Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lost and Found

Again, my posts have been few and far between, but I am obsessed with getting ready for vacation. I’m sure you’ve realized by now that I do nothing spontaneously, and this vacation is certainly no exception.

I have been hurriedly finishing all my homework assignments, trying to clear off my desk at work, cleaning the house, and planning a celebration for my bonus daughter’s 18th birthday. (Yes, the Queen of Sheba will be 18 already!!)

I also decided it might be a good idea to start packing so I can figure out what I forgot before we actually leave the house. So, last night I dug our luggage out of storage and started filling our suitcases. As I packed David’s duffel bag, I realized there was something in the front zipper pocket. It felt kind of like a flashlight, so I realized we must have left it in there when we went camping last June. I pulled it out to make more room and realized that it wasn’t a flashlight.

It was a sippy cup.

Filled with milk.

In our luggage since last June.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photography by David

If you're curious, this is what happens when you let a toddler touch the buttons on your camera.

Now I guess you know what the Baby Addict looks like in real life...from a toddler's perspective.

Old Friends

I recently found an old friend from high school and I decided to reach out to her. This isn’t something that I would typically do, since most of the kids I remember from high school were not friends that would be uplifting to have in my life right now. I thought it might be helpful to contact this particular friend, though, because she was always an anchor during my tumultuous adolescence. She was that girl that always respected her mom, did her chores, studied diligently, and followed the rules. She was the girl that I should have been spending more time with rather than hanging out with the kids that smoked while they were cutting class (at least, until they dropped out of school altogether).

I had no doubt in my mind that she went on to be successful in life and I thought she might be happy to learn that I’ve been surprisingly successful, too. I was looking forward to meeting her for coffee. Then, I learned that she recently moved far away.

Initially, I felt bad for postponing my contact with her for so long. Maybe if I had reached out sooner, we could have reunited.

Despite the move, she did answer my email. But I could sense that she was a little hesitant.

Remembering the other kids we went to high school with, I shared many details of my current life to reassure her that I wasn’t like them. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t be eager to meet for coffee. Who doesn’t need another Mocha?

Then I had a huge realization.

I AM that kid from high school that you wouldn’t want to reconnect with. I AM that kid from high school that I wouldn’t even want to talk to again.

I’m that kid that cut class and started smoking when I was 14 years old. I’m that kid that talked back to teachers and wore the tightest, smallest shirt I could find. (usually belonging to my toddler sister). I’m that kid that came home drunk and I’m that kid that would run down the street while my mother pelted me with insults and obscenities. I’m that kid that couldn’t have friends over because I never knew when my mom’s mental illness would take over and she would have an embarrassing or violent outburst. I’m that kid that got kicked out of the house when I was 15 years old. I’m that kid that barely graduated high school.

It’s a very sobering insight to look at my self that way, but it reminds me of the mistakes I’ve made and how much I have achieved. I truly believe that we all have trials and life experiences for a reason. Maybe my reason is so I can understand and help my own adolescent bonus daughters. Or maybe the reason is so I can relate to my Teenage Sunday School class. Or maybe the reason is so I can truly appreciate God’s grace and his forgiveness.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Vacation Planning

I’m not sure if I’ve turned over a new leaf or if I finally lost my marbles. I just realized that we are leaving for vacation in Cancun in less than three weeks. In the old days, I would have been packed already, researched all the available activities, planned a tentative schedule for each day of vacation and made multiple copies of our itinerary to leave with our emergency contacts. Today, I just realized that we are going on vacation very soon.

I’d like to say this is because I have changed, but I really think I’m just as anal as I have ever been but have less time to be as organized as I feel compelled to be.

In an effort to save my reputation, I’ve spent the morning preparing a packing list, ordering swim diapers from (I don’t know why I can’t find them in Ohio in October, duh!), and researching, researching, researching the resort we are going to.

Which creates my dilemma. We are taking Little King David with us for several reasons.

1. He has never been away from us overnight. Although he would probably love it, hubby and I are way too overprotective to let him spend his first night away from home while we vacation in another country.
2. Since he is under 2 years old, we only paid $10 in taxes and fees for him to go with us. No airfare costs and no cost to stay at the resort. There will never be another time in his life that will let him travel so cheaply, so we can’t miss this opportunity.

Then, we realized that we are taking the tantrums with us. And the nap schedule. And the early bedtime.

We rationalized that we would hire a sitter at the resort. Hubby even suggested finding another family with kids his age at the resort and swapping babysitting with them. Then we realized that these people are all strangers and we freaked out.

