Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thoughts

I've been meaning to blog but so much seems to get in the way; housework, kids, husband, meetings, exhaustion...you know what I mean. I've been wanting to share my newest, er, obsession. If you haven't seen the movies "Food Inc." and "King Corn" you need to. They will open your mind about the foods you're consuming and if you're anything like me, they will have you walking away wondering what on earth you can possibly eat! I'm reading the book that goes with the movie "Food Inc" (thank you Katie) and it has even more information to digest (pun intended). The amount of preservatives, additives, corn syrup, etc. that's in most of the foods we consume is mind blowing. It's a new journey for our home. We were always committed to buying organic milk but that was about it. Sometimes fruit and eggs too, but I made my grocery list each week based on coupons and deals. What I'm learning now is that there are some major repercussions associated with eating that way. As a result, I'm barely eating meat these days. My rule (for me) is that I can only eat meat that is grassfed (beef) or cage free, farm raised (chicken). Both must be without hormones and antibiotics. And the biggest thing is that I'm probably only eating meat 2 times a week, if that. It isn't that big of a deal for me, but for Gabe it is a change. I've never been a meat lover and of course, I'm married to one :) But, he's humoring me and he even watched both movies with me. He's been transformed and that is really exciting to me. So, yes, we are spending more on groceries considering that we buy almost everything at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. But, to me it makes sense. If the food that we normally eat as Americans is making us sick, then eating better quality foods with less ingredients is worth my money. That's where I'm at currently and I'm sure I'll post more as I learn more.
The other topic of interest is that we are leaving in 2 days for California. SO excited but today we are having the snow storm of the century here and I'm praying that we are still able to get out of here on Monday. We cannot have a repeat of 2 years ago... I've been thinking about my trip a lot too. Gabe and I have decided we really want to just take it easy there. We want to rest, enjoy nature, be with family, relax, see friends, and eat good food. Not asking too much. Trying to focus on what Christmas really means for us as a family. In our little home, we have made a conscious decision not to make Christmas all about the gifts. Of course we are getting things for the girls, but not going overboard-on purpose. Maddie's been to at least 2 birthday parties for Jesus so far :) and in our home, that's what it's all about. 1 year ago yesterday, you may remember that Gabe and I were baptized together. It was such a special evening and the memory of it brings a smile to my face. I'm so thankful that I know Him and that He loves me!
Merry
Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

NYC






We had an awesome time in New York this week. Gabe and I had traveled there in August and most of you know what a nightmare it ended up being for me...So, this trip was redemption! We took the train from DC to NYC (which was SO much better than driving), arrived to our nice hotel and got some lunch (organic deli anyone?). Then, we rested and made our way to the all organic Waldy's pizza. It was delicious and I even contemplated having lunch there the next day! We went to the Phish show in Madison Square Garden (3rd row) and had a really great night of dancing, singing and hanging out with each other. The next day we took off to see the sights: 30 Rock and the Christmas Tree. Even caught a glimpse of Today anchor Natalie Morales as she exited the building. We made our way to The Natural History Museum and got some breakfast in the upper west side. Then it was time to catch our train and head home. We were exhausted but content...and also really excited to get back to our girls. It's so nice to get away, but equally as nice to come back home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sisters

I catch glimpses of it all the time; she wants to be just like her. She follows closely, watches her even closer and I can see it in her eyes; she longs to be her best friend. When I knew that I was having two girls, I couldn't have been happier. Everyone assumes I want a boy, but to be honest, I really wanted sisters. To me, it's one of the most special bonds I have. So, I continue to watch them. I watch to make sure that Grace's feelings don't get hurt (too often) and that Maddie seeks to include her sister when she can. I try to help them cultivate a relationship that will carry them through some great times and some hard ones in their futures. I'm trying to teach them to watch out for one another, to rely on each other and most of all to trust each other. It's fun to watch and also a big responsibility. But, luckily, I feel up to the challenge!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Halloween

I meant to get these online about 2 weeks ago, but as you've seen, I'm slacking lately. So, here's a few of the highlights with the girls. We had a blast and even today Maddie still wants to say "Happy Halloween." Enjoy :)


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oh my word..

Where have I been??? It feels like forever since I last blogged and uh, it has been. Life has been pretty busy (whose isn't?) and there are so many times I think of a blog topic and then cannot find time to do it. To cut myself some slack, I do have a lot on my plate right now and prioritizing-wise, blogging falls to the bottom of that list. I have Maddie off at school right now, the house is cleaned (thank you Maid Brigade), and Grace is supposedly napping. I say supposedly because as I type, I hear her little fingers on her doorknob (she can reach it from her crib) trying desperately to turn it. But, she isn't crying. She's just doing her thing. Gabe and Maddie leave tomorrow for the weekend to go do some Dog Showing in MD. They started this tradition last year when Grace was only 8 weeks old and I just wanted to stay here and sleep whenever she did (you know, like a new mom of only 1 baby can do?). So, this year they are off again and it will be just me, Grace Face, and the dogs. Here's the funny thing. I do not know what I will eat while Gabe is gone. Now don't get me wrong. I am fantastic at Taco Night (in fact that's the meal du jour :) but Gabe seriously feeds me every night. I shop, he cooks. It's been that way since we first met. It's awesome! So, in trying to prepare for him to be gone, I just went to the store to get the staples that will get me through til' Sunday afternoon: a whole lotta milk, boxes of cereal and of course a frozen pizza. Based on my food choices a thought just occurred to me: am I a 31 year old mother of two or a 19 year old frat guy? Tough call :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Awesome...

