Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Ain't about what's waiting on the other side, it's the climb..."

PJ's new thing has been climbing out of his crib! It came out of nowhere- one day he was rattling the door when I thought he was safe, sound and asleep. After that, he became a climbing machine!

That nerd.

As good as he is at climbing, the constant in and out isn't a good thing. He hasn't fallen or hurt himself at all- in fact, he's pretty stealth! Still, his being hurt isn't something I want to risk, so tonight is his last night in his crib. Tomorrow, Pete and I will convert it to a toddler bed and transition him into sleeping that way. It's time. On Christmas Eve, he climbed out and then couldn't get back in so he fell asleep on the floor! Today, he did the same thing, but instead of the floor, he fell asleep in his rocking chair:


It was actually really. stinking. cute. Nonetheless, it's time, and I have only cried once.

Tonight.

So far.

It's my baby's last night in his crib. {tear}

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Hello, my friend. Hello."

So. Very. Tired.
It's been a strange few days,
alternately hectic and slow;
heavenly and harrowing.
PJ was sick the week of his birthday
and the week after his party!
Wait. What?
Yup, you read that right!
Peter Joseph had a birthday!
My baby boy is a TWO YEAR OLD!
I have lots to say about that
but it will have to be for another evening.
That sickness I referred to
wreaked havoc with PJ's sleep and
when PJ isn't sleeping
Mama's not sleeping, either!
So, we're a tired bunch here.
Either way, I just wanted to stop by my blog
on this very windy, warm-for-winter evening
to say hello before I head off to bed!
Hello!
And goodnight.
:-)

Friday, December 9, 2011

(that rumble is Dr. Suess rolling in his grave...)

Oh, The Places You'll Nurse!
(also known as "Dear Dr. Suess, I Am Really, Really Sorry About This!")

Congrats to you, Mama!
Today is your day!
You've got a great bra on!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your mellon.
You have boobs on your chest.
You've made the decision that
Breastmilk is Best!

Just you and your baby
Is how this will go!
Just latch, letdown, lunch
Will be all that you know!

This breastfeeding biz
Will be quite a breeze!
You'll whip out your knockers
Wherever you please!

But that chest-full of boobs
And that melon with brains
May sometimes feel like
Breastfeeding's a strain.

And sometimes it's hard
Things make you say "Fuck!"
Like your nips leaking breastmilk
Or when you're baby won't suck.

When BF-ing, things happen-
And frequently, too!
To ALL breastfeeding mamas!
It isn't just you!

And when things start to happen
Don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too!
(Dr. Seuss actually said that part! But he's a smart dude, right?)

Oh, the places you'll nurse!
Oh, the bonding you'll do!
Though you might get some strange looks
And strange comments, too!

I'm sorry to say so
But mama, it's true!
People's boob hang-ups
Just might get to you!

But you won't let it get you!
You'll hold your head high!
You're ready for anything
Under the sky!

Oh, the places you'll nurse!
There is lunch to be fed!
At night- a healthy babe
To tuck into bed!

And the magical things
That your boobies have done!
They nourished a human!
You've totally won!

Sometimes it is hard.
Like when the fumes from the Dreft
Have made you mix up
Your right boob with your left.

When the day seems unending
And you just want to scream
KNOW WE ARE HERE FOR YOU!
No matter how far we seem!

Other mamas can help you!
We're on Facebook and Twitter!
We blog, chat and IM!
So when you feel like a quitter-

DON'T!
We know you can do it!

So, be your name Jen
Or Jenn with two "n's"
And your baby is Chester
or Lucy
or Ben!
WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!
TODAY IS YOUR DAY!

Your baby is waiting!
So, get on your way!

**************************************************************

This completely bastardized version of the brilliant Dr. Seuss's "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" was inspired by this weeks Breastfeeding Blog Hop! This week's topic, "Words of Encouragement", means so much to me! When PJ was a newborn, in those first few weeks, breastfeeding was a challenge- a wonderful, crazy, completely worth it challenge! Without the support of some amazing friends, both "In Real Life" and bloggy/Twitter friends I might have felt like I was the only one experiencing aspects of breastfeeding that were sometimes difficult. When it seems tough, use your resources! And you can always find me, on Twitter @briemarisa1977 or by e-mail!

And just in case you forgot...

YOU ARE ONE AMAZING MAMA!!!!!!


Monday, November 7, 2011

"In every heart there is a room..."

Things have been going by in a blur lately! I can hardly believe it's already November!! For those of you who don't live in my little piece of New Jersey...I wish you did! Our apartment is on a huge park in our town and it is absolutely gorgeous right now!

We have been so busy! PJ has started his therapy sessions and is receiving Occupational Therapy and Developmental Integration once a week, and this week he started Physical Therapy that he will have once every other week. It only adds up to 2-3 hours per week but it somehow seems to fill such a large section of our time.

Therapy started out a little...um, interesting! :-) PJ is once again in the throes of teething (I know, I know. He's the slowest teether ever. We are up to a whopping TWELVE TEETH! WTF?) so he is cranky and in pain off and on. Add to that strangers coming into the house to challenge him and we had a pissy little dude for the first two weeks. My sweet boy has gotten himself together though and we are finding the sessions to be productive and relatively peaceful, which is a wonderful thing! Even better, we are seeing such a positive difference in our boy! He's adding new words in every day, learning new skills, and continuing to be his usual sassy, funny self!

Well, he's not super funny when he's teething. But whatever.

Halloween was a giant picture-taking fail! We headed out to meet the cousins right after PJ's nap and hit the ground running, and somehow I never managed to get a shot of my cute little Super Grover! Pete and I keep meaning to get him back into his costume and re-enact the day because he really was so stinkin' adorable! He did his best to keep up with his big cousins, all of whom were, as always, so sweet and loving with him! PJ is such a lucky boy to have so many amazing young family members to look up to!  
And so it goes. We are officially in the tail end of 2011 and as usual, I have no idea how the hell that happened! By the end of this month my baby will be two years old! In each moment in and of itself it seems like time moves at such a leisurely pace until WHAM, it all catches up with you. PJ will only be two but it seems like he has been here forever! I know it's a cliche, nerdy-mom thing to say, but I hardly remember what life was like before he arrived!

