These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Now and Then

Oh, god. How cute!!!


and Then:

Everyone all together now:



Also, Jack and I visited Calum's daycare this weekend and Jack really enjoyed the playground. Here are some pictures:

One of the teaching assistants apparently...


... and out - this game ROCKS!

Looking for a plane in the sky - doesn't your neck hurt just looking at this?:

Ummm - not quite sweetie-pie! :)

No Sex Appeal


Dear Jack,

I think you'll find as you grow older and have kids of your own, that signs of age creep up on you almost without you really stopping to recognize it. Although, let's be honest - I now tend to avoid mirrors as though I was a vampire and the mirror was the sun and any situation where the two of us would come in contact with each other could only result in horrific death.

When you have kids of your own, you'll understand the full impact that lack of sleep, not showering for weeks at a time, shoveling down your meals in huge gulps, not moisturing your skin (who has time for that?!?), etc - take on accelerating the aging process. Not to mention all of the near accidents that will turn every hair on your head grey before the first year is up! Worry, worry, worry - it wreaks havoc, trust me!

At this point, I have come to the realization that I am a mom complete with the "mom jeans" where my midsection threatens to fold over the top of my pants at any second announcing to the world that - I HAVE GIVEN BIRTH!!!

So, imagine my surprise when yesterday evening - child and husband in tow - we all ended up at Wal-Mart gathering some last minute necessary items that we can't do without - caffeinated soda by the crateload and candy for momma (YES - they ARE necessary!!!). As I was chasing you down an aisle, I passed a couple of guys who (apparently right in front of Clay) checked out my butt and made a lascivious commment.

I was so flattered since I had the same clothes on that I had been wearing all day, my hair had sprouted a huge bulge from where you had grabbed hold to steady yourself when I was putting on your shoes and I kept smelling something which HAD to be me, because it followed me everywhere. At first I thought they HAD to be talking about someone else and Clay had to work very hard to convince me that they had been speaking of me.

Is it too much that I hope they win the lottery? That some wonderful act of god befalls them with some event or gift that they have been wanting? Something so wonderful that they ask themselves - "what did I do to deserve this?"

I'll tell you what - they gave me a boost to my ego that I desperately needed.

Perhaps this weekend, I'll dress up, shave, put on makeup and straighten my hair?

Oh, who am I kidding? Maybe I'll just brush it! :)

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm blogging this to you and the truth is that we all need reassurance. We all need to have little boosts to our egos every once in a while. Sometimes those can come from complete strangers and have a big impact because strangers can be among the most critical of you on the surface than people that know you. People that know you may see you through rose colored glasses. They know you so they see you in a better light. Strangers, on the other hand, have nothing to sway their opinion of you other than your appearance, so when a stranger compliments you - it seems to have an impact on the ego. All of this is shared with you because - first of all - I want to be honest with you about everything. I want you to see everything about the world and be aware that it exists. Second someday you may be married, and I want you to be aware that she and even yourself will need reassurances now and again. Keep this in mind and try to be sensitive to it, okay honey?



P.S. Check out this cutie-pie picture of you at the playground! You are prescious buddy and worth every single grey hair and wrinkle - NO DOUBT!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Vacation – Day 7



Today is the last day of our vacation, and I don’t want to see it end. Today we drove down to the beach and played in the surf, dug in the sand and chased seagulls. We went out for lunch and stopped off at a large Toys-R-Us that we used as our own personal toy-yard. We played with the big train-tracks and train-sets that they had on display, and dressed you in a chicken costume.

Although you hated the chicken costume and screamed when I fastened the snap under your neck, crying “Daaaa-daaaa” making him aware of the injustice that I was putting you through, even though he was standing right next to me smiling along with me at how cute you looked in the costume.

When we got back to the room, we went to the pool after a short nap and played with Buzz and Woody in the sprouts and baby pool sections and you enjoyed climbing out of the pool and running haphazardly along the side of the pool, causing both Daddy and I to cry out and chase you frantically. You thought that was hilarious, so this incident was repeated more times than I care to admit to.

After we tired of the pool (and pooped our swim pants), we moved onto the playground where you played for a long time on a pirate ship shaped playground with a twisting green slide. You found you could go down this on your own if you went down on your tummy, because your skin would stick to the slide and cause your descent to be VERY, VERY SLOOOOOW….

It was a great last day!

I’ll probably be planning the next trip on our way home tomorrow. It’s been the BEST vacation getting to spend all this alone time with you and Daddy! I love you guys SO much! There isn’t a thing I would change about this week! Thanks for the great memories, buddy!



FYI - when you have kids of your own, watching them eat on vacation is kind of gross and fascinating.

Ever wonder what a squooshed turkey stick looks like?

Now you don't! GROSS!!!

Vacation – Day 6



Today we packed up and went back to visit Sea World. We visited the stingrays, but they splashed you when the flipped to the top of the water, so you weren’t too thrilled with them. From there, we visited the sea turtles, which you did enjoy. You watched them swimming in the water for quite some time. When we visited the Manatees, I don’t think you were even aware that we were looking at animals. Every last one of them had their butts facing the tank end where the people were viewing, so it looked like we were watching a bunch of big bulbous floating logs. You couldn’t figure out why we didn’t move past and kept pulling on my arm till we gave up and moved onto the next thing.