On Monday afternoons I have some where to be; group. So, it is one of the weekdays where I try to pay a little attention to my appearance since I will be in the midst of a roomful of adults. So, I spent today in comfy clothes and just a few minutes ago changed to be a little more...presentable. I touched up some makeup, put my shoes on and went to brush my teeth. Feeling good and looking good. Just as I was ready to head out the door, I glanced at something in my hair. What is that? I thought to myself... Only to realize it's graham crackers caked into my hair with what I'm sure at one point was Grace's saliva. It made me laugh because no matter how hard I try to not look quite so mommy-like, I'm a mom from my hair down to my converse that Grace puked on last week. Awesome.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Busy

There has been great reason to slack on blogging and that's been busyness... Maddie turned 3, had a party to plan, bible study, starting a church Mom's group, Gianna is visiting, Grace has been sick, etc... You get the picture. I'm having major guilt that I didn't pen a birthday blog to Maddie, but that is still coming; just a little belated. Most of you who read this either went to Maddie's party, or have been emailed the pictures. In case you haven't I'll include a link to the pic's here.
It was such a great day...hopefully one that she'll remember. If not, Lord knows we took plenty of pictures!

Monday, October 5, 2009

dreams

If it was my dream to have, what would it look like?
Where would I live, what would I do with my time, how would I earn a paycheck?
Trying to balance those I hold dearest to my heart,
With the dreams that tug at my heartstrings; daily.
Some days it all feels possible,
What a dream it would be if it was all mine.

Friday, October 2, 2009

18 months

Today is an important day around our house; Gabe has 18 months. Some may think that has flown by while others may think it feels like it's been longer; it's a bit of both. No matter how I look at it though, I'm amazed. There is serious perseverance at work here and I'm grateful. It isn't easy to get to where he is, but it's possible. It is definitely possible.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

First Day of School Pictures :)



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First Week of School

The week that was much anticipated has come and gone; Maddie finished her first week of school. At her age, she doesn't get those anxious butterflies that I remember so well; both as a student and later as a teacher. She only feels excited. And why wouldn't she be? Her day consists of circle time, potty breaks, outside play, snacks, lunch, music and movement. Sounds pretty awesome if you ask me. I dressed her on Tuesday and then took the obligatory picture in front of the front door. This tradition has been in my family for as long as I can remember and last year I didn't quite get that photo, as I was in the hospital giving birth! So, this year, we have the picture and the memory.

On a different note, I've been spending this week worried/obsessing about the flu shot. It's such a nightmare for me because of all the sicknesses we've been through with Maddie. Not to mention that because of her asthma, she is considered high-risk. So, there seems to be no choice. This morning we have appointments to get both her and I the flu shot. I figure I have to get it because I don't really want to put something in her body that I wouldn't put in mine. Grace has a yucky, runny nose, so I plan to postpone her shot until she's well. Even if it's just a teething runny nose, I'm not taking my chances.

I had some real fun this week too. Siobhan and I made a date and went out to the movies; just us! We are always together with at least 4 kids in tow and it was nice to be without the baggage :) We saw "Julie & Julia" and it was the best! Makes me want to cook up a storm. I'll let you all know if/when that happens. The other fun thing was last night. Sandy offered to take the girls for a couple of hours after their naps (my least favorite time of day; hard to entertain as I've done it the whole day long at that point). Gabe and I got to eat a peaceful dinner without an Elmo serenade in the background. Then we headed off to the driving range. Yup, the driving range. Now, you're probably wondering how I possibly had fun there, but I did. You see, it's a range where there's a seat right behind the golfer. The breeze was blowing and sun was setting and I had my book with me. I just sat and read and enjoyed looking up to see Gabe doing something he loves. It was peaceful. It was awesome.

All in all, it's been a good week. Starting to really feel better physically and trying to be present and grateful for all the little things.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Some thoughts

Oh, there are so many thoughts I've been having lately. The fact is that our thoughts can really affect our lives and so mine have got to get under control and stop being so....awful. That's the truth. In the midst of this health issue that I have, I'm finding that I'm not as "strong" as I once believed myself to be. What I mean is that I don't have to be. I'm allowing myself to be a little more needy; of my husband, family and friends. It's hard for me. Hard for me to need help, or extra time to get tasks done that I did so effortlessly a few weeks ago. Because I believe that what you think will come to pass, I've decided my thinking needs to be along the lines of being healthy; fully back to normal. I believe this can happen; not only that, but that it will happen.

To help myself, yesterday I suggested a family walk in a wooded natural park. It was amazing. It felt like I hadn't been out of the house in forever and I needed all that green, and peace, and quiet. It was magical. We walked and walked until we got to the boardwalk. In the midst of that fresh air I found myself hopeful. Like I knew that I will feel better at some point. That's where I want to keep my head today; in a place of hopefulness and gratitude for all that I do have. Grateful for the walk I had yesterday and the one I will take today...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday!


Dear Gracie,
Today you turn 1 and it's hard to believe. You are such a joy and a blessing to our little family. Last year on this day I was so anxious and excited to meet you; I had no idea who you'd turn out to be. Today you are extremely happy; that is the first thing people notice/say about you. You say "mama" all the time and do not like me to leave the room. You sleep A LOT! Your Uncle Dan thinks this is funny. You can walk and you do it pretty fast; it almost looks like you're floating. In the mornings, we can hear you in your crib trying to touch the doorknob and we inevitably hear your sister telling you "open the door Grace Face." Your Daddy and I always laugh at this! You love water! You are enamored with sippy cups and you love to drink them dry. You have tried yogurt and oatmeal for the first time in the last 2 days and you've enjoyed them both. In fact, today you smell like maple & brown sugar from breakfast when you put oatmeal in your left ear :) So messy but it made you so happy. That's what I want to teach you; that your messes in life can be your greatest joys; Don't be afraid to dig in. I love you more than I ever knew would be possible. Happy Birthday my sweet, baby Grace.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ugh

That pretty much sums up the last 2 weeks. It's been one doctor appointment after another... and I'm still not well. Being well is so relative though. I'm very well considering the large amount of ailments and maladies that people live with every day. But, for my own sake and sanity, I'm incredibly uncomfortable most of the time and I'm really ready to learn the lesson and move on. I've been reading, praying and talking to people nonstop about all of this and I'm tired. Exhausted is really the word; emotionally and physically. I told someone today that I keep it together pretty well during the day and then have an average of one breakdown per night, complete with sobbing. I'm not only uncomfortable but I'm a baby. I just want to be taken care of and I want to feel better. I'm so used to being the care-giver not the care-taker and it's a different role. One that I'm not totally comfortable with. I feel like if I lean on others too much, they will get sick of it and then when I really need help, they won't have anything left to give. Is that crazy? Then, I think that if the tables were turned and Gabe (or anyone else that I love dearly) needed me, I would be there. I wouldn't hesistate and if they were dealing with a medical mystery I wouldn't have a time limit in mind of just how long I'd be available for help. It's ridiculous.

