whitecaps

It's windy down here. Caroline is happily ensconced in an episode of Sesame Street and Connor is fast asleep downstairs after he was forced to close his eyes against the raging wind of our around the block as quick as we can walk. After a rather challenging morning requiring a stop at Borders just to make the screaming stop on the way down to the beach, all I wanted to do was toss Connor into the Bjorn and Caro into the jogger stroller and take a nice walk down to the store for a small thing of milk. I don't even really NEED the milk, but I did need that walk because if I have to tell my three year old to "LISTEN!" one more time today I think I am going to the crazy house. Unfortunately it is so windy that the walk didn't really happen. I even thought if we went with the wind around the block and away from the ocean by a block it would help, but even my preplan was not enough to the beat the weather. So we're home, but he's asleep and she's occupied and that's really enough.

With the weather for the weekend looking up and Steve having a mid-Cape appointment tomorrow morning, we couldn't help but ask to spend the night tonight and the weekend by the sea, by the beautiful sea... But it's windy. As I sit here at the desk in the beach house family room, the whitecaps of the Atlantic are just past the monitor, begging me to quit the typing already and enjoy the specatacular view. The wind is so strong that the birds are flying hard against it and the waves are coming in on a diagonal and I already had to rescue a deck chair.

Whitecaps out there. Whitecaps in here. Connor is three and a half months old. My big boy is alert and sits up with very little support on your lap. When I pull him up from a recline with his hands his head no longer lags behind. At Borders (once the crying stopped) he was giddy cooing at the colors and oh my god what are those million things piled on all these shelves????? Caroline has had a tough week. She's been dramatic, moody, not listening, testing me every step of the way. You know. She's been three this week. At Borders, when I was literally at the end of my rope pulling off Route 3 because THE SCREAMING, she refused to go the restroom despite the fact that she was visibly holding her pants. She did the dead man. She refused to move. She layed down on the carpet of the bookstore. I dragged her to a nearby chair, forced her to standing, and hoisted her to my hip because for the love of GOD! ENOUGH. Poor Connor went into survival mode at some point during this interaction because of course you know he was on my shoulder because THE SCREAMING and the grip he had on my hair was surprisingly strong. Of to the potty and wouldn't you know... someone had to pee afterall. I wasn't even that I was alone, it was that she was just so damn uncooperative and ridiculous. She's been way off and we need to get back on track because otherwise she won't make it to four.

Despite all of the drama of our ride down, I feel completely at ease, relaxed, and rejuvenated just being here. It isn't my house, it's not my beach, but it feels like home and man, do I love coming home.  

Windy beach walkers

herself


I posted a little recap of the shopping spree over on McDeals & $teals. I did quite well, despite having a small anxiety attack over prices and not being able to let myself fully enjoy the shop til you drop experience. I think Steve may have been more surprised than I was at my reluctance to spend. I am coping with a teensy bit of buyer's remorse this morning, but I am trying to just enjoy that not only did I prioritize myself, but my spouse reminded me that I am important too.

At the outlets I found it difficult to avoid looking at the children's stores and even at Converse we had to walk briskly away from the teeny tiny chucks. As a mom I put my kids first and since their constant and amazing growth requires a new wardrobe every season, or in the case of Connor every couple months, it has been easy for my own clothing requirements to fall by the wayside. I've got some good staples, but I hardly feel like Victoria Beckham when I do gussy myself up a bit. This isn't that far of a stretch from pre-baby Kerri. Sure, I shopped, but I never really had a style that was unique to me and at 32… I think it's time for mommy to find some sort of style for herself. For me wardrobe, accessories and even make up make me cringe a little because I am piteously CLUELESS.

Yesterday gave me permission to think about the Kerri I want the world to see. It allowed me to consider carefully not just my image, but how best to feel confident and still be able to sit in the dirt at the playground without cringing that I just ruined a pair of dry clean only pants. It let me feel like more than just Caroline and Connor's mom, but to feel like Steve's holy crap she lost her baby weight fast wife. I'm just a girl afterall and aren't we all allowed to feel a little sassy, to wear skirts, to put on a new pair of shoes and feel like we can take on the world?

