Thursday, November 1, 2012

Today {The Grateful Game}

When I was growing up, my mom used to make me play ‘the grateful game.’ She would ask me to make a list of all of the things I was grateful for anytime I was in too grumpy a mood. I used to hate it when I was younger. When you’re in a grumpy mood sometimes the last thing you want to do is find the bright side of things. But, because she often knew what she was doing, it always made me feel better.

It still does.


Today I’m grateful for…

Because he scrubbed the toilets so I would have ‘a clean place to puke.’
Because he understands that Jax and Gemma are real people
Because he makes up silly nicknames for everyone, including our children
Because he reads my blogs to the guys at work
Because he does the morning routine, alone, while I puke in said clean toilet
Because he never complains
Because he understands the importance of throw pillows, hair products, coffee creamer and recreational naps
Because he found the station the Giants parade was on
Because he knows to bring home peanut M&M’s
Because he plays college pick ‘em
Because every once in awhile, he calls me on my bullshit

Logan & Brodie
Because one of them pats my back while the other one offers to get me a bucket
Because they think fish sticks and macaroni and cheese make me the ‘best cook ever’
Because they sing along to Paramore, Lady Gaga and Keisha
Because they love me without fail, even on my bad days

Because she understands how horrible morning sickness is
Because she makes me laugh every day
Because she knows that Derrick and Meredith are real people
Because she understands my obsession with Air Streams
Because she never sends me to voicemail, no matter how many times a day I call

Because he never lets me take myself too seriously
Because he never lets me take myself too lightly
Because he makes the best play lists
Because he sent me a picture of a goat
Because he introduced me to Atmosphere

Because it’s pretty much the only thing I can eat

Slurpees and Pepsi from a can
Because they’re pretty much the only thing I can drink

Zofran & Compazine
Because without them, I wouldn’t be able to write at all today

Your turn…
What are you grateful for today?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dear Baseball: I'm yours

Dear Baseball, 

I love you.

I know we just met and it seems a little fast but, you have my heart and I don’t think I’m ever going to get it back.

I’m really sorry it took me so long to notice you. I know you’ve been trying to catch my eye for awhile and it wasn’t until recently that I finally paid attention. I think you were going about it the wrong way, though. I’m not trying to blame you. I’m just saying, it wasn’t fair for you to try and get my attention by using a boy.

You should know that approach isn’t very successful for me. It doesn’t make for a very long lasting relationship. Sure, I pretended to like you for awhile in the 90’s, pretended to know about Mike Piazza and The Dodgers because some boy said it was cool. But, to be honest with you, my heart just wasn’t in it and as soon as my interest for said boy faded, so did my interest in you. I didn’t really understand at the time just how fabulous you were.

I’m sorry.

Now, I know.

I get it now, Baseball.

I understand that I don’t have to like you because some boy said I should. In fact, none of the boys in my life care about you very much. I figured out all on my own, sitting on my couch, in a quiet house, hour after hour, pitch after pitch, no boys necessary, just how special you are. In fact, the person I've talked to most about you is the BFF Megan. She's loved you for a long time. 

When we’re together, it feels like nothing else in the world matters, even if just for a few hours. You’re smart. You’re oh so smart, especially your catcher. Seriously, the dude has to know everything about every guy on every team. Game after game, pitch after pitch, swing after swing.

Catchers have my heart.

And your pitchers? Really? How awesome are those guys? You’ve got the one guy, the starter, who throws like, 100 pitches a game. Then, when he’s done his job and he’s tired, you’ve got all of these other guys hanging out, just waiting to come in and throw a few more pitches, get a few more outs, not even caring that they don’t get the ‘win’. They just throw their little hearts out, whenever they’re needed.

Pitchers are amazing.

You are constantly changing. Wind and rain drops and freezing weather and sunny days. You’re never the same twice. I love that about you. I love the opening pitch and the seventh inning stretch. I love the music and the announcers and the history.

You really love your history don’t you, Baseball? That’s so sexy.

I do have another confession to make. I may have fallen in love with you at the same time I fell in love with the San Francisco Giants.

I know, I know. That makes me a…what do they call it…A bandwagon fan? Guess what?

I. don’t. care.  

If we’re going to be a thing it only makes sense to have a team to root for and what better team than this one? Sure, they just won the World Series. Sure it sounds like I only like them because they did that. It really couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, I like these guys because they are a hell of a team to like. Let’s look at the evidence.

There’s this guy: 

He won me a free taco by stealing a base. C’mon, you know how much I love my tacos.

