Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry asked me to guest post on her blog today.
So meet me there.
It's 10:27 on Sunday night and I was hoping my man would surprise me by walking in the door from his four days (so far) out in the woods on a big muzzleloader hunt.
I don't think it will happen tonight.
Last year was a big year. Remember this? It's hard to beat a year like he had last year.
I'm hoping that all his hard work will pay off tomorrow and he will come home to me.
Don't get me wrong, the boys and I have stayed VERY busy since he left on Wednesday, but we're missing our leader of the testosterone army.
The water heater stopped making hot water and we settled for cold for over 24 hours until
super-wife I took action and got it fixed (for a really good price).
We've had four soccer games, two play dates and I even had my monthly girls night. We went to church this morning and my next door neighbors even took my two older boys to the circus this evening.
We've had a full schedule.
But I'm lonely and I miss my man! Come home my great white hunter!
Sauce was the only child that was
a complete accident not exactly planned.
When Kenyon and I first began talking about having children, he said he wanted to have them close together, "like 18 months apart," to which I put my large foot down and said, "No way. Try three years apart."
I argued that kids 18 months apart would be having two babies at once. I had read all the parenting articles that said that two and a half to three years apart is ideal for siblings.
Well, when Hunter was about eight months old, Kenyon got promoted within his company and we prepared to move to Utah. Kenyon had to complete two weeks of training for his new position and fly out to Utah to look for a new home for us while I got our ends tied up in Florida.
We only saw each other for a few brief days within those weeks.
Let's just say that distance really does make the heart grow fonder - and impulsive.
Soon we found ourselves surrounded by moving boxes in our new home in the west. One night we sat in our living room and I made the remark that I was so tired and the only time I could remember being this tired was when I was pregnant with Hunter.
"You should take a test," replied my husband.
"NOOOO!!!!" was my shocked reply.
A few days later, I couldn't resist putting my curiosity to rest so I took a pregnancy test. It was positive and I was in pure shock.
I didn't tell Kenyon immediately, but left the test on the top of the tank of the toilet and asked Kenyon to get me my glasses that I thought I left there.
He came out with the test in his hand and a huge smile on his face.
I immediately started to cry.
I didn't feel ready. This wasn't my plan for our family. I still had a 10 month old nursing baby and I felt very protective of my love for him. I didn't want to share it with anyone else just yet.
"This is wonderful news!" encouraged my sweet husband.
I crumpled into his arms and had my one and only cry about being pregnant. From that point on, I was thrilled to be pregnant again.
Although we didn't find out gender at the ultrasound, Sauce's real name was always one of our top choices for boys names. Kenyon was particularly passionate about it and even lobbied for the choice by coming home from a professional baseball game with a jersey he purchased with the name on the back.
He wore it around without saying a word. I laughed and was absolutely sold.
Sauce decided to arrive three weeks before his projected due date (which I think was a little off to begin with). My water broke at 5:45 a.m. on September 21, 2002. I leaped out of bed and ran for the bathroom. When I had my wits about me and realized what was going on, I took a shower and got ready to leave for the hospital.
My labor was half the time of my first time around, but felt ten times harder. I am so grateful that I had my midwife Tina supporting me every moment at the hospital. It felt like labor was moving slowly, but I had no idea what slow really was until I started pushing.
I pushed my brains out for an hour and a half (triple the time of Hunter's delivery), and although one of my goals for this birth was to avoid another episiotomy, in the final moments, I begged Tina to give me one if necessary.
As that moment of relief finally arrived, we realized WHY it was necessary. The boy was "sunny side up," or posterior presentation and that combined with his big, fat, huge head equaled a tough birth experience.
I always tell Sauce that when Tina put him on my chest and I wrapped my arms around him, he grabbed my fingers and our eyes connected.
And my love just doubled.
Our friend Susan was at his birth video taping every painful and joy filled moment. In the quiet recovery room, she dubbed him "Camsauce" and never in a million years would I have guessed that it would stick....
but to this very day, he is our Sauce.
