Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I follow just a few blogs (21 to be exact, so like I said just a few ;), and today I happened upon Cathy's blog and read this:

"Facebook is the new smoking.  It's a s horribly addicting, time-sucking entity that will eventually drain you of your life force as you fight your family for computer time to update your status with things like, 'going to eat now', or 'Good news! The rash is Not contagious!'."

I immediately laughed my ass off.  Why? Because I know deep down that what she wrote is all too true.  In fact, in my household the running joke is that my husband needs an account just so he can communicate with his wife!  It started out so innocent.  I found these social networking sites as a way to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances after falling into a depression while becoming aware of my isolation and awkwardness in my new role as stay-at-home mom. 

Then like all the other "facebookers" out there I became obsessed.  Maybe it's the fact that I can inform my friends that I am, "having a tylenol day", or "looking forward to a night out with adults" and upload photos of my family in one click.  All without the hassle of sending mundane emails and clogging up inboxes.  Or it could be the comfort I find in reading the on goings of others lives; my special link to the world that is not the chaotic, hum-drum, and sometimes hilarious version of my own.  For a few minutes, ok hours, a day I get to escape into the lives of those who travel to exotic places, have full time jobs outside the home, and react to ups and downs with a different perspective.  

Maybe there should be a 12 step program.  Until then I will revel in my addiction.  

Leave a comment about your addictions, I'd love to hear them.  
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Grandma Sunday

Is one of my favorite days of the week.  My mother gets to have her "Mason time" and I get to have some "Me time."  It is a win/win for everyone.  This particular Grandma Sunday, my mom said she would keep Mason through dinner time and Fred and I should go to a movie or go out to dinner.  We decided to take her up on that offer and chose a movie.   *I warn you ahead of time, the following story might cause you to tear up so grab some tissues, go somewhere comfortable and read on.
Zeke DeSpain Briggs April 1999-December 2006

    We just arrived home from the movie theatre.  We saw the movie Marley and Me.  I had started reading the book about a year and a half ago (wow! has it really been that long?).  My mom, still working at the library at the time, always brings books home that she thinks I might like to read and passes them on.  She read this one and thought it would hold a special meaning for me and so passed it on.   I didn't get too far into the book before realizing that with a newborn I had absolutely no time in my life to read so it was then added to my constantly growing list of "currently reading" books that fills my shelves.  Of course the book is now a movie starring Jennifer Aniston (one of my favorite actresses) and Owen Wilson.  It is a true story about the Grogan family, in particular their dog Marley.  I knew the premise of the book going into the theatre but wasn't expecting to feel as heartbroken or as inspired as I did.  

