Thursday, December 15, 2011

Baby Steps

I'm talking about weight loss people - WEIGHT LOSS.

Last week, Daniel and I joined a gym. After years of pretty much not exercising, we decided we needed to be proactive about our health. Last week, I felt like a was making a positive life change. I was excited and hopeful and empowered.

I went to the gym for the first time yesterday. I was on an exercise bike for 25 minutes and did just over 5 miles - I felt like a superhero. I'm exaggerating a little bit, but I felt good.

Today I went back and spoke with a personal trainer. After answering some questions she had about my expectations and habits, she started me on a cardio warm up. Kicked. My. Ass. And just when I was about to throw in the towel, she brought some guy over to me who announced he was going to "give me the workout of my life". Whoa. He also told me over and over that he could not believe I was 35. Nice.

He brought me downstairs to assess my flexibility, balance and endurance. Within a few minutes, I was drenched, pasty white and in pain. He kept working me and pushing me further. He kept telling me he could get me down 75 pounds in the next 6 months but I was going to need to do it through resistance training. He said cardio should only be done as a brief warm up. He pushed me so hard and I felt so horrible that I was dreading the idea of ever seeing him again, but he made sure to tell me I did better than he thought I would or what other people do on their first visit. He told me that he could tell I was going tobe a "success story".

And then he took me into his office to talk numbers. It was like I was buying a car. I went from feeling sort of good about the work I'd just done to feeling like there is no way I will succeed without these people helping me. It was frustrating. I started feeling very insecure. He walked me through all their program could do for me and all the support I'd have and then he told me it could all be mine for 2 half hour shifts a week for JUST $320 a month. I told him there was no way I could afford that. He told me I could see a trainer once a week for $100 a month. I said I'd need to discuss it with my husband. He told me they might not be having the same offers tomorrow and that I needed to see that this was a long term benefit, well worth $100 a month. I told him I'd still need to discuss it with my husband and that I'd get back to him. He asked me how soon I'd know. I told him that if I decided to do this, he'd be the next to know. There was a quick shift - he told me he'd see me around and to have a good evening. Done.

I'm sort of at a loss now. I feel good from the work I did today, but it was hard on my body. The movement was difficult on my bad hip and the weight lifting gave my RSD arm the shakes for at least 20 minutes. I ended up using my inhaler after having an asthma attack in the car. And all of this makes me think I need this even more... but it also makes me feel like the biggest loser (HA) for letting myself get to this point. I looked at myself in the mirror while I pushed my body and I hated who I saw.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Tough Questions

Sometimes, we forget that Zoe isn't actually a teenager what with her vocabulary, sense of humor and intelligence. She watches us and the world around her so carefully and she really does take it all in. My little girl has an old soul. I remember thinking it as I watched her sleep as a newborn. I remember telling her not to grow up too fast when she slammed her door on me and quickly turned on her radio and cranked it loud; she was, after all - barely one year old.

I worry sometimes, (like I'm sure all parents do) about how much she is like me. I witness her sensitivity on a daily basis. I see her eyes well up quickly if she accidentally makes a mess or if her little brother picks on her. I worry that I've let her see me cry too many times and that I've made her feel less than safe.

Our accident of course comes to mind here. I can still hear myself screaming and crying as that truck hit us. I wonder if she remembers? I wonder if she feels the same fear I do that it will happen again? I can't go back and change my reaction to that event, I know - but I can't help but wonder if I damaged her that day.

A year ago tomorrow, Zoe's Grandpa Rick passed away suddenly. I remember where I was when I got the news. I had Finn with me and we had just picked up Zoe at preschool. I'd missed a call from Daniel's mom and I quickly called her back once I had the kids loaded into their car seats. I stayed as calm as I could on the phone, trying to be strong for Daniel's mom and trying not to scare the kids, but when I hung up and realized what I'd just been told and that I'd need to tell Daniel - I lost it. My hands shook and I cried as I called Kristina, Meg, and then my own father to tell them the news and to ask for help.

