Friday, November 15, 2013

Happiness is

The move is happening.

Getting pregnant easily is not.

To be honest there is a whole lot to stress about. A whole lot to agonize over and maybe even cry about.


There is always more to be happy about. Some days I have to try (really hard) (all day) to feel that way, but not today. Here are just some of the teeny tiny things that make me so happy I think my heart might actually burst.

Ben started saying "mama" on request two days ago. I have waited a loooooong time for those two little syllables. I just about die every single time.

My brother and sister will both be home for Thanksgiving

Lily is back to wearing a wool hat 18 hours a day. I hate it, but sort of love it.

We get to eat a lot of take out as we eat our way through the last of what is in the cupboards.

The sound of Ben sucking on his pacifier at night is awesome, right out of a cartoon.

Christmas in Maine and I don't have to pack a single bag.

I am the recipient of no less than 100 kisses every least a few of which are from my husband.

Lily's feet stink. Like stop you in your tacks, knock you down, bring tears to your eyes, stink. It is hilarious.

I will only ever clean this house one more time.

I have to go ask Ben to say mama, because it has been a least two hours since the last time I asked...he may or may not have been taking a nap during that time, but still, two hours is too long :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Home Inspected.

(I apologize if this post is full of typos, my editor is at a wedding while the author of this blog watches our children alone on a Sunday afternoon!)

On Monday the buyers had the house inspected. It was actually kind of perfect because Matt had the day off (Columbus Day for those of you who don't live in New England) so we went out to lunch and took the kids to a small farm for some apples. Over the weekend we prepared the house the best we could. As I have said before, we are honest and we don't have anything to hide. That being said, did I paint the wall in the basement where the dog and cat food bowls are because I thought it looked moldy? You bet I did. I sprayed the wall with vinegar first and then used Kilz to paint over the area. Admittedly, I was worried that the home inspector would say the word mold and the buyers would run in the other direction. The reality, it is a basement, and we had a very humid summer. I definitely don't feel guilty for correcting a problem I though the inspector might blow out of proportion. Matt did a somewhat "lipstick" fix to the front gutter, but we disclosed that the roof and gutters were in need of some attention, so guilt here :) Additionally I replaced the dryer hose, fixed the dripping toilet, and fixed the insulation in the attic. All of those things had been on my todo list for months, if not years! I also made sure all light bulbs worked, outlets were accessible, and cabinets were clutter free.

The inspection went fine, as expected, and the buyers were completely freaked out, as expected. Having been through the process Matt and I remembered feeling like the house was a total lemon after the inspection. Luckily their realtor (who we found out is the father of one of the buyers) calmed their nerves and they presented us with a semi-ridiculous amendment to their original offer. As in they asked for a TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR credit, hahaha. The one unexpected problem that the inspector found was that the furnace was leaking. I knew the cement under it was wet but thought it was just condensation. Part of the credit was supposedly for the roof but again we had previously disclosed the roof's age/condition. Our realtor was firm that they should not expect a credit for a new roof. Since we basically declined their offer they came back to us with "repairing/replacing the furnace and a 4K credit at closing". Our realtor offered to split the closing credit with us but we chose not to counter and instead asked for an extension of the contract so that we could have the furnace looked at by a plumber.

It was a long four days but on Friday afternoon a very nice guy came over to look at the furnace. After about 15 minutes downstairs he delivered the best news we could have asked for. The furnace needed a new drainage hose, the part cost 11 dollars!! We had him do another small repair to an exhaust duct and in the end we wrote him a check for $160.00. AMAZING! We were seriously afraid that we would need to replace the furnace and that financially we were not going to be able to sell the house. We texted our realtor the good news and gave her the green light to let the buyers know.

As far as I know their lawyer will draft the purchase and sale tomorrow and if all goes as planned with their financing we will be closing the week before Thanksgiving.


There is SO much to do and since Matt will be saving up his vacation time for the move and the upcoming holidays most of that stuff is going to need to be done by yours truly.

I will do my very best to keep on posting but I am not making any promises! At the very least I am planning a "mega house post" with tons of before and after pictures before we start packing.

Leaving this house is going to be heartbreaking but we are as ready as we can be!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Full Price Offer!

The short story: Our realtor called me on Wednesday of last week and suggested that we consider re-listing our house. Apparently she had a lot of buyers express interest in our house after we took it off the market. I agreed to "a one weekend last chance listing". On Saturday afternoon we received a very fair offer but it was less than our break even price, after a lot of conversation we decided we were going to decline the offer. Just as we were lamenting that "ah, so close" feeling I received a text from our realtor...FULL PRICE OFFER!

Long Story: As my loyal readers know we have been trying to sell our house since July. This is actually the second time in six years that we have listed the house. All summer I worked to keep the house ready for showings. I did every single thing the realtor asked and expected of me and we just couldn't get a reasonable offer.

By early September I was so burnt out from all of the showings and was ready to have my house, my privacy, and my sanity back. We took the house off the market on Monday the 16th. For two glorious weeks I let the kids get out every toy, we left towels on the floor, and I didn't dust a single knickknack. That is not to say I didn't clean, we have pets and kids after all, but it was amazing to loosen the reigns! We made plans to head to Maine for the first weekend in October to celebrate Mimi's birthday. Matt and I had also been throwing around the idea of getting away for a night so I booked us a cottage (at a motel) for one night in North Conway, NH.

The week before we headed to Maine was a pretty typical week. I had both kids all day on Monday and Tuesday, we ran errands and had a play date with a new friend from Lily's school. On Wednesday Lily went to preschool in the morning and Ben and I went for a run. This is the part where I should mention I HATE pushing the jogger, ugh! After school the kids and I met Vicki and co. for a picnic at the beach, it was 80 degrees. I am completely thrown by this unseasonable weather but I figure we should make the most of it. While having lunch Vicki and I talked at length about how the house had not sold and what we were planning to do from here.

When I got home from the beach there was a message on my phone from our realtor asking me to call her and that she had a proposition. She had also called the house phone and sent me an email. I put the kids down for a nap and returned her call. My gut reaction to her request to relist the house was, hell no! I did tell her that I would need to talk it over with Matt and that I would get back to her. Dingle and I exchanged a series of pretty hilarious texts and we were both confident that we would not be relisting. By 9pm on Wednesday night I sent the realtor an email approving the relist. Neither Matt nor I know how that happened, haha.

Thursday I showed my kids a healthy amount of neglect and Octonauts episodes so that I could undo the last few weeks of living in squalor. It took me all day. In fact, I still wasn't done when Matt got home from work, nor was I done the following morning. I put the last touch in place at a full sprint as I raced out the door to pick Lily up from school at noon. Keep in mind I also had to pack for the whole family for a three day weekend away. Good thing both the dog and Ben were standing in waiting at the door when I raced by, there is no guarantee that I would have remembered to pack them otherwise.

No more than three minutes after closing the door behind me my mind was on to the next thing and I had all but forgotten that our house was being show six times on Saturday. On Saturday morning Matt and I got up bright and early and drove to North Conway for a little retail therapy and alone time. It was Mimi's birthday and she insisted that babysitting our tots was the best gift we could give her, ha! Don't have to tell me twice.

