Friday, May 31, 2013


Tonight, as I went to bed, I flipped on our baby monitor for the 1612th time. I remember the anxiety this thing gave me as I attentively jumped at every sound with my first born. Now, I wonder why I even turn it on. George has not required assistance in the middle of the night for a year, or more, with perhaps one exception. Perhaps. Our children made it very easy for us to avoid having little ones take over our bed at night. We never had to make the tough call of coldly letting our baby "cry it out" versus the opposite attachment parent style of avoiding any "distress". Unless one of them is in a bizarre mood or significantly ill, rocking them to sleep is not an option. They refuse. They each have a lovie, and it's enough for them...after the bedtime routine that is. Curtis will let me lay beside him and snuggle while he dozes off, and that's as close as we get to sleeping together. Honestly, with my current job and our lifestyle, sleeping in separate beds all night is likely the only thing that would work. If the kids want a sane and happy mom. Subconsciously, we must train them for this routine from day one.

Matt and I discussed only a few parenting methods prior to the birth of our first child. How we would do bedtime, or no sleeping in the bed was not one of those things. Like most things in life, he and I are naturally in tune, on the same page, in sync. We did say, no "tit for tat". Meaning, none of that, I changed the diaper last so it's your turn this time. Basically, it should be understood that you are expected to do 50% of the work, equal shares. And we decided, that even if you disagree with the ruling, you uphold the other parent's decision 100%. We speculated that we should not threaten to give or take away things we are not really willing to give or take away. In other words, we vowed to keep our word to our children. We never discussed time out, or spanking, or any punishment methods. We never discussed candy or soda or toys, or any particular reward system. We just trusted one another to make the appropriate call.

The kids are still so very young. The true testament to our parenting will come years upon years down the road. When they are adults. If they can manage themselves independently, perhaps even support a family of their own, I will know we have done well. But for now, I judge our parenting off the little things, and I think we're on track. If my strong-willed, energetic, oldest can be trusted in restaurants and stores, that's an accomplishment. Three boys flawlessly sleeping through the night is a win. Kids that enjoy fruit and veggies, get rewarded with cookies and ice cream, everyone's happy, and healthy. Never having to exit a public arena due to a toddler meltdown is HUGE (though I more attribute it to my ability to identify good and bad times to be in public, thus avoiding the potential situation all-together). Seamlessly transitioning from breast to bottle and bottle to cup, another crisis averted.

I think our lack of set, hard and fast rules helped us to where we are today. Instead of just reacting to a situation with a simple rule, we adjust to every nuance. We allow the boys freedom, while still teaching them limits. We encourage independence, innovation, flexibility. It's true, kids, toddlers especially, do need some routines, some knowns, some rituals to rely on, and those things are present, too. Mostly, this consistency is present in having two parents that are absolutely obsessed and in love with each child, independently, as well as with each other. We recognize the different personalities in each child, and adjust the "rules", ever so slightly for that kid's needs. We enjoy our children. Our home is an ever evolving one. It will never be perfect, but it will always be happy. Warm. Insane. Chaotic. And exactly how we made it.

So, when I turn on the monitor tomorrow night, for the 1613th time, I will do so with pride. And with the confidence that all my boys are soundly, comfortably, and happily sleeping, alone. Without a fear in the world. Because their parents have made them feel nothing but safe and loved.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

These Boys.

I love my kids. I love them, I love them, I love them.  It's absolutely asinine how much I love and obsess about them.  I sometimes feel a bit bad for smothering them and constantly giving them "ten million kisches" (thought they seem to enjoy it.)  Lately, I could almost bring myself to tears just by thinking about them while at work.  They smile every day.  They laugh every day.  They want cookies, and candy, and ice cream, every day.  They wander the house and in the course of 8 hours can play with every single toy we own.  All they want to do it play.  Play outside. Play on the couch. Hop on pop. Play on the iPad. Play upstairs. Play in the basement. Play, play, play, play, play, play, play!  When I get stressed about work.  When I think I am exhausted.  When I think I am miserable.  They remind me to have no worries.  They help me to enjoy a little piece of life. Every day.  So, with them, I play.  I over indulge in the sweets with them.  I get to enjoy a walk, the park, a book, the hose.

