Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Time marches on

It's true. Livi is almost three months old now, and with my ten year high school reunion rapidly approaching, I have to face how quickly the ticks on the clock have begun tocking. TEN YEARS! That seems like a lifetime, and such a short time, and yet when I think of all the things that have transpired since then, it seems like an eternity! In the last ten years, I have had and broken up with several boyfriends, attended and graduated from college, been in a sorority, met and married the love of my life. I have bought 2 houses and sold one. My parents have divorced and both remarried. I have given birth to three beautiful and healthy children. I have been overseas twice. I have taught school for four years at two different middle schools, and stayed at home for four years to raise my kids. I have supported my husband as he completed his MBA full-time at Wake Forest. I could go on and on, but that alone shows such a multitude of change in such a short time. Wow. I can't even imagine what the next ten years will bring.

The kids continue to amuse and fascinate me, Ryan, and each other. We have become SOOO busy lately with playdates and preschool and educational outings, that it seems we are barely home. Livi has settled into a nice routine, napping briefly in the morning, taking a LOOOONG afternoon nap, and then a quick evening snooze. She goes down for the night at about 9:00 which is a-okay with me, and sleeps well most nights, waking around 8-9 am. She smiles and is very social; always willing to give up sleep, food, pretty much anything for a chance to coo, smile, and talk. She is starting to play peekaboo which thrills the boys to no end, as they can see her interacting and reacting to them and their ploys for her attention. She still likes to be swaddled to sleep and requires motion (either being held or swinging) to fall and stay asleep. She toots like a truck driver, much to the delight of her brothers and the amusement of her parents! But despite that, she is a very sweet and pretty baby girl. I love dressing her in pink and putting delicate shoes on her. I can't wait until she has hair and I can start with the bows and barettes and hairstyles! She sleeps really well when I put on the light classical music channel, which has made me nostalgic for my own classical music performance era, and has set me about searching for a used piano to buy that I have no room for in my house.
I adore the kids and being a SAHM, but I catch myself daydreaming sometimes about what I might do when they are more independent. I'll be a concert flautist, or a pediatrician, or a very successful entrepreneur, or any number of unlikely things. It's like I'm still a child, waiting to see what I will be when I "grow up," despite knowing that I will never grow up! Some days as I look at my life, I am sure I will awaken, still a child in our old house in Hunting Hills with my mother's soft, cool hands smoothing my hair away from my forehead and tell her that I had a wonderful dream about being married and having kids. My life really couldn't be much better than it is, and yet it seems so unfair that you don't get multiple chances. Ooh, choose your own adventure and go back and see what happens if you go THAT way instead. I hope everyone wonders such things and I'm not the only dreamer.

Today we were next door at Tammy's for a birthday brunch for Carrie and once everyone else had left and the 4 boys were upstairs playing, I called for them to come down and put on shoes so we could leave. Jackson, Caden, and Connor appeared at the top of the stairs, but no Sam. "Where's Sam," I asked the boys. We don't know was the response. Tammy and I began a frantic search through the house and the yard, sure he was hurt or lost. We tried the bathroom door upstairs and found it locked. When we opened it, we found Sammy fast asleep on the bath mat on the floor. My kids NEVER sleep like that, and it's especially amazing because I found Jackson asleep on the floor of his room by the door the other night. I think he was trying to see under his door and watch for us, and fell asleep waiting.

I see signs of him growing up every day. The other day I lay with him in the toddler bed while he got ready for his nap. After he rubbed my face and played with my hair for a while and I fell asleep, he woke me up to say "Get out of my bed now, Mom. I want to look at stories." And just like that I was dismissed! Tomorrow will be our first attempt at him going into preschool alone, and I'm anxious to see how that will go. Perhaps the mommies are the ones that need/cling to the kids, and not vice versa.

Well, he's awake from his nap now and calling for me, so I had better go and gather him up. I do cherish the time I have alone with each child.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Preschool beginnings...

