Wednesday, June 30, 2010

May - June in a nutshell

Fourteen & Fifteen Months snuck up on me. A lot has gone done the past few months. Here’s a down and dirty recap.

Dominick is walking! He’s walking! He’s walking! Dominick took his first steps on mother’s day, May 9 and hasn’t stopped. He likes to walk on his own and will rarely hold your hand, but we’re working on that.
Here is is enjoying some bubbles at one of the many carnivals we have at our hospital.

Dominick has been doing a lot new things lately – some of his faves: shaking his head no, blowing kisses, pointing with his pointer finger, give us kisses – mostly open mouth w/ a little tongue!

He continues to sign: more, all done, milk, and eat and has added juice, book, paci, and please! AND he now strings two words together – “More please” It’s adorable.

He learns so quickly these days. I think he learned how to sign book in just a few minutes. It’s like something finally “clicked.” He just needs to work on the dexterity of manipulating his fingers. A lot of his signs look alike, but we actually know what he means. Juice looks a lot like milk and paci and eat are very similar. But we can usually tell what he’s trying to get at. We’re working on: Ozzie (the sign for O) and his Aunt Kristen taught him to sign the color “Green”

We’ve had another round of croup and a few strange viruses with high fevers. Just this past week he spiked a 103 fever with no other symptoms. He now has a bunch of green sticky boogies – YUCK!
Mother's Day 2010 - no I will not sit in this really cool riding toy! I'll push it, tip it over, but I will NOT sit in it!

Most recent family portrait - Dominick is in the "I will not sit still" phase. He is always on the GO!

We took Dominick to the St. John Vianney carnival last week and he rode the merry go round. He LOVED it! As the horse was going up and down he was holding on to the poll with a smile from ear to ear. This carnival is a family favorite. Frank’s parents have been going for decades. I’m sad to report that the food is getting worse every year. Frozen pizza, stale zepole – just awful. But I think from now on we’ll be going to the rides and not so much the food.

Out for lunch with mommy, Grammie and Aunt Kristen flirting with all the ladies!

We’re gearing up for a trip down to Jacksonville, Florida this weekend for a Wright family reunion. My mom’s side of the family hasn’t gotten together like this in years and it will be so great to see all my cousins and aunts and uncles again. Frank is staying home because it’s department policy to not ask for days off around a holiday – doesn’t that suck!

Dominick, myself, my mom and step-dad and my brother, his wife and two kids are flying out at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, returning late Sunday night. My stepdad is funding the entire trip and made the flight reservations. It’s obvious he has never traveled with small children before, otherwise he would have chosen a more reasonable hour to travel – but my motto this weekend is to “go with the flow” and enjoy every minute I can.

I’m stocked up on new toys for the trip and hopefully I’ll be able to keep Dominick entertained for most of the flight. Here are some pictures from the past few months to catch us up to speed.

June is all about the pool! This kid LOVES the water. He will litterally put his face down into the water - no fear! Catching some rays at Yaya's house - loving the pool!

Samantha not loving the pool so much.

One hot, hot, Saturday in June I went to Metuchen's street fair with Zach, his mom Jen, and my mom, Yaya.

Dominick is the newest member of the Metuchen Fire Department.

Here's my nephew, Zach, trying to eat his ice cream faster than it can melt! It was over 95 degrees out.

I took Dominick to Turtle Back Zoo - it's a small Zoo in West Orange. This is the "what the heck is this thing" look.

Here Dominick is saying "ooohh, oooohh!" at the prarie dogs.

He LOVES to splash!

The little guy was sooooo tired after an afternoon at the pool.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

True Story Tuesday - One Rainy Monday

This is my first ever True Story Tuesday post. I hope I linked everything right, but even if I didn’t, this story is truly worth telling. I was inspired to join in by Check out her TST.

