Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In the past month or two, I feel like Hunter has grown into a little boy right before my very eyes. He is just amazing me every day with everything he says or does and I love it! I've been sick as a dog this whole week so there has been a LOT of nose blowing going on. Well, it didn't dawn on me that Hunter was observing me until the other day when he got a hold of my box of tissues, pulled one out and held it up to his nose blowing a hilarious raspberry sound out of his mouth. Is THAT what he thinks his Mommy sounds like when blowing her nose??

He also is gibber-gabbering a TON (interspersed with the words he CAN say: Mama, Dada, wa-wa (for water), dog, dat?, Nana, ball, etc.) But the difference is that instead of it sounding like just random sounds/words as it has in the past, it sounds like a CONVERSATION. Man, oh man, I wish I spoke "baby"! The other morning, around 1:00am I brought him into bed with us when he woke up crying and coughing (he's got Mommy's cold). Instead of letting him crying it out after soothing him, like I normally have been, I just swept him up and into my exhausted arms (I'd been coughing from 9:30-midnight straight before finally passing out, only to be woken up at ONE) and brought him into bed with us.

Never mind the fact that Hunter is a WILD sleeper, punching guts, throwing 'bows and smacking cheeks throughout the night and also that he was coughing like me, this little man woke up around 5:30am and thought it was time for some good early morning conversation. Gabbing away, then randomly smacking one of us (Daryl's' belly or my boob!!) I think maybe to make sure we were "listening" he'd then start laughing as if he'd said the funniest joke in the world. Despite how tired I was, I couldn't help but smile at my silly son!

We've also been talking about babies a LOT with Hunter lately. I know he's little and may not understand ANY of what we're saying, but I still feel the need to sorta try to prepare him for his little brother or sister due to arrive mid-March. Hunter has a baby doll (I bought it when first preggo and wanting to help the doggies adjust, and after that I left it in the toy box for when friend's daughters came over to play) which he has fallen in LOVE with.

He carries this little doll around cradled in his arms, kissing (sucking, licking) on baby's head often. I tell him to "Hug Baby" and he squeezes that little doll with a smile. If I kiss his baby, then he has to immediately kiss it too. We tell him to "be nice" or "be gentle" with Baby (just like we tell him about the dog...Hunter thinks Tucker is his personal jungle gym that he can pinch and climb on at anytime!) and I've even started telling him that "Mommy has a baby in her belly" while pointing to my baby. I don't think he gets THAT part at all though cuz he just laughs and sticks his pointy little finger IN my belly button.

Despite the fact that chasing after him is becoming more and more exhausting, the more preggo I get, I LOVE watching Hunter walk like such a big boy. I'm so proud of him and how sturdy he is. Monday I took Hunter to Walgreens with me so that I could buy myself some plain Robitussin (becuz HOW ANNOYING, Target didn't have plain Robitussin...only CF or DM...which pregnant ladies can not use!). I was standing in the aisle, juggling his 27 lb wriggly body while trying to figure out what I needed, so I put him down and he started pulling out bottles of cough syrup off the shelf, like a great helper for his Mommy.

I finally found the (plain!) Robitussin and handed it to him and off we went. Watching him toddle down the aisle, clutching the box of medicine in his chubby-handed, yet determined, grip and eagerly squealing at any person he saw filled me with such an incredible feeling of awe and love for this kid. How funny does that sound? I started to envision him in my head, growing into a big boy, and it just blows me away.
I helped to create this happy, healthy, self-assured little toddling boy before me! It still often feels like just yesterday that he was a wriggling, crying newborn who slept, ate and pooped all day. Don't get me wrong, I DO miss that sweet little ball of baby who smelled like lotion and sweetness and cooed happily. Yet now? He's a little man, a little PERSON with this amazing personality. I feel so blessed to see this boy he is becoming!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm watching The Family Stone, one of my favorite movies ever.

I think it's one of my favorites becuz I can relate to the story line, so so much.

This will not be a pleasant post so if you don't want to read about death, then you might want to move along. But writing about it, I found, is very cathartic for me. LIke therapy. And often when something (like today's movie) stirs up some of that meloncholy emotion that obviously has been threatening to burst forth (Dad has been on my brain A LOT lately) I need to get it. So here it is...

