Tuesday, December 27, 2011


One of the things that I love and hate about the holidays is getting the kids all ready and dressed up for everyone. I love it because they do look so cute (when they cooperate)...but I hate when there's a struggle about the clothes and they just want to be comfy (which I completely relate to!!)

So this holiday season I decided the kids would go in what they wanted to wear...with a bit of guidance from me. And it seems to have worked. John's new thing he's into wearing is ties. Really. And he is so damn cute in those ties, and even started wearing them to preschool (sans the collared shirt, which is a look I am really digging myself).

And Santa must have thought he looked fantastic as well because John got 3 new ties in his stocking!

As for Annie...the girl is into purses, shoes, and jewelry. Not sure how that happened...but she'll put on a shoe fashion show most afternoons (complete with your shoes, if you're visiting). And she'll take your necklace right off your neck (sorry, Auntie).
When it was time to go to our annual ladies' tea, she was all about her purse (which used to be a gift bag until she commandeered it).

Our most recent fashion move was by John who insisted princesses walk in a slow, creepy way.
I agree...a little creepy...but I think he pulls it off well :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Oh Brother!

Annie's taken to calling John, "Brother." It is so cute, and understandable since so many people in Annie's life go by a non-name names...Mama, Dada, Auntie... This weekend we were sitting around the breakfast table, and Annie called out to each of us:

My reply: Annie!

Tom's reply: Annie!

John's reply: To express his complete love for her by becoming overly concerned that she had enough strawberries, and that I knew she wanted her waffles cut precisely so. (Like her mama, to truly endear yourself to Annie, ensure her tummy is happily filled.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Boogers Suck

No one likes to be sick. Sure, I used to fake the world-ending cold to get out of school, but actually being sick is lousy.

John can't breath through his nose. Which makes nights LONG and days longer. Yesterday, Eugenia (our nanny) and I had to literally bear-hug him to force medicine down his throat. That sucked. After he finally drank it, all he wanted was a hug from his mom -- the women who had just tormented him. HEART STRINGS SUFFICIENTLY TUGGED.

And of course as all good siblings do, John shared with Annie.
Not everyone can blow a bubble out of their nose. Another impressive resume builder.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Go girl!

The younger sibling has to be tough. She has to be able to defend her territory from her older (and stronger!) brother or sister. As my sister can attest to, sometimes this involves no-holds-barred battles launched against the older sibling...complete with biting, kicking, crazy arm swinging (perhaps this is how I ended up with extra long arms...?), and the occasional flute smack upside the head.

Watching Annie learn to defend her space has been a point of pride for Tom and me. Of course we try to keep her from gauging John's eyes, or biting him repeatedly...but I must say the newly developed stiff-arm is impressive. Check out the guns:

I am woman, hear me roar!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rudolph's Full Name

I've been working with John to make sure he knows some emergency information. He knows his full name (John William Lydon) and his sister's full name (Kathleen Annette Lydon). He knows we would never send a stranger to pick him up, even if the stranger says his mommy said it was OK. And to run and scream and find a policeman or teacher. Some scary stuff.

But the conversations are priceless.

Here are some of our conversation tidbits...

Me: John, what's my name?
John: Hmm?
Me: What does daddy call me?
John: Hun.

Me: What's our address?
John: Our dress has a skirt and a tutu.

John: Do you know Rudolph's full name?
Auntie and Me: No.
John: Piccadilly Carmen.
Who knew?

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Dog Named Bo

About 2 months ago, we moved John to a big boy bed. A super cool firetruck bed which he LOVES. But won't sleep in. He was up. Up up up. Most parents are used to their kids not wanting to go to sleep (hence the "Go the F*ck to Sleep" book), but John took this to new levels with hours of calling out, crying, sitting in the hall. We'd walk him back to bed. He'd get up. We'd lay next to him, read books, tells stories...he'd get up. We'd offer him rewards. Or take away toys. He didn't care.

Finally, I made a huge reward chart for him. He can see the reward for each night he goes to bed well/quietly. It's right there -- picture of the reward, and an empty box waiting for the shiny, smiley face sticker he gets to put up in the morning...IF bedtime went well.

And I must say I was AMAZED.
First night. No problem. WHAT??
And the reward (besides VERY proud mama and daddy) -- CHEETOS! Ah, the power of Cheetos!!

Yesterday, he got to go with Tom to get donuts for breakfast -- in his JAMMIES! And he told the donut lady all about why he was lucky enough to get donuts...and got rewarded AGAIN with a special blue donut hole.

