Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bucket List V 1.0

Something I have been working on. It is by no means complete and I've already completed some of the things on here, but I thought I'd put it somewhere that I could always find it!

  1. Go white water rafting
  2. Go on a Mediterranean cruise
  3. Do a canopy tour
  4. Go on a motorcycle trip around US
  5. Go on the Trans-Siberian train
  6. Route 66 trip
  7. Swim with dolphins
  8. See a platypus
  9. Go on a safari
  10. Ride an elephant
  11. Adopt an animal
  12. Join an activist group
  13. Mush a dog sled
  14. Go to the grand canyon
  15. Go to Niagra falls
  16. Yosemite
  17. Visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  18. See a meteor shower
  19. Snorkeling in the Belize reef
  20. See the Parthenon in Greece
  21. Stonehenge
  22. Live outside the country for a month or more
  23. See the seven wonders of the world.
  24. Volunteer in the Peace Corps or similar
  25. Visit Auschwitz
  26. Visit the blarney stone
  27. Horse drawn caravan through Ireland
  28. Go to top of empire state building
  29. Statue of liberty
  30. Participate in a march
  31. Go to white house
  32. Ride cable car in San Fran
  33. Write a children's book
  34. Glastonbury festival
  35. Go to Mardi Gras
  36. Learn to play chess
  37. Play poker in a Vegas casino
  38. Learn to make pottery
  39. Grow a garden
  40. Learn to cook
  41. Own my own company
  42. Take drawing classes
  43. Create memory books for each child
  44. Fill out all about me book
  45. Learn to sew
  46. Sew my own clothes/ kids clothes
  47. Start a collection
  48. Learn to not care what others think
  49. Go to a retrouville weekend
  50. Witness a birth
  51. Learn how to take criticism
  52. Learn how to take compliments
  53. Learn time management
  54. Get a college degree
  55. Become a master of geography
  56. Go to a pro sports game of hockey, football, baseball, basketball
  57. Go to a summer and winter olympics
  58. Live debt free
  59. Have college funds for all three kids
  60. Have a savings account with 5 figures in it.
  61. Shop on rodeo drive and not need to feel guilty
  62. Sleep in a castle
  63. Fly first class
  64. Own something from Tiffany &Co
  65. Understand what love is
  66. Understand what forgiveness is
  67. Adopt a child or be a foster parent
  68. Create a home that is fun, comforting, neat and safe
  69. Have an heirloom for each child
  70. Write letters to everyone I love to be given when I pass away
  71. Meet my grandchildren. And take them to Disney :)
  72. Build our dream house
  73. Own a vacation home
  74. Catch a fish
  75. Take up Tai Chi
  76. Go on an awakening retreat
  77. Build a habitat for humanity home
  78. Adopt a BLM horse
  79. Join a disaster relief fund
  80. Start a charity or organize an event
  81. Mentor someone
  82. Be a successful "natural horsewoman"
  83. Make a film
  84. Complete nanowrimo
  85. Complete a marathon
  86. Go to fashion week
  87. Go on a trip alone
  88. Go on a trip with each kid individually
  89. Learn to play guitar
  90. Learn to play the piano
  91. Go to millionaires row at the derby
  92. Own a racehorse
  93. Go to the super bowl
  94. Macy's thanksgiving day parade
  95. NYE at times square
  96. See a psychic
  97. Go to a masquerade
  98. Throw a surprise party
  99. Do a 365 challenge
  100. Ride horses on the beach
  101. Watch my kids fall in love

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


After doing the FINAL shopping trip for this holiday season, I took the kids in for some celebratory IHOP. It was quiet in there and the kids had plenty of crayons and extra place settings to draw to their little heart's content. Big drew a complex scene of an army parcel loader, personnel carrier, helipad everything-you-need vehicle. Maxson has been quite proud of his success in drawing people. He decided to draw a picture of me "to make me happy".

He grabbed my pen and made my enormous egg shaped head/body combo. Drew my eyes- complete with pupils- very nice. Then he gave me a squiggly silly mouth which we all laughed at and tried to make our mouths squiggly and silly. Next came my stick legs from the bottom of my egg head/body. I asked where my nose was. A small scribbly dot of a nose was hastily added. Then my arms extended from the center of my face all the way to the edge of the page on either side. Hands are not required. Finally, he added my hair. I commented on how I love the way he draws my hair- a large (though not nearly as large as my Angry Birds-esque figure) curly scribble that resembles a beehive perched on the top. Lovely.

I turned to talk with Big about his drawing and hear every A_M_A_Z_I_N_G thing that his truck was capable of. I turned back to Little and noticed a new addition to my portrait.

Me: "What's that?"

Little: "What?"

Me: "That right there."

Little: (in a very serious- slightly impatient- tone) "That's your pee-pee."

Me: "Really."

Little: "Yeah, so you can go potty. . . your butt is behind it too."

I'm not sure if that rectangle that sticks out is supposed to be my butt. I hope not.

