Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye, my dear friend.....

In just under 2 hours we'll be bidding adieu to our dear friend 2007. Unfortunately I will be doing it alone as my dear husband is out saving the world (read: salting and removing snow to make the streets safer. And by streets I mean, of course, the streets on Lincoln mall). So as I sit here, girls fast asleep, I am left to think about my friend 2007 and all it has brought to me. So it is with great gratitude that I present my "Best of 2007".

January - moving in to our brand new house. Thank you, 2007, for making a very big dream come true.

February - settling in to our new house and making it a home with friends and family.

March - Ana really beginning to talk. I'd been waiting 18 months for this and finally it's here!

April - my joining of Tiny Tots. One of the best things I could've ever done.

May - the birth of our beautiful baby Madelyn. Thank you, 2007, for giving us another miracle. She was and is perfect.

June - getting to witness the bond my two girls are developing. Unlike anything you can imagine.

July - our 5 year wedding anniversary. It came in the blink of an eye but feels like an entire lifetime. Thank you for granting me another year with this incredible man.

August - an awesome family getaway that was a long time coming. Thanks, 2007, for finally making it happen.

September - the anniversary of one of the greatest days in my life. Our Ana turns 2!

October - a successful start to AnaGrace Designs!

November - getting to spend Thanksgiving with the girls' Auntie Kiki

December - a month full of blessings. A Christmas to remember.

For all of this and everything in between - the friends made, the friendships deepened, relationships strengthened, family blessings, a husband sent from above, and two of the most perfect little girls ever created - I thank you, my friend. And I hope you put in a good word for us with your buddy 2008 :). Here's to you!

Happy New Year everyone!!!!

It doesn't get better than this

We had a loooong Christmas weekend last week. A night with Anthony's family, a night with our friends, a night with my family, an afternoon with my immediate family and a birthday party to boot. It was a looooong weekend.

Not that I'm complaining because I LOVE it. Three of these get-togethers were at our house and all four of us were grateful for it. Not only did it make things immensely easier for the girls but having family and friends in our very first house (no disrespect dear townhouse) celebrating our very first Christmas as a family of four was awesome. Not to get too ooey and gooey but I could literally feel our house bursting with love this Christmas weekend. It doesn't get better than that.

The girls are so blessed to be surrounded with so many people that love them. I remember growing up just me, my mom, my brothers, and my aunts and feeling like we had the biggest family. I loved having my aunts so close to us all the time. But our girls have that ten-fold. They're surrounded with aunts and uncles and cousins and great aunties and grandmas and grandpas. It doesn't get better than that.

I could sit here listing all of the material gifts that were so generously given to my little family this Christmas but really the only one that matters can't be listed at all. To have the people we're lucky enough to call family here with us for a Christmas that will go down in my book as the best one yet- it doesn't get better than that.

Friday, December 28, 2007

If only for one day...

So my pre-baby pants only fit for one day. Then Christmas came. Sigh....

Updates

Funny how everytime I stop to think about how busy we are it never seems to be the busiest we'll be. This month has been Full (yep, with a capital F). But that's ok. Now Christmas is over, all has been opened, and whatever I didn't do will just have to wait until next year. And not that I exactly have the time right now to sit and write (with a sink full of dishes, clean clothes on the laundry room floor calling to be folded, gifts still to unpack, and wrapping still to throw away) but as the posts this last month and lack of updates on the girls' site has proven, if I don't do it now I'll be writing a combination Christmas/4th of July post.

So where do I even begin?

Let's start with my beautiful Madelyn. Not only is she saying "Mama" but last Friday as Anthony was changing her diaper she began to say "Dada" - not "dadadadadada", "Dada". Amazing. She's become the happiest, smiliest (if that's not a word it should be for her) baby I've ever seen. One look at her and she graces you with a big, gummy smile. She laughs a lot - when you tickle her, when you look at her, when you talk to her - and she's sweet. She cuddles and tilts her little head to the side when someone looks at her. How did we get so lucky?

And Ana. This little girl just keeps blowing us away. I was never the mom that screamed "my baby's a genius!" straight out of the womb. Like most first-time moms, I diligently read my "What to Expect the First Year" book each month to see where her progress held up. And each month I beamed as she was always ahead of where she was "supposed" to be. I took pride in it but wasn't exactly dialing up Mensa for early admission. But now? She amazes me beyond words. The full-out conversations she holds with us and other people knock me off my feet. She's always been quick at picking things up, even as a baby, and now you can teach her something once and she runs off with it. She recites books, songs, and nursery rhymes in both English and Spanish. She's polite as can be and even says excuse me if you're in her way. One of her latest, and perhaps one of my faves, is that she's sticking up for herself. I worried early on that her being so quiet may lead to kids taking advantage of her but no way. If she doesn't like something she'll politely say "No, thank you". And if you do something to her that she doesn't like she'll let you know. That's my girl.

So I think that's it for right now. I'll post some Christmas details soon but for now it's off to get more done!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hallelujah....

I have just successfully managed to zip up a pair of my pre-baby pants!!!!

It's a Christmas miracle! :)

p.s. Lots & lots of Ana, Maddie, & life updates to come.....

Monday, December 10, 2007

What sisters are for...

To crack each other up.

I could watch this all day long. Honestly.


video

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Mama's Girl

I went to get Ana from her nap this afternoon and found her in bed still asleep - with a picture of me and her tucked under her little arm.

She makes my heart ache I tell ya.

Friday, November 30, 2007

"Mama"

Maddie's first word :)!!!

Said loud and clear this morning and just in time to make a very defiant toddler and very crabby baby that much easier to take. Funny how things work, isn't it?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

6 Months



My sweet Madelyn,

6 months ago I didn't know how to be the mother of two.
6 months ago I worried how your sister would take to you.
6 months ago I didn't realize how much my life was about to change.
6 months ago I would never have been able to nurse a baby and prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a toddler...at the same time.
6 months ago I learned what it meant to grow another heart.
6 months ago I thanked God for the miracle that is you.
6 months ago you were born into a life of love and have given me more than I imagined possible. Whether you had been my first, second, or fifth baby I love you as though I had never done this before. Know that.

Love,
Mommy

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Lesson in Drama

Friday night I came down with a stomach "thing" and felt like the world was ending. It carried over into Saturday and I spent the morning in bed and the rest of the day on the couch. As Anthony took care of the house, our meals, the girls, and sickly ol' me, I felt the need to continuously proclaim that I wasn't trying to be dramatic I just felt that bad.

Skip to Sunday....

Anthony woke up with said stomach "thing". He spent the entire day much like I had spent my day before and doused it with endless "I don't feeeel good"s and very weak-sounding "Can I have ____?"s.

Now on to this morning....

5:30 am. Ana wakes up calling for me. Unusual but she sounded ok. I grabbed her and brought her back to bed with me. 15 minutes later, that "thing" was sure to have gotten her too. She began to throw up (in our bed nonetheless) so I rushed her to the bathroom where we COMPLETELY missed the toilet. I began to prepare myself for a very sick and crabby girl. But instead? Instead, almost instantly after throwing up, she began to clap her little hands and yell "Clean up! I need to clean up! hehehehehe! Mommy cleaning! Wash my hands, Mommy!"

And this is the last I've heard of Ana's stomach "thing". I'd say Mommy and Daddy stand to learn a thing or two about dramatics from this little girl, wouldn't you? :)

*Update: Tuesday night brought us a very sick Maddie. It was very obviously the same "thing". But, just like her sister, she showed Mommy and Daddy up. In between throwing up we were graced with nothing but baby talk and giggles. We seriously need to rethink our pain threshold.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Diva is Born

Ana's first "salon" haircut and our first mom/daughter pampering trip. Words can't even.....





