Our Boys

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Where we are

Hello! Hello! Hello! Anyone out there? Probably not. But for my own record keeping I though it time to pop into the old bloggity blog and dust it off a little bit. There’s a very good chance it will get dusty again pretty fast but oh well.

So where to begin. I don’t even know. So I guess we will start from the beginning.

 February 5, 2012. Super Bowl Sunday. The Giants beat the Patriots and I won the football pool in Brett’s office. Oh yeah, we also found out Baby #2 was on his way. I’m the worst at surprises and I don’t keep things from Brett well. I pretty much blurted it out the second he walked in the door from the gym that morning. 
Baby #2

And so it began, our reassessment of everything that we knew to be true in our life. Work, family, money. Everything. The conclusion was that we needed a change for our family. We wanted to be in a smaller town. Brett needed more time at home.  I missed my family. And so our journey began. When I say journey maybe that’s not the right word because we had no idea where we would end up. Brett looked into a law license in Pennsylvania, made some contacts and interviewed for a lot of jobs. What it came down to was that nothing was going to change. He was interviewing with big firms in Pittsburgh and we didn’t want to live in Pittsburgh. So instead of sitting on the train for two hours every day, he would be driving for two hours every day.

Fast forward to October 2013, Brett had flown to Pittsburgh again, had another interview, meetings, etc. and came home with a different plan entirely – he was starting his own law firm. It was a Friday night. The boys were home with our babysitter and we were sitting at a bar. As Brett laid out this plan in front of me it evolved from a crazy sounding idea into something we thought may actually work. So we slept on it for a few nights and eventually decided that yes this is in fact what we would do. From there, things got crazy. Due to the opportunity that Brett had found, him moving to Pennsylvania in January was a necessity, but it didn't make sense for me to move in the middle of the school year. So on Friday June 10, as I left for work, Brett got in our loaded up Uhaul #1 and moved to Pennsylvania by himself. The boys and I spent the next 5 and a half months on our own. That is a whole post in itself. What a difficult, humbly, exciting experience it was being a full time single working mom to two amazing little boys. To say I learned a lot about parenting and myself is an understatement. It did go by fast. Before I knew it, I was putting PJS on these two by myself for the last time and on June 20, the boys and I anxiously waited for Daddy to come home to get us. 
Our last night without Daddy

The boys drove back to PA with my mom and a good friend and Brett and I spent the next week packing up our first home. We took advantage of being back in our first home just the two of us again – we laughed a lot and cried a little. While we knew it was the right decision, packing up our life and leaving everything we knew was difficult.
One last date night in Wheaton

Saying good bye to the house we made our home - two puppies and two babies later 

We are now settled into our “home”. Most of our stuff is in storage and we are living in my childhood home. I was fortunate enough to find a job for this school year as a part time high school special ed teacher, exactly what I wanted. We found a new babysitter – she certainly couldn’t replace our Emma, but she is doing great with the boys. Owen started preschool –yes, our baby started preschool  -  and LOVES it. So for now, we continue to build our new life together in a new state!
First day of school

Always smiling

The Law Office of Brett A. Clancy - we are so proud!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Dealing with Allergies

I’m not allergic to anything. Brett has had seasonal allergies off and on, but nothing serious. So we are relatively new to the allergy family.

Declan was diagnosed around a year as having a moderate allergy to eggs. We had a strong suspicious when he was ten months old and had scrambled eggs for the first time. What started out as “looking a little red” turned into full blown hives on his face, head and neck. We have a good prognosis that he could grow out of it by the time he starts school. Fingers crossed. When he was tested, he was tested for both eggs and peanuts. Eggs were a relief. Eggs are easy to cut out with only a little creativity and a lot of reading labels. We’ve only had one “accident”; a few weeks ago I gave him less than a teaspoon of Ranch dressing. Who knew Ranch dressing had eggs in it? He had a worse reaction than the first time, but still nothing a little Benedryl couldn’t handle.

