Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Wonder of Books...

Yesterday was Monday, October 14, 2013; later afternoon the girls and I went out for a walk, as we often do. At one point, L was holding my hand, she looked up at me and said, "Mommy, do we have any books about how flowers grow?" I told her we didn't and she asked, "Can you get some from the library?" OF COURSE I WILL!!! Just a few minutes went by and she looked up at the cloudy sky and asked, "Mommy, can you get a book about what happens to the sky when it rains?" ABSOLUTELY!!

We just started going to the library this past summer and both girls love it! We've always read A LOT! But now we read daily (I don't count bedtime... I'm talking about during the day). I THINK IT'S AMAZING THAT AT 3 1/2 SHE IS THINKING ABOUT THESE THINGS! THAT SHE KNOWS THERE'S KNOWLEDGE IN BOOKS. THAT SHE CAN READ A BOOK AND LEARN THINGS. She has questions about how flowers grow and wants books so she can LEARN!! 

Call me crazy! I'm just a proud mommy! I think this is amazing! I'm happy she loves books, I'm happy she wants to learn. I'm happy she's asking for things that interest her or just things she wants to know about!! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Their FIRST Play: Welcome to Pooh Corner

When my husband and I made the decision to homeschool, one of my concerns was that I wanted the girls to be exposed to the theater. I was so happy when I found the homeschool field trip group that we've since joined!

Today was our second field trip. A small production of Welcome to Pooh Corner. A play. Something that was so magical for me when I was younger (and still today)! I have told so many stories to the girls over the last several days getting them ready for today! I think I was just as excited (if not more) as the girls were for this field trip! 

Cute tops, cute shirts, pretty bows in their hair... we were ready to go! I plugged the address into the GPS and off we went. Lots of singing songs and non stop talking in the car on the way. It was a 30 minute drive and as we were getting off the interstate, the excitement escalated! The GPS, Maxine (as we have named the talking computer) told me to turn right. I did, and she proceeded to say, "drive 50' and make a U-turn". What? I know I heard her right! She said turn right. I thought! Well maybe the girls were talking and I heard wrong. I turned around in the shopping center and started to drive the opposite way. Then we heard Maxine say, "Drive 50' and make a U-turn." What? I pulled back into the the same shopping center and thought maybe this place could have been tucked behind it OR SOMETHING??? Finally as I was driving around the shopping center I saw a police and I stopped to ask directions. He was telling me one way, then another, then changed his mind back to the first way. Then he said, "Just follow me!" The girls thought this was the coolest thing. They kept saying, "The police is following us to our field trip! We have to tell Daddy!" I kept trying to correct them without dampening their excitement. NO! WE ARE FOLLOWING THE POLICE! The police isn't following us. LOL We had a police escort!

Once inside, we had to wait in the lobby for a bit! I thought they were going to explode with excitement. L looked at one of the people welcoming guests inside and said, "I've waited Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and now it's Wednesday, IT'S THE DAY!!" So cute! 

Once we were ushered to our seats there were so many questions! About the stage, the lights, the smell (normal theater smell to me)... I was loving it. THEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. L said, "I can't see the stage anymore!" As I started to explain that the play was beginning, off to the corner the spotlight was shining on a little boy sitting at a toy chest pulling one toy out after another, hugging each one. The music was so soft and sweet and the look on L's face was magical! As crazy as this sounds, I saw the magic on her face, in her eyes and I FELT IT INSIDE! A few tears fell (from my eyes LOL) I COULD SEE IT IN HER FACE, SHE FELT THE MAGIC TOO!! 

She had some questions, like 15 minutes in, when ALL of the actors were in the middle of their scene and she looks at me and asks, "When is Winnie-the-Pooh coming out?" I had tried to explain to her the idea of actors, etc before we got there, all week actually! But it's hard when she really doesn't watch anything that has actors in it. We watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Doc Mcstuffins, Team Umizoomi, and Sofia The First. They aren't really into movies yet. A few here and there. So Winnie-the-Pooh was an older man in a long sleeve yellow shirt, yellow pants, red sweater, and a black hat that had 2 small yellow pompoms sewn on it for ears. I explained the characters and she watched the entire show like IT WAS MAGICAL!

M on the other hand, did pretty good, she wasn't as interested. But as we went to sleep tonight, she said going to the play was her favorite part of the day! They both said that and it made me smile! 

We have another field trip planned next month, also a play! M told me that she didn't like it today, but she wants to go back. L can't wait to see another one! Of course, I'm excited! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

M has sounded hoarse for A LONG TIME...

I started to notice it last winter. I would say it actually started around October or November of 2012 and it never went away! Someone having a hoarse voice doesn't seem like that big of a deal throughout the winter because it's a time when people are commonly sick. BUT as spring rolled around, I knew something wasn't right. I mentioned it to my husband and he didn't seem to think anything it was a big deal. Summer set in. it seemed like it took M effort to talk at times. Sometimes she would stop, not even mid-sentence, but in the middle of a word (to swallow) then continue right on with that she was saying. Soon after I started to notice this difference, my Mom's doctor found a lesion on her vocal cord. Could this be hereditary?

I was ready to make a special appointment, just to have it checked out. Hubs said it was just coincidence, but it was ALWAYS ON MY MIND. My mom has chronic bronchitis, she gets it really bad every year and she stays hoarse throughout the wintertime; Looking at it in that respect, it doesn't seem like it would be hereditary. I did feel better a few days later after hearing more about my mom, what caused it for her, and how they were going to "fix it" (non-surgically). 

M had a random appointment that I had to make and I mentioned it there (it was with one of the other pediatricians in our practice). He had a few more questions about what was going on with my mom before saying anything more about it (in relation to M). Her 2 1/2 year appointment was a couple weeks later with her regular pediatrician and I was planning on going more in-depth at that time. 