I remember finding out about my Dad's diagnosis right before the holidays...after a month or two of uncertainty about what was making him sick. They had wanted to wait till after the holidays were over, to tell my brother and I.

Cancer....a word that knocked the very breath from my lungs as Dad said it, right there in my apartment living room. It made no sense. He was alive and vibrant (yes, he hadn't been feeling well, but he still looked FINE). He had come over, with my MOm, to help me fix a broken bathroom faucet. Such a simple, mundane task.

I didn't cry. Not then, anyway. It wasn't until after my parents left, that uncertain tears fell.

And it wasn't long after that we found out Dad's prognosis. They believed the cancer had started in his colon, and had spread fully to his lungs. Stage 4. I remember looking it up online, not fully grasping at first that Stage 4 was IT. The end.

I was in a state of shock for a while, unable to process. My Dad was going to die? Impossible. He was the strongest, healthiest man I knew. There had to be a mistake.

The next, and last, six months of Dad's life was mostly a blur. I try to think about and there is so much I can't recall. But there is also snippets of life that I DO remember. Spending all my free time at my parents house, often sleeping over. Listening to Dad heave and gag over the toilet, as he got sicker and sicker from chemo. As his dark beautiful brown hair suddenly overnight seemed to turn gray, and started to fall out in patches. The foot rubs I gave him, and how he proudly told his Nurse's Aide "no thank you" to her offer of a foot massage becuase "my daughter gives the best foot rubs around".

The confusion that set in, not helped in the least by the morphine that pumped through him. Sitting at the kitchen table eating KFC one night (cooking was the last thing on ANY of our minds, especially since most of the time Daddy couldn't eat) and watching him try to pick at drumstick despitre the fact that he had no appetite...when suddenly Dad asked us why there was a chicken under the table, with an almost childlike question in his eyes. I wanted to cry right there. The night my mom went out for a little while, becuz she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and there I sat as Dad's "babysitter" (there were a couple of other family members there, but for some reason Mom and I always felt the most comfortable with one of us always being there with him) and it got so bad for Daddy with his breathing, despite his oxygen, that his tongue was sticking out of his mouth as he struggled to breathe. I called my mother in a panic, as family members told me to let her be, and I wanted to smack them all. This was MY father and god damnit, if he was about to die, I know my Mom wanted to be there. He wasn't dying that night, of course, but when my Mom got home I cried like a little child.

The nurses telling us, it was almost time, and that he might not make it hte night but then Daddy hung on another week. Like Superman. I think he was waiting for his remaining sibling, his oldest sister, who was on her way from Ohio. Our dog, an old sick dachsund named Rocky, who would wander aimlessly around the house crying and who, during the day, would lay draped across my father's ice cold feet under the blankets. Those purple spots that suddenly showed up on his skin, those death spots, signaling the end was near.

And May 5, 2002, a day that was warm and slightly humid, with the sun shining and the clouds like puffy cotton high in the blue sky. At 2:00pm the priest showed up to read Dad his last Rites, then touched my mom's hand and wished her peace before he slipped just as quietly out of the room as he came in.

Twenty five minutes later, my father's last heaving breath. Then silence. My mother lost it, this woman who had refused to cry almost throughout the whole process while she tied Dad's shoe laces, and sponge bathed him and gave him his pills. She wailed like nothing I'd ever heard before. I laid my head down on my Dad's chest briefly, that firm familiar feeling of strength across his broad chest, despite so much weight loss. His skin was so cold and his eyes stared sightlessly and I wanted to rewind time so that he could see me again. I remember my grandfather, Dad's father, crying out why couldn't God have just taken HIM and not his son and he almost fell and I grabbed onto him for support. Supporting each other.

I sat at the kitchen table with Mom and stared into that bedroom where my Dad lay, after the hospice nurse had showed up to confirm his death. His eye lids were now closed and he looked almost as if he was sleeping. Have you ever seen someone you love taken away in a body bag? I watched every second of it, I couldn't take my eyes off of him and heard as if from far away the sound of my Mom's brother, my uncle, sobbing and rushing out of the room.

This is what I remember of my Dad's final days.

