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Danny Jr’s BIG Announcement

Danny Jr. has exciting news to share… he is going to be a BIG brother!! And a great big brother he will be! I am so excited to welcome another bundle of joy to our family this summer.  I am a lot less excited to feel sore, cranky and exhausted… while running after a busy toddler, but I know it is well worth the prize at the end of the finish line.  I am already 13 weeks along and everything so far has looked great.  Since I had preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome with Daniel Jr. my doctors are monitoring me much closer this time, which is very comforting.  The bonus of a high risk pregnancy? We get to have way more than just the two ultrasounds that come standard with a normal pregnancy! It is so lovely to be able to see our little peanut often and watch how he is developing.

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Yup, you read that right…. this time around, we opted for a blood test that determines the gender by 11 weeks! Crazy, right?! Just two years ago this test wasn’t available so I was excited that I could find out almost 2 months early.  And I am over-the-moon to have another boy! I can’t wait to dig out Danny Jr.’s old clothes and marvel at how teeny tiny they are.  I remember crying putting his clothes away, wishing I could squeeze him into my favorite little onesies one last time so it is so special to be able to have his little brother wear some of those very same clothes! It will be wonderful for Danny Jr. to have a friend and playmate as they grow up and Danny will be a great big brother; he is so helpful, caring, loving and *loves* doting on his baby cousins.  I can’t wait! :]

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Rest in Peace, Rilo

“If love alone could have kept you here, you would have lived forever.”

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There is no easy way to say this.  There have been so many amazing things that have happened between when I last updated this blog and now, and it didn’t seem right to add a lose as huge and monumental to me as a post-script to all of those.  So first and foremost, I need to acknowledge the profound loss we faced the day after Christmas 2014.  I took Rilo outside to use the bathroom and when a friend of Dan’s offered to let her in the house for us, she slithered out of her leash and ran down the street.  There are two places she usually goes.  It seems as though she looked for the black lab around the corner, who was inside for the night, then decided to cross the street to visit another neighborhood dog she likes to visit.  It was a choice that proved fatal for her.

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The only silver linings we can find are these: she appears to have died instantly and likely painlessly, and the weeks leading up to her sudden death were marked with discoveries of what seemed like cysts or tumors rapidly developing on her neck/back.  We planned to get them checked out within the next week or so, and feared the worst.  She also was having severe pain in her ear that was unresponsive to ear infection medicine that usually worked wonders.  Her ears started to bleed and I wondered if one of those bumps could have been deep inside her ear.  She had so many health issues from the moment she was born.  For this reason, we wonder if her quick, sudden and seemingly painless death was God’s plan to end her suffering rapidly.  We believe He knew we would have done everything to keep her alive and wonder if He wanted to avoid that pain – for her, and for us.  It’s the only solace we can find in losing not just a pet, but a loved one.  I often joked that I was happy Danny Jr. was a boy because we weren’t certain Rilo could have handled hearing Mommy and Daddy’s little princess being uttered in reference to anyone but her. She was my first baby, she was more than a dog – she was truly a family member and so far, in the one month since she has been gone, nothing has been the same.  We miss her everyday.  Even those little things that used to drive us crazy before (begging for food, hogging the bed, stinky dog farts) we miss.  Well, maybe not the dog farts…🙂

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Rest in peace to my sweet baby Rilo. We will all miss you so much. You were always Mommy’s little princess and you always will be. And you were the most amazing big sister to Danny Jr… he loved you so much and you always were so good to him. Nothing is going to be the same without you and there won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t think of you. I love you forever and always.

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Freezing Time

Danny Jr. is such a big boy.  It’s hard to accept that he’s growing up – and growing up he is! Right before my eyes! Every day he discovers something new.  Suddenly he says, “vroom vroom” as he pushes his hot wheels cars across the hardwood floor.  Out of left field he… climbs out of his crib.  Okay, some discoveries are way cooler than others.  The climbing-out-of-the-crib thing took me a bit by surprise, even though it shouldn’t have because he’s made attempts often.  In the very same day he has delighted himself by also breaking out of the pack ‘n play.  So, after his seamless bottle-to-sippie-cup transition, he began another: the crib to Big Boy bed rite of passage.  I want to freeze time.  I’m excited to enter these new stages with him but I wish it wasn’t going by so quickly.

He is almost two years old.  But not yet.  He’s not two, yet. He’s still Mommy’s little baby.  

