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Dear Hubby,

You put up with me.  Oh, how you put up with me.  And I put up with you.  Boy, do I ever.  Our marriage is full of so many ups and downs.  We go from laughing to fighting to crying (well, mostly me crying) to making up and then laughing again.   It’s quite passionate, in a suburban married couple sort of way.

You share my thoughts, my dreams, and my son.  And you still make me happy.  Even though you really, really, really piss me off sometimes.  And I really, really, really piss you off sometimes too.  But it’s all ok in the end.  Because we’re in for the long haul. 

I’m happy I found you.  And that you found me.  And that we’re still here.  And you still make me smile.

Love, Mary

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We had a super-quick weekend trip back up to Chicago to visit family – namely, to celebrate my grandfather’s and my brother-in-law’s birthdays.  We stayed at my parent’s house on Friday night, where Frankie chased my dad all over the house and laughed hysterically at my mom opening and closing the sliding door to the laundry room.  Ah, to be young.

We had a nice visit with my grandpa, who is actually doing quite well at 92, albeit slow and forgetful.  He kept asking us about his CD player, which just needed batteries, but poor Grandpa can’t quite remember things that you told him 5 minutes before. 😦  Although, ask him about events and people from the 1930s, and you’ll find a goldmine.

I then took Frankie to the mall.  The mall!  Oh, how I have missed you.  Sure, Springfield has this building that is supposed to be a mall, and is called such, but really, compared to the mecca that is Woodfield Mall, home of my teenage years and at least 5 different retail jobs, is it really a mall?  I had to return the Toms shoes for Frankie that my sister-in-law bought him, just to get a different size, and seriously, is there anything cuter than Toms shoes for kids?  I think not.  I also bought enough Body Shop deodorants to last me the next year.  You’re welcome, pits.

We then packed up Frankie and went to my mother-in-law’s for Tony’s brother’s birthday party (I told it was a whirlwind).  We had a great time, but poor Frankie showed how much he doesn’t like crowds.  And dogs.  There really wasn’t that many people (just immediate family), but he was pretty clingy and wanted to breastfeed A TON, to the point that by the next morning, I was physically drained and depleted.  And the singing of “Happy Birthday” was literally traumatizing for him.  We kept him in the next room over, but he cried throughout the singing, and when everyone cheered and clapped at the end, his face was one of utter terror.  He was so upset that we put his Elmo video on for him in the family room, and he stood there shaking – literally shaking – while watching.  I felt so bad for the little guy!

Here’s some of the downfalls of having a super-sensitive kid.  You never know what’s going to set them off and scare them to death.  You have to be super vigilant to their emotional needs, and put your own needs aside (isn’t that every parent, though?).  They are not independent creatures.  And, the thing I find the most frustrating is that few people get to see the awesome, lovable, caring, funny kid that he is.  Once he “accepts” you and has some one-on-one time with a person, you’re good.  But in groups and with people he’s not comfortable with, he’s a different kid – sullen, withdrawn, anxious, and shy.

Now I know that I’m not the only person with a shy kid – hell, I WAS a shy kid, and clung to my father during such traumatic events like family get-togethers, family friends coming over, and the dreaded Omnimax movie at the Museum of Science and Industry.  So I’m really sensitive to his sensitivities, but can I just get a little sympathy over here?  Can I bemoan to the world that it’s difficult to NOT have a carefree, extroverted child, the kind of child that Americans seem to prefer?

Enough complaining.  I love you just as you are Frankie, and I hope you cling to me and cuddle as much as humanly possible, because I know one day you won’t.  And maybe, maybe, when you’re older and still feeling overwhelmed and anxious and shaky, maybe you’ll remember how much Mommy loves you and even if you won’t or can’t cuddle with me then, you’ll remember when we did.

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Although it’s already a few days old, I have to share what happened to me this weekend.  As my title states above, it was The Worst Thing That Can Happen To A Green Mommy.

I contaminated my family.

On Saturday, I went out to breakfast with my dad and Frankie, and on the way back I decided to stop back at my parent’s house to do a little organizing.  Because I love to organize.  I’m weird like that.  Before moving, I plan on gifting my sewing machine temporarily to my mom, since it’s just collecting dust at my house anyways and I’m anticipating having to downsize.  Besides, there is way too much crap of mine from high school and college in my old room, and it’s in need of a little sprucing up.

