Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday--Cousins!

One of the cool things about having our Filipino relatives move near us is that my kids can get to know and spend time with cousins on my side of the family. My cousin S celebrated her 18th birthday on Sunday. We celebrated by going out to lunch and then an ice cream cake back at our house.

Here is a sweet picture of Bug with her Filipino cousins. I love this picture.

Celebrating S's 18th birthday.  S., SL, and Bug

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


It's official. I am a mother of a kindergartener.  Boogie started his first day of kindergarten yesterday. Overall, I'd say the day went fairly well. He had been anxious the weeks leading up to it saying that he didn't want to go to all day school. He said he would miss us. He also figured out that Daddy has off every other Friday, but he would still have to go to school.

Hubby took the day off to walk Boogie to his first day of school.  It was nice to have an extra pair of hands as we learned a new routine. I woke up Boogs. I could tell he was excited and nervous.  I was giddy and so excited for him. I knew that he would love it.  During breakfast we all broke out into dancing as some good songs came on the radio. It was nice to do something fun and silly before gearing up to go to school.

I strapped the baby in a front carrier and Buggy, Hubby, and I took first day of school pictures and then walked Boogs to school. We got there in time for Boogs to line up briefly before being asked to go into the classroom.  And then we left. And just like that, I was the mother of a kindergartner.

Hubby and I decided to devote most of the day to our sweet Bug who seemed kind of lost without her favorite playmate. When we went to the gym, the childcare folks said that she was weepy and kind of forlorn.  We took her to lunch, played with her, and spoke with her, pouring a ton of love on her. She totally needed it and we were happy to oblige.

We picked up Boogs at the end of the day and we were shocked to find out how much energy he had. We were convinced that he would be exhausted and fall asleep in his dinner. But no joke he came home and bounced around for 4 hours!  Through dinner, through some errands, and before bedtime. Where did he get his energy.  We took him to his favorite restaurant for dinner where he ate like a horse.  I think Hubby and I are still trying to figure out what happened. But when he went to bed, he was asleep in minutes and didn't get up until morning. He was undoubtedly exhausted.

I am very pleased with whom he was placed for kindergarten. I think the teacher will understand him and appreciate his humor, intelligence, and energy...or so I hope.  It was a wonderful beginning to his academic career. I am so appreciative of the men and women who choose to become teachers and do it well. We give them our most precious and valuable possessions, our children. Thank you! A special thank you to my MVMS peeps (current and former). Even though Boogs isn't in your school, I value that time that I was able to work with you. You are what keeps me hopeful that there are incredible teachers who love what they do. Thank you!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Earthquakes and Hurricanes

We experienced an earthquake on Tuesday. Not so unusual if you live on the West coast, but um, we live on the East coast. I was visiting a friend. She and I were in one room looking through maternity clothes that we had shared.  Our kids were playing in different parts of the house. The big kids had been playing upstairs. When the earthquake first started, we looked at each other. First we thought that the kids were jumping around on the top floor. And then the whole room started to shake and swear the walls were swaying. Okay, okay, it felt like the walls were swaying.  We bolted out of the room looking for all of the kids. Thankfully all of them were safe. A little scared, anxious and worried, but safe.

Now it looks like, four days later, that Hurricane Irene is on its way.  I'm in denial. Just like I was with the past two blizzards. I feel like we have everything that we need to carry on in case of power outages.  But I know that I'll panic sometime tonight and insist that one of us goes to the store to pick up some last minute items. I'll fill up all of our bottles/containers with water. I'll insist that we fill up the bathtub with water. I'll make Hubby go out for bread. Now I'm reading on FB that friends are suggesting that everyone fill up on gas, and take cash out of the ATM.  I wasn't going to go that far. But should I?

We have staples (toilet paper, peanut butter, crackers, water).  What do you think? Anything else that we  should have. What would you suggest? Are you concerned about the hurricane or are you going with the flow?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Milestone

Well it's official. Boogs is growing up way too fast. He came downstairs this morning to announce that he had two wiggly teeth. I took a look and yep, he has two wiggly teeth and another one growing in behind one of them.  I'm not ready for this. I thought I had at least a year or two before loose teeth, tooth fairies, and scrambling for money to be put under the pillow.  This is coming on the heels of prepping him for kindergarten.  Wow. Kindergarten and loose teeth. My life will never be the same.

