My sister and I got our kids together at Mama and Papa’s house this past weekend, in hopes of getting the perfect Christmas Card photo…I’ll let the results speak for themselves.

Needless to say, I want a new camera for Christmas…and also, I’ll be taking more photos this weekend.

The perfect stage ……………………………………………………………………………$11

Feather Boas and ROCKSTAR wigs (post Halloween Sale)……………………………………………………$20

Glow sticks and a dark basement ……………………………………………………………….$6

Having your daughter pass out on the couch at noon after proclaiming, “That was the best birthday party EVER!”……………………………………………………..PRICELESS

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

November 19, 2009

I spent the early morning hours remembering what it was like the day you were born. You were a week overdue and I went in on Monday afternoon for a Non-Stress Test. You were beautiful during the ultrasound, but my amniotic fluid was WAY TOO LOW. We were told to go straight to the hospital. I called Diana so that Bear could spend the night with her and Olivia. Then, I called Aunt Amanda, because she REALLY wanted to be here for your birth. She started the 5 hour drive just as quickly as she could. Your dad, Amanda and I walked the walls of the hospital for hours, trying to convince you that you wanted to come out. I was so excited to see you that sometimes, the walk was really more of a sprint. It was a fun time. By 2 am there was just not enough progress and so we scheduled a C-Section for 6 am the next morning. You were born at 6:19 am…and you were BEAUTIFUL.
You’ve been a joy to watch grow. You never cried as a baby, you had this grunting noise that you would make when you were hungry…and the rest of the time, you were content just to be cute. Also, you might find it hard to believe, but when you were born, your brother loved you SO much. He helped me do everything for you, even change diapers. He wanted to take you with him to preschool every day. It was a beautiful time for all of us.
And now, you’re a bright glowing little girl. Your smile lights up a room. There is nothing more lovely to me than the sound of your giggle. You are very smart. I love to watch you read and do your homework. Your personality is completely engaging. When you are in a good mood and goofy, it’s nearly impossible for anyone around you to feel anything but joy. When you’re in a bad mood….WATCH OUT!
You have certainly developed your own sense of style. I love the different hats you wear, or the decisive effort you put into choosing the “perfect” scarf with your outfit. Ever since you were a toddler, you’ve had a thing for shoes. A trip to Target at that age almost ALWAYS resulted in a trip through the shoe department and a young Bug saying “please, mama” (in fact, you may have signed “Please” before you were able to speak, when you saw the shoes you wanted.) You love shoes. I love watching that you become more confident about the things that you want to wear and do. I can’t wait to see how that continues to change as you get older.
As you continue to grow, I want you to remember a few things. You are very smart. You make excellent decisions. Trust yourself. Always do what’s best for you. The rest of the world will love it or leave it. You are beautiful, just the way you are. Your beauty comes from within. The color of your hair, the size of your clothes, or the labels that you wear, do not make you beautiful or who you are. It’s the light in your eyes, the smile on your face, and the joy in your heart that make you beautiful. Don’t ever forget that. Lastly, find things that make you happy and do them every day. I can see the joy you have when you’re in dance class. I love that you do that. As you grow up, always find something that makes you that happy and make it a priority. It will make you better at every other thing you do.
Happy Birthday, Bug. You’re such a special little girl. You’re growing way too fast. I love you with all of my heart. I hope SEVEN is good to you!
Love, Mom

My Sunday Best

November 17, 2009

This week we went to church (and it had been a few weeks since we’d been) to find that it was Stewardship Sunday. What does this mean? It means they want to talk money. A part of me wanted to crawl under the pew and hide, as money is not a topic I ever have enough of, or ever want to discuss. Add the thrill of paying for an upcoming surgery, still paying off “getting into the house” bills AND birthdays and Christmas all within the next 90 days….I was not UP for this particular sermon.

But when Dr. Elnes started talking, he began with the story about a woman who, a few years previously, had pulled him aside and mentioned that she had significantly upped her donation, as she was that much MORE committed to the church. During this discussion. she let him know that she would like to find more ways to “give” to the church. He found several places that she could find ways to help the church and broaden her community of faith. He went on to say that over that next year, she’d had to make some VERY difficult decisions for her family. Some of the hardest decisions anyone has had to make. But, despite this, over that year, her joy had returned. Her outlook on life increased dramatically.

