Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lunch date.

I helped out in Liam's class for a bit this morning and then stayed to have lunch with him in the cafeteria. It was a lot like I remember from when I was in school only now I'm SUPER popular. Like, WAY more popular than I ever hoped or dreamed I could be. Maybe even the most popular person in the entire lunch room! I know. It was super flattering. And completely insane...

"Liam's mom! Matthew is my neighbor and this one time we-"

"Will you open this?"

"Are you HER mama or HIS mama?"

"Look at my sandwich," devilish grin. "Carrot."

"Miss Maggie! Miss Maggie! Watch this! Oops. I got potatoes on my shoe..."

"Can I get my drink?"

"In the bath my hair looked different. Like black almost. But it's when I was a baby cause now when-"

"Look at my sandwich now," eyebrows raised. "A carrot and a goldfish!"

"LIAM'S MOM! This one time I was at my friend's house and his house is like here," gesturing wildly. "And mine is here so-"

"I can't even hold Pepper. She's so HEAVY!"

"Please can I get my drink?"

"My cat died. And now we have another cat but she doesn't like me and see on my arm where she scratch-"

"Then I got poison ivy and there was some right here on my lip. See?" Face smooshed uncomfortably close to mine. "Right there. But then it went away and-"

"What's that? Apple? Can I taste?"

"Mama, see that girl in the red shirt? That's-"

"But I never even see him because-"

"This milk is nasty. Do you like milk? Do you want this one? It's nasty."

"I need to go get my drink!!!"

"Will you open this?"

"We call him Ducky. Get it? Like Duck-ee? Hahahahahaha!!! Duck-"

"Taste these chips. Please? Just one. Here," hand shoved in my face. "Taste this one."

"Miss Maggie? Will you play with me on the playground?"

"YOU'RE COMING TO THE PLAYGROUND?!?"

"Can I sit by you?"

"Will you play with me?"

"We play dinosaurs and I'm a velociraptor because they're the fiercest and...LIAM'S MOM!!! Do you want to be a dinosaur?!"

It was NON-STOP conversation! Of course, conversation at the kindergarten table means twenty five-year-olds with food in their mouths all talking at the same time. And gesturing! And spitting food! And grabbing my arm! And since five-year-olds can be hard to understand on a good day, let alone in a loud lunch room with food in their mouths, I would be surprised if I understood half of what they wanted me to hear. Which honestly didn't seem to bother them a bit. I think they were just happy to have me there. And the feeling was completely mutual.

Although next time I'll be packing a P B and Xanax in my lunch box. That scene is bananas!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eleven is the new ten.

Bill and I celebrated our 11th anniversary yesterday. That's ELEVEN YEARS of wedded bliss. Or at least nine. Maybe nine and a half.

The entire first year of our marriage was a challenge. And then if you add up all the other off days and fights and times we weren't on the same page and miscommunications and bad moods and annoying habits (like chewing gum like a cartoon secretary - Bill - or acting like the boss of the entire world - me) and times of the month and empty bank accounts and "that look" or "that tone of voice", I'm sure we've got at least another year, year and a half of not so wedded bliss.

But that's the deal, right? In good times and in bad. It's funny. Most married people take those vows but how many of us ever think about them again once the "I dos" have been said? I know I never do. Except for maybe when Bill gets sick. "Fine. I'll get you more juice. But only because I vowed I would." Other than that, they hardly ever cross my mind.

But last night as we snuck out the front door (date night - woohoo!), I suddenly thought, "In good times and in bad..." and realized THIS is one of the good times we promised each other. A night out together, just the two of us, to celebrate our marriage.

Eleven years of choosing each other. Of putting our relationship first. Of growing more into who we are without growing apart from one another. A night to toast our past, our present and our future. Our family...

Yep, definitely one of the good times...

Friday, August 19, 2011

End of an era.

I know today is Friday but it doesn't feel like Friday. No, no, no. This is way too quiet for a Friday. I'm used to Fridays being more like this:
But today it's just me and my baby hanging out in this big quiet house all alone. Okay, it's not really that big. But it feels big today. I think it's all the quiet. Way too quiet for a Friday...

For three-and-a-half years, Friday has been Sia day. From 8:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night, she was a part of our family. Sort of like my Friday daughter. We even had a cheer that we did on Thursday nights. "Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap, S-I-A!" (We pumped our fists and everything!)

