Saturday, May 31, 2014

Monty Someday


Monty checked a new state off his list this week - Utah. He only has 47 left to go, which means we have some road tripping in our future. Too bad he isn't the best person animal to travel with. In fact, he is a lot like his mother. We both hate car rides.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Listing Day

Our house went on the market today. We are officially selling our house without anywhere to move to. I joke and say we'll be moving into our 19 foot box (camper) full time. Some days I wonder if it's really a joke or turning into a reality.

To say we are nervous is an understatement, but we decided this was the best option in order to be competitive in buying our future house. The real estate market in Northern Colorado is extremely hot right now. Houses are not staying on the market for longer than 24 hours - specifically in the area we are interested in. It's a sellers market, not a buyers market, which means we need to be able to make an offer without a contingency to sell ours. In order to do that, we had to step up to the plate and sell ours first.

WELCOME, LISTING DAY!

I believe the "first-time selling" jitters got the best of us. The house was spotless. The floors were freshly vacuumed. The lights were on. The Glade plug-ins were releasing sweet scents. The lawn was freshly mowed. The beds were made. And the showers were cleaned. Yet, we forgot one small big thing - to check the front door! We forgot to unlock the screen door before we left this morning, which meant the realtor was unable to access the keypad to unlock the door. Thankfully our amazing neighbor was out and noticed the struggle. She called me and we were able to give her the code to an alternate entrance so she could let the realtor and potential buyers in. #sellerfail

Since we aren't allowed to be present during the showings, Monty and I are stuck in a 12x12 conference room at Mr. B's office. I am working, while Monty is being destructive. For those of you that don't know, Mr. B works for a company that designs flood warning systems so their mascot is a duck. While distracted on a conference call, I wasn't paying attention to Monty.  When I turned around, Monty had emptied the basket of rubber ducks and other various tchotchkes all over the floor and decided to use them as chew toys.

Keep it up Monty and they are going to take you off payroll ;)



Please pray we don't have to be locked in a tiny conference room for the next month, while scheduled showings are going on at our house.

As if the bees weren't enough of an undertaking for this year. Let's add selling our house, finding a temporary home, and buying our next house to the list.

I am glad Mr. B likes adventure because, frankly, this stress just makes me lose sleep. And if you know me, I am like a baby and need lots of sleep. I blame the lack of sleep for making me forget to check the front door.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reminders of you, Dad

After Mr. B’s iPod broke, he “stole mine”. Since then, I haven’t listened to music on an airplane in a really long time. Yes I have music on my phone, but most of the time I am trying to conserve battery, or reading a book, or flipping through a magazine, or occupying myself enough that I don’t really need the distraction of music. Well, when there is a screaming child 4 rows behind you, you put headphones in.  Even if you don’t have music, you pray the little ear buds help drown out some of the shrills. On this trip, I needed music and a distraction. So in honor of the 4th anniversary since my dad’s passing, I decided to write while I jammed out to Blake Shelton.
 
***
 
 

It’s hard to believe four years have gone by since I last talked to my dad. In fact, it makes me kind of sad how life just moves on and changes after you lose someone you never imagined your life without.

Big life events have happened since then. Including my sister having her third child in less than two months. She’s nesting and decided a couple weeks ago to clean out and organize her basement in preparation for baby Avery’s arrival. When we talked a few days later she said, “Oh guess what I found when I was cleaning? Dad’s checkbook and license.” I replied, “Wait, you have those things? I’d love to see his license photo. Was he in his heavy or skinny stage then?” She laughed and said, “His heavier stage.” What she said next, I wasn’t expecting, “You’ll never believe what he had inside the checkbook though. It was the Christmas card photo of you and Scott. The one of you in your Penn State jerseys.” I laughed. That was our very first Christmas card, and taken just five months before my dad had passed.

It made me smile that my dad kept that little reminder of us with him.

