Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Midnight Momma

My baby is nine months today.  I can't believe how fast it has gone.  When you are young the days creep, but as you get older the months and then the years fly by.  You learn to savor moments even more as you get older.  You slow down more, allow moments to give you goose bumps, even if their small, in the middle of the day and happen during a typical day.  It is so sweet to see how all of the kids are so excited to see him each day.  Every little smile, giggle and pout are adorable or "so tute" as Sage says. This morning Saxton and Sage came in to see Max like they normally do in the morning.  I have been under the weather and Max and I were still laying in bed.  The girls crawled in bed with us and were making Max laugh with some stuffed animals.  Then we realised he was all wet so we stripped him down and put him in the bath.  Something so simple as a bath was made into a laugh, smile and giggle fest.  The girls got such a kick out of Max.  I think Sage called him "tute" a hundred times. She also remembered he was nine months old today and made a big deal about that. Saxton helped wash his hair and laughed at the funny faces he made.  They helped me lotion him and get him dressed and we took a couple pictures.  After all, today was special, Max was nine months old.

I have my own special moments with Max.  One of them is when I sit down to nurse him.  Or if it is in the middle of the night, it is more like lay down.  I know that the goal is to get Max to sleep through the night, but the truth is, I am kinda glad he doesn't.  I love to gather him up, smell and kiss his sweet little head, snuggle with him and nuzzle him as he snuggles back and breastfeeds (one of his favorite things to do is roll a piece of my skin between two of his fingers...funny but cute).  Sometimes I put him back in his bed, but sometimes I wake up an hour or two later and he is peacefully sleeping up against my chest.  I may be tired in the morning, in fact I may be tired all day, but I still love my Midnight wake up call. 

I still remember the first night we put Max in his own bedroom to sleep.  It was Thursday March 3rd.  Jerry has Thursdays off so we went to Babies R Us and bought a monitor.  We were all pumped up to have Max sleep in his big boy crib, that had been assembled and waiting since July.  I was fine all day, ready for this new stage in his life.  But then came bedtime,  I checked on him and got in bed.  I looked over at his empty crib next to my bed and cried.  I felt so sad without him.  He is with me all the time, day and night.  Jerry just hugged me and said it was okay... it was like he was in the room with us with the monitor on.  I think he even got up and went in Max's room to whisper in the monitor, "I love you momma, I am okay," so I could be assured, again, that it was on, working and loud enough for me to hear.  He slept until after two in the morning the night, and when he woke up I jumped out of bed, scooped him up and brought him in bed with me.  One thing I haven't been able to do yet, is put him back in his big crib after his middle of the night feeding.  At that point he's in bed with me or in his pack-n-play in our room.  I sleep better with him near me.  He has slept through the night twice and on both of those mornings I wake up in a panic and full of milk :)  As I said, I'm not ready to give up my job as a midnight momma. 

One thing that I tend to do in the middle of the night when all is quiet and I have time to think, is remember the past and when my other kids were babies.  I loved this time with all of them.  I slept with all the kids as newborns.  I remember I tried with Savannah to put her back in bed right after she was done nursing, but she would just wake up and after a few days of this I was at my wits end.  I called the nurse, Savannah was only a week or so, but already I was overwhelmed with exhaustion.  She gave me instructions on how to nurse her while I was laying down, and told me to try that, and best case scenario, we both get some sleep.  God bless that woman.  From that point forward, we both slept like babies. 

Being a momma is many things, but mostly it's wonderful.  You are blessed with these beautiful little creatures that love and trust you unconditionally.  This last year and a half has been so bittersweet for me.  Two of my babies are not with me most of the time.  I think about them and miss them everyday.  My soul knows that despite the choice that I have made, while we are not always together, we are always in each other's hearts.  They no longer have to deal with the painful drama that they lived with.  As parents we owe our children the best mother and father we can be for them.  Each day I become a better mother.  My children deserve that.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Poise and Prayer

I have an angel book that I read out of sometimes to Sage and Saxton.  Tonight's subject was poise.  Not the type that a beauty queen has but that I struggle with.  When you are under a constant barrage of negative comments, you begin to believe them.  Sometimes you would find yourself screaming in your mind, "That's not true, those awful things you are saying, they're not true!"  Sometimes you are screaming for real, out loud, trying to convince this person that the garbage they are spewing is not true!  You are broken. 

