I never thought I’d have a farm…

You wouldn’t know it by the life I live now, but I did not grow up in the country. I grew up in a subdivision. The strangest pet we ever had was a hamster named Pita and a cockatiel that used to spit water at my dad. I always thought I would like to live on a farm, kind of like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. I never really wanted to WORK on the farm just wander through it petting the animals and singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. 🙂

When I moved out to the country I realized I could never again live in a subdivision. There is something so peaceful about sitting on your deck and not seeing a single house or opening your windows at night and hearing frogs and crickets instead of the sounds of traffic. Jim didn’t grow up in the country either, in fact when we first moved in together we lived in an apartment right in the heart of Fairview Heights, no peace there. So when we started looking for a house we knew we wanted something with some land and privacy. We looked at a lot of houses and there were a few we liked but they didn’t have the country feel we were looking for. The first time we walked through our house we knew it was ours. Our living room is windows on 2 sides and it looks out on 5 acres of land. The only time you can see a house from our house is in the dead of winter and you have to look pretty hard. I love it.

I don’t remember what made Jim decide he wanted chickens but he did. So we got 20 chickens and he built them the biggest, baddest chicken coop ever. They live in a chicken palace. Then we got the goats. There “pen” (for lack of a better word) was bigger and better than the chicken coop. Complete with huge tires and ramps to climb and jump on. Jim doesn’t half-ass anything. When he starts a project he goes all out. The chickens are fun and the goats are adorable and sweet but I have always wanted a little pig. I really wanted one of those little teacup pigs that you can carry around in your purse, but they are very expensive and after I thought about it, I don’t really want a pig in the house. They are pretty clean and very smart. I don’t know who ever decided pigs were dumb. They aren’t. But considering I already clean up after a two-year-old, a teenager, a grown man and a dog the size of a horse, the last thing I need is a pig in my house. So I had kind of given up on the idea of getting a pig, although I brought it up every now and then.

Last night when I got home from work Jim asked me to go out to the shed with him to see what he found in the goats water bucket. I was a little hesitant because I wasn’t sure I really wanted to see what he found in the goats water bucket. Rodents have been known to drown themselves in there a time or two and if it was a snake I was going to pee my pants. But, reluctantly, I went with him. When I walked in the shed I saw two little pigs in a fenced area inside the goat pen. To say I freaked out is an understatement. I have never been that excited over an animal in my adult life. They are SO CUTE! ImageI named them Wilbur and Charlotte (Charlie for short) from Charlotte’s Web. They are still so scared they won’t let us touch them but when I go out to the shed the little girl takes a few steps towards me and clicks at me and I click back at her. I cannot wait for them to get a little more comfortable and let us hold them. They will get about as big as the pig in the move Babe. Best surprise ever! After we went back inside last night Jim said to me “I think we officially have a farm”. I am pretty sure 1 horse sized dog, 18 baby chicks, 1 hen, 2 goats, and 2 baby pigs qualifies.

Before I met Jim I had never known anyone who likes to surprise people as much as he does. He has surprised me with some great things over the years but this one is by far my favorite.

I now have everything I have ever really wanted. I just might carry little Charlie around in my purse if she will let me. 🙂

We should really do something to stop our babies from growing up so fast!

As I write this, pitiful mommy tears are running down my face. Tyler used the potty today for the first time. He was so excited! I was am so excited for him. I screeched, jumped up and down, clapped my hands and called daddy and all the grandparents so he could tell them the good news. Then I put him down for a nap and I cried.

I am so sad. I shouldn’t be, I know. This is exciting. It’s the beginning of the end of diapers. That’s exciting stuff. Plus, he is growing up and he’s smart and sweet, seriously sweet, and so funny. I am so proud of him. But, Jim and I aren’t going to have any more children. So every time he does something monumental, I am both extremely proud and devastated, because in that moment I forget that I really don’t want to have any more babies and all I can think about is that I won’t have any more babies. It hits me that already Tyler never lets me carry him and he’s only going to get more independent as he gets older. And he’s getting older so unbelievably fast. It feels like I haven’t even fully taken in the fact that I am a mom to this sweet little boy and he’s already grown up. Learning to use the potty is one of the last things he will learn before is officially not a baby anymore. I need him to slow down. It’s not fair.

