2011 Walk to End Alzheimers

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wes and I have decided to participate again in the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk® on Saturday, October 29th. I've posted about this a couple of times before, so you probably know that our family has been personally touched by this disease. My grandmother, who passed away June 1st of 2008 was a victim of Alzheimer's. Each year, we try to raise what we can, and although it may not be much, every little bit helps. This year, I really would love to double what we raised last year though. 

My grandmother was only one of the more than 5 million Americans with Alzheimer's. This year, we really need your support. I know that money is tight, it's tight for everyone, but please consider even donating $5 to help this cause. The money goes directly to advancing the research into prevention, treatments and a cure. For the millions already affected by the disease, the Association offers care, education, support and resources in communities nationwide. On behalf of my grandmother, Julia, and the millions of Americans who are living with this disease, thank you.

Alzheimer's disease is not only difficult for the patient, but also extremely difficult for the families. It changes a person right before your eyes and can be very frustrating at the same time as extraordinarily heartbreaking. Seeing what my parents had to go through with my grandmother, and seeing the pain that it caused my father to sometimes not have his mother recognize him was one of the hardest things that I have done in my life. Doing anything we can, even things as little as participating in a walk and hoping to raise $200, to hopefully make sure that Emma and Jackson never have to go through that kind of pain of seeing a family member affected by such a horrible disease. So please, help us to raise money to support this incredibly important cause.

To make donations or to join the walk, please go here: http://walktoendalz.kintera.org/baltimore/lauraodom

We Made It!

Despite a few scary moments here and there this weekend, we made it through Hurricane Irene mostly untouched. We luckily didn't have any real damage, just a few down branches and limbs in the backyard, along with two small leaks but we never lost power, so we were really lucky (I still can't believe we never lost power).

If there is one good thing that comes out of the hurricane, it's that it can give you time to do those things on your list that you never get a chance to do (at least depending on your power). So this weekend in between many hours of playtime, I was able to clean out kitchen cabinets and children's closets, and make Squishy some homemade sweet potatoes, carrots and zucchini to eat! I brought my camera downstairs to practice a little photography but haven't had a chance to download the pictures yet. The lighting was pretty terrible so not sure how they turned out yet, but much more to come on our hurricane weekend!

Batten Down the Hatches!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I guess having an earthquake wasn't enough excitement for the week, so why not try out a hurricane?

::: sigh :::

Time to find some new fun indoor activities for the babies!

Life as we know it...

Despite things being a little crazy around our house lately, I decided to take a step back and re-prioritize a little. Things at work are still crazy and most days have been 12 hours or more, which isn't a big deal in itself. I used to think nothing of 50 - 60 hour work weeks (back in the day) but now that it's been taking time away from my babies and my family, it's a different story.

It is still very important to me to keep up the reputation that I have built over the past 10 years at work, so its been my choice to put in the extra hours, so I'm not complaining, I just had to figure something out on how to balance both. During the week, I only get to see Emma and Jackson for about an hour in the morning, and then about two to three hours at night since they both go to bed at 8:00PM. Since we changed from daycare to having a Nanny, the mornings have gone from one of the most hectic times of the day to one of my favorite times of the day. The kids stay in their jammies until the Nanny comes at 7:30AM, we no longer have to pack lunches, or shove breakfast in a bag on the go. So now, we get to get up, snuggle in bed for a few minutes, Emma watches her morning cartoons in our bed and Jackson gets up and I usually give him his bottle in our bed next to Emma. The kids hang out in our room while Wes and I get ready and most days, its actually really fun. Emma usually gets up to run around after a bit but loves to come in and "put makeup on" and brush her hair just like Mommy. A.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.

Oh yeah, back to the work thing. So instead of staying at work in the evenings to be able to get home at a decent time, I decide to leave work, no matter what, around 5:00PM to spend those 2 - 3 hours with my family. If I have more work to do, which is pretty much a guarantee lately, then it doesn't happen until after the babies are in bed. Sometimes I have to head back to work, sometimes I can do it from home. But I decided its not taking any more time away from the babies.

