Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Heaven", Ok - Maybe just "Heav..."

In my past life I used to spend HOURS in the corner garden tub I specifically built into the plans of our former home. I would light 25 candles, pour a glass of wine, fill up a steaming bath with whatever the latest potions I had on hand, grab the latest Smithsonian (hey - I like reading about history and art!) and sink into oblivion. My favorite time of the year for this ritual was the fall or early spring, when I could open the windows and let the coolness of the night air fill the room while I was neck high in steam and water.

When we built our new place just before Jack was born, the "temporary" residence, like a carriage house, that we would live in while the kids were small and convert to a place family from out of town can stay when they visit, I had to compromise on a few things to keep costs relatively reasonable. One of those was a garden tub. Instead we opted for a couple of showers and just one standard, actually low sided, bathtub we could bathe the kids in.

So for the past 3 years, other than a few times when I was pregnant with Duke and absolutely needed the relief of bouyancy (which in a low sided tub didn't work too well since my belly nearly stuck all the way out of the water!) I haven't had the luxury of my past life. Not that my current schedule would have allowed it anyway, but trust me, there have been nights I wouldn't have cared that it would be as late as 9pm to have such a treat. It's basically bedtime at that point anyway and a good soak would have been great.

But this Sunday, I decided enough was enough, I was just going to suffer the low tub and take a good soak. And it was HEAVEN. For 45 minutes, while the kids watched Cars in the living room with Cory, I turned on the bathroom fan, turned off the lights, lit some candles, filled a glass, grabbed a magazine (Parents this time, ah well....current events at least, right?!) and ahhhhhh...into the scent of Huggies Lavendar Baby Wash I descended.

Not quite the same atmosphere with the "accessories" but it'll do for now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

God Knew

Whenever I share the story of how Cory and I started a family I get interesting comments, but mostly I think people wonder why we waited so long and then jumped in so fast. Not that I don't wonder it myself, but truly (as most of you know) we hadn't quite planned to jump in as fast as we did. Jack - well planned, much stressed over (WHEN?!!?) Duke - excuse me, WHAT is that second line doing there?!?!

Of course, I absolutely wouldn't want it any other way. I could not imagine my life without both of my little men, and never want to. But today, with another sick kid day - this time Jack - I got a small glimpse of what some of my friends have in their lives with just one child - or children that are a bit more spaced apart than mine are.

I decided early in the day I wouldn't stress myself about trying to get actual work done from home. I had a few things I needed to do, and did, but with Cory gone until Sunday, I knew I absolutely would not get anything done around the house tomrrow and so I thought I'd take the day and just get the house in order which was desperately needed (since it is not something I usually have time to do unless it's after 8:30 at night or Cory's got both boys out of the house and occupied for several hours which is also not a regular opportunity for us with his schedule.) So, after getting Duke to daycare, Jack and I came home and I went about the task.

And what I learned very quickly is that I can get a whole lot done without being interrupted, even with a 3 year old around, but add a 2 year old and forget it. This made me a little jealous, oh how nice it would be to have more than 2 seconds to breathe for anything. I can't imagine living a life with regular downtime. Everyone says, after the first year, it gets much easier - but honestly, this year - the second, was harder for me than the first. Naps are ending or greatly reduced, bedtimes are stretching longer, personalities are getting stronger...and I'm not getting any younger.

But after a little reflection, and upon returning home after picking up Duke and getting back home to attempt at making a meal and wrangling the two of them up for bathtime and bed I realized yet again.

God knew.

And he shows me each day in some little way how lucky I am and that's what keeps me going. I may be exhausted, but I'm happy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dancing With the Star

Here's the mover and shaker in our household. Presenting Mr. Duke Rath.

Just try and top this show ABC!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I'm Three!

Happy Birthday to my big boy Jack. I can't believe just 3 years ago I was laying in a hospital bed holding a tiny, (and at just 6lbs he was TINY!) baby boy. That was truly my last real vacation, HA! But by all means, a wonderful memory for me of just how precious he is to me and how fast time passes. Why just this morning when he woke up at 6am he announced he was "Almost 3"...which was actually true, since he didn't really enter the world until about 9:15. By the time we got to school however, he was announcing to everyone we ran into that it was his birthday and he was 3.