The funny part is, my dad never kept much. During the final years of his life, he lived a rather simple life in a small, one bedroom apartment. He shopped at the Dollar General Store for his toiletries and Walmart for most of his clothes. He was sentimental, but didn’t need keepsake items - such as books from our childhood, artwork from his grandchildren, or trophies from his own accomplishments - covering his living space or stored under his bed to remember the people and things that he loved. He carried most of his love in his heart and in his memories, which is why I found it shocking that he kept that Christmas photo of Scott and I tucked safely in the pocket of his checkbook.

Like my Dad, I toss nearly everything. I do have a pretty strong sentimental bone in me, but I hate clutter. While going through some of my dads personal items in days following his death, if someone had asked if I wanted to keep his checkbook, I would have said no without thinking twice about it. However, four years later, the idea of tracing his signature on the duplicate check pages with my fingertip, makes me wish I was the one who asked to keep his checkbook. Times like these, I am glad my siblings didn’t get that same “Toss Everything” trait that my dad gave to me. Otherwise, none of us would have anything to remember our Dad.

The conversation with my sister got me thinking though and I realized, I don’t really have very many items of my dad’s.

I did however, go searching for one item I remembered saving. It's kept it in a safe place, inside a little cloth patterned baggie with a drawstring tie. I opened the bag and pulled out a gold pocket watch that I had bought for my dad (with his money) when I was in the second grade at the Secret Santa Workshop. It’s still a shiny bright gold, and engraved with the letters “DAD” on the front. When you press the button to open it, the big hand and little hand are stuck on 8:28, the time it was when the battery died. The most special part of the watch, though, is when you look at the inside cover - it’s another photo of me. I don’t remember if I had put a picture in there before giving it to him, but even if I did, he updated it with a photo of me from my high school graduation.

Based on my Dad’s attitude of “If I don’t use it, I’m not keeping it”, I never imagined my older brother handing me the watch when we were going through our dad’s belongings.  Why else would he have updated the photo, if he didn't use it?
 


Dad, thank you for having reminders of me in your life. It’s funny how the reminders you had of me are now reminders I have of you, in my life. I love you and I miss you.

***

There will always be events we wish he was here to share with us. Situations where we wish we had his advice. And days when we just want to hear his voice.

Until we meet again, I write on balloons every anniversary, all of the things he’s missed and release them for the heavens to catch. Most years, I am releasing them next to the mountains. This year, I am releasing them over the ocean. 

 

 
Chip, chip, Cheerio Mate.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monty Monday


What did you notice first? The fact that Monty matches our carpet? His cartoon smile? Or the pile of tennis balls in front of him? Maybe all of the above. 

Mr. B was the favorite last week when he brought home all 17 tennis balls from work. A colleague of his plays tennis and when you are committed to a sport like tennis, you only use a ball a few times before switching out to a new one. Who knew? Needless to say, he had a bucket of useless tennis balls that he wanted to give to away to the dog owners in the company. 

They weren't useless. Monty had that smile on his face for days. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Andrea's Twinkie Journey

In honor of Mother’s Day, I asked if I could share a story of one of the mothers I admire most in my life.


Eight months ago two of my greatest friends knocked on my front door. Andrea had taken a pregnancy test two weeks before and had her first OB appointment that day. She had miscarried three times in the previous two years and when she showed up at my door unexpectedly that day, with our friend Evka, I thought for sure I was going to be making a pot of tea and we’d be sobbing at my dining room table grieving the loss of another baby. Instead, she handed me the sonogram photo and said, “There’s not one, there’s TWO!”

Insert a few swear words and jumping up and down. My cousin Seany was in town and I am convinced three grown women screaming in my living room, scarred him for life.

Twin Announcement & the Sweetest 3 Year Old Ever!
She was considered high-risk from day one, based on her history, but even more so now that she was carrying two babies. We celebrated for weeks, carrying-on at every Donut Friday, imagining all the possibilities.  Would they be girls, boys, or one of each? Would they be identical? What will the nursery look like? How much weight will you gain? Will you dress them the same or different? Can you fit three car seats in your car?

Donut Friday’s quickly came to an end in December when she was put on, what I like to call, 100%-relaxed bed rest. It wasn’t full bed rest, but she was supposed to spend more time resting than moving. Driving and housework were off the table and carrying her 3 year old toddler, Maddie, was a thing of the past.