And this guy: 

He scored three home runs in game one. THREE! He’s, like, the fourth guy in history to do that or something. And when he does something great on the field, he makes this little heart with his hands. That’s adorable. His nickname is Panda. AND he’s a hell of a third baseman. Did you see some of those catches? I didn’t stand a chance against this guy.

And how about him?

This kid is hilarious. He’s constantly photo bombing people (Or Romobombing) and always has the cutest smile on his face. Then, he comes out, at all of 25 years old, and throws the final out against a Triple Crown winner to win game four and sweep the series. 


This guy reminds me of someone from Oildale. 

This guy stole my heart in game one with an awesome show. 

This guy is just too damn hot for words PLUS he’s a hell of a short stop. In fact, my kids have been telling the husband, "Mommy really likes Brandon."

And THIS guy, well, lets be honest, I just want to hang out with this guy in Eric Foreman’s basement. 

Even though the names will change, even though they won’t always win the World Series, even though I’m sure they’ll break my heart sometimes, it doesn’t matter. I left my heart in San Francisco and that’s where it’s going to stay.

I never thought I could fall so hard and so fast for someone I just met and now, you tell me you’re leaving for a little while. What am I going to do without you for the next four months? How am I going to make it?

You know what? It’ll be fine. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right here waiting for you when you get back.

I’m in for life, Baseball.

I love you.

See you in February.

Forever yours,

PS. If I have anything to say about it, this kid in my womb will be a baseball lover, too. I'll let her know, right up front, that she doesn't have to wait for a boy to tell her baseball is cool. She can figure it out all on her own, just like I did. =) 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dear Coffee: I'll be back for you

Dear Coffee,

I miss you.

I know it feels like I’ve been distant lately and I’m really sorry about that. It’s not that I don’t love you anymore, I swear, it’s just the smell of you floating down the hallway in the morning, through my bedroom door, makes me want to puke.

Please don’t take it personally. It’s not you.  It’s her: 

 [There's no 'proof' that's she's a girl...but I think only a girl would be selfish enough to make me choose between her and coffee. My boys would have never done such a thing]

You haven’t done anything wrong. You are perfect and wonderful and lovely and without you, I wouldn’t have been able to make it the last ten years or so. I know that at the time I started distancing myself from you, we had gotten really, really close. Too close, some would say, but I didn’t think so. I thought we had a pretty good thing going. I ran on triple shots and you never once let me down. When you were around I felt like I could accomplish anything.

I promise that as soon as the smell of you no longer makes me want to vomit, we’ll pick things up right where we left off because, let’s be honest, there is NO WAY I’m going to be able to raise three kids without you.

I need you to promise me that you won’t leave me in the meantime. I know it’s a lot to ask, for you to just wait around patiently for me to return but, I swear, I’m coming back.  

I’m not happy about it, trust me. Of all the things this little one changed up with her surprise appearance, when she decided my uterus would make a good place to be, the loss of our friendship is the one I mourn the most.

It’s not because the advice nurses told me to cut down, I swear. Remember when I was pregnant with Logan? And Brodie? We still hung out all the time. I promise that I would never let some What to Expect book dictate our relationship. I didn’t succumb to peer pressure about giving you up.

I just can’t handle the smell.

I’m sorry.

I’ll be back for you.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

{Marriage} Learning the art of war

"Marriage is an adventure, like going to war." -G. K. Chesterton

“Marriage is nature's way of keeping us from fighting with strangers.” -Alan King

Jeremy and I fought for the first 4 hours of our day. It wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of hurtful things said and a lot of unanswered questions. I’m not very good at opening up when I feel pressured to share my thoughts or feelings on a subject, unless I'm behind a keyboard of course. I’m one of those bottle it up and spew it out kinda gals. I try to tell Jeremy this because I don’t like the way I feel after I have a major spew fest but, he doesn’t seem to understand. Even though I’m sure he doesn’t like the way he feels after one, either. He pushes, there’s an explosion, I say mean things, and he says mean things back and so on.

It’s marriage. Fights happen, I’m sure, but the thing is Jeremy and I haven’t ever fought much. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had an occasional argument. We’ve had a major blow-up from time to time but, on the whole, things have always stayed relatively calm around The Nunn House. You would think that a couple married nearly 10 years would have fought more before their separation than after they decided to work their marriage out. That isn’t the case here. It seems that Jeremy and I are trying to make up for all of those years we spent not fighting.

