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. :) )

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


A Mama Collective

Linking up with A Mama Collective

Thinking about: How amazing it is to get a decent night's sleep. Miracle of all miracles, Liam seems to have sleep trained himself and is going for 7 hour stretches (every night for a week, so I think it is NOT a fluke, yay!). As in last night he slept from 10pm-5am, woke up to nurse, then back to sleep until 8am. He's 5 weeks old so Johnny and I SO appreciate this! Just a few weeks ago I was wondering when the wake-up-every-3-hours-to-nurse phase was going to end, and feeling so exhausted, and BAM! it looks like it's here. Now I guess I just need to sleep train myself...I'm still waking up every 3-4 hours because my body is so used to it!
Reading: Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, a gift from my sister-in-law Lisa. I started it a few months before Liam was born and am taking my dear sweet time finishing it! (Something I never do...I normally power through books in a matter of hours.) Also reading lots of parenting blogs/articles; I constantly find myself googling things like "cure for cradle cap" (Liam has the mildest case so it's kind of silly to even worry about it, but I don't want anything messing with that gorgeous hair!) or "rash on baby's face" (turns out the expensive baby wash I was using, despite it's "all natural" marketing, is horrible on his skin).
Listening to: My boys playing together. I am one of five so I knew how great it was to have siblings around all the time, but now that I see my own two children interacting, I am just amazed at what a blessing it is. Liam is smiling and cooing and moving his arms and legs around and Jack gets such a kick out of it! I adore when Liam sneezes and I hear Jack say, "Bless you baby!" from across the room. 

Watching: White Collar! Such a great show and there are four seasons on Netflix so I will be busy watching for quite some time. We got a Roku for Christmas and set it up in our room so when I am lounging in bed nursing Liam, or holding him while he sleeps, and White Collar is on, I pretty much feel like I am on vacation! Also so happy that Downton Abbey is back (although these first few episodes have been a bit rough :(). 
Thankful for: Our childcare situation. Just this past week we got everything confirmed for Liam to start at the Christian daycare that Jack is at when I go back to work mid-March. What a relief! And a huge answered prayer. We love the facility and the teachers are so wonderful. We have such a great relationship with them. Jack is moving up to the toddler room soon, and luckily we'll still see all his infant room teachers because that's where Liam will be! Both boys will be there three days a week, and then they spent one weekday with John, and one with my mom. It is such a great balance and gives me so much peace that they are with family the majority of the week. Although sometimes Jack is just a little too excited to be at "school" and I wonder if he thinks they are way more fun that I am. ;)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jack's Vocabulary & My Favorite Toddler Words

Jack is officially a toddler - we went for his 18 month check up last week (a bit late!) and I can't believe how grown up he acted. The good news is that he is totally healthy and has a spectacular vocabulary. The bad news is that during his check up, he used his spectacular vocabulary to tell his pediatrician exactly what was up. Namely, as she attempted to poke and prod and measure him (all necessary things, and she is really great with kids and did her best to distract him and make it fun!) Jack repeatedly, and quite clearly, said "No more! All done! Go bye bye!" It was so adorable but also quite embarrassing. I like to think he has very healthy personal boundaries, which is a good thing, right? :)

Waiting to get his 18 month vaccinations. 
Poor little man had no idea what was coming. :(
One of Jack's favorite things to do is go outside to go walking ("WOK-en!" as he says). Whether it's in his stroller or his new racecar from Mima, he has a blast, and we love to watch him explore the world around him. He points out everything - cars, trucks, school buses, motorcycles, bicycles, airplanes, helicopters, dogs (especially if they look like Nana's yellow lab Marshall!), cats, birds, and even cows (we randomly have a few in a field near our house, which I love because it reminds me of my childhood in the country!). The weather has been beautiful lately so we go for a walk every day, even if it is just around the neighborhood (I still haven't mastered the art of taking a newborn and a toddler to the park so I try to avoid it unless John can come with me).

Hanging out in the kiddie pool in our backyard - who says this isn't a winter toy? :)

Walking with Uncle James, who is the best (read: fastest) driver ever!

Jack is supposed to have at least six words at this age. We think he has around sixty. They aren't all perfectly understandable but man, that kid can talk! We are so proud of him and get such a kick out of hearing him describe or ask for something.

Here are some of my favorite words -

Home - which he actually uses instead of "garage door" because whenever we would pull up to the house, as I pressed the garage door opener, I would say, "Jack, we're home!" But hey, most homes have garage doors so I guess it makes sense.

Lotion - comes out "LO-tun!" and is so adorable. Whenever he sees me putting lotion on my hands (it's so dry around here!) he begs for lotion on his hands too.