Little Sauce threw me for a loop in babyhood. He didn't follow my rules of sleeping and eating and being happy. Don't get me wrong, he was a happy baby, but he was so much more high maintenance that Brendan ever was. He wanted to be held a lot more and cried a lot more at nap and bedtimes.
He gave us a clear sign of his passions by his first word. "Ball"
He was our earliest walker and is our athlete and sports fanatic. Sauce has a smile that can light up a room and even strangers notice it.
Sauce is such a good friend, particularly to his brothers.
Love is a verb to Sauce. He acts on his love toward others. Whether it is a hug, a wrestle, a favor, a kind act or a compliment, he puts his love in action - and I love that about him.
I am so glad that God knows better than I do about plans for my life. I am so thankful that I was surprised with our Camsauce and my faith was increased by God's perfect plan for our family. In the end, 18 months apart was simply perfect!
Happy birthday Sauce. I hope you feel "verb-loved" because you have our hearts.
Remember the stream in our backyard?
Sauce and Rufus took Squirt down to play on the bridge today and I left the door open as I worked in the kitchen.
I started running a split second after I heard:
"Mom, he fell in!!!"
After I realized that Sauce had already rescued him by grabbing the back of his shirt and hauling his 23 lbs. back on the bridge, I went to get a towel.
And the camera.
Notice the right side of his body is covered in mud.
Remember this water is snow melt - COLD!!!
The mud was in his nostrils and caked in his right ear.
Do I get a medal or a monument for Mother of the Year?
Kenyon took Hunter antelope hunting yesterday and left me for four days with ONLY three kids.
It has been a total dream!
It's funny how taking one child away changes the entire dynamic. Sauce and Rufus have been playing so nicely all day long.
And taking two days off from teaching second grade has been GREAT!!! Hunter's school is the most time consuming part of my day, so Sauce and I have gotten a ton of time to get ahead with his school work.
Today we went to McDonald's for Happy Meals, Walmart for a few things and had a dinner of apple slices, chunks of cheese, carrots, peaches and a gourmet dessert of graham crackers dipped in honey butter from the farmers' market.
Now Squirt is in his bed and the rest of us are all curled up in my bed watching one of our all time favorite movies - "Cheaper by the Dozen."
Watching a family with 12 kids tricks me into feeling like we have a calm and quiet brood.
It is haircut day here in boyville. The summer shag was getting to be too much for me and although the long and messy look is quite the craze among little boys all around town, I insist on short and clean!
Hunter got out of it by leaving with Daddy for the weekend to the long anticipated Wyoming antelope hunt.
I have gone to the same hair dresser since my very first haircut here in this mountain town. Shalena has taken my hair from short to long, then cut it off for charity; made it lighter and made it darker; and helped me "enhance my natural
frizz curl" and tamed my thick locks straight.
I have followed her to three different salons in town and now, because she has two little boys of her own, we meet in her home's basement salon.
I never thought that cutting little boys hair would be such a hit-or-miss adventure, so after a couple walk-in places butchered my boys hair, I have since religiously entrusted them to Shalena's scissors.
As I was driving to our appointment, I realized that Shalena has given each of my four boys their first haircut! I needed her in a picture to record the event!
After shedding the extra weight of his hair, Sauce asked for a mohawk. Shalena promptly went to her cabinets to retrieve all the cementing products she would need for the "boys up-do." Of course, Rufus immediately needed one too - back in the chair with him. And we couldn't leave Squirt out!
The do's stayed in tact through soccer games too!
Looking solely at my recent posts, you would think that this blog was about the relationship between two sisters.
But it just so happens that that today is my sister's 37th birthday...
And I didn't get her a gift, so this will have to do for today.
Coming fresh off a visit with her, I have a renewed perspective and appreciation for who my sister is and my relationship with her.
Amy and I have always been quite different. She was born with a full head of dark monkey hair, I entered the world with the tiniest bit of white peach fuzz on my noggin.
She was always tall and turned out to be 5'8" and I was always short and am a whopping 5'3". She has always excelled academically, where I have struggled to make the grades. Amy always had good taste in clothing and makeup, and I always needed a little help in that area (usually by
stealing borrowing her clothes!).
