Wednesday, June 20, 2012

John at four years old

     I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that my sweet little baby is four years old. Well, officially he will be at 11:03 tonight. I sometimes wish I'd started this blog when he was an infant so I could have done those "you're 3 months old today" posts. With the post-partum depression I was suffering, however, I'm not sure I'd like to read what I might have written then. I'm in a much better place now and this post is for you John. I am so blessed to be your mama and I thank God for you every day. In bulleted form, this is what you are like at four years old.
  • You are so smart and constantly ask questions. You want to understand everything and your thinking is so very deep for your age. Daddy and I have never "baby talked" to you and your comprehension is incredible.
  • Right now your favorites are Scooby Doo and superheroes and your play is so imaginative. You play great on your own and you also love playing with us or with other kids.
  • You are so open with people and everyone responds to you when we go anywhere. You have a sweet personality that just draws people in and makes them fall in love with you.
  • You are a very sweet, loving boy. We went to the chinese buffet for dinner tonight and the waitresses sang to you for your first time and you were thrilled. You kept saying how nice of them it was and how special.
  • You love to give hugs and kisses, even to people you don't know. Your joy is contagious and you spread love wherever you go.
  • You have been dressing yourself for months. You are quite independent and love to do things on your own. You recently started opening the car door yourself and buckling your own car seat. You love cooking with me and you are a big help to Daddy. You love working with tools and helping Daddy fix things.
  • You recently got glasses and you have adjusted well to them.
  • Your laugh is contagious and it just cracks me and daddy up. You have started saying "get it?" about things that make no sense to us but you think it's hysterical.
  • You are learning compassion for people from seeing us do things for others. We cook meals for Nana and Pop several times a week and you love to run in the door shouting "meals on wheels!" We brought food to a sick friend and when you hear that someone is sick you tell us we should bring them soup and cookies.
  • You are very generous and giving. You and Daddy were at the hardware store the other day and you saw a hummingbird spinner ornament and you told him you wanted to get it for me because I love hummingbirds. You were so pleased with yourself when you brought it to me and I was so touched. When your friends come over you share all your toys, even though we give you the option of putting away ones that are special to you.
  • You love watching tv and we have to limit how much you watch. We borrow movies from the library every week and you can hardly wait to get home to watch one. You also enjoy playing on my computer and you are so good at controlling the mouse.
  • You have always been a great eater. You love my cooking and especially my baking. You are good about trying new things and you love most vegetables.
  • You are my sugarlump and you will always be my baby, no matter how big you get. I love you with every fiber of my being and I am so grateful that I get to be your mama.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Wonderful Day

     Today was a great day! It was one of those days that you store in your heart and wrap yourself up in the memory of when things are difficult. Russ was off today and we decided to take John to a zoo for the first time. We went to a small, private zoo that Russ and I used to go to years ago. You can feed the animals and we knew he would love it. Boy did he ever! He thought it was hysterical to see the monkeys wait at the bottom of the tube for their treats. I fell head over heels in love with one of the monkeys and could have easily spent all day feeding her by hand. She was so sweet and gentle and would take each piece from my hand so delicately. She had the softest, sweetest little hands, oh my goodness I wanted to take her home. Seriously, I am a sucker for animals. Omg those tiny monkey fingers! Ok, moving on. The zoo had a fire recently and tragically a mother and baby giraffe were killed. They are rebuilding the giraffe house and the surviving ones are at another zoo until it is complete. We promised John we could go back and see the giraffes when they return. The weather was just perfect and we really enjoyed ourselves.
     After the zoo we went to the flea market because one of the stores sells party supplies and I wanted to get some more things for John's party. We also bought donuts from the Amish market which are sinfully delicious. While we were having lunch, one of the Amish girls walked by texting on a pink smart phone. I know that the Amish ways have changed but I didn't think they had changed that much! It was just such a shock to see that, and I don't know why but it made me a little sad too.

