Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Brave One

Last week I was driving down Magnolia in Burbank to take the girls to one of their many activities.  There is a Halloween Store on that street that is open year round.  When they first opened the store I couldn't for the life of me think of why anyone would need to go to a Halloween store anytime that wasn't around Halloween.  That was until a couple months ago when I needed to go in there myself.  

I was making Spiderman cupcakes (of course) for GG's birthday party.  Basically I was making spiderwebs on the cupcakes in icing and I wanted to put one of those plastic spider rings in the middle.  Turns out the party store doesn't carry plastic spider rings in June.  Dammit party store!  Then I thought about the Halloween Store two miles away.  I was going to be that person to go to the Halloween store in the summer!  

Since school was already out, I had to drag all three of them to the Halloween store with me.  We walked in and I was surprised to see that it wasn't deserted. In fact quite the opposite.  There were quite a number of people in there.  Not just for it not being Halloween, but for it also being the middle of the day in the middle of the week.  Then I thought about the fact that scary is very in right now.  The number of zombie, vampire, and monster shows and movies these days really shows how people love scary things.  So it kinda makes sense that people would want "Halloween" things year round.  The people that don't love scary things...my kids.  

From the moment we walked in there Sonya and Georgia were glued to me.  It was a bit dark and ominous but I kept trying to remind them it was all pretend.  The only one not bothered by all the ghouls and gore was Lana.  

Yes, it certainly surprised the hell out of me.  She could have cared less.  This from the kid who I have to BRIBE to go see kids movies.  Movies like Despicable Me 2, or Turbo.  Never anything scary, but for some reason she always thinks it's going to be.  The monster noises and pretend severed heads at the Halloween store, eh who cares?

I found the plastic spiders I needed and Georgia and Sonya begged me to hurry up and get out of there as soon as possible.  Lana just continued to look around completely unfazed.  

So last week as we drove by the Halloween store Lana said to me,

"Hey mom, remember when we went to the Halloween store and I was the only brave one?"

"Yup, I do Lana," I said.

"Yeah, I wasn't scared at all and Sonya and GG were scared the whole time," she said.

"I know," I agreed.

"I was very brave and they just wanted to leave because they were so scared," she continued.  She was starting to get a little bit of an ego about it now and Sonya was noticing.

"Ok Lana!  We know we were scared.  Whatever!" She said to her sounding annoyed.  So I decided to help Sonya out a bit.  

"You were brave Lana, but everyone gets scared sometimes.  You are the one who never wants to go to the movies remember?  And it's never scary when we go, but you get scared,"  I reminded her.

She was quiet for a minute, then said,

"Yeah, but we're not talking about THAT.  We're talking about how brave I was at the Halloween Store!"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Closing Up Shop

So we did it.  We finally bit the bullet and put an end to the factory.  The baby making factory.  So I guess we didn’t technically do it, but Andy did on Friday.  This was a long time coming and something we had discussed over and over, but we both, albeit with a little sadness, decided it was for the best.  

Five years ago, after we had Georgia, we had decided we were for sure done.  That was it.  No more.  Having two babies within 15 months will do that to you.  Andy had gone as far as having an appointment to get his Vasectomy done.  Then, all of a sudden, we both got cold feet.  Me because I wasn’t sure I wanted to completely close the door on no more babies at 35.  Him because, well, he wasn’t sure he was ready for someone to mess with his junk.  To be fair he was also feeling the same way I was about the no baby thing.  We both agreed we didn’t really THINK we wanted another one, but what if something changed.  The fact was we weren’t prepared to get pregnant with Georgia and were sort of thrown into having a third.  Who knew if at some point we would want to purposely get pregnant again.  

After much deliberation, I decided to get an IUD.  It would protect us from anymore SURPRISE! pregnancies and it lasted five years.  I was certain by that (now this) point we would for sure be done.  I mean I would be almost 40!  That’s too old!  

Yeah, funny thing about age.  The closer you get to a certain number makes it not seem so old anymore. 

At the beginning of this year we started to have the discussion again about what to do.  Were we done?  Should he get the Vasectomy?  Should we have another baby?  We had to decided soon because by October my IUD would expire and we would have to make a choice one way or another.  

We discussed it many times, always talking about if we had another baby.  The good and bad thing about how we felt is we were both exactly on the same page.  In some ways it would have been easier if he was just dead set against having another baby.  Or if I was.  Then there wouldn’t be a question.  Instead during our discussions we would arrive at-okay we are done and you will get a Vasectomy and he would say,

“Ooooor... we could just have another one.”


