Monday, September 30, 2013

The Number 6

Have you ever found yourself somewhere at sometime in your life and thought to yourself, "how the hell did I wind-up here?"  There I was, in Catholic University's basketball gymnasium, in silence.  The gym was empty and the lights were dimmed.  My husband was taking our son, Connor, to the restroom.  Chelsea was running all over the massive gymnasium with reckless abandon, just enjoying the expansive space.  "Oh, I know how I landed in this random location and this point in my life, let's go back in time"...........

9 1/2 years ago I met a man that captured my heart so intensely that I knew my life could never be the same after meeting him.  The desire to spend my days and life with him were so strong that time apart from him would cause a deep ache in my heart.  Lucky for me, that man shared the same feelings and 3 1/2 years later, we were married.  Fast forward 6 years, and there I am in a semi-lit gymnasium of the college that my husband attended.  Saturday was our 6 year wedding anniversary, and we spent a part of the day at Catholic University's campus for the homecoming celebration.  My husband was a goalie for the soccer team many moons ago, and our anniversary coincided with their homecoming soccer game.  We spent Saturday like we would have spent any other day..........with our children and enjoying the company of friends.  Hands down, it was one of my favorite anniversaries to date, and we didn't do anything special, but the day sure felt incredibly special.  To spend the day with my favorite person by my side watching the children that we brought into this world enjoying themselves, was perfect!  We smiled more and held hands quite a bit and we told each other how much we loved and appreciated one another = doesn't get better than that!

Anniversaries are really amazing if you think about it, it's a celebration of 2 human beings that came together to spend their days as one.  They have to agree on big & small things in life......where to live, how to manage their finances, how to raise children, where to spend holidays, who'll clean what & when, who'll cook, and on occasion, they have to get through hardships together.  They also get to experience so many incredible joys that life has to offer together as well, from births to memorable vacations, new homes, holidays, the company of friends and family.  Every anniversary is a celebration of another year of working together as a team; you've had to put your marriage first in your life and work to make one another happy no matter what life throws at you, good or bad, you're in it together!

I frequently tell my husband that he's like a limb to me.  He gives me a hard time about referring to him as an appendage, but it really is a compliment.  Think about it, if someone asked you one morning to not use your left leg all day, you'd quickly realize a couple of things, 1) You need that leg ALL day long 2) You use that leg without hesitation and don't ask it to be there for you, you just assume & know it will be and 3) You realize all of the amazing things you've accomplished and can accomplish with the help of that leg as part of you........walking, running, kicking, hiking.  That's my husband, he's my left leg, I appreciate him everyday, but on my anniversary (the day I was asked not to use my leg), I think about how much I need his assistance to get through this life, whether it's a shoulder to cry on, someone to grocery shop, someone to love my children with me.  I also realize how much I rely on him, but never ask, I just anticipate that he'll be there for me.  Most importantly, I realize all of the amazing things that I have accomplished and will accomplish with him in my life.  He makes my life so much better!

So, on that late Saturday afternoon in the silence of the gymnasium, I was given a couple of minutes to reflect on my relationship with Todd and knew exactly how I got to this random location at this point in my life.  It was that incredible man that captured my heart 9 1/2 years ago that led me to where I am today and provided me with all that I have, and I sure am grateful for him!

This was our wedding song, and if I were asked to choose a song today, I would pick the same one without hesitation, he loves me just the way I am & vice versa!  Nobody told us 6 years ago that marriage would get better every year and that has been one of the sweetest (unexpected) treats of marriage so far.  I'm excited to see what our future holds!  Love you babe, Happy Anniversary!


Here's a picture of Chels running the gym, free at last!



Friday, September 27, 2013

Happenings

Hi All,

It's Friiiiiddddaaaayyy, whaa whaaa!!!!  Friday brings joys that I don't get to experience Saturday - Thursday.  Friday is my super lucky day to clean a majority of the house (including a couple of toilets = fun).  Today I was greeted by this when I opened the lid to clean the master bedroom toilet:

 
 
Of course my intial thought was: "Woah, my husband forgot to flush!  What the hell did he give birth to?"  Yup, I was mistaken, it's just a peach floating in the toilet (I had to grab the camera for this).  Friday is not only 'clean the house day', but I also have the added bonus of having both kids home with me all day.  This rare toilet treat was definitely the handiwork of my 1-year-old, Chelsea.  She also found time to lovingly booby-trap the kitchen by leaving dark-colored-crayons on the dark hardwood, yep, almost fell on my ass after doing the splits.  That's okay, I was greeted with produce in my toilet only 20 minutes later, certainly put a smile on my face!
 
..................and in more toilet related news:
 
What does this look like to you?
 
 
If you answered: Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner, then you were correct!
My children's answser: hand soap!  Yuck, yuck, and more yuck!  It was brought to my attention yesterday afternoon that they've been "washing up" with this since Monday afternoon.  It was hanging in our basement bathroom toilet to prevent it from mildewing.  I sent the 2 kids down to the basement to play each day and my son has used the restroom everyday.  Like he was taught, he washes his hands after each bathroom use, which makes me one proud mama!  Apparently, he thought that soap was hanging from the toilet and proceeded to pull it off and wash with it.  He came up on Monday smelling very much like "manly cologne."  "Is there new soap down there Connor?", I asked.  "Yes, daddy left new soap next to the sink."  I thought that perhaps it was actually one of our guests who left it during their stay over the past couple of weeks.  Yesterday, however, Connor proudly came up to tell me that he washed his hands and arms (he scrubbed up like a surgeon!).  I got hit with such a strong smell............and yes, yes, my worst fears were confirmed when 2 seconds later Chels crawled up from the basement stairs holding this nasty chemical concoction.  Chels took it a step further and had rubbed it all over her body (hey, that's what you do with soap, right?)  As much as it was amusing, I was honestly concerned about them both lathering up with this blue beauty......these cleaners have since been removed from all of our toilets.  Ay, caramba!
 
