Friday, May 30, 2008

There will be many to love

Meaghan told me this afternoon--

"I can't wait for that new baby to come. It's going to be so fun. I'm going to hug her and kiss her and squeeze her. I'm going to love her so much."

And she will too...all of it.

Totally boy

After throwing up in a parking lot this morning, both Patrick and Meaghan inquired "Mommy, are you ok?"

"Yes, I'm fine," I assured them "I'm just sick because I have a baby in my tummy."

"Oh, ok" Patrick says. "Can I see the throw up now?"

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mind Games

It's evident that Meaghan is a master at them. She loves them. More than that, she delights in using them to torture, and I do mean torture, her older brother.

Take yesterday, for example. As I was pleasantly driving along, I heard Patrick break out into hysterics. Red-faced, out of breath, and with crocodile tears dripping down his face, he gasped "Mom, tell Meaghan I'm four not three! Tell her. I'm not three. I'm four, Meaghan! I'm four."

Stunned, I adjusted my rear view mirror. "Patrick," I assured him, "of course, you are four. I know you are four. Meaghan knows your four. What's the big deal?"

And then I noticed her. Sitting smugly in her car seat, buckled in and looking dead ahead. She was not using words, not talking, and not even making faces. She was simply holding three fingers over her head...just so he could see what she was doing. "You are three," her fingers mocked. "Whatcha gonna do about it?"

See what I mean...she's well versed in advanced forms of cruelty. Either that or she's just wickedly female. You decide.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Gift of Circumlocution

After the third round of toothbrush removal from drain pipes:

Mom: "I promise not to get angry if you tell me the truth. Meaghan, did you put the toothbrush down the drain again?"

Meaghan: (Looking into the sky as if trying to remember whether or not she's guilty of this particular crime) "Uh, May-be. I think it was an accident,"she says and and then vigorously nods her head in order to affirm her "confession".

Mom: "Patrick, did you know that Meaghan did this?"

Patrick: (Who just finished blaming the incident on Mary Bernadette...again.) "Well, I think it was a mistake," he postulates as he squints his eyes and scratches his head as if he too is trying to remember what happened.

Just when I think he'll turn on her, he demonstrates intense loyalty. Go figure.

Did I mention that I need to purchase every single person in this family new toothbrushes?

A Day Of Fun at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

I noticed all kinds of people taking photos of the fish...not us, we took them of the kids. They are much cooler than fish anyway.

Obligatory Family Photo Op
("Patrick, get your finger out of your nose!")

Appropriate, I thought, in that each of them are often very "cut throat", so to speak...
(Note: Meaghan's bear hug on her sister...she means business.)

Swimming with the fish.

Those two are slippery when wet...

"Is that kid drinking more coke? Who are her parents?"

"Look, Dad, Sting Rays!"


"I've never seen anything like it!"

Meaghan told us her favorite part was not the fish but the parrots...she's waving to them in this photo.

Dad's idea of a "treat"

Their mother isn't nearly as much fun.

His first shinner

WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. These stunts are reserved only for trained professionals.

The cause of the black eye? A falling shelf to the face when attempting to climb on a book case. Ouch. You can see why this is a duty only for experts in the field.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Battle of the Bands

As I lay in my nauseaus stupor this morning, Patrick entertained himself with his cars at the window and Meaghan with her puzzles at the table. After awhile, Meaghan began to hum the Superman theme song. Totally disgruntled by this, Patrick wondered aloud and with perfect annoyance "Meaghan, why are you singing Superman?" (Remember all things Superman and Superhero related are reserved ONLY for is in no way appropriate in Patrick's mind that his sister sing the soundtrack for the cartoon.)

"Because I want to," was her retort as she happily and now aggressively belted out the tune in a louder tone. (Oh, how much MORE fun is it to sing AND annoy at the same time!)

I must say I was proud of his response. Instead of slugging her (which has been his modus operendi) he matched her mind game. He stood up and began singing in powerfully loud, "How do I know, if HE loves me?" (One of Meaghan's current favorites from the soundtrack Enchanted.)

That's good, Son, get her where it hurts...

For your listening enjoyment, please watch this video of the song that Patrick was performing for us. It's quite entertaining...I promise.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today...

We already failed the inspection

As I scurried around this afternoon so the inspector could come and make note of the positives and negatives of our current dwelling place, I noticed something odd in the bathroom sink. The stopper was out and strewn on the counter. When I tried to replace it, I realized that this would be impossible as not one, but several toothbrushes were nestled deep in the crevices of the drain.

I bet I know the first thing that will need to be fixed according to the inspector's report. can guess which two of my three are claiming innocence.

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

Meaghan: "Mommy, how did the baby get in your tummy?"

