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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Young Love

Ahhhh...young love.  I've been thinking a lot about young love lately and not because I'm looking back and pining for a lost love.  I have the love of my life so there is no pining for me.  I've been thinking a lot about young love because I am seeing in first hand, in full bloom in my house.  And it's precious.

Zach has a girlfriend. I always thought I would dread saying those words but I don't.  Not in the least and it's surprised me.  I love watching Zach with Libby.  They are sweet together.   They are kind and respectful to one another.  They care about the other.  They are friends with one another.  I see Zach becoming a stellar young man right before my very eyes as I watch young love blossom.

Zach asked me the other day if I thought his attitude has changed since he a Libby became a couple.  And I had to answer yes to his question.  Libby is leading him well, as he navigates the softer side of his feelings, not only for her, but for his family as well.  Libby doesn't let him treat his brother or his sister poorly.  Libby has brought out the softer side of Zach as he relates to his younger siblings and I couldn't be happier as Zach becomes more comfortable showing his affection.  Don't get me wrong, it's not all sunshine and roses when it comes to inter-sibling  relations...I can hear the thudding through the house now as the boys show each other their "affection" but Zach is definitely warmer with both Lucas and Claire.  And I'm pretty sure his attitude has shifted a little because he is more comfortable with his sweeter side.

You might be wondering why I thought I would dread saying "Zach has a girlfriend."  If you've been reading my blog for a while you can probably almost answer that on your own and you can guess it's because I don't like thinking about my kiddos growing up.  There is another part of the equation, though, which is I am selfish.  I jealously guarded my time with these munchkins of mine.  But over the past two years I've realized something.  I've realized that in bringing more and more kids into the fold of our family life, the richer our lives have become.  Our house is now blessed with not three kiddos at any given time but now I have a revolving door of many kids who enriched this family in so many ways.  Libby, and young love, has added another wonderful layer to the dimension of our family.

In the two years I have worked on this blog I have changed, morphed and grown more than I ever thought possible.  I have watched my oldest go from being a young, gawky teenager to a responsible young man and I have not only lived through it all, I think I've come out stronger.  In the beginning of this blog I was worried I might implode as I thought about Zach getting his learner's permit and his driver's license.  As I wrote my way through the past two years I have come to realize I'm not going to implode.  Milestones are still a killer and tears come unbidden sometimes when I think how quickly time has gone.  But what I think I've learned as I've gone through this blog is as long as I'm willing to grow with my kids in each of their stages I'll be OK, and so will they.

So, yes, Zach has a girlfriend.  I'm glad Zach has Libby.  They both deserve to experience young love in such a perfectly sweet way.

Oh, for the love of my children...

Saturday, December 15, 2012


In our lives we have all seen tragedies...each one seeming to over shadow the last.  The first I remember was the bombing of the Murrah Federal Buildings in Oklahoma.  I don't think any of us will ever erase the image of the firefighter carrying the wounded child out of the smokey building.  It's the first time I remember being aware of a real living creature containing only pure evil inside.  We have gone on to see countless tragedies since then..., the embassy attacks in Africa, Columbine, The Twin Towers and Virginia Tech.  These are all interspersed with our own personal tragedies and unfortunately there are so many tragedies and disasters that could be listed.  But now, and most horrendously,  our country grieves for Newtown, Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary school and the families left to deal with losing their children in what we all believe should be an environment where our children are their school.  This is one more tragedy to add to a list none of us want to see grow.

Somehow, this one seems the most cruel.  A man shooting babies is beyond what we can begin comprehend.  That evil should touch our littlest ones is not something, we as parents, ever envision for our precious children.  The cruelty that entered Sandy Hook Elementary school is the work of an evil, vile, disgusting piece of "humanity."

Stan sat glued to the ever looping images of the children being lead from the school and into safety.  Zach came home with his head hanging down and his shoulders slumped, telling me how the kids at school couldn't tear themselves away from what happened to the youngest students.  He said his entire school was following the news closely and most kids went on to google other instances of the most vile parts of humanity capturing the attention of the entire nation.  For Zach, this is the first time he's been aware of the evil that lurks within our world.  Lucas and Claire both heard about what happened but they had no idea the children who were killed were babies.

At some point in the evening, Stan and I counted our blessings and realized how very fortunate we are.  We tried to change the subject several times but our conversation always turned back to Connecticut.  The sadness of the day pervaded our entirety.

While Stan and I kept trying to change the subject, I decided it was time to send out some messages of love.  I texted my mom and dad with virtual hugs and kisses.  I texted several friends to let them know they meant the world to me.  And that's when Stan said "it's out of tragedies like this that some good things shine through.  People start reaching out to one another in ways we normally don't."

