Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Love Letter

Dear Lion,

Do you mind if I call you Lion. I have read your story thus far and the name seems to fit you. You are brave. You are strong. You are a survivor.

When I saw your picture, I fell in love. I knew, in that instant, that we were destined to be together. I have spent the moments since, studying the lines of your face, staring in to your beautiful eyes. I have your face memorized. I can close my eyes and see you before me, laughing, smiling, calling my name. You are mine and I am yours.

But I see that I have gotten a little ahead of myself. You do not know me. We have not been properly introduced.

I am your mother.

And you are my son.

My son. My son. My son.

I repeat those words over and over like a mantra as if by speaking those words you can hear me calling you. Those words connect us through time and space. We are one you and I despite the miles between us. 7,500 miles, oceans, mountains, continents, languages separate us.

They separate us now but we will be together soon. You will know me, know my face as surely as I know yours. We will be a family forever.

I used to call you Turtle, but I was wrong. You were not slow, I was. I delayed and stalled, dragging my feet. I didn't know why. But now I do. I was waiting for you, my son.

And now I must wait a little while longer to hold you in my arms. This may be the hardest wait of all. But I know that it will be worth it because you and I will be together, forever.

My lion. My son.

Your Mother

Monday, September 28, 2009

Thank You

Today is my birthday. My 40th birthday. The big 4 - 0. And you know what? I am totally cool with that because I am seriously one of the luckiest people on earth.

So today I am going to thank all of the people who have made me feel so blessed and lucky.

First I want to thank my parents because really this day is all about them. Without them, I wouldn't be here. Without them, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. You are two of the most amazing people I have ever met, thank you for being you.

Second, I want to thank my husband. There are so many reasons why I love him but I wanted to share two with you. He helped me realize a nearly lifelong dream yesterday and thereby resolving one of the two bones of contention that we had in our marriage. Ironically both involve baseball (and to be fair there is nothing he can do about the other one so I just need to let it go).

You see I am a huge Brewers fan. I have been for all of my life. When I was a kid, I belonged to the kids club and went to a lot of games. Every year I would look at the schedule and see if there was a game on my birthday. I thought there would be nothing cooler than having your name on the scoreboard on your birthday. For whatever reason I never went to a birthday game.

Until September 28, 2000, my 31st birthday. It was also the last game at County Stadium, the old Brewers' stadium. I told Frink about my wish and asked him to call to have my name on the scoreboard. It would have been awesome to see my name on that old scoreboard on that special day. But he didn't call. And my name wasn't in lights on that day. And I kind of held a grudge for the next 9 years. I even organized a tailgate for one of his birthdays and had his name on the scoreboard.

But then we got tickets to yesterday's game. The day before my birthday. I reminded him about my childhood dream. And this time he came through, which is totally awesome.

But more importantly, he did something for me which was just amazing. Last week we had a discussion about what I wanted to do for my birthday. We didn't have anything special planned so we'd have to throw something together last minute. We decided on dinner at my favorite restaurant with some friends. When he asked who I wanted to invite, I started to cry because so many of the people I would want there were so far away.

So he e-mailed my friend Issa and told her that I was feeling down about my birthday. And together they cooked up the best present a girl could ask for. So thank you, Frink. You are truly amazing.

Now I'm going to thank Issa and my other wonderful friends for the wonderful gift they have given me. Issa organized a blog party for my birthday. She got all of these amazing bloggers who I read,admire and love, some who I know personally and some who I am waiting to meet, to send me birthday wishes from their own blogs. I was floored when I saw this. This blog and the people I have met through it have meant so much to me and to receive something like this means everything.

So thank you Issa, Mommy Geekology, Matthew, Kirsten, Bridget, Kate, Heather, Greis and Stacey for making my day all the more special.

Finally, I want to thank my beautiful girl, Bunny. She's the reason I started this little blog. She is the reason that I do everything. And she is the reason I am truly blessed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm Not Here

I'm over here guest posting at my dear friend Christy's blog. Please stop by and say hi. And while you are there, read some of Christy's archives. She is awesome and I'm sure you will love her as much as I do.

