Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Small Successes

It is important for us moms to recognize our small successes that add up to one big success!

1) Lulu gave up her paci this week! I know she is almost 3-years-old and still uses a paci to sleep but this week we started sleep training with her and teaching her how to sleep without one. It has been more difficult even than I dreaded it being but I have stuck to my guns! Last night she fell asleep after only 30 minutes and no screaming!

2) I made Kolaches for the first time! They are a Czech pastry that my husband loves!! I actually made them to get him out of a bind so I was cooking until 1 am. That is a story for another post.

3) I am having a friend and her children over today for a play date!! My first real play date since moving here two years ago. I am SO excited!

4) I actually got invited to a dinner party last weekend! It was fun, strange, and a bit awkward but I am really really glad I went! This is also a long story and would be better for another post. Suffice to say after an awkward experience I might have made a new friend! Our two families are going to eat lunch today!

5) It happen! I am so glad I am back on FLYlady! My husband called me out of blue while I was busy with the kids and said, "Sweetie, I am bringing a friend over. We will be there is 10 minutes." I looked around my house was picked up, my dishes were clean, no laundry out anywhere. I was completely fine, not embarrassed at all! That night I wound up doing a huge cooking project (making Kolaches) and my kitchen was already clean and prepped for cooking!

6) I started a potted herb garden!!! I have talked about doing this since Tom and I got married 4 years ago! I am so excited!! I am starting it from seed and know nothing about seeding plants so I am hoping I am doing everything right. Only time will tell!

My Life as an 'I Love Lucy' Episode

I was joking about this with my mom the other day and she said, "That would make a great blog!"

Have you ever found yourself trapped in a comedy of errors? Or feel like this is something out of a t.v. show? I was cleaning house the other day when I found the pen Tom normally carries in his pocket. I was on the phone with my mother and I started saying, "Oh dear. If Tom notices he doesn't have this before he gets home he is going to think he lost his pen." I started describing the conversation we would have.

Suddenly it struck me: This is like that "I Love Lucy" episode where Ethel is eating breakfast with Lucy and Fred yells from the apartment below, "ETHEL! ETHEL!" Ethel looks at Lucy and says, "He thinks he lost his glasses. They are on his head. When I tell him they are on his head he will say, 'huh! If it was a snake it would have bit me'!" Sure enough Fred comes in and the whole scene plays out exactly how Ethel described.

While I was reminiscing about "I Love Lucy" it occurred to me that I have been living my own comedy of errors. Lulu still uses a pacifier to sleep... that is until a few days ago. I have been planning on weaning her from it this fall when the days are shorter and it is a little easier to get her to sleep at night. A few nights ago I was scrambling to find one when I heard Tom in the other room say to lulu, "Lulu, the pacifier went away! You are going to be a big girl now and sleep through the night without one!" He then proceeded her to bribe her to sleep without one. He promised her rewards for taking such a big step into being a big girl. His intentions were good but his communication before hand wasn't. Which is exactly what creates those hilarious debacles in "I Love Lucy."

I walked back in and looked at him like a deer in head lights. I decided to commit to Tom's promises and push through. I started sleep training Lulu. Over an hour later when she had finally fallen asleep I went up to Tom's office where he was working on his school work and explained exactly what he had done. I said, "This means two weeks of sleep training. Both night and nap training." I went through what all that entailed. He looked at me and said, "I guess I didn't think about the consequences." I laughed and said, "NO!"

We are stumbling through sleep training completely unprepared. Each night is a new adventure but if we laugh at ourselves the same way we laugh at "I Love Lucy" then life will never be dull!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Brownies

This is by far my favorite gluten free recipe that I have made up! It is also my first one. I use this whenever I want or need a treat, when I am having company over, to take to gluten households for dinner or when they are in mourning... it is my go too recipe! I love to serve this with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce during the summer!

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cup flour (any flour mix you like or you can use your favorite flour and simply add 2 tsp. of xanthum gum)

12 tbsp. cocoa

1/2 cup canola oil

4 eggs

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional if you like a more fudgy brownie)

Mix dry ingredients and chocolate chips if you are using them. Add in wet ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 until toothpick or knife comes out clean. Around 30 minutes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Small Successes!

It is important for us moms to stop each week and count our successes and realize that they add up to one big triumph.

1) I have done the routines from FlyLady all week! This means my house is staying picked-up and my kitchen is always clean! I haven't done the "zone challenges" so my room is still a disaster area. Baby steps!

2) I have kept the laundry washed, folded, and put away all week! AND have cooked a nice dinner each night! I am proud of myself!

3) This week we picked out first produce of the season from our garden! Three beautiful onions! We have tomatoes and pepper forming on the plants already! I can't wait to pick the cucumber, raspberries, tomatoes, and peppers!

4) This is not really my success but it is a great mile stone! Zizzy said her first word last week (Mama or Milk depending on who you ask. I think she said milk first but Tom insist is was Mama). She has since added, "No" and "More"!! I think I might have heard her say "Stop!" to Lucy...

