Friday, May 29, 2009

Two kids

There was a very distinct moment in the hospital last December when Seren met Wyeth where one thought struck me like a lightening bolt.

Seren had just walked into the hospital. She wore her "I'm the Big Sister" shirt. Scared of the new situation and the excitement in the room, she clung on to Sam for dear life. I was in the hospital bed, giddy from the birth the day before. I tipped little Wyeth's face up to meet his sister. She didn't say much. In fact, she kinda just grunted in a grumpy way. It wasn't as much about jealousy as the fact that there were nurses about that she didn't know. But as I tipped Wyeth's entirely burrito-wrapped newborn face up to meet his big sister I had just one thought and one thought only:


The enormity of the responsibility as well as the sheer joy of that moment hit me like a ton of bricks. A dream came true. A full term baby! A healthy blessing! My sweet older child who up until 12 hours prior, was my only child. She looked enormous to me suddenly. Where as the night before, as I hugged her goodbye and left for the hospital, she was a baby, she now looked like a grown adult.


I still think that on most days. Or when I see pictures of my family. My FAMILY. I feel so very, very lucky.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Retroactive Blogging: Mothers Day 2009

This past Mothers day was my first Mothers Day as a mom of TWO kids! How fantastic is that!?

And equally awesome is the fact that my mother in law and my mom were all in one place. And Uncle John too! All on one porch!

My day started around 5:30. Wyeth was awake for the day. While Seren, Sam and my in-laws slept, Wyeth and I laughed and enjoyed the first cup of coffee. Seren's 3rd bday had been the day before and we were tired from all of the festivities. Plus, both kids were sick with coughs and colds.

Later, after showers and breakfast, we were on the way to my parents home for a beautiful lunch- complete with blooming azaleas. We had planned on going to a local garden but traffic got in our way. So we played outside and just enjoyed each other.

Sam and Seren picked out a necklace for me. It is meaningful because it talks about friendship- about being grateful that paths crossed. I love it! And my mom and my mother in law, Linda, liked the gifts that the kids and I made for them.

It was a lovely day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Nine years!

Nine years ago, Sam and I started dating. It was Memorial day weekend of 2000. And we went on our first official date after many emails and a few phone calls.

It was an amazing weekend.

Sam and I met in March at a church ski trip in Lake Tahoe. I remember hugging him goodbye after the weekend and distinctly remember thinking to myself, "We'll meet again."

But March turned into April. I had heard from a friend that he was just getting over his ex-girlfriend. I decided to not pursue it for a little while.

Then I asked him out. It was the first (and last!) guy I asked out.

And he didn't write back. Nothing.

I didn't have his phone number so I had to email him. Nothing happened.

So I shrugged it off.

Then, a few days later, he wrote saying that of course he remembered me, that his parents had been in town and that he was sad that he didn't get my email until after the proposed date. Then we started to email all of the time. And chat. I thought he had my phone number. He still argues that he doesn't. I finally gave him my number (again) and we made plans.

That first weekend, on our first date, we walked 14 miles. A hike. My feet were killing me. I had HUGE blisters. I was sunburned. But we just kept hiking and talking. Always talking. The 14 mile trek then turned into dinner at a Thai food restaurant.

Then he came over to a BBQ at my house. Then we found some excuse to see each other the third day of the weekend too. For me, there was no turning back.

To this day, my "ideal" date with my husband would involve hiking and Thai food. Oh, and white wine. Especially now. Bring on the white wine. :)

Nine years has brought us dating, marriage, grad school times two, a move to Wisconsin, a move to PA, a daughter and a son. It has brought us tears and fights. Poor decisions and good ones.

I'm pleased to say that we are still walking. And still talking.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Personal Crossroads

Our family has had some major transitions in the past year. This post aims to both document our family changes as well get my thoughts out as to what needs to happen next!

Last July Sam went to work after spending two years home with Seren. That was a bit of a challenge as we all had to just let go. She was in care from 11:30 until 5:30 Monday through Thursday. Friday, Sam had the day off.

This plan went from July through September. We were able to crawl out of some debt! Sam felt good. He was working! Seren had some friends in care! We all felt good.

Then I went on bedrest. Seren continued in care but every week was different as we had to pull some major juggling acts with one member of the household stuck in bed. My mom and dad would do pick up. Or drop off. Or our child care provider would sometimes drop her off. It was insane. Every week we had to re-invent the routine. My mom, or my dad or Sam would bathe her and put her to bed while I sat there on the couch just thinking how helpful I would be if I could just get out of bed.

So that was interesting.

And then dear Wyeth entered the scene. I didn't work from December 3rd through March 4th. So that was different too. I then was on full time Mommy duty. Seren was in care 12 hours a week- two afternoons. It was busy and fun. Yet I was so sleep deprived, it feels like those three months were a giant blur. Was it really three months?

