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Monday, June 29, 2009

The good enough mother

I have read about this whole good mother/bad mother/SAHM/WAHM/WOHM thing for weeks now on the Internet. Some of you have discussed it and beautifully, I might add. It all fascinates me, this thought of what a good mother is supposed to be. I've pretty much ignored it, because honestly, I know I am a good mom. I also know I am a bad mom. In my world you can be both.

Today, after reading Mom 101's post about type B mom's, I can't seem to get this subject out of my head. I said this in Liz's comments and it is completely true: On my best day, I am only a B- mother.

But who says that is a bad thing? What makes a mom a perfect mom? Whose opinion matters about that, except your children's? We all think we are being judged and sometimes we are. I know I've been judged, many a time. However, I'm sure I think I am being judged way more than I probably am. Maybe a B- mom isn't such a horrible thing.

We all share on the Internet what we want too. This was something that Mom 101 was saying in her post. We tell each other what we choose to tell each other. Some are more honest than others. We are given a glimpse at each others lives, because we choose to share about it in this public space. It's only part of the story really. A small part for most of us.

Let me try this honesty thing for a second.

I, for the record, have never breastfed my children. Not because I see anything wrong with it (in fact, I find it to be beautiful), but because it wasn't something I felt I could do. I was a young mother, maybe that has something to do with it, maybe not. It just wasn't something I choose to do.

I sent my daughters to daycare at seven weeks old. I worked fourteen hour days sometimes in the early years of their lives. I know what it's like to work full time and wish I was at home with my kids. I also now know what it's like to be at home all the bloody time and wish I was elsewhere. I'm not sure that I'm good at either of it honestly.

My kids watch too much TV; they eat too much junk food; I consider french toast a dinner**; my son hangs out playing with spoons and Tupperware lids on my bed, while I play on the Internet; and some days I go and buy everyone new underwear, just because I don't want to do laundry.

My kids have ridden their bikes without a helmet a time or two because I got tired of the argument. They have gotten sunburned a few times because I was dumb enough to not put sunscreen on them. We do not have a safety net around our trampoline. I have yelled at them for having meltdowns and then realized I don't remember the last time they ate. My kids are not friendly when hungry, much less logical.

Somedays I yell at them, because of nothing. I regret those days. Other times they need to be yelled at and I let it go, to try and make up for the days where I yell too much.

My seven year old has way too much knowledge of the Internet and how to use it. My almost five year old can take the parental restriction off of the cable, without even trying. They both have iPods. They know what the menus at most restaurants have on them without needing to look anymore.

My girls are the most unscheduled kids in the neighborhood. In fact the only thing they've been scheduled for this summer is swimming and last week, they told me they just wanted to be able to just swim, not learn anything. So? I took them off of the list for the next set of lessons. There is no ballet, no gymnastics and no t-ball this summer. I should do those things, I am sure, but I just can't seem to make myself sign them up, because truly, then I'd have to get out of the house and take them.

I worry about all of this and much, much more. I wonder what my kids will remember from this time period of their lives. If they will remember that I took them to Disney and the beach this summer; that we slept in, stayed up late and went to the park every few evenings to swing in the dark. Will they remember me reading Harry Potter to them each night? Will they remember Sunday mornings spent in Jammies, having wii bowling and golf tournaments? Or will they remember that this was another summer where I was short with them too often, where I cried too much, where I sent them outside to play too often.

I wonder if they spend too much time at my BFF Kate's house. I wonder if they will one day prefer her, because she is that mom. The mom who does art projects. The mom who bakes things. The mom with all the patience of a saint. I am not that mom, although I adore that she is. I am thankful for her every single day. Is it okay that my kids spend so much time with my best friend? It has to be, because that's the way it is right now.

There is no rule book. They didn't come with an instruction manual. Trust me, I looked. And who says a B- mom is not enough? Who gets to make that judgement call? Who says a C mom isn't good enough? Because lots of days, I am only a C mom. A solid C even, no plus sign attached.

Some days I think my kids are the amazing people they are despite me. Some days I think it might be in spite of me. On occasion I think, dam I am doing something right.

My girls are kind to friends, strangers, animals and especially their family. They think highly of themselves and each other. Self esteem: they both have it. Self doubt? Yes, they have that too, but a lot less then I did at their ages. They are honest, strong, brave and inquisitive. They are everything I could of hoped for in daughters and everything I hope their brother gets too.

We all have days where we think we are horrible at this parenting gig, right? Those who say other wise are lying threw their over whitened teeth.

I? Am a good mother and also a bad mother. Maybe, I am the good enough mother. But that has to be okay too.

** Okay, here is another thing. We say things on the Internet, then realize that even in a post where we are being brutally honest, we choose to fib a bit. The truth is, my dinner default idea is currently cereal. I stole the french toast thing from my lovely friend Liz (also know as @elizzieh), because it sounded better than saying my family currently lives on cereal. French toast is actually her default dinner, not mine. Liz, who I have to thank for um everything, was kind enough to read this and not yell at me about stealing her idea. In fact had I not brought it up, she is so awesome, that she may never have said a word. See? This honesty thing is hard.

Friday, June 26, 2009

For Meghan

The lovely and amazing Meghan at AMomTwoBoys has this amazing ability to be there for the for the entire Internet. If you see that something was planned in the blogging world for someone in need, she generally has her hand in it. She runs like seventeen (am possibly counting wrong) websites. She is the shit. In a good way. The best way in fact. She is sweet and funny and the kind of friend, we should all be lucky enough to have. I adore her. So today I thought I'd see if I could maybe help her in some small way.

That beautiful boy up there is Meghan's son Zach (isn't he freaking adorable? I want to eat him up), who is having surgery on both of his eyes on Monday. It is a routine surgery, I mean if you are an eye surgeon. But it is scary. Meghan is scared, as all of us would be. The thought of having someone put your 22 month old baby under to do anything to them is scary, every parent knows that. But after what happened to Maddie, Meghan (and all of us) know that nothing in life is certain. Now it's even scarier than it would have been.

