Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Smile

It's amazing how quickly time goes by when you are completely absorbed in someones life. These past 6 weeks have flown by and I am trying my best to treasure every moment and commit it to memory. This past week was a landmark for my little girl...we got to see her first smile.

I'm sure that I look like a fool but I talk to her constantly. I tell her about our day and her family. I tell her how pretty and smart she is and that she is loved so very much. We talk about the things in the grocery store and what those fragrant smells are outside. She is going to have an incredible vocabulary.

In the midst of telling her about our plans for the day, she raised the corner to her cheek and got a little twinkle in her eyes. I have a bit of a crooked smile so I thought this was her smile. I praised her for her smile and smiled even wider myself. That is when it happened.

5 weeks and smiling away
A little coo escaped her lips, both cheeks got rosy and lifted into the most perfect smile ever. Her eyes squinted and gave off a little sparkle. Her tongue peeked through as she squirmed with excitement. I smiled so big that my cheeks began to hurt and my eyes began to water. My heart filled with so much love that I swear it was going to burst. These are those moments that find a special place in your memory for all time. I vividly remember my boys first smiles too. Something about that joy fills you up in a special way.

I quickly rushed for the camera, with hopes that she wouldn't tire of smiling. I just had to capture this moment. I propped the camera up in the palm of my hand, peeked around, and began smiling myself. My little A let out a coo and began posing for the camera. My finger clicked away like it had a mind of its own. 15 or so pictures later and there isn't a bad one in the bunch.

Moment captured for all eternity!

We've had several smiles since this and I still can't help but smile till my cheeks hurt with each one. I can't wait to see what milestone she will have next. I'm sure that I will smile just as big with the next one too. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Are you kidding me?



Clink! Rattle, Rattle!

"Mama! I think there is something wrong with the car!"

The three kids were loaded into the car and we were on our way to pick up my cousin and mom so we could travel to the Reptile Museum (2+ hours away). We have had the new Tahoe less than a year...it must be a flat tire. Thankfully, I was pulling into the gas station so I had the perfect reason to check it out. Cars were lined up, impatiently waiting like children waiting for a treat, so I stopped along the side and got out of the car. I carefully inspected each tire. No leaks....now what?

I drove out of the way, parked the car, and picked up the phone. My instinct is always to call my mom or husband when something doesn't go right....today was my husband's turn. My husband is usually long gone to work by now but he slept in late because of a late hockey game last night. Boy was I ever happy of that. I quickly called him as he walked out the door.

"You will never believe this...the Tahoe is acting funny and there is an orange light nagging at me."

"Do you know what the light means? Where are you at? I'll come meet you there."

While we waited for my husband to arrive, I flipped through the owners manual in the car. Orange square like object that blinks non-stop like a metronome....found it! It was not a quick and easy fix. Turn off car and restart after 10 seconds. If light continues to flash, slowly drive to the nearest dealership to avoid expensive repairs (my loose translation). Oh boy...this day was not going to go as planned.

When my husband arrived, I gave him the manual and let him take it for a test drive.

"Looks like we need to bring it to the dealership (thankfully it's less than 10 minutes away). Try to use the battery as much as you can."

I climbed back into the car (screaming child included) and began the slow trek to the dealership. We have a Hybrid so the car runs on the battery when you coast, break, or drive with minimal acceleration under 30 mph. I am not a slow driver, so trying to stay on the battery was a bit of a challenge. I hate being the one to hold up traffic...thankfully there were minimal people on the road today.

When we got to the dealer, we were informed that they would try to look at it today but their earliest appointment wasn't until 2 tomorrow afternoon. Are you kidding me? OMGoodess, what was I going to do? Why don't dealerships give you a replacement car when it poops out on you? What do families do that are privileged enough to have multiple cars at home?

We loaded the boys into the back of my husband's Honda and I tightly wrapped my arms around the infant car seat in the passenger seat. This was not ideal, nor safe. Please don't let there be any police out...and keep those crazy drivers away.

We made it home safely and are still waiting for a report on what is wrong with the car. Thankfully it's covered under warranty but I sure hope they fix it quickly. Our cars aren't equipped for three children without it.

 I sure hope that April runs a little smoother than it started out.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Family + Holidays = A Good Life

I love holidays, but who doesn't? I love them because our family gathers together to celebrate every single holiday...we can thank my mom for that one. She has always been big on decorating for holidays and makes extravagant meals. She things of every detail and makes every gathering special and heart felt. It can be felt from the moment you hit the driveway...today, eggs hung from the tree by the road and a big blow-up bunny waved a welcome.

We started off today, gathering together at church to give thanks and to remember the sacrifices that were made for us. I am always filled with this overwhelming love when I leave church, and today was no different. We then headed to my parents house for a ham dinner.

