Archive of ‘Todd’ category

Rain dancing.

“Life isn’t about surviving the storm. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” -Unknown author

Mother’s Day 2017 was yesterday.  My mama stopped by and gave me a bracelet with that quote on it. 

Rain dancing.

We’re not touristy at all. (after hospital stay)

I didn’t realize until I read the bracelet that I have gotten pretty good at rain dancing.  I know that in general I am a glass half full person.  It is just who I am.  I can’t dwell on the difficult or the Hard for too long. Sometimes that isn’t the healthiest choice but I’m working on it.

One of the last photos I took before the accident.

Sometimes it catches up to me.

Sometimes I watch others get frustrated, angry, sad, infuriated; and I feel myself get frustrated because when do I get a turn to feel that way? But that is my choice. I am trying to learn to allow some anger, some sadness, some frustration into my emotional arsenal. 

But rain dancing. That I can do.

But I don’t realize I am doing it until later.

In front of a volcanic crater lake. NBD.

So we went to Iceland. My outdoorsy, mountain loving, traffic hating, lovable hunk of a husband talked me into a week long trip in the most sparsely populated country in Europe.  And I was so glad, and continue to be glad that we went.  #icelandisstillnice

For the ten of you who read my blog who aren’t family and friends- here is a brief synopsis of what happened on Day 5 of our trip.

We had reservations to take an one hour horse back tour with a guide across the countryside of Iceland.  Our son receives hippotherapy twice a month and I have always loved horses.  Todd had never ridden and knew it would be special for me so we booked it.  We dressed in these huge rubber trousers that were similar to what fireman wear, and we set off on our beautiful thick-coated horses with our young but experienced guide.  About 5 min into the trip, we both commented how well trained the horses were, how easy they were to ride, and how much fun it was.  We all stayed in a nice line – the guide, then me, then Todd.  The guide asked if we minded doing a slight trot with the horses and of course we said sure, so we trotted a bit.  It was fun but when we slowed down, I could feel a difference in my horse.

He wanted to keep trotting. He was very close to the guide’s horse and if I tried to pull the reins back, he tussled a bit with me.  We stopped to take pictures and then my horse started walking off to the side a bit. I tried to lead him back over, and for a split second it seemed like he was going to obey but then something just changed.

No loud sounds, no strange movements by me, the horse just started to run.  My first instinct was not to use a calming voice like she had suggested because of course I was startled and frightened. But then I remembered and I tried to use the techniques she suggested.

Terribly unflattering photo of my first time sitting up in a chair at the hospital

He wasn’t having it.

He took off like a shot and the rest is history.

History that changed me.

History that brought on more rain dancing.

What followed was a six night hospital stay at one of the two hospitals in Iceland, in the beautiful town of Akureyi.

I received/suffered/endured (not sure what the right wording is) five fractured ribs, a punctured lung with a pneumothorax, and a broken sacrum.

Five broken bones that cannot be put in casts. Cannot be set. And the sacral bone is what I make contact with, every time I sit down. 

View from my hospital room

It was scary. I’m not gonna lie. Lying on the ground after being thrown from the horse, coughing up blood. I couldn’t turn either way because my broken bones are on opposite sides of my body.

It was scary. 

But I knew I would be okay. Something kept me calm. Something told me that it wasn’t going to be fun, but it was going to be okay.

The handsome Icelandic EMTs who sat with me in the ambulance, telling me how much time was left until we got the hospital, they told me it would be okay.

The nurses who greeted me, who sat beside me in the ER while they tried to figure out what was broken, and how serious everything was. They kept me calm. They talked to me like everything was okay.

They know how to rain dance.

Helga, the young nurse from a nearby town in Iceland who had attended nursing school in Chicago. She gave me a foot massage and chatted with me about every day things, just to keep my mind off the pain.  She helped me brush my teeth and wash my face myself for the first time after being hurt.

She knows how to rain dance.

