Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas

Holy wow.

This last week has been so jammed packed, so fun filled, so over flowing with love. And as today was our FINAL Christmas celebration, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders. Now it's time to relax. Like don't-change-out-of-pajamas kind of relax. Ah yes.

Our celebrations started last Sunday, with our annual "Christmas Eve" with my mom's side of the family. It worked better for all of us to do it a day early, so we all packed up and headed out to Sarah's for some secret Santa, good food and lots of laughs. I have been spending Christmas Eve with these people my entire life, and I have loved every single night. I have loved watching as we grew up, and as our families grew. It's amazing to see Grandma with her EIGHT great grandchildren. It's never quite the same without Grandpa, but the love still bubbles over. These folks are my heart.

Christmas Eve was supposed to be a low key day, until we had to set out on a man hunt for our cat. We realized early in the morning that we hadn't seen her, her food was untouched and her litter box had only been used once since it was changed the day before. Me, as the eternal pessimist that I am, was certain we were never going to find her alive. We searched all day to no avail, which only made me feel more like it was doomed to be a sad, sad situation. Luckily, she was FINALLY found late Christmas Eve night, hiding in the basement. Attention starved, but perfectly fine. Phew!

But....our celebrations carried on, and we had my parents and Grandmother over for dinner and presents. The last couple years we have done gifts with my parents on Christmas morning, but this year we chose to start a new tradition, and let Christmas morning be just "our" time for our gifts and Santa's gifts. 

That tree would indicate one spoiled lucky little kid.

Loved his new blocks, and it took him only 2 minutes to figure out how to dump out all 80 of them. 

And Gigi got down on the floor, in true Gigi fashion, and played blocks with him. Melt my heart. Such a special moment for both of them, and for me, to see it all unfold. 

The picture is blurry, but the happiness and love is obvious.

....and then there's our sad attempt at a family photo. This kid is really not loving pictures these days. Siiiiiigh.

Once everyone left (and Daphne was found safe), Santa was able to deliver all his gifts, and we were able to hit the hay and wait for the magic of Christmas morning.

Magic....not quite. We were thinking for a good portion of the night / early morning that we would be spending a solid part of our day in urgent care with Landon. We were sure his ears were bothering him when he spent a good chunk of the night screaming and just incredibly unhappy. Jeremy ended up sleeping in his rocking chair with him until I finally woke them both up at 8:30. What? I had time to get up, make muffins and coffee, and sit down and watch some TV before they were even interested in presents? Eh. I'll have enough early Christmas mornings in my future, might as well enjoy the peace while I can. At any rate, once Landon was up, he was good to go, and loved his gifts from Mommy and Daddy and Santa.

The magic wasn't there at 3AM, but come 8:45 when wrapping paper started flying, it was all Christmas magic, and my heart was full.

By far, Landon's favorite gift was his new wagon from Grandma and Grandpa Laeder. Which was obvious when he refused to get out of it on Christmas morning. We had to watch TV, eat our snack, and get DRESSED....all from inside the wagon. Safe to say his Radio Flyer was a hit.

We also did a little Christmas morning bowling, thanks to Santa's delivery.

After all our gifts were opened and our muffins were enjoyed, we got ready, and headed over to Jeremy's parents. We were lucky enough for my parents to join us on Christmas Day as well, so Landon got to spend the day with both sets of Grandparents, always special. He spent a lot of time watching the train, eating, playing with his cousins, and....napping. And snuggling. And freaking his mommy out, as I was determined there was still something wrong. At this point, I think we've concluded that he's just incredibly out of routine and therefore, out of sorts. Really craving this next week of just being lazy and getting ourselves back into our routine.

We didn't have much snow ON Christmas, but the day after, the heavens opened and dumped about 7 inches on us! Which was Landon's first REAL snow fall. We never got all that much last winter, so Mama could not wait to get him suited up and out in the fluffy white stuff.

He could hardly move once all the necessary items were put on him, but he fun nonetheless. And what's cuter than a little chunk struggling to walk in the snow?

On Saturday, we headed out with Jeremy's family to see the How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Detroit Opera House. We are starting a new tradition, and the first year was a huge success. Because we know our son all too well, and knew he would NEVER make it through the show, he stayed home with my parents during the show. The Opera House was GORGEOUS and the show was SO cute! 

After the show, we headed back to the Teltow homestead for dinner, presents, and games. Landon scored, AGAIN, and more great memories were made. I feel so truly blessed to be a part of the families that I am. 

