Monday, February 28, 2011

One, Two, Three


Our firstborn is busy growing and learning.  But he has yet to catch on to pooping on the potty.  We had one victory while at Nonnie and Poppie's last week.  I was hoping that would be the start of a new trend but alas, he appears to have returned to his old habits since we've been home.  I'm not quite sure what the issue is.  I've heard stories of little boys who took years to finally go poopy on the potty but no one seems to have an explanation as to why.  Fear?  Ignorance?  Foolishness?  He knows what's expected of him, and he also knows he'll get a nice reward if he follows through, which is why he tends to walk around the house all day chanting, "Poopy in the potty, pick out a toy" or "Poopy in the potty, get a big treat!" (add sparkly eyes, big smile and head nod).


Oh the repeating stage, where every phrase I utter gets bounced back to me a few times over.  "No pee pee in pants", "No, no play with toilet paper", "Bee-bee no touch."  Unfortunately, we've also entered the first name stage, where Jack now tries to call his dad "Jon."  I have no idea why he suddenly decided to start doing this, nor why he hasn't tried to call me "Janine" yet.  But the funny part is he's clearly trying to mimic me since his version of "Joooon" sounds exactly like mine, he's only missing the head tilt and hands on the hips.

Yook Mama, Nemo!

The good news is, other than the poops, he remains virtually accident free.  The bad news is this means he now wakes up in the middle of naps and nighttime sleep to go "pee pee 'gain."  I suppose there are worse things a toddler can do, but for now we're going to work on cutting back on the pre-sleep water chugging.


Our second born is oh-so-close to crawling, but he's just not there yet.  My kids are such late bloomers but I don't mind a bit.  I know what it's like to have a crawler and I'm more than willing to put that off a little bit longer.  He has worked out his own quirky mode of tranportation, particularly when a toy is just out of reach, where he'll scooch and slide his bottom all the way across the room just to get to it.  In the meantime, he's got an excellent trainer.  Jack loves to give Jude crawl lessons and can generally be found crawling circles around Jude saying, "Yook bee-bee, c'mon!" 

Our little guy has also turned out to be quite the eater. We're slowly starting to cut back on pureed food and Jude is jumping at the chance to chow down on some big boy grub. We figured he was ready to move on after we noticed his chipmunk cheeks at Chick-Fil-A a few weeks ago. We pried open his mouth and discovered one of Jack's chicken nuggets in there, whole. Turns out an entire chicken nugget is a bit tough for a little guy with only two half-toothes to manage, but we got the hint and starting letting him sample our food.


In fact, he's been outperforming his brother at the dinner table lately. Last week it was crab cakes, seasoned sweet potatoes and peas and carrots. The next night it was chicken, veggies and rice. Then he tackled a pot roast. While Jon and I are busy trying to bribe Jack with a piece of fruit just so he'll take a bit of carrot, Jude is content to spend at least an hour shoveling his hand to his mouth.


Well, and occasionally brushing that same hand through his hair.


Who needs hair gel when pot roast juice works just as good?


Jude went to bed soon after dinner. I tried to clean up his hair as best as I could, but apparently it didn't work out so well. It only took one whiff of Jude's hair the next morning to kick start my morning sickness.


Speaking of morning sickness let's not leave out our youngest offspring, who is already making its presence known.  Nausea is in full force, all day ... and all night.  I was sick with both my other boys but this is the first time I've actually woke up in the middle of the night feeling sick.  They say you should eat something as soon as you get out of bed, or even before.  But it's a tough when you have two little ones demanding your attention, and breakfast, before you've had a chance to rub your eyes.  Today was the second time I've actually thrown up, and let me tell you, the only thing worse than vomiting in the toilet is vomiting in the toilet your 2 year old boy has been learning to go pee-pee in.  Ew.

I'm still nursing Jude, I did some research and checked with a few others and from what I can tell it's okay for now.  We're working on cutting back to just two feedings and serving up goat's milk for the rest of the day even though I'm sure Jude would be more than happy to continue.  But honestly, and I won't be surprised if the Le Leche League SWAT team starts banging my door soon, I'm ready to be done.  I'm so nauseaus and exhausted right now and the plain truth is I'll get to start it all over again in about 7 months.  So sorry Jude, but Mommy is reading to move on.

Actually, what I'm really ready to do is lay on the couch all day, watching movies, with my ginger ale and saltines close by and an opportunity to nap at will.  But such is not the life of a mommy of one and two and #3 on the way.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Story, Part III: The awkward stage

This is Part III of "Our Story", if you haven't already, you may want to read Part I and Part II first.

Soon after Christmas I received a package in the mail from a certain someone. In it was a Coast Guard hoodie. I loved it! Unfortunately, it was a size large. He included a note that said he picked a large because “the medium looked so tiny.” I tried not to be offended but seriously? I was like swimming in the thing. I ended up giving it to a missionary kid on campus who didn’t have many clothes. But I didn’t want Jon to feel bad so I went online and ordered a new one, in the smallest size available. I still have it to this day. I usually wear it when I’m pregnant because even the smaller size is still a little too big! But navigating the “sweatshirt dilemma” was nothing compared to the letter I received a few weeks later. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s clarify a few things first.

I grew up in the Joshua Harris generation. Yes, I “kissed dating goodbye.” Well, until I met Jon. He was the only real boyfriend I’ve ever had, although I’ve definitely had my share of interests. At the time, I really wasn’t interested in being in a relationship with a guy unless I was willing to consider marrying him. My biggest dreams in life were to be a wife, and someday a mother, and to run a home and family with my best friend by my side.

