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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Time Spent = Love

So many times during the summer or on the weekend the kids are always wanting to know what we are going to do next.  Sometimes this is overwhelming because I look at my bank account and think... we went to the movies yesterday, and out to dinner... the day before we had to run to the mall (with three kids, mind you), and they day before that we just enrolled Kennith in summer camp for a week... This mama ain't got no more "entertainment" money. BUT what I fail to understand is that they just want to spend time with us (Phillip and I).

So, I am on a mission for the remainder of summer break to do something with my kids each day, and to do something "cheep" or free. 

Hummm....  Have bikes? CHECK  Have pool passes? CHECK  Have items to pack snacks and lunch? CHECK Have sneakers? CHECK Have imagination? OH LORD I HOPE. LOL

Yesterday Kennith, Alex, and I went on an amazing bike ride.  Eventhough it felt like 12 miles, it was only 6, but we biked for a long time and our legs hurt (and to be honest, my back hurts so bad today because I am such a weakling. LOL)

I am now trying to plan different things to do with them that will be cost effective and fun.

Farmer's markets... I love the farmer's market in Cedar Rapids. Always fun to walk around, try some samples, and dance or listen to the live music.  This is one low cost event, and we tend to have breakfast there (we go to the omelet place by the park, um wicked good I tell you...). It is every other Saturday in the morning... get their EARLY for the best produce! For more information:

Bike rides... there are so many great bike trails in the Cedar Rapids area that we need to start taking advantage of these great trails.  Pack some water and a snack and we are golden.

Picnic... go on an old fashioned picnic.  I am thinking about taking the kids out to Morgan Creek one night and hiking and having dinner out there.  It would be a great time for us to get some exercise, reconnect and enjoy nature.

Splash pads... these are FREE! FREE I tell you! Why not grab some snacks and water and spend the day at the splash pad.  Make sure to bring sunscreen, but it is a great way to spend time with your kids... OH and this mom's rule? YOU (mom I am talking to you) have to get in that water and splash around like you are 10. Just do it!

Pools... we have pool passes, so they are in theory free, right? Why not spend the day at a pool.  We tend to go to the same pool all the time, so I think we are going to do some pool jumping... I am setting a goal for the Wenndts to try EVERY pool in Cedar Rapids before school starts.

Uptown Marion Concerts on Thursday nights/ Granger Museum... these can be fun, but LOUD! Be prepared for some noise people! calendar:

Take a drive out to the Amana Colonies and look at the buildings, walk around and talk about Amana history?? I think so (I may even grab a bottle of wine or

There are a ton of local resources out there that have a lot of free or low cost activities for you to spend time with the kiddos. 

So with that, I must go clean my bedroom (as this is a task each child is doing at the moment).  After that, it is lunch and off for an adventure. Today I think it is the pool.... AND today, I will go on water slides and play games with the kids, instead of sitting on the sidelines... making sure they are all safe. I will play with them. Be in the moment.  Enjoy this time I have. 

Be Blessed!

Friday, July 27, 2012

One Week = Progress Made

A week after my “sad," well rather heartbreaking blog, I am just following up.  Today I am getting my last iron infusion out of six at the cancer center.  It was hard coming up here, because I am here every six months for six weeks to get my infusion, and the nurses here are like friends. Today they were like, “how are you feeling?” Me realizing they don’t know about what happened last week.  I said I was feeling fine and one gal asked me how the baby was doing, and I looked at her and I said that the baby transitioned to heaven last Thursday. What am I supposed to say? I tried not to cry, I tried to hold it together and I think I did very well.  I just had a few tears in my eyes as I talked to her about it.

What I didn’t realize a week ago is that when I was in the recovery and bleeding heavily (sorry that is gross) and they gave me the medication to stop it, my chest started to hurt (like someone was taking a rubber band and squeezing it so tight I couldn’t think, breath… get comfortable)… I thought that was it… but the doctors told my husband that I could be having a heart attack.  What was supposed to be a one hour procedure has now been two hours. They left my husband alone… to think… to worry… left him with… “Your wife is having a heart attack” in his mind.  They gave me the medication to stop the pain (Nitro) and it worked.  They monitored my heart all night and did tests, and today I can thankfully say that I didn’t have a heart attack, there was no damage to my heart what-so-ever.  With that said, I still have residual effects from the medication (Methergrine) and I am still having pain in my chest and it is hard to breath, but the doctor said it will take a week or so to fully get out of my system.

I have been so wrapped up in my own pain, my own hurt, my own WHY did this happen to me… that I didn’t stop to think that much about what my husband went through as well.  It happened to US. We have talked about it, and he was amazing and so strong as we went through the procedure last week and the hospital stay.  He told me that there was something wrong with the baby and the baby is in heaven living well versus struggling on this earth, which is what I needed to hear. But, I never once stopped to really think about the pain he went through. I mean, I thought he was hurt, but I never stopped to walk in his shoes… that was until yesterday and today.

