2011: Year in Review.

  We got LOTS of snow in January!

 Anthony turned ONE in February!

 We took a trip to Charleston, SC, end of March for Isaac's birthday.

      Here we are that the birthday Party...

   ...and enjoying a game of mini-golf in April.

 Matthew chowing down during his birthday dinner at Rainforest Cafe in May.

  Visited the Mashpee Children's Museum (Cape Cod) in June.

  Celebrated Sean & Helen's wedding in July.

   Vacationed in Pompano Beach, FL in August.

   Matthew started his second year of preschool in September...

...and we managed to sneak in one more trip, this time to Disney!

Took a walk in the "magical woods" in October.

 Spent Thanksgiving at the Cape in November.

  And hope that you had a wonderful Christmas in December.

Thanks for spending this past year with us! We wish you joy, love, and laughter in 2012.

The Russos


Anthony is 22 months old today.

He is TWO months away from being TWO. Eeeek! He still seems like a baby to me, because he's still so babyish in so many ways I guess.

Anyway, not sure what inspired this all of a sudden, but here are 22 things I love about my 22 month old, in no particular order:

1. His eyes. Those big puppy dog eyes.
2. His ability to work the lower lip when upset. He doesn't make a sound, no tears are shed, but the lip speaks volumes.
3. His independence. He has to do everything on his own terms, pushing me away and refusing help even when he is so so frustrated.
4. The "I did it myself!" look when he nails something. He is so proud of his accomplishments.
5. I love that he loves most things I cook. I know this won't last forever.
6. The way he cuddles his "baby dog", and holds him by his tail when falling asleep. Sometimes he likes to rub his tail across his nose. So cute.
7. His wispy hair, especially when it gets a little curl in it when he's sweaty or hot.
8. The way he runs. Cute little waddle.
9. How he attacks my mom's handbag for a lollipop before she can even get through the door. He knows exactly which pocket she keeps them in.
10. His love for Matthew.
11. His love of books.
12. His ability to communicate, even though he still can't seem to find the words.
13. His love for the outdoors.
14. How well he adjusts to vacations. My little seasoned traveler.
15. The feeling of his little chubby hand in mine.
16. Our bedtime cuddles on the glider.
17. Our morning snuggles in our bed.
18. His gentle manner with other children, especially babies. And animals.
19. His love of avocado. He gets that from me.
20. Hide 'n seek. He hides under the dining room table. Every single time.
21. The way he says (yells) mom-meeeeeeeee!
22. His smell. The smell of his hair, his sweet baby breath, even his stinky little piggy-toes. I wish I could bottle his scent.



I did it. I bought anti-aging cream. Revita-something-or-other. You know the commercial...better than the $3,000 cream. Yeah, ok. I kept staring at myself in the mirror and noticed something. I'm...gasp...aging. Not only that - I'm "aging" more on one side of my face than the other. I kid you not. The left side of my face apparently thinks it's 10 years older than the right. I don't know what age the right side of my face thinks it is, but for whatever reason it is not keeping up with the left. Which is fine...although I would prefer an even face. Right now I look like a before and after...but they are both now. Not before. Not after. During? So right now this is me:

I know, barely noticeable. But I notice it. Every morning. So back to the "anti-aging cream". Let's talk about the name for a second, shall we?? It's not anti-aging. It will not STOP me from aging. I hate to break it to you, but we all age. So yes, it's anti-wrinkle cream...which still isn't accurate because I will continue to get wrinkles. Supposedly some will just not be as noticeable as others...or at least AS noticeable as their counterpart on the other side of my face. I will let you know how Revitaface works. So far I am impressed, one use in. I felt firmness and tightening, just like the jar said I would. And you know if it says so on the jar, it has to be true.

Oh and riddle me this: This side of my face that is on the accelerated program to Wrinkle-World (which is NOTHING like Disney World, I assure you) is also the same side of my body that has the smaller boob, same boob that produced less milk for my brief nursing relationship, and has the slightly smaller hip. Coincidence? Me thinks not. My body is revolting against me. Or at least half of it is.

Disclaimer: I am not against aging, showing signs of aging, laugh lines, etc. I am against an uneven face.


Dear Santa,

My name is Matthew Derek. I'm writing a letter to you because I would like a red guintar, with some 5 guintar picks, and one black guintar pick holder. And I want a guintar case and a guintar strap, too. I wish I could get a toy fire fighter tank so I could hang it on my back, with an air mask because it plugs into it. And a new fire fighter's helmet except a red one, and a beige fire fighter pants and jacket that has these kinds of gloves.

For Hampy Anthony I would like a hat with a little bit of string sticking out and some glasses because I want him to be the man that makes sure if our song beed too loud, or too quiet, or just right. And I want another thing for me. Some roller skates with knee pads, arm pads, and shoulder pads. And a skate board with some leg pads. And I would like a Bat Man costume with blue boots and muscles and for Hampy a doctor's kit in case I get sick riding my roller skates and my skate board. Some special boots for it. Oh wait, one more thing for me...a little toy super fast jet plane and a little toy super fast jet plane for Hampy, too.

We're gonna leave you some home-made cookies with a glass of milk and carrots for Rudolph. I am a good boy and I listen to mommy and daddy, and we set up a beautiful Christmas tree for you to see. I help by cleaning up and I help daddy put out the garbage sometimes, and I always wear my snow boots while it's snowy on the grass or on the side walk.



