My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Christmas from my family to your's!

Some pictures ...

Grandad with his two grandsons at the local Starbucks cafe!
Jingle, the barking storybook dog ... sweetest thing ever!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Max's favorite, from Mimi.  Grammy and Grandad got him the stuffed animal!

Uncle Duty

As Charlie rolled over one morning, he somehow got to his gift in a bag, got it out of the bag, and played ... three days before Christmas!

Christmas Pajamas

My beautiful family on Christmas Eve Night

Christmas Pajamas
My holidays and year were amazing.  Now it is time to start another one.  What will it bring for us?

December 31st, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Give them a piece of paper ...

I know I have only been at this whole mothering thing for just over two years, but one piece of wisdom I must share with you all is they do not need much at this age!  I have been listening to friends discuss their strategies of holiday shopping, hiding the holiday shopping, finding the time to take out said hidden holiday shopping, wrapping, and then hiding away again so children believe Santa brought it all.

Guess what - when Charlie's new wooden rattle arrived today I took it straight out of the box in front of him, shook it about, he giggled, and then we put it away.  I know - I am terrible.  But I can still do this at this age.  I do not have to be stealth ninja Santa shopper.  However, I know I must hone my skills for next year with Max - he'll be three then.

What "they" say is true - give them a box.  It works!  Please parents save your money and do not go crazy buying gifts for your children!  Guaranteed ... someone or more than one someone in your family will do so.  BUY YOUR DIAPERS!

My little Max loves the smallest thing.  The smallest things make him happy.  Case in point:
We are Costco members(uh, duh!) and after checking out you must show the receipt to the man at the door.  Max likes to carry my receipts.  However, at Costco, they will normally draw a face or little man on the back of the receipt for toddlers.  DO NOT ASK ME HOW HE KNOWS THIS, yet after taking my receipt at the check out from me a few days ago, he immediately turned it over looking for his little friend.  Really, kid, you remember that.  A few short yards away as we exited, he got his little friend and was more than delighted!  That is what he needed.  Not a new toy or a new book - a little wrinkled piece of paper with a smiley face!  How sweet.  

Folks, enjoy these years of not having to do much!  Soon enough I can see the argument of having a gaming system in my living room being the hot conversation topic at dinner!

December 14th, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Phase "Terrible Twos"

Phases end, right?


And don't tell me, when he's three.

Some of my friends told me, it is not the two's, it's the three's.  My a#@!  I am going to have to differ with your opinion there.  Yet, these friends did have girls.  I have a boy.  A very sweet, absolute copycat, melt your heart with his laugh, stubborn, boisterous, break the sound barrier with his cry boy.  I swear, my hearing is affected by all these tantrums and "phases."  My husband came up behind me yesterday and I had no clue, he said something and I jumped out of my skin.  My poor sensitive ears.  All I want is quiet.  Screw that new episode of NCIS tonight, just leave me in a quiet room.

My little Max's newest trick is putting him to sleep, or as he likes to think, not putting him to sleep.  Whether it be nap or bedtime, he is not having it.

We have the most magical routine with him which I must insist you all begin as soon as possible.  My little Charlie is in the routine and gets it.  (Are you in a routine or on a routine?)  About 6:15ish pm the boys eat and then it is upstairs for bathtime.  Max tries to use the potty.  This is going up and down ... Boys get bathed together.  Aquafor and pajamas, try to tame the wildness of the hair, and downstairs for snack!  If the aforementioned events do not go well, snack becomes milk only.  Brush teeth.  Kisses for all and bed.  Turn on the night light sea turtle, grab the blankies and stuffed animals, climb into bed on your own, all tucked in with everyone and everything, 2 stories, turn on the heartbeat bear and he is telling us to turn off the light.  We barely get into the room now before the whimpering begins, the little dance of stomping his feet, the arm waving, the tears, the hitting ... yikes, the hitting.

One night we made the mistake of letting him sleep in our bed - to our defense, Michael had just had his vasectomy two days before and was feeling quite ill, I was about to fall over, and Max would not sleep.  I could only handle one up, not two so before we knew it he is playing in our bed and then I wake up next to him and Michael all snuggled together and I am hanging off the bed.  I SAID I WOULD NEVER DO THAT.  I AM WEAK.  I SUCCUMBED TO EXHAUSTION.  PLEASE DO NOT HANG ME ON THE MOTHER WALL OF SHAME.

We have not had him in our bed since, yet listened to many tantrums.  He has finally now stopped after coming through the door almost three times for his afternoon nap.

What gives?  Something suddenly clicked in him - let's make mummy more exhausted than ever.  Hey kid, it's the holidays, give me a break!  And it had to come now when Daddy can barely lift a book.

I know it is a phase, but when everything works so well, you just never see these hitches coming.  I got hit by a mack truck ... a very stubborn two year old.  I understand things could be much worse.  Sometimes all I can do is laugh at the foot stamping cutie pie.  I secretly enjoy the clinginess he has with me because I will miss that when this "phase" is over.  However at the same time I question myself as a parent, what have I done wrong?  Did I over stimulate him that day?  Did we play too much?  Did we not play enough?  Then I slap myself for taking it too far.

It is a "phase."  Just a very difficult one.

December 13th, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

"V" Day

Vasectomy that is ... not victory.

After going through labor twice, my dear husband declared he would take one for the team and go through the vasectomy instead of me having to have a tubal ligation or other procedure to ensure just our two boys.

Well, it took longer than expected and was MUCH MORE PAINFUL for Michael than any of us expected, but all is done now and he lays with a bag of frozen peas, percoset on the dresser, and a stack of movies in our bedroom.  Poor Max does not understand why Daddy can't come out or pick him up, but it will soon be better and all will be normal ... Max trying to climb the dishwasher and Charlie screaming to holy heaven as a new tooth is about to burst through.

Oh, wait, that was just an hour ago!

I told myself not to cry over this decision, and I haven't, but I cannot help feeling a little bit of a loss.  What if we could have had a girl?  What about three boys just like Michael had as he grew up?  I always said I would like three.  I always said I would have another for Michael, no matter what.  However, it was him who made the final decision.  He knew two was right for him.  He knew two was a good number, and he couldn't be happier with two boys.  I couldn't pressure him to do something that he knew was not right for him.  That's not what it is about.

