Sunday, February 21, 2010


This is what we were doing on February 21, 2006...

And, now, 4 years later...

Happy birthday sweet, sweet boy. Life has been full of excitement, joy, laughter, messes, hugs, kisses, songs, mud, pretend and bedtime stories. We are so blessed beyond words. You promised me to never grow up and move away...I plan to capture that on video to play for you when you turn 18. I'm holding you to it.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Today was swimming lessons...Part 2. I have to admit, the pessimist in me didn't have high expectations. But, Ethan surprised me. On the way there he informed me that he wouldn't, "shake his head no, or tell his teacher no." Hey, that's more than I get! Upon arrival, he changed his clothing without a fuss. In fact he was rather pleasant! That's two for two. Then he proceeded to do the 'happy dance' in anticipation for his lesson to begin. Is this MY CHILD?! I actually stopped and checked to be sure I hadn't grabbed up some other little boy by mistake.

Ethan, mid-happy dance...

Once lessons began, my son (possessed by some sweet spirit today), left my side and joined his classmates in the pool. And that was that. I even got to watch pool side like the other moms! This must be what normalcy feels like. I did, however, have to document this monumental occasion with lots of pictures and videos. It kind of made me stick out like a sore thumb, but, it had to be done...otherwise no one would have believed my story.

There was one little glitch...a minor one in my book. After class, the teacher pulled me aside to tell me that Ethan wouldn't float on his back. He told her, "ummmm...that's too dangerous for me." So, I suppose we will be practicing in the shallow end of the bathtub in preparation for next week.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Blog-Worthy Swim Lesson...

I was unable to take a picture of today's lesson...
I was a little busy.

If you read this blog, then you probably know me well enough to know that I gave birth to a very strong-willed child. The little Mr. has spent most of his four short years in protest. He began exerting his will from day one. After his grand entrance into this world, he thanked the doctor for his assistance by screaming and peeing all over him.

Now, it's not entirely his fault. The little Mr. didn't stand a chance. After all, as a toddler, his mother used to have a nervous breakdown at the very mention of going to the pediatrician. Therefore, the ped prescribed Valium to be given to her prior to office visits (very true was the 80's). And his father was a head banger. Both first borns.

So, given his inherited personality (and let's not leave out the sin nature), it's no surprise that, what would seemingly be an uneventful first swim lesson, would become a knock down, drag out, emotional display of wills.

You see, we've been prepping the little Mr. for two whole weeks leading up to today's lesson. We marked off the days on a calendar, chose a favorite pair of swimming trunks, and talked about the excitement of swimming. But, when the exciting day arrived, he informed me he would like to stay home...uh, oh.

Disregarding his announcement, I proceeded to pack his bag, prepare a snack and inform him (using my cheerful, this is the moment you've been waiting for, voice) that we were preparing to leave for swim lesson.

We arrived at the YMCA, unloaded ourselves and our gear and headed to the family locker room...and so the melt-down began. He refused to remove his, I did it for him, while he kicked and screamed. Then I gathered him up (along with his baby sister and all the aforementioned gear) and we hauled ourselves to the pool where he sat with a white-knuckle grip on the bench.

The teacher had obviously seen this display before, since she came over and offered her assistance. I happily handed over my son. She gathered him up and carried him kicking and screaming to the pool. That's right. He was the only kid in class screaming. As if it couldn't get any worse, he was screaming, "Help me mommy! Help me!" Sheesh! I did what I had to do...I grabbed the little miss and left the pool area. And you know what? The screaming stopped. The tantrum stopped. As a matter of fact, I peered in the window and the kid was laughing, smiling and paddling back and forth down the pool. He even jumped off the side into the water! He had a great time. He even wants to go back (not that he has a choice...5 weeks have been paid for courtesy of his Nana and Papa).

I'm certainly no parenting expert...honestly, the softie inside wanted to run back and grab my son and take him home to his comfort zone. But, then I would be teaching him to never confront his fears. He would have learned that it's okay to throw a tantrum and get what you want and that you don't have to follow through with your commitments. I don't think his strong-will is such a bad thing if we train him to use it positively. He's a great leader, he's committed to learning, and has a compassion for the needs of others. It's very likely next weeks lesson will look similar to today...but that's okay, he'll work through it. I know the other moms may shake their heads and whisper (they certainly didn't hide their stares today), but that's okay. We're working on progress here, and progress ain't pretty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I love my dog. Okay, that was an outright lie. She drives me crazy, mad, insane and pushes me to the brink of...well...insanity. I didn't always feel this way. As a matter of fact there was a cold Sunday afternoon in February seven years ago, that the hubby and I (then childless) stood in front of a kennel at the animal rescue league preparing to take home a sweet, quiet, shy 130lb English Mastiff named...Stella.

We were like new parents preparing to take home our infant. We eagerly filled out the paperwork, slipped her brand new collar over her mammoth neck, attached the leash with care and then led her to our explorer (or rather she led us by dragging us across the ice-rink of a parking lot). We should have known what we were getting ourselves into when as we pulled away from the rescue league she let out a loud deep bark that startled us and caused us to look at each other and laugh nervously. It can't be so bad right? Ummmmm....if Marley and Hooch mated, you'd get Stella. Technically Marley and Hooch can't mate since they are both males...I digress.

In the seven years since Stella has been in our care she has consumed a barrage of things both food and non-food. I guess you could say, she eats when she is bored, tired, lonely, sad and happy. Basically, eating is what she's good at. We've nicknamed her, 'The Iron Stomach.'

Stella has consumed multiple loaves of bread (her comfort food of choice), whole blocks of cheese, an entire 5 lb bag of potatoes, rolls of paper towels, a lint roller (yes, she swallowed the tape), numerous bags of garbage, toilet paper, large bag of Dove chocolate (including foil), batches of cookies, cardboard boxes, plastic bags, two whole cantaloupes, bag of pears, casseroles, kids food, gum, and a backpack. Oh, and to top it all off, half a bottle of antacids. This all in addition to her kibble. She's not picky and I have the vet on speed dial.

She's destroyed blankets, shoes (always mine), toys, and a couple of cell phones. She's afraid of storms and men in hats. She loves a good tum rub and the spot above her tail. She likes short walks, sleeps a lot in the sun and is gentle with the kids. Our vets love her. She lays her head in my lap when I cry and she followed me everywhere in the house during my postpartum depression after the little Mr. was born. She snores loudly and stinks up the house silently. She barks at strangers and welcomes friends. While she still drives me crazy, I can't imagine life without her. This month marks seven years from when we rescued Stella. We've had more adventures that we can count, a large food bill and a lot of love. Without her we wouldn't be 'The Jackson 5'.

Picture taken after we brought Stella home...this blanket was also consumed by Stella.