Thursday, September 29, 2011

break out the hankies.

I don't mean for that title to undermine what I'm about to share, because I'm totally.serious.  Whenever I hear about a child getting seriously injured or worse - preventable or not - my heart aches.  I cannot fathom losing one of my babies, ever, because that's just not the way life is supposed to be.  I want to share this first one primarily as a warning to mamas with little ones in infant carrier carseats.  Please, please, please.  Do not put your baby's carseat in the upper portion of the shopping cart. 

I learned about the infant's death from Krista over at Not Mommy of the Year.  She linked up another blog post about it. I found a couple news stories about it.  I looked up our carseat's warnings and guess what it says? 
 "NEVER place carrier in top of shopping cart.
Carrier will not be secure and could fall causing injury to child."

I probably should have read the instruction manual or the carseat, because you know what?  I didn't know.  I had seen other mothers putting their babies in the shopping cart like that.  Fortunately, I learned that this was a no-no sometime between the time Theo was out of the carseat and Dexter was into it.  But I did put Theo in the shopping cart like that.  And I got lucky, because nothing ever happened.  Now, I either wear Dexter in a carrier or he goes in the big basket part of the shopping cart.  This. Is. Scary.  And so preventable.  So one more time, pleeease. Don't put your baby carrier in the top of the shopping cart.


Sadly, I read about another unexpected child death that broke my heart.  One day he's here, one day he's not.  Can you imagine?  This one came from Lydia over at
Rants from Mommyland.  She linked up a fellow mom blogger's story (don't click that link without tissues...I swear).  She posted his first-day-of-7th-grade pics on September 7th and just 4 days later, his picture, a bible verse, and the simple words "Our Beloved Son."  Sometime between those two posts, Jack died as a result of a flash flood related accident in Virginia.  I don't know if his death was preventable.  It doesn't really matter because Jack is gone.  Now there is an empty desk in his classroom and an empty spot at the dinner table. 


I don't know how long
this link will work but ... a couple of weeks ago I also learned of a 2 year old toddler who ran across a busy highway, following his mother to their house from his grandmother's house.  The mother thought the boy's grandmother was watching him and the grandmother thought the boy's mother was watching him.  He was struck by a car going the speed limit (40mph).  Senseless and preventable.  And he's still gone.  In an instant, your life can change forever.  Can you imagine being that innocent driver?  The mommy?  The grandmother?  Heartbreaking. 


These kinds of stories make me want to hold my babies tighter, love them harder, kiss them all over, and protect them in every way I can.  I've been doing just that.  Won't you do the same with yours?


so saddened,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

rape: how far is too far?

Disclaimer: this is a mommy blog, usually.  This has nothing to do with mommy-ness or my children.  Just something I can't get off my mind.  So here goes.

I mentioned in a previous post that we had the opportunity to go to the movies this weekend.  We saw Straw Dogs.  Synopsis: "David and Amy Sumner, a Hollywood screenwriter and his actress wife, return to her small hometown in the deep South to prepare the family home for sale after her father's death. Once there, tensions build in their marriage and old conflicts re-emerge with the locals, including Amy's ex-boyfriend Charlie, leading to a violent confrontation" (Yahoo).

The movie is Rated R and details about the reasoning for the rating includes "strong brutal violence including a sexual attack."  I was not familiar with the 1971 original, therefore I did not know that the 2011 remake also had a graphic rape scene.  The original film was apparently banned in various venues following its release due to the violent, disturbing content. 


I wish I could remember the name of a movie I saw within the past 2 or 3 years that also had a graphic rape scene.  I recall telling my husband that I, a woman who has never been raped or physically attacked, was extremely uncomfortable watching the scene.  I felt the exact same way watching the scene in Straw Dogs this past weekend.  I had to look away several times and wondered why the director felt it necessary to show so much when a whole lot less would have gotten the point across.  I can't imagine what anyone who has been raped would feel while watching the movie. 

