Monday, May 27, 2013

Backyard boys

I followed my boys around with the big camera in the backyard for a few minutes today. Little boys in bathing suits always need to be photographed, right?

It's quite the challenge. Dodge the sprinkler. Look for the wandering three-year-old. Chase the one-year-old wobbler. No! Don't eat that. Yes, the ants can bite. Don't squirt the wasp. Repeat and don't lose your cool. Oh, and take a few pictures in there somewhere.

But these, these are my boys. They are my heart. Dirt, tantrums, exhaustion and all.

My Asher. Water hose loving Asher.

Checking on the current water flow status of his sprinkler.

My Elias. Who learned to dig in dirt by scooping it under
and between his legs at rapid pace.



This is his running face.

He was making a mad dash to the garage. To proclaim 'CAR! CAR!'
over and over. And get into mischief.

Back outside, we're running again.


He's serious about his sprinkler.

Caught me. 'No taking a picture, Mama.'


The only bloom left on my bush after taking the others to Cille's grave.

Someone wasn't following direction and almost soaked Mama's camera.
No more water, says Mama. Life is ruined, naturally.

It was really an obnoxious display of  emotion at the time, and I was
terribly annoyed with all his carrying on - but this photo breaks my heart.

No good tantrum ends so soon. It must last at least 19 minutes.
And there you have it. About ten minutes in our backyard. :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Arlington National Cemetery



When Grammy passed away several weeks back, we knew that she would be buried at Arlington and that the date and time of the burial would be assigned to us. So, when we received notice that Memorial Day weekend (that Friday morning) was our scheduled time, we made plans to drive up Thursday to DC.

I had a lot of anxiety about the ride. My boys have despised riding even to the store lately, so five hours (without traffic) in the car with them made me want to poke my eyeballs out. We learned from the Myrtle Beach trips that it's best to not mention anything exciting at the end of the car ride, because Mr. Can't Wait would stay awake for said exciting thing. We told Asher we were going on a ride, after lunch, to 'see Nana and PopPop'. After a few hours he said, "Nana and PopPop's house is a looooong ways away." We thought we were banking on a solid nap after playing in the heat all morning and hopping in the car during nap. Wrong. There wasn't much sleeping. But, it wasn't too horrible either. Asher's DVD player broke (told you, kid, that kicking it would break it) and Elias was addicted to Finding Nemo on repeat. I had little activity boxes for both boys (with little small time-consuming items) and those helped out some. We stopped for picnics and bubble blowing at rest stops and took our time arriving. We also missed a few turns (thank you detours) and ended up in the heart of DC for a little driving tour. Read: lost.

And then, we arrived at 'Nana and PopPop's house' aka the hotel. There were cousins to play with, family to visit and a pool to swim in. So, that pretty much made it awesome. The hotel got our room wrong three times, so finally around 8 PM we went down to the pool. Yes, 8 PM. The routiner in me was flipping out. But the mom in me, that wanted the boys to enjoy themselves and SLEEP, was like 'let's go swim!' So, we swam and played. We were all in one room together, with a separate living area. Elias settled into this pack 'n play around 9:30. Asher around 10-something. Elias was up around 11, and 2 and 3:30 and 4:30 and 5. Asher slept through the first few screams, but then he joined in the noise making. Poor guy. He was saying, "Lie-us, huuuuuush. Go to sleep, Lie-us." Asher and Rusty wound up on the couch and then back in our bed. When my alarm went off at 6:30 I was zonked. ZONKED. Breakfast and a peek outside showed me that I had not packed for the weather. I did check the forecast and it didn't say 50 degrees, raining and winding like mad and just plain cold. We were not prepared. We wrapped up in blankets and layered with what clothes I did pack.

 



We ventured out to Arlington. We went to the main building and there was a family room assigned to us. We waited there until time for the service. The chaplain did a beautiful job. He spoke of Grammy - an Air Force pilot's wife - as a hero of heroes. And how fitting that she be buried there among the others. The boys actually sat quietly through the service. I realized early on that I had one little bar left of my battery on my camera, so I didn't get nearly the number of photos I wanted. Grandpop cried, a lot. When they brought the casket over, he asked, "Is that Mommy?" He's not really remembering what's happened, so we're hoping that by being at Arlington maybe it strikes a chord and he can somehow remember. I know it's hard on Rusty's dad to tell his father over and over at each visit that Grammy has passed away. While they buried Grammy we ventured over to the other side of the section and I was able to take a few photos of her final resting place. We loved that the Air Force memorial monument (like three jets flying) was right behind her gravesite.