I knew I was interested in Jon, but also knew I wasn’t ready to go any further than that. In fact, I had what my friends have deemed “The Four Year Plan.” You know it’s real when your friends all have a name for it. It started the fall of my freshman year when I wrote in my journal:

I told her that Jon and I IM now. So maybe next year we can start calling each other, and my Junior year we can visit and officially date and then he’ll graduate and we’ll get engaged my Senior year … So I can’t push things too much because I have a lot of time to kill. But he is quickly becoming my good friend.

So I took relationships seriously and wasn’t about to go rushing into one. Jon and I are complete opposites in this area. I can’t make a decision to save my life and will put one off until that point comes. In the words of John Steinbeck in The Winter of Our Discontent, “It has been my experience to put aside a decision for future pondering. Then one day, fencing a piece of time to face the problem, I have found it already completed, solved, and the verdict taken.”

Jon, on the other hand, is decisive and quick to act, a perfect trait for someone in the military. So it should come as no surprise that after six months of friendship I found an email in my inbox from a young Coast Guard cadet proclaiming his affection and asking me if I felt the same.

I still have that letter. Jon and I were just laughing over it this week, but this was anything but a laughing matter 8 years ago. Two and a half pages of his description of the past few months, how he felt when he first noticed me over the summer, how his feelings had changed after we became friends in the fall, how beautiful I was, how much he loved my personality, how I was everything he’s always wanted in a girl and he might never find another one like me … He also mentioned he had made a list of my pros and cons and that my pros far outweighed the cons. He closed by saying he hoped the letter wouldn’t change our friendship (or keep me up that night), but that he just wanted to let me know how he felt and to see if I felt the same.

Well, yes. Maybe. But I certainly wasn’t ready to tell him that. Instead I read the email over and over again, paced the floor, went for a walk and cried a little. Things were just moving a little too fast for my slow-to-commit mind.

I assumed he was asking me to be his girlfriend, he claims I misunderstood and he was just trying to gauge where we stood. Either way I ended up writing him back a short paragraph explaining that I was happily single at the time, trying to focus on the plan God had for my life and my relationship with Him and not ready to enter into a relationship with anyone else. Period. Needless to say, that kinda threw a damper on things.

In fact, it was a very dull spring. I hardly mentioned Jon in my journal, and while we maintained a friendship that semester, things just weren’t the same. I got busy with work and school and before I knew it finals week had ended and I was back home again. We managed to get together with the T family over Memorial Day, but Jon and I hardly spoke to each other the whole day. He was gone most of the summer and I was busy working and reading books. The friendship that we had worked at so diligently last fall was dwindling away to nothing. When he was home I could hardly think of anything to say and the more awkward it became the more annoyed I got that he had “ruined everything” by jumping the gun too soon. So when I found out our families would be spending a whole week camping together, I got a little nervous. I didn’t want to spoil everyone’s vacation, and I still desperately wanted to hold on to our friendship. In my journal I actually prayed to God that He would give me words to speak to Jon and help me to be social that week. Looking back, I think He had a little something more up His sleeve than casual conversation.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and men

Subtitled:  And God Laughed
Sub-subtitled:  Looks like we're not getting a dog anytime soon
Sub-sub-subtitled:  Ahhhhh!!

So exactly one week after writing this lovely little post about being content with our two boys for now and taking a baby-break and enjoying a long summer of having my body all to myself ... I took a pregnancy test.

See Jon had mentioned something the night before about "what if" and we both agreed it was simply not possible.  That there was just no way.  And that was that.  But I couldn't get it off my mind.  All the next morning I just kept thinking and thinking, comparing this month to previous months, looking at the calendar, counting days, doing math.  I still didn't think it was possible but by lunchtime I could hardly think of anything else.  So I told myself that since I had 3 pregnancy tests upstairs that I'd stocked up on a long time ago during a sale, I could just take one to ease my mind after the boys went down for a nap.  I figured it was worth it alone to be able to concentrate on all the phone calls I had to make that afternoon.

This test wasn't my usual one.  Well, by usual I mean the brand I used with my other two babies - the one line or two lines.  This was the "plus" or "minus" sign brand (hey it was on sale!).  So I took the test, immediately saw a "minus" sign and breathed a huge sigh of relief!  I walked back into the bedroom to put away some clothes and wait out the 2 minutes the back of the box suggested, just to confirm my doubts.

Two minutes later that "minus" had changed into a "plus."  Two minutes later I sat on the floor and bawled my eyes out.

It's amazing the number of things that can flash through your mind in an instant.  No more solo-summer.  No more fall trip to the Cayman's.  No more only-one-kid-in-diapers.  THREE UNDER THREE!  No wonder Jude has been annoyed while nursing.  How are we gonna put three kids in college at the same time?!   I'm gonna be huge at the beach!  THREE UNDER THREE!!  What about the wedding the boys are supposed to be in?  We don't even know where we'll be living in 4 months.  What are people gonna say?  It still can't be true.  Won't know for sure until the doctor confirms.  THREE UNDER THREE!!  I'll never be able to leave the house!  How will we ever survive next winter?!  What about all those cute clothes I just bought?  THREE UNDER THREE!!  How did this happen?  How am I going to tell Jon!?!?

I decided the best way to start would be by putting on same make-up.  I'm sure the last thing he needed to see coming in the door from work was his messy-haired wife, in sweatpants, with a tear-stained face, waving a pee-stick in his face saying "YOU DID THIS TO ME!!"

On the other hand, I love being creative.  I mean, I'm quite proud of those "Dad" pancakes I made nearly 3 years ago this month.  And the "bun in the oven" scheme was pretty cute too.  But this time.  Well I had nothing.  And I wasn't quite sure how he'd take the news anyway.