The kids didn't get what was happening. Finn was not quite 2 and Zoe 3 and a half. We tried to explain it as best we could though, that Grandpa was watching over us now and that we didn't get to see him anymore. A year later, I don't know that we've figured out a better way to explain it. I just know that Zoe is extremely curious about what it all means. Death. Most of the time, she doesn't understand the finality of it. Sometimes though, her questions lead to whether or not Daniel and I will ever go away and not come back. We struggle with this because we don't want to lie to her - so we tell her that we'll be with her as long as she needs us and that even then we'll always be close by. Sometimes I give in and I tell her very definitively: "No. I will never, ever leave you." She usually follows this conversation up with "Will you always keep me safe? No matter what? What if there's a fire? Will you save me?" These aren't the questions you really prepare yourself for when you become a parent. They are hard, scary questions, but I know they're even scarier for her.

She didn't do well with me being in rehearsals for Hay Fever and going to my performances was just as difficult because it broke our nighttime routine that she and I have. She was very emotional and told me repeatedly that she was worried I might not come back. I know she needs to learn that it's OK for me to leave and that I'll be back... but it didn't make it any easier for us to have her go through that. I felt very difficult for taking time away from my family to do something for me when it affected Zoe the way it did. Of course I want to make everything better and have her feel secure and safe.

This afternoon, Zoe and Daniel were talking about dinosaurs. I don't know the exact specifics of their conversation, but I guess she wanted to know where they went - why we don't see dinosaurs anymore. Again, I don't know exactly what happened, but Daniel told her that the dinosaurs got old and died. And this of course led to how everyone dies. "Even babies?!" Zoe asked. Seeing that this conversation had exploded into something we were not wanting to tackle during lunch, Daniel quickly told her no, not babies. Babies grow up and old and live happy lives before they die. The subject was dropped and it was like we'd dodged a bullet. Hooray! But if you know my daughter (or me) you know that her calm acknowledgement of this explanation was out of character. Moments later she was sobbing because Daniel was heading back to work. We quickly distracted her and calmed her down before he left and again I thought we were in the clear. Crisis averted.

Crisis NOT averted. Twenty minutes later Zoe looked at me - her eyes were welling up fast.

"Are you going to get old soon?"
"Not for a while yet. I'm still young."
"Are Nana and Baba and Grammy old?"
"They're older than Mommy and Daddy."
"Are they going to die soon?"
"No, honey. Not soon. Let's not worry about that."
"You're going to leave me. You're going to get old and leave me. We all die! I don't want to get older. I don't want to grow up! I don't want to die, I'm scared!"

Meanwhile, her little brother (who does not understand but is picking up on the repetition of a certain word) begins shouting "Die! Die! You're going to die. We're going to die. Zoo-ey, don't cry. We die! Ya!" He thinks he's cheering her up. He thinks he's saying something very funny, but doesn't get why she's not laughing at him and why I'm very calmly but firmly asking him to "Please, stop."

I called Daniel. One, she needed to be comforted by both of us. She needed both of our reassurances. And two, hell if I was going to deal with this one on my own. I'm not the one who said everyone dies (even if it is completely true). Together we did what we could to calm her down. I held her on my lap and told her it was going to be OK, that we didn't need to worry and Daniel told her the same thing from speaker phone. I wiped her tears away and we quickly changed the subject to Halloween decorations (ours went up shortly after we hung up with Daniel) and cookies and milkshakes. Yay, milkshakes!

She and Finn are napping now and I'm trying to breathe. Trying to recover from a highly dramatic afternoon with tough questions from an almost 5 year old. I don't remember being this afraid when I was her age. I don't remember being aware of things like death and tragedy. All I know is I want to make everything better. I want her to feel safe and secure. I want to know that I'm not somehow screwing up.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hay Fever

A little over a year ago, I pitched a show for The Empty Space. It was a good pitch for a project that I was passionate about doing. I had a connection with the show for years - doing it fresh out of high school, relating to it as recently separated woman dealing with a tiresome divorce and then again as a mother of two young children. I connected with a director who I knew would do the piece justice, who I very much wanted to work with and become friends with. Everything fell into place perfectly.

But we decided not to do the piece I had wanted to do. The timing wasn't right and we were concerned about the large size of the cast and the limitations we'd need to overcome. We decided to put that show on the backburner and we chose another. We entertained various options until we made our final decision: Hay Fever by Noel Coward.

For months, all my extra energy went toward the show. I spent hours online searching for costume pieces and doing research for the actor's packets. I delved into Coward's life. I made multiple inspiration boards for hair, clothing and furniture of the 20's. I appealed to friends and family to help us by loaning us pieces from their homes. I haggled with consignment stores and practically harrassed a tuxedo shop owner. I watched British movies, YouTube videos and television shows. I spoke to my children in various Bristish accents and I read them their books/sang to them in "Clara's voice" until they were doing their best British accents too.

