All of This Happened

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So, I haven’t exactly been hiding, but I spent much of the past 9 months looking like this, so there hasn’t been much time for blogging.

img_7325Our third born, June Powers, arrived on August 23rd, 2017 at 11 AM, one week early, via a scheduled c-section.

And she is just beautiful. None of us can stop looking at her. She came into the world kicking and screaming and weighing in at 7 lbs 3 oz, our smallest baby yet. She is quiet and gentle until she gets hungry. Then she is pissed. She seems to be unfazed by the screaming/yelling, non-stop talking, and tackling that goes on in our house, so I think she will survive here nicely.

Her first week here has been chaotic. James and Reese both started school and there were visiting days and orientations, not to mention dealing with the aftermath of a pipe that burst in our basement while we were in the hospital.

Meanwhile, June is straight chillin’ all day long. She sleeps at night. The first couple of nights home from the hospital I actually had to wake her for her feedings. For the record, when other people told me they had to do this with their newborn babies, I secretly never believed them. I know this may not continue, but it’s nice to have right now, while trying to recover from the c-section and get two kids up and out the door for school in the morning. Sidenote: I laugh a little inside when I say things like “get the kids up and out the door for school.” It’s so mom-ish.

I actually love the chaos this time around. Reese was born in November and because the weather was terrible, flu season was nearing, and she was our only child, her and I pretty much spent her first winter hunkered down in our living room watching Laguna Beach reruns. When James arrived two years later in March, the weather was better but we also had a two-year old who wasn’t in school yet, woke insanely early, never went to bed easily and could do very little for herself. Sicknesses ravaged our house those first few months and those were probably some of the hardest days of my life. I could remember feeling guilty just wishing that James would hit that 3 month mark and maybe start sleeping better. I felt like I was wishing his babyness away. So far, I don’t have those feelings this time.

Now, Reese is in school full-time, we have swimming lessons and soccer practices to go to and June will be dragged to everything. Much like any younger sibling, and I think she will roll with it.

Here are some glimpses of our first few days.

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Reese at Five, James at Three Years

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Our little people are now three and five. There is nothing baby about them at all, and they both get mad when I say they will always be my babies. But they will.

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Reesie turned five on November 29th and we celebrated with her favorite sushi roll, fried ice cream, and a party at the YMCA a few days later.

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My dearest Reese, there was a time when the Happy Birthday song brought you to tears but this year you reveled in it. You weren’t even mad when I dropped your birthday cake on my lap on the way to the party and we served a leaning, lopsided, chocolate mess, half of which was smeared across the front of my jeans.

You still love art and can spend hours coloring in your room. You like your alone time, and you are like me in that way. Some days you ask to go to rest time so you can have some time to yourself. Your kindness is what I am most proud of. You get along with everyone, and I have never seen you being mean to another child (not counting your brother of course.) I can see the hurt on your face when other kids are being left out or not treated fairly. You are ULTRA sensitive, which is frustrating for me at times, but you do you. The other day after a particularly rough afternoon for me, I didn’t say a word in the car on the way home from the YMCA. I felt like I needed 5 minutes of silence and if I didn’t get it, I would explode. You started to cry and said that you know I’m sad and when I’m sad you feel sad. My heart officially melted and then we all went and got munchkins.

You take swimming lessons and gymnastics classes once a week.  You have come so far in swimming. You can swim up and down the pool without your floatie and you jump in the deep end like it’s no thang. You like gymnastics but complain that it makes you hot and tired. Spoken like a true athlete.

You are in school Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can write all of your letters and numbers, your full name, and some short words. You love reading books and have memorized many of your favorites. You love The Magic School Bus, Shimmer and Shine (ugh), Batman, Legos, and dress up.

You are helpful and can do so much by yourself now. You help me everyday and are learning the hard lesson that because James is younger, and has bigger, louder tantrums (in public) he often gets what he wants. Ok, he always gets what he wants.

