Friday, March 30, 2012

the prenatal visit

I remember enjoying each of those prenatal visits with my first son, Jude.  Just doctor and I (sometimes Joel would join us) and I loved asking all of my questions, confirming things I thought I knew, checking to make sure baby was still OK and just loving all that came with the magical season of pregnancy.

When I was pregnant with Lee, I remember how sweet it was taking my 4 yr old Jude along and letting him experience it with me, full of just as many questions.

This time around, it is an entirely different situation.  This time I'm taking my 2 yr old jolly Leland along and I'm spending more time laughing at this guy than I am being overly concerned with the growing fetus.

Each time we go, I can expect him to:

-Tell nurses and doctors to 'SHHHHH the baby is sleeping...."
-Wear sunglasses like its part of his religion
-Sit RIGHT next to me while they listen to the heartbeat and try to help the doctor maneuver it around my belly.
-Promptly say, 'Your Icky Mommy' pointing to the jelly stuff they put on your belly and wipe off after

So glad my OB laughs along with me and is as patient as she is.  This little 'brudder' inside has no idea the 2 yr old big bro awaiting him.....

Monday, March 26, 2012

all the love in the world

Joel and I had the chance to attend a parenting seminar over the weekend - it was a welcomed chance to get training at something there is typically no training for.  You get trained to drive.  Trained to ride a bike before taking off training wheels, training for new employment....but anyone can parent.

Sad but true.

I sat there reviewing notes and learning about my tendencies.  How I control.  How I want perfection from my children, perhaps in a way to want perfection from myself.  I took a breath and realized how much more important it is for my sons to grow up with this simple fact: You are loved.  Your feelings matter.  Your thoughts and expression mean a lot to me even if I don't always agree.

Parenting can be so taboo - we can so easily judge other children by how they behave, how they dress, how they speak and the truth is -every kid is so incredibly valuable - their ability to take in life and NOT judge is sometimes what I envy most.  While it's so easy to 'say' what other parents might be doing wrong, I fear how that could even affect your own children.  I fear what our own sons would think of hearing me judge another child....putting them into a place 'I need to make sure I'm not like that so Mom/Dad will approve...."

BAM!  There it is.  Performance Mentality is born.

It happened in me - perhaps as an only child more exposed to adult discussions or situations - trying not to become like what others 'disapproved' of so massively.  In reality, I was learning the art of lying & ability to manipulate others into seeing in me what I wanted them to see.

Fast forward.  I'm the parent.  I see 2 angelic (sometimes) boys who love life, enjoy being tickled & reading stories.  While I must teach them to adopt our rules & authority, I value them simply for being able to be who they are....without fear of me judging it, forcing them to change or simply choking out their desire to speak openly.

I guess if we can grow sons who know they are safe, loved & heard....that will be a tremendous start at creating in them the desire to have the same in their own little families.  One day at a time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cleveland International Film Festival

An annual treat for our city and our family alike - the CIFF brings such a fantastic week together with movies, shorts & opportunities to gather with fellow film-lovers.  Joel and I always see a few films that spark intense conversation about life, humanity, belief systems & how to become better artists/lovers/workers/parents/humans.

This year is promising even more fun due to the gorgeous weather and easy access to downtown.  We are thrilled to check out some films together, take our kids to the children's short films & purchase them some of these cute tees designed by my husband and the firm he works for, Twist Creative.  I love how happy the design of this year's campaign is.  'Be Carried Away' is the theme and that is precisely what you hope for when sitting down with popcorn in hand....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

art of preparation

I am completely walking into mama bird nesting mode. I have to just laugh at all we have overcome the last two years and the fact that we are even pregnant right now proves there is such beauty to the miracle of life.

A film Joel and I watched two days ago called 'away we go'really opened my eyes to the art of preparing for a new family member. The film, based on a couple having their first baby, begin their quest at creating the perfect family. Along the way they laugh and cry based on the experiences of friends and colleagues. They travel in search of the home both tangible and intangible to build for baby.
After viewing what seems like a parade of intense parental extremes, they come to the conclusion to use wisdom but in such a delightful and honest way.

This film inspired such real conversation between Joel and myself about this new baby and the miracle that he is - like completely amazing that he's even existing right now. It's is such an honor to prepare for him and to share with my boys how much we love watching them transformed into protectors, playmates, and friends of this new son.

I think it's amazing how when a woman nests in her home, she will move things around, clean and throw out things that needn't be there. The weather is getting warmer. the sun is out longer.
I find myself wanting to throw out more than just old toys are things we don't need. I find myself wanting to remove attitudes and preconceived notions about the way things ought to be. Maybe it's just wisdom over time or bringing in a 3rd child but I feel confident in mothering another son.

Simple love.
Slow made decisions.
Sweet bonding.

Not much else we could ask for.

Baby, none of your clothes are organized or washed yet.
We have not even picked your name.
Your crib isn't yet purchased.  (Your brother broke the one we had)
Your birth plan is yet unwritten. 
Your little baby shoes are buried somewhere. 
What I have ready for you is lots of love, ideas for summer bonding with brothers, 
and lots of books stored up awaiting to read you to sleep.  
You have brothers coloring welcome pictures 
and a Daddy who is excited to have a 3rd son.  
You're so special already and with every kick and punch you dish out, I smile.
I think we have lots of smiling time ahead of us. 

we DO have a new japanese paper garland for your room we bought you in Toronto
and your big bro, Leland, is handing down his favorite alphabet poster.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

could we walk a little slower?

