Friday, April 30, 2010

Don't Mind Me

It's Friday, and I'm off and running before I'm even out of bed.  Actually, I was off and running before I went to bed last night.  Sometimes, I have the most difficult time winding down my thoughts.  Thoughts scream through my head at break-neck, Autobahn speeds.  Do this. Don't forget to do this.  Transfer the money to pay the mortgage.  Don't forget to send the invites out.  RNR Princess has a field trip.  Bonus needs to go for a well check.  Miss Proper needs new bras and pants.  Don't forget to pack this for your trip.  How many places am I supposed to be tomorrow?  What's the code for the storage unit?  How can I help this friend who is hurting? I think we are low on milk.  Confirm this appointment.  Make this appointment.  I need a haircut.  Did I leave wash in the machine? If I fall asleep at exactly this minute I will get seven hours and forty-six minuites of sleep.  And, oh, yes...  somewhere in that mix don't forget to enjoy your life!  The list goes on and on and on. 

People tell me that lists would help, but I do make the lists and that just makes me think of all the items on the list in greater detail.  Ugh.  If I could actually harness the energy in my mind, I'm fairly certain I could power the entire Eastern grid, possibly the whole country.  And if I had half that physical energy, I could easily run a couple of marathons a day.  Alas, it does not work that way.

How does one get any rest with all that racket going on in the cerebrum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata?  And don't get me started on all the information crossing the corpus collosum.  Our brains are such an amazing creation.  All those microscopic synapses and nerves bathed in hormones and enzymes is nothing short of miraculous!  If you have ever had the opportunity to actually hold a brain in your hands (sorry, I know I'm completely grossing some of you out right now), it's a bizarre event.  It's hard to comprehend how that mass of gray matter drives our every thought, emotion, and function.  It looks unremarkable.  Amazing and unimpressive all at the same time.  You would have to experience it for yourself, I think.

All that to say, I'm trying to remind myself on a daily basis that I am an amazingly complex person put together with purpose and beauty.  Of course, I don't do such an awesome job with that on some days.  I'm trying though.  I can choose to dwell well, or I can camp in a tent where I focus on my imperfections and shortcomings.  If my husband looks at me and tells me I am beautiful, why do I start pointing out all the things that I think are wrong?  Why can't I just say thank you?  It's a learned behavior, right?  I'm trying to unlearn it.  And where did I pick that up?  Because it's all lies.  Even Bonus will tell you that he is "Awesome" and "has a cute face."  Solid on that baby darlin'.  Rock solid.  Without getting to a narcissistic point,  I want to be right there with my son.  Pardon my French, but isn't insecurity a be-otch? 

[Mental Aside. Do you physically perfect the people you love, or is that just me?  For instance, I know in my head that my husband has the tiniest space between his front teeth, but when I think about him or even look at him, I fill that in.  I'm perfecting him.  And its not that he needs to be perfected; he is perfectly handsome just as he is. I just choose not to see it.  I think I'm a little freaky that way.]

Monday, April 26, 2010

And The Winner Is...

The word for camping with ten and eleven year old girls is EXHAUSTING.  It was a wonderful trip with a few issues, of course.  All but one girl said she had a great time.  The other girl said it was so-so.  As she is in a constant state of preteen attitude trip, I'm interpretting that to mean it was an eleven on a scale of one to ten.  I'm giving it a thumbs up. 

Rustic would be a generous description of this camp.  We were in cabins, which is vastly more luxurious than the tents the girls have always camped in before.  However, there was no hot water in our unit, so we had to think outside the box when we cooked and cleaned.  Plus, there were two operating toliets for the twenty-seven people in our unit.  Amazingly, there was never a line.  Somehow, it all worked.  No one in our unit showered from Friday to Sunday due to the lack of comfortable water temperatures, so we were ever so grateful to get home and get cleaned.  Everyone who passed us was probably thankful, too.

