Me: Natalie, you are 2 and a half today.
Kim: Do you know what that means?
Kim: Tomorrow you will be closer to 3 than 2.
Me: That means you should go pee-pee in the potty! (I am plugging that a lot these days.)
Natalie: Yeah!! Do I get cake?
Yesterday Natalie and I went to see Rocknoceros, a local kids band. Whatever this says for me, I found myself enjoying it and Natalie had a great time. For those of you who have children, I recommend their music. It is fun, clean and very punny! At times I felt I was in an alternate universe, who else spends their time doing things like this? Mommies like me.
Being married to Kim has been wonderful. He is my dearest friend. He is my constant encouragement. He believes in me. He loves me unconditionally. He is the love of my life.
I do not deserve his love. He is intelligent. He is one of the hardest working and dedicated people that I know. He is fun.
We have had some bumps in our 7 years together but we are a better family for it. Our love is real. Our love is special.
Wednesday finished up well. After nap, we went with Kim to another amazing park in the area and Natalie had a great time. It was fun for me to watch Kim and Natalie together at the park since he rarely gets to join us. Then we went on an explore to find dinner and found a great new wings place, yummy. I keep thinking to myself, this is what normal families do on weekends, but we never seem to have weekends to play like this with Kim's schedule so it was nice. We came home, got Natalie into bed. Kim spent the rest of the night preparing for conference the next day and I worked on my quilting project, it was a perfectly nerdy and fun night.
Thursday Natalie went to school and from all reports had a fun day. I am so thankful that Natalie loves going to school! After nap time we went for a long swim in the pool. Natalie is getting to much braver in the pool. It is amazing to look back on what she did in the water last summer and compare that to what she is willing and able to do now. She comes running to me and says "I want to go swim, Mommy!" That means she wants me to take her to the deep end of the pool and float around with her, let her go under the water, and let her "jump" to me from the side of the pool. I think she is going to be a "water-bug", as my mom used to call me.
Today when I asked Natalie if she wanted to go to the park she told me that she wanted to go see the cows and sheep at the barn (a true country girl at heart). We went to Frying Pan Park and saw lots of cows, not so many sheep. She has historically been very afraid of the animals once we are there but was so brave today. There was also not as much whining to be carried instead of walking (probably related to not being afraid). It was a hot and smelly but joyous day at the Farm. We had a picnic on the living room floor for lunch because I was too wimpy to eat outside. I don't do 90 degrees very well.
We did manage to get some cute pictures!
Natalie: I want God in my bed.
Me: God is in your bed, God is everywhere.
Natalie: I want to hold Him.
Me: You can't hold God. God is a spirit. He does not have a body like man.
Natalie: I want to hold God.
Me: You can't hold God but you can talk to God.
Natalie: I want God in my bed.
Me: God is in your bed, He is everywhere.
This circle continued for a few more rounds. Maybe I would do better with questions like this before bedtime has passed.
FYI: I got inspired again.
Yesterday afternoon, after nap, Natalie and I headed to the pool. Three quick observations from that outing...
- I have arrived at a stage of motherhood that I dreamed about last summer, I kept my butt planted in a chair at the side of the pool for ten solid minutes. It was as heavenly as I thought it would be.
- Some people need to discipline their children more at the pool or not be surprised if I do it for them, especially the five year-old girl who repeated took Natalie's bucket out of her hand. I still don't know where this child's mother was the whole time this exchange happened so she might not be upset if I disciplined her child.
- I must have a sign on my head that says either "I'm friendly, come tell me your troubles" or "I'm lonely, tell me your life story" or their are more people out there who need friends. After a random conversation (mostly one-sided) I know that this complete stranger: just moved to the area from NJ because her husband's job (as a white-collar mail fraud investigator [who knew there was such a thing]), has rheumatoid arthritis which causes her great pain while she climbs all the steps in her town house that she bought for 500K, is trying to conceive a child this month so that she can get back on her medication for the RA. I could also tell you the details of the life of the woman who gave me her life story at the park two days ago. Don't get me wrong, I love talking to people and the thought that I am friendly but does anyone talk about the weather anymore?
It started when Natalie went postal because I threw her banana away at breakfast after she told me three times that she was all done. Sure, I had another banana to give her but I didn't. I could just hear the grandparents in my ear telling me how mean I was being. She told me that she was done. I think she thought it would be a fun game. She has been into that a lot recently. Making a choice and then changing her mind. Two year-olds!!! She whined for 15 minutes about the silly banana.
Then, nap time.
Me: Natalie do you want to read on the bed or in the chair.
Natalie: On the bed
(So, I make a place for us on the bed)
Natalie: I want to read in the chair.
(So, I make a place for us on the chair)
Natalie: I want to read in the bed.
Me: No, you choose to read in the chair.
Natalie: I want to read in the bed (in the most whiny voice she has).
Me: No, you choose to read in the chair. You can stop whining or you can go to bed without stories...
No need too bore you with the rest of the details. I hope a nap gets some of the whines out.
