Sunday, December 30, 2007

Santa gave the girls an extra special gift this year...

A new baby brother or sister!

Yes, I am pregnant! About 11 weeks along, due sometime in July.

It has been hard not to say anything, especially with morning sickness being especially difficult this time around, but I couldn't get an appointment with my OB until the 26th, and I really wanted to hear the heartbeat before telling the girls.

So Wednesday night, we sat the girls down and read "Welcoming Babies", a great book about how different cultures celebrate the birth of a baby. Afterwards, we just sat and talked about babies, and then I told the girls that at my doctor's appointment, I found out I had a baby in my tummy. Mara hasn't seemed to understand, but Analese sure does! She is so excited, and keeps asking me if its summer yet :) She has already told me that the baby is a girl, and keeps referring to it as such. She asks me a couple of times a the baby still in your tummy? So cute, and makes it so exciting to be able to share this with her.

Last night as we were getting ready to leave my families' Christmas gathering, Analese suddenly remembered and told everyone how "Mommy has a little tiny little baby growing in my tummy". :)

Ok, more details to come, but I had to share the news!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A loving moment between sisters

I found Mara comforting her sister yesterday

Our Christmas Week

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday. Ours went well-a tad bit overwhelming, but that happens every year.
On Christmas Eve, we made ornaments and cookies and had a very special dinner of spring rolls and chicken pad thai. I have had such a craving for Thai food-and Indian food as well, but both are impossible for me to eat right now. My loving husband found some ways to modify a recipe, and it was delicious! A very special Christmas gift to me!

We began a new tradition this year. I had the girls come with me to their rooms and then to the playroom, and we gathered up toys that we were no longer playing with, and then wrapped them up to give to Santa so that he could give them to other boys and girls. A mom mentioned this idea on our parenting board, and I loved it. What a great way to teach the girls about giving! Analese was a bit worried this year, but did eventually find some things to give to Santa. They even got a special thank you note from Santa the next day!

Right before bedtime, we read some Christmas stories and gave the girls a special present- ponys made by my cousin Kaylyn. The girls LOVED them (thanks again Kaylyn!) and the first thing Analese said was "I am going to sleep with her tonight!" She named hers "Princess". They have both been sleeping with them every night since!

Christmas morning was very nice-the girls were excited and loved their new gifts. The horse stable was especially a big hit, and it took Analese some time to understand that it was something that had to be shared. Mara just seemed fascinated by everything-and somewhat confused, like "where did all this stuff come from?" She just happily played with whatever was closet to her :)

Then it was off to Greg's parent's house. Things were going well until it was time for presents. Craziness began! Greg's mother really goes overboard every year, and the girls get sooo much stuff....just too much, honestly. I understand her philosophy-she would rather spend the money on everyone now instead of hoarding and saving it until they die. I respect that. It is just so much stuff that the kids just lose sight of everything.....Mara became a nut and was ripping paper off of anything close to her. As soon as she unwrapped a present, it was on to the next one. Yesterday and today was spent just reexamining and discovering what they did get! I even found a few presents of my own that I never opened :)

Analese got a guitar, which she has been enjoying immensely. Mara received these "Snap n Go Babies", which she has fallen in love with and is constantly feeding and giving a bath. The girls got tons of art supplies, which I am excited for! We go through lots of materials with my two artists in training.

It was a quiet Christmas compared to most family Christmases. Many families left before dinner to go see the inlaws. I hated to see them leave, but it ended up being more my speed....plenty of time to actually sit and visit with those around me. It was quite nice!

It was a long day, but the girls did great. They fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the car seat, and even slept as we carried them in and got them ready for bed. Thats a first! They even granted me another special gift the next morning-Analese slept until 9:30 and Mara until 10!

This weekend we will be celebrating with my side of the family, as well as Greg's mother's side of the family and hopefully spending some time with Greg's sister who couldn't make it from New Jersey this year. Another busy weekend, but one that is full of family, and full of love.

Enjoy some Christmas photos!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Lessons Learned

We have been learning ALOT this holiday season, and I thought I would share two that I have been lucky enough to learn this week:

1) Hiding under the Christmas tree is NOT the best hiding spot when playing hide-n-seek. Especially if you have a real tree! I spent yesterday morning soaking and scrubbing poor Mara's head, trying my best to get out the big glob of tree sap that was dried to her head. We had to use rubbing alcohol to get the last bit out.

2) When preparing a package to be mailed, it may not be the best idea to have your 3 year old help. Yeah, it may seem fun and cute at the time, but if she starts to refer to "the package" as "my package", WATCH OUT! The last thing you want to do is then take her to the post office with you as you mail it out, for screams of "GIVE ME BACK MY PACKAGE!" doesn't really help those around you to remain in the Christmas spirit. ( the 10+ people piled into this hot, tiny post office were so not amused!)

