Tuesday, January 19, 2010

11 months!

Wow! Mason, it's been almost a year since you've been born. I can hardly believe you are 11 months old already. Time is flying faster than I ever remember it with Allison and Preston.

Let's see what you've been up to this month.

  • You are still wearing 12 month clothes. Some 12-18 month clothes and a few 18 month clothes. Nana and Aunt Cassie bought you tons of new clothes for Christmas, so you are set for awhile!
  • Mason, you still only have 2 teeth, but they are not stopping you from trying and eating new foods.
  • You had your first ear infection this past month and when you didn't seem to be getting better before New Years Eve, we took you back to the doctor and found out it had turned into two ear infections. They put you on a different antibiotic, which cleared up both ears a week later. Just like your older brother, Amoxocillan tastes good, but doesn't do anything for you.
  • You are practically running now, forget walking. You are even walking better in shoes.
  • You are in to everything even more. I have had to put outlet covers in all the outlets, which I NEVER had to do with your sister and brother. As a matter of fact, I still had the box of covers, unopened, from my baby shower for Allison. I think maybe because you are bored at home all day, you just have to get into it all!
  • We celebrated your first Christmas and New Year this past month. You never messed with the Christmas tree and only got into the gifts once or twice, you just wanted to carry them around. On Christmas morning, you weren't really into opening your gifts. You liked playing with the paper and boxes, and liked sitting and walking on the boxes. We had to open all your gifts, your siblings didn't mind though! Hopefully by your birthday next month you will be ready to tear into the paper!
  • You will NOT eat baby food anymore. Maybe a few bites, but that's it. You want to feed yourself and we're having a hard time finding things that you will eat, mainly because of textures I think. But, you do eat scrambled eggs, toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit loops, cheerios, and a few other things. You love spaghetti, but can't feed it to yourself just yet, it's hard to pick up. You also still love mashed potatoes, and will let me feed those to you. You are also still eating yogurt and pudding. Today we tried chicken noodle soup with curly noodles so you could pick them up and you did like that, so maybe we found something else for you to eat.
  • You have found your voice; you babble ALL the time, but not only that, you have started screaming (shrieking actually) all the time. Not in anger, but just screaming. You do scream when you are mad, but mostly you just scream because you are happy or trying to keep up with your siblings or trying to get someones attention, it's so high pitched that sometimes we just have to leave the room to get a break. ha!
  • You have still been having trouble sleeping at night. You usually wake up screaming and the only way I can get you back to sleep it to pick you up and take you into our bed. Once you finally fall back asleep, I usually carry you back to your bed and there you stay until the morning. Once in awhile you will sleep through the night again, and a few times you wouldn't go back to sleep until I fed you a bottle. So, either you are growing or not getting enough to eat before bed, not sure which, but it's been like this since your ear infection. Hopefully it's just a phase and you will outgrow it soon, I do miss my sleep!
  • You still have your big beautiful blue eyes and gorgeous dimple in your left cheek. I think (and hope) they are both here to stay forever.

Mason, next month we will be celebrating your first birthday and I still just can't believe it. We are starting to plan your party and think about how to celebrate your first year of life. You have brought so much joy into the hearts of all of us; especially your siblings who, some days, can't stop kissing you and loving on you. I can't imagine my life without you. I knew having 3 kids would be a lot of work, and exhausting, but didn't ever think about how much happiness it would bring to all of us. It definitely outweighs any negative worries we may have. I never really even complain when you are up all night or sleeping with us in our bed because I know all too soon you will be running around and not needing all the cuddles I can give you.

Happy 11 month birthday sweet boy, I love you!

See those two teeth on bottom?!

Monday, January 18, 2010

6 years ago today

6 years ago today I had just given birth to my second child, my first son, Preston David. He was born at 5:26 am and was very healthy, weighing in at a whopping 8 pounds 6 ounces. He was 20 inches long. I totally expected him to look like Allison did when she was born, and he didn't. He was so much bigger (almost 2 pounds bigger) and didn't look at all like I expected him to. I am not sure that I thought he was so beautiful when I first saw him... But, after he was bathed and brought back to me when I got moved into my own room, I couldn't believe how cute he actually was. I remember thinking "Oh, he is cute". What a relief; my kids are cute!

