Saturday, September 25, 2010

Not in the mood for celebrating...

This year I turned 32. My birthday was good. I got taken out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants by my darling hubby, it was what I asked for. I just wanted some time alone with him, talking and eating without having to feed this child, or keep that child entertained. It was a lovely dinner, and I thoroughly enjoyed my pumpkin ravioli, creme brulee and 2 glasses of Reisling. I also got treated to breakfast with my family, and was given a Pandora bracelet with many thoughtful charms from my parents, and my sis and Emma picked me out a really special Best friends charm(I love my girls!). It was a nice birthday, although I'm not really in the mood for celebrating.

Sure we will have cake, my boys bought me an ice cream one, I'll dig into later, but getting older just doesn't have the hype it did at 12, 18, or 29! It could be that I found out Thursday night that my aunt had a stroke, and realized I would need to get to the hospital that night to say goodbye. On Friday my Aunt Jo passed away, and I am really sad to lose her. I can't say we were super close, but I always enjoyed our conversations. Although I only saw her 4 or five times a year, she was always so kind and genuine. She was a fixture in my life, a woman who I admired, and she was truly good. Her loss is difficult, but I am glad she is now with my Uncle Pat. I can imagine him saying something shocking and her rolling her eyes and saying, "Oh my"(or something like that in Italian) in her animated way. Although I'll miss her, something about them being gone together feels right. I guess after 50 years of marriage you just never seem whole without the other person. I hope you two are dancing tonight in heaven. Aunt Jo I hope you are wearing your beautiful wedding dress, and Uncle Pat you are that handsome young man again with your thick dark hair like in the photograph I've seen and can't seem to forget.

Come to think of it, maybe I'm just not in the mood for celebrating a birthday, how could I, when what I should be celebrating was a life well lived and loved. So thankful you have each other again, but feeling a bit sad for our loss here. Dance one for me, and kiss each other for me, and someday in my time...I'll see you again.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fool me twice...

Some days I am just clueless. I don't mean to sound down on myself, but sometimes I am just plain dumb. Sometimes I am a victim of circumstance, sometimes a victim of my own nuerosis.

Last week, on a cool almost fall morning, I followed Wayne out the door, carrying Matthew in my arms. I wanted to give my hubby another kiss, to see him off to work, and to have Matt practice waving bye-bye. Zach remained inside, snuggling on the couch with his apple juice and "marshmellows"(Lucky Charms cereal). As Zach enjoyed his morning shows, Matt and I looked at the leaves changing on the trees in the forest across the street, as Wayne pulled out of the driveway. I hurried back to the door into the house, because I was barefoot, and it was only 55 degrees out. I turned the handle....LOCKED! I couldn't believe it, at first my mind raced, How was the door locked? Did Zach lock the door? Had Wayne? Holy Sh*t! I ran frantically down the driveway, arriving just in time to see Wayne's vehicle turning right onto the main road. I became a little panicked. I was locked out, my toddler was locked in. What was I going to do? It was 7:40 in the morning, I didn't have a cell phone, I didn't have an extra set of keys. So, I did the logical thing, I rang the doorbell. Sure Amy, Zach is going to come to the front door and open it and say "Hey Mom what are you doing, come in..." Heck no, he doesn't know how to open the deadbolt...or at least I'm praying he doesn't. I tote Matt across the morning grass to a back window and peer in. Zach is oblivious to the fact that I am missing. You have to love TV for that power at a time like this, and I think what can I do? Obviously I need to call Wayne to come home. Obviously I need a phone to do this. Thankfully my cousin lives in the neighborhood. Family is this case priceless. I put Matt in the stroller and run to her house, the school bus zooming by as I run up the block. I make it to her door, ring the bell and wait. Her sons' faces pop up in the sidelights and the front door opens to my cousins' wide eyed faced, already worried that I have some horrid news. She takes my frazzled face in, my sweats, and my bare feet, as I am pushing my way into her house, explaining I need to use her phone stat. She looks at me perplexed, I am not making sense, and she reminds me Matt is still outside in the stroller. No mother of the year award for me again. I dial. Wayne answers. I explain. I am locked out. He asks, "Are you serious?" I reply "Yes" He say he's coming. I thank Shannon and make my way past her in a blur. She says, "Can I at least get you some shoes?" and I say, "No thanks" I have to get back, Z is alone inside." Matt and I race back again, trek across the grass, and look in the window. Zach is still safe in his oblivion and I look at Matt and think Thank God you are with me, I would be breaking a window to get in for sure if you weren't. I wait, as patiently as I can the 6 minutes it takes for Wayne to arrive. He shakes his head and laughs. We both discuss the need to hide a key. Life goes on.