Needless to say, Charlie screamed through naptime, Max hit me numerous times this morning, and I still have hickies on my face(new ones I must say).  I am beginning to believe that two is just fine with me right now as well.

December 9th, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I have hickeys on my face.

Charlie is teething, but will he take one of those nice little frozen teething rings?  Hell no ... he prefers my face.  Please refer to exhibit A and exhibit B.

Exhibit A
Exhibit B

He is still so very cute though!  My face just hurts a lot.

November 27th, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Slow down, you're movin' to fast. Got to make the moment last.

Before I had Max and Charlie, I had control.  I ran on a schedule.  I was not a late person.  All my chores were done.  My papers were always graded for my classes.

I am lucky if I get to a doctor's appointment or Sunday services on time now.  And you know what ... I don't really care.  I am on my own majority of the time.  When I enter a doctor's office with a toddler and baby in tow, everyone behind the counter gives you that look of, "It's ok.  Your kids are so gosh darn cute." Ok, maybe not the second part, but the first part.  I will get places, but if Max is telling me he has pooped as I am trying to get in the car, then everything stops to change that diaper and sit on the potty.  My kids are my first concern now.  Do I have diapers, cups, food, snacks, bibs, extra clothes, books, teethers, my sanity?

Guess what moms?????  It is okay.  You will get done what you need to get done when you get it done.  Don't rush.  If your little one wants to dress himself and take ten minutes alone with his shoes ... awesome.  They are learning.  Max entertained Mimi and Papa for minute after minute this morning.  Were they concerned about getting to Uncle Seth and Aunt Laura's by 9am.  Nope.  Did they want to see Max get his shoes on right by himself - sure!

Enjoy the little things with your children because it is the most important thing to them right then, not getting to a doctor's appointment on time.

November 25th, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A State of Fury

I am a graduate 3 times over of the Pennsylvania State University, so I am taking all of the recent heinous events very personally.  My anger has consumed me.  It has driven me to yell on the phone with my mother-in-law or my own mother as they patiently, with love, listen to me vent my feelings.  The tears have come and gone more than once.

As a student I was consumed with the football team as so many others.  Jerry Sandusky was very well known for his work with The Second Mile.  I heard him speak at my church a number of years ago.  I ran into JoePa at the store once or twice, revered him as a coach and role model, became friends with a few of his players.  When his library was opened, I sent him and Sue a thank you card.  It was a wonderful gift.  Mike McQueary frequented the bar I worked at throughout graduate school in Happy Valley.  Seeing these campus "Gods" was an everyday occurrence for so many of us students.

My disgust and anger with each and every person involved with this scandal is beyond skin deep.    Shame on you Mr. Sandusky.  Your victims were children.  Children are innocent.  They are pure.  You took that from them.  Mr. McQueary, you are a coward.  How could you see something so horrific, so awful, so disgusting and tell Daddy?  Mr. Paterno, how have you slept at night the past ten years?  You have sons.  The Board of Trustees, President Spanier, however many more of you are involved that the public do not know?   Shame on you all.  Your judgment day will come.

What was your cover up for?  For the love of what ... a game, a school, yourselves?  Let me tell you about a love.  A love a parent has for a child, their child.  A love so strong that you as a parent will stop at nothing to protect them.  How helpless must those mothers and fathers have felt when they found out what had happened to their children.  Those boys are broken.  They are scarred for life.  Imagine if one of your children came to you and told you that someone had molested them.  Imagine their fright, their shame, their smallness.  What would you think?  How would you help?  How would you stop it?  Now ask yourselves how you would feel if you found out it could have been stopped years before.

November 10th, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011


At my church group the other morning a comparison was made between a monarch butterfly trying to hatch itself from its cocoon and the struggles God places in front of us through our lifetime to learn from.  If a monarch butterfly does not go through this struggle, it will die.  I am not saying that you will die if you do not face struggles.  I am saying that our struggles we face on a daily basis are there to teach us something.  To help us learn.

Max and Charlie have presented me with a new struggle and I have not figured out the lesson yet.

They have decided to not sleep through the night or take significant naps during the afternoon.  The wake up calls are relentless because every ounce of sleep during the night is needed considering they rarely nap at the same time.  Max will run his cars and trains across the door, into the door, over the walls, in turn waking up Charlie.  Charlie babbles away as he tries to turn himself over in his crib.  I found him sideways at 5:09 am this morning after Max started at 4:43am.

Now this is where my husband and I lose our team ability.  My husband works and I stay home, so he believes he should sleep.  Well, guess what, my love?  That whole thing "sleep when they sleep" does not happen in this house.  Please get up and help me.  The only thing he cannot do is nurse, everything else he can, which includes getting up with your noisy son.

Naptime is not fun either.  Max, I can shut in his room.  He cannot get out unless he tears off the childproof guard, which has only happened once.  He plays quite happily - so I leave him - until he has  a tantrum.  He is SO LOUD.  I go in, change him, put him back to bed, more screaming ... I normally find him wedged behind the door so I can't get in.  He usually wipes out there from banging on the door.

Charlie has taken to sleeping on the living room floor ... for about forty minutes.  He barely sleeps in the morning then stays awake until bedtime.  How does his little body do it?  Aren't you tired my little man? So then he sleeps ... until 5:09am.

Just keep the coffee going.

November 5th, 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Toddler Antics ... part deux

I am sorry I have been absent for so long.  My husband was hurt and home for a week recuperating, so I was quite focused on that.

I have had a bit of a long day ...

Max is starting to talk more and more.  He said his first swear the other night.  My fault.  I admit it.  Let me explain myself.  I was changing Charlie's diaper, full of poop, after changing Max's, full of poop.  Before catching myself I let the "d" word fly.  What comes out of Max's mouth immediately ... Damn.  Figures.  Unfortunately my husband was there as well, so he was witness.  I admit it.  My fault.