We had different interests growing up and though I tried very hard to walk in her shadow and repeat her footsteps, we took two different paths and wound up growing apart for several years of our young adulthood.
Amy said something this weekend that struck me as so ironic.
"...my sister who does everything better than me."
I laughed out loud, because not only had I NEVER heard her say anything like this in my life, but this is exactly how I felt about her for so many years and still in many ways think that now.
It brought to light how, in hindsight, I wish I would have just been myself growing up, and not tried to be who she was, but just loved her despite our differences. I spent so much time feeling insecure because we were different in some ways and I overlooked and almost pushed away the blessing of having a sister.
As we approach middle age, it seems like we have reached a mutual comfort and love for each other.
And it feels great.
Amy would give her shirt off her back for someone she loves. She is loving and compassionate and gives grace to others. She is a great listening ear and a shoulder to lean on when I need her.
She has a great sense of humor. Sarcasm is something BIG that we have in common.
Even though she has her own children, she always seems to find special presents for my boys that fit each of their own personalities and interests.
She is a wonderful mother to her kids and although she works nights as a moms and babies nurse, she balances work and home so well.
Happy Birthday Amy! I love you more than words can express and cherish our sisterhood and friendship!
Amy and I took a few quiet moments on our last morning to watch the video taped burial service for our sweet Olivia Kate.
I was bummed that I wasn't able to be there to say goodbye to my little namesake and support my sister, but I was so thankful to be able to watch it.
Earlier in the weekend, Amy had shared the precious keepsakes from Olivia's birth. The hospital staff did a phenomenal job creating tangible memories of Olivia.
In addition to making a mold of Olivia Kate's feet, the nurses made perfect hand and foot prints and photographs that were so peaceful and perfect, positioning her just as if she were cuddling her little teddy bear, sound asleep.
I shared the story of the amazing funeral director who proved to us all that there are kind and generous people in the world.
Early in Amy's pregnancy we all referred to Olivia as "Baby B" and my niece Amelia coined the name "Butterfly," which quickly took over how we referred to her.
At the end of the burial service, Amelia noticed that a caterpillar had crawled across the grass of the cemetery and nuzzled itself right against the detailed edge of Olivia's little casket.
"I don't believe in coincidences." the funeral director announced.
Neither do I.
It was if the Lord reached down and spoke to all of us who are hurting so in her absence.
"You have only seen Olivia Kate in her earthly form, a little caterpillar that had yet to finish her journey. I have healed her completely and made her whole. She will not struggle and she will not suffer pain. Her butterfly transformation is complete, as I have removed her earthly cloak for all of eternity."
John 16:33 "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
My final morning in Chicago packed in as many moments with my parents and nieces as possible. I awoke in time to see my older nieces before they left for fifth and seventh grade.
I had flashbacks of my childhood when I saw Lauren dashing out the door in the shirt she slept in last night because she missed her alarm.
I didn't even ask if she brushed her teeth.
My dad arrived with a dozen
fat bombs doughnuts from the Dunkin himself and joined us for a cup of coffee before he retreated to the other side of Lake Michigan for the work week.
My mom arrived at my sister's house and the women dragged my sister's poor husband Terry out on a little excursion together before I had to get to the airport. It included
another a late breakfast that was one for the chart toppers.
There were too many good choices, so Amy and I each had to share half our meal with each other.
Then we fought over who got to lick the plates.
Many topics of conversation were covered during this taste bud carnival - but we spent the last part of the meal trying to peel off my mom's rose colored glasses regarding our little brother who just left for his first year of college.
Terry was politely, but adamantly insisting that our baby brother is not as innocent a cherub as his mommy thinks he is.
"He's a good kid... but the boy's a stoner."
That's when I became "that woman" in the restaurant. You know the one - she laughs obnoxiously and uncontrollably so that the rest of the dining population turns and looks as if to say, "it can't be that funny lady."
As my mom defended her sweet baby and his pure-and-white-as-snow ways, Amy and I proceeded to let some cats out of the bag from our own teenage years.