After bringing this up with her regular doctor, she noticed what I was talking about. A possible paralyzed vocal cord, polyps on her vocal cords, cysts, and even more things that didn't sound good at all... all possibilities of what could be causing this. She recommended a visit to the E.N.T. I called that afternoon and was able to get in nine days later. I was so happy to get an appointment so quickly. Our vacation was coming up, and a 10 hour drive would be a long time to think about horrible possibilities! 

During our E.N.T. appointment, M wouldn't say a word. The doctor tried and tried everything to get her to talk. He was very patient and ended up watching some videos of her talking on my phone. In the videos, he was able to see the pausing/swallowing and the effort it took to, sometimes, finish a sentence; he said this "swallowing" is the way kids "clear their throats." He decided against scoping her (I was very happy that we didn't have to put her through that) and said he was pretty positive this was caused by reflux. He said 90% of adults have reflux (that it just doesn't affect everyone the same) and 100% of kids have reflux (and it just doesn't affect them all the same). 

He prescribed Prilosec... with lots of instructions. The Prilosec came in a gel cap (that I have to break open and pour the medicine over yogurt or peanut butter or something). I have to make sure she gets EVERY bead that comes out of the gel cap! She has to take it in the evenings prior to dinner, she has to take it on an empty stomach (so she can eat an hour prior to taking this medicine) and she has to have dinner within 30 minutes to 3 hours after taking it. This appointment was 4 days before our vacation; I felt like this was quite the task. We were already going to be out of our routine, she's a snacker, and simply just remembering to do it while we were away. Of course I'll do what I have to do. I wanted to make sure she has what she needs to and I want to make everything better!!! 

It really wasn't hard to get into a routine of this; Although it is a bit easier not that we're home, doing our regular day to day activities. Of the 9 days we were on vacation, we only had one medicine mishap, but she's had it just as she's supposed to all the other times. She was supposed to have a 6 week check up after starting this medicine. The doctor said we should see a SMALL difference by 6 weeks and a huge difference at 12 weeks. Her appointment was scheduled for August 13th. I called and happily reported that myself and other family members can hear a difference in her voice!  After talking to them, with the differences we see, the 6 week appointment wasn't necessary. We go back in October and with the change I've seen so far, it sounds like we'll be able to avoid having her scoped, that this medicine is doing what we need it to do! 




Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Long Drive Home ....

This is the day hubs and I dreaded the most. We drove to Florida during the evening so the girls could sleep. Coming home, we left the condo at 10:00 Florida time. But we weren't able to head straight home. We had to stop at one of those souvenir stores to replace the crab that "has been sleeping so much" ... I don't like lying to the girls, although, I'm just not ready to explain death to them. One of the crabs had died. They off and on the day before and that morning, they would has me why she sleeps so much. I told them that I thought her shell was too small and it made her sleepy. I told them before we headed back home, I would take her into a store and let her pick out a new shell and I really thought that was going to fix the problem.

I headed into the first store with our crabs... they were totally out of crabs! To get back in the van and tell hubs he had to drive the opposite way that were needing to go because we had to go to a different store, I knew I was going to get the, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME LOOK"... but it helped as I sat back in my seat, the girls were excited to see "what shell she picked and if it worked and woke her up"... In and out of the next store with SUCCESS!! The girls were so excited to see Cece walking around in her soccer ball shell. They were saying, "We like soccer! Did she know we like soccer?" By the way, their names are Bebe and Cece!

We headed home! The gps says this is going to be a nine hour drive. The girls did an awesome job! In the beginning, there seemed to be lots of potty breaks. But we actually only stopped 6 times total. The drive wasn't bad at all. Especially considering they were only asleep maybe 5 hours the whole drive! They took about an hour and a half nap sometime in the afternoon and didn't go to sleep until about 9 that night. We got home around midnight. (we left at 11 our time, it took us 13 hours)

They did ask a lot of questions and a lot of the questions were the same over and over. But it was alright! They were happy and having fun! The worst part of it was late afternoon, L threw up ( a lot). We stopped at a MacDonald's to go in, get her cleaned up, change her clothes and let them stretch their legs. We were walking around in the grass and all of a sudden M starts screaming, I looked down and saw ants on her foot! ABOUT 40 OF THEM! They were fire ants! Biting and biting her... Daddy got them all off, I got her settled, we looked everyone over to make sure we weren't bringing them back in the van with us... and off we went. We decided this was a good time to break out the dvd player. They watched some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and some Tinkerbell and eventually they were asleep again!

One more slightly rough part was what kind of restrooms we were going to come across on all of our potty breaks! Early in our trip (The first time we went to Fudpucker's) we were in the restroom at the restaurant, M was sitting on the toilet; it was one that automatically flushes. It flushed while she was sitting on it, BUT at the same time, about 4 other toilets flushed at the same time. For some reason, this scared the heck out of her! You could see it in her face how scared she was! For the rest of the week, if we went into a restroom that had a toilet like that she wouldn't sit on it. She NEVER had an accident, but it was quite stressful! During this drive, we literally had a couple stops where we had to talk to her about being a brave girl! (this involved some slight bribery)... but we were desperate and didn't want to have to go from one place to another to find a toilet I could flush! (We've been working on this, and it is getting much better!)

Hubs drove the entire way home. He said the frequent stops helped him. I joked and said he just didn't want to hold the crabs. LOL All in all it was also a great day and everyone was happy to be home in the end!

Destin, FL; The Girls First Trip To The Beach...

Friday July 5, 2013 is when we planned on leaving. The girls and I started counting down 71 days prior to this. Needless to say, they were pretty excited to wake up that morning knowing that we were leaving that day! So many days leading up to this, I had spent packing, making list, doing everything I could to get us organized and ready; I wanted this particular day to be as normal as it could be for the girls. We planned on heading out right before bedtime; so I wanted them to have had fun, play, and simply be tired so they would sleep for the ride.

