Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I hope this post finds everyone on the east coast safe and sound after Sandy!

We made it through unscathed... we didn't even lose power which I am so grateful for!  For those of you who weren't as lucky, my heart breaks for you.  I've seen pictures, and it's just devastating.

I know some areas are postponing Halloween but we are going ahead and Trick or Treating today.  Abby couldn't be more excited, she even popped out of bed in character!

Wishing everyone a happy, safe, and frightening Halloween whether you're celebrating today or another day!

Oh, and Ginnie Mare, yes those Sprickets are a real thing.  Some people call them cave spiders I think.  And we did have one encounter the other night and lost it before we could get it so I know it's lurking in a corner waiting to jump at me!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Worry... Rational, Irrational and Gangnam Style

I'm a bit of a nervous wreck right now.  I'm afraid a tree is going to fall on the house.  Or that my girls are going to freak out when we lose power.  Or that my house is going to be over run by these devilish creatures:
Photo Courtesy of Spricket Haters Facebook page

For those of you that don't know about these ugly things, they're called sprickets.  They're a cross between a cricket and spider, aka mutant.  Oh, and they jump (high) at you when you try to kill them because they're attracted to shadows.  Your best bet is to try to throw something, like an exercise ball, at them.  It's the best use I've found for an exercise ball thus far.

Ok, so maybe that may seem a bit irrational so let me also add that I'm also worried like crazy for the hubs who just left for work.  Sometimes it's just not fun to be married to someone who has a job that makes them essential during state emergencies.  So, my girls, sister and I will be holding down the fort here at home... FUN!

Since lots of you are probably busy worrying and bunkering down for the Frankenstorm, I thought I'd share my new favorite song.  I have no idea why, but this song just makes me want to shake my groove thang!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mommy/Daughter Day

At this time last year, Abby would have considered herself an only child.  Yes, she knew that my enormous belly held her sister but she had no idea what that REALLY meant.

She was too little to understand that once Lilly was here, there would be little time for anyone to focus just on her.

She had no idea that her toys would now become 'their toys.'

She could in no way comprehend what it would feel like to have another family member thrown into the mix.

I must say, she's handled it better than I ever thought she would.  She accepted her as part of us since the moment she saw her.  Crying when she left the hospital because she wanted not only me, but also her sister to come home with her.

However, sometimes I see her need to have undivided attention creep in.  She wants me to freely chase her at the park or cuddle up in her bed at the drop of a hat to read a story.  Sometimes, it just not possible.  Sometimes I have to stay closer to Lilly whose just too little to run around the park.  Sometimes I just have laundry/cleaning/cooking to do and not enough time to do it in.

So, when a friend asked me to go to Disney on Ice, I wanted to say yes but couldn't.  I needed someone to watch Lilly and both Dan and my sister were working.  So, I had no choice but to say no.

Except, I had assumed my sister was working and she actually wasn't.  So the night before the show, while Abby was sleeping, I decided that we could go.  Unfortunately, the seats next to my friend were already taken.  We'd be sitting a few rows behind her.

Initially, I thought this was a recipe for disaster.  I was sure that once Abby realized that she wasn't sitting by her BFF, we would be in tantrum city.

I underestimated the magic of Disney.  We got to our seats mere seconds before the show started.  In no time, Abby was in my lap looking at the characters (especially the beloved Minnie) with awe.  To say she loved the show would be an understatement.  She was completely entranced by all of the characters, music, lights, and dancing.

I enjoyed the show too of course, but the highlight was having my first born cuddle up on me the entire show.  Little Miss Independent hasn't done that in a long time and it felt good to spend the afternoon with her.

I am so grateful that my friend gave us the tickets and that we did, for part of the show anyways, sit a few rows back.  It gave Abby and I time to be just the two of us.  It reminded just how little my big girl is.

And, these past few days have been WAY less tantrum filled.  I'm guessing a day together is just what the 2 of us needed!

(For the record, I kept feeling like I was forgetting something (or someone) throughout the day.)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Super Mom

Lately, I've been letting stress get the best of me.

These past few days, I have been up to my eyeballs in poopy diapers and runny noses.  On top of a nagging, but thankfully not serious, medical issue that I have been getting for the past few months.

I've been grumpy.  Caught up in the monotony of daily chores.  Easily rattled and quick to lose my temper.

As accepting as I am in each of my girls habits and needs, I've been finding myself frustrated by Abby's free spirit and Lilly's tendency to want to be plastered to my hip.

 I'm not happy with myself.  I feel guilty for the tone I use and my reactions.

I was talking to a friend the other day who was letting off steam about how she feels like she just can't do it all.  Dinner, reading, playing, cleaning... the list goes on and on.

I gave her advice:  there's nothing wrong with pizza for dinner, let the cleaning wait, don't miss the little moments.  I told her there's no such thing as a SUPERMOM.

