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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Taking Time

Today, I took time.

I took time out of my day to help my parents.  My mom's been sick with the flu.  My dad had an appointment with the eye doctor and an eye dilation was involved.  My mom didn't want my dad to drive himself and she wasn't feeling well enough to make the trip out so it was up to me.  It was not exactly how I wanted to spend my day.  I had tennis on my radar and I couldn't wait to play.  Plus I had already sat through another doctor's appointment with Claire.  She started wheezing and couldn't breath at swim practice last night so an early morning trip to the doctor was warranted.  They suspect she has asthma as of this morning's blow test...meds were ordered and we were sent on out of the doctor's office and back to school.  The whining little voice at the back of my head said "I had already been to the doctor, it was time to play."  But the rational, grown up in me knew differently.  I knew they needed my help.

I have to say that, although, I dreaded the thought of another doctor's office it was nice to sit with my dad and enjoy little snippets of conversation.  I heard stories today I have never heard before.  I had no idea my mom's mom couldn't mom is a great cook.  I had NO idea my mom's parents didn't really like each other...who knew?!  They were just little stories, nothing earth shattering but just enough to remind me that my parents won't be here forever and I need to make sure I take the time to spend with them now.  I am glad I took the time out of my "busy, busy" schedule to spend time with my dad.

I want my kiddos to value time with me as I grow older so I need to model that for them now.  Every now and again I get a little selfish and forget what's really and taking time for one another.  I'm glad I smacked myself upside the head today and had the grown up in me take over rather than letting the little whiner win.

Taking time for my parents is for the love of my family....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Good Morning!

Those are two of my favorite words on the planet ~ followed closely by "thank you," "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you."  Of course "I love you" rates the highest of them all but for this blog, it's all about "Good Morning."

I love to say "Good Morning."  I love to hear "Good Morning."  It makes me smile and gets my day off to a perfect start.

When our kiddos were babies I would get up earlier than everyone, clear the cobwebs from my head and the sleep from my eyes so I could greet them all with a cheery "good morning."  I loved to hear them babble in their rooms as they roused themselves from their night of sleep.  Mornings were the times I missed my little ones.  I had been away from them all night.  My batteries were recharged and I couldn't wait to see them.  It never ceased to put a smile on my face and light up my heart when I walked into their rooms and saw them standing at the side of their cribs smiling at me ~ waiting for my good morning greeting.

I still get up earlier than everyone...on most mornings.  I like the daily routine of a cup of tea with the newspaper and Facebook.  I catch up on the daily events and get connected to the world while still allowing myself time to clear my head so I can greet my kiddos with a cheery "good morning."

Don't get me wrong, there are times when I just want to skip the whole good morning thing and stay buried in my bed but motherhood beckons so I answer the call...sometimes grudgingly and sometimes snappishly, but I try hard to will myself out of a black cloud so my kiddos can go on their days with smiles on their faces and light in their hearts.  And then once they leave I can go back to my grumblings if I want or I can will myself to keep the smile on my face.  It's my choice but staying grumbly doesn't do me much good.

And yesterday sealed the deal on why I try so hard with good mornings...

Yesterday, I was given the biggest gift for a Monday morning.  All three kiddos came down to breakfast with smiles on their faces, light in their eyes and the cheeriest good morning greetings.  Their greetings reminded me of how much I love to hear the words "Good Morning!"  My day began with a happy heart.  What a way to start a week!

Good mornings are for the love of my children...

Monday, February 27, 2012

The TRVLN ZU Is Resting...For Now

Another hockey season is behind us and while it wasn't as successful when it came to wracking up wins, it was more than successful in continuing to the forge the bonds of friendship that nearly morph into family ties.

Zach has been playing travel hockey since he was in second grade.  I'm not sure exactly what constitutes a "travel hockey" caliber player at the age of eight but we were crazy enough to let him tryout for the Louisville Storm and they were crazy enough to put him on the began our inauguration into the world of travel sports.  Lucas and Claire were itty-bitty so we would load everyone up into our Suburban and head off to parts of Indiana, Ohio or Tennessee to see what kind of competition we could find for these eight year olds who loved to play hockey...anytime, anywhere.

It was during our inaugural year that I learned there is so much more to travel sports than just the level of play for the the kids.  For me, the world of traveling to see Zach play became more about the friends I made than the game being played.  The other families who were crazy enough to load their families into cars at obscene hours of the day to drive to Nashville, Tennessee or Evansville, Indiana, or Cincinnati, Ohio so our little boys could lace up their skates (or rather have us lace up their skates for them) became my extended family.  They were as insane as we were and the bonds were solidified as the kids kept playing together.

When Stan was offered a job here in Richmond the thing I checked out before schools and houses was hockey.  Did they have a youth hockey program here and if they didn't it might have been a deal breaker for me.  I knew the schools and the houses would fall into place but I couldn't move Zach (and Lucas who had just started playing) away from their friends and the sport they loved.  Luck was on our side and hockey lives in good ol' Richmond, Virginia...who knew?

Richmond called us here in the summer of 2006.  By September I had made a whole host of new friends.  The world of travel hockey here embraced us and took us in.  I was fortunate enough to land smack in the arms of a new travel partner.  Leslie took me under her wing and made me an instant part of her world.  She and I traveled the roads together with our oldest kiddos when Stan and I had to divide and conquer.  Lucas joined the crazy world of travel hockey and now we had double duty.  It was twice the work but the friends we made exploded as we tore up and down the interstates between Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and beyond...

Each year we seem to add new friends to our hockey family ~ growing bigger and bigger and making me realize how very fortunate we are to be involved with such a wonderful group of families.  It might sound weird but these friends are nearly part of my family as we work together to sort out travel plans, practice schedules and making sure the boys have time together to just hang out and enjoy being together as friends and not just teammates.

I feel much the same way about Claire's swimming and dancing...working together with families to get our kids where they need to be, always ensuring each other's girls are loved and well cared for.  Those friends are quickly expanding my family further.  I still have many more months with them so I am not lamenting my with them coming to an end...yet.

The TRVLN ZU is at rest from hockey but she'll be ready when the new season is upon us and we are ready to tackle another season of the sport my boys, and I, can't seem to live without.

Traveling is for the love of my children....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Losing Weight to Gain a New Title

16 years ago today I lost about 12 pounds and gained a brand new title in life...Mom.

The road to motherhood was interrupted by one small but very scary bump in the road, pre-term labor.  But I was lucky to be able to stop it early enough and keep Zach cooking long enough to deliver a healthy baby.  I made it to 35 weeks.

