Back In Time

The past few weeks, okay, months, I’ve been participating in Throwback Thursday on Facebook. Throwback Thursday probably started over on Instagram, but to be honest, I decided to call it quits with Instagram when I started seeing all the same Instagram pictures on Facebook, anyway.

Yes, as a matter of fact, I love the run-on sentence.

So.

If you are Facebook friends with me, I apologize, because you’ve probably seen these pictures over there, but they are still so fun, and OH SO SWEET, and can we please stop time?

At a friend’s wedding. (2007)

Stevie was the Ring Bearer at McDaddy’s brother’s wedding (2006)

 

Melt my heart. (2007)

 

Stevie having fun in his Jeep (2008)

First Haircut (2006)

Watching a chick flick. (2005)

Sharing the Good News. (2006)

Ok, I need a tissue, now.

Really, can we stop time, pretty please?

Have a great weekend, y’all.

My First Born

Dear Stevie,

This time 11 years ago I was hopped up on adrenaline and magnesium. (ELEVEN years? How is that even possible?) I had just been presented with the most beautiful being I had ever laid eyes on. Within minutes, they whisked you away because you were born pre-maturely at 36 weeks.

We had your name picked out before we even found out we were having a boy, knowing that we would name you after daddy. The third. Your name is so fitting because, you, my sweet child are exactly like your dad.


At 11 years old your baby face is gone. Your little-round glasses are gone, and as of two weeks ago, your braces are gone. You have a beautiful smile that makes me happy on my worst day. You still play with that little tuft of hair and it rarely ever lays down on your four head as it should because you have twisted the life out of it.  That fact doesn’t seem to bother you one bit. Your face is shaped just like daddy’s and sometimes when you smile I catch a glimpse of that little piece of bone that sticks out ever since when you fell on the concrete stairs in Florida.


You talk loud and you talk a lot. It is one of the few traits that you took from me. You are methodical and analytical, and your mind amazes me. At two years old, you could name every make of vehicle on the road. At three years old, you could recite the entire Liberty Mutual diabetes commercial, word-for-word. You still have a wonderful memory, and I am thankful for that. I suspect you will never pass up an opportunity to ask a question, and I love that about you.

I am thankful that you are a great student. I am proud that your teachers brag about how respectful you are. And I feel blessed that you enjoy school so much, you never complain about getting up in the morning or doing homework. I love it when you reach up to push my hair behind my ear, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when you jump up upon my lap to cuddle. I realize probably won’t happen much longer so I am trying to appreciate every single moment of it. And I won’t even get started on the MSAT (which is how I refer to your Middle School Attitude) because I’m trying to keep this light.  Stevie, you are such a delight to parent. You are growing into a thoughtful, respectful boy and I couldn’t be more proud of you.

Happy 11th birthday, my sweet boy. I love you more than you will ever know.

When All Else Fails, Drink More Water

So.

Yesterday, I mentioned that Alex was just coming off of some sort of viral nastiness in his throat.

Alex returned to school today, and I was hoping we had seen the last of the fever.

But alas, today at 11:56 AM EST, I received a call from the Middle School Health Nurse (my second call in two weeks, mind you!) informing me that Stevie was in the clinic with a headache, and yup, you guessed it, a fever.

In the amount of 101.

I rushed to the school to find my sweet boy looking pitiful. He immediately hugged me and I have never been so happy to be a stay-at-home-momma in my life. He was holding back tears and he whispered, “Mom, I’m freezing.”

Y’all.

Did I mention I hate having a sick kiddo?

It is my least favorite thing in the whole wide world.

So, my sweet, pitiful baby boy and I made the minute-drive home and I loaded him up on Motrin and Tylenol. Oh, and water, too, because if I learned anything from my stent /  bladder / UTI / kidney-stone drama over the past few months, it’s to DRINK SOME MORE WATER. So, all day long I was like, “Here, getcha’ another sip so you don’t dehydrate.”

It’s all I know to do.

Within an hour, his fever hit 104.1.

I went nine kinds of crazy. I quickly ran some cool bath water, and thankfully, after a few minutes in the bath water, his temperature was back down to 101. And so most of the day has been spent keeping track of the Motrin, and the Tylenol, the thermometer, AND THE WATER, don’t forget the water. And I’ll be so happy when this nonsense moves on to the next unsuspecting joker, because momma needs a break.

Or a medical degree.

Either way, I’m about to lose what little bit of sanity I have left. We have been back to school for thirteen days, and this fever crap is straight-up crazy.

And that’s about all I have to say about that.

Night folks.