Max is saying more, yet he replaces some letter sounds with other letter sounds.  For example ... he cannot say the s sound.  When he tells our patient dog to "sit" he actually calls her a female body part.  When I go to put on his "socks" he calls them a male body part.  This has only happened in the house so far.

Max has started to pee on the potty.  He also likes to empty the little collection bucket underneath by himself.  I have luckily saved our carpet from any spills.  I can only laugh when he says buh-bye to the pee as we flush it down the toilet.  He waves too.

Max lifts a cheek.  That's right.  He leans from fully sitting on his behind to half sitting on his behind and a little toot escapes.  I can tell you 100% firm that I am not responsible for this new action.  He likes to pull my husband's finger as well.  Boys.

Max chose broccoli over macaroni and cheese the other night.

He thinks he is too old for naps.  Grrreeeaaatttttt!

When we leave a room, he says "turn on turn on turn on" but he really means "turn off."  He shakes his hand at the light switch at the same time.

After making a mess, he will clean it up.  He will normally not leave a room unless everything has been put away.

He has discovered Elmo on Sesame Street.

This message has been brought to you by the number 11 and the letter Y.

October 31st, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holy tantrum batman.

I thought Max was going to lose his voice today.

Jealousy is coming out, terrible two's are coming out, NO, hitting, kicking, he actually pulled my hair.

Needless to say I thought a glass of wine was in need tonight.

My little boy is changing, and even though I love him with everything I can give, I am not sure I like the changes.  He pushes me away when I try to help him down the stairs, he now tells me what he wants for lunch instead of me simply making him what I feel like he should have, he has pee'd in the potty a few times (this change is OK).  Mostly it is him not getting exactly what he wants, when he wants, as he wants it.  This is when the aforementioned actions begin.  Normally a simply said "Do you want a time out?" brings him back to reality and behaving appropriately, but not today.

I must say I am getting very skilled with the time outs and he is slowly getting it as well.  My poor little Charlie has been placed down on the floor, in his crib, in his swing too many times so I can progress into an exchange of Max screaming, sit in time out, explain problem, pops up, more screaming, sit back down, pops up, more screaming, sit back down ... you get the idea.

The hardest part of all this is when he tries to hug me between each time he pops back up and I sit him back down.  I can't hug him - he has to sit for two minutes.  I can see he is sorry.  I can see he knows he has done wrong.  But I have to stick with it.  It just sucks.  Then I remember he kicked me in the     boobs ... and I am nursing.

Sit there.

October 21st, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


Don't you hate it when you come back from vacation.  There are two things I think about when I come home:

1.  I get to sleep in my own bed - THE BEST BED IN THE ENTIRE WORLD.
2.  I get my dog back - little Annie.  She made herself right at home today by falling asleep in Charlie's bouncy chair.  Charlie took the floor.

Otherwise I miss vacation.  Vacation was wonderful - a true family vacation.  We discussed politics over coffee, told jokes, played checkers, ate in, drank late, bought souvenir sweatshirts, bonded, and planned for next year.  I have so many great pictures, especially of the uncles and Papa.

The best for me was having my family unit with me - Michael, Max, Charlie, and me.  The boys love Michael so much.  He misses so much and it breaks my heart ... but it allows me to be home with them, care for them, and this is what he wants for them and me.  I am so lucky.

I turned 33.

October 17th, 2011

PS - Max had a cold at the beach and used my face as a tissue.  Guess who has a cold now?

Monday, October 10, 2011

If we all had a beach in our basement ...

We are on family vacation with my in-laws at Avalon, New Jersey.  We are having a ball, especially Max and Charlie.  They always have attention.  Why wouldn't they with 7 adults around?  Every person will have The Very Hungry Caterpillar memorized by the end of the week after reading it a billion times to Max and Charlie has slept on everyone at the beach.

Max runs everywhere - there is no stopping him.  He is fearless.  He goes straight for the water.  He is so warn out but believes he can hang with the big guys.

Tomorrow he'll start surfing ...

October 10th, 2011

PS - By the way, we got a flat tire on the way to the beach while Charlie screamed that he was hungry and Max was not about being strapped down anymore.  Good times!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Innocence ...

I know there is innocence in children.  So pure.  So golden.  So precious.  However, I believe there is a certain degree of innocence in grandparents.  Little children bring out the best in them.  I have been lucky to see my parents and in-laws more lately than years before.  I know it is entirely due to the fact that I now have two very sweet little boys, yet there is a difference in them.  A sweetness.  A patience.  A glimmer that I have never seen before.    My mother-in-law, who is generally very organized and collected, allows her expensive clothes to be spit up on or poo'd on and her house to be torn apart.  My very reserved and quiet father gets down on the floor to read my son books about a hungry caterpillar and play with his train track.  It is so refreshing and reminds me that life is short.  If I have a bad day, then tomorrow is a new start.  I love grandparents!

October 1st, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

2 years old ... look out world!

Two years ago right now ... I was in labor while watching Saturday football.  PSU was a night game - Iowa - all us Nittany Lions know how that ended up.  However it was a delight as just after 9pm my little man was born!

It is amazing how time has flown.  I know, so cliche, yet it is true.  I see my 4 month old going through stages and all I can do is think back to when it happened to MAX.

We are luckily all able to spend it together.  Bounce U to play, McDonald's happy meal for lunch, and macaroni and cheese for all tonight!

I love you Max ... to the moon ... and back!

September 26th, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Call me Mary Poppins or Supernanny ...

but my 2 year old, or almost two year old(11 days) loves to do house chores.  I am not making him get out the dusters or the vacuum or the mop, he does it on his own.  I am creating a bit of a Martha Stewart, but I know he is the way he is simply by watching his obsessive compulsive mum constantly pick up and clean.  I must say I have become a bit less obsessive - we pick up the toys one time only in the evening - but they do get picked up each day.  Max loves putting his books away, showing me where his "blankie" and "doggie" go on his bed, putting the clothes in the laundry basket, and driving the red fire engine truck into its place in the closet.  Our children are all our little mimics or mini-me's - they will do what you do; even scratch your ass or pick your nose!
Thursday is cleaning day for me and I start as soon as I get up and after a few sips of coffee.  On a normal day, Max is already up and follows me around with his duster reaching where he can reach which is where I hate to reach so its a win-win situation.  The vacuum is definitely his favorite.  I must admit, I used to have to do the bathrooms during nap time since he always liked to play in the toilet, but now I can distract him enough with the bath taps.  We take our time, stop to eat, I hold Charlie as I vacuum.  I get a clean house while playing with my boys and they learn some valuable lessons.  Have pride in what you have, take care of it!
You can never start too young with these simple things as far as I am concerned.  My sons will earn their pocket money.  It's called a "son's do list" instead of a "honey do list!"  Daddy and I will be watching the Steelers game!

