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Monday, January 31, 2011

Project Smile - January

Count your smiles instead of your tears; count your courage instead of your fears. - Unknown

January was full of ups and downs for us; a new year, a new home, good news, followed by bad, but I'm grateful that I found something to smile about every day:

1st - The first day of a new year full of possibilities.
2nd - Work out routine resumed after three weeks off. Ouch!
3rd - Getting out of the house despite the rain.
4th - Pretty in pink nail polish.
5th - Believing that miracles can happen.
6th - A new path to walk.
7th - There is nothing better than a PB&J to put a smile on my face.
8th - Four loads of laundry, grocery store AND Target, washed and dried my hair, started a new book. It was a VERY productive day.
9th - Lunch and movie with a girlfriend.
10th - Gorgeous walk along Newport Beach strand.
11th - I bought my domain name.
12th - A visit with an old friend and a wonderful compliment.
13th - Today, we have lived in our new house for one month and slowly but surely are making it a home.
14th - Taking time to stop and smell the flowers.
15th - We hung our first picture!
16th - Golden Globes and Thai food with a fellow movie lover.
17th - We rode Becky the elephant!
18th - Today was not a great day, but snuggles with my son always make me feel better.
19th - The wonder of nature.
20th - My sister.
21st - A visit to an old neighborhood I used to once frequent a lot and delicious quiche.
22nd - Champagne brunch with my sister, Aston Kutcher (in the movie No Strings Attached) and shopping for shoes!
23rd - A bowl of cereal makes a great dinner.
24th - Play date at our house.
25th - Covering up the grays, finishing one book and starting another.
26th - Meeting a newborn, visiting our old neighborhood and wine time.
27th - A beautiful walk along the coast and lunch.
28th - A fun day at the Irvine Ranch Park with friends and spend a lot of time thinking of my dad today with love, he would have been 64 today.
29th - Blowing bubbles in the backyard with Lucas.
30th - Dinner with friends and all our kids! Pure comedy.
31st -
The first day of a new round of music class.

I hope every day of January gave you something to smile about and that your 2011 is off to a great start!

Alicia is the beautiful brain child behind this wonderful monthly meme. Be sure to link up at her blog,
A Beautiful Mess or check out other people's reasons to smile.

You can see my December reasons to smile here.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

For The Love Of Children - Part 1

Today, I want to share some of my favorite quotes about children:

"A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don't have a top for it. " - Jerry Seinfeld


"Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get." - H. Jackson Brown

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."- Jackie Onassis Kennedy

"Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face. You really need to be certain it's what you want before you commit." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"The rules for parents are but three... Love, Limit, and Let them be." - Elaine M. Ward

"There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child." - Henry Ward Beecher

"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." - Barbara Kingsolver

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone

"Children make you want to start life over." - Muhammad Ali

"The soul is healed by being with children." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

"It is an amazing opportunity to be able to ruin someone from scratch." - Jon Stewart

“A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.” - François Rabelais

"Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes, they forgive them." - Oscar Wilde


"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." - Angela Schwindt


I saved my personal favorite for last:

"Remember, you are not managing an inconvenience; You are raising a human being." - Kittie Franz

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Gone Too Soon

It's been 1201 days since my parents died.

1201 days? That seems like an eternity to me when I think of all they've missed.

Then again, 1201 days really isn't that much time at all when I think of how fresh the loss is in my heart.

I often worry that I'll forget what they sounded like and looked like, but both are etched in my brain and woven throughout my memories.

I carry them with me everywhere and I ache to hear their voices again and dread each and every single anniversary, birthday and other special occasion they are missing. But it is the mundane everyday life events that they are missing that make me the saddest.

1201 days later and I am still pressing on.

I press on for my sanity, for Lucas' sake and for them, because that is what they'd want me to do.

My father would have been 64 today.

Michael Stephen Adams
January 28, 1947 - October 15, 2007

Rest In Peace.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

XOXO

My dearest DC,

Nothing gets me going like you do.

To me, you are quite simply... perfect.

You are my strength and my weakness.