Last Friday we decided to celebrate the weekend with a little movie time at home. I have been wanting to take Emma to her first movie in the theatre because she LOVES movies, but we thought we would start at home with movie night first. We all snuggled up on the couch, got Emma her first ever bag of popcorn (which she ate the entire thing) and watched a little Rio. Although it only lasted for about 30 minutes before Emma got bored (she wasn't a big fan of the movie and all the popcorn was gone by that time) and Jackson was cranky because of teething, it was awesome and a great way to start off the weekend.

It was mandated that we all had to be in jammies before the movie could start. :)

I have been wanting to take my camera so I could update everyone on how Emma is doing at gymnastics but since you pretty much have to be glued to their side, it's hard to document the fun. :) I managed to take a few iPhone videos of the stretching routine (which is the most fun to watch haha) but haven't figure out how to get those on the blog yet.

Emma is doing great and has had a big improvement since day one. She is a pretty shy little girl so the first couple of weeks she wasn't a fan of having the coach help but she now loves the coaches. We even had a stand-in male coach one week and she was glued to his side. :) Her favorite thing is definitely the trampoline, which she talks about for days in advance. And without fail, it usually something like this "Tumbles! Tumbles! Trampoline! Wait your turn! Emma's turn! Not Jake's turn!" Hahaha.

We only have one more week of gymnastics left and Daddy hasn't gone yet so he is going to take Emma on her last week. I'm thinking we will bring Jackson along and maybe I can get a few pictures of Emma in action! Here she is posing after gymnastics with her BFF Jillian. :) Notice how Jillian is posing perfectly and smiling for the camera and Emma is off in la-la land? She got dirt on her hand and was very concerned about it. Haha!


Squishy is just as cute as ever. Emma may not pose for the camera very often anymore but Squishy sure hams-it-up. Both Wes and I went to University of Delaware (where we met) so it's only right that Squishy sports some collegic attire as well. We are thinking Quarterback for the Blue Hens in no time. :)

Squishy at 5 Months Old...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Age: 5 Months Old! Yikes! Time is flying!

Weight: A few weeks prior to Squishy's 5 month Birthday he was a little over 17 lbs. I wouldn't be surprised if he was 18 lbs by now because he seems to get bigger by the day.

Height: We haven't measured his height recently so I'm not sure about this one. He is heading to the pediatrician's office in a month for his 6 month check-up so we will find out then.

Size: Right now, he is in 6 month clothes, b.a.r.e.l.y. Carter's had a huge sale a few weeks ago so I bought him several 9 month outfits for the fall, but he just might be in those sooner rather than later.

Movement: I have a feeling that by our next monthly update, Squishy will be crawling. As soon as you lay him down, he flips over onto his belly and can move around the room already by rolling. He constantly spins himself around using his arms, and he is starting to pull his knees up under his belly more and more. He wants to keep up with his big sister so bad! If you put something out in front of him, he will find a way to get to it. It might take him a while, and he might move around in circles for 20 minutes first, but he will get there. :)

Teeth: Poor Squishy has been teething for what seems like two months now. The last month has been pretty rough on the little fella. We can see two little bottom teeth ready to poke through any day now and for Squishy's sake, I hope it's sooner rather than later. He seems to be having a much harder time than Emma did. Emma drooled for a couple of weeks and all the sudden she had two teeth. That was it. Poor Squishy is having a much harder time.

Sleeping: So far, it looks like we were blessed with another good sleeper! Squishy doesn't nap quiet as well as Emma did (at this point, she was taking two 3-4 hour naps a day) but he goes to bed right about 8:00PM and wakes up about 6:15AM or so. Most of the time, he drinks a bottle and then heads back to bed for another hour or so. During the day, he "normally" takes about an hour nap in the morning, then a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. Teething has altered his napping schedule a bit lately, but on his good days, he is a good sleeper for sure.