For now, the end of another day has arrived. PJ is sleeping soundly and I am ready to follow suit! Yawn.

Good night!

Friday, October 21, 2011

"In those silent, happy seconds that surround the sound of this event..."

th_BFBlogHop06
Hop!
I miss breastfeeding. There. I said it.

I have blogged before about all of the emotions I felt when PJ weaned himself at just over 19 months. Those emotions came as a surprise to me- I figured that as much as loved nursing, I would be excited and happy for the freedom that not nursing would bring.

That idea turned out to be only partly true. As PJ grows, I am so excited for each new development even though I may miss the one that is ending. From smooshy newborn lump stage to alert smiling waving stage; from rolling to crawling to walking to running, each day brought something new and special and amazing from my baby boy, and I have loved every. single. second of it!

As each stage ended, I would find myself fleetingly giving it a backwards glance, happy that changes were developing but mourning a bit for the time past. Our babies are only babies for such a short time, how can I not be sad to see the moments fly by! Moving from nursing to not nursing, however, was a different emotional process. It was time with PJ that I cherished, seeing him grow from the nourishment my body provided, having quiet cuddle time for just the two of us. I was proud of my nursling and proud that I nursed him. Six months, a year, a year and a half- the time went on and I never got tired of nursing. I decided at about a year that I would not set a date as to when I would stop and instead, would let PJ self wean.

At 19 months I could see PJ was losing interest in breastfeeding and two weeks later, we stopped for good. His last nursing session was early one summer morning and through my sleepiness, I felt a little ache. The next morning, he bounced right up and heading into the kitchen for breakfast. He wanted a banana and a scrambled egg, but he didn't want to nurse.

PJ will be 23 months next week and so much has changed since that last summer nursing session. I joined the La Leche League, hoping that my positive breastfeeding experience could encourage other mothers. Pete has been at his RN job for a year now, our struggle from his job search almost a thing of the past. We got the news that PJ could be autistic. We are planning PJ's SECOND BIRTHDAY PARTY! Things have turned out differently then I thought they would during that last breastfeeding session.

They are different, but it's all good.

*********************

(this post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop started by my friend Jen over at Life With Levi! Want to participate? then get to tapping on that keyboard and link up, mama! this weeks topics? checking in! where are you in your breastfeeding journey?)

Monday, October 17, 2011

"All down the line, we're gonna open up the throttle, yeah..."

So, PJ got to do this yesterday-

video
(please excuse my nerdy, annoying commentary!)

Sometimes, it must be awesome to be a toddler.


Friday, October 14, 2011

"Don't think twice, it's alright..."

Sooooooooo....

I am actually really, really glad that I got everything out about what's been going on with PJ in my last post. I feel a bit like a weight has been lifted and I didn't expect that- I really didn't want to talk about it at all. But it's out and my heart is full of the loving and encouraging words I have received!

Still, I learned a lesson. I can't blog and watch Parenthood at the same time!! One of the characters on the show is an autistic child, and I was literally sobbing at my keyboard as I wrote about PJ thinking, "And what if Max and Jabar don't make up??? And can he really write an apology note? WAHHHH!!!!!!"

I know that makes no sense if you don't watch the show. I just felt it was important to let you know where my mental status was when I was writing that post. Ahem.

I am still scared and angry and sad and experiencing a trillion emotions. I never knew the power of my feelings until I learned that there might be something wrong with my son. Still, PJ is healthy. He is funny and smart and active and strong! I have heard the stories of so many mama's who have gone through so much worse and I know how blessed I am because my baby is here with me, in whatever package he comes in. And it's just icing on the cake that the package happens to be a handsome blonde one! :-)

I don't expect any of this to be easy, but it'll be okay.

************************************************************************

Handsome dudes at the playground!
Today was a bit more relaxed after a really busy week! PJ had Little Gym and therapy sessions, playdates and visits with family! Pete was home today, so we all enjoyed a cozy morning together before PJ and I headed out for a lunch playdate with some of our favorites! My amazing friend Michelle is the mama of three, and her youngest, Ezra, is PJ's BFF and going to be TWO in less then a month! Ezra and PJ are only 26 days apart and I can't believe they are both going to be two years old! It seems unreal!

In the meantime, we are planning for Halloween and for PJ's 2nd Birthday party! PJ's costume from his first Halloween last year will be pretty hard to beat for me, I LOVED it! Still, we have some fun ideas! I can't believe he's old enough to walk from door to door himself this year! Pete and I are so excited to take him pumpkin picking for the first time! I have the feeling our little wild man is going to love it!

It's getting cold outside after a day that was alternately warm and sunny and dark and rainy! Fall in in her Sybil stage, where the weather changes at the drop of a hat! The park across the street, where Pete and I had our engagement pictures done, is starting to look amazing as the leaves start to change! Tomorrow is supposed to be cool and wonderful, so maybe PJ, my camera, and I will have to have a stroll!

I had better rest up- PJ likes to run! Good night, friends!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth..."

PJ has a new favorite hobby. I wish it was baseball or jumping or even needlepoint, but it's not.

He likes to drink the bathwater.

I have no idea what that's all about and it's superdupergross (doesn't he know his ass is in that water??) but he loves to float around the tub like he's swimming and, in the process, drinks ninetygajillion gallons of bathwater. Ew. Ew. Ew. It would be super helpful to me if someone else jumped in and let me know that their child is a bathwater guzzler, too. Otherwise, my nagging suspicion that PJ is the Weirdest Baby In The World will be confirmed.

Anyway...

