Wednesday, November 30, 2011

my kid sucks

his thumb, y'all!  Gah... you didn't really think I would start a bliggety off like that, did you?

When Theo was a newborn, I saw him wiggling that little hand near his mouth a few times but never really had the coordination to really get going.  Plus, I never gave him the opportunity.  I ever-so-gently pushed his tiny hand away from his face and inserted his little green soothie pacifier.


Around the time he turned 6 months old, we decided to transition him out of the miniature baby straightjacket swaddle (which we loved for Theo - it never did diddly squat for Dexter) at night, subsequently freeing his arms and hands from said miniature baby straightjacket swaddle.   When that happened, something else did too.  Theo abandoned that soothie faster than you could say "thumbsucker."

Mouth, meet thumb.  Thumb, meet mouth.

I'm not sure what I had against it...I guess I just figured it would be easier to take a pacifier away than a thumb, and I didn't want him sucking his thumb at prom.  I never wanted my kid(s) to be a thumbsucker.  I would go as far as to say that it even annoyed me.  I don't know why.  We don't try to dissuade him much anymore.  We do say "get that thumb outta your mouth!" as a game, and he'll pop it out real fast and look at us and laugh (before popping it right back in and going about his business). 

I notice he does it the most when he's sleepy and when he's feeling nervous or shy.  There are days when he hardly does it outside of those circumstances.  There are days when he does it nonstop subconsciously as he plays.  To Theo, thumbsucking = self-soothing.  It makes him feel secure.  He's still little, so I don't feel the need to take it away (or try to) just yet.

For the record, I still don't think it's cute.

If there's one thing that makes me cringe about thumbsucking, it's the gross germs.  All the germs that he picks up (and sucks off of his thumb) while he's playing at the Simon mall playground.  The table he touches at McDonald's right before he sucks his thumb.  The germs he's spreading when his slobbery thumb touches things while we are out and about.  I try to hand sanitze as much as possible when we play in public.  We, as a family, have been sick for the last 6 weeks.  So yes.  I have become that mom.  The one chasing her kid around the playground squirting hand sanitizer left and right and towards every kid that comes within 10 feet of him.  Just be glad I don't carry Clorox Wipes in my purse.  Wait.  I do wipe off the high chairs and tables at restaurants with Wet Ones. Does that count?

I digress. 

Dex has never slept in a baby straightjacket swaddle.  He falls asleep with his pacifier but then it falls out and he doesn't use it the rest of the night.  We sure do stick it in his mouth when he starts crying for no apparent reason and he seems to like it.  The doc says we should get rid of it now because they are associated with a higher risk of ear infections after six months.  I'm not convinced yet.  There are just those times when I'm glad to have it, and so is Dexter. 

I wonder if I'll have another thumbsucker on my hands. 

time will tell,

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

because that means.

I feel like I spend too much time on this blog expressing negativity about how hard it is, being a parent.  I don't know if it's because I'm a negative person (I hope not) or because this is my place to vent.  There are blogs out there, like Dear Baby and Enjoying the Small Things, which I love, that are so beautifully and positively written - they inspire me daily to embrace the beauty in the ordinary.  They also portray parenting as something far more glamorous than what it really is.  To me.  To me

That being said, it's no secret that I love my babies and my husband more than life.  The three of them are the only blip on my radar (too?) much of the time.  But you want truth:  Here it is.  Parenting ain't no joke, people.  It takes a lot of energy.  It takes it's toll.  I have a toddler, fast approaching 21 months, and an infant who is almost 7 months.  It's not easy, but it was never meant to be.  Being a damn good parent, or trying to be, is tough.  There are things that drive me nuts BUT.  These days are so precious and that's not lost on me.  I know these ordinary days, these crazy-making moments, are what I'm going to miss one day... like...

Theo running up to me and pushing and pulling on my legs while I'm fixing dinner, begging me to pick him up.
Because that mean he wants to be close to me.

The ache in my back from rocking Dexter to sleep at night before he settles into a deep slumber in his crib.
Because that means he still needs me to do that, just as much as I need him to let me.

The sound of Theo running/stomping down the hall while dragging his very loudest pull-toy past Dexter's room while he is was napping.
Because that means he's happy, full of energy, enjoying and entertaining himself.

Spending more time cleaning up the mess under the table after dinner than the time it took to eat. 
Because that means I got to sit at the table with my boys, all three of them, and share a meal together.

Wiping runny noses and making last minute doctor's appointments.
Because when they're sick, that's when they need their mommy the most.

Spending countless hours pumping milk, scrubbing bottles, freezing milk, thawing milk, and packing it all up for the babysitter.
Because that means I'm giving my baby the best start possible. 

I could go on, you know?  But the point is this.  I (think I sort of) know how lucky I am.  With that being said, we've never had to deal with anything terrible, like life-threatening illness or injury.  Like losing our house in a fire or flood.  Things could be so much worse, no matter what, and I try to keep it in perspective.  I know these challenging, exhausting days won't last forever.  I know one day my boys will be grown and out of the house.  I'll think about how it all went by in a blink.  And I hope they'll come back for lots of visits.  I hope they don't move too far away from home.  I hope they'll remember their childhood fondly and not have a clue how hard we worked to make it just exactly what it was.

Because that will mean we have succeeded. 


Monday, November 28, 2011

the case of the disappearing milk supply

With Theo, I had such an oversupply of milk that I had to pump before I went to bed.  Sometimes after he nursed in the mornings, too.  With Dexter, not the case.  Right at six months, my milk production fell off with Theo and I agonized over it until I found out I was pregnant.  Simple explanation, really.  So we started supplementing with formula and I was able to do that and nurse/use our freezer reserves until he was 8 months old. 

I AM NOT PREGNANT.  So why am I having the same dip in supply now that Dexter is 6 months old?  This coincides with me deciding to make him bigger bottles (an extra 4 oz spread out over 4 bottles) during the week, so I'm failing to even make enough milk for those right now.  Forget having enough left over to freeze.  I do still have frozen milk for him (for now) but I'm having to use it just to fill up the bottles.  Talk about stress.  I have a friend that just nursed twins for a year.  She works full-time too.  I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but my body doesn't seem to want to feed my babies for much more than six months. 

I'm not giving up.  If it doesn't improve soon, I'll start Fenugreek.  I'm just not excited about it since I've read that it makes you and your baby smell like maple syrup.  Ew?  And I'm also not excited because I know once I start taking it, there's no going back.  I'm afraid if I don't keep taking it in increasing amounts, my supply will just continue to dwindle or dry up.  Anyone have experience with Fenugreek?  Or this 6 month milk mystery?

All I want is to prolong these fleeting, snuggly moments with my baby boy.  He seems to be getting plenty to eat on the weekend so I'm inclined to believe it has more to do with pumping.  Of course pumps are nowhere near as effective as emptying the breasts, so the more he nurses the better off we both are. 

I figured parenting would be stressful, but sheesh.  I didn't know I'd have to measure and agonize over every ounce of breastmilk.  And hey, you want to talk about someone crying over spilled milk?  Yes, that really happens.  The stuff is gold at my house.  We don't waste one drop. 

3 days til surgery consultation.  : (


Friday, November 25, 2011

dog bite to the head

Last Wednesday I woke up early and was lying in bed with my eyes closed, willing myself to go back to sleep.  For ages.  So I finally looked at my phone and it was only 3pm (I usually get up at 4).  I also had a text from my husband saying "Theo was bit by [the babysitter's dog] today just above the ear.  Broke the skin.  She washed it out with warm water and peroxide.  I called the nurse and the doctor wants to see him at 425.  Said they usually treat it with an antibiotic.  Theo is doing fine." 

Exsqueeze me?

Good thing I woke up early.  After I managed to get my heart out of my throat, I jumped out of bed and got ready in time to meet them at the doctor's office (with a few wtf-themed texts in between).  I don't really know how to describe how I was feeling.  So many thoughts were racing through my mind.  How much did he cry?  How did this happen?  Was he scared?  Will he hate dogs forever?  Where was the babysitter?  Will he have a scar?  More than anything, I was sad.  Sad that he had to experience that.  Sad that I wasn't there to comfort him.  Sad that the whole dumb thing happened. 

We got to the doctor and of course I scooped him up and hugged him - it was like any other day for my brave boy, he just smiled and acted like nothing was wrong.  Little ones are so resilient.  I had to search through his long hair above his right ear to find the marks, but there they were.  Three puncture wounds.  Really, really, really sad.  Later I found 2 more, so that made me wonder if the dog bit him more than once.  Anyway, the doctor actually came out to the waiting room and wanted to see us before he officially "saw" us.  He looked at the wounds and said that due to the nature of the wound, infection was very unlikely and rabies was virtually impossible.  He didn't even prescribe an antibiotic.  He said that because the wounds were flat and open, they would heal nicely on their own and we didn't need to be concerned with scarring due to the location.

The babysitter assured us that the dog couldn't possibly have rabies.  She apologized over and over and cried into the phone about the whole incident.  I felt bad for her, because I know if I had been in her shoes I would be devastated that this happened while someone else's kid was in my care.  She said that they had been outside playing and had just come in.  The dog was relaxing on the couch before going back in the crate or garage or bedroom or wherever he usually stays and the babysitter was changing diapers.  Theo went to give him a kiss (as he calls it - he lays his head down on the dog's side) and the dog snapped.  I don't know why.  It certainly doesn't sound like Theo did anything aggressive, but for whatever reason, he snapped.  I hate don't care for that dog, y'all.

And as much as I hope Theo isn't afraid of dogs because of this, I am kind of afraid of dogs for him.  If that dog snapped for no reason, why wouldn't any other dog?   Am I supposed to tell him not to love on my mom's dog or my friend's dog because of the possibility of them snapping?  What didn't sink in until after we left the doctor's office was how unbelievable lucky we were.  Centimeters and the dog would have taken a chunk of his ear.  An inch and he would have bitten his cheek.  It could have ended so, so much worse. 

So the big question is, what happened to the dog?  They still have it, I would never ask them to get rid of him on account of this.  He has been their family dog for 6 years.  But I did ask that he is not around my kids. At all.  Ever.  And of course the babysitter had already planned on that before I mentioned it.  She even said they are thinking about giving it to her mother.  So for now, the dog stays in the garage while the kiddos are up and running around.  I'm sad for the babysitter.  I'm kind of sad for the dog.  I'm most sad for my kid, that he had to experience such an awful thing.

I'm incredibly relieved that the whole thing ended as well as it did. 

P.S. Dexter's surgery consultation is next Thursday!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

baby Dexter's bally balls

I mentioned that things have been crazy around here lately and apparently I failed to tell anyone and everyone the most important details.  I've had texts and phone calls and never knew how many people cared about my little Dex until now.  Or maybe they're just nosy.  Eh.  Give 'em what they want, right? 

I debated about posting this, but it's a big part of our lives and thoughts right now, so why not?  When Dexter is old enough to read this, I can delete it so he doesn't hate me.  You won't embarrass him about it, will you?

Dexter was born with hydroceles, which is fairly common for newborn boys.  Basically, their ballies look super big and swollen and there's extra fluid around the testicles.  The fluid usually reabsorbs or goes away on it's own.  I think Dexter's have gone down but they are still swollen.  It doesn't seem to cause him any discomfort or anything like that, but apparently one of the risks of not repairing it is hernia, or when abdominal organs somehow get down into the scrotum.  WHAT!?  I mean, they're not that big.  They're still just baby balls.  Anyway, I've never noticed anything out of the ordinary.  I've read stories online lately about parents seeing big bulges that were intestines or something (lesson: don't ever run to google with a medical question), but no...that is not happening. 

We don't want it to happen, anyway.  So at Dexter's 6 month appointment last week (he was 15lbs 6 oz - 12th percentile - and 27" - 68th percentile), the doctor stuck a flashlight under his junk and said if it glows, he goes (to the surgeon for a consult).  He glowed. 

He supposedly set up something with these middleman appointment schedulers, and they were supposed to call by yesterday, but surprise surprise!  They haven't.  So I will be calling them today and hopefully we will have an appointment for the consultation.  If it has to be done, I really really want to get it done this year.  Ya know, since we've already spent a bazillion dollars on giving birth two years in a row and all.  New year, new deductible.

It's a pretty minor deal, altogether, but I'm majorly freaking because he has to be put to sleep with anesthesia for the procedure and that breaks my mommy heart.  He's just so little.  What if they give him too much? What if something goes wrong?  I just can't stand the thought of it.  Has anyone ever dealt with this?? 

scared for my baby,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

what mommy in the midwest is thankful for

Today's Toddle Along Tuesday topic:  What are you thankful for? 

That sounds easy enough, sure.  But when I think about how lucky I am and how the story of my life is unfolding before me, what am I not thankful for? 

First things first, I'm thankful for my little family.  My husband and our two perfect babies.  It isn't always easy, but no one ever said it would be.  I wouldn't change a thing.  I love those three dudes more than I could ever express in words. 

I'm thankful for our families.  Without my mother, sister, and late father...without my in-laws, we would not be who we are and would not have had the chance to create this little life of our own.  My mom and sister have been my role models for motherhood.  I'm thankful for their love and support.  That sounds like a cliche, love and support, but what else can you call it?  I don't know what I would do without my in-laws.  They have helped us out in a pinch more times than I can count. 

I'm super thankful for my health, and that of my family and friends.  Again, that sounds really cheesy and obvious, but almost every day I hear or read about a very sick child.  A very sick parent with young children.  Someone who was perfectly healthy but died or nearly died in a car accident.  I'm thankful for this day, for this right now, because there might not be another one. 

I'm thankful for the friends that I have who have been patient with me.  These last two years have been a whirlwind and I haven't been the friend I want to be.  But I know which ones I can still count on to be there in a heartbeat when I need them, because they've stuck around for years and years and never given up on me yet.  And I love them so much for that.  They know who they are, too.  With that, I'm so thankful for the newer friends, my mommy friends, that I can bond with over the joys and pains of raising little ones.  I'd be lost without having them to lean on. 

I'm so thankful that my husband and I have maintained good, steady jobs throughout all of this economic instability.  I'm thankful for my health insurance and the peace of mind I have, knowing if something catastrophic does happen - we'll be okay. 

I could go on for days like this, I swear.  Here's the materialistic side of me...

I'm thankful for:  my cell phone...fleece pajama pants...McDonald's sweet tea...Vince Vance and the Valiants...the occasional wedding rings...cheesy etc etc! 

And FINALLY, I'm so thankful that Sarah at It's A Vol chose me for one of the recipients of the Kreativ Blogger award - wow, I feel honored.  I've never been on the receiving end of such a nice bloggy gift.  And you know what she said about me?  I'll tell you: 

8) Mommy in the Midwest because ~C~'s smile is infectious even over the internet, not to mention she is mommy to two of the cutest little boys I've seen!

How sweet is that, right?  Thanks Sarah!

I know I still need to update on some of the craziness that has been going on.  Within minutes of posting yesterday that Theo was bit by a dog and an impending surgery was looming (for Dexter), I had calls, texts, emails, and facebook chats.  I guess next time I need to wait to announce such things until I am ready to explain!  But to everyone who was concerned, thank you for checking in and thank you for reading.  Feeling especially THANKFUL for you all today. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

my stomach hurts.

Things have been kind of nutty lately, and there hasn't been much time for posting here on my bliggity.  Some good stuff, some bad news, my kid got bit by a dog (he's okay), an impending surgery for my other kid, complete exhaustion, and a little bit of this and a little bit of that. 

Know what I mean?  It's just been one thing after another.  I've had a lot on my mind and not a lot of time to organize the chaos into anything that would make sense for anyone to read. 

For one thing, I can't believe Christmas is so soon.  I was going to buy Theo a kitchen, but now we are thinking we'll wait until his birthday (March) because we don't have much room for one now.  Not that we will in March, but hopefully we'll be moving in the Spring.  See? More stuff to worry about (the move, not the kitchen).  So that was gonna be Theo's expensive big gift and now I don't know what his big gift will be.  Probably, I don't need to buy him anything big because he won't know the difference for at least another year or two.  Am I right?

Anyways, here it is...the week of Thanksgiving... I'm just feeling overwhelmed right now.  My husband is sick.  Theo has been coughing for almost three weeks.  I don't know - this time of year, everyone should be happy and healthy.  Why is everyone so grumpy and worn out and sick?? 

I'm nauseous.  My stomach hurts.  I think it's from all the snot drainage running down my esophagus from my throat.  Gross, huh?  See...I told you I'm not in my right mind.  I'll come back with something better than all this.  Prommy (promise).


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

i know why women want more babies

I've pretty much decided that we are not allowed to go in public anymore.  Ever since I started my blog and began posting a lot of pictures here, people just recognize us way too much.  Ha.  Or maybe it's because EVERY time we go somewhere to have fun, someone (or all of us) end up getting sick. 

It's been 4 weeks since Theo and I had the stomach virus from hell.  And now Theo has been fighting a junky cough for over a week.  Apparently he was also fighting a sore throat, which would explain a recent eating strike, because last night I started developing one that could pretty much be summed up in three words:  Swallowing.  Razor.  Blades.  Both boys have had weird, persistent rashes.  Dexter has been getting up a lot at night, and when I say "a lot," I mean 9 times.  NINE times in 8 hours.  I wasn't home that night but I felt terrible, knowing that my husband was suffering alone while I was at work.  I pretty much started my day at 1:58am on Saturday though, so I think that made up for it.  I can't wait to get these kids feeling better again.

Dexter decided around Thursday and Friday of last week that now would be a good time to start crawling.  To that, I would say:  Dexter.  Stop it.  This is not a good time to start crawling.  I thought I asked you to wait until the Christmas decorations were tucked back in their boxes in January.  Hell, they're not even untucked from their boxes yet!

It's weird.  With Theo, I wanted him to hit every milestone early or right on time and got myself into a panic at times if he wasn't doing just what every other kid his age was doing.  Or what every book or website said he should be doing.  With Dexter, I just want him to slow down.  Aside from the emotional issues attached to my baby not wanting to stay a baby (again? gah.), there are the logistical issues.  He's so much smaller at six months than Theo was at nine, when he started crawling.  He has less physical control of himself, you know what I mean?  I remember Theo falling on his face and busting his lip while he was learning to crawl.  And he was THREE whole months older than Dexter is now.  I dunno, it's probably a dumb thing to worry or think about, but I do. 

Mainly, I just want him to be my snuggly little baby forever.  It's no mystery why women have one baby after another.  I guess they think eventually one of them might actually stay a baby forever.  Despite the nightmarish sleep issues we're dealing with right now, babies are so precious.  Dexter was playing with something he shouldn't last night, so I took it away from him, expecting him to cry.  He didn't.  He didn't even know the difference.  He was happy moving on to another toy.  I am not looking forward to the fits and tantrums.  Babies are so sweet and cuddly.  We're still rocking Dexter to sleep, which I suspect is part of the problem that we're having with night wakings - he doesn't know how to go back to sleep on his own when he wakes up between sleep cycles.  But as soon as we start putting him to bed on his own, that's the end of it.  That's the end of rocking him to sleep.  Or at least it was with Theo.  And once it was done, there was nothing I wanted more than to steal those moments back. 


There's a constant battle betwen the good and the bad.  I just keep telling myself, it's just a's just a's just a won't last forever.  And that's good and bad.  Bad because this time in our lives is moving at warp speed.

All my life, I dreamed of my wedding day.  All my life, I envisioned what it would be like to be pregnant and to cuddle that sweet newborn baby.  These things are glamorized to little girls, you know?  No one really prepares you for the heartburn, the hemorrhoids, or the fact that these things come and go in the blink of an eye.  My wedding lasted 15 minutes.  And in retrospect, it doesn't feel like my pregnancies lasted much longer than that.  Or my babies' itty bitty stages.

I know they are still little.  We are having the time of our lives watching them grow and learn.  I do love having little kids and I absolutely believe that a few years from now, 20 years from now, and 50 years from now, I will look back in disbelief at how far from this time in my life I've gotten. 

The point is, part of me feels like sobbing because it's over.  I got pregnant with Theo in June of 2009 and by May of 2011, in a flash, I was done having babies.  Done feeling them kick inside of me.  Done staring at them for the first time and memorizing every curve of their fresh little bodies.  It is such a blur now.  So, yes.  I understand why women want to keep re-living those moments by having another baby.  While that part of my life is over, at the same time, I know that we've just begun and the time of our lives lies ahead of us. 


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dear Dexter (6 month letter)

Dear Dexter,

It seems like I never know how to start these letters off without making some comment about how fast the time has gone and that I can't believe you're already this old.  SIX months!  We're halfway to your first birthday and it feels like just yesterday that I was rubbing my belly, wondering if you would be a baby boy or a baby girl.

You love your brother.  Your blossoming relationship is one of the sweetest things I have the pleasure of watching as you both grow.  Sometimes he will lay his head in your lap and you rub his hair and touch his face with the biggest grin imaginable.  I love it.  Whenever he sits by or in front of you, you're quick to reach out to him, usually resting your hand on his back.  You watch him, wherever he goes and whatever he does.  He's a very entertaining little boy, isn't he?

You are sitting up pretty well now, but not so well that I don't place the boppy pillow around you on the floor.  You still flop back from time to time but you are getting better every day at finding balance.  You shocked your daddy and I this past week as you have figured out how to get up on your hands and knees in early attempts at crawling.  You'll move your knees but not your hands, so you usually end up moving by falling forward and repeating the process.  It's just a matter of time before you mastered this milestone and are off exploring on your own.  It must be a strange thing to only be able to go where others take you, and then suddenly being able to go where you want (within limits, of course).  I guess you are bound and determined to keep up with Theo.

You have eaten several baby foods and I guess you must take after your mama, because you love the fruits and just tolerate the veggies.  You haven't been to the doctor yet for your 6 month checkup, but I know you're growing.  As soon as I clean out your clothes and move up the next size, you are outgrowing everything again.  We just put you in 6 months and some of the pants are already getting too short.

Your hair is blonde and your eyes are blue (like mine!)...where did you come from, little boy?  I love that you have your own look and that people often say you look like me.  You still don't have any teeth but we think you've been teething for several months.  What's going on with all the slobbering, Dexter, if there are no teeth coming?  You go through about a bazillion bibs a day!  I'm in no hurry for your teeth to come in because then your cute little baby gummy smile is gone forever.

I love you, Dexter Jay.  I can't imagine life without you.  You love to snuggle and I do too.  You have the sweetest giggle that is absolutely infectious.  The moments I get to share with you make my life better, make me want to be better.  I want to be around for you and your brother always.  Mommies are always sad when their babies grow up and become more independent.  We want our babies to love and need us forever.  It's no different, the way I feel about you.  I see all that your brother can do and can hardly believe he was just a little baby like you are now a year ago.  Now that you've decided it's time to crawl, you won't be far behind him.

with your Aunt Cher

Just promise to keep giving me hugs, okay?  I'm infinitely proud of you, my precious boy.

Love always,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

what's the best age to take your kids to Disney?

Disney is on the horizon.  It's far, far, far away on the horizon but if I squint real hard, I can almost kinda not really see it. 

Disney is super special to me and my hubs because that's where we met.  You can read all about it here. I've been looking forward to the day we could take our kids there for the longest time, like before I even had kids.  The last time we went was in 2007 and I'm anxious and excited to be sorta kinda thinking about our next visit.

But see, here's the thing.  Big Boo isn't that excited because it costs a lot of money.  What doesn't, right?  He wants to go when the kids remember it because otherwise, it's a waste, you know?  I disagree.  I think toddlers are only toddlers once.  Little kids are the only ones that fall for the "magic," in that characters-are-real sense, anyway.  And I say that the memories are as much for myself as they are for my kids.  Sure, they won't remember it when they are 2 and 3, but I will.  I will remember the looks on their faces and them falling asleep with their heads on my shoulder at the end of the day.  I'll remember how happy they were when I finally gave in and bought them that ridiculously overpriced souvenir.  When they see Sorcerer Mickey shoot fireworks out of his fingers.  I'll snuggle up with them at the end of the long, long, long day and kiss their little heads as they fall asleep...drifting off to dream of a fantastic world they never knew existed. 

How can you put a price on that? 

I kind of gave him that spiel and he changed his tune.  He agrees with me, so we're going in two years.  23 months, actually.  (Squeeeeee!!!!).  I. CAN'T. freakin'. WAIT.  Is there such a thing as the "right" age to take your kids to Disney World?  If I thought we would only go once in their lives, I might wait until they were 8 and 9, but I hope we'll get to go 3-4 times by the time they're 12 or so. 

So I get kinda lost in the shiny, glittery visions I have of myself at Disney World with the boys.  Then reality hits and I think...ages 2 and 3.  Hmm.  Is that going to be a nightmare?  How will they do on a plane?  Or should we drive?  Should I take the stroller?  Etc.  Etc.  Etc. 

We'll figure all that out as it gets closer, but this trip is going to be epic.  It better be, or else it will take me 23 months to get over the disappointment.  Any pointers?  Anyone have an opinion about the "best" age to take a kid to Disney?

it's a hot dog day,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

i don't think i could be a stay-at-home-mom

I've been back to work now for over three months - just a little longer than my maternity leave lasted.  And here my little Dexter is almost six months old.  I was reading through some old blog posts - specifically the one to Theo on his half birthday - and I can't believe how time has flown.  I sure didn't know then that a little over a year later, I'd be looking back at the first six months of my second child's life. 

Working is okay, I guess.  It's a balancing act.  I don't know how well I would do as a full time stay at home mom.  I think I would get bored at times.  I think the kids would definitely get bored at times.  I love our babysitter.  She's awesome.  We were lucky enough to find her via and she has been unbelievably reliable.  She's exceeded all of our expectations.  She does crafty crafts with my 5 (almost 6, sad face sad face sad face) month old, for pete's sake.  I would never have the creativity nor the patience to do half of what she does.  With all that being said, I really miss my kids during the week.  I leave for work after they go to bed at night, their dad takes them to the babysitter before I get home in the morning, and I pick them up around 5pm in the evening.  So I basically get to spend 2.5 or 3 hours with my boys on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.

On Thursday mornings after work, I've been sending them to the babysitter so I can rest and/or catch up on chores and errands.  It's Thursdays I have the most trouble with.  Technically, I could take a two or three hour nap and go get them.  But by the time I could go get them, Theo would be taking a nap.  And what's the point of going to get Dexter if I'm just going to have to turn around and go back for Theo a couple of hours later?  The thing is though, that I have horrible guilt about sending them to the babysitter on Thursdays.  I always feel like I need to explain what I am doing every Thursday so it's justified that I am not going to be spending every waking second with my kids. 

Hey, I have to go to the grocery and the bank today.

Hey, I have company coming this weekend so I need to clean the whole house.

Hey, it's our anniversary so I'm going to get a haircut and try to find a last minute gift.

Hey, we have an appointment with our financial advisor today.

What I really should say is this:

Hey, I'm freaking tired, I haven't slept in 2 days, there are cat furballs under my coffee table the size of your head and they're driving me crazy.  I don't have the energy or the patience to chase Theo around or make cotton ball snowmen with Dexter today.  Additionally, I just wanna lay on the couch and watch DVR for two hours because I never, ever get a chance to do so otherwise. 

I guess I just wonder if the babysitter or the other moms think I'm a crap mom because I choose to send my kids when, yeah, technically...they could be home with me for that half a day.

I realize now that I have virtually no me-time.  Aside from Thursdays, I have no me-time.  I'm busy with the kids from the time I wake up in the afternoon until I leave for work through the week.  On the weekends, by the time they go to bed, I'm exhausted and I fall asleep on the couch before I can make it through one 30 minute sitcom. 

So I've been taking advantage of the fact that we pay for Thursdays whether they go or not, and I've been sending them to the babysitter while I do something else (or nothing at all).  That right there makes me wonder if I'm the opposite of stay-at-home-mom material.  Even pondering that out loud makes me feel like crap.

I know I need the time to myself, so why do I feel so guilty?  While I was on maternity leave with Dexter, I continued sending Theo to the babysitter 3 days a week because it was just too much trying to take care of my newly toddling toddler and my newborn baby.  There were so many times I thought to myself I was glad to be a working mom who had a babysitter to send my older kid to, because if I was a SAHM, that wouldn't even be an option.  How do SAHMs ever get time to themselves?  I guess after the babies go to bed....??  Or maybe there actually comes a time when kids play by themselves long enough for a mom to relax for a few?  Nah, that doesn't seem possible.

feeling guilty,

Monday, November 7, 2011

beauty everywhere

You know, I always complain about the onset of fall.  Nothing personal, Autumn, but you mean the end of warm weather and the beginning of coats and icy roads and static in my hair.  This weekend I took a little time to look at my little world and I decided that I actually do like fall (a little).  There are certainly some beautiful colors to admire and without a doubt, some mild weather to enjoy.

chalkboard plate, birthday gift from my sister (artwork courtesy of me)

Colors, like the oranges, reds, and yellows on the trees.  Colors, like the blue of my baby boy's eyes.  I think they are going to stay blue, guys, and I'm so excited!  After hearing how much Theo looks like his daddy from day 1, it's nice to know I have something in common with Dexter.

hanging out with mama on Friday, while Theo took a nap

Then there are the rich browns - like that Hershey bar we let Theo go to town on Friday night.
I love the kelly greens - like the balloon the waitress at Red Robin gave Theo to keep him occupied until our food came.  Oh, and Dexter's paci.
Okay, so those aren't all fall colors.  Whatever.  Switching gears for a second - my sweet cousin, Kara, came to spend the weekend with us.  We had fun going out to eat, doing a little shopping, and just relaxing at Barnes & Noble while Theo played with trains and looked at some books.

Kara and Dex
Thanks, Kara, for snapping this sweet pic!

Sunday, we didn't have any plans.  I watched most of Crazy, Stupid, Love. since I fell asleep 30 minutes into it Saturday night.  I'm a fan of both Steve Carell and romantic comedies, so I thought it was really cute.  Kara had to go, but we were glad to have gotten some extra time with her.  The boys loved her.  The weather was perfect so I took Theo for a wagon ride around our neighborhood.  After we got back, I carried him inside and he instantly dissolved into tears in a pile on the floor.  I agreed with him - it was way too pretty to stay inside.  So we went out to the backyard and watched the neighbor clean up his leaves. 

