Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Great Birthday Blunder

Why hello there! I am sure you have been wondering why I have yet to share with you Emma’s birthday party plans for this year as with previous years (being a Type A nut), I have had everything planned out and crafted by mid-January. Well, for everyone biting their nails out there in anticipation, wonder no more. Behold my yearly ranting about toddler birthday planning. 

Due to several unforeseen circumstances this year, I was side tracked and unable to follow my type A heart in January to figure out what I was doing for Emma’s bday in June. Part of the reason for the delay was that I wanted to do something different this year, something low key and simple. Basically, I was looking for a local rec center to rent out next to a park (preferably a splash park because I love difficulty). I did a bunch of research, made some calls, and finally resorted to scouting some areas because the permit form was really confusing labeling the same park site with A, B, or C locations to rent. I had to figure out which location was where (pavilion A, B or C, A being a 15 person pavilion palace and C being a park bench next to a trash can). For the most part, if I wanted an indoor, air-conditioned (cause let’s face it the way Global Warming is headed, June is becoming the new August) space, I had to be football fields away from the actual park. This was disappointing. All I wanted was a building next to a park. 

From there, I ended up scouting out a few indoor pool options at different locations from last year. I kid you not, one of the locations had the party space literally FEET from the pool and the spray fountain in the pool was so loud I couldn’t hear the tour guide talk (although maybe it would be a bonus not hearing the kids scream during the party?) The other unsettling thing about the space was that no candles are allowed anywhere in the facility. Um ok people, so you’re going to give me a slab of concrete right next to the pool to set up my party and tell me I can’t have a lit candle for like 25 seconds? I mean if the situation really does get out of control I can always heave the flaming cake into the pool. I mean I cannot even dream up a safer location to have a small lit candle other than next to an open fire hydrant but ok. It’s sad because that pool was really awesome but I couldn’t handle not hearing my own thoughts and not getting any embarrassing pictures of my kid all puffy faced blowing out her candles. 

After decoding forms and visiting every kiddie entertainment space in town, I finally decided to suck it up and make our guests walk half a mile to get to a park from a rec center if they so desired. And after all of that back and forth and scouting park sites……..I was denied the permit for the rec center. Turns out, you DO need to reserve rec space in January or it is booked for the entire year. Great.
Finally, after weeks of anxiety ridden time put into securing a party place, I made the decision to just go with the same place we had it at last year. I am a little bit wiser on how things will go down this year though. For starters, I picked an afternoon slot. I know there is always the off chance of crankiness in the afternoon but I am willing to take my chances for this reason and this reason alone: I will not be providing lunch!!!!! Of freakin happy day! That’s right, no lugging 200 pizzas, salads, and other food stuff in and out of a room! We will have cake and fruit for those with allergies, and maybe, just maybe some popcorn or pretzels if I’m feeling up to it. Less is more. And with less, there is LESS of a chance to screw anything up which will be awesome since this is the year…

This is the year I invite Emma’s friends from school to her birthday. Realistically, since hopefully we will be in the middle of moving, we will not have a house for them to come to (thus the location scouting) and since all Emma can talk about is having her friends at her birthday, I have decided to just go for it. Of course at the beginning of the year, there were only 8 kids in her class and now there are 12 but it’s fine. They will swim and eat cake, and hopefully I won’t have to deal with my social anxiety talking to the parents because I will be running around doing things. I just hope they come since the place is a bit far. I also hope they don’t think I’m trying to be flashy by having a party at a location other than our house. While I’m hoping to be knee deep in boxes at that point, if we aren’t I just don’t feel comfortable inviting more than and handful of people over to a house with only one bathroom (especially with potty training toddlers in abundance.) I’m sure the other parents will have no idea how much I loathe having to remember to pack up every single thing we will need for food consumption (and thus would MUCH rather have a house party). The year before last, I forgot the knife to cut the bday cake, like pretty much the most important thing at the entire party. Had I been in the comfort of my own home, I could have solved the problem by walking mere steps to the kitchen, but being in an outside location at a county facility where sharp objects are frowned upon, did not leave me in a good position. Have no fear though, once we get a house, we will be having house bday parties there for years to come with fully functioning ac, no forms to fill out, and hopefully more than one bathroom to use. Here’s to hoping anyways.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

All About Emma

I feel like somewhere along the way these past few months, I’ve been hyper focused on myself in this space and not so much on my motherhood journey which it is really what this space is intended for. Thus I give you a post all about Emma for any inquiring minds! 