Last night we talked again and he talked with me about what he went through during that time.  The doctor walked into the waiting room.  Phillip was told I would be out of recovery in 30 minutes after the procedure but he had been sitting there for over an hour, getting antsy. When the doctor finally came to talk with him, he looked pale and disclosed to Phillip that I was having a reaction to the medication and that my heart and arteries were contracting and that I was in the process of having a heart attack. He then left. He left Phillip alone; alone with his thoughts.  After I talked with him last night, I felt the fear he experienced.  Last Thursday night he sat there after the doctor left and processed everything the doctor told him.  On that Thursday not only did he lose a baby, but the doctor just told him he could lose his wife.  Losing his wife means he also loses the two children from her that he is the daddy to.  So if something were tragically going to happen he would have lost the baby, me, Kennith, and Madelynn.  Too much to risk.  My mom said that Phillip called her and wanted to know why I would be taken from him when he just found me. My mom said that I wouldn’t be taken, and that I would be ok, but she came from Sioux City to Cedar Rapids to be with us. At that time, I didn’t know why… but I know why now and I am thankful for her visit.

Earlier this week I kept asking Phillip if we should try to have another baby. I know we didn’t plan on having one, but as we progressed through the pregnancy, we became attached and were excited about having a new addition to our family (and scared, who wouldn’t be). He said he would wait to talk about it later.  I now know why he would prefer not to try. I understand, because what if the roles were reversed? What it if was HIM who was going through the heart stuff and I was on the other end. I couldn’t even imagine life without him… he is my lobster (did anyone else see that “FRIENDS” episode?)--- I have waited all my life for him. He is my best friend, my lover, my partner, my business associate, my husband, the father to my children, someone I look up to, the person I have to snuggle to go to bed… he completes my life. If I were to lose him, I would lose my teenagers too. I cannot live my life without my girls. They are my family, my heart, my joy as much as Kennith and Madelynn are.

So, we probably are not going to try for a baby. As much as that hurts right now to say, it is too risky, based on the medication and the reaction after the D&C.  I want to spend many years loving my husband and my kids. I want to be there when they graduate from high school, graduate from college, get married, have babies… I want to be there. I chose to be there.  I want to be there every day, for as long as I can.

Just look at this moment… I desire more moments like this. This lady is not giving up hope... for I have just begun a new....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Transition Time for Maddy

Isn’t it crazy how fast our kids grow up? I look at Madelynn and I think that it was just a week ago she was born and yesterday where she and I were rocking in the chair watching bad daytime TV while I was on maternity leave… but it was three years ago.

I cannot believe that she is three already and so grown up.  For those of you who know our Maddy, you know she is spunky, silly, and she acts older than her three years.  She has a strong command of the English language.  My favorite saying of hers right now is, “Well actually…” When she is explaining something she starts off her sentences that way and she uses all kinds of hand gestures... lol---it makes me smile.
We did one of the hardest things a parent can do yesterday.  Yesterday we had to tell Kathy, Maddy’s day care provided, that in two weeks Maddy would be going to preschool.  (It was hard to tell her, but I think Kathy took it just fine.) This was such a hard decision for us, because Maddy is only three; however her birthday is in July.  She will start kindergarten a month after she turns five so we want to give her the best advantage in school as we possibly can.  Maddy will be going from an in-home day care with four children to an actual school where there will be 15 children in the same class. I am a nervous mommy and we haven’t even started school yet.
Blessings come in all forms.  Our blessing:  a pre-school opening was available at the school my husband teaches at. So Maddy gets to ride to school with Phillip and ride home with him.  He will be in the same building with her every day.  A true blessing to know he is just upstairs from her.
So, I am excited.  Our party dress with sneakers little girl starts school in August...*DEEP SIGH* Who has two thumbs is a bit misty and nervous? THIS GIRL... Anyway, we finish her enrollment in pre-school today, and I love the teachers there.  A new chapter in our precious Maddy’s life… I can’t wait to read the next chapter!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A New Dawn

I would be lying if I said the past few days haven’t been hard… they have been very hard for both my husband and I. 

Everywhere I go I see pregnant people and babies. I am sure my sadness surrounding my own loss will go away eventually, or fade… but for now, it is still there. I can close my eyes and see the ultrasound, hear the tech.

With that said, there have been a lot of sweet moments --- a lot of funny moments! 

Saturday we went to the farmer’s market. Enjoyed some time with my mom, my sister (Sarah), Izzy, Phillip, Maddy and Kennith--- ate a lot of food! Izzy, Maddy and Kennith enjoyed fried Oreos (they smelled funky to me) and then an omelet for breakfast. Yea, I was in that kind of mood to give them fried Oreos at 9 am followed by a 9:30 am breakfast… every once in a while that is ok.  Sarah and I found this awesome piece of artwork… we each bought one for our husbands. (I say husbands--- Sarah and Scott get married next Saturday… Close enough, right?)

I also got some of the tastiest guacamole from the vendor from Iowa City.  Um, I usually buy the small container, but they only had the large… I was worried about it being eaten --- um, by Sunday afternoon the bucket was DUN GONE.   I love walking around the farmer’s market. Saw a couple of friends, my sister in law… but mostly, I was with people who didn’t know the tragic events of the two days before. I could enjoy my kids and not get the pity look. 

Artwork purchased---- engraved brick--- LOVE IT! 

