Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another holiday comes and goes...

I woke up this morning with such a heavy heart. 
I open Facebook (like a dummy) and see all the pictures of kids in their Halloween costumes. 
 Halloween at school, field trips to the pumpkin patches, dressing up for Trick-or-Treat.  
It's a very rare occasion for me to cry.  I think my heart is a little cold and hardened.
But this morning (well most of the day) was that rare occasion.  

I didn't get dressed today.  I didn't brush my hair. 
 I didn't put makeup on.  
I woke up, sat at my desk and started looking through old pictures and videos...  And I swear the weight of a ton of bricks felt like it was sitting on my chest.  
It was hard to breathe.  It was hard to catch my breath between the wails and the sobbing.  
How in the world has it almost been 2 whole years since I've been without my baby?  
And how in the heck am I still alive?  

I realize now why I avoid doing what I did today.  
Why I try to avoid talking about it, or looking at pictures and videos.  
Because it hurts like hell.
  It's like sitting down to slit my wrist.
Not my idea of fun. 
But today, I just needed it.  I needed the reminder of what my days, hours and minutes used to consist of.  I needed to hear the sound of that little drumstick banging on his drum.  I needed to see that sweet smile. I needed the reminder that I was a good mom.  That I tried as hard as I could.  Because, honestly, sometimes I feel like a flat out failure.  I watch his videos and look at his pictures and think about how much pain he was in.  How he was ever able to muster up a smile is beyond me.  

Y'all, those videos were his happy moments.  The moments where he felt good enough to play or to smile.  And in the end, they were the moments when he had enough pain medicine in him to be able to sit up and function.  He was so strong.  So brave.  I tried to record all that I could because I knew one day, even the 40,000+ pictures (literally) that I had, weren't going to be enough. 
 And they aren't.  
But beyond the videos and pictures was real life pain.  I say "real life," but it was still nothing like I've  ever witnessed before.   Something unexplainable.  Unimaginable. 
I can honestly say that that for the 2 years and 8 months that Tripp was alive, I was living in a super-human body that was held together by the grace of God.  
Looking back on these videos and pictures now, I just can't comprehend how I didn't just sit and cry and cry and cry.  I know that I did what I had to do for my baby.  I had blinders on and I was focused on one thing and one thing only... the health, happiness and comfort of my baby boy.  

But now... as I look back on pictures and videos, I swear I feel like you might as well take a butcher knife to my heart and twist it a few hundred times.  How could one child live through so much pain? And how did I witness it knowing I couldn't stop it?  
How are there precious children and adults still living right now through this type of pain?  For years? With no relief? It makes me SO sad. 

The other day I was sitting, thinking about these same things... the pain that Tripp suffered through and the pain that other children and adults with EB suffer through.  And I thought of something (I wish I could say God spoke to me, but I've been begging Him to do that for years and I've never heard anything... maybe He speaks to me in ways I don't realize.) ... but anyway, I thought, "You know, I'm so sad about the pain that Tripp suffered and the cross that he had to bear, along with the one I'm bearing as well... but Jesus went through this same pain (was it worse, equal, less?  I don't know) but He was beaten, cruely tortured and nailed to the cross?  But do I get sad about that?  Do I cry about that?  If I love Jesus as much as I love Tripp, shouldn't it make me sad that He suffered like He did?  All because He wanted us to be able to spend eternity with Him?
Is that how much we are supposed to love Jesus?  Is that why He keeps telling us He wants a personal relationship with us?  So that we can love Him like we love our own kids?  Or the unimaginable... even MORE than our own kids??  I think so.  
It was a pretty cool epiphany moment. 

Ok, sorry, sermon over.  I'm all over the place.  Back to what I was talking about... 
I've tried to tell myself for over 4 years now, that God has control over Tripp's pain.  That God had to have been taking some of the pain away from him.  Faith is hard.  That is a hard thing to believe.  It's like you believe it because you absolutely HAVE to believe it to survive.  Because what if God didn't? What if Tripp felt every little bo-bo?  Every blister that felt like a 3rd degree burn?  Every bath when water hit his sores, and he screamed and screamed uncontrollably... who was helping him out with his pain then?  The thought of how much pain he was in has haunted me for these past 2 years.  And only for the past 2 years, because I'll say it again... when he was alive- I was in survival mode.  Doing what I absolutely had to do to get through each minute with a smile on my face.  For him. 

