Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Last year was the one year that I kept my New Year's Resolution. It was to lose the baby weight leftover from Boogs and Bug and to hopefully become pregnant with number three.  Since I'm due in February, I think it's a pretty good indicator that I met my goals.

As I look to the next year here are my new goals (not necessarily in this order):
#1 Lose the baby weight from Baby #3 before he is one.
#2 Better Budgeting
#3 Be kind in my words. Be encouraging and uplifting in my interaction with others.
#4  Work on my writing and start submitting articles for consideration.

In the past,  I would set up a goal and it would probably fall to the wayside before the end of the month. Last year was the first time I kept my goal in sight. Probably because I was utterly frustrated with my weight (I'm a self-proclaimed big girl) and as much as I wanted another baby, I wanted to be at a healthy weight first so that I would have an easier pregnancy.

Last year I had one goal. This year it looks like I have at least four. I will work on each one. Hopefully I will remember to look back at this post in a year and see how I've done.

What are your goals for this year?  Will you keep your resolutions? Do you make resolutions? If you are looking at some ways to meet your goals, check out the following post from Life Your Way:  http://success.yourway.net/111-new-years-resolutions-and-tools-to-make-them-a-reality-add-your-links/

No matter what your goals, I wish you peace and happiness in 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

34 Week Update

I'm 34 weeks along.  I saw the doctor on Monday and everything looks and sounds good. I'm still having contractions now and again and she wants me to continue taking the medication that stops them.  However, at 35 weeks (that's next week!) she said that they won't try to stop the contractions and I can have the baby.  I keep saying that I am under no delusion that this baby will arrive early after he's tried so hard to get out into the world. I'm sure that my due date will come and pass and he'll stay right where he is.

However....I am a teensy bit worried that he'll decide to make his appearance at 35 weeks. The only reason why I'm worried is that Hubby is leaving for a business trip for a few days next week.  Hubby is really anxious that I'll go into labor without him. He keeps telling me I'll have to rest next week while he's gone. He seems to have forgotten that he'll be gone next week and I'll be pulling double duty. I'll do my best since I certainly don't want to go into labor without him.

I've got the childcare part covered. I've got a few friends and family that will be available at different times in the day or night that can take care of the kids. However, I don't have a backup labor coach. Anybody up for the gig if Hubby is gone? I'm kidding...sort of......

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why Christmas is my Favorite Holiday by Boogie

Last Sunday, my family went to my parents' church.  My brother was in town and my dad was playing the drums with the worship team. Hubby and I thought it would be nice to attend a church service with them and it has been years since all of us have attended a church service together.

On the way home from church Boogie proclaimed that Christmas is his favorite holiday. Hubby and I looked at each other and smirked thinking it was because of all the presents. Of course we asked why Christmas was his favorite holiday. Here was his response:

Well you're supposed to make God #1. If God is #1 then the day He was born is very important. Jesus was born on Christmas day so it's the most important holiday. That's why Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Hubby and I were blown away by his eloquent response. Well said, Boogie. Well said.

Our Greatest Need
If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.
If our greatest need had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.
But our greatest need was forgiveness,
so God sent us a Saviour.
-Roy Lessin

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Blessings

So much has happened in the last week and most of them in the form of Christmas blessings. It's hard to say where to begin, but I'll give it my best shot.

First off, this year has been great. I got all of the shopping done at least two weeks before Christmas and all of the presents wrapped before Christmas Eve. This is amazing, since every year I'm up until midnight the on the 23rd wrapping gifts and preparing them for our huge family get together on Christmas Eve at my SIL's house for Hubby's side of the family and then I'm up until midnight on Christmas Eve finishing the wrapping for our kids and my side of the family. This year the bourbon balls were made well ahead of time and I  made enough to give away this year.  All of these are great accomplishments and made for a more stress free preparation time for Christmas.

Christmas Blessings:

  • On Wednesday I texted my brother (who lives in another state) to confirm his address. He called me back and told me he was coming home for Christmas this year. The first time in over 3 years. It was a surprise for my mom and was a complete surprise for me, too. That was awesome!  I was really excited to see him and I knew my kids would love to see him, too.
  • Since we moved into the neighborhood a few years ago I've been making cookies for all of the neighbors. It's my way of getting to know them better and a way for the kids to share the Christmas spirit.  This year (again on Wednesday) the neighbor across the way brought over cookies and our next door neighbors gave us cookies. That's really nice!
  • Again on Wednesday, Hubby started his Christmas vacation early and came home after a half day of work. He was able to see Boogie perform in his monthly preschool sing and then later in his Christmas play. Boogs was bouncing off the walls that Daddy was there to see all of his performances.
  • Another Wednesday blessing, on the way home from Boogie's performances, I realized I had not taken any meat to defrost for dinner and I was racking my brain for what I was going to serve my family on our usual whirlwind Wednesday. Fortunately, Hubby was taking them to their dance class to give me a break, but I still needed to make dinner. I came home to find a phone message waiting for us and it was another family from our Church who called to ask if they could bring dinner over that night.  Dinner solved!  She very graciously prepared a yummy, family friendly dinner. She happens to live just down the street from where the kids were taking their dance lessons. So in between lessons, Hubby picked up the food. When he brought it home it was still warm, smelled delicious, and we scarfed it down happily.  We are so grateful for their generosity. It couldn't have come on a better day.
  • Thursday we went out to dinner with my side of the family and saw my brother. We haven't seen him since May and to see him two times in one year is pretty fantabulous. It's usually several years between visits.  
  • We had a fabulous Christmas Eve with family. I love that my sister-in-law has taken over hosting Christmas Eve at her house. In the past Hubby's great-aunt used to host a similar open house. When she passed away several years ago, my SIL took up the tradition. It's a great time and the kids love getting dressed up and seeing their cousins.
  • We attended Christmas Eve Mass with family. My other SIL is the children's choir director for her parish.  We go to her parish every Christmas Eve to listen to our nieces and nephews sing.  Of course we always arrive a little late and it's hard to find seats.  This year we sat with the children's choir as there was a little bit of room for us.  Boogie desperately wanted to sing with them and was disappointed that he couldn't. However, when they sang, "Go Tell it On the Mountain" on stage, he stood up in his seat and very clearly, loudly and full of confidence sang it with them complete with hand motions.  It was so sweet and the parishioners that could hear him nudged each other and smiled. His innocence and his passion was so wonderful to see. It was the favorite part of my night.
  • Christmas Morning, when Boogie was asked who brought him presents he said, "Mommy, Daddy, and Buggy."  We asked who else (Meaning Santa) and he said, "No one else."  So it looks like we've done our job and he knows that Jesus is the reason for the season. While he still believes in the concept of Santa Clause, it's as if he knows that Santa is an accessory and a part of Christmas, but not Christmas itself.  I'm okay with that.
  • Christmas Day, again time with my side of the family, made that much better with my brother's presence. A bonus was getting to Skype with our Filipino relatives who are still in the Philippines. We were able to meet them and talk to them. We've all seen pictures, but I was two the last time I saw anyone.  My mom was able to talk to her side of the family. We also came home to find a tin of Christmas treats on our porch left by a friend. Thanks L.!
  • Day after Christmas, going to my parents church and watching my dad play the drums with the worship team. And then having dinner one last time with my brother before he headed back home the next day.
The was a pretty wonderful for Christmas. I was reminded of the goodwill of others. Gifts of food and treats. The love of family. This year I was able to fully celebrate with both sides of our family. I was worried about my brother spending Christmas alone, although I know he has many friends who would have taken him in. But this was wonderful and perfect.  

I enjoyed watching Christmas unfold through the eyes of my children. I am grateful that God sent his only Son to come down from heaven to be His gift for us. I pray that we all carry the Christmas spirit of love and goodwill to others throughout the year and not just at Christmas.  Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Heard Around the House

Conversations take place around the house. Sometimes I am part of them, sometimes they are between the kids. This is what has been said in the last week:

Boogie to Me:
B:  Mommy, you'll have to come to my wedding.
M: Of course, are you inviting me?
B: Yes, and you'll have to bring a gift.
M: What would you like?
B (very seriously):  A "chee-vee." I want my own "chee-vee" (t.v.)
M: Who are you marrying?
B: I can't tell you, it's a secret.
M: Do I know who the lucky little girl is?
B: Yes, she is my best friend and her name begins with J.
(He's referring to his best friend of 4 1/2 years. That would be so sweet :))

Me to Boogie and Buggy to Boogie:
M: Boogs let's go.
Boogie whining
M:  Boogs, stop being ridiculous
B: I'm not being ree-dic-u-wuss
Buggy (in a sing-song taunting voice): Yes, you are being ree-dic-u-wuss (I think she may have sashayed as she walked away from him).

Boogie to Buggy:
Boogie: Buggy, you'll be a mommy soon (said as she is playing with her baby doll).  Well not soon. A long time from now. Definitely before you're 21.

