Category: Family

Taking it Slow….

I’m taking a day off from Name of the Day for a little update on our lives. The truth is, there hasn’t been much to report. We’ve been working on sleeping through the night with Len and potty training with Lu, but if you’re reading this hoping for some quick advice, you might as well stop now. I have advice, but that advice is to be patient.

There are so many “3 day” or “1 week” methods for the issues I’m currently working on. But those methods aren’t for us. And I’m certainly not trying to insult these methods. If you can get your kid from diapers to underwear in 3 days, that’s excellent! But we can’t. Trying to rush things has made every member of our family miserable, and though the misery may be short lived… it seems unnecessary to me.

Lennon was moved to a toddler bed over a month ago. I breastfeed him to sleep and I usually have to breastfeed him back to sleep 3 times a night. This is progress. When we first started it took me an hour or longer to get him down at night. He’d wake up in 45 minutes, again it would take over an hour to get him back to sleep… repeat until morning. Now it takes me about 10 minutes to get him down, each time. Yes, there are exceptions. But usually, he goes down pretty well. So though I’m looking forward to him sleeping through the night, I’m grateful for how far we’ve come. I get alone time with my husband once Lennon is down for the night, something that didn’t happen when we were bed sharing. He’s getting milk 3 times throughout the night, which is a lot less then when he got milk all night long. He’s happy to be in his own bed and is in better spirits in the morning as a result of a better night’s sleep.

Could we have made this process quicker if we closed the door and let him cry? I’m sure. But I’m not sure he’d genuinely like his bed if we had done that. I like that his first few nights in his toddler bed he toddled down the hall to our room, because now the fact that he doesn’t do that anymore makes me feel accomplished. If we let him cry more, we might be done by now. But he would have definitely woken his sister, so perhaps I’d be complaining about how now we have to retrain her to sleep through the night. (For the record she does still wake about 50% of the time and needs to be snuggled back to sleep. I do not want to make this percentage go up.) My breasts would probably hurt if I went from feeding him all night to no nighttime feedings at all. And if it affected my day time supply, our misery would surely last 24 hours a day for a long time. It’d probably be over by now, yes, and my life would probably be easier in many ways. But, that’s not how we’re doing it. I’ve never been a pull the band aid off fast kind of girl. If you’re going to pull a band aid off me, do it slow, assure me you’re being as gentle as you can and that it’s almost done. Don’t just run up and rip the sucker off. Sure, the pain is over faster, but I just may consider you a jackass the rest of my life.

With the new year I decided to focus on one task at a time. I thought if I devoted all my hours to one task, didn’t let myself feel guilty about the others, they’d get done quicker. Lennon sleeping through the night in his own bed was task one, Lucille potty training is task 2. I decided this week that Lennon has made enough progress that I should move onto task 2… but for some reason I was not as willing to be patient this time.

Probably about a year ago Lucille seemed very ready to potty train. She’d ask questions about it and seemed genuinely fascinated. I helped her use her little ducky potty a few times and she was so happy about doing something new that I didn’t even need to reward her with candy or cookies… but I also had a 7 month old son and I didn’t focus on potty training like I should have. Putting her in a diaper was easier when I was having endless feeding sessions with Lennon. So that’s what I did. And since I didn’t encourage potty training consistently, she lost all interest. I think my guilt surrounding this led me to think we needed to get her potty trained the quickest way possible, to catch her up to where she should be. So I read people’s advice regarding 3 day potty training… and started loosely following it. (I say loosely because no way was I waking her up in the middle of the night to go pee. Or letting her run around commando since we have a lot of carpeting, we chose to use underpants.)

Day 1 started off so well. Poopy in the potty first thing in the morning. The next 2 days were followed by a lot of success and even more accidents. Every 15 to 20 minutes I made her try again. She would get so excited when she “did it!!” But she hated constantly trying. And Lennon hated it. I was ignoring him because I had to spend every second with Lucille. Seriously, our whole day revolved around the potty. Now, some people are probably reading this thinking how could she give up after 2 days? She was 1 day away! Well, I wasn’t. I wasn’t following the whole 3 day process so I fully expected my variation to take longer. We had a good week of this routine left, I’m certain. I didn’t give up on the methods all together, either. But I am relaxing how often she has to try. I’m letting her wear cloth diapers instead of underwear sometimes. For the sake of my sanity. For the sake of my neglected son. Mostly because by the end of the 2nd day, Lucille acted terrified that I was going to put her on the potty again. She was sick of it. It broke my heart. I don’t want to do it this way.