My husband and I have a weekend filled with friends, laundry and football!  Tomorrow is our 6th wedding anniversary and I think he's got something REALLY AMAZING planned ;) ;), no pressure or anything babe!  I hope that everyone has a wonderful and peachy-keen (I couldn't help myself) weekend as well!! :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Perspective



Several months ago I read a beautiful article that briefly described a mom who drove up to a grassy area to drop her oldest daughter off for soccer practice.  The field directly across the street was literally covered in thousands of dandelions.  The mom looked at the field and thought to herself, wow, there are so many weeds, this field needs landscaping!  As she was looking at the field with disgust, her youngest daughter shouts from the back of the minivan, "Oh, mommy, look at all of those wishes, that's sooo beautiful!"  To see the field through the eyes of a child, the beauty, wonderment and promise that the field of wishes held, the mom paused for thought.  With age we become hardened, life is something we try to control, it may even be difficult to find joy in simple pleasures.........I keep reminding myself life is full of wishes OR weeds, it is MY choice how I view it.
I am working very hard on my perspective.  The past 6 months have been the absolute hardest of my life, which is saying a lot considering I haven't led the easiest of lives.  Shortly after moving to our new house, I started to become angry.  Eventually I was in a state of all-consuming, super-saturated anger.  For 3 days I walked around with so much anger in my heart and on my mind that I was unable to emotionally connect with anyone or anything.  I kept telling my husband "something is wrong, I'm not sure what it is, but I need to figure this out."  I then went into a 7 day period of "quiet", I'm sure I looked catatonic from an outsider's perspective, but I was literally figuring my life out and how I wanted to approach it.  Each day my husband would arrive home from work and for those 5 days + weekend I'd go upstairs for a long bath (sorry about the water bill, babe!).  The solitude of being in the bath was exactly what I needed to just be deep in thought, no distractions, just thoughts.  Kind of symbolic that I was cleansing my heart, mind, soul.....and body as well.  I came to many amazing conclusions during that week!  Life is hard and terrible things will more than likely keep happening, and it is my job to find the silver lining in each of those situations....the wishes, if you will.  I also realized that I was not angry at one particular person, situation or event, nope, I was angry from all that life had dumped on me, but I was only looking at the negative aspects of these 'things'.  From each of these events and situations, I grew immensely as a person and ultimately strengthened my character, but I was failing to recognize this. 
Something else.....NOBODY is responsible for your happiness, but on the other hand, NOBODY can rob you of joy....this concept is so liberating to me!  I had heard this old adage a million times, but I grew to appreciate it more and more during that week.  Nobody, or any external factor for that matter, is in charge of my happiness. On the other hand, I give nobody permission to make me feel bad about myself; they are entitled to their opinions, but what I do with negative opinions and remarks is up to me.  Hallelujah!  My only job in life is to be loving, patient and kind to others, beyond that, anybody's negative actions and beliefs will not penetrate what I know about myself, I will not allow it to.  In the past, I allowed others to dictate how I felt about myself, that is not their fault, I was the one allowing this....I was also doing this with a multitude of external factors.  For instance, in college, a mediocre grade on a test that I thought I had done well on could leave me upset for a week or 2.  I'd question my intelligence, my studying abilities, what did my future hold if I couldn't even get a great grade on a test.  Parking ticket?  This would result in me questioning how the meter ran out, how stupid could I be, I should have rushed to get back to my car!  Negative thoughts were permeating my brain all of the time.  It was this type of critical and negative thinking for most of my life that led me to the feeling of deep anger on those 3 days.  Between my own self-loathing and the hardships that life had dumped on me which resulted in self-pity, something needed to change. At a crossroads in my life, I chose the most positive path that I could see, the one lined with wishes.

Perspective Change:

Situation #1: Connor's Diabetes Diagnosis at 3 years old:
Perspective 1:  This disease causes an endless amount of stress everyday; I am always so worried about his health and don't sleep well; this disease is so expensive, it's costing us about $100.00/month.

Perspective 2:  Thank God we caught this disease before he died, many other children have died; thank God that this is a manageable disease and we have a way of keeping him alive with insulin, other parents aren't so lucky, and have children afflicted with cancer; thank goodness we have the money to afford all of the supplies to keep him healthy.

Situation #2: My husband lost his second job (income we heavily relied upon) just 5 days before closing on our house:
Perspective 1:  Oh no!  We don't have enough money to pay for our monthly expenses, we have no savings and are putting a lot of money on our credit card right now; our cars are each 8 years old and we cannot afford to get newer cars and they both need repairs.

Perspective 2:  We have enough money to pay for our mortgage, to put healthy food on the table and to pay for Connor's diabetes expenses;  I get to spend more time with my husband and have him here to help out more now that he's not working a 2nd job.  Thank goodness our cars have lasted this long, let's hope they last for another 8 years!

Moving away from a self-pitying, 'woe is me' outlook to a positive 'look at the bright side' perspective affects my mood and overall happiness.  Now, perspective 1 in both scenarios is certainly true, but if I keep repeating those negative thoughts in my head, you know what, I'm unhappy!  Knowing that I am solely responsible for my own happiness, I'm challenged to find actions/things/people/perspective that make me happy everyday.  For everything that comes my way, I'm searching for the silver lining (I sometimes have to search very hard), so I am essentially reprogramming the way that I think.  We have to make choices everyday of how we are going to view daily events, I'm concluding at 32 years old (it's taken me this long) that taking a more positive stance will improve my overall quality of life. Lastly, if something is making you unhappy, fix it!  Allowing things to linger and not making a plan of action of fixing it will leave you in a constant state of distress.

For most of us, the hardships that we've faced have made us so much stronger, and we probably haven't realized it.  It's not until we are faced with similar hardships later in life that we say, "you know what, I know how to handle this with poise and grace and it's not going to bring me to my knees this time!"  Also, due to difficult experiences, most of us have become more compassionate and empathetic people and have the ability to relate to others that may be in similar situations.  Possessing the ability to say just the right words to heal others' hearts, to connect on a deeper level, what a gift!  My Endometriosis diagnosis and eventual IVF journey has led me to connect with dozens of amazing women who have gone through similar journeys.  Would I have ever connected with these women or developed a really meaningful friendship with them without enduring those very difficult years, probably not.  I try to remind myself everyday: don't let life make your heart hard, we are here on this earth for a brief period, it's important that we continue to learn, enjoy life and love each other!  Look at the wishes!