Hubby to Me:
Thank you, Honey, for doing all you've done to get ready for Christmas. If it weren't for you, we'd just have a tree, decorations, and lights.

I look forward to what I'll hear when everyone is home next week :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mommy, I've Got You

I'm 33 weeks pregnant (the doctor finally moved up my due date and it looks like I should go around Feb. 7th.)  I'm hormonal and emotional. I'm given to bouts of weepiness, but fortunately, not for long periods of time.  And I'm exhausted. Despite all of this, I feel pretty good. I'm excited, jubilant, and filled with anticipation.

But as far as pregnancy goes, something can be said and the tears will come. It's really nothing more than exhaustion and the emotional stress that comes with it because I am so tired. But sometimes I just need a few minutes by myself to cry.  Get it out and then I'm fine. But having a husband and two children, I have very little time to myself.

This past weekend, I just needed to let it out. I went upstairs to let the tears flow and my sweet Baby Bug followed me.  I try not to cry in front of the kids...I don't want them to worry and really it's nothing more than sheer exhaustion.  But Bugs followed me, hugged my belly, patted my arm, and made soothing shushing noises. Then she said, "It's okay Mommy. I've got you. I've got you, Mommy. All better now?"

How could I not be all better after her sweet comfort?  The phrase "I've got you, I've got you" is one she has heard from me a number of times. When she is tired and needs comfort, when she's hurt herself, or feels an injustice has been made unto her by her brother, she turns to me. I hold her tight, I shush in her ears, and I say, "It's okay, Baby. I've got you. I've got you. Mommy's got you. I won't let go." She calms down and revels in my love for her.

It's nice to know that it's comforting to her and that she thinks it will be comforting to me when she turns to do it for me.  It looks like we've got each other. My kids make me one lucky and blessed Mama.  I love you, Sweet Bug!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Family Fun Weekend

The weekend started on Friday with Family Fun Night at our Church. We had a pizza dinner, watched my favorite children's Christmas movie, The Charlie Brown Christmas Special, and did a community service project making ornaments and gifts.  These days I'm lucky to still be awake by 8pm (thank you 3rd trimester slump) but I thought this would be a fun thing to do. So as soon as Hubby made it home from work we were out the door. It was a fun evening and the kids enjoyed climbing all over Daddy. I think for a good portion of the movie Bug sat on her father's belly while he lied on the floor.

Boogie reading a book given to him by his Godmother.
Saturday was our monthly church cleaning. I haven't made it since September when I was put on modified bed rest. While I'm no longer on restriction, Hubby doesn't want me going until after I give birth. He's been taking the kids once a month to clean the Church with our cleaning group.  The kids are learning to serve the community and God. They're getting quite good at cleaning, too. I think Boogie has been given his own Boogie sized swiffer to use around the Church :)  After Hubby and the kids came home, we ran out to a toy store (completely forgetting it was Super Saturday and everybody and their mom was out) so the kids could get a gift for each other.  I think this does it for our gift buying for the season.  Fortunately the trip was a quick one with another trip to the library. We came home to prepare for Boogie's Godmother and my good friend A. to join us for dinner.

I'm so glad that A. and her family have moved back into the area. It's nice to call her and say, "Hey do you want to come over for dinner?" and if one weekend doesn't work, another surely will.  We exchanged gifts early this year as she will be heading to visit her in-laws over Christmas.  It was so nice to see her since it's been almost two months (has it really been that long?) since we saw her last.  Boogie loved spending a little extra time with his Godmother.

The Discombobulated Mommy with Bug waiting for her chance to perform.
Sunday ended with the kids' holiday dance recital. I was unsure as to how it would go and if Buggy would actually get on stage to perform.  The kids looked darling and yes, they both performed.  Buggy danced in two numbers and Boogie in three.  There was a lot of hard work put into setting up for the dance recital and we are grateful to childrens' dance teacher for pulling off a fun performance for the kids.  Hubby's favorite part might have been when Buggy was performing for the "Dreidel" song. The little girls were given small dreidel's and every time Buggy was able to make her dreidel spin she would jump up, clap her hands, and say "I did it!" in the middle of her performance. Of course I missed all of that because I was trying to video the performance and I figured it was a part of the dance. It wasn't, but no less cute!

I'm grateful both sets of grandparents were able to make it to the performance. Hubby's parents stayed for dinner and we were able to sit down and spend some extra time with them. Not always easy, because we are usually at a larger family gathering and we don't get a lot of one-on-one time with Hubby's parents.  It was a nice end to a fun and busy weekend.

Buggy watching the recital.


Boogie performing. He's the one not in the pink leotard :)


Performing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" Boogie is busy trying to get his tie to "sing." It played music when you push a  button.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tutu Cute!

I've been having fun making my little tutus for friends and family.  I sent one to the kids' cousin and when I called to wish her a happy birthday her father told me that she loved it and wanted to wear it right away.  That made me grin. I love when my friends and family like the gifts that I made for them. I enjoy making them and it's so nice when it's well received.

I decided to try to make another version of the tutu I had made for our little cousin. This one is a present for a friend's little girl. As you can see, Bug is my model once again. This is her in mid-jump. Unfortunately, her little puppy is in the way and you can't see the embellishments I've put around the waist.

The kids are getting a kick out of seeing all the ribbon, jewels, and flowers I am using for these projects. They love being my models throughout the various stages. Though at this point I think it's getting harder for Bug to be the model. When she found out that this one wasn't for her either she kept asking, "Where mine? Where mine?"  I might have to make the rest when she is sleeping.  I realize that I have less than a week to complete all the ones I want to do, but I think I'll be able to do it. In reality, I think I'm (amazingly!) done with all my Christmas shopping. I just need to wrap the gifts and stick them under the tree. The ones I have to make will take some time, but I'm enjoying every moment of it. At this point I can't sit still in front of the tv without having some craft project in my hand whether it's crocheting, making tutus, creating calendars, or whatever else I have in mind to do.

I pray that this last week of Advent is a peaceful one for all of you.  Merry Christmas.

A close-up view of the tutu. See the flowers around the waistband?


a little blurry, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Here is the original one I made. Still cute. I like having variety.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mother and Son

Yesterday Boogie overheard me having a conversation with a friend about babies and my expectations.  He heard me say to my friend something to the effect of, "I'm not saying it's going to be easy. I remember how hard it was when Boogie was born. How I had a tough time. But Bug was easier and I think I'll be fine with the third."

After I hung up he looked at me and asked, "Why was it so hard? Was I a hard baby? Why did you think it was tough after I was born?"

I honestly told him that he was my first baby, I wasn't sure what I was doing and I wasn't sure I was doing a good job. I wanted to do be a good mommy to him and I was brand new at it.

He looked at my soberly and said, "Well you never have to worry. You are a good mommy. We never have to worry about us."

Me: "Us?"

He grinned: "Yeah, us. We're good together. Everyday remember that you are a good mommy."

Music to my ears.  Thanks, Boogie Man. I try.

Snow Day

Yesterday it snowed. When I was working I used to make sure I brought home all the papers that needed to be graded and materials I needed to lesson plan. I would spend snowy days grading, planning, and playing catch up, even though I had a ton to do around the house. When there was a 2-hour delay I would still go to work on time to enjoy the quiet of the building and get more done.

After having Boogie, my priorities changed and I felt that it was time to enjoy a snow day with my little man and I appreciated having him. But I worried about the things that were undone at work. Now I think snow days are meant to relax, enjoy the ones you're with, have a mug of hot chocolate, and maybe play in the snow.  I wish I did a lot more of that when I was working.

Maybe I'm not so different as I was in my early days of my career. I use snow days as a reason to stay in, but I'm usually baking, Christmas shopping online, writing out Christmas cards, or doing some sort of Christmas catch-up.  But I enjoy doing those things so it's not that bad.

Yesterday I attempted to take Boogie to his afternoon preschool and chickened out after I saw an accident on the road.  I ended up turning around and heading back home.  The roads were bad, everyone was going 20mph, and it was still snowing. It would still be snowing when I picked him up 2 1/2 hours later so I decided to bag it and head home.  Boogs was a little disappointed, but he got over it pretty quickly. He played in the snow for a little bit and enjoyed that.  I decided to finish sending out my Christmas cards. The kids listened to a book on CD and played with each other. It was a really nice afternoon. One of the benefits of having more than one kid is that the kids will play with each other. As I addressed envelopes I kept an eye on the kids and watched them play (gently) with our ceramic nativity set and talk about Jesus' birth and the wise men, build tunnels using couch cushions and pillows, build with blocks, look at books, and entertain each other.  Even though I wasn't an active participant in their games, I was happy to be an observer into their little world.

