Saturday, March 22, 2014

Life is Good

A few nights ago, as I was doing Jack's bedtime routine, I had one of those moments that you wait for as a mama. Those few seconds or minutes where you feel like your life is so good, and what you are doing is so good. No life is perfect - we all have struggles and challenges - but in moments like this one, you experience gratitude and pride and so much love.

This moment was me holding Jack in my arms, rocking him and starting to sing "Hail Mary.." like we do every night (and like we've done since he was just a few months old). I paused for just a second after singing, "Mary" and he jumped in. All on his own. In his little toddler voice, he said, "Full of Grace." Except that it came out more like "FUUUULLL of GWWWACE." I just melted. And nearly cried. And then I wondered if John heard him (the baby monitor was on) because I didn't want him to miss out on this moment. I'm so proud of the little boy Jack has become and I know we are just barely getting started with that sweet child.

He and Liam fill my heart with so much joy and love and peace. They've made me into this person that I never thought I could be, and I know they will continue to refine me each day that I have with them. I feel so blessed that at 26 years old I have these two wonderful boys who are a part of my life, every moment of every day. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Back in the Game

I am officially back in the game as a working mama! This week was a short one, because I went back Tuesday morning instead of Monday. Which means I spent my Monday afternoon doing this...

I love the bored look on Liam's face. He's like, "Mom, really? More of this stupid iPhone? So over it." Whenever I try to catch him laughing or smiling (photo/video) he instantly stops! I guess he just wants to save his absolute cuteness for us instead of the internet world?

I guess I didn't spend my whole Monday afternoon just hanging with Liam and Jack though. I also sorted through hundreds and hundreds of emails trying to clean up my corporate inbox. It took forever but did put me much more at ease when I arrived at my little cubicle on Tuesday at 8:07 am!

The first day flew by - at first I was flooded by this massive feeling of just being BEHIND. Like the last runner in the race. Think of that really pathetic person you saw in the last summer Olympics. That was me. Actually no one who makes it to the Olympics is pathetic in any way, so just think of me... a non-runner... at the end of a race. Which is not a fun place to be, no matter who you are, but if you are a type A corporate is definitely not a fun place to be. On top of that feeling, and having to pump (ugh! how did I manage to feed my first child only breastmilk for 6 months?) I also realized just a few hours in that what I missed most was the physical affection of my little boys - their hugs and kisses and snuggles. The holding hands and being followed to the "potty" by Jack and having Liam in my arms 99.7% of the day. I felt so alone at the office (even though I was surrounded by great colleagues) because no one was tugging at me, reaching for me, holding on to me. But I really do love my job and I'm so happy to be back doing something that I love. By the end of the day I felt so accomplished. And I couldn't wait to head home and see my boys!

By day two, I figured out that one thing that really helps me get through the work day is the pure quality time that I get with them in the evening. I'm also trying to build some of that time in every morning by waking up earlier (which is hard for me, because I am a person who seriously needs my beauty sleep to function). I don't want to rush them, or myself, and risk heading into the office feeling like I didn't have time for hugs and kisses and snuggles. So we've got a pretty good routine set up with a very early alarm and I think this life of ours is quite manageable for the time being. Especially because of this...


Honestly nothing puts me in a better mood in the morning (I seem to always wake up on the wrong side of the bed. But I'm working on it!) than a homemade latte. John's the best barista because he knows exactly how I love my coffee and I don't have to get dressed or wait in line before I get my caffeine. I am so blessed to have my husband support me so much (& I'm trying to work on actually telling him that more often). Everyone at the office was pretty impressed when mid-afternoon, flowers arrived (c/o Mr. John Flynn). I have to admit it made me feel really, really loved and appreciated.

A cheery bouquet from my sweet husband. It really brightens up my little cubicle!
So after three days in and with one day to go, I have to say what gets me through each day is definitely knowing that I am working hard for these guys (pictured below, in case you are confused about the guys I'm referring to). I love coming home and seeing their smiling faces (they always wake up on the right side of the bed and stay that way all day!). I am truly blessed and really look forward to what the future brings for our family. 

My guys hanging out on the front lawn before dinner!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Back to reality!

It's been awhile since I've posted because we've been pretty busy lately! But now it is back to reality after a great trip to Texas to see friends (surprise birthday gift :)). I also return to work on Tuesday which I am really looking forward to, especially since my dear youngest child finally relented and is taking a bottle like a champ (thanks to my mother's continual prayers, and my husband's persistence, if you ask me!). 