Yet, today, I sat here and texted Dan to tell him that I'm a failure.  Telling him that now I'm having second thoughts about not sending Abby to preschool.  Telling him that I'm frustrated and feel stuck.  Feeling like my days have no purpose or destination.

I was having a pity party because I have been walking around with tissues and Lysol wipes for days.  Because neither of my girls napped.  Because a project I had planned for the afternoon went wrong.

Then I realized, that I need to take my own advice.  Things will never be perfect.  Yes, I had a vision that the project would be a hit with Abby and keep her occupied for a while.  I envisioned Lilly exploring the glue and tissue paper, all while staying put on the tablecloth so I could leave her without a diaper to try to clear up her diaper rash (the first one either of my kids have ever had).

I envisioned rainbows and unicorns.

My reality was chaos and mess.

Instead of rolling with it, I got frustrated.  I beat myself up and called myself a failure.

How could I expect it to work out any different?  Two sick and tired kids... a recipe for disaster.  Yet, I set a standard for myself that anyone else would have called ridiculous.

Don't we all have moments like this?  Moments that don't turn out right.  Moments where we don't behave the way we know we should.

I also realized this, after I had a mini breakdown that required 5 minutes of quiet time, kids don't care about a clean house or elaborate projects.  That want to play, with you.  They want to do something, with you.  They want to know where their favorite toys are.  They don't want our definition of a Supermom, they have their very own definition for that.  One that is far more forgiving than ours.

I need to remind myself, that what I think I should be and what my kids need me to be are two separate things.  I am willing to bet that any Mom who worries about whether or not they are doing right by their kids, probably is doing a perfect job.

So, I now believe that there is such thing as a Supermom.  A Mom that is perfect.  I am that Mom for my kids, and I'm sure you are a Supermom to yours.

The next time I'm beating myself up, I'm going to drop everything and just be.  I have 2 happy, healthy, thriving girls.  Full of giggles and songs and the sweetest dance moves I have ever seen.  Only a SUPERMOM could raise 2 kids like that.

Friday, October 5, 2012

What's New: A Bunch of Randomness

It's been a Murphy's Law kind of a week.  Seriously, 7 straight days of things just going wrong in one way or another.  I'm over it and looking forward to a fun weekend visiting family!

Since I'm sure you can all imagine that kind of a week, I won't bore you with the details.  I thought I'd fill you in on some of the randomness going on in the world of my kiddos.

  • I shared this video the other day, but one of the biggest changes this past week is that Lilly is finally walking!  Everywhere!!!!!  She doesn't like being confined to the stroller anymore and very rarely crawls around the house.  It still makes me smile when I see how proud she is of herself.  She is one cute little walker!
  • Abby has been moved into her big girl bed!  She was a little upset that her new bedding doesn't have both Minnie and Princesses on it, however.  If only I could sew maybe we could make that happen.  Unfortunately, I don't see myself taking up a new skill anytime soon so she'll have to live with flowers for a while.

  • Speaking of princesses, suddenly Abby is on a princess kick.  Her favorite is Sleeping Beauty because she likes her pink dress.  It's so bad that tomorrow she wants to wear this dress on our vacation (a weekend trip to Pennsylvania):  
She also wanted me to wear my wedding dress today, which hasn't fit since the day I got married.  My choice of flip flops when I went out to clean my car was also met with disapproval.  Apparently, heels are more fashionable! 
  • Proving that kids are a walking set of contradictions, my little princess was eating her boogers the other night.  When I tried to explain why boogers are not a good food choice, she started crying.  Not just any cry, but full blown sobbing.  Finally she said, "I am just so hungry and I don't know what to eat!"  I don't make it a habit to laugh at my crying kids, but that was just too funny!!
  • One of Lilly's favorite things right now is electrical cords.  She pulled the plug out of the computer the other day and broke it, leaving us without a computer for a few days.  I was little bit lost and VERY thankful for my IPod!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Off She Goes

I am so proud of my Lilly!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Restarting My Day

After a weekend filled with too much junk food and one too many cocktails, I woke up Monday morning excited to try Dr. Oz's 48 hour cleanse.

Yes, I thought, just what I need to discipline myself!  I knew my hardest hurdle was not drinking my usual half a pot of coffee.  However, a lot of people reported feeling energized so I was hopeful that I would too.

Here's a quick recap of how my day went down:

7 am  
Made and sat down to eat my Quinoa with prunes.  Discovered that I REALLY can not stomach prunes.  Ate a few and then tried to eat around them.  Left about half the bowl since the Quinoa was covered in prune juice.

8 am
Starving and tired but tried to ignore it.

9 am
Decide it's time to make the Detox drink.  Off I go, chopping and pouring everything into my blender.  Secretly hoping that this drink will work a miracle and give me energy since my eyes are now tearing from being so tired.

