Thursday, August 29, 2013

why I won't watch the news

I used to love the news. Looked forward to 6pm so I could get all caught up on what was going on.  When I was a kid, I remember watching the local and world news almost every weeknight.  Always ABC.  World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.  His death in 2005 made me sadder than I would have expected, but it's because I associated his voice with a part of my youth.

As an adult, the local news became more interesting to me.  I wanted to know what was going on in my community. I follow the local ABC news station on Facebook and receive notifications of breaking news from their app on my phone.  But I don't watch the news anymore.  I'm more than a little embarrassed to admit that I don't know what's going on in the world.  I don't much care to listen to politicians arguing. Truthfully, I just can't do it. Not when the kids are awake.  Theo especially is to a point where he is really, really listening.  Questioning.  Thinking.  I choose to preserve his (and Dexter's) innocence and faith in people for a while longer.  I don't want to answer their inquiries about why someone shot his wife or what rape means.  Why someone would kill a baby or rob a bank.

A snippet of today's local headlines?
 - Vandals topple headstones in Southern Indiana
 - Police say man drilled into his own head
 - Truck crashes into home, driver flees
 - PD: 2 escape juvenile detention center; armed and dangerous

No. Thank. You.

The boys understand that there are "bad guys" and police are here to help us if we are in trouble.  For now, that's all they need to know.  Can we please have a kid-friendly newscast?  Like positive things people are doing for each other and fun events going on around the city?  Yeah...I'm sure someone's gonna get right on that.

Do you watch the news with your kids?


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

these last two weekends

This past weekend, my mom visited for a few days. It was so, so nice to have her here and not really have anything planned to do. She read lots of "Cat in the Hat" and "Sam I Am" (like both books, every night... and she was here 4 nights) and made lots of no-bake cookies.  Yumm - best thing ever. We ate pizza and visited bookstores and chatted about finances and childcare and how this parenting business is harder than I expected on all kinds of levels.  Grown up business.  Oh, mama.  Then after those wonderful 4 days, she packed back up and went back to Tennessee.  The next time we see her will be in October when we all meet up in Florida for vacation.  Wee!!

The weekend before last, my best friend and her girlfriend came for a visit.  My best friend and I decided about a year ago that too much time was slipping by between our visits.  There's nothing I'd love more than to have her living down the street.  I long for the kind of friendship here where my friend loves my kids (almost) as much as I do and I wouldn't hesitate for one second to ask them to watch the boys.  Even better, if she lived here, I know she would ask me when she could watch the boys. Alas, she lives 4 hours away so we have to settle for occasional visits.  For the past year, we've set up quarterly visits and it's working.  She comes here in Jan, Feb, or March.  I go there in April, May, or June.  And so on... so far, so good.  I love seeing my best friend but even more, I love seeing her with my boys and seeing how much they love her.

It was bittersweet watching them leave. Theo and I were outside playing in the sandbox and when they backed out, Theo watched them until their car disappeared down the road with a sad little frown on his face.  I asked him what was wrong and thought his eyes would well up with tears.  It was oddly sad to see how much he loves someone that is not family - but the beauty of it is that he doesn't even realize that.  The strengths and weaknesses in relationships are magnified with the addition of children.  It's true - kids change EVERY thing. Every single thing.  Some friendships I had before have all but gone away while others have blossomed.  Priorities change.  A real friend realizes that and accepts it for what it is.  Might not be late night 3 hour long phone calls anymore.  Might be a text at 6:30 am just to say hello.

My friends planned their visit - okay, I planned their visit - around an annual festival here called WAMMfest (Wine, Art, Microbrews, and Music).  My favorite thing is shopping all the local artisans' booths for one-of-a-kind treasures.

We all got mugs from one of the local pottery artists, Fatty Frogs Pots (please support local businesses and check out her etsy page).

Emily, the bff, enlightened me that this year marks 20 years since we met. Doesn't seem like either of us should be old enough to have had a friend for that long because one thing's for sure, we weren't in diapers when we met.  

We discovered that an abandoned wagon (the boys and Ryan went home for a nap) makes the perfect coffee table. 

20 years in the making and still going strong!

The day was gorgeous. Perfect. No other way to describe it. 

We ran into a friend of mine and her family and spent the last hour or so hanging out with them.  And you know, snapped this pic before I realized it looked like I was nursing my friend's baby.  He was actually just passed out asleep...but yeah.  AWK-WARD.  P.S. The observant reader might notice that I changed clothes mid-festival.  Yes. That's because I dumped a bucket of parmesan garlic butter down the front of that pink & blue striped dress, which, coincidentally belongs to the friend pictured here (holding Dexter).  Luckily Ryan came back with the boys - and a dress. 

All in all, our weekends have been pretty fantastic lately.