You are not shy, which I love. You talk to anyone you meet and tell them all about where we are going, who we saw yesterday, and exactly what mom said when she spilled the coffee this morning. One Sunday morning when I was away and your dad took you to church, you turned to the family behind you and said, “My mom’s at a bachelorette party.”

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James turned three on March 5th and had cake and ice cream with his grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.

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Dear Jamesie, you still love trains, trucks and cars. Trains especially, and riding the commuter rail with your dad is a favorite activity. You are obsessed with puzzles. You love cheese. Your best friends are Reese’s friends and their siblings, all of whom happen to be girls. Whenever we show up for a playdate, the girls say “The boy is here! Run!” Poor you. This will all change one day, I promise.

You now sleep in a “big boy bed”, you are almost completely potty trained, and you talk nonstop, but I feel like you never get a chance to finish your thoughts because someone who will remain nameless, (Reese), is always cutting you off. You take swimming lessons with me on Wednesdays which you love. You are a great swimmer but just need to work on following the teacher’s directions, or any directions for that matter.

The terrible two’s have segued into the even more terrible threes, and you are constantly challenging me. You are a runner. You run away at any opportunity you have. There are few opportunities though because I walk around holding onto you by the hood of your coat, as if it is a leash. When I don’t have a free hand your sister takes over as hood holder. I don’t know what I’ll do when the weather changes.

You are a cuddler and I hope that never changes. I hope that you never stop saying “bathing soup” (bathing suit), and I hope that you hold on to a little bit of that mischievousness as you get older. Just a little bit though.

Happy third birthday my sweet little hellion.

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First Public Parental Shaming

Today was the first time I was publicly shamed for my parenting. Maybe I should consider myself lucky since I have gone five years without this happening, but right now, the rage is still real.

We were at 11:30 mass this morning with Reese and James, and to us, it was just a normal Sunday. James had dropped his train about 317 times and had asked for us to pick it up 317 times. Maybe the 5th time he asked us, the elderly woman in front of us turned around, looked at James and said, “whisper! whisper!” in a semi-aggressive tone. Andrew and I looked at each other. This was just the beginning of it all and we were already pissed.

James is 2.5 years old and doesn’t give a damn if you are supposed to be quiet somewhere.  At this point, I had actually thought he was having a pretty good day. Five minutes later, the woman turned around, and this is what she said, verbatim, while wagging her stupid old finger at us, “You need to teach him to be quiet at home, not here at church. I have four kids and they were always quiet in church and never acted like this.” Then she turned back around and we continued staring at her back, our mouths agape.

There was fire in my insides and I’m pretty sure I was shaking. I was mortified but would have also loved to punch her in her smug face.

I took James out of the church and spent the rest of the mass with him in the foyer, going over and over in my head what I wish I had said to that lady. “Well you were 20 minutes late to mass and didn’t even hear the gospel so your attendance today doesn’t even count you jerk!” or “I’m sure you remember exactly how your children behaved in church 90 years ago.” Take that! I had plenty of zingers, most of which probably can’t be mentioned here.

When we were getting ready to leave and I was zipping James’ coat up in the foyer, another elderly woman came up to me, put her palm on my cheek, and said, “He is a good little fellow, and you are doing a good job. She should probably just sit up in the front of the church next time.”

Thank you kind stranger! We needed that.

 

 

 

Back to School

Here’s my girl again, off to school like a full-blown kid.

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And here she is with her little brother, who is the epitome of little brothers and who is also asking to go to school every day. Sorry little bro, but you got a few more years to go.

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This year Reese is in Pre-K three days a week. She is with all new kids, in a new classroom, with new teachers, and she is handling it well. She misses her old teachers a lot, and every morning we still have to peek our heads into their classroom before she can start her day.

It makes me a little sad that this will be our last year spending our days together; running errands, going to the library, and making spontaneous weeknight trips to Gammy and Grandpa’s. Next year it will be kindergarten and my little buddy will be in school full time. But I will not dwell on this, and so I keep reminding myself that this is what she is supposed to be doing, that this is good, and that it’s just kindergarten and it’s not until next year, so calm down you emotional maniac.

