Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camp Mornings

I have a wonderful husband. One of the few really good guys. He's hard working, handsome, smart, funny, kind, but he's also a man. Therefore he's a little bit slow. He can't help that though, he's a man.

This morning Joe told me to stay in bed while he got Aidan ready for camp. This made me a tad bit nervous. Joe does a lot of things really well, but one of them is not getting the kids ready and out the door.

With my eyes closed, I explained to Joe what the run down of the morning is.

"Aidan needs his bathing suit and towel packed. The towel's are in the dryer. For his lunch I make a sandwich, give him a bag of chips, and some fruit. Oh and don't forget to put sunscreen on him."

I knew this was too many steps. I knew it was a matter of time before the questions started.

Joe left the room closing the door softly behind him. I took a deep breath and cuddled up to the blankets around me. I began envisioning myself on a secluded beach......


"Sorry to bother you honey but Aidan has 2 lunch bags, which one do you use? And do you pack any fruit for him?"

Deep breath in, "I use the Star Wars bag, but Aidan can tell you which one he wants. And yes- I let him chose which fruit he wants."

The door (and my eyes) close. I'm back on the beach listening to the..........

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK .....door opens....

"Mommy- Daddy doesn't know how to make my lunch. And who is going to make me breakfast?"

I assure Aidan that Daddy has things under control. Although I find myself doubting these very words. I hear Joe yell that Aidan's waffle is ready and the door once again closes. Forget about envisioning the beach though. I can hear that Connor is awake and calling for me.

The door quietly opens and I hear a little voice whisper, "Mommy, are you awake?" I roll over and see Connor standing next to the bed.

"YUP!! MOMMY'S AWAKE. DADDY, IT'S OK. SHE'S AWAKE." And onto the bed Connor hops. "Mommy, why are you still sleeping? Aidan has to go to camp."

I'm doing my best not to get upset. I remind myself that nothing is better then morning cuddles from my 'Boo.' But really?!?! On the morning that I am told to sleep in.

Just as Connor leaves the bedroom, Aidan enters it. "Mommy- look what I did with my waffle!! I ate around the sides so that it formed into a letter 'A'."

"Wow Aidan that is incredible. That is just awesome."

I hear lots of giggles accompanied by "ok- go back to sleep mommy."

HA HA! Yeah right!! But I give it one more try and just as I start to doze off........"DANIELLE- I KNOW YOU SAID I HAVE TO PUT SUNSCREEN ON AIDAN BUT WHERE DID YOU PUT IT????"

I love my mornings to sleep in!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

One Of Those Days......

Despite this blog being titled "Stay At Home Mom" I am anything but... Not only do I watch a 2 year old, but I also work several nights a week at a residential program. Working with kids between the ages of 6-18 provides me with a much needed break from my two sweet boys. Nothing gives you a better dose of reality then working with kids who steal, fight, use drugs, cut, force themselves to throw up, spit on you, kick you, swear at you, pee on you ......... should I stop yet??

I've been working a lot lately. A lot for someone who claims to stay at home! Tonight will be my 6th shift in a row. Needless to say I miss my husband!! He comes home from work just in time for me to leave.

Last night I worked until midnight. I came home from work unable to fall asleep until somewhere around 2am. I woke up at 7am to get Aidan off to camp. At 8am I discovered that my Mr. Coffee coffee maker no longer makes coffee. Then I spent the rest of the day running errands with Connor. One of those errands just happened to be bathing suit shopping. *Insert evil music here*

Nothing is more depressing then trying on bathing suits. Sometimes you can find pants or a shirt that looks really cute on you and hides flaws. I'm convinced you will never find that in a bathing suit. Or at least I realized this when I tried on a blue one piece and Connor looked at me (with a large smile) and said "Mommy- you look just like a blueberry."

I've never taken off an object of clothing so fast before!!!

After purchasing a pink polka dot bathing suit, which I almost immediately returned when I witnessed a 70 year old lady without any teeth buying the same one, I set off to the grocery store.

