Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quiet! We're hunting puddles!

My poor, sweet boy.

Jesse had an extremely rough day at daycare today. When I got home and Dan filled me in on what happened, I knew I needed to get Jesse out and spend some one-on-one time with him. Immediately after Simon was born, I made time like this a priority. But in the past few months, since Jesse has transitioned so well to Simon's arrival, I've let it fall by the wayside.

I nursed Simon and then asked Dan to take him for a bit. It was raining so I had the perfect activity for my special boy and I to do. He was already wearing his yellow rain boots, his "work boots" as he calls them. So I told him to come to the front hall closet with me. When I pulled out his matching rain coat, he knew what was up. "My prize? What's my prize, Mama?" he kept giggling as I helped him dress, playing like he didn't know what the surprise was.

Out we headed. Out into the street. Holding hands and talking as we walked along. "We're hunting puddles!" he squealed. "We're puddle hunters!"

It doesn't get much better than that.

We stayed out for about a half hour, finding puddles, splashing in them, giggling and squealing, ruining my khakis, holding hands when cars came to pass, looking down sewers and talking about what we saw. We found spider webs, rocks wedged in holes of manhole covers, bugs, worms, arrows and 7's spraypainted by the gas company, a pool full of green water and a bunch of different fallen leaves.

We talked a little bit about the incident that happened at school. But mostly we just talked about nothing.

"Whats is this, Mama?"
"That's a sewer where the water goes when it rains."
"But why?"
"Because the water has to go someplace or all the cars will float away."
"But why?"
"Because when it rains some water goes in the grass, some goes on the road, some on the house roof, some into the sewer."
"But why?"
"But why what, Jesse?"
"Why does it rain?"
"Because God wants to water the earth."
"Oh. Okay!"

We found the best puddle at the intersection of 10th Street and Priscilla. We splashed and played in that one the longest. When we were finished and Jesse wanted to find "the next puddle" we turned toward home. He cried, "But I don't want to go home!" I asked him why. It was time for dinner and Daddy and Baby Simon were waiting for us.

"I want to stay outside with you forever, Mama."

My heart.

Boys and Girls - Wordless Wednesday



Tuesday, August 26, 2008

People Who Are Still Here

Hey hey! If Jennay can blog about him, why can't I?

Rick Sebak. If you know him, you love him. If you don't know who he is, forgive me. We Pittsburghers have this annoying little habit of failing to realize the rest of the world isn't exactly like us. I was in my late 20's before I discovered that the entire world doesn't refer to rubber bands as gum bands. Or that jagoff wasn't actually a real word in Webster's Dictionary.

Anyway, back to Rick. He's a regional treasure. A one of a kind guy who makes the world a neater place to live in. Neat. Yes, I said neat. He's pretty darn neat. Who else can make a cluster of grey insulbrick cottages along a strip of blacktop seem interesting? Who can send you off to Kennywood never able to look at it the way you did before viewing his documentary on it? No longer do I see crowds of unruly teenagers and smell dirty garbage cans (well, yes, I still see and smell those things but they don't seem to matter as much) because I am enamored with the history behind the park after Rick presented it in the way only he can.

For years I grew up watching Rick's specials on WQED, listening to that distinctive voice tell me about things I never realized were gone or still here in this great city I live in. I took for granted that there was always going to be another show to interest me. I never gave a second thought to where the shows came from, who was this man with the voice, what was he like in "real life" or how did he come up with his ideas? I never imagined that I'd end up knowing him personally.

And he's a cool guy to know. He's always cheery, always with a joke or something funny to say, always, ALWAYS with a cool story about some neat place or person. Even when he's in a bad mood - I feel bad because I laugh sometimes - but I still find him very entertaining! He's got a way of talking that just seems like he's spinning a yarn, there's hilarity and mayhem right around the corner. He's a man who loves his mother dearly and that makes him all the more endearing. He's the kind of guy whose father you would love to meet because you bet he'd have even better stories than Rick!

I often wonder how he comes up with ideas for his shows. Does he have a dream? Does someone pitch them? I've racked my brain for ideas for him and even pitched a few. No, no, he's never used one of mine. Volunteer firefighters - "Only volunteer firefighters would watch it." Hmmmm. Maybe he's right. Pittsburgh weddings, money dances, cookie tables! - He actually dug that idea but he'd be stepping on someone else's toes. I think next time I see him I might pitch campgrounds. You know, goofy golf, big sloping sided pools, riding around in golf carts, bingo... BINGO! Ooooh, that's a good one! Or Pittsburghese. I could see him doing a kick ass show on how we talk around here. Maybe if he did make that show I could tag along on a shoot and meet Jimmy Krenn! I bet he's just a normal guy too. Just like Rick.

For more about Rick, check out his Wikipedia page. Oh my goodness, it's hilarious that he has a Wikipedia page! I wonder if he's seen it?

Rock a Baby

How is it fair that the second baby tends to grow up faster than the first one did?

Even though I am resting easy, not looking for that next big milestone, trying to just revel in all of Simon's babyness... he is growing up faster than I ever remember Jesse growing!

He's pushing up onto his knees and rocking. What? Why? He's 5 months old! Jesse army crawled at 7 or 8 months and didn't start really getting up onto his knees until he started crawling for real around 9 months. He only ever rolled from back to belly and he only did it in one direction.