As unbelievably exhausted as we were, we headed to Dave and Brianna's today for our FINAL Christmas celebration with the Best Good Friends. Again, so blessed to have the friends I have in my world. At one point, the girls were upstairs, and I was sitting downstairs with all our men, and a sleeping baby on my chest, and as I listened to our husbands and boyfriends all talk, I couldn't help but wonder, "Whoa. When did we grow up?". They were having real, adult conversations, and it was as though it suddenly hit me that we aren't in high school any more talking about meaningless things (as if the weddings and the kid didn't show me that already?). But....I've gotta say, we all did damn good. We have all chosen some amazing men (and let's face it, they got some pretty incredible women), and I love how well they all get along, so that these kinds of gatherings can be possible. Way to go, girls. And I can't wait for the day when the whole house is filled with all our children (you Landon has something to entertain him other than the stairs), because I know they'll all love each other the same way too. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, really.

So that's that. It's finally over. I love Christmas, don't get me wrong, but it was truly exhausting this year, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to the calm after the storm. Christmas decorations are all coming down tomorrow and New Year's Day, and our house will finally be back to normal, and HOPEFULLY, Landon will only take a day or two to settle back into our normal routine. Because this mama is beat, and he is too. We need our routine to stay sane, clearly.

I'm working on my whole list of resolutions, so keep your eyes peeled. I have a lot I'm promising myself this year, and in my heart, I feel like if I put it in print, here, for you all to see, I'll be held more accountable, and more likely to succeed. We'll see. Right now, I'm still drafting ;)

Hope all of your Christmases were as merry and love filled as ours!!! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Writing With A Loss Of Words

I have not neglected this blog because I am lazy, disinterested, or "over it". Before Friday, December 14, at 9:38AM, it was simply because I was busy, stressed, overwhelmed. After Friday, it was because I was at a loss for words.

There is not anything I can say to even scrape the surface of the heartbreak and utter sadness that we all feel over the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. I could sit here all day, and still not be able to put into words how I really feel. I wish I could say I was numb, that it was just so catastrophic, I can't feel a thing. But no; I am devastated, hurt, and more aware of my little blessing than ever before.

For someone who is trying to rediscover her faith in God, and trying to work harder at trusting him wholeheartedly, this could easily derail me. But I'm trying to set that part of me aside. Trying to tell her that God wanted those 20 beautiful babies back with him, because they were too good to be here another second. That they are safe, and happy, and will never feel another ounce of hurt again. That God knew what he was doing.

But the mommy in me, can't fathom it. Can't understand. Cannot even BEGIN to imagine the unbelievable hurt and anguish that 20 mommies in Connecticut are feeling this morning. This morning, as they grieve because their babies aren't home, as I sit here and watch my healthy, happy, SAFE, little boy run through the house chasing his cat, stopping every few minutes to say "Hi, Mommy" ("Mommy", which he just started to say yesterday. It's no longer "Mama", but "Mommy").

My heart is broken, and continues to break further, every time I see the face of one of those angels. I sat on my couch in tears on Friday afternoon watching the coverage, as my innocent baby slept soundly in his crib. When my mother in law showed up, she had no idea what was going on. She had been out all day, and didn't have her radio on. As we sat here, together, watching in horror, as the numbers continued to grow, as the story continued to develop, both of us, strong, Christian women, felt so much question in our hearts as to why this was happening.

There is no answer. There never will be. The shooter was sick, he was not right. He did not get the treatment that he NEEDED. And as hard as it is to say that he deserved anything other than a lifetime of burning in hell for all the hurt he caused, he DESERVED help before he got to the point that made him feel that taking the lives of 20 innocent children was the only answer. And the only opinion I will offer here, is that people need to start looking harder at the illnesses that cause this type of thing, and getting those individuals HELP, instead of just writing them off as a lost cause. Because now, there are 20 mothers without their children, because ONE mother wasn't able to help hers enough. This is in no way a discussion over gun control, etc. There will never be a gun in this house. My child will never have a play gun, or a video game that involves gun. That is just what works for us. My father in law has several guns, locked up, hidden. I have never seen them, and I will make sure Landon never does. That's what works for them. Do I fear that one day he will go off the deep end and shoot up an elementary school? Or his family? Absolutely not. Did anyone ever assume that this man would do such a thing? Probably not. Only God knows. Guns scare me, point blank. People scare me more.