A Letter To My Firstborn

As he walked past me, I grabbed on to his gray Nike t-shirt and pulled him onto my lap. He is too big for me to cuddle, but I cuddle him anyway. His lanky legs hang almost to the floor. I lean down and kiss him on the forehead, noticing his ridiculously long eyelashes. He is my firstborn. My baby boy. And McDaddy’s namesake.

Dear Stevie,

I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that these past ten years have been the best years of my life. Back when I was 25, I thought I was in the prime of my life. I know now that I was so wrong about that. This motherhood thing? It is the most challenging job I will ever love. And you, my sweet boy, are the reason that Daddy and I became members of the Parents Club. We failed you in so many ways in those early years. We didn’t make you “cry it out” at night until well after you were able to speak and yell VERY PLAINLY “Daddy, buddy, daddy, buddy” and the two of us sat on the bed in utter disbelief wondering which one would beat the other to your crib side. You didn’t come with an instruction manual, so we’ve had to pick this thing up as we go. When we carried you in the house for the first time, your dad sat the bulky car seat (with you in it) down and we looked at each other and said, “Well, now what?”

We knew nothing about raising a child. Thank you for being patient with us.

The years have flown by.

And I am dreading the next ones.

These next few years will be tough for me. (Not for daddy, because he handles stress and change like a normal, sane person.) I, on the other hand, will be a basket case. I can hardly think about dropping you off for your first day of middle school without crying. It literally seems like just yesterday I was in an uproar about taking you to Kindergarten for your first day of school. Once you enter that war-zone Middle school, I know the unchartered waters could, and probably will get rough. Soon, you will start to notice girls and undoubtedly one will break your heart. And then, so help me, I will want to pull every hair from her head for hurting my baby. There will be things that happen at school that you will forget to tell me. Or refuse to tell me. I just hope you know that you can come to me and daddy with anything. I am slowly learning that I cannot blow my ever lovin’ top each and every time you are wronged. But it’s not because I don’t want to. I am your protector. And your biggest fan. And I would lay down my life for you without hesitation.

Oh sweet boy, you are so intelligent, I often wonder if you are really mine. When we joke about home-schooling you, I have to laugh because you have knowledge about things I have never even heard of. And Lord knows the only thing I could teach you about math is how to calculate 50% off of a sale item because I am a whiz at that. I am thankful that you took more than your good looks from your dad.

You are a statistical monster and you don’t forget one single thing. EVER. At four years old, you could recite the whole “If you have diabetes, and you’re on medicare, you may qualify for a free meter from Liberty Mutual” commercial. Several people suggested that we record you doing that, and sadly, I never did because it didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. Man, I could kick myself for not doing that. While I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, you could probably tell me what you had for lunch seven months ago. And we learned a long time ago not to discuss anything important in front of you because no matter what you are doing, you are also LISTENING (you did take something from me, after all!)

You are kind-hearted and you love to laugh. You are a good friend and a child of the King. One of my proudest moments as your momma was the night you told me you wanted to ask Jesus into your heart. Because Daddy was deployed, I wanted to wait until he called so that we could discuss it together. You prayed right over Skype and your dad and I are so thankful that you made the decision to follow Jesus. As you enter this new phase of life, keep Jesus close to your heart. Love like Jesus. Consult Him when you are unsure about things. He loves you even more than Daddy and I do, and you will never go wrong keeping your sights set on Him.

You love the game of baseball and your heart for the game is unmatched. One of my favorite things to do is watch you play ball. I love that you are such a kind-hearted teammate. And I also love that you don’t mind me being your “team mom.” It is certainly one of the things I love the most about this season of life.

You are protective over Alex and you love to teach him things. He looks up to you, and I hope you keep that in mind when making decisions. The two of you love to play together and it makes my heart smile when the stars align and you jokers are getting along and laughing together. You take your role as big brother very seriously and I am happy about that. I have a confession: I often stand at your bedroom door and listen in on the conversation between the two of you. You talk about all manner of boy stuff. Farts. Lego’s. Cars. Friends. Dreams. Mini Figures. Baseball. Superheroes. And school. I hope the two of you remain close even when you are grown.

You are growing up everyday, but I love that you still like to play. I am dreading the day when you no longer want to do these things. Soon, you will ask to attend sporting events without me. And school dances. And you will no longer play with that little bit of hair (the bit that rarely ever lays as it should because you won’t leave it be – it even shows in that picture above, and below!) as you read, or eat, or watch television. I dread the day that you trade a matchbox car for a real car. And you trade a Big Nate book for a chemistry book, or Lord have mercy on me, a college handbook. Oh my sweet baby boy (daddy says I must quit calling you that!) I can’t hardly imagine that time.