Today I decided to just be positive with my thoughts about whatever is going on within my body. That seemed to work because I did have peace for a while and the belief that God is in control and I'm surrendered (okay surrendering would be more true). The lesson has to be 'letting go' which is the #1 thing I'm not good at. Makes sense for me to try to learn it now...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sick

I haven't blogged in over a week and that's due to several factors. My mom is here :), Gabe and I went to NYC for 2 nights, and I've been sick. So, because I'm still getting better I'm going to postpone blogging until I feel better. Probably a day or two...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Grace

Gracie turned 11 months over the weekend and it blew my mind. Where has the time gone? Seriously. This is that whole thing that people (the generation before us) warn us about...they say cliche things like "it goes in the blink of an eye" or "one day they're in diapers and the next you're walking them down the aisle." And we grown, sort of roll our eyes and promise to capture each moment in a snapshot so that it doesn't feel that way.

So, here we are. The month before we pass the exiting babyhood, welcome to toddler hood sign on the freeway of life. Ugh. I'm not ready for this...but I am. When I first had her, I couldn't wait for her to grow up. I had all these fantasies of her and Maddie playing together, talking for hours in their room, confiding in one another. While I still continue to hold onto these grandeur's of illusion, I'm confounded by the fact that they are fast approaching; like, too fast. I not only want her to still want me, but I need her to. She's my baby. Her name has been "baby Grace" from the beginning. "Toddler Grace" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Because I want to remember her exactly as she is now, here are some facts about my little girl. Gracie, at 11 months you:
  • are one of the lights of my life; I cannot wait to hold you each morning
  • can practically walk; maybe 4 or 5 steps in a row, but they are fast steps. You have a lot of momentum
  • say "ba ba ba ba..." all the time. You can say "mama" "dada" and "bubba" too.
  • smile all the time and your 2 little bottom teeth show which cracks me up! Those are the only teeth you have now.
  • love animals; especially dogs (no surprise there) and often get into their crates (just like your big sister did)
  • want to eat real food now more than baby food
  • suck the same 2 fingers as your sister and have a favorite "nigh-nigh."
  • LOVE water; dog bowl water, bathtub water, pool water, sippy cup water...you love it all.
  • have dirty diapers that can clear a room; we call you "toxic" from time to time :)
  • get red eyelids when you're tired; it's a tell-tale sign. You get that from me.
  • are a mommy's girl through and through. This was predicted by your Nonnie when you were 3 days old and has turned out to be very true.
  • make me feel loved
Happy 11 months Gracie girl!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

From Sorrow to Joy

A friend of mine confided in me that her husband was going to attend his first meeting last night. I was thrilled for them.

See, when Gabe first started going to meetings, I had no idea the miracles that would soon follow. I thought it was a life sentence; a change that he would have to make but one that wouldn't affect me too much. Well, I was totally wrong and I'm so thankful for that!

Yesterday I decided I needed to pray for this couple and especially this man who was about to start on the journey that is recovery. As I prayed, I began to cry. I was immediately taken back to that April night when Gabe came clean (pun intended). I remembered how scared, alone, angry and embarrassed I felt. I remembered thinking that my marriage was over and that I would now be having this baby on my own (I was 5 months pregnant with Grace). Then, I remember having a feeling that I would be okay; that we would be okay. I can't explain the sense of calm that I had. I felt that my love for Gabe was stronger than addiction and I was willing if he was.

The next few months after that night were a whirlwind of meetings, sponsorship, church services, doctor appointments...etc. It hit me as I was praying yesterday that I've lived and seen a miracle occur in front of my eyes. I've watched a man come to sobriety and in turn, come to God. The fact that he has stayed sober for 16 months now is no accident. It's hard work. It takes a lot of time and I firmly believe it takes God. No person is strong enough on their own. So, yesterday I was realizing how completely grateful I am and how much I take Gabe's sobriety for granted. He makes it look so easy when at times it has been so hard. I'm amazed by him, but also by God. Looking back on that night and all that I thought I had lost was really just the introduction to all that I would gain.

"...to Him be the glory..." Ephesians 3:21

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Appearances

I give this topic a lot of thought; probably more than is necessary. Not so much my personal outward appearance, but more the thought of what me, my family, my home, my life look like to the outside world. Now, some would stop me there and say "Who cares what people think?" And, to that I would agree. I'm not sure I care (in terms of how they judge it) but more I'd love to know just what they see. This is on my mind because I've recently made a new friend and she's awesome. She's from church and what comes across to me about her is her ability to be totally authentic. She's one of those real people. By real I mean open, honest, easy to talk to, kind... Here's the thing; that got me thinking about how real I am (if I am) and how that comes across to people who are getting to know me. Everyone of us "adults" puts on a facade to try and hide behind so that no one gets too close. From the clothes we wear (and the importance we place on them), to the car we drive, etc. To me, both of the aforementioned are only nominally important. I do really try to live a life that is real and imperfect and faithful. I wonder how that comes across? Does anyone ever think like this and if so, how do you think you come across?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Baby Pool Party