Avocado - comes out "av-o-CAW-do" and along with yogurt ("go-gur") and cookies ("COO-kies") is his most requested food. Actually, I take that back, lately he is loving Welch's fruit snacks, which he calls "nack!" This is problematic because when I say, "Jack, do you want a snack?" what I mean is something healthy, like grapes or cheese, and he hears snack and gets a little bit too excited, thinking he is getting fruit snacks. We're working on that one.

Baby Eat - what he says whenever I am nursing Liam. Too cute! 99% of the time he calls Liam "baby" but every once it awhile we can get him to say Liam ("Meem!").

Mail & Keys - Jack loves to check the mail with his Dad every day, mostly because he gets to carry the keys and it's a short walk outside! Jack always returns to the house with his arms full of mail (he loves to bring it to mommy...he is such a great helper) and as he inevitably drops it all, it melts my heart that he says, "Uh oh Mommy! Mail! Uh oh!"

School - comes out "cool!" and this is what he calls daycare (which he loves...especially because of his friend Samuel). He also knows that my brothers go to school and he often goes with Nana to pick them up, which is super fun, because he gets to see lots of cars, trucks, school buses, motorcycles, etc. while they drive across town.

Peace - what he yells during the sign of peace during mass, as he shakes the hand of any and every person in sight. Jack is so social and loves this part, which is great because it's normally right before he is ready to melt down since he's been sitting still for 40 mins or so.

Here you go - more like "ge gu go" (or something like that) and Jack uses this phrase when he hands you something (logical) but also if he wants you to give him something (illogical). So instead of asking for something sometimes he just yells, "here you go!" (I think this is a result of the fact that when we give him something, WE say "here you go.")

There are so many more but those are just some of my favorites. I can't believe how big our first baby is getting! How blessed we are by these two children.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A New Nephew

My sister Lauren had her baby late last night and now I have another handsome nephew! Nicholas Neil O'Brien (middle name after my dad) is a big healthy boy, weighing in at 9 lbs. 10 oz. I don't know how my sister keeps hiding big babies inside of her because she looked so small, even when she was almost a week overdue! We are filled with joy as we add another beautiful baby to our family. And John and I are so excited that Liam will have a boy cousin so close in age! Jack's cousin Joseph was born just 11 days earlier than him and it's been so fun to see them grow up together over the past year and a half. I know that my two boys will be best buds with my sisters' two boys!

Nicholas Neil O'Brien...chubby cheeks but a shorty for this family...only 20 1/2 inches long! Even though Liam is only 5 weeks old and still so small, it was so fun to hold a newborn in my arms again!

My beautiful sister Lauren holding her third child!

Throwback picture - this is Lauren holding Liam in the hospital just five weeks ago! He is covering her baby belly but she was 36 weeks along here. (December 10, 2013)

I got to visit Lauren in the hospital today - I am so glad we live so close to each other and can share all of these important moments! It is a huge blessing to be a mother alongside my sister.

A throwback picture from another hospital visit...this is me holding baby Joseph (May 20, 2012.) I was nearly 39 weeks along so he was literally resting on top of a huge baby bump (Jack).

One last throwback picture - this is Joseph and Jack (May 30, 2012) in the hospital for comparison. 

Update: we tried to re-create the Joseph/Jack side by side picture - this is Nicholas (3 days old) and Liam (5 weeks old) :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five on Friday

After a long week I thought it would be a good idea to lighten things up with a fun link up to celebrate my many blessings. So here we go!

1. My two biggest boys, John and Jack, are just melting my heart constantly because they are best buds. Jack adores his Dad and when John was out of town for work this week for two days Jack asked about him constantly. John is such a hands-on dad and is always so attentive & engaged when he plays with Jack, which I just love. We got Jack a few matchbox cars as a stocking stuffer for Christmas and they are having a blast lately playing, "Ready, Set, Go!" (as Jack has named the game) with them. Of course it was quite the adventure when a car found its way under the stove. Luckily Bacon Papa saved the day and quickly rescued it!

2. The weather here in the Central Valley has been pretty darn great considering it's January! And that means that most days we've been going for short walks and Jack is having a blast doing so in his new car (which is way more fun than a stroller!). It took me awhile to convince him to take the car outside, interestingly enough, because right after Christmas when he got it he was so sick that we weren't leaving the house, and we were just pushing him around the kitchen/dining room/living room. Now he understands that we can take this awesome toy out into the great big world and he's having even more fun. Of course it's ten times better when his awesome Uncle James is the one pushing him. :)

3. Liam is just killing me with cuteness lately - every day I stare at that full head of black hair and those chubby cheeks and just can not believe that he is ours! He is the sweetest little baby and is growing so fast. This is him sleeping away in a 3 month outfit...based on what we've seen in the past few weeks I don't know that it will fit him for long! He is such a great little nurser and his thighs are starting to show that with a few adorable rolls. I just love chubby babies! 