Fortunately, we did learn today that the age limits for the Kids’ Club has recently changed from ages 4-12 to ages 1-12. That means that we could leave David there while we eat a meal alone.

Would you do it? Am I an overprotective, psycho-mom to be having second thoughts about this?

I’m really tempted because we REALLY need some time alone, but I feel a little guilty, too. What would you do?

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Sad Monday Moment

I had a sad realization recently and it has been haunting me all day.

Over the weekend, we were using our new Table Topics Family Edition game at dinner and we each pondered the question, “What do you like least and most about your life?”

My answer was that I don’t like working full-time because it puts so much stress and pressure on the entire family. If I worked part-time, or even as much as 32 hours per week, I could have an entire day to devote to cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry and errands. I’m realistic enough to know that I’d never get everything done in one day, but it would take a lot of pressure off of us. We would spend less time on the weekend cleaning up from the week that passed and getting ready for the week ahead.

As if I wasn’t depressed enough, I went to Target today during my lunch hour to find a new pair of black pumps. You would think that would be simple enough, but I’ve already been to 4 stores trying to find a replacement for the black pumps that broke last week and I can’t find anything. Anyway, I was jogging through the store so I could get back to my desk before my boss noticed I was gone, and I was shocked by what I saw.

There were moms strolling around the store. Shopping on a weekday. Babies and toddlers sleeping in shopping carts. Young ladies leisurely browsing through racks and shelves. Getting their chores done in the middle of the week.

I’m realistic enough to know that being a SAHM is a stressful and often unappreciated role. I know there are days when the kids are driving you crazy or you just want to go potty alone. I do like going to work and having my own space.

I just need 8 hours a week to myself.

If you stumble upon my ideal 32-hour-per-week job and you don’t snatch it up for yourself, please let me know.

I miss my family.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


One of my smarty-pants blog readers loved my bathroom remodel photos and asked what the next project is. She was only kidding, but my beloved husband is not.

This little house of ours is the first house either of us ever owned. We saved our pennies and lived in a tiny apartment for years before we found our “dream” house. I use the term loosely because we must have been “dreaming” when we bought this place.

We wanted to stay in the neighborhood where my bonus daughters were living to make visitation easier for them, so that helped to narrow down our selections. Then, we decided that we wanted really low mortgage payments because we love the jingle of change in our pockets. Then, we decided that all the kids should have their own bedroom and we should have a spare to use as a nursery someday. That narrowed our selections considerably.

We stumbled upon this little bungalow after a few months of searching. The house had been vacant for 6 years because the original owner died and her son didn’t sell it immediately. Although a landscaper had been hired to mow the lawn, little else was done to the house during that time. The house had the original 1950s carpeting and every room was painted a cheerful turquoise color. The house was also a two bedroom bungalow with an unfinished attic.

My husband took one look at this little nightmare of a house and fell in love. I had no idea at the time that I had married Bob Vila as too many years of apartment living had stifled the contractor inside him. We got a great deal on our little house and the work began.

We painted every wall and ceiling before we moved in. We ripped out all of the carpeting to discover beautiful hardwood floors. We washed the windows and cleaned the blinds. I painted the green front door a festive, bright red. We planted grass and trimmed the hedges. We peeled wallpaper and replaced light fixtures. Then, we moved in.
That’s obviously not the end of the story. We built two bedrooms on the second floor, which only took us sixteen months of working everyday after work and every minute of every weekend. We installed shut off valves for the washing machine in the basement. We built a custom entertainment center for our new widescreen television. Hubby built custom nightstands for the kids’ new bedrooms. He also built a custom habitat for our tortoise and a custom bench complete with storage for our eat-in kitchen. We removed trees from the backyard. We replaced the garage door opener. We replaced the roof. We remodeled the bathroom. We replaced the driveway.

So, what’s next?

It depends who you ask.

Ask me, I’ll tell you we’re done. It’s time to enjoy a relaxing life.

Ask hubby, the list includes:

Install new fence in backyard

Remove hedges at side door

Install motion-sensor light fixture at side door

Install brick patio in backyard with lattice canopy and firepit

Build a family room in the basement

Install fireplace in the basement

Build an office in the basement

Build a pantry in the basement

Add a complete bathroom in the basement

Replace basement windows with glass block

Can you think of anything he missed?

It's Finally Done!

Monday, October 13, 2008


We have been far too busy lately that it has been ages since we enjoyed some relaxing, quality family time. We finally took a few moments this weekend to create some family memories and I’m so thankful that we did.

