Thankful Thursday: May 2nd

I know I’m about two months behind on these. Life really has gotten in the way, and I do plan on catching them up, even if I have to write two or three a week.

Since today is our second birthday here at Notes From the Backseat, I thought I’d go back to just how this blog got started. I don’t think I’ve ever really gone over that other than to say it’s all my husband’s fault lol

Let me take you back in time about two and half years or so. I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our Honda CR-V as my husband drives along the interstate. In the backseat, Sissy sits behind daddy, Little Brother behind me and the cat, in her carrier, wedged between the car seats. Strewn about the floor board in both the back and front are duffel bags, diaper bags, crafting bags, supplies for the kids (such as snacks and DVDs). In the very back, a stadium stroller, a dog in a crate, two large suitcases and a bunch of pillows and blankets. On top of the vehicle was a large black bag, securely strapped down full of more travel supplies and all the Christmas presents, already wrapped and hiding from the kids so as not to ruin Santa just yet.

You see, this was Christmas 2010 and we were in the middle of a PCS from beautiful, sunny Southern California to bitter, cold, dreary Central Virginia. From forecasts like “78 and sunny” to “23 with a wind chill of 10”, we drove through snow, ice, rain, sunshine, warm and cold. Ten states in Five days. Not a trip I’d want to make in such a short time ever again.

During our trip, things would come up between the kids, or between us that just made us laugh. I used these to update my status on Facebook with the title “Notes from the Backseat #__” and had a great time with it. After a while, my husband decided that “Notes from the Backseat” would be a good blog title, though it would be a few more months before I actually started the blog, shortly before our last PCS to Middle Tennessee (which is actually on the Kentucky boarder, not sure how that works).

So in honor of our second birthday, and in being thankful for all this blog has done for my sanity over the past two years, I present:

THE BEGINNING

#1: “i can’t wait to tell people to look at my tooth hole”
#2: “ok mommy, go back to your seat please! Go!”
(This was while I was leaning over in my seat making sure her movie was playing in the right language lol)
#3: “can I get out of the car?”
“like now? Can’t you wait til we get to Albuquerque?”
“well, okay mommy”
#4: “mommy, you can close the wind”
(She meant the sunroof)
#5: “look mommy! Cows! Moo Moo Moo!” -then she proceeds to giggle for 3 minutes.
#6: “i see snow! The holidays are here!
#7: “no no no!”
“what?”
“you cannot drive in the snow!”
#8: “oops! It’s not working!”
#9: “look at all the snow! It’s turning white!”
#10: “a birthday! Is it my birthday? I love parties!”
#11: “op! You’re out! Op! You’re out! Op! Everyone’s out!”
(we think she’s playing tag by herself)
#12: “mommy, my tooth is growing up”
(I’m just glad its not growing upside down)
#12 (ish): “ok, kiddo, let’s look for some boots for you”
“And Dora too!”
“ok let’s look for some shoes instead.”
#14: “you rescued the marble! you’re my hero mommy!”
#15: “Did you steal my pizza?!”
“MMMmmmMMM” (courtesy of Little Brother, he ate it all)
#16: “mommy, I think I know why its upset.”
“why is it upset?”
“cuz its dark outside. Can I have a hug?”
(she misses her daddy already)
#17: “mommy, when the movie’s over, I can have poptarts”
(no she cant, but it was a nice try, wasn’t it?)
#18: “thank you so much, SuperHero Mommy!”
(after putting the post-it over the sensor on an automatic flusher)
#19: “mommy, the tv is big so now we can play ping pong!”
(daddy said when the tv got here she could play Kinect sports ping pong lol. It’s here and she wants to play)
#20: Daddy: “honey, do u want subway or should we try Bo Jangles?”
Sissy: “jingle bells jingle bells jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride in adkfirnuch eeeeeeh!”
Daddy: “i said Bo Jangles not Jingles Bells”
(she’s not quite sure what the words are LOL)

So there it is. The 20 status messages that got this blog started. My kids have always been a source of joy to me. Sure there are days that are long. There are days that are difficult. But all too often, the days are just days. Reflections of who we will be tomorrow and who we were yesterday. Today, while walking home from school, Sissy remembered about a trip she and daddy took to the beach during block leave last summer. Just the two of them, for an afternoon, went to the beach and made sand castles “and I got to knock them down!”

Today, I’m thankful for this blog.
For the people my words have touched.
For the enlightenment it has brought to others.
For the piece of mind it has brought to me.

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Slacker Blogging

I seem to have become depressed over the past week. I’ve been taking the death of the cat very hard…

As a result, my blog is suffering. Sorry guys.

