"I love you and want for you all things that make you happiest; and I guess you, not I, are the one who knows best what those things are."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Successes In Every Way

It's been a great week.  We've been busy celebrating the Christmas season and are excited for the new year to roll around.   Thanks to Danielle Bean over at Faith and Family Live! I'm taking one last chance to identify my successes in 2010.

1.  This week we pulled off a successful Christmas complete with 5 celebrations and two relatively happy boys for all of them.  We were able to celebrate with the Seka side of the family on Christmas Eve morning, the Rekowski side of the family on Christmas Eve in the evening, we opened presents over Skype on Christmas morning with the Garcia's, enjoyed Christmas afternoon at my parent's house, and topped it off with the Lou Juan Hills Christmas on Monday night.  Needless to say - I don't know where we're going to put it all.  Is it unreasonable to ask our landlord to build an addition because our children have too many toys?  (Maybe we should do some purging first)

2.  I got two cavities filled.  OK---the success here is not that I have the cavities, but that I finally bit the bullet, went to the dentist and then went back a week later to get the cavities filled.  Maybe if I didn't wait 2 1/2 years between dentist appointments I wouldn't need that second trip? 

3.  We've been working with John's therapists this past week to get everything in order for his annual review by the state.  His need for occupational therapy seems to be diminishing so we're hopeful we can trim it down to once a week.  However, we've encountered some bumps in the road with his speech needs (more elaboration once we have more information) so it looks like we'll be keeping that at twice a week for now.  John will have a few more progress reviews in the upcoming months, but this will be his last services/needs review before he graduates from the program on his 3rd birthday.  That being said - we're looking to the future and trying to figure out how best to navigate the transition from Child & Family Connections to our local school district with a child that needs a little extra help.
I feel like it's been a successful week!  What about you?  Share your successes!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pardon My Absence

It's been a LONG time since I've been on the blog!  Wow!  Over a month...the holidays do that to us.  But let's bring the world up to date on our accomplishments over this past month.

We spent Thanksgiving in San Antonio with Matt's family.  It was a busy couple days surrounding Thanksgiving this year.  We celebrating "baby" Lizzy's 9th birthday, Grandpa Warren's 89th birthday, Chris and Stephanie's engagement, Thanksgiving, and Nathan's Baptism!  Whew!!!

John had a blast spending time with his paternal grandparents and extended family.  In fact, he cried when we got in the car to go to dinner without "baby" Lizzy - even though she was meeting us at the restaurant!  He also cried when Grandpa left for work one morning.  John missed his friends!  And it was great for Nathan to get to meet so many of his family members for the first time.  Since not many people were able to come visit us after Nathan's birth this was his first introduction to both sets of his great-grandparents, all his great-aunts and uncles, and all his distant cousins.  We quizzed him on everyone's name after the trip but he wouldn't let on if he knew them or not....

Nathan's baptism was everything we expected!  Father Charlie continues to be a great friend to our family.  I honestly don't know what we would do without him.  The ceremony was great, his company was wonderful and we were excited that he agreed to perform Chris and Stephanie's wedding this upcoming May as well as Lizzy and Charles' wedding the following year.  And he should be coming to visit us in February!  He is such a blessing!

Christmas was wonderful this year!  John's at the perfect age.  The speed at which we were being asked to open and construct presents was overwhelming to say the least.  Santa brought him two 'big' toys this year....a kitchen and a workbench.  He thoroughly loves both and plays with them everyday.  Nathan had a equally 'big' first Christmas courtesy of his two sets of grandparents.  He received his big boy car seat and a giant bouncer that takes up a large chunk of space in our living room.

We were able to celebrate Christmas 5 times this year (Seka's, Rekowski's, at home, Grandparents Rekowski and The Hill).  I afraid John will think that Christmas lasts weeks on end and that every day you should get to wake up and open a new present!

Needless to say, we've been super busy around here!  Nathan had his 6 month check up and passed with flying colors.  He continues to be off the charts on height and a little on the chunky side for weight.  The doctor continues to tell us he can eat as much as he wants (which may result in me going back to work if we're going to be able to afford all his baby food!) and he's mastered Gerber puffs and Cheerios now.

Pictures of all of the above will follow soon - I promise!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Doing It All

As the week has progressed I've found that my motivation to get things done has not really been there.  Toys have remained on the floor at night after the kids have gone to bed.  Washed clothes have remain in the laundry basket.  The couch has been covered in miscellaneous household items all week, leaving only enough room for me to nurse Nathan.  Frankly, Matt being gone so much the last few weeks is wearing on me.  By the time the boys crash for the night - all I want to do is become a vegetable in front of the TV.  While my successes are small...they are no less real this week.  Here's what we've accomplished:

1.  I did some of my first Christmas shopping this week!  I've placed one online order to Bronner's so I can check one Santa gift off Nathan's list and mark both of John's therapists as completed.  Plus, a trip to Walmart, Aldi, and Office Max yesterday generated 4 gifts for John.  One from Santa, one from Mom & Dad, one from the grandparents, and one from Aunt Megan (I picked up the grandparents one since I was there and we grabbed the one from Aunt Megan to save her the shipping costs from New York).