It kinda drove me nuts.  See there is a big part of me that really really wanted another one.  That was the irrational part though.  The part that doesn’t want my kids to grow up and is sad they are getting older.  The logical part knows that another baby at this point would be an added expense, a HUGE gap in age with the kids, not to mention there really isn’t anywhere to put another body in our little Burbank home.  We would for sure have to move or add on again, which would mean even more money we don't have.  Not to mention we have gotten to a point with our family where we can all travel and it not be a complete hassle.  And not just travel, but we can all go to the movies together and dinners out aren't a nightmare anymore.  Most of the time. Plus there is the me being almost 40 thing.  Not that women don’t have babies at this age, but it does add extra health risks for the mom and baby.  Plus do I really want to be getting up in the middle of the night again?  Urgh!  No thank you.  

Every time I would get sad about not having another baby, I would call my sister, Beth, and she would remind me of all of these things.  There were a million reasons for us to not have another baby, and only one reason to have one.  Because I WANTED one.  

The fact was I needed this to be over with.  I needed the door to be completely closed, so I could stop thinking about it.   I encouraged Andy to find a doctor and make an appointment.  For a while we didn’t have a Friday or a weekend that was good, but after we came back from our vacation we were wide open.  So he found a doctor he liked and scheduled it.  

The couple weeks leading up to the surgery, I found myself feeling sad about the whole thing.  It didn’t help that Andy would throw in “We could always have another one!” every once in a while.  I had to call my sister on Thursday so she could talk me off the ledge one last time.

“Do you really want to be dragging an infant carrier to all the activities that the girls do? Do you want to be up in the middle of the night for the next year?  Or chained to home because he/she won’t take a bottle again? What about paying to go on vacation anywhere?  Now it will be SIX people.  Five is hard enough, but SIX is two hotel rooms and at least 2 full rows on a plane!  Plus you have three healthy girls, and being pregnant when you're older is always a gamble. ”

No, I did not want any of that.  She was right.  I was feeling better until Andy threw out his one liner again that night.  So I called him on it

“Do you really want to have another baby?” I said

“Not really,” he said.

“Then why do you keep saying that?” I asked.

“Because part of me does, but it wouldn’t be fair to the baby.  We don’t have the money for it and I don’t really feel like doing all that work again.”  He told me.

“Why do you want to though?” I said.

“The girls are getting bigger and older...”

“Yeah, that’s how I feel too,” I admitted.  

There we were, still on the same page in the baby chapter.  Only this time we decided we definitely needed to go to the next chapter.  Nothing but kids.  At least it's not the teenage one yet!

So this past Friday morning he went and made sure we could have all the sex we wanted without fear of pregnancy from now on.  I guess that part is kinda nice. Not having to think about birth control at all anymore.  He came home sore and complaining.  I babied him a bit, but you know it’s hard to have to much sympathy when you’ve been cut open had a baby pulled out of you and then pushed two out of your vagina with no episiotomy.   Too much info?  Sorry.  It’s true though.  Still I took care of him all weekend.  I even took the girls out both days so he could have some peace for a couple of hours.  

Now, here we are on the other side of having babies knowing there won’t be anymore to come.  That is what I discovered bothered me more than anything.  When I was in the midst of my freak out about this on Thursday, I also texted BethAnnDoddKoehn to tell her how I was feeling.  I know she feels the same way, but she closed up shop after she had her second.  After she reminded me that I don’t really like having infants anyway-(which is totally true, can’t they be born at six months old?) she said,

“It’s not that you want more.  It’s that it’s hard to deal with that part of your life being over.  It’s the part of your life you wanted most.  So now it’s like wedding depression.”

Truer words were never said.  That was exactly how I was feeling.  And still am to some extent.  I’ve accepted it, but still a little saddened by it.  Although as I was getting an eye roll and sass mouth from Sonya earlier this morning, I was certain that we had made the right decision.  