We had a great morning shopping, it has been a very long time since I was in a store without a stroller or a child hanging from my leg. That being said I bought myself a new pair of jeans and spent 90% of my time looking at cute things for the kids that they totally do not need. ( I "splurged" on a yellow puffer vest for Ben and a sweater dress for Lily.) Matt was able to find a few new shirts for work which, when paired with the jeans his mom got him for his birthday, made him a happy guy. While heading to lunch we got a text from the realtor saying a couple had made an offer. Up until that point I had literally forgotten all about the house. It was too low for us to really consider but it did make me feel like all my hard work wasn't for nothing. We had a ridiculously good (not at all good for you) lunch complete with big beers. After walking around a bit more we decided to check out the Conway Scenic Railway and upon finding out that the tickets were very reasonable decided a train ride was totally up our alley, even without the kids.

After the train we found a cool little hole in the wall to watch the Sox game and have some dinner. Just after the waiter had taken our order both of our phones started blowing up. The couple from earlier had sweetened their offer and the realtor offered to lower her commission if we were able to come to a deal. All through dinner we weighed our options and in the end we both agreed that the offer was still just too low to take.. We didn't feel any real urgency to call the realtor back so we finished up our meals and watched the game for a bit. Just as we were about to settle up the tab we got one last text...a second couple had made us a full price offer!!!

There was still a chance that another offer would come in on Sunday so we held off on an official acceptance. That night we stayed in one of those little cabins that you often see along rural routes in New England. Yes, technically it is just a motel room but I have always wanted to stay in one. Of course I was terrified that it would be horrible and dirty since there were no reviews online but overall it really wasn't too bad. I wouldn't want to stay there for an extended time, or with the kids, but for one night it was perfectly fine (and very clean). The only problem was that I had forgotten my flannel pj pants in Maine so I was freezing when I woke up around 6...too cold to go back to sleep. I let Matt sleep until 7 but I was craving coffee and missing the kids so I pushed him out of bed and we got on the road to come home.

On Sunday around noon we formally accepted the offer, no other competing offers came in. Now of course I am totally stressing about the home inspection, which is next Monday at noon. I have to remind myself that we are honest people with nothing to hide, and that the home inspection will not turn up any surprises. Fingers and toes crossed that I am right about that last part!

The plan if everything goes smoothly (which I know when selling/buying a house is a relative term) is to close at the end of November and move in with Mimi and Doe until we find our very own dream house in Maine.

Whether or not I allow myself to get too excited, I am not going to be any less disappointed if the deal falls through. You guys, MAINE! After 10 years in Massachusetts we are finally going home!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

So Close

I have so many wonderful funny things to write about, but I am stuck.

Every time I sit down to write about something that has happened recently I look at my post list and it weighs on me. It weighs on me to have had another loss, to have this stupid unpublished draft.

This post is very personal and probably will not make you laugh. I know what you're thinking, "Well if she isn't even going to try and make me laugh then I am out of here." Honestly, I can't say that I blame you! But if I don't do this post, lift this weight, I am afraid that I will just stay stuck in this stupid place.

When I had my first miscarriage in May of 2011 I was almost 11 weeks pregnant when we found out that the baby had stopping growing. We had told all of our friends and family that we were expecting and undoing that news was very, very hard. When it was over and we had begun to heal I told Matt that I did not regret telling everyone in the end, because we had not suffered alone.

As I mentioned in my last post this most recent miscarriage happened before I was very far along and we had really only had time to tell a few people. As I suspected, telling our families that we had had a miscarriage before they even knew that we were expecting, totally sucked. I sincerely apologize to anyone reading this post and hearing this news for the first time.

In some ways this loss was easier. I didn't have to have surgery (twice), we didn't have to go through the agony of knowing that the baby's tiny heart had stopped beating, and I didn't spend 9 weeks with my head in the toilet. (Don't get me wrong, I will suffer through months of morning sickness if I get a healthy baby at the end, but holy wow was that a kick in the shin last time.)

It took me a long time to reconcile in my heart what had happened when I lost the baby in 2011. Simply stated, miscarriages are tragedies beyond my comprehension. As a scientist I understand their biological importance and I am able to feel gratitude that I was not faced with an alternate, impossibly hard, reality. That doesn't make them fair. When I had my first miscarriage I was disappointed, and scared that there was something wrong with me. Knowing just how common losses are has helped to quiet those demons. This time around I obviously felt disappointed, we were hoping for another spring baby, superficial I know. But I was not scared like last time, I was pissed. Honestly...just really angry. Didn't the universe know, it wasn't my turn?? The morning I knew I was miscarrying I cleaned the entire house for a showing all the while crying angry tears and slamming the vacuum into every wall, chair, and baseboard heater this house has.

A few days later I was feeling physically better but I was still having a hard time letting go of the anger. I still felt pregnant, I still felt a connection to that little spirit. I went for a run along the beach. I don't know what the weather was like, I was too mad to care. I was mad that people wouldn't get out of my way, mad that my right ear bud kept slipping, mad that I had forgotten to shuffle my playlist. I was on the verge of tears and about to turn around and head back to the car when I decided to just stop. Here is the thing, I NEVER quit on a run. If I tell myself I am going to do three miles I do not stop moving until I have done three miles. It is hard for me to even find the words to explain what I was feeling. I sat down on a bench and started talking to the baby's spirit (in my head of course, I haven't completely lost my marbles). I told the baby that I was sad and angry, I thought about how badly we want to add to our family, and I said my goodbyes. But here is the thing (and gets admittedly really weird) I still felt like the baby's spirit was with me. And as soon as I realized I felt that way, and stopped fighting it, I stopped being angry. I stood up, hit shuffle on my playlist, and started running again. The song that started playing, "Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris. It is an upbeat dance song but the lyrics hit me like a truck.

"I feel so close to you right now
It's a force field
I wear my heart upon my sleeve, like a big deal
Your love pours down on me, surrounds me like a waterfall
And there's no stopping us right now
I feel so close to you right now"

I know that this may sound totally crazy, but I am putting it out there anyway. I feel this baby's spirit with me. I didn't feel this way after my first loss but this time has been different. I have no idea what it means and I am completely open to the idea that this "feeling" is nothing more than an elaborate coping mechanism but simply stated, it doesn't matter if I understand it and I certainly cannot ignore it.

I will say that it is pretty fantastic that if I ever want to feel close to that little soul all I have to do is lace up my running shoes.

I feel you baby, all around me. Thank you for helping to heal this broken heart.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Summer...summarized...sort of.

I still haven't really decided how to move forward with my blog without spending 40 hours (that I will never find) blogging in detail about so many important things that have happened since last spring. I think the plan is to summarize our summer in this post and then post date some of the more important things as I get caught up. I have promised myself that for at least a few weeks while Lily is at school and Ben in napping that I will spend time right here, doing what I love, documenting our little lives.


Upon returning from Kate's graduation at the end of May we decided that the time was right to re-list our house. Maine is always the goal. Most, if not all, of the major decisions we have made in the last couple of years have all been rooted in getting back home and settling down permanently.

Kate moved in with us the first week of June and I took full advantage of her babysitting services. My days started at 7am and often didn't end until 9pm or later. I prepped, primed, painted, and repainted almost every wooden surface in our home. It was a tremendous amount of work and I will not be signing up to do it again any time soon. The results however are amazing and I was very proud to have the listing agent take our pictures and formalize our listing.

Also in June we had the kids baptized at "our" church in Maine. It was the

We made several other trips to Maine to celebrate Doe's 60th birthday as well as attend a large family reunion for my dad's family. The weather was a little on the cool side for June but if nothing else it was amazing for running...which I did a lot of.