Friday night it rained, so mud puddles abounded on Saturday.  Girl Scouts are always prepared though, so we just pulled on our rain boots and enjoyed ourselves.  At first, I found myself avoiding the muddy holes and standing water.  As the day wore on, I tromped right through them with the girls.  Feeling my boots sink into the muck and listening to the mud suck on the soles of my boots as I lifted my feet was somehow satisfying.  The giggles and squeals from the girls and the abundance of clean, fresh air were invigorating.  My mind and heart, though foggy from a night of little to no sleep, rejoiced in the calm after the storm.  I considered where I have been in this past year and how I was brought through a storm and picked up from out of the mire.

Getting out in nature without the distractions of life (like this computer!) is entirely good for one's soul.  Considering my exquisite but unpolished surroundings, I felt refreshed. Renewed.  Ready.   

Additionally, there is something to be said for leaving the company of men for a weekend.  Men are a complete necessity and an absolute delight; please, do not hear me wrong here.  As women and girls, the pressure of wanting and needing to feel "beautiful" can be suffocating.  Can we live up to the unreal expectations that [some] men, society, and, honestly, other women sometimes foist upon us?  No. I'm not packing an airbrush.   

Out of the spotlight, out of the eyes of men and the "Blonde Bombshells" in my neighborhood, I can look around at seventy other females and see each as absolutely beautiful in her own right.  Take off the makeup. Remove the designer jeans and heels.  Put on t-shirts and grubby jeans with tennies, hiking boots, rain boots.  Dirty our hands; dirty our knees.  The strain of being objectified removed, we can revel in what it means to be a woman.  Comparisons cease.  It's lovely.  We are each gloriously and purposefully created.   We are equipped to make it through the storm and mud and make it through well.

Taken out of her everyday surroundings, Miss Proper blossomed before my eyes this weekend.  When music played, she danced when no one else was dancing.  She busted out some pretty risky moves; there was even hand planting involved.  She shook her hair and spun her body.  She was the center of attention, and she did not shrink back from it.  It was magnificent to watch this transformation, even if it was only for this one moment.

The girls are currently chatting up their memories at school, laughing about their newly created inside jokes, yawning at their lack of sleep during math class, enjoying the whole experience.  The unity in my troop, the tranforming moments of my daughter, the touching ceremonies and lasting tradititions, and the capacity, capabilities, and beauty of women all curently rolling through my mind is amazing.  I write exhausted but refreshed all at once.  What a privilege.  If you ask me, the winner is me.     

Rain boots remind of Psalm 40

Retiring Flags

Camp ashes that will be carried to our next fire

Arms stretched, dancing.  My daughter as I have never seen her.

Whispers of cedars.  We will return! 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pack Up Your Hot Dogs in Your Old Knapsack....

Yes, I'm gone camping, but I'll be back tomorrow.  I'm sure there will be a tale to tell.  Or fifty.  Camping with eleven year old girls is something... I'm not sure what it is, but maybe I'll have a word by Monday.  In the meantime, enjoy your weekend.  Grow where you are planted.  Your garden might be bigger than you ever knew.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Husband Husband

I still have no special name on here for this most special guy, but I'm going to tell you about him anyway.  He is not perfect, but I think I'm going to keep him around.

50 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

1.  He always apologizes when he is wrong. I won't say we have never gone to bed mad in nearly sixteen years of marriage, but those nights are fewer than the fingers on both hands.  Maybe fewer than the fingers on one hand.  I'm not keeping track.

2.  He is a hard worker.  Sometimes I think he works too hard, but I know he is doing it for our family.

3.  He's a good father.  You should have heard him talk to Miss Proper last week when she was upset and melting down.  I wouldn't have thought of some of the things he told her.  It was just what she needed to hear from him.

4.  He has seen me first thing in the morning and still thinks I'm beautiful. Isn't that an amazing thing about husbands?  He has also seen me birth three kids, cut my hair way too short, pluck my eyebrows too much, and forget to shave one leg.  All not pretty things.  Trust me.