Fast foward to today. My sister comes for a visit. I put the boys down for a nap before she leaves. (Zach probably would have still been up, but he and Jack we not listening, so he was sent to bed early) Jack holds the door to the garage from the house open, as Lisa carries Emma out. I think, I'll go get the mail, and squeak by. I help load Jack into the car, grab the mail, and wave goodbye to my sister as she pulls out. I go to open the door into the house...LOCKED! HOLY CRAP! I run down the driveway, after the car, just in time to see Lisa SUV turning right. I am dumbstruck. What do I do? It's the middle of the day, my husband is who knows where working on the road, I glance up the road to my cousins' her car is gone, I'm screwed. I attempt to break in with a piece of cardboard...isn't their some sort of credit card trick. No good. After 10 minutes of futile efforts I realize I am going to need to find help. So which one of my lucky new neighbors am I going to approach, shoeless again, to tell them my cronic need for safety has lead me to locking myself out and my two young, sleeping thank God, children in? Its the middle of the day, my options are limited. I look about, to see some lansdcaping guys planting trees. Guys at work= guys with cell phones. I approach them and explain my situation. I am a moron I say, I've locked myself out of my house. I need to get in. I have kids. Sure they say. I can tell they think I am an idiot too. I don't care, I am, but I am also a desperate mother who only has until nap time ends to make it back into that house. I call Wayne. He doesn't answer. Panic. I call again, rings to voicemail, better. I call his work, someone answers, Brad. Is Wayne there? Yeah, he's on the phone. I think he's always on the phone, I say, "This is his wife, its an emergency." Brad gets Wayne. I say simply, "I'm locked out again, you need to come home!" Wayne replies, "You know what I am going to say right?" I say, "Yeah." He say,"Where are the boys?" Sure that is logically what he was going to say, I thought he was going to say, Amy what are you a moron, how did that happen again, and where is the key you were going to hide last week so this never happened again?" Apparently, the Wayne in my head agrees with the Amy in my head, and the Wayne on the phone was much more focused. "They are asleep, you need to come home now!" We hang up. I thank the guys and think, Well at least they will have a funny story to tell tonight when they get home. I spent the next 30 minutes cleaning the garage, watering plants, and putting my ear to the door, as if I could hear Matt if he was crying. I am thankful they are safe, contained in the crib and room, and that my white knight is on his way. He arrives, shakes his head. I say, "I know." I go to get the extra keys. I can't find them. Guess what, Wayne finds them in a box in the garage. have to embrace it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jesus Take the Wheel...

I've always like the message of Carrie Underwood's song, but there have been a few points in my life, four that come to mind, that I think God took the wheel quite literally.

About 12 years ago, I was driving home from college on the interstate and I looped off unto a smaller highway. The exchange has a long loop and at the end some cars merge from the right. Long story short, the car that was in the right lane, didn't see me in the left lane, traveling at 65 mph, wedged between them and a two foot cement wall, and moved into my lane to free up their lane for a car merging from the on ramp. How that car missed me was a miracle. I literally felt like someone was in that car with me, when I miraculously was not stuck and the car was inches from my bumper. Jesus took the wheel.

When I was about 7 months pregnant with Zach I was heading to work, and I needed to make a left hand turn. The light turned yellow and I looked and the cars were stopping, so I went to turn. Just at that moment, a sports car came racing through the right lane at probably 50 mph, and nearly struck me. I was livid when I saw what they were racing to get, their morning Tim Horton's coffee. I mean seriously, you almost killed me and my unborn child for that? I was shaken up, because all I could think of was that I could have lost my baby, and I truly believe that had it not been for that one moment of hesitation, something horrible could have happened to Zach and I. That day Jesus took the wheel.