Kate and I signed up for a sunrise SUP (stand up paddle board) class that ran for four weeks. The first two weeks we paddled in rough seas, drizzle, and ridiculous fog. Not exactly what we had in mind! The weather really cooperated for the remainder of the classes and I had a great time. I consider myself "lake people" and would much rather sit on the dock and listen to the loons than sit on the beach any day. That being said I really enjoyed the ocean for the first time since I was a kid. Totally worth getting up at 5:30 :)

July was beautifully hot and the kids and I used the pool almost every day. We spent our days playing outside, picnicking, soaking up the sun. The kids have the farmer's tans to prove it! I crossed at least 20 things off my 101 things list, but don't hold your breath for the blog posts any time soon!! The fourth of July was a blast this year. The weather was perfect and the kids LOVED the fireworks. My heart was just bursting all evening as I cuddled my two greatest blessings on a blanket in the park.

Mid July we made last minute plans to see a Red Sox game and made arrangements for the kids to spend the weekend with Mimi and Doe. In the midst of making plans and getting the house ready for yet another open house (remember this whole time the house was on the market and we were doing showings and open houses every weekend, yuck) we got a huge shock...two pink lines! We kept our news a secret and sadly 10 days later I lost the pregnancy.

For a few days I was in shock, and then for a few more days I was really angry. I had already had my "statistically likely" miscarriage in 2011, a second one really felt like a slap in the face. There is definitely a longer blog post here because I have more that I would like to say about loss and moving forward. For now, know that I am doing great, both mentally and physically. I am ready and excited to get pregnant again and as soon as it happens I will be shouting it from the rooftops.


The first weekend in August I drove myself to NY to spend some much needed quality time with one of my very best friends. I am not sure if she really wanted me to crash her weekend as she was getting ready to go on vacation and her apartment was about to undergo a huge renovation, but wanted or not I showed up at her door and she took me in. The weekend was amazing, we went for a run, ate our way through all of NYC, shopped, drank beers, got our nails done, and went to bed at a reasonable hour...I could not have asked for a more perfect weekend. In case I didn't say it enough, thank you and I love you.

Running, running, and more running.

Cleaning the house, doing showings, cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. Keeping the house "show ready" is an exhausting full time job.

Dingle and I were treated to box seats at yet another Sox game. It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g! A much needed date night for sure!

As is our annual tradition the kids and I headed to Maine for an extended weekend the second week of August. We spent lots of time with family and friends we love like family. Did I mention that I love Maine, sigh. We went to the beach, swam in my aunt's pool, ate popcorn, hit up the playground, had lobsters, visited a petting zoo, and smiled until our cheeks hurt.

On Friday we ran our third Summerfest 5k. I ran a post-babies personal best with a time of 29:00, three whole minutes faster than last year. Proud, you bet I am. Next to Christmas this remains my favorite week of the year.

As summer blends into fall here in New England we are all looking forward to the change of seasons. Cool nights and warm days, apple picking, pumpkin flavored everything, and the return of our favorite TV shows! The house is now officially off the market until spring so we can all relax and enjoy what will most likely be our last fall season in this house!

Friday, September 6, 2013

First Day of School!

I have no less than 100 pictures on my real camera to document Lily's open house on Wednesday. Today Daddy had the real camera and we were not on the same page when it came to documentation. I will upload the iphone pics I took tomorrow.

In summary today was very good. The whole family took Lily to school this morning to drop off our girl. The goodbye was just as I had pictured it. At first Lily ran into the room without so much as turning around and as far as the teachers were concerned Daddy and I should just slip out, but I know my girl.

(*side note - Are all toddlers a little OCD? Seriously, Lily is VERY ritualistic about saying goodbye/goodnight. We have started affectionately referring to said ritual as the "secret handshake" and lord help you if you get it wrong. I'll take a video of it and post it soon, you know for posterity...not at all in a mocking way)

Back to my story. I called to Lily to let her know that we were leaving and asked if she would like to do the secret handshake. Immediately she froze in her tracks and retreated back to us, looking a little panicked. I assured her that I would be back to pick her up, completed the ritual, and made a bee line for the car. I feel a little ridiculous admitting that I cried in the car on the way home, but it hurt leaving her there.

I came home, put Ben down for his nap and proceeded to putt around the house for two long hours. Ben FINALLY got up around 11 and we had a great time playing bubbles on the front porch. Right on schedule at 11:55 he began to frantically and relentlessly beg me for lunch. (He repeatedly cycles through his signs, more, hungry, please, more hungry, please, more, hungry, pleeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaasssssssseeeeeee). It was a little early to go get Lily but I couldn't handle the begging so we headed over to her school, which is less than two minutes door to door. As it turns out pickup is a little (A LOT) hectic so we were not as early as I thought. Lily's teacher saw me in the door and brought Lil over to be signed out. By the time I looked up from the most amazing hug ever her teacher had returned to the classroom and we were just left standing in the hall. No mention of how the day went, no further instructions. Like a total rookie mom I stood there for a minute not really knowing what to do, so we left. It was weird.

Lily was oddly quiet as we walked to the car and she requested that I turn off the radio for the ride home. Poor thing. She must have been so overstimulated. I made the mistake of asking her a few questions and after three consecutive one word answers she snapped, "Mommy, I don't want to talk right now." Totally my bad. After scolding her for snapping I apologized for pestering her and we ate lunch in silence. I laid down with her at nap time and again she was pretty quiet.

Finally after nap she was a little more chatty and here are the details of her day:

They sang three songs - "the monkey song" "the hot dog song" and "the spider song"
They read a book - "I don't know what it was about"
They had a snack - "It was regular crackers, yesterday it was teddy grahams"
They played outside - "I rode in every car, one was broken. I did not break it"
She was assigned a job - "My job was to clean up"

The only two unsolicited pieces of intel:

"There is a raccoon there, I love that little guy."
"One little boy ate the other little girl's snack."

So there you have it. We'll see how next week goes. Overall I think she liked it.

Toddlers are amazing.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Preschool gives me hives

Just when you were thinking that maybe, just maybe, we were all grown up and gone forever.

After nearly three months without blogging a single sentence I am officially back on the wagon. We have had a crazy summer full of high highs and heartbreaking lows. I promise to do my very best to catch everyone up as soon as I figure out the best way to do it. I can't decide whether to do a series of short posts or a few very long ones. AND I have not forgotten that there are some very important things that happened this spring that I have still yet to type out. Just like raising a family this space is always a work in progress and I appreciate my loyal friends and readers who have gently reminded me over the past few weeks that I am missed and that I had better start posting pictures of my kids again, or else.

I want this post to be sweet and funny...but mostly I just want to not throw up.

Lily starts preschool tomorrow. I am simultaneously excited and devastated. Here is the thing about sending my first born off to school. Up until now I have been Lily's whole world. I am her best friend. I know all of her stories, I can finish her sentences, and I recite every episode of Octonauts...all while throwing mommy doll off the roof. I have been here. To make every snack and kiss every boo boo. To read every book and sing every song.

Now there will be new songs, and I will not know the words.

Soon she will come home bursting to tell me all about firetrucks, or butterflies, or calculus and it will all be new to me. Especially the calculus. I will not know who she sat next to at snack when she inevitably forgets and asks me their name. I will not know how many times she went down the slide, or if she was chosen to feed the fish or pick up the blocks. Everything will be new and exciting to her, and of course I will be excited too...but for this little girl's mommy all of this "new" is bittersweet.

This is the start of Lily becoming her own person. I have spent three years basking in the amazing spirit that she is when she is with me, in our comfy bubble. Now it is time to send her out in to the world and I am not ready to share. The outside world will change her for the better...and for the worse. I know it is only preschool but this is it, her first big step...away from me.

