Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday my parents celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary. 42 years! I am thankful for the love they've shared and for the lessons they've passed to me.

I'm happy to report that my mom is doing really well. She's been taking the pain medication regularly (which is helping her a ton) and seems to be handling the bed rest like a champ. I am thankful that she and my dad are surrounded with friends and family to make this time a bit easier to manage. I'm also thankful that the burden has been lessened some for my dad- that is a blessing in more ways than one!

Cooper's 6th birthday party was on Sunday. Typically, I do a family party with a few of our close friends and their children- sort of a cookout that happens to be Cooper's birthday as well. This year I felt like Cooper deserved a "real" party. I got really inspired by a geyser kit that I saw here and found a bunch of other experiments via Google. Take a look at the before and after for the "rocket" geyser!

A thoughtful friend gave me some lab coats that her church was using for VBS and I bought clipboards for the boys to record their findings. Jon helped me to drape the basement in tarps and Wade (our nephew) was on hand to help us be "scientific". 4 little boys had such fun- and so did 3 adults. Here they are making molecules with toothpicks and dots candy. I think they ate just as many as they connected.

I am thankful that the day was incredible and that Cooper loved every second of his party. After the boys were gone, Cooper looked so sad and I asked him what was wrong- his answer? "I'm sad because it's all over. I had so much fun Momma." I am thankful for my sweet baby kid!

Jon and I had a chance last week to spend some time alone (while Cooper was with my parents). We spent the time doing everything and nothing without responsibility. I am so thankful for this time together and for the amazing relationship that we share. Here's to 42 years- and more!

Monday, June 23, 2008

What's the Problem?

Today was Cooper's 1st day at summer "camp". He was up 1/2 the night in a panic because he doesn't like new places and he cried all morning (well, maybe all morning is an exaggeration- he cried for the 40 minutes prior to leaving for camp). Jon took him-he's so much better at things like that- he just drops him off to fend for himself, while I feel the need to coddle him and probably make it worse because I don't just rip off the band aid and leave him. When he came home, he was all smiles and said that he really liked it and had a good day. WHEW!! I figured that he'd be exhausted since he didn't sleep well last night and had played hard today coupled with the stress of it all. We climbed the steps at 8 and I figured we were golden.

At 9:37 I hear tiny footsteps approaching me while I was enjoying a little blog reading. This is the conversation.

Me: Oh, no buddy- what are you doing still awake?
Cooper: I don't know momma, I just can't sleep.
Me: Well, what do you think the trouble is?
Cooper: I think I must be a raccoon.
Me: A raccoon????
Cooper: Yes, you know- they are sleepy all day and they play all night. I think that must be the problem.

Yes, that MUST be the problem.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I got the kind of call last night that everybody dreads.   My father called and said, "Carolyn, your mother had an accident today".   My heart stopped and I listened to what came next.   She's ok, but in lots of pain.  (long exhale....thank you) We've been at the hospital all day, she was discharged at 9:30 and now we're back.   And then my mom's voice on the cordless...."I'm ok Pooh, just hurting".

Cooper stayed with my parents after we left on Father's Day for what was to be a vacation for everyone!   Their church was having Bible School each evening and they had some little adventures planned during the day.   Yesterday, they went to a botanical garden about 40 minutes from them that has a great kids section.  They were going to explore a new tree house exhibit.  

They were almost finished when my mom fell-  she said that she got twisted up in her own feet. The pain was so intense that she passed out, certainly alarming for anyone- but especially for a certain just turned 6 year old!   Once she came to, she wasn't able to move, and the medical staff at the garden (who were wonderful) called the ambulance.  

Ironically, my mother ended up in the same exact hospital where she had given birth to me exactly 39 years ago (yesterday was my birthday).   Apparently, this irony was lost on the staff! They sort of dismissed her injury as a bad fall but with nothing broken or sprained.   She complained of the terrible pain, but they couldn't find a cause.  As she was being discharged, she got up from the bed, and passed out again.  So- back into bed and more testing & blood work followed.   She was told that she couldn't leave until she walked without passing out and after a few hours when the pain medicine had kicked in, she walked a few feet in the walker and was discharged.    

She called her doctor this morning and told her what had happened.   Her doctor sent her to a specialist right away.   The orthopedic surgeon took one look at her x-rays and told her that her pelvic bone was broken.   There wasn't anything that he could do except prescribe some pain medication and tell her to stay in bed for 3 weeks, then come back for a check-up.   