You are one of the very first things I think of when I wake up in the morning because it is then that I need you so.

Our relationship began when I was in college and while others were touting their need for coffee, I stuck by your side never giving coffee another thought.

You make my heart beat a little faster and my eyes twinkle a little brighter.

I'm no fool, I know I'm not alone in this love. I know that you have lots of admirers, but when it's just us, my world quiets and I feel like I'm the only one. Thank you for that.

Thank you, too for always being there on my grocery list and in my refrigerator, because I don't think I could go a day without your smile. It's true, I have a jealous streak and have even warned family members and babysitters alike never, under no circumstances to take the last of you or there will be hell to pay.

I know I don't tell you often enough how much you mean to me with your no calories, no sugar and sweet wonderful help-me-get-up-and-go chemicals I can't pronounce, but it is your secret formula that does the trick every time. I so enjoy the pleasure of your company.

I hate to admit that I have been unfaithful when you weren't available, but Diet Pepsi nor Diet Dr. Pepper are nearly as refreshing as you. It's your effervescent personality that keeps me loyal today and always.

Yours truly,
Tonya
xoxo

This post is for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop: Prompt 2.) Write a love poem to a favorite food. It was not a food, but a drink, Diet Coke that I chose to profess my undying love to. I have written about my obsession once (I Heart Diet Coke) or twice (I Don't Like Coffee) before.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Always Go With Your Gut

There are many mommy moments when your patience is tried, your strength tested, your heart strings pulled and you are forced to make a from your gut decision.

The scariest thing happened to me today and I am so glad that I went with my gut.

I took Lucas to San Diego to visit a friend, who just had a baby and on the car ride home, he fell fast asleep. 30 minutes into our hour long drive, he woke up and started coughing and I can only assume got scared and then started crying.

From the front seat, I reminded him that we were in the car and on our way home and asked him if he was okay. Typically he would say "yes" and then work on clearing his throat. Today, his coughing turned into choking and as I looked at him in the rear view mirror, I could tell that he was really having trouble breathing. I turned around to get a better look and he was banging his hands on his car seat and gasping for air.

I started to panic.

Here I was, going 80+ mph in the car pool lane, five lanes from the next exit, which was less than a mile away.

What's a mother to do?

I had no choice.

My son was choking!

I went for it!

I put the hazards on, crossed the double yellow lines risking life and limb, not to mention a hefty fine, crossed five lanes of traffic like I was Mario Andretti on his best day all in an effort to help my son.

Just as I whipped into a gas station parking lot, Lucas threw up all over himself, thus clearing his air passageway. He could breathe!! I rushed around to get him and he threw up again.

After I cleaned Lucas and his car seat, changed his shirt and held him for a while, we sat there in the parking lot sharing a turkey sandwich. He was fine. It was a trying few moments for both of us and while I know I didn't do anything that heroic, but he sure looked at me like I did.

I'm proud of myself for going with my instinct even if I did break all kinds of laws in the process.

Have you ever had to do anything potentially more dangerous than the current situation you were in, in order to help your child?

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always To be Blest. - Alexander Pope

Out on a walk the other day, Lucas and I saw this tiny yellow flower, a weed really poking it's way out of the sidewalk.

How strange I thought.

And beautiful.


This post is for Wordless Wednesdays and if you want to link up or see some really beautiful photographs, visit Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.

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Laughter In The Backyard

My sister is so good with Lucas and their relationship is simply endearing to witness.

Lucas' face lights up whenever we speak of aunt Leah and her visits are always too short.

Leah recently spent five days helping me out while Todd was away on a business trip and I could swear there was more laughter in (and out of) the house.

We have been blessed with some gorgeous sunny winter weather, allowing for some fun in the backyard. Lucas calls it his "park" and since he can't yet be out there on his own, one or both of us are always out there with him.

On Saturday morning, Leah and I were both lounging on the chaises watching Lucas run around the yard having a great time, when all of a sudden he was sort of over it and wanted to go back inside. Leah and I, on the other hand were enjoying soaking in the sun, not quite ready to start the day and both wanted to stay put.

