Thursday, April 30, 2009


"Mom," Luke asks while I'm driving, "What's that truck?"
"Um, a white pick-up truck."
"Oh," pointing at another, "What's that truck?"
"A semi-truck."
"Oh. What's that truck?"
"A Ford Explorer."
"Oh. What's that truck?"
"Luke, I don't know. I don't know anything about trucks." 

The end. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Progress: Baby Weight

Goal #1: Breakfast
Progress: I ate breakfast everyday this week! Specifically, I ate oatmeal, which is a huge accomplishment since I actually don't like oatmeal, but I tolerate it because I do notice a difference in my energy level when I eat oatmeal, and it fills me up until lunch, which can't be said about a bowl of cereal or bagel. My only slip was yesterday when I didn't eat until 10am. I had had a rough night with the baby and before I knew it I had downed more cups of coffee than I'd like to admit and was shaky and dizzy with hunger.

My goal for this week: Get Outside
The weather in MN right now isn't any fun. It looks sunny outside, and the clear forecast warms our house right up, but once you get outside you feel the wind whip your face and have to go back inside for a jacket. I'm trying, and will try even harder to get outside everyday. I put the baby in his Bjorn, Luke in the stroller, and walk as long as the weather permits. It's a goal because it's a hassle to get out there. Luke needs to be bundled, and then he insists on bringing at least three blankets and a handful of dinosaurs with him. Then I have to double dress the baby, and try to drape him with blankets once he's in the Bjorn. It's so worth it once we get out there, I just have to get through the struggle to get out the door.

I think I can post confidently that the number 25 can be lowered to 23. Yippee!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Flylady...or Fly By the Seat of My Pants

I am now in desperate need of a system. A month ago I had a two year old content playing while I did everything I needed to do around the house, and then during naptime I tied up loose ends, started dinner or worked on special projects that required more concentration than Luke would allow. 

That is no more. Now, my almost three-year old is constantly demanding my attention, and then there's that minor detail of the month-old boy who's joined our family. Waking up Monday morning I quickly became overwhelmed with all I needed to do around the house. I had bathrooms to clean, shirts to iron, floors to vacuum and a large laundry basket to empty. By the end of the day only half the shirts were ironed, the vacuum made its way out of the closet but the floors were not vacuumed, the laundry basket got upstairs but was still full, and only the bathroom countertops were clean. That means that today I have the same to-do list I had yesterday, and the house is in perpetual disarray with an ironing board, vacuum and laundry to bombard.

We live in our house. I'm home most of the time, now with two boys, and we prepare and eat food in our house three times a day. Luke plays in his home, and we spend our evenings and weekends in our home. Put these factors together, and it's apparent that our house needs constant upkeep and maintenance. Part of the problem is that I'm meticulous and not in the least laid-back. I live by the motto "There's a place for everything, everything in its place." That means that it's difficult, almost impossible for me to relax or sit down if jackets aren't hung up in the closet, a puzzle piece is on the floor, or a coffee cup left on the table. Throw that together with the daily cleaning that needs to be done and I'm a nervous breakdown waiting to happen!

This week I'm working on making a system, by month, to help me stay on top of jobs to be done, because, I'm realizing, I can't get it all done in a day. I'm starting by listing all the things that I do around the house from sweeping to cleaning out the fridge. Then I'm categorizing them into tasks that need to be done daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly. By the end of the week I'm hoping to have a schedule that I can follow where beyond daily jobs likes emptying the dishwasher, I have only one, or maybe two tasks to complete.  The goal is that the house will stay moderately clean and that I will avoid the Manic Monday and an endless list impossible to keep up with. 

I'll keep my progress on this project posted. I know there are many online resources to help with this sort of thing, but for me, I think I will do best to tailor this to my exact needs. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 26, 2009


So, I've finished the Twilight Series, and I have to admit, they're pretty freaking awesome. However, now that I am no longer consumed totally and completely with a pregnancy and am four weeks postpartum, I have to start back on my path of enriching literature in an effort not to let my intellect turn to mush in the midst of raising two boys under three.

Let's be honest, a majority of my conversation amongst friends would reveal that the latest book we've read was Green Eggs and Ham, but there might the occasional (or rare...) event that conversation might digress to something a bit more academic than potty training, apple juice, and sidewalk chalk. I'd better be prepared.

I'm nearly a third through The Song of Bernadette by Frank Werfel, something I've not read before. The style is a bit cumbersome, but I'm enjoying the story very much. Maybe I'll try something more mainstream once I finish this book, but as long as the book was on the shelf and I don't have to worry about late fines at the library it works for me.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

I've Always Wanted to Have a Neighbor Just Like You

This morning I looked across the cul-de-sac and saw that our neighbors were having a garage sale. Moving in only weeks after us, but not yet having met them yet, I made a stop while taking the kids on a walk. 

