Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anything like Leif...

My Mom flew in last Monday for Thanksgiving...we have been so busy and really felt like we didn't really get to spend as much time with her as we would have liked.  She was supposed to leave today but thankfully we were able to change her flight and keep her around for another week!  Yaaaayyy!  This gave Leif and I the opportunity to have a little date night while Grammy and Aiden hung out at home!  We went to a yummy restaurant in downtown Charleston called Coast...on the way home we heard one of our favorite songs...we have loved this song since we found out that we were having a boy!!!  It reminded me of a video I made for Leif on his first Father's Day...the lyrics to the song are so simple yet so true...
In all honesty...I hope he is everything like his Daddy!!!    Leif is such a great man...he probably gave his parents a few "heartattacks" but what son doesn't?

***Obviously I didn't write, produce, record or even have any input into this song so of course to be "legal"  the song is "Anything like me" written by Charles Dubois, Brad Paisley and Dave Turnbull and performed by Brad Paisley!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Two Peas in a Pod...

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving...we sure did!  Although my entire family was not together, I was lucky enough to have my mom in town and my husband's brother, his wife and their adorable little boy Elijah!  We had a full house and it was alot of fun...having two little boys roaming the house brings new meaning to hearing the "pitter patter of little feet".  These boys were running, jumping, banging, "exploring", dancing and just having a good ole time.  Our nephew, Elijah, will be 2 in January so him and Aiden are a little over 8 months apart but practically the same size!  They do not get to spend a lot of time together because we live in SC and they live in MD so considering that this is the first time they have really "played" together we were all very exciting!  These boys were truly our entertainment all weekend long!  I lovingly referred to them as "Pete" and "Repeat"  What one didn't think of, the other surely did!!!  Two quick cute stories...sometimes as a parent you just HAVE to take a picture that you know 20 years from now would completely embarrass your child...I think it is a right of passage!  My mom has some silly bath time pictures of me and my sister and a few of me with old "boyfriends"... you know, your first love when you are 5!!!  Well we took a few "bath time" pictures as well.  The boys both love the bath, they were both just smiling and splashing away.  When is it was time to actually "bathe" the boys we told Elijah to wash Aiden's back.....PRICELESS picture taking ensued!

I think the word cute is truly and understatement when it comes to these boys!  They both just ooze personality and let me tell you...little Elijah is a dancing machine...that boy has THE moves!!!  Aiden would just laugh when Elijah would "break it down"...Aiden likes to dance but he has a more subtle style where as Elijah brings new meaning to "Baby got back".  This little boy can shake his lil rear like it's nobody's business. We had some music playing and Elijah was shaking his groove thing when all of the sudden Aiden walked up to the TV, put his hands on the stand and started shaking his butt! 

Elijah watched for a second and then thought...."NICE MOVES"...he walked up and copied his cousin!!!  Again....PRICELESS!!!

We truly had a blast watching these two boys play together!  It is so heartwarming to know that they can build this relationship as the years progress and one day, when they are "big" boys, we can share these fun little stories with them...even better will be sharing these pictures and some pretty hilarious videos!!!

PS....Have you ever tried to take a family picture with 2 rambunctious toddlers????  I hope your picture turned out a little better than ours...

Monday, November 22, 2010

DIY in Gunder-Land!

We have been extremely busy here in Gunder-Land.  It seems like my "to-do" list continues to grow and sometimes I would rather just have a good time with my family than narrow down my list!  With all of the excitement of Thanksgiving and having lots of company, the hubby and I got rolling!  We have been combing this great city for the perfect TV stand for our bonus room with absolutely no luck!  After more than 6 months of looking we finally found something...only 1 catch....it was completely unfinished!!!  PROJECT TIME!!!  Hubby and I worked on this thing for 3 hours the first night and then he worked on it for another 3-4 hours the next day while I ran errands and tended to our little boy!  Not to toot our horn BUT TOOT TOOT!  It looks great!  What do you think???