In an attempt to distract him from his drink-y ways, we are introducing some new bath activities (aside from the usual washing of the hair, face and body). I found this fun idea on the Play At Home Mom website- turning out the lights and  filling the tub with glow-sticks, like the ones people wear on the Fourth of July! It looked like fun and it was a cheap enough endeavor (we got them at the dollar store!). So we filled the tub, turned out the lights, and plunked PJ in! And what do you know?


Biggest. Hit. EVER!

He loved it! He had a blast playing with the glowing toys! We linked them in chains, wore them an necklaces, waved them to make lights in the air, and made waves in the water to watch them bob about! It was such a simple idea and for $6 (and we only opened half of the glow-sticks!) we got to enjoy PJ's delight and wonder in the activity! He's such a funny boy and I love making him happy. If only it was always as easy as a few glow-sticks in the bathwater...


Parenthood is so all-encompassing, and yet so moment-by-moment. We have these vignettes of time where we're all laughing as we splash about with glow-sticks and times when I think I can see his whole life laid out before me. I don't always know for sure what's in the cards for my sweet boy. There's so much potential under that crazy head of blonde hair and all I want in the world is for things to be easy and simple and happy for him. He doesn't need to be president, he doesn't need to be a genius. He can be whatever he wants to be.

***************************************************

Oh, God.

I didn't think for a second when I sat down to write this post that I would get into this. But PJ is not where he should be. His speech is terribly delayed- when he only had a few words at his 18-month checkup, we talked to our pediatrician. He suggested connecting with Early Intervention and consulting an audiologist. His hearing is fine, but when we had his EI evaluation all of the dreaded "red flags" were thrown out, and what I assumed was just a typical-boy trait of slow speech turned out to be flailing arms when he runs and poor fine motor skills and a lack of eye contact and imaginative play. And while he wasn't as his best for the therapists the way he is with people he is familiar with, I knew it was all true.

There's a deep suspicion that he might have autism.

I am trying not to freak the fuck out yet. He hasn't been formally diagnosed, and his presentation of symptoms are hit or miss. PJ plays with other children and engages in communication with them, as limited as it may be. He smiles and laughs and knows and loves his family. He's the most amazing son in the whole world and if he was rocking in a corner I wouldn't love him less and couldn't love him more. Most days I know that none of this matters- PJ is my son and I love him and he is the baby I dreamed of having all of my life. I don't doubt any of that ever. Ever. Ever. Autism or not.

This is the part when I admit all of the shameful, horrible feelings I have had. I don't want this to be happening to my son. I don't doubt my son for a second. He is brave and smart and funny and loving. We are completely unworthy of him. I don't know if I am brave enough to be the mother he needs me to be. Life is hard enough, and I don't want the things that are supposed to be easy, the day-to-day things, to be hard to my son. Will our marriage survive this? I know people who couldn't find their way out of a wet paper bag- why isn't this happening to their child? Why is this happening to us?

Of course, a few minutes later, I get a hold of myself. This is happening to us because it's happening to us- it's how it's supposed to be. Whatever comes with PJ is part of what makes me love him, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. Anything. And we will do all of the things we need to. PJ is getting therapy a few times a week and is still my active little dude- he has friends to play with and books to read and people to love him and we will do everything possible on this earth to keep him from falling.

I haven't talked very much about this. Aside from Pete, I have only spoken to one or two people about it. I am not one to make my problems public anyway, and I hate to ask for help. Even in this passive-aggressive forum of airing my feelings, it's not likely I will even blog about this very much. It's hard to find the words sometimes when things seem hard. And I don't want people to watch PJ sideways and pick his actions and behavior apart. I want the people in his life to love him and be there for him the same way they would for any other child. But just because I don't talk about it or seek out opinions doesn't mean I don't know what's going on.

I know.

For now, we are doing everything we can do. We follow the advice of his therapists and doctors and are exhausting every resource we can find to get him help. PJ is still very young, not even two, and there are no definitive answers yet. We will hope that all he needs to catch up a bit is some help and if he doesn't catch up, that's okay (or, at least I know that, at some point, I will be brave enough to think it's okay).

I may not deserve him, but I count every blessing I have that PJ is my son.

(sorry this is such a huge clusterfuck of wordy words. I just started typing before I really thought about it and now I am just going to his Publish before I chicken out)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"...Amen."

Double Dozen, Senior Year. I'm the short girl in the middle.
When I was in high school, music was my salvation. Even though I was a fairly happy teenager, I still went through a healthy dose of Normal Teenage Angst mixed with the usual sadness that life can bring- illness, death, heartbreak, etc. I know a lot of people who look back on high school with a mix of bemused nostalgia and slight horror. Bad hair, bad boyfriends, bad jeans. In my case, you can also add bad acne. {shudder} Most people I know wouldn't go back to high school if their life depended on it.

Because I had music in my life, I can look back on high school with a full heart. No matter how hard things could be, there was a 40 minute period where I could sit down with my friends and sing every. single. day. It was like being on a therapists couch. I would walk in with the weight of the world on my shoulders and exhale it all out in an array of notes and song and joy. I remember every note of it, every amazing piece of music that my wonderful high school music teacher brought into my life. My favorite pieces are still with me- an incredible arrangement of "A Nightingale Sang In Berkley Square"; an intricate, dizzy version of "Deck the Halls"; a powerful, gospel-y version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water"; and, of course, "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah.

I took part in a few choirs, and my favorite was known as The Double Dozen. At the time, it was a select show choir (dancing and singing, very Glee-ish!) and it was my life. Even rehearsals- with my Bostonian music teacher fine-tuning every note and correcting our South Jersey accents in his thick Boston one (oh, the irony!)- were a rush. I think that every human, at some point, has danced and sang. Not everyone gets the chance to perform. It was the only time that my insecure teenage self reached my full potential, I think we all felt like that. The galaxy has an awful lot of blackness, but even the tinniest stars shine, are special.