I guess another reason I haven't had the time/motivation/desire to blog is because I've really just been enjoying reading OTHER blogs! Things like this mean that most of my favorite bloggers are posting lots of new material, which I love. And I started using the Bloglovin' app which feels like it was built exactly for someone like me. I like following other blogs but hate getting an email for each one letting me know there is a new post (who has the time/energy to open, and then delete, all of those emails?) so I love that I can just open the app and read a few blogs when I want to!

Anyway, here's a quick update from us. Or more accurately a quick photo dump. (Mostly of Liam because he was my #1 guy for the past week!)

Liam was an absolute champ as we made our way through Texas visiting friends, old professors, and stopping at every delicious restaurant we could find. He was a pretty smiley/happy boy, and it was so fun to have him with me the entire time. He did great in his car seat/stroller/sling/Ergo and I still feel so blessed that he is so easygoing. I told my friends on a few occasions that I really believe this baby is like a natural anti-depressant. He fills me with so much joy and if I'm feeling sad or tired for some reason, with just one look at his face, I am instantly revived.

But after a great little vacation, one of the many reasons I am so glad to be home is that I don't have to nurse in public so often! I literally felt like I was nursing my way through the massive state of Texas. Luckily my dear friend Colleen was with me most of the time and she's also breastfeeding so we made it a team effort. :) This chubby boy had his meals in a variety of locations which was great for him and an exercise in sacrificial love for me.

We did so many fun things while we were away! I loved this food truck park in Fort Worth, where I got avocado fries (literally deep fried avocado slices), a yummy gyro, and a strawberry basil lemonade. I felt like Liam was quite the attraction in the Ergo. An Australian guy even stopped me to ask, "What's that baby doing in there?" (Sleeping, thank goodness!)

I guess another development is that little Liam boy has been trying to roll over for the past week! He still hasn't completed the move but he loves being on his side. He's at an age that I just love - he's so happy to play on the floor, in our arms, or anywhere else! He's getting sturdier (not such a floppy newborn) but isn't too wriggly to manage (no major lunging, diving, etc. yet).

Here's our big boy at 11 weeks. I can't believe how quickly time is passing! He went to daycare for an hour this past Friday so we could practice with the bottle and they said they already love him so much. :) We do too!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tough Love

I don't know if our discipline approach necessarily qualifies as "tough love" or not, but I will say this...I LOVE my children, and disciplining them is TOUGH! I wasn't prepared for this part of motherhood either! 

Jack has so quickly transitioned into a full blown toddler and we are already feeling the pain of the "terrible two's" even though he's only 21 months old. He is still the best big brother; he's so gentle with and intrigued by his "baby brudder Meem." And he is still incredibly verbal which is a blessing and a curse. 

Case in point? At Mass on Saturday night (never again! I thought we could handle a 5:30 pm mass since bedtime is 7:00 pm but no sir! We can not!) Jack was really misbehaving. Or I should say he was really misbehaving considering the circumstances we were in. As we continued to ask him to sit down (he was running all over), use a quiet voice (he was laughing and talking up a storm), etc. things got worse. He went from demanding cookies to firmly smacking John in the face and laughing. I know that he was just getting tired and that it was a difficult time of the day for him to sit still for an hour, but after multiple trips outside, John knew it was time to be a bit more serious in our reprimands. So when they went outside the last time they talked about the fact that we don't hit people, and John gave Jack a firm swat on the bottom. Then they came back inside the church. And this happened.

Mama: (whispers) "Hi Jack."
Jack: (yells) "DADDY HITTING."
Mama: (laughs nervously and looks at the floor) "What?!?"

I swear everyone in a 50 foot radius was staring at us. John and I were both mortified. Jack's language is crystal clear. This was one of those times I was wishing he still did the impossible to discern, baby mumble version of talking! But he doesnt. And so the whole way home from church (only a five minute drive, thank goodness!) Jack repeatedly said, "hitting. hitting. hitting." He then woke up the next morning and told me, "Daddy hitting Jack." A FULL SENTENCE. AHHHHHH!!!! 

