Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Poop is Fun

Dog poop: it is stinky, it is brown, it is dirty, it is germ-filled, and apparently it is also...

My husband and I go on "poop patrol" often, trying to rid our backyard of doggy poops. I can look out of the window in our computer room and see our entire backyard and can tell how well a job we have been doing. My husband will probably read this and think that I am making up lies, since he thinks that he is the only one that uses our pooper scooper. Not true. I am quite active with the scooper when he is absent from home on military duty. I feel it's more a husbandly job. :) But I do it too- just not happily.

Well, back to the fun. Yesterday, my husband had just finished scooping poops in the backyard when he ran off to a local hardware store. My two boys were very happily playing in the backyard on their play gym, shoveling sand and burying their "men". All seemed well as I watched them from the window in between peeling potatoes for dinner. About two minutes passed and their was a frantic knock on the back glass door. I glance over and see Nick waving me over. I quickly wipe my hands and walk to the window to see what was going on.

There is see Jacob holding a man. I look at Jacob's man, who as I get closer seems to have poop on his feet. Just then, the aroma begins to hit my nose.

"Oh no! Jacob...No Honey. Do not put your man in poop!"

I look around panning the yard for the pile of poop that must have been overlooked by my husband, as I grab the man from Jacob. Then, I see that Jacob has poop also on his hands and has smeared it onto the bottom of the slide. I am trying not to gag as the stench is building.

"Oh Gross! Jacob......Rrrgghh! Yuck! We don't play in the poop!"

Jacob begins to cry and cry and cry, louder and louder like I have taken away his most precious possession. It's not like I took away his firetruck or his tow truck or his semi-truck.....
I took away the poop!

I walked Jacob in the house as he was crying, snot running down his face with brown stinky remnants on his hands and under his fingernails as evidence of his actions. I put him on the step stool, helping him wash his hands with at least twenty pumps of hand soap for each hand. I wiped his face, again, reemphasized that poop is yucky, then sent him on his happy way again. Of course, then, I needed to thoroughly disinfect my hands before I could resume making dinner. Gross. I couldn't help getting my hands covered in poop too while I was trying to help Jacob.

Ah! Aren't children a blast?!

Wait....the poop: where did it come from if my husband had just cleared the yard? Well, I did some heavy duty investigating and discovered the culprit...
our dog, Rhett lying outside happily watching the boys play. It was a new poop.

In the back of my mind, I thought, poor dog, he has become a forth-class citizen since the children were born, and now he can't even poop without it becoming a fiasco!

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Fine Lines We Walk

Everyday, I walk the fine line. All of us do. Mothers, wives, girlfriends, friends, daughters,.. heck, virtually everyone walks the line. The line between good discipline and being too strict, between looking attractive to your spouse and dressing too young for your age, "choosing your battles" and being a doormat, wanting and enjoying your partner's company, but not being too needy, being honest but not dismissive to others' feelings, being smart but not a nerd, being a good worker and not a brown-noser, and the list goes on and on....

Some of these things I feel I can manage easily. Others, I sense a constant struggle and try to balance, walking ever so slowly along the fine line. Discipline is one of them.

Nicholas is a wild child. He is very sweet, but is rambunctious and unaware of the ramifications of his actions. He is just at the age that he is growing more aware of how his actions affect others, and what actions are then appropriate and which are not. It is nice to think he is reaching that level of cognition, but also difficult for him, my husband and I. For instance, Jacob has just turned two. He is completely unaware of the cause and effects of his actions. He only knows a few things, i.e. do not touch the stove or you get burned, do not put your soapy hand in your mouth or you have to eat the soap and gag.

Nicholas, however, is getting smart. He is very aware of many many things and in turn is expected to know when his action is appropriate or not. I think Nick feels these expectations are unfair because we do not have the same expectations of his brother; but, that is life, and that will not change until Jacob gets older. What Nick obviously does not know is that if he had an older brother, less expectations would be placed on him than those on his older brother. With time, he will grow to understand, but for now, it is difficult.

So, my husband and I (as other parents) walk the fine line with our children- trying to lead them in the right direction with methods that are age-appropriate and with a level of discipline that is not overbearing or mean. Trust me, I get mad at my children often, but running around screaming like a wild woman never helps. It just further escalates the stress of the situation. So, I just have to concentrate on not getting mad so that my emotions are not running the show. If I do not keep this in check, I could scare the children, constantly screaming and could make them afraid. I have to somehow show them that being imperfect is OK, but still continue to correct their actions when appropriate.

I feel the same about being too strict. If you are too strict, fear is what you instill in your children, not respect and not better actions. Children are children, they mess up, they do the wrong things or say the wrong things at the wrong times, but they continue to look to us for guidance. The best guidance is leading by example with a firm, constant, dependable hand.

The statement seems so simple, but the follow-through is not. It is an ever-lasting, never-ending, long row to hoe.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Military Sacrifices

Well, my husband just got back from one of his trips he so often takes with the military. He was "on the other side of the world", as I tell my children. We were thrilled to all pile up into the minivan yesterday afternoon, cups in one hand and some toy in the other, to go pick up Daddy from the airport. My children have been asking and waiting, and asking and waiting, for this day to arrive since he left almost three weeks ago. In the grand scheme of things, he was not gone very long. In the first three years we were married, my husband was gone more than two and a half years of it. Luckily, the long trips were when Nicholas was under two years old or before children were a part of our lives. And, the most fortunate thing of all, is that my husband returned from all of those trips safely.

I was never part of a military family while I was growing up. I did have a lot of military "brats" (as they are often referred to) as friends while I lived in Virginia Beach, VA. The Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News area (combined are also referred to as Hampton Roads) is full of military personnel and military families. I know for sure there are Navy, Marines, Army and Coast Guard families in that area. There may also be a few Air Force, but I do not know that for sure.

Not really being a part of a military family, I was not exactly aware of what sacrifices are actually made by those people and their families. Actually, while I was growing up, I never thought I would be a military wife. I didn't like the idea of my husband having to be gone so much, and really thought that most military families are torn apart by infidelity, an emotional separation from being apart, or the military member's death. Now, that I am a military wife, I cannot doubt that those things do happen; but, I really prefer to think that those situations are not the vast majority.

Besides putting their lives in danger, these military men and women leave their families, homes, and sometimes other jobs to go fight and train to fight for our country. They leave knowing that perhaps they will not return....or when they return things will not be the same. They know that there may be births, deaths, ailments, accidents, birthdays, milestones, ....LIFE happens whether they are home or not.

