Ode to Drew

I feel the weight of your body on my chest, your legs folded and ducked up in my lap; your back rises and falls, you sigh. I rock you slowly back and forth in your dark bedroom. It is just you and me. I kiss your head, your soft blonde hair tickles against my face as I breath you in. I notice your brown is wet and I loosen the soft blanket around you. You sit up, grab the edge of the blanket and pull it back up before settling back into me. I liked it better too, who cares about being hot? Your arms rest on either side of me. I feel your tiny fingers wiggle, needing at my sides. I watch your eyelids with long dense lashes as thy slowly close and pause before reopening.

It’s time to lay you down. It’s time to leave you for the night. Tears fill my eyes at the though and knowing time is passing so quickly. Tomorrow you will have learned something new or be able to say a word more clearly. It is such a gift. Each and every instant seeing you and feeling you feels like the most monumental moment of my life. I am the most lucky. I am the most grateful. I want it to slow down and I want it to speed up. I want to stay here forever and I want to see what comes next. Motherhood is the greatest conundrum.


Vacation Brain

This is so hard! Why am I sitting at a desk for 12 hours a day, trying my best to check things off a to-do list that never seems to shorten to less than 80 miles long, pretending that it isn’t FINALLY SUNNY OUTSIDE after weeks of rain…why? WHY?

I literally look at my mini calendar in the corner of my outlook every 14 minutes just to see if the date has randomly changed in the middle of my day and that I am not 10 days from vacation, but 9 days instead….I get that tomorrow will be 9, but why can’t it be today?

I am recalling those last few weeks of school as a senior in high school, so close to launching yourself out of the nest and into the world. Why does it have to take so long?

Then you hear those trite statements “Patience is a virtue” and “Good things come to those who wait” blah blah blah, we get it old timer…..we aren’t happy about it, but we get it.

You get to a day like today (and the subsequent 9 I have to make it through) and you realize your babies are rocketing upward at a breathtaking pace and every other time of the year you want time to slow down. But pre-vacation…..pre-vacation you don’t give a crap.

Ah Colorado, Do You Need a Time – Out?

A recent article named Colorado the second “booziest state” (Oregon is #1 if you were wondering). But this alleged “booziness” seems to be based on the number of breweries per person. So maybe we didn’t win this one, but let’s talk about what we would win:

Drunkest Weather

I am pretty sure Colorado would win by a landslide if we compare the crazy-ass weather patterns of various States in the U.S.. Yesterday it was sunny and warm, then at around 8pm, as if someone turned on a switch, giant hail and crazy wind and rain swept in – like a drunken frat boy who goes from laughing and talking to projectile vomiting in a blink of an eye.

Tornado warnings sounded around the State. We scrambled to close up the garages and car windows, trying not to get pummeled by the 1/2 inch ice balls. We stuck our faces to the window to watch and then thought better of it as the hail smacked into the glass. We backed up a few paces.

In a glorious twist of fate – no water came into the basement (knock on wood that it isn’t just delayed).

Upon examination this morning I found most of my veggies were completely shredded. I looked away in sorrow…hoping that a better look this afternoon will show that they aren’t completely lost. But hey, it could have been much worse.

The car appears to be dent free. We didn’t suffer any broken windows. I’ll probably check the roof and siding this afternoon just to be sure those are fine….Andy and I joked that our cheap ass vinyl siding is probably ironically hail-proof. Most importantly – we were all safely indoors.

This morning it is back to warm and blue skies. The forecast calls for similar bizarre weather for the next 4 days. Which makes me think Colorado needs a time-out. It is quite obviously some worn-out and overstimulated toddler who doesn’t like to go to bed and will wreak havoc on any and everyone who tries to tell it to go to bed! “No I won’t brush my teeth and go potty!!! Instead I will pummel you with skull crushing ice chunks!”

Although I think in this case the drunk frat guy analogy is more accurate.

Go to bed Todd-orado, you’re drunk!

