Thursday, August 30, 2007

i do have a life.

So last time I told you all about my son Ben’s life. I do have a life. I did have a life.

And it happened a few weekends ago. In fact, I flew on an airplane all by myself a couple weeks ago. That’s right, folks. No sippy cups. No fruit snacks. No Matchbox cars. No airplanes. No wipies. No diapers. Nothing remotely resembling the fact that I have a two year old boy. Other than my easy cotton tee, favorite jeans with hole in knee, and very minimal makeup. Which – by the way – is a rarity, but felt it was somewhat necessary given that it was 5 a.m. and I didn’t get any shut eye until 1 a.m. Don’t ask.

Being “Benless”, you might think that I felt naked without my “permanent accessory”. Seriously. I am glad that it was a busy weekend with traveling, driving, rehearsal dinner, wedding day, etc. otherwise I might feel like I was forgetting something ALL DAY LONG. I know you all hate that feeling when you feel like you’re forgetting something and you *JUST – CAN’T – PUT – YOUR – FINGER – ON – IT.*

And I know that if I had to remind myself every five minutes that I was not, in fact, forgetting anything, but it was just that Ben wasn’t with me – I just might feel like:

1. An absolute ditz
2. An even bigger ditz explaining myself to anyone that might think I look confused.
3. An incompetent fool thinking that I could actually imagine forgetting my child. (It still boggles me that when I lived in PHX – the news did report from time to time people actually forgetting to drop their child off at day care and going to work, and leaving their child in the car – under the hot, HOT desert sun. The outcome was not good. I mean, seriously, does your kid talk!? It’s virtually impossible to get Ben to not talk. Or are you just that spaced out?!)
4. An old lady – feeling incomplete without my son! (I mean, come on, I’m a person too!)

Note: why does it seem that lately, I think in bullet points? No single sentence in my mind lately even resembles a paragraph. Sad. Must do something about that.

Back to the point. I had a wonderful weekend…seeing old friends again, and seeing a good friend and Ben’s babysitter get married. It was great, too, upon arriving Clovis, quickly entering/exiting billeting room to change out of travel clothes, and be asked to be the “stand in” bride at rehearsal. It was an honor, as ragged as I looked/felt and quite strange. And it made me think about a lot. Made me think of our wedding day and just how in a short 3 years time, how things change. Good and bad, I guess.

1. How you learn to love so much more.
2. How irreplaceable that person becomes more and more.
3. How to agree to disagree.
4. How to accept a brutal opinion from the one you love most. (still learning that one)
5. How “iron sharpens iron”
6.How invested you really are.

1. How afraid of the night you become again.
2. How you feel out of sorts when that person is away.
3. How worried you become when you’re apart that something tragic should happen.
4. How it’s easy to get complacent in a relationship.
5. How difficult it becomes to remain a whole person when you have each other.

Attending the wedding reminded me how the love you vowed when you got married differ pretty grossly to the love that you had to learn along the way. I see why it is so important to “save the date” in heart and mind, because there will many times where you feel so far from that first day of love.

In such a short time so far, it really amazes me that things change so much. You work your whole first quarter of a life becoming an independent person, and thinking, feeling, trying on your own, and then you gain a partner for life that has been working on doing the same thing.

It was very strange coming and going as I pleased, going to the gym at my leisure, meeting a couple friends for lunch, without having to stop talking/listening every minute to tend to Ben. Or call Rob and let him know where I was. Geez, no wonder mamas look lost all the time. Having a child is almost like having a commercial break every minute. “We interrupt this program, I mean, somewhat intelligible conversation to bring you an important message, I mean, your child needs something…NOW….” Oh where was I?

Overall, it was a nice, short weekend that was a time of joy for close friends, a chance for me to reminisce, and a time of reflection in myself triggered by the momentous occasion in other people’s lives.

