Monday, November 30, 2009

Turkey, Family and Fun!!!

This Thanksgiving weekend was packed with many places to go, a lot of good food to eat and two exhausted kids! (whose parents are even more exhausted!) The holiday started off with Jeff, Kelly and Hailey stopping by Wednesday night for a visit. My brother had gotten out of the hospital on Monday, so it was really good to see him. Maria always loves when they come by because she loves to play with Hailey.

They hung out with us for a little while and left before we ate dinner. Later that evening, Maria and I were coloring and playing with stickers. She thought it would be a great idea to put the stickers all over her face, then all over mine. I love Maria's sense of humor...she has a blast acting so silly! Here are a few pics of us with our stickers.

Thursday we headed over to Gerry's mom and dad's house for the day. This was our only stop for the day. It was nice to be able to go somewhere knowing we wouldn't have to pack everything up in a few hours and lug it all over to someone else's house. Gerry's mom has so many toys and games for the girls to play with so Maria and Olivia had a blast. Naomi did a good job. She was pretty tired from not sleeping well at night, but she hung in there. She took a few naps on my lap, but Maria went the whole day without one.

Along with Bobb, Laura and Olivia, Karen and john were there too. I am excited to announce that Karen and John are officially engaged! Congratulations to you both! Gerry and I have been waiting for this for a long time! Karen's ring is absolutely gorgeous! The big day will take place sometime in Spring 2011! We can't wait!!!

Dinner was a delicious, traditional T-Giving spread! Gerry's parents fixed the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, bread and pies for dessert. Karen and John brought the mashed potatoes, Bobb and Laura brought the corn and Gerry and I brought Green Bean Casserole. Everything was delicious!

We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and having fun!

Thursday night, after the kids were in bed, Gerry and I decided to do some online Christmas shopping. We got a lot of people done, including the girls. This was one of the easiest shopping experiences I've ever had. No lines, no screaming kids and they had everything we needed!

Between the hours of 8 and 11 pm Naomi decided to wake up 5 times. This has been going on for quite a while and Gerry and I just don't know what to do. Sometimes we worry that she is hungry, because she doesn't always eat well during the day. Other times we try to let her cry it out a little, but then she wakes Maria up. It's been very frustrating. To top it off, Naomi will roll over onto her stomach, then get stuck and she either forgets how to roll back over or she is too tired. Many times we have found her laying face down with her legs kicking. Sometimes she even spits up and has her face in it. That's scary b/c it get in her nose and we are afraid she will have an even harder time breathing. Needless to say, we are exhausted, as well. I told Gerry the only way I would feel comfortable letting her cry, so that we can break the habit of her waking up, is if we get a video monitor so I know she is not suffocating. I know she knows how to roll back over onto her back...I've seen her do it. But I'm not going to take any chances. So, Friday night, I headed out to Babies R Us to find the cheapest video monitor they had. Plus, I bought her a swaddler, hoping that might actually help her stay asleep.

I know video monitors are excessive. I never thought I would use one, but I am at my wits end. Gerry and I have got to get some sleep or we are going to go insane! So...Friday night, I came home, fed Naomi at 8:30 while Gerry was setting up the monitor, I swaddled her nice and tight (which she hated at first, but then seemed content) and I said "See ya later, Alligator!"

Wouldn't you know it? She slept from 8:45 pm until 5:15 am. We were so excited we didn't even know what to do!

Later, on Saturday morning, we met Bobb, Laura, Olivia, Karen and John to get our annual family pictures taken. We got a good shot of our immediate family and the whole group family shot turned out pretty good. We tried to get some cute ones of the 3 girls...but getting 3 kids 2 and under to hold still for a pic is not easy. I think some turned out really cute, though.

Finally, on Saturday afternoon, we celebrated the holiday with my side of the family at Uncle Marc and John's house. Jeff, Kelly, Hailey and mom were there, too. Galen wasn't able to make it because he was spending the weekend with his mom. But we were so excited that Shelly was able to join us. It is always a party when Shelly is there!