Lately, they are all I think about.  When I fret about the house (see previous post), or a job, or money, or work, I remember, it doesn't matter anymore.  I will sell all my worldly belongings, and move into a cheap, small, rented home, if that's what I would have to do to remain happy and with my kids.  Luckily, as of now, I don't need to, but I could.  What seems so counter-intuitive to many is that my kids are what help keep me stress free.  I am in no way implying that these guys don't create stress for me, in a completely different way, but I am saying in the BIG scheme of things.  When all is said and done.  As long as I have my 3 boys, 4 if you count Matt, and 5 if you count 4.O, and they are all happy/healthy, then I am content.  Better than content. Over the moon.  Smiling. Happy.  I've said it at least thrice before, nothing is more soothing to the soul than a newborn.  A wonderful, fresh, untainted, miracle of a being, newborn.

Just writing about them makes me want to go sneak into their room, and climb into bed to cuddle with little Curty.  And I just might.  They are so beautiful.  Oh, how my heart over flows.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Does it to me every time.

Spring.  The days are getting longer. The weather is nice. It's almost pool season.  Every year, it inspires me, and makes me crazy all at the same time.  Suddenly...

I want to go on vacation. A long road trip, with all my boys. To the beach, or somewhere beautiful.

I want to repave my driveway, and extend it so two cars can park, and create a sidewalk leading to the backyard, where we can hide the ugly trash bins.

I want all new windows, and door, and garage door.

I want to paint the outside of the house.

I want to paint the inside of the house.

I want to go to the pool every day the weather permits.

I want to build the master closet and get all new carpet for upstairs, and change the bannister/half wall thing we have going.

I don't want to work.

I want a puppy.  Or a kitten. Or a bird.  But mostly a puppy.

I want to lose 30 lbs, despite being pregnant.

I want to eat ice cream everyday.

I want to go for a walk every night.

I want to rid my house of every unnecessary item, and have a massive garage sale, in perfect weather.

I want to get away, with just Matt, for 2 nights, before our fourth child arrives.

I want to meet our fourth child.

I want professional, family photos taken that are beautiful, unique and exactly us.

I want to move to a new home, with higher ceilings.

I want to enjoy my family, every minute of everyday.

...but instead, I will spend my entire Summer working.  I work 27 days in a row. Mostly 10-14 hour shifts.  And of the 3 months/92 days that are Summer, I will get 18 of them off, if I am lucky.  And only 4 full weekends.  So, like I have for the past 2 years, I will just spend my lovely Summer wanting, and accomplishing nothing.  With a few days at the pool in between.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

4.O is half baked.

Just last night, I saw my belly jump. Despite a significant amount of padding, I can feel baby kicking from the outside now too. On our ultrasound last week, the kid never stopped pummeling my bladder with it's huge, muscular looking legs. That kid has some quads. I am now convinced that I did feel this little guy move at 14 weeks. It was also measuring almost a week ahead. Already! At 19 weeks! Let's just say, I am not going to describe this one as dainty. And I am now quite sure 4.O is boy numero quattro. With each pregnancy, I have made some kind of comment about how there is no way this active, constant kicking, gigantic, non-delicate fetus is a girl. A lady just wouldn't act like that. And every time, my mom suggests that maybe its just a big, athletic girl...nope. I guess Mother's intuition is really best. So I am going with my gut, which is getting a beating as we speak, and calling "it" a "him". And I would sincerely appreciate boy's name suggestions. We are plum out of 'em (and maybe lacking in motivation to think about it). If it truly is a boy, he might get named in the hospital, as we are being discharged!!

As for the zero weight gain by 20 weeks, I failed. I am almost up 4lbs! That is a pound a week gain...can not continue happening. At this rate I will be up 24 (which is about right for me), so, starting this week, goodbye carbs. Kind of. Really just need to cut out the ice cream and baked goods. Pick up a bit on the ol' exercise routine. And eat healthier in general. I really, really, really want this baby under 11lbs. Kids and adults alike have unabashedly begun to ask me when I'm due. A few seem somewhat shocked that my answer is so far away...I do kind of look 30 weeks pregnant already.

Brock has been aware of, inquisitive about and affectionate towards this baby from day one. Curtis is just now starting to come around. George is happily oblivious. One thing I do know, is that these boys are a pack. They will gladly accept either gender, but another boy would probably be safest with these three. As for me, I am on the fence about whether this is the last Baby O. (Which, I've been told, if you're not sure, it means you want more. Supposedly you KNOW when you're done. Not sure I believe all that, not sure at all. I might be another Michelle Duggar if we are waiting on that sensation from me.)

