Tomorrow Braden and I are heading off to yet another birthday party for one of his classmates. Although I am grateful for the invitation (because it gives me a chance to meet the parents of Braden's friends) I am finding the gift situation to be very frustrating.

On each invitation I receive there is no mention of gift protocol, which leads me to assume that it is expected to bring a gift. There isn't a mention of a gift wish list either, because of course that would be too presumptuous.

Each time that I call the parents to RSVP I briefly ask about what their child is interested in. I don't want to make the effort of going to the store and buying something and wrapping it and hauling it there only to find out that little johnny hates Spider man and will only play with Batman. But the answer I inevitably receive is "Oh, Susie is into everything, she likes everything. It's really not a big deal, whatever you think she'll like is fine".


Now I know that the parents tell me this to relieve the pressure, but it just puts more pressure on me. I have been to these parties... people buy these kids REAL gifts..20-30 kind of gifts... not just a 8.99 transformer...

So now I am left to wander the aisles of Target trying to 'guess' what some 6 year old (whom I have never met) is going to like.

Each time this happens it frustrates me and I wonder why we don't do something purposeful with all of this. Like having each kid draw a picture or each of us bring a toy that gets donated. Why perpetuated this consumption of stuff that obviously is not important or a big deal?

OR - tell me a good idea for your kid. For heaven sakes their your kid, not mine - surely you could take a second or two and think of something that would be useful or fun ...

It just drives me crazy!



We had our first trip to the ER last night, and our first round of stitches. Braden hit his forehead on the corner of our rock steps in the front yard. The baby sitters were just about to arrive, and we were headed out the door for a fun adult only evening.... or so we had hoped.

I could hear Braden screaming, and I knew it was bad. A trip upstairs to clean up confirmed what I had imagined... a small but VERY deep gash - smack dab in the middle of his forehead.

We promptly walked downstairs and got in the car to head to the hospital. I picked the one closest to us.

The place was packed. PACKED. And Braden was very scared. He knew what was coming, and the thought of a needle in his head had sent him over the edge. He was already tired, from a long weekend of fun and we hadn't had any dinner yet either. The strange people and noises that greeted us upon arrival had him shaking.

We were promptly checked in and I filled out all the necessary paperwork. After about 20 minutes we were escorted to the "fast track" waiting room. It was completely empty and there was a TV... the combination of the two had an immediate calming effect on B. Another 20 minutes later we were placed in a room.....

Braden had perked up a bit at this point and seemed to be pretty at ease while we laid around waiting for the doctor.

Finally (almost 45 minutes) the doctor arrived. After a brief chat he and I agreed that stitches would be best and after a few shots of litacaine we were in good shape... or so we thought.

Apparently all those shots did not completely numb up the area. I was later told that there are hundreds of nerves in the forehead and face and that partial numbess is pretty common. After one stitch, and much screaming (since the doctor didn't believe Braden that he could still feel what was going on) we stopped and tried to numb the area up more. Which just produced more screaming about his nose (aparently the doc struck a nerve with the needle)... realizing that no more amount of juicing B up was going to help we decided to push ahead with the last two stitches.

Total time in that little room was 2 hours. Most of which, Braden had been lying on his back to keep his head from gushing blood. Most of the time I sat next to him wondering how in the heck this would have gone if it had been Tristan lying there... not as well I imagine.

Besides the obviously stinky reason that we were there, it was actually a pretty enjoyable 2 hours. It had been a while since Braden and I just sat and visited. He is old enough now to carry on a conversation about how he feels, what he is thinking and about the future, which made the time pass (kinda) quickly. He was so interested in the whole process, and about all the stuff in the room, from the instruments on the wall to the "what level is your pain" poster. He made mention of Mason and me trading in our date night for a doctor appointment date night instead.

The idea that Harry Potter has a scar like he is going to have seemed to not only comfort him but perk him up a bit. I think the chocolate ice cream that was waiting for him at home did too.



Braden lost his first tooth, last night while Mason was putting him to bed. I missed the whole thing because I was a church. I can't believe I missed it! My friend tried to reassure me by saying "oh, there are so many more to come". I know.... but this was my first's first. Last week when he told me it was lose, I became pretty emotional. It was a milestone for him, for sure, but I felt like in that moment I lost whatever "baby" was left in my almost 7 year old.

I had been mulling around the tooth fairy stuff for some time now. Wondering how we were going to approach this as a family. I decided to play along, for now... hoping he doesn't ask me outright about "who" the tooth fairy really is.

The other aspect of all this I had been thinking about was what kind of "tooth holder" to get. I mean, you can't just put a tooth under a pillow ... it has to IN something that gets put under the pillow... right ;-). When I was a little girl I had a small yellow pillow with a tiny pocket on the front .... but that lacy pillow wouldn't work for my boys. I found other "tooth shaped" pillows over the years, but nothing really jumped out at me.

Just a few weeks ago I was in St Louis for Thanksgiving and while at the Galleria I stopped in Restoration Hardware.... where I found it!!! A small tooth shaped plastic case that glows in the dark.... It worked perfectly.

Being able to "be" the tooth fairy later that night, made up for missing the 'actual' falling out. I snuck into Braden's room and found the case. I went down stairs and sat down with a pile of foreign money to find the best looking coin to put inside his case. The foreign money idea comes from my friend Annie... and we have a bunch of coins - so I thought it would be a perfect idea.