I have no clue what I'm trying to say, really.  
I'm just trying to let out my sadness and my pain.  
In some kind of way.  By being real... and honest. 

I spent all day yesterday with my mom cleaning out my storage unit and going through the rest of Tripp's things.  Deciding what to keep and what not to keep.  
It was heart-wrenching.  Completely just wrong.  And sad. 
Needless to say, there wasn't much that we could part with.  Unless he just absolutely never played with it, or wore it, or touched it. 
 How does one part with the most precious memories they have... really, the only things this mommy has left?  

I would give up my life this very second if I could be doing this again. 

I was the happiest I'd ever been.  
Despite the pain of watching my child suffer.  
Despite the compete and utter exhaustion from literally no sleep. 
Despite the mental torture of not being able to help my own child. 
Tripp made me the happiest girl in the world.  
I lived for him.  Literally every move I made was for him.  
I put 110% into it... and I guess that's why I feel like I'm grieving 110%. 
It's hard.  It sucks.  There's no way to describe this feeling.

certainly would not say that I don't have anything left to live for... because that is very untrue.  I have THE most amazing man in my life... who was, is and will be by my side through the good and the bad (and the really really bad).  Stephen has saved my life.  Given me reasons to smile and to love again.  He has taken care of me better than I ever thought possible.  He has picked my up from my lowest place and taught me how to trust in love again.  I'm very, very grateful for him. 
He's a man who shares my faith, shares in my pain, shares in my happiness, loves me for me... and also puts me in my place when it's needed.  He was made perfectly for me. 
And I of course have my incredible family and friends who put up with my good days, my emotional days and my terrible-I-don't-want-to-be-around-anyone days.  They love me unconditionally.  I have my sweet momma who was by my side every minute of this journey, who hurts on her own AND when I hurt.  But I was surely born into my family for a reason.  There's just no way that anyone could survive without the support that I've been given. 

But... I AM saying, that my life will never, ever be the same.
I know my fellow mommies who have lost their precious babies can relate-  
I will never have that "same" happiness again.  Yes, I will have happiness again... I have happiness and I will be given more happiness.  But not happiness like that.  Not the pure bliss I had for 2 years and 8 months.  Nothing will be able to replace that. 
My heart is aching and broken.  It may heal in places over time,  but it will never be whole again... 
until I'm reunited with my baby.  
What a glorious day that will be.  


C'est L'Halloween, HEY!

Another evening of anticipation, laughter and fun.
A social walk in the cool, crisp October air.
Running into friends and oohh-ing and aahh-ing over their costumes.
Excitement over a favorite treat.
Whining over a heavier than her bag.
Attempting to assure the babe that she can eat some candy when we get home.
A return home to dump their loot and see what treasures it contains.
Races to the door when the doorbell rings.
Exclamations and reactions to the characters that they find.
Extra good teeth brushing before bed.
The smell of candles blown out inside of grinning jack-o-lanterns.

C'est l'Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Fast Paced Afternoon

Once again we hit the trail today.
This time with bikes.
And one with just TWO wheels!
This made for a really fast paced walk and lots of blurry pictures.
But Piper was just so proud of her latest accomplishment!
It was sweet to see!
Her grandfather, who taught her this latest skill, recently took of video of her riding her training wheel-less bike.
The whole time she kept yelling, "I'm doing it!!"
Oh, I remember that joy of first time freedom on wheels!
It is exhilarating!

Tait zoomed along, pleased to simply be moving those little legs of hers without a break.
However, she is determined that those extra wheels of hers need to come off soon too....

And this was my view.
This little one just giggles and laughs at her sisters, then flings her head back to make sure I'm sharing in her happiness.

