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Mama’s Got a Free Day!

Oh yes, today has already been a great day, and it’s only 9:36am! Both boys got dropped off at school (happily, I might add), checks were deposited into the bank, a quick run to the grocery store for milk, all before the bell rang at Zack’s Kindergarten. I even finished my coffee – without gushing it down my throat – and ate half an apple (the other half I am enjoying now). I’m dressed in clean clothes (as opposed to the clothes I sometimes sleep in from the day before – I know, don’t judge), and I even have a teensy bit of motivation to take a walk later today in this gorgeous pre-spring weather.

So, what will I do with my “free” day? Well, for starters I get to write! YAY! Writing makes me happy, fills a space inside me so that it doesn’t get filled with junk. Then I’ll finish preparing for a meeting Will and I have on Friday for our taxes – yeah, that’s not so sexy sounding, but none-the-less, it’s important. After that, a quick 15 min aqua-massage at this new self-automated spa (more on that later) before it’s back to reality and an afternoon of kids.

I must say, the days when I get a true break, I am so much more prepared to deal with the boys. It’s amazing how such a simple thing of free time (which isn’t always so simple to attain), can have such a grand impact.

Cheers to a happy, healthy, harmonious day! 🙂


Super Saturday

Well, it’s Saturday – did you guess right? I mean, the title is pretty obvious and self-explanatory. I can’t think of a snazzy title, so it’s going to just remain at “Super Saturday,” which in fact it IS.

Today’s been great. I got out of bed about 7:30 – WAY earlier than I usually do on any weekend day (but I heard a big thump and thought I should get up and see who fell off of what). As the boys had their breakfast in the kitchen, I snuggled with a cozy corduroy blanket on the couch, enjoying the coffee that Will so wonderfully prepared for me (I made it easy for him when I bought a Keurig last Christmas – no excuses now!). I watched a couple of cooking shows on Food Network (Barefoot Contessa and Giada – two of my favorites), and got inspired for what I’m planning on making for dinner tonight (a variation on Giada’s risotto with kale, bacon and leftover chicken).

After a nice warm shower where I actually washed my hair AND shaved my legs – I know, right? – I left the house ALONE to run some errands. Went to the post office to mail a copy of my book (was inspired to send one to the 100th person who liked my Facebook page – and after I received a book from my fellow blogging Mom friend, Kenya G. Johnson, for answering a question correctly in one of her posts… which happened to be about movies and the answer was Mater in Cars2 – and after having read her entire book last night… yes, I was again inspired), and bought a dress for a black-and-white formal banquet next weekend where my husband is getting an award for work. (So proud of you Will! All those late nights are paying off.) I’m really excited we get to be all dressed up like real adults!

I came home to a quiet house with Brayden already asleep for his nap (honestly, I was not expecting this to be the case – but I was happily wrong). Zack and Will were playing Lego’s on the floor. I made myself a yummy grilled cheese and avocado sandwich, then plopped myself on the floor with a map (the instructions) to help Zack re-build (for the bazillionth time – yes, I just made that word up) all of his cars, trucks, jeeps and other imaginative Lego vehicles.

Now, all three boys – this includes Will – are at the park and I, once again, felt inspired to write about my perfectly super (and have I mentioned, inspiring) Saturday. All I hear is the tumble of the clothes dryer and the clacking of the computer keys. The sun is shining inside the house, I’m happy to have the house to myself for a bit, and I’m happy to just BE happy.

Smiles and Cuddles

It’s December 21, 2012. 12/21/12. Supposedly it’s the end of the world. I don’t believe it is. I am not judging those that believe otherwise, I just choose to believe our world has a long journey ahead, with endless peace and happiness to come. What happened last week in CT was devastating. Heartbreaking. Horrific. I can’t imagine how those families are feeling with the loss they suffered. Honestly, I don’t know much of the details as it’s been too hard for me to watch the news or read about it. I would rather fill my mind with joy, but I also don’t want to be naive.

Both my boys are in school today, so I actually have a minute to myself – to breathe and stretch and think. Today, I am choosing to stay positive and light. I am choosing to listen, but not get sucked into the conversations around me. I am choosing to focus on Christmas with family and friends.

