Saturday, January 31, 2009

Theres No Crying in Boot Camp

Its Saturday... last day before Tyson leaves for boot camp. I am a pile of raw nerves! I just keep telling myself that people do this every day, and 6 months is no time at all. Tyson and I are taking turns trying to convince each other.

The kids seem to be blissfully unaware, but I'm expecting it to set in around Wednesday and have a pretty long adjustment period of life without Dad on a M-F basis. We had a talk with them awhile back to let them know that Ty is going away to a special school that will teach him how to be the best police man ever, and of course took time to explain what an important job it is to have hero's like daddy helping people every day. Dawson seemed to understand the arrangement pretty well, and even asked if they had circle time at this special school. By this time next week, I am SURE Tyson will be wishing for circle time and a story before nap time!

Ty shaved his goatee off yesterday, it is a strange sight for a wife to see! I already feel like I am married to a different man, his facial hair is so much a part of his personality to me. He definitely looks 'changed,' and I'm not the only one who thinks so. When Dawson had a moment alone with Ty, he piped up, "Dad, you look like a boy now." Tyson was a little puzzled by his observation, and asked what exactly he meant by that. "Well, before with your beard you looked like a man, but now you look like a boy-like me!"

The thought of Dawson without his Dad for 6 months is by far the most heartbreaking part of this arrangement for me. I know it will be tough without him on all of us, but Dawson... oi. Ty's shoes could never be filled to him, he is already a hero to our son (all of us really, but particularly to him). I just keep thinking of how much more pride he will have on the other end of this. I know he can handle it... but I wish he didn't have to.

I was having a weak moment yesterday on the couch as we sat watching cartoons with the kids and I started to get emotional. Dawson immediately noticed, and asked why I was sad. I told him I was thinking about how much I'm going to miss having Daddy around, and he said "Mom, don't cry! Do you want me to sing you a song?"

Of course I wanted him to sing to me... and so he started in his sweet little toddler soprano voice... to a tune I've never heard before I'm assuming he imagined up just for me...

"Don't throw a fit... Mommy, DON'T throw a fit! Don't throw a fit, Mommy, we don't throw fits..."

The tears immediately started to pour faster thru my uncontrolled laughter, which I'm thinking confused him even more, because he suddenly looked even more concerned and then I think he realized maybe he had hurt my feelings with his heartfelt lyrical ingenuity.

"OH! Um... never mind. I didn't mean to sing that song, Mom. How about THIS one?..." And then he moved on to "Rock a Bye, Baby" followed by "Baby Mine."

Alright, Dawson, I get the hint. You think Im being a wuss! Guess its time to put on my big girl panties and stop moping around.

For come Monday morning at 0700, the McDermott family officially starts boot camp.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Little "Belle-erina"

I've been looking for small ways to get Anabelle out of the house here and there since she is definitely at an age of curiosity. She's been taking a gymnastics class once a week (that she LOVES), and our good friends the Hunters have been very gracious to take her and bring her home whenever they go.

But I wanted her to be able to do something that I could also be a part of and watch her enjoy. I was delighted to find that there is a dance studio down the road with a Saturday morning class for her age group!

It is a little bit pricey, but I hit up the grandparents each for a month's worth of lessons (for her Birthday present from each of them). Grammy scored an almost new pair of tiny little tap shoes for next to nothing, and she picked out her own adorable pink leotard for 50% off at the after Christmas sales.

She is having a blast... and so am I just watching her.

She feels so special and important to be a part of such a fancy event, and Im sure every mother thinks so but I say she is a natural! She asks several times a week if its "time to go back to ballet class yet?" and she has been practicing her leaps and spins and twirls everywhere she thinks she can get away with it (grocery store, beach, while jumping on her bed...).

This part of motherhood is exactly what I always pictured the job being like. I love it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Preparing for Battle

In preparation for boot camp, Tyson had me shave his head last week. Luckily it wasn't a big deal since we all know how freaking HOT he is even when he's completely bald. But its still a bit of an adjustment to go from a plentiful head of thick brown hair to "high and tight" overnight.

The buzzing ceremony took place in the kitchen after the kids were in bed, so Dawson was pretty mesmerized when he woke up to a practically bald daddy the next morning. Tyson (what were you thinking!?!?!) jokingly answered his confused expression with the explanation "Mama got the clippers and shaved my head while I was sleeping last night!"