Stevie, I am so proud to be your mom. Teachers have always commented to us about what a great kid you are. I am so happy to hear that. There is a reason I tell you every single day when I drop you off at school to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Aside from loving Jesus and others, it is the most important thing you can do. I love you and I want you to know I will always be in your corner. You can count on me to be honest and supportive and loving. And you can also count on me to go nine kinds of crazy on any girl that doesn’t treat you right.

I am only kidding.

Sort of.

As I count down these final eight days before you start Middle School, I do so with a heavy heart and a great big dependence on Jesus. He will be with you when I can’t be. And that comforts me. I know these next eight years are going to fly by, and there will be a lot of changes. One thing that will never change, my boy, is my love for you.

Don’t ever forget that.

Love,

Mom

Double Digits

It’s been ten whole years since you first came into my life.

TEN.

As in double digits.

Only it seems like just yesterday they placed your tiny wrinkled body in my arms while I was half-loopy from magnesium. And today, I can barely hold you on my lap.

I realize it might seem like I am bragging when I say this, but seriously, you are such a bright kid, Stevie. When you ask crazy questions and make serious observations about situations, I am reminded that of that fact. Just last night you told me that you had trouble sleeping the other night, so you began singing the South American countries alphabetically in your head, which is crazy to me because it’s not like we just sit around studying South American countries for a hobby. When we learned in Kindergarten that you are a gifted child, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. Instead though, I thanked the Good Lord for your brain and your intelligence and I smiled thinking that daddy must have some seriously powerful genes because we all know he is the brains of this operation (which is evidenced by the fact that spell check just reminded me that I had intelligence spelled wrong!)  But in all honesty, that day wasn’t nearly as special as the day that you asked Jesus to come into your heart while talking with daddy on Skype. I was one proud mama that day.

I love that you are compassionate and loving, and it makes me smile when you take my hand to help me down the porch stairs in the morning. Fewer things on this earth make me as happy as I am when I look into those big, brown eyes and smile because you are my child. I only wish this whole growing up thing would slow down.

Enjoy double digits, sweet boy.

I love you more than you will ever be able to comprehend, even in that big brain of yours.

I’m Back!!!

Hi there.

Remember me?

It’s been a few days (okay, a LOT of days) since I’ve checked in here on the blog.

First, I’d like to apologize to those who have stopped by here looking for their daily dose of crazy. The crazy was here, I just haven’t had the time to write about it. My house looks like a tornado came through. There is laundry strung out for miles. And on top of that, I am in desperate need of a pedicure.

And a massage.

I spent the week working alongside the big fella on the left, whom I’ve nicknamed Big Daddy.

He is Stevie’s cub-scout den leader, and his baseball coach. He is also a very good friend of ours. His real name is Eli. The two of us make a great team. He is very good with the boys, and I am very good with paperwork. We “accidentally” ended up leading a den last year even though neither of us had any day camp scout experience.

I was ready for long days and 412 degree heat.

Much to my surprise, it never got above 88 degrees. [Thank you Lord Jesus!]

As crazy as it sounds, I helped to lead 16 nine and ten-year old boys. My boy included. [Just as you might imagine, we endured lots of fart noises, spitting and talk about girls general silliness.]

We walked a bazillion miles in a week (which is the main reason I need a pedicure) and we really enjoyed watching the boys learn and grow as scouts.

I also threatened to take pool time each time they called me Big Mama (you know, because I call Eli Big Daddy!)

BB Gun shooting, Slingshot, and Archery were among their favorites.

They played sports, learned how to cook over a campfire in a dutch oven, made light sabres, learned how  to start a campfire, made a rocket, launched a rocket, learned about first aid, railroad safety, engineering, science, forestry, and enjoyed swimming everyday.

There was even time for this girl to pull a really good practical joke on her partner.

Do you forgive me, Eli?

And to be honest I would love to share the prank with you because it was that good, but the fact is it started last year and it would take too long to bring you up to speed. Let’s just say that I know Big Daddy well enough to know that this is far from over, even though I was only paying him back for a prank that he pulled on me during baseball season.

The only drawback to camp (besides the heat, the fact that I had to do a load of laundry every night, pack four lunches, string beads on totums, and pack backpacks for the next day) was that I couldn’t be with Alex, because the younger boys were on “the other end” of the park for their camp.

As a Tiger cub, Alex was required to have an adult with him. McDaddy took the week off to be with him. In typical day camp fashion, McDaddy was drafted into leading a den by default.

He had 16 six and seven-year olds in his group.

Thankfully, he has lots of patience had lots of parents to help him.