Now that I am in a safe environment, I have learned poise.  Through my family, my friends, my boyfriend and my councilor I have learned an inner peace when dealing with the hurtful things that are thrown at me.  Instead of anger, resentment and the need to defend.  I let it go.  "Just because they say it doesn't make it true."  I am reminded of this often.  The screaming inside has dwindled to a whisper.  I listen to the whisper and peacefully reason with it, make peace with it, ignore it.  Smile and hug my family.  After all their opinion is what matters.  Those that I know love and respect me, they are what matters. 

Prayer.  Just before we split up, my ex and I went to a marriage encounter weekend.  That was August.  September, my birthday, that is when it all came crashing down.  When I was faced with choices, I made them and never looked back.  One thing I learned during that weekend was the power of prayer, of listening to that inner voice.  It ended up being an encounter with myself.  I took what I learned and used it in the the months ahead.  When I was faced with tough choices, I made them, trusted my decision, found peace.  I prayed!  Like Crazy!  When I dropped the kids off, I went and prayed in church.  When I hiked, biked, rollerbladed, walked, put my kids to bed I prayed.  When I moved here and found out I was pregnant, I prayed.  My grandpa passed away in January 2009 and just as I was leaving to come home my cousin gave me one of my grandpa's Rosarys.  I slept with the Rosary under my pillow.  When my belly grew and his Rosary fell behind the bed, Jerry would retrieve it.  He built a little barrier with stuffed animals to keep it from falling behind the headboard.  He understood.  Prayer brought me Poise.  Peace.  When I was un-expectantly hospitalised before Max was born, Jerry packed my bag and Rosary.  When Max went to the NICU, the Rosary went with him, grandpa went with him.  Prayer brings miracles.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My Momma

My mom's birthday was on the 18th.  For those of you who know my mom, it is kinda hard not to like her.  And if for some reason you don't like her, she will try her hardest to change that.  My mom has many positives about her, many traits that I have picked up.  Let's start with coupons. When I was younger my mom would give me the job of cutting, sorting and filing her coupons.  Now I sport my own coupon pouch.  I remember when I first started shopping at Jerry's store we were just starting to date.  I have to admit I questioned how sexy he would find me when I pulled out my coupons... but I am so obsessed, in the end I didn't care and used them.  I knew my mom would have been proud. 

My mom is frugal.  Not cheap.  There is a difference.  I am like my mom that way. I hate to spend a lot of money on dinner, but if I do go out, I always tip at least 20%.  If you want to do something special for my mom, take her to dinner or at least buy her a glass of wine, otherwise, if she is buying her own dinner, she'll just have water.  I won't ever forget a few years ago my ex was gone for the weekend and my mom came to stay with me and the kids in Colorado.  She took me to dinner, for Sushi!  It was expensive, but we sat on the floor and had a wonderful evening eating to our hearts contents.  My mom didn't even flinch when the bill came and strongly declined my offer to split the bill. I love my mom. 

 I still own a shirt from 1995 that I bought when I was at IU.  I won't get rid of it.  It is still good.  I got this trait from my mom.  She is a pack rat.  But I am NOT complaining.  She has attics and all sorts of nooks and cranny's filled with everything!  I can call her at a moment's notice and ask her for a bathing suit for the girls or anything else the kids are lacking.  She has it, it packed away, waiting for my request.  I save all sorts of stuff, ticket stubs, kids art, any little thing to remind me of a special event.  I have puppy teeth and umbilical stubs.  Poor max already has a box of items I am collecting for him... just in case he cares what section, row and seat we sat in when we took him to his second Mariner's game, I have the ticket saved. 

My mom doesn't know a stranger.  Growing up I watched as my mom would spark a conversation with just about anyone.  I remember being on a boat in Kiawah Island, SC.  My mom became best friends with some unsuspecting soul in just thirty minutes.  I have this trait.  I once talked to a homeless man for two hours on a late night bus ride in L.A.  He was phenomenal with this impressive perspective of life and family.  If I didn't have the mom I did I probably wouldn't have had the balls to be on that bus by myself that night or the desire to make friends with everyone I meet.  If I didn't have this trait, I wouldn't be where I am now.  The night that Jerry and I met my sister and I were hanging out playing slots in Vegas and she invited him to have her machine, she was done playing.  Five hours later, we had made a new friend. 