Small Successes is being hosted by Chocolate For Your Brain.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Parenting Breather

After I wrote Mommy Going Crazy Tom very very sweetly announced he wanted me to take a parenting breather. He kept the girls and sent me away for 30 minutes. I know 30 minutes sounds like nothing but it actually was amazing! With his summer finals coming up this weekend he really didn't have time to do that so I am extremely grateful!

It was incredible to walk to the car with my wallet, keys, phone, and nothing else! No big diaper bag, no kids wailing or trying to squirm away as I buckled them into the car seat, no trying to entertain the kids as I drive... it was just me!

As I drove out of the driveway and waved bye to my little family I had to decide where I wanted to go. I thought, "Ice cream! No, StarBucks! No,...." I finally decided to go to the grocery store and buy those pull-ups I need.

It was amazing to walk through the store without kids! No annoying cart with a car on it. No worrying Zizzy is going to try to turn around a look at Lulu or that Lulu is going to jump out of the car while I am pushing. No dealing with fussy children while I try to make decision about what to buy. No entertaining and explaining every.single.thing.I.am.doing. I even bought one of those fountain drinks I have walked passed 100 times but never got because it was a) not necessary and b) I couldn't balance it while shopping and making sure my kids don't jump out.

After I finished shopping I headed over to Braums and picked up a little treat for everyone. I came home to very happy kids who had had a great time playing with their father. It was the perfect parenting breather!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mommy Going Crazy!

I love my children. I love them more than I love .... well... everything and everyone except my husband. But there are days when I feel like I am going crazy.
Today Lulu pushed every single one of my buttons! It has been this way for a few days now. She pushes her sister, she doesn't do as I say, she is throwing fits constantly, she won't go to sleep when she is supposed too... I am going crazy! It doesn't help that Zizzy has decided she needs to be help every.sing.waking.moment.
I have hit that point where I want to scream "I AM BURNED OUT!!" But then Lulu looks at me and says something completely adorable and Zizzy laughs then I remember why I love being a mother.
Somehow I need to find a balance so I don't get so upset. What have you moms out there done to help you avoid that burnout feeling?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Small Successes

After neglecting my blog I thought I would do my usual Thursday blog and give 3 small successes of the week.

1) We took care of Tom's and my neglected medical needs. After Tom's glasses broke I arranged an eye exam for him then decided to have my medical needs looked after. I saw the doctor, he went to the eye doctor and we are both making appointments to have our teeth cleaned! All those little things we put off!

2) I ordered a great Father's Day gift for Tom!! I will be able to pick it up tomorrow!

3) I started FlyLady again and am on my way to a more organized house! When we lived at the apartment I was great about doing FlyLady and keeping my home clean and organized but I fell out of it while moving. I have kept the house decent but not as clean as I would like it. I seemed to have hit metal blocks on getting the house organized and settled the rest of the way. With FlyLady I will get there!

Small Successes are being hosted at Chocolate For Your Brain.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Fairly Tale

Do you ever wake up and feel like you are living a fairy tale? I do! I am amazed every day at how deeply blessed I am. My fairy tale began in college when I met Tom.

We have two different stories on how we met. I transferred colleges at the beginning of the spring semester in 2004. Tom remembers meeting me my first week there when I was lost on my way to meet a friend and her boyfriend so he walked me to the guy's dorm. I don't remember this meeting so clearly he did not make an impression on me.

I remember meeting him right after spring break in the cafeteria. I had made friends with "James" and one day at lunch Tom walked in and sat down with us. James introduced Tom as, "This is my fiance's younger brother and (pointing to the girl sitting next to him) is my fiance's younger brother's girlfriend." I thought it was really funny and strange that he phrased it that way. Tom struck me at the time as an interesting person but I didn't think much of it. We ran in similar circles but rarely saw each-other.

The one conversation we can both clearly remember we where in a mutual friend's room with her boyfriend who was a music major. Tom came in and started showing off some flutes he had made out of PVC pipe. I thought those where ingenious! I had never seen anything like it! The music major started playing with it but wasn't able to make music out of it. So feeling a little foolish and dejected started making fun of Tom's flutes. I knew that I could make that flute play and no one else in the room even knew I had ever played flute. I picked it up and played a quick and playful little Irish jig. I twinkled over the flute at Tom when the music major went red.

After being at my beloved college for an all too short year and half I was forced to leave due to health reasons mid-semester. My mother came and picked me up. After crying a lot, hugging all my friends, and saying goodbye to almost everyone single person on campus I was ready to leave. It was late one evening I was about to walk out of my dorm for the last time when I looked up and saw Tom walk in. I called out to him as I had so many other people, "Goodbye Tom! I am leaving!" He looked shocked, "When?" "Now." I gave him a hug (I don't know why) and walked out. My mother looked at me in the car and said, "Hannah who was that young man at the door?" I responded, "Oh he is a friendly acquaintance. I barely know him." My mother said, "He looked like someone just dumped a bucket of cold water on him. I think he is more than an acquaintance." I blew her off.

To my shock a few days later I received a hand written four page letter from Tom. That sparked an almost 6 month correspondence via snail mail.

