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Today you made me a mom

Posted by Christine on December 9, 2011 in Kids, relationships

December 9, 2011

5:28 pm

Dear Sean,

Six years ago today, you came into my world. Prior to your arrival, I had many roles. I was a daughter, a sister, a cousin, an aunt and a friend. When you arrived on that very cold December – it was 17 degrees when we were driving to the hospital – I finally became a mom. And not just any mom, but your mom. I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone by. Six years, in a flash.

I remember the moment I saw you. And still today, when I look at you, you still look like you did the day you were born. Maybe that is just part of being a mom. Always seeing your kids with that purity and innocence and extraordinary love that comes at birth.

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Not only did your arrival give me the role of mom, but it gave me and your dad the role of parents. Something I always wanted for your dad and me. Something we can do together as a team. image

I love your sweet Sean smile. I love how loyal you are. I love your passion for sports, especially baseball. I love all the little things that make you so special. I love how much you love your family, especially your sister and dad. You are a gift in the truest sense of the word and I am grateful for the gift of being your mom.

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Happy Birthday Sean Michael. I love you always. I have enjoyed the ride!

xoxo, Mom

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Cara!

Posted by Christine on October 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

Dear Cara,

Happy birthday sweet girl! What a fabulous year it has been for you. I can’t believe how much you have grown up. You are confident, spirited and beautiful. You are so sweet to your big brother. It is so fun to watch you two play together. Your imagination and creativity is wonderful. You and Sean like to play imagination games – especially ones that involve airplanes and going on trips. You like playing with your doll house and in the backyard. Dora and Hello Kitty are among favorites too. You love being read to and know all of your ABCs. You also like looking at maps and big brother has taught you where some of the states are. We love that you will eat scallops and steak, and of course any sweet treat.

You are doing so well in school. The director referred to you as “independent.” You should be proud of that. You adjusted so smoothly. You spend a day and night each week with Grandma. She takes you to the library for store time as well as music and dance classes. With me, we go to Gymboree class and Soccer Tots with our friends.

You are still sleeping in a crib, but I suspect very soon you will be in your big girl bed. You make us laugh every day and we are so proud to call you daughter.

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Happy 3rd Birthday, Cara Lyn. We love you with all our hearts.

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9.11 ~ Ten years later

Posted by Christine on September 11, 2011 in relationships

A lot changes in one decade. For me, I divorced, moved back from New Jersey, met and married the love of my life and had two children. My life couldn’t look more different from the outside. Instead of living in a 600 square foot walk up, where at the top of my street I could see Manhattan and walk to the bank and post office, I live where I get in my car to drive my son the 3/4 mile ride to school. 

9.11 was an event that always carries the question of, “where were you when it happened?” I remember distinctly. I was working in Elmwood Park, NJ and we were starting our staff meeting. I can remember what I wore to work that day. Someone came in late and said they heard reports of a plane flying into one of the towers. Like everyone, we all thought it was a small commuter plane that had gotten off course. We started our 9 am ET meeting. By 9:45 am the number of phones that were ringing throughout the office was bizarre. This was in the days smart phones and texting. Finally, we decided to take a break. Then we learned.

I was living away from all my family. I had multiple messages from my mom trying to reach me, but could not. The cell lines were already jammed pack. My dad was living and working in Washington D.C. at the time. More calls were made. When I was able to talk to my mom and let her know I was ok, it was a huge relief. And then to know my dad was safe too was a blessing. I had friends who worked in the city and I was able to contact them over the next few hours.

The whole day was surreal. We were about 10 miles from ground zero. You could see the smoke for miles and miles. Bridges and tunnels to and from the city were closed causing some to not be able to make it home, but they were safe. To watch the news over the next few days and the awful horrific replays of the day was almost too much. Air traffic was grounded for three days. It was an odd site to not look up and see airplanes flying. The smoke continued to curl in the air for days afterward. For weeks afterward, you would see flyers around the city at the ferry terminal or bus station with “Missing” posters. It was so much to comprehend.

The news was on 24/7. “How would this change us? As a nation? As individuals?” they would ask.

Now it has been 10 years. How are we different? How has this one event changed us? What changed on the outside looking in? And how have we changed on the inside looking out? I struggle daily with these questions. Not just because of 9/11, but the collective experiences of my day-to-day life.

My children will read about 9/11 in history books. Maybe one day they will ask me, “where were you mom when 9/11 happened? How did it change you?”