When this all started, I knew I wanted to help produce a high quality show. I wanted to be a part of a big project and challenge myself in ways I hadn't challenged myself in years. I wanted to feel like I was a part of something and I was hoping that during the process I'd make some new friends and some good memories. I feel like I reached all of my goals. I am so proud of the work we did, but most of all I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Jennifer and the cast. I admire all of them and I am humbled to get to call them friends.

Our show closes this weekend. If you've seen Hay Fever, thank you very much for being a part of it. If you haven't, you have two more chances (Friday and Saturday night at 8pm) to see what all the buzz is about. Help us spread the word. Help us fill our houses. Help us give this show the send off it deserves - you'll be glad you did. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Birthday Shmirfday

I turn 35 tomorrow and I'm feeling bummed about it. I know that's silly. It's not so much the getting older - it beats the alternative, right? Birthdays just feel sort of lonely; they have for years. I had no friends during my first marriage (I wasn't allowed to aside from the people I worked with and I needed to keep those relationships professional) and there was never any celebrations unless he let my parents be involved. My big yearly gift for six years was that he would try not to yell or be mean to me, but I always did something to screw that up. I couldn't just let him be a nice guy, I was always doing something wrong.

I know that I am lucky. I have a best friend who also happens to be my husband and we have two beautiful children. We laugh every day and I know that I am far from the life I used to have.

Birthdays just feel anticlimactic, I guess. It doesn't feel any different from any other day, it just feels the same. I try to be excited about them, but I'm not and I feel like I should be. And I guess when people ask me what my big plans are for "My day", I feel like an asshole with no friends because I don't have any plans at all.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Here We Go Again

Last night, Daniel and I attended rehearsal for Hay Fever and then stayed a bit for the after party. We’d have loved to stay longer, but it needed to be an early night for us so we could relieve our new babysitter by 9:30. We left in good spirits. I snagged a cookie as we were leaving (a roadie) and I was happy. It was my second rehearsal since coming down with the plague (I didn’t actually have the plague, per se) and it felt great to be out of the house and with friends.

Our rehearsal space is a quick jaunt from our house. We like to say that the Taylor’s are our neighbors even if they don’t live next door, exactly.... ten minutes is practically down the block. Easy. We were right on schedule for walking in our door at 9:30 when we hit a red light. We stopped (because that's what you do at red lights: STOP) and chatted very relaxed and cheerfully as we waited for our green. I remember thinking it felt like a long red light considering there wasn’t really anyone else out when all of a sudden we were hit from behind.

It was jarring. It was shocking. Daniel had left a cushion in front of us so we didn’t hit the truck directly in front of us. We both yelled. I started crying. My neck and back immediately felt hot with throbbing pain. Part of me braced myself to be hit again, but thankfully, there was nothing. We just sat there and Daniel kept telling me we were OK. The light turned green and the truck in front of us went on their way. I think Daniel got out of the car and told the person that hit us that we’d get through the intersection and then exchange information.

Daniel pulled onto the side of the road and got out to talk to the other driver. I was shaking and crying, but I reached for my phone to text a friend/cast member. Silly, I know, but I was in shock. I wanted my friends who we had just left (and who I wished I was hanging out with at that very moment) to know what had happened. And then I got out of the truck. I wanted to see who had hit us this time. I wanted to know what the hell their problem was. The light was red. Why hadn’t they stopped or slowed down? What the hell is wrong with this town and their lack of attention to red lights?!

The girl who hit us didn’t seem phased. She was pretty and stylishly dressed and in a hurry. I think she apologized, but I wasn’t feeling particularly forgiving. Daniel did most of the talking. I walked to our truck and looked for bumper damage ( I didn’t see any then, but today we can see a slight ding). I pushed down on our bumper, half expecting it to fall into the dirt, but it didn't. I walked back to her BMW SUV (her father’s fiance’s, actually) to look for damage. Her license plate was bent and I pointed out some marks on the left corner of her front bumper, “Oh, that’s from another accident. I’m a great driver.” She might have giggled, or I might be projecting what an idiot I think she is. Either way, this was no biggie to her. It was a biggie for us. When all was said and done, Daniel and I walked back to our truck and I yelled out "Drive safely!" I was tempted to add "idiot" or something worse, but I refrained.