Playtime

So I should be typing away like a fiend to tell you how much my daughter loved the BC Football Annual Spring Game this afternoon. She enjoyed face painting, a round in the bounce house and of course FOOTBALL. Girl loves herself some football. I also should be admitting in schmarmy detail that on the way to the game this afternoon as I followed Steve in the other car (the one we brought in case of child emergency requiring a swift exit) I actually got a bit misty eyed. Just another reminder that we are back right? EXCEPT NO. We didn't have to plan an entire weekend around this game. I didn't have to pack myself and two children, a weekend's worth of diapers, no list to write and check off, and we didn't have to drive 6 hours round trip to attend and that just makes a girl happy. BONUS: Saw lots of people we care about. It was so much fun and I think the McFam will be making the Anuual Spring Game an Annual Event.

So I could type about all that, but instead let's talk about the most exciting part of MY weekend and not the highlight of Steve's entire month.

Sunday afternoon Steve is taking me shopping. He is actually encouraging me to SPEND money... on MYSELF. It's my birthday gift from him, on top of a lovely dinner out just us two and some yoga attire I adore mostly because it makes my rear end look like half of itself. I spent last summer rapidly gaining weight and the summer before that I didn't really care.

I quizzed some ladies about what exactly I should be looking for on my shopping trip because I am pretty much fashion clueless. I haven't bought new shoes in an absurd amount of time and the piecemeal shopping I do for myself doesn't exactly present a cohesive look. I declared it to be the summer of the dress because why should my adorable daughter be the only one wearing ballerinas??

Here's my hit list: (isn't this fun???)

a denim skirt
ts and tanks to mix and match with
- bermuda shorts
- A line skirts in fun prints
leather sandals
a white cardigan

Someone slept through the ENTIRE football game and after enjoying a meal in the car was not so sure (ie pretty darn sure) that the car ride home was a good idea. Neither static, nor singing, nor shaking the car seat produced a quiet baby and so I swung into the Marshalls parking lot on my way home. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I wasn't really shopping, just browsing with him on my shoulder. The colors excited him. The crowd adored him. His breathing evened and he helped me pick out a super cute A line skirt and an equally adorable baby blue tank. check and check.

Look for the update post over on McSteals because while I am planning to locate and purchase EVERY item on my list, I am also planning to do it on a $150.00 budget.

Spring game

Go BC!

Battle Bottle Round II



Caroline struggled with the bottle. In her case it wasn't that we waited too long, but that we were honest to God giving her the medela bottle nipple UPSIDE down. Yup. Upside down. She got it eventually and before we knew it she was holding her own bottle and going to town.

As I sat among boxes in CT I decided in our last week there when Connor was 5 weeks old that I should probably give him a bottle. He didn't love it, but he got it. Then we moved home and I was pumping and worried about oversupply and reflux and juggling the two of them and never anticipating a meal before, "well, would you look at that it has already been 3 hours!" o' clock. So it should come as no surprise that when I defrosted some pumped milk for Auntie k's birthday celebration that it didn't go so well at the dinner table smack dab in the middle of Maggiano's. A sea of onlookers heard my poor Connor screaming bloody murder as no less than 4 of us tried to convince him that the bottle was not in fact poisoned, but contained the same milk he's been enjoying since day uno. Steve's Aunt Joanie kindly leaned over to me and told me that they had a very nice restroom downstairs and I took that as both the cue and my permission to give it up and feed him myself. So I've been working on it.

Connor struggled initially with nursing; latching and then seemingly not knowing what to do next. I'd finally suceed in getting him going and he would stall and I would sigh deeply and plead with my baby boy to EAT. Now he's a chowhound, hello nearly 15 pound butterball. I in no way am worried about his eating, he's gaining well and along his 50% curve, but it would be nice to know he can take a bottle so I can be away from him for more than 3 hours. He keeps gagging himself on the nipple of the Dr. Brown bottles, so we tried the Medela ones today with more success despite a good amount of scream and how dare you!? thrown in for good measure.