Eating: Ahhh yes. Squishy's favorite thing to do. :) He.is.an.eater. I think Emma was barely drinking 6 ounces when we were weaning her off of formula onto milk at one. Squishy has been drinking 6 ounces at each feeding for probably 2 - 3 months now. He has taken to baby food much quicker than Emma did too. He LOVES pears, carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans and squash. He will tolerate prunes and peaches but is not a fan of peas or applesauce. He polishes off a container of food with his oatmeal cereal in no time flat. I'm thinking we are going to have to buy stage 2 soon, just so he can get some more food! He usually has a bottle when he wakes up around 6:15AM, breakfast of some fruit and cereal around 8:00AM followed by another 6 ounce bottle around 9:00AM. Then its nap time, followed by another 6 ounce bottle before his longer afternoon nap. Another 6 ouncer around 3:00PM or so, followed by dinner of a veggie and cereal around 5:30 or 6:00PM, then his final bottle before bed around 7:30PM. Then, he is down for the count!

Milestones: Rolling. Rolling. Rolling. Food. More Food. Rolling. Even More Food. We are still working on sitting up, but he doesn't seem to be too interested. Standing is another story because he loves to stand. I wouldn't be surprised if he learns to stand (holding on to something of course) before he learns to sit up. :)

Favorite Things: Squishy is finally old enough to really be able to start to play now. He loves pretty much any kind of toy to look at or that will fit in his mouth. He also loves to play with his big sister and tries to do anything that he can to get her attention. So far, she isn't too interested but he is just crying out for her attention. She can sneeze, from all the way across the room, and Squishy will let out the biggest belly laugh that he can. He is always trying to roll over to her and pretty much as soon as he get there and touches her, she screams "Fushy gave me an ouchie!!!" and runs over to Mommy. :) Squishy is also very much a snuggle-bug. He loves loves loves to snuggle and be held. When he sleeps, he sleeps in this tiny little ball and he loves to snuggle with stuffed animals. I don't know how long the snuggling will last since he is going to be up and running before we know it, so I'm enjoying it while it lasts. He is also very much in a Mommy mode lately. A lot of times when he is cranky or tired and fussing, and giving Daddy a hard time, he usually settles right down when I pick him up. He is getting to the point where he knows Mommy and Daddy, and he knows who isn't Mommy or Daddy. Squishy also LOVES being outside.

Dislikes: Peas, other than that, we don't have too many dislikes yet. He is pretty particular about his routine, so small adjustments can tend to throw him off.

Words: Not yet! Although he has certainly found his voice! He loves to happy-scream!

Personality: His personality is really starting to come out more and more. He really is a happy baby, much like his big sister. He loves to laugh, but has a temper! Shew! He knows what he likes, and certainly will not hold back in telling you. He is a lover for sure, and can easily light up the entire room with his bright smile and big belly laugh. He is a ham.

Peas = Fail

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Even though we were going to wait until Squishy was five months old to start introducing veggies, he took to fruit much faster than I expected, so we are moving right along!

Squishy now has a breakfast of some fruit and oatmeal cereal, and then dinner of a veggie and cereal. So far, he has had pears, peaches, applesauce, prunes, sweet potatoes, carrots and peas. He is a BIG fan of pears, sweet potatoes and carrots (carrots are the number one I think), he tolerates peaches, applesauce and prunes but...

Squishy + Peas = Fail

Whenever Wes would give him a spoonfull, it would just sit there in his mouth and he would freeze, like if he moved, he might actually have to taste it. Eventually, it would slowly just squish back out all over the place.

Normally, Squishy polishes off a container of fruit or veggie in about a minute and a half. Ten minutes after starting with the peas, we still had 95% of the peas in the bowl, so we gave up. After we stopped, that little stinker was all smiles. 

And yes...that would be one of Emma's pink flowery bibs on Squishy.

We go through bibs in this house like its our job.

Sunshine, Rainbows & Baby Bottoms

I thought a lot about whether or not I should address my post a few days ago about "cussing out" Jackson, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to say a few things.

You probably have noticed that I deleted the post (if you read it). It apparently upset several family members and that certainly wasn't my intention. I apologize if I upset anyone, and looking back I certainly used the wrong wording that gave a wrong impression. I will be much more careful how I word things in the future. I know that different reactions are possible when you put your life out on the Internet, and that's certainly a chance that I take.