Here are a few pictures from the very successful Baby Pool Party yesterday afternoon. The girls had a blast and visiting with the puppies was awesome too! The puppy that Gabe is holding is Olivia. She is the biggest one of the bunch! Enjoy :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekend

Just realized it's been a long time since I signed in and blogged. So, things around here are generally the same. Grace is really working on walking and part of that means that she keeps waking around 11pm to "visit" Gabe and I and practice her bipedal skills. Good thing we are still up at that time, so it's really no big deal. Maddie is working on her potty skills. Sometimes successful, often not. But, trying nonetheless and in turn we're trying to keep that in perspective.
No real plans for the weekend. Maybe having Gabe's cousin and girlfriend for brunch on Sunday after church (Gabe's already planning the menu :) Maybe some swimming, grilling, etc. I had so dreaded summer and now that we are in the middle of it, I've realized that not only has it flown by, but I'm enjoying it. Being with my girls and watching them grow up before my eyes is pretty special. Sometimes it feels mundane, the day in day out stuff, but if I take the time to reflect on what I'm really doing, I remember that it's amazing. Not me, but the service of raising & guiding little girls. I'm so thankful that I can do it...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Motherhood

You never know what kind of mom you're going to be until you have a baby. You can dream, idealize, and even ponder what motherhood will be like, but you cannot really know. I knew that because I had been a teacher who really believed in boundaries and discipline, I would probably want to parent that way. Because of that background, disciplining has come pretty naturally to me. I've read several books, blogs and articles on the subject and when Maddie came into the world, I felt I had a good grasp on the kind of mom I was going to be. But now she is 2 and a half; actually more like 2 and three fourths and the ways in which I think about parenting her have changed. It doesn't have to do with her age as much as it has to do with the fact that she now has a 10 month old sister in the mix (Happy 10 month birthday to Grace yesterday!). You see, we had one of those mornings. You know the type. Where it feels like the day has been sooooooo long and you look to see that it's only 8:14am. Where you wish that coffee were injectable because it would be a fast shot of caffeine to your system. Where the only toy that each wants is the one the other was playing with so happily before it was snatched out of their hands. That's the day I'm speaking of. This morning we had an incident. The short version is that Maddie was annoyed (her fav mood these days) at Grace for following her up the stairs. Grace was on the 4th step, Maddie was at the top telling me to "get Gracie Mommy." As I was walking to get Grace, Maddie came bouncing down the stairs, placed her hand squarely on Grace's forehead and with a small amount of force proceeded to push Grace down the stairs. First things first. Grace was fine. Didn't even cry, landed rather Gracefully (excuse the pun) and was content to be in my arms. Maddie looked shocked, and fearful at the same time. Me? My blood was boiling. If you are a mom, you know the feeling. My first instinct was to put her in a time out, in her crib, in her room with the door closed. So, that's what I did. Let's just say that I put her in her crib with a little bit of force (was trying to be unemotional but felt very EMOTIONAL). I then went to call Gabe. I asked him what to do. I told him that even though we have chosen not to spank our kids, this was one of those times where I thought a spanking was in order. We agreed on her punishment (left her in there for a while, had her apologize to Grace, kept her nigh-nigh from her for a while until she could treat her sister nicely) and I calmed down. It was that mother bear instinct that came up. The one where you protect your young from anything...even your other young.
The point here is that before I was a mom of course I thought about spanking. Would I do it? It had been done to me and I turned out fine. Was there another way to discipline? Etc. I've come to believe that not only is motherhood/parenting individual, it's also fluid. It can change depending on the circumstances. I have to say that I'm proud that I didn't spank Maddie today. There I was trying to teach her to love, to be kind and gentle to her sister; how would that translate if I taught her that by hitting her? Doesn't make sense. So, in all the reason I kept my head was because of God and because of the fact that I've given this some thought ahead of time. I'm grateful that no one was hurt this morning (both physically or emotionally). Motherhood is tricky, but if you do your best I believe there will be great rewards.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th to everyone and of course a Happy, Happy Birthday to my Mom ;) Here's a collage of the past week or so. Maddie and I made a 4th of July cake as you can see, I had to capture her curls, Grace is busy and happy as usual, and Dan visited & huzzled the Madster, and Gabe and Maddie had movie night on Thursday! So much fun, so many pic's... Hope your 4th is happy, healthy and safe!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Girls

Grace examines the water puddle in which she finds her hand...

Decides it looks tasty and she drinks like a puppy...

And is SO proud of herself!

Maddie

I've had these pictures to post since last week, but have just now gotten around to it. This week has sort of been a blur of busyness that includes making it to meetings, a cold that knocked my socks off for the past 4 days, going to see Kathy Griffin and preparing for my brother to visit tonight :) Last night I went with Gabe's mom Sandy, his sister Janie and Alexa to see Kathy Griffin (My Life on the D List) do her stand up routine in Maryland. It was hilarious and if you know anything about her style/brand of comedy you know that it has major shock value. There were some off color jokes not to mention her use of her favorite bad word (begins with "f") but once I sort of tuned that out, I laughed out loud over and over. It was a really fun night out and well worth being a little bit tired today.
Other news; Grace has gotten 2 teeth. They have finally cut through her gums (the lower 2 front teeth) and she has been a champ in true Gracie style. Nothing really bothers her. She has the best attitude and I just have to tell you this story. Every morning I wake to the sound of Maddie yelling my name: "Mommy, Mommmmmyyyyyy, etc." I never hear Grace make a peep. As I enter each morning I find Grace sitting upright in her crib looking through her soft book, quiet as a lamb. She sees me come in (I often startle her) and she gets that smile that takes up half of her face. She is one of the best ways to start the day. Maddie, on the other hand, has lots of things to tell me as soon as she sees me. She tells me stories from the night before that include when she got sad when Daddy left and the babysitter came, to the fact that later she ate a lollipop and read books. Even though she has been a bit difficult for the past few days, the fact that she can somewhat hold a conversation is pretty fun.
Dan comes to visit tonight and will be with us until Monday when he goes on business across the bridge. So excited to have him here as he has never seen our home. Which reminds me that we moved into this house literally 3 years ago this week! Time flies and to think when we moved in it was just us and our dogs and we've grown to capacity at 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs and did I mention we got a fish (named Dorothy) this week? Happy Friday!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Puppies!