Today, he is as healthy and handsome but is tall and solid. He weighs over 60 pounds and towers over everyone in his class. He is almost as tall as Allison, and those who don't think they are twins can't believe he's only in kindergarten. He's always been off the charts, over 100th percentile to his peers, but again, it's solid. He's going to be great at sports if that is the route he chooses.

We have been through a lot with Preston. He definitely is the definition of a middle child, even before Mason was born. Preston is a handful. He's impulsive and hyper-active. But, he is a lover...he loves to cuddle and tell me he loves me. Turns out, he is very smart, too. He's just a boy and doesn't always apply it. He is funny and witty and just says the darnest things sometimes. We laugh because we just don't know where he gets the things he says. Oh, and he doesn't forget anything...he has the best darn memory, which isn't always a good thing. haha.

I can't believe it's been already 6 years since he's joined our family. So much has happened and changed in those 6 years and Preston is pretty easy-going. He doesn't really complain about much and is always very remorseful when he does something he shouldn't. He loves to be praised and encouraged and talks a lot. He's very animated; always using his eyebrows when he talks, it's so funny to have a conversation with him.

We had his birthday party on Saturday. This year he decided he wanted to have a bowling party, which we had not yet done. We tried a new bowling alley that I have never been to. It is always nice not to have to cook or clean so I think it's definitely worth the money. Preston had a great time; he had lots of fun with his 8 friends from school. He got lots of great gifts, including many Nerf guns and a Nerf dart tag set. I guess people really do know him, haha. He also got lots of money, which we took him to the store today and he spent half of it. He doesn't really need anything so hopefully I can get him to keep the rest of it until there is something he really wants.

Today the kids didn't have school because it's Martin Luther King Jr. day, so I took the day off so we could all spend the day together. We didn't do much at all, spent most of the day in our pjs. Then, we finally all got dressed and went to Toys R Us. We took a stroll around the mall and then went to Red Robin to eat dinner, where they sang to Preston. The kids love going there on their birthday. Preston got a free ice-cream sundae and shared it with his sister, just like she did on her birthday. He also received a free ice-cream creation from Coldstone Creamery and has 7 days to use that. So, we will be going there sometime this week for ice-cream. It's my favorite place and I was looking forward to it today until I remembered he'd get a free ice-cream with dinner. Oh well...later this week.

For now, I will leave you with some pictures of Preston throughout the years, a stroll down the last 6 years with my sweet and funny son.

Until next time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Excuse This House

Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there,
Ours boasts it quite openly,
The signs are everywhere.

For smears are on the windows,
Little smudges are on the doors.
I should apologize, I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.

But I sat down with my children
And we played and laughed and read.
And if the doorbell doesn't shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.

For when at times I'm forced to choose
The one job or the other,
I'd like to cook and clean and scrub,
But first I'll be a mother.

Author Unknown

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big events around our house

Ok, so maybe not big events to you, my reader(s), but they are big news to us.

First, Allison lost her first baby tooth last night! It has been loose for a few weeks now and she was constantly playing with it. It was even twisted a little, which made it a bit uncomfortable for her to eat certain things. The other day she made it bleed, so I had a feeling it was on it's last leg so to speak. Well, last night, I let her have an ice-cream drumstick for a snack and as she was biting into it, she yelled and said "Um, is this a nut or is this my tooth?" and handed me an itsy-bitsy baby tooth. I said, "I think it's your tooth, open your mouth!"

Sure enough, it was her tooth. I didn't realize how tiny her teeth were, I'm used to seeing them all together, not just one. Well, we put it in a Ziploc baggy and she insisted on taking it to school today. I don't know why, she's probably one of the last kids in her class to have lost a first tooth, but she wanted to take it to show everyone, she was so excited! Tonight, she is planning on putting it under her pillow for the tooth fairy...now, what does a first tooth go for these days?

Here's a picture, from my cell phone, so it's not the greatest, but it was the closest thing to me, and Mason was sleeping on my chest.

(bottom tooth, center)

In other news, Mason is such a big boy these days. You can barely see it in this picture (my new cell phone does not have a flash, what's up with that?), but, he can now drink out of a straw.