This kid continues to amaze me every day. I can’t even explain really her quiet confidence or her ability to seemingly understand complex concepts. Sometimes her father and I think she is an old soul. I know this because there have been times when weeks after I have explained a concept to her, she has repeated it. One of the most interesting times was when we discussed the concept of moving. Since we have been looking at houses on and off for a few months now, I had to explain to her why we are going to move to a new house one day (because of course she asked). I explained to her that we wanted to move to a nicer house in a nicer neighborhood and that the house we are living in is not ours, it belongs to her Grandpa and Grandma Carole. We are just borrowing it until we find our own house. So the other day, when we were out with my mom, Emma out of nowhere says, “Nana our house does not belong to us it belongs to Grandpa and Grandma Carole and we are just borrowing it.” I was proud to see she seemed to understand the reasoning behind our move (in part). 

She is also very stubborn and opinionated and has mentioned a time or two that she does not want to move (she dislikes change…sounds familiar as well.) The stubbornness is sometimes very difficult to handle. The other day, we got into a heated discussion after going to the science museum about how Emma thought we shrank and that’s why the dinosaurs were so big.  She would accept no other explanation for this phenomenon and I was not up for a battle so after a few attempts to set the record straight, I dropped it. We had another stressful exchange when I went to brush her hair the other night. She insisted she do it herself and I had to explain several times that while she was capable of doing it, she does not get all the tangles out so I need to still be involved in that process. Again, this did not sit well with her. I tried to explain that if she did not get all the tangles out, her hair would turn into a big knot and we would have to cut it all off. I told her I was speaking from experience but again these were fruitless attempts at achieving the task at hand. Let’s just say the disagreement ended with tears being shed but no hair needing to be cut. I’m all for letting her learn through suffering the consequences of her actions to a point. Chopping tangled hair that has taken almost four years to grow is not something I want her to learn through trial and error just yet (maybe when she’s 5….)

I see the stubbornness is not going to go away and unfortunately, Emma will have to learn some things the hard way but that builds character I guess. Luckily, she has an incredible sense of humor to fall back on. I think it’s the cutest thing when some cartoon makes her throw her head back and laugh a big belly laugh. Most of the time I end up laughing with her, her joy is that contagious. We also have a few inside jokes between us which is something we have always had and is one of my treasured mommy, daughter things. Currently, one of the funnier ones is when one of us will say something funny like “oh poopity poopers!” and then the other will follow up with “Awww blewpity blewbers” or something ridiculous like that and we will go back and forth cracking each other up to see who comes up with the silliest combination of rhyming nonsense. 

She starts Pre-K in the Fall and I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet. I made the decision to leave her at her current school next year even though we will have moved out of the area. It is one year I will have to suck up and be in the car with her for 30 minutes to and from school every day. I’m hoping we can work out a fun routine that won’t exhaust everyone.  Emma and I both love her current preschool so much that I just could not bear to move her for the last year. I might hate myself for it later but for right now, it was the best decision for our family. (I’m sure a follow up post on this is to come.) I also dread the next step, Kindergarten, public school, and the fight for before/after care and summer camps! But again, that’s for another post to come. 

This is also the year of the growth spurt apparently. Every day now Emma eats all of her lunch and most of her dinner and has been asking for a million snacks in between. We have seriously had to up our produce game around these parts. It also came to my attention the other day that Emma no longer needs her step stool to reach the sink in the bathroom L the saddest thing ever. While I’m glad she won’t need to use a step stool for life it is difficult to see her needing me less and less. In fact, just the other day on the playground, she was running and climbing and bounding up the equipment without needing me to be right there. She talked to the other kids and moved from one thing to the next without paying attention to where I was. I’ve never been a mom who sits looking at her cell phone at the park because let’s be honest, I’m a helicopter threw and threw but I suddenly understood why the other parents were sitting on the sidelines. Their kids were independently playing and enjoying themselves as it should be. I guess I will be bringing my adult coloring books with me to the park from now on. 