We had a great time this weekend in Tennessee with Grandma and Grandpa (with the exception of the stomach bug that hitched a ride with us and bit Jack on Saturday afternoon). But we were recovered enough to partake in the Lightning McQueen cake which Grandma made and enjoy all the neat Cars presents she got us. We had to break out the pajamas the night before, after messing up our last clean pair on the last bout of bug. Bleccchhh!

And to celebrate at home Cory and I walked into his room this morning with a cupcake lit with 3 candles singing Happy Birthday, he was VERY EXCITED. Especially when he saw the cupcake was adorned with Luigi and Guido, from yes, CARS. (Aunt Lisa, feel free to just wrap whatever you have in hand for Christmas, no need to buy the boys gifts, used CARS paraphanelia will be just fine!)

And more cupcakes at school along with a birthday crown and an entire room of 2-3 year olds singing a resounding "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to him. Again on the way out, everyone we ran into was presented with Luigi and Guido to view.

And finally, here we sit, watching CARS for oh, maybe the 10th time since last weekend, and playing with Mack, Frank the Combine, all three Lighting McQueen's, Luigi, Guido and occaissionally pre-empting the punch lines "Boy, You're in a HEAP of Trouble".

Here a few pics from the past few days.

Happy Birthday Jack. Even though you prefer CARS over the ever cute Curious George movie (or maybe I just like the variety a little and listening to Jack Johnson over Rascal Flatts), I will continue to play Upside Down on my iPod whenever possible and believe that someday the words will truly describe you, my big boy. (If I knew how to add music to my blog it'd be playing right now!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Something from My Previous Life Returning?

For several years now, including a few prior to having kids, I have volunteered with Children's Hospital here, specifically working with the Auxiliary. It's been a great experience, including volunteering for Parents Night Out - a Thursday night once a month where all the parents that have children in rooms that night are invited to the cafeteria for a meal (from outside the hospital) and bingo and prizes - all donated by a sponsoring group; as Secretary of the Auxiliary - keeping all the volunteers up to date on the opportunities and needs for volunteers; the Christmas Tree Lighting - scheduling entertainment, clowns, and making sure Santa is all ready to arrive in the lobby to visit with the kids the first Friday in December right after the lights "magically" shine on the holiday trees for the first time and even heading up the Teen Scholarship Committee who chooses which teen is deserving of a $2,500 scholarship to college given by the Auxiliary each year.

I've been able to meet and get to know some great people in my work downtown at the hospital and my only regret has been not being able to participate on a more regular basis. With Cory's schedule on the road, it's hard for me to commit to just about anything that requires a definitive day a month or week. However, I do whatever I can just to keep in the loop and involved hoping someday that might change...or even change enough that the kids could join me. When Jack was a baby, he sometimes came with me to the Auxiliary board meetings - and I was tickled this week when Howard Holmes, one of the CHS Volunteer Staff told me that was the highlight of his first meetings with us. He so enjoyed watching Jack crawl around under the table, getting into whatever he could, while we attended to whatever business we had to.

This Tuesday, I was able to work things around and get downtown to interview teens that had applied for a limited amount of volunteer spots that are open for them for the fall semester. Priority goes to returning teen volunteers, so that left only about 10 spots and we had 30 or so that had applied.

It was a great experience, not just to get out of the normal routine of getting the kids, home, dinner, bath, etc...but to see what is out there in the form of our future. I spent about 10 minutes with each of the 7 that I interviewed and am glad I only have to give the input and not make the decision on who to choose. Of course, some amount of dedication is expected by someone who goes ahead and not only fills out the application, but also writes an essay and gets two letters of recommendation from teachers or church members.

Ironically, my top interviewee of the night was my last. She was an eager junior, eldest of four, who shared her gift for coming up with spur of the minute ideas to keep kids busy/distracted, which is often a huge need in the emergency room at Children's when there is a several hour wait to see a doctor during busy times. (Children's never turns away a junvenile patient, no matter insurance or no insurance, so you can imagine in a metropolitan area like Birmingham, what that can lead to.) I was thoroughly impressed by her ease at speaking with an adult she had just met as well as her other volunteer experiences so far in her high school career. And when I asked her what it was about her that was unique as it pertained to the hospital volunteer experience she shared with me that her now 10 year old brother was diagnosed with cancer at 18 mos old and how she remembered all the treatments, the care and the experience that she was a part of in a family that had such a difficult thing happen to them.

That pretty much sealed the deal for me in my choice. Up until that point, I saw a lot of myself in her. After learning what she and her family had been through, I realized she was way ahead of me already.