Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A letter to my baby boy

Dear Tyson,

I've begun to realize that life will always be crazy and hectic.  I will say these things to you a thousand times over a million different ways I am sure.  I don't really expect you to hear me the first few times I say them.  I don't expect these words to carry big meaning early on.  It will only be after you have gained true life experience that you will listen to what I have to say...listen to the very things that would have made those experiences easier for you in the first place.  Life isn't always about easy though, and I know you have to learn and explore and figure things out for yourself.  Then, once you think you have figured it all out, you will hear what I have been saying all along and hopefully combine a little bit of my words with what you have already learned.  That's how life goes.  It's my job and your daddy's job to say these things to you over and over so that one day, when you really need them, they will be there with you.  These are not all the life lessons I need to teach you, but as you are my little two pound, wiggle worm, womb occupier these are what come to mind.  I do reserve the right to add to them at any day or time...even when you are grown, married, and have babies of your own.  Because even then, I'll still be your mama.

I'm going to go ahead and tell you right now that your daddy and I have discussed this and discussed this, and I know this will be the hardest thing for me to accept.  You daddy and I agreed that we can't keep you in a bubble.  We have to let you out, let you experience things.  When you are just a baby it will be so hard for me not to worry about every little hiccup that you may have.  You are my first baby.  I don't know what to expect, and I want to do my best to keep you safe.  As you get older I know I will have to let you be a boy.  I'll have to let you go out on the four-wheeler by yourself or go play football with your friends if that's what you want to do.  I will worry every time you leave my sight.  This will be where my faith in God will play a huge part.  I will have to trust solely in Him to guide and protect you during the times that I can't...and even during the times that I think I can.  I have to trust that your daddy and I will have taught you everything you need to know to keep you as safe and protected as possible.  But I want you to know now that every time I let you go somewhere, whether you are still an infant going to the sitter, my four year old big boy riding the four-wheeler, my middle schooler playing football, my high schooler going out with his friends, or my thirty year old making decisions with your wife for your own kids, every time you aren't with me I'll worry.  But I'll think about that bubble and know that I can't keep you right next to me at all times just to make sure your bubble stays intact.  Just know that I want to though.

Always put God first.  Your daddy and I hope to raise you in an environment where it is evident to you that we serve an amazing God.  We want you to understand and believe in everything that sometimes is hard to define.  We want to make you see how lucky we are and how lucky you are to be saved by such an amazing Father.  There are so many things in life that I can't explain.  All of those things point back to God.  Everyone of us has to develop our own personal relationship with God through the years.  It is my hope to you that you are able to cement yourself in your beliefs so that whenever you have troubles you always know you can turn to Him.  I hope to one day be able to explain this to you better; it truly is a hard concept.  Just know that God has a plan for all of us.  As long as you believe in Him and believe in His word then you will be ok...even if some days it doesn't feel like you will be.

Be nice to everybody, no matter what.  You never know what battle people are going through.  In life you will encounter people who will be ugly to you for no apparent reason.  Just know that the reason for their ugliness probably has nothing to do with you.  The problem is within themselves; they will sort it out eventually.  We by no means want you to be a doormat who lets everyone walk over them.  We want you to stand up for yourself and for your beliefs.  Just keep in mind that some people have been dealt a rough hand in life, and they may have trouble dealing with it.  Just remember what your daddy always says, "God don't like ugly".

Whatever you decide to do, do it well.  I mean this at every stage in your life.  If you decide you want to play T-ball then get out there and put your little heart into the game and have fun with your friends.  In middle school, if you decide to join an organized sports team through your school, then practice hard and leave it all out on the field.  Apply yourself to your schoolwork and do everything you can to succeed there.  When it comes time to pick a career, pick what you love.  Find something that really speaks to you...something that you can excel in.  If you love what you do then you will never have to "work" a day in your life.  No matter what you decide to be or what you decide to do at any point in your life, your daddy and I will always support you.  We will always be proud of you.  All we want from you is to be the best Tyson Dugas that you can be.

