Girls Night?

I took Ellie with me to Fred Meyer recently to do a little birthday shopping for my dad. I already had the main part of his gift, but I always always always give him lots of chocolate every year so I had to pick some up. I put Ellie in the mini cart and we set off to find yummies.

When I passed the “feminine” aisle, I realized I needed tampons, so I threw a few boxes into the cart. Then we made our way to the candy aisle and I put five or six different kinds of chocolate in the cart (see where this is going? well, I was oblivious) and headed toward the liquor store for a nice bottle of beer to give my Dad.

After choosing a specialty beer, I wheeled my kid and my loot up to the counter and started unloading. The poor kid behind the counter rang up tampax, chocolate, chocolate, beer, tampax, chocolate and chocolate before he couldn’t help himself…

“Girls’ night?”

EL. OH. EL.

Sweet Baby Art

Have you been looking for a simple and safe way to get your kiddos involved in art projects? My sister Jess and I picked up a few canvases on sale at Micheals recently and decided to let the girls (Ellie & Emma, 11 months and 9 months) finger-paint… so we mixed Cool Whip and food coloring for a bright but edible baby-safe “paint”. (If you need some other craft materials or even some ideas, here’s this resource from Crayola to help you out.)

First, we duct-taped a few garbage bags to the floor to make clean-up easy. Then we mixed a few drops of food coloring into small bowls of whipped cream, and that’s all the planning we needed. Once we stripped the girls down to diapers, we simply let ’em go (supervised, of course)!

The little cuties ended up eating a lot of it, but we did get four beautiful and unique canvases out of the project. This would definitely be an inexpensive, fun and meaningful gift for a family member (planning Christmas gifts early, anyone?)!

 

Babies!

How amazing it is that my sister Jess and I had babies at the same time? Because you’re *sort of* a captive audience (butpleasedon’tleaveme), I must share with you these pictures of our gorgeous babies, Ellie Lynn and Emma Lynn. Enjoy. Or else.

 

Photo credit to Karsen Marie Welch-King, of KMarie Photography. As you can see, she is an amaaaahhzing photgrapher (andshe happens to be one of my little supersisters). :)

Emotional Socks

When Adam and I found out we were pregnant, we decided to tell our families in a slightly special way… we gave everyone a greeting card, in which we simply wrote, “finally!” and included a tiny pair of baby socks.

It was awesome to watch everyone’s reactions, and I especially loved Dirk’s – he just broke out into a HUGE smile, and said “alright!” with his signature little chuckle. And then he squeezed me so hard I thought I might pass out.

When Adam and I began cleaning out his house a few months ago, it was no small task. Dirk kept so much crap that Adam and I simultaneously laughed, cried and sighed our way through the weekend. It took me a while to notice this, and I hadn’t even noticed this before he died… but when I looked up and saw this, I burst into huge, body-spasm sobs:

 

 

 

He would have loved her so much.

Happy Birthday, Dirk

Today my father-in-law would have been 54.

It is insane how often he fills my thoughts… I joke with my sister Amanda about how every time a damn Journey song comes on, I burst into tears – but really he’s ALWAYS in my head. And when he’s not, the reality of his absence quickly comes crashing back into me like a brick wall, and I literally lose my breath.

The other day Adam bought a really neat halibut rod for himself, and I laughed when I remembered that Dirk would have said, “Why didn’t you buy ME one? Dammit, Adam, when you find cool things and great deals, ALWAYS ALWAYS get one for me too. You know I’ll pay you back!”

Ellie has recently started doing the “indian call” where she puts her hand to her mouth while talking and it sounds like “aaabahbahbahbahbahbah”… and I laughed when I thought of how Dirk would have said, “oh be careful, you don’t want people to think she’s racist!”. I laughed even harder when Adam said the same exact thing out loud a few days later (he is definitely his father’s son).

Amanda is getting married in 2 days, and I tear up when I think about how Dirk would have loved to be there. He would have wanted to twirl her around in her beautiful white dress, and pick her up and hug her and tell her how beautiful she is. He would have wanted to strongarm her new husband and tell him to take care of her, or else. He would have wanted to laugh and drink beer and celebrate with everyone in the room.

Ellie and Talon and Emma are all 9 months old now, and beginning to crawl and scream and laugh and love. Dirk would have wanted to surround himself with our babies on a daily basis, and make plans for fishing and hunting and camping with “the kids”.

I think about Dirk every time I open my wallet and see my fishing license, because it makes me think about how we found 23 fishing licenses from years’ past when we cleaned out his house… he was ever the conspiracy theorist. “Don’t let the gov’t have your information! Keep all of your records safe!”

I still occassionally find a rogue pair of Dirk’s reading glasses at our house, in drawers or cabinets – or behind the couch, in this instance. He bought reading glasses in giant packs from Costco, yet could never seem to find any (probably because they were under the couch — hey Dirk, I found them!).

A few nights ago I made homemade baked chicken taquitos, and I smiled because I know Dirk would have loved them – and he would have raved about them and sang my praises to everyone he saw for a week (that’s just how he was). He also would have loved the simple fact that we shared them with a big group of friends – dinners at our house just aren’t the same without him.

Sometimes I just stare at our couch and picture him stretched out, relaxing after a long day at work… his stinky socks all over my couch pillows.

Whenever Adam tinkers around with the boat or something in the garage, I think about Dirk, and how he should be out there helping (and by helping, I mean telling Adam how to do it right while drinking a beer and asking if we have any food) (but really, he helped a lot too).

Driving in my car, my thoughts always turn to Dirk. I don’t know if it’s just because my mind wanders a lot when I drive, but I always end up crying when I drive by myself for longer than 30 minutes.