This brand of fight is new to us. We’ve never really gotten loud with each other. We’ve spent a good deal of our 12 years together being really, really nice to one another. We’ve spared feelings a lot. We’ve stayed quiet a lot. We’ve let some of the big stuff go for a little too long. Now, when we’re tackling it, it tends to get ugly.

Some days it feels like we’re getting somewhere. Some days it doesn’t. Some days I want to bury my head under the covers just to make him stop trying to get me to open up. I did that today, like a four year old, hoping if I couldn’t see him he would go away for a while so I could cry alone.

He did. I did. He went to work. I took care of the boys.

It was one of those fights where nothing really got resolved. You could almost feel a sort of “to be continued…” flash on the bottom of an imaginary screen as I pulled the covers up and he walked away frustrated and sad. I know the fight isn’t over. I know he’s going to continue to push my buttons and I’m going to continue to unleash the sort of defense mechanisms a slightly dysfunctional, more than slightly alcoholic upbringing provides. The kind a witty, smart-mouth teenager uses when she has a major chip on her shoulder, especially when she feels backed in a corner. The kind of defenses that hurt people’s feelings and shut people out. The kind that make me feel safe and make other people feel wounded.

The kind I have tools to get a handle on but rarely remember to use.

Fighting is probably a tool most couples come upon a little earlier in their marriage. Jeremy and I are just trying to figure it out and there are some learning curves that come along with that, I’m sure. Hopefully we’ll get better at it soon. I can’t stay under the covers forever. I know a few couples who make it look artful, a few who make it look hilarious, and a few who make it look like a Rihanna/Eminem song. I’m pretty sure it’s par for the course, even if I don’t like it too much today.  I don’t know of any couples who don’t fight.

Well, I know one couple but, no one really likes them anyway. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Color Me Rad (My first 5K!!)

I spent 31 years of my life saying, “I don’t understand people who run for fun.”

Before about 6 months ago, I had never run a mile. Not in high school, not in junior high, not in elementary school.


So, when my friend Lauren called me and told me she was signing up to run a 5K and asked me if I wanted to run with her…naturally, I laughed. She was adamant about it, however, and insisted I go to the website and check out the run before I made my final decision.

The opening lines of the Color Me Rad 5K website state:

“When Zoloft and balloon animals can't seem to raise your spirits, the best way to brighten your life is to run Color Me Rad5K. 

Historically, running has only been acceptable when trying to escape the law, personal responsibility, the truth, and grizzly bears. 

Instead of running FROM something, get ready to run FOR something at this year’s Color Me Rad. 

Run for the Hell of it.”

I watched the videos, read the website and made a decision in about 3 and ½ minutes. 

I, Krysten Lewis Nunn, was signing up to run my first 5K. 

 My official 'pack'. I knew it was legit when I saw the number and the tshirt!

How could I not? It just looked like so much fun and, no matter if I actually ran the entire thing or not, it looked like the kind of thing I needed in my life. 

I downloaded the Couch to 5K program, put on my running shoes, and hit the treadmill.

When I told my best friend Megan about the run, she laughed, too. She knows better than anyone how I feel about running. She also decided, after the initial giggles, that if all of her friends were running this so called 5K, she was running it, too.

Especially because no one thought she would want to. 

I will admit that I didn’t train very hard after the first few weeks. I didn’t get myself in tip top condition. I didn’t drink enough water. I didn’t quit smoking. I also had a pretty strong gut feeling that when it came time to actually run the thing, and people were throwing color bombs at me, none of that was going to matter much.

I was right.

It turned out to be way more about the excitement of the day, the bright colors and funny costumes, the friends and sorority sisters in from all over, than about the actual running. No one was keeping time. No one was keeping score. No one cared how fast you were or how many times you slowed down to walk.

We did finish it. I ran a lot of it. Lauren ran a lot of it.

 Lauren and I before the color explosion 

Megan and I before

Megan, my best friend and also my new hero, ran the ENTIRE THING.

It was nice because she’s a tad bit shorter than I am and her stride is a tad bit smaller than mine so, even when I had to walk, she kept running and our pace was perfect.

We listened to music, ran through the color bombs, laughed a little and breathed a lot.

When we crossed the finish line, Megan and I just looked at each other for a minute.

After. We're so proud!

“We did it!” I said.

Her reply?

“Yes. We. Did.”

I was so proud of myself. I was so proud of Lauren.

I was beyond proud of Megan. She never stopped running. Not once.

Lauren, Megan and I after. Aren't we fabulous??!!

We’ll all be washing colored cornstarch out of our hair and off our skin for days, I’m sure.
And it was worth every minute.