Bear, who is EXTREMELY attentive during church, leaned over to me and ever so quietly whispered. “Mom, is he talking about you?”

No, son, he wasn’t; but he very well could have been. The last several years may not have been easy, but we have found our joy…and that has been priceless.

Remembering Maddie

November 11, 2009

I never knew Maddie. I have never met Heather and Mike Spohr. But I think of them every day. My heart breaks at never getting to see Maddie become the amazing woman her mother is or the incredible musical talent her father inspires. I check in daily to find out what Heather and Mike have written about their love, their sorrow, and their beautiful little girls. I wait for news on Binky and hope that Heather is weathering this horrible storm ok. I search for news that Mike is persevering.
And so today, on Maddie’s second birthday. I will do my part to help them put other parents who’s babies are born too early at ease. I will help them support NICU babies and their families. I will donate to Friends of Maddie. I will write a letter to Children’s Hospital here in Omaha, NE and let them know about an organization inspired by one of the most beautiful and charming little girls to have ever truly lived.

Happy Birthday, Madeline Alice Spohr. You’ve touched so many people in your short life. You will always be remembered.

I was in Atlanta this week for work. I missed out on time with my kids. Since our meetings went from 7 am to 9 pm, I was really only allowed really short, quick conversations while on the bus on the way to dinner. These trips are always tough, in that regard. But, I look forward to coming home. I look forward to seeing their bright shiny faces and hearing their stories of school and such when I return. Only sometimes, upon seeing me, instead of spending time hugging, loving, and chatting, there is only whining, complaining and complete melt down. I know that this is because they’ve missed me and they need me, but sometimes, after a full day of travel, it’s nearly too much to take.

Last night was no exception. Bug was riding in the back seat complaining about there being no room for her. She was cramped, her legs couldn’t move, she was growing longer but the backseat wasn’t. In a less tired state, I would have had a lot of fun with that belly aching (nothing like poking a little fun at misplaced drama), but all I could say was, “We’ll be home soon, baby…hang tight” Which just prompted more whining. “We’re almost there, bug, only 60 blocks to go” *And the melt down ensued.* Followed shortly by, “I have a headache”. Remarkably, she fell asleep before we passed the 60 blocks to home.

Bear on the other hand was surly. I had a warning to this, as his dad called and mentioned that he should go to bed early. He’d been very crabby that morning and his father took his favorite book and his DS until he returned to his house (5 WHOLE DAYS!!!!) Believe me, WOE was him. He sat in the back, 10 years old, trying not to cry, but his world felt SHATTERED. I felt bad for him. I talked to him about being penitent. Once in trouble, it’s important to just swallow your pride and apologize. He sat in sad silence the whole trip. *And the melt down ensued.* Out of the blue, the tears flowed fast and furious. “Why?”, you might be asking. “Because Dad washed my ball cap and he’s probably going to wash it 100 more times before I get home.” Uh right, because your dad has nothing better to do than rewash YOUR nasty, disgusting hat. Instead, I just said, “I don’t think you need to worry about that.”

Where were my sweet children, the ones who ran to me and hugged me when I’d been away? The ones who talked fast and furiously about all the things I’d missed when I’d been gone. Why was I being presented with ALL this DRAMA, upon my return? And I realized that maybe…it’s because they DID miss me. They missed having someone hear them, they missed knowing that someone was worried about them…they missed having someone say, “I know it’s seems bad now, but believe me it’s going to be okay.” That’s what moms do. It used to be that I was the one that picked them up when they fussed, and held them near when they fell and scraped their knee. Now, their injuries are different. Now Mom’s the one that holds their confidences (unless of course they’re blogworthy…KIDDING, I think) and puts the band-aids on their emotional wounds. And although I miss being able to cuddle them close and make it all better, I’m happy to listen…even when I’m WAY too tired.

It seems the stars aligned for the subject of today’s post. It’s the first day of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month AND Thursday, my day to remember the past. Grandma Birdie, the woman for whom this blog is named battled breast cancer twice.