We ended every show with "The Lord Bless You And Keep You". No dancing, just locked hands and sweet voices wishing our audience and each other peace. And really, isn't that what everyone needs more then anything? No matter what religion, everyone searches for a greater being to lift them up. It's a song that is as much a part of me as my kidneys, my eyes, my heart. The deep, strong bass, the warm tenor, the comforting alto and the lilting soprano, all distinct layers and still creating a beautiful sound. I find the last notes drifting out of my mouth before I even realized I was singing. When I need to be happy, I sing this song.

I couldn't find a version of my high school group singing "The Lord Bless..." but I did find this lovely version on YouTube. I hope it gives you peace today.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"And it would knock me to the floor if I wasn't there already..."

It's FALL! It's fall and I am so happy to see it!

The weather has been amazing, and life has been crazy! It seems kind of appropriate- along with the change of season comes a season of change. My thoughts have been swirling around in my head and I have longed to just sit down and blog it out, but often, I just don't know where to start.

Fall in and of itself has played a big part in keeping me afloat! The weather has been breezy and beautiful, with each day bringing just a little more crispy-ness and color. The leaves are starting to change and the days suddenly become so much shorter! Walks are taken, playgrounds are conquered, errands are run and everyone stays comfortable! And the truest sign that fall is here?

My Uggs are out! :-)

We have continued PJ's classes at The Little Gym and he is slowly getting better with participating the the group warm-up activities at the start of the class! This past Wednesday he did all of the exercises, but he sulked and cried until it was free time! Then, of course, he was full of smiles, laughs and energy as he climbed, swung, jumped and balanced! The tantrum-y behavior is still driving me nuts, but hopefully he will continue to improve! And despite the fact that the start of the class is a bit of a struggle, there are still plenty of moments that make me so proud! He loves to play with the kids in his class, uses the balance beam like a champ, and climbs like a squirrel!

And now that the Phillie's have officially ended their season, it's time for me to go to bed! This was a "nothing" post but at least I shook the bloggy cobwebs off!

Good night!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Help! I need somebody!"

So.


We signed PJ up for classes at The Little Gym! He's always loved group activities such as story hour and swim lessons, so this seemed like a perfect fit for our active little dude! There are things to climb, rings to swing on, balance beams to conquer, and big piles of squishy, giant block things to scale! He love, love, loves it!

Here's the problem. His class is geared towards children 19 months to three years, so there are a few structured activities at the start- a welcome song, a warm-up, and a short group physical activity. In all of his other activities and classes, PJ has loved being a part of the group. He sat still for stories and blew bubbles on command. I don't know if it's the lure of the balance beam reaching in to his little heart, but when we tried to sit down together to begin the group activities?

PJ completely lost his marbles.

Seriously. It was a tantrum of the ages. The class sang the welcome song? PJ howled. The class started to run for warm up? PJ still howled, and tried to run and climb. Even when the "coach" brought out wooden sticks - and my son loveloveLOVES to drum on things!- he had a Complete System Meltdown when I tried to bring him over to join in the activity. It was one of the things where the other mamas give you That Look. That Look is sympathy mixed with relief that it's someone else's kid going postal. Back in my days as a nanny, I was the master of That Look.

It has only been one class, so I am not ready to give up. But I have to admit- I felt frustrated and completely helpless to the intensity of PJ's tantrum. He is not a tantrumy kid, so I don't know what happened. Still, I am hoping to give myself some tools to help him get through it and be able to enjoy the class completely. We have been practicing the welcome song so he will recognize it as his next class. Beyond that, I have no other ideas in my arsenal.

So, I am asking all of you wise mamas, nannys, babysitters, and elder siblings.

Any ideas?

Monday, August 29, 2011

"You've got this look I can't describe, you make me feel I'm alive..."

It is an amazingly beautiful Monday, and except for the down trees, fallen branches, damp, post-flooded basement and the swamp in our backyard you would never know Hurricane Irene came blowing through here this past weekend!

That bitch.

Although the storm wasn't quite as terrible as predicted, there was still a trail of destruction left in her wake. Our basement was flooded (although it wasn't as deep as the nearly three feet my sister-in-law's basement got!) but thankfully, I was able to get out PJ's baby stuff and his Pack n' Play before they were destroyed. We didn't lose power like so many of my friends did, but the storm was still really scary. The wind blew and the rain poured and the alarms from friggin' tornado warnings every six stinking seconds blared all night! And to think, just three days before, we were enjoying amazing weather and the excitement of an east coast earthquake. Mother Nature has just been full of laughs these past few days.

Still, before she unleashed her wrath upon us all, Pete had a stretch of three days off and along with the gorgeous weather we enjoyed a lot of family time together! Pete has a work schedule that is equal parts sucktastic and equal parts awesome (he works nights, and it's hard to work, get enough sleep, and spend time with us, but he also has a six-day-off stretch once a month. So it's a wash.) so when he has time off we try to spend as much time together as possible. For the first half of last week, each evening was more beautiful then the next, so after dinner, we went outside to soak it in!


We played catch...



And ran races...



We blew bubbles...


Lots of bubbles...



We ran towards the sun...


We stretched our shadows...

Spending time with my sweet, beautiful little family filled my heart with the same kind of light that was shining through the trees those evenings- the soft, warm, glow kind that makes everything look amazing! I never imagined playing catch outside of our home after supper could be so wonderful. I did the same thing every night when I was a kid! Back then, those nights were fun, but now? Now that I'm a mama?


It's beautiful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Baby, you're a firework, c'mon let your colors burst..."

Today is my Mom-Mom's birthday!

When my sister and I were very young, Mom-Mom managed to convince Marla she was 29 years old. It started when Marla was three or four and every year on her birthday, Mom-Mom turned 29 until one year Marla finally told her "Hey! You're gonna be 30 this year!"

Marla's always been a little gullible like that.