People told me before Tyler was born that it went by fast and to cherish every moment but this is ridiculous. They should be little longer. I don’t think anyone could have prepared me for truly how fast it goes.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom but I don’t think I had any idea what it really meant until I held Tyler in my arms. Maybe I didn’t even know then. I had no idea that it feels like your whole heart is this little person. I didn’t know that with every new thing they learn you feel excited, insanely proud and a little sad all at the same time. I didn’t understand that when my parents would say “this hurts me more than it hurts you” they really meant it.

I read a book once about a man who could feel other peoples feelings as though they were his own. I think that’s what it’s like to be a mom. We feel our kids happiness and our hearts break over their tears. We smile and cheer at the new things they learn and we hold back our tears because they are growing up so fast.

Even though I am sad that he’s growing up, I am also excited. Every day brings something new and as he gets older he develops more of his own personality. It’s so much fun to see what he’s going to do or hear what he has to say. My mom told me once that every age was her favorite. She would catch herself saying “this is my favorite age” and then the next year would come and that was her favorite. I would have to agree with her. Each age brings new things to learn and discover. I just have to remind myself of that when I get sad to see him growing up. I need to remind myself when I have to chose between doing the dishes or playing cars to leave the dishes in the sink and enjoy every moment that I can.

Everyone who has kids has some piece of advise they pass on to friends who are having babies. Mine is to hold them. Do not listen to people who tell you not to hold your babies too much. Hold them every chance you get, watch them sleep, smell their little heads, hold their bottles for them for as long as you can. Don’t push them to grow up. It’s ok if they don’t give up the bottle at a year old or they still take a pacifier. Let them be babies because whether you like it or not they grow up quickly enough on their own. Enjoy and cherish every minute.

Wow – where did the time go?

Last night I wrote a check for my “stepson’s” 8th grade graduation pictures. I wrote it, handed it to him and thought ‘Holy Crap! When did this happen?’

When Jim and I moved in together Aaron was 8 years old, he was in 3rd grade, he was just a kid. I have had the privilege of watching him grow into a remarkable young man. It astounds me that even with all the mistakes the adults in his life made, he has turned out to be respectful and polite and surprisingly non-whiney for a 13-year-old. He went from being an only child to having me, a step dad, 2 baby sisters and a baby brother in a 5 year time period. He seemed to take it all in stride and he is an amazing big brother. I could not have asked for a better big brother for Tyler, they adore each other.

I will admit that when Jim and I got together I had given very little thought to what it would be like to be in the role of someone’s step mom. It’s a fine line to walk and in the beginning it is especially difficult. I have great respect for any person who helps to raise a child that is not their own. I never went into this wanting to be a ‘Mom’ figure for Aaron. He has a mom and I would never expect him to think of me like that. I think through the years we have developed our own kind of relationship. It’s not really a child/parent dynamic (unless I’m telling him to clean his room or help do the dishes) but it’s more like we are friends. When Aaron was younger we spent more time together than we do now. I would take him to Michael’s and we would do art project after art project. He really liked stuff like that and I loved it. After Jim and I had Tyler, we didn’t do that kind of stuff as often as I wish we would have.

I hope that as he starts high school he knows that I am proud of him and will always be there if he needs a non-parent to talk to. I look forward to seeing what life has in store for him in the future. I know it will be something great.

Appreciating the good things….

In July it will be 5 years since Jim and I moved in together. It’s crazy to think of all we have been through in the time we have known each other. Most of the time it seems like he has always been in my life. But when I think back to the night we met, it seems like it was yesterday. I am amazed we have made it to where we are today. There were so many times in our past neither of us imagined we would make it, but we did. There are a lot of things in my life I regret, and I consider myself incredibly lucky my life has turned out the way that it has. It’s not perfect by any means. Jim and I both have our faults and there are times we probably don’t like each other very much, I think that is the case for most relationships. But at the end of the day there is no one I would rather come home to.

I knew the first night Jim and I met that we were supposed be in each other’s lives. We have both said that. There was just a feeling, a connection. Jim makes me feel special and sexy, he values my opinion. I have found in him what some people never find in a relationship. Five years into our relationship we have the same passion we did in the beginning. I still get butterflies when he reaches for me at night, when he leans in to kiss me, or sends me a sweet text during the day. If we go dancing it feels like we are the only people on the dance floor, we shared our New Years Eve kiss surrounded by thousands of people, but to us it felt like we were the only people in the room. I knew once I had felt that connection, I couldn’t live without it.