I know there will be times when I see a baby or pregnant woman and feel a bit of a loss.  I have friends who will be having babies soon, so I suppose I can get my baby fix from them.  I will also try to remember I have three beautiful girls who are still very dependent on me to teach them well and raise them as best as Andy and I can.  It is going much faster than I would like, but I know there is still so much ahead.  For now, I will just concentrate on them, and wait patiently for about 20 years (it better not be much less than 20!) until I get grandchildren.  Then I can play with them, spoil them and give them back.  Wow!  That IS a way better deal.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Getting a Full Grasp Of Language

There is a period of time with kids when they say things that are funny and adorable.  They know the language, because they've been speaking for a couple of years,  but sometimes they say things in the wrong context or even in the wrong order.  Words are familiar to them, but not entirely known.  The peak of this fun time is about ages four and five.  I've found that by age six, they are still saying things that might make you laugh, but they understand more. Then once they reach seven or eight they just say things that annoy or irritate you in some sort of attitudy tone.  Okay maybe not EVERY time they talk but pretty damn near.  Sonya would totally roll her eyes if she read that sentence.

Anyway-let's go back to the cuteness.  Georgia is right in the middle of that-I know what I'm talking about but saying the wrong thing-phase.  She makes me laugh every day because of some of the things that come out of her mouth.

 Last week we took a trip to the beach, just me and the girls.  It was a very relaxing day for all of us.  As we were all enjoying the slightly overcast, yet warm Malibu beach day, the lifeguard truck drove on the sand behind where we were camped out.  This is not unusual and we see one just about every time we go to the beach.  Still, it peaked the girls interest and provoked this exchange between the two little girls.

Lana asks, "Why is that car walking around here on the sand??"   I'm not sure why she said the car was walking-part of still not saying the right words I suppose.  She was also completely annoyed by the fact that the car was on the sand at all.  Before I could answer, Georgia piped up,

"It'sth a taxi in casth people get blowed out to the ocean."

She was very matter of fact about this, which prompted me to ask,

"How would it get to the people, Georgia?"  And why the hell was it a taxi, but I didn't get that far in my questioning.

She looked at me like I knew nothing, and said, "It turns into a sthubmarine and goesth to get them!"

Well of course it does!!  Why didn't I think of that?  I guess because I'm not five.  Damn, sometimes I really wish I was though.  The thought process at that age is so much more fun.  I can't believe I only have one year of it left.  I might be writing down a lot of what Georgia says, so prepare yourselves.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cruise Wear

A couple months before we went on the cruise, my sister informed me that my mom was having shirts made for all of us to wear the day we boarded the ship.  After I groaned, she told me to suck it up, they were paying for the whole thing after all and the least I could do was wear some silly shirt for a few hours.  Of course I would, but still, the immediate thought gave me teenage flashbacks of embarrassing mom stories.  Everyone has them.  The fact is my mom is notorious for doing things like this.  

When I was twelve and we came back from living in Okinawa, Japan, she had shirts made for all of us that said, "Hello America, I missed you."  I was a pre-teen at the time and I think that may have been my first taste of "Oh My GAUD!  My mom is SOO embarrassing!" She herself was always dressing up in a silly costume or crazy Christmas sweater, when I was a teenager.  There was a good reason for i, however.  She is a teacher and most of her career has taught kindergarten or first grade.  Kids that age love it.  Teenage daughters, however, do not.  

There was also the time she picked me up from the airport on Christmas break during college dressed as an elf.  At the airport.  An elf.  With a pointy ear hat and everything.  She did this again, when I brought home Andy to spend Christmas with us for the first time.   I think she may be part of the reason why nobody is allowed at airport gates anymore.  Now that I'm older,  I have gotten over being completely embarrassed by her. At this point who cares?  I'm not a teen and have nobody to try and impress.  Now I'm just taking notes so I can bring that look of horror to my own girls in a few years.  This blog will probably be a good start.   Perhaps embarrassing your kids is a way to get back at them for being little teenage assholes.  Because seriously, I was one of those.   Still, the thought of all sixteen of us wearing the same silly looking shirt while boarding the cruise made me cringe just a bit, but her doing this was not at all surprising.  In fact when I mentioned to my friend Melissa that my mom was having matching shirts made for us she said, 

"Huh.  You know what?  I am not even one percent surprised." 

Yeah, none of us were really.  I think I was just more worried about what they were going to look like. I wasn't sure how crazy looking or attention getting they would be.  But instead of being annoyed by it, I decided to throw an idea I had myself to put on the shirts.  You know-the old if you can't beat 'em join 'em thing.  A few weeks later I was excited to find out that she used my idea to put on the back of the shirts.  