Our town has started a farmers market on Fridays and when we got home we decided to walk downtown and check it out. There were very few stands but there were paddle boats and we decided to take John for a ride on the lake. He loved it! It was wonderful to see his face just beaming, enjoying himself so much. On our walk home I heard someone calling our names and I turned to see a guy on a motorcycle making a turn but I didn't recognize him. Russ didn't hear it but I told him that the guy nearly tipped his bike trying to see us. I said I'll bet he comes around the corner and sure enough he did and it was our neighbor from when we lived here years ago! We haven't seen him in years and he thought we were still in Virginia. We spent a few minutes catching up and made plans to get together soon.

     Each moment of today was so special and it was wonderful to spend time enjoying my family of three. My heart is so full right now and I am grateful for God's blessings in my life.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Party planning and pictures

     So John has chosen Sco.oby Doo for his party theme. He was waffling between that and superheroes for awhile but I finally had to make him choose so I could start ordering things and planning. I've found some really cute ideas online and have a few of my own, so I think it will be awesome. Since we haven't been here that long and he's not in preschool yet, he really only has two good friends and one will be out of town the day of the party. But we have family coming and I know he will have a great time. He's so excited about it!
     I took John to the mall to have his picture taken on Friday. We're not ones to get professional photos taken but we do it for his birthday. Call me corny but I like the giant plastic numbers they have! He has always been "difficult" when we take him. I don't know if he gets nervous or what but they really have to work to get a good smile out of him. This year was no exception. The girl kept trying to get him to smile and show his teeth but he kept pursing his lips. I told her it was fine but she kept trying to tickle him to get him to grin and he would but she would miss it. I'm also not a fan of some of the goofy (in my opinion) poses they do so I wouldn't let her force him to do it. I want a photo that reflects him, not how they think he should pose. I have plenty of candid photos of his big cheesy grin.
     We went to a free "youth appreciation" day at the Elks lodge yesterday. He had a ball on the inflatable jumping things, enjoyed eating junk, and got his face painted for the first time. Love this boy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My knight in shiny armor

     As predicted, John loved the Renaissance Faire! It was a very small one, but he was thrilled. They had jousting and he was so impressed. There were battle demonstrations and the actors actually let him play along. He even got to try on a helmet that probably weighed as much as he does! I love to encourage his interests and to see him enjoying himself so much made it such a special day!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


     My son John will be 4 years old next month. Just writing that amazes me. After battling infertility for more than 3 years I can hardly believe he's here, let alone about to turn 4! He is an amazing boy and I am in complete awe of him. He is friendly to everyone, smart as a whip, and cute as a button. (yes I'm biased) He has started to ask questions that are sometimes difficult for me to answer. We have never "talked down" to him and we use real words with him for everything, including body parts. He understands so much and wants to learn more. He has been asking a lot about Heaven and Hell lately. The other day he asked me how angels get a bath. I told him that I didn't know. He thought a moment and said "maybe God licks them." My MIL's cats recently had kittens and he has been watching the mother cat care for them. The more I thought about it, the more I loved his theory. It paints God as our loving father who cares for us gently and attends to our every need. John understands things so well for his age.
     The other day Russ and John were playing and Russ put a shoebox on his head sideways. John looked at him and said "that looks like Napoleon's hat." We watched Night at the mu.seum and he made that connection himself. Amazing.
     John is very interested in knights. There is a renaissance fair at the county park this weekend and we're taking him tomorrow. I'm pretty sure he will be blown away and I can't wait to experience this with him. He's an amazing kid and I'm so blessed to be his mother!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mourning a friend