And now I am back. I worked 60% from March until May and now am up to 80%. And Sam is both working a 40 hour job and teaching two classes. He picked up the second class in April. And it is kicking his butt. He works from 11:30-9pm and then is on line teaching from 10pm until 2 am or 3 am.

It is insane.

He is exhausted. And I solo parent in the evenings. My mom and Dad still help so that is a huge help. The kids are both in care a total of 24 hours but now they are there Mondays 11:30-5:30 and all day Wednesday, all day Thursday. I have off Tuesdays. Sam has off Fridays.

I feel like we all just rush around. We have tried to make his flexible job work for us. And it has so far. And we are paying down the debt and we are lucky to have income! But I think we need to make some tough choices very soon.

For the fall, we have both kids signed up for full time care at an awesome school. We are both excited for our kiddos. But unless Sam gets a new job (one that pays more and is more 9-5), we won't be able to justify the cost. And really, if we are (nearly) PAYING to work, that is crazy, right? All of this run around to earn just a little bit? That seems nutty!

I think a lot about how to live simply. How to just drive less. Buy less. Re-use more. Focus on the big stuff. Let the small stuff go. Let STUFF go. Live with intention.

But we need to READ.
Then we need a PLAN.
Then we need to find real COMMUNITY who have the same values/ideals because it is way too easy for me to complicate our lives and desire "things".

Our consumerism culture is embedded in American lifestyle.

So we have to make some decisions soon that make sense to us. And do so with intention. Sam and I have a way of letting life 'happen' to us- not living life. We are scared to make decisions so they get made "for" us -deadlines pass, etc. We don't like that but decisions- esp ones that involve money and our kids- are hard to make. A lot is at risk.

So we'll think. And muddle. And think some more.

And then we'll just have to do our best and dive in.

Any thoughts on this? Any ideas of how to work less, stress less, enjoy more and live simply? Any books to recommend?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

He sits!

I love this milestone. It is perfect. Wyeth can sit up and play but doesn't move.



Monday, May 18, 2009


The things Seren says...

Today, out of the blue, Seren asked me, "Mom, do you think Santa wears underpants?"


Tonight, I was getting up from the floor with Wyeth, Mr. 16 pounder, in my arms. I groaned.

"What's wrong, Mom?"

"Nothing, sweets. I'm just out of shape."

"Mom! You aren't a shape."


"You aren't a circle or square. You are a mom!"

Such affirmation!

Speaking of being in shape. I'm not but I have lost the weight. All 43 lbs. 43 lbs! That is a lot of couch sitting (8 weeks of it) and a lot of Dunkin Donuts! So I'm VERY pleased that the weight has come off but my skin is still all soft and doughy and...blah. So, Seren, my dear, I suppose I'm pear shaped, if I had to pick a 'shape'.


We are working hard with Seren to hear the sounds of letters in words. So we'll exaggerate letter sounds to have her guess the letter. "Seren, do you want to turn on the fan? f-f-f-fan?" Or "Here, give Wyeth the ball. B-b-b-all."

We have had some success. One problem became clear this evening. Seren can't really say her 'r's yet. They sound like the letter w'. So, for instance, it was 'weally, weally hot out!' or 'Wyeth was cwying (crying)." Or ,"I was twying to do it!" (trying). You get the idea.

So tonight as I was putting her to bed, she asks, "Mom, for the next song, can we do the w-w-w-wainbow connection?"

I snickered and then began the tune.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Shower Shock

Today I was showering before work. Seren comes into the bathroom, uses the bathroom and flushes the toilet.

Scalding hot water pours from the showerhead onto my head.

It isn't a strange occurrence at our house- we have horrible plumbing. But what IS strange is that Seren just went about her toilet business as if she had done it all her life. Just toddles in, talks to me while she pees, jumps down from the toilet, wipes, pulls up her pants, shouts "bye" and runs back to playing in her room.

I never thought I'd see it! So odd to just "note" this independence.

I'm amazed by how long Seren can occupy herself with her books, her dolls, her farm animals. She is in her own creative world and I love it.

These kids have come a LONG way.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A FULL weekend

Wow! We had a FULL weekend! We had my in-laws visit from Michigan for Seren's 3rd birthday! We went to the doctor for Seren's 3rd well visit. We had a big party. We celebrated mothers' day.

The kids got fevers and hacking coughs.

The 3 year old "well" visit turned to a sick visit. Seren's stats are as follows: She is 38 inches tall (73%) and 32.4 lbs (66%). Tall and lean, my girl. The doctor's visit was encouraging in that Seren seems to be doing very well developmentally. So we are blessed by that. The doctor also said that being three is much harder than two.

