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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Five years ago today I gave birth to a gorgeous little baby boy. Zachary James has not ceased to enthrall and entertain us since his dramatic entrance into the world (took seven weeks of bed rest and yet he still just wanted to crash the party early).

Zach wanted to go to bed early last night so that his birthday would arrive sooner.

All of this birthday-talk had Matthew (who has been home sick with a cough and fever all week) reminiscing about his. I asked him if he recalled his 6th and 7th birthdays. Both days, he cried when he realized that he felt no different; he didn’t “feel six” or “feel seven.” It was very disappointing. I said that maybe this year – on his eighth – he’d be mentally prepared (to feel no different).

As I said this I saw Matthew’s eyes beginning to well up. “I don’t like having birthdays,” he wailed. “I mean, I like the presents but it means each year I’m getting older…and (sniff sniff)…closer….(sniffle-sob-snort)…closer to dying!”

He literally wept, shoulders shaking with the injustice of aging and the slow march towards our imminent end.

I tried to pump him up about the whole heaven-place, but to no avail. He apparently feels completely betrayed by God by the fact that he won’t have his toys and house and all his STUFF. It’s like the whole heaven thing is totally lame due to the lack of favorite possessions and he wants none of it.

I comforted him to the best of my ability (though honestly, he was fairly inconsolable about it).
Later, at bed time Zach was eagerly anticipating this morning’s arrival.

“So, Zachary,” I cautioned, “You know that just because you’re turning five tomorrow doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily feel any different.” I figure that maybe I can learn from the trauma of my first born to help number two.

“Yes I will!” Zach exclaimed. “I’m totally gonna feel super five.”

Matthew looked at me exasperated, shook his head and said, “I already tried warning him, Mom.” Zach’s a lost cause.

So, this morning after singing Happy Birthday, I offered to put a candle in his selected birthday breakfast (cereal – the boy’s a creature of habit and a cereal addict, what can I say?). Zach laughed and scoffed that this was a very dangerous idea.

After a few moments, I decided to just face the potential ugly awaiting us head on. “Do you feel different Zach? Do you feel five?”

Zach grinned and nodded, “Yup, I totally feel five.”

Matthew glared groggily across the table at his brother and shook his head in disbelief.

“So, what’s it feel like?” I asked.

“It feels like I’m five...and funnier."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We just returned home from a great trip to Spokane for Easter with some of Mike’s fam. I’m SO happy to say that an Easter miracle really did occur for our crew – ZERO PUKING. I repeat: we were a puke-free people for four days which included 12 hours of driving, a decent amount of Easter candy and Matthew getting a cold (which nearly always leads to vomiting in itself). Jesus is risen; the tomb is empty AND the puke bucket is empty too! Seriously – the road trip could not have gone better. Kayliana was even great about being in the car for that long!

The boys (and Kayli) were thrilled to see Nana (Aunt Dolores), Uncle Harry and Mike’s sister Jamie and hubby Dan. The biggest disaster of the weekend was Matthew, taking Dan’s RC car for a spin and immediately driving it into (REAL) oncoming traffic. Thank God that the only car that got in an accident – sorry, Dan – was the tiny passenger-less car. Dan said that he’d be able to repair it at the auto body shop (er, the hobby shop). But from this experience, we’ve decided that Matthew will never ever EVER get to borrow anyone’s car, including ours.

Staying in a hotel is apparently nearly as exciting as a trip to Disneyland. The kids were so ridiculously excited about it that on Sunday night they were already lamenting that it would be the last night there. Zach said it went too fast and felt like we’d only stayed in the hotel for “ZERO NIGHTS.” The pool was also a fun hotel bonus. Mike took the boys on Saturday while I got Kayli ready for her first EVER dip in a pool (and first time in a swim diaper, bathing suit…) it was all super thrilling until she experienced the pool (which WAS on the cooler side) and decided that she wanted nothing to do with it. After 30 seconds in the pool, she proceeded to cling to me like a tree frog for the next few minutes until I took her back to the room. She did look awfully cute though lounging by the poolside. (Sucking her fingers for emotional support and digging her fingernails into my shoulder lest I even THINK about dipping her toes back into that weird freakishly-enormous, terrifying bathtub place-of-torture).