When I signed onto Fa.cebook this morning, I read a post from my friend Patty from Virginia that said she was lucky to have been married to such a wonderful man and that she would miss him terribly. I couldn't fathom what she was saying, so I read her wall and there were numerous postings offering condolences on the loss of her husband Fred in an accident. Someone had posted a link to the news story and I watched it in disbelief. Fred had picked up a load of donated furniture for their church's yard sale and as he was driving some pieces fell from his truck into the road. He stopped to retrieve them and a state trooper also stopped to assist him, putting his flashing lights on. A car evidently "lost control" somehow and slammed into them. Fred was taken to the hospital by ambulance and died a short time later. The trooper was life flighted and is currently in serious condition. This was at 1:30 in the afternoon on a four lane road with perfect visibility. What a senseless tragedy. Patty called me this morning to make sure I had heard and to say she is devastated would be an understatement. She said it really hit her at 4:00 this morning when she stretched her arm across the bed and he wasn't there. My heart is breaking for her, their two sons and their young grand daughter. Fred was very active in his church and his faith was strong so I have no doubt that he is in heaven but his family is just broken right now. Patty and Fred have been very close friends of ours for years and I still cannot believe that he is gone. The funeral is Saturday and it breaks my heart but we won't be able to go. Russ just started his job and wouldn't be paid for time off, and the gas would be so expensive (6+ hours each way.) I hate that it comes down to money but Patty understands and knows we are praying for her. When tragedies like this happen, it really puts things into perspective. What had seemed so difficult is now so trivial. We need to treasure our loved ones while we have them, because we are not guaranteed another minute. Rest in peace my dear friend, you will be missed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Russ was hired at a warehouse as a "temporary" employee. That basically means he was hired for 90 days to see if he would work out and if there were any full-time positions after the 90 days, he could apply but he wasn't guaranteed anything after his time was up. Well, a few weeks ago a full-time position opened up at one of the other warehouses and he applied for it, never thinking he'd get it because so many people were applying and most have been there much longer than he has. He is a hard worker and has made a very good impression on the managers there and he got it. This is good because he will receive health benefits, retirement, and all the things that come with full-time status. The drawback is the schedule. As long as we have been together, Russ has worked in the ballpark of 7am to 4pm or somewhere within that framework. And he has had weekends off, barring any delivery trips or emergency situations. His new hours are 1:30pm to 10:00pm and he is off Thursdays and Sundays. On Saturdays he works 9-5:30. This means we no longer have dinner together, and he's not here for John's bedtime routine. If I get a teaching job in the fall we will barely see each other at all. We both know that we need to do whatever it takes to get by, but this is difficult. The other warehouse is also much different from the one where he was trained and he hates it. It's much slower which makes the days seem so much longer. Now that he has transferred, he is not eligible to transfer back until after six months. I've worked jobs that I hated so I understand what he's going through and I wish there was something I could do to make it easier for him. He applied to the public works department where he worked before we moved, and I'm praying that comes through for him.

I'm not going to go into detail on this blog, but my parents are coming here this weekend. If you want to read the long version of my feelings about this, I've written a (LONG) post on my other blog.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I'm not really that special