Alex medalled in two events, taking a silver in Archery and a bronze in slingshot.

Both of the boys made new friends and great memories.

And so did their mama.

All in all it was a great week.

A long week, but certainly a good one.

Me, My Boy, and The Girls

I remember the night well.

It was a Sunday, and it was approximately 7:30 P.M. when we walked through the door with him. I remember looking at him, and then back at McDaddy and asking, “Well, now what do we do?”

Our household had just grown by two feet, and we were the proud [inexperienced] parents of a brand new baby boy.

When we left the hospital, not one single soul had asked for a license, or credentials. Or a resume. Or fingerprints. Rather, they wished us well and sent us on our way with this living, breathing baby boy who had stayed an extra night in the hospital. Without me. McDaddy spent that night shuffling breastmilk to the hospital so that the nursery nurses wouldn’t give our sweet boy formula, and ruin his taste-buds for the real deal.

I had no trouble producing milk. In fact, the hospital nurses were so amazed they ran in and out of my room, escorting their friends in to see the horrendous amount of liquid spewing from my mammary glands into the pump funnel. (The pump funnels are a whole ‘nother post, but seriously, the girls?  They loved to show off!)

Looking back on it, the whole breastfeeding ordeal was a big part of the problem in the beginning. While spending FOUR WEEKS on bedrest, I had read all kinds of books about how to care for this sweet baby. Unfortunately this was before we had a laptop and before I was an iAddict. McDaddy and I thought we were being all productive and responsible when we attended a child birth class and a breastfeeding class; both of which turned out to be a big waste of time because I ended up having a C-section AND because the breastfeeding instructor was full of crap. 

The breastfeeding instructor went on and on about breastfeeding being a natural act that even the Indians mastered. Not one time did this “experienced” instructor mention that we might have difficulty in this completely natural act, or that my boobs would be sore and agitated and mean.

Or that I might be sore, agitated and mean.

We were a pair.

For sure.

Me and my boobs, I mean.

Not me and the instructor.

For some reason, I had this grandiose idea that McDaddy and I would bring this tiny baby home and the three of us would live happily ever after here in our hill-top home (Welcome to the inside of my head!) The reality was though, that it was December, and there was snow and ice on top of this hill, and I had a newborn baby that had been born four-weeks early, and a pediatrician that instructed us to keep this sweet baby home for at least a month to avoid the Christmas crowds and germs. I had a newly engraved PERMANENT eight inch reminder that this sweet baby had to be extracted from my body, and when given a choice between eating and sleeping, I chose sleep every time because I was breastfeeding  feeding on demand around-the-clock which translates to no more than three hours of sleep at a time.

Is it any surprise that I was also nine kinds of depressed?

I had read about postpartum depression, but I was full of fun and laughter and had a healthy baby boy, and how in the world could anyone be depressed about that? And to make matters worse, my sweet baby boy didn’t get the memo about breastfeeding being natural and so every three hours I was reminded of what a breastfeeding failure I was. I would pump, feed, wash, rinse, and repeat.

And cry.

I cried because I couldn’t make him “latch” on.

I cried because I didn’t want to be alone when McDaddy went to work.

I cried because I felt like it.

I cried because I boiled pacifiers and melted every last one of them.

I cried because it snowed.

I cried because I was sore.

I cried when he cried.

I cried because I just knew I was going to mess this up.

And just about the time that I’d get myself convinced that I could do this it was time to feed. AGAIN.

And again I’d be reminded that I was a breastfeeding failure and why IN THE HECK can’t I make this work? Bless McDaddy’s heart, he would wash and assemble all the pieces of the pump and deliver them to me with a look on his face that said, YOU CAN DO THIS!

Only I wasn’t so sure.

I would repeat the whole crazy scene several times a day and eventually McDaddy made a phone call to our Pastor’s wife, who is also a Licensed Counselor. He mentioned to her that I might have *a touch* of postpartum depression and would she please be willing to talk to me about THE TEARS and THE HORMONES and THE BOOBS and THE CRAZY.

Ok. So maybe he didn’t really mention my boobs.

When we arrived at our Pastor’s house, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I was sitting before a seasoned mother of four boys and she was actually telling me that I. was. perfectly. normal. She laughed at my crying fit over the boiled pacifiers, explaining that I wouldn’t know true heartache until my sweet boy got his heart broke for the first time.

By a girl.

Or Girls.

As in plural.

Somebody shoot me.

Just put me out of my misery and shoot me now because as sure as God is my witness, I will not survive this motherhood gig.