If a tree falls in the forest...

Ok, that title has nothing to do with this post. I am feeling uninspired title-wise, so this is what you get.

I can't believe it's been so long since I blogged. I kept meaning to, would sit down only to be pulled away in one direction or another. And now, I don't know where to pick up. So here is an overall update on the boys.

Matthew started his 2nd year of preschool this fall (am I the only one who wants to capitalize the f in fall??). What a difference a year makes. While I know he liked school last year, he was so reserved and quiet. I knew he wouldn't be one of those kids running into the arms of his teacher, that's just not who he is. But I longed for him to participate more and show the world the Matthew we see. However, I know that it had to be in his own time, on his own terms. And so it was. He no longer needs daddy to carry him into the class while he pretends to sleep on his shoulder. He shares stories with his teachers. He's more assertive and outgoing. While still being sweet. He's very much into numbers, honing his math skills on a daily basis. Throughout the day you can hear him adding and subtracting. "Mommy, 5 plus 4 is 9!" He did NOT get this interest from me. Math was never my strength, it's a wonder I can balance my checkbook. But I love that he loves it. He's also starting to draw. Not just scribble across a paper, but draw things that look like real things. When we would do arts and crafts before, he would usually ask me to draw or color something while he watched. He was just not interested. Well, all of a sudden he is. Woot woot.

Anthony is still my little sugar-dumpling-puppy-face. Such a lover, this one is. Still not much of a talker, but we communicate in our own way. At his 18 month check up, his pediatrician wanted him to double his words by the time he reached 21 months. He's pretty much there, but still doesn't say many words proactively. Basically he can repeat a word, or his version of...but when I ask him what something is, he just smiles at me, points to it, and grunts. When I ask him to get something or do something, he knows exactly what I'm talking about. He understands, just won't talk. As of today he can say the following: momma/mommy, dadda/daddy, baba (babcia), nigh-nigh, mo-mo, ba-boo (bottle/milk), woof-woof, mooo (his own little version), shhhhh, hot, uh-oh, more, ball, Nih-nih (Niki), dirty, this, and up...I might be forgetting a couple. So he did double his words, which is wonderful and puts my mind at ease a little. And while his vocabulary might be limited, the child can hum "Bah-bah Black Sheep" like no other. He's got mad skillz in this department.

So there you have it. Now I must go and cuddle my Super Ninja, who isn't feeling so hot today.



We just got back from a week long vacation to Pompano Beach, FL. But this post won't be about the great time we had. It's about traveling. With kids. And Murphy. And her stupid law.

I'm a planner. A list maker. For the world to make sense in my head, everything needs to be in it's place. Always. So when it comes to traveling with kids, I started making a list of everything I need to pack for them. I would keep that list on the dining room table a few days prior to our trip, and as I used something baby/kid-related, I would jot it down. Like the bottle brush, teething tablets, Motrin syringe...just obscure items that can be easily forgotten. Can these things be purchased while on vacation if/when they are needed? Sure. Have you ever had to wash the 37 parts of a Dr. Brown's bottle without the silly little brush, or try to soothe a feverish, teething child at 2a? Finding a drugstore in a new city isn't the kind of adventure I want in the middle of the night.

In addition to my list, I have my bag of tricks. Literally. I stock up on small toys and books from Target's dollar bins and whip those babies out one at a time at the slightest meltdown. In that bag of tricks I always take a change of clothes for the kids. Because you never know when an upset tummy due to motion sickness might strike. Items that go into said bag are always on the list.

This plan worked great. Until I deviated from it.

Enter the morning of August 20th. I never made my list. I've got this down by now, right?! So off we go. Arrive at the airport with time to spare. Smooth sailing...err flying! Until we land. As we wait to get off the plane, Matthew turns to me and says "mommy, I don't feel...." - Yeah, you know what comes next. He threw up on himself, and on his baby brother who he was standing over. Great. We wipe them down as best we can, get off the plane, and I head into the bathroom to change them into...NOTHING. I forgot to pack the change of clothes. It could have been worse, I know. All we had to do was get our rental car and take the 15 minute drive to our hotel. It's not like they spent the whole day that way.

Fast forward to that night. The boys are all shiny and clean after a much needed bath. I go to get Matthew's pajamas on and...I never packed them. He likes to sleep in long sleeve, long pant fitted "jimmies". And I have nothing. I didn't even pack a long sleeve shirt and sweats because - well who would pack that for Florida in August?? So after putting up a bit of a fuss, he fell asleep in a t-shirt and undies, with the promise that we would find him some "jimmies" the next morning.

Except we can't. Guess what, no one wears long pajamas in Florida in August. We went to 3 stores and found nothing. My sister did get him a pajama set at Walmart (that was 2 sizes too big) which he refused to wear, because they weren't like his Carter's jimmies.

So, the moral of the story is: If something works, don't fix it. The one time you deviate from something, just might be the time Murphy creeps in to play a cruel practical joke. She's evil that way. Clearly, she's never traveled with children.



