6 Years Old

Today marks the day that I now have a six-year-old running rampant on the streets. Yesterday was his birthday, and today he woke telling me "I'm six now, huh mom? Now I'm a big boy!" Yesterday, remembering back to the day of his birth, and even before to the moment I discovered I was pregnant with my little gift from God.... I told my husband I thought I may be pregnant and his stunned reply was "Jesus Christ, what'd ya say that for?" with the look of shocked horror penetrating his face. We hadn't been trying to get pregnant, and in fact weren't really ready to extend our family as we'd just become a family a few months prior and were getting used to being a couple with a five-year-old son in a foreign land, with a new house and Dutch language lessons on the horizon. Yet, I was so happy. I couldn't wait to share my home and life with another little treasure. And it didn't take long before my husband was also happy with the idea. When he took me to my first appointment at the doctor and they confirmed I was pregnant, he dropped me off at school, took my bike out of the back of the van we borrowed from his parents and as he kissed me goodbye, he said "I love you...both of you" as he patted my tummy full of life and love and our new little family member. That moment brought tears to my eyes, and still does as I think about the life we have created. As the pregnancy wore on, going through extreme morning (all day) sickness and a strong aversion to meat, the time finally arrived for us to bring our son home. I was admitted to the hospital with expectations of pictocin drips and getting labor started due to the fact that my water had already broken 2 days earlier, but labor wasn't starting on it's own...but the fact was, I was in active labor upon arrival at the hospital and nothing needed to be done but let nature take it's course. It was a hard delivery, but went fast and at 3:24 in the afternoon we were holding our healthy 8 pound baby boy. His big brother came immediately after his birth and the picture I have in my mind of the first time he held his little baby brother is as vivid today as the moment it happened. It was complete...as was our family.
Today, my son is a little sports fanatic. He gets more wild the more tired he gets, and his talking never stops...by the end of the day you can barely stand to hear another word. He questions everything and as adventurous as he is, has some fears about little things you'd never imagine. We keep a bag in the car for his bouts of travel sickness, and he has a major shoe fetish. He thinks he is the best and strongest at everything, and how dare you even hint otherwise. He could care less about babies, but loves sharing playtime with friends. He's a bit bossy, and loves cookies more than any other food choice. He amazes me. He is the person in this world that makes me laugh the most, with his silly comments and funny things he does. He is extremely shy around people he doesn't know, including other kids, to the point I sometimes worry about him. His favorite game to play with mama is for me to push him forcefully along as we walk, and this makes him giggle to pieces, which I love to hear (thus, the game goes on and on and on). At night, I tuck him in with a story and as I sing his favorite song (two dinosaurs and slaap jarietje slaap,I tickle his face and feet, and pat his little butt. ornings, I awaken to his breath on my face as he shares my pillow lying sideways in my bed. When I tell him it'sa time to brush his teeth, he throws himself on the floor as if he is dying in a fit of fake tears. He makes me pictures that amaze me, and when I ask him to spell words or add numbers, he does so with little trouble. He's my baby boy, my little bug, and I couldn't live without him.
Happy Birthday and Happy Lifetime to my little bug. I hope SIX is as amazing as you are imaginig it to be. I hope it will open up your world to even more possibilities and more happiness. I hope you are happy, as you make me, your mama. I love you!