Max found the swiffer mop and wipes in the cupboard and started to put it together for me!

September 15th, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Diaper Bag Essentials

My diaper bag with Max was the coolest – a Vera Bradley backpack.  I did not understand these people with their big bulky bags on one shoulder – strap on a back pack people!  I took my diaper bag everywhere, but barely needed it a quarter of the time.  But ALWAYS take your diaper bag.  Case in point:

One time after a lovely lunch at Panera, which Max mostly let me finish before demanding his own meal, I went to my car to nurse him.  I drank my water, ate my cookie (I LOVE Panera Bread cookies!), and enjoyed the quiet time nursing Max.  Well, his meal went through him very quickly and he started rumbling and farting from down under to soon let loose.  It was one of those blow out situations, I knew it!  The worst part was sitting through the smell while he continued to nurse.  He finally had his fill, I grabbed my changing pad, wipes, and a new diaper, and headed back in to Panera to use the Koala Kare table in the bathroom.  Have you ever noticed there is rarely a sign for a changing table in a Men’s bathroom???  I set him down and went to work.  Needless to say, he filled his diaper and I only had a few wipes left.  I almost had him changed when he decided to sprinkle the changing table.  As I tried to keep him on the table and pull his clothes out of the way so they did not get wet, I wiped and sanitized everything else with my remaining wipe.  I pulled his clothes back on, grabbed my mound of trash, and got out of there as soon as I could.  From then on, I would take my whole bag with me just in case more wipes or a change of clothes was necessary.

Here is what I think you need!

  • 1. Changing Mat
  • 2. Travel pack of wipes, or full size if you are like me and need more than less!
  • 3. 4-5 diapers
  • 4. Arm and Hammer® disposable diaper bags
  • 5. Hand sanitizer
  • 6. Blanket
  • 7. Change of clothes, according to weather and size
  • 8. Teething toy, books
  • 9. Burp cloth
  • 10. Bottle and formula(if you are not nursing or need to give your boobs a break!)
  • 11.  Nursing wrap (if you are nursing!)
  • 12. Binky (If you use them!)
  • 13. Suntan lotion
  • 14. Diaper rash cream
  • 15.  Health card 
Ladies, I am sad to say that this may become your purse for a while.  I certainly could not imagine carrying a purse and a diaper bag, yet I know many of you fearless ladies do it.  I had a cute zip up wallet that carried my cash, my cards, and my cell phone, and that was all I needed.  You will need to figure this out on your own and try a few different things!  My zip up handled wallet became a great distraction for Max, yet I did find out the hard way one time that it must be securely closed … the little bugger ripped up my cash!

Now that I have two and taken over the family SUV, I have a car diaper bag.  My beautiful friend, Erica, is a thirty-one representative and sold me an awesome utility tote that I had embroidered with Max and Charlie's names.  I have everything in there and it sits in the back of my car.  An SUV is almost a necessity with two in diapers ... it makes an awesome changing station and still fits my double stroller.  

Today however I was missing something in my diaper bag.  A change of clothes for me.  As I tried to enjoy a stroll through the bookstore today while chasing a moody Max, I felt something yucky and warm down my tummy.  Charlie had pee'd and pooped through his outfit, the carrier, and onto my lovely        t-shirt.  Ok, it wasn't a lovely t-shirt, it was one of my previously stained spit-up on t-shirts.  I was completely prepared to fix up Charlie ... not myself!  We went home.

September 2nd, 2011

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Momma said there'd be days like this ...

Hurricane Irene ... heard of her?  Well, you can say we got some wind and rain and are now missing two chairs from our basement patio.  I am thinking they are down the hill near the pond?  However, I was stuck in the house.

Trying to entertain two little boys under the age of two while the tropical storm winds blew was not such an easy task.  My day went something like this:

~6:08 am  Charlie wakes up, he's hungry!
Coffee pot on.
Power off/on.
Boobs out.
Max's toys begin to play.  Guess he is awake too.

7:13am  Hubby leaves for work among tropical storm winds and rain.  Max waved from the window.  Charlie is sucking his gums and crying ... whenever those first teeth want to pop through is fine with me!

7:19am  Mummy shower ... nice and warm.  Max tried to climb in two minutes into my shower.  Max handed me my towel when I got out.  Thanks Bo Bo.

7:49am  Max's breakfast.  Did I mention he is going through this not eating phase.  So he wanted waffles and showed me where the toaster was, where to plug it in, where the waffles were, where to put them, syrup ... the whole she-bang, then did not eat it.  He ate half a banana instead.  The dog got some waffle.

8:07am  Coffee pot on again.

8:31am  Wrestle Max into some clothes.  He is a naked toddler all of a sudden.

9:00ish  Feed Charlie while drinking new coffee.  The dog is trying to hide from Max.  Great.  Max decides he can fit into the swing ... and gets stuck.

9:17am  Did I eat breakfast yet?  Peaches.  I can shove a peach down my throat.  Please Charlie take a snooze.  Let's go play in Max's cool room.  Something smells south of your bellybutton, kiddo.  We have legos, trucks, Thomas, etc.  What does Max want ... books.  We read 11 books.

10:01am  Charlie = screaming.

10:02am  Laundry and basement play fun.  Max loves the basement.  Charlie can watch.  We can play catch with Annie.  I put down a blanket and we had fun for a while.  Then Max tried to steam clean the concrete basement floor.