I was able to rearrange my schedule to be out of the office so that I could come up to 1) make sure that my mom was ok  2) give my dad a little support and help him to figure out how to take care of my mom (instead of vice-versa) and 3) bring Cooper back home.  

She's doing well.  The medicine is helping, but she's still in lots of pain when she walks or sits. As long as she's in bed, she's comfortable.    

I am thankful that God was with my mom yesterday and kept her safe.  Breaking your pelvic bone break is serious but is not as grave as breaking a hip.    She's going to be fine, although the recovery will be long, and the pain is intense.

I am thankful that my parents were close to home when this happened, and not traveling in a country where medical care isn't as available or reliable.  

I am thankful that throughout the ordeal, my mom was able to reassure Cooper (who adores her and was panic stricken) that everything would be ok.   Her focus was on him- and perhaps that helped her to get through her pain a little more easily.  

I am thankful that I was able to come and help my parents.   I am thankful that I work for a company that allows such flexibility.  My manager is on vacation this week and my VP heard my story and said-  Go- help your family.

I am thankful for the prayers that have been and will be said for my mom.   She has a wonderful support system, and although I won't be able to be with her for the next few weeks, she has friends and siblings who will.

I am thankful for my family- they mean the world to me!  I am so blessed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Happy Birthday Cooper!

I cannot believe that he's 6 years old. The time has flown...he has grown so much since we brought him home from the hospital in his bucket seat- he's grown so much in the past month!!

So many things that I love about him.

I love to hear his voice. Sometimes I hear him singing to himself and it melts my heart. It's so sweet and full of the happiness that should be a part of childhood. We've worked hard to keep him "little" for as long as we could....and it's been so worth it.

I love to listen to him tell a story. He's so expressive and so intent on getting his message across. He's got a great imagination and is so creative as he weaves the pieces together in his mind and then watches to see your reaction.

I love to snuggle next to him at bedtime. The 3 of us curl up and read stories and talk about the day. The pets gather around the bed and it's such a great time to reflect and find out what's happening inside his little mind.

I love to see him laugh- the real, carefree, from the belly kind of laugh that we sometimes forget exists. He's got such a great sense of humor- it's one of my favorite things about him.

I love to hug him. His skinny little arms wrap around my neck and squeeze and I could just drink him in. I know these may not last for much longer but I can hope!

I love how much he loves his dog- truly boy's best friend. That dog has seen us through many a trauma....from lost toys to high fevers, bursts of anger to being scared of the dark. Their bond is so strong and so unconditional.

I love his passion for learning new things, not really risk taking things- but educational type things. He's constantly asking questions and I have to chuckle when he says, "let's just look that up on" (or or or whatever the subject of the day may be).

I love that he loves us and finds so much joy in our family. His favorite place is our home (or at the river) and nothing makes him happier than to spend the day at home as a family.

I love that he completes Jon and me and that we are better because of him.

Happy Birthday Cooper!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day (thoughts from Cooper)

We were eating breakfast this morning, and this was the conversation.  Cooper calls my Dad, Pappy.

Cooper:  Pappy sure does know a lot about the Civil War.
Me: Yes, he sure does.
Cooper: He knows more than Daddy about the Civil War.  Daddy knows more about the Army though, because he was in the Army.
Me:   Did you know that Daddy and Pappy were both in the Army?
Cooper: Really?  Did they see each other there?

So sweet, innocent and hilariously funny!  
Happy Father's Day to Dad's everywhere, whether they were in the Army together- or not!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thankful Thursday

In three more days, I'll be in Philadelphia at a Jimmy Buffett concert. That thought makes me so happy...I've been excited for months. My dad sent me the details for the show months before the tickets went on sale. Had it not been for him, I never would have gotten the tickets. He's all about an article in the paper or a blip on-line that may apply to me somehow. He carefully clips things from the newspaper or magazine, folds them in a funny, haphazard sort of way and mails bunches of them to me in envelopes with his familiar chicken scratch. They vary in topic, and sometimes include Haggar cartoons....but they are sent with such love and a desire to make my life better in some way, big or small. I am thankful for a father who shows me how much he loves me in the best way he knows how. I'm looking forward to spending Father's Day with two of my favorite fathers!