I couldn't help but take a moment to look around and savor the blessings in my life. As I sat in my chair, sun beating on my back and glazed ham wafting through the air, I marveled at what I saw. I was surrounded by 9 family members (plus a baby chilling in her chair) and was tempted by a bountiful feast. My boys faces have matured so much since the last time we gathered at this table...their manners and kindness radiate from them. Outside, the sun shone over a landscape of snow covered Olympic Mountains and the buzz of hummingbirds could be heard racing past the screen door. Easter baskets sat at each seat around the table...filled with goodies and thoughtful gifts for each child. Everyone of these things is something to be celebrated, treasured, and thanked for...but my favorite part of the day was after lunch/dinner.

After the table was cleared and the baby was fed, everyone headed outside to the huge backyard. I rocked A in my arms and stood on the back deck, looking down toward the bottom of the yard. Horses played tag on the other side of the fence but my eyes were on the crazy boys in front of the fence. Blow-up hammers and balls flew around...laughter and giggles echoed up with the breeze. I couldn't help but chuckle to myself. J pounded away at my brother with the blow-up hammer while T launched the ball at Grandpa. No one held back and the giggles and devious smiles could be seen and heard by everyone. My brother raced after my dad, ball in hand and sinister laugh ready as he pegged my dad in the head. Not to be outdone, my dad scooped up the ball and giggled his way to a direct hit on my brother. It was the perfect way to celebrate Easter. Pure joy was being had by all and I couldn't help but feel blessed to have amazing men surrounding my boys. Life is good!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Poetry in Motion

1 month already
Olive skin with a pinch of rose on the cheeksPerfect button nose...ideal for Eskimo kisses and nuzzles
Pile of brown fluff and stuff piled on top of her head
Nibble worthy ears
Bright and attentive eyes, always ready to take everything in
Newborn blue eyes with a touch of brown and grey stealing the attention
Shar Pei wrinkles to kiss and cuddle
Long, slender toes and fingers...ready to explore
Perfect pink petal lips for frowning and smiling
My little girl is poetry in motion

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Almost Sister

I am blessed to have amazing people in my life. I have a dad who helps me with house stuff at the drop of a hat, a mom who gives everything she can to whomever is in need, a brother with a big heart who rough houses with my boys, and many others. Today, another one of those amazing people stepped back into my life.

My cousin J is in town for a week and it is an absolute gift. I have always thought of her as a sister. We are a few months apart and are the only girl cousins on my mom's side of the family. We never got a ton of time together growing up, but when we did...it was always memorable.

J is one of those people who makes you a better person when you are with her. She is always a listening ear and constantly turns the attention away from herself. She is genuinely interested in everything that is happening in your life and is excited to learn more about you. I have always wished that we lived closer to each other. If there is anyone that I would like to be like, it's her. Her positive attitude and zest for life is contagious. Is she truly a beautiful person inside and out.

J is due to have her second child in June. Our little ones will have a similar spread to the two of us. She is having a little boy but I hope that my little girl will have a close bond to J's son just like we have together.

It was so fun catching up with her today and I look forward to the time we'll have together this next week. Time always goes quickly but I am always left with a smile on my face when she is here. She truly is my almost sister. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pause

I am incredibly blessed to have an amazing younger brother. He is big hearted, kind, hard working, a playful kid at heart, an incredible dad, and a stupendous uncle. I am constantly reminded of these qualities when I am able to spend time with him. Today was one of those days.
 
His wife and daughter are away visiting family, so I asked him to come over for dinner. The least I can do is make sure that he's eating a good meal while they are gone. After a long work day, my brother came over to the house. Now Uncle J is very popular with my boys because he rough houses with them. What boy doesn't love that?
 
After refueling and chatting with me a bit, Uncle J ventured upstairs to play with the boys. He hadn't even reached the top step before J swiped his light saber at him. T was crouched in the corner with the Nerf gun and Uncle J was left empty handed. That doesn't work at all...so he quickly dodged obstacles and grabbed two Nerf swords. He craftily blocked J's light saber slashes and managed to jam the Nerf gun with his Jedi mind tricks. T fumbled with the Nerf gun while Uncle J disarmed J of his light saber. The battle may have just been won...
 
"PAUSE!", yells J as he drops to the floor for his light saber. My brother and I just looked at each other and laughed. In our house growing up, we yelled UNCLE but my son yells PAUSE. I wonder if video games are played at our house? :)
 
My brother 'paused' for just long enough for J to rescue his light saber...and not a moment too soon. As soon as that red Jedi tool was in J's hand, it was jabbing towards Uncle J. I smiled and turned to go downstairs. How lucky am I to have a brother who comes over to play with my kids? I couldn't ask for a better brother or a better uncle for my little ones. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Are you sure?

We were on the way to school today when my oldest son mumbles, "Are you sure she's a girl?"

I figured that I had misheard so I politely asked him to speak clearly...it's hard to hear when I'm driving.

"Are you sure she's a girl?", he repeated with confidence. I looked in my rear view mirror to see what he was talking about. Sure enough, he was gazing into his sister's car seat with a quizzical look on his face.

"Of course she's a girl.", I replied with a smirk. I guess the lack of long hair is throwing him off.

"Are you really sure?"

"Yes honey, I'm positive. Why do you ask? "

"She just doesn't look like one, but I guess I'll trust you."

