Thursday, December 31, 2015

What did you say? (second edition)

* Brynna is 3-years-old going on 16. She's incredibly observant and tends to mirror our behavior -- and repeats everything. You'd think that would help us edit ourselves a little bit better.

Some of her latest gems:


"Buenos Dias"  (to every gardener she spots on our daily walks. It's really cute when she acknowledges others and is learning Spanish BUT not every browned-skinned person, or gardener speaks Spanish. Or is Hispanic. Luckily she's cute).

"I'm brave of him" (when talking about Randal from Monsters Inc. or Mr. Shadow Man from Princess and the Frog).

"Can you read the words to me?" (when she wants something read to her).

"Send out a toot toot and make your wish come true!" (farting is hilarious so she tends to add the word "toot" to everything).

"Probricita" (whenever Brylin cries).

"Is this a rubber band?" -- holding one of my shall we say unmentionables in her hand.

"Actually I can do that for you, uh huh." (her response when asked to do something. Oftentimes "can" is replaced with "can't").

Brynna: "Is this Adele or Taylor Swift?"
Me: "Actually it's Katy Perry"
Brynna: "Oh, actually I do like her."

"Oh shoot!" (still working on replacing shoot with man).






Monday, December 21, 2015

Brylin: 1 year

* Happy birthday, My Girl!  We celebrated your special day with an outing to Granola Babies and a shared birthday party with your sister, Brynna. It's amazing how quickly time is passing and how much you have grown these past few months. I love watching you grow.



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Moms: Using Meetup to find your tribe

Will they like me?

Am I dressed okay? Is this sweater too tight?

Why am I doing this again?

These thoughts swam through my mind as I prepared for my first Meetup in December 2012, a month after my first daughter was born. As the first of my friends to have a child,  I was determined to make “mommy pals” who had kids the same age as my daughter. Although I love my childless  friends I felt as though I was on this first-time parent road alone and was a little lonely.

While pregnant I wanted to openly complain to others going through the same things I was going through from the constant kicks in the bladder to always being uncomfortable. I wanted to commiserate.

I joined Meetup at the suggestion of a friend who was also the first in her group of friends to have babies. Since I met my husband on Match.com, I was not a novice to online meetups and decided to dive right in.

I began to join groups with similar interests: new moms, babies, infants, wine, books and running were some of the interests I checked off when completing my profile. Now all I needed to do was actually attend something.

So once I was cleared to drive after my c-section I clicked the RSVP button and agreed to meet a group of  new moms of babies born (or to be born) around the same time as my daughter.
We met at a cafĂ©, just five of us, and I was the only one with a baby since all the others were weeks and days away from giving birth. The butterflies in my stomach started to flutter away after a soon-to-be-mommy began to complain about heartburn. The complaint opened the door for a litany of whining: I’m always sweating!; All I want is a glass of wine!; Anyone else have sore nipples?

“Oh good, I thought I was the only one!” I sighed.

Together we commiserated on everything pregnancy related. Five women from various backgrounds and beliefs in child rearing connected over the one thing we all had in common: becoming a mom.
I emerged from that first Meetup with confidence since I was able to provide first-hand advice on being a new mom. Most of all I felt relieved. Relieved that I wasn’t alone.

From that point forward I began to connect with other moms through Meetup groups; clicking with some and walking away from others knowing we will never come together again. It’s exactly like blind dating: you meet women you have nothing in common with; some who you find annoying and others you really like.

There’s also the rejection aspect of it. There were a few instances in which I felt a real connection with a fellow mommy, be it through common interests or because our children got along; however, it wasn’t a connection on their end as texts went unanswered or plans to meet up were never realized. Those rejections hurt of course, resulted in questioning why didn’t she like me? What did I do wrong?
But just like anything else, you bounce back and get back into the game.

Perseverance worked as I connected with several moms, which resulted in friendships outside of the Meetup groups themselves. Nurturing those connections these past three years has resulted in our children  becoming close friends as they continue to grow up together

These friendships are dear to me as I know those women will always be there to commiserate with when our toddlers are being, well toddlers; will be the first to send words of encouragement when things get hard; always bring a coffee for you when they arrive for a play date since they know the infant isn’t sleeping through the night, and can offer words of advice on how to find plan a birthday party for a 3-year-old or how to get  a child to pee on the potty.


Connecting with fellow moms via Meetup helped me find my tribe; my fellow mommies who have become close friends and confidantes. Meetup helped us to connect on a surface level but it was our individual personalities that pushed us into a deeper connection of camaraderie that has led to genuine friendships that all started with a click of a button.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Sometimes: FindingOur Strength as featured on Mamalode

Another post on Mamalode today! 