For some reason, I decided to take a mental health day and stay home from work on a rainy Monday. I was working full time and loving the independence of living alone. Well, some what alone. I lived in a two family house, one of a set of three houses so close together you can hear the leaves rustling as my neighbor made it home at the wee hours of the morning. I also, so I thought, lived in a very quiet town. In fact, it’s the town I grew up in where no one ever locked their doors and let their kids go out and play till the street lights came on.

My neighbors were, um, a bit sketchy to say the least. The middle house had a man in his twenties that only used this apartment during the week and went to his house on the weekends. The house on the end had a bunch of young men living there and there was so much turn over.

Well, back to that rainy morning. It had started to pour – I mean buckets and I was looking out side on my front porch when I look to my right and see one of those young men two houses down standing completely naked. Oh, and yeah, he’s BLEEDING from his side.

Oh My God!

Just as I saw the young man come out of his house a patrol car was pulling up and the town’s sergeant got out and was going in to help.

Good, I didn’t have to call the police. But my heart is racing. What just happened? Am I in danger?

I lock my door. I lock my back door. I check all the windows.

I call my then boyfriend, who’s a police officer, and says to stay in side. Well no shit Sherlock.

I call my stepfather, who happens to be my landlord. He knows who the victim is and he calls the police to get the scoop. My stepfather also happens to be the town’s attorney so he’d have no problem getting the details. Yeah… it’s a small town.

More cop cars show up lights and sirens blazing. It’s still pouring. The poor neighbor gets taken away in an ambulance. Then the cops are high tailing it around town to find the suspects.

After what seems like HOURS, but which was probably less than an hour, my stepfather calls me back and fills me in.

The neighbor, Danny, was robbed, stabbed and locked in a closet by two intruders. The robbers left to use his ATM card. Danny kicked his way through the drywall to get out. I’m not sure why he was naked… was he surprised in the shower? Or was he sleeping in the buff? I never knew anyone who slept naked. That’s just too much information to know about a neighbor. Heck, I didn’t need the mental visual – I saw the real thing. But it was the blood that really got my attention.

My little town is small and upper middle class. It’s certainly a fact that in some parts of town we do not have many minorities. Well, if it just so happens the police used a bit of racial profiling to catch the suspects, then so be it. The cops saw two African American young men walking down a side street and picked them up. Turns out, their get away car wouldn’t start so they were trying to hoof it out of town.

A few weeks later I come to find out one of Danny’s roommates was hanging with a pretty rough crowd and they came to rob him knowing that he had money.

Just goes to show you that even if you live in a small town you really shouldn’t let your guard down. Lock your doors and keep an eye on your neighbors.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Really? Work Life Balance

Really? This is my new favorite word to say when I’m dumbfounded, speechless and utterly confused.

That’s exactly what I said, out loud, when I read another mom’s post about her days being super busy and overwhelmed as a stay at home mom and trying to find her work/life balance. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that a life of a stay at home mom can be busy and most certainly overwhelming at times.

This is probably the most “controversial” post I’ve ever written, because I know this is a hot topic that seems to divide the seas between working moms and stay at home moms.

But I felt compelled to share my feelings on this topic. I’m going to say it like I see it. I hope I don’t offend anyone because that is not my intention.

I just cannot comprehend how a stay at home mom would feel overwhelmed on a daily basis to the point she’s complaining about not having a work/life balance.

Key words here are work/life balance. I have MANY friends and family that are stay at home moms and I know they can have hectic days. I am not saying that being a stay at home mom is easy. Every day has its own challenge.

I had my “really?” moment when I was reading about this mom’s experience being so busy with her three kids’ activities and how she doesn’t have a work life balance…

First, I would never describe being a stay at home mom was a “job.” Sure it’s hard work. Sure it can take every ounce of my energy to scrub that pot, or change that diaper. But being a mom is your life. There isn’t a work/life balance to even find.

I’ve decided that this particular mom was really trying to explain how hard it is to find time for herself. This is something ALL moms struggle with and I couldn’t agree more.