Ta Dah!!!! Our beautiful girl :)


My Life's Greatest Blessings



Happy Thanksgiving, my perfect angels!


Guilt

I came to accept a while back that guilt will perhaps always be a part of being a mom - for me anyway. While my confidence as the mom of my two little ladies grows each day, I will inevitably always wonder whether I did this good enough or whether I did that the way I should have. I get that. It's ok and I'll deal with each pang of guilt as it arrives. But today, today is different. Today I sit here a very guilt-ridden mommy.

I have officially stopped nursing my Maddie. Completely not my choice but it's happened nevertheless. Just over a month ago she began to get very fussy at most feedings, so fussy that she refused to stay on long enough for the milk to come. It became a vicious circle. She would latch on but get impatient when the milk wasn't coming and end up unlatched and very upset. The more she unlatched, the longer it would take for her to get her milk. The longer it would take, the more upset she would get. The more upset she would get, the more impatient she became. And so on, and so on, and so on.....

It was out of sheer desperation that I began giving her a bottle whenever this would happen. I knew enough to know this would affect my supply so I bought a supplement system. She hated it. I held on to 4 nursings for a few weeks but that fell to 3, then to 2, and eventually to just one. Then, our once very efficient morning nursing wasn't giving her enough. So it's all bottle now. And I feel awful about it. Did I give up too soon? Is there more I could have done to prolong nursing her?

I can honestly say I always try to do what's best for my girls and this, especially, was no exception. But that doesn't ease the guilt in thinking it may have been my mistakes that made this happen. It may have been my impatience that led us to this.

Like any mother, I want the absolute best for my baby and the knowledge that now she won't be getting it is tearing me up.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Week of Firsts

  • Maddie's first public meltdown
  • Ana's first annoying favorite word - "FINE!!!!"
  • First time I've been so irresponsible that I would actually let my truck run out of gas with one of my girls with me
  • First time Ana put me on Time-Out and repremanded me
  • First time I've had to take care of THREE cranky babies (Anthony being, quite possibly, the biggest baby of all)
  • First time Maddie waved hi (whether it was on purpose or not I'm not sure but let's say it was)
  • First time Ana has walked into a house of kids she didn't really know and didn't act shy for one second but instead became instant friends with them
  • First time Maddie and Ana laughed together so hard I almost cried

But the biggest First of all...

  • First time I have felt like SuperMom as I cleaned, cooked, changed diapers, bathed, soothed, doctored, hugged, kissed, and kept very happy my three perfect angels :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yep...

I'm still fat. I was looking through my little blog here and came across my vow to lose weight. Sure I've lost some but I'm still not in my pre-baby jeans.

So yep, I'm still fat. Hahaha :).

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Medical Emergency?

Is it a medical emergency when you wake up to find your 2 year old in her bed full of diaper rash ointment? And when I say "full", I mean FULL - in her hair, on her face, all over the bed, all over her body, and all over those little thumbs that unknowingly go straight into, you guessed it, her mouth.

Hypothetically speaking.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My Sunshine


Oh is she ever. And doesn't she look so grown up in this picture?!?

Ana has just recited all of the words to a song for the first time. As I was making dinner last night and Maddie was hanging out with me in her exersaucer I heard Ana sing "You Are My Sunshine" to her. My heart runeth over. Sure, some of the lines are probably only clear to those fluent in Ana-ese like myself, but nevertheless she sang the entire song....and to her baby sister. She even put Maddie's name in it ("you'll never know Maddie how much I love you").

And in other Ana news....

She knows her days of the week. And she counts to 20 in English and 15 in Spanish. She's memorized an entire book (I Love You All The Time) and now "reads" it to us. And she's well on her way to memorizing about a dozen others too....they just happen to be a wee bit longer :). Here and there she's been coming out with Spanish words too. The other days as she was trying to get out of her chair she said "Mommy, ayudame!" Um, okkkkk. I'll help you. Either Dora's doing a heck of a job or Ana's actually picking up my poor excuse for Spanish.

I have to admit that I compare Ana's development to that of other kids her age and often wonder how other people think she's doing. I've consumed myself at times with worrying about whether certain people think she's doing as well as their kids are or as well as they think she should be doing. Yes, I realize this is more about me than it is about my baby but I can't help it. Or should I say I couldn't help it? Because I'm done with that. I'm done second-guessing whether she's smart enough and advanced enough. Truth of the matter is....she is. She's well ahead of average and absorbs things like nobody's business. So here it is. Here is my vow to knock it off. She's doing just fine. And of course by "she" I mean "me". I'm doing just fine as her mom :). Right?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!




If ever I have felt like a mommy it has been this last week. Did you know that Halloween becomes longer than just a day when you have kids? Oh yes. It becomes an event. In our case, a week-long event. But we made it. So here we are....2 handmade costumes, 3 Halloween parties, a birthday, 2 playdates, Ana's first movie night, and a bite-size milky way later and Halloween has come to a close. And the girls? They are fast asleep.

After spending way more time than should've been necessary on the girls' poodle skirts, I'm happy to report that they made it to 3 events and with only minor repairs to be had. And, let me tell you, these girls were the cutest '50s girls around. Of course Maddie had no concept of what was going on but she is, afterall, only 5 months old. Our sweet baby spent the parties comfortably tucked in someone's arms and spent the trick-or-treating experience sportin' her costume at home with MiNell. Ana, on the other hand, surprised the heck out of me.

There wasn't a drastic amount of talk of Halloween around here outside of our trip to the Pumpkin Farm or decorating but we did practice saying "Trick or Treat" a few times before the big day. Oh, and we did even let her stay up last night to watch "The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown". Her very first movie night, complete with popcorn and dimmed lights. She loved it!

Keeping with tradition, we spent today at MiNell's (Anthony's mom) so the girls could see their cousins. Anthony and I had a plan. We would take Ana to 5 houses and then come right back. 1, she doesn't eat candy. And 2, we were certain she wasn't going to take to this "going to strangers' homes, ringing the doorbell, and having to actually speak to them in order to get something she was sure not to recognize anyway" trick-or-treating. Ummm, yeah, we were completely wrong. Completely.

In true Ana fashion she took to it like caramel on an apple (too much?). She welcomed the very first house with a big ol' "trick or treat!" and a very sweet "thank you" after the nice old lady gave her some candy. On to house #2, and 3, and 4, and.....yep, we just HAD to go to more than 5 houses. So we hit like 8. Still not a ton but more than we thought she'd want. And as for not recognizing what these people were giving her....the entire ride home was filled with the sweet sound of "Mommy...Mommy....Mommy....I want some candy. Mommy, I want more candy".

I guess she is just like every other kid afterall :).

Friday, October 26, 2007

Please Slow Down

Maddie...please slow down.


Yesterday as Anthony and I were laying on the floor with her, suddenly she popped up onto her hands and knees. Are ya kiddin' me?!?! She's not even 5 months old. THEN, today she took a big ol' leap from her hands and knees to get a toy. What is with this little girl?!?!?! What's her rush????

Please, Maddie, slow down.

P.s. Seriously. Have you ever seen a more beautiful baby? (Of course this is my completely unbiased opinion :) )

Ahem...I even got it on video :).

video

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Who puts cashmere on a baby?

I do.

And I buy my kids too many shoes. I don't like to let them repeat outfits too often. I will rarely wake either of them from a nap even if we do end up being late to almost everywhere we go these days. Ana doesn't usually watch TV but there are days that I have to get things done so I've let her watch for up to an hour and a half straight. I've dozed off again after hearing both of them awake in the morning when it was just too early and I just didn't feel like getting out of bed. I've pretended to make something from scratch for dinner when really I bought it completely cooked. I've spent too much money of stuff we don't need. I'll let the laundry pile up for waaaay longer than you can imagine and Anthony's had to run out for milk at night more times than I can remember because I forgot to buy it....again. I spend way too much time trying to get things done that, at the end of the day, not much actually gets done and I've gone weeks (yep, weeks) without making a home-cooked meal.

