Monday, April 27, 2009

The World's Greatest Big Sister

Luke you are so lucky to have Maddie as your big sister. She loves you sooooo much. Your big sister could quite possibly have been more excited for your arrival than your own parents. And that is saying a lot since you were so big I COULD NOT WAIT TO GET YOU OUT of my stomach during those final few weeks. She began lobbying for a sibling not too long after Daddy and I got engaged. She and Nana were the first two people to find out whether you were a boy or a girl. Maddie was over the moon to hear she was getting a little brother.
You are the first person she greets in the morning after she wakes up. Maddie will creep down the stairs, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, tip toe into our room and sneak a kiss on your head before she wakes me up for morning TV. And when she leaves for school, she pauses to give you another kiss. It does not matter that your are sleeping, she just wants you to know you are loved. Maddie is so proud of you, boasting to everyone her little brother is "soooo CUTE!"
The tenderness she showers you with never ceases to amaze me. My hope for the two of you is that your love and support for one another continues to grow and blossom. May your bond prevent the rivalry that so many siblings seem to fall victim to. And may the two of you forage a united team, a shoulder to lean on through life's ups and downs. She is the only one who will share your history. The one who will know just HOW crazy your parents are. The only who will be able to laugh with you when you talk about family vacations. The only one who knows how Dad cringes when he hears mom mention the need for a "family day". The only one who will intimately know all of the family traditions you shared throughout your childhood. And the only who will know how good it felt to sit around the evening dinner table while sharing the day's adventures.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Happiest Sick Baby You Ever Did Meet!

Little Luke is sick with a cold. He is only three months and is already sick for the SECOND time! It is amazing how many more cooties come into the house when you have TWO kids. Especially since one of them visits the mothership of germ warfare five days a week. That "mothership" also goes by the name of kindergarten. Maddie did not get her first cold until ten months. Sigh... the benefit of her being the only child, no strange cooties entering the home in a continuous stream.
And now I have to worry myself sick over swine flu to boot? This may send me over the edge permanently!
Lukey must take after his dad because he sure is not the cranky, incorrigible patient his mom is while is sick. He continues to smile and coo when we hold him or talk to him. If anything, he is even more pleasant while ill. How does that work?!? Not sure and I am not going to challenge it. The kid may be a fussy baby, but pleasant to be around during a cold? I'll take it and run! Fortunately he has only had only one low-grade fever (99 degrees) during this bout of contamination.
But Luke has introduced me to the world of croup. I never had the opportunity to experience this pleasantry with Maddie. Nothing puts panic in your heart like waking to your infant's barking cough at 2am! And for the record, events like this always happen to me when Todd is not home. True to form, he was at work during this event. So Luke and I had a steam party in the bathroom, which we later moved outdoors to the cool night air. The last time I was in a balmy room in the middle of the night was in my twenties and bar hopping. My oh my how things have changed!
Here are some current photos of our little cootie catcher at two and a half months. I am lovin' the fauxhawk! And to answer everyone's main question, no I do not put gel in his hair to get it to stay that way. I just comb it into a fauxhawk after his bath and it stays that way.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back Off Bitch!

The dogs and I were lounging in the living room catching up on some of the programs I had saved on our DVR. Tilly abruptly got up and left the room. I heard her thumping around in her crate. A few moments later she returned. As she settled herself down on the floor she nonchalantly dropped a milkbone in between her paws. Then she stared intently at Roman and began to lick the bone, savoring its milky deliciousness. He stared back forlornly, "Why does she have a bone?" She continued to smugly lick her bone and look at him, "Back off bitch! This bone is mine!" This proceeded to continue ALL EVENING LONG! She'd grab her bone, get up, and move somewhere else. A while later do it again. It reminded me of two siblings with candy. One eats their candy right away, enjoying their moment of brief gluttony. The other saves it, only to pull it out later and taunt the other sibling with it. "Mmmm, this candy is sooooo goooood. Too bad you already ate YOURS!" Who knew dogs were capable of intentional torture!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mama's Love