Since that experience I had a couple of years ago, I've thought that movies with this type of scene should warn viewers.  "Warning: This film contains a graphic, violent rape scene that may be disturbing to some viewers." Is that enough?  Or too much? Sure, the rating details explain that the movie contains a "sexual attack."  But who looks up the reason behind a movie rating before going to the theater? 

If a warning about rape is required, then what else will require a warning?  I know...once you start that kinda ball rolling, it's hard to stop it. 

Kate Bosworth plays the victim of rape in the 2011 version of Straw Dogs.  Alexander Skarsgard plays one of the rapists. 

"I told Alex not to worry about me, to just go for it. I said, I need you to lose yourself in this moment," Bosworth told Black Book in a recent interview. "And it was actually violent," Bosworth continued. "He's a huge guy. When he was ripping off my clothes in front of a room filled with men, even though I knew it was make-believe, it was still incredibly violating and terrifying. The panic you see flooding me in that rape scene is real."

I dunno, guys.  I'm not trying to be all Miss Picky-Picky.  Truthfully as a whole, I was entertained by the movie and enjoyed the storyline.  I just wish they would have left that rape scene out.  I suppose I'm looking out for someone who might be re-traumatized by this sort of thing.  It just feels wrong and unnecessary. 


Has anyone else seen Straw Dogs (either version)?



Tuesday, September 27, 2011

when sad slaps happy upside the head

This past weekend was such a mix of the ordinary and the extraordinary.  There were these moments, those little ones, that make it all worthwhile.  Friday I had both babies by myself and it was a good day.  Nothing spectacular, but not stressful and therefore a solid "good."  I ran some errands, met a friend at the mall for a Chic-Fil-A lunch and playground time, and did some chores while both kids napped (massive success).  That night, my heart nearly exploded out of my chest as I watched Theo trying to entertain Dexter for the first time.  I mean, Dexter is pretty entertained by Theo - he always follows his every move.  But this was different.  It was on purpose.  Theo was sitting on the couch next to me as I was holding Dexter and they were smiling at and reacting to one another.  Theo was leaning over in Dexter's face, grinning and admiring his baby brother.  It was a moment that would mean absolutely nothing to anyone else sitting there, but one that I had been waiting for.  It was so sweet.  Stinkin' adorable. 

On Saturday, the early morning was full of sleepy snuggles in a dark bedroom as barely awake babies were tucked beneath cozy blankets.  Theo drank whole milk from a pirate sippy cup as Dexter nursed and a big mess of intertwined legs and feet ensued.  R and I paused and looked across the divide between us, full of squirmy little kids in footie pajamas, and quietly smiled at one another...thinking this is itThis is what everyone wants.  We've got it.  This is the dream.  If "they" don't want this, then "they" don't know what it is.  I felt insurmountable wealth in that moment.

After agonizing about it all week, I decided to accept R's parents' offer to keep Dexter and Theo Saturday night so that we could enjoy our first kid-free night since April.  I went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.  There were pros.  There were cons.  There were stomachaches thinking about leaving my bitty baby Dexy for the first time.  Ultimately, I knew that I had to do it because we desperately needed that time together.  But I didn't want to.  But I did.  You see?  It was quite the challenge.  Long story short(ish), we dropped them off and had dinner at Bravo, then saw the movie Straw Dogs (I thought it was good, for what that's worth, and I'm going to talk more about a particular scene in a separate post).  Of course, I had to pump, so we went home for that and then headed over to The Melting Pot for a decadent dessert (which was friggin' amazing).  Y'all.  We didn't even GET to The Melting Pot until after 10pm.  That's 2200 hrs.  Do you understand how wacky and extraordinary a phenomenon this has become?  As we were gushing over how delicious our Cookies 'n Cream Marshmallow Dream fondue was, I felt the deepest gratitude for my in-laws...who not only agree to babysit when we ask them to, but ask if and when they can babysit.  Again, so lucky. 