I think having gotten through our accident two years ago, I’d told myself we’d just never have another. That felt better and sort of got me more comfortable with driving because how could we be put through that again, right? It was better than what I’d previously felt: The world (Bakersfield especially) is full of inconsiderate, asshole drivers and we’re constantly putting ourselves and our children in danger every time we get in the car. I had been coping and I've made progress in the last two years. I had become less afraid to drive short distances from our house. I told myself that I needed to be aware while I was driving, but that there was no sense being afraid while I waited at intersections. I told myself it was normal to have anxiety when my vehicle was moving, but that the likelihood of another accident was slim to none - I certainly didn’t expect to get hit while STOPPED at a red light.

Anyway. I am frustrated about last night. I’m angry at the college girl who hit us. I know accidents/fender benders happen all the time - I just feel like she had a blatant disregard for anyone else on the road and that once she did hit us, she was indifferent about the whole thing. We became an insignificant obstacle in her Friday night plans - no harm, no fowl - moving on.

My neck and back and hips are killing me and I had too many nightmares last night. Lucky for me, they were only dreams and I’ve got kind friends and family who understand how this affects me. Oh, and I’m very grateful knowing I have a friend who just happens to be a massage therapist. Now it is time for some healing, I don’t need this right now (or ever again, thanks).

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

What He Says

Finn didn't start talking as soon as Zoe did - he didn't need to. Zoe would talk for herself and for him and he seemed alright with that set up for a while. And then slowly the watchful boy started making up his own language. Zoe caught on quickly, helping us translate and so began "Finn speak".

"Bye-bye's" were any type of transportation there was, but now they're just cars. He says airplane, truck, bus, train now. He will also say "I wanna go bye-bye." which means exactly what it sounds like or it means he wants to go to the car.

"Nigh-nigh" is bedtime and bedroom (it's a universal term).

"Zoo-ee" is Zoe

"Ra-ra's" are dogs and sometimes they're lions too, but only sometimes.

He says Mama, Mom, Dad, Daddy, Baba, Nana, Grammy, Cheryl and Chuck.

He says Yes, No, Please, Thank you, Welcome, I love you and I'm sorry.

"Juice" is any liquid.

Recently, he's started naming all the colors when he sees them, but he will also identify red as "Not blue." (Blue is his favorite color.)

He knows that A is for apple... and he can name many other words for each letter of the alphabet.

He can count to 3.

He says "I need diaper change." and "I don't need diaper change." He tells us he's "Poopin" even when he's not at all - he just likes that we jump out of our seats and try to take him to the potty.

He will tell us when he is mad and be very emphatic about it.

He says "I dance" either just before or while he is showing us his latest moves.

He likes to say "Watch this!" and then he'll do some jump or "I'm hopping!" or "Hi-yah!" when he's doing Karate.

He will repeat after us now and he likes playing alphabet games and working with his sister. I have no doubt that he has been listening very closely to us and has been waiting for when he wanted to open up and speak more. It seems like just in the last week or so his vocabulary has grown immensely.

He will tell me he is my baby and that he is "Not the baby!" and I am proud and sad and... mostly proud every time.

I watch these kids every day and I am amazed by their big personalities and by how intelligent and observant they are. Children truly are sponges - absorbing every thing you say and do.

If he really wants to make a point, he says "You hear me?" and I do. I'm listening to every word, Finnegan.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reconstruction

I’m not a petite person. If you called me thin, slim or skinny, it would be because it’s opposite day. I guess you could say I’m curvy. I was this way before I had my two beautiful kids and I’m even more so now. In any case, I’m definitely plus sized. I’d love to not be plus sized and occasionally I get the inclination to make life changes to be a healthier person, but more often than not I give in to stress eating or just ridiculous cravings. It’s something I beat myself up over every single day. I don’t need other people beating me up too.

For the past few months, I’ve been getting weekly emails from the medical group that I go to for all my “women’s health” needs. I signed up for these emails when I registered for their web portal. I was promised the ability to “receive timely health information, manage [my] own health care, and stay in touch with [my] physicians”. Sounds good, right? Well, in recent weeks I’ve repeatedly received messages about how I can now receive a free consultation for facial, breast &/or body reconstructive surgery. One email notification would have been enough to get their message out to the people who were interested. The constant resending of their message is now bordering on harassment.

At first I was shocked and frustrated when I got these notifications. Here’s the thing: Now, I’m mad.