There is nothing like sharing in your children's happiness.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Getting All Sentimental Up In Here

I don't know if it's fall, or I'm more acutely aware of my blessings, or if it's the awesomeness of the new job/lack of commute (or perhaps all three converging at once), but I'm constantly walking around thinking, "I'm so happy." Happy is a really vague and over-used word. fits.

I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately. I would consider myself a very happy person (I've was often given the nickname "Smiley"). I've always been that way. I'm generally upbeat and positive and I have been pretty good (although not perfect) at making my happiness not reliant on things outside of my control. I have this incredible ability not to stress or worry about things. I like to find humor in everything around me, I go out of my way to look for it. I don't aim for perfection (except for work which has been an amazing outlet for the very tiny part of me that is really competitive and needs to accomplish things). When things heat up, I just shrug and think "eh, it will work out."

Despite this, there have been several things that had been nagging at me since graduating from law school and generally affecting my daily happiness/outlook on life.

The biggest thing was my guilt for being a working mom. But I cut my commute down considerably and, over the years, I have come to realize that my children are not being damaged by not having a stay-at-home mommy. In fact, they are smart, thriving, and happy and our house is overflowing with love. Plus, going to work makes me a better person. It's an outlet that makes me happy (mostly) and helps me better appreciate my time with my kids. At first I had to convince myself really hard that my kids were not missing anything by me going to work. Now, I can say with full confidence that I totally believe it.

The second issue was my dissatisfaction with our "worldly possessions." It was really hard at first not to be angry about my overwhelming student loan debt. I mean the amount of student loans I owe is absolutely ridiculous (and I didn't even go to an Ivy League school). I assumed, naively, that I would get a big fancy lawyer job with a big fancy lawyer salary to go with it. Sadly, I'm three years post law school and making less than many people I know with less experience and no professional degree or mountainous student loan debt. Because a huge chunk of my pay goes to loans, (and because we bought our house at the wrong time), we are stuck in our tiny, tiny, tiny home (did I mention it is tiny?). And we still owe a heck of a lot of medical bills from Ryan's birth.

I tried so hard to just be happy with what I had. I tried so hard not to compare myself with others. I tried not to think about what salary I thought I "deserved." I tried so hard not to look with envy at home design magazines and HGTV shows. I tried so hard to be satisfied. But deep down, despite my efforts, I kept a running list of the things I didn't have (dishwasher, fireplace, playroom, separate bedroom for each kid). I have not been proud of my materialism/consumerism.

While I continue to struggle with this, I've had a mini awakening. Our home was built in 1910. Homes were typically smaller back then (our 950 sq. ft. home is obvious proof). And the more I think about it, the more I realize that our society has simply created crazy expectations about what homes should be and look like. We don't need McMansions. We don't need 2,500 sq. ft. homes. We don't need sitting rooms and day rooms and man caves and gyms and sewing rooms. We don't need separate rooms for just the laundry machine (OMG...some people have those?!). We don't need leather couches (for the kids to not touch), or treadmills (that will go unused), or walk-in closets (sigh, ok, that would be both nice and useful). Homes are made up of people not things.

Then I had a flashback of a collection of photos my high school teacher showed our Humanities class. It showed the typical family from a collection of countries, each surrounded by all of their possessions. The wealth disparity was amazing. Some families owned little more than the clothes on their backs and a handful of possessions. Then there was the typical American family standing in front of a huge home, their nicely manicured lawn overflowing with material items.

This beautiful webpage reminds me a lot of that collection and absolutely makes me feel a million things all at once: This reminds me of how little kids actually need to be happy and, at the same time, breaks my heart at how little some people have. Those contradictory thoughts and feelings perhaps evidence the pervasiveness of our consumerism. We feel sorry for those kids with so little and yet, they still laugh and play and are likely the purest of all.

Putting everything in perspective, I've come to realize how fortunate I am in everything that I have both material and non-material. It helps me approach the current limits of our finances and square footage as a challenge and an adventure. My goal is to teach my kids that we don't need things to be happy. This has made me so much more accepting of what we have and I no longer look jealously at neighbors, friends, and coworkers with "perfect" homes and new cars and...dishwashers. I may not be able to give my kids their own rooms, but I'm giving them a lesson in materialism.