* Update - The teeth did fall out his first week of kindergarden.  Find out what the tooth fairy paid for his first and second lost tooth, and what the tooth fairy paid for the third lost tooth.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday--Lambeau Field

Recently we took a vacation to Green Bay, Wisconsin, home of the most recent Superbowl Champions, the Green Bay Packers. Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is a huge Packers fan.  When the Packers played in the Superbowl I had a lot of Facebook posts from many of our college friends saying that they were thinking of him during the game. For most, my Hubby is the only Packers fan they know.  We have many friends who are Steelers fans and it was a shame we couldn't have held a Superbowl party with them here, but when they are spread all over the country (California, Hawaii, etc.) it was kind of hard to do that. Oh and I was due any day at that point and probably shouldn't have been hosting a Superbowl party.

So on our trip to Wisconsin we had to make a stop at Lambeau Field for a tour.  I am a Packer fan by marriage and even I have to say that the stadium tour was pretty cool.

Hubby, Bug, and Boogs. When we walked through the tunnel where the players go through to be presented, the tour guide played a sound effect that sounded like fans were cheering for us. I told Boogs that people heard he was there and they were excited to see him. It was very cool. He loved it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

What Do You Have to Contribute?

A few years ago about the time I decided to stay home with my kids I was sitting on my couch chatting with a family member.  My husband came up in conversation and she said, "You are very lucky to have him. He's a good man." I readily agreed and quipped, "I'd like to think he's pretty lucky, too." Without missing a beat, she asked, "What do you contribute? What do you do?"  Needless to say, I was crushed. (Goes back to my love language.)  This also came at a time in my life when I was struggling to define myself. Was I working mom? Was I a stay at home Mom? How can I be SuperMom? What did I do well?  Did I do anything well? Was I burden on my husband since we no longer had my income? What did I contribute?

I struggled with these questions for months and years.  Every now and again, it bothers me that I don't contribute financially to our family. But then I look at my three children and realize that sacrificing my income to be there full-time with my babies was the best thing I could have done for our family.  My kids are well-adjusted, polite, intelligent people who will contribute their time and talent to society when the time comes.

It's been about two years since that conversation and let me tell you what I contribute to my family:

  • 3 healthy children
  •  nourishment through breastfeeding. Yeah that's right. My babies were nourished solely by me the first 6 months of their lives.
  • availability
  • encouragement
  • teachings/lessons:  I teach love, kindness, obedience, how to have a relationship with our Savior, how to be a good wife, mother, and daughter. I am the first example of how to act that my children see and I want it to be a good one.
  • How to laugh at oneself. We're not perfect and if we can learn from our mistakes and move on, the better.
  • How to forgive.
  • How to love.
  • A balancing act. I keep us humming along between work schedules, play dates, doctor's appointments, school schedules, vacations, and extracurriculars.
  • gifts from the heart. While I don't have money to buy fancy presents, I've learned to make things (such as my afghans) and give them as gifts. My children treasure the blankets I've made for each one of them.
  • time. I can't make time stand still, but I sure can do as much as I can with the time I do have. These kids just grow up way too fast and they'll be gone and on their own before I know it.
  • friendship.  While I'm still the parent and they are my kids, I also want to develop a friendship. I want my kids to share their hopes, dreams, and future plans. I also want to be my husband's best friend and greatest support.
  • How to be a friend. Friends extend outside the family. In order to have friends you need to be a friend. It's a give and take. I wouldn't be where I am now without the love and support of some very good friends.
  • All of me. My role right now, in this moment, is to serve my family. I pray that I have the grace to do it and to do it well.
  • A healthy environment so that my children are well adjusted, stable, secure, and self-confident. 

It's quite the list. It's not necessarily all-inclusive. I'm sure there's more. But that's it in a nutshell. I have also decided that I will not allow someone else to define me. I will not let anyone make me feel "less than" because I am not a financial contributor to the family income. I chose this role and I'm proud of it. Cheers!

Now may the God of peace---who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood--may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Love Languages

Love language or as I like to call it "Why Can't I Make you Hear Me?" - I recently discovered (and this may be no surprise to those closest to me) that my "love language" is affirmation. I know that I am loved when I hear words of affirmation.

When I think about the time I worked outside the home, I know that I worked my hardest and did my best when I heard words of encouragement and words of affirmation. At home, it's a little harder to hear words of affirmation because at this time in my life I am devoted to serving my family.  Little ones don't always give you words of affirmation. That is not to say that they don't give them at all, they do. But maybe not as often as I need them.

