Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I’m not really sure. Either he’ll be dead soon or he will be as fine as some who is 87 years old and getting senile can be.
Honestly though, I really don’t care either way. I don’t talk about him much. I really don’t think about him much. This is why………
My Grandma died September 1995. I was 17 years old. She was my world; I know that is naive and perfection through the imperfect eyes of a child, but in my eyes she could do no wrong.
My brother and I spent almost everyday with her. Grandpa would drop her off at our house at 6am on his way to work and pick her up around 5pm on his way home. We spent at least one weekend a month at their house, often more. We went on many, many vacations with them. Even as a licensed teenager, I still choose to drive to their house and stay hours on end.
Grandma was the family matriarch. She held everything and everyone together. She arbitrated family fights, she gave the last word on right, wrong and priorities. I always saw my Grandpa as an accessory to her; the one who carried out the commands. Sure, I loved him and have plenty of good memories of him, but they all end after her death.
I was informed of her death moments after he discovered her on the couch via the phone. I don’t blame him for this, I just still wish it had happened differently. He called our house looking for my mom, I answered the phone instead.
Shan, he cried, she’s dead. Grandma is dead. I don’t know what to do. What should I do? Grandma is cold and dead and I don’t know what to do....
Yeah I was 17, but had never really lost anyone close to me. How was I supposed to give him guidance? Really, I don’t blame him though. She was his whole world too and now she wasn’t there to tell him what to do….
A few months after Grandma’s death, my mom booked him a trip to Florida to visit his sister. He never came back. His first week down there he met a lady. Less than 6 months after the death of the woman he was married to for over 35 years and had 7 children with, and without telling anyone what was happening, he married her in a civil ceremony.
He organized the sale of his/their home via the phone. His children and grandchildren found out about this, and the marriage, via the For Sale sign in the front yard and another phone call telling us we had one week to go through the house and take anything we wanted before cleaners came though to get it ready.
He never came back. He left all the family photos hanging on the walls and bookshelves. He left the pictures of me and Jerry in their frames. He declined offers from my mom to mail them to him, claiming it would make is new wife uncomfortable.
I take that back, he came home for a weekend about 2 years later in 1997. My mom decided she wanted to take me and Jerry to the Mall of America for a spur of the moment weekend trip. She bought me everything a teenaged heart desired and took us to an Indian casino where I won something like $400 dollars playing a slot machine.
On the way to the airport she claimed to have a voicemail from an Uncle saying he was having a party that night and we should come. My mom strong armed us into attending playing the goodwill card from the weekend. If Jerry and I had known he would be there we wouldn’t have gone. Not only was he there, but he brought his wife too.
When we walked through the door, he smiled and said hello like nothing had changed and that he wanted to introduce us to our grandmother.
I ran out of the room in tears, while his wife proceeded to tell my brother how selfish we were to hurt him this way and that our grandfather is much happier with her than he ever was before.
I think he went back to Chicago a few times after that, but I never attended. The wife died sometime around 2001. After her death he claimed that she was a drunk and emotionally abusive. Good.
Matt and I married in 2003. Under pressure from my mom, we invited him. I did hug him and stood next to him for 5 minutes to snap a few pictures. I can’t remember what words were spoken, but I do recall thinking about how old he looked now as opposed to the man in my memories. The man from my childhood was my Grandpa, this is just some look-a-like in much wrinklier skin.
Those pictures are the only ones from that day without a smile.
Over the years my mom brings up that I should call him at least once a season. My reply is always the same. What is there to say? Nothing. My Grandpa died when Grandma did. I do not know the man living in Florida and I have nothing to say to him.
As a compromise, I usually send updated photos of Grace when I get them. That takes little effort on my part to address one more envelope. According to relatives, he has a little shrine on his piano of all the photos I’ve sent him of Grace, ones my mom has supplied of us, and the unsmiling picture from my wedding day. I still have nothing else to say.
Yesterday, as I browsed through the online clearance section of a store, I stopped short and thought of him. There in front of me was a pair of Santa Claus and Rainbow suspenders. Rainbow suspenders were always his signature piece. At $3.00 each, I thought about purchasing them and sending them anonymously. I didn’t.
When I got home yesterday, Matt said my mom left a message on the machine saying my Grandpa was in the hospital. Apparently he has several blood clots in his lungs. Testing today should determine if they can do anything, but it doesn’t look good. She once again pushed me to call him.
My answer is again, unchanged. I am sorry for the pain this is causing her. I am even sorry for the pain and confusion that he must be going though, but my Grandpa is gone.
My Grandpa is dying.
I really don’t care either way. I don’t talk about him much. I really don’t think about him much. And now you know why.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Unless you don’t leave the house for the first two days and your two year old starts tearing things apart like a tornado, throwing random tantrums and refusing to nap.
Then, after two days you realize that there are still two more to go and someone is going to die.