It was a good snow day. While I'm not done addressing my Christmas cards and I still have a few projects I'd like to finish, I enjoyed the day watching my kids play together and thinking about how a third child will only add to the blessings we already have.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crafty Projects

I was inspired by Buggy's ballet lessons and made a little tutu for one of her cousins for her birthday. I used Bugs as my model and had her try it on at different stages of my tutu making. She kept saying, "oooooh, pretty. For me?"  She understood when I said it was for one of her cousins, but she asked if I would make one for her. I'm pretty she'll find one under the Christmas tree this year.

This isn't a great picture, but I think it gets the idea across. I hope her cousin likes it and I'll be making a few more for Christmas this year for various friends and family. Bug kept shaking her hips whens she modeled it for me.

If you've been keeping up, you know that I've been crocheting baby blankets like it's going out of style. However, I took a break and attempted my first full-length afghan for an "adopt-a-nun" for Christmas gift giving. One of Hubby's co-workers decided to do this for a local convent. She also included an article that gave some information about the order.  The average age in the order is mid-70s, the nuns give away most of what they have to those who need it in the community, live on the donations of others, and somehow make it year after year.  I thought this was a neat idea and wish I can be there to hand out the gifts, but the kids are in a dance recital on Sunday and we won't be able to make it...maybe.

So of course because I always think that I can do more than is probably reasonable in any given amount of time I made an afghan. I finished last night after giving myself a goal of how much I needed to complete each night before going to bed. (I started to panic on Sunday that it wasn't going to get done in time!)   Here is the finished product. The color is autumn red and much prettier in person.  I'm pretty happy with the end product and sad to see it leave my hands so quickly after finishing. But Hubby has already washed and dried it and it is currently wrapped and at this point probably given to his coworker.  I hope Sister Charlotte likes it and I hope it keeps her warm in our currently frigid temps.

I've got a few more projects to do and I'm already itching to complete some more. If you stop by any time in the near future you'll probably find me crocheting, making tutus, making bourbon balls, or baking more Christmas cookies.  Which means I'll be knee deep in yarn, ribbon embellishments, and baking products.  In January it will be more about getting ready for baby...making freezer meals and making him his own blanket.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Musings on Baby #3

I am 31 weeks along and the countdown is definitely on now that I am on to single digits until my due date.  I can't believe how quickly the time has flown.  I'm also busy with the kids, Advent, Christmas, and in the back of my mind are thoughts of moving the current two children into the same room, adding a splash of blue onto the walls of the nursery, washing Boogie's baby clothes that I held onto in case we had another boy, and making freezer meals so that I don't have to cook after the baby is born.

Despite all that, I am ready. Not ready, like I'm done being pregnant. But ready in, yeah, let's do this!

Hubby and I have talked about it and neither of us are stressed, anxious, or worried about when the baby arrives.  Maybe it's that we've done this twice before. Maybe I've realized that life just goes on and this time you cart around a baby. Or maybe we're just too busy with Advent and Christmas and we don't have time to devote to being anxious or stressed.

One of my friends told me she thinks I have pregnancy and post-partum amnesia.  That may be it, but I really don't think so. I remember having Boogs and the stress of trying to figure it all out and not doing a very good job.  I struggled, cried, and doubted my abilities.  I was also working full-time and trying  to still be Superwoman at work and then don the same cape for home.  With Buggy the whole experience was different. I realized my shortcomings and realized they weren't that bad and I also realized that only so much can get done in a 24-hour day and that the world didn't come crashing to an end when things didn't get done.  I reveled in new (again) mommyhood and most importantly I wasn't working outside the home.

I'm still not working outside of the house. And while I know there will be late nights, exhaustion, sleep-deprivation...I'm not worried. I'm not saying that it will be perfect, but I think it some ways it will be easier.  Boogie is pretty independent and can be a big help. I think Buggy will love being Mama's helper (though I'm not discounting any of the jealousy she may feel after having me all to herself when Boogie's at school and then having to share me with a constantly nursing baby).  Plus she can do things on her own and that will make it easier.

But overall I feel pretty good. I got this.  I haven't gotten a chance to poll my friends with more than 2 kids. I realize that it will no longer be man-to-man and it will be all about zone...but did you find it was easier when you had a third...or did it still throw you for a loop because it was no longer man-to-man?  I'm curious to your thoughts on this.  Don't worry about freaking me out if it was harder...I'd still like to hear.  Regardless, I feel good and I'm looking forward to meeting our new little man...but not quite yet. He still needs to cook for another 9 weeks. I'm looking forward to holding another sweet baby.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Great Ideas

The other day, we got a new refrigerator.  It was desperately needed as we still had the original from when our house was built over 20 years ago. Since moving in three years ago the original refrigerator has slowly stopped working...the lightbulb burnt out and we never replaced it, the handle kept falling off, I had to kick the bottom of the fridge to make sure that it closed all the way, it froze the food in the back, the ice maker stopped working, and the layout was horrible and I could never find anything. And within the last few months it started to make this horrible moaning, whining noise like it was giving it all it could to stay on.  After a few weeks of research we were able to find a more energy efficient refrigerator, with a better layout that was also on sale. We are very happy campers.

I was at a doctor's appointment when the refrigerator came. I came home to a brand new appliance and to the box it came in sprawled in our living room. I was totally okay with this, because do you know how many hours my kids will be occupied by a single box?  They spent all day playing with it.

But here is what I missed while I was gone--Boogie's great idea that Hubby fortunately heard from a different room:

Boogie: Hey, Buggy. Let's take the box to the top of the stairs and slide down!
Buggy:  Okay! (very enthusiastically)
(Hubby comes around the corner to find the kids trying to lug the ginormous box up the stairs to try their grand sliding adventure).

Fortunately he stopped them and made them a mini slide using the step down from the foyer into the living room which suited them just fine and meant there were no accidents.  But leave it up to my son to try the next great adventure and for my daughter (his faithful and adoring sidekick) to follow his lead. Never a dull moment :)

Trying to Keep Up

I got a pretty good start on Christmas. I ordered the cards shortly after Thanksgiving and began sending them out, but something happened to distract me and I still have a pile to send out. I got a pretty good start on buying Christmas gifts, but as you know, it can't all be done in a day and I still have a few more things to buy.  I started an afghan for our "adopt-a-nun" for Christmas. I began it shortly before Thanksgiving, but it's a big blanket and I've been working on it almost everyday.  My goal is get it done by Wednesday night so that Hubby can take it to the person organizing the gift giving by Thursday so she will definitely have it for the weekend...but things happened and I haven't been able to keep up and I calculated it will take me at least two hours/day until Wednesday night to finish if I'm lucky. All the cookies are baked--check! But I keep looking at my list and realize that I still have quite a bit to accomplish.  In the meantime I've taken a break from making baby blankets and I don't think I'll be able to make as many as I had originally planned to give away.  Baby is coming soon and I'm running out of time.

Even though I started by keeping ahead of the game, I'm still feeling that I'm slowly falling behind. Fortunately not as behind in years past. But still not where I want to be.  I have to remember that Christmas is about spending time with family and friends. It's not about the gifts I give, but letting those close to me know that I love them and that they are appreciated. But I also have to remember to let them know all year long and not just as Christmas.

Part of the stress is trying to get Boogie's room ready to have Buggy in it.  Hubby has been working hard and he has taken down a shelf, done one round of spackle on the wall, and has taken off the border. The next step will be painting, and then eventually moving Buggy's stuff to Boogie's room.  It will get done, it always does, but it's kind of a crazy time of year to try to make big changes and big moves, but really, when is it a good time?  But it will get done.

The kids have been helping keep things in perspective. They talk about advent. They delight in the decorations, the lights, and tree.  They talk about presents to give and people to see.  Boogs has asked to see catalogs and last night when we talked about the possibility of not getting everything he has asked for, he said, "I know. I just like to look. I know that I won't get everything." He said it so sweetly that I think he was sincere in knowing that he wouldn't get everything he's asked for from Santa.

Buggy is happy to be playing with her big brother. Everyday they play a little bit longer together and I'm starting to see a friendship develop and that has been really nice.  She loves to snuggle with me and tell me constantly, "Mama, I love you so much!"

Life is good. I've been learning to look at my list, re-priortize everyday, and take a deep breath. It's been helpful to keep things in perspective and to still enjoy advent and Christmas.  I've also looked at my list and realize that Hubby has his own list and no fair trying to give him some of my things to do so I'm moving along as best as I can.  I'm taking it easy.  The doctor has put me on meds to stop my contractions. It's still to early, I'm only 31 weeks.  But the meds make me feel terrible and I'm allowed to stop taking them when the contractions stop. After taking them all weekend, I'm ready to be off of them for good (and I hope that's the case) and just sit. Makes it harder to get things done, but this is more important.

