Thursday, December 29, 2011

Formal introductions...

Face Meet Pavement



Pavement Meet Face

The athlete was introduced to a new foe on Christmas day riding a friend's bike.  He hit the brakes a little too hard and went up and over the handle bars and landed on his face.  First biking accident ever, not bad for being 11 and a 1/2 years old.  Now that formal introductions have been made, we hopefully won't be making them again in this house!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vicks Winter Warmup Event with Dr. Meg Meeker...

Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Vicks Winter Warmup Event in Boston.  The speaker for the event was pediatrician, author, and mom of 4, Dr. Meg Meeker.
The first thing that struck me about Dr. Meeker was how down to earth and easy to relate to she was.  In her opening she explained how moms today put a ton of pressure on themselves to be the "perfect mom", and how we set ourselves up for constant internal criticism because being a perfect mom isn't realistic.   She further explained that being perfect isn't really what our kids want.  What they want is unconditional love.   When she asks the children in her practice what they love most about their moms, most often their responses are:  "My mom gives the best hugs!"

 In her book The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers,  Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose, and Sanity,  Dr. Meeker reveals the 10 most habits of healthy, happy moms.    It offers ways to get rid of the mom guilt.  (I haven't read her book yet, but we were each given a copy to take home for ourselves!)
Dr. Meg also discussed several beliefs she feels are very important as a mom. 

1.  You know your child best.

2.  Trust your gut.  When something doesn't feel right go with that feeling.  If you aren't getting the answers you are looking for from your child's pediatrician, don't be afraid to push.  You are your child's advocate and it's your pediatrician's job to find out the answers. 

These little gems of wisdom I whole-heartedly agree with, in fact it's probably the best advice you could give to any first time mom. 

With cold and flu season right upon us, it was the perfect time to discuss tips for dealing with a sick child and cold and flu prevention. 

When your child has a fever treat it with a fever reducer such as Tylenol or Motrin.  As long as the fever starts going down within the hour your good.  If you aren't seeing any improvement or the fever goes higher you need to call your pediatrician. 

Something interesting I learned from listening to Dr. Meg was that when a child has a fever and a febrile seizure occurs it is not caused from how high the fever is, but how FAST the temperature rises.  Also once a child has a febrile seizure they are more likely to reoccur, so always be prepared.  Always have a working thermometer in your home. 
Another thing to remember:  colds are caused from viruses and do not respond to antibiotics.  Only a bacterial infection is treatable with antibiotics. 

This doesn't mean you can't do anything to make your children feel better if they have a cold.  You can do any of the following as needed:

*Use saline drops in the nose for congestion.

*Elevate the bed or crib by placing a pillow or folded blankets UNDER the mattress,  never in the mattress it's poses a suffocation hazard.

*Give lots of fluids, especially with a fever, Pedialyte for children under 2.  Gatorade or clear liquids for children over 2.  Stay away from soda.

*Run a humidifier in the bedroom at night, it helps soothe vocal cords and prevent you nasal passages from drying out.  Vicks has come out with a new line of humidifies, there is a type for everyone!

These two were my favorites!
Starry night displays stars on your child's ceiling in three different colors!  How cool is that?

And for all you germ-a-phobes out there, Vicks makes a Germ Free humidifier!

As far as stopping the spread of germs:  practice good hygiene and teach your children too.

Wash hands frequently with soap and water.  Teach your children to cough and sneeze into their elbow, not their hands!  Drink from paper cups when someone is ill in the home.  Replace toothbrushes after an illness or monthly.

The thing to remember, and not beat yourself up about is this:  Kids are going to get sick.  We can do many things to reduce the amount of colds and sicknesses they get by practicing and teaching good hygiene.  But when they do inevitably get sick and run a fever, trust your gut and do what you need to do to help your child get well. 

Disclosure:  I was compensated with lunch and a gift bag with Vick products.  No monetary compensation was given.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hot cocoa anyone?

I love me a good cup of hot cocoa.  It's one of the many holiday traditions that we have. 

We decorate the tree and drink hot cocoa.

We go to the Santa parade and we buy hot cocoa at Dunkin Donuts beforehand.

Every year when we watch the Polar Express for the first time? 

You guessed it.  We drink hot cocoa.

You could say it's a staple here in our house starting in December and carrying through the cold winter months as well. This year it's been even better because the athlete can make it for himself and his sister using the microwave.  A little milk or water in a mug, (I don't use water in mine.  I think it's nasty that way!)  A packet of your favorite hot cocoa mix, give it a stir and you're good to go.

Yesterday afternoon I promised the kids they could both have a cup as a treat after they finished their homework.  I made some for the princess and when the athlete finished he quickly went right to work in the kitchen making his own. 

"Mmmmmm, yummy", he declared as he carried his own mug into the livingroom.  "Hot cocoa is so much better with milk than water."  (For some reason he has always insisted on making his with water instead of milk.  Apparently he decided to take my word for it and give milk a shot.)  "I tried to tell you", I said with a smug little smile on my face. 

Moments later I went to the kitchen feeling a little victorious over the fact that the athlete decided to try something I had suggested.  He's at that age when he thinks he knows everything and God forbid his mother suggests something.   Normally his response is an automatic no. Just because it came from me.

My smile quickly faded when I saw this:

Sorry for the crappy cell phone picture. 

Yes, that is MILK in my Keurig machine.  The athlete replaced the water with milk in the holding tank and brewed himself a delicious cup of hot cocoa, thanks to the fabulous suggestion of his mother.  It took me 11 brew cycles to flush the Keurig and stop getting a gray mixture of milk and water out of my expensive coffee machine.

Me and my big mouth.  I should have just let him stick with water and leave well enough alone.  Lesson learned.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Addicted...

My name is Theresa and I'm an addict.

Of Yankee Candles that is.

These are sitting on my kitchen counter and I  burn one of these amazing holiday scents every day.
I'm ashamed to admit that I have 4 or 5 more hiding around here but they aren't holiday related so I don't burn them right now.  These will probably last me a couple of weeks and then I'll need to restock to get me through the cold winter days ahead.  My two favorites right now are Red Berry and Cedar and Hot Buttered Rum.


I love me some Yankee Candles!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas shopping for the kiddos, equal gifts or equal amount spent?

It's that time of year again.  The TV is flooded with Christmas advertisements, the kids channels have new toy commercials on constantly.  It seems like every single day a new toy or clothing catalog gets delivered in the mail.  And, I swear to God, if I get one more 40% off EVERYTHING coupon from Justice, I might boycott the store all together.  After all, how many freaking coupons from one store do you really need in one month?

Years ago it was really easy to shop for the kids when they were little.  The coach and I actually used to take them with us half the time.  At first we would tell them they were gifts for other people, like their cousins.  Then we started hiding things in the carriage.  Next we evolved to the good ole split up with a child and shop for the other one tactic.  It was awesome and we got the job done.  By the time Christmas strolled around, they had forgotten what we bought the month before anyway.

Even deciding what to buy was easy.  Except for the athlete.  This is a child that after the age of 2 stopped playing with toys.  And I mean every single toy.  He just wasn't a toy kind of kid.  That didn't stop us foolish parents from buying him toys for Christmas every single year and shoving them down his throat, insisting that we could "teach" him to like to play with toys!  (Yeah that worked out real well.  It only took 5 or 6 years for us to realize we were spending a small fortune on things for him to open on Christmas morning, oooh and aaaaah over, and then never touch again.)

