Playing with my boys

Playing with my boys
They keep life interesting :-)

Friday, April 4, 2014


When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, I knew that this year would be a continuation of transformation for me.  To transform is to make a thorough or dramatic change.  I lost 30 pounds last year, and I plan to lose another 30 pounds this year.  Down 10 already, 20 more to go.  I can do this.

But beyond physical transformation, this year I am transforming my insides, too.

A blogger I adore has this remarkable ability to think the best of people, rather than the worst that I am so accustomed to, and it's really struck me that I need to TRANSFORM my way of thinking.  She sees a mom at the playground, eyes glued to her iPhone screen, and thinks "What a great mom.  She is obviously really busy, but still took her kids to the playground."  That's not how I naturally think...but I'm training myself to do so.  And you know what?  It's working!  

Don't get me wrong, more often than not, the negative thought is still that first instinct/gut reaction, but it's fleeting.  I quickly have a little pep talk with myself, consider a conclusion other than the one I initially jumped to, and instantly I feel...lighter.  Less judgy.  More connected (in a "we're all in this together" kind of way).  Its pretty wild.  Those of you that live this way, naturally, are probably thinking "What a weirdo."  But seriously, you have no idea what a heavy burden it is to walk around thinking so negative, naturally, all the time.  And how much it is a learned behavior to think differently!  But, I'm doing it.  Transformation.

I'm also transforming how I see myself.  I find that I constantly try to defend decisions I make, big or small.  I can get wrapped up in worrying that someone might not understand something I'm doing or a decision I make, and its my job to make sure they do - to make sure they think the best of me!  Like why we weren't able to get a babysitter so we could join them for a night out, when I know that there are just so many factors that are quite frankly not everyone's business.  I don't need to explain to people we're between paychecks, or our regular sitter is busy and our son's anxiety isn't going to allow us to just call up any old babysitter to come over, or whatever the reason may be.  I often feel compelled to defend why I fed my kids this, instead of that.  Or why they watched TV instead of making a craft with Popsicle sticks and cotton balls.  Or why I'm glued to my iPhone at the playground trying to respond to client emails instead of devoting 100% of my attention to watching my kids slide down the slide, repeatedly.  The fact is, I'm a grown up.  I'm a wife, I'm a mother, and I'm capable of making decisions that are right for my family.  So, I need to start seeing myself as that grown up, trusting that grown up, and not feeling compelled to constantly defend myself to people.  I need to grasp the concept my mother keeps drilling into my head: What other people think of me is none of my business.  Its not my problem, its their's.  What people think of me truly isn't about me.  Its about them, not me.  It is impossible to make everyone happy with the choices I make.  If I worry about getting everyone's approval, I'll never get anywhere.  If I let what others think of me become my business, it will consume all of my time and energy, draining me of the ability to move on in my life.  And being stagnant is simply not a part of the transformation equation, so that's not an option.  So, I'm growing in my confidence in myself.  I'm looking around at the family I've made, the home we have, the life we live, and realizing that I'm doing a pretty darn good job.  I don't need to defend my decisions as a wife, as a parent, as an adult.  I don't need people to approve of them.  I need to feel right about them.  I need to know that I'm doing the best that I can do, that I'm doing what's right, right now.  Transformation.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Need a Boost?

Do you ever feel so simultaneously proud and grateful that your heart might explode?  That was me back in January at Jungle Jake's.  My boys were running around, jumping, and sweating their little blonde heads off.  Burning off some much needed steam after being snowed in the day before on account of winter storm Janus!  

Anyone that knows our family well, knows that Aidan has some anxiety issues.  These prevent him from trying new things, even things that we are certain he could do easily with little to no extra effort.  The unknown makes him uncomfortable.  Jungle Jake's has a number of big inflatable structures with climbing walls and slides.  One of these in particular is a bit of an obstacle course.  Aidan has always refused to go in it.  There has been no doubt in my mind he could do it...he just wouldn't.  Well, on this particular day, I'm not sure what came over him, but my little man built up the courage to try!  And of course, he made it through the obstacle course without a problem!  He was zipping up and over those climbing walls, in one end and down the slide at the other in a matter of seconds.  It was remarkable!  And it made me so  h a p p y  to see him overcome a fear, and to see the joy it brought HIM...oh, its just indescribable!

After a little while, little brother wanted to play in this inflatable obstacle course too.  Unlike Aidan, Liam actually was too little to get over the climbing walls all by himself.  Oh but that didn't stop him.  He had his big brother there, to give him a boost!  Without any prompting from me, Aidan stepped in and guided Liam over the climbing wall, pushing his little butt till he could pull himself over.  My heart...

My hope and prayer as a mother is that they will always have each other, to give one another a boost when needed, physically, mentally, emotionally, whatever the need may be.  I know I won't always be here, but I pray they'll always have each other to rely on and they'll never be lacking for a boost!  Having each other is the greatest gift I could give them, and I am so grateful God made that possible for me!