Don't get me wrong, I know in my heart that school will be great for her. I would not send her if I felt otherwise, not all three year olds need to go to school and I will be making this decision on a kid by kid basis! But Lily? Lily, our girl who spoke in full sentences at 18 months, potty trained herself at two and a half, and just informed me yesterday that when she grows up she will take her coffee with cream and sugar, is ready.

In fifteen years when she reads excerpts from this blog there are a few things I want her to know:
(Lily this list is for you.)

1. I will always be here.

I promise to try my very hardest to always be here when you get home from school. There is nothing more important to me than hearing all about your day. Please don't leave out any details! I want to know whether or not you ate the lunch I packed, I want to know how many times you can jump rope, I want to know the names of all your friends, and what you learned in science class. I want you to know that there isn't anything you can't tell me.

2. I am your number one fan.

Every child deserves to feel that they are unconditionally loved, and you are no exception. I will proudly display your arts and crafts, applaud loudly at your band concerts, stand in the rain on the side of some field, and unabashedly brag about you to all of my friends. I believe in you with my whole heart.

3. Love learning

There are so many amazing things to learn in life. Explore, read, create, listen. Yes, school is a lot of work. No, you are not always going to love the assignments you are given or the topics you are expected to cover. That being said, going to school and learning all that you can is one of life's greatest privileges.Your dad and I can only barely scratch the surface when it comes to teaching you. Teachers are passionate about their jobs but you have to be an active participant in your own education. Be passionate about learning.

We will get in to the kind of person I hope you will become in future posts. For now just know that I expect you to be a good listener, use your manners, and for heavens sake don't wait if you have to use the potty!

This is your fair warning world, Lily is about to take over. Meanwhile if you need me tomorrow I will be crying in my car from 9:01 until 12:16pm.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Abandoned but not forgotten!

Hello? Anyone still out there?

I've heard that abandoning your blog for the better part of eight weeks is an excellent way to maintain your readership. Okay maybe not so much. In any case I am happy to report that I am back from my extended vacation from the internet. Life gets crazy sometimes and unfortunately I just didn't make the time to write. I wish I had, believe me, I am repeatedly hitting my head on the keyboard now! All that being said I am going to do something I have never done... I am going to post date a whole bunch of posts over the next few days. I know that in some blogging circles this is frowned upon. Haha is that even true? I have no idea. The only reason I mention it is that for those of you who don't want to miss a post you may have to look backwards in time. I will also link to those posts below.

A lot has happened in our little lives since the last time I sat down to tap out an update. Lily turned 3, I turned 32, Ben turned 1, we welcomed a bestie's baby girl, walked Sesame Street, Kate graduated from college, we passed the two year anniversary of my miscarriage, baptized the kids, and said a sad bon voyage to some dear friends. 

It has been a hectic few weeks full of family, milestones, celebrations, travel, and maybe just a little stress. I am going to do all of those good times justice by writing about each in just might take me awhile to get caught up.  

Stay tuned, lots to come!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Exercises in Futility


But for today I bring you futility at its finest.

I washed all of the bed sheets today and then my three year old reminded me that me last night was her last night in diapers.

I gave the kids a bath after nap this afternoon to kill a little time (we are all cooped up inside because of my allergies)...and then I fed them chili for dinner.

Nailed it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You are O-N-E!

Dear Ben,

You are one! I am afraid I may have given you reason to think that this is a sad milestone for me, but I want to assure you that I am not sad. I just love you so much, that sometimes it is hard for me to keep from thinking about the days when you will no longer want to be snuggled every minute of every day. I just have to remind myself that by then you will have other ways to show me how much you love me...and that no matter how much time goes by you will always be my son. You and I, little man, have a strong bond. I don't always know what you need or want, but I do know that you always look to me when you need something. Over the past year we have logged a lot of late night hours together rocking and dancing in the moonlight. Even though there were days I was so tired I seriously don't know how I took care of you and your sister, I am grateful for all of that time together. That being said, you are one, and it is time for you to start sleeping through the night, okay?!

When you were born we told Lily that no matter what changes might take place, bringing you home meant more love for all of us. At the time we had no idea just how much you would change our lives but we were certainly right about the love. It may be that sleep deprivation has caused me permanent memory loss but I definitely struggle to remember what life was like without you. After a long talk with your sister a few days ago about how much we love you, it became evident to me that she literally doesn't remember a time when you weren't here. I know there are going to be times when you two do not get along but my wish for each of you is that the bond you share now only strengthens as you grow. After all, there is no one else who will understand better what it was like to have me as your crazy mother. A word of advice, your smile gets you a long way with her...use it to your advantage!

Let me tell you some things I know about you.

1. You smile with your whole body
2. You love your blankie
3. You like to be read to and have a long attention span for books
4. You do not like to be alone and always sleep better at night in the same room as Lily
5. You will eat almost anything
6. You love to splash in water, specifically the dog bowl
7. You like to play outside but are suspicious of grass
8. You are very ticklish
9. You seek out balls, trucks, and any toy small enough to be a choking hazard
10.You are a climber

You really are a sweet, laid back guy. You seem content to hang out in the background and take it all in...while Lily twirls in the center spotlight. You are a little unsure about new people and situations but as long as we give you time you usually warm up. Only time will tell if you are going to be shy like Daddy or if this is just a phase. In any case I can't wait to see your little personality develop over the next few months and years.

Being your mom brings me so much joy. A year ago God sent us the perfect addition to our little family and we are all so grateful. You are a giggly, snugly, laid back dude...with a devilish glint in your eyes. So here we are, you are one, and I want you to know that I love you more than anything. Thank you for all of the love that you bring to each of us every day.

We love you so very much tater tot!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston Strong

This June marks my ten year anniversary of having moved to Boston. So as not to sound like a poser, we haven't lived in Boston proper for a number of years (we now live 7 miles north) but five of the best years of my life were spent on those same streets where so many people's lives changed forever last Monday. Boston is a small city. Every single person I know was exactly one degree of separation from the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

On Monday afternoon I got a text from my husband asking if I had the marathon on? I had watched it for several hours but had turned it off so that I could catch up on some DVR. When I turned the TV back to the race my heart stopped beating. How could this happen in my city? The very first thing I did was thank God that the kids and I didn't go and that Matt was safe at work. For those of you who are not from around here, the marathon really is an amazing day in the city and for many a tradition not to be missed. Matt's fraternity house sits on Beacon St, less that a 1/2 mile from the finish line. For years we could be found lining the streets and cheering on our many friends who were brave enough to take on heartbreak hill.

The second thing I did was post to facebook that we were not in harm's way and request that other people check in as well. My phone buzzed continuously with messages of love and "we are all safe" for the remainder of the night. Everyone was filled with a complicated mix of gratitude and sorrow. I can't emphasize this enough, we all knew someone running or someone watching and each of us felt that those injured could have just as easily been "one of us".

The four days that followed the bombing are sort of a blur. The news was speculative and everyone was heartbroken as we all learned the devastating details about those who had not been as fortunate. On Thursday night Matt and I actually made it to bed early and missed the breaking news that would blow up our phones all night long. On Friday morning I nursed Ben around 5:30am and when I came back to bed Matt was sitting up scrolling through his phone. He told me I had better turn on the TV, there had been more violence overnight. An MIT police officer, a 26 year old man, had been shot in cold blood in front of the Stata Center. For years, Matt's office was in that building.