I originally debated whether or not to post anything about my struggle with PPD but its something that's hard to understand unless you have lived it or are close to it. It's especially hard to understand if you are somewhat removed from the situation and don't see the daily ups and downs. Posting about PPD on the blog was my only way to try to describe what we was going through to help people understand, but messages seem to be getting crossed along the way.

But I have to say..that I'm a good mom.

I'm not perfect by any means, but I am a good mom. I know that because my kids are loved more than anything in this entire world. I know that because my kids light up when I walk in the room. I know that because my kids are happy, healthy, provided for, safe and thriving.

I'm a good mom that is struggling with PPD. I'm a good mom that got frustrated in the middle of the night after a very tough couple of weeks, just like millions of other moms out there. I just decided to put it on our blog and I used the wrong words to do so. I never once raised my voice at my son. I changed his diaper, gave him a bottle, burped him, rocked him back to sleep and then cried. I then got up with him again three hours later, brought him into our bed and let him sleep on my chest because I know my son, I love him and I know that comforts him.

Again, I apologize if I upset anyone and if my wording gave the wrong impression. My kids are loved, and they know that. Nothing else matters to me.

So in the future, I'll stick to posting about sunshine, rainbows and little babies that raise their bottoms in the air while sleeping in the exact same position every night.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I was on a roll there for a while with the blog but life has been pretty crazy lately but I'm hoping to be back posting again shortly. Turns out the car that we JUST fixed busted again and we are scrapping it for a new car so this week is car shopping week. With two young kids, you can imagine how fun that's going to be. :)

To top it off, Wes has the stomach bug, our Nanny is sick and I'm working overtime.

::: sigh :::

Such is life.

Mothering Through the Storm

Friday, August 5, 2011

The other day I was checking out the Motherhood Your Way blog that usually has some pretty cool stuff and I found this post about Mothering Through the Storm. I was pretty intrigued by the title so I checked it out thinking it was going to be a post about being a mom when life gets a little crazy.

I was wrong.

Here are the first couple of lines of the post:
"The lightning struck their kitchen. The refrigerator exploded. The faucets and light bulbs melted. The food, scattered papers, and personal belongings were petrified."
"Then the fire began — it spread via the ceiling and attic, pushing flames and smoke through the entire house. And just like that my brother and his family lost everything."
"But the worst part is my mom watched it all."
I was hooked. The blog goes on to talk about what happened during the fire, and how the writer's mom was standing in the midst of this fire, imagining her youngest son, inside and suffocating by smoke, or even burning to death. (I know...horrible). She goes on to describe how here mom called her, screaming, and how she left her family in the blink of an eye and drover to her brother's house in a flash. Luckily, everyone was safe and sound as her brother and his wife left the house prior to the fire starting.

Since the day Emma was born, I have always thought the exact thing as what she wrote about, how, as a mother, your worst nightmare is to have your kids leave this world before you. To watch it happen (or think you’re watching it happen) is even worse.

The next thing that Amanda writes about is being back together with her family, and how she then decided to be her brother’s gatekeeper. No one would donate, call or help without going through her first. Her brother and his family then moved in with Amanda and she would watch her niece during the day and cook dinner for everyone at night.

This is where I started to feel incredibly inadequate because of how I feel like I struggle with just my life in general, and keeping up with it. Let alone in the midst of something like this.

Amanda then realized something, something that I hadn't yet realized but it very much hit home with me.

"Being a mother also means being a daughter and a sister."
She talks about how her children need to see her rushing out the door at a moment’s notice to comfort her own mother. They need to see her open our house and make it home for her brother. Her children need to understand that her job isn’t just to take care of them and be the fairy-godmother of their little world.

I honestly never really even thought of it like that. I thought, that my kids need to know that they are my TOP PRIORITY, and that's it. Although that is a big part of it, what Amanda was talking about really made me think. Like she says, even though we are moms, motherhood is not our only role.