The owner of the home very politely introduced herself while I noticed that paired with her jeans and Columbia windbreaker were a great big pair of faux pearl earrings. Did I mention that she was also selling her old danceline jackets?

I think I made a new best friend.

(Okay, please don't think I'm shallow enough to make a friend purely based on pearls and a history of high school dance. Well, maybe the pearls...)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baby Weight

I was quite open about weight gain during my pregnancy. I ate a lot, and I gained a lot. I was both hungry and had an amazing ability to eat an enormous quantity of food. Put these variables together, and Presto! I packed on 45 pounds! 

A week after Paul's birth I successfully lost 20 of the 45 pounds without any effort. Three weeks later I have maybe lost a pound of those remaining 25 pounds. I'm not being hard on myself about it, because I realize A) I had a baby three weeks ago B) I had a baby three weeks ago, and C) I had a baby three weeks ago. Still, I'm anxious to fit into my capris from last summer, and to see my normal body return. After Luke I was under  my pre-baby weight once he was six months old. Thinking that I'm almost three years older and am caring for two children now, my guide will be "nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off."If it's happens faster than that, wonderful, but I want to motivate, not discourage myself. 

So, every Wednesday I'll post what I'm doing that week to work toward my goal. This week it's eating breakfast. Other than a few cups of coffee in the morning I haven't eaten breakfast since the baby has been born. By noon I'm starving and then it seems like I'm trying to catch up on calories for the rest of the day. In an effort to be healthy and to start the day on the right foot I'm going to try very hard to eat breakfast every morning. I started this morning with oatmeal. Hopefully I'll see an impact in my energy  and a leveling of my hunger level. Here's to happy, healthy mamas!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The following is a frank discussion of breastmilk. It's gross. You've been warned ;)

I've decided that one of my most very favorite mommy-things is nursing a newborn. I don't know what it is, but even in the dread of night when you're counting the number of hours of sleep your missing because the baby is waking up to eat, nursing still gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling. 

Of course, it's not all fun and games, and sometimes it's downright hard and painful. In the past three weeks I've been reminded of all the good, bad and ugly things I've conveniently forgot about nursing. Determined to nurse successfully a second time around, but still "keeping it real," I'm airing my dirty, milk-laden laundry to the world. As googly-eyed as I am over all this nursing business, I'd be crazy if I didn't admit it doesn't come without a price.

Let's start with the obvious: laundry. Add one nursing newborn and quadruple your laundry loads. Baby's blankets, onsies,  and jammies all get soaked in spit up, multiple times a day. Then of course, there's that breastfed baby-poo which never stays in the diaper like it's supposed to. Mark, while incredibly helpful, can't manage keeping baby's feet out of the way while changing diapers, so let's add some socks to the laundry, too. 

The baby isn't the only one going through his clothes. Let's not forget that I soak through my shirts at every feeding if I don't take prophylactic measures, and there was that incident yesterday when I wore a V-neck shirt and the entirety of baby's breakfast ended up down it. 

Then, there's some not-so-obvious-unless-you-share-them-with-people-while-they-look-at-you-like-they're-totally-grossed-out perks to nursing your newborn. First, I'm always sticky. Think of what the kitchen counter would feel like if a bowl of Frosted Flakes and milk spilled on it. Yeah, that's what my hands (and frankly, any exposed part of my body) feel like all the time. Also, I should probably put a slipcover on our couches, because that milk can spray in every direction and with remarkable distance.

Now, while I want to go on, I'm stopping because it's too hard to type while, you guessed it, nursing. With both mom and baby a bit projectile, I probably shouldn't be this close to the computer anyway! 

I can't believe I'm posting this...someone put me to bed...

Monday, April 20, 2009

"Annointed One"

You have put on Christ. In Him you have been Baptized.

Baby likes

Baby likes arms. Baby likes to be held lately...all the time. 

This means that I drink coffee, type, brush my teeth, fill the dishwasher, do laundry, fix breakfast, and accomplish every other task a bit more slowly since my left arm is always holding the little one.

I am not yet able to fold clothes or sweep one-handed, but I'm working on it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


After two years and nine months of cuddles, snuggles, and endless rock-a-byes, Luke awoke from his nap today and instead of crawling into my waiting arms, walked away from me into another room. 

Confused by his behavior, I left him alone for a few minutes. I found him later sitting in the baby's room, rocking in the chair. 

"Luke, sweetheart, do you want to rock-a-bye with mommy?" 

"No," he responded, "I rock-a-bye by myself." 