Our latest dealings with allergies happened to be with Owen. After being on Amoxicillin for almost a week, he started with hives on his little behind one night. It cleared up with Benedryl. The next morning his stomach and chest were covered with hives and within a few hours they were spreading over his whole body. Two days and a few doctor’s visits later, we found ourselves in the ER with a diagnosis of Erythema Multiforme with a trigger of Amoxicillin. He had to undergo blood tests, urine tests, and needed lots of fluid due to dehydration. His hives spread and turned into a red rash with welts, and hives, and circles and all sorts of very scary looking marks. A scary site to see on your baby. He was so itchy and looked like he could crawl out of his skin; he was so uncomfortable. Talk about a mama just wanting to make it OK.

We are lucky. I have friends who have dealt with anaphylaxis and have to avoid places entirely due to allergies. Ours are relatively simple, but still just as scary. You never know when there could be cross contamination or that a reaction will be much worse than the last time.  That’s the scary thing about allergies…you just never know.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Not Yet

On Super Bowl Sunday, two years ago, Brett and I found out that we were having another baby.

Super exciting. Super scary. Super surprise.

What ensued in the weeks ahead was a lot of soul searching by two scared parents. I knew I wanted something different for our family. Needed something different actually. It was then that Brett and I decided to pursue the option of moving back to Washington, PA - a much smaller town and the place where I grew up. I must take a moment to give Brett a lot of credit here because at this point in our decision there was nothing for me to do. He took it upon himself to acquire his PA law license and eventually his WV license to make himself more marketable. The unfortunate part of all of his hard work was that any job out there didn't change a whole lot about what our life would look like. We couldn't escape a long commute and city "living". In October 2014, with the help of some people that had been "at it" much longer than Brett, he decided to open his own law firm. The Friday night he returned from his WV swearing in, we sat for a long time while he laid out this plan. My initial reaction was obvious - that while this seemed exciting it wasn't something we would not actually consider. The more we talked and the more excitement that I saw in him about this decision, I knew this was it. We had prayed for so long that an opportunity would come. We felt like all we were being told was no. What I came to realize was this was all part of the plan. God hadn't been telling us no, he had been telling us not yet because something bigger and better was on the horizon. Fast forward to today, our family is in the midst of some major changes. Brett is all in, starting his own law firm in small town Washington, PA while I tie up loose ends here and finish out the school year. It' not ideal and it's not exactly how we saw things working out, but again God is simply asking us to be patient and put our faith in him that this is exactly how things are supposed to be.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Making the best of what isn't

I recently came across this quote:

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.

When I say that my family and I are blessed, I believe it with all my heart. But that doesn't mean that things are perfect, far from it actually. For a while now, there have have been "things" that Brett and I have wanted, changes we have wanted to make, and things we wanted to do differently. Some of those "things" have come to fruition and some of them haven't. It's frustrating. Sometimes it just seems as though life isn't what you want it to be and it's easy to get caught up in what isn't and forget about what is. Be it family, friends, jobs, time, money, whatever, I firmly believe that God has a plan in mind, but I have to be honest, there are times I disagree with his plan or don't understand it.

One of the biggest "things" that I have wanted is to be able to be at home with our boys. After Declan was born, I was supposed to go back to work in January, but knew very quickly that I didn't think I could do it. Well, I knew I could do it, I just knew I didn't want to. Brett quickly figured a way for us to make it work and because of him working so hard each and every day I got to stay home and watch our boys grow into brothers for 10 whole months. That is pretty amazing! Unfortunately, that time has come to an end and I will be going back to work soon. This is part of the plan that I disagree with and don't understand, in case You are reading. I never thought I would want to be a stay at home mom and I could have never imagined loving it as much as I do.