Separation is hard on families and relationships. Sometimes, as a military wife, it is hard to keep stable footing. There is always a trip upcoming. And really, I know that I have it easy. My husband rarely goes away for as long. Also, what he does when he is gone is not nearly as dangerous as what he used to do. We, as a family, "gear up" for when my husband is leaving, trying to mentally prepare ourselves for the changes that inevitably happen when you go from a two-parent family to a single-parent family. We deal with all of the challenges while he is gone...all the tantrums and fighting and instability issues. Then, he comes home and we deal with that stress. I figure that it must be difficult to come home also. It must be hard to leave your life, adjust to a new place and what living there involves, then be thrown back into your real home life (possibly with young children or whatever special situation). I feel for military families- going on from day to day, trying to keep life as normal as possible. Sometimes, the military person is gone so much that the "normal" for their family is when they are gone- not when they are home. Some spouses can do it. And sadly, though expected, some cannot.

I feel it takes a strong individual to be able to handle a military marriage. There cannot be, for example, a woman who is so very dependent on her husband that she can not function in everyday life without him. Now, some of these women (although it can be either gender) move closer to their own families when their spouse is deployed for the help. Maybe it is help with the children, or emotional support, or financial support, or whatever. But either way, the impact on family members of military personnel is huge; and, not all spouses can handle the separation and stress.

So, I feel that military spouses are a unique group of individuals that I am proud to be associated with. I admire them: every waiting, always wondering, and never knowing. I am proud to be a military wife and very proud of my husband- who continues to sacrifice his own life and family for the safety of strangers, as he has for the last 22 years.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Happy Mom

Today....I have once again, for the five hundred eighty-seventh time in my life, decided that I am a fat @&*! Yes, it is the same story....blahbitty blahbitty blahbitty blaaaaah! But, I always seem to have to reach the fed-up-point before I actually do anything about it and stick to it.

Back when my husband and I first got together, I reached that point. I changed what and how much I was eating, making changes in my diet that were for the most part pretty permanent. I was dedicated to working out at least 5 days a week, like a good girl and made large portions of vegetables more a part of my diet. Those two things....exercise and veggies, seem to be the key when it comes to my body. I used to try just cutting back on portion size, but found that alone, it really did not work. Sometimes, I would cut back so much that I would skip entire meals, and still, nothing lost....sometimes weight gain. How is that fair? So, I would get discouraged and more depressed. What a vicious circle!

When I finally got into a groove that I was losing weight and feeling wonderfully about myself, I got pregnant. After Nick, I did resume working out when I could, but found it more difficult to make the time. It took me longer than I had hoped, but I did lose the weight from that pregnancy. Then, came Jacob. Once again, I was a postpartum wide-bummed mommy. I was determined to get back on track, but again, found it difficult. When Jacob was 4 months old, we moved across the country, I left my promising career, and became a stay-at-home mom. The amount of stress was outrageous and I found myself making a ton more excuses to myself why I had not lost all of the weight. I still had about 12 lbs from my pregnancy with Jacob when I discovered I was pregnant with Lyla. Jacob was 7 months old. AAAGGHH!

I was NOT ready for that. But, I got over it, and we have a beautiful baby girl now. So, now that I know for sure that all of the baby-making is done, it is time for me to get back on track. Not only will I look and feel better, but I will be healthier and happier. I cannot really be happy unless I am happy with myself. So, the plan is, I will make a schedule to include exercise and really try desperately to stick to it. Without a real schedule, I will not ever make the time. The three children do keep me so busy during the day that without a plan or schedule, I am doomed. I have been trying to incorporate this for a few months now and have had some difficulty. But I HAVE to make this work. I know I will do fine with the diet part, I just have to tell myself that it is time. Then, I will pack on a big pile of green beans (plain-not cooked in fat) on my plate and a little less carbs and meat.

It is hard as a mother to try and put yourself first. Sometimes, people even criticise you for doing exactly that. But at some point, you have to make yourself a priority. When you don't, you risk losing a part of yourself. So, it's OK to say,"Everyone has to wait for me to do......"(whatever). Because in doing something for yourself, even something very small, you really gain so much. Then, you end up with even more (of you) to give. A happy mom is always a better mom.

I am sure some of you are thinking..."Oh great! Glad I tuned in to read this blog...another blog about this chick's weight problem." But, I don't care. It's my blog and I can cry if I want to! It just happens to be what is on the forefront of my mind right this moment. But don't worry, something else will be replacing it soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Snot Rags

I was going about my morning, just like every other morning at home with the children. Get up at the crack of dawn, change wet pee pee pants, turn on Playhouse Disney and sing along with Little Einsteins. We go downstairs; I make breakfast- little bagels with pineapple cream cheese, lite Dannon yogurt, and a plethora or fresh berries cut to order by me.

I decide to get Easter decorations down out of the attic. A pleasant thought...though of course, it turned into a wild frenzy of little boys tossing around bunnies and glass egg figurines which was fun to say the least. After regretting that brilliant idea, I head upstairs to start some laundry.

I go into the boys' bedroom, decide to make the beds- just trying to straighten a little. The floor is always covered with an endless assortment of little men (at least two of each)..Spiderman, Hulk, Power Rangers, Pirates, army men, garbage truck drivers, recycling truck drivers, etc. So, after imploring Nick and Jacob to get busy picking up the floor, I continue to make Nick's bed. I see a used tissue on the floor, reach to pick it up...and out of the corner of my eye, I see.....what appears to be a HUGE mountain of used tissues squished between the wall and Nick's headboard. Nice. Yucky, snotty, dried-up, sickness and germ-infested snot rags literally stacked a foot high.

I admittedly got a little upset with Nick for doing this. He is quite smart and really knows better. But, I believe that these tissues are from nose-wiping sessions in the middle of the night, so I try to hold back my annoyance. I explain what we should do with tissues from the middle of the night...stack them up on the bedside table (for rapid germ-spread there). Hey, at least I will get them in the morning and not a week later.

While trying to use a plastic hockey stick to get all of the snot rags from in between Nick's bed and the wall, I had a flash back to when I was a child:

When I was in elementary (primary) school, my mom made me lunch everyday. Each day that she made me some kind of lunch meat and cheese sandwich, I promptly ran into my bedroom, took out the sandwich, threw it in the bottom of my closet, closed my lunchbox and headed off to school. For some reason I had an aversion to lunch meat. So, everyday this continued for months and months and months(I think). I figure my room must of really stunk, but I didn't notice. One day, my mom found my stash of moldy, rotten sandwiches in a heaping pile. I remember she was so mad at me and said that she would never make my lunch again. And she didn't. Now, I look back and think how mad I would be if my children would have done that. All the money I must have wasted!

So, now, I look at Nick and think that his collection of snot rags is really not so bad; after all, it could have been stinky sandwiches.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Snowball Effect of My Thinking

Sometimes, when I worry about something, it really seems to get the best of me. Before long, I have blown the whole situation or subject out of proportion times ten. Sometimes, I think this trait is a good one, never allowing me to let my guard down. It enables me to always think ahead, perhaps being innately aware of what may happen as a direct result. Other times, the snowball effect of my thinking leads me to places too dark, that I need not visit if it is not true. It can make me worry more and send me into a tailspin of horrible thoughts.