When we visited the dolphins, the dolphins seemed to like you. You didn’t have any fish, but they would come over to see you anyway. You didn’t want to touch the adults. They were too big, but I was able to point out their eyes and teeth and you leaned forward a little for a better look at these strange creatures with features that you knew but didn’t recognize on them.

The babies were more entertaining for you. They had boundless energy and would leap out of the water which you found amusing and laughed at, causing some of the visitors next to us to avert their attention from the baby dolphins to you, saying “aaaaaawwww! He is so CUTE! Do you like the dolphins, huh?”

You were none too pleased to be the focus of attention and determinedly looked back at the dolphins till the nice people, seeing that they weren’t going to be able to get you to repeat your giggling, went on to the next thing and you were free to enjoy yourself again without fear of compliment.

We visited Shamu which I believe you liked because the huge whale just kept swimming in large repetitive circles and, being white and black, you simply couldn’t miss him in the tank.

We ended up in the kids corner, where we rode the rides, played in a sandbox and closed the day with a few games at the nearby arcade.
Daddy and you went on rides together which you both seemed to enjoy - Daddy in particular!

Then we went out to eat at Red Lobster. As it turns out, you were finished with your meal by the time we finished our salads and you were exhausted from the long and exciting day. I ended up walking around through the meal with you crying and wanting to be up and down and inside and outside – completely tired and not sure why you felt so exhausted.

You fell asleep by the time we left to come home and we put you right to bed. It was a wonderful day and I had SO much FUN! J



Vacation – Day 5



Yesterday we stuck around the hotel again. We played at the kid’s playroom until morning naptime. After nap, we went for a walk where we played in the pool with Buzz and Woody. It was a hot day so we did a lot either at the pool or inside in the air conditioned playground.

Today was an important day in Toy Story family history because today we acquired Bo Peep and Zurg for our Toy Story figure collection. I’ve found that, since acquiring Zurg, you are much less scared of him when watching the movie. I think this is because you can now handle him and see that he is not so intimidating.

As for Bo Peep, I have discovered something that is surprising to me. Bo Peep is a little hussey.

Apparently, what you have taken away from the Toy Story movies about Bo Peep is that she kisses the other toys. You haven’t made the connection that she was Woody’s girlfriend. I have seen her kiss Buzz and Woody, which I figured was what you picked up from the movie, because she has kissed both of them in the movie. But the other day, I caught her having a make-out session with Zurg – which I found very surprising seeing as how he is Buzz’s mortal enemy. Bo Peep apparently knows no bounds as I saw her engaged in liplock later that day with Hamm and then with Rex.

Another thing that I have noticed with a smile is that you have started to call for Daddy when he is not in sight and you want him. I have noticed a similarity to the way that I call for him when I know he’s somewhere within earshot, but not sure exactly where. When the Simpsons came on, which you watch with Daddy, he was in the bathroom and you went over to the door, put one handle on the knob and yelled at the top of your lungs “DAAAAAH-DAAAAAH!”

I was shocked and very amused. After watching you repeat this twice, the door opened and Daddy came out looking at you and then at me. I think he wasn’t completely sure if I hadn’t somehow put you up to this prank.

Later on, you repeated this since at the pool and at dinner. I love this as it is adorable and amuses me more than it should. Then again, that may be because you haven’t yet started to yell MOMMMMMMMAAAAAA!!

What a fun day!



P.S. Check you guys out - my two favorite guys in the whole world!:

Uh-oh! Someone noticed me taking their picture!!!! Guess who?
Vacation – Day 4



Yesterday was our 9th Anniversary. We all went to Downtown Disney to walk along the Boardwalk and visit some different toy stores to play with the toys.

When we first arrived, it was a ghost town. It was early and there was no one around so we ran about, window shopped and entertained ourselves.

How much is that cutie-pie in the window? I want one of THOSE!!!

There were many different stores that carried different Toy Story toys, so we visited those and played. You can't tell, but this Buzz Lightyear really kind of freaked you out. The only way you would take your picture with him is if he was on the far side of me so that if Buzz turned bad, he'd get me first!:Next we went to the Lego Land store and built with Legos.

You are really good at playing by yourself so you really enjoyed the Lego house they had.

They also had these displays of Lego dogs being walked by Lego people. You found them fascinating, so we had to check them out up close!

After going to Downtown Disney, we went to the outlet mall and visited Toys R Us. Jack played with these toys also. There was one little bike in particular that was a pink princess push car that Jack enjoyed pushing up and down the aisles. It had three buttons on it. One had a magic wand, one had a heart and one had a crown.