Growing up, my family wasn't big on words of affirmation.  I think my mom's love language is service. I remember asking my father why my mom rarely said, "I love you" or rarely gave hugs and kisses and he often said that when she cleaned my room, provided us with food to eat, and gave us clothes that she thought we would like that was how we were to know she loved us. That's hard to understand when you're little. Again, I think this is a cultural thing. I heard that when my mom went back to visit her family after 17 years of being gone, her mother didn't hug her. My grandmother just cried.

I realize that I need words of affirmation. I sometimes think my husband doesn't always give them to me because he doesn't want to placate me or say something just to make me feel good. He wants me to toughen up. But sometimes, I need to hear it. I need to know that I'm a good mom or a good wife. I think he thinks it's my "brand of crazy" and he isn't signing up for that. 

While words of affirmation will lift me up and I would to the end of the world for you, silence and snarkiness will make me curl up and crumble. I know. It's sad and I should be tougher than that. But I learned long ago that silence and the cold shoulder treatment are my kryptonite. I'm very sensitive to negative language and actions. And I'm fortunate that my husband has never used my kryptonite against me.

While making this self-discovery I realized that some of the communication issues I have with my parents is that we don't speak the same love language. They don't understand me and probably don't even realize that their words bring me up or tear me down. Or maybe they do. I don't know.Something that I'll have to learn to do is not to live on the words and actions of others. You would think at the age of 33 I would have learned this already. But my hurts are deep and I've had them a long time.  It will take some more time to move on. Can you redefine a love language?

One night while chatting about this topic my SIL asked me where I find my affirmation. To my embarrassment I didn't have an answer right away. She asked if I received it from my writing and I do. I write because it's my catharsis. I write because once I unload what's in my heart, I'm able to take a step and move on. This is my online diary, my brain dump,  my catharsis and you my dears, are along for the ride in my crazy roller coaster of emotions.  

My children can be and have been affirming. Boogs tells me he loves me everyday. Buggy loves spending time with me and asks if she makes me happy. Even Mr. Bananas sends me his love with a wide gummy smile.

Don't get me wrong. I have a wonderful life. My husband and my children are my loves and I know that they love me.  

This just has been a topic on my heart for a while. I wish that I communicated better with my parents and my brother. I wish I could decipher their love languages better and love them the way they need to be loved. I'm working on it with my brother and I believe he's doing the same with me.

1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How To Survive a Road Trip with 3 Kids

We recently took a road trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin. It's about a 15-hour drive.  We are very fortunate that our kids have always done well with road trips.  Since Boogie was 4 months old, he was traveling on long car trips to Maine which can be done in about a day. As he became older we started to stop halfway through, but that was only because we started later.  Twice I was caught with a long OB appointment the day of our trip.

But as traveling goes, my kids like it. They have always been contented with driving around. So what did we do to make it enjoyable for all of us?

  • packing the car the night before
  • we made fried chicken tenders to eat for lunch the next day. They're great. They can be held easily in little hands and they're okay cold.
  • lots of snacks (Peanut butter pretzels, fruit leather, oranges, raspberries, kettle corn, bagel chips)
  • personal thermoses (sp?) for the kids
  • bags filled with crayons, dry erase boards, magna doodles, coloring books, and books
  • audio books. Lots and lots of audio books. For this trip we packed: Magic Treehouse series, Ginger Pye, Pinky Pye, Alice in Wonderland, Sword in the Stone, Tall Tales, and the Nate the Great Series.
  • DVDs (though the kids only watched one movie and it was only one time. They prefer audio books!)
  • bathroom breaks/stretch your legs every 3-4 hours (this was perfect and it gave me time to nurse the baby. Each break was at 30-45 long. During this time we had the kids go to the bathroom when we came to a rest stop and right before we left
  • OH and we surprised each of the kids with a travel buddy waiting for them in their seats. Boogs chose a dragon and Bug a pink triceratops.  
One night I had them go through a website and had them pick and then ordered their new buddies in time for the trip. I told them it was for Christmas.  When they got in the car they were surprised. Bug still thanks us for her "Cera." I love that their animals turn into pillows. Bug let me borrow hers when I took a nap in the car and it was very soft. We also were able to take the kids pillows at the hotel because ours were so crummy. They slept with their pillow pets and had no trouble at all.