Tonight as I was tucking Matthew in, I asked him what he was going to dream about. We used to have a silly game where he'd answer "doggies, with baskets and flags in their mouths!" (Long story.) Tonight, he answered "I'm gonna dream about someone stealing me and keeping me forever." Why on EARTH would he dream about that? This was no time to ask questions, I thought. He was upset, I could tell. He buried his face in his pillow and didn't give me buzi (kiss) night-night. I laid down next to him, rubbed his back, and told him mommy and daddy will never let that happen. Because we're family, and we protect each other, and keep each other safe. And he added "and love each other". Yes. We love each other. I talked about how we remind each other to always wear a seat belt, to always look both ways before crossing the street, to always hold hands in a parking lot, and always stay close in a store. And promised him that mommy and daddy won't ever let anything hurt him. I rubbed his back as he drifted off to sleep, and hoped that he would have a happy dream tonight.

And now, I sit here and think "I can't possibly keep that promise". Of course I do everything I can to keep him safe. And he's at that age where it's not enough to just ask him to do/not do something, he needs to know WHY. WHY does he have to stay near me at the store? Why can't he play out front by himself? Why do I need to see him go back inside while I go for my morning walk? Why can't he open the front door when he hears the doorbell? It's a fine line: telling him the truth and protecting his innocence. And yes, for several of those examples I have told him "because we need to stay safe, so that I don't lose you and no one tries to take you." I mean, as his mom, I need to send a clear message to him. Make him aware of the danger of doing some of these things. And I really try not to be a "because I said so" kind of mom. But in doing so, I realize I have stripped him of some of that childhood innocence. A place where everything is as it should be, and no harm can ever be done. But we don't live in that place. How do you balance this with your kids? I'm struggling here, because he is still my baby...at almost 4.5. And I would love to put him in my mommy bubble until forever, but I can't. I'm not sure I'm ready for him to learn that not everyone has his best interests at heart. Not everyone is out to keep him safe.



The other day I saw a quote that read:

"It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher. Then suddenly they disappear."- Dorothy Eislin

And I actually got choked up. My eyes locked on the nearest wall, looking for little traces of children. Not exactly fingerprints, but I spotted some scuff marks, toys strewn about the room, a few stray Goldfish crumbs that I missed earlier in the day...all things that indicate that children live here. Small children. Small children that are growing right before my eyes. I often get tired of picking up the same toys day after day, arranging the same books, washing the same sippy cups. "It never ends", I think to myself as I fold another load of onesies, tees, and shorts marked 18 months and 5T. But it will. It won't come to a screeching halt. It will be quiet, and gradual. One less sippy cup. One less crumb. One less item purchased in the baby/child aisle. Once less thing to pack as we're leaving the house. One less fragile item I will have to place out of reach.

"This, too, shall pass..." I often tell first time moms dealing with growth spurts, and teething pain, and sleepless nights. But THIS...this age of little hands grabbing at me, big smiles as I walk into their rooms, tight hugs as they cry for mommy to fix something only mommy can fix, THIS, too shall pass. Hopefully, not too soon.


"Mommy, is my tongue blue yet??"

The beach, a cold sippy of water, and waffle fries...doesn't get much better than this...


SAHM Jackpot

So a couple of months back, we made friends with our neighbor 2 houses down. They moved in this past winter. They have triplet girls (I repeat, triplet girls) who are almost 3.5 and as sweet and cute as can be. So we hung out a few times, went to the park, had impromptu playdates here and there. The kids always had fun. The girls LOVE Matthew's lawnmower collection (5). And the mom and I hit it off from the start. We seem to have the same (sick) sense of humor, dish out sarcastic remarks left and right, and pretty much believe in the same things as far as our kids are concerned. It's like hitting the jackpot in the stay-at-home-mom casino. Ding Ding Ding!!! And one day, we started walking together. No, not hand in hand...walking to get fit! We make the other walk when we'd rather be laying on the couch smearing Edy's triple something in our faces. I think that's like the grade school equivalent of having sleep-overs. Did I mention she loves Bon Jovi?! I KNOW!!!!!

There are two problems. 1) She's not a fan of cheese. I'm really trying to get past this one. How can people NOT love cheese, in its cheesy goodness? And 2) She doesn't own a SINGLE stroller. GASP. I mean technically it's ok, since I currently have 5 in my garage which is just enough for my 2 boys and her 3 girls, but still. NO STROLLER? This will be harder to get over than the cheese thing...thank God for Bon Jovi...


An Interview with Matthew - July 2011

1. My favorite food: Pizza
2. My favorite sport: soccer
3. My favorite movie: Cars
4. My Favorite TV show: Backyardigans
5. Most favorite thing about school: Painting, doing puzzles, story-time and giving my teachers gifts
6. The thing I am the best at: Riding my bike and my scooter
7. My favorite color: Red
8. What I want to be when I grow up: A firefighter, a doctor, a police officer, and a teacher
9. A word that describes me: Smart
10. When I was little, I used to: Sleep in a crib and drink mommy's milk
11. A favorite memory I have is: Going to our little friend's house and going to my school to buy a recordian (accordion)
12. Favorite thing to do with daddy: Helping him wash our car and putting gassy-gas in it, and fixing things.
13. Favorite thing to do with mommy: Making sandcastles and playing
14. Favorite thing to do with Anthony: kissing and hugging him, and holding his hand
15. A food I don't like: Peas
16. My best friend is: All our little friends
17. If I could have one wish, I would wish for: Chocolate cake
18. Favorite place to go on vacation: Florida
19. Favorite thing to do on vacation: Go swimming and play mini golf

(These are his unedited answers. Thanks for the idea Cindy!)