Crushed, I walked downstairs to the sleeping newborn, scooped him up and cuddled him close. At least I have two years and nine months before he can protest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Total, Total Fun

Photo Essay

Easter Morning

He is Risen, now it's time for a nap!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Small Successes


1. I have a two week old and a two year old at home. We're here and we're making it. TRIUMPH!
2. Luke successfully trashed his Easter clothes and his play clothes while playing outside yesterday. Sockless, covered from head to toe in dirt, stinky and sweaty; despite my better judgement I let him be. If I want to be a mother of boys I better start acting like one.
3. I cleaned a bathroom and ran the vacuum yesterday. The first time in two weeks, it was a small but necessary task, and it felt awesome to cross it off my list.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Darndest Things

During Holy Thursday Mass, Father Kris gave a very insightful homily about the priesthood. Explaining that he, as a child, wanted to be an astronaut, but became discouraged after seeing the pile of books he'd have to read, became a believer in the humor of God when he realized that the he had to read double the number of books to become a priest.

On Saturday night during dinner, Luke proudly announced that he wanted to be an astronaut, just like Father Kris. Mark and I, realizing that the whole point of the homily flew right over his head, tried to take advantage of a teachable moment while Luke rambled on about rocket ships and Mars. 

"Luke," we asked him, "When you grow up do you want to be a priest like Father Kris, or do you want to be a daddy like your dad.?" 

"A daddy," Luke answered. 

We questioned him further, "So, you want to be like daddy and have a wife?"

"Yeah, I want a wife," Luke answered boldly. 

Getting a kick out of his assurance, we asked one final question. 

"Luke, what's a wife?"

He looked as us like we were dumb for not knowing, and answered us like we should have known better. 

He took another bite of enchilada and answered confidently, 

"A car."  

Saturday, April 11, 2009


After months of worry, here's an update on the two-child transition. 

*We've taken both boys to Mass three times, each time they behaved beautifully while Mark and I took a huge sigh of relief. 

*Even though snow is still on the ground, I just can't stay inside anymore. I strapped the baby in the Bjorn, Luke in the stroller, and took a walk around the neighborhood. Sufficiently bundled, we all loved the fresh air. 

*Finally believing that life does in fact go on after having a baby, I still know what's going on the world. I'm up-to-date on Somali pirates, Madoff, and a string of senseless killings. 

*While it's taken me about three times as long, I'm nearly finished with Breaking Dawn, the final book in the Twilight series. While I admit that I honestly don't have time to read everyday like I did with one child, I still insist on trying. 

*Mother extraordinaire Elizabeth Foss has, in the last several months, blogged about her transition with the addition of her (I think) eighth child, born prematurely. She wrote something that I've kept close to my heart,"When you have a new baby you never get back in the groove, you find a new groove." Taking this to heart, I'm trying to find my new groove. My new groove includes reading Luke books while nursing, typing one-handed, and putting my phone on silent. 

*Coffee, while having a bitter taste to me for most of my pregnancy, has returned as my morning companion. There's something warm and fuzzy about cuddling my baby Paul, watching Luke play trains, sipping hot coffee and watching Bill Hemmer in the morning. 

Happy Easter!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Baby Soundtrack

Monday was my first day home alone with the two kids. Me being me, I was terrified for the day to come and whipped out every trick in my bag in preparation for any disaster that might dare strike, including the use of unlimited television, if the need arose. I have a DVR, and I know how to use it. 

Of course, Luke being his mother's son has, like me, the attention span of a fruit fly, and by 8am the novelty of endless episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse had worn off. Fortunately, even without distracting the two-year-old with television, the day was shockingly (gulp) easy. Luke played trains, I showered (!!!), the baby slept, and the day went off without a hitch. If anything, I'm getting a little bored inside and am missing the warm weather and going to the gym every morning. 

Even though our options for entertainment inside are limited, we've kept the drone of the TV at a minimum and instead have resorted to listening to music. 

Here's a sample of what has kept us in step.

In a few weeks (or months...) we'll return back to the Dreamgirls Soundtrack and Queen, but for now, these ambient artists are a soothing background to our playtime.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Accomplishment... zipping and buttoning up a pair of jeans comfortably ten days after giving birth. 

Let's stress that the accomplish is the actual zipping and buttoning of a pair of jeans, not the size of them. 

Let's get real, I put on 45 pounds, it's 'gonna take awhile. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Luke is at the starting line of playing make-believe. I love listening to him playing with his trains and dinosaurs and bringing them to life with names and conflict. 

Luke's new favorite book is Where the Wild Things Are. He wants the book read to him all day. This, you can imagine, is quite difficult to keep up with while bouncing and nursing a newborn. Reading the book no less than fifteen times in one morning, I did what any respectable Gen-X mother would do and found the book read aloud on youtube. Luke thought this was the coolest thing he'd seen, and it gave me a three minute window to do what I needed to do between pressing play over and over again. After another twenty reads online, Mark told me that there's actually a Where the Wild Things Are film coming out. Now Luke asks to watch the movie trailer everyday, multiple times, until I can find something more engaging to distract him from the computer screen. The movie is coming out in October, Luke will be over three, and I'm hoping that the movie is as innocent and as non-threatening as the book and that Luke can see it. 

