Monday, May 31, 2010

11 Hours in the Car... With Two Kids

And it was actually fun! 

We went up to Garberville for Wendy's baby shower this weekend and had a great time.  We left the house at about 11 AM, and hilarity ensued....

Then we drove for a long time.   Caitlin threw a blueberry at her dad, and put sparkles on everyone!  Gavin made sure that no monsters made it into the car. 

We went over the Golden Gate Bridge - Caitlin's first time seeing it!  She was very impressed.

We saw lots of trees.

And visited the redwoods.  Unbelievable!

After the redwoods, the kids checked out a small lake.

Ryan and Gavin goofed around...

And Caity and I picked flowers.

The trip home was just as fun.

We all snuggled Bunny...

And drove some more....

and had more fun....

and saw more trees....
(there are a lot of trees in Northern California!)

We finally made it home and immediately went to sleep. 

The baby shower was amazing, but I have no pictures because I was too busy chasing Caitlin to take any. That girl can move! ....and her energy seems to never end!! There was a Blessing Way for Wendy and the baby, and it was so amazing to hear so many women give her such wonderful support and blessings.  The food was delicious, Wendy made one of her amazing cakes, and everyone was so nice and friendly. 

Caity and Gavin got to hang out with Aunt Melissa, Aunt Jamaica, Aunt Wendy and Uncle Doug, their cousin Shannon, and a whole lot of other people! Doug and Wendy opened their home to us and we had a great time with them.

It was a wonderful trip!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Fresh Start

The cool thing about fresh starts is that you can have as many as you want (in most situations, not all).  This makes me VERY happy because I need another fresh start.  I've been falling back into bad health habits a lot lately, and I'm very frustrated with myself for being lazy and allowing this to happen.  So.... I'm making the commitment to myself to make a change (again) starting RIGHT NOW.  Not tomorrow or next week or next month, but right now.  Take the bull by the horns and all that.  Procrastination is for the birds!  Hopefully a week from now I'll be feeling healthy and sassy again, instead of tired, crabby and hugely lacking in energy.

On another note, Caity had a playdate with her pals Jacob and Allison today and it was so fun!  They played with toys, did some fingerpainting, and drew masterpieces on the driveway with sidewalk chalk.  Everyone did a great job of sharing and playing nicely together.  Brenna and I also got some good girl-time in while the kids played.  It was great!

Big cheers to Brenna for being a stay-at-home-mom with two-year-old twins!  HOLY COW!!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Letter To Our Daughter

...and a reminder to myself.

Dear Caitlin,

My sweet girl, life has gone by so fast these past few years.... I can't believe you're already almost three!  You continue to amaze and surprise me every single day.  You are so funny and full of joy.  You love to laugh and make jokes.  You have learned your Dad's ticklish spots and love to trade neck kisses (which make you laugh like crazy) all the time.  You love to read Everyone Poops, Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, All By Myself, and Little Red Car Has An Accident.  You love to take pictures, but usually have the camera pointed at yourself.  You have started singing the lyrics to Little Mermaid songs and are starting to make up your own little songs as well.  You adore Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

Baby girl, your dad and I have learned so much from you and your brother since you came into our lives.  You've both shown me how to just smile and have fun, how to relax and let go.  I never knew love could be so easy until I met you.

If there is anything I can hope to pass on to you, it is especially to erase negativity from your life.  The choice is yours - all you have to do is decide, then take action.  You cannot control anyone but yourself, which is an incredibly liberating realization.  It took me a long time to figure that out; once I did, my life brightened more than I could have imagined.

Try your hardest to be someone you can love, respect, and admire; don't let other people's actions make you be someone you don't like.  You control your thoughts - your thoughts do not control you.  You control your actions.  If you can remember that, you will always be free.

Meditate, pray, whatever you want to call it, but always seek peace within yourself and within your life.  Treat others how you would want them to treat you.  Give love abundantly; it will be returned to you.

