Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November ramblings ...

I'm coming up on the last week of class for my first college course.  I'm happy to be moving onto the second one, and found this one to be very easy.  I've gotten a 100 on each and every assignment, as well as my journal submissions and class participation.  It's a little different going to school online than going to a class on specific days.  You have to log in at least four out of 7 days and post twice four different days.   You can't do everything in one day or you lose points for participation.  I think that is probably the hardest thing that most people have found to do. 

About half way through this course, University Success ( a dummy course really, to just get you acclimated to taking classes and learning how to use the system) I decided to change my major to Education/Special Education.  It's a dual major which will give me a teaching degree as well as a degree in special education.  So I'll actually be attending a sister college of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University, which was created as a teacher's school in the 40's. I'm really excited to get started, I feel like this first "real" class that starts on December 12th is when I truly begin my college education. 

Enough of that .....

Mikaela turned 10 months old on Friday .... 10 MONTHS OLD!!  I can't believe it, time has flown by so quickly!  Then again, Aislynn is already going to be 15 in a few weeks, and wasn't it just yesterday I brought her tiny self home from the hospital?

She had her check up and she is now 17 pounds and has 8 teeth!  She is walking, tentatively up until a few days ago, then all of a sudden it's from one end of the living room to the next.  She's definitely begun to develop her own little personality and invariably cracks herself up throughout the day along with us.  She has her Dad wrapped around her little finger, just like Aislynn, and she loves to throw things on the floor from her high chair just to watch him make a funny face at her and keep picking it up.

She "talks" all the time, a never ending stream of baby words that sometimes sound like something familiar and we respond in kind.  I swear one night she said "ok" in response to my saying it to her.  She loves the cats and the dog and Remy will play with her, tug of war mostly with his toys, the cats generally stay away or tolerate a few minutes of hair or ear pulling.

We had to get a new babysitter a few weeks ago after the other quit suddenly and without warning.  Luckily, we have a great friend who comes to the house now and plays with her all day.  She's been a gift from God or the gods or whomever is watching over us.  There isn't much I could really do to repay all she does for us.  She is awesome with Mikaela and Remy gets up in the window and watches out the window for her every morning.  There is nothing more important to parents than being able to leave your children with someone you trust.  To be able to leave for 7-8 or more hours a day, leave our hearts behind with someone and trust them to do as good a job watching over our children as we ourselves do, well it's priceless really. 

We are really excited for the upcoming holidays, even though Mikaela doesn't really understand the whole Christmas = gifts thing, it's still going to be fun watching her pull the paper off (and of course stopping her from eating it) and discover a new toy inside.  Also, Aislynn turns 15 on December 17th and she doesn't get quite as animated about her gifts as she used to, but it's still great fun watching her open the things she has asked for.  The pleasure is always there just watching my loved ones that morning open up their gifts hoping that it's just the right thing, or even if it's something they asked for, knowing the pleasure they will have when they see they got it.  Well ... that's part of what Christmas is about.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pursuing your dreams ...

Well I did it.  I know I talked about it at the end of summer, but I'm now a full time college student, full time working Mom and Wife too.  Fun stuff!

After two ridiculous experiences trying to attend two different local county colleges, I finally settled on University of Phoenix.  It's awesome!  I get to finish my Bachelors in four years time and I'll be able to teach!  WOOHOO!!  Seems funny saying that, especially since I've been a teacher's aide for ten years and have pretty much been teaching anyway.

I've been a parent for 14 years now and isn't that a form of teaching too?  Being a parent is the most important teaching position anyone can hold, in my opinion.  You're teaching a person from the very beginning how to be a good person. It may seem that they have their own ideas about things and sometimes it's really hard, but eventually they learn something new and it's the most amazing feeling! Imagine, being responsible for the values and morals of another human being, wow ... when you really think about it, it's kind of mind blowing!