There have been times over the years we have taken each other for granted, it is so easy to do. When you go from it being just the two of you, most of the time, to being a 24/7 family it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day monotony and forget to tell each other how much you appreciate them. We are all guilty of it. We are all guilty of spouting off about the negative things in our lives and our relationships because we are frustrated, tired or angry. I used to always be so positive but I have noticed myself focusing on the negative so much more lately. I know this winter has taken a toll on my mood. It always does, this year has been worse than the previous years. It’s been hard to pull myself out of this funk. But spring is coming and I am really going to try to get my positive attitude back. I am going to focus more on the things that make me happy and showing appreciation for all the good things in my life.

1798819_10151864111057191_1810181003_nJim does this thing where he occasionally finds a heart shaped potato chip and leaves it some random place in the house so I will find it. Every time I find one it makes me smile. He knows it and that makes it that much better. It shows me he was thinking about me. It’s a little thing that feels like a big thing. That’s what life is all about, the little things.

 

Tonight I was laying in bed with Tyler and Jim watching Monsters University. Jim was tickling Tyler and Tyler was laughing so hard, saying “again daddy again”, I was smiling the whole time. I am so incredibly lucky. Jim is a wonderful, loving dad and an amazing partner in life. Our son is beyond words incredible. He is adorable, funny and so smart. Every single day he says something that cracks me up and he is learning something new every 5 minutes. I love being his mom.

I am hoping Spring returns to stay sometime soon. I’m ready for green grass, long walks, trips to the park, suntans, and flip flops. All things that bring good moods to everyone and after the winter we all have endured we have earned it!

 

Preparing for parenthood…..

It’s amazing how one ridiculous evening with your out of control toddler can make you feel like you have absolutely no idea what you are doing with this whole parenting thing. Nothing makes you feel more like an inadequate parent than a 2 year old having one meltdown after another. For the most part, Tyler is a really good kid but he is 2 and a product of Jim and myself, which means he is stubborn, hard headed and has a bit of a temper. So occasionally, when he is tired or crabby, he can be very challenging. Last night was an especially challenging evening, combined with the fact that sleep has been hard to come by lately, I had reached my limit. Every time I reach that point, I think about how much harder it would be to have had a child as a teenager. At least at 28 I had an idea what I was getting into. That’s not even true, I had no idea what I was getting into but I think being a little older makes you more prepared to handle it. Plus, being in a strong relationship and being more financially stable sure makes it easier.

I was watchIng Teen Mom 2 today, it’s one of those shows I DVR to watch while I fold laundry. It always makes me laugh because it claims to portray what it is like to be a teen mom and discourage teen pregnancies. Yet every person on that show has a brand new car, a house of their own, and not many of them have jobs. Almost all of them have family around so they can hangout with their friends or take weekend vacations child free. It absolutely kills me. Most parents, no matter how ready you are to have a child, don’t have it that easy. It reminds me of when I was in 8th grade and we did the “bag of flour” project. Where you carry around a bag of flour for a week and pretend it’s your baby. I’m not really sure what the point of that project was. It taught you about as much about having a baby as remembering to bring your math notebook to school everyday. In fact, I’m pretty sure I forgot my flour baby one morning and had to call my mom to bring it to me. I hope that doesn’t say to much about the kind of parent I am today.

I’m not sure there is anything that can prepare you for having a child. I think I was equally as surprised by the challenges of parenting as I was about the joys. It’s one of the only times complete aggravation, exhaustion and frustration can be wiped away with some snuggles and a sweet smile from your little one. As hard as it is some days the rewards are so much greater.

Tyler is getting big so fast and I know someday I will miss this age but it’s hard right now to imagine missing being woken up every day at 5:30, power struggles, temper tantrums and time outs. Watching him learn new things, playing, being silly with him and those sweet snuggles, they make it worth it, almost all of it. 😉

On a side note, if anyone has a teenager they would like to teach about how it really is to be a parent, feel free to send them to my house around 5:30am.

I never want to forget…

Last night, Tyler was sitting in his high chair having a snack and watching Dora. I love listening to him because he answers the questions, sings the songs and just gets so excited. Last night they had 3 trees in a line, short, medium and tall, they asked which was the tallest and he pointed right to it. Little things like that make me feel so proud. He is learning so much and everyday he says or does something that shocks us. It’s amazing how many things your kids know and you have no idea how they learned it. I love this age. He’s like a little sponge. Everything you say gets repeated, which is sometimes cute and sometimes not. 🙂 Every day is an adventure.

Often he will do something and I think when did he grow up? I think I missed it. I think back to bringing my newborn baby home and there are so many things I don’t want to forget. I was thinking of doing a scrapbook of all the things I really want to remember.