Random Rants.

Everyone loves a good rant, right?

1. To the mom at the park telling her mom friend how her baby needs to move to a convertible car seat soon, but she "just can't see paying that much for a seat": Yes, you're right...those Tory Burch flats you're sporting are a much more sound investment. (By the way, you don't need to spend a lot for a decent seat.)

2. To the woman at Stop & Shop mumbling "he needs a swat on the butt" under her breath as she stood behind me in line watching a fit throwing Anthony try to smack me because I would not let him out of the cart: yes, you're right. What was I thinking?! That will SURELY calm him right down, and won't confuse him at all when I say "we don't hit".

3. To the ice cream man who comes down our street during lunch time, dinner time, and right at bedtime: I am thinking very unkind thoughts towards you, which I will not type out here. Are you TRYING to piss me off? Bring it on.

4. To the "young adults" who drop the F-bomb in every sentence while hanging out at the baby/toy/kid's clothing section of Target: No, you don't sound cool. Yes, I did just ask you to watch your mouth. And yes, I am "for real".

5. To my hubby, who just made himself a peanut butter sandwich and left a trail of crumbs on the counter: honey, really?? I, too, keep waiting for the cleaning fairy to show up, but she never does. I think we need to make peace with that. (For the record, I did ask him to wipe them up and he did, and only grunted twice.)


Hi, remember me?

I'm Monika. I used to blog here...you know, tall, blonde...wait no, that's not quite right.

Anyway, yes I suck. I don't update. Have I ever mentioned that I am not the master of the follow-up? No? Well, I'm not. But regardless, here I am, 3 years later. We've been busy in a "not so busy" sort of way. You know what I mean...at least you do if you have kids: errands, laundry, playing, reading...wait - can I sneak in a shower today?! Awesome! Oh and quick, spray the house with Pledge so it smells like I cleaned (don't tell me you don't know that trick!). We've been spending most of our mornings and afternoons outside. Oh and literally JUST got back from a trip to the Cape. My happy place. Weather sucked, but hey - we were at the Cape, how bad could it have been, right?

I will do my best to update more often, for the one person who requested it (giggle). But in the meantime, swoon over this. My view during our after dinner walks.

It's ok, you can say it...your heart melted a little, huh?


For every "first", there is a "last".


Anthony became a bottle-fed baby at 2.5 days old. I don't know that he adored them as much as Matthew did. He didn't inhale them with the same gusto. He didn't demand more than the "normal" amount. But during many aches and pains, and periods of teething hell, it was his bottle that helped him feel at ease. It helped us all go back to sleep a little faster at 12am (and sometimes 3am, and 5am...). It was our daily equation. Anthony + bottle = content baby.

On Tuesday, May 17, Anthony drank his last bottle. He was starting to get fussy as it was nearing bedtime. I asked him if he wanted "ba-boo" and he smiled. It was 6:37pm when I warmed it for him. We sat in the living room and he drank. Typically we would have been on our bed, watching Mickey or Oso (his faves). He drank about 5 of the 7 ounces I made, slid off me and resumed playing.

That night, as I rocked him to sleep, he took his mo-mo out and smiled. He was a little restless. I asked if he wanted ba-boo again and he laughed. I warmed a couple ounces of milk, but not in his bottle. I'm not sure what made me use the Nuby (transitional) sippy, but I did. He was a bit unsure at first. He'd take a couple sips, spit it out, and giggle. But he didn't hate it. So that was that. The next morning, his Avent bottles were put away.

Just like that, we no longer have a bottle-feeding baby. We often get so hung up on the "firsts", we hardly give any attention to the "lasts". I will never forget his last bottle feeding.



(This post is seriously overdue.)

On Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 6:12am, Matthew turned 4 years old. In the weeks leading up to his birthday, he was quite adamant that he was NOT going to be 4. He just wanted to stay 3. Can't say I blame him. He was a little under the weather that day, and it was a cloudy, gloomy, rainy day so we just took it easy at home. We did start the day off right, though, with "breakfast cake" topped with one candle. We were not allowed to sing Happy Birthday, he just wanted to blow out his candle and leave it at that. The real festivities were yesterday...his pirate themed birthday party. Like a repeat of his actual birthday, he's sick again. But you could not tell by looking at him as he played with his cousins and tore into his gifts. He can be quite the trooper - especially where chocolate cake is involved. Today he's enjoying playing with all his presents (sports equipment, sand toys, a pirate ship, and even a gold fish he named Swimmy) as we have a lazy day at home.

I still can't believe I have a 4 year old. I often find myself staring at him, wondering how I could have let these past 4 years go by so quickly. Surely, I could have done something to slow things down, savor each day a little more, make a hug last 4 seconds longer. He went from a diaper-wearing, mo-mo sucking, wrinkly chicken legged little squishy newborn, to a 4 year old...all in the blink of an eye. I so miss him being curled up on my chest, his legs under his belly, and his soft breath on my neck. I so miss his first smile, first words, first everything. Now we get to enjoy his tight hugs, his belly laughs, and silly jokes. I love watching his imagination unfold as he plays. The pure joy and pride when he tries and succeeds at something new. I love watching him show genuine concern when someone is hurt or sad, and how he tries to make it better with a kiss. More often than not, it works. He's my little momma's boy. He's sweet, loving, funny, feisty, moody, cuddly, smart...he's everything I could ever hope for in a child. And now, he's 4. A big boy, doing big boy things. But he's still our baby.