It has been hard to keep writing but, while I never really make “resolutions,” I think this year my resolution is to write more.  That’s the only real way I’m able to freeze time.  And as each day slips into the next, the more I find myself wishing I could press the pause button, stop time and just savor these moments forever.  Yet time keeps ticking.  And while I know I will look back on my journals and blogs and understand why there are large gaps in time when I didn’t write – life was so busy then, I’ll think – I will also wonder what we were doing from July 2014 to January 2015.  Such a long stretch.  Which Halloween was that? The one where Daniel dressed up as a fox? No, that was the year before.  Was it the year he dressed up as a robot? Yes, that was it. I want to be able to remember the memories that right now I think I’ll never forget.  And I won’t forget, but the details will become hazy.  They will mix up with other details of our days.  It will be hard to remember which was which when I’m walking down memory lane 5, 10, 15 years from now.  So this time, a resolution makes sense.  I need to write more.  I need to find away to make the clock stop ticking on, to freeze time, to capture these little moments and never forget them – not a single detail.

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A Place for Everything, And Everything in its Place

Lately, I have been struggling to keep the house tidy and organized and I know the reason why: right now, there isn’t a place for everything, so everything is not in its place.  This morning, I knew I had to take on at least one of the projects I’ve been putting off because they are those make-things-messier-to-become-more-organized type of projects.  With a one-and-a-half year old running around, it is tempting to just shove the junk in the junk drawer, the clutter in the closets, various toys all lumped into one toy box just to get them out of the center of the living room floor.  I want to re-organize my dishes and my kitchen cabinets and my bedroom closet and Danny’s closet but… I JUST FINISHED STUFFING EVERYTHING IN THERE TO SEE MY FLOOR.  Why in God’s name would I want to take it all out and sift through it during nap time when my tazmanian devil will come tearing back through it at any moment?

But the household will keep running in this vicious cycle until I take a deep breath and get to it, so this morning that is exactly what I did.  I looked around at our neat bedroom and emptied the chaos of our closet onto the floor, on the bed, on the chair – everywhere.  I felt overwhelmed but I gave myself a pep talk and dove in.  I threw out so much junk I had no idea was in there and immediately felt less burdened by clutter and chaos lurking behind the closet door.

I wouldn’t dare take a before and after picture because that’s how bad the before is.  No, seriously.  It was that bad.  But finally there’s a place for my maternity clothes, greeting cards, outgrown baby clothes, keepsakes, winter hats & accessories… a place for everything, and everything in its place.  

The next project to tackle is the kitchen cabinets and drawers.  Here are some Pinterest ideas that I think I might try out to help get our kitchen under control!  We don’t have a pantry but we do have ample cabinet space that could be utilized far better than it is currently.   

Cabinet-Sized elfa Mesh Drawer Solution - for health and beauty items in the bathroom cabinet?

I love this idea because I find that I waste a lot of vertical space in my kitchen cabinets.  I like the idea of keeping kitchen towels and oven mitts corralled together in an easily accessible location. 
organized kitchen- fill cabinets with square glass/plastic containers, add labels, organize by item and frequency of use

Using containers for food storage is a great idea because it ensures that everything stays fresh, things fit uniformly, and if you buy clear ones you can see how much flour, sugar, rice, or other ingredients you have left easily before you take a trip to the grocery store.  

Kitchen organization

I store my cleaning supplies under the sink and I have to admit: it does not look like this at all. There is a lot of wasted space under the sink that could definitely be used better.

kitchen cabinet organization - Google Search

 I need dividers like these to help keep off our cookie sheets and muffin tins organized and neat.  Mine are constantly falling over and making loud noises as I look for what I need, much to Daniel Jr’s chagrin.😉

Basket on counter for oils and spices. Very handy while cooking.  Kitchen organization

Use baskets to keep cooking oils and commonly used seasonings together.  I need to buy baskets and luckily it is summertime so that means yard sales are in full swing and that type of find should be easy! If not, Savers always has them.

From the Rubbermaid site - Product #1H42, for about $7.50.  i was just thinking i need some organization under my cabinets!

And last but not least, my personal favorite, simply using wire shelving dividers for pans.  Brilliant! My lower kitchen cabinets have a built in shelf that actually will probably make this idea impractical, but maybe when we buy our own home one day I will implement this idea! 

What’s your all-time-favorite organization tip!? I’d love to hear! 