Just this summer we were heading back from the lake, Wayne was in a separate vehicle because he had met us down there. Both of the boys were in the back of my car sleeping. I went to pass a semi. I hate semi trucks, always have, I am paranoid about traveling next to them. I tend to speed up as I pass them, because I just want to be free of them as soon as possible. As I was passing this truck I noticed it was moving closer and closer into my lane of traffic. I was being forced off the road, riding on that bumpy thing they have on the interstate. I was terrified. In that moment, I thought Wayne, who was driving ahead of us, was going to look back in his rear view to see his entire family killed. I was scared. My boys, My boys are going to die, that was all I could think. Somehow just as the semi made its final swing into the left lane, I was past it. That semi couldn't have been less than 6 inches from my bumper. The driver was pretty shaken up because he immediately got back into the right lane and stayed there, driving slow the rest of the time I saw him in my rear view. I kept thinking, I almost died, my boys almost died, but we didn't because of 6 inches. Six inches, and the fact that Jesus took the wheel.

Today we were all driving back from looking at some play sets. We had just had lunch at McDonald's and the boys we groggy in the backseat. We were driving down the somewhat country road at 50 mph, and the sun was shining. Zach was sleepily saying, "I don't like the sun, it's too bright." and Wayne was driving listening to some music. Up ahead I saw a car coming to the end of a street. We had another car about 5 car lengths ahead in the left lane. Wayne switched lanes, going into the right one. As he was doing this, I could see the gray car that was stopped had started to prepare to turn left. They were going, the only problem was that in 2 seconds, they were going to be turning right into our car. I did something you are not supposed to do, I reached over and turned the wheel, took control. Wayne at that moment looked and saw the car, but didn't resist my control of the vehicle. I braced one arm against the dash, as if I could protect the 10 month old who was sitting behind me, directly in the spot this car was about to strike and I swerved us left. I felt the wheel move, and it moved fluidly around the car that was now 1/2 way out into the lane we left. I'm not sure if it was Wayne's hands, or someone else's, but I was not the only one steering the wheel. The whole incident passed, and the car missed us by inches. We never swerved beyond the left lane, and thankfully we avoided a collision. I am not sure what would have happened to the driver of that tiny gray car. I am not sure of the damage that would have happened to my side of the vehicle, but most importantly to that baby carrier that houses part of my heart. I am so grateful I don't have to find out, because Jesus took the wheel.

I can't thank you enough Jesus for all the times you've taken the wheel in my life, literally and figuratively. I am still thanking you for that other car accident when you didn't take the wheel, but took care of *Sarah and I instead.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

200 posts...

I suppose I should be shamed by the fact that it has taken me a year and a half, or over 500 days to reach this moment, but I'm not. I am actually really proud. There have been days even weeks, that I've gone missing from the blogging world and thought, why continue? Like I've said before I write for me, for my boys, to remember. The fact that I have other readers only makes it that much sweeter. Sometimes this blog is the only "me" time I make time for, sometimes I don't even do that, perhaps you've noticed?

In the next 200 posts, I am going to try to get better about finding more me time. You know, breathe a little slower, find the beauty around me. I think this is a good start:


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Playing with Picasa...

Yesterday my sister and I took the kids to a local park. Neither of us had ever been there and I was blown away by the beauty that was 10 minutes down the road. Sometimes I forget in the hustle and bustle of the day, the beauty that the world offers daily.

The boys were happy to see each other, and while they raced ahead I was able to capture this shot:

Which I had fun playing around with( a lot):

I think the last one might be my favorite, because it almost looks like a painting. Which is your favorite?

Monday, September 13, 2010

The thing about the lake...

The thing about the lake is that no matter how old or young you are, it brings out the kid in you. When I was a kid, I loved going to the lake to see my cousins and my aunts and uncles. I loved playing games like "Bloody Mary" and having campfires. We loved tubing and fishing off the dock. We spent our days playing Risk and walking to Ames to get candy for our famous candy bowls. It was a beautiful place to unwind even then, and although I love the look of the light dancing off the surface of the water, and the sounds of the Bell Tower in the distance, the most endearing aspect of the lake has always been the people you share the experience with and the endless possibilities for how to spend your days.

