Wednesday, February 27, 2013

January 28- February 3, 2013

This week started with the tragic news that a wonderful, long time friend of mine had passed away. I did not take a lot of pictures this week, and we tried to spend a lot of time outside or with friends.

They kids are getting better and better on their balance bikes. They are definitely helping them learn to balance on two wheels.

When mommy is not feeling like being creative, the workbooks come out. Thankfully, Rainbow Girl thinks it is a treat to use them. She loves is especially when I let her go through them on her own, without being over her shoulder. Sometimes she asks for help, or wants to show me her progress- other than that, I work with Sugar Bear or something of my own.

Sugar Bear's Placenta Tree

We had an award ceremony at Girl Scouts this week. Rainbow Girl earned several patches and prizes and was very proud of herself.

We gave the Daisies Play-Doh to play with while to keep them entertained through the ceremony. 

My peanut super seller.

Friday evening, I went to Dayne's viewing. My favorite teacher from high school flew in from out of state to be there. The morning after, right before she had to fly out, she came over to meet my children. I was honored to have her in my home, and so glad that she was able to finally meet them. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Just Be.

On January 27, 2013, Dayne Kaufman, one of my lifetime friends passed away. I would like to share the story of our relationship.

I was 10 years old and volunteering at the local YMCA. One day while I was working, I saw a black motorcycle pull up to the front doors with two people on it. The passenger got off and came inside. He. Was. Cute. I knew that I wanted to know this guy. This was the first time that I saw Dayne.

I was busy at the time, but later, I was walking down the hall and saw him again. I remember this like it was yesterday, not 15 years ago. I saw him towards the end of the hall, sitting at a table piled high with bright yellow papers. He was folding the paper and stuffing them in envelopes. I introduced myself and we hit it off. He gave me his AIM screen name that day. We worked on stuffing mailings and answering phones at the front desk all summer. It was a great few months. 

That summer, we were the volunteers with the most hours. The last month of the summer, I beat him out by 2 hours to earn Volunteer of the month. For your information, I had 41 hours per week average, and he had 39. We were hard working 10 year olds.

We went to different middle schools, but kept in touch online and saw each other at YMCA events and the over next few summers. When we heard that a new high school was opening with a "Specialty Center For Information Technology and Computer Sciences", we both applied. 

We were both accepted. I remember when he told me over AIM. I was so excited to have been accepted to the program, but was anxious because I would be leaving all  of my friends. With the exception of one friend from middle school who had also been accepted, Dayne would be the only friend of mine at the new school. With the encouragement of my family and Dayne, I decided to take the risk, and I am so glad that I did. 

Our last names are one letter apart, so we were put in the same homeroom. When we had a choice, he sat with me. (At his viewing, our homeroom teacher embraced me and told me "You were the first person I thought of when I heard. You guys cared about each other so much." He then shared a memory about how Dayne and I moved our hands like waves in the ocean when he said "SHHHHH!") 

Upon learning that I did not have an email address and he would have no way to contact me during school, he set up my first email address on my school laptop (before that site was blocked). He is (was....) always ahead of the curve in technology. I am sad to see that those emails are no longer on my yahoo account. 

We had a special connection in high school. He knew me longer than anyone else there. His love, passion and affection were like no other.

I trust him. I love him. 

Very shortly after high school, I became pregnant with Rainbow Girl. He came to my baby shower. The time between graduation and my baby shower was the longest we had ever been apart.

Two more years pass before I saw him again, at my wedding. This was the last time I saw my sweet, sweet Dayne. My friend. Over four years ago. 

Our last dance and last kiss. I love this picture.

He had moved 3 hours away, was very busy with his careers and living his life, I was busy raising babies. 

In our last conversation on facebook a few months ago, we talked a long time. It was the longest conversation that I had had with him in years. The last thing he said was:

Dayne Kaufman
ill make an extra effort to see u sometime soon
i love u to pieces, u know this

The next time I saw him was at his viewing. 