Both my boys have their Christmas parties at school today – and I can’t wait! Brayden, bless his little heart, has had a hard time in the mornings being dropped off at preschool (even though it’s only 2 days a week), but I know he has so much fun because at home all he talks about is his new little friend and his favorite teacher. Today, however, he was actually excited to get in the car and go because of his Christmas party. It made me smile to know he wanted to go. When we got there his favorite teacher immediately greeted him and, as usual, picked him up so I could get on with my day. Is there a little Mommy guilt in there, well, of course, but I know he’s in great hands and enjoying himself throughout the day.

Zackery and I waited in the car for a bit before going in to his school, as it is CRAZY windy here today. Luckily it was indoor recess so we only almost got blown away for a few minutes while walking from the car to the front doors of school. And then, it was varying degrees of happiness, worry, fear, anger and everything in between. Again, I listened, vowing not to be naive, but I chose to keep a smile on my face and keep my strength front and center for my boy.

As his bell rang, I walked Zackery to his Kindergarten class, helped him get settled, gave him a giant hug and even a kiss (I am also blessed that I can still do this in front of all his friends!). I’m going back later in the day to help with his party, organizing a holiday craft for the class. I’m anxious. I love to volunteer in his class, but I also just want to be with him – even if just in the same room.

I am sad about the tragedy last week. I am angry about it. I feel empathy. But I also won’t let those events change the wonderous holiday that is just right around the corner. Christmas. I am happy to have the most beautiful tree we cut down as a family. I am happy to have the stockings hung and decorations all over the house. I am happy to have the scent of pine lofting through the air. I am happy to have presents under the tree. I am happy to be blessed with the best boys a Mother could ever ask for (99.9999% of the time).

When today is over and the boys are getting ready for bed, I will wrap them up with the most special smiles and cuddles a Mommy could give. That is what I am most happy about.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, keep smiling – the world needs peace and joy.

Happy Christmas Boys

Happy Christmas Boys

Let Them Be

The issue of weaning is something that continues even past breastfeeding. As a “good” parent you’re supposed to wean your child off pacifiers, bottles and milk in the middle of the night. As the good parent I am (yes, I’m gonna own that one!), I of course was concerned with weaning Brayden off his bottle, and I especially wanted to do it before he turned two (that’s the deadline-oriented person in me… always setting unrealistic goals for myself). With Zackery weaning was easy. He took a sippy cup (and the bottle for that matter) no problem, and could care less where his milk was coming from, as long as he was getting it. He didn’t care if it was warm or ice cold straight from the fridge. Brayden, on the other hand, was a bit more picky (this certainly cannot be a genetic trait – ha!).

As his birthday rapidly approached, and amongst the chaos of our move, I hadn’t really come up with a plan or schedule (yes, schedules RULE) of how and when to start the weaning process. When my In-Laws were visiting in May, my husband and I just randomly began giving Brayden his milk out in the living room with big brother Zack (in hopes to at least be able to brush his teeth after all his milk). It kinda worked, but he still wanted that dark, snuggle time with his bottle in his room. I don’t blame him. The timing was probably not the best, and it wasn’t even really something we “planned” out, we just did it, and eventually he got the idea. No milk after we brush our teeth.

I think part of what helped Brayden with that transition and change in his bed time routine was watching Zack. He adores his brother (sometimes to a fault) and wants to do everything big brother does. So when we explained that Zack doesn’t have milk after he brushes his teeth, well then Brayden decided it was okay for him to have the same routine. He loves brushing, so now I feel better that the brushing is actually doing what it’s supposed to! And the dentist will thank me. 🙂

The next step was weaning him from the bottle to a sippy cup. Surprisingly enough, he mostly did this himself. It was another case of “I want to be just like big brother.” Zack had a cool sippy cup with his milk, and Brayden wanted the same thing. I remember the day it happened (not the date, but I probably wrote it on the calendar!). I was getting Brayden’s milk ready for his nap. He still gets milk after lunch and before nap. I put cold milk right into his bottle, and he pushed it away saying “No, Mommy.” I offered it again, and again he refused. I asked him if he wanted a sippy, and he said (very enthusiastically) “Yes!” I asked him if he wanted his bottle at all anymore, and he declared “No.” So, that was the last of the bottle. I put him down for his nap, washed the last bottle and set them aside to give away. Weaning done, and oh how easy it was!