We dropped our dog off at their friends' house that morning and had a bit of a play date. We came home for lunch, packed up the van and went for a bike ride. During that time I found out there was a tornado warning in Destin, FL (where we were planning on vacationing). So much anxiety set in, I just kept telling myself that were were heading to Pensacola, FL that night and not going to Destin until Sunday. I knew the drive wasn't going to be fun! Looking at the radar, there was nothing but rain and storms for our entire route. We decided to leave a bit early to have as much daylight as we could. 

I gave the girls a bath, fed them dinner, put on their pull ups and pajamas and off we went! There was so much excitement and so many questions! Twenty minutes away from our house and L was already asking when we were going to be there and when it was going to be morning... (we had told her that if she goes to sleep, then it would be morning before she knew it and we would be there). Daddy started driving and just a little bit into it, we realized that I should drive while I was awake and not tired (because I knew I wasn't going to go to sleep at that point and he could), so we switched. The girls fell asleep and all was well, other than the random down pours I drove through. I drank a whole thermos full of coffee (60 oz) and sang like I thought I was Mariah Carey!!

The girls would wake up at times having to go to the bathroom, but they were amazingly good about being in good spirits and falling right back to sleep when we got back in the van. There was a time going through TN that L cried a bit because she wanted me to hold her... it broke my heart... but I was able to sing her to sleep (although this took about 30-40 min)

I drove several hours, Daddy drove a few and was getting pretty sleepy (I slept for a little bit), I started driving again and about 1:00 am or so, somewhere in Alabama, we decided to call it a night and get a hotel room. We got the girls out of the van, carried them into the room and they went right back to sleep. It was such a relief to be in a bed. It started to storm and did so the entire night! Breakfast at this place was pretty interesting. Nothing bad. The owner of the hotel  was in the room where we had breakfast and was so nice but we talked a lot. He complimented the girls on how polite and perceptive they were. He was from Bombay and they respectfully noticed his accent and were very curious about it. He had an insane garden (that he walked us to in the rain), he brought out his pet turtle (which the girls thought was really cool), and offered to give us things from his garden if we stopped by on the way back home. We did not stop again, but he was very kind! We were happy to get back on the road; although the next 4 hours that morning was a way different drive with the girls awake... lots of potty breaks! But the good thing about it was, neither one of them had any accidents!

It was pouring rain when we made it to Pensacola and our room wasn't ready! All the girls wanted to do was to walk on the beach and to see the ocean. We sat in the lobby of the hotel for a bit and colored. It didn't take too long to get in our room, so it wasn't bad! We freshened up a little and headed out to lunch to the Shrimp Basket! We were hungry, but were also told that it was supposed to stop raining around 3:00. Lunch was good but the girls had a one track mind... BEACH! BEACH! BEACH!!! So off we went, rain and all. I took videos so we could remember the excitement in the girls voices as we drove the 25 minute drive to the beach. Rain and all, it was pretty awesome. Through the rain, we could see some blue skies off and on. Seriously as we pulled into the parking lot of Pensacola Beach, it was like it was a different day. I started to tear up as I laughed... L asked, "Are those happy tears Mommy?" WERE THEY EVER!!

I couldn't get their clothes changed fast enough! They wanted to see it, touch it, feel it and get in it! The video of them walking on the sand is the best!! Barefoot and feeling this sand between their toes, it was soft as powder and M asked if it was snow! They were amazed! They didn't take too many steps into it until they just sat down picking up one handful after another. Lots of pictures and lots of smiles. Then down to the water! I'll have to blog about the book I bought to help prepare them for this! 

My favorite moments from their first few minutes on the beach:
Watching how excited they would get when the water would wash up around their ankles and it would bury their feet in the sand.
How much they would laugh and smile when the waves would knock them down. (But then they wanted the waves to knock them down more and more)... 
Watching them see little shells wash up in the water and get so excited when they were able to grab one before the next wave came!!

We asked someone to take pictures of the four of us pretty quickly after we got there. The girls looked so happy standing in the water with us. PURE JOY!!!

We stayed for a few hours, played in the water and played in the sand... it was pretty awesome! After all of that rain, we had a beautiful afternoon. The water was a bit rough, so we didn't go out that far, BUT IT WAS A GREAT AFTERNOON. Dinner, bath and bedtime was pretty easy.

The next morning was also exciting! (It was Sunday) We had about an hour drive into Destin. We saw a lizard in the parking lot during one of our bathroom stops and a dog on the back of a motorcycle wearing sunglasses and a helmet. Coolest things ever! Not to mention ... THE SAND DUNES! The excitement of the sand dunes also came from the book that I'll blog about later!

We got to the condo a little earlier than check in, our room wasn't ready but we were able to get access to their amazing pool. We swam a bit, had some lunch, then took the shuttle that ran from the condo to the beach. The water was still pretty rough. There was a red flag, so we played in the sand, picked these little shells (they are actually called Conquina Clams), walked around in the shallow water and of course, took lots of pictures! We headed back to the condo at 4:00; our room was ready! We showered and headed out to dinner. We were going to go to Fudpucker's although we didn't make it! The girls were beat down tired and fell asleep in the van. We decided that as tired as they were, it could potentially get ugly trying to wake them up and sit down in a restaurant. We let them sleep. Daddy ran into a fresh seafood place and then in the grocery store. We went back to the condo, made a sandwich for the girls and bedtime took less than 10 minutes once we laid down. Daddy made dinner and I made strawberry daquaries. Our condo was on the eleventh floor and the view from the balcony was amazing! We sat out there for awhile and eventually went to bed. 

