Sunday, February 27, 2011

Not just a Mommy....

I think it's easy to forget I'm not just a mom. I spend so much of my time with Nixon and thinking about Nixon and worrying about Nixon, that sometimes it feels like I have nothing left for me. Well, thankfully, that's not true.

I've been working on losing weight/toning my body for over a month now. It's hard, especially the diet part. But it's been worth it. The first goal I was working towards was a boudoir photo shoot. That photo shoot took place this afternoon and thanks to a very talented photography, I looked amazing! I've only seen 4 pictures so far, but I'm in love with what I've seen so far.

I think, as wives and mothers, its very easy to forget we're women first. It's easy to wear the comfy sweats/jeans/tees. It's easy to pull your hair back in a ponytail. But sometimes it's really rewarding to step outside of the comfortable and just be a woman for a little bit. I know I had fun! I also have another, similar, photo shoot in the near future, so my hardwork isn't done yet. This next one will be a real pampering: hair/makeup and photos, all for free!! (Thanks to the 24 people who voted for me!)

The really rewarding part is knowing I'm taking better care of myself and reaping the rewards for the hardwork.

But because I am a mom, here's a little brag!

I, regretfully, turned Nixon's carseat to the forward facing position. His seat is only safe to rearface up to 36 inches. Nixon is now 35.75 inches tall. With shoes on he's 36 inches. So, today before driving the 30-45 minutes to pick up Mac, I switched his car seat. He was so talkative on the drive. He was saying "trees", "car", "dog" as well as working on some Spanish and Japanese words. You don't know cute until you hear Nixon working on saying "arigato"!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The journey...its in the planning phase

Two days ago, Nixon came to me and said "momma I potty". I asked if he wanted to sit on the potty, he said "yes". So I put the training seat on the toilet, moved the step stool to in front of the bowl, took off Nixon's pj bottoms (a boxer brief type shorts) and finally the diaper came off. He sat on the potty, and as is becoming our way, I read his Nemo storybook while he sat there. Nothing came out and he finally said "I all done". So trying not to push the issue, I took him off the potty and let him wash his hands. He grabbed his pj bottoms and (with a little help) put them on minus the diaper. I was a little nervous, but since we were getting ready to go out in a bit and then he'd have to get dressed, I let him go. In roughly 10 minutes like that, we had no accident. So its a small step, but its a forward step none-the-less.

Next comes the award box, training wall poster and stickers.

Today, after talking to a friend last night, I took Nixon to go get some big boy undies. The selections were slim, but we made it with 2 packs of boxer briefs and 2 packs of super hero undies. The saddest part, as his mom, was when Nixon saw "Doora" (dora in Nixonese) and kept saying "momma I wan Doora". I had to explain big boy undies are different than big girl undies and since he was a boy he'd get to wear undies like Daddy wears. He seemed okay with it, but still kept whispering "i wan doora" but to his credit, he never threw a fit.
The lack of a fit was what got him a new "Chuck & friends" toy.

Silly random mommy moment

Nixon and I had a good day. Fun at the park (with a total meltdown...sharing is a work in progress these days), a potentially big step by Nixon towards potty training (he asked to go potty, sat on it for a minute or so then got off and wanted to wear his boxer-brief pj bottoms without a diaper. I let him for a few minutes and no accident. He was pretty upset when it was back to diaper time), a good nap by him and even some post dinner snuggles for me!!

I should add, Nixon's been having a verbal explosion these days. He's repeating full sentences and even started singing songs now. His newest song is "Twinkle, twinkle little star".

Now the funny.

Mac took his turn reading to Nixon tonight. When he was done, as we do every night, Nixon and Mac called for "mommy". On impulse, just as I entered Nixon's bedroom I paused and struck a superhero pose. You know the one: hands fisted, resting on hips, legs shoulder width apart and chest thrust out. As I did that I said "Did someone call for a Mommy?" Nixon giggled and Mac said "yeah all I saw was your boobs. That's it all boobs. But it was funny."

Yeah, that's literally a moment in our house.

Bloggin' for Peter!!

