Stock the Stoller

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Alright, people. We are now T-minus 35 days until baby Leo is set to arrive. I've been in frantic baby prep mode, much to the delight of my husband, and getting everything as ready as possible. I'm already freaking out about this second human I'm going to have to take care of, so I'm trying to take care of these last minute things so there aren't any surprises along the way. 
One thing I do know we're pretty much set on-- diapers and booze. A few weeks ago we had a combo housewarming and baby shower at our new house. We had wanted to share our new home with friends and family, and decided to throw in a baby shower to so we could celebrate our newest babe on the way. 
Now, I hate showers. Not real showers, I love showers (when I eventually do get a chance to take them) but I hate bridal and baby showers. For myself at least. I'm not the type to play games or open presents in front of people and ooh and ahh over diaper cakes. Why do people make diaper cakes anyway? It's not real cake. And now they are all crumpled up everytime you need one. Keep them in the freakin' box.
Anyway... back to the party.
We decided to mix it all up, invite our friends and family for a BBQ, chill, relax, and have a no-agenda type party. We didn't make a registry, we didn't have a "theme" per se, but instead decided on having a Stock the Stoller party.

I wish I could say this was my idea, but when talking to my mom and best friend about my hatred toward baby showers and saying "I wish I could just register at Total Wine", they both had a collaborative idea to have a "Stock the Bar" party-- but instead of only bringing booze to stock our shelves, guests could also bring diapers of various sizes and "Stock the Stroller".

Perfect right? Because really, those are the essentials of new parents. Give us a shit ton of diapers so that we don't have to worry about late night trips to the store, and give us alcohol so that we can cope with being parents of a newborn and a two-year-old.

Despite having rained all morning, the sky cleared and we had a great time feasting on some delicious locally-catered BBQ, watching the kids play in the backyard and running through the bubble machine, and laughing and hanging out with our people. No games. No cutesy shit. Just a good ol' time on a Saturday afternoon.

We are stocked and ready to go at this point-- now we just need a baby. We're excited for what's ahead of us and to meet Leo (who has been barreling around in my belly for months, I have no doubt he will come into the world that way)...

And sidenote: the moment that I can hear my electric wine opener on a fresh bottle of I-don't-even-care-what-it-is,  will also be a glorious day!

It's A ____...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

In case you haven't been following on my other social media outlets, we're adding to the crazy with another boy on the way. We found out before Valentine's Day (talk about procrastinating a blog post), and I'm finally over the initial shock of discovering we were having another boy. I shouldn't say finally over... but it definitely took a hot minute. The flooding amount of text messages I received after finding out the gender of baby #2 were all along the lines of, "Oh my god! I can't believe it!" and "Are you okay!?"
And rightfully so. Up until the last millisecond, I believed this babe was going to be a girl. I had been dreaming of a little brown-eyed girl for months, I'd felt zero pregnancy symptoms, I looked different, I felt different--I was absolutely certain. And to be quite honest, hopeful. Of course I wanted a little girl, I won't deny that fact. Not because of the cute clothes and future outings to the nail salon but I had just dreamed of having a mother-daughter relationship. I speak to my mom everyday and we've always been extremely close--I have always wanted that same thing with my own future daughter.

So, in our little tradition of finding out the gender via a scribbled-on piece of paper from the sonographer, my husband and I went next door to grab some donuts and reveal the surprise. We did the same thing with Lucca, just wanting to experience it together and just the two of us so we decided to keep it going. The envelope sitting in front of us was terrifying. I opened it while G recorded the reveal on my phone. When I saw "BOY" written across the picture of our babe, I cried-laughed and contorted my face in positions I had never seen before. This is a recording that is never to be viewed by anyone. It wasn't necessarily disappointment, it was just...shock. My mind was already pre-programmed into thinking we would be having this little mini-me of a daughter, and when I opened up the envelope I honestly didn't know what to think.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm absolutely happy that our baby boy is as healthy as can be and I've been extremely lucky during this pregnancy as it's been a breeze this time around. However, I will be completely honest when I tell you that when I got into my car after leaving the donut shop (also after inhaling 3 donuts), I cried my eyes out all the way home. I ignored the texts and phone calls. I needed to process this information by myself, radio blaring, until the second I pulled up into my driveway. I needed that. And I'm pretty sure that a lot of people have reacted this way, but maybe felt guilty to tell the tale. Did I feel shitty for feeling that way? Of course I did. But I needed to process my own thoughts and feelings on that 25 minute drive to say, "Alright. We can do this."

And now with 11 weeks left until this bouncing babe (literally he never stops moving) arrives, I'm in full-force baby prep.  We're trying to prepare Lucca for his transition into being a big brother, switching rooms, switching beds, and getting ready for this little person to come into our lives. I see the excitement in Lucca's eyes when he talks about his "baby bru-yah" and I can already picture the craziness and chaos and fun that these two little boys will encounter. I'm happy for Lucca that he gets a sibling to share special moments with and for another sweet boy who is just as wild and free as my firstborn.

That initial shock has worn off, and I've moved on to dreaming of holding my sweet baby boy and reading books together in Lucca's big-boy room. I always think about the two of them together, looking up to their daddy and emulating him in every way possible. It's those thoughts that make me smile--and I know whole-heartedly that I'm so incredibly lucky to be raising two little boys.

So you can stop asking now if I'm alright. I'm more than alright. I'm the happiest I've ever been, and I can't wait to meet this little person who will bring another element of joy into our crazy family.

See you soon, little man. You've already stolen my heart.

F U Jonas

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

As I'm sure you already know, Winter Storm Jonas was a royal pain in everyone's ass a couple weeks ago. It started out innocently enough. A few flakes on Friday, just to say "Alright ya'll, I'm comin'.." and then it snowed all night long. It was fun to wake up and see the snow piled high on our back deck; Lucca was amazed at how the snow was taller than him when we opened the door. But then, it never stopped. It just kept on coming down in massive amounts with high winds making 5 foot snow drifts just outside our back door. The snowfall didn't die down until almost 10 p.m., and we were officially snowed in.

Now did we prepare for this epic blizzard? Absolutely not. I rushed to Walmart on Friday morning for some last minute provisions when there was an announcement that a shipment of snow shovels had arrived. Luckily, I survived my first chaotic experience of rushing to an checkout aisle to snag one of the last shovels with other crazed Walmart shoppers. But damn, I could have really used some alcohol to stock up on. This was my first snowstorm being held up with my husband (and child!) without being able to consume alcohol. I panicked for a moment wondering how I'd make it out alive.

Without any booze filling up my trunk, I had the greatest idea: DONUTS. I drove over to the Dunkin' Donuts across the street with high hopes of filling the void of alcohol consumption with calories covered in sprinkles. I walked in to a line 8 people deep, and when I peeked around the corner I almost cried. The shelves were practically empty. REALLY? I wasn't giving up. I would round up whatever passed-over donuts were left and I would stuff my face with them. But nothing had sprinkles on them. There was even a banana creme bullshit donut that made it's way in there, and I filled up a box of Munchkins just to have some kind of glazed something. All in all, it was a box full of disappointment when I walked out of that DD. Still, I ate 4 munchkins on the way home.

Saturday was tough. We exhausted every indoor activity you could possibly think of. Crafting. Painting. Play-Doh. Dance parties. Fort building. Games on the iPad. Building blocks. Playing in the basement. I did my best to space them out over a period of time. "We will do A, B and C. Have a snack, watch a show, eat lunch and nap." It sort of worked, and we tried to take turns with activities, but for the most part each activity only last for several minutes. We were so freakin' tired. And even with nap time upon us, we still had X amount of hours before it was time for bed.

The next day we went sledding with our friends, which was the most painstaking experience of my pregnant life. After getting everyone bundled up which took a decade long, I began sweating 5 minutes in. It literally took us 30 minutes to walk down the street, and once we tredged through the waist-deep snow across the school yard to the sledding hill, we were just about spent. Not to mention Lucca was not well equipped as far as snow gear goes. We get a D+ in snowstorm preparedness. Rain boots instead of snow boots, Greg's snowboarding gloves because he didn't have any, and a 2 inches-too-short snowbib. We went down the hill a few times, but after about the third time of his boot slipping off and the threat of frostbite (his ankles were bright red) we walked down the street for some hot cocoa at our neighbor's house. If there were ever a time that I wished I could be airlifted three blocks back to my house, it was then.

We were trapped inside our house until Wednesday. THIS IS INSANITY FOR ANYONE WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. I called Lucca's gymnastics class the night before, wishing and praying that they would be open the following day. The roads were pretty clear, we could escape, and I felt like I had emerged from a dark cave out into the world. Finally, Lucca could jump off of something without getting yelled at, and I was wearing pants. Sort of. I'm pretty sure I resembled Charlize Theron in "Monster" when I showed up at the place. Scary, foreal.

Somehow, we survived. Look, I don't know how we did. I don't know how I didn't find myself in an extreme mental state. I don't know how I survived nearly 6 days trapped inside my house in a snowstorm without a sip of alcohol. But I did. I'm here to tell the tale. For sure, this will be one of those "hey remember when I was pregnant with ____ and Lucca was little and we got two feet of snow? How fun!" moments that I'll look back on and think wow that was wonderful... but I'm still in recovery mode.

And I swear to God, every single flake that falls from the sky since then I have cursed. This can't happen twice can it? Because if it does, I may not be able to tell the second story.


Potty Training 101: The Saga Continues

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

So back towards the end of the Summer, we began our potty training journey. We didn't really jump right in, per se, but when Lucca showed us that he could actually "go" on the potty, we just kinda went with it. We bought 18 different potty seats, stocked up on pull-ups, and really for the most part just let him hang out in his birthday suit during the day so he'd be more likely to use it when he felt he needed to.
It's now January (2016!); a new year, a new approach. Well really, it's the same approach, but now we're ALL IN. We said goodbye to pull-ups during the day when we go out and have since made the commitment to bathroom trips in public places and using our portable potty seat (in the backseat of the car, on the side of the road, at the playground..etc.)
I didn't think I could commit to this part of the "training" because I couldn't see myself dropping my kids pants behind the neighborhood park, but here we are. I mean shit just got real, folks. We are four days in to an underwear-only deal and so far haven't had any accidents. 
Knock on wood. Cross your fingers. Pray to God.
I'd say for a two-year-old boy, he's doing pretty damn well. But I'm not here to dote on his potty training skills. I'm here to share two separate instances, both happening in the same week, to where a trip to the public restroom became a nightmare.
Here's the thing: I DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW PEOPLE TAKE A TODDLER INTO A RESTROOM AND MAKE IT OUT ALIVE. I don't. He touches everything. And I mean everything. The floor, the flusher, the trash receptacle on the side of the wall (gag!). Every time we go to a public restroom, I'd like to just jump in the car and head home to dunk him in the bathtub. And so much for that portable potty seat ring thingamajig that is supposed to help them sit on the top of the adult-sized seat. Maybe it's just my kid, but somehow, someway, he still manages to grab on to where I'm sure someone's body parts once touched the toilet seat just minutes before. 
It's impossible right? It's impossible to make it out of there completely germ-free and still get the job done. I wish he understood the severity of the situation when I'm yelling "OH MY GOD don't touch that! Put that down! Don't put your fingers in there!"
But this past week, that was the least of my problems...
On Wednesday I took Lucca to gymnastics at our local Little Gym. It was a typical morning, he was off-the-wall excited, not listening to the teacher, jumping off of equipment in ways that I'm sure they aren't meant to be used. So when he started to do a tip-toe dance and headed for the bathroom, I jumped on that opportunity. We went in, locked the door, and he sat down (sans potty seat) and went. I immediately had to go right after he finished, so I moved him out of the way to sit down. 
He assumed that our time spent in the bathroom was done and he was ready to return to his class, and as I heard the instructor just outside the door near the balance beam showing the new "skill of the week", he ran over to the handle, and pulled it down unlocking the door. Look people, I'm going to spare you the actual details of what happened in between me trying to pee really quickly and me jumping off of the seat and flinging myself to slam the door before the entire room saw my pants-less pregnant ass-I'm not that kind of blogger.  Let's just say it was not pretty.
Our second public bathroom experience happened in Home Depot on a lovely Sunday morning. My husband was busy ordering blinds for our new house, and while I was chasing Lucca through the aisles (after he escaped from the stroller) I suddenly had to use the restroom. I dragged Lucca along with me in hopes that he would attempt to go potty as well. After stripping him down to his bare ankles, he didn't go, and I had to go again (thanks pregnancy...) I dressed him again, told him to "stand right there" (I mean, who am I kidding?) and sat down. 
And then he escaped. With a little giggle he slipped backwards underneath the stall door. 
Why does he keep doing this to me!? Clearly we are NOT done here.
Again, I do my best to pull myself together, pants halfway down my legs, to fling open the door and grab him with one hand. Luckily nobody came into the restroom until we were on our way out, so there wasn't anyone else who witnessed this unfortunate situation. 
But you better believe, when we left the bathroom, he took a sharp right and bolted down the aisles. Bystanders were laughing, I was cursing and sweating, and after losing him for 15 seconds I found him in the storm door aisle hiding from me. And sure enough, my husband comes around the corner and says, "Oh there you guys are..." like we were just having a joyful time frolicking around Home Depot.
This potty training deal is exhausting and I will never use a public restroom with my son in tow ever again because he cannot be trusted.
The end.

Fighting Fatigue

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My husband looked at me from across the dinner table with the most exhausted face I've ever seen and asked me, "Are we always going to be tired?"
Yes. Yes, we are always going to be tired.
The last few months for us have been a whirlwind. We've been house hunting in the little spare time we have, staying up late with Lucca struggling to find ways to get him to go back to sleep, working the daily grind everyday and fighting to find time to stay awake when the workday is finished.
The good news: we found a house. Finally. This has been the longest, most drawn out experience-- one we began before we even got married. We put that on hold for the wedding. Fast forward two years, we begin the search again while I'm REALLY pregnant. We never found what we were looking for, I desperately needed to "nest" somewhere, anywhere, and at 8 months pregnant we moved into another rental. Two years later, we started our (very narrowed down) search once again, and finally found our home.
I was so happy to FINALLY not have to be up late waiting for the newest listings to pop up, to bring Lucca along to showings during the most inopportune times (i.e.: lunchtime, nap time, dinner time) and to think about spending yet another year renting. We put in offers on two other houses which didn't pan out, but we felt like third time was a charm. I took it as a good sign when Lucca actually broke one of the homeowner's decorations--like "Heyy! We're home! Let's break shit!" Our offer was accepted and now, three weeks before Christmas, we're frantically packing up our house for our big move.
Our house is currently in shambles right now--there is crap everywhere, Lucca has limited toys to play with, and the boxes are piling up. The only time to pack is when Lucca is sleeping, either napping or at bedtime, so the packing process is slow-moving. I don't know what's worse--packing and moving while 8 months pregnant or packing and moving with a two-year-old. It's a toss-up.
The other good news: Lucca kind of sleeps through the night again. It's funny to look back and replay all the things we've done to try and get this kid to sleep in his bed. I'm all about the cry-it-out deal, but that doesn't exactly work with a toddler. The screams and hellacious sounds coming from that child at 2 a.m. was enough for my neighbors to ask me if everything was OK in our house. We were so exhausted we let him sleep in the bed--and I slept in the guest bedroom. 
Greg and I took turns rocking him, putting him back to bed, only to be awoken to screams and cries minutes later. We patted his back until we practically fell asleep ourselves over the side of his crib railing. We slept in his rocking chair to let him know we were still there. We slept on the floor. We bought a night light toy. Slowly, and slowly we convinced him to lay down and go back to sleep himself. And today, he has certain requests: Door stays open, pat his back, books in his bed, light on in the hallway. Whatever works, kid. Just please for the love of God shut your eyelids.

Don't get me wrong, I love these chaotic days of toddlerhood and listening to all the ridiculous things my son tells me- "I'm sorry Mommy. I can't give you a hug right now. I have a muffin in my hand." But I ache for sleep something so fierce... and I'd really like to keep my eyeballs open enough to have a conversation with my husband after 6 p.m.

So we push on through this crazy time in our life with eyes half-open and walking around like zombies. Packing up and moving on to the next chapter. Maybe sleep will be in our future, maybe it won't. But for now, yes, we will always be tired...but at least we'll be tired together.

5 Things I Wish My Toddler Understood

Friday, November 20, 2015

My son just turned two a month ago, and we are all still adjusting to this new, ahem, “phase”. The fact is, two year olds think they run shit. They live life according to their own agenda, and my kid is no exception. I know we’re likely to endure this stage of toddlerhood for awhile, but there are a few things I just wish my son knew already…

1. Just because you can pick it up and hold it, does not mean it needs to be flung clear across the room.
I have dodged so many objects that have been hurdled toward my face. Legos, stuffed animals, mulch, forks, diapers. I’ve considered wearing a hockey mask to protect myself. No place is safe.

2. You don’t have to do the opposite of what I ask you EVERY SINGLE TIME. Surprise me once in awhile, ya know? Actually eat your food, don’t feed the dog your mac and cheese. Hold my hand in the parking lot instead of making a daring dash past the car. Honestly, your brain is working overtime to give it that much thought. Give your little head a break.

3. You don’t need to see my face at 3 a.m. every morning. You will be awake in 3 more hours, calling from your bed to come get you and demanding a cup of milk. Let’s just wait for that moment. I’ll be happier to see you at a decent hour and might even give in to a few of your requests. 

4. You don’t own everything. The slide at the park is not yours. My shoe; not yours. The dog’s tail; not yours. I understand this is your world and were just living in it, but you can’t just claim everything you set your eyes on. 

5. You do own your boogers. Though I fully appreciate your effort in sharing with me, really, you can keep your boogers to yourself. I don’t need to wear them as an accessory on my sleeve or shoved in my face inches away from my eyeballs. Boogers; yours.

Patience is NOT my Virtue

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Two weekends ago, after a hurried and stressful mall outing with Lucca, my husband said to me "You don't handle tantrums well."
This came after Lucca refused to sit in his stroller then ran back and forth with it in the dressing room hallway of Banana Republic, banging it into the walls and doors and running over anyone in his path. (My apologies again to the victims). Then he wanted to run toward the escalators on the second floor and I wouldn't let him near it. Our little Sunday afternoon outing ending after I used several quick one-armed lifts to get him out of other people's way, only to be 'toddler-ed' and thus making the situation worse.
No, I'd say I don't handle tantrums well. My patience level has absolutely deteriorated in the last year, and I believe I can thank the terrible-twos for this. Sometimes I wonder how I ever was a teacher in my previous life. As a teacher, I had an abundance of patience. Not just for one child, but for 14 children. I had rocks thrown at my face, I've had punches and kicks thrown my way, I've been yelled at, and endured a countless amount of tantrums on a daily basis. 
So why the hell can't I handle this with the same grace as I did before?
I know I'm not the only one experiencing this. I know this comes with the territory. My friend assured me the other day (as my son was running around dangerously close to the parking lot outside of Starbucks) that it will, in fact, get better. But right now, it's tough. It's exhausting. It's a constant battle. More and more I see how strong-willed Lucca is, how much I fight back, and usually the fight just isn't worth fighting.
I'm all about finding a method to the madness, the calming techniques, setting boundaries, and blah blah blah. But in that moment, all of that is bullshit to me. In that moment, I'm fighting against the will of a thirty-pound mini-person who has just recently discovered his ability to scream at the top of his lungs. My patience for this usually lasts about all of 30 seconds. After about the third or fourth attempt to "calm down", I CAN'T CALM THE F*&$ DOWN. Enter the one-armed scoop, the over the shoulder-potato-bag lift, the under-the-armpit-kicking-and-screaming pick-up, and I'm just looking for a way out.

My husband is a saint. He'd be a great teacher. He's calm. He's cool. He's collected. Complete opposite of how I handle these situations. But being home with him every single day, ALL day, I'd say I get the majority of the meltdowns. My husband probably experiences 2% of the tantrums that I encounter on a daily basis. God love him, but I think he'd probably lose his shit too three days in.

I'm not looking for any advice or suggestions to parenting books. I just need the "girl, I'm right there with you" camaraderie. I love this age--I love to watch him become more independent, to see him explore, make friends, show emotions, ask questions. But HOLY CRAP, people. Toddler tantrums are enough to put any mother in a nut house.