Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Aunt Leanne and the Food Service Etiquette Violation

Aunt Leanne is no stranger to hard work.  She's held jobs in various environments including an office, daycare, and in a sheltered workshop.  Along the way, she's learned a thing or two about professionalism.  If you'd like to read her tips, click HERE.  And just like the rest of us, Leanne continues to conquer new challenges, acquire new skills, and make a few mistakes that serve as valuable learning opportunities.
 
She recently began a job at a cafĂ© within a corporate office building where she gets to work on a variety of tasks including food preparation, wiping tables, sweeping floors, and working the cash register. She loves the opportunity to get out in the community and mingle with customers.  No doubt her charm and charisma make her a favorite among those customers.  And it's a good thing she's got that winning smile to fall back on when she oversteps professional boundaries...by shaking the tip jar in the air and telling customers "Don't forget to tip!"
 
Another valuable learning experience for Leanne - yes, the tip jar is there are customers are welcome to tip, but we mustn't verbally mandate that each customer do so.  Another valuable pointer to add to "Leanne's Guide to Professionalism in the Workforce".
Which calls to mind another time Leanne shamelessly solicited a tip...well, you can't blame a girl for trying. 
 
Oh but what she lacks in food service etiquette she compensates for in sheer likeability and cuteness.  Come on - have you ever seen anyone look this good in a hair net?! 
 
Mind your manners and keep up the good work, Leanne!  You make us proud!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

One of Those Days

It had just been one of those days.  You know, one of THOSE days...the kind of day that follows a sleepless night - status quo for the mom of a 6 week old who was an insomniac even before the baby-induced sleep deprivation...the kind of day that includes, but is not limited to:
  • bed wetting
  • toddler 'tude
  • an allergy-ridden tot with her hair plastered to her cheeks by snot which requires a bath
  • an epic blowout in the bouncy seat that mandates a bath and an additional load of laundry on top of the remaining...
  • 3 loads of laundry
  • speech therapy
  • physical therapy
  • technical problems that prevent access to the spreadsheet that holds the contact information for intended birth announcement recipients
  • more toddler 'tude that really makes you think that Aunt Leanne had a point when she asked why we bother letting Thelma out of time out when she will inevitably need to go back in there.  Just leave her in there.  Duh! 
  • a chorus of three children crying at once
  • plate/cup throwing during meals
  • an attempt to write a grant during nap time (don't ask)
  • an incredibly stressful albeit appreciated Skype session with Josie's behavioral psychologist to help us work through the aforementioned oppositional behavior at mealtime
  • the discovery of dry erase marker all over the walls of the playroom thanks to a naughty almost-three-year-old graffiti artist. 

It was the kind of day that made me miss my mom.  For five weeks my mom put her life on hold and temporarily relocated more than 700 miles away to help me recover from my C-section while easing into life as a mother of three.  For five weeks my mom dealt with days filled with the aforementioned challenges and she still woke up eager to do it again the next day.  For five weeks my mom did my job and I never once saw her dissolve into a hormonal, blubbering mess.  In fact, she managed to extract the humor from scenarios involving the unruly graffiti artist and the wake of destruction she left behind.  She saws the therapists' visits as an opportunity to help Josie acquire new skills while celebrating small victories; not as one more obligation on top of an already hectic schedule. 
She even commented that it's too bad that my dad didn't live to experience this because this is truly her favorite season of life.  And I love that about her.  When I'm having an impossibly overwhelming day, I share my struggles with her and she helps me filter them through the heart of a mother who has survived all of this and more, and who is left with wisdom, a sense of humor, and an appreciation for how valuable and fleeting these years are.
Who knows?  Maybe part of her infallibly positive outlook comes from the intense satisfaction she gets from seeing me earn my gray hairs in the same manner that I made her earn hers.  Goodness knows I will have a hard time wiping the Cheshire cat grin off my face the day Merryn gives birth to a "Thelma" of her own. 
 