From a wee bitty baby (who cried a lot for no reason!) to a four year old little lady, we've watched her grow and change and master all sorts of amazing things over the years. Crawling, eating, walking, talking, potty training, sharing, learning, using her words, making good choices, getting really into bad guys and Spider-Man...the good, the bad, the ugly, you name it.

But today, instead of being with me, she's at school. Like a big girl. Because just like all the little people in my life, she's growing up. And that's just the way it happens.

After her first day of preschool on Monday she called Liam to tell him all about it. Her Friday brother. Her best friend. Such a bond those two have. Hopefully they always will...

(I think they will.)

I'm so proud of the girl she's become and excited for her next step.

And for mine.

Because I'm growing up, too. We all are. And that's just the way it happens.

We love you, Sia! And we're so thankful you're in our lives...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dark clouds and silver linings.

In my boys' book Zen Shorts, there is a story within the story that goes something like this:
A man's horse runs away. Everyone in his village is like, "Aw, man. That sucks!" The man says, "Maybe."

The horse comes back and brings two more horses with him. Everyone is like, "Woohoo!" The man says, "Maybe."

The man's son tries to ride one of the new horses and it throws him to the ground and he breaks his leg. Everyone: "Bummer!" Man: "Maybe."

Army recruiters come through town to draft young men for war. They can't take the man's son because of his broken leg...
You get the drift.

I couldn't help but think about this story the other day when something (potentially) great happened as a result of something (possibly) terrible.

Several weeks ago our stroller was stolen from our front porch. It was the stroller I bought when I was pregnant with Liam after many trimesters of research and I loved it. It was orange! And different! And the most expensive baby item I've EVER had the balls to buy!

Cool orange stroller, $350. (Adorable baby not for sale.)

Naturally I was a little bummed when it disappeared. But it was getting up there in years and we had talked once or twice about getting ourselves a running stroller. Maybe this was a good opportunity for us to get Finn his very own ride?

So I hopped on Craigslist to see what was out there but nothing really caught my eye. I trolled around online a bit but every site was showing me the same thing: strollers are expensive. Suddenly I was pissed. Why did I have to shell out the big bucks for a new stroller when I already had a perfectly good one that I loved? Or at least I did before some butt head stole it from me. Who does that anyway? As charming as it would be to picture a desperate young mother doing whatever she had to do to take care of her baby, I was pretty sure my stroller was in the hands of someone much less savory. Like a scrap metal picker or a crack whore. I mean, yes, it would be slightly entertaining to see this person cruising down the street with my Bumbleride Flyer, but it still ticked me off.

I checked Craigslist again (like you do...) and then gave eBay a shot. Sure, I'd have to pay shipping but it might be worth it if I could find a really good deal. But it had been a while since I bought anything auction-style and I felt a little rusty. I needed to get my juices flowing. So I found a stroller that no one had bid on and typed in the minimum price. No research, no shopping around, just a starting bid to get warmed up.

I learned this technique from my parents. It's how they accidentally bought a slot machine at an auction when I was a kid. They were practice-bidding so that when the snow tires they really wanted came up, they'd be ready. But no one outbid them so, cha-ching!, we had a slot machine in our living room. You would think I'd learn the opposite lesson from that one but this was eBay not some crappy casino auction. Apples and oranges, baby. Apples and oranges...

I imagine you're not terribly surprised that I won the stroller. Bummer? Maybe. But at least it wasn't a slot machine.


By the time the stroller showed up at my house and I finally figured out how to inflate the damn tires (a saga of epic proportions), I had almost completely forgotten about all the ups and downs it took to get me here. I actually really liked my new stroller. It was a super-smooth ride and the sun shade could be adjusted, something I always wished my Bumbleride could do. Maybe this wasn't so bad after all?

And then something incredible happened. I went for a run. Okay, maybe it was more of a run/walk but there was definitely running involved. You guys - I haven't run in years. Could it be that all I needed was the right equipment? I mean, I do like to dress the part you know. Maybe the scrap picking crack whore who stole my stroller gave me the gift of fitness in return? What seemed like a costly infringement on my personal property might just have been the greatest thing to happen to my cardiovascular health since I was able to get to Zumba every week (Finn hates the Y). Maybe now that I had a running stroller I could become an actual runner?!

