Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Coos and Smiles...

...are the best in the world!

Jackson woke up today and decided that today would be "Coo And Smile At Mommy Day".

I might not even get dressed. I may just sit here in my bathrobe and "talk" to him all day long!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This is SO my life right now.

But don't you think he's worth it?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

So much to be thankful for

Dear God,

You have brought so many wonderful things into my life this year. I cannot thank You enough.

Thank you for my wonderful husband. He is everything You knew I needed and wanted in a partner. Thank you for making him for me. He is a terrific father, too. I am so very thankful for him.

Thank you for my family and my friends who are as close as family to me. Thank you for giving me people who love me no matter what. These people ARE Jesus to me. They love me and sacrifice for me and are always there. Thank you for giving me such a wonderful circle of love and support. There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for my Posse. (Adan, Crystal, Michelle, Tracy, Michele, Kim, Sue, Alice, Brandi, Chris, Lisa and Nicole...I'm talking about YOU!)

Thank you for my son. Jackson is the most amazing thing to ever happen to me. He is a perfect, pure soul that came out of me. He takes my breath away. There aren't words to express how much I love him. He is the dream and the prayer of my heart that I longed for, for so many years. Thank you for finally giving him to me.

Thank you for my health. This year was one that I focused on keeping myself well because of my pregnancy and I am so grateful to have been successful at managing my diabetes. There were some ups and downs, but You always kept me safe.

Thank you for providing so freely for my family. You have richly rewarded my husband's hard work with a very successful career. Thank you for a comfortable lifestyle.

Thank you for my pets. Their smiles, kisses, purrs and swishing tails are full of love and devotion to me and my family. "Dog" spelled backwards is "God". Coincidence? I think not. Bella and Katie love us just as passionately, freely, and unconditionally as You do.

Thank you for everything good in my life, and help me to always remember James 1:17: "Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow." (New Living Translation)

You are so good to me. I cannot thank You enough.


P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Persistance Pays!

Victory is mine!!!

Merry Christmas from all of us. Please ignore my gigantic post-baby hips. I'm workin' on it.

Highs and Lows

So yesterday was a crazy day.

It started out innocently enough. It actually started out pretty awesome. We were invited to a private screening for the whole family of the new film "Happy Feet" on IMAX. I didn't know much about the flick, except that it was a family-friendly animation film.

Happy Feet turned out to be AWESOME. If you plan on seeing the film, skip through this paragraph to avoid spoilers. The movie was a great one for everyone. It had some cleverly-veiled adult humor along with a great message for kids. They matched those up with a strong social responsibility message that everyone needs to hear, then set it to a rocking soundtrack with a huge feel-good vibe. Good stuff! Go see it. Take the whole family. You won't be disappointed, I promise!

After the movie on IMAX at Navy Pier, we all headed home exhausted. We all napped and fed. Some of us had a diaper change. ;) Then suddenly, without warning, the day's tide turned. And none of us even knew it was happening. My Treo's calendar beeped at me to remind me that we had to take Bella the Lab and Katie the Golden to the mall for Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day.

Now I know that
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day sounds like a really fun time but I can tell you first hand that it WAS NOT.

I carefully dressed Jack in his Baby's First Christmas outfit just in case we were able to get a family photo. I donned a red cowl neck blouse and asked Tim to wear his red and white striped button down. It was a full car on the way to the mall. We had to push my front passenger seat forward to fit the stroller behind me next to Jackson because the dogs were in the cargo area. So we all trucked down to Woodfield for our very first ever
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day.

On the way to the mall, Tim and I decided that he would drop me off at the door with the dogs, we would go inside to get in line for Santa pictures and Tim would park and then come in to meet us with Jackson in the stroller.
After he dropped the girls and I off, I slowly made my way towards the mall door. Bella and Katie were enthralled with all the sights and sounds and all the people! Bella and Katie LOVE people. They love kids and old ladies and just everyone. They were thrilled to be meeting so many new people. Lots of strangers wanted to meet them and pet them and Bella and Katie were so excited to make their acquaintance. The three of us made our way through the mall, towards the center where the Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day was going on. Every few yards someone new stopped us to pet the girls. Bella and Katie were just in their glory. Katie was actually lying on the marble mall floor, giving up the belly when Mall Security approached me.

"Ma'am", he said, "You can't have dogs in the mall." I explained that it was
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day and we were headed to see Santa and then we were leaving right after. He said nobody had told him of the event and I said "Oh I'm sorry you weren't informed." We proceeded towards the center of the mall where Santa is.

Mall Security Man came back to me, with a backup officer in tow, to tell me "Ma'am,
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day is tomorrow."