Jeez, thanks for that one kid. I reassured him that she'll look more like a girl as she gets older. That's why we are always putting her in girl colors like pink and purple...trying to keep people from being confused. I guess that I'm not doing my job well enough though if my son is questioning if he has sister.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Distractions

I tend to have rose colored glasses on a lot. I figured that having a newborn would give me plenty of time to compose crafty pieces, comment on blogger's posts, catch up on my Twitter feeds,  and devour my ever growing To Be Read pile. Yeah, who was I kidding? It is not working out that way.

I would love to say that I'm being productive but the truth is that my life revolves around a 4 week old. She is a sweet, cuddly, and easy going baby most of the time. The other part of the time is spent DEMANDING time with her mama. I am flattered that she wants my time and attention but a moment to hear my brain think would be nice.

In the meantime, my pieces will be short and sweet. Next year I will have more flair and creativity. I will comment on bloggers posts the best I can and will make up for my lack of sharing the wealth next year. I will read my fellow bloggers and Twitter friends when little eyes are resting and when the cat finds my lap before I can get to a book. I will read whenever I can and hopefully put a dent in my pile. The good thing about books is that they are always there waiting for you to return when the moment is available. Until that time, I'll let my little one distract me as much as she'd like...the days are numbered so I should enjoy the slow pace while I can. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dinner Time

Maroow! Maroow! 

Awhoo! Awhoo!

It must be between 5:00 and 6:00 at my house. You can always tell when dinner should be served in our home by the animal calls that echo through our kitchen.

Brownies were in the oven and the chocolaty goodness wafted through the air while I prepped the chicken and listened to the onions sizzle in the pan. Water gurgled as I trimmed the white flab that remained on my chicken breasts.

All of the sudden, my legs began to get warm. I had a visitor...one that normally hides under the bed upstairs. When Marble appears downstairs, it's only for 1 reason...FOOD! He is like clockwork and the other animals in the house follow suite. He has a deep, broken meow similar to a Siamese cat and he loudly announces that dinner is due while we weaves a pattern between my legs. As I glance at the clock, I am reminded that it is dinner time...5:46 screams out to me through the steam on the stove top clock.

I know that the nagging will not end until I open the fridge and get out the canned food. As soon as the can comes out of the fridge, my dog begins her call. Ow-whoo! Ow-whoo! She will not be left out of the dinner symphony that surrounds me. She is the oldest animal in our home so I feel guilty feeding the kittens first. I leave the can on the counter and begin scooping out her dry food. Sasha does circles to show her approval while the cats sing a little louder.

Yes! I know...I'm working on it!

Once everyone is fed, I can once again hear the sizzle of the onions on the stove and the gurgle of the water. Of course, now I am behind in my dinner routine. Hopefully everything finishes on time.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rookie Mistake

I am quickly realizing that I made a HUGE rookie mistake. I has been awhile since I've had a baby to hold and I can't seem to get enough of it. Ms. A spends most of her time in my arms and it's becoming a bit of a problem. Don't get me wrong, you can never hold your little ones too much. However, my little one refuses to sleep on a hard surface and it's all my fault.

You see, my husband is a light sleeper and my daughter is an incredibly loud, grunty sleeper. The two don't mix well, which is why I've been sleeping on the couch with our little one. It started the first day we came home from the hospital and I can't seem to break the routine.

It usually starts with me curling up in the corner of the couch with her swaddled in my arms. This peaceful looking angel is hard to put down. I tend to fall asleep while watching TV and wake to her grunting noises...signifying that she wants to be fed. I get up, change her diaper, feed her, and then we curl back up for another 3-4 hours before we repeat the routine. We have a great system and I'm pretty refreshed in the mornings because of it.

Well, I know that I need to break this routine so that she can start sleeping in her crib like a 'big girl'. So today, I laid her down in her crib whenever she fell asleep in my arms. Her arms would quickly shoot up to the sides of her head. I'd rub her belly and quietly walk out of the room. I barely made it down the stairs before I heard the screaming. I waited for a bit and the screams became maniacal. I carefully picked her up, only to watch her eyes roll back into her head. Less than 2 minutes later and she was sound asleep. I gently laid her back down again....eyes popped open and her lip began to stick out.

This happened all day long. It looks like my stubborn genes didn't fall far from the tree. This is going to be a hard routine/habit to break. Let's just hope that I can tap into my stubborn streak and wait out her cries before I come to the rescue. Time to be strong!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

All Tuckered Out

It has been a busy day for every member in our family. Today was opening ceremonies for baseball and it was a beautiful day...cold and windy but the sky was blue and the sun was warm (when it wasn't hiding behind the random cloud). After running the bases, completing a home run challenge, playing a 1 inning scrimmage, and devouring a free hot dog...it was time to come home and relax.
A was swaddled up in 4 layers of clothing during our outing and couldn't wait to lose some layers and fill her tummy. After a good filling of milk, she settled into a milk coma and was content. I gently laid her in her Boppy so I could attend to my other baby. I carefully wrapped her blanket around her and watched as her hands shot up over her head...her typical resting position. A smirk appeared on her face as I carefully dabbed a leftover dribble of milk at the corner of her mouth.
 