And how will I answer?

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On Proprioceptive Muscles, Puffers and Other Assorted Kindergarten Learning

Posted by Christine on September 8, 2011 in Kids, Learning

So we are on week three, or the “third week” as Sean refers to it of Kindergarten. This week is a bit of a short week as we were off for Labor Day on Monday and then there was a student holiday on Tuesday while the teachers had an in-service day.

We are (were, before the four-day weekend) in a pretty good routine for school thus far. Sean does great getting himself up in the mornings. He sets his own alarm and it might go off for a few minutes in the morning, he does get himself up. I love his alarm clock – the alarm is the Peanuts theme song. I drive part of the way to school and then we walk the rest of the way together. It has been significantly easier because we have been without Cara in the morning. Thankfully, Ed’s travel schedule has been nil the first few weeks of school. That changes next week too. One day at a time. At the end of the day, I head over to school about 20 minutes before it ends to pick up Sean. It is fun to chat with the other parents and grandparents while we are waiting. They all come parading out in their little lines waiting to give the teacher a high five so they can go with their assorted guardians. The Friday of the first week of school was the “big teacher reveal” where we learned who their teachers would be for the rest of the year. They also sent the kids home in these adorable t-shirts – Class of 2024! OH MY! 

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Sean’s teacher is Miss Wright. He likes her pretty well. Of course I think it might have something to do with the fact that his favorite baseball player is David Wright. I do think this is good karma. And I am pretty sure Sean thinks he is somehow scoring Mets tickets from his teacher.

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I typically resist the urge to ask for every detail of Sean’s day. Mostly my questions are answered with one word, “good”, “fine” and perhaps an “I don’t know.” So my new strategy has been to wait for him to share things with us. At dinner we like to AAR our day and we have gotten some insight into his day. Last Thursday he said the best part of his day was that, “Kindergarten didn’t seem quite as long today.” I guess we will take that as a plus.

However, over the weekend, Sean starts telling me all about the proprioceptive muscle (I had to look it up after emailing his teacher to find out how to spell it) and how we use it to write. He also went on to tell me about the “b” and “p” sounds are “puffer” sounds. But the “b” is a voice puffer and the “p” is a non-voice puffer. SAY WHAT? I about fell out of my chair. Needless to say I am pretty proud of Sean. I never even knew about muscles or puffers. When I emailed his teacher, she remarked at his specificity in what he was sharing with us. (Yes, I email the teacher a few times a week, and the school nurse just once, oh, and yes, the principal too, but just once!).

Me and Sean are both learning new things already. And I can’t wait to see what he teaches me next.

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Crafty Thank You Cards

Posted by Christine on September 2, 2011 in craft, obsession

I am a complete sucker for all things paper. I am also a sucker for Starbucks. So, when the two come together it is like a taste sensation!

I like to send a thank you note to my kids’ teachers following their first week of school. Mainly because I like to customize the card with a photo of my child with their teacher that I can only take on the first day of school. This card was made possible by the fabulous download designed by eighteen25. And thank you to Lara for sending me the link and encouraging a little extra embellishment.

I am hopeful my kids’ teachers love these cards as much as I loved making them!

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A close up …

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And the back!

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Cara’s First Day of Pre-School

Posted by Christine on September 1, 2011 in Kids

This week Cara started pre-school! She went to pre-school last year, but we changed schools this year. She is at Apple Creek and is in the 2s room. Last week we went to meet the teacher and she just made herself at home! She has two teachers – Ms. Lorie and Ms. Melinda. We took some photos at the open house since the first day of pre-school is usually pretty chaotic.

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Cara was very excited to go on her first day. She was very proud of her new backpack.

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She picked out the flower on the back and the color had to be “Cara green.”

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When I dropped her off, she didn’t cry and barely looked up to wave good bye to me! We are so proud of our confident little girl!

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Today’s Parade–August 22, 2011

Posted by Christine on August 22, 2011 in Kids, relationships

Dear Sean,

Today you started Kindergarten. Your first day of school. I can’t believe it. The time has flown so quickly. The last five years, I happily disregarded all the commercials and signs that indicated it was time for school feeling that this time was so far off in our future. And now the day is here.

imageTo say I have loved the last five years with you would be an understatement. To say I have loved being your mom would be an understatement. I have loved seeing you grow up. I remember the day you were born. You were this beautiful tiny baby boy with lots of dark hair and blue eyes. And now you are this boy who is confident, smart, funny, kind, interested and thoughtful.

