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.


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 :).