All joking aside, I hope Mama Hop will accept this meager blog post as a small token of my enormous appreciation for all that she did to help me this summer.  My appreciation grows each time I experience a day that makes me feel like I'm failing miserably in my pursuit of maternal bliss.  And even though I don't always stop and say it, her help is appreciated, her talents are admired, and her absence is felt. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Kind of Photos That Come With the Frame vs. Reality

As soon as we found out that baby #3 would be a girl, my mind started racing with all of the adorable photo opportunities.  Just imagine: three beautiful sisters, perfectly coiffed hair and coordinating ensembles, holding one another in embraces so loving that your heart just melts into a big puddle of sugar and spice and everything nice...
 
Photos like these would adorn the walls of my home and everyone who saw them would wish that they had grown up with sisters because really, what could be sweeter?
I really thought I had the ultimate formula for photographic perfection:
 
three adorable girls  +  a closet that makes you wonder if there's anything left on the shelves at Gymboree  =  the kind of photos that come with the picture frame
 
Then reality hit...





If you were looking for a dream world with glowy photos of beautifully behaved little angels dancing around with smiles so bright it makes you wonder what the heck that mama knows that you don't, well, you've found the wrong blog.  But reality is fun, too!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to earn the title of World's Best Aunt

 Adjusting to being a mother of three has been an wonderful experience and one for which I am abundantly grateful.  However, I'd be lying if I said it was easy.  Amidst the C section recovery, the sleep deprivation, and the never-ending housework, addressing the needs of three little ones has been overwhelming.  Words cannot begin to express my appreciation for the help of my mom and sister. 
 
We call Leanne the "World's Best Aunt" and it's easy to see that she was born for this job!
 While Josie is making great strides in the gross motor category, it is still her biggest area of delay and she needs a lot more physical assistance than most kids her age.  Because I'm not supposed to be lifting more than 10 lbs, Aunt Leanne has been kind enough to hang out here with us during the day to be available when Josie needs help.  But she does so much more than the "heavy lifting". 
Aunt Leanne helps Josie get dressed and use the bathroom.  She encourages Josie to finish her meals.  Aunt Leanne has even devised her own method with the flash cards to help Josie learn her sight words and Josie loves every minute of it!
Leanne is Josie's biggest cheerleader during her therapy sessions.  She observes the techniques used by the therapists and she practices them with Josie later because she knows repetition is the key to skill mastery.
And while Leanne is a fun aunt who loves to sing, dance, and shower Josie in love and affection, she can also be quite the drill sergeant.  Josie's physical therapist would be so proud of Leanne for refusing to carry Josie down the steps.  Instead, she assists her by holding her hands and encouraging her to walk.  She even retrieved the stool and had Josie get into the car independently!  That's an impressive display of skills and abilities, Ladies!
 So how do we express our gratitude to the World's Best Aunt for all that she does to help?  Well, we indulge her gourmet palette with delicacies that are so delightful that that her niece has been nicknamed after them: fish sticks (Catfish with Ketchup).



We also treat her to her favorite beverage at Starbucks: a double chocolaty chip Frappucino:

After exiting the drive thru, we heard a little voice from the back seat yelling "iced coffee...Frappucino...iced Frappucino!"  Teach 'em young, right Leanne?

And we can't forget to ensure Leanne has a fully-stocked supply of her favorite breath freshening products because oral hygiene is of utmost important to Leanne.  And the reason that we can't forget is because she leaves reminder notes:

After all she does for us, the World's Best Brother (in-law - even though this distinction is insignificant to Leanne) wouldn't let her down.
It's the little things in life that bring the biggest smile to Leanne's face!
 
Leanne, thank you for all of your help this month.  You truly are the World's Best Aunt!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Aunt Leanne Blogs: Adventures in Babysitting

hi everbody
aunt leanne
babysit
kids
josie
cafish
ketchup
nickname
pop
mind
that
is
ilove
you
 flased cards
words
say
no
help
from
you
swing
sea
basentment
ssteps
that
it
love eveeboby
meryrran
she
good
for
me
girls
behaive
lay
leg
I
like
her
lydia
peak
boo
good
for
me
smilles
huges
kisses
she
best
baby
 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Well, this just about sums it up...