2.  I finally mailed Nathan's baptism announcements.  It's not like those who are invited don't know about it.  It's more of a formality at this point.  Last week I went to Hallmark looking for invites, but they were out of the only baptism invite they carry.  So I drove the Our Lady of the Snows Shrine to pick some up on Friday - but apparently they don't carry baptism announcements.  I find this extremely odd!  However, John enjoyed playing on the playground equipment so the trip wasn't a waste by any means.  Finally we commissioned Megan to design them for us...we didn't have the time to get them printed professionally, but we sent the JPEG to Walgreens and they look good!  Thanks Megs!

3.  I'm committed to getting the house cleaned today!  I think this should count as a success.  Mark my word - by the time my husband arrives home late tonight this place will be clean and possibly even decorated for Christmas (yes, I'm skipping Thanksgiving all together ---- we're going to be in San Antonio for the last 10 days of the month and since it's already the 11th that would only leave 8 days to enjoy the Thanksgiving decorations.)


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Success In The Things Not Done

Earlier this week I managed to lock up my neck which resulted in me not being able to straighten my head over my shoulders or look towards the right at all.  Matt is out of town again (Kentucky this time) so it was just me and the boys.  After several trips to the chiropractor and some help from my parents with the kids - I'm glad to report that I'm doing better.  There is still a long road ahead I think....

1.  I spent the greater part of 2 or 3 days laying on my back with my neck draped over a towel and an ice pack on my shoulders.  Easier said than done with a two year old and a nursing baby!

2.  The house is a mess.  Meals have been made, but dishes remain in the sink.  Laundry has been done, but clothes are still in the baskets unfolded.  I think a load  may still be in the dryer.  (The success here is that I've managed to resist the urge to get up and resolve all these issues which isn't really easy for a type A personality like me)

3.  With my back and neck really bothering me, I've enforced a hard and fast "no toddlers are allowed to sleep in mommy's bed" rule.  Despite some tears and a few middle of the night wailing sessions to display his dislike for this newly enforced rule, John has done just fine. (It will be a new success if I manage to keep enforcing this rule as my body heals)

Check out other (probably more successful) moms over at Faith and Family Live!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Successful Stories

Danielle Bean, from Faith and Family Live!,  reminds us to find the small successes each week.  According to her it's the small successes that add up to one big triumph.

1.  I had a bad day.  But I bounced back!

2.  Yesterday I had successfully completed John's OT, been to the UPS Store to ship a package, stopped by my parent's house to pick up some leftover chili, deposited a check at the bank, filled up the gas tank, ate lunch with my dad at Red Robin, washed, dried and folded 3 loads of laundry, ironed the clothes that needed it, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher....all before the boys' 1pm nap!  (Unfortunately the afternoon did not prove to be nearly as productive.)

3.  Even with Matthew gone, I've managed to stay on board with feeding Nathan solid food 3 times a day.  I know, I know...feeding one's children is a necessity!   But Nathan is only 4 months old and could easily survive with just nursing.  However, he's growing soo fast that the doctor thinks he would benefit from starting solid foods earlier than 6 months.  (Keep in mind that when John started solid foods it took me nearly 6 weeks to get into feeding him!  He only got solids if Matt was home to feed him - otherwise he was a formula baby)

What have your successes been this week?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Confessions of a Not So Perfect Mommy

When my husband is not home I consider blue box mac and cheese, a hot dog, and a side of fruit a well-balanced meal for me and the kiddos. (The fruit is what does it!)

My kids have had candy, coffee, and soda all before their first birthday.

There are many days in the week when I find myself dreaming of a long hot shower...but get excited if I wash my hair in the bathroom sink.

I don't brush my children's teeth twice a day.  John chews on his toothbrush at least once a day and Nathan doesn't have teeth yet. 

I put rice cereal in my baby's bottle just in case the pediatrician is wrong and it does help him sleep through the night :)

My oldest has bed head all day, every day.  His curly hair is untamable by a comb - so why try?

Sometimes I frantically straighten up the house right before my husband gets home from a trip just so he doesn't know I didn't clean a lick all week.

I don't get up an hour before my kids so I can get things done in peace and quiet.  I don't get up so I can drink a cup of coffee before they rise.  Heck - I don't get up until Nathan cries or John crawls in my bed.

I think the TV makes a perfectly acceptable babysitter assuming I'm somewhere else in the house.

I own a baby monitor (a fancy one with a night vision camera) but I rarely turn it on.  If my kids need me they'll cry or yell loud enough that I hear them in the next room.

I enjoy my kids immensely, but mommy-alone-time is non-negotiable.

Nathan's thumb sucking doesn't bother me.  In fact, I encourage it.  Gotta love a kid who can self-soothe.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mother Superior?

It's amazing how a little insensitive comment can become embedded in your brain forever. Why do so many mothers have the need to feel superior over other mothers?  I just don't understand this!  I honestly and humbly believe that each of us (myself included) is doing the best we can on any given day with our children.  Some days are better than others.  I know that I'm not perfect.  But I think that besides football, parenting is another place where (just sometimes) Hail Mary passes work.

Shortly after moving to Illinois another mother offered John some Goldfish crackers when he was getting fussy in his stroller during a walk.  I gratefully accepted while commenting that he had never had Goldfish before.  After eating 2-3 he started gagging on one.  A third mother smugly said, "I didn't think he'd be able to handle those.  I never gave them to my daughters until they were much older and better at chewing than he is."  Thanks! 

