Sunday, September 26, 2010


When Erik and I took our first trip to Chicago we must have had poor young kids stamped on our forehead... or we must have just arrived in the midwest :o) As we got off the plane and were trying to figure out how to buy passes for the El a couple came up to us and said their vacation got cut short and they still had 5 days left on their 10 day passes. Would we like them??? Um Sure! They actually expired an hour before our flight home! Jackpot! We were staying a block from the Taste of Chicago in the Palmer House Hilton. It was AMAZING! On our first day of the Taste as we were walking in a family stopped us and offered us their extra tickets. It was the most amazing magical trip and we still talk about how nice those people were. Just recently we went to the Wisconsin Dells. A man at the table next to us asked if we had tickets for the day and we said yes but not for tomorrow. He gave us two free tickets to Noah's Ark Waterpark the next day. He said we reminded him of himself. Since he was sitting with his 10 year old son I imagine he was thinking about earlier vacations with a young child. We all know those can be a bit stressful :o) It rained all the next day and we didn't get to use the tickets but it still made our whole day that he had given them to us.
So we now make it a point to give any extra tickets to someone who can use them. After the Wisconsin State Fair we had one lonely ticket left, you wouldn't believe how it brightened up the face of the little girl we gave it to. Yesterday as we were leaving the zoo we had 2 guest passes and 2 tram passes left that would expire before we could get back. We found a young couple with a little girl Ashlyn's age and gave it to them. They couldn't believe we didn't want money for them. Now I think we all know that we sure could use the money for them but it felt so good to give them we didn't want the money. As they walked off to the zoo I could tell it was going to be an even better day for them because they saved almost 40 bucks. It's amazing how much better it can make your day! It's so funny the shocked looks on people's faces when they are given something free. Even if it's just an extra coupon for something they are looking at in the grocery store! Have you ever done this? Doesn't it feel awesome?


For my non-parent readers, co-sleeping is the a fancy word for not being able to get your kid to sleep in their own bed. Just kidding, that's just how we ended up as co-sleepers. This is a hidden secret in our society that drives me CRAZY! Despite the fact that in nearly every country besides ours, families co-sleep. Despite the fact that many people in our own country have done it for generations and continue to do so.. Everyone feels the pressure when the pediatrician asks "Does she sleep in a crib?" to say, "Of COURSE she does! All night like an angel"... Right??? When your co-workers or mommy friends ask how she's sleeping... somehow the fact that how she's sleeping with her head wedged into your ribs and her feet in daddy's back isn't what you tell them. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns against it so instead of talking about how those of us that do it make it work, it becomes another measure of how you are as a parent. Like if you can get your child to sleep in a crib than you must be a more disciplined parent than I am, or I must be a crunchy hippie parent (not that they are bad either).
My daughter has always been very attached to me. She also inherited her father's need for very little sleep. As a newborn baby she would wiggle herself across the entire bed to get to me. I'd move her to the middle and wake to have her snuggled right up. It was really sweet to watch! She could smell me from a mile away. Even very young if we tried to put her in her crib she would cry until she made herself throw up. We had a friend over one night who said let me try. We let her.. She came back in less time than we would have saying "I guess your right! She is so upset!" It became easier to stop fighting her! Then after a while we stopped trying to get her to sleep on her own. It got to the point that I couldn't sleep without her. People that say you might roll over on her I just don't understand it... My daughter is like an extension of me when we sleep. We breathe at the same time, her little fingers curl up around the collar of my shirt, my hand, my hair, my sleeve without either of us realizing it... I guess the risk increases when you are drinking or doing drugs but fortunately she hasn't driven me to either yet so we are OK!
All this being said, Daddy doesn't have the same sleeping bond with her that I do. Naps on the couch are their thing. At some point the feet in the back got to be too much for him (have you ever seen how much room a sideways toddler can take in a bed?)so we started to discuss moving her back to her own bed. Grandma helped with the transition and she now sleeps most of the night in a big girl bed... I think I miss it more than she does... but still on the occasional Saturday night when I'm too tired to move her back to her own bed she still curls her fingers around mine and snuggles up in between...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ashlyn's first visit to the men's room...

