Thursday, May 24, 2012

Underwater Haven

So this weekend is Memorial Day.  I've always understood what this weekend represents.  I've always honored Vets - on any day - but particularly this weekend.  I think it's important to remember the men and women that serve in the armed forces and that what they do gives us our freedom.  Their sacrifice provides us the opportunity to spend our weekends any way we see fit.  To honor their sacrifice, this weekend, I'm going diving.

Diving.  Underwater Haven.  There is just something about being able to spend an hour underwater, breathing and watching all of the creatures that live in that world.  I want to be able to teach my children not to be afraid of things.  To enjoy the world around them and to save the world.  I hope that one day, the worlds oceans will be a sanctuary that people, who respect the earth, can escape to on a regular basis.  I know that is what happens now for me and my friends.  It's a remarkable experience to be underwater.  To swim with the fish, catch crab and lobster and be stalked by baracuda's.

My sons will one day embrace this world.  They too will be able to swim with the sharks and turtles.  I wonder sometimes what this hobby will mean to them.  I wonder if I will push them into doing something they don't want to do.  Isn't that the fear of every parent.  To let their children grow into the people they are meant to be and not push them into something they aren't?

K wants to be a diver.  I don't think he truly grasps what that means though.  Because he DOES NOT want to take swim lessons.  It'll be very hard to dive if he won't learn to swim.  I think it's cute, but he insists when he's 10 he'll learn to dive.  Ok honey, good luck with that without knowing how to swim!  =)

I know that I had visions of my children playing football and winning the Super Bowl.  I never had visions of my children underwater for an hour.  Now I know how safe diving can be if you know what you're doing and you do it right.  I also know there is no way my husband will let the boys dive without knowing exactly how to do it right.  I also know I want them to learn - for all the above stated reasons and more - but what I know most of all...  It SCARES the HELL out of me!

That's right.  It scares me!  I know logically they will be fine, but the mere thought of them with tanks strapped to their backs and regs shoved in their mouths and that is the only thing keeping them alive?!?!  Scary, SCARY, SCARY, SCARY!!!!

But that's what makes being a parent so... scary.  This is an adventure I want my children to enjoy and learn to love.  But the thought of them in my Underwater Haven... makes my hair turn gray!  Being torn between these two very conflicting emotions... is as natural as the sharks swimming in the ocean.  I know that, but it doesn't stop the illogical thoughts from forming.

So I guess what I'm saying is this.  Enjoy the paradise that is underwater.  Just don't be surprised if I tether myself to your torso and never let you out of my sight when you're there!!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A beautiful and painful day

Tuesday May 8th was a beautiful day.  It was a day for remembering.  It was a day to reflect on life and what we actually did agree to.

My friend was murdered just over a year ago.  This day, May 8th 2012, was a day to remember him.  And much to my dismay and heartache, many, many more men and women.

I went to Salem, OR with my friend Becky.  She and I have been friends for quite some time and we both knew Chris.  We took this trip together.  To be there and support each other and to support Chris's wife and our friend Kristie.  This was a memorial to honor fallen police officers.  Officers killed in the line of duty, doing a thankless job that many people would never do in a million years.

I stood outside of the memorial, a memorial that should never have been created, and looked in awe at the sheer number of names written on it.  There were 172 names.  My friend and two other officers were remembered that day.  Their names added to the wall.  Like I said, too many names.

I looked at the families of the survivors who were gathered there to remember their loved ones.  Not just my friends family but others too.  Too many others.  They were all their to celebrate the lives of the ones they lost too soon, ripped from their lives.

Remembering Chris that beautiful sunny day in Salem I couldn't help but think of my husband and children.  I couldn't help but think of what my life would be like if my husband were murdered and take from me.  From my sons.   I hope I have just an ounce of the strength and courage Kristie does.

Kristie is a remarkable woman and she gives me the strength to know I too could carry on with the same grace and dignity she does.  I cannot imagine her pain.  I cannot imagine what she has been through this year.  I cannot imagine what her children, who miss their father immensely, have and are going through. 

This day gave me... love.  Gave me... pain.  Gave me... relief.  Seeing the sheer number of people that gathered to celebrate my friends gave me peace. To be honest what they say is true.  With the passage of time it is easier.  It's still just as painful but remembering him is easier.