Playing Easter Bunny in a hotel room is definitely a tricky business for which one must take precautions. It really didn’t help, either, that the boys were so wound up about our first night in the hotel; they were awake for WAY too long. I’d planned ahead for this important mission and had brought my headlamp. I laid in bed reading my book waiting and waiting and waiting for the boys to settle in and go to sleep. Eventually they did but only after I’d dosed off several times and woken up in a panic thinkin that I’d somehow slept all night and missed the Easter Bunny window. Bunny duties were fulfilled and I finally got to go to sleep around 11:30.

(I feel as though this next section does deserve its own title.)

On Thursday, the mailman delivered a package. It was from my brother Timothy and his wife Rebecca. It was pretty much happy-magic in a box. The contents included a very nice gift card for the boys, a pair of ruffley-topped socks, lacey tights, two flower headbands and not one, not two, but three GORGEOUS frilly-froofy Easter-y dresses for Kayliana. I did seriously consider that Easter Sunday could be like the Oscars and that Kayli would have several outfit changes, but in the end, we did choose one of the dresses. (It was a major discussion, let me tell you). I was a little worried about our choice when I saw a two year old girl in the same exact dress at church. You know, I didn’t want Kayli to have to be in People Magazine’s “Who Wore it Better?” (She totally would’ve won though), and it’s SO awkward to be wearing the same exact dress as another woman – er, girl, er, toddler – but both girls handled it beautifully.

Kayli was an angel during church (as usual). But by the end, I knew that she was in need of a diaper change and a bottle. I wanted a family picture before we got all normalized and spitty-up-y and dirty and stuff. The passing-by Monseigneur decided to join our picture. Unfortunately, Kayli had used up her angelic in church and the second the priest said hi to her she started to howl. So, sadly, that’s her look for our family portrait. We got some better ones of just us girls after she’d eaten. Food makes everything better.

Speaking of food, upon our return from Spokane, we let the boys help Kayli experience her first ever bit of “solids” (ridiculously runny rice cereal). She’s a bit dubious yet, but she’ll be an eating champ in no time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised that one of my children is the kid on the t-ball team who is WAY more interested in digging in the dirt than playing ball. He gets upset when we leave for t-ball practice and bring bats, mitts, and balls rather than shovels and pails. (Go figure. We’re nuts, I know). This would be Zachary. He seems to be the anti-t-ball t-ball player. Obviously, we’re having them play t-ball for the experience (learning the game), the fun (being a part of a team), the exercise (it is a sport, after all). We don’t have any major league dreams…though we wouldn’t argue should one day, we find ourselves, looking back and laughing at our sand-digging t-ball player who now plays (then-now, as in the future) professional major league baseball and pays for his parents’ early retirement. This trip down memory lane will all happen, mind you, while we sit on the deck of a yacht in the Mediterranean. No, we don’t have any lofty goals, I swear. 

Mike and I watched as Zachary – who was manning second base – put his mitt on his head and began spinning on one leg. Holding the mitt in place on his noggin he looked like a…

“Maybe we should’ve signed him up for ballet,” Mike says, reading my thoughts.

“Or not,” Mike quickly adds as Zach had spun himself to dizziness and fell on his butt in the sand.

The next Zach Moment was watching our nonviolent child trying to shove the runner off of second base. (Zach later responded with, “I was supposed to be second base, not him!” We explained that it’s actually the runner who should get to have a foot on the base most of the time and Zach would need to do a better job of sharing his space).

The coach was tossing grounders to the kids having them “alligator” their hand and glove to get the ball. Zach went after groundballs by squatting, mitt on the ground at the ready and then lazily watching as the ball rolled past him, seemingly unable to mentally process the fact that the ball will not automatically roll directly into his mitt. Coach, Mike and I all yell encouraging and enthusiastic words of, “Go get it, Zach!!” When Zach finally goes after the ball it’s often in a creative way – a Russian dancer-type squat-walk, and then he’d occasionally try to the throw the ball in a clever way (head hung upside down, etc.). Somebody’s gotta do something.

