22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:22-24

November 28th and I can finally take a breath. Since Mia was born on the 5th, it seems like life has been non-stop appointments, endless discussions, and worry about what the future will hold. The last 3 weeks have felt like 3 months. I always felt like the time moved so fast with Fynn that it’s actually nice to take a breath now and think, “She’s only 3 weeks old.”

I need to remind myself that in the middle of all of this, we just have to enjoy the snuggles, the playtime, and the sweet smell of her little head. There will be time to worry about all of that other stuff later. Today, I’m just going to enjoy being with both of my kids.

We did have good news that I shared with my friends already. Mia’s hearing test turned out fine. As the audiologist said, “There is nothing wrong with this little girl’s hearing.” Also, the cardiologist is very optimistic about her VSD. He just wants to wait and see. It’s not causing her any problems now, and they will monitor it closely to be sure it doesn’t. As he put it, “I have athletes walking around with the same murmur, and we just keep an eye on it.”

I have unabashedly been asking God to throw some mountains into the sea for me this week. Just asking to remove one mountain after another for this little girl. I’m sure there will be many more mountains in the future.

At least today we can sit and be still. After all, she’s still just 3 weeks old.

Parenting Theories

I’ve been reading a lot of stories about parenting theories. It was prompted by the Time magazine cover that has a lot of moms talking. Of course, a lot of moms came out swinging, especially with a cover line that states: “Are you mom enough?” Really, Time? Really?

I think that cover has a lot of us talking because, as parents, we are all insecure. We’re all hoping and praying that we’re “Mom enough.” My friend and I end a lot of parenting conversations with two words, “It’s hard.” I believe I make about 100 parenting mistakes a day. I believe that I don’t even know what mistakes I’m making. And I feel guilty. All that a cover line like that does is increase insecurity and make us all feel guiltier and more defensive.

I, of course, have a lot of parenting opinions, but when the chips are down and my little guys is having an epic temper tantrum in a mall or just on the floor in my house, I’ll admit that I have absolutely no idea if I’m doing the right thing. Trust me; I’ve tried everything to calm tantrums. I just do what works best for us. Would every parenting “expert” agree with what I’m doing? Who knows? The fact is that there have been many times as a parent when theories and opinions have gone out the window – when my little guy broke his leg, when he didn’t start mimicking words or sounds at the normal time, and when he started being treated for a sensory processing disorder. You just have to do your best. And isn’t that what all of us are trying to do anyway?

At some point we all adopt a “theory” and we hope it’s the right one. On our tough days, if we get to bed time reasonably well fed (he’s eaten more than Goldfish and milk), reasonably clean (man, it’s hard to clean toddler fingernails), not bleeding (excessively), and happy (even after I’ve stopped him from destroying the house), we’re doing okay. Everything else is a bonus. It’s a good thing there are a lot of bonuses during the day, even tough ones. Especially the toddler hugs and kisses – just the sweetest bonuses of all.

I can only pray that God helps me raise this little boy to become a loving, caring, smart, and happy man. Over the last couple of weeks, the doubt started to creep in. Am I doing the right thing? Then on the playground, a little girl started to cry and my little guy reached out and touched her shoulder and asked if she was okay. I decided then and there that we’re doing fine, theories or not.

Stupid wagons.

January 24, and as I sit here I’m eating M&Ms. Darn it. I am such a stress eater. The last couple weeks have been rough. Poor Fynn has just been so frustrated with speech therapy. It doesn’t help, I’m sure, that I’m frustrated as well. We’re sucking all of the joy out of playtime by constantly harping on language. Poor little kid. I had a long talk with Fynn’s speech therapist this morning, and we both think it’s a good idea to back off with the speech play at home. Not that we’d stop, but let Fynn lead the playtime so he doesn’t feel pressure. I’m down with that. I’m so stressed out by it that I can’t imagine that Fynn doesn’t feel it just emanating from me.

But since I’m stressed, I’m eating. Boo. Time to get back on the stupid wagon today. I’m putting down the M&Ms right now, I promise.

I did get to yoga on Saturday morning. I’m still sore, but it was amazing. It was a great way to start the day. Can’t wait until next Saturday.

Winter, Motivation and the Urban Mom.

Well, that was a bad weekend for the diet! While I ate a bunch of healthy foods, I also ate too much bad. Frustrating, but today is a new day. At least I didn’t do a lot of sitting around the house this weekend. We took the opportunity to go to through all of the closets in the house (luckily we’d already gone through the majority of the storage unit) and throw away a bunch of junk. My little family lives in a 900 sq foot apartment. You would think that it would be difficult to cram so much stuff into our little space. Well, it’s not. We took out 8 bags of junk to the trash and a trunk-full of stuff to Goodwill. It does feel good to have that out of here. I’m glad I finally felt the motivation to do it…even if that motivation didn’t translate to sticking to my diet this weekend.