And it’s a shame because their patients trust them. As women, we go to their offices at our most vulnerable and endure uncomfortable exams because we have to. We trust them to take care of our infertility issues, diagnose us with STD’s, and aid us in early detection of different cancers. We go to them seeking advice about the right form of contraception, and when we need help balancing our diet and becoming healthier. We trust them with the prenatal care of our most precious cargo and we go to them at our weakest when a pregnancy fails or we’re struggling with postpartum depression. They are the bearer of some of the happiest and saddest news a woman will ever hear, witnesses to the major events in our lives.

When I chose this medical group as my provider, I trusted them to take care of me. I trusted them with my health and well being. I think they broke that trust by forcing that email at me week after week. I expected them to be my advocate, to be on my “team” instead of making me feel like the only way to fix myself is to go out and have major surgery. I understand that there are women out there who want to alter their bodies with surgery. There’s a demand out there and they are helping supply this service. I understand that this medical group is trying to utilize their contacts with their patients and turn it into another source of income, but I think their doing so will cost them patients who have gone to them for years - like myself.

There could have been a compromise. I think they could have given patients the option to request information on the various “Beauty” procedures they offered consultations on. I think it would have been a smart idea to see if their patients were even interested in those type of services before they pushed them at us weekly. I think to offset the message they were sending, they might have sent out info about the nutritional services they offer. Links to health articles and more information on early detection and prevention would have been a smart move and beneficial. They were so busy focusing on how to make more money, they lost focus on how they could reach out to their patients with a positive message. They could have empowered us to create healthy changes instead of making us second guess our bodies and our beauty.

I think they should be ashamed of that. Don't you?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boys Will Be Boys

I should start off by saying that I think the whole idea that because Finn is a boy we are destined to lots of accidents, stitches, broken limbs, etc is totally not cool. Not cool, but (let's face it) still very true. Just about anyone who has ever met my son knows he's... um, active. He lives to climb trees, walls, bookcases, dressers, dollhouses, etc. My son looks at everything in terms of "Can I scale it?" or "Can I demolish it?" or "Can I build something, scale it and then demolish it?"

Just this past Monday I was telling friends that I'm of the mind that he needs to fall a few times and learn that he's not invincible, and that maybe then he'd quit climbing. Other people watch him do what he loves best and I can see them having internal freak outs. Daniel and I, on the other hand just shake our heads and let him have at it. It's not that we want him to get hurt, we were just kind of indifferent to it. We were waiting for the inevitable and there was no sense getting ourselves worked up every time he nearly had an accident. If I'd allowed myself to stress as much as others do, I might live my entire life fearful of the trouble my kids may or may not get themselves into.

All the climbing caught up with Finnegan Tuesday. He was climbing up the side of the bench in our kitchen so he could eat his "after nap snack"with Zoe. He wasn't moving especially fast and he wasn't doing anything he hasn't done dozens of times a day for the last year or more, but he was up kind of high and lost his footing. I saw it happen and rushed from the sink to the table to help, but I wasn't fast enough and he smacked his eye on the edge of the table before I could catch him. There was instantly a lot of screaming and crying and blood. After I'd scooped him up into my arms, applied pressure with the nearest cloth napkin to try to stop the bleeding and simultaneously attempted to calm a worried Zoe, I grabbed my phone and started making arrangements.

Daniel got a text: "Please come home Finn cut eyebrow"

The pediatricians office got a call telling them Finn had cut his brow open and that it was bleeding so much, I wanted them to see it. They said they'd see us in fifteen minutes. That was enough time to quickly change his diaper, grab his juice and then load up the kids. I called Daniel from the car and asked him to meet us down the street at Zoe's preschool so we could all drive together.

Zoe tried to calm Finn from the moment he got hurt. She told him he would be OK, that she and Mommy would take care of him. She tried singing all the songs to him that I sing to her when she is upset. When he continued to shriek and scream and cry, she suggested I just let him eat his jello like he had wanted. She told him the doctor would help him, she told him she hoped he wouldn't need a shot.

