Friday, July 27, 2012

Another Installment of "Things I Never Thought I'd Say"

Because I have accepted that I will not be able to write everything in Pursy and Knox's baby books, I hope this blog serves double duty as a record of their shenanigans and memories. So if some posts seem a little intimate for the general public, it is because they aren't for you- they are for us. :) But as we also tend to be a family that can be accused of over-sharing, please feel free to read and then forget. Or in the case of this verbal interaction I had with Pursy this morning, feel free to try and not get a mental image.

Setting the stage: Changing pad on Pursy's dresser, trying to get P dressed for the day
Me: Pursy, don't put that hair clip on your vagina. We don't put anything in our vaginas.
Pursy: Don't put anything in my 'gina?
Me: Right.
Pursy: No Pursy put anything in her 'gina?
Me: Uh-huh
Pursy: No Mama put anything in her 'gina?
Me: (decides it is not the right time for the birds and bees talk) That's right.
Pursy: No Knox put anything in his pe-nus?
Me:.... Um, no.
Pursy: No Dada put anything in his pe-nus?
Me: (not sure where this is going) That's right....
Pursy: No Dada put phone in his pe-nus?
Me: Bwahahahahha.

It is always good as a parent to know when to draw the line on a conversation and I missed it. But at least we have a few ground rules established in regard to our boy and girl parts. I called Grant to let him know.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mixed Emotions

This week we have packed away Knox's infant car seat, the floor gym, his Bumbo and the baby high chair. Most of them because he is simply too... husky to fit in them. I remember Pursy keeping her infant car seat until she hit the age limit because she was such a tiny babe. I wasn't ready for the sudden empty space in my kitchen where the high chair used to be, and I feel a little panic well up when I frantically wondered if I spent enough time looking at both Pursy and Knox sitting in that high chair. Did I spend every second I could enjoying the fact that they were babies who needed the shoulder straps when their little bodies couldn't sit up by themselves? Was I annoyed one too many times when my own dinner got interrupted by a baby bird with open mouth requesting more puffs or mooshed banana? And don't even get me started on that gummy smile... The one thing I can say with certainty is that I have kissed that toothless mouth a bajillion times.

I know I was getting sore at the end of last week carrying Knox around in the infant carrier, but did I care more about the bruises on the inside of my elbow then I did about the fact that I could look down and see his little face right there?? Now that he is in his big boy car seat, he will be picked up and set down more- which means his commando scoot will evolve very quickly into an all-fours crawl and then walking and running and college graduation and his first apartment.

I am excited to think about evenings when everyone can give themselves a bath. Grant and I can linger at the dinner table with a second glass of wine while the kids run upstairs to clean up and put their pajamas on. We will put them in their beds with a book and a glass of water, then we can do WHATEVER we want- however LOUD we want. Probably something crazy like watching a movie at a volume above 4. I am looking forward to being able to make a reservation at a great restaurant without asking if they have high chairs and a kids menu. Then hanging up the phone and calling somewhere else. I cannot wait to be on the sidelines of soccer games, dance recitals, swimming pools- whatever they are into. I am really looking forward to having conversations with my children- talking about life and love and music and books and religion and celebrity breakups and how to make really delicious food.

But how do I make sure I am not rushing this stage in order to get to that one? I love the infant/baby stage and if today was any indication, the inevitable march of my children towards adulthood will be a little rough on me. I don't want to keep them in things that are too small or push them into things that are too big. I know that in a few months, Knox will be finished with breastfeeding and I know I will mourn the end of that. I was already 6 months pregnant when Pursy weaned herself so I was more relieved then sad. With Knox, I imagine a shopping bonanza to Vickie's might be the only thing that dulls the pain. I will most certainly burn my nursing bras.

Does anyone have any tips on how to do this with grace? I have such mixed emotions and just want to do this without any regrets.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Penn State and Our Family

It is strange to watch Penn State University, Joe Paterno and Happy Valley suddenly be the leading story in every newscast. After all, State College was our home for the past 5 years, Grant is a Penn State alumni and we sat in Beaver Stadium and cheered on the Lions many times in our years there.

Do I even need the disclaimer that I am not in favor of protecting child molesters, covering up years of abuse or denying now grown up boys and their families the opportunity to heal and not cause further pain? I understand that no one can tell a victim of abuse how and why they should process what happened to them.

I feel like a simple answer to what PSU, State College and even the NCAA should do in response to the information they now possess should be to let the boys who have come forward and bravely told the world what happened to them decide what to do. If the statue of JoPa causes them pain, take it down. If fines and sanctions on the PSU football program makes them feel in some way like justice has been done, impose them. If taking away the wins from a period of time when Paterno was the coach takes away an honor from a man who they believe could have saved them and did not, then void them.