In case you don't do Facebook, I've put these pic's up for all to see. Lois had her puppies on Saturday and there are 9 of them (5 boys and 4 girls). 8 are doing great, but the one being fed from a bottle is having a hard time. He was eating well last night though, so maybe he will make it. Maddie doesn't believe they are dogs. She thinks they are rabbits, hamsters or mice! It's a pretty quiet day around here. Had a busy weekend and Gabe had a nice Father's Day. He spent time with his girls. What more could he ask for?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nueve Meses


Grace had her 9 month check up this week. She's doing great residing in the 30th percentile very comfortably. She weighed 17lbs 10oz and measured 27" long. Happy healthy girl and really beginning to come into her own. There are so many things I could write about her to tell you all who she's becoming, but here are a few things that come to mind. Gracie is happy; not just happy here and there, but always happy. She teaches me a lot about attitude considering she always has a good one and the small things in life please her. She stands up and is starting to cruise around on the furniture; just like her big sis at this age. She's daring with her new found ability to climb up the stairs! The other night she was exhausted and I was ready to take her up to bed (yep, take her up not down because she's moved out of the basement and into her actual crib :) she decided to climb the stairs all the way to the top with me shadowing her. She got to the top, her eyelids were red from exhaustion and she was so proud. It was like she couldn't believe that she had just done something she's been planning for a while. I know this because when Maddie and I have to run upstairs real quick to get something, Grace stands at the bottom step and cries. She hates being left out.

Basically Grace is busy. A very busy baby who keeps us on our toes and whom we love to pieces. In 9 short (at times long) months, she's become the perfect missing piece to our little family. We feel complete and that feels pretty special.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Baxter


Baxter 1999-2009
We loved him so much and will miss him even more.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Maddie's Performance at school today :)

Madeline

video

Some shaky camera work (Gabe :) but notice that Maddie is the one facing the wrong way!

video

After the performance, parents were allowed to come forward to take pictures and when Maddie sees Gabe and I she cannot contain her excitement!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dear Maddie

Today I watched you from my car as you played at the playground at school. You looked so independent; running from here to there, your curls bouncing in the wind. You climbed some wooden steps over and over so that you could slide down a big yellow slide with a huge grin on your face. It took my breath away and made me cry. I cried because of how much I love you. Because of you I have been forever changed. You are the first person to make me a mom and I'm so thankful for that. It was your last day of your first year of preschool today and my heart cannot take it. You are such a big girl but still my baby at the same time. I feel overwhelmed with how much you've grown in 9 months; how much you've learned. Right now you love to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and you request that I clap when you've finished. You talk in the 3rd person all the time. You always ask me to "huzzle" you while holding your nigh-nigh. Your favorite book is "Everyone Poops" and you have amazing manners. I could not be more proud of you nor could I love you more. You are my little "bug" and my heart.
Love,
Mommy

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The "Run In"

It's been a pretty busy week so far. We had our new stove delivered yesterday (love it!) and right now some men are power washing the house. Our garden is planted and the new grill has already been put to good use. Gabe says that "things are really starting to come together around here;" good thing it only took us 3 years!
But, to get to the point of my post. Today I experienced a "run in." If you know me, you may know that I don't really love to run into people when I'm out doing errands, etc. Not sure why. I'm weird, but most of you know that too. So, Grace and I had just dropped Maddie off at school and we needed to go to a store to get some jean shorts and a white shirt for Maddie to wear at her last day of school next week (she's in a performance and this is what they asked her to wear). There I was sitting out in front of the store waiting for it to open with Grace happy in the stroller. Two women came up behind us and were waiting while also carrying on a conversation. Their convo has something about Chick 1's hair at the center of it and Chick 2 is complimenting her relentlessly. At this point they see Grace and then they sort of round the corner to see me. Suddenly we realize that all of our kids are in the same class at school. I've talked to Chick 1 before (several times and have made attempts to have our girls play together since they seem to love each other-hasn't ever happened) but never to Chick 2. She always seemed "out there" and really into talking to others about her work out habits and homemade chips. Can you tell we have nothing in common??? So, we made quick, small talk and then went on our separate ways into the store.
I wasn't uncomfortable while we were talking, but after some thought, I am. I started to think "they're weird." But, then I had an epiphany. I'm weird! I like to keep to myself (just me and my baby). I don't like to have long convo's about my hair or anyone else's for that matter. I realized that they are both out of baby mode (their youngest are Maddie's age), well into their mid-thirties, and they are just a different kind of mom than me. To give a clearer picture, these are the same two Chicks I overheard at drop off one morning telling each other how they were going to the gym that night, but maybe they would tell there husbands they were going to the gym but not really go. They would go out together instead. I remember thinking, "Can't you tell your husband the truth? That you want to see a friend rather than work out?" Bizarre. So, I think that I originally felt weird because I felt like they are a clique and I don't fit in. But then, after thinking about it more I've realized that I'm not interested in being a member of a group that focuses on working out, hair dilemmas and husband trickery. I'm good on my own :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This weeks accomplishments (so far)



Grace and I have both had a pretty successful week so far. She has gained agility at pulling herself up to stand next to things and I got my teaching license renewal in the mail-good until 2014! :) Feeling very proud...of us both :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mail





We went to the mailbox to see what had been delivered. Can you guess a theme in our home? Maddie wanted to look at these privately, but her little sis had other ideas! :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Girls

video


video

Here are a couple of videos of the girls yesterday. Grace is being crazy during her dinner and Maddie shares her rendition of the ABC's. Enjoy!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today

