Tuesday, April 22, 2014

11 Month: Reflections

This can't possibly be my last reflection post before they turn ONE?!?! WHAT?!?!

Things We Learned About Nolan Gerard:
Nolan is certainly preparing himself to take his first steps.  A couple of weeks ago, I bought a little walker thing for them to practice and play with.  Nolan was skeptical about it for a day and now pushes that thing all around the house.  He gets so frustrated and mad if he runs into the wall or furniture and can't continue walking with it and the look of pride on his face is just priceless :) 

Nolan is now skilled at doing a few things that we wish he wouldn't: he can open the refrigerator, stand up in his high chair, knock over shelves in our entertainment center, open up the diaper pail, take the lid off, and reach in to find dirty diapers (gross), and climb over the ottoman in their bedroom that I usually use to barricade them away from their book shelf.  This last one ultimately results in him knocking over (or trying to knock over) every book on their shelf.  He LOVES to try to figure any sticky situation out.

Nolan loves to play peak-a-boo, patti cake, and have songs sung to him like the itsy-bitsy spider.

Nolan has an attachment disorder especially with Josh.  Lately, when he leaves for work, especially if I'm already gone, he will cry.  Also, when Josh leaves the room, he will cry.  This has given us a lot of flashes into what life might be like in the next year or two when he really understands that we'll have to leave sometime; it's not going to be pretty.

Things We Learned About Judah Matthew:
Judah under went sleep boot camp this month.  After many nights of Judah waking up in the 4:00s or in the 5:00s and needing to sleep with a parent and taking only 20-40 minute naps and being a tired disaster at night, we decided, like the crazy people we are, to research and figure out a way to help him sleep better.  If he were a singleton, we would've let him struggle a little bit in his crib and work a little more on self-soothing, but when you have a brother sleeping in the crib next to you and you love to crawl over and shake the crib just to wake him up, problem solving has to get a little more creative :) 

One solution we came up with was the nap the boys in separate spaces.  So now, whoever seems more tired and ready to fall asleep first, gets their crib, the second one sleeps in the Pack N Play in the basement.  This has worked really well because they can't wake each other up. 

We also realized that we were giving Judah some sleep associations that probably weren't the best.  When he was much smaller, the only way he seemed to be able to go back to sleep in the night once awoken was if he was nursed by me.  We fixed that sleep association by figuring out that he also really liked to be rocked back to sleep... problem solved (at least we thought).  We then realized that he could not put himself back to sleep on his own because he needed now to be rocked....ooops.  So we spent this month trying to break him of that association and I'm happy to say we were successful.  For about two weeks, I charted every single part of both Nolan and Judah's sleep patterns... what time they went down, if they stirred or woke up during a nap or during the night, if they were able to put themselves back to sleep, and what time they really woke up from a nap or from a night of sleeping.  With this data, Josh and I were able to see that  

Both Judah and Nolan are babbling a lot, but I think Judah is actually starting to know that "Mama" is me and "Dada" is Josh. Although he may not talk as often or as loudly as his brother, he's been seen talking to things like stuffed animals, Prim, and pictures hanging on the wall, which is so cute. 

Judah can successfully get a toy back from Nolan if he really really wants it.  It's nice to see him have some power over Nolan :)

Some Firsts:
4-6-14 and 4-7-14 ~ Nolan and then Judah stood up in their high chair and freaked us both out!

Twin Moments:
The boys have been playing a lot more together.  They follow each other around and can be caught chatting a little, sharing toys, and making each other laugh.  It's precious :)

Reflections About Being a Mom:
This month I've been focused on preparing for our vacation on spring break for St. Augustine, Florida.  I have a good friend getting married in California in July so we thought taking a shorter flight without a time change might be good way to see what traveling might be like.  Josh and I LOVE traveling and are hopeful to be able to show our boys the world, but in order to do that, we've got to pull that first vacation trigger. 

I'm also continuing to do the Bikini Body Mommy 90 Day challenge and have passed the halfway point.  Although I haven't seen much change on the scale, I am certainly in better shape and might be more toned than I've been in my entire life.  It's not easy for working busy parents to work out so the fact that I have been working out six days a week continues to be incredible.  Nolan and Judah (and Josh) have been so supportive.  While I work out, Nolan and Judah laugh, try some of the moves, or  climb on me making it more challenging to do the exercises.  It feels selfish to take up time doing this, but I know in the long run, it's great for me and it will be important for Josh and I to model healthy behaviors. 

