Category Archives: Friendship

Let’s Be Honest

It’s not really ideal to have your spouse out of the country for 20 days but at least it’s not 2 or 20 months… some spouses have it much harder with those they love in the military (or in heaven).

Not at all to belittle Simon, but having him gone isn’t too much different than my normal days. Monday through Friday, I work and come home and then he’s at work – the person not working has the kids (except the two days they are in daycare). After work I single-parent it through to bedtime. Right now, the rough times are mornings and weekends. I am NOT a morning person so Simon usually buffers my early risers since he is most definitely a morning person. And the weekends – those large stretches of time when it is just me solely responsible for two wild and crazy guys. It’s a bit exhausting. But overall, it’s a manageable time (not to say I won’t be cashing in on a couple 100% guilt-free weekends away come this fall).

And while it is manageable, my brain cannot handle really anything more than work and the kids at the moment, which means there is a chance I will almost run out of gas (the warning light had been on a good 20 miles before I noticed it and the display said 8 miles to empty when I pulled in to the gas station – whoops). This is not like me since it’s not like Simon fills up the gas tanks normally (not like my parents – my mom hasn’t filled up a car in decades, the cars are my dad’s domain) but this is indicative of where my head is at. Also indicative is how I was all prepared to drop Liam off at his daycare sleepover, only to get there and see everything closed up and note on the calendar – that I could see from the locked door – that the sleepover was the next week.

But I see the light at the end of the tunnel now that we are week away from Simon coming home (happy day) and I’m feeling a bit more breathing room. So I can take a few minutes to share the following (which are hopefully taken in the same manner in which they are meant – not complain-y, but completely sarcastically observational – my own personal M.O.)…

I 100% do NOT appreciate the following things that have happened in the last two weeks to make life a bit more interesting (i.e., I’m about to complain a wee bit, skip down to the next section for the silver lining part of this post):

  • Liam puking in the van on the road into the airport when we were dropping Simon off; then again at home two hours later – I was afraid this might be a warning shot for the next 20 days.
  • George puking on Jack’s bed (and my not finding it until the next morning); on my bed at some point while I was sleeping and on the couch and floor another night (also see: in my hands – twice – I’m still washing them).
  • Jack coming out to the living room yesterday morning and when I looked at his face I was horrified to notice that it (along with his arms) was covered in dried blood. His sheets shared a similar fate (this has happened before because he likes to shove his little thumb up his nose) so back to the laundry again.
  • Food poisoning or stomach flu which caused me to hang out in bed or in the bathroom for 12 hours while my saintly friend, Sarah, watch my boys and brought them home for bedtime.
  • Liam waking up at 2 a.m. one night and requiring me to make three trips to check on him before he would just come upstairs and go back to bed with me.
  • Ants taking over our kitchen – they are getting in somewhere and driving me batty – also driving me batty is how Jack screams every time he sees one – as if it was going to gnaw his leg off.
  • Anytime we get on video Skype with Simon, the boys go a little bit crazy and cannot control themselves so I spend the conversation wrangling them with a stern voice and the Volcan death grip.
  • A 14-time difference with Australia which means that phone calls take thought to work out when they would be good to make (but at least I can text him an unlimited number of times). Simon often calls in the morning first thing and I am usually awake but when I am not (and I should be), I answer the phone with a very bright and cheery voice to give the appearance that I am AWAKE, not sleeping, nope. One morning the phone woke me out of a DEEP slumber and I put on my peppy voice and answered with a “Hi, honey!” And then I looked at the clock and noted it was 3:25 AM and, after asking if anything was wrong, promptly switched to angry wife voice and inquired as to why he was calling me at 3:25 IN THE MORNING!? We spoke again 3 hours later, I was much nicer. [He fell asleep and woke up when it was dark so he thought it was late enough there to be a good time to call – but it was just stormy.]
  • We have been having near 100-degree days with heat and humidity (which Simon loves) nearly the whole time he has been gone while he is in Australia where it is cold and he has to wear jeans and sweatshirts (which I love). [On the plus side, ridiculous heat with no rain means the lawn doesn’t grow so I don’t have to figure out how I’m going to get it mowed while Simon is gone. *BONUS*]

