Monday, January 31, 2011

12 years ago today...

my husband gave me the first of what would be many, many silly sports analogies:

"So let's say I was going for a lay up--would I make a slam dunk or would I be rejected?"

Translation: If I ask you out right now would you say yes or no?

My response:

"You never would have been rejected."

I'm not exaggerating when I say I knew long before that moment that I was going to marry him. Jon is one of the very few things in my life I saw, wanted, and pursued until I had it. Somehow I knew he was the only person who would ever truly 'get me', and 12 years later, snuggled in bed together with Owen between us and Jack at our feet, I'm pretty sure I hit a grand slam.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why I barely slept last night

I finally called my mom for the details on renting the club house at their apartment community. Step one to planning Owen's first birthday party! Can this really be happening??

I don't know that I could handle it if the rest of my years with him go by this fast.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One of those moments I don't want to forget

Jon: "Part of the meeting was they asked me to draw three things that have impacted my life. I drew a ring, a little boy looking out over the bars of his crib, and a cancer ribbon. The first two are obvious--you and Owen--the third was because of all the people we've lost to cancer. I told them that I don't know anyone who has survived it."

Me: "You lied."

Jon: "No I didn't. Who?"

Me: "Think about it. Losing her may have devastated you more than anyone else."

Jon: "Oh wow!"

Me: "Your Aunt Char recovered from her breast cancer so well that you forgot she even had it!"

Jon: "That's amazing."

Me: "I know. I've got goosebumps."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Making deals with God

Most people don't know this, but I donated blood the day before Rick died. I'd never donated before but I woke up that morning with the most magnificent idea. I had a deal for God: I'd donate my blood to help replace the multiple bags Rick had needed since learning of his cancer. I'd help give back what he took, and in return, God would spare his life. It felt like such the perfect plan that I may or may not have imagined myself shaking hands with God, making the deal unofficially official. I was going to save Rick's life.

I waited an hour in the traveling blood clinic. I sat patiently and watched as potential donors checked their watches repeatedly. Some just shook their heads and continued to wait, and others walked away. I watched a man faint as he climbed down from the donation table and he had to be placed in a special chair that could be laid back to help re-circulate his blood. I was a little freaked out, but I wasn't going anywhere. And when it was all said and done, after they'd interrogated me for my health record, and taken my blood, I walked out of there feeling like a rockstar with a bandage on my arm and a half eaten bag of Famous Amos cookies in my hand. I couldn't wait to walk into the hospital later sporting my "I Donated Blood Today!" sticker and whenever someone asked me about it I was going to say, "I did it for Rick."

He died 20 hours later.

Grief consumed my family after that and I didn't think much about my blood or giving it away. That is, until I received a thank you letter from The Red Cross. It said THANK YOU FOR SAVING A LIFE in bold, red letters across the top. I started crying, then sobbing, then ripping the letter into tiny pieces as I screamed, "But I saved the wrong life!"

I don't believe that anymore.

At some point along the way I put my anger aside and was able to come to my senses. I now give blood whenever I'm eligible. I situate myself on a large metal cot. I watch as the nurse swabs my arm with iodine. They prick me with a needle and I watch my blood flow into a bag at my side as I squeeze and release a therapeutic ball. All the while I think about my brother. I still do it for him and for all the kind people who donated their blood to keep him alive as long as he was. It's like a memorial for him every 56 days, and I walk away feeling like a rockstar every time, because even though my blood didn't save my own brother, it CAN save someone else's loved one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Heart

I snapped this photo just before lunch on Monday and then I emailed it to Jon with the caption: "Why I need to be home ALL THE TIME!"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don't worry, these are happy tears!

The last time my siblings and I all posed before a camera together was the summer of 1993, maybe? All I really know for sure is I was 11-years-old, we were in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin for a family reunion, and there were plenty of big bangs, mullets, and teenage acne to go around. Too much information? Sorry, what I'm trying to get at is we don't have a recent picture of the 6 of us and when my brother Rick passed away last year so did our chances of getting one.

So, as a surprise Christmas gift, my brothers and sisters and I decided to do the next best thing: take a picture of the 5 of us and Photoshop Rick in there. I know it sounds a little creepy, but the final result -- framed, matted, and wrapped in shiny Christmas paper -- brought tears to our mom and dad's eyes:

 (From left to right: Kristin, Rob, Kimberly, Ron, me, and Rick above.)

A special thanks to my mother-in-law, Christine, for taking time out of her busy schedule to snap some photos of us, and to my nephew-in-law for using his crazy awesome Photoshop skills to help us make the perfect gift for our parents.

Funny how we never did this before saying time and schedules wouldn't allow, but when it NEEDED done, we did it, and we had a good time!

Here are few additional shots from our "photo session":

P.S. Yes, Kristin is VERY pregnant, like due-any-minute-now pregnant. No, I am not even though it looks that way!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Top 10 reasons extended weekends float my boat

1. Unlimited time with Owen and his toys and his laugh and his mad musical talents.

2. Sweatpants 'round the clock.

3.Morning nap.