Then there's Simon. He rolls back to belly, belly to back, left, right, all over the place. He's trying to sit up doing those little baby crunches that make his tummy look like a big ball of bread dough. And now the rocking on the knees. He gets so determined, pulls his legs up under himself, pushes up and looks so surprised at what he just accomplished! Then he gets a big grin and starts rocking feverishly back and forth, squealing with delight!

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I want to tell him to stop growing so fast! I want him to stay a baby for a while longer. I want to go back for a day to the sleepless, exhausting days when he was a skinny chicken legged newborn with furry cheeks and shoulders and alien-like eyes growing from the sides of his head making those little squeaky sounds when he moved around stretching and startling.


Now he's almost 6 months old and it's gone much too fast! What's next? Teeth? Crawling? Talking, walking... driving? I swear, sometimes it feels like it moves that fast.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mamas and toddlers and babies... oh my!

Big playdate at my house today! It was a hit!

I invited a few moms who I've been dying to meet as well as some old friends. Everyone got along great. There were 7 moms and 10 kids/babies. I ordered subs and cookies from Subway (which is becoming my playdate habit lately, so easy!) and everyone ended up bringing something also. We had quite a spread.

The kids played in the yard, swam in the baby pool, rode Jesse's roller coaster, the babies played on blankets... it was just lovely.

You know, I didn't take a single picture! I was quite busy at first getting things in place, making sure everyone had what they needed, then once I could relax I just had too nice of a time to even think about busting out the camera. I really hope someone else took some to share!

I met Michelle and her lovely Amelia and Tobi and her adorable Seyi for the first time. I definitely hope to see them both again very soon - before Tobi moves to Tennessee, of course! I saw Amy again. I hadn't seen her in almost 5 years. And I met her beautiful daughter, Heather. She is a sweetie! Amanda was there with Julia and Connor... who is walking! Crazy! I hadn't seen him since his first birthday party and suddenly here he is just all over the place! My friend, Billie, came with Johnna. We had run into them the night before at Bob's memorial service and I thought they'd fit in perfectly and I'm so happy they came! And Rebeccah was there with Michael and Christopher. We hadn't seen them since May when they came to play with the boys before I went back to work.

A few moms weren't able to make it for work reasons or kids with sniffly noses. Tina, Annie, Anna, Veronica and Mandy were missed, but hopefully we will get to see them again or meet them for the first time very soon.

You know, before I was a mom I thought playdates sounded funny. Scheduling time for your kid to play with other kids??? Sometimes it's just more about the moms than the kids though. Don't get me wrong, it's great to see Jesse play with other kids (Simon really has no opinion on other kids just yet) and make new friends and I love to hear him talk about how much fun he had once the playdate is long gone... but I think I enjoy the interaction with the other moms more than anything. I've met such incredible, dynamic, strong, interesting, insightful and diversified moms since I've had kids. I love how we can all parent our own ways, see things differently, have varied philosophies and still get along swimmingly on the basic level as mothers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Calling all mothers!

If you have given birth in the past three years, please take the Birth Survey. Submitting your experiences can help other women who will give birth in the future. The survey took about 30 minutes for me to complete and I was able to rate my midwives, doctor/surgeon (mine happened to be the same person), hospital, level of care received, among other things.

I only wish I had been able to do something like this after Jesse's birth. Even though Jesse was born less than 3 years ago, I had to complete the survey with Simon's birth in mind since he is my most recent baby. Someday, someday... someday I will write about my births. Today is not that day. I am not prepared to deal with it right now. But I was able to provide comments on care related to Simon's birth throughout the survey.

Do you wish you'd had more information when choosing a doctor or hospital or method of birth? Help another mother-to-be out and complete the survey today.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hey there, Four Eyes!

How cute is he?

I love my little guy in his glasses. I hope he doesn't get made fun of when he's older. I don't know if he will or not. But I know he needs them and he looks sweet in them. He's pretty good about keeping them on though he is rough on them. He's a boy though. I wouldn't expect him not to be rough on them.

Jesse was diagnosed with hyperopia and amblyopia shortly after his second birthday. Common treatment for amblyopia includes patching. Jesse's eye straightened out when Dr. T (Joseph Terravecchia of Pediatric and Adult Vision Care, who Jesse adores) put the prescription in front of him so we went with lenses. He will need them for at least 5 years. If they stop working we will try patching and surgery is always an option for more severe cases.

Jesse had an InfantSEE exam when he was 9 months old. He took to Dr. T immediately. He also got a clean bill of health. We never noticed anything wrong with his vision and his pediatrician never picked up on anything. I first noticed something when Jesse was about 22 months old. I took a picture with my phone and it looked like his eyes were crossed in it.
At first I dismissed it - babies tend to cross their eyes when trying to focus on something and I thought maybe they just continue to do that for a while even as they grow. But within a week or so it was apparent to me that there was something else going on. I could tell it was only the right eye drifting in as opposed to both eyes and that gave me pause.

I brought it up to Dan and my mom and a couple other people and no one else saw anything. I knew I wasn't crazy so I called Dr. T (who I also see for myself) and made an appointment for right after Jesse's birthday, hoping I'd be recovered well enough from Simon's birth to take him.