Have you heard all the debates about what a man should do when he's in public with his daughter who needs to use the restroom? Does he send her in alone? Does he take her into the men's room? Well Ashlyn's first trip to the men's room wasn't with Erik!
We watch the FSU games with the Alumni Club here. During the game, I needed to use the restroom but Ashlyn didn't want me to leave her. My sister said she would go with us to hold her for me. Since Ash LOVES to wash her hands I figured that was fine. Problem was when I got to the restroom, I froze in the doorway... I stood there honestly contemplating when in the world did someone remove the other stall??? I was just in here before the game started and it's only the 3rd quarter? What is going on??? Right then I heard behind me... "Where are YOU going?" Thank goodness it was just my friend Joel and not some random man but yep Ashlyn and I had stood there in the doorway for a good half a minute. My sister even said she kept saying "Ann! That's the men's room!" And yet I was still frozen and my brain instead of recognizing the urinal and immediately thinking Oh Crap! I continue to try to figure out who this speedy re-modeler was that can remove a toilet and stall, re-tile the floor, and install a urinal in a ladies room in less than 1/2 a football game! Wow! The even crazier thing is I wasn't drinking today for some reason! I guess I knew I needed all the brain cells I could get today!!! Wow! I have got to get more sleep!

Friday, September 17, 2010

You are smart, sweet, and beautiful...

We have a dear friend who is never afraid to give parenting advice... Although the first few times I bristled up a bit, I believe I have since learned that she knows what she's talking about. She has two beautiful, polite, well mannered girls that she has raised primarily on her own so she clearly knows what she is doing. She's also a great realtor if anyone is moving to the area :o)
Anyhow every time she sees my sweet 1 year old she bends down to her level, looks her right in the eye, and says "You are SO smart!" She tells me that in Ashlyn's life people are constantly going to be telling her "You are so cute!" "She has the prettiest eyes!" but it is my job to remind her how smart she is! This is so true!

Have you ever heard of Harry Wong? He is a motivational speaker for teachers. He is hilarious and inspirational at the same time. He tells a story of how as a young child of 5 years old his mother convinced everyone she knew to ask Harry every time they saw him "Little Harry Wong... What kind of doctor are you going to be." I will let you read more about Harry Wong on your own but he's AWESOME. His parents never told Harry there was anything else than the best for him. He did become a doctor but not a medical doctor. That's not the point. My parents were like this as well. I grew up not questioning if I would go to college but where I would go. Not only that but which ivy league school I would go to. I didn't make it to Harvard, but that's OK. I am successful and happy. My parents didn't just talk to me like it was already decided but also supported every dream and desire my sister and I had to learn, even if it wasn't what they had pictured we would be or if it changed a thousand times. So I have decided that although she may not understand "Which ivy league school are you going to go to Ashlyn?" She does understand words like smart, sweet, and beautiful.
I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy self image. Instead of saying you are so pretty or you are so cute I want her to know she is a beautiful person. I want her to know she has a good sweet heart. And I want her to know she can do anything she puts her mind to. These are my wishes for her. And last but not least, I want her to know that I am so proud of her. So as I tuck my sweet little girl into bed every night I whisper in her ear as I kiss her hair... "You are so smart. You are so sweet. You are so beautiful. And I am so proud to be your mommy."

I know I heard a version of this phrase somewhere else, so if I stole this or parts of it from you then I want to thank-you! You must be one of those mom's that inspire me to be a better mom.

My question to you... Do you remember your parents doing anything like this? Do you do anything like this with your children?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Holding each other a little closer...