So, this bring us to today...John did well last night...and this morning's reward is a book. A few days ago I told John a story about Tom's cousin in Ireland who has this big huge dog. The dog is non-violent but protective, and when a repairman came to their house when the owners weren't home, the dog knocked him over and laid down on top of him. And held him there for 2 hours. HA! GOOD DOG!

Well...John asked for a book about a dog who knocks people over.

OK. I can do that.

Here's what I made for him:

A Dog Named Bo


John and Annie’s Mama

Bo was a dog.

He was big, and grey, and very friendly.

And when I say ‘big’, I mean Bo was a giant- sized dog…almost the size of a pony!

He had outgrown his dog house, so now Bo lived inside his owner’s house.

Bo was very protective of his home.

One day, a repairman came into the house, and he surprised Bo.

Being friendly, Bo didn’t want to scare the repairman.

But being protective, Bo did what he thought was best. So he jumped up on the repairman and knocked him down.

And laid down on top of the repairman until Bo’s owners came home.

Bo’s family was proud that Bo protected their house.

And the repairman decided he’d only come back to the house when the family was home.

The End

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fake Annie

As I've said before, I love cop/detective/drama TV shows. But some of the plots can be just too over the top...silly...annoying. I mean, come on, what mom would ever get confused by which kid is actually her kid? Would anyone believe a mom picked up the wrong baby, just by accident? It was my opinion that those writers were just lazy...and should be fired.

Until I saw this...on a website for a vacation place we're considering...and apparently Annie visited previously...
Two things:
1. My apologies to the writers.
2. My future apologies to the girl holding Annie's lookalike. If I ever see you holding this baby, I will take you out at the knees and reclaim my daughter. And then be arrested for kidnapping.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Margaret

About a month ago, we took John and Annie to see our niece Margaret's ballet recital. She was wonderful and adorable, as all 5 year old ballerinas are. And she inspired John.

John now puts on recitals for us. They start with him behind the curtains in our room. Then we have to open the curtains for him, and he says (proudly): Hello. I'm Margaret and I'm a dancer.

Then we must say: Hi Margaret!

And the show begins. It usually has some bouncing, some very impressive dive-roll somersaults, and lots of twists and turns. If we're lucky, he'll ask me to put a bow in his hair to complete the whole performance.

There are parents who may think letting him pretend he's a girl or putting bows in his hair is somehow gender-bending ala that J. Crew ad...to those folks I don't say anything. My beautiful, well adjusted, rock star son speaks for me.

Next showtime is 7am tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting warmer...colder...warmer...hot hot hot!

I learned an interesting thing about the English language while giving John a shower. It's confusing.

Let's say you were making a sand and water mixture.
And you said you wanted it "sandier." That would mean to add more sand.
And if you wanted it "waterier" then you'd add more water.
Easy enough.

So John's in the shower. The water is one and spraying on him. (I had checked it -- it was warm, not hot.)
He said it wanted it "warmer" so I turned it a bit hotter (continued to check it -- still not hot). He said "warmer", so I turned it a bit hotter and asked if that was OK and it said, "No, warmer!".

I realized what he meant -- he wanted it closer to "warm" further from "hot".


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Big Steps

With all of the excitement going on with Annie (hospitals, walking...), it's important to be sure that John still knows he's extra special and wonderful. Because he is. I am so proud of him and impressed with his achievements -- tracing his hand, drawing a balloon, taking the big boy swim class with a coach and no parent...all really huge milestones that he's surpassing daily.

You'd think a kid who really could ask me for anything would take advantage of this. Right? Well, John asked for a carrot with the green part still attached. Why? Because that's how Curious George eats his carrots.
John's most recent achievement -- this morning he was off to his first day of camp! Lunch in hand!
I am just in love with that little man. If he wanted it, I'd get him an eggplant.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'll Walk When I'm Good And Ready

I know she can do it.
She knows she can do it.
Everyone knows she can do it.

I'm pretty sure that when no one's looking, she's running laps.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Update on Annie

Thanks for all of the well-wishes for Annie girl!!
She has decided she is on an apple sauce and smashed banana diet. In the past 3 days she has eaten 1 jar + 6 individual cups of apple sauce and 9 bananas. And she's made it clear that you better be ready with her food NOW.

As for my dad, he's doing well...but I'm pretty sure his wife is trying to kill him. Mixing up his pain pills with her antibiotics and such. Good thing his surgeon likes us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hospital Relay Race

Sunday: Annie puked at Aunt Moira's house (sorry about the rug!).