5.  He chooses to love me.

6.  He loves our kids.

7.  He is not afraid to take a side or speak his opinion.

8.  He is not ashamed to talk about his beliefs.

9.  Have you seen the man?  He's just so darned handsome.

10.  He mops.

11.  He cooks.

12.  He irons his own clothes.

13.  He will tell me if the shoes I put on don't look right with my dress.  I appreciate this.  You can tell me, too. 

14.  He does a great impression of the smoo. Ask him.

15.  He can imitate most any accent.  I can't do any.

16.  He has beautiful eyes.  They look like cracked stained glass windows.

17.  He doesn't get upset when the house is a wreck... which is pretty much daily.

18.  He was never afraid to change a diaper even though he had not really held many babies before ours were born.

19.  He's not a quitter.  I definitely can be.  His determination is fierce.

20.  He doesn't always do the right thing, but he wants to do the right thing.  I think that's half the battle.

21.  He lets me cry.  Some men just can't be around tears.

22.  He still wants to hang out with me 19 years after meeting me.  Other than my parents or sister, I think that's a record. 

23.  He's funny.  His sense of humor is a little warped, but he definitely knows how to make me laugh.  So much so that I peed in my pants in the Kroger parking lot last week.  It happens.

24. When I was pregnant and my back was hurting, he let me sleep in the prime spot of the bed--the very middle.  I still tend to gravitate there, and he doesn't gripe (very often!) about the fact that I am a complete bed and cover hog.  And after breaking my nose multiple times, I snore.  Loudly.  In his ear. 

25.  When he travels, he sets the coffee pot up and sets the timer so I have coffee waiting for me the next morning.

26.  When he is home, he makes and brings me coffee every morning.  Sometimes in bed.  I love having my own personal barrista.

27.  He knows it's important for me to have time with girlfriends.  He encourages me to build friendships.

28.   He's smart.  Sometimes scarily so.  He's not arrogant about it though.

29.  He remembers what the weather was like and what he had to eat on all kinds of special days.  It's kinda weird but in an endearing sort of way.

30.  He can talk to a wall.  Sometimes I struggle to make conversation.  I think he had more conversations and found out more about people at my high school reunion than I did.

31.  He frequently gets told he looks like Matthew McConnaughey and that he has killer eyes, but he doesn't let it go to his head.  Usually. ;)

32.  He loved my grandfathers.  He misses them, too.  I love that he knew them and cared about them.

33.  He knows how to calm me down when I get upset.

34.  He gets very excited when he finds out about something new and likes it.  It's a little annoying how much he will talk about it, but it's also very sweet.  It's a childlike quality.  It means I get to eat sushi a bunch right now, and I love sushi!

35.  He orders his hamburgers without onions because he knows I don't like onions.  It's a sacrifice because he loves onions.  Onions might mean he might not get to kiss me, and he never wants to miss out on that! 

36.  He never makes me feel bad when the house is a disaster.  He has never said, "What did you do all day?"  He'll just help me pick it up.

37.  He turns the alarm off and lets me sleep in when he knows I'm tired or have had a hard night or hard week.

38.  He runs a bath for me every Sunday morning before church. Then, he feeds the kids breakfast.  Is that awesome or what?

39.  He always has time to listen to someone who needs to talk.  It is one of the reasons I feel in love with him.

40.  He tries to honor his father.  His father is very hard to honor. 

41.  He might not remember your name, but he will remember if you had surgery or if you are sick and will ask you how you're doing.  A guy he works with said that when he was going through treatment for cancer that my husband was the only person at work who would call to check on him and see how he was doing or if he needed anything.  You have to love that.

42.  He's a big man, but he can be so gentle when he wants to.  So gentle it borders on fragile.  It's lovely to watch.

43.  As he is a big man, he makes me feel safe.  Just don't ask him to go downstairs if there is a bump in the night; he doesn't want to check it out either.  He does it though...  after we play rock, paper, scissors to see which of us will be murdered in the kitchen.  Best three out of five. 

44.  He loves the Lord.  He didn't know him on the day we met.  I've gotten to watch his whole journey. 
He has come a long way.