Amidst organizing my old dresser drawers, I came upon the box of memorabilia that I grabbed after my grandma died.  Old lipstick, hankies, some jewelry, and lots of other misc. stuff that I kept as reminders of her.  Of course, a lot of it had to go.  Maybelline blue eyeshadow stick from 1974?  It had the consistency of sidewalk chalk.

One of the items was a box of 3 old-school mercury thermometers.  My reaction was, these are dangerous and need to go.  My mother’s?  These are great!  They don’t make them like that any more!  My reaction to her reaction?  Yeah, they don’t make them CANCER CAUSING any more.  Ah, the good ole days.

About 2 minutes later, I reached for the box of thermometers when it happened.  I dropped one.  And it broke.  And the mercury came out.

After uttering several curse words, I grabbed Frankie (OH MY GOD MY CHILD IS IN THE SAME ROOM AS LIVE MERCURY!!!!  I AM THE WORST MOTHER IN THE WORLD!!!!), closed the door, and headed off to the internet to figure out what the *$&@ to do.  Of course, my mom is calm, laughing almost, remembering about she and her brother used to play with mercury.  Play with it, like it’s a toy.  My dad, also calm, saying that he’ll take care of it and it’s no big deal.

Me?  CALL THE EPA!!!!  THERE IS MERCURY HERE PEOPLE!!!!   WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!  WHERE’S MY HAZMAT SUIT?

Luckily, I had the wisdom to google (oh, what ever did we do before google?) and found on the EPA website how to handle the situation.  Surprisingly, panicking was not on the list.  But my dad and I did find ourselves on the ground, with a flashlight and exacto knife, trying to pry tiny beads of mercury out of the cracks in the wood floor and then grab the beads with duct tape for about, oh, an hour.  Finally, my knees started to give out and my dad had to finish the job.

Oh, and did I mention that during this time, an ant bit me?  Yup, that day got even better.

As I was looking up the EPA website for how to avoid a mercury pandemic in the house, I had my parent’s laptop on my lap.  And all of a sudden, I felt a burning, itching sensation on my upper thigh.  I thought it was from the laptop, but it kept getting worse and worse.  And finally, I had to pull down my pants in the middle of the family room to see what was going on.  Luckily, only Frankie was in the room, and he’s used to seeing me do such strange activities.

Low and behold, I find a small welt surrounded by itchy, red skin, and, oh yeah, A HALF-DEAD SQUIRMING ANT INSIDE MY JEANS.  Let’s all just realize what we’re dealing with: that an ant not only crawled up my leg, onto my upper thigh, and then bit me. 

And then I had to go find me some mercury.

In the end, I’m pretty confident that we found all the mercury, and from what I’ve read online, the amount in a thermometer is not a big deal.  I mean, you should still take it very seriously, but it’s nothing to freak out about.  As my dad pointed out, I probably eat more mercury in a tuna fish sandwich.  I’m not sure which is more disturbing. 

Although, seriously, how many of these lethal thermometers are out there?  For the record (MOM!), you need to safely donate mercury thermometers to the fire department (MOM!) for proper disposal (MOM!), no matter how good of a temperature they take (MOM!).

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You may be wondering why I’m writing a weekend review post when it’s Tuesday.  Well, I always have off on Mondays, so the start of the workweek for me is Tuesday.  So there.

Friday – playgroup at a friend’s house, where Frankie slept most of the time and did his empathy cry, where he cries because other babies are crying.  You can tell he is actually upset because another baby is crying.  We may have an artist on our hands here. 

Went to Toys-R-Us to buy a new toy for Frankie, based on how much he liked the one at the playgroup, courtesy of Baba and Pimpop (that’s Grandma and Grandpa on my side).  I’m hoping this cool push cart toy will help him learn to walk, since he’s decided to skip crawling all together.

Saturday – got lots of work down around the house, thanks to an unprecedented 2 hour nap from Frankie.  Clearing out the house in preparation of our move has begun!  Took a walk to my parent’s house with Frankie, even though it was windy and 55 degrees.  Where the *#$& is spring?