Jon always calls me when he's on his way home.  It gives him something to do during his long commute, it gives me an idea of when to expect him home, and if I'm smart it gives me about 30 minutes to clean up the house quick!  I was on the phone with a student when he called this day though, and he was on the phone with someone else when I called him back.  Phew, potential cover-blow averted.

So I was sitting at my computer when he came in the door, pretending to work on emails but really checking out due date calculators.  He was still on the phone, then he was in the office, then he came into the kitchen to raid the refrigerator.  He started talking about his day and I couldn't take.  I pulled the pregnancy test out from under a sheet of paper, "Soooo ... we're pregnant." 

"No way... How can that be? ... Are you serious?"  And then he laughed.  My always the realist, never miss a moment to plan, "hey check out this 10 page spreadsheet I just made to keep track of our DVDs", color-code his calendar, cross the dates off with a straight-edge, husband laughed, and said, "Well I guess God wanted us to have another baby.  I mean, we always knew we wanted another one."

But in October?  Jack might not even be 3 yet!

"That's perfect.  I'll be done with school and we'll be all moved in to our new house."

"We're going to have 3 kids under the age of 3."

"Do you realize we could possibly watch 3 of our sons play football for the Coast Guard Academy at the same time!"

"I guess we won't be going to the Cayman's anymore."

"We'll get our baby years out of the way and do fun things when the kids are grown up."
"Who wants to wear a cute swimsuit when they're 50?  I want to wear one now!  I'm gonna be a whale at the beach."

"Just think, we'll be young grandparents!"
"But I'm going to feel very old by the time I'm 30."
"You're being really selfish right now."

Oh I love my husband.  I love how he sets me right.  I love how he tells me he loves me even when I'm not so sure I love myself.  I love how he takes our shattered plans and uses them to build even better dreams.  I love that the day we found out he was already picking out baby names and scheming ways to tell everyone.  I love that he rubbed my belly, the belly that I've been thoroughly enjoying all winter and that's already starting to make room for the new one, and said hi to the baby - our little 3 week old, the size of a sesame seed.  And I love that he laughed.  Really, at this point, what else can ya do?

Monday, February 21, 2011


We were home for a quick visit over the weekend and got to spend a little time with both families on Friday night.  Our friends at Bellavie Photography offered to take a "families" photo:

1 ... 2 ... 3 ...

Photo Credit:  Bellavie Photography

Photo Credit:  Bellavie Photography

Photo Credit: Bellavie Photography

No, really.  WE'RE PREGNANT!


It only took three tries before we got through.

Photo Credit:  Bellavie Photography

Photo Credit:  Bellavie Photography

Yeah, so were we.

But it certainly was fun pulling off our most favorite caper ever!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Our Story, Part II: In which I get a little help from my future in-laws

Did you know the original title of Pride and Prejudice was actually First Impressions? Jane Austen changed it when a book with the same title was published a few months earlier. I prefer the current title, but it does give you an idea of where she was going with the story... and how misleading our first impressions can be.

So I’ll admit, that while I originally found plenty of things I didn’t like about Jon in the beginning, I had him all wrong. And I had a lot of first impressions, as you saw in Part I. Jon, on the other hand, had no first impressions. He didn’t really notice me ... at all. But that was all about to change.

Jon didn’t get summers off while at the Coast Guard Academy. But he did have a few weeks to come home for a visit in July and August. While his dad was driving him home from school for break in 2002, he casually said “You know Jon, that Janine girl has really grown up and is quite cute.” According to a letter that Jon wrote me much later, he replied “Micah’s little sister? Dream on Dad!” Apparently all he remembered of me was that I had braces at one time and that I was a nerd. Definitely not “his type.”

But then he saw me in church the next day and was caught by surprise, "Where has she been my whole life?"  But he still, he didn't seem to think the future held much for the two of us together.  Clearly, I had more work to do. Thankfully I was not alone in my endeavors.

We have a great amusement park in Pennsylvania called Knoebels Grove. I have so many fond memories of hot summer days spent there. The T family was planning a visit there one Sunday afternoon and thought to invite my family along too. This was the first of many, many dual family get-togethers over the next few years. What started as a way to throw us together ended up growing into a fantastic familial friendship. Jon and I think it’s wonderful that our parents and siblings all get along so well. It certainly makes holidays and visits much easier on us!

So we spent the day together at Knoebels. Which is where I learned the first thing Jon and I had in common – a love for Twizzlers. It’s also when I realized that Jon doesn’t exactly do things in moderation – and that includes attacking an entire bag of licorice.

I was a little nervous about the whole day. I mean, obviously I wasn’t quite sure how I felt, and I certainly didn’t have any experience around big, bold football players. I brought along my best friend for support and did a pretty good job of ignoring Jon that day. I came home that night and wrote this in my journal:

July 31 2002
Went to Knoebels with the T’s. Yeah, Jon’s good looking, but I honestly don’t feel anything for him. Which is probably a good thing.

And then this a few days later:

August 6 2002
Mrs. T told mom that Jon said he’d “never noticed Janine before” and that my “hair is beautiful.” Owww!! Maybe I should switch things up and play hard to get.

Finally, I had made an impression! Jon liked my hair. Actually, years later I learned he actually liked some "other" features. But I like to keep this blog PG so we’ll stick with the “hair” story..


After Jon returned to the Academy, his mom mentioned that it would be nice if I wrote to him so he'd have a friend from home to keep in touch with. I’m not typically in the habit of writing boys that I don’t know very well. And by then technology and the Internet had rendered letter-writing a tad awkward. I opted to try to connect with him via IM, which was HUGE during my high school and college years. In fact, I credit my 90+ words per minute typing speed exclusively to the fact that I was “forced” to manage typed conversations with multiple people, faster than the speed of thought, on a daily basis. I also was not a phone-talker. Suffice it to say, IM was the way I got to know Jon in those early months. It was a great way for a shy girl like me to reach out to a handsome stranger. The best part is I thought to save the hundreds and hundreds of pages of IM conversations I had with my future husband. Maybe I’ll use them someday in my memoirs … but probably not. Being on my own for the first time at my new school must've given me a good dose a courage because I took a deep breath and sent him a little instant messenger “hi” the first chance I had.

