Sunday, October 27, 2013

I can't believe ...

I can't believe...
How big my son Tyler is getting. He is almost 6 months old!

I can't believe...
How smart, amazing & beautiful my baby girl Julianna is at 3 and 1/2 years old!

I can't believe...
That I will be 43 this year. Blegh. I will go with the motto - 43 is the new 30?

I can't believe...
Summer is over. Fall is almost over. Bummer.

I can't believe...
Christmas is 2 months away. As much as I hate cold weather, I look forward to Christmas so much!

I can't believe...
Our hot water heater went boom. Again. Always happens at the WRONG time, like right when you are about to make another big purchase.

I can't believe...
It was 30 degrees yesterday morning when I woke up. Brrrrrrr.

I can't believe...
How much I love the show Nashville!

I can't believe...
How much I'm still in love with my husband after 12 incredible years together.

I can't believe...
My dog Pepper is 5 and 1/2 years old. I feel like we just brought her home as a puppy.

I can't believe...
How much I feel like I need a vacation. Bad.

I can't believe...
It's been a year since Hurricane Sandy hit here - and some areas aren't even close to being recovered.

I can't believe...
How much I really need a bigger house and it can't happen anytime soon because our housing market is still soooo flat here in NJ.

I can't believe...
How happy my son Tyler is all of the time. He laughs & smiles constantly. He lights up any room!

I can't believe...
That gas prices are dropping still. Maybe below $3? Do I dare dream.

I can't believe...
That I took so many pictures this fall and I haven't posted hardly any.

I can't believe...
How incredibly happy I am to have my job & I say it every day how lucky I am to work from home. Because of this, I am able to pick up my daughter from preschool on my lunch and drop her at daycare... and see my kids right away at 4:30 after work since my daycare provider is only a mile away. I am staying in my job until my retirement day.

I can't believe...
How excited I am to replace our 40 year old wood stove with a more efficient one. Sad what you get excited over in life as an adult. Ha!

I can't believe...
How boring sports is for our area this fall. No Baseball post-season. NY Giants just suck the big one. And any other sport is just not worth watching. Hockey? Nope sorry. So.... I guess I will catch up on TV series I've been wanting to watch (like "Royal Pains" & "Homeland")

I can't believe...
How much I love buying clothes for my babies! One might say I'm even addicted.

I can't believe...
How much I love Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks even it it is $4 for "tall" (Hint; rhymes with small).

I can't believe...
That Julianna is starting to like princesses, unicorns and dolls. She has never been into any of this stuff - but just recently started being interested and HAD to be a princess for Halloween! The princess has entered the building. Here we go.

I can't believe...
That Tyler is finally sleeping at night without being wrapped in a "Swaddle-Me". Especially good timing since he just rolled over for the first time this week. He's been sleeping through the night since 7 weeks old - but first time without a swaddle this week! Progress.

For the next couple of weeks, I'm going to focus on fall photography and step away from kid/parent stuff briefly. I have taken a lot of {hopefully} nice pictures lately... and I want to share them with you. I hope you enjoy my fall segment. Let me know what you think.

One of my favorite sunset shots of the lake that I've taken this year! 

 This was taken at a local marina on our lake. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Internal conflicts

No one tells you when you become a parent how many internal conflicts you are going to have daily, weekly, all the time! No one tells you that you are constantly going to wonder if you are making the right choices or saying the right things to guide your kids in the best direction. It's bad enough that before you have kids, you have to make so many decisions that affect your future good & bad. When you have children, you have to make decisions that will affect their future. That is a super scary thought for me. I don't want to be responsible for messing their lives up. I never know if I am making the right choices for my children... like what foods to feed them, what school to send them, daycare, routines, family time, time outs, tv time, organic or not organic, how to raise them both to respect themselves and others, how to make sure they have values & morals... and the list goes on and on. I see older mis-behaved kids or kids that have gone down a bad path in life - and I can't help but secretly pray that my kids will not turn out to be like that ... but how can I really prevent it? I don't know. All I can do is try my best. Maybe those 'bad' kid's parents thought they did their best too.