Mothers can benefit from seeing two steps ahead. They come to realize with some experience, that two wild maniacs wrestling on the bed most times leads to someone getting hurt. They keep in mind that four-year-olds who do not want to hold hands while crossing a busy parking lot, although so much grown up, can be in very grave danger. Mothers also use this sense to watch ever so closely for signs that an illness is perhaps on the horizon, or that something just is not quite right.

While always being aware that there is something, that causes something, then causes something, and ends with something else, we as people need to keep some grasp on what is real and what is so far down the road that it really poses little threat.

Example: Your child's sniffle does not mean the flu. An illness does not mean eventual death. And that death does not mean your suicide. Therefore, your child's sniffle does not directly lead to your suicide. Now, although I suppose it could happen, it is so far-fetched that there is really no need to work yourself up about dying whenever your child sniffs.

So, if my husband is out-of-town and he doesn't answer his phone, it doesn't mean he is at a party with naked girls hanging all over him. He is probably not getting a lap dance or collecting phone numbers for future use. And when he returns, I will not catch an STD from him that will result in my eventual demise. Rather, it could have a very simple explanation. If I allow myself to always think in those terms, everything that happens will send me into a pit of worry and despair. I oftentimes have to remind myself not to go down that road. It does me no good. And, when my husband finally calls later that night, stating that his phone was not working in ABC location, I can rest assured that I did not worry myself needlessly, jumping to conclusions, and again playing my frequent role as "Chicken Little".

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Good Mom

I was going about my busy day with the children today replaying my mother saying what a good mom I am. And thinking about having heard the same from friends and colleagues. I always think....If you only saw me behind closed doors, would you think the same?

What exactly constitutes a "good mom"?

A halo?
A big beautiful hairdo and perfect apron tied in a bow?
A nice batch of chocolate chip cookies ready to come out of the oven?
A clean germ-free house?
A perfectly healthy, fat free, sugar-free, high-fiber, non-processed food, fruit and veggie filled, organic-only diet (preferably vegetarian) for both the mom and the children? (And the husband if he will do it) Never stopping at McDonalds...oh the sin!
Neatly ironed clothes hanging in the closet arranged in color groups with only sizes fitting a size 5? Oh, and they must be promptly removed from the washer and placed in the drier, then removed from the drier within say...10 minutes of being dry?
A huge smile on her face at all times, always understanding and ever-so-patient?
A perfect wife to her husband?
A college degree?(even if it really gets no use other than filling a frame in a extremely organized office)
A meticulously planned day never forgetting exercise for herself and her children?
And learning time...managing to teach her children their alphabet, numbers, letter-recognition, ability to write, color in the lines, etc.?
No TV, just classical music, but only for a few minutes a day as to not disturb the learning?

Oh, I feel I could just go on forever....

I suppose some of these are me, though sadly most are not.

These are the things I strive for, knowing that if I am not all of them, it is OK. And also realizing that if I were all of them, how different I would be. And how I unhappy I think I would be.

Really, I think that a good mom is one who tries to guide, protect and nurture her children with as little drama as possible. She does the best she can...
with heaping laundry in the hallway yet to be folded,
clean dishes in the dishwasher yet to be emptied,
stacks of mail yet to be gone through,
bottles lined up on the kitchen counter to be taken to the recycling bin (just out in the garage),
some good days, some bad days,
some happy days, some sad days,
some organized days, and some hectic days,
wrinkly shirts in the closet (at least they are in the closet),
crusty two-day-old peas lying on the kitchen floor that the dog somehow overlooked,
day-old Crystal Light lemonade once in a cup spilling onto the floor in the new minivan, the mail- some days she gets it, some days she doesn't,
hopefully no bill statements stating that she forgot to pay the previous month,
occasional screaming children hanging off the rafters because they are fighting, or fell down, or throwing a tantrum, or hungry or tired, or wet, or poopy-pants, or....anything.
Because she cannot ever be perfect. And I am her. Not perfect, but still keeping a happy, smiling, and cheerful look on my child's faces....oh....at least 3/4 of the time, I figure I am good. After all, being imperfect is OK and at some point, you have to teach your children that too.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Choosing Your Battles

As a wife, I believe the key to happiness in relationships of many kinds is the ability to choose your battles. When is the topic of conflict worth all of the inevitable crud that comes with arguing? How can you stand your ground on issues while not bitching about everything that does not go your way?

My husband and I are very different people. We always have been and always will be. Both of us see the end point, but our pathways to achieving that goal are almost always different. We have bickered and bickered about this fact and have finally settled. We can be as different as night and day, like oil and water and sunshine and darkness. But in the end, we agree. He drives fast, I drive the speed limit, but we always get there. He blares his music and I have mine at the level of background music; we both get our money's worth out of our XM membership. I care about the bottom line, he cares about every detail. Now, that's not to say that I am not detail-oriented at all, just he is more detail-oriented than I (and more than most people for that matter). His attention to detail will eventually be discussed in a future blog I am sure. But, in the issues that really matter, we always (or at least most times) see things eye to eye.

So, because there are so many differences between us, there are many conflicts. With all of the minor disagreements, is it really necessary to argue my point on every issue? This begs the questions: Does this make me a doormat? Does this make me a weak individual? Does the fact that I don't always feel the ends justify the means allow me to be bowled over by my husband's strong personality?

I found out recently that a member of our family considers me a doormat. I just find that so curious. I am someone who does not back down, someone who is not a limp noodle and really stands my ground. So, for someone to think I am a doormat really makes me realize even more that some people, even family, do not know me very well. If the end of the road is the same, how we get there does not always matter. But if it does, trust me, I will go down fighting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nick's Girlfriend

Nick is starting to refer to people as pretty, or ugly, or fat, or beautiful, etc. One day while in a local craft store, he saw a very tall woman. By tall, I mean someone taller than 5'2". Anyway, this lady was obviously a lot taller than me, so Nicholas blurts loudly, "Mommy, look at that BIG lady".

"Nicholas, that lady isn't BIG, honey, she is tall".

The woman overheard Nick, glanced over with a smile and headed out the door, luckily she had no weight problem to speak of. I looked back over at Nick who was processing the word "tall" into his vocabulary.

"Hmmm", he said, "she just looked big to me".

A few days later, we were in the grocery store rummaging through the fruit section when Nick looked up and spotted two ladies walking together with a little boy.

"Look guys, a little boy", I said to Jacob and Nick.

Nick replied with a grin from ear to ear, "Those ladies are beautiful". I smiled and thought to myself how my husband also finds Asian women very attractive. Must be in the blood.

"Yes, they are pretty, aren't they, Son?".

Finally, while planning for Jacob's birthday party, I mentioned to Nick that Grandma's neighbor's two daughters were going to come to the party. The boys were elated. Nick began jumping around all excited and said, "That one girl that lives there....uh....what is her name?"

