Sunday, June 24, 2012

Best. Date. Ever.

Hubby and I don't get out much.  You know, on dates.  When the kids were babies, we used to have a standing Tuesday night "date night", because his mom would take the babies for us.  It was so great, and I think I took it for granted.  Because these date nights started as soon as we had the babies, I didn't know how great they were.  Until they stopped.  And everything changed.  That was when we lost my sweet mom-in-law to cancer.  The kids were 4 and 5.

Since then, life has just trudged along, and we have become used to the fact that date nights can be hard to arrange.  We do have a large family around us, and I'm sure if we'd have put some work into it we could have found a way to get out more often, but truthfully, we quietly let it happen.  Sadly, I think it just kind of took a backseat to other priorities, like laundry.  I actually think we just had a very difficult time processing the loss of hubby's mom.

So anyway, it had been a while.  Now the kids are at an age where we can leave them home alone for short periods of time, but I'm still more comfortable doing that during daylight hours, and not for more than a couple hours.

This past Thursday night, we had a date night scheduled.  (Insert sunshine and gospel "Hallelujah!" here.)  Sister was in town, and she and my mom were going to take the kiddos OVERNIGHT to hang out with them at Grandma's and swim, and they would have them until dinnertime Friday.  So we made reservations at a restaurant we had been waiting a long time to try.  I was so excited!  I showered.  Shaved the legs and pits.  Freshened up my toenail polish.  Applied make up.  Not just mascara--I'm talking EYESHADOW, people.  I put on lots of shiny jewelry.  This was going to be an EVENT.  Dinner and a movie.

So we get to the restaurant.  Order a couple glasses of wine and our appetizer.  Yum.  Then we order our main course.  As she's setting our plates down on the table, my phone rings.

Ugh.  Of course.

It's my sister.  A has been "injured".  They took the boys to my nephew's soccer game, and there is a playground near the soccer fields.  A and J went over there to play.  A, in all his infinite wisdom, decided to jump off the top of one of those tube slides, and he rolled his ankle.  He was in a LOT of pain.

Now, this probably doesn't sound like a big deal.  And I knew in some part of my brain that it likely wasn't.  However, this is the kid with the Herculean pain tolerance.  So much so that when he was a small child I worried that he may have that disorder where he can't feel pain, and that would have been horrible.  This is the kid that fell on his arm last fall and walked around for a WEEK with a broken arm before I brought him to the doctor because of how he wouldn't stop "holding" his arm.  I was not about to make that mistake again.

So there went our date night.

We spent the rest of the evening in the urgent care with A, my mom and my sister.  I have to mention here yet again how AMAZING it is to have such a supportive family all around me.  Without hesitation, my brother and SIL1 took responsibility for J so he wouldn't need to go to the urgent care.  My sweet Nephew 1 (who just got his driver's license!  Yay!) took J back to their house to hang out and wait for us.

As it turns out, A did not have a break at all.  He seems to have pulled some tendons in his foot, and they did wrap his foot and give him crutches.  Sort of like a sprained foot, I guess.  He's already getting much better, and went for a while last night without his crutches.  So all is good.  But no movie.

Right here I have to warn you that this is going to be a really long post.  It goes into Part 2 here, so if you don't have time you might want to come back later to finish reading this if you're so inclined.  It's been a while since I posted (sorry) and so I feel particularly wordy today.  So go, and come back tomorrow if you want, otherwise, go get another cup of coffee and keep reading!

Part 2.

So at the urgent care A was super devastated that he couldn't stay at Grandma's and swim some more in the morning.  But since the injury was not all that serious, the doc gave him the go ahead to swim as much as he could tolerate, and Grandma gave him the choice.  So the kids went home with them!  (Insert more sunshine and music here.)

One of the main reasons we wanted to do this extended date "night" was for the next day.  Hubby has been riding his motorcycle more than usual this season.  Partly because of the beautiful spring/summer we've been enjoying, and partly because of my dad's motorcycle that he inherited, which I think is easier to ride than his other one.  He recently went on a long ride with one of his buddies and thought it was super cool so he wanted to take me on the same route.  So that was the plan for the next morning.

