Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blasted Pop Tarts!

This morning I informed Jesse that once this box of Pop Tarts was gone I was not going to purchase any more. Dan wanted Pop Tarts on hand so he could grab a quick breakfast on his way out the door. But since I started buying them Jesse has insisted on having one every morning. He eats his breakfast in the car on the way to preschool so it is convenient and I get him the organic ones, but they are so full of sugar and I don't like him starting his day that way.

Anyway, in true 3 year old style, he decided to try to convince me. "Mama. I have an idea. How about instead... You just go buy more Pop Tarts at the store?" he suggested from the back seat in his sweet little voice.

I chuckled to myself since I expected him to put up a fight to try to save his beloved Pop Tarts.

"You are one crazy Pop Tart fiend, you know that don't you, Jesse?"

He paused for a few seconds to think about that one. Then he laughed and said, "Nooooo. I'm just a person, Mama!"

God, I love that kid.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How does your garden grow?

My Mother's Day gift (well, besides the Dennis DeYoung concert) this year was a day of gardening. I thought it was too early to start, but Dan argued all the seed packets say "plant after May 10" and it would be the perfect activity for us on Mother's Day after church and brunch (my two Mother's Day requirements). So that's what we did!

Dan tilled the spot I chose at the edge of our back lot and put up a fence. On our way back from brunch we picked up my plants and seeds and then we got to work. I wish I was able to work in the dirt and take pictures because the boys were so adorable with their little shovels and tools. Of course, it wasn't as cute when Simon would pull plants right out of the ground as soon as I put them in, but we had a really good time together!

And I got a lovely garden out of it. I have no idea what I'm doing (as evidenced by the ridiculous number of broccoli plants I put in) and who knows how it will all turn out, but it was fun to plant and we are enjoying watching things pop through the ground and grow. This year will be our learning experience. Next year we will know more and hope to add berry bushes around the grounds also.

We planted: tomatoes, sweet peppers, green peppers, green beans, wax beans, two kinds of sweet onions, two kinds of podded peas, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce mix, carrots, corn, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, broccoli, and did I mention broccoli?

My garden

Two weeks in, I took the camera with me to check the progress. I was surprised at what was coming up. I think I expected a complete FAIL in the back of my mind - a Peter Rabbit ravaged lot or birds all fat and happy from digging up and eating my seeds. Instead I found sprouts and plants that were bigger and healthier than when I put them in. Despite two killing frosts and one freeze (and a stubborn husband who ignored the news forecasts and my pleas to find something to cover my garden with) it survived!


Broccoli (with yet more broccoli in the background)
My Uncle Howard, gardener extraordinairre who wins a blue ribbon for his peppers every year at the Westmoreland County Fair, says my peas are putting his to shame. So yay!

Amazing to think this will be "knee high in July"

Our little gardening crew

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"I want to marry you, Mama!"

Oh, what a sweet boy I have.

I've heard about little boys asking their moms to marry them when they grow up, but let me tell you how it melts your heart when it happens to you.

Last night Jesse and I were laying in bed watching the Biggest Loser finale when he blurted out, "I want to marry you, Mama!" Before I could say anything, he added, "And Samantha." Samantha is a little girl at his preschool who he must like. He then went on to tell me that Samantha wanted to marry Todd and Todd wanted to marry Ada. When I asked who Ada wants to marry, he said Todd. And he added that Samantha wants to marry Todd too. Way to go, Todd! He must be quite the ladies' man.

Jesse told me it is ok that he wants to marry Samantha but Samantha wants to marry Todd because "I know you'll still marry me, right, Mama?"

"Of course, Jesse."

This morning he told me he'll marry me when he's "all growed up - like maybe 7 or something."


Monday, May 11, 2009

A little we time, a little me time, and a lot of time with my boys!

My Mother's Day weekend was wonderful! Usually we don't even celebrate the so-called "Hallmark Holidays" but Dan needed an excuse for us to go see Dennis DeYoung in concert so he labeled it my Mother's Day gift.

The concert was Friday evening at the Pepsi Roadhouse. Our neighbors, Dan and Laura, went with us and we had so much fun! Every seat in the house was an awesome seat! Dinner was great, Billy Elmer did a standup routine before the band came on, and Dennis DeYoung sounded absolutely incredible! I drank a little too much, stayed out way too late and never even called home to check on the kids. It was perfection.

Saturday, after swim class, Jesse and I painted terra cotta pots for the grandmas and spent a lovely afternoon together while Dan and Simon napped the day away. I assisted Christy with a photo shoot in Schenley Park in the evening.

Sunday we went to church then brunch then to the nursery for my gardening supplies. We spent the rest of the day planting 16 different vegetables in the awesomely huge garden Dan tilled for me in the back lot. Peas, beans, broccoli, quashes, corn, peppers, tomatoes and so much more went into the ground with the help of Jesse in his Cars boots and Simon with his little spade. Jesse stepped on plants and Simon tore them from the ground mere seconds after I planted them, but we all had a wonderful time together. Toss in a little Sir Pizza for dinner and my perfect day was complete.