Monday: The girls had breakfast on the balcony which they thought was incredibly cool! They ran around the condo for a bit and played then we went to one of the beach souvenir shops (I wanted a BIG beach bag that would be good for our sand toys) and we let the girls pick out some shell necklaces. While we were out we drove down to a beach we had passed on the way into Destin (it wasn't that far down the road, it was around some pretty large sand dunes that the girls thought were awesome!) We were hoping to find a good area to pick up some shells. The way my girls like to collect rocks, I knew they would love collecting shells and I really wanted to find some shells WITH THEM!! There weren't any shells there; just more Conquina Clams. Eventually the three of us headed to the beach across from the condo and Daddy went to the grocery store. We played in the water (it was much calmer but not totally calm). We went out to the sandbar (they always wore their puddle jumpers in the ocean). I wouldn't take them past the sand bar though. I think we would've been okay, but I didn't want to push it with it just being me and BOTH of them! We had fun though. We played in the water, built a real sand castle, I buried them in the sand, they tried to bury each other. It was all so much fun! We headed back to the condo between 3:30 and 4:00 so could get ready and get to Fudpucker's earlier that night, so we could spend some time there. We got there about 5ish and I'm so glad we did. This place was pretty cool and SO MUCH FUN! They had "alligator beach" there (where you can feed alligators), we got our picture taken holding a REAL ALLIGATOR. The girls thought it was the coolest thing that they held a real alligator! This place had a play ground in the middle of it (next to the bar). We weren't drinking there, but it just seemed so crazy seeing a set up like this!! Once again, bedtime was so easy and Mommy and Daddy ended up out on the balcony (I'm so glad I thought to take the baby monitors with us)! We talked about how much fun the girls had picking up those "shells" and googled good places to find shells around Destin and decided to drive to Panama City, take the girls to St. Andrew State Park and take the shuttle to the boat to head out to Shell Island.

Tuesday: It was a awesome morning. The girls were so excited for their surprise. They couldn't wait to get on the boat! It was a fun ride out there. The girls were playing with their cameras, singing and LOTS of playing "I SPY!" M didn't like the boat ride so much... she didn't like the noise. Luckily it wasn't that long of a ride. She sat there the whole way with her hands over her ears. They dropped us off on one side of the island and told us where to walk. It was quite a long walk with 2 little ones, a cooler, a beach bag of all of our necessities and a beach bag of sand toys! L did good with it and M cried part of the way. This didn't bode well for the beginning of our morning there. L was excited playing with Daddy in the water and finding shells. I was secretly sad in the beginning. That's one thing I was totally looking forward to on this vacation: Picking sea shells with my girls and I had one on Shell Island that just wanted to play in the water and one that was more miserable than I had seen her in a long time. I was trying to talk her into doing what we came there to do, even though I could see it was a lost cause.... Finally I let her sit in my lap, cry and settle a bit. I told her it was alright, asked her what she wanted to do, what she wanted to play...  and she wanted to build a sand castle. I was a tiny bit sad, but at least she wasn't anymore!!! Daddy and L came out of the water to join us. After a few minutes, I asked if he cared if I walked down the beach by myself to see what kind of shells I could find. The captain of our boat told everyone that the further you walked, the better you would do with the shells... that's what I did. I saw how some others were doing this in the water (about waist deep) and I found some on the coolest things. I didn't stay gone long ... but the time I was gone, it was such a RE CHARGE!! As I headed back to my sand castle building family and showed them what I had found, everyone was happy and all of us headed out into the water.  We had fun swimming a bit then all 4 of us took a walk TO LOOK FOR SHELLS, we had a lot of fun. Both girls would get so excited to show us each shell they would find and be able to put it in our shell bad. :) We stayed out there for about 4 hours. We decided to head back while everyone was still happy and in good moods (not to tire them out and then have to make that long walk). We headed back, changed our clothes, found a great restaurant for lunch and had a really fun drive back to the condo. Lots of singing and excitement about things we've done so far and things yet to come!! I part of the way back once the girls fell asleep and hubs fell asleep too. I decided to wake him once we were close and I ran into a store... I came out with lots of things and a hermit crab (because I'm crazy)! Later that night after the girls were asleep, we were reading about how to take care of them and apparently they do better in pairs, so I headed out and bought another one. Daddy cooked him and myself another special seafood dinner that was amazing and we spent another night out of the balcony!!

Wednesday: I was so looking forward to this day! The girls had breakfast out on the balcony, just as they had been doing every morning since we had gotten to the condo (and they loved it). We went for a swim, had lunch, got cleaned up and headed out to the Harborwalk. We walked around for a bit, looked at some shops, and took lots of pictures. Everyone was having a great time, the girls were having fun and being so good, so we decided to get them a treat. We walked into an ice cream shop, ordered what we wanted and as we went to pay, we realized Daddy's card was in MY WALLET and I didn't bring my wallet (because I knew I wasn't going to need it). He had a few dollars in his pocket and they were able to get something to share. BUT we had to leave the Harborwalk, go to the condo, get his card and go back to where we were. Doesn't sound bad, but with the traffic of that area, during that time of day, that trip was 30 minutes one way. We had a shelling/dolphin watch/sunset cruise booked for that day. As we drove back to the condo, it was looking like the worst storm EVER was rolling in, then it started to rain. I called the company to see what the status of our trip was and it was still (at that time) planned to leave like normal. By the time we got back to the Harborwalk, it was pouring rain!! L had to go to the bathroom and Daddy didn't want to get out of the van. He actually wanted to reschedule our cruise for that night. I had been watching the weather and that night seemed like the best (weather wise) to go (despite the rain at the time). We were told this was a pop up shower and it was suppose to clear up. I took L to the bathroom and we found a great place to sit outside of Starbucks. I called Daddy and him and M got out of the van to join us. We decided to have an early dinner and see what the night brought. We ate at Poppy's The Crazy Lobster, right on the water, we sat outside (it was covered) and it seemed to be clearing up. A little light rain. We were supposed to be at the place to check in for our cruise at 5:30. As we asked for our check it was 5:25. I left the table, ran around the corner to where we were supposed to check in, asked if we could switch to JUST the dolphin/cruise and NOT DO the one with the shelling... that was a go. I checked us in. I went back to the table, of course both girls had to potty, I sent Daddy to go pay for the cruise and believe it our not everything worked out.