     When my sister was in high school, she was in the marching band. She and a few of the other members formed their own small "band" and they used to practice in our basement. My friend and I would sit on the steps and watch them, until my sister caught us and yelled until mom made us leave. My sister is four years older than me, so I was still in elementary school and she didn't want me around her friends. One of the guys was named John, and he quickly took notice of me. I was very naive and it was quite exciting to have an older boy (two years older) pay attention to me. We started talking and became friends. I knew he was attracted to me but I didn't feel the same way about him. We never discussed it but he must have sensed that I was only interested in friendship, because he never asked me out.
     My junior year of high school I was "dating" a guy named Kevin. I had always anticipated going to the prom so when we were juniors and could finally go I was excited about it. I brought it up one day and he said he was not going to go. He didn't want to spend money on a suit, didn't want to get dressed up and saw no point in going. I offered to pay for his suit and asked him to please go for me but he still refused. I got upset and said that I was going to the prom, with him or without him. I wasn't about to let him take something so important to me away. He laughed and said "good luck finding someone to go with, I'll make sure no one will take you." Well, that got me pretty angry so I was even more determined to go. Well, who should walk into school that day but John. He had graduated two years ahead of me and had stopped by to see the band director and his former band mates. He stopped to talk to me and could tell that I was upset so I told him what was wrong and he offered to take me to the prom. I was so happy to walk up to Kevin and tell him that not only did I have a date to the prom, but it had taken me less than two hours! Ha! John drove me home and we made plans for the prom.
     Despite what he'd done and said, I didn't break up with Kevin (even though I should have) so I made sure John understood that we were going as friends. I had no romantic feelings towards him and didn't want to risk our friendship so I wanted to be very clear. To his credit, he was a perfect gentleman and we had a good time. I knew he felt more for me than I did for him but he didn't try to push the issue.
     After graduation we lost touch and reconnected recently through Fac.ebook. He has had a rough life, especially in regards to women. He's been married three times and his third wife cheated on him (so did his second) and they were trying to work things out. Then one day he came home and she told him it was over and he had to find somewhere else to live. He's been feeling pretty low so I've tried to cheer him up. When we moved back to NJ a few of my friends from high school and I arranged a potluck dinner party, which we held at our house this past Saturday. Because John works in NJ but lives in PA, we offered to let him spend the night rather than driving all the way home late at night.
     I knew how John felt all those years ago but I guess I just wasn't prepared to see how deeply he still feels for me. I am definitely not bragging, because it made me very sad to see the almost palpable hurt in his eyes when he looked at me. I had told Russ everything and he was ok with John coming and spending the night but I think he was somewhat taken aback by the depth of John's feelings. He watched with such longing as Russ and I interacted and it hurt to know how badly he wished that were his life. He sent me a message and said what a great guy Russ is and how he's glad that I have such a happy life. He said it was obvious by the look in my eyes how deeply in love with Russ I am and that he's glad for us. I'm no longer that naive little schoolgirl and I can sense the pain he feels and I just want to tell him that I'm not as wonderful as he thinks I am. I'm moody and emotional and I'm sure I'm not easy to live with. He remarked at dinner that he'd been a fool for keeping his mouth shut and not asking me out all those years ago. I didn't have the heart to tell him that it wouldn't have mattered, I've only ever seen him as a friend.
     The dinner was such fun that we all agreed that we'd like to do it once a month or so and now I have a bit of a dilemma. Russ told me that he doesn't trust John and he insists it has nothing to do with how John feels about me. He said it's just a gut feeling and Russ is usually a very good judge of character but John has been a good friend to me. Russ said he doesn't have a problem with John coming over and even spending the night but he doesn't ever want me alone with him. I am absolutely fine with that but I'm a bit uncomfortable around him now. He has asked me and a mutual friend to set him up with someone so maybe if he starts dating again he will be happier. I sure hope so because my heart hurts for him. He's a very nice guy and he deserves happiness. I'm just not it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our terrible experience with movers-part one

We just moved in January and had a terrible experience with our movers. In order to understand the background, I need to tell the story of the first time we used movers, which was also terrible. These posts are in no way directed at all movers, I am simply relating our own experiences.

When we moved from our apartment to our first house, it was literally across town so we used our own pickup truck. We were only in the apartment for a year before buying our house so we really didn't have much stuff either. Nine years later we had a lot more stuff, we were moving six hours away and I was going by myself for a week so we knew we needed to hire movers. We chose a medium-sized, local company. I was off for the summer so I packed everything and they came to load the truck. Everything went pretty well, except for one of the crew who was unfriendly nearly to the point of rude. But I had too much on my mind to care. The next day I headed to Va with my dog Jack and checked into a hotel to wait for the movers.

We'd had a new house built and the driveway had stone but not enough yet and we were concerned about the 18 wheeler getting stuck. Of course it rained the day of our move. I explained my concern to the driver and pointed out the most stable part which Russ had indicated to me. The driver assured me that the truck would be fine and proceeded to drive exactly where I had told him it was the most unstable. You can see where this is going, right? Yep, he got stuck right in the middle of our long driveway. Stuck. Like, wheels not even turning at all stuck. They tried putting boxes and moving blankets under the tires, nothing. They decided to start emptying out the truck in hopes that it would be easier to move if it was lighter. Of course I had arrived before them so my car was at the top of the driveway, which was now totally blocked so I couldn't get out without risking getting my own car stuck. Our house was very remote and cell service was spotty at best and I was literally alone in the woods with a crew of four movers. Awesome, right?

