Friday, September 24, 2010

Beach Day

On Saturday, September 18, our little family took a ride to Wildwood, NJ, for some (limited) fun in the sun - our Luke is too fair for prolonged exposure - both on the beach and boardwalk.  We met Grammy and Nana on the beach in the morning.  We enjoyed an hour on the beach, then a lunch at Sam's Pizza and Curley's Fries reminding me of childhood trips to the boardwalk.  We also enjoyed my favorite fresh-squeezed lemon and orange-ade.  Yum!  We had a leisurely stroll on the boards before retiring to Nana and Grampa's house for the night.

Here are some of the photos from our wonderful day in Wildwood.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Family Evolution

I don't think much has changed!

Six-month photo shoot

We had our friend and photographer, Tricia Ebarvia, come by a few weeks ago to take some photos of Luke.  These are some of the highlights. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

He crawls!

Oh, yes, he does!

On Wednesday evening, with toys surrounding him on the living room floor, our boy finally made a move: first his hand, then a knee followed.  He had about five different toys from which to choose, but the thing that finally got our boy moving was our phone.  Haphazardly placed on the floor about 18 inches away from where Luke was playing, the phone enticed him to reach out and crawl. 

This is all happening so fast!  I am amazed at him everyday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Milestone Monday

Told from Luke's point of view today.  Enjoy!

Yesterday happened to be Daddy's 30th birthday, and I thought I would celebrate with three (yes, three!) developmental milestones all on this one special day.

First, Mommy set me on the floor in the living room so she could do some organizing for Daddy's special day.  She was just a few feet away at her desk, so I wasn't worried that she was leaving, but I was very curious about what she was doing.  So I rolled from my back to my tummy (which I do often), but this time, I got my knees under me in just the right position.  When I was all ready, I pushed up on my hands, and Mommy looked over at me and started to make a big happy fuss all over me.  I love when she does this, so I laughed and smiled and made high-pitched goo-goo sounds.  I could tell she was proud of me, and she told me so many times.  I think she was impressed that I was able to go from a flat position on the floor to an upright, sitting position all on my own.

Then, a little later, Daddy came home from work.  It was earlier than expected since Daddy's computer had a big problem, but I didn't mind.  I love to have my Daddy close by!  My Mommy was a little bit worried, though, and she told me she didn't think she could pull off all the surprises with Daddy home all afternoon.  She took a break from her organizing and took me to my room to play.  Mommy was sitting on the floor, while I sat in my crib just a few inches from her.  We like to play the puppet game while I am in my crib, and Mommy had "Mr. Pig" on her hand.  He's my favorite puppet right now.  I like how he talks and gives me kisses.  Mr. Pig was above my head, just over the bar of the crib, and I couldn't really reach him. With my hands on the top bar of the crib, I pulled up from a sitting to a standing position.  Mommy made a huge fuss again, and I could tell that what I just did made her so happy that she forgot all about Daddy's surprises and how worried she was about all the organizing.  This made me very happy!  But after a short while, I noticed that the top bar of the crib looked awfully tasty, so I put my mouth right on that bar and gnawed away.  Mommy and Daddy both thought this was very funny, and they took lots of photos.  Actually, the bar wasn't as tasty as I had hoped, but it felt so nice to have something hard to chew on.  My gums were sore, and I really liked how firm my crib was on them.  Here are some photos from my crib-chewing session:

It wasn't really long after that when Mommy and I were playing on the living room floor again.  I picked up my favorite teething toy, my Mommy's fingers, and began to gnaw on them like I did on my crib.  Mommy sounded really excited and called Daddy over to look at me.  They both put their fingers in my mouth and looked really happy.  I finally got my first little tooth!  It was a sharp little thing that Mommy felt, but when they looked in, they could see the bottom gum had two little white bumps.  I am so excited that I finally have a tooth because I am ready to start eating big people food, like Mommy and Daddy eat.

This was such a big day for me, that I slept from 7:30 PM until 3 AM without any wake ups!  That's a long time for me.  I wonder what today will bring....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oh, precious sleep!

We hit six months, and we finally arrived at some predictability.  I find it incredible that we lived the last six months with as much uncertainty as we did.  We were not really to know when Luke would eat, sleep, play, or poop.  The only thing we could count on is that each would happen at some point each day, but when was a mystery.  Until now.

Perhaps this is fleeting, like other phases, but from what I have read about baby development, we can expect some level of routine to continue to develop from this point on. 

Generally, Luke wakes up at about 7 AM.  He eats, then plays until about 9 AM.  He naps for about an hour sometime between 9 and 11 AM.  Then more eating and playing.  He usually has another nap around noon or 1 PM.  If his morning nap was short, this nap is usually longer (or vice versa).  More eating and playing and usually a third hour-long nap between 2 and 4 PM.  Bedtime is 7:30 every night. 

I usually notice Luke gets fussy while playing, and recently, he began to lift his arms to be picked up when he needs a nap.  I take him upstairs, rock or bounce him, and usually, he falls asleep in five or ten minutes.  We are really liking this new and improved sleep schedule.  Most times, Luke wakes up happy.  Happy baby = happy mommy!