But what I'd rather remember? The way Dad made THE yummiest home fries around when he cooked us delicous breakfasts on a Saturday morning. The man who patiently taught me and my brother to fly a kite, as we raced around Parker Farms Elementary's grassy lawn. Dad and Mom watching us search diligently for Easter eggs every Easter morning and then the year I decided, as a teenager, that it was time for role reversal. After that I always hid the eggs and had my parents find them. The Daddy who video recorded each and every dance recital up through eleven grade and who always told me to "Break a leg" and cheered in the audience. The Daddy I baked a birthday cake for every year the last 4-5 years of his life. The man who would sing ME Happy Birthday the morning of my special day and often with a rock twist, "They say it's your birthday....". The man who taught me how to find myself a man who would be loving and caring...I loved watching him and my mom hold hands and kiss each other. The Dad who helped teach me to drive and who glowered at any boy who came to the door to take me on a date. The man who played Christmas carols on Christmas morning as he brewed coffee and made Mom's tea and brought out a plate of MOm's homemade cookies as we opened gifts. The crazy man who belted out his favorite tunes in a deep, DEEP voice and who made me laugh when he danced The Cabbage Patch in the middle of our kitchen. The Daddy who called me his Chicky Babe from the time I was a little girl up until I was a grown woman. The man who didn't often SAY the words "I love you" but who showed me EVERY SINGLE DAY. That's what I want to remember about Daddy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I had kind of a weird experience the other morning.

Well to me it was weird, to others you might just be like, "Yeah, so?"

I woke up at 4:30am to Hunter screaming his little heart out (damn molars, why do you torment my boy so????). I went in and tried to calm him but between his tears and my fatigue I thought Ah, to hell with it and brought him into bed with us. We slept for about another hour then woke up when Daryl's obnoxious alarm went off. The three of us were laying peacefully, wide-awake, in bed and not speaking when all of a sudden from the hallway came this sound.

Now quick interjection. The other day I put Hunter's toy ride-along firetruck in the hallway cuz we have too many dang toys in the living room. I hadn't gotten around to putting it in his bedroom yet. There are a couple of buttons on the firetruck that you press and hear a siren and also a singing tune.

Anyway, cut back to the other morning, in the blissful darkness of our bedroom and all of a sudden we hear what sounds like a broken record, "I-I-I-I-I...." and then immediately the truck's tune cheerfully sounding, "I see a firetruck, a big red shiny firetruck! I see a firetruck coming down the lane. And....there's...a...noisey siren blaring on that truck!" Then a few seconds of silence before I said, in surprise, "What the HELL what was that?"

Now, don't get me wrong, I full well know it was his firetruck, but hello? NO ONE PRESSED THE BUTTON. Tucker was peacefully curled up at the foot of our bed so I knew his tail/nose couldn't' have bumped into it. Big D just kinda shrugged it off and I turned the news on and that was that.

But I couldn't shake it. Later on when we were all getting up and Daryl and Hunter went out to the living room, I walked by the firetruck to inspect it to make sure nothing was leaning against it, like a laundry basket for example, which could have been pressing on the button. NOTHING surrounding that truck! When I went back out into the living room, I casually said, "Don't you think that's weird about that firetruck this morning?"

"Maybe it's your Dad." Daryl replied simply.

"Yeah? You think?"

"Maybe he wanted you to know he is happy that you and your brother made up."

Wow. Interesting thought. My brother and I haven't spoken in almost a year. We've never had a close relationship but we've never gone that long without speaking either. But after a huge fight, it was inevitable.

Sean's only seen my son, his nephew, twice. The first time at a couple of days old when he showed up on my doorstep, the day we arrived home from the hospital. He breezed into my house to use the bathroom (he's a truck driver who happened to be in town) and I heard Daryl ask him, "Do you want to hold your nephew?"

"Nah." Came my brother's nonchalant reply. While not surprising (my brother is not one to show emotion and definitely not one to acknowledge he loves any of his family members), I was still mildly annoyed. This is his first and only nephew after all. And I KNOW it pissed Daryl right off.

So when I came out into the living room, after my brother had used the bathroom, I asked him, "So did you see the baby?" to which he looked down at him, nodded and then said, "See ya later."

The second and last time, he came over AGAIN to use my bathroom. This time Hunter was about 2 months old. I was changing Hunter's diaper on the pack and play and Sean leaned over and said, "Hey, little shit." That was it. Off to the bathroom he went. Afterwards he was hanging around listening to my mom and I talk about how I had to start putting Tucker in his cage when we leave the house cuz he'd been acting out a little, chewing stuff up.