And later today, in a separate conversation

Patrick: "Mom, how is the baby going to get out of your tummy?"

Hmmmm....I don't really feel ready to field those questions yet. Thank goodness the simple answers seem to satisfy them still.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Our New House

Master Bath

Master Bedroom
Maybe a playroom
Front of house
Back of house
Living Room

Just wondering...

Mom: "Mary Bernadette, put that medicine back in my cabinet right now, please."

"FINE", she says with as much attitude as she can muster.

She's not even a teenager yet and she's sighing and rolling her eyes. Call me crazy, but I don't think "FINE!" is a typical response for a 19-month old.

No Fun Mom

This is my new name after I rudely ended the entertainment of all three Duggan children at various points throughout the morning.

Round One: Both Patrick and Meaghan spent about 30 minutes "cleaning" their water toys in the his and hers sinks in the Master Bedroom. The problem? The five gallons of water they inadvertently spilled all over the counter and floor. Interrupted fun complete.

Round Two: Meaghan switched tactics to help me "clean" my guest bathroom. This involved taking her cart of supplies complete with scrubbers, buckets, and wash rags into the room alone, shutting the door, filling the bucket with water and going to town on my floors. Not only was this NOT helpful, it required another round of clean towels to get up the water. This time in a different location. Interrupted fun complete.

Round Three: Insisting Mary Bernadette wear a diaper after she toddled around this morning without one and peed on my floor. My newly carpeted floor, that is. Interrupted fun complete.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A big blessing in disguise!

Ok, the nausea, tiredness, and overall feelings of "YUCK" are not fun. But THIS is so cool...and totally worth it.

Baby Duggan is already perfectly loved. When in doubt, I just think about how big sister Meaghan talks to her or him all the time.

Pregnancy - 8 Weeks

"As your pregnancy approaches the end of the second month, your baby’s cartilage and bones are beginning to form. She is now 5/8 of an inch long, about the size of a lima bean. She’s doubled in size in the past two weeks, as her body parts that have formed are growing more developed. Her eye structure is developing well, and her tongue is just beginning to take shape. Although still webbed, her fingers and toes are growing in length, and her eyelids are beginning to form. Once fully formed, her eyelids will be fused shut for the next few months. Baby’s embryonic tail will soon disappear, as she becomes more human-like every day.

As for her internal organs, breathing tubes are beginning to extend from the throat to the branches of her early lungs. The nerve cells in her brains are making new connections, forming early neural pathways. This causes her to jerk about like a jumping bean, as she begins her early reflexive movements. Boy or girl? We can’t tell yet, as the genitals have not developed enough for the outside observer to see."

Can you believe it?

We have a purchase agreement on our full price! The first people that walked through wanted it! Oh, happy day again!

A lot has to happen but I just wanted to let you know that things are moving in the right direction! Oh, happy day again and again!

Adding a little color to the world

So I braved Church this past Sunday by myself... with all three kids. I decide not to even try sitting in the pews so we sat on the floor in the Annex where we could see and hear all that was happening. About halfway through Mass, a woman approaches me, points to Patrick and says "Uh, Ma'am?"

I looked over.

He had colored three large brand new ceramic tiles in the newly renovated $30 million Church...bright blue.

I would be lying if I said I did anything except cry.

In touch with his feelings

After a disruptive fight between Meaghan and Patrick, Patrick angrily leaves the room when he realizes he is not going to get his way. As he wanders down the hall, I hear him mutter--

"I hate girls."

Oh, happy day!

My computer is back in action after a several day hiatus due to my home being re-carpeted. Our house is officially on the market and we have people coming in about an hour to look at it. Maybe they'll buy it...

I have MANY funny stories from the last week but they'll have to wait. I may try to post one or two if I can.

Talk to you soon...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

St. Joseph, don't fail us now!

John is outside working his tail off. We are putting our house on the market this week. To sum it up in a single word: AGHHHH!

I won't bore you with the list of "suggestions" our wonderful realtor (and I'm not being sarcastic) gave us because I break out into a cold sweat when I simply think about them. I'll just tell you it's significant and we only have until when? Oh yes, Monday. We have 30 days to sell our house to purchase the one we want. I'll wait to show you pictures. It's cute and we like it, but a lot has to happen for us to get it.

So, poor John is sweating his little heine off outside weeding, trimming, mowing, etc. Next job...paint. We think we'll just do touch up paint on the columns of the house and maybe a new shade on the shutters...whatever will help with "curb appeal". I can't say I'm much help...except for "managing" the children and that is indeed what I call it these days. Laying on the couch, green as can be does not a terrific parent make. As he slaves away, I bark orders to my children from a supine position wondering the entire time "Are we really this crazy to do this now?" I guess we'll find out...

Keep us in your prayers. We need 'em about now. More to come soon...