To give you an idea how bad this little princess push car was, if I had a daughter, there is NO WAY that I would ever buy this toy for her because it was actually insulting in it’s makeup. The button with the magic wand played a song where a woman sang in an overly sweet voice:

“I always knew how great it would be
For one day my prince would find me
And then from that day and ever more
We would live happily ever after”

It was awful! I have to admit that the devilish side of me thought it was hilarious to see you riding up and down the aisle playing this song over and over again because it couldn’t have been more obvious how annoying it was to everyone else in the store. You wouldn’t even let it go through the entire song before pressing the button again and again so it sounded like:

I alwa…
I al…
I al…
I always knew how grea..
I al…
I always…
I always knew…
I always knew how great it would be
For one day my prince would….

We hung there for awhile and left in time for a celebration lunch at Chevy’s for our anniversary meal. You got to enjoy an ice cream cone as part of our celebration. You didn’t want to lick it, so you would dip your fingers into the cone to pinch off a bit of the ice cream and would put that in your mouth with a little trickle of delicious vanilla trailing down your arm and dripping off of your elbow.

Needless to say, after lunch, you were on cloud nine – full of delicious sugary energy and happy as anything. We ran around the grounds of the hotel after that and for the rest of the evening, feeding the ducks and playing on the playground and checking out the interiors of two of the main buildings.

We watched movies together in the evening and fell asleep early. It was a wonderful anniversary. I think we all had such a fun time together and it really showed me how lucky I am to be exactly where I want to be in life. I love you and your Dad more than anything else in this world!

Happy Anniversary to all of us!


Vacation – Day 3



Yesterday may just be one of the best days that I can ever remember. We took you to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and had such a fun time! You are still very small so there are lots of rides you can’t go on, but you are able to walk so there ARE things you can do at theme parks now.

There was SO much to see. In the beginning, we did a lot of pointing at things that caught our attention.

You seemed particularly fascinated with the trash cans that were made to look like luggage with traveling stickers on them. It was hard to convince you that this wasn't the best thing to see.

We started out by going to the Suess-land part of the park where we rode the Carousseusel which is a crazy looking caroussel with Dr. Suess characters on it. You thought this ride was fantastic! The best thing about it? You never had to get off of it if you didn’t want to. You rode it again, and again, and again, and again (then off to drink some milk) and again and again and again!
There was a One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish ride where you could go up and down on a fish that you controlled while getting squirted with water. You liked the up and down, but you didn't like the getting squirted unexpectedly with cold water part. We only went on that one once.

You also rode on the Cat and the Hat ride (not pictured, because you were WAY too excited to agree to photo ops when it came to THIS ride). This ride is a lot faster and swings you around in jerky motions. Your Daddy thought it might be too rough for you, but we gave it a try and it turns out that it was one of your favorites. You would cry if you had to wait in line to get on it and when the ride would end and we would have to get off of it, you would scream and cry grabbing at the lap bar to try to pull yourself back onto the ride. Not realizing that we were taking you right back on it (although we might have to wait in line again (OH, NO!!!!!).

After a fun morning in Dr. Suessland, you finally drifted off to sleep and your father and I made our way over to the other end of the park where Barney in the park was. Did the party stop while you slept? Of course not! You tried on hats and got to meet Captain America.

I'm sure I'll burn in hell for doing this to a sleeping child, but you were so cute!

Neither Daddy nor I knew what to expect when we got to Barney in the Park. It had an indoor park that looked like the set of the Barney show where you could crawl and play. We got in line for a show also not knowing what to expect. The wait for the show was 15 minutes and I thought by the end that the wait might actually kill you. Your head was completely thrown back and opened so wide, you could see every molar, your face was red and you were SO upset that your eyes were squeezed tight so that I couldn’t even show you the doors where opening, you had to hear the sounds of everyone around you moving in to the show before you quieted and took in the change in the environment.

When the show started, a man came in and announced that a friend had arrived. The stage went completely dark and then spotlights came on and glitter exploded up in the air. There was a blast of Barney music and there was Barney in all his glory. I have to hand it to the park – Barney looked JUST like he did on the show and the whole vocals for the show were pre-recorded so it WAS Barney’s voice. You absolutely FROZE while Barney sang to you and the other children. It was like you were meeting some fantastic celebrity and you couldn’t believe it was real. Then Baby Bop and BJ joined the show and they all sang – even the “If all of the raindrops were lemondrops and gumdrops” song which we sing with you all the time…”

You smiled when they sang the “Ahhh-ahh-ahh-ahhhh-ahh-ahh-ahhhhh-ahh-ahh-ahhhhh” part like you shared a great joke with them.

When the show was over, you got to get your picture taken with Barney. You were a little intimidated, but you gave him “five” and that was great.

We ended up back in Dr. Suessland where we ran back and forth between the Cat In the Hat ride and the Carossel until closing time. We opened the park and we closed it. What a great day!



P.S. Here are some pictures of you trying to convince us to get you everything in the store:

Meeting Barney made a little braver in facing the big cartoon characters roaming the park. Prior to meeting Barney, you were fascinated with them and had to watch them closely, but would panic and cry and grab at my neck desperately trying to get away if there tried to approach.

After meeting Barney, you were brave enough to give "5" to Scooby Doo!