You take the opportunity to do the activities that you normally can’t cram into a weekend. (Matt is good like that. I was voting for death, figuring that a replacement was on the way anyhow…)
So Saturday afternoon we packed up and headed down to the Natural History Smithsonian.
Gracie spent the afternoon exclaiming over the giant stuffed elephant in the pass-through between exhibit halls….
She has cultivated a new love of dinosaurs- which in person was luke-warm (you know the sharp, menacing teeth and all), but was ignited again via a giant dinosaur sugar cookie and book with matching stuffed triceratops toy purchased at the gift shop.
She was fascinated by the Gem & Mineral room, exclaiming loudly over the ‘pretties’ and ‘fancies’ and ‘sparklies’ AND she left the Hope Diamond showcase with an amazed declaration of “Daddy, I see a diamond and it was BIG!”
It was particularly challenging for Matt to coax her to sleep that night though. He said it was annoying, but too cute to really be upset. She would close her eyes for a few minutes then pop her head back up and say, ‘Dinosaur! Raawwrrrr!’ or ‘I see elephant!’ or ‘I no like spiders!’ or ‘Cookie. It good!’ and then passed back out from the exhaustion of the day.
It is just one more example to us that she is in fact a little sponge. What we think might not be making a big impact at the time, turns out to an experience to remember.
Friday, December 25, 2009
We prefaced the 25th with two prior weekends of Christmas exchanges while my mom and then Matt's and my brother visited. Despite having already opened a lot of presents before Christmas day arrived, things were still a little chaotic...
Discovering that Santa not only brings presents, but food too....
The Christmas wrapping paper carnage...
Merry Christmas everyone!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Here are the crappy pictures snapped with my cell...
Similar to my great artists rendering from over a month ago, huh?
Friday, December 18, 2009
Grace got so much attention.
I understand the difference now between your first and second child, but all I had to do with her is wait and feel and obsess. While I could have done without the weeks of morning sickness I had with Gracie. I relished the time she was in my belly. I doted on the aches and stretches. I marveled in the changes.
Now, I feel like I am just trying to survive. Trying to get home and work and child all to play together nicely.
This week is a turning point though. V2 is making itself known, both literally and figuratively.
This time last week I felt nothing. By Tuesday I was getting inexplicable motion sickness, like I could feel the baby swimming. Thursday my belly started hopping with random kids and jolts. Today I can feel position and movements and the difference between head and foot.
Monday I am 20 weeks along. Officially half way there. Monday, we trudge back to Johns Hopkins for an in-depth ultrasound, the best one there is; the one that proposes to tell parents blue or pink.
After this week of changes, I know V2 is ready to be known. Ready to have a gender, a pronoun attached to the generic second child V2 term. Ready to show the world that it is strong and viable and anxious to take the world by storm.
Ready to put my fears to rest with pronouncements of its existence besides my slowly expanding waistline - and - recent preference of eating rice pudding and green olives mixed together in the same bowl.
I know you are here baby. I am glad you are demanding my attention.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Old McDonald had a moo.
It's a moo moo there.
It's a moo moo there.
On the farm there is a moo.
It's a moo moo there.
And .... ummm ... a PIG!
It's a moo moo, no oink oink there.
An oink oink there.
Old McDonald had an oink.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Don’t get me wrong, there were in fact tears, but they didn’t last long. When Gracie came into the lobby packed with strangers like a can of sardines, she was concerned but quiet. Until she saw me. Then she wanted to know why on earth she was still holding onto the baby rope instead of me.
The parties are deafening. Voices boom throughout the 3 story, glass walled lobby. The holiday music played on a piano in the lobby adds to the chaos. The guards’ desk in the middle makes for a formable obstacle for circulation. It is never a comfortable place to be. Now add 40 kids, ages 5 to 5 months to the mix. It sometimes makes me want to cry too. I think that is why they offer mimosas.
Luckily, Matt took a few hours to come down to the party too. He often feels deprived of these parent moments, and he remembered there was booze.
Because he was there though, he was able to hold Grace while I took pictures. He was able to sweet talk Grace into sitting on his lap near Santa. He was able to work that into Grace sitting on his leg next to Santa in order to get one of the toys he was handing out to the kiddies. Then, under that jubilation, he was able to coax her into posing for a few pictures near a tree.
And then, cookie and cat toy in hand, Grace happily retreated back to the safety of the daycare with her friends, forgetting to shed any tears. Matt retreated to the safety of his car and returned to work, shedding a pound or two in ‘holding a heavy child in a hot room’ sweat. I retuned to my desk for 5 minutes of quiet, until my next party started and the chaos began all over again. Even without the children.
Monday, December 7, 2009
NOTHING in Williamsburg went to plan.
We headed toward Virginia Saturday morning. As all true planners do, we had been following the weather and knew there was a chance of snow. Chance. They said chance.
When we got into our car at 8am, it had just barely begun to flurry. By the time we reached the DC beltway, it was snowing. In Northern Virginia we could barely see the roads. The farther south we went, the snow turned into rain. Past Richmond, we were safely in the rain.
