW how much I love that!!

So, on June 10th I will debut this fun venture. Stay tuned! And if you'd like to join in on the fun, leave me a comment so I can check out your 10 on 10!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inanimate Sentimentality

Today's Thinkbox drawing (chosen by my beloved husband) garnered the following question:  "Do you remember your family getting a new piece of furniture, a new car, or something similar when you were a child?"

As long as I can remember I've always had an unnatural attachment to things.  The mass quantity of boxes in my basement are a true testament to that fact.  I have old notes from middle school, tokens of love from high school, reports and papers from college.  Shoes I wore to the prom, a shirt an ex-boyfriend let me keep, old cats-eye glasses of my grandmother's.  Each item holds a memory, an old feeling, a reminiscent spark from a time gone by.  

It's a problem, really.  The number one reason why I find it so difficult to downsize and simplify my life.  But it's been this way for as long as I can remember.  I get attached easily to material things.  Which brings me to my answer to today's thinkbox question.

When I was little (I'd guess maybe 5 or 6) my parents traded in their grey station wagon (It had an actual name but I don't recall it at the moment - phantom?  ghost?)  Anyway, I vividly remember taking that car to the dealership where we were picking up our new (1980-something Renault Alliance!) and leaving that car behind.  I was DEVASTATED!  I clung to the backseat of that car and cried my little eyes out.  I was a mess!  I sat in that backseat and hugged the car, told the car that it had been a good car, that it wouldn't be forgotten...Sad, I know.  Ok, less sad - more pathetic.  But still - I was genuinely torn up!

What does this say, besides that I'm a freak?  Ultimately I think this really shows that I hate change.  At least in the case of the car.  I was NOT ready to warm up to a new car - a new seating arrangement, new fit and feel, or perhaps I was simply hesitant to have to learn the new location of the cupholders.  Who knows, really?  

As for my boxes in the basement.  That is more about my fear of forgetting.  I have a horrible memory and holding on to STUFF dupes me into thinking that I will somehow remember all the adventures, mishaps, relationships, and fun I've had along the way.  Too bad that doesn't guarantee anything.  

Lord help me when it comes time to trade in my precious Honda Civic!  Millie has been very good to me for the last 10 years and 120,000 miles!  And truth be told, I'm not ready to have to figure out how to re-program a new clock for Daylight Savings Time!  Oh, no!  I can feel the tears welling up as I write this!  Does anyone have a tissue?!?


Saturday, May 23, 2009

My Bug




Sweet and Loving

Creative, Witty, Smart
Sneaky and Clever
Strong Willed, Stubborn, Pig-headed


Rough and Tumble

All Boy
Dirt, Bugs, Fishing, Outdoors, Hunting
Trains, Fire Trucks, all things "Vroom!"
Monsters and Ghosts
Super Bug!


Thursday, May 21, 2009


Today is the inaugural posting of my Thinkbox Thursdays. I'll be honest - the first slip of paper I pulled from the box (which is actually a can, just for the record) was a question I already have a couple posts started for so I DID pull a second one to preserve those for future use. The second one is much more fitting for day one of this experiment anyway - it's a light hearted question to start off on. So here it is...

Did you ever set anything on fire or know someone who did?

As a matter of fact, growing up, my parents composted our biodegradables (banana peels, potato skins, coffee grounds, etc.) and burned the rest of our garbage. Yes, you read that right. They BURNED it - plastic milk jugs and all. Tsk, tsk, I know. Apparently that was allowed in our town at the time. When the weather gets nutty and the icebergs in the Antarctic melt, you can send your complaints to my Mom and Dad. Email me and I'll send you their address. :) Anyway, as the two oldest kids, this job fell to my brother and I. I'll admit - it was a fun job. I'm not ashamed to say it. I had fun playing in the fire and burning stuff. Granted, it was a chore that left a burn scar or two in its time and may wind up giving me lung cancer someday but it was fun nonetheless.