I LOVE this quote from one of my favorite books, just like wishes or weeds, our perspective changes how we approach life.  I'd like to think that after enduring hardships and eventual growth, our souls are beautiful by the end of their journeys here on earth.......

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. "You'd be destroying what makes it special," she said. "It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.”
- The Glass Castle




How will you approach life & hardship, will it be weeds or wishes?  I hope that we all eventually see that field as wishes.........




Monday, September 23, 2013

Grievances

Hi all!  I am just getting over a stomach virus that brought me to my knees and left me weak, fatigued and cranky.  As a result of my crankiness, I have a couple of complaints, grievances if you will, that I am getting off my chest:


Dear Author-of-children-books-with-words-I-cannot-pronounce,

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US???  Let's understand something here: by the time I am getting these children to bed, I am EXHAUSTED!!!! I have been up since 7am, I have fed them multiple meals, wiped butts, listened to incessant talking/sometimes babble, have broke-up 403 fights between siblings, tried to complete 3 loads of laundry, cleaned toilets, done dishes, entertained the kids for 10 hours and now I have reached the finish line.  I am physically, mentally and emotionally spent.  I'm almost to the point of rocking myself in fetal position and methodically repeating, "make it stop, make it stop, make it stop" (I actually did that last week).  Anyways, we've bathed them, brushed their teeth, checked our diabetic's blood, gave one last snack, put on jammies and we are off to their beds!  WAHOOOO!  Mommy and Daddy are REALLY excited about the freedom & quiet that comes with bedtime!  My grand plan is to watch an episode of Mad Men on Netflix with the last bit of energy that is remaining.  I am cross-eyed and weary, but I know that only books remain on our night-time checklist, and I can do this!


My son collects 2 books from his bookshelf that he chose from our local library earlier that day, this is gonna be fun, new books to delve into!  Yes, the fun is just beginning, you author-bastards with tricks up your sleeves, you have to know I AM TIRED, and I'm grasping at the last bit of energy and mental resources that I have remaining!  I begin to read and remind myself that there are only 14 pages, "You can do this Megan, you got this girl, 14 to go!"  Nope, no you don't, 'cause some-jerk-face "author" is gonna play you for a fool.  1 sentence in and I have to pause, and think, "what the hell is this, I don't recognize this?"  I have reached a word that I have never seen before, and realize that this thing is made-up by some creative genius who doesn't have kids and thinks it's fun to string the alphabet together and make parents practice phonics.  I tell myself, Megan, you have 2 options here, you can either skip over this word, or you can go ahead and accept the challenge that this creative jerk has presented you with.  Being the competitive lady that I am, I ACCEPT THE CHALLLENGE!  Words that are completely made up and have 19 consonants and 3 vowels shoved somewhere in between the consonants = not fair, but I can do this!  There I am, sounding out the word about 9 times, la-la-la-laqu-laquy-laquyitspz......and then I practice saying the word roughly 4 times before I get it "right".  Is it really ever correct if it isn't even a real word, zzzzz-aaaa-kkkk-lll-sss-uuu-ppp-jjj.....WHAT THE HELL, THIS IS NOT A WORD, WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVE BEHIND THIS "AUTHOR"!??  Meanwhile my son is staring at me like, "I know you can do this mommy, you are so smart, don't get frustrated, you can read that word!"  I cannot lose my reading credibility with him, I will soon be his reading instructor/master, he's gotta know that I can read.  I look at his sweet face, my frontal lobe is in the process of shutting down and FINALLY, I get it right, I think.  Phew, this page only took me 2 minutes and 6 seconds of sounding a word out that doesn't exist, but I got through it!  Page 2.  There it is, another f*&&^#$$%%! word that does not exist!!!  You got me!  That's right, this creative jerk has outdone him/herself with the way they had the cover illustrated to capture my son's attention.....and of course you included all the action figure men fighting throughout the book to really win him over, damn it!  My son has held the book, loved the book and couldn't wait for Mommy to read it, yep, I realize that the joke.is.on.me!  Ah vell, I enjoy taking 30+ minutes to sound-out made-up words and not watching that episode of Mad Men.  To these authors (and you know exactly who you are), this is not funny, I am tired!  If you're gonna make-up a word, let's go with 2 or 3 letter words: examples: suw, lut, wap = fun & easy = Mad Men for mommy!!!

Sincerely,
An exhausted mommy
 

Dear Speedracer-on-my-a$$-in-the-far-right-lane,

Are you Jimmie Johnson, is that what's going on, because I am really trying to understand what you don't understand about the lane that I am located in.  The far right lane is reserved for those who are "kinda-obeying" the speed limit.  I have placed my grandma-style-driving-self over in that lane so that you have the beauty of not having to deal with me.  I am really happy driving the speed limit - 10mph over, and that's pretty much it!  One of the deterrents to speeding (besides the obvious tickets and death from a high speed collision) is that I am in a desperate need of alignment and my car shakes like crazy when I get above 65mph.  Holding onto the steering wheel is like holding onto a washing machine on spin cycle, it's not easy, so 65 and below it is for me.  I have my music playing, I'm probably singing loudly & badly and my windows are down.  I have not a care in the world, I am happy, and all of a sudden on a 4 lane interstate, there you are, on my bumper, like white on rice.  I assume the other lanes must be terribly crowded, but alas, noooo, they are empty.  It's you and me, and we are in the far right lane together, we are butt buddies.  You just won't go around me.  At this point, I am wondering if you are confused, on drugs, are 16, have an emergency of some sort, have a lower than average IQ, is it just lack of experience.....what is going on?  I'm assuming you want me to just vanish or something, but really if I had that type of vanishing power, I would not drive a car and just teleport everywhere I had to go.  So, if you could please just pass me on the left and not get so close to my car that I can see your eye color from my rearview mirror, it would be greatly appreciated!