The things I adore about you are too numerous to count. I love that you can sing “The Star Spangled Banner” and that whenever you hear it your hand goes to your heart and you hat is off your head. I love that you know how to use my iPhone better than me. I love that you give your sister sweet hugs and are so gentle with her. I love your fascination with baseball and all sports. I love that you like looking at maps. I love your little obsession with things like the color blue, applesauce and hotel card keys. I love your imagination. I love that you enjoy going new places and travel. I love that when we play Sorry or Uno or any other game that you announce the play-by-play. I love that you ask lots of questions, especially if there is a word or something you don’t know. I love that you like to cook with me. I love that you are always happy when you wake up in the morning. I love that you make friends easily. I love that you learned how to take deep breaths. I love that you think. I love the confidence you have in yourself and know how to be proud of yourself. I love that you love your family. I love that you will throw your arms around me and give me a hug. And there are so many other things.

Today you are starting a new adventure. A new time filled with so many new experiences and opportunities. You are my sweet buddy and I am proud to be your mom. I am so often reminded of the words of this song when I think of you:

Let’s hop, skip and jump to you I know
Just the thing that we can do
I’ll take your hand
The band will play, the trumpets blare and the drummer’s beat will fill the air
And we’ll smile so wide, marching side by side.

Today’s parade starts with you and me
Get some friends and we’ll go down the street 
You and me, together we’ll see what we can see.

The grass, the sky, the world will watch us march by
And when we’ll do we’ll wave at the crowd that lines the street
Hearing clapping hands and tapping feet
Now days like this are few and far between
Look around at this and you will see
A time for you; A time for me; A time for everything. ~Today’s Parade, Imagination Movers

I love you always. Enjoy this great new adventure.
~ Mom

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auf Wiedersehen Uncle

Posted by Christine on August 16, 2011 in relationships

I have always associated different places with smells. Maybe my nose is more sensitive or maybe for whatever reason my brain just seems to associate memories more with smell than one of my other senses. For example, my children’s room and my parent’s home have certain smells that I always associate them with.

Some smells were long forgotten until they were reawaken. This is what happened when I photo (36)went into my Uncle’s home yesterday. It was also the home to his parents, my Grandma and Grandpap Heidenreich. It was the home my Dad grew up in and most often simply referred to as “the house.” I guess I had forgotten the smell, but was quickly reminded when I walked though the door. It was warm and nostalgic. Uncle hadn’t changed too many things in the house. The orange chair that he would sit in was now torn and ragged, but still used. The bowl he kept for his pretzels next to his chair is exactly the same one when I was a child. The candy bowls that sat on the shelf that must be a perquisite for every Grandparents home. The dishes were the same and the bench and kitchen table that I fondly remember from my childhood. The pencil sharpener screwed into the wall on the stairs going to the basement. We walked through the house remembering. The house had a basement that I played in with my cousins. There was a coal cellar and a place where you cleaned soot out. My Grandpap was an excellent carpenter and there were cedar lined closets that he built in the basement. I was grateful to have had the chance to walk through the house one last time and remember.

My Uncle Chaz died on August 12. My Dad and Aunt were with him when he passed imagepeacefully. He was my Godfather and referred to as “Uncle” by his nieces and nephews. He was an extraordinarily religious man adhering to the Latin Mass and ultra conservative religious and political ideals. His obsession was books. When I say he owned a lot of books, it really is an understatement. He had purchased two additional houses to hold his “collection.” There were books on every subject and every story. While over the last decade he began to part with his collection (and his two book houses), if we estimate correctly he still had 10,000+ books. His heart was kind and he loved his family. He was always there to offer a prayer for your intention. He never married nor had children of his own. He was able to travel to Rome and was proud of his German heritage. One funny story is how he brought a ticking alarm clock in his carry on bag when he went to Rome. Security didn’t like to hear something ticking inside a piece of luggage!

Every year he and his sister would journey to Texas for a visit. Making an effort to stay connected is something I appreciated too. He was here for Cara’s Baptism, which he loved being a part of. We had Sean baptized in Pittsburgh and I know it meant a lot to him to be able to be there. He always greeted us with a “hello hello hello” and had gifts of books for each of us.