10 am
After many interruptions by my kiddos, and fighting with my blender, I finally have my green drink ready to go.  After 1 sip, I'm not too sure if I like the leafy texture.  After the second sip, I am sure that I can't handle the leafy texture.  All my hard work goes down the drain, literally.

11 am
I am already thinking about lunch: a banana/blueberry smoothie.  Problem is:  we are out of bananas!  Instead of risking not having any food until dinner, I decide to make vegetable soup.  Both my girls want to share and, since this is the first time Abby actually WANTS to eat vegetables, I begrudgingly share (and continue to be hungry and in desperate need for caffeine).

12 to 1 pm
Lunch time for my girls, followed by nap time.  I beg Abby to please nap since I am too tired to keep my eyes open. 

2:30 pm
I wake up from my nap and, before I can even open my eyes, I stuff my face full of Oreos.  By the time I realize what I'm doing, I've eaten about 8.  Instead of stopping there, I eat a few more since I didn't really enjoy the first few considering I was barely awake.

I then decide to restart my day, make coffee, and abandon all ideas of Detoxing. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hiatus Recap... Hello Again!

I have started and stopped this post more times than I can count.

Things have been hectic.  Dan has been working long, crazy hours.  My kids are changing through routines faster than I can adjust to them.


Blogging has taken a back seat to all the chaos and I miss it.  Here's a quick picture recap of our lives the past few months.

We vacationed... and wished we could back!

We got messy... A LOT!

 We explored.

Abby started dancing.

And learning (well, I always try to give her learning experiences but now we're a bit more structured).

I even knocked a few things off my Pinterest bucket list!

 To top it all off, Lilly has been taking her first steps!  I wish I had some good video but she likes to walk to me and for only short distances.  Hopefully I'll be able to show off her new accomplishment soon!

I also hope that this post gives me the motivation to blog again.  The longer I went without blogging, the harder is was to put a post together.  Now, I just need to find time... or make time... is there a recipe for that?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hi There!

Holy Hiatus!

This bloggy break was totally unintentional.  I had every intention to blog during vacation but fun and family time seemed to get in the way.  But, we've been back for 2 weeks and it's still crickets over here.  

All I can say is that the days have been flying by while we've been enjoying the summer.  We've been going to carnivals, the aquarium, on play dates... and that's since we've been home from our marathon vacation (more on that in another post).  

We've also been working on some new skills.  Miss Lilly has taken her first steps!  You won't actually see them in this video but watching her try is downright adorable!

She has also mastered the stairs.  Not one to be left out, Abby was quick to put her in her place proving she is not only the bigger sister but the faster sister (for now anyway)!

Oh, the other skill we've been working on is sleeping.  Such an important skill to have, wouldn't you say?  I am (again) sick and tired of waking up 4 times a night and (after all other techniques failed) am letting her cry it out.  My dr told me that I can let her cry all night if I'm comfortable with that... except my heart could never take that!  Listening to her cry is probably the worst sound I've ever heard.  Dan told me to just shut the monitor off and sleep but I can't do that either.  What if she does REALLY need me?

So, I have resigned myself to the fact that for the next few nights I will sleep even less than normal while listening the my baby cry.  TORTURE!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sometimes Quicker Service isn't Worth It

Did you ever witness that just didn't sit right with you?

Me and the girls grabbed dinner from the McDonald's drive thru the other day and instead of ordering into that speaker thingy, we placed our order with a young girl who was standing outside.

It was 94 degrees at 5:30 at night and the poor girl had been out there for over 3 hours already.

She didn't complain, just said that a new manager was on duty and she was hoping they'd let her go inside soon.  They did give her an umbrella and a water, in the small soda cup.

How nice of them, right?

I couldn't believe that they would do that to one of their employees.  All I could think was if it was me, I would have told them I quit right then and there.

When I got to the window, I asked if maybe their order thingamajig was broken.  The guy looked at me blankly, so I said it must be because that's the only reason someone should be standing out in this heat to take orders.  He closed the window, told the manager, handed me my food and said "I told them about it."  He then promptly shut the window before I could say another word.

I could care less that the guy was rude to me but I felt so bad for that employee.  I saw no reason for it.  I can't imagine that it speeds up the ordering process all that much.  Personally, I was sweating just getting my girls in the car so I can't imagine standing out there for hours.

Honestly, I wouldn't leave my dog outside for any length of time in this heat.  It's inhumane.

It actually bothered me so much that I called their corporate office.  My hope is that they'll look into this and remind that managers that sales are important but so is the comfort and health of their employees.

My sister thought I was a little bit too upset.  She agreed that it wasn't right but couldn't believe I went as far as I did.  It still bothers me.

So, I'm curious, what are your thoughts?  Do you think it's a bit inhumane to put an employee outside in this heat when it's just as efficient to have them do their job inside?