Mission Failed

I really, really wanted to take monthly photos of my sweet little Daniel, but after an unexpected move (water damage in our ceiling the night before Christmas Eve!), the Holidays and getting into the groove of things as a working Mommy have really interferred with my plan.  In the chaos of moving, I lost my stickers.  Daniel was sick as a dog around Christmas, and one day slipped into the next and we never captured our 10 month photo.  The next month was just as crazy as we moved to a new house with NO notice whatsoever.  We couldn’t find the stickers after the move, and the 11 month photo slipped by us.  I have a one year photo shoot but it was too cold to wear just a onesie, even with a space heater on blast – and we still have yet to find the stickers.  Of course, with a son as cute as Daniel, just because we didn’t have an official photoshoot for the last three months of our crazy first year doesn’t mean we don’t have photos!  I will pop back here soon to share them all, but for now… here is our big ONE YEAR OLD enjoying his birthday breakfast on Valentine’s Day!

Balance

4-Step Solution to Curb Your Smartphone Addiction

It is funny to me how polarized my feelings about no longer having a cell phone.  In one sense, it feels amazing to go for walks and take our surroundings with each step.  I remember walking Rilo with my iPhone in hand and a few blocks later wondering how we’d gotten so far with my finger speedily texting or checking e-mails or my newsfeed the entire way.  I would look behind me and think to myself, “I hardly remember passing that green house” because my face was buried in my phone. I’m relieved to not experience that with my son.  I like that I can take in him taking in every tree, rock, squirrel, house and barking dog along our way.  I like walking down the boulevard and feeling present with Daniel, experiencing moments and memories just for us.

But at the same time, I look back on photos of him from his early months and find myself saying, “awww! I forgot how teeny tiny his toes were!” and I wonder if I’ll forget our walks, his little sunglasses, his blond hair, his little toothy smile.  I look at my own Timeline on Facebook and feel paranoid that people think I’m a bad mom because I don’t have a daily Instagram snapshot to share. How ridiculous is that?  Here I am, spending time with my son, soaking in each moment, but a speck of me feels like it’s not enough because there’s no social media documentation of it.

I also miss the instant ability to share our little daily moments as they happen.  In so many ways,not having a smartphone has helped me but I know that soon I will get another because this was all meant to be temporary and at least now I know I can live without it.  At least it will (hopefully) not be second-nature to me to stare at my phone screen in the palm of my hand or look at Danny through the camera and not through my own eyes.  Hopefully this extended hiatus of not having a phone will help me change my behaviors toward it….

 
“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction.  The world will have a generation of idiots.”
 — Albert Einstein

Dear Daniel

Dear my sweet baby Daniel,

You have kept Mommy and Daddy busy for months now.  Once you started walking, you quite literally hit the ground running.  You are so fearless.  You are still always, always, always happy.  You wake up in the morning and instantly say, “Hi!” with the biggest, sweetest smile, your little hand clenching your fingers into the cutest little wave.  I am still so enamored with all of those small moments that have made up the last sixteen months together, I just have so much less time to sit and write about it.  When I do have time, I should be using it to finish school work.  This is my last week of my undergraduate degree.  I can’t wait to hold that degree in my hand so that I can put all my energy into you, and never have to stay up until midnight writing a paper when I could be resting for another fun day of play with you.  I am so excited to hold that degree in my hand so that I can tell you that I did it.  I promised myself, and you, that I would get my B.A. in Communications before you turned two years old and I did it.

Photo: Happy Father's Day to the most amazing Daddy in the world, Danny Donovan Sr.!!! :-*  We are so incredibly lucky to have you in our lives.  You take such amazing care of your little family and we would be so lost without you.  We love you so much and hope you have a great day!!! :)

Blue’s Clues and Sesame Street are your all time favorite shows.  You love to say “Hi Daddy!” and “Hi Doggies!”  You love throwing balls, bouncing balls, kicking balls and rolling balls.  Big or small, you want them all.  Blocks and books are favorites, too, and finally you stopped putting every-single-object-you-touch into your mouth.  Now you put every other object in your mouth.  You love sweeping, vacuuming, and anything the Grown Ups do. You love to “help” Mommy fold laundry.  You have so much zeal and excitement for the task that despite doubling the amount of time one load would take to fold, I let you join in.  I love your little toes, I love your little giggle, I love your face when we say, “say cheese!” and I love how peaceful you look while you sleep (and sometimes snore, too!). You blow Mommy kisses when I leave for work, hug the back of my knees while I wash the dishes, try to make me laugh, and play hide and seek like a pro. Danny, I am so in love with you. You have the sweetest, most laid-back, amazing personality.  You are only 16 months old and I amproud to be your mom.  I am so lucky and blessed to have a son like you.  You are the best gift I could ever receive.  I love you so much and I am so happy I’m your mom!

All my love,
Mama
XOXO