That bottle pictured above is the positive results of not one, but two attempts to feed him a single ounce of expressed milk. Kiki worked hard for the first half at 4 pm and I convinced him later with his bedtime meal and with very little commotion that this bottle thing could actually be ok.

We battle on.

recently

I feel badly typing this imagining Caroline's future prom date stumbling upon this post somehow, but this just HAS to be shared. Girlfriend POOPED in a port-a-potty at the playground yesterday and today she PEED. She gets it! She knows when she has to go, she tells us, and she goes. We are all so proud of her and it is just so amazing to watch her stop swinging or going down the slide to take care of herself. All the women present and all we've told since have said the same thing; "I don't think I've EVER done that!" regarding the number two success.

Since I last wrote we went to the Marathon with Auntie k and Kiki via Auntie's amazing viewing spot, met Noah down in CT (he's perfection Amanda!), and we've been to the playground pretty much every day this week. Caroline was a little shy at the Marathon, mouthing the word yay instead of shouting it with gusto. When it was time to leave she cried because who doesn't love watching 20,000 people race by each with an inspirational story to share no doubt? She later relayed stories of the day to Daddy and Papa about how auntie handed out aquafor to the runners. Yes, aquafor, who knew. It was a huge hit! Over the weekend we went back to CT to check on the house and despite finding a few things amiss it was nice to spend some time in our old surroundings, even if we were both mad when we opened the door. Those darn buyers from a month ago still get under our skin. We got to hang with the Lobans and Tom & Ann & Tommy. We miss both families so very much. Caroline is fighting sleep upstairs from an exciting afternoon at the playground and Connor is sitting in his Bumbo seat eating a burp cloth. He spends so much time in that seat these days, which is fortunate considering he isn't too keen on the tummy time still. Poor baby and his reflux.

Connor's smile upturns first at the left side and then the right catches up. His eyes are wide and he is taking in the world around him in huge gulps. Caroline loves him so much it honestly pains me to watch them together sometimes. She wants to hug him and kiss him and she knows that of all the people in his life, he loves looking at her most of all. She's been sassy this week, testing us at every opportunity. She's sharing crazy details of her everyday and saying things that seem too grown up to come from my baby girl's mouth. She swings on the big swings now and delights in laying on her belly to fly back and forth, "yeehawing" all the way.

mccashew most important day

a quick scan of my monthly analytics revealed that quite a few searches (44 to be exact) have been executed in the last month using that phrase. I know what they are searching for and I doubt they will find it using those search terms since I labeled it something else; "Life Lesson Essay."

Their curiousity combined with my own positive feelings about this post are resulting in a repost of this post. Hopefully with the new title it will now be searchable using those search terms; most important day.

Life Lesson/Most Important Day

Ribbit

Jimmy buffs a la Amanda

To infinity and beyond

Early am activities in ct

x months

Connor is on the brink of turning the page from my canned "he's x weeks" response  to "he's x months." MONTHS. If we still lived in CT I'd be headed back to work on Monday. This would be my last weekend home with Connor. It's difficult to imagine because as sturdy as he is, as strong as he is showing us he is going to be, he is still so small, so needy, such a mama's boy. I am keenly aware of the weight of his sweet baby head on my shoulder, the damp drooly spot he leaves on my shoulder when I rock him to sleep for a nap. I know that there might never be another tiny newborn on that shoulder and the knowledge of this makes me inhale his fuzzy baby head more deeply. Connor had earned a few nicknames - my favorites are Con Man, Mister Man, and The Man with the Plan. Caroline copies all of these along with the directions from the Wii; "step on!" "Measuring!" Connor is carving deep grooves into all of our hearts and to say we cannot imagine life without him is a huge understatement. He's such a sweet boy, inquisitive about the world around him especially his big sister.

I glance back at him in the rear view using that magical see your baby mirror and see him alert, watching his sister's every move in the seat beside him. He will look up to her, he will want to do everything she is doing and someday she will hate this, but for now - she eats it up. "He's looking at me!" "Oh, Connor, I love you."