Sometimes I want to run away, hide in a corner of the house where no one can reach me until I find the strength to break free from the stress that winds itself through my nerves making even the slightest comment or movement an infraction deserving of a mom’s wrath.
Sometimes I want to yell to stop. Stop yelling when the baby is trying to nap; stop running around the living room or jumping on the couch. So many times I want to yell, “Why won’t you stop being so bad?” Or, “What is wrong with you?”
Sometimes I do raise my voice. The sound echoing through the playroom, catching you off guard. The power in my voice makes you cry but also makes you stop in mid-hit, throw or jump. Often I am upset that I was not able to tame my temper by simply taking a deep breath to remind myself that you, my beautiful daughter, are only 2. But I’m human, and sometimes my weaknesses come forth during those emotionally-charged interactions. Of course, knowing that my actions hurt you results in extra hugs and cuddles and has me feeling terrible that I yelled when I should have taken a moment to compose myself.
Many times I want to cry. Hide in the hallway closet, and sit in the furthest corner beneath the winter coats and rain boots – and sob. I want to allow the tears to fall from my eyes unabashedly, not caring who sees or if I’m making the dreaded ugly cry face.
Sometimes my weaknesses take over and I do cry; giving in to the stress of being the parent I’ve envisioned long before you were born. The parent who could end a tantrum by throwing her child “that look,” or never loses her patience, instead happily agreeing to play princesses for the 10th time that day; the mom who never rushes her daughter to hurry up and pick a shirt to wear to school because time is always ticking by, each second a reminder of all that needs to get done that day.
My weaknesses are often on display for my daughter to see as I lose my patience every now and then or give in and cry, no longer able to hold in the tears. Once I was crying in the car after a particularly bad play date where my eldest refused to share with her playmates, the infant only wanted to be held by me and I was exhausted.
“Please listen to me,” I begged my daughter when I pulled her aside. But she didn’t.
Embarrassed and frustrated I rushed us out the door, holding back the tears as I strapped the girls into their seats. “What’s wrong mama,” she asked from the backseat as I quietly cried with my hands over my eyes. “You weren’t listening and I really needed your help,” I told her. She took it in, cocked her head to the side, pouted and said, “I’m sorry mama. I’ll listen more better.”
There are so many times when I have to find the strength to laugh instead of giving in to frustration,  especially on days when my toddler’s back talk is at an all-time high. Laughing is all my husband and I can do after a long day of work and coming home to two under the age of two who are being , well, kids.
Laughing is how I get through the hard times when work is stressful, the toddler skips a nap, the infant is teething and the Starbucks line refuses to budge. Sometimes laughter is the answer to the day’s problems. Making my daughter laugh is how I can help shake off the bad mood that hovers above her, refusing to dissipate despite my attempts at putting on a silly face or just tickling when she just can’t seem to shake the grumpies.
Sometimes strength comes in numbers as my husband and I team up to help solve a problem or the toddler helps entertain the infant when I need help.  Together, my eldest daughter and I will in the play room, swinging our arms up high, shouting peek-a-boo to make the infant stop crying. Other times it’s me and my husband pulling the girls onto our laps to give them the hug or the tickles they need, all of us laughing in unison, connecting as a family.
Each round of laughter is like a start over button, a moment to shake off the bad, regain our strength to move forward. Forget the terrible morning/afternoon/evening we just had, let’s start over. Together.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mom Arms as featured on Mamalode

Featured on Mamalode this month! Here is the link to the story: Mom Arms




“Pick me up!” my toddler demands as we stand in one of the many lines at Disneyland.
“Please just stand still, B,” I beg.
“We’re almost there,” I lie.
“Mama, pick me up!” she demands louder this time.
Why did I think a trip to Disneyland by myself with a toddler only a mere three months after giving birth to my second daughter would be a good idea? It was not even 11 a.m. and we’d already waited in line for two princesses, Dumbo and It’s a Small World. My breasts were engorged, I was tired since the infant required nighttime feedings and I was cranky from lack of caffeine and my toddler was filled with requests.
“Can I have popcorn?”
“I want to see Rapunzel!”
“After lunch I will have ice cream”
And the ever constant: “Pick me up!”
The Southern California sun has been brutal this past year, and it was no different this February morning, which also happened to be my birthday.  The thought of standing in line holding my 30 pound daughter, all thighs and arms, hot breathe on my neck, sticky hands on my cheeks, made me want to head to the nearest bench and take a nap.  
“Can I just have a few minutes of not holding someone?” I thought, envying those parents in line who either tackled the park as a team or whose child was of age to stand in line quietly or with minimal fidgeting.
Perhaps trying to celebrate my birthday with my daughter at Disneyland, on our first mother-daughter date since her sister had been born was a tad ambitious. My back was still weak from the epidural, causing a sharp pain when bent over too long, and maternity shorts were the only clothes that fit.
I was hoping the day would be a special outing for my daughter since her singleton world was shaken up three months earlier when we brought her baby sister home.
“You don’t love me,” or “I don’t want you,” bellowed from her mouth anytime she saw me holding the baby. For the first time, she preferred others to me; pushing my arms away when I bent to pick her up. All because I was holding her sister.
My sweet infant too small to understand that she was encroaching on her sister’s favorite spot: my arms.
****
“Look at that little bicep,” my friend noticed on one of those rare afternoons  that I got out of the house alone. “When have you had time to go to the gym?”
“Gym?! No, this is from the kids,” I tell her, at the same time buttering up a bagel, excited to not have to share my food. “I’m always carrying someone.”
“Maybe I should have baby,” she joked, “ so I can have arms like that.”
We laughed, because we both know she won’t, and the tiny biceps are only one of the noticeable changes that come along with being a mom.
***
In line, I can feel a sweat stain forming on my lower back from the weight of the backpack  filled with snacks, jackets, a change of clothes, water bottles and enough Purell to last us a week. Just the thought of adding 30 pounds of toddler to the weight being carried on my back cause beads of sweat to form on my forehead: how can I do this? How can I carry everything?
“Pick me up, mama,” she whines, bouncing up and down in her Cinderella pajamas (one day she will realize the beloved “dress” is really a nightgown), arms stretched up to me, little fingernails painted pink, remnants of syrup from a breakfast of pancakes and banana on her fingers.
It’s so hot, I’m so uncomfortable, my back hurts, there’s a crook in my neck from co-sleeping, my wrist hurts from the constant cradling of the infant. I’m. So. Tired.
But that face. Those eyes. That voice. The understanding that my daughter needs to feel close to me forces me to dig deep, find the strength to endure the scorching heat, the tightness in my back and neck, the weight of it all.
“Okay, come here,” I tell her, bending down to scoop her up, adjusting her in my arms so that that her head rests on my shoulder – if only for a second – and her arms fall around my neck.
Up close, I can see the flecks of green in her hazel eyes, the dimple on her cheek, and the slight gap between her baby teeth. Her breath is warm and smells of syrup and juice, her forehead glistens with sweat, all of her weight rests on my arms. Her body at ease knowing I have the strength to carry her and everything else.
“You’re carrying me, mama?” she asks, her chubby hands messing with my hair.
“I sure am,” I tell her. “I’ll always carry you.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Brynna: A letter to my daughter on her 3rd birthday.