It's been more then two years since Mom-mom has been gone, and I miss her every. single. day. Sometimes, I see her face so clearly in PJ's that it makes my heart stop. I watch my beautiful boy grow and think about how wonderful it would have been to see her enjoy him. She would have loved his energy and his appetite and of course, his blonde hair! It was the bane of Mom-Mom's existence when I gave up being a bottle blonde.

By now, everyone knows the story of the last time I saw my Mom-Mom alive.We talked about how much she wanted Pete and I to start a family and I insisted that we would be waiting at least a few more months, not knowing that I was pregnant already with PJ. I will always know that he was her gift to me.

I hope that PJ gets all of her best qualities. Mom-Mom was hard-working, loyal, and smart. She was funny and touch and giving and proud. She was tiny, but held herself like she was a thousand feet tall. She was widowed relatively young and held a job, kept her home, and had a life. Through it all, her skin was amazing, her hair was coiffed, and her nails were perfect. She was beautiful.

I can't wait until PJ is old enough to hear stories of Mom-Mom. I hope he always, somehow, feels connected to her because in my heart, she left off where he began.

Happy birthday, Mom-Mom! Thank you for being my son's guardian angel. I love you!

Monday, August 15, 2011

"If you're feeling certain feelings that just don't seem right, treat those pesky feelings like a reading light..."

Oh, friends.

I know I have been an terrible blogger. Completely MIA.

I'll explain a little something about myself. I love to be there for my friends and the people I love. I can listen to problems long into the night, and if I don't have anything helpful to say (I usually don't have anything helpful to say) I just try to be there in whatever way I can. I like to help. It makes me happy. It, somehow, fills a need of my own.

When I need help...well, I just need. I'm not talking about little things like if I need someone to watch PJ for a bit or I want to borrow a pair of shoes (hi, Marla!). I can bug someone to find out what to use to clean my acrylic tub or ask for couponing advice (hi, Michelle!). But if there is something that is truly weighing my heart down, something really on my mind, I just click everything off. I don't talk about it and I usually avoid anyone who might lull me into feeling comfortable enough to spill my guts. Which is pretty much everyone I love. Pete hears a lot of it, mainly because I can't escape his concern since I live with him and all. I used to even blog about what was heavy on my heart because it was super passive-aggressive. It was a way to get everything out without having to actually face everybody.

It's just that lately, I sit down to blog and I just...have...nothing. And it's not to say that it hasn't been a fabulous summer. We have swam and vacationed and played and walked. The days, thought friggin' hot, have been full of friends and family and fun. And PJ...oh, that baby boy of mine! He eats like a horse and climbs like a squirrel and makes me smile every. single. day. He's so funny and sweet and energetic and even when I'm down, I know what a blessing he is to me!

Look at this face. That's the face of a blessing.


He loves to sit in the bottom drawer.

The things that are on my mind...I'm not drowning. I am fully riding the waves, seeing all the beautiful things around me. I just can't seem to open up.

Hopefully, I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programing soon.

Goodnight, loves.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Just let me get my head right- where the hell am I?"

Welcome to
A Bunch of Random Thoughts Because It's
Too Friggin' Hot Outside To Really Concentrate On Any One Topic!
{cue game show-type music}

Seriously. My brain is fried.

PJ and I had been cooped up for two day because it was just too hot to take him outside. We finally ventured out today for some time with friends and then a trip to the (very crowded) mall to get a birthday gift! Nothing to really write home about blog-wise, but it's what went down.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Amy Winehouse was found dead today. I am a huge, huge fan of her music and think that Back to Black was brilliant, but the fact is that we've all been watching her die for years. It wasn't a shock at all, just a huge disappointment. I used to say that it made me so angry that God allowed Amy Winehouse to live when she was trying so hard to die and had my brother-in-law Greg die when he was trying to hard to live. Now that she's passed, it doesn't feel like the playing field is leveled at all. It just seems like a gigantic fucking waste all across the board.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I went to a La Leche League meeting for the first time this past Monday! I know, dumb, right, since my son has weaned himself (sob!). But, I figured that since I had such an amazingly positive breastfeeding experience that maybe I could be a support system to other moms. The meeting was great! The women were all warm and funny and I found that I had something to offer with my story and even though my son is not nursing anymore, still had things to learn! I'm looking forward to going to more meetings and becoming more involved!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pete and I really need to go on a date. Weddings do not count (and we've only been to two of those since PJ has been born anyway!). We need to go out simply to be together and for no other reason. We haven't done that since before PJ was born and we are way overdue. I am still not very good with leaving PJ with someone that's not myself or Pete (I hardly ever do) but for the sake of my marriage I need to get over it. It doesn't have to be often, but it does need to happen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It's late and I am sleepy. It's time for bed.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"What have you done for me lately?"

Grab your sports bra and hop, hop, hop!

It's the Breastfeeding Blog Hop!
Whee!


You can get all the details on how to join in by visiting Jen at Life With Levi! While you're at it, take come time to check out her fun mama blog!

This weeks topic is...
 The Benefits of Breastfeeding

_______________________________________________________

We all talked a few weeks ago about the changes in your body that breastfeeding brings. There were a few pluses (no periods, weight loss) in a long litany of minuses (saggy boobs, sore nipples).

All of that aside, we've all heard it: Breast is Best. While I don't think that formula feeding makes a woman less of a mother or gives her child less of a shot then a mother who does breastfeed, it was indeed the right thing for us and for a number of reasons.

"Waahh! I haz no boobeez!"
In all honesty, the number one reason we wanted to breastfeed is because it's free. FREE! We weren't laying out money for formula or bottles except for a few I kept for pumping. Until PJ was almost 6 months he ate for free! FREE! When PJ was born, Pete had been looking for a nursing job for months and wouldn't find one for months after that. If we had needed to formula feed we would have made it work, but thankfully, PJ and I both took well to breastfeeding and likely saved $700-$1000 dollars doing so!