Monday, November 15, 2010

8 Years of Kassidy

On November 15, 2002 at 7:31 p.m. my beautiful niece Kassidy Rene Lowry was born weighing 9lbs 1oz.  She was a much needed blessing in our family and was an immediate ray of light in each of our eyes.  Today, Kassidy turns 8 and although I may be a little biased I can assure you that she is an amazing little girl who is not only wise beyond her years but also caring, genuine, giving and extremely outgoing.  If I may, I will share a short story!  Kassidy is very frugal with her money and is very good at saving every penny.  On the evening of Kasey's birthday (Kassidy's younger sister), Kassidy said to her mommy and sister that she would be right back...she ran upstairs, went into her piggy bank, took out a $5 bill, covered it in stickers and brought it downstairs and gave it to Kasey for her birthday!  Such a thoughtful gesture from a little girl who was only 7 at the time.  Whenever I take Kassidy or Kasey to the store, Kassidy always makes sure that whatever she gets, Kasey gets too, and if Kasey isn't with us she makes sure that Kasey likes what she gets so that she can share it with her little sister!  Kassidy is the big sister that every little sister dreams of.  This past year has been very difficult on Kassidy and Kasey as some things in their family life have changed...but Kassidy has handled herself with such maturity and grace!

To my beautiful niece Kassidy,
I want to wish you the most amazing 8th Birthday!  I hope you know how incredible you are and how much we love you.  I am so proud to have you as my niece and am constantly amazed by you.  You are such a talented, caring, motivated, driven, bubbly, empathetic, smart, outgoing and generous little girl.  I hope you know that although you are still young, there is not one thing in this world that you can't accomplish.  You can be and do anything that you want to...working hard and being focused will help you to continue to be successful in school and in life.  Mommy, Grammy, Uncle Leif and I would do absolutely anything for you and we will always be here for you...thank you for being such a great big sister, an amazing niece and of course so gentle and patient with baby Aiden...I love you so much Kass!  Happy 8th Birthday!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Loss of Hope...