Age has not mellowed me. You won't find me jumping in the lake to take showers these days, or having mud and seaweed wars. You won't find me tubing or skiing for the most part and you definitely won't find me playing capture the flag. Its not that there isn't a part of me that would love to embrace those things, its just that I've well...changed.

Fortunately for my boys, the lake hasn't. It still holds all the childlike possibilities that it once did. It still allows you access to beautiful places, and explorations into nature. It still has that one element that makes it endure in my

So this past weekend the fam and I packed up and headed to the lake cottage for probably the last time. Not because we aren't going anymore, but because the cottage that stands there will soon be no more. You see after nearly thirty years my parents have come full circle, they are going to build a dream lake house. A house big enough for future generations to gather and explore, a house on a lake, made into a home by the memories it is sure to bring with it. In the past 8 years the 1,200 sq ft cottage gave so much; A beautiful view, engagements and parties, first steps, campfires, Margarita Mays, Nerf wars, boating expeditions and stall outs(Nick), bat invasions, fireworks, Texas hold' em games and Bandu. We have had up to 14 people and 5 dogs sleep inside its walls and although I despise the shower...I will miss our little bungalow in my own way.

So this weekend, I sat back and enjoyed the day while my sons soaked up some sun, and most

Zach(and Lennie too) was so happy to see his "Uncle Nick" and asked "Will you play with me?" Never hoping to disappoint Uncle Nick jumped into a game of rock building that Papa had enhanced. Grandma also joined in, because when her grand kids are playing, she is never far away:

Grandma also hooked Matt up with an awesome swing ride, and Dad eventually jumped in on the fun:

You see at the lake, people take you to dinner, where you get to marvel at the fish tanks:

Play on a playground set under hundred year old trees:

Master the slide:

Have a blast on the swings with your Uncle and Grandma beside you:

Take in the canal with Uncle Nick, who according to Z is the "tallest" ( he is):

Teeter Toter with your Dad:
And finish the evening with an ice cream cone with Papa:
I am pretty sure that Zach sees the lake at 2 1/2 very much like the brown haired waif of a girl I once was did(and still do) a place of magic and love.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Time is really frustrating. If you have too much of it on your hands things seem dull and listless, if you have too little of it, you feel overwhelmed. Time is happening, even as I type this, and inevitably time sucker punches you.

Take for example the fact that my 32nd birthday is weeks away. 32 years...not a lot by some standards, and yet really "old" to others. How did I get to be 32? I ask my Mom, she doesn't know, I ask my Dad, he isn't sure either. My sister, my brother, my husband, all of them aren't sure where the time has gone. True, they are all older than me so they might be getting senile...just kidding, but seriously, in the scheme of my life....I'm closer to the half way mark than the beginning, and well that is a little scary.

Time is sucking things up left and right. I have plans for the summer, but before I've accomplished half of them, fall is settling in. I have so much I want to do with the boys in the morning, but by bedtime I realized we never did get to read that book, play with play-doh or go for a walk. I plan on organizing my closet, reading a book, or planning a date night, but the month just came and went. In all that time, I look back and I wonder why does it move so darn quick when you want it to slow down and so slow when you want it to speed up?

You know those times too, the times when you feel really sad or embarrassed, when you recite that "all things heal in time". I am not sure I believe that, I remember moments from decades ago that still sting when recollected. I am sure that many of the days I am living now are flying past and that they will be days I want to savor in the future. Moments of watching my sons interact together with cooes and hugs and sentences that make me giggle with the sweet simplicity and innocence of them. I am sure I will want to remember Wayne's excitement at getting his riding lawnmower, and his humorous obsession with the landscaping. I am sure I will want to remember my hair, brown through and through before gray creeps in, and my wrinkles get deeper.

I am sure that time, is moving, even as I write this.

Time brings with it so many discoveries, and takes with it so many fragments. I have decided that I love time, just as much as I hate it. I am pretty sure that time doesn't care, because in the scheme of it, I am but a breath.

So what kind of breath to be. A gasping, feel like your drowning one, an automatic one acting on autopilot, or a deep, savor the moment for as long as you can, breath. I think we walk the line...and like I said, time gives you a sucker punch, and knocks the breath out of you.