If you have to question whether or not something is right, then it probably isn't.  We want you to always do the right thing, but we always know that sometimes that can be extremely hard and sometimes there may be gray areas as to what is right and what is wrong.  You can always come to us.  We will always guide you without judgement.  But if you have to question a decision or an action then there is a great probability that it isn't the right thing to do.  Everything in life has consequences.  Think about that long and hard before you make your choice.

Technology may be the greatest invention in this time.  It has allowed us to increase our knowledge base exponentially and at a very rapid rate.  I hope for you that technology continues to improve and evolve as you grow older.  Don't invest in it all the way though.  Don't forget to get outside and let the sunshine hit your face.  Don't forget what an amazing blessing an old country road can be.  Who knows what type of social media will be in place by the time you are old enough to really get involved, but don't let Facebook (the day you have to Google what that means I will really know that I am old) rule your life.  For the most part, people only broadcast the good parts of their life...and a lot of that even is fabricated.  Social media gives you constant access to what other people want you to see as "their life".  Don't buy into that.  Don't get down on yourself by comparing yourself to what others seem to have.  Embrace you, celebrate you, and know that God has a plan for you.  Count your blessings in being fortunate enough to grow up in an age of advanced technology.  Respect what is out there and take advantage of all of it's benefits.  Just don't let technology end up defining you.

I'm not going to tell you not to get a tattoo...even though I want to tell you not to get a tattoo.  I will tell you this: think ahead IF you ever do decide to do something like that.  I'm sure that tribal symbol looks really cool right now, but will it always?  Ask your daddy how he feels about his.  I will be perfectly honest with you and tell you that I see tattoos as a very acceptable form of self-expression.  I have seen some truly beautiful tattoos with amazing meanings.  Those tattoos are really works of art because the message behind them are seated so deeply with the person on which it is tattooed.  One day you may feel extremely passionate about something and want to make it a permanent part of your body...we won't fault you for that.  Your daddy and I will probably respect your decision.  I will say though to be mindful where you place even the most tasteful of tattoos.  You may come to a time in your life where you wished you could hide that tattoo just for a little while by your shirt or some other piece of clothing.  Even a tattoo that means the world to you may not have a place in the work place, out on a job interview, or even hanging out with new people.  It's ok to have some things that only a few people know about.  Sometimes a tattoo is one of those things.  Just keep it tasteful (and off your body all together if I have any say in the matter).

When the time comes, your daddy and I won't force you to go to college.  I want you to know that it is very important to us though.  We want to see you go beyond high school to achieve all of your dreams.  That being said, dreams can be made and achieved and people can be well established outside of the establishments of higher education.  Your daddy has always been one of the smartest men I have known well before he went to college.  Going to college just proves that he is determined and dedicated to better his family.  He is going back to school now for me and for you.  I can promise you that going back to college at this stage in his life after he has been working for years is one of the hardest things he has ever done.  Make it easier on yourself.  Enjoy your time away from the real world.  Have a college experience.  Grow there, learn there.  We will be proud of you no matter what, but always know that we know you have college in you.

You don't ever have to look far to find your role model.  You are a very lucky little boy who has been blessed with an amazing daddy.  You have been made by God and given to us.  By that same token, God gave us to you.  Your daddy is one of the most special men I know.  He is the most loving, hard-working, God-fearing, determined, strongest man.  You are lucky to grow up with him teaching you how to get through life.  He still has to teach me things on a daily basis.  You should have seen his face the night I told him about you.  I think he knew by the undertone of fear that was in my voice as I called his name from the bathroom.  He couldn't believe the first test; he had to go out and buy five more.  Every day he wants to touch, wants to talk to you, wants to feel you move under his hand.  He has big dreams for you and him throughout the years.  We got to see you on the 4D ultrasound the other day; you look just like him.  He is so proud of you already.  He is just so happy to be your daddy.  And I am so happy that we can call him ours.  I can't wait to see all the things he teaches you.  I know you will be a great man one day because you have the greatest man leading the way for you.

