Art of forgiveness

The Art of forgiveness/ Summer Mini Vacation

 I posted earlier on Facebook  about Gavin forgiving me for punishing him for something that was out of his control…he was sweet and told me “I was still his best buddy”.

 There is something just so pure about kids, they forgive, they forget, they move on, they say what is on their minds, they have no filter and it is still socially acceptable…my filer is a tad off kilter, but I try to work on it.

 I am not a grudge holder, if there is a fight or disagreement I like to be able to eventually move on, forgive and have peace. I do not want my kids to hold anger, and lets face it they are part Sicilian and we Sicilians are grudge holders! Except me, seriously….

 

In recent years I have been in the unfortunate falling out with a family member, it is sad, we are both at fault, both have said hurtful things to each other…what we both have NOT been doing is moving on. I have tried to apologize for my part, I have then accepted defeat but yet I am still being poked and prodded at for a reaction, whether is it mocking me for liking Real Housewives “because they show women in a bad light”, or loosely referencing my Twitter activity….to writing a whole blog post in my honor. I know all these things because I do “snoop” on Twitter from time to time(and she clearly looks at mine)  

 I can honestly say I cannot even tell you at this point what the fight is about anymore it has been going on for years! What I can tell you is I just want peace, we have a family reunion this weekend and to my knowledge said family member will not be attending….and what is sad is the sense of relief I feel that it will in fact be a positive day and not one that I have to feel like I am walking on eggshells. It is just upsetting that if this reunion was say, 5 years ago we would have had a blast and soaked in all the funny moments to then re-live over email during a boring work day. I feel for our parents who are very distraught over the falling out, and I feel for us and our children who do not know each other and the years of memories lost. I think I can speak for her when I say she feels no loss, it is evident. But I do, I truly feel bad how it all went down. It is unfortunate, it is sad.

 It makes me happy to know that my 4 year old knows the art of forgiveness, it is a rare trait in a world filled with so much negativity and it is one that will give him much peace in the future.

 To quote Ms. Tina Turner “I don’t care who’s wrong or right, I don’t really want to fight no more”.

 On a positive note, We are beyond excited in our house for the reunion, it is the kick off to our much needed vacation week. Chris’ new schedule has been beneficial but also has taken some getting use to(ie we are slightly drained)! We are heading to Maine for a few days to where I use to spend my summer vacations(I won the NY war, but next summer we will be Jamestown bound)…it literally takes my breath away with excitement when I think about how much fun Gavin is going to have, Olivia will just laugh at Gavin the whole time, right now we are in the stage that all she does is laugh. I love it.I am excited for the memories being made… I cannot wait to follow up with pictures and stories of the upcoming week….life is good.

 

Happy 4th!

I am not perfect….

I am not perfect, I am not super mom.

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I have not blogged about it…yet, however to those who know me well know I am a tad OCD. It got worse after I had Gavin. I actually googled it and low and behold….”Postpartum OCD” exists. A lot of my personal experiences with OCD are not bad as others may have experienced, and actually beneficial as it helps keep the house organized…all while making me nuts. It is just an obsession with everything being in order, 1 (minor) example is that I have to make sure all Gavins toys are away correctly….all Spiderman toys together etc, and this is after Gavin has cleaned up…I have to “redo” it….I sometimes envy those who simply “leave it” and get to it when they can. The to do lists, the couponing, Pinterest…It is very draining trying to keep up.

Here are a few key moments that stick out to me that set off the compulsion:

We use to host sleep overs for our nieces and a family member said “Wow, your home is so clean….just wait until you have kids”. Literally? Nope…..not going happen and to this day, I still think of that when I am putting the house back in order. You know that sign….”Messy homes have happy kids”? OMG, it makes me nuts. So…..my mom bought me one. Not laughing. “Clean homes have happier kids”….so there! (kidding….)

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After Gavin was born I had a few people over for breakfast and a comment was made

“ How do you have a newborn, a perfect home and full breakfast spread?” I wanted to reply….”He sleeps all day, I am still working on my percocet Rx from the C Section and Chris did the breakfast”……I am a sham. haha.

It was almost like the bar was set…anything less than perfect is failure. I think if I had this motivation in high school I could have ruled the world. So now I am OCD about the house being perfect, everything in it’s place, I mean, it is so bad that Olivia’s bib must match her outfit…she literally spits up on it. It is exhausting to be in my head.

Like other mom’s when I refer to myself as “Supermom” it is very tongue n’ cheek, I am just a mom doing what I think is the best for my children.

I am fortunate that I did have 2 easy kids, I have been “accused” of making motherhood “look easy”…(and for those around for the ride, did I make Pregnancy look easy? I was verging on an asylum during both pregnancies).but am I perfect? No. Last week alone…Gavin ate chicken dino nuggets 4 days in a row (and pretty sure went to sleep with ketchup embedded on his cheek) and I did not get him outside to play as much as I should…. I am not sure what the “perfect” mom would say but I can tell you she is not me…so sometimes perfection is simply an illusion.