I promise I'll be back with a fresh post tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bugging Out

On Sunday we went to Bug Day at a local park. Bunny was in heaven. She loves her creepy crawlies.


Hissing Cockroach


She is one brave girl. The nearest I got to those things was behind the camera lens.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I've decided to participate in the Blogger Football League again this year. When I told my husband about it, he said I'll make your picks for you if you want. Um, no. This is all for me. I mean I know I sucked at it last year and didn't win anything and didn't beat him at all. But winning isn't everything right?

Wrong! According to Vince Lombardi, its the only thing. So here are my winning picks for this week (winners in bold and color)

Carolina @ Atlanta
Minnesota @ Detroit (FYI this pick is based solely on Adrian Peterson and is no way reflective of who ever they have starting at quarterback for the Vikings)
Cincinnati @ Green Bay (FYI #2 - I will always pick the Packers. I am a total homer that way)
Houston @ Tennessee (FYI #3 - this is no way an attempt to kiss up to the commissioner)
Oakland @ Kansas City (FYI #4 - I'm totally guessing here)
New England @ NY Jets
New Orleans @ Philadelphia (FYI #5 - I like Drew Brees and I think my next door neighbor is starting for the Eagles)
St. Louis @ Washington (FYI #6 - Frink said do not take St. Louis, they are the worst team in the league. So I'm not taking them.)
Arizona @ Jacksonville
Seattle @ San Francisco
Tampa Bay @ Buffalo
Pittsburgh @ Chicago (FYI #7 - I will probably never pick the Bears, unless they are playing the Vikings)
Baltimore @ San Diego
Cleveland @ Denver
NY Giants @ Dallas (FYI #8 - I am so looking forward to teams kicking into the scoreboard. I wonder how many times it will happen per game. 2? 3? And if you are losing, do you just kick into the scoreboard on purpose just to piss the Cowboys off? I would.)

Monday Night
Indianapolis @ Miami
combined score - 38

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who Is This For, You or Me?

Nap time in our house has gone the way of the dodo bird. It is extinct. Dead as a doornail. And it has been for some time.

We (I) tried in vain to have quiet time in her room. I hoped that she could play quietly while I got some things done around the house. Nope. It didn't work in the least. You see she can open her door and come downstairs by herself. So I would spend the hour taking her back upstairs repeatedly. Not the best use of my time.

Then we tried having her watch a video or show while I did other things. Somedays it worked fine. Somedays it didn't. She would get lonely. "Momma can you come here please. I miss you. I want you to watch with me. Please." So I'd come in and sit for a while and go back to whatever I was doing, only to have the whole thing start all over again.

So the next thing we tried has worked like a dream. I can't believe I didn't think of this before. When its time for quiet time, we both head to the couch with our blankets. I lay down first then she lays on top of me. We turn on a show and snuggle for a while. Then she will either lay with me, sit on the other couch or play quietly while watching her show. The most important thing is she is quiet. For a whole hour. Its perfect.

Now how can this be perfect, you ask. Isn't the point of quiet time for you to have some time to yourself? Yes it is. And I do get exactly what I need.

Because every day I fall asleep on the couch during quiet time. I get almost an hour of uninterrupted napping. And it is awesome.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

First Days, Celebratory Balloons and Feats of Engineering

Yesterday we all survived Bunny's first day of preschool.

We arrived at school and everyone was excited.

Bunny had her Kai Lan backpack and her trusty triceratops Topsy. Kai Lan would hold all of her treasures and Topsy would keep her safe.

We climbed the stairs.

Found her room.

We braved the chaos and went in. She got an apple with her name that she hung on the bulletin board and a name tag so everyone (who could read) would know who she was. We found her cubby and placed Topsy safely inside. Then she explored the room. At first she seemed a bit tentative but she gained confidence. When she found the playdough, she was all set. She stood side by side with two other kids, who I am sure will become her friends. But for now they were ignoring each other, focusing solely on the playdough.

