First Amusement Park Trip

About 45 minutes from where we live is a local amusement park that specializes in families and wholesomeness.  I have been there many, many times as a child and always had wonderful memories of the merry-go-round and my first roller coaster ride.  Just good, old fashioned fun.

Chris has never been to this park and neither has Jack, so we figured a beautiful Sunday of 82 degrees and sunny was as good a day as any to venture there.

Considering that I haven’t been there in well over 15 years, it was nostalgia all over again as we drove in the grassy field to park the car.  My father used to ride the rides with us and my mother would be off to the side snapping photos of my sisters and I having the time of our lives.

Jack was told before we left that we were going to a special park which had rides instead of monkey bars and slides and he was intrigued.

When we arrived, we all stopped and ate something as it was lunch time and we needed our strength!  After eating, it was time for Max’s lunch, so we sat on a bench in a shady area so that Max could eat and Chris and Jack were off to ride the rides!

Fireman Jack

Initially, Chris said that Jack wanted to get off the first ride as he was unsure, but after that, he was thrilled!  He loved the cars, the train, firetrucks, everything!  Chris was enjoying himself just as much!  So much so that when my in-laws are in again from California next week, Chris would love to bring them there for the day again.

On the kiddie ferris wheel

Jack has not stopped talking about the rides, especially the helicopters.  He had seen the helicopter ride and had said that he did not want to ride it as the helicopters went into the air.  We spent the day avoiding the ride only to get to the car while Jack cried about not riding the helicopters.  He has since said each day since, “Mommy, are we going to go to the special park to ride the helicopters today?!”  It looks like he will give it another try if we go back again soon.

Captain Jack

We were all overdue for a family day together, so I am glad that we dropped everything and spent this day together!

Oh, and Max was wonderful!  He was happy to be in the carrier and occasionally in the double stroller as we navigated the park.  So well behaved!

Max watching big brother on the rides

I absolutely cherish these family days!

Taking a cruise with Daddy

Max- Two Months

At two months old, here is a snapshot of Max:

  • Smiles all of the time!
  • Cooing at people and at mobile on the swing and on his floor gym.
  • He loves his floor gym and has begun swatting at the hanging toys
  • At his last weight check 2 weeks ago, he was already 11lbs, 12.5 ounces and healthy!
  • He is wearing 3 months in Carter’s, 0-3 months for Baby Gap and Gymboree.  We had to pack away all of the Kissy Kissy outfits in 3-6 months as they were all too small.  :(
  • Recently moved up to size 2 diapers, but could have moved up earlier but Mommy wanted to use up all of the size 1 diapers!  ;)
  • Having more wakeful periods but still eating every 3 hours during the day.  You hold your concentration more and are really starting to focus.  You slept through the night twice 9pm-6am on August 8 and 9, but have not done it since.  Typically you wake once around 4am to nurse after you go down about 8:30-9:30pm and will wake up again about 7-7:30am to eat again.
  • You are now starting to hold onto things and enjoy exploring new textures that Mommy introduces you to.
  • Sounds are very interesting and usually will stop you right away as you open your eyes wide and focus on what is making the noise.
  • We have been giving you a bottle a bit more frequently to prepare you for when you start daycare next month.  Mommy has also been working on building up a nice supply for when that happens- pumping about 4oz either side in the morning!  Whoo hoo!
  • Still happy with your bluffer, but don’t take it all day long (thank goodness).
  • Right now, you are going through a little Mommy attachment phase where the only person who calms you down and the only person that you wish that will hold you is Mommy.  I am secretly loving this, but I know that it is important that you be willing to go to other people as well.
  • You can hold up your head when on your tummy for a while and is slowly getting longer and longer.  You have tummy time several times a day and you are happy to be on your tummy for close to 10 minutes at a time.

Milestones:

  • Socially smiling
  • Rolled from belly to tummy (twice!!) on Wednesday, August 14!  Before he was officially 2 months!!
  • Discovered hands and brings them to his mouth
  • Can support self while standing on legs
  • Holds head steady when being supported to sit or being held
  • Bats at toys

Super sweet at two months old

The End is Approaching

Yes, my blissful maternity leave is almost over.  In a little less than a month, I will be back to work full time with both boys spending a full day in day care.  However, the director at the daycare said a week or so ago that Jack was demonstrating readiness to move to the Preschool program from the older toddler room this fall.  She said he has hit the milestones and would be great to move up with the other children!  We are so proud of him!