To my mom, my sisters and sisters-in-law, my mother-in-law, my mama friends, and all the other moms out there - Happy Mother's Day!

I'll leave you with the blessing prayer spoken at my friend, Katie's, church on Mother's Day. It is too beautiful not to pass on.

Blessing Prayer for Mother's Day

God of Love,
listen to this prayer.
God of Holy People,
of Sarah, Ruth, and Rebekah;
God of holy Elizabeth, mother of John,
of Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus,
bend down Your ear to this request
and bless the mother of our family.

Bless her with the strength of Your spirit,
she who has taught her children how to stand and walk.

Bless her with the melody of Your love,
she who has shared how to speak, how to sing
and how to pray to You.

Bless her with a place at Your eternal dinner table,
she who has fed and nurtured
the life that was formed within her
while still helpless but embraced in her love.

Bless her today, now, in this lifetime,
with good things, with health.
Bless her with joy, love, laughter,
and pride in her child/children
and surround her with many good friends.

May she who carried life in her womb
be carried one day to Your divine embrace:
there, for all eternity, to rejoice with her family and friends.

This blessing and all grace, we pray,
descend upon the mother of our family:
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I could blog a thousand times a day, everyday, on the subject of brothers. I don't think I can come up with anything cuter than two little boys loving up on each other. Well, maybe if you toss a few more boys in there to love up on their brothers... Alas, Dan is quite adamant that he is done as far as having more kids goes.

So anyway, I'll enjoy watching the two I have. Just this morning Simon was cranking away because his teeth (or maybe it's his ears, or maybe I'm just paranoid again) are bothering him and there goes Jesse, running to make sure Simon is going to be ok, "It's ok, Soimon!" in his sweet, little voice.

Melt my heart.

It's just lovely to see how much they enjoy each other. Even when Jesse says that Simon is "on him" or being a pain, he says it with a twinkle in his eye. And when Simon is pinching Jesse, he's usually smiling away when he is doing it. Wait, maybe that's not the same thing. Hmmm...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just a reminder...

We all let our kids do things the experts say not to. Popcorn before age 4? Whole grapes when they're sitting still at the table? Toys labeled "Ages 3 and up" for your 2 year old? I know, especially since Jesse is so mature in so many ways, I have done all of these things and more.

The pictures on the grocery cart (and common sense) say not to let your kid ride in the basket part of the cart, but Jesse is very well behaved and sits still on his bottom when I ask him to. Simon is too small for most of the carts at Target with the seats in the bottom so we always let Jesse ride in the basket part of the cart when we shop if he doesn't feel like walking.

This past weekend, Dan worked and I had a conference to attend so Jesse stayed with my parents Friday and I took Simon with me to the conference (it was the La Leche League conference before anyone wonders what kind of person I am for taking a baby to a conference).

Anyway, I came out of the last session to 7 voicemails on my cell phone. My mom had Jesse at Home Depot and he told her I let him ride in the basket of the cart and she let him. He sat still on his bottom the entire time like she asked, but when she got to the car he stood up in anticipation of getting out and he lost his balance and went head first out of the cart onto the parking lot. It was about a 4 foot fall directly on his head. I was almost an hour away when I got the message. That was a horrifying drive.

We spent 6 hours in two different ERs on Saturday (my mom originally took him to UPMC Braddock because he fell asleep in her car on the way to the ER and she was worried so she went to the nearest ER and then later we transferred him to Children's) and went through the hell that it is to strap a 3 year old to a table for a 2 image CT scan.

That alone was a heartbreaking experience. Absolutely awful. I have never been unable to calm him. Not once in his life. My presence and reassurance has always been all he's needed. I felt so helpless. I actually stood back for a while and cried while the CT Tech tried calming him. Eventually, I had to lay on him and go into the machine with him after he screamed for 45 minutes straight and would not calm down enough to get the test. He has petechial hemmorrhaging all over his face, neck and chest from screaming for so long.

He must have asked to nurse two dozen times while we were in the ER. I just held him close and rocked him, my heart breaking because I couldn't let him have the comfort he desperately needed. If he would have had a bleed he would have needed immediate surgery so he was not allowed to eat or drink anything until he was cleared. Nursing Simon in front of him made me feel like I was betraying him.

Fortunately, he did not have a slow brain bleed like the ped originally suspected and he is going to be just fine. My mother feels absolutely awful even though I told her a thousand times it could have happened to anyone. I've never had a problem with Jesse riding in the basket and if she had called to ask me I would have told her it was ok to do so.

I will not let him do it again after this though. Please, even if your child is an absolute angel in the basket, know that this is something that can happen. I don't ever want to be scared again like I was on Saturday.