Things are much easier these days, when we are out and about and decide to stop and get something to eat, we know that even though we didn't pack anything but a bottle for Mason, he will be able to eat. He loves mashed potatoes, grilled cheese, scrambled eggs and peanut butter sandwiches. He'll also eat spaghetti, mac & cheese and any type of noodle. Now that he can drink out of a straw, I can order him white milk and he's so happy. I've introduced him to milk already because he is constantly stealing the older kids' sippy cups and drinking whatever it is in their cups, and since he seemed to like milk, I give it to him every once in awhile so that I can get him used to it, since he will be off formula in about a month.

(By the way, yes, Allison and Preston still drink out of sippy cups when they insist on taking their drinks out of the dining room, since I don't want them to spill anything on my carpet. For the most part, they drink out of big-kid cups at meals).

So, yes, Mason is a big boy, we can order him things off of menus and give him white milk with a straw. Traveling is easier nowadays.

And, for Preston, he's turning 6 in 6 days...I can't believe it! I remember him like Mason's age. I remember his first hair cut, his first birthday party, his first day of pre-school.

Now, he's going to be 6! We're having a bowling party on Saturday and his theme this year is Bakugan. For those of you out there with boys, you either know what I'm talking about or will know soon. So, I'm guessing this year, he will get a ton of Bakugan toys as he did last year with Transformers. OY, I need a bigger basement!

More updates to come later!

Until next time,

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010 - New Year's Resolutions

I know, I'm a little late in getting this post out...can't imagine why!

Oh, and in case you're counting, this is my 100th post; fitting, isn't it?

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, but this year, I want to set some attainable goals that I think I can handle. Now, I can't make them too easy, or it wouldn't be challenging, but I also wanted to be realistic.

Here goes:

1. I need to practice patience with my kids. Seriously, sometimes I yell and scream like a crazy woman, ahem, like my mother did, and I certainly don't want to be like that. I really have been trying to make an effort this year so far, for instance, I now warn the kids that I am going to start screaming and yelling before I do, so at least they have an honest chance of stopping whatever bad thing they are doing. So far, if I stop for a second and think about trying to stay calm, I have been finding it easier to calmly talk to my children in a manner that is more acceptable and have even found that when I act rational and calm, they are a bit more attentive in listening to what I have to say. It's working, it's a long road, but we're working on it.

2. I need to set some alone time for David and myself. I mean, forget "me time", I need to focus on us before I can relax and enjoy me. We are going to make a real effort to having a date-night, at least once a month. It will be a challenge because a) we'll need to find a babysitter, which costs money and b) we'll need to find the money to go out and do things. As you know, David has been unemployed off and on for almost 2 years, so money is very tight for us right now. And, before you go judging him, unemployment is more than a part-time job at McDonald's...so, he does when he can, when he can and tries to pick up as much side work as he possibly can. Hey, we haven't lost the house, yet.

3. I want to start going to church more regularly. Don't judge me, I think I only went 3 times in 2009. It is hard because I married someone who doesn't go to church and has no desire. My kids go to a Catholic school and do go to church every Friday as a school. But, come Sunday, I'm so tired, trying to catch up with housework and usually busy doing the family thing that I make up excuses not to go. I should go. I want to go, not necessarily by myself, but I could if I had to. I feel better about myself when I go. I am Catholic, that's how I was raised, but I hear about all these other wonderful churches from other people and they have such strong church families and communities, I don't feel that when I go to my church. Is it wrong if I go to one church but send my kids to another? Don't answer that...just a rhetorical question. Anyhow, I'm going to try to get there at least once a month...I already didn't make it yet this past Sunday.

I have lots of other things on my list...but I think these 3 are most important right now, and are enough of a challenge that I think I will feel accomplished when I get something checked off.

Anyhow, I know I'm late in posting this, and I've seen some posts out there already with resolutions for 2010, but what are yours?

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 -A Pictoral Review

I saw another blogger do this and even though my 2009 review post was done, I wanted to do one with pictures, imagine that! Looking for a (decent) picture of all three kids from each month turned out to be a little bit of a challenge. I am going to make a real effort to get a picture of all three of them together (where they are looking at the camera) each month this coming year.
January (Notice there are only two children as Mason wasn't born yet!)












Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009...The year in review

2009 has had many ups and downs. Let's face it, it's a tough world to live in right now and we have been affected like everyone else.

I wanted to do this post so I can use it to reflect on the year and try to remember everything.

January - Preston turned 5! He was my baby at the time, as Mason was still baking in my belly. Preston celebrated by having a Chuck E. Cheese party and invited 7 of his little boy buddies. He had a blast and got lots and lots of Transformer toys.

February - Mason was born! February 19th is when our family became complete; and I became a mother of 3. Mason has been my easiest child yet.

March - was not that eventful. I enjoyed spending the month at home on maternity leave as I bonded with my new baby boy. Even though I had just given birth to a healthy baby boy, I did remember the 1 year-anniversary of the death of my baby Grace. It was bittersweet to say the least; I still often find myself thinking of her and feel the tears well up in my eyes at those times. I know I was meant to have Mason, but the loss is still so deep and painful. I will never forget. Preston also got kicked out of pre-school at the end of March. After numerous problems with the teacher, we couldn't get Preston to change his ways and agreed mutually that it was in his best interest to not return to the pre-school. (By the way, he's doing fabulous in kindergarten)!

April - I returned to work after only 6 weeks of maternity leave. I did only work for a week before taking Spring Break off with my kids and going on a mini-vacation to Kalahari resort in Sandusky, Ohio. David & I also celebrated 9 years of marriage. Preston started seeing a psychologist due to his behavioral problems at school. Eventually, the doctor told us to keep him away from that particular school environment since that was the only place he showed the behavior. Since it was almost summer time, we did not find another school for him; he stayed home with dad and babysitters.

May - David turned 42 on May 2nd. David also had to refile his unemployment as it had now been a full year since it had started. He was working some side jobs here and there to try to make up the difference. Preston had his kindergarten screening tests, which he sailed high, just like Allison, which surprised me because he had such a hard time in pre-school. Makes me think it really was the teacher causing most of the problems.

June - I started Weight Watchers, again. Allison finished 1st grade, which was very tough for her; she loved her teacher and so did I. Allison also had her first tap recital! She did great and remembered the whole dance. I was so proud of her. She has since decided she does not want to dance anymore; but at least I got one year (and picture) out of her. Maybe she'll do it again in the future, as of right now, she has no interest. Oh, and I turned 32; much to my dismay. I don't know why, but it seems since I've turned 30, my birthdays are so depressing. I have everything I ever wanted right now, but life still seems like such a struggle and I guess I always thought by this age, life would be easier. Allison and Preston also started swim classes on Saturday mornings at the YMCA. David got called back to work, in Pittsburgh. He worked for 4 weeks, leaving on Sundays and returning Thursdays or Fridays. It was a tough 4 weeks, but at least he was working, even though it was very short lived. We had numerous graduation parties to attend.

July - Allison turned 7! Wow, seven years went by fast. She also had her birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, again. She invited 10 girl friends and had so much fun. I guess July was uneventful. David was done with the work in Pittsburgh, which meant he was laid off again, and the kids were still taking swim classes on Saturday mornings. Oh, I did get into a pretty bad car accident at the end of July, well, bad for the car, not any persons. Initially, I thought I was at fault until I discovered that the side of the road the other car was driving was one way and the other driver was driving the wrong way! My insurance company did an investigation and determined I was not at fault. I eventually had my ticket dismissed in court, unfortunately, the other vehicle was a city vehicle. Therefore, my insurance company had to pay to get my van fixed, $4,800 in damage! But, they didn't have to pay for the other vehicle and no one was hurt.

August - The kids started school. Allison started 2nd grade (which is a totally different world than 1st grade, boy do I miss Mrs. McNichol!) and Preston started kindergarten, which he loves! I told you (and everyone else) that the teacher DOES make all the difference.... The kids finished swim lessons and we had lots of weddings, BBQ's and festivals to attend this month. I introduced formula a little bit to Mason. We mixed 2 or 3 bottles a day with 2 oz of formula, which Mason didn't bat an eye; the kid likes to eat!