We finally smartened up and stopped wasting our money on crap he would never use.  But, it makes it difficult to try and keep things fair between both our kids.  The athlete tends to want/like more expensive items, while the princess is really into arts and crafts, toys, and clothes.  We tried to spend an equal amount on both kids but what ended up happening is we would have a carriage full of stuff for the princess and maybe a handful of things for the athlete.  One year the athlete had significantly less gifts to open than the princess.   He was old enough to understand that his gifts cost a lot more money than his sisters. He did ok with that.   But I felt terrible while he sat there and watched his sister open gifts for another 20 minutes after he had finished.   I decided then it was not the way for my family to do things. 

So again, I changed my philosophy.  I decided that it's more important for my children to have close to the same amount of gifts to open under the tree than to have spent the same amount on each of them.  After all, they aren't going to open their presents and then start calculating the total price of their loot! (At least mine don't anyway!)  But I can tell you from my own childhood memories and 10 years of Christmas mornings with my own children, that they will keep track of the number of gifts they and their siblings receive!  I would rather the obvious be more equal.

When all is said and done and I tally up the total spent for on both children, the difference is within a couple hundred dollars of each other.   We're not talking about a huge amount more for one child over the other.   So, that's my way of keeping it fair and the reasons why I do it.   And I don't feel guilty about it one bit!

How do you play Santa for your children?  Do you have the same problems with one child having a  more expensive Christmas wish list than another?  What is your fair way?  I would love to hear how all the other moms out there do things!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My oldest niece...

The Cousins


This picture is from a couple of years ago when we decided to surprise all the kids and take them on a Polar Express journey one night around Christmas.   Shame on me that I don't have a more recent one of all the kids together.  So this one is just gonna have to do. 

The athlete and the princess are very close with their cousins and as parents it's so nice to see the bond they have with each other and witness them grow up together.  The oldest of the bunch is my sister and brother in laws daughter.  She is the one in the back left corner in black.  We'll call her K.  She is 17 years old and a senior in high school.  (Hard to believe that when I met the coach she was a busy, full of life little four year old with a head full of curls.  Whenever it was time for us to leave after a visit she would run out in the yard and right up to the fence crying for her uncle not to leave.  Every single time!  I still remember like it was yesterday.  God I'm getting old!)

Now in the blink of an eye, some 13 years later here she is, almost grown up.  She is a big sister to 3, and cousin to 5.  All of whom look up to her.  And boy what a role model they have!  I could not have hoped for a better niece to watch grow up, love like my own, and set the bar so high for the rest of the children coming up through the ranks after her. 

She is mature and responsible, polite and kind.  She is trustworthy and has a great head on her shoulders.  For a parent I think these are all qualities that we work very hard to instill in our children.  I look at her and hope that one day my children will grow up to be just like her. 

K is the type of kid that knows what she wants and goes after it no matter what it might be.  When she started high school something really clicked in her.   She had her sights set on the future and going to college someday. She put her priorities in order and again dug in her heels. Her grades were amazing and something any parent would be proud of.   She started taking AP classes and looking into prep courses to ready her for the SAT's.   All this she did on her own because it's simply what she wanted. The typical parent nagging his or her teenager to buckle down and be responsible, think of the future scenario?   Never an issue with this girl.  She is a go getter.

When she decided to start playing softball and volleyball she did it the only way she knows how,  with a hundred and ten percent effort.  She never settles for being mediocre.  If there is room for improvement she strives to reach it.  If obstacles get in her way she climbs over them.   Failure is not a word in  her vocabulary.

All of her hard work is paying off.  Something amazing and truly deserved happened yesterday.  K got her first early acceptance letter to the University of New Haven.   I can't even imagine what her parents must be feeling right now, but as her aunt I am filled with pride.  The sky is the limit for this beautiful and talented young woman and I can't wait to see where her journey will take her.

K,  your uncle and I love you so much.  We are so unbelievably proud of you!!! 

(Just don't ask me to ride in the car if you're driving, ever again!!!!  Ha ha ha ha)

Love,

Auntie T








Thursday, November 10, 2011

Why trick or treat sucked this year, well sort of...

It started going down hill when trick or treat was cancelled due to a freak snow storm in October and was postponed until 5 days later.   It makes you really not even want to bother with the whole damn thing.  It's kind of like,  "Oh well, the moment has passed, why bother?"  But of course, you have to man up and put on a good show for the the sake of the kids.  So all morning I put a smile on my face and pretended to eagerly agree with them about how excited I was to go trick or treating with them later that evening.

Add to that a long day of work, and several phone calls from the school nurse about my daughter complaining of a stomach ache and soar throat.  Finally on the second call I say screw it, close daycare early, and rush out the door to pick her up and jet over to the doctors for a rapid throat culture.   An hour later we get a negative result and I begin to  realize that my child is just fine.   Suddenly she has made some kind of miraculous recovery and I have a hunch that something is going on at school because I've noticed a trend with the whole nurse and stomach ache thing, but that will have to  be investigated at another time.   

We sit in rush hour traffic trying to get back from the doctors' office, finally we make it through the door and there is my husband wrapped in a comforter on the couch shivering and ghastly pale with a fever of 103 and it dawns on me that I will be all on my own tonight.  Meanwhile I had  been trying to make plans to meet up with some others to go trick or treating in a group but I get a text that they've already ventured out without us. 

Sweet, the night just keeps getting better and better.

Frustrated, I park on the side of the road in a neighborhood great for trick or treating. Tthe kids are upset about having to trick or treat without other children.  Again, I rise to the occasion,  put on a smile and say to them, "We can still have a great time guys!  Don't worry about it, it will be fun, trust me!"   But what I'm really thinking is just how much the flipping night sucks and how badly I just want to go home and park my ass on the couch.

After about 20 minutes the princess starts slowing waaaaaaay down.  She had insisted on wearing black high heel boots because they matched her costume and sneakers wouldn't.  Of  course it's much more important to look good than actually be practical, don'tcha know!    She wanted to go back to the car and be driven door to door.  I had no issue with this at all, the problem was we were way deep into the neighborhood and had quite a hike back.  We had no choice but to hoof it back to where I'd parked the car. 

In all fairness to my kids, they were AMAZING the long, cold walk back. The athlete offered to carry the princess's candy bag and he even took it up to all the houses on the way back so she didn't have to walk to every door because her feet hurt. She in turn raved about him the entire time and even gave him a giant hug at one point! 

Every once in a while they will both rally around each other and be there to support one another.  It's so reassuring and nice to see.   It gives me hope for the future that when they grow up they will have a close relationship and support each other.  This was the highlight of my night!  Very proud momma moment right there!

Our walk back was much slower but that was ok.  We made it eventually.  All three of us jumped in the car and proceeded to drive down the next street eager to keep trick or treating.  Our spirits were lifting.  I was warm, the princess was off her feet and the athlete was just happy to gather more candy.  We made it to two more houses when at the third I heard the princess yell from the grass, "I smell poop!"  As they made their way back to the car I heard her gag as she realized that her brother had stepped in dog crap.  I jumped out to assess the situation and was  blown back by the stench.

Upon further inspection I can report that he did not step in dog poop, he pretty much SUBMERGED his entire sneaker in a fresh pile o' crap.  It. was. foul.  There was no way in hell that sneaker was being salvaged, at least not on the side of the road.  With that I made the decision to call it a night.  Moans and protests rose up from both of them but I was done at that point.  To top it all off, I had just cleaned my van that week and had nothing to put that putrid smelly sneaker in.  We had to ride home with the windows down, freezing,  just so we could breathe and prevent us all from vomiting. 

