Jeff and I are continually surrounded by love, support and happiness. We realize every second of our day how lucky we are. We are blessed beyond words. For those of you in the know, thank you. THANK YOU!
We get to spend the day here...
Lilly enjoys the sun...
Then real life sets in...
I think he might be tired...
We are happy and loved and tired. Our life is simply wonderful!
We returned from our trip to Denver leaving a wake of sick and injured family members. We managed to get Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Jim sick.
Lilly & Uncle Jim
This was before he inhaled three days worth of Zicam to get over being with our family!
James managed to give Grandpa a black eye.
Two days later, Grandpa had the flu and had to go to the Doc in the Box, Urgent Care.
Before the violence and the plague....
Grandpa entertained with bubbles.
Notice Lilly's happiness...
Even Grandma went to the doctor today. We are so sad that we left this trail of nonsense in our wake. Next time, people will be prepared. Hazmat suits and masks are necessary when visiting with us. We are petri dishes of disease.
Everyone will recover and we will remember only the happy times. Grandma & Grandpa hauling the kids off to the butterfly museum and the zoo. James refusing to call Grandpa anything other than Grandma. Lilly running up to her Grandpa and saying, "I love you." These are the memories we keep. The ones we treasure.
This is from Christmas...
But this is family. The kids. The smiles. The love.
I started to write more about our time in Denver and post many pictures of the fun and mayhem. But then I saw a message on Twitter from one of my favorite bloggers. I have been reading her blogs on Babble and her personal blog for a couple of years. She recently "confessed" that her 18 year old son has been suffering from a severe drug problem for a couple of years and after a year in rehab, he relapsed. About a month ago he was in the middle of what is thought to be a drug deal and he was attacked and left for dead. Her story is heart breaking and there are no words to describe how sad and helpless I feel when reading about her son.
In no way can I imagine the pain of watching your child become a drug addict and then struggling for life because of the addiction. The guilt, the anger and the grief has to be overwhelming. I look at James and Lilly know that Jeff and I are not immune to them making bad choices that could lead to such a horrific state of affairs. I hope and pray that we can be good enough parents who help them make the right choices. But what if we fail? What can we do to ensure this doesn't happen to us? These questions are unanswerable. We will just continue to do our best. For now, I will pray for Katie and her family. Pray for healing and peace.
There are many things that I love about my husband. He is kind, a great father, a provider and a genuine man. One of Jeff's greatest attributes is being a wonderful friend. The amount of people who track him down on facebook is mind boggling. People he hasn't seen since 7th grade think it is the bees knees to have found him. The number of fraternity brothers and friends from college and after college are abundant. This is never more apparent than when we are in Denver.
Today, our great friend Brooke put together a play date and lunch event for the ladies of these great friends of Jeff and all the kiddos. We watched the kids play, caught up and ate some good grub!
Brooke is the one getting all the kids attention.
I didn't get a great picture of her beautiful pregnant self! Next time!
Here we all are...
Why won't the kids go play so we can talk?
She is due tomorrow and still wanted to hang and hear all the horror stories of raising babies.
Oh Kerri, to put it in the wise Keely's words, "The great outweighs the hard!"
The most courageous woman I know...
Keely is fighting her own fight with cancer. She is brave and smiley and inspiring.
It is hard to believe that we are parents of these wonderful and spirited children. They provide fun, enjoyment and frustration all at the same time. As a group, we are, for the most part, all grow'd up. This is our legacy and we should all be very proud!
We celebrate lives and loves and losses together. We are friends, but really we are family. There are many more in our gaggle of friends. I hope to post photos of all of them throughout this week. Everyone has a story, and Jeff and I are blessed to be part of their lives.
The flight was calm, except for having to avoid the hail and thunderstorms and the kids were great! No one napped.
Oh wait, someone napped!
We have arrived after a really long day in Denver. We love coming to see our family and friends.
The kids love their grandpa!
My family loves being in Denver! It is more about family and friends than it is about being in a "place." We have grandma and grandpa doting on the kids. We have friends who love us enough to organize events where we are involved and the center of attention. Well, if I am the center of attention all is well with the world!
James loves it too! Lilly, well she just needs him to leave her alone!
I am sick, again. Three out of four of us in this house are on anti-biotics. If you are keeping count, this is the 967th time the children and I have been sick since February. I am ready for this to be over and for everyone to be well once again. I was worried my readers, all four of you, would think I had left the AO (Area of Operation for those of you not schooled in OPA).
For the past three months, my children and I have been sick in some form or the other. It started with my walking pneumonia, Lilly's walking pneumonia, James' ear infections and today, Lilly's ear infection. In between we have all had colds, fevers and other forms of sickness.
Today culminated in my third trip to the urgent care at the local university hospital. I must say these people are great with care and getting us in quickly and telling us, yes, you are sick. Hmmm, you do have a fever. Oh, that must hurt. Some days, especially today, I worry that people will think I have Munchhausen by proxy because I am constantly hauling my kids to the doctor. I make jokes about taking to bed because I have the sniffles, but lately, it has been full blown sickness with chills, fevers and body aches. My husband is over me. I am over my kids. We are a sad state of affairs over here and I am over it all!
