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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Project Smile - April

Don't count the days, make the days count. ~ Muhammad Ali

It was another month full of many many reasons to smile:

1st - A friend that goes (comes) the distance... literally. Thanks for a lovely play date, Sally.
2nd - Lucas slept in his big boy bed for the first time!
3rd - Family visitors. No, really!
4th - Disneyland fun and a toddler that was on his most excellent behavior.
5th - A relaxing visit to the nail salon with my sister-in-law and nieces.
6th - Lucas turns 22 months... where's the pause button?
7th - A visit with my dear friend, Suzy who I wish I saw more often.
8th - The sun was out just long enough for some outdoor play.
9th - Pizza. Funny how this favorite ends up on every one of my Project Smile lists!
10th - A nice long walk to clear my head and just breathe.
11th - Legoland - just the two of us.
12th - A couple of hours at the hair salon and a new opportunity!
13th- A sick baby means a day spent in pjs in front of the TV.
14th - Helping out a friend with her children while her husband is away on business.
15th - Mother/son lunch dates, a visit with the Easter Bunny #1 and a slew of new Spring clothes from Gymboree (for once I remembered to use my coupons!!).
16th - A long car ride with a quiet tot. Bliss!
17th - Meeting and riding Thomas the Train followed by an adults only lunch at The Ivy. Thanks, aunt Leah!
18th - Meeting Easter Bunny #2, decorating cookies, an egg hunt and a train ride.
19th - A super productive day that had nothing to do with laundry.
20th - A night out on the town.
21th - I got myself a job (of sorts)! More on this later...
22nd - Bounce house play date in our backyard, 90 minutes on the treadmill, girl's night out and trying out a new restaurant.
23rd - A toddler-free weekend... lunch with good friends and their babies, a movie in the theater and having the house to myself.
24th - Easter blessings and chocolate yumminess.
25th - Staying in touch with friends from high school and seeing our children play together.
26th - A guest post on Four Plus an Angel that I am very proud of. Thanks, again for having me, Jessica.
27th - Catching up with my husband over margaritas on a date night.
28th - Spending some time alone with my sister.
29th - Housekeepers. Love me the smell of Pine-sol and Windex.
30th -
A good old fashioned PB&J with a glass of milk. And no, this wasn't Lucas' lunch, it was mine!

What made you happy this month?

To see why I was smiling in March, click here and to link up and share your own month of simple pleasures, please visit Kristi of Live and Love out Loud
.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Happily Ever After

I was nine years old.

Giddy with excitement over the gorgeous dress, the 25 foot train, the jewels, the beautiful cathedral, the cascading bouquet of flowers, the 3,500 guests, the pageantry, the glass carriage, the fairy tale.

A prince and a princess.

On July 29, 1981 along with an estimated 750 million other people, I sat glued to the television in an airport (probably on a layover some where returning to Karachi, Pakistan from being on summer holidays in the states) watching the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

I'm 38 years old now and just as giddy about happily ever afters and fairy tales.

If you need me today, I will be watching Kate Middleton marry Prince William.

I'm excited, but I won't be setting my alarm for 3 AM, thanks to TiVo!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Did It!

I finally did something today that I have been putting off for months!

With my husband's encouragement, I drove the car to a building I have passed countless times.

It's exactly six minutes from our house.

I parked.

I took a deep breath and entered the building.

I met the director.

I asked a lot of questions. One of which, the answer made me bring home a pamphlet and schedule a tour.

The question: "Does my son need to be potty-trained to attend your pre-school?"

The answer: "No, we potty train for you."

Music to my ears.

Lucas will be two in June and by Fall maybe a student. :)

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Sweet Smell Of Spring

I wish I could grow flowers, tomatoes, basil, weeds, cactus... anything! I have the brownest thumb on the planet (I'm assuming that's the opposite of having a green thumb).

As long as my husband and I have lived together he has always said that he'd like plants in our home. I discourage this every chance I get because I would either water them too much, too little or forget all together.

The only plants in our house are the flowers I purchase every two weeks:
Pretty enough, but not the same, right?

I love walking around my neighborhood. I love to feel the cool breeze coming off the ocean not far away, the warm exchange of greetings with the people I pass and the sweet smell of spring, especially all the gorgeous roses in bloom!