Lately I have had some major internal conflicts about how to handle my daughter's behavior. She is 3 and 1/2 years old ... and she whines A LOT. She whines and cries to try and get her way almost every time. She whines when she gets up in the morning, afternoon and evening too. She throws demands out there and tests us constantly. She yells she doesn't want me, she ONLY wants Daddy. Daddy daddy daddy. Daddy can do no wrong in her eyes. I know some of this is a daddy-daughter thing, but she goes way beyond that. It hurts my feelings and makes me so sad when she doesn't want me near her. I am truly starting to think I did something wrong to make her behave this way. I try to not give in to her demands and crying (to get what she wants) because I know it will only make her think she can do it again and again to get her way. I can't help but blame myself for her behavior some days like I caused it or did something wrong. Maybe I put too much pressure on myself to try and keep her 'perfect'. 

Some of Julianna's behavior totally stems from her jealousy of Tyler like when she tells Daddy to 'put Tyler down now' and hold her. When Tyler gets attention over her, she hates it. She does love Tyler because I see how she interacts with him daily, and I know she would never do anything to him.... however she is clearly jealous of the attention he gets and the time it takes away from her time with us. How long does this last for? I thought by the time Tyler was 5 months old, it would have subsided, but I guess not. Julianna doesn't act out as bad as she did when he was first born, but she does still have a lot of issues with him being here. I guess you could say she has her own internal conflict. No matter how much time we spend with her, it's still not the way it was before. Life has changed for her with the birth of Tyler, and she just has to get used to it. Heck - I am still getting used to 2 kids! 

Recently, we spent the day in the city with our friends and their 5 - yes five - kids. I was beyond amazed at how well behaved their kids were - and how easily they went with the day. Julianna was OK but not great. She whined & stomped her feet to get her way several times. She had a couple small tantrums and had an attitude when we tried to get her to do a few things she did not want to do. She refused to give up the stroller for Tyler when we tried to move him into it from the front-pack...which brought on another tantrum. So annoying in the middle of the new York City Subway platform with 500 people around you. I was so embarrassed and felt like I was "THAT" mom with "THAT" kid that everyone can't wait to be away from. I was talking to Brian on the way home and actually started to think maybe I (we) did something wrong. With that said, Tyler did great. He was in his carrying pack with me or Brian wearing him all day. He loved it. We had a very nice day all in all... will post about that another time. 

Brian and I had another (OMG!!) incident about a month ago where both kids were melting down at the same time (like REALLY REALLY SUPER REALLY bad) in a restaurant, and we had to get our dinners to-go and leave fast. We were there with our friends and I have never ever been forced to leave a restaurant because of my kids - It was my choice but no way was I staying there. We have been bringing Julianna out to eat since she was 3 weeks old. Same with Tyler. We did it so we could still have a life and go out with them - and we tried like heck to not be THOSE parents with THOSE kids. You know the ones. Oh wait, that is us! Ha! Then to top it off, some older woman said something to me to the effect of 'they moved their table because of my kids misbehaving'. I was in 'block-out' mode at that point because of Tyler & Julianna screaming. I felt like everyone was GLARING at us and cursing us under their breathe. 
I was beyond mortified. I couldn't pack up my stuff and grab our kid gear and dinners fast enough. I did not even hear the old lady comment until my friend who was there told me later what she said. (p.s. my pregnant friend went and told off the older lady after we left - Kudos to her!). Mind you we were in a super-kid-friendly place too. Even the owner came up to us outside and told us he felt so bad for us and asked if there was anything he could do. 
We will go back there... it's one of our favorite places to eat ever. But I have to tell you, I am a little traumatized and it might take a while to work up the nerve to go back. I am still traumatized. 
All I wanted to do was leave. I was so so embarrassed for my kid's behavior. I know Tyler can't help it, but Julianna was super-exceptionally terrible. I am talking top-o-the-lungs screeching & screaming - the blood curdling kind where she clinches her fists, turns red, screams & shakes! Kill me now. I know some of this is normal but maybe it's not. Nothing feels normal when she pulls that stuff. I'm just so conflicted because this is so difficult and I really do not know how to handle it sometimes other than praying for the earth to open up a hole and swallow me up. I have such patience with Julianna some days, and other days, I want to run away screaming (sometimes I do scream & yell too). Internal Conflict. Some days I think I have it all under control.. and other days I feel like my entire life is unraveling because I feel like I have no control over anything. 