August 30 2002
Well I talked to Jon on IM. I think we’re friends now. At first he didn’t know who I was – again. … So anyway, he’s cool to talk to.

Despite the fact that I had talked to him a few times before, and faithfully checked up on his screen name for the past two years, he apparently was not checking up on mine. I wrote the conversation off as a dud. But unbeknownst to me I had made an impact. Jon later told me that despite being back at school and busy with football the fact that his parents kept bringing me up remained in the back of his mind.  The night I reached out on IM he only got about two hours of sleep thinking me, him and the future.
And that was it. From that point on we chatted frequently and were soon on the road to becoming great friends.

Proud college girl and her trusty computer - the link to my one true love for 4 years.
September 5 2002
Jon said he either wants to go to Law School right after he graduates or he'll go right into at least 5 years of the Coast Guard. Looks like it will be a while before I get married. :)  He even said he should’ve taken me to his school dances. It’s about time Buddy!!

September 8 2002
Mel called. She talked to Mrs.T. and Mrs. T. told her that Jon and I talk a lot and that she thinks I’m “The One.” Haha! Yessss!!

September 25 2002
Took a wedding date predictor quiz. Jon said he doesn’t want to get married until he’s 28. Um, that will not fit into my schedule. We are too much alike. We just might kill each other.

October 17 2002
Had the best talk with Jon. He calls me "Curls." He sent me pictures so now all the girls on the hall can see my future husband. We talked about what I wanted to be, it’s hard to explain without coming right out and saying “your wife.” I just said I wanted to influence the masses, without being overly popular. He’s like “Politician – that’s my girl!”

The more we talked, the better we got to know each other and the better friends we became. In fact, we became very close in those conversations but hadn’t yet tested our friendship in the “real world.” The opportunity came soon enough. Jon’s parents were still hard at work finding him a wife and we both found out our families would be attending my little brother’s wrestling match when we were all home over Thanksgiving, then we went back to my parents’ house for good ‘ole apple pie and awkward conversation. In fact, I don’t know if we said more than a few words to each other the whole weekend. I certainly didn’t think enough of it to record anything in my journal. But we picked up right where we left off chatting online and on the phone when we got back to school.

At Jared's wresting match.  That's Jon in the right corner, and that's me trying my best to avoid him.

December 8 2002
Jon and I are insanely similar. We both want the same things out of life. We’d be good for each other.

A few weeks later I was back home again for Christmas break. Our Youth Group does theme Christmas parties each year, in 2002 the theme was a Redneck Christmas. Jon was not supposed to be there. Which is why I felt okay showing up like this:

I may have misinterpreted "redneck."
And which is why I was thoroughly shocked and embarrassed when I saw him standing inside the door. So embarrassed that I yet again hardly spoke a word to him until the end of the night when we discussed Christmas plans. I ended up having dinner at his parents’ house one night, we all went bowling together another night, spent New Year’s Eve on the ski slopes together, and went back to the slopes another time before the end of break.

Now, Jon is a skier. But he decided he was more than willing to try his hand at snowboarding if it meant spending the evening with me. So he did. And he did mighty fine I might add. I was also impressed by the effort Jon made to get to know my friends, all the church girls that he’d ignored for so many years before. I had to give him credit, he was definitely trying.

New Year’s Eve 2002
I think the night wen well. It was the first time Jon and I have hung out without family constantly around. I think we got to be better friends – hopefully. Either that or was completely appalled by my sometimes evident immaturity and “goofiness”. He’s a good friend.

It was also over Christmas that I came to learn Jon’s love language – gifts. One night I opened my car door and found a black and white picture of the Eiffel Tower on my car seat (I was collecting black and white pictures for my dorm). Another day he gave me a sketch he drew of Big Ben (since he knew I was dreaming of visiting England one day). And before he left he asked me for my address so he could send me another surprise gift when we got back to school! I had never met a guy that was just so … NICE!

January 3 2003
Jon’s a lot nicer than I would’ve ever thought. I’m not used to this. But still – it’s way too soon to find the person that I’ll be committed to the rest of my life. Especially if nothing can really happen for another 3-4 years.

My reluctance and indecision would soon be called to the forefront. Little did I know that, a few weeks after Christmas break, I would be receiving much more than a “gift” in the mail.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The other week, I bought my first piece of art.  Well I guess you could say that.  In other words, I used a gift card to buy a knock-off painting on clearance at TJ Maxx.  Regardless, it was my first.  All the other framed art in our house was either bought by or for Jon, and generally feature presidents or boats.  So it was a big step for me.  I stopped and stared at it for a little while.  I walked away and came back.  I almost took a picture to send to Jon and then I thought to myself "no, it's time to be a big girl and make this decision on my own" besides, if he didn't like it I could always return it.  Then I threw it in the cart and trucked it home.

The first thing Jon said when I walked in the door was "What's that?"  But after he got over the initial shock that I had actually went out and bought something on my own for the house, he said he liked it.  And I gotta say, it's the perfect fit.  It really matches our room perfectly.  Especially from its spot on the floor, propped against the wall.

Yes, my lovely piece of art ended up on the floor.  We both liked it, both agreed to keep it and both knew right where we wanted it to go, but the question remained:  Do we hang it up knowing it's just another thing we'll have to take back down again in a few months?  Do we want to put more holes in the wall that we'll only have to fill in again before we leave?  Do we really need to decorate a room that no one will ever see but us?