Grocery shopping with a 3 year old is an adventure in itself. "MOMMY- I want grapes." "MOMMY- I want CANDY." "MOMMY- I DON'T WANT TO SIT IN THE CARRIAGE!" "MOMMY- I WANT!! I WANT!! I WANT!!!"

For this very reason I grocery shop at stores that have a beer & wine section!!

Today was a good grocery shopping trip. We only had one meltdown when Connor reminded me (at the end of our shopping trip) of something I had said previously.

"Mommy- you said that we could get the race car carriage next time we went shopping AND THIS IS NEXT TIME."

.......So I bought him a candy bar instead.

I drove my husband's car today, which I'm not used to driving. I noticed that I had left the car windows down and the doors unlocked. That's not like me, but it was a long day with no coffee. I started putting bags into the trunk while watching Connor devour the candy bar! After everything was loaded, I went to put Connor in his car seat. But the car seat was missing. At this point I'm so mad!! Who on earth would steal a car seat?!?! How am I supposed to get Connor home?!? How in the world are we going to afford a new car seat?!?! Can I return all the unneeded groceries I just purchased for a car seat instead?!

I glance ahead of me where I happen to notice a purple & white tassel hanging from the mirror with golden numbers that say "2011."

Joe didn't go to PHS and he certainly didn't graduate in 2011.

As quick as I possibly can, I unload all the groceries from the stranger's trunk. The whole time I'm loudly praying, "Please don't come out of the grocery store." "Oh God please don't let this person come out from the grocery store."

Forget heading to Walmart for a new coffee pot. I'm heading directly home to crack into the bottle of wine!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Protecting Your Children

Everywhere you go lately, you hear opinions on the Casey Anthony trial. While waiting in line at the grocery store, you see her face plastered all over every magazine People are upset that justice wasn't served, that Casey Anthony won't spend a lifetime behind bars, that she won't get the death penalty That she is going to walk away from this horrible nightmare and continue on with her selfish lifestyle. But what you hear most of all is the sadness in the voices of everyone, the sadness for Caylee.

I really had to distance myself from this case. I didn't watch it on tv. I didn't follow it in the newspapers. I knew the basics behind the story. A beautiful little girl was missing and her mom told lie after lie after lie about the whereabouts of Caylee. For 31 days she allowed her daughter to be missing and never had the decency to be honest about it. To me, all those lies, meant that she was guilty for something. First and foremost she guilty of not protecting her daughter. Whether she was responsible or not for the death, she didn't do anything to protect that little girl!

When Aidan started kindergarten he took the bus to school. I'll never forget the summer before he started. Aidan's excitement when the letter came that told us what bus he would be on and what time he would be picked up. Each day that passed my fear grew and grew. I can remember that September morning as though it was yesterday. Standing in front of our house when the yellow bus pulled up. Hugging Aidan as tight as I could. Taking pictures of him walking the steps onto the bus. It took a lot of convincing from Joe, for me not to follow the bus to the school. As the days passed my trust grew and grew that Aidan (and I) would survive the bus ride.

I wasn't prepared for the day when the bus would pull away from our house and 5 minutes later I would hear multiple sirens.

It was a snowy morning and school probably should have been canceled. After Aidan got onto the bus I walked into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee. Joe was making himself breakfast while listening to the scanner. We started hearing sirens and I began feeling nervous. Then a voice came over the scanner that there was a motor vehicle accident involving a bus with children on it. My heart sank. I immediately started crying. The sirens were much too close and Aidan had just left moments earlier.

We ran out the door and headed in the direction of the sirens. As we rounded the corner, Aidan's bus drove past us, the driver waving to us as we ran trying not to slip on the snowy ground. Joe and I looked at each other so thankful that Aidan was ok. We discovered later that the other bus involved in the accident was just a small fender bender and everyone was ok.

Several weeks later, I received an automated call from Aidan's school telling me that he was absent from school and would need a note when he returned. Knowing it was a mistake I called the school to find out what happened. The school's receptionist told me that Aidan was not at school. I immediately felt as though I couldn't breathe.

"But he went on the bus this morning" I explained.