On the way to his viewing, he let me know that he was with me. Instead of following the suggested route on my phone, I decided to go by his mom's old apartment and as I was passing it, I felt the need to slow down and I looked to the right. There was the big lake that Dayne and I use to walk around together. The one with the bench on the far side that we wrote our names on. I have not though about that bench in a very long time. If that wasn't enough, I was sure it was time to turn in to the funeral home, and instead, I ended up in the parking lot of the place that the YMCA had their big party after the campaign that Dayne and I folded up bright yellow paper for 15 years ago. We sat together at that party. I had NO idea where that place was located, I was 10 when I was there last....and there I was. Wiping the tears, I eventually made it to the viewing.

I cried my eyes out at the viewing. I hugged so many people I had not seen in years. I saw Dayne's body- and knew that he wasn't there. He was watching us, fussing that we were all making a big deal about it.....and holding his weeping mother.

At the viewing, I talked to an old friend that I hadn't seen in a long time. A friend who had become a tattoo artist- a fantastic one at that- who I have followed on facebook. He and I discussed a memorial tattoo for Dayne, and I decided then that I would have him do it for me. 

On my way home, I felt better than I had felt all week. I had finally let myself grieve. All week, I had remained strong for my kids, allowing myself to cry only when they had gone to bed, when I was alone. I had not grieved with those who love Dayne as much as I do. Once I was able to, I felt a sense of peace.

The next day was his funeral. I held hands with one of my best friends from high school- Dayne had gone to prom with her. We listened to everyone speak about him. It was very hard to hear it all, especially seeing his extremely strong father cry at the podium. His dad asked that all parents tell their children as often as they can that they love them, unconditionally. 

After the funeral, we went into the parking lot to release balloons. On each balloon was a tag that had a message written on it from guests at the visitation and funeral. Upon releasing the balloons, a gust of wind took them all into the trees. Smooth move, Dayne. 

On Valentine's day, Dayne's family did a re-release of balloons in our high school's parking lot with success. 

I did not know Dayne, the adult very well. I have learned a lot since his passing. Although he was still the same passionate, intelligent, loving friend- but he had fully embraced who he was, and was really living. I wish that I had gotten the chance to hug and kiss adult Dayne and tell him how very proud of him I AM. 

Dayne lived his life based on the philosophy to "Just Be." It was also the title of his favorite song from his favorite band. He has those two simple words tattooed on his arm. In memory of him, I had those words tattooed on my arm as well. It serves me as a reminder first and foremost of Dayne. I feel like I have a physical part of him with me now, always. It also serves as a reminder to me to "Just Be." 

Just be myself.
Just be happy.
Just be honest.
Just be kind.

It can mean so much.

Dayne's tattoo and my tattoo.

A few days after getting the tattoo, I was busy, overwhelmed, trying to do too many things around my house, and I saw my children acting up, needing my attention. I began trying to clean faster. Then I saw my tattoo. Just Be. I stopped, and sat on the floor with my children. They instantly calmed and began to play nicely. Children know how to just be, adults need to be reminded sometimes.

His facebook has become his memorial page. His dad posts thoughts, friends, and WOW he has a lot, post when they are thinking of him, post pictures, post videos, and give support. The family that I have gained in those grieving the mutual loss of an amazing friend has been extremely helpful. We are not alone.

Dayne is the first very close friend of mine to pass away. I know that he will not be the last. With his passing, I learned a very hard lesson. Tell people you love just how much you love them. SEE people that you love, as often as possible. Facebook. does. not. count. Hug. Love. Just Be.

I love you Dayne. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Planting of Sugar Bear's Placenta

After Sugar Bear's homebirth, my wonderful midwife stored the placenta and cord in a freezer bag covered in foil in my freezer. A few days before his birthday, we acquired a young magnolia tree to plant on top of it. 

On his birthday, we all gathered to look at his placenta and plant it below the magnolia tree. In hindsight, I wish that I had thawed the placenta so that I could have really looked at it. It was a beautiful experience, and today, almost 2 years later, he calls it his tree. 

Three days after his birthday is Rainbow Girl's birthday. We planted a tree for her as well, a cherry tree. 

Age 1 and Age 2

Saturday, February 9, 2013

January 21-27, 2013, Inauguration, The Moon, Snow, Pizza, Cookies and Friends!