I can't tell Meghan not to be scared. If I thought it would help, I'd tell her a million times, but I know it wouldn't work and it just make her want to kick me at BlogHer. I can't tell her I wouldn't be scared, because I would be. I can tell her that Zach will be fine, great even, but I can't promise her. And unfortunately because I've never actually met the woman and I live oh about 1,200 miles away, it's not like I can give her a hug and some wine and tell her it's gonna be okay.

I thought I'd do the next best thing, I'd write a whole post for her.

And maybe, just maybe, this will help in some small way. Because here's the deal: I've had this surgery. The exact same surgery that Zach is having on Monday. On both eyes.

I was three months the first time my parents took me to an eye specialist. They knew that by then, I shouldn't be looking at my nose all the dang time. That doctor, told my parents I'd never see and that I couldn't be helped. My dad was livid and called a friend of his whose dad was a surgeon, who directed them to an eye surgeon at UCLA. This guy told my parents he could help. By nine months old, I was wearing an eye patch. Little baby pirate Issa. Basically the muscles in my eyes didn't really work, or as I like to say, they were lazy and bored. The eye patch was supposed to help strengthen one eye, make it work, because it wasn't doing a darn thing, except staring at my nose all the time. The other eye was better, but not great. I wore the patch for months, but it didn't really help anything.

Then they tried glasses. The cutest little glasses anyone has ever had. I had glasses from fourteen months old, on. They thought I wouldn't keep them on, that I'd always want them off. But you know? When you can one day see after most likely not being able too, I guess you decide you kinda like that, even as a toddler.

The glasses helped, but it wasn't a long term solution. They had to do surgery. Back then, which was in 1983, they waited until you were three to do this surgery. The theory was, maybe your eye muscles would suddenly learn to work in that time frame. Which sounds funny to me now, but whatever. So I was about three years old and a week when I had the surgery.

I remember it. Not the surgery obviously, but the before and after. I remember walking into the hospital with my parents. I remember putting on a little gown; drinking some grape tasting syrup and watching some Wiley E. Coyote on TV. Then I remember being pissed off at my mom because she wouldn't give me any juice. That was after. That's it, that's all I remember. Well that and getting to pick out a stuffed animal in the gift shop on the way out. Oh and needing to wear sunglasses any time I was outside for a few weeks afterwards.

To me it was simple and no big deal. That's not however what my mom would say. She was scared, as any mother would be. But you know, I was three.

Without the surgery as a child, I am sure I would not be able to see very well. I have been told this by every single eye specialist I have seen as an adult. I would not be able to drive, see the words on this computer screen or be able to tell you each line, freckle and dimple on my children's faces. That surgery changed my life. One guy called it a miracle that I could see at all.

Meghan, I know this doesn't really help you. It doesn't take away the fear. But I can't do that. You know I would if I could. The only thing that will do that, is it being over and you taking him home. This I know.

Also for you, I am putting up pictures. Pictures of me as a child. The before and after shots. Just so you can see the difference. A few show how bad my right eye was. A couple of my rad glasses, when I was fifteen months old and one from a few years after so you can see how straight my eyes were/are. Ignore the large 80's glasses in the last one. My mother swears I picked them out myself. After the surgery I didn't have to wear glasses until I was seven years old. But my vision is bad as well as the muscles being bad and I've worn glasses every since. I don't really know any different, so it's not a big deal to me. Most of the time, you can't see any difference in my eyes, except that my right eyelid is a tiny bit lower than the left. Also, when I am extremly tired, my right eye still gets a bit lazy and looks at my nose.

But just know my friend, that my heart and prayers will be with you until it's done and you are taking Zach home on Monday after the surgery. In fact, this post will stay up here until that time as well. For you and for Zach.

FYI - All photos of me were scanned out of a scrapbook my mom made. Quality is iffy. The worse eye one is the second pic. Click on it for a close up. Truly it was bad.

The photos of Zach were stolen, with permission, from Meghan.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nine Months


This morning your sister Morgan came and woke me up at 7:36am. I was shocked that you had been so kind as to sleep in that long. No such luck buddy. Although your sister was kind enough to let me sleep, as she'd gone in and gotten you and given you a bottle and basically followed you around for an hour. Today she is my hero and I paid her accordingly.

Of course, I ignored the fact that she came to get me, because she was tired of you, but whatever. She's seven, so I'm just glad she was willing to play with you for an hour. She super-dup loves you. You and she were both alive and you hadn't managed to completely destroy the house, so that was a plus.

Darling boy of mine, you are very destructive. Your sisters were too, but in way different ways. Given 22 seconds, you will completely destroy a plant. You overturn the dogs food and water bowl if given any unsupervised second in the kitchen. You can take every book off of a shelf in less than a minute and I've yet to find a way to keep you out of the DVD's. Don't think you don't have toys, because you have dozens. You just seem to find them all extremely boring, save for two matchbox cars of Aidan's, that you crash into each other all the time. Oooommmm you say, as you crash them into each other. I assume this is boom crash, which is what Aidan says all the time. You also think Tupperware and plastic spoons are the best thing ever invented. And remotes, which I swear to god you must be baby Houdini, because no matter where we put them, you can find them and take the batteries out before I even know what you've got.

You are all boy. We have, in the last few weeks given you an official, Baby Transformer Name, which is Destructor. It fits. Perfectly.

You stand against the couch, pulling yourself up by your fat baby fingers, but haven't tried to walk at all. Thank freaking god, because I am not used to the crawling thing, which you've been doing for months, so walking is out of the question. Don't do it.