Brynna:

My little firecracker how is it that you are 3 years old? All those early days when I thought the days were long and time was inching along are gone. Now I want time to stand still; I want to go back to the beginning. back to the days before I knew how fast time really does pass by when raising young kids. Because you see,My Brynna, back then as a new parent I did not know how to sit back and just breathe you in. Back then, when it was just you and I huddled on the couch, everything was new. And everything seemed so hard. My mind was consumed with worrying if I was producing enough milk, were you getting enough tummy time, was I holding you too much or not enough?

Then, just like that, you were a toddler. New concerns arose to keep me from cherishing every moment. Were you eating enough, were you hitting your milestones, why were you taking so long to catch on to using the potty, were  you copying my bad behavior and were timeouts working?


And then you turned three. This past weekend we celebrated you my little firecracker, allowing you to pick whatever you wanted to do. No party or extended family. Just the four of us. We spent the day hanging around the house just playing with you. We put clothes on your new doll, listened to Disney Princess music, watched you ride your new bike on the sidewalk and let you pick the lunch menu (Mexican food, of course). After dinner we sang happy birthday and allowed you to eat a big piece of cake.

There will be birthdays when you'll ask your father and me to not be around. Instead you'll ask to celebrate your milestone with friends, a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and others. One day we might not be the first people on your guest list. I realized that the days you ask me and your dad to focus on you, wrap you in our arms and lay on the couch beside you are coming to an end with each passing day.

Now you're 3. And I'm a mom to two girls. A little more experienced, less concerned with what others think but still worried that I may not be doing this parenting thing the right way. Some days are hard and the hours are still long. Some days I want to press a do over button and I anxiously wait for the day to end so I have a moment to myself.

But those are some days. It's everyday that I miss you when I'm at work. Everyday I can't wait to get home to hug you and kiss you and ask about your day. It's every single day that I smile out of no where because I remember a funny thing you said or simply because the sound of your laughter that forever echoes in my mind brings so much joy that I can't even put that feeling into words.

My love for you grows everyday. I need you to understand this because I know that some days I'm not at my best, and you need to know that it has nothing to do with you. Life is hard and stressful, and parents have a lot of worries, responsibilities and stresses weighing on them.

So many times you have seen me upset or sad and you'll sit on my lap and just hug me or tell me I'm beautiful or you've asked if I'm proud of you. It's in those moments that I push all the crap aside and just focus on what's important: you. seeing, really seeing and hearing my daughter. Being present for you.

Brynna, I am so incredibly proud of you. I'm your biggest supporter; your number one fan, always.

Happy third birthday my darling girl, I look forward to this year. The year that I vow to try to really focus on what's important and cherish the days, no matter how difficult. I see you My Brynna, just as you see me.

I love you,

Mom




Brylin: 11 months



* Happy 11 months, My girl! It's almost time to celebrate your birthday, which makes me sad. I can't believe how quickly you are growing up.

Here is what I love about you right now:

* Determination: When you have your mind on something you do it. Trying to redirect you often does not work. For instance, you are all about climbing the stairs and even though we tell you no, which makes you cry, or steer you away from them, you head right back.

* Chatter box: Yup, more words are coming out of that cute little mouth of yours. Oh oh is a new saying as is Brynna, and Mas. You also talk back, which is adorable, to me, your dad and Brynna. Pretty adorable -- for now.

* Climbing up: You are this close to walking. Pulling up on chairs, tables, the sofa and anything really, is a common activity these days. Your face lights up when you realize you pulled yourself up without any help.

* Combing your hair: Yes, you are combing your hair! Of course you do this with a number of things: brushes, spoons, bowls of food and your sister's doll brushes. It's adorable.

* Asking for more: As in "mas," whenever we start tickling you. Oh, and you point at things you want.

Geesh I love you!

Mom

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How I do it

This story was posted on Lose the Cape's site. See it here or read it below.

Moms in general are often asked “How do you do it?” How do you run a household, take care of infants, toddlers or teenager all while holding down a job? Each of us has a different answer, and here is mine: How do I balance work, family, household, chores, responsibilities and personal sanity? This is how:

By emailing the pediatrician about my toddler’s refusal to drink milk while standing in line at Starbucks for a morning coffee.

By laying out my and my daughters clothes the night before school, having the clothing battle with my 2 ½ year old then instead of the next morning – saving precious time.

By tossing a banana and pre-packaged salad into my lunch bag, while cutting heart-shaped cheese and turkey slices for my daughter the night before work and school, double checking she has a fork but constantly forgetting to do the same for myself.

By snapping photos of my daughters playing in the play area directly in view from the kitchen counter where I peel, cut, steam and puree fruits and veggies to freeze for the infant.
By sneaking away to the bathroom where I upload the photos taken throughout the day, stalling for time behind the locked door for the perfect hashtag and caption before pressing post.

By encouraging the toddler to bring out her miniature vacuum to “help” vacuum the living room and play area carpets, then together sweeping the kitchen – her with the mini-broom and me with the adult sized version -- where I follow behind her picking up whatever remnants that floated from the dust pan she carried to the trash can.

By taking photos of checks and depositing them via SmartPhone while pumping in a designated break room in the office; if time allows, snippets of a reality show is watched as the machine whirls in the background.

By sending out an email to the teacher agreeing to make play dough for the class and signing up to provide pumpkin bread to the bake sale while printing an agenda for the upcoming staff meeting.
By calling the terminator, chiropractor and MyGym in between taking bites of a salad and gulps of water during a 30 minute lunch.