We'll drop Cooper at my parents and head to the concert with a diverse group of friends. My oldest friend in the world, Dawn is coming with us. She doesn't even really like Jimmy (I don't hold this against her) but said that she wouldn't miss it for the world because it would give her a chance to spend some time with us. How great is that? We're meeting two of Jon's friends from college who now live in New Jersey (we don't hold this against them). Will and Patty are hilarious- and my first introduction to them was 10 years ago at my 1st Jimmy concert. I've never been the same! Rounding out the attendees are Will and Patti's neighbors....have no idea who they are but am sure they'll be up for some fun. I am thankful for the opportunity to spend an evening doing something that brings out the best in Jon and me. Relaxing with friends, having no cares, singing my lungs out and laughing for hours!

I got a call from my brother tonight. He sounded absolutely elated......I couldn't imagine what he was so pumped up about. He's not someone that usually gets "over the moon"but he definitely was tonight. He could barely contain himself as he described the thrill of the catch and a play by play of getting this fish back onto the shore of the Pacific Ocean.

I am thankful that this fish fulfilled my brother in a way that he needed so much. I am hopeful that these memories will stay will him for a long time and bring him some peace.

Cooper has had a tough week. He's in flux at daycare while he waits for summer to come for children attending county schools. I've felt so guilty for not being able to spend this time with him and that I've had to leave him each morning in a situation that is safe and secure but not really ideal. He's looked so sad when I leave him and it tugs at my heartstrings. He'll stay with my parents next week and I am thankful that they are able to spend this time with him and that they have such a close relationship. A week at my parents may very well be better than a week at Disney World for Cooper. My parents are fortunate to live close to a ton of great activities/resources for kids. They are going to the Crayola Crayon Factory and Cooper is beside himself- he can hardly stand it. Each day this week he wakes up and says, "are we going to grandma's today?" The gift of having his grandparents and that they are willing and able to keep him for extended stays is priceless.

For so many reasons, too many to name, I am so thankful for the health and well being of our child. I hug him a little tighter and thank God for our blessing daily.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Funny Kid

I was clipping Cooper's fingernails and he was going nuts. For some reason, this is always a chore with him.

I said, "Cooper. Stop being so dramatic!"
He said in this small voice, "Well, Momma- you are."

I started laughing so hard- I couldn't stop. My laughing got him to laugh and we both had tears running down our faces (his may have come from the relief of me stopping the clipping because I was laughing so hard).

Then, his small voice asked, "Momma, what's dramatic?"
I love that kid!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thankful Thursday

I've had so much on my mind this week to be thankful for, and hardly know where to begin. It's been a good week- busy, but satisfying.

My parents are home from England, arriving at JFK late Sunday evening. I'm thankful for their safe return and that they had a fantastic trip. They're fighting the jet lag but secretly, I know they love every second!

I am thankful that a certain snapping turtle had enough grace to leave my fingers attached when I tried to help him cross the road (see my earlier post this week for details).

I am thankful that Cooper completed kindergarten successfully! His year was a complete dream probably more so for me than for him- but he worked hard and we're very proud of him.

His closing ceremony was on Wednesday morning and it was so sweet. He struggles with crowds and told me that he was really nervous before we left for school. When they filed into the church, he wasn't where he was supposed to be- and I was worried. Then he appeared, clutching the hand of his teacher with soggy eyes and sniffly nose. She later told me that he said to her, "I don't want to graduate". She said she wasn't sure who had cried first- Cooper or her. I am thankful that he had an incredible teacher- one who filled his days with happiness, love, hugs and acceptance. It makes a world of difference.

I am thankful that my husband was open to receiving some feedback this week. I am also thankful that he provided me with some as well and that we were able to really talk through our issues and find some common ground and peace. He's wonderful and sometimes, I can lose focus on that because I get caught up in myself. I feel so safe in our relationship and truly treasure what we've built together.

I'm thankful for the interactions that I've had with friends this week. Some old and some new- I've laughed and cried and had some tough conversations, but through it all have felt wrapped in a cocoon of true friendship. That makes such a huge difference in my world.

Yesterday, a thick envelope arrived addressed to Cooper with a return address that I didn't at first recognize. Cooper opened the package and it was filled with art books and art supplies (a beginner drawing kit, colored pencils, 2 sets of paints, a tablet). My eyes filled with tears. There was a note included that read:

Dear Cooper,
A long time ago we met. Then we saw one another at a birthday party and another time after that.
Each time I saw your art work, I was amazed. Your drawing and coloring is fantastic. You are a great artist. Every person who is great at what they love keeps improving what they love. So I hope these art supplies bring you joy and encouragement to keep doing what you love.
Remember: Use your gifts! God gave them to you so that you could make the world better.
Your art brings joy to me...and so I am better when I see it.
Love and Peace,
Mrs. D
The woman is my sweet friend Christy's mother-in-law and she is a minister. The package came straight from her heart to Cooper. She's literally met him 3 times and each time included some interaction during which Cooper was occupied with an art project. I've had conversations with her about how much he loves to be creative- but really just in passing. She cannot know what a huge gift she gave to my son and the impact that her words have made on both of us. I was (and still am) overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and love that were a part of this act of kindness.
I am simply- thankful.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I love a bargain!