HELLOOOO!?!?!?!? As if my kids don't already think I'm sadistic enough as it is!?!?! He quickly caught my death glare and corrected himself, insisting that he was only kidding and that he got this new haircut to look nice and clean for his police man school, and that Mama did buzz his hair, but that he asked me to.

Dawson immediately requested a matching buzz cut (predictable). His hair has gotten pretty shaggy recently, I've been too busy to stay on top of it like I try to be, so I semi-reluctantly agreed that Tyson could use the clippers to trim Dawson too. We told him we would do it one night after dinner and before his bath.

Yesterday as we were getting ready for church Tyson marched the little man into the kitchen to get his hair combed. That's when we noticed a chunk missing from the front of his hair. It wasn't super obvious, but definitely a big uneven patch. Hmmmm.

We began to grill him about it. He innocently told his Daddy that "Mom had probably cut his hair while he was sleeping." Sounds familiar, right?

Tyson took this for 'Oh, how cute, the little angel knows nothing and believes his Mom really does have psychotic tendencies,' but I smelled a rat right away. I persisted a little more,

"Dawson, did you clip your hair with scissors?"


"Dawson, you are NOT in trouble, Mommy understands that you want a haircut and I know sometimes kids like to do things by themselves. I just need to know if you did that to your hair?"

"NO! I didn't do ANYTHING to my hair, Mommy!"

"Dawson, are you telling me the truth? Because I wouldn't be upset about you cutting your own hair, but I would be upset about lying..."


I gave up because we were running out the door, but I was really confused. He seemed so sure that he didn't do it, and it wasn't painfully obvious that it had been cut because it wasn't a perfectly straight line or anything. Maybe we were just seeing things, and his hair grew in a little unevenly in the front...?

Later that evening around bedtime, Tyson came out of the hallway with a smirk on his face and said, "I got a confession out of him. He said he DID cut his hair, he wanted to look like me."

I knew it, I knew it, I KNEW IT!, I'm NOT the kind of crazy that sees things that aren't really there. WHAT a little SNEAK!

But for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to crack the whip in his face for the ordeal. I do despise lying, we will have to be extra hard on him if it happens again (we let him know that). But you cant blame the little guy for wanting to be just like his daddy.

True to our word (and anxious to right the toddler super cut gone bad), last night, just before bath time...

Dawson got a new boot camp/big kid look, so now the McDermott men have matching "soldier" hair cuts.

He is so cute, he keeps calling the soft little baby fine prickles on top of his head "cozy!"

I'm not sure that's the right word for it, but they are a pretty handsome pair if you ask me.

Guess this makes my boys officially prepared for battle.

Maybe I should shave my head too...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Land, HO!

Over this past year, the McDermott family vessel has been blown way off course. The winds shifted suddenly one winter's day last January, the rain fell hard and fast, and then the water calmed and we found ourselves completely turned around and looking for directions.

Most of our friends and family are aware that Tyson was laid off from the job he loved last winter. We had an idea it was a possibility (or even a likelihood), but nothing prepares you for actually getting that rug pulled out from under you.

Thankfully, his company only laid him off on paper, but kept him employed off the books through a temp agency for the last 12 months. It may have seemed like nothing had changed, but with no sick leave, no benefits, no vacation time, and no company perks (car allowances/ gas cards, etc)... it was actually a pretty devastating blow financially and emotionally for our whole family.

Tyson is the most hard working, patient, devoted employee that any company could ever ask for. I think anyone he has worked with in the past 3 years would testify to all of that and more. This was his first 'grown up' job, and he happened to be in love with it. For all of these reasons combined with the fact that job stability is priceless to family life, this was particularly traumatic.

There was hope at first that the economy would not recede, that stimulus would prevail, that people would buy homes and afford us back the luxury of a full time job with great pay and benefits in a few short months. But as time rolled on and things continued to look bleak, we were forced to stand back and look at the many years ahead and weigh our options.

The central coast is a lot of wonderful things. Business and employment opportunity is NOT listed among them.

So there we were, exploring non-existent business opportunity, and career change seemed like the only logical solution. We looked at a lot of different things and weighed the time and training commitment vs. the long term benefits. Do we move? Do we go back to school? Do we both get extra jobs? Get rid of the kids?...

