Category Archives: LaLa

Road Trippin’ in Florida


We did it! For the 5th year in a row we made the road trip to FL. Two 11+ hours in the car in a row (and then again on the way back!) to go 1200 miles with more movie, snacks and pitstops than I can count. And you know what? I love it. My kids are *amazing* travelers and I actually like road tripping with them. The Hubs is a horrible passenger, so he drives the whole way, so I get to read, sightsee and chitchat with the family. What’s not to love?

This year we started out in Orlando. We stayed at our favorite hotel and got to visit with some of my favorite in-laws for a few days…


…spent 1 day at Hollywood studios and saw the Star Wars fireworks display…


…and then spent a day at Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive one-day resort where you get to swim with dolphins, snorkel and float in a lazy river all day long. Breakfast, lunch and all the snacks and drinks you could want are included in the price. Our weather was crummy, but it was still the most incredible day. I really, really wish I could break my rule and show a picture of the kid’s faces while they were hugging a dolphin because it’s everything. Truly, a magical experience for all of us. Here the kiddos are looking into Dolphin Lagoon.


The next day we went to Sea World- which, yes, I know I’m supposed to be morally opposed to. But going to Discovery Cove gets you free admission to Sea World and I’m cheap, so off we went! And it was a great day. We rode some rides, saw some shows, petted the string rays and marveled over more dolphins.


We spent the latter half of the week in the Tampa area visiting my parents, along with my sister, her husband and their 2 kids. For those keeping track at home it was 6 adults and 4 kids in my parents 2 bedroom, 2 bath doublewide. And it worked out beautifully primarily because these 4 kids were amazing. (See the little one on the right in the pink shirt? That’s Lala! She and her little brother were the best company!)


Mother Nature didn’t cooperate for beach days our first few days, but a cooler evening made for perfect Spring Training weather. We got to see the Yankees and the Mets play at the Yankee’s stadium and it was amazing! The stadium is about as big as a minor league field, so you’re up close and personal. The players and visiting past players often sign autographs before the game- in fact, Scorch got Reggie Jackson’s autograph this year. The games are fun, the crowds are friendly and there is plenty of food to keep those not as interested in the game (*cough*Bean*cough*) happy. I cannot recommend these games enough for baseball lovers.


This year we tried out a few new beaches. Normally we hit up Clearwater Beach (which is lovely) but this year we went to Anna Maria Island and Fort De Soto. I’m a sucker for any beach, but these beaches were breathtaking.

Another heart shell for the collection.


The view from Fort De Soto.


We all came home with some sort of cold/flu- but who cares. Escaping the cold, seeing the beautiful sights, spending time with family and making life-long memories was worth it!



Here Comes Santa Claus…


So we survived the crazy! Thanksgiving was lovely and fun and delicious- just the way Thanksgiving should be.  And the wedding- oh, the wedding. It was gorgeous and loving and joyous. As an extra bonus, the kids rocked it! I admit, I was nervous- so scared that they’d freeze at the start of the aisle once they saw all the people, but they didn’t. Scorch came down first all by himself looking so handsome in his suit, then the girls (Bean & Lala) followed, dropping petals as they went.  When they got to the end of aisle, the girls just stood there, refusing to sit down until they got rid of every petal in their baskets. Trust me, it was too cute for words! If you know of anyone getting married, we could be convinced to hire them out!


Two days after the wedding, we officially slid into the Christmas season and got our tree. Mind you, it’s not decorated yet, but it’s up and our Elf on the Shelf, Buddy, is back. That counts for something, right? Our first night was a success- we moved the Elf like a boss. Second night? Ummm…we forgot. The kids got a harsh lesson in the fact that Buddy doesn’t move if they are bad- which they surely must have been if he didn’t move, right? Yup- we win at parenting.

I have started Christmas shopping thanks to the kid’s oh-so-helpful list. Scorch asked for (in no particular order) an iPad, and iPod, a Kindle Fire and and Nook HD.  And the Bean asked for handcuffs. Oddly enough, neither list is helpful or surprising!

Best Birth Control Ever


This weekend my sister and her husband dropped Lala off our at our house for a 24 hour visit so they could go to a wedding. Lala is 18 months old now and while she’s smaller then most kiddos her age, she’s pretty much spot on for all her developmental milestones. Fantastic for her, but it meant I had a full on toddler living at my house again for the weekend.

News flash- toddlers are a ton of work.

Don’t get me wrong- Lala is theeasiestkid ever. She didn’t cry or fuss, she went down for bed without a single peep and ate everything we put in front of her.  She was a dream child in every possible way.

But she is a toddler.

I forgot how many times in a day toddlers try to kill themselves. Lala walked into walls, she fell over (on her forehead) when trying to stand up and she had no qualms pulling the kitties tails (my kitties have nails, y’all) any chance she could get.  I thought my house was pretty much still baby proof- but I was wrong. And Lala found everything she shouldn’t have within her first hour here, which made the subsequent 23 hours a bit easier on my nerves.