She sensed the urgency and fear and my voice and put me on hold while she went to the classroom. A feeling of guilt overwhelmed me. I had slept in that morning. Joe had gotten Aidan ready for school and on the bus. I didn't even hug him goodbye. I could feel my throat tighten as I realized that I didn't know what clothes he was wearing. The receptionist came back on the phone and explained to me that he was accidentally marked absent. After I hung up the phone I started crying. All that fear came out and I cried for close to 10 mins. In the days that followed, anytime I told the story to a friend, I could feel my throat tighten and the tears spring to my eyes.

I guess the point behind all my rambling is that a mom doesn't allow bad things to happen to their child. A mom reacts and protects and above all a mom loves.

Aidan sat next to me as Casey Anthony heard her verdict being read. I tried not to give Aidan too much information about the case. However, Aidan is an inquisitive child and loves to listen to adult conversations. Aidan already knew a lot about the case from being surrounded by adults over the weekend. When the not guilty verdict came in, Aidan looked at me ready with questions.

"Mommy, I don't understand. What happened to the little girl?"

If only all questions had an answer. If only we really knew what happened to that little girl.

"I don't know Aidan", I said. "All we know is that she is in heaven and she is an angel and I'll bet that she is trying to protect other kids."

Aidan nodded, "I bet that's a hard job."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Connor's Story

I promised myself that I would write the birth story of Connor following the birth. Now it's 4 months later and I still haven't recorded anything. So I struggle to remember all the unimportant details that are so important to me.

When I opted for a repeat c-section the hospital sent me my itinerary. I was due to check into labor and delivery at 8am on Wednesday, October 17th. A couple days prior to "the day" I was contacted and told to check in at 10am. So much better since we were traveling into Boston! I could actually have one last morning to sleep in! What a joke that was! I didn't sleep at all the night before!

Joe and I arrived at BI on the 17th. We were probably a little late, as that is customary for us! Now is when the confusion set in. I gave my name, Danielle Mack. Now because I am a bit of a procrastinator I waited until after I was pregnant to change my name from Powers to Mack. The nurses were waiting for Danielle Powers and had no clue who Danielle Mack was! Finally after waiting for 45 minutes Joe straightened out the confusion and I was able to walk through the locked doors to have our baby!

Our nurse was absolutely fantastic! Her name is one of those things that I would love to remember, but I have no clue!! She was just the sweetest person! Very attentive to my every need and since Joe is a bit of an attention hound, she was particularly attentive to his needs also!

I didn't have to wait long before the O.R. was ready for us. I was able to walk into the room and was shocked at how cold it was!! I definitely don't remember that from having Aidan! It made me really sad for how shocked poor Connor would be when exiting the womb! There was also a radio playing. Now please know that I paid so much attention to this radio. I swore that I would remember what songs played- especially when they announced to me that the baby was here. I remember nothing of that except for it was on 106.7. I'm guessing that we listened to Christina Aguillara and Kelly Clarkson, but I can't be sure!

The epidural went really well. I was especially nervous about this because with Aidan it was horrible!!!! Lucky for me it was painless this time around! Joe got to come into the room following the epidural. It was great to see him! Unfortunately (and true to his word) he didn't last very long! Joe has a pretty weak stomach when it comes to this stuff. Just thinking about what they were doing behind the white sheet proved to be too much and Joe had to leave the room. He tells me that he had some OJ and coaching from the nurses. I think he loved all the attention he got! Although I'm certain he would have preferred to be with me!

The fabulous nurse and fabulous anesthesiologist kept me well informed on what was going on behind that white sheet! They kept me calm and laughing. Finally it was time for Connor to arrive. Joe was sent for. There was probably about a 10 minute wait from that time that Joe came back into the room before Connor made his entrance into the world. Finally at 1:33pm Connor was born. The look on Joe's face was of complete joy! He was given permission from fabulous nurse to go over to the warming table and take pictures. He was so cute after trying to show me the pictures he had taken. But he couldn't stop shaking. I couldn't see anything, although I pretended that I had. Fabulous anesthesiologist told me that I had a 10 pound baby! I was amazed (and pretty excited at the immediate weight loss potential from a 10+ pound baby!!!) How on earth did someone so large fit inside of me?!?!? Then the true weight was revealed. 8 lbs. 9 ozs. The c-section before mine produced a 10 lb. baby!!!!

