Friday, March 30, 2012


J just made the cutoff for tball this year.  He had to be 4 by April 1st, so we signed him up... By "we" I mean "I", only to find out the cost was $220 to participate.

Say what?

After choking, I realized I had 3 weeks before I had to pay or he would automatically be de-registered.   Doing what any sensible "I don't want my husband to kill me for such ridiculousness" wife would do, I deferred.  After Mr. M got done choking, we decided to think about it.  By think, I mean, ask neighbors what was the deal.

Oh, this is the going price?  Right.  Awesome.

Alrighty then... Sigh.

J on the other hand, was over joyed at the idea of starting tball outside like the big boys (White Sox).  He kept asking and asking and asking "When is my tball practice?"

So to say he was ecstatic about his first practice is putting it mildly. And he did great. He remembered to step & throw.   He was jumping in there ready to play. 

Which relieved my fears of J being the youngest.  Standing next to him are two of the 6 going on 7 year olds.  As opposed to my newly 4 year old.
 His coach is awesome at working with the kiddos.  J's strong swing, but lack of watching the ball has resulted in a few tipped T's.
I'm impressed how much he has improved over the last few weeks, with his coach & Mr. M working him just a couple of times a week.

I wish it would warm back up.  Mommy would be way more excited about working with him outside if it was warm...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meal Plan Week 1

Okay, so I'm new at this whole - menu planning.  Work add to the chaos of our life.  But I am determined to improve J's eating & this is a small step towards that goal.

Week one: 
Monday:  whole grain blueberry waffles
              salami sandwich, apple slices, and yogurt
             strawberries for snack
             Tacos with grapes
             half of an apple for dessert
 He at 1 & 1/2 tacos with about 20 grapes

Tuesday:  whole grain blueberry waffle 
               salami sandwich, grapes, and yogurt
              (tball practice/Miss Cheryl dinner)
                   Chicken fingers, sweet potato fries & strawberries
               a piece of gum for dessert

Wednesday:  hot dog with grapes
                   hot lunch at school
                   sugar laiden snack with snack with Daddy
                   Steak with apple slices & grapes (in place of Spinach salad)

Thursday:  whole grain blueberry waffle

               pb&j, grapes, and yogurt
               Strawberries for snack
              Dinner out with Miss Kari - Chili's

Friday's Plan:  eggs
                    Pepperoni, strawberries, yogurt & apple slices
                    snack bar?
                    Pizza & a Movie family night.  Starting new traditions

Saturday:  Who knows?  I know we will be having sloppy joe's for dinner, but the rest will kind of fall with what we plan.

Oh, wait, we may be going to my ILs, so maybe I just make them & we snack on them on Sunday...  Either way, I'm feeling very good about this week.  Even I've done well with not eating out for the most part... We are not yet eating all the same foods... I mean, I prefer hummus & black bean chips to waffles for breakfast, but at least we've made the start to prioritize one family meal together a day.

Life is so good & we are so blessed!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

J's faithful protector

When Payton first joined our family, it was just me & Hannah in our townhome & Mr. M was still living in the city.

Yes, like any split parents, he would take the girls for a night here or there, but really - all the work fell on me.  I would work on crate training Payton, but with Hannah in my bed, Mr. M would guilt me into how unfair that was for our little girl.

And he'd leave & I'd have a puppy sleeping with me.

As Hannah grew older, Payton would go back & forth between snuggling me & her sister.  By the time I was pregnant, Hannah would sleep on the floor next to my side of the bed, and P would be at my feet.  Both very certain in their roles to watch over my safety.  If I slept on the couch, as I did often for comfort of staying on my left side, they'd be out in our living room sleeping right by me.

Once J arrived, we had a bit of chaos.  First, we had to address Hannah's age related pain medicine induced aggression.  I don't think I will forget the day J, just a month old to the day, joined me in saying good-bye to her.

Payton, now the main girl in our home, was a bit lost.  But then, with time, she learned this little bundle did more than just cry & stick up the place.  He would start moving.  Her toys, so rarely touched anyway, would be removed, and new toys put in their place with clear message do not even sniff.

She learned the moving boy would apt to grab at her tail, but also very giving in rewarding her with food off his tray.   She learned, that if she moved quick enough she could clean his seat off between my removing from the high chair & coming back to clean up.

J loves her with all his heart, even when she is "annoy'ding" him.  He's learned, she doesn't make a very good playmate, as she'll walk his toys on the floor.  :)

After J turned 3, and he started joining us nightly in our bed, I noticed a subtle change in my protector.  Suddenly, instead of being on the outside of the bed, Payton had moved more towards the center.  When Mr. M was out of town, she'd go all the way over to his side, to act as J's rolling buffer. 

Now, with him back in his own bed... I've lost my snuggle mate.  P has taken to sleeping on our love seat, positioning her perfectly to see J & us.  She will only join us, upon J's joining us. 

