Three Decades: The First Ten

It was the early morning of Monday, August 10th, 1981  at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, GA when my Mom gave birth and introduced me to the world.  I was a big baby, weighing in at 9 pounds.   My mom recalls it as being an exciting experience because she was happy to have a little baby girl, but nervous because I was just 18 months apart from my older brother, Spencer.  I was told that I was a pretty laid back baby. Mom recalls the experience of having two under two exciting, but challenging.  One instance in particular that stands out is one time when she was cleaning and went in our room to check on us, and my brother had covered my entire face with baby powder.  She said “You  didn’t cry, you just looked up at me with your big brown eyes waiting to be rescued.”  My mom recalled my favorite doll, which was a little cabbage patch kid doll.  She said I took it everywhere I went.

My Mother was a stay at home Mom at the time, and my Dad was a Phlebotomist at Emory Hospital.  We were low income, or as my Mom would say “really poor”.   We lived in Stone Mountain in a two bedroom apartments (my brother and I shared a room) that didn’t have air conditioning, and very poor heating in the winter.  One winter my Mom recalls it being so cold that there were icicles inside the windows.  She describes it as a very difficult time for all of us.  They were young and new parents, being only 23 and 24 years old.

My Mom didn’t feel like she was supposed to ask for help, and that she just needed to wait for things to get better.  My Dad in the meantime was going to school at night, studying to become an RN so that he could provide a better life for us.  This along with the financial stress caused a big strain in their relationship.  There was fighting and abuse, and what ultimately ended in divorce when I was five and my brother was six.

The divorce and separation led to a bitter custody battle.  At one point during the whole ordeal, Spencer and I were even removed from the home for a few days and placed in temporary custody with a family that we had never met.  I’m not sure if it was a foster family, or someone appointed from DFACS, but I remember feeling scared and confused.  No one really explained much to us during all of this. It was nice to have my brother there with me, going through the same thing.  We supported each other a lot through this, even at the young age that we were.

My Dad was ultimately awarded primary physical custody of us.  Even though my Mom had blamed him of physical abuse as well as drug abuse, it was not something that was able to be proven. My mom had been admitted a few times to a mental health clinic and was diagnosed with a mental illness. This was a deal breaker in the eyes of the judge.  Also, my Dad had a stable job working the graveyard shift at a nearby hospital (which provided a decent means to support us), and my Mom didn’t have a job.  The court awarded my Mom with visitation, and we spent time with her every other weekend.

I had some of my favorite childhood memories being with my “single Dad” and brother. My Dad loved playing basketball, and he would take us all the time to school playground, and we would watch him play basketball with all the “brotha’s” in Atlanta.  I thought my brother hung the moon, and I wanted to be just like him.  Because of my Dad and brother having such a presence at the time, I became quite the tomboy.  I loved to try to play basketball too, and one time in particular I remember wanting to take off my shirt because my Dad, brother, and all the guys on the basketball courts had their shirts off one hot summer day.  I just didn’t understand what the big deal was.

We continued to have a good relationship with my Mom.  Weekend visitation was spent mostly at Nannie’s house. She loved to spoil us with tons of hugs and kisses and cook big meals for us.  Some weekends we’d sit in the living room with our TV trays eating homemade sloppy joes and watch Hee Haw.  It was a good ‘ol country home.  I loved that place.

One day at one of the school playgrounds, while Dad was enjoying his typical weekend basketball game, I met a few girls my age (around six), and their names were Shannon, Amanda, and Melissa.  I also met Pam, their Mom, and I learned that they didn’t have a Daddy.  I later inadvertently introduced her to my Dad, and they began to date.  Their courtship unfortunately didn’t last, but one good thing did come out of it.  My half brother, Joseph Daniel was born who I met once as a baby, and not again until he was in his early teens.  I loved hanging out with Shannon and Amanda.  They were my age and I loved playing house with them and making mud pies in the back yard.  Good times.

