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.