We took the boy to the Family Fun Fest at Patterson’s Fruit Farm this weekend. We actually went twice because our first attempt featured a missing camera (now found), a car window that fell off the track, and a missed turn that took us 15 miles in the wrong direction. We arrived with less than an hour to play, so we decided to return on Sunday.

Our second trip was much more rewarding. Little King David was thrilled by the hayride, enjoyed a romp in the hay, ran through the corn maze, climbed the treehouse, slid down the slide a zillion times, drank 12 ounces of apple cider in less than 5 minutes, and ate four entire apples (seeds and all!) He played in the miniature cabin and the sandbox, and cried when we wouldn’t buy him a toy tractor at the Apple Barn store.

We ate hot dogs for dinner on our way home. Later that night, David carved his first jack-o-lantern.

Finally, this is what family life is meant to be!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The End

I know I've been promising before and after photos of the never-ending bathroom remodeling project. It's been so long that you've probably given up hope that I'd ever post photos, but that's because the bathroom is just barely finished!

We hung light fixtures, shower curtains, towels and artwork last night. I can't wait to show you the finished product, but it appears that I lost my camera (shhhh! don't tell Hubby yet!)

In the meantime, enjoy these BEFORE and AFTER pics.

Little King David is taking a bath in the tub tonight! Hurray!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Self Exploration

I’m taking a Career Exploration & Planning course this fall because I’m trying to use as much of my annual tuition reimbursement benefits as I possibly can. I love this class because it’s all about me, so the answers aren’t in a textbook (and I can’t be wrong.)

I recently completed an assignment on self exploration. My first task was to use five words to describe myself.

My first thoughts were anal, controlling, bossy, insecure, detail-oriented, perfectionist. But then I realized that I’m probably meant to focus on positive qualities, so I tried to put a positive spin on that.

I eventually came up with a list that included:

and focused.

That sounds better.

The next step in the assignment was to ask two people close to me to use three words to describe me. Then I was to compare their answers to my answers and decide if the results were what I expected or surprising.

My husband said I am caring, loving and beautiful.

My co-worker said I am caring, poised and humanistic.

My initial thoughts focused on all my negative characteristics that I like least about myself, but this assignment helped me to see a glimpse of what the world sees when they look at me. It lifted my spirits to hear these encouraging words.

I want you to have a great day, too. I want your day to be filled with encouraging words, so if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged with this “Dawn Meme.” Your assignment is to describe yourself in five words. Then, ask two other people to describe you in three words. Compare the answers and look at yourself from a new perspective today.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Daily Dose of Stress

There are two major reasons that my blog has been quiet this week.

The first intimidating reason is that I have a test due on Friday at midnight for my History class. Something about the midnight deadline is incredibly intimidating. A four o’clock deadline doesn’t induce the same panic as a deadline that could potentially have me wide awake well after my bedtime, laboring over a keyboard while wearing my pajamas. I doubt I actually have the dedication and motivation to do that, but the possibility scares me.

I usually don’t sweat tests. I don’t know that I’m necessarily smart, but I have a test-taking talent that has been a tremendous asset to me in the past. Since I’m such a saavy test-taker, I didn’t invest a lot of time in studying for this test. Until I learned that it wasn’t multiple choice. When I read that the test was a single question to be answered in a four page essay summarizing the five chapters of the textbook that I didn’t read, I lost my mind.

The good news is that my test is done and that stress is gone. Or at least it’s gone until the next test is due a month from now.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been struggling with the stress of trying to protect my son from a cannibal at daycare. Little King David has been bitten six times in the past two weeks and I’m frantic at this point. My initial reaction was that its typical behavior for this age group and it would be a learning experience for him. After the first couple of bites, I became concerned that the teachers weren’t being attentive and that my little angel was being bullied. This week, I’m enraged that my son doesn’t enjoy a sense of safety and security at school and that the staff has failed to provide the safe environment that I pay for. I’m mad at myself because I consider it my most fundamental responsibility as a parent to keep him safe and healthy and I am failing miserably to keep him safe in this situation. I lay awake at night and imagine that my son is terrified and that the emotional damage of this experience will mold his personality and effect the path of his life.

I know I am over-reacting, but it’s hard to remain calm when I see the effects the biting is having on my baby. He is having uncontrollable tantrums at home and night terrors in his sleep since this has started.

I think we’ve negotiated a solution with the daycare center and I pray that this solution will work for everyone. Let’s both pray that my son will be safe at daycare, that he will feel the peace and protection of the presence of God with him daily, and that the child that is biting him will find the love and support at home and school that he needs to overcome his behavioral problems. We’ll pray together and I know everything will be alright.