God had His hand on Jesse. He could have had a brain bleed, he could have broken his neck, he could have broken his shoulder or arm or landed on something that could have impaled him. He didn't come out completely unscathed, but a nasty goose egg on his head and some awful memories... I'll take it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Very Pleasant Surprise!

This afternoon I received an email from a friend who is thinking of entering the wedding photography business. She had some questions about what I looked for in a photographer, what I paid, etc. As silly as it may be, I actually have my wedding planner in my office at work. It's been shoved on a bottom shelf collecting dust for years when I brought my planner to work to have my information accessible for a special I was involved in and never took it home.

Anyway, I flipped through to find the photographer information and then kept looking through the other folders when suddenly I spotted a simple piece of white paper with black type on it. I gasped and then squealed! I knew immediately what it was!

We had a very large wedding in 2002 and received many wonderful gifts from our guests. Beautiful china, personalized Christmas ornaments, crystal and many things to fill our small apartment as we changed it from "my place" to "our home." Mixed in with all the gifts and cards containing monetary gifts was a plain white business envelope with a simple, typed letter from a young firefighter we had become friends with in the few short years since he had joined our fire company. I remember lounging on the bed at the Holiday Inn, surrounded by flowery wedding cards, opening that envelope and wondering what was inside.

What was inside was a gift of money accompanied by the most amazing letter! Insightful and tender - from such an unexpected source. We read it with tears in our eyes... and then we read it again. I loved that letter immediately and knew it would mean something to me forever.

I tucked it away for safe keeping and, as I am prone to do, completely forgot where I put it. For years, when that letter has crossed my mind, I have looked in the places where I keep small treasures, always hoping to find it. I never have. Until today.

I was almost afraid to read it again. I worried that the letter that once meant so much to me when I was embarking upon my new life with my new husband would now seem laughable or irrelevant almost 7 years later...

It didn't. It doesn't. This letter is still as wonderful today as it was on November 23, 2002, when I first read it. I don't expect it to touch all who read it the same way, nor do I expect others to be impressed by it the way I am, but I will share it anyway before I take it home to find a frame for it so I can hang it on my wall. I want to read it over and over again and remember the truths contained within when I need to remember them the most.

Who would expect something like this from a young 20-something computer nerd who is into Japanese animation and the Smashing Pumpkins? Never in a million years...

This isn't a very good gift. It really isn't meant to be a good gift, because what's included isn't a gift. It's a start. A couple needs more than gifts to start a life together and love is but a part of life. So hear the ramblings of a young fool for just a bit, because I know you are going to hear the ramblings of much older and wiser fools over the days, weeks, months and years to come.

Be kind to each other. Laugh when it's funny, but remember there is always something to bring you down. Cry when it's sad, but remember there is something better to brighten the day. Scream when you are mad, but that will pass and be replaced with other feelings. Fight if you must, but you will eventually run out of energy and all that's left is acceptance. Life and love have their ups and downs. Remember you chose each other and life, love and time will continue no matter what you feel or do. Or so it should.

Love is not always happy. It can be sad, angry, frustrating, desolate, uncaring, even hating. Love is something that should never be taken lightly. I think you chose love for the right reasons. Remember that love isn't what anybody ever expects it to be. Depressing as that sounds, there are the food things about love. Love can be happy, curious, overwhelming, sappy, complete, and even just as good if not better than any poet, author, musician or artist could ever convey. Love should be unconditional. Love accepts the good with the bad and learns from both. Love exists whether you are near or far. Love shines through when you need it the most. Love pokes at you when you think you don't need it.

One last note on love. Be VERY honest with each other, even if you cannot be honest with yourselves. Work with each other, even when you can't see why the other is doing what they do. Take the good and learn from the bad. And there will be good, and there will be bad, but such is life and love.

So, Why the non-gift you ask? Because a couple has to start somewhere, with something. I would like to think in my very small way, I helped start that something, somewhere. It isn't much, but every little bit helps. And I know you will survive and grow and love no matter what gets thrown at you.

Take this note for what it is. I AM young. I DON'T know love well. I AM still a little weird. But it doesn't matter, life does. So take the note for what it's worth. The note is my gift to you. The other goes to the start of a very wonderful life you will build together.

Care Always,

T. F. B.

What a different person I am from the person who first read that note, tanned and young, still dressed in a fluffy ivory gown with tired feet from dancing all night. With my new husband by my side, my world was wide open. The good in this letter is about all I paid attention to, most likely. For the bad would never befall us.

Yet here we are, almost 7 years later, and - believe me - we've seen many of the down sides mentioned in this letter. We've screamed, fought, at times even thought of giving up. We are different people now. Yet this letter - its good and its bad - still ring true. This letter still touches me the way it touched that bride. I am more aware now, maybe even more cynical and in some ways even bitter, but I know the truths this letter holds. We are not always as happy as that couple hoped to always be. But we are still here and we still "survive and grow and love no matter what" just like our young friend hoped we would.