...I have a guest lister this week. Midshipman 4/C Kenneth Kurz at the United States Naval Academy. Or, Ken, my husband, almost 20 years ago.
(Yes, he ate all that food. And at the time, I'm guessing he weighed close to 120 pounds).
Ken wrote this list to Midshipman 2/C John Collins. And yesterday, a little shy of 19 years to the day, we watched Commander John Collins take command of his very own squadron.
That's one of my dearest friends in the whole world, Laura, up there with John. We are also the god parents to their son, Jack. I bet when 4/C Midshipman Kurz wrote that list to 2/C Midshipman Collins, he never imagined we would be sitting there yesterday, watching this. Well, he was probably too busy with a stomach ache.
...We'll call this one "What you do when your husband, 50 percent of your manpower, is gone for six whole days and six whole nights."
1. You rise before the sun, before the children, before the dog to prepare yourself for the day ahead
2. You try to follow the rule of new parenthood to, "Nap when they nap." But instead of napping you spend 45 minutes laying in bed thinking about all you could have accomplished with those precious 45 minutes. You fall asleep five minutes before you hear your child screaming, with drool down your chin and sheet marks across your forehead. It was a hard five minutes.
3. You try to explain the difference between Gracie and Charmer to a friend when it finally hits you: Charmer was a person. Gracie is a dog. Charmer never liked other dogs, Gracie does. Charmer never chased her tail. Gracie does this to find her tail (she swears it's in there somewhere):
4. You take snapshots and send a ridiculous amount of pictures to your husband. This is not meant as a guilt trip. At all.
5. You take your kids to swimming and send ridiculous amounts of videos to your husband. This is not meant as a guilt trip. At all.
6. You write lists, cross things off, get things done.
7. The highlight of your week is not successfully single parenting two children, keeping the dog alive, and not setting the house on fire, or planning one of your biggest work events, or turning 35, but rather when your local farmer's "Our Tomatoes" sign pops up on Wednesday. Let the cheese and tomato sandwich season begin.
8. You spy on your little boy visiting Kindergarten. Kindergarten.
10. You rejoice when your little family reunites to celebrate the success of Team Mustache and all those who supported us.
My favorite details about Charlies Fifth Birthday Extravaganza (as it shall now-and-forever-more-be-known).
1. The invite. From here. Loved working with Laura on this (again, not talking about myself in the third person. Although I do love working with myself).
2. Favor bags with a lego man stamp. They held a little minifigure kit and sugar cookies from here.
(This is one of the few I have left...His left eye appears to have popped, which is kind of what I still feel like).
3. Decor. I know Charlie appreciated all of this. Right?
I totally blew out every picture of the centerpieces. They were Legos we had built with the balloons tied to them.
4. Activities - make-a-mask station, master builder station
...and the crowd favorite, the photo prop, from here. I used my polaroid camera that not only prints the pics but saves them for us to print out more.
Adults and children alike enjoyed it. This is my brother and I.
5. The bounce house. There was not one kid that did not go home tired and whiny (mine included). SUCCESS!
6. The 80 friends and family that came to celebrate with us. Our nearest and dearest friends were there (my college roommate, my summer sister, and my first friend I made as a married lady), our newest and dearest were too. Aunts and uncles, my first cousins my kids call aunt and uncle. It was chaotic and crazy but at the end of the night I couldn't have been happier to have all those people celebrate "peanut's" fifth birthday.
...on this day, nearing the fifth anniversary of me becoming a mother. A list to myself, five years ago.
1. Memory keeping will take on a whole new meaning. The significance of documenting another’s life is not lost on you.
2. You will have one vice. Starbucks. Don’t feel guilty, you earn it.
3. You will think about sleep more than you’ve ever thought about anything else. Your sleep, his sleep, how everyone in the world is sleeping more than you. And you will hate them.
4. With this little boy, you will find a joy in words that even as a lifelong writer, you’ve never known.
5. I would like to tell you that all good days outweigh the bad. But there will be bad days that make you feel like there will never be good ones again. There will be days when you are so tired, you get lost in what your life has become. The dirty house, the friendships you have been bad about maintaining, the 8,000 e-mails, the things that somehow seem so hard now.
6. The friendships you will savor are not those women you see every day, every week or every month, necessarily. They are the friendships that have been time-tested. The friends who look at you at the end of their daughter’s birthday, and plead, “Please don’t leave. Don’t leave.” And you don’t.
7. You will surprise yourself at your ability to stand up for yourself and your family.
8. You will still cringe when the mothers, older than you, approach you with advice about parenting, just as you did when you were pregnant and people said things like, “Just wait.” You will still vow to never be one of those women, even though you understand now that it’s mostly nostalgia for these women. Because you are nostalgic too.
9. Ken will be the best father you’ve ever seen or known. Every night, you both will collapse into bed, exhausted, and always, always sleep less than an inch apart, clinging to each other for what seems like dear life.
10. Your sense of accomplishment will completely change. A favorable annual review has nothing on the first time your infant sleeps through the night for three nights successively (one night is a fluke) or takes his first few tentative steps toward you. I remember the first time Charlie clapped, thinking, “How many times will he clap in his life and I just saw the first?” The significance, the profoundness of it all, is never lost on you.
11. You'll leave your job before those frames behind you ever get hung.
1. Don't you love it when a Pinterest recipe is GOOD? (And my definition of, "Good" is it can be prepped and in the oven in less than five minutes flat AND tastes delicious. I have high standards).
2. I try not to complain about the weather. But I really questioned whether spring would ever come. But it has. It gloriously has. We are all enjoying it, but particularly Gracie, also known as, "Flash Kurz."
3. Clara has rhythm in her soul. Doesn't matter the song, her feet do this. (But we have to tape it on the sly. She's shy and when she gets caught doing it she comes to a complete hault).
4. We got the best kind of playground this weekend. A free one. It came from our one neighbor via our other neighbor's tractor.
5. And they are...in love...I think we spent eight hours outside today. Clara looked at me and said, "I have a park. In my backyard!"
6. The Easter bunny came last night. And then Gracie licked up his pawprints this afternoon.
7. The people at the table next to us were chuckling during this picture. When attempting to take a picture with small children, it's definitely a case of, "Throw a smile on and hope someone looks good." What can I say? It's realistic.
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. Haunting. Made me so glad I suffered through those awful teenage years before twitter, facebook, or iPhones and scared me for what will be the norm when my kids are that age.