Enclosed are a few pictures of the weekend that I had a life:

don't ask. a picture is worth a thousand words. a few bridal shower games.

molly and me. the beautiful bride and the lady who feels like she is forgetting something.

the bride and her 'maids.

molly and jonathan.

our gift to the bride and groom. a very large afghan the size of our living room floor rug.

our old squadron and an airplane Rob loves. our old squadron ceases to exist, because the base is transforming from an F-16 base to a spec ops base from FL.

Friday, August 17, 2007

RE-POing the recalled.

There are days that I have thought to myself that Ben doesn’t have enough toys. I would feel guilty….at times, because my son would rather go to someone else’s house to play than to play at home.

I would internalize thoughts from only sound and logical reasoning (really) such as:

1. He only wants to play at other people’s houses because of their toys.
2. He doesn’t like his toys.
3. I don’t provide enough entertainment for him.
4. I’m not good enough.
5. I’m not a good mama.

See how I came to this natural conclusion?! (laced with heavy sarcasm)

Then I would swing the pendulum of thought back the other way – defending myself and Ben’s lack of toys:

1. Well, it will just make him appreciate toys more, if he doesn’t have a lot of them.
2. Well, when he goes over to his friend’s house, he plays with the same toy. (ie. Mack the Truck, and all the Disney CARS that go in to them). Marvin: for the record it’s from the Disney movie, Cars. Voices: Owen Wilson, some other people. That’s all I can think of. I hate the movie, by the way.
3. He needs to have an imagination anyway.
4. We make fun crafts that require a LOT (and I mean *a lot*) of imagination…

For instance: This is an astronaut – that we made. Don’t you dare tell him otherwise.

FYI: It’s not these things:
1. a toilet paper roll
2. part of an egg carton
3. aluminum foil
4. a couple Q-tips
5. plastic mouthpiece from a birthday party blower.

Have I mentioned that it is an astronaut? Because we’re learning the letter A.

This is a school bus that we made. It is a school bus.

FYI: It’s not:
1. a wardrobe box
2. yellow spray paint
3. black spray paint

Got it?

This is an insect. Because we’ve also learned the letter I.

FYI: it is not these things:
1. part of an egg carton
2. googly eyes (yes that is what they are called on the packaging). My husband also has these – for lovely ol’ me!
3. pipe cleaners

And as of very lately, and for once in my critical head – can I just remark that I am so glad that Ben doesn’t have a lot of toys?

Q: And why is that?
A: This silly toy recall!

I don’t have to sort out toys.
I don’t have to explain to my kid that he can’t play with a certain toy anymore. (That explanation is still reserved for when he’s been naughty.)
I don’t have to arrange for replacements/reimbursements.

Can I also say that I am glad that I am not:
1. China
2. Mattel
3. Fisher Price
4. And Sarge (yes from the movie CARS). That poor car was the only car recalled out of ALL the Cars characters!

Note to all readers: I hope that my friends who read this know that I am just “funnin’” around, and I am SO glad that I have friends that have fun kids and fun toys, because it makes it so much easier to converse with another adult! (Wendy – you know what I mean!) And Wendy, for the record, because my son loves your house, your son, your daughter, and you so much, I would be willing to use my energies, and help you sort through your toys for our kiddos’ “healthy tomorrows”! And I would even bring you over a Coke and bagel while we do it!

And by the way – It’s all China’s fault! So there.

Monday, August 13, 2007

a day in the life?

I have found out that when you have a child or more – there is no average "day in the life". But, a while back a few friends posted their own days in the life. And after thinking about these differences in our lives – I have realized that there is no normal "cross section" of a full time parent. While I will not write this down in a time by time format – I admit there aren't many time deadlines to meet with a 2 year old boy. (ie. he starts melting down, it is time to go home for a nap!)Case in point: Last Thursday was the best/worst day of my life.

