Sunday, January 30, 2011

Things I love. Right now.

Just like every decade has its' own set of fads, I realize every year has a slight shift in fads for myself. It dawned on me, it would be kind of fun to have a record of when it was I obsessed over certain foods, shows, movies, music, restaurants, activities, etc. So, that will be my New Year's resolution for my blog (which will probably be continually updated as I think of things to add.) So, here are this past year's obsessions:
  1. Caramel Lattes with skim milk (I refuse to call them "nonfat" or "skinny" & not sure this qualifies as a fad because I doubt it will ever change. But I am saying there is a chance).
  2. Indian Food.
  3. Dexter.
  4. Kettle Corn...well, maybe just popcorn in general.
  5. Red Wine.
  6. Or maybe I should just say eating popcorn, drinking red wine and watching Dexter all together.
  7. Genghis Khan, D'Bronx, Mr. Gyros, Taco Via and The Mixx.
  8. There Will Be Blood, Inception and Elmo (do my kid's obsessions count as my own??)
  9. Letter Press.
  10. Running.
  11. Lady Gaga.
  12. Buffalo Chicken (Pizza, dip, wings, etc.)
  13. The Evo.
  14. Photography.
  15. Talking about, shopping for, and attempting to organize my house. Entirely.
  16. Costco, Baby Gap and Target.
  17. Fried Dumplings and Donuts (not together).
  18. Leggings, boots and long sweaters/tees. Or shorts, tanks and Summer dresses with strappy sandals.
  19. Christian Bale (even if he is an ass), Daniel Day Lewis and Natalie Portman.
  20. I feel Brock, Curtis and Matt are a given, but thought I should mention them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hairy Chest?

For Curtis' baptism on the 23rd, we kept things very simple, quiet and small. When Brock was baptized, we had way too many people. He was stressed out, I was stressed out, it was crowded. With Curtis, as it has been for everything, things were much more chill. I happily got my happy baby dressed in the traditional white gown, that has been worn by no less than what, 20 Harris' (Mimi's side of the O'Laughlin clan)? We sat and listened to the priest and the ceremony, as Curtis gnawed on my hand or his. Curtis just stared intently at Father Rush as he got christened, and blessed.

All the meanwhile, I watched the other family, as the first time mom behaved exactly as I had 2 years prior with Brock. Pacing the floor, trying to keep baby happy, looking slightly disheveled, the kiddo cried the entire time at the baptismal font; a memorable, but not so relaxing event for them. Curtis has allowed me to see how child birth, nursing, raising a newborn and joining the church community can be a beautiful, amazing, and relatively uneventful thing. And, as I always knew it was, my favorite childhood rhyme may be true:

First is the worst.
Second is the Best.
Third is the Nerd with the Hairy Chest.

(To a degree anyway, I would never describe my little Brocky as the "worst" just busy, and let's really hope the "hairy chest" part is NOT true, or we might be stopping at two.)

As for the Godparents, we went against our original qualifications and allowed a non-Catholic for Curtis' Godmother. For this, she must over compensate and be the best Godmother EVER, I hope she realizes this... But seriously, Gabe and Christin have been very good friends and involved with Brock and now Curtis' lives extensively. We are lucky to have them around, so we thought we would trap them into feeling obligated to remain close by connecting them to our child in front of the Lord. Also, Curtis was born on their 5 year wedding anniversary, therefore, it was destined. Slowly, we are building a fun and beautiful Godfamily - Beth and Jon included!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Confessions of a Beginner Parent

As a parent, there is an abundance of information out there on the ways to raise, discipline, teach, feed, and interact with your children. This information comes from a variety of sources: media, family, other parents, doctors, books, interenet, etc. I tend to listen to these suggestions, but make my own decision on whether I will follow them or not. Some of my decisions may be looked upon negatively by society, in fact, some may say these acts are "wrong". Therefore, as a somewhat devout Catholic, I have been raised to confess my indiscretions. Please to not notify SRS.

During pregnancy, I drank coffee and ate sushi, deli meat and an abundance of soft cheeses.