So I am choosing, at this moment in time, that I am going to be one to savor, for as long as I can, until that is of course, that time makes me forget that I made this decision. Damn you time!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What I did on the first day of school...

For almost a decade I have been a teacher, and even though some might consider that a veteran teacher, on the first day of school I am still as nervous as that freshman walking in the door. Sure I know where my classroom is, have prepared my lesson plans for the day, but bell after bell I will be meeting my students, the faces that will surround my days for the next ten months, some of them will enter my door hundreds of times before they leave the high school. Some of those faces will challenge me and my patience, others will open my hearts and my mind, and all of them in some way will teach me either about who they are, the world, or myself. Teaching is never boring, but that first day is and always will be one that is exciting and anxiety ridden. As my cooperating teacher once said, "If you're not nervous about something, it means you don't really care about it." Trust me, ten years in, I still care.

Each year I pick out my first day of school outfit, try to get a restless night's sleep and head off in the early morning to make sure I am on time for our 7:20 start. I rush to my room, do a last minute tidy-up and check and double check that I have all of the papers/supplies I need in order for the day. I head to the English office to chit chat with my colleagues about their jitters, and compliment their well planned outfits, and then I shuffle through the halls, looking around at the hundreds of faces and wondering, is that kid in my class? Sometimes you're praying their not, as they push their friends or say something nasty to a passerby, other times you see them laughing at a friend's joke or helping someone find a room, I think it goes without saying, which you hope you see sitting in your classroom. That first day, hundreds of first impressions, on both sides of the desk.

So yesterday, when I woke up at 7 am and realized that I wasn't going to the first day of school, I felt a myriad of emotions. Mostly I was grateful and relieved. Grateful that I had the opportunity to continue working with the two most important students I've ever had. Grateful that I have a husband who supported me in staying out of work for a bit longer, even after we built a beautiful but expensive new home. Grateful that I was exactly where I wanted and needed to be for my spirit, and relieved that these two boys, weren't the ones walking into a "school" meeting their teacher for the first time. Relieved that I was the one on the other side of the crib for the time being instead of the one on the other side of the desk.

I mean aren't these two the cutest pupils you could ever ask for?:

On the first day of school, these are exactly the faces I wanted to see looking back at me. For now, at least, my other students can wait!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Protective or Paranoid?

When we built a house that has two staircases that lead to the upstairs I knew that I was going to have to get some gates once Matt started crawling. What I didn't know was that I was going to have to get a third gate to keep my toddler from toppling down those same stairs.

A few nights ago, Zach was coming down the front stairs, he went to say something to me, and lost his balance. There I was at the bottom of the stairs watching him fall. It was like the whole moment went into slow mo. I screamed his name, watched as he fell sidewards, trying desperately to grab a hold of anything that would stop him from falling, and as I raced towards him, I just kept praying he would be ok. Fortunately, our stairs have a few landings, and when he reached the 1st one, he stopped. He looked terrified, his eyes were wide with fear, and as I reached him, I grabbed him, held him and kept repeatedly telling him he was ok. I'm not sure he believed me since he was crying and I was bawling as I rocked him, but my prayers had been answered he was alright. I was struck by how accidents happen, how you can do your best to protect your kids, and a moment can come along and pull that safety rug out from under you. I had been toying with the idea of gating Z's room for a few days, because he'd taken to getting out of his bed and playing with the door...up until that point, he'd never opened it. After that fall, I really started to wonder, did I need a gate at his door, and my answer came the very next day.

At nap time I could hear him up and moving about in his room. I told him to get into bed and to stay in his room. Instead he opened the door and came to find me. I gently placed him back in bed, reminded him it was nap time and that he could get hurt walking around upstairs, especially at night, I even reminded him of his fall. I left his room, and ten minutes later was talking to my husband about how I thought we were probably going to need to put a gate up, only to look up and see Zach smiling at me, at the top of the stairs. With my nerves shot from possibile future injuries Wayne and I took Zach upstairs, Wayne set up the gate, and I settled Z into bed. Oh how that boy cried to see that gate go up, but I can tell you that last night I slept peacefully knowing that Zach was safely in his room (which is kid proofed) and Matt was safely in his crib.

So readers, am I protective or paranoid, or a bit of both?