I want to remember how when the moment Tyler was born Jim said ” Awe, he’s so cute” and then took a picture of him to show me. I want to remember the moment in the car on the way home from the hospital when it hit me that we were taking our baby home. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe we have our baby in a car. What if we get in an accident?” It was at that point, I realized, I would never think about anything the same way again. I was a mom.

I don’t want to forget putting Tyler in his bassinet by our bed that first night and then laying in bed holding hands with Jim. I don’t think I had ever felt closer to him than I did at that moment. Whatever our first night alone with our baby brought us, we were in it together.

I never want to forget the little noise Tyler used to make when he sneezed. Every single time he sneezed and made the noise Jim and I would “Awe”. I am pretty sure Jim’s 11-year-old son, Aaron thought we were crazy, or at least annoying. I am sure I would have.

I don’t want to forget how Tyler called Aaron “Mmmm” until he was 2. We have no idea why.

I don’t want to forget the sound of his baby laugh, or the first time he smiled, crawled, or took his first steps.

There are a million things I don’t want to forget. I haven’t been all that good at keeping up with his baby book. I fill it in but there isn’t space for the things I think are important to remember. At some point I need to make my own baby book and fill it with the things I want to remember. I want to be able to share it with him someday. I want to be able to look back on all of those things when he’s all grown up.

When you have a baby people are always telling you how fast it goes. But nothing could prepare you for really how fast it goes. They grow at lightening speed. I remind myself of that at times when I get irritated because I have heard the word Mom 350 times by 7:00am. I remind myself when I am tired or really don’t want to play cars. I remind myself that right now I am everything to him but someday, sooner than I am ready for, he won’t need me as much as he does now. It helps me slow down and enjoy it. I know someday I will long for the sound of his little feet running down the hall.

“You will be his first kiss, his first love, his first friend. You are his momma and he is your whole world, he is your little boy.”

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Ohhhhhh… damn you Mommy guilt!

Tyler has been sick since Monday afternoon. Nasty sick. Fever, horrid cough, runny nose, etc. I hate it when he is sick. Just like every other mother I would take every bit of it from him in a hot second. This sickness was worse than any other time he had been sick because he didn’t even want to cuddle. I had the flu a few weeks ago and it is horrible. My face, eyes, head, everything hurt for 7 straight days. Tyler has had pneumonia three times so that was my worst fear. It turned out he has the flu and is borderline pneumonia which means breathing treatments every 4 hours, antiobiotics and Tamiflu once a day for 5 days, plus the Tylenol/motrin combo to keep his fever down. He is usually pretty good about medicine but over the last 3 days with us constantly coming at him with something he has had enough. We have to hold him down even for tylenol which he usually sucks out of the dropper he likes it so much. He hates his breathing machine. He pretty much hates everything at this point. So yesterday when the doctor decided we better put him on Tamiflu and the pharmacy called and said it was going to be $115.00 after our insurance Jim and I both made comments about how he better take every drop. We even got strawberry syrup to mix it with to make it taste better. It sure didn’t make it easier to clean up when he spit a whole dose out at us.

I had planned to stay home with him again today (being the 3rd day in a row) but he slept 11 hours straight and woke up fever free so I decided to take him to daycare. I really needed to go to work. This has to be one of the hardest things for us working Mom’s. Mommy guilt sets in from the moment we realize we have to send our sick, sad child to school/daycare because we truly cannot stay home again unless we absolutely have to. Mommy guilt is the worst! Of course this morning as soon as Tyler realized I was getting ready for work he started to look really terrible. He laid on my bed and watched Up for the 487th time in 3 days and I cried while I got ready for work. Then we got in the car and I looked in my rearview mirror and this is the face I saw….image

Seriously!? I texted Jim and said I was the worst mother in the world and should have just stayed home. He said Tyler would be fine once he got to daycare and if he wasn’t I could always go get him. I wasn’t convinced.

We pulled into Tyler’s babysitters driveway and his little face lit up, he got this big grin on his face, drug me inside and started playing with the kids. My mommy guilt was immediately replaced with shock that my sweet little boy was such a smart little manipulator. I mean, I am sure he felt like crap this morning but he knew his best chance of getting me to stay home was to look as miserable as possible. Here I spent my entire morning in an intense debate with myself about whether I needed to be at home or at work and it was all for nothing. He was so happy to be back with his “kids”. He even took his breathing treatment for her with no problems.

Boy, do they learn young. And the guilting worked because on my lunch hour I went to the store and got him the Buzz Lightyear to go with his Woody doll. Kids….