My mom is fun.  My mom is silly.  My mom taught me how to pee in the woods.  (which I did today by the way despite the danger of being caught on a busy path on GOOD FRIDAY!)  One funny story happened years ago.  Her and I were running and were miles from home in the middle of no where.  We both had to go, so we hopped in the woods and went.  Then we got a little nutty, we decided to moon the next car that passed.  So we listened and dropped our shorts and mooned a cop!  We screamed and ran into the woods, fugitives!  I love my mom!

My mom taught me to breastfeed and now years later I am at it again with Max.  I always joke that I have a bachelors degree in nursing, the breastfeeding type.  I nursed my first four children a little over four years total.  Now I am onto my Master's degree.  Today's assignment, nurse while walking without my hooter hider.  I decided it could be done, and after adjusting max in his pouch and providing him a dinner "boob" I realized if someone looked hard enough, they would catch a peek.  Ah well, Max was hungry and that's what dinners are for and today is earth day after all and I was at one with mother nature. 

My mom instilled in me a desire to get out there and go for a walk.  When I was really little, like five or six, I remember my mom would sneak away at night and go for a walk.  One night I asked her if I could go with and she took me along.  It was dark and cold and there was quite a bit of snow on the ground.  But I remember how peaceful it was and how beautiful everything looked at night.  To this day I love to go for a walk.  Today I headed back to Chamber's Bay, even though we were just there yesterday afternoon, and walked the entire trail.  It was just lovely.  There is a view of the Sound and today it was full of boats.  There is a beautiful path that takes you through the woods and along a gorgeous golf course.  It's a small bit of heaven.  I sang to Max and cooed at him and smiled as the puppy greeted another puppy friend.  Then I called my mom and told her I missed her and wished her here.  I miss my mom. 

This is a love letter to my mom that I intend to continue, but if I don't sign off now, I will be late for a little's soccer practice.  One other trait my mom also passed on to me, the inability to be on time!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Smiling Saxton

Yesterday we had the awards dinner for basketball.  And I am proud of what my little Saxton was awarded for, her smile.  She is only in second grade, but I put her with Sage so she was on the third/forth team.  Saxton is young for her grade as it is, was the littlest on the team and had the least amount of experience.  But she had something no one else had, a contageous smile and a winning spirit.  Saxton couldn't reach the basket, but she could reach the crowd.  And boy could she block, even if her opponent was a foot taller than she was.  My baby had heart!  She had a positive attitude no matter what!  She went to every practice, tried her hardest in every game and I am more proud of her gumption than any basket she could have made.  Awesome job sweet girl!  Awesome job!  Mommy is proud!


1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I was talking to a girlfriend who is contemplating divorce.  I heard and felt and understood the pain, fear, hurt and worry in her voice.  I heard the doubt she felt and it broke my heart to hear her beat herself up.  I was that woman.  I was in her shoes. 

I thought about this bible verse.  It is often read during a marriage ceremony.  But how many of us really listen to it.  I want to ask my girlfriend the next time we speak if she can read this and parallel it to her own relationship. 

Love is kind.  It does not bully.  It is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  Love is what I want for my children, my family, my friends.  This form of love.  They deserve it.  So do I. 

I want to tell my friend that you get married on the premise of this bible verse.  But if it is not there, then you are not letting your children down by dissolving a marriage.  You let your children down when you live with out Love.  You are telling them that all of the negative behavior is okay even though you know it is not.  But mostly I want to tell her that Love does exist and it is waiting for her. 

I found it.  I wasn't looking for it.  It wasn't at the best moment or the most obvious one, but it was there, patiently waiting for me, until I realized I deserved it. 

My wise old Sage and Love

As adults we can muck things up so much we can't see clearly anymore.  I am trying through counseling and living in a positive environment to fix things, but I am still an adult and we like to make things so complicated.  But it's not.  Sage taught me that today.  We were on our way home talking about their school day.  They said they had a conversation about bullying so asked them what they learned. Sage told me the analogy of Pepper, sugar and water.  She said pepper symbolized hurtful words and thoughts, sugar was love and water was us.  Sage went on and said even if you put just a little bit of pepper in water, it took a whole lot of sugar to get out the taste, and that it takes a whole lot of love to get out the bad thoughts.  I smiled, and told her she was smart.  It was a little sign from God that children have this innate ability to understand in the purest form right from wrong.  I have tried my hardest to shield them from what has happened and is still going on.  I want them to just be kids, beautiful, happy kids.  I want to fill their cups full of so much sugar they never have to taste the pepper, even if a little of it spills in their soul. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baseball, babies, breastfeeding and a patient boyfriend.