At 2 in the morning I was startled awake by a feeling of extreme wetness.  I had no idea what was going on but my first thought was that I wet my pants.  I was only 35 weeks for heaven's sake, there was no way that my water should have broken, but it did.  And I was headed for motherhood five weeks early.

I did what any sane, rational, soon to be mother would do.  I got up, turned on every light in the house and called the doctor who assured me it would be hours before I needed to make my way to the hospital.  It was during this time that Stan stumbled out of bed and asked what any sane, rational person would ask when it's 2 in the morning and the house is ablaze like a wildfire out of control..."what the HELL is going on?"  I asked him how he felt about becoming a dad on February 25, 1996 and his response was "I think I'll go back to bed.  Tell me when the contractions start."  Ooooof, not quite the way I pictured the scenario in my head but there was  not much about my pregnancy that followed the script I had plotted out in my head so I rolled with his response and went into the soon to be occupied nursery.  I plopped my large body down in the rocker and began to rock furiously, waiting to see how long it would be before baby Zachary would start making his desire to greet the world, and his parents, known.

I didn't have long to wait.  The contractions started almost immediately and I called each and every one of them out to Stan as he tried to catch some shut eye.  By 6 a.m. I knew it was time to leave for the hospital.  The contractions were fast and furious.

The trip to the hospital was one of the most excruciating car rides I have ever endured with every bump and turn sending shockwaves of pain ripping through my entire body. I got checked in to my room and "settled" into a bed, anxiously awaiting the arrival of drugs and a new life in the world.  I was given a small dose of stadol to take the edge off, with the nurses telling me it was too soon for the epidural I so badly wanted.  The drugs worked a for a little while and I was able to doze on and off.  It wasn't long after the administering of drugs that I turned into Regan from "The Exorcist."  My head began to spin around and I became a woman possessed.  Stan was trying so hard to comfort me but my voice was demonic as I told him to "Get the nurse NOW and STOP PETTING ME...DON'T TOUCH MY BED!"  

It turns out it was time for Zach to be born...the doctor was nowhere near the hospital and the nurses were completely unprepared for the rapid arrival of a baby who had been trying desperately to be born for five weeks.  Dr. Griggs came flying in at the last possible second, catching Zach as he made his arrival into the world.  It was when Zach was handed to me that the strangest feeling washed over me.  I gazed down at this tiny, screaming baby who was all mine and I looked a him with a feeling of love more intense than any I had ever known.  But it was also while I was looking at him with my heart bursting with joy that he peed on me...yes, I got peed on.  I had never been peed on before and here I was a brand spanking new mama and I got peed on...welcome to motherhood.  As I kept gazing, lovingly, at my new pride and joy I realized I had given birth to a Sleestak.  Yep, one of those creepy, lizardlike creatures from "Land of the Lost" he was in all of his glory, nestled in the crook of my arm.  He had a pointy, misshapen head.  He was skinny and well...ugly.  My newborn baby was a Sleestak and we named him Zach!

Luckily, I was so enthralled with my screaming, funny looking Sleestak that love outweighed everything else.  I was a mama now.  And I was in heaven.

I can't believe 16 years have passed so quickly.  I used to be able to hold Zach in one arm as I vacuumed and did what needed to be done.  Now he towers over me at nearly 6'1".  He is a man-child and I couldn't be more proud of him.  His Sleestak looks are long gone and now I look at him in awe as I see his honey brown eyes sparkling under the veil of long dark eyelashes.  His wit and humor never ceases to amaze me.  And his big bear hugs melt my heart.  He is the kindest soul with a heart of gold and I couldn't be more proud of the young man he has become.  The title I gained on this day 16 years ago is the one I cherish the most...Mom.

I love you, Zachary Paul Pokrywka.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gaining 50 Pounds

16 years ago today, I weighed 50 pounds more than I do right now.  16 years ago today, I was 35 weeks pregnant (yes, I gained a lot of weight in 35 weeks ~ I was huge) and I just getting off of five weeks of bed rest ...trying to keep baby Zachary from coming too early.  16 years ago today, I was not yet a mama.

In January of 1996 Stan and I moved from Manhattan, Kansas to Sierra Vista, Arizona.  Stan had a Military Intelligence course he had to complete and Ft. Huachuca, Arizona was the place to do it.  When I was 26 weeks pregnant we loaded up our cars and hitched up our two boats ~ yes, I know the whole boat in Arizona thing was a bit ridiculous but we didn't know where we were going to end up after his course was over so we brought the boats with us to the canyons and deserts of Arid-zona.

It was an interesting time, settling in to a new house being hugely pregnant but we moved there with three other couples so we were fully stocked with friends and I could lean on them if I needed to.  I never, one time, slowed down on the down hill side of my pregnancy and I think that may have been my undoing when it came to me going into pre-term labor.

I was 30 weeks pregnant the day I went into labor the first time.  One of my girlfriends, who had moved to Arizona with us, was due the next day and she was dying to get moving from being pregnant to being a mama.  She called me and asked me if I wanted to go four-wheeling with her to set her labor into motion.  I had a four wheel drive Explorer and a huge sense of adventure so off we went to explore the canyons of Arizona!!  Keep in mind this is prior to cell phones being anything more than a giant bag phone, with extremely limited coverage...especially in canyons.  We were having a blast cruising up and down the dirt roads; headed to a little lake tucked way back in the way-out-there parts of Arizona.  The roads were up and down, bumpy and lumpy and I was flying...until the car started to list painfully to one side.  I was having a hard time keeping the wheel straight and the car on the road.  I pulled over, opened my door and checked the seems the tires didn't like the dirt roads and my rear driver side tire was shredded so badly it looked like burnt spaghetti.  Uh-Ohhhhhh!  The two hugely pregnant women rolled out of the car to inspect the damage...well, SHIT!

OK, so here we are in the canyon, no cell phone, on dirt roads, never changed a tire before in our lives...we're pretty much in a pickle.  But we are bulling through.  The spare tire is located under the body of the Explorer so I haul my round body under the car to try and lower the spare.  I'm sure we looked like an extreme comedy of errors out there...the two of us.  Dumbasses!  Luck was on our side, landing a Canadian couple in our midst and then a park ranger.  Those three must have thought we were two of the craziest women around, with our giant bellies protruding proudly outward, trying hard to change a tire on the dirt road.