I have driven without my baby buckled up. (In the winter, when there is a cover for the infant carrier, I may or may not have forgotten to buckle both Curtis and Brock, when he was little, into the carseat before zipping it up and transporting the child. On more than one occasion.)

We propped our newborns in the Boppy to sleep at night. (There. The secret is out. That is why my boys sleep all night from nearly day one.)

I never childproofed my cabinets.

"Second" rule!? Ha! What's a "second" rule? We have a "if you find it or get to it before the dogs, it's all yours" rule.

I leave Brock unattended in the bathtub. (Never for an amount of time long enough for him to get brain damage if he were to go without oxygen that entire time.)

I leave Brock unattended in the backyard. (Trust me, I watched him for 30 minutes, and he only picks the poisonous berries and looks at them, he's never put them in his mouth.)

I have left newborns unattended on the changing table. (They make those pads U-shaped for a reason, even with Curtis' monster strength, he can't get up that hill...)

I let the baby sleep in my bed. (When Curtis wakes up between 5 and 7am, I let him sleep with me until I get up; this is more selfish than anything. I love snuggling with my teeny baby. The Boppy can have him for 8 hours, can't I get him for 2?)

I have re-heated a same bottle, fed a baby from a bottle that has been sitting out for more than one hour, and don't record when the milk was pumped, so I just hope it's still good. It doesn't smell sour...

I have let Brock go an entire day on nothing but milk, juice and fruit snacks.

I don't buckle Curtis into the swing. (Which is only an issue when Brock decides the blanket he is sleeping on is his and tries to pull it out from under Curtis.)

I let Brock stand in the basket part of the shopping cart. (And he may or may not have fallen out on one or more occasion - on Matt's watch, of course.)

There. I've said it. What's done is done.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Last Thursday, when I arrived home from work to see a toddler with a runny nose, red puffy eyes, a muffled voice that eeked out "Hi mommy", and a temperature of 101.4, my immediate thought was: strep. He has strep throat. I called in to work at that moment, and told Matt I would take both boys in to the doc in the morning, as Curtis had the beginnings of a cold. Well, Brock woke up and seemed slightly improved, and Curtis was still hardly even coughing, so, knowing how it works in a pediatrician's office, I thought, great. I am going to take them in and the doctor is going to be like, it's a virus, thanks for wasting my time, go home.

Well, Brock continued to have a fever through the weekend. He didn't want to eat much except for suckers, yogurt and pudding (hint hint, sore throat?) and also would periodically point at his tongue with a pouty face, I assumed he bit his tongue or it was sore from all those suckers (hint hint, sort throat?) Curtis slowly became worse as well. His appetite all but disappeared, he had projectile vomited a few times, and his coughing was increasing in frequency. So, needless to say, Sunday night, I called into work again, and first thing in the morning set up an appointment for the boys.
The diagnosis? Strep throat!! And it is just something viral for za cutkis. Ahh! Brock would have nearly been done with his antibiotics by this appointment, and would have had a funfilled weekend, instead of one of complete isolation (aka, let's see if I can find something in this house I haven't destroyed). If I had only followed my instincts.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Where da Elmo Go?

For the LONGEST time, Matt and I were sure Brock was not only obsessed with his elbows, but also confused by the fact that he cannot really see them all that well, or something? Because, periodically, without rhyme nor reason, he would say, "where da elmbo go", phonetically speaking. Then, one day, as Matt was tooling around on the internet, he came across an image of Sesame Street's Elmo, and Brock went nuts! Elmo! So, turns out, he does not have some bizarre fascination with his elbow, but Matt and I have been depriving him of his one and only television star interest...

...therefore, to make it up to him, Matt took him to see Elmo Live at the Sprint Center. This is the first time we have actually purchased tickets to an event solely targeted to Brock. This, coupled with the father-son bonding time, made it abundantly clear that Brock is now a little kid. He is enjoying little kid things. He has a favorite TV character (Elmo), a favorite TV show (Wonder Pets), and a few favorite books (Peedie, Are You My Mother? and Goodnight Moon). He will sit for meals with us, and can help retrieve things (pacifier) for Curtis. He can very nearly tell us anything with actual words. I expect Curtis to be growing, developing and changing at lightening speed as a 10 week old, but the fact that Brock, at 26 months is doing this as well blows my mind. I think the oldest will always do nothing but shock and amaze me. Sorry 2.O, but I've most likely seen it before.