45.  He still wanted to date me after I threw up in his lap.  Pretty disgusting... Diet Dr. Pepper and popcorn.  Single girls, I wouldn't recommend this maneuver. 

46.  When he introduced me to his mother at his oldest brother's wedding he told her that I was the girl he wanted to marry.  I think she almost fell over.  I think I almost fell over, too, and then I floated.

47.  He has learned that I don't always want him to fix it for me.  Sometimes I just need to vent, and he now gets that.

48.  If he tells you he will pray for you, he will.   

49.  He's physically strong!  He used to pick me up by the ankles with one hand.  I'm not sure if he still can.  Probably.  We haven't tested that in awhile.

50.   I can't explain all of it in words, but I just love him.  Good and bad, I am so thankful to have him as my husband. 

No onions here!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Told You I would Be Complaining

Without a bunch of fuss and discussion, I just want it known that I HATE cancer for too many reasons and too many people to list.  I love people though and am thankful for women with wonderful attitudes and great strength.  I can learn so much from them. That is all.   

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Mondays, Kinky Afro

Relax. I have not had a perm gone wrong. It's a British band and song with a catchy beat and not so fantastic lyrics. It's just what popped into my mind when I thought about it being Monday. If you don't know the song, I wouldn't worry about it. It doesn't need to be on your i-Pod, and it is not on mine. I'm not even listening to it right now; I am finally listening to a disc my amazing friend PandaMom burned for me and gave me like a hundred million years ago (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a tad... 3 weeks max). It's Jack Johnson. Can I please say that I was wrong, so wrong, so incredibly wrong for not putting it into my computer and listening to it the first second she gave it to me because I HEART (to borrow a phrase from PM) this song about "I need this old train to break down..."? And the next song is actually one that I love but never knew who it was by. I guess I am now a complete Jack Johnson fan and will be doing some serious googling on him later today. I’m so glad my friend knows me well enough to know I would love these tunes.

But, Mondays... well, lots of people hate a Monday. And, I have had some Mondays that were not my favorite day of all time (and some of those Mondays were Tuesdays or Thursdays or Saturdays, you get the picture). Today, however, is a happy Monday. It's a joyful Monday, and it's not because today is particularly special or some great event is planned. I'm just glad I'm here. I'm just glad that I woke up to the humming of an electric razor because it means I have a husband. I was glad to drop Bonus off at preschool (with a several-sizes-too-small cowboy hat perched atop his bucket head and a random price tag that he won’t part with in his hand) and join a few friends to set up for our MOPS meeting tomorrow. I'm glad to see the emerald green grass growing in my backyard, and grass is always greener after it gets a drink of rain. I will be glad to pick my daughters up from school at 3:00 and watch Miss Proper's softball practice a little later tonight. I’m glad I have friends who invite me to coffee or eat pizza with me or send me exciting emails or post messages on my FB or Twitter accounts. I’m glad that I have wonderful parents who have been married for nearly 40 years. I’m glad I have a beautiful sister who smacked me across the face in our high school hallway but who is now one of my favorite people to talk to (I’m not bitter about the smackin’ I probably was overdue… I just have a pretty vivid memory and like to think about how far people have come because it means I will make progress, too.).

Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. –Phil. 4:8
Even if you aren’t fond of the Bible (I am), I think that is great advice. Isn’t life grand when you take a moment to think about the good things?
BTW, I am not always so cheerful and grateful and optimistic; you just caught me on a good day. I’m likely to complain tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm IN!!!!!!!!!!!!

I told you I would let you know, and my poem got accepted already!  The editor said that she never accepts work this quickly, should have responded to hundreds of other's submissions sooner, but that my poem was "raw mother's breath."  She said my writing was stunning and moved her to tears.  I'll let you know where you can buy a copy when it's published this fall!