Even then, she moans, grunts, etc. if she cannot snuggle him.  This morning, J joined us around 4:30.  We get up at 5:15'ish.  So while I did  not fall back asleep, J & P fell very soundly back to sleep.  I had to snap this picture before waking him up... P had figured out how to position herself just so she was touching his feet with her bootie & her entire back was aligned with my leg.
Isn't it great how trusting she is with us, that all snuggled up, she still shows us her belly?

As a side note... Please ignore the Toy Story blanket in place of our comforter.  Mr. M had the horrific flu this season.  In an effort to maintain J & my health, I washed the comforter on Sunday.  It took until Tuesday to dry.  I'm now waiting until I have a chance to change our sheets before I put it back on our bed. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Such a sweet heart

I often tease J about being "Mother Man" as he has a natural tendency to be maternal.  Skye doing something she shouldn't, he'll get right in there & help Miss Wendy redirect her.  Or if she needs help, he will always be the first to offer to help her. 

Even when we don't necessarily appreciate the help, we love his willingness to jump right in.

Recently, J's been having an issue or ten about going to school.  He simply wants every day to be the weekend.  And while I'm all about that as well, as we discussed yesterday, that just isn't in our cards right now. 

I actually was worried enough about his reluctance to enter school, as he started saying "School is scary!" with such a look of true fear that I reached out to his teacher.  Normal resistance I could handle.  Resistance based in fear.  Yeah, not so much.  It was really pulling on my heart strings, which in turn pulled on my emotions & my ability to keep my head above water & balance all the balls I juggle daily.

Here was our email exchange:

My initial email:

How is he doing today?  He is starting to say “school is scary” in the AMs.  He always says he has fun afterwards, but it make mornings kind of rough.  L

Mrs. Bach's response:

Hi!  Hmmmm, that is puzzling because he always comes in the room with excitement and a big smile on his face!?!  He is having a great day.  He was so sweet to give one of his classmates a special welcome this morning as she had returned after being sick all last week.  She was having a little trouble letting go of mom and he went over and gave her a hug and told her how glad he was that she is back!  Awwwwwww! He is such a sweetie!  Can I keep him?!!!

Can I just tell you just how much hearing about J's big heart & caring soul did for me that day?

And he is like this  He truly is the joy of my life.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Me. Not J.  J is doing great. 

I'm the one who is struggling.  I need to make changes.  This working mom is overwhelmed.  I need to find peace. 

I'm working on introducing the Lord to J, and it amazes me how quickly he catches on to things.  It will seem like I'm repeating myself endlessly, then I turn around & he is saying things to me about how "God made him, before he was in my tummy and that is why he wasn't at my princess day"

Princess Day is how J refers to our wedding pictures.

Last week, Mr. M & I did a lot of soul searching as an opportunity came up for me at the University of Chicago.  It would have allowed me to have around 2 additional hours with J per day.  It would have allowed him to sleep in an additional hour in the morning.  It would have cut my pay 70%. 

With gas predictions to be at or near $6 per gallon by July, Matt & I decided this wasn't the right opportunity for me.  There is just too much risk & uncertainty in his job.  Having struggled as a child, Matt does not want that for Jacob.  I have to respect that, having never seen things from his perspective. 

For me, it boiled down that I would still be away from Jacob more than I was with him.  The job required my attendance 5 days a week, as opposed to flex days of 2 10 hour days I had envisioned.  The out of pocket for healthcare was $335/month with an additional $90/month in parking.  They had requested I work late every Friday & that I would work some weekends. 

All of which would equal additional childcare needed.

The whole point of my going part-time is to spend more time with Jacob. 

So, here we are...

I spoke with my current boss Wednesday after work to see what my options were here... I don't believe in using one job to get another, instead I laid my cards on the table - this is not working.  She said she realized in January that due to Matt's job, I'm in a lot of ways - like a single mother without a support system.  As a result, the role she wanted me to play, the role I'm more than capable of succeeding at, the role that she pushed me out of my 4 in 40 schedule for, is the same one she decided should not be pushed on me.

It would set me up to fail.

As I said to her, I made my choice to be a mom the day I had J.  That was never up for discussion.  That was never a debate.  But at the end of the day, I carry our healthcare.  We need my job for that.

But as things stood, I could not continue.  And she'd rather have me for 40 than some others for 60 hours per week. 

Today... We are making changes here.  We are changing things up.  We are making moves to reduce my long nights.

I believe this to be a ticking time bomb, in regards to the remainder of my group - but for today, this is our plan.

Miss Cheryl will continue to pick J up after school.  She will continue to do dinner & bedtime a couple days a month during close / forecast - but that's it.  And we will forever be eternally grateful for her.

I'm going to make a point to be home before 6.  I'm going to start doing our dinners & J & I will be eating together.  J loves to help out in the kitchen, so I think this will be good for him too. 

Spring has arrived, and with it - hope is a bloom. 

A time for new beginnings.
A time for renewed joy.
A time for hope.
A time for song.

And I'm going to work on not holding everything in here.  I'm going to try to start being less of a mom, and more of a working mom.  I don't want J to ever think I'm choosing to work over spending time with him.  He needs to know how much I struggle for this.  How much I love him, even if I am not choosing to be with him 24/7. 