It was one of those days. The kind where you just begin to feel overwhelmed, over stimulated, and over being a parent. Luke had woken himself up (read Mom and Dad) several times throughout the night. I returned from the gym and began working on a garden project when he began to fuss and wail. SIGH....yet another project put on the back burner. Before you think, "What a horrible mother!" let me set the stage. My house is a disaster. You caught a glimpse of Maddie's room in the previous post. I have yet to scratch the surface of that monstrosity. I have laundry in three stages: needs to be washed, needs to be folded, and needs to be put away. The "needs-to-be-put-away" pile is currently gracing my dining room table. I have plants in their original pots that are waiting to be planted in my backyard before they die. My house needs to be vacuumed from Sunday's get together. In the kitchen, the dishes need to be washed, the floor has enough dog hair on it to actually breed another dog, and the dishwasher is patiently waiting to be unloaded. And my dogs are in dire need of a walk. All I want is to check ONE F-ING THING OFF OF MY TO DO LIST!!! Argh!

I bitterly load Lucas into the Baby Bjorn to calm him down and decide to take Tilly for a walk. Hopefully my tired, fussy boy will take a nap while I walk. As we start off I am still so irritated at having to leave yet another project half completed.

We begin to walk our normal route. And as I stroll onto the trail and cross the creek that leads to downtown I hear a rustle in the water, something begins to move under the cement bridge! Then I see rapid motion in the water. I can't believe it! A gaggle of ducklings. They are ushered and chastised by their mother, "QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!! Can't you see there is a human and big white beast headed in our direction?! HIDE! HIDE! QUACK, QUACK, QUACK!" As we get closer one more duckling darts out, followed by several more. Finally out comes the other mama. She is vehemently quacking at them now and scurrying them along with her wing. It was an amazing scene to watch unfold. A lot of you may think, "Uh, big deal, they were just ducks, dude!" But catching a glimpse of the maternal instinct in wild animals is what struck me. Watching a mother care for her young, wrapping her body around them and urging them along. This inherent need to care and ensure the safety of your child. It is alive in ALL mothers, not just humans. Watching this made me think, "Surely I can deal with, if not embrace taking my child on walk to ensure his peace of mind. The chores will be there when I get home, and there is always tomorrow."

This is what we do as mothers. The sacrifices we must not only make, but embrace. If we do not embrace them, surely they will eat us alive. We all have things that we want/need to get accomplished throughout the course of the day. And when they are not checked off of our to-do list and begin to pile up, we feel the frustration and strain of motherhood. Being pulled in two directions. Providing love and support to your children, yet maintaining a home and family. But in the end the children always win. And that is the way it should be. Because there will be a time when they no longer need me as much. Although it feels like it will be eons from now, this time will pass me by a lot quicker than I realize. Those ducks reminded of the importance of a mama's love.

By the way, when I finished my walk I came home to a clean kitchen. Todd unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the counters, and washed the dishes. That, my friends, is a hubby's love! Awww...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Operation Shock & Awe

This must what your house looks like after the cops conduct drug raid! WOW! It is amazing the mess five kids can make in the course of a few hours. Talk about leaving no stone unturned!

We had several friends and their kids over for dinner Sunday night and this was the wake of destruction that was left behind. In case your are wondering, this used to be Maddie's room. Now, I know her room is under here somewhere! I have to tell you, I don't really mind the mess. I know this is what happens when you get a gaggle of kids together. The way I see it, now that all of the toys have been unearthed I can go through and purge the ones that are never played with.
On Monday Todd and I went to San Francisco for the day. It was our first "date day" since the arrival of Luke. The funny this is, it took more effort to get doggie daycare than it did childcare. And while on our date we received a phone call. One of the phone calls all parents dread while out on a date. The kind that makes you think, "Oh crap! Do we have to cut our excursion short and rescue a child from immanent danger?!" Only this call was not for our child, it was for our DOG! Roman had to learn the hard way that it is best to leave bumble bees alone lest you get stung. Fortunately the little bugger was not allergic so we did not have to rush home.
As we were getting ready for date day, Todd and I began to think it was becoming more trouble than it was worth. Aside from arranging dog care and child care, we also had to load an arsenal of Luke supplies for Grandma and Grandpa. It felt like we were preparing for forty days and night on Noah's Ark!