Just two of the lessons I have been lucky enough to learn in the past few days.

Can't wait to see what else I don't know about.........

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas....

Sorry once again for being so absent. I have been taking advantage of not having to be on the computer for school, and enjoying some freedom for awhile! These past few weeks have been rough with all of us being off schedule, so I have been working on just getting us back on track!

Our weekend was a busy one. On Saturday we went to the Christmas Tree farm to pick out a Christmas tree. We did not go with the rest of Greg's family this year, for they all went last Sunday instead. We were going to go then but it was raining and cold-just not worth it for us! Our girls enjoy the whole experience of going-running through the trees, seeing and feeding the animals, seeing Santa. As the cousins have gotten older, getting the tree isn't nearly as fun as all going out to eat afterwards. They always go to the same place, a family restauraunt that would not have anything Mara and I could eat, so we had planned to skip that part.

Anyway, it was cold on Saturday and we were all dressed in many layers. We picked our tree out fairly easily-a smaller tree to accommodate the little space we had to put on this year! Our usual tree spot was taken over by our aquarium a few months ago.

The girls had fun. We pretended to be mountain climbers climbing up the hill through all the trees, and Analese kept referring to us as "mountain climber mommy" and "mountain climber Mara". Mara kept falling in every mud patch there was, so she was pretty covered and got tired quickly.

We got our tree ready to go and walked through the animal part, stopping to feed a baby cow and some goats.

We took the girls to see Santa. Analese wasn't too sure about it, but Mara headed right inside and went right up to him, pointing to him and saying "Santa, Santa" over and over again. We asked her if she wanted to sit on his lap and she shook her head no. Surprisingly, Analese went over and got on his lap! So then Mara did, but she wouldn't look at him the whole time :) Analese told Santa she wanted a pony and a new teddy for Christmas this year. I was proud of her for sitting on his lap, and anytime someone brings it up , the first thing she says is "I didn't cry at all!"

At this point, Analese was starting to lose it so we finished up and headed to the car. She had quite the meltdown outside the car, my drama girl, started screaming "I'm cold!" over and over again. We had her in the car, piled in blankets and coats to try and calm her down. Mara was crying at the same time, yelling "sister!" over and over again :)

On Sunday, we got the tree set up and lights on, but we were not able to decorate it since we had a holiday party to go to. It was at Greg's cousin's house. The girls had so much fun playing with her son, who was 8 months old. He kept dropping his toy and they would scramble to get it for him. It was so cute to see! Mara was obsessed with the babies, and I kept finding her just standing close to whoever had a baby in their arms, just looking up and watching them. It was so funny!

Yesterday we spent the morning decorating the tree. The girls didn't get into it as much as I thought they would. They lost interest pretty quickly and I did most of it. It was fun to pull out the ornaments-we have so many handmade ones from family that we have gotten over the years.

Greg has decided that the girls should not play with the ornaments on the tree, and last night I heard him telling them over and over again to stop playing with them. I am not sure why he is suddenly so concerned about it, and even threatened to take the tree out! I told him later to just lighten up-the whole reason we put certain ornaments on the bottom of the tree was so we wouldn't have to worry about them breaking, etc. They have been taking them off the tree every year-but can you blame them? All this new, shiny, items just dangling there, tempting them. I really, really hope he gives up this battle.....or it will be a long week!

We still have a bit of shopping left to do. We have been finished with the girls for a few weeks now, but need to buy presents for the names we have picked from Greg's family. Greg said he would take a day off this week, but the week is quickly going by.....I have a feeling we'll be out with everyone else this weekend. Not fun.

Hope everyone else is enjoying their week!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Sweet Homecoming Story

Last night on the news I saw a story that completely touched my heart. The story began with two young children, probably around the ages of 5 and 7, sitting on Santa's lap at the mall. Santa asked them what they would like for Christmas this year, and they both said that they wanted their Daddy to be home with them. Santa told them to close their eyes, and wish really hard for their Daddy to be home.

They both closed their eyes really tight, and repeated their wish, over and over again.

Then Santa told them to open their eyes, and right in front of them was their Daddy. You see, Daddy was a soldier stationed in Iraq, and unexpectedly got to come home in time for Christmas. This was how he surprised his children with the news.

The looks on their faces was priceless, and quickly had me in tears. What especially got to me was watching how the little girl just held onto her Daddy so tightly, as if she was afraid to let go.

I couldn't help but think about my own girls and their relationship with their Daddy. They miss him so much when he is just gone for work during the day, and are lucky enough to talk to him on the phone at least once a day. Little Mara was so upset this morning when Daddy had given her kisses goodbye but forgot to give her a hug. Goodbyes always need a kiss and a hug.