Over the next 15 hours I could not turn the television off. I prayed hard that the people in question would be taken into custody before another innocent person was made a victim. When it was announced shortly after dark on Friday night that the suspect was apprehended (alive) the entire Boston community breathed a tremendous sigh of relief. What happened next still brings tears to my eyes, even days later. People of all ages lined the streets to express their gratitude to the first responders, police, FBI, and special forces who had worked so selflessly to keep us all safe. Some people criticized those seen "celebrating" on TV but let me tell you something about the people of this great city. We are proud and tough, loud and abrasive  loving and loyal...and an attack on our friends was terribly humbling. When the whole ordeal was put to rest the people of Boston simply couldn't contain our gratitude and it poured out into our streets. It wrapped our neighbors, our friends, and our children in a genuine embrace of raw human emotion. It was not celebratory, it was relief expressed with a heavy heart. It was pure and it was raw, and in this blogger's humble opinion  a telling snapshot of the genuine spirit that makes this city such a special place to live.

We are Boston proud.

There is a lot of healing left to be done and questions to be answered but that one thing is certain, we will remain "Boston Strong."

Here is a link to to a local news website if you are looking for suggestions on how to help the people affected by this horrible act of violence.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to me - a post about toddler puke!

You all know how much I love my daughter, and if you know me (either in real life or through my blog) you probably also know that I love my birthday. 

This year the little girl that I love so much gave me the gift of midnight toddler vomit for my birthday. Lots and lots of toddler vomit. 

If you have never had the pleasure of taking care of a toddler with the pukes let me tell you, it is a scaring experience. A few weeks ago when she was sick I thought it was pretty rough and coined the phrase "panic puker". In hindsight that day had NOTHING on the 18 hours of pure misery that Lily put me through on my birthday this year. It is safe to say that I would relive the hangover of '03, during which I had to pull over on I90 in Boston to get sick on the side of the road. Not exactly my proudest moment, but at least that night I had some fun before I had to spend the night on the bathroom floor. 

It started when I heard "the cry" around 11, coincidentally about 30 seconds after falling into a deep sleep. I shot out of bed and ran to the guest room (Ben's non-sleeping had been taking a toll on Lily so I had separated them once again) to find Lily sitting bolt upright in bed drenched in sweat, covered in puke, and screaming like a pissed off banshee. I'm serious, she was livid...and the instant our eyes met I knew she had found just the person she was looking for. Not to comfort and protect her, no no. Surely someone must be to blame for this disgusting injustice, that person must pay. That person was going to be me. 

I put her in the tub, washed her hair, put her in clean jammies, stripped the bed, started a load of laundry, rinsed out the tub, changed her jammies again, spot cleaned the living room rug, and made a "special bed" on the sun room floor all while being verbally abused and berated. Just as I was about to close my eyes on the couch she threw up with no warning all over her "special bed", I glanced at the clock 12:02...happy birthday to me! 

The night was looong, neither of us slept. At one point she looked me square in the face and said, "Stop making me throw up." Poor baby, I had no idea so much horribleness could come out of one little body.

Matt got up and went to work and I did my best not to cry at the thought of more puke. I prayed more than once that Ben would not wake up with whatever was raging inside Lily's tummy. (My prayers would not be answered, however there was a 24 hour break between illnesses.) Ben spent most of the day in isolation in the playroom and Lily spent the entire day watching TV between demands for something to eat or drink. When it had finally been a few hours since her last upchuck I allowed her some crackers and water. By the end of the afternoon she was finally looking a little better and had stopped cursing me under her breath. 

When Dingle came home from work we both agreed that eating cake in front of Lily would just add insult to injury and so we postponed my birthday festivities until the following day. I was so grateful to sleep in my own bed that night, aside from Lily feeling better, it was the best gift I could have gotten. 

The following day everyone was feeling better, I went for a massage, and we all had some chocolate cake. It was certainly a birthday that I won't forget any time soon. Motherhood comes with highs and lows and in the end I am certainly grateful that this was just a stomach bug and not something more serious. 

That doesn't mean I have to like toddler puke.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

You're Three!

Dear Lily,

You are three! My sweet sweet girl you take my breath away. As a matter of fact it has taken me over a week to write this letter because every time I sat down to do it I felt like I could not possibly do you justice. You are that fantastic.

This past year has been the best of my life. You became the sister I knew you would be. You were so gentle and doting with Ben when we first brought him home from the hospital. Now that he is bigger, you are patient and so very proud. Making Ben laugh is a special skill of yours. I am not going to sugar coat things, some days being a big sister is hard. There are times when you don't want to share, when Ben destroys something you have been playing with, when you are tempted to yell or hit (only rarely do you give in to those temptations). But I want to point something out, you never let that little boy forget how much you love him...and that will be your job for the rest of your life. A job I am confident that you will cherish as much as I do. Even when you are having a tough time navigating this new relationship, you always have a kiss and a kind word for your brother. You are nurturing and have shown such selflessness this past year. I would be lying if I said I don't feel guilty sometimes when I realize that all you really want is to have me to yourself again but I promise I will always have time for just you and me.

This past year you celebrated so many milestones. You are less and less like a toddler every day and at some point I am going to have to admit that you are a "big girl". Daddy turned your car seat around this past weekend and you love your new view! I especially like that now I can actually hear you talking to me, even when you intentionally use your "quiet voice". You are still sort of clumsy and I have always joked that anyone who has spent five minutes with you has seen you fall down. But you are showing more and more coordination every day. You can hop, skip, run, and pedal a bike (almost). Above all else you love to dance, specifically twirl. In October you surprised us all by slipping on a pair of water wings and swimming unassisted in water well over your head. I really don't know if I should be proud of your foolish bravery but it is endearing. You really are fearless...and just a little clumsy. You have mastered the potty during the day and if I am patient enough you can dress and undress yourself. You love to pick out your own clothes.

We can work on humility later, for now let me tell you, you are brilliant. Your vocabulary is impressive but your ability to use words in context, conjugate, and express your ideas, literally blows my mind. You are such a thoughtful listener and are always ready to draw conclusions from your curiosity. Don't even get me started on your memory and how yesterday you reminded me that we stacked creamers while we waited for our dinner at Cracker October of 2011. While your command of the English language really is impressive you do have several toddlerisms that crack me up. Instead of saying "by myself" you say "with myself".  You call your bathing suit your "babing suit".  Instead of "I'm thirsty for water", it's "I'm thirsty of water".  Recently you're also very aware of my tone and will often request "Mommy, can you say it nice?"

Today while watching TV, which we do let you do while Ben takes his morning nap, you correctly determined that one less than three is two. Like I said, you listen and you are brilliant. Your favorite shows to watch are Curious George, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Octonauts, and Doc McStuffins. I personally love them all and usually watch right along with you. What is the biggest drawback to your brilliance you ask? Girl, we have our days. Days when Mommy can do no right and you are so frustrated that all you can do is yell and cry. You are not mischievous and very rarely do you use your intelligence for evil but you do have a temper and you do not like to be told no.

This September you will be starting preschool. I searched high and low to find just the right school for you. I chose a very small school where you will be loved and (I pray) feel safe. The world is a scary place and there is a big part of Mommy and Daddy that wishes we could keep you at home forever. That being said I am SO excited for you! You are going to love school! I can't wait to see how much you learn and grow. This is it lady, the world belongs to you.