Jeremy came along for support and ended up volunteering with the Bomb Squad. He also broke the zip ties off of the port a potties and became a hero to about 25 women at once. He gave me a giant hug when he met me at the finish line and the pride in his eyes felt kind of like a gold medal.

Me and my proud husband. Also, as you can see...the bandana did nothing to protect my hair! 

See you next year, Color Me Rad. Thanks for giving me a reason to run for fun. I’m in for life. Next time, I might even run the whole thing.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Night No One Lost A Head

One of tonight’s conversations started like this…

Brodie:MOOOOMMMMYYYYY!!!!! I want my head back!!!! Bubba took my head!!!!!

Me: Logan, did you take your brother’s head?

Logan: (Evil Laugh) YES! And it’s MINE!

Brodie: NO! It’s MINE!Give me my heaaaddddd baacccckkkk!!!

And he’s stomping his feet and almost crying.

I understood that Loganhadn’t actually taken Brodie’s head. And Loganknew he didn’t actually take Brodie’s head. And I’m pretty sure thatBrodie understood that his brother didn’t actually take his head.

I say pretty sure because at one point, Brodie has this lookin his eyes like, “Mom, bubba took my head. Why aren’t you doing more aboutthis? This is an intense and very serious situation. Please, for the love ofall things candy and ice cream, please make him give me my head back…please.”

I sat there for a minute, looking at them. They were lookingat me too, trying to decide how this was going to play out. I could tell by thelook in Logan’s eyes that he was thinking, “I have nothing more in the world I’drather do right now than torture the crap out of my brother. It’s an invisiblehead, mom. I’m trying to have fun at his expense and he’s being unreasonable.Please don’t yell at me and ruin the game.”

I didn’t want to ruin the game.

There are times when Loganis mean to Brodie because he is just in a bad mood. I don’t tolerate it. I domy very best, on an almost daily basis, to try and teach him that we don’t talkto people like that, treat people like that, that we can’t be mean to the oneswe love just because we’re in a bad mood. This wasn’t one of those times,though. He wasn’t in a bad mood. He wasn’t really being mean. He was trying toplay. He’s also the big brother and sometimes playing includes making hislittle brother scream.

I didn’t want to ruin the game. I didn’t want to yell. Ididn’t want to lose my cool. So, I decided to play.

Me: Logan, give your brother his head back.

Logan: (After a moment’s hesitation where herealizes I’m going to let him play) No! (Evil laugh)

And he threw the invisible head into the yard.

Me: Oh. My. God.You’ve got to be kidding me. Did you just throw your little brother’s head inthe yard? That’s it. You’re gonna get it.

And I stood up, picked him up, took him into the yard,tackled him to the ground, and tickled him until he couldn’t breathe.

Logan: Mom! I’m gonna pee my pants! Let me up!

Me: Are you going togo get the head? Are you going to give your brother his head back?

Logan: YES! Let me up!

While Brodie knew I wasn’t actually punishing his brother, Ithink he still felt like he was getting justice. It’s torture to get tickledlike that. I’m sure he remembered when I did it to him this morning when herefused to give me a kiss.

I think he also understood by this point that bubba didn’tactually take his head.

Logan did getup, he did go get the head, and he did give it back to his brother. He also lethim get about 20 feet away before he took it again. I did the only reasonablething I could think to do. I intervened.

For real this time.

Me: Logan, give me your brother’s head.

Logan: (Doing a little dance) My head, my head,nah nah nah nah nah…

I grabbed the head, ran over to Brodie and put it back onreally quick.

Me: There you go baby.I got your head back. I’ll lock it in place so Bubba can’t get it again.

Brodie looked up at me, blinked his lashes over histoo-pretty-for-words-eyes and nodded his head as to say, “Oh, thank you mommy.Thank you for getting my head back.” And he rubbed the top of my shoulder whileI fastened on his fake head.

Brodie doesn’t do that bit very often. He’s usually the onetorturing his brother and by no means does he ask for intervention with much.He’s Mr. Independent, for sure. But, just like Logantaking on the role of Evil Villain, Brodie accepted his role as citizen indistress for just a minute so I could play super hero. He rarely lets me dothat. I wanted to make him proud.