Tire changed, extreme thanks given we head home with our tails slightly between our legs.

I drop off my girlfriend and tell her I'm out for a power walk.  I park the car and head out, wondering the whole time how I'm gonna tell Stan the news about the tire and the whole four-wheeling experience.  My power walk was complete and I really wasn't feeling well so I sat down to rest.  My stomach was killing me and it was so hard to walk.  But I was still trying to plug along.

Stan got home and I gave him the whole "What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?"  I told him about the tire, the four-wheeling and how we were helped by three kind souls.  Stan wasn't mad or even stunned by my story, I guess by this time he was used to my antics and just chalked it up to me being me.

After chatting with me for a little bit longer and me telling him I wasn't feeling well so not to expect dinner, he went out for a run.  By the time he got back I couldn't walk.  I was in so much pain.  My legs wouldn't support me and my belly was on fire.  The doctor was called and off we went for the emergency room where I was told I was in true pre-term labor...dilated and effaced.  Drugs were administered, bed rest ordered and my ass was in the hospital for the next 24 hours.  DAMN, what had I done?

I landed in the hospital only one more time after that and tried hard to stay true to bed rest but the meds they gave me to stop labor caused a jittery-ness that couldn't be eased by sitting around.  It was an excruciating long five weeks for me ~ I can't even imagine all of the mamas out there who stay on bed rest for months to deliver a healthy baby...God love them!  I was very fortunate it was only five weeks and I kept myself out of the hospital....

To be continued...for the love of Zach and motherhood...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I DID NOT Win Mother of the Year Again!!

Wooooohooooo!  It's cause for celebration ~ me not winning mother of the year!!  I have won that not so coveted title too many times to count and this time I did the exact right thing.  I listened when he told me he didn't feel well.  I kept him home.  I doubted him, but I kept him home.  And it was the right move.

I seem to be writing an inordinately large number of blogs about Lucas lately but he keeps giving me material and I have to use it....

On Monday Lucas complained of a little sore throat.  Tuesday dawned and Lucas said he wasn't feeling well enough to go to school...but he was well enough to eat an entire pizza by himself which made me suspect he was bluffing about being sick.  But when he was still feeling crappy yesterday, I took him to the doctor and low and behold, he's sick, really sick.  Two ear infections, a negative strep test but a wicked red throat. And he now his ear has perforated...GREAT!  But, I didn't screw up like I normally do with him.  I didn't send him on his way when he complained a little about not feeling well.  The nurse practioner who saw him said his ear was bad.  So, I left the doctor's office feeling very vindicated that I kept him home.  PHEW...dodged another bad "mother of the year" award.

It has been while Lucas has been home from school for the past three days that I have had a little time to catch up with him...really listen to him and hear what he has to say.  He's a pretty cool kid.  He told me yesterday, on  the way to the doctor's office, that he has really been thinking about what he wants to be when he grows up.  Until this point he was convinced he was heading to the NHL.  He has now figured out reality.  It was kind of sad for me to learn that reality has become his but it's like Santa Claus, the true belief can only last so long (although I still completely and totally believe in the spirit of Santa).

So, Lucas thinks he knows what he wants to be.  He wants to be an agent in the FBI or CIA.  Jokingly, I told him those jobs required focus and he zinged right back at me that he can focus when he wants to.  I love that kiddo.  He gives as good as he gets, he has the personality to take a little ribbing and he's right, he can focus when he wants to.  He proves it in hockey and lacrosse and anything else that takes physicality and puts it to the test.  He might not have all the talent in the world but hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard.  So Lucas can succeed at anything he wants because he'll work his ass off for something he loves.

I know this blog has been a little bit "all over the place."  Where do you think Lucas gets his focus challenge?  But it has been all about Lucas and it has been about me being able to steer clear of winning the less than coveted "mother of the year award" ~ again.

For the love of Lucas...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Letting Go...

Zach, being our oldest, is the one who will be subject to the most stringent of our rules. He sees it.  He knows it but it doesn't make it any easier.

Stan is also the oldest and the rules for him have been vastly different than they have for his brothers.  I've seen it first hand.  When Stan and I first started dating and then got engaged we were required to sleep in separate bedrooms when visiting his family.  We didn't want to create the any sense of improper moral behavior and set a wrong example for his younger brothers.  Since then, the rules have changed for the younger brothers. It's just easier to let couples, married or not, share a room.  Rules are different going down to the younger siblings.

I just have to wonder how much different they will be going down the line for our kiddos...

Zach's 16th birthday is Saturday and as part of his day he is asking us to go to the UVA Lacrosse game in Charlottesville.  I know how much he loves lacrosse and watching UVA games is a quite an experience.  His plan sounded great until I asked the one question that was begging to be asked.  "Who is driving?"  His response was "Scott."  Scott is one of Zach's best buddies.  He's a great kid, from a good family, gets good grades and stays out of trouble.  But he's a brand new driver.  He just got his driver's license a couple of weeks ago.  Here in the commonwealth of Virginia kids have to be 16 years and 3 months before they are licensed to drive without an adult in the car and Scott just reached that milestone.  Zach has three months to go before he is fully licensed and he is asking us to let him go, on his 16th birthday, to a lacrosse game in a city 45 minutes from home, through the mountains with a newly licensed driver.

I truly don't know how I feel about all of this.  Freedom beckons these kids, as it called to all of us when were trying so hard to grow into young adults.  I remember the first time I held the keys to my very first car in my hand.  I couldn't wait to go.  It didn't matter where I was going I just wanted to go!  

Here is where my fear is...I want Zach to grow into a young adult.  I want him to be safe within the confines of our house and our rules.  So at what point do I let go a little more?  Scott has already driven Zach around.  Zach's 1/2 hour ride to his 8-10 p.m. hockey practice every week for the past five months has been with two of his hockey buddies, one who was a fairly new driver.  Do I let him take the next step and the extra 15 minutes to go to a lacrosse game at noon, knowing he will be home when it's still broad daylight?  My gut screams NO.  My gut tells me to let him go to the game if an adult is driving.  But is that the right answer?  Is this just my fear of letting go and letting him experience that first taste of freedom?  And how differently will I react when Lucas and Claire come to me with the same question.  Zach is our guinea pig.  The first born child always has the hardest row to how.  Hopefully he will do it well ~ proving his trustworthiness to us and passing that on, causing the rules tweak and change a little as we go down the line.

