Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The New Phelps

DISCLAIMER:  This was written September 2013, update provided below.

Conversation between Shari (the saint of a woman who runs the home daycare Teddy goes to) and myself while dropping Teddy off:

Shari:  How was the weekend?
Me:     Pretty good.  We went swimming with the Berre's and had a blast.  Teddy kept trying to squirm out of our arms in the pool so he got one timeout for not listening.
Shari:  (laughing) He's trying to get out of your arms because he can swim.  He doesn't need you to hold him.
Me:     I'm sorry, what?  Wait...what?

Keep in mind at this point it's August.  She has a pool and on the first day she explained that she taught all of the kids to swim, and that during the summer they would swim every day.  I've gotten lots of fun pics of splashing, kicking legs, and jumping in.  She said he was swimming and getting so much better each day.  In my mind - this obviously just meant that he was comfortable in the water and having fun.

Shari:  (Still laughing uncontrollably) I told you he could swim.  He can go about 5 feet by himself. They jump in from the steps and swim to me, and then back.
Me:  Are you telling me that my 1.5 year old can swim?  
Shari: (Tears in her eyes now) Yes, Ellen.  He can swim.  He really loves holding his breath and swimming at the bottom.  That's his favorite.  Next time you are swimming with him, tell him to hold his breath and pull him to the bottom.  You can place your foot on his back so he can stay at the bottom for a few seconds.  He loves it.
Me:  Shari.  Did you just tell me that you step on my child, while he's under water?
Shari: (Doubled over in laughter now)
Me:  I need to sit down.  (I walk into the house and sit down in the front room).  Are you serious right now? 
Shari: Come over tomorrow afternoon and you can swim with us and I can show you.
Me:  No no.  If I see you step on him underwater, I will have a heart attack, scar the kid for life and he will never want to swim again.  He's still alive - so it must work.  I just don't want to see it.

I'll spare you the word for word 30 minute conversation where I grilled her.  I needed step by step instructions of what she does.  All of it makes perfect sense and is VERY safe, but this anxious momma could have NEVER pulled it off.  NEVER.

Well, turns out that she was right.  He can swim.  He absolutely loves the water.  I can GUARANTEE that I had zero part in teaching him how to swim.  Just a happy by-product of having a very experienced day care provider.  Readers:  Obviously - do not step on any children while they're under the water.  Leave that to the professionals.  If it were up to me he would still be wearing floaties and barely getting his hair wet.

Some of our summer fun (praise Jesus that he loves the water as much as we do):

We specifically went to Rough Creek Lodge a few weeks later just to have access to a pool and see this "swimming" for ourselves:

Fast forward a summer and here's a video from June 2014: 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Toddlers, Tantrums, and Time outs

That's what I should rename this blog: Toddlers, Tantrums, and Time Outs.  That's what my life consists of at the moment.  A cute little rambunctious toddler.  He runs everywhere.  He loves the sound his shoes make on the hard wood floors so he really stomp runs, and then runs in place once he's gotten to his destination.  A toddler who thinks he's invincible and has no fear.  He wants to climb.  He wants to jump.  He wants to climb up and then jump.  He's covered head to toes in bruises.

The cute little toddler mentioned above disappears in an instant when he's not getting his way.  Just try to remove him from the park before he is ready to leave.  Gaaah.  It's like he's tapped into every fear I have: being stared at, judged, and loud noises.  First, the 100th percentile head is thrown back with such force it's a blessing he hasn't knocked him self out.  Then, here come the jello legs and arms.  There's no way to pick him up without some sort of awkward chase. Wait for it...what's next... a cry, right?  It's not a cry with tears.  It's not a stomp of the foot.  It's a piercing shriek.  I don't know another way to describe it.  He inhales and shrieks at the top of his lungs until his lips turn blue, and then he repeats.  Meanwhile, every eye is on me.  How will I react?  Am I responding appropriately?  Am I torturing my son?  Should they call police?  