Our family is now back intact. All of us are home after our vacations. We picked Kaeden up from the airport this morning and I was a nervous wreck waiting for him to come out the custom gates. I couldn't wait to see him, smell him, feel him. These past 6 weeks have felt like an eternity in this mother's life. But upon seeing his face, hearing him talk to me, watching his eyes light up and his smile explode on his face as he talked of his trip, it's as if he was never gone. And yet, he's been sleeping since half-way through our trip home. I managed to pry him out of the car and he collapsed into bed. He's cranky and sad and jet-lagged and tears tug from behind my eyelids as he cries for his gramma and grampa. I just wish there were a way....a way for us all to be together on this far-too-big planet. As much as I am happy to have my son home, another part of me longs for him to be in the comfort of his first home, back with gramma and grampa who love him as deeply as we here do, and it tears at my heart in some unexplainable way. My happy-family dreams have temporarily been shattered by the suffering of yet another good-bye. Will it ever get easier? Will I ever again feel completely whole? I hope that in the light of the dawn of a new morning, after we've all slept deeply and soundly, our family can once again rejoice in being together. My baby will turn six tomorrow. He deserves the sense of wholeness and the comfort of family on such a special day as his birthday. Tomorrow...tomorrow I will again dream of us being together as a family, the way we are meant to be, and make sure that that dream becomes a reality.


Good Bye

I just got off the phone with Kaeden. He called to tell us good-bye. Good bye, it seems the wrong words for my son to tell me as I head off on our family vacation. I feeel a bit heart broken. I'm starting to miss my son more than words can say. And, as I take this adventure with my husband and my little bug, part of me is being left behind. It just doesn't feel quite okay. Even as I know that he is having a wonderful time in Wyoming, I feel a bit cheated. I'm missing out on all his adventures, and he on all of mine. I don't want to have to look at pictures 10 years down the road and remember the heart break I was feeling today. "Remember the summer you spent with gramma and grampa in Wyoming riding horses and swimming and riding four wheelers??" Yes, he'll say with a smile in his heart...and I'll scream back "WELL DANG IT ALL< I DON'T REMEMBER BECAUSE I WASN'T THERE TO SHARE IT WITH YOU!!!" I'm happy that Kaeden is renewing the bond with his grandparents that he's always had, and thrilled that my parents are getting a chance to be involved in his life and come to know him again. But the simple truth is that I miss my son. I miss waking to his kisses in the morning and tucking him in with songs at night...and I'm sad he won't be sharing our explorations to eastern europe. So, my Riley Boy, I won't say Good-Bye, rather Tot Ziens, when you are back in teh throes of your mama's arms where you belong...because even though your body is thousands of miles away, your heart is here at home, home, where the heart is...your mama's heart. I love you Kaedi Riley, more than all the stars in the sky...


My Son-shine

I just got off the phone with my Kaeden! How I miss him. He sounds really great and is having lots of fun with gramma and grampa. They just returned from a trip to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and newly turned one nephew where they went out in a boat innertubing and playing in the lake. Kaeden told me animatedly about all his adventures and I could tell he thoroughly enjoyed himself!!! Hearing his happy voice made me feel so much better, and hearing Jari talk to him on the phone made me realize what a close bond my boys have. Jari told Kaeden that as soon as he hears him at the door he is going to open it fast and give him a huge, tight hug. And mom told me Kaeden speaks often of his little brother as well. I hope that bond between them lasts forever. Kaeden also told me they bought a new car and he got to pick it out. He seemed quite pleased with himself...just as I'm pleased with him for being such a good kid and giving gramma and grampa only smiles and no grief. I'm just completely pleased the vacation is going so well...for everyone. I can't believe how peaceful our home is...no fighting and bickering and screaming...but the quiet reminds me too often of my little boy too far away in America. I miss the sound of his voice, his tight squeezes, his robust smile, the sound of him ceating another "treat" for mama in the kitchen. I hope when he returns home I can recreate some of the peace we are now having and bring it to our family after recharging from being a stressed out mom. We all deserve this break. But we all deserve happiness together as well, and I hope beyond hope that our love and commitment to each other keeps us strong...this time apart is definitely making me realize just how important my family is to me, and how important it is that I be a strong and patient mother to my beautiful little boys. Have a great time on your vacation Kaeden! We all miss you!!! XOXO