"Well, the two girls that always come and visit us at Grandma's house are named Quincey and Nyki."

"Oh, well, that one girl is my girlfriend". After a few questions, I realized that Nick was referring to Quincey, who has dark brown long hair and bright blue eyes.

"Quincey?" I asked.

"Yes Mommy, because she is the prettiest girl in the whole wide world".

"Does she know that she is your girlfriend?", I asked.

"Well no Mommy". (Duh! Sorry!) "Are you going to tell her?"

"No, only our family knows".

"Well, if she is going to be your girlfriend, you need to remember her name", I said giggling.

I sat and thought about our conversation, "Hmph, is Mommy pretty?", I asked Nick.

"'Course you are Mommy", Nick said, smiling at me.

OK, I am good with that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Into the Darkness

When we are children, we are led into the darkness by our parents. We grasp their hand or their leg and are reassured that everything will be OK. We are comforted by that hand and feel protected and shielded from the dangers that may be hiding in the darkness.

Everyday in some way or another, we all go into the darkness. We leave our homes not really knowing if we will return. We do not really know what God has planned for our lives, but we have to trust that God's plan is supreme.

When Lyla was ill (Blog: A Living Hell 3/13/09), I had to remind myself that God's plan may not always be what I would like it to be. So, into the darkness we go trusting and believing that God is watching, protecting and holding our hand. I remember when the doctors did not think that Lyla would survive, I talked to a woman who said, "Crystall, I am sorry that God needs a new angel. And I am even more sorry that that angel that He wants is yours".

So, into the darkness I go today, taking Lyla for her six month checkup. She looks up at me and smiles, trusting me that I am not taking her into the face of danger. But I do not know for sure that I am not. She is due shots and her shots have not been ruled out as the cause of her illness back in December. Her symptoms started about five to six weeks after receiving a round of shots. I thought that the length of time that had passed between Lyla's shots and her illness was much longer than the time a reaction after shots might occur; but now, I have been told by her physician otherwise. Shots are known to potentially cause reactions that can bring about symptoms very similar to what Lyla had; and, those reactions can happen months after receiving the shot. Her pediatrician also reiterated to me how lucky we are that Lyla has recovered and how none of the physicians in her practice (there are 6) thought that Lyla would survive. Not ONE!

Having said that, I am scared. I feel sick. I do not know what will happen or if Lyla's shots even had anything to do with her illness. But, I have to trust that God's plan is in motion. I have to think like this, or I cannot stand it. For I am Lyla's protector. I am her rock, I am her comfort, I am her mother- who's hand that she grasps when she is frightened. But really, even though I am her mother, I am not sure that the monster hiding in that darkness will not also get me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jacob's Terrible Twos

Jacob is the sweetest, most gentle little boy that God has created. He has hazel eyes and a beautiful smile that will capture your heart in a flat second. He loves music, on the radio or sung by Mommy, and loves playing his guitar. Jacob loves cars, tractors, superheroes, and trucks. He knows how to count to fourteen (then skips to eighteen through twenty) and knows his alphabet. He speaks in full paragraphs, sometimes mumbling for hours when he is tired before finally closing his lips long enough to fall asleep.

My husband and I bought him a little colorful guitar for Christmas. It has six programmed songs that it plays. Included is Jacob's favorite song, "Hey Now You're A Rockstar", by Smashmouth. This song is also in one of the Shrek movies.

Well, I became fully aware of Jacob's entrance into his terrible twos when while playing his guitar and singing his song he became angry and flung his guitar across the room hitting the oven door. Then, when I looked at him in astonishment, my mouth hanging open, he poked out his bottom lip and started whaling loudly. Then he promptly ran into the hallway (still sobbing)where I have our "Bad Boy Chair" and plopped his buns down in the seat.

Now, if this were Nicholas, I could understand. But Jacob does not act like this, ever.
I am thinking that I will only see much more of this new Jacob in the following months. He just turned two a couple of weeks ago. And sadly, I feel I will be saying goodbye to my sweet Jacob and saying hello to a big crab in his place.

Little two-year-old boys are so difficult and hard to predict. One minute they can be smiling and happy, the next flinging themselves on the ground in protest. As a mother of a four-yr-old, I know this time ahead will be not only tough on my husband and I, but it will be a tough time for Jacob. He will be learning and experimenting. He will be trying to get a grasp of his emotions and learning from us and the world around him what actions are appropriate and which are not.

Unfortunately, it is a stage that everyone must go through....

Dear God, please help Jacob and his parents make it through the terrible twos and please help my little angel boy return to me as soon as possible. Thanks in advance, Amen.

Pregnancy Sucks (from blog 7/1/08)

Copied from my MySpace blog

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pregnancy sucks
Current mood:hormonal

Pregnancy sucks.

I know what you are thinking. Oh come on....it's one of the most miraculous things your body can do. It's a miracle from God...blah blah blah. Ok, whoever said those things was either male or one of those tree hugger types that finds nothing crappy about anything o'naturale. Maybe it has just been so long that you have forgotten. Actually, whoever said that was definately NOT a woman in her 34th week of pregnancy.

I am currently 34 weeks pregnant. I am a fat blob. My butt is so big that when I get out underwear they appear to be about the same amount of fabric as a typical curtain. No wonder they are so expensive. Another thing...trying to shave- I have to try and hold my breath in order to even bend over far enough to reach my legs to shave them. And shaving my bikini area- oh PLEASE! I haven't seen that vicinity of my body in what feels like years. But, letting it grow wildly happens to turn me off so much that I have had to adopt the feel and cut method. Yes, I am sure it is very dangerous, but you do what you have to do when you are pregnant I suppose. I am sure I do a less-than-beautiful job (considering I cannot reach everything) but then again....no one is looking anyway.

My breasts are ginormous. Yes, some people may feel that this is a perk, so I will go along with that for now. But, I will tell you that they are appearing to be smaller and smaller as my belly gets bigger and bigger. Truthfully, I could go on and on about all of the changes that my body has gone through since getting pregnant but it would really turn out to be such a downer. I will spare you. Let's just say that hormones suck...and leave it at that.

I am hormonal. I am trading off days as either a bitchy maniac or a blubbering lunatic. I suppose my mood may be a little better if I were not at home alone 24 hours a day with a 3 yr old and a 15 month old with no husband in site for oh.....how long now? He has been gone for about 3 and a half of the last 4 months. He will be home in two weeks, but hell, by then I will have begged someone on the street to kill me and get it all over with.

I think, above all, I really hate that I cannot sleep. Laying down is very uncomfortable. Breathing is more difficult and the heartburn is horrible. I have found that laying on my left side (like recommended by physicians), I constantly burp and feel nauseated. Laying on my right side, I have heartburn that is reminiscent of that just-puked taste in your mouth. Plus, the burn in my chest is bad enough to wake me from a deep sleep and is incurable. I still try and put out the fire with 3 extra-strength tums, but I will say this: I will never eat another Tropical Fruit flavored Tums again after this child is born.