I’m sure someone will read this and think “well, she’s soft. She’s letting her kids walk all over her.” And that’s accurate. I am soft. And that’s why I want to let my kids do things at their pace. Because when people pressure me, I feel hurt, I feel that I’m not good enough. And I don’t want my kids to feel that way. So in this house, we’re going to continue to be sleep deprived and wonder where that urine smell is coming from a little while longer…. and probably I’m going to go back to Name of the Day posts a bit longer because I can’t gather my thoughts enough to write about parenting until I get a better night’s sleep. But a bullet point list of facts on  names, I can handle that!

Oh and one last piece of advice. Don’t compare your family to others. When I feel impatient with a lack of progress that my family is making, regarding the tasks mentioned above or regarding handfuls of other tasks,  its almost always because I’m comparing us to someone else. And that’s just crazy. Because we’re all different. I know kids younger than Lucille fully potty trained. Does that mean I’m doing something wrong? Or worse, is something wrong with her? No! I know baby’s 1/10th of Lennon’s age who sleep through the night. Does that mean I’m going to be breastfeeding him to sleep at 15? No! If you feel the need to rush for your own personal reasons, I certainly respect that. If it’s because others are commenting on your family’s need to change their ways, or you are pressuring yourself because Facebook friends have kids further ahead than your own, I advice you to step back and refocus. It doesn’t matter. Be happy in the journey, breathe and take it slow, one day at a time.



It’s Not Always Fun and Games

I am a big believer in putting into the universe the type of energy you want to get back. For this reason, I always try to dwell on the positive. In life it’s not always easy. On my social media though, it’s always sunshine and butterflies. I am so super grateful for my kids and I want the world to see how happy, sweet, smart and fun they are. I don’t want the whole world to see that sometimes I feel like I’m drowning and that I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in 3 years. But that is a very real side to this journey.

Lennon is 17 months. I really thought by this age he’d be done breastfeeding, or close to it. He’s not. He still wants breast milk to be his primary source of nutrition. Every time I think we’re making progress and he’s eating real food better, then he stops and it gets worse than before.

Hand in hand with this problem is he’s still up a ton every single night. I breastfeed him on average 5 or 6 times a night. This translates to me never getting more than an hour of sleep at a time. I know that he is probably waking up so often because he’s hungry, he barely eats real food. But I don’t know how to make him eat!!

Lucille showed an interest in potty training very early. But I was juggling a newborn at the time and kind of put it off. For several months now I’ve been trying to get her interested again, and she simply isn’t budging. Her cousin and best friend, Allison, who is 3.5 months her junior is almost 100% potty trained, but that doesn’t phase Lulu one bit. I thought maybe an exciting new potty might help, so she picked out a princess toilet seat that I can put on our toilet. She doesn’t want to go potty on it though. She wants to snuggle it. Fantastic. (Obviously,  now that it’s been placed on our real toliet I have not let any snuggling happen.)

Back to Lennon.. he’s definitely my problem child at the moment… he has become very violent. And I’m completely stumped by it. He hits me all the time. And punches. And kicks. And bites. And I have no idea where he gets this behavior from. He’s home with Lucille and me all day, so I can’t blame a brat at daycare. Lucille has never been violent. None of our play date friends are excessively violent. We don’t watch anything violent on television… it’s a mystery. But wherever it came from, I need to put a stop to it. And that has me even more stumped.

I don’t want to complain about my kids. I love them more than anything. And we’re going to make it through every challenge we face. But I’m writing down what our biggest battles are right now just to acknowledge that there are battles. And it’s totally normal to sometimes be overwhelmed and discouraged. And yes, some days, I let those feelings take over. I’m not proud of it. But that’s the reality of motherhood. I think I’d have trouble relating to a mother who didn’t feel this way from time to time.