Time Outs.  Wow.  Who would have ever thought that a time out could be so painful?  Again - our kiddo plays us like a fiddle.  We started time outs around his first birthday when you could see him making willful choices not to listen.  He sits in the kitchen and the microwave timer counts down his 60 seconds of torture.  He has several different techniques to combat the time out.  Sometimes he just cries (not the shriek mentioned above - that's only saved for company or public outings when we are at our weakest).  The guilt trip (he's half Georgian after all)...he will yell "why" or my heart wrenching favorite "love you" the full 60 seconds.  The cute diversion.  He'll sit there happily and try to sneak into the living room.  Once eye contact is made, he will give you the best smile ever and wave and say, "hi."  

Apparently he's advanced for his age - he started the terrible two's around 1.5 years.  Maybe they should add that to the chart they give you at the pediatricians office?

What's this magical ice with bright colors and a spoon all of my own?

Might need two hands to tackle this miracle from above.

It's all gone?!?!  Why?!?!  Why?!?!?!

Monday, November 11, 2013

A few more firsts...

First Valentine:
Remember that post (way back when I posted regularly) where I told you TJ takes Teddy to the grocery store at the drop of a hat?  Well, it's still true.  It's so true that Teddy has quite the following at the local Tom Thumb.  It freaked me out the first time I took him to the store.  I felt like everyone was staring and about to question my right to have him with me.  Teddy got several "hello's" and I got "Where's TJ?"  Note to self:  take your son grocery shopping more.

It happened sooner than I thought it would.  Teddy received his first official Valentine.  (My heart is breaking just typing this).  A checker at the grocery store bought him a balloon and stickers.  He loved it.  She beat me to the punch.  Barely one month past his first birthday and he got his first Valentine's...whew...the teenage years may be a little scary.  

Yes, we did tie the balloon to him and watch him try to catch it.  It's the little things in life.

First Birthday Party:
While still recovering from my little boy getting a Valentine's day gift and flashing forward 15 years to a real girlfriend...I get another blow...he's been invited to his first official birthday party where I don't know the parents (Gavin is his best friend at daycare). We've seen his parent's during drop off / pick up, but we don't know know them, you know?  A few pics from his first grown up party...soooo weird. Time slow down.  Also, the drooling will stop eventually, right?  Right? RIGHT?!?!

Who's surprised that TJ's having more fun than most of the kids? Not me.
Our little drooly monster.  Hopefully he'll outgrow bibs by High School.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Anyone still here?

Yeah - about that whole "updating my blog" thing.  Whoopsies.  It's very surreal to me that people read this.  I write some posts and then forget to publish them.  Then it's been a few months so why would I post them now?   I've had a few requests for updates so I'm just going to back date some of these and we'll catch up over the last year.  So just pretend that these next several posts were actually published and/or written at the time they occurred. Great, thanks. 

Let's see...where did we last leave off in this journey?  Teddy had just turned one.  I gave you some insight into my family with my sister Carol and brother-in-law RIchy.  Wow.  Seems like we have a lot of ground of cover.  I better start writing...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Richard Edward Short

It takes me a good 5 minutes to explain what Teddy’s name is.  Well, at least his “official” name.  His birth certificate (not that I have it yet since you apparently have to pay for it and go to the courthouse to get it) reads “Tilmon Edward Hurt.” 

I’ll save the full story of his full name for later, but right now I’d like to focus on the Edward part.  Richard Edward Short, that is.  He’s my brother-in-law and today is his 40th birthday.  The following are the 40 reasons that I love him and I promise this just skims the surface (broken down into categories):

Things that make me laugh:
1.       He says, “I’m going to be honest with you.”  It sounds like, “Imma gonnabe honest widya.”

2.       Ask him to say, “hamburger.”

3.       He screams at the top of his lungs and claps like a little girl when he’s being chased. 

4.       He hates boogers.  For such a manly man, he literally cannot stand to have a booger near him.  Forget about a poopy diaper.  I would suggest chasing him with either, then refer to # above.

5.       He doesn’t understand technology.  I think he might be part caveman.  If it has more than an on and off switch, then don’t waste your time.