Lastly, Emma has pretty much outgrown her tricycle. I remember we got it for her 2nd birthday and she could not ride it too well then. Well she has certainly mastered it now and it’s time to move on since her knees are hitting the handle bars and all. Her dad actually got her a bike at the thrift store and removed the petals to turn it into a balance bike but she has not been too comfortable riding it. She might prefer the old fashioned training wheels route and that’s fine by me. Either way, I think this birthday will bring a new bike. Man this kid has no idea how awesome it is to have a warm weather birthday. Freakin awesome! 

Ok, have I rambled on enough? No, you want to hear more you say? Well don’t worry I have a post full of first world problem complaints on deck to share with you next!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here

I understand that moving on in this space from such a heavy topic needs some sort of transition. Yes, we are still very much missing Stanley. Just yesterday, I told Emma to get ready to walk the dogs and she said “we can walk all the dogs, except Stanley. “ Of course I burst into tears. I don’t think Emma fully understands the situation (how could she, she is only 3) since she talks about it so matter-of-factly. It might also have to do with the fact that she is sure in her little heart that Stanley is doing well wherever he is and that is a wonderful thing. As devastating as this loss was/ still is for us, we have a lot to be grateful for and happy about. Right now everyone is in good health! I don’t think I shared here but I had been on and off of antibiotics for months for various things and Emma seemed to have a cough that would never subside. I’m glad to report we left all of that behind us! Plus, Thomas started working at a new location for his job which should mean hopefully less stress and more time at home!

We will (for real this time) begin actively looking for a house and trying to grow our family over the summer. So, lots of big things happening. I feel like we are moving into a new chapter of life and I just need to finally get on the bandwagon and go. But, before we run off down this new path, we will be taking a very short sabbatical (ok sounds more mystical than the word “vacation”) to California. Originally, before tragic events, my good friend and I were planning a trip out west to revisit some of our old hang outs from the past when we lived in LA. We would have booked our trip and been done with it the week before, but both of our computers were not syncing up the flights so we decided to wait a week and do it together in person. In that time period, we lost Stanley and suddenly the vacation I was taking for some “me” time needed to be about family time. I could not leave my family behind.
So, here we are, all three of us (plus my wonderful best friend!) all set to go to California next month! We are even going to Disneyland for one day! I almost can’t believe it. We haven’t told Emma yet but I think we will tell her a few days before hand so she can enjoy being excited about it for a while. She doesn’t know what Disneyland is since we don’t really talk about it so I don’t know if she will fully understand when we tell her but it will still be a fun, exciting time! I am really happy to be visiting my home away from home. LA is so different from where I live now but I still feel so connected to the area. There are many things about it I miss (hello amazing weather and awesome food/ never ending list of things to do), while there is plenty I am glad to be rid of (drought, smog, wildfires, congestion). But visiting for a short time is always nice. I do plan on getting one afternoon to myself for some “me” time (I will be leaving Emma and Thomas at the beach during this time so not to worry, they will be doing ok).
All in all, I am really happy to get a few relaxing days away and use this time as a transition period between what was and what will be. I’m also really glad to be spending it with the people who have stood by me through some very difficult times. I think we are all ready to share in some joyful ones.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Stanley's Story Part 2

It’s crazy to me because the years from when I first met my husband and Stanley and when we started our little doggie family flew by. We went on all of these adventures together and I never even thought that any of us would slow down. Then we had Emma. There were a few months that went by that I don’t remember due to lack of sleep and trying to figure out my new life as a human mom (very different from being a dog mom). I feel bad I was not more attentive during those times but Stanley and the other dogs were very understanding. I was worried that the dogs would not take to Emma. I remember bringing her home and letting each of them smell her blanket and then her and they were like um ok...this thing is where is dinner? Human mama bear instinct kicked in pretty hard and I was very careful about them being around her. But then, something happened, they were all very sweet to Emma, even Stanley. He would not budge if she pulled his tail or tried to sit on him or anything. It was amazing and wonderful and I loved seeing it. In those moments, Stanley taught Emma how to love a dog and how a dog can love you and I will forever be grateful to him for that.