Kind regards,
The lady in the far-right lane

Here I am (see, I'm happy):




Dear "Terrible Twos,"

You have arrived early and as always, it ain't cute!  I would issue the following warning to individuals who may have contact with my daughter over the next year:


The arching of the back when getting placed in the car seat, the throwing of objects at my face, the "NOOOs", the high-pitch screaming, and the "it's mine!, it's mine!......guess, what?  I'm really done with it all!"  The beautiful thing this time around is that I'm not as phased as the 1st time, nope, been there done that, and it's just really annoying at this point.  I used to beat myself up and think that I wasn't parenting properly and that's what caused the tantrums, or that my reactions to the tantrums was all wrong and that's why there were 7/day, did my son need an exorcism???  But nooooooo, now I know, these little people are just demonic because.  That's the real answer, it's: just because.  Not being able to communicate with words is pissing these little people off and here you are telling them what, when and how to do everything and I'm pretty sure they want to claw your eyeballs out.  "The Terrible twos": the phrase may sound cute with it's alliteration, but let's be honest, these little people can be nightmares and I'm ready to welcome age 3!

Signed,
Mama-of-a-soon-to-be-2-year-old-with-evil-tantrums

Thursday, September 19, 2013

We's The Magins!

As many of you know, we recently moved to a small quaint town located about 45 minutes west of DC.  Our neighborhood is about 22 years old and our immediate neighbors have resided here since the neighborhood was built.  This is our first single family and we finally have a yard to enjoy.  Some odd things occurred during our first month of residing here, I'd like to think that we have 'worked out the kinks' and that they won't happen again, but unfortunately, I think that we have made a lasting impression on the neighbors......


It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and Connor came running in proudly proclaimed, "Mommy, I had to go pee really bad and I went outside in the front yard!!!"  "Oh Lord", I thought to myself, "how am I going to fix this?"  Let's go back in time a bit: We had gone on a family trip to West Palm Beach, Florida, in mid-April, and were lucky enough to have a beautiful pool in the backyard of our rental property.  Connor, a diabetic, pees quite often if his blood sugar is high, and almost slipped on the tile floor as he was wet and tracking water throughout the rental house to get to the bathroom.  So, being the concerned parents that we are, my husband and I instructed him to keep taking pisses in the sideyard to eliminate any chances of slipping & falling.  Good idea, right?  I thought so.  I had no idea that there would be repercussions from 1 week of sideyard peeing that would result in him whipping his "thing" out in public at a moment's notice and pissing wherever he felt like.  Whoops!  "Were you definitely FACING the street I asked him??"  "Yes, Mom!", he said proudly, and he ran to show me exactly where he was standing!  Please note that the neighbors directly across the street were mowing their lawn during this spectacle.


"Were there any cars going by?" I asked, "ummm, yeah", he said.  Like duh Mom!  Our house is situated on a corner lot that gets quite a bit of traffic going by at our 4-way-stop.  Here's where my son handled his business, "Howdy neighbors!":


 
The very next afternoon I heard my husband bellowing from inside the house, "NO!, NO!, NO!, NO!".  I came downstairs to hear him reprimanding Connor outside, "You DO NOT poop in the backyard, only Tucker (our dog) is allowed to poop back here!"  It was about 80 degrees outside, we had all of our windows and doors open and all the neighbors were in their backyards, and I am certain that they overheard our conversation.  This is one of those moments as a parent, that you're like, crap, I now have to go put on a serious voice and discipline this child, when in actuality I wanted to die of laughter and high-five him for taking a dump in a yard.  "Connor, I said, in a serious voice, we have indoor plumbing, aaaannnddd you need to have bowel movements indoors buddy."  "But Mommy, you said not in the front yard, so I went in the back yard".....I appreciated his logic, but in order to socialize this kid properly, I told him that he was to never poop or pee in public again.  "Hey, howdy, neighbor!"

Since we're on the topic of poop, let's go ahead and talk about our compost bin.  You see, my husband is really into gardening, I mean OBSESSED, like all he thinks about it 24/7, he refers to his plants as 'his ladies' and he tends to them first thing upon rising and it's one of the last things he does before retreating for the evening.  What's the most important thing for the ladies, well, their soil of course, and the best soil is created from composting.  So being the top-notch gardener that he is, he built a compost bin the second weekend that we were here so that his ladies would be adequately nourished.  He came home from work during our third week here and was very excited to tell me that a co-worker's cousin, Jim Beau (sp?), can give him chicken poop.  Jim Beau, if you have stumbled upon my blog, first of all, I'm sorry, how does one write your name......is it hyphenated, is it Bow, or Bo, or am I correct, Beau?  Second of all, despite my complaining, my husband LOVED your chicken poop, please tell your chickens to keep up the good work!  "Did I hear you right, did you say chicken POOP?"  "Yes, isn't that awesome?!"  "Why do we want chicken poop?" I asked.  "For the compost bin" he said, "I'm so excited"!.  Apparently, if you're a composter, chicken shit is the holy grail of all compost material.  Composters seek out this glorious feces like water in a desert, and we were now going to be the lucky recipients of some.  So, a couple of days later my husband came home with 4 oversized trash bags filled with chicken shit and the biggest smile on his face, our compost was gonna be da bomb!  True to it's definition, the chicken poop smelled like holy hell and the flies were drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  The hubby worked the poop into the other contents of the bin and voila, the decomposition was to begin.  The next afternoon I realized that our compost bin which is up against our neighbors fence was horribly stinky and that there were millions of flies buzzing all around our joined fence......luckily that only lasted for about 4 days.  "Hey, howdy neighbors!"  Here's she is below, she is my husband's pride & joy:


Nothing was said until the next evening when there was a knock on the door from our very panicked neighbor.  She was almost in tears as she asked if it were okay if she entered our home to go into the backyard.  Her pet tortoise (not turtle) that she had had for 20 years, was a backyard pet and was missing, and she was very worried!  "Come on in!" we said, I took a quick look around and accepted the fact that my house in it's current state looked like it had been ransacked by the police, 2 messy kids and boxes that hadn't been unpacked from our move yet =