Lennon eating! A miracle!




When I Start To Envy My Husband

Here’s my mommy confession, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Some days are HARD and on these days I envy my husband. Bad!

I envy that he gets to leave the house every day to go to work while I try to work in between temper tantrums and poopy diapers. Being able to drive there in silence, complete silence! It sounds like a dream! Getting to interact with other adults. I swear sometimes I feel my brain is turning into mush over here due to lack of intelligent conversations.

I envy him for being able to walk around our house and get chores done without Lucille crying “Me do! Me do!” every time she sees a broom or a sponge. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate her enthusiasm about cleaning, but I probably don’t need to tell you, a 2 1/2 year old with a broom just makes for an even bigger mess. And then of course it has to be the one year old’s turn…Why is it when daddy sweeps they let him do it?

I envy Peter’s ability to go to the bathroom without company. If I want to use the toilet I have a choice between letting the kids come in with me, which means they’re climbing into the bathtub, begging to brush their teeth, trying to eat tampons, etc. Or I can sneak away without them and just hear Lucille scream “mommy where are you?” and the occasional “Lennon, stop it, go away!” the whole time. I spend my time on the toilet praying nothing and nobody will be broken when I get off.

I envy my husband’s inability to breastfeed my son. It’s all he’s wanted for the past 3 or 4 weeks as we’ve been dealing with some terribly bad teething issues. Seriously, I think I spend at least 50% of my day feeding this child… But “sorry babe, can’t help with that.” I realize you can’t… but I doubt you’re sorry about it.

So often I’ve wished I could take some of the dependence these kids have on me and transfer it to my husband. But if I take a minute and think about it… it’s really not what I want at all. Does adult conversation and a quiet ride in the car sound good right now? You bet! But does it sound so good I would be willing to give up this time with my kids? Never!

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Today Lucille held my hand and told me we’re friends. And we are. I’m with her and Lennon every waking hour and some sleeping hours too, they are my best friends. It is exhausting having them want to be with me every second of every day. But they want to be with me because they feel safe and comfortable with me. They love their dad and grandparents and they play well with everyone… but when they feel sad or scared or just sleepy they want to be with me. Because they know me the best. And even though that’s when they’re crankiest, I’m so happy to be the person they come to when they are upset.

So as tired as I am, and even though I’m super behind on every household chore and can barely keep up with my job that pays the bills… I’m so glad that I can’t switch places with my husband. I’m so glad I’m the one that gets to be their constant protector. And I shouldn’t allow myself to get jealous of my husband anymore, because in all honesty, he’s probably jealous of me too. And I won’t blame him, because staying home with these crazy, energetic, loving, funny, needy kids is the best experience in the world.




One Year Roller Coaster

When Lucille turned one year old it was like overnight she stopped being a baby and instead was a miniature person. I remember joking “good thing I’m pregnant because she’s all of a sudden acting so old I’d have serious baby fever otherwise.” Lennon had this same overnight change, I can’t believe how much he has matured in 2 months since his birthday. (And in case you’re wondering, it does not give me baby fever because I’m too busy keeping up with two toddlers to catch the fever!)

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Let’s focus on the good: Lennon is finally napping without being held the whole time. I still have to nurse him to sleep but after holding him for a few minutes I can lay him on the couch and he’ll usually sleep about an hour. I am loving this new independence! Though some days I just hold him on my chest and pretend he’s still my little baby and needs the snuggles to stay asleep.

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Lennon went from toddling around slowly and carefully to RUNNING! I’m not exaggerating, he’s fast!! And all of a sudden he has all sorts of new words. He asks for his favorite movie “Rio” everyday by singing “Rio” again and again, like the song in the opening credits. He can say several relatives names, talks about dinosaurs or “dinies”, the dog, the kitty, asks me to spin him “round round” or take him on “walk walks”… but strangely still hasn’t mastered Lulu, which became Lucille’s nickname solely because we thought it’d be easy for him to repeat it.