As it turned out the front, that my mom and the t-shirt lady created together, were incredibly cute.  They weren't loud or annoying in any way and it's actually a shirt I will wear again. The shirts also did exactly what I'm sure my mom was hoping they would do.  We received LOTS of attention and comments on how cute they were as well as congratulations to my parents on their upcoming anniversary.  It was the good attention.  The "look how fun that family is with those sweet shirts" kind of attention.  Not the "what the hell is that whole family wearing with those crazy shirts?" kind.  

So thanks mom for keeping my inner teenager  in mind when making the shirts and making them adorable.  And also thank you for not doing something silly like making us all wear Mickey ears with them.  Ah- you didn't think about THAT now did you? Finally, thanks for using my idea.  I actually feel quite honored that you did.  

My sister Beth showing off the shirt.  It might be hard to see on here, but our names are under each Mickey and Minnie by family.

My idea on the back!  The husbands' said "My In-laws" at the top and the kids' said "my Nona and Grampy".  My parents didn't have anything on the back although my dad suggested his say, "I'm Grampy and I paid for this Cruise".  I thought that would have been funny, but mom vetoed it.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dreams DO Come True!

Oh hello there.  Have I mentioned yet how extremely depressed I am to be back from vacation?  I mean it's on par with planning a wedding.  This vacation has been in the making since before any of us had kids.  It is also the first real vacation Andy and I have had since we had the girls.  Truth is as much as I love my family, going to visit them doesn't really count for "vacation".  At least not the kind I like to dream of.  Sorry guys.  So yeah, now I'm home and having to do the daily grind again and discovering I really should have been a Real Housewife of Orange County, with lots of money, full time maids, expensive cars and fancy vacations.  Instead here I am.  A Real Housewife of Burbank complete with mini van and visits to Florida just to see family.  Not quite the same.  Oh well.  I did, however, get to swim with a dolphin on my real vacation.  A memory that will get me through the long days of breaking up fights and sorting through laundry. 

The cruise we took went to the Western Caribbean.  We stopped at Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Disney's Island, Castaway Cay.  Castaway Cay was easily my favorite place we went on the trip.  It was a perfect island on a perfect summer day with white sand beaches and crystal clear water.  We snorkeled, swam, ate and of course, drank.  It was the perfect beach day and I loved it.  However, in Cozumel we got the chance to swim with a dolphin.  Even though Castaway Cay was my favorite day on land, as far as favorite experience of the trip, it was dolphins all the way. 

 For those of you who don't know me, I love dolphins.  They are my favorite animal and yes, I have a tattoo of one.  I know-how cliche.   I don't care, they are such amazing creatures.  For years I've been looking forward to taking this trip for so many reasons, but especially because I could go on this particular excursion.  It was a bucket list item of mine.   I signed Andy, Sonya and I up to swim with the dolphins and the two little girls to do a "dolphin experience" with my parents.  They were to little to do the swim.  Plus they can't really swim still, sooo there's that.  Sonya just learned to swim last summer, but she insisted that she wanted to do it and she would have a life jacket so I figured it should be fine right?  At least I always hope for the best.

We arrived at the place where we were going to swim with the dolphins and it was a huge area of ocean surrounded by a chain link fence to close off the rest of the ocean, so the dolphins couldn't get out.  Or bigger animals couldn't get in. (Yes the theme song to Jaws quickly went through my head, but I pushed it out.)  Regular little old fish could get in, but who cares about those?  Apparently my daughter.  

First they gave us a little orientation on what to expect and how we were going to swim with the dolphins.  We were separated into groups, since there was a big group of us from the ship.  Fortunately, our swim group ended up being small with  Andy, Sonya, me,  my sister Beth and her two older kids, Zach and Grace.  Beth's youngest, Ben, wasn't old enough to do anything but observe, so her husband, Kevin stayed with him on the dock and took awesome pictures for us.  (Thanks again Kevin!)  Another father and daughter were added to our group to make it a bit bigger but  still smaller than the rest.  

We walked to our area and met the trainer than got in the water to meet our dolphin Porrrrrtos. (roll those R's as you say it)  I took his name as a good sign because Portos just happens to be my favorite bakery/cafe here in Burbank.  Oh the cheese rolls!  I digress.  We all walked into the water and waited on a platform against the chain link fence separating us from the rest of the ocean. (Da nun, da nun-Stop it!) That's when Sonya's anxiety started.  First she couldn't really touch the platform.  No matter Sonya, you have a life jacket.  Then, since it's the OCEAN, it was a little wavy.  Calm down, you're fine.  Then there was the fish.  OH MY GOD! THERE WERE FISH!!  Yes, Sonya, this is the ocean and the chain link fence will not keep them out.  You are fine.  Ignore the Jaws theme playing in my head.  Good thing SHE'S never seen the movie.