He prefers your right shoulder and scrunches his little body up probably to make his tummy more comfortable. The reflux management continues with him still sleeping in his bucket seat, but he's in that bucket IN his crib and he does that for most of his naps too, so I feel like I'm winning that battle. He's almost a hip baby now, but he continues to stretch his arm out straight, grasping your arm tightly, even in sleep.

For me, I've found that old patterns die hard. The getting up once, twice or three times overnight still stinks - but I have gotten back into the swing of sleep deprivation so much more easily than the first time around - thanks to some help in the mornings from the other adults in the house. Connor often falls asleep for a short period of time with me in bed on the Boppy before I wrap him back into the burrito blanket he is quickly outgrowing and ship him back to his bed. During the time between his midnight meal and his going back to sleep I distract myself trying to read the clock from the bed sans glasses. I think I might be actually making my eyes stronger because I swear to you, I can ALMOST see the time now.

We're heading to CT tomorrow to check on what Steve has begun referring to as our "vacation home."

Big boy shoes

the last you shall hear of potty training for at least 2 years

I put it all out there are all to see over twitter. My disdain for the three year old's diaper had reached the point of no return...

"I swear to God if I have to change one more poopy diaper of a smug faced kid who sings "I pooped" at me again I am going to lose it."
9:31 AM Mar 26th via Tweeterena

"Let her do it on her own time my ass. It's disgusting and I am done."
9:31 AM Mar 26th via Tweeterena

"We are in a potty standoff. Going on an hour here."
10:43 AM Mar 26th via Tweeterena

"Good news bad news. After 90 minutes Caro peed and then the realtor called to say the buyers pulled out. Barf."
12:58 PM Mar 26th via Tweeterena

"Connor is sleeping like a real baby and Caroline has had two successful potty trips today. Monday you're flying by."
3:15 PM Mar 29th via Tweeterena

"Successful potty first thing this am. Dry all the way to her nap. The Con Man is on his third outfit of the day and not bc he's fashionable."
12:50 PM Mar 30th via Tweeterena

"For those keeping track: dry all day, three successful pees and one pair of poopy undies. This has been the longest week. we are SOO close."
4:34 PM Apr 1st via Tweeterena

"Also, when did my life become all about someone else's bowels?"
4:35 PM Apr 1st via Tweeterena

"Attention! Caroline just peed on the potty solo, as in she decided to go all by herself with no reminder. Three weeks, but wow, she's got it."
4:00 PM Apr 13th via Tweeterena

... and we haven't looked back. It started off ugly, with a tearful preschooler's rear end crimson from the potty seat, me seated directly across from her resting my back against the cabinets and an oblivious Connor ahgooing from his papasan chair. She cried. She begged me to get off. She slapped her thigh for emphasis in her repeated "I don't want to go potty." It was clear to me then that the battle line had been drawn. There was no going back. If I let her off that seat without producing something, ANYTHING, I would be handing over the control and power to a tiny three year old. I was at the end of my rope - I was done being manipulated and done with the icky feeling that I knew she was capable of training but was unwilling to try for whatever ridiculous reason. What better time than when I was home with her 24/7 and could see this thing through despite the terrible timing with all the insane change in my little President of the "I Hate Change" club. 90 minutes we sat there toe to toe. 90 minutes. An eternity for someone her age. She finally peed and on we went with our day, but the change was coming and we would battle on.

Kiki arrived home from Turks and Caicos the very next night and she found herself smack dab in the middle of the Potty Patrol. She even found an amazing timer which we utilized to get the trainee to her chair every 20 minutes. Caro started responding to the ding, getting herself to the potty when it went off, standing up only when it dinged again. She had some successes, some misses, but we forged ahead. It was the longest week of my life. I think it was the longest week in Kiki's life too and I could not have gotten through it without her encouragement and support. A week in she was 30% there, with us seemingly only happening to catch her when she needed to go.