Today Jackson started preschool at BC Preschool. You may recall my earlier post about waiting up all night to secure a spot for him in January. It seemed light years away then, but here it is, and my firstborn has already begun his school career. For weeks now we have been talking about school beginning, buying his school supplies and trying to ensure that he is both excited about school and clear about what will take place. One of his main concerns was that Sammy was not going to be coming with him. The boys have seldom been away from me, and aside from Sam's "surgery" in February, the boys have never been apart at all. So I decided to leave Sam with our neighbor while I took Jack to school to try and minimize the shock. Sam marched right into Michelle's house without even looking back, but once I said "Bye bye, Sammy" he turned and did his "Mommy?" inquiry. No tears were shed, and I was off with Jack and Liv to take Jackson to school. He had begun to brag this morning that he was the only one who got to go to school. It went something like this: "Mommy not going to school?" "No, Jackson, just you." "Sammy not going to school?" "No, Jackson, just you."
I packed his backpack last night, full of all the required elements: pullups and wipes, change of clothes, folder, snack (pb sandwich, no "peels" -crust-, cut into triangles; raisins; grapes; and goldfish crackers.) I charged the camcorder and made sure to put the camera where I wouldn't forget it. We dropped Sammy off on the way, and Jack watched Sesame Street in the car on the way there. Tammy and Conner were in front of us on Hull street, and we walked in with Emily and Charlie. As we drove by the school, Jackson exclaimed, "There it is!" and we turned in to the parking lot. We took pictures at home before we left, in the parking lot, I camcorded walking into school, and took more pictures at the classroom AND when I picked him up! He did so well going in like a big boy. We put on his name tag, and his teacher, Mrs. Ray helped him put his snack in the bowl, took his folder, and showed him his cubby and hooks for his bookbag and coat. I told him goodbye, he gave me a kiss, and that was it. No tears (from him or from me!) and he seemd to be great! When I picked him up, they were playing on the playground and his teacher said he did great except for a minute or two of tears when another child started crying for mommy and he chimed in.
Meanwhile, Sammy and I stayed at Michelle's to play with Hayden. At one point, Sammy asked for "Jashshon", and when I told him Jackson was at school, he didn't believe me and proceeded to wander around Michelle's house yelling for Jackson.
When we picked Jackson up at school, the first question was "Where's Sammy," and relief when I said he was in the car waiting for us.
Immediately upon entering the van, he said, "SAMMY!" and while stroking Sam's little cheek said "There you are!" like he had been looking for him all along.
Jackson brought home his first art made without me, and said he made it "For you, Mommy, because you're so pretty." I have taught him the art of sucking up quite well, as you can see!
Absence certainly made the heart grow fonder, and they played very peacefully all afternoon. They rode bikes and cars, and every so often Jackson would declare a "Switch," and they would trade vehicles without complaint. They tossed a football in the kitchen while I made dinner, and Jackson tried to teach Sam to ride his beloved red Radio Flyer tricycle.
J: "No, Sam, put your feet like this on the pedaws, no, like THIS. There you go, now I'll push you. Pedal, pedal, pedal, just like that. Now you try it by youself, Sammy." (While gently pushing the tricycle so Sam could practice the motion with his feet on the pedals.)
It was heart-breakingly cute, and the way they called for each other every time they were out of each other's site for the afternoon was also very endearing. Sammy came downstairs after his nap and said, "Hi, buddy." to Jackson. Too cute! I'm so glad they will grow up together and always have each other on which to depend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

To my husband on his 29th birthday...

Happy Birthday to my sweet husband.
Thank you for being the kind of husband and father I only dreamed I would have someday.
Thank you for loving us enough to go to work every day, even when we’re all still asleep as you tiptoe out the door. Thank you for being a generous financial provider, and being willing to put the kids and me ahead of your own needs and wants. Thank you for loving the kids even when they whine and cry. Thank you for loving me even when I’m grouchy or unaffectionate, frumpy and pregnant. Thank you for preferring to spend your time with us instead of pursuing other leisure activities. Thank you for sharing your life with us and choosing us to be your family. We are privileged to have you as our own.

You are my best friend and the person I enjoy most. You are the first person I want to share things with, and the one I hope shares everything with me. You are the one that comforts me when I need comfort, listens when I need to air my frustrations, and picks up the pieces (and the toys) when I just can’t do it myself. I miss you when we aren’t together, and I love that we laugh so much nearly every day. I love that you still give me goose bumps.

Even though some people find September 11 to be a day of mourning, this day will forever be to me a day when good conquered evil, and when, 29 years ago, God brought someone beautiful and good into this world who completes my life and shows our children every day a great example of what life is all about.
Happy Birthday to the love of my life, and the man I am proud to wake up next to every morning. Here’s to growing old together, loving every minute, and watching our family grow and change as the years pass. The years may go quickly, but so far they have been FABULOUS and I can’t wait to see what our future together holds! I love you!

Friday, September 7, 2007

What I love...