Whenever Ellie has a milestone, I wish I could tell him. Dirk, Ellie cut her first tooth today. Dirk, Ellie is almost walking! Dirk, Ellie loves smoked salmon. Dirk, Ellie loves being in the water. Dirk, Ellie smiles whenever she sees your picture, even though she’s never met you. Dirk… Ellie has already grown out of those baby socks, can you believe it?

Whenever I hear a Russian accent, I think of Dirk. (lol)

And yes, whenever I hear any song by Journey, I think of Dirk.

We miss you so much, Pops.

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

So you think you’re lonely
Well my friend I’m lonely too
I wanna get back to my city by the bay

It’s sad, oh there’s been mornings
Out on the road without you
Without your charms

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

When the lights go down in the city
And the sun shines on the bay
Do I wanna be there in my city?

-Journey, “Lights”

It’s called an “addition” for a reason…

When we decided to have a baby, Adam and I had many discussions revolving around what type of parents we would be, how we would raise our children – and most importantly, how our lives would change. We always ended up at the conclusion that our lives would basically be the same, just with extra little mini-Fasts worked in. We envisioned camping and hunting and fishing and softball and yard games and beer pong and lots of time with all of our child’s “aunties” and “uncles”. We knew that people who were important to us and a huge part of our every day lives would automatically become equally important to our kids, and everyone would be the same and life would be just double the fun with the addition of our amazing kid(s).

Boy, were we wrong.

As I’m sure everysingleoneofyou out there who has had a child before us ALREADY KNOWS … our vision was bullshit. Here’s the surprising thing to me (Adam as well): we DO still go camping and hunting and fishing, and we play softball and yard games and beer pong – even with Ellie around; we DON’T spend “lots” of time with our pre-Ellie friends who don’t yet have children.

B.E. (“Before Ellie”), we talked to our friends on a near-daily basis. B.E. we saw our friends on a near-weekly basis. B.E. our social calendar was overflowing, and friends freely confided in us their joys, heartaches and minor annoyances.

A.E. (“After Ellie”) is a lot different – obviously in so many ways, but specifically concerning our social lives, it’s so much more different than we would have imagined. A.E. we really only hang out with our two or three friends who have their own children. A.E. people are afraid to call us, confide in us or invite us to social events. A.E. our friends are nervous to bother us.

So… another Superwife PSA for you: babies are called “additions” for a reason.

Adam is still the same Adam – he is a hilarious, sarcastic, sympathetic, competitive, super-fun, loving and concerned husband, brother, son, grandson, nephew and friend. Now, however, he simply has another title to add to that list – father. I am still the same Jenny – a snarky, fun, sympathetic, adventurous, loving, honest and caring wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and friend. Also, I’m now a mother. See how that works? Those lists? Just got longer, not shorter. We added to our lives, we didn’t take anything away from them.

We still care about our friends. We still want to hear about your joys, your heartaches, your simple everyday wins and losses and annoyances. Remember when we were single? Treat us that way. No, we don’t want to go tear it up cruising for dates or anything, but we want to have the same carefree conversations that we’re used to. We are both perfectly capable of having a conversation that is not peppered with mentions of poop, spitup, laughing baby videos, etc. Pissed about something at work? Sick family member? Excited about anything? PLEASE SHARE. Having a baby did not make us any less enthusiastic about hearing from you.

Those movies that portray new parents as rude, harried jerks who only care about their baby are ridiculous. I will never tell you “Oh yeah? You think you have problems? Well try having a baby who keeps you up all night” – or anything of the sort. I will never blow off your life as trivial just because I have Ellie. I am still capable of having intellectual, adult conversations.

I know that naturally, people will move in different directions (or in the same direction, but at a different pace) and that will lead to distance. I know that we’re in a different place than many of our friends… but please, don’t think that just because we have a baby (or, because we lost a loved one recently) that we have changed so drastically. We still love all of the same things – with the addition of a baby.

Ellie is an ADDITION. In absolutely no way has she subtracted from anything. She has enriched every aspect of our lives – and we are both better people because of her. We’re probably MORE caring, MORE sympathetic, MORE sensitive to your emotions and feelings and friendships.

BABIES – They’re called “additions”… Remember that.

Assignment: Love

To all of my wonderful Superwife fans out there, I have a homework assignment for you. Yes, homework… stop rolling your eyes already, you children – this one should be easy.

Right now, today, tomorrow and for every day for the rest of your being, tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Call your mom this instant. Hug your husband. Kiss your daughter. Email your grandpa. Text your cousin. Video chat with your sister.

Adam and I have witnessed, been through or helped someone else through so many unexpected and devastating events over the past few years, and upon reflection I know it’s only going to get worse as we continue to get older. We’re going to lose (more) parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, close friends…

In the last several years I’ve lost a grandmother, a grandfather and a dad (in-law, but I assure you the relationship was of father-daughter status). A beautiful friend died of alcohol poisoning; another, of carbon monoxide poisoning. I’ve seen many friends mourn grandparents. One girlfriend’s father recently died in an auto accident. Most recently, a dear friend’s sister was murdered by a jilted ex.  

These things are real, people. Unexplainable, horrifying, devastating and heartbreaking things happen – sometimes in a tragic instant. To wonderful people. I really, truly do not know why, but I know my faith helps my heart. Please keep your relationships strong, and vocalize your love. Love out loud. The loss of Dirk is still an incredibly raw and throbbing vein of emotion in this house (and in many others), but knowing that we said and showed our “I love you”s helps in a small way. I know that Dirk knows I love him; I know that Dirk knows Adam loves him, and it comforts me to know that we didn’t hold back emotions in our relationship with him.

So, this is just a little PSA – Don’t hold back. Make extra time. Give a million heartfelt hugs.

 LOVE OUT LOUD.

“Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated.” -Lamartine