I must mention, seeing it all before does not make it any less CUTE! Everyday, Curtis looks more and more like his big brother. Though his eyes aren't as bugged, they are just as bright and interested in the world. Curtis giggled from a ticklish chin (like his dad, yes, Matt still to this day has a ticklish chin) for the first time on January 7th. He then began reaching for the froggy on his carrier on the 9th, and hasn't looked back. He particularly enjoys awkwardly reaching for my mouth, and is so out of control with this motion that it almost appears as if he is violently raking my face. Everyday is something new with these boys, and THAT is the only thing I hope never changes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow Day

There is something mystical in a snow day. It is almost like a time warp. You have been gifted a day of freedom. You never know when it will happen, therefore, you have no plans to do housework, or go shopping, or whatever chores are usually assigned to weekend days. The kids were supposed to be at daycare or school, and you were supposed to be at work. Therefore, you feel no guilt for accomplishing nothing. The day comes and goes, as if it never happened. But it did. And it was amazing.

Whether you choose to spend your snow day snuggled up warm inside, with the heat cranked an extra degree, drinking coffee, tea, or hot cocoa and reading a book, doing a puzzle or choose to go out and play in the abundance of freshly fallen, untouched, beautiful snow is completely up to you. In fact, if you play your cards right, there is time for both!

I remember 2 snow days as a child. One where my little sister and I bundled up in no less than 6 layers, including a Blazer swimming parka for her and an MU Starter Jacket for me, as the top layer and trekked from 52nd street to 63rd street to eat at Jalapenos and shop in the Brookside shopping center. The other, where I got snowed in at my grandma Giblin's after morning swim practice at Longview. I got to stay with her for 3 days. During this time I finished at least one 1000 piece puzzle, and watched many a movie, while bonding with my grandmother. With 4 siblings and nearly 20 cousins, one on one time with Grandma was and still is, a rarity. I do not harbor many memories of pure relaxation, but that is one of them.
Though Brock may not remember this snow day, he did participated in its mysticism. I had both boys packed and dressed for the trudge to the car when I received word that I did not need to come in to work. Choosing to take advantage of a sleeping baby and an already bundled toddler, I took Brock out to explore the wonders provided by 4-6 inches of snow. He began by helping me shovel the driveway, was quickly distracted by a stick, and finished with an abundance of winter like activities: sidewalk chalk, sand shovel kit and a water gun? Guess it's obvious by the toy purchases what season mom likes best.
We concluded the day with not just an exciting first experience for Brock, but I am confident to guess, his first true passion: SLEDDING. As he was placed between his father's legs on the cold plastic, he could feel the rush of adrenaline, and giggled in excitement before the sled even began moving. And did not stop laughing until his feet touched the snow again. Pure happiness. It broke my heart to have to tear my soaking wet, freezing, chapped cheek boy away from this bliss, but a healthy boy is a happy boy (and a happy mom). I think it is fair to say the conniption fit that ensued on the car ride home was justified. So, thank you powers that be, for this wonderful lapse in time, you will not be forgotten.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


The familiar menu stares me in the face
So many options, so little stomach space.
A single with everything could be it,
Then there's still the sides to get.

What really sounds good if a side of fries,
Then the words 'onion rings' catch my eyes.
A side salad proves the healthier choice,
But, "A sundae, a sundae" chants the voice.

Saliva creeps into each crevice of my mouth,
As my wandering eyes surge to the South
A grilled cheese and a butterscotch shake,
Oh man, is my stomach beginning to quake.

I reach in my pocket,
then my search comes to a halt!
With only one dollar,
I'll have to get the Special Chocolate malt.

I wrote this poem sometime in my early teenage years as a school assignment. It just resurfaced as Matt and I clean out the storage side of our basement. Winstead's is a steakburger joint in Kansas City. I am pretty sure Winstead's contains an abundance of memories for any child raised in my 'hood. It was the meeting place for post school functions, whether it be a basketball or soccer game, the Christmas program, a play, etc. It also happened to be the restaurant Matt and I patroned Senior year of high school, shortly before he gave me a rose and asked me to be his girlfriend (then we had our first kiss!) My mom is convinced that it induces labor for term pregnant woman, it worked for her at least once.