4. As we adjust to life with two little ones our bedtime routine has changed a bit! I took some advice from a friend and we made bathtime a family affair - Liam came in too and we all hung out with Jack while he bathed. He loves to have the baby nearby and I love every minute that our little family of four is together so it was a nice change. John sat on the side of the tub holding Liam and they only got splashed a few times so it worked out pretty well!

5. Liam still sleeps a lot which is great. Most days I'm still waiting for him to pop out of that newborn all-I-do-is-eat-sleep-poop phase and start doing crazy baby things like refuse to nap, cry for no reason, etc. But for now he is still an easy baby and that is a blessing for sure! I love to just watch him sleep because sometimes he makes the funniest little faces or baby sounds. I took him to adoration with me again yesterday which was great except that he decided to randomly do his noisy breathing while he slept - I'm hoping we didn't distract anyone too much! I love that he is my little buddy who comes with me everywhere. It's so easy to pop him in the sling and go anywhere. Aside from the usual sleep deprivation and constant nursing, this is definitely a fun phase with baby!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The first week of January

Today is my dad's birthday - January 7th. Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary - January 8th. The first week of January is an emotional week for me, to say the least, especially since it comes right after the holidays, and this year, it came one month after the birth of my precious baby boy Liam Thomas

I miss my dad every day. I mean every day, without fail, and it is awful and yet so beautiful that I think about him so often. Today especially my heart is breaking because I know that my two boys will have no memories - not one - of my amazing father blowing out birthday candles on a pineapple upside down cake (his favorite), or opening gifts (ordinarily See's candy or white socks or undershirts...he was both predictable and practical :)), or doing anything that a grandpa should do on his birthday. Jack was 11 weeks old when he died, and Liam wasn't even a thought in our mind yet. So tragically, for many years to come, both of my boys will have memories of us going to the cemetery to visit his grave, of attending mass with Nana to pray for the Grandpa they've only ever seen in photographs, of family dinners where we remember what we have lost while eating his favorite foods and drinking his favorite bottle of wine. I'm sure if you've made it through the second paragraph of this blog, you now understand how hard it is for me to have lost my father.

On January 7, 2011, it was my dad's 50 birthday. We didn't throw him a big party or even host an intimate family dinner...because instead it was the night that John and I had our rehearsal dinner as we were getting married the next day. We chose to get married as early as we could in January because I originally really wanted a Christmas wedding, but it couldn't happen because of my work schedule. The first Saturday, aside from New Years Day, was the 8th, and fortunately the church we got married in even left up the Christmas decorations for us! Anyway, my dad didn't even blink an eye regarding the wedding date, because of course, like always, he put others first. I remember asking him if we could at least have a birthday cake to honor him at the rehearsal dinner, and he said something along the lines of, "Please honey, this is your wedding! My birthday is nothing compared to the sacrament of matrimony. I would be embarrassed if it became about me even a little bit." 

Although this time of year is difficult for me, one of the things that I am most grateful for is that I met John when I did, and that we knew so quickly that we were meant to be married, because without those two things I would just be celebrating my dad's birthday but not a wedding anniversary. In this day and age, the odds that a college educated woman with a promising career would be married by the age of 25 are slim (back in the day, I myself said I wouldn't get married until I was 28!), so I am so grateful that God blessed me with the gift of marrying the right man at a young age. John was able to ask my dad for my hand in marriage; my dad was able to support and counsel us during our engagement on issues big and small; my dad was able to walk me down the aisle and give me away to my husband. Of all of the things that I am missing out on in losing my dad already I am deeply comforted that my wedding was not one of them. I love looking at my wedding pictures and seeing his smiling face.

This is Dad and I at the house in Patterson where I was raised, right before we left for the church. That morning I spent three hours at the salon getting my hair and makeup done and by the time they were finishing up their work I was starving. (They had only given me a few orange slices to snack on...obviously they had no understanding of how hungry I was!). As I complained about my grumbling stomach, my mom texted my dad and he made some food for me as we rushed back to the house. I remember standing in the kitchen, hair and makeup glamorously styled, scarfing down the egg rolls and pot stickers he had prepared (from the freezer) before slipping into my wedding dress, putting on my jewelry and veil, and taking this very picture.

I wish I could remember exactly what we talked about during our father-daughter dance. It was such a special moment and so much of me was so sad to be married because I knew I was starting a family of my own and that I would miss my parents so much.
This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding reception - a candid shot of the four of us talking on the dance floor. Mom of course is bustin' a move. :) I love that John and my dad are deep in conversation in this photo because I know that in the months that followed they continued to converse about so many things. John really respected my dad's opinions and perspectives and I know my dad felt the same way about John.

I really adored my dad and I'm so grateful for everything that he did to make me the woman I am today. I pray that he is in heaven, and that he is watching over our family and especially my two little boys always.