I have to admit that I've been really bored lately. Bored with everything. TV shows, magazines, books, grocery shopping, life. That really sounds like complaining and maybe it is. Everyone is allowed to complain now and then; as long as it doesn't become habit. So, today I was bound and determined not to let another day go by being bored. Don't get me wrong. There are highlights to my boredom; Maddie reading her bible by saying "Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus..." as she looks at every page. Or Gracie crawling into my lap and grinning from ear to ear. But, while both of them are adorable beyond words and my life is pretty simple and good, there are some weeks when it sort of lags on. Kind of like I live between preparing meals for each of them, cleaning up after said meals, changing diapers, waiting for one or both to wake from naps so that we can go somewhere, going somewhere only to realize one of them is tired again, blah, blah, blah... you get the drift. Back to me not being bored today, I took one look at my Kitchen Aid mixer and decided to put it to good use. I told Maddie, "we are making cookies today!" She was thrilled. Or, maybe she was a little excited and became thrilled when suddenly I handed her a spatula after we had made the dough, and told her to "go for it." Her big blue eyes looked at me, unsure, and then she was a little girl in heaven with oatmeal, chocolate chip dough everywhere. It was awesome. It was so fun because it's one of those things (making cookies) that you look forward to doing with your kids...but they have to be old enough. Maddie is old enough now and we had a blast :) Great day and maybe it brought me out of my funk. I'll let you know tomorrow. Here's a picture of the cookies as they came out of the oven. The one at the bottom right was snagged by Cookie Monster (Gabe) before I could grab the camera. Classic.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It can be...

a thankless job! I think I'll just leave it at that. Can you tell what kind of day I've had???

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I.O.U.

I meant to write a post on Mother's Day. I meant to put a letter in the mail. I meant to sign up for an ASL class. I meant to... That seems to be my theme lately. After getting the wisdom teeth out, it took me longer to recover than I think everyone anticipated. Happy to say that for the last 3 days I haven't had to take any med's for pain (yay!). So, now that I'm back to normal (whatever that is) I thought I'd get around to the things I've been meaning to say and just haven't. I think I'll do it in list form since that truly captures my personality (I love a good list):
  1. I'm worried about the end of preschool (June 4) for summer break. I love Maddie completely, but these 3 mornings a week with just Grace and I are amazing. She is my little side-kick (much like Mad was at this age).
  2. I'm wondering how we will fill those long 13 weeks of summer.
  3. I had a great mother's day and realized that I'm keeping the card my husband wrote to me, forever.
  4. I'm not worrying about where Gracie wants to sleep anymore. She loves the basement (slept there last night for 14 hours straight!) and I'm not fixing something that ain't broke, if you know what I'm saying.
  5. I'm planning to take an ASL class because for a while now something has been calling me to do so... Not sure, but really intrigued.
  6. As of this afternoon I will have officially mailed in/submitted my form/documentation for renewing my teaching license (yay!)
  7. I cannot believe that Grace is 8 months old. She is pulling up to stand all the time! They say it goes by fast, but I think the second time is even faster.
I think that's about everything I've been daydreaming to blog. I know I've said this before, but I want/need to blog about what's going on more. I will. I mean to and I will.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wanting to get it right

I am FINALLY feeling better from my wisdom teeth surgery and so I thought it was time to get back to blogging. Here goes. The girls are not doing well at sharing a room. Actually, to be more honest, Gabe and I are not doing a good job at training them to share a room. We've been taking the easy route. Here's the truth. Every day Grace takes her morning nap in her crib in the room her and Maddie share. That's an easy one because Maddie isn't in there at that time. But, since Grace was small (born) she has enjoyed sleeping in her pack-and-play in the basement. It's super quiet, totally dark and there aren't any two year old's talking her ear off while she drifts off to sleep. She is now 8 months old (in 2 days) and my fear that she has become so accustomed to the basement and therefore won't sleep in her bedroom has become a reality. Here's the point. When the day is long and I'm counting the minutes until peace comes over my home (bedtime), the last thing I want to do is listen to Grace cry while Maddie simultaneously talks to her and yells for me. It's exhausting. I've been doing some reading tonight and it seems that the only way to solve this is to stick it out. Let the baby cry, let Maddie yell. But that seems so daunting because there are days when my whole day feels like I'm "sticking it out." To think that I have to end it that way seems like torture. Gabe has a whole other perspective. He thinks it's fine that Grace likes the basement for bedtime. He thinks that she'll sleep in her crib at night when she's ready and the fact that she takes a loooooooooong morning nap in it means that she can sleep there just fine.
So, what is it then? What is it about me/my personality that desperately wants to get things right? I cannot leave well enough alone. I have friends who are talking/blogging about not getting any sleep and I'm complaining because my kids get an abundant 11+ hours only in separate rooms!?! Any advice or thoughts would be much appreciated. Am I worrying about something that is nothing; meaning, Grace will eventually sleep in her room when the time is right? Or, is it best to try to break the basement habit now and just deal with the growing pains of sharing a room?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fear

I'll just lay it out there. I'm scared. I'm terrified. I have "the fear." Tomorrow I have to wake up, get Mad ready for school, get the baby up and feed her and then I have to go get my wisdom teeth taken out. This may be my worst fear. Now, I should be specific here. I'm actually not super scared of the actual teeth pulling; it's the whole anesthesia thing that's getting to me. The what-if's have been haunting me: What if they use so much anesthesia that I have trouble breathing and can't wake up? What if they use too little and I wake up to them yanking a tooth from my head? What if these teeth actually made me wiser? etc. You know, ridiculous, waste of time thoughts. Also, I've never been "put to sleep" as I keep saying, to which my sister said "you are not a dog and your not going to die." Nice sentiment but because I've never been sedated like this, I am fearful. It's that whole unknown thing that's gotten to me. Everyone I tell this to reassures me (in their own special way). As Gabe put it, "I've never heard of anyone dying from getting their wisdom teeth out." So, that thought will carry me through the night into tomorrow then into the oral surgeons chair. If you believe in prayer, please pray for me not only during surgery (11:30am EST) but also for a fast recovery.... Is it okay to say that I want my mommy now?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Busy