10:59am  Ok, let's try to take Annie outside in the tropical storm wind.  Charlie was finally snoozing.  Oh yeah, Max totally loved getting a raincoat put on him.

Cheese NO
Ham NO
Pretzels NO
Other half of banana YES
Charlie is crying ... boobs out.
Yogurt YES
Fruit snacks NO
Next boob.
Pudding NO
Nuggets NO
Won't burp.

12:08pm  Okay, sleepy time.  Stuffed animals, blankie, heart beat bear, blinds drawn.  Take a good nap. Door closes.  Wait for it, wait for it, toys begin to play.  If he is happily playing, good enough.  Charlie won't settle.  Rock rock.

12:41pm  Max screams.  Uh-oh.  Up the stairs I go.  He is on the floor, both legs down one leg of his pants, full messy diaper, and he is stuck.  Ok, let's change you and get you back into bed.  Screaming pursues.

1:11pm I think Max is asleep.  I think Charlie is asleep.  I can finally find out what happens to that girl with the dragon tattoo.

1:42pm  I'm sleepy.

1:58pm  Charlie screams.  Let's try the chair.  More laundry.  Coffee pot goes on.  Book!

3:11pm  I am supermom ... edible play dough.  Max will love it!

3:47pm  Max screams.  OMG.

Come see what I made us to play with.  Table cloth down.  Charlie is sleeping.  I can play with Max.  HE IS AFRAID TO TOUCH THE PLAY DOUGH.  Are you kidding?  I bribed him with chocolate gold fish.  Oh, you'll eat that, huh?
Max decided to make balls out of the play dough and toss them.  Unfortunately, Annie got a few.  He is screaming with laughter and I am wrangling with the dog trying to get the play dough out of her mouth.  That much peanut butter cannot be good for her.

4:43pm WE ARE GOING FOR A WALK.  No rain clouds in sight.

Once we got home, it was quite normal.  Feeding Charlie, feeding Max(chef Boyardee with vegetables and mandarin oranges and more chocolate gold fish for snack), bathing the boys, feeding the dog, picking up, etc.

7:23pm  My husband got home as I was getting the boys ready for bed after their bath.

"Hi honey, want to pour me a drink?"  I am on my second glass right now.

August 28th, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Parenting sucks.

Last night was double bath night ... both boys.

All was well.  Charlie was diapered and pajama'd.  He lay on Max's floor quite content.  Max's turn.  Four minutes, no problem.  Aquafor, diaper, pajamas.  Piece of cake.  Atleast I thought.

Max DID NOT want to get ready for bed.  He ran away from me all over the room, the hall, Charlie's room, his bed, the loft, EVERYWHERE.  At first it's cute, but when I am breaking a sweat it is not cute anymore.  I tell him I am going to put him on the changing table like a little boy.  He thought that was even funnier.  I wrestle him to the floor, he wriggles away ... many times.  I pin him down in Charlie's room and call for my husband to get Charlie.  (For all I know he's getting licked to death by the dog in the other room.  Oh no wait, Max has scared the dog to the highest point of the armchair she can get to.)  My dutiful husband comes in to help me with our out-of-hand toddler.  No, I tell him, he has to listen to me, I must do this myself.  So off goes dutiful husband with the now lazy sleeping baby.  Why did I send him away again?  I finally finagle a diaper, t-shirt, and pajama pants onto Max.  Now off we go downstairs for snack and then brush teeth and to bed.  OH NO, Max DOESN'T want to go downstairs.  So he smacks me.


I shut him in his room.  It took all of ten seconds for him to start crying.  This is where I, the dutiful mum, waited outside the bedroom for the customary 1 minute of his time out.  IT TOOK FOREVER.  It was the cry where you knew tears were streaming and he wasn't angry, he was upset because he upset me.  KILLER, but I waited.  When I finally went back in, he came to me arms outstretched, buried his face in me, I'm sorry looks, Ma-Ma ... I told him why he was wrong as he whimpered.

We went downstairs for milk and brush teeth ... no snack.  Back to bed.  Crying again.  And he cried himself to sleep.

Disciplining has got to be one of the hardest things a parent MUST do.  It kills you inside.  My precious little boy misbehaved and must suffer a consequence.  I have to be the one who dishes out that consequence.  Really?  I discipline because I care.  How cliche.  Yet, it is true.  I cannot and will not let my children grow up to be rude, ungrateful, selfish, punkish little brats.  (I know, a bit harsh, but come on, we all know some.)  And it all starts here.

So, as I sipped my wine and my husband reassured me I did what I had to, I knew I was doing the right thing.  Max still smiled and kissed and hugged me this morning.  Some mornings he might not, but he will figure out one day that I was right.  One day ...

August 16th, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hello, my name is Natasha, and I had ...

PPD ... otherwise known as Post-Partum Depression.  First of all, do not be alarmed and feel the need to call anyone.  If you notice the title of this post, it says "had."

I don't know what made me think of all those past "depressing" times, for lack of a better term.  When I had Max I developed and was diagnosed with post-partum depression, I felt like my world was caving in.  I could not handle the alone times.  Daily occurrences became so hard to handle.  When this happens to women after giving birth, and it shockingly does to more than anyone will ever know, each woman feels alone and ashamed.

There were approximately 4.3 million live births in the United States in 2007.  This statistic does not include fetal losses, including miscarriages and stillbirths.  The National Vital Statistics Report indicates that the total number of clinically recognized pregnancies is around 6.4 million.  This is important to know, because all postpartum women are susceptible to postpartum depression, regardless of the pregnancy's outcome.