Monday: Annie woke up covered in vomit. Her bed was crusted over. Gave her a bath, scrubbed her down, and she still smelled like puke. After puking all day (sorry Eugenia...) and not peeing for 6 hours, I took her to the ER. They gave her anti-vomit meds. Some Pedialyte. Asked if she was usually so lethargic...um no, but usually she hasn't been puking all day and it's not 10pm. So they sent us home.

Tuesday: Cindy was at our house (sleeping there since Annie and I were at the hospital) and had to leave at 5am to get down to U of C Hospital for our dad's pacemaker replacement surgery. I went to U of C at about 10am, spent the day, and got home right after Annie had puked again. Our dad's surgery ended up taking 13 hours. That's what happens when you get an infection and let it fester for 6 months...

Wednesday: Annie decided she liked this hospital-relay-race, and wanted to expand it to include more hospitals. So she puked. Twice. And off to Children's Memorial we went. Her blood sugar was too low (53). Her bicarbonate was too low (16.6). So they needed to give her and IV and get her to drink juice. Giving her the IV was a fucking nightmare. The ER nurses wrapped her up like a burrito with 1 arm sticking out, and repeatedly tried to get the IV into her arm or hand. Two nurses tried. After 3 attempts, and Annie screaming and crying (mind you, these are the ER nurses at CHILDREN'S...WTF??) I stepped between the nurses and Annie and picked her up and then we both cried. The nurses left. The doctor came back in, said Annie really needs the IV, and called the special IV team. NOTE TO ALL PARENTS: ASK TO START WITH THE IV TEAM! They came with toys, and something to light up her veins, and they sang, and let me hold Annie while they got the IV in -- after only 1 attempt.
So she got her saline, and managed to drink some juice from a syringe between long naps.
Blood sugar went up to 80, and we were allowed to leave.

Thursday: Morning puke. Visit to the doctor. Doc said Annie was mostly likely feeling like she was hit by a truck, but that she seemed on the mend. Then at dinner, she ate! And smiled! Such a nice thing to see! She had energy for about 15 minutes. This was her first time holding up her head to look around since MONDAY!

Friday: Fingers crossed....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Everyone has personal issues. Family stuff to deal with. Crap at work. Whatever. And those days when you know there's a pile of poop just waiting for you to step in or shovel are super frustrating. I'm a doer. Something needs to be taken care of? Let's get it done. Now. I hate waiting. And when I have no control over what has to get done, it drives me nuts.

Speaking of driving...and to shamelessly use some ridiculously cute pictures of Annie to make my sister and me smile (since I know she reads this and my pile of poop is her pile of poop...)

Luckily, my sister usually travels with poop bags.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


If you'd like the autograph of a future Olympic gymnast, please submit your request. As soon as she learns to write, she'll send it.
No pressure, Annie.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Car Stealers

Last night, John told me that two of the boys in his preschool class take the toy cars away from him when he's playing with them.

What I said to John: John, those boys don't know how to share very well. You should take the car you were playing with back, and tell them that you want to play with them and share your cars with them. And if they still don't want to share, then you can go and play with your other friends.

What I meant: John, I hate those little fuckers.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's not delivery...

Chef John making his own dinner. With a hungry sister magically appearing in the background...

Bon appetit!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big 3rd Birthday

John turned 3 :) What a big boy!

Overall, his birthday was very fun. But it started off a bit rough. John's birthday was on Saturday, and Tom got home from a work trip on Friday night. John heard Tom (after some very mysterious lady rang our doorbell at 8pm with a delivery from Amazon...did not open the door) and then John was up, up, up. Tom and I tried to tuck him in for a nice sleep, but he would have none of it.

John called to me, "Mama, I need to go potty!" and I asked Tom to go help him. John screamed like a crazy man. He ONLY wanted mama. So I went to help. Then back downstairs. "Mama, I need to blow my nose!". Again Tom went. Crazy man screaming. Mama to the rescue. Downstairs. Screaming. Mama just laid on the floor next to John's crib til all was calm and quiet.

The next morning (John's birthday), Tom and John had Wiggleworms (their usual song/dance class). They LOVE it. But that morning, John didn't want to go. We had snacks for all the kids for John's birthday. Tom got John's push-car loaded up with the snacks...John was throwing a fit and didn't want to go...they started off...got about 1 block away...and John jumped out of his car and ran home. Tom was so sad.

Things got better and we had a fun lunch at John's favorite restaurant (Prairie Joe's, where they have a bin of castoff toys to play with and cross-contaminate), and then John got to pick out his birthday cake at the bakery (no, I didn't bake him one. Shame shame.)