Today, I took the little guy to the zoo. It was over 30 degrees and he needed to get outside. I thought I’d explain why Fynn and I spend so much time at the zoo. I have two words for you: “urban mom.” I knew that when I decided to have a child in an apartment building on the East Side that it would be more difficult. Besides laundry and parking issues, we don’t have a backyard. During the summer, we have a little courtyard that Fynn and I can play in, but in the winter that courtyard is filled with snow that has been piled there by the plows. When he was really little and wanted to ride in the stroller, it was easy to take him for a walk. Now that he doesn’t want to sit in the stroller (good thing), but he also doesn’t want to hold my hand on the side walk (bad thing), and he has a tendency to dart towards the street (very bad thing). Walks on the sidewalk of Prospect Avenue aren’t really fun right now. I’m all nerves, I have a really bad back (so I can’t carry him when he gets tired), and I don’t want to bring the stroller because I need two hands to catch him before he runs into the street. It’s not as bad in the summer because I can hustle down to Brady Street Bridge and go to the lakefront and it’s easy. While on the trail, we only have to worry about crazy bicyclists who don’t really believe that walking pedestrians have the right of way. We do go to the park as well…even though he gets bored pretty quickly on the equipment and spends most of the time just looking for a good stick.

To combat cabin fever in the winter and summer, Nate and I have purchased yearly memberships at multiple places in town – Discovery World, Betty Brinn, the Art Museum, and the Zoo. We also go to Central Library quite often. What I love about the zoo is that once we’re on the grounds, I can just let him run and play. He doesn’t have to constantly hold my hand, we both get a lot of exercise, and I can let him direct where we should go. He gets to have a say, which he just loves. It’s funny to watch his route – through the Family Farm to see the cows and the ducks, up the hill to see the monkeys, to the fish and reptile house to see the alligators, down the hill to see the elephants and giraffes, around the bend to see the kangaroos, sheep and the polar bear. Then he hops in the stroller for a snack while I head over to see the big cats. Then we have to go back to the Family Farm so he can play with the little kids tractor and milk truck. When the train is running, we have to get a ride. It’s fun, safe and relaxing (most of the time). So there you have it.

Well, back to dieting. Have a great MLK Day!

Replacement puppies.

My son has a beloved stuffed animal. Actually, he has two beloved stuffed animals. They are exactly the same. For the longest time, Fynn would not play with a stuffed animal, but he eventually fell in love with the Ty brand stuffed dog “Calhoun” that my husband bought for me on a work trip a long time ago. Calhoun became Fynn’s pacifier replacement when we went through that “joyous” experience. When I discovered that Fynn loved his Puppy (that’s his new name), a friend of mine suggested that we better get a Puppy replacement, you know, just in case. So, I started the online search for imposter Puppy. I quickly discovered that Puppy is one of the “retired” Ty products. My heart sank. Uh oh. But, I discovered a Puppy on Amazon, so all was well. I ordered imposter Puppy (for only $17) and got him in the mail. Good thing I did, because the day he arrived original Puppy got tossed into the bathtub “on accident.”

Well, Fynn has a habit of sucking on Puppy’s nose for comfort (we wash Puppy A LOT). Today I noticed that Puppy has a hole in his nose (probably from my son gnawing on it and me washing a plush doll over and over again). I grabbed imposter Puppy or Puppy No. 2 and he had a hole in his nose, too. Uh oh. So I decided I better try to find some Puppy replacements. I went online and there were some (very few) replacements on both Amazon and EBay, but that’s it. He’s going to have to be careful with these two new Puppies because OMG they are expensive for a plush toy. But, how could I not buy Puppy replacements? Those two plush dogs are the only things he really LOVES to sleep with. Alas. They will be here soon…and he can start sucking on their noses, too. This time, he’s getting one Puppy at a time. Although, Nate is convinced that Fynn will have 4 puppies soon. He’s probably right.

Day…oh, I don’t know.

Well, still on my diet (although I went off course a little tonight with the potatoes au gratin – low calorie…but I ate too much of that delicious warm potato goo). It was a pretty good day without a lot of cravings. So yesterday, the Dr. Oz plan day was “Get More Sleep.” I mean…hahahahahahahahaha….how could I … hahahahahahahaha … with a toddler … hahahahahahahahaha … That’s how I feel about that one. Today was “Meditate.” I’m not really a “meditator.” Probably the closest I get is yoga. Although, I did read about one mantra in the book “Eat Pray Love.” I believe that it’s the “Om Sai” mantra. Basically you breathe in “Om” and breathe out “Sai.” I tried it during the end of a yoga classes when we were meditating. Usually, I just thought about what I was going to eat when I left, but I have to say that the little mantra helped me clear my head and get in a stress-free zone.