Leah bounced up and started chasing Lucas around the yard and then he'd turn around and chase her. This is a game Lucas loves and he and I play it often. Leah's twist on the game was every time she "caught" him, she tackled him to the ground and tickled him.

His laughter was divine. It's moments like this that make me hope my son and my sister always remain as close as they are today.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Rabbit Hole

Todd and I saw Rabbit Hole a couple of weeks ago staring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart and I'm still thinking about it. To me, that's what good movies do; make you think and stay you for days to follow.

I thought the performances were very good, but I disagree with all the buzz Kidman is getting for her role as a grieving mother. Of course, I didn't think Annette Bening deserved the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for The Kids Are All Right either, so what do I know?

At any rate, Rabbit Hole allows us a glimpse into one couples lives as they deal with the loss of their four year old son, who runs into the street after the family dog and is hit by a car.

The couple is grieving in their own way and at their own pace and it almost destroys their marriage.

Horrific to think about, but always up for a good mental exercise, Rabbit Hole prompted some interesting and insightful discussion for our car ride home, another sign of a good movie.

Could our marriage survive the loss of a child? Hard to say. We agreed that it would require the utmost patience and understanding that either of us could muster and that it would most definitely be the hardest thing that we would ever have to go through. A parent should never have to bury a child. Every time you looked at one another you would have a living reminder. It's a difficult scenario to imagine.

But that's not the part that has stuck with me.

There is moment when Becca (Kidman) finally lets go of some of her pent up emotional control, breaks down and asks her mother, Nat (played brilliantly by Dianne Weist), who has also suffered the loss of a child, about her pain and the weight of it. The dialogue is breathtaking and the message is
haunting:

Becca: Does it ever go away?

Nat: No, I don't think it does. Not for me, it hasn't - has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.

Becca: How?

Nat: I don't know... the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and... carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you... you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and - there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be aweful - not all the time. It's kinda...

[deep breath]

Nat: not that you'd like it exactly, but it's what you've got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh... it doesn't go away. Which is...

Becca: Which is what?

Nat: Fine, actually.


I thought that this was such a beautiful way to describe grief and loss and where it goes after time. I am still learning to live with the passing of my parents. It's been almost three and a half years. I know I will remember these words from Rabbit Hole and I look forward to finding my "fine", my peace some day.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

They Promised It Would Be Worth It

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
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Friday, January 21, 2011

A Year Full Of Possibilities

My Barnes & Noble Silver Lining Paris Remembered 2011 desk calendar finally arrived this week and I can't wait to start filling it in!!For as "high tech" as I am or try to be with my iPhone and online calendar, I get a big charge out of keeping track of my so-called life in black-and-white and multi-colored highlighters.

There is nothing better than a brand new, crisp, clean calendar.

Plus, I keep track of everything!

You probably didn't know (or care) that I moved my body 735 miles last year in the form of walking, running, bike riding, the elliptical or StairMaster, or that I took Lucas to the Bay Area solo four times? How about that I saw 12 movies - in the theater and ate lunch at Subway 51 times (don't judge!). I got my hair colored five times and had five massages, which is about 10 too few, by the way! I also noted that Lucas' last day of wearing the Doc Band was June 3, he took his first steps on July 6, had his first hair cut on August 1. Looking back on 2010, I have a very blessed life.

And now, a whole entire year lay before me, page after page just begging to be filled in with birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, play dates, many more spa appointments, visits to Grandma and Grandpa's, visits from aunt Leah, lunches with friends, dinners with my husband, long walks, yoga classes, weekend get-aways, Lucas' milestones and a whole lot more!

A whole year full of possibilities...

How will you fill your 2011 calendar?

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

The First Time

"Won't it hurt?"

"It doesn't have to."

"What will my parents say?"

"They don't even have to know about it."

"Surely they'll be able to tell."

"Not really, you can hide it."

"I'm scared it's going to be written all over my face."

"I'll be right there with you. Let's just do it and get it over with."

"Well, I have always wanted to."