My you always get your boosts when you need them too ;-)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Firefighter Handprints

This craft made my boys SO happy!

I used tempura paint, yellow and red felt (to cut out heads and helmets), fabric paint, and construction paper.  They loved it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bye Bye Baby

A month ago I sold my boys' Step 2 buggy to a nice grandmother, eager to surprise her granddaughter.  A couple days after that, I sold my boys' jumperoo.  The woman that bought it was a nice new mom who had registered for that exact jumperoo, but never ended up receiving it.  She was so excited!  Our jumperoo, while used well beyond the standard age range (both boys climbed into that thing whenever given the opportunity - then begged to be freed), was in excellent condition.  The idea of it sitting unused (minus the occasional mini-visitors) was sad to me.  I was happy to make a little money off of something we no longer use, but it was still really sad to see it go.  That jumperoo has given me so many wonderful memories of my children.  And countless hours of empty arms to rotate laundry, do dishes, vacuum, eat something - you know, all those fun things ;-)

 My boys loved that jumperoo so much that they often jumped themselves right to sleep!
That's my Aidan.  Plays hard, sleeps hard.

 And this is Aidan well beyond the age of needing the jumperoo,
but climbing in because it was there and still looked fun.

 And my little Liam...

 I'm pretty sure he partied himself to sleep more than even Aidan did.
I always found it hysterically funny, and 100% photo worthy!

Aidan on the 4th of July - one of his aunties called this his "oasis" :-)

As any mom that's moved on to the next stage of parenthood can attest, saying goodbye to the baby things is so much more than just having one less unused piece of baby gear taking up space.  Its emotional!  These baby items symbolize a chapter in my life that is no more.  Even just typing that puts a lump in my throat.

Creating our family hasn't come as easy as it does for most.  Its involved lots of testing, paperwork, medications, blood work, needles, injections self-imposed and otherwise, uncomfortable procedures, numerous ultrasounds and follicle checks, heartache, tears, tears, and more tears...the highs, the lows...the emotional roller coaster that is IVF can truly only be understood by someone who has experienced it.  And I don't say that to sound condescending,  like "Oh, you wouldn't understand."  But really...until you've felt what its like to have a body that doesn't do what its designed to do, until you've felt what its like to sit and wait for the doctor to call and tell you if any of the eggs they retrieved fertilized, until you've held your breath waiting for 2 weeks after your transfer for the call to say whether it was successful or not, until you understand the hurry up and wait concept that runs rampant throughout the process, until you've gone through this multi-month process, multiple just won't understand.  Its hard.  Its really hard.  Hard on a woman, hard on a marriage, hard on a family.  And after 4 rounds of IVF, and two beautiful little blessings, we're handing in our chips.

I sold our baby swing last week.  Our infant car seat, bases, stroller and all the baby bottles and paraphernalia were donated to a momma in need.  This is all a part of the letting go...the moving on.

Bye bye baby...

Monday, December 23, 2013

Liam is ALL Walsh!

And if you've known my family for an extended period of time, you know EXACTLY what that means!  For those of you that missed out on seeing the Walsh boys (my 4 brothers) grow up, that basically means Liam is trouble.  He is mischievous in ways Aidan never was.  He finds danger in simple things.  His curiosity knows no limits, and his determination no bounds.  He is probably going to be a pretty amazing adult with this kind of personality, capable of changing the world - I just don't know if I'll live to see it.  He causes me panic/anxiety attacks on a daily basis.  He's lucky he's so damn cute!

Yesterday he woke up from his nap and his face was covered in yellow...yellow what??  Anthony and my sister thought maybe he vomited, I knew that wasn't the case.  He'd eaten something...but WHAT?!?  There's no food in their room.  Anthony found a little chunk of something yellow in Liam's bed so we were all trying to figure out what it was - and I was trying to decide whether I needed to go get his stomach pumped or not!  I went into his room to investigate for myself.  On his dresser were the wrappers of an entire box of band aids he'd opened just for kicks (he climbed on the glider onto his dresser and crawled down to the other end where the "good stuff" was), but he didn't EAT them.  Small blessings.  Next to the mess of wrappers was the box of baby wipes, with a spot of yellow drooled on it.  Above there, up on the wall, is this:
Those are fondant animals that were on Aidan's first birthday cake (three years ago) minus the piggy bank.  There WAS a giraffe up there once upon a time too...until yesterday.  Mystery solved.  My son, Spakoski by name, Walsh by nature, ATE a dusty 3 year old fondant giraffe off a shelf on the wall when I thought he was sleeping!!!  And, for good measure, he licked the monkey and the elephant too - they were nice and sticky.  And look at the smears of yellow finger prints under the shelf...?!?  He's a special breed, this one.