She scoured every inch of our backyard looking for her 3-legged-tortoise named Lucky (he survived some attack and lost a leg and scored the name).  As time passed, she was in absolute tears and had surmised that our cocker spaniel, Tucker, had dug a large hole and pulled him under the fence and......had eaten him.  The most embarrassing part of the search is that she kept going by our stinky fly-infested chicken poop bin.  I had to also repeatedly warn her to step over Tucker's land mines, we just hadn't been out there to pick them up yet.  I explained to her that our dog used to be a hunting dog from Blacksburg, VA., so maybe that's why he went after her tortoise.  I did not have a chance to tell her that I actually got him from a cocker spaniel rescue group at the local Petsmart.  After purchasing him we got his medical records and history and there it was, he was a bird-dog, he had several BB bullets lodged in his body and apparently he likes to dig large holes and maybe eat tortoises???  After 25 minutes of searching she went home crying.....talk about a weird moment!  "It's nice to meet you, welcome to our filthy home and please step over our huntin' dog's feces as you search for your tortoise carcass....!"  My husband and I went back out to look for Lucky, the 3-legged-wonder, but to no avail.  An hour later, we got another knock, and there she was with Lucky in her hands, apparently he had just been hiding in her backyard.  Our neighbor had been exposed to our filthy house, our magical bin of poop, and of course, our hunting dog, Tuck.  She instructed us to place large rocks along the fence where Tuck digs, which we agreed to.  Of course my husband gave Tuck a big hug that night and said, "you and me Tuck, we're both just trying to get Lucky!"  "Howdy, neighbor!"

This was not the first neighbor that we had met via Tuck's antics.  A couple of days before the 'Lucky incident', Tuck had escaped from our backyard and I didn't know until about 20 minutes had passed. The kids and I were taking a lazy day and were eating lunch in our jammies at the time that he ran away.  I grabbed the kiddos and threw them in the car to patrol the neighborhood to see if we could find him.  Let me go ahead and say that due to the move & current state of chaos in our lives, that it had been many a fortnight since Tuck had been to the groomer.......he was FILTHY and began to resemble Chewbacca.  Tuck didn't have updated dog tags yet (minor detail ;)).  I circled the neighborhood in hopes of finding him.  After 5 minutes of circling, there he was, on a leash with a man who was taking him for a walk.  I opened the window, "sir, you have found my dog, I am sooooo relieved!!".  I realized at that moment that my mascara was down to my chin, my hair unbrushed and that I was still in those jammies.  My children were even more worse for wear considering they had PB&Jelly and bread crumbs all over their sweet faces.  I met Dave the neighbor, explained why our dog was filthy and didn't have dog tags yet.  "We like JUST moved!" I said to him 5 times, I figured it summed up why we ALL were filthy (including my car) and why my dog was missing for a total of 25 minutes.  "Nice to meet you Dave, howdy neighbor!"

 
 
Tuck, post-grooming, he's a real charmer!
We haven't seen nor spoken to our neighbors in months, and I want to start over and give explanations for why my child used the 'facilities' outside, or why we have chicken shit, or why our dog looks neglected and runs the streets, or why he's digging holes and trying to eat your pet tortoise.  Right now we are just trying to keep up with mowing our grass, which was up to our thighs as of yesterday.  We are not Rednecks, we're just the Magin Family, and we're trying to be the finest neighbors you ever did have!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wild Wedding Weekend

 
We returned last evening from a whirlwind of a weekend, and boy, we are exhausted!
 
We went to our good friend Jay's wedding that was being held at the beautiful Historic Powhatan Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia.  My husband was a groomsman, so we had to arrive a day early to attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

 
My in-laws were awesome enough to book a room at the resort as well so that they could watch our kiddos while we attended the rehearsal dinner and wedding festivities (SANS KIDS = PARTAY TIME)!  So, logistically speaking, I had a lot of packing to do for our family of four, and as in usual fashion, I waited until last minute and had roughly 6 loads of laundry to complete before packing/leaving (many necessary items for the weekend were in those loads of laundry, ay yay yay).  I hurriedly packed Friday morning after completing the loads of laundry and eventually began to just throw crap into my vehicle, there was no organization involved in this "packing".  I wish I could get my hands on that damn magical Mary Poppins bag that seems to hold the world, WHERE.THE.HELL.CAN.I.FIND.IT ????!!???!!  We left our house with a total of 21 bags/boxes/suitcases/thingamajjigers, hey, packing when traveling with children is NO JOKE!  We had a small suitcase each (4 total), a large cardboard box to hold dry foods, our Keurig machine (I know folks, but I NEED my coffee, this is a necessity!), the diabetes bag, a diaper bag, laptop briefcase, plastic grocery bags filled with random crap that I forgot to pack which was thrown in the car last minute, the camera bag, a pack 'n play, the tuxedo bag, a cooler with refrigerated food, our dog and his "things" for his stay at a doggie hotel, my purse and more.......
 

Alright Mary, spill the beans woman, where'd ya get this gem?

 
It was so disorganized that I forgot to pack 2 pairs of high heels for both the rehearsal dinner dress and wedding dress.  Not a prob Bob!  My rehearsal dinner attire: 80's Jean Jacket (forgot my black dressy sweater too), a very last minute black dress purchase from Ross that had not been tried on and happened to be WAY TOO SHORT (bow-chicka-wow-wow), paired with sporty Nike pink flip flops.  My hair was not brushed and I was completely exhausted, but I'd like to think that I pulled this look off.  I entered the rehearsal dinner room, and scurried like a mouse to my seat to use the table cloth and cloth napkin as a cover-up for the denim/hooker dress/sporty flip flops "look" that I was sporting.  Hey, you want a hug during the dinner, okay, come to me, I refuse to stand up at all even if you are the bride & groom because lord knows that you'll be thinking "what kinda weird outfit is this"?!  During the dinner I downright refused to use the bathroom although I had to piss like a racehorse and was one of the last to exit the room so that others wouldn't witness this combo.  That's okay, because I had an opportunity to redeem myself at the "pool party" that was to occur immediately following the rehearsal dinner.  The groom told us to bring our swimsuits & towels and that they'd be serving drinks at the nearby bar.  My husband and I got back to our resort room from the rehearsal dinner and I put on my bathing suit, a bathing suit cover-up, a towel around my neck, and of course, for a 2nd debut, my fashionable sporty Nike pink flip flops.  We walked 10 minutes in the dark to the resort pool and stopped dead in our tracks when we walked up to find everyone in COCKTAIL ATTIRE..........VHAT DE HELL IS DIS?!?  "Pool party" was actually a cocktail party BY the pool.   


Nope.  Not at all.  Somehow I missed this memo.  That's alright, I enjoy looking like a "pool mom" standing next to Susie Q who is wearing her 5 inch heels and the latest Bebe dress.  I don't feel the least bit awkward!