Her 16 week ultrasound was scheduled for Christmas Eve and she asked if I could drive her. I was excited just to hear their heartbeats, but I was even more excited when she told me, there was a possibility of finding out their genders (as long as they cooperated).  That morning I woke up, went through the pile of blank cards I kept in my office desk drawer and wrote, “You’re having…” and left enough room to write the gender of two babies. The plan was to seal the card and on Christmas morning she and her husband, Josh, would open it. Talk about the ultimate Christmas surprise, right?

We informed Dr. P of our plan as soon as he walked in the room. He was on board and while he pointed out the “Baby Back Ribs” on the sonogram screen, he happened to make the comment, “Look! This one has its legs crossed. Now boys don’t cross their legs, do they?” Immediately, Andrea and I made eye contact. I may or may not have nudged Dr. P and told him to “hush!” - I didn’t want him giving her ANY hints and already we were convinced one of the babies was a girl.

He printed the photos, put them in a manila envelope and I then handed him the card. I had my back to Andrea (Thank God!), because when I watched him write, TWIN BOYS, my reaction would have given it away. I was in shock.  In all the scenarios we had played out in our minds (including her and Josh), no one really imagined two boys. We thought for sure at least one of them was going to be a girl. Everyone laughs looking back on it now. How could two boys never have been a possibility?

The Christmas Card
Christmas morning was a shock to them as well. In fact, Maddie cried. She wanted sisters, not brothers. Won’t that be a funny story for the boys when they are older?

While getting used to the idea of two boys and visualizing a nursery with trucks instead of dolls, Andrea was soon put on strict bed rest. This meant lying flat, except for personal hygiene and potty breaks. As she likes to say, "I have too much energy/OCD/ADD/Anxiety" - we thought for sure she was going to lose her mind.

Immediately, her Mother-in-Law and I went into baby shower planning mode, in hopes that a shower at 26 weeks would give her something to look forward too. Not to mention, her mama and sister had plans of coming to town to celebrate as well.

Three days before her shower she had another scheduled Dr’s appointment. She called me the night before and asked if I would be able to take her. Her husband was in the process of selling their brand new Honda Civic (because no, it didn’t fit three car seats); her mother in law had a Dr’s appointment of her own, and I of course, loved any excuse to go along and hear the boy’s heartbeats. Andrea and I sat in the patient room for nearly 45 minutes, goofing around, until Dr. P walked in. He listened to their heartbeats and checked her cervix. What came next, neither of us were prepared for. He said, “Your cervix is not supporting this pregnancy. You need to go to St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver…now. You will be on hospital bed rest for the remainder of this pregnancy.” Unfortunately, the hospital her OB worked for does not care for preemies born before 34 weeks.

That day, Andrea was 26 weeks, 1 day pregnant.

Dr. P told her to get dressed and asked if I could take her to Denver, which was 1 hour away. I asked if we could stop at her house to get a toothbrush, some clothes and share the news with her husband. He replied, “No, you are going right now. No stops, just get her there!” She broke down crying and I was near panic mode. All I could think of was, “She is going to have these boys in my passenger seat.” She called every important person in her life on the way to Denver to tell them the dreaded news, while I focused getting us to the hospital as quickly as possible. I held her hand most of the way and tried reminding her that she was way stronger than these two boys and this “prison sentence”, as she called it, would be temporary.

Being wheeled to her "prison sentence"

My heart was broken for her. Not for long though. Once we saw her hospy room and realized it was nicer than both of our houses, we looked at each other and said, “Maybe this won’t be so bad.” We called ourselves Hillbillies at the Ritz. Perhaps we were trying to make the best of a shitty situation, but it helped.