When Joe and fabulous nurse brought Connor over to me, I was amazed. Such a beautiful baby! It never fails to amaze me that Joe and I can make something so wonderful, so amazing, so breath-taking! This was the 2nd time we perfected the baby making area of our life!

The doctor began to stitch me up while I admired my new baby! Joe was holding our new baby and he and I were both so content and so in love!! It was taking a really long time to finish up the surgery. The doctor announced to us that they "only had one more layer to get through." Joe turned a shade of pale that I had never seen before. He immediately beckoned for fabulous nurse and handed Connor over. He attempted to sit back down and stay with me for the remainder of things. However, things didn't work out in his favor. I graciously excused him from the O.R. to make the all important phone calls. Joe did a good job at that!

I will never forget the doctor and fabulous nurse wheeling me from O.R. into recovery. They laid Connor along side of me. I was terrified at first. So worried that I would break him or that he would roll off the rolling bed and onto the linoleum floor. But we made it into the recovery cubicle and immediately called Grandma's cell phone. Poor Grandma was a nervous wreck! She expected Connor to be born close to the 10 o'clock hour. But I explained the last name mix-up. We had an amusing chuckle over that and she was so happy to hear that I was ok and that she had a beautiful, an amazingly beautiful, grandson!

I couldn't get enough of Connor. I just wanted to stare at him and memorize every part of his face and head and neck and chest. But the time came when fabulous nurse had to take him to the nursery for his official evaluation. She confirmed all my thoughts when she took him though.

"What a beautiful, absolutely perfect, baby boy."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July

My husband and I are firm believers in tradition. On holidays we feel it is important to carry on our favorite traditions. The ones that we grew up with and to add some of our own. This year was tough. July arrived before we had even realized that June was over and we didn't adequately plan for the holiday. As far as new traditions go, we spent the day before the 4th with some wonderful friends. They started their annual 4th of July cook-out last year. This year's cook out was complete with lots of great food, conversations, horseshoes, and fireworks. This year the firework show they put on was amazing and all the kids were wowed!!

Because of our lack in planning the day, we didn't spend time with Joe's family at the 4th of July parade. Instead I found myself getting up early to stake out our place along the parade route. I think I did ok for a beginner. Following the parade I took a much needed nap before we headed over to Aunt Rose's. 4th of July cook-out's at Aunt Rose's are a tradition that I have looked forward to since I was a baby. In fact it's such a loved tradition, that the year Aunt Rose's grand-daughter was born on July 3rd, she drove back 2.5 hours to make sure the party continued!! We decided to try something new this year though. So we went to see Pittsfield's pro baseball team play. It proved to be slightly frustrating and I'm not entirely sure that we would go again. But we wanted to kids to have fabulous memories of this 4th of July.

Last night Aidan laid in bed with me before falling asleep. He recalled the day and how much fun he had. As he sleepily talked to me about his fear of large crowds breaking into fights, he asked me what the scariest moment of my life had been. I easily answered that question. The moment I was in labor and the doctor's rushed me in for a c-section due to your heart rate dropping.

Aidan laughed and asked, "was I ok?"

"Better then Ok, I answered, you were perfect!"

"Ok Mommy", Aidan asked, "when were you the saddest?"

I explained to him how sad I was when my Papa died.

Aidan looked at me in a very understanding and loving way.

"I have a question for you now, I said. What is your happiest memory?"

Aidan closed his eyes for a moment. I had initially thought he fell asleep until he opened them and I realized he was deep in thought. He began to answer the question and then paused for a moment.

"Well, he started off saying, I have too many happy memories to pick just one." I smiled a content smile and hugged him tight. "Me too Aidan, me too."

It always amazes me how much you can learn from a child. How much they can help you become a better person. And I realized in that moment last night that no matter the amount of planning that goes into making something a perfect day, kids just want to be loved. They want to be surrounded by the people that love them most and make them feel happy. Those are the days that will make up their happiest memories. Well that and ice cream and fireworks!!