The day before Simon was born I took Jesse to the mall for a special Mommy and Me day. We played at the play area, ate Chick-Fil-A and Dairy Queen and then headed downstairs to ride the train and see the Easter Bunny. While in line a woman asked if I'd ever had his eyes examined. I told her no but we had an appointment in a couple weeks because I noticed his right eye drifting in. She nodded her head and said "amblyopia" and that was the first time I heard that term. She noticed it too. I knew I wasn't nuts. It tended to happen more in the evening and when he was tired. On the day Simon was born it was very obvious.

A few weeks later we saw Dr. T and I expected to start patching. But he prescribed the glasses. I had no idea how we were going to keep glasses on a 2 year old, but it's worked out really well. Hopefully we will have great success with this and not have to explore other options for him in the future.

Even though Jesse's issue wasn't discovered at his InfantSEE exam because it developed later, I think having had his exam made me more aware of his eye health and having the relationship already started between Jesse and Dr. T made it very simple to get him help when he needed it.

InfantSEE (by the American Optometric Association) is a public health program developed to help eye and vision care become an integral part of comprehensive infant care. Through this program, babies can receive a free eye exam between the ages of 6 and 12 months. A baby's pediatrician checks their eyes at their well baby visits but there are issues that cannot be caught this way. Early treatment is key to eye health for many children. The Parents' Center at InfantSEE explains things about a child's eye health that every parent should be aware of.

Now I serve as part of the Mom's Council with InfantSEE. Moms in the group have incredible stories about how InfantSEE saved their child's vision... even their lives. One mother's baby was diagnosed with retinoblastoma and started immediate treatment. Six months of chemotherapy later, her cancer is shrunken and shriveled and she's healthy and being closely watched. She is an extreme case, but with free care available, why not make an appointment? Why wait? If your baby is between 6 and 12 months, younger or you are currently expecting, go to the site, check it out, make an appointment or write yourself a reminder to do so when the time comes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Testing my new addiction from an old one

Apparently I can blog from my blackberry. Let's see if this works.

Yep. That worked. I think I'm in trouble!

Oh so sparkly!

Update to I can finally clean green!

When I got home from work yesterday the neighbors were over with news of Bob's passing. Since the kids were being entertained I took a few minutes to give the bathroom a quick cleaning. I have always enjoyed cleaning with vinegar since it reminds me of my Nanny Fulton, but going beyond vinegar and water was very enjoyable! Using the baking soda and Dr. Bronner's in the toilet and sink smelled divine as did my disinfectant spray (toilet) and APC spray (sink). It was a satisfying feeling to know the bathroom was as clean as it would be using Lysol toilet bowl cleaner and Scrubbing Bubbles but it was A) chemical free and B) a lot less expensive. Dan had already used the new laundry soap with good results and we knew the dishwasher detergent worked well. I am pleased all around. I should have done this years ago!

Now, what to do with all these chemical cleaners I have lying around?

Monday, August 18, 2008

God bless Craig, whoever he may be.

Each night when Jesse is ready for bed, he says his prayers... "Dear God, thank you for today... for our house... our foods... mama, daddy, baby simon, miss donna, puppies, bubba, miss warwa, mister dan, uncle b, kafryn, motorcycles, pap pap, gwandma... God bless Jesse, baby simon, mama, daddy... I WUV YOU, JESUS! Amen."

We thank God daily for what He has provided for us, for the love He surrounds us in, for this life He has granted us.

But right now, I would like to shove my tongue into my cheek and ask God to bless some things I love more than I should.

Like DVR. God bless DVR. How on earth did I live before this invention? I think it should come standard with every discharge package when you are released from the hospital after having a baby. Will I ever get to watch the more than 90 hours of shows I have DVRed? Maybe not! It's still awesome that I didn't have to have my butt sitting in front of the TV or messing with an archaic VCR when the show came on in order to catch it. If Simon pukes on the bed or Jesse throws a royal tantrum in the middle of the nightly news, I can pause it and come back to it later. Right now I've got more than 35 hours of Olympics DVRed. I can watch the Olympics anytime I want! Which is great since all the good stuff seems to start after 10:30 when I've long passed out while nursing Simon in bed. And LOST? What LOST viewer is complete without the ability to rewind and pause and play things in ultra slow motion to see what crazy thing just flashed across the screen or what the voices in the jungle were really whispering? God bless that DVR!

God bless craigslist. Wow. What can I say about craigslist? No fees, no limit to the number of lines, no phone ringing off the hook. Sure craigslist comes with its own hassles, incessant questions from people who (really?) never heard of a Bumbo seat, no shows, lead ons, etc. But where else can you unload your kid's used crib bedding for 50% of what you paid for it more than 2 years ago? In the past 10 weeks alone I have gotten rid of a closet full of baby gear and clothes that we no longer need and I've received more than $850 in cash. Genius! Just don't go near the forums on craigslist. Now that is some freaky shiznit!

God bless the digital camera. No more snapping away hoping you got a good shot only to spend $15 at the one hour booth to find you wasted a roll of film and didn't get anything you want to put in your scrapbook. With the digital, you point, click and then you get to see what you just did! Old news but it needs to be said. The digital camera rocks.