I never thought that comment was necessary (clearly I figured out that my son hadn't mastered chewing well enough to eat Goldfish) and it hurt my pride.  Here were a few ladies with young children who I was reaching out to befriend and my parenting skills were under siege and shot down.  I've become friends with the woman as time has passed and she is much more laid back than my first interaction with her leads one to believe.  But it never changes the fact that I often wonder if she is critiquing me behind my back.

So jump forward to today...I attended a Halloween parade at a nursing home with both boys.  John, being shy, wanted to be carried through most of the parade and Nathan, being too little to walk, was carried the whole time.  Towards the end of the parade one of the nurses at the home offered to carry Nathan so I could tend to John.  I was extremely grateful for the offer and took her up on it immediately.  Then I overheard another mom comment, "Why would you bother bringing two kids who don't want candy and don't want to walk through the halls to a Halloween parade?  It's just silly to me." 

I don't think this woman knows I overheard her and I didn't respond at the moment (and probably won't in the future although our paths will continue to cross).  But for the sake of my sanity - let me respond here:

I brought my sons to the Halloween parade at Eden Village today because I wanted to make the nursing home residents smile.  It wasn't about the candy.  It wasn't about the costumes.  Surprise!  It wasn't (and still isn't) about me or my boys!  I'm blessed with two wonderful boys who have parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and family who love them dearly.  The nursing home is filled with people who rarely get a glimpse of a new baby.  They don't get to see a toddler glow with excitement when someone waves to him.  Some never have visitors and surely won't get to see a 4 month old Cookie Monster and 2 year old Shrek again any time soon.  I came to the nursing home to spread some cheer and joy.  It's as simple as that!

The group of trick-or-treaters went out to lunch together after the parade.  I didn't have it in me.  The boys and I headed to the grocery store.  Nathan became inconsolable; John was fussy.  After plenty of ear piercing screams by Nathan I sat down in the middle of an aisle and nursed him while fighting back my own tears.  Clearly the mother at the nursing home was right - I couldn't handle both boys!  John whined cause we had stopped.  With that an older woman stopped, assisted John with the buckle on his seat belt, patted me on the shoulder and said, "We've all been there.  Don't take it so hard."  She walked on. 

After Nathan finished nursing I put him back in his carseat to another round of deafening cries.  About 2/3 of the way down the next aisle I picked him back up and attempted to steer the shopping cart/car combo with one hand.  Another woman asked "Could I carry him for you for a few minutes?  Then you'd have a free hand to shop with and could better steer the cart?"  She followed me with Nathan in her arms to the dental floss and then to grab some hoagie rolls and a loaf of bread.  I took Nathan back and we headed to the check out. 

I left the nursing home with a bitter taste in my mouth.  Why did this woman who I know and see on a regular basis need to put me down?  I suspect it makes her feel just a little more put together and a tiny bit superior to me. 

I left the grocery store exhausted and a little embarassed.  Why did these two women who I've never met before stop to help an obviously distressed mother?  My guess is that they were angels sent down from heaven to remind me that it's not what we do for ourselves, but what we do for others that make us who we are. 

I'm not perfect.  In fact, I know I'm pretty far away from it.  That's why I'm counting on a Hail Mary pass. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Personal Restoration

A good week so far!  Matt is on the road in Lincoln, NE.  It's just me and the kiddos again.  So here's a little glimpse into my week...

1.  A few nights ago I went to a party without the kids.  (Thanks Mom & Dad for babysitting!)  It was a girls night in.  Twelve ladies who girl talked, giggled, laughed, snacked, and gossiped the night away.  Much needed time for this momma who has been tending to the kids alone for the last few weeks and will be continue that trend in the weeks to come. 

2.  I spent yesterday evening with a friend whose husband is also out of town.  The kids played, we chatted, dinner was served and pumpkin pie was consumed.  A good night with a good friend.  More of these nights are needed!

3.  I started a novena last week.  Today is day 8 and St. Jude has really stepped up to the plate.  I questioned whether it was silly to pray a novena for such a seemingly trivial issue.  God answered both my question and my prayer that first night.  (He IS pretty amazing.)  St. Jude please continue to intercede on my behalf!

Bonus 4.  I got my flu shot.  Just another thing off the never ending to-do list.  :)

All in all, it's been a week of personal restoration for me.  I've dedicated some time for myself amidst the craziness of being a single mom while Matt travels for work.  I've focused a little more of my time on prayer and found that it really does relax me and make me a better mother.  I've taken care of myself and it feels good (even if the shot hurt a little).  I'd say the whole week has been a success!

Check out other great successes over at Faith & Family Live!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Growth Spurts

John & Nathan both visited the pediatrician today.  It's hard to believe that John had his 2 year check up and completed his vaccines (only flu shots until he starts Kindergarten). Nathan had his 4 month exam and got the go ahead for cereal, fruits & veggies!  Both boys are clearly going through a growth spurt right now according to the pediatrician.

So the stats/updates for our two team players are:

John is now 29 lbs (65%) and 34.5 inches tall (65%).  That means the prediction for John's adult height is 5'10.  Check back with us in 20 years or so and we'll let you know if Dr. Herman was right.  In typical fashion, we can't take John to a doctor's office without running into some caveat...so I'm mournfully reporting that John's ear tubes are clogged again.  There doesn't seem to be any signs of infection, but there also is no way for fluid to drain out of his ears and he's crazy congested right now.  Back to ear drops!