Update! Went to Ukrop's tonight and glanced at their ferns....$19.99- I am SO proud of myself.

We (I actually mean, Jon) power washed the porch this weekend and so were able to bring the cushions out of storage. We can now actually use the space. Our pollen is so terrible that it's at least an inch thick in some places and power washing it away is the only option!

I rearranged the furniture this year and think that the space has some potential....but I needed plants. I've got these great planters that beg for ferns but I don't usually do super well with them. Anyhoo.....Cooper and I went to the Great Big Greenhouse to check out the selection. Ferns were $18 and I needed 2. Hmmmm- I wandered around to think about how worth it fems would be. I never realized that TGBG had a clearance section, but they do and wouldn't you know it- ferns for $8.99! They were a little haggard, but once I cleaned them up they're good as new (well, good as $18). I'm thrilled!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to school.....

The below was copied from an e-mail that I sent to Jon after dropping Cooper off at school this morning. I was so proud of myself for starting Monday off on the right foot...I was up early and was completely on top of everything. We were 10 minutes early on our normal morning route. Then- things turned wrong.

Honey- On the way to school this morning, we saw a turtle in the road.......not your ordinary, run of the mill turtle that I am used to you finding along the road. This turtle was GIANT. I'd say his shell was 12 inches long and his feet, head and tail were HUGE. There might as well have been a cat in the road. Of course, I can't just drive I stop. And Cooper is beside himself with excitement-he's climbing out of the car........

So- picture if you will, ME- trying my hardest to be a tough, nature loving mom because there is a turtle in the road and of course, if you were around there wouldn't even be a question- you'd handle it.
I try to pick up the turtle to move him to the other side of the road (I have already told Cooper that we cannot take him home) and the turtle clearly wants no part of me moving him. He rears up on his legs which seem to be amazingly strong for some bizarre reason and I freeze and drop him. Cooper is yelling at me- "save him momma"............great.
So I try again- and by this time my stomach is churning and I'm starting to freak out- my heart is pounding. This time, I pick him up and these turtle claws reach around (I have NO idea how this is physically possible- but it happens) and try to scratch me. Again, I drop the turtle and decide I need to get smart (I am now breathing quite heavily and trying to remain calm). I go back to the car and get this box top thing (you know that blue car organizer box thing that my parents gave us for Christmas) and I've decided that if I can get him onto the box that I can take him to the other side of the road. Not so- the turtle lurches at me and tries TO BITE me. Ok- so now I'm completely freaked out- my heart is pounding and I'm sweating. Cooper is now concerned- I am not sure whether it's for me, or the turtle. A car approaches and I think- oh good- some help has arrived. The car is driven my a 97 year-old man who clearly doesn't want any part of my turtle escapade. He drives around the turtle- very cautiously (thank you sir).

A second car approaches.......and pulls to the side. I can't see the driver- but there is a teenage girl in the passenger seat and she's climbing out of the car and then- HER DAD GETS OUT!!!HOORAY!!!!!!!!! He's going to save the day (he's a granola type man-thankfully). I say to him- "I tried to help him- but he's sort of a mean turtle". And he laughs and says- "Yeah- he's a mean one all right-let's see what we can do". At this point, his daughter is concerned-"Dad- be careful".........the man approaches the turtle and the turtle is already lunging at him.
What is with this crazy turtle? Hello- we come in peace!
The man picks the turtle up by his tail (I didn't even realize that this was an option) and the turtle goes nuts and is trying to bite the man and he calmly walks him over to the edge of the creek and puts him in the water. Crisis averted- turtle saved- the day can continue. I thanked the man profusely and then we all climbed back into the car and drove away.

This is Jon's reply...
Hilarious! Great story- it was a snapping turtle...they are big and mean and best left alone. We are a small box turtle family.

So clearly, I have learned a huge lesson in turtles. I cannot wait to see what Cooper's version of the story is when he gets home and tells Jon tonight!

After doing some research, snapping turtles are known to be agressive especially when on land and can indeed remove a finger (is anyone sensing a "thankful thursday" reference this week?). My advice- if you see one....keep driving. I have included the below for reference!

Happy Monday!