Oh, how I wish Mr. Ronald McDonald himself would take a play from Undercover Boss.  How would he like to sit outside melting so people could order a cheeseburger?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Jackaranian... Why, Just Why

My dog is not my favorite family member.

Yes, he's my family member and I love him but I do not necessarily like him.

He's a little devil who hates kids, adults, and other animals equally.

He's pretty much a crotchety old man who just wants to be fed.

He will poop on my floor out of spite and bark the entire time we have company.  You can not imagine my embarrassment one day when I went to get something out of my room and the aroma of doo doo smacked my friend in the face.


He's a mixture of Jack Russell and Pomeranian.  I've never had a good experience with a Pomeranian so I don't know why I thought he would be any different.  Personally, I felt this was the worst mixture of dog possible... hyper, yappy, and bitchy.

You can imagine how surprised I was to find out that this mixture is actually intentional - a Jackaranian.

I started reading through the comments, anticipating shaking my head in agreement at how horrible these dogs were.  Misery loves company, right?

Except, it seems like everyone else has a smart, well behaved, awesome wonder dog.

Yup, I was just lucky enough to get a defect!

Want to read more about my little Jackaranian?  Click here, here, or here

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When She Grows Up - Recycled Post!

I'm recycling this post from a year ago, in response to Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop post.  I wasn't sure what I would find from last July since I didn't blog all that much while I was pregnant.  I'm glad I took a look back because it made me smile, I had forgotten how Abby would put bracelets on her feet.

All these LOVES are still there:  from the shoes to the tattooing.  More have been added like becoming a singing Firemen with a pink hat and playing doctor (thank you Doc McStuffins).  She still wants to be a rock star and be on a stage.  She's not picky about where the stage even is, evident by her disappoint at Mass when I told her she couldn't be up front with the Priest.  And the drama has just intensified throughout the year.  For example, she will put on the most pitiful face and tell me that I'm "breaking her heart" when I tell her no.  

I also still wonder what she'll be when she grows up. I am amazed at how much she has changed and learned throughout the year.  I'm so happy I took a look back (something I rarely do) to remind myself that time moves so fast!  She's was such a toddler here and now she's a little girl!  In the blink of an eye!

Ok, enough rambling since I was just supposed to recycle a post but I had to add just a few (or more) words!

Mama’s Losin’ It

Everyday Abby learns something new and everyday she makes me laugh.  One of the things that I love to do is just watch her play.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting a sneak peak into her future and seeing the start of a life long passion.

For example, she LOVES shoes.  She insists on wearing new shoes out of the store.  Her love of shoes recently went a step further when I saw her doing this:

I asked her what she was doing and she told me that those were her shoes!  There she goes designing her own shoes already!  Perhaps she'll be a fashion designer!

Then theres her love of singing and dancing.  I mean take a look at this face... is she a future rock star or what?

Then theres her natural artistic ability.  The concentration.  The use of colors.  Totally a budding artist!

Or maybe tattoo artist?

I can't forget the drama.  She literally stood in front of oven one day, staring at her reflection and practicing her sad face.  She has even learned to cry on demand!  Maybe she'll be an actress or a model?

The possibilities are endless!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Perfectly Abby

As I was folding laundry the other day, Abby looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I can't do it!"

I was confused because she seemed to be really into the story she was telling with her little toys so I asked what she couldn't do.

She said, "I keep trying to talk like this (as she places her hands at her sides) but I just can't do it!"

My heart sank.

See, Abby has this thing where she moves her hands A LOT.  She doesn't just talk with her hands, her hands never stop moving!

Similar to the comedian Lewis Black, around the 40 second mark.

Except her hands move the WHOLE time she's talking.

I always say that it's her energy coming right up and out of her finger tips.  Most people find it funny and some have tried to get her to talk without moving her hands just to see if she can do it.

Well, she can't and it usually makes all of us laugh.  Except, I knew that the comments would eventually make her feel self conscious.  So, after a few (albeit, good natured) comments, I started to make a conscious effort to let her know that there is nothing wrong with how she talks.  I would usually throw out the joke, "That's the Italian in her" for the adults benefit.

I guess the comments and laughs did sink in since now, in the comfort of her own living room with just me and Lilly, she was trying to change her mannerisms.

Mannerisms that are so uniquely ABBY.  I love that she gets so excited.  As much as I'm sure that one day her hands will slow down, I hope her enthusiasm doesn't.

Yes, I can see where people find it funny.  It makes me laugh too but in a 'she's so excited that it's infectious!' sort of way.

I also know that I can't protect her from everything and that she will develop her own insecurities (don't we all).  I just didn't think she would pick up on it all so quickly and it hurt to see her so self aware during playtime, when no one else was even watching.

