Oh, and Gramma and Papa too! Braeden and I left town yesterday for a 12 day vacation! Lucky him (he is missing 7 days of school), lucky Mama because I am off work (both in and out of the home) for 12 days! What a great little side-kick Braeden was yesterday and wonderful travel companion. Times sure have changed from back when he was 2 or 3 and I would meet his Grandparents (Aaron’s parents) half way to pick him up after he’d been down for a visit, and have to reach back and hold his hand the entire 2-3 hour drive home. I think he had missed me SO much after being gone for a week that he wanted to have his grip on me.
I was actually dreading the drive by myself. I HATE to travel PERIOD- I am a total homebody, but my sister is flying in to Tampa on Sat and because she is a Criminal Attorney in Canada and can only travel between cases, we only see her once a year (and haven’t seen her since a month after Mikey’s birth). Holly was generous enough to give me the time off, so I decided to leave a few days early. All the teachers out there are probably cringing at the fact that I took Braeden out of school for 7 days, but its almost impossible to schedule visits that coordinate with school breaks and I feel like his relationship with his aunt is much more important than missing a few days of 1st grade. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Also, Braeden is so selfless, kind, patient and understanding to the fact that he often gets far less attention than Mikey. He is so deserving of some one-on-one time with Mama. When it is just he and I, I am reminded of the incredibly special, one-of-a-kind bond that he and I share. This morning I awoke to the softest little kiss on my cheek. Braeden had come back in the room (my parents were kind enough to tend to him while I slept in a bit) to get dressed, didn’t want to wake me, but wanted to give me a little love. Oh that boy is SO amazing and I love him so much. Tonight after Braeden said out of the blue, “Mama, I love you!” My dad looked at me and said, “Sandy I hope you feel SO lucky!” “Lucky” doesn’t begin to describe all I feel. I just hope I make my parents feel that way too!
So, as much as I have been looking forward to the break and relaxation, I am also already going through withdrawls…..NOPE, not from not shopping, but from not seeing my other little sidekick. It’s so amazing how one day you can feel so stressed that you can’t get out of town fast enough and the next ache for that same little toddler that has caused a lot of stress recently. When you get a chance to slow down, take a deep breath and think about it all, you realize your life is PERFECT, stress and all. My life is simply not life without that little toddler who gets into everything, goes nonstop during every waking moment and has decided to once again go on an eating strike (which has created the ”stress”). He and Mike are joining us next Wed and I simply can not imagine ever wanting to be away from him for a week again. He does talk to us on the phone and I think he is a little ticked that he can hear Mama and brother together, but is not there too. Mikey is the jealous sort and any time he sees Braeden hugging me or talking to me, he has to run up and throw himself at me, or try and talk ABOVE his 7 year old brother. He did say, “orida” (Florida) and “ice, ew, oes” (nice new shoes- referring to the new Elmo shoes Mike’s Mom bought him today), while we were on the phone.
Thank you Peggy and Mike for taking such good care of our little monkey and allowing Braeden and I this vacation.
Here are a couple pictures of day one
The pools are all heated here and Braeden is taking full advantage of swimming outside in February!
Me, with NO makeup on and REALLY in need of a suntan- sorry, not a pretty sight.
That IS the title of a great new movie out right now and watching it was also the way I started “lent” this year. Lent is actually a Catholic thing, but something I’ve continued to see as important since switching from Catholicism to a bit more modern form of Christianity. I mean, regardless of what church you attend, it states in the Bible, that Jesus sacrificed on the cross for US for 40 days and therefore it is a way to honor him by “sacrificing” something for HIM. We always gave up something for lent as kids (usually candy) and I always thought of it as torture and I ALWAYS cheated!
So, this year I actually started lent early (last Sunday), it really starts this Wed “Ash Wed,” and will continue until Easter. That’s 8 weeks! Guess what I gave up? I gave up shopping for anything that is not a necessity. This is really a HUGE challenge for me, but something I desperately need to do for so many more reasons than just it being lent. I am not sure I’ve ever gone 8 days without buying something I didn’t really need, much less 8 weeks, and for the past 12 years (basically since I started making my own money), I have been addicted to shopping and “stuff” has consumed my life. It was almost an obsession. Believe it or not, its also the one thing I HATE the most about myself, the one thing that has caused the most problems in my life, (financially, emotionally, relationally etc.). It is the first thing I have always turned to for happiness and it is always the one thing that has made me the most unhappy. I have tried and tried to conquer this “addiction,” but continued to fail. Over the past couple of years, I have gotten better…..probably because there is so much else in my life to fullfil me, but am still sickened when I think of all the damage it has caused and all it CAN cause. NO WAY will I allow it to continue. God has spoken to me about this many times and I have always pushed what I thought was simply guilt, aside so I could have it my way and have what I wanted. The more I grow in my relationship with the Lord, the more I realize how sinful (not to mention selfish) this kind of lifestyle is. I have been on the outside looking in on others with similar “issues” and it disgusts me so much. I don’t want to be that person ANY more.
