Sunday, October 30, 2011


Woke up yesterday morning and this is what we saw:

Um. Does mother nature realize we live in Virginia? and more importantly, does she also realize it is October? I haven't even put away sandals yet, let alone dig out boots and winter gear. 

But don't worry! It didn't take long for the girls to get excited about playing in the snow and wearing snowsuits! I started to ask Mairead why in the world she wanted to put her snow suit on with only a dusting of snow, but then I remembered....she's just a kid and very excited about snow! Ah, to be young again! 

Mairead also didn't waste any time getting out her Sunday River ski map to start planning her first ski run this winter!

Not only did the girls get out and play and romp in the snow, they did some serious snow snacking, too! Clara wasn't too excited about the snow. She was too disappointed that she didn't have Bog boots just like her big sisters. She attempted to go outside barefoot, but that didn't last very long! 

After naps, we realized we had a very limited amount of toilet paper in the house. So, we went off to Target for a quick trip. Callum was all snug inside my fleece pouch and his cute new reindeer hat we bought while we were up north in October. 

I sure hope this isn't the only "winter" we see here in Virginia! I hope we get whacked with snow! 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Evidence she IS learning!

It is amazing that Mairead is learning to read and write! I couldn't be more proud of my big girl! She loves to practice writing and lately, she has done an amazing job at sounding out words all by herself. 

Last week, she and Lilah took a nature class on Bats. Here is her latest sentence about Bats:

Translation: "All Bats "c.u.m" out at night" 

This one was definitely photograph and blog worthy! :)

**notice I had to put the word c.u.m like this.....I notice a lot of people searching on the internet for dirty things, and definitely don't want that word to attract any more crazies out there!!!! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Queen Vs. King

Before we were married and had lots of kids, we bought a new bed. 

Should we get a King? we thought.

Nah! Won't we always want to snuggle? Plus our children will never share our bed. 



We were blessed with a honeymoon, baby, Mairead. And learned that some battles aren't worth fighting. We learned just how awesome and special co-sleeping was. And in a Queen it was just fine. A little tight, but still cozy. 

So, what do we do? Buy a brand new Queen mattress. 

Then, our sweet little Lilah Loo comes along. Hmmmmm. How will we co-sleep with a newborn and a toddler in a queen. We moved Mairead into a cot in our room. And we remained perfectly content in a Queen.

Clara is born and we realize space is getting tight in our Queen size bed. Story time was leading to fights over space and who is or isn't too squished. 

What do we do? We bring just one more sweet little baby into our bed. Uh oh. And story time in our Queen size bed is no longer fun and enjoyable with everyone fighting and screaming over a comfy place to lay under cozy blankets with mommy and daddy.

So, we move to Virginia. We have a nice, large master bedroom. Our Queen boxspring won't fit upstairs. Is this a sign? 

Kevin and I look at each other. YEP. We need a King.

Six years after we buy a brand new sleigh bed (hey, our parents need a bed now at our house) and four years after buying a brand new queen mattress, we buy a KING.

But, with a King comes more trouble. It doesn't fit our sleigh bed. For our 6 year anniversary (which is WOOD for the gift) we go on the hunt for a brand new bed. We spent a few weeks dragging four kids through furniture stores trying to find that perfect bed, but unfortunately, nothing was made that great, and everything was so expensive. Why does everything have to be made in China and appear so cheap? And cost an arm and a kid. 

Kevin gets online and visits Ethan Allen. He finds the New Country, Quincy Bed and I literally start to drool. Oh. My. Gawd. That is THE bed. It's made in VERMONT. Pure 100% WOOD. And absolutely beautiful. 

We visit the store and it's the first piece of furniture you see as you walk in the door. It is just as beautiful in person. I looked at Kevin and said:

"I want that bed. Aren't you glad you showed me this???" 

He was thrilled. 

No, really. We both loved it and thought it would be perfect. It was American made in New England. Solid wood and perfect. We felt special for employing American workers. 

We waited close to 12 long weeks for this bed and it finally came today. 

