Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mothering Ourselves

One of my BFF friends had this posted on her notes portion on facebook. I read it and it resonated deep within. Enjoy!

Mothering Ourselves
By Dedra Keoshian, API Leader

The other day, I was in the midst of scrambling around the kitchen, preparing everyone's breakfast according to their unique requests.

James, 4, wanted pancakes. Neil, 17 months, was pointing to the bananas. I was making a fried egg sandwich on Ezekiel Muffins for myself and urging James to get dressed while I made the meals. My husband, Ed, had left for work hours ago. I had yet to drink in any fuel, a.k.a. coffee, and was feeling the lava mount in my stomach.

By the time James had eaten his pancakes and Neil had scarfed his banana, my sandwich was finally being assembled. Then came the screams for "More! More!" and "You forgot my water!" Now, I will unashamedly admit that I am a grumpy monster in the morning, and I was about to lose it. But something in me said, "Take some breaths, you are the adult here."

As the oxygen flowed to my brain, I turned to James and said, "How many mom-moms are here?" He said, "One." And I said, "How many people are in this room and need to be taken care of right now?" He said, "Two."

I replied, "No, there are three people in this room. There is you, Baby Neil, and me. Someone has to take care of me, too. So, I have to take care of all three of us. You have gotten to eat breakfast and Neil has gotten to eat, but I have had nothing. Mom-moms need food, too."

Parents Need Nurturing, Too

As parents, we sacrifice everything for our children. As spouses, we must sacrifice for our marriages. We nurture these relationships and tend carefully to them, as constant gardeners. But, we often forget to nurture ourselves. We, too, need parents. We must learn to mother ourselves, meaning that we must treat ourselves as persons who have needs that must be met in order to be physically and emotionally healthy.

Our Balance is a Gift to Our Children

This is the best gift that we can give our children. They need to see that even mom-moms are persons of value, with unique needs, concerns, and qualities. Everyone is important...equally.

By showing children how we care for ourselves, they will learn to care for themselves.

They will grow to be mothers who nurture themselves so that they can nurture their children and partners. They will grow to be fathers who love themselves, their children, and who support their partners.

Take Your Needs Seriously

I think that, too often, we look to others to step in if they see we need something. We are slow to ask. But just as we are advocates for our children, we should be advocates for ourselves. Taking just a small amount of time each day to clear our minds, evaluate our hearts, or just veg out can nourish us to continue to give daily, hourly. This will look different for each parent.

Look honestly at what your needs are and set a plan for meeting those needs. Maybe it's half an hour in the bath, uninterrupted; perhaps an hour at a coffee shop with a friend or a good book. Whatever is right for you, demand it. You deserve it; your children deserve it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

10,000 Maniacs

Wordle: These are days

song lyrics and wordle

Nana and Lent

Nana Gracy
Bob's great-grandmother passed away on Monday. We are grateful for the time that we had her in our lives. I know that her attendance to the very important events in the boys' lives has been one that we will remember. She was a spit fire and full of vigor. I enjoyed having conversation with her even though she was normally screaming or asking what I was saying. Our last encounter was at Peanut's Baptism in July of 2008. I had an opportunity to watch her with my children. She was so sweet! We will definitely miss her. God Bless Nana!

It's Ash Wednesday in the Catholic church world-a day for fast and abstinence. I have been anticipating the Lenten season for a while. Lent ALWAYS provides a few epiphany moments about my life and my purpose. I try not to focus on my own sacrifices but on that of Christ and how much it truly has impacted my life. So, as I select my own personal obligations I have significant understanding of who I am and how I will achieving my goals. I am looking forward to this season. Easter is definitely my favorite holiday. We have so many family traditions that I look forward to passing on to the boys.

On a lighter note, Bob spoke with Fr. Stan yesterday while at the rectory. He found out a funny bit of information about his status in the Roman Catholic Church. Bob was telling our priest that his father was baptized in the Byzantine rite but never converted to Roman Catholicism. Apparently Bob and our boys are considered to be practicing Roman Catholics as they are all baptized and Bob has completed all of his necessary sacraments. However, they are truly of Byzantine Catholics...what? Fr. Stan explained that because his father never truly converted the next two generations retain his religion. So, in a matter a few months Bob found out he is Slovak and Carpatho-Rusyn and Byzantine Catholic...CRAZY.

Friday, February 20, 2009

February-A Month of Growth

So many things have happened in the month of February, especially for our Peanut. At the beginning of the month, Peanut began crawling. He is now ALL over the place. He actually ventures to places that Walnut would have never even imagined. We find him all over the place. He especially loves the kitchen despite the hardwood floor. His new favorite piece of furniture is the kitchen island. He wants to sit on the shelf so badly but can maneuver himself in the correct fashion. At Bob's parents he climbs the short step from the family room into the kitchen/dining area. He is exploring and we are enjoying the process. He is so precious.