I promise to get back with it this week. More Autism Awareness blogs and the 30 Day Drawing Challenge posts are coming this week. I will get caught up and finish on time. I promise.

I’ve sent my husband an email to help me stay on task and focus. I need things to keep me moving…

On a side note, I will be updating on my 29 Things list soon… I’m failing myself already, and it’s only April…

Thankful Thursday: February 21st!

Today, at 4:55am PST, my daughter turned seven years old.

Listening to Daddy sing "Happy Birthday" at 0700 CST this morning.

Listening to Daddy sing “Happy Birthday” at 0700 CST this morning.

My darling little girl is turning into a beautiful young woman before my eyes and it terrifies me. She is a huge blessing to all the people in her life and there is no way to avoid her infectious joy in her presence.

28 weeks pregnant with Sissy

28 weeks pregnant with Sissy

It wasn’t always this way. In the beginning, it was really difficult. Having based all my childbirth knowledge on the experience of others and what I’d seen in movies, I was not realistically equipped to handle the things that would come my way. I had a tough pregnancy emotionally. I have mentioned before that my daughter’s birth was not something that was planned ahead of time. My pregnancy was a surprise. Telling my mother that I was pregnant and moving across the country to get married was a nightmare and I was torn between the two families for a long time.

I remember stages in my pregnancy where I just wanted to die. I didn’t want to be stuck between the families. I didn’t want my mom to hate my in-laws. I didn’t want all the fighting and the drama. There were times when I wished for something to happen. I never considered having an abortion and even when it was suggested that I take the morning after pill. The night of “THEE” sex, while my husband prayed with me that nothing would result from it, I secretly prayed that God’s will be done. I’ve never told my husband that. But here I was, halfway through the pregnancy wishing I would trip and fall in just such a way, it wouldn’t be my fault and everybody would stop being mad at each other because of me. That’s a very painful thought to admit to having. I was in a very bad place. Pregnancy was NOTHING like it was in the movies and I was vomiting several times a day well into my eighth month.

The wedding occurred during the weekend I hit 28 weeks pregnant. I forgot my husband was wearing a microphone and promptly announced to the entire church that I needed to pee… My father-in-law, God rest him, always did get a kick out of that one. I still remember him laughing from the front row. I also burned my hand on the wax from the unity candle, but that’s another story. Our first ultrasound was late because I had to switch doctors (apparently at 19 weeks pregnant the baby is too small and moving around too fast to be seen on the ultrasounds… It’s a uterus, buddy, not NASCAR!)… So the day before our wedding, we found out that we were having a baby girl, though I’d been referring to the baby as “she” the entire time. FYI, that’s a baby, not an “it”. I couldn’t call my baby “It”.

It was my little sister who noted that the chamber of Sissy's heart actually was heart-shaped in this ultrasound.

It was my little sister who noted that the chamber of Sissy’s heart actually was heart-shaped in this ultrasound.

My due date came and went, and on February 20th, 2006, my doctor sent me to the hospital for an NST (non-stress test), to determine if she was strong enough for an induction. Well, as it turned out, I didn’t need one. “Go have breakfast and then go to the hospital.” said the doctor. Well, after eating my Burger King breakfast in the car on the way to the hospital, we arrived about 10:15am and when I got out of the car there was a gush. And when I say gush, I mean someone just kicked a big ass hole in the side of a full swimming pool, it gushed! And for some reason, I didn’t expect the fluid to be warm… Seriously, they don’t tell you what it’s gonna feel like because most women don’t have “spontaneous membrane rupture”, I had no expectations, but was NOT expecting hot water to be running down both legs and soaking my pants. Logically it makes sense when you think about the average persons normal every day body temperature.

The look on my face must have been something between “I can’t remember what I was doing” and “WTF?” because my husband asked me if I left something at the doctor’s office. I promptly replied, “Either I just peed on myself or my water broke.”

So we waddled into the hospital ER, having no idea if that’s where we were supposed to go at that time of day. I was admitted once they confirmed I had not, in fact, burst my bladder, and the adventure began. I’ll save the gory details, but a bitchy nurse, a failed epidural, three hours of pushing and nearly 19 hours of labor later, my daughter was here… And the trouble began… She was 9lbs 9oz, delivered vaginally and had her first bowel movement in utero, which means the NICU was on standby in case she had breathing troubles as a result of swallowing the meconium. She had not, but it still puts a new parent on edge. It was another two hours before I got to hold her because they wanted to make sure she was just fine. Well when you know that babies bond with their mother in the first three minutes, it really sucks to not see your baby until she’s two hours old.