I felt a sense of renewal and rejuvenation I haven't felt since, well, probably the last time I was kid-free for a night.  I spend so much time in mommy mode nowadays that I tend to forget I ever had any other mode.  Being my husband's girlfriend (and not just the mother of his children) for a day was fun.  Waking up on Sunday morning at 9:08am was pretty magical too.  Lying on the couch watching Ghost on Lifetime (or whatever channel it was) was kickass.  But you know what, guys?  Seeing those kids on Sunday afternoon - that was the best.  Theo's little chipmunk grin and Dexter's gummy, slobbery smile...those faces melt my heart.  My little humans were finally home and back in my arms.  We had a good dinner and some time to play before they went to bed.  The weekend was over but the euphoria from those perfect three days lingered on. 

I got in my car and started the quiet drive to work, feeling full of contentment about my life.  For some reason, I started thinking about a shirt we bought Dexter that had a cute excavator and said "my grandpa digs me" on it.  I had showed it to R's dad before they left.  Five minutes before I pulled into the parking garage, that stupid little 3-6 month shirt made me cry.  I thought about how Dexter would never wear that shirt for my dad.  I have often thought things like "my dad won't meet my kids," etc.  But I had never thought much about what his relationship with them would have been like.  I never pictured him chasing after Theo or them laughing together as he tossed Theo up in the air.  I had never imagined him snuggling Dexter up to his scratchy beard to kiss his forehead.  Never envisioned him taking my boys fishing and coming back with stories about funny things that happened.  He won't shake their hands or hug their necks and say "I'm proud of you" on graduation day.  I never thought about the memories my kids won't make because they don't have their Gramps.  The memories that I won't make because my kids don't have their Gramps. 

For some reason, that realization took me by surprise and before I knew it, hot tears were welling up in my eyes and streaming down my cheeks.  Life is weird.  And beautiful.  And strange. And ugly.  Death and loss is a natural part of that, I know.  Just when you think you're truly happy, sad comes along and slaps you upside the head.  Missing my dad is something I do every day, but I'm not going to let that steal my thunder.  All in all, it was still a perfect weekend. 


Monday, September 26, 2011


A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that we visited friends that live a couple of hours away.  My friend's hubby took a promotion close to Chicago over a year ago, which meant that the fellow mommy I relate to the most moved far, far away.  Only it's not that far.  It felt like it, and it still does, but now that we've made the trip there and back, I know how manageable it was and that we will do it again soon(er than later). 

There were yummy breakfasts.
And G's soccer game.

Which meant sharing of snacks with M.

And there was a superbaby.

There was a mini photo shoot.

And time for some snuggles.

There was a trip to the candy factory.

For "kids in a candy store," they don't seem very excited.

Us grownups were.  Four words:  Chocolate covered gummy bears.

Then, it was time to trust a stranger with my babies and hit the town.

Getting out of the house (baby-free) was liberating.  A breath of fresh air for both of us.

The weather was lovely; the town square colorful and vibrant.

We enjoyed dinner at a local upscale Mexican restaurant.

I just adore fresh flowers on the table.
(I indulged in the Mango Mint).
(oh, and the taco plate).
After dinner and drinks, we were ready to get back to our babies.  The next morning, it was time to say goodbye.

It's not goodbye, precious friends, but see you again soon.

Cheers to a much needed and fabulous weekend away,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

fall fun (and stuff)

This past weekend, my mom and 9 year old niece visited.  And Dexter tried baby oatmeal for the first time.  I know you're supposed to give them rice cereal first, but Theo thought it was gross so we skipped it altogether for Dex.  We went to the apple orchard (and took no pictures of anything apple related).  Here's the photoblog!

first bite.
i'm not so sure about this, mom.
everyone wanted a turn feeding the baby. look at him grinning at dada.
tastes pretty good, guys.
action shot! he grabbed the spoon as my niece was attempting to feed him.  we all had a good laugh.


such a big boy these days.
and strong!
he liked climbing on the hay
and checking out the chickens.
a rare photo of me and my boo.
pretty girl! and such a big helper.
lesson 1: don't give your kid an $8 sippy cup.
lesson 2: don't give your kid an $8 sippy cup on a bridge.
the retrieval.
grammy, R, and Theo
time to say goodbye.  the weekend ended too soon.

happy weekend,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

42 things that change when you have a baby

I'm sharing this from a babycenter article.  The ones that hit home for me are in bold.  There's just no way to explain how true these notions are until you have been there and done it yourself.  Becoming a parent is like no other experience I've had.


