Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Operation Get-Your-Neighbors-Fat

On Sunday after The Nutcracker, I loaded the boys into the Double Bob and E & I walked around handing out our cookie tins.  Out of the five neighbors we made tins for only one was home, so I hope the other four had a happy surprise on their doorstep when they got home.  In the tins were magic cookie bars, sugar cookies, gingerbread men, pretzel kiss candies, and snickerdoodles.

Later that night I got a call from the neighbor next door to us.  She was calling before she ate anything because she thought we left the tin on the wrong porch. I thought that was kind of funny. I would have eaten the treats and asked questions later.  She is home bound and I haven't met her once in the two years that we've lived here. I am familiar with her husband and he is often out walking their dog or in his backyard which abuts ours.  He'll talk to the kids and Ellie will yell at his dog.  Today I received a Christmas card from her saying everything was delicious. Yay!

I would like to make this a yearly tradition. If I made time to make the cookies this year with sick kids, moving plans and the regular hustle and bustle of the holidays. I am sure I should be able to make time every year. Besides being a very neighborly (I like that word) thing to do I feel it's a great tradition for Ellie and I.  She liked helping me and I really enjoyed her company.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Dear Charlie,

Today is your second birthday.  You woke up calling for me, and after two days of being pretty darn sick you had a smile on your face jumping up and down in your crib. Your sister and I greeted you with our lovely rendition of "Happy Birthday To You" which you weren't too sure of at first.  You continued to give me dirty looks as I changed your diaper.  I let you stay in your PJ's. It is your birthday after all and we didn't have anywhere to be until later in the afternoon.

Before breakfast Ellie wanted you to open just one present. I am pretty sure it was more for her enjoyment then yours, but she can get away with that for at least another year or two.  You unwrapped your Elmo Play Dough Shape Maker.  By 8:30 we were finished making your b-day cupcakes.  We used Diego liners because even at only two years old you seem to have already outgrown Blue's Clues, which was the themed party I had pictured in my head several months ago.  Your sister graciously handed you the mixer attachment covered in vegan chocolate batter first because you are the "birthday boy".  She's been calling you birthday boy all day.  You may not realize it's your special day, but she sure does.

This afternoon you had your two year well visit at the pediatrician. You did well with the one shot and finger prick you received.  Dr. Sarah was happy with how big you're getting. I wasn't surprised that your head is the biggest part of your body :) You get that from the Mello side of the family. When you get older, if you have issues with me calling your head big remind me to tell you the story about your cousin Kenny and how they wanted to send him for a CAT scan when he was born.  After your appointment Ellie and I frosted your cupcakes.  She said you'd like them with blue frosting, so we tinted it blue just for you!

After dinner, you blew out your candles with a little help from Daddy.  You seemed impressed with your cupcake.  You waited to eat it until after you opened your presents. You weren't very impressed with the t-shirts we got you, but you seemed to love the Tomas & Friends Adventure on Misty Island Mega Block Set, your first remote control car, your Buzz Lightyear space racer and your Thomas bath toy.  All in all, I think it was a pretty successful birthday.  I love you honey. I am so happy to be celebrating the milestone of your second birthday.

All my love,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Nutcracker (and some randomness)

E and I were fortunate enough to go see The Nutcracker this afternoon thanks to Hubby's boss and our babysitter who I was able to snag last minute to stay with my (sick again) boys for the day.  We had such a great time. We were right in the center section of the lowest level of the balcony. Our view was perfect. My favorite part was when E would fervently clap after one of the ballerinas did a solo.  She did ask to leave three times. Once right before the first act was over, once during intermission, and once at the end.  I think this was a combination of short attention span and hunger. We had a little snack before the noon show, but I was quite hungry by the end and I'm sure she was too.  Our sitter didn't mind staying later even though the boys only slept half an hour so E and I could grab a late lunch in the city. It was another magical day.  She's at a great age to enjoy special outings with her Momma!

I have to say I love Philadelphia. Driving around is so easy and I don't think twice about driving into the city.  I should clarify that I don't mind driving into the city with good cause.  I will drive in to visit Hubs for lunch, see The Nutcracker, or go to the CHOP ER.  I won't drive there by myself just to grab a bite to eat or to go shopping at a store I could easily find outside the city, like Macy's.  I hear they have a gorgeous Christmas display in the city, but I can't stand shopping and staring at a large Christmas tree just doesn't do it for me. Though I'll admit that I was tempted to stop as I drove by today with just E in the car.  The $23 we had already paid for parking for the day snapped me out of that though.