6.       He chews on straws.  Always has.  It’s the weirdest thing ever.

7.       He messes up common sayings like he’s a foreigner or something.  Like Jesus Toledo, instead of Holy Toledo, but my favorite is, “If that was a snake, you’d be in jail.”  What?!?

8.       He’s always doing something inappropriate when no one is looking.  Try to catch him sometime.  It’s the best.  It’s normally mouthing something to me that he shouldn’t or a crude hand gesture.  It makes me laugh so hard.

9.       He introduces Andrea, as “My first wife, Debbie.” It’s so ridiculous and he’s always done it.  Nolan and Mason even call her “Debbie Momma” just to shake her up.  We are currently working on getting Teddy to say “Debbie Andi.”

10.   Getting something in mail from him is like Christmas morning, a really inappropriate Christmas morning.  Packages show up with huge labels: TJ’s Penis Pump, Let Yourself Into the House – They Won’t Care, ect.  It gets worse but I can’t even type them without cringing.

Things he loves:
11.   He has the best sense of adventure.  He will eat just about anything.  He loves the crazy exotic foods and is not scared to give it a shot. 

12.   Hunting.  This is pretty self explanatory, but still – he asked for a hunting trip for his 40th birthday. 

13.   Risks.  He left the comfort of his corporate job and started his own business.  He knew he could it.  He knew it would provide a better life for his family.  It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t safe.

14.   He loves sports.  All sports.  This actually might be the biggest understatement ever.  He loves sports.  He named his first born son after Nolan Ryan for crying out loud.

15.   He loves to pick on me.  Endlessly and without compassion. In high school, he called me ‘Yellow Dog.’  (The dog from Funny Farm that slept all of the time.)  He took great joy in picking me on endlessly any time that I dozed off – which in fairness was quite a bit.

16.   Competition.  He loves a fight and it’s just in his soul.  He loves everything about it.  Whether it’s the world series or a casual challenge to see who can eat the most shrimp at all you can eat buffet.  He’s going to put 110% into it, and he demands that you give the same thing. 

17.   Laughing.  He has not had an easy life by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s made the most of it with true laughter.  Laughs that makes your stomach hurt, eyes water, and shoulders shake.  He is one of the top 5 funniest people I know.  Hands down.

18.   Surround him with good friends, good beer, and a good sporting event and he might never leave.   If this occurs outside, in the cold, and by a fire then you will be there until morning.

19.   A clean house.  Men can tend to be pretty messy (he’s no exception) but when he gets on a cleaning roll (which is often), watch out.  You might never find the remote again because he put it under the bathroom sink, but by God, the living room will be clean.

20.   His boys.  He’s the best father.  The best.  He loves taking them to the hunting club. To a ball game.  He’s involved and I promise you that Nolan and Mason will never wonder if their father loved them.  It’s in his every action.  Every game he attends, every ball he throws, every conversation he has, and every hug he gives. 

Things I admire:
21.   He’s the most giving person and I know (and I’m married to TJ Hurt so that say’s something).  He will give you the shirt off his back.  He will go to the store buy a new shirt and then give you that one too just so you have a spare.  I have a million stories for how giving he is.

22.   His love of his family.  He would do anything for them.  He would protect them with his life, work himself to the bone to provide for them, and go out of his way to love them.  He gave me the ultimate example of what to except in a husband and I am forever grateful.  He loves her so well.  He may not be one to write a poem or buy flowers but he loves extravagantly. 

23.   He’s a man’s man.  He nearly cut off his finger and instead of going to the doctor he taped it with duct tape.  I can’t make that up.  He is tough.  Real tough.

24.   You cannot.  I repeat.  CAN NOT out drink him.  Do not try.  I’m not condoning such activities but it really is kind of amazing to see how much he can consume.

25.   He is the ultimate provider.  He will put food on the table no matter what and it will come from the sweat of his brow and he will not brag about it.  You probably will never know all of the things he’s had to do because he does not toot his own horn. 

26.   He’s a human lie detector.  He sees through people in a second and can tell you within one meeting whether or not someone is a good person. 