"Exactly. It's time. What are you waiting for? I mean, you are 17!"

"Yeah, I just don't want it to hurt."

"It's different for everyone, but really it's all over before you know it."

"How many times have you done it?"

"Three. This will be my fourth."

"Your fourth?! I had no idea! Didn't know you were an old pro."

"Yeah, I guess you could say that."

"Okay, I'm ready. I think I'm ready."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. But let's hurry before I change my mind."

"I am so excited for you! And don't worry, we'll fix your hair so your ears won't even show."

This post is fiction and was written for The Red Dress Club's writing meme, Red Writing Hood. This weeks prompt is: write a post using solely dialogue.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's Just One Of Those Days

Nothing is going right today.

It's freezing outside, I'm up to my eyeballs in chores I'd rather not do, but have put off all week so here I am waiting to fold the fifth load of laundry for the day.

I'm feeling feisty and pissy and just not in the mood.

I hope you will indulge me for a few minutes while I get some things off my chest while I share my annoyances with you.

Uneven sidewalks piss me off, particularly when pushing a stroller. I'm not referring to the cracks, I'm talking about the dips that make people's driveways that pop up in the sidewalks.

I end up walking in the street and then get honked at, which is just rude.

Story time at the library in a room that is way too small full of toddlers that are hacking away and have faucets of snot running out of their noses is not my idea of a fun outing. C'mon people, I understand needing to get out of the house, but really? If you're kid is sick, please stay home!

Back to laundry, which I'm going blame for today's foul mood. I hate it when I discover after the fact that a bra, pair of workout pants or other clothing item has found it's way into the dryer when I would normally hang dry them. Grrr.

As a side note, I just folded 24 shirts so now my arms hurt.

You think I'm kidding.

I'm really annoyed today by lurkers... people that creep around on my blog (the infamous Boycott American Women dude commented on one of my posts with his personal agenda of bad mouthing women - his comment has since been deleted forever - and other people that I actually know and usually enjoy being around in real life) and don't leave comments, but LOVE gathering information on me and my family to a) either talk about with other people behind my back or b) mention it to me in a way that makes it seem like I've told them first hand live and in person. This creeps me out!

Note to self: if I write about it on my blog, it's out there in the world and obviously fair game.

Speaking of people that creep me out, why do people have to encroach on my personal space at places like the grocery store check out line? When I'm done, you'll know it. Until then, back the hell up!

I've just about had it with the battery life on my laptop and iPhone. If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we design a battery that lasts longer than six hours? As I type this, I currently have 9% battery on my computer. Lame!!

Okay, I think I'm done.

For now.

Thanks, I needed that. I promise to return to my regularly scheduled program tomorrow.

But for now, I really do wish I was here.

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Anywhere But Here

Today I want to be here.

A half a world away.

With nothing but blue skies and a warm sun.

Far from the worries, responsibilities, sadness and stresses in my life.

Just for today.
This photo was taken in New Caledonia in May, 2010 with my best friend, Sophie at my side.
This post is for Wordless Wednesdays and if you want to link up or see some really beautiful photographs, visit Alicia at A Beautiful Mess.
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Letting Him Be

Always one to seek validation, I have found that there isn't a lot when it comes to motherhood.

Oh sure, I'll get a dirty glare if Lucas is being loud at the grocery store or throwing food in a restaurant, sometimes a empathetic mom's "I've been there before" look, a helping hand when I'm trying to navigate through an airport with a stroller, two bags and a toddler; I've had elderly men and women reach out and touch my son's cheek and lovingly reminisce about their now adult children's early days as infants, but rarely does anyone ever come out and comment on the job I'm doing.

Good or bad.

My husband and I took all the parenting classes before Lucas was born, (nearly 24 hours worth, he will be the first to tell you), I've subscribed to all the daily, weekly and monthly parenting e-newsletters, read a ton of books, ask my pediatrician a million questions and compare notes with my mommy friends, but in the end, when it comes to parenting, I just sort of wing it and hope that I'm doing something right.