Saturday afternoon I watched my husband, Alex, and my father in law take down a tree in our yard. (AND MY HEART JUMPED A FEW FEET OUT OF MY CHEST EVERY TIME A BIG LIMB CAME DOWN) You guys, my husband and daughter would PULL the limb down and direct it down with their BODIES. I am one wigged out mama. LOL

Sunday we went to church and then had lunch.  My friend, Kai, came over and took me somewhere special.  She took me to the memorial for the unborn at the local cemetery.  She brought flowers for her 7 losses and my 4 losses.  We placed the flowers there and cried together… burned our butts on the marble slab together… laughed together over events in our life, and talked. 

We went over the whys and how our brains work… then she said something very prophetic about her daughter. She has a 15 year old daughter (same age as Alex, and they go to the same school, FYI)… There must have been something really special about her daughter for her to stay on this earth when so many other children passed on to heaven before being born. And this is true. Kai’s daughter is amazing, funny, sensitive, wicked smart… There is a reason why she is here on this earth. She has purpose that we don’t quite know yet, but she is made to do great things. I came home with a sense of understanding of sorts. A new dawn arose in my soul.  My kids are here for a purpose, a purpose beyond my understanding.  There is a reason why they made it to this earth and are growing up to be great people.  They are amazing. And I am honored to be their mama. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Mourning a Loss

First, I will preface this post with this---this is raw emotion, morphine induced, and hard to write--- but I have to release this to move on. Sorry for the graphic details- sorry if I cuss.

When we lose someone, regardless of how long we knew them it is hard. I have had several losses in my life... My dad, grandmother, friends, students...babies. No matter it is hard.

With this loss I am angry. Not at God, or anyone--- just how things have turned out in the past couple days.

Tuesday I woke up snuggling my husband, talking about the maternity clothes I purchased on EBay. We laughed and he rubbed my belly. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world. I have an amazing husband, great kids and a baby on the way. I had really started to show. My neighbor stopped me on Monday and asked me if I was pregnant and I said yes- glowing. We were adjusting to this idea of having a new baby. Getting excited as the time progresses. Almost 12 weeks, time flies.

Wednesday everything is going great, feeling good and I go to bed. I wake up at two in the morning and realize I forgot to take a medication... I take it and go to the restroom--- oh my God. Blood. I lay back down scared, wake my husband up and tell him whats going on and I cry. My gut is sick, I am scared, hopeless.

Thursday is a nightmare. I go to the OBGYN and tell him what happened. He gets out the Doppler and tries to find the baby's heartbeat--- some hope for a second and no heartbeat is found. I don't understand. We had a solid heartbeat at seven weeks. I JUST had blood work and everything was fine. Why? I cry- I can't stop. The doctor tells me that sometimes they can't pick up the heartbeat on the Doppler at 12 weeks--- HOPE--- so an ultrasound is scheduled in 15 minutes.

Get to the ultrasound... The tech shows us our baby's leg, foot, arm, hands--- perfect baby....then she says the words that will haunt me forever... I don't see the flicker that shows the baby's heart is beating. I break down. Why the fuck did you make a point to show me my perfect baby with NO heartbeat? Did you think it would be easier for me to cope? I hope she never has the same problem, I would not want someone to be as cruel to her as she was to us.

My baby died. My baby DIED. I only knew him (or her) in my belly for almost 12 weeks, but it was our baby. A baby I will never get to hold or cuddle. A baby that I will always love.

I had to make a decision to have the miscarriage happen naturally or have a D&C. I had a horrible miscarriage in 2007 where I ended up being rushed by ambulance to the ER and still had to have a D&C. I scheduled the D&C for the afternoon. I was sent immediately to the surgery center. Phillip was amazing. He told me he loved me and we would be ok. He reminded me of our amazing kids, and how lucky we are. He told me I did nothing wrong, nature was protecting our baby from something seriously wrong. He is truly a gift from God. Told me not to apologize for crying, or getting mad... He cried with me.

The surgery was supposed to be easy, but it wasn't. The medicine the gave me afterwards to stop the bleeding actually caused my arteries around my heart to contact, which sent me to the cardiac floor for the night. I am still here as I write, waiting to get the hell out.

I am better, but I am not emotionally fine yet. I am grieving. I will just randomly cry, especially when i think of all the what-ifs.

Though this horrible tragedy I have realized that I have an amazing family... My sisters and my mom all came to be with me and help... Alex is amazing, I cannot tell you how wonderful she is... She helped with the kids yesterday and came to see me last night. Kennith is so compassionate, he wants me home to snuggle. My friends have been there for me.

I know in this situation there is nothing that feels right to say, believe me.

What I carry with me as I go And I sing, knowing my baby is in his grandma great's arms....

Our God is an awesome God he reigns from Heaven above with wisdom power and love our God is an awesome God.

The song I would sing with my granny... A way of releasing my baby into her comforting arms, knowing that someday we will see each other again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"HAPPY"- Dog Rescued Needs Home

Most of the time I come on here to write about my personal experiences, however today I want to write about the rescue of a sweet puppy we call “Happy”.

My sister, Sarah, and her boys were driving from Louisiana to Iowa.  The drive is 18 hours without stopping and without traffic (do you see this traffic they encountered in Baton Rouge? Crazy). 

