I'm an Auntie!

2.28.2011

Okay, since I married my husband in 2006, I have officially become an Auntie to my seventeen year-old niece Kaleigh, my ten year-old nephew Gabe, and my five year-old niece Sarah.  (This was exciting for me because being an only child, I didn't know if I would ever get a chance to be an Aunt.)  Now, I'm an Auntie again!

This weekend we went to the hospital to welcome a new little bundle of joy (okay not exactly little--9 lbs. 11 oz.).  Her name is Brooklyn.  Although our visit was short and sweet, we had a chance to take some pictures of the happy family.  (I can't wait until Little Lewie gets to meet Brooklyn too--it'll be interesting to see how he reacts to a newborn baby.)

Welcome to our family little Brooklyn!

Brooklyn with my hubby and her big sister, Sarah.

Brooklyn with me and her big sis, Sarah.

Five year-old Sarah already being a sweet big sister.

The happy family.
So, I guess the question of the day is, "Am I ready to have another?"  Well, after holding that precious little bundle in my arms, it sure is tempting, but we haven't decided...yet...

Are you ready for another?

Friday Fun Flick: Shoveling Is HARD Work!

2.25.2011

We started out the week feeling sick, and we're ending the week feeling just as exhausted and miserable.  For some reason, we can't seem to kick this nasty flu/virus that's going around.  (Although we do appreciate your virtual hugs and chicken soup that is being sent our way!)

This week, when we could, Little Lewie and I would go outside for some fresh air (even if it were for 15 or 20 minutes).  We didn't get more snow, thankfully, but Little Lewie grabbed his shovel anyways.  Usually when Daddy and I are shoveling, Little Lewie is sitting cozy inside the house, but I guess he's watched us through the windows on more than one occasion.  Without even prompting him, I was surprised when he grabbed his "gardening" shovel out from the garage and decided to use it to shovel the walkways.  (It's amazing what our little ones pick up on when no one is watching.) 

Here, in this video, Little Lewie is (less than enthusiastically) helping Mommy and Daddy shovel the walkways.  As you can see from the couple of times he takes breaks to the ending where he just throws down his shovel, shoveling snow is HARD work, even for toddlers with light, plastic green shovels.

Happy Weekend Everyone!  Stay Warm!

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One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

2.21.2011

I need a nap!
I'm having one of those weeks where I feel like I can't get ahead.  

Last Monday morning, I decided it was time to finally start exercising and leading a healthy diet to get in shape for the spring and summer.  I started out by trying to exercise and get into my old Pilate's routine again.  After just one exercise session, I strained my neck, and I've been too sore to proceed.  Then I tried to start eating healthy but fell off the wagon when I bought (yes me) my favorite, dark chocolate, non perils.  I thought I could handle rewarding myself with a small, reasonable amount of chocolate every day, but instead, I find myself opening this container every time I enter the kitchen. Geeezzz, talk about lack of will power.

At work, I tried to get ahead on projects and emails by staying up late and sacrificing precious blogging time.  Not only did I not manage to get ahead in the work department but I've since missed posting about special Lewie moments and commenting on favorite friends' blogs. 

At the home front, a few days ago I came down with a stomach virus, and then my mother (who lives next door) came down with it too.  As soon as we started feeling better, my precious Little Lewie developed a Croup type cough, which scared my husband and I enough to consider a visit to the emergency room.  Fortunately, some of his symptoms have subsided, but, at the recommendation of our doctor, our little boy is being closely monitored at night to make sure the cough and wheeze don't return. 

Finally, during the week we had two warm days of temperatures in the 50's and 60's.  For the first time in months, our ginormous mounds of snow, slick driveways, and icy rooftops began to melt, and we were teased with the sounds of children playing and birds frolicking outside.  A warming trend was on the way and here to stay...or so it seemed...until less than 24 hours later, the cold embraced us once again--this time bringing chilly winds and yes, oh yes, more snow.  Between four to seven inches are expected today, so our shovels and ice melt are waiting on the back porch--glaring at us--taunting us.  The snow melted only to be replaced by more, and I'm left wondering if all the Daffodil, Hyacinth, and grape Hyacinth bulbs I planted in the front yard will even have a chance to bloom this March.  If they're not still covered by the seemingly unending layers of snow, will they be drowned by a pool of water with nowhere to go?

Yes, this week, I suppose is just one of those weeks.  I'm sore, sickly, cranky, overworked and tired.  When the weather finally decides to spring ahead, I promise my two feet will be air born with no desire what-so-ever to step back.

Did you ever have a week when you felt like all of your hard work and efforts are getting you nowhere?