All else is well. I'm taking things one day at a time. The hugs and kisses and the "I love you so much" I'm getting everyday give me the fuel I need to keep going, to keep up, and to keep the stress at bay.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Giddy

My son is officially Christmas Giddy. He would tell you that he is "Advent Giddy" because it's not Christmas yet.  A week ago we got our Christmas tree.  On Friday night, after the kids were asleep, Hubby put up the lights on the tree and pulled out the ornaments and decorations.  When Boogie woke up on Saturday he saw that things were ready to roll. He was soooooo excited. I think he danced and pranced for a long time around that tree.  But Saturday was a busy day starting with going to a make-up dance class and Hubby spending the day with his Godson (our nephew) to celebrate his Godson's birthday. It was me solo with the kids so we went to dance class and ran a bunch of errands.

When we got home, I was wiped out.  I put Bugs down for a nap and I sat on the couch and put my feet up. But this would not do for my Boogs. He so desperately wanted to put up ornaments. So I gave him a bag of ornaments and he set about putting them on the tree while I watched and rested from the couch. He was thrilled to be doing it and kept asking me if I thought the tree looked beautiful.  When he was done with the ornaments, he moved on to the stockings. He could barely contain his excitement.  When Hubby came home from his afternoon outing, Boogie couldn't wait to show him what was done. After dinner all of us finished putting up the ornaments together.

The next day was frigid, but Hubby decided to put up the outside lights.  Boogie couldn't wait to do that either.  I don't think there was a whole lot he could do, but just being outside with Daddy was enough for him. When they were finished, Boogie asked for lights up in his room and Hubby complied. Boogs is sooooooo happy.

Since putting up the tree, decorations, and lights, I thought we would hear more about Christmas gifts, but Boogie hasn't really talked about them. Instead he is talking about advent, he asks questions about the advent wreath, he likes putting up our charms on our advent calendar, and he walks around the house in a Santa hat telling me about St. Nicholas (We told him the story about St. Nicholas last week).  When people wish us a Merry Christmas, he stubbornly tells them it's advent and says, "Happy Advent" instead. He's right, it isn't Christmas, yet.  But it will be soon.

I love that Boogie is excited about the preparation for Christmas. I like that he's asking questions about advent and focusing on getting ready for Jesus' birthday. It's been fun and I love the look of pure joy on his face when he turns on the Christmas lights around the house. It's his favorite time of the year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Solo Playdate

Boogie was invited for a play date on Tuesday.  The mom who invited Boogie was very sweet and offered to give me a morning off. She invited Boogs to come over in the morning, she would feed him lunch, and then take him and her boys to school. I offered to pick up her boys from school at the end of the day and drop them off.  The boys are identical twins that are in Boogie's class. They are very nice kids and they seem to like Boogie a lot. They get a long really well and I'm glad that Boogs has his own friends.

This was very weird for me to drop off Boogie for a play date. This was his first invited solo play date.  I knew the mom, from picking up and dropping off our kids at school and chatting while we wait for the kids, and we did one play date together at the park.   But other than that, she's still fairly new to me. I definitely like her and she seems really nice.  Usually when I do a play date its with a really good friend of mine, usually someone I've known for years, and the mom usually sticks around because it's a play date for me, too.  I get to catch up with a good friend while our kids run around and have fun.  I should also add that most of my friends live anywhere from 30 min to 1 1/2 hours away so it's kind of silly to drop off the kids and then not stick around, whether I'm going to the play date or if I'm hosting.

So on Tuesday, I got the kids ready and I dropped off Boogie for a play date. I was a little nervous...you know...is he going to be polite? Will he play nicely?  Will use the bathroom? Will he eat the food provided and be nice about it?  How will he do without me to remind him of all these things?  While I was mulling over these things on the drive, Boogie was excited to be seeing his best friends from school. When I parked the car in the driveway, he undid his seatbelt, opened the door, blew me a kiss, and said, "Bye, Mama!" He jumped out before I could even get out of my seat.  He had no qualms about going solo for the play date. I still walked him to the house, made final arrangements with the other mom for pickup, and left him. It took all of 30 seconds. It was so weird!!!!

I ended up running errands and getting a ton of things done with Buggy.  I was so grateful for the extra time and I figured since I was already up and out early in the morning, I would just get my errands done before putting Buggy down for a nap.  I checked my phone periodically for a phone call, but none came.  I finally relaxed when I knew that the boys were in school and the other mommy would have a break.  When I dropped off the twins, the other mother said they would love to have Boogie over again. He was polite, well-mannered, and played well with her boys.  Wow! That was really nice to hear.

I offered to have her boys over in the next few weeks. I always think it's easier to have other kids over because they occupy my kids. My kids are happy, having fun, and exhausted by the end of the day.

This little solo play date has shown me that Boogie and I are both growing up....I think we'll be just fine.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Miss Independent

Buggy is now sleeping in a big girl bed. For the most part, it's worked out really well. She can't get out of her room to escape because she can't quite reach the doorknob, but she doesn't really want to because she loves her new bed. She also has enough toys and books to keep her occupied.

However, with the new configuration of her bedroom I have found that she can reach the light switch in her room.  She can turn the lights on and off all on her own.  Miss independent is now turning on the lights and playing in her room by herself when she should be sleeping. On Saturday, after a busy day running errands, I was resting on the couch while Boogie was decorating the Christmas tree.  Hubby, who had been out with his Godson, came home to find Boogie happily decorating, me resting (but awake), and Buggy happily "reading" in bed with the lights on.  He heard noises from her room, checked on her and found one of our cats sitting on the changing table patiently waiting for someone to let her out, and Buggy reading.  He came down with our daughter and said, "I assume you didn't leave the lights on in her room when you put her down for a nap?"  No, I didn't. She never slept and was busy playing by herself.

Last night Hubby put the kids to bed. When I went up at about 8:30pm the lights were out in both kids' rooms.  Boogie got up a few times to use the bathroom.  After watching the Amazing Race, I headed downstairs to do a few more things while Hubby watched football. As I walked by Buggy's room, I noticed the light on. She again had turned on the light and I found her in bed reading a book. When I walked in, I got a, "Hi Mommy."  Miss Independent strikes again.

She doesn't see anything amiss and is happy to greet us when we walk in to retrieve her.  Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do with her.  She is way more independent that Boogie was at this age...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dance Classes

Last night was dance class. I have to say that I am happy that I've put both kids in dance classes. Buggy isn't old enough for preschool yet and giving her this opportunity to be with other little girls and to do her own thing has been wonderful.  Now that she has her own dance bag she is excited to carry her shoes into class. Her teacher laughs and says that Bug and her classmates are like little old women with their bags. They really are and it's really cute!

Boogie really likes it, too. He found out last night he will not be in the end of year recital.  I told him that he will stop dance classes at the end of March because then he'll be in t-ball and possibly soccer.  He looked at me and said, "When does t-ball end, and when is the recital?" I tell ya, that kid is too smart. He was trying to figure out if he could re-enroll for dance so he could be in the recital.
But we've already decided, "no." One activity at a time. Especially if we might enroll him in Summer swim team for 2011.

Both kids will participate in the December holiday recital. I caught a glimpse of my daughter's dance number for her recital. It is too cute and I can't wait to see the whole thing in a few weeks.  I haven't seen Boogie's yet, but I know that he will be just as wonderful.

You can tell that the kids are into dancing. Anytime there is music both kids have started dancing in the middle of the floor. Bug has even started throwing in some of her moves from dance class. I think this is a good outlet for them and I'm happy they are doing it.  As far as Boogie being in the only boy in the class, I don't think he's noticed. I've heard a few comments from parents and sibling in the lobby while I wait for him, but I think if it doesn't bother him, then it doesn't bother me.  He has fun and loves what he's doing. But he cracks me up because he's already determined an activity schedule for himself:  Winter--dance, Spring--t-ball, Summer--swim, Fall--soccer.  I just go with it and if we can afford it, then he can do it.  I love that he wants to be well-rounded and wants to try different things.

I'll try to post videos of the kids dancing. I just love it!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent

Before kids, Advent and Christmas were so hurried for Hubby and me. We both worked full-time and sometimes we would get the tree up and decorated just days before Christmas. I felt like it was just pure chaos and it wasn't that enjoyable for me.

Over the years we've learned to slow down. Again I attribute this to being able to stay home with the kiddos. Last year during the first big snow fall I was able to bake cookies all day. While Hubby shoveled snow, Boogie played in it, and our sweet Bug was still taking two naps and she slept most of the day. I made a ton of cookies last year.  This year for the first time ever I actually have my Christmas cards ordered and in hand. The Christmas letter is also written. I've sent out the first batch on Monday and I'm looking for time in our busy schedule to finish addressing and stamping the rest.  Next year, I'll create a database and all I'll have to do is print out address labels (I hope!). I've already set out one of our Nativity scenes and once Hubby can get the others out of storage I'll put up the rest. On Friday we'll go out to cut down our Christmas tree. Again, the earliest we'll have ever done it!