September - We went camping for Labor Day weekend...in a pop-up camper. This was my first time ever doing a two-night camping trip, in a pop-up with 3 kids. We had a ton of fun; Mason was great and the kids were filthy and exhausted by the end of the weekend, but that's what it's all about! Preston started soccer again; Allison did not want to play this time around. She decided she doesn't like to run when it's hot outside and would rather run around with her friends while Preston was playing...typical girl! Mason started crawling everywhere this month, too. Mason said "da-da" for the first time and started clapping. I stopped nursing Mason this month, too. I felt really guilty and had a lot of anxiety about it, but it had been 7 full months and with 3 busy kids, a full-time job and a lot of family obligations, it got to be too much. I had enough stored up in the freezer, that Mason still got breast-milk 2 or 3 times a day for another month, but again, he didn't even act like he noticed a difference; he just wanted to eat. ha! We also started giving him baby food regulary every day now. He had been eating baby cereal with fruit for awhile, but I think it was about 6 or 7 months that we started him on jar dinners every day. Usually, he ate 2 jars per night; piggy!

October - Preston continued to have soccer two nights a week, and the weather got cold in the evenings. We had birthday parties and weddings galore in October. We were busy almost every weekend. We also lost our babysitter, Amie, this month. I was so upset because she was so convenient and easy-going, but she got a better offer that she could not turn down. I understand, but miss her. Coincidentally though, David's side work slowed down and honestly, there are weeks sometimes that we don't even need a sitter at all. My niece and my brother's girl-friend have been helping us out on an as-needed basis.

November - Allison started Girl Scouts again. Finally, she got involved with something. She loves it and the leader this year is great. They have meetings every Monday after school, with a field trip once a month. It's been good to see Allison socialize with other kids. Mason started walking in November, at 9 months old! We got to celebrate Thanksgiving twice; once with each side of the family, which was nice. My mom did not end up going to Texas this winter, so we get to see her a lot more these days, which is nice for the kids.

December - I have officially lost 26.8 pounds since June...on Weight Watchers, not working out. Can you imagine what I would have lost had I been exercising?! I can't believe I am going to tell the world this, but I am now under 200 pounds for the first time in my adult life; and do not have to shop in the plus section anymore!! Unfortunately though, that means I won't be frequenting my favorite store much anymore, Lane Bryant. I now wear the smallest size they have available and really, don't need to be getting my clothes there since they are technically plus sizes. I can now wear a misses XL and feel good about myself! Of course, with David not working much, I haven't had the opportunity to buy many new clothes; so I don't have much to wear these days, usually wearing the same things over and over. But, overall, I've lost most of the weight I wanted to (I could still afford to lose 15 more pounds) but I do feel great. I have more energy than ever now and David even mentioned that I act more confident these days; which I feel, too. We had a great Christmas (I know I haven't posted any pictures yet; they are coming, I promise) even though it was a tough year; the money came when we needed it the most. I know Christmas is not about the gifts, but for a mother of 3 kids, it usually is. They go to a Catholic school, so they know all about Jesus' birth and why we truly celebrate Christmas, but it's hard to get away from the commercialized version of Christmas. For me, it's all about the giving, to my kids, mostly, but that is the true reason I enjoy Christmas; I love seeing them get excited and get some things they want. We were very fortunate this year, our family is amazing.

Overall, it has been a pretty good year. We welcomed the birth of our baby boy and have all remained healthy this year.

Money is a huge issue these days and the fact that the economy is not getting any better, I don't anticipate David going back to work for the union anytime soon. His unemployment will run out at the end of January, there has been an extension approved, but we are not yet sure if he is eligible. It's looking like he might end up working at a fast-food place or some sort of retail position during nights and weekends. Hopefully, he can still get some side-jobs here and there to make up some of the money, but this has really made us evaluate the way we live. We have always lived above our means because there was always another job coming up and we indulged ourselves using credit cards because that was the way of the world. Well, not any more, we are trying to get used to not having those credit cards anymore and having to pay cash for the things we need. It's a pretty eye-opening experience.

But, I don't want to end this post on a negative note; I am really looking forward to a new year, which I hope brings us (and you) a healthy, prosperous new start. I am hoping for an even better 2010.

Happy New Year!!