Morning: It started out great. (this is the last time you will hear me say that.) I went to my friend Wendy's house for a play date. I had a couple errands to run in town, and after chatting with her, she offered to let me run a quick trip to Wal-Mart. You don't turn up those offers! I also planned to pick up McD's on the way back. While I was in Wal-mart, I decided to buy some Lightning McQueen underwear for him. It had been on my mind for a while, and it was then that I grabbed them.

Noon time: The rest of it is all history. Pick up happy meals, feed the kiddos, go home – time for nap. My son has a very sensitive gag reflex – so much so that when he chokes on something – up comes everything! This is what happened that day. He was eating his apples from McD's on the way home, choked, and "un-ate" everything (a new term that Rob and I have coined.)
A major mess. I pull over on the side of the road, strip him down, get rid of everything I can, and press on home. It was such a mess taking apart the car seat and washing it all.

Mid-afternoon: Ben naps. Ahh. Not sure what I did. I probably worked on the one of the seven (yes – SEVEN) little girl cardigans I am making for friends. See picture. They are paying me, and no you can't have one. At least not right now. Not until I catch up. FYI: They can be made for girls sizes 1, 2, 4, 6.

Late/mid afternoon: Still trying to reassemble the darn car seat. Working on this project in our bedroom in front of a book case. Talking to Wendy on phone giving play by play events from when I last saw her – a mere few hours ago. Then saying in to the phone: "oh my gosh……" As I was trying to put together the car seat – I spied a lonely Lightning McQueen car that had been wedged between a couple books on the bookcase. It had been lost for almost 5 months. Now I realize that to all you non-parents out there, this is no big deal. But when your kid loses his favorite toy (and he can't remember where he put it and you *swear* you have looked everywhere) – I assure you: This *is* a big deal! Every time Ben "loses" (or "forgets") a toy, I think of all these parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep (how does someone lose a sheep anyway?!), etc. We are currently looking for a Blue Angels Hornet. An airplane for those of you unfamiliar.

Late Afternoon: Ben wakes. I decided I am going to leave the car there, until Ben's dad gets home, because I know he is going to be pretty amused with this serious "breaking news". Don't laugh – it is serious.

Evening: Ben is playing. Ben gets nosy, sticks his nose in to bag. Finds Lightning McQueen underwear. Wants to put them on. Why today. Do I need anymore nonsense? But if a kid wants to put on underwear, you can't really tell him no. So he puts them on. And the poor kid – they don't even stay up! (I have been recently informed that they do, in fact, shrink a great deal). Let's hope so. Picture this: Ben walking around with underwear around his ankles saying, "Mommy underwears falling down". Poor thing.

I begin making dinner, while Ben is running around in his brand new skivvies. I keep reminding him that it's not like a diaper, yada, yada. At some point he runs to me in the kitchen while I am again talking to Wendy again on the phone telling me he needs to go potty. He takes off shorts/said skivvies, and sits on potty. Nothing happens. He then tells me that he wants his diaper on. (still giving live feedback to Wendy). "Wendy, all of a sudden he wants his diaper on….I don't get it." Wendy asks me if he has gone poop today. I tell her yes, but later realized that he hadn't. We get off the phone. I somehow convince Ben to put undies back on. He does. I go back to stove. He comes back, telling me he needs to go potty.

I check on him and he is straining. "Ben, if you don't have to go now, you can try again later." (this is me thinking that he is trying to pee, because he has been known to try to pee, just so he can get a DumDum.) He refuses, and I'm like, whatever. Back at the stove, he runs to me and says he went poop and low and behold, he did. This is the point that I realized he hadn't pooped that morning. You should have seen us do the Poopie Dance! Ben was so excited that I was so excited, and on the poopie celebration went!

Note: Wendy had asked this, because she said sometimes kids want their diaper, when they know they are going to poop. Aha – it was true.