Because the drive is so long, a halfway stop is necessary.

While driving on highway 55 in Mississippi (going 70 miles an hour plus--- mind you) my nephew spotted a puppy on the side of the road. He takes after my sister in every sense.  My sister was the child who would bring home wounded birds, puppies, cats, and yes a raccoon once to help them get better.  She has a compassion for animals and has always had the moral grounding to do the best thing for any animal or person in need.  It was getting dark and they passed the puppy on the road.  Determined, she kept driving until she could turn around and head back to the puppy. The stretch of highway 55 in Mississippi is rather dull. Not many exists and it is just a stretch of empty land. After she turned around she had to drive back and try to find the puppy again. Thank goodness, my nephew and my sister remembered the mile marker the puppy was near. After about 20 minutes of rerouting to find the puppy, they drove upon her on laying on the white line on the highway. She was sprawled out on the line and just crying (according to my nephew). When they looked at her, she had road rash marks on her belly, ticks, fleas, and a large wound on her side. Sarah knew at this point if she didn’t grab this puppy and get her some water, food, and help it would be the end of the road for this precious pup.

They loaded the puppy in the car, and at the next rest area they were able to get her water and some food.  Their trip was delayed and their halfway stop in Memphis was hours away.  When Sarah and the boys pulled into Memphis, they first stopped to get the puppy flea bath medication so the puppy could be bathed. In the morning, they took the puppy to the vet.

Upon examination, the vet said that the puppy most likely had been tossed from a car on the highway and if they didn’t stop to rescue it, it would have died by morning.  Sarah said it was the boys who encouraged her to stop… the vet called them HEROS. The vet treated the wounds, gave the puppy some dewormer and some antibiotics to make sure her wounds heal fast.  The vet gave Happy a clean bill of health!!

The puppy is a pure bred white Catahoula with two different colored eyes.  Most of the time, when the white Catahoulas are born, they are deaf and most breeders toss them aside or euthanize them because they cannot make a profit.  The breed is from Louisiana and not common in the north.  It is a mid-sized dog that will grow to be somewhere between 40 and 90 lbs.  “Happy” Is about 14 weeks old and she can hear just fine.

Since my sister and nephews have been hand feeding her and helping her mend her wounds, she is very friendly and loves to cuddle---- AND she is in need of a good home.  If you know of anyone who would want to adopt her or if you would like to meet her and see if she would fit in your family, please let me know. I want this puppy to have an amazing life. She was rescued for a reason.

My lesson learned: Compassion for others, including animals speaks so highly of a person. Having compassion for others outweighs any money they could offer. Sometimes, I think we as society get to “self-involved” to see the other things around us, like a puppy lying on the side of the road.  The next time I am out and about… I think I will wear some compassion. If someone is asking for money or food, I will give them something… I mean, what if I was on the side of the road in desperate need of help… I wonder, would there be anyone to stop and rescue me?  Would anyone turn around on the highway to get me help?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Favorite Recipe-- Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast! (tastes like prime rib)

1 roast (rump, shoulder, etc... I find that it doesn't matter)
1 package of dry italian dressing
1 cup of au jous
5 beef bullion cubes
2 + cups of water (fill crock pot 1/2 way up with water)

Cook in crock pot on low heat for at least 8 hrs. This is great to start in the morning and have for dinner. The roast should fall apart when you take it out!

I usually serve it with smasshed potatos and a veggie! Truly delicious!         

Reflections on Max

So, when I decided I had to get out of my first marriage due to abuse, I left without looking back. I had tried to stay with him for four years. The first abusive act happened when I was eight months pregnant with my son.  I thought, “If it was just me, and he wasn’t hurting my son, it could be ok.” But, looking back, it wasn’t ok.  My self-esteem started to dwindle to nothing, I felt as if I could die and it wouldn’t really matter.  He had alienated my family and my friends from me. The only people that were “allowed” to our house were the friends he wanted over. It was a very emotional, depressing time for me. So I saved up money in a “secret” account and waited for his next attack so I could leave without looking back.

The night that everything happened, he went to jail and Kennith and I went to my mom’s--- I had trouble sleeping. See, my ex would threaten to take Kennith from me, he threatened to expose any secret he knew about me… which used to keep me with him.  But, when you are abused and you know it is over, you don’t look back. I wouldn’t sleep; I would stay awake at night fearing his return for our son. Finally through counseling I came to realize that abusers make threats. That is how they control a situation.

I filed for a divorce right away, there was no way to rectify our relationship, since my ex didn’t really believe he was abusive (still doesn’t really think so to this day). And I started to move on.

I wanted to write about Max. I know I wrote about him briefly in my first writing on here, but the relationship I had with him really helped me transform into the woman I am today. I met Max when he was on a business trip.  He had been married before, and had a charm about him that captured me from the get go. We would sit there and laugh and talk about serious topics. He made me feel as if I could bring value to a relationship again. (lesson 1)

Max and I had an on and off again relationship. We had a long distance relationship which made it easier for both of us. He never wanted kids and didn’t think he was good with them, and here I had Kennith a 4 year old. I didn’t really want a full time relationship at the time, because I was working on healing and being a good mom… and it worked.  Max and I would travel.  My mom would watch Kennith for the weekend for me and I would meet Max in a random city. We would have a wonderful time seeing sights, eating great food, having wonderful conversations… It was a “safe” companionship. Max showed me what happy felt like. (lesson 2) Although, after a while he was not as happy as I with our companionship… He showed me what happy felt like.

