Sunday, October 24, 2010

all in the name of love.

i often find myself thinking back to where i was at this exact moment, a year ago; four years ago; seven years ago... take for instance, three years ago at this exact minute, i was on the phone with my mother asking her to time my contractions. uh, annie? you might want to make your way to the hospital; you're about 2 minutes apart. that's right, mr. jack benjamin was attempting to make his way into this wonderful world. i was not only an hour from the hospital, but my husband was dead-to-the-world, sleeping rather peacefully next to me as i was focusing on every inhale and exhale that left my lips.

thinking back to that day, it's hard to imagine that jack is turning three. it really is true that you will never forget the birth of your children. i've listened to my mother tell her birth stories repeatedly, usually at my command, and i even remember her telling me that it feels like yesterday. delivering jack was likely the most incredible experience of my life. (and naturally, dylan is a close second!) but, just as my labor had its peaks and valleys so has this ride of raising him.

today's birthday party was a success. the kiddos came in adorable costumes, the art project was a hit and kept their attention for a shockingly long time, cupcakes were devoured, juice boxes were slurped, no blood was spilled by any child, toys were shared, smiles were plastered on everyone's face... yep, i'd say we did all right!

so after clean up and dinner, and after babies were put to bed, ben and i retreated to our room where the night wasn't quite over - i hadn't wrapped a single present and the biggest surprise of all was a set table and chairs that needed to be assembled. so, two hours later, i find myself in bed, typing away in an attempt to wind down and reflect. it's funny the things we do for our children. really, it's all to see their gorgeous faces light up in excitement. that alone is worth all the late hours, all the back and knee pain from putting teeny pieces of furniture together and paper cuts from the wrapping. that's why we do what we do. and as i think back to my own parent's late nights, seeing the hall light shine from the crack under my door, they were likely doing just the same. all in the name of love.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

jack the builder

it's interesting the change that is occurring in our household these days. not only is jack continuing to have more good days than bad, but he's beginning to play. like, rather than just running around with trucks in hand, he's now zooming them across the kitchen floor, driving them over my toes with a chuckle; he's building tall towers with blocks; starting and completing puzzles; coloring and placing stickers in just the right spots on his construction paper.

i happened to catch him on a particularly sunny afternoon, building quite the block structure. and, he's really big on placing blocks just so, so as there looks to be a doorway. quite the budding architect. all things eventually come to an end when he decides it's time to knock everything over in a frantic mess. ok, so he's still a total boy!

soccerball saturdays

to combat the approach of cabin fever and help aide in ridding jack of all his energy, he is playing "soccer" on saturday mornings. and i say it that way because it's really more about running around, hopping, giggling in excitement and every once in a while a direction and soccer ball are thrown into the experience. jack has made a new friend named kenny that he likes to hug until they both fall over. i guess i'm just happy to have a hugger and not a hitter.

our first day didn't go quite as i had hoped. as the class begins, i notice that i am the only parent participating while all the others are posted up on the side, giving blank stares into the group. with dylan strapped to my chest, i'm helping jack with the barrage of directions being thrown our way: dribble down there, put your foot on the ball, stand still as a pencil, now big as a tree and on and on. poor jack. he just took off running - in the opposite direction. eventually, we met back in the center circle to introduce ourselves. still, i am the only parent participating, and i signed up for the parent-assisted group. ah, well. around the group we go; taylor and my favorite color is blue. aiden, i like gween. then jack's turn. and what is your name? bob. bob. BOB! what a screwball. then i get to explain that no, sorry, he just really likes bob the builder. jack did manage to get out his real name and that he liked oh-wange. needless to say, the class continued with me chasing my son in the opposite direction of the rest of the group. and, all he wanted to do was to pick up the ball and run away as fast as he could. next time, i guess i'll enroll him in rugby...

as the class was coming to an end, one of the coaches pulled me aside and said, "you know, you may want to have him in the cottontails class. it's parent-assisted and he might do better with the 2.5 and 3.5 year olds." no kidding. confused, i ask what class this was and she tells me blankly, "hoppers" as if i was supposed to know. i laughed and told her that we were supposed to be in that other class. what a relief.