"That's mean." Sean snapped. "You shouldn't lock him up." I again explained WHY we lock him up in his cage and that's when my snotty-ass brother started in how it was wrong that I had brought Daisy (our aggressive rat terrier mix) to a (no-kill) shelter a week before Hunter was born. Normally I just brush off his comments but I was feeling emotional that day and his comment just sparked off my anger.

"Maybe you need to mind your own god damn business. When you have kids someday, you'll understand. No parent wants to keep an aggressive, unstable, BITING animal in the house with their newborn child. And we tried our hardest to find Daisy a home but didn't have luck, so when this shelter said they'd take her, that was our last option."

"Yeah right," He scoffed, "That's what you do. Get tired of an animal and bring it to a shelter."

At that, I completely blew up. I can't remember exactly what I said but I know our argument turned VERY heated and Sean was practically up in my face screaming at me. I told him to get the hell out of my house right now.

He slammed the screen door in my face as I made sure he left.

Meanwhile, my poor baby Hunter, hearing our raised voices and feeling the negativity, was crying in my mom's arms which in turn made me feel WORSE for losing my temper like that in front of him. My brother came back up to the door and rang the bell and I refused to answer it so my mom did to see what he wanted.

"What are you going to do, April, when you get tired of the BABY? Bring HIM to a shelter?" He snapped so nastily before my mom told him to leave.

And that was it. The last straw. I've always tolerated my brother's immaturity, his sense of self-entitlement, his selfishness...but don't EVER bring my child into it.

I yelled through that screen door that he was to NEVER come back, that I had no brother. And after hearing all of this, Daryl was ready to write him off too. Big D had heard enough about past shit my brother has pulled in addition to his attitude and treatment of me throughout mine and Daryl's relationship. He was not going to tolerate ANYONE speaking to his wife and about his child like that.

I stayed pissed off for a long time. Then it changed to hurt. Here my son's ONLY uncle, wanted nothing to do with him. Holidays passed, Hunter's birthday, and nothing. When my mom would see Sean she'd ask if he wanted to see a picture of Hunter to which he replied, "No." We have friends who are closer and care more for our son this my own brother. This hurts me despite the fact that I know how my brother is. We've always had a rocky relationship but I ALWAYS hold out hope that he had finally grown up, wizened up. After our father died, I prayed he would realize JUST how important family is.

Anyway, Sean texted me the other morning asking about an acquaintance of ours. I wasn't even going to respond but he kept at it. I answered his question than forwarded a pic of Hunter saying "Your nephew, in case you are interested." Sean accused me of laying a guilt trip on him when I was the one who told HIM never to come back. True, but still, he's always been this way. After going back and forth through text for quite a while (and him admitting to me that he was THISCLOSE to punching me in the face that day. Nice brother, right?) I told him that is what I don't' need anymore. The drama.

My son and my husband are THE most important things in my life and I don't want to deal with that shit anymore. So next time Sean is in town, he said he was going to try to stop by. We "made up" I guess you can say, and it's not perfect, but then again, our relationship has NEVER been.

But with that silly firetruck going off, and Daryl's thoughts about maybe my Dad was happy that me and my brother had made up--well it has me wondering. As I sit here and stare at my silly son rubbing his dirty bib all over his head and clanking his fork in blueberry pancake crumbs, smiling mischievously at me, I know what is most important. If Sean doesn't end up wanting/maintaining a relationship with his first and ONLY nephew, it will be HIS loss.

And I think I'll be okay with it. I can't force something that might never be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Okay, I feel really guilty. I've been SUCH a bad blogger within the past few weeks, months (ahem...year) but I do miss it so!

Yeah, sure, I miss all you guys, but what I miss the most? Chronicling my life, my simple daily life and being able to go back and reread it. When I became a blogger years and years ago, back before ANYone read me, except maybe Michele, I was an avid journaler. I would whip out my journal at night and go to TOWN, sometimes writing for an hour. But slowly this crazy world of bloggin' took over and I--gasp--stopped journaling! (I still randomly pick it up but it's like one written post every 8-9 months or so).