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From the day we brought Lennon home from the hospital I’ve warned Lucille (who obviously didn’t understand) that he’s going to get her back for all the times she’s rough with him. I didn’t expect his revenge to start at 12 months. This little man is strong. He tackles Lucille to the ground daily. Sometimes he climbs on top of her screaming and laughing so she can’t get up. And usually I don’t feel bad for Lucille because usually she starts it.

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Lennon has a scary bad temper. He will go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye. Throwing himself on the floor, flinging his fists, and wailing at the top of his lungs. This man knows,what he wants and he won’t stop until he gets it.

Climbing up a skee ball machine

Climbing up a skee ball machine

Lennon’s curiosity about the world around him continues. I love how observant he is, but now that he is more mobile this curiosity is getting more dangerous. I know this adventurous attitude is something I will both admire and fear for the rest of Lennon’s life.

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In summary: slow down Lennon, mommy’s not ready for you to be a big boy just yet!




Changing Too Fast: Lucille Bea

Sometimes I wish there was a camera recording our lives so I could share some of Lucille’s comedy “routines” . Seriously, she has had Peter and I laughing so hard recently. She’s the funniest 2 year old I’ve ever met. No pictures I post can do her justice… but here are some any way.

Lucille has always liked to accessorize with hats, jewelry… whatever she can get in herself. Well, now she can dress herself in more… or at least she thinks she can… She’s also quite opinionated on the fashion of others. The other day I came downstairs in mismatched pajamas and she goes “Wow, momma! So cute!!” And grabbed my clothes.

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She put this on and walked around for 10 minutes saying “so pretty!” It’s a shirt, with one of her arms through the neck hole, paired with pink striped shorts and yellow shorts.

Wearing her romper as a hood.

Wearing her romper as a hood.

Her musical “abilities” are expanding to. Below is a video from just a few weeks ago, her singing mostly nonsense into daddy’s microphone. Recently she’s begun repeating back songs she knows without being prompted. My favorite is “shake your booty!” Which sounds like “shake your poopy!” She gets so into it, shaking her little body all over the place and grabbing everyone’s hands and instructing them to “shake!”

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Her caring heart has been expanding too. Whenever she finds something alarming, a loud noise, a sudden movement she makes sure everyone is okay. “Are you okay mommy?” “Lennon hurt, mommy?” These kind questions make my heart smile. And whenever someone sneezes she says “Bless you (insert name)” before the sneeze is even over. Usually followed by a loving pat on the back.

Peter is a big Buffalo Bills fan so Lucille has been brainwashed to be one as well. Whenever she sees the Bills logo she gets all excited and says “A Bill!!” And whenever anyone mentions football (or Fookball as she calls it) she hollers “Go Bills!”

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She is obsessed beyond belief with our animals. One of her favorite activities is walking the dog, she loves to hold her leash all by herself. Whenever the cat is outside for more than half an hour she gets worried and we have to go to the door and shake treats and call “Dylan!” until he comes in again. And when he does come in she is SO HAPPY! She is very gentle with our dog and snuggles her so sweetly. The cat however lets her pick him up and pull at him and everything else, so she takes full advantage of it. She loves feeding them both too, her leftovers and their food…. they may be obese soon.

Feeding the cat... in Mommy's high heels that she wears every chance she gets.

Feeding the cat… in Mommy’s high heels that she wears every chance she gets.

“I Found it!” is her favorite phrase.  And let me tell you, she usually is just stealing someone else’s glory. “I found it!” Usually means Mommy found it, or Daddy, or it just appeared, nobody was looking for it. I swear, sometimes she sends us out for a search party just so when the item in question is found she can scream “I found it! I found Elmo! I found it, I found it! Elmo, I found it!” And dance around and then just walk away from the toy without even picking it up for a single second.

She’s also obsessed with personal hygiene, which I suppose is a good thing. She’s constantly asking to wash her hands, brush her teeth and brush her hair. Great habits, but also somewhat annoying when she wants to carry toothbrushes around with her all day long. I tried to give her a toy toothbrush that she could play with that never would actually have toothpaste on it, but of course she demanded to really brush her teeth with it…. but come bedtime when I tell her it’s time to brush her teeth, it’s a no go. And when she gets out of the bath and I need to brush her hair, that’s a battle 50% of the time too. I’m certain these things just need to be her own idea.

