Monthly Archives: August 2014

Recycled Air

Recycled Air. The whole time we were flying home, I had this song stuck in my head. Specifically the lines: 

Knuckles clenched to white as the landing gear detracts for flight
My head’s a balloon inflating with the altitude

I felt like it was my theme song for the day. I am terrified of flying. My knuckles were definitely clenched to white. I was breathing in a steady stream of recycled air. All. Day. Long. But it would have been a bit more accurate if there had been a line or two about toddler tantrums, or being covered in toddler vomit on top of everything else. I guess Ben Gibbard wasn’t really writing about flying with toddlers though, was he? 

Sigh. Flying with toddlers. That was an experience. Pretty much the opposite of everything I thought it would be. I had expected my daughter to be calm and collected during the flight. I had expected my son to freak the freak out because he is afraid of heights. Out of the two of them, I expected Harper to cry. I expected the strangers surrounding us to be mean and impatient when he did cry. 

None of these things happened, however. Emrist cried screamed the entire duration of our first flight. And I do mean screamed. She also flailed and kicked the guy’s seat in front of her while I was trying to restrain her. Harper *was* terrified, but he didn’t panic or cry like I thought he would. He only asked to hold my hand during take off and landing. And the strangers. Well I experienced nothing but kindness and grace from the people on the plane. Honestly, I had boarded the plane prepared to give the bird to anyone who so much as looked our way, but Mr. Middle Finger stayed down. Instead, I was tempted to hug people I had never met before. It was horrible and beautiful all in one sitting. People tried to help me comfort my kids. They offered both of them food. They tried to make them laugh. One lady even gave Emrist her iPhone to play with! I never once felt like someone was annoyed with us. I was humbled by the experience to say the least. 

That was the flight there.

The trip home, which I thought would be easier for some reason, was so so so SO much worse. From Houston to Atlanta, I succeeded in keeping Emrist happy. She threatened to cry a few times, but I always managed to settle her back down. It was a lot of work and I was on edge the whole time. Harper asked to hold my hand for the entire two hour flight. Juggling her while holding his hand was pretty interesting. Upon landing in Atlanta, I was emotionally spent. It’s difficult to meet the emotional needs of your children when you have your own anxiety and fear of flying to deal with. I would have much preferred to have been knocked out for that flight, but that wasn’t possible with two littles in my care. So I was just…spent. I was already on the verge of tears, and I was NOT WANTING TO GET ON THAT SECOND PLANE. But I did. I forced myself to board and settled down with my kids and just prayed that God would get me through it. 

Everyone had boarded, but the cabin door was still open. A passenger nearby commented a couple of times on how cute Emrist was. I turned to talk to her and joked that I still hoped she thought so in a minute. It was like I was a prophet. Almost as soon as I said it, I felt warm liquid running down my arm. I turned toward Emrist, who was sitting in my lap facing me, and saw that she was puking. And it just kept coming, and coming, and coming – projectile style. We both looked at each other, me with a WTF expression and her with a do something expression. But what do you do when your daughter is recreating a scene from the exorcist on a plane? My brain finally caught up with what was happening and I began to rub her back in an attempt to comfort her. I also began to catch her puke. This is something no one tells you about motherhood. You will actually involuntarily hold your hands out to catch your child’s puke. It’s the weirdest thing ever. So yeah…that happened, and everyone was staring…just as unsure of what to do as I was. At one point, I said “I think we need to get off.” The lady who had said Emrist was cute offered to go get help. She got the flight attendant and she said we could deboard. Even though we were covered in vomit, the passengers around us all offered to help. The pilot stopped to check on Em because he was worried. Again…just absolute kindness from strangers. It was amazing. 

So we got off, and then I fell apart. No seriously. For about 30 minutes, I wandered around the Atlanta airport (which by the way is the largest airport in the entire WORLD! Crazy, right?) puke-covered and crying. Yes…crying. Because I just didn’t know what to do. I had packed extra clothes for the children, but none for me, and it was going to take Benji three hours to get to us. And I know I should be ashamed that I took this picture, but I knew I would want to remember it after the craziness passed…so for your viewing pleasure…this is what I looked like: 

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Yeah, I know. Gross. GROSS. You probably want to puke yourself right now, don’t you? I just needed you to know.