You have like a gazillion teeth, or nine, but who's counting? They all seem to have come in at once and sleeping has been an issue the past month. You will eat just about anything. Baby food is becoming lame, you prefer real food. But you aren't that picky, you just want it now. In fact, you wanted it three minutes ago. You also eat pretty much anything you find on the floor and I'd like to tell you this makes me sweep more, but it just doesn't. Son, you are the third kid. Enjoy the carpet fuzz. Sorry about that, but mama doesn't think it's a big deal anymore.

In the past month, you have found your voice. Meaning you screech all the time. Then you laugh at yourself, because you? Are the funniest guy you know. Then you look around to see where your cheering squad is, because you are used to having someone clap for you. I fear for your preschool teachers one day.

You have also started talking. We had this conversation this morning:

Me: Bubs what does a duck say? You: kak kak

Me: What does a doggie say: You: OOOFFFFFF (You screech this, most likely because our dog is extremely loud.)

Me: You're right. Yay you. But shhhhh baby, inside voice. You: chhhhhhhhhhh

Me: Exactly. Now, what does a moo cow say. You: ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh

Me: Bubby can you say milk? You: ik

Me: Close enough. How about ball, can you say ball? You: ball. (This was your first word by the way, after dada.)

Me: Can you say more? You: *gives me the sign for more.*

Me: How about daddy, can you say daddy? You: dadadadadadadada *does a little happy dance*

Me: Yay. Where is daddy? You: bye bye. *waves at yourself*

Me: Silly baby. How about mama, can you say mama? You: dadadadada

And this, my son, is what we do every single day. I always throw in new words, just to see how you try to say it. You can say mama. You say it when you are hurt, sick, extremely tired and at 3am when you don't want dada. But when asked, you will never say mama to me. This is what I'd like you to work on for the next month. It's your tiny baby goal, okay?

Baby boy, you are an absolute joy. Know this forever, that no matter how bad my life may be for me in the moment, or how sad I might be, you light up my world. Every second of every day, I adore you.

Love, mama

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The story of the door slammer

What seems like a zillion years ago, although it was actually around this time five years ago, is where our story begins.

A certain little girl, known here as Morgan used to throw the most magnificent tantrums. If there was an Academy Award for tantrums, this child would have a house full of them. At some point, she, upon being put on her bed, stared slamming the door over and over again. This bugged her mother and father endlessly. One day, the mother made the mistake of asking her teeny tiny crazy ball of joy why she slammed the door so much. You do it, was the childs answer.

Oh. Yeah. Sheet.

Of course the mother had to explain to the father what the kid said. There was then a three slam rule made up on the spot. It went for everyone in the family, because the dad claimed that more than three slams of a door gave him migraines.

The rule was as follows: in a fit of um anger or whatever, said door may be slammed three and only three times. If said door is slammed more than that, the door will be removed from the frame, by the father, for as many days, as their was extra slams.

I'd like to tell you this ends well. That no one ever forgot this rule. But I'd be lying through my teeth. My door has gone missing more than one in the last five years. When he takes mine off, I have no idea where he takes it too. I've never been able to find the dam thing.

Somehow the big child and I have the same problem, although through the years we have gotten better about it. (I prefer to throw coffee mugs. Kidding. Sorta.)

Yesterday the middle child took up the reigns. I think she feels that since she is in the last month of being four, she must take full advantage of the four-ness, before it is gone. Also, it pains her that the boy is no longer a lump. Now he is everywhere and yeah, she has brother issues. The tantruming in public, being forced to nap, slamming door reigns. She did manage to only slam it three times in the afternoon.

However last night, at some point, she got pissed off at her father and got sent to bed. Then the door slamming started. Twelve times that door was slammed. Her father is a patient man, more patient than me. He waited until she calmed down and then he went upstairs and removed the door. On the wall next to it, he placed a sign, no door until this day. Which, in case you were wondering is nine days from today.

The big child was PISSED off, since the two girl children share a bedroom. I looked at her and laughed. Come on now, pot, kettle? Ringing any bells? Somehow, I do believe the middle child won't take five years to figure out this rule.

So that's my story of the day. Beware of the three door slamming rule.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Yesterday was not the day

Father's Day is not the day to discuss my father. Yesterday was a day to celebrate dad's. As you can all see below, I choose to celebrate an amazing dad, Mike Spohr in my post below. I could have talked about my husband, because he, like Mike, is an amazing dad. However he really doesn't like being talked about in this space and that is a request, I can honor. Just so you all know though, my husband is an amazing father. In my wildest dreams, I could never have asked for a better father for my children. He's a keeper. But yesterday was for Mike. Because he deserved it. He deserves much more than that, but it was the least I could do to celebrate him in my space.

Also? I can't discuss my dad on Father's Day.

Not that I don't have one, because I do. But he's never really been much of a dad to me. Not since I was six years old and he met my step-mom. From that day forward, I was an inconvenience, not his only daughter. I am his only daughter, but because his wife has a daughter as well, he took her on as his and sort of left me behind.

It's complicated.

It hurts to write this stuff. Also, I have to be careful how much I say, in case they ever do find this blog. Don't know why I care as much as I do, but I just do. Let's just say, I am writing a post about them, for a guest post somewhere else, but it's taken me three weeks and I'm not even close to finishing it.

Yesterday I called my dad and he didn't pick up the phone. I called the house and I called his cell phone, but he didn't pick up. He won't talk to me if she is around. I talk to him once a month, occasionally twice, but he always calls me from work. Like I said, I don't exist to her. When we talk it is always forced. Maybe the right word is fake? The kids, the weather, the who is doing what in the extended family. Nothing personal, nothing real, no emotion. It's been like this for as long as I can remember.