Forty-two things that change when you have a baby. 

1. You finally stop to smell the roses, because your baby is in your arms.

2. Where you once believed you were fearless, you now find yourself afraid. [See a reader's perspective in #22, below.]

3. The sacrifices you thought you made to have a child no longer seem like sacrifices.

4. You respect your body ... finally.

5. You respect your parents and love them in a new way.

6. You find that your baby's pain feels much worse than your own

7. You believe once again in the things you believed in as a child.

8. You lose touch with the people in your life whom you should have banished years ago.

9. Your heart breaks much more easily.

10. You think of someone else 234,836,178,976 times a day.

11. Every day is a surprise.

12. Bodily functions are no longer repulsive. In fact, they please you. (Hooray for poop!)

13. You look at your baby in the mirror instead of yourself.

14. You become a morning person.

15. Your love becomes limitless, a superhuman power.


1. "You discover how much there is to say about one tooth." — Ashley's mom

2. "You finally realize that true joy doesn't come from material wealth." — Anonymous

3. "You now know where the sun comes from." — Charlotte

4. "You'd rather buy a plastic tricycle than those shoes that you've been dying to have." — Sophie's mom

5. "You realize that although sticky, lollipops have magical powers." — Roxanne

6. "You don't mind going to bed at 9 p.m. on Friday night." — Kellye

7. "Silence? What's that?" — Anonymous

8. "You realize that the 15 pounds you can't seem to get rid of are totally worth having." — Brenda

9. "You discover an inner strength you never thought you had." — Ronin and Brookie's mom

10. "You no longer rely on a clock — your baby now sets your schedule." — Thomas' mom

11. "You give parents with a screaming child an 'I-know-the-feeling' look instead of a 'Can't-they-shut-him-up?' one." — Jaidyn's mom

12. "Your dog — who used to be your 'baby' — becomes just a dog." — Kara
[Many readers begged to differ, saying things like, " I disagree with number 12. My dogs are my additional children," "Nothing about previous babies, whether two- or four-legged, changes when a new miracle comes along," "My dog will never be 'just a dog," and "This is sad to me. My dog is still my baby too."]
13. "You take the time for one more hug and kiss even if it means you'll be late." — Tracey

14. "You learn that taking a shower is a luxury." — Jayden's mom

15. "You realize that you can love a complete stranger." — Dezarae's mom

16. You find yourself wanting to make this world a better place. — Arizona

17. If you didn’t believe in love at first sight before, now you do! — Ciara

18. You start to appreciate Sesame Street for its intellectual contribution. — Anon.

19. You have to quit watching the news because you see every story from a mother's perspective and it breaks your heart. — Brooke&Boys

20. You just plain love life more - everything comes together and becomes better because of one tiny person and your love for them. — Anon.

21. You finally find out the real reason you have those breasts. — Anon.

22. In response to #2 [above], I'd say that where you were once afraid, you're now fearless. I was always very timid and shy and let myself get walked all over … but now where my kid's concerned, I'll speak my mind and really connect with my inner "b"! — gummismom

23. The support you get from other people surprises you, because the people giving it are not always the ones you'd expect. — japanese_macaque

24. Nothing is just yours any longer. You share EVERYTHING! — DylanLsMom

25. No matter what you've accomplished in life, you look at your child and think, "I've done a GREAT job!" — Anon.

26. You want to take better care of yourself for your child. — Treasor

27. You can have the most wonderful conversation using only vowel sounds like "ahhh" and "oooo." — littlehulk2008


These are all pretty sunshiney.  I would add one that is not so positive.