Mom knew about some of my sister's stories, but since I am often viewed as the white sheep because I was the church-going, Bible-thumping kid in high school... I let a few shockers fly.
I fessed up to the reason why I will probably never drink rum again in my life MAY have something to do with a Grateful Dead concert where I probably drank an amount equal to my weight while I danced in a field of mud with a boy that was way too old for me.
And there may have been mention of me taking her Datsun 280zx out to joyride at 2 a.m. when I was 14 years old.
There may have been another story or two.
But if I told you, I'd have to kill you.
After all that, my mom still loves me - aahhhh, nothing like a mother's love.
My little brother can be thankful for that because she still holds to her
illusion faith that he is the picture of perfection.
And on the way out of the restaurant, I was asked by the manager to take myself and my laugh back to Utah.
Just checking in one more time from rainy Chicagoland where I not only experienced the wettest day in the history of Chicago (about nine inches of rain from this storm alone), but after a disappointing loss by the Bears, we saw the Cubs pitch their first no hitter since 1972.
Sweet home Chicago!
I'm coming home tomorrow, so the testosterone level will be back to what you are accustomed to on this blog!
Not to mention Vivian will be released from the exclusive arms of Aunt Laurie, as I have pretty much denied anyone else from her sweet snuggles, as you will see!
You would think that Hurricane Ike came to Chicago, because it's been raining the entire time that I've been at my sister Amy's house. But that's o.k. because I don't need nice weather to hold my sweet Vivian!
I'm hogging her completely, only letting others hold her for moments at a time. I can't believe that I have to leave tomorrow already!!!
I got this from Nicole's blog and thought it was appropriate for this day that none of us should forget.
Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster - January 28, 1986. I was in sixth grade and I specifically remember my teacher bringing the television into the classroom so we could watch the news coverage. The fact that a teacher was on board made it particularly emotional for everyone.
The Oklahoma City Bombing - April 19, 1995. I was finishing up my junior year of college and I remember watching the coverage on my little 13 inch color t.v. in Olsen Hall. I remember sitting - stunned when pictures like this came on the screen.
Princess Diana’s Death - August 31, 1997. With three full months of marriage under my belt, hubby and I were visiting my dad and step-mom at their lake house in southwestern Michigan. I remember my dad coming into our bedroom (without knocking, I might add - I think he forgot I was in there WITH MY HUSBAND!) and telling us that she had died. Sad weekend. We watched the entire funeral coverage.
Attack on the Twin Towers - September 11, 2001. I remember this day like it was yesterday. I was at our Ft. Myers, Florida home with our five month old baby boy... all was right in the world. My husband had just left for work and I was now a stay at home mom. Shortly after he left, he called me to tell me to turn on the t.v. I watched the second tower get hit and both of them fall, as well as watch as a reporter at the Pentagon got knocked over while reporting live during the attack there.
I have to say, I was forever changed. I heard a talk radio host today say that we all need to have the "September 12th mentality." I deliberately do not write about politics on my blog, but I will write just one thing today. Say what you want about George Bush's imperfections and mistakes, but the fact that we have not been attacked again in seven years is something I am grateful for and I think he and all the men and women behind the scenes have done very well.
I try to remember each day to live for the day, for we do not know what tomorrow might bring.
If it weren't for the location of our house, we would never have chosen the "1976 special" that we have been SLOWLY and painfully (we are NOT handy) renovating over the course of the last three years.
Still lingering for our enjoyment are the avocado green carpeting up and down, and the brown/black/white geometric 1970's carpeting in the basement, a gold framed mirror with gold "flowered" lights in the master bath, and what I affectionately refer to as our "mortuary lighting" in our master bedroom (wall sconces that must have been found at a 1970's funeral director convention).
enlighten entertain you with photos.
Everybody jokes that these are coming back in style.
Okie dokie, that's our excuse...
One of the things we love most about our house is the little stream flowing through our backyard.