When Stan said that I decided I needed a message of hope.  I needed to watch "The Polar Express" with its message of  hope, love and belief.   I needed to believe in the power of love over evil.

I watched the end of the movie with a tightness in my chest and tears streaming down my cheeks, knowing there are families in Connecticut whose belief has been altered.  But I also watched with a glimmer of hope in my heart.  Hoping that by all of us choosing to believe in the purity of love we can overcome the evil living amongst us.

"Believe" it's the one word punched into the little boy's ticket at the end of the "The Polar Express."  It may be the most difficult word to comprehend at a time like this but it's the one word we need to all grasp with all of our might.  We need to believe in each other.  We need to believe in love overcoming evil.  We need to believe that rights will be wronged.  And we need to believe in the power of faith to heal broken hearts.

Before the children in "The Polar Express" get back on the train the little boy asks Santa for a bell from Santa's sleigh.  He wants to remember and believe.  I think it is time for all of us to take out our bells and make them ring in honor of the children whose lives were lost to evil yesterday.  I think we need to make them ring with a mighty peal so that we can always believe.

"At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it felt silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe."

I can hear the bell ringing.  Please say you can too...for the love of all of our children...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What Part of "Don't Drink Out of the Toilet" Don't You Understand?

Ah, Bella.  Why must you disobey me every day and drink out of the toilet?  Really?  The toilet?  And then you expect to give me wet, slobbery kisses with the mouth that drank out of the toilet?  I tell you time and time and time again "Don't drink out of the toilet" and yet you fail to obey me!  What am I going to do with you?

I have two things to say to you.  1.  You are reminding me so much of Lucas right now.
2. You are lucky you're cute.

I mean ~ look at that face!  Really, who could stay mad at that face?  It's exactly how I felt about Lucas when he turned two.  

Last night as Bella was rampaging through the house, chewing, gnawing, digging and pawing everything she could I said to Lucas "Bella has turned into you."  I got shot a quizzical look followed by a "Huh?"  So I had to tell Lucas the story of his babyhood turned to toddlerhood and the story goes something like this...

When Lucas was a baby he was the most mellow, sweet infant.  He was easily soothed, didn't fuss much and slept like a dream.  I remember being on the phone with my girlfriend maybe a month after he was born.  I was telling her how much I was getting done ~ I had worked out.  I had the house clean.  I played a game with Zach and at that point I was having a nice chat with her on the phone.  She said "how the heck are you getting all of this done with a newborn???"  I told her I put Lucas in the swing three hours before and there he stayed, snoozing some and looking around some.  He was content and happy there.  He was content and happy wherever he was.  I was able to travel with him in ways I never would have dreamed.  Lucas and I drove to Poland twice before he turned eight months old.  I either had him in the Baby Bjorn carrier or in a back pack and he was happy as a clam.  Until he turned two...

And he became Lucas squared.  He was all over the place.  He got into everything.  He tested limits and tested them some more.  He figured out how to get out of the house and get into cars parked on our cul-de-sac.  Anything I said "no" to he would walk away from it only to go back to it when I wasn't looking.  When Lucas turned two it was like have double duty Lucas and it was tough to handle his Lucas-ness somedays.  I always told him he was lucky he was cute...

Just like I say to Bella.  

Up until about two weeks ago she was the most mellow, easy going puppy.  And then it all changed.  Bella is all over the place, testing limits and finding the most trouble to get into.  It's like a trip back in time to Lucas Memory Lane but instead of a cute blond boy in the staring role I now have a pretty blond puppy as the star of trouble.    

Today she has tried to eat a pair of Reef flip flops.  After I took the flip flops away, she went back to chewing off the wood trim on a table in our TV room.  I reprimanded her for that and she snuck up stairs and raided trash cans.  She then went on to continue her work on the rug in our TV room, pulling the loosely woven threads out one by one.  To top off all of her other antics she has returned again and again and again to the toilet.  Let me defend myself by saying....she's not left unattended, she does all of this while I sit here.  As soon as I say "Bella, NO." She puts her head down between her paws and pretends she wasn't really doing anything..."Nope," I can see her saying in her little puppy brain "I wasn't doing a thing."  

I saw her little pea brain working this morning when I caught her at the top of the stairs after her exploration of the trash can.  I called her to come back down stairs.  She saw me standing at the bottom of the stairs but instead of coming down to me with her trash can "treasure" in her mouth she put her head down just slightly so I couldn't see her eyes.  She thought the thought, with a two year old's thinking "if I can't see her, she can't see me."  

She is like a two year old Lucas.  So I keep saying to her what I've said to Lucas a hundred times "You are lucky you're cute."  I'll go on to say she's lucky I love the workings of a two year old's brain.  Her behavior and her cuteness are what Lucas would have been like as a puppy.  But luckily for Lucas I never had to say "don't drink out of the toilet."

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