When it was Zach’s turn to bat up at the Tee, he proceeded to hit the T rather than the ball – quickly realizing that instead of being an embarrassing situation the whole team of 5-7 year old boys laughs hysterically every time someone does this…so why would you bother wasting your time up there by hitting the ball when you can crack everyone up?

And then when it was Zach’s turn to run to base what’d he do? (After WEEKS of the kids practicing running the bases and calling out, “First! Second! Third! Fourth…no wait, Home!”). Zach decides to take a short cut and runs straight to second.

Then again, one of the boys’ teammates decided to just pick up first base and take it with him as he ran towards second, so I suppose Zach fits right in! Our first game ought to be VERY interesting. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Read all the details below!

Monday, April 04, 2011

It’s really way bugging me that my blogging schedule right now is approximately every other week. That is unacceptable and it just does not sit well with me. And sure enough, because it’s been a while, I’ve got lots to say. So, I plan on using my good ‘ol bullet-points technique. (Although it’s safe to say that each bullet-point will have quite a bit of wordage before the next bullet-point presents itself. And actually I don’t like how the bullet-points thing automatically indents everything so I will actually number and title topics for clarification). Here goes:

1.) MIDDLE SCHOOL REUNION. Way back on Friday, March 18th, I hosted a reunion of my closest friends from the days of yore and yesteryear (middle school – ahh yes, those tumultuous puberty-hormone stricken, preteen angst-filled years. Thank goodness for these girls). We had so much fun together – back then and now! A couple of the ladies have little offspring of their own now (all girl-types thus far). So, I had warned Zachary that there would be a few 2ish and under girls rippin’ around here. Apparently this news was just too much to handle and a meltdown of emotion burst forth.

“But, Mommmmm,” he wailed, “They will ruin everything and make such a mess and I will have to clean it up…I always have to clean it up. And they’ll break stuff. And I just…I just…I just don’t have time for this!!!” Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know that you had a busy agenda and that this just really doesn’t work with your pressing schedule. I talked Zach down – reassuring him that any mess the little girls made, I would help eradicate after their departure. I also convinced him that it might be wise to move some of the things that he really wouldn’t want little hands playing with – completed Lego completions, Playmobil knight/castle pieces, etc. We worked through his pain together.

A few days later, we were talking about labor (as in having a baby). Just in a general sense: that Rebecca would be going into labor soon. Zachary – as always when he hears a word he’s not familiar with – asked what the word labor means. Mike replied, “Labor is REALLY hard work.”

And, as usual, our vocabulary whiz, quickly utilized his new word in a sentence. “Oh, yeah,” Zachary said, “My WHOLE life is labor.” Yes, he has a VERY tough existence.

Anyway, when my middle school friends and the couple of little girls arrived, Zach soon realized that 2ish and under kids can be fairly fun! Though he did, at one point, try to rip a box out of little Wynter’s hands because it had little knight/army guys in it that are “VERY CHOKABLE!” (Yes, I’m sure he was only concerned about her safety and not his own desire to keep his toys intact).

My friend Erica’s husband Eerik was brave enough to face all of us ladies. At one point, Zach suddenly realized that he was the only boy-type in the room…and then he saw Eerik. Zach went over to him and nonchalantly said, “So, who are you?”

Eerik responded, “I’m Eerik. I’m Wynter’s dad.”

“So, do you want to look at Where’s Waldo?” Zach asked. And from that point on the two men were pals. Whenever Zach needed a break from the girls he would go over to Eerik for conversation and male bonding with Where’s Waldo. They huddled in their little testosterone corner – strength in numbers – while the rest of us girls gabbed away.

