On March 10th (tomorrow!), Cale and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary of being together! My how the time has flown by.
Now, I know that 10 years of emotional attachment is just a drip in the bucket of life. And I definitely have MUCH respect for those marriages/relationships that have withstood longer tests of time. But I’m proud of our 10 years, damnit! We are still SO madly in love with eachother. We have learned how to deal with our differences. Learned how to communicate. And are respectful of one another’s space.
I feel so blessed to have crossed paths with this man… he is an amazing and facinating person to me. He’s genuine, chivalrous, big-hearted, handsome, considerate, patient, kind, free in sprit, intelligent, loyal, witty, honest, trustworthy, dependable, romantic, and extremely supportive of my decisions. He always puts me first, rejoices in my happiness, and shares in my pain. This is just a scratch on the surface of his qualities.
I know that when I read this in the fifteenth, the twentieth, or the thirtieth year of being together, I will love him then as I love him today.
Ode to my Husband…
Cale Topinka, I love you more than mere words may express. You are my rock, my best friend, my humility, my partner in crime, and my commrade in arms. You make a wonderful father just as you have shown you make an admirable husband. I know I haven’t been perfect and can be a little “hard to deal with” sometimes. But I want you to know that I thank God everyday for you and you are truly the reason I wake up in the morning. I can’t wait to continue to spend the rest of my life with you.
“There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.” — George Sand
On March 10th (tomorrow!), Cale and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary of being together! My how the time has flown by.
Lord, deliver me from Netflix and its’ Spiderman and Spongebob episodes I have had for the past five days. I have had not one, but TWO sick kiddo’s for five straight days now.
This is the time when I, as a parent, use the television as a hypnotist. I try to encourage Cashie to at least watch educational shows like Sesame Street or Caillou or something. But his preference is for that annoying nasally Spongebob and dopey friend Patrick, or a Spiderman cartoon that influences him to shoot me with a web every time I walk past him, or Phineous and Ferb and their terrible theme song. I try to do dishes or vacuum but than I remember that it’s time for a Motrin dose for one child and/or a breathing treatment for the other and so things just keep piling up. And by the time there’s a break of me playing Doctor, all I want to do is lie down and close my eyes for maybe just 10 minutes. But then there’s the shrieking sound of “MOMMMM …. I NEED ….” And it’s back to business.
And the baby … well … he has been diagnosed with RSV. And yes, I feel terrible for him. I mean my goodness, he sounds like a little old man with Emphysema. But all he does right now is sleep during the day and then at night keeps me up until 2 am hacking and coughing and spitting up snot. There’s not much I can do for him other then keep using the booger sucker and gag every time I hear it go, “slurrrrrrrp”.
I think God is testing me. Just making sure I can handle this. And guess what, God? I CAN!! I may be a walking zombie, look like death, and have no idea what I went in the other room for … but by golly I am a survivor!
I feel so bad for these little guys and if I could take their sickness away, I would in heartbeat. But I can say one thing … it does mean I get a little extra cuddle time with my babies and I’m not going to complain about that 🙂
So here goes…
My name is Amanda Kate (Mudloff) Topinka. And most of what you need to know about me now is to the right of the page. But how did I get to where I am now?
It started back on May 8, 1982 in Arkansas City, KS — when Tim Mudloff and Erema … now Cooper … gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl the world has ever seen. Too much? Ok, so according to them that was the truth. To everyone else, it was just another baby girl.
I led a pretty normal life growing up. Went to school in Garden City, KS from K-5th grade. Moved to Wichita. Attended Wichita Public Schools 5th and half of 6th grade. Parents divorced when I was in 6th grade. And then moved to Andover, KS with my Dad where I graduated high school. I was a typical teenager. Naughty and rebellious. I lied. Snuck out of the house. Drank. Partied. Cheated on tests. Skipped school. You name it … I did it. And I’m definitely not proud of it. I disappointed my parents time after time and that’s something I can never get back. For some reason, I just couldn’t find who I was as a person. Did I like country music? Screamo? Rap? Was I a preppy … a grunge … a hippie? Did I want to be a doctor, a movie star, or a teacher? I knew none of that stuff. All I knew is that I wanted to do what everybody else was doing – even if that meant disappointing my parents.
As time went on, I started realizing that every time I asked myself what I want to do with my life, one thing always stayed constant. I wanted to be a Mom. I wasn’t an artist or a musician. I wasn’t good at speaking in front of people and I was shy. I’m not good with my hands and I’m not very creative. However … I WAS good with children. And I loved every little thing about them. The way their brain is constantly working. The words that come out of their little mouths. Their imagination and innocence. Even the way they whine and cry (just don’t ask me about this one on a bad day, ok?) But there was just one thing missing … someone to share my aspiration with.