She spent the next six weeks on bed rest. And she rocked it. Her mom and sister came to town, as originally planned for the shower, and we celebrated in her hospital room. They brought her magazines, nail polish, games and movies. Her mother in law brought canvases and made her hospital room feel like home. Her husband stayed over several nights a week and snuggled her pregnant belly. Her sweet Maddie visited often and brought stuffed animals and balloons to make her mama smile. Friends visited nearly every day and brought food along to feed her cravings. She made friends with almost all of her nurses and had hilarious stories from the beach-whale-society, AKA water therapy.

Twinkie Baby Shower  

After that visit with Dr. P, we were for certain she was going to have March babies, but due to her amazing doctors and nurses, she successfully kept the boys in and was released from the hospital at 33 weeks and 2 days, to finish out the remainder of her pregnancy at home. AT HOME, I said!

The growth of her belly black tank :)

At her 34 week mark she was “bed-rest free”. Like most women, the first thing she did was go to TARGET in her BRAND NEW HONDA PILOT (which does fit three car seats), for a Starbucks and a little retail therapy. Could you imagine going six weeks without going to Target? Maybe I’d save more money if I did. In fact, I know I would.

Afterwards, she decided to take the most amazingly appropriate maternity photo. I begged her almost every day of her entire pregnancy to take a few maternity shots. I mean, come on, she is a photographer! I sent her every gorgeous, glowing shot of pregnant women that I saw on Pinterest and said, "You are going to regret this if you don't have a photo of these boys in your belly with Maddie." Who needs the long flowing white dress and a silhouette of a glowing mama when you can have a photo like this? Funny&Classic.

The most fitting maternity photo, compliments of her hubby, Josh :)

By 35 weeks she was officially done. Her body hurt and she was uncomfortable. Can you blame her? She was carrying two nearly 5lb babies inside of her. So she came to my house and sat with Mr. B and me for almost two hours. Her words, “I came here the day I found out they were twins, so maybe that means my water will break at your house.” I asked her to sit on the floor instead of my couch. #truestory

After two hours of waiting, she decided to head home. My house didn’t have the special powers she was anticipating. Before she left, Mr. B got to feel a baby kick for the very first time and I kissed her belly and told the boys to hang tight for a few more days.

The following day, at 35 weeks 2 days, she went in for one of her bi-weekly appointments and immediately text me – “Did you leave town yet?” Knowing that I had been around for most of the key details of this pregnancy, she had strict orders (from me) to make sure I would be in town for the boys debut.  

Mr. B and I had the camper packed, ready to leave for a weekend at Rocky Mountain National Park. I replied and said, “No I am working, we aren’t leaving until late this afternoon. Are you in labor?” In her overly calm reply, she said, “Yep! Dr. P just sent me to Labor and Delivery.”

I immediately became a frantic mess. It was almost surreal - she was in my living room the night before begging for her water to break and now she really was in labor. I ran downstairs to shower so I could be on alert when she got the go-ahead to be taken to the OR for delivery.  While brushing my teeth, I could barely hold back the tears. My friend, who was desperate for a second baby and never gave up hope, was going to give birth to her SECOND and THIRD child in just a few short hours. I will never forget texting her mother-in-law, in my frantic state and her telling me, "Calm down, you are not the one in labor."

Andrea brought her boys into this world at 12:36PM and 12:38PM on Friday May 9th, 2014.

Introducing Jax Thomas // 4lbs 9oz
Introducing Jett Lucas // 5lbs 1oz
[Birth Photography compliments of Maren Miller]
I couldn't be more grateful that I was in town and able to join her father-in-law and Maddie in the waiting room.  I had the opportunity to sit with Andrea in recovery and witness her and her husband meet the boys together for the very first time. It was such a special moment.



Andrea, I am beyond proud of you. I am so thankful you had such an amazing support system with you through this season of your life. You’ve taught me so much about patience and grace. I think it is safe to say this pregnancy was not ideal. Stressful is more like it. But you handled it better than I would and most people I know.  I couldn’t be happier for you and your new family of five. FIVE! Oh my gosh!

Thank you for letting me be a part of this journey. I thought seeing twin babies on an ultrasound photo eight months ago was exciting, but to later be a part of their gender reveal, and ending with watching you meet them for the first time. It’s been such a full circle and joyful experience.  Although, I threaten that I will never get pregnant after witnessing everything you’ve had to endure, once I met your precious gentlemen on Friday, I look forward to the day when I’m a mom. You're already a huge inspiration to me.