God bless the $200 double jogging stroller found for $75. I worked up quite a sweat last night while the boys sat quietly, holding hands, watching the neighborhood zoom by. Who would have thought Jesse would enjoy a stroller ride or that I would enjoy working out?

God bless the Medela Pump In Style Advanced Limited Edition. Yeah, that's the pump I have. Before the Freestyle came out, it was the best of the best that you could buy for at home. Of course, the darn Freestyle came out mere weeks after I purchased my PISA, but that's ok. After using a Symphony for more than a year after Jesse was born, I was doubtful a non-hospital-grade pump would ever make me happy. And, face it, no pump will ever live up to the wonderfulness that is the Medela Symphony, but the PISA Ltd. makes me very happy. If I'm going to dread pumping everyday, I might as well dread it with a nice pump!

So there's my list for today.

I WUV YOU, JESUS! Amen.

Blasted Cancer

This morning our friend, Bob, passed away. Cancer. Again.

Cancer sucks. I am sure you can agree. I think it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to find a person whose life has been untouched my this dreaded disease. My mother's sister, my beloved Aunt Lisa, was taken from us far too early. My grandmother followed in a little over 2 years and then Aunt Amy 6 short years later. Breast cancer. Damn cancer. I have two friends named Mike who lost their fathers to cancer when they were in their 20's. My neighbor's beautiful daughter, Chelsea, is recovering (and doing better every day) from her battle with cancer. She was 13 when diagnosed with a tumor at the base of her brain. A woman in my InfantSEE mom's council has a daughter who was diagnosed at 7 months with cancer behind her eye. Kim was 34 when she passed after battling a mysterious cancer that the doctors still don't know what really caused it. Jesse's godfather, Brian, lost his mother last Thanksgiving...

Now Bob. A quiet, unassuming man, humble, traditional, friendly, give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back kind of guy who enjoyed the birth of yet another grandchild in January - diagnosed out of the blue with pancreatic cancer and dead not even two months later. How fair is that? Is two months enough time to prepare? To fight? To resign yourself to the fact that your life is over? For his wonderful wife to become accustomed to knowing that her husband of more than 5 decades will be leaving her shortly, never to return? For his children to say goodbye to the strong father who is quickly fading? For his young grandchildren to build memories that will have to last them a lifetime? Two months.

Cancer sucks.

I can finally clean green

I've had the ingredients for my cleaners lying around the house for a while, but with our crazy schedule I hadn't gotten around to making them. Since we had no plans yesterday and Jesse was next door playing with Bubba, I put Simon down for a nap and got busy!

First I took care of our laundry. Laundry soap of Borax, A&H washing soda and grated soap (I used some Fels Naptha and Ivory though I think I'll just stick with all Ivory next time - it grated much nicer). I must give a shout out to my awesome seester here. She bought me a really swell food processor 8 years ago when I moved out on my own and until this weekend I never once used it. I figured it out this weekend and I can see me using it much more often in the future! To think I've been mixing my meatloaves by hand! Anyway, next was fabric softener. I chose lemongrass as my essential oil for this. I hope Dan likes it!

Dishwasher detergent - Borax, A&H baking soda, sea salt and citric acid (hard to find and pricey so I used unsweetened lemonade Kool-Aid). Vinegar in the rinse assistant resivoir.

Disinfectant - Dr. Bronner's (peppermint - delish!), water, tea tree oil.

All purpose cleaner - water, vinegar, sweet orange oil. Smells awesome!

Water and vinegar for cleaning glass and washing fruits and veggies (this was standard before my interest in green cleaning).

For the bathroom I'll just shake some baking soda, squirt some Dr. B's, spray with disinfectant (toilet) or APC (sink, shower) and scrub/wash. Easy peasy!

Immediately after I finished making my cleaners as I was cleaning Borax off the kitchen floor, Jesse got a hold of a bottle of APC and took off into the living room to spray Simon. He must have thought he was dirty. Dan went after him. He wanted to know what would possess him to squirt his brother. Eh, at least I know Simon was ok. It's not like he sprayed him with Scrubbing Bubbles, Febreze, Clorox Anywhere or any of that other crap I am so happy to be rid of in my house!

Much thanks (and love) to Deirdre and Shelley for inspiration and awesome recipes.

How can your heart break and melt at the same time?

I uploaded a bunch of videos from my camera this morning. In the process I found a ton of videos from right before Simon arrived of Jesse playing and doing all sorts of fun things - first night with his big boy bed, getting his first hair cut, etc. He was about 22 months old. So these videos are about 6 months old.

What happened in the last 6 months? My baby turned into a boy! Forget the milestones of sitting up, first words, those shaky first steps... Those were fun milestones! Your baby is still a baby doing all those things. He's just a baby who can now crawl or speak a few words or toddle about. Where's the "turned from a chubby faced baby to a real live boy" milestone? You know, the one that breaks your heart in two that those silly, giggly, squealing with delight, saying words that only you know what he's saying days are gone and before you stands a child who speaks in full, understandable sentences and wants to run and play instead of snuggle in your arms all day long. Bittersweet doesn't begin to describe it.