Friday night Jerry, Max and I went to Opening Day at Safeco field to watch the Seattle Mariners.  I was pretty excited to get to go and have a date night with Jerry.  It had been a while.  Although we joke that every night is date night after the kids go to bed.  We make the commitment to sit together and spend time, even if it is just to watch t.v.  Anyway, traffic was good and it was a beautiful day.  Sunny in Seattle.  We had gotten our tickets just two days before and being that it was opening night, we weren't too sure how good they would be.  But as we walked down to them we realized we were just three rows up from the Mariner's dugout.  Yeah!  We were able to have an awesome view of all the festivities, which included a memorial for Dave Niehaus, Felix Hernandez receiving his American League Cy Young award, as well as Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez who received 2010 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.   We were super excited to be there, we couldn't stop smiling, except we both got teary eyed when they honored Dave and even Ron Santo who I really admired and used to love to listen to. 

Then there was Max, who was awesome!  We were seated near a bunch of guys who just adored him and one of them even made it his goal to get Max a ball. And he did!  In the Forth inning the Indians scored ten runs and after the final out, they threw a ball into the crowd and our new found friend snagged it.   Max then proceeded to eat the ball and everyone thought that was so cute.  The guy behind me even took a picture and sent it to his wife, who then sent it to her mom in NC who then proceeded to call Max the "cutest thing ever." I guess Max thought that mom and dad deserved a fun night out, even if the Mariners didn't win. 

One of the coolest things was how much fun we had even though they didn't win.  Like Jerry said, if you go to ten games in a year and they win six, that is awesome!  And I was shocked at how well he took the loss... for those of you who know, I am a big Cubs fan, so my relationship with the Mariners is just starting, but Jerry is a big fan, but a not a sour loser, which makes him fun to watch games with. 

Another funny tid bit about the game was we were on television ALOT!   We realized this after several text messages from people telling Jerry that they could see us every time a left handed batter was up.  So after realizing that eventually Max would get hungry and I have a strict policy of not missing a pitch, we pondered how I would nurse Max while being on television.  Yes, I had brought my hooter hider, but that seemed to make what I was doing obvious.  But what are you going to do?  A baby has to eat.  So I nursed.  I haven't watched that part of the game yet to see if you can tell, but oh well if you can.  Isn't that what hooters are for, or "dinners" as Jerry and I call them, (we got this name from my grandma Miller).  He even fell asleep for a little while after his meal, even among all the commotion. 

All in all it was an awesome night.  One thing I love about Jerry is how relaxed he is.  He sets such a positive mood for everything.  I no longer walk on eggshells.  I know that each and every day no matter what we do he is going to shed a positive light on it.  As he often says to me, it is what it is. One moment that really stood out on Friday, was on the way to the game I  really had to go pee,  Really bad!  We were in downtown Seattle at that point, and in the Industrial part of town.  We were supposed to stay in the the left lane to head to the stadium, but he got in the right so I could go to the bathroom in this furniture store.  God bless him.  Because of this, he had to park in the nearest lot, which was cheap, only ten dollars, but a long walk from the stadium.  And then during our long walk, we hit the train tracks and got held up by the longest train in history, delaying getting to the game even more.  He could have been mad about several things, like parking before the railroad tracks, But he wasn't.  It was what it was and his positive attitude set the tone for the night.  I found as he stayed relaxed, my anxiety level fell as we stood waiting for the never ending train to pass.  And, we still made it to our seats on time and even were able to get something to eat before the start of the festivities. 

And to end this little blog I'll leave you with this, a quote from some one else, not sure who, it isn't whether you win or loose, but how you play the game, or enjoy the game in this case.   

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Beaches and Rain drops

Do you remember when you were little and you had one of those days that you knew you would never forget?  I am blessed and cursed with an amazing memory.  My mind is funny, even if I try to forget certain events, my dreams and subconscious bring them back.  But some memories, the good ones, I try and replay over in my mind like a movie so that I won't ever forget them.  I was lucky enough to have some of those memories this last week.  We saw a sign in a store that read, "Don't wait out the storm, learn to dance in the rain." We took this sign to heart.