The rain did not stop though. At 40 degrees, it is not cold enough to snow, but it is sure cold enough to keep sane people from bringing their 2 year old out into those temperatures with pelting raindrops.
So the weather foiled our Saturday night plans. We were going to go to Busch Gardens to see their Christmas Wonderland. We had told Gracie all about it. There will be Christmas lights all over! and hot chocolate! and carolers singing! and a choo choo train! and *guess what?* penguins!
And then it rained cold pelting drops.
So penguins were forgone and the hotel pool was adopted instead. Except she didn’t forget our magical stories of trains and penguins. She kept asking about them. All throughout our Sunday morning trip to Jamestown with its Indian Village corn grinding, Settlers Village armor wearing and cafeteria ketchup eating, she asked about the penguins.
And it became clear what must be done. Matt’s dream of seeing the Williamsburg Illumination would have to be put on hold in lieu of 2 year old dreams of choo choo’s and penguins.
You know what though, it was worth it
Thursday, December 3, 2009
That morning during our weekly trip to the grocery store, the Sunday football jerseys were abound. I don’t think she quite understood that they stood for allegiance to different cities and teams, but she did know they weren’t like her navy and orange jersey and spent a good chunk of her time giving other shoppers the hairy eye.
Every time we saw a different jersey she would slap her belly and declare, Mama. I wear ‘Cago Beers. Yes love, yes you are. At home, the trend continued. Every half an hour heard a same declaration of, Mama, I wear ‘Cago Beers. When Gracie went to bed that night, I confiscated the jersey with all her other dirty clothes to run through the washer. It was air dried and put away for another day.
It seems another day is already upon us. Yesterday morning, out of the blue, she demanded to wear ‘Cago Beers to school. I am told by many sources that she once again spend the day slapping her belly and telling everyone who would listen (and some that could care less) that she is wearing her ‘Cago Beers. I warned the teachers at pick up that I had a feeling they would be seeing a lot of the jersey.
Despite this warning, I myself was unprepared for this morning. My child no longer wants variety in her wardrobe. She no longer wants dresses and feminine ruffles. She only want the Bears jersey, which by the way, was still unwashed this morning, covered with a days worth of food smears and snot, and therefore un-wearable.
*Enter the meltdown*
I know, I should have just put in on her, but it had ketchup smeared on the front. I know I should have just put it on her, but she didn’t want to put on a long sleeve shirt underneath to battle the December weather. I know, I should have just put it on her, but I’d she already had a super soft light blue fleece jumper dress laid out for today’s wardrobe damnit and if I have to wrestle her like an alligator to force clothes on the body she is wearing what I want her to!
So tonight, and every night in the foreseeable future, the jersey is going in the washing machine. Someone needs to explain to this child that I don’t do mid-week laundry though. And if you’re looking for a Christmas present for Gracie, more jerseys might come in handy, 3T please.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Coming from a townhouse environment where the woman we shared a wall with wouldn’t even look up at me when I walked within feet of her, I wanted to know all our neighbors. I wanted to be friends. I wanted to love them and them us. (Three years later I am confident that the plan worked.)
A little over 30 days after we moved in we threw a party. That is the great thing about December, you can get away with things like that. We scrambled to clean and paint and organize. We spent hundreds of dollars on food and drink. We had fancy invitations printed. We went door-to-door and introduced ourselves to neighbors, personally handing out the invtes. We had the audacity to declare this an annual event.
This year should have been the 4th Annual. Notice the word should? Apparently a few of our friends have the 1st Saturday in December permanently marked on their calendar as our party day.
I went so far as to create the invitations, I just never hit the purchase button. This post wasn’t so long ago. It still stands in full effect. I am tired. Matt is tired. I just couldn’t comprehend spending the day cleaning and cooking and fretting and then cleaning all over again.
So no ‘Annual’ this year. I am sad, but relieved. Instead we decided to take this weekend for ourselves and head down to Colonial Williamsburg for the Grand Illumination. We are counting on fresh air and time away from our everyday to reset everyone’s clock.
But my big question is, next year are we still allowed to call our Christmas party ‘Annual’? And then do we skip right over 4 like it took place, so do we have to reuse this number because it is the 4th party in 5 years now?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Here is our story:
Girl finds tree and directs its destruction:
Girl has second thoughts on tree and thinks on it for a minute:
Girl watches in glee as the sentence placed upon the tree and it is removed from the earth for her amusement and appreciation:
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I am thankful for our healthy bodies and minds that let us live each day as we choose;
I am thankful for the opportunities that come our way through coincidence and perseverance;
I am thankful for the love and life we share with each other.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
And you know what? They are beautiful. They fall into the same category and good kitchen knives and out shine my collection of Waterford by a mile.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I am tired. I am now 16 weeks pregnant and not getting the 12 hours of sleep a day my body is demanding. So there is nothing. I instead have been choosing to live in the moments and forget them as soon as possible. Sure, they would make great vignettes of our lives and funny to the outsider and even to us in the future, but right now the stories are: terrible.