     The particular scene that resonated so much with me that it brought me to uncontrollable tears was at the end.  John is in the vets office after Marley got sick again and is faced with the decision to put him to sleep.  I flashed back two years, one month and fifteen days.  Standing in the small room of the Leesburg Emergency Animal Hospital and saying my last good-byes to the cutest orange tabby on the planet.  
     It was only two months earlier that we received the horrible news.  Results from the biopsy of the tumor the vet found a month ago during a routine checkup were in.  She said it was Hemangiosarcoma.  CANCER.  This type is very very rare in cats and Zeke's was very malignant.  There is no cure and surgery, while risky, would only buy him months.  We had decided to let him live out his remaining days at home with those who loved him.  We spoiled him with catnip and lots of affection.  I continued to document everything about our lives with Zeke.  All I wanted to remember that was so special about him.  
     Watching Marley laying on the table almost lifeless with the catheter in his paw and John saying his good-byes, was too much for my fragile emotional state.   It could have been the pregnancy hormones but I know it was emotions deeper than biology.  I was balling like a baby, just as I had that December night and I didn't care who saw me.  To me, I was reliving the worst moment of my life.
     First, Zeke was given a shot to sedate him and I was told he would go to sleep and may or may not close his eyes.  Then the overdose of barbital as pumped into the tube, telling his brain to shut down and his heart to stop.  
     As I watched this familiar scene unfold on the big screen before me, I could see Zeke's eyes as he rested his head in my hand.  Heard myself say, "mommy is here, it's ok."  Marley close his eyes signaling his passing.  Zeke's had stayed open so sweetly looking at us as he always did.  I heard the word's, "he's gone" echoing in my mind as I bent over his lifeless body sobbing that I wanted him back over and over.  Sobbing now in the dark theatre,  I thought about how much one small (well Zeke wasn't so small) orange tabby, only 7 years old, had affected our lives so deeply.  That night I saw tears in Fred's eyes for the first time in the 10 years that I'd known him.  
     At the end of the movie John says something profound, "a dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull.  Give him your heart and he will give you his."  I believe cats are the same but Zeke gave me much more than that.  In the seven years he was a part of my life I was given some of the best lessons:
I learned to love unconditionally and in the process strengthened my belief that I have the responsibility and soul to be a good mom;  he taught me to appreciate the simple everyday things like the importance of a good nap, no matter where you are and to soak up the sun whenever possible;  he taught me to always make room for fun, it is an essential part of living; I learned there is a need to misbehave every once in a while, but try real hard not to get caught. If you do, however, just put on a cute face and act like you haven no idea what is going on.   It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission; I learned to be brave in the hardest and saddest of situations but that it is also o.k. to be scared; I learned you can never have enough good food and to always use the potty no matter how dirty it is; he taught me the significance of greeting those you love when they get home, no matter how late in the day or night or how long they have been gone; I was shown that you should always fully inspect new things and that change is inevitable so just go with the flow.  Most of all he taught me to always be yourself.  All your quirks, faults, habits.  You will be loved anyway and all those things that make you, "you", will be greatly missed when you are gone.
I'm not saying that Zeke was a saint.  Most times he would push my buttons just like a child and see how far he could go before I blew my lid.  As John Grogan said, "many people remake their pets in death, turning them into supernatural, noble beasts that in life did everything for their masters..."  Like him, I want to be honest.  Zeke was a pain a lot of the time.  He would jump on the countertop looking for food, splash the water from his dish all over the floor, manage to get his hair on everything, eat anything off the floor like a dog, beg you for food every time you walked into the kitchen, and trip you up the stairs just so he could get to the top first.   He was also very good at hiding.  We'd spend hours looking and calling for him convinced he'd somehow gotten outside and was either killed or ran away only to find him buried in the closet behind clothes and shoes or in the basement tucked in the corner of Fred's workbench.  But he was a presence in the house that resonated so loudly and that we became so comfortable with, it felt empty without him.   All in all though, we lucked out with Zeke.  He never tore up the furniture, though a few times he dug at the rug outside our bedroom door; and always used his litter box no matter how long it had been since it was cleaned last.  
     After his passing, I was told so many times by people that while it was tragic losing Zeke, he left behind someone for me to take care of in his place, my newborn son.  I used to get so angry at statements like this.  You couldn't replace Zeke, how dare they even suggest it.   Now I wonder if maybe it was true.  That maybe Zeke left behind a bit of his spirit in my son.  Mason, like Zeke, is a fairly well behaved child.  Even at two, he isn't so bad.  He has his tantrums and dramatic moments but he also has a barrel of laughs and crazy, fun, demeanor.  Maybe it is Zeke's way of easing my grief.  He always comforted me when I needed it most.   
     If anything is taken from this experience it is that I even though I feel guilty and have regrets about my son, and soon to arrive daughter never growing up with Zeke as I had planned; I will forever treasure the moments we had with him and know that we were blessed that he was a part of this family, no matter how short a time it was.  

*Dedicated to all the fur babies loved and lost.  They are family too and always will be.  