I can't say the same thing about Boston. I drive through Boston white knuckled and this includes places I have gone to a million times.  I usually try to get back up to go with me, especially if I have the kids.  I avoid it at all costs.  Philadelphia is laid out so well. I love it. 

I broke down and called our Realtor.  Our lease is up at the end of January. We need to find another house to rent because they have found buyers for the one we're in.  For some time now I have decided to not deal with it because there really wasn't much to do, except obsess.  Melanie already found us a gorgeous house, but it's in the next town over. I don't mind that, except that I want to make sure E can continue at her current preschool.  That is the only deal breaker I have. I'll even share a bathroom with my kids if I have to.  P.S. moving sucks.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Party

The food.
Today we had a playgroup Christmas party here at the house. I think everyone had a great time. I know my kids sure did!!
The fun.

The presents!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Life as a Heart Mom

I am a Heart Mom. Most of you reading this have no idea what that means. A few of you know all too well. Ellie was born with only half of a functioning heart. It sounds surreal and I could type all this medical mumbo jumbo to clearly define what her heart structure is, but when you get down to it - she only has half of a heart.  She isn't sick. She isn't a "poor thing." Her life doesn't suck. It's just how she was born.

For many months before her birth and for a couple of years after it I was consumed by this new world I was a part of.  I needed these other "heart mom's." I needed answers. I needed someone to tell me they knew exactly what it was I was feeling. Hubs knew a lot of what it was. He felt the pain. He suffered through the agonizing time in the hospital. The touch and go moments we had after each of the surgeries. Still, he didn't grow this precious life with half a heart in his own body. There are many questions, and a certain amount of guilt even, that I will always have because I was the one that carried her and nobody can tell me why her heart didn't develop correctly.

My first heart mom friend Erika, added me to a group on Facebook called "Heart Mamas."  I looked around and didn't get the same sinking feeling that I used to get at any "heart" mention.  During the first three years of Ellie's life I got very attached to a few heart families.  I read blogs and carepages. Sent messages of support even a few of condolence. It made me anxious, scared and stressed all the time! So I pulled away. There are three families that I will always keep in touch with. Erika and her family are friends for life. We exchanged numerous emails shortly after we both received our diagnosis. We met in person for the first time with our husbands while we waddled around the Children's Hospital one day after fetal cardiology appointments.  To this day, today even, we contact each other if we need to be reassured that there is a least one person out there that gets how we're feeling. The other is a family from New Orleans whose daughter was six months old and just had her Glenn when Chris and I toured the CICU at Children's.  It was the first HLHS family we spoke with in person who had gone through it. Hannah's mom took the time to talk to us, reassure us and let us gaze at her perfect baby who was doing so well. Hannah was my sign of hope.  That was a huge moment for me because Hubs and I had just been shown what a baby looks like with their chest open post Norwood.  The third family is the Pandya's. We met in the CICU. Their son doesn't have HLHS, but needed a surgery right after he was born.  This time around, our child was the one shown to prepare another family for what their baby would look like post surgery, if anyone can really prepare for that.  

This post isn't really going where I intended it to.  My original reason for starting to type out my thoughts was because I wanted to remember how happy I am that Ellie's fifth birthday is right around the corner. We've made it! When we were preparing for her birth all of the doctors and research said most babies who aren't going to make it don't see their fifth birthday.  For some reason five has stuck in my head as the magic number. We've made it to the other side.  We've done all we can do. Ellie is destined for great things no doubt.  I think I am ready to branch out into the larger heart community once again. To give back and pay it forward for all of the love and support we got in the beginning. I am a veteran heart mom with an (almost) five year old after all!

For anyone new to Ellie's story that wants to learn more about our journey, I chronicled it all for our family and friends at the time on search for page name EllieAdams (one word).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Charlie

If you ever question my love for you ask me about tonight, when you projectile vomited into my mouth as I tried to rock you back to sleep. I love you. Very much. Believe me. Let's leave it at that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cupcake Hat

I came across the blog Making Food and Other Stuff at some point during my dairy free journey. The author, Katie, is all sorts of hilarious so I was hooked. There are very few blogs I stick around for, unless they are my friends in real life, so you know she's got to be good.