But I really don't want to let go...for the love of my children.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Time Well Spent

This past weekend I had the ultimate pleasure in spending the weekend with my boys as they played in their last hockey tournament of the season.  My traveling partner, Lisa, her two boys, my two boys and I loaded up the TRVLN ZU and pointed the car North to Philadelphia for a whirlwind weekend of hockey game after hockey game after hockey game.

The games were great and I love to watch all of the boys play together...pass, shoot, score is my favorite part of the game...but it was the downtime with the boys that sealed the deal on a weekend of fun.

Sunday morning dawned bright and early as we headed to our third and fourth games of the weekend.  The boys' teams had two back to back games starting at 8:40 with the next one following at 10:05.  After those games were finished we had a couple hour break before they needed to be back at the rink for their fifth and six games, respectively.  We went back to the hotel for some much needed rest ~ I was exhausted as takes a lot of energy to be in the stands and try to "will" the game to go the way I want it to.  There are times I feel like I am on my Wii Fit board working my legs and twisting my torso to get the players to the right zone to score or to get them out of the wrong zone to prevent a goal against them.  I stand on the top row, twisting and gyrating like a madwoman only to leave the game mentally and physically exhausted. So it was back to our rooms for a little down time before the second round of games for Sunday.

The boys showered, scrubbing away their stench and climbed into bed. Lucas asked if he could snuggle down beside me and I was happy to have him with me.  Zach took the other bed and stretched out underneath the covers.  

The TV was on, tuned to the History Channel.  With Lucas beside me, we watched a program about "Area 51" and Lucas proceeded to ask one question after another, even though we were supposed to be resting.  They were all good questions and I wished I could answer them but I don't know enough about Area 51 to be able to answer Lucas' questions without making something up...which I usually don't mind doing but I was so exhausted I didn't have the energy to make something up on the fly about a program on TV I know almost nothing about.

The conversation turned to other topics, even though we were supposed to be napping, because Lucas has enough energy for five of us.  He turned to me and asked me to say "spring break" for him.  The kids get the biggest kick out of it when I say "spring break"...I don't know why but when I say spring break it comes out all wacky and sing-songy and the kids, especially Lucas, think it's hysterical.  The conversation turned silly with the boys cracking me up until I couldn't stop laughing ~ the they told me I have an evil laugh.  That stopped me.  Me?  An evil laugh??  Yep, they both said, an evil laugh.  But they said it was funny and they loved to hear it.  Hmmmmm, well, I guess it kind of fits.  A devilish laugh for a devilish mama.  I'm OK with that, as long as it's coming from my boys in the midst of some time well spent...together.

I see time passing quickly in the next two years, as Zach is now heading into the back side of his sophomore year in high school.  I don't know how many more of these precious weekends away we will have together.  But I want to make sure that I enjoy each and everyone of them with my kiddos.  I want them to know that my time with them is well spent...always.

Oh, for the love of my boys....

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Migraines, or almost migraines, suck the life out of me ~ leaving no room for creativity. Today I almost got sucked into the migraine void. But I pulled myself out of a nose dive into the debilitating pain just in the nick of time. Thank goodness I paid attention to my body and the signals it was sending me. I've been down this path too many times before so I heed the warnings now and can stop the onslaught before it becomes a day long affair in a dark room, barfing my guts out ~ I have to say, that's not a good place to be!

 I have nothing, not a darn thing, for you tonight except to say....I had to overcome the stabbing, throbbing pain for the love of my children.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Day For Sharing

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I fully intended to write this blog yesterday but if you are keeping up with things you will know this got usurped for "Boys Are Weird..." which needed to be written in a timely manner or it would have lost its edge and frantic tone of my voice as I tried to escape the horrendous odor in my car!

Anyway, yesterday was Valentine's Day.  To me, Valentine's Day is about doing things for others...sharing.  Sharing things others love.  So I made cookies...pounds and pounds of cookies.  One of my friends posted a recipe on Facebook for Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies.  And I thought to myself, "self, you know the kids like cookies and you know the kids like chocolate so reason stands to chance that they will like these cookies."  And I went BIG...a double batch.  I cooked two pounds of bacon in preparation for the recipe.  I chilled the bacon fat and got all my ingredients lined up for a good ol' bake fest to share with others.

I baked and baked and baked.  And I had a blast.  I love baking so for me it was a little selfish but I wanted to give these (hopefully) delectable treats to help make someone else's Happy Heart Day just a little happier.

Here's the link to this recipe ~ just in case you are game to give it a whirl.  My girlfriend who shared the recipe added that they are even better when frosted with butter cream frosting and sprinkled with more bacon.  My boys confirm it...Zach said they are by far and hands down the best cookies he has ever had! 

Baking cookies for a day of sharing is for the love of my children....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Boys Are Weird

This was not going to be my blog topic for today.  My blog was going to be about Valentine's Day and good stuff for it but after my ride home, I had to switch gears...

Boys are weird ~ no doubt about it.

I don't normally drive Zach's Tuesday carpool.  Usually, that's Stan's job ~ I do the early morning stuff and Stan does the late night stuff.  I'm the early bird, he's the night owl.  But tonight was different.  All of today and into tonight Stan has been in bed with a bad case of sciatica so it was up to me to get Zach and his team mate, Ryan, to practice.

Driving there was routine, if a bit boring.  Zach fell asleep within minutes of picking up Ryan, leaving me to not converse with him, lest I wake "Sleeping Beauty."  It was the ride home that almost sent me over the edge...

Zach and Ryan piled into the car at precisely 9:48.  As soon as Zach closed the door, my olfactory senses went into overload...the smell emanating from these smelly boys was overwhelming and I told them so.  Both took offense saying they had showered.  I offered my apologies but stuck to my story that they stink, stank, stunk!  And then I figured out the source of the putrid odor wafting in the warmth of the heater ~ and NO it wasn't the hockey gear, which would have been a good guess, by the way.  It was Zach's shoes.  They smelled like rotten cat pee...not that cat pee ever smells good but these went beyond the malodorous stench by the umpteenth degree.  It took everything I had to not gag as Zach said, "Fine, then I'll take them off."  Yeah, like that's gonna make it all better.  Thanks, Zach.

Both boys professed to not smell one cotton picking thing.  Both boys said they are immune to bad smells.  Both boys said they actually like the smell of a hockey locker room and when they are away from it too long they miss it.  Seriously???  How the hell can you miss the smell of funk mixed with sweat mixed with God only knows what else, but the smell of the locker room and the hockey gear resembles the stench from Zach's shoes...rotten cat pee!  And how the HELL can they think that smells alright, even missing it sometimes??  That's just weird no matter how you slice it!