This was the question Joel was asked more than a dozen times as we strolled through the streets of Toronto, hand in hand, one dude slowly walking and little wife with the gut waddling along.

"Can you believe this baby has been to Ireland and now Canada?"

We count it a blessing to do this little trip before walking into a summer of newborn love & sleepless nights.  There is just nothing like getting time together to be in bed, watch movies, eat food, shop, sit down, go to the bathroom hourly, etc.

While strolling Dublin quickly in my princess leia boots & shirt dresses was the norm last year, we slowed it down and cared for one another this weekend.  It was good.
L: Hottie hubby R: Me at day 1 of 3rd trimester (28 weeks)

Positively amazed at the power of refreshing another human soul - taking time out to splash water & life into them through affirmation or laughter is nothing short of a day at an 'emotional spa' so to speak.

Speaking of SPA!  This hotel - which we found here for a steal of a deal was unlike any hotel we've stayed in.  Complete with its own meditation channel, healing CDs of music, free incense delivery and bamboo everywhere, we just had to smile at the oasis they intentionally created.  I took advantage of the comfy white robe and we both laughed at how my belly would stick right out of it.
cosmopolitan hotel 
Aside from laughing, we enjoyed furniture shopping & imagining this ridiculous house we hope to create one day....had a blast at the MOCCA (Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art) and saw an installation exhibit that both freaked us out and amused us entirely.  We caught up with a dear friend we hadn't seen in 11 years and tooks lots of breaks, letting these prego legs rest and recuperate from the job they've been doing in carrying around this 3lb chuck roast of a child.

Just so grateful we made the time, didn't overfill the time & took the time to laugh and laugh a lot.  Sweet dose of medicine we needed.
sparkly & glittery Toronto

St. Lawrence Market - a ton like our West Side Market - this place was buzzing with activity at every moment. 

Pasta maker

Monday, March 5, 2012

a junk food minute

If you know me well, it's been over a year since I made a huge diet change.

One that simply started with a test.  A test to see if there was a way around medicating endometriosis.

It worked.

24lbs really worked.

Girl who formally was prepped for fertility aid in conceiving gets pregnant by surprise.

Well, this past weekend....I took a short break off the health food in order to try Sweetie Fry.  A little place near our home that a friend told me about last summer.

It's simple really.  French Fries & Ice Cream/Sorbet.

Except that its really really good french fries and 'almost as good as Jeni's" Ice Cream!  To those who know Jeni's....that is saying A LOT!

Joel ordered the pepperoni pizza fries - imagine pizza - instead of crust, add fries.  ha!
Lee and I stuck with the basic Waffle & Sea salt fries.

It was such a wonderful little memory - kids eating food for dinner we normally don't....just for some fun!  HIGHLY recommend if you want a little 'out of the ordinary' treat.  ;-)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Ever since the arrival of the iphone 4S, I've neglected my sweet Nikon and hidden inside were some images that made me smile.

No longer trapped....I give you:
L: Christmas Tree Hunt at the greatest tree farm ever....just made me smile when I thought to the sunshine on our backs, the perfect tree so easy to spot & how there will be just enough room for baby boy #3 next November...

R: Sweet Leland enjoying the back patio on an unusually warm day in December

 These 2 giving me the stink eye at Sweet Moses (the new sweet spot in the Gordon Square Arts District) While I recall having lovely family time, what I remember most was their vegan peanut butter milk shake that changed my life that day.
I love that our boys love our little house....and to them, it isn't little at all.  It's juuuuust right!

This man is entirely hilarious, sometimes very serious, at times pensive & inward and at other times the life of the party.  He really is such a mix of Joel and I.

Always brothers...always best friends.  And I tell them this often (typically while Joel grins at me for being a tad dramatic) 

March 1st!!!

It's March 1st.

How is everyone doing on those resolutions this year?

Ours were simple: DO LESS, SAY NO, & SAVE MONEY

Do less working (unless it was what we wanted to work on)
Do less obligatory & unnecessary things
Say NO to things that would infringe on family or personal time
Start to really get back to stewarding our finances in a way that will put us ahead.

The process of nesting is obviously in full force and helps all of these naturally.  However, I'm amazed at the difficulty it can be to really 'do less'

You have to be OK with that feeling of potentially disappointing have to decide its OK that you may not attend every social function that comes around....but with this season of newborn world only 3 months away, I'm thrilled to say we're sticking with it making way for our sweet son to fit in our busy world.

We are gearing up for a great year of opportunity & hope.  With a new baby coming, its obvious we have family dynamics to expect change & newness.  I do remember the hard times but I am SO looking ahead to the sweet moment watching 'my 3 sons' really connect with one another, hold hands walking to the park while I hold a sweet-smelling lad at my chest.  I'm excited to see Joel move into full-on wrestle mode with the 2 older while I get some bonding in with my newbie.  There is just so much to make room for and its worth it.

Do you find it hard to say NO?
Do you find it difficult to choose not to spend that extra money on a starbucks treat each morning?

We've been doing fabulously at saving and really choosing what we'll save for.  A new car is in our future and I'm thrilled it will be paid off by the time we drive it off the lot.  We work hard NOW and make those tougher decisions so that later on....the ease will come.

Hope you are sticking to what you hoped to accomplish.  For now, if I home-cook 4 nights per week, keep up with my home & cleaning & serve Joel with all my heart....I'm good.  The rest falls into place.

Hugs & Smiles this beautiful March morning....I think I hear birds chirping....
day dreaming about this sweet moment 3 months from now....