I was mortified. Here I was, in the middle of Woodfield Mall, which used to be the biggest indoor shopping mall in the US until the Mall of America in Minneapolis was built, with nearly 150 pounds of shedding, slobbering dogs. I had not one but TWO large dogs. Not tiny little ankle biter chihuahuas either. Oh no. I have a 85 pound Yellow Labrador Retriever and a 55 pound Golden Retriever. These are NOT dogs you can fit in your purse. They're barely dogs we can fit in our SUV!

So Bella and Katie are now thinking that it is time to meet and make friends and shed on Mr. Mall Security and his backup unit. They're sitting and trying to give paw while I stand there, dumbstruck, apologizing profusely and explaining that I was sure that
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day was today.

The two security guards explain to me that no,
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day is tomorrow, so I will have to leave the premises with my two huge dogs immediately. That's fine and I am willing to leave but the problem is that now I am separated from Tim and Jack. I didn't bring my purse in with me, just the dogs. So I don't have my phone to call Tim and even if I did, his phone just so happened to break earlier in the day.

So let's back the bus up a minute and just review: Me, in the mall with two large dogs. Getting kicked out. Or as we geeks say, I was P0WN3D by Mall Security. Separated from husband and baby in what used to be THE LARGEST INDOOR MALL IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I'm near tears. I'm humiliated and exhausted and convinced that I'm going to end up waiting outside the mall in the cold (did I mention I didn't bring my coat in either?) until the mall closes. Or I will have to walk home. I could walk home, it's about 5 miles. But it's freezing out and...just NO. NO! This is NOT happening to me!

And yet it was.

I explained to the security guards that I had to find my husband so we could leave. They said "well does he have a cell phone?" in a tone of voice that said "everybody on the planet has a cell phone, Crazy Lady with the two large dogs in the mall" and I explained that yes he does but it broke today.

So Mall Security had to put out an APB on my husband and I had to describe him in detail like I was giving a description to a court sketch artist of a burglar or rapist. So I tell them that he's 6'2", blonde hair, blue eyes, wearing a red and white striped shirt and blue jeans, pushing a stroller with our son in it and the stroller is beige and sage green. And his name is Tim and if they find him if they could please direct him towards the exit they are banishing me to wait outside of so we can all go home in shame.

And then my shameful walk through the mall towards my exit began. The dogs had no idea what was going on. They thought it was all a new fun adventure. We made our way back to the entrance from whence we came. We waited there patiently as mall shoppers stopped to meet Bella and Katie and pet them and tell them they were very good girls. And they were very, very good girls. Tim finally approached and said, laughing, "You got kicked out, huh?" and went to go get the Jeep. We loaded the dogs up in the back of the Jeep and headed home, Tim ribbing me the entire way over how I messed up the days.

The dogs? They were none the wiser. They thought that the field trip to the mall was AWESOME.

When we got home, I looked again at my Treo. That alarm to remind me of
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day? Oh, I set that to go off a day ahead of time, so on Saturday it would remind me that we had to do that on Sunday. I'm just so sleep deprived I didn't remember that I had set it that way and when I glanced at it quickly, I didn't read that it was a reminder for the next day.

In my defense, when I told Tim that we had to get ready and get to the mall for
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day, he didn't argue or say "I thought that was tomorrow." He said "Oh yeah, I forgot about that." So HE WENT TOO, he just didn't have the dogs. I don't understand how it is that he gets away with making fun of me when he went too. He forgot too. He screwed up too.

I mentioned to him last night over dinner that today we have our monthly Attachment Parenting group meeting at the library. He said, "Okay. You want to take the dogs?" Ha ha ha. Verrrry funny.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to start getting the five of us ready, again, for
Take Your Dog or Cat's Picture With Santa Day at the mall. Hell yeah I'm going back. After all that, I'm getting my dogs' picture with Santa.

This time, it's personal.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hi, I'm alive...

But just barely. Sleep deprived but still head over heels in love with my Depriver of Sleep. Jackson has The Colic. :(

More later.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

About Bon Jovi, and trying to understand my mother

Jackson has loved music ever since before he was born. When he fusses, nothing soothes him more than a good tune. So this morning while he was throwing a little temper tantrum for no reason, I plugged in my mp3 player and sang along. And hormonal me got all choked up singing the chorus of "I'll Be There For You" to my son:

I'll be there for you
These five words I swear to you
When you breathe,
I wanna be the air for you
I'll be there for you
I'd live and I'd die for you
Steal sun from the sky for you
Words can't say what love can do
I'll be there for you

But I don't think it's just the hormones, or that Jon Bon Jovi is a particularly touching songwriter. I think it's because when I look at my son, I love him so much my heart nearly breaks. And then I try to reconcile these feelings with my own childhood experience, and it doesn't make sense. It doesn't add up.