When the nurse saw Finn, she immediately said he'd need stitches. One of the doctors at the practice came in and confirmed stitches were needed, but he wanted the kids regular doctor to confirm since she was the one who normally did sutures. Before we knew it we had our doctor and five nurses in the exam room staring at Finn and agreeing that the boy needed stitches and that he needed to go to the ER to get them since he'd need sedation. They emphatically told us, "Do NOT let them talk you into glue! He needs stitches!" I was a little bit shocked because I'd half expected them to tell us it was just a surface cut and that I'd rushed us all in for nothing. I'd sort of imagined everyone laughing at the crazy mom who had always been so nonchalant about her sons escapades and now she thought a scratch was cause for going to the doctor. I briefly felt validated because I'd recognized that this cut deserved attention. And then I realized we had a long stay in the ER ahead of us so being right suddenly sucked.

I think we felt a little relieved when we saw only a few other people waiting in the ER to be seen. But our sense of humor and calmness became less present as our stay grew longer. We'd gone through triage quickly, but because Finn's doc said he needed stitches and sedation, we were kicked to the bottom of the list. We watched dozens of people come and go. People who were obviously very sick and people who looked healthy by comparison. It was frustrating, but we were grateful to not be there under worse circumstances. We waited 4 and a half hours before we were taken in back.

The first nurse to see Finn once we were in the actual emergency room told us he wouldn't need stitches, just glue - and I nearly lost it. "No. His pediatrician saw him and was emphatic we get him sedation and stitches." After talking with the ER doctor we decided to go ahead with the glue. Partly because he made us feel silly for wanting to listen to our doctor when he said he sees cases like this every day and he felt we should do the glue instead... but mostly, we were tired and the idea of sedating Finn and putting him through the stress of getting stitches, having them removed a few days later and then scarring his eyelid indefinitely sounded very unappealing. So they wrapped him up in a sheet like a little burrito so he couldn't thrash about, and they carefully applied three coats of the dermaglue to his eyelid. He stayed still and calmly listened to me sing to him and then we were done. Easy.

As we were waiting to be signed out, we watched as a team of nurses, doctors and a paramedic escorted a newborn to an ambulance to be transported to another hospital. She was tiny and swaddled up and I could see from the faces of the people walking with her that she was very sick. I wondered what was wrong with her and I thought about her parents - I assumed they would give anything to be in our shoes... sitting with an otherwise healthy toddler who'd gotten a cut from climbing. I imagined that 6 hours in an ER wouldn't have phased them because their baby was there and they knew worse things could happen. I thought of the little girl we'd seen in the waiting room who might have been 9 months (but no more) who's parents cussed (too much) when they were talking to her and each other, called her a brat repeatedly and when she was fussing asked her if she'd like one of them to give her an "attitude adjustment". At the end of the day, our experience in the ER wasn't ideal - but we were leaving happy and healthy and maybe even more aware about how lucky we are to have our little family, each other and good friends and family who love us and are there for us when we need them.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Adventures in Parenting*

* - This post is about bodily functions and potty training. If you are going to be grossed out by this (maybe you should read "Everyone Poops") you should probably just click out of this and go do something else. If you're not afraid (or you are an experienced potty trainer and/or parent/parent-to-be) go ahead and read this. Just don't say I didn't warn you. ;)

About an hour ago I was sitting at my computer working on trying to write (which hasn’t come easily at all for a long time now) when all of a sudden I felt something warm on my foot. Like, shock to the system warm that immediately made my brain think I was bleeding, except there was no pain. I looked down at my foot and then up at my son who was completely naked. He had just peed on me. Inside, I screamed (because EW! he just peed ON MY FOOT!) but on the outside, I was calm. Well, fairly calm.

“Finnegan Emery. We’re not supposed to pee on people!”

He looked at me with that lower lip sticking far out (he’s REALLY mastered the art of pouting) and wide eyes that quickly welled with tears.

“OK, honey. We’re OK. Let’s go get cleaned up.”

He took my hand and led me to the back of the house towards his bedroom.

But instead of leading me to his room and changing table, he walked me into the bathroom.

“Do you want to go more?” **

“Uh huh!”

At first he stood, but he quickly told me no and sat down. And then he peed. At first just a little bit, but then a lot more. He was beaming - first surprise at what he had just done and then big smiles and maniacal laugh. There was much cheering and clapping and congratulatory hugs. Then we put a “Big Boy Pull Up” on him and made some calls to family members so they could congratulate him.

With each phone call he stood proud with his fists at his hips and his chest pushed out like Superman. When his Cheryl and his Daddy told him how proud they were of him he instinctively rubbed his chest in a circle, nodded and said, “Tanks.”