The first time I spent the night with my husband he said, "Please don't be offended if I roll away from you in 5 minutes... I'm not a cuddler." LOL! Talk about romantic right? I was actually so relieved! I hate to be trapped under someone's arm or afraid to scratch an itch in fear of waking someone. don't get me wrong I love to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie but to sleep I want to have my own little space. This has always worked very well for us.
I told you about Erik's theory on not stressing about the little things. It couldn't have come at a better time. In the last few days a lot of sad things have happened around us. None of it really affected our day to day lives but it has weighed heavily on our hearts. There is a blog I have been following about a 5 month old baby with cancer. He was such a fighter and his parents always seemed to keep such a positive outlook on their facebook posts. I didn't know little Mason but a friend from Middle School is co-workers with his aunt or something of that nature. Even though he was fighting such a strong fight against cancer, little Mason got pneumonia and passed away this week. It hurt my heart. That is a pain that no parent should have to deal with. What a sweet little boy. His parents buried him today. If you would like to read about his amazing life here is his blog
On Wednesday, at Erik's work a woman he works with, had a seizure from what they think was a stroke and the paramedics had to use the defibrillator to revive her. She is 38 years old and has 3 small children.
Then to top it all off, I am back doing some rehab work with the elderly like I did this summer. At the end of my shift I went to visit one of my most difficult and favorite patients from the summer. I didn't find her in her room and as I walked back by the front I made myself look at the "In Memory Of" board... And there she was...
Too much pain and death this week. So last night as we were drifting off to sleep I reached over and grabbed Erik's hand. Without saying a word he rubbed my hand and I knew he and I were totally on the same page. After a few minutes I whispered to him "You can take your hand back whenever you need to go to sleep." He took his hand away... I was feeling better so I was OK with this. But just then I felt his hand on my back gently rubbing like we would to comfort Ashlyn. Somehow whether he needed it or just knew I did, there in the dark I feel like I connected with my husband in a way that a million conversations couldn't. I know this blog is about parenting but I feel like recently I have been discovering so much about my marriage and my husband that I needed to share. I was reading an article that asked men and women what they thought was more work, parenting or marriage? What do you think friends? What takes more work for you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

And the Lesson is...

... never trust a sleeping baby!

So Ash was finally beginning to drift off for her nap after laying and watching "George" for well past when she should have fallen asleep. Being the trusting tired mommy that I am, I guess I also drifted off. I woke to her handing me a pen very sweetly. I nicely reminded her we don't play with pens and we went back to sleep. Fast forward to her waking from her nap a few hours later. I had gotten up to get some things done and when I came back in to get her this is what I discovered I had missed earlier in my sleepy state...

Mom's if your child comes to you with a writing utensil the FIRST thing you should do is explore EVERY possible place they could have been recently. She must have really thought she pulled one over on me!
I guess I will no longer keep her journal right next to the bed with a pen in it... Off to get new sheets!

Keeping it in perspective...

As we were driving home from the city where we watched our Noles get creamed by OU my husband said something that brought me to tears. Those who know my husband know that he is a man of few words (unless he's talking about sports). Every once in a while though he says something that reminds me that when he does talk I should definitely listen. I am so blessed to have such a great husband. So I asked if he at least had fun watching the game even though we played so badly. I knew the answer would be of course not, what a waste of a day, waste of money, waste of a year... etc... My husband takes sports to heart. But what I heard was, "Yeah it was a good day. I realized a few days ago that I am not going to stress anymore about little things, including sports. I have a healthy daughter and a loving wife. There really isn't anything to stress about." Wow! So powerful and so true. My eyes began filling with tears. For a Words of Affirmation person this little nugget was like gold to me. I told him I totally agreed, however, I will still stress about money. He said that even money isn't a reason to stress. We will get by, we always do, but to think about all the friends I have that have been dealing with so many health issues with their children/spouses/parents. Our money issues are nothing compared to dealing with the stress of a child with a serious medical issue. We have been so blessed up until this point. He is so right. I am really going to try to stress less and appreciate more. I am even going to go watch the Bears game right now that football is back to a fun game in our household!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Little white lies...

OK people I know you all do this... tell your kids little white lies... I am worried some of mine are going to come to an end really soon as my little one is really grasping the little nuances of the English language.
For example... Somehow Ashlyn learned that there is a Subway next to her daycare and they cookies. I'm not sure how she learned this because we are not huge Subway people and if we do go it's usually in the mall food court. We have never been in the Subway next to daycare but one day as we were leaving she started pointing at it asking for a cookie. So of course I was so impressed that she knew that I just had to get her a cookie! The cashier even gave her an extra one for free since she was so cute! Score a cookie for mommy. You can guess the next time I picked her up at daycare what did she ask for? Yep a cookie. So I began finding ways around the cookie trip every day. My wallet and waistline just can't handle it people. Today I told her "We have cookies at home." She sat so sweetly in the car and of course as soon as we pulled up at the house she said "Cookie peas?" Oh darn! I had really hoped she'd forget... We have NO cookies in our house! Due to my inability to resist yummy baked deliciousness my child is now never going to trust me AGAIN! So I gave her a graham cracker and told her "Here's your cookie sweetie!" I mean it's sweet and crackers really should be salty... so she bought it. She knows they are called crackers but for some reason she totally bought it and has now had 3 of them. So mom friends... what little white lies have you told your children... and how long do you think this one can last???