Logan and I went back and fourth for awhile over the head.He unlocked the lock with a specially made key and took it back. I put somesort of protective shield over it so it would be secure and he figured out thecode. I didn’t know there was a code but, since he figured it out, I had topretend like I already knew. After we ran out of ways to unlock and steal it, unlockand steal it back, our conversation got kind of ridiculous and ended upsounding something like a conversation out of one of our favorite movies…

[after trapping Metro Man in the observatory, Megamind comes up on aprojector]

 Over here, old friend! In case you've noticed, you'vefallen right into my trap.
Metro Man:
You can't trap justice. It's an idea, a belief!
But, even the most heartfelt belief can be corroded over time.
Metro Man:
Justice is a non-corrosive metal.
But metals can be melted by the heat of revange!
Metro Man:
It's 'revenge', and it's best served cold!
But it can be easily reheated in the microwave of evil!
Metro Man
: Well, I think your warranty's about to expire!
Maybe I got an extended warranty!
Metro Man:
Warranties are invalid if you don't used the card for itsintended purpose!
Roxanne Ritchie:
[exasperated] Uuhh! Girls, girls, you're bothpretty! Can I go home now!
Of course you can. That is if Metro Man can withstand the fullconcentrated power of the sun! FIRE!
[nothing happens and Metro Man just looks at Megamind]

We didn’t get allof the words right but, c’mon. Breaking out into a spontaneous reenactment of amovie with my almost 6 year old? Where we kinda quoted Will Ferrell and BradPitt? Seriously? How awesome is that?

Eventually, likeRoxanne Ritchie, Brodie got tired of listening to us. While we were distracted,he grabbed the head from his brother and ran off with it. On his way to hisbedroom to bunker down and defend his head, I called him to dinner and the gamewas over.

Everyone won.

Logan got to play. Brodie got his head back. Igot to be the super hero and have a moment with my kids where the tears, footstomps and interventions were only make believe. No one really got hurt. No onereally got in trouble. No one lost a head.

Not even mamma. 

 Logan as MegaMind a few weeks ago while wasting time at Auntie's house. =)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Love Letters From A Food Stamp Kid

Dear Food stamps, cash-aid, section 8, Free Lunch and Medi-Cal,  

Thank you for sticking up for me those years and making sure that no matter how much money my mom made in tips, I would always have food in my belly, clothes on my back and a roof over my head. Thanks for being there when my appendix almost burst and that time I had all of those cysts on my ovaries. Also, for making sure I could get a filling when I needed one and glasses so I could see the black board at school.

My mom would have figured out how to make the ends meet without you, I’m sure. In fact, she did most of the time. She always found a way to survive. I’m glad you were there, though, during those rough years, so she could also show up at cheer competitions and band performances, play the role of both Mom and Dad and have a few less things to worry about while raising two kids all alone. I didn’t pay taxes back then but, my mom did. I pay taxes now though so, feel free to give a little of my money to someone with hungry kids.

Dear birth control pills and Planned Parenthood,  

Thanks for being there when I made that ever important decision, at the age of 18, to become sexually active. Turns out, sex is super fun. Also turns out, babies are kinda hard…and expensive. I’m glad I got to have one without the other until I was ready. I would have made a good mom at 18 but, I made a better one at 25.

Also, thanks for being around those years when I was working, but didn’t have insurance, and could still get checked for scary stuff like…you know…Cancer. If there is anyone out there who needs to make sure they don’t have a baby they can’t afford or Cancer in their breasts or ovaries…put it on my dime. It’s the least I can do.

Dear Access for Infants & Mothers, WIC and Healthy Families,

Thanks for making sure that when I was pregnant with Logan and underinsured at work, I could still afford to give birth to him without going broke. And when I was pregnant with Brodie, and the doctors put me on bed rest due to placenta previa, thanks for making sure that I could still see my doctor, still get enough to eat and could provide him with newborn care until I could go back to work after my C-section. If you hear of anyone who has a job and, you know, works for a living but still can’t swing their medical bills all the way, give them some of my money. I was grateful to have it. I know they will be, too.

Dear Federal Pell Grant,

Thank you for buying my books this semester and making sure the finance company didn’t come repossess my car when I took that time off to study for summer school finals. I really appreciate it. Thanks for being there when I was young, too. It was nice to know that there was a way for me to go to college even though I was a poor kid. Being broke never had an effect on my grades and, thanks to you, it still doesn’t have to.

I know you pitched it as something that never had to be repaid but, you can take it out of my taxes later when I’m using my degree. Give it to someone else. Lord knows if waiting tables for 15 years has taught me anything, it’s that this great nation of ours could definitely use more educated people.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dear Logan: 1st GRADE!!!

Dear Logan, 

Today, you started the first grade. 