And this is our life right now.  We're constantly dealing with these kinds of dilemmas.  Do we bother looking for a new church if we're only going to be around for 3 more months?  Should we switch to civilian doctors or just stick out the military healthcare a little while longer?  Should I hang Jude's 12 month long sleeve shirts up in the closet or just leave them in the box until after we get to the next place.  How many bottles of ketchup can I buy at this awesome sale price without having to deal with mega leftovers before we move?  Ah, the military life.  This limbo between "go on living like we always have" and "get ready for big change."  In short, it's unsettling.

But our upcoming orders are just one thing that's bothering me.  I feel like this whole year has been off so far.  It started out with the burglary.  Was followed by a smart little cookie that just can't figure out that poopies go in the potty.  Then my kids started waking up super early without explanation and no amount of tweaking could fix it.  And of course, I thought we were past "the bug" after last weekend but no, it continued on through the week and culminated with more Jude throw-ups on Sunday morning as we were getting ready for church, an explosive Jackcident that Jon ended up spending an hour scrubbing off the walls, door, vanity, toilet, floor, rug, etc. (whataman!!), and a very sick husband that forced me to spend my Valentine's night in our little boy's room.

I can't remember the last time I felt so out of control, or the last time my future felt so uncertain.  But I'm learning, slowly catching on to this thing called trust.  And to help, I like to turn up Kristene Mueller on Grooveshark:

It's the sweetest thing,
To trust you,
Just to know,
You've got everything under control.

And you're making me a mountain
Making me a mountain
That cannot be shaken.

So I'm trying extra hard to leave it up to God because there's certainly nothing I can do about it.  He's already got the future settled, already has our house picked out, probably already knows where we'll hang the new picture.  And speaking of which, we did go ahead and put it up.


And then we celebrated.


Because what are a few more holes in the wall when futures are in the balances?


And because even though I don't know what's wrong with my kids' tummies, or why my eldest prefers to poopy in his pants, or where I'm going to be buying groceries this summer ... at least I know where I want to hang my picture.  Ahh sometimes it feels so good just to have the freedom to make a decision.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Story Part I: How We Met

In light of the present holiday I thought it would be a good time to start something I've been scheming up for a while now - Our Story.  See, I saw this done in another blog I read ... well, started.  Two years ago actually.  She still hasn't finished the story, and it's driving me crazy!  But I loved it!  I enjoy hearing other couples' love stories and for the past 5 years I've been meaning to jot mine down for posterity.  And for the last 5 years I haven't gotten any further than that.  I'm hoping this entry will jump start my romantic memoirs.  So, without further ado, the first installment of "Our Story."

Well it wasn’t “love at first.” In fact, we don’t have a “how we met” moment. I don’t even remember meeting Jon period. Legend has it that I was a newborn and he was a little over 6 months. My parents were new members of the church where Jon’s parents attended. And as a gesture of friendship my future mother-in –law attended a coupon meeting with my mom. It was there, amidst of group of coupon clipping ladies, that I met the love of my life. Although it would be some time before we reached that point.



We grew up together in the same church. Sharing toys in the nursery, passing off snacks at Vacation Bible School. Jon was a bit of an “energetic” child, very much like his son. He kinda got in trouble a lot during Sunday School. I specifically remember one time, in our 5/6th grade class, he asked to go to the bathroom … and never came back.


After graduating from Sunday School we were now old enough to participate in our church’s youth group. Well, I participated in Youth Group. Jon was busy with football and wrestling, but usually showed up whenever we were having a party. By the time we were teenagers Jon had gained a reputation as a church rebel. And since he rarely, if ever, spoke to me or my girlfriends, we quickly wrote him off as a stuck-up snob.



Jon was a year ahead of me in school and we actually attended rival high schools. (I would just like to point out that my school beat his school in both football and wrestling his senior year.) One time I went to his wrestling match at my school. I was sitting in the stands with a guy friend from my class and casually mentioned I knew that one kid on the wrestling team. My friend pointed his finger right at Jon, who I’m sure was looking our way, and said, “You mean that guy?” I was so embarrassed. I came home that night and wrote in my journal:
“I hope Jon didn’t think ___ was my boyfriend!” … “So we were waiting by the door and Jon walked out and I didn’t say “hi” or “bye” or anything, and now I feel really stupid because he probably thinks I’m rude and etc., etc. Ohhh, I don’t even want to think about it.”
After that they were many more moments in our history. Jon doesn’t remember a single one. But I faithfully recorded them in my spiral bound journals. Okay, so not really moments. But as you can see, he was occasionally on my mind.
June 22 1998
Oh yeah, in the tent meeting today this guy across the tent seemed to be staring at me and I couldn’t tell who it was. Later I saw it was Jon! I hope I was just mistaken.

July 24, 1998
Took Jon and Jen home. Jon was so funny but he’s really not that great.

Camp 1998
P.S. [She] said she doesn’t like Jon anymore. He’s too weird.
August 14 1998
Micah and I took Jon home from youth. He is so funny!

July 11 1999
Had a Youth party at the Park’s. It was fun. Talked to Jon a couple of times. He’s really fun to talk to although he was making fun of my job again. He works somewhere for like $9 an hour! I don’t like him or anything … yet. (sigh) Life is so confusing.

Camp 1999
The girls asked me who I liked and I said no one but that I had considered someone but not anymore and I never talked to him. They guessed Jon right away. But I don’t, nor ever did, like him, he just seems like a cool guy.

January 14, 2000
Mom, Dad and I were talking about dances. If I happened to get on a court they said I could take a guy from church. They thought I would rather go with Jon than a guy from school. Wrong! I don’t even know Jon. At least I could talk easily with a school guy.