I was nervous.  When hubby and I were dating, we went all over the place on the motorcycle.  I loved it!  I was young and childless, madly in love, and had no worries or fear.  Then I got pregnant, and it all stopped.  I couldn't ride when I was pregnant, and once you have babies it just doesn't happen much.  You can't put a carseat on a motorcycle, and there was an added hesitation on my part, because all of a sudden my life was so much more important to me.  I was a mom, after all.  So over the past few years I have probably been on the back of hubby's motorcycle about five times.  For short rides.  I was nervous about this one.  We would be on the cycle (other than stopping to eat) all day.

We left at 7:45 in the morning.  We went southeast.  Breakfast in a town called Zumbrota.  Went across the river into Wisconsin and stopped in a town called Nelson to go to Nelson Creamery, where they specialize in wine, cheese, and ice cream (HELLO, HOME).  We went into Lacrosse, Wisconsin.  Crossed the river again into Winona, Minnesota, lunch in Wabesha,  and headed back home from there.  All in all, other than our brief stops, we were on the motorcycle for almost 8 hours.  My ass HURT when I got home.  My knees were killing me.  I am old now, and I have little to no muscle in my butt to cushion it.  My feet were on pegs the whole time, forcing my knees to stay in one position.

But I didn't feel the pain until the last hour or so.  And as soon as I got off the motorcycle, I wanted to go again the next day.

Now I might get a little weird.  But folks, I swear, it was almost a religious experience.  I TOTALLY get why people join motorcycle clubs.  I think I could be an "old lady."  There is something so amazing  about being on a motorcycle for that kind of trip.  It was beautiful outside.  We drove along these back roads that were so gorgeous they seemed fake.  The woods.  The hills.  You can smell everything.  The water in the air.  I swear there is a smell to the color green.  I saw more bald eagles than I can count.  Crossing the river, you just can't believe this is where you live.  And that you don't get out and thank God for this every single day.  I had the love of my life between my knees.  The sun never felt hot on my face because of the wind rushing by.  And I could feel the outside all over me.  I let myself just relax and take it all in, and it really was one of the most memorable days I have ever had.

Now I need to get the hubby to buy the new motorcycle he's been thinking about to accommodate my tender heinie, and we may just start our own M.C.

So thanks mom, sister, brother, SIL1, Nephew1, and of course the hubby for making it all happen.  My butt feels normal again now.  It's time for another trip!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Tomorrow is Father's Day.

Kind of a weird thing.  I lost my dad this past fall, and that makes it sort of bittersweet.  I have my hubby, who is an unbelievable dad, and I certainly think he's worth celebrating.  But he works tomorrow, so we are left to just having breakfast with him.  It's funny how Father's Day is.  You look at the cards in the Father's Day section, and they focus on (basically) four things:  golf, fishing, grilling, and beer.  I know that Mother's Day is a different kind of deal, but I can't help but notice this stuff.

On Mother's Day, most of the cards you see are either pretty flowery feminine ones, or else they are poking fun at how much we moms need a break.  But on Mother's Day, I don't know any moms who actually do get a break.  Father's Day, however, has not been driven to the same level in our society where we need to book brunch reservations two months in advance or help the kids make a breakfast for them to bring their dad in bed (which I think actually only happens on TV on Mother's Day--I've never known anyone that actually had this happen).

Fair or not, Father's Day passes by without much hurrah, other than the home improvement stores having huge sales.  Maybe the dads of the world are all right with that.  I suppose many men are uncomfortable with events where they are the center of attention, and let's be honest--I think a lot of dads that golf get plenty of golf time, dads that fish get fishing time, and dads that grill and drink beer get plenty of opportunities to do that as well.  We as a society don't pay enough attention to what these dads do that really does deserve celebration.

So I'm going to think about what my own hubby does that makes him exceptional.  Because I truly believe he is worthy of a Father's Day.