Your daddy and I feel lucky to be your parents.  The same week I found out I was pregnant with you, I also found out I was accepted into graduate school.  I wasn't sure what God's plan was for the three of us.  I wasn't sure that we would be able to make it with your daddy and me both in school and you on the way.  We are still a few weeks away from you being here, but we feel like God has shown us that we will be able to make it just fine.  In fact, once you get here our lives are going to be better than we can even imagine.  Some days may get tough.  I am sure there will be a night or two where you feel like staying up all night crying.  I will stay up all night with you those nights too...probably crying with you.  Then, once you finally go to sleep, I'll go back to studying or writing papers or getting ready for work.  Your daddy and I are ready for that challenge though.  There are a lot of unknowns for us...just like there are for every new Mommy and Daddy.  We know that together the three of us will get through it though with help and guidance from God.  We can't wait to see what all life has in store for us all.  For right now we just feel blessed to have each other and to have you on the way to join our little family.  Always know that you are living proof that dreams do come true.  We can't wait to meet you, Baby Tyson.  We both love you with all of our hearts.  Keep growing strong, and we will see you in a few short weeks.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Back in the saddle again

I had to stop blogging for awhile.  I don't know why in the beginning I thought I could do it all.  I don't know what got into my head that made me think I could go to work, come home and do school work, cook supper, keep my house halfway decent, and blog.  Obviously something had to go.  Actually many things had to go.  We have been living on survival mode for the past few months...cooking only when I have to, cleaning only when necessary, doing what we have to get by.  But now I can finally say that school is OUT for the SUMMER!  I have been waiting to say this since January.  Once August comes I am sure I will be counting down the days until Christmas break!  But for now we are enjoying the summer!

School started slowing for us about three weeks or so ago, so we have been able to get a few things accomplished recently.  Last weekend is the perfect example.  Last weekend Josh went to the camp with friends, and I stayed home because I was on call.  I had tons of things to accomplish though, so it was ok.  After barely surviving this past semester I have started to get a little stressed about what next semester may be like for us.  The baby will be here right before the semester starts.  My course load may be a little tougher, and I will still be working of course as well.  Josh will have a pretty tough course load too, and he will be working again as often as he can.  I am trying not to stress, but I already know that it is going to be hectic!  So, in trying to be a little proactive, I decided that I would cook up a bunch of meals and freeze them all.  That way once we are crazy busy and stressed to the max (yet so excited and grateful to have our sweet baby boy here), we will have some easy meals ready to go.  I know that if I hadn't done this that we would be eating out way more often than is healthy or cost effective.  So last weekend was a weekend of cooking.  It started on Friday after I got off work.  I had a major grocery list already ready of things we needed at the house for the week but also of all the things I would need to make my meals.  Originally I had hoped to make 30 meals (because that is what the crazy lady on Pinterest said could easily be done...not sure how she defines easily).  I got a little overwhelmed making my list, so I ended up with a master list of 15 meals.  This major shopping stint took quite a while in WalMart, but I got it all done.  I didn't factor in my tiredness when planning this feat though because after a long day at work, a massive WalMart trip that almost required two buggies, then unloading and organizing groceries I was pretty pooped.  I forged on though and defrosted and cooked all of my meats and sauteed down all of my vegetables (of course I cheated and used the pre-chopped Season's Blend).  I think I ended up with about 8 pounds of ground meat and 3 bags of chicken.  I put together a couple of meals that night, but it wasn't long before I was done.  There was no more pushing myself, so I threw everything in the fridge and went to bed.  Saturday was a new day that brought with a very much needed burst of energy.  I was able to finish preparing and packaging all of my meals.  I used almost an entire roll of aluminum foil because I am so afraid of this hard work getting freezer burned.  Of course the freezer had to be cleaned out and reorganized before it could be packed with anything new, but that got done and all the containers are now in place and labeled complete with directions.  I made all kinds of things like lasagna, chicken pot pie, chicken and vegetable casserole, baked ziti, and chicken spaghetti just to name a few!  We shall see how all of this turns out!  I do know that if we end up having to evacuate this hurricane season we will either be bringing all of this food with us, or we will have to have someone in charge and willing to come over and run our generator for us so we don't lose all of this hard work.  I really might break down if we came back and all these hours and all that food was wasted!! 