We stood in line at the Reef Runner (the name of the boat we were going out on) in the rain. We were standing on a dock with excited kids. They were so excited, there were a lot of people (because despite the rain, LOTS of people were down there waiting to get on different boats!!) I was so afraid the girls were going to fall in the water) We held them and all of our things, in the rain, Daddy was being such a good sport! I know in his head he was wondering why in the world we didn't cancel! M wasn't being that good (potential for disaster). It was a 2 hour cruise and the first 30 minutes were rough with M!! BUT ... the rain stopped, M started acting so much better, we saw so many dolphins. They weren't just out there, a few were doing back flips. The dolphins were so close to our boat, the girls were able to see them too. With the rain that happened earlier, the sunset wasn't much to see BUT BOTH GIRLS GOT TO DRIVE THE BOAT!!! L drove it first. When you look at the pictures of her doing this, you see nothing but PURE JOY!! So she kept steering it to the left... We were literally doing doughnuts in the middle of the ocean. The captain got on the radio to tell the other boats out there that a kid was driving the boat. It was pretty awesome. Then it was M's turn ... again, she also thought this was the coolest thing in the world! The wheel was a bit hard for her to turn on her own. She had to have a little help, but she still had just as much fun! After they were both finished, L looked at me and asked, "If I can drive a boat, why can't I drive your car?" No joke... I had to explain how the rules were different in Florida. She's a smart girl!!! I thought bedtime was going to easy again this night, BUT there was a band playing down by the pool. Even though our condo was on the 11th floor, as I laid in the bed singing the girls to sleep, the band was throwing me off (they were singing "Free Falling" as I was trying to sing our goodnight song)! Soon enough they were asleep and of course Daddy and myself ended up on the balcony, had a few drinks, and even danced a bit) ... we have so much fun with each other and everyday I really fall more and more in love with him (even this many years later)!!

When the band finished we started to google some of the things that were pointed out during our cruise. I didn't realize how many celebrities actually lived in Destin! Literally 15 minutes from where our condo was. A few of their houses were pointed out to us during the cruise and they had told us where some of the other ones were (they were all around the same few streets). Daddy wanted to ride by there at some point that week..

Thursday: We woke up to pouring rain... Although the girls were still able to have breakfast on the balcony and still be dry (which they also loved)!! We decided that was a good time to take a drive to see those houses. The two that I got excited about were Garth Brooks house and Tim McGraw/Faith Hill's! Throughout this drive the girls kept saying, "Are we at someplace fun yet?" We weren't sure where this "someplace fun" was that we were going to take them to... but we kept telling them that we weren't there yet. When we were finished, we took them into a souvenir shop to let them pick out a key chain for each of them. We let them get a key chain from where ever they are when we stay someplace out of town and put in a box for them. While we were in the store, Daddy googled some indoor places to take the girls to. We found a science center. It was fun for them! Took a few hours there then headed for lunch. We ate at Gilligan's Seafood right on the water. The weather cleared up! It was a beautiful afternoon. We headed back to the condo and took the girls down to the pool. We swam, played, had ice cream poolside, and swam some more!

I looked at hubs, told him how good the girls had been, said we should get dressed and take them to a beach to see the sunset at night. The normally go to bed so early, I wanted them to see an amazing sunset over the water. This didn't happen during our cruise the night before and I really wanted them to see it! The girls and I had also brought some glass bottles with corks in the top of them that we picked out at Michael's to make a keepsake from their first vacation to the beach. We took those bottles that night. The whole night was SO SO SPECIAL. We got some AWESOME pictures on the beach with the sunset! We put sand in our bottles, we played, I let them climb up on a sand dune (there, they decided to build what they were calling a snowman). We took so many pictures and so many videos! M got so upset her snowman was going to be lonely because we had to leave it there.... As we were about to leave, we heard someone say there was going to be fireworks over the ocean at 9:00. M wanted me to hold her. I did for a bit, she fell asleep, I passed her off to Daddy. He held her while he was talking to another family there. L wanted to sit in the sand with me. She was being so sweet and snuggly. This was such a great day and that night on the beach was so special to me! Absolutely perfect!

For the life of me, I can't remember what we did for dinner this night... I know we ate lol

Friday: Our last day there! The forecast called for rain, but it was beautiful the whole day! We went to the beach. We were there for hours! The water was so calm and it was unbelievably clear. We could see schools of fish swimming by. We played and played. So much in the water. Built sand castles, buried each other in the sand, took so many pictures! When we were about to head back to the condo, I took a video of the girls saying bye to the beach and telling me their favorite parts of the day/week... It was all so sweet! I was just so happy. It had been a great vacation and as I listened to them, I was crying behind my sunglasses. I was a little ready to be home, but at the same time, OF COURSE I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE!

We headed back to the condo, got cleaned up and had one more dinner at Fudpucker's. After everyone went to sleep, I started to get things packed and ready for our LONG drive the following day.

The adventure of our long drive will be in my next post!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The story about my Dad,,.

I have been on a sort of a blogging hiatus. Only because I taught myself to crochet and have since made both of my girls decent size blankets. I'm now working on one for my niece and one for my mother in law.

 There are several things I really want to blog about that we have done lately that would be a much happier topic than what I'm going to talk about tonight. I think this may be therapeutic in some sort of way. There is a paper I wrote for English 101 in college about this topic that I would love to dig up (I know I still have it) but it expressed the earlier years so well! 