I could go on and on about all the ways she makes me laugh and smile and cry tears of joy and sometimes frustration and sorrow. She seems like such a big kid recently and it’s so fun and so sad all at the same time. I think my favorite words to hear her say are “Mommy, snuggle me!” She is such a wound up ball of energy 95% of the day, but when she wants to sit still, she always wants to be held. I wish I could hold and snuggle her forever.




Monthly Date Night

I love my kids more than anything. But being home with them 24/7 has made me realize that an occasional break from them makes me a better, more patient mommy. This is why we now have a strict monthly date night.

When I was pregnant with Lucille I told Peter I wanted to ensure we had one date every month. Between having Lucille and Lennon we went on 2 dates I believe, that’s 14 dates short of a monthly date night. But the last 10 months we’ve gotten back on track.

Our date nights haven’t been fancy. Usually dinner at a casual restaurant. A couple weddings. And it hasn’t cost us much money either, because we’ve asked for restaurant gift certificates for our birthday and Christmas presents from our families.

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An even cheaper date night (which we haven’t done yet but want to soon) would be to just send the kids to visit family and staying home to cook dinner and maybe watch a Netflix show together.

Peter and I take turns picking date night each month, which is kind of fun. His months are more likely to include beer and/or tacos, whereas mine are usually whatever we have a gift card for.

Monthly date nights aren’t a clever, new idea. But if you don’t do them, I highly suggest you try them out. The adult only time with my husband not only recharges my batteries to make me a better mother, it also gives us something to look forward to together. We usually start planning our next date night as soon as we finish one. It’s fun to get away every few weeks and just enjoy each other’s company, eat a meal without having a cat jump on the table or a child cry for a peanut butter sandwich… to feel like something other than just a mom and dad one night of the month. Even though, being a mom and dad is our very favorite roll and we usually spend most of our night talking about the kids anyway.




Because Who Needs Peace and Quiet

With a 2 year old, a 1 year old and Chihuahua Yorkshire Terrier mix… I often feel as though our home couldn’t get more chaotic. Until now… introducing the newest member of our family: Dylan Meow!

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We had 2 cats until September when my cat Cotton Eyed Joe, who I’ve had since middle school, passed away. Then in May, our 2nd cat Jack-o-lantern also passed. I’ve always said I never wanted just one pet because they need playmates. But at the time that Jack died I was heartbroken from losing 2 cats and overwhelmed by my current life. I couldn’t imagine adding another animal to the mix. So Santana Banana has been lonesome for a few months now.

I can tell Santana misses her friends and having no animals to play with she has decided to start wrestling with Lucille… which doesn’t go well as Lucille is a wee bit dramatic and acts like the 7 pound dog is eating her alive!

Additionally, Lucille still looks for Jack. When she can’t find him she starts crying “kitty gone!” It breaks my heart. Last Monday when she did it I told Peter I’ve had enough, we’re getting a kitten.

Luckily my aunt had a very handsome loving kitten she needed to find a home for. He was ours by Thursday night.

Though he was living primarily outside at my aunt’s, he seems quite comfy inside our house and only goes outside when we go outside.

The kids are obsessed with him. Seriously, OBSESSED!! It’s adorable to watch them follow him around and snuggle him. And he’s so sweet to them in return… though he does occasionally bite playfully, which we are working on.

Santana took a few days to warm up to him, but now they are best friends!

Honestly, I think he’s exactly what this family needed!!

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Ordinary Life Challenge

There was a photo challenge circulating Facebook recently that I got nominated for. I’ve always ignored these nominations, but this time around I thought it’d be good to participate. A picture a day for a week if ordinary life. Not posing for pictures, not trying to show my life as more glamorous then it is. Just a look at how this mommy’s life really looks day to day. Here is what I posted each day:

Day 1: Eating cheese curds

Day 1: Eating cheese curds

Day 2: Jamacian Me Happy and Netflix to unwind with the hubby

Day 2: Jamacian Me Happy and Netflix to unwind with the hubby

Day3

Day 3: Birthday boy enjoying his present.