As time passed after Emma came, we were all enjoying each other’s company so much that I didn’t notice that Stanley was beginning to slow down. He started walking with a limp and he wasn’t holding his head as high as he used to. Then in the summer of 2013, we found out Stanley had hip dysplasia and also had a torn ACL (yup, like people get). He would need surgery to repair the tear or else he would not be able to walk after a while. Without hesitation, we got the surgery and thus gave rise to good old peg leg Stanley. He had a cast but was still as active as ever. It was funny to see such a strong, independent creature with an invasive cast on. Once he got the cast off, he had a quick recovery and was back to normal in no time. After that, I saw the young Stanley again for a brief period of time. He could run and bark and case things to his heart’s content. Then everything was good for a long time.

And that’s the thing, time keeps ticking away even if you do not notice it. Once again, I got sucked into everyday life and we once again settled into a routine of feeding, washing, and walking the dogs. I was living the good life and then came the day that people I guess refer to the beginning of the end. I never pictured Stanley getting old because frankly, he had never been old and I had never had to live through a dog I loved getting old (my dog growing up grew old and passed away after I had moved out of the house.) It wasn’t even on my radar. I did begin to write about what happened at the time but I never got around to publishing it on here but around October/ November of 2015, Thomas and I were in Emma’s room tucking her in at night when we heard a crash in the living room. I asked Thomas to go see what it was and he yelled for me to come. I ran out of her bedroom, forgetting Emma was still awake and rounded the corner into the living room. Stanley was laying on the floor, having a seizure. I’d never seen a dog have a seizure before and only have seen a human have one once. It was pretty shocking to see. I’ve never seen my husband move so fast in his life. He grabbed a towel and wrapped Stanley up. At this point, Emma had walked into the living room and knew something was wrong. I hated that she had to see anything but I calmly told her Stanley was sick and daddy was taking him to the doctor. She seemed ok with that.

Thomas was out the door and in his car in what seemed like 10 seconds. X-rays and tests were inconclusive. It looked like he might have a growth but they needed thousands of dollars to do more tests that would lead to a surgery that would be thousands more. I of course wanted to just do whatever it took but Thomas was a bit more sensible about it. Stanley still seemed to be in pretty good health so we got some medication and brought him home. It really seemed like an isolated incident. In the months to come, I saw Stanley run and play and enjoy life. Things were going so well, that I almost forgot he had a seizure. 

Then on Superbowl Sunday, Leon came over. Yes, the original Leon from the beginning of this post. Stanley was so excited to see him, he got up and ran over to him and ended up having an accident and collapsing on the floor. He could not get up. Suddenly the horrors from months before came flooding back. I of course was in denial. I’d seen this magnificent, strong creature do so many physical things that I couldn’t fathom his body was breaking down. He was the great and powerful Stanley, our protector, the dog people backed away from on the sidewalk if they didn’t know him. He was always supposed to be this solid shield of armor, at least that is how I always pictured him. So it was very difficult for me to open my eyes to the fact that lately, he slept more often than not. He would sometimes not have the strength to make it outside to go to the bathroom, that he would sometimes not want to eat. It was really difficult for me. 

Thomas ended up taking Stanley to the vet the next day. The vet told us that Stanley had a growth in his stomach that they could not see before and that it was going to rupture any day. She said he was an older dog and even if they performed surgery, he might not make it and if he did he would only live a few more months after that. We were of course devastated. Again I wanted to give the surgery a try but ultimately, Thomas brought Stanley home that night and we decided to spend one final night with him as a family. We did not want him to be in pain any more. 