So when Lucas and I hung out with my dear friend Suzy lately, the first time in a year that she has seen me with Lucas, I really appreciated her telling me how good I was with him.

This is a mother of two grown children, grandmother to four and one of the smartest, both beautiful women I know, so her opinion means the world to me.

After asking her to explain what she meant when she told me that I was "good with Lucas", here is what she e-mailed me after our visit:

What I meant was, you were easy with him, you let him "be". You played and seemed very relaxed. You can see that this is how you are with him, because he is so easy himself. Think about it, first time in a new place, first time with me, really -- and he willingly let me kiss and hold him. I waited till he was more settled -- after he relaxed some and came to feed me. But I believe that this kind of behavior is due in a big part from a very grounded mom, someone who keeps everything in perspective. You didn't hover or try to make him perfect... you are in fact just very good with him. Parenting is such a journey, for both mommy and daddy. You seem to have set yourself on a very good course.

I love this and will refer to it often. A little validation goes a very long way. Thank you, Suzy! I love you.

I doubt I'm even conscious of it, but I do try to let Lucas "be". He doesn't need me hovering. He'll get enough of that once he hits double digits.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Santa Ana Zoo

Today, Lucas and I met my friend Colleen and her son, Jackson at the Santa Ana Zoo, also known as, the home of 50 Monkeys! Lucky for us, monkeys are one of our favorite animals.

We also love elephants and had the pleasure of taking a ride on Miss Becky.
Wouldn't you know it, the zoo also has a train ride called Zoofari Express for the "choo choo" lover in all of us and a classical carrousel ride made up of endangered animals. Lucas rode the cheetah. Here he is giving the big cat a pat. With temperatures in the low 80's, it was a hot day but a lot of fun too!

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Three Little Words

There are a handful of moments in your life that you just know while it's happening you're going to remember for the rest of your life.

Motherhood is full of them; the first time your child smiles at you (and you know it's not gas), the first time you hear them say "mama", where and when their first steps take place, and this...

After spending a few hours last Sunday at the world's most beautiful shopping mall, South Coast Plaza, located dangerously close to our new home in Orange County, we were in the car driving home and I was asking Lucas if he had a good time and reviewing all of the fun things we did and saw.

We talked about the cars at the toy store and the dinosaur on display in the window, whose mouth would open and shut, the elevator button he pushed, the escalator we rode, the big balloons for sale in the center of the mall, the colorful horses on the carousel (that we also rode) that went up and down and the great dinner he ate.

It was an animated conversation and he was responding enthusiastically to all of my questions and being really cute and playful.

As we were nearing home, he let out a perfectly timed "ouf" as in, "wow, we did do a lot and boy, am I exhausted!". Todd and I both giggled and I said, "I love you, Lucas." To which he replied...

"I do too".

And just like that, I welled up and got tears in my eyes.

Okay, so it wasn't a direct "I love you", but he knew what he was saying and it melted my heart.

Since then, Daddy (of course) has gotten several actual "I love yous", but I'm still only getting the "I do too".

Whether he means he loves himself or me, I'll take it and I'll always remember the first time he said it.

For those of you with today off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I hope you are enjoying it with the ones you love.

This piece was featured on Nichole's blog, In These Small Moments, in her weekly feature, Small Moments Spotlights -- Week 3 on February 4, 2011.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pop-Pop-Pop

Lucas, meet bubble wrap.

Bubble wrap, this is Lucas.

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Her Secret*

It had become more than a necessity.

It was now her crutch.

It was more than taking the edge off, it was her coping mechanism.

She was lonely, tired, stressed out and didn't care.

Beer, wine and the occasional shot of Jägermeister wasn't cutting it anymore.

Never much of a drinker before motherhood or all of the disappointments and responsibilities, she learned to acquire a taste.

She used to believe that she wouldn't smell like alcohol if she drank vodka, because vodka is unflavored. It's made from the finest winter wheat and the softest glacier waters.

She soon learned this was nonsense. Vodka is hugely alcoholic (80 proof) and she wreaked of a distillery after drinking it.