The little man is feeling much better lately. Thank goodness. Since he was feeling better, I took the little guy to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum this morning. He did pretty well. I’m always nervous when I take Fynn to places with other children. The reason is that Fynn is very tall for his age. He’s larger than the average 3-year-old (and at this point probably the average 4-year-old), so basically I have a 2 ½ – year-old who acts exactly his age plus has a speech delay, but looks 4. So, you probably can understand my anxiety. More than once, a 5 or 6-year-old has asked Fynn to play, not realizing that although he’s nearly their size he’s still just a really little guy. I just feel bad for him because he’s going to have to deal with that for a long time. He also doesn’t really know his own strength, but that’s another story.

Day 2 of the diet…and my monster is sick.

And by my monster I mean my little guy. Fynn has been sick for about 7 days now with a pretty nasty cold. He’s been particularly strange today. Crying and screaming for no reason and being downright difficult. I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck is going on, and then when he got out of the bath tonight he started tugging on his left ear like crazy and crying. Uhg. So I’m thinking he has an ear infection. We gave him a dose of acetaminophen, and we’ll call the doctor in the morning. Seriously, with this parenting thing if it’s not one thing it’s another. I’m hoping that I’m wrong and it’s just the stupid cold.

On another note, day 2 of the diet is going much better. I’m not feeling as run down and weak. My energy is actually increasing – likely from the healthy foods and green tea. So, it’s probably just the caffeine kicking in. Today was, of course, dark chocolate day in my Dr. Oz plan. I’d been doing that already so nothing big to report. Apparently the natural ingredients in dark chocolate improve your eyesight and circulation. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea if that is working. I mean, let’s face it, I’m the mother of a toddler. I’m lucky I’m still standing up-right.

Apparently I’m running a day ahead on this plan because tomorrow is “Cook for your Heart” day and I’m supposed to try salmon. I ate that for dinner tonight, so I can check that off my list. The story is that all of the omega-3s in salmon lower triglycerides (which can cause plaque build-up in your heart) and o-3s can reduce clotting. Also on the list of heart-healthy foods are tomatoes, garlic, and lima beans. I’ll have to eat one of those tomorrow in honor of the official day 3 of the plan.

Cross your fingers that Fynn does not have an ear infection for me! I’ll be saying a little prayer for a healthy 2-year-old.

Should be sleeping.

Almost 11 PM and I’m still up, so I thought I’d blog. Nate is in Chicago for the next couple of days for work, and I’m hanging out with the little man solo.

On Friday, Nate and I are going to Minneapolis to see my brother and his wife perform in an outdoor production of Julius Caesar. We’re excited to see them, and we’re excited for a night away. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but Friday night will be the first night that I’ve been away from Fynn … ever. I’ve never been away from Fynn longer than 10 hours since he’s been born (and before!). My parents are coming down to watch the little guy. They are pretty excited about it, but I’m already feeling emotional about this. I know that I need to do this because in November Nate and I will be going to Mexico for a week. If I don’t spend a couple of nights away to “warm up” to this, I think I’ll be a complete mess in November.

I love summer in Wisconsin; I can’t help myself. It’s green, sunny, warm, and very, very busy. I’m convinced that we all hibernate in the winter and that’s why we make tons and tons of plans in the summer. I seriously need to find a babysitter who isn’t one of my friends because I already need a sitter for about 5 things coming up in June and July. Between parties, weddings, and other events, pretty much every weekend is booked solid for the next 5 weeks, or at least that’s what it feels like.
Ah, well. So glad it’s summer. 🙂

Relaxing at home. :)

Today Fynn and I are hanging out at home. After a busy weekend, it feels nice to sit in the house and do nothing. Although do you ever “do nothing” when you’re a mom? Okay, I admit it, during Fynn’s nap I’ve cleaned up the house, done the dishes, RSVP’d to events coming up, and checked my work e-mail. So I haven’t done “nothing”.

However, on these days I always come up with more things that I could be doing. I think I’m going to restart my plan to read the National Book Award books. I have one book I’d like to read before I start and I might not start with the first winner, but I’d like to do it. We’ll see how that goes…when I start blogging about it, of course.

Other than that, it’s really nice that summer is finally here. It would be nice if the weather stayed under 90 degrees, but alas.

Messy breakfast

I believe that my toddler thinks that yogurt is both a yummy dish and a face moisturizer. A few minutes ago, he was rubbing it all over his face and wearing his yogurt bowl as a hat. Alas, I’m still not used to sticky hands, face, and hair. Poor little kid gets a accosted by a wash cloth several times during the day. He may not be able to talk, yet, but I imagine him saying, “Oh, mom, stop…stop! STOP!”

Nate is on his way to Savannah this week. Fynn and I are on our own until Thursday night. I’m not entirely sure what the little guy and I are going to do this week. Today I think we’re going to stay in, do some playing, resting, and relaxing. Fynn, of course, has already begun dismantling our home. He’s very good at that.