The girls were all dressed in their halloween costumes, and had to get the first jumps in on it! 

Then tonight, all six of us snuggled up together under blankets and watched the Charlie Brown Halloween special on TV. It was awesome... 

So. Moral of the story? If you're going to have kids, don't waste your money on a Queen!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Speeding by reason of Insanity?

Today was one of those days.

I'm tired. I need a break.

Mairead has been great today. Lilah not so much. Her behavior has been less than spectacular these days and I am just not sure what is going on. We are trying to be consistent but sometimes it seems as though she could care less about consequences and when when we do take something away, she appears very apathetic. Trying to find something that will really impact her to behave appropriately has been tough.

Today, I gave her a warning. Her response "No" -  in a very sarcastic manner.

Me: "Two strikes"

Lilah: "Uhhh, No."

Me: "Three stikes, Lilah, and you've lost movie night"

Lilah: "Oh nooo (sarcastically), I will watch a movie"

She just doesn't care. We were late for gymnastics and I still had to change Callum, wipe Clara's butt and make sure we had everything to get out of the house.

We get in the car. Clara wouldn't get in her car seat. Ugh.

We're off to gymnastics and we will be late. I hate being late. I hate feeling so unorganized and rushed.

We're driving along, the kids screaming and fighting about  which song they want to listen to - of course it's different than what the other one wants. I try to ignore it without screaming and I look in my rearview mirror and what do I see???

Police lights and sirens. Right. On. My. Tail.

Perfect. Just frickin' perfect.

He was pulling me over. Jack Ass. I thought. 

Of course, the kids lit up. Mommy, why is he pulling you over. Mommy, is he going to yell at you. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY. MOMMY

61 in a 45 zone. Sure. Whatever you say officer. You see, this mommy was trying to drown out the sounds of her screaming, fighting children in the back - hey, this was one of the times I wish I had privacy glass! Hell, I could have been going 100mph and I probably wouldn't have known it. Give me a damn ticket jack ass and let me get my kids to gymnastics so they'll be good and tired for the rest of the day.

He tried being nice. Asking me why I had Florida plates. Told him my husband was an active duty Coast Guard officer and we just moved from Maine. Dude, stop being nice and let me get on with my day. He walks back to his car and the kids start blasting me with questions.

Me: This is what happens when you don't follow the rules. 

Mairead: Are you going to get a ticket? Can I see the ticket? .............repeat times 100.

Lilah: Why did he pull you over? Were you going to fast? What is he doing now?........repeat times 100

Clara: Goin' too fast maaaaaam? Police man pull you over? ............repeat.....repeat.

All these questions all at the same frickin' time. As if being pulled over wasn't bad enough - getting grilled by your kids was just as bad.

The guy gives me a ticket. And then more questions. Then the biggest question, that I couldn't answer:

Mairead: Mommy, why did you get a ticket and daddy didn't when he got pulled over? 

Me: I don't know. Maybe Maine police men are nicer than Virginia ones.

Court date is in December.. Thinking about bringing all four of my kids with me. It's at 130pm, prime nap time. You think I could plead "speeding by reason of insanity" and they'll just let me have a warning???

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's about time, mom!

For the last few weeks or so, Callum has become increasingly interested in what we are eating. I can no longer open a container of yogurt or eat an apple without him lunging towards food. So, whenever I am eating something "Callum friendly", I will give him a bite, let him suck on my apple and explore different tastes and textures of things.

On Friday night, we were out to dinner with the kids. Callum was in my lap and practically diving into my plate of food. The big girls were eating applesauce, so I grabbed a bite with my spoon and he took the spoon and shoved it into his mouth, as if he had been eating food for months.

From that moment on, he was in love. He would grunt for more, and kept sticking his tongue out as if he were a snake. His tongue is so long!!! I guess I can no longer keep him solely on mammas milk!

Then, on Saturday night, we sat down as a family, like we usually do every night. Instead of Callum being in his jumparoo, he sat like a big boy in his high chair for the very first time. I mixed up some applesauce and oatmeal, and he went to town. The kid was crazy. He would grab the spoon and shove it into his mouth as if I wasn't giving it to him fast enough. He made it virtually impossible to get the food into his mouth without his hands grabbing for the spoon. When we weren't feeding him, he was either screaming or grunting for us to give him more. 

The girls thought this was awesome. They had one gazillion questions about why he was eating, and what he was eating, you name it, they asked about it. It was super cute. Even Clara kept yelling "He likes it! He likes the applesauce!"

For our dinner, we had chicken and gnocchi with a lemon butter sauce. So, what do I do? Cut up tiny bites of gnocchi and gave it to him. Did he like it? Of couse he did!

If you know me well enough, you know that I don't follow any of the rules of "feeding a baby" - we feed them what we eat, unless it is not baby friendly. We follow the Baby Led Approach to feeding, just as we did with the girls and it has worked out fabulously! It's amazing to see just how ready an older infant is to eat. There is no tongue thrusting. No belly aches. And they know exactly what to do with the food. It is amazing. In the very beginning we will give them soft foods, but once they learn to manipulate new things in their mouth, there isn't much they cannot eat.

I think the only thing we give them that has "baby" on it is YoBaby yogurt! So from here on out, our sweet little boy is turning into big boy. I am so not ready to have him eating big boy food yet, but, I guess at 6.5 months old, he is ready. For the next few weeks, we'll take it slow, and then he will be off and running!

*I posted some new videos - on the right side.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Small town living

I wrote this a day last week after I had lunch with a dear friend...

As I drove through the back roads of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and through the streets of my hometown, I flash backed to my childhood. Passing homes of past friends, and memories flashing through. Windy roads, farms, old homes, you name it. It all spoke to me.

When I was living there, I used to wonder about life outside the small town. I couldn't wait to escape to a bigger, more exciting place. And then when I did, I started to slowly understand just how special small town living was. Every time I returned, I loved it even more. I appreciated the beauty. I appreciated the "boringness" even more.

Then, we had children in a metropolitan area. Lots of people. The complete opposite of where I grew up. I started to realize what I wanted in life. And when we moved to Maine, I realized the awesomeness of small town life. Every day, I fell more and more in love. It was everything I believed in for our family.

When we moved from Maine and back to Virginia over the summer, it was like a piece of me had been taken away from me. There was no more small town living and more people, buildings and craziness. Everyone always in a rush, sometimes too busy to stop and enjoy life. And here we are back in New England for a visit with family and friends, and I am once again reminded of how this lifestyle speaks right to my heart.

It's beautiful. Deep blue skies. Fresh air. Beauty.

Our girls have smiles plastered all over their faces. They remind me of why I love it here. They remind me why I believe in such a place. They beg to go outside. They beg to run. We see other children outside enjoying - running, biking, skating, you name it - they're outside enjoying life. I feel so relaxed and underwhelmed, and I know the girls do, too.

I guess I had to leave to understand just how much New England has to offer. I am so very lucky to have grown up in such a place. I am so very lucky to have been able to experience life in other parts of the country to truly appreciate the beauty of where I grew up. I look forward to settling back into the New England way of life with our family so they too can enjoy and appreciate some day in their life. So for now, I will soak up all the beauty, grace and everything else this place has to offer and try to just enjoy. Watch the smiles and laughters on our children as they enjoy it, too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where we've been...

From the day we moved, I started counting down the days until our trip home. And it finally came.

The trip home was originally planned so Kevin and I could run the Maine Marathon relay, but due to horrible weather, we bailed at the last second. We just couldn't justify having the kids outside in cold, wind driven rain while we ran. And let's be real, while I may "like" to run, I don't "like" to run in the rain. So, we didn't run. I'd lie if I said I wasn't disappointed in myself, but some things cannot be avoided.

On Thursday (Sept30) we loaded up the car and set off for a 505 mile drive to my parents house with four children, two dogs and a car packed. The kids did absolutely amazing. We stopped three times, two of them being short stops. The big girls did awesome. Clara did shockingly well. There were just a few times she yelled "out", but she was easily distracted. Callum did amazing, too. He slept and was very content.

The first day we were there was absolutely beautiful. We set off for the beach and some ice cream to kick off our vacation. The kids were in heaven and so were the dogs. Hell, who am I joking!? I was in heaven, too. It felt so good to be home.

On Saturday, we just hung out. My brother and his family came over and I made homemade pizza. The next morning we set out for a quick overnight trip to Maine to visit with friends. That evening we met several other families out at Flatbread pizza for some fun. It felt so good to reconnect with everyone. Mairead was in heaven and wouldn't stop hugging her good friend, Julia.

Monday we woke up and enjoyed the morning with some friends. It was like I never left, and I liked that. We then set out to visit our friends at Our School, Mairead's old preschool. After our visit, we went out to lunch with a good friend. It felt so amazing to be home again. Catching up with friends. Driving around our neighborhood. It sparked so many amazing memories of our three short years there.

After lunch, we headed back to my parents house. My parents live across the street from another Coast Guard family who have three children the same ages as the girls. The kids play great together! That night, the kids went to bed and at 6am, we were awoken by a screaming Mairead. She was screaming that her right leg (groin area) hurt and she couldn't walk. I had never seen her so upset before. It was scary. Over the last few weeks, she had mentioned that the same leg was bothering her. I was really nervous. Once we all got dressed and ready, I took Mairead to the emergency room. Yep, what would a trip away from home be without a trip to the emergency room? They did X-RAY's, bloodwork and we waited. Mairead couldn't walk and had to be carried everywhere. We waited some more. And some more. The X-RAY was normal, and we got reassuring news that her bloodwork was normal, too. We left the hospital without any real answers. The next morning, we had a follow-up appointment with an orthopedic doctor. He diagnosed her with toxic synovitis, which made sense because the kids all had a viral fever a few weeks back. Thankfully there are no longterm implications and she was fine....oh, and could walk, just fine, too!

That afternoon, my mom took the big girls to their very first movie theatre experience to see The Lion King 3D. While they were there, I took Callum to visit a dear friend ( an old co-worker) who was diagnosed with leukemia over the summer. I brought her and her husband lunch and spent a few hours with her. It was a nice afternoon with her. She has helped me so much with any breastfeeding questions I have had, so the least I could do was bring them lunch. That evening we had dinner with some friends of ours and their three children. It was great to catch up with them!

On Thursday, we had plans with some more Maine friends - the activity never stops!!! We headed up there for the day and hung out with friends. Once again, the girls were in heaven playing all day long. Being home makes me so homesick. I never thought I'd miss that place as much as I do. I think it was also hard to see the girls so happy. They just had smiles of joy on their face for the entire day and comments such as "Mommy! I am having so much fun!" or "Mommy! I love playing with all of my friends."

Friday we went apple picking. It was a gorgeous day! We all had some fresh baked apple cider donuts and then headed out into the orchards. The girls ate countless apples. Clara had some two year old troubles, but thankfully, she quickly snapped out of it and had a great time. After apple picking, we headed to our favorite sandwich restaurant for some lunch. Mmmmmm! That evening we headed to my brother's house to celebrate the birthdays of Clara, my mom, Kevin, and my cousin Sean. It was great to see everyone.

Saturday we took an impromptu trip to the Topsfield fair with my parents. When we got there, we had a massively flat tire. My dad and Kevin changed it and when we got home, we had to buy new tires. Ugh. I hate cars. We all had a great time at the fair. It was HOT outside, almost too hot for a fair, but overall, we all had a great time, and it was a perfect way to spend the last day of our vacation. When we got home, my parents neighbors came over, the kids all played, we drank a few drinks and ordered pizza. The perfect way to end our vacation and to spend a Saturday night. God, I miss this place.

Our ride home was thankfully uneventful. The kids did just as awesome on the way home as they did on the way to New England. We had such a great time and I cannot wait to go back home again to see everyone. The girls are already asking when we are going back, too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Half of a Year

I don't know about you, but life with kids is equivalent to life in the fast lane. Time goes by fast. Really fast. And when you have a baby, time goes by too fast.

Somehow, our sweet little Callum is six months old already. A half of a year. How is this possible? I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously, where the hell has time gone? How is it that he is 6 months old already? I am not ready for him to grow up. I love having a little baby to snuggle with. To nurse. To hold. To sleep next to. I love having a baby. I love babies. I could keep having them, really, I could...but don't worry, I won't :)

We've been in New England enjoying time with family and friends for the last ten days, which explains my absence on my blog. All of our family and friends cannot believe the changes in our sweet Callum. He is no longer the little baby. He changes everyday. No really, he does.

Callum is so laid back. His demeanor reminds me of Lilah as an infant. Just easy going. Happy just being with you. He may be even more laid back than his sister and I don't blame him. He has so much entertainment going on around him that he doesn't need to do anything on his own. He can roll over from belly to back, but it's only when he feels it is completely and utterly necessary to try - but why does he need to do it on his own? He has three sisters that will come over to him as he is screaming on his belly and roll him over. Yep. No need to even try. Drop a toy? No need to try and grab the toy, he'll just scream and one of his sisters will run over asap and grab the toy for him.

Sometimes his utter laziness worries me. I try not to think about his rough start and everything he went through. I try not to worry that everything we dealt in the beginning is a reason he is so lazy, and not barrel rolling across the room like his sisters did at this age. I tell myself that babies have such a wide range of "normal" when it comes to achieving milestones and the fact that he is progressing is the most important, even if it is slow.

I love that all I have to do is look at the prince to get him to smile, coo, laugh at me. He's just happy being with me. I love it. He is such a good baby, no, really he is. He is so easy. SO easy. I deserve it though after everything he put us through in the beginning. He had me wrapped around his little finger from hello. He loves his sisters. In the last month or so, he has really started to recognize them. He loves when they play rough with him. Clara's favorite line "He's laughin' mamma, he's laughin' at me!" - and he does. Just as I go to say "Clara! BE nice to him"- he starts laughing or has a smile on his face, which makes it tough to say "You're going to hurt him!" - "But maaaaaa! he likes it! he is smiling at me!" - they're right :).

Callum is a pretty good sleeper. He takes two good naps per day. One around 10am for about 1-2 hours and then another around 130-2pm for 2-3 hours. Depending on how well he naps during the day, he may/not take a quick evening snooze before he goes down for the night. He naps in his swing. I've tried breaking him of this habit, but it's just not working, so for now, I am not messing with success. I think once he can roll freely, he'll do great in his crib, but for now, he's in the swing. He generally is more than ready for bed around 730pm. I'll nurse him before Kevin and I head for bed around 1030 and he'll sleep anywhere from 4-8 hours. I never know. Overall, he has an amazing potential to be an awesome sleeper, so for now, I will just enjoy the cuddling at night. It surely won't last forever and I promised myself I would enjoy every last second with our last baby. He is also a "blankey" baby - he loves to snuggle with a blanket every chance he gets - in the car, stroller, bed, swing, you name it, he loves blankets.

I shouldn't have to mention that he loves to nurse. And I love to nurse him. He is nursing every 2-3 hours during the day and I have yet to even start solids with him. He just seems so immature and seems perfectly content on mamma's milk. Probably in the next few weeks, I will start giving him more and more tastes. He has however tried sucking on my apple, and loves it, but that is all he has had. If you were reading my blog when Clara was an infant, you may remember how lazy I was to start solids with her. Yeah. It will be a while before he is getting solids on a regular basis. I want to keep him little as long as possible :)

So, I just can't express how lucky we are to have such an amazingly sweet little prince. I can't hold him enough, love him enough, and snuggle with him enough. He's just so good. We are so lucky to have him with me. I honestly try each and every day to enjoy him because soon enough, he will be running around with his big sisters and not need his mamma so much.