Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks

I have written a Thanksgiving post every year for the past few years, and this year won't be an exception. I know that Turkey Day (or, if you're a PETA person, Tofurkey Day) is still two days away, but since I will be hitting the road tomorrow for the weekend, you're getting your annual Thanksgiving post a bit early this year.

I am thankful for...

The newest member of my little family, Harrison. You entered my life 9 months ago tomorrow and I can't even imagine life without you. Before you were born, I worried so much about having enough love in my heart for my second child. After all, I love Grace so much, with all my would I ever be able to muster that much love for another child? But then you came, and all of my fears were instantly erased. You changed my heart. You made it grow. And you taught me that a mommy's love knows no bounds. Thank you.

My first baby, Grace. There is just no possible way to articulate how much you have changed in the past year. You went from only child to big sister. You know how to read. You go to bed on your own, after a story and a hug and kiss. You understand things. You're growing up right in front of my eyes. You are silly and fun. Laughing with you is one of my favorite things to do in the whole world. You're so caring, so loving, so full of life. So amazing. Thank you for being you.

My love, Aaron. I watched you become a daddy this year. This is my first time going through life with a baby with you, and wow. I am so proud of you. When I tell you that any kid would be lucky to have you for a dad, I mean it. You give 100% to your kids, and when they require more than that, you give it to them. You love them with all your heart. And when you walk through the door each evening, their faces light up to see you. They can't wait to spend time with you. And, you make being a mom so much easier for me, because you are truly my partner--you accept your fair share of the hard work, the struggles, and because of that, you also see the triumphs. I love you. So, so proud of the father that you are. Thank you.

My parents and my sister--my support system. When I say, "I couldn't have done it without you," this year, I mean it. Like, I COULD NOT have done this whole "having a second baby" thing without you guys. You guys stepped in and helped out with Grace when I had my super-surprise induction, taking off work and creating chaos in your lives for several days, without hesitation. And the thing is, I know you guys think it's no big's what family does. But, it's not what EVERY family does, and that's what is so awesome about you guys. I can't tell you how much what you did, and all you continue to do, means to me. So, thank you.


And now, some less gooshy things I am thankful for this year:

-Mexican hot chocolate
-Alterra coffee
-Really good vegetarian recipes
-Beans--black, pinto, kidney, and otherwise

(Why are these all food-related?)

-The "Twilight" saga...I'm an addict
-Daytime TV
-Our new vehicle, the Mazda 5, especially the sliding doors
-My church and my new church family
-My Daisy Scouts and my co-leader, Tracey
-Zip-up baby sleepers
-My new head looks fabulous even on 4 hours of sleep!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nerds and Vampires, A Conversation

Tonight, while watching "Big Bang Theory":

Me, to Aaron: You're my Leonard.

Aaron walks away dejectedly. I presume he didn't appreciate the fact that I implied he was nerdy, but he *claims* he was only going to the kitchen for salsa.

Me: Well, you're my Edward (as in Edward Cullen, the vampire in "Twilight") too!

Aaron: I'm a twinkly vampire?

Me: No, I mean that I can't live without you. Duh.

Aaron: Well, you're my hemoglobin. *snickers* I can't live without you, either. *more snickers*

Me, whispering to myself so Aaron can't hear: See, you are a nerd.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Not My Kid?

Today, Grace's Q1 report card came home, and in looking at it, I am wondering whose kid Grace REALLY is...

Socially, Grace is doing really well in school. She has lots of friends, she participates in class discussions, and she (mostly) behaves. She shows care and concern for others. She is kind and she shares. She is respectful and follows the rules. That doesn't surprise me.

What does surprise me a bit...a lot, how Grace is doing academically.

As a child, and even into middle school, high school, and college, I was always above grade level in Reading and Writing. I read at the fourth grade level in Kindergarten, and I was always in the special, gifted groups for classes like Reading, Spelling, and Language Arts. However, Math and Science were the bane of my existence. The only class I ever came close to getting a D in was Chemistry. I struggled with each and every math class that I have ever had to take, and I was so very thankful that my major in college didn't require me to take any math classes.

Grace does well in Reading and Writing. She is right about where she should be in those subjects as a Kindergartner. However, the "X's" she received as satisfactory marks in Reading and Writing faded into resounding "+'s" that she earned this quarter in Math and Science--she exceeds grade level targets in these two areas. In fact, her teacher noted that Grace's areas of strength are likely to guessed it...Math and Science. As I took this all in, I stood, looking at her report card, mouth agape, wondering where this talent came from.

