Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Random Hodgepodge

After spending an entire summer clinging to his life jacket for dear life, Park informed me about 2 weeks ago that he can now swim. And before I knew what hit me, he flung off his flotation device and swam across the pool with his head immersed in the water. He came to the surface just long enough to flash me a proud grin, before taking off again.

Apparently, he knew what he was talking about.

He was dying to show off his new skills to all his cousins at his Splish Splash Bash, but unfortunately kiddie pools don't lend themselves to long distance, hard core swimming. Judging from this face, I don't think he minded all that much.
At the last minute, I also agreed to a party for a few of his closest friends at McDonald's, although it killed my soul to do so. I'm not really the fast food type since I'd rather eat my hand than a hamburger. But, in the end it was totally worth it because he was on top of the world. Somehow, his birthday dream had become a Ronald McDonald cake and special birthday plate, all of which came included in a very low priced birthday package.

Who am I to argue with that?

Although, I feel like we should make some sort of commission off all the future birthday parties that Park's buddies will be booking due to the way he sold them on the idea based on his enthusiasm. I even heard him say, "The only way to get such a special plate and have as much fun as me is to have your very own party here. That sounds awesome, huh? Be sure you let me come because I LOVE ice cream!"
Bridget informed me that if I gave the poor kid ice cream more often, perhaps he wouldn't feel the need to secure his place at anyones birthday party who would possibly consider inviting him. I reminded her that I was having his party at McDonald's for crying out loud, so surely she could give me props for small steps.

Speaking of Bridget, how is it that I have not let each of you know that the world is officially ending because she actually has a BLOG now?! Sarah and I had completely given up peer pressuring her because we were in total agreement that it was a lost cause.

And that is saying a lot since Sarah could talk a girl who hates cooking into attempting to be the next Julia Child. She has some serious gifts in the power of persuasion department. (BTW-I only know who Julia Child is since Sarah completely convinced me to see a movie about her life against my better judgement---a movie that I made sure she knew I did NOT enjoy--- do you see what I'm talking about here?

Most of you already know and love Sarah, but if you have a chance, stop by Bridget's blog and get a glimpse into the life of one of my other favorite friends.

And while you are at it, you might as well book your child a McDonald's party for their next birthday. (See, if I had Sarah's skills, you would have already done it:)

Friday, August 21, 2009

In an Effort to Better Document....

37 Weeks!

Anyone care to speculate on the gender, weight, and birthday?

(FYI-Park was born 8 days before his due date and weighed 8lbs 1 oz. ) This baby is due Sept. 11. If you are up for playing along , just leave your best guess as a comment.

Winner gets to birth the baby for me! Just kidding, kind of:)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The End of an Era

It has been almost a week and I am still in shock.

As I shamefully mentioned a while back, we had yet to do away with Park's beloved Pa (known to most as the pacifier) when it came to sleeping. My intention all along was to do away with it on his third birthday, but as that day came and went I could not bring myself to do it.

During that time, we had been facing about 10 months of infertility and the idea of forcing my already too grown up only child to give up his solitary tie to babyhood was too daunting of a task. Chris offered to take matters into his own hands, but I pleaded for an extension.

He happily obliged me because he is a smart man that knows when Momma isn't happy, nobody is happy.

Around the time Park turned 3 and 1/2, I found out I was finally pregnant. And although this seemed like the prime time to dispose of the bad habit, I decided I was too tired to worry with it and gave myself a May deadline. Chris saw the writing on the wall when May came and went and Park's nightimes were still filled with round-the clock, blissful sucking.

And to make matters worse, I showed no remorse whatsoever. I think Chris finally realized the gravity of the situation when I shared with him that a friend had told me kids lose the desire to suck at age 7. After all, what could be the harm in waiting another 4 years?

Enter private discussions between Park and his Daddy.

So, imagine my surprise when Park woke up the morning of his 4th birthday to announce he was so big he no longer needed a Pa. He nonchalantly gathered his aged, dilapidated friends and made the executive decision to throw them all in the pond.

I'm not going to lie, my heart was in my throat. Did he realize the finality of his actions? Could he live with this come nightfall? Would any of us ever sleep again?

After voicing my concerns, perhaps Chris had a point when he delicately mentioned that it might not be Park that had the addiction, after all.

As I had promised Park months before, we let him pick out his favorite Pa and took him to the Build-A-Bear workshop to choose any stuffed animal his little heart desired to store my his beloved treasure inside. Before placing the Pa within the hand of the carefully chosen bunny, I asked him if he wanted to suck it one last time. (All the while, ignoring the eye roll coming from Chris' direction that seemed to ask me, "Would YOU like to suck it one last time?")

