Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Things That Go "dee" in the Night

At about two o'clock this morning, as I was just drifting back into dreamland after settling Jakie back into his crib, I heard a little whimper wafting to my ears from the next room.

"Whimper, whimper....daddy...whimper...Mommy...."

Now, typically, I do not leap from my bed and dash into Christopher's room when this happens. I'm more of the "let's see if he'll just turn over and go back to sleep" mentality. But last night, for whatever reason, I yanked myself out of bed and ran right in. There was my precious little one, laying in his crib just crying away. When he saw me, he stood up, put up his arms and said "Mommy, up."

Perhaps I have stated this before, but it merits repeating. I never want my boys to be sick. It's the saddest sight in the world - especially at this stage where he still can't even figure out how to say what's bothering him, thus making him not only sick but also frustrated. BUT. I do love how much Christopher loves me when he's not feeling well. Lately, he seems like he can take me or leave me. With Daddy (his BFF) home these days, he really has very little use for me. I can be standing right in front of him with the juice that he has just requested (okay, demanded) and he will PUSH ME OUT OF THE WAY and say "Daddy! Dee!"

For the uninitiated, "dee" means juice. Can't BELIEVE you didn't know that.

So I went in there for a snuggle with my boy who, for some reason, actually WANTED ME there. His latest favorite place to snuggle is inside of his crib, so you can guess who had to stack some pillows outside of the crib because her legs are too short to straddle the wall. At any rate, we snuggled there together for some time. I told him I would stay with him, but it was not play time. It was sleepy time. I closed my eyes.

Then I heard, in a little sleepy voice, "Mom?"

It sounded like he was about to ask me a deep philosophical question, the kind that develops out of late-night conversations with old friends.

"Night-night, Christopher. Time for night-night," I replied with my eyes closed. It was only a few seconds later that I felt his warm little fingers poking me in the face. Opening one eye, I saw my little one holding his pretend camera up to his face.

"Mom! Dee!" (Translation: Cheese! Ha. And YOU thought it meant "juice.")

Cute as it was, I did my best to continue urging him to sleep. It didn't take long before I was ready to remove myself from the baby crib and snuggle up in my own warm bed. The fact that my child had already used his blankie ("meemee") to cover me up and keep me warm did leave me with a bit of guilt when I LIED TO MY CHILD and told him "Mommy has to go potty, okay?" This is my typical escape plan from Christopher's room. He seems to deal with that better than with the prospect of me leaving him alone for the whole night. I realize that it won't take long before he figures out that, gee, Mommy has been in the potty for a really long time now. Is she having potty problems? And it will probably be around that time when his vocabulary has developed enough to be able to tell the checker at the store, or the librarian, or all of the people at Mass on any given Sunday that "Mommy spends a lot of time in the potty!" But it works for now, and so that's what we do.

As I was hauling myself out of his bed, I said to him, "Christopher. Mommy loves you."

"Yeah." He replied.

"Do you love mommy?"


"Do you love Daddy?"


We continued in this fashion until we'd gone through every family member. Most of the time his "yeah" was definitive. Sometimes, though, he's squish up the right side of his face and say "Ummmmm....yeah?" And sometimes I'd say, "Do you love so-and-so?" And he'd reply, "ummmm....someone-else." To be honest, every time I tell this story, I have to change the names at that point so that no one gets their feelings hurt.

I said I loved him one more time and then he looked at me and gave me the thumbs-up sign. And it was then I knew that even though I wasn't going to come back from the potty until the sun came up, it was okay. We were cool.

Monday, November 3, 2008

There was even a candle burning on the table.

Somewhere between yesterday and today, the four people living in my home became a real family.

Yesterday we lived in a messy house with a sink full of dishes, dirty carpet, piles of STUFF everywhere, and half-packed bins of clothing waiting to be finished and then dragged out to the garage. That's right - I'm finally admitting to the following facts:

1.) My home is too small for the mass quantity of clothes that it holds.
2.) Most of these clothes live here becuase at some point over the past three years, I have fit into every size between 8 and 18...not to mention the maternity wear.
3.) I'm currently only fitting into one of those sizes, and there is no need to squeeze all of those clothes into my closet when there is no hope of even attempting to sqeeze all of my thighs into the clothes.

But I digress.

The carpet isn't any cleaner, nor have the bins been packed any further. But tonight? Tonight! We ate dinner together. At the dinner table. And all four of us sat in our own seats. Until Now, Tim has sat at the end of the table, with Christopher and I next to each other on the side (and Jacob in his little swing or on my lap.) But now that Jakie is enjoying the sweetness of Gerber carrots, and Christopher has given up the incredible screaming and whining that has come to define his existence every day for the past couple of weeks (a nasty cold, along with being two, will do that to a kid). And there we sat, munching away on our chicken and pasta, like civilized people.

No doubt, tomorrow we'll end up back on the couch because the table will be covered with laundry. But for tonight? It was fabulous.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It only took me about 3 sentences.

You don't have to be a mom to boys to appreciate this one.

I'd recommend reading it aloud to your husband. Be sure to let me know how quickly the discomfort leads to giggles and tears.

Monday, October 6, 2008

He's afraid to get out of his crib now, for fear that I'll take it apart again.

I just escaped another arial attack. Haha can really fly, especially when propelled out of a crib by an angry toddler. While I made it out alive, I'm now being subjected to the seemingly endless drone of the air raid sirens known as Christopher's Bedtime Protest.

This is just another "event" in my son's quest for independence. It all started about a month or so ago....maybe two....when he started protesting having his diaper changed. From there we moved on to a boycott of clothing, pants in particular. Now we've moved onto jammies. Or the lack thereof. Little Mr. Troy has decided that pajamas are not cool. Rather than argue with him or force him, kicking and screaming, into them, we now have lengthy discussions concerning what he would like to wear to bed.

"This one?" (Shaking head.) "How about this one?" ( "uh uh.") And on and on until we finally give in and ask, " Okay! what do you want to wear?" Tim and I are both equally guilty of giving in, although we both agree it's more a matter of choosing our battles. In so doing, we've created quite a handsome little sleeper. After bathtime, while I'm in my room readying Jacob for bed, Christopher will come romping through the door in a polo shirt and his sweats to say his prayers and kiss me goodnight. He is, by far, the most fashion-conscious member of the family these days.

As we continue towards greater independence and "big boy-ness," bedtime has become more and more of an issue. Right now, for example, he's standing in his crib screaming bloody murder. The neighbors must think we're just awful parents. And, I'll admit, it's nights like these when you really do wonder if maybe they're right.

This has been one of my overriding concerns when looking forward to the time when I'll no longer have the comfort (and control) of the crib. Almost immediately upon discovering my pregnancy with Jacob, I began to plan for The Switch. I figured that we'd buy a bed for Christopher, set it up in his room, and then GRADUALLY work our way from the crib to the bed. It was going to involve lots of time. Lots of patience. Lots of discussion. And did I mention lots of time?

Well, apparently a certain member of this family forgot the plan last week in the midst of her fever-induced sleep deprived state.

That cold really got the best of Christopher. I've never seen him so "off." Three nights of camping out on the floor downstairs with an endless supply of Daddy Snuggles and Caillou episodes would create a conflict in any little boy, I suppose. Who would want to go back to the jail cell of his crib after all of that fun, even if it was in the midst of a fever, runny nose, and achy body? So, for the entire next week, bedtime was a tremendous fight. Unfortunately, I misread the protests as being discontent with the crib / readiness for the bed, rather than discontent with the crib because it's just no fun.

Thus, the following course of events:

Friday morning I converted the crib. We didn't ease into anything. The crib came apart and the boy was THRILLED! You'd think I'd built a jungle gym right there in the middle of his room. We spent the latter part of the morning across the street at our Parish Festival, wearing out the little one. My thought? "He'll be exhausted! I AM GENIUS SUPER MOMMY!"

That afternoon we walked into the house, ate a quick lunch and could barely keep ourselves downstairs for the thrill of naptime with no walls. He went straight upstairs! He accepted the diaper change! He climbed onto his bed! He even let me leave the room without protest!

I spent the next HOUR downstairs ON THE VERGE OF TEARS as I heard him walking around in his room. Talking. Climbing. Sliding. Opening and closing his door (thank GOD for the baby gate!) "Mammaaa....Daddyyyy...."

I was convinced that, not only was he not going to take that day's nap, but that he would NEVER NAP AGAIN. I'd done more than ruin my son's crib - I'd ruined his naptime. And, almost more importantly, I'd ruined MY naptime.

Tim told me to get over myself and relax.

Not long after that I went upstairs to peek. There was my little boy, sound asleep on the floor in front of his bed. For two! whole! hours! My confidence restored, I went on with my day.

Friday night was exactly the same. He slept the ENTIRE NIGHT on the floor.