My husband is a fantastic Dad.  He is affectionate.  Aggressively affectionate.  He will squeeze them until it almost hurts.  If they are laying on the couch he will tell them how tired he is and then proceed to flop down over them and squish them while they giggle like crazy.  He tells them over and over, every day, that he loves them.  He still tucks them in at night, even though that has evolved to checking in on them, shutting their lights off, a quick chat and a wish for a good sleep.

He helps them with their homework.  When he is home in the evenings, it is usually him that sits with them to get through their homework.  He is the one that helped J come up with his science fair idea, and then helped him get it finished.  He has made multiplication flash cards for A, that A keeps in a special box in his room.  He tells them about what school was like for him, and truly understands when they are struggling in any way.

He jokes around with them.  He teases them, and teaches them to not take life too seriously.  He texts A things like, "you are a dork", and thinks it's hilarious when A sends back a similar dig.  He also teaches them to be kind, that bullying is one of the worst things a person can do, and gives them tips on how to be a good friend.

He is a coach.  He plays catch with them, both with a football and baseball.  He attends all their sporting events.  He gives them tips.  He watches sports with them.  He shows them videos of amazing plays.  He is proud of them, and they know he is.  He wrestles with them.  He throws the ball hard for them, teaching them to be unafraid.  He trusts them as they grow up, knows what they can handle and what they can't.

He is an unbelievably hard worker.  He works his full time job to support us, and he has made it possible for me to fulfill my dream of being a stay-at-home mom.  He bought this beautiful place for us to make our home, and has spent countless hours working on it, perfecting it, repairing it, restoring it, improving it.  He knows how to do everything.  I'm not joking.  Electrical projects, plumbing, landscaping, carpentry, concrete, working on machinery, auto maintenance, you name it.  I am endlessly impressed with him.

He is spiritual.  He has a strong faith in God and Heaven, and he is unashamed of his belief.  He feels a strong connection to loved ones we have lost.  He had a profound love for his mom, and it has made him the man he is.

He is crazy smart.  He reads newspapers from all over the world.  He is always aware of current events, politics, and economics.  He is extremely difficult to argue with because he is so well read.

He has endless patience for his kids and for me.  He has never, in the almost 19 years we have been together, spoken to me in anger.  And I can be irritating.  He is more patient with the boys than I am.  He is truly, truly kind and loving.

He is creative.  He writes.  He plays and creates music.  He has a twisted, story-telling mind.  He is funny.

He loves his wife.  No matter how chubby I feel.  He loves me.  He loves me even when I haven't showered in a couple days and I'm wearing grubby yoga pants.  He loves me when I haven't even thought about dinner and at 5:30 at night we're trying to figure out what to feed the kids.  He loves me even though I don't keep a perfect house and leave my bras on the floor.  He thinks I'm funny.  He thinks I'm creative.  He is proud of me when I can't bring myself to be proud of myself.  He makes me desperately wish I could see myself through his eyes.  He makes me feel like I'm a good mom.

I don't know what I'm going to give him tomorrow.  I got him a card.  I got him a DVD.  We're taking him to breakfast.  I can think of a couple other things, but I am not going to write them here....

All I know is I am blessed.  I got the best of the best.  I don't know how I managed it, but I did.  And there isn't a tie or a set of golf clubs that could thank him enough.

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer 2012: So Far So Good.

Summer Day 3.  All is so, so good.  Major news in SuburbanFarmland.  My 10-year old, A, completed his first (non-cousin) sleepover last night!  Yay!  Applause!  He has never been invited to one before, and it had been a source of anxiety for him, since he thinks every other 10-year old on the planet has done millions of sleepovers.  His brother has been invited to several (but never completed one), but not him.  And so yesterday he was invited to play over at his buddy "R"'s house, and that alone was thrilling for him, but then, oh moment of moments, he was invited to sleep over.  It was the clouds breaking and a ray of sun shining directly down on him, and when he called to ask if he could and if I could bring him clothes, I could HEAR the giant smile on his face.  So of course we brought him some stuff and wished him well, trying to act all calm and cool.