The kids dumped their loot on the living room floor, proudly showing their sick as a dog father what they had collected.  I looked on in disbelief at just how little candy they had in their bags.  I was fearfully awaiting both of them to freak out at their small amount of loot.  But much to my surprise and delight, they didn't!  They were thrilled and content and even offered to trade candy with each other. 

I breathed a sigh of relief and thought back on the entire night,  the good, the bad, and the utterly foul.  It definitely wasn't the best Halloween we've ever had.  But, seeing my kids be there for one another and appreciate each other was a special and unexpected Halloween treat for me.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Should I change our family moniker from the Beeno family to the Asthmatic Family?

Hi all!

Yes I'm still alive and well as is the rest of my family.  I still haven't figured out how to upload pics from my camera to this new computer and taking pics with my cell phone just isn't cutting it.  I like to be able to have pictures to go along with the majority of my posts and for some reason, without them I lose motivation.  I promise to try and figure this out soon and be back to regular posting.

In other news we have had a lot go on this past month:

We got Boo'd by some great friends and then proceeded to carry on the tradition and had a fun time driving up to other friends' houses with the lights off and sneaking up to their front doors, knocking and running like hell back to the car.  Me of course, I was was laughing so hard, I had to use every last ounce of  muscle control NOT to pee my pants.  Damn side effects from child birth! 

What else, let's see now...

The little princess might be asthmatic after all these years of me thinking she had no breathing problems what so ever.  After MANY bouts of pneumonia they think asthma may be the culprit.  She is going to see my son's pediatric pulmonologist next week for an evaluation.  Apparently my genes are just too damn strong and I may have passed this illness on to both of my children now, (insert sigh from mom guilt). 

The coach too, thinks he may be developing a bit of asthma.  He finds himself getting winded very easily and needing to use a rescue inhaler.  He too has an appt. with my doctor to find out if he has adult onset asthma.  (I can visualize my medical and prescription bills soaring through the roof as I type this!)

Speaking of asthma, after 30 or so years of living with asthma coupled with allergies,  I have decided to try and do something about them.  I started by having allergy testing to see where I'm at.  I can report to you all that unfortunately I am no better off now than I was when I first got tested as a child.  Still allergic to cats and dogs, (and yes I have 3 cats and know I would probably be a lot better off without them but after 4 years, they aren't going anywhere, so don't even bother telling me otherwise.  I already know this.)  Rant over.

I'm allergic to EVERY tree common to New England, especially the birch tree.  (Can you say screwed?)  I learned something pretty freaking cool from the nurse doing my testing.  While she was documenting my allergic reactions she asked me if I had any trouble eating fruit.  I quickly responded, "No".  To which she asked more specifically, "Do you ever get a numbing or tingling sensation in your mouth when you eat apples?"  That rung a bell. As a matter of fact, every damn time I eat an apple that happens to me.  I actually try to avoid them because I don't like the way it makes my mouth feel.  It turns out that in some people with a birch tree allergy they also have something called "Oral Allergy Syndrome".  Basically your body mistakes a certain fruit that you consume for the pollen of the birch tree causing you to react.  It can happen with different kinds of fruit, with me it's apples.
Cra-zazy,  Right? !!!

As if I didn't have enough allergies to deal with, throw in a severe allergy to dust mites, ragweed, and mold and I think you get the diagnosis of pretty much doomed to suffer year round or so I thought.  There are a couple different treatment options that my doctor is currently looking into for me.  So until I here otherwise I'm assuming there is still hope for me and others like me.  I might not have to just shut up and deal.  There's a chance I might actually get some relief from the constant throat clearing and stuffy nose.  Hallelujah!

And since I have spoken about the medical state of everyone else in the fam, I can't leave out the athlete.  It is a pleasure to say that despite being asthmatic and an allergy sufferer, I can honestly report that if you never knew he's asthmatic, you would never know it!  He is doing fabulous on his current regiment of meds.  He runs three miles without batting an eyelash.  He can play an ENTIRE soccer game without subbing out.  If he gets a cold it doesn't slow him down like it used to.  He responds to them like a typical non-asthmatic child.  It is so nice to see him doing so well! 

I hope that some time in the near future we will all be feeling as good as the athlete!


Fingers crossed until next time!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hey All...

Hi guys,

Just a quick update to let you know that we are all alive and well in the beeno
househould.  Several weeks ago we bought a new laptop computer after dealing with a very old, very pain in the ass, PC. 

I am in love!   We hmmed and hawed over making the decision to switch to a laptop but after several weeks of working on it from the comfort of my couch I give it two big thumbs up.  Definitely the right choice for us. 

I have a couple blog posts in drafts but haven't been able to figure out how to upload individual pictures from my camera to the new computer so they are stalled there until I have the time to figure this crap out.  (Technology is NOT my strong suit folks).

In other news,  the kids are still fighting like nobody's business, thus making the coach's and my life miserable.

I have a huge bin of winter clothes still sitting in the upstairs hallway that I was planning on putting away in everyone's drawers this weekend until I saw the weather report for the holiday weekend.  It has been in the 80's since Saturday and the kids are back to wearing all summer clothes.  I'm not complaining though, I'll enjoy it as long as it wants to stick around.  I just hate seeing that ugly pea green bin staring at me every time I make my way up the stairs.

The athlete had a field trip to Mt. Watchusett on Thursday.  The coach went along as a chaperone.  They both loved it!  They all made it to the summit and took some great pictures.  They have since decided that we need to start hiking as a family.  I am all for it!  Anything to get us up and moving together is a great idea!  I think we're shooting for Mt. Monadanock next.

The coach decided to seal the driveway this weekend since the weather was going to cooperate.  After returning to the store 3 times for more materials, he said to me, "Wow, I guess I didn't realize just how big our driveway is!"   Yeah, turned into a much bigger, much more expensive project.  I was so thrilled about that. 

Since the driveway is newly sealed we have no place to park our cars.  They currently reside in the grass on the front yard.  We look like we live in the ghetto.   I am so done with this now. 

Today is Columbus Day and the coach and I both have the day off.  We are hoping to finally have the time to go apple and pumpkin picking.  It completely depends on the behavior of our children.  If I was the gambling type, which I'm totally not, my money would be on us NOT going.  Leave a comment and place your bets!

That's all for now folks,

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Anniversary...

Eleven years ago today, I married my best friend, the one man on the planet that was meant to be my soul mate and father to my children.  God knew exactly what he was doing back in January of 1998 when he guided me to apply at a daycare center in the town where I was going to college.  It was where I met the coach for the very first time. 

He walked in leading a group of school age kids off the bus, he smiled at me and introduced himself.  I had a crush on him from day one and couldn't wait to go to work so I could see him.  A few weeks later I remember him reading a sports article on the Boston Bruins.  Casually I asked him,  "You like hockey?"  He replied that he loved hockey and most sports.  Without thinking things through I blurted out, "You wanna go to a Bruins game in a couple of weeks?"  (People, I didn't even have Bruins tickets, but I knew my dad had recently bought a pair and I was hoping I could get them from him!)

Obviously he said yes and obviously Daddy's little girl was able to weasel the tickets out of her father.

We had one hell of a whirlwind romance.  I finished college and instead of moving home we got our first apartment together,  six months later we found out on Halloween night we were expecting the athlete.  He was born in July of 2000 and three months later on a picture perfect day in September we were married surrounded by 170 family members and close friends.  It was quite a party!  I was 23 years old and the coach was 25. We were young and inexperienced but we had each other and we were a family.