We also began eating meat. He still HATES green vegetables. However, I am wondering if he will eat them mixed with the proper meat. He likes chicken and sweet potatoes. Thank goodness for organic baby food, too. He is also eating so much better and I am sure that he is in stride with a growth spurt. He is actually drinking his formula-like the entire bottle-and eating at school. He's even downing a whole bottle at 3:00 a.m. We have started using the sippy cup but he's not completely convinced yet. We're expecting him to be a tall, handsome man.

Peanut also had his first dentist appointment on Wednesday. Dr. Mc checked out his bottom two teeth because they have really tiny, little spots on them. He received a clean bill of health but has to have his teeth cleaned. The hygenists at the office went ga-ga over him. He is so very handsome and adorable. He flashes that smile and it is all over. So, we have to go back for his first teeth cleaning appointment.

Another big event in our home occurred last night. Peanut walks around in the Tot Rider II (it is like an old school walker for babies) at school every day. He barges his way through his peer casualities and is walking all over the baby room. He wants to walk so badly that it scares me. Last night right before bathtime, Peanut was playing with the bin of blocks. He pulled himself up and stood. HE WAS STANDING...I WAS CRUSHED. I still long for the baby but understand that it is inevitable. bittersweet. Then, at 3:00 a.m. on 2/20/09 Peanut was standing up in his crib. Time to lower the mattress-again. All of this is happening so quickly. With Walnut it was really a true progression. Peanut is on the fast track to making his mother crazy.

Lastly, Peanut had been a bit fussy at night for a few days. Yesterday I was checking on his teeth and noticed that the top front two teeth have poked through!  That was the shot straight to the heart. Now that he has that two teeth everything changes...ugh. He's not a baby anymore-at least to the normal outsider. However, HE IS STILL MY BABY. 'What am I going to do?' I will keep you posted.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Adam's Sr. Project

My cousin, Adam, is a senior in high school and is heading to Clarion University in the fall to pursue an education degree. Adam was born just a few weeks before my high school graduation in 1991. He also shares a birthday with both of our boys. He and Rachel are very special to me. Nevertheless, Adam had to complete a senior project as a graduation requirement. He and his friend Brett selected causes via the Catholic Diocese of Mandeville, Jamaica: St. Vincent Strambi Catholic Church and High School and Mission Society and Holy Family Medical Ministries. Both of these organizations are supported by people from Adam's (at one time mine) church, Good Samaritan Parish. Fr. Chuck and Dr. Narkevic are the point people for these organizations and have an impact on the youth of Good Samaritan. Adam and Brett organized a benefit dinner to raise funds for these two organizations. It was a magnificent feat and I am truly so very proud of him. They had many silent auction baskets and contributions, a fantastic dinner and great speeches by former priests of the parish. The event was a huge success and I am sure that they raised quite a bit of money for the people and poor of Mandeville, Jamaica.

Not only was the event one of great faith, it was a truly moving experience for me. About ten years ago, I had an epiphany after going to confession with Fr. Mark Thomas. His words and discussion of my penance really impacted me-enough to change my life. I haven't seen him in many years but finally had the opportunity to thank him for his kind words during my confession and to tell him that it changed my perspective about my life. He was moved as was I, a moment I will never forget. Also, I had the opportunity to see many people from my childhood: people I haven't seen in MANY years. I had a chat with my second grade teacher, one of my high school extracurricular sponsors and family friends. They were so sincere in their well wishes that it was an emotional evening for me. I remember them fondly and although I don't think of them often, the event really solidified that I will always be a part of where I came from. Home.

Fr. Sam Esposito spoke to us at length about the difference between philanthropy and being a Christian. I had never really considered the difference as they are terms that are often used synonymously. He presented a different perspective that I really contemplated last night after the boys were in bed. I looked at what I have and imagined, with some understanding, what others don't. I thought about how I can contribute in more of a Christian fashion. I prayed and I prayed. Overall, the night was one of faith and family and friends. An event that rejuvenated me at just the right time. The interesting thing is that we are currently celebrating the Centennial of St. Mary Parish, too. I am faith-filled and looking forward to the Lenten season and beyond. God Bless!

Friday, February 13, 2009

100 Years of St. Mary Parish

Bob and I attended the Founders' Day mass at our church last night. Although the church was less than full, it was an event that we wouldn't have missed. Bob and I both understand how much our faith has shaped us individually and has motivated many of our decisions as parents. Looking back on my church experience over the years, I feel that God is calling me to be more active in the church so that the boys know Christ as a part of their daily lives. Many people question the aspect of religion. Although I don't believe in every aspect of man made laws and religious doctrine, I know that having faith has proved to be a way to know myself better. It does sound egocentric but religion really is about a personal connection with, for us, God and the notion of Christ.