It also made me realize that I love my girls just the way the are.  It sounds cliche but I never knew how true the cliche really was until that moment.  Her hands moving at the speed of light may be quirky but I can't imagine her not doing that.

I tried the use it as a teaching moment.  A quick lesson that we should accept each other's differences.  A moment to comfort her and build her up.  I told her that if it's uncomfortable to keep her hands still than don't.  If her hands just move, then let them.  If you're excited, show it.  Play your way.  Talk your way.  Don't try to change.

Because behind those moving hands is an energy, a fire, a passion.  One that only she has and it's not something I ever want her to lose.  She's quick to laugh, to joke, to play, to jump into a group of kids head first.  She's confident and full of life.  Those are qualities that I want to nurture.  That I want her to build on.

And if that love of life just happens to shoot right out of the tips of her fingers, then so be it.  
It's different.  
It's unique.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

C'est La Vie!

Wow, has it really been another week since my last post?

I hope some of you are still reading!  I think I might be running out of blogging steam.  Actually, I may be running out of steam in general!

Lilly started officially crawling a few weeks ago and hasn't slept through the night since.  Not only is she not sleeping through the night, but she's also pulling up to stand, cruising, and successfully standing on her own for about 5 seconds before she falls on her bottom.

Needless to say, I can not leave the girl alone for a second.

And then there's my Abby.  My sweet, little Abby who somehow morphed into a monster that is defiant and needy.  There are moments that it takes all the strength I can muster to remain calm.  Since I'm the only parent home most days, I fail at the whole 'remaining calm' thing more often then not.

Speaking of being the only parent home, this week my girls only saw Dan for about 10 minutes.  THE WHOLE WEEK!  I wait up for him and maybe see him for about an hour before we go to bed but we're so exhausted by that point that we speak in gibberish.

For the love of all things holy:  CAN I PLEASE WIN THE LOTTERY?  

All the silence on this here has got me thinking about where this blog is going.  I read a lot about blogging and one of the tips that I always get stumped on is goals.

I don't really have any.  I know I like to have readers (and commenters!) and I like to read other people's blogs.  But it's hard to say what I really want from my teeny tiny piece of cyber space.

Monetizing would be nice but I don't want to bombard you with all sorts of ads.  Writing sponsored posts would be nice but I can't really commit to anything.  I can't even commit myself to my own schedule.

Right now, it seems like blogging is hit or miss but I've come to the conclusion that I'm ok with that.  I'm not the best at commenting on other people's posts (I am reading though!).  My posting schedule is nonexistent.  My stats are laughable.  Sometimes when I have time to post, I really have nothing worthwhile to write.  And my site itself could use a little (ok, a tremendous amount of) TLC.

But, that's all ok.  I never wanted blogging to be stressful.  I am raising 2 crazy beautiful little girls that eat up every waking moment (as well as the moments that I should be sleeping).  I have a husband with a schedule that varies weekly, who's hours are long and sometimes scattered through out the day.

My goal these days is to take a shower and eat something of sustenance (my body was fueled by caffeine and Combos yesterday).

So, this blog can go somewhere or nowhere.  This is my outlet.  My hobby.  There are no expectations or goals.
I tend to over analyze every other aspect of my life.  I put A LOT of unnecessary pressure on myself and I'm super critical of myself when I fall short of my own expectations.  It feels refreshing that this blog, the one thing I do just for me, doesn't fall victim to my own high standards.

It is what it is... and I'm perfectly ok with that!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Mother's Love Never Dies


I have been seeing them everywhere lately.  They always used to remind me of my Grandmother and now they remind me of my Mom.  I've been seeing them daily and each time I take a moment to feel her with me.

July is a hard month for me.  My Mom took a huge downward spiral right after the 4th of July.  Don't get me wrong, she was sick on the 4th but after a nap on my uncle's couch she was reenergized.  She was spunky and even eating.  The day of our trip to my house she was pretty good too.  Except then she stopped eating, and falling, and all sorts of craziness happened.  On July 8th, she passed away.  Just her and I in the hospital room.  Seconds after Dan and Abby had walked out the door.


My siblings drove the 3.5 hours to get there, not knowing at first that she was already gone.  When I tell you that my heart was dragging on the floor behind me as I went to meet them, it's not an exaggeration. I couldn't even look at them.  I couldn't even look at myself.  Or Abby.  Or anyone.

I didn't think I would ever function again.

BUT, I did.  I started seeing little things that let me know she was there.  It started the day I was in her room getting her clothes together for the funeral home.  I spotted the Susan G. Komen ornament I had given her, one with a butterfly, hanging behind the tv.  I wanted to put it with her.  When I grabbed it, there was a necklace that my Dad had given me on my 16th birthday.  I had thought I lost it during a move, in Maryland.  I was devastated when I couldn't find it.