Sunday – worked. 😦  Came home and realized that it was 75 degrees outside, so we took Frankie on a walk to the playground and he had his first ride in a baby swing!  He loved it, but he’s still a tad too little to go very high.  Watched the movie “Hereafter” with Matt Damon and starting thinking way too much about the afterlife.

Monday – grocery shopping (sorry no pics), made and froze this awesome potato soup, lots of laundry, lots of cleaning.  Watched a bad movie with Sarah Michelle Gellar in it.  Decided that Sarah Michelle Gellar is horribly miscast in a lot of movies.  Tried to sell old clothes at Plato’s Closet and only made $17.  Realized that clothes I wore less than a year ago are out of date and not cool at all.  Felt very uncool.  Decided to ignore feelings of uncoolness.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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We had a great and busy weekend these past few days. This was my weekend off, so I had Friday through Monday off. Gotta love those 4 day weekends!

On Friday, Frankie and I did our grocery shopping, and thanks to a unprecedented 2 1/2 hour nap, I got a ton of laundry done. Our friends Jill and Earl stopped by with our goddaughter Cora – I really need to get some pictures of her, because she’s freakin’ adorable.

On Saturday, we were supposed to go out, but Tony needed to stay home to get his research done (big surprise), and I stuck around to help him out. At night, we went out to Noodles and Company because I craved their Pad Thai, and then we dropped Frankie off at my parents and went to church. Not to Mass, but to a marriage session. The premise is that for the next six weeks, you go to the church as a couple and watch a 15-20 minute video about a theme in your marriage. Then, you leave and go on a date. This week’s theme was How You Meet, and Tony and I answered the questions and talked about our early years while going on our date to Barnes and Noble. In retrospect, that probably wasn’t the greatest date idea, because we both kept separating to look at books, and then we spent money we didn’t have on books we probably don’t need. Not that it was a bad date, just not as intimate as it should have been. It was nice to get out of the house and not have to worry about Frankie, though. Next Saturday, we plan on going out for a drink together and maybe playing some pool. I think the last time I did that was…a long, long, long time ago.

Yesterday (Sunday) we met up with other couples from the mommy group that I belong to and went to the Art Institute in Chicago. We had a blast: Frankie played in the baby playroom (although still no crawling!), and we checked out the new Modern Wing, which I think I enjoyed more than Tony. He’s says it’s too weird for him, and kept asking me if  various objects were supposed to be art.  Sigh.

Today’s pretty slow. We’re still trying to adjust to daylight savings, and slept in until 9:30! Frankie is about an hour off as well, so we’ll have to try to get him in bed at a certain time. He did sleep in his crib for his morning nap, again unprecedented!

Hope you all had a good weekend!

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So this year, I decided to observe Lent, like a good Catholic that I am that I strive to be.  Rather than give something up, I decided to do something.  And that something is…to actually observe Lent and go to church.  I’m a fair weather church goer normally, going every now and then and on major holidays.  But lately, I’ve been craving a little more spirituality in my life.  Maybe it’s because I’m a mom now, or maybe it’s because there’s been so many changes lately in our lives.  In any case, that’s my Lenten promise to the big guy upstairs.  Big lady upstairs?  Supreme being upstairs?  Either way.

I went last Wednesday to start things off right with Ash Wednesday, which is such a cool ritual in my opinion.  I mean, ashes on foreheads?  Bells chiming?  It’s all very ritualistic and spooky in a soothing way.

Frankie took part as well.

See that smudge on his forehead?  It’s supposed to be a cross.  My little Catholic baby.  May you experience the kind of guilt that only a Catholic upbringing can provide.

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I’m back, with some great pictures of our first Christmas together as a family of three!  Frankie had a wonderful time, and although he didn’t really know what was going on, I think he knew that something was special. 

Visiting Santa’s wonderland at the mall with Baba

Setting out cookies and milk for Santa with big cousin Joseph

Helping Mommy open her presents (which were basically a stocking full of chocolate – thanks honey!)

Enjoying the awesome kitchen that Santa Claus brought

Sharing a really cool big kid toy with Joseph

Enjoying time with Uncle Matt

Helping Grammy open her presents

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season!

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