Nathan weighs in at 17.5 lbs (75%) and 27 inches (97%).  While his weight gain has slowed a little, he's outgrowing his pants in length.  Dr. Herman claims that Nathan is teething, but also says we  probably won't see any fruits of this labor until about 6 months.  In the meantime, 3 meals a day of cereal, fruits, and/or veggies.  As much as he wants!  :)  That ought to get the weight right back in line with the height.  We were informed that he is now officially "too tall" for the baby car seat.  So I guess we'll need to evaluate that in the very near future.

My babies need to stop growing!  I now know what my mom was thinking when she would tell us she wanted to "put a brick on our heads."  *sigh*

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Man I Fell In Love With

I'm reminded constantly how wonderful the man I fell in love with really is.  I know that I'm blessed to have someone who stands by my side, pushes me to be better, lets me cry on his shoulder and loves me completely even with my faults. 

Matt has always wanted the best for me.  He's far less selfish than I am in this regard.  I can think of many, many times when he pushed me to pursue things I would have let go otherwise.  A great instance: graduate school.

What He Said: "Go to Western.  It's what you really want; it's the perfect school for you"

What I Heard: "I don't want to live within 5 states of you"

What I Wanted To Do: Go to school somewhere significantly closer to where he was going to live...and no, I didn't know where that was or if I would be anywhere near a student affairs program.

What He Wanted Me To Do: Go to the best school and get the best education in my field.  Build a great resume and network of professionals that would help me in the future.

This is just one example of where our communication has fallen a little short.  It's not that we don't love each other dearly - and we're in it for the long haul - but sometimes what one says gets very skewed by the time the other one hears it.  I never expect him to read my mind, but I know I'm guilty of not saying things outright and hoping he'll come around on his own.  You would think that after all the counseling based classes I took in grad school this communication thing would be less of a problem. 

It seems like we're always looking for ways to improve our communication. Verbally - yes, physically - yes, emotionally - yes.  So how does a couple go about doing that? I guess knowing that you need to work on it is a step in the right direction.

Turning 2

Turning 2 must be even more exciting than turning 1.  Yes, the 1st birthday gets all the glory - but let's be honest....they don't care about the presents, the people or, in my son's case, the cake.  I think the 1st birthday is a party celebrating Mom and Dad's ability to survive a whole year with a baby. 

The 2nd birthday was good to John.  I swear the family was against us this year with presents!  When it came to family - nothing was smaller than a bread box...in fact, most of it wasn't smaller than a whole kitchen.  John got a giant crawl-through tunnel that takes up the whole living room, a swing set complete with attached trampoline, and a twin size race car bed.  The rest of the booty included lots of playdough, color wonder stuff, books, trucks, and movies.

For those who couldn't attend...here's a few snapshots of John's special days (yes, that's plural...his birthday managed to last almost a whole week!)


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Check It Off The List

It has been a busy week around the Garcia household. Dad has been home all week which means a lot more gets done around the house, because I have a second set of hands in the evenings. 

1.  We've done (most of) John's occupational therapy homework.  We've played with the thera-putty even though John really, really dislikes the feel of it.  We've used the brush every evening (not every two waking hours).  I made some pudding finger paint that we played with as a family on Tuesday night for dessert.  We haven't been drawing with sidewalk chalk and we're not getting him all the sensory stimulation that he probably needs, but we're new to this - so the effort we're putting in should count for something.

2.  I spent an hour last night talking to a friend who I haven't kept up with the way I should.  He was a major piece of my support system in graduate school, a colleague during my summer internship, a shoulder to cry on numerous times, and my voice of reason the only time in my life I've been "hopping" mad.  We only talk every 6 or 8 months.  I'm guilty of letting his call go to voicemail because I'm tending to other things and then not calling him back.  Yet, he hasn't given up on me.  I always feel great after I get off the phone with him. Our lives have taken decidedly different paths since grad school.  He's working full time at a college with fraternity and sorority kids - I've gotten married, had two kids and stay at home.  Still we love chatting and hearing what each other is up to on a day to day basis. That's what friends are for...to make you feel better about yourself.  What a blessing!

3.  I haven't panicked, raced to the ER or called the doctors office despite the fact that my oldest was literally tripping over himself yesterday.  In the past 24 hours he has scraped up both his knees and both elbows on the sidewalk, fallen out of bed during his nap giving him a knot over his left eye that is turning black as I type, and slipped out of the shower crashing down on his head creating a half-dollar size black knot instantaneously.  Instead, I've kissed boo boos, iced with frozen vegetables, dabbed neosporin, and watched for dilated pupils. Then, for good measure - we tucked him into bed with a dose of tylenol.  We'll see what today brings.

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Own Therapy

One of John's favorite pastimes since we've moved into the rental house is to sit in the neighbor's backyard and watch the cars on the highway drive past.  We sit on the bank, count cars, wave to motorcycles, and say "vrrrmmm, vrrrmmm."  He LOVES it!  I, on the other hand, have never been much into cars.  Unlike his father, I can't identify the makes and models as the cars pass by and I will never know how many cylinders are in the engine of any car based on the sounds it makes as it leaves the stoplight by our house. 

Yet, I have grown to love the time we spend watching the cars.  Why?  Because I spend that time weeding the neighbors landscaping.  Weird, right?  The bed next to where we sit has become long overgrown.  It was clearly put in to make the neighborhood look nice from the street in front.  The plants, mostly greenery, are still in great shape, but weeds have overtaken the area. 