Another great thing that came out of that relationship was how more involved in church we got.  Pam was an evangelical Christian who home schooled her girls.  My mom and Nannie had taken me to their baptist church, during this time as well.  At some point during this time, I gave my heart to God and decided to live my life for him.  I remember that I didn’t understand all there was to know about being a Christian, but I wanted to do good, and be an example of Christ’s love.  I was baptized at the age of six in the YMCA swimming pool.

A few years later, My Dad tells us that he met someone special at work that he would like for us to meet.  I remember this like it was yesterday.  My Dad told us to put on our best outfit and that we were going over to her house.  We were planning to cook at her house and have dinner with her and her daughter.  I was so excited to possibly have a new sister and to meet a new wife for my Dad. I put on my favorite little black outfit with a ruffle skirt, and did my hair up in pigtails.  Rennie and Lisa were their names, and they were great.  Rennie was a classy southern Mom and Lisa was a fun young girl who would soon become my new friend and playmate.  Rennie was a real girly-girl, and defiantly took the tomboy right out of me, and got me interested in being more glamed up. My Nannie (my mother’s mom) also loved dressing me up and taking pictures of me.  I guess it rubbed off a bit since I’m definitely more of a girly-girl today.

In Spring of 1989, my Dad married my soon to be Step-Mom, Rennie.  It was nice having a big family of five.  With both of them being a Registered Nurse and having the income of such, we were able to afford so much more than we did when my Dad was single and barely scraping by.  It was nice to have a new home in Stone Mountain and the holidays were more than I could ever ask for.  We were still visiting with my Mom every other weekend.  My Mom went on to get married a few years later to her now husband Mark.

Even though both of my parents were married to their new spouse, there was still tension between my parents.  Rennie was also a divorcee and they both really wanted to start fresh in a new city.  They did some traveling to decide where we would possibly move.  After considering Galveston TX and Wilmington, NC, they decided that Wilmington would be a better fit to lay stakes and relocate.

My Mom and my Nannie weren’t too thrilled about us moving.  They called and wrote us often, but it wasn’t the same.  The visitation changed to every summer break and spring break and every other Christmas.  Even though I missed my Mom and my Atlanta family, I was kind-of excited to be living so close to the beach, and the cute little artsy town that Wilmington was.  As any move can be on a kid, it was a bit of an adjustment making new friends and getting settled in school, but eventually I got the hang of it.  Even though I was a pretty shy kid,  I joined a cheerleading squad for a local flag football team, and I met a few friends.  I loved the beach, and quickly became a little beach girl in love of the sunshine and waves.

My Nannie and Pawpaw came to see us a few months after we moved to NC. She told us that she was sick, but we didn’t really know what was going on.  My uncle had leukemia at the time, and she always asked us to keep him in our prayers.  When we came to visit over spring break the following year, we found out that my Nannie had passed away the day after her 55th birthday of breast cancer a few weeks prior.  I was devastated.  My uncle on the other hand, found a donor and was cured of his leukemia.  I took my Nannie’s death very hard.  It made me question things, and feel things that I had never felt.  This was my first of many challenges that helped me learn and grow, but was so difficult at the time.

InstaFriday

Yay for my first InstaFriday! I stumbled across this blog, and figured I’d give it a shot!
Parker and his Daddy on his first carnival ride!  He absolutely loved it!

Go on, Parker with your bad self. ROCK the Elmo sunglasses!

Dan very graciously gave me some  “Me” time this week. So, I went shopping and got this very cute vintage inspired dress/top at Franchesca’s.

One night this week, we had a rainstorm at dinnertime.  So, we opened the window and just listened to the rain.  It was so peaceful.  Parker sat there facing the window, while he enjoyed an Oreo cookie.  Now, that’s the life.

Impromptu nap on the floor of Parker’s room

I just love seeing Mason’s happy face looking up at me after a nursing session.  It’s almost as if he’s saying “Thanks Mama for the yummy goodness!”

Parker’s with his usual Thursday playmate, Campen.  Enjoying some outdoor fun.