Ashlyn on the ride home today!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Things kids say...

I feel like I've been a little down on my mom skills lately so I thought I would post a happier blog today! Maybe it's because Ashlyn slept in until 8 am on my day off! In true Ashlyn style she did wake up 4 times during the night asking for "choc choc" and when the last one was her standing right at the side of my bed nose to nose saying it I pulled her into bed with me. Any ideas friends? Is she hungry/thirsty at night? Is that why she keeps waking every night many times begging for chocolate milk? I offered water... she didn't like that idea!

So anyhow! Ashlyn has had an incredible language explosion lately. Many many times a day Erik and I say... "I'm 99% sure Ash just said...." We are still in disbelief that she is saying these things but they are always in context and sounds pretty accurate in Ashlyn speak. Here are a few of the recent ones...

While talking to my mother-in-law last night... she asked what the baby likes now. I said Well "her favorite color is yellow." Erik piped up "Well she likes green too." I asked Ashlyn..."Whats your favorite color?"
Ashlyn: "Yeyow, buh dada say geen" HUH?

This morning my phone fell off the bed and Ash tapped me and said "mama! It fell" clears as can be past irregular past tense verb! Craziness!

Also this morning Ashlyn did something that could have been a cough or a sneeze so Erik said "Bless you"
Ashlyn: "No, Cough cough!"

On the way to school we brought our dog Doak because he had to go to the vet. Ashlyn thought this was so silly. I said "Doak is going to school with you"
Ashlyn: "No, coo fo baby!"

I just love this kid to death! How cute is she! I just love her logic and humor and everything that is developing as she grows! We cannot say anything at all around her without her commenting on it! There was a little girl in the kindergarten class I was reading to yesterday that would literally read the story over me... I just wanted to tell her to STOP! And then I realized this precocious kid so eager to please and show off her skills is what I was like 25 years ago and what my daughter will be like in 3 years! Wow!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Crappy Parent Award #2

It has been hectic in our house the last couple of mornings. Daddy is working further away so he has less time to get Ashlyn ready in the morning. I have been getting her dressed and getting her hair combed (which can be quite the task). This morning I put her in a cute little tank top and jean shorts. As I left for work I was surprised at how chilly it was outside. I got to work and called Erik and told him to change her clothes that it was pretty chilly. He said no it will warm up. He did put a t-shirt on her though. I got to school at 4:00 and they were outside playing. All her friends were in pants and jackets and here is my little one in a borrowed sweatshirt cuddled up in the teachers arms. How TERRIBLE did I feel? In my defense it has been in the high 80's so I totally did not expect it to be 65 out today! Also it rained all day yesterday and looked like it would today so I did not think she'd be going outside either. Man I feel bad though! I'm going to have to stock daycare with an entire extra wardrobe just to make up for my parenting mistakes...


Ashlyn: "MAW-MAW!!!!!!!"
Me: "Yes, Ashlyn?"
Ashlyn: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" (in high pitched screaming voice)
Me: (runs quickly to where she is)
Ashlyn: "kahkit?" (in a very sweet calm voice)

This happens in my house at least 6 times an hour... Chocolate Milk, or the lack of, is such an immediate crisis in my house that a blood curdling scream is necessary!
After watching/listening to this exchange a few times my husband noted that it's her response to me saying "Yes, Ashlyn?" He was right of course. If I answered, "I'm coming." She patiently waits. Interesting...the thing is I don't want to jump up every time I hear mama... I would love to know what she wants so that I don't walk all the way to the playroom to discover she wants the chocolate milk, pacifier, doll, ________ (fill in the blank) that was sitting right next to me when she called me. So I told Erik... "I wish I could train her to tell me what she wants..." Yep I said train her... As I said that, I walked to the bedroom to see what she wanted for the 500th time that day...
I walked in and said "Yes, Ashlyn? what do you need?" She patted the ground next to her and said "mama" with the sweetest smile. Here I am talking about training her to facilitate my laziness and all she wanted was to have me near... Wow... Do I win the crappy mom of the day award or what?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Take my breath away...