By sending out text/facebook message/email to fellow mom pals during a 15 minute afternoon walk in the office parking lot confirming a playdate before going back into the office to edit copy.
By lunging, squatting and lifting in the backyard while the toddler mimics my moves and the infant awaits a yell of “boo!” each time I squat down or lunge back.

By sending out a text to my best friend to finalize plans for dinner while nursing the infant as the toddler jumps on the couch.

By sending out an email to the Bounce House selecting the princess themed jumpy and providing time of drop off for the kids birthday parties while nursing the infant on the opposite side – the toddler is now rolling on the floor.

By loading the girls into the shopping cart at target, stopping for popcorn for the toddler before speed walking from aisle to aisle picking up birthday gifts for the two upcoming parties, a card for a friend’s engagement, rice for the night’s dinner and a pack of underwear – for me.

By having my daughter brush her teeth alongside me, leaving her at the sink to pick out an outfit for tomorrow’s workday.

By reading Pinkalicious to the toddler on her bedroom floor while nursing the infant as my husband feeds the dogs their pills and closes up the house.

By giving the infant to my husband to rock back to sleep as I put the toddler to bed – stuffed animals, three nightlights and a pink blanket – kiss and hug goodnight with promises to check on her through the night.

By taking the infant from my husband, whispering goodnight, laying the infant beside me in the bed where she nurses as I read on the Kindle.

By asking my husband to open the door as I slide off the bed to the infant’s room to lay her down, cussing when her eyes open the second she touches the sheets. Walk back to the room where my husband scoots back the blanket for us to get back in bed.

By walking away from the pile of laundry/to do list/ pile of dishes in the sink and sitting on the floor to play puzzles and peek a boo with the girls, knowing it can all be tackled later.

How do you do it?


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A New Number




This time around, I promised I’d be easier on myself; not focus so much on the what ifs or dwell on the weight gain.

This time I would pamper myself and spend the extra money on the prenatal massage and not be so concerned if I had two cups of coffee or ate a turkey sandwich – without heating the meat.

This time I will remember those first few months of her life rather than focus on what I should be doing and how things should be. I’ll take my time on our daily walks to soak in the moment instead of focusing on what comes next.

As a parent, I understand you eventually have to decide when to stop having babies or stop trying to have a baby. For me, that answer came quicker than anticipated.

***
Before my medical chart read “Unexplained infertility”, I envisioned a large family. Three to four kids with a few pets. I was unaware – or perhaps, reluctant – to admit that I could be a woman who did not conceive easily.

When we finally agreed to start trying for a family the realization that I would not be one of those women to conceive on the first, second, third time became more apparent as the months flew by without even a missed period.

After one year of trying, we sought medical intervention consisting of numerous tests only to have them come out normal. Finally, a doctor confirmed that I was infertile with no known cause. My husband and I found ourselves staring down two pathways: (1) IUI, (2) In Vitro. The thought of not having children was quickly squashed as we both realized how much we wanted children. Not a child but children. We opted for the less invasive procedure and I became an IUI patient.

Undergoing infertility treatments was a lonely time spent wavering between feelings of disappointment and shame. Ashamed to know that I needed help to achieve something that should come naturally.


Getting pregnant with medical assistance can be tedious. There are weekly ultrasounds, daily injections, blood tests and the rush of emotions that run the gamut from optimism to self-loathing.

Finally the day arrives when you find yourself laying on the doctor’s table. After confirming the sperm in the cup is in fact your partner’s, you lay on the table, imaging the pinching you feel is the sperm clinging onto an egg, burrowing into your uterus. Your baby is finally home. For a second you forget that you’re essentially getting impregnated in a cold doctor’s office on the same table where you receive your annual pap smear.

For two weeks you wait. Every bout of nauseous, every cramp, every tender ache of the breast is a sign. A sign that it worked; or that it failed – you failed.

***
During my first pregnancy with my now 2-year-old daughter, everything was analyzed. For me, not being able to conceive naturally morphed into God’s way of telling me that I was not meant to be a mom; my body was not designed to carry a child to term.

My pregnancy was filled with fear. There were days that I’d rush into a bathroom stall, pull down my panties and expect to find blood. Instead of soaking in the moment, I was in a constant state of worry.

It was only when I held my daughter in my arms that those concerns were lifted. My baby girl was beautiful, perfect and for the first time it didn't matter how she was conceived. All that mattered was that she was here.

***

When the time came to decide whether or not to try for another baby my husband once again played the optimist, and I the realist.

“You can get pregnant this time,” he said. “It happens to women all the time after they have a baby.”

As the pessimist, I played my role and made an appointment with the infertility specialist.

“You won’t have a baby without treatment,” the doctor concluded not insensitively but in a not-leaving-room-for-second-guessing manner.

I felt my heart sink in that moment sitting in his office where pictures of his success stories line the wall. That one ounce of hope that I had silently been clinging too quickly dissipated leaving me to fall into that same fog of disappointment that cloaked my first pregnancy.

Not this time. This time will be different.

Two months later, I entered the doctor’s office with the knowledge of what was about to happen and focused on the end result, not so much the fear.

This time around I did not dwell on the weeks of shots, ultrasounds and doctor visits. I did not cry when I had to lie still on the doctor’s table. I did not question whether or not we were meant to have a second baby.

***

“We hug; no handshakes,” explained my doctor after confirming I was pregnant. The hug marked a time to celebrate; the end of treatment.

No more shots. My husband no longer had to sit at the dining room table each night preparing the needle, swirling the powder and liquid together before measuring out the required dose to stimulate my ovaries. No longer would I need to slip in a DVD and slide out from under my daughter’s grasp to sneak into the bathroom where I’d close my eyes and brace myself for the injection that my husband administered daily.