The ceremony was breathtakingly beautiful, and I'm not sure that you could have had prettier weather.  I laughed, I cried (by the way, if the bride cries, it's a guaranteed cry-fest for me! THANK YOU LINDSEY) and I reminisced about my own wedding.

How cute is this picture?  The moment you look your "husband" in the eyes and say "we actually did it, watch out world, we are husband & wife!"

It'll be 6 years in 2 short weeks for the hubby and I, and it feels like it was just yesterday that we were exchanging our vows on that September afternoon.  Here we are before getting all hot & sweaty on the dance floor.
 


The reception was loads of fun and we danced our hearts out.  By the way, my footwear, in case you're wondering, was none other than these little beauties (they are super versatile)......


Not only did we have a blast this weekend, but we were also reunited with my husband's best friends.  I am so thankful for these 3 great friends placed in my husband's life.  These 4 guys met in college and have been the best of friends for 13 years now.  They roomed with each other, have been in one another's weddings, visited each other after first-home purchases, have celebrated 30th birthdays together, and they all visited us after the birth of both of our children.  I know that if we ever needed anything that they'd be there for us in a heartbeat!  My husband laughs so hard with these guys and to hang out with them is to know that they all have an inseparable bond!  We just love them dearly and it doesn't hurt that we love each of their wives too!  Unfortunately, my husband does regress in age while in their company, and I have a 20 year old by my side during our visits (i.e. drinking too much & puking all over our hotel room, you're not 18 anymore babe ;)).  So, thank you Jay, Adam, and Rocchi for being such incredible friends to my husband (and me), we are so grateful for your friendship!!!

 
Left to Right: Adam, Rocchi, Jay and Todd
There you have it, it was a wild wedding weekend, we had great times with great people and made memories to last us a lifetime!  Congrats Jay & Lindsey!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Odd Man Out

I walked up to the backyard gate, unlatched it, and stopped dead in my tracks, I was very surprised to see Connor sobbing on the swing chair located at the entrance.  I looked toward the back part of the backyard where the playground is located and viewed all of the other children playing and laughing with one another.  I assumed that his isolation was due to bad behavior, so I immediately asked the summer camp counselor, "OH NO, WHAT DID HE DO?!?"  He actually put himself there she replied, I'm really sorry, but I gave all of the children popsicles and as Connor began to eat his I realized that he couldn't have it so I literally grabbed and took it from him!"  The counselor said, "we can't console him, he wants to sit by himself."  Through the sobs he said "Mommy, she doesn't like me, she gave everybody else popsicles and she took mine, she doesn't like me!"  Trying to explain to a 4-year-old that an adult had your best interest at heart, and your blood sugar was her top concern was proving to be very difficult.  I sat on that swing chair with Connor while he sobbed in my arms and I told him that I'd get him a popsicle on our way home, problem solved I thought to myself.  The cries didn't stop.  I offered to get him donuts on the way home, but the cries just wouldn't stop.  I promised him any candy of his choice, but nope, that didn't work either.  I realized at that moment that it wasn't the actual popsicle that caused his heartache, it was the ostracism in front of his friends, it was the exclusion from the treats that all of the other children received, and I knew that this wouldn't be the last time that my sweet boy felt 'different' due to his diabetes.  I tried VERY hard to hold back tears as I consoled him, I knew that the disease wasn't going away and it was at this very point since his diagnosis that he was fully cognizant about his differences from his peers.....and I can't protect him from that.  What can you say to make his tiny heart feel better, I thought?  That, I didn't know.  I was taught how to manage his blood sugars in the hospital, but wasn't taught how to deal with the psychological and emotional ramifications of this disease.
During our trip home, Connor was thoroughly confused and saddened as to why he was singled out and wasn't allowed to have a treat, so I explained it to him, over and over and over again.  We arrived at the McDonald's drive-thru 30 minutes later, "1 small M&M McFlurry please!"  I looked in my rear-view mirror and finally saw a small smile emerge on my boy's face.
That afternoon was the afternoon that Connor grieved his diagnosis & differences, and somewhere in that little 4-year-old mind came greater acceptance of his disease; he may not be able to have a popsicle with his peers, but he'll eventually get an M&M McFlurry and life WILL be okay.


We recently visited my cousin, Pat, at her home in Maryland for a family get together.  Pat has 3 sons, 2 of which were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a very young age.  Pat's sons are grown now and I never realized what an instrumental role they'd play in Connor's life.  During our visit, Pat encouraged both of her sons to show Connor how they check their blood sugar and require insulin just like him.  Ohhhhh booooy, I saw Connor's eyes light up like a Christmas tree as he watched intently as both of Pat's sons checked their blood and administered shots.  Connor has not stopped talking and asking about Pat's sons for 2 weeks now.....he loved that the "big boys" (as he refers to them), were not only playful and fun, but they had diabetes too.  It was the first time since his diagnosis that he was exposed to someone JUST LIKE HIM, psychologically he feels like he's not so different anymore, there are others with the same diagnosis, he is no longer the odd man out.  Since seeing them, he has taken more ownership of his diabetes, he now checks his own blood sugar and has been much more compliant about shots.  Yay!

We met 3 boys roughly Connor's age at a local park today that are all Type 1 diabetics.  Between the intense heat and me being exhausted from chasing my young daughter around, we didn't get to stay for long.  My intentions are to get these boys together for future play-dates, I want Connor to develop friendships with children that understand him and can serve as a reminder that he is not alone in this world.

This song is for my Connor......