Our big boy loves his food! He's had quite a wide variety of food so far. He started eating solids about three weeks ago. So far he's eaten butternut squash, sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, pears, prunes, and peas. I know that is more than he supposed to have in such a span, but from previous "encounters" with food, I knew he was not allergic to bananas and apples, allowing us to break the four-day food rule.

Luke has also played with some food in original form. He likes chomping on apples, peaches, cucumbers, carrots, and even a taste of tomato. He's even tried some grains recently.

I did not expect to introduce foods before six months, but I followed Luke's lead on this one. He's less fussy and so much more pleasant and relaxed now that food is a regular part of his day. His favorite food is still breastmilk, and we are working hard at keeping a good supply going; however real foods are great for supplementing for a big, growing boy.

I have cooked most of the foods he's eaten, but we also have a stash of Earth's Best jars for keeping in the diaper bag for when we are on-the-go. As I wrap up my last week of work, it helps to have the jars handy in case we run out of our homemade supply of baby food.

I have to give a great big THANKS to Becky and Drew Edelmayer for sharing their baby food recipes with me.  I made a couple big batches of food so far.  We cook, puree, and freeze the food for the boys (me here in Philly, and Becky in Vegas).  It has been fun sharing our food stories with one another also.  Apparently we both have some food-loving boys on our hands!

Here are some of my favorite photos of Luke eating. I also have some video that I plan to share on the blog in an upcoming post.

 Sour Apples
I want my apples now!
Did Daddy forget to mix these up?
These are some tart apples!
All better, but I want more!

Prunes at the Shore 
Thank you, but I'd like to have that spoon please.
That's better.  I'm a big boy, and I like to feed myself.
I might be messy, but I had fun, and I loved my prunes!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Six months!

Luke is six months old today! It has been six months since I've had a full night of sleep or haven't thought about "making" food for Luke. It's been exhausting and draining, BUT WORTH EVERY MINUTE! I love my little man! I can't believe he's half a year old. If the next six months go by as fast as these first six, we'll be celebrating his first birthday before I can imagine.

Friday, September 3, 2010


What is mompetition, you ask? I am going to describe my journey of discovering mompetition and its negativity that has affected both me and Luke. Read on, if you are curious about this funny word and its meaning....

Obviously derived from the word competition, "mompetition" is the often unspoken competitive nature existing between two or more mothers. (I am not sure if I created the word; I doubt it. I did think it up on my own, but others before me may have been just a clever!) Mompetition is based not on women's competition over things like career, clothes, financial status, as is often the case among women without children or with grown or adult children; rather this form of competition related to the ways in which women raise their children. I have witnessed this with others and felt a sense of this myself.

Mompetition is about who is a better parent, how attentive a mother is to her baby or children, which discipline methods she chooses, or even whether her baby uses a pacifier or doesn't. This competitive nature seems to stem from a sense of what is right and wrong, and the strong beliefs we hold about such matters. What we do or don't do with our children is of supreme importance to many parents. For example, it was very important to me to breastfeed Luke. I did not want to feed him formula, and so I read about breastfeeding as the one and only option I would use to take care of his nutritional needs in his first months. Little did I know I would have difficulty breastfeeding at the start, and that I would need to feed him a few ounces of formula during his first week of life. It was literally a matter of feeding him formula or letting him go hungry, and I chose the former. I cried over it, and felt like I had failed, mainly because I felt like I should have been able to make milk for him. Luckily, that period was short lived, and Luke has now been (almost) exclusively breastfed for nearly six months. I am proud of that. I simply wish that I could have been easier on myself when we encountered some troubles.

So - back to my point - I was convinced breastfeeding was the only way to go with Luke. I felt this was the "right" way, and it is for us, but it is not the only way. I felt a bit superior to those moms who choose formula for one reason or another, and that is where mompetition comes back into the story. Who am I to judge another's choices for her child? Have I read literature that convinces me of the benefits of breastfeeding? Of course. But I have not walked in that mother's shoes, experienced her troubles, or even felt the sensations in her body as she breastfed her baby. It is not my place to judge another for the choices she makes for her child.

I am glad I have come to this realization. I do not wish to be judged for the choices I make with Luke, and I should not and will not do the same to others. I cannot pretend that mompetition does not exist, but I can do my small part to remind myself of the myriad choices available to parents when it comes to how they raise their children. While I may fall on one side of a spectrum of choices, I like having them and feel blessed to have an awareness of the choices available to me: to breastfeed or not, to cosleep or not, when to introduce solid foods, to use a binky, to let Luke cry himself to sleep if we choose, to use diapers, cloth or disposable. The list goes on and on.

I make this firm commitment to other moms out there reading this post: I will do my best to avoid judgment about how you raise your children. We may not agree or do the same things, but avoiding that initial critical thought leads to a reduction of mompetition. That can only strengthen relationships among women.

Missing Poppy

On Saturday, August 28, we lost our Poppy.  He was 79 years old.  I cannot express how much he meant to me, and so, in order to honor his life in the best way I can, I am attaching some photos and including the eulogy I wrote for him and read at his funeral mass.