I love this.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Thursday, May 8, 2008

She's about to be dethroned...

and she's hanging on for dear life.

the old, dirty pacifier that she fished out from behind a dresser.

I think she may be desperate. Regardless, she's terribly cute.

Just Like the Jeffersons..."We're Moving On Up"

He came home with a new car,

a new cell phone,

and a corporate credit card. Did he get a promotion or something?

Congratulations, John! We're so proud of you!

She sleeps with one eye open

The other night, Meaghan had a terrible dream where she was still asleep and crying hysterically. I went in to her room to wake her up and calm her down.

Mom: "Meaghan, wake up. Did you have a bad dream?"

Meaghan: sobbing "Yes. A fox came into the house and bit me. I'm going to hit that fox in the face."

It's amazing to me that even at 3:00 am Meaghan can still manage to be so feisty. She really wanted to hit the fox in the face...she wasn't just saying it. Where does she get that...gusto?

Mom: "Alright. Well, you are OK now. There is no fox. When you have a bad dream, just ask Mother Mary to protect you."

Meaghan: "She's in heaven."

INTERPRETATION: "Duh,Mom. What is she going to do for me when she's not even around."

Mom: "That's true, but she can always help you no matter where she is."

Laying with her for a few more minutes, I continued to calm her down. As I was leaving, I tried once again to assure her she was safe.

Mom: "You are OK now, Meaghan. No, fox is going to come bite you."

Meaghan: "No, but a bear might."

At 3:00 am, I wasn't going to argue. I was not going to win that discussion no matter what. Yes, a bear could potentially bite...but it's not Meaghan that I would feel sorry for if that altercation became a reality. The bear --or fox, for that matter-- would, I'm confident to say, be on the loosing end.

Monitoring the Situation

I'm feeling pretty lousy these days. I lay on the couch most mornings while my children tear up up the place. Every once in awhile they check in on me.

Patrick: Leaning down to peer directly into my face. His nose is so close to mine, they touch. "Are you sick because you have a baby in your tummy?"

Mom: "Yep."

Patrick: caressing my face..."Poor darling. I'll go get you a blanket. Do you need to throw up?"

Monday, May 5, 2008

Do I have time to worry about this too?

I've read several articles/blog discussions that tackle this issue. We already are cautious about diets around I have to worry about chemicals in the kids' water. No more plastic baby bottles, the suggestion is to opt for glass--and we should even beware of the type of plastic used in sippy cups. When will it all end?

A review of the last few days:

*My morning sickness is in full swing. It's a good thing there is a big blessing at the end of all this green.

*The Duggan's are putting their current home on the market in the hopes of buying a bigger one. What a commotion. What a stress. What a lot of energy it takes to wipe away marks on the wall, touch up paint, and clean carpet all with three children underfoot. It's a good thing there will be a big blessing at the end of cleaning up the mess (namely a bigger house and a new chapter in our lives. Did I mention that we must do these things with three small kids? Sorry, I know, focus on the good parts...a bigger house, a backyard, an extra bedroom. Yeah, that's right.)

*We had a family meeting on Sunday to discuss the unruly behavior of a few of our children. After we finished, John and I concurred that the meeting was a waste of time and the oldest two didn't understand anything we said. Our assumption was corrected that evening when Monique (our favorite babysitter and adopted family member) informed us that Patrick eloquently relayed all the "Rules of the House" completing his statement with "I don't want to get in trouble". I guess they did pay attention after all, even if it seems like nothing we are doing works. It's a good thing there is a big blessing at the end of trying to teach kids right from wrong (namely that they will at least know what is right even if they don't always do it and, at a very minimum, that it keeps them out of jail. That's a blessing, right?)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Spring Cleaning--It's Good For The Soul

It seems that when Spring arrives, so do all the "helpful" cleaning articles that offer tips and inspiration to de-clutter, toss out all the junk and start afresh. During Lent, I found myself gazing about the house thinking of the many things that need to be done to my home to "spruce" up the place a bit. There are walls begging for a fresh can of paint, floors yearning for a cleaning, and closests way overdue for re-organization. While I'm aware of the many tasks needing completion, I have not gathered up the gusto to tackle them.

Of course, three small children underfoot allows very little productive time for household "projects". The thought of getting organized while managing little ones...a near impossible feat...overwhelms me. I'm also beleaguered by fear of what I could find..."When was the last time I did spring cleaning anyway? Have I done a really thorough dump since Mary Bernadette was born?" Yet, I can't get rid of this nagging feeling that I need to be better organized and that I should get rid of some "stuff". I long for peace, order and harmony in my home.