Here is the bio that will appear with my poem:

"[Reckless] has slept upon the sands of San Onofre, beneath the stars of Joshua Tree, through a tornado, aboard rocking sea vessels, in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, above the clouds, and inside a museum. She aspires to nap on a major league baseball field, near Paul McCartney, inside an ice hotel, and without having her arm tugged on by a small child. When awake, [Reckless] has lived out her some of her dreams by marrying a wonderful man, staying at home with her children, dancing ballet in front of thousands, and lapping thirteen year olds during the fast skate at her local roller rink. Dreaming of a world where her trademark green pen finds no discrimination, [Reckless] has yet to find a lawyer or loan officer that will accept an emerald ink signature. She keeps trying.

Currently making their king-sized bed north of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, [Reckless] and her husband once wished they could drive their beds to class and pull the sheets over their heads when the lectures made them yawn. Her three children only make their beds when small bills or shiny coins are involved.

[Reckless] holds a BA in English and sociology from Samford University and an MA in sociology from Middle Tennessee State University, but holding her husband and her children has proved a far better education."

I'm just so darn excited.  What other great stuff do you think will happen this fabulous Friday?

Who Stole The Cookie From The Cookie Jar?

Anyone recognize this?

If you identified this as a Lofthouse cookie, you are are only partially correct.  This is a picture of the LAST Lofthouse cookie that will make its way into my home, and therefore my mouth, for a very long time.  Because they are insanely EVIL.  I bought a box yesterday just after 5:00 pm, and they were gone this morning.  Who can eat fruit or vegetables if soft, delicious Lofthouse cookies are sitting on the island begging you to put them in your mouth?  Not me.  My kids ate 6, so if my math is correct I ate far too many.  Let's just leave it at that.  I also drank six cups of coffee while I ate them.  Don't worry about my heart exploding; it was decaf.   

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Okay, today I brushed myself off and got back on the proverbial horse.

What are you talking about, Reckless?

Well, I submitted some of my newer poetry to a fledgling literary rag mag.  Submitting is a risk I quit taking when I got engaged.  It's been a long time, and the whole market has changed.  If I get in, I'll let you know where to buy your copy.  If I don't get in, I'll probably pretend I never posted this.  Nah.  I'll just send it somewhere else.  Finding the right fit for your work is the toughest part.  It's entirely subjective.  The editor might like your poems if she is eating cake but find it dull if she's trying to clean her desk off for the weekend.    

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

4+7=11 or 20-8=12 and other not so random math facts

Oh. My. Gosh.  Yes, I have been away from here for far tooooooo long.  It's amazing how quickly a whole month can get away from you.  Kinda sad, too, when I look back over this busy, wonderful month and realize how much has happened and how I have failed to document it.  Not going to dwell there.  Moving on...

Please accept my apologies for this month-long novel that is about to unfurl before your very eyes.  I am waiting on a casserole cooking in the oven and a daughter to return from a day long field trip in Waco. I got nothin' but time (and two other kids using their underwear for light saber holsters running the dining room-kitchen-breakfast room-family room circuit for the 9000th time today. Don't worry, I have a large supply of Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface Daily Sanitizing Spray.  And, trust me, I have tried out that "anywhere" claim.  All perfectly normal stuff in a mom's day, right?)

At any rate, I love a good math fact, and for those of my friends who are elementary school teachers... you people get this.  Some of you know this about me and others will be learning for the first time that I have a background in statistics.  Yes, me, your goofy friend who can barely string two words together without using "ummm" or "like" or "really?" between them.  I ran the statistics lab when I was a graduate assistant at Middle Tennessee State University and taught many an undergrad how to run a regression analysis and interpret the data correctly.

Just for the record, I would have to bone up on this considerably if any of you were to ask me or bring me a data set hoping I could figure out if the relationship between your variables was spurious or not. Mommy brain has erased much of the experience and knowledge from my memory.  And just to be crystal clear, I completely believe you can manipulate numbers to make them say whatever you want anyway.  Just like we can manipulate or twist someone else's words or God's words to make them convenient for our problem or situation.  Be careful when you hear statistics on tv or read them in the paper.  The numbers have probably been crafted...

Descending from it now.