The things I do appreciate:

  • The fact that Simon got a chance to go (despite everything else, I can honestly say, without bitterness or contempt, that I am glad he is there)
  • That he will bring me back some Cadbury chocolate
  • That he and his siblings are getting family time as adults
  • While not related to Simon being gone, I SUPER appreciate Jack being potty trained
  • That my parents are hosting me and the boys for the weekend coming up – a 3-to-2 adult-to-child ratio is so much better than 1-to-2!
  • My awesome support system – really – there are not words for how much I love and appreciate the people in our lives that love us by watching our kids, hanging out with me, going to the beach with us, sitting with me in church, praying for us, sending us cards and flowers, texting daily to check in on me, leaving messages on FB, emailing sweet words and prayers, bringing food and coffee, providing playdates (and it should be said, beer) and company. It takes a village and it (honestly) makes me proud of myself for asking for help instead of being too proud to admit when I’m anticipating a struggle – because you don’t get a prize for doing it alone. Friendship is a gift; being able to help others and being the recipient of that help is an even greater gift. So thanks for giving freely and generously.

Long weekends

This was the first long weekend in a while where we packed it full of stuff (and still my kids don’t want to fall asleep – what is wrong with them? Don’t they know sleep is good? Again I reiterate my intention to wake them periodically when they are teenagers with loud noises and endless questions.) Despite the non-sleepers, we had so much fun – makes me excited for the rest of summer!

Most people count the weekend as starting on Friday, but not me since Simon isn’t home on Friday nights. Though he did get home slightly earlier than normal and got to laugh and me when my friend, Amy, and I texted each other good night. [This was similar to the reaction I used to get from my parents who would think the conversations I had on the phone – for hours – in high school were ridiculous. Girl friendships are awesome is what I’m saying.]

Saturday
Pancakes made by dad
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Inaugural trip of the season to the newly-reopened Farmer’s Market. Sadly only asparagus and rhubarb were in season (they didn’t get strawberries until today). We did get to enjoy one of the food carts – Silver Spork – which I’ll be blogging about for grkids.com this week.
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Lunch with Amy, Nick and Maggie (Jack calls her Maggie Moo, which makes me so happy) complete with marker makeup. Lovely. Thankfully the marker washed right off and didn’t get on any of the furniture. image

I caught Liam licking the fridge… I don’t know why. Yes, I think that is ill-advised.image

Here the children are pouting because we aren’t leaving yet for our friends’ house. Liam asked me not to show this picture to Sarah (Sarah – please avert your eyes) I told him I would just share it on Facebook – guess I lied since I’m instead putting it on my blog. image

Saturday night we had delicious Chicken Tikka Masala with Sarah, Brian, Josiah, Miles and Wesley (Jack, of course, had leftover, reheated McDonald’s nuggets and fries) topped off with homemade vanilla ice cream topped with rhubarb sauce (fresh from the market). The adults were going to play Ticket to Ride after the kids went to bed but ours never went to sleep so we ended up having to take them home – boo on you children. And boo on having to follow through on threats with actual consequences.


Sunday
I gloriously got to sleep in on Sunday – though technically since I didn’t actually fall asleep until nearly 2 and woke up at 11, I got 9 hours of sleep (still a ton) but that’s about 3-4 more hours than I got each night the rest of the week so double bonus. [I have insomnia, I know not why. If you tell me it is related to Diet Coke, I will not listen to you.]