Now if I could just figure out a way to get my mom AND my bff a lil' closer....


a blast from the past: things Theo said

Woweeee, I just looked at my drafts and found this list of cute things Theo was February 2012, just before his second birthday. I'd forgotten about a lot of them and it's remarkable to realize how much his vocabulary and ability to pronounce things has grown in the last year and a half.  He talks like a 6 year old now and rarely mispronounces things.  When he does, I savor it.  The only things I can think of right now, off the top of my head, are "bane-dane" (band-aid) and "read the constructions" (instead of instructions).  I'm sure there are others, but I'll have to think about it and make a list. Need to make a list for Dexter too!

As a refresher, here's how Theo looked a year and a half ago...

versus today (literally today...he's sick with a fever)

And here are a few cute things Theo was saying a year and a half ago...

"Whoozat name?" (whenever he wanted to know what something was or what someone's name was).

"I hit mommy in the face.  Agaiiiiin."  (NICE, son.)

"Go to Angie's house? I so happy!"
"Go to playground? I so happy!"
"Get a new toy? I so happy!"
"Go to store? I so happy!"

Kanket. Two kankets.  Cars Blankie. Too. (I remember him adding "too" as a separate sentence to MANY things that he said).

Mommy do it.

Talkin' bout

How bout?

E-O's room

Be right back.

I'll cwean it up.

daddy wook. mommy here. desser here. (Daddy at work, mommy here, and Dexter here... clearly when I worked third shift, this is kind of sad! I miss our together days).

What cute things are your toddlers saying these days?


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

weigh to stay: 7 months in

See previous posts about my weight loss and maintenance by clicking HERE.

I have been at my goal weight (a loss of 24-27 lbs, depending on the day) since about May? June?  It's been a couple of months and I am still maintaining.  I'm very grateful for this, which makes it sound like it's something given to me and not something I'm working for.  Sometimes I feel that way though, some days it's easier than others to follow the rules and do what I'm supposed to do.  One thing I've always said though, is that I cannot and will not diet in a way that I can't maintain.  That's why I don't do trendy fad diets.  For me, there's only one path to success. Diet and exercise. And when I say diet, I don't mean South Beach or Adkins (see, I don't even know what the current fads are). I mean the foods that I choose to eat, that's my "diet." Or eating lifestyle.  Some days are smarter and better than others.

Some days I totally indulge and throw the plan out the window, but I always make up for it and I always get back on track. That's one thing I'm learning to do, finally, after all this time of having my weight go up and down. And up and down again.  I have to get back on track when I fall off of the wagon.  Just because I know there is an event coming up where I know I will go overboard, the most important thing to remember is to live in moderation leading up to and following that event. Wedding Cake. Birthday Cake. Mom's in town so we're having cookies. It's okay to enjoy food and life!  I certainly don't have to be miserable to eat right.  It's fun and a challenge, even, to find healthy foods I enjoy.  The Hungry Girl cookbooks are great for this.  While I do feel like I'm experiencing some success, I'm very well aware of the fact that I've only actually maintained my goal weight/size for a couple of months and that it doesn't take long to put it back on.  What are some tips you have for sustained weight loss?

Here I am with my BFF on 8/17/2013.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

tuesday night friends

The boys continue asking to see their former babysitter, her husband, and their son.  So, we happily oblige by inviting them over for a cookout / playdate once every few weeks.  I think all the boys (and us girls) enjoyed the company, the cool breeze, and some yummy burgers, pasta salad, and ice cream cones. 

The big kids enjoyed the ice cream too - despite the deer-in-headlights look you see here.

 There was a chill in the air that made it feel like October instead of August and reminded me that time is running out for this type of get-together.  At least for this year.  Soon it will be getting dark well before bedtime and we'll be bundling up in jackets and hats.  Until then, we're gonna squeeze every last drop out of summer.  


Sunday, August 11, 2013

the post with too many titles

There were just too many choices.


a feeling i'll never forget.

just like that, he was gone.

thoughts i never thought i'd think.

Or simply put:

that time i lost my kid.

The list could go on and on but what it boils down to is that Theo slipped away from us at the mall on Friday night.  It seems like every parent with adult children has a story to tell about that one time their child ran off.  My mom has one of those stories.  Ryan's mom has one of those stories.  If genetics had anything to do with it (they don't), it was only a matter of time.