No more questioning if what we were doing was working.

This time upon leaving the doctor’s office, I knew this was it. Despite my vision of having three to four kids, the emotional toll was enough.

***

At 32 weeks pregnant my belly button has popped resembling a pout. My stomach is rounder than anticipated and the kicks are more jabs than flutters.

My evening walks around the neighborhood now consist of pushing my daughter in a stroller and holding conversations about the color of the leaves we walk through the tree-lined streets scoring the ground for pine cones.

As we walk, I feel that jab in my belly. Something it’s a swift move under the rib or a waving sensation throughout my stomach. A reminder that soon my daughter will have a sister, and our family will grow from three to four – a number that will take some getting used to.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Everyday connections with my husband


Headed to market. Need anything?

Bread. French not sourdough, yogurt, Starbucks

Make coffee at home

Just bring me one
Venti

Texting has become the lifeline between me and my husband. At first it was just during work hours when we would tap out sentences to one another between the hours of 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m., keying one another into our daily happenings.

We continue to text each other when we were in separate rooms of the house after our daughters were born, especially when one of the girl’s was asleep in one room while the other was playing quietly in another.

She’s asleep

???

Keep BB quiet. Putting B in crib.

<thumbs up emoji>

Sometimes, on those tough nights when both girls are acting up and all we want to do is throw our hands up and say “forget this!,” we send each other texts of statements that would be too inappropriate to voice in the presence of our girls.

WTF is happening???

I need a beer

Wine. Stat

Those quick comments help to remind us we are on the same team; in this parenting thing together.
Of course, there are also times when our texting conversations are terse if we’re in the throes of an argument:

What do you want from Trader Joes?

Nothing.

Thought you needed to make a market run???

Don’t do me any favors.

Luckily both of us have settled down by the end of the day, having gotten it all out by taking little jabs at each other through text, that the issue can be dropped. And if it’s not, we discuss (or whisper argue) in our bedroom once the girls are in bed.

My favorite texts are the ones sent just because something reminded us of one another: a funny gif of Dave Chapelle, French bulldogs, a picture of one of our daughters being remarkable cute or links to articles of interest.

Oh no, more Gilmore girls! (a text he sent with a link to an article of the show’s revival on Netflix)

YESSSSSS!

Some people may tsk tsk our reliance cell phones and that’s okay. Texting allows us these small snippets of time to reconnect throughout the day or at times when we need it the most.

Can you pick up some bread on the way home???

K

And a Starbucks. Venti. I love you!

Love you too.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Ramping up the blogging

I've been trying to write more on the weekends in hopes of getting some of my work published and the hard work has finally paid off! My first post went live this morning on MomSmack​ and I'm so excited! Here it is:

 http://momsmack.com/5-reasons-we-need-to-appreciate-our-husbands/

Monday, October 19, 2015

Brylin: 10 months & Brynna: 33 months

* Time is moving quickly and I'm struggling to catch up.


Brylin is ...


  • crawling and into everything
  • talking more and more each day. Most of it is Mama, Dada, Nana and a bunch of babble but we are working on her saying Brynna. If you ask "where's mama's Brylin?" She will pat her chest. // heart melting!//
  • still co-sleeping and for the most part I'm still okay with that 




Brynna is ...


  • loving school (Thank God!)
  • sassy as ever, which makes it hard to win sometimes
  • figuring out how to negotiate 
  • Counting down the days until her birthday. Sometimes she wakes up asking if that day is today. 


Sorry for the shortened monthly post but we are too busy visiting pumpkin patches, making ghost pancakes and baking pumpkin bread.

Me

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Brynna: 32 months

* Happy 32 months, Boom Boom!

You are getting that much closer to being three, and your three-ager side is showing.

You've been going to preschool, making new friends, tackling your ABCs, numbers, shapes and cutting!


You surprise us everyday with the things that you say. Here are a few of the lines that had your dad and I rolling with laughter:

  •  Watch your tone, Brylin

  • My back hurts! I need a massage so bad

  • I don't like honey (after you ate half a honey stick)

  • Get out of my sight!

  • Buenos Dias! (to every gardener you see)

  • I'll marry daddy when I'm older (how old would that be?) 3 1/2

  • I'm getting a hot flash (signs you are hanging out with your tias too much)


  • Mommy you're beautiful! (thank you, Boom Boom!) Do you like my complement?


Love you more than you know,
Mom


Brylin: 9 months

* Better late than never! Happy 9 months, My Girl. You're growing everyday, surprising us with all the milestones you're hitting.

Here are the top five things I'm loving about this age:

1. The almost crawl: You're not quite crawling but are super close to it. You can maneuver backwards but have yet to get that forward action.

2. The way you chew: Okay, so you aren't really chewing since you only have two teeth (with the top two coming in) but it's your version of it. The sounds you make when you're "mashing" your food is so incredibly cute. However, when it's not something you're digging you stop mashing and start spitting.

3. So much love for your sister. You face lights up when you hear her voice and you love to watch her do everything ... including use the potty which is kinda strange but still cute.

4. Snuggles: You've started to lean into us as we hold you. It makes letting you go that much harder.

5. Up in the business: You, My Girl, are all about being in the know. You like to be where the action is and know what is going on around you. If I'm playing with your sister in one room and you're in the walker in another room, you will race to where we are, take it all in, and go with the flow. If we are laughing you start to laugh. If your sister is yelling, you chime in. It makes for a loud and chaotic household.

Love you more than you know,

Mom
Epic photobomb

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Brynna: 31 months

* Brynna:

These past few months have been a little difficult for you. Not only did we move to a new house but you started a new school.

We've seen how these changes have affected you as you attempt to fall into your new schedule and get used to your surroundings. As parents we wondered if too many changes were being thrust upon you at once. Will it stress you out? Will you feel like we are trying to get rid of you? Will it be too much?