When he woke up on Saturday morning and climbed into his bed to play, I figured all would be well. He's a little mixed up right now, but he'll figure it out. I figured that until he wouldn't nap on Saturday afternoon. I went on figuring that while I was up with him until 11:30 on Saturday night. But that night, as I lay next to my son on the floor focusing only on how sore I'd be in the morning, I thought to myself that maybe I should have just given up right then and rebuilt the crib in the dark.

Anyway. All of that to say that my little two year old boy is not ready for the freedom and excitement of the toddler bed. And neither is his mommy. So we're back to the crib, at least for a little while. Back to the safety and security of sleeping behind bars, if you will.

I'm not admitting defeat - I've been defeated by nothing (except our horribly carpeted floor which, hopefully, will be replaced soon). I'm just admitting to what, deep down, I knew all along. I was rushing a process that can't be rushed. Forcing my little boy to be a little too big, a little too fast.

We'll give it some time, and then we'll try again. When we do, you can bet we'll do it right. We will bring home his real bed and start from scratch. We'll take our time. We'll discuss. we'll practice. And did I mention that we'll move slooowwwly? But I have to say - if switching to a bed means I'll be losing my naptime, then you can bet he'll be in that crib until he's ten.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Walk On, Mama!

Tomorrow, my mom will be leading a team in this year's Breast Cancer walk. She's walking for herself, because she's a survivor. She's walking for her sister and my sister-in-law who are both undergoing diagnostic tests this week. And she's walking for me with the hope that I will never have to go through what she has. Here's to all of the women who have so courageously walked this journey.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus.

There is a store in town that I rarely enter. It's one of those little mom & pop slash gourmet type stores that is always far more expensive than the bigger chains. They sell quality food at a higher than quality price, so it's not a common stop on the Grocery Shopping Express. Every once in a while I find myself there to stock up on hamburger meat (they sell the good stuff, so it's worth it) or to pick up something that's on sale. So, today, Christopher and I popped in for some yogurt - advertised at 1/3 its normal price. For a girl who consumes yogurt like it's going out of style, this was an important stop.

Lately I've really been enjoying going shopping with my boy. He's big enough to walk along the whole way now, and he's getting better and better at following directions. We talk about all kinds of things and he has this great ability to get me to notice the precious sights of life that I would normally overlook. Even in the grocery store. Plus, this particular store has those carts with the car attached to the front, which he absolutely LOVES. At all of the other stores, I do my best to sprint past those enormous carts so that I don't have to figure out how to navigate a semi through the aisles, but the car-carts at this store are built smaller. So they're fun and useful. This, I like.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed that there were few cars there and looked forward to having the store to ourselves. While navigating my mammoth vehicle into the liliputian parking space, I noticed a little old man sitting in his car across the aisle. My attention paid to his presence really ended there, until after walking around my car to get the boy out of his car seat, I noticed that I'd parked too close to another car and had get back in and select another space. While it didn't phase me all that much, I did have the passing moment of embarrassment that this man saw me do all of this and that he was probably being very critical of my poor parking skills.

Now about 2 minutes behind our schedule, Christopher and I were finally walking, hand-in-hand up our aisle in the lot toward the store. As we approached his car, the old man got out of his car and started walking toward us. Although I was smiling at him, he paid little attention to me, choosing instead to ask Christopher how old he was. I told the man that he was two.

"A boy of two needs a truck," he said.

"He sure does," I replied, thinking that he was referring to Christopher's favorite shopping carts.

At that point, the man opened his trunk and pulled out a paper bag. I wasn't sure what to make of all of this, but figured that he was going to pull out a toy truck from the bag. Maybe he'd done some shopping for his grandson and had some extras - we've had friends at Church share their overflow with us before. You can imagine my astonishment, then, when he reached into the bag and pulled out a beautifully hand-crafted wooden firetruck. It was simple and classic in design, nothing overly fancy or complex.

"I make these out of scrap wood for the children in the neighborhood," he told me. "It makes me happy to give them away."

I thanked him profusely, touched beyond belief by his generosity. Christopher and I waved goodbye to him as we walked into the store, and I stood in the doorway as he drove away. He had just been there, sitting in his car waiting for a child to share his gifts with. He brought joy to our day, and by accepting his kindness, we brought joy to his.

I'll admit that it took me a while to get past the notion that this was weird. Strange. Odd. So unused to simple generosity and the kindness of strangers am I that I even thought, just for a second, "Maybe there is something wrong with this. Maybe I should throw it away." As I pulled my yogurts from the shelf, I had to force myself to accept the fact that this was a kind man, performing a kind act.

Today, on the Feast of the Guardian Angels, not only was I given a gift for my child. I was given the opportunity to entertain an angel, unaware.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


People in this family who visited the doctor this week: 4

People under three feet tall who shared an appointment at the same time: 2

Number of vaccines administered at shared appointment: 7

Mommy who will never do it that way again: 1

Number of mommies who say that now, but know they'll do it again anyway: 1

Number of children who couldn't sleep last night due to drugs in system: 2

Number of adults in this family who don't mind waiting a few minutes at the doctor's office: 1*

Christopher's weight & height at 2 years: 30 lbs, 3 feet minus 1/4 inch

Jacob's weight and height at 4 months: 14 lbs, 11oz. 25.5 inches

Items that Christopher threw, alternately, in and out of his crib last night: 12, including:

  • Haha
  • Blankie
  • Small red pillow, embroidered, "Always my daughter, now too, my friend."
  • Small green pillow, embroidered, "Golfers don't eat, they just exist on greens."
  • Yellow labrador puppy wearing green shamrock t-shirt made here.
  • Plush Rottweiler from Nonna.
  • Yellow blankie, trimmed with Tigger, Pooh, and Piglet
  • Plaid throw pillow
  • Lid to Christmas cookie cannister with picture of "Hoho"
  • Incredibly large beach towel.
  • motorized sleeping cocker spaniel.
  • Toddler who can't decide whether he wants in or out.

Number of parents hit by NON-PLUSH sleeping cocker spaniel listed above: 1*

Number of parents sleeping through previously mentioned arial attack: 1*

Duration, in minutes, of Christopher's afternoon nap today: zero.

Minutes spent by a certain mommy, walking around town this morning: 95.

Number of people in immediate family who were proud and impressed at said Mommy's stamina: 2

Number of people in immediate family who were slightly concerned about duration of walk: 1*

Number of extended family members who were not impressed in the least by this walk and promptly informed said walker that she should not be pushing it and that she should spend her afternoon "getting rested.": 2*

Number of ladies who spontaneously joined the walk: 2.

Number of said ladies who were certifiably crazy: 1. Maybe 2.

Number of zodiac signs discussed by said crazy lady: 4.

Number of baby deer encountered on walk: 1

Number of observed baby deer who seem to be long for this world: sadly, zero.

Number of old people observed playing bocce ball while cutting through the park: 12

Number of aboriginal musical instruments encountered on walk: 1

Number of adults in this family who had meetings scheduled for tonight: 2.

Number of baby-sitters arranged to cover said meeting time: zero.

Number of adults in this family who played hookie for scheduled meetings: 1.

Number of mommies in this house who have never been so happy to stay home: 1.

*The reader may determine to whom this statement applies.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Nitty Gritty of Parenting

About 10 seconds after hitting "publish" on that last post...I sneezed. And, immediately, a myriad of fears began to swarm around in my mind. The utmost being a tie between: 1.) Did I wake Christopher up? and 2.) Am I getting sick?
Yes. And Yes.
My poor little guy coughed once and then just started CRYING. I ran into his room (because, Yes, I was worried....but also because I couldn't have him waking up Jacob. There's such a delicate balance to be struck around here when it comes to noise and bedtime.) and there he was. It was the saddest sight you've ever seen. Red face, watery eyes, snot all over his face. And sweating. I held him for a while thinking that I'd be able to get him settled back down. He didn't wrestle me on it either. He didn't even ask for his, of course, I was relishing the fact that he actually wanted ME. Unfortunately, after a few minutes, I could tell that something needed to be done. This critter needed some special care. So, I gave in and took him downstairs.
This is something that I never do. I've learned that if you take a boy out of his room during naptime or bedtime, there is NO GETTING HIM BACK IN. But this was a special case. I have never seen my little one in such a state.
The two of us traveled downstairs where Daddy was already setting up blankets and pillows on the floor and cueing up Christopher's favorite show on our On Demand. It was time for a Daddy and Christopher camp out on the cold, hard floor. Perfect for one....challenging for the other.
About half an hour later, after a proper dosing of tylenol, a few blows of the nose, and some family-wide temperature taking (I'm pleased to report that Haha was fever-free) Mommy headed back upstairs for a catnap before Jacob would be waking up. Naturally, I only left after taking advantage of the Kodak Moment that was occurring on my family room floor. Terrible, I know. I, for one, would do some SERIOUS PHYSICAL DAMAGE to any person attempting to take my picture if I were sick, but honestly? Kids are just SO. FREAKING. PRECIOUS. when they're all goopy and sick-like.
Jacob and I ended up sleeping pretty well that night. It wasn't until 2 am that his stirring roused me from my slumber, at which point I discovered that the other half of my bed was still empty. Having no idea what I'd encounter when I made the descent, I took care of Jakie and then headed down to investigate. About half way down the stairs, I discovered the sweetest sight: Tim, passed out on the couch (boy was I glad to see that he had transitioned from the hard floor to the couch) and Christopher all bundled up on the floor with a death grip on Haha and Blankie. Oh. And Caillou. Still singing along on the TV.
It is now three days later. Three days, two flu patients, three fever victims, and one Daddy who seems to have weathered the storm unscathed. And we're only one week into Fall.
Flu shot, anyone?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sorry. I just don't care to figure out whether or not I used that big word correctly at this point in the evening.