My sweet girl is a big Obama fan. After seeing him speek at the rally we attended, she speaks of him like he is a good friend of hers. When Inauguration Day came, and I explained to her what it all meant, she was very in to it. She stood when he was taking the oath, and listened intently while he spoke. 

After his speech, however, she began to get sleepy. When poet Richard Blanco began to speak, that was the last straw.

After nap, my parents came over to have a walk with us around our neighborhood. The kids had a super time showing their grandparents everything along the way.

We had to stop, of course, to have a chat with our neighborhood horses. They are so friendly and beautiful. :)

Casting some magic spell on the road

Once again, we just love the author Gail Gibbons. She is awesome. Rainbow Girl has always had a fascination with the moon, and when I saw that Gibbons had written a book about that topic, I had to get it! Rainbow Girl just adores the book. The night after I gave it to her, I said "Look, a half moon!" and she corrected me by saying, "No, mom. It is a First Quarter moon." 

Upon her suggestion, we began to draw the phases of the moon. We are doing them three phases at a time and using chalk on black paper.

The shirtless children then suggested we do felt stories. I give them three stories of felt characters at a time. Rainbow Girl knows the stories and gets the correct pieces for the story she is telling. Occasionally, they put up a mix of the characters and make up a totally new story.

Our Winter Nature Table

On the coldest, windiest day of the year, the balance bikes that I had ordered came in. It was soooooo cold, around 20 degrees, but we just had to try the bikes out. I was worried they would either be too big for Sugar Bear or too small for Rainbow Girl, but they are lovely. I think Rainbow Girl does not have long before she is too big, but for the time being, she loves it. She is on the highest seat setting, and he is on the lowest. They had fun putting around on their cool bikes- I even got on my bike as well in hopes of reducing the possibility of frostbite- but eventually I began to freeze. They did not want to put their bikes in the shed, but we still had to head to the library before dinner time. We picked up a bag full of books about the moon. 

The next night was the first supper in our new weekly meal plan. Pizza night! What could make pizza more fun? Make it tiny!!

I took one of the children's tiny tupperware shot glasses cups and made tiny cut outs on pizza dough. (Store bought, I know....lazy. I wasn't feeling making dough that night.) I lightly oiled one side of the circles and placed them oil side down in mini muffin tins. Then I gave the kids a plate of mini pepperonis and cheese and then decorated the heck out of those tiny pizzas. (It was their decision not to use sauce.)

I also made some larger circles for regular sized muffin pans. I had a few empty spots left in my muffin pan, so I squished in some flakey biscuits. On my husband's side, I put sauce, pepperonis, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. On my side (yummm....drooling just thinking about it...) I put hummus in place of sauce, a little pile of kale, and mozzarella cheese. They all turned out amazing. I especially liked the cheesy-hummus-kale biscuits. 


We have some amazing friends. One family, in particular, we have really bonded with. We share so many things in common, it's pretty much impossible to not be best friends. The mama homeschools, babywears, breastfeeds, and is a delight to talk to. ^_^ I am so very glad that we re-discovered each other. We went to middle school together, both went to different high schools, and now live two miles apart!

On this particular visit, we decorated cookies together.

Super awesome mama friend made this cookie message. What do you think it says? I thought it said "baby loves  Target." Turns out that the intended message was "baby loves breastfeeding."

Rainbow Girl has found very close companionship with one member in particular of the four child household. She adores all of them, but there is something special about the bond between two girls of this age range.

She loves the two year old sister as well, and the two year old LOVES to be included in the big girl activities.

Sugar Bear got distracted by the tv. Gosh he is tall.

Rainbow Girl and her bestie.

We got more snow that day, and the kids were able to build the first snowman of the season. Sugar Bear got pretty attached to the snowman and did not want to leave him outside in the cold.

Here he is telling the snowman that his mom is mean and says he can't come inside.

I love you snowman.

That afternoon, Sugar Bear came down with a fever, and the beginning of the Rainbow household sickness began. Thankfully, the fever and awful cold symptoms only lasted a little over 24 hours for all of us, and we each took turns having fevers.