The final issue I need to tackle is body image acceptance. People laugh when I chime in on conversations about physical improvements. They dismiss me because I'm "thin." But body image acceptance isn't about a certain size or weight or circumference. It's about separating our self love from our physical appearance. Thankfully, in addition to extra skin and stretch marks, motherhood results in the creation of a new source of happiness: our children.

And now I'm going to be corny and just say what I often think to myself on a regular basis: life is so amazing. The fact that we are alive is so incredibly amazing. We didn't do anything to get here. We didn't do anything to earn this wonderful gift of life. Someone GAVE it to us (whether you believe that was God or science or coincidence). We hit the jackpot. Look around. The smell of dirt and trees. The somber quiet of the overcast sky. The beautiful pattern of falling rain (I live in Seattle, duh). The fact that we have vision. And smell. The fact that we have the capacity to love, and feel angry, and express sadness. We live in a giant fishbowl of amazingness. When someone hands you a $20 bill, you don't complain because you weren't given a $50. Why should I be unsatisfied? I have everything.

"I have everything." I say that on repeat when I wake up and am greeted by four small arms seeking hugs. I say that when I tuck two sleepy children into bed each night. I say that when I hear the boys giggling at each other or when I hear Jacob teaching Ryan something new. Not only do I get the gift of life, I get to share it. I don't think there is anything better.

One of my favorite quotes/sentiments (I have no idea where I heard this) goes something like this: we already  have everything we need to be happy. It's so true.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from our little cowboy and his little cow!
 Keeler insisted on being a cowboy again this year.  Since Kal is still too young to decide I asked Keeler what he thought Kal should be...he liked the idea of him dressing as either his farm dog or his cow.  Sense a theme here folks?  He'll get you back someday big bro but I had to admit both ideas sounded pretty cute.  So when I found this little cow costume we were set.  
 Keeler's costume is mostly items he already had.  He has outgrown his leather chaps he's worn in the past so I picked him up some new ones at a local western store.  
 Keeler had to rope his brother aka cow back in.
I love my three cowboys.  Opps correction, I love my two cowboys and their little cow ;)
Daddy trying to teach Keeler to rope.  I'm more in love with this man every day.
A little #Throwback.  It's amazing how much these two have changed in just 3 short years.  
We hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend Whoas!

We had a great weekend full of whoas!  On Friday evening my parents, sister and her kiddos arrived at our house.  Oh, and I can't forget they brought their new little dog Biskitt too.  The kids were on cloud nine.
First everyone, Biskitt included, went for a Gator ride.
Then the kids had a pizza party in the playroom.  Granny stayed and had dinner with us.  It was nice that everyone got to catch up.  
On Saturday, we took our time getting around and then started on our special Halloween lunch.
We made these cute mummy dogs, - found on Pinterest.
these little witch brooms
Jacey and Kallahan were great little helpers!
Right after lunch the kids were ready to go back outside and play with Biskitt.
Us girls managed to sneak out of the house for a while and did a little shopping.  Surprisingly my sister picked up some really cute clothes from one our downtown stores for her upcoming trip to NYC #jealousmuch
We watched the Tech game and this is pretty much how we felt about the loss.  
We still love 'em though! #gunsup  
On Sunday, Jacey and Samuel joined the little cowboys and me for Sunday school.  We had a full house.  Jacey was a great teacher's helper and Samuel dominated in musical chairs!  
Thanks for coming to see us.  We can't wait to do it again - hopefully soon.


Friday, October 25, 2013

The Prostitutor

The other day I was in ToysRUs with both kids shopping for a friend's birthday present. After perusing several aisles with the kids, I realized how utterly unhelpful the entire effort was. Surprisingly, Jacob understood and accepted the fact that we were not here to buy toys for him and he never asked for a single toy once. But he was easily distracted and not helpful in picking out a toy for his friend either. So I had Jacob and Ryan go play with a train table display so I could get shit done. In peace.