I am usually not a fan of change. It worries me, it makes my heart skip a few beats, it makes me anxious. I like things planned, especially when they are planned by moi.

But - every once in a while, you have to roll with the punches...or homies, or whatever it is you roll with. I like to roll with homies who throw the occasional punches (snort). And when I do, I find that change can be good. More than good, it can be liberating, and life altering, and just what the doctor ordered.

So, what has changed in our life? Well, I lost my job. I lost a job that I thought was a career. But now I don't know that it was. It could have been...and it could be. But for now, THIS is exactly where I want to be. I am home with my boys. We run errands, and we play, and learn, and do all those thing I missed out on in almost 4years. We snuggle and laugh...and sometimes cry when things don't go our way. I would not trade it for anything. I don't know how long we'll be able to do this...day by day we will figure it out. My wonderful hubby, Bobby, has been nothing but supportive. Just today he told me he would want nothing more than to have our babies home with their mom (Insert squishy sparkly heart here). We'll see. For now, this change is GOOD.


The making of a memory.

I can't remember when this started. I know that Anthony was already here...which might explain why it started...

My nightly routine with Matthew (when daddy is not home in time for bedtime):

He finishes watching his "show" (Spongebob. Don't judge me.), if he hasn't already, he brushes his teeth, and then he gathers up the random items he deems worthy to sleep on his nightstand that evening. He hops on his bed, I turn off the light, and he comes to find me on the glider. He crawls on my lap, giving me the biggest, warmest hug you could ever wish for, and we briefly talk about his day. I always ask him if he had a good day, we talk about what we might do tomorrow, and then I sing Twinkle Twinkle, followed by Baby Boy (a song my husband made up when Matthew was just a newborn). We slowly rock back and forth, I scratch his back, and I sing. Then I carry him "like a baby" to his bed, where he finds Blue Blankie and Baby Bear. I tuck him in, kiss him goodnight, and go back to my comfy glider to sing Twinkle Twinkle and Baby Boy once more. "Night night Matthew, I love you." "Night night mommy, I love you, too...one more Twinkle Twinkle and one more Baby Boy." "Sure baby...".

It seems like a drawn out event, and there are nights when I wish I could fast-forward a little. But I know the nights will come where I wish I could re-wind. So for now, I'll rock him, and sing, and savor this memory in the making.  


Brotherly Love.

There are few things sweeter than the love between Matthew and Anthony. Every morning, Matthew can't wait to see if "Hampy is awakens", and every morning Anthony can't wait to cuddle and head-butt his big brother. Now, don't get me wrong...they have their moments. Toys are snatched, the occasional shove is handed out. But all in all, they are buddies. Matthew thinks Anthony is the cutest creature to ever grace the state of Connecticut, and Anthony thinks Matthew is the greatest thing since cut up strawberries (if you saw how this kid loves strawberries, you would understand the comparison...). They are brothers, siblings, buddies. I am careful not to use the word "friends" since I don't think either of them is mature enough to understand true friendship just yet. But I hope that one day they will be the best of friends. They will conspire against us, they will cover for each other, they will offer the other a shoulder to cry on. They are, after all, brothers...



Or "How to be cute without really trying".

There are quite a few words/phrases that Matthew says incorrectly. And because they all sound so darn cute we don't do much to correct him. Actually, he'll sometimes correct us. His way is, of course, the right way. And he's not shy about letting you know it. So here are my top 10, in no particular order.

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarps
2. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fife-teen...
3. Pack-pack (backpack)
4. Flordiduh (Florida)
5. Cay Cod (Cape Cod)
6. Twinkle, twinkle widdle star...
7. On-wendge juice (orange juice)
8. Week whacker (weed whacker)
9. Cuh-puter (computer)
10. And how can we forget, the mispronunciation that will stay with his baby brother for the rest of his life (whether he likes it or not): Hampiwy, when he couldn't say Anthony.

There are dozens more, these are just some that we hear on a daily basis.



Authentic. Real. Genuine.

We like those words. They reassure. They make us feel like whatever X is, X is good. An authentic Van Gogh. Real American Cheese. A Genuine Coach Bag...you know what I mean...

Well it goes for people, too. Some are the real deal. Some are not. And most often than not, you won't know who's who until push comes to shove. Those who can put their own selfish interests aside for a moment to show empathy, offer a hug, a shoulder to cry on, and will call/email to check up on you through the hard times.  And will continue to do so long after the tears stop falling - they are REAL. Those are friends you don't ever want to let go of. You know who you are...I thank you. And I love you.

Those who act (and I emphasize ACT) like they care, they pat you on the back, offer a half-hearted tear, you just know you will never hear from them again. And your footsteps will not leave an imprint on their hearts...because I am not entirely sure they have one.

I want to raise authentic.real.genuine children, who turn into adults who not only care about the world around them, but who stand up to wrong, call BS when they see BS, and who maintain friendships through the good and the bad. I don't know how to teach this. I don't know that it can be taught. So I guess the best I can do is lead by example. Show empathy. Show unselfishness. Show loyalty even when it is not the popular thing to do. Hey, if you're out the change the world, you can't always be comfortable or popular.  I do know that some of the things I have experienced in the past week make me wonder if some people's moral compass is installed properly (or not at all). But I can't change them. That is something they need to work out on their own. In the meantime, I will do what I can to follow the golden rule.