So, in closing....I am feeling much better. I got out my hormonal rant. And to all of the o' naturale folks: I'll be right there with ya in two years when I have long forgotten just how much PREGNANCY SUCKS!

Doodlebop (From blog 5/7/08)

Copied from my MySpace blog

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Current mood: cheerful

Doodlebop,The Lucky Fish
Doodlebop and Pregnancy Hormones
Doodlebop's Lucky Day

All of which would have been very good titles for this blog.

Poor Doodlebop. He has been our very devoted (and previously healthy) goldfish. Nick's pet- not that Nick pays much attention to him, but I do. Nick would like to feed him daily, though I refuse because he often tries to feed Doodle way too much. DB, as I call him happily each morning, has been a lone survivor. We have previously had around 5 other goldfish. Each one dies within a week or two, typical I suppose of feeder goldfish. But, DB is different. He has lasted, managed to tough out living in the Reder home. We have now had him several months.

To get to the point, Doodlebop got sick about a week ago. He has been laying in the bottom of the tank, looking quite sickly. He was not eating, was not swimming.....not much acting like the Doodlebop we know. I figured the tragic end was near and told Nicholas that I felt DB was sick and not doing too well. I know that feeder goldfish do not often last very long, but I have grown attached to DB and really wanted to help him. His water was very dirty and really needed a good changing. Removing DB would put quite a bit of stress on him, so I decided against changing the water for many days. But, DB lived. Every morning I went in to Nick's room and DB was still alive. Day after day, still hanging in there, but barely.

Finally, after allowing my "mommy hormones" to kick in and worrying all night if I was doing the right thing, I talked to Rick about it. He laughed, told me how much he loved me, and asked me why I was worrying so much over a 42 cent goldfish. I am not typically one who worries about the feelings of fish much. I do not often catch myself thinking of how a lobster felt when it was being cooked for my dinner (not that I eat lobster that often). I do not worry about the feelings of trees when they are cut down, etc. Actually, now that I am on the subject, I do think about my houseplants and notice immediately when they are not looking so hot.

I know, all of this hubbub about Doodlebop sounds silly. But I was really bothered by this. I knew the probable reason for his illness/potential death and I was not doing anything to prevent it. I was just sitting idly by waiting for DB to be floating belly up. But, would he be strong enough to live either way? Well, finally last night, I went into Nick's room after he was asleep. Doodle was swimming around the tank. Slowly swimming was more than I had seen from him in a week.

That was it....I knew I wanted to change the water. So, at 10PM with Nicholas asleep less than 10 feet away, I changed Doodlebop's water. I even prayed for Doodle (as ridiculous as that sounds). Worse case scenario was that DB would die a little more quickly. He was dying slowly anyway.

Well, Doodlebop is now swimming around wildly and almost back to himself. After changing the water, fish often die within a couple of days. But at this point, if Doodlebop does die, he will die a much much happier fish. And I did my motherly duty, doing all that I could even if I wasn't sure of the outcome. Now, you can't wipe the smile off of my face every time I glance over at the happy and lucky fish we call Doodle.

Nicholas (From blog 4/29/08)

Copied from my blog on MySpace

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Current mood: adored

A little about my oldest son:

Nicholas....ahh....how can I describe him? He is wild. He is smart. He is a breath of fresh air. He is exhausting and stubborn. He is wonderful. He is sweet and kind. He is devilish and wicked. He is imaginative, inventive, and rambunctious. He is my handsome, blonde-haired, blue-eyed sweet heart. He can make me want to hug and kiss him one second while driving me completely insane the next.

I think he is craving alone time with me, although I cannot always give it to him. I also remember back when I could have all the time in the world with Nick, snuggling him in my arms whenever I or he wanted. Now, with Jacob, he has to share Mommy-like it or not. He misses Rick terribly. When Rick is home on weekends, he takes Nicholas off on daily outings to give me a break from at least one of the boys. Now that Rick has not been home, Nick is becoming more jealous and is beginning to act very dramatic over very small things. He is very much a drama king, but even this trait is getting a little exaggerated since Rick has been gone.

Our only time together alone is about 20-30 minutes in the evening after Jacob goes to sleep. I climb up on my bed with Nick, who every night is watching a small excerpt of a movie before his bedtime. He smiles and inevitably ends up on my lap. That is part of our routine. We watch a little of a movie of his choice, mainly movies like Nemo, Narnia, or Meet the Robinson's. Then, we brush teeth, say prayers and sing songs before bed.

I taught Nick to spit tonight. Ha ha! I have been trying to get him to spit out his toothpaste for quite a while but tonight we practiced and made major improvements. It is not good for children to swallow fluoride toothpaste, so I am glad to make even the smallest amount of progress in this area. Rick was disappointed and felt like he should be the one to teach spitting. Trust me: I agree and would have loved that. Hm, oh well. I guess that's one of the many things Rick misses out on.

After brushing teeth, Nick said his prayers. When Rick and I decided to introduce Nicholas to prayers, we tried to keep it very simple. We started saying the "Now I lay me down to sleep..." prayer at bedtime. Pretty soon, Nick knew it and began saying it on his own. He seemed to enjoy saying it and was very excited when I bought him a "Prayer Bear" at Walmart that also said the prayer. The bear had a modification to the prayer omitting "If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take" and replaced it with, "Angels watch me through the night, until I wake in the morning light". Now, really the only reason I am going through all of this information here is that as of three days ago, Nick has made his own modifications. "...Angels watch me through the night, until I wake with a policeman's light". Then he giggles wildly. Ahh, Nicholas. I figure it is not really worth correcting. His changes don't really change the true meaning of what he is doing, and besides, to me there is nothing wrong with puting your own little spin on your prayers. Prayers are between you and God, not anyone else. I feel, God knows exactly what Nick means.

A Rough Day (From 4/17/08)

Copied from my blog on MySpace

Thursday, April 17, 2008
A Rough Day
Current mood: bitchy

Tell me: have you ever tried to vacuum with a one year old trying to sit on the vacuum as you push it? I know, tell him to get off. He won't. He is screaming to sit on the vacuum. You don't want to run him over. You would hate for him to just sit and cry. Hell, he won't even do that. He is chasing me, anywhere I go, trying to climb on the vacuum. He is like a rabid dog foaming at the mouth with his sites on the vacuum. I try distracting him...no. I try getting Nicholas to play with him...won't work. So, with the job half-assly done, having given my most dedicated attempt for the last 30 minutes or so, I give up.