Lala is a champion sleeper- I could only dream about my kids sleeping that good when they were smaller. Her sleep schedule includes two naps a day- a morning nap (9:30 ish) and  an afternoon nap (around 3ish).  All totally normal and expected- but I completely wiped out life structured around naps from my brain.  On a normal Saturday, the kids and I are usually out of the house between 9 – 10, going to the park or the library, then out to lunch and then grocery shopping. We get home around 2 and just keep going.  This Saturday with Lala needing a nap (even more so then usual because her little hiney was up at 6:15 along with my kids b/c I’m sure she didn’t want to miss a thing), we couldn’t go anywhere.  So we didn’t- which in one way was wonderful, but it also meant by 2:30 when we had to leave, the kids were climbing the walls.

I also realized how much of the good from toddlerhood I wiped out of my mind. The way a baby’s head fits in the crook of your elbow. The fun of trying to teach a kid a new word and hearing them get it.  Watching the intense concentration on a toddler’s face when they try to get a very small piece of food on their fork and into their mouth.  Their drunken stagger, fascinated by everything they see.

All in all, it was an awesome 24 hours and I’m so glad Red and TBO trusted us enough with Lala to keep here. She’s an absolute joy- and also the best birth control a girl could ask for.

Lala Love


Almost a year ago, my sister was admitted to the hospital.  She was 27 weeks pregnant and had a routine prenatal appointment on a Wednesday. That day her blood pressure was a little higher then normal and her doctor wanted to monitor her, so he asked her to come back in two days later for a quick check.  We weren’t worried- Red was healthy and her pregnancy was completely normal up until then.  But during that check on Friday, her blood pressure was even higher and they found protein in her urine.  She was put on strict bed-rest all weekend, but things weren’t any better that Monday.  In fact, her liver was starting to fail and an ultrasound that day showed the baby was smaller then she should have been.  She was sent immediately to the hospital.  Red was told that the best case scenario was that her baby could stay in for 2 more weeks and be born at 30 weeks gestation.

But the base case scenario wasn’t meant to be- for the safety of the baby and my sister, the baby had to be born soon. Sweet baby Lala was born the next day at 28 weeks.  She weighed 1 lb 14 oz and, against all odds, was as healthy as a micro-preemie could be.  But even a healthy 28-weeker is a sick, fragile baby who has to fight just to keep breathing.  Lala spent over 10 week in the NICU gradually learning all the things that we take for granted- how to breath, how to suck, how to regulate her temperature and a million other things most babies learn in utero.

Lala at 2 days old- the first time Red met her

Lala is going to celebrate her 1st birthday very soon.  She’s army crawling everywhere and has the brightest smile you’ve ever seen.  Lala is a peanut- she’ll hopefully be a little over 13 lbs when she turns 1- but she’s a healthy kid.  She’s an absolute delight and to simply meet her is to love her. She is an honest to God miracle and brings more joy to our family then you can imagine.

Today is World Prematurity Day– did you know over a million babies a year die from complications related to prematurity? That number is simply staggering to me.  Today and everyday I’m so very thankful for my sweet, strong, feisty niece.  I’m also thankful for organizations like the March of Dimes that have spearheaded the fight against prematurity to give babies like Lala a chance at life.  I urge you to read about prematurity because you never know when it may hit close to your home.

Turning the Tables


When Scorch was born, my sister Red considered herself a bit of a baby guru.  She didn’t have any kids of her own, but she did have a really big hand in helping raise her best friend’s baby.  She and her best friend were military wives and their husband’s were deployed when her friend’s baby came- so Red was the birth coach and the co-parent for the first few months.  Which was awesome- but it also meant that Red had opinions on a lot of things. Some things were really helpful- like, as stupid as it sounds, how to properly pack a diaper bag without bringing everything with you.  But some of the advice I just ignored because while it sounded good, actually using it was a whole different story.

From the day he was born, Scorch wasn’t a great sleeper (not much has actually changed there).  The Hubs and I were at our wits end trying to figure out how to get this child to sleep.  Red and my Mom would always tell me to let him fuss, to let him cry, that it won’t hurt him.  But…but…but…that was my baby! There was no way I could let my poor sweet exhausted gorgeous child cry!!**  We went round and round over that little piece of advice for ever and, at the end of the day, I never let Scorch cry it out.

But now- now the tables are turned! Baby Lala, my sweet niece, is almost 7 months old and sleeps fantastic at night (seriously, I’m jealous), but her napping situation is another story.  I have to say, I take so much enjoyment out of throwing that “just let her fuss” line back into Red’s face that it’s almost criminal.  I love watching her squirm and come up with all the excuses I did when faced with the same advice  because what sounded good in theory seems damn near impossible when it’s your own kid.