Belated Valentine's Day Wishes

2.15.2011

Did you ever wish you could stop work or freeze it for a couple of days?  I sure do.  My new job has been incredibly difficult these last few days, which has kept me from writing my posts and responding to my favorite blogs.  (Please forgive me!)

My little guy wasn't very interested in putting together his Valentine's Day cards this weekend, so I took care of all twelve of them--carefully making sure to place the heart stickers in the appropriate spots.   While my little boy didn't seem to have the slightest interest in hearts or Cupid's arrow, my husband and I tried to make the most of the weekend.  We went out on Saturday evening to a local theatre (called The Seven Angels Theatre) and saw a special Valentine's Day comedian performance.  The three comedians were hilarious, and to start the evening out right, the theatre served champagne and chocolate in the lobby prior to the performance.

On Sunday, we attended a special Valentine's Day Anniversary Mass.  Any married couple who was celebrating a special anniversary this year (in increments of 5) could sign up to renew their vows.  Since my husband and I will be celebrating exactly five years of marriage in June, we decided to sign up.  It was a very nice time indeed even though we felt silly celebrating our 5th when there was another couple celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary this year.  (If my husband and I ever celebrated 65 years of marriage, I would be 90 and my husband would be 95!)

I hope everyone had a sweet celebration this weekend.  May friends, family, and acquaintances, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, continue to show you more love and blessings throughout the week. XOXOXO.

My husband and I in the church lyceum after renewing our vows.

Friday Fun Flick: Winter Mowing?

2.11.2011

Snow, snow, and more snow.  That's what it's been like in these parts; although, this week we did have a little reprieve.  We have to get creative when it comes to our outside play, especially since my little guy doesn't like to wear gloves, mittens, or hats.  Ugh!

Here's some fun video clips of my little boy "mowing" the sidewalks...  He found his lawn mower in the garage and insisted on playing with it.  I guess he's kinda ready for the Spring like the rest of us!

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As you can see, I recorded this before his nap time, so he kept on getting cranky with me.  I couldn't help but laugh!

Do you have any creative ideas for outside play (especially in this weather)? 

Happy Wife, Happy Life!

2.09.2011

I have a wooden block that I display in my kitchen window that says, "Happy Wife, Happy Life!"  I had to buy it because I think (and I'm totally being subjective here) it's true.  As the primary financial advisor, bookkeeper, errand runner, housekeeper, and caregiver of the family...ehem...it's wise to keep me happy.  If something's off kilter or I start feeling unappreciated, you better believe I have something to say about it, and the angst ends up disrupting the normalcy of our daily household routine.  Simply put...it's wise to keep Mama happy. 

Over the years, the "rules" for keeping me happy have changed.  When we first married in 2006, for example, most of our "squabbles" resulted from me not feeling we were spending enough time together.  I verbalized my frustrations all right, and there was no question that I had the following expectations.
  • Saturdays were to be "our night" and not a night for band practice.
  • Band practice was to be limited to no more than two days per week, and these days were to be planned so I wasn't left sitting at home by myself without plans of my own.
  • Curfew was midnight.  (Anything later required a phone call and an explanation, so I didn't worry.)
Yes, as a newly married couple, we were still juggling the balancing act of keeping our independence and identities while trying to put our relationship first.  As someone who had given up her "girls' night out" of dancing until 2 a.m., I understandably wanted my husband to give up his late night band practices with the guys, which involved some hanging out and partying.

Now, five years and one child later, our relationship is in a different place, and our "squabbles" are about other things like household finances, bills, and free time.  Now, to make me happy, I have a new set of expectations.
  • To save as much money as we can for an emergency fund, our son's future, and day trips/vacations.
  • To give each other an equal amount of "free time" away from the house for "recharging" after a long week of work, errands, and childrearing.
  • To schedule much needed family time on the weekends (especially since our time together is limited on weekdays).
  • To assist with household chores, like laundry, vacuuming, etc. etc.
The days of worrying about who's out late partying are long gone, and instead, we find ourselves trying to balance our needs around our very hectic schedule of daily living.  A "happy wife" for me translates as having a husband that helps out around the house, watches Little Lewie from time to time so I can go out shopping or take a long hot bath, and stays committed to saving money so that we can plan for a solid future together.  Any interruptions in this very fragile plan, and Wifey Poo becomes cranky.  Ultra cranky.