I looked over at the other couch to find my oldest son, T, zonked out. His big body was curled up into the corner and he had one leg stretched out and the other curled up underneath. He no longer looked like a grown 7 year old, but my resting little boy. For some reason children always look younger when they are resting. Now if only I can commit that sight to memory. Obviously he had a wonderful time at his sleepover and didn't get a full nights rest. I was happy to see him catching up on some zzz's, knowing that he must have treasured every moment of his sleepover.
 
The last kiddo was J and he couldn't wait to get some mama snuggles. I curled up on the other end of A's couch and watched as J climbed up into my lap. His almost 5 year old body no longer fits perfectly in my crisscrossed lap but he tries. I tucked my legs sideways and curled up with his legs over mine. He rested his head on my shoulder and peered at the TV with me...watching hockey is a normal weekend family moment for us. I watched the rest of the Bruins game and marveled at how quickly my shoulder got heavy. Is it because I'm used to a little 7 lb. baby laying on it or is my grown baby sleeping too? Sure enough, those long eyelashes were resting on his cheeks.
 
I couldn't help but look around my living room....grown son zonked out on one couch while my younger two snoozed on the other. I closed my eyes with a large smile on my face and decided that I would join my tuckered out crew. What a great way to end a beautiful Spring day of ball.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Growing Up

7 months old
It feels like just yesterday that this little man arrived and changed my life. T is my first born and probably the sweetest boy alive. I have watched him grow into an amazing boy who is quickly approaching 8 years old. He is growing too quickly and as hard as I try, I am not able to remember every moment.

I reminisce today because my "baby" is having his first official sleepover birthday party. Can he really be that old already? Thankfully I know the family and trust that they will take amazing care of my son. But that didn't stop me from being an over protective mom.

I went through the list:

* Families address and phone number...give them mine too (just in case he wants to come home early)

* Make sure that he has his blanket and best buddy (Make sure that Softie is cleaned before hand)...double check to make sure that he won't be made fun of because of it.

* Extra clothes in case he needs them and a toothbrush that isn't chewed to pieces.

* An extra hug and snug when I drop him off.

* Try not to get misty eyed as you watch him walk away...no longer a baby, but a big boy.
7 years old with new sister

Another milestone has been checked off my list today. One that I'm sure I'll laugh about later but one that makes me stop and reflect today. Another reminder that times goes too quickly and I need to live in each moment and remember every bit of it.





Thursday, March 21, 2013

Out Little Retriever

 

Bleu! Bleu!
 
My boys are giggling and shrieking in the other room. I can hear their feet pounding as they race across the wood floor. It sounds like a pack of elephants are running after my little wild cat. Then I see the cat bolt across the dining room with a black thing in its mouth. I stared at the dining room for a moment longer, trying to place the object in my mind. It certainly wasn't a cat toy but I couldn't place it.
 
It was a thin, black object that dangled out of his mouth and was bigger than his head. Hmm...maybe it was one of those mini Frisbees that come in the fast food kid's meals. Or maybe it was one of the many batman toys we have in our house. I watched again as my boys lapped another circle through the house.
 
This time the boys gave me a clue. In T's hand was a remote control. I looked closely so that I could place the object that went with it. It almost looked like a Wii remote but was bulkier and didn't have all of the buttons. All of the sudden, I was able to place the object dangling from Bleu's mouth like captured prey.
 
My boys were given remote control helicopters for Christmas. You give the remote control some energy and then hit the switch so the helicopter can fly through the air. Well, it looks like our retrieving cat wanted to play too. After the helicopter hit the ground, our cat grabbed it and began to run. He eventually dropped it so the boys could make it fly again...then he'd grab it and run some more.
 
My husband and I giggled along with the boys. We watched for several minutes while the cat retrieved the helicopter...only for the boys to chase him around the house until he let it go. Who needs a gold retriever when we have a grey and white miniature version of our own.
 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring in WA

 
Today was a typical Spring day in Washington.
 
I groggily woke up around 5:40 to the grunting sound of my 3 week old. I peeled off the warm blanket and was assaulted by cool air. My eyes quickly darted to the window. Cloudless sky, a beautifully painted sunrise, and a lawn kissed with frost. It was going to be a chilly morning. We went through our typical morning routine and made sure that we bundled up before heading out to school.
 
In another hour or two, the sun was out and warming us from inside the building. My eyes scanned the skyline and settled on the snow covered mountain view. I never get tired of that site.
 
Fast forward another hour or two, the trees are dancing outside my window. They sway to and fro and look like they may break at the waist. Sasha, my dog, squints her eyes as she heads outside...her fur standing on end and dancing along with the trees.
 
Yes, another hour or two later, and you will find a steady beat of rain pounding on my deck. Nature's kisses...touching each and every new blossom that has opened up. I can't help but close my eyes and listen as the rain pounds out a rhythmn on my roof. Ratta tat tat!
 
An email came to my phone from  my son's baseball coach saying that practice may be canceled due to rain. In Washington, you never know...so I waited to see what would happen next.
 