So imagine seeing this person wandering around with two children…crying. I mean…I was getting some wide-eyed stares. I finally found a little store with some twelve dollar shirts and got changed. After that, my mood improved and I stopped having a pity party for myself. I realized that I could either laugh it off and enjoy my time with my children, or I could wallow around in it and feel sorry for myself. I chose option A and took them to a piano bar while we waited for Benji. We had fun. We laughed. And I’m sure we probably smelled great too 😉

Emrist threw up three more times that night, and was sick all day Saturday. It turns out that she had some sort of stomach bug. I thought that we had all escaped it, but Harper hasn’t been feeling well today and is also running a fever. Hoping that maybe it’s just a fluke.

Anyways, I just had to write about this experience before my memory was blocked out. It was CRAZY! And though I was blessed by the kindness of strangers and some good did come from it, I don’t think I’ll ever get on a plane with toddlers again. At least not if I can help it! 

Here are some more pictures from our trip! 1795544_10152580464201772_4980065698630417565_n

This was taken right before we entered the airport. 
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Making sure she met the carry on requirements 🙂

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Just before all hell broke loose. Look how scared Harper looks. Sweet baby. 2014-08-08 05.58.45

 

Looking at our plane. 

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We were able to sit with friends for our second flight ❤

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Em fell asleep right when we landed. She was exhausted!

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Successful transfer to the stroller

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At the piano bar…eating, which was a mistake, in case you were wondering. Haha.

 

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I found this note at the Atlanta airport LOL

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And this is how Em spent all of Saturday. Poor baby was SO SO sick 😦 

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She finally perked up after some ibuprofen though. She has been mostly better since then, thank the Lord! 🙂 

The Date.

Maybe this will be long. Or maybe it will be short. I’m not really sure what it will look like considering I’ve never done it before. But be warned. I’m going to write with no purpose or plan…because I just need to do that today.

I’m going to write about my sister, Megan. Well…technically she was my stepsister, but I really hate calling her that. “Stepsister” makes me think of the mean stepsisters from Cinderella and she was nothing like that. Perhaps just calling her my best friend would be more accurate? That’s really what she was…we just happened to also be related by marriage. 

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned her in a post or two before, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually written a post solely about her here. To be completely honest, when it comes to talking about her, I kind of avoid it like the plague. It brings up all sorts of feelings, good and bad, and I still feel raw from losing her. I’m not a “feelings” kind of gal…I mean, duh, I am. I have feelings. I just don’t enjoy talking about them. Whenever I do talk about them, I feel naked with a bunch of onlookers or something. I just don’t love it, mmkay? When it comes to grief, well that’s an especially private matter for me and I usually just keep it to myself.

So why am I opening up now? Well, one reason is because today is the date. If you’ve ever lost someone, you know what “the date” is. It’s the one day a year you wish you could wipe off the calendar. The date that reminds you that you still aren’t over it. The date that you dread for weeks in advance because you will be reliving what happened on that day. Today is the date for me…and this one is extra hard because it marks 14 years since Megan’s passing. She was 14 when she died, so she has officially been gone as long as she was here, and that’s a hard concept for me to swallow.

So there’s that. And then there’s the fact that I was thinking about her yesterday and I couldn’t remember what her voice sounded like and that really upset me. I started panicking over what else I may have forgotten since she’s been gone, and I started recalling some wonderful memories with her. I decided it would be good to document them before my faulty brain decides to trash them. So that’s what I’m going to do today. I’m just going to write memories.

Here goes:

*She loved, loved, LOVED Taco Bell. Whenever we would go, she would get the Nacho Bell Grande, and it would take her half a century to eat it.  She wasn’t done until every last drop had been cleaned off her plate (she would take her finger and drag it across, then lick the cheese off her finger lol). I’m so serious when I say it would take her 45 minutes to eat it!

*Driving. Yeah, I know she was underage, but she loved to drive. She actually scared the crap out of me one time by taking me for an unsuspected spin on the interstate. Yes, folks….14 years olds driving on the interstate lol. I still can’t believe it myself.

*When we would go to our favorite Mexican restaurant, she would always order cheese dip. She would get so mad at me for first dipping my chip into the salsa, and then into the cheese. She HATED having them mixed.