Dinner and beyond: Ben proceeded to pee his pants five minutes after the poop. We ate dinner, Rob came home, he messed some more with the car seat. (I still hadn't assembled it correctly.) And it had to be fixed, because I had been telling Ben for the last week and a half that if he pooped in the potty – we would go get ice cream. After looking for directions, looking on the internet, and to no avail of finding them, Rob finally figured it out. Ben goes behind window curtain, comes out and tells Rob that he peed on his foot. While he made a mistake, he ran to his potty and finished the rest of it.

Final assessments:

Bad things: Ben threw up in car. Ben peed on himself 1.5 times. After the "half" time he went back to the potty and finished.

Good things: Found Lightning McQueen. Ben pooped in potty. We got to eat ice cream. Mommy got out of running on treadmill.

Conclusion: they all needed to happen together for any of the good things to happen.

Final Question: You may be asking, "This is Ben's life. What do you do during your life?!"

Answer: My life happens when Ben's isn't!

It's OK, though, because I love him very much. And he's all mine.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ben's 2 year old photos.

Dear Friends and Family,
I thought I would send you a note with some 2 year old pictures of Ben. I also thought it would be nice to update you on us as well!

We have been here in Mississippi since the beginning of last December, and so far, really enjoy it. We enjoy our home very much – it is truly out in the country – pizza doesn’t even come to our house. I didn’t realize how I might miss that, until it just isn’t an option! And cutting the grass is among the top of the weekly “to do’s” for Rob, as you can’t miss a week or it’s out of control! When we first moved here I said to Rob, “Shouldn’t we get some sprinklers?” (Our last home in NM had underground sprinkling and this house doesn’t.) He just laughed at me. Now I know why! We have an acre of grass, and thanks to Rob’s dad, Jeff, he gave us his old riding lawnmower – which Ben loves to ride with Rob! He calls it a “tractor ride” and tells his dad where to drive it.

As for the summer daze that we’re in the middle of, Ben and I have been enjoying our days together. He loves his playground that Rob and another friend from his work put together. The playground was a gift from Liz, Margaret, and Aileen. And it has gone to some good use. He loves playing in the sandbox and swinging on his belly and sending his trucks down the slide. We have also been taking advantage of the base pool! In my quiet moments – few and far between – I try and get out for runs here and there, but like San Antonio, I drool when I see a treadmill. I just can’t get myself outdoors in this heat. I have also been crocheting a lot, and currently have about 7 little girl cardigans that I have to make for friends. While they are paying me, it tends to be a lot of work. I am just thankful that it is still hot and no one is even thinking about “winter” clothes yet. So I still have time.

As for Rob, he is enjoying instructing. He just graduated two of his classes, so now he has two new classes. He says he is back to being afraid again….but I guess that goes with the territory of having new classes to put through again. J Speaking of flying and heat – I have never cleaned such stinky flightsuits…..apparently the AC in the T-38 is not as nice as the F-16’s – the jet he misses from time to time!

In September, Ben will start at a preschool twice a week. We have recently started to do have some more structure to his mornings. It was so easy for me to forget to do things like that when we don’t have pressing deadlines. Since we have started we both have found out that we enjoy it together, and it really causes me to think of some good crafts that he can do. He can count to from 1 -12 – right before going back to 6 and starting again! He can recognize A, B, C, D, E, F, I, O, P, and sometimes S out of the alphabet. It’s been a lot of fun, now that I have started working more with him. He also loves to play Doctor and he is very good at telling me that “it’s your turn, Mommy. Lay down bed.”

We have gone to Sarasota and Disney World this summer and will be visiting my parents, Mark and Anita the last week in September. We look forward to spending time in Phoenix with them, and then taking a couple days to go to Vegas while Ben stays with his Lolo and Lola. I have recently returned from a wedding back in Clovis, NM – where we were last assigned. It was a nice time, and the boys stayed home. Rob is such a great dad – that he took of 2 days leave to play full time daddy! And they were great. And as my mother-in-law said, I did enjoy my time “unencumbered”. JWe hope that you’re all doing well! And that the rest of the summer ends well as fall quickly approaches!