It’s funny, all this stressing I did (or used to do) was really pointless. I guess it’s different with your first child, and probably each child is different all on their own anyway. Brayden turned two last week, and he’s been off the bottle for almost three weeks. In fact, it was the week we moved that he weaned himself. Yes, I said it correctly, he weaned himself. He decided when he was ready. He let me know that he wanted to be a big boy. And can I say, how easy and welcoming that entire experience was for both of us. There was no struggling, no feeling like I was depriving him, and he got to feel proud and all grown up.

Brayden has been such a blessing to me in so many ways. Aside from the obvious fact of just pure life, Brayden has taught me to just let go. It was the same way with the breastfeeding early on, and then the night wakings and finally sleeping through the night. I just let him lead the way. I decided that I would let him tell me when he was ready for transitioning. It was hard for me to release control of everything and not do things “by the book,” but the more I let myself just be there, present with him, the easier things got for both of us.

My Happy Boy Brayden!

I could go on and on about the lessons he taught me and the ways I realized he was ready for something new, but instead I will just leave it at this: Our children are amazing, beautiful, smart, intuitive beings. If we observe them, listen to them, remain present with them and guide them, they will do what’s right for them. So what if your child doesn’t compare to the child next door. SO WHAT? Every child is different. Every child has different needs, and every child will reach their milestones at different times. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they are healthy, you are healthy, and that you love each other.

I say, let them be.

The In-Laws

Ah yes, the In-Laws. I know a lot of people get an icky feeling when they hear their In-Laws are coming to visit. I, on the other hand, get excited, anxious and can’t wait. I LOVE my In-Laws, and I feel blessed and grateful and lucky to feel this way. I only wish they lived closer than all the way on the other side of the country. We only get to see them once, maybe twice (on a rare, rare occasion) a year.

They’ve been here visiting – and helping (in a most wonderful kind of way – the way where you don’t have to ask them or tell them how to do something or worry about anything). They helped us pack, helped with dinner, helped with taking the boys to the park, helped with groceries (hey, it might not be inspiring, but much-needed and appreciated), helped with jammies and story time. The boys love Nana and Grandpa. Nana and Grandpa love the boys.

This morning after dropping off Zackery at school (where he must have felt like a king with his royal court accompanying him to drop-off), my husband took Nana and Grandpa to the airport. Seven days just flew by. How did it go by so quick? We must have all been having a grande old time – so much fun (because time flies when you’re having fun)! So we all drove to school and then went our separate ways (except Brayden who is enjoying his weekly playdate with babysitter extraordinaire and his little girl friend – I mean that in the most literal way. Girl Friend: a friend that is a girl. He is WAY too young to be having girlfriends – oh gosh, I don’t even want to go there in my mind yet… he’s gonna be a heartbreaker). Zack got signed in and stayed, I came here (the lovely “WC” coffee shop), and Will drove a car full of suitcases and love to the airport.  It was a sad moment. Nobody cried (at least I don’t think anybody cried – Nana has a tendency, for good reason), everybody was all smiles and hugs and laughter.

 Time really is flying by. All of a sudden the In-Laws have come and gone, and before I know it, it will be June (on Friday to be exact). We have 11 days until we move. WOW! It’s coming fast. Really, really fast. I’m feeling a lot of changes – good for the most part. I’m feeling a lot of anxiety (mostly about getting everything packed – I’ve lived in this house for 12 years, even before Will and I met). I’m feeling excitement – I am ready to be in our new house with a fenced in yard for the kids, on a cul-de-sac, with no stairs (BIG things on my checklist for sure – and now I’ll have them). I’m feeling gratitude – for many things, but I can’t really seem to specify or elaborate – I’m just feeling gratitude. I’m feeling overwhelm – sorry, can’t let that one off the hook yet (but I’m trying!!!). I’m feeling… a lot of things.