There are quite a few causes near and dear to my heart. And sometimes, someone comes into my life and gives me a new cause. This is one of those sometimes. This blog won't be about me and my family. Instead this is a blog about Peter and his Forever Family.
Peter is a 4 year-old boy with Down Syndrome living overseas in an orphanage. Peter's story was brought to the attention of a wonderful woman named Julie Kehm (I might be biased but to me she's pretty amazing!). Julie has a son Nixon's age who also has Down Syndrome (I hope I'm explaining this correctly, Julie) named Kai, who has opened my eyes and heart to how wonderful that extra chromosome makes someone. I met Julie on a site called babycenter.com. We share the same birth board and when the drama found us and other random-loving mommas, we found a private group and in the last year roughly 20 wonderful ladies have formed a tight-knit group of support.
Okay so back to Peter and his story. Peter's adoption fees are estimated to be $20k. He's already raised over $15k, thanks to an organization called Reese's Rainbow and Julie's amazing facebook campaign. I'll be adding links for anyone who's interested to go to and get the whole stories.

If you can spare a few dollars, please donate to the family fund. The original $15k is going to Peter no matter what. The family fund is to offset the remaining amount, roughly $5k. The sooner this money is raised the sooner Peter can come home to his family and start getting his health issues addressed. There is a small time crunch though. Due to the way children like Peter are treated overseas, if he is not adopted by his 5th birthday, Peter will be sent to an adult institution which is not a good thing. Peter turned 4 on Feb 20th so he has exactly one year to be brought home before the unthinkable happens.

Links:
http://reecesrainbow.org/peter-16 (peter's story, short and to the point)
http://reecesrainbow.org/sponsorkehm (peter's forever family's story)
http://www.upsidedown21.blogspot.com (Julie's blog. tells her family's story, Kai's story and will keep everyone in the loop on Peter's adoption process as they wade into the thick of it)

I would never ask anything of anyone that I am not willing to do myself. I have donated to both amounts and as finances allow, will continue to do so. Please take the time to reflect on what a small donation from you can make happen for a child in desperate need a miracle. (That sounded super cheesy, right??? Well it is what it is)

Blessed Be, my friends.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The history of the Wilcox-Ball family (pt 1)

Once upon a time.....
...nah, I'm kidding, I'd never do that to you.

There once was a website called Catch22.com. I was a member and I was on there before I found myspace and before facebook blew up to dominate all social networking sites. I'd view player cards (really, unless you were on the site, it'd be really hard to explain it's concept and since its no longer running it's become an ancient memory) and occasionally write someone who seemed interesting. I was single and living in Atlanta at the time.
During this time, Mac was in Bahrain and also on this site. Some how we started writing each other, but exactly who initiated it will be an unsolved mystery, again, since the site is no longer functioning or searchable. Mac returned to the states just as I was getting ready to head off to basic training. One of the things I had to do, was drive my car from Atlanta to New York to be stored at a family member's while I was gone. During this drive I randomly called Mac and he was kind enough to keep me "company" as I drove. I was using a handsfree handset, so no judgment!
After basic training I was off to Maryland for school. It turned out, Mac was living in Northern Virginia working in Washington, DC which was less than an hour from where I was. SO, even though I was seeing someone....okay ENGAGED, we went on our first date July 3, 2006. At the Pentagon City Mall, before Mac had to be at work. We had Taco Bell for lunch and strolled around talking. The funny thing was, it was never awkward between us. Since we'd spent some time getting to know each other through emails and phone calls, conversation flowed easily. He left shortly after lunch to go to work and I enjoyed the rest of my weekend and talked to him often.
I did end my engagement, but not because of Mac. The man I'd said "yes" to, was not the man who came home from Iraq. It was a long drawn out breakup mostly due to memory loss on his part, from an injury he sustained.
When I was able to, I spent weekends with Mac. We'd go to Denny's with his friends at 2am, watch movies, sleep in late and just generally enjoy spending time together. Everything was so easy with him. Well, everything except when it came to labels. On 3 different occasions I'd asked him if we were an official couple, and on 3 different occasions he told me he's not ready for anything serious. Silly boy....he was already serious about me!
With his "nothing serious" ringing in my ears, I still saw a few other guys. But Mac was always on my mind. He was my comfy sweatpants, but I kept trying to ignore my feelings. One night, after some drinks with my best friend and one very ill-advised phonecall to my best friend in New York, my whole world fell apart and I felt myself shatter. Claire did the best she could to keep me together and took me to Mac's. Mac opened the door, at a very late/early hour depending on who you ask, and immediately reached for me. I pushed him away and continued to fall apart. Eventually, I went into his geek room (where he was), and curled up on the floor just bawling while rocking myself. Mac got down on the floor and held me, ignoring my pleas to not touch me. I don't remember going to bed, but I know the next morning coffee and cigarette in hand, still emotionally raw, I admitted to myself I was in love with Mac.