Then I had a flashback of me about her age on vacation at a water park in Florida.  The slides were mostly in the ocean if I recall.  I was about to go down a small water slide and my dad was at the bottom to catch me, but I refused to go because there were FISH in the water.  I completely freaked out and refused to slide, which resulted in my Dad becoming frustrated and me dissolving to tears.  I tried to empathize with her and help take her mind off of them.  It helped that there was this awesome mammal swimming around, doing tricks and giving us kisses.  But she was even a little hesitant to do anything with the dolphin.  

Instead she took her time and watched the rest of us.  Andy was one of the first to go and he was a pro.

Andy's ride

Then my seven year old nephew, who is on the swim team at home, was told to swim out a bit.  This way the dolphin could have enough room to pull him back in.  So my sister said to him,

"Swim out Zach.   Like you do on swim team."

She might as well have said, "Swim Forrest, Swim!"  Because that is all Zach did.  He started swimming and didn't stop.  I think he was trying to swim back to the other side.  We all tried yelling his name to get him to stop, but with the noise of the ocean he didn't hear us at all.  Eventually Andy had to swim out to get his attention.  Well, my sister told him to swim like on the swim team.  He was really only doing what he was told.  

Zach also had a little trouble staying on the board.
After Zach was pulled in by Porrrrtos, it was my turn.  I was so excited and a tiny bit nervous.  I had already gotten to know Portos a bit through a kiss and I got to hold him, but now he was going to swim me into the platform. 

He was like a big puppy dog

He loved me

Gracie and my sister, Beth
 I waited out in the open water and he was given the signal by the trainer.  He swam out and around me and flipped over on his back.  I grabbed both his flippers and his strong body pulled me quickly through the water.  It was AWESOME!  I loved every second of it.  I also went out on a boggie board and he pushed me back in by my feet.  Also fun, but I liked the first swim better.  

Swimming with Portos

Going for a ride

Finally, Sonya was the only one left to go.  She was still anxious.  I think she was more afraid of the deep water and the fish, but also nervous about the dolphin.  He was a huge ocean creature that we all were totally trusting.  To be honest though, I never once felt scared of the dolphin in any way.  He was like a Golden Retriever.   I told Sonya I would swim out with her and she agreed.  I talked to her the whole way, telling her it was fun and she could do this.  Not sure she believe me because this was her expression as she waited for Portos to arrive.  

Nervously waiting-can you tell?

Okay, she may have been a tiny bit scared, but turns out she loved it.  

She loved it enough to go back and be pushed in on the boogie board, which resulted in my favorite picture of the entire vacation.  

It's a little blurry, but the look on her face is absolutely priceless.  


We all ended up having a fantastic time.  My little ones were only a few feet over in one of the smaller sections with  my parents and my sister Megan and her family.  They were able to get up close to touch and see a different dolphin and her BABY!  They got to be in with a baby dolphin!!  Okay, I was a little jealous when I found out, but I did get to SWIM with a dolphin, so I got over it.  They all had a great time, although according to my mom, Lana almost bailed when she saw she was going to be IN the water with them.  Luckily, my mom is a first grade teacher and doesn't back down in the face of a stubborn six year old.   She talked Lana into it and in the end she loved it. They also told me that Georgia was fearless from the beginning and would probably have done the swim if we let her.  She does seem to be the most adventurous of my three.    

So yes, one item on my bucket list now checked off on the best vacation ever.  Not really sure what the other items on my list are though.  This was pretty much it.  Well, that along with meeting Jon Bon Jovi someday.  I know, I have high aspirations don't I?  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Forty Years and Counting

Hi.  I am back.  I can't say I'm very happy about being back since we had one of the best, most awesomest times ever.  Coming back from vacation just plain sucks.  It was so nice to not to have to cook and clean at all, and even not to have to take care of my kids for half the time.  The waiters even CUT UP THEIR FOOD!  When I was with them, it was all fun times. It was so great to hang out with my sisters and let all the cousins play together for 8 days.  There are so many stories that I want to tell you including getting to cross "swimming with the dolphins" off my bucket list.  However, before I go in to all the fun we had, I feel like I should honor my parents since they are the reason that my family got to go on this once in a lifetime trip.