She is giving away an original cupcake hat that she knitted. She asked that her readers spread the word. So I am. But more importantly, I hope you check her out and enjoy her as much as I do.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You would think I never feed him

Charlie does this weird thing where he hides food under his chin as if he is saving it for later. I don't remember when it started, but it is definitely one of his "things". Maybe in his past life he went hungry during the depression? Maybe Ellie steals food from him when I am not looking? Or possibly this is the way his middle child syndrome is manifesting itself?

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dancing around the kitchen

One of our favorite things to do!

YouTube Video

It helps with this:

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  We have had a wonderful day so far.  Just like last year we headed into the city to watch the big parade.  It was awesome. Just like last year, I cried.  Hmm... this year I can't blame it on pregnancy hormones so I guess I'll just chalk it up to magic. We saw all of the floats and balloons. We cheered on Elmo and Sam I Am as they rounded the corner without incident. Frosty, on the other hand, didn't fare so well.  They cut him free from the street light and all was good.  Oh and it snowed.  That pretty much sealed the deal that this is the most perfect day ever.

As soon as we got home Ellie and I got to work on our Thanksgiving feast, while Chris helped out around the kitchen and entertained the boys. I reiterated to her while a woman's place isn't necessarily in the kitchen, it certainly warms your heart to prepare a meal for your family that you know they truly appreciate.

Here are some pictures from our morning.  I'm off to enjoy the family and another mimosa while the turkey finishes up in the oven.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today I am thankful for Children's Hospital Boston

I can't believe she is going to be five in just a couple of months!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thankful for Jersey Girls

Friday night the kids got some one-on-one time with their dad while I got to go to girl's night out. It was an awesome time. I drank a little and laughed a lot. Okay, maybe I drank a lot and laughed a lot, but who is keeping track?

I have been very fortunate in my almost two years as a Jersey Girl to find such fabulous friends. I've always made friends easily, but the older I get the harder it is.  Luckily, these ladies have grown to love me and my kids. It's hard not having family around, mostly because your family has to come to our rescue and cover your ass when you really need it. These ladies don't have to do it, but they do.

They help in so many ways. One struck up a conversation with me at my first Mom's club event when we had only been living in south Jersey for a few months and I didn't know a soul. One came to my rescue in the middle of the night when I had to take Than to the ER. One picks up Ellie from school when the weather is bad so I don't have to drag the boys out in it.  One will happily take Ellie for the afternoon to get some girly time so I can regain my sanity. They all cooked meals when I came home from the hospital with Than.  They stocked my fridge before I got home from the ER after we realized he had a milk allergy. They share hand-me-downs and Mom advice. They help keep track of my three crazy kids when we are out in public so I can actually participate in adult conversation!

We schedule weekly play dates and check in with each other when our kids are sick.  They invite Hubby, the kids and I to their family functions.  They have made this place feel like home and most importantly they have been my life line.

So, today (almost a week late... I knew I wouldn't be good at the daily thing) I am thankful for my Jersey Girls. Christy, Kelly, Donna, Tracy, & Rachael. Thank you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm thankful... day 1

Ok, so we are about 2 1/2 weeks away from Thanksgiving. I have resisted the urge to put up any Christmas decorations. I am slightly disappointed I can't find a radio station playing Christmas music yet. Yeah for being able to plug my iPhone into the car and play music that way (double yeah for Pandora Kidz Bop Christmas).

Alright, back to Thanksgiving. Since the day isn't all about family and food I figured I'd challenge myself to come up with something I'm thankful for every day until Turkey day.  The challenge won't be to find something I am thankful for because I am certainly blessed, the actual challenge will be getting my butt on here to write it down everyday.

Today, I am thankful for my hubby. He is an extremely hard worker. He wants nothing but the best for our kids. He puts up with my craziness. He is pretty much a saint. I could go on, but if you know him you know what I am talking about, and if you don't know him I don't want to make you puke before dinner. Simply put, he's the best.