"I don't think it's funny. It's not something to laugh about," he stated factly to me as tears fell down my face and hysterical laughter clogged my throat, the smell of burned rubber filling my nose as the car tires spun yet again on the steep, grassy incline. We were in a slippery situation. The hill we tried to turn on was steeper than it looked at first glance, and as Erwin again pulled the handbrake into action, we both knew that searching for the Ginsburg castle ruins was definitely not worth it. "You're going to have to push," he said again as I unbuckled my seatbelt and told him to try riding the hill horizontally as I stepped out of the danger of our car. The first try was unsuccessful as the car slid on the freshly-mowed, wet grass and I was thinking of walking to the farmer I saw mowing another hill to ask for him to pull us out when Erwin gunned the engine yet again and as the tires slipped, they finally found solid ground and he veered back onto the narrow roadway. I got into the car, tears streaming down my face. It was relief mixed with shock, and it was quite funny once I knew we were safe. Yes, that was the high point of our trip to Sauerland, Germany. One of those moments when we could ahve been left hanging, but managed to come through stronger than before. We headed for the main road and cussed the brown sign telling us we'd find the gem 700 meters further. Signs are not something Germans do well. We happened upon this experiece time and again looking for castles.
So, we managed to have a great trip. Except for the middle of our last day when I decided to be stubborn and didn't tell my husband where to turn off the highway and we had to backtrack to end our day and trip on a happy note after driving an extra 50km. But okay, for the rest, it was terrific. We visited castles, toured the Warsteiner beer brewery (and drank a few steins full), took a ride on the bobsled, walked through walking paths with waterfalls and canyons, saw so many beautiful mountains my head was cleared with fresh air, visited the Hennessee and Biggessee, walked on a high in the trees hang bridge, and learned that our Tom-Tom cannot be counted upon in little German mountain villages! Oh, and we got lost in a mine. Another incident that the laughter came heartily from within.
We visited an old mine and took a tour where we went in a train deep into the mine. We were in a carriage with 6 other people and suddenly we were no longer moving, it was dark and quiet, and we kept looking out the locked train doors wondering what was happening when the tour guide was heard chanting from somewhere in the mine "Hello??? Are you lost???" as the beam of his flashlight lightened the dark,wet walls of the minign caves. It was the most fun I had on the trip. It was a bit scary, a bit uncertain, but quite the thrill to be "lost" in a tunnel with no light and locked in a little cage. As the tour guide started up the engines and drove our carriage to the remainder of the group, we heard them discussing whether they had a rope to reconnect the carriage to the rest of the train. Erwin refused to get in the last car when it was time to end the tour and return to the museum.

We also saw the Willingen ski jump which was a great thrill for me. After climbing to the top, 500+ steps up the mountainside, I felt very accomplished. After declaring that there was no way I was gonna make that climb, it turned out to be one of the msot memorable experiences of teh trip. We were able to stand on the jump itself and look down the mountain and feel the adrenaline rush that teh skiiers themselves feel as they jump from off the jump into the air and not be able to see the landing as it curves down at a scary angle. The breathless feeling overcame me as i climbed those steps, but once I made it to the top, I knew it was worth it...seeing mountains upon mountains before me and I knew I had no regrets.

We ate out at a panorama mountain just as the sun was setting...it was breathtaking. And I had a noodle pancake with ham that, though I had no idea what to expect, was mouthwatering! Our little pension in Nordenau was quaint and quiet and we awakened each mornign to the sun rising over the mountain right outside our window. We visited Altena castle which was brilliant and grand, and then headed to the marketplace where bombs started erupting around us..."The Germans sure know how to bomb," my husband matter-of-factly said with a twinkle in his eye. They were doing some kind of re-opening of a bridge and that was their "fireworks". And tehn we headed into the sunset again to home, where we had one last night before the grand finale of my son's arms around my neck in a tight squeeze! Back to heaven after a heavenly adventrue with my husband.

Sauerland, land of 1000 mountains. It is beautiful, quiet, restful, and lush. And so were the days away alone with my husband.