The evolution of the “dollar store” puzzle.  Fun times! My Mom came over and helped with A FEW pieces.  As you see in the previous shot, it was mostly done already. I finished this sucker in three days flat.  Woohoo. Okay, the beer may have helped a bit.

We unexpextedly got some sweet gifts from my Aunt and Uncle who live in Alaska.  Here’s a picture of Mason, a little unsure of the hand puppet with an Alaskan animals creatures on the tip of each finger.

Parker always loves when Nannie comes to visit. Yay!!

And Mason is pretty fond of this silly lady too.

She even reviews the “1, 2, 3’s” with Parker.  What a sweet Nannie! My work here is done.

life rearranged

My Little Picasso

Parker has been showing some interest in colors the past few months.  I thought a good way to talk more about this would be to introduce a little art time to the daily routine.  I picked up a few supplies at the local dollar store, and laid out some paper towels with a few sheets of blank paper.  Without much expectation, I decided to let him take a stab at it.

He absolutely loved it!

He ended up with two beautiful works of art.  If I had to guess what they were, I would guess that the left is a dinosaur, and the right is two hands holding his elmo doll.  What a great imagination this kid has! I see some great artistic skills in his future.

Three Decades- Preface

On August tenth, I will have graced this beautiful earth for thirty years.  THREE- OH Peeeple!! Whew… That seems like SUCH a long time!  It has been a long journey, and one that many of you probably don’t know much about.  That’s why I’ve decided that I would write a little bit about where I came from.

Those of you who read my blog maybe know me from a playgroup, or church, or perhaps we went to school together over the years, or maybe worked together.  You are probably more acquainted with my two boys, my parenting style and family life than you are with my past.  It’s been an eventful thirty years, and it has shaped who I am today.

Starting soon and up until my birthday, I will do a series of posts that will talk about just that…what made me, ME. Stay tuned!

Blog Button

I figured out how to make my first blog button. Not sure what to do with it yet, but everyone else has one… and I wanted to have one too.
Here it is…

You can grab it here:

♥Sharon the Love♥
<div align="center"><a href="https://sharonchristiansen.wordpress.com" title="♥Sharon the Love♥" target="_blank"><img src="https://sharonchristiansen.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/blog-button.jpg?w=125&h=125" alt="♥Sharon the Love♥" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

My BIG guy and my Extroverted toddler

I’m sure you’ve heard….  My Mason is such the chunk chunk!  I took him to his four month appointment, and he was just over 19lbs and 26″ long!  This big guy is growing so fast, and I just can’t get enough of his squeezable lovable self.

The past week or so he’s been doing some new pretty note worthy stuff, and being the documenting Mama that I am, I just have to mention a few.  We introduced the jumperoo to Mason, and he LOVES it.  He can already jump in it quite a bit, and he is all smiles and coos.  About two weeks ago he laughed for the first time.  I tried to get it on camera, but in true fashion, once I grabbed my iphone to use the camera, and he wasn’t too interested.  He loves when I imitate his cooing.  He thinks it’s so funny and that seems to be his trigger to send him into giggle land.  He’s sleeping 12hrs straight, without feedings! Wohoo!  I’m totally impressed with this because I was completely prepared to get up once, maybe even twice a night to feed this big guy until he was six months old or older.  But ever since he learned to roll on his belly at 2 months, he started sleeping that way, and he has been a more sound sleeper ever since.  Only within the last few weeks has it turned from 8hrs to 12hrs.  And since his weight is certainly NOT an issue, he can continue to snooze!  He’s also has two teeth trying to come through.  Since Parker’s first tooth appeared at seven months, this one caught me off guard. Being that he is still exclusively breastfed, this milestone is not one that I am thrilled about him reaching so soon.  But, I’ll take it as they come.  One has already broke the surface, and the other is bulging white at the gums just waiting to break through.  I can’t believe he hasn’t been waking every few hours in pain.  Hopefully it continues!