After a while, I heard Jacob talking to another kid at the train table. The kid's mother was standing by watching. The kid started telling Jacob about his mom's work (something to do with large, fun construction equipment). Then Jacob, who apparently cannot pronounce the word "prosecutor," blurted out, "My mommy is a prostitutor!" The kid's mom looked very puzzled. I got such a kick out of it that I didn't even bother to correct him, which probably confused the mother more.

I look forward to more stories from Jacob involving, "my mommy the prostitutor."

Speaking of "prostituting," I'm still loving my job. Almost in a scary way. Most of my time is spent preparing for trial for a really fun personal injury case. Both sides have filed summary judgment motions. The issues involved in this case are novel and interesting and there really is no controlling case law. I've been doing a lot of the drafting for our motions and oppositions. Motions practice is by far one of my favorite things about being an attorney. I love to craft arguments, attack other peoples arguments, and basically take a bunch of weird cases and try to make them fit into the way I'm framing the issues. Whenever someone asks me to draft a motion, I get so excited, it feels like my eyeballs are going to explode from the pressure.

We attended a summary judgment hearing the other week and I sat in the benches while my boss argued the motion. The judge was also very fascinated by our case and you could see him getting all excited as he heard our arguments. As the opposing party was arguing their side, the judge took an argument I had written and promoted it. It was so awesome to hear a judge use an argument that I had created. At the end, he ruled in our favor and made a point to compliment our briefing. I was beaming with pride. I had spend at least 16+ hours researching and drafting that sucker! (Side note: this is another thing I LOVE about general counsel work versus law firm practice, I don't have to worry about over-billing so I can take my time on assignments, know every nook and cranny of the law, and do it all right without rushing or stressing!).

I'm also helping on non-litigation projects, which I'm still getting used to. Often times I will be thrown an issue in which I have absolutely no background knowledge. But the issues are always fascinating and my passion for public policy carry me through 800+ pages of public comment on rules from government agencies, almost without a headache. Administrative law was not my strong suit. My recent project has to do with law enforcement and mental illness, a topic that is very current right now.

Basically what it boils down to is that I love feeling connected to public policy. I love working on projects that will impact the community. I love being involved in local government, even if it is just a minor capacity. This job is my dream come true.

As far as the office goes, I'm slowly getting to know my coworkers better but I most often still feel like the new kid at school. I don't feel like I have a whole lot in common with my coworkers, although they are very nice. I know most people show a different version of themselves at the office. But I can be such a shy person, especially when I really want people to like me. I feel like the me at work is such a disconnect from the real me. I can't wait until I'm more comfortable and become better friends with everyone so I can feel like myself again.

My attempts at small talk are so freaking awkward and hilarious. I wish someone could film my attempts to interact with coworkers all day. I passed one attorney in the hall as he was taking his plate of lunch to his office, and desperate to start a conversation, I made a comment about the shape of the carrot on his plate. OMG. One of the legal secretaries has an office that inclines upward. Today, trying hard to start a conversation, I told her that she would be the most safe in a flood. Then there was awkward silence. I resisted the urge to laugh maniacally just to break that silence. Then there is the elderly coworker who asked me to have all of his babies.

There is one senior attorney in our office who is a very strange, but very smart man. I have a soft spot in my heart for strange people with weird people skills (because they are my people!). He likes to talk. A lot. The mind-blowing thing is that he can start talking to you about one subject and then go off into a series of tangents only slightly related to that subject but, eventually, he will always wind his way back to the original topic without missing a beat. He starts out talking about health information disclosures, then before you know it, it is two hours later and we are talking about meat packing at the grocery store and right when I'm about to give up hope that I will never get the answer I came in for, he will link meat packing right back to health information and - voila! There is my answer.

When he talks, he closes his eyes for up to 90 seconds at a time. Sometimes he flutters his eyelids uncontrollably it is like they are having mini-seizures on top of his eyeballs. Oftentimes, about 2.5 hours into his monologue, my ass is sore from sitting and my brain freezes over. I'll stare at him blankly and unfocus my eyes to create a double vision effect. Then I'll change the focus of my eyes to give him multiple eyeballs. Adjust the focus a little and he had three eyeballs. Adjust a little more and he has four eyeballs. Rotate my head a little and his four eyeballs begin to slant downward across his face. This is what I do to keep from pocking pens into my eyeballs.