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The passing of someone who has been a part of your entire life leaves a little bit of sadness inside of me. It gives me the opportunity to reflect on life and the past. And continue to wonder about the future and what changes I might make in my life. While I could not stay for the funeral, I was glad that I had the chance to say good bye and see family and friends.

auf Wiedersehen Uncle. Heaven has one more resident and it is a great comfort to know you are up there.

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The Pre-Cation

Posted by Christine on July 19, 2011 in Kids, Learning

As a type A, I find it very helpful to go on a “pre-cation” prior to a vacation. The objective of the pre-cation is to figure out what the travel/hotel needs are for the kids at that particular time and to have some fun. As the kids get older, their sleeping and eating needs change and consequently what we need to bring for a plane/hotel stay changes. Over the last few years boppies and breast pumps have given way to the “EPBS” (emergency peanut butter sandwich) and individual apple sauce packages, which travel everywhere with us. At the conclusion of the pre-cation, we conduct an “AAR”, after-action review, which helps plan for the upcoming vacation. We review what went well and why, and what needs to be improved and why. The AAR is a mainstay in the Kless household and used on a daily basis with the kids.

This summer, we went on our pre-cation to the Ballpark at Arlington and stayed at theIMG_1612 (2) Sheraton right by the ballpark in hopes that our beloved NY Mets were also staying at the same hotel. For Father’s Day, we gave Ed tickets to the Rangers v. Mets games. We made a weekend out of it. For the first game on Friday night, we just had Sean with us. We arrived early and got to see the Mets warm up and got the team managers, Terry Collins’ autograph. It was also super cool because we got to see Dirk Nowitzki “throw” out the first pitch that night. WOW, is he tall.

On Saturday, we met up with our fellow Mets fans ~ George, Landon and Sean Byrnes ~ and braved the 100+ degrees out in left field. It was hot. But, the Mets won big and it was fun to watch them score so many runs. Yes, Cara was hot. I think we spent about $33 on water alone on Saturday.

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Sunday’s game was much better due to the fact that our tickets were under an overhang. Thank goodness. Again, the Mets won, which was fun to watch. Sean got another signature, Tim Byrdak, a relief pitcher for the Mets.

Here was our pre-cation learning:
1. Cara must be in a nighttime containment unit. Thinking she was going to stay in a bed is absurd.
2. Don’t run out of apple sauce.
3. You can always buy what you need when you get there.
4. We brought too many games/books.
5. Need to search iTunes for kids favorite TV shows and load on iThings.

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And the 41s have it!

Posted by Christine on June 28, 2011 in Kids, obsession

We have finally settled down from “Mavericks fever” here in the Kless house. Sean, who loves every sport, was entranced with the NBA playoffs and finals. Of course having our hometown team the Dallas Mavericks in it made it so much fun to watch! For Sean, it doesn’t matter who is playing, he loves to watch regardless, a true fan of the sport that is for sure.

The last three rounds of playoffs, Sean would pretty much convince me to let him stay up and watch the whole game. This is how it would start out … “Mom, I am going to watch the first half downstairs with you.” (Ed traveled almost the entire month of May, so Cara was usually in bed when the games started and just Sean and I were awake.) So, I would go on my way cleaning up the kitchen and doing a few things to keeping the household moving forward while Sean watched. At halftime he would tell me, “OK, let’s go upstairs and watch the second half in your bed!” And of course we did. While Sean fell asleep toward the end of several games, I really appreciated the special time that we had together. We would talk about the plays or the score. Sean has gotten really good at subtracting double digit numbers, thank you NBA.

Speaking of numbers … Sean was quite thrilled to see that Dirk’s number was 41IMG_1486. While at the store one day, he announced this to everyone, “Hey Mom, Dirk’s number is the same as your age!” YIKES! I guess Sean took that as a good sign.

As the playoffs went on, so did our watching. We watched one night as the Mavs came back from 15 down to tie it up and win in overtime. We watched the “Jet” Jason Terry make some unbelievable three pointers. And we loved watching Dirk just make shot after shot. Sean just doesn’t watch the games though, he actively watches the game. He likes to re-enact the plays that he sees on television and does a pretty good play-by-play and color commentary.

When the Mavs got to the finals against the Miami Heat we were all so excited. In 2006 the Mavs lost to the Heat in the NBA finals. My Dad and I were at the last game, so we were definitely IMG_4351hoping for a victory this time around. IMG_2282Sean was a Mavs fan even back then and got into the spirit courtesy of Grandma. Sean watched every minute of every finals game. And he was thrilled to cheer the Mavs on to victory!

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