There you have it. My guilty secrets. The crazy, unpractical, unreasonable things I've done. I've spent a lot of time feeling bad about them until I realized this. My husband's happy, my little girls are amazing, and I can't think of anything more I could possibly ask for. Secrets? Maybe. Guilty? Not anymore.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

2 years ago today...

We brought you home from the hospital, Miss Ana. Ok. So I'll admit I used this title to somehow imply that I intended to wait until 3 days after your birthday to write you your birthday letter. Truth is, I've been writing it in my head for months but you and your little sister keep Mommy pretty busy.

So here we are. You're two. But I look at you and you're still a baby to me. I always say that kids are still babies until they turn two but now that we're here I'm taking that back. I assume in some sense you'll always be a baby to me but I look at you and you're such a little peanut that it doesn't feel right to call you a big girl just yet. Of course I constantly tell you you're my big girl and you love that but inside I still see you as that little babe I brought home 2 years (and 3 days) ago.

I have to admit though that as much as I'd love for you to stay a baby forever you'd like nothing more than to grow, grow, grow. In fact, you decided about 4 months ago to start moving at warp speed. You've always been a quick learner from early on but when you hit 20 months it was like some gates opened and you just couldn't wait to show us everything you knew. For months you've been counting to 10 (sometimes 13) in english and spanish and you can sing most of your abc's. You recognize pretty much all of your letters but can't get through the entire song without cracking up (we'll get to that in a minute). You know all of your shapes and colors and have really taken to singing songs on your own lately. "Tinkle Tar" and "Happy Buhday to You" are recent faves. You're bff apparently is Dora the Explorer and you even sing along to her songs now. I swear if I'd let you you'd watch her all day but one show a day is all the time you usually get to spend together, if that. You love your books and insist that your bear book be read to you before naps and at bedtime no questions asked. Every couple of days you'll adopt a new favorite (Snow White is your latest) but the bear book must be read as well. I'd love to say you have a favorite toy but you seem to love anything you can get your hands on. One of my favorites though is watching you play with your blocks and build towers as you count them. But what you love even more is knocking those towers down while yelling "Ha-ya!". Hilarious.

You surprised me a couple months ago by telling me when you had to go potty. I thought for sure it would be a while when suddenly you felt you were ready. You're taking it easy with the potty training but it's coming along nonetheless. I'm letting you do it at your own pace for now and you seem to be doing just fine. I'm guessing in the next month we'll be taking it up a notch but you may have other plans so we'll see.

So that's what you've been doing. Now for what you're like. My sweet Ana, you are so much more than I would've ever known to ask God for. The sweetest girl with an independent streak that blows me away. You love doing things for yourself but never ever shy away from asking for help after you've tried it on your own. One of your first sentences was "I try" and boy, do you. You will try pretty much anything. From going down a waterslide to eating anything new I put on your plate. You're so tough that 99% of the time you fall or hurt yourself you just dust yourself off and reply "I'm fine" when I ask if you're ok. You say bless you when anyone sneezes or coughs and please and thank you come pretty much unsolicited now. In fact, when I give you something you often say "thank you, mommy, thank you". Hands down, you are the most polite 2 year old I have ever known. Yes you throw your tantrums but they've never lasted longer that a minute (literally). Even when you get overtired you turn into a goof well before you get cranky. And you can get a bit possessive of your toys from time to time but only with Maddie, and even then it's only until I tell you to share.

You're a cuddler but Maddie's the keeper of most of your hugs and kisses. At least 50 times a day I find you going to her only to give her a kiss on the cheek or her head and slipping in a little squeeze. You have become such a good sister, Ana, that it makes my heart ache. After a bumpy start you have come to love Maddie more than anything. You're so gentle with her and are constantly asking where she is if you can't see her. But luckily for us she doesn't get all of your affections. Everyday you greet Daddy at the door with an enormous "Daddy's home! Daddy, I miiiiiiissssed you!" and you have a little conversation about what you did that day and when you're done talking you politely tell him to "Shower Daddy. You're tinky". You tell us you love us all the time but telling us you missed us is one of your favorite things and I swear I pray it never ends. I check the mail and return to "Mommy, I miiiissssed you!" You take a nap and when I come get you I'm greeted with a huge hug and, of course, "Mommy, I missed you!" If ever I wonder if I'm doing ok you reassure me with that. I often wonder how it's possible for you to be this good of a girl but you are. You just are.

And can we talk about that sense of humor? You're two and you can take a joke like no other. You NEVER get upset when anyone messes with you. Never. In fact, you find it quite funny when someone teases you or takes stuff away from you trying to see if you'll get upset. Everything is funny to you. We've already spent more moments than I can remember in your bed laughing about nothing. You giggle and it makes me laugh. I laugh and that makes you laugh harder. Before I know it, there we are cracking up. You even laugh when I play "I'm gonna getcha" with Maddie and we're nowhere near you! Your goofy sense is one of things that makes us love you most. You make Daddy and I laugh every single day whether or not you're even around. You're all about the dance now and the other day as you were dancing you just had to stop to tell Daddy "Oooooh, I like this song!". Oh, and you're soooooo expressive lately. You don't want anything anymore, you need everything. "I need oatmeal! I need down! I need Dora!" But yes, when asked, they are follow by a "peeesse!"

I love that you laugh at everything. I love how you love your sister. I love your strong-willed "no's" when you don't want to do something. Where did you come from, my sweet girl? And how did we get so lucky to become the parents of you - sweet, wonderful you? You have given us more in 2 short years than we dreamed for a lifetime and we thank you.

Happy 2nd birthday beautiful girl. I love you.

~Mommy

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Maddie Milestones

3 days ago - I guess she's decided she's had enough of sitting around listening to everyone else talk. She's sooo loud now! Not always, but here and there (when she wants/needs to be heard) she busts out in the loudest baby talk I've ever heard. I think we've got another talker on our hands so please pray for Anthony. He's going to need it :).

This morning - Her first, full-out belly laugh. She's been giggling for months but this morning as I was playing with her she began her first real chuckle and boy is it one of the sweetest sounds I've heard in a while.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why I REALLY need to workout....

Ana and I were playing this morning. I rolled on top of her and she started yelling "Too heavy, Mommy! You're too heavy!!!!".

Ugh. Story of my life these days, baby. Story of my life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

30

I turned 30 almost 6 months ago and it was admittedly harder than I thought it would be. So here I am, nearly half way through my 31st year and finally getting around to writing about it. I saw this idea and thought it was brilliant. Boy, if I knew then what I know now

Dear 20 year old self,
This summer with your friends that will forever be known as "the condo days" will be some of the best days of your life. Cherish them because you'll look back and miss them.

Carie, Kristie, and Dana will become your best friends. They'll stand by you as you get married and be there when you have your babies. Take care of these friendships because you'll need them.

You fight with Anthony way too much. Stop being so insecure and trust that he really is that genuine. He loves you like no one else can and he's not going anywhere.

You're not fat. You think you are but you're smaller than you'll ever be. You'll miss being this size, trust me. But rethink the "fuller eyebrows". They're not really coming back.

Go to therapy.

Love,
30


------------------------------------------------------
Dear 21 year old self,


Stop using other people to validate yourself. What other people think of you does not make you who you are. You're smart but you're making stupid decisions. You're eating too much and partying too often.

Get in school and stay there. Not doing so will be one of your biggest regrets. You think you make enough money because you're making more than your friends are but they're still in school. You will NOT feel this way later.