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lazy Days

The scene at my house on a typical Saturday afternoon.  Well actually this is a typical scene just about any night of the week.  We call it "crazy baby."  Although I'm not sure we can call it that anymore since Mason isn't a baby but a big boy now.  His favorite thing, it seems is to just run around in a circle, fall, twirl till he is dizzy, fall and then run around some more.  It always makes me smile, inside and out, when I see my little man just being goofy.   This particular day I was thinking, "please run, get out all the energy so you will take a good nap."

He is down now so I can blog.  This one will be short though.  I have a new book that I am dying to start reading.  It will of course be added to my long list of "currently reading", because once you are a stay at home mom you never have much time to yourself and you have to choose what is high priority.  Usually taking a nap myself takes the top spot, but today I am going to indulge in a bit of reading (non parenting, baby, toddler related).  

Happy Weekend Everyone!!!
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Potty Wars Part 1

I was not graced with the gift of patience. Especially for situations I couldn't necessarily control. Something I continually work on since becoming a mom. This is probably not he most ideal trait to be lacking while trying to potty train a sensitive, highly dramatic 2 year old, but you work with what you got.

I read all the potty books. Even sat through the Elmo Potty video numerous times, trying not to feel embarrassed every time the kids yelled out, "doody" or "tinkle" on the dvd. I highlighted all the pointers and earmarked pages I knew I'd want to reference again. When I was satisfied I had the knowledge I needed, I devised my plan and after some procrastinating (because once a procrastinator, always a procrastinator) implemented said plan.

I think I should just accept the fact that things never turn out the way I expect, take a few deep breaths, count to 20 and move on.
So I failed miserably the first day. I half expected that he would at least have peed once in the potty. Instead I seemed to have just missed the window each time. Not sure where I am going wrong. He willingly sat for the 5 min. minimum as stated in the books (usually for 15min. or more). I entertained him with puzzles, books and videos. Each time the result was nada. Then he would end up peeing in his pull ups 2o min. later. The reason I know, is that I would smell the pee, or see that the images had faded (like the package said they would when wet). I asked if he peed, he'd say no, and I'd question if he felt the wet diaper. Either he enjoys sitting in wetness or he couldn't feel it. *sigh*

Back to square one. It was only the first day though, so not totally dismayed. In the hopes that there was a schedule developing, I wrote down all the times he peed in his pull ups. I will now aim to anticipate his potty needs based on these times tomorrow in the hopes of achieving even the smallest bit of success. Although in order to do this I must learn to curb my frustration because the more traumatic I make this for Mason the harder I make it on both of us to reach our goal.

Buckle up!! I'm in for a loooooong, bumpy ride. *help*
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

This was the view I woke up to this morning.  I had to do a double take as I was taking Mason to get his diaper changed.  I stared blearing eyed for a few seconds not sure of what exactly I was seeing.  Then I thought, "oh wow!  It snowed!!!"  The first snowfall of the year and of the winter season.  Too bad it didn't last that long.  It is 9:30am and already melting.  Oh well.  I'm sure there will be more days I get to wake up to a marshmellow world.   It is only January.
Mason has always liked watching videos and looking at pictures of himself.  I read in my latest Creating Keepsakes magazine (February issue), studies have demonstrated that showing a child pictures of himself raises his self-esteem.   I can only think of how much confidence Mason must be gaining after having watched this video of himself jumping on the air track at The Little Gym this morning.  He was watched it at least 10 times already while I have been making pancakes.  Every time I open my computer he asks for "Mason jumpin gym cwass."

You know that study has made me think.  I never thought of being a photographer as building confidence in others.  I don't see my photographs in that way but it kind of puts Scrapbooking in a new perspective for me.  Just knowing that making these albums will help my children (and other family members) feel good about themselves makes them even more meaningful for me to create.  That said, I really need to get my butt in gear and finish an album. Mason is already two and our second child will be here in May and I haven't even finished my Wedding album, much less Mason's first year album.  I have finished albums, they have just all been gifts for others.  Guess I better get cracking if I want all these done by the time the new one arrives.  God knows I won't have any time once I have a newborn AND a toddler to raise.