So we are in the process of figuring out this discipline thing. And I'm hoping we figure it out soon. I wish I could say timeouts were working better but when we were at a rosary & funeral last week (out of town) I realized they really aren't. Again, we were in church and Jack was having a really hard time behaving. I took him outside since he was jumping off rocks in the foyer and he got very frustrated so I said, "you are going to have to take a timeout if you don't listen to mama." His response? "YAY! YAY Mama! YAY!" Whaaaaaat??? So I said, "No Jack, timeouts are not good. They are not fun. And it's nighttime so your timeout will be in the dark."

Guess what I hear next? "Dark! Dark! Dark! Yay Mama! Yay!"

So we're working on that. And 98% of the time Jack is the sweetest, smartest, most loving, most wonderful child I've ever known. But he still has that toddler bug in him! And he still gets frustrated when he can't explain what he wants or doesn't understand why we are asking him to do, or not do, something. I soooooo badly want well-behaved children (for sooooooo many reasons) but man, getting there is going to be tough. But we'll love it, right?

This is how Jack "listens" lately. We say, "Smile Jack!" and he yanks Daddy's ears and laughs. He sure is cute though! As is that chubby little baby in Johnny's arms!

Our saving grace lately has been a) time with Jack's uncles and b) walks/visits to the park. He adores both!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


We've settled in to a pretty nice routine over here and are definitely enjoying having two little ones, although at times things get a bit crazy (for example, we all have colds right now...not fun! All I will say is we've got more boogers than we know what to do with :(). Jack is talking up a storm and so active lately. He's constantly making us laugh with what he says and does. Sometimes he literally just runs in circles. Liam is a sweet, sleepy little boy from what we can tell. When he's awake, he's all smiles (& very gassy which is pretty funny since it doesn't seem to bother him too much) and the rest of the time, he sleeps. A lot. I think it's because he's constantly growing? We shall see.

One of the things that I  love is that we all get to spend so much time together! With two little ones most of the time I (surprisingly) have enough love/energy to spread around as long as I keep them both within arms reach. And even though they can't exactly "play" together yet, the boys are normally side by side.

They love to hang out in "Mommy's Bed" as Jack calls it. John is definitely the "fun" parent, and Jack can't get enough of his time with Daddy, so sometimes I feel like the loser parent around here! ;) But interestingly enough most of the things we own/have that Jack really likes are "Mommy's." Haha. I love snuggling with these two in bed and watching tv early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, for some much needed quiet time.
Bathtime is also still a "together" activity. I have mastered the art of bathing two children at once, but separately. Meaning...not in the same tub but consecutively. Liam is still too little to go in "Mommy's Big Tub" as Jack calls it, so he's in the infant bath on the counter for his bath, and then once he's all set he has some time in the bouncer. Jack gets lots of play time in the big bathtub and likes having his baby brother hang out with him before, during, and after bathtime.  I love having a huge master bathroom!
Snacktime however is a solo affair. Today even the doggy had to give Jack some space while he enjoyed his snack du jour - sliced bananas with peanut butter and multigrain cheerios on top. Liam got to hang out in his new RockaRoo swing (below) so that I could monitor Jack and ensure there was no peanut butter finger painting in my nice clean house. :) Of course that meant that quite a bit of it ended up on my shirt!

Most of the time I still can't believe that we have two children and that it is so much fun! Liam will be 8 weeks old in just a few days, and Jack's 2nd birthday is just around the corner (well, it's in May but time is flying by, so it feels so close!). I go back to work in five weeks so I'm cherishing this time with my babies but looking forward to getting back to the job I love and figuring out my working mommy routine.

Update: after I posted this, I set Liam up for a bit of tummy time. Look who decided to join him? So cute!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Liam's Baptism

Liam's baptism this past Sunday was beautiful! We just invited family and his wonderful godparents so it was a very simple but sweet (but seriously...very sweet...we did a dessert bar for the reception and there was a lot of sugar!) afternoon. Here's a photo dump of some of my favorite moments! Mom was a stealthy photographer and got some great pictures.

Right as we were pulling into the church parking lot we heard Liam doing some serious work in the diaper department. This would be concerning in regular clothing but in a white linen baptismal romper? Yikes. Fortunately all was well so I had a big smile on my face after changing that diaper!

Right after Liam Thomas Flynn received his first sacrament, baptism! We are so proud to call him a member of the Catholic Church and know his godparents will help us teach him all about our faith.

Tiny baby feet are always adorable but were too much for mom to resist from her pew so she captured this adorable picture!