Wow! More information than many of you cared to read, but I figured the majority of you reading this already know this about me (even if you haven’t made it evident). So, what better way to begin the process of change than doing it for God at a time of year he did it for us. If I can do it for him, then ultimately I am doing it for myself at the same time. I’ve learned that 8 weeks is a good milestone to reach when trying to break a habit (or start a new routine- like exercise). If you can go 8 weeks, it makes you want to continue, and want to set more goals (small or large). I know I can do it and the transformation within has already begun. I feel so much more free! To quote the end of the movie, “Its amazing what you have time for when you are not shopping!” Those FREE things are all the things that truly mean the most, and all things that will never “hurt” you or cause damage. For those of you (Mom and Dad especially) who have been trying for years and years to get me to this realization- I think I just may have finally “GOT IT!” The pastor at our church has said numerous times, “Its OK to want nice things, but these wants can not be the focal point of your life. If they are, it can be disastrous (as it was for me for SO long), and when they are NOT the focal point, then you will realize more and more all that you already have and appreciate it all so much more that you won’t actually even “want” so much.
To HIM be all the glory! God continues to do amazing things in my life and its seems as though its always right at the breaking point that he steps in and takes over- forcing me to change and be just a little bit more like him. THANK YOU!
PS. During the next 7 weeks (it took the first week for the book to come in), I am reading a book that was recommended to me called “All I need is Jesus and a good pair of jeans!” Thanks Robyn! I think it will fit in perfectly.
And in case you didn’t catch it in the title, I have already made it one week without cheating!
We already know that Mikey is pretty darn smart for a 20 month old, (and I have more evidence to prove it), but he is also officially a part of the Little Rascal’s BOY club. Yes, he IS ALL BOY, but he also just recently started saying “OK” or as Mikey (and the little boy from The Little Rascals) pronounce it “OOOOH TAYYY!” It happened out of the blue. Over and over (and over and over) throughout the day, Mikey says, “Mom Mom” (Mike’s Mom), “Arley” (Harley), “Maden” (Braeden) when they are not around. I’ve started saying, “we will see Mom Mom later OK?! And the other day he replied, “Oh Tay!” I keep saying OK over and over again to him just because I want to hear him say it back. It is THAT cute! :) He will have to break the “No Girls Allowed” rule the Little Rascals have since Sayelor is his best buddy (even if he does bully her a bit). Mike’s Mom said she’s caught them holding hands and hugging each other.
So, just how smart is the Little Rascal? So far this week he has pointed to a check and said, “money,” pointed to Mike’s wallet and said, “money” and pointed to my debit card and said, “money.” We have NO idea where he would have heard us referring to any of these things as money much less him actually being able to associate it all. We are not sure if this is a good thing or bad thing? Mike was also putting his belt on without the whole “ensemble” and Mikey looked at Mike and said, “gun?” Again, he not only knows what a gun is, but he also knows that it goes on the particular belt he was putting on, and was missing. The same rules that applied to Braeden as a toddler (no playing with toy guns or other weapons) is a tad impossible when your Daddy is a Police Officer, however, he actually goes around with my tooth brush travel case and pretends its a sword and that he is at war! Again, this is my 20-month old BABY…..BOY!
Braeden has developed a new hobby and I LOVE it (since it doesn’t involve video games). He has decided to collect baseball cards. I am really looking forward to seeing his collection expand. Its fun to watch him open each package and become excited when he realizes there’s a good player in it. My Mom collected cards with my brother when he was younger. I am actually not sure who got into it more, her or him.
Mikey has decided he is fascinated with the potty AKA, “Bobby” as he calls it. When he sees us on the toilet he says, “pee” and starts stripping. We haven’t quite figured out why he tries to take his shirt off, but…..we will take ANYTHING that brings us closer to being done with diapers (the one thing about him growing up that I am not upset about). He is too cute when he is sitting on the potty and looks so itty bitty.
Mikey has a Christian-themed DVD called “Miss Pattycake” and he calls it “Bobby” too. So, when he says, “Bobby” I have to determine whether he is saying he wants to sit on the potty (note- nothing has actually come out while he was on the potty) or wants to watch Miss Pattycake. I think the “Patty” sounds like “Potty?”
K, gotta go, American Idol is on. When I was watching it last night, Mike said, “God help me.” I told him that now he knows how I feel during Football season!
It’s a bit late (today was a nonstop day), but I HAD to post an entry recognizing Braeden’s Birthday! It was a wonderful day and Braeden enjoyed himself so much. This year more than any other, Braeden has been so excited for his Birthday and it was so great to see him so happy. I brought cupcakes to his school, we sang Happy Birthday while he stood at the front of the class and I ate lunch with him in the cafeteria. I had to work for a few hours and after work Mike’s parents, Aunt, Harley, Mikey and I (Mike is out of town until about 11pm) took him to Olive Garden (his choice) for dinner and went back to Mike’s parents for a little Birthday celebration. We decided to fore-go a party this year since he wanted an Ipod and a few other little things (fortunately with two sets of parents, gifts like these are a little more doable). We told him if he wanted such an expensive gift then we would not be able to have a party too (we are trying hard to teach him the value of a dollar) and he made his choice. :) Suited me fine- as much fun as children’s Birthday parties are, they are also quite stressful. Anyway, enough of my blabbing, here are some great pictures. Let’s start with a few from the past 7 years-
And some from today- My BABY is 7!
With his two front teeth missing, his tongue has a new hiding place
Braeden chose a skateboard/Tony Hawk theme. Mikey LOVES the little skateboards….. AND Braeden’s balloons.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped make Braeden’s day such a special one. We love you all.