**All that said, we did let the Bean cry it out (checking on her every 10 mins, never letting her get too worked up) the day she turned 6 months old. After 2.5 years of not sleeping at all, she and her brother left us no choice. And I never once regretted it.

Love Thursday: Lots to Love


You’ll have to forgive me for not being able to come up with coherent post tonight.  It stormed last night, which meant I was up with Crazy, our dog, for 2 hours.  I’m tired- so let’s talk about the random things I’m loving right now:

1) The fact that So You Think You Can Dance starts back up today! That show is my guilty pleasure for summer!

2) The book Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal   I started reading this last night and can’t put it down- really well written and an amazingly compelling story.

3) This hot weather (which I will love even more when the Hubs puts in our air conditioning).

4) Shopping for a new-to-us car. I love car shopping- the research, the negotiating, the fun of figuring out what to get!  We are looking for mid-sized SUVs with a 3rd row if anyone has any suggestions!  The key- needs to be around or under $20K to stay within our budget.

5) That fact that I get to see Red, TBO & Baby Lala this weekend for Baby L’s baptism!  We’re spending all day Saturday with family, I have a pretty dress and my kids will get to have a ball with their cousins.

6) We’re finally thisclose to getting resolution on the Hub’s job situation- cannot wait for that!

7) The Hubs went back to work after being so sick today. Love that man, but it was time for him to get out of the house.

What are you loving today?

Love Thursday: The Random Edition


I’ve been sitting here for the past 30 minutes trying to figure out what to write about tonight.  The fact of the matter is, I’m exhausted.

The kids, thank God, are finally healthy enough for Mary to come back full time.  But the Bean- oh, the Bean- is wearing me down.  I forgot just how batshit crazy almost 3 year old;s can be.  The most difficult phase with Scorch was this age too, so I know it’ll pass- but difficult for Scorch meant a grand total of a half a dozen crazy meltdowns.  Bean averages 4 of those a day.  I love so very very much, but she’s making me crazy.  She’s fighting us over everything, screaming the house down and  hitting her brother.  The Hubs and I haven’t lost it yet with her, but she is going to bed a good 30 minutes early every night for the sake of our sanity.

So, that’s the long way of saying I don’t have it in me to come up with a gushy, funny post today.  I love my kids and I’m thankful for them, but I’m just as thankful for bed time and ice cream tonight!  But, there are a few random things I’m loving right now:

1) I got invited to a Post-Rapture Looting Party- where we’re invited to take all the good stuff left behind by those called up to Heaven.  I laughed for 5 minutes over this.

2) I am taking 3 hours of me time tomorrow to shop for Baby Lala’s Baptism! Sweet baby girl is doing wonderfully- growing fast, smiling & laughing. I can’t wait to get to hold her again in a few weeks!

3) Between my travels and the kids being sick, I’ve been able to read a lot lately:

  • I read the first two books in the Millennium Trilogy- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl Who Played with Fire.  I liked them both, although the first one had a lot of financial crime info that I had to slog my way through. The second one was a much faster read!
  • The Scorch Trials– This is the 2nd book in a series that started with The Maze Runner.  Again, I liked this book better then the first and am looking forward to reading how this all gets tied up!
  • The Brave– I normally like this author (Nicholas Evans) very much.  But this one wasn’t as good as most of his works- the characters weren’t nearly fleshed out enough and the plot harped upon in the summary (Iraq veteran accused of horrible war crimes) was barely touched upon.
  • Past Perfect by Susan Isaacs- another author I normally love with a book that felt flat. One of my biggest annoyances in books/TV shows/movies is when the main character doesn’t tell the people around him/her what they are doing for no good reason and then get stuck in horrible situations because they didn’t speak up. That happened a lot in this book, so I spent most of my time reading this yelling at the main character in my head.
  • The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.  I have no idea why I got this book about WWII in Russia, but I generally liked it. But lordy, it was depressing!  Not something I’ll be in a hurry to read again, but it kept my attention.
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.  This book was recommended to me by the Children’s Librarian at our local library, so I checked it out and I’m glad I did.  It’s a YA novel about a 17 year old girl who gets to re-live the last day of her life 7 times to get it right.  At first I didn’t like it- the main characters were harsh and the look at high school was pretty unflinching- but then I got sucked right in. Yeah- the kids were mean, but they were honest and the book didn’t pull any punches.

4) I was asked today to be a Running Buddy for Girls on the Run at a 5K walk/run in 2 weeks. I’m so excited about this because I’m hoping it’ll be the kick in the butt I need to start running again. Maybe this time I’ll enjoy it!

5) The sunset tonight is gorgeous (pardon the quality, best I could get with my cell phone). I’m so glad we have green trees around again.