Second… I am a working mom. I work full time outside the home. And as this blogger, went on and on about her day and all the things she needed to do – laundry, house cleaning, lunch making, shuttling kids etc – I couldn’t help but think: I do all of those things AND I work 40 hours a week away from home.

Let’s be honest here - I would give ANYTHING to be a stay at home mom where my only head aches and stresses where about which play dates to schedule and what school activities I would go to.

I guess another part of my “really?” moment is tied to my own disappointment that I cannot be home with my son. Instead, I have chosen a lifestyle that must be supported by two incomes. I understand this is my choice. But it is not an easy choice by any means.

It pains me to know that I may be missing out on something.

I’ve had my fair share of mother issues. My mom worked full time and I pretty much was what we called back then a “latch key kid” I’d come home from school, I’d let myself in and even start dinner. Sometimes my mom wouldn’t even be home before bed time.

I have made a commitment to myself to be a different kind of working mom then my mother was. I know that I will make extra time to be there for my children.

I know I will struggle with a work/life balance.

A struggle that I am thankful for everyday.

Okay – let me have it! I’d love to know what you all think...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday Morning Play Date

Dominck had a fun morning over at Grammie's playing outside and riding in his little blue push car. Here are a few pictures. And yes, I'm a sun nazi. Hats are required when we're outside. I cna't help it... too many skin scares in my family.

Practicing walking. Those first steps are coming!

Here's Dominick doing "roll it" from patty cake. This is his all time favorite LOOK AT ME move. It's adorable.

Mother's Day at the Mazzarella's

We celebrated mother's day in grand fashion.

We had a bbq on Friday night and Frank made some mouth watering bbq ribs! To die for!!! They were rubbed and smoked and grilled... yum!

Saturday we just took it easy and I guess Dominick got the memo and he slept in until 9 a.m.! I was shocked! The kid went down at 6:30, got a diaper change around 6 a.m. and slept soundly until 9. Of course, I was up after the diaper change and couldn't get back to sleep. I caught up on my shows that I taped throughout the week. I don't have any time during the week to watch TV, so come Saturday, I have 5 or 6 shows to watch.

We had the plumber come and clean out our pipes. We have constantly slow drains and hopefully Joe the plumber, yes our plumber's name is Joe, won't have to come back any time soon. We are thinking about working the laundry room... that's a whole other post.

Back to mother's day. So the day actually arrives. I'm hoping Frank will spring out of bed at the first peep from Dominick so I can sleep in and maybe even enjoy a leisurely breakfast in bed that he slaved over... oh wait... some one slap me because that is far from what happened. Welcome to the life of a cop's wife. Or anyone who's husband works nights. Poor Frank was wiped out and didn't get to sleep until well after 2 a.m. So there I was up and atom with Dominick. Which I really didn't mind at all. I love spending time with Dominick. I hardly get to see him during the week, so I cherish every minute I can. And my breakfast in bed was a delicious dinner on Friday.

That said, it's nice to have break once in a while. Hint hint.

After I pulled Frank out of bed we headed over to his parents house for brunch. Grammie, as we all call her now, had quite a spread of sandwich fixings, salads, and an egg casserole. Who doesn't love a good egg casserole. Dominick ate a bite of everything and really loved sucking on the bread and butter pickles and spitting them right out. This boy eats more than any other kid his age and thankfully he isn’t picky at all. Sure, he’ll spit out the first bite of something new, but it takes him a second to realize, oh, that was good. Then he gobbles it up.

Here are a few pictures from our day.

Here is Dominick cleaning Grammie's table... he's so helpful.

No, you will not put me on this very cool riding toy, I'll push it around, tip it over but I will NOT ride on it!

Dominick is in the "I don't want to sit still for a picture" phase... we're hoping he ages out of this real soon. But if he's anything like his father, it'll last well into his 30's.