We have hit the terribles. I always assumed that stories of the dreaded terrible two's were exaggerations or examples of why Matt and I were in fact good parents, because the terribles weren't happening to us.
Sure, that is a little arrogant; especially given that Gracie is only 2 years and 1 month old now. But she's always been relatively mellow. Below the curve in emotional melt downs and above the curve in rational thought.
But now: SHE IS TWO. TWO DAMMIT. AND WE AREN'T GOING TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM HER!
(At least that is what I imagine she is screaming in her head during the temper tantrums.)
Oh, and the temper tantrums!
~They are because she wants to get dressed, but how dare you take off my pajamas!
~They are because she took off her own pajamas, but how dare you put clothes on me!
~They are because she pooped, but how dare you change my diaper!
~They are because she is hungry, but how dare you put food in front of me!
~They are because she is exhausted from all the tantrums, but how dare you expect me to take a nap!
What is the point of this post again? Oh yeah, I'm tired. Matt is tired. There were way more tears this weekend than smiles. And I will try to get back to capturing the tears for future enjoyment.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The trips are stressful. They take planning and scheduling and diplomacy to a degree where we are usually tired before we even step foot into the airport. As much as Matt and I love our families, trips back are just one more reminder that Chicago isn’t home anymore and that we are 600 miles away from the comforts of our infrastructure.
I may get caught up in the details of the trip, but Gracie, her focus and excitement is on something else completely.
Despite her proclivity towards jewels, Gracie is developing some tomboy-ish tendencies too.
The dump truck and fire engine is a thing of wonder. Yes, the two have little in common, but still, every dump truck gets a squeal of delight despite the smells oozing from it; and she seems to think every fire truck was created just for her enjoyment and is mourned with tears and exclamations of 'MY FIRE TRUCK!' when they hurry past.
Even better than these two though? Ho-panes and Hot-cop-ers.
(That would read airplanes and helicopters to those who are not 100% versed in Gracie speak.)
We live close enough to BWI Airport that planes are a regular occurrence. Early mornings, with the mass take-offs are particularly delightful to Gracie. I grew up a mild distance from Midway Airport, so the noise of low flying jets rarely attracts my attention. Gracie on the other hand, must spend a good portion of her day with her ho-pane radar up.
And this 48 hour trip to see family, sure she runs through the list of who she will see during those two days:
Mama, where Unkey Jer at? He’s at work. In Chicago.
Mama, we see Unkey Jer when we take ho-pane to Cago? Yes, love, we will see him.
Mama, where Grandpa at? He’s watching TV. In Chicago.
Mama, we see Grandpa when we take ho-pane to Cago? Yes, love, we will see him.
Mama, where PaPa at? He’s at his cabin in Wisconsin.
Mama, we see PaPa when we take ho-pane to Cago? Yes, love, we will see him.
Mama, where Michael at? (The 19 yr old neighbor boy) He’s making sandwiches. (He works at a Panera)
Mama, we no see Michael when we take ho-pane to Cago. Yes, love, Michael has to stay here and make more sandwiches.
So just like her parents, Gracie’s true thrill will come with the end caps of this trip and her real life encounter with her very own ho-pane.
And you can bet that I won’t be discouraging her from laying claim to the aircraft if that is what gets us through 2.5 hours in each direction without tears or temper-tantrums. She will be fine, me on the other hand, I cannot guarantee there will be no tears of exhaustion on my part.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I work in a low-key environment where one colleague regularly shows up wearing flannel pajama bottoms and more than a few long time employees take BOTH November and December off every year.
What’s the big deal if I have to take 2-3 months off to pop out some new offspring, right? Nobody, besides the one guy I work with regularly, will even really miss me, right?
I dunno …. I’m nervous this time around.
A few weeks ago I was called into an office a few notches above my own and was offered a detail position, with a good possibility of it becoming permanent. I was beyond excited. There was a glitch though. I was being offered the opportunity because the current holder is pregnant and may not be coming back.
In the spirit of full disclosure I had to tell them I too was pregnant, but that I was 100% sure of my return. The response was nothing but positive and congratulatory, and was told some things needed to be discussed but I would hear something soon.
Maybe I’m impatient. I know I’m impatient. In my opinion though, soon has come and gone.
I think their ignoring me while trying to find a candidate that won’t be lactating in the next 6 months. I know I’ll never know the truth. They can’t tell me the truth if that is the problem. We can't sit down and have a frank discussion to solve scheduling problems if that is the problem. If I never move to that office though I know, deep down, it will be their loss. It is something I would be excellent at.
On Friday, I left work an hour early. My sense of smell is kicked up into bloodhound mode lately, and the smells of the office were getting to me. The Sharpie 2 cubes down, the striper-scent Bath and Body works next to me, 3 Xerox machines running at the same time. I couldn’t take it so I left.