As we were driving  home we came across a dead skunk in the road.  Mix that with the stench of the shoes and I thought my head was going to explode.  I don't know which smell was worse...the shoes, the dead skunk or the combination thereof.  I have to say I nearly gagged and I did start coughing when the skunk smell mixed with the shoe smell.

By the time we got home I couldn't wait to get the hell outta Dodge and into fresh air.  I threw the car in park, wrenched my door open and inhaled as deeply as I could ~ as many times as I could.  The night air was cool, clear, sweet and refreshing.  After the ride home with the stinky boys who thought nothing of the putrescence filling the car, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

So, tomorrow after Lacrosse conditioning I will take Zach shopping for shoes so we can pitch the ones that smell like something the dog wouldn't even drag in and replace them with sweet smelling sunshine ~ for the love of my big boy who is just a little weird!  (But then again, so am I!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

A - Ten - SHUN!!!

Hello my little darlings, I just wanted to pass along a little nugget of information to you ~ the black thing held up to the side of my head is a phone!

Even after almost 16 years of being a mom, my kids still don't get the whole "I'm on the phone" concept.  It seems to me, that it is when I hold up the phone to my ear it is precisely the time when they "need" me the most.  It never ceases to amaze me.  The invisibility of the phone is a phenomenon I don't get...I'm on it they can't see it ~ how is that possible??  I can be sitting doing nothing and not have one single interruption at all but as soon as I put the phone to my ear there is some sort of catastrophe that needs to attended to immediately.

Case in point...I was sitting at my desk earlier today when my phone rang with my mother on the other end.  As soon as I said the words "Hello, Mom."  Lucas started asking me questions, interrupting my conversation and "correcting" things I was telling my mom.  Then Zach came in, trying to tell me all about his day and the fact that he got promoted in Air Force Jr. ROTC (which is wonderful and terrific and all that jazz but couldn't it wait??).  AND THEN Claire and her friend came in, telling me one thing or another.  Usually, I am not a proponent of telling my kids to go away but today, I have to say, I was a bit snappish as I told each and everyone of them to "go away ~ for just a little while," and to assuage my guilt a little I added a feeble "please" as I shooed them away.

Why is this the case?  Why can't they understand the that the black thing held up to my ear is a phone?  And what can I do, that I haven't tried in the past 16 years, to get this point across to them?  I love my children, but days like today really try my patience, when they act like toddlers needing immediate attention ~ NOW!!

Ohhhhhhhhh, for the love of my children....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Dance Dad in the Making

The other night Stan asked me about President's day weekend.  What are our plans, he wanted to know?  So, I launched into great detail about what was on our schedule...

The boys both have hockey tournaments in Philadelphia with four games a piece and Claire has a dance competition in Portsmouth.  It's gonna be a busy, busy weekend, I told him.  I went on to lay out the plan ~ me with Claire and Stan to Philly with the boys.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed to think about missing a weekend of hockey.  It's their last weekend of hockey for the year and I was a little sad.  For some reason, I don't feel like I got my fill of hockey this season.  Stan has traveled to both big tournament weekends and with Lucas not playing for the past couple of weekends I just feel like I haven't gotten enough...that's the wacky hockey mom in me talking.

I know it's easier and better if I go with Claire and Stan goes with the boys.  It's easier because I know the ins and outs of hair, make-up, tights and all the accouterments that go with the dance world.  Stan doesn't.  It's better because I can easily switch from dance mama to hockey mama in a heartbeat.  Stan is not quite so fortunate.  He was raised with only brothers.  Claire is the first Pokrywka born female in 57 years.  To say the Pokrywka's are male oriented is an understatement.  Stan understands all things boy...not so true with Claire and her activities.  So it's just easier to keep things status quo.

But, Stan decided to switch things up on me ~ keeping me on my toes, I guess.  "How do you think Claire would feel if I took her to her dance competition," he asked.  I told him I didn't think it would go over too well...for the following reasons ~

Stan can't do hair.  He can't.  He's tried to braid my hair in the past.  He's tried ponytails for Claire.  He can't do it.  Well, maybe can't is a strong word...maybe it's more like doesn't like doing it so he doesn't try.  He assured me he could do her hair.  "No, problem," he said.  OK, if you're willing to try, I thought.

Next, he can't do make-up.  He has no idea what goes where and why.  Claire said to him, as he was trying to convince her to let him take her, "Dad, you don't even know what mascara is!"  His response was immediate and concise "I do so know what mascara is.  It's that stuff that makes your eyelashes longer and bigger."  He's never applied any type of make-up, ever, so this issue is a big one.

But he's bound and determined to do it.  He wants to do it.  He's told Claire he wants to go hang out with her.  He's gotten to do one on one weekends with the boys this year but not with her.  She has acquiesced and is excited about hanging with her dance dad.  And today was the day to practice the hair.

Not too bad for his first attempt!

And so our roles have switched for next weekend.  I will be hockey mama and Stan will be dance dad.  I have to say, I'm impressed that Stan wants to attempt this.  It's a BIG deal ~ not only the father-daughter time but showing Claire how important he thinks she is by investing time in what she enjoys.  I'm so glad I got to see the day that Stan attempted to do hair and I look forward to seeing him learn how to put on make-up for the love of his daughter....

Friday, February 10, 2012

Naked Mannies and Smelly People

Let me preface this by saying, I completely and totally dislike shopping...especially at the mall.  I would prefer to peruse my purchases online.  I like buying.  I really don't like shopping.  So when the kids come to me and say "I need new....fill in the blank" dread shoots through my body like lightning through the sky.

Which leads me to my story....

Lucas came to me yesterday and said "I need new cleats for lacrosse and I also need new shoes."  UGH, really??  Do these creatures not understand my dislike of the mall??  But I knew it was a necessity so ~ to the mall and Dick's we go.

Lucas.  Shopping with him is, well, ummmmm...interesting.  He goes in knowing exactly what he thinks he wants.  He gets an idea in his head and he searches high and low for the image in his head.  It makes for some interesting and exasperating shopping excursions.  I have learned, through the years, to take Lucas shopping when it's only the two of us.  I understand him.  I can handle him.  I've learned to multi-task and entertain myself while Lucas searches the racks for whatever it is he has in mind.  Yesterday's shopping excursion was no exception...