Give the boy a cell phone and he's as happy as a clam.

Isn't his outfit cute! I just had to get this shirt when I saw it and he looks adorable in jeans.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Let The Games Begin

BabyRama, Babystock, Baby Olympics

What ever you call it we had one heck of a first birthday party for the “triplets” a few weeks ago. My mom decided to throw a little get together for her three grandkids who were all born last year within 8 weeks of each other. If you know my mother, she doesn’t do anything half arsed. Yaya, as the grandkids call her, planned a fun afternoon full of cake smashing and baby Olympic events.

First up, the cake smashing. My mom ordered three fondant covered cakes, one for each baby to smash all on their own. It was so funny to see how each one smashed in their own style. Dominick, the first born and already having lots of practice at his bday party, dove right in. He tore of pieces and down the hatch they went.

Samantha, our only girl, was very dainty. She didn’t want to get her little hands dirty so she just leaned forward for full on mouth vs cake action.

Chester, the youngest of the three, was just beside himself! He decided to dismember his cake starting in the middle and working his way out.

We sang, they smashed and they even shared some cake with the grown ups. The room was very festive with balloons and streamers and if you looked closely, you saw little Olympic rings made out of plastic bracelets hanging from the chandelier.

Now on to the Olympic games. Each baby had their own little outfit. There were three events: crawling, dancing and laughing. All participants had been given pre-notice of what the competitions would be, so we all came prepared. We trained long and hard and we were eager to see what the other babies brought to the competition.

We also had an official judge, namely the eldest grandson Zach who is 5. Zach was super excited to be the judge. He had a ref shirt and even a stopwatch and whistle! Several days before the party Zach told Yaya that he really wanted Dominick to win everything. Yaya had to do some teaching about fairness and making sure the best athlete wins. This kid is a riot! Here is Zach with his best bud, Dominick.

The crawling competition was set to start and the daddies were on one side of the room and the mommies were eager to coax their little babies across the carpet. We had a little something up our sleeve… namely… a lovey. Yes, Dominick is 100% attached to a little blankie and he will do anything to get to his lovey.

On your mark, get set, GO!

And they’re off… Dominick comes charging out of the gate, full steam. Wait, there’s Samantha in lane two throwing a huge fit and will not let go of her daddy. Here comes Chester cutting across all lanes to get to the toys. Dominick eased into the finish line and took home the gold. Chester won the silver and Samantha captured the bronze with her stellar dramatic performance. Here's Dominick in his post victory splendor... and clutching his lovey of course.

There were actual metals that Zach and Yaya made – very cute. A nice bottle of wine accompanied each metal.

Our next event was laughing and Samantha had found her event. With the help of her very funny Daddy, she really performed beautifully and took home the gold. Chester got silver with his silly chuckle and Dominick crapped out and was in no mood for laughing. Here's St. John making Chester crack up!

On to dancing and on came some great music! The babies lined up holding onto the coffee table. Samantha decided she wasn’t feeling the music. Chester on the other hand rocked the house! He was popping and wiggling, putting on a great show. Dominick came in at the end with some very spirited moves while we clapped and sang. Our official was having a tough time deciding. Zach said out loud, “Dominick should win, he is was the best dancer.” When we all knew that Chester put on the best show.

Yaya pulled Zach aside and reminded him of their talk about fairness, but he wouldn’t budge. Zach awarded Dominick the gold, silver went to Chester and Samantha got bronze. That’s okay because we all know how the real winner was!

It was a really nice way to end a very eventful year in the Frizell family. We were so blessed to have three new editions join the ranks of our wild and crazy bunch. I can see many baby Olympics in our future.

Here's the whole crew - The proud grandparents: Pop and Yaya; Frank, Dominick and myself; Mike, Chrisi, Samantha and Zach; St. John, Linden and Chester

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lucky Thirteen

I promise not to be “that mom” that says… “my son is 28 months old.” I think it’s ridiculous. I can’t even do the math that fast to figure out how old your kid is. BUT, that said, I will continue my monthly/bi-monthly updates about Dominick and his milestones.