** - At this point in my writing Finn came running up to me naked again. My phone was on the floor in the bathroom and there was pee in the potty. Woohoo!

We’ve since had even more successes. We’ve also had him ripping off his pull up in one full sweep like a mini stripper and then running around our living room like a wild animal, yelling “YAAAAAAY!” and “RAWR!” Because I learn from my mistakes, I’ve put a pair of pants on over his current pull up that are easy to pull down quickly and that seems to have tamed my little Tarzan. Every fifteen minutes or so I ask him if he’d like to go potty and he tells me yes or no and regardless of his answer does a quick lap around our living room before settling down or running back to the bathroom. This is quite the adventure this time around, much more of a wild ride than with Zoe. Any one have any tips for us?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Today

Daniel and I met a little less than a month before Valentine’s Day 2003. We both said we were happy not being in relationships. We were having fun. We were friends who had a lot of fun together as much as we possibly could. As February 14th approached, we made fun of all the hoopla and dramatics.

As Valentine’s Day approached I told myself to play it cool. Yes, I was falling in love and I was totally scared of the implications of that. No, I was not going to let on to how I was really feeling.

But that didn’t stop me from making him a Valentine. My first homemade Valentine, ever.

I remember stretching out on the floor and carefully choosing the words and images I wanted to paste to the background.

My quick, easy, not serious Valentine turned into a bit more of a project than I’d set out wanting it to be. By the time I was done, it was actually a series. Not one card, but 4 carefully thought out collages.

We had a show that night and I was picking Daniel up so that we could drive together. When I got out of my car I considered shoving my creations under the seat and telling him I didn’t “Do” the whole hearts thing, but somehow I gathered the courage to not do that. I walked up the stairs to his apartment and I nervously handed him what I’d made, not at all expecting anything in return. He handed me a book of Rumi that he’d written inside the front cover of especially for me.

We didn’t have the time to go to a restaurant that night and really, we said we were against all that - so we ate at his place. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches with Cheetos on the side and Coca-Cola. We ate on the floor of his living room and listened to music before heading off to do our show and it was perfect. The 1st/Best Valentine’s Day I’d ever (really) had.

Pure Joy
So now eight years later, we have these little monkeys who are not the cynics that grown ups sometimes are about this day. Last night as they were sleeping, I decorated a bit: big red hearts on the walls, hanging from our ceiling fans and a couple heart wreaths here and there. When they woke up this morning they “Ooh-ed and Aah-ed”. They love the balloons and flowers and hearts. They like the excuse to celebrate and eat things like yummy homemade (by Kristina Saldana!) cupcakes. They enjoy the cards and the festivity. And as Zoe tells me “I love you MORE, mommy!” and Finn yells “I love MOM-MOM!” I can’t help but hope that they always enjoy February 14th as much as they do now. They are surrounded by love 365 days a year, 24 hours a day... but I would love it if they took all the opportunities they’re given to remind themselves and the ones close to them how wonderful love can be.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

There were parts of last year that were rough. If you know us well, you know what I am talking about, so I’m not going to do a recap. Been there, lived through all that. Moving on.

There were also plenty of joys. The births in our family and chosen family and pregnancies announced. Weddings, engagements and anniversaries. Taco nights at our house. Hat parades. Dance parties. Baking/Cooking with the kids. Buying our home. Finding purpose by becoming involved with my favorite non-profit theatre. Time behind my camera, working on my craft.

So what will this year hold for me and mine? I’m not sure. But I’m feeling optimistic and hopeful of what lies ahead. I’m not really a resolution person normally, but I do have a wish/goal list:

1. Eating healthy and continuing with my work to be a healthier person. Cutting out red meat and pork helped me a great deal last year. 2011 is the year I will see more dramatic changes.

2. Cooking at home even more and having people over more. Movie and game nights. Potlucks. Hat parades. Dance parties. Etc. My family is blessed with great friends - we want to see them more. It is good for us.

3. We will donate more of our time and resources to our community to make it a better place.

4. I want to keep working on my photography and gain more confidence to go after what I want.

5. Reading and writing more.

6. Getting back on stage. Helping to produce great theatre however I can.

7. More date nights with Daniel.

8. Being easier on myself. I am my worst critic - I need to change that.

9. Working on our home - replacing this 14 year old carpet, having a painting party, etc.

10. And lastly (for now) 2011 will be the end of diaper changes. I might be most excited for that.