For PJ, the benefits were plentiful! Breast milk provided him with nutrients and antibodies and helped him to fight illness (via womanshealth.com). Breastfeeding has been found to reduce incidence of ear infection and can be easier on baby's teeny little tummy then formula. Even when it seems like your milk hasn't come in and your boobs are useless, there's colostrum, baby!!!! It's all chock-full-o-goodness for your brand-new babes tiny digestive parts! Breastfeeding your child can even reduce chances of SIDS.

SpongePete SquareBaby
Breastfeeding was the perfect fit for PJ and I. He went from a very tiny, fragile, jaundiced newborn (born 2.5 weeks early at a hefty 6 lbs even) to being strong, healthy, and so chunky he was practically square! Except for a brief bout of congestion he wasn't sick once during his entire first year (of course, he saved his first real illness for his 1st birthday party, but whatev!)!

For me, the benefits were amazing. It made me feel so alive, so useful to be able to provide nutrition for my son. Nursing was time that was just for us and allowed me to sit down and relax whenever he needed to eat! Breastfeeding even forced me to take better care of myself, making sure I drank enough water and ate enough healthy foods! I didn't have to fuss with mixing formula or cleaning bottles, all I had to do when PJ was hungry was whip out a boob. Heck, that's pretty much how I got pregnant in the first place! (Har, har.) I didn't need to pack anything special in my diaper bag as long as my bra was packin'! (Double har. Okay. No more boob jokes)

Studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of postpartum depression, ovarian cancer, diabetes, and breast cancer, the last being extremely important to me as my family has a complex history of breast cancer. Back to work? Pump away, because breastfeeding mamas miss less work thanks to those healthy babies having fun at daycare! Want to be a green mama? Boobies don't result in any waste, don't need water to clean them (well, extra water, since I assume you shower), and don't need to use any energy to warm them- it's served right off the tap!

Do you want even more resources to help you learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding? Click here to be taken to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health to find tons of information!

Got something to say about the benefits of breastfeeding?
LINK UP!



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"I've gone to look for America..."


Handsome.


Happy.


Patriotic.


PJ and I at the Oaklyn 4th of July Parade, watching Pete march with the fire department! PJ loved the parade and had so much fun even though it was superduperhot!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"It's you and me in the summetime..."

Ugh.

It. Is. Friggin'. Hot.

It's super hot, so of course my poor PJ is super melty! The kid just can not hang with the heat, so he's been a bit out of sorts, even in the air conditioning. There's been a lot of Emergency Blue's Clues up in here, that's all I'm sayin'!

We finally got around to joining the neighborhood pool, so that offers us a cool way to get some of PJ's energy out! He loves the water and he loves running around the (very large, lovely) grounds! My cousin-in-law Jen and her brood are also members, so we have family to spend time with while he splash! Jen and the kids will soon be off to her husbands next assignment in N. Carolina (he a high-ranking officer in the Army) so it is wonderful to have some time with her and the kids.

The summer is almost halfway over, and it's gone by so fast! It's been so much fun being able to do so much with PJ- trips to the shore and the Pocanos, afternoons at the pool, story hours and music circles, playdates with friends and time with family. I know it's not likely he'll remember any of it, so I just hope he's having a good time and is happy in each moment! Even when he's throwing a tantrum!

For now, I'm off to bed- we had a busy day and this mama is tired! :-)

How has your summer been so far????

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Waves crash, baby don't look back..."

Pete just came off a seventeen-day long vacation, which is partially the reason I have been on a blog-cation. Having Pete home for so long was such a treat that blogging just wasn't a priority! He's gone back to work and we are back in our "normal routine" around here, which is both good and bad. Good because it's easier on PJ when we're following our usual timetables, and bad because we got back to Pete sleeping during the day and working at night. Bah.

Eager to do things with PJ during Pete's time off we headed to Margate for some time down the shore! (For those of you not from NJ, the phrase "down the shore" is the proper way to express going "to the beach".) Margate is a really nice area, between Ocean City and Atlantic City, filled with fun bars, surf shops, and home to Lucy the Elephant!

Daddy buried him in the sand! He loved it!
On our first full day we were joined by some of our favorite friends and their very excited littles! Within a half hour of their arrival at the house we were headed to the beach! PJ clearly remembered the ocean from his first visit because as soon as he had the water in his sights he took off to dip his toes in! His buddy Ezra...not so much. That handsome little dude, upon feeling the waves on his feet, promptly ran back to his stroller and climbed in! (Hi. Lar. I. Ous!) Despite the differences in opinion about the ocean, all of the kids had a great time splashing, digging, catching (sand crabs!), screeching and laughing! It was a perfect beach day...for someone with a translucent child like I have! The sky was overcast and the air was warm, so there was no searing sun to directly penetrate the NINETY GAZILLION layers of sunscreen I put on PJ. I forgot to put sunscreen on myself and burned. Fail.

We packed up and headed back to the shore house for some lunch and after everyone ate, the most amazing thing happened. Every. Single. Kid. Took. A. Nap. It was kind of the most awesome thing that's ever happened. The kids snoozed and the grown ups had a relaxing afternoon together, chatting and enjoying the quiet! After a pizza party for dinner, our friends headed home. Pete, PJ and I walked around the corner to Rita's Water Ice for some dessert. PJ got his very own ice cream cone and messily devoured the entire thing! We headed back home and after we bathed our sandy, ice-cream-y son, we tucked him into bed after his first full day at Margate!
yum!

PJ slept like a rock that night (yay!) and the next morning it was back to the beach for more fun! After his nap, we headed to the boardwalk in Ocean City! PJ's not really at an age yet where we can just grab a few slices of pizza and grab a bench to sit and eat, so we found a sit-down place to have dinner. It was delicious and once our bellies were full, we headed to Wonderland Pier so PJ could enjoy his first boardwalk ride!

