Tuesday, May 24, 2016

growing pains

That time when she was 6 weeks old and refused to sleep anywhere but in our bed, I was thinking Little Miss J couldn't grow up fast enough. Those times when I thought my Auntie Lori was coming unhinged for tearing up as her children grew up and started leaving the nest. I take back each and every one of those thoughts. It is true. These little people grow up way. too. fast. While I will not go so far as to suggest stopping the clock, I certainly appreciate each milestone making my life easier in some ways yet harder in others. I want to savor each and every moment with this girl.

Recently, I have been struck by how grown up Little Miss J is. She will run her own bath, wash up, and put her jammies on by herself. She reads to J2 and even got him to nap on the rare weekend we were just lying around the house. She is a really good big sister. In the car she was playing with J2 making him laugh and then says to him, "J2, can you play by yourself for a little bit, Sister needs to talk to mommy and daddy right now." LOL. I guess I've used that line on her once or twice.

She has finally started sleeping by herself. AMEN to that! I only had to loft her bed 4.5 feet off the ground and tolerate two nights of near hysterics. Not ready to do the room reveal yet, so you'll have to wait on the photos for that one.

She is becoming so very independent, which means I need to do (marginally) less for her. She can grab her own snack out of the snack drawer, get a juice box out of the fridge, grab a tortilla, orange, string cheese to munch on, etc. She does her own hair and ties her own shoes. But with this independence comes the realization that some day I will have to let go. I will have to let her use a public restroom by herself, ride in a car driven by her newly licensed friends, give her a cell phone and access to social media. These things frighten me to no end because I will need to find a way to do these things that works for our family and hopefully doesn't make her a total outcast with her friends because I sympathize with the desire to fit in. Having to navigate these waters seems harder to me than functioning on only 4-5 hours of sleep, wiping poopy butts, or being asked to do something every three seconds. I imagine when she's out with friends I won't get much sleep anyhow,waiting for her to come home. I truly do not know how my parents did it. Perhaps Ambien.

But before I get ahead of myself, let's reel it back in. She's five years old. Correction - five and a HALF years old. For the most part she remains at my side on the regular. She tells me everything. Trust me, with the sheer amount of talking she does, there is no way that I don't know EVERYTHING. I know what she watches on her iPad. I know what toys she has or doesn't have. She can't even reach the medicine cabinet to get her own band-aids let alone get into trouble. I still have final veto over attire. And she's actually a really really good, sweet kid. Not a day goes by that she doesn't tell me that I'm the best mommy in the whole world.

I love this little mini me so much. I empathize with her joy, her sadness, her disappointment, her boredom, her apprehensiveness, and most of all her love for her family. These are the days ... to remember. Live in the moment. Know that the days of the constant jabbering and full disclosure will be replaced by sullen teenage angsty-ness. Embrace the enthusiasm that greets you at the door when you arrive home from work and give hugs. Always give hugs. Lots of them. They are powerful. Many times when she's upset all Little Miss J will ask for is a BIG HUG. And I'm always happy to oblige. As she grows up, I hope she will know that I am always here for her no matter what - big hugs and all. My only wish for her is to be healthy, safe, and happy - even when I'm not there to watch over her 24/7.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

it matters

Last night as I was putting J2 to bed we were talking about what sounds animals make. And by "talking" I mean, I asked him what a pig, cow, chicken, dinosaur, etc. says and he gives me the appropriate response - oink, moo, bawk bawk, rooaaar, you get the idea. At the end I said, "what does Umma say?" He whispers, "I love you" and snuggles his sweet face into my chest. That's right my darling boy, I love you. So so much. The fact that you associate me with loving you makes me happy. In that isolating box of self-doubt, it makes me feel like I'm doing the right things. It makes me realize that you aren't always ignoring me in favor of watching YouTube videos of dinosaurs, spiders and construction equipment. It makes me know that it matters. Words matter. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

pedi & a nap

We went to church on Mother's Day and during children sermon the kids were asked what they thought their mom wanted for Mother's Day. At first Little Miss J was a bit shy, but by the end she announced to the entire congregation that her mom would like a nap because she's always tired because of her children. Can I get an AMEN?!

We kicked off our celebrating on Saturday with a little mommy-daughter spa time. Little Miss J wanted to get her haircut to "somewhere around her neck," and I had asked for a pedicure for Mother's Day. Gus set up the appointments and all we had to do was show up and decide whether I wanted white or pink champagne. Easy peasy.

Sunday after church we did a quick breakfast at Boudin where J2 proceeded to take off his shoes and socks and poop his pants. While not ideal, this is pretty much how we roll so it was to be expected. No disappointment here. 

When we got home, I got to open cards. J2 has been trying to give me this card since he picked it out at the store the weekend before - including trying to give it to me AT the store and then again at home after he had "signed" his name. Then we headed out to tour Capitol Park and the Capitol building. Nearly four years in Sacramento working within a mile of the capitol and we've never really walked through the park or toured the building, though I have run around the park about a million times. J2 discovered the magic of the echo and ran through the Capitol yelling "HELLOOOO!"