So much has changed since Jack was an infant and started in daycare.  No more glass bottles (we use Coddlelife glass bottles as we feel they are safest for our children), only sleep sacks, no blankets and the list goes on and on.  Jack never used a sleep sack, so we just bought one from Baby Gap that was on sale with an extra 40% off!  Go me!  And yes, I bought the 6-12 month one to get the most use out of it.

I have so enjoyed my maternity leave with my little ones.  We were really able to spend the time together that was desperately needed.  Jack has been able to spend more one on one time with me and Max has gotten to know his Mommy and his brother, as well as his Daddy.

Some of my projects that I have been working on have been completed or almost completed while I have been home.  The cleanout?  Well, that is an animal all in itself, but it is getting done.  The dumpster will arrive Labor day weekend and many of the weekends in September will be spent cleaning everything out of the garage, attic and basement, as well as other areas.

One project for me that was very important was to create a photo book of all of the pictures with my Mom and Jack so that Jack can have that and look at it to remember her.  That should be completed and ordered sometime this week from Shutterfly, and I just got a free photo book code, so it is a win-win!

Many of my days these past few weeks have been spent choosing things for our new house; tile, plumbing fixtures, granite, cabinets, siding, shingles, stone for the front, shutters, and the list goes on.  Trying to get as much done as possible before I go back to work full time as I know that we will only have the weekends to get any major planning done as I will not have any vacation time left for the remainder of 2012.

The house is coming together and we should be going to settlement next week!  We can’t wait!

Although I am going to miss all of this extra time with the boys, I know that working will allow me to be able to provide for them and also allow us to build and live in this beautiful house.

So, for now, I am cuddling with my little Max and enjoying some extra time with Jack while playing with cars and trucks.  These are the moments that are most important for me.

Max’s Baptism

On Sunday, August 5, we took our sweet boy over to St. Ignatius Church with our family and friends to have him baptized.

As it was a 90+ degree day with exceptionally high humidity, a few scattered rain showers and thunderstorms popped up, but never took away the humidity.

It was so wonderful for my family to drive in from New Jersey to celebrate with us!  It was also their first time to meet Max and to see Jack for the first time in a few months, so there was a lot of catching up to be had.

As Max was 6 weeks old, he had a growth spurt this past week and was eating more and a little bit more fussy than usual, but the day of the baptism, he woke up with a smile on his face and was happy all day long.

Our friend Father Kelly returned from his vacation to come down to his old parish to baptize Max.

Max wore the heirloom christening gown that my mother, uncles, cousins, sisters, Jack and I wore.  The beautiful Irish linen gown is close to 100 years old and is extremely delicate, so we opted to dress him at the church.

His Godmother, Colleen and I dressed him, which brought back many memories of my mother dressing Jack in the gown two and a half years prior.

As we were waiting for a few other people to arrive at the church, we decided to take all of the pictures with the family, etc… ahead of time.  Max’s Godfather, Jeff and Colleen posed for pictures and we also made sure to get the whole family together for one big family shot for the first time in a long time.

Jack loved playing and sitting with his cousins and we were all very glad to spend time together and laugh.

Max was very good during the baptism, and when it came time for Father Kelly to pour the water over his head, he literally moved his head side to side in delight as he poured the water.  Looks like we may have another water baby on our hands!

Following the baptism, we all headed back to my mother’s house for a little luncheon.  We enjoyed lunch and of course, the children were anxious to get to the cake.

Two friends of mine so graciously offered to spend the Friday of the baptism weekend to bake a cake from scratch and to make my Aunt’s famous icing for our celebration.  As I do not have one cooking or baking bone in my body, I was absolutely nervous, but we did a fabulous job!  My Aunt who makes the famous icing also had some of the cake and said that we hit the nail on the head and that it was delicious!  We were thrilled!

It was a lovely day and a wonderful little celebration for our Max!  May God bless him always.

Locked In

Chris and I met last Tuesday with our Mortgage broker to finalize everything and get our construction loan started.