Two outfits - check!
Four bottles - check!
Formula for four bottles - check!
Boatload of Diapers in case of multiple blowouts - check!
Toys for hours of entertainment and distraction - check!
Two binkies - check
Another binky in case first two fall on germ tainted floor - check!
Burp cloth - check!
Blanket - check!
Plethora of wipes to clean potential massive blowouts - check!
Baby Bjorn to rescue grandparents in case of hysterical meltdown - check!
List complete! Ready to load baby into car. SHIT!!! Forgot the porta-crib!!!
Dash into house with baby and carseat carrier in tow. Dismantle porta-crib and cram into bag.
Porta-crib - check!

Finally! We arrived in The City. I wanted to visit North Beach and take a self guided walking tour. Check out some places we have never been to and get some exercise. I cannot even begin to tell you what a phenomenal day it was in San Francisco! It was 91-friggin' degrees! 91!!! It never gets that hot in The City! I cannot remember the last time it was so hot that I broke a sweat in San Francisco. We had a delicious brunch at Cafe Divine. And it was divine! We hiked to Coit Tower and burned off our meals. That hill and stairs are brutal! My calves hurt just thinking about it. I had never been to the top of the actual tower. With the beautiful weather yesterday was a perfect visit to the top. AMAZING!!! A panoramic view of San Francisco and the bay. Moments like that make me stop and appreciate living in the Bay Area.

After Coit Tower we returned to North Beach and strolled down Columbus Avenue checking out shops and restaurants. We found the most charming candy store, Z Cioccolato. All kinds of candies from my childhood and my mother's childhood. They also make the most decadent fudge (which we sampled of course). The owners are a sweet married couple. Both were there with their six month old son. We spent some time chatting with them about babies, candy and chocolate covered bugs (don't ask!) After our purchase we were on our merry way again.

Next stop was the Transamerica Building. Unfortunately you can no longer visit the top for pure entertainment. You now have to conduct business in the building in order to ride to the top. No fair!We then stumbled upon the Wells Fargo museum and figured, "why not, we're here!" Mildly entertaining.
Before going home I purchased some clothes at the Old Navy flagship store on Market. It felt fabulous to actually look human in regular clothes again. I still have a long way to go before my body is back to normal (or at least as normal as it can be after two babies and c-sections, which let's face it, still leaves a lot to be desired!) But at least clothes FIT. This means I can now take some lighter fluid and a match to my maternity clothes!
Finally we arrived back at the Powell Street station and stumbled onto our train tired, sweaty, and fulfilled. All in all, a great date day in S.F.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I am learning to garden. Unbeknownest to me, like cooking, it is an acquired art. I am not a patient person, therefore I struggle with anything that is an "acquired art". Why can't I be like that chick in the Matrix? Someone telepathically sends me all of the information I need to be a pro and shzzam: instant-expert! I guess I have to settle for doing things the old fashioned way through trial and error. As I begin to grasp the conept of gardening I discovered that the one thing I love is watching the fruits of my labor grow and blossom. That is unless one of the dogs decides to dig them up or claim them as theirs by peeing all over them. Those mongrels are lucky we love them so damn much!
Last October during our annual trip to my favorite pumpkin patch Todd and I purchased a climbing rose for our backyard. I fell in love with the colors of Joseph's Coat. The rose was pretty much bare root, hardly any leaves and absolutely no blossoms. After six months of tender loving care it has blossomed (literally and figuratively). As I peek at it every morning I can't help but give myself a mental pat on the back for a job well-done. I have a knack for killing plants due to a lack of watering them. Even Maddie told Nana Gail that "Mommy kills all of her plants." God bless her sense of honesty, no matter how humbling it may be! But I am bound and determined to foster a beautiful garden.
Todd and I ripped out all of the shrubbery, therefore we have no choice but to create a successful garden. We tend to have different visions of what constitutes a "garden". This is where that whole "men are from Mars, women are from Venus" comes into play. Todd wants to throw out some bark or ground cover, a few pots and call it a day. I, on the other hand, envision a lovely English garden, overflowing with vibrant, robust blossoms. Fortunately he is content to roll his eyes at me and go with "the wife's plan."And for the record, man I feel OLD, blogging about my rose bushes! WTF?! If you had told me ten years ago that I would be excited about not killing a plant and bragging about it on the Internet I would have fainted from laughing so hard. My mother, the consummate gardener is so proud.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Last night as Maddie was about to get into the bath we had this conversation:

Maddie (sitting on the potty): "Mama, come here!!"
Mama: "What?"
Maddie (hopping off of the toilet): "Look! My poop looks like a butterfly!"
Mama (Pretending to look): "Grrrreaaaat...."
This brings a whole new meaning to modern art.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Slave Labor

Since Iquit my job I have been joking about my new role in our home (wife, mother, slave) and the sad fact that I am no longer an official wage earner . Tonight on our way home Todd and I had this conversation:

Todd: "Your wages are your cell phone, gym membership, and car insurance. Why should I cut I you a check when I can pay them directly?" snicker, chuckle, chuckle.
Me: "That's not labor, that's indentured servitude!" scowl

Sigh, the dewy-eyed, romantic phase of our marriage is officially out the window (along with my sanity)! The reality of life with two kids and two dogs.

Easter, by the way, was great. I was exhausted from the festivities the day before. Therefore I should say, Easter was about as good as it could get for a tired, cranky, bitchy mommy (and no, I am notover exaggerating the bitchiness, just ask my husband who vowed to love me in good times and pissy.) My friend's parents host an Easter blow out on their ranch every year the Saturday before. The shindig is on a 5-acre ranch complete with horses, a whopper of a play structure, a goat, jumpy house, face painting, an Easter egg hunt, and all of the food you could ever want. My Weight-Watchers-after-baby thing, not so much on Saturday. I brought a whole new meaning to gluttony: fudge, a nacho station, tri-tip, cupcakes, my yummy brownies. Maddie and I took turns riding one the horses. It felt good to get back into a saddle, even if it was for a brief moment (Luke wailed and duty called.) We left the ranch completely devoid of any of the energy we arrived with. Maddie went straight to bed with a solid dusting of dirt from head to toe and I was too tired to really care.
We celebrated Easter Sunday at my in-laws. Maddie was quite excited to discover all of the eggs the Easter Bunny left in Nana and Papa's backyard. Ahhh, the joys of childhood. I wish I had a bunny that left treat-filled eggs for me in my backyard! How great would it be to find eggs filled with baubles from Tiffany's?! Seriously, that's not such a bad idea. Not sure how Todd would feel about it though... Because it was a holiday we loaded her up on sugar 'til she was bouncing off of the walls. Brunch was finished off with a chocolate bunny AND a cupcake. For those of you who have never seen Maddie on sugar, she couldn't be more high if we gave her a few lines of coke. And for all of the naysayers who say sugar doesn't make kids hyper, you have never seen MY kid! So we save the copious doses of sugar for special occasions and holidays. It makes life easier for Todd and me. We continued the Easter celebration into the evening with Skip and Mary (our bonus-parents). We had dinner at Eddie Papas. Maddie did a few more hits of sugar after dinner (all meals are followed with a gratuitous serving of cotton candy.) By the time we got home Todd and I melted into bed we were so tired.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Diva in Training

What can I say, my little girl has got flare! If only we could all be so blessed with such a keen fashion sense. The right accessories ALWAYS make the outfit!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Battle of Wills