The minute Greg walks in the door, he gains two shadows as he goes about the house. Often he is working on some household chore, while the girls will just play amongst themselves. Just happy to be near him.

As soon as chore-time is over, playtime begins. The girls happily bounce on their daddy until dinner is ready. On the nights that Greg cooks dinner, they are on stools, watching.

Every night at dinner, Analese tells her Daddy that she wants to tell him about her day. When he tells her to go ahead, she always stops and says " I can't remember my day. Mommy, what did I do today?"

It's these simple, daily traditions that make up the daily rhythm within my family. It's these moments that we treasure, and find so much comfort in. I am so grateful to have a husband who plays such an active role in our children's lives.

As vocal as I am about how much I oppose this war, I have to say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for our men and women over there fighting it. I think about the torment they must feel, torn between the job they must do and the family they hold dear.

This Christmas, my thoughts are on those that are not able to make it home to their families this Christmas.

And for the children who are missing them.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh, what a day....

We had quite the day yesterday. The girls and I made some Christmas cookies yesterday morning, which was fun. I cheated a little this year and had bought some Mara-safe sugar cookie mix through our buying club. We have 6 boxes to have fun with! As much as I love baking from scratch, I wanted to be able to make many different kinds and it's hard to do that with two little ones with short attention spans.

Anyway- we made snowman, and the girls decorated with mini-chocolate chips, dried apples and raisins. Then we made ornaments, in which the girls used LOTS of sprinkles! Mara is sooo careful spooning them onto her cookie, while Analese also sprinkled the table, floor, and everything else within reach :) ( I think this was mainly because she was trying to sneak as many into her mouth as she could!)

So I thought that was the highlight of our day, until I was cleaning up the kitchen. I happened to glance into the dining room and saw Mara reaching for Analese's bowl of Zoe cereal (which contains both wheat and soy). I screamed hysterically for her to drop it (probably a little too hysterically, but I wanted to get the point across) and ran over to her. I asked her if she had eaten any, and she said yes. I checked her mouth for crumbs, etc. and couldn't see anything so I really didn't know if she had really eaten it or not. All I could do now was wait.

I should say that Mara is usually really good about eating her own food, but two things confused her yesterday. For one, we had just gotten her a box of Perky-Os, which are safe for her. And two, I was out of bowls that I normally use for Analese so I put her cereal in a bowl that Mara sometimes uses.

Anyway, Mara's last reactions to soy occurred about an hour after she ate it. After an hour was up and no reaction, I gave her some lunch (spaghetti and meatballs -what was I thinking?) and then she nursed and went to sleep.

She woke up happy, asking for a snack, and I really thought we were in the clear.

Until she began to vomit EVERYWHERE. It was amazing just how quickly she got sick. She was playing, standing a few feet from me when all of a sudden, she projectile vomited all over the rug. She turned to me and got me covered. She seemed confused and kind of turned again as more came up. I tell ya, our living room floor was completely covered in vomit. I raced her to the bathroom, and had her sit on her potty and calm down. Once she was calm, I had to calm Analese down-who had one drop of vomit on her and needed to be changed immediately (nevermind that both Mara and I were completely covered)

I left the girls in the bathroom and went out to clean up the living room before the dog and cats get to it. After that I went into the bathroom and found poor Mara, who had crawled into the bathtub and was just sitting there. My poor baby! I felt so bad for her. I cleaned us both up, set up the couch with lots of towels and plopped her on it.

It lasted a few minutes before it started again. I'll spare you the details, but Mara continued to vomit nonstop for the next four hours. It wasn't fun. We went through every towel we owned, and Mara ended up on the couch in just a diaper.

At one point Mara just laid her head straight down on the couch-she was so miserable. When Greg came home, he asked her if she ate something she shouldn't have, and she nodded and said "sister, sister, belly" over and over again.

Although it was awful at the time, I feel very fortunate that it only four hours, as her last two soy reactions were nonstop vomiting for 8+. Her last reaction also followed with diarrhea for a week. This morning she had a yucky diaper which appeared to have blood in it.

Soy is definitely a big issue with Mara, and we won't be trialing that anytime soon! Not a fun day at all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vegging out

Sorry I haven't been posting lately. I have actually been spending the past few days just vegging out on the's been really nice! Yesterday I even sat and watched television while the girls were napping, something I never do. It's been very much needed. I feel like I haven't had a nice "break" for so long. This has been a difficult semester for me, trying to balance my school time with kid time and family time. During the day, my time is with my girls. I do not study unless they are sleeping, as I feel that being with them is my "job" and I do not think they should lose that time with me. Plus-to be honest- I wouldn't be able to get anything done even if I tried!