I am amazingly proud of the boy Jesse has become. He's incredible in every way. He's smart and thoughtful, empathetic and witty. But he's not a baby anymore. He'll always be my baby, but he's not a baby anymore. Soon Simon will follow his brother and grow up. Then I will have two boys and no babies. I love the baby stage so much. I don't want it to end. But I love the boy Jesse has grown into.

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Kissing cousins

Speaking of cousins...















Jesse adores his. Like really, really loves them! When we have plans with them coming up, he'll talk non-stop about seeing "Dosef and Wandon and Anna..." It's adorable.

I love when they get together then and he's torn - does he hang with the boys? Does he play with Anna who is more his speed? Joe and Landon can get a little rowdy and Jesse plays along for a bit then gets quiet and steps back. When he's with Anna it's like they have their own little club going on, their own secret language and everything.

Simon is too young to have an opinion but I think he digs his cousins already!

Whirlwind weekend!

Whew! It wasn't fun getting up for work this morning, but I think I'll appreciate some peace and quiet at my desk today. This weekend kicked my butt!

Friday morning I hosted my first mom's group event. Seven moms and fifteen kids descended upon the firehall for a tour. The kids climbed all over the engines and rolls of hose, tried on fireman pants and boots, met Mr. Timmy and Mr. Eric (who were more than awesome, by the way) and then ate Subway sandwiches and cookies and ran around the back meeting room screaming and giggling. It was a blast! I met a bunch of new moms and everyone seemed to have a great time. I know Jesse was very proud to show off "his" firehall.

After trying to get the boys down for a nap for more than 2 hours, it was time to meet my parents for dinner. Despite being wound up and unnapped, both boys did great at Bob Evans. I had to take Jesse out once to talk to him about the difference between inside voices and outside voices. Otherwise, they were angels. Jesse's third two year molar popped through on Thursday too, so it's even more impressive how well behaved he's been.

Then off to the Pirates game. The first MLB game for either boy. What a fun time! Dan didn't come so it was me and the boys, my mom and dad, Jen, John, Johnny, Joseph (my older sister and her family), Ashley, Lee, Landon, Anna Lisa (my younger sister, her boyfriend and kids), and John's friend Chet and his girlfriend. We went to Guest Services to get Jesse a bracelet with his name and my phone number and his seat location. I told him it was his special bracelet for going to his first game and he wore it most of the weekend. He loved the game! He really liked the pierogie races even though our pick, Chester, didn't win. Simon enjoyed watching all the people and hearing the crowd. He nursed through a few innings and rode along in the mei tai.



We took the kids to the playground in the park and Jesse loved playing baseball with his cousins and climbing on the cool playground equipment. He was fired up! After that I was beat and needed to go. We got to the car just in time to catch a few of the fireworks (it was Skyblast which is a concert and fireworks after the game) and then saw more from the parkway. Both boys stayed awake the whole way home and Jesse screamed bloody murder in the shower with Dan. I can't blame him - it was after 10:30 at night - but a few neighbors asked what was wrong the next day.

Saturday I went with Beth to shop gyms. We've decided to join Club Julian. I'm excited! I really hope we have the determination to stick with it. I feel so much better when I am physical.

Then Dan and I and the boys were off to a luau in Monroeville for my mom's group, MoMo. It was at a lovely park with a great playground and baseball and soccer fields for Jesse to run. Simon and I played in the shade on a blanket, Jesse made a little girlfriend, and we ate wonderful food. The picnic was big so it was hard to talk to any one person for too long, but it was nice to see moms I've connected with before.

Sunday after visiting next door with the Lukeharts I made all my cleaners while Simon napped and Jesse played next door. Laundry soap, fabric softener, dishwasher detergent, disinfectant, all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, fruit and veggie wash... I am done making cleaners for a while. It's nice to be done with all of that!

Later we took the kids to Eat 'N Park where they did great again. Jesse impresses me so often! Simon sat in a highchair with his kozypal cover to help hold him up. He is sitting up more and more these days! He got a little restless but then Jesse played a kind of peek a boo game with him. Jesse was looking across the table at Simon squealing, "What are you up to over there???" and Simon would peek from behind his toy suctioned to the table in front of him and giggle and screech. They were too cute together. They ended up with their chins on the table going back and forth, smiling, giggling, entertaining each other. Brothers! Awesome!

Off to play putt putt for the first time as a family. That was fun. I can't even tell you who enjoyed it most - Dan and I laughed at Jesse so much, Simon tried eating all the plants he came in contact with, Jesse loved his red golf ball and putter. We got ice cream at Dairy Queen afterwards and then came home to collapse into bed.

Wow! We have done so much this summer! It's been fun.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"Don't LEAVE me!!!!!"

*sigh*

I guess toddlerhood could be worse. I could have ended up with a hitter or a crazy tantrumming kid who never stops screaming. Believe me, Jesse has his moments of hitting and raging tantrums but they are few and far between (though more often these days than before).

As it is, I ended up with a whiner.

Someone save me! The whining never ends. You can't be in the same room with him and turn your body toward the exit without him freaking out and whining, "Don't LEEEEEEEEEAVE me, moooooooooooooooooooooom!!!!!!!!!!!!" and then the lip comes out and the crying starts. And the best part is you can't get him to stop crying! You weren't even leaving or planning to leave, but he's started now and he's just not going to stop.

