Life with the Wild Things

Just another mom of 2 boys in a house full of energy!

Valentine’s Day February 11, 2012

Filed under: Marriage,Valentines day — jdkihlken @ 8:34 PM
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I am not one of those gushy women that love Valentine’s Day and looks forward to what she will be getting.  There was a time when I hated Valentine’s Day.  HATED IT.  Not because some guy didn’t plan a great Valentine’s celebration or because of a break up.  It was something else.  I just didn’t like it.

So my husband tried so hard to make it a special day.  15 years ago he proposed on Valentine’s Day.  It was one of those proposals that you remember forever because things didn’t go the way he had hoped.  The proposal took place in my first “grownup” apartment.  I was getting dressed for our night out.  He came in from the town we had gone to college in and was waiting for me to get ready.  He asked a question about the band playing at our favorite restaurant.  I told him there wasn’t one that night.  There went his romantic plans.  So he thought he would but the ring in my jewelry.  Only he kept getting in my way.  Finally, he came in the bathroom where I was putting on my makeup got down on his knee…I was still getting frustrated that he was in my way.  And right there in my sweat pants and sweat shirt with the mascara wand in my hand he said…Will you marry me?  And in that one sentence, he changed my life and my opinion of Valentine’s Day.  Because not everything in life is that perfect romantic moment…but it is that plain everyday moment that turns into something amazing.

Which brings me to 2 of my favorite poems for Valentines.

Both of these are by Lois Wyse.  I found them in book my mom had when I was a little girl.  I would read them over and over knowing that this would be my definition of love.

Non -Stop

by Lois Wyse

Someone asked me

To name the time

Our friendship stopped

And love began.

Oh, my darling,

That’s the secret.

Our friendship

Never stopped.

A Cozy Heart

by Lois Wyse

Once I thought love

Was tempestuous,


“Kiss me quick.”

I was wrong.

Love is usually a very comfortable way of life.

A cozy heart,

Kisses on the check,

“Wear your coat, and blow your nose.”

And what keeps a love so cozy?

The fact that every so often love is

tempestuous, tumultuous…

“Kiss me quick.”

And some how 17 years ago I meet the man who could make my heart jump in just the regular every day activities.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  May your heart be open to all the possibilities.


The Butterfly Effect August 20, 2011

Filed under: Family,Marriage,the little things,unexpected changes — jdkihlken @ 8:43 PM
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Do you ever think about what would happen if one little minor event in your life (from your past) was changed?  Saying no to an invitation for a date, choosing a different college or the discipline you majored in, deciding not to move, rejecting a job offer or promotion.  Each yes and each no would change the direction your life takes and the people you will meet.

Last night, the boys and I were packed up and headed to Jackson for Dee Dee’s birthday weekend.  A weekend of fun and family.  We were just outside of Clinton, MS when I ran out of gas.  Yes, ran out of gas.  The gauge said just under 1/4 of a tank and the gas light did not come.  The mileage to empty said 44 miles.  I had plenty of time to get gas.  Needless to say, I have to call my mom and tell her that her 38-year-old daughter just ran out of gas.  JT was asleep for a while and Xander was nervous about sitting on the side of the interstate in the dark.

Sitting there in the dark with my two guys, it really hit me how if anything in my life had been different, I would not be sitting in the dark with those two boys.  Maybe with two other kids, maybe with no kids, maybe a different car, maybe not travelling at all, maybe having to fly in rather than drive.

Every little thing that happened in my life lead to meeting Tommy and the life we have together.

What if my parents had not divorced and we never left Clarksdale?  What if mom had taken a job in Memphis rather than Jackson after the divorce?  What if I didn’t have Dianne Waldon had not started the Advanced Chemistry class at Northwest Rankin?  Would I have found my way to a major in chemical engineering?  What if I didn’t go to Mississippi State, but went to one of the other dozen universities I applied to?  What if I didn’t wait to take Physics until the summer?  What if I never talked to the boy sitting next to me in Physics lab that summer of 1995?  What if he left to go co-op on the MS coast and we just said good-bye that summer?  What if we never had rough patches and never broke up for a few months?  What if when we did talk again, I had said no to that first invitation to a crawfish boil, or had hesitated before saying yes?

Everything would have been different.  Every little decision that didn’t seem all that important lead to this marriage and these two boys and this life.  Every little unimportant, seemingly insignificant event lead to this life.  Which I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

When I did call him later last night to tell him about our night (while he is off at a convention for his motorcycle club), first was the worry in his voice then the laughter.  Because this is who we are.  I am the woman who pushes her car to the limit and doesn’t fill up before leaving town, and he is the guy that cracks up that his wife would leave town without a full tank of gas.  No lecture on checking my car, no fussing about what was I thinking, just a laugh that summed it all up.