In the meantime, my little Luke has nicknamed himself "Max," is chasing after sea serpents, running wild, and thinks that he, too, is the king of all wild things.  

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Birth Story

It was a normal Saturday in every way. We relaxed, we listened to music and the news, we caught up on laundry and errands, and played lots of trains, puzzles, and block towers. Having worked very hard all weekend finishing projects on our house, we all took a three hour nap in the afternoon. 

Once Luke was in bed Mark went out to buy snacks for a movie night. When he returned at 10pm my contractions started. I sat in our leather recliner with a bowl of Lays and became excited at every contraction wondering if "this was it," all the while expecting them to fizzle out. After two hours, still relaxed but getting regular contractions I told Mark that "maybe we should get our bags packed...just in case." 

Within a half hour contractions that I could sit and eat through became contractions I had to breathe through. I called the hospital and told them I would be in that night but that I was going to labor at home as long as I could explaining my reluctance, "getting to the hospital won't make things go any faster." At five minutes apart, we should have left for the hospital then and there. Me, having a previous labor of 21 hours was in total, complete denial that at five minutes apart my contractions were making any progress. 

Trying to keep my mind occupied between contractions I emptied and filled the dishwasher, cleaned the counter tops and dining room table, and moved clothes from the washing machine to the dryer. Mark finished packing our bags and started picking up Luke's toys scattered around the house. 

Starting to get intense, I decided to take a shower and wash my hair before heading to the hospital. Breathing through contractions shifted into moaning through contractions and the occasional expletive. Mark, getting concerned, moved all the bags into the car and gathered a sleeping Luke into the car. The next fifteen minutes were a blur as I attempted to get dressed between contractions, now coming two minutes apart. I made it somehow into the car at 1:44am and Mark started our race to the hospital. 

At my my ignorant insistence I told Mark not to speed, that we weren't in a race, but he, hearing the pain in my voice pushed our minivan as fast as it could go and drove 90 mph the entire length of our typical 40 minute drive to the hospital. Mark called the hospital to tell them we were on the way, and we dropped Luke off at my mom's; two miles away from the hospital. 

By the time we parked at the ER doors I could not move from my seat. My contractions did not seem to give me a break and while I didn't recognize it at the time, I was completely in an altered state of mind to the point of delusion and couldn't explain the pain I was experiencing and the correlation to the progress of my labor. Mark ran our bags inside and came back for me with a wheelchair. The small movement of getting out of the car and into the wheelchair, I believe, dilated me fully, and Mark raced me through the ER and to the doors of OB. 

The OB nurse asked me to gown, and not able to give her any indication of the intensity of my contractions, left Mark and I alone in our room while I tried to stand from the wheelchair and dress. While attempting to do this my water burst and I let out a scream. The nurse rushed to our room and her and Mark helped me to the bed. As soon as I reached the bed I let out another scream, the nurse looked down, grabbed her phone and called, "I need a nurse and a doctor-STAT." She asked Mark for help with one hand on the baby's emerging head and the other opening drawers, Mark ran out the hall for the baby warmer. 
Completely unaware of what was going on, my only instincts were to react to the pain and sensations I was feeling. Once Mark returned with the baby warmer he told me he saw the baby's head. Another nurse arrived, and the baby was out. From the time we got to our room to the time Paul was in my arms less than five minutes had passed. A doctor arrived a half hour later, as the baby came out so quickly I needed quite a bit of repair. 

We are so thankful to have such a happy ending to our story, and now at home we feel so blessed to have two beautiful, healthy boys. Putting Paul's birth story into words has not been as difficult as I expected, but at the time it frightened us terribly. Days later the memory of the rush, chaos, intensity and uncertainty haunted us in a way that unless you've gone through it, I don't think you could understand. Many hugs and tears later, we're recovered. 

If I learned anything from this experience, it's that a woman in labor is not logical and cannot be trusted. For me, my denial of what was going on pervaded every ounce of common sense that I had, because I knew better, and I still insisted that I was an exception to the rules. 

After a week I am happy to report that while Paul came out like a lion, he's as peaceful as a lamb. 


In celebration of our baby Paul and the Year of St. Paul, I want to share my favorite quote/scripture from St. Paul. Both Mark and I love what this scripture says, so much so that it was part of the second reading from our Nuptial Mass. 

Have a good Holy Week. 

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead” (Phil 3:7-11, RSVCE).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Checking In

We're all doing great and adjusting well. We've had full but relaxing days, and I've been truly blessed with a newborn who has been very content so far. I think I'll be up for blogging again next week. I've got so much to share!