Motherhood is something that did come easy to me as I was raised around babies and no, I will not apologize for that, nor do I fault anyone that has challenges as a mother, and just because I may make it “look easy” does not mean I am doing it right…that is yet to be seen.

I am sorry my kids sleep through the night, I am sorry that to date I have only dealt with 1 major tantrum, I am sorry that potty training was a breeze…..why are some moms faulted for this? Why can moms only relate to each other through failures? It does not mean I am a better mom than any other….I am sure what it does mean is Gavin and Olivia are going to give me a hell of a time when they are teenagers!

I am so over the battles between moms…Working? SAHM? Who is failing? Who is perfect? Who had a natural birth? Who breastfeeds? Organic? Does crafts? TV? No TV? Candy? Schools?…UGH it is exhausting and the only ones who suffer in the “mompetition” are the kids.

What is #1 to me is my kids and family….and to keep them #1 I may need to put the actual blogging portion on the back burner…because of my OCD it is literally eating at me….I feel like I read so much that I want to respond to or want to defend myself against and it is too draining. I know that in my imperfection my kids are happy kids, that is what matters to me. I envy the bloggers who put it all out there….good or bad but I am over the “mompetition”, I am over the negative banter. I choose the positive.

I still intend to update my Facebook and Twitter for those who find my “Far from Dull life” interesting…

Four

Gavin is going to be 4 years old in a few weeks.

 4, Four, FOUR?! When did this happen, how did I go from the NICU to planning a Spider-man birthday party in what feels like minutes?

 There is not one day that goes by that I do not picture all 4 lbs of him in the NICU and thank God.

  He was given to us at a time that my hope was gone….I was defeated. I threw away all my ovulation kits, pregnancy tests, vitamins that promised to “do the trick”. We had already failed 3 IUI attempts, IVF was not fully covered on my insurance and it was simply over. I just started a new job and thought I would just be a “career woman”. Truth be told…I was never the “career type”. I never found my niche in college because what I wanted most in the world was to be a mom, there is no major in “parenting”. (although some could benefit from this)….but I digress…so yes I decided to pour myself into work and have my husband and dog and was trying to be content with this.

 Until one day only about a week after I decided I was over it… I was in the grocery store and was overcome with nausea and just felt off. I had to buy a test, (after I just threw out at least 10) and the damn thing was positive. I called Chris at work screaming…he did not react, just said “he was busy” and had to go.  Although hurt at the time, I get it now…he was as over it as I was. I had just had a miscarriage 6 months before and he was over the mind games. A few weeks passed and we got the heartbeat. This was happening. I was having a baby. The pregnancy progressed and I was sick, miserable, whiney, pukey…and at 28 weeks I was hospitalized for pre-eclampsia. Gavin was born at 33 weeks. He was in the NICU for the longest 11 days of my life. Which is a miracle in itself.

 The first time I held him was not until the morning after he was born, I was scared that we lost that bonding time but the moment he was placed in my arms it was as if I was a mom my whole life, it was just natural.

 For the first 2.5 years of Gavin’s life we were at the doctors or hospital more than not. He has had 3 surgeries, and at 3 years old developed severe far sightedness…which is very common in premature children. All minor issues but spending many visits at Children’s Hospital makes you realize the fragility of life and the blessings of having a healthy child…with the occasional medical hiccup. It is for this reason along with the struggle to get pregnant that I cannot bring myself to complain. I simply can’t. Are there days that my kids make me crazy…of course I am human, but I am surrounded by amazing family and like minded mommies who relish in the joy of being a mom. I am so grateful to Gavin for making me a momma….it is an honor really.

 ImageI could not have wished for a better child. He has a heart of gold, is an amazing big brother, smart, witty, hilarious (and lets be honest, he has the most beautiful blue eyes on the planet) and makes me proud on a daily basis. I learn something from him daily, but the most important lesson was to never lose hope.

 

Happy (almost) 4th Birthday Gavin

 “I’ll love you forever; I’ll like you for always, as long as I am living my baby you’ll be”

                                                                                            -Robert Munch

Summer vacation

After the kids went to sleep, Chris and I were discussing going away this summer….

No faster than I imagined my feet in the sand and crashing waves…he drops this bomb:

“I think we should drive to Jamestown NY , to visit my dad”. I almost pretended I had dozed off so the discussion would end….but, instead I listed all my reasons why it is just a bad idea.