Max helped me regain my inner beautiful. (lesson 3)  After being in a marriage for so long where I was just used to satisfy a need,  and I was told I wasn’t pretty often enough, hearing how beautiful I was from someone I appreciated really helped me not only own my inner and outer beauty but it made me feel beautiful.  There is something about a woman who feels beautiful.  They have more confidence, they are a bit coyer, and they walk talker. He helped me walk tall.

Max made me open myself up to possibilities, helped me become freer with who I was and am (lesson 4).  After we dated for a while, we stopped seeing each other.  He decided to try and pursue a relationship with his ex-wife.  They were still friends, and honestly, Max couldn’t decide what he wanted--- in reality, he wanted us both, but he couldn’t have us both.  When we stopped talking my heart ached. I was depressed and lonely… but I only was able to feel this way, because I opened myself up to possibilities… the possibilities of meeting someone who could love me and I could love back.

Max and I didn’t talk for months.  I decided that I wanted to casually date someone and met Mike on  NOW, don’t even get me started about that whole thing, because Mike is a douchebag.  After a month of dating (and having the S-E-X once) I got pregnant. Mike and I didn’t get married, we didn’t even stay together because basically he was a 40 year old child who still lived (and lives) with his mother and doesn’t have to be responsible for anything and never will. WOW, true story but I guess I am really pissed at him and should blog about that someday.

Anyway, right after I found out I was pregnant, Max called me and wanted me back. I told him no. I pushed him away and eventually told him I was pregnant. He was upset and heartbroken because as much as he didn’t want children, the child in my belly could have been his.  

Max helped me understand true forgiveness (lesson 5). After my daughter was born, Max asked me if he could come and visit. I said yes. We started dating again shortly after that visit. Again, long distance… again he still doesn’t want children and likes his single-dom.

After a few months, Max offered me a deal.  A duplex in which we could share… he would live on one side, I would live on the other with the kids and we could share a door. I. WAS. PISSED. HURT. ANGRY. I was good enough for this man to sleep with and to eat dinner with, but not good enough to share a life with. (lesson 6)  I knew at that point, I wanted someone who wanted to share a life. I wanted to be married to someone who was my best friend, who wanted to be with me even in my worst days. Who wanted to share my kids and be a part of my life 100%. NOT to just be in my life when it was convenient for him.

Lesson 7 I learned on my own. DO NOT SETTLE FOR SOMETHING LESS THAN PERFECT FOR YOURSELF. I prayed on the perfect soul mate for me. I made a list and I prayed on it EVERY day.

Lessons 8-100 I have learned from my husband. If it weren’t for my adventures with Max, I wouldn’t have grown as a woman. I wouldn’t have the value I hold in myself today. I wouldn’t have met my husband. My husband is a man from God who is my fit in every way. To how our hands just fit perfectly together… how every night when I go to bed I fit perfectly in his arms. How our children mesh well together as a family unit… how our beliefs are the same. Phillip and I walk on the same moral ground. He would never betray me or I him. We have a friendship that has lasted for years and built our romantic relationship off of it. He is  my perfect match, my soul mate in every way.

So do I think of Max from time to time? Yes. I do. I wonder how he is and if he is happy.  And I thank him. For if he wouldn’t have brought up the ridiculous idea of a duplex, I would have settled for less than what I wanted out of life. I wouldn’t have reunited with my best friend, who is my husband--- I wouldn’t have my kids, and my happiness.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Dress Policy Needs to be Instituted *SMH*

Normally I don’t do a lot of complaining here about different things, but as I stated earlier, I am a bundle of pregnancy hormones lately.  So here it goes…

Swimming pools need to have a dress policy. I don’t mean to be RUDE or mean here, but really they do.

I took my kids (Serina, Alex, Kennith, Maddy) and my niece and nephew to the pool yesterday for Maddy’s 3rd birthday.  My mom and Phillip also went. Normally everything is fine and dandy, but it appears that yesterday was the day for “flaunt your stuff if you got it… and even if you AIN’T got it.”

I am very humble and I know I don’t have a picture perfect body (not even in my dreams). I used to be 355 lbs, and now I am wrinkly. I do my best to cover up EVERTHING I can while at the pool, including my upper thighs. Oh kids, those thighs look as if they belong to a 90 year old. I do not even wear shorts because of how beautiful they are (note sarcasm).  I mean, I want to spend time with my kids but I don’t want the rest of the pool to run screaming as if it were a bad horror movie. (yes, the thighs are THAT bad.)

Anyway, as I digress, yesterday at the pool there were so many women who were wearing bikinis that hardly covered ANYTHING up. Breasts and butts hanging out… and I felt so uncomfortable that I wanted to cover my son’s eyes. When did our society lose dignity? I mean, don’t they have any honor or dignity left? It is ok to be proud of your body and love it, but do you have to show it to the world? We may not all feel the same way about your exposure. Just saying.