Anyway,  University of Phoenix is awesome.  They call you back (imagine that!), whether it's your enrollment advisor, academic advisor, or financial aid advisor.  EVERYONE CALLS YOU BACK! Imagine such a thing!  All my classes are online, I can work on things while I'm on break at work or from home at my own pace so long as everything is submitted on time.  The support of the online community at UoP is great too.  Mostly everyone is like me, adults returning to college after a long hiatus.  We all mostly work full time, have spouses and children to take care of before we can even think about class, but being able to "attend" class online means we don't have to worry about making sure someone else is taking up the slack.  I couldn't imagine doing this out of the house at night, no way could I stand being away from my family for a few hours a couple nights a week for four years!

As it goes, I have a class every five weeks.  Just one class at a time, more concentrated, than if I was taking four classes over a four month period with a two week break and the summers off.  I'll go year round for four years to complete my bachelors degree.  You're allowed up to 14 days off between classes although they don't recommend taking more than that, if there's a special circumstance you can request more time.  I can go on and do my Masters program through UoP too, and if I choose to go for my doctorate I can do it through there as well.  I will probably do up to the Masters through UoP, and if I do want my doctorate I'll go to Rowan or another college close by.  By then Mikaela will be 6 and a little more independent with things.

The only thing I wish was different is that UoP offered History as a major, right now I'm an English major, but I can always take some classes online through Gloucester County in History.  I think i'd really like to teach history and pursue my doctorate in something history related.

Anyway, if anyone who reads this wants more information about University of Phoenix, I can put you in touch with my enrollment advisor, he's great and so helpful!

The end result of all this schooling is so many things beneficial, better pay, more say in my work place position, brighter future for my husband and I to be able to enjoy our later years and actually retire with the ability to do what we want, and most important to me, it shows my daughters that it's never too late to pursue your dreams!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

8 Months!

So much has happened the last few weeks.  I went back to work for the school year, Aislynn started as a freshman in high school, and Mikaela got FOUR teeth! However, today is her 8 month "birthday"! We can't believe how quickly the time is flying by.  Bob keeps saying that next thing we know it'll be Thanksgiving then Christmas then we'll be celebrating her first birthday.

Mikaela crawls all over and she thinks it's hysterical.  She giggles almost the entire time and occasionally stops to either sit up and smile and laugh up at one of us or she stops to push up to her knees on something.  I don't think the crawling will last long, she'll figure out how to walk sooner than we think, I'm quite sure. Earlier today I found her sitting up in her crib playing with the little dog she keeps in there.  Time to lower the mattress!  When Aislynn was about Mikaela's age, she pulled herself up, stepped on the bumper and flipped herself out of the crib.  I found her in her room crawling across the floor crying.  Scared the heck out of me! So hopefully, Mikaela won't do this to me, I don't know if I'm young enough to survive the scare at this point! haha

She "talks" a lot now.  Even gestures with her hands, palms up while she hollers.  I tell her "That's your Italian showing!" Sometimes it sounds like she's saying something specific so we answer in kind.  She just keeps on hollering and making her point known. We've had to stop our conversations sometimes because she gets so loud we can't hear what we are saying.  Someone better teach her some manners! haha

The one thing that has been a little frustrating until a few days ago when I decided not to worry about it anymore, is that she does not like baby food.  She won't even open her mouth for the spoon.  I've tried so many different foods, fruits, vegetables, cereals, everything to no avail.  The only time she opened her mouth for something willingly was chicken and gravy believe it or not.  Even then it was only a few times and that was it.  I think she may just not like the consistency.  So I bought her some finger foods and she does fine with them.  She's still sleeping through the night and gaining weight and growing so I'm not going to stress about it.  Since she has a few teeth now I may even start giving her little pieces of whatever we're having for dinner.

I feel sometimes like don't have enough time with her during the week because she wakes up around 5 or so and I get about 45 minutes to an hour with her before I have to get ready for work then drop her off at the babysitters before work.  By the time I get home it's after 4 and between getting her fed and bathed and cooking dinner, then it's around 7 and she's ready for bed.  This is the schedule she put herself on with bedtime.  I'm sure it'll change at some point, but this is fine for her for now.