Park replied with an underwhelming, "Sure. Why not?" After 4 years of being tied to this beloved item, THIS was all the enthusiasm he could muster??? After sucking it for about .05 seconds he happily shoved it in my hand and announced, "Ok-I'm Done."

Who WAS this kid????

* Please note that his favorite Pa just so happens to be a little on the feminine side. After they discontinued the brand he LOVED so dearly, Aunt Challi remarkably found them online, but all they had were girl pacifiers! He didn't seem to mind.

And before I could change my mind, I tearfully handed it to the stuffing worker, who thoughtfully reminded me if this doesn't work I could simply cut it out, and watched as Pa was transformed into a stuffed bunny. She handed it over to us with sympathy in her eyes, but not before whispering to me, "May God bless you all tonight."

Clearly, she was a Momma who has disposed of a pacifier before.

Park was ecstatic and despite several precious name suggestions from me, such as Pa Baby or Fluffy Love, he proudly announced that his new lovey would be called "Bubba Bunny!!!!"


And just like that, we left the store with Bubba (and his birth certificate) in hand. The fact that Bubba shared Park's birthday was icing on his little cake.

We headed out to the Highland Village Balloon Festival, where he proudly introduced Bubba to Grandma and Grandpa. And as we returned home that evening, Park and Bubba curled up for the night without so much as a protest. They held hands until morning.

And with the exception of one mention of Pa (more of a remembrance than asking for it), every night since then has been equally as smooth sailing.

At least for him. Like it or not, my precious Park is growing up.

We are so proud of you, Big Boy! (Welcome to the family, Bubba:)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Park's 4th Birthday Love Letter

My Precious Bubby,

Yesterday you told me that you are having trouble remembering being a baby. Not to worry, sweet boy, for me it seems like it was just five minutes ago. I, on the other hand, am having trouble believing that you are turning FOUR today!

Every year of your life, I have written you a love letter on your birthday in hopes of someday leaving you a small glimpse of how crazy I am about you. If I can sum up this last year in one word, it would have to be maturity. I am blown away at how grown up you have become.

It is not to say that there have not been bumps along the road, but I am definitely seeing glimpses of your desire to be obedient and hunger to stay within the limits Daddy and I set for you. It is also amazing to see you share toys so willingly and play so well with your friends (most of the time:). It wasn't all that long ago that, well, how can I put this nicely? Um, let's just say that was not always the case.

Make no mistake, though, your personality is still gravely passionate. There is an intensity about you that sets you apart from others your age and your energy level is non-stop. You are full of drive, exuberance for life, and I've never met a little man that likes to work so hard. You do everything wholeheartedly, feel things deeply, and nothing will deter you from obtaining something you set your mind to.
Speaking of your mind, it NEVER stops working. Naps have become a thing of the past this year because relaxing does not come easy to you. I can't tell you the number of times you have called me into your room while trying to fall asleep to ask me about a question you are pondering from earlier in the day or to remind me of something we need to do the next day. You are keenly observant and quick to tell me I have run a yellow light or that we've taken a wrong turn. You often follow those comments with, "Mommy, maybe you should just let me drive."

Soon enough, sweet boy, soon enough.

This year has also been filled with a quest for knowledge. You are insatiably curious and exceptionally easy to teach. You are like a little sponge that soaks up everything you have ever been told and hold onto it for dear life. You love anything to do with letters, sounds and rhyming and have become quite impressive at reading. One of your favorite things is for me to combine the words you know into silly sentences. You also love to sound out new words and often say things like, "OOH! Look at sneaky E on the end of that word... you can't trick me sneaky E!" However, it drives you nuts when certain words "don't follow the rules!"

You will start preschool two days a week in September and you are very excited at all the possibilities that lie ahead. It was a hard decision to put you in because, selfishly,I will miss you terribly. But, I know that you will love it and it will fulfill that growing desire in you to play with friends and experience the world around you. I can hardly wait to hear all the fun stories you are sure to come home with.
And speaking of September, you are anxiously anticipating becoming a big brother. You are so in love with this little person in my stomach and completely convinced it is your long awaited brother. Boy or girl, this baby is going to be so blessed to have you as their sibling. I have no doubt that you will be fiercely protective and extremely hands on. You have told me on several occasions, "Mommy when our baby comes, you can take longs naps, while I rock him. I can even change all the diapers if you want." Who could pass up that offer?