2.) T-BALL. It has happened. It’s begun. We’ve become one of those families whose lives revolve around a sports team practice and team schedule. We’re slaves to the calendar. But it’s actually VERY exciting to be marching down, for the first time, this path of team sports! Initially, we only had Zach signed up for T-Ball. After talking to other parents about it at the bus stop, I was given the clear impression that it was ‘too late’ for Matthew’s baseball career. That ship had sailed. At the 7-8 year old level, baseball is already highly competitive and try-out based. Ewww. We had waited to sign Matthew up – knowing that we were missing the T-Ball age – because we just didn’t feel he was ready emotionally for team sports. He’s a sensitive big boy and we weren’t sure that he would’ve handled it well. And now, when we’d really wanted to sign him up, our dreams of Major League offspring were shattered.

Thankfully, Zachary’s T-Ball coach is the embodiment of awesomeness. Mike played catch with Matthew during the team practice while Matthew glumly watched the kids play racing games around the bases and practice catching and throwing. After that first practice I was chatting with Coach and Coach’s Wife. I mentioned that we were basically told that it was too late for Matthew – that the kids at his age level have all been playing for a few years already. Coach insisted that that was hooey and how dare these parents dash our dreams of sports stardom. He would talk to the league and see if Matthew could join Zach’s team – the Cubs. Sure enough, at Saturday’s practice we found out that Matthew could play!!

So, yes, he’s a little bigger than the other kids, and yes, he’s a little better than most of the kids, but it’s a perfect way for him to finally get that team sport experience while learning the basics of baseball. Plus, there’s just no way I could handle having two kids on two different teams with four different baseball events a week. Oye! Since I’m sure this is the only year we can get away with having them on the same team, future seasons will be tough. Basically, we’ll see which kid is better at the end of this season and then we’ll put all of our baseball-dreams on him. No pressure. (You know I’m kidding right?)

3.) THE ZOO. On Saturday, we went to the zoo with Kayliana’s birth mom (Mia) and her mom (Norah). It was wonderful seeing both of them. Mia hasn’t seen Kayli since New Year’s (so Kayli was 6 weeks old) and Norah hasn’t seen Kayli since we picked her up (at 2 days old). You can imagine that they couldn’t get over how big Kayli is now. (And, of course, the second comment we get is how much hair she has).

The outing was great. The boys were well behaved (Norah even commented on that fact)! And it was so good to see Mia. She’s doing very well and starts classes at community college today. I was able to find out a few facts about Mia as a baby (so who knows if this will carry over to Kayliana). She was an early crawler and an early talker (and hasn’t stopped since, her mom reported). And Mia – who now has very thick, black curly hair – had the same kind of hair as Kayli. Then when she was about 3 it turned coarse and curly. So, we’ll see…

4.) THE MIRACLE. A week ago today I was very, very tired. Not as tired as our best friends Jason and Rebecca though. A week ago today, Rebecca had a baby, and I got to be there. A new addition joined our clan. (They’re the ones also with two boys – Joshua and Noah. We camp together. We celebrate birthdays, holidays, life together. We’re the Clan). For several months we’d been preparing Kayliana because, you see, Jason and Rebecca are the torturous types who don’t want to find out what they’re having until the baby’s born. So, we’ve been mentally preparing Kayliana. You know, letting her know that the baby in Auntie Rebecca’s tummy was either another husband option or her best friend.

For as long as I live I will never forget that moment in the hospital room. Rebecca’s mom and I were hugging each other and crying when the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!!!!!” I didn’t get to be at the birth of my own daughter but I got to be at the birth of Rebecca’s, and that is a gift for which I will forever be grateful. Veronica Margaret is a beautiful perfect little lady and already the girls have gotten along smashingly well. 

When Zachary got to meet Veronica on Thursday, we (Rebecca and I) said something to the effect of, “And, Zach, this is your wife Veronica.”

“Why is she my wife?” Zach asked.

“Because your parents gave us three goats,” Jason replied. (I don’t recall any exchange of livestock happening…yet).

When Zach got home he said, “Matthew! Guess who I got to meet today! wife, Veronica. And I’m going to marry her ‘cuz she’s very cute!”