And, really? When did it become appropriate for a 10 year old girl to wear a string bikini to the pool?

Dress appropriate for your age and body structure. That is all I ask. I don’t want to explain to my son why the woman who is in the chair relaxing has a BREAST halfway out of her bathing suit (yes, this is the case of the future melanoma victim sitting next to us. Her nipple was showing.)  

Furthermore, they have dressing rooms in the ladies locker room for a reason. I don’t want to see a 26 year old’s naked lower parts, and really she was a larger woman who wore a bikini and bore WAY more than anyone wanted to see… I am happy she is proud of her full figure (you go girl), but there is appropriate swim attire and non-appropriate swim attire…  (AND, and her kid pooped in the pool, and she laughed… so moral scruples are not her fortay.)

In this instance, I take the advice of Marilyn Monroe. The sex symbol for all generations….

Marilyn Monroe --- “Your clothes should be tight enough to show you’re a woman but loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

So, this snarky post leads me to my next idea… pool blinders for young boys. I wonder if I can A) Make them and B) make them water resistant.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Remembering an Amazing Woman

Today marks the second anniversary of my grandmother’s death.  Known by many in her church congregation as “Grandma Love”, my grandma came by that name humbly, with a giving heart.

My life is forever blessed because of her, and many of the lessons I learned in life were from her. She always had a way of making me look outside myself and she always showed me how to put things in prospective. She is someone I strive to be…
I remember my mom telling about her childhood.  My grandfather worked at the Stockyards in Sioux City, my grandma was a stay at home mom.  Not only was she a mother to my mom and her three siblings, but my grandmother also was a mother to many foster children in the Sioux City area. My grandma had a compassion and love for children that really is beyond measure. At one time, my mom remembers having 19 children in the house.  My mom would get up early in the morning with my grandma and they would make a hot breakfast for everyone before school, because my grandma believed in sending the kids to school with a good breakfast in their belly.  Can you imagine how many dozens of eggs they went through every week? WOW. 
My grandma adopted two of her foster children and had over 150 foster children in her home (she didn’t count for a while in the beginning, so I am sure there are a lot more than that, LOL).

My grandmother also gave her time to the children of her church. She made sure that every child who came to Sunday school got a hug. And I wonder, how many of those kids who were bussed into church never were hugged except on Sundays by my grandmother… I just can’t imagine.
I have encountered adults today who knew my grandma, and the stories I hear about how she impacted their lives is rather amazing. I had a young man tell me that grandma love told him every Sunday he was smart and he could go to college and do great things… She was the only one who believed in him and told him that. I sit here and type this, I get misty because today he is my friend, he is a teacher, and without her encouragement, he may never have gone to college.

When my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was devastated.  My grandma of sharp mind, who kicked my but at super Mario EVERY time I was at her house, and who always challenged me to be better, was struck with this evil disease. After a while, we had to put her in a nursing home. I made a promise to her I would see her every week, and I kept that promise.   As her Alzheimer’s progressed, she stopped talking about current events, but she talked about the past… she was always working. In her mind she was working.  When I found out I was pregnant with Madelynn, I told her and she was happy.  When we found out a girl, I told her I named her Madelynn Faith… My grandmother’s first name is Faith and I wanted my grandma to know that she was so important to me that I named my daughter after her. And my grandma’s response, “Oh, I like that name. I like that name a lot.”  And when I left the hospital with my Maddy--- our first stop? To see grandma great (she never wanted to be called “great grandma” because it made her sound old, so her great grandkids called her grandma great, LOL).

We knew when she was getting ready to transition to heaven when she would sit there and talk nonsense… and then all of a sudden talk as clear as day about packing up her room.  Regardless of how conscious she was at the end, she would always sing with me.  I would go see her and we would sing songs from church. Her favorite:
“Our God is an awesome God --- He reins from Heaven above, with wisdom, power and love our God is an awesome God.”
She and I would sing that and “Amazing Grace” and she would sing it clear and loud. As if the disease were not even there. But then after the song was over, she would go back into her Alzheimer’s state.
Two years ago, on this day I was with her after the nurse called my mom and said it was time. My grandma’s feet were turning purple (losing oxygen) and she would make her transition soon to heaven. Instead of having my mom go alone, I went with her so we could be there for my grandma, the woman who was there for me every day of my life (and even when I was naughty). And we sang. I told my grandma that we were all going to be ok. I asked her if she could see where she was going. She nodded. And we sang… Our God is awesome God….and she passed away. It was a sad moment for me and a beautiful moment to witness in the same aspect. You could feel her spirit leave her body. I cried for myself, because I wanted to keep her here with me longer, but rejoiced for her; because she was no longer in pain… and when she went up--- she knew how much she was loved.
Today I honor Faith Orleen Beaubien.  The best grandmother in the world, and the greatest friend.  I now she watches over me every day… I wish everyone had a guardian angel like mine. Have an amazing day and count every blessing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Temper Tantrum Time