It lies about 12 feet off our back deck and is set far from our neighbors houses behind us. Being snowmelt, the kids never really swim in it, even in the spring when it reaches well above their knees.
They do spend A LOT of time on the bridge that hubby built, splashing and moving rocks around. This year, they found these crawfish/algae-eating-type-of-underwater "fish," as they call them.
So, they've spent a lot of time - and tupperware, I might add - fishing this summer. They've made mini-aquariums out of all my tupperware for days on end.
Then they dump them back in and start over again.
Boys being boys.
And now Squirt is big enough to be in on it too. Today, he was walking around the kitchen when I noticed that it was too quiet.
You know what too quiet means.
I found him down on the bridge where Sauce had carried him and plopped him smack next to him. He was serving as a fishing partner.
I have to say that Sauce is Squirt's favorite brother. He loves them all, but these two have a special bond. I wonder if it was because Sauce was the one who was most excited about Squirt's birth.
Whenever Hunter goes to pick him up, he squeals and fusses, but Sauce drags the poor boy all over tarnation - and they are both happy as clams.
I think we'll stay for a while, despite the 1970's flashback.
I needed a good day.
After a week and a half of wrestling my second grader into his position in life as a second grader, I needed a pick me up day.
My dear friends Christa and Jenny brought me lunch and cake (see above) AND presents. Then Ashley topped it off with my favorite junk foods delivered to my door. My hubby came home with flowers and I got to order chinese food for dinner (we don't eat it often because he doesn't really like it).
After dinner my sweetie gave me the present that I knew was coming (after all, sometimes I actually do DO the budget and he can't hide a purchase this big even if he doesn't give me the receipt!) - new FATS (or powder skis for you non-mountain people). They're the Volkl Aura in a 156 and they measure 130-94-113 (if you know what those measurements are, you're a real skier).
They look good on me don't they? Bring on the pow!
I needed a pick me up - because today it went a bit downhill. I was having some tooth pain and after a trip to the dentist, not only do I have a cracked molar, but he's sending me to see an endodontist (code for REALLY expensive) to confirm that I need a root canal.
Oh, then I just have to come back and get a crown put in.
I think I may have to sell my new fats to pay for my bad tooth.
I did get some good drugs to "bridge the gap" until I can get in to see the endodontist. So at least I will
have a good buzz not be in pain for the next few days.
We did take a nice walk this afternoon over to the resort to get the boys their season passes and sign them up for their ski school programs for this year (cough, cough, cha-ching).
I'm thinking about selling my eggs to pay for ski school (just kidding honey, I'll keep them just for you!).
I took this picture of some of my men on my phone - not too bad. Check out the chair lift on the ridgeline up ahead.
Hopefully, the weekend will settle down though because after my husband left for his
first second third fourth weekend of deer hunting, I was in my jammies by 7:30.
Then my entire bottom half got peed on while putting my youngest in his p.j.'s.
Oh, and another son thought his brother should brush his teeth with Baby Orajel tonight.
Without telling him.
Yeah, it's settling down just fine.
My mom has always said that her 30's were her favorite time of her life so far.
Hitting 34 today, I'd have to agree.
Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to retiring with my husband someday, with my feet in the warm sand outside our beach house (wherever that may be), while we plan our next trip to see all our grandkids.
But life is pretty good right now. I feel like I have enough life experience under my belt that I have a little credibility, knowledge and wisdom - but I'm not OLD yet.
You have seen many photos of my adult years, so I have dug through the
dustbunnies in the gloomy basement archives to find a few photos of me that chronicle my sassy self throughout my younger years.
I think this was my third birthday party. By the way, I have carpet very similar to that downstairs in my basement right now.
Yeah, I know... I was a cutie!
In the personality department, not much has changed - sassy enough that my grandpa often wanted to spank me, but cute and loveable enough that he never did!
In the spirit of my post for Kenyon's birthday, I though I'd write a list of 34 things that life has taught me over the years.
1. It's not about me. Thinking that the world revolves around me is a death-sentence to my attitude and relationships.
2. They were all right when they told me to cherish and savor my college years. The college years ROCKED! (Thanks Dad and Mom).