They had so much was unbelievable! Instead of turkey, they cooked 2 delicious beef roasts, they has mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, asparagus, rolls,green bean casserole, salad and we made slaw (thanks, Karen!)They also made a turkey pot pie that didn't even get touched. They made sugar free chocolate pudding pie, banana cream pie, apple and apple raisin. Jeff and Kelly brought appetizers - crab dip and crackers and cheese, and my mom brought shrimp cocktail. Wow! What a spread!


Naomi and Maria getting ready for Dinner!

The Family (minus Galen!)

Well, the weekend was a blast! Can't wait to do it over again for the Christmas Holiday!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thinking about being thankful...

I have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful to God, for sending his only son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for me so that my sins could be forgiven...and so that I can go to heaven.

I am thankful to God for having a plan for my life, for putting Gerry and I together, so that we could create two amazing daughters.

I am thankful for my husband - who loves and forgives me on a daily basis, who accepts me for who I am, who works very hard so that I can do the job I love - stay home with my girls!

I am thankful for my amazing, caring, compassionate, gracious, selfless mother. She is one of a kind and she is my best friend!

I am thankful for my family and my friends who make me laugh and who love my daughters.

I am thankful for coffee, although I don't drink that much...I look forward to that one cup every morning.

For main floor laundry, for text messaging, and for wine.

I am thankful for my hairdresser, Ginny, who is awesome and I love her!

I am thankful for making tents out of blankets and sheets, because Maria loves them, and secretly, so do I.

I am thankful to whoever invented the swing for babies - it's my lifesaver.
For my minivan, for massages, for my digital camera.

I am thankful for Ellen DeGeneres, flip flops, pacifiers, picture frames and the Today Show.

I am thankful for Naomi's laugh.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Jeff's Birthday

Last Saturday we celebrated Jeff's birthday at our house. He picked the menu : Taco Bar! We love making tacos, but this time, Gerry added a very special ingredient which was a big hit - chorizo! Besides Jeff, Kelly and Hailey, my mom, Uncle Marc and John were all there to celebrate. I made Jeff's favorite dessert- chocolate cake with chocolate icing and we had chocolate ice cream. My mom made churros, which were good but weird. We played some cool horse racing gambling game, using poker change. We all had a great time.

Unfortunately, Jeff wound up spending his actual birthday in the hospital due to some blood pressure issues. Luckily he was able to come home yesterday and everything seems to be alright! We will continue praying!

Got Milk???

So I may have stated in a previous post that we have been having a hard time getting Maria to eat much of anything these days. Foods she used to love, she won't even touch. The only vegetable she will eat is cooked carrots...and that's on a good day. Maybe she will eat a banana, or play in some applesauce for a while. Other than that, she will only eat starches (rice, french fries, bread, crackers, toast) and dairy products (cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt.) Of course, she will eat any junk food she sees...chips, pretzels, cookies, etc. We try not to give her these items, but most of the time she sees Gerry or myself eating them. (I know...I'm we're terrible parents!).

But I think the biggest staple in Maria's diet for the past 8 months has been milk. She doesn't care if it's whole or skim or anything in between. She likes chocolate milk or white. She asks for milk first thing in the morning, a second cup before breakfast, milk with breakfast, milk for lunch, a cup after nap, one or three before dinner, and one before bed.

Without even realizing it, we have allowed our daughter to become a full blown milk addict.

Some toddlers are attached to the sippy cup...Maria doesn't even care about that. After she chugs the milk, she either gives us the cup back, puts it in the fridge herself or sets it on the table.

While I'm guessing this is my "a-ha" moment, many of you are thinking "Duh!" No wonder she won't eat anything. I guess I just didn't realize how bad it was. When things are crazy around here (and they usually are) and I'm trying to get Naomi to sleep, or feed her or change her diaper and Maria's literally hanging on the refrigerator door handle screaming "MIIIIIILLLLKKK! MIIIIILLLLKKKK!" What else can I do but give it to her.