The rain began as we were looking for Stanley's grave. Asher was begging to use his umbrella. I happily obliged because I had this vision of his bright umbrella meandering around the site markers on such a cloudy, otherwise gloomy day. We packed up after this and decided it was time to start heading back. The weather was too gross, we were too cold and we knew we had a long drive ahead of us (with no sleep the night before).

Cue: frenzy of packing up, more getting lost from detours (an hour's worth) and traffic jams like mad crazy. We tried to get off 95 to 'keep moving' and 'save time' and I think we just screwed ourselves. The motion did help the boys take a nap, but we were way out of our way and there was traffic even there. We stopped for meals and running around, and drove and drove and drove and drove. Elias pretty much fussed from Richmond until home. At that point, I just tried to block it out and get us home. Asher, sweet boy, kept trying to talk to Elias. At one point he said, "Lie-us, it's ok. Don't cry. Everything is going to be ok." Seriously. How stinkin adorbs is THAT? Annnnd 10 hours later -- we arrived. TEN HOURS. Whew.






Glad I have these photos of the sweet, meaningful, purposeful parts of our trip. I'm glad the boys could run around with their cousins. I'm glad we had that time to hang with Grandpop and Nana and PopPop. Grandpop was clearly enjoying himself. And I know it all meant a lot to Rusty.

Next time, I'm considering Benadryl and/or a chartered flight. No road trips for me anytime soon. Good glory.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just plain overwhelmed.

I've been so overwhelmed lately.

Hence, the silence on my blog.

I keep thinking it's just a season, and it'll pass and things will quiet down. But it doesn't really seem to be happening that way.

Then, I think about people who are *really* overwhelmed -- like the Momma of the little boy I follow on Facebook whose brain was crushed by a tree limb at daycare -- and I think that I'm just being ridiculous and should suck it up. There are people out there with *real* obstacles and challenges and hurts and fears that are *really* far more overwhelmed than me.

For our health and good fortune. For our bouncing (wild) boys and my patient husband. For our supportive families and awesome friends. For all of these I'm blessed and thankful. And I remind myself of this often. And when I get really flustered I give myself this, "Kira. Get a grip. Deal." speech. So far, it's decent.

In reality though, it's been a busy time here. Busy in good and not-so-good ways, but nothing terribly terrible.

Work is keeping me so beyond busy. There are days I don't know which end is up, my to-do list is ignored for some new emergency and I'm certain that my teammates are thinking, "Seriously? This woman owns a company?"  I worry that I'm letting people down and dropping balls and stretching myself too thin. But, I am honest about things and just try to do the best I can. (And we've launched some great new work with some really awesome stuff on the horizon.) I just don't want to alienate everyone I love along the way.

Then there's life stuff. Like the fact our old house hasn't sold and the buyer we had backed out right at the last minute. And we're trying to carry multiple mortgages without freaking out.

There have been goodbyes. Rusty's Grammy passed away several weeks back. She was in hospice and everyone did all they could to keep Grandpop by her side during her last days. And next week, we'll travel to Arlington to bury her at the National Cemetery.

See, while writing this it doesn't seem like I should be all that overwhelmed. It seems manageable on paper (well, screen). It's life stuff.

I should have started this post with a this-is-a-stream-of-consciousness-warning.

And these boys, whew. They do overwhelm me - in a good way. Elias is far braver than Asher at this age. And far louder. And far clingier. And Asher doesn't stop talking. Ever. He also has very important opinions about everything (NO! DON'T CUT MY STRAWBERRIES!) And shares them with us frequently. They both suck at car rides now. But, Asher's potty-trained so that's pretty stinking awesome. And Elias toddles around in the cutest way making the cutest faces.

I just get flustered far too easily when they are both whiny and tired or wild and rambunctious or I'm tired and they aren't. I snap and I yell and then I feel bad (or sometimes I don't). And I think, "I bet those moms who have lost a child would do anything to hear all this commotion." Yes, that's kind of dramatic, but it's true. And I give thanks for my blessings and I take a deep breath.