I try now to think back on things like how it was an odd and sort of funny sight seeing him run sometimes because his head and torso were rather largely disproportionate to his hips and back legs. When he got to running fast enough with his tail wagging I would sometimes worry that he would tip over onto his face. We were never fully sure what breeds Stanley was made up of, certainly boxer and some sort of mastiff and possibly some pit bull as well. It’s hard that he looked like so many breeds because when I see any of those breeds now I think of him. I always think about how people would come up to me and ask me about my family. I would respond with pride that I had four dogs. “Four dogs! That’s excessive!” That was always the response and I always loved it.

They say when you sit down to write something profound that you want people to connect with and understand to do your best to describe how you felt in rich and vivid detail. As I sat down to type this post, I found it very difficult to interpret my emotions into anything anyone can identify with.
It’s like your life is forcibly moving on without this important piece when you absolutely never wanted to go anywhere without it. It’s been so bad that I have no idea how I will get through this another 3 times. It's like your mind keeps racing around, hurrying to find a solution, going back and forth, stretching out any possibility to the brink only to come back to the same starting point, there is no solution. There is nothing you can do. It’s like my soul, the very fiber of my being, is being ripped in half. All I want to do is scream out for him not to go. It’s like you’re on this life journey and you find your soul mates, the lives you feel comfortable braving the world with and you know it can't last forever but you never think the end would ever really come. In short and simple terms, I feel incomplete.
I suppose I shouldn’t make this memorial just about the pain because everyone, including Stanley, had enough of that. I want to remember all the good times I had with such an amazing creature. Of course my child in all of her wisdom and quiet confidence comes up with the most brilliant and wonderful thought of all. She looked over to my husband and said “the angel girls in heaven are going to heal him.” She still mentions him from time to time. And I am glad for it. We are all learning how to grieve together. We are all trying to navigate the same emotional path and I'm glad I have these people by my side to find the way.

One thing above all else I am certain, I was honored to have shared the same time and space as his soul on this Earth.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Stanley’s Story Part 1

I actually started writing this the day he left us, when my emotions were all over the place. Extreme thoughts of mortality and other very heavy topics were swirling through me at a rapid fire pace. So I gave myself some time to process things and I landed here. My only hope is that this memorandum does Stanley's story justice. 

My husband got Stanley back in 2007 from his then roommate (the best man at our wedding) Leon. As the story goes, Leon got Stanley from a vet. And as it turned out, the vet saved Stanley from a dog fighting situation she helped bring down. He was just a puppy then. The vet rescued Stanley and kept him as her pet. I guess a few years later, the vet ended up with too many small dogs and then had a baby and Stanley was not doing well in that environment. He needed a place of his own. Leon knew the vet through work and decided he would take Stanley when she explained the situation. And so the story goes when Leon brought Stanley to Thomas’ house (where he was living) for the first time, Stanley ran right over to Thomas and would not leave his side. It was like Stanley was saying that he had found his person. Leon was good enough to recognize that and told Thomas that it looked like he had a new dog. I am not sure how or why Stanley chose Thomas but I am glad that he did so I was given the chance to be part of his life. 

I first met Stanley back in the late summer of 2008. It was the first time I went over to my now husband’s house to hang out. (We still live in that house now btw.) I remember meeting Stanley and thinking what everyone did when they first met him, noticing how big his head was and how intimidating he looked. That quick judgment of course was fleeting because Stanley immediately trotted over to me, tail wagging. He did then what he would do even into his old age, sat down right at my feet and turned his head back as if to say, “well hurry up and pet me already!” 

I was pretty surprised upon being given a tour of my then boyfriend’s house, that Stanley had a room in the back all to himself (what would become a storage room for a few years and then eventually Emma's room). It was simply furnished of course. One, vintage looking wing-back chair rested on top of a plush floral rug and an armoire stood solitary in the corner, bachelor decor at its finest. “This is where Stanley sleeps,” I was informed. I don’t think I was aware of what connections my brain made that day but I’m pretty sure somewhere in my neuron path a light went off saying “hey, this guy takes very good care of his dog, he is a keeper!” So in a way, Stanley brought us together from the very beginning.