He’s also wearing “Parker sized” diapers.  He’s outgrown the smaller infant cloth diapers, so him and Parker share the same size and covers. We got some thirsties covers with the snaps instead of the velcro, and we love them!  They stay on better and come in a few “boyish” patterns.  I would be in SO much trouble if I ever had a girl.

I’m starting to see more of his personality shine through too.  Mason is still very laid back and easy going. He’s not super serious, and not overly smiley like Parker was, but I’ve noticed that he does like to smile at familiar faces.  He thinks Parker hung the moon, and he loves seeing Mama and Daddy do silly faces at him.  I just love that chunky boy!

I’m learning so much more about Parker, my almost 22 month old, every day.  Yes, he tests boundaries, and yes, he has screaming fits and drives me insane. But isn’t that what having kids is about?  Maybe not all, but one thing that I can always count on, is that this little extroverted toddler defiantly loves to let his personality shine.  Recently when we were browsing Fry’s Electronics, Parker went up to two strangers and plowed into them and hugged their legs and looked up with a big grin to say “Hi!” and continued to wave until the stranger acknowledged him.  He LOVES people.  He’s such a people person and feeds off the energy of others.  Even though he gets upset when we leave places, or may throw a fit when I ask him to do something that he doesn’t want to do (a battle of wills). I have to remind myself to just let him be who he is and embrace it and try not to get caught up on what he “should be”.

As much as I want to think that all the other Moms out there have it figured out, they probably (like me) don’t know what the hell they’re doing either.  I’m so guilty of playing the comparison game, and being afraid of being judged by other Moms.  I need to just get over myself. He’ll never be the type of toddler that will be shy or cautious or sit still and listen to story time without the wiggles, or understand what “quiet time” is.  He’s energetic, determined, enthusiastic, and loves to laugh and dance. That’s just who he is.

I love that kid, and I need to cut him and myself some slack sometimes and just relax and enjoy.  I keep telling myself that all this will be over before I know it, and he’ll be a grown teen in no time.  He brings us SO much happiness, and joy and when we’re going through all the trials and stress of a toddler (learning his boundaries and learning how to navigate this world), I need to remember that joy and learn to extend grace.

MacBook Pro, Yo!

I’ve joined the new millennium and I got my very own brand spankin’ new MacBook Pro! I’d been saving up some of my “allowance” for some time, and didn’t think I’d get one for a while, but Dan traded in some of his Hilton hotel points (since all of us know how much he travels) for quite a few Best Buy gift cards, and helped me get to the amount I needed a little quicker (isn’t he the BEST hubby in the world)? My Dell laptop (circa 2006) has been on the fritz for a while now, and every time I reboot, I would get some system error and it would crash and reboot itself.  I was so tired of it.  Especially since I wanted to be able to update my blog or send emails, or check my Outlook calendar and I didn’t even have enough time to do so before I was trying to restore and “clean up” the messy program errors.

So, now I need to get used to using this thing.  I’ve been using a PC for so long, and I know so many short cuts and back doors in the PC world, that I am completely lost when it comes to Mac.  I did use it for a few classes in college, but that was so long ago, and they had the old CRT monitors in the beautiful turquoise clear shell way back then.  Remember those?  Just in the few hours that I’ve allowed myself to play around I learned a few things.

-Mac has an awesome face recognition software for pictures, and it organizes them by date (which I had to do manually with my PC)

-Command+c or v Lets you cut and paste, which is essential, I must say

-control+click is my BFF because I’m so right click happy, and I keep forgetting that there isn’t a right click

-I’m loving the apple email client and calendar application.  For someone who is from the corporate world and SO used to Outlook, I was totally prepared to buy Outlook for Mac, but now I’m not so sure that I’ll need to.  I will probably eventually get the Word and Excel because I already have so many documents that I want to keep and reference, but I think the calendar and mail client will work just fine.

-I’ve figured out how to add RSS feeds to my mail client so I can keep up with the blogs I follow.  One thing I haven’t figured out, is when they are added, they have several “unread” posts, and I can’t seem to figure out how to “select all” and “mark all as read”.  It’s simple maneuvers like that, that trip me up.