The lacrosse cleats were found quickly and painlessly, easily checking that off the list because, let's face ~ cleats are pretty much cleats...not a whole lot of variety there.  The shoes were another story.  He wanted high tops, not tennis shoes, or skate boarding shoes...high tops.  Colorful ones.  Expensive ones.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love my Lucas and all, but the kid's feet are growing by leaps and bounds...expensive shoes don't go well with growing feet!  So maybe some of this shopping experience was my fault because I imposed a spending cap on Lucas, or he would have been easily satisfied with the $120 pair at Dick's.  But this mama wasn't playing...$120 is outta my price range.  So we went onward looking for exactly what Lucas had in mind.

As we were walking the full length of the mall to get to the another shoe store, we came across Abercrombie and Fitch ~ in all of its smelly, loud, thumping music glory.  They must have been in the process of a window change because all of the mannequins were unclothed, prompting me to teasingly tell Lucas to avert his eyes from the naked mannies.  I think Lucas almost stopped dead in his tracks when he saw the male mannequins undressed...he said "OK, that's just awkward!"  There was nothing anatomically correct on them, they just had pouches down in the nether regions, if you know what I mean, but Lucas was clearly uncomfortable ~ his cheeks turned red to prove it.

Anyway...we went about our and still not finding what he was looking for.  The mall was abandoned for DSW...surely we would find something in shoe Mecca.  But we had to cross back through the mall to get back to Dick's and our car.  Eyes averted once more from the naked mannies in A&F, we made it safely to Dick's.  We were almost out the door when the greeter calls to us "Hey!  Have a good one."
I turn my head away from Lucas, and give her my response.
Lucas whips in my direction and he asks "What did you say?"
I told him I said "You smell too."
I thought Lucas was going to wet himself laughing.  "Did you really say that, Mom???"  Nope, Lucas.  I didn't.  I said "Thanks, you too."  We laughed all the way to DSW about my silly, little play on words, where we didn't find a darn thing...shoe mecca let me down.

As we were climbing back in the car, Lucas says..."Mom, I think I'll go ahead and get those shoes at Dick's."  UGH....really???  How 'bout if I go pick them up tomorrow, I ask, hopefully.  No, he says he would really like to get them now ~ before they're gone.  You have to understand, Lucas really doesn't ask for a lot or often.  And out of our three kiddos, he is the one who is content to be by himself so when he wants to spend time with me, I leap at the opportunity to keep him all to myself for just a little longer so back to Dick's we go.

Our shopping excursion was now complete and successful.  I might not enjoy shopping but I surely enjoyed my evening with Lucas.  As we were leaving Dick's for the second time, the greeter calls out to us "Thanks and have a nice night."  I glance at Lucas, with a twinkle in my eye, and say "Thanks, you too," but as we cleared the doors I whispered to him "you smell too," for the love of Lucas....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


A few days ago, I wrote a blog called "Telling Stories" where I told you I would like to tell other people's stories.  I have had an idea brewing in the back of my head for several weeks now and it's coming time to share it with you.  I have a book stirring around in my brain which I have titled, for now,  "I am a Survivor; Stories of Hope."  I'd like it to be about all types of survivors...cancer survivors, rape survivors, domestic violence survivors, survivors of alcoholism ~  any and all survivors because, in the end, we can all be survivors, if we choose to be. I would like for all of you to be a part of it...if you have a story of survival I would love to hear it, tell it, make it heard and hope-filled.

But before I feel I can be trusted to tell other's stories, I will share a part of my story with you.  I have written it and have sat on it for weeks and weeks, writing, polishing and re-working it.  It's been an extremely hard story to write.  It will be harder to publish and may be even harder to read.  But it's a story of courage and the end.  It may take me some time to work up the courage to tell my story so don't be surprised if it takes a little while to put out there.  I will publish it through Perfect Mamas Confess and I will title it "I am a Survivor."

I want my children to know that living life to the fullest takes courage...sometimes mountains of it.  But I will be as courageous as I can...for the love of my children.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stress, Worries and Anxieties

Claire is home from school again today.  But I don't think she is sick, at least not in the true sense of the word.  I'm not sure she was really sick yesterday ~ again, in the true sense of the word.  After last night and again this morning, I believe she is worrying herself sick.

She is so stressed and worried about growing up ~ too worried.  She's too worried to focus on the present now.  She used to be so good at that...knowing the present is where she needed to stay focused.  Now, she's anxious about the future.

It all started becoming clear last night...and now, this morning, it's crystal clear to me that she is truly worrying herself sick.

Last night, shortly after she went to bed, Claire came back down stairs, with tears in her eyes.  Stan does what he always does when presented with tears ~ tried to deflect with humor.  "Claire, sit down and watch some Pawn Stars with us.  That'll help cheer you up," he said.  I knew something more was brewing in that brain of hers so I did what any mama would do.  I took her upstairs for a little girl to girl chat.  We snuggled down in her bed, with the lights off and had a little heart to heart, as the tears spilled from her eyes.

I asked her some questions about her tummy ache and why she thought it hurt.  Our conversation then turned to issues of growing up.  And with a trembly voice she said "I don't want to grow up."  My heart ached for her.  "Honey, you're not Peter Pan," I said.  "Unfortunately, you have to grow up ~ you are growing up.  And that's OK.  That's what you're supposed to do," I went on to say.  She told me she wished she were Peter Pan.  Peter Pan's tummy never ached because he was stressed about growing up.

She has always wanted to be Peter Pan.  But in a good way.  It seems to me, she used to just want to live in the moment ~ savoring her childhood.  She knows she's got a good life here at home and I want to always know and remember how much she is loved and cherished here.  But now, she has taken hold of the image of Peter Pan and is trying so hard to put the brakes on...she truly doesn't want to grow up.

"Ah, Claire.  I'm sorry you have to grow up...but growing up is not all bad," I said.  I went on to tell her she could grow up to be like me...goofy and just a little wacky.  I don't think I've really grown up...there are times I think I act more like I'm 12 than 43.  And Claire knows it, she sees it everyday ~ she lives it.

Last night I tried to give her a few life lessons that I hope she can take with her, always...

Live your life to take on the world...

Take on the world by always counting your blessings.  Take on the world by learning from your mistakes.  And take on the world by trying not to take life so seriously.  I want her to live her life to laugh.  I want her to live her life to take on the world.

I don't think she is ready to take on the world...