May 2 2000
I have decided that Jon is a stuck-up, unfriendly guy. I guess he came to watch our track meet. I wouldn’t know cuz of course we didn’t talk!!!


Jon graduated a year ahead of me and not long after was off at the Coast Guard Academy. I didn’t know what this meant. I didn’t even know what a military academy was at the time, much less what it meant to be an officer. All I knew was that he was away from home a lot. I was too busy closing out my senior year and investigating colleges of my own to give a second thought to the boy I once thought “would make a cool husband.” But I hadn’t lost interest completely, especially when he'd show up at church on a random Sunday …

October 7 2001

Went to church. Jon was there with his uniform and all his stuff on. Some things just can’t be explained …

November 4 2001
I wish Jon snowboarded and wasn’t so serious. Then I’d know I’d want to marry him.

December 30 2001
Went to church. Jon was there. Oh, he’s so stuck up!

January 1 2002
So we went to Jon’s parents house for dinner today. And right now I’m debating whether or not to write what I’m about to write next. If I’m wrong, I can always rip it out later. I don’t like Jon, I still think he’s arrogant. I don’t like the way he dresses or the way he talks. He watches a lot of football. He has short, blonde hair. He doesn’t make me laugh much. He wears Adidas shoes. He skis. He is big and built and will probably end up living in DC where there is no snow. His parents are extremely nice, very wise and godly and therefore intimidating. He is related to the pastors through marriage. So why can’t I get rid of this strange feeling? There have been times when I’ve almost foreseen what’s to come, but in this case I almost hope I’m wrong. It’s scaring me. I wonder if he can sing?


February 24 2002
Went to church. Erin really likes the wedding dress she found. *sigh* Speaking of marriage Dad told Jon’s dad that I have a lot of questions for Jon. Ah! I specifically said that I did not want to ask him! Yeah just what I need. He’s coming home in 12 days though. :)


See, I had picked Jon out from the start.  But the strange part was I honestly believed I didn't "like" him.  And Jon was most definitely not what I would have considered "my type."  I was fairly anti-football player in my day.  I loved to read and have (what I assumed were) "intellectual" conversations. I picked up snowboarding in high school and Jon skiied, which meant we were foes on the slopes.  We hung out with different crowds.  In fact, to this day Jon and I still say it's a good thing we didn't know each other better in high school, because we would have never gotten along.  But at the same time it bugged me that Jon and I weren't acquaintances.  Despite all our differences, he had my attention.  Since he was the one guy in church I wasn't friends with, I found him mysterious and intriguing.  We had a real Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet thing going on!  But I've always loved a challenge, and I soon determined that I wanted to be the first girl from church that befriended the unfriendly Coast Guard Cadet.  I guess you could say I had a crush on the guy, but didn’t really want to do anything about it. This is where my future in-laws come in. Apparently I had made a bit of an impression on them after the summer of 2002 (the year I graduated from high school). I later learned that they a scheme of their own to add a “boost” to our acquaintance...
March 3 2002

And the plot thickens … dun, dun, dun. Haha, first of all, in church, Rosie’s like “So Janny, when does Jon come home?” I was like, “What!?” And she said that Mel told her I went to his house for dinner. I was like “Um yeah, my family.” Then at the end of church Matt asked me how Jon was doing. I was like “OK, what’s going on here?” Micah said Mr. T. told Matt he wants Jon and I to get together or something. Oh my! This is too much! It’s so weird, and maybe someday I’ll kick myself for saying this but it’s such a God thing. I’ve never like someone without actually “liking” them before. Well, we’ll see.

March 10 2002
Johnny Football Hero was in church today. Unfortunately, I had to leave early for work so I wasn’t able to ask him all my questions. Oh well.

March 24 2002

All the time Mom and Dad used to bug me to take Jon to a dance and now when I’d actually consider it he’s not around. So help me God I need a prom date!
April 14 2002
This is the second night in a row Jon has been on IM all night. He must’ve got a computer. Hmmm. Well I’m not talking to him.

June 12 2002
… I’m beginning to think my current plans may not be such a good idea. Especially after talking to my girls. Jon just isn’t my type. I mean, I’d always figured that as I got more mature I’d change, but I don’t wanna change. I like my style. So sorry football hero, but you just ain’t cuttin’ it.

June 20 2002
Had a dream about Jon last night. It’s weird because right now I can’t picture exactly what he looks like, but last night it was clearly him. He had a picture of me in his wallet too.

June 23 2002
The T’s are coming to the beach with us. But not Jon. That is good because it would be very embarrassing. Although he would be something to look forward to. :)

July 17 2002
Erin said she didn’t invite the T’s to her wedding because she wasn’t invited to their daughters’. I told her she’d be invited to their son’s. :)

July 21 2002
Mrs. T. kept asking all these questions about me because “Jon needs a domestic wife … but feisty too.” Ahh!!

August 11 2002
Leslie does not understand how you can not like somebody and still want to marry them. She was a little concerned because she saw another girl talking to Jon. Oh well. I'm not.

I guess you could say I had a crush on the guy, but didn’t really want to do anything about it. This is where my future in-laws come in. Apparently I had made a bit of an impression on them after the summer of 2002 (the year I graduated from high school). I later learned that they a scheme of their own to add a “boost” to our acquaintance...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sweater Weather

We got last month's power bill the other day.  Ouch.  Suddenly this big, open floor plan kinda house has lost it's appeal.  I mean, I thought we were doing pretty good.  I usually keep the house at 68 during the day (which means the downstairs is 68 and the upstairs is unbearably warm).  And since Jon and I like to see our breath when we sleep I turn it down to 60 at night.  Brrrr.  We've been using space heaters in the boys rooms since they haven't mastered the art of snuggling under blankets yet.  Jack just kicks his around and while Jude remains fairly still while he sleeps, he always keeps his hand up above his head.  Which means he wakes up with little blocks of ice at the end of each arm. 