now, after we've had a month of this, jack fits right in with all the other boys and girls. there's kenny, who's just a few months younger than jack and they follow the 1-2 directions quite easily. then there's another little boy, who carries his jacket around like a blankie and does the exact opposite of what his mother tells him (been there); a little brown-haired, doe-eyed girl that cries the whole time, snot dripping out of her nose and all, while her mother yells at her to just play!; a toe-head, adorable round faced boy that is quite giggly and great at scoring goals. the class size has varied from 4-6 kids and most of the time, they all do well until that 30 minute mark. then i realize there must be this a.d.d.-type gas leaked into the gym because all of a sudden, no one wants to listen, play the games or follow directions. it's truly remarkable. and i love that for once, my kid just blends right in with all the other screwballs.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

i'm back.

well, my camera is back. and wouldn't you know, i snapped a dozen pictures when i got home, before i even took my coat off. oh nikon, how i missed your smooth textured surface and your sweet click-click-clicking! silly. mr. fix-it man informed me the flash release button had taken quite an impact, and i had to inform him that the impact's name was jack.

dylan had her 6 month well baby exam a few days ago. this is when i wish there was another me. this me would take dylan to get vaccines, wipe bubba's bottom and make dinner in evenings for the real me. keep dreaming... so she only gained a pound, but reached the 95% for height. it all evens out eventually. i recall jack having major gains one month and then barely having any the next. dylan loves her little bouncer/entertainment seat dealie. she really boogies these days. she always has something in her mouth - except new teeth. she's still working on that. and just to let me know how much she's working on them, she really woke me up this morning with a looong bite and pull, if you get what i mean. hello! i let out a yelp, enough to startle her into letting go. this didn't happen with jack until he had teeth, but it hurt just as bad. and if you don't think that could hurt, ask your neighbor to help with you something and tell me how that works out for you.

pictures from this afternoon

oh, she's yummy.

i don't think i can fully explain how much this little one loves her dada - and vice versa. i think i mentioned a few weeks back that she's to the point where she's not much fun to hold... that is, unless you're ben miebs. i'm not sure what it's about, but she will sit still with him, one arm flung out and the other one (naturally) to her mouth. and i'm not talking minutes, more like half hour, after after hour, eventually falling asleep. we're in the middle of a major father-daughter bond here. it's gross. (can you tell i'm a teensy, eensy bit jealous?!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


is anyone else completely disturbed by all these poor children taking their own live's because they're being bullied? it truly breaks my heart. a few weeks ago, after yet another child made the headlines, ben and i got to talking about this, dare i say, epidemic that seems to be happening in schools across the country. as parents, you would like to think you know your children and that you'd be able to distinguish if there were troubles at school, but for whatever reason, parents, faculty, peers, are not doing enough. just this past weekend, a wasilla middle schooler took his own life. he wasn't safe at school, but oddly enough, his home wasn't safe either as he had access to his father's guns.

i don't think we're ever going to totally banish bullying in schools; whether it's any form of hazing or teasing, maybe part of the problem lies in the person itself. the child could be troubled at home and hoping to get away from it at school and then they're met with more challenges that can just push them over the edge. it's really hard to say where you can draw the line with what is acceptable and what is pushing the child to such extremes.

i was bullied. i was bullied so bad that i left the private school my parents had me enrolled in; in a time in my life when things at home were at their worst and their hope was to have me in a loving environment during this painful time. but, my experience in the catholic school system was anything but. i went from an elementary school where i knew most everyone in my grade (likely over 100 kids, i'd guess, maybe more?) to a grade of about 30. i always had lots of friends, then going to this school where i was the new kid and didn't know anyone. and for whatever reason, or maybe just that reason, this one girl (we'll call her mallory) decided that no one should like me. no one should be my friend. and, that i should be made fun of because i wasn't catholic. because i was skinny. because i had no boobs. i still remember our teacher saying before heading outside for a lab, ok, grab something flat to write on and someone piped up with like annie's chest?! how awful. during gym class, all the girls would bark at me when it was my turn to do a lay up during basketball, just trying to mess me up. these are just two examples that stand out to me now, but i dealt with being bullied all of sixth grade and half of seventh when i finally left for public school, back with all my friends from elementary, plus new ones.