I think the leaving of my In-Laws is in perfect timing of closing this chapter of my life and moving on (literally). Maybe that’s why it’s such an extra emotional moment for me. They’ve left, and will never be back in that house. They’ve left, and I have 11 days before I will never be back in that house. They’ve left, and now with my family I get to write the next chapter of our lives. Everything happens for a reason – I truly believe in that, and often have to remind myself (and when I do I tend to breathe a lot easier).

I love my In-Laws. They are the best! I love my Dad too, and my Mom up in Heaven, but I think to love my In-Laws the way I do… I am just so happy about that. *smiles*

What A Great Day!

Today truly was a wonderful, great day! I will admit I was rushed when I got up this morning, and I even opted to savor a few extra minutes in bed in lieu of taking a shower (even though I had planned on washing my hair… I just could not get my eyes to stay open!).

It was 8:20am (I know, might seem late to some people, and it probably is, but I like to sleep – especially when I don’t do it that well. I’m still in practice, you know.) when I finally coaxed my brain to release my body from under the cozy, cozy covers. Zack had to be at school by 9:15am, which meant leaving the house no later than 9:05 (luckily we are only 8 minutes away from school), but both boys were still in their jammies. In fact, so was I! Will had at least gotten Zack’s clothes laid out for him, but I had to switch the pants because if he plays outside at school (which I knew they would today because it was just gorgeous!) he needs to wear jeans or he’ll rip holes in the knees of his sweats. He definitely prefers the sweat pants (and hey, I don’t blame him), but we are slowly getting used to wearing jeans with real big boy snaps and zippers.

So, in a determined, stern, not quite going crazy whirlwind I sunscreened the top half of Zack; had him finish getting himself dressed; threw on some old yoga capris, a t-shirt, sweatshirt and flip-flops to get myself dressed; gulped down a half cup of juice; stuffed the mini, canvas bag-I-take-everywhere with Brayden’s snacks, milk, water, diaper, wipes & my cell phone; hauled everything downstairs to start the car; ran back upstairs to get Brayden dressed; led the boys in cleaning up their toys; got jackets, socks and shoes on; led the crew downstairs, hopped into the car, buckled everyone in, and we were off to drop Zack off at school. Amazingly enough, we were all happy and somewhat fed, hydrated, and dressed! Phew!

We made it to school on time, and then Brayden and I were even early to our Mommy group playdate. As the first ones there, Brayden got the pick of the “good” toys (they’re all good, but when you get to choose first, they all seem that much better), and we took a stroll up the street (our friend lives on a wonderful cul-de-sac) while the little kids scooted along on push toys (and my back and legs got a bit of a workout). Once more Mommies and kids started to show up, we headed into her backyard (a-MAY-zing!) to play and snack in the sun. It was indeed a gorgeous day!

After playdate, we headed home, I got a little bit of lunch into Brayden, put him down for a nap (he’s been resisting going down for naps & bed lately – another post, another day…), opened up the windows to get some fresh air into the house, and sat down with another cup of coffee to relax for a minute before getting some work done. Just before 3:00pm, the house got really dark and I could see the clouds rolling in, the wind blowing the pine trees, and the smell of coming rain. I love the smell of rain – it is one of the best smells in the whole world! Aaaahhhhh….  And, as the weather man predicted, it rained.

Back from picking up Zack from school, and my car having gotten a slight rinse from the rain, it’s now 3:30pm and we are waiting for our friends to come over for a quick afternoon playdate. They come, we play (yes, all of us – we are not at the point yet, or shall I say, the kids are not at the point yet where we can completely leave them alone – and they don’t leave us alone, which I am fine with because I love playing trains and trucks and tractors), we all eat a little dinner, they go home. Brayden, Zack and I then make a quick birthday card for some other friends, and head over to their house for a short visit and to wish them happy birthday. We get a tour of their new (rental) house, the boys play, I get them in their jammies, we drive the 2 min back home, and it’s milk, teeth and bed. Brayden fusses for a short bit, but he is now sound asleep in his little, yellow alphabet jammies. Heaven.

Yes, it was a great day! I would gladly repeat this Monday anyday.

Guilty Until Proven

The saying is “innocent until proven guilty.” Well, I know I’m innocent, but I also know I’m guilty. Huh, you ask? How can I be both? Well let me tell you, I am.