There have been some setbacks but for the most part you are doing just fine. It's so hard to know that you cry when you're dropped off at school but you come home so happy. Of course, you my little independent girl, don't let us into your world so easily as you share only some parts of your time in school. Hopefully that will change over time and you'll share a little more.

You're still getting used to sleeping in your new room and most nights end up with us. But that's okay. One night you'll stay in your own bed the whole night.

I know you loved your next door neighbors on Nancy Drive but you'll still see them. There are so many kids in our new community and three of them have been over several times just to get to know you. You'll start to feel comfortable with them soon. But until you do, I'll be there to help you all get acquainted.

My Brynna you are growing everyday and learning so much. There have been many meltdowns as you attempt to deal with all these changes and it's hard to see you so sad, frustrated and jealous. But there are so many happy times when you make up silly jokes and songs, run around the house and play make believe.

This month you will take your first plane ride -- another first! When I told you we would be flying in an airplane the first thing you asked was, "will you protect me?"

Always, Brynna. I will always be here to help break your fall, comfort you to the best of my ability and hold your hand when you're scared.

Love you more than you know,

Mom

Brylin: 8 months

* Happy 8 months, My Girl! Here's 8 things I love about you right now:

1. Your concentration: If you spot something that you want then there is no breaking you away from doing what you're doing. Be it ringing the bell on Brynna's bike, flipping the window lock, dumping water onto the floor or eating a cookie.

2. Your ability to play alone: Since we have moved into the new house you have been spending a lot of time exploring as you push from one area to the next in your walker. You like messing with the window locks, emptying out the pockets on the side of the glider, grabbing at your sister's feet when sitting in her high chair and "walking" around.

3. You know how to milk it: When you see me you turn on the fake waterworks, make little pouts or shout Mama until I pick you up. Same goes for Dad. It's hard NOT to pick you up when you're being so incredibly cute.

4. Your love for your sister: Both of you are still learning how to share and you get frustrated with one another but at the end of every interaction both of you are smiling. Brynna loves tickling you, blowing raspberries on your tummy and making you laugh. You enjoy grabbing her face, her hands, her legs and immediately stop what you're doing when you hear her voice.

5. You go with the flow: You are on a nap and feeding schedule but if that schedule is thrown off you deal with it fairly well. The only time you get really fussy is when it's time for a nap.

6. Your hair in the morning: I've never seen such crazy hair. No matter what I do, you always wake up with unruly hair. I love it! Plus, you let me put bows in it.

7. The way you say no: You aren't saying the word just yet but it's easy to tell when you mean no. If you're eating something yo don't like not only will you close your mouth but you will push the spoon away. Same goes with the hair brush, a bottle when I'm around.

8. Those thighs: Need I say more?

Love you more than you know,

Mom



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Brynna: 30 Months

*Brynna, my little firecracker, how can it be that you are inching closer and closer to 3? It seems as though time is moving too fast as I want these young, carefree years to stay longer -- forever.

Admittedly 2 has been a rough age as your father and I navigate the peaks and valleys of your emotions all while trying to balance being disciplinarians and those fun parents that you once ran to for hugs, laughs and, well, everything.

Some days you are all about us: holding our hands and asking us to play games with you, cuddling on the couch or making up funny songs with us. Letting us join you in your world of make believe and imaginary scenes.

Other days you want to be left alone with plenty of space to figure out your own way. Only asking us to step in when you need help or asking us to do things on your terms.

And, if I'm being honest, although I love watching you trying to do so many things on your own, -- it also makes me sad and a little lonely.

Because you see, My Boom Boom, you were my first. You made me a mom. Before you, my free time consisted ofwith watching TV, writing, relaxing, shopping; that all changed when you came along as those free hours were immediately  been filled with everything Brynna. And I don't know how to fill those spaces of time as you pull away from me.

Yes, I have your sister, but our time -- yours and mine -- still stands. I got used to those afternoons spending time at the park, or reading to you at the library, painting outside or playing tea party wearing princess crowns.

Now, you want to play pretend with your dolls, replacing me with one of the princesses. You enjoy the park with other kids -- quickly making friends once we get there, leaving me to watch on the sidelines. Now I'm left reminiscing how I was once your favorite playmate.

But oh how you thrive on your own.

At 2 1/2 years old, you can hold a conversation, are potty trained, stand up for yourself -- and your sister -- and speak your mind. You love making new friends, dressing up, dancing and making up funny songs.

You can be relentless at times and are very strong willed. Something that makes me proud -- but a little frustrated as you constantly push back and push boundaries.

This age is a windstorm of emotions, highs and lows, tears and smiles -- and we are along for the ride.

And so we ride those waves with you.

And so here I wait, as an observer. Always ready and willing to follow your lead, play on your terms, hug, jump, run, cuddle, or simply hold you when needed.

You will always be one of my favorite people.

Love you more than you know,

Mom




Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Brylin: 7 months

* My Girl you are 7 months! I can't believe how quickly you are growing. Here's 7 things I love about you right now:

1. Your smile especially not that you have a (sharp!) tiny tooth. It's just so cute! A second one is coming in any day now.

2. The way you reach for me. You love being held by your Nana, Dada and Tia Becky but absolutely love spending time with your Mama and it shows as you lean toward me with one arm extended anytime I come close to you.

3. How you take your time. You did not officially roll over until 6 1/2 months, which freaked me out. The first time you rolled over I had my back to you as I filed a story. It took a lot of prodding to get you to do it again. Those moments help me realize you're on your own schedule -- not mine.

4. Your disposition is overall happy and laid back BUT you do have your moments of frustration and fussiness. Specially when we try to leave you in the walker or jumper as we eat. Nope, not having it. You thrive on interaction and I love seeing your attitude develop.