It has been eleven years and boy what a journey we have been on.  We have survived job changes, many relocations, the blessing of a second child, buying our first home.  There have been struggles and challenges along the way, but each time we have come out of them stronger then ever.  Side by side there is nothing we can't get through. 

 I have my best friend and the love of my life with me always.   He loves me unconditionally, faults and all.   He picks me up when my world is spinning out of control.   He does whatever it takes to protect and provide for his family.  He's the kind of father to our children who comes along once in a lifetime,  and his relationship with his children never ceases to amaze me. 

I am so blessed to be living this life with my true love and soul mate.  Day by day, month by month, year by year.  It just keeps on getting better. 

I love you, forever and always.  Happy Anniversary Baby!

T

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

All about me: Autobiography of the princess

This was waiting for us on the princess's desk at school tonight when we arrived for open house:

Bella Letter

In case you can't read it clearly, here it is typed out for your reading pleasure:

All About Me!

I am short and I have long blond hair and I have pretty dark blue eyes.  I like to play vacation with the daycare kids and I like to write at school and play soccer because it's the only sport I like.  I do not like to fight with my brother because it just leads to more trouble like punishes, like losing stuff.  I am kind to others because I help hurt people and I play with people who have hurt feelings and I am a hard worker.  I want to change my name because I do not like it.  I want to change it to Chloe.  I like that name.  And that is All About Me!

And there you have it folks. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fights...

Any parent of multiple children is well aware that 90% of the time siblings don't get along.  They spend more of their time looking for ways to intentionally piss each other off and a fraction of that acting civilly.  It's just the way it goes.

I'm sure that family dynamics such as the number of children, their ages, and genders play a huge role in sibling relationships.  As well as a parent's stance on what is acceptable behavior or not.

Having two children of the opposite sex and the athlete being three years older than his sister means that in this house we do not allow fights and arguments to become physical.  I'll be honest here, just because we don't allow it doesn' t mean they don't happen.  I also think the rule is a little lopsided and greatly benefits the princess.  Nine times out of ten SHE is the one who becomes physical knowing full well that her brother is not allowed to put his hands on a girl.  He ends up getting kicked, slapped, pinched or what have you and when he finally reaches his boiling point and lashes out he gets in trouble for defending himself.

Because of this, the coach and I will usually intervene before things get nasty but lately their bickering has been nonstop.  I am so sick of refereeing fights! 

Yesterday afternoon when the princess decided to stir things up a bit by pretending to throw a pear at her brother I decided right then and there I was gonna sit this one out and quietly observe from the couch.

Holy shit people I was impressed!  The entire episode lasted over twenty minutes, with each taking turns locking the other in the livingroom closet.  They also took it upstairs raiding each other's room and stealing their most prized possessions threatening to destroy them.

Two points were scores by the princess when she pretended to rip down the athlete's favorite poster of the Bruins winning the Stanley cup and making tearing sounds were her mouth, successfully flushing him out of her room.

Two points were awarded to the athlete for making the princess actually think she had won the fight when she got him out of her room.  But oh silly princess, did you actually think he would leave without snatching some collateral to take with him?  Taking her rock collection was a brilliant idea and definitely got the reaction he was looking for.

More racing around.  More yelling and screaming.  More verbal threats and things like "Oh yeah" and "How'd you like that?"  More scuffling and shoving sounds.When they reached the stairs I had to finally step in for fear of one of them falling down them.  

I calmly separated them both, told them it was over and to get in the car.  The princess put on quite show trying to convince me how hurt she had gotten even going as far as telling me she was shaking with fear and couldn't calm down.Her reason and I quote:  "I had no idea he had such a temper".  Are you joking me?  My one and only response to her?  "Well, now you know so don't push his buttons like that again."

The athlete was only concerned with making sure I was well aware that it was "all her fault".  My reply to him, " You are just as much to blame as your sister.  Next time ignore the pretend pear flying through the air and walk away.  Not only will you not be in trouble but you also won't be late for soccer practice.  Now get in the car."

And that was the end of that.  Thinking about still I'm not sure if it was the most appropriate thing to do.  But , I do know it was a big eye opener for them and for me too.  I didn't know they had that in them! 

What are the family dynamics in your home?  What are your rules for sibling fights?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Give and take...

I have a son.

That son of mine is growing up.

He is not a baby anymore.

I. am.  the.  parent.  of.  a.  tween.

I got through the newborn stage, the toddler/preschool stage.  The school age stage.  With each came new challenges, new obstacles to overcome, new parenting techniques and strategies.  But also great joy and a sense of pride at seeing my child grow, learn, and succeed.

This new stage, the "tween years"?  By far the most difficult yet.  It's a confusing time.  A time hard to define exactly because your child is not a baby anymore but not a full blooded teenager yet either.

You get glimpses into the future and you can see where they're headed and what it's sort of going to be like parenting a teenager, but there a times when it is quite clear that your child is still just a child who needs a parent's guidance and help to navigate through the challenges of adolescence.

Case in point:  The athlete came home from school on Friday begging to go to the varsity football game later that night.  He has never asked to go to a football game before, so me being the intuitive mother that I am knew there was more to it than a new found interest in high school football.

Upon further digging, I discovered that it was going all around the 6th grade that day that "Everyone", was going.

We decided to let him go.  We even let him invite a friend.  We did however tell him we would only be staying till half time.  He was ok with that and just happy to be going.  We got to the game and we gave him a couple of strict rules to follow.
1.  Stay with your friend

2.  Check in with us in one hour.

3.  When it's time to go, it's time to go.  We don't want any arguments.

He nodded in complete agreement.  Or so we thought.

Strike one came after one hour past with no check in from the athlete.  We went in search for him and sure enough we found him with his group of friends, running around and joking with them all.  We had to call him over and give him a warning about not checking in.  His reply, "Sorry, I forgot".

We let it slide and reminded him we were leaving at half time.  We told him to meet us at the bleachers when it was time to leave.

Strike two:  Half time arrived and after 10 minutes, no appearance from the athlete.  Again we went in search for him.  This time not so forgiving.  The princess found him first and ran up to him telling him it was time to go.  He was with a group of girls so he ignored her.  

His friend?  Not with him but with a group of their soccer friends several yards away.
Strike three.  You're out.

The coach walked right into the middle of all those girls, told him to say goodbye NOW took him by the arm and away we went.  Utter embarrassment for the athlete.  He came to the car after retrieving his friend, and was all annoyed and red in the face.  We dropped his friend off and once we were alone in the car we let into him.

No phone, no friends, no next home football game.  We reviewed what the specific instructions for the night had been and how the athlete proceeded to NOT follow each and every one of them.  Followed up by an explanation about how he constantly wants us to allow him more freedom but he makes it very hard for us and himself.  When we give him a little leeway and he doesn't follow the rules it breaks our trust and shows us that he isn't ready yet.

We got no argument after that.  That's one thing I will say about him.  When he knows he's wrong, he shuts up and accepts whatever consequences we dish out.

What was suppose to be a fun night for all of us ended in disappointment for everyone, except the princess, she was happy as a clam!  The athlete went to bed disappointed that he can't go to the next home game. We returned home slightly disappointed and upset that he wouldn't just follow a few simple rules.  Now we have to wait some time before we can allow him to spread his wings, even just a little, and watch with pride as he succeeds at this in between stage they call the tween years.

Do you have a tween?  How do you get through the day to day challenges?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I wanted roller blades, he wanted Heelys...