J2 refused to stop running long enough to be in this photo

J2 had fun running his little head off until it was time for the grand finale, buffet at the Hyatt Regency. I stuffed my face with crab claws (lots and lots of them), oysters on the half shell, carnitas, prime rib with creamed horseradish, eggs benedict, and too many other things to name. Delicious. My kids were relatively well-behaved the entire time. Little Miss J was pretty focused on crab cracking and I have no shame in saying that I gave J2 an iPhone so I could stuff my face and indulge in bottomless mimosas in relative peace and quiet.

Fat and happy, we went home and I even got a little nap in! Happiest of Mother's Days! Hope all my mama friends also got a little somethin' somethin' for themselves. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

the ring

With Mother's Day right around the corner, this is a well-timed post because it is about my mom.   

The ring. So, I'm not talking about the scary movie that made my friend, Scott, scream like a woman. I mean he can't be blamed. That little girl at the end was creeee-py, for sure. I'm talking about THIS RING, which seems to have a curse of its own. These pictures do not do it justice, but in my defense I'm an attorney not a photographer.

When my parents got divorced, my great-aunt, Florence, had the ring made for my mom. My mom wore it every day. Shortly before Florence was planned to come for a visit, my mom noticed that the center stone had fallen out. I recall laying at the end of our dock on Ely Lake peering down in the water in the event it had 1) fallen out in the lake and 2) we were actually going to be able to find it in there. There was garbage to be dug through, drawers to be looked in, etc. Ralph, brilliant as he is, came up with the completely reasonable and obvious idea of just going to the jeweler and getting the stone replaced. DUH. So that's what we did. Ring fixed. Everyone happy. Florence (RIP) never the wiser.

My mom is undoubtedly wearing that ring in the above photo, but it is most certainly eclipsed by the awesome-ness of that ruffly dress. I loved that dress.

After my mom got sick, she went through this awful, terrible, but probably necessary (for her) process of identifying things that I would like to have after she was gone by putting sticky notes with my name on them. As part of this process, she wanted to leave the ring for me. The ring that she wore every day until she was gone. Shortly after her death, I had it resized and had some gold added to the band, which was thin.

Despite having it resized, when my fingers were cold, the ring was a little loose. One morning a couple years ago, I noticed that it wasn't on my finger. I couldn't remember taking it off and I couldn't seem to find it. Thinking that it would show up eventually, I continued my morning flipping on the blender which in turn made this awful sound of the ring being blended up with my apple spinach smoothie. Devastation ensued. Probably similar to the way my mom felt that day when the center stone was gone. Thankfully, most of the parts were salvageable and a few weeks ago Gus surprised me with the ring. Shiny and new.

Missing your beautiful soul on Mother's Day and every day, Mommy. But at least I feel a teensy bit closer to you with the ring back on my finger.

Yeah, I'm TOTALLY wearing overalls. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

orchids & onions - weekend edition

When I'm back in my homeland (northern MN, not South Korea), I always get a kick out of the orchids and onions in the Mesabi Daily News. I'm not even sure it is a widely known concept because when I Googled it, the first entry was a non-profit dedicated to "education and the promotion of outstanding architecture, planning and urban design throughout the San Diego region." But never fear, fellow Northlanders, the MDN shows up only 8 listings down. For those of you who aren't in the know, Onions & Orchids is an opinion column in my local hometown newspaper, where people give "onions" to things they thought were bad and "orchids" to the ones that were good. It's an airing of the grievances of sorts. So here's the Orchids & Onions Chunglund weekend edition ...

J2 would like to give Onions to haircuts. Even with Paw Patrol, a Dum Dum sucker, and this really cool firetruck, haircuts continue to be the worst.

Little Miss J would like to give Orchids to a play date with her best friend, Ava. We had Ava over a couple weekends ago and Ava's mom reciprocated on Saturday. Little Miss J had so much fun, she's already talking about the next play date, and asking whether it can be longer than the last one!

Orchids to the gorgeous weather and being able to swim outside with friends. Watching J2 jump in the water was the highlight of the afternoon. At 2.5, he couldn't seem to get the timing down - he'd jump on the edge of the pool and then just step/fall into the water. But he was very very proud of himself. J2 would probably give Onions to having to stop swimming. I was finally able to lure him out with an offer of Pirate's Booty. Thank you, Carol!

perfecting her backfloat
Meh to Dinosaur Day at Sierra College in Rocklin. There was lots of stuff for the kids to do but, IT. WAS. SO. CROWDED. The favorite activity was the box with the live dinosaur in it. Little Miss J was pretty convinced it was real. My favorite thing was watching those two excavating the dinosaur bones in the sandbox. Little Miss J was pretty focused. Perhaps she's a budding paleontologist.

dinosaur hat selfie!
As is probably the same in all your lives ... Orchids and Onions abound!