While speaking to a dietitian about Naomi's difficult eating habits, we mentioned Maria's lack of love for food these days. She said that Maria should only be getting 24 ounces of milk per day. TWENTY FOUR OUNCES??? Are you kidding me? Of course she wasn't. She also said that if Maria eats cheese for lunch than she should only get 16 ounces. Holy cow! I think on an average day, she's been drinking double that! We never even payed attention, just filled up the sippy cup and handed it to her.

So, we decided to start rationing out her milk. We filled a sports bottle with 24 ounces. That's all she gets for the day. When she begins begging for milk, we offer her water, or juice (juice is VERY diluted, by the way) She still doesn't like it, but guess what??? She's been eating a lot better. I wouldn't say great, but better.

She does get a cup in the morning, but now a cup is only 4 ounces, when it used to be who knows how much. The good think is, she doesn't seem to complain when it's gone. Hopefully her eating habits continue to improve and maybe a gallon of milk will last a little longer in our house!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Congratulations, Maria! We are so proud of you! Maria has officially graduated from her speech therapy class. She has been getting speech therapy since the beginning of June and she was re-evaluated at the beginning of November. Her results were better than we expected!

Keep in mind that Maria's current age is 2 years 4 months.

Her Expressive Communication (what she expresses) is that of a 2 year 8 month old.

Her Auditory Comprehension (what she understands) is that of a 3 year 3 month old.

Her Total Language Score is that of a 2 year 10 month old.

This means she is performing above age level in all areas. We are ecstatic with her progress and we owe so much to her wonderful, skilled, patient and caring therapists - Kristin, Jessie, Michelle and Kelli at PS Kids!!! I can't put in to words how grateful I am for all of their hard work. It has meant so much to us. On top of everything they did for Maria's language development, Maria absolutely loved all of them. I am sad for her that she won't be seeing them every week.

That's why I titled this post "Bittersweet". Of course we are so happy that she doesn't need speech therapy anymore. We are thrilled that we don't have to pay the co-pay every week. But we are sad that she will miss her therapists and her friends so much. She talked about them constantly.

We celebrated her last day by bringing Mrs. Fields cookies for snack time. Maria drew a special picture on a card for each therapist. They gave Maria a special T-shirt for her last day, which she loves.

I've included some pictures of Maria on her last day with the people she has spent every Wednesday morning with for the past 5 months. Of course, Maria wouldn't ever look at the camera...go figure!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Naomi is 6 Months Old!!!

Hooray! As of November 8th, Naomi has been with us (outside of the womb) for half a year! WOW! I know I say it every month, but where does the time go? Six months is a long time. I know I am late on this post, but I was holding out for pictures hoping her baby eczema would clear up. She's been breaking out pretty bad for the past few weeks. It looks better today than it has in the past week. I actually had to reschedule her 6 month pictures at Picture People because the morning of the appointment, she woke up with a huge scratch on her right cheek. It was so deep, there was a little blood on her bed sheet. We rescheduled for the following week and luckily her face was looking great that day. We had a good experience and we were really happy the way the pics turned out.

Anyway, Naomi's 6 month doctor visit went well. She weighs 15 lbs, 1 ounce. She is 27 inches long (or 27 inches tall according to her Uncle Bobb) I forgot her head circumference, though. That puts her in the 25th percentile for weight, 75th for height and she is in the 50th percentile for head circumference. Unfortunately, her percentile for weight has dropped since her 4 month check up. She was in the 5oth. Considering the difficulties we've had with trying to get her to take a bottle, I am not surprised.

Naomi is doing really well. She is a fun, sweet little baby girl! Although she doesn't always take her bottles well, she is enjoying eating a bigger variety of baby food. She loves carrots and sweet potatoes and is learning to like bananas and peas :)

We are hoping her sleep will improve soon! Our theory is since she is eating more baby food, she will be full and not wake up for a bottle at 2 am. It's a lot harder to let the second one "fuss it out" for fear that the first one will wake up!

Naomi is also starting to figure out how to use a sippy cup and we've introduced her to cheerios and Gerber fruit puffs. She's not quite sure what to do with them, though.

Here are a few pics. I will post some of her "professional" photo shoot later!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

This is what it's all about!