Our Pastor and his wife comforted me, encouraged me, and prayed with me. And after that, our Pastor’s wife did her best to talk some sense into my sleep deprived, hormonally imbalanced head and by the end of our visit I was feeling some better. She reassured me that it would get better.

It HAD to get better.

And it did.

Not before I spent half the night pacing the floor and crying out to God to please make this sweet angel STOP CRYING, and convincing McDaddy that we needed to take him to the ER because OH MY WORD SOMETHING IS WRONG HE SHOULDN’T BE CRYING THIS LONG for no reason.

Only he was.

It took a frustrating THREE WHOLE MISERABLE WEEKS for Stevie to “latch” on. 

One afternoon my friend Amy was here visiting and I was sharing my breastfeeding frustrations with her. Out of nowhere, my sweet boy FINALLY latched on and I let out a war-hoop (which is a redneck way of saying I yelled real loud) and did a little dance in my chair. When he finished, I called my girlfriends, went door-to-door in my neighborhood, and I might have even announced it at church.

And little by little, this sweet boy and I came to an understanding – that I was ill-equipped to raise him and apparently he had drawn the short straw at the mommy choosing party – and he was just going to have to bear with me on this journey.

It wasn’t always easy but the three of us survived.

And in THREE SHORT YEARS, I signed up to do the whole thing again.

Three is Nine

Nine years ago today, on December 12, 2002, I was headed to a weekly non-stress test at our local Children’s Hospital, as I had done for eight weeks.

I had spent the past four weeks on bed rest, with another four weeks to go.

As I waited for my baby boy to log ten movements, I wondered what he would look like.

I had no idea what kinds of things he would like, or what type of personality he would have.

I secretly hoped he would look like me.

But figured he might look more like McDaddy.

After an hour or so, they sent me to the Mother/Baby unit. I was surprised when my Doctor told me I would have a baby THAT day.

Fearing I would have a baby on Friday, the 13th, I said, “Let’s roll!”.

I called McDaddy to the hospital around 4PM.

Almost four hours later, at 8:37 PM, an eight pound, ten ounce baby boy was extracted from my body and we were so excited! We named him Stephen Michael, III.

It’s hard for me to believe that baby boy is nine years old today.

Where did the time go?

Super Summer Summary

Summer is holding on by a thread. Or maybe I should say I’m holding on to summer by a thread. The mornings are cooler. Daylight ends sooner. And I don’t even want to mention the dread I feel just thinking about the cold weather that is no doubt just around the corner, with its friends snow, and ice. It’s enough to depress a person.

Especially when the person is afraid to drive in the snow and ice. Just to keep things light and airy though I won’t dwell on winter and all of the madness it brings to the party.

Today was the fourth day of school. It has not been an easy adjustment for me, or my sweet Alex. I was at his school today for some PTA business and he spotted me from the lunchroom in the hallway. I walked over to say hi to him and noticed that he was crying. He said he missed me and wished I could stay with him all day long. I hated the fact that he was crying, but I’m glad to know that he misses me. I hate it that summer is over because it means I am at the mercy of my stupid alarm clock. I wish we could just have another month of summer, because I miss having my boys at home with me, and because we had an awesome summer. I am so sorry to see it come to an end.

Fortunately Stevie is having a ball in third grade. He loves school and his new teacher.

On the first day of school, his teacher, Mrs. H. asked the kids to draw four pictures that represented their summer.

I was amused at his super summer summary.

First, there was his second place medal for BB shooting at Cub Scout day camp

Even though I had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, and it was 149 degrees that week, it was for me, a memorable week. I helped out with a wonderful group of boys (and two girls) and I was pleasantly surprised that I REALLY enjoyed myself.

Second, he mentions seeing CARS 2 which might not amount to a hill of beans to some people, but, when you live here in this house, CARS 2 is big business, especially since two fans have been waiting since the release of CARS 1 to watch the sequel. As usual, Disney Pixar did not disappoint.

Just under that picture, he mentioned having sleepovers with good friends x 7 which cracks me up, becuase I would bet the farm that he really did have seven different sleepovers. He is, and always has been a technical kid. He takes details very seriously WHICH AGGRAVATES ME TO NO END because seriously details are overrated.

What can I say, except that he is his father’s son.

The fourth and final picture cracks me up. In it, he recalls the most harrowing moment of our summer. The moment just after having a bike wreck and crying so hard he couldn’t get his breath which resulted in him passing out in the middle of the street, riding to the hospital in an ambulance and the discovery that our sweet boy has an extra spleen.

Yes, I said spleen.

We sure know how to make ‘em around here.

Thanks for the memories, summer!  I’ll miss you!