Wednesday, August 31, 2011

We Make A Good Team

This man and I, we make a good team.

At times it may seem that I am the tad more controlling member in this relationship. While it is true that I make most of the day to day decisions, Brandon is the one that makes the bigger decisions in our marriage.

Where we live - Brandon
When we have kids - Brandon
Where our kids go to school - Brandon

What we will have for dinner - Amy
What social events we will attend this month - Amy
What color to paint our house - actually it's 50/50

We usually balance each other out, except when it comes to cars. We are a bit impulsive in the car buying department, always have been! In our 13 years of marriage there was the 95 Ford Explorer, the 98 Jeep Cherokee, the Jeep Laredo that we actually took back, and the 08 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. And those are just the impulse cars, not the ones we actually kept and used.  Don't let either of us onto a carlot - it is our kryptonite!

The place where we really make a good team is in parenting.  In the last 6 years we have been blessed with 3 wonderful, wildly active, fearless boys, who have caused us quite a few sleepless nights.  But we handle it together in our own way.

Case in Point:

On Sunday night, 2 days into our vacation, we are outside riding bikes. The boys are riding and I am taking pictures.  After a few very fun times around the loop I hear a crash and then immediate crying.  By this time, I was sitting on the ground picking at my toe nail polish. And yes, this next part will cause a few of you to think bad of me (my sister for sure!) but I did not instantly jump up and run to the boys. I took a moment to take a breath, listen to see who was crying, and wait to hear how bad it was.  And it was bad.

"AMY" Brandon yells, and I know I am needed. I do get up, still no running as I was wearing flip flops, and walk down to the crash site. Along with 2 other dads who have come running to help.

As I near the boys, Jack holds up his hand and cries, "I fractured my ankle!" I think he means wrist and he looks okay. But Micah is not. When Brandon turns Micah to me I see blood in his mouth and a scrape on his cheek.

"What happened?" I ask.
"They CRASHED into each other!"
"What did Micah hit?"
"I know that, but what part of Micah got hurt, did he hit his head?"
"They CRASHED!!"

At this point I just pick up Micah and start the walk back to our rental, Brandon is trying to carry Jack and push his bike (with Finn in the trailer) back to the house. One of the other dad's offers to walk the bike, and Finn, back; while the other dad brings the boys' bikes.

In the moment I am the one that is calm. Brandon is the one that freaks out.  Should we go to the ER? Does he have a concussion? Is he okay?

We call the on-call doctor, put ice on Micah and hold him until he calms down. After Micah is tucked into bed, I look and Brandon and tell him it will be okay. It was awful, he says, still shook up over watching the crash.

Fast-forward two days. By now we realize that the crash will have some lasting effects. Micah's right side of his face is swollen and his mouth is black and blue inside.  As I turn and look at his little body and see the expression on his face, I realize something needs to be done.

"We need to go to the ER" I tell Brandon as we are sitting at the pool.
"What will the ER be able to do? He calmly asks and then suggests maybe a Pediatric Dentist would be a good idea.
"What WILL a dentist do?? He needs help now??" I might be a little bit shrieky right now.
"Okay, I will see what's available"

And with that, Brandon locates a Pediatric Dentist, has a phone consult and gets an appointment for the next day. All is calm then, until we hear the news that all 4 top teeth will need to be removed.  I want to wait until we return home and get a second opinion. After much discussion, Brandon just states it needs to be done now. And, like that, the appointment is made.

Now I am a crying mess.  I can not let go of Micah's baby teeth. I love them. And yes, I know it sounds crazy, but I was devastated at the idea that the teeth would be gone. No more little grins from Micah with those perfectly spaced baby teeth poking through.

Brandon calmly listens to me cry and then said he would take Micah to the appointment. And once again, I felt like the bad mom. I should be there, I should go with him and hold his hand. Instead I went inside and watched a show with my oldest while my baby had his teeth removed. Extracted, as they say. This is the moment that I am so thankful for Brandon as he held Micah's hand, and comforted him, and watched as the dentist used needle nose pliers on his perfect little teeth.