I'm really learning to love and appreciate Advent. It is a time of preparation. It's a time for us to get ready for Christmas. I love the anticipation and how the kids talk about celebrating Jesus' birthday.  While the kids are aware of Santa, and Boogie is more aware of him because of commercials and the information bestowed upon him by his preschool classmates, the big guy in the red suit isn't why we celebrate Christmas.

While Christmas is usually chaotic for us with parties to attend, gifts to buy, family to see, cards to send out, cookies to be baked, and decorations to be hung, for some reason this year I'm at peace. I'm making a lot of my gifts this year and I don't feel the need to run out to the stores except to get supplies (baking or crafting). I also have the internet at my fingertips to buy things that I think of and now I'm getting better at looking for deals so I'm not running around town trying to find the best one.  I feel like I'm getting a better handle on the time that I do have and getting more done around the house and the errands and chores to be done.  I also have good friends to chat with and celebrate with for various reasons and even in our busy schedules we are able to find time to catch up.

My favorite part of celebrating the Christmas season is celebrating with family.  Every year we go to my SIL's house for her annual Christmas Eve Open House. Hubby's great-aunt used to do this every year when she was alive. She would host with good food and people would stop in and catch up. L. has kept up the tradition and all of the family arrives, including our extended relatives. Hubby's parents have 18 grandchildren and all of the kids do a cousin gift exchange. I love that my kids draw names and are excited to shop for the cousin they picked. The adults have started a fun white elephant gift exchange. The whole afternoon is filled with fun, laughter, yummy food, and great company.  Afterwards Hubby and I go to the early Christmas Eve Mass where we get to see most of the nieces and nephews sing in the children's choir. We go home, put the kids to bed and finish wrapping presents. And for me, no gift wrapping is complete without watching "A Christmas Story." I could probably quote the movie line by line by now. Then Hubby and I snuggle up and watch Bing Crosby in "White Christmas" and head to bed.

I think Advent might be my favorite part as we prepare for Christmas.  I'm learning to appreciate the anticipation and the preparation. I love sharing this time with my kids and I love the insight they bring when talk about the Christmas story (Mary and Joseph, not Ralphie and his family).  Tonight I'll bring our advent calendar and the kids will begin to hang each of the pieces up every night. I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Important Phrases

It seems like two of the most important phrases are sometimes the hardest ones to say.  Just last night I was chatting with a friend and we talked about how sometimes we rarely hear the word thank you and she mentioned that my hubby and I are really good at thanking one another. I didn't realize anyone had noticed.  But it's something we do and it's instrumental in our marriage.

 But I had to admit to her that it came about because of a big argument we had early in our marriage. I was nagging my husband about something and he retorted that I never said thank you and had asked when was the last time I had thanked him for something. I couldn't remember and it was a wake up call. As a result I make it a point to thank him for things that he does, whether it was making dinner, taking out the garbage, fixing something in the house, or just listening to me when I needed a sounding board. Over the last 7 to 8 years, it has become a part of of my everyday vocabulary. I thank him for at least one thing, but it's never insincere and I am truly grateful for whatever he has done for me or for our family.  He does the same and it's really nice to feel appreciated.  I think we all feel a little better about ourselves or the things we do when someone notices and thanks us for it. Who will you thank today?
I bet your thank you will make a difference in someone's day.

"I'm sorry" is the other important phrase. I think this one is much, much harder. It forces you to be humble and to admit when you're wrong and no one wants to be wrong.  It can be a matter of pride and I remember in my younger years that I would not say I'm sorry, even if I should. Instead I would become defensive and try to justify myself when a simple and humble, "I'm sorry" would have sufficed.  I think I could have avoided a lot of hurt feelings and resentment if I had just said, "I'm sorry."  When I taught, I found that telling my students I'm sorry or telling them when I was wrong gave them more respect for me than if I had tried to hold onto my pride and not apologize.  It's a hard and long lesson, but I think I'm better for it.  My students have made me into a better person.

I'm definitely not perfect. I have a long list of friends and relatives that can tell you that I'm anything but perfect.  But despite my imperfections, they manage to overlook most of them and still accept me for who I am.  For that, I am grateful.  Over the last 4-5 years I have really working on the type of wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, in-law that I want to be.  It's not easy for this mama who is stubborn, opinionated, obstinate, judgmental, and critical....(I know a few of you are chuckling. It's okay. Yes, I am all of those things and I know it...now).  But I really have been working on being a better person.  On the flip side I am loyal, caring, and honest.

Speaking of imperfections, I blew it on Thanksgiving. Big time. Something had happened and I became upset with someone. I said things that I shouldn't have said.  I hurt her feelings. I realized it pretty quickly and sincerely apologized. Unfortunately, words hurt and are not easily forgiven.  She left that night hurt and I ended the night upset that I had hurt her.  I still haven't heard from her...

It seems like every time I take a step forward in being a better person, I put my foot in my mouth and take a ginormous step backwards.  Forgiveness is not an easy thing. Unfortunately, in my family it was not something that was given easily or often.  My side of the family holds grudges and we can hold them for a loooooooong time and freeze someone out pretty easily. Way too easily. If you've ever been on a receiving end of one of our grudges. I'm sorry. It's a terrible place to be.  I've been on the receiving end and it's pretty awful. Over the years my husband has taught me in his humble way how to forgive and I continue to learn from him.  I'd like to think I don't hold grudge anymore. It's unproductive and hurtful.

I try to recognize my faults and make up for them. With this most recent situation, I've sincerely apologized, and now I need to let time do its thing and heal the hurts. In the meantime I pray and wait for forgiveness...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jamal Coates Article

I wanted to share a link about the young man I had once taught for anyone interested.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local-beat/Who-Was-Jamal-Coates-104344718.html

Remember to tell your loved ones how much you love them.

Peace.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In Memory of Jamal Coates

As a teacher, you may never know the impact you may have on a student. They rarely, if ever, come back to see you.  You might hear through the grapevine how they are doing.  It's better nowadays with Facebook. I've connected with a few of my former students.  I wait until they are in college before they accepting their "friend" request.

About a 6 weeks ago I was cleaning up after dinner when I heard a commercial clip about what would be in the news that night. It was the shooting of a 20-something young man. Unfortunately, you hear this quite often on the news, but when I heard the name I stopped. I stayed awake late that night to hear the story.

The story was that a young man was leaving a funeral with another young man. He was the passenger and while they were stopped two other men got out of another car and shot inside. The passenger was killed instantly and the driver went to the hospital.  The young man who was killed was Jamal Coates...a former student.

I didn't recognize Jamal from the pictures, but I did the math and the age would be about right, the name was spelled the same, and I knew that he had at one time lived in the DC area.  I did some research and found the name of someone who had mentored him the last few years. I Facebook messaged him and tried to determine if it was the same young man I had known 7 years before.  The mentor was helpful and thought it might be, and was going to get back to me. Unfortunately, I haven't heard from him yet. I decided to take it a little bit further and contact a former colleague who may have taught him, too. She just got back to me today and yes, it is the same person we both taught years ago.

My heart is so sad and heavy that this is the outcome for one of my former students.What I remember about him as an 8th-grader: he was learning to enjoy reading instead of looking at it is as a chore, he had a good sense of humor, he got along well with his classmates, he didn't like my class initially but when he moved out of the area and then came back, he requested me as a teacher again. He progressed well and I was proud of him.

As a young man I read in the papers that he had been in some trouble, but was working to change that. He left the country with a group of other teens to go to another country to teach kids how to play basketball. He was making positive changes in his life and he was mentoring others.  That sounds like the young man I knew.  I am so sad that his life ended so abruptly and at such a young age. I'm glad that I had the chance to be his teacher.

Rest in Peace, Jamal. I am proud of you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Enjoying the Moment

I am guilty of doing one thing and thinking about the million of other things that I need/want to do.  I rarely take time to slow down and enjoy the moment because I'm thinking about some unfinished task.  I have been making a conscious effort to focus on one thing at a time even if I'm planning ahead.

It's especially hard around this time of year as we prepare to host Thanksgiving for our family, prepare for Advent and Christmas and not lose sight of the reason for the season, celebrate Hubby's birthday in January, and prepare for the baby's birth in early February.  I find that I'm constantly thinking about the state of my house and how I'm going to get it party ready for family for Thanksgiving; the gifts that still need to be bought, but I can't bring myself to buy because it's not Advent yet; and preparing Boogie's room to fit him and Buggy while the same time prepare the nursery for our new baby boy.  I feel like my to-do list is miles and miles long.  I think Hubby is feeling the pressure, too.  He's the chef behind Thanksgiving dinner and the foreman for any big projects around the house.