My boss was getting ready to leave for the day when I went to sign out myself and I told him I was leaving early. When he asked why, I told him. The Sharpie, the lotion, the ozone - that’s why.
His response? He laughed and said I had nobody to blame for that but myself, as he signed my leave slip.
I know this man is not sensitive. He doesn’t have any children. I know he didn’t mean to be rude. But I also know he absolutely meant what he said.
I kept thinking about this all weekend. Thinking about things I should have said instead of opening and closing my mouth like a guppy. Thinking about whether there is some sort of ‘mommy glass ceiling’ that I never realized existed here before. I would choose the same path a million times over. I would rather have children and a family than promotions. I would choose going home to be with them hands down to working 12 hour days.
I just …. thought I could have both …. and am dismayed by the revelation of my naivety.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
At daycare this morning I was regaled with a story about such things.
Yesterday, Gracie was playing house (aka in the kitchen setup) with her two year old love J. The teachers said they were being good so they weren't really paying attention, until they started to notice the conversation they were having. Key words. Gracie's key word of 'honey'. That got their attention, so they started watching them play.
Gracie was bossing J around in the kitchen, telling him what to do and he allowing her to do so. After all her instructions were over, she picked up a purse, put it on her shoulder and declared, "Bye bye honey! I go work. You make me dinner!" and walked away from him.
The teachers erupted in laughter and started counting the minutes until they could pass the story onto me.
First of all: I have never demanded that Matt make me dinner. I have occasionally demanded that Matt be the one to order pizza or Chinese, but never a demand to cook.
Second of all: Do I have a bossy kid? I keep getting reports of this, but I just don't want to believe it.
I know I am bossy, but one of my most distinct childhood school memories is of my 2nd grade teacher making me stand in front of the class while she lectured me on the evils of tattletaling. My recollection of my tattletailing was because some boys in the class were calling me names. That episode drove me so far into a shell, I was afraid to raise my hand to even answer a question much less report on the cruelties inflicted by other kids now that they knew *I* would be the one in trouble if I told.
I don't want this for Gracie.
Finally: Where did she get the idea that I actually want to go to work? And leave Matt at home? Hell no kid, if I have to go to work, so does daddy.
This is me and Matt reflected though Gracie's eyes. Despite the 'of all's' of this, I embrace it. We are raising a strong little lady who knows her own mind.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Not me, I could sleep for days right now. Not Matt, for once he seems to be able to make it though the night, although the Nyquil he is taking of his cold could have something to do with that.
So that only leaves one person left. It’s moved beyond occasional and into pattern that she wakes at the stroke of midnight and wants to sleep with one of us.
When we found out I was pregnant we bought a new bedroom set for Gracie so she can have an upgraded big girl room.
This past weekend I bought bedding that she loves. She’s been dragging the comforter all over the first floor and snuggling. She counts the many dots. She exclaims the colors of the rainbow. She demands she is the only one who can touch it, and then quickly retracts her demand with requests to lay on the floor with her.
Given all this, this weekend we start the transition. No, the room isn’t painted to go with the rainbow of dots yet, but yes I think she is ready to move from the crib to a toddler bed.
Wish us luck.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
When the elevator doors opened on the 2nd floor of my OB's building, I never got off the elevator. I couldn't. There were close to 200 sweaty, pissed off, pregnant ladies crowding the halls to the point of chaos. Me and crowds don't mix like that. I will take my chances and use more hand sanitizer.
So off to the pumpkin patch we went. (Pumpkin picking and fresh Christmas tree chopping are two traditions that are firmly ensconced in me, and therefore are demanded to be passed onto to Gracie.)
Gracie picked her own pumpkin.
Then she picked a second one. Whatever, how much can two small pumpkins cost, right?
She frolicked through the fields.
And helped Matt do the heavy lifting.
And just as we finished, the rains started to sprinkle down.
This Friday will be her first foray into actually scooping her own pumpkin. We will see how excited is is about this next year....
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
While I still haven’t gotten over my gut reaction of snickering, and I don’t think I actually have, not out loud anyway, I know how much this means to him. For an outsider to recognize his accomplishments.
I know I have said this over and over again in this blog, but he has worked hard for this. He runs when the weather is cold and rainy. He goes to the gym before work or during lunch. I am proud of him.
People who haven’t seen Matt in awhile tend to not recognize him or freak out due to his weight loss over the last two years. I get the people who go on and on because it is an amazing accomplishment, but I am frustrated and angered by the people who somehow see it as a negative.
Let’s look at this handy little chart.
Do you see the fat guy in the red section? That was Matt at the start of all this. Now go down to the green guy. That is Matt today. How is this a problem?
Now that Matt is getting ready to do the Marine Corps Marathon again this weekend, people outside of our everyday are chiming up again. Sure, there are sometimes deaths at marathons and other hard-core sporting events. But they are explainable, they are catastrophic, the same end result would have happened no matter what. Sure, they might have had another few years before having an aneurism or heart attack, but isn’t it better to drop dead running instead of behind the wheel?