I certainly resonated with what she was saying, and the more I thought about it, the more I also want my kids to see me as a full woman. Loving, encouraging, and honoring others so they will know how to do the same for theirs. In my head, it's also very important to me to let them see the value of the hard work that I (and not just me, but Wes as well) put in everyday to be able to provide for them. There have been a lot of nights (and mornings) lately where I haven't gotten to see my babies because of work. On those days, I certainly feel like a piece is missing from me, and it makes me realize exactly how important even that one hour with them in the mornings are to me. At the same time, I want them to know that I do those things not just for them, but for our family. I do what I can to go above and beyond at work so I can get those higher performance ratings, so I can get those few extra percents in my yearly raise. Whether its ends up allowing us to do Mommy and Me Gymnastics, or swim lessons, whether its allows us to squeak in another family vacation, whether its saving for their college, or signing up for life insurance to make sure that no matter what happens, our family is provided for.

I want them to know, not just what being a mom is about, but what being a PARENT is about, and all of the different pieces to the puzzle.

The Babies...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Despite the cuteness that is beneath, it's pretty funny to watch the two babies interact. Now that Jackson is much more aware of what's going on around him, he is constantly watching his big sister (and her TV shows for that matter). He loves it when she is sprinting around the house because every 15 seconds he gets a glimpse of the speed racer and she is usually yelling "JACK-O" as she screams by.

Emma on the other hand, still has her moments of not wanting her baby brother around. Yesterday, before heading to Mommy and Me Gymnastics, we were talking about Daddy coming to watch her next time with Jackson. Her response was "Ummm...no...just Daddy watch....Jackson stay home." :)

If you ask Emma where she lives, she will tell you the name of the street that she lives on.

If you ask her where Mommy lives, she will tell you the same street name.

If you ask her where Daddy lives, she will tell you the same street name.

If you ask her where Jackson lives, she says "crib". :)

About ten seconds after taking these pictures (which are pretty bad from a photography standpoint because I didn't have time to run upstairs and grab my speedlite), Emma pushed Jackson off her lap and said "All done with baby brother." :)

Squishy vs. A Pancake

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's the difference between Squishy and a pancake?

Normally, you only have to flip a pancake once.

We had to flip Squishy five times last night.

::: sigh :::

::: yawns :::

::: falls asleep :::

::: wakes up :::

::: finishes post :::

Squishy is becoming more and more mobile by the day. The minute you lay him down, he immediately rolls over to his belly, usually barfs on the floor because he most likely just ate, and then starts to use his arms to spin himself around.

::: envisions Ross from Friends yelling PIVOT!!! PI-VOT!!! :::

Squishy can now also get his knees up under his body, so it's only a matter of time before he puts the two together. Crikey. This all means that he moves his chunky little huge self all around in his crib at night. To try to combat the little stinker, we still wrap him up in his swaddle blanket (although there is no containing the sausage links arms anymore so we don't even try). Well, this does nothing other than make us laugh when we watch him on the monitor because now he just looks like a giant inch-worm when he flips over.

Despite the fact that he can roll both ways (back to belly and belly to back), he refuses to fix himself in his crib. So he flips over onto his belly, inch-worms his way all the way to the top of his crib so his head gets smashed in the corner, and then proceeds to get his arm stuck between the slats of the crib. He then wakes up, screams, we roll him back over, he shoves his thumb in his mouth, and falls back to sleep immediately.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Times five.

I thought about putting in his crib bumper to prevent the arm getting stuck, but the fact that he moves himself and smashes his face against the side makes me not want to use it (even the breathable kind). Knowing him, he will then be just like my brother getting his hand stuck in the soccer net while being the goalie. :)

Thank goodness he at least goes back to sleep immediately every time, but sheesh.

::: head desk :::

Here's To 40!

Monday, August 1, 2011

I have about twenty different posts drafted and have been meaning to complete, several of which are getting pretty old by this point, like about our trip to the National Zoo when Gigi and Papa were visiting, Emma's 2nd Birthday and Jackson's Baptism party, etc. But this is one that I have been dying to post about for months now, so I decided to put this one at the top of the list.