Going back to work is not the only thing that doesn't seem to be working out like we intended. We have been living in what seems like a temporary state for a while waiting for a change. It has frustrated us and got us down. There have been days that I don't think we enjoyed to the fullest because we wished things were different. I regret that.That quote I mentioned at the beginning spoke to me. It was like a slap in the face that whether things are up or down, this is the life we are given and it is up to us to revel in its beauty each and every day even if that means making the best of a situation that we wish was different. I know this post has been vague because many of the "things" that Brett ave been hoping and praying for personal, but the message is universal. It's time to stop wishing for what isn't and enjoying what is. Because "what is" is really pretty special!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Year

One whole year has passed since I last posted. It really is a complete coincidence that I sat down today to write and noted that it has been exactly one year. While it seems like little time has passed since I filled this page on thoughts abbout being a mom, so many things in our lives have happened.

We welcomed the birth of our second little boy on October 9. He has filled our hearts to the point that I just don't know if there is room for any more love. And every time I think that, I look at our two little men and I smile and my heart gets fuller.
Declan Anthony

On February 2, we said good bye to our "very special in his own way" dog, Tucker. He had a bad accident and it was the best for everyone that Tucker go to a place that he could finally rest and get some peace.  What a heartbreak we felt saying good bye to our buddy!

While those have been the biggest ups and downs of the past year, so many memories have been made. As a family we have grown and learned more about each other. We have learned to love in different ways, we have learned to look to the future when things in the present get us down. Mostly though we have learned that we have each tother. It sounds so cliche, but I am caught in these moments that seem surreal. I have an almost out of body experinec and it's as if I am an outsider looking in. Watching my husband be a daddy and watching these two little boys play and thinking they simply can't be mine. I couldn't be that lucky. But I am. I am blessed beyond admission and that really is all I can ask for.
A very tired family after a very fun day!

We are in the midst once again of some changes in our house. Blogging has been a wondeful outlet and record holder for me and I hope that perhaps over the next few weeks and months, I can manage to put away some quiet time to reflect on these blessings we have been given because they are so great!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How being a mom defines you

First, I've been away from my baby for almost a week now. He comes home tomorrow and I miss him like crazy but I am so happy for him that he had this time with his Gammy and Pap. Second, I am all full of pregnant crazy. I've had a lot of time this past week to think, plan, organize, and worry. Let me tell you when you are pregnant and all that's going on, look out! I am surprised that Brett has come home from work at all. 

With that being said, I can't get over how much I have realized this week that being a mom truly defines who you are. You can't ever go back. I know people say that you have to make time for yourself. Don't lose who you are as a person. Don't give up things you loved before you had kids. Well folks, I agree, but I am 100% now convinced that this just isn't possible. I'm not saying that I no longer have things that I enjoy just for me. I love a long talk with my girlfriends. Browsing the aisles of Target makes me giddy. Coffee is still my guilty pleasure. I revel in a few minutes of peace and quiet. But it's different now. I'm a mom. Wow! You can say over and over again that kids change your life, for the better, but your life is changed forever. I don't think I realized the magnitude of that until Owen went on vacation for a while. It took me 2 full days to get over the fact that he really wasn't here. What has my priority been while he's been gone? Doing things that I can't or find difficult to do when he's here. Cleaning, organizing, cooking, etc. The truth is though, everything I do in some way big or small has to do with him. Whether it be that I have switched to natural cleaning products, decluttering the house is really just about making room for more toys, getting organized with dinners simply means more time with him and less time planning, shopping, and cooking. The list goes on. These things seem so simple but when put together they make up this whole new life that I have with a son and another son on the way. Gone are the days spent lounging around putting things off until later because there will always be a later. I can accomplish 20 times the amount of errands and chores that I used to. Efficiency and time management becomes the new game.

I am still a lot of other things - wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, neighbor - but each of those roles is now influenced in way that it wasn't before. 

I'm a mom. That's a powerful statement. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Owen's Visit to Camp Gammy and Pap

I recently wrote about my first night away from Owen. It was a much needed getaway for Brett and I to reconnect and enjoy each other's company without the tug of our little man. Well, we have now had an extended "getaway" except he's the one who has "gotten away". My sweet little baby is spending a week "on his own" with my parents - Camp Gammy and Pap as I like to call it. He is having a blast and much to our dismay, we don't think he misses us or needs us as much as we like to think he does.