When I took Lilly to the doctor today because she has had a fever for 36 hours and her ear hurt and she, the child of non-stop energy, was lethargic and didn't want to do anything. I called the on-call nurse before I hauled her in and since James was just diagnosed on Monday with a double ear infection and sinusitis, she said come in immediately. Thank goodness we did, because Lilly is sick. Ear infection and an overly enlarged lymph node. Whatever that means, but we have to watch it because it could get infected and be very serious.
The purpose of this post is not to talk about feeling sorry for me, (but that is fine if you need to feel bad for me) or to feel sorry for us, or to tell us it could get so much worse. It is to discuss the ear drops. They were $149. $149. Yes, $149. We are in a place in our lives that we can afford one dose of such expensive ear drops. If we have to get many more, then, no, we won't be in the same place. How do people of lesser means do this? What about the people that have no money and have a special needs child. How do they get medicine? Do they forgo? WHAT DO THEY DO? I will think twice many times over the next time I think about health care reform and how the majority of the country can not afford ear drops for their sick, beautiful little children.
I tried to write a poem, a story and even a funny quip about the love I have for my mom. I couldn't do it. Not because there isn't a poem, a story or even a funny quip in me about my mom.
It is because there are no words to describe how much I love my mother. We have had our moments. Many, many moments have been ours. I was such a pain from 13 to, let's face it 32. She put up with me, supported me financially and mentally from afar. She let my dad take the brunt of trying to figure out what was wrong with me, but she was always there. I love her for that.
My mom still worries when I am sick. She worries when I do too much. She loves me. She loves my husband. She worships my children.
I took the kids to a fair this afternoon. It was full of Enzo fun, face painting and snacks. My children waited for face painting, danced, played in tents and ran around having the times of their lives. I visisted, talked and basically did what I do best: listen and watch.
I was getting ready to leave and I saw James in one eye, Lilly in the other and folded up my blanket for a quick exit. I started to corral the kids, and he was gone. James, he was gone. My heart fell. Calmly, I alerted my friend Marian, she started looking. Calmly, I alerted my neighbor Lauren. Not so calmly, I alerted Lilly to STAND THERE AND DON'T MOVE. Five, yes five minutes later Marian found him. He was climbing a fence near the pool in a hidden part of the area. My life stopped two minutes prior. It stopped.
We proceeded home then to dinner and everything was as it should be. But it has changed. I lost my baby for ten minutes. Never again. We are a family of four and we will remain that way for my lifetime.
I don't have a lot to write about today, because I had one of those wonderful days that defies description. It started with NO arguments with the kids on the way to school. We woke up happy and ended the day happy. It doesn't really get a whole lot better than that.
My friend and I took our four children to the park and then to dinner at this fine establishment. It was 1/2 off a large pizza and salad bar. Little did we know it was Little League night and Dungeons & Dragons night. Yes, you heard that right, D & D night at our local Round Table. First, no offense to those who play Dungeons and Dragons. I had no idea that people still played this game. I mean, last time I heard of the game was while reading Cruel Doubt in college. I received my higher education near the town in which the murders took place and it was quite riveting to me that this could happen in my "back yard." I reread the book later in life, well, because I was in college and didn't remember it the first time.
I get that role playing games have a place in the world. I mean, according to wikipedia, they don't always lead to bad things. Kids can develop social skills and meet friends. It was, however, a little disconcerting to be in the local pizza joint with the little league kids and the D & D group. But, they were awesome and didn't scowl at all the screaming children. They kept to themselves. But is was different!
The D & D Crew
Compared to James, they were quite normal!
I do belive everyone has a right to do what they want, and play the games they want as long as they don't make my life any harder and my children are safe. Needless to say, these lovely D & D players were awesome and win my vote to dine near my family at Round Table any night of the week. As long as the pizza and salad bar are half off!
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2009 Mira Luna, Tough Day Chardonnay, from Sonoma Carneros, California: 91 Points ~ $17.99/bottle
So, Lilly got a new bike today. Actually, it was her first bike. The result of her EARNING 20 stickers for "behaving" at naptime at school. It took six weeks, but she did it. She earned her bicycle, and my parents bought it for her. I didn't remember my first bike, or who taught me to ride it until my mom reminded me today while Lilly was riding around the underground garage showing off her new princess bike.
My mom taught me. She is the one who let go and let me soar. Why I don't remember this, I don't know. What I do remember is riding hands free down the road away from our house and the golf course towards the pool where my sister was a lifeguard. We lived on an Army Base and since my dad was gone saving the world and jumping out of airplaines, it was left up to my mom to soldier on while my sister lifeguarded and did her teenage thing. It was also on my mom to teach me to ride my bike. She also taught me to drive, but this is another post for another time.
I think my first bike looked something like this...
I do remember falling once and it hurting, but my mom says this didn't happen. The mind, well it goes...