First...some photos from Christopher's Birthday.

(They're supposed to come at the end but I'm too tired and too hot from holding a feverish toddler to try to figure it out.)

Christopher's b-day table cloth...year two.

Let them eat cake.

and....last but not least....

Who needs to hire a clown to creep out their kids when there are dead rodents to be seen?

Now, Down To Business...

Only one day into Fall and we seem to be ushering in the season with what promises to be a family-wide cold. Not good. It never fails that when someone around here starts up with the sniffles, I immediately try to figure out where in the world they came from. This time, there is little doubt that it was a gift given to us by our friends to whom we were delivering a birthday present on Monday afternoon. Both mommy and daughter were quite sniffly and red in the eyes, but honestly? this is nothing new for their family. Especially for the littlest: she of the nose that runs all over town. I swear that we were in their house for all of 15 minutes, and as a result, there is a little boy in the next room with a pasty white face, rose-red lips, and eyes, ears, a nose and a mouth that are all excreting various fluids. Joy. I'm not all that into fluids.

He's all snuggled up in his bed right now, blankie in one hand, sippy of water in the other. But he's not sleeping soundly. Every few minutes I hear a moan or a sniffle. A cough here and there. It really is the saddest thing when your little one is sick. Such a pathetic sight, isn't it? There's something so innocent...and so vulnerable....about a little tiny person sitting in his rocking chair with snot running down his face. And yet, today? Today we spent the majority of our time outside, running around, blowing bubbles, DUMPING THE ENTIRE BOTTLE OF BUBBLE SOLUTION INTO THE DRIVEWAY, jumping, giggling, playing with blocks, making Lego towers, and playing in the dirt. I'm fascinated by the dichotomy - children have no way of hiding that they are sick. It's obvious to the whole world. And yet they seem totally oblivious of the fact that they are supposed to "feel" sick. And adults? Honestly - you know what it's like. When we get sick, we're pumping our bodies full of this decongestant and that cough drop while laying in our beds WAITING TO DIE.

Yet another lesson to be learned from our children.

So anyway, I left sick child number one in his bed...only after smattering him with copious amounts of Vicks Baby Rub. (Side Note: this is one of my favorite things about winter. My child is ADDICTED to the Vicks. You want him to lie down for a diaper change? Offer him Vicks! Want him to stop cleaning out the window sills with your tooth brush? Pull out the Vicks! Hoping that he'll actually agree to wearing pajamas to bed? Vicks! All of that PLUS the fact that it makes him giggle like mad when you rub it on...that's the best part).

From there, I moved over to my room to settle baby #2 down to sleep. As I was sitting here, rocking my little one and observing how flushed his cheeks are and how much warmer his body is than usual, I began to get nervous. Two sick children (one of whom is only 4 months old) + mommy with a sore throat + daddy who, though he claims to have no symptoms yet, tends to pick up EVERYTHING = a scary prospect. And the realization that, especially when the rest of the family is sick, there is NO SUCH THING AS A SICK MOMMY...well, I began to get a little nervous. And, admittedly, a little ahead of myself.

That's when I happened upon tonight's episode of Jon & Kate Plus 8. In tonight's presentation, the Family Who Always Makes Me Feel Like A, I mean, "Better" was dealing with 8 kids who all had the flu. THE THROW UP FLU. I'll quit whining now.
***UPDATE: Christopher and Tim have now set up camp downstairs on the floor. Blankets, pillows, sippy, Blankie, Haha (curious George. Because monkeys say "who who haha"), a box of tissues, a wet wash cloth, and Caillou looped on repeat playing on the TV. The fever is climbing. And the boy is pulling on his ears. It promises to be a loooong night.***

Monday, September 15, 2008

I've Got You...Under My Skin....

Sarah Palin.
AWESOME. I am fascinated by this woman. She has renewed my excitement over this election. Which, honestly? Faded out about 2 years ago. Hasn't this been the longest, most drawn out, ridiculous presidential race in the history of the world!? Good grief. And just as I was counting down the days until it was all over, they introduce this MOM from Alaska with 5 kids, one of whom she's still breastfeeding. I am so intrigued by her and so excited to see where this election goes now. At this point, I choose not to weigh in on the whole "is she doing right by her family" argument that has popped up on some of the blogs. I struggle with it when I think too hard on the subject. I really do believe that a mommy's place is in the home...and yet I wonder if by taking this mommy out of her home the world might change. Even just a little. And wouldn't that be nice.

AIG. Lehman Brothers. And all those other guys.
Um...WHAT?! Aren't these investment bankers supposed to be, like, the smartest people in the world? How do you not see this all coming? More importantly, what does it mean when the stock market is in a steady nose dive, the investment banks are failing, and everyone is filing bankruptcy? And even worse...what does it mean when the guy who very well could be president is going to mess everyone's investments up even more by raising the capital gains tax to nearly 30%?! In the interest of full disclosure, I know nothing about this stuff. But I watch enough business news to know that things are NOT GOOD right now...and it seems like they're only going to get worse before they get better. Is it selfish to think that it's okay (at least a little bit okay) that the housing market is in the TANK because maybe this means it will be easier for us to buy a house. Am I trampling all over someone else's dreams with my own? I don't know. And does it even matter because the entire economy is in the tank anyway?


Not too exciting today, I know. More to come. Next time: The big 2nd birthday. And the surprise visitor we had at the park!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Legos. Seriously? The BEST TOY EVER.

Christopher is going to be two (TWO!) in about a week and a half, and all I can think is, "how in the world did THAT happen?"

Two is totally different than one. One is so exciting. So special. So emotional. So running into the bedroom first thing in the morning to capture the birthday wake up photo (which, by the way, I think I'll do every year. That will make for a rather sweet photo collection, I think.) Two is exciting too, but just different. In our house, Two is looking like this:

2.) Laughing when he falls down because he thinks it's so funny, getting up, wiping off, and moving on.
2.) Giving mom strangle-hugs during Mass, pulling her hair over her face, and then cackling himself crazy as she dashes out the back door of the church to make sure that no one is bothered.
2.) Finding no need for actual words because who needs to talk when you can point and say "heh?"
2.) Legos.
2.) Shoes that light up when you stomp. And jump. And hop.
2.) Walking up and down the stairs without holding on to anything.
2.) Coloring. On the windows.
2.) Watching Nina and Star on Sprout and doing everything they tell him to do without hesitation. (If only Nina could move in...)
2.) Talking on your own terms...not when Mom or Dad are forcing you to say something.
2.) Parents (especially Dad) who are very concerned about the lack of talking.
2.) A doctor appointment right around the corner when we're finally going to have to address the issue of the MMR shot...and hoping we have enough verbal communication by then to not have to worry.
2.) When mom is singing a song, repeating "Mom. Mom. Momma. Mom. Mooom." until she stops singing. Is someone trying to send me a message?
2.) Stomping and crying and whining when something is taken away. Or when he can't have a cranberry. Or a grape. Or an apple. OR WHATEVER HE'S POINTING TO IN THE FRUIT DRAWER IN ANY GIVEN MOMENT.
2.)Laying on his tummy in the bathtub.
2.) Splashing.
2.) Doing river dance in the tub (only when holding mommy's hands, of course)
2.) Going peepee in the potty (sometimes) and telling us when he's going poopoo....I figure this is a start, right?
2.) Sitting on my lap and letting me sing him to sleep (the only time when he doesn't force me to stop singing....and yes, this does mean that we've gotten back on track with the sleeping. This, of course, is just in time for my mom to come next week and for him to get all off-track again.)
2.) Kissing Yaya night-night when we pretend to put Jake to bed (because babies have to go to bed first) so that Christopher won't be jealous of Jakie's late-night privileges.
2.) Kissing his own boo-boos.
2.) Asking for the boo-boo-baaaa (boo boo spray) when he scrapes his hand.
2.) Collecting rocks and leaving them in the little nooks and crannies of our house for us to find.
2.) Hiding behind furniture and then jumping and squealing and totally CRACKING UP when he's found.