28. The relationship with your spouse/baby daddy/baby mama, etc becomes a lot more work because you forget, amidst the chaos, that it IS a basic need.  For you, for the other person in the relationship, and especially for the child(ren).  You must somehow figure out a way to keep the relationship a priority.

What unexpected changes did you discover when you became a parent? 

Or which of these struck you as particularly relevant?


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


last night i was holding Dex tight up against me as he arched his back and extended his legs in sleepy protest.  i rocked back and forth quickly and forcefully at first, and then more gently as he began to surrender.  finally, his blue eyes were closed and i could only see his long eyelashes and the perfection of his smooth, milky skin.  i smiled, captivated by his sudden calm and asked R what time it was, knowing i would have to leave for work soon.

"8:42," he said.

"nooo!" i cried in disbelief.  i had only sat down with him about 10 minutes earlier and would have to leave soon.  i hate how busy our evenings are and how little time i actually get to spend snuggling with my little man.

"you know," i said, "we're not going to be able to do this forever."

"do what?"

"hold him this way." i nodded towards Dex as both of my hands were wrapped around his small, warm body.  "we can't rock him to sleep forever."

R shrugged.  "well, it's not gonna be easy - he's gonna wake Theo up."

i nodded.  "i know.  you're right.  he's too little anyway and I don't wanna let him cry."

i nuzzled into his cheek with my nose, breathing in his sweet, freshly bathed scent.  i kissed his face and paused there for a moment.  "i like holding him this way and i wanna do it as long as i can."

and i'm gonna.


Monday, September 19, 2011

baby boy cuteness overload

I read somewhere (that's helpful, right?) that instead of getting baby pictures done every three months, it makes more sense to get them as newborns, then at 4, 8, and 12 months.  It's true.  By 4 months, you're pretty much guaranteed an easy smile.  By 8 months, you can bet they'll be sitting up and you won't have to worry about them plopping backwards, hitting their head on the concrete floor (uh, what? never happened to Theo).  And by 12 months, if they're not walking yet they should be accustomed to crawling enough that they will sit still for a second rather than just crawl away every single time you sit them down (yep, Theo made every photo shoot exciting). 

Dexter turned 4 months last week and Theo turned 18 months the week before so it seemed like the perfect time for another little photo shoot.  I know they are my kids and all, but come on.  These guys are C-U-T-E.  Here are a couple of sneak peeks from the photographer's blog:

that gummy smile is about the cutest thing I've seen.

well.  those feet are pretty adorable too.

Theo was not so cooperative overall, but our photographer worked hard for the money and I know there are lots more cute shots coming.  Thank you Angie, for another exciting and interesting shoot.  

Here's a link to Angie's blog with the rest of the sneak peek. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

pure magic & sentimentality

One year ago today, I found out I was pregnant.  It was a different experience altogether from the day I found out I was pregnant with Theo, just 14 months earlier.  On July 6, 2009, I jumped for joy.  I cried tears of happiness.  We hugged and high fived and couldn't wait to tell our friends and family.  That day changed our lives forever.

So did September 14, 2010.  A year ago today, I suspected it due to some implantation bleeding a couple days earlier.  I took a test.  I was right.  I showed it to R and said "I hope you're happy."  Then I went to my room, laid on the bed, and cried sobbed.  Not because I didn't want Dexter.  I always knew I wanted another baby.  But we were planners and we weren't ready.  Theo was 6 months old, still an infant.  Barely even sitting up.  Still spitting up.  Still nursing.  R sat on the couch holding Theo, lost for words.  I don't think he ever came back to comfort me.  I don't think I wanted him to.  He was dealing with the news in his own quiet way.

I was immediately filled with self-doubt.  I was terrified.  I was certain that I would never be able to handle 2 babies at once.  I didn't want Theo to be the big kid in the family at 14 months.  I didn't want to take time away from him.  I didn't want to take time away from the new baby because Theo's needs would still be so great.  Nothing about it seemed fair to either baby and truth is, I was upset devastated.  I didn't want to go through another pregnancy and childbirth and recovery so soon, especially since I still had a baby to take care of. 