You want to know what else you are? A total princess. Where did you come from? Mommy is not necessarily known for her femininity, yet here you are decked out in (not one but two) tutus, three headbands, a necklace and half a dozen bracelets...and that is just a Monday morning. Your favorite colors are pink, pink and pink. You tolerate purple, green and blue. For your birthday you were lavished with princess themed gifts much to your delight. You are now the proud owner of a different tutu for every day of the week.  Over the past year, your love affair with all things stuffed has only deepened.  Your entourage is officially out of control.  Not only is it more than I can carry, but there are so many "friends" that even you lose track of who's in the bed with you.  Lately you have been biting your nails, which I remind you not to do 100 times an hour. Today the pediatrician recommended that I offer to paint your nails as incentive to stop. HA. I believe that is called opening Pandora's box.

I spend my days revolving around you and your brother. There is nowhere else I would rather be. Today we went for a walk and watching you pick up every rock on the street, with the sunshine in your hair, I thanked God that you are mine. I listened to your story about how the nurse at the doctor's office gave you a "sparkle" band-aid and when you asked me to hold your hand I gladly fulfilled your request. I say it all the time but it bears repeating, these are the best days of my life. I was born to be your mommy.

I love you coo coo girl.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A birthday fit for a princess.

Lily had to share her birthday with Easter this year. I mean I supposed there are worse things than sharing a party with the Easter bunny and the resurrection of Jesus, but I still felt a little lame doubling down on the holiday weekend. It is the curse of having an April birthday, and with so many April birthdays under one roof it is inevitable that one of us will have to share the spotlight on our special day.

As I mentioned in a previous post Lily received no less than 6 princess themed gifts for her birthday. For several days she wore them all at once. My only rule on the subject is that she may not wear more than one tutu out of the house at once. I also had to have a very difficult talk with her about the risks of eating while princessing...a hard lesson learned after I was unable to get a tomato sauce stain out of her purple fairy dress.

Her birthday week extravaganza kicked off with a trip to her favorite playground. It was downright cold so I wore Ben in the pack and did my best not to look completely miserable. I think she was cold too but knowing better than to admit it, repeatedly told me she was having fun...even when I hadn't asked. Friday through Sunday were spent in Maine. The weather was nice and she was thoroughly spoiled by both sets of grandparents. On Monday I took her out to lunch at Panera and she had her favorite mac n' cheese. Tuesday was a quiet day at home, I had intended to take her on some sort of outing but it was literally 20 degrees out and I just couldn't muster the necessary enthusiasm. In lieu of an outing I let her watch the Tigger Movie while Ben took his afternoon nap and we made cupcakes to take to her playdate the following day.

On Wednesday Matt went to work early so that he could be home in time for dinner. It was a great idea in theory but I think we were all a little sad that Daddy wasn't there to say happy birthday first thing in the morning. I took some pretty hilarious pictures and made her pancakes for breakfast. In the afternoon Daddy arrived with balloons and her new carebear (only after locking the keys to his car in his own trunk at the grocery store and literally running home, excellent). I had a pink cheer bear when I was a little girl. It is neat to see them side by side.

A friend of mine was kind enough to offer up her amazing playroom for a very small party with a few of Lily's fiends from music class. The kids all played and ate cupcakes.  It was very low key and exactly what Lily had requested.

Consider this three year old officially one happy little girl. Birthday week extravaganza, nailed it! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

11 Months!

Oh my, that stings.

I should probably start by saying that as I sit here on the couch on the eve of my daughter's third birthday I am in no position to write this month's post. My heart is both busting with love and breaking into a million tiny pieces. Excuse me while I go and get a tissue...or the whole box.

Have I mentioned that I love having a baby in the house? Even though it is a tremendous amount of tedium there is nothing better in the world than a warm, sweet, baby snuggled into your neck at the end of the day. I will miss these days for the rest of my life. I hope I never forget just how much this little boy loved to be held. Ben reminds me every day that, in some ways, my children are very different. I really do count my blessing twice that God has given me the opportunity to be a mother all over again. I can not imagine who I would be without these two perfect little people in my life. The snuggling though, boy OH boy, I am a sucker for the snuggling.

Likes: Snuggling (did I mention that?), Mommy, blankie, paci, wheels, taking baths, Lily, any toy that Lily is currently holding, the cats, people in hats, men with beards, crashing, banging, climbing, climbing, and climbing.

Dislikes: Being cold at swimming, not being permitted to stand on chairs, being alone, sleeping past 5am.

Nicknames: Benja and Tater has proved to have staying power. That being said I very rarely call either of my children by their given names and will often substitute any number of random nonsense words...all of which they answer to. (Ben does absolutely know is real name however)

Milestones: Clapping (finally!), another new tooth (4 on top, 2 on bottom), officially standing, a few very uncertain steps.

Feeding:  The question of weaning has been popping up all over this month. Several of my friends and family have expressed a little surprise at Ben's continued enthusiasm for nursing. I don't really know what to say. I do not have a plan. I guess I will continue to nurse Ben for as long as he wants (within reason), although I have decided to drop a feeding here and there. As it stands right now he nurses first thing in the morning (5ish), before his morning nap at 9, occasionally at 11:30 (which we are dropping), before his afternoon nap at 1:30, occasionally at 4 (which we are also dropping), and before bed at 7. I take partial responsibility for "too many" nursing sessions. I still have more than enough milk and part of me is a little relieved when he wants to nurse. Like I said I do not have a plan and I may very well decide that it would be better for me to start the weaning process sooner rather than later. I couldn't be happier that our nursing bond is still going strong and I am thrilled to have gotten Ben off to such a great healthy start. The only major drawback I see (other than fleeting "selfish" thoughts about having my body back) is that he really has no interest in learning to use a cup. He likes to hold it, and bang it repeatedly on the high chair...but he isn't actually drinking anything from the stupid thing.

Solids are still going great. Ben officially eats Lily under the table on a meal to meal basis. There isn't anything he won't eat at an alarming rate. It is hard to name favorites because he is such an eager eater. I think he really likes cheese, banana, chicken, and strawberries. When I asked Matt, and he finally stopped laughing and shaking his head, he also added graham crackers and eggs to the list.  At least one of my children will have eaten something this year!! Mother of the year!

Sleeping: Again this month I will be brief here. Unlike last month I am not completely fed up with the sleeping situation, there just isn't a lot to say. Ben takes two regular naps and sleeps with little regularity at night. I no longer answer his squawks in the night unless I think he is in real distress. He is an early bird, which is not how the rest of us roll. In fact, Lily is still sleeping in the guest room, but that will be coming to an end once Aunt Kate moves in. That gives us roughly 7 more weeks. A lot can change in 7 weeks, right??

Odds and Ends: Ben is on the verge of walking...and I am terrified. I already spend half the day prying him off from the coffee table and bookshelves, once he can turn on a dime and take off in the other direction I am in big trouble. His climbing skills are unbelievable. In three years it has never occurred to Lily to stand on a chair. Like I said previously, I have two very different kids. For obvious reasons I don't have any pictures of his dare devilish antics but the day he swings from the dining room chandelier you can bet I will have my camera ready.

Ben is starting to really understand what we are saying and it is amazing to watch him transition from blob to person. I have started doing our sign language which took Lily almost no time to pick up and once she did it was amazing what she could do. I suspect it will take Ben longer but you never know. He knows what the word "no" means and is usually pretty receptive to it. That doesn't mean he won't be back at it in 10 seconds but for a brief moment he respects my authority.