Matt & I both grew up with stay at home moms & we had such very different experiences.  My dad was an engineer by week/solider 1 weekend a month & 2 weeks in the summer & his was a public servant.  I was the youngest, drug to all my older brother's activities, being old enough to sit & entertain myself quietly.  He was the oldest with two siblings a decade behind him.  I grew up next to a working cow farm in mid-Michigan, he grew up in the City of Chicago.  Our situations lended themselves to very different childhoods. 

And now our son is getting a third.  One so very different than either of ours.  One of an only child.  One of a dual income family.  One of suburb to a major city without actually being a part of it.  One of elite private schooling.  One that includes Miss Cheryl.

Matt & I hope & pray that the benefits outweigh the consequences of being our child.  We hope & pray that J understands my psoriasis & psoriatic arthritis make having independent insurance near impossible.  That he understands small business insurance is more insane than independent insurance.  That he understands that everytime his skin acts up with an excema flare, I worry it will not calm down again & instead be psoriasis on him.  We hope that he understands how desperately we wanted him & how blessed we are to have him a part of our life. 

How every choice & decision we make today is with him in our hearts.

He may have not been there on our wedding day, but since he was conceived, he has been a part of our souls.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pink eye... Again?

Why yes, I discovered Saturday... We have been visited by the pink eye monster yet again this weekend.

Since Grandma M had him at the Children's Museum on Friday, and he was showing no signs on Thursday morning when I dropped him off at school - I'm not sure exactly where he came into contact with it, but really?

This will make the 3rd time this year.

Between medicine & sleeping in excess of 13 hours Saturday after returning from grandma's (nap time was caught in 50 mins on the ride from grandma's to the Y, and another 45 mins while we were running errands after swimming).  He plum fell asleep around 3:30 standard time and with the exception of my waking him to do his eye drops at 8:30 and try to get him to eat dinner, he was asleep until 5:30 standard time, 6:30 savings time Sunday morning.

It was crazy.

But I was thrilled to have my happy go lucky little boy back Sunday.

We made the most of the day.  Groceries, lunch, even an hour of active outside play.  Followed by a nap.  He slept a good 3 hours, at which point Mr. M woke him up.  We did dinner and off to bed for the Monkey.

We skipped church, as I didn't want to pass on the pink eye. 

Today marks the first week of warmer Spring weather & we are so excited.  Hope to enjoy some of it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another reason I love FRA...

J's school is terrific about encouraging the development of its students beyond textbooks.  Yes, learning to read & write is important, but learning how to speak in sign language, or Spanish is just as important.  Learning how to apply math concepts to wood working in conjunction of learning 6 needs an additional 4 to equal 10 are reinforcements to encourage the kids to want to learn.  It drives them to want to practice things that could be boring, if forced upon them.

Last week Mr. M asked me to get a picture of J with his current on display art work.  His degree in English Education causes him to love the school's support of the arts as much as I love its mathematical expertise (2012 Math Bowl State Champs!). 

It was a wonderful wall of blue skies, green grasses, with adorable sheep - with the uber special sheep thumbprint faces.

How cool, right?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hokey Cats - Growth Spurt...

I recently mentioned to my Dad that J must be in a growth spurt.  He has been sleeping longer & acknowledging he needs more sleep.

I didn't get enough sleep Mommy


I didn't get afternoon snack at school, I was sleeping
Complete with pouting sniffles.  Sigh.

...Seem to be a common theme in our home of late.  It does not matter if we are talking overnight or nap time.  He just never seems to get his bodily required sleep.  I've tried moving up his bed time, but with him falling asleep on his own, he really doesn't cooperate... He'll just lay there awake.  For HOURS.  It is crazy.  I'd go nuts lying in bed staring at the ceiling. 

Also, he's also been eating a ton more.

Miss Cheryl even mentioned J was starting to get the belly I'd told her about from his baby days, in that he never really has a belly, except right before a growth spurt - when he all of the sudden looks like he developed a beer gut seemingly overnight.  It is craziness.

I was taking a picture of J's artwork today for Mr. M, and I realized this would be a great way to capture his growth spurt.

 August 25th
 March 5th

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mommy bragging... Over 'eggs' & 'winter' the words

Last night, Jacob & I were snuggled on the couch, doing our nightly readings.  We started with Waddles, as I had not read that one recently and it looked cute.  We were following it up with The Giving Tree, as I love the story of this book. 

I love talking about the meaning behind the words in books.  Sometimes I don't think the meaning registers with Jacob, and having the discussion on his relatable level is so meaningful to me.

I know, total eye roll, as I am painfully aware 90% goes over his little head.

The other thing we've been working on, is my pointing at words and having him try to sound them out.  Part of my reasoning is helping him stay engaged in the book when he would really rather be playing, but also to encourage his reading skills.

Mommy brag?

Last night, Jacob read the words 'eggs' in one sentence and 'winter' as the title to a new section.  As I told DH, I'm not sure if J lucky guessed in the context of the sentence or if he really knew them, but this mommy was so proud of her little man.

I know he still has a long ways to go before he is reading me the bedtime stories, but this small step was so HUGE in my world last night.