Shortly after we started dating, I moved into the house with Bella. We of course introduced Stanley to Bella a few times before moving in and of course there were some minor growing pains but in the end, Stanley and Bella became inseparable friends, just like their human counterparts. Those were the golden days. Those were still, peaceful, simple times shared by four friends. We would go on very long walks just the four of us for hours. So much so, that we would come back with sore legs. We would go to the dog park just about every weekend as well. Again so much so, that we had a whole routine. We drove out to the 4 mile run dog park in Arlington and we would stay for hours at a time, letting the dogs run and splash in the creek. Then we would bathe them at the self-clean dog wash place on the corner and be off to visit Thomas’ mom for the rest of the afternoon. 

These visits are where we took some of the best photos of the dogs ever. It was an odd time when cell phone cameras were not very good yet so you still needed to carry a camera around all the time and doing that while running after dogs was hard so it pains me to say that there are very few pictures from these glorious younger years of Stanley but they were the best of times for sure. It was before we had a human child and before the real burden of adult responsibilities fell on us. Bella and Stanley were young and energetic as well and we all delighted in each other’s company. 

After a while of dating/ living with Thomas, I was told there was a very real possibility that I could never have children. That news was devastating and we handled it as best we could. I remember having a conversation about it and Thomas said “well if we can’t have kids, at least we have the dogs.” I realize now that I was possibly more so attached to Stanley because at one point I etched it onto my brain that I would not have any human offspring, that he was my child. Not sure if this sounds odd or whatever but it is the honest truth. 

It was after this that we got the puppies, Reese and Charlie. I figured if we could not have children then we could certainly surround ourselves with dogs. Stanley of course was not too keen on the new pups but ended up warming up to them after a while. We were still going to the dog park regularly at this point and spending almost all of our free time doing various doggy activities. At some point, they opened a dog park near our house and we started going there a bit more. But it seemed with age, came trouble for Stanley. Everyone has their personality traits and Stanley definitely had some strong ones. He was always a very dominate dog and did not get along with other male dogs too well.  This meant that dog park visits became less of a relaxing, fun experience, and more of a follow Stanley around to keep him out of trouble experience. We eventually ended up bringing him but keeping him on a leash which ultimately turned out to be unfair so we decided to give dog parks a rest for a while. 

He was also an odd character when it come to other things as well. He had some sort of allergy and would constantly chew on his feet. We got foot spray, steroids, different dog food, the works but the guy would not stop. Finally we chalked it up in part to OCD. The guy just liked to eat his darn feet. He also had a thing with the ocean. Before Emma was born but after we got the puppies, we took all of the dogs to the beach for a week one summer. We let them run around and all of the dogs loved it…except Stanley. For some reason, he was obsessed with going after the waves. He would jump in after each wave, bark at it, and try to eat it. It was him versus the ocean in a battle that would have been never ending had we not pulled him out. At one point he got pretty far out and Thomas panicked and went in after him. Needless to say, later that night, Stanley had saltwater coming out of every bodily crevice. We decided then that he couldn’t ever go back to the ocean. 

There were many other small instances with Stanley that never left a dull moment. He really did not like any small animals and would go after anything he could. (RIP some small furry friends) I will never forget that we were letting the dogs run in the field behind our neighborhood and Stanley ran off. When we found him, I could not believe my eyes, he had ricochet off a tree and jumped onto a metal fence. He was literally standing on his back paws, balancing while jumping off the fence into the air to try to get a cat that had run up a tree.  He also managed to run out the front door once and found our very understanding neighbor’s chickens...I will leave that run in to the imagination... 

Part 2 to follow...