MY DAD...

 I have memories of my dad in his apartment... but as for my first MAJOR memory of him, it was on my 5th birthday, we had a party at our house and at a certain time my dad was supposed to pick me up and he never showed up. I remember laying in my bed, crying, snuggling this pink bear that he had given my for Christmas the previous year. I can still picture this bear. (Totally pink with a nighttime cap and pink pajamas) My dad NEVER showed up! We lived in the same city; he actually only lived about 20 minutes from us. He would tell me he would be there at a certain time and IT JUST NEVER HAPPENED! He truly believed it was too far for him to come to our house to get my sisters and myself, BUT it wasn't too far for someone to take me/us to them. 

Because of the last couple of days and what happened last night, I know I'm going to leave some things out. But this is the best that I can do right now... 

When I was 9 or 10 he did come and pick me up and took me to one of the malls here. He sat on a bench, gave me money to go shopping and told me to come back when I was finished. I didn't want to make him mad, but I remember calling my mom and asked her to come shopping with me. She did, HE NEVER KNEW, she left and I went back to him when I was finished. The one thing he always did was send checks. Every birthday and every Christmas. I got to a point where I really didn't want them. I felt like he was just sending them because he FELT LIKE HE HAD TO since he had this "TITLE" of being my dad! Because he really didn't seem to WANT TO do anything else. I felt like I learned some lessons at an early age. The one thing I think I can say is he made me appreciate things and not be a materialistic person! I didn't want the things, I didn't want his money. There are checks somewhere I never cashed (although they would be nice now, as I am an adult and have bills). 

My dad was an alcoholic. There would be times that we would have long conversations (when he was drinking) but more times than not, he was just nasty about things. I remember when I was 13, I called to tell him Happy Father's Day and he actually said to me, "Is that all you want? Because I'm watching a movie". For many many years when I would hang up the phone from talking to him and just sit with my mom crying. He really doesn't think about anyone else AND he has no filter! 

I don't remember exactly when, but it was sometime between me being 13-15 (I think) maybe 16, but I sent him a letter with a self addressed stamped envelope, a piece of paper and pencil inside. I wrote him a letter saying I really wanted to hear from him, that I felt like I tried and tried to have a relationship with him and I sincerely felt like I was THE ONLY ONE WHO WAS EVER TRYING... and I never heard anything back. I only heard from him if I CALLED HIM and I never knew if it was going to be a good conversation, but I did know it would end with me hanging up and crying. 

When I was 16, I remember sitting in my room talking to him, he wanted to buy me a car. I really wanted a car! But I didn't want it from him, we came to the agreement that I would pay him back... and I did! EVERY PENNY. My first car was a Mercury Topaz, I don't remember the year. It was $3500.00. I worked and I sent him money every back until I paid him back! I don't remember exactly how this conversation went, but that was the first time that I couldn't hold back my tears until we hung up the phone. He didn't understand what was happening. I remember opening my bedroom door, my mom knew I was on the phone with him and she knew how the evening was going to go... when I opened the door I just handed her the phone. I sat there listening to her talk to him, telling him I end up in tears EVERY TIME we hang up the phone. This time I just couldn't hang on any longer. I've been very lucky. My mom has always been able to talk to him on the phone rationally. I've NEVER heard them yell at each other and she has never said a bad word about him to me... and I feel very fortunate for that! 

With my other sisters, when they were in high school, my mom and dad had an agreement that they would split the cost of the class rings. Well, this wasn't okay with me. I didn't make a big deal. I just told my mom I didn't want one. Finally one day she asked me what was going on; I explained to her that partially coming from him, it wouldn't mean anything to me. I don't know that this is the best way to explain it. But my mom and my step dad bought me a diamond and emerald ring that I have and it means so much to me. My dad came to my graduation. I DID NOT WANT HIM THERE. I just felt like he had NEVER came to ANYTHING I had ever been a part of before (and he was always invited). I just didn't feel like he deserved the right to be there! When I was told it was the right thing to do, to invite him, I didn't want to go anymore!!! I did go... but man! 

At my oldest sister's wedding, he looked at me and said, "You better elope, because I'm not doing this ever again!" I just said OK and thought to myself that I didn't want him to be there anyway... 

When I was 22 I went to work on a cruise ship. I found out 3 days before I was flying out that I had been hired... My mom has never told me what to do when it comes to my dad, but after talking to her, I decided to call to tell him what I was doing... just in case something happened. It was a nice conversation. He pointed out that he wasn't the best dad ever and that he hadn't made the best decisions in life. He said that he didn't know me like most dad's knew their kids but he knew that if I gave my word that I follow through. I had to sign a contract for my first six months... he said, "If you are unhappy at all or if you just want to leave, pack your bags, go someplace and call me. I won't get on an airplane, but I'll buy your mom a ticket and send her after you". This really meant something to me! I thanked him, told him that I knew I was going to be fine. Then I gave him the address to send me mail. I told him that I had spent all of my life trying to have a relationship with him and that I really felt like I was the only one trying! I told him that I wanted him to write to me, then I would write him back, he would write to me again and this would HAVE TO become a pattern. I was totally serious when I said this to him and he knew... But I told him if this didn't happen, then he would NEVER hear from me again. He said he doesn't do anything but work and play golf and he wouldn't have anything to write about. I said to him, "I don't care if you write to me and tell me that you stopped to get gas on your way home from work, you stepped on a bug when you got out of the car and the sky was blue. I just wanted HIM TO MAKE THE EFFORT!" He did! His letters were all about nothing, but they were the best letters ever! I loved them. I still have them. They really meant a lot! I would write to him, I would mail him postcards.... Things seemed to be turning around! 