And now that I've been a bad blogger, I feel like I am not journaling ANYwhere and that kills me! So, be prepared for more stuff for me but seriously? Don't expect Pulitzer prizes or'll more be like "what I ate for lunch" and "how Hunter enjoyed his walk today" but you know what? Years from now, I will enjoy rereading it ALL.

Anyway, life has been great lately. The air is getting crisp and cool, my Pumpkin Spice candles are burning deliciously, and Daryl and I are enjoying showing Hunter all that we love about Fall.
Last weekend, we hit up the Hebron Fair and I'm still kicking myself in the pants for forgetting my camera. The nerve, right? But regardless, we had a blast. Preggo stuffed her friggin' face to heart's content (I'm not exaggerating, people. A fried dough pizza with sauce, a steak and cheese sandwich--which I DID share with Hunter, and didn't devour it all myself--and yummy kettle corn. Oh and Big D and I split one of this icey lemonade drinks. Mmmm...). Hunter was a tad tired by the time we made it to the animals so he wasn't as enthused with the cows and pigs as I had hoped but the goats/lambs? OH MY kid is in love. And even though his "bah-ing" sounds like the Count's devilish laugh (TWO peanut butter and jelly sandwiches...ah...ah...ah...) it is adorable as HELL. I have to catch it on video...I am determined.

This past Friday Hunter and I went apple picking for the second time this season with our friends, Sarah and the girls. For the most part he was more interested in eating his apple, again, but he did try to pick a couple of apples off the trees. I can't WAIT for Big D and I to bring him pumpkin picking. I think it will be hilarious to see my muscle man trying to hoist up a pumpkin on his own (cuz he definitely will! He tries to lift/carry EVERYTHING).
And then there is today, what I've been calling my lazy Sunday. I have done absolutely NOTHING today! And enjoyed it! Hunter and I went in the backyard for a bit so he could chase the dog around and we came in and ate yummy, delicious jonamac (my second favorite kind now, after granny smith) apples. Then Big D came home from work just in time for lunch. And later on, after a Target and quick grocery run, I'm going to make a delicious recipe I've done before for Apple Butter Pork Loin. Perfect for the season!

So, what have you been up to so far the beginning of this Fall season and are you enjoying the weather wherever you are???

Monday, September 13, 2010

News on the baby front is great!

Got to see our little Peanut on the screen today for the second time and it was even better than the first time, a month ago. My eyes completely welled up and just when I thought I was going to shed some happy tears over this sweet little wiggling bean in my belly, my goof-ball son (who was being held by Big D) started imitating the "Pop!" noise the u/s machine made every time the u/s tech got a measurement.

Pop. Pop. Pop. went his little lips over and over again, as his eyes so seriously stared at the machine.

Big D and I started to laugh and the u/s tech giggled her way through her measurements of our Peanut.

Everything looked perfect with Peanut. Approximately 3 oz and 3 1/2 inches (CRAZY to think I can feel him/her already!!!) and growing strong. The doctor told me I have a low lying placenta again, but no biggie, it's still early enough for it to migrate to a new home before Peanut needs to make his/her grand entrance into the world.

I was bragging the other day to anyone who would listen how I was feeling "soooooooo much better" and then? I spent the latter part of Saturday feeling sick to my stomach and on the verge of puking. And after a very LIGHT dinner (what little I could get down) I graciously said to Big D, "Please excuse me" and high tailed it to the bathroom to hurl every last bite. While simultaneously pissing my pants. And I don't mean, "Oops, I leaked a drop or two of urine." Oh no, people, it was like freakin' Niagra Falls.

My boobs are getting HUGE (well even bigger than they already were) and I'm dangerously close to spilling forth. Time for a new bra. I'm exclusively in maternity clothes and I swear to God, at just about 14 weeks, I look the same as I did at approximately 18-19 weeks my first pregnancy, with a couple additional fat rolls for good measure.

But you know what? It's all worth it in the end. Even now, as I start to waddle ALREADY and realize I need to drag out my snoogle pillow (poor Daryl...that damn pillow gets better bed space than he does), I'm still happy.

I'm going to be a Mommy, twice-over. And I couldn't be more thankful!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

There is just something so incredibly sweet and loving about

the bond between a Daddy and his boy. I literally tear up when I look at these pictures. My two favorite boys.
I couldn't love any two people more!