It was a really big deal. You’ve been excited about it for months. In fact, you started talking about it long before you finished Kindergarten. Your excitement was contagious. All week you’ve been asking me, “Can you believe I’m in the first grade, Mom? Aren’t you excited?” to which I’ve answered, “SO EXCITED!” because I am. 

You’ve had quite the summer, kiddo. You quit wetting the bed. You gave up the swim ring and went with just floaties. And then you got really brave and started holding your breathe and putting your head under water. Last night, while you took your bath, you laid all the way under water and held your breathe for 7 seconds. I was super proud…and so were you. You’re not quite swimming yet but, at the rate you’re headed, I know it’ll be any day. 

It was also the summer that your dad lived in an apartment down the street. He and I didn’t really know what to expect so we just let you handle it the way you wanted to. I have to say, kiddo, you handled it brilliantly. I know you are only 5 (and a half) but you are one of my heroes.  I hope you will always know that Dad and I had to figure some stuff out so we could be better at being your parents.

As wonderfully as you handled it, though, you are awful excited about us going to the beach this weekend, “as a family”, to grab the last little bit of summer. And you also enjoyed your dad’s voice singing “First Day of First Grade” to you this morning, as he jumped on your bed, and made the words up as he went along.   

When we went to Back-to-School night to meet your new teacher, you figured out that you do, in fact, have a desk in first grade. It’s been on the list of important things all summer. 

Another thing that’s been on the list is your Pack-It.  It’s a lunch box, red with blue robots on it, “and it stays cold for 10 hours.” You were adamant about it and your dad and I knew it was really important. We didn’t get a second one for free, though. It was an additional $17.50 in Shipping and Handling and while you didn’t really understand what that meant, you did understand that they had the robot pattern you wanted, at Amazon, with free shipping. You were also excited about the school supplies we bought with the $17.50.  

If you look back on first grade and wonder why you don’t have any memories of back- to- school shopping, it’s because we didn’t go. I didn’t take you to a store to buy anything but your shoes. (With laces, I might add and you’re finally okay with learning to tie them) We back to school shopped Our way.  

From the computer. 

You sat in my lap, went to the websites with me and picked everything out. You got the camouflage back pack you wanted, complete with your name, in the font style you chose. You were very helpful in selecting your clothes, as well.  When your outfits arrived on the door step, you were very excited. I think it had more to do with getting a package, really. You don’t normally get that excited about clothes. It was an added bonus I didn’t think about when I ordered. The bonus prize that I did bet on, however, was you trying them on, in the comforts of our home, and not having to hear: 

“Logan, hurry up. Seriously? What is taking so long? BRODIE! STOP! (Arm grab) you can NOT look under the doors of people’s dressing rooms. Logan, seriously honey, please hurry before I kill your brother. What’s the matter? Why don’t you like it? What does scratchesy mean? That’s not even a word. They look good. Okay, fine, take it off. BRODIE! COME HERE, PLEASE. Logan, I’m going to lose it. I need you to hurry, Son. Please, please, please.” 

You tried everything on, strutted around the living room, Brodie following at your heels. No tears, no fighting, no little brother beating. It was the best back-to-school shopping trip ever. Promise. You didn’t miss anything at the store. 

Last night, you and I broke the news to dad that you will get to ride the bus home a few days a week. He wasn’t very excited. In fact, he told you, “I don’t know if I’m okay with that, Son.” To which you told him, “Dad, it’ll be okay. I’m in the first grade.” 

This morning, you got to leave the cafeteria earlier and go play on the playground until class started. You didn’t have to wait for a teacher to come and get you like last year. You didn’t need us to hold your hand and walk you around like last year either, but we did anyway. You lined up when the bell rang and waved goodbye. I was very proud. 

And very excited. 

Your dad was a little choked up, even if he denies it. 

When you came home this afternoon, you told me that you wanted to be the “best kid ever” in the first grade. 

I have a really, really strong feeling you’ll be exactly that. 

Happy first day of first grade, kiddo.
P.S. Two days ago, you took safety scissors and cut your own hair. In the front. WAY TOO short. We made fun of you until you cried. Then, I took you to get it fixed at the salon. In front of the staff I asked, "And what lesson did we learn about cutting our own hair?" to which you replied, "Don't." 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If this isn't nice, I don't know what is

I took my kids to the beach last week, just for the day. It was the first time I’d ever driven myself to the beach. 

We threw some towels, some food and a couple of pails and shovels in the car and drove to the ocean. It was quite the day. I even described it to a few people as “Quite possibly the most perfect day I’ve ever had.” 