Someday, I will get a picture of both boys looking at the camera.  Someday.

So I decided it was time to wage war against the power company.  You wanna play hardball?  Well then let's go.  I think the space heaters are what was killing us so I turned them off and brought out more blankets.  I turn the heat to 65 during the day now (if we can handle it) and put everyone in 2 or 3 layers.  And keep moving.  Gotta keep the boys moving.  Jack's two favorite phrases this week are:  "Less wun!" (Let's run.) and "Less dance!"  And I oblige, until my tired, old self can't oblige anymore, because any energy joules we can burn off in the middle of the day are energy joules he doesn't have to try to burn off kicking his feet against the wall in bed 30 minutes after he was supposed to have fallen asleep. 


Joules.  Like that word?  I looked it up.  Don't worry, I definitely don't remember what unit energy is measured in, and I'm pretty sure if I had remembered, it wasn't that word.  But it certainly sounds official.  You believed it.

Jude's got joules too.  You should see this kid in his walker now.  Hard to believe he used to throw a fit if I tried to put him in it, because now he gets so excited, and his little legs get to kicking so hard, that it makes it difficult to put him in the seat.  And once you do - bam, he's off!  It's like the start of a horse race. 

Faster than a speeding bullet.

It's rather funny.  I always pictured him "walking" in a walker.  But it's much more like hopping.  He puts two feet down, pushes up and forward.  Two feet down, push up and forward.  And his little head bobs up and down with it. 

He's just spotted the camera strap.  Ensue a mammoth amount of close-ups of Jude trying to reach the strap.

And I know he's my child and all but I just think he's so stinkin' adorable.  Between him and his brother it's amazing I get anything done all day.  I constantly find myself watching and smiling, waiting for the next utterly cute look, movement, phrase, smile.  Afraid to miss out on another one of motherhood's most amazing moments.  Amazing despite the fact that they occur every day, and several times a day.

This is his "don't look away or I'll make a run for it" face.

But I'm only talking like this, like I'm high on mommy-hood and babies, because I'm coming off a very bad low this week.  And the highs are always higher when your looking back down on a low.  This weekend was the 3 days of Great Sickness.  But this weekend was nothing compared to the two days that followed, two days of The Great Whining.  Incessant whining.  Claw my eyes out with a butter knife whining.  Bang my head against a hot stove whining.  I could hardly handle it.  In fact, I definitely could not handle it. 

I snapped my fingers in the air to get Jack to look up for a picture.  Thus all my pictures of Jack he is attempting to do the same.

I'm not sure what exactly was going on with Jack earlier this week.  Whether he still wasn't feeling well, if he's actually getting molars or not.  But whatever it was, must've been bad.  He literally cried, yelled or SCREAMED non-stop the entire morning.  He was so loud, he woke up Jude from his nap.  And then Jude was tired and cranky the rest of the morning.   I was attempting to talk to my boss on the phone while making lunch and couldn't even hear his questions because of the loud din of voices crowded around my legs.  I eventually ran to the office and locked the door so I could finish my conversation in muffled peace.

Jude is wary of Jack kisses.

I don't remember much of that day.  I know I lost my temper.  I know I hurt my son's feelings.  I know I had to hug him and apologize later after I realized I had totally lost my cool.  I know that if there was a badge for dealing with poop and vomit all in one weekend, and if I had gotten that badge, I would have probably been asked to give it back after Monday.  But thank goodness for naptime, thank goodness for Jon coming home early, thank goodness for 50 degree weather and a quick trip to the park, and thank goodness the little ones seem to have short memories.


But today.  Now today was good.  Today was paper-fish floating, mask-carving, chili-simmering-in-the-crockpot, "why sure I'll read you the Pookie book for the 20th time today" good.  Today I was awakened again at o'dark thirty by a 9 month old talking to his hand, but didn't mind so much because even pre-sunrise isn't so bad when it starts off with baby giggles.  Today I even picked up a pile of fecal matter with my bare hands and put it in the toilet where it belonged, then I scrubbed poop off the rug (AGAIN) ... all with a smile on my face.  It certainly must have been a good day.

Jack didn't whine once today ... but he did get in big trouble for biting his baby brudder's fingers during a photoshoot. :(

And I hope it keeps up for a little while because this is the home stretch.  Soon it will be spring.  Any day now, we should find out if and where we're moving.  By the end of this week, Jon will be finished with the majority of his classes.  In the not so distant future, we'll be chatting and laughing with family in Pennsylvania.  And not so long after that I'm taking my Handsome Coastie to a place that I was convinced only existed in dreams, or at least in England, until I saw it with my own eyes ... well, at least on a website.  And no I'm not talking about that place in the Poconos with the champagne glass hot tubs, although I did check out that website too.  And it gave me the heebie-jeebies.  (No offense if you've been there.) 

Oh yeah, things are definitely looking up.  And in the meantime I'm Jude-steppin' it forward, two feet at a time, until we get there.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Another knotch on the mommy belt

Warning:  The following contains details of real life experiences as a mom.  Subject matter not suitable for the faint of heart.

This weekend was the ultimate test of my mommy skills, well so far.  After all this time of bragging about how healthy my boys are ... came this weekend.  After surviving 3 days with 2 sick kiddos, I feel like I can add another knotch to my mommy belt.  This weekend, I scrubbed diarrhea out of our carpet, changed barf covered crib sheets in the middle of the night, cleaned poop out of the tub drain and spent extra hours rocking, holding, kissing sweet little faces.  C'mon, there's no badge for this?