when ben and i were having this talk, i explained a few of the things to him, and i totally broke into tears. you know, i never had closure on any of this. i never saw mallory again. a few of the girls went onto the same high school, but i never received a recognition that they had done anything wrong. i'm sure it's one of those things where they're likely too embarrassed for their own actions, but i think recalling all those awful memories, memories that i've likely just suppressed for so long, all came to a boil and just bubbled over.

i think back to my excuses for not wanting to go to school; i didn't feel good, i was tired, just let me stay home... it took me a while to finally admit to my mother why i didn't want to go. and then of course after i did, i would step off the bus into my driveway and totally break down, almost every day. i would hold it together during the day - i wasn't going to let them see that they were getting to me. and toward the end of my time at the catholic school, i remember just feeling so low about myself. they had picked apart all the obvious qualities about me eventually convincing me that these were awful things. they constantly called me skinny and ugly, so i had a hard time believing that it was ok to be thin, that thin didn't equal gross, ugly. i was well into high school when i finally was ok with my body. (but oh my gosh, what teenager doesn't deal with body image trouble?! that is an entire separate issue in itself!)

being a mother now, it hurts me to think of how awful my own mother must have felt during that time. with your own babies, you just want to love them, protect them, and never let them hurt! i would be devastated if jack or dylan came home upset because they were being bullied. it's my hope that i always have an open relationship with them, and i pray that if they have anything troubling them, they'll always feel like they can tell me anything.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


do you have that certain something that you never leave home without, always have on your body or close enough to reach out and touch? maybe it's some jewelry or a watch, God forbid your mobile phone or possibly it's a tube of chapstick. well, mine is my camera. it's either on the kitchen counter or wrapped loosely around my wrist or mostly, pushed up against my right eye. and yet as of today, it's been at the repair shop for a mere 4 days, and i'm coming unglued. i don't even feel right about blogging without having it plugged in to upload new funny faces or creative parking spaces for toys a la jack miebs. i have been pretty consistent with capturing those milestone days like the 3 and 6 month birthdays, but unfortunately, the 6 month picture will have to be a few weeks late. i just pray that my camera is back in my hands before jackie's THIRD birthday. still trying to wrap my head around that one...

jack benjamin, 1 hour old

yes, the perfect smelling, little dude that was a simple 7 pounds 8.5 ounces is now a full-on syrup smelling (on a few mornings a week), 34 pound boy. always a truck in hand, making vrroooom sounds or asking me to watch how high he can jump. singing to himself in his room, laughing until he gets the hiccups, telling me to be careful and good job, mama. he is certainly coming around from the holy terror that he was last year, well shoot, even 3 months ago. he has new words and phrases daily; i watched as he walked into the bathroom, closed the door and then excitedly announced: poo poo, mama! the kid is incredible. right down to moments in the grocery store when he announces that i toots. never knew i could love this much.

you should never compare kiddos because they just all develop, grow and learn at such different rates. but in this case, i must. picture wise, it's ok. right? plus, it's fun to take a walk down memory lane...

oh, i could go on and on and on...

dylan will be 6 months tomorrow. kind of hard to believe she's at that half-way mark. she doesn't go in for her well baby check-up until next tuesday so i can't provide you with any stats just yet. but, i can tell you all about her. the latest (but not greatest) trick is a rather annoying. she's found her voice - or that of a peregrine falcon. she's has learned to shriek and squeal, and truthfully, i would not be surprised if birds began to flock toward our house. cute at first. obnoxious to date. still no teeth, but man, are we a drooly mess. her chubby, starfish-shaped hands stay slimy and cold throughout the day because she can't keep them out of her mouth. she sleeps in 12-13 hour stretches at night. not a lot of interest in food just yet, but i'm sure at our visit next week i'll be urged to get on that baby food train. good bye non-smelling diapers, hello peeee-uuuuu!