I’m innocent because I have not committed any crimes (nor do I plan to!), and I honestly think I’m feeling “normal” Mommy feelings. I’m guilty because I’m finding myself falling back into the remnants of Mommy Guilt. I know, I know – it’s silly, right? So why am I having these thoughts? I don’t know for sure, but here’s my best guess:

Zackery is going to start Kindergarten in the Fall. From what I hear (and I really have to get off my butt – which I really am not on that often as every time I sit down I am immediately rousted up to get something, but – ha! – that’s another story), half-day Kindergarten in the public school is free (as I would expect public school to be). But (sorry, I can’t help it), for full-day it costs money. Personally, I have never heard of paying for full-day Kindergarten. Then again, I have never been responsible for signing someone up for Kindergarten. So, perhaps it’s not odd, but for me, it’s causing some instances of guilt.

We are in a tight financial position right now. I was hoping to save the entire cost of preschool once Zack transitions to Elementary School (OMG that sounds so big and scary! Is he really getting that big?!). I could in fact do this if I opted to only have him go half-day. BUT (underlying theme of this post – again sooo sorry for my inappropriate humor today), I really want him to go full-day. He is used to being in school from 9-3ish, and even if right now it’s only 3 days a week, I think it’s good for him. I realize that Kindergarten will be a full 5 days a week, so even with half-days I will get a little (yes, I mean little) break every day. However, if I have to drop him off at 9 and then pick him up at 11:45, that doesn’t give me much time to get anything done except possibly a quick run to the grocery store, unload at home, give Brayden a snack and then turn right around to go pick up Zack.

Guilty? Yes. I really want more time.

So, what’s a Mommy to do? I guess only time will tell (and the waiting list for full-day Kindergarten). My husband knows my dilemma. I know our financial situation. My friends know what I’m feeling. I know my mental capacity. Bottom line, I guess I shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting more time for myself (which in turn would make me happier: a happier woman, a happier wife, a happier mother – you get the picture). A little extra time of structured activity for Zack and free (half-free, I still would have Brayden) time for me, with minimal cost is definitely cheaper than therapy!

Dear Zackery

Dear Zackery,

I wrote to your brother last week, so I thought this week it would be your turn. I don’t like to have to “take turns” with you boys, but sometimes I have no choice.

I just want to say how very proud I am of you. I know I’ve been saying that a lot lately and I really mean it. Whenever we go places – either to someone’s house or a restaurant or the KidZone or Discovery Museum or anywhere! – I never worry about you. That’s not to say I don’t care about you, of course I do, more than anything, but I don’t have to worry about how you will act, behave, treat others, etc. You are courteous, polite, respectful, and patient. I could go on…

I know that how you are is in some way a reflection of me. So pat on the back for Mama! Yay me! 🙂

I also know that how you are is because of YOU. You have a wonderful personality, always (well, for the most part) happy and excited. You get cranky when you’re tired and hungry – but hey, so do I. You are getting so good at playing with Brayden and helping him out. One of my most favorite times of the day is in the morning when you are so kind and loving towards him as he adores you so much. The way you make believe play with him, and use your imagination, and talk so gently and genuinely engage with him – it melts my heart and puts the biggest smile on my face. Most of the time I’m still in bed, but I am awake, lying there listening to you two. I wish every Mother could experience moments like that.

You have always been my first, and will always be my baby, but you are growing up so fast! You will be 5 years old this summer and starting kindergarten in the fall. Wow! I can’t believe it. You just went through a total growth spurt and I had to scramble to find you shoes and pants that fit; you are getting so big! But, you will always be my Big Snugglebug. 🙂

Thank you for being a wonderful son, brother, friend and human being.

I love you forever.

-Mommy xoxo

The Chase of Life

Wow, I really need to get my butt in gear! I’m not apologizing or anything, and really it’s of my own doing – or not doing that is. Again, another week sneaks by without a new blog post. I’ve said before, and I guess I need to remind myself, my blog started as a personal outlet for ME. I never intended it for anything other than a place to write and share my stories – in hopes of inspiring and supporting others. So, when my* famous saying “life happens” keeps popping into the forefront, I take notice.