Or, have you ever tried to keep your cool when while mopping feverishly your child is behind you dumping his milk all over the part of the floor you just finished? Better yet, guess how infuriating it must be to have your child sling his bowl of spaghetti all over that just-cleaned floor about 10 minutes later. RRRGGHH! Then of course the dog wanted to come over and "cruise for some crumbs". The only thing he does is make mud on my kitchen floor. He licks all over the floor trying to capture every little morsel of food....even morsels from days ago that somehow he has missed. Then with the floor wet with slobber, he slips and slides all over it with me chasing after him. Nicholas, now appearing to be the angel in the group is quietly sitting eating his snack, dropping thousands of crumbs on his lap. Of course, these crumbs will inevitably end up ...guess where? On the floor! I know that keeping a floor clean for even 10 minutes is very difficult in a house with 2 young boys and a dog, but geesh....sometimes I guess you just wish for a miracle.

This is just a small sample of my day. Heck, I think all of this stuff happened in about 20 minutes. I do this for 18 hours every day. Actually, I am not off even at night though. I am still dealing with about 2 wake-ups per night from Jacob, my non-sleeping sweet angel boy.

Sometimes I just really need a break. Is it so much to ask for God's sake? Luckily I have one coming in about 2 years. I figure by then the new baby may be old enough that she will start getting easier. I will have to plan something special.

The Pee Pee Man

Yesterday, bright and early my two sons came running into my room to wake me up. It seems that no one can sleep past the time when the sun just starts to peek over the horizon. It has been so since Nicholas was born, now Jacob also does it and they are quickly trying to train Lyla to do the same. With no care in the world at 6:30 AM they run around, stomping with each step, screaming wildly, pretending to chop each other's legs off with swords. Nice visual huh? Well, what do you expect? They are boys.

Sir Nicholas and Sir Jacob (refusing to dress for the job)

Well, what made yesterday's morning events different than any other morning was that when I dragged my bum out of bed and went into their room to open their blinds, Nick, Jacob and I stood in amazement peering out the window. As the blinds slowly opened, there in the backyard of the home behind us was a man peeing.

Now, I know it is his backyard. But really, you should have heard me trying to explain that one.

"Mommy, what is that man doing?"

"Uh, Nicholas, he looks like he had to go potty."

"What?! In the back yard?!"

" Yes Honey....I guess some people do that. Not you. And not Jacob. But some people do that. We don't go potty in the backyard, do we?"

"No, we go on the potty!", Nick exclaimed.

Sheew! The more I can make that man's actions seem inappropriate, the less likely that my children will decide to try it out. I continue to wonder why the man just could not have made it to the bathroom. What, is he a two year old?

Then, I remembered the first week that I moved to Las Vegas. I was sitting in my car at a red light, pulling out of the YMCA parking lot where I had taken the children to play at the park. Across the street was an apartment complex. Up in the window of the apartment overlooking the stoplight was a man, naked in the window, playing with himself. What a sicko. I sat with my jaw hanging on the ground. At least I did not have to explain that to the children.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nick- The Humper

Nicholas is a humper. When I say a "humper" I mean, a HUMPER. Nick pumps his poor little stuffed puppy until beads of sweat are forming on his upper lip and on his back. He routinely removes his jammies because he just gets so hot.

About two years ago, I noticed that at nap time and at bedtime Nicholas, then aged two, had started to hump his "me me" (his blanket) and/or his puppy (stuffed dog). He would actively go at it for sometimes up to a half hour before happily falling asleep. It is like he uses it to relax or wind down. Sweating, pumping, flutter kicking, with a look of pure satisfaction on his face. Initially I was a little concerned. Is this normal? Is he just so horny that he can't stand it? (Sorry, I can't think of a better word) What the heck?! He must have testosterone levels through the roof!

Then I did a little research and read that it is considered perfectly normal. Well, I was glad to hear that but seriously, when does this stop? Now, two years later he continues to do it. Also, several months ago, my husband and I decided to move our two boys into the same room. Now, Jacob watches his brother humping. Weird. It gives me the creeps to think of Jacob watching it all. Blaaaagghh!

My husband knows about Nick's humping; we have had many brief conversations about it. I always end up thinking that my husband and I will have to watch Nick like a hawk when he gets to be a teenager; after all, look at him at age four. God help me!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Boogie

This morning while loading the children in the car, I was buckling Jacob's seat belt when he suddenly says, " Mommy, look at this!". I look up and away from the seat belt and there he is sticking out his tongue. A green....uh....something was on the end of it.

"Jacob, what is that?" He didn't answer, still sticking out his tongue.
I repeated myself, "Jacob, what is that? Is that a boogie?"

He quickly pulls in his tongue and smiles very big. "Yeeeessss!"

"Ewwwww. Jacob, Honey, we don't eat our boogies. That's yucky sweetheart. Gross!"

His huge smile faded and gave way to a big bottom lip sticking out. His lip began to curl under and boom, he began sobbing. Huge tears were running down his face and I could see the boogie, now stuck to his front tooth.

I felt instantly horrible. After all, a few boogies here and there won't kill him.

From the back seat Nicholas kicks in. "Mommy, Jacob was eating his boogies?"

"Yes, Nick."

"He is being just like a big boy named Nicholas!", He exclaimed happily.

Great, I thought. Now I have not one but two boogie-eaters. And what's worst, I have a senior boogie-eater egging on a little boogie-eater.

So, back to Jacob...
I felt bad because for that instant, he seemed proud of himself for having that boogie on his tongue. And, I crushed his boogie-eating dreams.

I am sure that is only the tip of the iceberg as far as dream-crushing goes. Hopefully though, in crushing those dreams I can attempt to lead these sweet and precious children of mine in the right direction. And then, when they are old enough that I am no longer there to lead them, they will make the right decisions on their own. (And not eat the boogie)

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Living Hell

In late November 2008 my daughter Lyla, then about 3 months old, began having a problem eating. Up until then, she had been a very vigorous eater. She was exclusively breastfed and seemed to enjoy every minute of it. Even when she was only hours old, she loved to eat and had very few issues latching on. I evaluated everything, changed soaps, changed feeding positions, monitored changes that may have happened in my diet or exercise level...everything that I could think of that could be affecting Lyla's desire to eat. Nothing was changed- nothing was helping and nothing was different than it had always been. But she was growing more and more disinterested in eating and additionally growing weaker by the day. I tried feeding her with a bottle, tried feeding her formula, I tried everything and still nothing was working. I was worrying myself like crazy and growing tired of being a detective. My mind could think of nothing else. Lyla's condition had continued to decline. I had to take her in to see a doctor-I could do no more and was growing more worried.

After one ER visit and two doctor's visits, Lyla had lost three of her fifteen pounds. Finally on the second visit to her pediatrician's office, Lyla was seen by another physician in her pediatrician's group. This physician looked at Lyla, lifted her arms and released them....they fell to the bed. She lifted Lyla's legs, they also fell. Lyla was practically motionless. She had no strength, no muscle tone, no Lyla left in her. She was floppy when held, like holding a rag doll. Lyla was weaker at that moment, than when she was first born. She was not crying any more, she was just nothing. She had become expressionless. No smiles, no nothing. Lyla's eyes were dark when they were normally the brightest of blue. She was different, and until then only I could see it.