She rarely saw her husband, he traveled most weekdays and on the weekends, they tried their best to stay out of each others way. Neither of them could remember the last time they had a conversation which involved looking into each others eyes.

She tended to the children and each of their every single needs; speech therapy, birthday parties, play dates, swimming lessons, laundry, meals... the list was never ending and overwhelming.

She did her best to hide the smell from the children and anyone else she had to come in contact with by carrying Altoids and other minty gums, hard candy and throat lozenges. She claimed she had terrible allergies that gave her a scratchy throat. Halls brand cough drops were the best to disguise the stench.

She was beautiful once. A prom queen. An aspiring attorney, doctor, scientist. She could have been anything, but only completed two and half years of college and married the first guy that asked her to. She was pregnant before their first anniversary and had two more children immediately following. They were 4, 2, and 9 months.

This week's bottle was from Russia with love:

1894 St. Petersburg
Imperia Russian Vodka
Crystal Quartz
Filtered
40% alcohol by volume 750 ml.

It should last her three days.

There were many days that were a complete blur. Days when she couldn't account for a single thing she said or did. She missed lunch dates, doctor appointments, pick-ups and drop offs. She tended to the kids, but her needs always came first. She was numb and she liked it that way.

Hidden way back in the cupboard, behind the multiple boxes of cereal, an old broken coffee maker and the glass cake plate that only was used three times a year, for each of her children's birthdays, is where she kept her secret.

She let out an audible sigh of relief just reaching for it. Except today, is was empty.

She panicked as she wondered, how did that happen? She had just cracked it open the night before.

Scurrying around the house, she knew there had to be another bottle somewhere.

She checked under the sink.

Empty.

Her underwear drawer.

Empty.

The diaper bag.

Empty.

The back of the toilet.

Empty.

How much had she drank today? She didn't want to know.

She only wanted more.

She would have to leave the children alone in front of the television and make a run to the liquor store.

Again.

*While I have been known to enjoy a bloody Mary or cranberry vodka with no less than three limes from time to time, this post is purely fiction. And the bottle I found in my pantry is probably over three years old!

This post is for The Red Dress Club's writing meme, Red Writing Hood. This weeks prompt is: grab something out of your pantry and write a short piece - using all the words in the ingredients. It can be fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Never Fade Away

I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived. - Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Everyone loves a good scar story.
We all have at least one.
I have six.
Little reminders that have faded over time of my vanity, immaturity and close calls...
In order in which they were received:
1. Inside left leg – I had a benign tumor removed when I was four years old and had to wear a full leg cast for eight weeks. The scar is roughly six inches long and I have only ever been comfortable with my husband touching it.
2. Left hand – an inch long scar from hitting a mirror in an elevator of our apartment complex upon having an argument with my father. I NEVER thought the mirror would shatter into a million pieces. Nice reminder of my teenage angst, huh? The really sad part is I don’t even remember what the fight was about.
3. Right leg, just below my knee – a mess of a scar that thankfully only shows up when I tan from a motorbike accident that I was in on my birthday in 1985 with my dear friend Sophie. I was the passenger and alcohol was involved.
4. Center of my forehead a quarter inch horizontal scar from a pea-sized calcium deposit I had removed.
5. Right heel – a three incher from a “pump bump” (heel spur) I had removed in college. What woman doesn't want to wear heels from time to time?
6. Right breast a half inch long reminder that a lump I found could have been a lot worse.
I have other scars too, the ones that were self inflicted; ear ring holes (at one point I had four, now only two remain) and three very meaningful tattoos that I don't regret getting even for one second.
And then there are the scars you can't see, the ones on my heart made by the losses in my life. The ones full of memories and love and that will never fade away.
This post is for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop: Prompt 1.) Scarred.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Milkaholic

Lucas has become completely obsessed with his bottle and asks for it all the time!

I hear "ba ba" so much it gives me a headache and usually it's before 9 AM.

It's become somewhat of a joke... he'll waltz up to me, put his hand my leg very affectionately and say "ba ba" and sway his body back and worth, to which I respond very enthusiastically, "no ba ba, how about a sippy instead?".