And you know what? Matt has had physicals and EKG’s done. He is in good health and the exercise only enhances that. Of course I would be beside myself if something did happen to Matt, but I could also spend my days worrying about car wrecks and government employees too.
So this Sunday Matt runs his third 26.2 mile run. Sure I worry, but not about his ability to do come home.
He has proven he can do this through all his hard work and dedication.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Most chefs will tell you that in their earliest memories they are in the kitchen cooking. They were trusted with sharp knives and hot pots at an early age. While I think 2 years old is still a little early to be handing Gracie sharp instruments to help me dice with, she is becoming firmly ensconced next to me in the kitchen.
It’s like she knows what is going on. She uses all her strength to drag a kitchen chair to the counter and stand next to me. This weekend alone she assisted the seasoning of Irish stew (pouring the garlic powder and pepper), pumpkin pie (measuring and dumping the dry ingredients) and stuffed shells (handing me a new shell after taking a small nibble out of each one).
Sure, the recipes turned out a little off, but not enough to really matter. And if she can get 1.5 cups of sugar measured and into a bowl (more or less) at 2, what will she be able to create at 3? Plus, the sense of ownership and pride in helping is immeasurable, specifically because she ate like a champ this weekend.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I was beyond nervous, but the pastor was beyond nice. Before arriving that day he had asked Matt and I to fill out a survey, keeping our answers confidential from each other. In the spirit of the exercise we did. Even the portion titled ‘Sexual Relations’. Trust me, it was excruciating.
I honestly can’t remember much of the three hour discussion outside of one blip. When we got to the sex portion of our survey, it was the one segment where our answers were 100% identical. It was full of questions like:
“Does your partner fulfill your needs emotionally?”
“Does your partner fulfill your needs sexually?”
“Do you feel pressured to perform sexual acts?”
“Do you see yourself with children in the future?”
“How many children would you like to have?”
Matt and I had no intention of having children. I didn’t want children because of my diabetes and all the ‘what ifs?’ that surrounded pregnancy, for me and a child. Matt didn’t want kids because he said he was absolutely happy with our lives as it is.
A few years after we were married I changed my mind. I did want a child. Technology had changed to the point where I could keep my blood sugar almost perfect, and my AC1 in the non-diabetic range. Plus, new research was showing that the genetic predisposition for type I diabetes was dominant on the fathers side, not the mothers.
When I told Matt I wanted to have a baby, he looked at me with shining eyes and laughed. Defensive, I questioned the laughter. He responded that he thought this would happen some day and that this is how he KNOWS there is a God. God had flipped on my baby making switch and he was on board. While he loved our life together as it is, he would also love any baby we made together with the same passion.
Gracie was born two years ago yesterday, October 12, 2007.
And in 7 more months, she will no longer be an only child.
The switch has been flipped again.
Don’t get too excited though. We are super gluing it in the OFF position after this baby comes.
Monday, October 12, 2009
It's funny how time with little children seems infinitely slow and lightening fast at the same time.
Two years of hugs and kisses. Two years of tears and tantrums. Two years of walking and talking and playing and loving. Two years of us, of a family.
Without this blog so many memories would have been lost in the lightening fast.
I wish you a lifetime of joys and discovery like you've had this year my love. A lifetime of seeing the world through the eyes of a vibrant, inquisitive child. A lifetime of unabashed love and impulse.
Happy 2nd Birthday Gracie - not that you need my suggestion to be happy.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
11 years has passed. Can you believe that? 11 years of shared history, of being involved with every aspect of each others lives. 11 years in the same house, in the same bed. 11 years of seeing each others face every morning.
And I can't imagine my life any other way.
Happy Anniversary Matt. Forever is a long time, but I know it will go by in the blink of an eye when I'm with you.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Today she has done the work for me! Sweet. Being lazy does pay off.
I present: A day in the lives of two-year-old best friends.
It makes you wonder how much we don't see, huh?
Monday, September 28, 2009
I arrived in Cambridge Friday afternoon for packet pickup and bike racking. I was really happy I had already thought through what to put in my T1, T2, and special needs bags, so that made getting organized a lot easier. I went to dinner with some folks from my tri club, headed back to the hotel, and actually got a pretty good (Ambien assisted) night of sleep. Woke up around 4, got all my bags to the right locations, and headed to the swim start. Getting started early helped, I didn't feel at all rushed.