4. Owen!

5. Law & Order marathons.

6. Sleeping in.

7. Blogging mid-day.

8. Owen!

9. Afternoon nap.

10. Owen!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 New Year Resolutions

I anticipate 2011 will be a year of  rediscovery and changing my frame of mind. Back in 2008 I reached a point where I really did not like the person I'd become and small step by small step I changed everything I hated to become someone I loved. I plan to do it again, and this is how: 

1. Be more positive.
I wish I could understand where this abundance of negativity is coming from. I've always been a "grass is always greener" kind of gal but what I've been experiencing and exuding this last year is ugly even for me. I feel like I never have anything upbeat to say and my thoughts are very, very dark. I've convinced myself it's all a conspiracy, that the whole world is out to get me and they want me to feel like shit. I've never felt so alone in my life and I'm pretty sure it's all my own doing. This year I need to promise myself that I'll stop jumping to conclusions and thinking the worst of people. I have to look in the mirror and not out the window.

2. Make time for myself.
I played with the wording on this one for a long time. I needed a resolution that encouraged me to take care of myself, to be healthy, to read books, to get a manicure, or take a bubble bath. I needed something to remind me to look after myself too, and when I stopped to think about why I haven't done these things in the last year it's because I don't have time. That's what I told myself anyway. I've put so much time and energy in trying to be Wonder Mom and Wonder Wife that I lost my own sense of self-worth in the process, subsequently destroying all attempts at being the best ME I can be for myself and my family. This year I need to make the time. I can't be Wonder Mom or Wonder Wife when I don't like myself or who I have become. I need to be proud of who I am and appreciative of what I have and I can only do that through rediscovering my confidence and slowing down just enough to look around and enjoy my life.

3. Continue to play and grow with Owen.
My son is amazing. He's taught me patience, love, understanding, and my heart grows a little bigger every time I witness him notice something new about the world. This past Christmas -- his first Christmas -- he looked at every package, took off the decorative bow, and turned around to play contentedly with his new "toy". He didn't need what was inside because he was more than happy with the free stuff on the surface. He has an appreciation for everything no matter how big or small and I want to be there every step of the way to enjoy this time and learn everything I can from this precious little boy.

4. Find a confidant.
My husband is my best friend but I've come to realize that my husband cannot handle listening to my worries and woes -- not because he isn't a good listener -- but because it tears him apart when he can't fix whatever worry or woe I've brought to him. I need to find someone I can vent to. I need someone who can nod their head while I bitch/scream/cry, tell me it will all be okay, and then we'll be on our merry way. Constructive criticism or advice are always welcome but not required. I think this blog will have to do for the time being but it's a lot easier to vent when I don't have to worry about making sense (or sounding completely sane) to the masses.

5. Cover my family in bubble wrap and place them in a padded room.
I know, I know, I'm only setting myself up to fail with this one because there is no way anyone in their right mind would let me cover them in plastic and lock them in a room all year, but given the losses we've suffered this year it's awfully tempting. What I can do is encourage everyone to make the time to take care of themselves too. I know a few family members who have made resolutions to get back in shape and I can help motivate them by providing advice and encouragement. Now that I'm a non-smoker (exactly 1.5 years smoke-free as of today!!!) I can take a stand and help motivate the last few family members and friends to stop smoking as well. I can't forcefully protect anyone but I can offer my time and experience as means to help make the most of their health.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Why I'll be sleeping on the couch tonight

"Hmm...I WAS very excited about 2010 but thus far we need a plumber, a TV repair technician, and my husband is about 5 minutes away from telling me he needs to go to the hospital to have a splinter removed from his foot. What are my chances of getting 2009 back?!" -- my January 1, 2010 Facebook status
Hence the reason I promised Jon we would ring in 2011 on a much more positive note. Unfortunately, I failed to come through on my promise. Owen and I have had a very pleasant first day of January, but Jon on the other hand, woke up this morning around 8:45, jumped out of bed, ran straight to the bathroom, and hasn't been able to remove his head from the toilet since. He's definitely not hung over so I'm left to believe he's got whatever crappy flu virus has been going around. Yuck.

The thing I don't understand is how well he's handling it. On the rare occasion when I'm vomiting uncontrollably for an entire day I can be found sobbing on the bathroom floor, begging the nearest person to put me out of my misery, but Jon is holding himself together really well. His demeanor is strangely calm, collected, and reasonable. It's almost as if he already realizes this too shall pass. He whines like a little a girl when he has a cold (or splinter), but my husband takes the flu like a MAN.

This is also the first major sickness we've had in the house since Owen was born so I'm doing everything I can to keep it from me and the baby. The last thing I want is the 10-month-old version of whatever this is. A sick baby's eyes can break a woman's heart.

 Anyway, Happy New Year from the Keenan household! We weren't successful at ringing in the new year without incident but that doesn't stop me from believing this year has the potential to be a very exciting, fulfilling, and prosperous one.