I am trying, with every ounce of my being, to trust God during this time. To know that he has a plan, and that his plan for those children was bigger than what they could fulfill here. I am trying to find comfort in knowing that they are safe in the arms of Jesus today. I am trying. I am soaking up every piece of my gorgeous son, THANKING God that He has given me the opportunity to mother such a perfect boy. Thanking God that my son was not one of the 20 killed, so senselessly. Praying that those mothers and fathers find peace, in some way, although it seems impossible. If I could hold each of them and cry with them for hours, I would. I think that's all anybody wants to do right now. Just hug those parents, or more so, hold those children. I am praying, harder than I have ever prayed before, for some form of understanding and some ease from this heartbreak.

The teacher in me, now, must say, how blown away, amazed, and humbled I am by the teachers who helped to save so many more children. I am so proud to say that I am part of a group of individuals that could so selflessly put themselves in the line of fire to save their students lives. Each of those women is an inspiration, and I hope a wake up call to anyone who considers teachers just mere "babysitters". Take this for what its worth. Those women did what any of us would do, what we were trained to do, what we vowed to do the day we received our degrees. They are HEROES. And to me, all the other teachers out there are as well. My thoughts are with each of my teacher friends as they walk back into their classrooms today, and have to try to explain to their students that they are safe, they are ok. My heart is with you all today.

I don't have it in me to sit here and rehash our full weekend, or spew out how obsessed with the stomach virus and preventing it I have become. None of it means anything in the light of everything else happening. I know that each of those 20 mothers would give anything to be worrying about their children getting the stomach flu, instead of planning their funerals. I will take the worrying, I will even take the flu, if it happens to find us. Because I have my baby here, to take care of, to hold, to love.

Now go hug the children in your life. Your children, your siblings children, your neighbors children. Any child. Just hug them, and thank God that they are ok. Love them. And join me in trying to trust that this all happened for a reason, even if it seems impossible.

And, if nothing else, remember these gorgeous faces.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Happy Friday!! Hope you have all survived this week happy and healthy!

Our week consisted of a whole lot of staying home, staying cozy, and *cough* germ free *cough*.

It's no secret that one of my biggest anxieties is germs. Mainly, germs that make me, or my loved ones, throw up. Petrified of vomit doesn't really even begin to explain what I feel at this time of year. And hearing that Macomb County is number 1 on the list of counties currently being trampled by the stomach virus, really didn't help matters. So I took it upon myself to make ZERO plans for us this week. We just stayed inside, where we were safe from those God awful germs, and let me say, I have loved every single second of it.

Most days, we didn't get out of our PJ's until nap time. And then? Just into sweats.
I enjoyed a few nap time baths, which were pure bliss.
I found great relief in my Lysol spray, and knowing that once everything was sprayed, we were good, because we weren't going anywhere to pick up any other germs.

Sounds insane, I know. But you know what? This is what works for me. Jeremy even commented Wednesday night that I seemed to be in a much better mood. And I knew exactly why. Because I wasn't stressed and freaked out over what I exposed myself and Landon to that day. I knew we were safe. I've slept better, knowing that Landon (most likely) wasn't going to wake up puking. I've just relaxed entirely. It has been wonderful. And I'm elated for a Friday night in with my boys, and a whole weekend of curling up inside, too.

Anxiety DOES come, when I think about the next couple weeks. Next week alone, we have things that require us to be out of the house nearly every day. One of which is Landon's 18 month well check. Which will take us right to the center of the germ fest at the pediatricians office. BUT. I have (as usual) been doing my research, and you bet your ass that as soon as we get home, his clothes will come off, and he will be in the bathtub. Obsessive? Maybe. Keeping my sanity? Definitely. Am I dumb enough to think that my neurosis will 100% keep us safe? No. I know it's still possible to get it, and sadly, we probably will. I'm sure it'll creep in on Jeremy when he comes home from work one day. But, at least I'll know I have done everything I could to prevent it.

What saddens me most, is that next weekend holds two Christmas parties, a Santa brunch, and a birthday party for us, and I know, the freak in me probably won't truly enjoy herself. She'll be watching every face, wondering if they always look that way, or if they are sick. Watching every move Landon makes, afraid he's going to touch something and then put his hands in his mouth, and that's it. Game over. It's ridiculous, and I know it is, but it's who I am. And I'm trying to control it all with insane amounts of hand sanitizer, Lysol spray, and seclusion. But I know I can't do it 24/7. I would probably get some pretty nasty looks if I started spraying other peoples children with Lysol. But hey, all of you who are going to be at one or more of these crazy germ fests we'll be at next weekend, do me (and really, everybody else) a favor, and if you or your kids have been sick within the week, think about skipping out. I can promise you if it is me or my family, we won't be there. I can handle a stuffy nose, I can handle a sore throat. I CANNOT handle it when people show up, and after their child has stuck their face right into Landon's, they tell me, "Oh yeah, she was throwing up all night. But she seems ok now!" NO. She's not ok. Do your research. She's still spreading it. 6 hours of puke free doesn't make her safe. I promise.