Sometimes, a funny thing happens when you put your baby to sleep.

Anthony has been asleep since about 8:30p (a little late for him). And it is 10:51p as I write this. I'm chillin' online, chatting it up with some friends, enjoying a glass of red, and researching the latest car seat/stroller/cloth diaper/insert any other baby-related item here...(yeah - you didn't know I have a problem??). And then I hear it. That undeniable sound that I am sure I would be able to identify from a room-full of babies 3.8 miles away. HIM. CRYING.

And I freeze. No, I mean really. I stop typing. My eyes fix on some random object on our living room floor. And I sit. Motionless. Because surely he might hear me breathe, or type, or blink...and realize that I am just down the hall. And that I will dash into his room faster than a bullet train, for fear of his crying getting worse and really waking him up, and worse - waking up his big brother right next door.

And just like that. Silence. He cried out once, I lost about 3 hours off my life. And he's back asleep. My heart is still pounding.



We finally got some nice weather, a sweltering 51 degree day. So it was time to head outside. The original plan was to take a walk to the park, but by the time we were finally ready to go, some clouds started rolling in. So in the back yard we went. Matthew loved hauling out some of his outside toys from the garage (of course I am not allowed to take a picture of him...he ran from me yelling "NEVER!!!" (his new word of choice)). Anthony, however, was less than thrilled. The grass, the little bit of wind, the sun in his face...not to mention this whole shoe-wearing nonsense. So his first reaction was:

And this is how he stood for a while.

Then he realized this outside thing ain't so bad, so he started to play. He ran, and fell, and laughed, and ran some more. Mostly in circles, like a new little puppy. He also discovered the doorbell on the play-house. He was quite proud of himself.

And now, it's nap time!


Excuse This House

My friend Jackie shared this with me. And because I like it, I'm sharing it with you.

Excuse This House

Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there,
Ours boasts it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere.

For smears are on the windows,
Little smudges are on the doors
I should apologize, I guess
For toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with my child
And we played and laughed and read
And if the doorbell doesn’t shine,
His eyes will shine instead.

For when at times I’m forced to choose
The one job or the other,
I’d like to cook and clean and scrub,
But first I’ll be a mother.

~ Author Unknown


I'd like to buy a vowel.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeee! That is Anthony's vowel of choice. That it what he says when he's happy, frustrated, wants more of something, less of something, so on and so forth. The day I hear mama I will surely cry. I try to get him to say mama about 97 times a day, and each time he looks at me with the same face: that's great mom, keep it up, you're getting better...

He says dada, daddy, babcia, mmm-hmm, aaa-haaa, oooh, and eeesh. And of course Eeeeeeeeeeeee! But no mama. The child who is glued to my hip for most of his (and my) day. But I'm not sad, bitter, or jealous. Nope. Not at all (runs to a corner to cry...). He'll say it eventually. And when he does, I will be on cloud 9 for months.


Top Twelve.

A list of my favorite things. In no particular order.
  1. That first sip of hot coffee in the morning. I'm such a nicer person when I've had my coffee.
  2. Bedtime snuggles from my boys.
  3. Crisp, cool sheets. 
  4. Tulips.
  5. Watching Anthony smother Matthew with hugs and head-butts first thin in the morning, and hearing them giggle.
  6. The smell of fresh-cut grass.
  7. A hug; the kind that lets you know everything will be ok. 
  8. A glass of red wine.
  9. Finding the perfect pair of jeans. On sale.
  10. Belting out "Sweet Caroline" with the car window open and wind in my hair on a 70 degree day.
  11. Breakfast at Grumpy's.
  12. Getting packages in the mail.


The teacher becomes the student.

A while ago we had a little issue with the way Matthew would sometimes act toward Anthony, especially when (he thought) no one was looking. Nothing major...he would squeeze his hand a little too hard, nudge him until he tumbled over, just acted a little rough. Sometimes it wasn't intentional. Sometimes it clearly was. So this was problem A. Problem B - If they were alone in a room or just out of sight from one of us and Anthony would start crying, I'd go in and just ask what happened. I never accused Matthew of doing anything, simply wanted to know what happened. I started getting this reply: "I didn't do nuffin, I didn't hurt him, I didn't make him cry." Hmm, ok.

Every once in a while, I would linger, or quietly check on them. And I would actually see him trying to hurt him. And again: "I didn't do nuffin, I didn't hurt him, I didn't make him cry." Right. I did our usual discipline dance, told him how we tell each other the truth, we don't hurt each other, blah, blah, blah...it didn't seem to work. So I sought the advice of my mommy friends and one of them told me about Pinocchio - how she would tell her child that her nose was going to grow a little every time she fibbed. Brilliant! Yes, I was going to teach my child to tell the truth by telling him a lie. Don't judge me.

That night, it happened...say it with me now: "I didn't do nuffin, I didn't hurt him, I didn't make him cry." Even though I saw him. So I tried it. He grabbed his nose as a look of panic came over his face. And he told me that he pushed Anthony and he fell. And he did it "not on accident". I thanked him for telling me the truth and he walked to time out holding his nose.

There's a point to this, I promise!