There are not a lot of rides that are safe/appropriate for a 19-month-old, so we settled on the merry-go-round. We saddled PJ up on a magical carousel horse and began our ride. The music played and the horses whirled and PJ loved it! He bounced and laughed and screeched with joy and his expression was priceless! The look on his face will be in my heart forever! It was so exciting to see PJ embark on a tradition that was also a part of my and Pete's childhood- the magic and excitement of the boardwalk!

Look. At. That. Face.

On the morning of our fourth day, PJ was starting to show signs of wear and tear! He was tired and a little cranky and had an "I miss my bed" vibe. It was time to go home. So off we went.

It was a wonderful mini-vacation and such fun to see PJ really enjoy the shore and the Margate home his family shares. We are so, so lucky to have such an asset to our family, a place for all of us to enjoy and make/share memories! Seeing PJ splash in the ocean and dig in the sand and sleep soundly at night meant to much to Pete and I. We don't want PJ to be spoiled, but we do want him to have as much magic as possible, even if just for a little while!










Monday, July 11, 2011

"Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead..."

Things...

Things I am
...generous
...stubborn
...moody
...talkative

Things I am not
...patient
...religious
...fit
...neat

Things I love
...my son
...my husband
...my family
...my friends

Things I do not love
...when PJ gets a shot
...the Matrix trilogy
...bad drivers
...mean people

Things I like to eat
...enchiladas
...pancakes
...bagels and lox
...fried matzo

Things I do not like to eat
...tomato
...mushrooms
...lamb
...Quiznos

Things I have
...an amazing, wonderful son
...a patient, knowing husband
...an apartment in an awesome part of town
...many, many flip flops

Things I still want
...a house
...to be organized and neat
...to have better balance to my marriage
...to be a better me

Things I want to do tomorrow
...get PJ's bloodwork done
...wash our bedsheets
make our grocery list
...keep PJ cool and entertained on a hot day

Things I want to do in a year
...get pregnant
...make a career change
...buy a home
...become anew

Things I wished for and received
...my son
...good friends
...my husband
...my family and friends

Things I keep wishing for
...motivation
...beauty
...patience
...a maid

<---- Tell me a few things about you ---->

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Oh, you gonna let it all hang out?"

It's the Breastfeeding Blog Hop!
Whee!


You can get all the details on how to join in by visiting Jen at Life With Levi! While you're at it, take come time to check out her fun mama blog!

This weeks topic is...
 Breastfeeding Body Changes
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When my son PJ was born and I began my journey into breastfeeding, I didn't take into consideration the changes, if any, that I would see in my own body. I just wanted to get this kid fed! I figured fleetingly that I would nurse for a year, lose 20 lbs within a month from all those calories I would burn, and still have firm, perky breastestes!

Oh, did you hear that thud? That was me. Falling back to earth.

Breastfeeding is kind of a big deal. Your body is producing a substance that keeps another human being alive! It's much more complex then when my body is firing synapses to absorb this weeks episode of Gossip Girl. With all of that body complexity, it's to be expected that there will be body change.

I nursed my son for 19 months- in fact, we have fully weaned and he's no longer nursing as of two days ago (waaaaaahhhhh!!!!). In that time, the size and shape of my breasts changed dramatically! Pre-pregnancy, I was a relatively average C cup, with very little change during the pregnancy itself. When PJ was born and my milk came in -WHAM!- I grew some BIG OL' TITTAYS! They. Were. Huge. And they were hard! They were super sore and just full of weirdness in general. Thankfully, as PJ and I got into a groove with nursing, all of the weirdness settled down. My breasts were soft to the touch again and they didn't hurt.

My breasts have certainly lost some of their pre-pregnancy fullness and firmness. My tummy is also softer and my feet got wider. Things change when you have a baby- I don't know how Michelle Duggar hasn't completely fallen apart (have I ever mentioned that I lovelovelove the Duggars? Seriously.)! I guess it's because that when these changes come with your own child, it's not such a biggie. The outward changes in my body (although I could be much more fit) don't bother me in the slightest.

Inside, my body went through changes, too. My period returned quickly, when PJ was only 3 months old and still exclusively nursing (WTF!!!). I was NOT happy about that change, since I truly loved not getting my period, but come it did and there was little I could do except be thankful it didn't affect my supply. Pre-pregnancy my menstrual cycle was ridiculously regular- every 28 days by the clock! Since it's triumphant return, it's been a bit less regular, sometimes coming early, sometimes a day or two late. I have less cramping with my periods which is wonderful, but also feel a little more cranky then I used to, so I guess it's a wash. With PJ being fully weaned now (waaaaahhhh!!!!) I wonder if there will be more changes as my body gets used to not producing breast milk again.

Right now, the biggest change is in my little mama brain and my giant mama heart as I deal with PJ being weaned! It's been an emotional time for me. I know that much of that is brought on by the weaning itself and that it's physical, but I truly enjoyed nursing my son. It was the only thing in the world that only I could do for him, and it was a promise of some Mama/PJ time, every single day for just over 19 months. PJ weaned himself, he had truly lost interest in nursing, and it's both exciting to see my son become such a big, independent boy and sad to really say goodbye to PJ the infant.

Sore boobs, squirting milk accidents, bigger feet, smooshy fun bags- I'll take it all! It's my breastfeeding badge of honor!

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Want to take part in the Breastfeeding Blog Hop?
LINK UP!! LINK UP, I SAY!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"Now something on the surface it stings..."

I was perusing Facebook and watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight when I noticed a status update from a friend of mine. She was offering up prayers for her best friend. I had met Stephanie when I was a bridesmaid and she was the Maid of Honor in my friend Mandy's wedding. She was hugely pregnant at the time but dove into her duties with gusto, despite her burgeoning belly! Since then, we have kept in touch on Facebook, just the occasional "Hey, how are you" or comments on status updates about our kids (she has two, a 4 year old and a 2 year old who was in her belly when I met her).