God help me!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lying is Bad, but Magic is AWESOME!

Here's the thing...we all know its bad to lie.  But as a parent, you do your share whether you like it or not.  You can make yourself feel better by saying you're not *lying* so much as bending the truth, or leaving out important bits of information.  Whatever helps you sleep at night.
"Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Pasta with sauce...yummy yummy!"  I left out the fact that I pureed a whole bunch of carrots into the pasta sauce...he'll never know.  And what he doesn't know won't hurt him.  In fact, it will make him stronger, healthier, happier.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the lies we tell our kids now that Christmas is upon us.  The lying seems to have been amped up a bit.  Every time the UPS guy brings a package to the door and Aidan asks "What is it?  Can we open it?" I say "Oh, no...I think it must be something for Daddy's school."  Then bring said box to the basement where the kids don't go and won't ever know for sure what was in that box.  The items will magically appear under the Christmas tree on December 25th and my children's eyes will be filled with wonder and awe.  So, the lie is a means to an end.  A magical end filled with smiles and giggles where happiness abounds.  I like that end.

Every night, Waka Buckle, the Elf on the Shelf, finds himself a new place to sit and every morning Aidan bursts out of his bedroom "Is my elf here?!?  Where is he?!?"  Once he finds him, and has a giggle about where Waka Buckle is camped out, he asks me how he got there.  "I don't know, buddy!"  I do know...I put him there.  Lies.  Do I feel bad?  A little bit.  But, its all in the name of Christmas magic.

Santa is real in this house.  I have a number of friends who have told their small children that Santa is a myth because they don't want to lie to their kids.  That is their choice, and I respect them as parents and love their kids.  But, that's just not how I roll.  Some of my best memories from childhood revolve around Christmas, Santa, the flying reindeer, and all the rest of the magic that surrounds the holiday.  I remember driving home from my grandparents' house on Christmas Eve and we kids would have our eyes peeled looking to the sky the whole drive home. "OH MY GOSH!!!  I saw a red light in the sky!  It MUST be Rudolph...HURRY DAD!!!  Drive faster!!!  We need to get to bed so Santa doesn't skip our house!"

The anticipation of Christmas morning would then likely keep us up well past our bedtime, our little minds unable to stop thinking about what was to come.  That excitement was awesome.

Childhood should be about magic.  It should be about believing in things that defy logic because you haven't been hardened by the real world yet - there's no coming back once you have.

“There are two ways to believe in Santa Claus,” according to Rick Epstein, author of the book Rookie Dad Adventures in Fatherhood. “One way is to believe in him, the other is to help little children believe in him.”

I'm going to work my tail off to help my children believe for as long as possible.

*P.S. If you tell your kids there is no such thing as Santa, and they then tell MY kids there is no such thing as Santa, we might not be friends anymore.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Live Here for a Reason

I live in New England.  I was born here, and I have no intentions of ever living anywhere else.  I love New England.  I love 4 distinct seasons.  That's not to say I love when 3 feet of snow knocks out our electricity and we're forced to shack up with my mom because the electric company is predicting another 6 days before they can get our power up and running again.  That, I'm not such a big fan of.  But, I still love living here.  If I didn't, I would move elsewhere.

You see, I'm not all about natural disasters.  Regular hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires...pass, thanks.  A blizzard doesn't scare me.  Snow melts, power is restored, and the kids get a few days off from school.  I'm OK with all of that.

Right now, we're having our first "real" snowfall of the season.  Its so beautiful!  I'm sitting in my house, surrounded by Christmas decorations, sparkling white lights on my Christmas tree and my banister, cozy and warm in fleece leggings and a hooded sweatshirt, watching the snow fall while my two adorable (read LOUD) children are sleeping.  My house is quiet, and I am enjoying this blissful moment.

I know not everyone has an appreciation for winter, or snow...but I do.  I consider myself lucky to have been born here, and to have grown up appreciating the four seasons and all they have to offer.  And having children of my own now makes me even more grateful.  My kids wake up to snow and its THE BEST DAY EVER!!!  And I remember thinking the same thing when I was a kid :-)

I have lots of friends that live in warmer climates - Arizona, California, Texas, Florida - and this time of year, some of them like to post pictures of their beach days, or a picture of their 10 day forecast, to make those of us in the cold jealous.  The thing is, it doesn't work for me.  I just finished beach season, I'm over it.  I really don't like to sweat.  And sweats are so much more comfortable than bathing suits.  The beginning of each season is so wonderful, full of hope and expectations.  By the end of each season, I'm ready for the next one.  Fall is my favorite season, ever.  I love everything about it.  But, this past week or so, when Mother Nature has been bipolar and we've had frigid weather alternating with mild no-coat-necessary weather, I've been READY for the cold to come and stay for a while.  Its part of the cycle, and I wouldn't change that for anything.