To this day, I still have sudden cravings for a single with everything and a butterscotch malt. And since Winstead's has a drive thru and multiple locations throughout the city, I can get these items whenever the hankering appears. Therefore, I can see why I felt it deserved an Ode back in my tweens and why I felt I shouldn't just toss this little work of art.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

All About za Cutkiss.

Ohhh, Cutkiss. These 2 words are repeated no less than 23 times a day between Matt, Brock and I. Most of the time it is in response to one of his random outbursts of happiness that takes form in a loud "coo". He has been blowing bubbles and talking to us for quite sometime, but has recently been exploring the capacity of his vocal cords, I believe some shreaking may be on the horizon. He has yet to give a full "giggle", while conscious anyway (he sure has some pretty hilarious dreams), but you can see it on the tip of his tongue when you play with him. Or at least, when I play with him. He is definitely a momma's boy.

I have yet to decide on Curtis' demeanor. Initially, probably most due to his size, I thought he would be our big, lazy, cuddly, happy boy. Turns out, Curtis has quite a large amount of energy to go with that large belly. He is very observant and curious about the world around him, yet he also enjoys smiling at and looking you in the eye. Until recently, he was very fussy in the evenings. It was very strange, he would be perfectly content one second, then just mad. I finally figured out that he is a pacifier man. And not just any pacifier, but Nuks are his cup of tea. He has completely transformed from a bipolar baby, to a generally happy one.

Though he still fights sleep a bit, and refuses to go down one minute before 11:30pm, I absolutely will not complain about this. For all his crying, he makes up for it by sleeping 6-8 hours EVERY night, since about 3 weeks of age (or earlier. Besides the night we brought him home, I can't think of a single time I woke up more than once before 7am.) I honestly have been so blessed with my boys. I joke that I have no idea what it's like to have a "newborn", and with Curtis I am pretty sure I gave birth to a 3 month old.I know it's extremely cliche to say this, but Curtis has brought so much to our lives. Life has changed just as significantly with a second child, as with the first. Yes, some things are easier or just more natural now; such as nursing, bathing, dressing, holding, knowing what to pack in a diaper bag, less stress and worries, in general, about the well-being of the newborn. But now, I am pretty sure we run the dishwasher everyday, as opposed to once or twice a week. And if I skip a day of doing some element of laundry, I pay for it; whether it is folding, loading the washer or dryer, or putting clothes/linens away, something needs to happen, daily.

A frequent question I receive is, "how is Brock with Curtis?". I feel, the only way to answer this is with examples. Often, when driving with the 2 boys in the backseat I will hear a strange noise from Curtis which is instantly followed by a very endearing, spoken in a half laugh, "Ohh, Cutkiss" from Brock. Also, for all his impatience, Brock seems very unbothered by his brother's crying or constant need for attention. In fact, he tries to help. The other day, I had Curtis propped on my bed with some pillows (as he has come to prefer a higher perch where he can look around and observe the world, not just ceiling fans and lights - just like his brother) and he began to fuss a bit. Brock, without hesitation, climbed on the bed, and began to pat Curtis on the belly. This soothed the baby immediately, so Brock began playing with the blinds above and Curtis eagerly observed his big brother - getting ideas already, I am sure.

Speaking of ideas from his older brother pretty sure Curtis is ready to be up and going with his big bro. I thought Brock was freakishly strong, now I realize, I may have been suffering from that first time mother syndrome called: "my child is more amazing than anyone else's child", because Curtis is truly a freak. Maybe he has been watching Brock too much, but once standing, it is nearly impossible to get that boy to fold in half and sit or relax. I propped him on the back of a chair over a week ago, and he stood, no problem. The other day, on the changing table, after a huge diaper blow out (which are entirely too frequent, I am questioning moving him up to size 3 diapers, what!?) I had him sitting, so as to not lie him down on his own poo. As I did this, I thought, man, he feels really stable and well-balanced, so went hands-free and Curtis just sat, as if he'd been doing it for weeks, for about 30-45 seconds. So, if anyone wants to start buying stock in him...left tackles make A LOT of money.
Finally, since this is the closest I get to having a baby book, Curtis had his 2 month check-up yesterday, with Dr. Waters. It dawned on me yesterday, I mention the boys' doctor all the time, as he is a family friend, as well as my and Matt's childhood pediatrician (redundant?), but I have never gotten a picture of him with either son! So, I did.