Claire is back home this morning.  She got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and was her sunshiny self.  It was "Dad's and Donuts" at school this morning.  But minutes before she was due to walk out the door with Stan, the tears welled in her eyes and spilled down her cheeks, "this is my last 'Dad's and Donuts," she said.  Ah, Claire.  "Growing up is hard to do but if you live every day being stressed about growing up, you're gonna miss all the fun of being a kid," I said.  She and Stan left for school.  She and Stan came home from school...her stomach hurts again.

Stress, worries and anxieties...three words I don't want my 11 year old to have to know about but it seems she does.  She is worrying herself sick and I don't know what to do about it.  I don't have a band aid big enough to cover this one.

Oh, for the love of my sweet, darling girlie who wants to be Peter Pan.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Telling Stories

Today, something was brought, forcibly, home to me.  I have been toying with an idea for several weeks and today I was smacked in the face with the reality that it is time to put my idea into action.

A few times in the past several weeks I have been approached by others who would like me to write stories about their lives.  And I've been flattered beyond all belief but never really believed that telling others' stories was something I could do and do well.  I love telling the stories of our family, our life.  It's easy for me...I live it every day but I have been afraid to take others' stories on because I wasn't sure I could do justice to their lives.  Today, I realized it is time for me to try and tell other people's stories. The realization smacked me in the face by way of a little Phillipino woman.

Zach and I were traveling home from Maryland together and decided it was time for lunch.   We wanted it to be a quick trip through the Wendy's drive through so we could get home.  But as we were getting off the interstate, I decided I really had a hankering for some good, ol', fried chicken ala KFC.  Lo and behold...there's the holy grail of fried chicken.  I whip the TRVLN ZU into the parking lot as Zach decides he needs to go in to use the facilities.  So we went from a quick trip through Wendy's drive through to parking the car in the KFC lot and going in to order.

We walk up to the counter to place our order and pay for our food and as I hand the little Phillipino woman behind the counter my card, she says, in a heavy accent, "I'm sorry.  I'm not really with it today.  My mind is elsewhere."  I assured her it was fine.  We all have days like that, I said.  It was while I was paying for our lunch the little woman, with a heavy accent, began to pour out her story to me and it ended with me knowing more about her than I know about some of my friends.  I have no idea what her name is but she needed a willing ear to hear her tale and I happened to be there.

She told me she just found out, yesterday,  her husband of 20 years has been having a five year long affair with another woman.  He fathered a child with this woman, bought her a car, and lived with her when he wasn't home with his wife and family. She told me she had called her sister, who is a psychologist back in the Phillipines, for advice.  She asked her sister why she wasn't sad, why she couldn't get mad.  This little woman told me, with not a hint of tears in her eye, that her sister told her it was because she was in denial.  She asked me if I thought she was in denial.  I agreed with her sister, she was definitely in denial.  How could she not have been...she just found out yesterday!  She went on to ask me for my advice...what should she do?  Should she leave him now, or wait...Oh, why me, I thought!  Heavens, this is not my area.  I couldn't wait to leave, to escape from this little woman who desperately wanted my advice and for me to hear her story ~ to validate her.

I did a mental head slap as Zach and I loaded back into the car....realizing I should have stayed and heard the rest of her story.  I should have gotten her name and told her story the right way.  It was then I knew, that I would like, and need, to tell other people's stories.  I don't know what made this little woman spill her guts to me but  I realized then I want to tell stories, not just about me and my family, but about others as well.   It is time to tell stories.  Wanna help me?

Telling stories, for the love of my children...

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Am A Bit Neurotic

And I know's calling a spade a spade.  I know I'm a bit wacky and out there and I truly am more than OK with it.  I like marching to the beat of a different drum and all that jazz.  But sometimes, like today, I just have to shake my head at myself and reel myself in just a smidge.

Yesterday, Lucas told me he has never had a Ho-Ho, a Twinkie or a Ding Dong.  I couldn't really believe it to be true but I started wracking my brain trying to remember sometime, anytime, that I had ever purchased one of those items.  And I couldn't come up with a single time I brought a package of any one of those prepackaged sweets into our house.  But I'll tell you why and it didn't start out as any type of stance against prepackaged sweets or preservatives or anything like that.  It started out because when Stan and I got married I learned that he can't control himself around stuff like that.  I can ~ he can't.  I can eat just one and be satisfied and done...he wants to eat them all.

I grew up around all things junk food.  Fritos? Check.  Doritos?  Sure.  Twinkies?  Yep.  Ho-Ho's?  You betcha.  It's not to say everything that came into our house was just...on the contrary ~ we had veggies every night with dinner and fruit was abundant at our house.  My dad just had, and still has, a metabolism that allows him to eat whatever, whenever and however he wants it.   My mom was always on some wacky diet so junk food was never an issue in our house.  I ate it if I wanted but it wasn't the end all be all to me.

When Stan and I got married he was a 1st Lieutenant in the Army and his diet consisted of eating ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches to survive.  I took over meals and food when we got married and tried to introduce some of my childhood favorites... although, I have to say Twinkies and the like never made it into my shopping cart.  It was mainly chips and Oreos ~ all disappearing faster than you could say "Bob's your uncle."  And then it happened.  Stan got called "Fat" by his commanding officer.  "Whoa ~ wait just a cotton picking minute ~ you just called my husband 'FAT?!?'" was my first thought.  My second thought was to prove him wrong.  Food was my department at home and I just got insulted by Stan's Battalion Commander.  I was pissed so I made some changes in our household...low fat all the way.  I took the junk away, for the time being.

When we had kids, I went back to buying some of the junk I had gotten rid of...pop tarts, toaster strudel and chips made appearances back in the house.  I did start buying Kids Cuisine, Lunchables, Capri Sun and a few junkie cereals here and there but for the most part I made a lot of the treats I had in the house.  Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho-Ho's never made the cut.

Things changed again when Lucas was diagnosed with off-the-charts ADHD.  The child psychologist who tested him said he had never, in 13 years of testing kids, seen a child score as far off the charts, in all areas, as Lucas did.  In the months after his diagnosis, and before meds were implemented, I researched links, causes, effects and how to parent a child with ADHD without meds.  What I found was a link to food dyes.  And out went all of the foods with dyes...the junk food left our house for a second time.  We said good-bye Capri Sun, Lunchables, Kids Cuisine, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Life Cereal.  Organic and natural became the norm in our house...thank goodness for Trader Joes!