I know that Penn State can't do nothing. In October I felt like the firing of so many people including the university president, Paterno himself and essentially anyone who could be linked in any way to Sandusky was reactionary and too hasty. I remember thinking that more lives shouldn't be ruined before all the information came out. And I remember thinking that the people I felt most sorrow for was not a football coach, a president or even a student body. I was broken hearted that so many boys had lived their entire lives in silence. There is a reason child molesters are not safe in prison- there is a universal understanding that children are sacred. We as a society protect them, and those that don't are damned.

And then in November, Paterno died. And I felt terrible for Sue Paterno, Joe's wife. From what I knew of her, she was a lovely woman who handled the months after her husband was fired with grace. And I still feel sorrow for her and desperately hope that her children are protecting her from the media. Because my guess would be that she was blindsided by all of this, and all she knows is that the world now hates the man that she spent 50 years loving.

Now that the report has come out exposing all the things that Paterno knew and did nothing about, I feel heavy and resigned. And if I feel that way as an alumni wife, I cannot fathom what PSU students, football players past and present, friends of the Paternos, etc etc are going through. I have dear friends who work as campus ministers in State College and I am in constant prayer for them as they hold hands with students still at Penn State.

And all those hateful, hateful internets blogs, tweets, comments, facebook posts that so freely pass judgement on whoever they are angry at that day, do nothing to bring healing. And healing must come. Joe Paterno is dead. Jerry Sandusky is sentenced. Penn State and the NCAA have more decisions to make, but those will eventually be made as well and life will go on. It feels good to be angry, and everyone should feel anger about the fact that children were molested and people knew and did nothing. But to feel like the world needs to know what you think should happen to Sandusky in prison is not anger- it is revenge. Please stop.

The question is not how to adequately fulfill the world's expectations of "enough" retribution for Paterno, the football program and Penn State. There will never be enough to make what happened go away. It will take time, patience and grace from those strong enough to offer it. I don't know what would be helpful for those boys to begin to heal. But I do know that love and courage from Godly people has worked to change the world before, and it can be done for Penn State too.

My dear friends at RUF- I love you and am so glad you have Alex and Becki to walk alongside you right now. I am so sorry you are going through this and pray that healing and reconciliation comes to Penn State and Happy Valley.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pursy Habits

 Even though at 2AM I wish more than anything you were just a little bit older and able to go back to sleep on your own, I am beautifully and painfully aware that you are growing older at a remarkable rate. Before I can turn around you will be hiding under your covers with a book and flashlight trying to read just one more chapter. Than we will be picking out soccer cleats or dance costumes. Or hitting me up for $20 to go see a movie with your girlfriends. I am getting teary just thinking about how gorgeous you are going to look in your wedding dress. Too fast?? Probably. But it does feel like yesterday your Dad and I were in the car on the way to New York still in shock that the pregnancy test told us we were going to be parents.

My favorite things you are doing right now.

When I tell you I love you, you often respond "I love you.. moon and back". I wish I could capture your sweet baby girl voice when you say this line from the book Guess How Much I Love You, but it melts my heart.

Random mornings when you point at the computer and say "I talka Uncle Daniel!" then run around gathering things to fill your high chair tray with before we get ahold of him on Skype. If we happen to catch him before his Japanese bedtime, you sit there and one by one catch him up on your favorite things. Today you showed him your Tigger toothbrush, your purple bracelet, the paper you finger painted a hand print turkey on, and There's a Wocket In My Pocket. I could hear in the background that he had people over at his house, but he sat there for 20 minutes chatting with you. He will be visiting over Christmas and I love that even though you haven't seen him since last year, the two of you will not be strangers.

You have started telling stories. Dada told me the other night that you told him a "Once Upon a Time" story about a red bird named Pursy. He kept asking you questions and you very confidently told the story. Your imagination is active and fantastic.

You run. Everywhere. Sometimes just around the kitchen island because that is your only venue. Your arms and legs are really coordinated for a 27 month old and I see some kind of running sport in your future.

You love to sing along with any song. I love watching you try and mimic Edith Piaf while we listen to her French classics on the record player, and when we are in the car I feel like we have Garth and Kat in the backseat. Dada usually sings Abide With Me to you at bedtime, and I wonder if any other two year old has "eventide" and "thyself" in their vocabulary. Your absolute favorite song right now is "I'm a little teapot"and we made up some motions. It's ridiculously cute.

Dada taught you how to "Cheers" and you like to clink everything together. Our friend Chris also taught you how to "blow it up" but so far you will only fist bump and blow it up with yourself. I have to admit, I am a little jealous.