Last night as I tried to cajole Roman to go potty before bed I got this response:

The look of, "hey crazy lady, it's raining and I am not budging from this dry spot no matter how bad I have to go." After failing to see eye to eye on the matter I reluctantly let him back in. Score: Roman 1, Yvette 0.
But Roman is not the only one I have had a battle of wills with lately. Maddie has reached the age where she wants to challenge everything we tell her to do or not to do. I find myself saying this mantra more often lately: "Because I said so!" Crap, I have officially become my mother! This is one of those things I swore up and down I would NEVER say to MY kids, and now, well.... All tidbits of loving direction (ie. clean up your mess, eat your vegetables, etc.) or things we deny (ie. no, you can't cut your own hair with your craft scissors) are met with the same squealing response, "But whhhhhhyyyyyyyy?????????????!!!!!!!!!!!" I have to consciously refrain myself from rolling my eyes at her. While we deal with this phase I am sure my parents are in a corner snickering, "vengeance is mine!" Now I know the torture I put them through. And I owe them a whopper of an apology!
But I just have to remind myself that this is only a phase sure to be replaced by something much more annoying that will have us reminiscing, "remember how great it was when she only asked but whhhhhhhhhyyyyyyyyyyyyy?????"
Despite all of this I still think she is a great kid. It is her job to torture us, otherwise we would not have the opportunity to actually practice that whole unconditional love thing. It is good to know that Maddie only does this to her parents. It is much more troublesome when kids give attitude to anyone and everyone. Yes, she needs to respect her parents, but it is alarming when kids don't have respect for anyone. At some point all kids challenge their parents. Nobody tells you how ugly the trenches of motherhood can be!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Hiatus No More!