I like to think that my weeding the bed is a subtle way of saying thank you to our neighbors for letting us sit in their yard a few afternoons a week.  More importantly, I find the weeding extremely therapeutic for some reason.  The process of deciding something is weed-ish and yanking it out of the ground is most enjoyable.  I believe it gives me a sense of control in a life that is often controlled by toddler naps, nursing babies, and husband travel schedules.  I love that every time I walk away from that bed, it looks just a little bit better. 

I'm not sure the neighbors even notice us sitting at the edge of their yard.  I doubt seriously they realize the bed is being weeded.  They have a lawn service that cuts their grass so I don't even think they even notice the weeds laying in the yard waiting to be run over by the lawn mower.  The cars driving by probably don't even see the bed.  (I've lived in this area for nearly 20 years and never noticed it until I was looking at  moving into the house next door.)  Yet, we sit there.  It's become my own therapy session a couple times a week.  John watches the cars, I weed the bed, and Nathan - well, he just hangs out with us.

So, if your looking for my therapist's office, it's the space closest to the weed free area of my neighbor's landscaping.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Count It All

It's been one of those weeks!  A lack of sleep, lack of husband, and lack of activities planned has resulted in me having a lack of patience and certainly a lack of charitable thoughts towards my children.  Nathan has gone back to waking up every couple hours to nurse and John is still waking up at least once a night.  I'm staying up too late trying to do things around the house.  As a result, the longest stretch that my boys sleep (roughly 8pm to 1am) is only getting me about an hour of sleep. *sigh*

So I'm searching for the small successes this week...and searching is what it's taking.

1.  John started occupational therapy this week.  We had to adjust his naptime on Tuesday to accomodate it, but we're hopeful that we can move the appointment to a more appropriate time in the future.   Right now it was just important to get the OT started.  John did well!  He loved playing in Ms. Diane's tunnel and did stick his hand in some finger paint - although I think he was trying to wipe his find off on the paper as opposed to actually finger painting.  Ms. Diane also taught me a brushing technique to use with John up to every two hours.  I'm not sure I notice a difference in his behavior because of it, but I know he likes it...mostly because about every 3 hours or so he brings me the brush and brushes his own arm with it.

2.  A bunch of phone calls that were on my to-do lists are no longer on the list!  This includes Sam's Club, a doctor's office, a bank, and the repair shop.  Now I can pre-order my Sam's Club supplies, have the Rx I needed, got a copy of a loan application I filled out nearly 4 years ago, and have an appointment to get my car fixed.

3.  I suppose I'll count it as a succcess that I know my patience is thin and my attitude is not what it should be.  Maybe offering it up in prayer will help me make it through the end of the week with a better disposition?  Prayers on my behalf are graciously accepted as well...I need all the help I can get...


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Three Cheers for Family Fun!

It's Small Successes Thursday!  Man - where does the week go?  It's been a fun and busy week in the Garcia household.  Here's an update of what we've been up to...

1.  Matt and I took John to see Shrek the Musical at the Fabulous Fox Theater.  We attended the Kids on Broadway matinee on Saturday so the place was hopping with kids of all ages.  The local restaurants had kids-eat-free specials, all the kiddos got a backpack and a Shrek pin, and there were activities galore for everyone to participate.  John made his own 'Freak Flag' and used the $20 that Grandma gave him to buy a pair of Shrek ears (which coincidentally, he hasn't taken off since Saturday).

2.  I took both the boys apple picking on Monday.  The MOMS Club went to Eckert's Farm in Belleville and I braved it with both boys in tow.  John picked a few apples before he was bored with it and Nathan slept the whole time.  However, we did gather enough apples to come home and make some homemade baby (read as 'really, really thinned out') applesauce for Nathan.  It's in the freezer awaiting the magic day when my littlest man takes interest in something other than mama's milk.

3.  Matt is normally the one who plays with the boys outside (Sorry, I love air conditioning!).  But with Matt out of town this week, I've taken the boys to two different playgrounds this week.  We played at the Maryville School playground on Tuesday and the Scnhucks Memorial playground on Wednesday.  While we were at the Schnucks park two swans swam right up to us on the lake.  John thought it was amazing!  It made me a little nervous - what would I do with both boys if the swans got ticked at us? - but John's smile was worth the knot in my stomach.

Check out other families' successes over at Faith and Family Live!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

8 Days?!?!

Children/Infants are amazingly resilient.  Nathan successfully went 8 days without a bowel movement last week.  The doctor has told us not to worry until day 5 - so we didn't.  Then day 5 came and went, as did day 6, day 7, and most of day 8.  That warranted a call to the pediatrician.  After explaining all the things we had tried on days 5-8 we were finally prescribed a Rx laxative.

8 days, 4 bottles of juice, 3 doses of karo syrup, 2 suppositories, 1 Rx laxative later and countless warm baths...We have poop!

It amazes me the things I get excited about nowadays.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Getting It Done

On Thursdays Danielle (over at Faith and Family Live!) encourages us to celebrate the little things because she knows that those "little" things add up over the week.  Let's celebrate!

1.  I washed the windows.  And I'm not talking a quick wash.  I'm talking the whole shebang!  I Windexed (is that a word?) the inside and outside of every window in the house.  I scrubbed all the window screens.  I washed the glass storm doors that lead to the porch, the garage, and the backyard.  I washed the curtains in the dining room.  Let the sun shine in!