Sometimes Shit Just Hits the Fan

So the reason I had to post the previous entry, despite it being a month old, is that it signifies the peak of happiness. Life was going so good. We were getting in our groove, we were making progress on simplifying our life and enhancing our togetherness, all that touchy-feely hippie stuff. I felt on top of the world at work, we had just won some pretty significant projects….life couldn’t be better.

Then the shit started flying. First, a deadline got missed at work despite unwavering efforts and pressure on my part to get it coordinated and out on time. Despite it not being my fault, I was on the hook for it with the client. I don’t do well in that situation. I pride myself on keeping clients happy and I feared the situation jeopardized future work with them….which I still think that it might have. That cluster was followed by a mini-blow out with my boss….long story there, but the critical information is I spoke to him about it and we seem to be in a better place.

Then one Friday, after being stuck in solid meetings all morning,  I got out to find multiple texts and missed calls that Andy’s dad had collapsed at the repair shop while picking up his car and was rushed to the hospital. We were the only people in town. So I rushed home praying to the Universe that he was okay. We packed up and headed north.

About a year ago he had some chest pain and was feeling really poorly. They found some blockages in his arteries and put in stints, etc. He has spent the last year in cardiac rehab and has lost a bunch of weight and changed his whole life, etc. Well turns out he had another blockage in a branch off the back….fill in some official heart medical terminology here…Long story short, after walking over to the garage (fortunately a few blocks from his house) he went into atrial fibrillation (that sounds fancy huh?). Fortunately the mechanics started CPR right away and a nearby off-duty EMT beat the ambulance and defribulated him.

They got him to the hospital and into surgery to remove the blockage. They put a new stint and “jailed” everything so it would stay open. Then they had to put him into a hypothermic coma in the hopes that his brain would come back from it. It was basically hell on earth wondering if he would ever come out of it and then if he did – how much damage would have been done.

My dad was an ICU nurse for many ears and a PACU nurse for the others. He just happened to have called that day and when I called him back and explained the situation, I could tell he was doing his best to not alarm me, but the situation was pretty grave. He assured me that it sounded like they were doing everything they could.

I’ll spare you the long tormenting drama of events – he came out of it! He seems to have some short term memory damage and still has a long recovery and rehab ahead. But the fact that he is still here is a miracle. We were told that he had a 10% survival rate. So we are so thankful. Andy didn’t leave his side the whole time and I was so proud of him.

The Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend we were up there checking on him and a huge snow storm started. It had been raining for the previous 10 days straight.

Colorado has apparently become a rainy climate…not that I would normally complain about that.

Anyway, we considered staying the night, but decided to push home to get to the dogs, etc. So after a very slow drive in low visibility, we were all relieved to be back to the house. We were about to snuggle in to watch a movie, but Andy went downstairs and I heard an ‘Oh shit, come look at this’.

I drag myself off the couch and find the corner of our basement filling with water. This is a time when a sloped basement is a benefit, because the water stayed close to the corner. Andy left a message with a flood cleanup company and we got to work right away moving everything out of the way. Basically my newly organized and decluttered house was instantly fucked up.

We stayed up until 2am sucking up the water with our carpet cleaner. I set up our box fans and hoped we would get up the next day and be able to cancel the service call.

I couldn’t sleep and woke up at 6am to find even more water than the night before. I went back to work. The cleaners showed up at around noon and started tearing out baseboards, removing carpet pad and extracting. They spent about 3 hours in the basement. When they left we had professional fans and a dehumidifier. We knew it was going to be a punch in the face to pay the bill (insurance doesn’t cover floods), but it felt like things were going to be okay.

The next morning the water was back and had spread even further. I had to go to work, so Andy spent the day water-fighting…which sounds fun…but not. This was our fate until Monday of the next week, when it finally dried out. We got the all clear from the cleaners who were testing the moisture content of the walls and what not. $2,400 later – OYE! – we were still looking at a dismantled basement and a lot of work ahead.

That next weekend I had plans to put everything back together and get back to normal, but on Wednesday night the rain started again and water started coming up again. Ugh….blah blah fucking hell blah. Lots of work, no sleep, pissed-offed-ness, etc.