Swim (2.4 miles swim - Completed in 1 hour, 42 minutes)
Comments: Well, I had done swims in rough water before, but I don't think it was ever anything this bad. Things were fine on the outbound leg, but quickly got worse at the turn. With the waves coming in and breaking over your side, it got pretty disruptive, not to mention the lovely side effect of nausea. Fortunately the "side-wave" action was short lived, the reward being another turn to swim directly into the waves. Ugh. Couldn't sight worth a damn on the inbound leg, but was actually pleased coming around on the first lap, hearing that I was at about 43 minutes. The second lap was all the same sensations, just worse because my stomach was feeling worse and worse. I almost lost it about 200M from the finish, started to dry heave. Stopping didn't help, because the bouncing up and down wasn't exactly a yack reliever. So, suck it up move number one of the day was just shutting it out, since there was no way I was going to bail on the swim with the end in sight. I was VERY happy to get out of the water.
What would you do differently?: I could have used more swim volume in training, but really the conditions and resulting inability to sight well had a lot to do with the result.
T1 (transition 1, swim to bike)
Comments: I always pride myself on being pretty quick in transitions. I had been telling myself that I just had to take it easy in an iron distance rate. Happily, the condition I was in getting out of the water guaranteed that I would take all the time I needed in T1. Very helpful volunteers in the tent getting my suit off and packed up. I already had my bike shorts on under the wetsuit, so it was just a matter of putting on my jersey, shoes, and helmet before heading out of the tent.
What would you do differently?: Nothing. I just needed to sit for a few minutes to get my bearings back.
Bike (112 miles - Completed in 6 hours, 51 minutes)
Comments: I knew this was going to be rough when I saw the wind forecast for Cambridge was 10-13 MPH, because once you get outside of town the winds are almost always stronger than the forecast. Sure enough, the first outbound section things felt great, but I could see everyone coming back going significantly slower. Even going (slower) back into the wind, I was feeling pretty good.
What would you do differently?: I guess work on mental focus, but it's already hard on a ride this long, much less with the winds involved.
T2 (transition 2, bike to run )
Comments: Pretty uneventful, but the valet service for the bike was nice. With the water we rode through, I was really happy to have a dry pair of socks to put on, and also put my IT band brace on my right leg (which is the one that has always flared up). In prepping for this, I really thought I was going to have a hard time getting up and leaving the changing tent, but it was just kind of happened without me really thinking about it.
What would you do differently?: Nothing.
Run (26.2 miles - Completed in 6 hours, 9 minutes)
Comments: I actually felt really good leaving transition, and for the first four miles I was actually clicking off 10 minute miles without much effort. I slowed a little on the return leg, but was still back from the first loop in about 1.5 hours. I got to see my wife and daughter again, which was great. I actually thought for a little while that I might be done by 9PM, but, of course, my body had other plans.
What would you do differently?: Nothing, it was about survival.
Warm down: As I mentioned, I was just spent in every way, shape, and form. My wife really wanted to help me get packed up, but I convinced her to just get back to the hotel and out of the rain. I packed my bike up, went to collect my bags, and when I saw that there was no wait for a massage (duh, it took you 15 hours), got one, which I think is one of the reasons I was mobile on Sunday.
What limited your ability to perform faster: Same as in my Eagleman report, I wouldn't change anything. I trained as much as I could while maintaining a somewhat normal family life. I would have loved to finish closer to 13 hours, and I never had any serious doubts about finishing, but the mental aspect of doing something this long is something you can't (in my opinion) completely prepare for, especially your first time. People can say having a child is a wonderful thing, but you don't really "get it" until you do it. It's the same thing here. Anyone who even tries an iron distance event is amazing (and crazy), but you you don't really "get it" until you do it.
Event comments: I will say that packet pickup, etc. seemed a little disorganized, but other than that I can't say enough about the race and the volunteers. The time they put in, and the encouragement they provide, is amazing!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I've been supportive, but rarely excited about the triathlons.
I was not excited about the Ironman. I was supportive by holding my tongue and telling him good job no matter what I was actually thinking.
Yesterday changed my mind. Not enough to want to participate or even encourage more insanity. Yesterday changed my mind about the human spirit.
This is not what I thought this blog post would be about when I imagined what I would write days ago. I thought then I would fill this page with anecdotes about how we whiled away the day while Matt sweated. I thought I would write little quips about amusing Matt moments. Yesterday, I learned that there is little amusing about Ironman distance triathlon.
Matt's day, and the day of those who finished with him, started early. The clock started ticking at 7 am while Grace and I were still at home. We arrived around 10 am and had our first Matt sighting around 1 pm. He says the waves during the swim were about 1.5 feet high and the wind was like a brick wall during the bike. I saw he was tired and frazzled during that first 1 pm stop to refuel his water bottles and food pockets, but was not effected myself yet.
I knew he was tired when he finished his 112 mile bike ride and hobbled into the tented area to change into running clothes. I willed him with every thing I had to come out of the tent. I knew if he had his running shoes on he would finish the race, because what is the point of starting if you weren't going to finish, right?
I panicked when he came back to the home base after the first of the 3 laps required to fulfill the 26.2 mile run. I could see he was sunburt, his face was white with sweat salts and his pace was slow. Gracie and I kissed him and sent him out for another 9 miles.
That is when I started to understand.