Today marks the date of a significant event in our lives...I certainly wouldn't call it an anniversary because, to me, anniversaries mark exciting times or events...anniversaries are something you want to remember every year however this event is something that, unfortunately, we will never forget.  In case you don't already know, my hubby and I are high school sweethearts!  We started dating our 11th grade year but decided very early on that we had plans for our life...we thought we had something special but knew that there were A LOT of things that had to happen in order for us to live "happily ever after"...finish high school, go to college, get married, graduate, get jobs, buy a house and SETTLE!  Not sure if the "Settle" will ever happen but Welcome to the Navy! For the longest time the idea of starting a family was not even a topic of conversation!  It just wasn't in "The Plan"!!!  However, like most people say, one day it just hit me...it was time!  I will never forget the day...August 15th 2007...that "baby" truck just side swiped me one night while I was sleeping and I woke up "ready" to try!  Our road to pregnancy wasn't a, shall I say, "wam bam thank you ma'am" event...it took some time but that is neither here nor there!  Eventually we got pregnant....I will never forget buying the test and taking it...PREGNANT!...and buying another 3 tests and taking 2 of them...PREGNANT!...PREGNANT!...running into the kitchen and jumping into Leif's arms!  He swung me around and I just remember saying "I can't believe it...we are pregnant"...Finally we were pregnant!  YES, I cried...and I am crying now at the memory of my innocent excitement!  I shared the news with a VERY select few people...about 6 people knew...what can I say...I am superstitious!  My pregnancy was picture perfect...I had the usual early symptoms but nothing too crazy!  The weeks flew by and I figured that before I knew it I would be holding my baby...unfortunately that wasn't in "The Plan".  We lost our baby...or shall I say we lost our pregnancy!  I will spare you the very gory and painful details of everything that happened but will share with you the moment we knew...in the ER...Doc examines me..."Well" she says "your cervix size is consistent with a women who is approximately 10-12 weeks pregnant but I will do blood work and a sonogram to be sure"....I will never forget those words because my wonderful husband was sitting right beside me holding my hand and he gave me a really tight squeeze when she said that I "felt" pregnant...it is almost like he "squeezed" that moment into my mind...we had a sonogram and waited for the results...there was a fetal pole...but no heartbeat...blood work showed elevated hormone levels but not enough to be "as pregnant" as I was...they were dropping!  We were no longer pregnant!  I followed up with my regular doctor and she recommended a DNC...I declined!  It took about 8 days but at my next follow up my cervix was empty...the "Good News" she said is "that we now know that you can get pregnant"...what's the bad news?  Well the bad news is that your body did what is called a "spontaneous abortion"...Yes, I cried again...I cried a lot over the next 2 weeks..."WHY?" I asked...she gave me an answer that FOR ME makes a lot of sense but unfortunately does not make things any easier!  This miscarriage was your body's way of saying that something isn't right...this pregnancy would not be viable outside of the womb, there was a defect in the fetus..."it is for the best that you miscarried"...I heard those words a lot over the next few weeks...Now let me be very honest...I was ANGRY!  I am not sure who I was angry with but I was angry...I was angry with the world, with myself, with God, with every person that said the wrong thing while trying to comfort me...I seriously wanted to crawl into a hole and die!  I am not sure why...maybe I am a masochist (gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself)...but a few days later I secretly took that last pregnancy test...that last one in the pack of 3 that I mentioned above...PREGNANT...knife through the heart!  Would this pain ever end?
I am a firm believer that each and every experience is unique...my marriage is not the same as yours, my experience with cancer is not the same as yours, my college experience is not the same as yours, my pregnancy is not the same as yours and my miscarriage is not the same as yours... or your moms, or your sisters, or your friends!  I know that in hard times it is very difficult to know what to say but sometimes I think a simple "I am sorry" or "I am here for you" would suffice.  I had one person tell me to "get over it" another said that I didn't really lose a baby so I shouldn't be sad...she was right in a way...no baby at 10-12 weeks would survive outside the womb but here is the conclusion that I have come to...I was pregnant, I was excited, I was ready, I had plans, I had hope...and then I lost it all!  Sometimes in my mind I think I lost a baby, and sometimes I think the biggest thing I lost was hope!  I was hopeful for the future, I had made plans and as much as I was told not to...I got excited!  How can you not?  You try for over a year to get pregnant...you can't help but get excited...HECK if you try for 5 minutes to get pregnant and you do, you are excited!  I was going to be a Mommy and Leif a Daddy...we had made something together...we had planted roots...from the first sonogram to the first cry, love at first sight,  long nights, birthdays, Christmas, play dates and FOREVER...I had hopes of forever!  From the moment that little stick read "PREGNANT" you start thinking, planning, and hoping...want to or not...you do...and when it is gone you either mourn the loss or move on...and I mourned!  I am forever changed...for the good and for the bad!  I will never have the same innocent excitement about a pregnancy, I will never be so hopeful, I will never let my mind "plan" for the future  and most importantly I PROMISE that I will never ever ever take the gift of life for granted!
Sometimes at night when Aiden can't sleep and I have been rocking, nursing, shushing and swaying him, I remind myself of that day, November 14, the day that changed me forever.  The night I begged to God "Please let me still be pregnant" and then just cried out "why?".  When I look into his eyes and tear up, when I talk about him and tear up, when I call him "the chosen" one, MY miracle baby...I think people think I am crazy and in some ways I AM!  But this is MY experience...my struggles, my hardship...in someways the miscarriage was the end of one struggle and in some ways it was only the beginning but either way it was was a defining moment in my pursuit to be the best mother I can absolutely be.  It doesn't define me, Teresa, but it does mark a change in who I am....Who am I?  I am THANKFUL!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MUMS the word...

OK I will admit it...I have a black thumb!  I couldn't keep a plant alive if my life depended on it!  When Aiden was 6 months old, my hubby congratulated me on keeping him alive for 6 months because my track record with plants had him worried!  A baby is cake compared to plants!  Despite the fact that I have consistently killed my fall mums for the past, OH say, 6 years I decided that I was going to give it the old college try again.  We had a halloween party so the Thursday before I went and bought 2 beautiful mums...Leif thought I bought them too soon...yes 2 days was too soon...but magically they made it to the party....well guess what?  Tomorrow will be 3 weeks that I have kept my mums alive! Seems like no big deal but considering my history, this is quite the accomplishment!  What's the secret you ask?  Well for my fellow "black thumber's", here is what I learned from the toothless guy at the produce stand.  Go toThe Dollar Store and purchase aluminum pie tins, place mum in the pie tin and make sure that there is always water in the pie tin....THE END!!!  As long as there is water in your pie tin your mum will be as happy as a....mum in a pie tin...the mum will take the water it needs and thus you will not over water it!!!  I wonder if this will work for other plants because when it comes to killing plants I am an equal opportunity killer!
I used pie tins I already had!
Not too bad for 3 weeks later and a few morning frosts!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The "Easy" Life?