I wanted the tooth thing to be fun. But what I didn't want it to be about was, MORE STUFF... dollars and toys. That worked perfectly too. He was very excited about his Nuevo Peso (I chose that one because it is gold and silver) He took it to school and carried it in his pocket for a few days!

goodbye yellow brick road

Okay -so awhile back I said I was going private, and I really did have all the intention in the world to, but truth be told, as people emailed me to put them on the list, it started to freak me out a bit. I mean, I know who reads my blog.... but I really don't want to KNOW who reads my blog... ya know? There is something about it being open and anonymous that makes me feel better, makes me feel that NO one is reading... I like the idea of my words just resting out there in cyber space. So instead of going private, I think I am going to just leave. I didn't write anything all December, and didn't miss it one bit. And this month is the 3rd anniversary of the blog, and it is a pretty significant snippet of what my life has been like the past 3 years. Sometimes you should quit while you are ahead... plus, I am not a writer... never have been, never really wanted to be.... so.....


how many years has it been?

My mother has been gone so long that I forget now how many years it has been. I use the term, most of my life. I can remember when I could use the term, a few years - or - half of my life.... but now I have graduated to MOST of my life.


Famous People Alert

Over 2 years ago I wrote about my reaction to the Duggar family having their 17th baby. Today in the hospital I MET Michelle Duggar while walking down the hall at the Children's Hospital here. Apparently their newest baby came very early and had been struggling to survive. Which at the time I did not know. Good thing I didn't whip out my cell phone for a picture.... believe me I was tempted.

Seeing her there with some other family members standing right outside where T gets his therapy every week was really weird..... well, okay it always throws me for a loop when I see someone famous, but this was doubly weird. We chatted briefly as we walked down the hall. She was a very petite woman and soft spoken. She smiled a lot at T who was running a head of us.

If there was serious trouble with the baby, her face did not show it... it wasn't until I saw Jim Bob (the husband) at the end of the hall and noticed his expression that I realized what was really going on.


10 years

That is how long I have been married.... Today 10 years ago Mason and I said our vows.

I feel all of those 10 years. The good, the bad, the tragic and all the love that comes with it.

10 years ago I stood, looking at Mason while tears gently streamed down my face as he dedicated his life to me. Later he admitted to me that he thought I was crying because I didn't really want to marry him.... which I assured him was NOT the case. I was crying because for almost 8 years (ever since we first dated) I had dreamed of that moment.

Pretty much since I met him being with him was ONLY goal for much of my young life.

I wonder now if I would have felt that way if he hadn't moved to another school, or if my father and his mother supported us, instead of trying to keep us apart (which in my experience only pushes people together more).

It amazes me now, to look back on myself and realize that I had NO other goals or ambitions. I didn't have a world or a life with out him.

Not that we stayed together for all that time. He broke up with me several times, leaving me completely heartbroken and destitute. At one point my step mother said she was really concerned about my safety and was worried I would hurt myself. And I wasn't just a victim in all of this either, I did a lot of things then that I am not very proud of now.

I look back on all that, a bit embarrassed that I was so immature. That I couldn't see the forest for the trees and wonder if I had been more mature, more focus, more secure, more brave I could have become something, or done something.

All around me I had friends with career goals and aspirations. They knew what they wanted to do or to be, and for the ones who didn't they were brave enough to venture out on their own, exploring and traveling and discovering. All the while, I hid behind insecurity and lack of confidence in myself.

But in the end I did get what I wanted. My night in shining armour, to love me and protect me all the days of my life....

What a huge role I had assigned to Mason... how unfair of me to do that to him. When you live for someone else you place not only a burden on yourself, but on them as well. We place too much on each other and we almost collapsed under the pile of "shoulds".

I tried living for my kids for awhile, which is pretty easy thing to do when they are little. And I almost lost myself completely doing that.

And then Mason left for 6 months, and this blog was born (thanks Jen) and I was all by myself with only myself and lots of time on my hands. These years here, have been the hardest for me. It is hard, to find your voice, to find your confidence, to find your dreams. But I think I have. Now that I have found them (taken them off the shelf) I have to do something with them. I have to live for myself. And I am very happy and grateful that Mason still wants to be apart of that for (at least) the next 10 years!

1 hr 45 min

That is how long I sat in the bathroom with Tristan after lunch, waiting around for him to poo. His potty training had been going well until the holidays hit, and then I just didn't put it as a priority. So yesterday, fed up with him popping in his diaper at nap time I dug in my heels.

Because really when a person WANTS to do something, they do it.... all excuses aside. I call this the car seat effect.

Pretty much every kid I know sits in a car seat, every time they ride in a car. No matter how much they fuss and scream their parents put up with it and strap them in because the parents believe that it is THAT important.

This should be the only parenting philosophy that you need. If you want your kid to do something, don't give them any other option. That doesn't mean you hit or yell or threaten or bride.... you just don't give them any other choice.

And yesterday that is what I did. I sat on a stool between the toilet and the door and waited.

and today what took almost 2 hours was accomplished in 20 minutes......


tonights gonna be a good night!

We cancelled our plans to go out and instead went to the Davis's house to celebrate. It was a great choice, a great night and this (i think) is a great picture that sums it all up!