Monday, February 8, 2016

My Kid Likes Star Wars

I can't remember the date exactly or the year. I could not tell you how old I was or even come up with any point of reference for the period of time. All I know is that my memories from early childhood are few and far between. I have a few very clear memories and some fuzzier ones but one memory I have held onto is the first time I watched Star Wars with my dad. I'm pretty sure I was older than 4 but not much older than 6. It was a time in the mid to late 80s when the movie was circulating on tv (and by tv back them I mean one of 5 or 6 channels) quiet a bit. I am sure I didn't fully understand the plot or the intricacies of the story line and there was no internet back then to let me know just how many people truly loved the trilogy. For all I knew, it was some obscure movie my dad liked. I do remember the captivating music and the simplicity yet excitement of good versus evil. I was able to watch it for the first time not knowing what would happen and being surprised by the plot twists. It was one of the stand alone most memorable moments of my childhood that I've held onto to this day.

All of that being said, I knew someday when I had a child I wanted to share the same experience with them. I was hoping, like most parents do with hobbies or sports they loved, that my child would share in my passion for the force and everything in the magical world that went along with it. Right now with Emma being just 3, I was not sure if she was old enough to understand or appreciate the Star Wars world (plus let's face it, she just got over getting up every night at 2am so I didn't want her to see anything scary that might set us back.) So, I have been waiting for the right time. It's like I'm waiting for when I know her inner jedi will awaken and she will be ready to grab her light saber to rally for the rebel alliance.

While patiently awaiting my day of glory, Disney's marketing machine decided the wait was over. I think I've mentioned before that a while back, Emma chose Disney shows/ movies as her main source of entertainment. Mickey has been her jam forever now and so with the Disney channel comes commercials for other Disney shows. Enter Star Wars Rebels. Or rather, enter the most annoying droid hip hop mini music video to promote the show you've ever seen. After about the millionth time the thing aired, Emma figured there must be something to it and asked to watch the show. This was in no way how I pictured her first Star Wars experience to be but I figured since it was a cartoon maybe it would not be as scary as the movie could potentially be. The show was fine but what surprised me was when Darth Vader showed up. Not that there is anything wrong with Vader showing up in a Star Wars cartoon (the fact that James Earl Jones was voicing him did put me at ease but made me wonder if that man ever gets a moment to rest). The surprising thing was, Emma somehow knew who Darth Vader was, "Look Mommy! It's Darth Vader!" Like she was seeing an old friend for the first time in forever.

She then proceeded to repeatedly question who Darth Vader no kid it's not coming that easy. What she really wanted to know was what he looked like under his mask. After several days of hounding, I caved and pulled up the scene on YouTube when Luke takes off the mask (but made sure she did not know who Vader was if that makes sense.) Yeah maybe it was not the best decision to unveil such a pivotal moment but it was sort of out of context. I guess I need to work on caving under pressure. How she seemed to know about Darth Vader in the first place I do not know (kids at school?) But she seemed to know he was an important person. Either way, the point of all of this kid likes Star Wars! I mean she was genuinely excited about the characters and the mystery behind it! I've been beside myself with glee ever since! We haven't watched the full trilogy yet. I'm not sure why I'm holding off at this point (scary monsters? storm trooper "violence" perhaps?) But I think the time is nearing for us to enter a galaxy far far away.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2015, A Year in Our World

Sorry for the brief absence here folks. Really when I disappear for several weeks at a time I'm usually sick or busy and by busy I mean engaging in one of the following: binge watching a tv show (The 100 I recommend it), reading a new book (not done yet I'll let you know), embracing a new hobby (hello adult coloring books), dealing with the hell that is searching for/ purchasing a home, and also in this case, writing a book which I am procrastinating to write this blog post (more details on this to follow). Well it's still January so I think I can still squeeze in my end of year post for here goes anyway...