I love this little baby man's face! And that full head of hair. He was very well-behaved during the baptism and barely made a peep, which was amazing since he took a good three hour nap beforehand so I assumed he would be starving!

Family photo post baptism. It's hard to make four people look good (or even decent) at the same time...

Flynn Family photo. Jack was so excited to have his Mima and Papa there! He was also very excited to pick his nose during this photo. 

With his godparents, Steve & Ashley. In most of these photos Liam is quite busy looking chubby.

Phillips Family photo. Missing my dad like always but so grateful to have my mom and brothers as such a huge part of our life. I don't know what we would do without them!

Just Mommy, Daddy and Liam. This was at the very end of the baptism when Liam finally realized that he might be a bit hungry...

How big does this guy look? He is growing up so fast. I love when he calls Liam "brudder!" (brother)

If we were sending out a very late Christmas card...this would have been the photo to use. But I don't see myself printing photos and then addressing 50+ envelopes anytime soon (sorry!) and since this is not a very good picture of the boys, I'll take that as a sign that we can skip this year, haha.

Can't believe how big my boy is getting! I am just having too much fun with this sweet baby of mine.

Some of the best godparents we could ever ask for! Jack absolutely loves the Antones and their two girls and I know Liam is well on his way to the same level of affection. :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I don't have four arms

An interesting title for a blog post, right? It's what I'm dealing with right now though. I do not have four arms. I seem to forget that. I absolutely LOVE, and I mean love, having two kids. It is more wonderful than I imagined and 90% of the time I am surprised at how easy it is. (I was getting a bit concerned towards the end of my pregnancy about how I would manage two little ones so close in age.) I would say about 10% of the time it is difficult logistically though. And really that is only because I have unrealistic expectations about what I can handle!

Daycare pick up was where I first recognized the need for four arms. My first attempt at easy/peaceful pickup was leaving Liam in his car seat in the snap n' go stroller and trying to get Jack to walk by my side & hold my hand. No luck. Jack wanted to help push the stroller which was super cute and fun except that it's four feet off the ground and he's not tall enough to reach the handle so basically I was holding him up off the ground, and trying to help him steer (to keep Liam safe near curbs!) with his backpack on my back and keys in my get the picture. If I didn't let him push the stroller - major tantrum. Him screaming "Jack help!!! Mommy!!! Jack help!!!" Not an enjoyable experience.

So then I tried just carrying the car seat with Liam (usually sleeping) because I figured if we removed the stroller pushing factor, Jack would walk like a big boy and all would be well. Wrong! Instead Jack wanted to be held so I became a pack mule - 30 lb. child in one arm (Jack) and infant car seat (weighing at least 20 since Liam is such a chunker and already weighs 13 lbs!) in the other. Backpack strapped to back. Not an enjoyable experience.

So today I upped my game. I broke out the double stroller and popped Liam's car seat in and strapped Jack into the seat on the back. It worked really well (Jack enjoyed his ride) but I felt like I was driving a suburban pushing that thing around. It has no turning radius and is so heavy and clunky. But compared to other attempts it went really well and since we aren't going to spend $600 on a fancy double stroller anytime soon it will do!

It was great to solve that logistical issue but then this afternoon I found myself another one. I have a huge desire to be a fun mom and take Jack outside to enjoy the lovely winter weather (it's 70 and sunny most afternoons) and all of his fun Christmas toys. So after daycare pick up we took his new truck (push/ride toy) out for a spin in the cul-de-sac. Liam was asleep in the sling and I figured we could hang out for 20 minutes or so and then go inside for a snack. Unfortunately Jack had other plans. These plans included wandering bravely down the street, way further than I was comfortable with. Despite my requests to turn around he was marching full steam ahead. It's hard because he is SO verbal and such a great listener (he understands what I am saying) so I forget that he is still only 20 months old and therefore accustomed to doing what he wants and not what mommy asks. Long story short...I ended up having to scoop him up, screaming and kicking, and carrying him 200 yards back to the house. We left the truck behind and poor Liam got jostled around in the sling a bit since I had a toddler throwing a fit in my other arm. And Jack was traumatized that we had to leave the truck behind. (Once I got them both settled safely in the house I sprinted back to get it...let's just say that was my workout for the day.) I think all three of us were pretty upset with the experience! But lesson learned...I don't have four arms. Time to re-set the expectations on life with a 6 week old and 20 month old I guess!

(Sorry to disappoint but I don't have any photos of these experiences. :) )