Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Let's Just Be Honest...

...sometimes, I'm an emotional basketcase.

Lately, a lot more than normal, it seems, but I might be mistaken. I guess I don't keep a log of how many times I cry.

The past week or so, I just have been weeping easily, more frequently than normal it seems (no, I am not pregnant for those who automatically associate emotions with pregnancy).

My brother deployed for Kuwait. I bawled myself to sleep.
I was having issues with low self-esteem and symptoms of my PCOS. I bawled myself to sleep.
One of my best friends (and she's a new friend, which makes it harder, I think) is moving to Alaska in less than a month. And, to top it off, Jake's twin is moving too! I cried and then fought back tears and then cried some more. Happy for both of them, but it's going to be a huge change to have them both gone.
I didn't have much alone time the past few weeks. I cried hard about it.
I was feeling super sick with a sinus infection yesterday and had to deal with Spencer teething. I cried multiple times.

And then.. the kicker. Spencer is getting teeth.

While that's a super-exciting-happy-milestone in babyland, it also send me into a fit of tears and sobs one night as I lay in bed next to Jake. He asked "what's wrong?" I broke down instantaneously and replied, sobbing heavily, "I don't want Spencer to get teeth!"

Why? It seems so strange and silly, but it makes sense. As I explained to him, the appearance of teeth means "goodbye, toothless baby-grin. hello, toddler-mouth."

Yeah, I associate, in my heart, his teeth with the absence of baby-hood. Granted, he's still a baby, but once those teeth come in fully, he'll look so much older. He's got more hair than many babies I know, and has for quite some time. He's very tall. He looks much older than he is without teeth, and with teeth, well... I don't want people asking how old he is and when I tell them "9 months" they say, "he looks so much older!"


DANGIT, why can't time stand still, just for a while?! Seriously.

You hear all the time from experienced parents who say "time really flies by" and other variations of that. And I knew it, but I just didn't... feel it to my core.. like I did the other night. Time goes WAY TOO FAST. He is almost ONE! WHAT?!

ACK. Okay, time to go before I get emotional again. Haha.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reuniting soon!

This coming weekend is the 2nd Annual "Leora's Family Gathering!" I, for one, am quite excited about the event.

My grandmother, Leora, passed away in 2007. Last year, I planned the reunion on her birthdate. It was significant to me to have the first "official" summer-time family reunion, since her passing, be on her birthdate. It was a birthday party, too, after all!

Growing up, on my mother's side of the family especially, I went to a lot of family reunions. Fosters, Flesners, Shellums, and then Webers, too, from time to time. There may have been a few more, but those were the ones that were held every summer. As a kid, they were fun, and boring at the same time. I mean, we got to run around like little hooligans at my great-grandpa's farm for one of them, and then sit around a small-town community center and try to behave at another, for example. But, we were there, as a family, almost every single year. I can't even recall how many reunions I went to. The best part, I think, is that we always went with my mom's sisters, brothers, and their children.

As a child, my cousins and I (on my mom's side especially) were very close. A lot of that was because the majority of us lived in the same area, southwest MN, and my grandmother had her children over very frequently. Most of my summers were spent with my cousins, going to the pool, camping in backyards, having sleepovers at our houses, raking leaves and making mazes with them, playing at the park near my grandmother's house, and so many more exciting activities. Truthfully, my cousins were some of my closest and dearest friends. I think we were all VERY blessed to be able to say that.

We are so very fortunate to have the parents we have and the grandmother that we had that helped us form those bonds, memories, and lasting sense of the value and importance of family!

As we got older, we grew apart a bit, in distance especially. We're spread out all over, and now we're all busy with things going on in our (mostly) adult lives. (I say mostly, because most of us are adults now.)

That doesn't keep us apart, though!

Even though my grandmother has passed away, we, as a family, think it's still very important to keep the value of family at the forefront. So, last year, I took it upon myself (with a little help from my cousin) to plan that reunion. But, instead of it being a "insertlastnamehere Family Reunion," I decided to call it "Leora's Family." See, a last name isn't as important as belonging to a family, and whether all of her family members are blood or legal relatives, they were definitely a big part of her life.. of all of our lives. For example, even though my parents are no longer together, my dad is still a part of Leora's family. Also, we invite family members who were from the other "branches" of Leora's family, say, her sisters children, other second cousins, my mom's cousins and aunts, for example.

Like I said, I feel very blessed to have the family that I have.

So, this coming weekend is the 2nd Annual "Leora's Family Reunion." It's not over her birthday weekend this year for a few reasons, one being that it's father's day weekend almost every year, and that makes it hard for planning, and second that my aunt, uncle, and their children from Washington state were coming to the area during this particular time of the summer this year. I decided that having it on/nearest her birthday wasn't AS important, because it's still focused on her family and our relationships that she gave us.

I'm so excited. I have, literally, been looking forward to the reunion since I left last summer. My husband wasn't able to attend last summer because of work conflicts (that he managed to work through this summer, hallelujah!), and I was still pregnant with Spencer last summer. So, this summer, I won't be traveling by myself (okay, I guess last summer I did bring Wendell with...), and will have both Jake and Spencer with! It's Spencer's first reunion! Yeah!!

Despite a little situation with the original location (where we had it last year), the planning has been basically effortless and carefree, which is also a blessing. My family is very flexible and willing to bring whatever they can to make it a spectacular time, so it's a potluck event, outdoors, at a park. Yeah, it's going to be hot, but it's going to be wonderful!