Well. I would personally love to throw myself on the floor and pound my fists in the ground while screaming, wouldn’t you? I mean, haven’t you ever had one of “those days” where it feels like the whole world is against you? I know I have. Today has been one of them.  Work was crazy busy, and then I got a call from the payment center for the hospital demanding money from me and I NEVER received a bill.  Long story short, they had the wrong address on the mail they sent out. BUT before they figured that out, I pretty much felt like user and loser. I almost, ALMOST went postal on the poor person from the payment center.  That got resolved, and then I had to go to the doctor, where I waited for ONE HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES just to be seen for five minutes and sent on my way. THEN, I got stuck in traffic, the checker at the Wal-Mart was slow… and here is something… I am a bit OCD. I bring my own shopping bags to do my “food shopping”, AND I arrange my groceries on the belt based on how I want them bagged. DON’T MESS WITH MY SYSTEM. And yup… she did. God bless her, but NOT TODAY. Don’t mess with my cold items. Don’t you be putting the pizza rolls next to the box of cereal; it is 90 degrees outside for cry eye. What if the pizza rolls melt and the watery mess on the outside of the bag gets my cereal box wet? I MEAN COME ON.

So I write this and laugh. I would love to have a good melt down right now. Sit there and get all pissy, cry, rage in a tantrum but I won’t. I mean, how many adults do you see have a full blown temper tantrum? (WAIT… don’t answer that, I have seen that before. I have been on the receiving end of an adult temper tantrum)
Anyway, I am trying to figure out where my three year old got the idea in her head that temper tantrums ROCK.  When you are having a baby people always warn you about the terrible twos. Heck, the twos were NOTHING in this house… PIECE O’ CAKE!  What has been challenging… the beginning of the temper tantrum threes.
Maddy is a wonderful child. She is smart, funny, and she will sing to anything. She is adorable… Just look at this face!

 BUT she has a temper. Man, does that girl have a temper.  Last night we battled that temper (or should I say this morning) for two hours. Maddy woke up and first wanted to eat (this was at 3 AM, mind you). Then she wanted a drink. Then she wanted to watch TV.  After saying NO to TV, she finally went to bed.  Five minutes later, she wanted to watch TV again, and snuggle with mommy in mommy’s bed. I said no, that we all needed to sleep and there it happened. The ugly temper roared out of my daughter. She screamed and got stuck on wanting to snuggle in mommy’s bed. I said no, that we all needed to sleep and she just kept raging. AND IT KILLED ME to see her so upset. However, in these situations, we have to learn how to solve it and help the toddler NOT repeat the same behavior.  I am NOT an advocate of rewarding bad behavior (If you just stop screaming, Maddy I will let you snuggle in my bed…UM NO). Instead, I had to try to calm her down and win. 
Now, how do you win with a toddler? I have no idea if this is the right way, but here is what I do… I don’t give in to her temper tantrums. It is easy to give in… man is it easy , especially when you are drained and tired, but you just can’t.  You have to win. Time ins (I do this when she is so angry that I hold her and tell her it’s all going to be ok) instead of time outs…  I tell her she will be fine, and I am firm.  I take away some of her toys and tell her that when she calms down she can have them back.  And I wait it out. Most importantly I wait and wait for her to cave before I do. It took two hours last night, but the tantrum stopped and she calmed down, she went back to bed knowing she is loved. I wonder how many times we will have to do this in the coming year.  Regardless, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I love my sweet Maddy more than she will ever know… even at 4 am during a temper tantrum. I hold her, tell her I love her and stick to my guns. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lessons Learned

Never once will you ever hear me say that I am perfect. Personally, I am a flawed human being with a ton of flaws, and man I make mistakes… I try not to make those mistakes again, but I cannot promise I won’t make them again.  The past month has been an emotional one for me. Maybe it is the pregnancy hormones (random aside: this baby is definitely different than my others… my others I never had morning sickness and with this one I am sick all of the time), maybe it is me reflecting on the past couple of months, maybe it is just everything is annoying me. LOL I don’t know… but I have learned several things.

Lessons I learned in the past month:

1)      I expect a lot out of myself and others. Right now I feel as if I am in a trial of integrity. Not with myself, but with some “friends.” I have learned that regardless of their personal actions (if they want to lie and put that out there in the world, it will come back upon them), I have to hold my standards higher – I strive to be truthful and have integrity.  What really bothers me (for those of you who know my religious beliefs and my undying faith in God) is that some of the people who are in this “trial” are my friends in Christ. Aren’t we as Christians supposed to have a high level of honesty? EVEN when it doesn’t always benefit us?

2)      I cannot do everything. I work from home, so I put extra pressure on myself to try and do everything because I work from home. (everything like, clean the house, do dishes, make dinner, do laundry, etc--- WHILE TRYING TO WORK!)  Matter of fact, I freaked out on my husband a few weeks ago, because he was cleaning while I worked and I told him to wait and I could help. His response (and I LOVE THIS MAN for stuff like this) --- I am home during the summer, you are working… I can clean and do things because YOU ARE WORKING.  He is right. I have to know my own limitations.  We all have them, and as moms we tend to think we are superhuman, err… we are not. We are human and we can ask for help.