The sun was starting to set and the rain was beginning to sprinkle on and off. The winners were already finished as Matt started his marathon. Others were still coming in off their bikes as my husband was beginning his second loop.
When the skies were dark and the rain began to fall heavy, I rocked Gracie to sleep in her stroller shielded with umbrellas. I sat there watching faces. That's when I understood. When the already lack luster crowd support all but disappeared. I couldn't blame them. It was cold and windy and raining, but I refused to move to my car. I needed to watch faces and clap for each runner.
There was an old man, his leg said age 70, doing the full triathlon. I saw him coming in from a distance. His hobble was distinct even at 9:15 pm. I clapped for him. Way to go! You're almost there! I was so sure he was finishing. He was moving so slowly. At 9:30 he was back in front of me again. He wasn't done. He still had one more lap to complete. 9 more miles, alone in the pitch black rain.
That's when I cried.
The determination was unbelievable. His is a poignant story, but it is everyone's story. I finally understood that it is more about determination that fitness and conditioning. Nobody looked good as the finished the marathon. OK, the first few people to finish the thing looked good, but do they really count?
My prospective on the sport, and what it means to accomplish something like this, is forever changed. And while I knew I could always depend on Matt for anything, his show of sheer willpower and expression of mind over matter has forever changed my opinion of him. I now have proof that Matt will fight to the end no matter what the challenge is. And win.
The old man did in fact finish, 22 minutes before the cut off time of 11:59 pm.
And Matt? He can now call himself Ironman with a completion time of 14 hours and 57 minutes.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
As a childless adult, I mocked it. As a parent, I mocked the parents who gave in. I really did feel superior. Gracie is happy listening to Jason Mraz and Pink, thank you very much. We do not need children’s CD’s.
Then she got a little older and the Wheels on the Bus came into focus. OK, whatever, I can sing a few rounds of this. It’s not so bad.
Then she learned more songs. And started getting mad when I screwed up the words. And wanted me to sing for the entire 45 minute car ride.
So I caved. You knew this was coming though, that I become one of them. One of the parent’s I had always mocked. The person who is blaring the Itsy Bitsy Spider when you pull up next to them at the stoplight. You can judge, it’s OK. I expect it.
It’s taken me – oh, a few months – to get up the gumption and admit that we own a children’s CD. So here is it, full out there. I present the Toddler Tunes.
And do you want to know why I’m admitting this? Because I’m buying more. Listen, I need more. I’m starting to get a nervous twitch from the repetition, and frankly, I am tired of listening to Gracie complain everyday that the damn CD doesn’t have Twinkle Twinkle on it.
I love my daughter, but I hate what I’ve become.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tonight, Gracie and I have been invited to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with friends.
I love the idea of mid-year new beginnings. Sweet beginnings. Fall is always a breath of fresh air to me, as the best things in my life have always come this time of year.
So to all my friends and family, may today bring you wonderful new beginnings.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This - travel thing - is going to start happening more and more for him. Other people are starting to realize how cool he is. Cool enough to put up on a panel and force others to pay to hear him talk anyway. I have a feeling that this first speaking engagement is going to cause a ripple affect. Again, awesome for him, sucks for me.
I really haven't had to single parent all that often. Sure, there have been plenty of all day workouts and triathlon events, but that is during the DAY. Gracie and I can run errands and shop until she drops. NIGHT though, that is a whole other beast.
We've settled into a routine in our house. I give Grace her bath (because I don't mind sitting on the floor and splashing for 20 minutes, where Matt gets frustrated with the process) and Matt puts her to sleep (because it is the exact opposite, I have no patience for play after the lights are out).
Yes, I know we should not be rocking her to sleep with a bottle of warm milk at almost 2 years old, but that is a whole other issue that will have to be addressed sometime in the future. Like when our pediatrician, Dr. H, yells at us for it at her two year old check up next month. Anyway, at NIGHT Grace wants her daddy. For the next three nights she will only get mommy.
My plan? Shock and awe.
I don't borrow from G.W. (or any republican) well, ever, but in this case I'm going to run with the slogan. My plan is to wear her out. Stay at work until 4:30-5 pm so she can run around in even more manic circles that happen as the afternoon stretches at daycare and then pound her with dinner trips to places like Red Robin.
It'll all be win-win, right?
She gets to expel extra energy, which will hopefully tire her out more than normal and then will be sated with fatty, crab laden foods accompanied by balloons in an environment where screaming children are the norm. On the way home from said dinners, she will be so exhausted and belly bursting full she will fall dead asleep in the car and transfer easily to her crib, sleeping the entire night and waking cheerfully in the morning for another round of 'Daddy's Gone!' fun.
Right? Right?!? That is how this week will go.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The house was lovely.
This did make plenty of time for books (I read over 1,000 pages just myself) and snuggles, and games, and puzzles.
While it rained they were smart enough to stay further inland, but when the winds broke and the sun shone we had horses. Down the street, in front of the house, on our patio.