Oh.. and you know how some people say, "yada yada?" Well, instead of that, he says, "smoochie-smoochie-smoo." The first time I heard him say that, my zen face cracked and I erupted into laughter in the middle of his office. I've found myself resisting the urge to incorporate that phrase into my daily conversations. What is happening to me?!

Oh how I love office socialization!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


My pride was hung on a perfectly slender frame
Positioned atop the legs of a runner
A frame given by genetics
I draped it proudly, nothing to hide.
Emulating twigs on magazine covers.

Where once there was firm, smooth skin
Now there is give. Extra flesh
Having released two children from its clutches
It retains a disturbed shape, as if yearning
For the four phantom limbs it once carried.

I love my body for what it can do
A hymn I repeat without conviction
Trying so hard to bury disgust
At the ripples of silver stretching across my abdomen
A map of rivers reflecting the sun's light

The picture of motherhood is not idyllic
New cells divide, laying the floor plan to life
Just as old cells fall prey to atrophy
They sprout and flourish as a parasite
To be cut violently from my body, fruit gauged from its vine

Some days it is hard to love what is left
A deep scar cutting across my lower abdomen
My skin marred, tired, stretched like a blown tire
I squirm in the reeds of my new self
Struggling to find myself within my reflection

Each day I fight the fight anew
But would never wish the struggle away
Just as antimatter shriveled and exploded
That moment before it brought forth earth
Two hearts have left my body, strong and pulsing with life
And they are beautiful.

Since Ryan was born I've been struggling with self acceptance. I oscillate between being confident and proud in what my body is and does and angry and upset at what it no longer looks like. Sometimes I get so caught up in this battle that I lose sight of my blessings. Motherhood itself is a blessing. After going through 13 months of secondary infertility, I thought I would never take it for granted. And here I am, my "baby" is only 18 months old, and I'm consumed once again in the inconsequential and petty hang-ups. Motherhood is not a right. Motherhood is a blessing. While many of us do, no one is guaranteed to experience it. Anyone who has stared at the soulless darkness of infertility is acutely aware of this fact.

I'm counting my blessings today. I'm basking in the wonder and amazement of everything that comes along with being a mother. It can be hard. It can be ugly. It brings out both our worst and our best. But the entire experience, all of it, is nothing but a wonderful honor.

Right now, as I enjoy the beauty of this phase of my life, my thoughts are with all those people who are not so lucky. All those people still waiting and hoping and praying. Even though I only experienced a relatively short period of infertility, a little part of that struggle will always remain in me. My heart will never be able to forget the pain and the repeated blows that each new month of emptiness brings to those who are so desperate to love. For this reason, I promise to appreciate all that I have been given.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Smells Like Goat Poop...And My Heavy Dying Mommy Heart

Finally, the search is over! After five years, we've finally found the perfect pumpkin patch! Pumpkin patches are like photographers. They are everywhere. There are so many to choose from and yet so little that are actually of good quality. And you never know whether you found the right one until after you try it. (A discussion of my annoyance of amateur/novice photographers who start their own business will be reserved for another post- do I sound bitchy? I've been feeling bitchy lately).

The last few years, our pumpkin patch adventures have been...less than satisfying. The one we went to last year was basically three rows of pumpkins sitting in the middle of a personal family junkyard. Although the kids did enjoy the beater tractors and the fact that chickens were running around everywhere. Unfortunately, all the pumpkins were on the verge of rotting. At least I got some great pictures. Including this gem:

And this one:

And this:

And, can't forget the owl boobies:

Anyway, the past can now be forgotten because we found the bestest of the best. And, the best part, it's only a short hour drive from home. In case you aren't in the "know," pumpkin patches are rarely just about pumpkins. Lucky for us, Maris Family Farms in Buckley, Washington offers so many activities that you almost need to go twice to do everything. They had the typical pumpkin patch activities such as a corn maze, hay ride, bouncy house, pumpkin slingshot, and face paint. But they also had a jump pillow (I had no idea what this was before our trip here), tube slides, pig races, goat feeding, petting zoo, zip lines, monster truck rides (yes, a REAL monster truck), camel rides, go-carts, pony rides, zombie paintball, and MORE! I was totally blown away by the awesomeness. The kids had so much fun! We were there for two hours and still didn't get to do everything.