As a sit down to write this, I think I am finally able to put into words what I couldn't in November. The part about becoming more of an adult. Truthfully, there are a lot of embarrassing details I am ashamed to admit here that took me way to many years to figure out/ get into the realm of adulthood. There are a few less  embarrassing points I will share. Somewhere along the way in 2015, I was suddenly not content to inhabit a space (specifically my own home) that resembled any of the dwellings from my early twenties. I'm not sure if this part of adulting or rather a switch to a more expensive taste in furniture but there you have it. With this I embraced what I knew I loved all along which is minimalist decor. I'm finding a more organized space allows me to lower my continuous background anxiety a bit. Don't worry, I haven't run our finances into the ground buying furniture, thankfully there's craigslist. I have abandoned all hope of ever owning matching furniture (or real wood furniture for that matter) besides the 1980s oak bedroom set with floral engravings we currently use that was a hand-me-down from my husband's grandma.

Another adult revelation that I've been beating myself up about for a while is to take charge of my health. I finally found a primary care physician. I even requested extra blood work when I went in to make sure everything was looking ship shape, who does that? I also got workout clothes and a fitbit for Christmas so there you have it. Actually, I have been working out consistently (when I'm not sick) 3-5 days a week for a while now. I'm just hoping to take it to the next level in 2016 (not a resolution, just a thought). We have been eating healthier for a while now but I've been kicking it up a notch with pre-made lunches and intentionally adding more fruit in whenever I can.

2016 will hopefully, finally, be the year we move. I'm also hoping to start trying again for a baby. We did try this year but it did not end up working out. That was very tough for all of us to go through. But, like everyone else, we continue to navigate the ups and downs of life and I am determined to create my own happiness as I learn more and more you cannot count on it happening based solely on circumstance. That being said, here's a look back on the Patterson's 2015:

5 things about Emma:
- 2015 was the year she started to learn her letters and wrote her name for the first time!
- 2015 was also the year she drew her first stick person and it made me very emotional.
- Still not fully potty trained over here but nearly there with several dry nights. We have the big BIG girl bed on stand by for when we can finally go a week with no night time accidents!
- Music continues to be a big thing. She wants to sing it, dance to it, play it, and listen to it all the time! That's a passion I'm happy to indulge her in.
- Emma's vocabulary and curiosity continue to amaze me. She has so many four syllable words it's really wonderful. She also does not hesitate to ask about any life concept she needs to understand. For example, she has repeatedly asked me to explain why there are different colored lines painted on the road and why we need them! Something I don't think about ever she is fascinated by.

5 most read blog posts for the year:
It's always interesting to see which posts get the most reads throughout the year but usually not surprising. I know when I have written something genuinely heartfelt or maybe sort of funny and I'm glad folks enjoy sharing those moments with me.
- The Transition
- The Mom Quiz
- What was Going to be a Prologue
- The Green Pumpkin
- Happy Holidays Part I

5 songs I recommend you listen to from 2015:
- Cecilia and the satellite - possibly a predictable pick for me but absolutely number one
- Believe - Mumford and Sons - a very close second but this song sounds like it was written specifically about a personal experience I had.
- Wildest Dreams - yup Taylor Swift - when I went through a difficult time this year this was the song I needed to hear.
- Downtown- Macklemore - a good laugh
- I am kind of at a loss for the 5th as nothing stands out. Maybe listening to good music should be on my 2016 list.

5 favorite 2015 moments:
- Sharing my first time fishing with Emma! I discovered a new form of relaxation and Emma discovered an opportunity to dig in the dirt (to look for worms.)
- Family vacation at the beach! I was a bit nervous with so many people in one house together, but we had an amazing time at the beach with my family, my mom, and my sister's family! Can't wait to do it again this year!
- Halloween 2015 was by far one of the most magical times ever, like in my entire life. Dressing up in costumes and feeling the excitement radiating off three, three year olds was a major highlight not just of 2015, but of my life.
- Christmas 2015 (believe it or not a runner up to Halloween) was really amazing this year. Emma loved the whole idea of Santa Clause and sat on his lap all by herself! She really loved everything to do with Christmas and I'm excited to carry out the traditions from this year for years to come.
- Going to the pool and splash park consistently over the summer was really fun. I loved being able to go to the community pool and have Emma take swim lessons. It was something we all enjoyed as a family this year and look forward to continuing next year!

So long 2015! Here's to another year of learning, laughing, and loving for us all!