Of course, I hold him and reassure him I'm not leaving, I'm right here. Dan rolls his eyes. He wants me to take a harder course with Jesse. "Why are you crying? There's no reason to cry! Jesse, knock it off!" Sometimes I want to slap him. Dan. Not Jesse.

I've got a sensitive boy. There are worse things to be. Not to mention HE'S TWO! I tell Dan that no fewer than 87 times a day when he gets so stern with Jesse for doing things a two year old does. My view? If he's not destroying something or hurting someone (or himself), let him be a kid! Gosh! Let him go. Otherwise you have to follow him around constantly saying, "No" and "Stop that" and where is the fun (for anyone) in living like that?

But Jesse seems to be afraid of the dark also. It breaks my heart. I was (am) so terrified of the dark. I remember being paralyzed with fear when I was a child, hiding and crying until I made myself vomit. It's only been in the last year or so that I can turn off all the lights on the first floor of the house and walk calmy, without looking over my shoulder or imagining a figure coming out of the night after me, up to the second floor where no lights are on. Jesse points out the ghost who lives near the zebra on his curtains on a nightly basis. We've named him Frank and I'm trying to convince Jesse he's a friendly and silly ghost. He also won't step foot into his play room most days - even in broad daylight. It's frustrating but it's more heartbreaking. I don't want him to be scared and I definitely don't want anyone telling him to be a man or stop being a baby or for the word "sissy" ever to be spoken toward him.

I wish I could protect him from all the scary things in the world, real and perceived. I wish I could block out the things he hates to imagine and hold him close so that he feels safe and warm all the time.

If asked how I am doing these days...

Well, Jesse is almost 2.5 so you can imagine how that is going... sweet as pie one minute (rolling over in bed and whispering, "You're a sweet girl, mama!" and kissing my arm) and then screaming like a freaking banshee the next minute ("I WANT A MOTORCYCLE TREAT!!!!" whatever the hell that is, we don't even have anything like that to give him!). Oy. But he's a blast and he's hilarious and imaginative and smart and I love seeing him display sympathy with Simon and I love how he gets so excited when Simon reacts to him.

Simon is just amazing. I swear that kid makes my heart swell up and pop a thousand and one times a day. I cannot believe my tear ducts have anything left in them. I cry so much just looking at him looking back at me with that sweet smile. He's an instant bad mood fixer and the way he snuggles into me just melts me every single time. I cannot get enough of him.

My favorite moments are when I have both boys in bed or in the rocker and I can just move my head back and forth smelling two sweet heads, feeling two warm little bodies nestle into me, see those big blue eyes look up at me when Jesse whispers "I love you, mama" and see those huge brown eyes look up at me and then that big grin on Simon's face. I used to say that having a baby was the best thing Dan and I ever did. Now I can add to that having another baby because Simon has just enriched all our lives.

Outside of loving up on my boys I am just working and running myself ragged cramming so many activities and fun into our summer. I am swamped with mom's group outings and family fun. I'm like Carol Freaking Brady on the weekends and Terry Garr in Mr. Mom M-F. I might pass out soon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fruit in a salad?

Good or bad?

I vote good.

I get a lot of flak at work for my salads. Boring old ice burg just doesn't do it for me though. I like spring greens, baby spinach, radicchio, "grass clippings" as my coworkers call them with beets, sunflower seeds, crumbled blue, garbanzos...

Today's creation? Organic field greens, strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, crumbled blue, sunflower seeds all with a blush wine vinaigrette. All the colors of the rainbow (except indigo as Mike was so quick to point out) and so delicious!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Time flies when it's your last baby

This is going much too fast for me! I cannot believe that in three short weeks Simon will be celebrating his half birthday.

We are having so much fun though! Simon is such a happy guy. He's just smiling, giggling, squealing and cooing 24/7! If he cries Dan and I come running because it's got to be serious to get him crying! Well, except when he's fighting sleep or hasn't pooped. He'll cry for both of those too!















He and Jesse are just best buds. I knew from the start that Jesse dug Simon but, wow, it's just incredible to watch them together! Simon goes nuts when Jesse pays him attention! And Jesse is always pointing out when Simon smiles at him or laughs at him or something. "Mama! He smiled at me. He thinks I'm really funny!" Too stinking cute!

I love how they are so different too. Even though I just did all of this exactly two years ago, I never know what to expect! Simon rolls both directions and from belly to back and back to belly. Jesse only ever rolled one way and only from back to belly. Last night Simon rolled over and over and over until he got where he wanted to be across the living room. I just watched him laughing at how determined he was. He sat up on Saturday unassisted for the first time too. He's been trying for so long but he'll tripod and then get so excited he starts to wave his hands and SPLAT, flat on his face he goes! He finally realized that if he holds his toy close and sits up a bit straighter he can stay that way for a bit. I still can't go far though since he eventually topples over.

He wants up on his knees too. It's so funny. When he's in the tub I hold him around his chest with my forearm and let him "swim" on his tummy for a while. He loves to get those knees under him then and he giggles and splashes and has the time of his life! On the floor he gets so mad when he can't get his knees under him like that. Uh, yeah! You weigh A LOT more out of water, Chunky Boy! Yesterday I weighed him at home and he was 21 pounds. No wonder my back is killing me! This morning he was lying across my lap nursing and his little tee shirt was up above his belly button and his diaper was below and he looked like Chris Farley in a bad SNL skit with that fat belly rolling out in the middle, bellybutton dimpling into the pudge just right. And the thighs. Oh those thighs! They are so roly poly and chunky! I could nibble on them all day long.