So, they laid plastic runners down and started carrying our stuff in from the driveway. The guys were in relatively good spirits (except for the driver) and I was pleased that the "surly" guy from the crew was not with them. As they emptied the truck the driver made a few attempts to move the truck but it quickly became obvious that it was useless and he was able to call the company and get them to find a wrecker that could pull them out. Yeah, a wrecker. So, they continued carrying things in and my heart was literally in my throat as they carried my china closet through ankle deep mud. I felt so bad for the crew, they were really working hard and doing all they could. They also knew that once the wrecker arrived it would pull the truck back out to the road and they would have to carry things even farther so it was a mad rush to get as much unloaded as possible before the wrecker came. By the time the wrecker came they had emptied nearly half of the truck. They had begun carrying boxes until I suggested that they carry the furniture, which was heavier and therefore would be more difficult to carry from a further distance. The wrecker finally came and everything stopped while he dragged the truck from the driveway back onto the road. That was a unique experience because the truck was leaning very precariously as he hauled it up the bank and they had left the doors open.

It soon became apparent that they would not be able to unload everything that day and it started to get dark and our house had no electricity yet so the movers all had to cram into my car and they had to book a room at the hotel where I was staying. I had been trying to reach Russ all day but had no cell reception at all so he had no idea what had happened so far. The next day we drove back so they could finish unloading the truck and things went as smoothly as possible that day. They finished the unloading and left. The next day the owner called me and said we would be charged more for a "long carry" and an extra day because the crew couldn't finish in one day as planned and he wanted me to pay for their hotel room. Yeah, I don't think so. We argued back and forth over the course of a few days. At that point Russ arrived and I started my new job. We were still living in a hotel because we still didn't have electricity. There had been a hurricane in North Carolina and most of the electric crews had gone to assist with the aftermath so we were bumped way down in priority. I went to work each day and Russ went to the house to unpack as much as he could before it got dark. A few days in he was moving our filing cabinet and found that the bottom drawer was jammed shut. He pried it open and the thing that had been stuck was his state quarter map, emptied and folded and jammed into the drawer. Yeah, someone stole the quarters from his map! It must have been around $3 or so. Really? And, if it hadn't been stuffed into the filing cabinet it would have been months before we noticed it was missing because it was obviously not on his mind. I "knew" immediately that it had been the unfriendly guy who had helped load the truck because the crew that had unloaded us were very nice and I truly don't believe they would have done something like that. So I of course called the owner and threatened to call the police and he of course didn't want that so he stopped pushing for the "long carry" charge and all the other extras he had tried to charge us plus he refunded us a chunk of our bill. Yeah, that made up for the $3 in quarters that we lost. It was a horrible experience and I had hoped that we'd never have to use movers again. When we moved to Pa we rented a truck and moved ourselves because we had family in PA that could help us unload. It was a ton of work and when we decided to move to NJ 2 years later we knew it would be too much for us to do and Russ's parents couldn't help so we knew we had to hire movers again. That brings us to the next part of the saga, which I will tell in part two. Not sure if anyone else will ever read this  but maybe someday John will.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Start

Wow, it seems like forever since I've written here! After a nightmarish experience with our movers (a story for another time) we are all settled here in NJ. Russ has found a job but I haven't yet. I've applied to lots of them but it's a hard time of the year to get a teaching job. I'm really hoping I'll have better luck in the fall. For now I'm going to do as many craft shows as I can to try and bring in a little bit of money. I am really enjoying being home with John for a little longer too. It was beautiful outside today and we took a walk downtown and then to a park. Poor little guy was so worn out that he actually asked me to carry him the last few blocks. He seriously has never done that before. We've had such a mild winter, we only got one semi-measurable snow and even that melted the same day. Loving the little taste of spring we've had lately too.

We have been spending a lot of time with my in laws. Seems like we have dinner together at least 2-3 times a week. Mary (my MIL) loves having John around and it makes me so happy. I've taken them to several doctors appts and I think they really like that I'm not working yet. We've gotten together with "old" friends several times already, and in some ways it feels like we never left. We're having a dinner party at the end of the month for several of my high school friends, can't wait to see them! I find myself happier than I have been in a very long time. My mother isn't speaking to me (a story for my other blog) but I am at peace with that situation as well. I'm doing my best to enjoy every minute I am given here on earth and spending it with the people I love the most. Our house in PA hasn't sold yet but my aunt and uncle are renting it while they look for a house to buy. I know Russ is worried about money but I know that God has a plan for all of us and I'm trying to follow where He leads me.