Saturday, August 30, 2008

Beloved Friend

When we decided to get married, Josh and I were trying to figure out where to live. I wanted to live in Michigan, Josh couldn't leave the surf just yet. The proposition was to start our journey in California for six months, then move to Michigan to eventually start a family. Being an hour away from one of the most exciting cities appealed to me; the historical town of Redlands surrounded by mountains and year-long warm weather sealed the deal.

We got married in December, and a cold one at that. My excitement only grew towards the adventure awaiting. We returned from our honeymoon cruise, and as I was packing up, only then did I start to think about the reality of moving away. I was leaving everything I knew. My church family that I loved, the investment banking job and close colleague that I had worked with for 2 years, the university life of books and classes, my parent's home, my two younger brothers. Tearfully, I said goodbye, the full impact of leaving felt, but not necessarily understood.

The first month was spent with little furniture in an apartment filled with Josh's shoes. And by that I mean they were everywhere. I opened kitchen cupboards to socks and shoes, each closet held boxes of the treasured footwear; I went outside to the storage area. You guessed it, more shoe boxes. There were size 14 Jordan's everywhere.

I say this to set the scene, not because I was unhappy. Some of those dinners eaten on the cardboard kitchen table comprise my fondest memories. Hindsight usually lends itself to fondness, but vivid memories of walking to the grocery store each day to buy groceries (I did not have a car, so I could only buy enough for the day), making supper, and figuring out what married life was about. It was only in the evening, while lying in bed, did the loneliness creep in. I would lay there and imagine my parents playing cards around the kitchen table, visiting my grandparents, or eating ice cream at Frostys. Days turned into minutes ticking by on the clock, wondering how much longer it would be before I got to come back and visit.

And visit I did. Any chance I got. (Tia had 30,000 frequent flyer miles by the time she was 4)

Upon living there a few months, I was still struggling to adjust. If I am honest, I was lonely overall. It was hard to make new friends. Josh had lived there for a few years before I moved out there, so at first I felt like I was moving into his life instead of creating our own. We kept busy, but my lack of both a social life or an outlet to find friends left me really craving home. We joined a church we liked, but couldn't find a small group to connect with. My co-workers were nice, but office politics left me out most days.

We had a little poodle as I grew up, so Josh and I both thought a dog might ease the quietness of our apartment. I searched around, and found little Tia from a breeder who weighed in around 400 pounds, surrounded by teeny teacup poodles. The place smelled of disinfectant mixed with wet dog, but I visited Tia often until she was ready to come home. "Johnny's Angel, white with the apricot ears" was how he called back for them to bring her up for our visits. She weighed in at one pound, and pictures of her lined my desk at work before I could even call her mine.

She came home on a weekend, and we spent every last minute playing with her. She was not set down, except for a walk where her little legs worked overtime to keep up with Josh's long pace. She brought a lot of joy to our house, calmed the quiet. Each day, I literally raced home to see her, tail wagging so hard her whole body shook.

Today, Josh had to take Tia to be put down. She had been sick for a while, anyone who has ever seen her knew that today was inevitable. Arthritis deformed her front paws, and we tried multiple things to correct it to no avail. Still, it is hard to say goodbye to a loyal companion. And oh, what a companion she was. My only friend for a while there.

After Josh came home today, we were explaining to Kayden that we had to say goodbye to Tia, and that she was in heaven. In reality, she was taken to a pet cemetery named Sleepy Hollow where her ashes will be spread over the grounds. Tonight we wanted to take a bike ride to get out of the house because we all were feeling a little down. We looked up a trail and decided to park right off the beaten path, at what we both thought was a human cemetery. Sure enough, it ended up being Sleepy Hollow. We got out of the car in confusion and I asked Josh if this was where Tia was.

Kayden looked at me innocently. "Is this Heaven?", he asked.

I guess some things need better explaining.

Anyway, as today draws to a close and something in the house seems oddly out of place, we know will all miss Tia greatly. Carmelo (the black dog) most of all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

T is for trouble

I can sum up what is going on in our life right now with Ts.

Torticollis-or wry neck, is a condition in which the head is tilted toward one side, and the chin is elevated and turned toward the opposite side. According to the therapist, 80-90% of the time it is caused by a child that is too large for the mother's womb. The neck is scrunched so it grows longer on one side than the other. You can see it in both of these pictures.