At this moment, I just can't complain. Some indigestion and restless legs here and there seem to plague me, but otherwise, we are smooth sailing. Already halfway through. I love that I have Mr. crazy pants in there. Reminds me regularly that it's alive, well, and thriving. I can't help but smile, and look ever so forward to meeting our newest little peanut. Even if the scales do top 11 pounds.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why my mom is better than yours:

According to Facebook on Mother's day, everyone else's mom is "the best". Well, I am here to prove you wrong, because to be "the best" there can only be one. And that woman, my friend, is MY MOTHER.
Remember that really good salad, dip, appetizer, side dish, or meal I prepared for you? With the exception of the buffalo chicken dip (provided by Maureen) and 2 of the salads (provided by Mimi), those recipes were my Mother's. Or perhaps even actually prepared by her. She's cool like that. If I am hosting an event, she usually prepares half the food, provides my flowers and helps me clean and organize. I can only keep up the image of Miss Susie home-maker plus more than full time resident because of her. And I am only one of her 5 children. You think she only does this for me? She runs her own household, works full time, and helps out everyone of her children on a regular basis. She Has even been hired at work to bake the employee birthday cakes. She prepares food for friends' parties. Has even fully catered an event or two. Think your mom can top that? Maybe...but I am only getting started.

If I could hire a handyman, to live in my house, and do nothing but fix all the little things, I would hire my mom. Matt's pretty good, and will be at the level of her expertise eventually, but she's got a few years on him and a bit more variety. She can do tile, dry wall, molding, bricks, patching, painting, wallpaper, some plumbing, a lot of tinkering, patching, sanding, building, sewing, knitting, crochet, needle point, quilting, computer glitch fixing, window and door installation, gardening, landscaping, and really, any other project you lay before her. Don't believe me? I personally travelled with her from house to house as a kid, to assist her in wallpapering other people's homes. Yup, she got paid for her skills. People pay for her knitted winter hats. On top of these skills, she is a perfectionist, which is what makes her better than average on all of it. Still not convinced?

People often joked with Matt and I that we treated our very first, itty bitty, newborn like a third child. It's hard to be uptight around a newborn when you grow up around my mom. She has been called "the baby whisperer" by some. And she is that creepy lady who will walk up to a complete stranger on a flight, and ask to hold their screaming baby, only to have it sleeping soundly moments later. She fostered newborns for years. Day old babies were a common sight at our home growing up. I felt no anxiety leaving my little newborn with my mother, and she could always "hold the baby off" even if it was 4 hours, until I came back, so I could just nurse him. Her love of children does not stop at newborns (though she will insist it does), she is incredible with every one of her grandchildren. Her otherwise somewhat impatient demeanor melts away with those ones. She can prepare any meal in its entirety or clean the whole house with a child on her hip. She taught me to take "spirit walks", to enjoy the little things, and to indulge every once in a while. She teaches my boys those same things. Her attitude, as delusional as it may seem at times, is "anything is possible". And for her, I truly wonder if it is.

You may still be thinking to yourself, my mom is all that and more, but is she? Or WAS she? Because despite being nearly double my age, my mother continues to have equal my energy. And I say "equal" my energy because, I too have obnoxious amounts. If we compare to the average person, she probably has near double their energy at double their age. I'm not sure that she sleeps. Anything can be accomplished or completed under a time crunch. When I am ready for bed, she insists we continue painting, or cleaning, or cooking, because "we are almost finished".

Lastly, on top of her ridiculous number of amazing, and fine tuned skills, she is fun. People like her. When I run into friends from the past, one of their first questions is always, "and how is your mom?" with a smile on their face or followed by, "I love her." She did a keg stand at Leah and I's graduation from Graduate and Medical schools. She drove cross country to California with Leah. She will be the first one on and last one to leave the dance floor at any wedding (and it's not alcohol induced, she's not a big drinker). She turned a blind eye to our high school parties, allowing us some freedom. She traveled near and far for my swimming, often making impromptu road trips. She has a soft spot when it comes to animals. At one point we had 4 dogs, 2 cats, a snake, rabbit and who knows what else all at the same time. She is up for any adventure, like climbing a steep, steep hill to a cave in 100+ degree weather. She can horseback ride, really well. She always wants to join our kickball or softball recreational leagues. I can call her any random night of the week to go to a late movie. If I am really craving a meal or dessert, she will make it for me ASAP. My children never leave her house clean, unless she gives them a bath...which she loves to do. She is a closet philosopher and will talk all night about her theories on people, society, life. She's taught me there is a solution to every problem. She's taught me how to let go, and just say, "yes". She's taught me there is no competition too small. Or big. She's taught me when to care about the little things, and when to let go of them too. She's taught me to wonder at human nature, observe it (maybe a little too obviously at times), enjoy it, be confused by it, but never to judge.