On Monday afternoon I went upstairs with Connor to change his bulging diaper. Kiki was downstairs in the solarium (it sounds good Keeks!). Caroline emerged from the kitchen, pants around her ankles, to tell Kiki that she had peed. We always make a big deal, remind her what a big girl she is, so she's often telling SOMEONE that she peed, even if it happened hours ago. She's that proud of herself. So Kiki cheered her on and then I came around the corner from my diaper duty and she announced it again. The adults realized that she had gotten herself to the potty all on her own, without anyone reminding her, without a timer dinging.

She's been more or less dry, with only a hanful of accidents in the last week. She sits and goes almost immediately if she has to and if she hasn't gone in the first couple minutes we know she really doesn't have to go. It's amazing! We're still trying to jump the OTHER hurdle, but we'll get there.

You know what the best part of the whole thing is? It isn't the diaper savings. It isn't even that fact that I have less diapers to change. It's the pride you can see in her face when she does it. She is happier. She feels like such a big kid now and I know that this has done wonders for her blooming self-esteem. She doesn't want to just pee on the potty herself, she wants to put herself up for her quiet time ALONE, she wants to do everything BY HERSELF. She's more independent in every facet of her life and I am so happy for her. In the end, she was the one I wanted this for most of all. I want her to the feel like the big kid she is and she finally does.

Connor Cooing

He was pretty infatuated with the camera and camera strap, but here he is talking up a storm, being his happy little self.

Loves his elephant

He's starting to hold things and bring them to his mouth.

a quick catch-up

Connor was sad, Daddy came home, we celebrated Auntie k's birthday and we got word that we had a great open house in CT. How was your weekend??

Early last week Connor started having trouble staying down for his naps and he seemed a bit unsettled overall. I called the pedi and got the ok to move up his zantac dose a bit. By Wednesday night he endured an hours long stretch of unhappy discomfort. We got him into see Dr. Rachel Thursday and she moved his dose way up. By Friday our little ConMan was on his way back to himself. Zantac=miracle elixir. That smile in the post below is proof positive. He's cooing all the time now and this morning when I popped out of the shower I found him staring at his feet. I am not sure he knows they are attached to his body, but he found them nonetheless. He's really into his hands now and if he isn't turning them around one another like a mad scientist plotting his evil plot, you can find at least one of them completely in his mouth. His eyes are still a mystery – some days they are blue, others a deep grey. If you chat with him he is sure to raise his left eyebrow at you. His hair is starting to come back too – it looks pretty dark, but we'll see. He's a true delight.

Steve was away three days for a work conference where he received a Sales Excellence award for all his hard work. I couldn't be more proud of him. He works hard. He is so committed. He did what he needed to do to get us back in MA and he deserved it! We were happy to have him back – the kids definitely missed him.

Caroline practiced singing Happy Birthday in honor of Auntie K's entrance into a new decade. We enjoyed a special night out with her, kids included at Maggiano's and drinks at the W. Caroline danced like a fool at the hotel and while we did have a baby… in a bar… we were so happy to share the occasion with her. Kids were jammied up for the ride home, but Caroline was far too excited to snooze in the car. Between her obsession with dresses and her overzealous dancing, I'd say she is going to be one hot ticket. I am preparing myself now for what surely lies ahead.

We had about 15 people come and see the house on Sunday, with a few hot prospects, so we are hoping to lock this thing up in time for the first time homebuyer's credit. It would be nice to have that off our plate – but as we continue our house hunt up here – we really do wish more and more that we could just load the house up onto a truck and move it north because it really is such a great little house.

I realized this weekend that Connor has lived in MA longer than he lived in CT and for whatever reason that realization hit me hard. The life we had there seems so long ago and yet. It will be strange to go back down and pack up the remaining pieces of that long ago life. I wonder what Caroline will say when she sees it again? Or should we not bring her back? Life continues up here in MA at a frenetic pace, the two kids are keeping me on my toes. We're enjoying all the wonderful things about spring, like ice cream for lunch when you realize you forgot to feed the elder child.