Take care of Anthony. Going out is not more important than him and you'll live to regret hurting him. Realize that he's your one constant and you need him.


Go to therapy.


Love,
30
------------------------------------------------------
Dear 22 year old self,


DON'T GO TO ROBERT MORRIS! It's going to be a $12,000 mistake that you'll be paying for for years.


Go to therapy.


Love,
30
-------------------------------------------------------
Dear 23 year old self,


Pay your bills. Listen to your mother when she preaches about the importance of good credit. It's easier to do it now than it will be to fix it later.


Whatever you're fighting with Carie about is stupid and not worth it. Call her. She's your oldest friend and will be your firstborn's Godmother. You need her in your life.


Stop being so dramatic with Anthony. He's the one. You know this. Quit trying to push him away and let him in. He won't hurt you. HE WON'T HURT YOU.


Don't be nervous about seeing your dad. You need this and, in 5 years you'll now why.


Get in school and go to therapy. Seriously.


Love,
30
-------------------------------------------------------
Dear 24 year old self,


You know in your heart of hearts that Anthony's the one so stop second-guessing yourself. Trust your heart. He got a better job so that he could marry you. Love him for that.


Don't move in with your brothers. Accept that you can't live together and it's just going to tear you apart. Sometimes saving money is not the most important thing.


Go to therapy.


Love,
30
--------------------------------------------------
Dear 25 year old self,


You are going to be a good wife. Don't be so hard on yourself. Anthony loves you unconditionally and marrying him is the right thing to do. Stop being afraid that you'll disappoint him. You won't. You will make him happy. You will make a home for him that he'll love to come home to and give him beautiful daughters. He loves you and YOU DESERVE HIM.


Make Carie a maid of honor. Who cares what people will think [that you'll have three]. You'll be hers and she should be yours.


Stop fighting with your brother. You're pushing him away and it will break your heart to not have him in your life. You will miss him something fierce.


Talk to your mom. Even if she doesn't listen, talk to her for your own sake.


Your aunts are there for you and you need to reach out to them. This is a pivotal point in your life and you need people like them.


Your wedding will be perfect. It'll be your perfect day so don't let anyone make you cry. Don't get so upset when Anthony accidentally sees you before the wedding. It won't be bad luck. I promise. And make sure you grab your "something blue" from the hotel room :).


3 sessions of therapy are enough. They'll be enough to open up wounds and help you deal with your past. It's not your fault and you'll soon realize it. This is where it begins to get better.


Love,
30
--------------------------------------------------
Dear 26 year old self,


You're rockin' it at school. Stop feeling guilty about not having done it before and be proud that you're doing it now. You're doing an awesome job.


Love,
30
---------------------------------------------------------------
Dear 27 year old self,


Stop punishing Anthony for what you think he did. He didn't do it. He's still the person that will never hurt you and hurting him will not make you feel better. He is all you need.


Be proud of the incredible job you're doing to prepare for a baby. Getting in shape will help you have a wonderfully healthy pregnancy. Don't stress about getting pregnant. It'll happen because it is God's will. You know this.


Take a good look at your body (especially your boobs) and be happy with it because it will never be the same again.


Love,
30
-------------------------------------------------------
Dear 28 year old self,


Congratulations! You'll finally finish school. Quit beating yourself up about not having done it sooner and bask in your enormous accomplishment. You'll go to school 5 days a week, work 50 hour weeks, and do it all while you're pregnant. Get your mom's words from 10 years ago out of your head. You ARE something to be proud of.


Banish the fear that you won't be a good mother. Those nightmares aren't real and you are cut out for this. You have more in you than you know and this baby will adore you. You think you want a boy but you will LOVE having a girl. You'll never have all the answers and that's perfectly ok. She's perfect and she loves you. That is ALL that matters.


Pay off your bills because this will be your last year as a two-income family. Spend your money on important things and keep that promise to never go into debt. You'll thank me later.


It's ok that you won't see your dad again before he dies. He knows you forgive him and that you love him. He knows.


Love,
30
--------------------------------------------------------
Dear 29 year old self,


Quitting your job is the right thing to do. You'll miss the extra money but that won't compare to the time you'll get to spend with your baby.


You're a good wife. You keep a good home for Anthony and your little girl. He's happy so quit worrying about not measuring up to his expectations. Believe him when he tells you you've exceeded them. He means it.


You're a good mother. Stop being so critical and realize that she's perfect and that her not gaining weight is not your fault. Quit crying about it and be strong. Comparing yourself to everyone else isn't only stupid, it's unfair. Breastfeeding for only 7 months doesn't make you a failure, it makes you a champ. Quit crying. You're doing a good job.


Pay the extra money for an apartment while you're house is being finished. Your marriage will thank you for it.


Love,
30

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The night that changed my life...well, kind of

It's funny that since becoming a mom almost 2 years ago I've never really felt like a mom. I mean, I have in the way I love my kids and take care of them, but never in the sense of being grown up and responsible enough to have actual children. Anthony and I often exchange disbeliefs of the fact that we're parents. Parents. Us. I usually feel like I can't possibly be old enough to have two little girls because I still feel like such a little girl myself. I get lost in this disillusion that I'm still the same girl I was 10 years ago with cute shoes and size 7 jeans. I can logically comprehend the fact that I'm not that girl but I enjoy my disillusion. I enjoy living in a world where I think, at least once in a while, I'm still that carefree, irresponsible, up-for-anything girl.

Enter the dream crusher. Saturday night. You know, the same Saturday night that used to be occupied with drinks and dancing that didn't even begin until after 10 pm. The same Saturday night that was literally NEVER spent at home. This past Saturday night was a dose of reality like I'd yet to experience. More sobering than changing my babies diapers or nursing around the clock. Saturday night I became a mom in a way I wasn't before. This was the Saturday night that I spent where only a mom could. Yep, I spent it grocery shopping.

I'd love to say this was a quick trip to pick up some milk but it wasn't. It was a full out grocery-list-in-hand kind of trip. The store was of course nearly empty, except for, you guessed it, other moms. I did spot a "young" (probably my age) couple but before I could even finish thinking "see? this isn't so bad" I realized they were just picking up some drinks and probably on their way to some cool party. I cruised the aisles marking off items from my list and ran into mom after mom, each with their trusty lists in hand. By the end of the trip I felt about 30 years older. This is what it's come to, huh? This is what moms do on a Saturday night. Hm. I guess this is what I do now on a Saturday night.

So as I handed over my coupons and paid for our groceries it hit me - I am, in every sense, a mom and a housewife. Bad? Not at all. But I do think, for my own self preservation, I'll be returning to my Tuesday afternoon trips to the Jewel and taking back my completely insane disillusions. I'm just not quite ready to give up my old self entirely. So even if it's only in my head I will continue, every once in a while, to be carefree and free of responsibility. That is, of course, until I get home.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

I'm back!

Ok, it's been almost a month since I've written anything on here and so much has happened that I think it would be virtually impossible to catch up. So here are some bullets of the big events of the last 4 weeks or so:

Anthony update....
  • He had the nerve to get mad at me for going shopping by myself for 4 hours when he was called off of work one day. "I feel like you take it as a free day when I get called off of work" he says. Oh yes he did. Never mind the fact that I was shopping for the girls and him and bought not a single item for myself. And since when are 4 hours considered an entire day??? Trust me, honey, if I'm out to "steal" a free day for myself I will lovingly remind you how long an entire day really is. Not to worry though. 7 looooong hours later he realized what a fool he sounded like and apologized :).

Ana update....

  • Our big girl has been counting to ten (and sometimes 13) unassisted for weeks now
  • She knows all of her colors and shapes
  • She's talking up a storm (a continuous, seemingly endless storm at that)
  • She is IN LOVE with her little sister

Maddie update.....

