Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lo Hicimos!

I feel like bursting into song along with my kids and Dora the Explorer...

"I did it, I did it, I did it, YEAH!

Lo hicimos, I did it!"

What I'm referring to of course is my new blog makeover! (I had to look up "los hicimos," it means "we did it" in Spanish, and my children are now officially smarter than me.) Katie sent me the most wonderfully detailed instructions and after many, many attempts, I finally have a blog that oozes creativity. Okay, so it's not perfect, and Boots the monkey probably could have figured it out faster than I did, but I still feel quite proud. I'm figuring out little tricks for text and pictures, and it's really cool. I actually thought I was going to have to take a day off from work to get my HTML code straightened out, I was so confused...and did I mention I work in the IT department?? Yeah...what's wrong with this picture???

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fun with Friends

On Sunday we had our monthly get-together with our friends Jen and Fred, and their boys Ethan (also achon) and Collin. Seamus and Ethan are absolute best buddies, and have so much fun when they are together!

We blew up the bounce house in the living room, which the kids thought was hilarious!

They are such goofballs! I love how they interact.

We have been talking a lot about next year's convention. We are definitely attending, and trying to figure out some tentative plans. So now I need some input from all of you:

Are you planning on attending the convention next year in Brooklyn?
How many days will you attend?
Are you going to stay in the hotel hosting the convention?

I know it would be most convenient to stay in the Brooklyn Marriott, but even at the LPA rate, the price per night is not cheap. We have been investigating other options, such as renting an apartment. We definitely all want to be there for the 4th of July fireworks, and then July 5th will be Seamus' 4th birthday! It's going to be an exciting time. So let me know if any of you have started planning already!

(And all of you fancy bloggers...Katie, Trisha, Mandy, etc...I need to learn the tricks to make my blog look pretty! I'm blog-challenged! Help!)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Look Out, New York City...

Here he is...

Three years in the making...

Ready to risk it all for fame and fortune...

Coming soon to a Times Square street corner...

New York City's next Naked Cowboy!

It's out with the old....

And in with the new!

Get out your cameras, ladies, and be ready to pose! Name your request...his signature tunes include "Down By the Bay," "We Will Rock You," and the classic "Fruit Salad." Enjoy the performance, but do arrive early, as the Naked Cowboy has an 8 pm bedtime.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lollipops and Lovin' Life

So we seem to be getting into our groove here with the school year...Seamus is doing great, looks forward to going to school in the morning and can't wait to tell me all about it when he gets home. He loves singing 'Today is Monday" and "God Bless America," and likes to give me the rundown of who cried that morning at drop-off time. I'm so relieved that he is adjusting so well! I have to give credit to my amazing husband, who does the entire morning routine - breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, socks & shoes, brushing hair, lunchbags and backpacks, dropping off Grace, taking Seamus to school - all by himself! He even manages to get a bow in Grace's hair. I leave for work when everyone is still asleep, so he's in charge of getting everyone out the door and where they need to be - and then he picks them both up in the afternoon. I feel like such a Slacker Mommy! I am so lucky to be married to such an awesome guy.

After some careful consideration, I just have to say a word about lollipops. Does anyone else feel that lollipops are God's gift to a parent of toddlers??? I never realized the magical power held within the core of a Dum-Dum. We could be anywhere, and the kids could be having a meltdown of the highest degree, and all I have to say is, "Oh, it's too bad you aren't behaving nicely, because Mommy has some pops..." And then a complete 360! We used lollipops like they were government bribes in order to get through restaurant meals while on vacation. The really funny thing is, my kids don't even like ice cream or chocolate (whose children are they?!) but something about that sweet little ball of yumminess on a stick just sends them into a tailspin of delight. We went to a pool party this past weekend, and the hostess had bowls of Tootsie pops. The kids were being excellent, so we decided to reward them each with a pop...and they didn't move from their chairs for an hour!

Life is good!

I'm so excited that the fall weather is finally arrived, and can't wait to get out and do some apple-picking and visit the pumpkin patch. The kids have been super close lately, maybe because they don't spend all day with each other anymore? Not sure what it is, but there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing my two babies playing together and loving on each other.

Here they are doing their "super silly face."

Riding the horsey - I love his face, I'm sure he's thinking, "Enjoy it while it lasts, sweetheart!"

Hope everyone is having a great week! Anyone have some exciting plans for fall?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Go Mommy!

In my quest this year to become a healthier mom for my kids, I've made a lot of changes. I joined the Biggest Loser game that was organized at work, and won the twelve week competition in April. I started taking multivitamins and fish oil, even though the thought of it grosses me out. I drink green tea concentrate and try to eat less processed foods (which is really difficult, because processed usually equals convenient!) The only thing missing from my new healthy lifestyle was exercise.