And I quote, "To people who say that there is such a thing as terrible twos, I just tell them that they haven't yet had a three year old. In my experience, the first month of life, the 3rd year of life and 13 years through 17 years are the hardest parenting years. 3 year olds understand EVERYTHING. They are wonderful because they can talk and reason and chat and laugh. They love family traditions so start them if you haven't. But they also get MOUTHY. You will be surprised what comes out of Seren's mouth in the next year."

The next 11 months rank as one of the hardest parenting years? Oh dear.

Child care called last Sunday night to say that thier family had coughs. So we sent her last Monday. Coughs are ok, right? Then they got fevers. So we kept Wyeth and Seren home Wednesday and Thursday so that they could stay healthy and enjoy the birthday party.

But on Thursday afternoon, Seren spiked a fever. Then Wyeth. We had to call all of our guests and UN-invite them to our party. Seren's 3rd birthday was only attended by parents. No kids! I was very disappointed at first. So sad!

But Seren had a blast! Pictures to follow this week. She just ATE UP the attention! My gosh- we really had a great time. The weather held- it was amazing!

I was exhausted but just seeing our little girl grow from a baby to a toddler to a full 'kid' made me so happy. She really enjoyed it all. It doesn't take much to make her happy and that makes me happy. I was very proud that she thanks everyone for the gift first and then really wants to savor the gift. A new book? Lets read it. Now. A new necklace? Lets try it on! One day soon I will forget that she currently can't say "t-h". Her "thank yous" are "ank you!" I love the "ank yous"!

Sunday morning, the day after her party, she was in her pjs savoring the new books, wearing her new tutu from Uncle John and wearing her fairy necklace. All at 7:15 am.
Mothers day was great too! Good food, good time with our family and extended family. A great day. More soon.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Seren is 3!!

Today, at 4:45am, Seren turned three years old. It has been an amazing year! To think that last year she was just beginning to chat! Today she talks a mile a minute!

I have too many thoughts about this important milestone. Too many memories I want to just capture. Too many joys she brings us. My heart is so full.

We have a birthday party scheduled for later this week. For now, I'll just post some pictures of her "birthday muffin" while she is in her mis-matched pjs. Her response to her birthday is classic.

"And tomorrow when I wake up, I'll be three again?"

"Yup, that's right."

"And we'll sing again? And have muffins again?"


Seren, we are so proud of who you are! We love that you grab life by the horns! You have taught us a great deal about how to be enthusiastic, how to laugh deeply and how to be a compassionate person. You made us parents. The time has flown by. Were you really that little baby in the NICU?

We thank God for you!

Here is to many, many more birthday muffins!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wyeth is 5 months

Today Wyeth turned five months. He remains one of the smiliest babies I've ever met. He is FULL of energy. He bounces. He jumps. He is incredibly strong. It is just awesome to see how physical he is.

It also makes me shutter if this energy is indicative of his energy when he is two years old.

He tried cereal for the first time last week and really enjoyed it.

We are still waiting for a sleep pattern to emerge. For two nights last week he slept from 8:30 until 1 or 2 am. Which was AWESOME for him! Then it all went to hell when I took him on a quick road trip to my parents' home. We'll see what tonight brings.

I sang him happy birthday today when he woke up. My weekend with my little Wy guy was exactly what the doctor ordered. Time to just breathe him in. His sweet smell. His total and utter chunk. His smiling eyes. I am just absolutely in love with him. Spit up and all.

Here are some pictures that we took last weekend.

(He can't really sit up. I just clicked the shot very quickly)

Happy 5 months Wyeth!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

On Flying the Friendly Skies

Seren has a funny sense of humor. She loves jokes and loves laughing. SO many things are just very funny to her!

Today she and Sam traveled on an airplane. She has been on an airplane before but it was over a year ago. Ya know, ancient history. And THAT was before potty training.

She called me (which I love). "Mommy! Guess what! I have something so funny to tell you!"


"There was a potty on the airplane!"

(Hysterical laughter ensues from her side of the phone.)

I then found myself talking to Sam. (Seren doesn't "segue" too well). Before I know it, Seren is back on.

"And Mommy, want to know what else? The flush is only a button! A little button!"

This morning I had to get her up at 5:15 am so that they could catch thier flight. There is always something so ridiculous about waking a child that for the better part of three years had gotten YOU up at 5:30 or 6:00am.

A little background, in the past 6 months we have taught Seren to read the clock. "You can't call for us unless it is 6:00. Ok!? Before that, it is too early. WAY too early."

She actually has been sleeping in (Ya know, 6:30) but every once in a while, she'll hit a 5:30. And when we go in, we remind her, "It isn't 6. You woke up too early."

So, this morning, I wake her warm little body by tussling her hair and talking to her gently. She groans. She moans. She grunts. And then in a crystal clear voice says, "Mommy, I can't get up yet. It isn't 6 o' clock."

Seren turns 3 on Monday! Wyeth turns 5 months on Sunday!