This is why we agree to life.  It has it's ups and downs but thankfully more ups then downs.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

WildLife Safari

Today we went to WildLife Safari.  It was truely an epic day! 
We headed out early, I was hoping C would catch a nap on the way down - since it's over an hour away - but no luck.  That is until we got there.  That's right, just as we get there, C falls fast asleep.  Unfortunately, he doesn't sleep for long.  But no biggie we were heading into the park any how. 

The last time we were here, C was just a little thing, not even a year old yet.  So I was excited to see his reaction to all of the animals.  Now K was big enough last time to remember and love every minute of it.  So I knew he'd love it again.

WildLife Safari is a drive through zoo... Like the name suggests, a safari.  It's pretty cool.  You drive about ten miles per hour and just go. You can stop your car wherever you'd like, but DON'T get out of the car... after all these are WILD ANIMALS!  The animals roam free, and most can come right up to the car.  In the "good old days" every animal did - even the Cheetahs.  That was the best part about the place.  Now however, the cheetahs are contained behind fences like any other zoo.  Oh, well... it's still awesome.

K sat on my lap as I drove and C on his dads lap as we made our way through the safari.  At one point an osterich stood right next to the driverside window.  Now when you enter, they warn you that the osterich and emu's running around can and will stick their heads in your windows and peck at you if given the option.  So I had rolled up our window.  This thing stood right outside and pecked at our window.  K was thrilled!  He laughed hysterically.  C even was giggling from the next seat over... probably mostly at his brothers laughing, but it was priceless. 

C waved at all the animals as we drove by and even blew kisses to them.  And to top it off... it was the first time he got the "blowing kisses" part right.  Before today he would just hold his hand to his mouth...  Today, he was actually making the motion of moving his hand from his mouth.  It was so cute!  Of course, when I asked him to blow me a kiss, he gave me a sly smile and looked back out the window at the animals.

We had a wonderful time, looking at animals and just being a family.  Of course C didn't get a nap on the way down.  So I was sure he'd sleep like a baby on the way back.  How could he not, he was exhausted.  But NO! He was awake the whole drive back.  He was awake and screaming the whole way back. 

Despite C's melt down on the way home it was an awesome day.  The sun was out and shinning, the animals were out for all to see, and we were together as a family.  Yes, this is what I agreed to!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baby Talk...

It's been four years since K was a baby.  I find it hard now to remember certain things about that time.  It all passes so fast.  In fact, C is only 18 months old and I find things hard to remember about his growing achievments.

One thing that is currently happening is C's inability to talk.  I'm not sure he can't talk so much as wont.  I have a little caveman baby.  That's the best way to describe C's communication efforts.  Sure he knows some sign language, all of which he has altered to his own language, and he says "mamamama" and "dadadadada".  But the rest...

He did say one actual word the other day.  It was dinner time and he was eating something but didn't want what was currently being shoved in his mouth on the fork.  He looked at it and said "no" then pointed and said "ah" at his plate.  No more since...  he hasn't repeated it, he hasn't expanded his vocabulary either.  I'm not surprised his first word was "no".  Afterall, besides his name, that's the word that he hears most.  He is into everything and anything and is constantly being told no... even by his big brother.

Long story short... grunts and the occasional "uh-huh" are all I get.  And you know what... I'll take it!

One thing I do remember vividly about K's previous four years is him learning to talk.  Of course I don't recall exactly when he said his first word - apparently I didn't get an opportunity to write that in his baby book - but it was "tree".  I remember, how excited I was that he was finally talking.  How I couldn't wait for him to talk so I could hear what he had to say. Truth be told, I wish he had taken longer.

Don't get me wrong.  I love to listen to him.  He's so smart and he's funny.  He's clever and asks good questions like "mom, what's an ecosystem?" (at 3).  But my God... he's a Chatty Chester!  He never stops talking.  He runs his mouth almost the entire time he's awake.  I relish the times when he's watching a movie and he's actually quiet.  I love the times when he's alseep and I can hear myself think!  But on the other hand, I love the sound of his voice.

Do I want C to talk?  Absolutely!  Do I want him to talk tomorrow?  I could wait a bit.  I know what he wants and I understand him, and that's what is important.  I'm just not looking forward to competing Chatty Chesters!