2.  I attempted to straighten out billing issues with two different doctors' offices.  It amazes me that so many physician offices have problems with our insurance.  It's United Healthcare!  I'm not talking some obscure, never heard of, insurance...  Nonetheless, I swear that I spend more time explaining to billing offices how to properly submit a claim to our insurance.  It appears that I have resolved the issue with the radiologist who turned us over to a collection agency without notifying us.  After convincing them to submit a paper claim our insurance is cutting that office a check this week.  And the lab that did all my pregnancy lab work is resubmitting an electronic claim (I'm not hopeful) for my 2nd trimester labs - the only claim not yet paid from my pregnancy & delivery of Nathan.  We'll have to see if that one actually arrives at the insurance company's claim department.

3.  I spent most of Saturday, Sunday and Monday hanging out with my family.  It was great to have Matt home all weekend and not trying to catch up on stuff from work.  (When he travels all week we sometimes lose him to the basement to do expense reports or the like on the weekends).  We played outside a ton because the weather was B-E-A-UTIFUL!  We played with bubbles, the sprinkler, bikes, the swing set, and swam in Grandma and Grandpa's hot tub - twice!  We had the family over for fajitas one night.  We enjoyed the playground at church after mass.  What  a wonderful weekend!

What successes are you celebrating this week?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

End of the Month Success


Yay for the end of August!  (If for no other reason than the end of August means it is time to celebrate my birthday)  Overall I've had a great week - so that's worth sharing with the blogging community.

1.  I made these precious gifts for the expecting mommies that I know and the project only overtook the table for 24 hours.  That's impressive by my standards.

2.  I got the calendar and newsletter for my MOMS Club completed and posted online.  (Did I mention I agreed to be the secretary for this organization in an earlier post?  Maybe not)  I'm impressed with my creativity on both tasks and I think I can continue to improve on the newsletter as I get a little more practice under my belt and buff up on my journalism skills (which I haven't used since I wrote for my high school newspaper)

3.  I turned 29!  Happy Birthday to Me!  And my boys baked me a cake...it was the first cake any of them made.  I'm not sure how much Nathan had to do with it, but John enjoyed playing with the mixer and Matt can now claim to have baked a cake.  Now - if they would have sprayed the pan with non-stick cooking spray it might not have required 2 full canisters of frosting to hold the cake together.  Nonetheless...I could taste the love. <3
John helped put the candles on :)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Go Ahead...Call Me Susie Homemaker

The MOMS Club that I belong to is facing an epidemic of pregnancies right now.  (We asked the city to test the water but they refused.)  There are about 40 members in the group, 10 are pregnant, and between September and February we have 11 babies scheduled to make their arrival.  Yes, I said 11...one lucky mommy is expecting twins!  Not to mention that two of us have delivered in the past 3 months.  Sheesh!

I decided I couldn't afford a gift for every baby that makes an appearance in the next couple months - especially with John's birthday, Thanksgiving travel and Christmas coming up.  So I went in search of a cheap, but cute, baby gift that I could make.  I stumbled upon a picture of two baby washcloths wrapped together to make a little cupcake...adorable!  Perfect!  Something small, practical, easy to make and inexpensive! 

On our last outing to buy diapers for the boys I swung through the baby bath section and grabbed a couple packs of baby washcloths.  I dug some little pom-poms out of the closet, then went to the kitchen to claim some cupcake wrappers.  Finally I searched through a box of our wedding supplies and found little tulle bags we had leftover from our favors.  The results...

Go ahead....
Call me Susie Homemaker....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Single Mommy Successes

Thank God Danielle (over at Faith & Family Live!) reminds us to celebrate the little things each week, because little things are about all I've got!  This is Matt's third week in a row being out of town for work - so I've been a single parent yet again.  Please don't interpret this as complaining - my husband works EXTRAORDINARILY HARD for our family so that I can stay home with the boys and when he's not travelling he works in the basement office so we eat three meals a day as a family.  I'm truly blessed to have someone like Matt in my life - let alone to have him as my husband and father of my children...

So, back to the successes!

1.  We hosted our book show and had a great turnout.  Many books were purchased meaning that we were able to order lots of books to fill the boys bookshelves.  Right now we're planning on strategically doling them out throughout the year - John's birthday, Christmas, rewards for good behavior, before long car trips, etc.  (We even got a couple Christmas presents for kids other than our own!)

2.  I've remembered John's medicine every day so far!  He's battling another double ear infection.  And before you think it - yes, tubes are supposed to help eliminate ear infections, but apparently if you have so much drainage in your ears that the tubes become clogged that help becomes null and void.  Remembering the antibiotics and ear drops twice daily always seems to prove more difficult that it should be - but so far I've been on top of it!

3.  When our Wednesday fell completely off track because John decided to wake up at 3:30am and not go back to sleep until 5:30am, at which time Nathan decided he should get up to nurse, everyone overslept, and I had an appointment that got moved up 18 hours, I just rolled with the punches.  Morning errands were deferred.  Naps occurred in the car.  I made it to my appointment on time.  We still went to two stores.  And dinner was served as a quasi-reasonable time by any standard. 


*Bonus #4 - Because I had my appointment on Wednesday - my Thursday morning didn't have quite as many things going on!  It's the little things, right?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blessings Abound!