California Highway Patrol came up early on in our musings. We were desperate for options, so we didn't want to toss it out completely, but I was initially more than dead set against it. Its dangerous, its time consuming, its stressful, the hours are not always practical to family life, my kids could NOT live without their dad for six months while he went away to training (not to mention ME!), and who on EARTH would change all the light bulbs and tuck me in at night?, oh, and then there was the tiny detail that... "TYSON?! A COP! HAhahahaha," he is the most kind, patient, gentle soul in the world, isn't there some kind of 'must be arrogant and self inflated ass wipe at time of application' clause in the job description? (Sorry for all the cops I know or will come to know who are reading this, but you HAVE to admit... there are a LOT of jerky cops out there!).

No, Highway Patrol was NOT a good fit for our family a year ago... but Tyson applied just the same, not wanting to limit his options for down the road.

And then... a change began. A beautiful change. A change that was long overdue and more than necessary for our family's vitality, but that oddly I couldn't see coming.

I lost a TON of weight, and found some self confidence I never knew was missing. I began to think that maybe, just maybe... I might be able to change a light bulb myself.

The kids have been busy growing up, and learning to do important and beautiful things, like communicate with words instead of tantrums, play outside in the sunshine with the neighbor kids with light supervision and sleep thru the night.

Tyson has asserted himself for his family like I have never seen. He has been researching this path to the fullest extent of his ability. He frequents the discussion board. He made flashcards. He started running. He sought out council from our neighbor down the road who has completed this process only recently. He started wanting this!

And I realized that the reasons I initially thought would not make my husband a good cop... his patience, his mild mannerisms, his devotion to his family... would actually translate into intelligence, patience, thoughtful discernment, and overall dedication in the field when the job gets tough.

By the time we got the acceptance letter, I knew in my heart we had all changed and grown for the best, and we had found our way again.

Tyson leaves February 1st for six months of a highly intense training that will supposedly turn him into a cop. But the last year has already made soldiers out of all of us. And now, at this moment, I can honestly say I AM EXCITED about the possibilities and even the challenges! WE CAN DO THIS!

And so, we are officially sailing in a brand new direction to get back to where we came from a year ago. It will take us a little longer to get there, but when we find our way to land again it will be the promised land.

I am bursting with pride already.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?

So, last Fall KJ officially hacked off the apron strings and moved way down south, away from home cooked meals, free rent, and the comfort of his hot girlfriend's arms on the weekends... and into a man-crib with a bunch of guys across the street from a college campus in Azusa (can't you practically hear the party noise all the way from here?).

I've really missed having him around, not that we really saw much of each other, but just that I know he won't drop in and beg for food unannounced, or just be a phone call and cash bribe away from watching my kid's for an afternoon...

I pictured him in a dumpy little rat hole, possibly camping out on the floor in shreds of newspaper and sawdust surrounded by empty Slurpee cups and beer bottles. Sleeping in the clothes he wore yesterday... and the day before... because Mom wasn't around to do laundry, of course. I thought there would be pizza boxes and dumpy furniture, mold in the toilet, and lots of loud noises icky smells (again... nobody to clean up the milk spoiling in the cereal bowl under his bed from last week!).

You get the picture... freshman college boy heaven!

As much as I was certain this lifestyle wouldn't bother him in the least bit, being the big sis and all I felt a bit unsettled about it. But then, on our way home from Arizona... I finally dropped in saw it for myself.


It was tidy, there were no smells but good smells, no moldy or hairy toilets, and it was oddly quiet! (Though from the sight of the GIANT TV and handful of awesome looking guitars adorning the living room walls, he has me fooled there...)

Anyway, Mom... here is a tour of KJ's (surprisingly clean, quiet, and functional!) little pad:

Look! Clean, color co-ordinated clothes, and a slip covered couch! Impressive!

They hung WALL ART!

There are actually 2 bedrooms but I didn't want to be the creep that took pictures of other peoples rooms and posted them all over the Internet... well, Ok, I kind of wanted to be that creep, but I refrained.

Also, I didn't get the bathroom, again, the creep factor, but trust me, it passed inspection.

Aaaaanyways, this is KJ and his lover Stephen's room:

(Bunk beds, how flippin adorable is that!?)