Maybe once every three or four years we have a chance to have a real conversation in person. I hold onto those conversations like Bailey does her blankie at night, because they mean so much to me. I always wonder, what if this was the last one. I have to remember every word, ever joke, every smile, in case this was the last time I talk to him like this. We had a two hour conversation when I was out there visiting in April. We sat on his back porch and talked. Like really talked. The girls were shopping with my step-mom, the baby was sleeping, it was a perfect moment. Then it was over and we went back to fake.

But yesterday I didn't exist again. Yesterday, I didn't even get a phone call back. You can say, oh he was busy; this is what Logan said last night. But no, I know it's not true. (Logan know's it's not true too.) If I called my brother, he'd tell me that he was there all day at dad's house. Most likely at a BBQ of some form, because this is what they always do. He'd tell me that dad probably looked at the phone, saw it was me and said, out loud, oh I'll call her later. I know this to be true, because it has happened way too often. I don't call my brother and ask, because he doesn't like to have to tell me and I don't like to have to hear it.

I know that one day this week, I will get a phone call from him. He will call me at work, when he has exactly three minutes to talk to me. He will mention that everyone was out the house on Sunday and he missed me. He may even mention my messages to him.

But he doesn't miss me enough to pick up the phone when I call. I don't rate high enough on the list, to even get to say to him on Father's Day, Happy Father's Day, dad. It sucks. It hurts. But I can't do a thing about it. I just get to live with it. At nearly 30 years old, I should be used to it and most days I am, but on day's like yesterday, it creeps up on me what I'm missing. I watch Logan be adored by our girls, I watch him adore them and I envy them. I envy my own children. how freaking sick is that?

They have this amazing relationship and it makes me thrilled. It also makes me sad.

I tried for years to make my realtionship with my dad better. Tried and tried and tried. But I failed.

I have friends who have no father. Friends, some of you included who lost your dads way before you should have. My heart breaks for all of you. I can't even imagine. I know my issues with my dad don't compare. Mine is still around. He lives in California. He's an awesome man. He's entertaining, a kind hearted person, he is a good friend, a good boss and a good husband. He's even a good dad to my brothers and my step-siblings. He just isn't to me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

For Mike

Today's post is for Mike Spohr. Happy Father's Day. Mike my heart is with you and Heather everyday, but especially today. Hugs, Issa

Sometimes, the best we can do is share a person’s experience and let them know we have their back. That while we may not how they feel, we recognize that there are days that are just going to suck beyond the telling of it.

So today we celebrate firsts. Just a very few of Maddie’s firsts from the Spohr family flickr photostream:

First time being held by daddy

First time being held by mommy

Chillin’ after the first bath

First Christmas

First Sunshine, First Car Ride

First nap when a totally embarrassing picture of Mike was taken

First Baseball Game

(Which was probably after Mad’s first trip to a BAR.)

We celebrate all the joyous firsts with you and stand guard over you for all the firsts to come.

The Women of Room 704.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BlogHer freakout #1

There's this thing that I'm going to in a few weeks. BlogHer. Maybe you've heard of it? Might ring a bell? (For those of you not going, I am sorry but this post is all about it. I've been there, I've wanted to go twice previously. I get how it can be to listen to it all the time. Please forgive me though, because I need to talk about this.)

So um, yeah, I am going to be part of the Community Keynote at the conference. A post that I wrote was submitted by the lovely and talented Stacey. I told her she could submit it when she asked, because I honestly didn't think it would get chosen. I know that sounds bad, but it's true. I have no pre-conceived notions about my writing. I know it's not the best. It's just me, raw and un-cut.

However my post did get chosen. I am absolutely honored by this. I can not even explain how honored and thrilled I am. To be a part of something like this is just beyond me. But I am going to be part of this. I am going to get up there and read my post to the two five gulp hundreds of people who could possibly be in the room.

Can you feel my fear over the screen?

I am terrified. I have no doubts that I can do it. That's not the problem. I may talk to fast and sweat a bit, but I am positive I can get through it. But I'm still scared shitless. That's a lot of freaking people, yo. Serious. Some of the blogging greats will be reading during this keynote. People who I adore, people who are extremely great writers. (I did hire a professional hand holder, a drink giver and possibly a body guard. Won't they be sad when they realize, I pay in Jelly Beans.) I don't know that I measure up.

This came up after I realized that I was already nervous about the conference in general. Nervous being a mild word. Nightmares. I'm having BlogHer nightmares. Going to this conference is so far out of my comfort zone, I can not even begin to tell you.

I've been doing this blogging gig, off and on since 2005. But I've never gone to a conference. I've literally only met four blogger. I don't tell people that I blog. I won't tell people when I get back. My family and friends think I am going on a girls weekend. That is just the way it is.

So I'm scared. I don't know what to expect. I've heard all the stories, the rumors and seen all the posts for years. But reality is different.

I'm hoping that some of you who have gone before can help me out on a few small questions I have. Might put my mind at ease a bit. Anyone of you who is new to this too, maybe we can be buddies? Having buddies is always better than wandering around by yourself. Right?

Ok, here goes nothing.

1. Does it matter if I wear jeans and flip-flops the entire time? I keep hearing people discuss dresses and such, but that's just not something I'm into. But I don't want to be the only one looking like her wardrobe sucks.

2. Business cards? Is this like a must? Are you doing it?

3. How many of you really think you'll go to the Community Keynote?

4. Am I the only one scared shitless?

5. If I hide in a closet, will one of you bring me drinks?

I'll leave it at this for now. I'm working on another post, one that I stole from Undomestic Diva, on what you should know about me before we meet in person. Maybe you should know that I am a totally idea thief. Nah, you all knew that already.

Okay, halp, please.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The scent of a memory

Even over the smell of the food, I smelled him as he walked in the door. You don't think you will ever forget the smell of a man once they are gone forever, but sadly one day you do. Until it walks into a restaurant and gets in line behind you. I breathed deeply twice. I bit my lip to stop the tears, as I turned around to see who it was that smelled like that.