That said, obviously something was wrong with the car because the gas light always comes on at 30 miles to empty and the numbers always flash at 30.  To run out of gas with 44 miles left to empty really wasn’t my fault.

The moral of this story…say yes, take a chance, open up to new adventures.  You don’t know where it’s going to go, but the ride is worth it and that one thing that seemed unimportant could be the one event that introduces you that person that changes everything.


Xander’s big birthday June 8, 2011

Filed under: The boys — jdkihlken @ 9:45 PM
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8 years ago tomorrow I walked into my regularly scheduled ob appointment and was admitted to the labor and delivery floor of the hospital within 30 minutes.  By that afternoon my entire life changed… for the better…I think.

On June 6th, Tommy worked the night shift.  I was used to being home alone.  He came in sometime during the early hours of the morning.  At 4 AM on the 7th, I was sitting at my computer playing Tetris.  Tommy came out of the bedroom to ask why I was up.  I told him I had been having contractions most of Friday (not bad), but they were getting to be inconvenient by Saturday at dawn.

June 7th, I waited until a reasonable time to call my mother who was in New Orleans at a convention.  I say reasonable I had been up most of the night so it was probably 6 AM.  We talked several times between then and mid morning.  She started making the trip to Shreveport.

My mother was pulling into the drive way by the time I told Tommy I needed to go the hospital.  Mom hopped in our car and off we went.  They started checking us in…only Dr. Taylor had not sent our paperwork over because my due date was June 21st and I had not had any progression that would indicate Xander was coming soon.  The nurses hooked me up to all the machines to check my contractions.  They checked how much I was dilated and effaced. And then the nurse came in to talk to me about the difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions.  Let’s just say at this point I am willing to deliver the baby myself to get out of the pain.

The hospital packed us back up and sent us home with the suggestion that I take Tylenol for the pain.  WHAT!!!!

At home, I lay around making everyone miserable.  Since I knew I had the appointment on Monday, we called the family and told them to be prepared to come to Shreveport that week…that we were having a baby.  I called work and let everyone know this had to be it.

June 8th I can’t remember if we went to the hospital again on Sunday.  Tommy would probably say yes we did.  It is a blur now.  It seems we made at least two trips to the hospital that weekend.  Every time I was sent home.  Of course I could not lay down at home because it hurt my back so bad.  I couldn’t sit up because I would double over in pain.  It was the worse few days of my life.

Finally Monday June 9th arrived.  The doctor’s appointment was for 9 AM.  We went early.  Dr. Taylor hooked me up to all sorts of gizmos.  And we discovered that I truly am the most controlling person in the world!  My due date was June 21st.  I had it in my head that Xander would not come until June 21st.  I had that long to get ready.  Only Xander was coming, but my body wasn’t letting him come out!  Dr. Taylor called it a dysfunctional labor.  WHAT!!!  Who does that!!!  Who can control something to the point that a baby is making his way out, but their body won’t let him come out until the calendar says so!


By 9:30 AM they have me in a hospital bed with a drip to move the labor along.  By 3:18 PM Xander made his way into the world.  He didn’t cry at first.  He had swallowed fluid on his way out.  The labor and delivery nurses and the nursery nurses were amazing.  They didn’t miss a beat when he didn’t cry.  They flew into action.  Within minutes he was in the nursery with oxygen and a line for antibiotics.  The nurses at Willis Knighton Pierremont are amazing.  We are so blessed to have them in our City.

My mom was with Tommy and me in the delivery room.  My dad made it from North Mississippi just minutes after Xander was born.  Tommy’s parents arrived that evening.  My sister, Mama Rose, and my Nona  made it that afternoon.  It was perfect timing on Xander’s part.

Then Xander taught me the first lesson of motherhood.  You aren’t always in control and even if things don’t happen as planned, everything will still work out ok.

Since he was on an IV and oxygen, I couldn’t nurse him or hold him until the next day around lunch.  I was obsessed with the books saying you have to bond with your baby immediately after birth.  Babies must latch on right after birth to be successful at nursing.  WRONG!  It turns out waiting till the next day didn’t affect his ability to bond with me or nurse (which he did for nearly a year!).

Xander and his little brother still teach me Mom Lessons everyday.  Tonight they reminded me that running through a sprinkler on a hot Louisiana night beats cleaning out the garage.

I am blessed.


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