Finally, Nolan and Judah's first birthday has been on my mind a lot.  I feel like I just held them in my arms for the first times and now they're trying to walk and talk... WOW.  I know this time will be an emotional one for us with all that we went through and all the happiness we've found being parents. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

March: In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Don't judge what you're about to read too harshly. 
My family is awesome even if we are a little codependent ;)  I wouldn't have it any other way!

Every March I find myself analyzing whether March is going to go in or out like a lion or a lamb.  Making it to March feelings like you're finally seeing the light at the end of the winter tunnel and especially this year, since winter's been so awful, I was so looking forward to making it out on the other side.  However, as March kept marching on (okay bad pun), I found myself using this lion/lamb metaphor for more than just the weather...

In the beginning of March, my sister Colleen moved to Illinois to be closer to her boyfriend who was already working in Chicago.  If you think our Pavona clan celebrated and rejoiced over this display of growing up and becoming independent than you clearly don't know my family :)   No offense Nick... this has nothing to do with you; we love you! 

Let's break it down by starting with my dad.  My dad, oh Phil, would be happy if ALL of us lived in his house with him FOREVER.  He is 100% Italian after all and Italians don't let their offspring move away from home easily. 

While my mom is much more supportive of us being independent and living out our dreams and aspirations wherever that may be, she can barely go a day without talking to each of my sisters and I on the phone and can barely go a few days without seeing us in person.  Now this would seem crazy except for that fact that my sisters and I feel the exact same way about her... it is certainly mutual. 

Now let's take me, the eldest of the family...When reflecting on my own life choices, I married someone I've known since 8th grade, went to MSU, which was fifteen minutes away from my parent's house, and settled in Holt, which is maybe twenty minutes from my parents.  I don't do risky, I don't do daring, and I don't do new; I HATE change.  I have been threatening my sisters not to leave us/me for many, many years.  Also, now that I'm a mom and have Nolan and Judah too, the thought of having any of my family not be near me makes me very sad.  My boys need their aunts/uncle/grandmas/grandpas. 

Despite the fact that my family has always been close and maybe a little too dependent on one another, when adding the fact that we lost my brother, we are more latched on to each other than we even used to be.  Suffice it to say, Colleen deciding to, as she puts it, 'rip the BandAid' off and move to a different state was a difficult pill for us to swallow.

We all tried to lap up as much 'Colleen' time as we could as March started out.  Saying goodbye to her was worse than I could have ever imagined.  I cried off and on for an entire day and just could not rebound or get over it.  Dang you March! 

As the days went on, we all adjusted and did the best we could to accept this change.

The weather, also still on my mind, gave very small hints to us in Michigan that spring may show up after all.  The boys kept getting bigger, kept babbling more, and kept me on my toes.  Conferences came and went, my teaching partner returned from maternity leave, and spring break was approaching. 

At the end of March, Josh was going to be in Detroit for his brother's bachelor party and plans were made for Colleen to come home to visit and spend time with all of us.  My sister Rachel, off to college at Ferris (don't even get me started on that transition of having the baby of the family go to college 2 hours away), was also planning to come home too.  We were all super excited.  Colleen called me a few days before she was set to come home explaining to me that she had an interview for that Saturday and thought she better not say no in order to come back to Michigan.  I was so so sad, but understood. 

On the Saturday of Lance's bachelor party, my mom pushed me to be brave and take the boys out to a restaurant by myself for the first time... we can't say no to the Asian Buffet in my family!  I showed with Nolan and Judah only to find that Colleen was sitting at the table waiting for us.  She had made up the interview story so she could surprise ALL of us (only my dad knew).  That has to go down as one of the best presents I've ever gotten.  Spending the last weekend of March with  my WHOLE family was just what we all needed I think.  And so, March went out like a lamb for me.  It was also nice weather too :)

Will Colleen be the only one to venture out on her own?  Probably not.  Will I get any better at letting my sisters go?  Also probably not. 

But I can continue to accept it a little better and cope a little better too.  What will I ever do if one of my kids wants to go to college far away or move far away?  Watch out.  I am 50% Italian after all :)