What did we do? Not a whole lot. We sat in the sun, played in the sand, got wet in the ocean and ate sandy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Logan found some other kids to play with. Brodie found some seagulls to yell at. I found a nice place to soak up sun and watch my kids play and yell at birds.

I left my cell phone in the car. I left my Nook in the car. The only electronic I took was my camera.

Part of the perfection was that it was just me and my kids. There was no one else with us. I like other people. Sometimes it’s fun to take other people with you on adventures. Sometimes though, it’s nice for it to be just me and my kids. No one else's kids, no one else’s time schedule, no one else’s agenda, no one to double check my parenting. (Do you think he needs a hat? Do you think he’s okay? Do you think he’s wearing enough sunscreen? Do you think it’s safe for him to eat that sand? Drink that saltwater? Stick that straw up his nose?)

When we were hungry, we ate. When we were tired, we rested. When we were done, we came home. I never got irritated. They never got cranky. No one got sunburned or died of saltwater/sand overdose. 

On the way home, they both power napped and then we spent the  rest of the drive listening to the Toddler Tunes station on Pandora and singing Itsy-Bitsy, The Wheels on the Bus and Shake the Sillies Out. 

It was an excellent recharge that was desperately needed, for all three of us. 

We’ve had a busy last couple of months. I went back to school, my baby sister got married, Jeremy and I separated and he moved a few blocks away. My in-laws came to stay a week (post-separation) and Logan graduated from Kindergarten. We’ve had homework and vacation bible school. We’ve had strep throat and wicked rashes. We’ve ditched night-time pants and started working on not peeing the bed (Logan, not me. I quit peeing the bed a few years ago). 

It’s been a time of adjustment, transition and evaluation. I’ve been learning what I’m made of. I’ve been learning what they’re made of. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and praying and watching to make sure they weren’t going to break.  To make sure I wasn’t going to break. To make sure I actually believed that in order to be the best me, the best mom, I had to be happy even if that meant some stuff that was sticky and uncomfortable and hard.  

At one point, while I was lying on my towel, trying to keep the sand Brodie was “shoveling” around out of my mouth and eyes, I remembered something I read when I first found Kurt Vonnegut. The article was actually called, “15 Things Kurt Vonnegut Said Better Than Anyone Else Ever Has or Will” 

One of the 15 went like this:

"I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.'"

So, I noticed that I was. And I murmured. 

And it was quite possibly the most perfect day I’ve ever had. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Screw you, rainy day! Let the party live on.

Happy Monday Friends!
I’m still recovering from a Birthday Party Hangover. Seriously, I don’t know how barbequing some chicken, stuffing some goody bags and setting up a bounce house can make one feel like they’ve been hit by a Mac truck, but it can. It does. It did.

The house was full of the usual suspects on Saturday. Friends and family and kiddos all showed up to help us celebrate. As with everything else in this business, it took a village. Roxy frosted, scooped and wrangled. Jeremy’s mom, Debbie, chopped, straightened and wrangled. Jeremy swept, barbequed and wrangled. Adrianne made the cake pops. Austin brought the bounce house. I’m under no disillusions that I managed any of it alone. The village is good that way. Lots of hands. Lots of hearts. Lots of people who love Brodie and wanted to make sure his day went off without a hitch.

Adrianne made him his own "Monster" cake pop. Fitting, huh?

He’s pretty lucky, that kid. LOTS of people sure do love him.

The party started at 2:00 and the rain started at 2:15. After the initial meltdown that followed having to get off the swing set and out of the fort, we moved the bounce house to the patio. A toddler mattress was placed at the bottom to prevent any major injury, and the party lived on. No one seemed to mind the rain. No one seemed to mind being stuffed like sardines into my house. Kids running crazy, cake on everyone’s face, full bellies and dirty feet and happy laughter.

I love that I get to celebrate birthdays with my boys. Birthdays are a big deal. It is fun to celebrate the day one was brought into the world. After all, it’s a celebration for me too. I’m the one who did the ‘bringing’ and each candle we add to the cake means another year of being a mom.  It’s fun to eat cake. It’s fun to open presents. It’s also exhausting. And not only for me. Brodie was walking around like a zombie at about 8 o’clock, roaming around the living room, eyes half shut, wanting desperately to go to sleep but not wanting to let go of the excitement of the day, or let go of his toys for fear someone else would take them. I have to admit, though, it was also quite satisfying to see him so exhausted. It’s a good sign. A good sign that I did my job right. A good sign that he partied like a two- year -old rock star.

Mom Success.