  • She's rolling over from back to belly! Yay!!!
  • She's talking that sweet, sweet baby talk
  • She's laughing and smiling and breaking Mommy's heart with how fast she's growing

Ok, these were the big ones and I'm getting back on track. See, the thing is that I'm one of those horrible people that loses complete track of time when I sit down to do something. There is no "I'll do this for 45 minutes and that's it" for me. So while I was sitting here blogging the dishes were piling up and the dust was gathering on the furniture. So now, a month later, the dishes are finally done (yeah right) and I've found a moment to sit here. But that moment's up so I gotta go update the girls' website now!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Zzzzzzzz....

That's the sound of my new found full-night's sleep! I am so happy to announce that my precious Maddie is now sleeping completely through the night. She's been sleeping from 7 pm to about 4:30 am for about a month already (I know, she's awesome) but since I don't go to bed until close to 11 I had yet to benefit from her 9 1/2 hours of straight sleep. Well, a few nights ago she slept from 7:15 pm and didn't wake up until 8 the next morning. Can you hear the "Hallelujah" song playing???

As if that weren't enough.....Miss Ana has ditched her new 6:30 am wake-up time for a much more mommy-friendly 8:30 am wake-up. Yes, I sit here one happy little mama :).

Our Harley Guy

I've always been completely against motorcycles (at least when it involved someone I love) but even I have to admit he looks pretty darn good on his bike.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Am I ready for this?

You'll never find a shortage of stay-at-home moms complaining about their job. Just listen closely and you're sure to catch a whinefest close by about unruly kids or a messy house or feeling like life is completely out of control. Though I'll be the first to admit that there are days that are tough, really tough, and that sometimes it feels like you're just one little person with the workload of 100's, I realize that being able to stay at home with my girls is a blessing. On those tough days when I can be found daydreaming of being at work instead of at home I realize that going to work won't ease my workload, it'll just add 40 hours plus commute to it. Right now my full-time job is to be a mom and nothing else. Once I go back to work I won't suddenly become a part-time mom. No, I'll just add "full-time employee" to my resume. Am I ready for that?

Right now I get all day, every day to clean the house and take care of my girls. There are plenty of days that don't seem to contain enough hours to get everything done but I've come to realize that's my own damn fault. My obsessive nature allows me to believe that I can get everything done in one day and when I don't, I feel not only disappointed but utterly exhausted. So now I allow myself days to do nothing more than spend time with my girls. I won't fill my days with laundry and mopping the kitchen floor. I won't clean the bathrooms and I won't straighten up our rooms. Instead, I fill those days with kisses and cuddles and coloring and tummy-time. It's because I'm a stay-at-home mom that I have the luxury to do that. It's because stay at home that I have all of this "extra" time.

I know that once I go back to work I'll be longing for these days at home with them. And I know that's why I keep putting off going back to school. Anthony and I had agreed that I'd go back to school and then start looking for a job after Maddie turned 1. The plan was for me to start graduate school last October. Being pregnant with Madelyn and living at my brother's made that impossible so I moved it to April. The semester didn't end until June 1st and Maddie was due May 28th. Postponed until August. We're now in August and I haven't even applied. Postpone until October perhaps? I have been struggling with this for what seems like forever. There is a big part of me that would love a career, something to define me as something other than "wife" or "mommy", something of my very own. I think of that and I get a surge of ambition and then......and then I realize what I'll have to give up.

I'll have to give up morning snuggles and lunching everyday with my girls. I'll have to give up being there to put them down for their naps and getting them when they wake up. All this extra time that so many moms find a burden is what I'll miss most. Am I ready for that? Am I ready to add a job to this life that already feels so complete? I have no idea. I honestly don't know what to do. As my udder mudder (aka Anthony's mom) so cleverly put it, going back to school will NEVER get in my way, it can only help me. Then, after I'm done, I can decide whether or not to go back to work. Makes sense. But to me, going back to school is deciding that I'll go back to work too. To me, they're a combination package. Why would I go back to school if not to go back to work?

I have no idea. But I'll keep you posted....

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Phrase of "Last" Week

I know I'm slacking.....

Ana: "Love you"

Perhaps my very favorite phrase of all. She just started saying it and it makes my heart ache to hear it I tell you!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Ana Picasso?

I present to you Ana's first "real" painting project......

And Ana after finishing her masterpiece.....


I love it!

The grass really was greener on the other side....

But not anymore!!! They finally came and laid down that green carpet we had been waiting soooooo long for and it's beautiful! I tell ya, we were *this* close to just putting down some AstroTurf. Glad we held out :).

The front view

And our beautiful back yard :)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Maddie Mondays: She's My Heart


Right from the beginning of my life as a mama of two I was amazed by the amount of love I have to give. When Ana was born I thought my heart had been filled to its capacity. I look at her and can actually feel my heart bursting at the seams. It's as if my entire heart belongs only to her. So how is it then, when I look at Maddie a second later, I can feel the exact same thing. When I hold my baby girl it's as if there is no one else in my heart but her.

I heard once that a mother grows a new heart each time she has a child and I swear now this must be true. Ana showed me how to love in a way I hadn't known before and Maddie has taken that beyond words. I'm overwhelmed with how happy she makes me. I honestly haven't tired of looking at that cheeky little face and I don't see how I could. We're at the stage now where she's developing a personality and if she's giving any indication of what she's going to be like then we're all in for quite a treat. She's constantly looking around to take the entire world in with her big, beautiful eyes and can sit there and watch me, Anthony, or Ana for what seems like hours. And the moment you look at her and talk it's a smile from ear to ear. Oh, how I love the way she smiles. She smiles with her entire face and kicks those chubby little legs when she gets excited. She's just so happy to be - just be.

Maddie has shown me patience I never expected to be capable of. She reminds me everyday to take each moment in because I may never again be the mama of a 9 week old, or a 10 week old, etc. She helps me slow down and realize how good life is - how good God is. What a blessing one perfect little girl was to us, but two? Two happy, healthy, unbelievably precious little girls to fill our home. Life doesn't get any better than this but the best part is that I know it.

Phrase of "Last" Week


Ana: "Catch!"
Me: "No! We do NOT play catch with our pizza!"

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Leaps and Bounds

Ana. Our little girl. Girl. Not baby. Girl. She has spent this past month amazing the heck out of me with all she's doing...and saying. And it's all happening so fast. I'm afraid to blink for fear of missing something. So where can I possibly start? Well, we've hit a couple of milestones this month so we'll start there.

To begin with, she got her very own big girl bed (complete with the ugly railings that take away from her oh-so-cute quilt comforter). We're leaving it on the floor for now to avoid any huge falls and fear of heights that may develop as a result. She wasn't exactly thrilled about it at first but by day 3 it had won her over. I think she loves the freedom of being able to get up if she wants to. The first day that she actually slept in it, as I was expecting the usual "Mama! Mama!" wake up call, she made no noise when she woke up. When Maddie finally woke me up at 8am I ran to check on Ana bracing myself for some kind of disaster. But instead I found her sitting on her big girl bed reading a book. Oh, the sight. I stood there one proud mama imagining the quiet mornings that lay ahead of me while my sweet girl entertained herself with books until I woke up. Fast-forward to two mornings later......"Mama! Mama!" Yep, it's back. Oh, well. The important thing is that she's in her big bed and she actually sleeps in it. Milestone, check!

Next, she's all about letting me know when she's gone potty (as previously posted). Coming from a kid that never, I repeat NEVER minded a dirty diaper, this is HUGE. I thought for sure I'd be sending her to Jr. High with size 12 Huggies on her bottom. Milestone, check!