Frink and I looked at each other and figured this was a good a time as any to make our getaway. We told her we were leaving. We gave her a kiss. She nodded and gave us a dismissal wave as if to to say "go away, I'm busy". So we left.

There was coffee in another room so we could have a chance to meet the other parents. Frink went back to work and I stayed talking with some of the other moms. When I finally felt confident enough to leave, I saw on of her teachers on a bathroom run with another student. I asked her how it was going and found out that Bunny was crying. And then I heard it. A heartbreaking, I want my mommy wail. I was devastated. The teacher looked at me and said "we can handle this". I knew she was right so I left.

Never in the history of time had two hours stretched out so slowly. I went grocery shopping, came home, put all the groceries away and there was still 45 minutes left. So I did what any sane mother would do, I got coffee. And then I did what any neurotic mother would do, I drove to the school and waited outside for the next half an hour.

When it was finally time for pick up, I went inside the school. I stood outside the classroom and heard only singing. No crying. That was good news. When the door opened, I saw Bunny sitting on the floor with her classmates. She looked up at me with a huge smile on her face and I knew everything was going to be alright.

That night, Frink, being the good daddy that he is, brought home a special celebratory desert and a balloon for our big girl. She was thrilled. She loves balloons. And cake. But mostly balloons.

Unfortunately for Bunny, there is another member of our family who also loves balloons. So she spent most of last night and part of this morning screaming "No Tabasco!" "Go away Tabasco!" But of course he got to the balloon and ate some of the ribbon. She was angry. She'd had enough.

So she did what any self respecting preschooler would do, she built a wall to keep him out. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Great Wall of Bunny;

Indeed it is a marvel to behold. Notice that it is guarded by Olive the tiger. The tiger is fierce and will certainly scare the cat away. The wall it high. It is made of bricks and chairs. Surely it will keep the cat out.

Except that it probably won't. But I don't have the heart to tell her.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I want to take a snapshot of exactly how you are right now. I want to carry it with me always to remind me of this time. This time when you were mine, only mine. A time before you belonged to the world of school, friends and teachers. A time when I was the center of your world and you were the center of mine. A time before you have to share me with Turtle, a brother, an unknown. A time when it was just the two of us.

In my snapshot there will be a sunny, warm day. There will be a playground full of children laughing, shouting, running and playing. But my snapshot will not focus on that action, instead we will be a few yards away. We will be under the shade of two large burr oak trees. The sunlight will filter through the trees, dancing on the ground as the wind blows the leaves above.

We will stand there you and I, together. We are apart from the action and the chaos of the playground because we have a greater purpose. There is work to be done. There are things to discover. There is nature to explore.

In my snapshot, you will be crouched above the ground, reaching down, examining what nature has to offer. I will stand nearby with my hand stretched out, waiting. Occasionally you will turn to me with a new discovery, a leaf, an acorn, the whole world. You will place it in my outstretched hand for safe keeping. You know that I will hold your treasure as dear as I hold you.

You find an acorn cap from the burr oak, you turn to me and exclaim "Momma, this is an acorn pail just like mouse had in Bear Wants More." For a moment, I am stunned that you can remember such a small detail but then I realize that is who you are. You remember things.

We talk about how we can't take all the acorns. We have to save some for the squirrels and chippers. I tell you how they will collect the acorns and other seeds and they will store them for winter. You pause for just a moment, letting this information sink in, thinking. Then you grab some sticks and leaves. You bend over, close to the ground, working furiously. You turn and gather some acorns, And then you turn back to your work. You step back to survey your work. You make a few final adjustments. You stand up with a satisfied look in your face and say "Momma, I made an acorn house for the squirrels." And it is perfect.