We met our small group at the park for a BBQ and kick ball. 10 adults, 15 children – good time had by all.
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While the rest of the children happily ate hotdogs, Jack stated “I no yike hot dogs!” and instead chowed down on a variety of chip products and a whoopie pie (chocolate with salted peanut butter filling, from this recipe here). [My blog is perfect fodder for figuring out why Jack will have food issues later in life – I assure you, he does eat fruits and vegetables, just not much protein – or variety.]
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The happiest grill master!

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We played parents vs. kids and while the kids might have pulled out a win, the dads did not hold back or pull any punches when it came to striking the kids out while the mothers cheered everyone on and rolled our eyes at our husbands.


Monday
It’s a tradition to get together with my college friends and our families over Memorial Day weekend so we did it again (last year’s post). This year Andy smoked up a whole bunch of meat… we left with happy, fully tummies! I just love my friends and miss the ones who weren’t there. Here’s to a million more years as friends!

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All-in-all, a wonderful weekend filled with lots of [yummy] grilled foods, even better friends and the perfect amount of Summer Shandy and sangria.

What I would have said

Since I’m a writer and not a talker (pause for a moment to laugh at that statement because anyone who knows me, knows I am most definitely a talker). Let’s re-phrase, along with being a writer of this blog, I am also a talker but a talker who prefers a smaller, intimate audience. So when faced with a group of 80 women, even though many are people I call friends and a large handful are even good friends, I’m probably not going to talk in front of them, no matter what the occasion because I hate-ity HATE public speaking. No matter how much I am willing to share about myself on this blog, talking in front of people makes my stomach do bad things, things I’d rather avoid.

Where am I going with this… well, today was our last MOPS for the year and its tradition that at the last MOPS we are all given the chance to say something, whatever that something may be. It could be a reflection on the year, a thought to pass on to others, sharing what God has been teaching us in our lives – whatever. It’s a very emotional meeting and I’ve always teared up and have downright cried in years past, but I have never spoken – at least I’m nearly certain I have not because that would be super out of character but I may have and have completely blocked it out. Anywho… today, when it was my table’s turn to share what was on our hearts, we all smiled at each other and made our best effort to avoid eye contact with Steph, who was holding the microphone. It was quite hilarious, really, because my table of ladies is all pretty vocal (and shall I say, verbose) and we all LOVED each other this year and really had a marvelous year – we were the poster children of good table experiences – but none of us wanted to talk. We are all chatty McChattersons, but we could not speak up so we sat there and smiled at each other and laughed at ourselves.

Personally, I knew that if I even started to talk, I would also start to cry and more than talking in front of a group, I hate crying in front of a group (imagine my chagrin when I cried through my whole wedding because I was so overcome with the emotion of it all – emotion that hit me the moment I made eye contact with my cousin’s husband as I was walking down the aisle – but that’s neither here nor there) so instead, here are the things I would have said, had I enough proverbial “balls” to grab the mic.

I love MOPS. I’m five years in and have three more years to go (because, I discovered, I can still go while Jack is in kindergarten – whoot!). I originally came to MOPS because my sweet friend, Sarah, invited me and I had no idea what I was in for – I thought it was more like a Bible study, which it was/is not but let me tell you that God has taught me so much through the people I have gotten to know at MOPS because God doesn’t just use the Bible to mold and shape us. I have gained some fabulous friends, friends who will remain in my heart and my life until long after this preschool phase. In fact, I’ve written about MOPS before here and that pretty much covers it so I’ll give you a minute to go visit that post (BTW – it’s because of MOPS – and Heidi’s encouragement and Sandy’s friendship that I started and continue to write this here blog). But I’d also like to add how thankful I am that because of MOPS my family has become part of a greater community – that my husband has new friends to go to hockey games with and play laser tag with; that my boys are super excited to see their church friends and are learning great things about our wonderful God; and that we’re all members of a new small group that is off to a great start and makes us all feel loved and accepted (really – I’ve had two other genuinely wonderful small group experiences as an adult so I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard).