3)      No one can read my mind. I know shocker right? But as I laugh and write this, how should I expect someone to do something for me (like get me chicken because I want it) if they don’t know. Last time I checked, we were not mind readers, but most of us respond well when asked a question, like… “Honey, I really would like some fried chicken. Can we get some?” So, I have to thoughtfully share my thoughts. If there is something on my mind… say it.

4)      Not all friends are “friends.” That one is hard for me, because I would give the shirt off my back for a friend if they needed it.  I have realized over the past few months that not all friends would return the favor for me. I am a nice person, I don’t like to hurt anyone, however in the next month or so I am going to be doing some housekeeping. We all deserve (myself included) to have people in our lives that would reciprocate the friendship and not just expect us to be there for them when they need us. Can I get an AMEN? You know you are sitting there reading this and you are agreeing with me. You too have “friends” such as this. I say CLEAN THEM OUTTA YO LIFE. (Easier said than done? I am about to find out)

5)      The true friends in your life need to be reminded of how important they are. We don’t thank each other enough for just being there. We thank each other for gifts, and for special occasions, but we don’t spend enough time saying, “Hey I appreciate you. Your friendship is so important to me.” I have friends that I have met in the past few months that I appreciate so much, along with friends I have had forever. You know who you are…

6)      My children, my family are my priority. How many times have we put work before our family? We work to make sure our family has what they want, what they need. Lesson learned - my family?? --- They just want my time. They don’t care if they get more than the Jones, they want time spent with them and that the time I spend with them is quality. They don’t need or want a fancy car or fancy vacations… they want time with me at the pool.  You cannot take back those moments. When the work day is done, it is done. My family takes priority.  That means that they take priority even over my damn cell phone. How many of you have a more intimate relationship with your damn cell phone versus your kids? Think about it? How many of you check that phone all the time? You check it first thing in the morning, and you check it before you go to bed, if you can’t find it you freak out. Maybe we need to leave the phone and treat our spouses, our kids the same way. Keep them by our side, check in with them all the time, and tell them how precious they are to us, freak out if we drop them in the toilet (bwahhaa)… I am just calling myself out here.  Tell your kids how proud you are of them, and try not to freak out of the small stuff (I say this again because I freaked out on Alex over something VERY trivial, after she was the most amazing as a big sister, daughter, cousin, and person for a very long trip… she absolutely amazes me, and I freaked out over something so small, WHY?).  I have to remember to not sweat the small stuff and to be there for them. Be an “in the moment” parent.

7)      My husband will be my best friend forever… it is ok for me to talk to him about anything. Sometimes I forget that he is not my ex. For those of you who have been married before, you know what I am talking about here.  When we tend to get upset, we sometimes put our ex and our spouse in the same bucket. AND here is the thing, my husband? He would NEVER be like my ex, even on his worst day.  He loves me and for every part of me. I have to remember that. He will be by my side and support me, he will get upset when I am hurt by others, and he will help my family out as if it were his own. He is and always will be the man chosen for me by God. I have to have faith in that, and NOT even compare him to my ex. (why do we do that? Especially in arguments? WHY?) He would never hurt me, he will always be there for me and talk with me about everything (even at midnight in the car about the politics and religion in Iowa surrounding Gay marriage rights--- don’t even get me started--- he will listen and let me rant and talk with me about it)… So why, do I shut down on him sometimes? I have to stop doing that… He is the love of my life.

8)      Happiness in life is created. YOU make your own happiness and no one else can make you happy. If you are not happy, change… See this is CHANGE something within yourself, not those around you.  Happiness is an individual thing and an individual creates his own happiness. Don’t blame others because you are not happy. Do something to change your life; you only have one chance at this life, run with it. I am so happy because of who I surround myself with. Positive, uplifting, funny people who are genuine. I made the decision to make happy happen. J So make happy happen, don’t wait for it to appear is if from nowhere.

9)      I love coffee. I will drink a cup of coffee (fully caffeinated, oh for shame) every day while I am pregnant. WHY? Lesson learned? If I don’t drink coffee I am a snappy-ass-bitch. No one wants to be around someone like that or be that person. So, there you have it. I am a coffee drinker and I still will have my caffeine coffee cup everyday while pregnant. (I won’t have 5, but I still want 1---LOL)

10)  Have the capacity to forgive others. Not that you have to forget, but try to forgive. Living with un-forgiveness is the hardest thing, it can make you bitter.  I can hear the words my grandma said in my head, “God forgave everyone; he gave his only son for us. If you cannot forgive are you saying you are better than God?” Well, NO. I am so not better than God, so I better learn how to forgive.  Which brings be back to point one above… I have to forgive those who don’t have the integrity I expect, but I don’t have to forget, nor do I have to put myself in their path.  And here is the thing, I have to forgive myself for the things I have done wrong in the past. I don’t have to forget them (because by not forgetting we don’t repeat that mistake) but I can forgive myself.  Does that even make sense? Maybe I am tired. LOL

So, that be a lot of lessons learned, yo. (trying to lighten it up here!) Some great lessons, in just a month. Maybe this baby in muh belly is making me more introspective… maybe it is making me more snarky, maybe it is making me more truthful about how I feel… regardless, I embrace it and the months to come.