The reception after the mass was one that afforded us the opportunity to meet other members of the church that go to a different mass. I am a point person for the Centennial Committee and really appreciated the effort that the committee members made. I look forward to spending many days at St. Mary and also watching my family and especially my children grow in faith.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Our Boys at Nine Months

By now most of you know that Walnut and Peanut are exactly three years apart. They share the same May 7 birthday. While we try not to compare them for a myriad of reasons, it is always difficult not to look at their heights and weights at the milestone wellness marks. Peanut had his nine month wellness visit today. He only got one shot-polio and didn't cry at all. So, I took a look at Walnut's baby book at nine months and was a bit dumbfounded. Walnut was 32 inches and 26 pounds and 13 ounces at nine months...Peanut is 31 inches and 22 pounds and 10 ounces. I thought for sure that Peanut would have Walnut beat in the length category because he was 1 1/2 inches longer than him at birth. However, I knew that Walnut would have Peanut beat in the weight category...Walnut was off the charts for weight. He was so cute and chubby! Peanut appears to be my long and lanky boy. Nevertheless, they are still beautiful. Here are some photos of them both at nine months.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

There's BC, AD, BCE & CE...but to us there's BAM!!!!

BAM!!!! We know that B.C.=before Christ and that A.D.=Anno Dominini (after Christ). If we were anthropologists we would recognize BCE as Before the Common Era and CE as Common Era. However, in our home we recognize BAM!!!! It stands for Before Andrew and Matthew. On Saturday, my in-laws were kind enough to come to our house to watch our two lovelies. We were going to get our taxes done so that we can file and be done with the IRS for another year. We traveled to Lawrenceville, met with the accountant, were quite pleased with the refund, loved the fifty degree weather and planned to head to the Waterfront.

My wonderful husband indulged me. We first went to P. F. Chang's for vegetarian lettuce wraps, hot and sour soup and moo goo gai pan. First, let me say that Bob doesn't really care for Chinese food. Second, he went without one complaint. Third, I had an epiphany. We actually ate our food at a leisurely pace. We had great conversation that did not only include our children. Then it occurred to me: 'This is like BAM!' It took a while for it to sink in. I looked around the restaurant and recognized that we were without children and enjoying ourselves. Don't get me wrong. I ADORE OUR KIDS. But for the first time since Matthew was born, we were actually relaxed and out on a pseudo-date.

We walked around the Waterfront. We hit some great sales. We got frilly coffees. We laughed. We were carefree. It was so nice and I appreciate our day together so much more had I not had my epiphany.

As a side note: We went to Jumper's Junction for dinner with the kids and the in-laws.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

PWAM AND Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Pittsburgh

Tiffany and Christy at Storywalk 2008.

I belong to a new and wonderful organization Parents With a Mission (PWAM). My friend Vanessa is the group's organizer and is really trying to get us off of the ground. The rationale of the group is to help people who live in the Pittsburgh area. Help comes in a myriad of ways. Our individual strengths have been such a benefit to others. We are currently working on a few missions and have also completed several. I joined this group in the summer and have participated in a few of the missions. I had a BLAST at the Storywalk at Frick Park in September. I met some great women who I am glad to say are my friends through PWAM. It was amazing and I can't wait to take the boys this September. They will love it! If you are interested in PWAM, don't hesitate to contact me or anyone from the organization. The members are extremely friendly and caring. Here is the link for PWAM on

Editor's Note: My Grandma Deiter was my rock. She was (and still is to me) the most wonderful woman I have ever met. Unfortunately, she passed away in 1994. We found out that she had breast cancer during her final days. Ever since, I have known that I want to commit my efforts to this cause to find a cure.

It has long been my goal to become a part of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Walk/Run in Pittsburgh. There have been several years where I have really wanted to get involved but couldn't. The boys were both born Mother's Day week/end and I was a little busy giving birth! :) So, when the opportunity presented itself to get involved this year, I jumped at the chance. I am the point person for the PWAM team of volunteers and participants. After really researching all that is needed for this event to be a success-I am flabbergasted! Last year they had over 800 volunteers! I want to be a part of that day and I really want to send the right message to Walnut and Peanut. Paying attention to the health concerns of the women in their lives is and will be an important element of who they are and who they become. Mary Deiter is always in the back of my mind. I want to do it for her, for all of my family and friends and for myself. So, if you'd like to get involved-LET ME KNOW! We'd would love to have you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Crawling and Football

Peanut is finally crawling. I know...I know... I should be happy with his accomplishments thus far. However, he has been so close to crawling for three weeks. He kept rocking and moving all around the room. It was amazing to watch him get to any spot in the room by careful manipulation and backward movement. I just wanted to see him put it all together. WELL, yesterday HE DID IT! We are so very excited and nervous all at the same time. He has been opening drawers and trying to pull himself up for a while. NOW the FUN will BEGIN. He watches Walnut with great intent. I won't be surprised if he tries to pull up and walk very soon. Dr. D, Peanut's pediatrician, told me at his 2 month check- up that Peanut will not be content until he is moving.

By the way, the Steelers won the Super Bowl. Peanut crawled...a coincidence? I think not. Also, have I mentioned that Walnut was 8 months old in 2006 when the Steelers won Super Bowl XL? Peanut is 8 months old and the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII. Our boys are definitely the X factor. :)


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