Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In God's Time

I spend A LOT of time praying for patience.  In return, God spends A LOT of time laughing at me.  It has taken years of talking to the Big Guys Upstairs for me to realize that The Almighty doesn’t just bestow patience on any Joe Shmoe that sends up a request for the noble trait.  Nope, He usually just throws me a 90-mile-an-hour curve ball then leaves it up me to swing and miss or knock it out of the park. 
James requires A LOT of patience.  So, as you can imagine, I’ve been thrown A LOT of curve balls in the past 10 months.  First came waiting for the day we could finally bring James home.  Next, convincing James he could fall asleep in his crib on his own.  Then, weeks of wishing that first little baby tooth would FINALLY break through so that we could back off the Tylenol long enough for James’ liver to recover.  It seemed that one dilemma was shortly followed by another and another and—well, you get it.  And each dilemma would bring me to my knees asking for that one rediculous yet essential blessing.  Our life had turned into one big curve ball.  But nothing holds a candle to the battle that lay ahead:  JAMES VS. CRAWLING.  (Cue the DUM DUM DUM music). 
It began with James lying on his belly arms flailing and legs kicking in mid-air—imagine a turtle on his back trying to flip over.  James hated “tummy time” but it was a necessary evil and knowing that this would be the only way he would ever start to crawl I forced him to endure at least one session a day.  After months of agony, family members rushed to our side, certain they knew the secret to teach James to crawl.  Reports of crawling and scooting from other moms with babies  months younger than James started coming in.  Needless to say I was frustrated—frustrated that James might be “lacking” in an area of his development, frustrated I couldn’t leave the room without picking up a 24 pound sack of aggravation and carrying him with me, but most of all frustrated that I couldn’t just fix it.   He wanted to crawl so badly but just couldn’t quite get it and so he would cry and there was nothing I could do but encourage him to try again.  This went on for months but it seemed like years.  Finally, last month James achieved victory!  Since then he has rocketed through the house, grabbing onto anything and everything, climbing up stairs, pulling up, letting go and standing triumphantly on his own.  No steps yet, but that’s okay because I know they’ll come…eventually. 
I am not a patient person.  I constantly have to work on chilling out and letting things happen in their own time and in their own way.  It’s not easy when it comes to my kid.  I want so much for James---I want him to always feel happy and loved.  I hate to see him get so frustrated when he can’t quite figure out how to do something.  It’s so hard to hold back that mommy to the rescue instinct and let him solve problems in his own time and his own way.  But when he finally works it out all by himself the look on his face is priceless.  Here are just a few things that James has discovered since set out on his own!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

1 Baby Pool + 3 Water Guns + 4 Wild Boys = Quite a Stroy!
My Grandma has never been one to celebrate herself.  She prefers to doing for others and giving all her love to the rest of her family and friends.  Recently, my mom threw a party for her 79th birthday and invited the whole family.  With four boys ranging from age 9 months to 8 years and a swimming pool equipped with loaded water guns this was not a typical birthday party for your grandmother where you sit around in a fellowship hall sipping tea and eating cookies.  The only thing missing was a mechanical bull riding contest and a karaoke machine!  Here are a few pictures from her party.  What a beautiful day for an awesome lady. 
James decides he wants to get out of the pool...

His cries for help go unanswered...

He checks out the drop.  Can he make it?

Yes he can!  BABY OVERBOARD!!!

As long as I have known my Grandma Johnson, she’s never been one of those grandmas with white hair pulled back into a bun, sitting quietly with her hands crossed or knitting something.  Nope, my Grandma has soft red hair that I’ve never seen pulled back and has a Facebook account that she accesses and maintains all by herself.  Last Christmas she converted all of our old home videos from VHS to DVD then burned copies for each of us.   It was an awesome surprise and provided a first-hand account of the cohesiveness, love and utter craziness my family impressed upon me and my sister in our early, developmental years. 

My Grandma is silly yet witty, she is matter of fact yet tactful, she is opinionated yet open new ideas, she is tough yet tenderhearted, she is caring, she is clever, she is humble, she is awesome and she is anything but a typical Grandma!
Here’s to many more happy birthdays Grandma!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hot as...

There's no way to describe how HOT it was that June back in '08.  June 7th was particularly hot--like, 104 degrees hot--and Eddie and I were getting married.  Three years and one kid later here we are, June 7th and though the high is only 92 today, I can still remember how wonderful that 104 degree heat was!

Happy Anniversary Eddie!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Learning to Ride the Waves

I’m not sure if it’s the mama in me or my unrelenting type A personality that drives me to envision each new adventure with James as one straight out of a story book…One that will miraculously transform itself into a scripted journey making me a shoe-in for mother-of-the-year in the process.   Whatever the reason, it’s an obsession that I pretend doesn’t exist.  Still, I find myself freaking out from time to time when the gods of misfortune smile upon our family of three with enough chaos to make the Running of the Bulls look like pilgrims walking the path of a labyrinth.

A little chaos...