So let's split the difference between the high (20%) and low estimates of PPD (11%) and say that an average of 15% of all postpartum women in the US suffer, as the CDC reported in its 2008 PRAMS research.  And let's use the number of clinically recognized pregnancies and not live births.  This would mean that each year approximately 950,000 women are suffering postpartum depression. 
BUT, did you know the CDC's research only reflected self-reported cases of postpartum depression?  How many women do you think did not mention they had PPD out of fear or shame? Should we increase the estimate of sufferers to 17% or 20%?
I felt both alone and ashamed, yet I should have felt neither.  I felt alone because I thought I was the only one that could ever feel so terribly after having such a precious little joy.  I felt ashamed because why ever would I feel so terribly after having such a precious little joy?  It was absolutely ridiculous.  All I wanted was to have my little boy and stay home and take care of him.
It was the alone time that I struggled with the most.  I was certainly sleep deprived and my body was literally exhausted.  Nursing took everything out of me and without the ability to pump, it was all me.   I failed to eat properly let alone at all sometimes, so the weight loss was extreme and quick.  I was an emotional basket case on top of it all.  I was not thinking straight.  For crying out loud, I considered giving away my dog.  My first little baby!  When Max was asleep I was awake obsessing over when I would get things done and when he next needed to be fed and why was I having such a hard time with it and why couldn't I just let things happen and was I doing everything right?  
I liked to have control over things and all of sudden, so much of that was taken away from me.  My husband could not understand why I was feeling the way I was.  He was used to me having everything under control.  He was used to me being confident.  
I am very confident now.  I let things happen.  Things will get done when they get done.  My two little men and puppy dog are thriving.  My husband loves me, even when I am sleep deprived and grumpy.  
Today as my little boys slept, I slept ... without thinking.

August 13th, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Toddler antics ...

My almost two year old gets into the most weirdest situations or plays with funny things or most importantly, does funny things.

Today, he pushed my vacuum cleaner around our house for almost an hour; playing with the chord, trying to plug it in(where in the process he knocked over a lamp, scared the dog under the dining room table and unplugged our entire tv/blueray/stereo system so the guide channel only says To Be Announced next to every channel starting at 4pm), almost dumped the little bagless thing on our cleaned carpet, etc.  What are you trying to tell me kid ... I need to vacuum more.

He shuts himself in the pantry.  I need to stop leaving the door open.

He points to the tissue box.  I ask him if he wants a tissue.  He shakes his head NO but signs please.  Why will he not nod?  I give him a tissue, he wipes his nose, my nose, the baby's nose, the dog's nose, and then throws the tissue away.

Half the time I find him waking up on the floor.  So, you're telling me I didn't have to buy you a new bed?

He picks up the phone, bables for a few seconds, and then very clearly says BYE with his voice and his hand.  He puts the phone back.

When he leaves a room, he MUST shut the door.

When we go outside, he points to his head and says hat.  That's because aunt Esme says he must wear a hat outside.  As soon as we walk back int he door, the hat comes off.

He tells his daddy where to put his jacket and tie when he comes home.  He then proceeds to the closet, gets his slippers, brings them to daddy and insists he puts them on,  I am not kidding.

In the morning, he points to the pantry - I open it - he points to the toaster on the top shelf.  I get it down and he runs to the counter top where the outlet is and we plug it in.  He then goes to the freezer, not the fridge side, the freezer side and insists I open it.  He then finds the waffles and pulls them out.  He takes out two waffles and walks over to the counter with his two waffles holding them up to be put in the toaster.

He can find the string cheese in the fridge.

Instead of toys he wants books.

He helps me dust every week.  He dusts the dishwasher for crying out loud.

Once when I picked him up from daycare this past year, he had to out the toy away he was playing with before coming to see me ... really?

When we sit for stories, I have to sit with my legs apart, not Indian style, and he scooches himself between them.

He knows where to throw away his dirty diapers.

He kisses.

His best friend is the dog.

He covers his baby brother with his blanket and turns on his heartbeat bear for him and puts it by his side.  Once he threw the music globe at him - I think his intentions were good.

I could go on ...

August 7th, 2011

PS - By the way, Charlie is perfectly fine.  Stay tuned for more of that Harvard bound brain development.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

So, he has a big head ...

Charlie just had his two month appointment.  Needless to say my little boy has grown, 15.2 lbs., 23 3/8 inches, and his head is "significantly larger."  So, it is his massive Harvard bound brain needing space.  Look out Zuckerberg, here comes Charlie.  It isn't enough that he is developing a slight flat mark because he favors his right side, but now the doctor's want to ultrasound my little boy's head to make sure the sutures and platelets are coming together and ofcourse, that no fluid is gathering.

First of all, do not freak out a mother of two under two without much rest and not enough coffee on a Monday morning ... GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.  What am I supposed to think, he is fine?  No, I am going to think he has a mass of fluid gathering and putting pressure on his Harvard bound brain.  Please ... stop with all the medical speak and tell me straight.  So they did, do not worry.  Oh, that helps.  Then they told me to just wait until Friday to find out anything.

Excuse my paranoia.

It also does not help with a toddler waking you up at 5:30am screaming your name.  I tell myself it is because he wants to be with me so much, not because he is getting back at me for cutting off his pigtail looking curl.

August 3rd, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So ... about that big boy bed ...

My darling sweet toddler, Max, is very lucky he is so gosh darn cute.  So far, he has ...

turned on the radio, Jennifer Lopez it was, VERY LOUDLY, just after 6 am.
unloaded his laundry basket.
unloaded his dresser drawers.
put all the dirty laundry in his dresser drawers.
replugged in the radio I unplugged to play me some Def Leopard.
turned all the channels on the monitor.
unplugged the monitor.
undressed himself.

and the best of all ...

pulled off a poopy diaper in the bed, dragged it over the floor, stepped in it, need I go on?

I had two glasses of wine last night.

July 27th, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Big Boy Bed ...

I have not heard a peep yet!

We are slowly making our way to Max's new room, Charlie's nursery, and my husband and I getting our room back!

I am knocking on the wooden desk as I type ...

July 23rd, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Look out, he bites.

Very cute 22 month old; loves balls, dogs, blueberries, and his mummy and daddy; can take every book off his shelves in 6.2 seconds; tries to dress himself; and he bites.
Every parent's nightmare, being told their child bit someone at daycare that day.  Even worse, being told that your child was bit at daycare that day.  I am one of those who has heard the second choice.  Max spent a year in daycare when I went back to teaching.  He was bit twice, once on the arm(by a repeat offender), and once on the back of his head(by a first timer).  I was so angry. But in a very small degree of compassion, I also understood the other child's parent's pain.  How they must have felt?  What were they going to do?  My child will not have friends because he will be known as the one on the playground that bites.  Rumors will fly, he will be an outcast, therapy bills will mount up ... Ok, so I am getting ahead of myself.  My child was bit, not the biter.
My husband had an absolute conniption.  Why are we paying all this money and he is being bit?  I had no answer, but caused a bit of a stink at daycare.  All they could do was apologize and guarantee me the child would be monitored and shadowed from now on.