It took me a few days to get used to him being gone. I was still feeling that little pit of anxiety that I had to get everything done immediately because at any time he could wake up from his nap and my attention to chores, etc. would be lost. I have used this time wisely though. I have napped a lot, resting this poor pregnant body has been a must. I have organized our house and decluttered lots of stuff that needed to go. I have grocery shopped and prepared meals and feel organized and good about what I'm feeding my family. But most of all, I have dedicated some time to two people that I have neglected a little bit.

Brett and I spent the weekend almost as if we were "young and carefree" again. We went to the movies and saw the Dark Night, we went shopping, we went out to breakfast, we sat on our patio and chatted for a while. We basically just enjoyed being with each other. I wrote before how important it is to me for us to stay connected as a couple. It is something I have struggled with since the day Owen came home from the hospital. He demands a lot of time and attention, but in order for us to be good parents, we have to be good partners. This last weekend and these evenings this week, we have had a chance to remember what it's like to be "just us" and it has been wonderful.

The other person I have been able to spend some time with is this little boy growing inside me. I remember being pregnant with Owen and loving moments when I was completely present and feeling him move. It was like he was almost here already and I was getting to know him. I haven't done a lot of that this time around. As I've stated many times, Owen requires a lot of attention. Sitting with my hands on my belly and talking to BB2 doesn't happen a whole lot. I try to do this at night, but I'm so tired. Without Owen around, I have been able to connect with the baby and feel so much closer to him than I did before. I'm starting to visualize what it's really going to be like with a new little guy here. I've talked to him so much more this week and began doing some practical things to prepare for his arrival as well. It's amazing just how different it is the second time around, but we just now decided some details of his room and purchased a crib. I can't wait to meet him and have him be a part of our amazing family.

I hope this isn't misconstrued by any means. I miss Owen more than I can describe. Every time I watch a video sent by my mom or dad or see a picture of something fun they are doing, I want to wrap my arms around him and get one of his wide mouth kisses. I'm so thankful that he has family that he loves so much and that love him so much that being away from us is perfectly OK. I think we are both enjoying our time apart, but I can't wait to hear that little shriek when I pick him up!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Over a year, ready to wean?

So while I'm feeling so honest about motherhood this week, I should share that I've been struggling giving something up. Something very special and something that has taken up quite a bit of my life over the past...14 months. Breastfeeding. Yep! I'm still doing it. This is one of those topics that's tough to talk about because most people are very opinionated about it, especially the weaning part. I have lots of friends who have stopped at various points in their babies development for many reasons. Some stopped early on because they just didn't produce enough milk. Some set a goal and once that goal was reached, they quit cold turkey. Others keep going and end up not really knowing how to stop and it becomes more difficult because their baby starts to depend on it for comfort. We are in a weird gray area.

After Owen's first birthday, he gave up the bottle with no problem and switched to whole milk and a sippy cup. We ended out nightly nursing sessions with no problem at all. I swore I would stop nursing him in the mornings. Then we had his surgery to look forward to (I do plan on posting about his surgery soon). I decided I wanted to be able to nurse him when he woke form his anesthesia which turned out to be a very wise choice. Now here we are over 14 months old and still nursing in the mornings. So why the gray area? I don't have to nurse him. When we visited my parents, they would get him up int he morning and allow me to sleep in. If we missed a day or even two in a row it was no big deal. If we are home and I get him up and we want to, we sit in our chair and cuddle while he nurses a bit. I know there's really no problem here, but I think it's time to stop. I would like to have a bit of a break before Baby Boy #2 arrives and I also do not want Owen to want to nurse when I go back to work in a few weeks.