He rarely takes me up on this offer.

I know that the bottle and/or milk bring him a lot of comfort and I would rather he have a bottle than be sucking on a pacifier, but he is seriously addicted and I'm starting to worry.

Our pediatrician told us that he should ONLY have 24 oz. of milk a day, which we try to limit to first thing in the morning, just before he naps and at bedtime.

Most of the time this ration works pretty well, but it doesn't keep him from asking for his beloved beverage.

Our pediatrician also told us that he should be drinking solely from a sippy cup by the time he was 18 months.

Oops!

Lucas knows how to drink from a sippy cup, but prefers the bottle.

He's never drank water or juice from a bottle and refuses to drink his favorite libation from a sippy cup. Bizarre, no?

At this rate, I feel like weening him off the bottle is going to take FOREVER! Any advice?

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On Any Given Day

On any given day, Lucas might sleep until 6:00, but chances are he's probably already been up 45 minutes by then.

On any given day, he will ask for a "ba ba" 900 times, but only get three.

On any given day, there will be two poopy diapers, countless messes to clean up and several expletives muttered as cars, trains and other toys are tripped over, all before noon.

On any given day, phone calls to and from Daddy will be made and photos will be texted.

On any given day, battles will be won and lost, tears shed and tantrums thrown.

On any given day, a walk and some fresh air calm us both.

On any given day, stories are read, songs sung and silly dances invented.

On any given day, one of us will feel like their head is going to explode from saying "no" and the other one, from hearing it.

On any given day, nothing will sound sweeter than hearing "Mommy".

On any given day, bunnies, goldfish, cheese sticks, yogurt, bananas, grapes and/or graham crackers will all be consumed.

On any given day, an outing has been planned to the park, library, book store, museum, or friend's house.

On any given day, giggles will erupt as hugs, kisses and tickles are delivered.

On any given day, body parts, animal sounds, numbers, colors and the alphabet will be practiced.

On any given day, dinner will be enjoyed together as a family.

On any given day, bath time will be procrastinated, teeth brushing a struggle and bedtime rejoiced.

On any given day, patience is tried, wills are tested and guilt is rampant, but nothing but love is shared between a mother and her son.

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Normal

Liz is the brilliant face behind a belle, a bean & a chicago dog, where she shares her adventures with her two adorable daughters, (self proclaimed) metrosexual husband, yummy sounding recipes that even I could attempt and musings on life in general. Her writing is straight forward, witty and always leaves me wanting more.

I am proud to say that Liz is also my fairy blogmother and has advised me on several blogging quandaries with an ease and candor that I respect.

She has to be one of the busiest and most dedicated bloggers in the blogosphere. On top of all the writing she does, I rarely visit a blog that she hasn't already been to and left a heartfelt comment.

Everyone loves Liz, but if for some reason you aren't already following her on Facebook, Twitter (she tweets a lot!!), her BBCD Blog Frog Community, or Our Mommyhood, you must be living under a rock or have terrible Internet access and need to right away!

I am happy to have Liz here today and so, without further adieu, here what "normal" looks like in her home.

********************************************************************************

I'm so honored to be posting at Letters For Lucas today, though I was even more honored the day Tonya asked me to be her fairy blogmother!

When Tonya and I were talking about this guest post, she asked me about my "Normal." It's kinda funny that she chose that topic because it's something my husband and I talk a lot about.

He and I moved states away from all our family and friends, and everything we knew, over 7 years ago. We hadn't been married even 2 years when he accepted his first outside sales position, so all the "life accomplishments" you do as a married couple pretty much began after our relocation.

Like, our first (and second and third) home.

Two babies.

And countless new jobs and promotions.

Right from the start, our Normal wasn't typical.

Another big part of our Normal is that my husband works out of the home. All the time. As in, there is no physical building nor company location within 500 miles of us.

A lot of people's minds are truly boggled by this, and I'm not sure why. Though once they seem to process this abnormal bit of information, the next question is always, "How is it having your husband around the house all day, every day?"