Last Sunday we packed up the car and headed to Seaside.  It was raining, we had a little hassle with the dog's grooming and I wasn't feeling very well, but we were off (I later realized I had a flaming case of Mastitis.  Whoever has breastfed and had this wonderful issue knows it makes you feel like crap and is a pain in the breast! p.s. thank you to a sweet friend for helping me out with antibiotics... you saved my vacation.) 

Without too many "when are we going to be there(s)?" and a side of the road pee (something I am notorious for) we arrived.  We found a hotel on the beach with connecting rooms.  It was great.  It had a balcony and a fireplace that we had going almost 24-7 drying clothes that got wet either from the ocean or the rain.  The best part of it was that we used change to pay for it.  Jerry has this huge coke bottle that he collects change in and the kids wanted to use it for a vacation, so we cashed it in and had enough for our hotel, gas and spending money.  :)  It was a good lesson for the kids to show them you can save up your pennies for something.

We had a wonderful time.  Of course the kids had their moments, but all in all they were really good.  They fell asleep with a few giggles.  We walked around the little town and the kids rode the Carousel and Whirl-O-thingy.  We found this candy store with 80's candy and bought a bunch to sample with the kids. (I was a bad girl with my lent promise... I ate some candy and sweets.)  There was also this cool Aquarium that we went to on Tuesday that was very cool.  We had just watched a documentary on the Puget Sound and all of the sea life with there for the kids to see up close.  They also had harbor seals that you could feed.  That was hilarious.  They did tricks for their fish, like splash you til you were soaked.  We also enjoyed a daily visit to the indoor pool.  We worked on getting Brayden to swim under water, the girls were great teachers and Max showed off his skills that he has been learning in his Shrimp swim class. 

But my favorite day was Wednesday.  We were supposed to go home, but we decided to stay an extra day.  On Tuesday night we drove to Cannon Beach to eat and decided to come back the next day to explore.  But it was pouring... raining sideways.  We drove through Ecola State park, took 10 minutes to get all covered up to go walking and lasted about three minutes before we headed back to the car.  We headed into town and walked around trying to stay out of the rain and keep the kids happy while having to say "no" to all the pretties and playthings they asked for.  We did find the homemade Salt water Taffy we were searching for which made everyone smile.  Then we all piled in the car and parked by the water so I could nurse Max and we fed Seagulls out of our windows popcorn.  Then came my favorite part... one of those memories that I hope the kids never forget and I know I never will.  We drove to a spot where you could see Haystack Rock, a super cool random rock formation jutting out of the ocean.  We bundled up again and headed out, but this time we did not turn back.  We said screw the rain, let's have some fun.  Wading across the raging water runoff we took off running across the beach.  We were several hundred yards from the rock and getting soaked by the second, but we didn't care.  I had Max all bundled up inside of my sweatshirt and jacket and he giggled and eventually feel asleep as I jogged/walked to our destination.  It was awesome.  The tide was still out so we were able to walk in the tide pools and see clams, sea urchins, starfish and many other forms of sea life.  The rock blocked the wind and allowed for some pictures.  The girls and I played frogger with the approaching tide so that we could touch the starfish.  We laughed and smiled the whole time, finally embracing the weather and just loving this moment.  I told Sage that if Savannah and Sam were here, this would be a perfect moment, because they were in my heart, it was close. 

One other special memory was Tuesday night. Jerry and I loved to watch the wind whip and blow the sand and wind sideways down the beach.  I would look out at the ocean and think that how fun would it be to just go out there and run around... so I did.  I put on Jerry's black rain coat and went out in the blowing rain in my pj

I have been through  many ups and downs over the years and it was a bit of a "full circle" feeling to be back at the Oregon coast.  Back in 1996 I came here searching for a band aid for my broken heart.  I found one, but it wasn't big enough and I still had a lot to go through.  But my heart always longed to be back in this part of the country.  Now every time I get to the water I feel a bit of me heals.  I can't get enough. 

We got home Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning I was already planing our next visit to the sea.  A day trip to Whidbey island.  Jerry had the day off and so Max, the girls and him and I headed out.  We had a wonderful day exploring Langley, Coupville and Fort Casey State Park. We ate some treats and watched the Puppy run around all crazy on the beach.  Taking the ferry back on to the mainland with the wind howling and the waves rocking the boat, I watched the girls laugh and felt so lucky to be able to experience this with them.  My breath was taken away several times during the day by the beauty of the sea, and I was so grateful to have the ability to bring myself back to life.