So I get home and am telling J about this when I see all the other portraits he has done of our family. There is one for J, one for Big and one for himself. There is also another one of me. I remember that it's of me because it's in pink. There are no scribble penises on J, Big's or Little's. But sure as shit, there is one on mine hanging right there on the fridge- I didn't even notice it until then.

Perhaps he is trouble by my lack of a penis and thinks that if he draws it on there enough times, the penis fairy will bring me one. So thoughtful.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Claire,

It's your birthday. Everyone always says "I can't believe it's been a year!", and I can't either. It seems so surreal. The past few days I've been thinking the "this time last year I was. . ." type thoughts and while it seems to have gone by in a blink, it seems from another lifetime entirely at the same time.

The day you were born was such a surprise to me- despite having been induced. After my dr. appointment that morning, the midwife and I decided that it was too risky to have you stay there any longer. I was sent off to pack my bags and meet back at the hospital in a few hours.

When I was finally checked in and settled, my midwife came in to let me know that her shift was over and "pass the baton" so to speak to Nancy, the midwife who would help me bring you into the world. They broke my water at about 6 and I was quite sure that you would be here by 7:30. 7:30 came. . . and went. As did 8:30. And 9:30. Finally, at 10, I was ready to tell the midwife that I was going home because you really were going to stay there forever. My progress was checked again and I had made it all the way to 6cm. I started at 5cm. I was so disappointed in myself that I had gotten everyone worked up over my "fast labor" that was taking 4+ hours.

Nancy came in to chat with me after my progress update. We sat and talked about what I could do to help things move along, how I was feeling, what the contractions were feeling like etc. The longer we talked, the more often I had to stop through each contraction. Toward the end of our discussion, I started getting the shakes and feeling a little sick. A little voice from Bradley class whispered to me that I might be in transition, but I shushed it because there was no way I was there after just 20 minutes.

Before leaving, Nancy decided to check the progress again and instead of telling me how far I had come, she simply asked your father to call the nurse and tell her to bring a birth cart.

I clearly remembered being excited that the moment was finally here, but also petrified that it was here. I know that I thought something idiotic like "Here it (the pain, not you) comes- I can't turn back now!" As if I could have turned back at any other time.

Mere minutes later, I felt the urge to push. Grandma and Aunt Vanessa rushed back right as I started to push.

I'd like to say that I brought you into this world quietly and peacefully- as nature intended- but I didn't.

I yelled through every push. I repeated things that were blatantly obvious (like "It hurts!"). I felt the wave of pure energy of each contraction and how impossible it was to fight against it, but how terrifying it was to be so "out of control" of my own body. It was on autopilot, I didn't have to do anything really.

After two pushes (and much screaming. . . and maybe a little panicking), you crowned with your fist up by your face. Nancy told me to stop pushing and I looked at her like she was insane. I looked her in the eyes hoping she would catch my "no effing way that's happening" message without me having to say it. I remember her smiling as she leaned away from us and simply told me to deliver you myself.

"Reach down and get your baby."

I don't remember a single ounce of pain from that moment on. Nothing. I reached down and pulled you into my arms for the first time and everything diappeared except us. I laid my cheek on the top of your warm, sticky little head and thought "this is heaven." Nothing else mattered. You were here, and I didn't need to see you to know you were perfect.

You were born at 10:50pm. You weighed 7lbs 9oz and were 19.5 inches long. You fussed a little, but mostly wanted to look around. I warmed you up and snuggled with you, kissing your sweet face and knew I couldn't stand to be apart from you. Everyone had to fight me for you- from your dad to the nurses.

When your brothers got to meet you for the first time, they were as in love as the rest of us. On our way home, Maxson reached over and rubbed your blanket and said, "She's so pretty.", softly to you. Aidan put himself on "eye watch" and alerted everyone the minute your eyes opened so that we could all see your pretty eyes. Daddy considered himself your personal bassinet and lived to take naps with you.

It's now a year later. Your brothers still adore you and live to make you laugh. Your daddy still fights me for bedtime snuggles with you and I still think of you as my own little piece of heaven. Through this past year, your innocence has reminded me of what is good in people when I could find none. Your smile has never failed to make me smile even when I was sure there was nothing to smile about. Not a day has gone by in this first year of your life that I have not told you I loved you even though the words don't feel strong enough to explain what you mean to me. I hope that if I say it every day of your life, by the time I am gone, you may understand how much I love you.

Happy Birthday Princess.


Monday, July 26, 2010

A House of Boys

It's the dead of summer which means we are all stuck inside unless we'd rather drink our air than breathe it. We've also instituted a "No TV before lunch" rule. I was hoping it would prompt the boys to go outside before it got too hot, but it's mostly resulted in them whining for a 2 hours about not being able to watch TV and then asking to eat lunch at 10am.

But this morning I made pancakes, Little is playing with some of his new birthday toys, The Princess is eating pancakes (and an ink pen) and Big is playing with his toy plane. He's been on quite the plane kick lately as Jason recently bought a flight simulator game for the X-Box.