Sigh. The list goes on. The boy is growing up, and he's getting cuter and more fun with every passing day. This, I think, is what makes Two so great. Each day brings him further from babyhood and closer into boyhood. Son-hood. Buddy-hood.

And boy do I love my little buddy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'll bet you didn't know that turkeys have tender loins...

...but they DO! And they're delicious. At least the ones I cooked as part of last night's food network style dinner sure were. So, alas, the menu: turkey tenderloin, roasted baby gold potatoes, sauteed green beans, and homemade garlic spread on sourdough rolls.

mmmmm. Iron Chef, here I come.

Now down to business. Who stole my precious little angel and replaced him with the little tantrum-monger who is currently sleeping (thank GOD) in the next room? Honestly. I would like to know. Call me please and we'll negotiate a drop off point.

Good heavens. Here we are, barrelling toward age two at lightning speed when all of a sudden we bypassed the next three weeks and landed smack in the middle of the terrible twos.

Terrible. Awful. Screamy. Loud. Whiny. Stompy. Jumping up and down and sobbing. Refusing a bath. Refusing jammies. Trying to pull off the diaper. (I can't tell you how many times a day I hear the phrase, "Please take your hands out of your pants" coming out of m mouth.) Turning himself into a limp, wet noodle when we try to pick him up. Demanding. Opening the fridge. Not giving in. Testing every boundary. Screaming himself to sleep. Screaming. Screaming. Screaming! SOMEONE STOP THE SCREAMING!

This behavior has only been going on for about one week and I find myself already wondering where, exactly, my whit ends. Sometimes, it's actually funny. The screaming and the drama are so extreme that you just have to sit back and wonder what exactly is going on in that cute little head. I've learned already that being patient is the key to it all. Letting him scream it out usually only takes a minute or two before he's standing there with his eyes closed trying to figure out if he's ready to move on with his life. Usually he is, and we're both giggling in no time.

The hard part, though, is bed time. He's just going going going all the time, right? And life is too fun to have to stop and spend the night in Crib Prison. The screaming and crying that comes from his room is absolutely heartbreaking. Sure, it only lasts about 10 minutes, but he's just so SAD. He just wants his MOOMMMMIIIIEEEEE!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! WAHHHHHHH! DADDIIEEEEE!!!!!! And for those ten minutes, even though you know he's just testing you, even though you know he'll be asleep in no time, you feel like the worst mommy in the world for neglecting your precious little angel.

The other night he got himself so riled up that I honestly thought he was going to make himself sick. So in I went to find this little person standing inside his crib, shaking because he was so upset. I sat him in his chair and read to him for a while before he gave me the "mommy pick me up" signal. He was so tired. And so clingy. There we stood in the middle of his room, singing songs and swaying back and forth, his little hands clinging to my shirt as though I was about to melt away from underneath him. I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

Finally, he lifted his head and said, "Momma, poopoos." So I laid him down on his changing table, did a mock diaper change for him, and rubbed his forehead while we talked about how he is the big brother and how he needs to teach Yaya how to sleep in his big boy bed. We talked about how I know it's no fun that Yaya gets to sleep in Mama's room and Christopher doesn't, and about how soon Yaya will be sleeping in his own room next door to Christopher. We talked and talked and talked. And you know what?


I would have stood there with him all night if I could have. My precious boy. My sleeping angel. I wish we could do that every night.

So I don't know. Maybe it's time to mix things up a little. Maybe we should adjust his crib to toddler bed stage so that we can lay next to him and he can feel more like a big boy (although, the late night wandering is keeping me from doing that at this point). Maybe we should just continue to pump him full of Tylenol to offset the pain of those (SLOWLY) emerging two year molars. Maybe we should call supernanny (which, honestly? that woman is a GENIUS....and most of those parents are complete DOLTS.)

It's hard being almost-two. That's really all there is to say.

On the plus side:
1. Christopher peed in the big boy potty two nights ago.
2. Jacob sleeps from 9pm until 7am. 8 nights in a row. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ave Maria!

I love Holy Days of Obligation. I always have. Even before my life as a grown up who has studied and taken a sincere, educated interest in her Faith, Holy Days have always held a sort of mystique. Stepping outside of your normal routine of regular life during the week and Mass on Sundays really forces you to pay attention, you know? This, of course, makes me wonder about those who attend daily Mass. Do the Holy Days offer something different to these Faithful? For me, no matter how frequently I would attend Mass, these days always stood out as special. They were a time to really focus, to really celebrate our Faith.

There was a time in my life when I was far more frequent a Mass attendee. That remarkable period where I was so totally immersed in Catholic Culture that the peer pressure I was subjected to centered around going to Mass. Or Adoration. Or Confession. A time when I was the recipient of other peoples' efforts to bring my Faith to life.

Those were the days. I often reflect on how easy it was back then. How my four years on top of the hill were, faith-wise, the easiest I've ever had. True, they were years of tremendous growth. Of stretching. And, in that regard, came along with their own challenges. But everything I needed was available to me - whether I wanted it on any given day or not. Honestly, when else can you go to confession to a multitude of priests EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK? Where else can you pop in for Adoration at any time of the day or night on any day of the year? (Those people who can do this? SO. LUCKY.) Boy oh boy. It was so easy. And I didn't even realize it.

My current life still has me immersed in Catholic Culture, but now it's just different. I'm no longer the recipient of other peoples' efforts to create that culture. Now I find that I am the creator of that culture. I now live in a world where, if daily Mass is going to be available, it's becuase I'm motivating the family (okay, myself) to get ready in the mornings. In this world, if my kids are going to understand the extreme privilege of visiting Our Lord in Adoration, it's because I'm the one making the house call. Fostering a love for Our Blessed Mother comes as a result of my loving my children the way that she loved her own Son. Encouraging daily prayer will not come as a result of my prodding, "Did you say your prayers?" Rather, it will develop out of giving my entire family the gift of praying together....and teaching them to respect the fact that sometimes, we need to go into our rooms and take some time alone...just us and Jesus.

Naturally, I am blessed in that the responsibility does not lie with me alone. My boys have a phenomenal, faith-filled dad who takes such a keen interest in practicing his faith. He recognizes that, in order to be a full participant in the Faith, one must study and truly understand it. He is the head of the household, both literally and metaphorically. He directs us well, and he educates us well. Often, though, I will find myself frustrated when Tim reminds me that "we need to be praying more. We need to be praying the Rosary." This is always true, but I admit that sometimes my back goes up when I hear that direction. Rather than humbly thinking, "he's right. We do need to be praying more," my thoughts will sometimes turn to, "he is the head of the family. It's one thing to say we need to be praying more and completely another thing to make sure we DO it."

Not surprisingly, Our Lady always seems to provide the gentle reminder that I need (and it's always immediate.) I can practically hear her whispering in my ear, "but you are the mother. You are the HEART of the family." And I sheepishly remember that she is right. His job is to direct and to guide. My job is to give that gentle nudge into action. By allowing the head and the heart to work together, we're providing that organic combination that is creating our own Catholic Culture right here in our very own home.

That is the lesson that I've taken out of this most beautiful solemnity. On this day that we almost forgot to go to Mass because we've been so distracted with other things. On this day that I spent the entire homily seeing to the needs of my little ones rather than soaking in any little bit of the homily. On this day that I didn't even talk to Our Blessed Mother even once (not even to say, "help!" which is a frequent conversation that we share), I've learned that Mary's path to holiness was through her "yes" to motherhood and everything that entails.

So lies mine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Things I LOVE

...warm, squishy, sleeping babies who have a drop of milk rolling down their cheeks.

...almost two year old little boys who climb and run and jump and go down big boy slides backwards without any help from their mommy whatsoever.

...pretending to have my own food network show while I'm cooking dinner.

...having friends nearby who I can laugh so hard with that we both start to cry.

...getting compassionate, understanding, loving emails from my dad when I least expect it.

...knowing that, regardless of how hard life gets, I have my best friend by my side. Always. that light up when my little boy jumps. and stomps. and just walks.

...that every time we walk to the play structure at church, Christopher mandates a stop at the mural of our Lady of Guadalupe, sits down, makes the sign of the cross, and waits for me to pray a Hail Mary with him.

...hearing the church bells, right now, as they chime the Salve Regina.

...the peace that comes from knowing that we have our entire lives ahead of us and that it's okay if things aren't PERFECT this very instant.

...sitting with our 4-year old little friend on the park bench and listening to her while she shares her anxiety over her baby brother coming to live with them from South Korea.

...the fact that my friends are adopting this precious little one, and that he'll be here SOON!