A few weeks ago we started swim lessons at the Y. Ben loves to splash in the tub and has never shown any fear of water. That being said he HATES the pool. I don't think it has anything to do with the noise or the large space, poor guy is just freezing. He shivers from head to toe almost as soon as we get in the water. It is so sad and definitely something he has in common with his sister. I don't really have a solution other than to hold him tight and move around a lot. I do think he will love our pool this summer...but we are two for two on kids who would rather stay home and pick up the playroom than go swimming at the Y.

The weather is starting to resemble spring and last week I took the kids outside to play almost every day. Ben loves to push the walker outside! It is adorable. Lily is the proud owner of a new trike and I imagine that Ben will thoroughly enjoy riding on the back once he is a little more stable on his feet.

As I mentioned, Lily turns 3 tomorrow so I am not even going to address the fact that next month Ben will be having a birthday of his own. For now I am desperately just soaking in every last second of babyness.

Up next: Don't even go there...but first I turn 32!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A little cuteness to cheer you up...

If you are on the East Coast and are currently getting pummeled with yet another snow storm then chances are you are in a bad mood...or is that just me?

In any case, if you are in a bad mood this should cheer you right up! Honestly, how can anyone be sour looking at that sweet face.

We have been busy and the posting has been sparse. I wish I could say that I expect the frequency of posts to increase in the near future but the reality is that we have Easter, 3 "birthday week extravaganzas", and a road trip to Richmond for Kate's graduation all coming up in the next six weeks and I will be lucky if I blog about any of it. Just kidding, there is no way I could not brag blog about the kids' birthday celebrations. My obsession with each of the aforementioned events is really the reason I haven't been posting much here...far too much to learn about royal icing and all. Plus I find that throwing myself into party planning really helps to distract me from the fact that soon I will have a 3 year old AND a 1 year old. :::SOB:::

We have all been doing okay. In the past few weeks we have been traveling quite a bit to see friends and family while Matt is working. Day trips are nice in that we can get in some good face time with the people we love and Matt doesn't miss out on the kids in the morning before work. Day trips are hard in that we completely abandon our regular schedule and the kids are usually a disaster the following day. It would be fantastic if all of our favorite people lived right down the street but since they don't we do what we can. 

Everyone had been healthy until Lily came down with the pukes yesterday. Let me tell you right now, toddler puke is flipping horrible. Lily is what I will call a panic puker. Without any warning at all she will bolt upright and just start throwing up. In response to a situation that is out of her control she then panics and starts doing anything she can to try and regain control, her go to move...covering her mouth with her hands. Yesterday I literally had to hold her hands down on the sides of a bowl to keep her from making an already disgusting situation SO MUCH WORSE. We survived, she was all pep this morning and so far no one else has gotten sick. Fingers are still very much crossed on that last part. I snapped the adorable picture above during a non-pukey part of the afternoon. Earlier today Ben fell on a toy in the playroom and has a nasty bruise/scrape/boo boo type thing on his cheek. I can only hope it looks worse than it feels. 

I am seriously so over winter. I just know that is going to be one of those years when we have snow on my birthday. I am literally angry that we got another 10 inches of snow today. A few weeks ago I said I enjoyed shoveling...well I changed my mind, so Mother Nature cut it out already. 

As I mentioned party plans are in the works for both kids. We are having a family party in Maine for Lily on Easter Sunday. I know it is sort of lame to double down on the holiday but all of the family will be together and her birthday is just a few days later. We are also having a small friend party for her later in the week. Nothing big, just cupcakes and a few friends at the playground...assuming we can even play outside. If not we will just have it here. Ben's party is going to be a bigger shindig, it is his first birthday after all. Detail to follow but if you follow me on pinterest than I bet you can guess the theme! 

I think that about catches me up. I am sure I could rattle on some more but I doubt you care what I ate for lunch. (It was a delicious grilled (sharp cheddar) cheese on sourdough...I am obsessed)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This post contains not a single original thought...

I have found that when you are up in the middle of the night with a baby for the better part of 10 months you have a lot of time to think about stuff. Some of the time is spent thinking about ridiculous things like, why is the food at Ikea so cheap? Or if water aerobics is so good for you, why do only old people do it?

Other times the thoughts are of the serious and reflective type. In the middle of the night I can't help but wonder, "Am I the kind of mother I want to be?"

Today I used the kid's nap to do a little Pinteresting (that is the verb right?!) and catch up on some blog reading. One of (more like 30 of) my lovely mommy friends has pinned one of those "Rules for Mothers of Sons" type posts that are floating around - myself included. Why do we (loving moms) feel compelled to pin stuff like that? Not one of those posts contains anything more than an idealized picture of parenthood. If my friend group is any indication, the moms who make those posts so popular are not the ones who need to be reminded to "hug their sons" or "let them get really dirty."  They are sweet and I understand that some days we just need to remind ourselves what kind of mom we are striving to be...on our best days. But today?

Today I am not buying it. Being a mom is hard enough without feeling like every other mom out there is following through with all of these ideals, while my kids pull toys out of each other's hands and I chase after them in a coffee stained t-shirt yelling empty threats. Don't get me wrong, I totally get sucked in to all of the delicious looking desserts and crisp linen closets, the amazing playrooms and custom party favors...but that is SO not my life. Yes we have a cute playroom, but it almost always looks like a crime scene.

Just like home improvement shows make me feel like my house is a dump (which it certainly is not), Pinterest has a way of making me feel totally inadequate. I am not writing this post so that you will tell me how wonderful I am. I know that I am a caring and devoted mother/wife who works hard to keep the house from caving in around us. I am just venting my frustration, on this particular day, with social media. It of course doesn't stop at Pinterest, I suspect that most people's entire online identity is a polished up version of reality. I know mine is. I am totally guilty of changing the kids out of their pjs at 4 in the afternoon so that I can take a few pictures for the blog. In truth, Ben wears pjs almost all of the time. I can't be bothered with "real clothes" for a baby.

I will also fess up that behind every homemade meal I have pinned (or will pin in the future for that matter) is a veggie chicken nugget served right out of the microwave. For every beautiful handmade craft, is a dollar store coloring book and a handful of stickers I swiped from the pediatricians office.

If this post has any purpose at all, it is to serve as a reminder to myself that things aren't "Pinterest perfect" every minute of the day. My kids are happy, healthy, and will just as eagerly eat store bought play-doh as the homemade kind.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

10 Months!

This month's post might be a little skimpy, especially in the picture department. Last month's post was a week late, February is a short month, Zombie Apocalypse is upon us, and Ben has been sick with a cold for the last two weeks.

As I posted on facebook, I got an email this week from 'Amazon Mom' with the subject line, "Transitioning from baby to toddler." What I didn't post on FB was that my first thought was, "Stupid Amazon, Lily has been a toddler for a long time!" ...I wish I was kidding.

I obviously realized pretty quickly that the subject of the email was Ben. My sweet sweet little baby. I couldn't decide whether to give in to the impulse to cry or send a scathing email to stupid 'Amazon Mom'. Both seemed like completely reasonable responses to such blatantly hurtful implications. I suppose I should have seen it coming. All of the telltale signs are there.

I mean look what I caught him doing in the kitchen!

I love the look back at the very end when he is about to get in to the recycling, which he obviously knows is a no no! Don't let him fool you, that is his devilish grin!

Likes: Getting into EVERYTHING, making as BIG a mess as possible, eating EVERYTHING in sight, sitting DIRECTLY in the middle of whatever elaborate doll drama happens to be taking place in the play room, blankie, paci, Lily, banging things, balls/any toy with wheels, being held for the sole purpose of squirming to get down.

