Tuesday, September 27, 2011


If you've been reading this blog of mine for any length of time, you've noticed that I don't write like I used to.  I've been missing the act of "real writing", instead of just a retelling of events, but I just couldn't find the time to get back to it.  So, when I saw this writing prompt over at San Diego Momma, in which you are supposed to write uncensored for only 10 minutes, I knew I had to try it.  I never have been good at following the rules, so I ended up writing for 14 minutes, and I ended up at 301 words (it was supposed to be under 150).  So, forgive me, but I felt like this was too important to edit, so I'm posting it as is.  The prompt was "Write a letter forgiving someone for something they did".  Again with the rules thing... it's not a letter, and it's technically not to someone.  Wow, now I see where my son gets it!  Here it is...

In my grief support group, for our first assignment, I was told to write about my goals for the class.  I don't remember everything I wrote, but I remember writing, "get rid of the anger".  When Doug died four days before our wedding, I was so angry that I feared it would consume me.  My best friend at that time took me to batting cages, and I hit balls and screamed until my hands bled and my energy was depleted, but I was still angry.

Perhaps the hardest part was that I wasn't sure who I was angry at?  Doug?  For leaving me behind?  No.  I knew he would have walked through fire to spend just one more day with me.  The man who was driving the car and turned in front of him?  Surprisingly, no.  I couldn't imagine the guilt he must be feeling.  It was an accident.  I knew that.  God?  Yes.  I guess that was where I focused my anger for a while.  How could He cause this to happen?  How could this be part of a plan?  I wanted to believe in a just and loving God, so eventually I focused my anger at "Life".  Life sucked and I hated it.  I was really pissed that it put me in such a predicament.

I'm not sure how or exactly when I stopped hating Life.  I'm not sure how I came to the realization that I never truly appreciated Life or the people in it until it sucked for a while.  I'm not sure how I came to understand that without pain, one cannot truly appreciate joy.  But, when I look at my husband and my son, I realize that the anger is completely gone and that Life and I?  We're okay.  We're more than okay.  We're fantastic.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Dear Dylan,

Yesterday we took you to your first baseball game!  We were a little worried about how it would go.  You don't exactly like to sit still, you know.  As a matter of fact, when we would tell people we were going, they would say, "Oh?!  Really?!  Are you sure?!"  But, hey, the tickets were free, so we figured we didn't have anything to lose.

I'm happy to report that we stayed for the whole game!  You looked so cute in your Pirates shirt, and you were so excited to go.  We had to set things straight when we found out you thought you were going to play IN the game!  Then, on the way there, you saw some kids with gloves, and got confused all over again.  "But, they have gloves... to play!"

We took you to the baseball field near our house to play the day before, and you were a riot.  When it was your turn to play outfield you were determined to stop the ball before it reached the grass.  You thought that meant it was a home run.  You would really hustle to stop the ball, but if you didn't, you would roll around on the ground crying.  Man, are you competitive lately, and you play games with PASSION.  You want to win, and if you don't, you take it really hard.  I had to hide the checker set, because for some reason losing checkers, (more so than any other game), made you fall to pieces.  It was ridiculous!

You were very interested in learning all about baseball - how many balls = a walk, how many strikes = an out, how many outs do they need?  You were following along, and asking a lot of questions!  I loved it when you sat on my lap, and talked to me about the game.  You won't fit in my lap much longer, so I am relishing those moments so much lately.

By the sixth inning, you were losing interest.  I was too, to be honest!  Baseball is a really fun game to play, but not a really fun game to watch, in my opinion.  Luckily, I brought an activity book and some gel pens in my purse, so that kept you occupied until the 8th inning.  Then, we had to go get in the RIDICULOUSLY LONG line to run the bases.  Wow, I thought you and your daddy were going to lose your minds in that line, but I had a another secret weapon in my purse - Skittles!  You ran the bases and posed for pictures.  (Thanks for humoring me, buddy!  I know I take a LOT of pictures of you!)

I love experiencing "firsts" with you, sweet boy.  Your joy and enthusiasm for life is infectious.
I love you,

Sunday, September 18, 2011

His First Football Injury

After watching the Steelers win today, Dylan decided he wanted to play football with Daddy.

The result?

Chair: 1
Dylan: 0

He ran into a chair, face first, but, he's still smiling!  For the picture, at least.  I thought it would be better for the picture if he looked a little more pathetic, but what can I say?  He's trained to smile when a camera appears!

For all you Steelers fans, where Jim works this week, they were doing a photo shoot with Jerome Bettis.
Apparently he loves chocolate chip cookies, so they wanted to get some for him, and asked Jim if he knew of anyplace that had good ones.  Jim replied, "Well, my son LOVES the chocolate chip cookies at X", so they got them from X.  I heard Jerome ate 8 of them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First Day of Vacation - Ohiopyle?!

On the day that was supposed to be our first day of vacation, Ocean City was under a mandatory evacuation.  We had no idea what was going to happen.  There was a chance we wouldn't get to go on a vacation at all.  But, instead of moping around about it, we decided to enjoy the day by going to one of our favorite places - Ohiopyle.  It WAS on our "Summer To Do List" after all!  (We crossed off 9 of the 12 items.  The list was "Learn to Swim (sort of), Go to the Science Center, Ride the Alpine Slide at Seven Springs, Go Letterboxing, Go to "Castle Park", Go to Idlewild, Go to Ohiopyle, and Go to the beach!)