Fast forward to tonight. I'm getting Anthony ready for bed and bumped his head on the dresser by accident. He starts crying, Matthew comes over to see what's wrong. With the most serious look on his face, arms crossed, he says, "Mommy! What did you do to Hampy?!" I bumped his head on the dresser. "We don't hurt each other! Let me see your nose!!" All I could do was laugh. I asked him if my nose grew and he said no. Then he told me to say sorry to Hampy, which I did. And we all hugged.

Hey, you gotta be able to dish it out and take it I suppose.


(By the way, problems A and B are few and far between these days.)


Yo Gabba What?

Matthew has started to like Nick Jr. lately. I was diggin' the refreshing change from Disney Channel. A human being can only go through so many Mouskatools and 3 Special Steps in one day. I was happy to get to know Franklin, Little Bill (I heart Little Bill), sassy Olivia, and the rest of the Nick Jr. crew. Then I sat through an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba for the first time. Oh my word. That show I could do without. It is BIZARRE! The robot, the fuzzy green guy (or girl?)...and they all live in a boom box? And come to life in a diorama. Okaaaay. DJ Lance Rock. I...he...why....yeah no. It's one of those shows that you raise an eyebrow at and think "what on earth were they thinking?". But you watch it because your kid likes it so whatever. I know it's a big hit with many parents of toddlers/preschoolers. And I don't mean to offend if you love the show. Heck I don't care if you or your hubby dress up in a skin-tight orange jumpsuit, slap a big fuzzy hat on your head and dance on your coffee table to techno tunes...whatever gets the kids to smile (if you DO do this, please tell me you have kids...). It's just not my cup of tea, and I usually like all sorts of tea.


Love is in the air...

I had the pleasure of spending Valentine's Day with my boys. Oh if you could spend 5 minutes with us first thing in the morning, you would know what love is. You would hear Matthew say "Ah! I think Hampy's awakens!!" (and if you know us, you know the story behind "Hampy"). And when the two of them are in our bed, oh the love. Make your heart melt, give you tingles in your toes kind of love. Brotherly love, through and through. They cuddle, they laugh, they head-butt...that is the universal sign for "I love you", is it not??

And for just a moment, it felt like Spring was in the air, too. If you looked past the mounds of snow, the still-frozen-gutters, or just closed your eyes for 3 seconds, you smelled Spring. Wishful thinking I suppose...soon enough, soon enough...


Flashback Friday

Can't you just feel the sun on your face? This is the splash pad at our local park. I can't wait to get back there this summer. I just want to feel WARM again! And want to see both of my boys having this much fun.


"Anything you can do, I can do better...

I can do anything better than you." Yes, it's a catchy tune from Annie Get Your Gun (Broadway geek here). It's also often the sentiment among moms. We are TOUGH on each other. Heck we're tough on ourselves. So many choices, all of them in the best interest of our babies. Natural birth or epidural, breast milk or formula, co-sleeping or crib, cloth or disposable diapers...the list goes on and on. It still amazes me that when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and babies, people lose their filters. They feel perfectly in line asking "so, did you have a c-section? Epidural? Natural birth? Did you breast-feed? No? Why not? How much weight did you gain?"

Come on, really?? I mean, between close friends, no big deal. And I don't mind sharing that I gained 43 lbs. with Matthew, 30...maybe 32 with Anthony. I had one of each...an epidural birth and one au natural. One received breast milk (with formula) for all of 3 weeks, one had formula once we got home from the hospital. If you've seen or met both, can you tell the difference?? Me thinks not.

Before I actually birthed a child, I was SURE I would jump for joy at going back to work once my 12 weeks at home were up, I was sure my labor would involve no pain relievers whatsoever, my baby would receive nothing but breast milk for at LEAST the first year of life, he would not know what a pacifier was, I would not co-sleep, etc., etc., etc.,...well guess what. Life happens. You can take your best laid plans and shove them. Nothing happens in a vacuum. We do what we can, what we must...what we think is best at the time.

The moral of the story is...be gentle. When you see a  mom whose kids are out of control at the Target check out line, don't roll your eyes. Instead, offer a sympathetic smile. You don't know what her day has been like. When you see a mom giving her newborn a bottle of powdered milk...be gentle. You don't know what she has been through. You didn't hear the baby's screams as he refused her milk-filled breast. You weren't in her head as she was coping with Post Partum Depression. Try not to judge. Because I promise she is her own worst judge and enemy at that very moment. There need be no others.


I love Sundays.

Sunday mornings in particular. Before kids, I would sip my coffee on the sofa while thumbing through People Magazine. Then I'd move on to clipping my coupons from Sunday's paper. When I was pregnant with Matthew, I added writing in his journal to my morning routine.

These days Sundays are a little different. I can't tell you the last time I looked through People. Not much coupon clipping going on either. Now I just enjoy playing with the boys, making breakfast, and just easing into our day. This morning the sun is shining bright, everyone is in a good mood, and we're all enjoying just lounging around...Matthew is running around with balloons from Anthony's birthday party (Part Deux next weekend) and Anthony is probably chewing on something he shouldn't be. I love Sunday mornings...hope you're having a nice, relaxing one, too. 


"Mommy, do you love me?"

Such a sweet and innocent question coming from the mouth of a 3.5 year old. My normal answer would be "of course I love you, silly head!!". But this was different. This wasn't an out of the blue question. This was something more. This question followed an episode that I will call "not my most shining mommy moment".