In my Mother's mind and attitude, she is every bit as young and beautiful as she was 30 years ago. She still has just as much life ahead of her as she did back then. And for these reasons, she is truly THE BEST mom. Ever.
I challenge you to disagree.

Monday, May 6, 2013

How I am ruining my 4 year olds life:

When I got home from work, I wouldn't immediately join him in going outside.  I just had to pee first.

I wouldn't let him knock over the chair George was sitting on, and sent him to time out for attempting it.

After getting sent to time out, then trying to step over the child's gate, he got stuck, and I could not immediately help him, as I was in the middle of chopping raw chicken.

I did not make his favorite dinner (which is any dinner he actually takes a bite of and enjoys, so for all we know, it could have been his favorite dinner, but he never took a bite. Oh, and by the way, it was fettuccine Alfredo with chicken and broccoli...all things he likes).

After dinner, and by dinner, I mean Brock wandering the house crying about how it's not his favorite, I let Matt take George in the car to exchange something a few blocks away with a Craigslist purchaser, when apparently, it was something Brock has "always wanted to do."

There is a statue of a little boy on the railing of one of our backyard neighbor's deck, and according to a very distressed Brock,  "he has been sitting there for weeks! Why!?" I didn't have a good explanation.

I wouldn't let him continue to play with the train set he got distracted by as we were putting on shoes for the walk that he had previously begged to go on.

I zipped up his hoodie.

We took a right to walk up the block, instead of a left for our walk today.

I let him ride his scooter.  But he fell over and scraped his knee.  He complained of his legs hurting for the rest of the night.

I wouldn't take him to the park at 7:30 at night. 

I would not spin him around by his arms in a the front yard.  For the 17th time.

I wouldn't let him play in or with the hose.

I wouldn't let him tear a page out of a library book.

I wouldn't let him watch an entire movie after playing outside with the neighbors up the street for 45 minutes, when we were already 15 minutes past his bedtime.  To which he cried that "this was not a very good day today."

All between the hours of 5:30 and 8:15pm.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

CP. ZaCuck. Cuckie. Curty Pat. Or Curtis.

My second born turned 2 and 1/2 today. It just dawned on me, his half birthday is Cinco De Mayo.  How appropriate!  I don't think this one will ever turn down a party, in his life.  Every so often, I look at him and think, he truly might be that neglected middle child. After all, he was a measly 6 months old when I got pregnant with George.  He barely toddled into the hospital room to meet baby Georgie.  I remember seeing him walk through that big door, not holding anyone's hand, and I smiled.  It was the first sign of walking independence from him.  The day George was born.  He was forced to grow up so much that day.  George is currently about the age Curtis was when he became a big brother!  Insane. My teeny weeny, baby Geo-Geo?  He could not possibly be a big brother yet...but Curtis was.  And, true to his nature, he took to the new role happily.  Without batting an eye.  This go with the flow, Honey Badger attitude of his only contributes to my worry that he will be the overlooked middle child.  If there's candy involved...done.  He's game.  He's always been so easy.  I mistake it for not needing attention, or help, or interaction.  Luckily, he does plenty to set him self apart, here to list a few...

Phrases that can often be heard by him:
- oh my gosh (sometimes, but rarely the "gosh" replaced with "god")
- what the heck!? (long emphasis on "heck")
- mine
- what's that (which I haven't tested the true limits of the "whats that" game, but I can promise you it lasts longer than 20 minutes...)
- no, no Georgie! (frequently followed by crying or screaming)
- yeth (yes, with a lisp)
- I'm so hungry (sometimes true, sometimes immediately following a meal)
- Uh huh (large emphasis on the "huh" with the "uh" questionably present)

He is currently really into sports, specifically basketball.

He loves school. Pretty much shoves me out the door. Knows where to hang his backpack and drop his lunch.

Do not, whatever you do, under any circumstances, leave him and George alone, together, unattended. Ever. Unless you want your house burnt down, or feel like taking a trip to the emergency room.

He loves Taties. And any other animal for that matter.

He willingly and freely gives kisses. He says "polease", and thank you, and bless you.

He hits.

And bites.

He is in the contemplative phase of toilet training.

He is in the not-so-contemplative phase of pacifier retiring.

He warms the heart of all who know him. And is likely, the favorite child of most if forced to pick one...or even when not forced.

The terrible twos seem to be phasing out already.