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When I was growing up the traditional roller skate was replaced by something more fresh and streamlined, the Rollerblade.  Every kid wanted a pair.  You would see kids rollerblading all over town, to school, to the park, at the track.  It was great exercise and a lot of fun.

Today however, kids can't be bothered with lugging their roller blades around, or even taking the time to change out of street shoes and fasten a pair of roller blades to their feet.  In this fast paced world their accustomed to growing up in, anything that takes longer than 3 minutes to get ready, isn't worth their time.

The athlete used to have a pair of roller blades but he stopped using them because he would get so frustrated trying to put them on securely.  He would say to me, "Mom, if I had a pair of Heelys, you wouldn't have to help me and I could skate around whenever I wanted."  If you've been living under a rock the past few years, Heelys are the original shoes with wheels in the heels allowing  the user to "roll along"  rather than walk simply by shifting their weight to the back of their heels and lifting their toes.

That's why when I was asked to review a pair of Heelys, through Business2Blogger, I jumped at the chance.  The athlete picked out what he deemed, a "super cool" pair and within a week they were at my door.

The set up was so quick and easy he did it himself.  (For those of you who don't know him IRL, he is incredibly book smart, but common sense wise?  Severely lacking.) 

Within 5 minutes he had them laced up and on his feet and was gingerly scooting across the kitchen floor.
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15 minutes later he was zooming back and forth down the hallway.
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Later that night he felt so confident in them, he wore them to the store and when he thought no one was looking he would take a few running steps and proceed to "Heely"  his was down the aisle.

For those of you who aren't as athletically gifted as he is, have no fear.  You can check out Heely's  How To page.  There they offer tips, tricks, and even instructional videos to help you learn.

The best part for me:  Dual uses.  He can Heely around outside of school and burn off some steam, and he can take the wheels out in a matter of seconds and wear them to school.   If your a frugal mom it's easier to justify the expense because it's like buying a pair of sneakers for your child, but with an added benefit!  To check out all Heelys has to offer including special promotions check them out on their Facebook page, Twitter, and UTube.

He got the approval from all his 6th grade friends who agreed that the black and neon green colors were "wicked cool".  Bostonian stamp of approval right there, my friends!
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Disclosure: I was given a pair of Heelys to review through Business2Blogger, but no other monetary compensation was received.   All thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely my own.


Friday, September 2, 2011

It was time for a cellphone...

A friend of mine IRL wrote a blog post a while back about getting her tween a cellphone.  You can read her thoughts here:   Why texting is not a bad thing for my tween 

I could really relate to what she had written and it played a part in the reasons why we decided to get our tween son a cell phone for his 11th birthday this past summer.

Now for those of you who know me IRL, I have always been adamant that my children would never have a cell phone until they were much older, until it was a necessity.  I am one of those moms that says to my children constantly, "just because someone else has it doesn't mean you will".

But somewhere down the road my attitude changed and I agreed to give it a try.  Worst case scenario, we take it away and try again in a year or two.

It has been 3 months since we gave him his phone and to be honest, I love the fact that he has it.  It allows him to have a little bit more freedom, but added security for mom and dad.

I love that I can let him go to a friend's house and know that I can text him or he can text me anytime either of us feels like it.  I can check in on him and he doesn't have to be embarrassed that his mother is calling his friend's house to make sure he's doing ok.

Even more importantly, he knows that if he is ever somewhere and doesn't feel safe for any reason, he can call or text me privately and tell me to come get him.  He never has to be in an awkward situation or feel uncomfortable or even afraid to call me immediately, if he needs outta there.

Some of you may say that you know your child, and you have brought them up in a way that assures you that in a given situation your child would call you right away if they were not comfortable or unsafe.

I was one of those moms.

Until the day my son came home from a friend's house and said he never wanted to go back.  I was surprised  because I had met the mom several times and was very confident that it would be a safe environment for my child.

What I didn't know was that  the parents were both heavy smokers and smoked in their home.  (They never actually lit up with him in the house), but they had ashtrays filled with crumpled butts in every room of their home and the smell was over powering.

The athlete came home reeking of cigarettes, had a headache and felt like he was going to throw up.  I asked him why he didn't call me and ask to come home.  Do you know what his reply was?  "I didn't want to hurt their feelings, mom."

He was more afraid of upsetting them than he was of getting out of a house that was making him physically ill. It was right then and there I told him, "If for any reason you need to leave a home, whether it be unsafe, or something happens that scares you, or you just don't feel comfortable being there, than you tell the parents that you don't feel well and you need to call your mother to come get you and bring you home."

I felt so bad that he endured that for 4 hours!

Never again.

With his cell phone and through our talks,  I am even more confident that he will reach out to me if he needs me any place or time.  The pressure is off of him and the odds of him calling are more in my favor.  That right there makes it all worth it.

Another plus, he knows it can be taken away at any time for any one of these reasons:

First,  he doesn't answer or get back to us within minutes of us calling or texting him.

Second,  he uses it inappropriately while texting.  (We monitor his texts, and no I'm not stupid or naive.  I know he can and will erase anything he says that qualifies and inappropriate.  But he also knows that at anytime his father or I can pick up his phone whether it's in his hands or lying around somewhere and read through his messages.)

Third,  it will, and has, been taken away as a consequence when he does something really wrong, or decides to get wise during an argument.  On the flip side, it also has stopped or prevented many a melt down from him when you simply threaten to take his phone away.  (That's just an added bonus in my book!)

Now this part is really important:   I'm not saying that a cell phone can take the place of smart parenting,  in some instances they may give parents a false sense of security.  As with anything that pertains to your child and his or her safety be smart.  Make wise choices based on your individual child.  What might be right for one child may not be for another.  But in our case, it does help us as parents to be able to let go "a little" and give our tween the opportunity for a bit more freedom and navigate his way through this scary world of growing up.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Today was the first day of school for my kiddos.  Usually I am excited for them to start school and ready for summer to high tail it outta here and bring on the cool, crisp days of fall.

This year, not so much.   Beside the obvious fact that I will miss them terribly, (at least for the first week or so, while I adjust to them not being here all day!),  I have really dreaded the end of summer this year.  It means farewell to the carefree mom of summer and hello again to the hustle and bustle school year mom.

Farewell To Summer,  Parting is Such sweet Sorrow...


Good bye to sleeping in 3 out of 5 weekday  mornings.  (I lose 3 day care children over the summer because their parents are teachers, so no more 7am arrivals all summer.)
-  Hello again, 5:30am alarm clock buzzer, Monday through Friday.


Good bye to my relaxing summer mornings, sipping my  Dunkin Donuts iced coffee, and watching the news and Friday morning Zip Trips on Fox 25.
-  Hello again, repetitive wake up calls for a grouchy 11 year old boy to get his butt out of bed,  who is NOT a morning person.  
-   Hello again endless morning arguments and screaming matches with children over what outfits to wear, hair styles to don, missing shoes, homework assignments, and backpacks.  


Goodbye to never being on a schedule.
-  Hello again to a life dictated by time or better yet, the lack there of. 


Goodbye to doing laundry whenever I was the one who was running low on clothes.
-  Hello again to Sunday afternoon and all freaking night laundry, that not only has to be washed, dried, and folded, BUT, also put away properly to avoid more problems with time management in the mornings.


Goodbye to playing outside and hanging out with friends until well past dark every night of the week.
-  Hello again, set bedtimes, bedtime routines, and of course the lovely bedtime fights that accompany the switch over to the school year routine.