And then we met John's cousins at CHUCK E. CHEESE. People, if you have not been to Chuck E. Cheese recently, you are lucky. That place is INSANE. I had a reservation (because I always make reservations) but didn't realize that without one the line is over 50 people long and OUT THE DOOR. There were at least 10 other birthdays around us. The wait staff communicated by walkie talkie. The games were PACKED in (and NO skeeball!!! WHAT?????). John got to go into a ticket booth with tickets that fly all around him (I'll load pics later). Pizza. Cake. Tokens. Clapping. A big mouse who gave him a crown and a birthday medal. I was overwhelmed. But John LOVED it :)

And so did Annie.
The next day, Tom left again for a week-long college-scouting trip with Sean (for realz). My life-long friend Jin Ho came over to visit (and help!). And the very first thing John said to him was, "I go to Wiggleworms with my dad." I called Tom and he was thrilled :).

Friday, March 18, 2011


Is it just me, or can you see a glimpse of John at about 17 in this picture?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Due Date

Today was Annie's due date...1 year ago.
Of course we change all of that when we decided to have her induced (very happy about that decision to help give Tom and me some peace of mind during such an emotional time!)

So now I am the mama of a 1 year old and a 2 (very soon to be 3!) year old...oh my.
We had a birthday celebration this past weekend for 4 people (Annie, John, Sean, Dan) complete with 4 cakes and a magician...it was really quite fun...and finished with John sitting at our table with all of the cake-leftovers in front of him...and a fork.

I'll post more pictures soon (after I get my act together and upload them...promise...before Annie turns 2.)

To welcome today, I had a terrible dream. I dreamt that we found out Annie wasn't our baby. Some red-headed lady showed up at our door, and she was Annie's mom. And I hated her. (No offense to the red-heads in my life). I did exactly what I would do if this happened in real life -- I took Annie and ran. Not sure where we went. All I know is I couldn't let that lady near Annie. (And a special thank you to Eugenia who offered to beat her off with a broom if she showed up today while I was at work.)

Yes, I know this could never happen. But, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I can no longer watch shows like CSI or Criminal Minds (which I used to love) because any show that depicts a child being part of a crime in any way makes me want to simultaneously vomit, fight and cry. So this dream put quite a damper on my day.

And to top it off, please see my previous post about Cindy being taken hostage. For realz. And then I found out John preschool was evacuated because of smoke that set of the fire alarm (very cool and fun for him...not so much for his mama).
Oddly, since this all happened in 1 day, it's really not upsetting...I think I may still be dreaming.

Some things should NOT be texted.

Got this text this morning from my darling sister...who's in Zanzibar:

"Just got taken hostage for 30 mins. Really very benign. All ok. But crazy. Driver called hotel mgr who came and told the villagers to let us go."

So taking of my mama-hat and putting on my sister-hat, WHAT THE F*CK?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Boogers are sticky.


For those of you who don't live in the snow, but have visited snowy places and think you understand what snow is all about, you don't. You have to really live in it to truly "appreciate" it. You have to shovel it. And wake up to more of it. And get stuck knee-deep in it while you're trying to get to your car. While holding a baby. And have the city plow actually plow you IN to your driveway. And wear the same boots for 4+ months because they already have salt crusted onto them and you don't want to ruin another pair. And you simply must curse the entire notion of black ice (and if you don't know what black ice is, you REALLY don't understand).

And then it's just gone. Poof.

Here's John 2 weeks ago...
And here's John last weekend...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Soaking socks

As you may have heard, we've had some snow here in Chicago. And by "some snow" I mean the 3rd largest snow storm in Chicago weather history (thank you, Tom Skilling, for keeping my facts straight!)

So, Saturday John and I ventured out for a SNOW ADVENTURE!! It started with getting on our snow gear.

John: Snow pants, jacket, hat, scarf, mittens, boots. Adorable.
Mom: Jacket, gloves, scarf, boots.

And off we went, into our backyard. John was super excited...until he sunk. About thigh deep. And was stuck. We tried to build a snowman...but John was not having any fun at all since he couldn't even fall into the snow being that he was already trapped by it.

I was not going to let this ruin our snow adventure. So off we went on Plan B -- a trip to go sledding! We got the sled, loaded John into it, and set off through the public garden that borders our house to get to the park. I was pulling that sled with all my might. The snow had not yet been walked on (since we were in the garden that sane people don't go in during the winter). So the sled turned into a plow and I was literally pulling pounds and pounds of snow, trying to convince John this actually was fun. At this point, I did not need my snow gear. Tempted to leave most of it in the garden. Luckily, the sled suddenly was easier to pull. Unluckily, I turned to look back...and John was a bundle of blue lying on the snow (again stuck). We capsized twice.