He was probably about 70 years old. Little bit shrunken, like older people get. Nice looking guy, glasses, old guy cap on his head. But that smell, he smelled just like my grandpa. I just smiled at him and turned back around. The baby cooed at him once, possibly waved, as it is his favorite thing to do. I am pretty sure he said something to Harrison, but I couldn't tell you what.

I wish I could have asked him what cologne he used. Wouldn't have mattered though, as I know it was a combination of things. His Cologne, Zest soap, Listerine, Certs breath mints. Grandpa; he smelled like grandpa.


Where are we going this week, he'd ask me. Where do you think silly, I'd say. Let me guess? How about Paulie's, you know Paul would love to see you? No grandpa, no Mexican food, Hamburger Hamlet. Oh how could I have not known that, he'd say, sighing.

Every other Tuesday night for two years, that was my dinner choice. Every time, we had the same conversation. Their hamburgers and fries were to die for, their shakes couldn't be beat; but best yet, they let you draw on the table. At five years old, there is nothing better than drawing on the table while on a date with your grandpa.

You know, Melissa Annie, he'd say; one day you are going to want to go to a real restaurant and then I will be the one wanting to draw on the table and we always have to come here.

Grandpa, even when I am eighty-ninety-two years old, I will always want to come here.


I was six, maybe seven the first time I got fresh with him. You better watch it girl, or I will snatch you bald headed. He growled a bit as he said it. I apologized instantly and he was fine after that.

What that exactly meant, I never knew. But he said it too all of the grandchildren when they got smart mouthed or said or did something rude. What I did know was I didn't want to know what it meant.

I heard someone else say that their grandfather used to say that. Not sure where I was, nor who said it, but it didn't bother me. I bet their grandfather didn't growl when he said it.


At ten, he taught me how to shift the gears in his car when he was driving. As I got better at it, he'd say every time I got into his car, you shifting or am I? Well that was a silly question to ask a ten year old. I always shifted. He'd tell me when and I got to where I could do it without even looking.

At twelve, he took me into a school parking lot on a Sunday and let me have my first attempt at driving. You tell your dad about this and I'll snatch you bald headed, he'd say.

Grandpa if I told dad about this, he'd make you stop. I want to drive, this is between you and me.

Not many twelve year old children can say they know how to drive a stick shift.


In the summer, when I was fourteen, I ran away from home. I tried to go to Mexico with some friends. We had parental issues, or so we thought in the moment. Everything would be better in Mexico. At the border, they made us call someone to come and get us and I called grandpa. He drove the two and a half hours to get us. Let us have it too, how dumb we were, how badly it could have ended, how disappointed he was in me. That last one hurt the most.

He told us all that you can't run away from small problems and you shouldn't run away from the big ones. Told us our secret was safe with him this time, but next time he'd not be so nice. I never forgot his disappointment that day.


At sixteen, I made an off handed comment about the AC not working great in my bedroom. I came home the next day from school and he was installing a ceiling fan in my bedroom. My mom just shook her head at me and said, I wish I had someone who would drop everything for me like this.


From him, I get my love of good red wine, fresh seafood and great salsa; the joy of storytelling, reading a good book, the love of movies and the ability to cut a person down with my words. That last one, he could have kept.


He told me stories about flying in the Korean war. He told me about growing up with his brother Paul, how Paul never matured past the age of three, even though he lived to be twenty-seven. He told me about the mistakes he made in parenting when my dad and his siblings were kids. He told me about working as a radio guy back in the early sixties. Told me about his granddad, who took them (his daughter and grandchildren: my grandpa and his baby brother Paul who were six and one at the time) and escaped Poland right before it was invaded by the Germans. He told me how much I reminded him of his mom; my great-grandma Annie.


The best compliment I ever got in my life was from him. I can't share it, it's too sentimental, but I never forgot it and I never will.


He was a grouchy old guy, but he always had time for me. When email was new, he and I both had an email account. I used to get emails that had "Yippee, Squeee, Happy" as the subject. That was how much he loved email. It was a joyous event for him each time.


He's a grouchy, pain in the ass curmudgeon and I'm never speaking to him again, I said to my dad on the phone. I was 18 years old and had just had the worst lunch date in my life with Grandpa. I'd told him that Logan and I were getting married and he spent the next half hour telling me how I shouldn't do that, I'd forever regret it; before I finally got up and left the restaurant.

I called him an old fool as I left and told him he was not welcome at my wedding. And Daddy, I mean it, he's not welcome. I was seething as I said this to my dad.

Oh you don't mean that, honey. You are angry, you have every right to be angry, but you have to see his side of view.

No, I can't. He's wrong about me and he's wrong about Logan. I am not mom, Logan is not you. We won't wake up and regret this one day. If I'm wrong and we do, then whatever.

I know that and you know that, but grandpa doesn't. Time will change things. Don't worry about it Melissa, he'll come around.

I am not rushing into this. I love this man, he is my soul mate.

I know. I support you in this and one day your grandfather will too. Just remember you are his first grandchild and the only granddaughter. (At the time this was true, although two years later, my Aunt and Uncle gave him is sixth grandchild, the second granddaughter.) To him, you are like his child. One that he did right by. One that he didn't make the mistakes with that he made with us.

Dad, you are my father, not him.

Dad just sighed and tried to calm me down. He swore it'd go away, that in a few days I'd forget it.

I never did though. The things he said and the things I said changed our relationship from that day forward. He didn't know me like I thought he did, if he'd say those things to me. I always loved him, but our relationship was never the same. I never really let him know me again.


Then came the call. July 2003. Grandpa's been in an accident, my brother said. In those words my heart stopped for an instant. He was coming home from Aunt K's and he got hit by a semi-truck. He's in the middle of nowhere Oregon. Dad is on his way up there now.

The semi didn't kill him. He got so lucky that day. A few broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder and some bruising from the seat belt. But the scans they did of his abdomen looked off. They thought they saw something in his liver. The doc told him to go home and have his primary care physician do an MRI.

He put it off, going in. He never liked doctors. Didn't like enclosed spaces, since he'd been hidden in a trunk off and on for days as a child, when they escaped from Poland. Eventually my dad made him go see the doc. Mid-August maybe.

Stage four. Colon cancer. By the time they find colon cancer, it has generally spread to all of your organs. It was in his liver, his pancreas, his lungs. Nothing they could do except send him home with a script for pain meds and the number for hospice. Three to six months if you are lucky.


October 20th was the last time I talked to him. He was doing okay, better than expected. He still got up and left the house every day. Still went to my uncles shop and gave everyone hell. Still went to his favorite restaurants and flirted with the waitresses.

We all had plans for Sunday brunch. We'd started doing it again every week, just like when I was a small kid, since his diagnosis.

Out of the blue, my phone rings. For a second I didn't realize it was him. The cancer had gotten into his stomach, so he had stomach acid that was damaging his vocal cords and his esophagus. His voice was changed, a strangers voice.

I am so proud of you, of the woman you've become, he said. I want you to always know that. To remember this forever, that I've always loved you. That I've been proud of you since the second you were born. I need you to know that I'm sorry for doubting your and Logan's love.

I know grandpa, I told him. it's okay. You don't have to do this now. I will see you in three days. We can talk then.

I was busy with Morgan in that moment. Trying to get her to stop climbing the walls, to take a nap, something. The day to day stuff with a 22 moth old child.

No Melissa he said, you never know how much time is left. I may be unable to talk by Sunday. I want you to know this now, just in case. I need you to know that I love you and I love Logan and I adore that spitfire of a girl you gave me as a great-grandchild.

Okay then. Well I love you too grandpa I said. I've been proud to be your granddaughter my entire life. And Grandpa, I'm sorry too. I was a young fool. Not about marrying Logan, but in thinking that your opinion didn't matter. In not listening and explaining and instead going all defensive.

I love you baby girl, was the last thing he said.


The next day my uncle found him on the floor of his apartment, unconscious. He never again gained consciousness. The last nine days of his life were spent on a vent in the ICU at UCLA Medical Center. He passed away October 30, 2003.


I remember all of this and a million other things while eating my dinner. Who knew one smell could bring it all back? The sadness has passed in some ways. Five and a half years does that too you. You are supposed to lose your grandparents, it is the natural progression of life. Doesn't make it easy when it happens, but you know it is going to happen. He was my first. I've lost the other three since then. The sadness of the two I lost last year is too fresh. When I think of them, I only remember the end.

But with him, I remember the laughs. The dates. The movie marathons. The trip to Vegas in his RV, with my dad and brothers when I was five. Week trips to the Grand Canyon. Days spent looking at boats in the Marina, looking at animals at the zoo, exploring Grifith Park. The letters I have from my weeks spent at summer camp; letters full of jokes and stories about home. The man who taught me to tie a cherry string with my tongue at four years old. The curmudgeon who I respected and loved more than most people.

One smell and it all comes back. The smell of a memory.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Not even sure why I'm bothering

You guys are awesome. I just want to tell you all how appreciative I am of your comments in my post below. I am still thinking about what changes I want to make on this site, but I know I need to tread lightly.

I am in a no major decisions mode in the moment. Basically my decision making skills are crap right now, because I'm just not doing that great, so I'm not thinking that clearly. I'm going to wait until after the end of July and then, most likely this site is going to get a major overhaul. Until then, well I guess I'll ignore it all. Or try at least.

And that's all I've got today. I just wanted to say thank you. You all helped me to think about what I do want to do with this site eventually. Or at least you got the ball rolling in my head.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Questions for the class

1. Do you guys comment back to people in your own comment sections? I email people a lot of the time, but some days, I just want to say something like, ha that was funny. Or a big thanks to everyone, on a post like my last one, where I am having trouble finding words to thank everyone individually. (Truly, everyone, thank you. I can't say more than a heartfelt thank you to each of you.) A lot of times, I don't have an email address, as blogger doesn't require one to comment. I read every comment, I love every comment and I appreciate you all for taking the time to respond to me. I just can't always respond to everyone back. What's your take on it?

2. Do any of you feel the urge to write a post, just because the one that is currently up is hard and sad and you feel like it needs to be moved down a bit? Is it just me who gets like this? Because I could have nothing to say, but I will come up with something, just to move a post down if the subject is too raw. i.e. today.

3. Blogrolls? Yah or nay? I used to love having one, but now with the BlogHer Ads, I don't feel like it will ever be seen. Do you like them, do you ever click on them? Would you want to be on mine?

4. BlogHer Ads is a tricky thing. I wanted them for so long. It seemed like the thing to do. I really love BlogHer, I think they've done a great thing for this community. They've helped to bring so many people together. But the ads will never make me a cent. I didn't put them up for that, not in the least. But I'm wondering why I have them. Is it a status thing? For a long time, back in the day, it was. If you had them, you were in some type of in crowd. It's not really like that anymore. All I know is it takes up a big chunk of space on my site and I'm not sure I need, nor want it there anymore. Thoughts?

Monday, June 8, 2009

I don't think I'm done.

I've been searching for a reason, And I'm running out of time, I can feel that it's the season, It's time to make up my mind, And I can't really tell you what I'm gonna do, There are so many thoughts in my head, There are two roads to walk down and one road to choose, So I'm thinking over the things that you've said, Thinking over the things... (Lyrics, Thinking Over by Dana Glover.)

That is a few lines from one of my favorite songs in the world. These days it runs through my often. Maybe too often. In a way, it's my theme song right now. All I do is think.

Logan and I have babies on the brain. We talk about having more kids all the time. At night when we can't sleep (or should be sleeping), we discuss what our baby would possibly look like. How cool it would be to have one with my blue eyes, instead of his brown eyes. The thought that this will never happen, as his eyes seem to be dominant. We discuss where the baby would sleep, how much we'd like Harrison to get to be a big brother and in some moments, we discuss how sad we'd both be if we were done having babies. We are kind of at a point, where we need to decide to have more or start the process to adopt, because we both know we want to be done with babies in the next five years. Seems like a weird conversation, I know, given what happened six weeks ago, but's where we are right now in our lives. We are young, everyone tells us this. You have kids; is most commonly heard. You have the next ten years to have kids, is my least favorite line. While it may be true, there are reasons we had our kids as young as we did. Plus? In ten years I will have teenagers. I don't want to have a baby when Morgan is in High School. That is just weird to me. However, we know there are more kids in our future.

I go back and forth on wanting to try again soon, or hold off for a bit. I don't know if I'm strong enough to fail again. Emotionally, it is hard to lose a baby, much less two. As hard as it is, as much as it has wrecked me, I don't know if I'm ready to throw in the towel. In this moment it is too soon. Tomorrow will be six weeks. But when is the right moment going to be?

Was it easier this time around? Well yes, in a way. As easy as losing a pregnancy ever is I guess. I didn't fall of the deep end, so I guess that is a plus. 14 weeks was way harder than 5 weeks. In a way though, this time was just as hard. Because I cared for and wanted this baby, just as much as the last time. I will say something that I never thought I'd say out loud: I didn't think it would happen to me twice. (Amy, (POW) if you see this, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry to have thought that, sorry to say it.) I knew it happened, have had friends who it has happened to. My aunt had five miscarriages in between her two kids. Still, I didn't think it'd happen to me. But here we are.

Part of me thinks we should just forget about it and adopt. We've always talked about adoption. It's something we are sure we will do at some point.

Then I think about never being pregnant again and I cry.

I think about my pregnancy with Harrison and I regret not savoring every second of it. I wonder if I damaged him in some way, by not being sure I wanted to be pregnant at that time. I think, what if that was it. What if he was it. Because of how

I look at the four little newborny jammies that I bought at Kohls mid-April and I consider giving them away, but I can't physically even take them out of the closet that they are hanging in.

I spend Saturday cuddling this:

and I wonder if Harrison is the last newborn I will cuddle at night. (Picture of my cousins 3wk old, Savannah.) The thought of that pains me.

The signs at Disney for Space Mountain say, this ride can be harmful to pregnant women. I stare at it for minutes before my cousin takes my hand and makes me stop.

I say in passing to Instamom on Sunday that if I'd still been pregnant, I'd have a Christmas due date and I cringe inside. Because it's true. It took everything in my power to not sob in that moment.

I want to have another baby. Maybe even a few more babies. I am not done. I have room in my heart, in my home and in my family for more babies. But I'm scared. It's supposed to be easier than this. It's not supposed to hurt so much.

I dream about babies. Little girl babies for some reason. (Doesn't mean anything, I dreamt about Harrison being a girl too. I just think all of mine as girls, until proven otherwise.) We have names picked out for future kids. We are, as my MIL says, baby obsessed. She gets it though. They tried for ten years to have a forth kid and never managed to even get pregnant again.

But timing is everything and really it's all chance. I think about there being one more baby, sooner than later. I tell myself that I can do it, I can try once more. I tell myself not to be afraid, that I am strong enough to try this again. At least give it one more shot. I want to be pregnant once more, give birth once more. Then any we have after that, will most likely come to us through adoption. Logan still wants six and as time goes on, I want six too. Five at least.

So, I think about it.

Oh hi! I think I remember how to use this thing.

It's still on right? Oh sheesh, I'm tired. Nothing like squishing what should have been a weeks worth of stuff into four days. I'm going to try and give you the condensed version of my trip, because well, I'm tired.

Our plane was delayed on the way out there, which I guess is par for the course. Our first plane had some sort of a brake malfunction, which sounds bad. I mean you need brakes, correct? They finally gave us a new plane, after and hour and a half and three gate changes. Funny, but the later flight to LA, the time I thought was too late? That plane left (and I'm sure landed) before us. When we finally got in (at midnight LA time, which is 1am for us) I drug my half asleep children to the rental car place to pick up a car. Ever tried to drag two bags, three backpacks and two half asleep children through an airport? I don't recommend it.

We get out car and they go, do you want directions to Disneyland? Me being the smart ass, said no, I'm from here, I know exactly where Disney is. I get on the 405 and head towards Disney and completely miss my connecting freeway. Yeah, I may be from LA, but at 1:30am, I could have used directions. Plus, it's not like Disney was someplace I went to often.

Thursday I get woken up at 7am (not sure if it was my time or not, never bothered to change my clock) by my lovely child asking if we can go to Disney right that second. She has her bikini top, jeans and her sisters flip-flops on and has a backpack strapped to her back. She is ready for Disney. Needless to say, it was another couple of hours before we all made it there.

We were there with a group of family. Logan's auntie, cousins and their kids; most of whom are teenagers. Everything we did took time. Six teenage girls take a zillion years to get ready. Also, I am not ready for the drama that is teenage girls. Nor the attitude. I adore these girls, don't get me wrong, they are awesome chicks. I am just not ready to have my own be that age.

Disney rocks. That's all that needs to be said about that. We came, we rode, we ate. Then we ate some more. The end.

There was some drama at one point. Thursday night I think. The screaming, people (not me) running off in different directions crying, type of drama. Not unusual when you get 11 chicks together for five days. But by the next morning it had all been worked out.