Back in the chair in front of the ole PC now.  Sorry to you Apple purists.  I hope we can still be friends.  My pockets, literally and figuratively, are not deep enough for an i-Pad.  And, good night, their marketing department deserves to be fired for that name.  I am reminded of Aunt Flo everytime I see one.  It's sorta like "have a happy period."  You've gotta be kidding me, right?

Chasing the rabbit back through the hole... and back to the real topic, which is that my children provide an awesome math fact in my life, and THAT my little pretties, is SO CONVENIENT.  As I have three precious gifts, and all of their birthdays are in MARCH (okay, I can see the wheels in your brains starting to turn and count back... to late May or early June.. Memorial Day weekend or beginning of summer is very hot time and we must like to stay inside... it's the only thing I can come up with... shutting up now.), I can at times get a little flustered when someone asks me when so-and-so's birthday is. 

I do the math in my head like this:


And then I can say,

"Miss Proper's birthday is the 8th."
"Rock-N-Roll Princess was born on the 12th."
"Bonus Baby turned four on the 20th."

See, isn't that the most super cool thing an absent-minded girl could ask for?  As long as I can remember two of the dates, I can always produce the third, and if I can manage to put them in ascending numerical order, it's the order in which they were born.  Okay, you might not think this is as super cool as I do, but I am quite possibly the BIGGEST DORK God ever put on the planet.  I'm fine with being a dork after 39 years of dorkdom.  Really, being a dork is an art.  I'll gladly show you what I mean as I trip up the stairs.

But, as cool as that constant math fact is, 2010 has produced an even awesomer one (good grammar from an English major, I know, but I frequently call poetic license.  Rebekah, please let it ride ;) !).

In 2010, and only in 2010 (as far as I have had time to calculate or contemplate, please feel free to correct), my childrens' ages also produce a math fact!  It looks like this:


Miss Proper is 11,  Rock-N-Roll Princess is 7, and Bonus Baby is 4.  I dig this.  Dorky with an enormous capital D. 

Which reminds me... in this month of busy-ness, my Bonus Baby had a birthday and turned four  on March 20, and I am just now getting around to writing the thank yous and downloading the pictures and telling the three people (ok, maybe two is a more honest estimate) who look at this blog about it.  I often fear that I lose out on the amazing moments of Bonus Baby's life because he is along for the ride of whatever his big sisters have going on.  His milestones are glossed over.  Gotta work on that.  He might want to look at that baby book sometime.  Does anyone remember when that kid starting walking?

Now, as I inroduced  you to the other two, I must tell you about Number 3 (speak that with a hint of Dr. Evil in your voice and laugh maniacally), my Bonus Baby.  Bonus Baby is the gift that I didn't know I wanted.  We had two adorable little girls.  We were the definition of a perfect
American family with two (point 1--statistically impossible to actually achieve in the real world, but I digress... ) kids.  What did we want with ANOTHER BABY?   

We knew that if I got pregnant again that there was a good chance I could die.  Not just be terribly sick, but die.  I had watched my OB and my perinatalogist breathe a collective sigh of relief six weeks after Rock-N-Roll Princess was born.  When your doctors say, "Let's not do that again" you would think that permanent birth control would be our top priority.  I could give you the long drawn out story and the many excuses, but let's just say it didn't happen.

So, I turn up pregnant in 2005 because I am prolifically fertile.  And, we should have seen it coming because there were other "bc" malfunctions.  I tell my husband this tiny bit of new news, and he asks, "How could this happen?"  I'm like, "Uh, it was not an immaculate conception.  I'm pretty sure you were there."  Just trying to create a little levity for us in that TERRIFYING moment when the plus sign appeared.  My husband didn't think my little joke was funny.  I'm still chuckling a little.  I get tickled easily.  I'll tell you more about me getting tickled later.

On Miss Proper's first day of first grade, I stand in the kitchen of a friend's home and give this news to a couple of select friends.  There is crying because they know that I'm not supposed to get pregnant again.  They ask me what this means, and I have to tell them that I'm a little scared because this is serious grown-up business.  I also tell them a short time later that I believe that God is going to honor the fact I have a wonderful husband and two precious girls who all need me to stick around for a little longer.  And I rest in that for a while.