Poppy's Eulogy
written by his granddaughter, Nancy Flanagan Kelly

How do you measure the life of a man?  In minutes?  Our Poppy had nearly 42 million minutes on this earth.  While it is quite an impressive number, I don’t think it means much.  I think a man’s life should be measured by the influence he had on others.  In all his minutes in this life, Pop had a lot of influence on us.  I don’t pretend to know the meaning of this life, but if I had to make a humble guess, I’d say it’s all about relationships; and our Poppy had a lot of them.  He started his life in 1930 as a son, then as a brother, cousin, and friend.  Later, he became a husband, and not long after that, a father.  In the days I can remember, he became a grandfather and a great-grandfather.  He directly influenced the creation of 16 other lives, and that’s just so far.  We are sure there are more to come.  

In his nearly 42 million minutes, Poppy did and experienced many things, some naughty, mundane, and sad; others joyous, exciting, and fun.  As a young boy, he made a macaroni necklace for a girl he liked, and when he gave it to her, she stamped on it, breaking the necklace, and probably his young little heart along with it.  He attended St. Clement’s School and West Catholic High School, where I imagine he gave teachers like me some trouble.  He admitted to playing hooky and smoking cigarettes in those days!  In his late teens, he joined the Marines, and served our country for a few years.  Not so long after that, he met the beautiful and somewhat shy Nancy Collins on the boardwalk in Wildwood.  With his boisterous and fun-loving personality, he won her over (although I think if Gram were to tell it, she’d say it also had something to do with a hole in his sweater as well).  Even in very recent years, he looked back fondly on sitting up all night and talking on the very first day they met.  Gram fondly remembers that they even went to mass after sitting up together watching the sunrise.  They married in 1952, and soon thereafter started the family that has become us.  He was anxious to start a family, and was concerned about bringing home enough money, but somehow, together, they always made it work.  I’m not exactly sure what life was like in those days.  I know that Poppy volunteered for the fire department, coached the Colwyn Comets, worked for Altair Airlines, and traveled some, to France and Hawaii.  He enjoyed Sunday football, barbeques, and family dinners.  And things didn’t change much as the family grew.

I was the first grandchild to come along in 1981.  He swore that his house would remain free of baby clutter, but then he met me, and he was bit by the grandparent bug.  He then made the baby cradle that has now been used by all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Following me, was his first grandson, Frankie, his namesake.  By the time Colleen, his third grandchild was born, he was a grandfather pro – babysitting me while my mom was at the hospital having Colleen, he even allowed me to play hairdresser with him, putting barrettes in his hair and taking photos of the whole event.  I imagine those must have been some truly wonderful years for Pop, with so much family and happiness.  

Those were the years of FedEx shirts and “finger pockets,” of Billy and Pop sharing “tomato soup.”  They were the years of fun Sundays spent together.  Of the Myers boys running around the yard, selling kisses for a dollar from the front porch, and swimming in the pool, and Poppy jumping in from the tire swing!  They were the years of barbeques on the deck, of singing old-fashioned songs, even one named after Katie.  They were the years of Colleen’s “favorite greens” and always having them for her, every Sunday, without fail.  They were the years of serious planning for Christmas decorations, and being my “carry boy,” every single week.  Of Phillies games in the kitchen, of goodie bags, of Smitty and Crystal and afternoon naps, of trips to Linvilla Orchards, and family above all else.  

Our Pop dedicated his time to the Church.  In his retirement, he helped his good friend Father Cox at St. Clement’s, becoming a lector and Eucharistic minister.  He attended daily mass for a number of years, and developed a close relationship with God.  He was in good standing with the Big Guy, praying for us each day, and doing his service to the Church he loved.  

In recent years, Pop experienced some hard times, first with his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, then over a year ago, lung cancer.  But always by his side was our wonderful and strong Grammy.  I remember sitting at their dining room table only a few months ago, watching Gram pour him a cup a coffee and bring it to him.  After she set it down, Poppy kissed her hand and said “I love you,” and his eyes said it as much as his voice did.  There was no disease of mind or body that could break so strong a love.  

It was around the same time that I asked both Gram and Pop to write down a few memories for posterity’s sake.  We spent some time reminiscing together, even though I was not a part of many of the memories they shared with me.  I will end this eulogy of a great man with some of his own words, written in Grammy’s hand, but coming from his own memory.  Answering  what stories he would want to live on after he’s gone, he said he wants us all to remember how much fun was had while his kids and grandkids were growing up.  Something he wanted us to know for the rest of our lives is how much he loved all of his children and grandchildren.  The advice he wants us to take from him is to get a good education and to never lie.  When asked how he wanted to be remembered, he said as a funny and generous person.  Since we have all witnessed his humor and benefited from his generosity, I don’t think that will be too difficult a task.  When we remember our Poppy, and some of the nearly 42 million minutes we were blessed to have him, let us not be sad (as I say this through teary eyes), but let us remember the truly good times, his love, and our laughs together.