Stickers, Markers, and Crayons. We bought you a clipboard and you like to keep all your masterpieces in order on it. On our roadtrip to Michigan, you flipped through the Sesame Street coloring book pages clipped to your board as if you were reading a legal brief.

You are fantastic and colorful and happy. You are my best girl and I love you like crazy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

White Whine

Tonight for dinner I made turkey cheeseburgers with crudite and potato chips. Good old fashioned feel good dinner, yes?

Hijaked by the fact that some jagoff decided to produce and sell sodium-free potato chips. I.E. no salt to be found on these chips. Isn't that the point?? If I wanted a snack that prevented or was acceptable to someone with congestive heart failure, I wouldn't have purchased a bag of potato chips. I obviously was not feeling tidy, and I wanted something salty and satisfying.

They essentially tasted like a fried piece of bland potato. Terrible. And every time Grant and I put on in our mouths- we of course kept eating them because they LOOKED delicious- we griped about the fact that they were salt free. We shook our fists at The Man and blamed everyone but ourselves for not really looking at the bag and noticing the itty bitty print at the bottom of the bag that said "Sodium Free".

White Whine.

Northern Michigan

Post-vacation.... the laundry is caught up, the babes are starting to return to normal sleep patterns (which for our two is not stellar, but decent enough), and our calendar has only a few things written on it for the next two months. Beautiful. Here is the photo proof that we had a lovely time in Bay View, Michigan. Make yourself a mint julep, put on your favorite pair of seersucker capris and floppy sunhat, find your high school copy of The Sun Also Rises and get yourself in a lake vacation state of mind.

Side note: If I posted all the pictures I took of Pursy in some body of water, it would look like an advertisement for happy children and whatever company made her bathing suit. My little girl is a water bug.

The Lady Has Brunch

Papa, you will let me have a mimosa, won't you darling?

The Cousins

Yeah,she loves water.

So does Knox Man.

The boys hangin' poolside,cruisin' for chicks...

My Best Girl

Pursy and Dada

You didn't bring the bearskin rug?? I brought my best rolls...

Where's Pursy?

I was self conscious about wearing a bathing suit 8 months post partum. Looking around the beach, I realized that self consciousness had no place there... There are some confident women in Michigan.

All American lunch being hand-fed by Grandma (Ba)

Morning Snuggles

Probably dreaming about being back in the lake

So happy right when he wakes up

Knox roughing it at our cookout

Knox was not a fan of his life jacket... can't say I blame him.

I'm on a Boat.

Pursy jumped off the back of the boat to Aunt LeeAnn

I'm still on a boat.

She let Dada take her out into the lake.. brave girl.

After all that, Pursy needed a stiff drink.

On the ferry to Mackinac Island

"C'mon,,, give me some cheese crackers!"

Coolest Dad biking with a trailer full of babes

 I didn't know anyone ate that disgusting looking ice cream but after Grant and LeeAnn ordered it at every ice cream place, Pursy drank the Kool-Aid.

Walloon Lake, the spot where Ernest and Hadley pushed off in their boat for the honeymoon.

City Park Grill- where Hemingway used to drink shoot billiards.

Guess who's standing??

Still in love after all these years.

 Cheers to us. We're fantastic.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Fifty Shades of Whaaat?

I need some information, ladyfriends. I first heard about the book Fifty Shades of Grey from the SNL skit on Mother's Day (hilarious) but had no idea what it was about. As time went on, I was amazed at the number of my girlfriends who had not only read the first book, but the entire trilogy in rapid succession.

Now let me be clear. I am not opposed to a little erotic media to rev up a married sex life. You are reading the words of the girl who watched all six seasons of Sex and the City in two weeks and gleaned lots of information to take back to the bedroom. Grant still talks about those two weeks as some of the best of his life. If you are going to only have one sex partner the rest of your life, why not make sure they are totally happy?

So I am all for erotic literature. But when I picked up the book at a little bookshop in Petoskey, Michigan last week while on vacation with the family, I don't feel like I knew what I was getting ready to read. I have become adept at finding the steamy parts of novels (lots of practice while an adolescent in the public library) and very quickly found a good part.

Thirty seconds later, I put the book back with my cheeks flaming. And I have read those words over and over in my head the past few days with the same reaction. So here is my question- to those of you who have actually read this book, not just think you know what it's about. If you haven't read it- you don't know.

How is this book so wildly popular? I have not heard of anyone being bothered by the descriptions of bondage, sadomasochism and submission. I went online to read some reviews of the book, and several opinions centered around a female fantasy of being "taken over" by a strong man.

I am so curious to hear from individuals who have read these books- can you explain to me why everyone loves them so much? If you feel more comfortable, feel free to respond as Anonymous. And I don't want to argue or make anyone feel any certain way, but I am fascinated to hear opinions from people who either liked or did not like these books.