Back at home, Hubs and I have to have the same hard discussions we had when we found out I was pregnant with Number 2 (mwahaha!  I know; I'm completely annoying you.).  We have the talks about where he should move if things don't go like we want, talks about letting my parents help him, talks about removing me from life support should I stroke out in an irreversible way, talks about how I hope he would remarry because it would reflect that he loved me and enjoyed our marriage.  Hubs doesn't want to talk about those things, and, honestly, neither do I, but it has to be said.

Hubs (I'll give him another name soon) and I talk about him stepping off the fast track of corporate America, where he traveled at least three nights a week, in order to be closer to home everyday, just in case.  He takes the job and drops the important words of regional and technical from his title and replaces them with the word branch.  It's a little deflating.  His territory shrinks from Texas and Oklahoma to the zipcodes of beautiful Mesquite and Le South Hood of the Metroplex.  We tell each other that it's better for the family--better for him to be an hour away rather than 900+ miles away in El Paso.  He settles into the position he had once entirely bypassed because he was "the best and brightest" of the young movers and shakers in his company.  Career-wise, we were going backward.

And my belly was growing.  Quickly.  This was at least my sixth pregnancy, and my uterus wasted no time.  It screamed "Who do you think you are kidding here?" and fell out in one fell swoop.  I stuffed it back into my pants and told it to pipe down for a bit longer because I was not ready to be preggers yet.  Puking all day long was one thing, but showing was entirely another.

I took my baby aspirin everyday because it was all I could do.  During my pregnancy with RNR Princess we realized I had a "systemic allergy" to heparin and lovenox (translation: slow, painful death with systems shutting down one at a time rather than the quick suffocation of anaphylactic shock).  Allergies to the drugs of choice are not good things for those of us who inherited the latent Protein S deficient gene and find ourselves pregnant against the advice of those who did residencies and have many letters after their names.  I could take a baby aspirin, I could pray, and I could trust that God's plan was better than mine, whatever that plan was.  Some days that was enough, other days I would have speaks with our friend Steve, who was dying of cancer.  Steve would ask how I lived with the possibility that each day could be the last because he was living that same way, and I would tell him that I couldn't live that way.  I had to focus on the living; I had to make sure the living was happening.

Then, Steve died in his chair at home with his driver license right next to him, preparing, as always, for whomever found him.  He knew he was going.  His funeral was a celebration of a special man who taught us much.  We hugged his parents.  We started a scholarship fund.  We went home and cried.  The day was a little too close to home.

Hubs told people that I was carrying our third daughter because we couldn't begin to imagine that there might be a son in there.  We knew nothing of the snakes, snails or puppy dog tails.  We only knew sugar, and spice, and everything nice.  Or in other words, we only knew of the drama that is estrogen.  We loved being the parents of girls, and boys were evil, loud creatures who couldn't sit still and who peed on you everytime you changed their diapers.  No way.  No boys for us.  A boy might be too much like Hubs, and we really thought we had plenty of testosterone in our home already, thank you ever so much.

When you are considered a high risk pregnancy, you do get a couple of special perks in the form of frequent high level ultrasounds.  At fourteen weeks I looked at the ultrasound screen and announced to the perinatalogist, "That's a turtle, not a hamburger."  I was stupefied.  We had ordered a hamburger.  We did not want a turtle.  (If the turtle/hamburger thing mystifies you, think about it.).  People congratulated us and said, "You finally got your boy."  Buzz off, stinkin' people.  A third child who had a "third leg".  We wondered how we would parent someone who fell into the baby blue category.

We couldn't agree on a name.  We were looking for a name that started with "C" to keep with the family tradition.  I was liking Caston, Cash, and some other embarrassing choices.  Hubs was liking nada in the realm of "C".  We switched the letter of the day from "C" to "J" and my choices were again shot down.  We were avoiding going the "Junior" route because my dad had been a Jr. and never thought it was all that.  We decided to give this boy his father's first name and a different middle name.  The middle name could wait.