I had been anticipating this appointment for quite some time, because beyond the tangible things like nearly growing out of size 2 diapers and the 3-6 month clothing, I had begun noticing the baby carrier feeling as heavy as it did at 4 months-ish for Brock. I'd hoped this was due to Curtis being ginormous, and not that I had become a wuss. Curtis weighed in at 14lbs 3ozs...and we are still on the charts! At the 97th percentile. With a length of 24 inches, putting him right at the 90th percentile (so, joking that I have a 3 month old isn't far off). I would have to dig up the official records, but I am nearly 100% sure Brock was not even 12lbs by this age, though he may have been 24 inches. Therefore, ego maintained, it is the huge baby, not me.

Otherwise, Curtis continues to have a clean bill of health, minus a tiny case of Eczema (O'Laughlins...). As most babies do, he gets cuter everyday. Though, I must admit, I am not sure there is a cuter age than 8 weeks. He still maintains a newborn type appeal, only has begun to recognize people. He smiles. He responds. He is developing personality. Any day now he will recognize that those hands that keep getting in his way when trying to eat, or the unwanted hands that keep pulling his paci out of his mouth, or scratching his forhead, or rubbing his eyes are in fact his own. Then, he will truly sit. Then he will crawl. Then he will walk. Then he will talk. Then he will beat up his little, big brother. Then we are all in for it. Look out for za Cutkiss.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The 2011 List

Congrats to...
...Ben and Lindsay on Zoey Reed Smith, born on January 4th: 7 lbs 1 oz.
...Megan and Pat on Caroline Michelle LaBuhn born on February 9th: 9lbs 5oz.
...Kim and Keith on Tagen Evangiline Placke born on February 27th: 8lbs 5oz.
...Emily and Mark on Johanna Rose Rademacher born on March 6th: 8lbs 7oz.
...Sarah and David on Benjamin David Walsh born on March 8th: 7lbs 11oz.
...Kara and Bart on Matthew Edward Hoolehan born on April 14th: 7lbs 14oz.
...Bridget and John on Claire Anne Cessar born on April 18th: 7lbs 8oz.
...Molly and Matt on Kaitlin Jean Groebe born on May 11th: 5lbs 11oz.
...Shae and Ricky on Jacqueline Amelia Paradise born on July 31st: 6lbs 3oz.
...Chrissy and Mike on Nicholas Knopke born on August 1st.
...Jessica and Kirk on Jude Kearney Thomas Middleton born on August 7th: 7lbs 9oz.
...Jerod and Julie on Max Weston Eller born on August 10th: 7lbs 13oz.
...Erin and Adam on Nolan Michael Schaum born on September 14th:7lbs 15oz.
...Robin and Brent on Charlie Harris born on September 28th: 5lbs 15oz.
...Errin and Craig on Camden Robert Weisman born on October 5th: 7lbs 15oz.
...Kathryn and Andrew on Adelaide Janette Carnahan born October 14th: 7lbs 11oz.
...Meaghan and Brian on Mary Kathleen Hagenhoff born on November 3rd: 8lbs 1oz.
...Ashley and Daniel on Leah Avery Hall born on November 29th: 7lbs 10oz.
...Emily and Charles on Henry Thomas Bush born on December 11th: 7lbs 10oz.

Save the dates for...
Eric and Laura {Linebarger}, April 9th.
Morgan and Drew {Elmore}, May 21st.
Tommy and Lauren {Houts}, June 4th.
Pat and Lauren {Amey}, September 24th.
Kathy and Gregg {Arnold}, October 1st.
Lauren and Tom {Zellner}, TBA.