Then yesterday as I tried to stop my very cute 22 month old; loves balls, dogs, blueberries, etc. from throwing my neatly folded laundry, he bit me.  It hurt.  I yelped.  I got on his level and I told him it was not nice and tried a time out(how do you make a 22 month old sit still when he thinks it is fun and playtime ... stay tuned).  I hoped this was a one-time occurrence.  Of course not.
Today as I nursed his little brother, he thrust books at my face narrowly missing the baby.  As I reached my arm out to protect us, he bit my arm.
MAX.  You are not a biter.  You are my very cute 22 month old who loves balls, dogs, blueberries, etc.  So now the adventures of time outs begin, while I have an 8 week old.  This should be fun.

So what did I do?  I called my sister, nanny extraordinaire, and my mum, because who wouldn't call their mum.  Mum said for me to supply him with distractions in a room, make it something we must do so he understands,  keep those toys just for those times, etc.  So we went to his bedroom with a block building train and I sat in the rocking chair ... not bad.  My sister explained the ins and outs of         time-outs; how to, what not to do, theories, suggestions.  Tomorrow we will start again.

Take every day in turn, plan for anything and everything to happen, do not assume you will have the ability to get anything done, pray, drink wine at the end of the day.

July 20th, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Long nights and waling babies

Before your baby is born, decide which shift each of you will take at night.  This is not something you decide at 11pm when you are both about to lose it this is something you decide before.  Your decision to nurse or bottle feed will have some influence obviously.

The first three months are likely the toughest you will have, especially if your baby develops “witching hours” or signs of colic.  Of course Max had his hours each night that usually began around seven and went until about ten.  My husband and I said he had colic and listened to others who said he had colic, but that was us just being hasty.  I now believe it was simply gas.  The stories of colic are much more extreme than our few hours of inconsolable crying each evening.  The crying was unbearable.  I cried many times myself.  The worst feeling is seeing your child in pain and whatever you do will not help them.  Unfortunately now, Charlie begins in the afternoon and does not stop until after Max is asleep.  Needless to say, I am exhausted by the time my exhausted husband gets home from work.  I will gladly clean up the kitchen if my husband will hold Charlie.  I am trying a change in my diet and hopefully will see some improvement.
The confusing part is that you would think they would wear themselves out and fall asleep for a while, but that is not the case.  Max was up quite a bit at night and he would stay awake after being nursed.  I prepared my chair in the living room every evening with glasses of water, burp cloths, and remotes.  Since I was nursing and I could not successfully pump an extra supply for a nightly bottle, the nights were mine.  With Charlie it is almost the same ... he generally goes back to sleep after nursing.
After a few weeks with Max, I begged my husband for some relief, so after nursing in the evening, I would try to sleep while my husband held and consoled.  For a while I could not sleep through the crying, but it got better and I had a few hours before taking over at 11pm.  I remember the nights of never touching the bed.  My black chair had a permanent dent from my bum.  After what would seem forever of fussing and crying, my little one would fall asleep and I would too, because next thing I knew we were waking up and I would have to nurse him again.  Watch TV, watch bad TV, catch up on the news, rent a TV series ... but sleep first and foremost if you can while you are up at night.
Yes, it is tiring, but you quickly get over it.  I advise you put your baby down as much as you can in his or her bassinet during the day and night so he or she is used to it.  Everyone wants to hold a newborn as much as possible, but you must put them down a little each day and more and more each day so they learn to sleep on their own.
Get some kind of heartbeat bear, vibrating soother toy, white noise machine, fan, SOMETHING.  You soon learn to drain the sound out yourself, sleep through it, attach it to your hip everywhere you go!  Both of my boys have their own and it is part of the nightly routine with Max.  He asks for "Thumper."  There are many out there to choose from - make sure to register for one!
You will get through the back pain, just always have ibuprofen on hand.  
Invest in a heat pad if you did not while you were pregnant.
If your little one continues to be fussy and you are nursing, talk to your pediatrician about changing your diet perhaps ... I have found cutting out dairy has helped.  I miss yogurt and cheese and ice cream ... but to have a happier baby I will sacrifice.  It might be caffeine as well.
Always accept help ... it does not make you a bad mum.  It took me a while to realize this one with Max, but with Charlie now I know I must or I will do myself in.  You will always be their mum!
Hang in there ... it will get easier.

PS – ALWAYS go to the bathroom before nursing! 

July 18th, 2011

PSS - By the way, that nap never happened yesterday.  Charlie woke up a few minutes after I laid down.  But hey, the bills got paid!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dual naps!

This never happens ... I might just join them ... after I go to the bathroom without someone following me in.

July 17th, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacationing ... at the in-laws

I feel as though I am taking advantage of my mother-in-law but I am out at a coffee shop having coffee while she is watching my two boys.  I must admit it is wonderful to know I will be able to drink my coffee, the entire coffee, while it is still hot.  I never really did this with Max; I let nursing keep me by my son’s side all the time, but now I am much more efficient and it is amazing what you can get done on your own in the span of 2-3 hours.  Remember to do this for yourself … YOU MUST!

July 14th, 2011

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How is your hearing?

The witching hours have now spread into the witching afternoon. Really?  A few hours in the evening were expected with Max, yet all afternoon into the evening is almost unbearable with Charlie.  I have no idea what to do for him anymore - all I can do is hold him, shhhhhh til I am hoarse, bare the back pain, and pray for a better afternoon the next day.
I am trying those drop things for gas in babies.  I am not sure what I am supposed to see - I am guessing less crying and more farting?  Anyone know?
Pray for me!