And, get a load of this closet space, I'm positive I never EVER had this much closet until I BOUGHT A HOUSE, and even now I think he has more hanging room (that's what she said)...

After the grand tour, we walked across the street and hit up a cool local Mexican food joint. It was the kind that looks like a total dive in the daylight, but gets a TON of business after the bars close. The grub was goooooood, and I have to say, I felt a little nostalgic about the fact that my little brother had to rescue me and buy lunch when we went to pay with our debit card and he shot me a sideways glance and cooly handed the man a $20. It was cash pay only... and HE HAD CASH.

Little KJ is all growed up. And I feel pretty durn good about him.


Monday, January 12, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding (Chapter: THIS HAS GOT TO END SOON!)

Ok, so I'm toooootally not trying to rush the most important parts, that is to say the ceremony and the after party... but I literally just have SO MANY pictures of the after party, and SO FEW pics of the ceremony... I'm just going to put up the highlights and get on with life, because we've been back for over a week now and life has gone on, and there are other big events to blog about, durn it!

The ceremony was exactly went off without a hitch. It was important to Chelsea that 1. Her brother give her away, 2. Her father-in-law officiate, and 3. Special music.

It all went off without a hitch! Miracles happen every day.

Chelsea was more beautiful than I've ever seen her (and she's pretty freaking hot in case I have any one who follows my blogs in Braille...).

The after party was at Macayos restaurant at an old train station in Tempe. I thought it was an excellent choice, it had a very celebratory atmosphere about it and lots and lots of party food (we're talking margarita fountains, chips and salsa, and lots and lots of greasy dishes involving cheese and guacamole, now THATS a party, people!).

There was dancing, drinking, karaoke, and cake... all the best things in life wrapped into one moment shared with a pretty large group of new and old friends reunited. Nirvana.

Gooooooooo Crusaders!!! (Pretty good turn out for such a tiny widdle school!)

I'm kind of obsessed with these next 2 pictures... "Next time, marry a woman!,"right mom? ;)

SOMEONE wrote dirty things on the BATHROOM WALL! Sheesh, people, HAVE SOME CLASS!

So, there you have it. My best friend... is a MARRIED WOMAN!


But seriously... I am so glad Chels has found love and happiness in Wady, I know there are always challenges to be faced in the road ahead, but now they have each other to face them with and I cant wait to see how Wady will change her into an even more amazing woman.

Congratulations, best friend! I love you.


Friday, January 9, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding (Part 3.)

The morning of the big day, I got up at 6 and got ready while Tyson, Steph and Jerad snored away.

Then, all the girls met in a hotel room and primped together.

It was extremely important to Chelsea that her Nana be included in her wedding. She is in a home for her Alzheimer's, and Chelsea had originally planned an early afternoon wedding under the impression her Nana would be able to attend. At the last moment, Nana was not allowed out of her home, so Chelsea (ever thoughtful problem solver), decided to take the WEDDING to the NANA, which meant we needed to be ready by 10am so the entire wedding party could make it to the home for the first ceremony to be preformed there by Austin, Chelsea's older brother.

When the party was over at Nana's we set off for a round of pre-ceremony pictures at a beautiful park in the Arizona center.

It started to drizzle a bit toward the end of our photo sesh, but we hardly noticed.

And then, all of a sudden, it was GO time.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Best Friend's Wedding (Part 2.)

Saturday was the most uneventful day of our trip, although there was still plenty to do.

Taylor and I got together in the morning and perfected (meaning, practiced for the first time) the communion duet Chelsea had requested of us. Side note: Taylor is an amazing musician for the music makeover he gave that song. It was NOT an easy job, but he nailed it and made it look simple.

Steph and Jerad had errands to run with some family that lived in the area, and Chelsea had last minute wedding details to attend to, so Ty and I tagged along with Taylor and Dom and a friend of theirs for an afternoon of lunch and shopping before returning to the hotel to prepare for the rehearsal dinner.

The rehearsal was pretty low key, and it was all over and done with by early evening. We all said our good nights and Godspeeds, and turned in early.

And by 'early,' I meant 'went back to the hotel and picked up Steph and Jerad so we could go to a SECOND dinner and shop some more.'

Thats practically the same thing, right?