Nearly 19 hours of labor, I want it noted that my husband was the only one smiling.

Nearly 19 hours of labor, I want it noted that my husband was the only one smiling.

IMG_0761Shortly after I held her for the first time, I decided that this time I really did need to pee. My husband took the baby and was sitting on the couch with both our mothers, while the nurse helped me to the bathroom. This is wear I promptly blacked out. (I told you it was trouble.) My helpless husband was holding our tiny newborn daughter and not able to come to my rescue. My mom told me that she saw me step into the bathroom doorway and then suddenly I was gone and the nurse was yelling. When I woke up, I was sitting on the floor with a nurse in front of me, my mom was behind me, Hubby was in the doorway with the baby and everyone was trying to figure out whether or not I had hit my head… Needless to say, I’d never seen that happen in a movie…

But the baby was fine and eventually, I was too.

Me and Sissy, 3mo

Me and Sissy, 3mo

Over the years, things have come up. After she was born, I pushed myself to bond “magically” like they do in the movies and ended up overburdened, exhausted and hospitalized (twice) for Postpartum Psychosis (like, Postpartum Depression, only with paranoia and delusions/hallucinations)… It was not a good time in our lives. We were kicked out of a women’s ministry because she couldn’t sit still when she was three (before we knew she had Proprioceptive Input Dysfunction and Sensory Integration Disorder). She was diagnosed with autism just after her fifth birthday. And now, my baby girl is seven… It’s really hard to believe that the chubby little baby I struggled so hard to love is a bright, beautiful, and overwhelmingly joyful little girl now…

Chubby little baby girl

Chubby little baby girl

My sweet girl. So grown and yet still so little.

My sweet girl. So grown and yet still so little.

I still don’t feel that “magical” bond to her, like you’re “supposed” to. But that’s why I talk about my experience. Not every woman will be connected to her child with some magical bond. It may sound cold, but my daughter was a stranger. I didn’t know her anymore than she knew me. We had to learn to love each other.  I knew what to expect of myself when I gave birth to my son and the entire pregnancy, delivery and postpartum went by with no issues at all.

I was in a really bad place when I got pregnant with my daughter. I was drowning in a town that literally will suck the life out of you and kill any chance you had of having a dream or a real life of happiness and joy. My daughter saved my life. She’s a huge blessing everyday and I am so thankful that my prayers were answered all those years ago.

God’s will was done.

For that, I am thankful.

Happy Birthday, Sissy!

Thankful Thursday: Valentine’s Day Edition

There is so much about love that is misunderstood. So many aspects of love. A multitude of ways to show love and even more ways to feel it. For someone like me, who has trouble regulating a normal emotional system for long periods of time and can’t always understand the emotions behind people’s actions, love is a strange concept.

I love my kids.

I love my husband.

But I don’t feel love for myself.

I don’t feel love for my extended family.

I say the words “I love you”, but that doesn’t mean that I’m feeling it. It means, I feel it is expected, so I say it. This generally occurs when someone says it first and I’m programmed to say it in response so as to avoid hurt feelings.

But love in general is a good thing. It heels deeply broken hearts and creates the most warm and fuzzy feelings inside. When we know we are loved, when we feel it in our deepest core, is there any better feeling? Well, since Valentine’s Day is on Thursday this year, I would like to share with you the moment of my day when I felt the most loved.

Obviously, with my husband in Afghanistan, the romantic dinner and night out without the kids wasn’t on the menu for us this year (or last year since he was at Fort Knox for some training or equipment pickup or something:Army 2, Me 0). I really wasn’t expecting him to call. We’ve had issues with communication in regard to phone calls in the past and this resulted in his not calling home on Thanksgiving or on Christmas, so when the phone rang with that random six-digit phone number, I was surprised and thrilled that he called home on Valentine’s Day.

Once the initial shock wore off, he told me “Take the day off” (To which I’m thinking, “Ummm… Okay, but you aren’t gonna know if I sit on my ass all day or not, so, ummm, thanks?” And by this point, I had already rearranged the dining room twice trying to figure out where the table could go during my daughter’s birthday party next weekend.). He continued, “Don’t even worry about the kitchen (how did he know I hadn’t done dishes in three days?), dinner is on me.”

This is the point in the conversation where my brain seriously went blank and the processor in the thought formation center of my brain slowed to a grinding halt. I was totally confused, but in the same moment, I knew what he had done. It’s a very odd feeling to describe, but it was accompanied by a huge grin and some tears. He told me, “Dinner would be delivered around five.”

(Have I mentioned how much I love my husband? Other girls got flowers, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who got dinner.)