The wait between choosing a lot, selecting a floor plan and coming to an agreement on price with our builder has been longer than I would have hoped, but I am glad that we are getting exactly what we want the way that we want it. And that in itself is worth the wait to me.

When the price and all of the details were final with our builder, we were finally able to lock in a rate with our mortgage company and settle on the paperwork.

After settling on the land a few weeks ago, it still didn’t feel real to us and the agreement with the builder on the specs and the contract didn’t feel real either. Reality, for me, set in once we see what the mortgage will be, etc… And the realization that this is truly happening. Our builder will be digging out and putting our foundation in in a few weeks. We will begin selecting doors, hardware and finalizing our cabinets and granite in our dream kitchen. (See the samples below!)

As Chris and I look over our floor plan and decide on which room will be the nursery, which will be Jack’s room and planning where furniture will be placed, the structure that will eventually be built is already feeling like home. My excitement to finally have this house to ourselves and to make it our own is not only keeping me busy, but it is also keeping my Pinterest page buzzing with tile ideas, gardening options, paint colors, and the list goes on!!

My thoughts wander to our new address and getting address labels done and watching the kids play on the cul-de-sac. Jack riding his bike in the driveway and Max playing in the baby pool in the backyard. These are moments that I can’t wait for.

Not having our furniture and items until we move into the house in early 2013 is a little nerve wracking as I go through the day wishing that I had something that is buried in storage. If I had $1 for each time that I have thought of something that I need or wanted, I would have about $100. Oh well, no sense in being upset about something that can’t change.

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Our kitchen cabinets

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Our granite

Jack’s First Swimming Lesson

After taking Jack swimming at a friend’s pool a few weeks ago, Jack developed gills that day and swam alone, jumped into the pool, went underwater and began using his arms to move while kicking his legs.  I mentioned to Chris that I thought that it was time for swim lessons to help develop his skills.  Chris agreed.

So, off we went to our local community pool and registered Jack for his first solo swim lessons.  In the two weeks since registering, we have been talking about it and Jack has told everyone he sees that he is a big boy who is going to have swimming lessons.

This morning, I feed Max, pack up the bag and drive the boys over to the pool where several anxious children are waiting for their lessons.  Jack is excited and his looking forward to getting in the pool.  I am looking forward to leafing through my J.Crew catalogue and reading my Parents magazine during the 45 minute lesson.

When the lifeguard came over, Jack was a little apprehensive about going with her, but she was friendly and I assured him that I wouldn’t be far away.  Cue Jack freaking out that I am not getting in the pool and the hysteria begins.  So, for the 45 minute lesson, I stand on the steps in the pool, holding his hand, assuring him that all is ok and that I was right there with him.

Every now and then, the lifeguard got him into the pool and got him to blow bubbles, do ice cream scoops and kick his legs, but he lost it at the end and as begging to go home.  Fine, kid.  You win.

But we go back on Wednesday, Friday and Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week too.  So, maybe…I win.  :)

Learning to kick (And yes, Jack refuses at any point to not wear shoes. Even in the house)

Kicking on the steps

Ice cream scoops!

 

 

Watching Over Us

Jack has been mentioning my mother a lot recently.  Not that he never speaks of her, but not as often as he has recently.  He gets excited when we mention that we will be building and living in a new house, where he almost immediately follows it up with “Mom will live there too.”  I explain now that Mom is in heaven with God, but she is always watching him and will continue to watch over him in the new house.

He still calls her on his play phones and carries on conversations with her while on the phone.  His new, and funny phrase is, “Hey Mom.  What’s up?!” when he answers the phone.

Yesterday, Chris was driving Jack home from school, and unprompted, he says to Chris, “Mom sleeps with me at night.”  Chris tried to probe for more and he said that he sees Mom when he is sleeping and that he misses her.  To be honest, I don’t doubt it.  One of her wishes was that Jack would be big enough and that she would feel good enough to have Jack stay with her overnight like my sisters and I used to do with our grandmother.  Unfortunately, she never had that chance in life, but maybe now she is having this chance now.

When Chris told me the story when he got home, I had chills and was immediately immersed in a sense of comfort and peace.  Maybe the young really do have a better sense for these things.  Either way, it makes my heart smile to know that he misses her and that he believes her to be with him always.