I know there are people in the world who thrive on being busy. I am not one of those people. Sure, I like having things to look forward to (a trip somewhere, playing in a park, etc.) but I don't have a strong desire to fill my days to capacity. Which is why the last couple of weeks have been trying. This online class feels like it has taken over my life. I'm behind on emails, I have no idea what's going on on Desperate Housewives, and my desire to take photo's of every moment of my children's' lives is waning. Basically, I've been busy. So, here's to the fact that today I'm going to be a good kind of busy. The kind of busy that involves baking a cake with my 2 year old for my hubby. The kind that involves trying to take a great picture of the two munchkins to give as a present to said hubby. And, the kind of busy that means I have to get everything done in order to go out and celebrate with him. Here's to Gabe being 31 today and to me being busy in the best kind of way.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Link for Good Morning America Story

If you missed (or want to see again) the segment filmed on Sunday for Good Morning America, you can click below to watch. Enjoy :)

Click here to watch :)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter


Just wanted to post and say "Happy Easter" to everyone. It's been busy around here for the last week or so; I started a class online (to renew my teaching license), my wedding anniversary, out late to celebrate said anniversary, Maddie's day at the Barn, and now Easter! Lot's going on. Here's a few pic's I wanted to share and also the link to see the California pictures from last month. Be forewarned that there are A LOT of pictures of the ocean (Gabe got carried away...but who can blame him). Today is such a celebration for us and we remember that "He is Risen!"

Click here for California Pictures.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Verge

That's where I'm at; the Verge. The fact that I attempt to manage it all so effortlessly is not working. It takes a great deal of effort to keep things going and for the past few days (probably longer if you ask Gabe) I've begun to feel frustrated. Or maybe it's impatience that I feel. Probably a bit of both. See this is the week. The one week anniversary of when our lives changed. They say that relapsing around the one year anniversary is high for some reason and I suppose that goes for spouses in recovery as well. Relapse. Right back to all my old ways. The irritable, deep sighing, bone tired me. The me that I don't like at all. That's tough to admit. To say out loud that I don't like me. I'm really struggling with this right now. Can't seem to turn my mind off of the way I want to be vs. the way I really am. And, don't get me wrong-perfection is not what I'm seeking. But a sort of manageability would be nice. It just goes to show you that recovery is HARD. That whole "no one said it was going to be easy" line comes to mind. It's hard because change is tough and it ain't instant; it's takes a while and clearly longer than one year. So, here I am a year later and while I'm sure those around me could name ways I've changed, it's hard for me to see it myself. And, I don't even think that I'm that critical of me! Who knows... Regardless, that's where I am. The Verge of figuring stuff out while learning that there's so much more to know. The knowing that I'm too hard on myself but still expecting to be better. The beginning of another year of sobriety and all that it will entail. Our wedding anniversary is next week so in a lot of ways it's the beginning of another year of marriage too; and if we can make it through what we've already conquered, I'd say we'll be just fine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Time flies

Well, we've already been here for 6 days and it is flying by. I knew it would be this way. I always want the days to feel long and the nights short so that I get more "awake" time being here. As I sit here and type this, my view is amazing. I'm looking out onto a quiet country road with green everywhere I look. The grass, plants and the tall-growingl Redwoods surround us here. Being with family has been awesome. Watching my Mom with my Maddie is unlike any relationship I've ever observed. They are connected. The way you want your kids to be with your mom; a dream come true. Tomorrow morning we'll wake up and be off to spend time at my Dad's house. I'll be sad to leave this place; I always am. I'm storing up the memories to get me through until we come back in July...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Practice makes Perfect


Dentist: Madeline
Patient: Mommy


That's Maddie and I "practicing" for her to go to the dentist yesterday. I explained to her that he was going to look at her teeth and count them. Then, he'd give her some stickers. She thought it sounded good, but wanted to practice with my teeth. After I took this picture, she said the dentist would check my "eyes, ears, nose, and eyebrows." I told her I'd never heard of a dentist checking eyebrows, and she just giggled. Pretty cute. So, today Gabe took her to the dentist for 3 reasons. #1, it's his childhood dentist and he wanted to stroll down memory lane. #2, Grace had her 6 month check up scheduled at the same time. #3, I knew she'd scream and activities that cause her to scream are deemed Daddy Duty in our house. The report is that she did cry, but she let him count, clean and fluoride treat her teeth. No cavities (yay!) and she needs to floss more (gets ya every time). Also, her top teeth are pushing out a bit because she sucks her fingers-no surprise there. She comes from a mother who had braces TWO TIMES and sucked her thumb until she was 9. There you have it. As Gabe took Maddie, I took Grace for her appointment, which of course included shots. Many shots. And an oral vaccine. That's another thing that people neglect to tell you when you're having a baby. How awful it is every 3 months of their first year of life going to the dr. and injecting them what seems a bazillion times. Grace recovers well though. Usually smiling by the time we get off the elevator and walk through the parking lot. So, we're really just on the countdown to California now. We leave day after tomorrow and the packing has officially begun. Not feeling stressed about first time flying with 2 kids... yet. Grace is at a good age because she isn't crawling or walking, so she's usually pretty content in her car seat. Maddie will be entertained by her DVD player, crayons, snacks and few "surprises" I always bring to keep her occupied. Off to run errands and looking forward to a night where neither Gabe nor I have a meeting to go to! Just some time together.