On Thursday night Jon and I noticed that Jack wasn't acting like himself.  He was whining, listless and *gasp* not jumping.  He also felt a little hot.  Now, I haven't had to take Jack's temperature since he was a little baby.  And I wasn't quite sure how to do it since I was pretty sure the old way, the way that works great on babies but gives moms like me the creeps, wasn't going to go over well with my big guy.  Thankfully I found an ear thermometer that someone had given us at our baby shower.

Sure enough he had a bit of a fever.  But no other symptoms.  He spent the rest of the evening shivering and snuggling with his daddy on the couch.  We put him to bed early and piled on a few extra blankets.  And then I found myself sneaking into his room every few hours that night just to make sure he was comfy and covered.  For the first time in weeks, Jack slept in past 7am.  For the first time in I can't remember how long, he slept in past 8am.  I went up to check on him and as soon as I opened the door he popped up in bed and said, "Hi Mama!"  His fever had broke and it seemed like Jack was back!

Jon had a late day on Friday and I was planning to go out for a girls' night as soon as he got home.  He called to tell me he'd be at the house in about 20 minutes, while we're still talking on the phone Jack tells me he has to go "pee pee 'gain".  Then he starts crying and walking cowboy style.  I figured it was going to bad so I whisked him away to the upstairs bathroom.  After we got up there I turned around and realized he had a left a trail the whole way up the stairs and into the bathroom.  I don't want to go into too much detail but Jack was crying, I was gagging and we decided right then and there to go back to diapers for the weekend.  I'm certainly not up to potty training in the middle of that kind of illness, regardless of how many knotches on the belt it'd be worth!

Jack went right into the tub and I went right to work scrubbing the carpet, until he had another "accident" while in the tub.  By this point Jack is pretty upset, Jude is hungry and crying and I've just about had it.  This is when Jon got home.  I debated about canceling my girls' night since I didn't want want Jon to have a difficult night.  But only for a minute.  I needed my night out!

Jon appeared to have things under control by the time I had my car keys in hand.  Dinner was in the works and Jack seemed to be in better spirits... until he came running into the kitchen saying, "Monkey wet ... Monkey wet."  I just nodded my head and said "yeah" like I always do when I'm not quite sure what he's saying.  And then I suddenly realized he had just come from the bathroom.  Sure enough.  Poor Monkey went for yet another swim.  I fished him out and dumped him right into the washer, which apparently Jack found quite upsetting.  I figured if I didn't leave then I never would so I asked Jon to make sure he got Monkey in the dryer right away so he was "done" before bedtime and ran out to the car, shutting the door on the "yelling house."

Girls' night out was fantastic.  Apparently Jon got to experience another "Jackcident" that night, but thankfully he was in a diaper by then.  The poor boy was sound asleep by the time I got home, but his little brother was not.  I could hear him yelling in his bed the moment I walked in the door.  I barely had time to kick off my boots before it was back to cuddling and nursing and seeing babies off to bed again.

Saturday was a little better for Jack.  Although he didn't have any more major incidents you could tell he was uncomfortable.  I took the boys to my friend Jori's house to celebrate her birthday.  There was the sweetest black lab there named Chester that Jack had a blast with.  And for a few hours you would have never known he wasn't feeling well.  He was obviously on the mend but still a bit whiny throughout the day and more than likely a bit dehydrated judging by the number of false alarm "pee pee gains" we had.

I've been told by many that Jude has a number of funny facial expressions.  I don't know what they're talking about.
But Jude was quite the angel all Saturday.  I remember thinking how thankful I was that he was so happy and indpendent since Jack was requiring extra attention.  I even got dinner on the table late and he never made a peep.  Which is very un-Jude-like, he's pretty strict with his mealtimes.  He had pureed peas and oatmeal.  I noticed he was gagging a bit more than usual but figured it was just because they were chunkier than what he's been used to.  It certainly didn't stop him from opening his mouth for more.  And then he threw most of it up, which he's never done before.  I decided to switch to something smoother but 5 minutes later it happened again. 

At this point I wasn't sure what to do.  It was past his bedtime, but judging by the amount of food left in the container and the amount now puddled on his tray, he certainly hadn't eaten much.  I didn't want to put him to bed hungry but he was obviously in no condition to eat.  He didn't seem to mind at all and soon fell asleep on his own in his crib.  A little after midnight he woke up crying and I ran into his room to find my poor baby covered in vomit.  His face, his jammies, his neck and into his hair.  All over the sheets.  I have never had a child vomit before.  I wasn't sure what to do.  I picked him up and he just smiled and tried to grab my face with is barf-covered hand.  I put him down on the floor to get his jammies off and clean him up and he just kept laughing.  Then I walked away to go change the sheets on his bed and he was still chatting and giggling. 

Jude's signature hand on the hip move.
I figured it would be best to nurse him so he could get some fluids and maybe fall asleep.  Instead, he'd take a few sips and then look up at me and laugh.  Take a few more sips and then reach up and grab my hair.  And then he just laid there and smiled, as content as could be.  It was the strangest thing.  I couldn't get him to sleep so I just laid him back in bed and he kicked and cooed for a while and then I didn't hear anything more until the next morning. 

And other than some particularly stinky diapers today, he appears to be completely normal.  His appetite remains, he hasn't thrown up again and he's just as happy as ever.  And Jack seems to be better too.  We're still not sure if it's just a "bug" or if his two year molars are kicking in.  Either way, I hope today is the last of it.  Because it's sunny, the snow is all melted, and the park tells me its missing my kids every time I drive by.  Maybe the groundhog had it right!
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