A few months went by, nothing changed between us, I dated one guy long enough to stop seeing Mac every weekend. But we still talked. We even spent an awkward Thanksgiving at his apartment with Claire her boyfriend, the guy I was seeing, Mac and myself. WOW! We survived and still were on good terms. There's some small details I won't put out here, but I felt I'd lost Mac to someone else.
December came and I went home for the holidays, I had a brand new niece to see! I returned back to the DC area and had a heart-to-heart with the guy I was seeing. Turned out, he was just in it for the "fun of it" and I.....was tired of hearing that. I dropped him off at the airport, he was going home to Cali for the new year, and rushed to Mac's place. He was at work, but I still had a key. I'd made a decision and was going for it.
I made dinner, Mac came home and after he ate I laid it all out. I wanted to be with him, only him. And finally, he said the same thing!! We officially became a couple and I moved in one month later.

Part one....done!

Monday, February 14, 2011

This might get ugly

So, I've signed up for a boudoir photo session in two weeks. As crazy as it sounds, I'm doing it for fun. The fun of it being: I need to tone up, firm up and lose a few pounds between now and then. Nothing too drastic but enough to see some results and not make a total ass of myself in these pictures.
Step 1- tone and firm. I'm planning on doing Jillian Michaels 30-day shred every night from now to the day of the shoot. It sucks because, honestly, I'm very lazy. I have to beat myself into motivation every night.
Step 2- eating better. No fried food for 2 weeks. Lots of fruits, veggies, salads and very limited carbs. The real kicker of all this is.....my scale is broken!! I can't even see the magical numbers go up or down, this is all visual results only. How badly would it suck if I did all this and I never lose a pound?!?!? Even my coffee will be different. No splenda in it, instead I'll be adding sugar-free flavored syrup. and drinking LOTS of water.
Step 3- A couple days before the shoot I'll go shopping for some outfits. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I've had photos of this nature taken before, but it was over 5 years ago AND I hadn't had a child at the time.

These photos might just be a wonderful anniversary gift for Mac....we shall see.

So here's to eating better, exercising daily and starving off hunger pains.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's almost here!!

Potty training that is. I'm in preparation mode. And like other tasks in my life, I may be WAY over-prepping for it. Let's see, I have already the potty chair, but after REALLY looking at the space in my bathroom, I realized it won't work. So, because the chair we bought can be both a chair or a step stool, I went with the step stool and the seat will now go on top of my toilet seat. The seat itself now hangs from a hook on the side of my sink freeing up space in my postage stamp sized bathroom. I've also got a plan for a reward chart outside the bathroom using a large dry-erase board, plus magnets or stickers. To go with that will be a reward box, which we will be stocking up in the next week or so. In the mail are rubber pants, but these ones are super cute boyish looking ones, for when we HAVE to go out. Also on the list of things to-buy: more elastic waist pants and shorts and of course, little boy undies. Thankfully the BX (base exchange..our walmart or target for anyone not familiar with the military) carries toddler undies, so we'll take Nixon and let him "pick" his own. In reality, it'll be 3-4 packs of the choices they have at the time. Nixon's also taken a liking to Mac's watch, so he may get his own watch too, in the reward box.

We'll be taking on the potty training adventure the first week in March. Mac will be home, he's taking 2 weeks leave (vacation) and its as good a time as any. I plan on documenting it as much as possible through videos, photos and of course, my blog. This is, afterall, one of the biggest challenges parents face with children and since we're only doing this once, I plan on doing it right and remembering it all!


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Luxury in life

While making breakfast today, (nothing fancy waffles, scrambled eggs with cheese and turkey bacon with coffee of course), I was struck by a thought. I'd asked Mac to help me and realized after listening to the giggles and running commentary between Nixon and mac, that he was otherwise occupied. I also, strangely enough, found myself jealous of Mac.
I'll explain.
Mac can't cook. I mean he can't cook anything that doesn't have microwave instructions or can go in the toaster. Which means, if we're eating a home cooked meal, I'm the one making the meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner doesn't matter I'm making it. So listening to Nixon and Mac relaxing watching Zaboomafu together this morning bothered me. I'm never able to chill and have a fresh meal magically appear on the table, excluding pizza deliveries of course. Just once it'd be nice to relax and be called to the table by someone I'm not paying and told my meal is ready.