I wish I could grow flowers like these:

There must be such satisfaction in having a beautiful vibrant rose garden.

Heck, any garden!

I need to send my husband out for a walk.

What can you grow?
This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt 4.) Photo Story: Take a walk through your neighborhood this week and share some pictures of what Spring looks like where you live.
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What I Love About Being A Mom

The top five things I love about being a mom:

1. My kisses make boo boos all better.
2. I get to play, act really silly, sing and dance, color with crayons, blow bubbles, use sidewalk chalk and squish Play-Doh between my fingers.
3. I love hearing "mommy", even if it's three o'clock in the morning.
4. I have to listen to my instincts, go with my gut and trust that the decisions I am making are the "right" ones for my son.
5. There's a little person running around growing, learning, thriving, smiling and being super cute all because of me and my husband.

What do you love about being a mom? 

I threw this question out on Twitter the other night and here are some of the touching and humorous responses I got (names have been withheld to protect the innocent, sentimental and exhausted), in the order in which they were received:
  •  Bedtime ;)
  • Earlier today my kiddos and I were hanging out on my bed goofing around. I like those moments best.
  • I love feeling needed. And I love how proud I am of my son. Every day.
  • Not a mom but I crave the chance to relive the wonder of life thru the eyes of an innocent child. To see reactions at tastes and the feeling of sand on their toes the first time they realize it feels different. Reactions to music.
  • I love that they are mine.
  • The unconditional love you get in return. Kisses & hugs & laughs & funny conversations. & the pride when they succeed/excel.
  • What do I love about being a mom? Right now I really love bedtime.
  • Little stuff: my kiddo holding my hand, knowing how to make him laugh, comfort him. Big stuff: watching a person I created learn and explore. Passing on my values. Seeing a person emerge.
  • I love being there for everything, from small scrapes to huge milestones. I love every second of their lives.
  • I love morning bed snuggles and kisses from my 4 yr old who says *I Love You Mama!!*
  • I love that I get to nurture and take care of my little ones' needs.
  • I love being called "mama".
  • I love the snuggles. little I love you's at random times of the day. The idea of a piece of me in them. Seeing myself in them.
  • I love pressing my cheek against their little cheeks.
  • Coming home from even just the grocery store, and opening the door to huge eyes full of excitement while they are all jumping up and down chanting "mama! mama!"...and Tater says "I missed you so much mom!"
 
This post was featured on Natalie's blog, Mommy of a Monster, in her weekly feature, Monster Likes #16 on April 30, 2011.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Fact Of Life

Before Nichole, Cheryl and Katie paired me up with Jessica as my Red Dress Club’s Red Writing Hood writing partner, I didn't know her or her story at all.

Jessica is the mother of an autistic teenager, gave birth to triplets and lost one and then had a son that is nearly Lucas' age.
Her blog, Four Plus an Angel is beautiful, heartbreaking and inspirational. I'm honored to call her my friend and her writing, her story never ceases to move me.

Sadly, we have both suffered great loss in our lives and we write about it often. We write about our grief not because we want (or need) pity, but because it is always with us and writing about it helps. It's healing.

I am over at Jessica's today talking about why grief sucks. I promise it's not all that sad, just a fact life.

Please stop by and leave us a hug.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Legs Are Still Hairy, But...

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My toddler-free weekend was equal parts relaxing and busy.

I didn't make it to a yoga class, finish reading that book, spend time on my computer or shave my legs, but I did watch four movies (one in the theater!), tackled a pile of magazines while walking 10 miles on the treadmill, had fun girl's night out, enjoyed a long lunch with my besties and their adorable babies (which only made me miss Lucas cuddles) and I ventured into the kitchen and made lasagna roll-ups for our Easter dinner.

I missed my boys, but I relished my time alone.

Todd said Lucas was perfect (of course he was) all weekend, so here's hoping another Daddy/Lucas trip is in my future. In the meantime, seeing as Daddies deserve time off too, I planned a weekend trip for Lucas and I to visit his grandparents next month.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Home Alone

I will be staying home alone this weekend while Todd takes Lucas to the Bay Area to visit his parents.