Oh My God, No One Told Us That!

No one ever told me that one night, a half an hour after putting your oldest to bed, she would literally bust into the bathroom, in just her underwear, while you are taking a bath.

Her eyes still adjusting to the light, she would immediately spot the bag of jelly beans that you were enjoying and say, “What are you doing with those?” Then, after you remind her that she’s supposed to be in bed, she’ll turn to leave, look over her shoulder and ask, “Have you seen my ballet suit?”

 

Fitness Blender

Since the holiday face stuffing has now concluded, here is a post about fitness.

Fitness Blender is now my favorite way to work out. I have always been a fan of working out at home. With two kids, and winter upon us, it is really the only way I can get it done these days.

I read about Fitness Blender in Self magazine earlier this year, and before I went to Mexico I purchased a 5 day workout plan. Since then, I have been hooked.

The site has hundreds of free videos with all different types of workouts, for all different levels. The best part about the site is that you can buy workout plans (relatively cheap, the one I got was $5.99) which will give you a workout to do every day for a specific period of time (1 week, 4 weeks, 8 weeks etc.) This was attractive to me because I always found myself getting stuck in a rut; I would get into a certain type of exercise and do it all the time. Not only would it get boring, but my body never seemed to changed because I was just working the same muscles over and over again.  You can access the videos that make up a workout program without purchasing the plan, but the plan shows you how to put them together, in order, so that you work out your entire body while avoiding injury and repetition.

The videos can be searched by length of time, calorie burn, type of exercise, difficulty level, equipment needed etc. It’s convenient and even if I only have 10 minutes to work out, I can find something to do. Also, the videos are seriously challenging. I have used other sites where the workouts labeled “most difficult” didn’t always feel hard enough to warrant my only workout for the day. Not so, with this site. The most difficult videos left me feeling as tired as  I would have after running 5 or 6 miles, and I felt like that was all I needed to do all day.

These are the best free workout videos I have found online so far and that’s why I am sharing, I wasn’t asked to write about this site and I wasn’t given any free stuff, promise!

 

 

 

 

Reese at 4 Years

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Early this morning I heard the sound of small feet running down the hall. Then a faint knock at my door. When I opened it, I found you,  bleary eyed and crazy haired. You looked up at me, not fully awake, and said, “Am I four?”

For you, I’m sure it has seemed like a long road to four. For your Dad and I, it has been the blink of an eye.

You have become so smart. Too smart sometimes. You are kind. You are creative. Your imagination is wild and crazy and it is one of the best things about you. You make us laugh so much.

You are girl through and through.

A couple of week ago when you were supposed to be in rest time, I came upstairs to find you in my room, standing in front of my mirror, holding an eye lash curler against your face. You said, “My eyelashes were flat, and they needed to be up.” Oh. My. God.

School is your favorite. Your teachers tell me that drawing and painting are your favorite things to do. Every day when I pick you up I leave with armloads of your masterpieces.

You can now dress yourself, put your shoes on, get your own utensils and placemat for mealtime, clean your room (kind of), spell your name and your brother’s name, and you know the lyrics to most top 40 hits. Every day you need me a little less.

You love your swimming lessons, but you won’t go all the way under water until I get you goggles. I will get you goggles, but I know you will hate them.

Recently, you have been asking to take ballet, but I suspect it is just for the outfits.

You go to bed around 7:30 each night even though you never seem tired, and you have finally stopped coming out of your room 762 times after we put you down. Although I do kind of miss hearing your ridiculous excuses to delay bedtime, including, “I can’t get my shoes on and my ankle is twisted” or, “my waist hurts.”

You love Frozen, Sofia the First, Curious George, Frances, books, dressing up, eating, dancing, baking, drawing and your grandmas.

So yes, my love, today your are four.I know we will blink again and you will be 24. So please slow down, but don’t change anything else.