Mason has really been enjoying his gym class.  This is our third session with The Little gym and he has really been learning a lot of skills.  Even made a friend.  It's also been a nice treat for me, especially in the winter, to have a place to take Mason where he can get out all his energy and have fun.  This past week was his "graduation" from the Beasts class.  I can't believe 20 weeks went by already. Of course I forgot that it was the last class of the season, being that we just got home from Oregon, but I always carry my camera with me so I was able to capture a few moments.
                         Showing of the skills he has learned over the last 20 weeks in class.

Mason's two favorite things:  balls and bubbles.

Mason and Zohair (best friends) hanging from the bar, their new favorite thing to do at class.   Mason with Mr. Chad, the instructor for the Beasts class and also the owner, getting his ribbon for finishing the session.

Well I guess I should get out of my pajamas and robe, take a shower and venture out now that the snow is pretty much all gone.  I am starting to feel better and there are only so many days that I can be shut in my house before going crazy.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

*think pink*

Had my prenatal appointment on Monday.  Heard the baby's heartbeat right away.  It was a relief. Mason charmed the nurses once again.  We called the hospital to schedule the c-section. It is tentative for May 28th.  Waiting on the approval from the hospital which I won't know until my next appointment (a month from now).  But for now at least the thought of a date that this little one will make an appearance is enough.  
Today was 20 week sonogram.  I could hardly sleep last night and was up early, in a cheery mood this morning.  I quickly prepared waffles for Mason and myself, downed two bottles of water, got dressed and ran out the door.  I had just enough time to grab a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks before the big debut.  I had to pee so bad by the time I was laying on that table.  The technician was nice enough to make it quick and let me relieve myself before continuing the exam.  She was awesome and I got to see so much of my little sweet pea.  Being very cooperative, all the measurements were done and then on to the main event.  Is it a boy or girl? Well from what we could tell it was a girl.  We looked hard and a few different time but never saw the special package that comes with a boy.  So who knows.  It doesn't feel as definitive as when we found out Mason was a boy, but then again, a girl is never 100%.  Guess we will know for sure when the little one arrives into the world this May.  Till then I will be referring to my growing belly as "she."  Guess Mason will get his wish of having a baby sister, he's been saying he wants one for the past two weeks.  Now I just need to try to relax the next four months and make a list of girl names for Fred to veto.  
Now I am going to nurse my cold and get some sleep.  Hopefully. Oh, I forgot.  Here are some photos of the gorgeous little Briggs girl to be:
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Home Sweet Home

It's always good to be home after a trip away.  That is if your home doesn't look like a tornado just came through, and you have piles of laundry needing to be done and no food in the house. Nor does it help that you are suffering from a horrible cold and happen to be pregnant so can't really take too much to remedy that situation.   But non the less you are home, where you can sleep in your own bed, and get back into the routine of your everyday life.  

Our trip to Oregon was good.  Mason was the best on the airplane, we couldn't have been prouder.   He enjoyed looking at all the airplanes while driving in the shuttle and seeing all the cars and stuff out the window.  He even had to show his lovie everything.  It was too damn cute, Fred and I were silently laughing at all the cuteness he was oozing.  

*looking out the window on the shuttle at Dulles Airport

Our first day there we visited the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinville (www.sprucegoose.org).  This is the home of the Spruce Goose.  Fred and I came here four years ago on my first visit to Oregon.  Mason loved the airplanes.  He got to pretend to fly some in the kid area.  There was a second museum that wasn't there last time that had all the space information in it.  It was pretty cool.  Despite the rain it was a good day.  Chris, Fred's brother, arrived from Reno that evening.  He is always good for a laugh.  Unfortunately later that night I got real sick. Must have been something I ate cause I was fine the next day.   This pregnancy is really doing a number on me.  