3. People will always let you down and will never fill that void in our souls. Only God fills that void and is completely dependable.
(this photo was pretty predictable photography of me as a kid - sticking my tongue out)
4. If you want a friend, be a friend.
5. If a friendship is not reciprocated, let it go.
6. "First loves" are painful, but an excellent learning experience.
7. Our parents are not perfect. Our childhoods were not perfect. But we only get one set of parents, so savor the good and let the bad go. Give the grace to your parents that you want given to you when your kids are grown.
8. When you are a younger sibling, you will always be in your older sibling(s) shadow in some way, shape or form. (note the next picture - I was in the newspaper, but they put my big sister's name instead of mine!)
9. Friendships are awesome, but siblings are there for life. Find common ground and make the effort to protect sibling relationships.
10. PMS sucks.
11. Men are different from women (hence the penis). Don't expect them to act like or understand women (especially during PMS).
12. Grades don't matter as much as teachers and parents say they do.
13. The piece of paper at the end of the grades matters.
14. Soak in the "big" days of your life. Graduation, marriage, births can not be "re-done" (ok, for the first time).
15. Really, the only thing you can't do over in life is raising your kids.
16. Work ethic is important to be gained early in life.
17. It is good to experience "being in need."
18. It is always nice to be given a gift, but geez it feels good to earn something all by yourself.
19. You can't always get what you want (or you think you want), so enjoy what you have and will yourself to contentment.
20. Hard work deserves a
new purse splurge once in a while.
21. It's great to have "cultural experiences" by visiting other countries and living in different parts of our country.
22. Americans, in general, have no idea how good we have it.
23. Words can cause deep wounds that last a long time, possibly forever. Choose them carefully.
24. Losing your temper is never a good thing.
25. You are a mirror and your children will reflect your behavior and/or attitude at any given moment. They may even adopt those attributes as their own if they see them enough.
26. Be real. When people come to the door, let them in without excuses about the state of your home. It only makes your guests uncomfortable and brings attention to all the things you don't want them to notice (I know this but don't always practice it!).
(high school senior photo, yeah, I'm cool, I'm mature, I'm off to college!)
27. Always kiss loved ones goodbye.
28. Never miss an opportunity to tell loved ones how much you love them.
29. Make goals for the future. Even as you meet your life goals, always have things to work toward and look forward to.
30. Look at raising kids like your living eulogy. Act out what you want people (your children) to remember you by.
(I put this last photo in here because my love keeps it on his office wall next to his computer - it was at our wedding shower the day before our wedding - it screams, "marriage with me will be an adventure, so hold on tight!" and Holy California Blonde L'Oreal!)
31. What "the world" says isn't always the right way to do things.
32. Choose your spouse carefully. And when you've chosen, put your spouse above yourself and treat him/her how you
want to be treated know he/she wants to be treated. Extend your spouse the grace you would like extended in return. The rewards are great.
33. Take chances once in a while, even if you fail, at least you tried.
34. You get one shot on this earth - so give it all you've got!
There - deep thoughts from an older, wiser woman!
Now go check out a sweet birthday present from my friend Jenny - a blog post about ME!!!
Thanks in advance for the birthday wishes.
I'm glad we had a full and fun summer because it was 31 degrees with frost on my deck this morning!
I just jacked up the fans on the fireplaces and have them at full blast to break the chill in the air.
That's what we get when we live in the mountains!
Good bye summer, we'll miss you until you return.
But still an aching back!
Right after I published my last post, my sweetie called me and said that he waved his white flag at the deer for the weekend and was coming home!
We went to church as a family on Sunday and guess what he did after we made lunch...
He cleaned and re-organized the garage (#26). I think that might be the fourth or fifth time in this calendar year that he has done so.
I think I started to get my energy back when Christa and I made plans to meet today (without kids!) and get a Starbucks and meander through TJMaxx.
I mentioned that I might feel the need to look for a new purse. My husband retorted sweetly with some comparison of needing new purse to a hole in my head.
Now I think I might need a new purse and some shoes to match!