I'd freeze time if I didn't know how much fun was still to come with every stage that is around the corner. I love being the mother to these two incredible boys!

Busy bees

I need a break from my weekends!

Last summer I was so bored and felt like I was boring to Jesse so I sought out a mom's group. And I found one. I joined Modern Moms in hopes of finding some playdates or fun activities to do with Jesse. It took a while for us to attend our first event and we went to the Class of 2024 Preunion at Chuck E. Cheese in January of this year. All the moms were so nice to us and we really had a great time! We've been more active in the group since and when we have time we look on the calendar to see what's going on.

Through MoMo I have found a few other mom's groups. We also now belong to 30-Something Moms, an AP mom's group, and now MOM - Moms of McCandless. Between the pajama brunches, backyard water play, Saturday morning movies, picnics, working mom lunches and park playdates, my head is spinning! Jesse is having a blast though and I have learned not only to nurse in any sort of situation but also to nurse on the run as I chase Jesse around with Simon sucking away. I'm having a great time too meeting all kinds of moms from different walks of life. I've connected with a few moms whose company I really enjoy. And we've done activities and visited places we might never have done or seen otherwise.

But, wow, are we busy!!! July was a whirlwind with two, sometimes three, events per week (in addition to working full time!). This past weekend one group had a picnic at 12:00 and another had a picnic at 3:00 so rather than choose, we did both! We left the house at 11:30, attended both picnics, stopped by the hospital to visit with Daddy for a bit since he worked two 12 hour shifts this weekend, and rolled back home around 6 pm. The kids were awesome! Jesse was a bit of a beast at bathtime, but I somehow managed to get myself fed (Jesse refused dinner with a tantrum), both kids bathed and all of us piled into bed together before our usual weekend bedtime hit.

Jesse has been having a wonderful summer! All these playdates are rocking his world. Add in Kennywood with my family ("I go with all my cousins, mama!"), Chuck E. Cheese on a day it was too hot to do anything else, parties, camp with Daddy, the campground with mama and Simon, his first hotel overnight stay, his first Pirate game coming up this week... This kid's calendar is off the charts!

We're just having a lot of fun! I can sleep when I'm dead, right?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sweetness

The other night I was lying in bed nursing Simon and Jesse was patiently waiting his turn while watching The Backyardigans. I felt him roll over toward me and he rubbed my arm and leaned in and whispered in my ear, "You're a nice girl, Mama."

I'm so blessed.

How lucky!

Today it is August 8, 2008. 8/8/08. It's a lucky day! And it's also the day that the Olympic games launch in Beijing!

On KQV there was a poll this morning asking how interested people were in the games. Fifty-five percent claimed they were not interested at all. I was surprised at that! I love the Olympics!

Sure, it can get boring at 3 am with only table tennis on to watch, but what about the swimming, gymnastics, track and field??? Even Jesse is geeked over the basketball games!

When I visited China more than 3 years ago, the nation was all aflutter over the 2008 games coming to their land. We passed the site of the now famous "bird nest" stadium and saw the scaffolding (bamboo scaffolding, of course) and cranes prepared to construct the various venues.

Now it's here! It's arrived! The Olympics! I am extremely excited!

Just do it!

I'm joining a gym. Oh yes, I am joining a gym!

I joined a gym in 2005. I loved going. I went all the time. For about a month. Then I got bored. I stopped going and wasted all that money!

This time I am joining with a friend (you rock, Beth!). And by George I will not waste my money! I will be going to the gym and working out!

We're going to shop a few local gyms and join something by September 1. Once Simon is a little older and on some solids I am going to join Weight Watchers again. I was able to lose 21 pounds on it after having Jesse, I just had to wait until he was 10 months old to be able to do it. I cannot control my insatiable appetite this early when the baby is nursing so much.

Anyway, I'm excited all around! I am going to have to carve time out of my freakishly busy schedule to go to the gym. Dan said he'd watch the boys whenever. Hunting season can get tricky, but I'll figure it out.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Party at my crib!

You know those onesies that read "Party at my crib - 3:00 am"? Simon needs a few. Except they need to read "Party in my mom's bed - 3-???" He's killing me!

It's not the night wakings. I can handle night wakings. Night wakings are part of the reason my babies sleep in bed with me. They wake, I roll over, we nurse, we both fall back to sleep. Night wakings are no big deal. Jesse schooled me in Night Wakings 101, 102, 105 and 109. That kid didn't sleep through the night until he was 18.5 months old. Yes, 18.5 months. And that's ok. I am fine with letting them do things in their own time.

Simon, however, isn't waking to nurse and then falling back to sleep. Well, I lie, he does do that around 10:30, midnight, maybe another one around 1:30 or 2. But around the 3:30/4:00 timeframe, he wakes up and he's ready to party! He's cooing, he's giggling, he's kicking and covering his face with his burp rag and waving his arms all around... And he is in no mood to go back to sleep.