Full of your accomplishment, you move on. You exclaim with delight when you find a lady bug. You pick it up, letting it crawl on your hand. You hold on to it, not wanting it to get away. For a moment, I cringe. I don't want you to love this bug too much, until there is nothing left. But you don't. You know better. Holding the bug in one hand, you grab acorn caps with the other. You place the lady bug in a cap and cover it with another cap, building a cage, a home for the bug. You carry that home with you for the rest of our adventure, occasionally opening it to check on him. Placing a blade of grass in the house so he has something to eat. You care so much about this little lady bug, you want to make sure he is safe.

When my hands are too full of treasures, it is time to go. You find some soft leaves. You gather them into a pile. You open the lady bug house and you place him gently on the leaves. You try to remember the rhyme "lady bug, lady bug fly away home" but you forget how it goes. But it doesn't matter, you make up your own version and it fits, perfectly.

On the way to the car, we find another acorn. You pick it up to examine it. You hold it up for me to see. "Momma, this acorn is different. Its from a white oak." Of course it is. And it comes home with the rest of our treasures.

This is how I see you, so excited about the world and all of the mysteries it holds. You can't wait to learn. You want to know everything. You want to know it right now.

I want to capture this moment. I want to place it in a locket around my neck, and wear it next to my heart. You are wonderful now. You are perfect. You are 3 1/2. You are ancient. You are timeless. You are my daughter and I love you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Conquering Fear

Part of being a parent is getting over your fears for your children. You have to let go of the fears that they will get hurt, that they will cry, that they will hate you, so they can actually grow up and experience life. You also have to let go of some of your own fears so they can have the fun experiences that make up childhood.

This is my story of how I let go of my own fears for Bunny's sake.

I am afraid of birds. I hate their beady little eyes. I am scared of their beaks. I am terrified of their claws. I also think they are dirty and disgusting but that is neither here nor there.

I can appreciate them from a (safe) distance. In fact, I even have a bird feeder so we have lots of birds in our yard. I like seeing the cardinals, gold finches and sparrows flitting about (from a distance). They are pretty. I know that.

But they are also creepy. Especially when they fly. Especially when they fly near me.

Why yes I saw The Birds during my formative years. Why do you ask? Oh because seeing people pecked to death can totally contribute to a fear of birds. Yes, that is part of it.

But I had my own experience with birds when I was younger. On a Spanish club trip to Spain we visited a plaza where you could buy seeds to feed the birds (mostly pigeons, enough said). The birds would land on you and eat the feed right out of your hands. They would land on you even if you didn't have feed but had raised your arms. At first it was cool and then it wasn't. They wouldn't leave you alone. Their claws left scratch marks all over your arms. It totally sucked. And it was very reminiscent of The Birds.

So that in a nutshell is why I am afraid of birds.

Bunny on the other hand, loves birds. Of course she does. She loves going into the aviary at the zoo. There is a room there where the birds fly free. I hate it because they are flying around, swooping over your head. They could attack you at any time. I know they probably won't, but they could.

So I do my best to avoid the aviary. Or we run as fast as possible through this room to the area with the pretty birds behind glass. That I can handle. Most of the time this is no problem.

Until now.

Because our zoo has an exhibit where they have cages of cute (but deadly) parakeets, parrots and cockatiels. And then they give you a stick with feed on it and send you into the lion's den. The birds will then fly to you, hop on your stick and eat the feed. So there are birds everywhere, flying around, landing on people and there is no escape. Well I mean there is a door but you are still in a cage with the little buggers. And no matter how cute they are, I am sure they are one empty stick away from pecking someone's eye out.

Most of the time, Bunny's dad takes her to the exhibit to save my sanity. But we made the mistake of saying to Bunny this was the last week for the exhibit and she demanded to go. During the week. So I had to take her. I could have been mean and said no, but I didn't.

I got over my fears and walked into the cage of death. I even had my own stick. Birds flew past me and over my head. Birds landed on my arm and on my hand. Birds landed on my daughter. And I didn't hyperventillate. I freaked out on the inside but on the outside I looked like a normal sane person who isn't afraid of birds. And Bunny had a blast.