The skies cleared, wind settled, and the sun began to shine. The warm sun shone through the windows once again. It was going to be a perfect day to play baseball. I'm so glad that coach decided to wait and see what our weather would bring.
 
A typical, indecisive Spring day in Washington. I am glad that I was able to watch it ebb and flow throughout the day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marble

Our little guy days after coming home.
"Burrito! Burrito!"
When choosing a name for your child, they tell you to yell it out on the playground. If it sounds good to your ear, then it's a good fit. Well, yelling Burrito around the house did not work for me. Our poor kitten needed a new name and one that would reflect his personality. This was a huge challenge since the kitten who needed a new name was constantly hiding from us.


Bob....No, too common...even though he kind of looks like a bobcat.

Shadow...he's always lurking in the shadows and is impossible to find when he's was under the bed. No, grey cats are usually named Shadow.

Our boys are into superheroes, how about a hero name? Bruce Wayne...we could call him Bruce. He lurks in the shadows and darts from hiding place to hiding place. He's strong and stubborn when he doesn't want to be retrieved. No, I was over ruled.
Our royal fellow..claiming his territory
We went back and forth with names, trying to find something unique but fitting for our newest addition. We went several days before settling on Marble. It doesn't have a great ring to it but it fits him perfectly. My husband discovered the Asian Marbled Cat when looking online.  The markings on this wild animal are very similar to our little tiger. He also has monstrous paws that are jet black underneath. My husband jokingly calls them his gorilla paws. Marb's (I had to shorten his name so I can yell it in a hurry) eyes glow in the dark and he is as stealth as any wild cat. It was a perfect fit and one that he seems to like as well.

"Marb! Dinner time!" ...It just has a nice ring to it.

Burrito

In August, we adopted two cats from the Humane Society. I've already told you about Bleu but have yet to share about our other four legged member.

We were in search of one kitten when we went to the Humane Society. Isn't that how it always works? You are looking for one and come home with more than one. My eyes quickly settled on a scared tabby all by himself in a cage. My boys (dad included), drifted over to a rambunctious grey and white kitten with a cone on his head (Bleu).

The lady carefully took out my tabby and told me that his name was Burrito. I knew that there must be a great story behind his name. He was a wild kitten who was saved from a life scavenging for food outdoors. To capture this group of kittens, the rescue man threw his leftover lunch into the cage (a taco and burrito). This enticed the kittens who quickly ran in to get something to eat. When they got to the rescue center, my kitten was covered in Burrito...hence his name.

The lady tried her best to discourage us from purchasing Burrito since he was timid and had some social issues to overcome. She was worried that a house with two boys was going to be too rowdy for him. I persuaded her, explaining that I have pretty mellow boys who are great with animals. She relented and started up the paper work so we could take the two kittens home.

When we got home, we put the kittens into different bathrooms so they could adjust to their new environment. Bleu quickly adjusted and was roaming the house before dinner time. Burrito...not so much. He was either hiding in the frame of the bed or in the corner of the bathroom.

Fast forward 6 months:
It has taken time, but Marble (Burrito's new name...that's a story for another day) has adjusted to our family. We still can't pick him up but he is now snuggling with us during the day and sleeping with us at night. He no longer hovers in our bedroom when we are alone....although company is yet to see him. I am thankful for my Marble snuggles and look forward to the day when he feels comfortable enough to let me lug his tubby body around with me. Until then, I'll patiently wait and give him the space he needs. Let's just hope it doesn't take another 6 months.





Sunday, March 17, 2013

Touch of Green













Happy St. Patty's Day!

Lucky Charms for breakfast
Leprechaun milk on the side
Little men on the TV screen

A touch of green on t-shirts
Lime ruffles and striped bottoms
No pinching happening in this house

Hockey practice with a celebration
Sweet treats from Grandma
Cupcakes, shamrocks, meat pies

Shower, festive pj's, teeth brushed
Giggles by the fire
Mummies at bedtime

Quiet and baby snuggles
Time to reflect on the day
Blessed mom, ready for another week

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cinnamon Roll

photo © 2011 whinger , Flickr
I can always count on my kids for a funny story.

Tonight, I was getting ready to give A her bath. J was excited to come and see what a baby bath looked like. I gave him the job of putting the baby bath in the tub while I got his sister ready. He jumped at the opportunity and  carefully put it in...waiting to see how his sister would use it.

I gently placed A in the baby tub and reached for the water bottle. I had already filled it up with warm water so she wouldn't get cold right away. I let J squeeze the water on to his sister. He stopped at her belly and just kept letting the water spill over her tummy. She didn't seem to mind much, but I was worried that she would get cold (regulating her body temperature is still a challenge).

"J, sweetie, you need to spread the water around so A doesn't get cold."

"Mama, is that her belly button? It looks like a cinnamon roll!"

I stopped for half a second to check his observation and sure enough, he was exactly right. Her umbilical cord fell off about a week ago and we are still waiting to see if she will have an innie or an outie. Right now, it looks like the swirl of a cinnamon roll...half in and half out.