Skyping from far far away…

“Take a car ride to Iceland?” said Evan one night when we Skyped. My heart broke but there was also a part of me that felt such joy that my little guy missed me so much and wanted us home. We have worked so hard on keeping him engaged and connected to us- and he really missed his Mommy and Daddy. 

It was very hard to dance in the rain when I thought about my kids from my hospital bed- but my friends and loved ones kept texting, emailing, calling, sending cute little videos so I could hear their voice and see their smiling face. (I’m looking at you Talia!) In times of strife, you really do realize the love and light in your life. 

And then we finally came home. After a 5 hour car ride to Reykjavik and a six hour flight home, we came home to a clean home, and sleeping, very loved on children. Thank you Mimi, Pappy, Gran, and GrandRich!

Chilling with my girl

For the past 2.5 weeks, I have been setting up shop in my bed, regularly icing my fractures, trying to stay comfortable, and walking around when I can.  I went from a wheelchair to a standing high walker, to crutches, to a slight limp.

Rain dancing was really hard the first week I was home when I couldn’t sleep because the pain was so intense. When I had to get an elevated toilet seat because I couldn’t bend over at all. When my son only wanted to climb on my lap and no one else’s so his behavior became erratic and he acted out. 

But somehow we got through it. And one day I looked to my left and both kids were in bed with me. Melody in the crook of my arm and Evan lying next to her.  He looked up at me and said, “Hi mommy! Can I go in Mommy and Daddy’s room? Can I cuddle you?”

He asks questions that he already knows the answer to as a way to communicate and stay engaged with me.

It hit me all at once. Without realizing it, I had been enjoying my time with both kids immensely. Take out the responsibility of keeping up with housework, teaching, and all that was left was a focus on my recovery and the time spent with family.  I felt guilty that I couldn’t do the dishes or walk down the basement steps to do the laundry. I hated not being able to take the kids were they needed to be.

Enter rain dancing.

All that was expected of me was a focus on my healing and when I felt well enough to sit with the kids in bed- this awesome thing happened. They both figured out ways to spend time with me in bed.

Evan reading with his head in my lap (ribs protected by a pillow)

Mother’s Day music time

Just last night, Melody snuggled up next to Evan and just said to herself, “I love you, Evan.” and closed her eyes and smiled. 

Those moments are hard to catch when I am caught up in cleaning up after the kids at night, making lunches, laundry, and my mind is 153 different places.

I want to remember this.

I want to remember what it feels like to just focus on family. Just focus on the kids, my husband, my mom.  Whomever is with me at the time.

I know that will become difficult all over again when I go back to work in a few weeks and more responsibility is back on my shoulders. But I do hope that I can remember what it felt like to dance through the raindrops these past few weeks.

**Update:

after writing this earlier today- Evan had a seizure, after having one last night. He had four in one day last week.  I felt myself tense up all over. The worry is back, the concern over if we are medicating him correctly. The neurologist is talking about more aggressive meds, new tests….

Rain dancing is really really hard when these things crop up.

Just being real.

But tonight Evan put his head on my stomach and listened to the digestive sounds it was making and we had a huge laugh about it. I used to do that with my mom growing up, and it cracked me up. He likes to play with the word and pretend to say the ch sound at the end so he kept giggling and saying, “stomach (with the ch digraph sound)” and then “how are you?” with a big grin on his face.

I’m going to think about the stom-itch sounds instead of the seizures.

At least for a little while.

 

 

Choosing the bigger cart.

Hello my lovely, supportive, and probably bored readers.  I am very sorry that I have not been the diligent writer that I was last year.  I can give you numerous excuses but the biggest being that I have been falling asleep before 9 many nights and that was my prime writing time.  I do want to write a separate post about this, but the big news is that our household will be expanding to 4 in September.

17 weeks

17 weeks

I’m currently 18 weeks and doing very well.  Another time I will try to write about how different this pregnancy is, given our history and given we have this ball of boundless energy to contend with this time around:

Watch out!

Watch out! (Evan almost 4)

What I wanted to address in this post is this scenario, that I truly believe sums up most days of my life.