In the moment of crisis, I am able to stay calm and make decisions. In the aftermath when all my crazy fears and worries come rushing in, Brandon is the one who is calm and clear.

In that, we are the perfect team, and I couldn't be more blessed.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Not a Box

It's not a box.

It's a boat and we are headed off on an adventure.

It's a rocket and we are going to the moon!

It's a tent and we are camping in the woods.

It's not a box.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

For the past two years we have had a nanny (for lack of a better word) who has become part of our family. She was a college student who would come over twice a week at 5:00 to give me a much needed hour away.  Within the first month of babysitting, she began to stay for dinner and soon a tradition was born. Every Monday and Friday night, I had a brief moment of space and Mandy had a home cooked meal. It was a win-win for everyone.
Our first stop, some much needed caffeine!
We arrive!
But this June she graduated.  Gone are the dinners together, gone is the hour of freedom I so looked forward to. Even worse, she moved back to her hometown and we had to say 'good-bye' to someone who has played an important role in my children's lives.

It was really important to Mandy that we make the trek to her home to meet her family and see where she lived. As we planned the weekend we would go, it became clear that it would be something my husband would not be able to attend. Between work, already scheduled trips, and a bathroom remodel, he really needed that weekend home.  That was fine, I could do it myself.

Leading up to the trip, I will admit, I was nervous.  I have never been the responsible driver, always letting (truthfully not being allowed by) Brandon drive us to our destination. Plus, we would be spending one day on a boat and I was petrified of being in charge of all my boys on a boat.  Some fears are crazy, some are rational. This one was rooted in the rational knowledge that 2 of my boys have NO fear of water. It doesn't matter if they are drowning, they think it is fun.  I shared some of my concerns with my mom who suggested I find someone to go with me. But really, who wants to travel to Timbuktu in 100 degree heat and spend the weekend at a stranger's house. No one it turns out.

Saying Good-bye

I put on my big-girl-pants and on Friday at noon, I headed east over the mountains and through, nothing really, to Mandy's house.  We arrived safely after 6.5 hours of driving, some crying, and some yelling of "monster!" by the baby.  As soon as we arrived we were overtaken by the force that is Mandy's mom. No rules except, "No blood, no bawling" and as much candy and pop as you could ingest. We did reach Jack's limit as he threw up all over their couch our last night there.  We picked cherries, went inter-tubing, played pool, learned to pee in a lake (Jack's highlight), and rode all the scary rides at the amusement park.  It was a crazy 4 days, but I am glad we did it.  It was fun to see where Mandy came from, I have a better understanding of her as a person. Sitting on the deck each morning looking out over pastures and seeing nothing but blue skies was my favorite part of the trip.

Best thing about boys
Our last stop, this time for something sweet!
For the kid who can't eat dairy, he sure gets a lot of ice cream!
As much fun as we had, it was nothing compared to pulling up and seeing this guy.
 Home safe and sound, Mission Accomplished!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Finn, who has until recently been a very quiet child, has learned a new word.  Why.

Considering that we were slightly concerned about his talking, or lack thereof, this should be considered a good thing. And it was, at first. When his little boy voice said, "Why?"; stretching it into two syllables, I was in love.

But that was a week ago. Now, I am wishing for the days when Finn was the strong, silent type. Everything we say to him begets the response, "why?".  For example:

"Oh-cho is coming today"
"To babysit"
"Because Mom wants to go sit, drink coffee, and be alone for 2 hours"
"Just because"

It doesn't matter the conversation, I always end up in the same place, saying "Just Because". Very similar to "Because I said So". Phrases I never thought I would use as a parent, have now become an integral part of my vocabulary.

Now I have 3 boys who questions everything I say and do.  Ah, the joys of parenting!