5. Snuggles. You're all about grabbing faces, open mouth kisses, and pulling people close to you. Your sister is starting to warm up to your little hugs and tends to pat you on the head, which you don't seem to mind.

6. Your voice is something that can be heard throughout the house these days as you test out your vocal range. If your sister yells, you yell. If everyone is talking then you throw in your 2 cents. Dada is still your word of choice but you mirror my mouth when I say Mama.

7. Your focus is amazing. You will not take your eyes off something that you want, whether it's the remote control, Brynna's Anna doll (still working on sharing), or Mom's coffee -- you are persistent! last week you focused on my hands as they demonstrated how to clap and wave -- a few days later you succeeded in doing the same!

We love watching you grow, My Girl.

Love you more than you know,

Mom


Monday, July 20, 2015

Sorrynotsorry

I owe several moms  an apology. 

I'm sorry to all those moms who I've watched drag their toddlers out of the store kicking and screaming. And I must apologize to the parent who has let their child cry it out in a busy restaurant.

I'm so So SO sorry.

I'm sorry for judging you and thinking I could handle the situation a whole lot better.

I'm sorry for being annoyed by you for not taking your kid home so that I could enjoy my meal.

I'm sorry for not allowing you to get in line first although I was kid-free with a few items and you had your cart and hands full with a crying toddler and whiny tween.

I'm sorry.

Because now I understand that it's not that your child was a brat, or being raised improperly ('cause really who is anyone to judge others parenting ways), or was spoiled.


Now I get that kids are driven by crazy-wild emotions that surge through their tiny bodies and explode in rages over the smallest things, or pour out through cries, tears or talking back.

It wasn't your fault they were upset. Most likely it was because it was too hot, they didn't want to wear pants, someone looked at them wrong, the sky was blue!

With two under the age of two, I see that as much as I try to reign in my toddler's emotions sometimes I just can't. They are little people with big feelings that they are still learning how to control. Sometimes they can and sometimes they can't.

Now I understand that sometimes the only way to eat in a restaurant after failing to settle them down or divert their attention  is to ignore some rude behaviors because if you give in to every cry it feels as if you are taking 10 steps back. So you stay and eat all the while praying and hoping that this too shall pass and your wonderful, sweet baby girl will reappear.

Now I say let others stare and throw shade your way because, really, who cares. They don't know that this is your first meal of the day or just how trying your morning has been. They don't remember what is was like to have a toddler -- they repressed those not-so-fun moments.

I'm sorry for thinking "poor kid" after hearing a mom raise her voice in the toy aisle at Target.

Um, no. Now it's more like "poor mom."

I understand how difficult practicing patience can be as you constantly talk to yourself to handle the situation calmly and really listen before setting down ground rules, offering an ultimatum or losing your shit.

I'm sorry.

But I can tell you what I'm not sorry for: constantly apologizing for a toddler's behavior. So to that mom who gave me the side eye in the food line at Legoland this past weekend when I scolded my daughter  -- in public -- with threats that not only would she not have a juice box, but would not be watching Smurfs because she refused to stop running through my legs as I juggled holding the infant, paying for food and keeping her close by, please remember we all have those days when we are at our wits end.

And, no, I won't apologize for making your wait in line that much more miserable because my little girl has yet to master patience.

So to all those mamas out there in the midst of all this crazy toddler Jekyll and Hyde behavior -- I'm on your side! And for those who have been there and made it through -- kudos for getting out of it with grace and plenty of stories to hold over their heads for the rest of their lives!

Me







Monday, June 22, 2015

What I love about Brynna: 2 years 7 months

* As a working mom, I admit that the last thing I want to come home to is a bad attitude. I have to keep mine in check all day dealing with rude callers or those who simply didn't like the way a story was covered. Lately my growing girl has been all attitude.  (Luckily I have Brylin whose face lights up when she sees me and is ready for hugs. ) Brynna is entering her independent phase where everything is an argument, a struggle and requires negotiation. Some days she loves me; others not so much. I have to remind myself that this is all part of gorwing up. But man does it hurt sometimes.

What I love about Brynna right now -- 2 years 7 months

Diapers no more! It took a little bit, but once you put your mind to it, you conquered potty training. Thank you !

Talking back: Okay, so I have a love-hate relationship with your sassy side but I also love how strong willed you can be. If another kid tries to boss you you let them know you’re not having it. But the same goes for your dad and I. The other day you told us “I’m gonna do what I want, “ (which resulted in a time out) taking us completely off guard. You’re pushing boundaries to learn what you can and can’t get away with. It’s tough but I know it’s all part of your journey. I just have to remember to breathe.

Humor: Oh my gosh are you hilarious. The things you pull out of nowhere amaze us. Our household is filled with so much laughter now thanks to you. Whether it’s running after the dogs, playing hide-and-seek or having hilarious conversations and making up silly songs, you, my Boom Boom, keep out hearts light.


Fashionista: Princess dresses, tutus, jewelry, fake tattoos, braids and high heels are so your thing right now. You comment on my clothes, try on my shoes and ask for specific shoes to wear with your outfits. Of course it can be a bit daunting when I have a certain outfit in mind, but some battles are not worth fighting. Especially when you do such a great job putting outfits together.

Learning: You LOVE to read. “Read the words to me, Mama,” has become one of my favorite lines to hear from you as you place a book onto my lap and curl up beside me. If only we can read for hours. You love books and learning new words, shapes and characters. You ask why a lot and actually listen to the answers – when the topic is something you take an interest in.

Your Laugh: It rings through the house when you are playing in your playroom, bouncing off the walls as your dad chases you during a game of tag; echoes in the backyard when Beans and Porkchop are licking your hands and warms my heart when you are sharing a laugh with your  sister. Over what? I have no idea. It’s like you two have your own inside jokes.