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beautiful Souls

It's arrived again, and as years pass, it isn't getting any easier, I have a very difficult time dealing with 9/11.  My heart breaks on this date every single year, and I fight the images that were imprinted on my mind from that horrendous day.  I stayed affixed to the television for a week straight following the tragedy; it was my only way of reaching the people whose lives were forever changed.  It was my only way of feeling connected with the victims and deceased, what were their names?, were they married?, how old?, did they have children?  For the victims that lived, so emotionally, (and many) physically scarred, between the horrible injuries that were endured and horrific things witnessed that day, what were their stories?  The death toll number meant nothing to me, I wanted to know about each individual, they were not just a number.  So, my only way of honoring each of them was to watch hours upon hours of television and learn about as many of them as I could.  I know it may sound strange, but I didn't want to hear the "final death toll number" and not remember as many individual stories as I possibly could, each and every one of them deserved to be remembered.
Sadly, many who perished on that awful day were New York's & New Jersey's first responders.  I have a special place in my heart for the beautiful souls that have devoted their lives to assisting those in need, this includes doctors, nurses, care-takers for the elderly, veterinarians, the list goes on-and-on, but it's the first responders that really yank at my heart strings.  I am referring to the EMTs, firefighters, police officers and even 911 operators.  These people are present and assisting us during some of our worst moments in life.  They are not only helping us in a physical sense, but a big portion of their job is to emotionally calm us down, reassure us, be sweet with us, to be our family until our actual families arrive. 


I unfortunately had to call an ambulance for my daughter, Chelsea, when she was just 6 weeks old.  Chels had contracted RSV, which we had confirmed at her pediatrician's office one January morning, but in a matter of hours she began to turn dark gray, froth at the mouth, and refuse to eat.  I contacted her pediatrician again and immediately was instructed to get off the phone and call 911.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, RSV can quickly turn deadly in very young infants and 6 week-old Chelsea was losing her battle.  Dealing with overwhelming fear, I was an absolute wreck when the paramedics arrived just 3 minutes later!!!  They greeted me at my door, got us both into the ambulance and we were off to the hospital.  Those 2 paramedics calmed me down, reassured me that she was going to be fine, they rocked my baby girl, sang to her, held her tiny fingers, and stabilized her vitals the best that they could.......I will never forget them or stop appreciating what they did to physically help my daughter and to emotionally calm me.

The first responders are there during periods of fear, anxiety, anger, danger; they virtually see it all and have made it their job to take care of us and love us.  Whether we were in a car accident, a house fire, a domestic altercation, fell ill, these men and women try their hardest to bring us to safety no matter what the circumstances are. 

While we are on this topic, the amazing first responders at the Boston Marathon bombing saved so many victims that may have perished if it weren't for their quick thinking & fast acting.  These responders were incredibly brave, and I am so thankful for them!


So a big thank you today to the beautiful souls that have made it their mission in life to keep us safe, you are God's physical angels here on earth.

May God bless America!

Monday, September 9, 2013

You're OUTTA here!

 
Happy Monday everyone, I hope a good weekend was had by all!  Connor began his first day of Preschool today, and Mommy was VERY happy!!!  I had music going during breakfast, there were big smiles and I was looking for Baileys to place in my coffee to celebrate (okay, not really), but you get the picture, it was a joyous occasion.  You see, that child has been TORTURING.ME.ALIVE for the past 2 1/2 weeks.  I circled September 9th on my calendar and stared at it everyday, longing for it to arrive like a child waiting for Christmas Day.  The days dragged and dragged and I about lost my sanity a couple of times.  I realized that I began blogging the day after he was home with me full-time, he was the catalyst, the blog served as a mental escape from the constant craziness going on at home.  Connor's only form of entertainment was to annoy the piss out of his sister which would naturally result in her screaming and then me screaming.  I kept him occupied the best I could, but no matter where we were, what we were doing, it's apparently more fun to enrage your little sister. 
 
So, only tears of joy this morning for this mama.  He will learn, he will play, he will be entertained by children his own age and he will not be pushing me toward a straight jacket = happiest mommy in the world!
 
 

I took a few pictures of him leaving for his first day (he requested "shark hair").  His sign reads "Whose Mommy will restore sanity today?  This Guy's":

 
 
(By the way, I know restore isn't hyphenated, there was a page break, so I did what I could).  His face says it all in this last one.....HE KNOWS!
 
Have a good Monday, I know that I will! :)
 
UPDATE: Connor had the best first day back!  Since arriving home, he has been very very well behaved, and has been nice to his sister, AMEN!  There is peace in our home again.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Name Game



(WARNING: You many have this lil' ditty stuck in your head for the next 24-36 hours).


"There is NO way!" I said, "I don't believe you, let me see your driver's license!"
He pulled his wallet out of his pocket, slid his driver's license out and handed it to me.
I turned the overhead light on in the car to examine the specimen.  DOB, First Name, wait, there it is, Last Name, M-A-G-I-N.  Oh God, he's not lying, wait, that's too weird, no way!  Did he have a fake license made for our date to be funny, nooooo, who the hell would do that I thought to myself?  The fact that his last name was pronounced like my first name confirmed it for me, so I looked back at him and said "Todd, this has been a fun ride while it lasted, but I'm sorry, I can't marry you!", and gave him the biggest smile.  We had known each other for approximately 24 hours at this point and were on our first date.  I grabbed my purse and we headed into the bar and I knew that I couldn't fall in love with this man because nuptials would = Megan Magin.  But that's okay, I'm a toughy-pants and it took me all of 4 minutes to fall in love with him ;). 

Todd fell in love with me too (who can blame him, right?).......fast forward two years and we were engaged!  All of the stars had aligned perfectly and I realized that God had decided to play a little practical joke on me, my future hubby would have the same last name as my first!  A couple of weeks before our wedding I sat him down and broke the "news" gently......I would NOT be taking his last name.  My reasoning behind it was that I didn't want people to think that I was stuttering when I was giving my full-name, or that I just loved my first name so much that it was worth repeating.  I was also familiar with "the conversation" (I had already had a few of them during the wedding-vendors-contract-process), and it would go as follows, "I got your first name, but what's your last name?" and then I'd have to say I already gave it to you, it's "M-A-G-I-N".  I knew that I'd have to keep spelling the differences between both names and I'd sound like a roaming spelling bee contestant.  To minimize confusion with customer service agents & with every human being that I'd ever come in contact with, I'd stick with the ol' maiden name.  Todd was disappointed but understood, and asked very sweetly if our future offspring could have the last name Magin.  "Of course they would!" I told him, "this Megan Mama will have Magin babies, no problem!"

