Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Letter to My Child(ren)

You are constantly surpassing expectations for me, kiddo.  Santa brought you some big boy undies for Christmas and you've yet to have an accident.  Though I know I've just completely jinxed myself with that statement, I'm so very proud of you.  You seem to be ready for the next step even before I am these days.

Speaking of Christmas, we had so much fun decorating with you this year.  Every ornament you pulled out of the box illicited a "Wow!  Look at this one!" response from you.  Even Daddy (who is generally a Scrooge when it comes to the tree) got into it this year because of your excitement.

You are still completely goofy, and I absolutely love that about you.  Just the other day, you insisted I read Dr. Seuss with a stuffed frog on my head.  I have to say, I didn't think Seuss could get sillier, but once again, you proved me wrong.

You appear to be listening to us, and even parroting back some of our behavior now.  We give you lots of choices to prevent meltdowns because you feel empowered when you get to choose, even if we've given you only two things to pick from.  Now you give us choices all the time, too.  Here's a conversation from our car ride to daycare the other day:
You, holding up two matchbox cars: "Mommy, do you want the lellow car or blue car?"
Me: "Um, I like the blue one."
You: "Okay. You want it be quiet or loud?"
Me: "Quiet."
You, whispering: "Quiet--okay."

2011 has been a big year for you and 2012 promises to be even bigger with a new brother coming.  You're going to make such a good big brother.

I love you more,

Baby Doc,
You are quite the kicker, kid.  I feel you all the time.  And BIG kicks, too.  Kicks strong enough to knock something off my belly if I was to balance something there.  Not like I do that or anything (wink, wink). I've been sleeping with my belly in Daddy's back every night and you've kept him awake a few nights with your kicks.  He still doesn't understand how I sleep through it.

I've also been having lots of Braxton Hicks contractions lately, but if I drink plenty of water, they go away so nothing to be worried about.  We've still got three-ish months until we meet you and somehow that seems so far and yet so close.

I've been getting so curious about what you'll look like, what your personality will be like, etc.  Will you be blonde-haired and blue-eyed like your big brother, or will you be dark-haired and dark-eyed like Daddy?  Will you be goofy like Gavin and me or will you be more serious like Daddy?

Whatever you're going to be like, 2012 is going to start out with such a blessing in our household.  I can't wait to meet you.

I love you more already!

Friday, December 30, 2011

December Gavinisms

Me:  "Gavin, what do you want for Christmas this year?"
Gavin: "Ummmm...I want...a pony!"
Me:  "Please don't tell your Great-Grandparents."

On his visit to see Santa this year:
Santa: "What would you like for Christmas this year?"
Gavin: "A Christmas box."
Santa: "Oh...well, what would you like inside the Christmas box?"
Gavin: "Nuttin. Just a Christmas box."
Santa to Mommy: "Well that one should be easy!"

On his second visit to see Santa:
Santa: "What would you like for Christmas this year?"
Gavin: "I a big boy now.  I need big boy underwears."

Upon seeing the advent wreath lit up at church:
Gavin:  "Those candles for Baby Jesus birthday!"
Me:  "That's right, buddy."
Gavin:  "I help him blow them out."

Upon seeing a wedding picture of Ryan and me:
Gavin:  "I gonna get married when I bigger."
Me:  "Well, who are you going to marry?"
Gavin:  "I marry you, Mommy!  And Daddy!"

Singing Christmas carols in the car:
"We miss you Merry Christmas, we miss you Merry Christmas....aaaaaannnnd Happy New Year!"

A Tale of Seven Christmases

Ryan and I have eight sides of family.  Divorced and remarried parents on both sides—you do the math.  It makes any holiday a little crazy.  The multitude of celebrations over a short period of time absolutely wipes us out.

Christmas is no exception, and usually happens over at least a two-week period for us.  All the places to travel to, all the gifts, all the food—it can get to be too much. 

But on the days we’re feeling overly swamped, or we’re just plain pooped and don’t feel like going anywhere else!—we remember how blessed we are to have all of these people, even when it gets a little crazy.  There are those in the world who have no one, including over 40 orphans in Russia who would gladly give their last possession to have just one of our sides of family.

We are so very blessed.
Christmas #1  Reading with Grandpa Dave and Grandma Charlene.

Christmas #2  Thank-you hugs for Great-Grandma Wanda.

Christmas #3  G-Jo loved her photo book from Gavin.

Christmas #3  Fartless Beer Bread for Ryan.  We haven't tested it out yet.

Christmas #4  Gavin loved his new flute so much he did a little happy dance.

Christmas #4  A surprise marshmallow fight blew Gavin's little mind.  Notice all the mini ones on the floor.

Setting out cookies for Santa.

Christmas #5  Big boy undies from Santa in Gavin's stocking!
Christmas #5  Annual Christmas morning self-portrait.

Christmas #5  Helping Daddy open gifts.  Gavin's new play kitchen is in the background.

Christmas #5  A card for Mommy and Daddy.  It's cheesy, but I love this stuff.

Christmas #6  A new train set from Uncle Adam & Aunt Jahlynn!