This Saturday, Hubby and I took a break from our to-do lists. We decided to take the kids to our local orchard for their free Open House.  Though when it was time for us to make our way there, it was hard to get moving. We were so tired from doing other tasks and it would have been so easy to hunker down and not leave.  However, we decided to go to the orchard and it was a great decision.  The day was sunny and gorgeous! Perfect for being outside. While at the orchard we tried their yummy hot apple cider, roasted marshmallows, took a hayride around the Christmas trees and strawberry patches, played in the haystacks, and enjoyed more roasted marshmallows.

The best part of our day is that we took our time. We weren't hurried or rushed. We enjoyed every moment and the kids loved it. My only regret is that we left the camera in the car and we didn't take any pictures. I loved the feeling of utter bliss. I'm so glad that we stopped to enjoy our day and not get caught up in the busyness of our lives.

As the holidays are swiftly approaching and we start to join the madness of the season...I hope that we all remember to stop and take a breath. I hope that we all remember that this is a time to enjoy being with family, friends, and all of our loved ones.  I hope that you are able to stop and enjoy this moment.  Peace be with you as you prepare for Thanksgiving and the holidays.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Counting My Blessings

Yesterday when I put the kids in the car to take Boogie to afternoon preschool, I noticed some things out of place. I quickly called Will and asked if had been looking for something in the van. The answer, "no."  As I buckled the kids in, I noticed more and more things out of place and all the little handy compartments were open.  I took a quick peek into the back of the van where I had some buckets of maternity clothes that my SIL loaned me and I noticed that one was opened and rifled through.

Someone had gotten into our van two nights ago and was looking for stuff. Fortunately, we don't keep anything of value in the van so only a couple of children's DVDs were taken. This really shook me up. For one, I think we live in fairly safe neighborhood. We live in a cul-de-sac and I know most of our immediate neighbors.  I make it a point to say hello when I see them and bake them cookies and give them a Christmas card in December.  We are also at the end of the development. You have to walk past several other cul-de-sacs in order to get to us.

Though two years ago on New Year's Day as we were leaving to go to Mass we found one of cars had been taken from the driveway.  Fortunately, we found it on another street. After Hubby had called it in, we decided to go through the neighborhood. We found it and when the police showed up we were able to show them where it was. When Hubby went with the officer to get the car, they happened to drive by another man clad in his pajamas standing in his driveway with a bewildered expression on his face talking on the phone. Apparently he had a better, newer car than ours and they took his instead.  Total bummer.

Anyway, even though I feel violated and a little shook up, I'm counting my blessings:


  1. The car wasn't damaged.
  2. There was nothing of value in the car (I had had a birthday check for my daughter that had been sitting in the van for weeks that I had just deposited on Monday; I sometimes forget to take the digital camera out of the car when we go to an event. I'm not worried about the camera so much as the memories that are on it. Fortunately, I had remembered to take it in.)
  3. They only took two DVDs: Curious George and Finding Nemo.  I guess they didn't like March of the Penguins.
  4.  They had inadvertently found the garage door opener, but didn't appear to use it. I looked in the garage and everything is still in the same place, it doesn't look like anything was taken. This is what scares me the most. They might have tried to get into the house.
  5. As my sister-in-law pointed out, the van was still there in the morning.
We got by unscathed. However, I was up for about two hours early this morning and it had nothing to do with pregnancy insomnia. I kept listening for sounds around the house that might not belong. But despite feeling violated, I really feel blessed and feel as if God was watching out for us. They can have the DVDs!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where did it Go?

Okay, I think I'm losing my mind...I'm definitely blaming pregnancy brain. I can't find anything!  I keep picking things up and putting them "away" only to find out that I can't find it later on. It's driving me nuts!!!!!

I knew I had swiss cheese brain, but now it's gotten worse. I realized it a month ago when my son brought home his weekly folder from school. I remember opening it, taking out the contents and looking at all of them.  I remember putting everything back and then setting the folder aside. Now I can't find it anywhere! I've torn up the house looking for it and it's definitely gone. No one knows where it is.  I had to ask his teacher for a new one! As a teacher I know what a pain that is!

Example #2: We netflix. If we can't stream from the Wii then we get our netflix by mail. We've been watching the series The Wire. Hubs and I love watching a series and I try to be diligent about mailing back the discs so that we have a new one when we're ready for it. Again, I brought in the mail and I recycled all the junk mail and put away the important mail.  I set down the netflix envelope. I had no idea where I put it. I looked in all the usual places (kitchen counter, beside the tv, upstairs beside the other tv) and it was no where to be found.  Hubs found it. You know where? In our junk drawer. (It's actually no longer a junk drawer but we still call it that). How? Why? Wha? I have no idea how it got there or why it was there. I would never put it there, but apparently I did and now I have amnesia. For the love of Pete!

Example #3:  Hubs was asked at work if we would be willing to adopt a nun for Christmas and provide a Christmas present for her this year.  It just so happens she is part of the order that provided a reception place for our daughter's baptism two years ago.  We agreed. Hubs brought home a list of her favorite things. I looked at it, I gave it to him to look at and now we can't find the sheet! Ugh! I want to start shopping for her and now I can't find her information. I can't even remember her name.

This is just getting ridiculous. My pregnancy brain has been bad, but never this bad.  Do you know that I set an alarm on my watch so that I don't get sidetracked and remember to pick up my son from preschool?  Now you do. I hope regain my senses, because I don't think my sanity can take any more of this! *sigh*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brought to You by the Letter H

Today's post is brought to you by the letter H.

I think I've hit the 3rd trimester slump.  I was taken off restricted activity just in time to hit my slump. I'm not technically in my 3rd trimester yet, but will be in another 4 days. It doesn't matter. I'm tired.  Not as tired as my first trimester, but definitely tired and feeling heavy.  For those of you who thought I would overdo it because I'm off restriction you have nothing to worry about. Really. Though I do wonder how we're going to pull off hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I think I'm just going to have to break it down all next week to get everything done. Fortunately, Hubby does all the cooking. I'll be doing the cleaning. I can at least sit and rest when I'm tired and I can spread it out over the next week.

When anyone asks me how I'm feeling I say "HUGE!"  I'm finding it harder to put on my shoes and to get up from any sitting position easily. If I'm on the floor for any reason, forget it. I'm not getting up anytime soon.

So if you're wondering how I'm feeling. Think of the letter H as in: heavy, huge, and hippo.  I definitely feel like a hippo :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh Where, Oh Where Did our Money go? Oh Where oh Where Can it Be?

Last night Hubby and I had a serious talk about our financial situation.  For the last three years (since I've become a SAHM) I have let him handle the money. It makes sense...he's better at budgeting, since we graduated from undergrad his career has always dealt with money, he's better at seeing the big picture, I'm horrible with numbers (I have a deep rooted fear about math and anything to do with it and to me finances=math), and I can't always see the big picture. Being happy at letting go of the responsibility of the home finances I have been seriously delinquent in knowing how we're spending our money.  Hubby takes care of the big stuff and I buy what I need for us, the kids, and other family members (food, clothing, gifts, etc.).

The first year that I was home full-time really stressed out Hubs because we lost a big chunk of our income. I swear I could hear his heart palpitations from a mile away when the issue of money came up.  The second year got better and he was less stressed, and he's much better now.  However, because I didn't want to stress him out and he didn't want me to automatically consider going back to work (because neither of us wants that right now) we kind have silently agreed not to talk about money.  Not a good idea!

Don't get me wrong. We are not in dire straits.  We can afford our bills and fortunately because Hubby has been so diligent we definitely do not have any credit card debt. But a couple of things came up over the last two weeks that has had me wondering, where does our money really go?  What can we truly afford?

In my opinion, we are probably living a little beyond our means and we could certainly tighten up. Last night we spent two hours looking at where our money goes. (Hubby likes to geek it up and had made a table with graphs and charts. Being a visual learner, it works for me.).  We talked about where we could make changes and where we need to be more aware of how we're spending.  This was a good exercise for us.  It made us have an open discussion about our finances and what we can do together to help alleviate some of the stress.

I write about this because I have been struggling with how I think I contribute to the family.  I think this is one way for me to once again be proactive in the family income by looking at what we can truly afford and where we need to take a break.  At the same time I think it helps to alleviate some of the stress on Hubby.  He feels the need to protect me and to make sure that I do all the things that I want to do, including staying home full-time with the kids.  His protective instinct has inadvertently given me a false sense of security and kind of blind faith that we were better than fine financially.  I love my husband for wanting to provide for me and not wanting me to worry.  But I also need to feel that I contribute. It's important to me and how I view myself as a financially contributing member of this family.

I think finding areas where we can save will provide us more "income." I relish the challenge and will take it full-on.  First up, less dining out. I think I can cut at least 10% of our dining expenses in the first month...let's see if I'm right!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Too much?

A week ago I received the good news that the placenta has moved up and that I am off of restricted activity. I haven't spotted in about 6 weeks and I haven't had contractions in two weeks.