After much waiting and a little trepidation, I'm happy to report that we have the results of Nathan's blood work back.  Although it required two trips to the lab, lots of tears, and three missed phone calls from the pediatricians office - we've received the ALL CLEAR!

Now, it's not to say we can't encounter problems as we continue on, but it is to say that for the time being I'm not poisoning Nathan by breastfeeding him like I did John. :) OK - so I wasn't really poisoning John, but it sure felt like it at the time. 

Nathan is a little superstar.  He's continuing to put on weight like a champ and although his nursing sessions only seem to last about 10 minutes - he's clearly growing like a weed.  He looks entirely different from John at this age (probably because John was a puny 11 lbs and an unusual shade of yellow).  Nathan more closely resembles a 5 or 6 month old. 

He has his own little personality and tiny quirks. He loves to cuddle up next to any one's chest in one little bitty ball.  He prefers to be held over being in his swing.  Nathan is sleeping a 6 hour stretch at night and then wakes up, nurses, and goes right back to sleep for another 2-3 hours with no more than a little fuss - you couldn't even classify it as a cry!  Oh yeah - and his car seat might possibly be his least favorite place to be in the whole world....

More on my growing boys in the near future!  In the meantime, Nathan is requesting a before bed snack....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sticky Floor Success

I'm really starting to love Small Successes! I'm not getting bogged down in trying to come up with witty things to say on the blog or trying to make sure that I capture all our intimate family moments. Instead I'm just enjoying being able to share our everyday life with people who care...nothing exciting, nothing fancy - just a family getting along as best we can with what we've got.

1. The sticky floor I posted about during last week's successes is truly a success now. The stickiness is no more. Just in case you have a toddler carry cucumber salad through your living room, down your hallway, and then spill it in the bathroom while trying to tell you with sign language that he wants more - the solution is to use a steam mop and Lysol Multi-Surface floor cleaner. I'm just grateful for not sticking to the floor everywhere I walk! (Told you I'd end up re-posting this success)

2. I hosted Koala Babies playgroup (under 1 year old) at our house this week. Granted, Koala Babies is the easy group to host because most the kids aren't walking and frankly, many aren't even moving yet. However, since Matt is out of town for work this week and I hosted it on Wednesday - I consider it a success that the house was in enough order to let people in the front door. (Thanks for the help cleaning Lizzy!) Let's just say that 5 children under 1 with watermelon is pure, drippy, sticky, wonderful goodness....Guess I'll need to bust out the mop again!

3. We got our first Usborne Book Show order (Thanks Aunt Tina)! I'm excited about the book show because the speech therapist is wanting us to read to John for about 2 hours a day. It's tough to find two hours in our day, let alone convince Nathan or John to chill long enough to read more than a few sentences. But we're working on it...a book here, a book there. And now we'll have some new books to read! Praise God!


Want to be totally inspired?

Check out other (far more organized) moms' successes at Faith & Family Live!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Toddlers On My Hands

OK, so I don't really have two toddlers on my hands, but I have a 2 month old baby who is definitely going to give John a run for his money as the get older. Nathan is weighing in at 15lbs 7.5oz now-a-days and standing tall at 25in! That puts him in the 97th percentile for weight and 95th for height. :)

His pediatrician keeps assuring me that as long as his height and weight stay proportional it's all good. Nonetheless, the phlebotomist couldn't find a vein in Nathan's arm yesterday because of all the chunky baby fat rolls, so she had to do a heel stick and squeeze his poor foot to death just to collect some blood.... :(

UPDATE: The lab just called - they didn't get enough blood so Nathan has to go back tomorrow morning and get stuck again. Boo....Hiss.... :(

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Keep On Rockin'

Thursday brings around Faith and Family Live!'s Small Successes. I've spent a great deal of time reflecting on Small Successes this week. I'm not sure that I always take the time to really think about how wonderful the small things really are throughout the week. And even though I try to type up a few small successes each with Danielle's encouragement - I'm realizing that more often than not I just glance over my to-do list and quickly type up three things that I've scratched through...


So this week I offer some slightly more reflective small successes (even if they look distinctly similar to all my previous one - know that I have really thought about these)

1. I've agreed to host an Usborne Children's Book show at our house on August 23rd. That having been committed to, I've sent out invitations on Facebook, via email, through Evite & even stuck a few postcards in the mail. I'm hoping to get lots of sales at the show so that we can stock the boys' library with discounted books.

2. After a cucumber salad incident that involved copious amounts of sugar water being poured on the floor in the living room, hallway, and main bathroom, I have steam mopped the floor a minimum of 5 times this week. And let's be honest - since I still stick every time I walk down the hall - I'll probably be mopping most of next week. I reserve the right to re-list this small success next week.

3. I've been a single parent since Monday. Matt is travelling for work. I've survived thus far and he comes home tomorrow. Unfortunately, he's back on the road all next week too....

Usborne Children's Book Show

To my few, but fervent, followers...

I'm hosting a Usborne Children's Book Home Show later this month. I know most of you far too far away to attend the show...but you are welcome to shop the show via the Internet!

John has a few of the Usborne books already - they are great quality, good topics and adorable illustrations. Usborne has a great replacement policy (half price) if something happens to the book -even if it's your fault.