*Okay, it’s not really my famous saying, it’s just a saying I use. It has power, it has meaning, it has forgiveness, and it’s a little more proper (and less naughty – especially with kids around these days) than the all-too-well-known phrase “Shit Happens!”

I’ve been stressed lately. Really stressed. Lots of things are happening. I’ll spare the details (mostly because I get so worked up and frustrated when I list ALL the things swirling around me) and cut to the chase. Um, the chase, yes. Me chasing after myself to keep get caught up! I’m making myself laugh at that image. Ha!

I have a tail, like a dog, a big, furry, cuddly, too big to be a lap dog, dog, and I’m running around in circles panting with my slobbery tongue hanging out trying to catch my tail.

Oh, if the chase of life were only that simple…

I sit here now, writing, smiling and laughing – truly the best medicine (No copays and insurance approvals to deal with, and free!). My last couple posts have been about happiness, and remaining happy despite my circumstances. Maybe this is the lesson I’m supposed to be mastering right now? Maybe this is what I’m supposed to be sharing with you. Inspiring you to be happy amongst all the inevitable bombs of negativity exploding in this mine field of “life,” like pop rocks in a glass of cola. Pop, pop pop, pop POP!

So how and why am I still so happy? Well, that’s like sharing the secret to life!

I’m happy because I’m authentic in everything I do. I don’t hide.
I’m happy because I have the most amazing boys and the most incredible husband.
I’m happy because I know where my life is leading me, and I’m content being patient to let it unfold just the way it’s supposed to.
I’m happy because I choose to be, in every moment, no matter what.

I’m chasing life, but I’m choosing to live my life with happiness along the way.

What are you going to do today to make you happy? 🙂

Happily Healing Out Loud

Follow Your HeartI’m starting to get into this habit of only posting once a week, which I’m not sure is good nor bad??? For a while I was on a roll, posting several times a week. So what happened? Good question! I think part of the answer is I’m getting more clear as to the direction I am going. I’m taking my own advice of listening to and following my heart, and my heart is telling me to start some other things up. Don’t worry, I’m not leaving my blog or anything – I love this, I’m proud of it, it is important for me – I just have other irons in the fire that need stoking. Boy, I wish I had more than two hands sometimes! HA!

So while I may not have posted every day this week, I am getting more in touch with my purpose and my passion, and isn’t this why I started this in the first place? Yes, it was. That, and to share and inspire, support, educate and guide others (including myself) on this journey of Motherhood. To tell my stories (uncut and honest), to heal myself through writing, and letting the world (well, someday maybe the world, but for now just you…) know that they are not alone and that somewhere out there, someone is going through the same thing.

I did something very brave for myself yesterday. I cut my pills in half. HUH? Yes, I am still taking anti-depressant medication. I have wanted to wean myself for several months, but the day I went to the Doctor and talked to her about my intention, I literally was in tears because I wasn’t ready. How was I ready to be medication-free when I made my appointment, and then be freaked out and terrified to go off them just a few days later? Life is funny that way, and our minds and bodies are extremely intuitive as to what we need. I will say that I have gotten very good at hearing what my body is trying to tell me. I’m not always so good at listening, but my awareness is usually up there, ranking high.pills

Anyway, as I was saying… I cut my pills in half. Last night. 

I have been feeling pretty good lately, which is odd (well, not really for me – I am a glutton for deadlines and procrastination and like to feel busy, even though I do still enjoy a long day of couch surfing in my jammies)… where was I? Oh yes, feeling pretty good, despite being busy. Not just the usual busy of taking care of the kids (as if that isn’t enough), but busy with all of my “irons in the fire.” I’m happy, though. Happy with what I’m doing, what I’m working on. Happy with the people I’m surrounding myself with. Happy with my vision. I have a ton of stress in my life right now, but I am honestly happy – and that makes a huge difference.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post, but I felt an urge to share my step forward, and also to share that I still have sooo many articles and posts tucked away in my little brain, and someday (soon, I promise…) they will be typed up and posted. Even if no one else reads them, they will be healing for me to have written them “out loud.”Writing Out Loud

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