I celebrated this week by picking up my beloved children (even though I still have to limit it and I really shouldn't be picking them up), shopping at Costco with the family (Hubby picked up all the heavy stuff, but it's the most walking I've done in over 2 months), going on a date night with Hubby and probably staying out later than I should and walking more once again, celebrating my SILs birthday by going out to dinner and then working together to prep for our other SILs baby shower (we worked for about 3-4 hours and I left at midnight and got home at 1am), cleaning and organizing the house on Saturday (think that the nesting instincts are kicking in?), and finally celebrating our newest niece who is due to be born in the next two weeks by co-hosting and attending a baby shower for my SIL M.

Ummmmmmm, I'm exhausted!  I think I was so thrilled to be allowed to do much more than I have that I've overdone it. Ugh!  I think I have to realize my limitations and pull back.  But I was so excited! Okay, okay, I now know my limitations and I'll still do what I can do, but take a break when it becomes too much.  13 weeks to go!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quilting Bee

I have found over the last few years that I really like craft projects. I like working with my hands and making things. There's something about it that totally de-stresses me.  I have no qualms working by myself. I love a mug of tea next to me, a book on CD playing in the background, and my crafting supplies scattered about me on the table.  I really enjoy making, creating, and being productive.

Twice this week I had the opportunity to craft with friends.  Both times I think we spent over 3 hours crafting and talking. I really enjoyed myself. I found myself doing something productive and at the same time talking with my friends and catching up with them.

While at times I like being a solitary person and doing things at my own pace, I have found that working with others, is like an old-fashioned quilting bee.  Last night I spent time with one of my SILs to prep a project that we will be doing for another of our SILs for her baby shower. While we measured and cut pieces of fabric for our baby shower project we covered topics from religion, politics, raising children (joys and challenges), our families, babies (especially as there are 3 of us in the extended family who are pregnant), and the list goes on and on.  I stayed much later than I had intended, but I also work a lot slower than she does as I measure everything half a dozen times (and still get it wrong) and found that my pregnancy boobs and belly get in the way.  But as we worked we chatted and it was a nice relaxing evening. Thanks, Sis!

I think I need more quilting bees in my life.  I've posted in investing in my family, investing time with my Hubs, and I think sometimes I need to invest in myself. I mentioned it before, but I forget in the chores of the day and trying to do things for my family. I found that the crafting projects I did with my friend and SIL was a great way to invest in myself. We talked about things that are important to us, relaxed, and had a good time.

If anyone is interested in doing a craft day with me, let me know :) I'm always up for good conversation and a fun project. Cheers!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Investments (Part II)

Hubby and I work hard to invest in our children. We do our best to spend as much time as we can with them while still trying to do our everyday chores, Hubby's work schedule, and finding time for ourselves.

As I was thinking of investments, I realize that Hubby and I need to make sure we invest in time with one another.  Don't get me wrong, we're happy and life is good. I couldn't ask for a better helpmate and love of my life.  But we really need to make an effort to spend time together.  Just us. No kids. No friends. No to-do list. Just us.  It's too easy to forget about making time for us because we're making time for everyone else.

Last night, we did just that, we went out for "us" time. Hubs had off yesterday for the federal holiday (gotta love them!) and he's off today for his flex Friday (Hello 4-day weekend!).  We got some things out of the way yesterday in prepping for Thanksgiving and we have a family celebration on Sunday so no relaxing Sunday together.   It's amazing how quickly we lose time together because of things that need to get done or gatherings to attend.

We used to do date night once a month. But over the Summer we lost track of it because of other obligations and we didn't have time.  I've decided to reinstate it. We started last month with dinner and a movie.  It was great (and I actually stayed awake through the entire film!)

Last night we went out again. We went to dinner and while I wanted to add something to our agenda like bowling, Hubby nixed the idea. He was a little concerned about his 6 1/2 months pregnant wife trying to throw a bowling ball down a slick alley. He also nixed my idea for roller skating....just kidding...I know that I can't do that either!  But we did dinner and talked (and decided on a baby name that we're not sharing!). We took our time and made it leisurely.  We even ran a quick errand (okay, two!), but we did it together without being tugged in 15 directions by our kids. We walked and held hands. Afterwards we decided to prolong our date and go out for dessert.  It was wonderful. 

I think making time for your beloved is a great way to re-energize your marriage. I feel that sometimes we go through the routines of childcare, work, chores, etc. that sometimes I think we forget that we're in this together.  Making time for us is so important and I look forward to planning our next outing (Harry Potter, anyone?). Hubs and I appreciate our time together. It makes the rest of the mundane chores easier because there's something to look forward to and to remind us that we're in it together. It makes time with our children and friends that much sweeter because we know that we're also making time for just us.   

Life can be hard, sometimes, but we're doing it and we're doing it together!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Investments

Lately, money matters have been on my mind. Why? Because of the following:


  1. We're having a baby in February (but I know that we have everything we need, so why worry)
  2. I have to decide in February/March to resign or to go back to work (I have no desire to go back to work quite yet, but I often think, did I just screw my family financially when I decided to leave my good paying job with the County? Yet, at the same time, I can't afford the stress of going back. Too much for my family, too much for me); 
  3. I want my kids to have access to all sorts of different activities like dance classes, t-ball, soccer, swimming, art classes, music classes, etc (they do, we just have to limit them, which is a good thing, because even if we could afford them all, there is no way we have time to do them all.)
  4. S-l-o-w-l-y make changes to the house...which means waiting for certain appliances to die before we can begin looking at new ones  (our appliances are sooooooo old, but they still work. But it would be nice if things could work a little more efficiently)
  5. I would love for Boogs to go to our parish supported Catholic school, but doubt it's going to happen in time for him to start kindergarten next year. (But at the same time, the local elementary school is just a few blocks away, there's nothing wrong with it, and the proximity is worth it's weight in gold. It's the middle school and high school that I really don't want him to go to)
There's more to my list...but that about covers it. I know I'm sounding spoiled. I have a roof over my head, food on our table, clothes on our backs. We are fine and I know this, but every now and then a seed of doubt gets planted, especially when I would love for my kids to participate in the end of year dance recital and the total bill (with costumes and performance fees) just isn't in our budget this year. 

Of course as I worry about the above financial matters I've come up with some "Lucy-type" harebrained schemes ideas to support our family while I'm a SAHM. For example I signed up to do a ton of surveys and get paid for doing them. This drives Hubby nuts because he thinks my time is worth more than that. I'm also always looking for a business that I can start. I was a at-home consultant for The Body Shop (yes, the same store at the mall) and I did parties selling bath and body products. In all honesty I wasn't that good at it, but I enjoyed the extra money, meeting new people, and being my own boss. But it was a mixed blessing for me when the company decided to cut all of it's at-home consultants. But that doesn't stop me from thinking of things I could make and trying to sell them (hairbows or baby blankets, anyone?)  I have a ton of ideas and I always run them by Hubby and my two BFFs and they usually tell me, "no." I think they (affectionately) call my ideas Lucy-esque behind my back...as in "I Love Lucy."

If I had my druthers, I would earn money by writing. Plain and simple. I love writing, I would love if I could contribute to the family income by writing. I don't know if I'm any good at it, but I love it. Wouldn't it be awesome to earn money by doing something I love?

Why am I sharing all of this with you, especially since it makes me sound spoiled and ungrateful? Because when my friend J. stayed with us this weekend, she read me some of the research that she was reading for one of her classes.  It basically boiled down to that the time that is spent with kids in their early years, the better the relationship will be with them when they are older, like in their 20's.  That is something I'm totally striving for with my own children. I want us to have a great relationship now and for it carry on through to when they are older. I want them to want to come home and visit from school or with their own families. I want them to be able to talk to us and not hide from us when they are confused, hurt, or angry.  

So what J. read to me was like a balm to my worried and weary soul. I always worry about money now that we don't have my income. I wonder (often) if I really hurt us financially by not working and earning money to help support the family. But she gave me the best news ever, that I am contributing to the family and that my investment of time with my kids is worth it's weight in gold and that I will reap the benefits down the road.  That everything that I am working towards is good and that I am building a solid relationship with my kids. 

It's not a bad thing that we can't have everything we want when we want it. It will makes us more appreciative of what we do have or will get.  So I will shelve the seeds of self-doubt and know that I'm doing good work right now, and that my family is benefitting from our ability to provide them with a secure and steady home with a mama who is available when they need her, because that's what works for our family. 

Thanks, J. for giving me a powerful reminder of why I'm doing what I'm doing!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Baby Update

I have been on restricted activity for over two months, now. My diagnosis was that I had a low-lying placenta and it was causing my spotting.  The contractions I have been having are due to dehydration.  I have been trying to stay off my feet more and trying to take it slow, which is not easy for a go-go-go person like me who likes to tackle 20 different projects at one time.