 

  1. It is a 9 hour drive
  2. We have a 4 year old and a 9 month old
  3. It is a 9 hour drive
  4. We have a 4 year old and a 9 month old
  5. It is a 9 hour drive….
  6. Amish people everywhere (my personal favorite)
  7. Rest stop bathrooms
  8. It is a 9 hour drive 

 

 

(with all this said, seeing my father in law and the kids seeing Grandpa in person instead of Facetime, would be wonderful) 

 

Marriage is all about compromise….so it looks like I will be taking one for Team Dull. Every time we visit we have a great time and it is very important for the kids to have quality time with Grandpa, seeing where daddy grew up, etc, it is just the drive to and fro that I will be heavily medicated….

This pic was from our last visit 3 years ago…. Classic

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“Gavin style”

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I am the baby in my family, my brothers are 14 & 16 years older than me. (I was an accident, surprise) I have always and still look up to them, but one of my most vivid memories was sneaking in their room while they were out and listening to records, yes records. I always would listen to Beastie Boys “license to ill”.  Now the thought of Gavin listening to such music when he is 6 horrifies me…but in any event it is a good memory and sort of made me who I am. I love music and now I see that trait in Gavin.

He is quite hip…  he asked me to make him a cd for the car, literally gave me a playlist:

“ceiling can’t hold us”

“moves like jagger”

“call me maybe”

“pumped up kicks”

and many more…but the funniest one was “Gavin style” um….huh?

“you know Gavin style? They dance like this (pic included) and say “oppa Gavin style”? (Gangnam style)

It took all the strength in the world to not wet myself…

My parents came to visit and Gavin requested his song so he can show nonni and papa his moves. My dad started singing along….which was hilarious on its own.

“Gavin style” is as far as I will go. He starts requesting “fight for your right to party”, then I may have to put my foot down…

Hindsight

Hindsight

 

Gavin was a preemie (7 weeks) and we had early intervention come until he was 18 months then he “graduated”. About a year ago he started stuttering, so we had them come back….turns out it was all normal developmental mumbo jumbo. He was thinking faster than he could get the words out. Still stressful for me, I blamed me being pregnant for stressing him out. (He has since stopped stuttering)

 

From their visit they thought Gavin would be a great “Pre K Peer Model”…such an amazing opportunity considering he was just under 3 at the time! I was/am so proud! They called me to enroll him for September 2012 and after discussing it as a family we thought it would be too much change with a new baby, new school….so we declined the offer.

 

I had regretted it for months. Although I felt so much better the other day when Gavin and I were doing writing lessons before dinner and he just looked at me with his big blue eyes and said “Can I go play?”

 

That said it all. He is a little boy, a brilliant little boy, but a little boy who wants to play….there will be years and years of school. I feel like some parents push their babies for their own agenda.

 

I almost got sucked it to being “that” parent. I don’t need to post all of Gavin’s accomplishments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc just to prove they happened, ok maybe some….but being a mom is challenging enough to suck the kids into the competition. I know what Gavin is capable of, and frankly that should be all that matters…it is human nature to boast about our children but their is a fine line between boasting and bragging. I would hate to feel like me posting something about my child would make another parent feel bad, when it was not my intention. I think for some parents it is their intention. Even this morning I was in the elevator with a woman who had her 2nd baby a few months before Olivia and she was telling me how her 2nd is not as quick to learn as her 1st…and my only reply was “does it really matter”? I mean, they are babies? I feel the opposite that Olivia is doing things way faster than Gavin did….and the same applies…. simply doesn’t matter.

 

Gavin will begin school in September for the long haul, until then all his workbooks, flash cards, reading practice are away (unless requested) they will be replaced with bats, balls and sidewalk chalk.

 

Who knows maybe those “Tiger moms” will have the last laugh…but at least I am enjoying these fleeting moments with my babies who are already growing up too fast as it is….Image

Baby in my tummy…

Baby in my tummy?Image

This morning I was taking Gavin to his uniform fitting and he pointed out my Dr office on the ride and asked if I remembered going there when “Olivia was in my tummy”? Followed by….”are you going there again? Will there be more babies in your tummy?”  He has been asking this a lot lately…

 

….the answer is NO.

 

Having a 2nd child was something I wanted immediately after having Gavin. Giving birth is the most amazing high and I wanted it over and over again…(even if my pregnancy sucked and I hated every single moment of it). With all of that said, I did get dangerously ill and we just didn’t know if we should count our blessings or tempt fate. We would joke we were on the “one and done plan”…but my heart was just not in it. As obsessed as I am with Gavin selfishly I wanted more, at least 1 more.

 

I truly enjoy being a mom…the good, the bad…all of it. It is a package. There cannot be beautiful moments without heart wrenching ones. We have had both.  I felt like a piece was missing…we needed a 2nd baby. Gavin needs to be a big brother. I wanted to at the very least to try. No fertility treatments. If it is what God intended, then it will happen. Simple as that.

 

3 years passed and on New Years Eve at dinner with Chris I flat out told him “I have fallen in love with the idea of a baby”…he did not say no!