My heart says yes; my knees say maybe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First day of Kindergarten.

Remember that bird bath? It's a little hard to see with Liam towering over it like that but it's the very same one he used to stand on tiptoe to peer into. Yes, I know. Seems hard to imagine now...

Today is his first day of Kindergarten. Real school. His first big step out of our nest. The beginning of the end... All of it.

But, you know what? It was actually pretty great. We all got up and out the door on time. We had lovely weather for our walk to school. Liam saw one of his best buddies as soon as we arrived. He led us to his classroom, put his fancy new backpack in his cubby, sat down with kids he knew and started stringing plastic beads onto what I can only imagine will be a yarn necklace for his mother. We said goodbye, he said goodbye...the whole thing was surprisingly easy-peasy.

And after our "boo hoo" parents' breakfast (where we didn't even cry!), we caught a glimpse of him in the library, sitting with his class looking very handsome and attentive and like he was exactly where he needed to be. In Kindergarten. Real school. I couldn't have felt more proud if I tried.

I love you, big boy. And now that you have your own life and "job" and circle of friends, I will try really hard to let your business be YOUR business. Liam's World will be for family and friends only (so let me know if you want an invite!) and I will try to keep the sharing and bragging about you on this website to a minimum. This is going to be REALLY hard for me. You're just such an incredible person and I know you have a lot to teach this world. You've already inspired more people in your short five-and-a-half years than some people do in their entire lives. What can I say? You're one of the greatest people I've ever met in my entire life.

Okay, now I'm crying. I should have quit while I was ahead...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

One.

I can't believe my baby is a year old. I go in between feeling like he was just born to not being able to remember a time he wasn't here...

We celebrated on Sunday with a backyard party which sort of seemed like a good idea at the time (sure, it'll be hotter than a hot day in hell but we can't not have a party - it's Finn's FIRST BIRTHDAY!!!) but in all actuality it turned out to be super fantastic/not fun at all.

The super fantastic part was the people. The party was good too, but oh my gosh, do we have some great folks in our life. And the kids? Wow. Is there anything better than looking up and seeing this in the corner of your own backyard?

Amazing, right? But look closely. Do you see Finn anywhere on that trampoline? Of course you don't. Because babies don't really like trampolines. Or lots of people hanging out in their backyard. Or margaritas. They can't run and play or hit a pinata or chat with their neighbors. They don't appreciate a pot luck. In fact, the whole concept of a party is pretty much lost on a baby. Which is fine. Most things are sort of over their heads. But when the party is for the baby? Well, in retrospect, it all seems a bit silly.

Especially because Finn was just not in the mood. You know the whole, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to, thing? Yeah. That was pretty much his M.O. the entire day.

He'd had a cold or something earlier in the week so he was still a little sniffly. And then, because he could sense something fun was going to happen, he refused to nap ALL DAY. ("What? You expect me to just go to sleep and miss out? Yeah right.")

I'm fine. *cough, cough* No, really. *sniffle* Look...I'm smiling!

By the time the party rolled around he was like, "So...it's like a million degrees out here and I'm being eaten alive by mosquitoes and I clearly have a runny nose which is totally embarrassing so, yeah, you guys enjoy this little shindig and I'm just gonna head on up to bed. That cool? I mean, you guys look like you got this. Right?"

I was like, "But Finn! This is your first birthday! Look, baby - there are all these people here who love you and we all want to watch you eat some cake. Okay? Yeah? Okay!"

Seriously? This cake is tragic. AND there's a fly on it.

Ooooh, fire...

Oh, what the heck...

Hmmm, not bad.

You guys!? There is cake IN MY EYE. My eye!!!

Silly humans...

Anyway, despite me not taking my baby into account AT ALL when choosing how to celebrate the day of his birth, we still had a really nice day. And scattered here and there throughout were moments of pure magic.

Nothing we had planned of course. But isn't that how it always is?

Happy first birthday, sweet boy! We love you sooooo much and are beyond thrilled that you're in our family. And don't worry - we won't make you have another party for at least another year...

Take THAT first birthday party!!

Oh, and just to redeem myself a bit, here's a picture of one of the cupcakes that accompanied Finn's hilariously home-made cake.

Much cuter, right? The party was semi-ocean themed. Like fish Finn? Get it? Anyway. I thought it was adorable...