27.   He listens to you.  Most people just wait their turn to talk.  He listens. 

28.   He’s just fun.  There’s no other word for it.  He can make going to the grocery store for bread an adventure.  He’s the one you want to make sure you sit next to at lunch.  He’s the one you hope you get to ride in the car with because there won’t be any awkward silence. 

29.   He’s the best uncle. He checks up on Teddy all of the time.  ALL of the time.  He’s not the most sensitive man (I literally just laughed – because again that’s a pretty big understatement) but he loves Teddy so well. 

30.   His faith.  It was so much fun to get to be Santa Claus for Nolan and Mason, and one thing that I could always count on was Mike and Richy leaving for Midnight Mass together.  I love that he knows what’s most important.

My favorite memories:
31.   He let me come on a date with him and Andrea.  I was in the 5th grade when they started dating so he was basically Superman to me.  He played baseball, had longer hair, the best blue eyes ever, and he said I could come to the movies with them.  Back then Andrea didn’t have much need for an annoying little sidekick so getting to go to the movies with her and her dreamy new boyfriend was basically just short of a miracle for me.

32.   He’s partly to blame for my competitiveness.   I remember challenging him to a race when he was talking about baseball conditioning at Truett McConnell.  He smoked me.  I could challenge him to a race today, and he would push me down before he let me beat him.

33.   I was very lucky to be in the room when both Nolan and Mason were born. I will always cherish the moment when Andrea started pushing and me and Richy made eye contact.  It was a calm before the storm , and we were there for each other in the craziness that ensued.

34.   Sitting in Mellow Mushroom and having dinner after Mason was born.  Andrea is still probably mad at how long we took, but we had a great dinner after such a hard day.

35.   He surprised me for Teddy’s dedication.  He hates flying.  Period.  I didn’t even consider that he would make the trip.  That meant the world to me, and I will tear up just thinking about it.   

36.   He’d push me off the couch, take off his socks and shoes, and wiggle his feet until I’d rub them.  It was the only way to get him to go away and he can be quite stubborn.

37.   He sings all of the time.  Half the time I ignore his calls just so I can listen to his voice mail.  He will keep going until time runs out.  His tends do a lot of Garth Brooks, but he also makes up his fair share too.  I listen to my favorite ones on hard days just to make me smile.

38.   I have a voice mail saved on my phone from 8/21/11.  I was pregnant and still throwing up constantly.  He just wanted to check on me since he saw that I had called the house.  He’s talking in a funny voice and being ridiculous, but he’s checking on me. 

39.   I love the thousands of stupid conversations we have without even speaking.  We will make eye contact from across the room and have a silent conversation by just making faces. 

40.   He pulls me in for the best bear hug ever, but then will feel the need to shake me to death and mess up my hair, just because.  He gives the best hugs ever.  Hugs that take away all of your sadness and make you feel loved and protected.

Happy 40th Richy!  I love you.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mary Carol Tuggle

Speaking of time passage, there is one date that will forever be marked in my heart.  It’s the day I lost my oldest sister.  Luckily the horror of those few days before and after are blurred with only small memories.  The memories I do have are painful, will instantly bring tears to my eyes, and make me want to drown my pain in the nearest thing that is bad for me. 

It’s always a hard thing when you lose someone so close to you earlier than you should.  It feels like you’ll never smile again.  Never know true happiness again.  The light has gone out of the world and surely you will die of a broken heart.  Somehow, inexplicably, life continues.  Birthdays come and go.  Milestone are hit. 

If you ever look at my knees they are covered in scars.  I was trying to keep up with the big kids in the neighborhood (surprise surprise) and crashed my bike. I had a blast going down that hill until that stupid rock got in the way.  I always think of that crash when I see my knees.  Healing from the loss of a loved one feels very much like that.  Healing comes, but there’s a scar.  You are marked.  It takes a long time, but eventually you hold on to that scar because it’s what’s left.  The memory.

How you view that memory defines you.  You can be bitter and angry (which trust me, I was).  You can block that memory and try to move on (didn’t work).  You can hold on to that memory so hard that you never fully appreciate the present because your thoughts are in the past (which also, trust me, I did and sometimes fall back into on sad days).  Then, there’s the option of looking down on that scar and smiling.  Choosing to remember the thrill of the ride, instead of the pain it caused.