Like I said the trip was originally intended to visit with my Chief (my dad's dad), his lovely wife Fran, and my Grammie (my mom's mom). Chief and Fran are doing wonderfully. It was so fun to watch Natalie interact with them. We had not been at their house for five minutes and Natalie had made a new best friend in Ms. Fran. She had Fran pushing her baby's stroller around and changing her baby's diapers. Natalie had so much fun watching Chief feed the birds, helping him take the trash out and leading him around the house. Like I said, a joy to watch. The other really fun part of staying with Chief and Fran was watching Natalie run around a house that I treasure from my childhood. We always spent Christmas time in New Jersey at my grandparents' home. Natalie was playing on the stairs that I remember coming down on Christmas morning. What a joy! She was running through a house that I ran through so many times. What a delight for my heart.
We also visited with my Grammie, who is not doing so well. She is 91 years old, nearly 92. She has lived a long, wonderful life but her time here on Earth appears to be running out. She is still able to be in her home with the 24 hour care of an angel named Zoya. She is an angel. She takes such wonderful care of my grandmother. She provides the care that I wish that I could provide. She lovingly feeds her and cares for her every need. Even though my Grammie is often mean to her (Grammie's mind and personality is not what is used to be) she is so incredibly patient and kind to her. My Grammie is still in the only home that my mom ever lived in. She is still in the bed that she shared with my Pop-Pop for over 60 years. She is still able to snuggle with her beloved cat Susie (who is the meanest cat ever!) who never leaves her side. My mom got to spend good time with Grammie. I got the few brief moments that Natalie would allow me with her. I got to kiss her and tell her that I love her. Natalie kissed her and told her that she loved her. So sweet! Grammie may fool us all and go on living for a while but even if she doesn't we all got to give her kisses and show our love. It was worth the trip for that!
Now, here are the more upbeat and fun highlights from the trip:
- Pizza night at Chief's house with my Aunt Jeannie, Uncle Gary, Uncle John and Uncle David
- Playing shuffle board until 1:30 in the morning with my Aunt Jeannie, Uncle Gary and Uncle David (Uncle David and I won)
- Taking Natalie to Verona Park (another childhood memory of mine)
- Real NJ bagels
- Dinner with Aunt Joannie, Uncle John, Johnnie, Anna, Gary, and Jessica
- Watching Natalie play in the pool with Anna (my 16-year-old cousin)
- An afternoon with my maid-of-honor, Jen, who took the bus in from NYC to visit with me
- Visiting with my Aunt Barb and cousins: Joey, Kristin, Jessica, Keith, and Kristine
- Feeding the ducks at Verona Park
- A pool party at my Aunt Pat and Uncle Ken's house with lots of cousins and friends that I hadn't seen in many years. Some of them I hadn't seen in four years, some probably 10. I got to meet their children and briefly catch-up. So fun! Here is the list: Aunt Pat, Uncle Ken, Robin, Anthony, Samantha, Kenny, Laura, Caroline, Little Kenny, Kevin, "Aunt Joyce", Tammy, Morgan, Shelby, Sidney.
We arrived home safe and sound at 7:30 last night. We had a great time. Again, not enough pictures were taken! So many fun memories. My mom, Natalie, and I are a mean road-trip team!
When we put her to bed last night she asked for her passies and I reminded her that the passies were in Snuggles (I am surprised she didn't ask me to open the bear up!) and that she could hold Snuggles but could not have the passies. That one gentle reminder went over well (Kim mumbled under his breath "If I have to go to Target in the middle of the night to get a pacifier...")
Our first night without the pacifier was great, not the drama that I imagined that it could be.
For all of you out there who are thinking this was a bit elaborate, I agree. Just tell the kid no more pacifiers and be done with it. I agree! But where is the fun in that? My dad ate my pacifier and I am still in therapy for it! Who knows, maybe Snuggles will journey with Natalie to the ends of the Earth.....
P.S. Today Dawn and Andy celebrate 7 years of wedded bliss! Congrats to you,too!
First we drove to Emerald Isle to chill on the beach and spend time with our dear friends. We shared lots of good food, drink, conversation, and time catching up. I don't think there are 11 other people in this world that I could share a three bedroom condo with! Our children had a great time playing together and so did we. The sad news is that I didn't take any pictures. I was so busy enjoying the time and chasing a toddler on the beach that I didn't get around to it... A bonus of the trip was that Kim's brother and his family were at the beach at the same time we were. It was great to see them too. We enjoyed a round of putt-putt and Kim got some time fishing with his brother. Good times!!
We drove home on Thursday and flew to Alabama on Friday. My aunt and uncle have a house on the Gulf coast in Alabama. After some delayed flights for bad weather, 17 of us were able to gather together: my mom, dad, brother, brother's girlfriend, 3 aunts, 2 uncles, uncle's girlfriend, 4 cousins, husband, daughter, myself and two dogs. It was quite a crowd. We had a blast playing games, swimming in the pool, riding jet skies, fishing off the dock, deep sea fishing on Dreamin' On (my aunt and uncle's boat) and just being the big family that we are. Can't wait for next year and maybe even more family members can join us.
So, after surviving long road trips and plane flights with a toddler it is back to real life. I seriously need vacation from vacation.