I wish that I was able to see things as creatively as my boys do. They help me look at things in a different way on a daily basis. Now I have a baby girl with a cinnamon belly button.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hand-Me-Downs

I am having mixed feelings about hand-me-down clothes today. I am forever grateful that I have been able to reuse my oldest son's clothing. It is nice to just go to the garage and look for the blue tub with the size I need labeled on the front. There is no need to run to the store when J's jeans are running up his leg. It has been nice to give these hand-me-downs to others...as it clears up a spot in my garage for another tub of clothes. It's also nice to relive memories of T when I open up the tubs. The stories of his childhood overwhelm me sometimes.

The hardest part is seeing how quickly J is going through the tubs. I just opened a new tub of clothing and couldn't help but think that T had just worn these yesterday. I vividly remember buying him a particular outfit for the first day of school. Now I'm putting that same outfit on my preschooler. Time is going too quickly.

Then I look at my baby in comparison to my growing boys. The baby cheeks on my boys are starting to disappear and the trim faces of little men are beginning to peak through. Their little hands are no longer little...what once used to grip Cheerios on the table are now throwing baseballs and hitting slap shots.

I reminisce in the memories these clothes give and am thankful for the convenience. It's all a juggling act that I'm thankful to have. I just wish that someone would invent a freeze machine so I could go through the tubs a little slower.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

HD CAT


It all started a month after we brought him home. I was busy cleaning dishes in the kitchen and caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. He was planted in the middle of the living room, staring up at the TV. He almost looked like a statue...still as can be while Tom and Jerry played on the screen. I stood for a few moments, frozen in disbelief, before I went to grab the camera. Normally, he would move the second I reached for the camera but today he was distracted...Success!


Yes, that was Bleu at 3 months old. He continues to be a TV watcher but now his spot of choice is my husband's lap on the recliner chair. My husband will kick up the recliner and wait for Bleu to arrive. Bleu will jump up, give dad a snuggle, receive a pet, and then settle in at his feet. He always rests his front paw on my husband's leg, almost like its an arm rest. He'll curl up, perch his head up high and focus on the screen. It doesn't matter what is on, he'll watch it until my husband puts down the recliner to get up. I've had several cats in my life but have never observed a cat with such an interest in an HD screen.

Bleu has several unique characteristics but I must say that my HD C-A-T is one in a million.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Switching Sports

      © 2007 Sean Winters , Flickr
My boys play multiple sports throughout the year. Hockey is our go-to sport of choice but soccer, baseball, and golf are sprinkled through the seasons as well.

My oldest son, T, struggled with his golf grip after a long season of hockey. Swapping his hand position was a challenge, but one that he was determined to be successful with. I watched as the coach moved his hands to certain spots on the club. T would swing beautifully, put the club down, pick it up again, and resort back to his hockey stick grip. It played out like a clip from Happy Gilmore. I explained to the golf coach that we were finishing up hockey season and that T was confused about his hand position. He nodded his head in understanding and patiently moved T's hand grip multiple times throughout the lesson.

J's first t-ball practice was tonight. I dutifully stayed at home with the baby while my husband took an excited J to meet his coach and teammates. He was full of questions that I was unable to answer. What color is my team? Is anyone on my team from soccer? Which hand do I use to swing the club (I giggled and told him that the club was called a bat).  

A bright eyed boy returned an hour later with a smile on his face and rosy cheeks to boot. He quickly shed his baseball pants for a pair of warm sweats before giving me a big hug.

"So, how was your first practice? Did you get to throw and hit the ball? Which hand did you use to hit (my son switches hands)?"

"He hit with his right but gripped it like a hockey stick.", my husband replied. I was not surprised to hear this. It's been an ongoing problem.

My husband continued, "He got really excited when they took out the catcher's gear. 'Goalie gear...yeah!' He couldn't wait to gear up." I had to chuckle...J is very eager to play the goalie position in hockey but has to wait until he is big enough to not swim in the pads. Being a catcher may fill that void for another year as he continues to sprout, much to my dismay.

It looks like switching spots may have its perks this year. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Frustration

 
Yesterday was my daughters 2 week well-child check up. She gained a full pound since leaving the hospital and passed all of her tests with flying colors. I was completely relieved. It was so nice to hear good news about her. No more heel pricks or blood tests...for now. That first big shot sequence is in 4 weeks...I'm not looking forward to that.
 
Today was my appointment. Upon delivery, the anesthesiologist was unable to give me an epidural. He tried 4-5 times without any success...leaving me with 9, yes 9, holes in my back. Needless to say its been very tender and incredibly uncomfortable. I was going in today to talk to the doctor about some side effects that I've been having.
 
I bundled up my daughter and headed out into the downpour that threatened to wash away our car. We searched for a parking spot and ended up having to walk a distance in the rain. Ugh, those infant carriers get heavy in a hurry.
 
After getting checked in at the military clinic, I waited for the doctor. After 10 minutes, he strolled in and began telling me that I needed to use a heating pad 4-5 times a day to help with discomfort from an epidural. I hadn't even told the man what was bothering me. His assumption that I was a wuss of a woman put me in a cranky mood. Who was this man to blow me off before even hearing my concerns?
 