She was a strong, talented woman. She was so crafty. She could do anything. She made the most beautiful quilts. Growing up, my sister and I made dolls, bears, pillows…you name it. I will never forget the summer she came out to help me make my clothes for my sorority rush events. We had to make sarongs, a dress and a few other “gift” type things. She was so precise. I wanted only to be done. I didn’t care if the seams were straight. I didn’t want to iron before I measured and cut. I didn’t care about being PERFECT. She did and now, when I do my quilting, he voice echos through my brain constantly. (I still don’t strive for perfection like she did, but I keep telling myself that maybe I will when I’m retired.)

She was also a very straight talking woman. If she was thinking it, everyone was hearing it. It was sometimes very off-putting or embarrassing. She once pointed out my body acne (that I later found out was due to a surge of hormones because I was pregnant with my son) in front of the ENTIRE family at my cousin’s graduation. It was humiliating. I mean I still remember it and Bear is almost 11. She also worried that my sister, who is a borderline waif, was not gaining enough breast capacity during her pregnancy saying “They’re the food source, yanno!” Like, I said, humiliating or not, if she was thinking it, she was saying it. This put her off to a lot of people, but it wasn’t because she didn’t love us, it was just her way.

She and Grandpa Bean had such a wonderful marriage. He was a very stoic German man…and getting a rise out of him was difficult, but she could do it with such flair. They argued and butted heads and tried to “out -stubborn” each other every day of their lives. There are so many stories of her pushing his buttons, whether she was splashing her fingers in his soup when told to get away from his food, or standing on the bed at the age of 80 to hang a quilt on the wall, when he’d put her off for way too many days in a row. THIS part of Birdie was some of the most fun to witness.

When her cancer struck the last time, she approached it with the same fight she did before. She battled it head on. She didn’t let it stop her from doing what she wanted to do. She didn’t stop her from being beautiful. She wore brighter colors. She made flowers that pinned onto her hats that matched every outfit she had. She pulled her family closer. She would call to get an update on the grandkids and great-grandkids. She loved us all. She enjoyed seeing her family together. She WAS the matriarch of this family and we still think of her and miss her every day.

So, for the month of October, do what you can to help the fight against Breast Cancer. My family and I will be walking in TWO Susan G Komen walks. Remind those that you love, to do monthly self breast exams and get their mammograms annually after the age of 40. Early detection is the key. Remember those who lost the battle and embrace the survivors.

In loving memory of Grandma Birdie October 10, 1923 – December 27, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

September 30, 2009

Sometimes I wonder, “How do they come up with this stuff”….other times I figure I probably don’t want to know.

Have the Pigs Invaded???

September 23, 2009

I didn’t post yesterday because I was terribly sick. All of a sudden, Monday night, I had a terrible headache and a inconsolable sore throat. I tried everything, wine, ice cream, ice water…still hurt. I had both Bug and Bear Monday night, which is unusual, that is typically their dad’s night. Although around noon on Monday, he called and said he was getting sick. He wondered if I’d take the kids so that we could prevent them from getting sick. Feeling perfectly fine, I agreed (happily, I love an opportunity for EXTRA kid time). By the time we got home on Monday night, I was feeling rough. We made dinner, watched some TV and went to bed relatively early. By Tuesday morning, I was SICK. However, I did have to get up and go to work as I have coworkers in from all over the country this week. In the back of my mind, I worried that I’d somehow contracted swine flu…although, as a general rule I try to avoid kissing pigs so I took my temperature and the fever was only low grade. I think the kids were hoping they were going to sit and watch cartoon instead of heading out to before school care. But, to their dismay, I told the kids we were heading out in 15 minutes. As we’re loading up, Bear is moving quickly, several steps ahead of me instead of the other way around. I notice this and decide, despite the chance that pointing it out will eliminate the AWESOME, I must comment.
Me: What’s up Bear, why the rush?
Him: I feel very vulnerable today.
Me: What do you mean?
Him: Two weeks ago Bug was sick, then Dad got sick, now you’re sick. I’m a TICKING TIME BOMB!

I have no idea where a 10 year old even learns to use appropriately the word vulnerable, but he never ceases to amaze me…and so very often this amazement also means I’m cracking up. AND on an excellent note I was in bed by 7:30 and feel MUCH better today.