Goodbye to a sport's free summer.  (Normally we don't allow either of our children to play competitive sports over the summer.  Come June we need a break  However with the athlete's baseball season ending on such a negative note, I allowed him to play summer baseball through mid-July.  A choice by the way, I am so glad I did this year.  He had a blast!)
-  Hello again Soccer!  And the 3-4 practices a week and games on Saturdays that come with it.  
-  Hello again to "Grab and Go" dinners and lots and lots of bottled water.
-  Hello again to doing all the housework and errands on Sundays, while the coach watches football all afternoon, because it's the only day of the week I have to play catch up.

Goodbye to a time of fun filled activities, going to the beach, and cookouts.
-  Hello again to nightly homework, and all the lovely arguments I have to deal with alone, before the coach gets home from work.
-  Hello again to monitoring both children's academic progress with their teachers, parent/teacher conferences, and PTA meetings.  
-  Hello again to consequences for poor school work or rewards for a job well done.
-  Hello again to keeping track of book reports and project assignments, stressing about the due dates, and nagging children to finish said projects.


Goodbye to a season that is generally free from sickness.
-  Hello again to runny noses, coughs, and colds.  Stomach bugs and strep throat.  


Ah yes, summer,  I will truly miss thee.  I treasure the memories we've made and will look back on them often,


Till we meet again next year...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Gap A licious"...


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That's what I've been calling her since last night when right before bed, the princess grabbed a hold of her big front tooth and finally yanked it out all by herself, after days of insisting it was ready and numerous attempts by the coach.

That's tooth number 4 for this little one, but whose counting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

My very own "Bindi, the Nature Girl"...

While mowing the lawn on Saturday the coach found this fascinating creature in the back yard.

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(Praying Mantis)

I quickly scooped him up and saved him from his inevitable death by lawn mower and then I did what I always do when we find something alive.  I bring to our children for two reasons.  First,  to scare the bejeezus out of the athlete, who simply detests bugs with every fiber in his being and will "freak the freak out" like nobody's business.  ( I simply show them to him, but the coach always has to take it a step further and chase him around the house and yard torturing the poor child.  I know it's cruel, but it's just so damn funny to see him scream and run like a mass murder is after him!  He always laughs afterwards, so I don't feel that bad!)  

After we have had our fun with him, we bring it to our princess who is simply fascinated by all things living.  She adores them all.  She has no fear of them, with an exception to bees and spiders.  But if she is told it won't hurt her then she's all for it.  As you can see here:

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(Such a brave little soul)



She has a mothering instinct about her and loves whatever little creature she finds from the minute she spies it.

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Even when things get a little too close for comfort, she keeps her cool and waits for help.  In this case the little bugger, (pun intended), scooted right up on her face and into her hair while I was taking this picture.  His clingy long legs made it  hard to get him untangled.  I was afraid I was going to either squish his belly or pull off a leg!

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(You can see in her eyes, she is starting to get nervous here, but she stayed perfectly still.)


I managed to untangle him and then we decided it was best to put him back where he belonged, in the great outdoors.  The princess came with me and picked out a suitable home for him, which happened to be a huge pine tree, and we let him free.  He stuck out like a sore thumb, and all I could would picture was a bird coming down and swooping him up for a snack!

I just love this about her.  Her love for creatures big and small and her brave and bold personality.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The things we do for our children

I will warn you now that while this is a story of just how far a mother will go for a child, it's also a very disgusting  tale, so for the squeamish at heart, I'm  warning you this might not be the story for you.  You might want to think twice before reading.

There, now that I've warned you,  I won't feel guilty getting into the gory details a little later on.


Our lovely little tale begins this past Monday morning.  I go to clean our pet rats cage and so I hand each of the kids their pet rat.  Instantly the athlete calls me back in to see something on "Flash's" back.  I go in thinking I'm gonna see a couple of scratches or something.  (Flash is a hairless rat and more prone to scratches.)  This is him in the pic below with his cage mate  "Baby".  He's the one on top.


***Warning, Warning***   Beginning to enter gross territory!

I pick him up and see what appears to be a big infected abscess on his back leg and another smaller, hard bump with a black center on his back.  I explained to the athlete it looked like he had an infection but I made sure to tell him that I didn't really know what they were or where they came from.  I told him it might not be anything but there was a chance it could be something serious.  I wasn't about to lie to him and tell him everything would be alright because I had no idea what we were dealing with.  I did feel confident though that it wasn't anything to worry about.

I made a vet appointment for later in the day and went on about my business.  (We are leaving for vacation on Saturday and as if I didn't have enough to do already, now I have a sick rat on my hands!)

The athlete however brewed and worried all day.  (He inherited this from me.)  He thought worse case scenario and was already talking about burying the poor thing in the back yard!  I calmed him down several times throughout the day and at 5:00pm we headed to the vets.  He insisted on coming but I wasn't too keen on the idea.  On the off chance something was seriously wrong I didn't want him breaking down in the middle of the exam room.

Long story short, (or sort of!!), I'm told he has some form of tumors and more than likely they are cancerous. The larger of the too is infected.  My options?  Ready for this?  I can have a biopsy taken and sent to a pathologist and then have him operated on to remove the tumors all to the tune of $375 -$475.  Or I can bring him home, treat the infection with antibiotics and when it's his time put him down.

Since the average lifespan of a hairless rat is 2 to 3 years and Flash is approaching 2, the biopsy and surgery wasn't even an option for me.  I packed him up and joined the athlete out in the waiting room.  During the exam I didn't like the look on the vet's face so I wisely sent him to wait for me out there.  (Thank God!) I was able to wait until we got in the car to break the sad news to my son.

He cried instantly and went through all kinds of different emotions.  He was angry, sad, in denial.  You name it, he felt it.  He cried out through sobs that he would never get another pet again because they all die.  He yelled at me, he yelled at everything.  He vowed to give Flash the best life possible for however many days he had left.  I fought back tears driving home and felt an ache in my heart for my sensitive, sweet little man.

That night I sat with him in his bead, dried more tears, and soothed him to sleep.  I was grateful to see him finally sleeping but it hurt watching his little body still shaking in his sleep from all the crying he had done.

The next day I decided to do some research on the web because his diagnosis just wasn't sitting right with me.   I had a hard time believing they were tumors.  I know I'm not a veterinarian, but I just had a gut feeling and as a mom, you learn to trust your gut over everything else.

After 45 minutes of web searching, while I should have been preparing for vacation mind you, I stumbled upon a rat breeder website.  This woman went into great detail, providing pictures and descriptions of common problems with pet rats.  The three topics that caught my eye were:  tumors, abscesses, and subcutaneous cysts.

***Warning  Warning***  Now were at the really nasty part!!!!

I read and looked at all the pics of tumors, nothing on there looked anything like what Flash had.  Same thing with the abscesses.

Then I get to subcutaneous cysts and I see a picture of a hairless rat with something that  looks exactly like what Flash has on his back, the one with the black center.  She describes how male hairless rats are very prone to these because they secrete a lot of oil and have no hair to absorb it.  The black center is dirt that is trapped in the middle.  (Basically it's like a giant blackhead, the epitome of nasty!)

To get rid of it,    can you guess?  

You squeeze it just like a zit.   (She provided photos of this as well, sick I know, but very useful!)  As I'm reading all this and soaking it in,  my heart is beginning to lighten and I start to get excited!
Not about what I'm thinking about doing, but at the fact that I might just be able to take my son's sorrow away and end up saving the day.

As luck would have it, she also provided a picture of an infected cysts and what to do about that.  Basically the same thing you do to the first, but you need to make sure the rat is on antibiotics as well.  Flash was on antibiotics so I had that part covered too!