Have you ever entered a grocery store, thinking, okay…all I have to get are tortilla chips and salsa, so I will just grab a hand held basket and run to that aisle.  Then you find yourself remembering you need milk, canned beans, and some produce that you ran out of?  So you think, I can fit that in my handheld basket, no problem.  It’s not that long of a trip around the store.  But by the time you get to the register, your forearm is bruised from how heavy your basket is. And you think, jeez if I had just taken the time to get the bigger cart……

If that has never happened to you, then maybe this won’t make as much sense to you. But I have done that NUMEROUS times, especially when I was single and living alone. I always had the mindset that it would be silly for me to push around this big cart when I was only shopping for myself. And I almost always regretted that ridiculous assumption….

The larger picture is that this habit of putting too much into a small basket is a problem that I face with my life’s daily activities.  (I apologize to my close friends who I have already shared this with) I often will look at my calendar and think, sure! We can fit in a hippotherapy session

A little snow doesn't stop hippotherapy!

A little snow doesn’t stop hippotherapy!

two hours before a baptism party that is 45 minutes away. I can squeeze in a hair appointment and make it home to relieve my mom by the time I promised. (and I walk in 30 min late, every stinking time) I’ll think, Evan really deserves some outside time with me, I can fit in a walk with a playground run before I make dinner (and after working 7 hours)

Nine times out of ten, I find myself at the end of one of these too small basket days, feeling very harried, very disappointed in how the activities panned out, and just plain exhausted.  My husband and I both like to travel, hike, take day trips, etc but we will plan a weekend where there isn’t one moment free and at the end we’ll feel like we need a weekend to decompress from our weekend.

Sometimes I thrive on this activity, the busyness can be exhilarating, and just what I need.  Other times (and more often these days), when too many things are scheduled in a day, the actual activities will never live up to the expectation surrounding them because they just plain can’t! Because we are too tired to enjoy them or because we are busy getting stressed thinking of preparing for the next place we have to be.

Today found both little E and I feeling very under the weather. I think I have a pretty bad sinus infection and he has the beginnings of a head cold or the same thing. Of course being pregnant, the only real remedies available are the neti pot, humidifier and rest.

We were supposed to attend a family celebration this afternoon and my very wise husband talked me out of it, saying, you don’t feel well right? And Evan doesn’t feel well right?…..and the logic was too clear for me to argue. Even though the guilt monster crept in as it typically does.

This afternoon Evan (who you know has not taken a proper nap since he was 2) slept for almost 4 hours.

Yup.

I slept for two, and then read a fluffy novel that had nothing to do with work , therapy, how to be a better parent, etc.  It was just to pass the time and help me to stay still.

I chose the bigger cart this afternoon, and I am much better for it.  I think my boys are too.  I just need to learn to do this when I do not have a stuffy nose causing me to make the decision. :-/

when Sorrow walked with me

My heart has been weighed down with this blog entry for about a week. It has haunted me actually. Needing to be written.  I mentioned in my last post that I’ve suffered multiple miscarriages. So it’s not a secret, but for some reason I have chosen not to really delve into it on my blog.  I think partly because my first miscarriage was so wrapped up in my father’s passing, that I didn’t really process it.  Evan was born a year later, and we chalked it up to one of the very common first pregnancy miscarriages that we’ve read about.

But here I sit four years after that dreadful week where I found out I was pregnant, lost my dad and then lost our first baby all in one fell swoop. Since that point we were so incredibly blessed to become pregnant again (very quickly much to our surprise) and have a beautiful baby boy.

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Evan Robert June 2011

We received his diagnosis of Williams Syndrome a year later. Since that point, we went back and forth about having another  child.  The discussion was laden with many factors. Our age, the possibility of having another child with a diagnosis, and my fear of another period of awful post-partum anxiety.  Ironically, we didn’t really discuss the possibility of miscarriage. It may have crossed T’s mind, but I didn’t really consider it very seriously.  I was more worried about what would happen after the baby was here, not the possibility we might lose another one.