Love Thursday: The Littlest Ones


Way back when I started to read blogs, I only consistently read a few.  One of them was The Spohrs are Multiplying– a blog about a family in CA with an adorable sprite of a daughter, Maddie.  Maddie was born at 28 weeks and had an extraordinarily hard first few months of life.  Despite the odds, little Maddie survived her rough start and thrived.  I loved reading about her adventures with her parents, Heather & Mike, and looking at the adorable pictures her mom posted of her.  Maddie’s bright eyes and endless eyelashes grabbed you the minute you saw her- how could you not be captivated?

2 year ago today, Maddie died suddenly.  She got sick- a severe respiratory infection that her lungs, scarred due to her permaturity, couldn’t handle. Maddie was just shy of 18 months old.  I had never cried over the death of a stranger before, but I cried over this little girl and her parents.

But as touched as I was, I never really understood prematurity and all its causes and implications until my sweet niece, Lala, was born.  Because prematurity was something that happened to other people. Not healthy 29 year olds who took great care of themselves while pregnant.   It couldn’t happen to women with top-notch medical care.  It couldn’t happen to my family. Right?

Wrong.  It can and it did.  My whole family was shocked by how quickly my sister’s healthy pregnancy took a turn for the worse.  And then how quickly it turned from bad to an emergency where Lala had to come out now not only for her sake, but for my sister’s as well.   I say a prayer of thanks to God every single day that Lala is with us and doing as amazingly well as she is.

While God gets all the credit, the March of Dimes get some too.   The March of Dimes is an amazing organization that not only gives support to parents with premature babies, they also have pioneered medical advances that have helped kids like Lala (there are a half a million premature babies born a year) survive against amazing odds.  This spring the March of Dimes is putting on March for Babies– walks all across the United States to raise money for their efforts.  I urge you to walk this year- in Maddie’s memory and in celebration of our sweet Lala.



11 weeks and 2 days after she was born, Baby Lala is home!  Born at 1 lb 14 oz, Lala is now up over 5 lbs- sent home without a single wire or monitor.  Red and TBO are free to pick her up and love on her as much as they want without worrying (too much) about schedules and over stimulation.

It’s a beautiful thing.



Save Your Drama for Your Mama


Some one evidently shared the saying in the title with Scorch the minute he exited the womb because he’s been doing just that from day 1.  My sweet little boy isn’t prone to temper tantrums or angry outbursts when he’s upset.  Nope, he channels all his feelings of anger and frustration into tears. Copious amounts of them.  I have to admit after his first bazillion tears were shed, they’ve pretty much lost their potency and I’ve become immune.

So Scorch pulled out a new weapon in his arsenal this past weekend.

You are the meanest Mom ever!
(this was after I wouldn’t let him watch a TV show because he had just finished watching a 90 minute movie. I think that’s enough TV time, right?)

This is the worst day ever. Of my whole entire life.
(This was after I  insisted he take a nap after he yawned his way through lunch. He proceeded to nap for 1.5 hours.)

You don’t love me. If you did, you would buy me a new Iron Man toy when you go to the grocery store!
(1. I never buy toys at the grocery store. and 2. When did it start becoming a rule that I had to bring him home a toy every time I left the house without him. Don’t think so, kiddo)

I have to say, the words hurt at first.  I panicked- holy cow, my kid thought I didn’t love him! But I do- I adore him, everything about him! Doesn’t he know that? What can I do to prove it?

But as the verbal onslaught continued I started to get really peeved. Seriously kid? This- this- is the worst day of your life? The day we visited friends, went to the library, had dinosaur shaped sandwiches and watched your favorite movie is your worst day ever all because I made you take a nap?!  I would have cried tears of gratitude if someone insisted I nap!

As for his insistence that I didn’t love him because I didn’t buy him a toy superhero? Let’s just say he’s damn lucky I didn’t share his birth story with him and flash him my stretch marks!  That would’ve shown him love.


Thankfully Baby Lala is still too young to cause Red & TBO any grief like this.  The Peanut is 7 weeks old today- she would have been 35 weeks gestation had she stayed put. She’s up to a whopping 3 lbs 7 oz (almost 2 lbs over her birth weight)!  She’s off all breathing assistance- no CPAP, no nasal cannula, nada- and doing beautifully.

They are working on compressing her feeds.  Itty bitty preemies like her are fed 24/7 when they are first born, so the doctors are now trying to get her to a more normal newborn feeding schedule of only getting milk ever 2-3 hours.  She’s working really hard at taking 5 oz of breastmilk twice a day from a bottle instead of through her feeding tube. That still exhausts her- it’s hard working figuring out how to eat and breath at the same time!  Her brain bleeds are staying stable which is what the doctor’s expect- they won’t start going away for another week or so.

It’s amazing to get all this good news about Lala- hopefully she’ll be home within the next 5 weeks!