I have never in my life been an athletic individual. As a kid, gym class used to make me sick to my stomach, and the mere mention of a neighborhood softball game was enough make me turn pale. I joined the swim team in high school due to the encouragement of some close friends, and although I participated for four years, I was bad. I was hideously bad. My coach used to feel so sorry for me, at meets he would throw me in one race and then make me his "assistant" and have me keep split times. I had a sense of humor about it though, and really never minded always coming in last.

So as an adult, I really felt that there had to be something I could be good at. I started researching exercise options and came across this awesome running program, called Couch to 5K. It promises to get even the biggest couch potato up and running 5k within 9 weeks. (To be really accurate, in my case it should have been called "Sprawled Across the Floor in a Sea of Legos to 5K.") Here's a link to the program if you want to check it out:

So I went out and bought some running sneakers and a stopwatch, and I was on my way. The first week, I kept thinking, Is this really for me? I was sweating, thirsty, and huffing and puffing by the time I finished each workout. I made my husband promise to force me to finish the program if I started to get discouraged. He was extremely supportive and encouraging, and I found myself looking forward to the evening runs where I could get some alone time after a long day. I kept at it, and even though some weeks have been tough, I'm getting close to the end...I'm on week 6 and it's going great. In fact, on Friday, I completed my first 20 minute run, with no walking...I couldn't believe it! I did it early in the morning, I had some great music playing on my MP3 player, and when I got to the last 3 minutes, I gave it my all...I felt like I was starring in my own Nike commerical!

I am signed up to run a 5K on Thanksgiving Day, and I am certain I will make it to my goal. I can't wait to see my hubby and kids at the finish line, cheering me on. I have surprised myself, doing something that I never thought I could do, and I just had to take an opportunity to pat myself on the back! So here's to all of us super moms and dads and all the awesome things we do, may we always remember that strong and happy parents make strong and happy families.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's a Girl Thing

While pregnant with Seamus, I was convinced I was carrying a girl. We had decided not to find out what we were having, but deep down I felt that I just knew. I'm one of three sisters and we grew up in a sparkly pink Barbie-and-Cabbage Patch Kids world, filled with fancy hairbows and ruffled I honestly couldn't picture myself raising anything but a daughter.

When our perinatalogist slipped at 37 weeks and told us we were having a boy, I was shocked...and then thrilled. I immediately went out and bought some adorable boy clothes and couldn't wait to have Mommy's "little man." Raising a boy is so much fun, in fact, that when I became pregnant for the second time, I was really hoping for another boy! Devon seems to have a sixth sense about these things though, and he referred to Baby #2 as "Seamus' sister" right from the start. It was confirmed at 16 weeks that we were having a girl...and what a girl she is!

My Grace, or Gigi as she is usually called, is a true girly girl. She loves baby dolls, jewelry, brushing her hair, pretend makeup, and dressing up. Every morning she wants me to open her closet so she can "put pitty dress on" and then pick out a matching "pitty bow."

When playing on her own, you can usually find her like this...

Or like this....

Or even like this! (That's her brother's swim trunks and a baby doll hat.)

She is so sweet and funny, so bold and determined, loves to say "no" and loves to give hugs and kisses. She wakes up every morning singing a different song in her crib, her favorites are the ABCs, the Barney song and the "Issy Bissy Spider." She knows the alphabet and can count to ten, she recognizes emotions and becomes sad when Dumbo is separated from his mommy. She has the most wonderful manners, says please and thank you with no prompting whatsoever. She eats like a pig and is always asking "I try that?" when someone else has food. She loves her brother fiercely and wants to do everything that he does. We can always hear her calling "Seamus, where are you?" in a loud, singsong voice. He is so good and patient with her (most of the time!), even when she is bugging the heck out of him.

One of her favorites games to play is Sleepy Baby, where she spontaneously will close her eyes and pretend to snore, and we gush over the tired, sleepy baby. She especially loves to do this when she is all wrapped up warm and snuggly after her bath.

She is a good little mommy, carries her babies in a sling and feeds them their bottles.

She's a rock-n-roll girl, here she is getting down with a local band at a festival.

Although she can make me crazy, my daughter has me wrapped right around her finger. I always say I'm so afraid for her to grow up, because I know she's going to be a wild one! I have definitely noticed the difference between raising boys and girls, and this fairy princess girl is going to give us a run for our money.