Yesterday, I went to my routine OB appointment. I have to be honest and tell you that I was nervous and anxious, and resigned myself to not get my hopes up. I have asked for and have received prayers from friends and family, along with well-wishes, words of encouragement, support, and love.

The good news is the placenta has moved up on its own and I am no longer in need of a c-section for Baby #3!  I am off restricted activity and can resume light exercise. The baby still has a due date of February 7th and it looks like he will stay put until then! Praise the Lord!

The best part of hearing this news was sharing it with my son. When I came home from my appointment yesterday the babysitter asked how it went and with a big smile I told her it went well.

Boogie perked up, looked up at me and said, "What does that mean, Mommy?"
M: It means Mommy is okay and the baby is okay.
B: Does this mean you can pick me up now?
M: Yes, it means I can pick you up now (not really true, just like any other pregnant woman I'm not allowed to lift more than 15 pounds, but still....)
B: Really? (He ran to me and asked me to pick him up (all 35 pounds of him)
B: (looking at the babysitter) My Mommy can pick me up now!
and I got the biggest longest hug. Oh, how I love my Boogie Man!

That was the best!  I won't go overboard and pick him all the time. Heck, he doesn't want to be picked up all the time, he just wants to know that I can.

While I promise not to go overboard, just knowing that I can do a little more will help with my mental and emotional well-being.  My husband is nervous that I'll try to pick up my previous gym activities, but I've decided to not go to the gym until after the baby is born. In the meantime, I'll try some swimming and light walks around the neighborhood.

Praise the Lord for He is Good!

Monday, November 8, 2010

I Like the Kissing Parts

My son is 4 1/2 years old. His best friend is a girl and she is 3 weeks older than he is. While we don't live close by to one another, her mom (my BFF) and I make every effort for the kids to see each other at least once a month, more if we're lucky.  Unfortunately, it's getting harder these days as the kids are in preschool more days in the week and our weekends are filling up fast.  But her mama and I diligently pull out our calendars and make it work.

This weekend, my BFF came by with her girls to spend the weekend with us. Her hubby was out of town for the weekend and what better way to spend it than with friends?  I was thrilled to spend some time with her and the kids were happy to have a full house. I loved it last month when my other BFF stayed with me for the weekend while both of our hubbies were out of town. It takes the edge off the parenting chores/duties when someone is there to lend a helping hand while Hubby is away.

Anyway, this weekend the kids played fairly well together. I remarked a few times how Boogie and J. were like an old married couple. They play well together, do their own thing, have differences, but don't really squabble.  They may have their moments, but it's not often.  In fact they have so much respect, admiration, and adoration for each other like true best friends. It's really sweet.

At one point I asked J. about her other sleepovers. She loves sleepovers and has done several. She said, "Oh, yes. I have a lot of boy friends" (she was sincere and totally meant boys that were friends. It was cute.) My boogie man looked at her earnestly and said, "But you like me the most, right?" and without hesitation, she said, "Of course."  I think it's true. While both kids have other friends that they spend time with and love dearly, it always comes back to this friendship.

The next day the two of them played house. J. played the mommy and Boogie was the puppy dog and they played for awhile outside. They came in and continued the game, but changing the parts. I think Boogs became the daddy. They had these cute conversations about the kids needing a quiet time and where they were going and what they were doing.  At one point, J. came into the family room with a baby in stroller. After asking for Hubby and I for help to take her out, the stroller was then filled with Chester (Boog's cheetah) and Baby Jaguar. My heart swelled when Boogie took over the stroller duties and helped her with their pretend chores. It shows that Hubby and I have been good role models (whew!) in the roles that men & women/mommies & daddies/husbands & wives have when they are in a true partnership in their relationship.

That night we decided to let the kids watch a movie before bed.  We decided on the new Disney move "The Princess and the Frog." While the big kids were downstairs in their jammies waiting for the little kids to get dressed and join them,
Boogie sits next to J. and says, "How about if you are the princess and I'll be the prince."
J. "We're not playing anymore. We're watching a movie."
B. "I know, but you can still be the princess and I can still be the prince."
J. "Okay"
B. "I like the kissing parts."
Me: "What did you say, Boogs? Did you say you like the kissing parts?"
B sheepishly, "Yeah. I like the kissing parts."

Oh, boy...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

You're Kiddin'!

Being pregnant has opened a whole new world for my son. He has a lot of questions about the baby: how Mommy uses her body to feed the baby (B: Can I try? M: No, it's only for babies. I fed you that way when you were a baby and soon it will be your brother's turn); How does the baby get in your tummy? How does the baby get out of your tummy?

He is just fascinated. In speaking with other MOPers (Mothers of Preschoolers), apparently, it's a question that 4 1/2 boys have been asking. (It just so happens that the other MOPers have sons and they happen to be Boogie's age).  I have just avoided the question and keep saying "we'll talk about it when your father gets home." It's not that I don't to tell him, but my standard answer, "God put the baby in Mommy's tummy" is just not cutting it for him.  He wants to how God put the baby in Mommy's tummy. I've been looking for a preschool friendly way to tell him how it happens. I got one when I went to a MOPs MNO (Mom's Night Out). Another mom told her son that mommies have eggs and that babies grow in those eggs in mommy's tummy. That answer worked for me and I was prepared to use it when Boogie asked again.

Yesterday before we headed to the store, Boogie asked me again how babies got into a mommy's tummy.  I told him that Mommy has eggs and that when a baby is ready it grows in her tummy.  He looked at me, gave me a small smile, and waited. When he realized that was it, he giggled and said, "You're kiddin'!"  I told him, "I'm not kidding. It's the truth."  "Mommy, I think you're teasing me. Mommies don't have eggs! They are not reptiles, dinosaurs, or birds!"  "Mommies do have eggs, but they are on the inside.  Do you know how dinosaurs have nests for their eggs?  Mommies have a womb in their tummy and it's a nest for the baby egg. It stays there until it's ready to be born." In an awed voice, "You have a womb and it's like a dinosaur nest, and the baby stays there until it's born. You're kiddin!"

I got two or three more of "you're kiddin'!" and "Mommy, I think you're teasing me."  But I can tell he's thinking about it and the idea is fermenting in his brain. I guarantee he'll bring it up to Hubby or someone else in the next few weeks. But I loved his sweet, goofy smile and his incredulous, "You're kiddin'!"  I just hope I can hold him off until I can find a good book on babies to share with him!

Friday, November 5, 2010

When You Get a Little, You Have to Give a Little

Yesterday, Hubby was able to come up a few hours early. He came home in time so that I didn't have to get up, wake up Buggy, and pick up Boogie from preschool.  He came home and went directly went to Boogie's classroom. When they got home I was in bed under the covers trying to nap.

Boogie doesn't yet know the meaning of "shhhhh" or please use your indoor voice. His voice is turned up almost all the time. Maybe he's prepping himself to be one of a lot of kids in our house, who knows. It's kind of hard to sleep when he's calling from downstairs, calling from upstairs, or on the main floor talking to himself. He's just loud. Fortunately, I'm so used to it, I'm starting to learn to nap through it.

Hubs came home, played with the kids in the basement to let Mama sleep. Except that meant kicking playground balls into the wall, having the children squealing with delight, and lots of excited yelling.  He later asked if we could hear them. Um, yeah. So much for napping :) But I was happy the kids were having fun with this extra time with Daddy.

Hubs made dinner, cleaned up dinner, and did the bedtime routine with the kids. While I joined the family for dinner, I went to bed soon after dinner. I missed the nighttime hugs and kisses, and I think I was asleep well before the kids were even in bed.

This was all very nice. It was also our preemptive strike for me to be as well as possible this weekend since a friend of ours will be here.  We are a family who likes to give, and unfortunately, we seem to always give them our germs. Yuck!

This, however, does not come without a price.  Since Hubby came home a few hours early, it meant that after he put the kids to bed and cleaned up the kitchen he had to work from home.  He worked for several hours to put in the hours that he missed at the office. He's also been working on a memo with his team that has been written, edited, revised, rewritten, re-edited, and written again. Yesterday's presentation was a final go on the matter, and now he's on to "next steps." Unfortunately, "next steps" means that he will be working late at the office tonight and most of next week.

So my  few hours of rest will be balanced with Hubby working late next week. Fortunately, he'll have Thursday off (thank you federal holidays!) and he has his Flex Friday off, if he can get the work done over the next 4 work days.

I am so grateful for the extra help yesterday, but maybe I should be careful what I ask for. 1 day of extra help=to 4 late nights at the office. But maybe it's good he came home early to help me. I do have a feeling that he would have been working late next week, anyway. The next steps have a deadline and if I didn't get the help I needed it would have been 5 late nights at the office instead of 1 night working from home and 4 nights in the office.

Kudos to Hubby for stepping up and giving me a hand!