Ok. I know I sound like an overbearing, crazy of a person. And I probably am. But come on. Does ANYBODY enjoy being sick? No. So why inflict it on anybody else just so you don't miss out on a few drinks and laughs. Really. End rant.

On a happier note, today has been the epitome of our happy days inside. Woke up, ate our breakfast and played, I FINALLY finished addressing the last group of Christmas cards, so we took a trip to the post office in our PJ's (just drove through, I'm not that girl, I promise). Came home, and since there was a break in the rain, and Landon was deserving of some fresh air, we bundled up and went for a walk! It was brisk, but it felt good! Came back, had a little dance party with Dora, ate lunch, and now I have a happily napping child, and I just took my second nap time, mid-afternoon bath of the week. Lovely. Going to enjoy the quiet and just let myself relax for a while, then whip up some dinner in the crock pot, and plan a night in of movie watching and cuddling with my fellas. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Hope you all have a wonderful, sick-free, weekend!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Letter to Me

Ahh, Monday. We meet again. I hope this Monday finds you all well rested after a good weekend!

We spent our weekend celebrating Jeremy's 33rd birthday! Date night, church, and dinner with our parents, followed by entertainment provided by Landon. I think he was pleased with the way he spent his birthday least I hope he was!

Birthdays always make me feel retrospective. I don't know why. Maybe just the turning of another year, who knows. But I always feel a little nostalgic around birthdays. Jeremy has an unbelievable attitude towards life, and I know he looks back and has no regrets about what he has done or where he has been. I admire that so much in him. I wish I could be more like him in that respect. Not that I have horrible regrets, just things that I may have done differently if I had known what I know now.

But that's the beauty. I didn't know what I know now, so I did things the way I did. And all those things got me to exactly where I am today. So no, I wouldn't change a thing. But I do sometimes wish I could talk to myself from back in the day, and let her know it's all going to work out. She doesn't need to worry so much, or be so afraid.

So I was thinking. If I could write a letter to myself, at say, 10 years old, what would I tell me? I've put a lot of thought into this, and I've spent a couple weeks trying to really decide how I would articulate what I would want to say. This is what I've come up with. So, old me, in case you are caught in some weird time continuum, and you happen to be reading this, take it to heart. I mean every single word.

Dear Me,

Before you do another thing, take another breath, go find your grandparents. Hug them. Ask them questions. Listen to their stories. Love them. The day is coming when they won't be there anymore. And you will feel, every day, like a piece of your heart has gone missing. It has. You will spend years grieving, missing, and longing for them. Don't dismiss them while they're here. Listen to the war stories for the 20th time, and then ask to hear it for the 21st. When your son is born, you will give anything for him to be able to hear those stories, first hand, but he won't be able to. Listen closely, so you can tell him yourself. Ask questions about every single nutcracker and teddy bear. They each have a special meaning. Know what it is. You don't want to have to wonder. Know that none of them are invincible, no matter how much they seem like they are. They will be here one day, and the next they'll be gone. And you will be heartbroken. And fair warning, Grandma Green will have a LOT of close calls. Be there by her side for each of them, and then thank God when she pulls through time after time. And pray that you have that trait in yourself.

You're going to spend a lot of time alone on the elementary school playground. You are NEVER going to be the "cool" kid....ever. So stop trying to be. Know that you don't need to be popular to be loved. You will have amazing friends, and they will think you are wonderful, despite your "social status". High school ends. You grow up. How popular you were, what you did on Friday nights, or what lunch table you sat at, won't matter forever. So spend your Friday nights on your parents living room floor, with your best good friends, watching movies and being silly. Don't go to the parties where they're drinking and smoking. You don't need to....and you won't be invited anyway. But instead of being sad, be grateful. You turn out just fine, "uncool" or not. And one day, you are going to be SO proud to tell your son, in total honesty, that you didn't do those things. That a cigarette never touched your lips. That drugs never crossed your radar. That it took until your sophomore year of COLLEGE to get "drunk". He'll probably think you're a loser, too. But that's ok.