Yup.

If there is anything I have learned in these last 4 years, it is not to count anything out. The good possibilities and the bad ones. The very good and the very bad. I tried so hard to rest in the mystery, rest in the unknown, put it into God’s hands. I had prided myself in losing the need to ask “why” all the time for the challenges in our lives.  I realized that no matter what I did, things were going to happen, good and bad, and I might never know the reason. It’s in God’s hands, I would tell myself.

For whatever reason, God’s hands decided to change our trajectory yet again. He decided to take a second child from us before we could even meet him or her. I am a Christian and darn it, this has tested my faith like nothing else.

I’m pissed. I’m frustrated. I’m devastated. This time around I most definitely am processing it.  Whether I want to or not. As my friend Jamie said, “The universe is making sure you go through it.” She is so right. Beautiful, glowing pregnant women everywhere. Some are very treasured friends of mine who I am thrilled for.  But that doesn’t make the loss of our baby any easier.  Baby showers, pregnancy announcements, smiling babies at Target. National Siblings Day was celebrated all over Facebook the other day. Another reminder that we may not be able to provide a sibling for our son.  Repeated blood work to make sure my pregnancy hormones are going down. Unsuccessful blood draws that have led to repeated visits to get MORE blood drawn.  Weeks of cramping and bleeding after we lost him or her.  I won’t even go into the actual physical process of losing a baby.  It’s horrific. I am conflicted about it because I understand why people don’t talk about it, but at the same time, when you go through it you feel so alone. No matter how many people love and support you.  You are on this island, wanting to grieve your baby and still physically carrying him.  It’s simply awful.

It’s not fair. I want to kick rocks and scream ala Charlie Brown.

Actually, I want to stop kicking rocks and crying. I want to get over this, and move on.  But I know that’s the whole point of crying and kicking rocks. In order to get through grief, you actually have to feel it. Well jeez. That just stinks.  I like to keep moving. To keep busy and focus on the beauty that is around me, not the pain and crappy stuff.  It’s not really part of my genetic make-up to focus on the negative. But it’s also part of my genetic make-up to take care of everyone around me and sort of forget myself.

So…..here I sit. and I walk with Sorrow. And I am sharing it with you because it is the only way I know how to be honest with myself. The days I sat at home waiting to pass the baby, I tried to find blogs about miscarriage that would help me feel less alone, but also give me some hope.  This poem gave a little light to my walk:

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

-Robert Browning Hamilton

So today I walk with Sorrow. And as strange as it sounds, I feel less alone for it.

Baby Pool

2012-11-28 07.58.56

Where has the time gone??

My stomach lurches.  My back is dripping with sweat.  I lunge after Evan time and time again to make sure he does not run down the aisle of the theater. I hold his hand and let him lead me to the lobby doors.  He loudly shouts, light! light! light! and insists on getting to the “light.” Against my better judgement, I take him into the brightly sun lit lobby and let him run around, making sure he doesn’t touch the trash can, go up the steps, touch the other patrons, run out the front door, you name it.  I feel my lip trembling and the warmth of tears touching the corners of my eyes. I feel jealous of the other parents sitting in the theater with their child who is happily watching the show.  I then feel guilty for feeling jealous. This is his field trip, and not only that, but it is a live musical performance.  I had been incredibly excited for this day, to share something I love with my son who has an uncanny connection to music.  I was SURE he would love the experience.  I hear familiar music ringing in the background.  A song Evan knows!  I was sure he would be happy if he heard the music, I was sure I could sit back down in the seats and join his class for the last five minutes.

I was wrong.

I tried to sit, and E crawled up my chest, and tried to get away from me yet again. He carried on loudly, protesting and wriggling all over our laps. Todd leaned over and said that we might as well leave, since it was almost over anyway and Evan clearly did not want to be in the seats. We were fighting a losing battle. We scrambled to gather up our things and get out of there with some sense of dignity.  The parents, teachers, and children from E’s school watched the show intently, with popcorn bags and drinks in their laps.