As kids, Hubby and I remember taking family road trips. We still enjoy them and we enjoy the time it gives us to talk.  On the way home, we decided to power through and finish the trip in one day.  When the kids fell asleep I stayed awake the last five hours (9pm-1am) while Hubby was driving. We listened to music, sang, and talked all the way home. Good times.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Happy 6 Months!

My Sweet Baby turned 6 months old today. I continue to delight in him.  I love seeing my two big kids treat him with such sweet love and adoration. If he's crying one or the other is singing to him.  Boogie simply cannot wait for his brother to run and play with him. Buggy considers him all hers and she is definitely like a second mama to him. I think one set of cousins have adopted him as their surrogate brother as they are in a family of all girls.

Here is a rundown of how much he has grown in the last month:
--reflux is better. Still there, but better
--milk intolerance is slightly better. He still spits up, but not as much.
--he is a great traveler and only cried when we were in bumper to bumper traffic in Chicago while we were  traveling.
--He took his first vacation and it was to Green Bay, Wisconsin. He toured Lambeau Field and learned that he was almost named after Aaron Rodgers.
--He met several great aunts and uncles in Green Bay
--He is learning to sit up. He can sit up supported and I think he will be able to sit up for longer and by himself shortly.
--He loves the teething "mama bling" that I wear around my necklace as a pendant.
--He recognizes his name when someone other than Mama or Daddy call him by name.
--He is very comfortable with his Godparents and will readily go to them.
--He started solids and so far so good. He likes them all. His doctor wanted him to gain two pounds while we were away. I hope he will be able to do it! We see her on Monday
--He loves when we sing to him.
--He loves to be held.
--He is stubborn and comes by it honestly. I think he was given a double dose of that character trait as both his mama and his daddy are very stubborn.
--He will fight sleep if he thinks that something better is going on.
--He's still not sleeping through the night, but he's at least sleeping a little longer. I'll take what I can get at this point.
--He loves having his picture taken.
--He's trying to talk and is starting to gurgle at us with purpose.
--He met some of his Filipino relatives
--He is starting to nap and go to bed in his crib instead of the cosleeper. He still winds up in the co-sleeper in the middle of the night after his feeding. But he's doing better.

Friday, August 12, 2011

You Always Have Room for Me?

When I was pregnant with Mr. Bananas, Bug began to have a tough time with separation anxiety. The bigger I became, the more she clung to me. She always wanted me to hold her hand around the house. Would cry at the top of the stairs or the bottom depending on which way I went. If I left her at Moppets she would cry. She also would tell me the night before that she "is too going to cry!" at Moppets.  This lasted a couple of months after Mr. Bananas' birth.

However, as she would sit crying at my knee while I was nursing, I would say to her, "I always have room for you." Sometimes I would scoot the baby over a little bit and I would have both kids on my lap.  Whenever I put the baby in his rumble chair or if I was just holding him in my arms, she would ask, "You have room for me?" I would say, "of course" and she would snuggle in with us.

Over the course of the last few months I noticed that the tears have stopped and I now have a more confident Bug. She is no longer concerned that I don't have room for her. She knows I will always have room for her.  She still asks, but I think it's more the novelty and also she likes to hear the affirmation that I will always have room for her.

My Dear Sweet Bug,
I will always love you. I will always have room for you. My heart will never be too full and my lap will always have space for one more.

I love you,

p.s. I can't resist a girl in froggy boots :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Last week we were on vacation with my sister in law and her family.  One day she and my husband (who are siblings) took a heritage tour with their uncle learning about their ancestors.  Wanting to allow her and my hubby to spend time without being distracted by the kids and to really soak in family history, her husband and I took six of the seven kids to a wildlife sanctuary.  The oldest of her kids joined them on the tour.

I loved that her kids (who are older) really took care of my kids. They created a buddy system so that each of her kids held hands and took care of one of my kids while we walked around.

Boogie's in the front and you can see Bug reaching for R's hand.

Buddies! I'm wearing Mr. Bananas, but he was there!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday: A Purplicious Day

On Monday when my Hubby took my Filipino relatives to Social Security to apply for their cards, I took Bug with me for a little Mommy/Daughter time.  I took her for her first mani/pedi.  She wanted purple and loved getting her toes and fingernails painted.  FUN!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having a daughter for these little moments. I pray that our relationship extends into friendship as she grows up. She is definitely my best girl!

Purple with white polka dots

Results from her first pedicure

Absolutely purplicious!