I love being able to sit and reminisce, tell stories from the past, and laugh until we cry. I love watching my aunts and uncles interact. I love spending time with my childhood best friends, my "gang" (a nice gang), and seeing how we've all grown so much, gone through so much, and who we've become. I love watching my cousin's children playing in the grass and in the dirt, getting into the food, making messes, laughing, crying, and running around. And OH MY GOSH this year I have a child too!

I love having my camera around, just in case I, or my sisters, or my husband, or my aunts, decide to "stalk" family members, taking photo after photo until they notice us and stick out their tongue or block their faces with their hands.

I hate saying goodbye.

But I love looking forward to the next year's reunion.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Wow, two blog posts in one night!

Normally, I don't blog about current events and matters in the media, but today, well, by golly, I am about to.

But, not in a way that you might think. No, it's not going to be a "I agree/disagree" post.

Yes, it is about the Casey Anthony trial. (I think that's how you spell her first name.)

I have to admit, I've only followed bits and pieces of the story since it happened. I remember it happening way back when, and hearing about it quite a bit, and then not hearing about it as much anymore. Coupled with the fact that we haven't had cable television in quite some time, and I usually don't have an impulse to read the news (sadly), well, I am not all "up on current events," as you might say.

However, I did get sucked right into the news coverage this afternoon as I heard the verdict was soon to be announced. I was covered in goosebumps as the silence on the screen enveloped everyone watching. And, as the "not guilty" charges were read, my jaw dropped, hand covering the shocked expression, and I found myself thinking the jurors were crazy for not charging her with the murder of her daughter.

Yup, I will admit it, initially, my reaction was "SHE IS SOOOOO guilty!"

It didn't take long for me to start questioning the ramification of a not-guilty sentence. Would she become famous now? Make millions writing a book? She sure looked happy. Would I have been?

Yes and no. Yes, if I was not guilty (and I would be RIGHTLY not guilty, mind you, like I would kill anyone, heck, I hate killing animals), I'd be happy. But, I don't know that I'd be so elated... knowing that my DAUGHTER WAS STILL DEAD.

Yeah. Dead. My baby. DEAD.

The thought makes me physically sick. I sat there thinking I might throw up all over the place.

And then, I wondered... "so, if people just keep changing their story, no one would EVER really know the truth, so how could they be found guilty?"


Fast forward, tonight I'm sitting here.. thinking about it again as I see all these posts and what not flaring up on Facebook once again. And I found myself, again, initially thinking, "ugh, she is guilty."

But then almost immediately, I got to thinking, "but who am I to think that?"

I mean really. It's not my call. Not only was I not there when it happened, but I was not a juror, and I certainly haven't been well-informed on the case.

But more than that, who am I to decide? The murderer knows. God knows. He'll deal with it.

Just like he'll deal with the baby girl whose life was taken... as he wraps his arms around her and allows her to live with him, side-by-side, for all eternity, alongside the thousands of other innocent children who passed away all too soon.

Furthermore, I began thinking about how I truly hope I NEVER am called to be a juror. I mean, maybe I wouldn't have such a qualm with petty court matters like parking tickets, but seriously... having to decide someone's fate like that? I couldn't do it. I just couldn't. I think I'd be physically sick the entire time. Especially in a trial like the one that ended on national television today.

Just a disclaimer: in no way is this post supposed to imply that we should not gave a jurored court system. It simply is to state I hope never to be a part of it.

Lullabies, Crafts, and Fireworks

I apologize in advance, and in retrospect, that almost all of my blogging lately has to do with Spencer or motherhood. It obviously is one of the very biggest parts of my life, and seriously, it's always on my mind, or nearly always.

Spencer has a CD with lullabies on it that plays in his room, pretty much non-stop, unless we realize it's running during the day and turn it off. It's a collection of songs, mostly that have meaning to him or our family. For example, "Never Grow Up" by Taylor Swift is the first song, for him and for me, because we danced to it right after he came home from the hospital, and it also reminds me not to take anything for granted, even his fussy evenings. Next is, "Godspeed" by the Dixie Chicks, as when I first heard it many years ago, I had hoped for a little boy to sing that song to at night. Somewhere further in the tracks is "A Page is Turned" by Bebo Norman, which was the song his daddy and I danced to at our wedding. Those are just a few.

Recently, I have decided that, since I have the linguistic abilities and some musical skills as well, maybe I should write him a personalized lullaby. Unfortunately, the idea hasn't taken off in depth, other than a few lyrics/melodies I sang to the voice recorder on my cell phone. I told the idea to Jake, and he wrote lyrics to his own lullaby. So, hopefully soon, Spencer will be spoiled with two of his own lullabies.

I happened upon Stumbleupon (or a friend told me about it and three weeks later I joined and started using it), and amidst some of my recommendations, I found a craft blog that I sat and read in its entirety and became inspired. The other day, I pulled out some of my craft papers, and constructed a tree. Yup, a tree. And I enjoyed it so much I started another (which is not yet finished).

It made me miss the days of Jake's big desk (that I was given when we moved in together) that I used for crafting- specifically book binding. Man, I LOVE binding books, but after we moved to Sioux Falls and didn't have room for the big desk, and therefore gave it to his brother, I stopped binding. We didn't have room. Still don't, really, but I found all of my old supplies that I just couldn't bear to part with, and I wish that I had space and time to make a few books again.

Last night, we took Spencer to a fireworks show here in town. He LOVED it. And while we were sitting there sharing our ice cream as Jake ate his own (he couldn't share, because he had peanuts and chocolate), I realized that another of our long-time family-oriented dreams had come true and we were living it right then and there. For as long as Jake and I have been together and discussing a future family, we would say things like, "I can't wait until someday when we show our kids fireworks." And there we were, all three of us... watching fireworks. And it was magical.

And a parting thought... I am ready for a new blog title. I just can't decide on one.