I patiently waited for him to finish his pre-diagnosis before listing my side effects one at a time: severe headache to the point that I have to close my eyes and wait for it to stop, cold tingles running down my arms, the inability to bend a section of my back, tenderness and a lump in the punctured area, and sharp pains when I try to reach my hand over my head. And the symptoms are getting more intense instead of subsiding.
 
His diagnosis: Purchase those heating pad bandages at the grocery store. Use them 3-4 times a day to help with the discomfort. If that doesn't work, then I should go see my family doctor or the ER doctors because this was out of his realm. They have a broader knowledge and he just specializes in women parts (he's an OB/GYN "doctor").
 
I was blown away. The man spent 5 seconds looking at my back and referred me to the grocery store. My blood is still boiling and my appointment was 10 hours ago. UGH.....FRUSTRATION!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Moo!

     © 2006 Jordan Fischer , Flickr
It has been awhile since I've had a baby in the house. I forgot how much time you spending feeding babies. I am a "feed on demand" mom and it takes a lot of time out of my day.

Last night, I was feeding baby A when it was time to tuck the boys in. I am the one who gets to read the bedtime stories and snug the boys in before we call Dad to join us. Well, I was disposed of at the moment so Daddy got to tuck the boys in first.

My husband sauntered downstairs after tucking the boys in, with another smirk on his face.

"J asked where mama was.", he began to explain.

I tilted my head to the side, waiting for the rest of the story.

"T said that A was milking mommy.", he finished with a smile.

We both giggled for a moment, taking in the reality of the situation. It was as true a statement as any. I am now a portable milk machine and my son is well aware of it.

What's a mom to do?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Bink Addict

My name is J and I'm a bink addict.

I can hear it already. My youngest son is 4 and he still craves a bink (pacifier). The bink fairy came to our home almost 2 years ago to take away the binks. She came to share J's binks with children who needed them. He was now a big boy and didn't need them any longer. This seemed to work well...there was no complaining or arguing. Little did I know...

Fast forward a few years:

I always kept a spare bink in the snack bag in the Jeep. Always be prepared is my motto...so I had healthy snacks packed in the car for those emergency situations where my boys were STARVING!

I went to pick J up at preschool one day and went to load his backpack into the back of the Jeep. The snack back was tipped over and a precious bink was laying in plain view. I didn't think twice about it since J hadn't used one in ages.

"Give that to me!", he demanded in a deep tone. I was puzzled by this response and quickly reminded him that he was too old for binks. He was a big boy now. He didn't seem happy about it, but he relinquished the bink.

This morning:

Now that there is a baby in the house, there are also binks. J has painstakingly looked over each of A's binks to make sure that they don't belong to him. Thankfully the purple gives it away.

J was in a playful mood this morning and snatched A's bink off the counter. He bounced out of the room like a cat with a treat and the house became very quiet. If you have children, you know that this is never a good thing.

My husband walked around the corner with a huge smirk on his face. He giggled and told me that J was hiding around the corner with A's bink in his mouth...he was sucking on it like his life depended on it. When he saw his dad, he quickly covered his eyes...like this would act like an invisibility cloak. If only he knew the truth.

Is there are rehabilitation center for 4 year olds who feel the need to still have a bink? I may need to look into it. For now, I'll keep a close eye on A's binks and try to distract J as much as I can. We'll see if that helps.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Savoring Every Mouthful

Every birthday, my in-laws purchase a "fancy" cake from Tasha Nicole. I am not a big icing person but these cakes make my mouth water just thinking of them. Today was my day to savor this amazing dessert. Thank you Nonny and Papa for the birthday treat!

I was privileged to have gestational diabetes AGAIN with my third child. I was hoping that the third time was a charm..yeah, no such luck. With A's due date being so close to mine, we thought that we would postpone my speciality cake for after her due date so I could savor every mouthful without worrying about my blood test. I am SO glad that we waited.

This is not your average cake. For starters, the icing is a whipped white chocolate mouse icing. It is fluffy and light with just the right balance of sweetness. I hate when icing is super sweet and stiff. This icing literally melts on your tongue. The sweetness balances with a hint of white chocolate. Yum!

But it doesn't stop there. The cake is moist and not dense. You can have a big slice and not feel like your stomach has a sugary weight sitting in there. This particular cake is layered with a raspberry preserve. J calls it smooshed raspberries. The sweet, tang of the raspberries compliments the fluffiness of the white chocolate mouse icing.

As you can see, it was a bit of a hit in our house. I'll be keeping close tabs on the leftovers and may even have to sneak a late midnight snack tonight. YUM! I wish that I was able to send a sample to everyone. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Feeling loved

I headed into work for the first time since having my baby. I was worried that I would have mixed feelings. I love my job and the kids that I have worked with (both past and present). It is truly a home away from home for me. On the other hand, I am loving the time that I'm getting with my little one and look forward to having the rest of the year with her.