Here are just a very few reasons that I smiled today:

·         She sneezed in 3’s.  Sometimes Teddy does too.  On his third sneeze, we always say, “Hey Carol.”
·         She didn’t need anyone to fight her battles. Just ask Andrea...Carol was picking her up from school and a boy was making fun of her.  Andrea gave him the bird.  Let's just say Carol did not appreciate her little/big sister making such a crude gesture.
·         She used Vicks VapoRub every night before bed (she always had a hard time breathing).  To this day I will burst into tears if I smell it.  I love it, but it hurts.
·         Her laugh was more of a cackle.  It was awesome.
·         She loved scary movies.
·         She wrote in all of her books.  Signed her name or wrote me a message.  I love to read and always think of her when I start a new book.
·         She was ALWAYS cold.  Cold hands.  Cold feet.  Warm heart.
·         I don’t have one single memory of her being mean to anyone who patronized her for being so short.  She handled it all so much more calmly than either Andrea or I ever could.  We always wanted to fight back, but she took it in such stride.
·         I hate shopping.  Mama and Andrea always loved it.  Carol would always sit with me whenever they would shop for hours.  We had each other.
·         Her answering machine used to say, “You’ve reached Carol, Shadow, and Kit.”  Shadow was her dog and Kit her cat. 
·         She couldn’t drink and eat at the same time (medical reason) so I wouldn’t drink either so she wouldn’t feel alone.  I still hardly drink when I eat now.  That first sip after a meal, I always think of her.
·         My dog “Buddy” was her dog’s brother.  I loved that sisters had dogs that were brothers.  I remember thinking that was the neatest thing. 
·         I have a Pound Puppy that I have absolutely loved thread bare.  I only wanted him because Carol had one.
·         She wore a small gold necklace with 3 hearts for me, her, and Andrea. 
·         She had to sit on stacks of pillows to see over the steering wheel.
·         She was blind in her left eye and hated if you walked on that side because she couldn’t see you.  When I walk with someone I still only walk on the right side.  When I catch myself doing it, I always smile.
Oh, Carol.  You were my best friend.  You were dealt a very hard hand, and you handled it as best you could.   My 16 years with you just wasn’t enough time.  I’m glad that I find reasons to smile on this terribly sad day.  The laughs and the love were worth it.  I hurt because I was blessed with you, and no matter how much time I had with you, I guarantee that I would’ve wanted more. 
I hate that I don't have a ton of digital pictures of you or anything to hold onto that was yours (other than the necklace that is just too sacred to wear).  I do have few pictures though and they are precious to me.
Daddy's Little Girl. 

Always by my side.  My best friend.

 Easter at Maw Maw's
Thanksgiving at Bea's

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

12 Months of Teddy

Teddy is officially a one-year old.  Holy crap.  How did that happen?  It seems like yesterday that  we were sleep deprived zombies of parents just realizing the horror of the 3 hour feed myth.  During my MISERABLE pregnancy I discovered Pinterest.  I loved seeing the progression pictures where you take the kiddos pictures once a month.  (Ideally, I would have loved to take a picture of myself each week, but there was no time for that what, with all of the throwing up and tears...I digress.)

Oh, Pinterest.  How I love to hate you.  On one hand, it’s so much fun to look at party ideas and dream about the wonderful dinners, decorations, and outfits.  On the other hand, there is the absolute certainty that I will NEVER live up to those expectations.  

Here is our little experiment at trying to live up to Pinterest.  I’d give us a solid A.  Why?  Extra bonus points for TJ adding the labels mimicking laundry detergents, but we probably lose a few points for some of these not being taken one the exact month (give or take a few days…)

It was actually pretty fun getting to document all of his favorite pajamas.  It was an absolute circus trying to set this up every month.  I have to admit, there is a small part of me that loves that he’s one and we don’t have to do this each month anymore.  There’s also a small part that looks at these every chance I get.