 

 2 weeks later….I saw 2 lines! It was simply meant to be.

 

Then the emotions took over, most of them irrational. Gavin is going to hate me, will he feel slighted? I read articles about siblings and jealously and was really expecting the worst. Gavin is the king of the castle… I was a wreck.

 

From the moment Olivia was born, Gavin was smitten. There is nothing more special as a parent to see the bond between siblings. He has never complained….ok, maybe once he asked me to “put her back in her cage” (pack n’play) but that aside he wants to help me feed her or change her, he is so protective over her and I feel like my heart may explode when I catch him talking to her when he doesn’t think I am listening…

 

And…with the way Olivia belly laughs at him and smiles at him, I am pretty certain the feeling is mutual. I am so happy they will always be best friends.

 

Gavin did tell me he “does not want anymore Olivia’s” , “no more babies, mom*, one is enough”. He also said “no more dogs”….I could not agree more.

 

 Our family is complete.

 

 * Gavin calling me “mom” KILLS me.

“Let me check Chris’ schedule”….

“Let me check Chris’ schedule”…

I. NEVER.HAVE.TO.SAY.THAT.AGAIN! After 17 years my husband is moving on to a new opportunity. I am so shocked, thrilled and kind of emotional.

We run our house like a well oiled machine, I am very proud of this, because it was hard to get here, with Chris’ schedule. My kids are asleep by 7 every night and awake by 6 every morning (Even on Saturday…UGH). It was hard to make plans, hard to enroll Gavin in programs…and even harder when we added Olivia to our coo coo family. BUT….we did it. Unfortunately because of this Chris did not always get to see the kids. It was a tad ridiculous.

 Chris worked nights, weekends, and holidays. In the 9 years we have been together….we have had ONE thanksgiving dinner together. That was in 2004.

 This new job is going to give us the gift of time. He worked so hard to get here and I am so thrilled for our kids to know dad will be home every night for dinner and every Saturday morning for soccer, and Sunday for church. It is something this simple that gives me so much peace. It is a blessing that many take for granted.

 Being selfish, I am excited to be able to make plans for me. Not having to arrange a day off to go toBoston to get my haircut or call my mom so I can go for a day of shopping with one of my bestest. I feel like I can regain a little bit of my own independence too.

 It does make me sad too. We met at his “former job”, when I found out I was having a boy I went there with blue balloons to tell him (since work did not allow him to be at the appt). Gavin loved to go visit daddy there….(and I have a love affair with rattlesnake pasta). So there are *some* good memories there too, including good friendships we have made.

 He has accomplished so much in 17 years and I am so beyond proud of him to make such a bold career move. It was time to move on and we are excited for the future! 

With all this mushy stuff said…who is willing to take a bet on how long until we drive each other crazy? 

 

Kidding……

Family reunion

 

Family Reunion

 “Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.” -Author Unknown

 Next month there will be a family reunion. I have not been so excited about “an event” (besides having my babies) since my wedding…

 I adore, love and obsess over my family. I live for this stuff.

 When I was young I feel like we had these events often as I have many wonderful memories and videos (VHS at that) to look back on. I am so excited for Gavin and Olivia to have to same.

 My parents are entertainers; they love company so at any given time one of my dad’s brothers or sisters is over visiting. I love it. I love seeing them interact with my children. I love that Gavin asked me if Auntie G could come read him a story at “his house”. I love when I hear them all “gossip” in the kitchen. (out of love of course). I love them debating on who Gavin looks like more and that Olivia is my clone. I love the stories of their childhoods, my grandparents and feisty grandmother…who I find I am VERY much like (ie: no filter). I love laughing with them, because we are all stinking hilarious. It is a family trait.

 We see family constantly; we are very blessed we are all so close. However, this will be different. There are cousins and distant relatives that we do not see as often and this is such a great time to do so, catch up and make memories. Like many family units, there have been many years of separation, disagreements, petty BS that I have witnessed and at recent have taken part in. I am refusing to continue to take part. I am so hopeful that this reunion is a day of peace, memories and mending fences. I came to realize that you don’t “fight” with someone that you not still care about. Our family can fight hard and love even harder.

 Even if it takes a few cocktails I am praying that grudges are weakened and family will prevail. I am hopeful…

 In true Nicole “OCD” fashion…I have already have Gavin & Olivia’s outfits picked out. Matching, of course.

 

A couple of cute Gavin moment before I really take a few days off from this….

 

  1. He asked me why the moon was still out and following us this morning….not to mention he wanted to know where the other ½ of it was….***crickets** I had no educated answer….
  2. We had dinner at my parents on Sunday and my dad picked up his fork and Gavin yelled at him “PAPA, NO! You must wait until everyone is served”. I think my dad was pretty close to wetting himself. Hey…at least he has good manners!

 

The kid is a character, for sure.