You will fall in love, and everybody will tell you you're too young to be in love. And it will take him years to see you as anything more than just "Kelly". But he will. Eventually. And you'll have an amazing few months. A few months that you will hold in a special place in your heart, forever. You will learn lessons, you'll get hurt, and you'll shed a lot of tears. But you'll love. And it WILL be real. And in the very end, after all the hurt and tears, you'll be much happier with the friend than with the boyfriend. I promise.

You'll move on, and you'll love again. You'll learn what it's like to be in a "real relationship". You'll have a lot of firsts, and you'll grow up. In the end, you'll get hurt. Hurt in a way that makes you feel like there is nobody you can trust, like your world is crashing down around you, and that you'll never feel ok again. You will. But let it hurt. Let your heart feel like it's crumbling. Learn what it feels like when you wake up and you realize it's ok. You're not breaking. When you finally realize that you can breathe without him. And lean on the people that love you. When they say you're going to be ok, believe them. Trust them. They aren't lying.

You might always have days that you are just sad. For no reason, just sad. But you will always get told how happy and upbeat you are. Appreciate that, even if you don't feel that. And don't apologize for being sad on those days, or for not having a reason. You will have to work to be happy, but you can do it. You CAN be happy. Put your mind to it, and don't let the bad days set you back. Just take them and move on. But always have someone you can talk to, when everybody else thinks you're fine, but you're not. Have that person and love that person. They will be your saving grace, and they won't judge you for not being perfect, and chipper, and happy. They'll just love you. That person will change over the years, and that's ok. Just make sure you always have one. And PS, your mom will ALWAYS be one of those people. You don't have to can't act for her.

You will do the rebound thing, whether you want to admit it or not. You will say yes to the first boy who promises not to hurt you, because you know he won't. But you can't make the same promise. You won't be ready, and you won't want to listen to the people who tell you you aren't. It's a lesson. Don't change it, just learn from it. And hand out apologies. No matter how long after the fact. Just do it. You don't want to be "that girl".

You will find true, without exception, unconditional love where you least expect it. You will go into an evening determined not to fall into old habits, and come out with a new sense of hope. As hard as it is, let your guard down. I promise, it will be worth it. So go out, even though you're tired. Let yourself fall, even though your brain is telling you not to. And don't forget to let your mother know, as soon as you get home, that you've met your future husband. You're not wrong. You ARE drunk, and she DOES think you're nuts. But you're NOT wrong.

You will discover your true purpose in a 5 lb, 14 oz miracle. You will fall harder than you have ever fallen, in a single instant. You think you know what love is, but you have no idea. Not until you look into the most gorgeous set of brown eyes you will ever see. Not until you get lost in dimples so deep, you feel like you could drown every hurt you've ever had in them. Nothing else will matter any more. All the rest will fade away, I promise you. Your son will be the only boy who matters. Forever.

Always take the time say "Thank You" to the people who hold the door for you. They appreciate it. Smile at the stranger who looks like they need one. You will make a difference. Just be friendly. There is enough anger and nasty in the world. Be a bright spot, it's simple to do.

Love the crap out of your parents. Even when you think they are "the most unfair parents....ever". They're not. They're perfect. They are making a person you'll be proud to be someday. They're keeping you out of trouble and harms way. Don't ever question how much they love you. You won't get it until you're a mom, so don't try. Just know that one day, it'll all make perfect sense, and you'll know how amazing they really are.

You'll make friends and you'll lose friends. That's life. Don't be sad, just learn from it. You'll learn quickly who your real friends are. Hold onto them for dear life. Fight with them if you have to, but then get over it. Come back together. Lean on each other. You can't go through life without friends. Your "type" of friend will change, but you've got a special few that won't go anywhere. No matter what. Tell them you appreciate it. Every chance you get.

You're always going to worry about what people think of you, I wish I could say you get over that, but you don't. But you learn to care a little less.

You will learn that nobody knows your child better than you. Don't ever let anyone try to convince you they do. YOU are Mommy. End of story.

You will turn out ok. You will have a bruised heart, but it will be mended by a husband who loves you and a son who thinks you're perfect. You will have bad days, but you will have many more good days. You will have regrets, but they just go to prove that you have a heart. A good heart. You will get to where you want to be. You will be complete. Don't rush it. Take it all in, no matter how much it hurts. It's worth it.

Oh, and hey, smile. And have fun.