Day 4: Favorite treat in the Connolly household: blueberries!

Day 4: Favorite treat in the Connolly household: blueberries!

Day 5: Face Mask! Found out NY Minute, my 2nd favorite Posh mask, retires at the end of the month. Sad to see it go but excited to see what they will replace it with!!

Day 5: Face Mask! Found out NY Minute, my 2nd favorite Posh mask, retires at the end of the month. Sad to see it go but excited to see what they will replace it with!!

 

Day6

Day 6: Lulu took her sandwich to the living room to eat it at her Elmo desk…makes her own rules!

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Day 7: Taking a ride in their new wheels with their favorite cousins!




Lennon Wallace: Age One

Having just celebrated Lennon’s first birthday, I wanted to make a post about all there is to love about this little man.

Lennon, you are the most demanding baby boy! You have slept through the night only 3 times in your whole life. You don’t like real food: purees, finger food, nothing. You prefer all breast milk, all the time. You like to nap on my chest and I’ve only been able to sneak out from under you once you’ve fallen asleep,  TWICE. But all that is okay, because you’re one of the coolest people to hangout with.

You have the greatest smile and an even better laugh. When you’re happy, it’s impossible to not be happy with you.

You’re so curious. As a tiny little newborn you were always observing everything around you. Now that you’re mobile you’re always investigating hands on.

You crawl and walk and CLIMB so quickly! We’ve had to move all our furniture because you could climb from the floor up to the couch and into the bay window.

Your favorite activity (besides breastfeeding) is beeping noses and tickling people. You say ticka-ticka-ticka as you run your chubby little hands all over us!

You’re finally getting sister back for months of her pushing you around. You pull her hair and you pull it hard! You two wrestle and roll on the floor and I panic thinking one of you will get seriously hurt. But you both just laugh and laugh like it’s the greatest game of all time.

You have quite the temper lately… You want to do everything that you see others doing, especially Lucille. When you can’t, you completely lose it!! I know a bad temper is not a good thing but it’s just so funny. And honestly, it shows me that you want to be active, learning and having fun. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Though I wish you’d slow down and stay a baby a bit longer.

Lennon Wallace, thank you for choosing me to be your Mommy. When I found out I was pregnant with you I couldn’t imagine having another baby so soon (don’t get me wrong, I was excited nonetheless). Now I can’t imagine life without you. I’m so glad you came when you did because I want to enjoy every last minute I can with you. You’re so sweet and fun loving and I can’t wait to see what you will accomplish in this life.

I love you more and more each day, you handsome, crazy, goofy little Momma’s Boy!

PS You eat rocks... literally!

PS You eat rocks… literally!

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Did I mention you LOVE to make music?




Lennon’s Birthday Trip To The Zoo

As I’ve mentioned before, Lennon was born more than 3 weeks early. In my family most babies are born late, so this was quite a shock. What I have not yet mentioned (to my recollection) is that he was born on my Aunt’s birthday, which is also my late Grandmother’s birthday. The day he was born I told my husband I wanted to spend his first birthday at the zoo with my Aunt Kathy, Lennon’s birthday buddy. Luckily, my Aunt Kathy agreed this was a great idea.

Lennon’s birthday happened to be the hottest day of summer so far. But that didn’t stop us! We got to the zoo shortly after it opened to try to beat the crowd and the heat. We all had so much fun!! The kids adored the animals. And thankfully Seneca Park Zoo had several areas where you could walk through sprinklers, a few air conditioned buildings and even a man mad stream for the kids to play in.

Thank you to my Mom and Aunt for spending the day with us. Here are some of my favorite pictures from our adventure.

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A Birthday Cupcake!

Watching the Rhino

Watching the Rhino

Lucille's new buddy!

Lucille’s new buddy!

We all loved the sea lions

We all loved the sea lions

Staying cool

Staying cool

Birthday Buddies!!!

Birthday Buddies!!!