One of my favorite things about the weekends is that Gerry lets me sleep in a little and he gets up with both of the kids. I love it! Even if it's just for 30 minutes or an hour. I love the fact that I don't have to hop up and get both girls out of bed, change diapers, give Maria her milk and Naomi her bottle all right away on Saturdays. Sometimes, I sleep until Gerry brings Maria back to our room shouting "Week up, Mommy! Week up!" Other times, I just lay there and listen to the monitor. Hearing Gerry talk to Naomi when he goes in her room is so sweet. It sometimes bring tears to my eyes. Whatever the scenario, I realize I am a lucky woman. I know not every mother has this luxury, and for that I am truly grateful to God for giving me such an amazing husband.

This past weekend was no different. Gerry and I had been having some rough nights with the girls waking up. Maria kept falling out of her bed and Naomi just wakes up fussing throughout the night. Needless to say, I was totally looking forward to sleeping in. After I heard Gerry crawl out of bed to get the girls, I pulled the covers over my head and relished in the fact that I was going to close my eyes and drift back off to sleepy land! But that quickly changed when I heard Gerry and Maria come into the room. He said "Babe, I hate to wake you up, but it's going to be 75 degrees today. Let's do something!" As much as I needed sleep, I knew we owed it to the kids to do something fun as a family.

Again, realizing how lucky I was to have a husband who actually wanted to spend time with his family, I hopped out of bed and said "Let's go to the Zoo!"

We were actually all packed up and out the door by 9:15. Gerry even packed a picnic lunch, complete with sandwiches, raisins, pretzels, cookies and juice for everyone. Naomi drank her entire bottle (with no problems) right before we left. So the morning couldn't have started out better. When we first got to the Zoo, we decided to ride the train. Gerry and Maria sat together and I sat with Naomi, who was able to stay bundled up in her car seat. We rode the whole way around the park. It was so neat to see Maria's face as we passed by the fountains and went through the tunnels. Naomi seemed to be having a great time, as well.

After the train, we saw the bears, went to the Insectarium, and walked through River's Edge. The elephants and rhinos we were out and we were able to get a good look at them for a while. Maria actually wanted to get back in her stroller, which has never happened before. So we didn't really get many pictures b/c we didn't want to keep taking her in and out. She was being so good looking at things she could see from the stroller. She loved the spiders and beetles at the Insectarium.

We decided to go eat our lunch around 11:30. We drove through Forest Park and found a secluded little picnic table close to a huge soccer field. After we ate, we let Maria run around in the field. She played in the leaves and rolled all around. After lunch, we headed over to watch out niece, Hailey, play volleyball. It was one of her last games of the season and we hadn't made it to one yet. We were only able to stay for the first 2 matches because Maria was exhausted. But we were able to see Hailey's team score a a lot of points...and a huge part of that was due to Hailey's awesome serving. Her team was great and it was a lot of fun to watch!

Driving home from this awesome day, I looked at Gerry and my 2 sleepy children in the back seat and realized that this moment was what it was all about. I realized, again, how lucky I am to have such an amazing, loving, healthy and wonderful family.

I am truly blessed.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Yeah! I am so excited to announce that Gerry and I finally bought some new living room furniture. I have to admit, the stuff we had was very nice. It held up well. The color was never what I really wanted for the living room, but overall, it was was good quality.

Since we got rid of Nemo, we decided it was just time to buy new. We didn't want to spend a lot of money on anything since we knew the girls would probably be spilling on it and making other messes. And...we still have Devon, so who knows. Although, Devon is no longer aloud on the furniture...she will be getting a very nice, new dog bed. Our ONE attempt at looking for furniture did not last long. We though we'd be able to just run in, pick something out, order it and leave. Consequently, taking a 2 year old and a (almost) 6 month old furniture shopping is not the funnest thing to do in the world. Besides that, Weekends Only didn't really have anything we wanted. We also went to Ashley Furniture. We found a recliner chair we liked, but no couch. Maria was dying to get out of the stroller and Naomi wasn't eating well that day, so we just left.