I stood there, holding my breath waiting for the doctor to tell me that Lyla was just fine, she must have a virus. The doctor looked at me sadly. Just then, all the air I had been holding released and I felt tears welling up in my eyes. I was worried, but most of all I knew that something was wrong all along and was relieved to finally have someone else agree. The doctor did not tell me much. She told me it was not my fault. That what she suspected was wrong with Lyla was there all along. Lyla had been born with it and now, I needed to get her to the hospital immediately.

Over the next three and a half weeks my family and I endured the worst experience of my life. The physicians monitoring Lyla had little information though the testing was endless. They collected many stool samples, drew blood work sometimes several times a day. My poor baby, Lyla had very little veins to choose from upon her hospital admission and the longer she remained there, the worse they got. They did an MRI on her brain and she had a spinal tap. I was finally told that one of Lyla's physicians suspected Infant Botulism and I was questioned endlessly about Lyla eating honey. Although she had never eaten honey, her symptoms seemed to point in that direction. I did research online from my phone while in the hospital and was glad to read that these cases can be life threatening but the children recover over time with treatment, monitoring and hospitalization. I was glad and hoped for Infant Botulism, not because it was fun or easy on Lyla, but because there was, in most cases, a full recovery.

Then on Christmas Eve, about ten days into her hospitalization, one of Lyla's physicians told me that they no longer believed Lyla had Infant Botulism. Upon examination, Lyla did not present with some of the cranial nerve palsies that are a tell-tale sign of Infant Botulism. The physician told me that Lyla most likely had a rare chromosomal abnormality called Werdnig Hoffman disease. He further told me that babies with this disease most often die before their first birthday. They never sit up, they never crawl, they do not ever recover. My heart just ....broke. I could not breathe. I just stared at him and felt a knot building in my throat. I tried to swallow, but it would not go away. And in that instant, I experienced the greatest pain I have ever felt in my life.

I sat in that hospital room, never leaving. Day in and day out, looking, hoping for something- some little movement, some smile, some something that would convince the physicians that they were wrong. I hoped. I prayed like I have never prayed before. I have not been a stranger to prayer, but these prayers were different. These were all the hope that I had. I had nothing else. Nothing that I could do would change this outcome. There was nothing. So, I turned to God.

When life seems at its worst and you are in the middle of a huge storm...the only thing that is never changing, never swaying and always there is God. I believe that now, as I did before Lyla's illness and as I will continue to believe.

I could not function. Why Lyla? Why my little girl? What is it that really happens when you die? What will happen? Will she suffer? Will she be in pain? How can I help her through something that I fear for myself? How can I make this better on her when I cannot fathom my own death, let alone hers? I tried to bargain with God, although I know it is wrong. I wanted to go instead of her. I wanted so much for this not to be her fate. And then, I asked myself with tears rolling uncontrollably down my face, what do I dress her in if I know she is going to meet Jesus? Until then, she had very few things that I would deem appropriate.

I prayed all that Christmas Eve night, there alone in the room, just Lyla and me. I held her hand and brush her soft white-blond hair to the side as she slept soundly. I thought back to when I first found out I was pregnant with her. I remembered how that day, I walked down the stairs sobbing, holding the positive pregnancy test in my shaking hand, looking at my husband who was sitting across the room. My husband smiled; but, I was horrified. Jacob, my youngest son, was only 8 months old and I was not ready to have another child. I was still getting used to having two. I felt guilty looking at Lyla there sleeping in that hospital room. Now, at that moment, more than anything, I wanted my little girl.

The next morning I awoke to the normal ruckus of the hospital. Nurses in and out. Housekeeping sweeping and mopping the floor, etc. I wandered around the room with tears in my eyes most of the day. I said a couple more prayers. Then, the door opened and it was a thin white older lady. She introduced herself and squeezed my hand. She was yet another doctor, the third neurologist to see Lyla. Yet, she was different. She did her own evaluation of Lyla, most of which I had seen others do. But, she turned and said, your daughter does NOT have Werdnig Hoffman disease. She pointed out small details about Lyla that made her question the diagnosis. This physician had extensive experience with these types of patients and was quite sure that Lyla's case was not one of Werdnig Hoffman. Then, the woman reached out and hugged me. She left and I was silent. Sitting, wondering....

Over the next week, Lyla began moving. Not big movements, but she was improving. One of the pediatricians came into the room, saw Lyla and told me that her improvement was the very last thing that he had suspected would happen. He told me something I will not forget, "If Lyla makes a full recovery, go play the lotto".

A week later we were on the way home. Lyla still had an NG tube in place for me to feed her should she stop eating again, but her status was looking up.

We walked into the house, the boys screaming and hanging off the rafters like wild hell children and I didn't mind one bit. It was good to be home.

Lyla has continued to improve and is now considered a perfectly normal little girl. She is seven months old and sits unassisted, eats jarred foods, tries to feed herself with her spoon, and plays wildly in her play gym, rocking it to and fro.

All testing returned negative results and Lyla's illness continues to remain a mystery.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Plethora of Poop

Tonight while I was bathing my baby daughter Lyla, Nicholas, my oldest son (age 4) informed me that he was going to go poop. He was in the bathroom downstairs. Fine, I thought. Jacob, my other son (age 2), wanted to go into the bathroom with him. Fine. Maybe Jacob would take a few notes and see how it's done. Jacob will be potty training soon.

Many moments passed with no sound from downstairs from my boys. I shout down at them, asking Nicholas if he is almost done. "Yeeeeaaaas!", he shouts. All of the sudden I hear frantic screaming. It is Nicholas. Oh my gosh! What is wrong? What has happened downstairs while I am upstairs with Lyla? I knew I shouldn't have trusted them being alone.

Extreme sobbing follows. By then, I am trying to grab Lyla out of the tub, find somewhere safe to sit her quickly and rush downstairs to find out what is happening. Finally, Nick screams, "Mommy, I have poop on my pants and on my leg!" Oh my gosh...." Nicholas, just wipe the poop off of your leg and grab your pants and bring them upstairs." After some protest and frantic terrified screaming, here comes Nicholas, poop still globbed on his leg. Yuck. He is obviously so freaked out that he did not wipe the poop off himself. I walk with him in the bathroom, help him wipe off the stray poop and throw his pants in the wash. Crisis diverted. I thought. Then, covering his mouth, very quietly Nicholas whispers that "just a little poop dropped off on the carpet". What? Eww. OK, well, I better get down there and get this cleaned up. I go down the stairs, scanning the area for wild poops. Then, on the fifth step from the floor is the poop. Not a little. A plethora of gooshy brown poop. A large heap not piled...but smooshed into the carpet. Lovely. Gag. I grab the bottle of carpet cleaner, clean the poop and run back upstairs to resume getting the children in the bath.