Lucky for me, she says "I wuv you, Mommy" and gives me kisses about a dozen times a day...I'll have to keep that in mind when in 12 years she's telling me how lame I am :-\

Friday, September 5, 2008

School Boy

So today was the big day...Seamus' first day of Pre-K! He is attending Sacred Heart School. This school is very special to me, it was also my elementary school. My mother (Mrs. Donohue) has been a teacher there for over twenty years, and she is now assistant principal. Devon (Mr. C) has taught there for five years, and my aunt (Mrs. Engelke) is Seamus' teacher! So it is quite the family affair.

The really great thing is that it's a very small, close-knit school, and all of the students who attend are fully aware of who Seamus is, and that he has dwarfism. They think it's cool! When my kids and I drop by the school to visit, you would think that the Jonas Brothers had just arrived in Troy, NY..."SEAMUS AND GRACE ARE HERE!! WooHoo!!" Then the mad rush out into the hallways to see who can pick up Grace first, and who can give Seamus a high-five first. They pretty much disregard me, because who the heck am I? Sometimes I'll overhear them saying,

"These are Mr. C's kids."

"No, they are Mrs. Donohue's kids."

"Well, Mrs. Donohue and Mr. C are married."

"No, Mrs. Donohue is Mr. C's mom!"

Oh, I love it. They are so funny! They don't quite understand the idea of in-laws yet, all they know is that Seamus and Grace both somehow belong to both Mr.C and Mrs. Donohue!

And it never least one of the younger students will come up to me and say, "You know what? Seamus is a little person...he won't grow to be very tall." So then of course I act surprised, "Really? Wow!" But they are just so accepting. It's such a reassuring feeling to know that these classmates will be growing up with him, and hopefully the difference in their sizes will never matter.

So here is the official first day of school pic:

He was very grumpy about having his picture taken!

But then he was very happy about the surprise trip to Dunkin Donuts for a blueberry donut!

Here he is getting ready to go up to his classroom. I remember when he was tiny and thinking, wow, someday he'll be going off to school. I wanted him to stay a baby forever, and now he's growing up and becoming a little boy.

Godspeed, little man.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Say What?

I think we'd all like to believe our kids are exceptionally intelligent. I remember gushing over every tiny milestone, like the first time Seamus babbled back and forth with me, and saying to myself, "He's so smart!" He could complete a small shape-sorter at around 15 months old, and I thought, "Maybe he's a mathematical genius!" Although as time passed and his language was not developing, it became clear that he needed an evaluation. I remember Linda, the genetics counselor from DuPont saying to us, "He's going to be small, you don't want him to talk funny too." Ouch. Way to make us feel like Parents of the Year!

Seamus qualified for speech therapy and also had ear tubes placed to correct a hearing loss due to excess fluid. With the help of his therapy (and a Leapfrog DVD), he learned all of his letters and the sound each one makes. Fast forward to a year, we can't get this kid to shut up! His speech development has been truly remarkable.

One evening last week in particular. The four of us were sitting around the dinner table, Devon, Grace and I eating normal dinner food, and Seamus eating a bowl of Rice Krispies and banana (his food aversions are a whole other post!) He was also clad only in Thomas the Train briefs (hey, it's summer, he's hot, and I'm choosing my battles.) He was talking, encouraging himself to take a bite - "Come on, tuck it in the bucket!" (I believe he got the "tuck it in the bucket" phrase from his babysitter, pretty original if you ask me.) He gets a giant scoop of Krispies and perfectly diced banana loaded onto his spoon, holds it steady and aims, and just as it approaches his open mouth, the entire spoonful slides off and dribbles down his belly. And all over Thomas. He looks at the empty spoon, and then down at the mess on his lap, and says "Oh, Jesus!"

You know when your kid does something like this and you want to burst out laughing, but you can't because you don't want to encourage inappropriate behavior? This is what is happening to me at this moment, except I had just taken a large sip of wine. So I let out some kind of a snort/choke and managed to aspirate a good amount of my Pinot Noir. I look over at my husband, whose beet-red face is looking down, shoulders shaking with silent laughter. Where on earth did he learn to say that??? The Wiggles Christmas DVD talks about baby Jesus, and Seamus' school is a Catholic elementary school, so all that plus church on Sundays, he's heard quite a lot about Jesus. Maybe he was just praying??

Seeing no reaction from Devon or I, Seamus tries again. "Oh, Jesus!" he yells with more exuberance. I seriously can't take it. I try to look stern. "Seamus! That is not a very nice thing to say. Jesus would be sad if he heard you talking like that." He looks confused. I tell him, "You can say, Oh my goodness!"

So what does he say then? "Oh my God!"

Is he just a particularly devout child, or do I have something to be concerned about here??

He tells me he can't wait to go to school to see Baby Jesus. Right now, I'm just envisioning the first phone call from the teacher, when Seamus spills the glue or drops his crayons and his little voice shouts out, "Oh, Jesus!"