His car seat buckled, his bags strewn about the back of the van.  I had to go to work to get in a half day and Todd was bringing him home.  I kissed Evan goodbye and felt my eyes film over.  Todd asked if I was okay but I couldn’t muster the words. I realized that my reaction didn’t seem to match what had happened. Evan is a two and half year old. Two year olds don’t necessarily want to sit for any length of time. Why did this hurt so much?

I walked through the stinging cold wind and felt  my cheeks burn. My stomach was tied in knots. All I wanted to do was sit alone and cry.  It had been a while since I felt that way.  Since I felt like we were outsiders. There was a sea of happy, healthy children who could watch a show, communicate their needs clearly, and be engaged.  And Evan was hanging out in the baby pool, splashing about, not caring if he was a part of the sea or not.

My friend came over with her son over the holidays.  Her son is only a few months older than Evan.  They are buddies.  We shared pregnancy adventures, new mom doubts, laughs, and tears.  She is one of my dearest friends. While our boys were infants, her son would achieve milestones months and months before Evan.

IMG_6944

Buddies for life

It made sense at the time because he is ten weeks older.  I never worried or focused on it. I remember thinking, Evan would get there in his own time.  After receiving E’s diagnosis, the gaps became wider. Well…actually they always were wide, I just accepted that they would not close in like I had thought they would.  Her son is extremely verbal, always chatting,using multi-syllabic words, complex sentences. He tries to talk to Evan and Evan bounces happily in front of him, gazing at his buddy with awe and love.  He often will try to say something, but it comes out more like a babble because he is so excited.  I love having them together, since they have known each other since they were in our bellies.

2012-08-15 07.52.00

2012-08-15 09.45.25

I remember this day very clearly. Evan wanted to drink the water the whole time. 🙂

But I would be lying if I said it doesn’t put me right back to the baby pool-big sea situation sometimes.  I watch Evan do his own thing, happily splashing away, unaware of any development gap or difference.  Repeating a string of sayings over and over again. “Here we go!” “All aboard!”  “Light on?” I love hearing our little guy talk.  It’s just a little different when you have an example of age appropriate speech right in front of you.  My friend’s son uses interjections, adjectives, a rich vocabulary.  I could listen to him talk for hours.  I videotaped him counting a long time ago when I was babysitting him because I found it amazing to hear him count. Evan is using two word combinations, and he only really adds on the word please to make the second word.  And who cares, right?  Certainly not Evan.

E happily splashes in his baby pool.  His smile does not fade when another child expresses his or her need more clearly than him.  He does not notice that he is wearing orthotics and still using a wider gait and walking on his tip toes.  He does not mind that the children at school are sitting in their chairs without any straps and buckles and he is strapped into a booster seat to sit at the table.  He does not catch the second glance the mom in line gives him and me when I say he is 2.5 and he is shouting vowel sounds in the line at Target.

Evan loves the baby pool. He loves when others allow him to enjoy the baby pool.  He also loves when you jump in with him. Play with him on his level, see the water through his eyes.  When he is allowed to push buttons for a little while. Allowed to shout church hymns at the top of his lungs in the grocery store. (only his mama knows they are actual songs) Allowed to turn on and off the light switch a few times every time you enter the room. Allowed to chase the stroller so he can spin the wheels for a little while.

When I was a little girl, I could spend hours in the baby pool by myself. Splashing around, using my imagination to pretend I was floating in the ocean, that I was a mermaid waiting to be rescued.  It’s not a bad place to spend some time.  If Evan doesn’t mind it, there is no reason why I should be concerned.  Doesn’t mean he won’t still receive swimming lessons or that he will not be asked to try out the deep end at some point.  But for now, the baby pool is just right for him.

Splash. Smile. Release.

2012-07-25 11.29.30

Release

So it has been a coon’s age since I wrote last. (husband likes that saying) Okay maybe not that long, but since mid December.  I thought I would be brimming with things to write about over the holiday break. The magic of Christmas morning, the quiet hope of Christmas Eve night. Evan’s day time hippotherapy session, family parties, etc.