It was a long day, we'd been couped up in the house for the 2nd day in a row (3rd day for Matthew). While it was a snow-day, I did have to work from home. That is a hard concept for Matthew to grasp sometimes. He's used to the routine e-mail checks, no biggie. But this was a files spread across the table, notes everywhere, mommy might lose it kind of day. It didn't help that Anthony only took a 40 minute morning nap before being woken up by the snow-blower that hubby decided to start under his bedroom during naptime. You see where I'm going with this??

Anyway, the natives were getting restless, and all I wanted was to finish ONE work related task. And all I could hear was "mommy, come on mommy. Mommy come ON!! Mommmmmmyyyyyyy!!!!". And I lost it. I yelled. Loud. I scared both of my children. And felt like dirt...worse than that, but I won't swear here (unlike real life...ha!). I spent the next half hour snuggling and calming both of them...soothing their cries, the cries that linger long after the tears stop flowing...you know the ones. Anthony went about his day rather quickly. But Matthew...Matthew took a while. I felt awful. I sat next to him on our bed for a while. Hugged him, kissed him, and apologized. Because sometimes even mommies need to apologize. It's not nice to yell, he told me. I know baby, I'm sorry. And then, about 30 minutes later...

"Mommy, do you love me?". Oh my goodness do I ever. I would move mountains, I would walk through fire. I would give you my last breath so that you could breathe. God do I love you! But sometimes mommies make mistakes. They get frustrated. They forget to use their words...sometimes they need a time out. Today was one of those days. This mommy needed a time out...I needed to stop what I was doing for 10 minutes to listen to my boy...to lay down next to him as he watched "Kris Kringle", to say to myself: work can wait, he cannot. It just goes to show, no matter how much we say "I love you" (and we say it often in this family), no matter how many hugs and buzi's (Polish for kiss) we give, it takes one off moment for a child to question our love for them. Not a great feeling as a mom, very humbling...but I suppose we all need to be humbled every once in a while. 

Happy First Birthday My Sweet.

As predicted, I got a little emotional last night as we rocked away in the soft glow of your night light. Looking at you snuggled in my arms, mo-mo in mouth, your sweet little hands holding onto baby-dog, a flood of memories came rushing back. I could see your little toes, your wrinkly little legs. I could hear your grunts and squeals. And goodness you smelled good...that newborn baby smell that I'm sure every mommy can identify. How did we get here so fast? I recall asking for time to slow down a bit but I don't think my request was granted. I'll forgive it...because while I miss your itty bitty newborn stage so much, I would not trade this you for anything.

Thank you for this past year. Thank you for choosing me. For teaching me not to take the little things for granted, for letting me see all the joy and love there is to see in this world. You made our family complete. May this next year be filled with all the wonder and magic your sweet little heart can handle. Happy Birthday baby boy. Mommy loves you to the moon and the stars...

Anthony Mario, born February 2, 2010 at 1:42am. 
7lbs, 12oz. and 20.5 inches long.


Seems like just yesterday.

February 1, 2010. It was a Monday and I was home with Matthew. One day away from my due date. I felt great, I had energy, I wasn't having the insane amount of contractions that I've been having for the past 3 weeks. I was fully prepared to go to work the next day, fully prepared to have my 40 week OB visit. Little did I know...

That night I went into labor.And what a labor it was. Amazing.

And tomorrow Anthony will be one. ONE! How on earth did that happen? How did that tiny little helpless newborn turn into the most lovable, huggable, fill-your-heart-with-joy-and-make-you-want-to-kiss-him-head-to-toe ONE year old? Oh there will be some tears shed tonight as I rock him to sleep. The bittersweet kind...I can feel it already.


Flashback Friday

Cape Cod. My happy place. I think I'm going through withdrawl. In a couple months it will be a year since we've been. We usually go twice a year, three times if we can. Last year it just didn't work out that way. It was Anthony's first vacation, at just 2 months old. He and Matthew are seasoned travelers. Yet of all the places we've been, Matthew asks to go back to "Cay-Cod" over and over again. I think it's his happy place, too.

Ice, ice baby...

Some of these look to be almost 3 feet long. Kind of cool looking, unless this is what also hangs over the entrance to your garage, and when it melts ever so slowly, forms a miniature skating rink on the ground below. Good times...

In other news, they're calling for snow flurries today. You know, 'cause it's been a while (insert sarcasm here).

I promise, this will not be the snow/ice blog. Promise, pinky swear, cross my shoelaces and all that jazz.


Hi, I'm new here.

Kind of excited to have a blog, a place to jot down my random thoughts, give people a peak into my head (warning: it can be a little scary in there sometimes...), share some pictures. I still have some setting up to do, be patient with me.

In the mean time, can we talk about snow? I was never much of a winter person. I don't mind a couple of inches; a nice little dusting, something pretty to look at while I sit in my jammies sipping my coffee (cream, no sugar), watching my boys play. But this, this is not pretty. It's insane. My husband is out there right now, digging us out of the 8" or so we got hit with overnight. On top of the 6" we had a few days ago, on top of the 14" we got before that, and so on. The worst part, it's not melting. There is no place to put this white stuff!! Looking out my dining room window onto the deck, it's up to the window. I don't like it one bit. "So why do you live in New England??" you may ask. Because I do, because this is where my family planted me...and because I like it here. Except this winter, with this constant snow. I'm trying to see it through the eyes of my almost 4 year old, but I think even he's done.