Today, on this Mother’s Day, we celebrate the birth of Andrea’s twin boys and all the Mothers out there. The ones struggling with infertility. The ones about to become new mothers. The ones that already have little ones. The ones that have grown ones. The ones who have adopted littles. And the ones who are suffering the loss of their children. You are all special in your own way. You bring life to this world and you all deserve to be celebrated each and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day to my own Mama Bear and Mother-In-Law, I love you both very much.


Thank you for letting me share your story, A. You can read more about her journey at “The Life and Times of Andrea Rosenbohm”. Starting with her announcement, and ending with their birth story.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monty Monday


He looks so innocent, but really he isn't.
 
Ever heard of a wild goose chase? Well that phrase was fitting for Monty-Goose this weekend. Our friends Scotty J and Steph were in town visiting, drinking, biking, drinking, and playing with Monty of course. So when we dropped them off at the airport, we brought Monty along for the ride. When Scotty J opened the trunk to grab his suitcase, Monty decided to jump out with it...literally sprinting around the entrance to the airport. Moving cars were everywhere, some people were dodging him, others were trying to capture him, and security guards were yelling, "Your dog needs to be on a leash!!!" Which of course I yelled back, "He jumped out of our car, sorry!" What I wanted to say was, "No shit crap. Do you think I enjoy having my dog weave between people and moving vehicles?!"
 
Just after he ran past the security guards and in front of a parked car, also dropping loved ones off to depart their flight, he finally ran towards us. He slowed down enough that Mr. B could grab ahold of his collar and drag him back to our car.
 
He was loose for approximately 2 minutes, but it felt like 20 minutes. The moving cars had me a tad panicked and frantic. Of course Mr. B was calm, collected, and walking. No wonder the dog came back to him and not his out-of-shape, out of breath, anxious mother.
 
Let just say, I think that will be Monty's last ride to the airport.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Beekeeping: Hive Names



This photo was taken the evening we went to set up my bee boxes. It is strongly recommended that you set up a couple of days in advance so you are prepped and ready to release your bees the day they arrive.

While anxiously awaiting to meet my bee mentor and gathering everything I needed to set-up, Mr. B looked at me and said, "so did you grab the shovel and level?" Inquisitively, I looked at him and said, "No, we aren't digging anything up?!"

Well, remember when I mentioned that men usually know what they are talking about when it comes to tools or installing things? Well, once again, he was right. We drove up to the field where my bees would soon be living, set the cinder blocks on the ground and realized, we needed to make some adjustments. The front needed to be tilted forward for water drainage and the back needed to be level to make sure the hive wasn't off balance. With the hurricane force winds we are getting this week, I am so thankful we focused on making them as sturdy as possible. In order to do that, we needed that said shovel and level. #MrBWinsAgain

As for names, well, I put a status on Facebook yesterday asking for input from all my friends to help me name my hives. You may think this is odd request (my friends agree), but I figured if I need to keep track of my activity at the hive(s) and share stories on my blog, then it would just make more sense if they had names. Thank you for all of the input, friends. Honestly, you guys are full of creativity.

Please meet the "The Mile Hive Club" and "The Comb Dome".

Mr. B thinks it's inappropriate that both names have some type of sexual innuendo. I told him he shouldn't have his mind in the gutter all the time. I personally love the names. I mean, living near the Mile High City...The Mile Hive Club has potential as a future business name. Err, wait, maybe I am putting too much pressure on my bees. For now, this is just a hobby wild adventure.

The Sugar Shack, BSpot, and Hive5 were close seconds! If I enjoy this new adventure, and my bees thrive, and I learn I am not allergic, and keep my anxiety at bay...I may add a few more hives next year. That means, more names!

Thanks for the help, every-bee-dy. Dano and Dru, get a special shout out for naming the hives. You officially get dibs on the first second jars of honey they produce. I get the first!
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