Why didn't my own mother love me as much as I love Jack? (I tearfully asked my husband this over dinner Sunday night. He said, "Because she's crazy". I think he's onto something.)

There is nothing on this earth that I wouldn't do for my son. My love for him is fierce and loyal. It's the truest thing I've ever known.

But my mom was different. My mom told me I was stupid, fat and ugly (and I believed her for a very long time!). My mother told me she wished I was never born, and that I ruined her life. (And though I thought MANY times that maybe she shouldn't have spread her legs, I never voiced it. But oh, how I wish I had!) My mother screamed at me with a violent temper. She beat me, smacked me, punched me, yanked my hair and flung me to the floor. She did all this behind closed doors, then put on her nice Sunday School Teacher Face and was a complete hypocrite in front of everyone else, but that is another story entirely.

And then I hold Jackson, and gaze down into his eyes, into his perfectly pure, sweet little soul. And all I ever want to do is to love him and protect him and always make his world and his life the best I can. I can't imagine ever hurting him like my mother hurt me. I can't comprehend that.

I have to admit that trying to reconcile my childhood and my mother's feelings about me has been the hardest part, mentally, about being a mother. When I hold my son, I love him so much my heart almost explodes. Then I think about how my mother did not love or want me and I just can't understand it. I can't fathom ever treating my son the way my brothers and I were treated. It just doesn't make sense to me. Babies are the most precious miracles on earth, how can you not love them? I don't understand her. It's been so hard for me, because I kind of thought that maybe when I was a mother myself that I would understand her better.

I was wrong. The only thing I understand is that I will never understand her.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Happy Birthday to me from the National Football League

Last night over dinner I mused aloud to Tim, "maybe tomorrow the 49ers will win for me for my birthday!" He laughed and said "I wouldn't count on it."

And he's right. I've had a crappy season so far. I came into this week 2 and 5. I know my team sucks right now, but you can't always be the winners. Right now the Niners are in a building mode, working with a newer coach and a second year QB. I don't have much of an offense and my D is laughable. But still. I hoped. I wished. I dreamed.

I received. And as an added bonus, my game was televised in my area! So I got to watch my 6 point win over the Minnesota Vikings. Jackson was surprisingly calm as he lay in my arms, while I screamed at the TV.

The icing on my birthday gift-from-the-NFL-cake was a little local team loss. I'm not a Bears fan and ordinarily I'm not anti-Bears. But the Bears fans are out of control this year. They've had a good run lately, I'll give them that. But the second they start mentioning the "S" word, they jinx it. And they've started throwing the "S" word around like it's their destiny or birthright. They've gotten cocky and you all know that pride cometh before a fall. So it did my heart good to see the Dolphins take them down a notch.

I'll be honest. It just kind of stings a little to see all those darn happy Bears fans while I stay true blue and forever loyal to my crappy, losing team. So sandwich a Niners win with a Bears loss on a Birthday weekend...and I'm a happy camper indeed!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Annual Inventory

Another year has passed me by, and my oh my what a year it's been! My 31st year afforded me some amazing moments. I married my wonderful husband. He's the best person I've ever known. I experienced my first pregnancy. Despite the rough times, it was such an amazing journey. I gave birth to my firstborn child. He rocks my world. I was able to get back into touch with a few old friends. The internet is an amazing invention!

Overall, this has been a great trip around the sun. A really, really great year.

I'm not sure I could top it if I tried. Hopefully 32 will be just as kind to me. My 32nd year just has to be good. Anything that starts out with cake is going to be good.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sometimes words aren't enough

One of my dear friends/blog readers who shall remain nameless is doing a very amazing thing to help us and our son. This person's kindness and generosity blows my mind. It's enough to make a hormonal new mother cry!

Sometimes God rains down goodness on you in a way that you never thought to ask for. It's times like this that makes me remember that Thanksgiving isn't just reserved for a Thursday in November. Thanksgiving can
come every day, with or without turkey and cranberry sauce. But let the record show that I prefer it with the turkey and cranberry, specifically the jellied cranberry sauce that slides out of a can in a big can-shaped lump. :)

Speaking of big can-shaped lumps, I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude that I have one of those stuck in my throat right now. I'm gonna go snuggle with The Peanut.

Don't you just love him to pieces? No? Okay, then it's
just me.