Pay attention to your breath - being conscious of an unconscious behavior can bring very positive changes to your life.  Practice cultivating balance, serenity, joy and strength in your everyday actions.  Learning to reflect on and cherish moments that may seem ordinary can make every single day amazing, no matter how mundane it may be. 

Be open to new ideas.  It's very rare that anyone or anything is definitively "wrong" or "right".  Most things are subjective, so take some time to see another point of view.  You may be surprised by what you learn and how much you grow. 

Travel as much as you can!

Take the time to be grateful.  Try hard to not take anything or anyone for granted - you never know when things might change.  I'd hate for you to miss a moment.

Please remember that negative thoughts and feelings tend to harm you more than anyone else.  Find a way to release negative emotion without causing harm.  It will help you live a more joyful life.  Always take responsibility for yourself and surround yourself with people who enrich your life.  Do everything you can to enrich theirs. 

Take care of the Earth.  She nurtures and sustains us.

Be happy, baby.  It is so important to be happy and it is something that you control.  Aunt Margaret says, "Manifest it!" - and she's absolutely right.  You have the ability to make every single day wonderful - all you have to do is decide. 

So many people love you Caitybug.  I hope that every single day of your life will be filled with joy and gratitude, the way you've filled our days with joy and gratitude.

We love you baby, more than we could ever put into words.

Mom and Dad


These two songs are very good portraits of the point in my life when it seemed hopeless for me and my husband to make things work.  Everything seemed hopeless.

I know now that alcohol played a very big part in everything that was happening - my drinking and his were taking us on a very fast downhill slide towards the end of something that had the potential to be truly beautiful.  I was careening towards the biggest mistake of my life - with a glass of whiskey in my hand to keep me company.

I do not make excuses for any of it.  I am the one that chose to drink; I am the one that behaved in the way that I did.  However, I am able to see that the alcohol did contribute.  It made me into a person I hated.  It made him into a person I hated. 

We both fortunately were finally able to see the destruction that we were causing, and have since been able to make very positive changes.  We were able to save our family. 

Everytime I hear either of these songs it is a strong reminder to me of how far we've (I've) come.  I always have to take a minute to catch my breath and be grateful for everything that has come to pass in my life.  I am able to make the decision to be a person I can love.  And I make that decision every day. 

And every time I look at him now, I am grateful.  Every time my daughter tells me she loves me, I am grateful.  Every time my stepson gives me a hug, I am grateful.

 The first video I chose is no longer available it was Sober by Pink.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hate and Anger

Lately I am filled with Hate and Anger. 

About two weeks ago my daughter's life was willfully and knowingly put at risk by someone we trusted.  It is a miracle I got her back unharmed and in one piece.  My stomach twists every time I think of how easily I could have lost her that day.  How lucky I am that I didn't.

She was with someone I considered a friend.  Someone I was foolish enough to trust and even admire.  Someone I never thought would do something like this.  I was and continue to be completely shocked.  Floored.  Furious, hurt, embarrassed, and grateful that my daughter was not harmed.  Above all, grateful.  Just slightly below grateful is angry.  Livid.

I am beyond furious that this person put her personal wants before the safety of the children placed in her care.  I am furious that she is trying to portray herself as a victim.  I am furious that she has been lying to me since the first day I met her, and continued to lie even after the incident.  I am furious that she has shown no remorse whatsoever.  I am furious with myself for not following my instincts and making changes sooner, before this event could have happened.

I guess sometimes your eyes have to opened for you.

I wish I could make her feel the panic and sheer terror I felt that day when I could not find my daughter.  I wish I could make her feel the helplessness, frustration, and anger I felt as I waited for five hours for my daughter to be brought to me.  I wish I could make her feel the shame I felt as Child Protective Services investigated me - because what kind of mother would entrust her child to someone so obviously ill-suited and dangerous? 

My angel is alive and well today, in spite of this woman I am trying very hard not to hate.

I know that this anger and hatred I am feeling is only detrimental to myself. I am trying to overcome it and reach forgiveness for this wretch of a person.

I'm not there yet.

Excuse me.  I'm going to go hug my daughter.