R and his mom brought him home this morning at 10, and they all looked happy.  He had been taken to Applebee's for dinner, and they played and watched movies.  Mom said he was good and they had fun, and I of course said I want to have R over for a sleepover as soon as he's ready.

It was so normal and nice.  And a HUGE accomplishment for us here.  I want to thank R's mom for hosting him in a moment that, whether she knows it or not, he will remember forever.  It meant so much more than they all know over there.

In other news, I had the jewelry party.  It was lovely.  VERY small, but lovely.  Most people that were invited did not attend, but it really wasn't that bad.  I was expecting relatively poor attendance, being that it is the first weekend after school lets out for summer.  Grad parties, vacations, all that stuff definitely interferes.  But people, aside from myself and the jewelry hostess, we had four ladies.  Four.  So sad!  I won't say it was a fail, because I had a great time.  Two of my SIL's were there, and two of my friends.  My little chihuahua buddy was there of course (because I would have dragged her here by her hair if she threatened to not come), and another mom friend of mine, who if you're reading this, we should get together minus kids sometime for a cocktail.  I sense that we were sisters in another life.  So it was a very comfy group.

After the party, though, as I was cleaning up (easy job since the party was so miniature), I decided I need to entertain again.  Soon.  I freaking love throwing a party, and I want to have one where people just come to hang.  Not to buy stuff.

One of the best things about living out here is the party potential.  Three of the four ladies that came to my party brought their kiddos.  So we had a 15-year old, a 12-year old, two 10-year olds, two 9-year olds, and a seven-year old here.  All boys.  And we really never saw them.  They were out shooting hoops or playing catch or driving the golf cart or playing nerf dart war or whatever the hell boys do the entire time. And when they were inside they went directly down to the basement for junk food and video games.  So we could just have our girlie party with no kids, even though they were there.

So I need to do this more often.  Give the parents a break.  Have people come out here, grill some meat and drink some beer, and relax while the kids run around like lunatics so they're so tired they fall asleep in the car on their way home.  Doesn't that sound LOVELY????  I think so.  Who's in?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Are You There God? My Kid is Learning About Puberty!

It's 11:45 on a Tuesday night and I'm still awake.  If you know me well enough you know that's not normal for me.  My hubby works overnight shifts once a week, and I don't sleep well when he's gone.  This is something I would not normally put out there in the blogosphere, but for those of you creepos who are thinking of sneaking up and robbing me in the middle of the night when hubby is at work earning our money, keep in mind that I have a dog who loves us and I'm a good shot with a shotgun.

Another reason I'm still awake is my OCD tendencies.  I should never play computer games.  I have this obsessive thing with them.  I don't play them that much, but I have a few on my iPad that call to me.  Words with Friends, and Drawing with Friends are fun, I play them.  But they don't obsess me.  I have a problem with Solitaire.  I don't play it often, but when I do, I can't stop until I win a round.  I just won a round, and it took me a long time.  So it's late, and I also watched two episodes of Parenthood on the computer.  I am currently in mad love with that show.  It so depicts all the ups and downs of parenting, as well as growing toward middle age, relationships with siblings, and the tangled relationships we have as adults with our parents.  I.  Love.  It.

So here I am, after a touch of wine, feeling my body shut down and get ready to sleep.

I had my WW meeting today.  I lost .6 pounds, so I am at a whopping total of 9.4 pounds.  It's pretty awesome how that scale keeps inching down, slowly but surely.  Not without a hiccup, but still.  Progress is progress.

I was thrilled to see another mom friend today at my meeting.  Sweetie, you know who you are, and don't think I was kidding about stalking you with Words with Friends once you get that shiny new iPhone.  It was great to see her pretty face there and sit next to her, with the added instant bond of trying to shed some extra baggage.  Her kid and my kid are in the same grade, at the same school, and are buddies.  He was actually one of the first kids my A actually considered a "friend", so he (and his wonderful mom who is raising him) will always hold a place in my heart.  For those of you who are new to my little blog, you can read about my A here.