In truth, Daddy and I are soaking up these last few weeks of having you as our one and only. We can only imagine how incredible it will be to love another life as much as we love you. And to see you love that little one right alongside us is a dream come true.

Some things from the previous years have not changed a bit. You are a Daddy's boy through and through. There is nothing you love more than the special adventures Daddy takes you on every Friday morning. The two of you spend enormous chunks of time together on a regular basis that usually involves being dirty and stinky. Daddy is an amazing teacher and you are learning how to be a man from the greatest one I know. For that, I am eternally thankful.
Baseball and fishing also still rank high among your favorites and the sum of how you spend your time reflects that. Another thing you have come to LOVE this year is racing. You have always loved to run and been exceptionally competitive and the combination of those two ideas has culminated into challenging anyone and everyone you know to a race. Daddy is your favorite competitor and you often tell him in delighted giggles, "You are going DOWN!"
Last but not least, you also LOVE our neighbor's dog, Bella. You frequently visit with her by standing on our retaining wall and hoisting yourself up our fence. I've caught you two in some pretty intense conversations and you've also been known to bring her a treat or two throughout the day.

Park, you are truly a joy to love. You have stretched me, grown me, and because of you I have learned to be a better mother. We continue to pray that God will use you in mighty ways as He molds and shapes you into a man after His own heart. You are a precious gift in our lives and we do not take the responsibility of raising you lightly. Happy Birthday, Parkie Pooh!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Patience is a Virtue

Yes, I am still alive.

My blog, on the other hand, seems to be dying a slow death. The good news is I have a longstanding track record of eventually reviving her. I may desert her unintentionally for a month here or there, but she can always count on me coming back.

Don't you like how I just made my blog female? But if she weren't a girl, she certainly would have gotten fed up with my wordiness a long time ago and found a way to delete my ramblings. Wait- it does seem like there have been some times when I've started writing some post and a mysterious "error" occurs and deletes everything I've spent the last hour sharing. Hmmmm-definitely something to think about.

Moving on.

Remember that calm, sweet baby I raved about carrying last time I posted? Well, it turns out I didn't give him/her enough credit for the punch it can pack. Definitely, not as strong as big brother Park was in the womb, but still enough to keep me on my toes. Regardless, I'm treasuring each (pounding) movement as the days draw closer until we meet face to face.

I'm currently closing in on 35 weeks, which has suddenly brought me to the realization that I actually have to BIRTH this child. If you are one of those precious women who "sneezed" your baby out, I truly am happy for you. But just to be real, after 5 and 1/2 long hours of all natural pushing with Park, all that jazz about "not remembering the pain" definitely does not ring true for me. And although I'm choosing a drug free birth again this time around, 4 years hasn't been long enough to erase some vivid mental images that I'd assume not recall.

God and I have had some serious tutorials on the verse, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I'm clinging to that one for dear life.

And on another positive note, most of the trauma I remember was not the actual birth, but the postpartum pain. And every loving girlfriend I have has PROMISED me that the second child recovery is night and day better than the first. If they are lying through their teeth, please don't tell me unless you are volunteering to birth my baby.

And if that is the case, I totally accept your offer.

Park is going to make the best big brother. We were in the car the other day when I caught a glimpse of him talking in a low voice and acting something out. When I asked what he was doing he shyly replied that he was practicing shushing his brother and giving him his "pa" (our family love name for pacifier.) "This little guy can get loud, but I have just the right touch," he declared. Clearly, this kid has no confidence.

It truly was so sweet that I decided to just skip over the whole conversation about how it could be a sister. It's like talking to a wall.

But just so I don't paint a skewed picture, I should also mention that as precious as he is, he is still learning that patience is a virtue. (But, then again, who isn't, right?) Chris and I have been discussing with him the importance of waiting on things and not demanding our own way. A few days ago I had a chance to reinforce this lesson when he was waiting by the door for Chris to get home from work.

"Where is Daddy? He's never going to get here and I'm ready to play with him!!! I have been so patient, but this is the slowest family I have ever had!" he exclaimed.

Confused as to what he was referring to, I asked him to clarify and here was his response:

"Well, Daddy's truck is so slow and our baby is taking forever to get here, too. Being patient just makes me tired!!... (thoughtful pause)... But, NOT the kind of tired that means I should go to bed early, though."

I know the feeling, little man, but some things are worth the wait.

And for the record, he was the kind of tired that required an early bed time. Or at least I was the kind of tired that required him to have an early bed time.

(After getting some time to play with daddy, of course:)