With all this said... There are tender moments that I have with Julianna that wipes the slate clean for me. She will hold my hand unprovoked or tell me she loves me or snuggle with me... It makes it all worth it. I will end it with the fact that I love my husband and my children more than life itself, however sometimes I need an outlet to vent about bad days we experience & feelings I have. I am only human right?! 

We went apple picking a few weeks ago ... 
These are the times that make the "bad restaurant" day even out.

The girl loves her apples 

 This is how we roll.... in the apple orchard 

Tyler likes the hayride.

Hmmm ..... Which one 

It takes time & patience to pick the perfect apple.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our walk

Julianna woke up on Sunday morning and we heard her (through the monitor) say to Tyler, "Today is your heart walk day Tyler". My heart melted and even though she doesn't know what it really is about, at least she knows about the walk and was excited to go and she knew it had something to do with him.

Sunday was our CHD (Congenital Heart Defect) Coalition walk that I talked about in previous posts. Here is the link to my CHD Coalition page if you want to check it out. Technically it's not a "walk", it's a fundraiser & gathering for an amazing cause.  Yes you walk around the 'duck pond' but it's really about CHD warriors (survivors) and sadly in some cases, it's angels. The money raised was for Congenital Heart Defect Research & Awareness... Brian and I we raised $920! That was way more than I ever thought we would do. I am so thankful & blessed that we received the support & donations from our friends and family. It amazes me how fabulous other people can be when they know how important something like this is to you!

After spending most of the day at this event, my mind was spinning as to how much 'more' we could do for next year. We were part of the (Goryeb Children's) Hospital's team this year, but next year, I think I want to create our own CHD team for Tyler! We can do great things with this and I think I really want to go all out and recruit everyone I know to be part of this special event. It was such an emotional day to see all the CHD babies & children running around healthy and happy & it was so inspiring for Tyler's future and the future of CHD research. I think this needs to be something bigger for us and for our family next year. Brian and I already have ideas for team names, fundraising, sponsorship, etc!

Most of the teams made posters for the warrior they were walking for, and they were hung up for everyone to read. We did not make a poster this year, but I will totally make that a priority next year. I read story after story of each child, looked at all of the photos, and I broke down crying because it reminded me of Tyler's surgery and hospital stay... and all the emotion that went along with that horrific experience. It exposed a nerve for sure. I stood there holding Tyler in my arms, reading the posters, crying because everyone there today shared similar stories. We are all connected in a very special way and had pieces of our hearts broken when our little warriors were sick. We all had a CHD rockstar with a unique story to share. The CHD Coalition released butterflies to honor the children who lost their battle and turned into Angels. The whole event was very emotional and overwhelming to me.

Some of the parents from our CHD support group were there Sunday walking with their little warriors & families. It was nice to meet their families and of course their blessed little heart children! I feel like I will be even closer with some of these parents as time goes on especially since I got to meet their beautiful little heart babies!

It's so weird to think just 5 short months ago, Congenital Heart Defects weren't a thought in my head and never in my life. Now I'm completely immersed in Congenital Heart stuff up to my neck & I want to be as involved with it as I can. I want to make sure my son has the best possible outcome and healthy future, so I feel like I need to stay on top of everything. There is a group called "Little Mended Hearts" which has local chapters all over the country - except there isn't a local chapter in New Jersey - so of course the website asks if you want to start a local group in your area. I actually would LOVE to do that, but I know I am not physically & mentally able to take on that challenge right now since it requires a major time commitment, however I might think about doing that in the future if no one else does it for New Jersey.

Oh and wouldn't you know it? I completely left my big girl camera at home. I was SO bummed out & had planned on taking a ton of pictures Sunday. So instead, I took a few with my iPhone. Not the same... but it's better than nothing.

Our "Team Heart Throbs" shirt - Brian & Julianna 

 Me & Brian 

All of us 

 All of the CHD warrior posters hung up - Amazing stories!

Daddy & Julianna blowing bubbles (Brian put his other CHD walk shirt on - it fit better)

Me & my boy :) 

Julianna got a butterfly tattoo

Julianna painted a pumpkin - there was so much for the kids to do! 

 Drying pumpkins

Seriously, does it get cuter than this? 
He is very proud of his scar too! 

Tribute to all the Angels

Tyler's shirt (He'll fit into it in a couple years!)


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