My hiatus from blogging is done. The end of the pregnancy left me tired and cranky (aka bitchy) and with no desire for blogging. Then Luke arrived and he left no time for blogging. That whole adjusting to life with a new baby... Time has finally come for me to return to my blog. So much has happened since my last post. Aside from bringing another human into this world, Todd and I adopted another dog (as if we did not have enough on our plate!) Then again I have never been one to take small steps, rather big leaps. One of my favorite sayings: Go big or go home!
Let me rewind a bit. For those of you who have not heard the great Lucas-Arrival-Story. Heaven forbid I have a normal/non-dramatic delivery. We had a scheduled c-section on January 21st. Fifteen minutes from the time we were to arrive (and as we are exiting the freeway) I recieved a call from the hospital, "So sorry! We have no space for you, we will have to re-schedule!" Now I don't know about you, but when you have a date set and are mentally prepared to give birth on said date, having it come to a screeching halt kind of throws you for a loop. At that point all they had open was the 28th at 5:30pm (translation, I can't eat ALL day long and I am one day shy of 40 weeks pregnant.) UGH! This is torture! You mean to tell me I have to stay pregnant for seven more days?!?! WTF!!! Pregnancy meltdown is commencing! Trying to be ever-so-gracious I pulled it together and carried on. They had me by the you-know-whats, there was nothing I could do to. Now keep in mind I was having tremendous difficulty eating, sleeping, walking, breathing, and going two minutes without using the bathroom. Fast forward to the 26th: my body took matters into its own hands and I went into labor all on my own. Only, I had never gone into labor before(Maddie was induced, which led to an emergency c-section). I spent the day on the couch feeling as if I had the flu and cramps. Todd urged me to call the OB and tell her my symptoms. She instructed me to go to the hospital for a labor check. Crap, now we had to drive 680 North in rush hour traffic! Thank the good lord above for the carpool lane! After we arrived I was hooked up to monitors that measured every blip my body made. Sure enough, contractions eight minutes apart. Granted not heavy duty/active labor, but labor nonetheless. The nurse entered my room, "the doctor is on her way, the anesthesiologist will be in to talk to you shortly." Uh, what? Wait, we are supposed to have this baby on the 28th, not today, the 28th. I'm mentally prepared for the 28th! But Lucas arrived on the 26th, all NINE POUNDS of him. Yes, nine pounds. Now you know why I was too miserable to blog. And let me tell you, he felt that big when he was in my stomach. Those rock stars who carried twins, I salute you!
Luke has turned out to be a great sleeper and eater (one of the benefits of having a bigger baby). In the hospital he slept four hour stretches at night. Within two weeks it was six, occasionally eight hours. Now don't get me wrong, there have also been bumps in the road. Little Man has a temper and fights falling to sleep. When he misses a nap we all suffer the consequences. He will be fussy and cries/screams off and on all day. This becomes a challenge when you have a husband who works graveyards and you're trying to keep the house quiet and peaceful while he sleeps. There have been times when I have wondered, "What am I doing wrong?" But it is just an adjustment from what an easy baby Maddie was and also deciphering Luke's quirks. Finally after two months I am figuring out those quirks and learning it is OK for him to cry it out a little. Things are getting easier and we are beginning to get a routine together. I just tell myself: slowly but surely.From what we can tell he has Dad's eyes and mouth, and Mom's cheeks and chin. The nose has yet to be determined. And that hair, totally from me! Maddie had the same 'do. Luke also has a dimple in his right cheek. Not sure if that came from Todd or me as Maddie also has a dimple in her right cheek. At two months he is smiling and cooing a lot. He is a smitten kitten when you talk and interact with him. He is going to be one active boy though, don't know if I'm excited about that. In-utero he never stopped moving. I felt him move constantly from the time I was sixteen weeks pregnant. He is still this way. His legs never stop moving. From our first night in the hospital he demonstrated the strength of his neck by holding his head up. Now he rolls to his side in the carseat carrier when hanging out in it, scoots himself down in the swing, and lifts his head and shoulders forward off of the Boppy. I have the distinct feeling he will be mobile early and I will be screwed! I was so spoiled with the ease of raising Maddie, now Luke is my penance :)! After a lot of thought and deliberation Todd and I agreed it would be best if I stayed at home with the kids. This was for a variety of issues: the logistics of Maddie being in kindergarten and Luke not, childcare, finances, Luke's fussiness, and ultimately what is best for our kids and my sanity. Definitely weird not having or making my "own" money. That is the biggest adjustment for me. But the trade off is so worth it (most of the time!)
Since things were starting to smooth out and I was going to be home we talked about getting another dog someday. Todd had always wanted a German Shepherd. We thought maybe in a year after we returned from Hawaii and Luke was a little bigger. So I began the application process with German Shepherd Rescue Network ( thinking, "when we find the right dog the application process will be complete and we won't have to jump through any hoops." Famous last words. I turned in the application and made a follow-up phone call. A rescue counselor contacted me and conducted an initial interview over the phone. After our conversation she felt we were potential candidates for adoption. Although we still needed to have home inspection completed, she thought they may have a dog that was a good match for our family. When I told Todd, he rolled his eyes at me (most likely thinking, "Here we go again!") Long story short: we did the home visit, their dog and our dog met, all was a success and now we have a new member of our family. We named him Roman after Sgt. Romans, one of the officers from Oakland Police Department who was murdered March 21st. Roman has been a great addition to our family. He is sweet, gets along great with Tilly, has done well with our kids, and is a very stable dog. The whole transition has been very smooth and GSRNC was great. A remarkably different experience from when we adopted Mischa. Literally night and day! And Todd's aprehension? Completely melted away within the first few hours of having Roman in our home. While Tilly has been a Mama's girl, Roman favored Todd from the get go. Despite their bond, he is love with all of us. But I am pleased as punch that Todd has found his own canine companion.So now here we are: two parents, two kids, and two dogs. Life is going to be a crazy adventure!
Every day I get my escape when I leave the house and take the dogs for a walk. They are my much-desired respite after a long day of caring for a house, husband, and children. Plus they are helping me burn off the weight! My one hour every day to myself. I loooooooove that hour!!!!!
Here are some additional photos of our Little Luke: