Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TJ & DJ (no, we don't call them by their initials)

I have two boys - and their names are Theodore Jack and Dexter Jay. 

Honestly?  I never dreamed I’d name my kids those names.

For the longest time, I loved the name Vivienne and thought for sure when (not if) I had a girl, she’d be Vivienne Margaret (Margaret after my paternal grandmother).  By the time I found out Theo was a boy, I’d marked Vivi off my list because Brangelina named their little girl the same thing.  They copied me.  I had it first.  I didn’t want to fall in their footsteps…or the footsteps of a bunch of people that named their baby Vivi because Brangelina did. That's it - off the list.

Before Jackson became hugely popular, I loved Zavier Jackson, but R wanted it to be Xavier Jackson.  I didn’t want the “X” pronunciation and we could never agree on it, so we dropped it.  Jackson was R’s grandfather’s name.  After X/Zavier died off, there was Owen.  I had several years of wanting a baby Owen.  Then, all the sudden, there was an Owen at every pool and playground and toy store.  Again, off the list.

By the time I finally got pregnant, I didn’t have any baby names picked out.  It seemed like quite the ominous task, choosing names that this kid would carry with him for life.  I knew I wanted to incorporate my late father’s name somehow.  No lie, we were watching Cosby Show reruns one night when I said “Theo.  Theodore.”  I don’t know what it was about the name, but it felt good rolling off my tongue and it sounded right with our last name.  Within about 2 minutes, we decided our baby (if he was indeed a boy) would be Theodore.  Within a week of finding out his gender, we were calling him Baby Theo.  It fit and it stuck and there was no looking back. It took us a few weeks longer to decide if his middle name would be Jack or Alan but we ended up choosing Jack.  No one knew my dad by his middle name, Alan, and Jack just seemed perfect. 

Dexter was a different story altogether.  It was harder, and partly because we didn’t know if the baby would be a boy or a girl.  I got it in my head that I wanted the name to have a “Th” blend in it.  Like Samantha.  Or Meredith.  Or Edith.  Edith?  Yeah, Edith.  That was the name we ultimately decided on if the baby was a girl.  We’d call her Edie and her middle name would be June after R’s grandmother.  I entertained the idea of naming a girl Arizona (after my maternal grandmother) and calling her Zoey.  R wasn’t a huge fan.  Oh, and we fell in love with Mallory for a few weeks but decided against it because of my nephew named Malachi, who gets called Mal, Mali, and every other way you would naturally shorten Mallory. 

After exploring ALL “th” options for boys, I realized it just wasn’t going to happen.  So we went off in different directions.  Harrison (but R didn’t want him to be called Harry).  Griffith (too cumbersome rolling off the tongue with our last name).  I loved Calvin, but with Theodore's name, I thought it was too close to the Chipmunks' Alvin.  Crosby (too much like Cosby? as in Theo Huxtable/Bill Cosby).  Also, R is a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan and while I couldn’t care less, he didn’t want everyone to think he named his kid after Sidney Crosby.  Think we over-thunk it?  Maybe so.

When Dexter was born and we heard the words (and saw the evidence), “it’s a boy!” I looked at his little face and thought, he looks like a Crosby.  But for whatever reason, by noon that day, we’d decided he was a Dexter.  We chose Jay for his middle name after R’s father.  We liked Jay and June both because they started with J and had one syllable like Jack, and {bonus} had family significance. 

It's funny how there's a million and one names out there and you can choose any one of them - but your baby is exactly who you named him for a reason.  I just can't imagine calling my little guys anything but Theo and Dex. 

I love baby names.  TaIking about them, thinking about them, and choosing them.  I would love to name a dozen more babies, but that means I’d have to take care of them and pay for them too.  There are no more vacancies at our inn for now, so I’ll have to be content with my two boys and the names that we chose for them. 

no regrets here,

I'm linking up with Mama G at Growing Up Geeky and Mindi at Simply Stavish this week for Toddle Along Tuesday.

Monday, March 26, 2012

this just feels wrong.

This post will from here on out be called "the one where she whines a lot."

Something's not quite right.  I was off work for 11 days.  11 glorious days.  A while back, I talked about how I felt guilty for not wanting to be a stay at home mom.  For liking my job.  For liking the chance to get out of the house and talk to other adults.  For wanting to use my college degree 40 hours a week.  Or 37.5...whatever. I work for the government.  Point is...

I've changed my mind.  I take it all back. 

I want to be a stay at home mom.  There.  I said it.

As I was leaving work a week and a half ago, it struck me that I have not had that much time off work (excluding maternity leave) in about three years.  I hadn't been able to take any vacations because I was always saving up time for maternity leaves.  It was the first time I've had a chance to take time off while the babies were sleeping through the night and just ... well... generally pleasant to be around 90% of the time.

Finally...I was off work.  And?  The boys were generally pleasant to be around.  Scratch that.  They were a blast.  My 10 year old niece from Tennessee also spent her Spring Break with me so that gave me another person to have conversations with.  We went to the zoo.  We went shopping.  We went to the park.  We went out to eat (a lot). 

Going back to work last night, something just felt off.  Just wrong.  I didn't want to go back.  I didn't want to send them to the babysitter this morning.  I kept thinking, it's not fair.  Someone else shouldn't get to spend more time with my kids than I do.  Even though I was only off work for a week and a half, it felt like longer.  It felt kind of like going back to work after maternity leave.  I didn't want to leave my babies.  I want to be with them.  I miss them.  I miss out.  Over the last week and a half, I got to be there for so many cute, every day moments. 

Theo's vocabulary and ability to express himself has soared in the past couple of weeks.  Now he says stuff like "guess what, mommy?" before telling me about something that's important to him.  Now he says stuff like "Hello? It's me," while he's playing with his toy phone.  All day Saturday and Sunday he said "Spencer's coming tonight and he's going to ride Pop Pop's tractor with me!"  Oh yeah, and he also says things like "I'm going to sit on the couch and watch doodlebops for a few minutes."  No lie.  Just one more.  "I'm going to sit at the table and color a little bit."  I can only imagine how many of those phrases I would have missed if I had been at work all week. 

This week, I'm gonna miss them all.  I'm gonna miss everything.  I'm gonna work and stare at my computer.  I'm gonna stare at their pictures on my desk and hope that the lump in my throat doesn't interfere with my ability to do my job.  I'm gonna wish I could kiss them first thing in the morning and as I put them down for their naps.  I'm gonna wish I could clean up their lunch messes and toy piles.  I'm gonna wish I could take them for afternoon wagon rides and ice cream treats just because. 

I'm gonna miss everything.  I'm gonna miss it all. 

working sucks.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

project 365 (mar 7-18)

Project 365, days 67-78

67/365: Last day as 1 year old.

68/365: Birthday boy and his cupcake.

69/365: Two year checkup.  36" tall, 26.7 lbs.

70/365: DQ ice cream cake. YUM!

71/365: A hometown tradition.  Shapiro's

72/365: Big 2 year and 4 day old boy enjoying the amazing spring weather.

73/365: Foggy Tuesday morning. 

74/365: Springtime means pedicures and cute Birkenstocks. 

75/365: And the changing of the snowman ceiling fan chain pull to the butterfly.  

76/365: Waving at fire trucks during the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

77/365: My cousin's cousin. Pretty Little Jocie.

78/365: Maybe one of my favorite pictures.  Of all time. 

I know, I know.  I didn't do any better this time than before at staying on top of this.  My blog has been neglected lately, but I just haven't forced myself to sit down and take the time.  I guess you could call this project 365: Theo's birthday edition.  He had a several days long celebration and we made the most of the big boy's special day without going over the top.  I still have about 24 bazillion pictures to sort through before I post a photoblog dedicated solely to the festivities, but I'll get around to it. I think.  

I'm on vacation this week.  You'd think that would mean a blog post a day, but nah.  That's not how it works.  Oddly enough, that just means that I have even less kid-free time to myself because they are never gone to the babysitter or their grandparents.  Our babysitter has been on leave for a few weeks after the birth of her sweet baby so I planned to take this week off, hoping that it would fall into those few weeks she's off.  It worked out well enough.  I'm excited to have some time off with my babies and my 10 year old niece from Tennessee who is here for her Spring Break.  

So, back to business as usual...my favorites this time?  68, 72, 73, and 74...is that not one of the cutest 2 year old boys you've seen?  And yes, I love all things SPRING.  And it is here, in full force.  And I think Spring brought a little bit of Summer with him.  I'm not complaining.  I could live the rest of my life in these high 70s temps and the amazing fresh air.  

But my very favorite has to be that last picture that I snapped today of Dexter and his daddy being sillies on the couch.  Cause, dude...I love my 3 dudes.  

Are you enjoying this amazing Spring weather too?  Which pictures are your favorites? Humor me!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

double digits: holding on, letting go.

My little Dexter is 10 months old today.  With every month that passes, I ask myself how we've gotten here so fast.  Double digits means only two months til my littlest little person turns one.  Time to start planning the party!

taking off on my own

I'm holding on to these next two months with everything I've got.  I think I'm done having babies.  That makes me sad.  It also makes me breathe a little sigh of relief, but with that sigh, I already know I'm going to miss having a sweet little baby in the house.  It's kinda become a way of life, after all. 


holding on; not quite ready to let go

I've been holding onto hope that I would be able to nurse Dexter for a full year.  For the last four months, my supply has been dwindling and so has my supply of frozen reserves.  Each week, the amount of milk I'm able to express decreases.  It's getting to the point where it hardly feels worth it.  The constant pumping and calculating ounces is wearing on me.  It's been stressful the past four months, not knowing if I would make it to the next month.  When I made it to 9 months, I made a goal to breastfeed until he was 10 months and if it was still working, then I'd make a goal of 10 and a half months.  

Last night I looked in the freezer and found that I only have 25 ounces of frozen milk left.  That just means that I only have enough to make it through a couple more days in addition to what I'm able to pump.  We are going to have to start supplementing with formula very soon.  I have a feeling once we start that, the nursing and pumping will end shortly thereafter. 

I'm letting go, but I'm not ready for it to end.  I love nursing and I hate pumping, but I've endured the pumping to prolong the nursing.  I'm not ready for my baby to stop being a baby.  I'm not ready to stop holding him in my arms and soothing him to sleep tonight.  Breast or bottle, I don't have any plans of letting go of that any time soon. 

if you stop breastfeeding me, I'll eat dirt.

I love this little boy like I never knew I would or could.  When you love your first baby so much, I guess it's natural to worry that there won't be enough love to go around.  Not so.  We might be holding on and letting go, but we're doing it together.  We're not growing apart, we're just moving into a new phase.  When Dexter is done nursing, it will be the first time that I haven't been growing a baby, inside and/or outside of my body, in almost three years.  

I know it is time to let go and move on, but it sure is hard. 


P.S. I have a couple of "Theo's 2nd birthday" related posts planned, but the lack of free time I've had lately is not allowing me to write posts/edit pictures like I want to.  So, I'll do it when time permits.  He had a heck of a celebration, but on a small scale.  Does that even make sense? More to come on this soon. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Letters to Theo: Today, you are 2.

Little Theo,
Last night before bed, your daddy and I talked about what a big day today would be for you.  For the last week, we've been teaching you to say "I'm two!" when asked your age.  We've been trying to teach you to hold up your little peace sign to show everyone how many years old you are.  You try but for some reason, you just can't get that little thumb to secure your pinky and ring finger.  Cutest thing ever. 

Last night before bed, we sang happy birthday to you.  Towards the end, I felt my voice quavering and my eyes stinging.  I felt that familiar lump in my throat.  It's the same one that unexpectedly crept up on me at your first birthday party last year as we sung to you. 

Last night before bed, I told you I loved you.  I kissed your head.  I whispered in your ear, "the next time I see you, you'll be 2."  You smiled at me and I brushed your long hair out of your eyes, pulled your favorite blanket up to your chin and walked out of your room gently pulling the door closed behind me.

Last night after I put you in bed, I cried.  I sat in silence on the couch and thought about what I was doing exactly 2 years ago.  I was lying in the hospital full of anxiety and anticipation and hopes and dreams  Curiosity and naivity.  Two years ago I didn't know how much love one heart could hold.  I had only dreamed of seeing your face.  I didn't yet know that it would be 100 times cuter than I expected.  I didn't know you'd have a head full of black hair and your daddy's nose.  I didn't know that my heart would melt and I would be changed forever.

Last night, when I was on my way to work, I fought back tears.  I asked myself why I felt so sad.  It's the weirdest thing.  Mommies worry about things they never knew they would worry about.  They get excited over things that never seemed exciting.  They cry at times when they least expect it.  I'm not sad that you're two, son.  I'm sad that you're not a baby anymore.  You'll always be my baby, but you're not a baby.

Today, you are a little boy.  A curious toddler with a personality as big and bright as the sun. 
Today, you make your mommy and daddy prouder than you did the day before.
Today, you are funnier and smarter and sillier than you were the day before.
Today, you are loved even more than you were the day before.

Today, you are 2.



And this world is yours for the taking.  Make the most of it, sweetheart.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

project 365 (feb 22-mar 6)

Project 365, Days 53-66

53/365:  Toes at dinner time.

54/365: Play time.

55/365: You're a star.

56/365: Ready for fire.

57/365:  My first Project365 Fail.  No picture was taken on 2/26/12.  Sadface.

58/365: Bathtime sillies.

59/365: a treat for mama.

60/365: Assembly required.

61/365: Finished product.

62/365: Fat cat. 

63/365: Blooming.

64/365: Sunday morning breakfast.

65/365: Chicken cordon bleu. 

66/365: It's a rough life.  (Our babysitter's precious 12 day old sweetheart!)

Well, I got a little bit behind this time so this post has more pictures than usual.  I've been busy busy busy as a bee with these kids, work, throwing baby showers, meeting new babies, and trying some new recipes.  What have you been up to? 

My little Theo will be 2 on Thursday and I have been so busy, I haven't had time to cry about how big he's getting.  (Yet).  

My favorites this week?  I love those toes under the table (day 53) and the boys' new table (day 61). They just love it and it's so cute to see Theo sitting there, looking at a book, like the big boy that he is.  

I also love the beautiful flowers (day 63) because they make me feel like Spring is just around the corner.  What's your favorite picture this week? 

You can see ALL of my Project 365 posts by clicking here.

i hope i give them something good.

I'm linking up with Mama G over at Growing Up Geeky for this week's Toddle Along Tuesday.

The topic is traits that you hope you pass along to your child (or hope that they don't inherit from you). 

It's so tempting to spill out a big list of things I don't like about myself, things I think I do wrong, or inadequacies I see in myself.  When I was throwing ideas around for this post in my mind, those were the things that I thought of first.

With that being said, I hope my boys don't inherit my self-doubt.  I hope they aren't too critical of themselves.

I hope my boys inherit my laid-back personailty.  Since having kids, I have become a much more anxious person.  But in general, I don't worry too much about things I can't control.  Marrying into a family of worry warts, I realize what a blessing that is.

I hope they inherit my dream and mission of tolerance and acceptance.  Gay couples, multiracial families, people with developmental disabilities...I don't want my kids to stare or have a single negative thought about people that so often get stereotyped and discriminated against.

I used to worry before I had kids that they wouldn't be cute, because honestly? R and I are both pretty much chin-less.  I thought maybe their lips would just be somewhere in the middle of their necks.  So I hope as they get older, they each grow a better chin than I did.  I love that Dexter inherited my blue eyes and that Theo inherited his dad's brown eyes.  I hope they inherit their dad's athleticism and willingness to try new sports, games, activities, etc., regardless of whether it makes them look like a fool.  I'm not too good at that.

I hope they inherit both me and their daddy's common sense.  We are both down to earth, logical people.  Despite our little Dexter suprise, we're planners.  We like to know what's going to happen.  I hope they are able to be responsible, but adventurous and spontaneous at the same time somehow.  Is that possible?

What do you hope your kids inherit from you?


Monday, March 5, 2012

comfort food: 1984 style

I'm always looking for recipes that make my life easier and make dinner taste better.  I hate that so many of our dinners come from boxes and I don't have control over the ingredients in what my kids are eating.  Time is such an issue for us on the weeknights that I end up throwing something together last second.  I need to take the time to plan ahead and shop accordingly.

Anyway, I've always been an "I only like my mom's (and mother-in-law's) meatloaf" kind of girl.  I don't order it in restaurants because it always sounds funky in the description.  I've been buying the Stouffer's frozen one for a couple of years, but it's not my mama's meatloaf.  I tried making a meatloaf a few weeks ago...blech.

Somehow I came across the recipe I'm about to share with you a while ago and have been meaning to try it.  It won a contest, so it has to be decent, right?  And it's a crock pot meal - which means it saves you time and effort.  Right?

Is it just me, or does "crock pot meatloaf" give off a 1984 vibe?  Yeah, thought so too.

I used 12 ounces of ground pork sausage and 1 pound of 85% lean ground beef.

Then you'll need 2 beaten eggs, 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%), 2/3 cup bread crumbs (I used plain), 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage, and 2 tablespoons of grated onion (I left this out, as I hate them with a passion). 

Combine everything above in a bowl.

I like to mix it up the old fashioned way.  Sometimes hands work better than spoons.  P.S. Don't forget to take off your rings, if you wear them.  Otherwise...ewwww.

Toss that big ol' loaf in your crock pot, throw the lid on, and set that sucker on low heat.  

It probably helps if your crock pot actually IS from 1984, like the one pictured here. 

Go live your life for 5 or 6 hours.  It helps to pass the time if you can find a couple of mess making, yet adorable, little boys to trash your entire home in the time it took you to get that loaf in the pot.  

I let mine cook for 5 1/2 hours before starting the sauce.  It's just 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. 

Mix it up and spread over the meatloaf.  Turn the slow cooker up to high and set the timer for 15 minutes. 

Here's how I served it up: 

Y'all.  It may not be the prettiest (it's always hard to get that first piece of meatloaf out of the middle, huh?) but it was deeee-lishus.  My hunt for the perfect meatloaf ends here.  It was very moist and full of flavor.  The meat itself was tender and savory while the sauce was sweet and had a little kick.  Not spicy, but packed with flavor.  I loved it - and so did everyone else at the table, as evidenced by their requests for seconds.  

I'll be making it again.  And again.  YUM-O.  Here's the link to the recipe I followed (but my pictures are better). 

Let me know if you try it and what you thought!
happy eating, 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

proud mother of an oompa loompa.

I noticed it in pictures starting a month or so ago.  It varies in severity from day to day.

my nose matches my fire chief hat.

There have been times I have tried to wipe it off after we finish eating.

my nose is even orange when i push my train.

A friend told me that the same thing happened to her nephew because he ate a lot of carrots.

my nose is orange morning, noon, and night.

Huh?  I finally googled it.  It's a real thing.  Foods rich in beta-Carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, canteloupes, and carrots.  Notice a theme? 

I looked at the variety of baby food meals (meat and veggie combos) that we have for Dexter and noticed that they are pretty much all some hue of orange.  I looked on a few mommy forums and saw that tons of moms with 8-10 month old babies were experiencing the same thing.  Some were worried - some stopped feeding their kid orange foods altogether.  What the what!? 

mom, why are you turning me into an oompa loompa?

Am I turning my baby into a oompa loompa?  Maybe.

Do I care?  Not really. He's the best little blonde-haired, blue-eyed, orange-nosed oompa loompa I've ever loved.

Have you heard of this orange-nosed baby phenomenon?