We have two days left of this school year.  And today was a pretty exciting day.  J got to go to the Science Museum for an all-day field trip, and A had his "puberty video".

Yup.  The Puberty Video.

If you have a second, check out this awesome old sex ed video.

I remember when I was in fifth grade, I had the Menstruation Video.  A is in fourth grade, but I guess that seems appropriate, since things are happening faster these days with the young whippersnappers.

Seriously. Check this out.

Holy Cow this is the
actual booklet I had!
My menstruation video was super awesome.  It was ancient, even in the 80's.  It was a filmstrip.  Parents were invited to attend, and horror of horrors, my mother actually did.  Sheesh.  We learned that we would be entering that beautiful time soon, when our bodies would start to grow and turn into woman bodies instead of girl bodies.  We would grow breasts, and have that beautiful, wonderful thing called menstruation.  Where we would wear a super comfy plastic belt with hooks on it that would be attached to a giant maxi pad to collect all of whatever it was that would happen during this "menstruation", and that yes, we could swim during our "period"!  And participate in gym class!  And it would be beautiful and natural, and we would feel so great about it.

I had read "Dear God, It's Me, Margaret", by Judy Blume.  And all the rest of the Judy Blume books.  They were a much better education for me about all that junk that the stupid film strip.  However, unlike Margaret, I was NOT looking forward to getting my period, and my girlfriends and I did NOT sit around wishing for it and doing exercises to make our boobs grow.  (Not that I didn't try in the privacy of my own room, mind you.)  I did not get info from my mom.  I think she was avoiding that subject very carefully and just hoping that the school would give me the information I needed, and she just put a box of pads in the bathroom closet for me to find if I needed them.  Great.  I had inspected them and discovered that they did not have that belt (the filmstrip was made in the 60's, for God's sake), and that I could probably figure it out when I needed to.

That was the sum total of my sex ed.  I then discovered on my own that "menstruation" is a giant pain in the ass.  It is not beautiful, and I did not feel like a lady.  I felt grossed out by my own body, and to this day I resent that I have to get it, and can't wait to get an ablasion so I don't have to have it anymore.  The ONLY time I have been happy about it is a few times during college, and a few times after we had J.  Ahem.

And although I learned in fifth grade that I would be growing boobs, I was not fortunate enough to see them until after 9th grade.  I was flat as a board at the end of junior high, and magically blossomed during the summer to enter high school with a relatively good rack.  Sweet.  They were late, but I was happy with them.

This morning at the bus stop (yes, we have a lot of our important family discussions out there), A told me he was going to watch his "Puberty Video!" today.  So matter of fact.  I love that kid.  J asked what puberty was, and I told him that it was the time in your life when your body decides to take you from being a little kid to being a teenager, and that it takes a couple years.  I told them that they'd be starting to grow some hair in some new places eventually, like in their armpits and their privates, and once they started getting fuzzy faces they'd have to start shaving.  And that all sorts of new things start happening with their bodies, but that it's all normal, everybody goes through it, and we're here if they want to ask us anything.  I said that my body is different from theirs, so they can ask their dad if they're more comfortable, but I'll help them as much as I can if they want me to.  And they can certainly ask me about the whole girl side of things.

So A says, "we don't get to watch the girl video because they get to see how boobs grow.  But I wish I could watch that one too."  Again, refreshing honesty.

All I know is that I hope I can maintain an open line of communication through all this.  I grew up with parents who did NOT know how to talk about all this with us.  It was a generation thing, I know, but I hope I can start a new tradition of open dialog.  It's going to be tricky because of how far it is out of my comfort zone, but I think I'm doing all right so far.  I just hope I can keep my composure when the trickier questions start coming my way.

I have heard from buddies that this video introduces topics like masturbation.  Deep breath.  I can handle that, right???  Sure I can.  It's all good.