But today, I was in the grocery store and I decided to let the kids try the sugary treats with zero nutritional value.  I threw all caution to the wind and was ready to surprise the hell out of my kids ~ if only I could find where they keep these sugary things...I wandered around the store looking and looking for the aisle containing Hostess snacks.  They are not in the cookie aisle.  They are not in the chip aisle.  They are not in the soda aisle...Did you know they are in the bread aisle?  I did not, but now I do.  Hmmm, who knew??

As I stood there, looking over the selections presented to me, I picked up a box of Twinkies, read the ingredients list and promptly put it back on the shelf almost as if it were has yellow dye #5 in it.  I then picked up the Ding Dongs, read the ingredients ~ no dyes. PHEW.  And then my eyes slid to the left a little and saw the calorie and fat content...19 grams of FAT in one serving, I though,t and I promptly put those back as well.  No Ho-Ho's were to be found so I picked up the next best thing...Hostess Cupcakes.  (There was nothing better, in my mind and when I was a kid, then to peel off the layer of frosting and set it to the be savored after the cupcake was gone.)  The ingredient list passed my food dye.  The calorie content was OK and the fat was doable.  With a very slow hand I put the box of cupcakes in my cart.  And then I saw packages of cupcakes with only two inside and I thought to myself...why not just get those?  Then I don't have loads and loads of cupcakes sitting around in my house.  In the end I couldn't do it...they weren't the original Hostess cupcakes.  If I'm gonna do this, I might as well get the real thing, right?  And then I did something even a bit zanier, almost crazy and slightly manic.  I threw in the Twinkies and the Ho-Hos.  I just threw the neurotic Jenni under the bus and went to the complete and total opposite end of the my children can experience, once and for all the sickly sweet, zero nutritional value of Hostess snack cakes.

I will leave them here tonight with their boxes of junk but I will leave them with strict instructions ~ only one and they must eat their lasagna and fruit salad before they can leave my healthy, little neurotic world of organic treats and venture into the land of preservatives and food dyes. All in the name of Hostess.  And then tomorrow I will sneak those boxes of snack cakes out of my house and drive them over to my parents' house.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tears, Tears and More Tears...

Yesterday, I told the story of Claire and her maturity.  Today I want to tell you the story of Claire and her ~ um, I'm not sure the right word is immaturity but it's something akin to that.  I really wanted to find a way to combine the two stories but they are so vastly different...coming in from two polar opposite sides of the spectrum, I didn't know how to tell these two stories as one.

My darling, little Claire ~ the one who presents herself to the world as self confident and self assured has been breaking down in sobs lately.  And most of the time, not over anything big or major.  Most of the time it's something as minor as forgetting to pack her swim suit in her swim bag or that I forgot to bring dinner to the dance studio so she could eat on the way to swim practice (dinner did show up it was just a little late.)   You would think that the world was ending with how she carries on.  Case in point...Monday ~ the kids were off from school but Claire's swim practice was still on, as usual.  I came to her at 5:30 to let her know it was time to get ready to be picked up for swim practice at 6.  Then the explosion happened...tears flowed, sobs wracked her body and the hyperventilation began.  She could not, for the life of her, calm herself down or tell me what was wrong.  Luckily, calm Jenni took over and talked her through the latest and greatest crisis.  She only had a half an hour to get ready, she said...she didn't have dinner ready.  She wasn't in her swimsuit  Her bag wasn't packed.  She didn't know it was Monday.  She thought it was Sunday, she said.  She doesn't have swim practice on Sundays and since she didn't have school she just assumed she didn't have swim.  I did talk her off the ledge and help her get ready in a mere half an hour but those sobs were out of control for the situation at hand.

I think the cause of her drama is combination of a couple of things and they are driving her over the edge ~ or maybe it's a few things combined.  Whatever it is, I hope it goes away soon....but somehow I have a feeling this drama is here to stay for a little while.

If I look back at this time last year, through my blog, I can see that her behavior is similar to how it was last year at this time.  She had melt down after melt down after melt down.  There were so many occasions where she steered herself toward Meltdown City on Panic Highway. I think this is the time of year where her  the stress of her activities catches up to her.

I think, too, that her schedule this year is much tougher than last year.  She has too much on her plate and we all know it but it was her decision, good or  bad, and now she has to suck it up...unfortunately.  And it may sound harsh but there is no backing out now.  She made a commitment to both swim and dance and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it.

The third factor that may be contributing to the meltdowns is simply her age.  She's getting to "that" age...the age where hormones take over and rule the roost.  I don't like it and I don't really want to think about it but it's a fact of life.  She's growing up.

The tears are a killer ~ for all of us.  The boys look at her as if she has three heads.  Stan looks at her like she's lost her mind.  I have had to step back and take several deep breaths hoping these tears shall pass ~ and pass quickly. I'm not much of a drama mama....tears, tears and more tears are more than most of us can handle.

Oh, for the love of my children....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This Is Just Between You And Me

It seems I use those words a lot in this house.  Sometimes, I just don't want things I tell the kids repeated to the general population so I make sure they know any given conversation stays between the two of us.  It seems Claire has been listening to that phrase, and listening well.  I guess I should be thankful she's listening but in this instance, am I?

Claire came to me with a story, nothing bad or creepy or of much consequence to anyone other than her, and told me about some issues going on with her and how she feels about it.  She ended the story/problem saying "Mom, please know this is just between you and me."  OK, Claire.  I get it.  She doesn't want it going any further, and really it doesn't need to but...I could easily fix it if I could take further and talk about it with others.  But I promised I wouldn't.

I guess it's called "letting go" a little...letting her take the reigns and do what she needs to do to solve her problem.  In talking to me, she wanted to vent and be validated a little.  She didn't want me to solve the problem for her.  She's trying to grow up a little.

And our conversation the other night was so grown up.  I know my little Claire Bear is wanting to take care of some of these things herself and I know she needs to but ~ and here's the big but...sometimes I really don't want her to grow up.  I want her to stay my sweet, little Claire Bear ~ the Claire Bear of days long gone.

Impossible, I know.  But nostalgia has set in and my throat is a little constricted thinking about how fast these days, weeks, months and years have gone.  There is nothing I love more in life than being a mama to these three kiddos of mine and today I am just a little sad thinking back on how fast it's gone.

I know time is passing quickly.  I am truly enjoying every precious minute with these darlings.  But I want my kiddos to grow up knowing it's OK to spread their wings and fly off into the great big world ~ not having to worry about me and my nostalgia.  So, can we keep this just between you and me?  For the love of my children....