When I saw Mandy's status, I clicked back through Steph's page and found out that she had gone into the hospital for pain related to kidney stones and a few days later was given a diagnosis of breast cancer after a lumpectomy. Tomorrow, she's having a mastectomy.

Fucking breast cancer. This girl is thirty-one fucking years old.

It's one of those things that's hitting me like a ton of bricks for the strangest of reasons. Steph and I are not close- we merely share a common friend and are friendly towards each other. It's just the situation in general. She's a thirty-one year old mother of young children, married to her college sweetheart and recently made the decision to become a stay-at-home-mom. She's super-sassy and really funny and extra- talkative. She is seriously, truly, the last person that I would ever imagine battling this. It's the ridiculous thing ever. It makes me angry to see this happen to such a young woman. It makes me sad to think of her babies tomorrow, being scared. It makes me upset to think of a young mom like that being in pain. It makes me crazy to think of how her husband is managing all of this. It makes me feel guilty to know what horrible, pathetic care I've been taking of my own body and still being cancer-free. It makes me stab-y, as a woman, to know that preventative care for breast cancer has been threatened. And it fucking pisses me off that this is happening to someone I know.

I know this is a total stream-of-consciousness/careening-runaway-train-of-thought post that very likely is making no sense and is annoying people with my liberal use of the F-word. All I can ask tonight of you, my amazing, wonderful bloggy friends, is to promise, promise, pinky-swear to me that you will take good care of yourselves to put up the best fight possible against stupid things like cancer. Offer up some prayers, even for a fleeting second, for Stephanie's surgery tomorrow and her return to good health. Pray to make it easier to understand when stupid things like this happen.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away..."

Ahhhh...
The weather has been absolutely amazing these past few days!
Warm, sunny days and cool, lovely nights
that are perfect for sleeping!
There has been a lot of outdoor activity for my sweet PJ!
Walks with his mama,
Playground playdates with good friends,
Swinging on the swing at his Bubbe and Zayda's house,
Playing on Nan and Pop's porch!
It's the type of weather I dream about!
But, it is fleeting- the weather is supposed to get superduperhot by mid-week
and it will be indoors-only for me
since my baby Boy just Can't. Handle. The. Heat.
It pretty much turns him into a melty pile of miserable.
(He gets that from his Daddy)
Pete has a three day stretch of work ahead (boo)
and will be done just in time for the heat to set in.
And when it does, I will position both of my heat-sensitive boys
squarely in front of the A/C and wrack my brain
for ways to keep my kept-cool-but-cooped-up baby amused.
Fun times.
Still, today is Sunday and it won't be hot 'till Wednesday
which gives me two more days to
enjoy the loveliness!
Goodnight!
:-)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

"...and it's our God-forsaken right to be loved, loved, loved, loved, loved..."

What wonderful times we have been having!

I feel like the past few days are trying to make up for every sucky day I have ever had! It's been a steady stream of fun, friends, and family! Even though Pete is on a three day stretch at work (which includes Memorial Day. Fail.) we are lucky enough to have places to go and people to see!

Babies in the pool!
The day after our beach trip, my sweet friend Michelle came by with her littles for an impromptu pool party! I sent Pete out that morning and an hour and $25 bucks later, we had a baby pool blown up and filled, water toys to play with, and a fun sprinkler spouting water for the kids to run through! PJ alternated between splashing and screeching with his friends and hopping out of the pool to run to the front yard! It was warm enough to be in the pool but not so warm that we were dying of heatstroke! The mama's got to chat and after we had the kids dried off and dressed, we all came back in to enjoy a delicious lunch together! It was a great morning and we got it all done before naptime! :-)

Clockwise from me (top center) Shelly, Riley,
PJ, Emilia and Sarah
Saturday was one of my favorite days of the year, May Day! May Day is a huge festival held in our town every year! It takes up a long stretch of the main road and features tons of food, music, and shopping! There's a kiddie section with rides and a petting zoo! We met up with my sister-in-law Shelly, her three gals and some friends and quickly got deep into browsing the vendors and drinking root beer! The girls even tried out hula hoops! It was a hot day, so I kept my son, Paley Mc Pale Skin, thoroughly glazed with sunscreen and made sure he had lots of water! Despite all of our preventative measures though, the kids had it after about two hours and starting melting down, so we left the fair and had lunch at Friendly's! The kids enjoyed the food and we all enjoyed the air conditioning! After that, naptime!! Of course, it totally stunk that Pete had to miss the fair (he was asleep because he had to work that night)- we have gone every year together since we were married. Which is only twice so far but still. We missed him, but we had a great time with some of our favorite gals!

My niece Emi hooping it up!
Today was a quiet morning with my family! Pete got home from work and spent some time with us before he went to sleep. After he was tucked in, PJ and I headed out to run a few errands. I wanted to find him a pair of those swim shoes and I was successful! I also happened to find him a pair of sandals and a pair of Phillies shirts. And a hat. But they were an accident. They fell into the cart. :-P

After my melty baby had an air-conditioned nap, we had more visitors! My cousin Matt came by with his awesome wife Colleen and their gorgeous, smooshy, smiley baby Braelyn! Little Miss B had grown sooooooo much since I saw her last! She's all smiles and coos and happiness and I could have smooshed her cheeks all night! At one point, Colleen was nursing her and PJ kept going over and gently patting Braelyn on the head! Cutest. Thing. Ever! Matt and I grew up together- we are a week apart in age and have reached the majority of our milestones together, so it's so much fun to be first-time parents together! Our littles are almost exactly a year apart and I hope they can grow up to be as close as Matt and I are!

I mean, how could he resist this face????

Quit kissing the screen.
It's been such a wonderful time- pearl beads on the string of this year! I am hoping that I can keep this streak going and give PJ an amazing summer!