Now, on to her latest and greatest. This kid has been doing leaps and bounds with her vocabulary it is absolutely amazing. She'll repeat pretty much anything (Anthony has been warned) and tells us things we don't remember even teaching her. Though she'll repeat you all day long she likes just as much to tell you things she knows herself. She's constantly pointing to everything and telling us what it is. I love to hear her say new words and repeat the old ones. But more than that, what I really love are the phrases she says. The "Oh, maaan!"s and "Mommy knee a mess"s. I love that she's putting it all together and she knows exactly what she's talking about. Instead of "milk" now it's "more milk please". And oh how I love that she can now put her little personality into words. That is the Best! When she's feeling particularly goofy she'll do something, laugh, and then say "oh, silly!" When she tickles you she'll say "tickle, tickle, tickle!" or "getcha! getcha! And when she really likes something it's "oooooh, nice!" She's even found a way to "personalize" what she calls me. Up until recently it had been "mama". Suddenly, out of nowhere, she begins to call me "mom". Not "mommy", "mom". What? Is she 14 now??? Is she going to start calling me "Mrs. U" next? So the other day Anthony told her not to do something and guess what happened? An upset little Ana came running to me with the sweetest "mommy" I've ever heard. Hey, even if it comes only at her convenience I'll take it.

So on top of all this, Ana's been singing the alphabet all by herself up to the letter "G" and will start saying letters any time she sees some writing (on a shirt, etc.) She's also counting with me, get this, in both spanish AND english (what?!?!). It's crazy. She does the numbers by herself up to three but prefers to count them with me (i.e. I say 1, she says 2 and 3, and so on). Oh! And colors. For a little while there everything was purple. Everything and everyone. Well, my little miss has graduated from that. She's now into pink, yellow, and orange. Green and blue come and go but she's getting it. And the other day I went to get her and as I changed her diaper she pointed to my necklace and started to say "circle". This kid's even doing her shapes! Come on now!!!

As if this weren't enough, Ana's big making huge strides in the big sister department. She has become soooo sweet and gentle with Maddie. Maddie spits up, Ana's right there to clean her up. Maddie's crying, Ana's right there's to see what's up and then is certain to come tell me "Maddie crying!" She'll give Maddie her pacifier when she thinks she needs it and is just full of hugs and kisses for her. I gotta say, this may be the best milestone of all for me right now because I was beginning to wonder if we had caused Ana some permanent damage by giving her a little sister. Boy is this one a relief.

See what I mean that I'm afraid to blink? It's like her little brain has retained all of this stuff and, almost all at once, wants to let it out. The last few weeks have honestly been some of the best. I love watching her grow and learn and become more and more of her own little self. She knows what she likes and what she doesn't and isn't afraid to tell you "no" when she just doesn't feel like it. I know that's typical of a toddler but with her it's never a defiant "NO!" It's more of a "no, thanks". And we've learned to respect that. Ana's taught me a lot and one of the biggest things I've learned is what a true wonder it is to see her blossom. This has seriously been, by far, one of best things about being her mom.



Monday, July 30, 2007

Maddie Mondays: She wore an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny...

We spent Maddie's 2 month (crazy!) birthday at the beach on Saturday. I don't think she was too sure about it but she did great. Of course she couldn't go in the water but don't think that stops us from showing up as fashionable as ever. Don't you just want to eat those little legs right up??? And that belly! Forget about it!






Friday, July 27, 2007

As so it begins...

I used to wonder if I would ever have a story to tell like the many you hear of a mom's kid completely embarassing her without any effort. I wondered if it would happen to me or if my kids would just be so well-mannered (cough cough) that I'd never have such a story to share. Well I should've known better than to think this stage of mamahood would escape me. As if a rite of passage, I am here. It has begun.

After a quick restroom break at Target the other day I got in line at the register as usual. And as usual the cashier tried to make small talk with my precious, usually-too-shy-to-answer Ana. Now I'd love to say that as usual she did not respond. I'd love to say that. But instead this is what happened.....

Cashier: "Hi there! Are you shopping with Mommy?"
Ana: "Mama go poo-poo."

I do believe we have a winner for the Phrase of the Week folks!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I have to wear a what????

Labor Day weekend will be our first annual BIG family getaway. It feels like I haven't been away so long that you'd swear we're going to Hawaii. In reality we're just driving 3 hours north to Wisconsin but hey, I'll take it. I've been so excited about this "vacation" since I planned it for us months ago that I've managed to completely dismiss a very minor but very important detail of the trip - I have to wear a swimsuit. Oh. My. God. I have to get my rear into a swimsuit....in front of people...for an entire weekend. What the????

We went swimming at a friend's house a few weeks ago and I did manage to squuuueeeeeeze into an old swimsuit but I was very careful to slither into and out of the pool before anyone had the displeasure of having to actually look at me. Can I do that for 3 straight days? It's doubtful. I will nevertheless try, but it's doubtful I'll be successful. So here it is. Another challenge for me (as I clearly don't have enough challenges these days). I have to get moving on losing this baby weight. The way I see it, Labor Day weekend is just under 6 weeks away and they say that's how long it takes to start seeing the results of regular exercise right? So I have just under 6 weeks to transform my body into something that won't make my family want to swim into the lake never to be seen again.

There's no way anyone will get me to reveal my weight in numbers but I will say this - 2 weeks ago at my post-baby checkup I was about 12lbs from my pre-baby weight. If I could lose 7lbs in 6 weeks I'll be happy and I think our fellow vacationers will thank me for it. Why 7? No idea. Just sounds good. Ok, I have to go. Unfortunately, blogging ain't slimmin' these thighs.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Maddie Mondays: Roll with it, Baby!

In case you haven't heard, my little Miss is rolling over! That's right folks. At just 7 weeks (this happened last Thrusday) the princess is rolling over and I gotta say, what a relief. I know 7 weeks is really early and I am sooo proud of her but you have to understand this comes on the heels of a guilt trip I was giving myself for not giving her as much tummy time as I thought she should've been getting. So imagine my overwhelming joy to discover that her muscles are developing just fine. Phew! Another bad mama moment averted.

Like rolling over didn't make for a big enough week for our girl, she's also started cooing. Oh how I love the cooing. She squeals with excitement now too and she's starting to realize that she has one crazy, kooky sister. She's paying more and more attention to Ana and you can already tell she's going to have a ball with her in the next few months. Gotta love it!

I know it's technically Maddie Monday but I just can't hold this in for another day. As Ana and I were walking down the stairs today guess what I heard? My big girl began to sing her ABC's. She only got up to D before I of course interrupted her with my ever-so-overdramatic excitement so I'm not sure yet how far she can go. But you should've heard her - like she's been doing it for months! I actually wouldn't doubt it. I'm convinced that after we put her to bed she sits there and has full out conversations and now I'm starting to think she's already caught on to everything we've been working on and is just waiting for the right time to unveil it. She already knows.....it's all about timing. That's my girl :).

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Declare...

A couple months ago my friend Brian made a comment about how he didn't notice much sarcasm in this blog. "It's for my kids" I said and dismissed it for the moment. But it got me thinking, am I getting too vanilla??? I didn't give it too much thought right then but the comment has been haunting me since.

I started this blog when the doctor put me on bedrest. I couldn't shop, do housework, or take Ana anywhere. Quite frankly, I was bored out of my mind. I had read a few other mom blogs and loved the idea of having an outlet for what ever struck my fancy. As I began to write it turned into a collaboration of moments, milestones, meltdowns, and everything in between of my life with Ana...and now with Maddie. I loved the idea of having something that my girls will be able to read in the future that will give them even a glimpse into what their mama was thinking and doing in their early days. For the most part my posts have been pretty much me gushing about my girls and how wonderful my life is with them. I write about what they're doing and what they're saying. I write about what I think about being a mom and how mamahood is treating me. And now it's hit me. I don't ever write about me. Not me the mom or me the poopy diaper changer. Me. I want my girls to know who I was before I was Mommy. So I want to declare that my mission. But here's the problem. Do I even remember who I was before I was Mommy? Is that girl still there???