You: Always you. Even when you’re driving me nuts, you are so much to me.

Love you more than you know,


Mom

Monday, June 15, 2015

Brylin: 6 months

* Happy 6 months, Bry Bry! I can't believe how quickly time is passing; it seems like you're learning something new everyday.

Food: You started eating solids a few weeks ago (you couldn't wait the recommended 6 month start date) and absolutely loved your first taste of Avocado. So far, you have eaten -- and loved -- avocado, banana, sweet potato, pear and apple. You get supper upset when the spoon is empty.

Hand/Eye Coordination: Okay, so you have yet to master total control of your hands but you're working on it. You love grabbing Sophie and crewing on her; same with Blobby. Grabbing hair, necklaces and any toy of Brynna's within your reach.

Rolling over: Not yet. But you do lay on your side then flop back onto your back. You do love the bouncer, though.


What I love about you right now: 

  • The way you start "talking" and kicking when I get home from work (of course it's because you know your'e about to nurse but still, I'll take it!)
  • The way you grab my face and give me a little kiss -- most of the time you lick my nose but it's still cute.
  • That you're a morning person. Your smile is the first thing I see in the morning since you've been sleeping in our bed instead of the crib.
  • Your appetite. You're keeping me in shape :)
  • The way you react to your sister. If she's laughing; you're laughing. If she is sitting next to you, then you try to grab her or watch everything she does. Your loved for one another is coming out in such subtle ways and it makes think that maybe having two under the age of 2 wasn't such a bad idea. But you do start to cry when she cries, so that can be tough.
  • Your smile and laugh are so beautiful. I can't stand how amazing you are. 
  • That hair is out of control, My Girl. No matter how many ways I comb it, it always ends up sticking up. 
  • Being able to hug, snuggle and kiss you over and over again. Now that Brynna is hitting that Three-ager phase, I'm realizing the importance of taking every cuddle and kiss that I can get. 
  • Is it terrible to say that I like that you aren't mobile just yet? Cause I am. I love that I can set you down and know that I can find you in that same place 5 minutes later. I love that you can't run away from me or climb anything ... yet. 


I love you so much that it almost makes me want another baby. Almost

Me




What did you just say?

* Brynna has become such a chatterbox these past few months that it seems like the only time she isn't talking is when she's asleep -- or zoned out watching Tangled.

There are some phrases I rather she not say outside the home.

With two dogs who are always, always tooting, it's pretty common to hear one of us complaining about them. But without this information the next two comments make it seem as if Alex and I have a major problem.

"I ran away from the fart"

"You're making the family room stink"

And this one:

"Oh a flea! It dumped!" D = J so the flea jumped, not dumped. And no, we don't live in a house surrounded by fleas.

There are a lot of "whys" thrown out throughout the day. As in, "Why do I have to do that?" or when I explain that she can't simply take something from a store without paying for it, "Why do we have to do that?" (No idea why it's we in this scenario since she isn't bringing in any money). Or "Why did you do (say) that?" when I say no to jumping on the couch or eating something off the floor.

I do the best that I can to be patient and provide what I think are insightful responses but by the fifth or sixth time of trying to pull something out of my brain that makes any sense, I'm out of ideas. And out of patience. So I'm sorry, Bryn, that at these moments I usually respond with "Brynna, please don't ask me again because I don't know what to say."

So many of her retorts are so funny that it takes everything in me to not laugh. especially since the majority of them come when I'm trying to discipline her.

Me: "You have a choice: either give me the princess pen now and you can use it later or continue to draw on your arm and I'll take it away for the whole day."
Brynna: "I'll take the pen to my room."
Me: "Wait, what? That wasn't an option."


Me: "Brynna what are you doing?"
Brynna: "I'm just acting so crazy!"


Me: "Brynna, I'm running out of patience with you, please stop talking back."
Brynna: "You need to take a moment."


And she tends to blow my cover:

Brynna acting like a princess. 
Me: "Brynna and I have to run an errand."
Brynna: "Are we going to Starbucks?"
Me: "Brynna!"


Alex: How much did it cost? 
Brynna: "20 bucks" -- her answer to anything related to costs.


Alex: "Brynna, what did mom order?"
Brynna: "Macchiato, nonfat milk."
Alex: "What size: tall, grande or venti?"
Brynna: "Venti."

And my favorite:

Brynna: "Mama you're beautiful. I love your hair."
Me: "Thank you, Boom Boom, I love you so much."
Brynna: "Oh, can I have some of your Luna Bar/ cookie/ Banana etc."


To be continued ...



Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brylin: 4 months

Happy 4 months my sweet girl! So sorry that I have not been keeping up with all your milestones but you have to understand you and your sister keep me extremely busy. But, I promise to be better at documenting your doings and growth from this point forward. Same promise goes to Brynna, who filled my blog posts almost weekly.  But back to you, my sweet girl.




At 4 months you are:

Smiling at anyone who talks to you.

Recognizing your sister, mom and dad. If your sister cries, you cry. When you hear mom's voice you look for her.

Attempting to sit up on your own. Almost there.

Jumping in the jumper and on our laps.

Figuring out what your hands are for and grabbing your feet. You've also started to suck your thumb.

Laughing when we make funny faces, sing to you or smell your feet. You also love raspberries on your belly and when we pretend to sneeze.

Eyeing any and all food. I think you may be ready to try solids but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that. Because, you see, it means your'e growing up.

Sleeping through the night!

Constantly reminding me of how awesome and fleeting the infant stage is. I understand how quickly days of wanting me to hold you, be near you, constant hugs and hand holding changes to days when you fight for your independence. For this reason I will soak up these memories and try to stay in the moment as long as I can.

Love you always,  my sweet girl.

Mom