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, May 30, 2008

The Same But Very Different


It's no secret that we love to visit the Lake. We share a place with other family members that we all went in on together. The result is a built in vacation home that we all take care of and get to visit year round for some much needed R&R from our daily grinds.
The nice thing about partnering with family is that you can drop in on someone else's weekend (checking in advance, of course), usually without upset to the other family whose weekend it is - just as long as it doesn't happen ALL the time. :)We had a couple of wonderful weekends recently where we visited the Lake at the same time as my family and then invited Clay's brother and niece, Hannah, down for a visit the following weekend.Both were fantastic experiences!With my side of the family, you got to enjoy Baby Charlie whom you get along with very well.Even though he is so much smaller, he is very active and, as a result, you treat him much more like a peer than a younger child. He seems to like the fact that you expect more out of him. You are patient but will bring him a 25 piece puzzle and fully expect that he will sit there and assemble it with you. Charlie does his part by scrambling up the pieces with very busy hands reaching and grabbing in the box while you go about the business of assembly. There is always much to do when we are all together - boating, swimming, eating and LOTS of conversation.The following weekend, we hadn't had enough time to satisfy us, so we headed down again. This time, we invited Scott and Hannah to join us. Watching you with Hannah - or any older kid, but Hannah in particular - is an experience. It's a chance to see you in a different element - being challenged to stretch further, do things that you may not ordinarily try simply because you see an older child being successful at it.We decided to take you guys to an animal park that your Daddy and I first visited for my 30th birthday. Daddy had read about this park where you could actually feed the animals and knew that this would be RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!It really is kind of my Disney World!The animals roam their huge pens and approach the windows of your cars to be fed - and I'm talking BIIIIIIIIIG animals.Camels, llamas, Cape Buffalo, Buffalo, Long Horn Steer, Rams, Goats, Ostriches, Emu's, Zebras, ZeDonks, deer, and on and on and on.....They just walk right up to the car and expect fast food. They are very trusting and usually good about taking food from your hand, but you have to be careful. They are hungry and they are animals and they are simply trusting that what you put in their mouth is edible, so you need to be careful not to include your fingers.I love that there is a place like this because it's the only place I know of where you can get THIS hands on with animals like this and I wouldn't be too surprised if it didn't last much longer. There are a lot of things about this place that I think are only still around because people who would have problems with it don't know that it exists.When going through this park, you have to be absolutely willing to sacrifice your car. You will come out with dents. Guaranteed.Avalanches of spit will flow down your car doors as the anticipated food in the minds of the animals causes them to salivate at a rate that I would have thought impossible. Large animals will hop on their hind legs and lean against your car for better leverage to cram their maws in through the window hole so you can shove food into their eager and available faces.
While we were there, a frustrated Ram wasn't getting as much food as he wanted since we were fairly distributing it to all the animals at the window one at a time and decided to ram the side of the car until food was rained down on him to get him to QUIT IT!A zebra decided to try to chew on the top of the car and at one point a long horn steer scratched a big scratch up the side of the car when he attempted to use his long horns to remove his competition from our car window area to better position himself. So there is the risk of car damage, potential biting, ramming and goring, but other than that.... :) Actually the risk is mostly to the vehicle provided you are cautious in your feeding attempts, so I feel confident in bringing you through the park.This ZeDonk almost pushed his entire body through the window - so eager was he to get a taste of your Cheetos that you were snacking on. You just calmly replied to him "Nooooooo ZEDONK, dey not fo yoooouuuu."

But how else am I going to get the opportunity for you to hand feed a Dangerous CAPE BUFFALO?And, that's what's REALLY important, isn't it?Love,


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stupid is as Stupid Does


I don't know how to preface this but to just admit to you that I am prone to acts of stupidity sometimes.

Yes, sometimes.

Now, I may try to color it in a different light. I could say that I'm clumsy or spastic at times. Those are true, too, but it just doesn't encompass all of it.

So, on Tuesday night - Clay was out of town. When your Daddy is out of town, I like to fall asleep amongst chaos. I turn on the TV and the dogs sleep next to the bed so that I can here their elephant stampede in my brain every time they decide to get up on their big dinosaur feet in the middle of the night and have a ridiculous parade around the bedroom.

As it happened, my blanket was dragging on the ground on Tuesday night so the dogs decided to sleep on it and, during the night, they claimed more and more for themselves. Sometime in the dark of night, I got cold and very pissed off at the dogs for claiming so much of my blanket so in an act of pure evilness, I decided to exact my revenge on them by sweeping the blanket out from under them and claiming it back for myself thus teaching them a lesson for leaving me in the cold.

When I grabbed the blanket and yanked very hard, I forgot that the remote control was on the blanket and catapulted it directly into my face. I remember that it hurt. Badly. But I was so tired that I waited for the pain to subside and then fell back asleep.

The next morning I couldn't figure out why my eye wasn't opening when my other eye was. So I looked in the mirror. I remember thinking "oh. shit."

Here is my eye now on Saturday after (...wednesday...thursday...friday....saturday)... FOUR days of healing.... and - bear in mind - it looks a world better than it did.....
Which is why I was a little too embarrassed to blog about this till now.

2 days of business conference where I looked like a recovering prize fighter and now all my co-workers think that Daddy is abusive because no one is buying my "smacked myself in the face with the remote control" story.


What a week! :)



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fish Park


We went for a family outing to the Japanese gardens at the Botanical Gardens. We went with the full intent of visiting the koi in the Japanese gardens ponds.They are really spectacular.Colorful and not the least bit shy.The only time in my life I can think when I have been able to hand feed a large fish up close and personal.You loved the way they begged for their food by opening up their mouths wide enough you could practically see their stomachs.It's a quarter a handful of pellets and we were prepared with a laundromat quantity so the fish were well fed by the time we left!Turns out I forgot that the gardens had a lot more to offer than just the big and tame fish.There is a really fun kids playground area with slides and things to climb on.We even got so lucky as to run into one of your daycare friends from your roomand the two of you played with boats in the water until closing time.but much more than your enjoyment of the slides and playground equipment,I was surprised by how much you seemed to enjoy the sculpture exhibits they had around the park.The exhibits were very kid accessible.Many you could climb into and there were very few that you couldn't touch in some way.It was funny to see you observing the different sculptures like you were a little sophisticate.
One interesting experience where you thought you could go in the pond to check out the floating ornaments.

We even got to see the pomp and ceremony of a wedding about to take place.Always so much to seeand never enough time in a day.Love,