We'd load up the burn barrel and torch it. The object was to light it low enough so it would burn up and to leave enough of a gap in between the bags to get good oxygen flow. Two very important requirements for a good fire. As it burned we'd stir it around to make sure it was all burning up. And we played in it, fishing out certain things to watch them burn. In fact, I vividly remember the distinct sound of plastic as it dripped from a milk jug or bottle. It's a very specific and memorable whizzing sound. Anyone that has ever melted plastic will instantly know the sound I remember. Zip. Zip. And the smell! Oh, the smell. It was putrid. Black smoke, stinky smell, whizzing sound. That's what I recall of burning our garbage. So yes, I have set something on fire. And I didn't totally hate it. Does that sound like a problem?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thinkbox Thursdays

My fabulous, creative, artistic, and thoughtful sister, Sarah, brought me a gift the other day. It's not my birthday, it wasn't a house warming gift and she wasn't apologizing for anything (that I know of - ha!).  It was just a sweet gesture and a fantastic idea! 

Here it is:
My sister MADE it. Isn't it cute?

You might be asking yourself, "So, what is it?"

It's a little something I've dubbed my "think box".

A clever idea, really.  Inside there are hundreds (!) of slips of paper with inspirational ideas and thought-provoking questions on them.  You reach in...pull one out...and VOILA! - a cure for writer's block.  Some of the questions are deep, others are more superficial, but all are interesting to say the least!

So I am going to start what I call Thinkbox Thursdays.  I suppose I don't need to specify a special day of the week but I am a procrastinator by nature so this will keep me on task and give me a schedule (a.k.a. deadline) to make me somewhat accountable. I like to challenge myself and these should get me thinking. So I promise to be honest and answer one question each Thursday (and no picking 20 questions until I find one I like)!  Hopefully you won't be bored senseless - who knows, you just may learn something new!  So stay tuned - Thursday is just around the corner!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I was here

So, at what point does one find their place in the world? Their calling, their gift. This is something I've been struggling with for...well, as long as I can remember - but more recently since I was blessed with my children. I want so much to find my purpose, make a difference, to leave a mark. While, on one hand, I think the very existence of my boys IS my mark on this world, I find it increasingly more important to make a difference BECAUSE of them so they can in turn do the same. I want to be a good role model for their futures and to give them good cause to be proud of their Momma. I just struggle with what that purpose is, what my mark should look like.

There's a song by Lady Antebellum that says it perfectly:

"I wanna do something that matters, say something different
Something that sets the whole world on it's ear
I wanna do somethin better, with the time I've been given
And I wanna try to touch a few hearts in this life
And leave nothin' less than something that says 'I was here'"

So I continue on my journey to find that something I am here to do. That something special that I can contribute to secure my legacy. For now I will simply write in pencil, "I was here" and hope someday to retrace my mark in permanent ink. Does anyone have a Sharpie I can borrow?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I have a mother's day post that I've been working on for a couple days only to find out that it's a lot harder to put these thoughts into writing than I guessed it would be. My brain is overloaded with so much stuff that I'm finding it hard to make sense of it. I figure if it's not flowing easily for me, than it would be torture for you guys to try and read, I'm sure. It was intended to share with you today but it will have to wait until I find the inspiration to put thoughts into comprehensible words, sentences and paragraphs.

However, today is Mother's Day so for all you who are mothers, aspire to be mothers, mother someone in your life, or at the very least HAVE mothers, read on.

Mother's Day has a deep and varied history. According to GoodSearch, the history of mother's day has roots in Greek and Roman mythology through ancient practices of honoring various Goddesses and the British celebration of "Mothering Day" that was brought over by the pilgrims. Its intentions haven't always been to honor actual mothers and rarely brought any material adoration with it until more recently. People celebrate Mother's Day around the world in various forms and on differing days. Even in America we tend to have our own individual traditions and expectations associated with the celebration of Mother's Day. Some people want to be pampered and lavished with presents and attention. Others want to be free to relax and be lazy for one day a year. Some mothers request for their children to flock around them and others prefer to be "off" for the day. It's a preference as different as we are mothers.

I took today to do what I always do, which is to be a mother, of course, and spend precious time with my boys. But today I was able to do so with fresh eyes and a deeper appreciation than the everyday allows me. I had some fantastic moments with my children today where it felt less like work and more like the true blessing that it is to be these boys' mother.

