Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Strawberry Picking

Jackson's 3 year celebration

I'm quite behind on the following Memorial Day weekend pics. Dad, Nancye, and Justin visited for the weekend and we had a BLAST. Great weather, great food, great birthday celebrations. Good time was had by all. Thanks for making the trip, gang!
Jackson, the birthday boy, and his ice cream cake topped with tea lights (sometimes you just gotta be resourceful!) Jackson found the cake to be too cold, after a few bites. Sullivan did NOT.
Good family pictures are nearly impossible these days!

Dinner OUT!
We got a sitter and had an adult-only outing... thanks Dad and Nancye!

Dad and Nancye

Justin and me right before dinner

Papa John and Nanny's gift to J for his 3 year bday was a swing in the front lawn - he was SO excited! This and the next pic is the installation process... I'll give you one guess who the money was in the tree (my dad is infamous for being higher than he should be without proper precautions)

One of out many meals scrunched around the eat-in kitchen table!

Jackson's bike... gift from Gma Lynette, Poppy, and us. We made an event of all going to the store to retrieve it. Jackson was PSYCHED (and subsequently, petrified - the training wheels allow a bit of a "give" and he's still getting used to that jiggle!)


I was out mowing one night last week while Scott was out of town. The kids had gone to bed and I decided it would be OK to leave the kiddos inside alone (presumably SLEEPING) as long as I scheduled some checkpoints throughout the mow. Jackson's window faces the front and he can operate the blinds from his bed, so - considering his obsession /fear with/of lawnmowers, I figured he would be supervising my front-lawn-mowing.

I had lots of waves and shout-outs during the first half of the mow from J. As promised, I came inside two more times (it takes a LONG time to mow our yard!) to assess if there were any screaming children.

Nope. All clear.

Don't you know, when I headed in the final time (mowing done, weed eating done, gutters put back in place, even some mulching and weed-plucking done... the whole works!!!), I was greeted with terrifying screams from J's bedroom. When I entered, Jackson was compromised by the curtain and rod. He had clearly been messing around with the blinds, curtain, and overhead lamp - not to mention using random hair ties (I let him take them with him for a nap once long ago and they must've been hanging out under the sheets) to string around the rod. He was scared silly that it had collapsed upon him.

Pictured is the "damage."

Needless to say, we had a LONG talk :) I couldn't stay frustrated too long, because I had to take these pictures to record his 3-year-old mischief in action!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A strange little habit

Sullivan has a habit of hanging on to one last bit of food at the end of a meal and storing it in his mouth for hours afterwards.

Bread, peas, bacon, ANYTHING.

It's like he truly wants to savor the taste of food from one meal to the next. I never know what I'm going to find in there!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

3 Years

My mom died three years ago, today.

I don't have a very good memory. There are a lot of really important things that I cannot will to keep record of in my brain, no matter how hard I try.

But I will never forget what it felt like to hold my mom's hand when she breathed her last breath. The feel of her hand, the sound of her last exhale, the way my grandparents each lovingly drew in close to her the same way I did... that experience will be etched in my consciousness until I meet Mom again. I would not change a thing (not one "i-o-ta," as she would say... whatever an i-o-ta is?!!) about those last minutes. It was precious and sweet and I feel certain she felt me/us there.

It's incredible how - no matter how old a person is - we all regress into toddler behavior when something is going either incredibly right or incredibly wrong in life. Even though I am at peace and generally on a pretty healthy healing track regarding my loss of Mom, either extreme will stir up the following internal voices: "I want my Mom!" or "Aren't you proud of me, Mom?"

When I am stuck or confused or frustrated, I want to be held by Mom. If not an actual embrace, I want her to talk me down on the phone. I want the comfort of her voice to settle me. I want her to tell me what she told me from the time my horomones betrayed me in the world of puberty: "Just go to bed, babe. It'll all look different tomorrow." I want her to remind me that I don't have to think so hard, that I don't have to analyze so much, that I'm doing just fine.

When I have done something special or when I experience mastery over even the smallest of things or when I am watching my family evolve right in front of me (my biggest joy), I want my Mom to be watching with her own two earthly eyes. I want to hear her say, "I'm so proud of you, honey." And even when she says nothing, I want to be able to feel the pride in her expression. I want to watch her smile ear to ear when she observes me discipline her grandsons in the same no-nonsense way she did Justin and me. I want her to beam when I boast about my newest interest. I want to experience how pleased she'd be by our home, our traditions, our marriage, our family (even though none of it is perfect... Mom always did fine without perfection - thanks for permission to be imperfect, Mom!)

Today Sullivan, Jackson and I will be eating BLT sandwiches and Cheetos for lunch. This meal was among her absolute favorites (Mom could polish off a bag of Cheetos lickity split!). It's my little tradition for honoring the anniversary of her death. Sullivan has never eaten a Cheeto in his 15 months of life. I'm willing to bet this tasty little snack will be among his favorites too, just like GrandJan.

I love you, Mom. You are my biggest comfort and my biggest fan, even now. I hope the afterlife includes an unlimited supply of Cheetos! Wouldn't that be a kick?