...novenas. And friends who willingly pray them when you ask. entire day with no temper tantrums. Well. From the toddler, at least.

...dancing with Christopher.

...good emails that are moving us forward with starting the business.

...precious friends, who, although I haven't spoken to them in a while, are always there to listen, love, and pray.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Welcome to the Family, Jake.

It's 8:32 pm. Tomorrow morning, my little Jacob will be baptized into the Catholic Church. As I sit here, the first time today, I finally have a minute to reflect on what all of that means. We've been preparing so much over this past week. Shopping. Cleaning. Painting. Vacuuming. Cooking. Dusting. All to prepare for the massive celebration that will take place at my in-laws' house tomorrow.

AFTER the Sacrament.

It will be a grand party, that's for sure. Tim's wonderful parents have opened up their home to the 45+ people who are coming to celebrate this joyous day in the life of our little one, and for that I am so very grateful. But just because the party is at someone else's house, doesn't mean that our share of the work has been any less. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

But now, as I sit here with my mind still swarming of what needs to happen tomorrow morning before I even hit the showers, I can see the irony of it all. Or the ridiculousness, really. Our focus ALL WEEK has been on the party. I, for one, have reflected very little on the real celebration of the day. The honest-to-goodness celebration that will be taking place in the Church Triumphant as another soul is added to the ranks. Another member of the Church Militant signing on for battle. The beauty of the ritual. The glory of the rite.

The blessing of the CHILD.

Once all is said and done, it will have been a wonderful party. So many family members and friends will gather to celebrate our boy and to enjoy each other's company. I know it will be just lovely.

But when you ask me how the day went, don't let me get away with only telling you how lovely the party was. Don't allow me to ignore the real celebration of the day - the splendor of my precious son beginning the process of full initiation into the True Church of Christ.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I asked Tim to buy me a pool with a house in the front yard, on the basis that it should be cheaper than a house with a pool in the backyard. Right?

I like Bobby Flay. Really a lot. And I hope I'm not the only one. Right now, I'm watching "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" and it's rapidly becoming my favorite food network show.

My relationship with Food Network can most simply be described as "love / hate." I can't turn it off. It's my channel of choice whenever I sit down lately and I'm always so inspired by the deliciousness of what is presented to me. As a matter of fact, the saddest TV moments for me these days are between the hours of 3 and 8 am (or so) when my favorite foodies are replaced by infomercials of one type or another. (Side note: sleeping is getting SO MUCH BETTER with Jake....we only get up twice during the night right now. Sadly, though, one of those...and sometimes both....are during the generally AWFUL and often IN POOR TASTE infomercials.)

But I digress. The challenging part of my love affair with channel 35 is actually transitioning from sitting on the couch watching delicious food to actually bringing it to life in the kitchen. This is not for lack of skill. I'm not too humble to admit that I've got some mad cooking skills. (And the cooking show I put on for Christopher, which always involves dancing, could EASILY stand up to ANY of those Rachael Ray types.) Sadly, we're not too adventurous when it comes to the edible arts here. I can't even blame Tim for this, although it really is TOTALLY HIS FAULT, because he generally is willing to try new things if I want to do it. The problem is that I am too quick to cater to the ease of cooking a guaranteed favorite. You know what I mean? Why invest the time and energy (and emotion, because seriously? I am totally invested in my cooking) when they may not be a hit?

I know. I need to just get over it and try it out. So that's my plan. Next week, once we're past Jakie's Baptism and everyone has recovered from the stress of the party (more on that another time) I'm going for it. BRING IT ON, BOBBY FLAY.


Well, as usual, the above is NOT what I intended to write when I sat down tonight. What I INTENDED to talk about was our visit to the swimming pool today - about how much Christopher LOVED swimming last week and about how we couldn't wait to get back there when his Nonna arrived today. OH - and also about how cute he was when he was waiting at the door for her to arrive this morning and practically EXPLODED OUT OF HIS SKIN when he saw her walking down the path. It seriously made me cry, what with all the jumping and the waving and the repeated "Nonna! Nonna! Nonna!s."

So we get to the pool and jump right in. This kid has NO. FEAR. (Which, of course adds to my own fear quite a bit.) It's the cutest thing to watch him jump off the side and splash around and come up, all drippy and wet, after I've dunked him completely under. And do you know that he didn't. even. cry. the first time I did that? He was confident and adventurous starting with the first toe he dipped into the pool last week and I wanted nothing more than to capture that confidence on film. My camera was even CHARGED this time.

There we were, all smiles, looking up at Nonna as she snapped away (unfortunately, a little too slowly) when the lifeguard approached her with, "I'm sorry, Ma'am. We don't allow cameras here."


Um. SERIOUSLY? Who does this lifeguard think he is getting in between me and my photo of the first (okay, second....see above note about charging camera) time my son went swimming?! And doesn't he know that my mom is not the speediest person in the world and that instead of snapping away the way I would have done, she only took ONE BLASTED PICTURE? ONE!

Needless to say, I was less than pleased. And then I realized that they probably have very good reasoning for not allowing photographs, etc. at the pool which probably involves protecting children from TOTAL CREEPOS. This, of course, makes me even more mad that there are such sickos out there that I cannot even photograph my own children.

Thus, we arrive at today's biggest revelation: I am no longer totally opposed to the possibility of owning a home with a swimming pool in the backyard. Don't get me wrong, I'm still about 90% opposed due to all of the safety issues EVEN WITH THE PROPER FENCING AND COVERS AND ALARMS AND EVERYTHING ELSE I'D FORCE MY HUSBAND TO HAVE IN PLACE BEFORE I'D EVEN SET FOOT ON THE PROPERTY. But now I also see how much fun there is to be had at the pool, and since my kids won't have the luxury of growing up like their mother did, on the best swimming pool in the world....well, I'm willing to consider it.

Because, you know, buying a house is SO IMMINENT. sigh.

****Bobby Flay just lost the meatloaf throwdown. Do you know that I've never seen him win? Very sad, Bobby Flay. Very sad.****

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Talk To Me

Stacy and Clinton are right. Quality fabric + quality workmanship = higher price, but also = better fit. That being said, I FOUND A SWIMMING SUIT. Praise the Living God. I'm so happy. Sure it's not fabulous (It's hot pink. Not my first choice.), but I do feel comfortable and confident in it. Thus, tomorrow's trip to the swimming pool has already gotten off to a good start. And, can I just say, that I LOVE this whole "swim mini" concept. What in the world took so long to come up with this? This is not your average swimming-suit-with-a-skirt of the days of old. No no no, my friends. This one is actually cute. It's actually flattering. Land's End is my new best friend. And Sears is my newer best friend for selling Lands End stuff without my having to order it online.

Sears, however, is not my new best friend for their photo studio. I'm still mourning the loss of our local Picture People. Oh, Picture People, how I miss thee. How I miss your perky teen-age employees with their funny sounds and their overbearing enthusiasm for bringing staged smiles to the faces of my children. Oh how I miss being able to use your "free 8x10" coupon that you're still sending me (which, seriously? MUST you pour salt in my already open wound?). Oh how I miss the agony of trying to figure out just which photo to actually BUY, rather than the searching and searching to find a photo of high enough quality to merit actually bringing home.


And yet, I signed up for the year-long Sears Photo membership anyway. Beggars can't be choosers.

All of that being said, NONE of the above was in my plan when I sat down at the computer tonight. Tonight's topic is even better than a swimming suit that fits. Even better than the kids at Picture People. EVEN BETTER than the brownies that I made tonight that totally flopped, BUT in their flop-ness actually turned into one of those "molten chocolate" cakes that you have to order at the beginning of your meal at a fancy restaurant because it takes so long to cook and is so delicious because of the gooey chocolate that pours out once you put your fork into it. (Honestly - if a recipe is going to flop, then this is the way to do it. Wouldn't you agree?)

Tonight is all about my son TALKING. Using words. REAL WORDS.

Now, I freely admit that this is something that we've been anxious about. As we find ourselves racing towards "two" at breakneck speed, we also find ourselves counting down the days until The Deadline. The time when Christopher should have a good number of words that he uses with frequency. Words that he uses with meaning. And (gasp!) word combinations that express intent.

Don't get too excited. We're not reciting Shakespeare here. But today we did have a breakthrough. Over the past week, I have been teaching Christopher to sing "Do Re Mi" and boy is it cute. I'll say, "do do do." And he'll say "do do do." Then we'll do the same with Re and Mi. But today. TODAY! After our normal "repeat after me" session in the car, I heard a little voice from the back seat say, "do re mi...."


And then, tonight, as he was jumping off the couch and bouncing on his pillows on the floor, all of a sudden I hear, "OW." Ow. Ow. Owwww.