There is to rhyme or reason to what makes a table work, sometimes it just works – but my table of ladies have so much heart and passion for the things in their lives that are important, whether it is adopting, missions, family, work or whatever and I have so enjoyed the chance to get to know all of them. I feel so far beyond blessed by the friendships I’ve been given, despite moments of insecurity (we all have them) and loneliness (we’ve all felt it), I’ve got wonderful friends – at MOPS and outside of MOPS. So I’ll just wrap this little lovefest up by saying, thank you for being a friend… (anyone else hearing the Golden Girls’ theme song).

That’s what I would have said.

I want to tell you…

Jill from Diaper Diaries retweeted a link to a Hallmark contest from Mary at Giving Up on Perfect yesterday and I thought, sure, I’ll leave a comment and then I thought, why not write a blog post? The prompt was to say what you need or want to tell someone. Get ready for a genuine post, not one that is snarky and addressed to the people at the gym next door or judgmental shoppers at the grocery store – I’ve thought and said plenty to them (pretty much entirely thought, aside from that one time I told off a rude old lady at the post office).

One of my resolutions in 2011 was to send real mail to people which I opted to do for my friends and family at holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It felt so good to send those little treats to people and I’d like to continue to send real mail or notes of encouragement over email so people know I’m thinking about them or have them on my minds. But while I get my act together on that, here are a few things that should be said.

  • Thank you to my parents for raising me right and never once making me feel like I was an accident (because hello, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t planned when I came along 19 years later)
  • I want my brothers to know that despite the big gap, I so love them and appreciate their roles in my life. This also goes for my sister-in-laws because I’ve known both of them nearly as long as I’ve known my brothers.
  • I want my sister-in-law in Australia to know how thankful I am that she played such an important role in Simon’s life and that we appreciate beyond words everything she does; also, take it easy because she pushes herself too hard.
  • I want to tell my high school youth group leaders that without them I would not be the person I am today. It’s because of their love and Christian example that I ended up going to the college I did and that set the path for where my life is today.
  • I want to say thank you to my high school yearbook teacher for encouraging the creative side of me and introducing me to graphic design, without him I might have ended up pursuing my teenage aspirations of being a pediatrician for far longer than I should have.
  • I want to say to Julie that I miss you and your friendship but I understand the distance.
  • I want to tell my First Rooks Girls (so named because we all met living on that floor in college) that you are my heart and without your friendships I would be lost.
  • I want to tell my MOPS ladies that you have given me so much more than I could ever give you, making new friends as an adult is hard but you guys make it easy.
  • I want to tell Simon that I know our current work/life/house situation isn’t ideal but there isn’t anyone else I’d rather go through this with and in another couple of years this will all be behind us and we’ll be stronger than ever. And I still love your accent and you.
  • I want to tell Liam and Jack that they have made me a better person because I am their mother and that they have taught me how to love selflessly, endlessly and fiercely.
  • I want the future wives of my boys to know that I am praying for them and hope we have a good relationship but that they can feel free to tell me if they feel like I’ve ever over-stepped my bounds and also to please not take my sons from me (dramatic, but you know what I mean).

What would you like to say to someone?

Old friends are the best friends!

I’m very remiss in reviewing photos on my camera, but I downloaded some tonight and found these lovelies from a visit with my Chicago roomie, Andrea, and her family over Thanksgiving weekend. Aren’t our kids just so cute?

 
Elena and Liam hit it off while Elise and Jack were playdough buddies.

This photo of our hubbies (I met her husband, Jimmy, at the exact same time I met Andrea when we all spent six weeks in Kazakhstan during the summer of 1998) and the kiddos. It makes my heart happy.

Everyone looks cute as a reindeer…
 
 

Including me

A good time was definitely had by all. Even though Liam was initially disappointed to find out he’d be hanging out with a girl, he found out that Elena liked playing Legos and Star Wars on the Wii so he thought she was the coolest. He is still asking to go back and play with his new friend. We’ll have to make that happen again sooner, rather than later!