I was a little anxious. I often am when it comes to stuff like that. I want everyone to enjoy themselves. I want my kids to behave. I want everyone else’s kids to behave. I want the food to taste good and my septic system not to back up and my carpet not to suffer any major damage.

They did. It did. Nothing got broken. Everything turned out fine.

I kept asking my Uncle Ronnie, “We doing alright?”

I knew he would ease my mind. He has a way about him. A way of reassuring me, without saying too much, that I’m doing better than fine. I’m sure glad he was here. Sure glad he’s part of the village. He did, indeed, ease my mind, warm my heart and make me laugh. When he was walking out the door, he hugged my shoulders and gave me the best present of the day with these words,

“You’re doing a hellava job with those boys.”

Thanks, Uncle Ronnie. I think we do alright, but it sounds better coming from you!  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dear Brodie: Happy Birthday!

Dear Brodie,


You, little one, are TWO today.

It’s been eight months since my last letter. Remember? The one where I begged you to stop screaming? The one where I threatened to throw you in Pops’ studio until you were quiet? Well, it’s been quite the eight months and you have, indeed, stopped screaming.

Thanks so much for that.

You have replaced the screaming with all kinds of other good stuff. Okay, well, mostly good stuff. You do say, “Dammit” and “Nooo!” an awful lot. (This, really, is my fault considering those are the two words you hear me say the most)But mostly you sing. And talk. And laugh and play and giggle. You really are too cute, even when you’re trying your best to be rotten.

You like your Bubba the most. He’s the first person you ask for when you wake up in the morning and the last person you say, “Night” to before you are all tucked into bed. He likes you back. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, what with the, “Brodie, go away and leave me alooonnneee!” and similar things he’s always yelling at you. But, trust me, not only as your mom but as an older sibling, he really does like you.

Bubba going to kindergarten has turned out to be pretty cool for you and me. We’ve gotten a lot of time to get to know each other better. I know I was a little worried about it at first, worried how we would do without Bubba around as a buffer, but we’ve actually done better than okay. We have a system. A pretty good one, I think. One that includes starting the day with coffee creamer in your milk. You like Crème Brule the best, like me, but you’ll settle for French Vanilla in a pinch.

You are very routine oriented, unlike your big brother, and as hard as I tried to fight it, I’ve actually gotten a lot better at the routine thing myself.

Thanks so much for that.

The last eight months have also brought out a sweetness in you that is hard to ignore.  Although, most of the time when you’re being sweet, it is accompanied by an apology. I must say that along with “Dammit” and “Nooo!” you say, “Sorry” quite a bit. We all forgive you but, eventually, some of us are going to start hitting you back. Enjoy being little while it lasts. Any day now, I’m going to start turning my head and letting your brother handle things for himself. It’s probably good that you’re teaching him how to be a fighter, too. He’s going to need all the help he can get. You’re cute, but you’re still a bruiser.

I thought that I would feel differently about you turning two. Sad, maybe? Rushed. Like, the time went by too fast. The truth is I don’t. It didn’t. I like you at two. You’re fun and sassy and a riot to be around. I love hanging out in the car with you, windows down, Gaga blaring, Dum Dum in your mouth for the ride to pick up Bubba. I love playing outside with you, picking flowers, playing with snails, watching you scoot yourself around on a bike that’s too big, but that you’ll be riding without training wheels before your brother. I love that you aren’t a baby anymore. You’re easier now that you can talk to me, tell me what you want, understand the concept of “Give me a minute” and “Coffee first, then outside”. I love that you are such a good “helper”. I love that you make me beg for hugs and kisses. I love that as much as you want to do everything yourself, you’re still okay with letting me help you. “Thank you Mommy” you say when I help you put on your clothes, button your jammies or pull on your coat.

I love that you love to go and that you’ve taught me how to be better at going. As long as we’re moving, you’re happy. I’ve lost almost 40 pounds in the last year trying to keep up with you.

Thanks so much for that.

I’ve learned a lot in the last two years. A lot about you. A lot about me. A lot about how to be a mother to you and your brother at the same time. I like the kind of mother I’m turning out to be to you. We’re not perfect, you and I, but we’ve done a pretty good job so far.

You’re an alright kid, Brodie Kevin, and I wouldn’t trade you in for anything, no matter how many times a day I threaten to drop you off at Safe Surrender. Let’s stay two for a little while, okay? I kind of like it here.

Happy birthday, monster. I sure do love you. And no, you can’t have jelly beans for breakfast. I don’t care if it is your birthday…

Alright, fine. But only a few.