Today, my oldest son was performing on stage. I wouldn't miss that for the world...so off I went with my brood this morning. With A only being 2 weeks old, I wanted to try and stay away from the germs. I hid in the staff lounge until the assembly began and then slipped in to watch T. Just like every other parent, I beamed while watching my son...proud to claim him as my own. He rocked out with his air guitar and air saxophone, and I smiled and giggled along with the rest of the crowd.

As I was walking back to the car with A, I was stopped by a parent. She oohed and ahed over A. We chatted about life briefly and then she asked what my plan was for next year. I honestly told her that I haven't decided what my plan will be for next year. There are so many things to consider and I still have time before my deadline hits. She encouraged me to take a year off to enjoy my children.

"You'll be welcomed back with open arms when you are ready to come back. You are one of the VIP teachers here.", she said with a huge smile on her face.

"You are so sweet.", I replied with a new hue of red in my cheeks.

"No really, I've heard that from several parents and have experienced it myself. I'd be delighted for you to have J again in the years to come. "

I thanked her for her kind words and headed back towards the car...a smiled plastered on my face. Teachers may not get paid much but what we lack in monetary value, we make up for in love from our parents and children. I am so blessed to work with amazing children and their families. And even more than that, I am blessed to love what I do and to be excited about the career I have chosen. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Exploding

Every ounce of the floor is covered.
Tiny pieces bite at my toes.
Pointed edges veer my path.
My eyes are overwhelmed by the heaping piles.

Pleads have been made.
Bargains have been struck.
Demands have been set down.
There is now a bare spot in the middle of the floor.

My hair is changing colors, silver tinsel is appearing.
I have reached my boiling point.
My patience is about to explode.
When will this playroom ever be cleaned?


Can anyone guess what I'll be working on tomorrow afternoon?



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baby Spa

Materials:

Warm bottle of water (Peri-bottle from hospital works great)
Johnson & Johnson baby body wash/shampoo (foaming kind)
Comfy baby bathtub
Cozy towel (preferably with a hood)

Instructions:

Make sure that you have everything prepped prior to undressing baby. They tend not to like sitting out in the cool room with their birthday suit on while you wait for the water to warm up.

After gently placing baby into the baby bathtub, quickly sprinkle warm water over baby. If they cringe, turn red, or scream...recheck your water temperature. Babies don't always like their water as warm as mommy does.

Generously apply body wash/shampoo on baby. Make sure to lift baby up from baby bathtub so their back gets clean and warm. It's amazing how much milk collects in those little folds.

Gently massage shampoo into babies hair, if they have any. As you carefully rinse off babies hair, make sure to carefully coral the water away from the eyes and ears. Feel free to let out a giggle if your child/daughter arches her head back and chirps as water runs down her back. It is baby spa time for some children.

Once your baby is completely rinsed off (don't forget to double check...left over soap residue makes for a cranky baby), quickly transfer them to the cozy towel. Walk briskly to wear clothes are laid out and ready to go. Dress your child like it is a Nathan's Hot Dog race so you minimize the angry squawks that may come out of the sweet mouth that belongs to your child.

Lastly, sit back and take in the sweet smells of a freshly bathed baby. There is nothing like it. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Molting


In my first grade classroom, we are learning about insects and their life cycles. My kiddos get to observe multiple types of insects to see if they fit into the complete or incomplete life cycle category. I also made sure that we had similar insects so we could use Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast each other.
 
The children are always eager for science time and run into class in the morning to see if their insects have changed. Being a science nerd myself (studied BioChem/BioPhysics in college before pursuing a teaching degree), this is one of my favorite parts of the day.
 
The children have been comparing mealworms to waxworms, and silkworms to caterpillars. All 4 of these are complete life cycle insects. Our incomplete life cycle insect is our crickets. The children have observed, documented, and predicted what will happen with our crickets.
 
"We have little crickets and king crickets in our habitat."
 
"I just saw a big cricket eating another cricket. I think they are meat eaters."

"It looks like the big crickets are having a meeting in the kitchen area. Look at all of them!"

The observations fly around the room and the energy and excitement are palpable. I rove around the room, listening to observations, pointing out things to look at, and asking for their predictions. 6 year old brains/eyes pick up different things then mine do.

"Mrs. G, Look! I think that our crickets are in the nymph stage. This one is molting it's skin. Look! Look!"

I quickly hustled across the classroom. How often do you actually get to see a cricket mid-molting?


Not only was our cricket molting, but it was a different color too. Had we come across an albino cricket? Was that even possible? We all stopped what we were doing while I took a picture. I'm so glad that I did...because 3/4 of the class would have missed this process. I quickly uploaded the picture so we could all observe it under the document camera. We made predictions.

"I think that it's done with the nymph stage and is now an adult...that's why it's white."

"I think that it is going to change colors like our mealworm beetles."

"I think that it's camouflaging itself for the sand."

I love when I'm able to give children the chance to explore their own thinking. The children could not wait to check on their cricket the next morning. The cricket had changed back its dark color but the wings took several days to change. Yet another day of exploring and analyzing in our room.