I know this will take some time to learn, but I’m super excited about my new toy!

Boom Boom Pow

We planned to keep July fourth low key this year. We grilled out, had fun popping pop-its on the patio with the neighbor kid, and had some fun pool time in the back yard.  Parker was in heaven.

Above is Parker’s reaction to an enthusiastic Boom! Following his first successful pop-it crashing to the ground.  Since he was so happy about the popping sound, we knew this young piro would love fireworks.  So, we decided to do a trial run after dinner before bathtime and then later come back after dark to set off some more fireworks.

That little kid could not stop staring in amazement.  His favorite words? “HOT” “MORE, PLEASE”!  I love that kid!

So, we came out later to set off the “big guns” and we were sadly disappointed because it had started raining.  We only shot off a few, and Parker LOVED them.  He didn’t even seem to notice that it was starting to pour during the last firework.  He kept looking at my face and saying MAMA! MAMA! and I just smiled and said Yay!! and he knew that everything was going to be alright.  He was safe in my arms.  Fun Times!

Summer Lovin’

Its shaping up to be a pretty good Summer so far.  So, what have we been up to?  It’s just the beginning of July and we’re already enjoying some summer fun.

I’ve noticed in the past few months just how much Parker just LOVES being outdoors.  Any outside time he can get, he’s a happy camper.  We got him a little pool and a slide in the back yard (yes, our small little 12×15 green space) and a little $10. sprinkler.  He has just lights up with giggles and laughter playing, just as content as can be.  He’s such an earthy outdoorsie person like his Mama!  We also have fun blowing bubbles.  He tries so hard to blow his own bubbles, but most of the time he looks like he’s making out with the wand.

We’ve really been enjoying our playdates lately.  We’ve been doing more either at other people’s homes or here at our house.  Venturing out in public has been more difficult since Mason nurses around 11am every day, and he usually naps from 9:30-11.  I hosted the first here in our home for Hip Mamas Happy Babies playgroup.  I was a little hesitant for some time because we don’t have a traditional “play area” because it’s in our master bedroom.  But I finally came to terms with it and said “what the hell…” and it was a lot of fun.  It was all boys that came, and they had a great time playing with Parker’s toys and eating snacks.  Mason even had fun with his little buddy Aidan too.

We also went to see Marcie and her two little cuties Maddie and Simeon.  I think Parker has a little crush on Maddie.  He kept giving her hugs at our house, and so we said that we must do a playdate.  Just look at what cuteness ensued!

Maddie’s little brother Simeon proved to be little buddy sized for Mason.  They were so cute together!  Should I dare to say that they even look related?  I love these cute plump baby boys!

Another regular pal Campen has been having frequent playdates with Parker.  I came up with this fabulous idea on the road trip back from Destin that maybe Gracile would like to swap watching Parker and Campen every Thursday.  We both have a new baby and since Campen and Parker play so well together, with thought it would be a win-win.  It gives us some free time to spend with baby number 2 when its our off week, and when its our week to watch both, they enjoy the time together. When they’re at Gracile’s house they play outside a lot with the water table and the sand box, and over here we love to do dance parties and coloring with the occasional elmo time.

Parker and Mason have also been having a lot of playdates with Nanny and Aunt Mandy.  They always get so much love from them and Parker LOVES his Nanny! He always lights up when he sees her and immediately wants to show her all his toys.  It’s the sweetest.  Of course, Nanny can’t get enough of him and little Mae Mae.

Dan has been traveling a lot lately, which is the usual.  We’ve been doing a lot of skype video conferences and Parker has really enjoyed seeing Daddy and talking to him that way.  The traveling does have its occasional perks.  Dan saved up enough points and exchanged them for a very nice Trek bike, but then also got an InStep Trailer to add to it ($600 value).  So, this will be fun riding the boys in when it gets a little cooler out.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer! Can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds!