Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just when I got used to being alone

I normally am not hesitant...
I have been in relationships.
I know the ups and downs.
I kinda know what to expect.

About a month ago, I had decided that I was good where I was at.
I was happy with it being my boys and I.
I was happy with being alone.

Everyone has always told me that when you stop looking is when it happens.
I'm not saying love... because I don't feel like I'm in love.
But I have found someone that I will let hang around for a while...

DP and I have been friends since college.
He's going through a divorce.
I have offered a listening ear.

The time we have spent together has slowly increased.
We have taken the step farther to agree that we are dating.

But I have started freaking out inside.
I like the friendship that we have... but I'm not sure I am cut out for a relationship anymore.
I would rather cut ties when things are going well than to be hurt again.
Looking back I have done this with the last few guys.

The thing is... with the last few guys, I haven't "known" them.
I know DP.
He is in my circle of friends.
So, this 'taking it to the next step' is even scarier for me because if things don't work out, not only do I lose a boyfriend, I lose a friend as well...

He and I discussed this.
We sat at my kitchen table and I told him that I would rather walk away than to get hurt.
He told me he doesn't plan on hurting me... or letting me walk away.
I guess we'll see where life decides to take me...

Friday, August 26, 2011

How the 13th turned out to be lucky...

On the morning of August 13, I sat in my hotel's continental breakfast area with my boys watching the weather report.


Rain on my brother's wedding day.

I was sad... they had planned... and practiced ...for an outside wedding ...on the bluff ...looking over Lake Michigan... and one minuscule word was going to ruin it all... Rain.

Pictures were to start for the guys at 11:30.
The rain started at 10:00.
Not light misty rain.... No. Hard torrential rain.

I call my brother, Tim, "So... what's the plan?"
"We're getting married on the bluff!!!"

11:30 comes... The rain stops.
The guys get their pictures done.

Pictures for the girls were to start at 12:45.
12:20 - Rain. a nice, steady rain.

I call my brother, Tim, "So... what's the plan?"
"We're getting married on the bluff!!! Tell everyone to come to the bluff. You have pictures in 20 minutes."

12:45 comes... The rain stops.
Pictures end for us girls around 1:30... as guest begin to arrive... so does the rain...

People carrying umbrellas.
Looking. Wondering... if it will be moved inside.
But I already knew the answer... so I wasn't going to be the one to ask again.

At 2:00... the time Xuan was to walk down the aisle... the rain stopped... the sky blued.
She looked stunning!!(Like all brides should be)

They had a little silliness... as all wedding should have. (Check out the ring barer)

By the time they kissed, you would have never known it rained.

I got to see my brother happier than I have ever seen him be...

My siblings and I happily welcomed Xuan to our family.

We got into cars to head for the Vietnamese ceremony.
The sky opened up.
Perfect timing.... because the rest was inside.

My brother has always said the thirteenth was his lucky number... guess it proved to be true.
Tim & Xuan cutting the cake I made

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Can you put that thing away?!

Let me just preface with the fact that I am all about breastfeeding.
I breastfed both my boys until they were 15months old.
I diligently pumped.
I did all that was needed to sustain that situation for my children.

With that being said... I was conscious of the fact that not everyone wanted to see my hugely engorged milking machines I called breasts.

At my brother's wedding, I ran into my cousin, A. I honestly probably haven't seen her since she was in my wedding back in 1999.  She has a little one about 5 months old. We stood and chatted for a while.

Later after dinner, when I was walking back to my table, she grabbed my arm.  I, of course, looked down to see who had me. I was completely taken aback when I looked down to see her boob hanging out of her shirt... her son was on her lap... and her boob was just there!!! for God and all creation to see!!!

She says to me, "My husband says that you two have never met... I wanted to introduce you." 

I'm not exactly sure as to what I said in response... because in my head I was thinking, "well... your boob and I haven't been formally introduced either, but I sure do feel like we are getting to know each other quite well."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I saw myself in her

Today I got a call...

"Hey Dawn.  I have a little girl in my class whose dad is abusive... and they had to move into a safe house... Well... I know you had to do that as a kid... Do you think you could come and talk to her?"

Of course I didn't mind... but you see... I don't think of that part of my life very often.  In fact, unless someone else brings it up, I don't ever think about it.

My dad was physically abusive to my mom.  My brothers and I used to lay over her... trying to protect her. How does a 3, 5, and 6 year old protect their mom??  Any way we could.  We knew our dad wouldn't hit us... but somehow our 3 small little bodies didn't cover all of hers and he would find a spot we weren't covering... and he would grab that spot with all of his might yanking her out from under us... the whole time, we would be screaming, "Stop. Stop. Please Daddy, stop!"

Even though I hated that he did that... he was still my Daddy... and I loved him.  I felt as though I was betraying my mom for feeling that.  I even had a very vivid dream (that I thought was true until I questioned my mom about it years later.) where I thought I was given the choice of living with my mom or my dad.  I remembering in my dream crying while struggling with the decision.  (You see, I was a Daddy's girl.) But then I decided I couldn't leave my mom... knowing the struggle she went through to get us all out of that awful situation. So (in my dream) I kissed my dad good-bye and told him I was sorry and went running to my mom.

So, as I walked down the hall today, I didn't know what I was going to say.  When I got to the little girl's classroom, her teacher called her out.  I recognized her immediately! I had her in summer school.  She was always overly quiet.  There were a few times that I got her on a topic and it was like she was a changed child.  But mainly, she was quiet.  That was me as a kid.  I knew if I kept my mouth shut, no one would know of the horrible monster that lived inside my house. The horrible monster that I loved. If you were good and quiet, people didn't question you... they didn't wonder of bad things... because you were so good... and so quiet. A little piece of my heart broke that I didn't notice the reflection of myself in her this summer.

But I was glad I was being able to help now and so, her and I went and found a quiet spot to sit.  I asked her if she would like to tell me what was going on.  She told me her daddy would get drunk and mean and then hit them, and so her mom moved them to a safe house.

We talked about how scary people can be when they are like that.  We talked about how her and her family are in a better place because they don't have to worry about the scariness now. We talked about what things are the same at the safe house as at home... and what things are different... and what things she liked there. (She liked the comfy beds. - I told her I liked meeting lots of new friends.)  I assured her that it's okay to love her dad... just not love the scary situations he puts them in. I told her that her and her mom and her sister were very brave to get themselves out of a situation like that and move to a place where that won't happen anymore.

I filled her with things that I wish someone would have known to tell me all of those years ago.  Then I hugged her and told her that any time she needed to talk to come find me... because I know even those you are safe physically, your mind reminds you from time to time what you went through... and sometimes, it's just good to know you have someone to talk to.

No rest for the weary

So we left Chicago the evening of the 10th and drove up to Milwaukee.

The next morning, (Thursday, Aug 11), we got up and headed over to my brother's fiance's family's house so I could begin baking the wedding cake. (Yes... I agreed to make the wedding cake. No... I have never made a wedding cake before. Yes... I was nervous that I might screw the whole thing up and I would be known for the "Wedding Cake Disaster." No... I didn't tell anyone this... confidence is key.)

While the cakes cooled, I took the boys back to the hotel to let them swim in the pool.

You see... my boys' one request was that we stayed in a hotel with a pool. So... I found us one.  Someone forgot to let them in on the little secret that just cause you stay at a hotel with a pool... doesn't mean you get to swim at it.

Kidding. Kidding. Kinda.  We ended up having one hour for the boys to swim... not just that day... Nope.  The entire time we were there!!
I felt so bad.
But what was I to do??
I had a cake to make.

The next day we had rehearsal and set up... and the rehearsal dinner... Time to spend with the family...

...but no time for swimming...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Give me 8 hours, I will fill your day

Back to telling you about our little vacation... I know.  I know.  this has been soooo broken up, But I promise to post the rest of it in the next consecutive days so I can move on and tell you all of the other fun-filled craziness that I call life...

On Wednesday morning (Aug10), I wake up and think it must be getting ready to rain... because it was so dark and this is what I see out the hotel window:

Yeah... I'm not used to located my sunshine by bouncing it off of windows...

After I figured out it was actually sunny, we headed down for our continental breakfast.

I had a list of things for us to see and do in Chicago... but I thought we would just pick a couple considering I saw HOW much taxis were gonna cost us from the night before.

Right when we were finishing up, a woman leaned over my shoulder.
"Is this your first day in the city?"
"We got in last night."
"Could you use these??  They're guided bus tour passes.  I have 3 of them. They're good for the next 2 days."

Amazing how God works.
Didn't even have time to ask before He provided.

(I checked later online... the passes were $31.50 each!!)

So we jumped on the bus tour... it took us around to all the places we wanted to see AND taught us about the city. :)

Stop 1 - Willis Tower aka Sears Tower... We didn't go up... we had other places to visit

Stop 2 - The old Chicago Theatre

Stop 3 - Millennium Park - Cloud Gate (This was on my list!!)

Also known as "The Bean"

I love Chicago!!

Then we got an added bonus because an orchestra was playing in the amphitheater in the park.

Stop 4 - John Hancock Observatory
Looking up

Looking down

Pretending to be window washers
Watching the REAL window washers :)

I decided since we had used a taxi, a bus, and our car... that it would be okay to use our own feet to get us to Navy Pier about a mile away.  We got to walk alongside Lake Michigan.  I explained how Uncle Tim was on the other side somewhere looking across at us. :)

We arrived at Navy Pier, but didn't have time for the Children's museum... maybe next time.

We rode the giant ferris wheel. Sam's fear of heights didn't even kick in... much. lol

We hopped back on the bus tour and it took us to see Marilyn...

...and Trump

We pulled out of Chicago at 5:30.  We spent exactly 24 hours in that city... Oh... I am so ready to go back!!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

When you thought life was simple

My ex, R., and his gf broke up.
I hurt for my children.
They have seen the demise of too many relationships.

This is why I haven't entered another relationship...
I didn't grow up with parents who were together.
I didn't see my mother in a healthy loving relationship...I knew she loved us... I just didn't see her in love.

I now know that it is just as important for children to see that you deserve that love as well... if they don't see how to give and take love... a sustaining love... a romantic love... then how can they emulate that in their own lives?

That is my one wish for my children... to have to have happy, healthy, sustaining loving relationships.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why I haven't posted - Friday Confessional


I confess... I have SO much left to share from our vacation and my brother's wedding... but, of course, I got back home and reality struck.

I confess... I had to get back to work on Monday after driving the whole way from Wisconsin on Sunday.

I confess... It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be... even after spending the night in a hotel with a screaming toddler next door who cried from 11pm till 4 am...

I confess... I just laughed when Colby questioned "Why haven't you done laundry yet mom?" when they got back home to me Wed. night after I had 'Meet the Teacher' Night on Monday, meetings all day Monday and Tuesday, and school started Wednesday.    .

I confess...  that my class this year is pretty much a bunch of wonderful!!!!!

I confess... I honestly can say I was dreading day #1.  But knew I was in for a treat when my colleague next door came to see if we were even in the room because it was sooo quiet. (There wasn't a single quiet day last year... there was always a hum about them... it was exhausting!!)

I confess... Today I received the nicest compliment from a colleague... They said, "Dawn, you are beautiful on the outside... but more importantly you are beautiful in the inside.  You never hesitate to help someone out when they need it."

I confess... I needed that.

I confess... My ac in my classroom was out all day.

I confess... I think it made me a little delirious.

I confess... I plan to move tomorrow to the empty room that my bestie, Laura, left when she went to 2nd grade if mine isn't fixed.

I confess... I might not tell anybody in the school just for fun... to see if they can find me. haha

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Been kissed by the Windy City

I've decided that I will live in Chicago one day...
I just couldn't help myself.
Every where I turned I wanted to smile... the opportunities, the fun, the excitement.
I have never lived in a big city before... I kinda feel like a piece of my life is missing.

I started to talk to the boys about it... mom living in a city, like Chicago.
Nope. They didn't want to hear anything about it.

I asked if they would want to live in a city when they grew up.
Sam was def. out.
Colby was willing... but because he wants to live by Sam when he grows up... and Sam was out, so was Colby.
I'm NOT willing to live my life through my children!!  I want to live my own life!
So... here's to figuring out how to make that happen...

Friday, August 12, 2011

They're blue, but they're NOT Smurfs - aka - an Unexpected Gift

The next day, we pulled out of the city of St. Louis and headed to the city of Chicago.
If you have never made that trek before, let me break it down for you... city, vast land of nothingness, city.
I thought we would never get to Chicago!!!
So... when I saw this:
I was tickled pink!!!

As I was planning for this trip, I kept asking everyone what we shouldn't miss in Chicago... somehow, no one could tell me much.
However, I had forgotten that B.P. loved this city... so I texted him as I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
"Blue Man Group!!!!" I get back from him.
"Sure. If only I was rich..."
"Take your boys, you won't regret it!!"
"I can't."
About 10 minutes later, I got a text from him.
"Are you about to your hotel? ...Because you'd better not be late... your reservations for Blue Man Group are at 8. Pick your tickets up at will call :)"

I couldn't believe it!!  I couldn't thank him enough!  Of course, I had never expected that!!

We quickly arrived to our hotel room.
This was the WHOLE room!!

Which just so happened to be located next to this place...

We unpacked and hopped in a cab.
the boys' first cab ride

Blue Man Group was AWESOME!!!

Everything from the lobby...

To the Black lights...
that make my teeth EXTRA white ;)
To the performers...

Yeah... it was an exceptionally wonderful surprise!!