George Strait has a new song... I believe it's called The Breath You Take... Here is the chorus:
Life’s not the breaths you take
The breathing in and out
That gets you through the day
Ain’t what it’s all about
Ya just might miss the point
Try’n to win the race
Life’s not the breaths you take
But the moments that take your breath away...

I got to thinking about this during my drive home the other day... Thinking about those moments that took my breath away... In this song it talks about your baby being born and a parent passing away..
I think for me I get so busy in those important moments that they may not take my breath away initially... but when I think back on them now they still take my breath away... I think about when Ashlyn was born... How she was just crying away and they brought her up to me and I whispered "Mama's here" and she instantly stopped crying... INSTANTLY! Look at the picture(Erik actually got the exact moment on film). I swear she's almost smiling... When I think about that moment my heart stops, I can't breathe, and my eyes well up... at that moment I was TRULY a mother... No going back!

I would think many people felt their wedding day took their breath away. I wish I could say that when I saw my husband-to-be at the end of the aisle I stopped breathing... I might have but it was only because I was smiling so big. I was so relieved and happy and busy that day, but I couldn't stop breathing because that just wasn't on the schedule for the day:o)... When I think about my husband what takes my breath away is how we met... All the little things that went into that day... I jokingly told my roommate that I was going to find the man of my dreams that night... TRUE STORY... We kept asking random guys if they were my prince charming... We left Pow Wow early... who knows why (except that Carrot Top sucked)... We were about to leave the bar and give up on the night when a song we liked came on and we decided to stay for just one more... When I met Erik he asked if he could buy me a drink and I said NO... Not because I wasn't interested but because what I was drinking was expensive and I didn't want him to think I was high maintenance. This was something I never cared about before... why this night did I decide that this guy couldn't buy my Italian Margarita? That night I thought nothing of all the little things (and more) that happened... But now as I look back I can hardly breathe thinking about everything that happened that night to make it so perfect... Everything was so perfectly aligned... and it still is... I truly found my soul mate that night... and that still just takes my breath away..

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Battle of the Paci...

... and believe me it is nothing short than a battle! First of all how many of you have ever even seen a Speech Language Pathologist's kid with a paci? How many of you have had a SLP tell you not to give your child a paci? I'm sure tons right? Well guess what... I am an SLP and my child is a paci addict.
At the beginning of the summer we began limiting the "Pa Pa" as it's so fondly called in our house. She was only allowed to have it for naps, bed, and in the car (where she usually napped). She knew to throw it back into bed when she got up. She was doing really well... and then... She got sick! As you know from previous blogs when your child is sick you will do anything to give them comfort... So back came the "Pa Pa" first it was just when she was crying or laying around... then she would start playing if she had it and of course we loved seeing that. Next thing we knew she was back to having the "Pa Pa" full time (or at least when we weren't in public). She started daycare and can't have it there except at naps. She was having a little bit of a tough time with that but she was adjusting and it was carrying over at home. Guess what happened?... Yep you got it... she's been sick this week. A viral infection that has moved to her right ear. But now instead of just having A "Pa Pa" as in 1... she has to have 2 "Pa Pa"'s at all times! She has one in and carries the other around with her. Today as she plays she keeps losing one of them. No less than 20 times since I came home from work 2 1/2 hours ago I have heard... "yewo! yewo!" or "pink! pink!" as she frantically searches for the missing pacifier! I have no idea how she is going to handle going back to school tomorrow with no "Pa Pa"... I have no idea how I'm going to handle 3 1/2 more hours until daddy comes home searching every 2 minutes for a missing "Pa Pa" At least she's working on her colors right since her pacifiers are yellow and PURPLE... gotta go she's lost the yellow one again!