Caroline has been out coloring with sidewalk chalk, learning how to hopscotch, playing independently at the playground, doing the dead man "I don't want to leave go ahead and make me" at the playground, reading Angelina Ballerina, taking care of her baby Katie, and challenging all of us to Wii skateboarding. She cannot get enough of that Wii! I just discovered how to create personalized workouts, so watch out. I might be bikini ready this July 3rd afterall.

Look at me!!!

Beach Bum

Enjoyed his first trip to the most special beach. Dipped his toes and
he didn't even wince! Papa says we'll keep him.

Divine

Except that his sister would really like to go to the library and we
know when he wakes up, he's gonna be hungry!!!

That sister btw just pooped on.the.potty!!!!!!! Ice cream all around!!!!

His name is EASTER BUNNY

Connor's first and Caroline's fourth Easter went smashingly. She was so excited for the big bunny to come to her house and bring her CANDY - but this year she had questions. She wanted to know how he would get inside - we'll leave the door unlocked. Wouldn't he hit his ears on the ceiling on his way in - we'd write a note to remind him to duck his ears. Could we make him some carrots - carrots grow in the ground, we don't make them, but he'd sure love to eat a few on his way out the door to visit the other kids. She "wrote" him a note to remind him to duck those ears and she was so happy when he wrote her a little note back. Her basket was heavy on the art supplies and light on the sugar, but she did not seem to mind. She got right down to business drawing with her "colors."

We enjoyed a lovely afternoon in Western MA at Nana and Granda's house. Granda hid some eggs and escorted her around the yard to locate each and every one. The dinner was delish with some old Polish favorites tossed in because it was EASTER afterall. Caroline got into a heated debate with her great grandmother Rose about the name of her new stuffed bunny. Caro insisted his name was Easter Bunny and Rose argued it was Peter Cottontail. "No, not Peter, EASTER BUNNY!" She didn't nap, she ran all day, she crashed during the meal, she got a little to fiesty with Nana and ended up elbowing Steve in the eye by accident, she sassed, she sat in timeout, she perfected her new maniacal laughter, and she had an absolutely perfect day. Dry all day - not one single accident. Not even during the 2.5 hour ride back in the Easter traffic. We couldn't be more proud of her.

Here are some recent shots - she is a total photo ham these days when she is in the mood. It's fun to take her photo and she loves posing with Connor.


Kids April 2010

Segments of Time

My nighttime is split into segments of time; sleep time, nursing time, getting a baby back to bed time. On any given night I am not sure what the ratio will be between these different segments of time. Some nights I wake up astonished that so much time has gone by, others I am bewildered to discover that it is not much later than it was the last time I pried my eyelids open and put my glasses on to see the clock. Last night Connor woke up at just before 2 for a midnight snack. I got him back to bed, got myself back to sleep and suddenly heard Caroline calling for me around 3am. Instantly I thought the worst; she's sick, she's had a terrible nightmare. Instead I was greeted by a wide awake happy girl telling me all about how the chickens had been clucking at her. I later figured out she meant the turkeys which had somehow made their way to the top of the very tall tree across the road where they gobbled all through the night. Perhaps she had heard them? I invited her to join us in our bed to calm down for a bit. Usually she just needs a bit of time to relax and she'll go back to her own bed to rest the remainder of the night. She hardly ever does this and it usually only happens when she is sick, so you can imagine my confusion. At 4ish Connor woke up again and Steve put her back into her own bed. Con Man was having some trouble getting back to sleep and didn't actually make it to his bed until nearly 5, but he did make it back to his own bed so I'm calling that a win. Wouldn't you know that she NEVER went back to sleep and was now calling for us again from her room. She had been in there for an hour just lying there quietly. Doing what exactly? Staring at the ceiling? Counting sheep? Steve went to lay with her and ended up falling asleep in her room with her and wasn't Kiki surprised this morning when she went in to check on her to see Steve sharing her bed! Thankfully we were able to sleep in a bit this morning because the panic I felt at 5 when both of them were still awake was intense. You just never know about the ratio of those nighttime segments of time and just when you think you do…