I took a deep breath and thought it over.  I didn't have any other option.  I had to at least give it a whirl.  Worse case scenario, I was wrong, best case, I save my son from the suffering of having his pet die of cancer.

I grabbed my supplies:  some tissues, paper towel, bacitracin, Q-tips, and a hand towel.  I retrieved Flash from his cage, set him on my lap in the towel, and took a really deep breath.  I started with the one that wasn't infected, tissues in hand I applied a gently squeezing pressure on both sides and instantly thick, squiggly stuff shot straight out of it like I was squeezing a tube of toothpaste.  (I am laughing as I type this, remembering just how flipping nasty it all was!  I have never been so happy to see shit squeeze out of something in all my life!)

I was more nervous about the bigger, infected one, but managed to repeat the procedure.  The second time was a little more than I could handle and after finishing, I quickly handed the rat off to the athlete and had to put my head between my knees and take a few deep breaths.  The sheer grossness of what I had just done, had sunk in and I was super close to fainting.

When I felt it was safe to sit back up I excitedly informed the athlete that I was 99% sure that Flash did not have cancer and what it actually was were cysts.  I even showed him the website where I found all the information.  I told him that I thought Flash was going to be just fine.

The look on his face was worth squeezing a thousand of those suckers!   He leaped up grabbed me and hugged me tight, saying "thank you mom, thank you so much!", over and over.  He told me I was a hero and it was the best day of his life.  And that right there, was exactly why I put the effort in, and did what I did.  It was all worth that smile and look in his eyes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

T-minus 3 days and counting...

Three days that is until my family and I leave for our second annual trip up to Sebago Lake in Maine.  The kids have been counting down the days since the first of July, the coach is excited and in desperate need of a vacation, and me, I'm excited too but I have also been completely stressed to the max.  This happens every single time we go away and with just cause.

What I do to prepare for a vacation:

Start the mental planning and prep in my head two weeks before and compile written packing lists about a week before.  The lists include:
myself
the athlete
the princess
toiletries
medications;  with two asthmatics, two children, and two adults, this list is never ending.  My motto:  better to be safe than sorry, so I include everything but the kitchen sink in this category.
beach gear
groceries
Finally, the list of what I still need to buy

After the lists are made, run around in between working full time, summer baseball, and sleepovers making sure we have everything we need.

Then I arrange for a pet sitter for my three fur babies and two pet rats.  I write out explicit instructions for the pet sitter, and make sure they all have have enough food, litter, and necessities for the week.  (I am a little psycho in this department, I actually worry about my kitties while we are away.  I have two who hate each other and don't know what they'll do to the other while we're away,  and two escape artists.  I'm always scared to death they are gonna get out when the sitter comes to check on them and we won't get them back.)

Another thing I usually freak out over:  The car, our mode of transportation.  Every year I make sure to have it fully checked out, the oil changed, tire pressure checked, and all fluids topped off. This all has to be done at least a week before, just in case something goes wrong.  This way I have a week to drive it around and make sure nothing got screwed up when they worked on it.   (My father owns his own auto repair business and I have inherited his super cautious tendencies.)  This year I didn't have to stress quite so much because we bought a brand new car back in April.  An oil change and check of the tires was all that needed to be done.

Another task of mine, clean the house like and obsessive compulsive crazy woman.  A huge pet peeve of mine is leaving a messy home and coming home to clutter.  If I'm going away for a week, then I want to return to a sparkling clean home.  Therefore, all bedrooms must be neat and tidy, all bathrooms immaculate, all trash removed from our home so there is no funky smell when we step inside.

All laundry must be kept up during the week or else I won't be able to pack clean clothes for a family of four. This ends up being at least 1 to 2 loads per day for 7 days prior to departure.  This may seem like the norm for some families, but I dread laundry and usually end up putting it off several days at a time.

Watch kids like a hawk to make sure no illnesses are brewing.  Take them for a sick visit if need be.  Again, may seem like I've now become super neurotic but after the summer of sickness we've had, I'm not taking any chances.  I have one asthmatic child recovering from pneumonia and another who has had back to back strep throat infections.  Again, NOT TAKING ANY CHANCES.

Also kid related:  deal with the ever building, day by day excitement of two crazy kids.  Break up fights, and balance keeping them somewhat busy so no one kills each other with not over doing it so they end up sick on  vacation.

Finally organize our finances, pay bills, balance check book accounts so everything is in order while we are away.

What the coach has to do to pack for vacation:

The morning of departure, grab a duffel bag, throw a couple hand fulls of his clothes in it and load the car.

Aint that the way.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Princess!

I remember when I first decided it was time for our family of three to become a family of four.  I wanted another baby and I wasn't going to wait any longer.

I remember a few weeks into November of 2002 I learned you were growing in my belly.  I was giddy, I was
excited, I loved you the instant I knew you were there.

I remember going to the hospital to find out if you were going to be a boy or a girl, and not really having a clue what you were, I was just happy you were on your way.  I remember the ultrasound tech confirming that you were perfect and then revealing to our surprise that you were a baby girl.

I especially remember your daddy's face turning white and seeing panic in his eyes.  I remember still laying there on the table looking up at him and laughing so hard as he kept telling the tech she was wrong, it was a boy and she should double check!

I remember the morning of the day you were born.  You weren't due for another two weeks, but I woke up with a fever and the stomach bug and I just knew that I was going to meet you sometime that day.  It was just my kind of luck.

Sure enough about 3 in the afternoon I knew it was time.  I left your brother with "Mimi" and I proceeded to call your dad at work and tell him to meet me at the hospital.  There wasn't time for him to come home first to get me.  So you and I drove to the hospital and I rubbed my belly and talked to you the whole time, telling you to just be patient and hold on a little while longer until I was safe at the hospital.

I remember listening to the nurse argue with the doctor about me not really being in labor and that there wasn't even a bed available.  But I knew the truth.   I simply smiled knowing all along that you were only a few short hours away from proving that stupid nurse wrong.

I remember family members rushing in to my room to visit with me while we waited for you.  They didn't get the chance to stay very long because within minutes I kicked them all out and told them it was time for you to be born.

Sure enough, your mama was right, and at 9:20pm at night on June 30 2003, the most wonderful and precious little girl came into the world and made me a proud mother for the second time in my life.

I love you baby girl, and couldn't imagine a day without you!  You keep us constantly on our toes.  You make us laugh out loud every day.  You don't take life too seriously.  You find joy and appreciate the little things.  You tell it like it is.  You are your own person and you live life your way, without a care in the world!

Happy Eighth Birthday little princess!
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I love you to the moon and back!

Love Mom


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One step forward, three leaps back...

I took a huge step forward in my life long weight loss journey the other day by opening up to my readers about my struggle with weight in my last post.  I had begun to make some healthy changes in the way I was living my life, prompted in part by my husband's medical scare a month or so ago.

The coach and I decided to take charge of our health.  We spontaneously went out and dropped a pretty penny on an elliptical machine from Dick's Sporting Goods.  (I literally felt nauseous as I swiped my debit card and hit accept.)  But my husband kept reminding me all along that spending money for something to help us reach our goal of becoming healthier was money well spent.  He worked on it for a few hours that afternoon and had that impressive piece of machinery all put together.  We disputed a bit on where to put it but once again, the coach had a great idea and said stick it in the sun room.  (That way I can exercise in the middle of the day if I so choose when my daycare kids are napping.  I'm on the same floor as them and I don't wear headphones.  I play my ipod quietly right out of the speakers on the elliptical.  Not quite as motivating as blasting, energetic music, but definitely better than getting up at the ass crack of dawn every day to exercise!)  He's so thoughtful!