Yes, in these five short years of marriage, I've learned some valuable lessons.  I've learned that priorities change,  relationships evolve, and that a "happily ever after" doesn't come without it's fair share of squabbles, tests, and compromise.  We're not a perfect couple, but we do have two very important things in common--we love each other, and we love Little Lewie.  As long as we keep these two very important realites the mission and central focus of our marriage, Wife and life should be happy, very happy.

Monday's Mommy Moment: My Funny Valentine

2.06.2011

It's official.  My little two year old has a crush.  She's about the same age as Lewie, and they met, surprise surprise, at daycare.  Was it love at first sight?  Oh, I can't say, but I can say that as I picked up my little boy on Friday, he was heartbroken to see her get whisked away by her mom.  As she and her mom made their way to the door, Lewie screamed, "No, no, no!" 

"What's wrong Lewie?" I asked, looking up from his locker.

My eyes met the mom and the little girl.  With the sweetest of voices, this cute little angel with brunette ringlet curls, smiled at Lewie  and said, "Bye, Bye Lou Lou."

"No, no, no," cried Lewie again shaking his finger as if he were scolding her.

"Lewie," Annalise has to go home with her mom now.  "You'll see her again on Monday," I replied.  (As we know, it's next to impossible to rationalize with a two year old.)

Annalise left, but my little boy was still upset.  When I told my husband the story, he laughed.

"Every time I drop Lewie off at daycare, he runs to greet Annalise.  I'm surprised you're just finding this out now.  They've been an item for a while."

"Oh really," I said surprised.

So, my little boy has a crush.  We'll have to make sure to put an extra heart sticker on her Valentine's Day card next week.

Playdates

2.02.2011

It's this time of year that I can really appreciate a playdate--you know, when toddlers are expected to play with their little friends while mommies can finally get a break.  In my opinion, playdates are a "win-win".  Little Lewie has someone new to play with besides Mommy and if the playdate is at someone else's house, he gets to revel in the excitement of playing with a whole new set of toys.  For me, well I get all giddy to have an adult conversation with another mom while getting to kick my feet back a little. 

Another thing I enjoy about playdates, rightly or wrongly, is the little window I get to see of how other mothers do it--you know, the whole discipline and child rearing thing.  For example, I have one friend who let's her child do anything; jump on couches--no problem, throw toys or smash into them--no problem.  Meanwhile, when my little boy tries to do the same thing, he gets scolded.  Sometimes his little friend even has to watch as Little Lewie is placed into time-out for disobeying Mommy's orders.  Do my friend or I ever criticize each other?  Never.  I may think she's being a little too easy, and she may think I'm a little too harsh, but it's the secret code between mothers to butt out of each other's business.  Perhaps her husband is later told about what a witch I am to my kid, but that's for another discussion.

I have another friend who seems to have the whole child rearing thing down to a perfect science.  Her son is a quick learner with an amazing vocabulary, and he listens to his parents.  He seems like this perfect little angel with his "please" and "thank you's", but his mother insists that he can be defiant at home.  Her seemingly perfect son puts a little stress on our playdates.  Since he is so well behaved, I try to have Little Lewie emulate the same behavior, and as a result, I find myself trying to correct him (and blushing at the same time) as he tries to take the other little boy's toy, declaring "Mine!" or as he starts screeching at the top of his lungs because I won't let him run around their house and possibly break an expensive item.

Another difference I learn about when we are on playdates are eating habits.  One friend only feeds her son organic; another likes to feed her kids McDonald's and Taco Bell.  One friend lets her child graze all day because she says he can't sit still at the table.  Another insists that every meal at home be a sit down dinner in the dining room.  If we're at home, Little Lewie knows that I still like to place him in his highchair to eat.  If we're at someone else's house, I usually have him sit at the table, knowing that he can't bring food with him into another room. 

Finally, another difference comes to schedules.  I have some friends that are driven by schedules and if the playdate is going to interfere with nap time or anything else, it has to be rescheduled.  Still I have other friends that are very laid back with scheduling and even parent involvement.  They tend to be the ones that come over my house and still want to stay even after I've put Little Lewie down for his nap.

Yes, as mothers, we all have our differences in child rearing...sometimes it's because we were raised differently, sometimes it's because we read different books and opinions on the topic, and sometimes it's just because we have different children.  (My little boy happens to be very different from most of his little friends because he tends to want to be the "class clown" by always entertaining and saying silly things to be noticed.  For instance, all day today he got a kick out of calling me "Daddy."  Go figure!)

All I know is whether my friend is a type "A" parent or a type "B" parent, whether she teaches the Montessori method or the "boys with be boys" method, I look forward to our playdates for the new experiences (and the little bit of relaxation) that they bring.

My buddy and me at our last "super playdate".