Alright, so ... truth be told, it's time to clean up our leaves, too.  But not before raking a big pile for Theo to jump in... 

By the way, 1 1/2 year olds aren't that good at raking leaves, but they look cute trying.  I guess we'll have to wait a little longer to put this one on the chore list. 

Let me just tell you how much he loved the leaf pile.  Uh, he ran past it and poked it with a stick and kept going.  He was not impressed.  Yeah - I got all out of breath raking up that awesome pile for a poke with a stick.  Dexter actually loved it, so it wasn't a complete waste. 

I wouldn't ask for anything more. 

hope your weekend was full of color too,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

halloween 2011

I was looking forward to Halloween this year but really didn't have high expectations.  I knew we would take Theo to a handful of houses and assumed that he would be over it and want to eat all the candy as soon as he saw it drop in his jack-o-lantern bucket.

Y'all.  He loved it!  We went first to our next door neighbors so they could see both boys in their cute costumes, then took Dexter back to the house to pass out candy with Nana.  We live in an older neighborhood with beautiful trees that were covered in gorgeous yellows, reds, and oranges.  The sky was blue.  The air was crisp.  Perfect setting for trick-or-treating.

Before we set out, Theo was saying "trick-or-treat" perfectly, but of course when we showed up on a stranger's door, he just stood there and stared at them blankly.  I think he did say it once or twice.  He watched as the candy fell in his bucket or carefully selected his piece if the candy bowl was offered to him, then he would turn around and start heading to the next house.  We had to turn him around and prompt him to say "thank you" every time. He loved all the decorations and I thanked the neighbors that went all out with creepy skeletons, spider webs, and cackling witches.

We started just after 6pm and Theo was still going strong at 7:30, but it was time for Dexter to eat and Theo needed to start getting ready for bed.  At the end of the night, I was so happy.  I don't think I ever had more fun trick-or-treating as a kid than I did last night with my own kid.  Loved it with my whole big mommy heart.  Now I can't wait for Dexter to be a bigger part of it next year.  We had a blast.

Just another failed attempt at a family photo.
Our little hot dog.  The top is supposed to be over his head, but he wouldn't leave it that way - not even long enough for a picture!
Mommy and her hot dog. 

Cheeseburger boy, checking out his goodies!

Theo wanted to walk the whole time.  Houses in our neighborhood are not close together and the driveways are long.  He didn't care.  I kept asking me if he wanted me to carry him.  "No!"  I asked him if he wanted me to carry his bucket.  "No!"  What an independent little boy my baby has become.

And of course, Nana and Pop Pop came with toys and candy for the boys as well.  Best Halloween ever!


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

hopes. dreams.

 When I saw that the topic for Toddle Along Tuesday was "hopes and dreams for your children" this week, I took a deep breath.  Seems like such a loaded question.  Where do you begin?  Where do you stop?  I had to think about it.  I wanted to keep it simple.


I hope they know they are loved.  Not just "hey, love ya man" loved, but that there is a deep love emblazoned on my heart that will never fade.  I hope they know that they were created and born out of love.  I hope they feel that they were raised in a loving home and I dream of them recreating that same thing with families of their own.  Because if there's one thing I've learned from being a mama, it's this:  Family matters more than anything.  Family is everything.

I hope they have true friends.  Because I do believe that friends are the family we choose.  I can't imagine my life without the exact people that have been placed in it.  I hope they know that they can always come to me for love and support.  But if they can't because I'm not around, I hope they have a wonderful circle of friends that they love like family.

I dream of them being the very best of friends to each other.  To think of them not speaking breaks my heart.  To think of them not delighting in one another's children someday makes my stomach hurt.  I hope that their closeness in age translates into closeness throughout their lives.  I hope that one another's families are as important to them as their own.

I sometimes catch myself dreaming of them being this or doing that, but none of that matters.  I will love them to the bottom of my heart, regardless of what they do.  I hope they are kind and compassionate and considerate.  I hope they are responsible.  Throughout their lives, I hope people say "he's a great kid," "he's a nice guy," "he's a wonderful man," "he's a devoted husband," "he's a loving father," and most of all, "he's just like his dad."  That will make me as proud as anything they could ever achieve. 

I just hope they're happy and fulfilled at the end of the day.  Satisfied with where their path has led them in life.  I hope that's not too much to ask.