I've been keeping a secret since January and it's been killing me!!!

This year marked my parent's 40th wedding anniversary, and we threw them a surprise party! Yup, that's right....the big 4 - 0! It's pretty amazing when I think about it considering that I haven't even been alive that long, let alone married for that long! I get excited when Wes and I make it to the next anniversary and this year is only our sixth! :)

Back in January all the kids (meaning me, my two brothers and my sister-in-law) decided to put on a little shindig to help my parents celebrate this amazing milestone. There was a lot going on at the time with everyone, between my brother and sister-in-law's crazy schedule with their three kids, everything that was going on with Jackson and my parents were working on building a new house (and still are). Despite all of the craziness that was going on, it was something we really wanted to do, and we were really glad that we did.

There were lots of ups and downs throughout the process of throwing the big surprise party but it was a bit hit, even though we kept it a secret for 6 months and ended up having to tell mom and dad a mere four hours before the party. DOH! When I think about everything that my parents have done for all of us though, everything that was going on at the time seemed minuscule. They have been there, no matter what, and even though they are having a heck of a time with their new house, it ended up keeping them just distracted enough that they had no idea what was going on behind the scenes. At least not until we had to spill the beans.

They have pretty much been through the gamut over the past forty years with their three kids (two of which are only 13 months apart and one of which they keep trying to convince that she is adopted...yup, that's me). There have been so many laughs and even though they might be a little more spread out today since we all don't get together as often, they are still there. They now have six grand kids that light up when they see their Mimi and Pop, and those grand kids couldn't have asked for more loving grandparents.

I LOVE this picture....it's the sideburns.
I'm pretty sure my dad still has those glasses too. :)

My beautiful Mom on her wedding day.

Although it wasn't a huge party, and we were trying to be money conscious where we could, we had about twenty five people including some of my parent's closest friends. Despite broken air conditioners and plans to be at the beach, it was great to see how many of their friends came to help us celebrate.

We wanted to make the party special, so we tried to put together as many small touches as we could. We rented some extra tables and chairs for seating since our house isn't exactly huge, we cleaned out Emma's playroom and the dining room and soon enough it was party central.


We made the banners, labels, napkin inserts and table signs were in PowerPoint. I had the banners printed by Kinko's since there was so much color in them, strung them together with some plain white ribbon, and just printed the labels at home.

This was a great way to keep cost down on decorations too, instead of buying a bunch of flowers, we just bought one bouquet and several $0.75 vases from Micheal's and put one bud in each vase. The pink hydrangeas that you see on the tables and our mantle were cut from our backyard.

Each guest got to take home a personalized beer koozie (which was a huge hit with this big boating crowd) and a bottle of wine. 

And what's a party without cake?!?! Whenever we have a special occasion, I head right to Sugarbakers for the cake. That's where we got our cakes for our wedding and I have been in love ever since. That would be where Emma Kathryn had her chocolate cupcake at 9:00AM. :) Sugarbakers did a fantastic job like usual, especially with recreating the little fondant sailboat that we had as our little theme. Mom and Dad got to take home the top tier!

I was running around trying to snap a few shots before the party started, and I took a picture of one of the other flowers in one of our Michael's vases that we put on our fireplace.

And yes, I am fully aware that it is not Christmas time and having a be-dazzled reindeer on our mantle is a little out of season...I just love it.

However, I did not realize that my Bourbon and Ginger glass was showing until I downloaded the picture. DOH! So yes, I had to calm the nerves a little and have a little something even before the party started. But I promise I was good during the party!! :)

I also have to give a big shout out to my cousin Kim who came over with her hubby and her baby Jillian (who is rapidly becoming Emma's favorite person to talk about). Kim helped me so much the night before that I couldn't have done it without her!! Of course she will probably never come over again for fear that I will make her fold a thousand napkins and unload/load my dishwasher again. :) Thanks again Kim!!

I really hope my parents had a great time, and I hope they got to relax at least for a little while and enjoy their friends who came to help the celebrate the big 40! Congratulations again Mom and Dad!!

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