Month thirteen brings much of the same as last month. Dominick hasn’t decided to start walking on his own yet. Despite his Papa's constant bribery. He can cruise with the best of them and is pretty quick moving along the side of the couch or holding on to his play yard fence. He loves to be chased and I can already see him running away from us when he finally gets the hand of walking solo. Dominick’s almost there. He just needs to be a bit braver. He’ll take two steps then fall into your arms. We’re waiting for the three, four and five steps.

Dominick still eats like a champ. Even through his recent bouts with being sick, he still manages to have an appetite. Some of his favorites this month are spinach nuggets by Dr. Praeger’s. This is an interesting line of sensible food was developed by two New Jersey-based heart surgeons. Dr. Praeger's Sensible Foods are all natural, low in cholesterol and saturated fats, free of preservatives and artificial ingredients and nothing fried with lots of tasty veggies. The food is also Kosher if that’s your thing. We’re working our way through testing Dr. P’s kids line.
Dominick is king of the point… well, it’s more of a whole hand pointing in the direction of “I want that!” A book, food, to look outside. The kid knows what he wants and how to get it. He’s doing great at his signing. He does “more” and is now doing “eat” and “all done.” “milk,” and “bye-bye” all look the same, but he does them on command. He’s quick to sign “all done” when he’s on the changing table. He signs “milk” when he sees his bottle. He waves “bye-bye” to every single person he sees. Just adorable. Now we’re working on “please,” “water” and “juice.” Baby steps.

Here he is super excited about his water table - he tenses all his muscles and squeals!

Dominick loves to say “Ozzie” and “dada” and occasionally “mama.” When ever he hears music he immediately lights up with a smile and claps his hands. He’s still a fan of the crazy Wiggles. They probably remind him of his dad who has been singing and doing silly dances for years. Even pre-baby.

Favorite toys – that would be the water table times ten. He LOVES to be outside, on our deck and get completely soaked splashing away. He’ll even play with it when it’s empty. His Grammie and Papa got him a cute climber, slide and swing set for little toddlers. He doesn’t care much for the swing but loves the slide and to play pirate with the captain’s wheel. He also loves his little blue car his Aunt Kristen gave him – it’s one of those cars they sit in and the adults push them around. Super easy and he just loves to turn the wheel and beep his horn.

Splashing is very serious business.
Dominick is still a good sleeper and sleeps through the night most nights. But he’s decided he only wants to nap once a day which is great for allowing us to get out of the house more often. He’s usually up by 7 a.m. and then goes back down by 11 until at least 12:30 p.m. Then he may go down for a little cat nap around 2:30/3. He’s surprised me with two, two hour naps here and there, but it’s consistently been a one, really long nap around lunch time. We usually put him to bed by 7 p.m. It works for him, it works for us.

I think this picture is hilarious. Frank has his usual, "take the picture already" face on and Dominick wants NOTHING to do with being taken away from his water table.

We’re looking forward to many more milestones we know are just around the corner – namely walking and talking!

Two Babies

Has it really been two weeks? Really?

A lot has gone down the past few weeks. Mainly, the croup. Poor Dominick had an awful case of the croup… and you have to put the “the” in front of croup. I looked it up.

At first I just thought that awful sound coming out of his little chest was him getting all worked up after crying, but nope. His Grammie knew exactly what it was and off to the doctor’s we go. Poor guy sounded like he was smoking two packs a day! And it really does sound like a barking seal! Little did I know that the croup is contagious and one of his daycare buddies shared this virus around the class – each baby was out for at least a week. We didn’t have to do the hot shower thing, but we did spend a lot of time soothing him near a humidifier. After a few rounds of steroids the little guy was getting better and we were semi back to normal.

Fast forward a few days and just after we had our new roof installed, Frank starts to come down with a scratchy throat. He first thinks it’s allergies since he spent a lot of time outside with the roofers – he even made them burgers for lunch – that’s the kind of guy I married! After a few more days Frank’s scratchy throat turned into a major sore throat and cough. He was home from work for two days then off to the doc for him. Doc gives out antibiotics and says to stay home all week! I’m glad Frank’s immune system has held strong until now, the guy’s got tons of unused sick time. Poor baby… he really was miserable and his voice was so squeaky. Kind of like Peter Brady. “When it’s time to ch**ange”

So while my husband is feeling horrible, Dominick decides to go another round with a reparatory infection coughing so hard he throws up and has boogies everywhere. Poor little guy.

I’ve been taking care of my two babies this week. Cooking up a storm and for once I’m keeping the germs at bay. I’ve been on antibiotics for a tooth infection and I think that’s was saved me this time! I have an impending root canal that I’m really, really not looking forward too. But I have found a great dentist that does sedation and I’m all for pain management – nock me out!

Thankfully, everyone seems to be on the mend.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cookie Therapy

Baking cookies, not eating them this time.

When planning Dominick’s party I found this really cool cookie recipe online for “play dough cookies.” Basically multicolored cookies swirled up on a lollypop stick. I figured the kids would love to eat these crazy colored cookies.

I decided to make them the weekend before because I knew they’d be really labor incentive. Here’s a step by step.

First you make a whole bunch of cookie dough from scratch. Easy enough. Then you have to quarter the dough and die them four different colors….

Okay, how do you actually die cookie dough? Genius me put the dough in a gallon zip lock bag and added some gel color and squished away. It worked really well. Wish I would have thought of this before I did the first color and ended up with bright yellow palms trying to need it together.

Let the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours. Once hardened, start making little ¾ inch balls out of each color. Now, get ready to sit down and put on some music because this takes FOREVER!

To make the actual cookie, take one ball of each color and roll them together to form on large swirled ball.

Then roll the large ball out into a 1 foot long snake.

Then coil the snake around itself to form the swirled cookie. This is where true clay forming technique comes in. You could so tell my first few cookies… they looked awful. Finger dents her and there, uneven thickness. By the time I rolled out my 40th cookie, I was an old pro. This was one of my first cookies, very lumpy.

Gently insert cookie pop stick and bake. At the end of the night I looked at all my cookie pops and felt they were TOTALLY worth the effort. They looked great.

All the kids loved them at the party. They couldn’t wait to pick out their cookie and take them home. I have to say they didn’t taste all that great, but they sure looked good.

Definitely therapeutic.

Easter Fun

We had a great Easter this year. Much different from last year when the little guy was only two weeks old. He didn't get the whole look for the eggs thing, but he sure enjoyed dying them!
He loved eating them too! I have a special memory growing up of looking at a baby picture of mine where I'm covered in deviled eggs... we tried to recreate the special moment... Dominick happily agreed.

Frank had to work on Easter Sunday, so I was off to celebrate with out him. We spent some time at both parent's houses. I had dinner with my parents and my mom made an amazing fresh ham. I have never seen Dominick eat so much! And this was after he had all those deviled eggs!
We then went to Frank's parents house for desert. We took a few commemorative photos. Here's Dominick in his Easter outfit. His hair is so stiff from the special hair treatment he gave himself with the deviled eggs. Plus he was exhausted with no nap all day!

Here is Dominick and his two second cousins, Reese (3 1/2) and Christopher (1). Like the bunny ears? Of course that was my idea!

Yeah, they made me wear these... my brilliant idea backfired.
Off with the spiffy duds and we slipped Dominick into something a little more comfortable. This was his FIRST time sitting in grass...

He was soooo excited!

The soccor ball was also very exciting.

I made some special cupcakes, you know the kind you bake in icecream cones? I knew Reese would LOVE it, and she did.