Three years ago I was already married but was still very much my own person. Anthony and I had our life together but always managed to have our own lives too. I would vacation with my gals and was living exactly the way I wanted to be. I had a job where my mind was actually of some value and I received a nice paycheck for it. I got to wear nice clothes everyday and I didn't have to worry about going home at the end of the day with spit up in my hair. And then I had Ana. I never saw myself as the stay-at-home type. I repeat, and then I had Ana. I made the decision to stay at home and I don't regret it. Not for a second. But the truth is, no one finds anything glamorous about a stay-at-home mom. No one. Not even me. I find myself missing my job. Not so much the working part of it but the gossiping and the 2 hour lunches and the after work drinks. I've been home for over a year and still hesitate when someone I meet asks what I do. "I stay at home". Blah. Sure I could go into all that I actually do to give it some meaning but what's the point? Unless you yourself stay home with your kids and are an active part of their lives you're not going to understand anyway. I may as well say I watch Oprah everyday and flip through magazines while my kids raise themselves. I'd get the same respect, right?

My life now is baths and poop and grocery shopping and housework and more poop. It's reading Elmo books for the 1,842nd time and watching Dora the friggin' Explorer. My body is no longer my own but instead a milk factory for Maddie and jungle gym for Ana. Instead of shopping for cute shoes on a weekly basis I shop for diapers and wipes and more diapers. I used to wear cute underwear. Now? As long as there's enough material to fit over my post-baby bootie I'm sold. And don't let it be too expensive because life on one income ain't no joke. Who knew Kathy Lee could become your favorite "designer"? I long to wear clothes that aren't made of "stretchy" material and if I could get a bra that doesn't have flaps, even better. My library of InStyle magazines has made way to the endless parenting and mom magazines I've subscribed to and the sales that get me excited are now at Jewel instead of the mall. Before I had kids I vowed to be the "cool mom". The mom that knew all the lyrics to their favorite music and would totally share their taste in clothes. I daydreamt of overhearing my kids' friends say with such enthusiasm as I left the room after doing something uber hip "your mom is the coolest".

So what have I done? Where did I let myself go? I don't know but here it is. Here is my declaration. I declare to take myself back. I will be cool again (or for the first time even). My girls will know me for the fun, kooky gal that my friends used to love. Sure to them I'll still be overprotective, rule-making, schedule-following mama, but I will be F-U-N. If not only for their sake, for the sake of my own sanity. We'll see how this goes....

fyi - I do realize using the word "kooky" doesn't exactly make me cool. My coolness starts....NOW.

Phrase of the Week

After a bath.....
Ana in the mirror: "Oh no! My hair!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bad Mama

It's official. I have made my first big mistake as Maddie's mom. I have done the unthinkable. I got her used to sleeping in our bed. Ugh. Now, she doesn't always sleep there. I've put her to bed at night in her bassinet from day 1. She just somehow doesn't end up there in the morning :). I know better too. I know how important it is to teach her to sleep on her own and to be able to self-soothe but I just love having her close to me so much that I haven't been able to help it. When she wakes up for her middle-of-the-night feedings it just feels so nice to lay her next to me as we both drift back to sleep. I love opening my eyes and seeing her sweet little face. I love hearing the little snoring noises she makes and feeling her hands reach out and touch my face as if she knows what she's doing. I just can't help it.

But I do know better. So we're on day 5 of trying to fix my mommy "mistake". Luckily I don't think I've done too much damage because she seems to be adjusting to the change just fine. Sadly (to me), she seems just as content to go back to sleep in her bassinet as she did to sleep next to me. So big crisis averted. I guess I have to let her be a big girl at just 7 weeks and sleep on her own. Sigh. It's funny how early on you have to begin to let go....and how early on it begins to hurt. Bittersweetness.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Maddie Mondays: Godparents


Maddie had a big day yesterday. We baptized our sweet angel into God's church. Our little girl did such a great job. Didn't cry once, not even when the Deacon poured the holy water on her head. She just laid in my arms almost the entire time with a peaceful look on her face, as if she knew what was going on. I've known since she was born (before she was born, actually) that God was already with her and would protect her but to go through the actual ceremony is so special. I'm not sure whether it's the words that are spoken or the feeling of everyone that loves her around or knowing what it meant to her Godparents to become such a special part of her life that does it but it is definitely one of the best things I've gone through as parent.
The meaning of a Godparent and what he or she represents is different for everyone. I've heard people say that to them a Godparent is someone who their child will be able to come and talk to when they get older. I've also heard people say that they believe it's synonomous with being the child's legal guardian, the person that will take care of the child if the parents should die unexpectedly. For me it's a combination of things but the foundation of it has always been religious. I believe in the Church's definition for the most part. I believe that a Godparent is chosen to help guide a child to live a life of faith and to teach them to follow the Lord. However, the Church believes this person should be a practicing Catholic but I think that it's more about the kind of person that you are and what you're willing to share with your Godchild than about how often you go to church. It's about living your life so that this child will have someone outside of her parents to look to. It's about being there to love her the way her parents love her.
Madelyn has four Godparents - a little untraditional but it felt right. All four, each with their own special contribution to Maddie's life, is a blessing to our family.
Edgar, my brother, has so much love to give and our little Maddie has a special place all her own in his big heart. I know he was surprised when we asked him to be Maddie's Godfather but he shouldn't have been. As different as we may be in a lot of things, at the end of the day we share the same values and I know that he's going to do his best to help instill those in Maddie. He's such a great father to his two kids that we know how lucky we are that he's so willing to share a part of himself with our baby.
Gordon, Anthony's dad, is one of those people you hear about. He met Anthony's mom over 20 years ago and helped raised four kids that weren't biologically his. He gave Anthony a father he otherwise wouldn't have had and made him into so much of the person he is now. If there's one thing we can rest soundly knowing it's that if Maddie ever needs anything her Grandpa Gordon will be there. He's just one of those people.
Dana, my best friend of 11 years, has been such a constant in my life. She's utterly reliable and can be trusted with my most precious possession, my baby girl. I had known for years that I wanted Dana to be the Godmother of one of my kids because something her and I have always shared is our faith and the way that we follow that faith. We believe in the same things and worship the same way. I know that if my little Maddie ever finds herself without direction that Dana will help her find her way. That gives me peace beyond words - to know that even when I'm not around, my daughter will always have someone to turn to when she feels she's lost her way.
And Kristie, my best friend of almost 10 years. The way Kristie loves my girls makes my heart ache. Whether she's asking about them everytime we talk or she's at our house for her weekly "dates" with them, it's always about them when she's around. She truely and genuinely wants to be a part of their lives and makes such an effort to ensure that happens. For her, being Maddie's Godmother just "sealed the deal" and made her a permanent part of her life. She loves her as much as you can love a child that isn't yours and it fills my heart to know she's in her life.
So no, not all four of Madelyn's Godparents faithfully attend church every Sunday or would necessarily even classify as practicing Catholics. But there is no doubt in my mind that each of them will fulfill their new role in Maddie's life like no other. To have had two people we could could ask to be Maddie's Godparents would have been a blessing, to have these four people be her Godparents is a gift.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Phrase of the Week

One of the milestones I looked forward to most was Ana learning to talk - not just words but expressions, sentences. I could hardly wait for the cute things she would say that would either just melt my heart or have me roaring with laughter. Well, it was definitely worth the wait. Case in point: last Saturday Anthony and I were going to a movie while my parents came to stay with the girls. I went upstairs to change and when I came down, waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs was my Ana. Following a given "Mama!" she looked at me, put her hand on shorts and said "Ooooh, Mama! Nice!" Apparently she liked my outfit :). I love that. I love the things that come out of her little mouth. What I didn't expect to find such joy in though are the things that come out of my mouth now that I'm a toddlermama. So here you have it. The phrase of the week....