Wednesday was the memorial for Marie.  It was a lovely service.  Once again it was raining, pouring.  Marie, Fred's Grandmother, was an incredible woman.  I wish I'd had the chance to get to know her better.  I only met her twice and she made me laugh.  She was a very giving woman and always had a few pennies for the grandkids.  Even Mason has a few.  She's been known as "Penny Grandma" because of it.  I think I will always look at pennies and think of her.   
Thursday we had "Christmas" with everyone.  David, Chris' twin, his wife Melissa and their son Henry came over and later we all had professional portraits taken as a surprise for my Mother in Law.  We got some really cute ones of the family and of Mason and I.  I never get pictures of me and Mason cause I'm always behind the camera.  

Mason had a ton of laughs just hanging out at the house.  The boys were playing ball with some of Mason's toys I got some good shots of them having fun.  
*playing ball with Uncle Chris

Uncle Chris is also a very bad influence.  Back in July when he and his girlfriend, Cynthia, came to visit; Chris tried to teach Mason how to do "Mardi Gras."  That is, pull up his shirt and say, "Mardi Gras."  It didn't work back then.  Unfortunately it took this time.  So much that at the photo shoot my son, much to my embarrassment, walked up to a group of strangers pulling up his shirt and saying "Ma-e Gra."  Thank god, they didn't really notice and he was hard to understand anyway.  *shaking my head*  Chris, Chris!!!!  I owe you, and it is coming to you so watch out!  Below is a picture of the two deviants in action.  
*Mardi Gras: the horrible influence of my brother in law.

Friday I woke up with the worst cold and it got worse as the day grew on.  The worst was flying home all stuffed up and the excruciating pain I felt in my ear while landing.  It took me two days to finally pop and unclog my ears and head.  I think the sudafed has helped.  But we all got home safely (of course it was pouring down rain when we arrived home as well) and getting back into our routine.  *sigh*  

Of to laundry land......

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!

Welcome 2009. I can't believe it is a new year already. Where does the time go?

We spent our new year with friends. Went out to dinner with the Smith's and their little boy. Then back to their place, watched "Cars" till the boys got tired and finally went to bed around 9:30pm (so passed Mason's bedtime). Then chatted for a few hours, had some brownies and watched the ball drop. This was the first time since Mason was born that we actually stayed up for the New Year to arrive. I was surprised I made it till midnight, especially with my developing a nasty cold. My head felt very congested and my throat hurt but I pushed through. We woke up our sleeping son to head home around 12:3oam (he was such a good boy through it all). By 1am we were all in bed and heading fast asleep.

Of course Mason woke up at around 7am this morning (figured he'd get up early since we went to bed so late) but it paid off later cause he's down for a nap now and it's been two and a half hours so far without a peep. Woohoo! I even got to watch a movie that arrived from Netflix. Earlier my Father in Law, Heather and Aiden stopped by to exchange presents. Mason got an airplane ornament, a wooden car, and a Can-Do Roo game. Fred got a gift card to a Bed and Breakfast. This gift was perfect because I had said to Fred a few weeks before Christmas that all I wanted was to get away for a weekend just the two of us and spend some "quality" time together. Now I get my wish. I received a pair of beautiful purple flower earrings from Juicy Couture. We then gave them a tour of our house, being that is was the first time they have been over since we started demolition back in April. We talked about their farm and our pending new addition and said we should get together again come February when the weather has hopefully calmed down (not so windy) and all the holiday hoopla has ended. Hopefully we can make it out there before the new one arrives.

Speaking of the baby growing in my belly. Only 12 more days till we find out if it's a boy or girl! I have my 20 week sonogram scheduled for the 13th and I want it to be tomorrow. There is much speculation that it's a girl this time (my being so sick this time and seeming to be carrying lower). Guess we'll see in less than two weeks.

I hear the munchkin is awake now so I gotta rescue him from his room before he has a meltdown.

HAPPY 2009 EVERYONE!!! It's going to be a great year I can feel it.
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