Sorting Through 30 Years

I started slowly cleaning out my mother’s house about 2 months ago.  A closet here, a cabinet there and now I am at a point where I really need to hunker down and focus on the basement, garage and attic, which is where the majority of items are kept.  I decided long ago that my mother’s room would be last as I feel that will be the hardest room to do.  The room is still exactly the way that she left it, except for a few times that I have changed the sheets.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my mother and wish that she was here.  She would be hogging Max and reading books to Jack every day.  I cherish the times that she had with Jack and I know that he does too.  Jack asks for her almost every day and tells Chris, his teachers, his Aunts and others that he misses Mom.  My heart breaks for him, but we let him watch videos with her in them and I plan to create an album solely dedicated to photos of him with my mother.

Going through these closets and cabinets is such a walk down memory lane.  My Mom was a tucker and would save everything from newspaper clippings, photos, notes and more in address books and other little pads of paper.  I smile as I find her bridge tallies from games that she would have with her friends here at the house or cards that people sent while she was sick telling her that “bald is beautiful.”

There were always certain things that my mother saved that I appreciate and have been finding all over the house.  Two things were obituaries for friends and relatives and prayer cards from funerals and wakes that she had attended for many of these people.  I’m glad that she did so that my sisters and I can continue to remember those who have passed away that were close to us.  She also appreciated a beautifully written obituary and had often times told me how hers should read and look.  “Never include a photo of me from my teenage years.  We obviously have more recent photos of me and why wouldn’t we use one of those?”  Or being very specific about where she went to school, where she graduated and certain things that needed to be included in her obit and information that wasn’t necessary.  Her friend Maureen was the person in the end who wrote her beautiful obituary with some edits and inclusions from me the morning after she passed away.

In going through the 30 years of items in this house, I have also found little items from when my father passed away 20 years ago that my Mom kept.  I’m sure that she missed him up until she joined him in heaven, but little things that she held on to make me think twice about hanging onto something before throwing it away.  For my mother, it would be some bridge tallies and notes.  For my father, she saved things like cards and some slips of paper where he was doing measurements or calculations.

While going through all of these memories, I really wish that we had my mother recorded on a video telling my sisters and I how much she loved us and how much we meant to her.  Or a book recorded with her voice reading to her grandchildren.  All of the things that were too difficult to talk about when she was sick but would be nice if we had them now.

I am absolutely nowhere near being done with cleaning out the house but am approaching a point where I need to order a dumpster and ask my sisters to designate what they plan to take and everything else will be sold in an estate sale.  My heart breaks that we can’t keep everything, but we don’t have room to keep it all.

This process of cleaning out will continue and once we are at a good point, we will put the house on the market, also a very tough decision.

Although it is extremely difficult to go through this process, it is a nice walk down memory lane.

Max is One Month Old!

I am still having trouble processing the fact that the baby I had yesterday (well, it feels like yesterday) is already one month old!

Max is such a wonderful baby and mirrors Jack as a newborn in so many ways.  He is sweet, calm and doesn’t cry very much.  With his easy going attitude, he fits right in with our family.

At a month old, here is a snapshot of Max:

  • Smiles (not very often, but has smiled once or twice)
  • Starting to coo, especially after a bath or when playing with Mommy, Jack or Daddy
  • Is no longer wearing any newborn clothes and is wearing 3 months in Carter’s, 0-3 months for Baby Gap and Gymboree and 3-6 months in Kissy Kissy
  • Still in size 1 diapers
  • Having more wakeful periods but still eating every 2-3 hours.  The longest stretch between feedings is during the night where you will sometimes go about 4 hours between feedings.
  • You enjoy your swing, being held, watching Jack play, going for walks, riding in the car and lullabies.
  • You were fussing when Mommy brought you to her office, and a coworker of mine from Italy started speaking Italian to you, and you immediately stopped fussing and focused your attention on him.  The same happens when Jack sings to you.  :)
  • You have only had a few select bottles since you have been born, but you absolutely prefer to nurse over everything.
  • Occasionally, you will take the bluffer and will sometimes hold it in your mouth with your fist!
  • We have a weight checkup tomorrow, so I will update that when we have your current weight, which I am guessing is around 9lbs, or close to 10lbs.

We are absolutely crazy for our Max!  So blessed!

Sweet little Max

July 18, 2012