With Theo, we couldn't wait to tell everyone.  Our dreams were all coming true.  With Dexter, we felt embarrassed for letting this happen.  We thought people would say "you're an idiot." Maybe they did, behind our backs.  We had wanted to move into a bigger house before we had our second baby.  We waited to tell our families and very best friends until I was 10 weeks and told everyone else in the next few weeks following that.  I tried to lighten the mood with a funny photo card.

"eek!  We hope your Halloween isn't as frightening as ours.  Seriously Scared, R, ~C~, and Theo"

Well, as it turns out, it's a lot funnier when everyone gets it.  It was hit or miss whether people understood what the card was saying, but that's how we told most everyone.   

In time, we got used to the idea of another baby and even began to see the positives in having our kids so close together.  We were thankful that we were able to get pregnant easily as opposed to the struggle we had to conceive Theo.  We were thrilled that I had another healthy pregnancy, complicated only by a mild case of gestational diabetes.  We were glad our kids would be close in age so that they could someday become playmates and hopefully best friends.  We were relieved that this happened at a reasonable time in our lives, if there is such a thing, when we could afford it, had a decent place to bring the baby home to, were settled in our relationship, and knew that we would have another baby eventually anyway.  We realized that the timing could have been much worse and began to grow excited about our new little bundle.

By the time Dexter Jay came along on May 13, 2011, we were ecstatic and unable to imagine our lives without him.  I still feel that way.  I hate that I had so many negative feelings throughout the pregnancy but that's just the way it was.  I don't think it makes me any less of a parent to him.  I love him every bit as much as I love Theo.

1 week old

Dexter Jay is 4 months old now and at his appointment last week, I was surprised that he only weighed 12 lbs, 15 oz.  He only gained a pound and a half in two months.  Aren't babies supposed to double their birth weight by 4 months?  Because if so, he should weigh 15 pounds now.  Makes me feel kinda crappy, like I'm not feeding him enough or something.  But I assume he'd tell me if he was hungry.  Maybe he's just too weak to cry.  He be 'aight.

I'm not complaining that he's still my little guy because I know pretty soon, he'll be talking back and wreaking havoc, just like Theo.  Every day I see him rolling over, trying to sit up, staring at our plates during meals, and grabbing onto toys.  I may as well be watching him graduate from college or get married.  Feels like time is slipping right through my fingers.  Especially when so many people I know are pregnant right now.  It was like all the sudden, there were 8 people having babies.  Most are first time moms, which makes me feel jealous.  But WHY!?

I guess because I know that special time in my life is over.  Not to say that our future doesn't hold even more special times as a family...but there's something about being pregnant, and I'm pretty sure pregnancy is all but a memory for me.  My second pregnancy was a blur, in the midst of caring for an infant who turned into a toddler somewhere along the way.  There's just something about expecting that first baby.  The second baby is special too, in a different way.  It's because you know what to appreciate more.  And you know that the things you don't appreciate will be a memory in the blink of an eye, which makes the whole thing more bearable somehow.  Expecting a baby is this magical state of being and when I look back on it and it makes me sentimental.  Those irretrievable, first foggy weeks full of figuring things out.  Getting to know your new baby.  Snuggling at the most inopportune times in the middle of the night.  Knowing that the only thing that baby wants and needs in the world is you.  It's. Pure. Magic.

I get a bittersweet feeling every time I drive by the hospital where my kids were born.  I remember being admitted both times and all the anticipation that came with signing all that paperwork.  There's a certain calm you feel the second time, but the anticipation is the same.   Knowing what my friends are about to encounter as they journey through their own pregnancies, I feel envious.  I beg them to embrace every moment.  Pregnancy is not a glamorous thing, nor is parenting.  But there just something about the whole thing that makes me feel...sentimental.  Try as I might, I just can't find the words to really explain it, so I'll stop here.

We've come a long way, baby.

Cheers to 1 year of our Dexter Jay surprise,