Seriously, where would the kids and I be without him?  Certainly not at an uncrowded Target on a week day morning finishing our Christmas shopping.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Love You

Three little words that mean so much. Today while at Chilli's having lunch, Charlie cuddled up to me and for the first time out of the blue said, "I love you."

I want to remember this day forever.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Christmas Shopping

Today I dragged all three kids out for a two and a half hour session of hard core Christmas shopping. I got about half way through my list. Little girls are just so easy to buy for!  It was a lot of fun and the kids were very cooperative. Of course, Ellie wanted one of everything I bought for someone else. I think I am going to try to go shopping for the kids this weekend or next on my own. I am not going crazy this year. Two or three presents per kid and that's it.  Than will end up with sippy cups or other odds and ends that I really need to buy him because he has to have something to open, right?

Last year we had Christmas morning at my Mom's house with presents from them for the kids. Santa knew we were going to be out of town, so he just left presents under our tree at home for the kids to open when we returned from New England, almost a week and a half later.  It worked out fine, but I am trying to decide how I want to work things this year. I might just have Santa drop their presents off at MiMi's house for Christmas morning.

I have to start thinking about Christmas cards too. I think this year I will have the kids in their Christmas PJ's in front of the Christmas tree. Cute, no?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

5 - The number of times I have washed dishes already today. It's not even 3pm.

4 - Art projects completed with Ellie.

3 - Cans of Diet Pepsi consumed. (Bad. I know.)

2 - Simultaneous afternoon napping boys!

1 - Pan of brownies waiting to be eaten, but not until after dinner. I swear. Really.

It's been a good day!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Ellie the old lady

We are waiting at a medical supply store (for a nebulizer... That story for another time) and Ellie is obsessed with all all of the walkers, canes, and shower chairs. She is going to be a very happy old lady.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Candy

A couple of weeks ago I bought Playdoh and pretzels to hand out at Halloween this year. Yes, I was planning on being that house.  This seemed like a great plan. I was even having much success turning my nose up at the ridicule.  That was until I saw a candy sale at our local ShopRite advertising three bags for $5.  I brought home three bags of yummy deliciousness three days ago. 

Every. Last. Piece. Is. Gone. 

Chris got home last night late from work and asked for just one Reese's peanut butter cup.  It was hilarious that he thought I was actually lying to him to preserve all the hard work he's accomplished on the scale.  Truth be told, Charlie and I knocked back the last of those before lunch time. 

Funny though, I haven't had the urge to open up the pretzels. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Welcome Autumn

I love autumn... spring and summer are pretty great too.  I could do without winter, but WOW I love autumn!! This past weekend my cousin was here for a visit and we took the kids apple and pumpkin picking and then we made a pretty amazing apple pie... which I have pretty much eaten all by myself.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Zoo

My Mom and I took the kids, including my god daughter Emma, to the Capron Park Zoo while we were in MA. It is very close to where I grew up and I only started going there after we moved to NJ. Go figure! Here are some pictures.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hello from NJ!

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Screw You Pink Slime

Granted I am sure all of the food places at the rest stops are owned by McDonald's, but I managed to get the kids to for go McD's happy meals for cheese pizza on our recent trip to MA.

And I got a yummy veggie wrap!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This is how we roll.

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Life's a Beach

Today we took a trip to Seaside Heights, NJ aka "The Shore."  We were going there before the world heard of Snookie, Pauly D & The Situation.  If you have no idea who I am referring to, you must be living under a rock.

Kenny won Ellie a teddy bear out of a grab machine.

Kenny is the perfect picture of teenage angst. Dressed head to toe in black on a beach.  His godson doesn't seem to mind though!

Charlie showing Daddy the sand... that he also stuck in his mouth. Clearly, sand in his mouth doesn't bother him.

Ellie in her cool shades.

Ellie & her "tail fin" that Daddy is sculpting. She <3's mermaids!

Can you spot Chris, Ellie & Charlie in the picture above?

Ellie on the first round of the carousel. It goes a lot faster than the one at the zoo, so she was a little hesitant at first.

At fairs/boardwalks/anywhere-cotton-candy-is-available Ellie always insists on getting it... but she doesn't eat it. We gave in to her because we were on the boardwalk after all! Note to self, next time save your $3...