We were sitting inside a Simon mall playground - you've seen them, they have that half wall that goes all the way around. It was time to go, if we wanted to get the boys in bed at a decent time.  Looked at my phone, it was 7:23.  I was putting Theo's shoes on and Ryan, Dexter, and our nephew Spencer were standing outside of the playground. Theo was being silly, talking like a baby for reasons unknown to me, saying "Dada! Deh-der! Sen-cer! Pease don't weave me!"  I looked up at Ryan, 20 feet from me, bounced Theo off of my lap onto the floor and gave him an off-you-go kind of pat on the butt and said "hurry! Catch up to daddy!"  Ryan was in plain, direct sight, just outside of the playground walking to the left of entrance.  I stood up and turned around to grab my purse and shopping bag and mindlessly walked out of the play area looking ahead to Ryan.

just like that, he was gone. 

As I caught up to Ryan, he turned and we both looked around. Our eyes met and we both said, "Where's Theo?"

Instantly, we both set off in opposite directions, lapping the playground and scanning the area for his little body.  Ryan went outside and I ran over to the change-operated rides nearby.  We continued doing this dance for a couple of minutes. My mind was racing, but my body was calm. At this point, I was thinking he couldn't be too far away.  But I didn't know which way he went and as more and more time passed, my thoughts were getting more frantic.  I pictured him. Was he running? Walking?  Was he scared?  Did he even realize he'd lost us?  I realized quickly that wherever he was, he was getting further away.  Ryan was frantically searching in every nearby store as I stayed closer to the play area.  At least five minutes had passed and it hit me hard that this is not working.  We need help.  Now. I went to Guest Services.

The 16 year old blonde with braces eventually looked up at me from her iPhone and before she could get the words "can I help you" out, I said "we've lost our 3 year old son. We need help."  She immediately jumped out of her seat and grabbed a radio.  She asked for a description and was writing it down as she described him to someone on the other end.  Within moments, a security guard was at the desk calling out Theo's description and commanding that all mall entrances be covered.  It was a surreal feeling to hear him say those words.

"We've got a missing three year old white male, brown hair and brown eyes, last seen at the playground wearing orange shorts, a white t-shirt, and gray and blue tennis shoes. Repeat..."

I couldn't stand there another minute. I asked if they needed anything else from me. They took my phone number and said they'd call if he was located, and ask that I let them know if we found him. I took off, back down the corridor towards the playground. I crossed paths with Ryan, who'd been looking for him in every store in that part of the mall.  He handed me Dexter and the shopping bags he'd been carrying and said he was going to start running.  Too much time had gone by. We were both frantic. Our nephew just kept repeating, "this is not good. This is scary. This is bad. This is so sad."  Dexter kept asking me "what happened?" and "where is Theee-dore?"

Oh, the thoughts I never thought I'd think.

I went outside.  There's a fountain and patio area just outside that entrance near the playground. Theo loves that fountain.  I circled the fountain, looking for his little body in the water.  I scanned across the parking lot as far as I could see.  What if he's gone?  What if he's kidnapped?  What if we have to leave here without him?  What if I never see him again?  What if.

All of the sudden, a police car pulled up right in front of where I was standing and pacing. I ran over and as he was getting out of his car, I said "we've lost our son. He's three - " and before I could say anything else, he put his hand on my shoulder and said that he knew and that's why he was there.  As the words were coming out of my mouth, I burst into tears.  This was really happening.  Now the police are involved.  I walked back towards the mall, with the officer by my side.  Tears were streaming down my face and I began to sob.  We entered the mall and I heard the best sound in my life.

Across the officer's radio, "can you call the mother? We've got little Theo here at guest services."  I'll never forget that moment.  I went into a full-on ugly cry.

It was a feeling I'll never forget.

I took off towards the service desk and almost ran into Ryan as he darted across the mall, Spencer with him. I slurred something to him that he didn't understand because he kept going so I motioned to him and somehow he understood that Theo had been found.  He sprinted to the service desk and was holding Theo when I got there.  I felt like my body could collapse when he was passed into my arms.  It was a reunion like none I've ever experienced.  I squeezed him and cried even harder than ever before, saying over and over "I was so scared, I love you so much."  I heard the policeman say "I don't think mom's ever gonna let him go." And he was right. I didn't ever want to stop hugging him or feeling him against me. I wanted to smell his hair and breathe in everything that was real about my little boy.

Two kind ladies said they found him standing in front of Sephora, about 250 feet from the playground. As many times as we ran up and down that corridor, I don't know how we missed him.  They said he was calling out for us and they took him to the service desk.  THANK goodness for those ladies.  It made me wonder how many people saw him, knowing he was probably lost, and didn't say or do anything.  As we were leaving the mall, I looked at my phone.  7:45.  He was out of our sight and our arms for about 20 minutes and it felt like 100 years.