Later that week I saw some ads on TV that Value City Furniture was having a good sale. I went on their website and found a couch and a love seat that I really liked. It was risky sending Gerry by himself to go buy furniture. But I figured he is pickier when it comes to quality, so I knew he wouldn't buy it if it wasn't decent. He liked it enough and we decided to pull the trigger.

They delivered it yesterday and I really, really like it. It was a lot darker brown than I remembered from the website and I was surprised because I didn't think Gerry wanted to go that dark. But it actually looks really good in our living room. It matches our curtains and shelves lot better. It just makes the living room seem less cluttered, I guess because the older furniture was multi-colored.

Anyway, here are a few pics!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Letter to a Dear Friend

Dear Sleep,

I am writing this to tell you how much I miss you. I desperately miss you! What happened to us? We used to spend so much time together. Now we barely get to see each other alone. A few hours here and there in the middle of the night just isn't going to cut it for me. I want more of you...I NEED MORE OF YOU!

I'll be honest, I dream about you during the day. I long for the moment when we can be together, completely uninterrupted. I knew things would change when the kids came. But I didn't think we would drift so far apart.

Please don't turn your back on me. You know we were good together. I promise, if you give us another chance, I will try my hardest to make you a priority. Until then, I will be waiting for you.

Love, Cara

Monday, November 2, 2009

Someone's in the Kitchen with Mommy

On Thursday, I had a wild idea to bake chocolate chip cookies with Maria. I had no idea how this was going to turn out. It could be a great, fun bonding experience with my daughter...or it could be a complete disaster. Whatever the outcome, I had to remind myself that, like any project with a 2 year old, it's the PROCESS not the PRODUCT. Secretly I was hoping the cookies would turn out well because I was really, really craving chocolate chip cookies! wasn't that bad. Everything was going great. She was helping me dump in all the dry ingredients and we were having a great time. However, that quickly changed when I realized that Maria was deathly afraid of my hand mixer. As soon as she saw me get it out of the box, she started freaking out. She climbed down off the chair and held on to the back of my leg until I was finished using it. I kept telling her it would be okay and that it wasn't scary...but she didn't buy it. I have never seen her react this way to the mixer before. I felt bad, but it was kind of funny.

After I scarred her for life with the mixer, she got back up on the chair to help me mix in the chocolate chips. She seemed to loosen up and have fun again. I gave her her own little bowl of dough and her own cookie sheet. That's when the real mess began. She started scooping the dough out with her hands and trying to put it on the cookie sheet. I had to just keep breathing and let her do it. She was trying so hard.

All in all, the cookies turned out pretty good. Maria enjoyed watching them bake in the oven. When she sees the mixer on top of the fridge, she points to it and says "It's too loud. I cried" Poor thing.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween was awesome this year! We had a terrific time at Bobb and Laura's house! The evening started out pretty low key. When we first arrived, a real witch answered the door!!! Laura decided to go all out with her costume. She even sprayed her hair purple and crimped it! She also had some pretty cool purple and black tights!

We just hung out for a while, ate snacks and listened to Halloween songs on the radio. Maria and Olivia played and opened their little gift bags from their Grandma G. Then we ate dinner - chili WITH MEAT! Who would've thought? As we were finishing up dinner, the trick-or-treaters started ringing the door bell. We knew it was time to get the girl's costumes on and get going. Olivia looked so cute as a little lady bug. She completed the insect trio since Maria was a bee and Naomi was a butterfly. Gerry and I are still talking about what a great job Maria did. She was a champ. She stayed right by us while walking from house to house. She walked to each house with confidence and shouted "Trick-or-Treak" as they answered the door. She wasn't shy or scared at all. She loved it.

Naomi had a great time, too. She stayed awake long enough to get her costume on and get in her stroller. We covered her up with a blanket and she fell fast asleep. Yes, she slept the entire time until we got back to Bobb and Laura's! I think the fresh air just knocked her out.

Bobb and Laura's neighborhood was flooded with kids trick or treating. It was a great night and I hope next year is just as fun!

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