Today we have this:

IMG_9019 IMG_9017

We have a lot to do to put this shit back together, oh and hey, no money to do it obviously. But I at least have a to do list…so that’s fun.

We decided to run and hide get away from it all, so we went on our first camping trip of the year last weekend. It was just what we needed. Andy caught trout and we grilled them over the camp fire, we got to know some friends and contemplated selling absolutely everything we own and moving to the mountains….so tempting, may still do it.

I feel like things have to be on the upswing from all that shit. The gardens are sprouting, despite the torrential rains, I think at least some of the asparagus (that we slaved to get ready for and plant) may pull through…looks like less than 1/3, but I’ll take what I can get at this point. We are broke as shit, but I know we will get on the other side of that too.

So despite this being a borderline depressing post, I will always find a way to get back to the positive side of life. Shit happens to us all and we all muddle through. “Just keep swimmin’ ” – via my Mom via Finding Nemo.

Springing it Up

*This post was written a month ago and I just never posted it. But much of life builds on it, so figure I better post it. Better late than never I guess. Whoops!

Why Hello! Hope you are well. Life things have been going great here. Right now I am watching snow fall through the window. Yesterday it was 70 degrees. Colorado is one of the most amazing places and I love it! I expect right now my facebook feed is being littered with “Are you serious? snow?!?” and “I THOUGHT IT WAS SPRING”. I am actually shocked how much people bitch about random spring snow storms…hell they bitch about winter snow! But I love it! Tomorrow it will start warming up again and this weekend it will be warm enough to work on my garden.

I have big plans this year! I have asparagus crowns coming soon and we’ve decided that we are getting good enough at veggie gardening that we are going to replace the wood boxes with longer boxes made of masonry units. I tried to grow asparagus from seed last year….total failure. Not a single one came up…..granted I got them in the ground a little late. Oops. But I figured this year I will start with crowns and hopefully make up for my lost year (asparagus takes about 3 years to establish. BUT then it will sprout for up to 12 years! Can you imagine all the money we will save? Bundles of asparagus are like $4 each and we can eat like two bundles a week! So $30 for 25 crowns is not bad!….sorry for more information than you ever wanted on growing asparagus….but now you know).

So this weekend is going to be spent getting the garden in order. Digging, dirting, starting seeds indoors, etc. I also ordered one of those soaker system kits and timers….I am a little apprehensive that it is going to be a big heap of crap, but I hope not! I need it to work at least minimally because we have big plans this summer!

I just booked a handful of campsites, so as it stands we have one camp trip scheduled for each month starting in May. Then we have a big family trip to upstate NY for the 4th of July. I know our neighbors would offer to water and what not, but that would feel like neighbor-abuse.

I am really excited to get back to NY. I have a ton of friends from grad school and other life events that live nearby. Some of them it has been 5 years or more since I’ve seen them! So I can’t wait. This isn’t the first time that I’ve tried to get back there. But this is the first time that Andy has been interested in going…..that is right…..Andy really wanted to go! For those not as familiar, Andy would probably be a hermit if I didn’t force him to go places and do things. So the fact that he actually said ‘I really want to go this year’ caught me off guard and I knew I had to make it happen.

In other Andy news, all is well with staying home. Not just that, but Andy has actually initiated a huge spring cleaning and reorganization project for the house. We are getting rid of stuff left and right. We set up Jack’s big boy room; it is New Zealand All Blacks themed….naturally. We turned the downstairs living room into the toy room and now the upstairs living room is more open and adult-friendly. We’re instituting a “eating food while sitting down” rule, so there are less crumbs, thus less sweeping. It has been a week since the changes started and I am loving it.

Another big win: my office manager sent some table legs home with me to see if Andy could fix them. They were pretty cheaply made. That little test project forced him to get his workshop set up. He is now semi up and running for starting his welding projects. I was hoping we could drywall the garage and replace the windows and fix the doors but, you know, money and what not. So those things will come eventually, but for now at least he can get going. I have big plans to see if landscapers and/or handimen would want to trade services, because there is just so much we want to get done and so little time and money.