Yet, there it was.  Miles and miles away from where I had last seen it.  On a day that I was more heartbroken then I could ever imagine.  I felt like she knew I needed it.

Maybe it was coincidence, just like the butterflies I've been seeing lately.

Maybe I am just trying to heal so hard that I'm looking into things that aren't really there.  Giving divine purpose to the ordinary.

But, maybe, these things are meant to help me heal.  To let me know that nothing, and no one, is ever really gone.  That in so many ways, she is with me.

It's like when my Grandmother died and they found a poem cut out from a newspaper.  No one knows why she saved it, but she did.

"Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die."

It meant so much that they had it printed and given to everyone.  In a small way, it helped everyone heal just a little.

Time and time again, I am reminded that she's here.  Whether it be a butterfly or a letter that she wrote me.  Or a letter that she addressed to no one, that I'm sure was meant for me and siblings.

I found it in a stationary set, written on the very first page as you open the fold.  I found it a few months ago and will cherish it always.

Maybe she meant to write us all a letter at one time but never finished it.

Or maybe, she is simply reminding us that she's here and a mother's love never dies.

I think I'll believe the latter.

Mom, it's been 3 years and there is not a day that goes by that I don't want to pick up the phone and call you.  My voice still cracks when I tell the girls stories about you but I still tell them.  I want them to feel like they know you.  I want them to know that you would have showered them love.  I miss you and there are days that I NEED you.  I try to keep my heart open so I can SEE the little signs that show me I'm not alone.  I know you're with me, watching over all of us.  The last thing we said to each was "I love you" and I know that will never change for either of us.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy Belated 4th of July!

I hope you all had an awesome 4th of July!  Ours was a little lazy... and HOT.  Dan had to work so we actually went to a carnival over the weekend to catch some fireworks.  I learned that Abby is a dare devil and will definitely push me way past my comfort zone.

Case in point:  the Ferris Wheel.  I'm cool with a roller coaster but ferris wheels terrify me.  They move so slow and the stopping to let people on/off gives me too much time to think about the fact that we are hanging in a basket way above the tree tops.

But, I faced my fears (and paid 5 bucks for a bracelet) and got on the damn ride!  The things I do for my girls!

And, I made it and it was actually way less scary then this helicopter ride (which is for kids).  That thing must have had some loose screws or something because it certainly didn't feel sturdy!

The favorite ride for both of us that night was the Tilt A Whirl.  I debated taking her on it at first but I'm glad I did because she LOVED it!  She calls it the crazy ride!  I think I found my future roller coaster buddy, hopefully old age doesn't change my love for them!

I'm so thankful that we went to the carnival because last night we had a bit of a firework fail.  We couldn't see the fireworks from where I thought we could.  We tried to walk to another spot and had no luck so I admitted defeat and disappointed Abby.  I agreed to grab her some McNuggets to help lessen the disappointment.

We grabbed our nuggets, while hearing the sound of fireworks that we couldn't see.  Then we headed home.  On our way I noticed a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road.  As we got closer I saw that people were sitting on the cars and standing around.  SCORE!  You must be able to see them from here!

I pulled over, got Abby unbuckled and we watched the last 5 minutes.  When we started driving off, Abby exclaimed, "YAY!! Mommy saved the day!"

I can not tell you how good that made me feel!  It didn't matter that we missed most of them, she was just happy to see some.  I got lucky, took a road that we don't normally take home, found the perfect spot... and I saved the day!  Go me!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Be Happy: Navigating Tantrum City

Little White Whale
We've been living in tantrum city around here but I am happy to report that I've made a few changes and things have been better.

I have outlawed electronics, for the most part.  No more LeapPad, computer games, or IPod unless we're listening to music.  I've also limited tv to one show in the morning, one while I work out, and one more throughout the day if I need to get something done (like dinner or if I'm desperate for quiet).

I am SHOCKED to report that Abby has taken to these changes like a champ!  She actually chose not to watch tv one of the times I asked her and she hasn't even attempted to use the IPod for anything other than music.  She's also acting a lot better and we've been working on ways to get rid of her sad feelings.

The biggest change might actually be me.  I continuously remind myself that she's hurting so even if talking doesn't get through to her, I hold her.  Even if it means Lilly is fussing, I still hold her.  After I give her time and some extra cuddles, I'll try to distract her and give her ideas of fun things we can do.

I have to admit, it's been a bit exhausting.  I never realized how much I relied on these things to keep her busy or distracted.  However, it's actually been pretty FUN!  We've been dancing around the kitchen, playing pretend, reading... I think having the computer up and running all day was a huge distraction from what I need to focus on too.

I have been repeating a little mantra to myself each morning when I roll out of bed (usually at 5:30):  You choose how your day is going to go from now, just smile.  So, when I saw this weeks quote from Little White Whale was, "If you want to be happy, be,"  I decided to jump on board.

If you want to be happy, just be....