Breastfeeding has been a breeze for us. It came so naturally and the only obstacle we have encountered is when my production went way down and that was because I found myself knocked up again. It has been a very special bonding time that Owen and I have been blessed to share and I guess emotionally that is something hard to give up. he is my baby boy and always will be. Now I know I can't nurse him forever, the thought of him going off to Kindergarten asking for "just another quick drink" makes me giggle. I know there are some people who might not see anything wrong with that. That's not me. But the truth is, I think our time has come to move on and give up our morning time together.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our First Night Away

This was a first. Brett and I were able to get away for a night without our baby boy! On first trip to PA this summer my mom arranged for us to spend the night at her friend's condo at a ski resort a little over an hour away. She didn't have to ask us twice. While I don't love leaving the little guy, I knew he was in good hands and this would give Brett and I some much needed quiet time together. We left early on Thursday morning and drove straight to the condo just to make sure we knew where we were going. Then we decided to be a little adventurous and drive even farther "out there" to visit Falling Water, the amazing Frank Lloyd Wright house. We stopped at a local restaurant on the way for lunch, the See Mor Cafe where we stuffed our face with home cooked meatloaf, chicken pin wheel, and blue berry pie. The house was amazing. It fascinates me that there are people with such vision, who could look at a piece of landscape and imagine what could be. We went out to dinner that night and enjoyed lingering even after we were done eating.

We don't get out together a lot any more. Brett works long hours, our weekends are usually full of commitments and babysitters are to come by. So this truly was a wonderful getaway. As much as I love spending time with Owen and even more spending time with Brett and Owen as a family, it is so important to me that Brett and I maintain our relationship. I read a quote once that said the greatest gift you can give your children is to love their mother/ father. So true! Brett and I laugh that our hope is that we can embarrass our kids long into their teen years by showing each other more affection that kids want to see out of their parents. Kids learn what a marriage is from their role models. I want to be a good relationship role model for our kids. I want them to learn respect and communication from us. I want them to learn how to laugh with their partner and how to have fun doing just about anything. I want to teach them that disagreeing is part of being married but with disagreeing comes compromise and the ability to see things form another person's perspective.

My dream is to one day be sitting at a large family dinner and look around and see our kids looking into their partners face the way I look at Brett and the way he looks at me.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some mom honesty

To be perfectly honest, I want to be a stay at home mom to my sweet boy Owen and his new little brother who will be arriving sooner than later. Also, to be perfectly honest, staying at home makes me crazy! I think it's a grass is always greener situation, but in case you didn't know, parenting a one year old is hard. Very hard!

For approximately 11 hours, I am the sole caregiver to a very active, very loud, one year old boy. Now don't get me wrong, I love this guy more than I ever thought possible. He makes me smile and laugh and cry all at the same time. Mostly though, he makes me want to be a good mom because I know that he deserves my love and attention and teaching during the day. But again, to be perfectly honest, it's exhausting. We can only run so many errands and plan so many play dates. In the end there are times that we just have to be home and with each other. Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it's a very difficult thing.

So here's my honesty that might not seem too pretty or something that a lot of moms want to admit. I crave adult interaction and at times, take walks with Owen just to see who might be outside and might want to stop and talk for a few minutes. I plan things for us to do to take up chunks of time during the day. I can't wait until nap time when I get 1 hour (yes, that's all he naps) to sit in peace and quiet. Unfortunately, that's also the one hour that I try to squeeze in a day's worth of chores. I love when he can settle on a toy or an activity and I get a few minutes where he is not demanding my attention. Those are the ugly truths of parenthood.

So how then can I say I would prefer to be at home with him? That's easy. There are tough time and times that I literally have to close my eyes for just a second to regain some patience (like when he touches the same glass door on the bookcase for the 5th time in a row after having a  time out 5 times for doing it); but, when I open my eyes and he is leaning against me kissing my shoulder with his big open mouth, my heart melts. When he walks around the house with his hand to his ear pretending it's a phone having a very loud conversation with who knows who, I laugh. When he feeds me his lunch, I am proud. He is a sweet, lovable, funny, wild little boy who I would prefer to spend my time with over anyone else.

To be honest, I love being a mom. It's the single hardest job I have ever had and it's the single most rewarding job I ever will have.

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