All of those things did happen, but….I felt a little harried and tired when I did have the time to blog. So instead I chose to sit in the playroom with Evan or catch up on DVR with Todd. Or spend an hour in the kitchen cooking or baking. (more on that later-you can pick your chin off the ground now) And I am glad that is how I tried to spend the little bit of free time I did have while off from work.  But my fingers have been aching to write, and I’ve been spending a lot of time catching up on other blogs, thinking, “I really need to get back into the groove!”

Hence, here I sit while Todd is playing with Evan in the other room on his new Ipad.  Todd has been fighting a nasty chest cold for about three weeks now. Maybe longer. I asked him if he could monitor Evan on the Ipad for a little while so I could have some blogging time. Of course he complied, but I can’t kick the feeling like I shouldn’t have asked. Like I should have just gotten Evan up from his non-nap and put my alone time off for a little while longer. I often feel that way. That I should leave a gathering early to get home, because Todd is caring for Evan.  Or if I go to a workout class, I feel like I am being a little neglectful as a mother and wife because I am doing something completely for myself.

Ok.

So I know most of you are probably thinking, get off it, Erin. You know you deserve your own time- we all do. Happy Mama means a happy child, etc. etc. And I do know that. I know it like I know I shouldn’t speed while driving. I know that brussel sprouts are good for me.

I know these things but I don’t necessarily live them or believe them deep down. I love this new Jazzercise class I am taking. LOVE it. The teacher is a friend of mine that I met through an early intervention program where our sons both attended. She is spunky, energetic, and a very good instructor. I leave that class sweaty and feeling lighter in my orthopedic sneakers. I’m kind of not exaggerating with that one. The first class I took she said something like, “this is your hour, right ladies??” and I thought, you know what, yes, this is my hour. If I want to jazzercise with it, I can.  If I want to reorganize Evan’s closet, I will. If I want to read endless recipe blogs, I will.

And this is why I decided that I need to Release.

My 2014 word is “Release.”

I’ve never done a theme word before. Too hokey maybe. Resolutions only last about ten days. But I thought, I want to try. I want to give myself a focus.  So I thought on it for a few days.  What would be a good word to keep in the back of my mind as I face new experiences this year, both good and bad.  I kept coming back to the idea of letting go.  Letting go of guilt. Letting go of worry. Letting go of doubt…. of insecurities, of pain, of comparison.

Release.

Like when you take a deep breath in with your nose and fill your stomach with air and then release it slowly, for at least five seconds.

That is what I want to think about this year. Releasing. So that there will be room in my heart and mind for better things.

Like this:

Happy mower

and this:

family shot

and all of these:

20130914_174033 charlene and me gran and erin singing T AND Z1836_10200589273470204_255729630_n

I know there will be plenty more of these moments in 2014, and I plan to hold them in my heart and mind and try my darndest to RELEASE the rest. Will you join me?

 

Sharing some Bloggy Love

 Hi gang! 
(that is what my elementary school gym teacher Ms. Atwell would call us, it’s catchy, right?)

 I thought it was a good time to share some of my favorite blog entries that I have read over the past month or two.  I have become engrossed in the blog world and I have learned so much from other bloggers. It seems fitting that every few months I share what I have found amusing, educational, touching, you name it.  
Enjoy! Be sure to leave supportive comments on the blogs and tell them I sent ya! 
1.) Love That Max: Getting Sucked into Special Needs Parent Self Pity I just love Ellen, the author of this blog.  She writes with humor, honesty, and a lot of very helpful knowledge.  This particular entry reminded me that we are all human, and it’s okay to have pity pot moments, but we just have to make sure not to stay there.
2.) Star in her Eyes: You’d Never Know. This eloquent blogger has two beautiful daughers. One has a rare condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. She blogs about life with her first daughter and beyond.  This entry really hits home for me, she discusses the way that people often address her after finding out that Fiona has a genetic condition.  That she “looks normal.”  Such a harmless phrase, but it can mean something very different to a mama of a child with special needs.  
3.) Andrew Solomon’s Ted Talk: This is not a blog per se, but a 20 min talk that hit me so hard. Just really made me think about acceptance, differences, prejudice, how I treat and look at others. Do yourself a favor and carve out some time to watch it. 
4.) Brewing And Chewing: Big Brother Motives. The husbo wrote a really great piece that somehow ties together the reality T.V. show, Big Brother, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and Williams Syndrome. He truly has a brilliant mind, that is not just the wife speaking. 
5.) Williams Syndrome Smile: In Love.  This is written by a friend of mine. Her daughter has WS and had major heart surgery in May. This entry just makes my heart full, as she discusses her love for her daughter and how it has changed into something amazing. 
If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Bonus!! Gratitude December 1