So after all my cooking and then major cleaning of the kitchen, I decided that the kitchen cabinets were much too cluttered and that I couldn't take it any more.  Plus I know we will soon be accumulating a lot of bottles, sippy cups, and the like and we have absolutely no place to put them in our cabinets.  Three trips to WalMart later, I fixed all of that.  All of the kitchen drawers were organized, the knives were moved out of the bottom drawer, spices and cups had to be rearranged, all the cabinets and drawers got lined with liner...now it looks nice and functional.  I am very proud of my feat!

In other news, Josh and Kevin fixed the baby's closet a few weeks ago.  They added shelves, storage space, two rows of hanging space, and a bookcase.  It looks great...my paint job is a little less than stellar but that is to be expected!  We have some baby clothes that people have given us because they are so unbelievably sweet...precious things their baby boys only wore a couple times maybe...sweet baby clothes all the way up to 4T!  We were so excited.  So one day Josh and I got to work separating everything and organizing it all by size.  We vacuum sealed and labeled everything from 9 months and up, and Josh put it all in our new storage space.  Then one night we washed all of the baby things that we have that he will be able to wear in the first three months, and we started putting everything up.  It was so much fun, and Josh is of course an awesome daddy already.  We debated what should be hung and what should be folded and in what order we should put it all up before we realized that in a few months we probably won't care anymore and will just be throwing it into drawers after we have washed it for the millionth time.  It was fun organizing it all just right though.  Now Tyson's closet is ready to go, his room is completely cleaned out, and we can get to work.  We have been waiting for summer to work on his room since we were so overwhelmed with school last semester.  Somebody (me of course) got a little nail happy when Tyson's room was merely a guest bedroom, so this weekend we will be puttying walls and touching up the paint.  Soon we will be getting his crib and getting his room ready for his arrival!  We can't wait!

In news other than baby and my crazy organizing habits, I have to give a shout out to my husband.  What can be said other than OMG.  He is amazing, and I really don't know how I got so lucky to have him.  First of all I want to say that I have gotten better, but from about weeks 8 to 22 of this pregnancy I was a little testy.  I like to blame it on school because I was so beyond stressed I had no more available coping mechanisms.  For those (LONG as Josh describes them) weeks, almost everything was a major deal.  I would cry about almost anything, and almost everything was the end of the world.  It was pretty terrible.  I was lucky in the pregnancy department that I didn't have any sickness, but emotionally I was a wreck.  Josh was a life savior though.  I know I was driving him crazy, but he never stopped being supportive.  He did nothing but encourage me more through school as the work would get tougher.  He never said anything about the messy house or the lack of supper or having to eat a ham sandwich for the millionth time.  He kept up with his school, encouraged me through mine, and did fabulous things in the backyard and around the house on his down time.  He really is the greatest ever.  And talk about going to be a good daddy.  I have never seen him more excited about anything!  He has never missed a doctor's appointment and can't wait for the next one to come along.  He reads up on how the baby is growing and developing every week, and he is always making sure that I am eating the best and doing everything just right.  He cannot wait for this little boy to get here, and I know once he is here he will be an even better daddy than any of us ever imagined.  Ty and I are pretty lucky to have him in our lives, and I can't stress enough how grateful I am for him.

This may have been the most boring, cut and dry blog that I have posted yet.  There was just so much that needed to be said.  I am sure more entertaining things have happened throughout these past few months, but not being able to blog hindered me in expressing them.  I will say I have another hindrance.  My laptop died.  Thank Heavens it waited until close to the end of the semester to kick the bucket, but sadly it is not in working order at this time.  I like to blog whenever and where ever the mood strikes me, and now I feel tied to the desktop to do that.  I am getting my computer fixed though, and I can't honestly say it just died for no reason.  The keyboard went out on it..not the whole keyboard just the second row of keys.  Those are apparently the most needed keys though!  I can't be for sure what happened, but a little tiny splash of milk did hit the keyboard right before the keys went out.  I am certain that those two things aren't related though...couldn't be!  I do have to have it back before next semester.  It will be heading in to the Apple store soon for a workup...hopefully a very inexpensive work up...we'll see!!

So for now I am desktop bound, but at least I am able to blog again...for a little while at least!  Busy summer to come!  I am sure August will be here before we know it...and we can't wait!!