I usually giggle and say, "It's a good thing we like each other, because we certainly do spend a LOT of time together!"

He and I are both creatures of habit, which I find to be a good thing. Plus, kids thrive with routine. Since I'm home with them all day, every day, our family routine definitely helps me with the kid wrangling. And working out of the home takes a LOT of discipline, so routine is helpful to his productivity and success, too.

Our routine nature and his working out of the home also means that all he has to do is catch a whiff of what's cooking, glance at the clock to see if it's 5 or so, and walk downstairs so we can eat dinner as a family.

Again, not very Normal.

I completely realize that we have some unique benefits with our current set-up. But with all the good come sacrifices, too, like relocation and being a part-time single mom when he's on the road overnight for work.

So, I guess my Normal could be summed up as this:

-Moved away
-Husband works out of the home
-Husband travels overnight for work
-SAHM
-Dinner at 5


It would be hard for me to imagine what life would be like if Craig suddenly had an office job or if I began working full-time, just like other people can't imagine having their spouse around the house all day or picking up their lives and moving like we have.

And I totally get that.

And respect that.

Because we each have our own Normal.

What is your Normal like? Would you change your Normal?

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Perfect Balance

New Year's Eve used to mean buying tickets to the hottest party, scoring an invitation, going all out to have one of our own, or having a nice, long romantic dinner for two followed by drinking like a fish.

This year, we had an 18 month old and had no babysitter, so our New Year's eve was quiet and spent at a nearby Mexican restaurant. We were home by 7:00.

The salsa and margaritas were free flowing, but one hour is about Lucas' threshold for dining out.

I was able to capture these cute photos of him with a balloon using my new favorite iPhone app, Mobile Photobooth.
However...

If the first week of the 2011, is any indication to what the rest of the year has in store for me and my little family, I'm thrilled!

So far, Lucas and I have been to Pretend City Children's Musem, explored a new park, went to a friend's house for a fun play date and have made several successful trips to Target together in an effort to stock and organize our new home.

I've worked out four times, had lunch with a friend, a date night with Todd, have seen four awesome movies (The American, Inception, Rabbit Hole and The Town), one was even in the theater and spent a glorious hour in a spa chair!

It's been the perfect balance of family time, friend time, me time and exploring our new surroundings. What more could I ask for?

This post is for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop: Prompt 2.) If the way you spent your New Year’s Eve is any indication of how the rest of the year will go, how would you say your future is looking right about now?

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The Terrible Twos: A Preview?

It seems as though with 18 months came the onset of the "terrible twos".

And the stink eye...
Mean, huh?

I was not prepared for either one.

Lucas has been having melt downs pretty much since the day we brought him home. They were few and far between and we learned very quickly that he can't be in one place for very long, needing and relishing change to his environment. But now, these melt downs are full blown temper tantrums and they can be wicked.

There are two to three a day and we have learned to minimize our interference and just let him go through it. It's safer for everyone involved.

We have never hit Lucas. As parents we do not believe in spanking, so we never will (I have been tempted for sure, but have refrained).

But he hits.

When he's mad or frustrated or bonks himself on the corner of a table, he hits it. He hits us. He hits himself.

It's scary.

Where do children learn to do this? Is it a natural instinct, a protection mechanism? Is it a boy thing, or do girls do it too? When does it subside? Please tell me it subsides!

More than once recently, Lucas has been put in a Time-Out for hitting and throwing things with very little to zero effectiveness. He thinks it's a game. We don't want Time-Out to be a punishment necessarily, but an opportunity for him to reset himself, i.e. modify his crappy behavior.

I have read that 18 months is not too early to start this practice, but we are novices and it doesn't seem to be going very well so far.

Today, I bought a designated Time-Out chair. Hopefully it will help him understand we mean business. Any Time-Out advice?

When did the terrible twos begin in your house and what else can we expect from them? I miss my sweet boy.

Lucas turned 19 months on Thursday. I can't wait to see what this month will bring. Wish us luck...

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