I am a Mama Zombie. Disheveled hair, dark circles under my eyes, new lines forming every day, that flat look in my eyes, stumbling along, incoherently mumbling and moaning. Very scary!

A few of these tossed in now and then aren't too bad. He's a baby. Babies don't stick to schedules. Babies don't know that I have two major accounts to reconcile tomorrow or that my older child wanted 28 books read to him before bed and didn't go down until 11:56 pm. Babies don't know that I haven't had a decent night's sleep in almost 3 years! So it's ok when he does this now and then. We all have bad nights.

These aren't every now and then though. Simon is consistently waking up ready to jam! The kicker is that he will CRASH and fall into the deepest, heavenly, sleeping like a baby sleep either 3 minutes before my alarm goes off for the day or 10 minutes after. Then he'll sleep all morning long!

Two nights ago he was up for 1.5 hours and I had to get into the shower. So I got Dan to take him so he wouldn't cry while I was showering. 7 minutes later I emerge from the shower to find Dan rocking a precious slumbering baby. Aw, how sweet!

Last night, up at 3:30. By 4:45 I couldn't take it anymore. I woke Dan up to take him. He brought him back at 5. Seriously? He said he was hungry. Um, no, he ate from 3:30 to 4:30. He is most definitely not hungry! I made Dan take him back. At 5:32 he brought him back. Simon was sleeping. Hard. Yeah, my alarm was set for 5:35.

Someone shoot me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Speaking of Jesse

Just so I can remember it and revisit it anytime I want...

Jesse's first big boy haircut was two weeks ago. What a difference! He loves it, I love it, everyone loves it. I adored his long hair while it lasted, but it was time.













Dan and I joke that we found little horns underneath all that hair. I don't know what it is about him since he got it cut, but his rambunctious little boy attitude came out when the locks came off!

Heaven help us!

Independence

When did my little boy grow up so much?

"No! I!" That's Jesse's new favorite statement. The "I" part comes out more like "Iiiiiiiiiiiya!" with a bit of a whine behind it.

Try holding his hand, opening the gate, helping him with his shoes, getting him into his car seat, pouring him a cup of milk... "NO, Mama! I!!!"

We took the boys to Kennywood last week with my family. Jesse took off quite a few times, motorcycling (he puts his hands out like he's a motorcycle, makes the noise with his mouth, and "drives" around, weaving back and forth, going in circles, popping the occasional wheely) around. I asked him countless times to stay with me, hold my hand, stick close. Nope. He wanted to be free. "I wan run!" One time I let him go and followed him from 15 feet behind, craning my neck to watch him through the crowd. He ran off, motorcycling about - with people grinning or chuckling at the little red head with glasses acting like a dirt bike - for almost 20 minutes. He went a few hundred yards. Never stopped. Never looked back. Never got scared or cried for mama.

I watch him with a sense of pride mixed with sadness. He's so grown up. He's so confident and fearless. I should be so proud. And I am. But at times I long for that dependent boy who needed his mama for everything. His independence will only grow from here. Someday - far, far off, I hope! - he will be on his own and completely dependent of me. Millions of parents have reached that point before I will.

I wonder if the pride overcomes the sadness?

I bet it does.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rain, rain, go away!

Today might as well be my Monday. I was off work yesterday for a dentist appointment and a tax appointment (it's all good though since I love my dentist and I was the one preparing the taxes). So today I get up to start my work week and it's raining. Not a big deal.

Until it started really pouring! More than two inches in under an hour. Of course it was the hour in which I have to be on the road for work or I'll be late. And of course it's my day to take the kids to school. And of course when my husband's umbrella broke a few months ago he commandeered mine. I sat around waiting, hoping the rain would let up. No such luck. So out to the truck first with my bags I went. I was SOAKED! I moved the truck so it was parked as close to the house as it could get. Went back for Jesse. He's crying like the Wicked Witch of the West that he's wet. Dry him off with a burp rag. Go back for Simon. Cover him with a burp rag. Burp rag flies off and is lying in the yard. Get him in the car. He's crying because he's startled at how fast mama was moving with him in her arms. Dry them off as best I can. Get into the front seat. Hair is dripping down my back, pants are soaked, shirt is sticking to me. Drive to daycare praying along the way that the rain lets up.

It does!!!! A little. Ah well, small mercies. I figured I'd take Jesse and the bag up first and ask Donna if she had an umbrella. When we get there though, both kids are crying. I know if I take one up and leave another I will end up with two screaming babies. So I get Simon out and cover him with a sling that he promptly bucks off his head. I go around to get Jesse. He hugs me tight around the neck but his shoe gets caught in the seatbelt, falls off and floats away in the gutter just as the car door starts to close and smacks him in the head. Yeah, I ended up with two screaming babies anyway. And I got to look like a royal idiot of a mother in front of the other daycare parents to boot. (Though the mother went after Jesse's shoe for me as he's screaming, "My shoe!!!!! I'm wet! My shoe!!!!!!!" At least his head was ok, just a bump.)

I got to work an hour late. I stopped at Starbuck's on the way because I needed it. And I got blocked in by a produce truck because the guy in front of me parked in the delivery zone. I am sitting here now burping my latte with wet pants and hair dripping down my back.

Can I get a do over?