Perhaps you find this to be anticlimactic, but Tim and I were thrilled. Thrilled, because WE NEVER TAUGHT HIM "OW." Which means he's picked it up from someone else - we're guessing his big cousin who came over to play on Tuesday. HE PICKED IT UP. He picked it up without my saying, "Christopher, say ow. Ow. Say Ow. Christopher say it. (hopeful waiting) Okay, Mommy say it: ow. Now Christopher say it. Ow. Owwwww. Christopher say it."

Yes, this is the way we've been living our lives. It's a wonder he hasn't packed his bag and moved out by now, what with all the pressure.

Thus, we've experienced a joyful day around here. Not because of the impressiveness of the word, but because it feels like we're moving forward. He is getting it. The synapses are firing. So it really will be only a matter of time before the "MOM!!!!!" that I hear from the backseat when we pass a bus or a fire truck on the road, followed by enthusiastic pointing and waving of arms actually becomes "WOW MOM LOOK AT THAT TRUCK!"

And that will be SO. AWESOME.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Brotherly Love

Because he cares about personal and oral hygiene....and because he feels it necessary to pass these traits on to his little brother.....

I turned around this morning to find Christopher sitting next to Jacob. BRUSHING HIS TEETH.

You can imagine Jacob's delight.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Am I the only one here who thinks that my gift-giver's name was NOT a coincidence?

Seeing as how I'm always about three steps behind where I'd like to be these days, I figure it's no problem to put everything off just a little longer to sit here and write about this and that. So many things to say, so little energy to sit down and do it. So of all the mishmash from this week that would pop into my mind with a "I should write about that!" and popped out before I gathered up the energy to sit down and do it, here's the highlight.

Ha. Energy to sit down. This is my life.

On Monday, I received a card from my dear Nonna which read, "Happy Anniversary! I can't believe how quickly these two years have passed." And it's true - especially considering it's been three years. Three years a Troy. Three years of joy, despite the many struggles we've been dealt. Three years of opportunities for growth in holiness....hopefully some of which have actually taken. It was hard to remember it was our anniversary, actually, as this was probably the busiest week we've had in quite a while, but when Wednesday came around, BAM there it was. And it was awesome.

The day started out with my reading of this post on faith and family. I wish there was a camera set up in my computer room so you could see my reaction - sitting at the desk, crying, because I was so excited. SO AWESOME!!! MADE. MY. DAY.

After that, Jake and I headed out to Target where I purchased THREE, yup THREE, maternity swimming suits. Argh. Maternity. Lest you be mistaken, I am NOT pregnant. But I figured that these would fit my newly postpartum body better than any others and leave me far less depressed. It needs to be said that the last time I wore a swimming suit was FOUR YEARS AGO. I was in Hawaii. It was a bikini. Four years, two pregnancies, and zero sun later, I stood in my bathroom trying on these swimming suits and DYING because they were so very awful. There really are no words for how horrible they were. Remarkably, I was having such a good day that it hardly bothered me at all. And, it certainly helped to have such a loving husband whose response to my declarations of how hideous I looked was, "let me be the judge of that." Sometimes he just really knows exactly how to make me feel good. That being said, he has still not seen me in those suits. Nor will he ever.

They are all going back to Target.

Tim and I went out to dinner that night and it was fabulous. The boys stayed at Oma & Pop's house with some help from their Auntie Erin. This was the first time I've left Jacob for that long (I never left Christopher for that long until he was well into solids) and off we went, just the two of us. And it was AWESOME.

We did a lot of reminiscing - the first time we met...our wedding know, all of that fluffy stuff. Of course, we cried. (We do that here.) But we also remembered upon anniversaries past: anniversary #1 where it was 108 degrees outside (for real) and I was 500 pounds pregnant (almost for real). Anniversary #2 when Tim was so incredibly ill that his gift to me was suffering through a couple of days to save his very last percocet so that he'd be able to take me out to dinner. Anniversary #3 where we're in the midst of starting our own business and the financial numbers in our lives are all written in red.

We did a lot of dreaming about the future - looking forward to when our boys will be old enough to join us for these anniversary dinners and we can celebrate as a family. Wondering when we'll have a year (or even just a summer) that's not wracked with stress, or illness, or worry of some sort or another. Recognizing that, really, that's just life. When one thing ends, another begins. And realizing that regardless of what is to come, we can handle it because we've got each other. We've got our boys. And, most importantly, we've got our Faith.

Speaking of our Faith, we went to Adoration today. (Please excuse me if I wrote about this last week, but I'm just so touched by this....) My little Christopher brought tears to my eyes as he bowed before the monstrance, kissed the cross, blew kisses to our blessed Mother. Of all of the things he will do in his life to make me proud, none of them will beat this. Nothing is more important to me than forming my boys in their faith. This is going to be a challenge, considering everything else that will be vying for their time and attention, but I think we're up to it.

This weekend we will watch our wedding video, as we do every year, and will sit on the couch and CRY!!!!! just like always. The difference this year will be that Christopher will watch with us, and Jacob too. And as we watch we'll be thanking and praising God for that day three years ago. Not just for what it was, but for the fruits that have grown from it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Go to sleeeep, little Jacob....go to sleep liiitle Jacob.....

At the beginning of this week, I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever sleep again. My little Jacob, my precious little peanut whose mommy was bragging to the whole world about what a good sleeper he was (at least during the day...which, really, I'll take what I can get) suddenly abandoned his afternoon naps. This is not OK. Naptime in our house is PRECIOUS TIME WHICH I DO NOT GIVE UP EASILY. I am not one of those "go with the flow" moms who is happy to see her child sleeping when he needs it but can deal with the days when he doesn't. No no no. Naptime in the Troy household is at 1pm. Sharp. No negotiations.

I CRAVE this routine. I THRIVE on this routine. (And, luckily, so does Christopher.)

Oh, the wonderfulness that was having two babies sleep at the same time! But then, to my dismay, Jacob decided that, no, he would not sleep. Not until about 4:00. You know, when Christopher wakes up. He would eat and sit in his chair and look around and coo. You know, all that cute little baby stuff. But he would not sleep. AND! We even were starting to get into that dangerous territory of him falling asleep in my arms but then waking up immediately upon the transfer to the chair. I've done that whole thing before. We're not going there again.

With Christopher, there was no such thing as a daytime nap until he was 5 months old. That was rough. However, he did sleep quite well at night - a trade off that I was very happy with. That being said, one would think that it would be reasonable to expect similar behaviour from Jacob. ONE WOULD BE WRONG.

Two nights ago, he slept his normal three-hour first stretch, getting up the first time at midnight. And then he got up EVERY HOUR ON THE HOUR from that point forward. THE NEXT DAY HE DID NOT NAP. There was much groaning and gnashing of teeth, you can be sure. I was beginning to think that my life was seriously over. That I would just stay awake until I faded into oblivion. Seriously. If Descartes was right, then my lack of ability to maintain ANY thought in my mind would cause me to simply fade away. (Which, at least then maybe I'd get some rest.)

With a few nights like that behind me, you can imagine my SHEER DELIGHT when Jacob fell asleep during his lunch yesterday and STAYED! ASLEEP! for the chair transfer. You can also imagine my UTTER HORROR when his dad (my darling husband whom I adore) MOVED HIS CHAIR ACROSS THE ROOM AND WOKE. HIM. UP. Thus, no nap for baby. And, selfishly...but nap for mommy. I informed said husband that he would be responsible for some serious pampering of the wife later that night to make up for his indiscretion.

Naturally, my darling came down with a splitting headache later that afternoon (it really was bad and I really did feel for him - even to the point of forgetting about the pampering that I wasn't getting). This headache lead to less attention being paid to Christopher's post-bath pee in the tub, which lead to the following course of events:

(Deep breath in....)
  1. Christopher pees on my bed, through the sheets to the mattress pad.
  2. Husband feels sick, due to headache, goes downstairs to make sure he doesn't die.
  3. I clothe Christopher, read him stories, put him in bed, race through changing of sheets because of screaming baby downstairs who is not assisting the daddy with the headache.
  4. Finally got the bed made while thinking, "there is no mattress pad on my bed. Something bad is going to happen tonight."
  5. Get husband to bed.
  6. Get baby to bed.
  8. Wake up at 2:00am to change baby's diaper.
  9. Place blanket under baby's bottom to avoid poop on the bed (I learned that lesson last week.) Get nailed my missile poop that OVERSHOOTS the blanket straight to the sheet (and my jammies).
  10. Whisper choice selection of swear words.
  11. Scramble to get new jammies for baby, new jammies for mommy, towels to go between mattress and poop sheet. Blanket to go between poop sheet and my clean jammies.
  12. Swear some more.
  13. Get baby back to bed, where he sleeps for THREE MORE HOURS.
  14. Get up.
  15. Feed baby and replace in crib where he sleeps for TWO MORE HOURS.
  16. Awake, happily, to realize (unhappily) that I have to wash both poo-poo sheets and pee-pee sheets all in one day.
All of that being said, I can't complain too much. Jacob took a morning, afternoon, and dinner time nap today. AND he's asleep right now. Knock on wood.