*She was boy CRAZY! Anytime we went to the beach, we would have to take disposable cameras so that she could walk by and snap pictures of any guy she thought was cute.

*When we’d go to sleep at night, we would give each other timed back rubs until we fell asleep. I would do a minute and then she would do a minute. Occasionally we would draw pictures on each other’s backs instead of a plain back rub.

*We would tell people we were twins because our birthdays were one day apart and we had the same middle name.

*While at school one day, I received a threatening note from a girl in my grade that wanted to beat me up. I was pretty much resigned to getting my butt kicked. I told Megan about it and she came to my school’s football game that Friday and stood by my side/defended me when the girl approached me. I didn’t have a problem after that lol.

*She sometimes called me Nicky.

*She loved to sleep and was NOT fun to wake up.

*We snuck out of the house together in the middle of the night once. We walked to the park, hung out with some of our friends, and then crawled back in through the window before dawn. (All of you reading this who have teens…is this scaring the crap out of you yet?).

*One time we visited my great aunt,  and we rolled down the hill in her front yard until we both had holes in our jeans.

*Y2K. We celebrated by mooning our entire family. Happy New Years, y’all!

*She was brave. She really wasn’t afraid of anything. She was always game for anything exciting. She loved knee boarding, riding roller coasters, skating and just going fast. She was always trying to get me to ride roller coasters with her, and I was too afraid. She said I would love it. I finally did it when I was 18, and she was right. I loved it!

*We rarely fought, but when we did…it was intense. One time we got into a fight over a basketball (lol). I walked away with a cut to my gums and she left with a bright red, perfect handprint on her skin. We were also fond of pulling each other’s hair.

 

 

Okay. I’m going to stop here because Benji needs the laptop, but I plan on making this page a running log of memories of her. I just want to remember everything!

If you knew her, and have anything you’d like to add, feel free to comment! This can be a page for you as well 🙂

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A love letter to summer

Something in me has shifted. I think I’m a fan of summer. When did that happen? I’ve always been more of an autumn kind of girl. My heart just matches the season of fall. It always has. I love the cooler temps, and the patchwork of oranges, reds, and yellows you see while driving down the road in October. I especially love hiking trails covered up and almost hidden by a layer of crunchy leaves. These are my favorite things nature has to offer.

I’ve never been a fan of the hot humid days of an Alabama summer. And I hate the beach, with the hot HOT sun bearing down on you while you sit in the sand. And good lord…the sand. That stuff is just gross! Yes. I’d much rather be tucked away somewhere on a cold foggy mountain, than to be on a hot beach. Any. Day.

My heart does not match summer. I am always happy to see it go. Always. And yet…here I am in early August, a time when I normally rejoice because September is right around the corner, and my heart is breaking because, for our family, summer is over.

Maybe it’s because my babies love summer so much. Or maybe it’s the fact that Benji is going back to school tomorrow. I don’t know. But in spite of all the things I hate about summer, today I am truly sad to see it go. I’ve been in a funk over it all weekend. I’ve been trying to soak up every last minute of it. Trying to hang on. Slow time. Anything. I just don’t want it to go. Sigh. But it must. We’ve finally arrived at the end. So to say goodbye to this wonderful season, here’s a cheesy little love letter to summer (pictures included, duh).

Summer, you were good to us. Thank you for the bounty of bugs you brought to us. Watching my little boy chase one creepy crawly after another, with a huge smile on his face, and hair flapping in the wind…well, it lit me up. Thank you for the heat, which always made me see my childrens’ father in them: their tiny frames drenched in sweat, with deep rosy red cheeks. Thank you for the sun-kissed skin you gave to all of us. Thank you for the humidity, which made me daughter’s little curly curls really come to life. Thank you for frogs, and for picnics in the backyard. Thank you for visits with friends, old and new alike. Thank you for evenings spent barefoot in the backyard, watching the kids delight in each other and our trampoline. Thank you for the rainstorms that always seemed to creep up at the perfect time: nap time! Thank you for all of these “little” things. Yes. But most importantly thank you for the gift of time. The gift of being able to wake up each morning, with nothing on our plates, and a whole day ahead of us. The gift of just being together. It really was wonderful.

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