Now, this is just one of the gross things that parents deal with, I know. But, it is also one of the things that [while gagging] I do happily because I am my children's mother. I care for them, I mold them and I protect them. I lead them to be productive citizens, to be caring, loving, independent, successful individuals. I try to instill in them my morals and values. Mostly, I love them.


OK, well here is my first attempt at the blahbitty blahs.

Facebook: I just got onto Facebook last week. Yes, like millions of others. Finding friends, chatting with friends, spending hours trying to find nice looking pictures of yourself that you don't mind the whole world seeing. It has been fun. Interesting, but fun.
So, what is my dilemma?
Well, I found myself having a bit of a hard time dealing with all of the people that suddenly come "popping up" on my Facebook page. My ex-husband, his wife, all of the old friends of ours from way way back when. His parents, pictures of his children....his happy life lying there spread before me. I knew it was happening. I knew it was going on across the country from where I fled many years ago after college to start my life anew. But, it has never been so...in my face. Suddenly, I was being bombarded by pictures of my ex-husbands best friends, seeing evidence of their new lives. It was emotional. But why? If I knew all of it was happening, just as it was for me, why do I worry about it? It has been over ten years. People's lives change. They grow. They grow up. They become new people. Just like me. So why was I allowing myself to be so bothered by even the thought of being in contact with any of these people? Sure, I didn't expect to actually talk to my ex-husband, but his friends....why can I not get all weird about this?

Well...after many days of tossing and turning in bed, discussions with my husband, tears over the phone with my mother, I came to the realization that perhaps I have been hiding.
Little did I know I must have been doing exactly that: hiding from my old self. The old me that caught her (ex)husband making out with some girl in a dark alley that late cold night in February in Richmond, VA. That same girl that power-walked around the block praying for God to forgive her for not trusting her husband when he was "out with friends for a while", looking, stalking out that girl's house that I knew he was with- feeling like a deranged lunatic, a sad piece of work, a lost cause, a horrible mistrusting wife. I cried the whole way walking around that block, in a not-so-great part of town at 3 in the morning alone. Surely at that point, I didn't even care if it was dangerous or if the whole idea was just a really bad one. You see, I had given up me. Given away every part of me to this boy. And that is exactly what he was at the time, a boy. He was always insisting that our problems were from my self esteem issues. Perhaps in the end, they were. But, in the beginning, I gave him the world.

J (that's what I will call him here) was a heavy guy back in high school. I didn't remember ever seeing him when some people approached me way back then telling me that he liked me. I was cute, confident, somewhat well-known, but I did not trust the boys I was meeting in school. They all seemed to be either interested in drugs or interested in sex, neither of which I wanted with anyone at the time. So, one day I finally met that guy who's friends approached me. He was nice. He was into art and music and tennis and the beach and all the things that I was. No, I guess he didn't "look" the part, but I didn't care. He was nice and seemed genuine and I liked that. The years past, we got married, much too young to even know who we would become. But, we didn't care. All J and I knew was that we loved each other. Isn't that all that really matters?

J was social. He was every one's best buddy. Even strangers on the street were his long-long best friend. He was adored by just about anyone. And, the fun-loving girl I once was just somehow faded away. Maybe overshadowed by the guy that everyone liked, or maybe everyone loved. And I was just there. I supported him, I loved him. Soon, he decided he was tired of being that fat guy, so he lost weight. He lost a ton of weight and all of the sudden was that cute guy that everyone liked. And with time, I gained weight, somehow lost in all of the hubbub of being a good wife, dealing with the ups and downs of growing up and going to college. And I think, I just fizzled away. J noticed. The more I was not me, the more he didn't really care to be with me. I was boring, unexciting. After all, he had a ton of friends that were always ready for a party, ready to jump in with all the fun. J had taken up mountain biking to help him stay in shape. Although I wanted to spend time with him, it really wasn't my thing the way it was his. So, he spent time with friends, doing that, or other things, or anything. Soon, I was just the girl sitting on the couch. Getting chunkier and still not realizing just how unhappy I had become. I used to be athletic, that had gone. I used to draw and paint, gone. I used to have real aspirations. None. I once had friends of my own, also gone.

So, needless to say, when I caught J making out with the girl in the dark alley that night, I was not surprised. I was not me. I was not who he had fallen in love with. I was someone else. Someone who was trying and trying to being what I thought that he wanted, but was nothing like ME. We divorced some time later. I continued with college as did J.

We moved on with our lives and created new ones.

After the alley incident, I was a complete mess. I was lost. Who was I anyway? I had no friends. They were all J's. I had about 50 lbs of chunk on my ass. So, I did what every other girl with horrible self esteem does: look for men to pump it up. In a blur of many years I had many booty calls and one night stands, ugh...what a mess. And with every one I just sat hoping that someone would like me. Well, I got good at it. I found that I had a personality that could get just about any guy, at least to the bed. I went out. I liked to go dancing at clubs and met several girl friends that also liked it. We went out, and I really considered a good night one that ended with having met a guy. Sure, drool was often dripping from his mouth as he would awaken the next morning looking at me and mumbling something about having too much tequila. Well, that was only once. Ha ha...man. I didn't care though. At the time.

Through all of those years, being lost and slowly finding myself, I made the worst decisions. My life was a mistake waiting to happen. I did finish college. Now, I am not sure how. I moved to Savannah, GA shortly after graduating and started making a few more mistakes there. Then, I met my future husband, in a horrible tail spin of his own, together we saved each other.

Now, ten years later I sit here now typing about my old life back in Virginia Beach and Richmond while my children lie sleeping in their rooms- two boys, one girl. And I think about them and my husband and my life and thank God it has turned out.

Now, back to Facebook. The reason came to me that I am ashamed of the mistakes that I made, the crap I put up with from J, and the mess that I made of my life way back then. These Facebook people knew me then, they know all of my skeletons. They know my biggest mistakes and looking at their faces on their Facebook profiles made me want to run under the closest rock.
But really, I shouldn't feel that way. I have come far. I am now who I feel I am supposed to be. A loving and supporting wife that also has a backbone. That stands up for herself and doesn't let herself be run over. Someone who does not stand idly while life passes her by and someone who does not let herself be overlooked by those who are supposed to love her the most. Now, I realize that I am important. I am someone. And I deserve to be happy and have someone else to make happy without having to lose herself in the process.

So, to the Facebook friends that are creeping out of the woodwork to hang a mirror in front of me reminding of me of all of my imperfections, I am changed. I am better. And I am one hell of a wife and mother. Not that you guys care. Not that you guys are even thinking bad things about me. After all, we all made mistakes back then. And, I know all of your skeletons too.