On the Christopher front:
Today he used his own "imaginary color finding goggles" to help the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gang replace all of the colors of the rainbow, ran around Babies-R-Us like the biggest boy you've ever seen, and made his mommy cry because of his beautiful reverence for Jesus and Momma Mary in adoration. OH - AND when I said to him, "Say Pizza!" His response was "Peee!" Close enough for me.

Next time: My Love Affair with Ebay. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Good Read

Check out this website -

It's a collection of women bloggers writing about all things woman, mom, and Catholic. I've only been reading it for one day and have already found it to be informative, entertaining and very very inspirational.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Angel, Unaware.

I think it's time that someone got some action figures.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Decisions, Decisions.

Well. We finally settled on Godparents for Jacob. And, believe it or not, it was a lot easier this time than last. When I was pregnant with Christopher, we must have mulled it over for months. As Catholics, it is something that we take quite seriously. So Tim and I set up some criteria.

Criterion #1 - Catholicity. They must be practicing Catholics. And that means PRACTICING. In the Dictionary Of Me, "practicing" can be defined as REALLY GOES TO CHURCH. EVERY WEEKEND. AND HOLY DAYS. And, perhaps....maybe they even go on a weekday from time to time. It also means that they know their faith and have a love for it. Perhaps a devotion is exercised here or there. Maybe they even own a Rosary. And use it. In most cases this would narrow the candidate pool....but in our circle of family and friends, it really only shaves a few people off the top.

Criterion #2 - Proximity. As the role of Godparents is to provide a lived witness of the Faith to the child, we both feel that it's really important that these people are a frequent presence in our lives. I want my children to see them more than once a year. For both boys we considered family and friends who lived out of town, out of state, even out of the country. But we keep coming back to this consistency issue.

Criterion #3 - Family. There are certain things that, I feel, you have to use family for first. Whether it "should" be that way or not. Whether it's annoying or not. Whether you really want to or not. It's kind of like the whole issue of who you have in your wedding. There's a progression, and lest you have complete disregard for the possibility of alienating people who are bound to you FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, you should really start there.

I tell you, we AGONIZED over this issue with Christopher. Is this person going to pass on the Faith to him the way WE will? Is that person around enough to really have an impact in his daily life? Is anyone going to get their feelings hurt if we ask so-and-so instead? Good grief.

But, the agony was worth it because I'm confident that we chose the PERFECT people for him.

And then I got pregnant again. I chose not to think about Baptism AT ALL FOR THE DURATION OF THE PREGNANCY because it's just too stressful. All of a sudden, Jacob was one whole month old and we'd only discussed the issue once. Maybe twice.

We both knew that we wanted to ask Tim's sister. She is the perfect match. We both adore her. And she adores our kids. Easy peasy. The real challenge was going to be finding a Godfather. Because, after all, what about THE CRITERIA?! So Tim says, without taking a breath, "What about your brother?" Once I regained consciousness, I asked him if he was serious. And then I asked him if he was sure. And he said yes. And I started crying.

You see, my brother lives in L.A. We see him maybe twice a year. And when it comes to criterion #1....well let me just say that when I told my mom who we were asking, her response was "are you hoping for a back-door conversion through Jacob?"

I finally called him last night to ask him if he'd do it. He provided a good deal of comedic effect when he asked me "how Christopher other one...why can't I think of his name?" were doing. But when I asked him if he'd be interested in the job, he was speechless.

When he finally spoke he said that he'd be honored. And that he was humbled. And then he thanked me profusely. The conversation ended with a slew of dates that he'd be available to come up, even if he had to come up the weekend after he was up here for something else, he'd make the trip to be here for Jacob. With this, I knew that we'd made the right choice again.

The agony was different this time. And I should know by now that God often works in ways that are opposite to what I'm expecting. The first time we were looking for the people who Christopher needed in his life. This time, maybe we've found the people who need Jacob in theirs.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another day in paradise

Me: Christopher! Don't eat that! That's Jacob's boogie! OH. Too late.

Tim: Here, at least drink this so you can wash it down fast.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


This just in on the breastfeeding front. I've become rather intrigued by this whole situation. I think that this follow up article says it all.

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's in November, if you were wondering. Gifts - lots and lots of them - are quite welcome.

About five weeks before Jacob was born, I was given the GREATEST GIFT EVER. Two of my dearest, bestest girlfriends in the WORLD came out to see me. What started out as a THIRTIETH birthday present for one of us (a surprise visit from the other two) quickly morphed into a THIRTIETH birthday present for all three of us from our beloved husbands. Because this is the year in which we all turn THIRTY. Although, it's worth noting that I will turn THIRTY last. It was such a great week. This visit was nearly three years in the making, and we were all due. No one had any grand ideas of great adventures - we were really just looking forward to being together. Getting pedicures. Drinking coffee. Talking. So that's exactly what we did. We did spend a day in San Francisco playing tourist. And we did drive up to Sonoma to go wine tasting. But that's the extent of it.

As much fun as I had with my sisters during their visit, I mention it here only as a backdrop to a greater story. The story of the day I saw a naked lady in the ice cream shop. A day that will live in infamy.

The day we attempted to go wine tasting was simply lovely, despite the fact that we really only stopped at one winery, as our main goal for the day was to simply explore. The "wine tasting experience" was not our ultimate goal that day. This, of course, was a good thing considering the fact that I was 9 months pregnant at that time and most likely scandalized everyone who saw me waddling around the marketplace and leaning up against the wine bar. Honestly! I've never felt so conspicuous in my life. It didn't matter that I never once even held a wine glass in my hand - I could just feel the judgmental eyes of others boring into my head. Or my belly, as the case may be.

I suppose that was fitting, though, as this is quickly to morph into a post about judgment.

So after the winery, which was LOVELY by the way, we hopped into the car and drove to Sonoma. What a charming - and EXPENSIVE - little town. We parked in the main square, right on the corner of the park, and ambled in and out of the little shops and boutiques. It was hot. We were (not really) hungry. We stopped for ice cream.

As we waited there in line I recalled seeing a stroller as we'd walked in the door. Being mere days away from being a stroller mommy again, I turned around to look for the baby. There he was in all of his squishy cuteness, sitting on his mommy's lap right by the door. What a cute little fluff he was. I couldn't take my eyes off him. I admit, I was staring.

And then, all of a sudden, I saw IT. I was probably so much in shock that I stared some more before I figured out that I should look away. And then? Then I was MORTIFIED. That cute little bundle of squishiness was nursing away at his mommy's breast that happened to be FULLY EXPOSED AND HANGING OUT FOR THE WORLD TO SEE. Mommy was wearing a button down shirt and had simply unbuttoned her shirt to feed her baby. And she had NO QUALMS about the fact that she MAY AS WELL HAVE BEEN NAKED in the middle of Ben and Jerry's. Had I a sugar cone I could have gouged! out! my! eyes! and yet the memory would still be there.

Now, I know we're all girls here... (Remember when you were a kid at a slumber party and you tried to be discreet when changing your clothes just because you're modest and you don't think the whole world needs to know all your secrets? And remember when, inevitably, someone would say "come on! we're all GIRLS here!" I HATED THAT.) ...BUT SERIOUSLY! I do not need to see that lady's secrets.

I mention this because I was just over at Spirit Daily yesterday and stumbled upon this article, which I really found fascinating. Since day one, I have nursed Christopher (and now Jacob) in public and really had no problem doing so. I've always been totally discreet, even to the point where if I was struggling keeping things private, I'd have Tim hold my blanket for me while I got everything situated. Always anticipating critical remarks and sideways glances, I've been surprised on more than one occasion by the positive feedback. Some women have even complimented me on my bravery, of all things. They've shared with me how they were always too afraid of people saying mean things to feed their own babies in public.

The one place I've never nursed, though, is at Mass. This is not because I think it inappropriate by any means, but simply because I'm just not comfortable doing so. The details intimidate me. And, okay, the only clothes that fit well enough to wear to Mass don't really fit well enough to nurse properly. (Too tight here, too lumpy there. Argh.) That being said, I've always admired other moms who I've seen nursing their baby and peacefully soaking in the homily while I've been in the back bouncing my son up and down, up and down, up and down JUST TO MAINTAIN THE PEACE. I've often wondered to myself how many years will pass before I am actually able to pay attention at Mass again.

So I read this article by this woman, and then I read the comments. And then I was appalled. And then I tried to leave her a supportive comment. And then I kept typing and typing and typing! And then? Then! Blogger wouldn't accept my comment.

And so was born this post.