I thought that ALL confusion surrounding my name was nipped in the bud, but clearly I was na├»ve!  You see, once you are sending your kiddos off to preschool and you are always referred to as "Mrs. Magin", you just don't correct them, because then you'll have "the conversation".  I appreciate that everyone is amused by Megan Magin, but I have had the same conversation about 976 times and am trying to dodge it at this point in my life.  Other parents know your child's last name at school and when they are friendly and ask you your first name, oh snap you think, there you are again, back to the "Megan Magin conversation". 
Countless times I am asked my husband's name and then asked for my name, and I am right back at it.  "Oh, I got your last name ma'am, but what's your first name?"  Not again I tell myself, not again!  "My husband is Todd Magin (spelled THIS way) and I'm Megan Nugent (spelled THIS way).....I am losing patience with this conversation, if the damn names were spelled the same way it would've been easier I tell you!  I spell both versions of Megan/Magin repeatedly, "is there an h?", "is it MeAgan"?, "is it pronounced Meegan"?  Hooked on phonics has got nothing on this lady, there is lots of spelling in my future!  Then we have "the conversation" about why I chose not to become Megan Magin.  The overall consensus among the masses is that it would've been really cool for me to run around with the same name, "what an opportunity you had!"  This has occurred at doctor's offices, Goodyear Tire & Auto, with husband's co-workers, with my old co-workers, child's school, Walgreens pharmacy, etc. 

Ahhh, the things you do for love, 6 years of marriage later and I concede: instead of the conversations about why I didn't become Megan Magin, I should (I said it) have just become Megan Magin, I think life would've just been easier.

Love you Todd Magin! :)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Mama Nature

My husband and I recently took our children on an impromptu trip to an Orchard located on the outskirts of Winchester, Va.  We had the most beautiful evening (unexpectedly, I might add), picking blackberries, raspberries and peaches.  The temperature was a perfect 80 degrees, there was a light breeze and the sun was warming our faces.  We went row by row picking the largest, most fabulous blackberries you ever did see.  At one point we were all silent, either stuffing our faces with nature's candy or too busy picking.  During that silence you could hear one tiny bird singing her song off in the distance.  You could also hear the drone of the cicadas and the leaves from the peach trees rustling against one another.  I looked at my children at that very moment and thought to myself, "we are all most at peace and content when we are outdoors and connecting with mother nature."  It was sort of a revelation to me....my children are most happy when they are outdoors.  Looking back at my own childhood, I realized that all of my fondest memories were doing things outside.  I was so completely relaxed and happy during our 2 hour trip to the Orchard that I begged my hubby to make time to take us all back.  Here are some pictures from our excursion:












The older I get, the more I long to be outdoors and away from chaos and crowds.  A couple of months ago, my husband and I moved to a small town located about 50 minutes west of DC.  We have a backyard and every morning we can hear dozens of birds (although it's more of an infestation up in my hood), but it immediately relaxes me in the chaos of the morning.  In any direction you drive there are acres of fields and trees and grass.  My husband makes fun of me because as soon as we get out of our immediate neighborhood and away from civilization, I have the windows down, I'm smiling, and keep repeating a million times how beautiful it is, I get giddy with excitement and I know that I resemble this:

 
 
On a recent date night in DC, driving was eliciting mini panic attacks every 60 seconds.  I'm no longer accustomed to all of the traffic and cars coming an inch from hitting my car.  I look back at my years of working in the city and think about how over-stimulating it was, too many smells (a lot of which are not pleasant), too many sights, too many sounds, people physically bumping into you.  It's all such a sensory overload for the body, mind and spirit.  We go from chaos all day long, then commute and go straight home, where the hum of appliances, like dishwashers, washer and dryers, air conditioners, TVs, radios, are constant in the background. We can connect with internet via multiple devices be it laptops, IPads, e-readers, our cellphones. Our cell phones ding with text messages, emails coming in, calendar reminders, or just plain ringing.  My children aren't old enough for the electronics and video games yet, but I will always push for us to be outdoors as a family even when they're teens.  I think "unplugging" from the electronics can be soothing, and it's important for even pre-teens and teenagers to experience it. 


I think removing ourselves from our hectic environments is so therapeutic, and boy, as I've grown older, I've grown to appreciate this more and more.  To be alone with your thoughts in the warm sun and a nice breeze with just greenery surrounding you is good for the soul.  In my opinion, hiking in the deep woods is the best form of free therapy a person can do.  What's better for you than the release of endorphins and your heart pumping while there is nothing but quiet and beauty all around you?  I think that we were all designed to spend more time in nature and connect to the earth and just feel more "grounded".

Years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I took advantage of one of his company's perks, to visit a vacation Guest House that they offer to employees.  We chose to visit the Hoboken, NJ guest house, but we didn't know that I'd be 4 months preggers at the time that we signed up for it.  Our 5-day stay coincided with what turned out to be record breaking heat in New York City.  We spent the 1st day schlepping around the city, cab to cab, visiting building after building (looking for bathrooms mostly), walking through crowded Little Italy and Chinatown.  I was the meanest, most cranky, acting like a 2-year-old you ever did meet come 6pm.  I swear it must have been trash day for the entire city that first day that we were there because there was tons of trash all over the sidewalks, or maybe it's like that everyday?, I don't know.  The smell of sour milk and dead animal filled every block, and being preggers and consequently gagging, I felt like I had been dropped in hell.


The only breeze being generated was that from cabs and buses whizzing by and spewing their exhaust all over us.  I was in a hot, spoiled milk-smelling, exhaust-ridden, noisy environment and one look at my face said it all: I wanted out!  We took the ferry back to our Guest House and revised our itinerary, what did we do?  We spent the next four days in Central Park, and I was as happy as a clam. 
Here are a few pictures captured from our Central Park trip (can you tell that I LOVE black & white photos?):








In my twenties, I would have been in love with the bright lights and excitement that the city had to offer.  You could people-watch, take in the sights and sounds and be part of the action in what is one of the coolest cities in the world.  Lately though, just hanging with the birds and trees makes me the happiest girl in the world.

I wonder if the next couple of decades will leave me yearning for different surroundings, perhaps the city will be appealing to me again, and I will find the great outdoors boring, who knows? In the interim I will soak in the beautiful serene countryside surrounding me and be thankful for mama nature.

Dear Mama Nature,

Disclaimer: I want all of mama nature's creatures to stay in their environment and not in my home or on my person.  :)