Yes, you read that correctly, an entire toddler-free weekend! Whatever will I do with myself?!

Honestly, I don't care if I don't see another living soul for the next 48 hours.

After much consideration and deep deep thought (yeah, right!), here is my Top 10 List of Things to do While my Husband and Toddler are Away, in no particular order:

1. Shave my legs.

2. Read and possibly even finish a book I started nearly three months ago.

3. Walk 10 miles AND take a yoga class.

4. Enjoy a leisurely lunch with girlfriends.

5. Organize my recent mail, e-mail, desktop folders, edit my media kit and update my About Me page on my blog (I don't have high hopes for any of this one but added it, in case I feel like being productive).

6. Sleep. Nap. Daydream. Cat nap. Sleep some more.

7. Spend some quality time in front of the TV.

8. Plan a weekend for me and Lucas to be out of town.

9. Enjoy having the bathroom all to myself.

10. Make a special Easter dinner for my boys arrival home.

Check back on Monday to see how much I actually accomplish and in the meantime, Happy Easter!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Woman I Didn't Know

I had a good mother but she and I did not have the type of relationship that I would have liked. We didn't share intimate secrets or inside jokes. She wasn't the first person I would think of to call when I had a dilemma. I loved her dearly but I didn't know her at all.

It's taken me a long time to be able to admit that my mother and I were not close, especially since she has been gone for over three years.

My mother was a sweet and giving person. She taught kindergarten or third grade my whole life. She loved to celebrate each and every holiday with gusto. She sent heartfelt greeting cards and made the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet. Her motto was a cliche that I grew to hate: c'est la vie because it became her "go to" response to EVERYTHING.

My mother was a very intelligent woman and I can recall hearing my father comment many times on her high IQ, but she didn't talk very much.

I don't think she knew how to express herself.

Until I realized that, she seemed disinterested, oblivious and even intimated by me. I know she must have had a lot of opinions, but she didn't share them, even after much probing.

There were nightly conversations in our home on a variety of topics ranging from entertainment and politics to current events and religion and it was always my father, sister and me having the discussions, while my mother sat quietly on the sidelines not contributing a word.

Was it our fault?

Did we not include her enough?

Did she think she couldn't relate?

Did she feel as though her opinion didn't matter to us?


It did. Very much.

She appeared to be listening and taking it all in, but there was zero exchange.

I was once at a job for more than two years before she ever asked me what it was that I did.

I can accept the things my mother was, but to this day I cannot accept the things that she was not.

I wish we had both tried harder.

If my mother blogged or even kept a hand written diary when I was Lucas' age, I feel like I would have been privy to a woman I don't feel like I knew. I would have learned of her inner most thoughts and feelings on motherhood, dreams for me and herself. I would be able to read about her passions, joys, sorrows, strengths and weaknesses and love for me.
I would have very much appreciated and cherished a Letters For Tonya blog.

This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt 2.) If my Mom were a blogger...

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Wonder...

I wonder what kind of teenager Lucas will be?

Will he be a loner with his head in a book or hold an office on the Student Council?

Will he be the captain of the football team or sit on the sidelines and cheer on his friends?

I wonder if he'll wait until the last minute to complete his home work assignments or turn reports in early?

I wonder if he'll play an instrument in the school band or land the leading role in the annual production of Romeo and Juliet?

What will he major in once he gets to college, if he goes to college?

I wonder if he'll want to join a fraternity or avoid the Greek system all together?

Will he be a nail bitter, volunteer at a homeless shelter, want to get a tattoo?

Will he complete his college education after four years, or decide to go for a PhD.?

As an adult, will he be an early riser or enjoy sleeping in?

Will he bounce from job to job or be loyal to the first company that hires him?

I wonder how many hands he'll hold, doors he'll hold open, chairs he'll pull out and girls he'll kiss?

I wonder if he'll bike, run, or practice yoga?

Will he'll like spending time at the beach, or if the sand will only annoy him?

Will he be a black coffee drinker or enjoy something fancier, like a caramel macchiato?

I wonder if he'll be comfortable traveling and fill his passport before he's 30 or prefer staying close to home?

Will he be a people pleaser or stand his ground and always be ready for a debate?

I wonder if he'll ever know how much he's loved.

I wonder...

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

In These Small Moments

I love Nichole.

We have bonded over many things, most notably our mutual adoration for Dave Matthews. **swoon**

I love Nichole's blog, In These Small Moments. Her writing is strong, effortless and breathtaking. I can't wait to meet the woman behind these beautiful words at BlogHer in August.

I look forward to Nichole's Small Moments Mondays feature each week and I'm honored that this week, she is featuring me!

Please stop by and say hello as I share a very big small moment in my life: the moment we found out we were pregnant with our son, Lucas.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Silence

It had been five years.

Five years of old wounds, words left unexpressed, tears and pride.

Five years with zero communication.

No I hope you are smiling today text messages, no family photos were e-mailed, no three hour phone calls just because, no humorous you'll always be older birthday cards or holiday greetings. There were no weekend visits or three glasses of wine long lunches.

Silence.

Regret.

Loss.

It was as if their connection, their friendship never even existed.

One

Two

Three rings

Part of her was relieved when she saw the name appear on her phone screen, although, it was after midnight. What a strange time to choose to extend an olive branch she thought.

The name she saw illuminated in the dark was one that had crossed her mind so many times as she wondered how the person who it belonged to was doing. She would always silently send love and light and then would go on about her day.

She was relieved to see the name now because at last, the ice had been broken and she was grateful that she hadn't had been the one to take the first step.

She was angry too. At herself. She should have been the bigger person, she should be the one reaching out.

Lastly, she was surprised that the name and number were still stored in her phone. But, then again of course they were.

Four

Five

Six rings.

Letting the call go to voice mail would be the easiest course of action and the most cowardly.

She turned on the lamp on the bedside table, took a deep breath and answered the call.

Before she could say a word, she heard:

"Hello, I'm Sean."
Who? Was he crying?

"You don't know me. I'm your sister's husband.
What the hell? She got married?! I suppose a lot can happen in five years.

I'm using her phone. I, um found your number in her contacts."
She still has my number in her phone too.

"Okay?"

There was a long pause and a very heavy sigh and somehow she knew that the next words out of his mouth would change her life forever.

"Well, you see, um, there has been an accident. She didn't make it."

"What?"

"Your sister and our daughter died tonight in a car accident. I thought you should know."

Silence.

Regret.

Loss.

Nothing would keep me from talking to my sister! This post is fiction and was written for The Red Dress Club's writing assignment, Red Writing Hood. This week's prompt was to write a piece surrounding the following details: In the middle of the night, you get an urgent call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Something terrible has happened. What is it and why is he/she calling you?

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hot Stuff

I thought I was hot stuff the minute I earned my first pay check.

I spent half a summer telemarketing and I hated every second of it, but the pay check at the end of each week was awesome. It made me believe that I didn't need anyone or anything to make it in the world. School schmool. As long as I could make money, I would be alright. At 17, that's what I thought it was all about.

The problem was I actually enjoyed school and I believed what my parents were telling me: I could make a lot more money if I had an education. Win-win!

I thought I was hot stuff the moment I graduated from high school.

I thought the friends I had then, I'd be friends with forever. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and was completely full of myself. In reality, I didn't have a clue in my head who I was or what my place in the world would be.

Luckily there was college... the epitome of hot suff!

I partied my ass off, attended class most days (as long as they didn't interfere with my soaps), changed my major four times, held a part time job and thought I was learning everything I'd ever need to know about the world around me.

Now that I had a degree under my belt, I quickly found out I was more lost than ever.

No longer having school to fall back on, it was time to get a real job... a career.

I accepted the first $22,000/year job offered to me and felt very much like an adult. I was making decisions left and right about my life; how to spend my time, money and energy, I was paying rent and choosing where to shop, vacation and whether to call it a night or have another drink, knowing full well that I'd be hung over in the morning as I sat in a mandatory meeting.

But by golly, finally I was an adult!

Or so I thought.

I gained years, perspective and experience, but it wasn't until almost 12 years later, when I had my son that I truly felt like a grown up.

It wasn't until I was responsible for another person's health, safety, well being and comfort, that I felt grown up.

It wasn't until I loved to my heart's fullest capacity that I grew up.

I can go from zero to irate in less than 38 seconds so while I may still be working on my maturity level, I am definitely a grown up now and my son thinks I'm hot stuff!

This post was written for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, Prompt 1.) The moment I realized I was a grown up, inspired by...(drum roll, please) yours truly! Thanks, Kat. :)

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No Fair!


This post is for Wordless Wednesdays and if you want to link up, or see some really beautiful photographs, please visit Alicia at Project Alicia. This week, she is seeing yellow up close and personal.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Second Child

There was a time when my husband and I wanted to have (gulp) three children, but chances are with more than one miscarriage and my our advancing age, that won't be happening. We are hopeful that we will have at least one more...

We are currently in the throes of deciding when the perfect time is to have another baby, so I love hearing how other couples reached this decision and how it affected their threesome, which is why I invited Jessica of My Time As Mom here today.

Jessica has become my late night Scrabble friend and I love reading about her two adorable little girls. Jessica's youngest is Lucas' age, so we spend a lot of time
commiserating comparing notes with one another over nap time, bedtime and toddlerhood.

Please welcome, Jessica!

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For five years life was spent with one child. My daughter was the center of attention, the joy of our lives, and the beginning of my gray hair.

My husband and I both worked full time and I was also going to college full time. Life was busy but we were still able to spend time as a family, just the three of us.

But we talked; we talked a lot about having a second child. We thought we could afford another kid. We thought we would have enough love for an addition to our family.

But we also thought what the hell are we thinking?

Our daughter was five. She could feed herself. She slept through the night. She was potty trained. I could sleep late in the mornings.

She was almost in school and the daycare bills had an end in sight – finally.

We would be starting all over.

Being pregnant again, my body growing and stretching after I worked so hard to get it back to normal after the first child. Our life would be filled with sleepless nights, diaper changing, baby crying, and car seat carrying. Money would be spent on countless baby accessories instead of designer jeans and flip-flops (for me of course).

Did we really want to give up the freedoms we had spent years gaining back as our daughter became older?

The truth – yes, we did want to give up these things. We wanted a second child. We wanted our oldest to have a sibling to share her life with just as my husband and I both had as kids. We wanted another person in our family and we wanted to start all over again.

So we did. And we have never regretted the decision.

Will we have a third?

No freaking way!!

I urge you to follow Jessica on Twitter and Facebook and look for her posts: Bedtime with a Toddler Sucks, because it's hilarious and Cheater Cheater, in which she admits to cheating at Scrabble and yet, I still play with her every night. Hmmm.

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The Power Of Words



Use your words. They are powerful.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Just For Me


This post is for Post-It Note Tuesday (PINT) developed by That One Mom at Only Parent Chronicles. post signature

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Just Right

At 22 months old, Lucas is very tall for his age: 33 inches, putting him in the 95th percentile. I'm 5'8" and his father 5'11". This kid is going to be tall.

In an effort to "see" the world from his vantage point, I've been observing how he uses his height:

33 inches is not quite tall enough to flip light switches on and off in our house, but at our friend's Suzy's house he can stand on tippy toes and do it over and over and over again.

33 inches is tall enough to open the doors in our house, and sometimes lock them too. Gulp!

33 inches is not tall enough to reach the flowers in the middle of the dining room table, but he can climb up on the dining room chairs and do it, so that's a win-win for him.

33 inches is tall enough to open the refrigerator, but he lacks the upper body strength. On the other hand, he is very good and helping to close slam the door.

33 inches is almost tall enough to get your head whacked on the corner's of our kitchen counter. 34 inches is going to be painful.33 inches is tall enough for your feet to reach the pedals on your tricycle, but being pushed by Mommy or Daddy is way more fun.

33 inches is not tall enough to play the video games at our favorite pizza place.

33 inches is tall enough to open the drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms and feel what's inside, but not quite tall enough be able to pull the contents out.

33 inches is tall enough to grab books, photos and decorative trinkets off the book case in our living room, but he has no interest, thank goodness.

33 inches is just right.... for now.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Big Boy Bed

Last week, this is where Lucas slept:
This week, this is where Lucas sleeps:
Our baby isn't a baby anymore and he loves his big boy bed!
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