Gracie (6 months old)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gotta get a new cleaning lady

This has been on my mind for, oh say, about 10 months (if not more). Our cleaning lady is also an employee at dog school and that makes the "firing" of her a little trickier than letting a stranger go. Here's the point and let me know if you agree. We have asked her to come at 12pm every other Wednesday. This has been the schedule for at the least the 2 and half years that we've lived in our home. Each time she shows up, it's at a different time. Sometimes as late as 2pm!!! That is impossible to deal with. I have 2 kids that definitely need naps and so I had asked her to come at 12pm because I thought she could clean before they needed to sleep. Well, since she comes late, more often than not, one kid is sleeping in the basement and one is sleeping in her room. This means that the entire basement, a bedroom, and one full bathroom doesn't get cleaned... and I still pay the same amount of money! That seems like a rip off. Can I get an Amen? So, the plan that we sort of forged today is to have Gabe tell her tomorrow at dog school that we are tight on money (isn't everyone?) and that I'll just do the cleaning for now. And, it's partially true. I do A LOT of cleaning on a normal basis (OCD anyone?) and for what we pay her we could probably get a whole crew of cleaners to do it in half the time and on time-which would seem like a luxury! So, that's the plan. It's hard to cut ties like this, but it's been irking me for so long and today I'm definitely at my rope's end. That's what happens when you're up with your chronic coughing daughter til 10pm at night all the while debating if going to California next month will even be doable? If she isn't better, then the trip seems too hard from the get. For example, how are we supposed to fly on a plane for 6 hours if she needs a neb treatment every 4 hours? Confusion and anxiety do not make for restful sleep. Sorry for the complaining- really trying to work on that!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Love Day

Valentines Day is upon us and ours is pretty much like most days. Although, my husband did come home from his meeting this morning to bring me a dozen dark pink roses and Maddie a little stuffed puppy. He said he was trying to think of what to get Grace, but we both sort of laughed. Clearly she won't remember today and not only that, what says "I love you" to a 5 month old? Oh yeah, a bottle and a hug :) So, today is good. Tomorrow Gabe and I are taking Maddie to see Disney on Ice. We are pretty excited to see the look on her face when she sees Bickey and Mimi in real life (translation Mickey and Minnie). Grace will stay with her grandparents and Maddie will have us all to herself. Sounds like true love to me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Been a while

I've been a slacker blogger lately and for that I apologize. But, since this has been the home of all sicknesses (cold/cough, pink eye, and one bout of 24 hour throwing up bug) I've been a bit busy. We are doing better and since one of my resolutions is to complain less, I'll leave it at that. Last night Gabe and I had our weekly date night and the plan was for us each to go to our prospective meetings and then out to dinner. Well, as we left the house we came to a stop light and I noticed a man at a bus stop who had just pushed (possible punched) a woman in the face. At first I wasn't sure about what I'd seen, but as the light continued to be red, he continued to yell, scream and invade the woman's personal space. We called 911. The officer promised to send someone ASAP but I told Gabe we should park and watch because if they left or something worse happened I wanted to be able to tell the police. They left the bus stop and started walking towards a shopping center where we followed them and watched as the man attacked her from behind. He hit her in the head and Gabe got out of the car and yelled for me to call the police again. I did and they were there in a few minutes. I was yelling for Gabe to get back in the car (this man he wanted to approach was obviously a maniac). I had seen on TV that instead of getting into an altercation with the aggressor, you should simply offer the victim a ride or a way to get out of the situation. As I was preparing to do that, the cops got there. We drove away, too late for our meetings to go and headed to dinner. The cops called me and said that the couple was saying that nothing happened and that they are totally fine and in love. I have to say that I'm not surprised that happened. I've heard/learned/read about the fact that often if the man is in trouble for domestic violence the woman won't testify/agree about the violence because once he gets out of jail the abuse she'll suffer will be 100 x's worse. What an awful way to live. It hurt me to watch someone being so abused-right on a public street no less. It's hard for me to understand that kind of relationship and also for me to understand why people can be so harmful to one another. I told Gabe that this is too urban of an environment for me. I'm not naive; I know that crime, domestic disputes, etc. happen in every community, but it was a lot to take in. I still believe it was the right thing to do to call the police. I don't think anyone should ever stand by and think that it's not their business, etc. It's left me with a sour taste in my mouth, but at the same time I think we did the right thing. Opinions?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow!

video
Here is a video of us this morning with Maddie discovering that it snowed while she was sleeping. There's another video to come of her sledding!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sick, again!

Yup, we are sick. Actually, Maddie and I are sick while Gabe and baby are fine. We had yet another scare with Maddie's breathing troubles on Friday night and it's been a watch-and-wait game over the weekend to see if she was getting better or if we needed to take her to the hospital. A few phone calls with the on-call pulmonologist and some prednisolone later, she seems to be on the mend. I, on the other hand, have learned what a panic attack feels like and have also gotten sick. Friday night I could barely bring myself to sleep because my fear of Maddie not being able to breathe was all consuming. It's impossible to have a child have a hard time breathing and not be affected. Thank God we have the doctors we have and the medicine she needed. She has to go in this week to be evaluated and see where we go from here. I think I have the same thing, but because I'm an adult, it isn't so detrimental to my breathing. My throat aches as does my body, but that's about it. Feeling not so great today, but hopefully getting better. So, that's the news here. Not fun, but on the mend (finger's crossed).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's finally here!


So, inauguration day is upon us and I'm so glad it's here. It's been a looooooooooooong wait (8 years anyone?) and today just has a sense of electricity in the air. Well, the electricity in my house is coming from our couch (what is that all about)-but I digress. Today is a monumental day for the whole country-and in particular my little part of the world. I drive to Maryland every Monday night and last night I think there were at least 20 signs that reminded us that tomorrow there would be road closures due to a "DC Event." Who on earth, or at least in DC, Maryland and Virginia doesn't know what "event" is happening today? I thought it was a little comical but I'm sure it was also necessary. So, I just wanted to mark this day by saying I'm so happy, emotional, joyful and peaceful. I'm also so happy that my daughters' first memory of a president will be Mr. Obama. It gives me chills.