Friday, May 29, 2009

Is A Vacation Really A Vacation?

Tomorrow, we leave for a week's vacation at a resort in Virginia. I'm nervous. The last trip we took, since Dylan was born, was a weekend in Lake Erie, (only about 2 hours away). Dylan was 10 months old. To say that it didn't go well, would be an understatement.

Although Dylan loved water at that point, the lake water was freezing, and swimming wasn't an option. That night at the hotel, we scrunched down under the covers, trying not to move, as Dylan screamed his head off. Since he could see us, and we were clearly not asleep, he didn't understand why he should be expected to sleep. Finally, after an hour or more of that, he fell asleep. We watched TV a bit more, then went to sleep ourselves. There was a thunderstorm outside, and suddenly the hotel's fire alarm started going off. Of course, the deafening noise woke all of us up, including Dylan, who tried to match the sound with his own loud crying. Jim stuck his head out the door, to discover that everyone was evacuating the building. I scooped up Dylan and covered his ears as we went out in the hall, where the noise was even louder. Everyone in the hotel stood outside, shivering in the rain, until we were finally allowed back inside. Then, we had to start the whole process over again, trying to get Dylan back to sleep.

The next day, we were supposed to meet one of Jim's friends for lunch. We were going to call her to make the final plans, but she wasn't home! She totally forgot that was the weekend we were coming! Then, we got a phone call from Jim's mom. "You don't have to come home. I'm fine, but I thought you should know that I had a heart attack and I'm at the hospital". That ended the mini vacation.

We drove home, and 1/2 hour later, learned there was a tornado warning in our area! They were advising everyone to go to their basements. So, we just got home, and I was holding a very squirmy child in my arms, as we sat on the basement stairs, waiting out the storm. Suddenly, we heard a noise. "What is that?!" Jim opened the door to the laundry room and we saw it. Water was gushing out of a hole in our wall, right above the sink. Jim very quickly became a lunatic. "BUCKETS!! I NEED BUCKETS!! GET ME BUCKETS, JEN!!" The water was quickly filling the sink, and was about to pour out onto the floor. We filled 2 large garbage cans and soaked the floor, before the water finally stopped coming. Then, we headed for the hospital. (His mom was okay).

So, yea, I'm a little nervous to go away again. But, I'm sure everything will be fine. We'll have a great time, and it will nice to spend time together. Some of the best stories are vacation stories, at least in my experience, so at the very least I'll return with some new material! In the meantime, I've asked a few friends to watch over the place. So, this week, if you drop by, you'll be greeted by Jonny's Mommy from Boondock Ramblings, Jenn from Juggling Life, and JCK from Motherscribe. I'm sure they will be quite gracious. JCK will offer you a drink (of Whiskey), Jonny's Mommy will share the carrot sticks that I left especially for her, and Jenn will make sure you don't trash the place. Visit with Jonny's Mommy on Monday, Jenn on Wednesday, and JCK on Friday, and I'll catch up with all of you when I return, hopefully more relaxed, with a tan, and with no catastrophes to speak of.

"Are you crazy?! This water is freezing!!"

"No, YOU go in!"

"This is how I feel about this vacation!"

*I started writing this on Thursday, two days before vacation. Today, at 2pm, one day before vacation, while washing the last two loads of clothes needed for the trip, the dryer broke. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That's funny, right? Except for the part where, IT'S NOT.*

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


(Opening my eyes)...

Hey! Where am I? What the...? I can't seem to move. I can't get up! What is happening? Where am I? Let me think...

I remember waking up this morning, and going in to say "Good morning" to Dylan. "I have Puppy!", he said. "Yes, I see that. Good morning, buddy! How are you?" "I have Puppy!", he repeated.

We came downstairs to eat breakfast, but he wouldn't come to the table. "Where's Puppy?", he asked me. "I don't know, Dylan. Did you bring him downstairs?" "No". "Okay, then go up and get him". I opened the gate and watched him go up the stairs, then disappear down the hall to his room. I waited a few minutes, then called up, "Dylan, do you have Puppy?" "Yea", came the reply, but no Dylan. "Dylan, come on! Bring Puppy, and come eat breakfast!", I yelled up the stairs. Nothing. He got sidetracked by something. I went up the stairs to redirect him and Puppy back to breakfast. Puppy had to sit on the table and watch Dylan eat.
"Hi, Puppy! I eating a waffle!.... Puppy, I eating a banana!...Mommy, I get down, and get food for Puppy!" "No, Dylan, stay there and eat your food. Puppy doesn't want to eat. He's not hungry". "I need to get Puppy food!"