Dislikes: Sleeping past 5am, being alone, not getting his way in general really gets his goat.

Nicknames: Same - Benja and Tater

Milestones: Three new top teeth with a fourth on the way, bellowing the syllables ma-ma over and over when he is angry/distressed/irritated, taking steps with the walker, standing momentarily when he isn't paying attention, initiating peek-a-boo.

Feeding: I am officially off the pump! Can I get an Amen! I would like to proclaim my utmost respect to working moms who breastfeed their babies. I was pumping twice a day for Ben so that I could get some extra rest when Matt was here to give him a bottle. Pumping for me is the ultimate chore and I cannot imagine having to do it every day, several times a day, in order to maintain the supply. For those of you who have never done it, I by no means want to put you off. Obviously, I believe the sacrifice is more than worth the benefits to my kiddos...but it is a freaking chore. It isn't just the actual pumping that I can't stand. It is the planning, and the packing, and the endless washing of pump parts and bottles. I am so very excited to be done with the pump. (until the next baby that is!)

Ben is nursing like a maniac these days. It could be a growth spurt or it could be that he is taking advantage of the new "mommy is scrambling to figure out how to be a single parent five days a week" scenario we've got going on. Any former schedule we may have had is impossible to keep by I just nurse Ben whenever the heck he wants to. Simple as that.

Solids are still going great. I have a confession. I let Ben have peanut butter, clearly way before his first birthday like the books recommend. It was sort of an accident. I have been giving him the toasted crusts off Lily's peanut butter toast for a few weeks but I always cut the crusts off before I spread the peanut butter. Then one day I didn't, and a peanut butter lover was born.

Ben loves everything I put on his tray, except cottage cheese. He will eat it, but he sort of winces and frowns while doing so. It is both sad and funny. So far I have been exponentially better about giving him "table" food than I was with Lily. Last night for dinner he ate ground beef. I was afraid I was going to lose a finger. Lily still won't really even try half of the foods Ben has been devouring these past few weeks. Consider our grocery budget - blown!

Here are a few shots from a typical meal!

Sleeping: Only occasionally sleeping through the night. Up before the sun every day. I am so over it. Maybe a few months from now I will regret not writing more detail, but I just...can't.

Pushing himself to standing, oh my. 
Odds and Ends: Ben is all boy. I have said all along that I have no idea where my girlie girl came from and that butterflies and tutus must be in her DNA. Well the same can be said for my rough and tumble, four-wheel-obsessed ten month old. You would think with all of the pink and princess nonsense we have around here that Ben might be a little doll obsessed, but he has latched on to the few balls and two trains in the entire house. He instinctively knew how to push the train around on the floor. It really is an amazing contrast. It is probably a good thing he has a birthday coming up and we can get him a few more toys to match his budding interests.

This month was even more of a struggle than it would have been otherwise because Ben was sick for 10 days. He is just now getting over a cold that started a few days before Valentine's Day. It seems that for Ben colds mean snot, and a lot of it. His poor little nose was so raw that for a few days we just couldn't wipe it. It was cracked and bleeding, poor baby. He slept like crap and was pretty clingy and miserable during the day. On top of the cold the poor guy cut so many new teeth. It is no wonder he doesn't sleep through the night. I am happy to report that he seemed to be feeling much better today and I think he is finally on the mend.

All previous kidding about the whole baby/toddler metamorphosis aside, I really am heartbroken by how fast this year is going by. Well maybe not by how fast, more accurately how much of a blur this year will have been. I can't do anything to change how little we all slept, but I don't want Ben to look back at these posts and think I didn't enjoy his babyhood. There are not even words to describe how much I love these days. I don't fill these posts with an over abundance of gush nearly as often as I could, but my heart literally bursts at the thought of that little boy. I was (and am) so deeply in love with my daughter that I really did worry that I couldn't possibly love another baby nearly as much, and then God sent me this perfect little boy. I love his wispy hair and his crazy huge smile. I love how tightly he holds on to me when I carry him and how much he laughs and giggles when I tickle his feet during a diaper change. He just loves to be loved on, above all else. Please don't grow up too fast sweet boy. Toddler-hood might be right around the corner but it is fine by me if you want to stay a baby for a little while longer.

Up next: Swim lessons, Easter bunnies, and hopefully some spring time temperatures!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Is it February or The Zombie Apocalypse?!?


Don't look now but February is practically over. When the heck did that happen? I started Ben's 10 month post this morning and am determined to have it posted on time this month. In other news I thought I would do a short update.

Matt has settled in at his new job. He is working long hours but has found a schedule that minimizes the commute and is a good compromise between seeing the kids and getting enough sleep. I know that we were spoiled having him here all the time for the past few years but knowing that certainly doesn't make it easier to be on my own from roughly 9am until 8pm (or later). The kids are adjusting and hopefully in a few weeks things will slow down and Matt can work a little less. The long term goal is to have him work from home again, even if it is just a few days a week. Fingers crossed.

There are several pluses to having Matt out of the house more. He really appreciates being home and we really appreciate having him here, the house is always picked up!, I can eat grilled cheese sandwiches for every meal (maybe that isn't really a plus), I have stopped pumping all together, I set the schedule and this is officially "my show". Not that I wasn't primarily in charge before but now there is zero defaulting to Daddy.

I am really looking forward to spring, I hope this isn't one of those years when we have snow on the ground until April. The kids are ready to get back outside. I signed Ben up for swimming lessons this morning (side note: Lily might be so jealous that we have to cough up the cash and get her signed up too) and I am so excited to get the pool opened up this summer. Kate will be living here while she takes her CPA prep class from June to August. Having an extra set of hands and a bestie to spend the days with is going to be awesome.

It is like zombie apocalypse around the house lately. I don't know what the hell is happening. First we tried unsuccessfully to replace the microwave above the stove only to discover that the new microwave doesn't fit the opening. Yes me measured, twice. Technically is does fit I just hate the way it looks. So now we have a big ugly hole in the kitchen. We then decided to replace the upper cabinet with a smaller one only to find out that our cabinets have been discontinued. Now two different cabinet companies are in possession of our cabinet doors. Let me tell you how much I love the way it looks.

Matt bucked his brand new car (2013 Ford Focus) into the back of my car in the driveway and somehow did a thousand dollars worth of damage. The car had been in our possession for less than 24 hours.

Last Friday I moved the glider back in to the kids room because Ben is again sleeping like a newborn and I need a place to sit while I nurse him 5 times in the middle of the night. Well, while sitting in the rocker I looked up and realized that there is a large water stain on the ceiling in the kids room. Awesome. No idea how long it has been there but it obviously needs to be addressed. The skylight in the sun room is also leaking like a sieve again. Double awesome.

Then came the ants. No idea where they are coming in from but this past weekend they were everywhere. So gross. I sprayed the tiniest amount of insecticide along the baseboards, which I am not thrilled about given the two small people, two cats, and a dumb as rocks dog, we allow to live here. I wouldn't put it past any of them to lick the wall just for fun. The spray seems to have worked so hopefully I won't have to use it again.

AND then last night I spent 30 minutes trying to catch a mouse that the cats had been tormenting all afternoon. I finally succeeded in nabbing the thing by the tail and put it outside. I just couldn't kill it. (Background: I used to anesthetize dozens of rodents a day as a lab tech but this just seems different.) I am sure that by now it has found it's way back in. Whatever.

Zombie Apocalypse, I'm tellin' you. I am a little afraid of what the universe might have in store for us next!