July 9th, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Living with your boobs out

Before I even begin to tell all you avid readers and followers about my adventures and give advice on this very talkable subject, I strongly advise you and your significant other to discuss this topic.  You might find out you feel completely different or similar.  In the end, the decision is what is best for the mother and her baby. Nursing is not easy.  I am not even going to pretend and say it is.  Is it wonderful for the mother and her baby for bonding and alone time, yes.  Does it help you lose weight, yes.  Is it what is best for the baby’s health and development, yes.  Does it hurt like hell, yes.  Can your baby refuse you, yes.  Is it a commitment, YES.
I tell all my pregnant friends that this decision, to nurse or not to nurse MUST be made before you give birth.  It is not something you say you are going to try and give up on after two times.  It is a commitment.  I truly believe you must give it one hundred and ten percent.  I had no idea it was so difficult.  My major issues were pain and production. 
First of all, while in the hospital, if you have decided to nurse your baby, get all the help you can get.  Nurses, doctors, lactation consultants, volunteers, etc.  First of all, lactation consultants are wonderful, but they are quite opinionated, “Breast milk all the way!”  It is as though they are cheerleaders and have those little bootie shorts on their butts that say "boobies" across their butt cheeks.  They believe in that option only and will advise in such a way as well.  They can help you analyze how your baby is latching on and if it is correct for optimum nursing time, give you schedules to follow, help you with any pain or production issues, etc.
Personally nursing was very painful for me to begin.  Definitely begin using the Lamisol cream on your nipples about a month before you intend to give birth to prepare yourself and your breasts for their important purpose.  My son latched on very well and no one could fault him.  He often tucked his bottom lip which should not be tucked, but he had a very forceful suck.  It was painful and I ended up with cracked and bleeding nipples.  There is nothing like your baby pulling off you with your blood running down their little face.  It is quite barbaric looking.  The pain got worse and worse.  I cried through feedings which were lasting almost an hour.  Within a week I was quite engorged and the pain was so great, I had to go back to the hospital. 
I sat in the hospital I had just come home from, bare-chested, nursing my son while the consultants watched and I cried.  He nursed for some time and I still had no relief.  My son took an ounce and a half and then they pumped almost another four ounces out of me.  During this time, I nursed, I sat with hot towels on my boobs, I used silicone nipple coverings for protection, I sat with ice on my boobs, I drank water, everything.  Luckily it helped and I could get back to nursing, but my boobs were already damaged and it took some time for the pain and injuries to go away.
During this time I used silicone nipples for protection which luckily my son adjusted to and then unadjusted to.  The next issue was production.  I was never engorged again.  I never leaked.  I could get into a burning hot shower and nothing happened.  I could never pump again besides the one time in the hospital.  I nursed until he was done and was soft as anything.  Then I would be back at it almost an hour and a half later.  Newborns should be fed every 2-3 hours, yet Max(that's my first son, by the way) was taking almost an hour to eat, so I did not have much time between feedings to produce more. I felt like I should just walk around topless.  When Max wasn’t gaining weight, I had to start supplementing with formula. 
Many times through the pain and lack of production, my husband hinted for me to stop nursing, but I wouldn’t.  This was what I wanted to do and I did it.  One of the reasons I took off the year was to nurse.   I know I would have to stop before going back to work, but that wasn’t any time soon so I kept going and it got much much easier.  As your child eats more, they will nurse less.  I would give Max one bottle a day just to give me a break and get him used to a bottle with formula since I could not pump. 
Besides, I liked my guaranteed alone time.  
Now with number two, Charlie, it is only slightly different, but not much.  Charlie barely nurses for 15 minutes at a time.  I must say this has been nice compared to sitting for almost an hour, especially now that Max is 20 months his older brother and everywhere.  The hard part is that I am now feeding on demand and not so much a schedule during the day.  Charlie is still working it out and I am living in my nursing bras again.  It must be working though - he is already 3 pounds heavier than at birth, grown 3 inches, and in 3 month clothes.  Yikes.
And I cannot pump again ... grrr.

July 7th, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

HELP has arrived!

My sister is here.  SUPERNANNY!  I am so excited!

Please forgive me if I do not post much while I have my guest!

June 29th, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I was going to write a book ...

I am in no way a genius, a pediatrician, a ‘baby whisperer’, or the next one to write the next “The Happiest Baby on the Block" (which I insist you all buy and read before you have your little one).  However, after a year at home with my first little boy that blessed my life and now beginning the second year or so off work with my newborn and toddler, I believe I have become all of the above in my own way.  If you are as fortunate as I have been and am to take that first year with your young little dear, than you will become all of the above yourself. 
Often times when we bring home that little bundle of joy, we are CLUELESS, or at least feel that way.  I know my husband and I did and we fully admit it.  Two little baby care classes do not cut it, for that nurse or midwife is not with you at 2:12 am when your boob, your voice, your music, your walks, your rocking, your swaddling … NOTHING will work to calm your spazzed-out little bundle of joy. 
So, here is my take on those "times" because so much happens.  Again, I am just another one giving advice and it might be something you have heard before, however there is SO MUCH to learn and be aware of, that I thought I could do it in a fun-filled way instead of page after page of textbook sounding writing.  
Let me say this, if you have questions or concerns, I certainly advise asking your OBGYN or your child’s pediatrician first – I most often did.  That's why they make the big bucks!  Please do not rely on any old medical internet site because half of it scared the @%$* out of me, a quarter seemed like a smack over the head “DUH” was coming my way, and the last quarter of it was in crazy medical jargon that NO ONE is meant to understand, unless that NO ONE went to medical school.
Please comment away and send me emails - I do just that on other blogs.  

So, let me make you feel better right off the bat.  Today while shopping at Wegman's, I bought a delicious, oh-so-needed cup of coffee and while putting it in the cup holder of my cart, the top popped off and spilt all over the place including down the side of my one month old's car seat.  Needless to say, he woke up, started crying, and I swear gave me a look of "I was sleeping.  I thought you liked it when I slept?"  Luckily he only has a slight red mark on his arm and is acting perfectly fine, but I certainly felt like mum of the year ... NOT.
June 28th, 2011

Stay tuned for more adventures when there are 2!