So now you know how much I love the kiddo’s. So much so – I worked at Toys R Us. “The Worlds Largest Toy Store”. I worked there for 4.5 years. What the hell was I thinking?! I’ll tell you what I was thinking. That job was the funnest and least stressful job I have ever had. Yes, even during Christmastime. I made a lot of friends there. And probably some enemies too. I loved going to work knowing that every time I clocked in … it was going to be different then the last time I clocked in. Good or bad. I dated a couple people from work. Which I will say that if anything good came out of those relationships … it was that I was finding out who I was as a person.
I was a flirt. It was harmless. I was still sweet and innocent and fun-loving. But I was still a flirt.
I remember a co-worker of mine coming in to pick up his paycheck. Earlier that day I had been the one to staple the paychecks shut and happened to “accidentally” drop this co-workers stub on the floor. My eyes about popped out of my head when I saw how much his check was for. I quickly stapled it shut and hoped this co-worker would come in. He was on our C3 crew which was a traveling crew that remodeled different Toys R Us stores around the Midwest. He was a lot older then me. Lived with a girl. And was rarely in town due to work. But he still remained on my mind. A day or two later this co-worker came in to pick up his check. As I was unlocking the drawer I couldn’t help but smile. And try to figure out how I was going to flirt with this man. He was different. I barely knew him. But I knew I had to say something to break the ice. “Will you marry me?”, I said. And without a pause he said, “Yes.” I giggled, turned my head, probably messed with my hair and said, “Whatever. You’re practically married.” He said, “whatever”, and turned and walked away. I didn’t see this co-worker for several months. Until he came back to work in our store permanently. You see … there is a plus at working at a place for several years. You get seniority over when you want to work. Know where I’m going with this?
I was in a relationship when this co-worker came back to work at the store but as I said before, there’s no harm in flirting. But every time I saw my co-worker … I would get more and more nervous for some reason. I still barely knew this man. Other then he lived with a girl and he drove a blue escort. My relationship had been on the outs for several months it just wasn’t official. And I wasn’t announcing it yet. I remember one day this co-worker coming up to me and saying, “when are you going to break up with [name being withheld] and go out with me?” Again, I giggled, turned my head, and called him out on being a player and in a relationship. Which each time he firmly denied. Until one day, when he came up to my work station and told me a story about a first date he had the night before. I heard nothing about his date other then, “blah blah blah … I told you I was single.” So this co-worker stayed on my mind. I worked with him night after night. Following his cologne trail. Staring, flirting, and giggling ever so giddily. My currently relationship finally fizzled. And I wanted to make sure a certain co-worker knew. So I told a mutual friend/co-worker who I knew had a big mouth. Which in turn, did nothing for me. I gave my friend my phone number and told him to give it to this co-worker. Which he did. Which again, did nothing for me. Until one weekend. When I was told that this co-worker had been trying to call the girl he had been dating but wasn’t getting a call back. He was looking for a date for the weekend and if she didn’t respond, he’d give me a ring to see what was going on. I ended up getting mono that weekend but come to find out, the girl never called him back. Regardless if I was his second choice or not … there was still hope! And my hope turned into reality. He called me. We made plans to see each other the next night and boy was I nervous! The day was March 10th, 2001.
I won’t bore you with the details of our first date other than … he took me to Picadilly and a movie … Joe Dirt. Romantic, right? Anyway … I had a blast and he must have too because from that night on we saw each other every single day. And he was quickly becoming my best friend.
May 8, 2001. My new best friend was meeting my Dad for the first time. It was my birthday dinner and we were going to eat at Red Lobster along with about 5 or 6 other friends of my Dads. You’ll have to ask him if he was nervous. But was I? No. I knew my Dad would love him. He was a perfect gentleman. Opened the car doors for me, made me feel safe, etc. So we get to Red Lobster and I immediately ran to my Dad. “Dad” I said. “Be nice. This one is different.” and then I made the introduction… “Dad, this is Cale” … “Cale, this is my Dad”. And my intuitions were right. My Dad knew Cale was a saint.