I've heard being a stay-at-home-mom is a luxury. It wasn't a choice I made selflessly. It was kind of made for me, after arriving to Okinawa, when I realized childcare, base job pay rate and Mac's shift work would not be conducive to me working outside of the home. Although to be honest, I don't really work in the home either. I clean, feed Nixon, try to keep him on a schedule and mostly entertained, I run errands when needed. I make meals for the 3 of us most days and dinner most nights. I remind Mac of important things he needs to do. To me a luxury is daycare and working outside of the home.

One person's idea of luxury is another person's reality.
By the way, if there's anyone out there who'd like to help Mac make a full meal for Nixon and I, giving me the luxury of eating a meal that's not fast food, that I didn't prepare some day, let me know. I'm okay with everything I have to do, but just once it'd be nice to NOT spend time in the kitchen and still eat something other than sandwiches.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"The most wonderful thing about Nixon.....is he's the ONLY one!'

To paraphrase Tigger's little song in Winnie the Pooh. And why is it no one ever says it's a shame Pooh/Piglet/Tigger/Rabbit or even Eeyore are the only ones? Why is it okay for imaginary characters to be onlies, but its a travesty when it's learned Mac & I are only having one child, in real life?? I find it curious that society seems to place such a high value on 2-3 child families while degrades and questions larger or smaller families. I'm just as guilty as counting children huddled around one grown up, assuming they all "belong" to him/her, but it's not in my nature to go up to them and point out that they've got a LOT of children or that they can't possible have enough one-on-one quality time with each child. It's rude to do so, in my opinion. That's not to say I won't mention such thoughts to friends who know me or Mac, in the privacy of my own home.

Sorry, for the tangent, I was just thinking before I started writing this today, how wonderful life is with Nixon.

Last night, while checking on him like I always do, I pulled the covers over him and kissed his forehead. As I gently kissed his forehead, I whispered "I love you, my little love" something I've said to him since the day he was born. He snuggled deeper under the covers and sighed a sleepy "okay" as I got up from besides his bed.



Today was a surprisingly nice day, considering its been cold and rainy for a couple w
eeks now. So, during breakfast I decided I'd take Nixon to the zoo and just let him enjoy it. I had the stroller with me, but he chose to walk almost the entire time in the zoo. When I did have to put him in the stroller, he'd scream bloody murder until I presented him with a distraction (a drink or snack, were the options of choice today). He fed fish and ducks and pigeons. He walked up the steep hills, either holding my hand or the railing if available for him. He pushed the stroller, almost kamikaze-like since he has no concept of steering it. He'd pick up my hand, if I dared try to help steer/control the stroller, and tell me "I got it" and push my hand away. He giggled and smiled at passing children and families. And the entire time I was soley focused on him and only him. The day was his to enjoy and I was merely along as the co-pilot.
I took him on his first merry-go-round ride. He loved it! He was smiling, cheesing at the camera when I snapped pictures of us and just really into the whole experience of it. When the ride was over we took a very short train ride. It didn't matter to Nixon that we were only going in a very small circle. He couldn't have cared less that we were the only ones on the train. The only thing he knew, was that I was on the train with him and we were moving!



Occasionally, though very rarely, I wonder what life would be like with more than Nixon. It usually strikes me as a fleeting thought when a friend announces a pregnancy or welcomes a new baby into his/her family. It's never a serious thought, just a passing "what-if" moment. The picture never quite seems right. Its all blurry and out of
focus somehow. Its chaotic even in its theory of existence in my head. I feel panicked and stressed just imagining another child in our lives. Seriously, my heart rate elevates, my head hurts and I feel jittery at the imagined 2nd child's arrival into my perfect family. I can't even see his/her face because I can't focus through the haze of anxiety.
It's moments like that, that prove to me, some people are just not meant to have more than one child. I'm THAT person. Because if I did have more, I'd never have the freedom that Nixon and I enjoyed today together. The zoo? Getting there was my idea. Visiting it and enjoying it? That was all Nixon today. A sibling would cramp our style and flow.

I'd never think less of someone who has more than one child. Every family is different. But just once I'd like to feel like other people feel the same way about my little family of 3, instead of the usually "robbing him of a sibling" crap that most people (and usually strangers at that) feel the need to spew.

My opinion?? The only people who really want you to have more kids are clothing companies, diaper companies and toy companies. They make a killing with every new child born!