We spoke on the phone for 16 minutes before hanging up and moving to Skype, so that he could watch me open the gift he ordered me from Pajama Gram.

Side Note: Dear Pajama Gram,
Stop putting your name on the side of the box,
it totally ruins the surprise.
Sincerely, R. Noba

Anyway, my husband had ordered me two sets of Raspberry/Leopard print pajamas (one for warm nights, one for colder weather). And no, they don’t look like that on me. I’d venture to say the model in the picture is at least six inches taller than me (or at least she appears to be).

I’ve still got one more coming, but it seems mailing things from Afghanistan two weeks early isn’t enough time. This being the first time that he’s mailed something home, I can’t be too upset that it isn’t here yet. I’ve heard that letters and smaller boxes can take up to three times longer to get there from here than larger boxes, though I have no idea why that is.

So for now, I wait for more love to come in the mail.

P.S.
Dinner arrived at 4:58 and the gentleman apologized for delivering early, seems he had another five o’clock delivery.

One Cheese Pizza, One Pepperoni Pizza and One Desert Pizza! We had dinner for three days lol

One Cheese Pizza, One Pepperoni Pizza and One Desert Pizza! We had dinner for three days lol

P.P.S.
This is what I sent my husband. He said it made him feel warm and fuzzy inside… Well, no he didn’t. He compared it to the Father’s Day before Basic Training, when I made him a calendar using a small photo book, so he could mark the time while he was gone (since he would be gone at least six months, possibly longer). I used pictures that meant something to us as the images for each month, so February was pictures from our daughter’s birth, July was from our son’s birth, November from our wedding. He said this new “book” made him feel much the same way that one did. Truly loved and special. He’s read through it once already and is now taking a new “Reason” every day. He should get through it twice before he comes home from Afghanistan. So many people have given this gift idea a bad wrap, saying “guys really just want sex” but my husband felt appreciated and loved when he opened the box we sent him… And honestly, him knowing we have his back is the best gift we could have given him.

52 Reasons I love you... Though admittedly, I cheated. I added an extra "I just do" to the back of the deck... Every book has writing on the back cover, right?

52 Reasons I love you… Though admittedly, I cheated. I added an extra “I just do” to the back of the deck… Every book has writing on the back cover, right?

Thankful Thursday: January 31st

Yea, yea, yea, I know. I’m a few days behind. Sue me… Or should I say “sew me”.

This week, I am thankful for the many DIY blogs out there. I have yet to fall victim to Pinterest, but I follow MANY blogs that feature weekly, if not daily, do-it-yourself projects. I am grateful to not only have something to keep me busy and focused, but it helps me pass the time AND gives me a positive outlet for my creativity. For me, I have to be creating. I’m always in the middle of several projects at once. Case in point, there is a half stitched skirt laying on my kitchen table right now… Next to the pieces of my husband’s Valentine’s project waiting to be assembled and boxed for tomorrows Post Office run.

Here’s the purse I hand stitched yesterday, in less than an hour. (I hand stitch everything because I neither know how to operate, nor do I own, a sewing machine.)

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

This was a tank top. The studs came off an old belt. The whole project took about an hour and cost less than $1.

Some of my favorite blogs come from all over the blogsphere. Here is a list of the ones I visit most often:

Studs and Pearls
Glitter n Glue (Serious “bling-tastic”. Every girl should sparkle.)
Wobisobi (Anne is super sweet and her tutorials are seriously easy for those like me who are “tutorial challenged” and can’t follow directions to save my life.)
Stripes & Sequins
 Sweet Verbena
…love Maegan
Honestly WTF
P.S.- I made this…
Thanks, I Made It
I Spy DIY
a pair & a spare (for more “name brand” fashion styles. Geneva is very fashion focused and uses a lot of runway styles in her DIY projects, making it easy for any budget to have runway style.)

I’ve become addicted to DIY projects lately. My poor husband, if he doesn’t come home soon, all of our furniture will be remade with paper clips and toilet paper rolls.

Thankful Thursday: Jan 3rd Edition

So these “Grateful” posts were supposed to be on Friday, but after several lengthy battles between me and a thesaurus the only synonym for “grateful” that starts with an ‘F’ is “favorable” and that just didn’t fit the ton of what these posts are supposed to be about. So two posts late, I’m posting these first two on Saturday and moving the rest of them to Thursdays.