So I got myself into the routine of working out, doing 30 minutes every other day.  I felt good!  I was proud of myself for sticking with it for a couple of weeks.  I would even go as far as to say it was becoming a habit and something I looked forward to doing.  Shocking for those of you who know mean in real life!!  I'm usually the first one to opt out of doing something that induces sweating, heavy breathing, and muscle soreness!  (Get your head out of the gutter people!!)

I took it a step further.  I hired a personal trainer.  I met with her for a consultation.  I suffered through getting weighed, having my measurements taken, and my total body fat percentage calculated.  I committed to seeing her twice a week at 6:00am for one VERY LONG, TORTUROUS HOUR!   But when the next morning came for my next training session, I got up, sucked it up,  and I did it again.  I was starting to feel so much better about myself mentally.  The scale was moving rapidly in the right direction.  I was happy.

Physically though, I wasn't doing so well.  I was having major aches and pains in my hips, neck and middle back.  I figured if I ignored the pain it would go away.

I have back issues and have since my almost 11 year old was a tiny baby.  (He was 20lbs at 4 months old guys, and not easy to carry around!  It's hard to believe it if you saw him today, I can't get that kid to hit 70 pounds to save my soul!   But I digress...

So anywhoo,  every once in a while my back decides to act up.  Usually a couple quick adjustments from the chiropractor and I'm on my merry way, good as new.  This time though my back has been acting up for months.  I attributed it to having a bad mattress.  So we went out and bought a nice new memory foam mattress.  I was sure this would fix everything.

Almost two months later and my back was getting worse.  I wasn't sleeping, I would sneeze and get a stiff neck, I would bend down and feel a tingling pain dead center at the base of my spine.  I would have to gently roll myself up off the mattress in the mornings and some times it would take me two or three tries to stand up straight after lying down all night.  I knew that the more I was exercising the worse it was getting, but I denied it.  Day after day I ignored my pain and popped ibuprofen like it was candy.  I did this until I couldn't delude myself any longer.

After waking one morning and being physically unable to stand up and crying from the fear and the pain.  I called the chiropractor.  He saw me that night, took a bunch of x-rays and examined me.  He scared me to death because he kept saying things like,  "Oh my Gosh, Holy Cow, This is a mess, Oooooh jeez."  He broke protocol that night and adjusted me on my first visit.  He said I was an absolute mess and that he couldn't send me home in that condition.  His last piece of instruction for me after he said ice the area 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off all night was what I feared the most....

Absolutely no form of exercise until further notice.  


I piped up immediately,  With a little bit of hope left, "Not even walking?"

NO, NOTHING!!!  He exclaimed.

My last hope was dashed.  I knew all along he was going to tell me that.  I knew it was bad.  I had been hurting so terribly for so long.  He showed me the x-rays and those confirmed everything he had said.  My right hip and shoulder are about an inch and a half higher than the left.  My spine is in the shape of a compressed "C"  and my neck has been pushed an inch too far forward.  All these things can be corrected, but it will take some time.  Time that my impatient self does NOT want to wait for!

(I am an all or nothing type of person.  I'm starting to think this has something to do with why I can never keep weight off permanently.)  Some people can have a slip up and not let it effect them.  They pick themselves right back up and keep on trudging along.  My slip ups completely derail me for months at a time.  NOT GOOD!

So it's week two of NO exercise and I've been to the chiropractor 4 times so far.  Last night was the first night I wasn't in pain and could actually sleep.  I woke up and rolled right out of bed, no stiffness or intense shooting pains through my spine.  Hurray!

This is obviously a step in the right direction.  I'm trying to remind myself that this is simply just a bump in the road, and soon I will be back on track, feeling better than ever.  But I'm not going to lie.  It's hard.  I feel like I'm going to have to start all over again and I guess that's ok.  The alternative is getting so down on myself that I can't get back on track.  I'm not going to even let that be an option!

So this is where I'm at right now.  Trying to take it one day at a time.  Rest up, follow doctor's orders, and not give myself any excuses for eating poorly.  The coach put it best when he said to me that first night, "This doesn't spell disaster for you.  He didn't tell you to stop eating healthy."
And I need to remember:   that right there is half the battle.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breaking the silence...

I've been writing this blog for a while now and I really enjoy sharing my life with my readers, the funny stuff, the stuff that makes me want to pull my hair out, and of course to document our life as my children continue to change and grow.  One issue that's always on my mind and something that I have struggled with for many years, I have chosen to keep private.   It's something that I've never felt comfortable opening up about on my blog.  I have felt safer keeping  it private all this time.  There were times that I've wanted to share it, but I haven't been ready.  I was hoping that one day I would come to a place where I felt secure enough to open up publicly about my struggle.  I'm not sure what happened to make me change how I feel, but I know that now,  it no longer needs to remain a secret.

I    struggle    with    my    weight.

I have probably since about the eighth grade.  Right around that time,  I remember having to be picky about what shorts I wore because my thighs were bigger and when I walked my thighs would rub together and my shorts would always ride up causing major embarrassment and I would constantly keep pulling them back down.  Those are the first memories I have where my weight started causing issues for me.

In high school I was probably about 20 pounds over weight, not enough so that I was isolated among my peers or made fun of, but just enough to make me terribly self conscious and so afraid to speak or do something wrong that would embarrass me.  If I could have been invisible during my high school years I would have been.  I went on a few crash diets, losing 10 pounds here and there, but because they were super unhealthy and completely unsustainable the weight came back along with a couple extra pounds here and there.

College Years:  I had the same insecurities and issues with weight but it didn't seem to matter as much.  I had several long term boy friends, lots of friends, and seemed to really find myself and come out of my shell.  My freshman year my roommate who was a cheerleader in high school vowed to do what ever it took to not gain the dreaded, "Freshman Fifteen".   I didn't even know what the hell it was at first but once she told me I jumped on board too.  I was already overweight and didn't need to pack on even more.  So the two of us started going to the aerobics classes in the college center every afternoon.  I had never exercised religiously a day in my life let alone taken an aerobics class.  IT WAS TORTURE!  Emotionally and physically.  I was so out of breath and every muscle in my body burned and screamed.  In my head I thought I looked like a fool and I strategically would place myself at the back of the room so no one would be behind me and see me working out.


Something crazy happened that year.  Despite all my fears and my own insecurities, I stuck it out.  I went to those classes, every damn afternoon.  After a while, they started to get easier.  I could keep up with the instructor and the cramps and super huffing and puffing went away.  Before I knew it, I was down about 15 pounds!  Screw gaining the freshman fifteen, I lost them!!  And, I kept them off the entire rest of my college days.  I still had weight to lose but at least I managed to get through 4 years of schooling without getting bigger and bigger.

Senior year I started a part time job off campus at a daycare center, and that's where I met the coach.  He worked there full time and he was my boss!  I finished school, graduated, and moved in with him a couple months later.  Being in a relationship might be wonderful for your heart, but it's bad news for your waist line!  You get comfortable and more relaxed knowing that someone loves you.  You stop being so careful about what your putting in your mouth and the time you spent exercising is now spent with the one you love.  I put those 15 pounds back on all that year plus some and it wasn't just because of poor eating and exercising habits.   Six months after graduating college, on Halloween night, I found out I was pregnant with the athlete.

To be continued...
This entry is part of Shell's PYHO link up...


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Post it note Tuesday...

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