We went to Huntington Beach, where I taught my girls and all the rest of those crazies how not to drown in the ocean. Oh and the fine art of body surfing. And Issa got fried. Serious. Like my forehead had blisters, burned. I am not the only one, but I'm thrilled that my kids didn't get burned. Am thinking I possibly need to start wearing my kids sunblock. Peeling from your forehead and crying every time someone runs into the back of your legs is not fun.

On Friday, we went to Sea World, which I haven't done since I was a kid. I'd never taken the girls. I think they have gone with my mother before a couple of times, but I'd never taken them myself. The shows were awesome. A bit cheesy maybe, but the animals were great. I'd put some pictures up, of Shamu and the dolphins, but my camera and my computer are in a lovers quarrel right now, so maybe tomorrow. I got some great ones, so I promise to share soon.

The worst part of that day was the bus ride up there. We had the talkative bus driver. The guy had a microphone and used it the entire hour and a half ride up there. He kept saying, I'm not going to talk the entire time, but he did. Incessantly. At 8:30am, on little sleep and having had no coffee, all of us wanted to duct tape his mouth shut. We were texting back and forth, the best ways to take over the bus and kick him off. Luckily on the way back, he was really freaking quiet.

Saturday, I left the girls with everyone else (their choice, because they wanted to go to Disneyland one more day) and went to visit a cousin of mine and her kids. I got to cuddle a scrumptious newborn all day and had a pretty good time with everyone else there.

Sunday I got up way to early, because another cousins boys are freaking out of control. (But that is a whole other subject.) Then I waited impatiently until it was around noon, so I could go and have lunch with the lovely Instamom. She is as sweet and awesome as she seems.

That's pretty much it. Drove to the airport and got carsick on the 405. It's dam bumpy. But really, I think Denver has ruined me. I've gone soft. Kinda funny to get carsick when you are the one driving. Waited around the airport and then came home, where I yet again, got to drag half asleep children to the car.

Only other news I have, is that Harrison learned how to pull himself up with the couch. My husband was kind enough to call and tell me that on Friday evening. Dude doesn't seem to remember the, it's only the first time when mama sees it rule. Am betting the boy walks at 10 months.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. At some point I will manage to come and visit everyone.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Disneyland here we come

Seeing how we are going to Disneyland (among other places) for the weekend, I thought I'd do a small post for the lovely Amazing Greis who tagged me with a meme. Really, what's the fun of one meme in a week, when you can do two? Wait, don't answer that.

Plus, I have about nine zillion things to do today, since we leave around 5pm tonight and I shouldn't be on here at all.

The 6x6 meme:

1) Go to your photo files
2) Pick the sixth folder
3) Pick the 6th photo
4) Write a story about the photo
5) Tag six people (I won't tag people, but feel free to do it. Let me know and I'll come take a look next week.)

This is it. My sixth pic, in my sixth folder. Story, eh? That seems like a lot of work. But of the probably 90 pictures I have of this boy from that same day, I adore this one the most. His name is Sebastian Chase and he's my cousin's first child. The picture is from last October, and he was about 10 months old. He's just the sweetest thing. So inquisitive and fun. Lucky for me, I get to see him (and his newborny sister Savanna) on Saturday. (Yes, two in 18 months.)

I hope you all have a great weekend. I'll talk to you guys next week.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me

It's been a while since I've done a meme, right? No? Eh, whatever. It's either, this sixteen meme that I stole from Domestic Extraordinaire and Amazing Greis, or my too do list for our upcoming trip to Disney. Somehow I figured you'd all prefer the meme. It is the sixteen things you can't live with this summer. I have a love of summer, if only until it gets too hot and then I start praying for Fall. In Denver though, the horrible hear generally only lasts a few weeks, in July-August, so until then, I will love summer.

So here it goes, sixteen things I can't live without during summer:

1. Sunscreen. I am a pasty white, Polish honky. Serious, I fry even with sunscreen. I love the smell of it. The smell of summer to me is sunscreen.

2. Watermelon. I will have watermelon in my fridge all summer. It is included with every single meal.

3. The beach. I may not live near one. But I make sure to go once a summer at least, since we moved. A summer without the beach is just wrong. The pool is a great second choice.

4. Flip-flops. Now truly I wear flip-flops as often as humanly possible, but buying new ones every summer makes me so happy.

5. My AC. House and car. I don't really mind the heat in the daytime, but I can't stand to be hot when I want to sleep. Luckily, our house has AC. It's not a given out here. Summer is so short, that older houses don't generally have it.

6. Popsicles. I love them as much as my kids do.

7. Margaritas & mojitos, the two greatest drinks ever invented.

8. BBQ's. We love to BBQ.

9. Sun. Which you would think is a given, but all it has done here in the past month is rain. Rain, Rain and a bit more rain. Sun would be nice. (Is pouring as I type this. Literally, we haven't turned our sprinklers on yet.)

10. My camera. Somehow I am really good at taking pictures in the summer. Maybe it's the green on the trees, or the sun kissed look my kids have, but I love summer outdoor pictures.

11. Iced tea. What is summer without constant iced tea? Think it's not good for you? I'll tell you what my grandma always said: iced tea has to be good for you, it's almost all water. People never argued with her. You can't argue with the voice of reason.

12. Vacations. I don't care where we go, or what we do, but we always do something. Even smaller weekend trips make a summer worthwhile.

13. Movies. Summer movies are always the best and this summer is full of them. Logan and I have made a pact to see two a month. We were going to try for one a week, but it's just not going to happen.

14. Summer food: corn on the cob, smores, cherries, hot dogs, churros and BBQ chicken. I love it all.

15. Dam this is a lot of numbers. Ooohhh ice cream. Should be a higher number. To be honest, we have ice cream often. In the summer though, it is a food group and the most important one.

16. We are going to Disneyland this weekend. We're going to go to the beach. I'm going to bask in the smell of he tiny newborn my cousin had three weeks ago. And? I get to meet Instamom. Basically this weekend, is high on my list.