It was the perfect day for Ohiopyle, and Dylan was really excited to hike, climb over rocks, go behind a waterfall, and of course, get ice cream like we always do!

Oh, and do you remember back in 2008, when I took this shot?

Well, I recreated it this time...

Glad to see that Dylan finally grew into that big head!  
Jim said I'll still be trying to recreate this shot when Dylan is in high school!  I'm not that bad, am I?  Don't answer that.

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Day Of Preschool (again)

This week was Dylan's LAST first day of preschool (get that?).  Since he misses the cutoff for kindergarten, he's in the preschool enrichment class Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Since we were on vacation, we missed the "orientation meeting".  So, basically we had no clue what was going on the first day.  Also, I wasn't even sure what to call "the first day".  He had class on Wednesday, but only for 1 hour, and with only half of the class (the other half came for one hour earlier).  Plus, the parents stayed, so I'm not sure that really counts?  But, I decided it was the first day, and took the first day pictures that day, even though it was ridiculously cloudy and raining.  (Didn't matter - it looks the same today).

We went in the building, and went to what I THOUGHT was his classroom.  Ummm.... there were already a ton of kids in that room, seeming to be in the middle of class?!  The two teachers that I remembered meeting last year were in there?  According to the paper I received, we were 10 minutes early for class.  Huh?  We started walking around aimlessly, until we saw a group of parents and kids.  "Maybe these are his classmates?", I thought.  "No, this can't be right.  Look at how small they are".  We wandered around aimlessly some more.  I finally admitted stupidity/unpreparedness and asked someone.

Yep, it WAS the group of kids who were so small compared to Dylan.  The two teachers I had never seen before, so I'm not sure what happened there?  It was all a bit like those reoccurring dreams you have where you forget your locker combination and you're late to class.  You have those too, right?!

I succeeded in not laughing out loud when the first activity was for the kids to match the number on the bear they were given to the matching number on a coat.  Dylan got the number 3.  He's been counting, umm..., a bit higher than that for years.  But, then later, when he was doing a puzzle and another boy came over to help, and Dylan said, "I can do it myself!", I reminded myself that another year in preschool might not be such a bad thing.  Maybe he needs that year to work on his social skills.

Today was his first "real" day of class.  Other than the fact that we are still on vacation time and can't fathom the idea of getting up at 6:30 or 7:00, things went smoothly.  I stumbled groggily out of bed at 7:15 and realized with a shock that I would not have time to shower. ( I rock. Seriously).  Then I got a very sleepy boy out of bed, and started breakfast.  When he came down wearing a yellow/brown/white striped shirt, and tropical plaid patterned shorts, I had to intervene.  After fixing that, and eating breakfast, while writing out checks for tuition and a field trip, I realized he had show and tell today!

"Dylan!  You have show and tell today!  What's your favorite animal?!", I asked in a panic.
"A hippopotamus!", he answered with a smile.
"Of course it is".
Would you believe we found 3 Hippopotamus themed things in our house?  We made it there on time, too!  I rock... smelly, wild hair and all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vacation Memories

Well, we've been back from our vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, since Saturday night.  Yes, it has taken me this long to get a post up!  There is just something about returning from vacation, isn't there?  You feel (or maybe you are) 2 weeks behind, and you look around at your house filled to the brim with stuff and feel the sudden urge to purge and organize!  It must have something to do with living only with what you need while on vacation?

Anyway, considering the fact that our vacation was delayed one day by an emergency evacuation and threat of a major hurricane, we were beyond lucky.  The day we were supposed to be on vacation (Saturday), we spent a fantastic day at Ohiopyle (a post on that is coming).  We learned Sunday morning that they were letting people back into Ocean City at noon.  We started calling our hotel, to make sure they were there, and for hours got no answer.  Finally, by early afternoon, they answered, and we were on our way by 3:30 Sunday.

Dylan did a great job on the 6 1/2 hour ride down (and back), and we had no trouble with traffic.  It was a little cold the first day, but there was no rain, and we were able to go to the beach every day.  I wanted to make sure and choose a place with a pool, because it was Dylan's first experience with the ocean, and I didn't know if he would like the waves.  Turns out, we only went to the pool for a short time on the first and last day.  We are a beach family!  We would go to the beach by about 11:00, and stay until 4:00 or 5:00 each day.

Dylan loves the sand.  Not even so much playing with it, but more like crawling into it until he and the sand become one.  There was sand in every crevice of his body!  One day he even fell asleep laying in the hot sand, like a lizard, before Jim moved him onto a towel.  He loved it when I would bury him up to his waist, and then Jim would make stuff around him.  On the video, you'll see he was an octopus, driving a boat "S.S. Dylan", a strong man, a surfer, and a merman.

In the evenings we went miniature golfing, to the boardwalk, played his new favorite game (skeeball), and watched two movies (Monsters, Inc., and Rio).  Jim and I watched "Morning Glory" and "Source Code".

All the photos are SOC (Straight Out of the Camera - not edited at all).  That is a big deal, because I never do that!  I took over 200 pictures, but I managed to only use enough for two songs - "Holiday Road", and "Three Is A Magic Number".  Sometimes I feel bad for Dylan, since he is an only child, and doesn't have any first cousins to travel with.  But, I have to say that on this vacation, it really did feel like three WAS a magic number.