8 Months <3

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years ago I was standing in the back of a classroom at Oakcrest High School, my second week as a teacher's aide, when suddenly the classroom door burst open to a colleague telling us we are under attack.  I had no idea what she meant, then she turned the classroom television on, raced out of the room to let the rest of those in the hallway know.  I stood there, watching and not truly understanding what was happening.  I saw the second plane fly into the second tower and the gravity of what was actually happening in New York City came to me.  I watched as the news casters tried to explain what was happening in trickling amounts of information.  I watched in horror, covering my mouth in shock, as the towers came crashing down, first one then the second, realizing that there were people in there still.  Workers, firefighters, emergency workers, police officers .... people with parents, spouses, children, grandchildren, friends just like me. When I got home from work that day, I let Aislynn play in the living room with her toys, some cartoons on, while I sat on the edge of the bed watching the news still going on, and I called to ask my husband if he heard what had happened. I remember just thinking this is so surreal.  For a few days we watched as they pulled survivors out, then it became bodies.  I found out that my cousins husband, a firefighter in North Jersey, had decided to go to Ground Zero to help.  To this day he won't speak of what he witnessed, only saying it was more horrible than anyone can imagine and that seeing it on television is nothing compared to seeing it in front of your eyes.  I lived with a fear that my own husband, a volunteer firefighter who had been put on stand by for possible request for help, might have to go there. Thankfully, he never had to go.  Three hundred forty three firefighters lost their lives that day, along with police officers, emergency workers, and thousands of people who worked in those buildings as well as the Pentagon, and that field in Shanksville, PA.  Today I'd just like to say Thank You to those people who willingly went into those buildings and saved lives ultimately losing their own.  Thank you for being the kind of person you were and watching your families speak is an honor.  May you all rest in peace and know you are not, and never will be, forgotten.

Monday, August 8, 2011

13 Years

Today at 12:30 pm was officially our 13th wedding anniversary.  Even though we've had our ups and downs, the one thing that has always sustained my relationship with my husband is that underneath it all, we love each other very much.  Sometimes it's so easy to pack it in and say I give up, but if you do the best you can to work through your problems and issues, most of the time, you will come out on the good side still together.  Too many people give up too easily.

So today I raise a glass to my husband and I.  We have a beautiful home, we work hard, we have two beautiful kids and at the end of the day we go to bed together (sometimes earlier than he claims he wants to go in lol) and we wake up together to face another day.

I love you honey, thank you for being my husband, lover, partner, best friend, biggest supporter, wonderful father and hardest working man I know. I don't know what I would do without you in my life.  I'm very proud to share my life with you.

August 8, 1998

Sunday, July 31, 2011

6 Months

Dear Mikaela,

You are 6 months and one week now ... I can hardly believe it!  You're growing so fast and have a tooth finally popping out of your little gums.  So far teething is going alright, no fever, no real stuffiness or crankiness to speak of (thank goodnss!).

This weekend is your last weekend sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's room, you're moving on up to your bedroom tomorrow night.  I got clean sheets on your crib and went through your dresser (AGAIN!) to clean out the clothes that don't fit you anymore (growing like a weed!) so I know what I'm going to need to get you in the fall.

You are going to crawl any day now.  You push up to your hands and knees, rock a bit then fall forward (haha) so we haven't quite mastered how to move your legs and hands to move forward.  The first few times you did this you thought it was hysterical and just laughed and laughed.

You talk and sing all the time, of course none of it makes sense, but we have some great conversations with you. :)

A few weeks ago you started going to a new babysitter and Daddy and I are very happy with it.  She's got a few kids and the house is always in motion, so of course napping doesn't happen as much as it used to in the morning, but that's alright because you take a nice one when we get home and still go to bed around 8 or 8:30.  You seem to love Carolyn and the kids entertain you, that much is for sure!

You are still such a good baby, I can't believe the luck we have with both our kids, Aislynn was such a good baby and so are you!

Speaking of Aislynn, Daddy and I were looking at some of her baby pictures the other day and we are just amazed at the resemblance you have to her.  It's like you are the same baby.  Although your hair is a little darker than Aislynns, otherwise it's just uncanny.