So Monday has found us all again...my Mondays are usually pretty busy as I am always putting my house back together from the wrath of Daddy and Baby.  This morning as I was doing my usual routine I began to think about all of the things I do in order to make my life easier, what I could do better or more of and what others may do that I am missing out on!  I thought I would "blog" about what I believe makes my role as Momma easier in hopes that I could maybe share a unique idea or even better receive and amazing suggestion that will just rock my world!
These Boys are MESSY!!!

My normal Monday routine usually consists of Laundry, prepping food for the week, making sure my car and diaper bag are ready for any "thing" that may arise, cleaning and re-organizing our common areas (living room, kitchen, dining room and "pub" area) and of course the normal day to day things that we all do (eat, shower, feed Aiden, tend to doggy, play, clean up, repeat, oh yeah and plan and prep dinner).  Seems easy enough right?  So get to the tips already.  Laundry...I usually sort my laundry on Sunday night...my husband likes to hoard his whites in his book bag or in the closet so it is usually a wild goose chase to track down everything...as each load gets done in the dryer, the next load goes in...I usually fold and put away as I go and never put clean clothes back in a laundry basket and always pair up my socks immediately out of the dryer...this helps me win the battle with the sock monster that lives in my dryer...all upstairs laundry (Aiden's clothes and extra towels/sheets) go on the stairs for when I make one of my countless trips up the stairs.  Sometimes my clean clothes will sit on my bed until naptime depending on Aiden's mood but I always put the laundry in the way so it forces me to fold it!  If Aiden is asleep I load the laundry but don't hit start until he wakes up...he is a light sleeper and his naps are already short enough!

Food is a big deal in our house....since Aiden is allergic to milk and eggs I can't just give him some of whatever I am having and I have yet to find age appropriate "baby" food that is milk and egg free...so I spend a good amount of time on Mondays prepping food for Aiden.  I "snack" bag safe crackers, triscuits, cheerios and blueberries, pre-cook gluten free pasta, cut up and bag strawberries, grapes, turkey dogs, grilled chicken, pickles, and apples.  Once I have all of this prepped I put it on one shelf which is "Aiden's shelf"...if it is on that shelf it is safe for my little allergy boy...all dry food goes in a pile on the counter because if your kid is anything like mine he always signs "eat" when I am elbow deep in dish suds with 2 pots on the stove and the dog standing at the back door barking and Aiden is shrieking while signing "eat, eat, eat"...clearly an emergency!  Speaking of food and emergencies, I try to keep a full cup of juice in the fridge at all times because once Aiden sees the sippy cup he does not want to wait for me to fill it up!  Aiden eats everything in his highchair with the exception of the occassional cracker...I have found that this contains my food on the floor mess to just one room and Buddy does a pretty good job of handling that!

On the weekends we usually drive my hubby's truck so on Mondays I make sure that the stroller is in my trunk, I pack the diaper bag and set it close to the door in case of the need for a quick exit.  The carseat is always prepped and by prepped I mean the straps are tucked into the side so I can just put Aiden in while he is trying to wiggle out and buckle him without him sitting on the straps thus making the process next to impossible.  My purse is always next to the diaper bag and usually contains wet wipes, a hair brush for myself and Aiden, snacks to distract Aiden when we are out, a couple of toys, and a bib...sounds like I should just carry a diaper bag but trust me my purse is smaller and lighter than the diaper bag which by the way contains 5 diapers, wipes, change of clothes, EPI pen for Aiden, blankets, coat, tylenol, gas drops and a few other distactions for Aiden.
Let's Go Momma!

During nap time....after I tend to myself for a short while, I lay out Aiden's clothes for the day, a diaper, wipes and creme all on the bed so that it is all within arms reach when I change Aiden after his nap.  There is nothing like a naked baby bottom lathered with creme and the diaper is no where in site.  We keep Aiden's books on the bottom book shelf so he can get to them without our help and I keep the DVD player loaded with Elmo's world because although he really isn't into TV yet, there is something about Elmo's voice that can buy me about 3.5 minutes of sanity.
Some of this may seem silly, pointless, or even obvious however I am always trying to improve my system, buy myself more time, and make my life just a tad bit easier!  I am sure there are a few more things that I probably "swear" by but for now this is what makes my life just that much "easier"....what do you do???