While I was on a month vacation from the cruise ship, I went to visit a friend in Atlanta and a job as a Flight Attendant, with Delta, sort of fell in my lap. I bought a laptop and we continued to communicate via email. During this time, started dating this guy, I moved to Massachusetts, I stopped flying, we opened a restaurant and got engaged. Of course, I was so excited. When I called to tell him I was engaged, his response was, "Damn it, I guess I have to come to the wedding" ... REALLY???!?!?!! THAT'S WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY? NO FILTER!!! I replied, "No, you really don't have to go to the wedding, that's totally fine with me!" Our conversations were still hit and miss!!! Even thought with the great letters on the ship and things seemed to be turning around, the phone conversations were still always questionable. But this was the beginning of a new downward spiral with our "relationship". 

We didn't talk for quite awhile and one day I decided to call him and let him know that the wedding was going to be in my home city, not in Massachusetts... he said something about walking me down the aisle. I let him know that my step dad was going to do that (I'm sure not the easiest thing to hear as a dad)... He told me very sternly that that was his job and if he wasn't going to do that than he didn't have any reason to be there and that he didn't need anything more to do with me!! I told him that he has missed every important thing that has happened in my life (BY HIS CHOICE) and he wasn't going to "get to do this, just because he had this title of DAD" He told me we didn't need to talk anymore and hung up on me. I called him back 2 days later and he said, "I was really serious about what I said" I said ok, we hung up and I didn't talk to him anymore... 

I moved back from Massachusetts in 2003. It was in 2004 I believe, that he was having a pretty major heart surgery. My sister called to tell my mom. My mom sat down and said, I'm not telling you what to do by any means, but this is what's going on and it's just something for you to think about..... I took off work for a few days, I spent a lot of time driving, thinking, being by myself.... With this surgery, there was a chance that he wouldn't make it... I decided to go. Honestly, I didn't want to. I was there with my oldest sister and my uncle. The surgery took hours.... I had told my sister, if he said ANYTHING nasty or hateful to me, if he brought up anything from the past, I was just going to leave! When the surgery was over, we went into the recovery room (he had to lay flat), he saw me, asked me to move closer to the head of the bed so he could see me. I did... My uncle said something about how I laugh and smile all the time and my dad said, "She sure wasn't laughing the last time I talked to her"... I looked at my sister and was about to go. I stayed... we made it to his actual room and the nurse was talking about how it would be best for someone to stay with him overnight. He said he wanted me to... WHAT THE HELL??!?!! It honestly made sense for me to stay. My brother in law is handicapped, my niece was younger and still in school at the time. It just made sense. I went into the hall with my sister and said I would, but THE FIRST TIME IT COULD POTENTIALLY GET NASTY or if he wanted to rehash anything, I would leave first and call her on my way home.... This night, was honestly the best night we had ever had! At one point in the night, he looked at me and said that he had to get serious for a minute... I got nervous... but he started telling me that he was proud of all the things that I've done and even though he doesn't really know my that well, he's proud of the person I have become... what he does see... I left the hospital the next morning smiling, I was happy, I realized so many things we have in common. We like a lot of the same things. I was really content as I was driving away from there. Although like all things with him, all good things come to a screeching hault within no time at all.... I stayed the night as a favor to my sister... not because I wanted to... although I was happy with how it went... I didn't expect a big turn around. We didn't talk for quite awhile after that. I definitely didn't try to keep in touch with him, like I used to, after the wedding conversations when I was engaged the first time (I never got married, I broke off that engagement)... 

I met my now husband in 2007 and I called my dad around Christmas that year. I straight out told him if he got ugly I was hanging up... It wasn't actually ugly, but it wasn't totally pleasant, he's just kind of rude with some things he says. He doesn't think about anyone's feelings. I hung up saying I wish I hadn't called.... We got married October 2008 and my dad didn't know anything about it. He found out through my older sister... 

Early 2009 I talked to my sister about us going to dad's house so my husband could meet him at least once.... I was so sick to my stomach... but the visit wasn't horrible. We talked about my step son maybe meeting him but that never happened... Later 2009, I was pregnant... I was so happy! I called to tell my dad and his reaction, "Well I don't know why in the hell you would want to do that!!" WHAT? WHAT? WHAT!?!?!?! I said, "Really, that's what you have to say? Well, I just thought I would call to tell you. But I think I should go!!!" I hung up and that was it!!!! While I was in labor with L, my sister made the comment about Dad coming up to the hospital, I looked at everyone in the room, I felt sick to my stomach at the thought of it. This was supposed to be the happiest, most special time of my life and NO ONE was going to take that away, or make me feel sick to my stomach like that. It felt like 5 minutes went by, but no time went by at all when I looked at her and said, "I'm sorry, I don't know what you want to tell him. I know this puts you in a bad situation... But, he's not welcome here!" Baby number 2 came, it was all amazing! ... and his name never came up. Some of this may make me sound horrible... but there is so much more than I am including in here... 

I called him the summer of 2012 and said. I know some time has passed, but if you would like to meet them, I'm just kind of trying to do the right thing, so they can at least meet you. He said that he knows he hasn't been the best dad and that he hasn't made the best decisions but there wasn't anything he could do about that now... Then, He said it was too late! He didn't want to meet them. This didn't make me mad. I was pretty indifferent about it happening. I really didn't care make it happen, but I was totally trying! Trying to do the right thing. (I didn't say any of that... I was just thinking that) Then he proceeded to tell me that this was going to make me mad, but he made out his will and he wasn't leaving me anything. I was a bit taken back by the comment... what's the point in bringing it up, you know? He said people that don't have time for him, he doesn't make time for and he knows the decision he made was the right decision. I told him that I didn't need anything from him, that I've never asked him for anything! Pretty much my whole life I haven't wanted anything from him except for him to put effort into trying to have a relationship with me.... We hung up and that was it. 