The pediatrician noticed it early on and tried to fix it initially without physical therapy. Almost obsessively so, I adjusted him to look to his weaker side (the right side of his body). Night after night I would turn his head the opposite direction, but the shortened muscles made it uncomfortable for him and he would turn it back almost as quickly as I repositioned him. We started physical therapy a week ago Friday, and he seems to be doing better already. I have to admit that a very large part of me was relieved that he did not have to wear the oh-so-adorable helmet.

Tournaments- the end of this softball season brought an unfortunate realization. I am a very sore loser. The final three games of the season provoked my competitive streak, and not in a good way.

Thrush- Bryce and I both have thrush right now. Painful for him, even more painful for me to feed him. We went to Tar-jay and bought a slew of medicine to clear it, but I was this close to buying Similac and saying forget nursing all together.

Teaching-back to school for the hubby. No more pool days. 'Nuff said.

Target- I am three weeks into my run, and already they have bought all of the merchandise I have on hand. Relief!

Trouble-I woke up this morning and Kayden was laying in our bed next to me. This is not unusual, he often pops into our bed in the morning after daddy leaves. I love it because it allows me to sleep longer. However, as my sleepy eyes adjusted to light, there was one thing different than most days. It appeared he had black and blue around his mouth so I leaned in to take another look.

A red, white, and blue Popsicle was thrust in my face. "Take a lick, Mommy" he said with a huge smile and joyful emphasis on the last ckkk. Many of you will remember, I prayed all summer that God would show me the right thing to do with Kayden this year. It is clear; he needs preschool. He is SO bored lately at home. I am excited for him to start, not so excited about paying tuition:-)
I SO wish we went back to school after the holiday!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


**I did not think it possible, but sadly this blog has reached a new low.

It really was one of those days....he is much happier than I was.

Also, just a memory of my Uncle Harvey. He found out he had cancer while we were in the hospital with Bryce for RSV, and he passed away yesterday morning. My most recalled memory of him was sitting on his lap every year for birthday photos. What an odd memory, huh? Each picture I have growing up is of Uncle Harvey and me sitting in front of a cake with gobs of frosting (a Grandma Giggles favorite).
The other picture is from the freezing cold Thanksgiving parade this past year. Uncle Harv is on the right. We will miss you, Harv.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dear Synchronized Platform Divers,

I was going to send you a free Wet Happened? wet bag, then realized you probably do not need one for bathing suits this tiny. I very much enjoyed your diving, but was a bit distracted by half your butt hanging out of your Speedo.

Sincerely yours, Jamie

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A glimpse of a family in a nearby neighborhood led to memories long forgotten, yet easily recalled.

The air smelled a mixture of wet and freshly mowed grass, the chill in the air reminiscent of fall. Two kids sprawled across the grass, with their mother overlooking the festivities from the wrap around porch. A girl, clad in an outfit far beyond her thirteen years. Face puckered in a scowl, almost unconvincingly so. A freckled face, red-haired boy by her side, throwing a football at her as he ran carefree across the lawn. The chase ensued. That is when the memories came flooding back.

Memories of days without bills, uncontained belly laughs, screaming fearlessly on the roller coaster at the fair, the last day of school with nothing planned but summer days, the comfort and resonance of a mother's hug, dinner always on the table at 5. Waiting for my first date to arrive, nervous and giddy. High school football games; cheering with abandon, pulling confetti out of my hair days past. Simple times, really.

The past has a tendency to present itself that way, though, doesn't it? In a glowing haze of perfect memories bound together. I forget all the teenage angst, nights spent waiting by the phone for that phone call that never came. The knot in my stomach as each member of my class was picked, the sinking feeling of being least sought.

Some days I think I would like to go back to simpler times, and then the reality of my memory comes back to me in a jolt. I am not sure you could pay me enough to go back to high school. Searching for who I was, not quite fitting in....all of it is not pleasant enough for me to ever want to repeat. What about you? Would you go back if you could?

Monday, August 04, 2008


I have not seen them in our stores yet. This was sent to me from my friend Kim at Ribbies clippies. bottom right.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chubby leggers

Can you believe these legs?

I have got a hefty eater. Both kids, actually. At breakfast, Kayden is thinking about lunch. At lunch, he is worried about dinner. At dinner, he is already talking about eating the next day. I have to shoo him out of my fridge multiple times a day.

Bryce is soon to follow suit. He was laying on his back yesterday and actually rolled himself right over and started eating the floor. He has to support all that baby fat somehow, right?