Big zooms around the living room making plane noises that sound remarkably like the sounds in the movies- mimicry of sounds has always been a strong suit of his. I'm so proud. Anyway, he zooms around making accelerations, decelerations, turns, and of course, the occasional weaponry sounds.

As "Atlantis One" buzzes the couch where The Princess and I are sitting, I hear him muttering to himself.

"Atlantis One, you are approaching the Cliff Mountains. Do you copy? Over."

"Copy, I am coming over the mountain. . . I see it! I see the Princess-Bear-Zilla!!! OH NO!!! She's trying to get me with her SuperCuteness Blaster!!!!"

He swerves the plane right down over The Princesse's head while she smiles and giggles at her silly Big. She is still chewing on the ink pen (her top teeth have finally broken through- she can chew on anything she wants as long as it's not me).

Big's voice gets mechanical again.

"Atlantis One, take evasive proceedures. Do not let the Princess-Bear-Zilla get you."

"Copy, but she's coming after me with her SuperCuteness Ray!! (Which is apparently different than the SuperCuteness Blaster). AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! ABORT MISSION."

He buzzes by the couch again and reports to his squadron leader that it was a TRAP!!

"There's a whole family of ZILLA'S- Princess-Zilla is not alone, she has a mommy-zilla and there are dog-zillas, do you copy?!"

"Copy Atlantis One! Get out of there!!! Report back to base!"

"Roger! >he makes several "warp to light speed" sounds< HAHAHA!!! You'll never get me Princess-Bear-Zilla!!! Your SuperCuteness Powers are no match for me!!!"

He kisses her and hauls ass off down the hall.

She might be the cuteset thing we've ever seen, and we might all be so madley in love with her, but she'll still have to live with the fact that this is a boy driven household. She'll always be a Priness-Bear-Zilla with SuperCuteness Powers or a Loch Ness Princess whose Cuteness Stare incapacitates entire armies or something similar.

There's certainly no denying she has Cuteness Powers over every person in this house.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

6 Months

My beautiful daughter is 6 months old today. So much has happened since the day she came into my life. So many times I've thought- I need to write this down or- I need a recorder in my pocket to help me remember this later to blog about it. But I haven't.

I have manged to to keep my head above water though. The past 6 months have brought some of the most heart-wrenching moments I've experienced in my life. Some good, some bad.

The day my daughter was born was incredible. I was so excited to meet my sweet angel. I was so scared to go through a natural delivery again. I was sad that the boys wouldn't get to meet their sister in the hospital because of the ridiculous Swine Flu. I was happy that our family would finally be complete.

I remember once the hard part and the yelling and the pain was over, feeling so amazed by my sweet princess. I put my cheek on her little head the minute she was born- I still remember how warm and soft she felt. It felt like heaven. I also felt relief. Finally, this part of my life was over, I had everything I ever wanted.

In early December I discovered my husband having an affair and all the perfection I thought I had came tumbling down around me. I've never been so destroyed. So lost. So afraid. This was not supposed to happen to me. This happened to other people. People who didn't have the perfection that I thought I had.

I now know that my baby girl was sent to me to be my little ray of hope when I was in my darkest hours. All three of my children reminded me what commitment, hope and love truly meant. One hug from them was better than all the anti-depressants in the world. My amazing friends and family encouraged me when I felt confused, weak and alone.

In some ways, I felt like the last 10 years of my life had been wiped away. It all meant nothing now and I had to start over. The problem was, do I start over alone, or with my husband. In the end, I chose to err on the side of forgiveness. I owed it to my children and most of all to myself to try to make things work. If it didn't work, at least I could say I tried.

I'm now 4 months out from that devastating day of discovery. It has been a journey filled with exceptionally deep valleys, blind corners, seemingly never-ending plateaus of apathy and on occasion, a small peak or two.

In 6 months, so much has changed for me. The way I look at each day, myself, my relationships is no longer a fixed thought process. It's fluid, it changes with every nuance. It's like learning to speak all over again. While I struggle to have everything remain as normal as possible for my children, I'm trying to turn over a new leaf to make things better for our family- and myself.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Recent Gems From my Children

"Don't you think Little has a Frankenstein head? I mean it's so tall and square, it looks like a Frankenstein head." ~ Big

"She smells like cottage cheese." ~ Big in reference to The Princess

"Dat is the biggest garage I ever seed." ~ Little exclaiming as we pass a "Self Storage" facility.

"I ate a-hunred-dowlars." ~ Little in a pretend game of. . . eat the money? I don't know, he has an obsession with money and with eating inappropriate things. But I do love the way he says"a-hunred-dowlars".

"Isn't it weird that babies take such little breaths? I think she's hyperventilating." ~ Big's observation of The Princess in her car seat.

"That's not tasty for me."~ Little in regard to our dinner one evening.

"Take me home!! I am SICK of this!!"~ Little while we are out V-Day card shopping

"You are making BAD choices!!!"~ Little yelling at Big for not turning on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Friday, October 30, 2009


is about 7lbs 9oz and 19.5in long and arrived on October 28th @ 10:50pm

*pic courtesy of Kacy Cierley Photography