This past Saturday morning my sister called me talking about how he almost died the night before, that he couldn't breathe. He was having a COPD exacerbation. My sister was pretty upset. I called my mom to see what all was going on, because my sister was pretty much talking funeral and things... but the things she was saying that was wrong with him, didn't sound like he was dying (she was just talking like he was)... While I was getting ready to go up to the hospital, I was talking to my husband. I was saying that I felt weird, because I knew that I should have felt sad... but I really didn't feel anything... I talked to my mom again while I was getting ready and I told her the same thing. I just haven't felt like I have a dad in such a long time... so many tears and emotions in the past... I just don't know how to explain it all. I was talking to my father in law on the way to the hospital and he put it all into words the best way I could ever think!! he said, all of those years, crying, emotions, and everything, I've already grieved losing my dad... Maybe?? It wasn't horrible up there. I felt indifferent when I left. I'm glad I went, in the sense of the that last conversation we had was awful!! 

Well last night was Wednesday, my sister really needed a break. When I asked if there was anything I could do, she asked if I would go up to the hospital and sit with him for awhile.... I went up there, he didn't know I was coming. He smiled so big, looked at the nurse that was in the room and said, "This is my other daughter, she's a nurse too, NOW I'M IN GOOD HANDS. You guys won't have to do anything for me for the rest of the night". I said I'm only going to be up here for a couple of hours. I laughed and told him he always calls me a nurse and I do Physical Therapy... He started telling the nurse, "Well, she's done everything, cruise ship, stewardess, everything!" I thought, he's proud of my. I may have gotten a bit of a fuzzy feeling!! This was a good start. I cleaned his dentures, put a new breathe right strip on his nose, fixed his bed, got him comfortable (his back had been hurting), got him up for a bit. Out of the blue he said to me, "I know you have babies at home, but I just don't know that I'm ever going to meet them. I'm too old and there's too many things wrong with me, I don't want to get attached to them or get them attached to me. I was so surprised by this comment, it just about made me cry... when he got up to go to the bathroom, a couple tears fell... I was surprised he acknowledged them/brought them up in conversation. I told him I had pictures with me in case he wanted to see them. He said he didn't think he did, that he knew it would pull at his heartstrings and he didn't want that. Different things happened, that conversation was over...he talked about he knew he wasn't a good person, that he wasn't perfect, he said that he needed more help than the devil. He said that he has to ask so many people for help now that he's sick and it bothers him because he doesn't ever help anyone else. I was surprised at everything he was saying... We laughed at things... this time reminded me of that one night I spent with him at the hospital a few years ago... he said something about my husband and that he seemed like a good man when he met him... a bit later, he wanted me to fix his pillow, I moved it the wrong way, he said something about me not paying attention or something... I told him he was mumbling, then he asked if he made me nervous. I said No, not really. I said, "There was a time when our conversations were so pleasant" ... he got so serious and said something about my mom that didn't make any sense. He said he doesn't remember any conversations that were bad. He doesn't know what I'm talking about.... He said I was lied to about something and that he knows that I know down in my heart that I wasn't, but I was and he knows there's nothing he can do about that. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT. Everything that has always happened between us has stemmed from things he's said, he's done, or said he was going to do and never did!!! He said, and that's all I want to say about that. I said me too. and we were fine.... He asked me to fix the pillow by his feet... while I was doing that he says, "but the day is going to come when all of this is over that you're going to be really mad at me... well maybe you won't because you'll realize things are the way they are supposed to be... blah blah blah... he was talking about his will and him not leaving me anything AGAIN... WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD HE BRING THAT STUFF UP AFTER I SAT UP THERE WITH HIM FOR AT LEAST THREE HOURS... HELPING HIM, laughing with him, talking, etc... WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY????? I don't care to have anything... I don't care about him not leaving me anything... I just don't understand, why bring it up? We weren't talking about anything like that. Weren't talking about anything bad. That thing about being uncomfortable lasted less than 5 min (when he asked if he made me nervous), then it was over. I just don't get that man. My husband said, it's like he goes out of his way to upset me.. WHY?? I just don't understand. I left shortly after that. I cried all the way home. I came in my house, sat on my husband's lap and just cried and cried.

 SO DONE!! There's just no point!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Dad...

My dad and I don't talk. We have tried! This whole story of our relationship or (lack there of) is another whole blog post in itself. It's emotional, it's draining and I don't really know when it'll be a good time to sit down and spill it all. Now, the good thing is that I can honestly say that I feel like I've make peace with the whole situation. 

I've always known that the day would come when one or both of my girls would ask me about my dad. I've thought A LOT about what I was going to say. How I was going to answer those questions. How I would feel explaining this to them, etc. 

The morning of April 5, 2013 L and I were talking about random things while I was loading the dishwasher, when I heard the words come out of her mouth, "Who's YOUR daddy Mommy? Do you have a daddy?" With out hesitating (because I didn't want her to think anything was wrong), I said to her, "Yes I have a daddy and not everyone is as lucky as you are to have such a great Daddy! MY Daddy isn't as nice as your Daddy is and that's why you haven't met him. I told her his name and I told her that she has the best Daddy in the world! She asked why my daddy wasn't nice. I rethought my words and told her that it wasn't that he wasn't nice, BUT he doesn't always say nice things. I told her that no one wants to be around people that don't treat them nice. That's why I try to teach her to be kind and caring towards others. She told me that she wants to be nice to everyone. I love that girl! I asked her if she had any other questions. There's so much to that story... I didn't want to say too much, but I didn't want to say too little. She's 3!

The next day after she was eating breakfast, out of the blue she said, "I love Daddy!" I said, your daddy loves you too. Should we try to call him? She rubbed my arm and said, "I'm sorry your daddy's not nice Mommy, your nice!" 

I know this isn't the last conversation we'll have about him... but I think it went ok.