Christmas #7  A generous Christmas gift from Great-Grandpa Clifford.
See what I mean?  So very blessed.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Obligatory Santa Post

If you'll all remember, this is how last year went with Santa:

But, wait!  What is this?  Is that Gavin actually sitting with Santa this year?!
And what is that on his face?  A smile?  I mean, he almost looks excited.  And lookthere was also talking.
The conversation went a little something like this:
Santa:  "What would you like for Christmas this year?"
Gavin:  "I a big boy now.  I need big boy underwears."

I think Santa will be happy to oblige him.

I am so proud of my big boy this year.  He's going to make such a good big brother in a few short months.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Traditions—Old and New

I love Christmastime.  It’s a time of year when we’re generous and forgiving.  It’s this season full of miracles, overflowing with love and steeped in tradition.

I love that I’ve plugged in the same “ugly Rudolph” every year since I was a child, and that Gavin and I hang ornaments on a felt Christmas tree every day to count down to Christmas—just like I did growing up.

I love that the same stories are told around the dinner table every year.  The one where everyone broke the gold forks reserved for special occasions, or the one where my cousin drove her pink Barbie car right out of the box, or the one where everyone wrapped my gifts (and my car) in red yarn because I complained that it was “kid wrapping.”

I love that at Christmas—we make time for old traditions, and that it's okay to make new ones.  Because Ryan and I are kids of divorce and have SO much family, it’s been really important to us to make new traditions that are just ours.

I love that one of those new traditions, especially now that we have a child (almost children—plural!) is Christmas in the Park at Longview in Lee’s Summit.

It’s pretty magical.  Can’t you tell from the look on that face?

I love that this year, I introduced Gavin to an old family recipe passed down from my Great Grandma Fox.  He helped me make “krumkrockers,” (at least, that’s what my family has always called them).  They’re Swedish cookies she made every year at Christmas, and they get their unique shape by baking on pieces of semi-circle guttering.  I have some of the old gutters she used, and I cherish getting them out every year to bake with.

I love that even though I never really got to know her, I feel a little closer to her at Christmas, and I think she’d really appreciate her recipe being passed down to another generation.

I love Christmas traditions because they help us remember what this season is all about.  It's not the decorations or the stories or the cookies, it's the love that's in and around those things that matters.  A love so graciously given to this world so many years ago.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Poem on Poetry

I haven't written many new poems since I finished my Masters last spring.  My brain just needed a break after several intense years of work on a collection of poems.  But lately, I've picked up my favorite pen again and started bleeding on the page.

Because that's what it's like, writing poems.  It's this equality of love and loathing that churns out something that's never quite finished.

I think that's why I love the poem below so much.  I took a translation course my final semester of grad school and translated this poem from Polish (with the help of some very talented Polish-speakers).  Though the author intended it to be about translating poetry, I feel it translates well (pardon me there--I had to do it) to the writing of poetry as well.

On Translating Poetry
By Zbigniew herbert
Translated From the Polish

Like a drunken bumblebee
he sits on a flower
until its slender stem droops
he bobbles into its ordered petals
like the pages of a dictionary
he struggles toward the center
where scent and sweetness live
and although he is weak
and lacks taste
he seeks
until his head bumps
the sunny pistil

He’s already at the end
it’s too difficult to pierce
through the flower’s cup
to reach the roots
so he struts off proudly
and loudly buzzes:
I was in the middle

to those who don’t believe
he shows his nose
dusted with pollen

24 Weeks

Posted late (again!), but at least the photo was taken on the right day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Big Brother Gavin

Yesterday, Gavin wore his "Big Brother Gavin" shirtthe one I ordered for him on Etsy to announce our pregnancy months ago.  I found myself completely overwhelmed at the sight of him, and wishing I could bottle up these last three months before Baby Doc makes his entrance.  

I had this same feeling before Gavin came.  This intense need to capture every moment of time I could when "us" meant just Ryan and me.  It was incredibly sad to think about that time dwindling, and that it would never again be the same "us."  

But then Gavin was born, and he was this piece of "us" we'd been missing and didn't even know it.  He made me fall in love with Ryan all over again.  The way I felt watching Ryan be a father to this new little person I loved more than I knew I could stunned me.

It still surprises me that when Ryan and I go out for a date night, or spend time away from Gavin, at least half of our conversation is spent consumed by him—silly things he's said, goofy things he's done, or how much his orneriness can equally frustrate us and make us laugh.

So now, I can’t help but mourn these last few months of what our “us” has become.  Everything is about to change again.  My baby won’t be my baby anymore.  He’ll be the big brother, my older child, my first son.  

But because I’ve done this before, I know about this piece of our family puzzle we’ve been missing.  I know that even though I’m sad now, when Baby Doc gets here, he’ll fill up a hole inside us that we didn’t even know existed.  And I can’t wait for that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sick Sunday

Let's just say our very early Sunday morning went a little something like this:

Puke, crying, cleaning, "My tummy hurts!" more puke, more crying, more cleaning, shower...and did I mention the puke?

Oh, yes, and this:
Me, trying to pry Gavin's lovie from his hands:  "You got sick on it, buddy.  It's dirty."
Gavin:  "It just wet, Mommy. I shook it on the floor."
Me:  Audible sigh

Not to be outdone, of course, Abner took a look at the mess we were dealing with and thought "You might as well clean this up, too" as he took a huge shit on the floor.

Ryan and I could do nothing but laugh, at that point.  At least, I think we were laughing.  There might have been a few tears.

But, even with all of that, there was also a lot of this:
I think we're even.