The result of the obligatory Father's Day photo shoot is an accurate reflection of our life these days - juggling an armload of chaos, laughing through the pandemonium, realizing that as long as we have each other, nothing else matters.  We're figuring it out as we go, drawing on past experience, and not sweating the small stuff.
The only Y-chromosome sporting member of our family deserves a lot of credit for keeping things sane, balanced, and fun!  The qualities he possesses that drew me in and convinced me he would make a wonderful husband, make him an even better father.  We are so blessed to have him in our lives.
 
Happy Father's Day, Travis!  We love you so much!   

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Party of Five: An Update

It's 2pm on a Saturday and I am the only family member not enjoying an afternoon snooze.  There are clothes to wash, dishes to unload, thank you notes to write, paperwork to organize, phone calls to return, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...but I opted to update the blog.  Why?  Because I received the sweetest card from my dear friend, Diane.  In that card, Diane congratulated us on the arrival of Baby Lydia and she told me that she's disappointed that I haven't been feeling well and she hopes I start feeling better so I can update the blog more frequently because she enjoys it so much.  Wow!  She dishes out a Catholic guilt trip that rivals my mom's!  I'm only kidding (insert uncontrollable giggles here).  Her kind words meant the world to me and they reminded me of how much I truly do enjoy blogging so Diane, this update is for you!
So how are we adjusting to life as a family of five? 
 
Quite well thanks to my mom and sister.  You see, they've come to spend the whole month with us to help with the adjustment and that's especially important because I had a C-section and I'm not supposed to be lifting more than 10 lbs.  They make sure I've always got someone around to lift the older girls into their car seats, stroller, toilet, bath tub, etc.  In addition to providing the best childcare available, my mom has also been happily helping with laundry and cooking which means I can focus on recovery and taking care of our sweet bundle of joy.  Words cannot express my gratitude to my mom and Leanne!
How are the girls adjusting to their new baby sister? 
 
Josie is relatively indifferent.  She points and says "Baby Lydia!" and she carefully warns "gentle hands" when reaching out to touch her, but overall, Josie just goes about her business and ignores the baby.
What about Little Mother Hen?
 
As you may have predicted, Merryn relishes in her role as a big sister.  Every morning she asks "Where's Baby Lydia?" and she makes a beeline for the bassinet.  She is constantly talking about how she's going to teach Baby Lydia about letters and numbers and walking and using the potty...which would be easier to do if that darn infant would just stay awake and pay attention!  When Merryn does get a glimpse of Lydia's blue eyes in an open position, she immediately capitalizes on the opportunity to love on her, play with her, and of course, drill her with flash cards...

Are there any issues with jealousy?
 
I'd be lying if I said we hadn't seen an increase of Merryn in "Thelma" mode (Thelma is Merryn's ornery alter ego.  For more details, click HERE).  As much as she dotes on her baby sister, Merryn takes all the necessary steps to ensure that she's receiving adequate amounts of attention throughout the day.  For example, here is my attempt to photograph Baby Lydia for a birth announcement...
Oh Thelma!  You've gotta love her!
 
How's Aunt Leanne?
 
Aunt Leanne is doing great!  She maintains that Baby Lydia is her best birthday gift.  That's right - Aunt Leanne recently celebrated her birthday and in true postpartum, sleep-deprived, frazzled-mother-of-three fashion, I forgot to bring my good camera to her party.  But I captured the moment with some sub-par cell phone shots as we gathered to enjoy some pizza, cake, and ice cream and celebrate the world's best aunt!
 
 Overall, we're doing really well and are so grateful to have another sweet baby girl in the family.  Lydia is doing her best to make sure the transition from family of 4 to family 5 is as smooth as possible with her delightful temperament.  We appreciate all of the well wishes and kind words from our beloved blog followers.  We will do our best to update you again soon!