For starters, my husband let me sleep in today (which is a huge treat)! At 8:30 my oldest quietly crept into the bedroom, crawled up into bed with me and gently brushed my arm. When I didn't open my eyes, he simply pulled the covers up over his shoulders and laid down next to me. I pulled him close and took a deep breath. What a great way to wake up! After a delicious breakfast (made by Nathaniel and my husband), I got to play an impromptu (and NEW!) game of "coffee shop". Nathaniel came up to my table and ordered a cup of coffee, "with sugar". He then fished "money" out of his pocket to pay for his coffee, laid the "money" on the table and took his cup of "coffee" (milk in a plastic coffee cup) with a polite "thanks". When he had taken a sip and "finished" his drink, he came back and ordered a new cup saying, "more coffee, please?". I would "ring up" his order, say "45 cents, please", take his "money", give him his "change" and thank him. At one point he even told me it was hot and blew on the cup before he took a drink. What a fantastic game! Not only because it was completely made up in his little mind, but because with the exception of the table and his coffee mug, we needed no props. It was all in his imagination. From the money he paid with to the sipping and seemingly enjoying the freshly brewed joe I had just sold him. It's fantastic to see life through the eyes of my children. Later in the day Nathaniel disappeared in his bedroom and came out buck naked. When asked what he was doing and where his clothes were, he simply replied "I swimmin' in the ocean!"...then he proceeded to do the breaststroke across the living room floor. When we were done chuckling, we marveled in his creativity. He then lounged in all his naked glory on the couch with his hands behind his head, sighed, and said "I on the beach, in the sun!". I wish it were that easy now to transform our realities.

Alexander is suffering (and I do mean SUFFERING, poor thing) from a double whammy of Roseola and the vicious, evil that comes with TEETHING. He was inconsolable today unless he was eating, sleeping (for short bits at a time), or being held (but only if I was standing!). It was motherhood in the purest sense today as I struggled to find comfort for my poor Digger Fuzz Bucket. As much as I wish I could have waved my magic Mommy wand and made him feel better, it was nice to be needed and I rather enjoyed dancing with him to CMT and taking him with me everywhere I went. At least there was reassurance knowing he was comfortable in my arms even if I couldn't fix him.

So, as I end this Mother's Day, I hope you each had a fantastic day. I especially hope you felt special, loved, and truly appreciated for all that you do as Moms or made sure that your own mothers got this message from you.

Now it's late. I am going to go kiss my children, tuck them in a little tighter, and crash for the night.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I remember not long ago when it became obvious that every commercial on TV, every ad in a magazine, and every flyer in the mail had a "www." website. It was new and different and everyone was doing it. It seemed to sweep the nation. First it was pharmaceutical companies providing a website where you could go to get more information, then it was coffee commercials inviting you to download a coupon, or restaurants asking you to join a club that would send you special offers. Now it's common place and second nature. It's actually more shocking to stumble on that rare occasion when there ISN'T a website to go to for a free sample or to register for an informational packet.

Nowadays the new wave is in blogs. Everywhere you go people are blogging. My friends blog, my co-workers blog, even my radio DJs blog. And if that's not enough, I got an email today that the CEO of a non-profit I frequent to get fundraising information is now blogging. Apparently it's the latest arena to "keep in touch" and reach out to the masses. Just as some people have finally joined the bandwagon of reaching out via email, this new generation is taking off running. And yet somehow, I still feel behind.

Some people blog to vent frustrations, share interesting points of view or opinions. Others use the world wide web as a platform to make a difference. They write their thoughts down on the internet to to get their "story" out there. Stories of tragic circumstances, incredible odds and miracles of faith. Their stories have reached tons of people, joined hundreds of thousands in prayer and purpose. It's amazing. It's touching. And it's overwhelming.

It makes me think, how does someone get there? Get hundreds of followers hanging on their every word. Obviously, I don't have a tragic story to tell. I don't even have any particularly riveting thoughts to share. But I want to make a difference. I want to make my mark on the world. And the people whose blogs have spanned the world and really made an impact are extremely impressive to me.

Maybe someday I'll get there - have someone (that I don't personally know) take notice. Maybe even make a name for myself in the blogging world. It could be a way into a world where I could find my place, my "calling", my passion. Who knows.

For now, all I can ask is that SOMEONE read my thoughts, hope that through my ramblings SOMEONE understands me even a little better and continue to work on making an impact SOMEHOW.