Thus, I extend my support to her, and all other breastfeeding mothers who are simply trying to care for their babies modestly and discreetly. For whatever reason, so many passersby are uncomfortable enough with breastfeeding that I really think we need to help them out a little, not by hiding in our homes until our children are old enough to eat with a fork and spoon...but by going out with our children and FEEDING THEM WHEN THEY ARE HUNGRY.

Perhaps we can just remember to unbutton our shirt from the bottom up, rather than the top down? Okay ice cream lady?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Do you think the Irish in-laws would be offended to learn that I always thought that thing was a gnome?

Somewhere in the past few weeks, in between catnaps and nursing, my baby turned into a big boy. I know that I've said this SO MANY TIMES over the past 21 months ("He's so big! When did that happen? All of a sudden he's such a big boy!") but this time IT'S TRUE.

My friends who've had children so close together warned me that this would happen. They tried to convince me of how strange it would be to bring home a little tiny baby and put said baby next to my not-so-tiny-anymore baby. They said that the contrast of that image would change Christopher from just being my baby to still looking like a baby, but just a really big one. Giant Baby, if you will.

They were right. For about, oh, a DAY.

Then he turned into a big boy. A big boy who eats KETCHUP. Which, honestly? EW. But it was inevitable, I realize, considering his Daddy owns a t-shirt that states, "I Put Ketchup On My Ketchup." And it's true. Ketchup on everything. Ugh. But I digress.

Just in the past few weeks, baby Christopher disappeared into the far recesses of my memory to be replaced by this little child who can run and jump, who spins around so fast that he makes himself dizzy and falls down, and who stands on the sofa, kicks his feet out in front of him and lands on his bottom. This is, without question, his favorite thing to do right now. Each time he bounces on that little bottom he squeals with delight and giggles as he balances himself to do it all again. And so begins my life as the mom of active little boys.

Beyond the physical changes, something has happened in his mind. He's developed an IMAGINATION. He picks up pretend snacks (off of the floor. I know. And yes, it does speak volumes. Volumes which I will not admit to.) and shares them with you when you ask. He can sit on the stairs of his grandparents' house and play FOREVER with this little ceramic leprechaun. He carries his own baby around the house, calls himself "Daddy", balances the doll on a pillow while I'm feeding Jake, and even burps him when he's all done.

Where did this come from? I have NO IDEA. It is certainly not something that I've fostered. Of all the attempts I make at educating my child in the ways of the toddler world, teaching him how to pretend never even crossed my mind.

Again, I find myself completely fascinated by the creation that is my child.

Perhaps starting a blog right at the same time you have a baby is not the best of ideas...

Jacob smiled today. Rumor has it that the smile occured while I was pulling his big brother off of him, which explains exactly how it is that I missed it completely. I find this to be the story of my new life as a mommy of two - life is turning into quite a fog. Much of the time I feel like I'm just getting by, doing my best to be cheery and "up" for Christopher while not really having a handle on much of anything.

I was warned. Not warned against having more children, although there are those who would be eager to provide such a warning, I'm sure. But warned that having two children so close in age would be a challenge, to say the least. The one that stands out in my mind was, "the first year is HARD. But then it's SO! MUCH! FUN!"

I'm looking forward to the "so much fun" and figuring that I won't remember much of the "hard." Or that's my hope anyway.

Despite the challenges, I'm finding life with two to be a delight. Okay, I admit that I was going to write "I'm finding life with two to be quite blissful" but figured that I'd be committed for having officially lost my mind. (This has occurred, by the way, as evidenced by the non-existent internet order that I placed last week and then waited and waited and waited for it to arrive only to discover that I never completed the order in the first place.)

Delightful though it may be, exhaustion is the name of the game at this point. Even when I'm feeling good, even in the moments (few and far between though they may be) that I'm actually pleasant to live with, my entire existence can be characterized by this sleep-deprived stupor.

This should explain why it is that my youngest son has only had one real (tub)bath in his nearly-six weeks of life, why my bathrooms have not been cleaned since my mom left nearly a month ago, why I can't seem to put enough words together to form a complete sentence....and why I can't think of a clever way to end this post.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Boys will be boys...

At yesterday's Father's Day gathering.....

Adorable 9-year old nephew: Auntie Annie? Where is your camera?

Me: It's right here.

Nephew: you have a dollar?

Me: I think so. Do you need a dollar?


Me: (catching on) OH! Would you like to take pictures for me today and I'll pay you a dollar?

Nephew: Well, a dollar....or anything up to five dollars would be fine, really.


This morning after breakfast.....

Christopher was watching HoHoHo and Jacob was sleeping in his chair. When he started to stir, Christopher (always the helpful big brother) grabs my nursing pillow, wraps it around his waist, and then bends down to pick up his little brother.

If only it were that simple!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hot Diggity

Yesterday I had a run-in with a hot dog. Or, rather, a flying hot dog attacked my face.

This is not the first time that I have been assaulted in this manner. Two of my three readers may remember a time in college when they conspired against me in the interest of a good laugh, leaving me to almost lose my dinner. I'll restate the story here, for the sake of posterity...

It was a typical evening in my college life. My threesome was getting ready to head to the cafe for an exciting dinner of everything that comprised "hot dog bar." Granted, the only night that was really worth heading to the cafe was Sunday night's delicacy, "chicken bar." Everything else fell short of that, without fail. But I digress. As we head out to dinner, one roommate decides that she is not up to the deliciousness that awaited, but could roommate #2 please sneak a hot dog out for her to eat later. I remember thinking to myself, "well, if you're not feeling well now, the last thing you're going to want is a nasty, three hours old hot dog." Being the type to keep my snarkiness to myself such that it only exists in my own head, I vowed to remind roommate #2 to get the hot dog, and we headed out the door.

Dinner. Evening Mass. Socializing. Studying.

Back in the room that night, I sat at my computer typing away. My roommate (#2) turns off her light, tucks herself in and offers her standard evening farewell, "goodnight. sleep well. Don't stay up too late."

I remember (VERY clearly) that I wrapped things up around midnight. I turned out the light. Climbed up into my bed and pulled away the sheets. As I did so I became INCREDIBLY aware of a rather unpleasant odor wafting up from my pillow.
"Ugh. Time to change the sheets," the innocent, sleepy co-ed thought to herself.

I climbed into my bed. I pulled my cozy blankets up over my shoulder. Ignoring the not-so-pleasant aroma I snuggled my tired head down into my pillow, when all of a sudden I could feel a cold, clammy object nuzzling my neck. Like they would in a Hollywood movie, the prior events of the evening flashed through my memory with the speed of a strobe light. Realizing what was caressing my neck I reached up with my right hand and discovered it.


Cold. Clammy. Rancid. And far more than three hours old.

You would think I'd found a dead animal in my bed or something, based on the ferocity with which I launched it across the room while at the same time forcing myself to not heave my own hot dog onto my sleeping roommate below me. It was horrible. Disgusting. Revolting....and it still has my roommates laughing nearly ten years later.

All that being said, it is clear that hot dogs and I do not have an amicable history. So, yesterday when Christopher chucked his hot dog at me while I was nursing Jake, and when said hot dog pelted me directly in the face, I was less than pleased.

Tossing his food off of his tray is something that he's been doing for a while now. Usually this delightful portion of our mealtime occurs when he's been sitting too long, doesn't like his food, or is just tired of sitting and would rather graze. (We have quite a grazer on our hands. It never fails that if we let him out of his chair, he'll eat at least half of what remains on his tray as he walks around the room supervising everyone else's mealtime.)

But yesterday was different. Yesterday we witnessed a turning point in Christopher's relationship with his little brother. He is still incredibly loving towards Jacob, giving him kisses, watching him sleep, sharing his toys/food/sippy/remote control/bowl of dried cranberries with him. That has not changed. But what has changed is his need for attention. Just like everyone said, he seems to have realized that this little friend who has come to play is not going home. Ever. This has upped the whiny-factor by at least 1000%. His passive aggressive attempts at letting us all know who's boss have remained the same - stealing Jacob's blanket. Pulling off his socks (although, if Christopher had it his way, NO ONE would ever wear socks. Don't ask. I don't know.) But he's also learned how to use his voice to let us know that just because Jacob is here doesn't mean that Christopher doesn't need us. Or want us.

Of course we know this. He just doesn't know we know this. Black spy, white spy.

Poor little guy. So yesterday's hot dog toss was not the result of being full, or bored, or wanting to graze. It was a statement. Letting me know that it is ridiculously unfair that Jacob gets to sit on my lap and eat his lunch while Christopher is banned to the chair. Right next to me. A distance of about 18 inches. MILES AND MILES in toddlerville.

I know that things could be a lot worse, and am positive that I'll realize the validity of that statement as we continue to settle into being a family of four. I'm just hoping that my years of being victimized by Oscar Mayer are in the past.