Saturday was a long day. I was up at 5:30, out the door by 6:30. I got into my exam an hour before it began in order to study and unwind a bit from driving. I wasn't in there for more then 5 minutes when my eyes began to water, and my nose became runny. I started sneezing constantly, it was so frustrating! I have been taking Clariton in order to break up the fluid in my ear and to get a handle on my allergies, but whatever it was causing this reaction obviously got passed it! I had brought about a half roll of tissue with me-just in case, and had them all used up within 15 minutes after my test has began. It was awful. This sounds so gross, but I ended up having to squish wet tissues together in order to use them, as my nose was a complete faucet! I had to take my glasses off a couple times and wipe them, as mt eyes were watering nonstop. Fun, fun, fun. Of course, my fellow test-mates had to listen to me sniff every five seconds as well!
I can honestly say that the test did not go so well. It was Algebra, and I couldn't remember formulas, etc. With all that was going on, I just got to the point where all I wanted to do was get out of there! So let's just cross your fingers that I passed the class, as the test was 40% of my grade.
The second test-my Ethnic Minorities class, went much better, and I was in a different room and my allergies didn't bother me as much. It feels so good to be done!

My back is feeling much better now. Yesterday was the first day that I could walk straight and not be in constant pain. The girls have been laying in bed with my in the morning and watching their shows while I ice my back, which seems to be helping (and they love the snuggle time). My back is so frustrating. Greg and I were in a car accident almost 10 years ago, and I really messed my back up. Now I can sneeze and throw it out. Want to know how I messed it up this time? I sat down for breakfast. That's it. As soon as I sat down, I felt pain going up and down my back and when I went to get up, I couldn't without severe pain. Yikes.

Greg had quite the adventure with the girls. I haven't left them in awhile, and I don't think I had ever left Mara for this long. They were quite upset when they woke up and I wasn't there. I had tried preparing Analese a few days before, but she got very anxious, telling me-no, screaming at me, how scared she was going to be without me. She kept insisting that she was coming with me, and even woke up crying one night, telling me she was coming to school with me!
But they got through the day, and were very happy to see me. I knew Greg was stressed when I heard him giving the girls empty threats like, "Put the crayon on the table, or I'll take all the crayons away for good"...things that do not normally come out of Greg's mouth! So it was a good lesson for them all, as he told me I have the patience of a saint. I just think when you don't have the kids day in and day out, you can sometimes forget to pick your battles, let some things slide, and, most importantly, the kids will feed off of your energy. Get stressed and they get stressed.

Anyway, I am off to veg once more on the couch before heading off to bed! Hope your all having a good week!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

We got snow!!

Yes, even we got some snow! We were supposed to get 1-2 inches, but got say the girls were excited would be a huge understatement!

I, unfortunately, had thrown my back out a few days ago, and have been unable to move much...with two young kids, you can imagine how tough it has been! I just hope I will be able to walk somewhat normally on Saturday when I go to take my finals. We are also supposed to go Christmas tree hunting on Sunday with Greg's whole family and I really do not want to miss that!

Anyway, Greg came home from work early to take the girls outside, and here are the photos. As they were getting ready to go out, Analese said "I think I am going to go really crazy out there!"
She has never used the word crazy before, so it was really funny! They went sledding, did snow angels-Analese even did a somersault! They had so much fun-and were covered head to toe in snow.

Luckily dance class was canceled this morning, so no place to go!

Now, back to my books...and ice.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Have a good week!

I will be busy studying for my final this Saturday, so I am checking out until then! My goal is to spend lots of time wearing the girls out in the AM so that naps may actually happen and I get some much needed studying in. Wish me luck!

After Saturday, my brain can finally take a much needed rest. I feel like I have been losing brain cells daily with all this studying...yesterday Mara showed me her spoon, and I said "Oh, what color is your spornge?" Translation: I meant to say spoon and yes, her spoon was orange.

Yup, I am losing it.

I haven't been feeling well either, with all the mold in the air, my allergies have been going nuts and really messing with my stomach. Every time I start to gag, Analese says "Ok, Mom let's go to the bathroom", and she rubs my back as I am bent over the toilet. I even threw up on her foot, and my little sweetie goes "it's OK! We can just clean it up...though that was really yucky Mommy"

This morning she came into the living room and asked me if I was thirsty. I wasn't, but she was just too sweet to resist, so I nodded my head. She then asks "Ok, would you like juice or water?" and goes into the kitchen and asks Greg for a glass! She let him pour it but insisted on bringing it out to me, and rubbed my head as I drank it.

All this lets me know I must be doing something right!

Have a great week everyone!