Later, as I changed his diaper, he stuck Puppy in my face, wanting me to kiss him. "Dylan, I'm trying to change your diaper. I don't want to kiss Puppy right now. Dylan! I can't see what I'm doing! Get Puppy out of my face!" After I finished his diaper change, there was Puppy in my face again. After I made out with Puppy, I told Dylan we needed to get ready for music class.

We went upstairs to get dressed. "Where's Puppy?" "PUPPY IS DOWNSTAIRS WHERE YOU LEFT HIM!!!", I yelled, the poster child for unending patience. "I get him!", he whined. "NO, I'LL GET HIM!!", I yelled, as I stomped down the stairs to look for the stuffed animal who has taken over my home. "Mommy! You got Puppy!", Dylan happily exclaimed. "You got Puppy, Mommy!"
"Yes, I did, now can we get ready for music class"? "Yea!" I looked over to see Dylan hugging and kissing Puppy, and I realized with shock and disgust that I am jealous of a stuffed animal. A stuffed animal wiped by a snotty nose, and dragged all over the house, until it is no longer possible to make him look clean. Jealous.

In the car, on the way home from music class, I heard "We go home and see Puppy?" I had the sudden urge to keep driving. When we came in the door, he immediately started calling "Puppy?! Where are you?... Oh, there you are Puppy!"

Oh, right. That explains the white walls and this strange jacket. I have to get out of here! (Sigh) Then again, it might be nice to just lie here a few minutes in this quiet room.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Puppet Show and A Festival

Last weekend, we took Dylan to see his first puppet show. He has a Steeler puppet, and when I "talk" to him with it, he cracks up. I've been looking for a puppet show to take him to for a few months. The price had to be reasonable, because I wasn't sure if he would be able to sit still for a 45 minute performance, or if we would be rushing for the door halfway through. Last weekend was The Pittsburgh International Children's Festival in Oakland. They were having a puppet show, and the price was right, so I got us tickets. The performance was two stories, The Runaway Bunny and Goodnight Moon. I knew I had read both of them, but didn't really remember them.

To be honest, I wasn't thrilled. The puppets were moved by puppeteers in black costumes, right on the stage, (distracting!), and the puppets didn't talk, (or move their mouths I guess I should say). Also, I know Goodnight Moon is an award winner, but WHY? It's kind of a boring story, isn't it? Goodnight this, goodnight that. Jim said he kept waiting for the story to begin! I was picturing Dylan laughing hysterically until he got the hiccups, like he does with the Steeler puppet, but there was no humor in this show. Oddly enough, though, he sat still and it kept his interest the whole time - go figure!

After the show, we walked over to the festival and got lunch. Then, he rode the merry-go-round...

On the merry-go-round, the people behind us were talking about getting ice cream. Dylan heard the words "ice cream", and it was all over after that. His new thing is to repeat what he wants over and over and over until your head explodes. "Ice cream! I want ice cream! I want ice cream! Ice cream! I want ice cream! We get ice cream! Ice cream! Where the ice cream? We get ice cream! I want ice cream!" Now you know why I haven't given him chocolate yet! After we got some ice cream (suckers), he made a few crafts, then relaxed in the grass and made a few friends...

I was standing in the ridiculously long line for a balloon animal, and looked over to see Dylan and this kid throwing grass at Jim! I think his mom was mortified, but I thought it was hilarious! After standing in line for 15 minutes without moving, I gave up on getting a balloon animal for Dylan, and we went to put our feet in the fountain. We somehow got all that accomplished, and made it to the car before the rain started, so the day was a success.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Last week, on Wednesday afternoon, I took Dylan to the playground. We were the only people there. Dylan said, "No kids? You play with me, Mommy!" We went down the slide a few times, then pretended the climbing wall was a huge mountain. After we made it to the top, I said, "Well, what can we see from the top of this big mountain?" He giggled, and we started naming things we could see. That went on for quite a while, but suddenly he got very quiet. He put his hand on my arm and said, "Mommy, we need friends".

Um...Ouch!? The frantic plea for a play date went out the next day!