For the past year my sisters and I have worked on a scrapbook of sorts to give  them on this trip.  Beth and I contacted all of their family and friends from their 40 years together.  We asked them to do a page for their book.  Some people wrote, some sent pictures, some did a full scrap book themselves. Megan put the book together and we presented it to them on the boat on their anniversary last Sunday the 23rd.  Needless to say, they loved it.  Since I've talked about my girls on their birthdays and more or less written them letters, I thought I would share with all of you what I wrote to my parents in their book.  It was accompanied by pictures, but for now I will just share the words.  I think it is amazing that my parents have been together for so long and they are no doubt an inspiration to my sisters and me as we navigate through the smooth sailing and rocky waters of our own marriages.  (Like my boat metaphor?)  I thank them so much for the wonderful time they gave us this past week and all the great memories they helped us all to make with our own families.  I really do hope that someday I can do the same for my own girls.

The letter:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Happy 40th Anniversary!  

First of all, I know these things are usually more personable if one writes them in one’s own handwriting, but how glad are you that I didn’t do that?  I mean my terrible hybrid handwriting of the both of you was never the best, and you want to be able to go back in twenty years and read this again.  Your 80 something year old eyes will do better reading computer font, and thank me.  

I remember seven years ago when Sonya was just a baby and you came out for a summer visit.  We went to a water park and were floating around a lazy river, when you told me of your plan to take the entire family, however many that may be, on a Disney Cruise for your 40th Anniversary.  The only thing I could think of at that time was-”Damn that is so far away!  And thank God, because it just means that I will be 39 and that is so OLD!”
Time-it goes so fast.  Way to fast, really.  Still, here we are seven years, eight grandchildren and me, 39 plus, later.  

Can we talk about the me being 39 while your Anniversary is 40?  You couldn’t have been married a couple years just so I didn’t have to feel like I was knocking on the door to “over the hill” while celebrating your big anniversary? Thanks so much for that.  It’s always gotta be about you two!  Okay, I guess in some ways it’s actually kind of nice, since I always know what Anniversary you are celebrating because of my age.  I also  feel like I have been there since the beginning of your marriage adventure.  Perhaps not RIGHT at the beginning, but pretty damn close.  Unless you’ve lied to me about what month I was born....then I have MANY more questions.  

Yes, I’ve been there for all 40 years.  No, I don’t remember the first four and I left home 20 years ago, but I have seen the heart of your time together and know how much you both love and care for one another.  And you also sometimes annoy and anger each other.  Also important lessons to see, but more important is seeing how you work through things together.  Whether it was Daddy being away from home for a long period of time, dealing with us as teenage girls, or living with an empty nest, you’ve been through it all, and I’ve been taking mental notes.  In this time where it seems everyone gets divorced at the first sign of trouble, it’s great to see an example of a couple who still work through their differences and love each other more.  It’s even better when that example is your parents.  

We may not always agree or see eye to eye with the way to live our lives.  However, I can agree that together you always provided a loving, caring, safe environment of family where I (and I’m sure my sisters) always felt like we belonged.  Just recently I was in a parenting class where they talked about the importance of making sure your children feel like they are a part of your family.   A feeling of belonging.  Something so important that if you don’t do it, kids will go look for it somewhere else.  Someplace else that can get them into trouble, like a cult.  You both did a great job of providing us with that feeling of belonging, which is good for me because I don’t think I would have done well as a Scientologist.  Look at what happened to poor Katie Holmes.  

In all seriousness though, in your 40 years together, you created a home that even though was not ever in the same place, always had the same feeling. One of caring, love, and happiness.  (Well, except maybe between the ages of 14-17, but that’s more on me, or perhaps my hormones.  I shudder at what lies ahead of Andy and me). You two are the reason I wanted to get married and have children of my own.  I only ever wanted to be and provide what I had seen in you.  I hope you know how much you both mean to me and how much I love you and if you don’t, I’m telling you now.  

Thank you for all you have done for us in your years together.   Thank you for this awesome cruise.  Thank you for “doing it” only THREE TIMES and having us.  Thank you for loving us all, all of the time.  But mostly, thank you for loving each other the way you have and giving us all something to strive for.  I hope that Andy and I can do the same for our family in 29 years.  Then we can pay for you to come along and celebrate your 70 years together.