Well, yet another month has flown by and I'm starting to believe all the people that have been telling me to enjoy my baby and toddlers because soon I will blink and they will be grown and gone. I just finished watching "Father of the Bride" which besides being one of my all-time favs, has taken on a whole new meaning now that Olivia is here with us. It is a huge conglomerate of emotions to think of her growing up and starting a life of her own. The mix of excitement, disbelief, uncertainty, concern and elation that it conjurs are more than my postpartum hormonal emotions can take! There are times during the day when I catch myself saying things like "I can't wait until they're old enough to do this or that by themselves," or "Oh, when they're all in school I can't wait to drink my coffee while it's still warm, watch the 'Today Show' and exercise on a whim." But then a moment comes like my kiddos and I together in the car, with the window down, the warm air blowing on my face, and the sounds of "Finding Nemo" mingling with the laughs of my sweet toddler boys, and I want to freeze time, if not for an eternity, at least for a while longer. My father pointed out to me once that eventually each phase would grow tiresome, and I would long for my children to progress to something new. The logical part of me believes that is true, but the emotional mommy side of me isn't so sure I don't want them to stay this way forever. There are so many things I love about them as they are right now. I love that they want to snuggle at night. I love that Sammy says "Mommy?" in a questioning tone right before I leave his room, just waiting for the reassuring, "Yes, Sammy, Mommy's here" before he lays his little crewcut head and chubby cherubic cheeks on his pillow to settle in for a snooze. I love that Jackson asks for more snuggling, and that if I accidentaly wipe off the kiss I give him, a fresh kiss must replace it before I leave the room. I love that I still take baths with them, and that we laugh and splash, and play for a while in the evenings. I love reading them the same stories over and over, and I love the unprovoked and surprising, "I love you Moms," I get from Jack, and the "I ruv yous" that come from Sammy. I love the way they speak, with their words understandable, but perhaps only by me through the hours of listening to their toddlerese. I love that what I say is law and that I am the person in their world who knows more than anyone else. I love that Jackson still says "God made it?" about everything from flowers, leaves, and clouds to the shoes at Payless. I love that they still love each other, and that they hug and kiss before they go to bed at night. I love the way Olivia smells like a sweet baby and that her head often shows sticky spots where the boys have gently kissed her with peanut butter covered lips. I love that they call her "pretty" and that they mean it. I love the way they call her "baby sister" and that Jackson helps Sam take off his shoes when we come in the house, just because he can and sometimes because Sam or I ask him to. I love that they still wear footie pjs some nights, and the way it feels to have them snuggle against me so their head rests just under my chin, the soft scent of baby soap floating off their hair. I love how curious they are and that everything is so new and exciting to them. I love hearing their little conversations in the playroom while I am in the kitchen, and the way they ask each other questions. I love the way Olivia's mouth forms into a huge gummy "O" when she smiles at me, and that her huge blue eyes are always scanning the room for me when I'm not nearby. I love the way Jack calls Sam "Sammybear" and the way Sammy says "Jashshon" and I wish I had a tape recorder running all the time so I could hear their baby voices every day for the rest of my life. I love that Jackson is still young enough to play football in a fairy princess dress and wings and not think twice about it. I love that their personalities are so different and yet they are each other's best friend. I love that they ask for each other and baby sister anytime they are apart and seem restless until they are together again. I love the way it feels when they run to me and throw their arms around my neck in a perfect, tight squeeze. I love they way they celebrate when Daddy comes home from work, and that we all eat dinner together every night. I love that they thank me for "taking care of me" and think everything I do is pretty great. I love that popsicles are one of their favorite things in the whole world and that they throw their arms up in the air in jubilation every time I say they may have one. I love that Jackson sometimes says "Ew, gwoss, Sammy's all messy," even as he has food smeared all over himself! I love that they don't remember a time without a sibling, and that quite frankly they don't seem to wish they did. I love that they surprise me with the smallest things like putting the eyes and mouth on the right place on the butterfly project even though I didn't think they knew how. I love that they are polite and mannerly most of the time and are always willing to give hugs to anyone whom we prompt them to hug. I love that they are so cute that we are a spectacle everytime we leave the house, and that they like the attention as much as I do. I love that Jack asks me to spin when I have on a skirt and tells me I'm pretty. I love that I can still tickle them until they can't breathe, and the sound of their giggles as they gasp and squirm. I love seeing them in their cribs and toddler bed, so small and dependent. I love the way they look as they sleep, their tiny chests heaving with deep relaxed breaths, so comfortable and trusting that we will protect them. I love the way they still say "hold you" when they really want to BE held. I love the way Jackson snuggles up in my bed in the morning with Olivia and I to watch cartoons until everyone is ready to get up and moving. I love that he brushes his teeth a million times a day and has to use all three kinds of toothpaste every time. I love the way they dance, whether running in circles around the ottoman, grooving from side to side at the table, holding hands and dancing in circles with daddy in the kitchen, or flopping like fish on the floor. I love the way Jackson repeats things back to me just to make sure we're understanding one another, and the way Sammy says things that I didn't know he knew or understood. I love the silly way their mouth scrunches up when they say "Cheese" so they aren't really smiling for the picture at all, but have an adorable silly puckered look on their face instead. I love the way Jackson asks "Is that Silly, Mom?" and Sam just declares "It's so siddy" with his usual confidence. I love the way they run in their diapers, Jackson looking like a Gecko with his long legs and straight torso dashing through the house and Sammy with his legs flying out to the sides of his body and his arms pushing like paddles to propel him forward. I love the way they chase each other around on their bikes through the house and that Jackson is always telling Sam how to do things and that Sam just does it because he's so sweet and accomodating and would do nearly anything for Jackson. I love the way they count, pretend to make pizza, and sing "Where is Thumbkin." I love the way Sammy's hair grows like a weed over his ears, spikes up all over the place, and that Jackson's is so fine and thin you almost can't see it. I love to catch glimpses of who they will be someday in every action and word of the present. I love to imagine what the future will hold for them, and reminisce about the way they used to do things when they were babies. But more than anything else, I love that they are mine and that I have the privilege of enjoying every minute of the here and now with them, and that I have the honor of spending my life as their mother.