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An Officer and a Gentleman

This weekend my hubby and I attended The Citadel's Navy Dining Out.  A dining out is a custom of Officers in service to their Country to enjoy an evening of camaraderie at a formal dinner affair.  The event took place aboard a harbor cruise in downtown Charleston and was a ton of fun!  One of the very few "fun" parts of being a Navy wife is the opportunity to attend "Dining Outs" and "Navy Balls".  Usually, once you have graduated from high school and have been a bridesmaid in all of your friends weddings, the opportunities to get all "dolled up" are rare and in some cases non-existent.  I usually jump at the chance to get dressed up and this time was no different.  I increased my workouts (haha), got a new dress, new shoes and of course did my best to feel like a hott momma!  I ventured out of my comfort zone and wore a strapless dress which is basically as rare as me getting a full nights sleep.

The dinner portion of the "Dining out" is very formal filled with speeches, a strict script, many many toasts, Navy hymn, The POW MIA acknowledgement, and did I mention the toasts.  We toasted everyone...The President, Every Branch of the military, The Citadel, The secretary of the Navy, The Guests of Honor, Fallen Comrades, and Snooki!  OK...so we really didn't toast Snooki but we did "toast" for about 15 minutes which required most of us to "fake drink" because there wasn't enough champagne for the long list of toasting that we did.

After the formal dinner it was time to DANCE...that's right...we all let our hair down and went from being classy to crazy the moment we heard the "cupid shuffle".  I must admit that I felt old considering I didn't know the cupid shuffle but that did not stop me from getting my behind on the dance floor and figuring it out!  I have always loved to dance and have never been shy about hopping on the dance floor and learning the latest dance craze.

One of the really rewarding parts of the night was having the opportunity to talk to some of the students at The Citadel.  Many of these "kids" are following the same career path that my hubby has taken and they were very eager to ask me a lot of questions about our life and in some cases our lack thereof.  The hard part about being in the military is that everything is unexpected...as much as people try to tell you or prepare you for how it is going to be, it is never really accurate. I tried to be brutally honest with these "guys", there are going to be moments of your life that are miserable and there will be times when it is all worth it!  I really tried to tell them some of the things that I wish I knew...there I go wishing again!!!  Overall it was nice to feel like I was in some small way helping them prepare themselves for the road ahead!  It will be a long hard road but my hubby is preparing them for it so I have no doubt that they will succeed!  
There is no doubt that we had an amazing time at the Dining Out.  It was so nice to get all fancy, socialize with everyone and to enjoy a few hours together as just husband and wife.  However, we missed our little boy who was in good hands with Nana and Pops, and as soon as the dress and the heels were tucked away I was upstairs peeking over the edge of the crib secretly hoping I would make too much noise so I could pick up my boy!  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Halloween 2009...One Year Ago!

Yes this weekend was filled with more firsts but the biggest most obvious one is that it was Aiden's first time trick or treating!  He was just a little "hotdog" (seriously) last year so we stayed home but this year I was so excited for him to walk around the neighborhood with his little candy bag!  I had been practicing with him so that he would know what to do...well let me tell you that my boy was a PRO!  He had been very fussy all day and I was worried that trick or treating would have to wait another year but when it was show time he was on point!  The trick or treaters started coming before it was even dusk but we decided to wait for the sun to set!  At the first house our neighbor was dressed up like Woody from toy story and he was so patient with Aiden.  He stood at the top of his porch and let Aiden walk all the way down the sidewalk to him and just like we had practiced the treat bag went up and in went the candy!  Is it silly that I was proud of him?  At a few houses Aiden tried to take the whole candy bucket and that gave us all a good little chuckle!  The kids in the neighborhood were so cute and so anxious to get as much candy as possible.  When one group was walking up to our house I heard the kid who had just left say "that lady gives a lot of candy"...Thanks Kid...it seemed like those kids were counting each piece I put in...is 4 or 5 pieces too much?  Our goal was to have no candy left over...we did pretty good!!!  I have always enjoyed halloween...it seems like every year is a challenge to find unique costumes!  Daddy thought of this years theme...we were a one stop shop for all of your insurance needs!!!  Now we start brainstorming for next year!!!

Aiden's first Trick or Treat!