I'm trying to get lots of sales for the show so that I can stock up John's library at a discounted price since his speech therapist wants us reading to him even more than we already do. Frankly, I'm getting tired of Birthday Monsters and Click-It the Cricket...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Getting Along

It's Thursday again...how does that happen?!? So here's a list of our small successes that add up to one big triumph. (Thanks to Danielle over at Faith & Family Live! for reminding me of this weekly!)

1. Operation Organization (as I'm calling it) is moving along swimmingly. Our new white board in the kitchen houses to-do lists, grocery lists, calendar for the week and an occasional snippy comment from my father.

2. I washed the outside windows, sprayed down the shutters and swept the front porch. In 100 degree heat! Then I had a water hose fight with my husband and 22 month old. The work was worth it!

3. I'm sitting at the courthouse getting ready to have a lunch date with my dad. Family fun for everyone!


Check out other great successes here!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Can Opener

For those of you who were privy to the search for the can opener....you'll be glad to know that it has been relocated. It was found in the middle of the kitchen floor. I'm betting my bottom dollar that it wasn't in that particular location when 7 grown adults were searching the house for it this weekend. Yet, there it was yesterday afternoon.

For the record, no toddler has confessed to hiding it or to knowing its previous location....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Successes Out of the House


It's Small Successes Thursday! After all, the little things add up to one big triumph!

Our successes for the week include:

1. With the help of my mother-in-law I took both boys to the zoo! We rode the train, took in the sea lion show, went to the sting ray petting arena, and rode the carousel. All before lunch! Then we hurried home because it was hotter than the hinges of hell!

2. We made it out and around town this week. Over the past week I've made it (with both boys in tow) to Borders, a friends house, Lowe's, my parents house, my grandmothers house, McDonalds, Walgreens, the grocery store and several other places. We've bought birthday presents, had play dates, purchased groceries and restocked the medicine cabinet!

3. I went on a childless date with my husband! We had sushi, we had drinks, we visited a friend, we talked about things other than a child's eating habit and bowel movements....all thanks to a grandma who was willing to babysit!

Check out other successes at Faith and Family Live!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grateful for the Gifts in My Life

In the past few days I've noticed a lot of God's gracious gifts in my life...here's just a few of them...

* A mother-in-law who doesn't mind changing diapers, mopping bathroom floors, and dusting ceiling fans while I take an afternoon nap.

* A husband who gets up in the morning with the toddler so I can "sleep in" with the baby, then makes me a cup of hot tea, a plate of cantaloupe and Pillsbury flaky biscuits for breakfast. All before he goes to work at 8am to support our family.

* A toddler who loves his little brother so much he's willing to let Nathan suck on his finger just like Mommy lets Nathan suck on hers. (No matter that John shoves his finger so far down Nathan's throat that Nathan starts coughing - it's the thought that counts.) And is willing to share his whistles from Ms. Patti even though Nathan can't figure out how to blow them yet...

* A baby who is learning that being set down in a pumpkin seat or swing is not torture and doesn't require innate screaming. One who is nursing like crazy, growing like a weed, smiling at mommy, cooing at daddy, and doesn't appear to be turning yellow like his brother did at this age.

* An extended family that loves to Sykpe with us and watch our kids grow even if it is at a distance. A family that is growing immensely with four weddings on the horizons and a baby due any day.

* A roof over our head, money in the bank, laughter and love in our hearts...

Blessings are all around...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Small Successes - Two Sons Edition

I've taken a break from Faith & Family's Small Successes for the past few weeks. This break is not because our weeks have been without successes, but because surviving each day with a newborn and a 21-month old is a success on its own. We're getting in our groove now so it's time to start back up. Nonetheless, I would like to disclaimer this posting with a reminder that we may be looking at some super small successes because I'm new at being a mom to two sons.

1. I've started flying with the FlyLady. Okay, let's be honest - I'm trying to fly....I've shined my sink. My kitchen counters are clean when I go to sleep. I get dressed to the laces every day. I'm taking the baby steps she recommends - it's just I'm taking them slower than recommended...

2. I've managed to get some cooking done this week. Mostly because my mother-in-law has been here to help hold Nathan while I'm in the kitchen. But it feels good to get back in the kitchen - I love to cook!

3. John, Nathan and I have made a few outings now. It takes longer to do things - I'm still mastering helping a toddler down the step at the front door and getting an infant carrier out the door at the same time, but there have been no fatalities yet.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Growing Like a Weed

We have Nathan's 1 month stats according to the pediatrician:

*His baseball cap is measuring bigger than 75% of his peers...
*He is "standing" tall at 23 inches making him tower over 93% of his classmates...
*He will be wrestling in the heavy-weight division weighing more than 97% of his friends at 13 lbs. 0.5 oz...

Nathan got a clean bill of health at his 1 month check-up. We'll be monitoring his blood work at his 2 month visit just to make sure we don't run into any of the same problems we had with John, but as of now all is well.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

$2.50 of Pure Joy

Do you remember the last time $2.50 brought you pure joy?

How about the last time you enjoyed the sun setting over the neighbor's house?

How often do you take the time to really savor your ice cream?

Can you remember the last time you were this happy?

Can you say $2.50 Well Spent...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Meet Nathan

John meets Nathan for the first time

Aunt Lizzy & Her Boys

Grandpa with his Buddy & Pal

Grandma says she knows nothing about boys!

Garcia Grandkids Family Portrait

Nathan meets Great Grandma Rekowski