Being happy is a choice... there are reasons to smile in every moment!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

May I Have Some Patience, Please?

Last night, we ended the day with a full blown tantrum... complete with fists pounding and feet stomping.  When it comes to where these tantrums come from and how to deal with them, I admit that I'm at a loss.

Sometimes, I respond in a way that's way too reactive.

Sometimes, I remember to respond in soft but firm tones.

Sometimes, I remember to respond lovingly because beneath that tantrum is a hurt little girl.

Sometimes, I work really hard at explaining why we can not behave that way.

Sometimes, when explaining doesn't work, I try to role play and teach her different ways to respond.

Sometimes, nothing works.

Right now, as I type, I have a 3 year old who is having a fit because she can't find her Pluto toy.  A toy that I have no memory of.  A toy that she says she hasn't seen since she was a baby.

Right now, I have a baby, who just learned to crawl 3 days ago, trying to figure out what she can get into next.

Right now, I am drinking my first cup of coffee that I poured an hour ago.  I am hoping that my coffee gives me the patience that I need for what may be ahead for me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Super Dad

Whew!  That was a long week but, thankfully, I am feeling better.  I am eternally grateful to my husband for taking time off to help out with the girls.  Funny thing about that though, day 1 he acted like Super Dad.  I mean he even went as far as to wash the windows in the living room and clean the front porch.

Not gonna lie, I felt like he was showing me up just a little bit.  I was amazed that he was able to do all that, in addition to keeping the house somewhat clean.  All while Abby napped and Lilly played.  I felt a little inadequate, even going as far as telling him that maybe he should be a stay at home Dad.

However, by the end of the week things started looking a little more like my reality.  I guess the week was wearing on him a little bit (who could blame him?).

He would never admit it though.

He'll tell you that all was good and the kids were fine.  Typical man, never admitting defeat!

Amusingly, Abby was quick to point out what he didn't do quite right and, if the offense warranted it, put him in timeout.  He never actually went into timeout so Abby also learned how frustrating it is when someone doesn't listen!  Sorry, I know it was a little bratty of her (aren't all 3 year olds?) but I found it quite funny.  Almost as the funny as the day she told him that he doesn't know the rules, only Mommy does.  Does that girl know who the boss is or what?  Unfortunately, she doesn't always care that I am the queen of this castle!

All kidding aside, he did great and it was probably the best thing for all of us.  The girls got Daddy time.  I got rest. And he got time to just be home because sometimes that only happens when he sleeps!

And of course, as I'm typing this he goes ahead and wins more points!  We were on a mission to find Abby this chair:

Source: via Kasey on Pinterest

Of course, our Kmart was sold out and it wasn't available online.  I texted Dan to check the Kmart by his work but they didn't have it so he picked up her 3rd choice.  Since he knew she would be disappointed, he went to a different Kmart and found the one she wanted!

Guess who will be the favorite parent for awhile?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sick of Being Sick

I have dreamed about spending a day in bed, more times than I can count.

I have been begging for time to myself.  To read.  To blog.  To watch tv.  To sleep.

I realized yesterday that spending the day in bed is highly over rated.

After a weekend spent sick and in pain, I went to the doctor on Monday and found out that I had an infection so bad that it caused a lymph node to swell (in what could be the most uncomfortable and awkward spot).

First, let me tell you that I tend to be dramatic so I spent the weekend convinced that I was dying.  Between the stress of my impending death, the pain, and just all around not feeling well, it was a long exhausting weekend.

The good news is that I am NOT dying!  YAY!  But I am on 2 pretty strong antibiotics as well as a pain killer which has left me useless.  A few hours awake and I'm right back to bed.  Sleeping the day away.

The worst part is hearing my girls.  Whether they're playing or crying, all I want to do is be out there with them.

I can not thank my hubs enough for taking time off of work to help me out.  He even gave Lilly a bath for the first time. 

I'm grateful for the help, but HATE that I need it.  My girls aren't too fond of it either and have been spending extra time with me in my bed (I'm not contagious).  Poor Abby just wants me to play and poor Lilly just wants to be in my arms.  

I can't wait to feel better.  I can't wait to be back to normal.  

I hope I never get this much time to myself again.  I never want to NEED this much sleep or watch this much tv.  It's just so lonely!

Obviously, I love my girls and spending time with them but now I realize that they are my everything.  They are my world.  They are growing so fast and I feel like I'm missing something when I'm not here.  I complain and take being home with them for granted but I truly am blessed!  

Here's a little funny Pinterest find.  No truer words have ever been spoken!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer Bucket List: At Home Fun

I've seen a lot of people creating Summer Bucket Lists and I really love the idea.  We have a lot of fun stuff planned for summer already but they all center around going somewhere.  We are pretty good at planning trips, even day trips, to explore new places and give the girls some new experiences.  However, we sometimes fall short during our downtime.