Oh, and the other area she is doing really well in? Physical Education. Um, what? I was the kid who always got picked last for games in Gym class and who actually peed in her pants once while playing kickball. Yep. I was so nervous that someone was going to kick the ball to me.

One indicator Grace is actually my kid, though...As we were driving to get ice cream this past weekend, she told me that I made her heart turn upside down because, even though she was happy I was taking her to get ice cream, I wouldn't let her to go the ice cream place she REALLY wanted to go to. And also because I managed to lose her new favorite barrette. Yes, she is premenstrual early, just like I was.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Growing Up

The H-man is crawling. This morning as Grace was eating her breakfast and I was hurrying to apply a layer of makeup before walking Grace to school, Harrison was sitting on the floor next to me, playing with some blocks. He pushed himself over onto his hands and knees, as he often does, but instead of just plopping onto his tummy or crawling backwards, he crawled about two paces forward. And suddenly Grace and I were on the floor, cheering, "Go buddy!" and "C'mon! You can do it!!"

Who is this baby and how is it possible that he is crawling already? How can it be that he already has two little teeth peeking out from his gums? Wasn't he just a teeny newborn? And now he is less than four months away from his first birthday...he won't be a baby for too much longer.

I love this stage of babyhood and I know it will pass too quickly. I am excited to watch Harrison grow up, but I find myself wishing time would slow down, just a little bit.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Of Prayers and Vaccines

First off, many prayers and thoughts for the folks down at Ft. Hood. I lived about a mile from Ft. Hood's gates back in 2001 and 2002 (in my previous life, when I was an Army wife), so when I heard the news of this tragedy yesterday, I felt especially sad. I remember how difficult it was to live the Army life, and I just can't imagine how much more stress this is adding to the soldiers and their families. Many, many prayers for all...

So, I managed to get H1N1 vaccines for both the kiddos, and it took some work. I have been calling our pediatrician's office every week since September 1st looking for the seasonal flu shot (which the kids still haven't gotten), and I started to ask for the H1N1 vaccine around that time as well. Each time I called, I was given the run-around..."call next week", "we don't know when they're coming", yadda, yadda, yadda...and it was really starting to piss me off. When I called last week I was told, "We don't know when we will have them, and by the way, we may NEVER have them. So if you can find the vaccines out in the community, go for it." I was in a particularly bad mood that day, so I decided to pursue things a bit further. I called the Clinic Administrator. I told her I wanted to know what was going on. I wanted to know how I could protect my children, and most of all, I wanted to know why in the HELL Target and Walgreens were able to purchase seasonal flu vaccines (and by the way, they are only vaccinating people who are 18 or older), but doctors' offices couldn't obtain them.

To my surprise, the Clinic Administrator was very pleasant and helpful. She informed me that more vaccine would be coming at the end of November and that she would put the kids' names on a waiting list, so that when they did receive vaccine, we would be called. She also gave me a website (, for those of you in Wisconsin who are interested) that displays all of the public flu clinics in our area, so we could also try to find vaccine out in the community.

That afternoon, our pediatrican (who is also the clinic's Medical Director) also called me. He let me know that he shares my frustration (he has kids and a pregnant wife) and reiterated that since our family is high risk--with an 8-month-old and a 5-year-old who is in elementary school and spends her days with other germy kids--our kids would be put on a waiting list and we would be called as soon as vaccine became available. And I felt a little stupid for a minute, getting all of this attention, but then I remembered that I am a mom, and if anyone is going to fight for what is right for my kids, it's gonna be me.

There is a lesson to be learned pays to complain. It pays to pick up the phone and make a couple of calls, because earlier this week, our pediatrician called and said he had received limited amount of the nasal H1N1 vaccine and that he would save one for Gracie.

Unfortunately, our clinic did not receive the injectable H1N1 vaccine, so Harrison was not able to be vaccinated that day. However, the city of Milwaukee held a clinic yesterday for the high risk groups, so I bundled Harrison up, stood in line with him for two hours, and got him vaccinated. And, because I thought to ask, Harrison got the thimerosal-free version of the vaccine. Ask, if you're concerned about that sort of thing, because it's available.

We get to do this all over again in four weeks...both kids need booster shots. And, as I said, neither of them has received the seasonal flu shot yet. I will keep calling.