I am thankful for…..

My husband, Todd
Engagement Shot 2008

I went beyond the 30 days of thankfulness because Todd’s birthday is today and I thought discussing my gratitude for him on that day would be appropriate. I always thought the Jerry Maguire line, “You complete me,” was a load of hooey.  I loved that movie, don’t get me wrong. Cuba Gooding Jr. was hysterical and I fell in love with the little (not so little anymore) boy who talked about the brain. But I can recall numerous times where I would be in conversation with someone about the movie and I would say, “People don’t complete other people, they complement them!”  

Fast forward to 2006, when I am sitting in the passenger seat next to my new boyfriend, Todd, and we are coming back from our first little trip together- he planned the whole thing, moment to moment, with an agenda, clues in envelopes, etc. It included two of my favorite things, shopping and breweries. It also included a trip to the Crayon Factory where we made a red crayon together.I remember that day like it was yesterday, the air was cool enough for sweaters but the sun felt warm on your face. We stopped at a campy store called Country Junction, took pictures of person sized wine glasses, huge football helmets, and a one of me standing in front of a group of pumpkins smiling from ear to ear with my head cocked to side like it is when I am truly happy. We got in the car after that stop, and Tom Petty came on the radio. We both started singing along at the top of our lungs, in some ways trying to elicit giggles from the other person but we also did a little harmonizing.  I remember the feeling of peace, joy, and just “rightness.” sitting next to this handsome, intelligent, strong willed man I had met a few short months prior.
As we grew to know each other better, the gooey rush of a new relationship began to fade, but our relationship became richer, more “real” and we knew we were meant to be married and share the rest of our lives together.  Todd does complete me.  That doesn’t mean I had a hole in my heart or that I was necessarily “incomplete” before I met him. To me, it means that he fits with me like a puzzle piece that I need in order to finish my journey. (whoops second use of that word this week) But now that we are together, it just makes sense.  He challenges me, supports me, stands by me no matter what, loves me.  His talents are immense. I call him my Renaissance Man all the time. He brews beer, plays guitar, makes his own pizzas, strombolis, pretzels, tikka masala, the list goes on.  He completes big projects that even I doubt are possible like building a fenced in dog run for Zoey, constructing a closet in Evan’s room, and creating a pergola in our backyard. He is a prolific writer, quick witted, incredible with numbers.  He is a sucker for big adorable dogs, and Evan has changed him as much as he has changed me. To watch Todd with Evan, you just can’t help but smile. He is not above making funny faces, singing lullaby after lullaby, or playing patty cake until his hands are sore.  He respects me as a mother, and he never complains when I make plans to get out of the house for a bit with my girlfriends or I just need to take an exercise class. He encourages me to take care of myself, and it isn’t because he wants to get brownie points. It is just because he thinks it is right and part of being a supportive husband. 
What you see is what you get with Todd. He does not put on airs, he doesn’t lie or exaggerate.  I am thankful for what he has taught me about myself, and how he has stood by me during some extremely trying times. He can make me laugh until I cry and he makes the most amazing pizza dough I have ever tasted.  What else could a girl ask for? 🙂  Thank you Todd for all you do for me and our family.

Happy Birthday Husband/Daddy!