I'm tired. All the time.
I'm working. All the time.
I'm mothering. All the time.
Cleaning. Folding. Wiping. Straightening.
Repeat.
Thinking about the boys.
Thinking about the houses.
Thinking about upcoming trips and events.
Thinking about packing.
Thinking about my marriage.
Thinking about my company.
And my clients.
And my teammates.
And our work.
And the boys, the boys, the boys, the boys.
My brain needs rest.

There never seems to be much time for just me. And certainly not enough for me and Rusty. I haven't seen my best friend and her baby girl in weeks. I have barely touched the shows on my DVR. I haven't taken meals to my friends with new babies that I swore to myself I'd make time for. I haven't found a church for us to visit. I haven't found Asher a lunch bag for preschool. My bathroom still needs painting. I keep meaning to mail care packages and write hand-written notes to people I love most.

But instead, I struggle awake. I cram a lot in a day. I get the kids to bed. I cram in some more. And I crash. Late. Seriously, I don't think this is how I want my days to go.

So, this is either a season of work-is-busy and my kids-are-young-and-need-a-lot-of-me. Or I'm just doing something wrong along the way. I need more friend time. More down time. More husband time. More family time without work peeking into my brain.

And I need to feel less overwhelmed. More in the now and less in the what's-happening-around-me. I need to find time to write down my thoughts. To organize our stories. To connect with me. And Rusty and our kids.

And quiet my brain a little.

That's all.




Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy Third Birthday to Asher!




We accidentally have stumbled upon a new family tradition: Go to a waterpark for your birthday!

Asher had so much fun at Elias's waterpark birthday that he felt certain he should have his third birthday at a waterpark, too. We told him a few weeks before and he started asking each morning: "We go to waterpark today? No? Saturday?" He would declare at breakfast: "It's time to start packing now for the waterpark." He told everyone we passed in the neighborhood that he was going for his birthday and he would be three and he was big and going to go to the waterpark. He was so excited, in fact, that there would be no shut eye in the car ride. Just lots of asking when we would arrive. It would be a long three hours.


Whoever planned this condo and these W/D's
in the kitchen obviously did not have children.


We loaded up the car again and off we went. Asher had an absolute ball. It was rather chilly (they had opened the enclosure around the indoor pools) but he chattered his way through all of the pools. Their lazy river was really fast. The last night, Asher would just walk in with his puddle jumper float and cruise around all on his own. Rusty walked the perimeter of the river to keep an eye on him. It was rather entertaining. Just a little floating three-year-old lazing around at top speeds.




 




The most memorable moment for me was also our second night. There had been fireworks on the beach in front of our room the night before, so Asher was expecting fireworks again this night. We assured him there would be no more; they made it hard to sleep the first night. When, alas, some other wiseguy starting shooting fireworks illegally directly in front of our condo again. These were close and really, really, really loud. Asher started crying and buried his head in his daddy's shoulder. When I came in the room, we had the most adorable conversation.

Asher: Momma, those fireworks cared me.

Momma: They what baby?

Asher: CARED me.

Momma: Oh, they scared you. I'm sorry. It's ok, though. They won't hurt you. We'll tell them to stop.

Asher: They are still down there. Those fireworks, those fireworks they made the stars cough.

Momma: The stars are coughing?

Asher: Yes. The fireworks made them cough.

Momma: Oh. Ok. Well I'm sure they will be fine.


Bless him. He thought the stars were coughing. That's just the sweetest little random string of words ever to me.












The second most memorable moment is probably all of the other moments that told me that traveling is a ridiculous amount of work at this age. The smooth trip for Elias's birthday must have been a fluke. Because this was tough. Whew. Whiny three-year-old. Testing three-year-old. Teething one-year-old. Climbing one-year-old. Screaming both-year-olds. Non-napping both-year-olds. I will think long and hard before any more trips. Goodness.














We are blessed - soo blessed - to have these times together. It was a fun adventure. I think we possibly have set the birthday bars too high, but that's ok. We shall see what next year holds!

Happy Third Birthday, Asher Ray Kroboth! We love you!



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