I try to come up with creative ways to spend our time at home but sometimes I run out of ideas.  Or fail at executing the idea.  So, I thought I would do a Summer Bucket List of home based activities.  Things that I've been meaning to do, or just found, that would be fun for the me and the girls to do together on the days where we're just relaxing at home.

I'm hoping it helps remind me of the little promise I made... to focus on more quality time with the 2 most important people in my life.

I made a Pinterest board to help organize my ideas and will update you on what we've accomplished.  Here are some things I've added so far:

What would be on your Summer Bucket List?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting My Priorities Straight

"In a minute."

"Not right now."

"Maybe tomorrow/after nap time/later/etc."

These are the phrases that I find myself using far too often.  I'm tired in the mornings, which is why I am desperately trying to get Lilly to sleep through the night.  It takes me a while to get moving and then before I know it, it's almost lunch time.

I'm caught up in the bottles, laundry, diaper changes, cleaning, cooking, etc, etc, etc that I THINK needs to be done during the day.

I am finding it hard to balance the household necessities with the REAL necessities.

The quality time sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of things.  The day ends with far too few snuggles, kisses and playing.

Today, a perfectly gorgeous day went by without us stepping outside to play.

And then I hear myself, repeating those phrases.

And then I see the look on Abby's face.

And then I realize that I lost focus... again.

Parenting is a hard road to navigate.  There are twists and turns and sometimes you lose your way without even realizing it.

I am promising myself that I will be different tomorrow.  I will stop measuring the productivity of my day by how clean my home is at the end of it.

Instead, I will measure my day by the intangible things.  The stuff that isn't seen by those who aren't around:  quality time with my two girls.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Busy Busy Bees!

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day!  We have been keeping ourselves super busy lately enjoying this awesome weather.  Here's a quick recap of what's been going on this past week, courtesy of Picmonkey's new collage feature (YAY)!

We've been seeing some interesting creatures in our yard this week.  I'm hoping this is the as 'wild' as the creatures get because I'm afraid soon we'll be seeing snakes, foxes or worse!  It's been quite interesting and Abby has definitely gotten a huge kick out of it!

We've also been swinging, and swimming, and running through the sprinkler, and let's not leave out Abby's first adventure in doing her own makeup!

So, sorry if things have been a little silent around here.  On top of just keeping busy, we've also been working hard at getting Lilly to sleep through the night.  It hurts me to say it but, yes, it does involve a little bit of the dreaded 'crying it out'.  We don't let her cry for very long and I do go in to comfort her but I'm desperately trying to break her of the many bottles at night habit.

And, yes, I know it's just habit and not just hunger because in 4 days we have cut down from 8+ ounces at night to only 2-4 ounces.  Yet, she still doesn't want to eat right away when she wakes up.  

It's been hard and I hate hearing her cry.  I'm also so tired because I am sometimes up for 2 hours a night trying to get her to sleep without a bottle.  It's driving me nuts because I'm exhausted and know that a bottle would put her to sleep within 15 minutes.  However, I know that this habit needs to be broken for her sake and mine.

I can say that last night I saw a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel.  Lilly woke up around 11 but instead of crying she just let out little whines on and off for about 20 minutes.  She would stop for a few minutes and then let out a little whimper again.  Finally, QUIET.  I checked her and she was fast asleep until around 3. 

I'm hoping this will work and a good nights sleep will be in my immediate future!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Being in the Moment: No Photo Necessary

Everyday is a photo op day.

Everyday, one of my girls does something so stinkin' cute that I feel the need to run and grab my camera.

Everyday, something magical happens and, again, I race to get my camera.

I love taking photos.  Documenting our life.  I adore my girls and a picture captures the moment so my memory can go ahead and fail from time to time.

Today, I left the camera at home.

Today, I took them to the beach.  Just me and my girls.  The first time Lilly would really get to feel the water splash against her.

Part of me was wishing I had my camera or even my phone so I could capture the surprise on Lilly's face the first time the water went right up her legs.

Part of me wishes I had my camera to capture the moments of sheer happiness as Abby splashed around in the beautiful bay that I am so lucky to live so close to.

A bigger part of me was happy that I left my camera and phone at home.

I was in the moment.  Spending time with my girls.  Enjoying the day, sun, and sand.

Honestly, I was terrified to take them to the beach by myself.  What if Lilly hated the water?  What if Abby didn't listen or through a temper tantrum when we were ready to leave?

I pictured the worst:  Me carrying two girls, one kicking and screaming, along with all of the beach gear back to the car.

Sometimes kids surprise you.  Sometimes the day goes just right.  As Abby would say, when we work together that means we have fun (wise beyond her years).  And work together is what we did today.  We all got what we wanted and had FUN.

This day will forever be ingrained in my memory, no photo necessary.


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