A lot of chaos

 So, it should come to no surprise that when we set out for James’ first beach trip nothing less than perfection was expected---the ” Royal Wedding” had nothing  on us!   As we drove down, visions of James scooting around in the sand or tickling his toes in the ocean programmed themselves in my mind.  I had determined how the day would play out, using these picture perfect images as a template.  It wasn’t until Newport that James to began to cry---and cry---breathe a little----(wait for it)----then cry some more.  I stayed strong, Newport was only about thirty minutes away from the beach and no one can possibly throw a tantrum that long and (A)-not fall asleep or (B)-get over by the time we arrived.  After Phil (Eddie’s brother also tagged along for the ride) fed James a few strawberry banana puffs, James chose Option (A) and fell asleep just as we were parking. 
 We walked up to Elie’s (Elie: Eddie’s middle brother , Charlie’s wife/my sister-in-law) parents’ house with our peaceful bundle of joy.  After changing into our bathing suits, Eddie went to get ice for the cooler and a few beach beverages--things that we had somehow forgotten between the crying, the attempts to stop the crying and the walking on eggshells once the crying subsided.  While Eddie was out, I decided to go ahead and try to undress James then put him in his swimsuit.  I couldn’t help it---he was like a Christmas present ready to unwrap---you know, the REALLY big one in the back, behind the Christmas tree that your parents pretend isn’t there until all the other presents have been opened.  So I did it.  Yep, I did what EVERY mother before me had warned me NEVER to do…I woke the sleeping baby!  I raced to take his clothes off and put his swimsuit on.  Arms were bending in the opposite way they were intended, legs were flying , and I’m pretty sure that James and I may have invented a new yoga position getting his little swimmers on.  Please tell me I’m not the only mom out there that has forced her child to morph into some obscure formation that only Gumby and Gymnastics Barbie could recreate---all in the name of a cute outfit.

But by the time we made it down to the beach all of that chaos had faded away---my determination to make James’ first beach trip absolutely perfect, in my mind at least, had prevailed…Then the tent the guys had set up for me and James blew away.  There I was one arm trying to keep sand and dead seaweed out of my baby’s mouth the other clinging tight to a cord on the tent.  And, there was my husband (and the other “men” on the beach with us) who I’m 90 percent sure saw my struggles  not go airborne but 99.9 percent sure he pretended that my call for help was surely a seagull having a nervous breakdown.  Yep, he just stood there staring at me.  Maybe he was imagining Baby James and  me as the next Wilber and Orville Wright, which we may have been if the wind had been five knots stronger or I’d had been ten pounds lighter.   That was it…I gave up.  My picture perfect day so far resulted in a mouth full of sand, a diaper full of sand, and a mama that wanted to bury herself in the sand just to make it all go away. 
James' skin was definitely exfoliated...
Then Eddie came over to pick up James, brush the sand off his belly and carry him down to ocean to build a sand castle.  Sand castle sand is always better closer to ocean.  Eddie began showing James how to fill up the buckets and dump them upside-down.  After Eddie assembled two towers, James must have decided to scrap the project because he clearly did a big belly flop onto the new construction.  Eddie laughed moved to another “clean slate” and started over again. Apparently, James accepted this blue-print because he watched Eddie build towers and walls…then a big wave came and washed half of it away.  Shortly thereafter Eddie lost his sunglasses attempting to jump a wave while swimming in the ocean (don’t worry the beach beverage and koozie in his hand made it out alive). ---If only the tides were different, the sand castle would still be standing…If only the wind had blown the opposite direction, the tent wouldn’t have become a tumbleweed…If only Eddie had just stayed on shore, the ocean wouldn’t have taken ownership of his sunglasses…but then again, riding that wave sure did look fun!

Eddie in the ocean WITH his sunglassess
Note that they are not attached to croakies.
I'm pretty sure this is the wave that got 'em.
What an impressive attempt to save the dollar "beach beverage" instead of the Costa Shades
My husband has his priorities I guess!
Still holding on tight to that can and koozie.
When James is old enough to go into the ocean with his Daddy I know he'll be safe as long as I tell Eddie to pretend his child is a beer
At the end of the day James’ first beach trip wasn’t that perfect journey that I had hoped it would be.  As we rolled back into town the fuel light came on, James was screaming (I swear he laughs and smiles a majority of the time),  and poor Phil was approaching hour number five of being squished in the third row seat that I’m now confident is only meant to be comfortable seating for kindergarteners and yard gnomes.  This trip may not have nominated me for mother-of-year but it definitely taught me how to ride the waves!
Napping on the beach (that hand probably has a good amount of sand still stuck to eat).
Happy Summer! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

These Times They Are A-Changin'

Last weekend one of my best friends, Megan, married one of Eddie’s best friends, Alex.  Funny enough, Alex and Megan met about  three months after Eddie and I began dating ---then married each other about 3 years after Eddie and I were married.  They had the most beautiful wedding in a little town along the Outerbanks of NC called Duck.  Eddie found a house about a block from the beach, which we shared with 6 other couples…baby-less couples.  Needless to say, we left James in Smithfield to fend for himself among the swarm of grandparents and great-grandparents.   Over the course of the weekend I came to the harsh realization that times have changed…
Long gone are the days of staying out past midnight and sleeping until 11 the next morning.  I found myself fading around 10 and up by 7.

On the beach, instead of talking about boys, dating, or gossiping about who knows what, we talked about Elie’s new job, husbands that don’t pick up their dirty clothes, and HOA fees.

We lathered on SPF 30 or higher and wore hats on the beach.  A vast change for the days of bronzing oil and tanning beds.

I absolutely adore my friends and while this post may have just portrayed them as a bunch of old “fuddy duddys”  I assure you we are far from it!  Yes---there could be a hint of growing up seen in all of us over the weekend but by the time we rolled out of Nags Head on Sunday morning I was well aware of the things that hadn’t changed.  Megan was still serenaded by a chorus of guys singing “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling”, Andy still got a running start before perfectly executing  “the worm”, the groomsmen still needed an “adult” to keep them quiet before walking into the church, and a great group of friends shared the weekend laughing and cutting up with each other.  These are the things I often take for granted and assume will always be a constant in my life---even Andy doing “the worm” when we’re 80 years old.  
Congratulations Megan and Alex!!