On Friday, he had a play date with three boys, ages 2 1/2, 1 1/2, and 6 months. Wow! Chaos reigned, but have you ever noticed how insanity causing chaos for one person becomes hilarity causing chaos when shared? There was a lot of laughter. There also was a hat thrown into dirty pool water, sand just about everywhere but in the sandbox, goldfish crackers eaten off the ground, and sippy cups stolen and "shared".

One kid fell off a bench, one got stuck in an overturned car, one removed his pants, one gave the baby a very large rock to play with, one ate a mysterious brown substance.

But, we were with friends and even at age 2 1/2, my kid realizes that "we need friends". As we left, he excitedly remarked, "We had fun with our friends!", and of course, he was right.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Proud Mom

Dear Dylan,

This weekend, Mi-Mi and Bubba watched you while your daddy and I went to Seven Springs to celebrate our seventh anniversary. We had a great time doing some things that we don't usually get to do when you're around, like talking over a long, scrumptious dinner, shopping, and sleeping in. We also got to do some things that we haven't done since you were born, like playing a game of mini-golf, bowling a game, playing some video games, and relaxing in a jacuzzi. Mostly, we just enjoyed talking and spending quality time together.

But, do you want to know what one of the most memorable moments was? When we were at the mall, looking at the merry-go-round, and your daddy said, "Are you missing Dylan?...I am". You are so much fun to be around, we can hardly stand to be away from you!

Speaking of fun, Mi-Mi and Bubba took you to the museum while we were gone. They told me that when you got in the car to go home, you announced, "I had fun"! They were sure I told you to say that, but I didn't. When you and I go somewhere, though, I always say "I had fun with you today! Did you have fun?" I love that you've picked up on that, Dylan! It is a great thing to show people appreciation, and let them know that you enjoy spending time with them.

Yesterday, for Mother's Day, we had more fun - at the zoo! Mi- Mi and Bubba, Mi-Maw and Pap-Pap, and your daddy and I, all enjoyed watching your reactions to the animals. The zoo was SO crowded, and you didn't get your regular nap, but you were such a good boy! You didn't complain about anything. (I've taken classes of preschoolers, who started complaining ten minutes into the zoo that they were tired, or hot, or hungry).

But, the most amazing part of the day was when we left. We were stuck in a traffic jam of cars, all trying to get out of the zoo at the same time. We sat in the car, barely moving, for an hour and a half! You didn't cry, or fuss, or whine! While listening to kids screaming in nearby cars, couples fighting, and your daddy and Pap-Pap discussing the logistics of the situation, you and I sang songs, played "I Spy", talked, giggled, and laughed. I enjoyed an hour and a half stuck in a traffic jam, because of you.

You have the amazing ability to make anything fun, and I LOVE that about you! On Mother's Day, and everyday, I am happy and proud to be your mom.

I Love You,

Sunday, May 10, 2009


It's that time of year when people start trying to get rid of those pesky dandelions. They don't want them in their yards. They want tulips, hydrangeas, and pansies, and they spend just as much time planting and watering those flowers, as they do trying to get rid of the dandelions. They are weeds, after all, right?

But, when they were a kid, they were happy to see them springing up all over the yard. They ran around picking them, and proudly handing a big bunch of them to their moms, who would search for a small vase to display them in. Their moms would glance at them, throughout the days ahead, and smile, remembering the sweet gesture of their young child. The ones that were left in the yard would turn white, and those young children would grasp one, close their eyes, and make a wish, and blow with all their might, scattering the white fuzz through the air. To a child, a dandelion is fun, beautiful, magical even. They don't see them as weeds. To a child, a dandelion is a flower.

My mom is like that, with people. When she looks at someone, she sees a flower, not a weed. She is somehow able to see past their flaws and see the beauty. Even the people who are especially weed-like. If a waitress is rude, she maintains that they are probably having a bad day. If a friend treats her poorly, she says that maybe something is going on in their life that is difficult. Her list of reasons for poor behavior goes on and on - "...maybe they are tired, maybe they just got bad news, maybe they had a difficult childhood, maybe they are hurting, maybe they are lonely, maybe they need some understanding..."
I often tease her for her ability to always look past people's faults, but in truth, I admire it. I certainly did not inherit that personality trait. It is difficult to see the beauty in some people. There are a lot of "weeds" in this great big "yard" we are all living in. Can you imagine how much more beautiful the "yard" must look to my mom?

Mom, I'm so glad that you are able to look past my flaws, and see a beautiful flower. Hopefully, I will learn from your example. Happy Mother's Day!

I Love You,