His letters were something to behold! His paper was made in France in the oldest paper mill still in existence today. His ink came from England. His fountain pen was the last pen made by an American Indian who was famous for his pens. That pen would normally have cost a few hundred but it was sold to Tom's sister for $50 with the promise that it would be used regularly. His letters were sealed with a wax seal just like what Bohemians would have used 500 years ago (his ancestors). The wax was from Scotland. He covered the front of the envelope with 1 and 2 cent stamps. Each letter was full of his personality, care, love... who wouldn't fall in love with him!

Letters led to phone calls, phone calls lead to meeting up at friend's weddings, meeting up at different weddings lead to him coming to visit me at my parent's house on my sister's birthday.

The brave young man trekked 495 miles to ask me to date him. I was so nervous about him coming! I wondered what my family would think. I wondered what he would think of me after meeting my family. I needn't have worried though my family loved him from the beginning! His first conversation with my father was a philosophical discussion defining the difference between grandeur and beauty. He could discuss everything from gardening to theology with my mother. He even managed to tease my sister non-stop without offending her!

One night during his visit he and I sat up late together talking. He went through a long speech then asked me to date him. I responded, "Let me pray about it." When my mother and sister got up the next morning they asked me in Sign Language (so Tom would not hear us talking) "Well??? Are you dating??" I said, "No... I asked to pray." "ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!!"

Tom and I went to mass later that morning and after mass I said, "Tom repeat your question to me."

"What question?" He quipped with a quirky smile.

"Ask me to date you."

"Ms. Holmes will you date me?"

"Yes, Mr. Voboril! I would love to date you!"

He startled me by responding, "Well, I don't want to make it official until I have you father's blessing."

"MY FATHER'S WHAT! Papa will not know what to do with that!"

Tom persisted in asking my father who told him, "I never asked to date Hannah's mother. Heck I didn't even ask to marry her!" (They eloped).

I have to admit as strange and funny as I thought it was that he asked Papa's permission to date me I loved him for it. I have always been slightly old fashioned and it made me happy to find someone who was quirky and old fashioned like me.

Throughout our relationship no matter what stage of the relationship we were/are in he has always taught me what it really means to love and care for others. I couldn't have a better husband or father to my children. I am the most deeply blessed woman on this earth.

I linked this post with Project Marriage.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sleeping At Last

Sleep has always been a struggle for me. If you ask my mother she can regale you with stories about how badly I slept as a child. Well... I have reaped my reward! I have two children who hate sleeping! I realized one morning as I sipped my fourth cup of tea and was contemplating moving on to Diet Coke at 7 am that maybe I should make some drastic changes.

Zizzy was co-sleeping with us and she would toss, turn, breastfeed, and kick all night. Not even Tom was sleeping. Lulu was waking up regularly and was just as difficult to get back to sleep in the middle of the night as she was getting her to go to bed in the first place. Sleepless, frustrated, and at my wits end I called my cousin Kate who had taken her son from co-sleeping to sleeping through the night in his own room. I said, "How the hell did you do that Would you mind explaining to me how you managed that?"

Kate told me about the Sleep Lady system. The concept is you use sleep schedules to work with the baby's natural Circadian Rhythm to improve sleep at night and you conquer the baby's fear of being alone through her "sleep shuffle" and reinforcement. When you read her book it is actually simple and brilliant! That is until it is 2 am and you haven't slept yet and the baby is still screaming.... (this is not a typical response to the sleep program as lined out in the book. I realized later that I had made some mistakes that caused part of Zizzy's reaction to the sleep changes.)

The first night of Zizzy in her own bed I thought I would die! I almost gave up but all the older more experienced moms around me told me to "stick to my guns." It took two weeks but I got Zizzy to sleep in her own bed! I was so proud of myself!

Then she got sick...

I wanted to comfort her but that unfortunately led to me getting up with her every two hours. I didn't mind while she was sick but she kept it up after she got well! I thought I was going to go crazy! One morning after an almost sleepless night I checked my email and I had a promotional add from the Sleep Lady saying that she had a great deal for a conference she was going to give. Only it was on the other side of the US from me. Frustrated, mad, feeling like that just added insult to injury I fired off a response not thinking anyone would respond. They did.

I received a very nice email from her assistant who said that they had some trainees for their program who needed hours to fulfill their training and they would be happy to help me FOR FREE!!! The way this program works is you have someone who helps you create a sleep program for your child and then talks to you everyday to help you stay on track. It normally cost a few hundred dollars (this is beyond generous! I felt like I had been drowning in the ocean and someone threw me a rope!)

After talking to a sleep coach I realized I had made a few small mistakes that had led me down a slippery slope and into the awful sleep situation I was in. By after correcting those and spending a a little time talking to the very helpful sleep coach I quickly and very successfully sleep trained Zizzy!! Somewhere along the way Lulu picked up on what we were doing and she greatly improved too! Most nights I now get uninterrupted sleep!!!! Now they sleep from 7 pm to 6 am and I am NOT a morning person but I am adjusting quickly and happily! It helps that I am now so well rested!