Cale and I had been dating seriously for a few years when I dropped the bombshell on him. “People are asking when we’re going to get married, y’know?” Now, I have no idea if Cale had been considering asking me or not. I do know that in those three years of dating we talked a little about it and I always teased about “little Cale’s and little Amanda’s” running around. But now I was serious. I was ready. And I knew that he was the one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. So another year goes by…
December 25th, 2004. Christmas day. Cale and I had a tradition of opening presents at my Dad’s house on Christmas Eve, he and I opening presents together on Christmas day, and then driving up to his parent’s house. That morning I woke up, and at that time I was living with my Dad, and I went downstairs (yes, even though he and I were madly in love and had been dating for 3.5 years … my Dad still made him sleep in the basement instead of in my room) to open presents and then get ready to head to his parent’s house. I opened all the gifts and to this day, cannot remember a single thing he got me that year. Other than a six pack of Jones Soda. We had a “thing” where we would drive to another city and pick up as many Jones Soda as we felt necessary. They weren’t yet sold in Wichita. And he knew my favorite flavor was Strawberry Lime. I loved looking at the pictures on the bottles and that was how I would buy the bottle of soda (was based on the picture). I pulled out a few of the bottles to look at the pictures and put them away. I was happy. It was “our thing” and he was a sweetie for doing that. And then Cale comes over and kneels down and tells me to look at a certain bottle. Confused … but I did. I can’t tell you how many times I read the message on the bottle. It was a picture of a shoe in some snow. And in the snow was written, “Amanda, will you marry me? Love- Cale” I didn’t even hear a word that Cale was saying. I just knew that I couldn’t say “Yes” fast enough. So there you have it. Amanda Mudloff was going to be: Amanda Topinka.
Fast forward to our wedding day, June 3, 2006. I was so nervous I could throw up. But I didn’t. I felt like a princess. And the only thing keeping me sane was knowing that in a matter of minutes, I would be marrying my best friend in front of everyone we held close to our hearts. And, in my humble opinion, I was the luckiest girl in the world.
So that is our love story.
Now onto our kids…
I found out I was pregnant about three months after our wedding. It wasn’t planned. But it was a nice surprise! We were so excited we immediately told everyone we knew. Everything was going great. No morning sickness. No unusual cravings. Just a glowing prego Amanda. And then a little 10 weeks into the pregnancy I started spotting. I knew right away something was wrong. We went to the doctor and my biggest fear was confirmed. I had miscarried. I felt like a failure and I was hurt. I never knew how much I wanted something until I no longer had it. Cale reassured me we would have a baby in 2007 but I didn’t believe him. The doctor wanted us to wait at least three months before trying again. We waited two. And I’m glad that’s ALL we waited. Because two months after the miscarriage – we found out we were expecting. We waited this time until we heard a heartbeat and saw the image on the screen before we told anyone. Skipping a few months into the pregnancy it was time to find out if it was a boy or a girl. Now – everyone that knows me can tell you I NEVER wanted a boy. I had nieces and nephews and I knew from experience that boys were stinky, gross, ornery, and annoying. Until the technician pointed to “that little thing on the screen”. I was going to have a boy. And he was going to be a Mama’s boy. And if he looked anything like his Daddy, he would be the most beautiful boy I had ever seen.
November 6th, 2007. After 36 hours of labor, 2 hours of pushing, throwing up, passing out, heart rate’s dropping, and exhaustion, I opted for the c-section. I was ready to meet my little man. And at 9:01 am – I did just that. Cassius Milo Dietrich Topinka was born. He was the most beautiful, the most amazing, the most precious, little thing in the whole wide world. I baked this thing for 9 months and now he was in my arms. And I was in love. It was an indescribable kind of love. I was finally a mom. My aspiration had finally came true. I may be a terrible drawer. An awful singer. A bad friend. And a horrible wife. But if there was one thing I knew I would be good at … it was going to be a title called, “Mom”.
As time flew by — and any parent knows just how fast it does once you become a parent — I started realizing that it was just about time to make our family of 3 into a family of 4.
March 2010. After several months of trying, my realization became reality. We were expecting again. Everything went well. And then at about 7 months I started having emotional breakdowns. I think I cried almost everyday wondering how could I do this to Cash. It had been just us three for so long and now he was going to have to share his Daddy and Mommy. But it was too late to turn back now. This new little man was coming whether I was ready or not.
December 7, 2010. Pearl Harbor Day. Krzysztof (Christopher) Maxwell Lee Topinka made his debut. 2 oz fatter then Cash but almost 3 inches shorter. And he would stay that way. He is my little chunkster. My little Buddha. And our newest best friend. He has beautiful long eyelashes and a smile that will melt your heart. He’s a flirt (like his Mama). He has been such a joy and I thank my lucky stars every night that he chose US to be his parents. Cash can’t wait until he starts becoming more mobile so they can wrestle.
So as I sit here in my pj pants and t-shirt with baby barf all over it. My glasses on. Teeth not brushed. Hair in a tangled mess. No make-up. And legs that haven’t been shaved in probably over a week. I listen to the sound of my handsome husband and my beautiful boys playing and giggling and splashing each other in the tub and can’t help but break down in tears. This may not be the life that I pictured 10 years ago I would have in 10 years. It is better. It was my aspiration and my dream. And now my dream is a reality. And while it’s the scariest thing I’ve ever been through … I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.