Friday, February 4, 2011

"pew, pew" and other phrases

It's Friday, so I guess that means it's "Nixon's acting like a fool" day. He's feeling much better after our puke'scapades on Wednesday and is back to his cracking me up with the random things he says and does ways.

It started in his bedroom, while I was getting him ready for the day. Mac had bought him a little bubble-like figurine of Han Solo a while ago. The figurine came with a laser pistol, but looks more like a video camera. Mac taught Nixon to say "pew, pew" and fire the laser. (He also taught him that no matter what: Han shot first!) So there's Nixon, lying on the changing table, diaper off, doing hip thrusts in the air saying "pew pew" while thrusting his hips up and out! I swear, this kid comes up with some strange acts all on his own. I would've thought 2 years-old to be too young for such things, but maybe Nixon is advanced in things like humor and his body!

Mac had an appointment, so before we went to lapsits I took Nixon to a park to play. He was having a ball running around, laughing and collecting giant green seeds. He had one little girl, about his age I'm guessing, come over and start trying to take his seeds away (watch out for her in about 15 years!!). He'd give her one and she'd take them both. He'd take one back and she's leave only to come back and take the second one away again. In the end, she left before we did...with both his seeds. I found him another and all was right in Nixon's world again.
When it came time to leave the park, I asked Nixon for a kiss before putting him in his carseat. He said "no". So I asked him "Nixon, why can't mommy have a kiss from you?" He looked at me and said "no, yucky". So, in Nixonese, mommy can't have a kiss because mommy's yucky. But as soon as he saw Mac, he gave Mac a kiss!

After naptime, Ball family naptime today, I asked Nixon for another kiss. Again he said no. This time he said "daddy only", which means only Daddy can kiss me now. Or at least that's how I'm taking it to mean. Since, once again Daddy got kisses and mommy got nothing. (I did get one kiss right before Nixon fell asleep for his nap. I feel very special to have gotten that!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank Goddess I left the pj's at home

Today I became a MOM. Mommy is for moms with little ones, who start to move but aren't really a challenge. MOM is when you're dealing with a child aching to be his/her own person while trying to please you at the same time. It's not always pretty and it can be challenging as hell. MOM also has to deal with random messes.
And puke. Today I had to deal with puke....on-the-go.

Nixon and I had playdate plans, which meant getting up before dawn and driving Mac to work to have the car for the play date. We left the house a shade before 5am. Unfortunately, Mac in all his rushing around, forgot his wallet it's kind of a big deal. SO, I offered to drive home, grab the wallet and bring it back to him. Which I did. I stopped in the kitchen to grab a bottle of oj from the fridge and a sippy cup for Nixon. I poured him half a cup and then settled in to drive back to Mac. Nixon had fallen asleep on the drive back, only waking up when Mac opened the door to see him. As I was leaving, Nixon said "uh-oh" in a really distraught manner. I pulled over, ran around to Nixon's side of the car and opened the door. He was covered in slimy, smelly wet stuff and looked very sad about it. I grabbed my cellphone (so grateful I remembered to bring it with me today, most days I bring only my wallet), called Mac and asked him if he could bring some paper towels out to the car for me. I drove back down to him and unbuckled Nixon so I could clean him up. His hoodie was gross and taken off. His blanket had pukey stuff on it too. Mac took Nixon inside so I could clean up his carseat. I'm not sure how he managed it, but the only spot on the carseat that got vomit on, was the nylon straps and plastic buckle.
About five minutes later, we were on the way home again. Halfway home, Nixon vomited again. While I was sitting at a red light. I made a very quick turn into a Lawson's parking lot and set out to clean him again. Like before, I made sure Nixon knew I wasn't mad at him only concerned about his tummy. He giggled a little before I got back in the car and drove home. We got home a little before 8am, and after a change of clothes and a fresh diaper, Nixon was back in bed asleep. I canceled our playdate and went back to bed myself.

He's warm to the touch, but so far has kept a banana and toast down. Maybe it was a puke fluke, maybe he just got car sick. Who knows, all I know is puke-on-the-go is not the motherhood badge of honor I was hoping for when I woke up today.
But at least I wasn't in my pajama bottoms when I had to get in and out of the car multiple times. Especially considering my pj's are Mac's old ones, which means very baggy and long on me and have fast food all over them. My gut made me put jeans on and I am glad I did!