The boys are doing so great. We had their doctor’s appointments yesterday. Jack is still on the skinny side, but he has been that way forever, so he is growing normally. Drew is on the larger size….the boy loves his food….just like his momma. I try not to smear mine all over the place, but it is a learned skill. Yesterday he was eating red jello and I picked him up before I realized that there were big globs in his lap. It looked like I had been shot!

Life is good!

Boys aka “mans”

Well it is officially official. I know announcing it on my blog makes it pretty darn official, but last week Andy put in his notice and we notified daycare.

As of March 1st Andy will have his hands full and the adventure will begin.

I can’t quantify how happy I’ve been the last several weeks. Once we made the decision to make this happen and I went through my scared shitless period, everything after that has been utter excitement and bliss.

I am so excited and happy that Andy is wanting this, that he is taking it on and that our boys will get so much dad time.

What will it actually be like when it starts? Who the hell knows! All I have are my ridiculously ideal imaginings, which I know won’t be right.

But that’s fine, I am ready to take what comes in stride. I know it will still be scary and frustrating and all of those things. But I am just happy to know for now we are giving this a try.

I read this passage recently…and sorry I don’t remember it exactly, but it said something along the lines of “it is amazing to realize how free you are when you let many of the modern expectations go”.

And for now I feel free!

Ask me again in three weeks and it might be another tune! Ha!!

Leaving the Race

I’ve come to realize our little family is guilty of being trapped in the rat race of life. There are really two choices when you come to this realization: accept it and continue on running, or leave the race.

We work to make money to buy things we want, but it seems there is a never-ending list of things to want after that and the older I am getting the more I am starting to think “what is the point of all this?”

Here’s where shit gets relevant: Andy hates his job. He’s hated his past couple of jobs. But he sticks with them, mostly because he has this weird compulsion to be a good employee even when he loathes his employers or the work itself. It is a learned behavior from his father. And he obviously sticks with them because of the pay.

He had this unexpectedly amazing time at home with Jack after I went back to work and he was off from school (not working back then). I think we were both surprised by it. Granted it was also one of the most challenging times of his life because, as some of you may recall, bottles were not Jack’s thing. But they worked it out.

Andy has always struggled to figure out what he wants to do with his life. Besides being a Marine, nothing else seems to make sense for him. There was a year overlap when I was finishing undergrad in San Diego and his enlistment had ended; he took a job as a butcher, but also took some welding classes offered by a ship-fitting company. He loves working with his hands and talks non-stop about business ideas he has.

Then there is the kid’s school. Jack can start pre-K next year. Education is something that we’ve struggled with ever since I found out I was pregnant. Andy and I were both public school kids and with an elementary school right down the street, I figured that was the path we’d take. Then I started hearing stories. First a mother whose son failed kindergarten in our school system……failed kindergarten? WTF? I didn’t even know that was a possibility. But he did. She put him in a charter school not too far from our house and he has done well since.

Then another mother told me about Colorado’s school rating site…needless to say it was a poor choice to look at that. Both the local schools and the charter had horrible reviews. Shit balls.

After more thought I decided we should be one of the families that tries to better the local school system. And I realized I shouldn’t be too worried because I know we will always be the active parents that will help their kids through….but it still never felt like “the best” choice we could make for our kids. And obviously every parent wants “the best”.

So Andy and I started talking about what would be the best. Private school will never be an option. I have enough student loans for our street, let alone the family. Homeschooling to us seemed like the best we could do. Then I stumbled upon “unschooling”. This is a post in itself (and I promise to get to it).

Where I am going, is that all these factors and months of discussions boil down to this:

Andy is quitting his job, raising the boys, giving the homeschool / unschool thing a try, and seeing if he can start a small business on the side to help supplement.

It is going to be a crazy adventure for all of us. It could end in utter and complete failure, OR it could be the absolute best decision we’ve ever made. We shall see!

I hope to document the adventure…..should my work life every slow down enough to write more than once every three months!