After about 20 min, we made it to the park (which is 1 block away). Decided to not attempt sledding (finally realized the snow was NOT going to cooperated), and instead John played with 2 kids who were filling the slides up with snow and crashing through it on their way down. FUN. Good. Not a total loss. Then we tried swinging. In the baby-type swing with the leg holes. Fun, until John got stuck (please re-read the list of what he was wearing...not hard to figure out putting him in the baby swing was a bad idea). Had to take off his boots to get him out. So there we were, all bundled up, in the snow. Without boots. Awesome.

Time to go home.

John (again wearing his boots) splashed in puddles the whole way -- loved it! We got home, took off his boots, and apparently they are NOT water proof...oh my...SOAKING wet socks.

Yes. So I had my 3 year old out in the snow, got him stuck there, took off his boots and soaked his socks.

Today he has a fever of 100+. I know things like germs really cause illness. But I still am a total and complete loser.

My solution? Retail therapy. Just bought this for Annie:
Sunshine. Bring it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mama to Mama

Sometimes the only people who can *really* understand how I'm feeling are other moms. I've had a rough week. Tom has been out of town for 2 nights, and John really missed him the first night. So much that he cried for 2 hours. After Auntie and I both tried to rock him to sleep, he still cried. And it's sad to listen to, but for the mom, it actually hurts. Just thinking about it now, I am going to cry myself. I went into hyper-alert mode and was up literally all night listening to every noise, hoping it wasn't him waking up again.

The lack of sleep that goes with motherhood is indescribable and cannot be understood by a non-mom. Dads can't even understand it. People think that since kids sleep 12-14 hours/day that the moms should be able to sleep as well. That's just not how it works. Kids sleep ON us. If we move to get comfortable, they wake up. And as they sleep, we have to do all of the things we used to be able to do at any time -- like eat, shower, clean up.

The idea that a nursing mom can sleep in at all is just not true. Annie gets up at 5am, so I get up at 5am. No matter what time I went to bed or fell asleep. She's not going to be comforted by anyone else. I bring her into our bed, and she'll nurse and maybe fall back asleep...on me. It's such a beautiful mental image and a bonding moment...but one I am awake for. Tom can fall back asleep easily since he's there but not really part of what's going on.

I am not complaining about being a mom. I love nursing Annie and loved nursing John. It's just hard. And tiring. And indescribable. Really. And I know people reading this are thinking I'm being annoying or a martyr or whatever. And honestly I'm too tired to care. I've tried to talk about this with some people, and mostly I get advice like, "Can Tom wake up with Annie?" or "You need a night away." Which both make perfect sense...except they really make no sense at all. I told Lisa about it all. She got it. Thanks, Lisa Jean. Jelly Bean.

Friday, January 14, 2011


It is so much fun getting to know John. I realize that may sound odd since I gave birth to him and have been with him every day since then. But, he's now becoming himself...an individual. And he is damn funny. (And stubborn -- wonder where he gets that??)

A few examples:

John climbed up on the kitchen stool to sit next to Auntie, turned to her, and said "So, what's new?" To truly understand the humor in this, please remember John is 2. Auntie tried to answer, but was too busy being quite shocked and proud :).

Recently (like this week), John's started to put on "shows" for us. He instructs us to "sit down" while "I do this" and then jumps around and waves his arms. So we sit. And he jumps around and waves his arms. So far shows have been free, but I suspect admission prices soon.

Last weekend I was STRUGGLING with John's mittens and jacket. I bought him these great mittens that have extra long wrists so that they tuck into the jacket sleeves to avoid snow getting in there. I had the brilliant idea to put the mittens on first instead of trying to shove them up the jacket sleeves once the jacket was on. In the process, I managed to get both of John's arms stuck in his sleeves since the mittens are too bulky to actually make it out of the arm holes. So there we are -- John's trapped and I'm getting annoyed at the fabulous mittens. And he starts singing..."I'm be eaten by a boa-constrictor...". I nearly peed my pants.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

How did I get so lucky?

All the very early mornings, all the messes, all those crazy poops, all the battles for independence...it's all so worth it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

One for the mamas

Last night Annie had the most AMAZING poop.

I think this can only be appreciated by a fellow diaper changer. I mean it was incredible -- we were mid-diaper change. She didn't want to have her legs up, but I was holding them with 1 hand and trying to wipe her with the other...when I HEARD HER POOP fly out of her butt. And it was gigantic.

It was like one of those foam guns that shoot out that liquid foam that turns solid...

I wish I had my camera. Truly.