In the past, I've undertaken these "home improvement" projects with a vengeance that reflects soldiers in war movies. "Everything must be cleaned, upgraded, and bettered", I've ordered like a Marine Colonel. "We must have this place in tip-top shape." The problem with this approach is that it was filled with pride and vanity. I decided it was time for a change and I made it happen. Once the project was complete, I showcased our improvements to our friends and family for their approval. "Doesn't it look great?," I would demand. Even if my intentions were pure at the start, by the end I would be lost in the activity--having forgotten about Christ as my primary motivator.

Like many women, I fight the temptation to appear like Superwoman, a perfect wife, mom, and homemaker who is effective at balancing all her roles in an orderly and efficient manner. I am guilty of falling into the same trap that Martha did in the famous story in the New Testament. Martha opened her home to Jesus so as to demonstrate her warmth and hospitality towards our Lord. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the preparations she looses her perspective. "Lord", she says impatiently, "tell my sister to help me!" Jesus corrects Martha because although her initial intention was to be pleasing to Christ, to serve Him as best she could, she allows the distractions of her duties to taint her singleness of purpose...The Lord tells her "Martha, Martha, you are troubled about many things; but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42)

How I want to by the one that chooses the better part! It's so easy and so very human to become distracted with frivolities...with things that don't really matter. True, I do believe that Christ is calling me to an organized, clutter free home but this doesn't require the nicest gadgets out there to help me in the process. I don't need brand new furniture and closet organizers. My home doesn't need to grace the cover of Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens. A simple life -- not bogged down by "souveniers from the floor to the ceiling" (as the famous Christian song states)--calls for simplicity. Less stuff. Open space. Less worry about what others will think. Most importantly, more love for Christ.

A priest told me once "When you are doing your dishes, say to Jesus 'I am doing this for you.' When you are cleaning your clothes, say 'This is for you, Christ. When people come to your home, let them know that yours is one where He lives. Do all and everything for Him." Wow...what perspective this gives in preparing and completing daily duties and responsibilities. My house should be clean and orderly for Christ first, for the inside of where I dwell reflects my relationship with Him. A house filled with trash, dirty closets, and items shoved under the bed may be a house that blocks God's grace. When there is an abundance of unorganized "stuff", the "stuff" can get in the can rob me and my family of my peace.

I want to de-clutter, to clean, to purge, and to re-organize the junk inside of me that keeps me from loving you better. Help me not to get distracted with the duties but to do all out of love for you. I resolve to make things new, to create empty space in my home and in my heart for you. Help me in this task so that the work reflects You and Your will. Thank you for my many blessings. Amen.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Death-defying Stunts

After all the children were nestled for naps this afternoon, I climbed into my bed to catch a quick one myself. All of a sudden, I heard a door creaking and for lack of a better description I began to "freak out". "I know I locked all those doors. Who could be hear? Is someone in the house?" I wondered silently, but very scared.

Throwing off the covers, I jumped out of bed and ran into the hallway where I was greeted by a grinning 19 month old who had opened her bedroom door by herself. Not a small feat if you consider she escaped unscathed out of her crib, wandered to her door, reached her chubby hands up, and opened it all by her little, bitty self.

Grabbing her I said "Mary Bernadette, you cannot climb out of your crib. It's dangerous." Putting her back with a kiss and a pat, I gave a few more admonishes and left.

Laying in my bed, I thought "How did she get out? I didn't even hear a thud or crash. That kid is amazing. Will she do it again? Is she safe? Maybe I should put her in the toddler bed. None of my kids have ever crawled out of the crib...she is a stinker!"

And then I heard her...again. Crying. Hard.

Jumping up (for the second time), I ran to her door, opened it, and saw her. She was wedged between the slats that she so graciously kicked out a few months ago....half her body on the ground and her head stuck in between what used to be a bed railing. Although the spot is not that wide, it's big enough for her to wiggle herself between the 0slats oh, so carefully.

She is clever that one is. No jumping, hurdling, or falling for her. No, she'll just worm her way out. I wish I had that much skill.

Blood is thicker than water.

The preschool children from Meaghan's class love Mary Bernadette. When we arrive to pick her up, they all surround the baby and try to touch, kiss, hug, poke, and the like. Most of the time these displays of affection are out of love, but sometimes the little ones get a tad bit rough with MB. This is when Meaghan steps in and takes charge.

Shoving her little body between the baby and the older "bully", especially if this bully is Meaghan's arch nemesis who shall remain nameless (Oh, Okay, it's Chloe) she passionately yells:

"Don't touch my baby sisa! Keep your hands to yourself."

There's nothing like family loyalty in my book. Obviously, Meaghan's too.

My advice: don't mess with the Middle Child. She's a force with which to be reckoned. And she will win...she does with me all the time.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cute is...

a baby who sees a bathtub full of water, walks over and blesses herself with the sign of the cross.
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