Jenny, Rob and Ben

patiently waiting.

Patiently waiting….?

Or silently distracting? That has been a recent question on my mind. Are they two separate actions or are they synonymous? A matter of semantics or truly different? I believe that in some way or another, we are all faced with this question, but because of different reasons and seasons.

Many of you know that a while back we were eagerly expecting a second child. And as it would happen, God had different plans for us. While a lot of the healing has taken place, there is still a void, a sadness, a yearning in this area. While we were ending a fun vacation to Florida and traveling home, Rob and I had a *discussion*. Let me preface this first. While we were in Florida with my best friend and roommate from college, she and I decided to do a half marathon in Memphis. At first it began as an innocent conversation, and then minutes later it turned into "yes, let's do it!" Her husband just started a college football coaching job and she really thought it would be a great thing to keep her busy for the times that he was busy getting in to the groove with his new job. And I thought it would be great thing to do with a friend I have been close to for 10 years, and figured, "what the hey?! It would be fun to do while, we are working toward another pregnancy. And the doctor advised waiting a few months anyway before trying again." The race is the first of December, and we wouldn't have to "wait" that much longer to start trying, but I thought to myself that it's only a little longer to wait.

While we're traveling back to Sippi, Rob responds to something I said about the race, "You just baffle me." Over the course of the discussion I realized that my actions were confusing him. He felt that my decision to run in December conflicted with the idea of "trying" again. And in some ways, it really did come across as talking out of both sides of my mouth until I explained some of my feelings. He also felt some concern for my friend, if we did get pregnant before the race, it might have be a disappointment for her. That it would be unfair to a friend. When it came down to it, I told him that it scared me to think about miscarrying again. And in some ways, I thought focusing my attention on something else would relieve me of any pressures or anxiety about trying again. I didn't want to just assume that it would be easy to get pregnant again, or that it was going to come to fruition. He said to me, "What makes you think it's not going to happen again?" I told him it wasn't that I didn't think it was going to happen again, but that I just didn't want to get my hopes up. The next response from Rob really hit me deep, "You're afraid that this will happen again. You can't live in fear."

While I knew he was right, I just thought focusing my attention and keeping busy would help me to "wait patiently" for when the time is right. And when the decision to run was made, it really did seem like a good idea! After confirming circumstances about the race with my dear friend, Emily, and sorting emotions with Rob, it still remains a good idea and a planned event!

But my question to you is this:
Is it really "waiting patiently" if you're busily distracting yourselves with activities, sports, work, etc.? Whether it's a topic of family, children, job, career, Mr. Right, Mrs. Right – where is the healthy balance of just waiting in peace knowing that there is a time for everything and busy spinning to make the time go by faster? Or are they really one in the same thing? Think about the adage: a watched pot never boils! It implies that not watching it will make it boil, right? J
Do you think that sometimes it's necessary to just be able to wait patiently without spinning yourself in other directions?

What are you waiting for in your life right now? What step are you waiting to take? Should you truly just wait patiently or keep you mind occupied?

What do you think?

I did find out that asking myself these questions, helped me really sort out the naked, black and white issues. Rob caused me to think deeper into my sometimes hasty decisions. I have a personality that sometimes requires that I think a little bit more before it reaches my mouth. (My in-laws refer to this as not having a "filter".) I also know that you have to be able to let go of control (NOT ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO) and *let* that time go by…however fast or slow it will.

The run is definitely a "go" and if it turns out that we're pregnant before then, then I consider the race fee to St. Jude's a small donation for a big cause…and a chance to cheer my best friend on!

7 of us gals *waiting patiently* for our "buns" to bake.

the 3 of us - after *waiting patiently* for 9 months to meet each other.

me - after *waiting patiently* for race results.

(hey, when you're tired - all you want to do is get out of there!

not wait for every one else to finish....although that's kinda important.)