On to the show:

My husband recently dedicated this song to me. I miss my husband dearly. He’s nearly halfway home and not a day goes by that I don’t wish he could come home one day sooner. I’m not missing my “better half” as that would imply we are not whole people on our own. This is not the case. I am simply without my best friend. The man, no, the only person who has been there through some of my darker moments. The one who lifted me up when I needed it. He hasn’t always been the perfect husband, or even the best husband. I have been far from the perfect wife. We have each, over the years, had our moments of being less than lovable. Less than worthy to be loved by the other.

I wouldn’t say that joining the Army has been detrimental to our marriage, but it has changed the way we interact with each other. Everything, for a long time, seemed very superficial. We don’t want to hurt the other or cause problems between us so we just skim the surface. We put band-aids on flesh wounds and patch bullet holes with maxi pads, but haven’t really been connecting.

Being apart for so long has changed us both. I can only hope these changes are for the better. I know that I am a different person now than when my husband left us for the war four and a half months ago. I know that he is changing on a daily basis and this song is proof. In the week since he posted this song to my Facebook page, I have listened to it nearly every day. It is a way to help me connect with the man my heart longs to see, the one my arms long to hold, the one my lips want to kiss.

Through this separation, my husband has learned the value of real quality time and for that I am grateful. Every day he has done something more to impress me. To court me, as it were. From half a world away, my husband is wooing me like I haven’t been wooed in years. It’s the beginning all over again. I go into detail about how I met my husband here. Something I haven’t talked about is how he proposed to me. I am thankful for the man that he was, the man that he is, and the man that he wants to be. With that, I think I’ll live in the past for a moment, one of the best moments of my life:

July 19th, 2005: My mother-in-law’s birthday. I packed my hot pink suitcase, stacked my teddy bear and my photo album on top and knocked on my mother’s bedroom door. In a little town in Florida, I had given her a migraine and she wouldn’t even come to the door to say goodbye to me. She stayed in bed. I walked out the door.  My aunt, my mother’s younger sister, and a group of my friends (I love that they were so supportive) drove me to the bank to get some cash and then off to the airport I went. I was wearing a black and white hat with a slightly wide brim. Clutching my teddy bear to my chest, I said my goodbyes at the curb and walked into the airport. I forgot my album. Too late now, my sister had it last time I heard anything about it.

My suitcase was 62lbs, why I remember this, I don’t know. I remember feeling like a child, so scared and so alone. Still clutching my teddy bear and my neon green carry-on bag, the man/boy behind the counter must have thought I was a child. He put the “over-weight” sticker on my suitcase and let me go to security without paying the extra fees. I’m very petite and was even more so then, I can see where I would have looked like a child, crying and clutching my teddy bear, you certainly wouldn’t have guessed that I was nineteen years old and pregnant.

I don’t remember security, I don’t remember the flight at all. It was nonstop, I remember that because I was afraid to change flights. I wasn’t in a state emotionally where I could have handled that. The first thing that I remember after leaving the check-in counter at the airport in Tampa, is standing at the top of the escalator at the airport in Los Angeles. Looking down, I saw him standing at the bottom holding a stuffed animal. Coming down the escalator, I imagine the look on his face was a mirror of my own, stupid goofy.

I remember him putting his arms around me and replacing my teddy bear with this monkey he had. It was wearing saddle shoes, a top hat and tuxedo and held a heart shaped pillow that read, “I love you”. “It’s the closest thing they had to a Wookie” I remember him saying though I can’t remember when. “Look behind the heart” read a tiny card still attached to it’s wrist today, behind the pillow was a pocket the held a pair of delicate Tinker Bell shaped earrings and matching necklace (Side note, I’m still afraid to wear this set because it’s so delicate that I don’t want it to break). Along with the jewelry, was a note instructing me to squeeze the wrist of the little monkey I now held tightly.

“Will you marry me?”

That’s what it said once I’d pressed the correct wrist and held it closer to my ear so I could actually hear it. My father in law was filming this whole encounter and had asked people to stand back in anticipation of my husband getting down on his knee to ask for my hand. Something that I know bugged him to no end because my husband never did. That’s right, I got no “on the knee in the middle of the airport baggage claim” proposal. I got something so much better. I was held in the arms of the man who would comfort me through so many hurts during one of the most intimate moments we could possibly have in public.

He held me close, listened to the sound of his own voice coming from a stuffed doll and became mine forever. I will always be grateful for everything he does for our marriage and our family, but all of that started with a set of choices. He took a leap and asked for my heart and I handed it over without a second thought. And for the rest of our lives, I will be able to replay his proposal whenever I want.

And I do…

This is "Bamir", named for the Wookie character my husband used when we met while playing SWG (Star Wars Galaxies)

This is “Bamir”, named for the Wookie character my husband used when we met while playing SWG (Star Wars Galaxies)