It was terrifying and traumatic.  Theo did not want to talk about it afterwards or the next day.  We had to drive by the mall Saturday and I felt a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat as I remembered the raw vulnerability I felt there the night before. I thought about the what ifs.  What if he still wasn't home? What if it had turned out differently?  What if, what if, what if.  What if we weren't so lucky?  As horrible as it was, it's a learning experience. It's heightened our sensitivity to make sure that the other knows when one of us is sending a child to them.  To make sure we can see them at all times.  It's a feeling I don't ever want to forget, because as long as I remember how I felt that night, I will never take having my babies in my arms for granted.  We are so lucky.

This boy.

The one that drives us absolutely insane with his antics.  He's home. He's safe. He's snoozin' away in his comfy bed.  Him and his baby brother are our everything and I don't know what we'd do if that changed.

We celebrated the every day ordinary on Saturday morning with donuts.  And Sunday, we spent the day relaxing at the lake. Soaking up all the normal, cute, funny, brilliant moments that these two bring to our lives.

feeling thankful,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

smooth sailin' today

I was mostly worried for Dexter today because he's really never been away from Theo, but especially since he's been old enough to know what's going on in the world around him. For example, his brother going to an ultra cool new preschool while he returns to the babysitter. Alone.

There were no tears this morning.  None from Dexter, none from mommy or daddy, and certainly zilch-o from Theo.  He was pumped to get to school and get to playing.

And that he did.

When I picked him up, they reported that he was wonderfully behaved, kept very busy, and had them in stitches with his humor.  Couldn't ask for a better report than that.  Ms. Darcy, one of his teachers, said that during circle time, they were teaching the new/little ones about raising their hand before speaking. This is new to him, as he's never been in this kind of structured classroom setting.  Ms. Darcy said that after being instructed, Theo did raise his hand to speak one time, but did not feel that it was necessary subsequent times. She said he kept saying "but I already DID raise my hand."  ha.  

Ready to play.  See ya, mom and dad!!
I can't wait to see how much he learns and grows from this new experience.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

pre-school's eve and a fun-filled weekend

Tomorrow, Theo starts pre-school.  Up until 2 months ago, I hadn't really planned on sending him.  Our long-time babysitter decided to close so we were forced to come up with an alternative.  Nothing felt perfect until we stepped foot inside the Montessori school just down the street.  We feel so lucky because it's only a few minutes away and there are parents that drive a long way there so that their children can attend.  We loved it, we signed up, then almost 2 months went by.  That feeling that I had when we were there the first time faded over time.

Friday it came back. Hard.  We attended a New Student Open House and let me tell you.  Theo is obsessed.  He had never been there until Friday night.  He was excited to go because we'd been telling him all about it - how there's a huge sandbox and how he gets to take turns setting the table for lunch and so on.  Well the open house was from 6-8 and we pretty much spent that entire time there. He didn't want to leave.  When we did finally pry him away, he ran up to his teacher and declared that he would see her next week when mommy and daddy were going to drop him off "for a loooooong day!"

Monday night was the Parent Orientation.  Wellllll. Maybe Theo thought that was the LOOONG day, but it turned out to be a short hour. He was not happy when we told him it was time to go.  So he did what any ballistic threenager would do and threw the most embarrassing fit in all history of fits.  "YOU SAID I COULD STAY FOR A LOONG DAY AND YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO LEAVE ME HERE! I'M STILL PLAYING. LEAVE MOMMY!!!"


In front of all the other parents and classmates and, oh yeah, the teachers.  One smiled encouragingly and said, "well at least he's not crying because he doesn't want to come."  Heh heh, yeah.  In the meantime, my face was probably 56.8 million shades of red.  Needless to say, he's very excited to go to school tomorrow. The first week is half days so he doesn't have to take his lunch - that may be a problem because he's already insisting on taking edamame, grapes, and chicken.  Okay, kid.  Don't worry, we'll be sure to have every last thing we need to make his first full day perfect.

Saturday we went to the state fair for some fun and Sunday we had Ryan's work summer picnic at the Colts' practice facility.  Lots of fun for the boys (and just as much or more for this mommy and daddy too!).

Here's what it looked like:

Mapping out our route.
My posed pictures are terrible.  Like every time.  But this is obligatory!  We've done some version of this pic since Theo was a baby.

Do all boys love tractors?  Or is that just an Indiana boy thing?

That moment when your 3 year old realizes he didn't get his own 20 oz. milkshake.

There's a really cool animation exhibit this year.

My favorite - the chicks and bunnies barn.  Also known as the Poultry Barn.

The best of many failed attempts...

Watching the Monster Truck Rally from afar.  I'm still mad at myself for not making sure we made it to the show. They loved it from 10 miles away so I'm sure they would've had a blast in the stands.


You better believe we were the first ones to eat!

Funky, funky dance moves.  Poor, poor, awkward boy.

Snuggling up with some pretty Colts cheerleaders.
Theo had to make sure she spelled his name correctly. 

Again. Fail.

Hi there.
 The end.