My husband was not able to come today but we brought along plenty of cousins. This made for some very cute photo ops.

Kids and pumpkins. Nothing cuter!

He is such a ham. He has a pose for every photo.

He just wants it to stop so he can go kick some pumpkins. (As soon as we got to the pumpkins, Ryan ran right up to them and began to kick them furiously as if they were immovable soccer balls.)

A barrel full of cuteness! I seriously cannot handle all this cuteness. Is there a defibrillator nearby?

More Jacob poses.

We all enjoyed the jump pillow. Except Mommy's back is really feeling it today.

The slide was also fun and also made Mommy's back feel like it was cracking in half. (Seriously, I'm not even 30. What's wrong with me?!)

The bike-pedal powered go-karts were a huge hit! 

But I had to bend down and push and steer Ryan. (My back seriously hates me).

Then there was this creepy man.

And I promise that this was a hay ride.

The next pictures are very very sad. The first one is from last year. When I saw it, big wet tears puddled up in my eyes. I miss that baby so much. I miss the smell of that baby. I miss the way that baby cuddled on my chest. I miss that baby's gummy smile. Motherhood is the saddest thing on the planet.

And this is that baby today. Gulp. Tear. Wipe. Blow nose. Move on.

Because I enjoy this particular form of torture, here are the boys, last year and now.

I'm going to need to have you call 911 now. If my heart has not broken by now, I'm pretty sure that I just had a hard attack. Wait, that wasn't painful enough. Maybe one more.

October 2012 

October 2013

As you can see, I'm having a fit of nostalgia. I'm so paranoid that I will blink and Ryan will be 5, just like his big brother.

In the past two weeks Ryan's vocabulary has exploded. For the longest time he was only saying a handful of his favorite words (well "ball," mostly). But in just the past two weeks he's saying everything! His favorite sentence is "where are you." When he wants or is looking for something, he will sing out this phrase as he wanders across the house looking for his item of interest. I love it when he is looking for his Daddy and sings, "Dada, where ARE you?" Totally melts my face off.

When he's hungry, Ryan will go sit in one of the big chairs at our dining room table and say, "Eat! Pees (please). Eat!" His big blue eyes look at me from the edge of the table (his head barely reaches the tabletop) and I'm hypnotized to his every command. The problem with Ryan talking is that I can no longer say no to him. This is because (1) I actually KNOW what he wants for a change and (2) he is too darn cute.

Ryan usually does baby sign language for "please" when he wants something. But the other day, he walked up to me and said, "kaka" (cracker). Before I could reply, he grabbed my finger to lead me to the kakas and said "pees! pees! (please)." I swear that I died five times. He could ask me for anything in that sweet little voice and he will get it. It's the deadly combination of his big pleading eyes and the enthusiasm with which he utters the word "pees!" I'm doomed. This is the end of discipline in my household as I know it.

For as sweet as Ryan can be, he is equally as rough. He is such a bulldozer, trampling everything and anyone in his path. He loves to hit. He doesn't really intend to hit, he just likes sports and sees everything as a target. Every once in a while I'll catch him with a toy golf club, whacking the back of Jacob's legs. I'm pretty sure "no hit!" is probably the most commonly used phrase in our house. Then we tell Ryan, "Be nice. Give Jacob a hug" and he walks over to Jacob sheepishly, puts his face down, and, with his body still several inches away, leans his head into Jacob so that only his head is touching Jacob's body. It's the most obvious reluctant hug I've ever seen. Hopefully Ryan is learning compassion, however reluctantly.