My dad called and told me my grandfather had fallen and was now in the hospital with a broken hip.  Instead of getting slowly better, he got slowly worse.  A staph infection was too much for his nearly 86 year old heart, and he died the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I couldn't go to the funeral because it was too dangerous for me to fly.  I called my grandmother, cried on the phone with her, and told her that our baby boy would be using my grandfather's first name as his middle name.  He would be named after three great men: his father, his great-grandfather, and his grandfather "Jr."  I still miss my grandfather daily and haven't changed my cell phone number because he used to call me on it.  Yeah, I've been told I'm way too sentimental.  Sue me. 

Slowly but surely, over the course of this unexpected pregnancy God worked on my heart and created a fierce love for this little turtle growing inside of me.  We grew excited for his arrival, except that as his arrival drew near, my risk for clots and stroke doubled and tripled.  I spent my days at my OB or the lab or the hematologist's office.  I wore my belly hugging Japanese Weekend maternity clothes or my below-the-belly-blingy jeans and sat in the Lake Vista Cancer Center with bruises covering my arms and a mischievous blonde toddler on my knee.  People looked at me with pity.  They whispered to their friends and spouses when I sat down.  I didn't want to be there.  I didn't want them to look at me like that.

Now, in many high risk pregnancies a C-section is a given.  However, in my case it is about the worst-case scenario.  As my "fully cooked" date approached, my little medical team and I began discussing the options.  The OB thought I was on my way to cooking a turkey rather than a baby boy; Bonus was getting chubbier than we hoped.  Usually a great thing but not so much for me.  We had figured out when I delivered RNR Princess that eight pounds was about all my pelvis could take.  If Bonus got much bigger, I might risk not being able to push him out on my own, and then, an emergency C-section would be the only remedy.  Not a super great option.  We decided March 20 was a great day for me "to be seduced."  "Seduction" is a hilarious story; ask me in person.

Induction began at 9:00 am.  Everyone was sure we would have a baby by noon.  Yeah, these people really didn't understand that my body likes to hold on to those little darlings until the very last second.  Much pitocin and a few screams for an epidural later (I'm opposed to needles in my spine, so I went sans epidural on all three cuties.), Bonus Baby emerged at 5:33 pm weighing a perfect seven pounds eight ounces and measuring 20 inches.  He peed everywhere.  It was a beautiful thing.

Aside from needing to cook under the blue lights for a few days, he was healthy.  We said thank you for our newest blessing.  We couldn't believe we had ever said we didn't want more than two children and had not wanted a son.  We asked forgiveness for our stupidity and our stubbornness and rejoiced in our son.

And, after five days of sitting or sleeping or whatever in the hopsital bed with Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Devices from my ankles to my upper thighs (think noisy boa constrictors gripping your ankles then wrapping and tightening themselves from your ankles to your thighs and then loosening in the opposite direction, then starting all over again for 24 hours a day) and six weeks of twice daily self-injections in the stomach and multiple bottles of blood thinners, I got to live to enjoy my crazy little Bonus Baby.

Who wouldn't love this kid? Complete BONUS!

Love me some little squeezy Bonus.  Hubs and I know when to say we were wrong, and we were wrong.  He is the best gift I didn't know I wanted.   Look into those gorgeous little blue eyes and tell me what sales plan I killed to qualify for that kind of Bonus.  I'm thinking someone crafted those numbers on a wooden cross. 

Bonus Baby, you are a delight to your mama.  I love how you tell me that you love me all through the day and kiss me smack on the lips with tiny, wet lips.  You warn me that you are going to give me "one more kiss" like you think I'm going to mind.  It's much different than your sisters.  You love like a boy.  Your love is hard and rough and tumble and soft and tender and sweet all at the same time.  You had me wrapped at that first pee.    

That Bonus Baby and I made it through those 37.5 weeks is a miracle.  Plus, this kid gave me wicked ninja math skills.  I'm still trying to teach him not to pee everywhere.  If you have to use my bathroom, look before you sit.