Me to Ana: "Get your toe out of Maddie's eye!"

Would've thought I'd ever have to say those words??? If you ask me this is God's way of forcing you to laugh even on the most trying days. And I gotta say, it works.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Maddie Mondays: 6 weeks already???

Doesn't she look so big??? Miss Maddie is going through a good ol' growth spurt and, if it's possible, I think I can actually see her getting bigger! She's already outgrown some of her clothes. Can you believe it? That's so surreal to me. It feels like she's been here forever and for just a few days at the same time. It's hard to imagine that she wasn't even here a couple of months ago but then to think it's already been 6 weeks since she arrived is crazy. I remember soaking up every second of Ana's days and rarely feeling like it was going too fast (at first). But this time is different. I don't know if it's that there is so much more going on around us or if it's that she's my baby, maybe my last baby, but I want time to stop. Even for a couple of minutes. I want it to pause so I can take it all in. I said when I was pregnant that I thought I was going to have a harder time letting this baby grow up and I couldn't have been more right. With Ana I would find myself daydreaming of what was to come - her first word, her first steps, etc. This time? This time I'm taking it day by day and praying that God grants me the time to enjoy it.

Friday, July 6, 2007

They're heeeeerrrrrrreeee.....

Well, I do believe the terrible, I mean terrific :), two's have arrived. My little girl who was once too shy to throw a tantrum in front of strangers now graces me with 'middle of a store/don't care who's watching' fits. Yes, yes, in true Ana fashion they are relatively short-lived but I am not used to this AT ALL. Her patience is still there but used only at her discretion and the word "no" takes preference over all others. When you talk to her, if she feels like it, she'll give you the time of day. So that means forget about getting a decent picture of her (see picture above). Oh, and her game of choice? Taking things and throwing them on the floor. Ugh. So yeah, this part's definitely going into the "terrible" phase of the books.

But....

They don't also call them the "terrific" two's for nothing. This little kid is picking stuff up like nobody's business. Yesterday alone I swear she said 30 new words. She's starting to identify the letters of the alphabet (sooo cute!) and is learning her colors. She knows green, blue, and yellow but her favorite (or perhaps mine) to say is "puh-pul". She's all about trying to get us to laugh now (not that it's tough I tell ya). She does silly stuff and looks over every 5 seconds to make sure we're watching. She's asking where everything is and tells me in the morning that Daddy's at work instead of asking where he is. She's putting "the" and "a" in front of words and makes everything possesive ("dada's truck, ana's book"). Oh, and she finally says "dog" instead of just "wow, wow". She's known pretty much every body part for a while but now she can say the names and will almost evertime we ask her (I think she's proud of herself too). Probably the best though is when she "reads" her books. She grabs a book, sits in her little chair, and goes through the pages reciting what everything is. I have to get that on video.
It's funny how you can feel such pride for everything she does. I look at her now and wonder where this little person came from. I've said from the very beginning that one of my very favorite things about being a mom, being her mom, is watching her learn. This new stage that she's in, trying as it may be, is so rewarding. They say that being a mother is the most thankless job you'll ever have but I couldn't disagree more. The "thanks" just come in a different form - the form of knowing you're doing a good job with this little girl.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

In the blink of an eye


That's how fast the last 5 years have gone. I close my eyes and I can still feel everything I did on my wedding day exactly 5 years ago today. Up until then it was the most wonderful, perfect day of my life. Even now, though the day each of my babies was born qualifies as one of the best, the day I married my love, in it's own rite, will be the best day of my life.

When I would think back then of how we would celebrate our 5 year anniversary I thought we'd be renewing our vows on a beach somewhere beautiful. Not for a second did I think we'd be spending it cuddled up on the couch eating pizza with our two little girls. If I had known then what I know now, this is exactly what I would have wished for.

Late Wordless Wednesday: Ana Banana




Monday, July 2, 2007

Maddie Mondays: Pacify me, baby!

Never did I dream I would actually be hoping that one of my babies would take a pacifier. Well, then Miss Ana became a thumb sucker and her little teeth came in all crooked. Although I was assured repeatedly by her doctors and a number of books that thumb sucking doesn't affect a child's teeth unless they do it well into the 3rd or 4th year I look at my baby's teeth and I don't buy it. So when I spotted all the signs of Miss Maddie becoming a future thumb sucker I sighed and surrendered. Like her big sister, she didn't seem to be a big fan of the pacifier and would spit it out each time I tried to give it to her - until last night. After watching as she almost found that little thumb I crossed my fingers and offered the paci one more time. And she took it! Hallelujah!!!! Not only has this brought her search for her thumb to a screeching halt but she's even latching on better and slept 5 hours straight last night, woke for a quick feeding and back to sleep for another 3 hours. I've read that some babies are born with a stronger urge to suckle than others and I think our little Maddie is one of those babies. I think this pacifier is going to make her pretty happy. I'm sure I'll have plenty to write when we try giving it up but for now, if she's happy, I'm all for it.


*Quick note: the little princess blessed us with her first real smile last Monday night at exactly 4 weeks old and she's already lighting up rooms with it. It's soooo beautiful :).

Friday, June 29, 2007

Put, put, put......

Like a car running out of gas. That's how I feel.

Not sure why no one bothered to mention this to me when we talked of having a second baby or even throughout the entire 9 months that I was pregnant with Maddie. Why didn't anyone find it relevant to tell me that having two kids is HARD - really hard? I know people do it all the time and maybe it's come very easy to everyone else but, man, am I having a tough time getting it together. Now don't worry. Everyone over here in Ullsmithland is alive, well-fed, and seemingly happy. That I have managed to do. But, if you know me even a little, you know that's not enough to qualify for my definition of having it "together". My house is forever a mess, the laundry seems to never get done, the vaccuum is sure to be covered in cobwebs, and I AM EXHAUSTED - not tired, EXHAUSTED. I actually thought I was going to be able to do this (and do it well, I might add). I genuinely thought, after a couple of days of settling in, I'd be able to keep my house clean, keep the refridgerator well-stocked, cook dinner almost every night, play with Ana, and take care of Maddie, all while looking fabulous, of course. Ha! It's been so long since I've cleaned the toilets that I literally live in fear of what may be living in them. Milk, Pepsi, eggs, and yogurt describe the contents of our refridgerator. I've cooked once, once, since having Maddie. And a daily (quick) shower has become a luxury rather than a staple. But Ana and Maddie? I've at least been able to manage that part. I keep them clean and fed and they seem very happy (even Maddie in her adorable infant, newborn way) but it, of course, doesn't seem like enough. I'm somehow blessed with enough energy to get through the days (and nights with Miss Maddie) but come early evening I am spent. It's an exhaustion like I've never felt before. Even back in the day when I would stay up until 5 in the morning only to be at work by 7 did I not feel this tired. I'm the "energizer bunny" for God's sake! I never used to get tired! I was always the last one to leave a party and could keep up with the best of 'em.

There have been way to many nights to mention that, as I pray, I throw in a prayer for God to get me through this, to remind me why it's all worth it. And then the next day Maddie gives us her first smile, or Ana repeats the ABC's almost perfectly and I remember that that's what it's all about. I know it won't feel like this forever. I know that once I get our "routine" down I'll wonder what I ever complained about. But until then, it's my party and I'll cry if I want to.