This is Aislynn at around 10 months ... 

Mikaela at 5 1/2 months ... 

It's amazing to us how much you look alike!

One of the things that we remark on and many others is how your hands and feet are constantly in motion.  When you really start moving there will be no stopping you!  

We love you so much and are enjoying every second of you! 

Mommy and Daddy 

Monday, July 18, 2011

The high chair and first feedings that aren't a bottle!

We still have Aislynn's old high chair in the basement so I didn't ask for one for Mikaela.  I realized over the last few weeks that Mikaela, while she isn't quite able to sit up by herself, she likes to be a part of what's going on, especially at dinner time.  So, today I drug the high chair up from the basement and cleaned it all up and plopped her into it.  She's still a little short and needs some extra padding on the sides, but she sits up there pretty well.  This is gonna come in handy because she's starting to have at least one meal a day of cereal and fruit of some kind from a spoon.  She's growing so fast!

hmmm cereal and peaches ... I just don't know

Ok no so bad!

Fun Family times in OC, NJ

Bob's brother, Eric, his wife Kathy and their three cute kids (Sarah, Evan and Emily) came to visit New Jersey this past week.  They spent the week in Ocean City, and we were lucky enough to get down to visit with them and spend some time both on Sunday and then again on Thursday night for a few hours.  It's always so good to see family, especially when they live states away and you don't get to see them often.  The kids are growing so fast, both ours and theirs.  Can't wait to see them again, we're hoping to be able to visit Virginia soon.

Mikaela trying to grab Sarah's face

Ahhh finally got ya!

Emily, she's such a cutie, she was born in early September of 2010.

Birthday boy and cutie patootie, Evan.

Watching babies get so excited to see other babies is so cute!

I'm not sure but I think Emily is trying to stay away from Mikaela's grabby hands! LOL

Monday, June 27, 2011

8th Grade Graduation

On June 13th, Aislynn graduated from 8th grade.

Ok now that I've caught my breath again, yes 8th grade.  This means (GASP!) we are the parents of a high school age kid.  Now I've worked with high school kids for about 8 years now, and I am so proud to say my kid is NOTHING like the kids I've worked with.  Aislynn is such a good kid.  She's a homebody, her friends love to come over and she is well liked at school.

Yes, I'm sure she's Bob and I's daughter.

Anyway,  she decided to dye her hair recently.  Red.  Fire engine red.

Pink streak in the front and some orange high lights through it.  It's freakin awesome!  She looks so grown up.  *sniffle* Such a beautiful girl. 

A few parents said to me "OMG did you know she was doing that?!" I said "I made the appointment!"

Take it from me, if this is the worst thing this kid does, or get a tattoo (which I'll take her when she's 18) I'll consider myself very lucky.  

So proud of you, Aislynn!

Five months

Dear Mikaela,

It's so hard to believe you are 5 months old already!  It seems like just yesterday we just brought you home from the hospital.  Time sure flies.  You're developing your own little personality every day.  You're so happy all the time, your smile lights up your entire face and makes anyone who sees it feel happy.  You're definitely Mommy's little girl, just like Aislynn when she was little.  Daddy and I went out at night for the first time alone since you were born and Aunt Brianna babysat for us.  You're not too happy when someone besides Mommy tries to put you to bed, a right little terror from what I understand.  haha

You haven't gotten any teeth yet, but the way you chew on your hand (ultimately choking yourself), I think you will have one popping through before long.  You've had your first real giggle fits too watching Remy run around the room, it's pretty funny to watch and hear.  You squeal with laughter whenever he comes in your line of vision while you're playing on the floor.  It's so much fun watching you change every day and learn something new.

We love you so much, funny little thing!

Happy 5 months!!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Aunt Brianna Visits

My sister, Brianna, is here for two and a half weeks while I finish up the school year.  She's just graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and one of the perks of having a sister that's an artist is that she always has a camera ready.  She took a bunch of pictures of Mikaela today and they're alternately cute and funny.