Friday, August 31, 2012

Big Scary Monster

There was a monster in my room this morning. At 4 am it shook me hard and woke me up.  Damn thing wouldn't leave me alone.

It was disguised as a preschool.  Bright happy colors, shapes, letters, numbers, giggles, just awful, horrible things.

It was disguised as two little Patrouchs dressed up for their first day of school.

It was disguised as a mom who is not ready for her birds to leave the nest.


I have to keep telling myself this is a great thing, it'll be good for all of us, this is what happens in life.  Kids grow up.  They cut the cord(s) a long time ago.  The benefits far outweigh the negatives.  The kids will make friends, learn some stuff, be out and about taking on the world.  There is a parade in November, a Christmas show in December, and lots of fun things in between.  A pumpkin patch awaits them, music class, the playground, painting, and a party each month.

How is it that my kids are old enough for classroom parties?  I remember my mom coming to those.  Doesn't that mean I was just a kid?

I'm trying to be strong.  I didn't cry once at orientation, even though I desperately wanted to.  I still plan on sending them, even though I desperately don't want to.

The pain of leaving CJ the first day I dropped her off at daycare is still very strong in my heart.  I'm planning on that exact emotion creeping out on Wednesday.  She was only in daycare for a year and a half, Gabe about a month, but I left her with an amazing woman that has since become one of my closest friends.  She's the only non-family member to have ever watched my children.  How can I possibly break in TWO new people?!  How can I possibly think any situation other than at home with me is good?

Let's not even start to talk about Harper going next year!  She's never been out of my sight for more than a couple days her entire life.


We are fortunate and blessed that I have been able to stay at home at all.  We are lucky to be able to afford such an amazing preschool.  I have to invoke the "Patrouch Power of Positive Thinking" and focus on what a great opportunity this is for all of us.

If I can get through the first week, I think I'll be ok.  Funny that everyone asks how we think Gabe and Carter will's really ME everyone needs to worry about. HA!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Harper!

At 4:30 am Harper cried out, just once.  Enough to wake me up.  She put herself back to sleep but I was awake.  Wide awake.

The morning was still, quiet, dark.  Much like it was a  year ago.  Marc and I had to get up early to get ready and head out.  I didn't get a chance to kiss and hug my first two, but I didn't want to wake them.  I wanted them to enjoy their rest before their lives were changed forever.

It's amazing how the addition of one small baby can really change the flow and energy of a house.  More laughs, more hugs, more kisses, one more bedtime routine, one more morning routine, another personality to get to know.  Hectic, yes.  More work, yes.  Endless flow of love, hell yes.

As I drifted in and out of sleep this morning I kept going back to different moments from Harper's birth day. The way I felt, the way Marc looked, how everyone treated me at the hospital, the excitement bubbling over in all of us.  It was a day for the history books, one of the best days of my life.

At 7:59 am a baby girl was handed to us.

I won't ever be the same.

I love you Harper Riley Patrouch!  Here's your birthday sign from last year!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Little Peanut Happy Pant

These pictures were used for your 1st birthday party invitations!

Deep breath.
I can do this!


I've deleted this post at least once and started over.  I am continually adding and changing things. Words seem so easy, and yet so hard, to come by.  You're an angel baby.  You are sweet and happy, huggable, kissable, and oh so wonderful.  Sometimes I think you might hurt your cheeks from smiling so big!  Your tiny little frame has nothing on your big, humongous smile.  And when you smile, everyone around you smiles, it's infectious.  You are everything I want to be in life - joyful, easy going, one to run with the pack in the best way possible yet willing to strike out on your own at anytime, and always ready to come back to home base for a hug and a snuggle.

You are a snuggler.  My only one.  For the past two weeks I've broken the sleep training law of not cuddling your baby at night, but I couldn't help my self.  Your tiny body on mine, knees tucked under you, arms around my sides, the rhythmic moving of your chest up and down, and the tiniest little sound of your breath in and out.  It was intoxicating.  It paralyzed me.  I'm sure I won't remember exactly how you looked, even though I studied your outline, but the feeling will never be forgotten.  You are my girl, my baby, my last bird and I am guilty of wanting to keep you the baby forever.  You'll be the one I overprotect, the one that I won't let fly out of the nest too often, I'll yell at the other kids for picking on you, I'll make you breakfast while the others are offered bagels.  I got your back!  Forever and always.

Harper, I am struggling with you turning one, probably more so than the other ones.  You are petite, I mean really petite, I think you might reach my knee.  You just look like a baby.  Big eyes, soft cheeks, stalky frame that you toddle around on, meaty hands and knuckles.  Your hair is still fine and wispy, short, barely to your ears, and words have not yet formed.  Your kisses are open mouth and wet, your laugh is still a little rumble.  Adventure for you is climbing up the stairs, following your brother around to pester him, and loving any toy your sister touches. Innocence is still deep inside you, joy can be found easily, and the world is still a place of rainbows and butterflies.

My wish for you is that you always stay this happy.  That you don't let the world toughen you up, hurt your heart, or make you lose your love for your family.  I swear if you don't cuddle with me as a kid, teenager and adult, we'll have words!  I'll carry you in a Moby wrap if I have to!!!  I'm not foolish to think that there won't be tough times ahead, times when we don't agree, times when we don't talk, and times when I am simply unable to take your pain away.  But please know, little girl, I will ALWAYS try my hardest to support you, love you, wipe away tears, make boo-boos better, and be your biggest fan.  I'll wear your jersey, yell the loudest, clap when you dance, sing along to all your songs, get excited for every picture you draw, be nervous and excited for your first school dance, try and be calm when you learn to drive, go with you to vote for the first time, pay for your concert tickets, whoop and holler at your graduations, and lovingly fix your veil on your wedding day.  And, well, for all those little moments in between I'll lend a hand, offer my ear, give you a hug, and pat you on your back.  I'll try to sit back and let you fly, but please know it will kill me.  Hopefully I'll be able to teach you to fly solo and you'll always remember to fly back home.

Tomorrow you won't be a baby, you will officially be a toddler.  Your face will start to change, your body will get longer (maybe!), and you'll start navigating the world on your own a bit more.  I know you'll still need me, but you'll need me less and in different ways.  You're already using a sippy cup, eating food on your own, playing with your siblings without my overprotective glare, walking, climbing, understanding names, growing up right before my eyes.


As I write this I am having a big ol' healthy cry.

When they handed me a 6 pound 14 ounce girl I was instantly in love. You were so perfect, so cute, and looked just like your daddy.  Luckily at this point I was used to that happening!!!   From very early on I knew you'd be a girl, but you would throw me for a loop every now and again and make me think you were a boy.  And you scared me when you measured small while still in my belly.  Really scared me!  You'll learn, quickly, that I freak out pretty easily. When it comes to you three birds my antenna are sensitive!  But here you were, a tiny human being.  I've learned that's just what you are!

HR, Ha Ha, Harps, Harpie, Harpsacord, Harper Ri, Harper Riley, "you right there", baby girl, little peanut happy pant, happy birthday!  Every single part of my heart and soul loves you.

When I was pregnant with you I listened to A LOT of Zac Brown Band, I mean, a lot. One song in particular, Knee Deep.  And whenever it got to one line I would start crying.  Now, they are a country band and this song is a fast paced one, no need to cry, but that's what you do to me!  You make me a mush.  But that's ok, I like who I am because of you.  I am softer, sweeter, and take the time to give real hugs.  You've taught me to truly enjoy the moments of my day.  God sent you to bring sunshine to Team Patrouch.  And sunshine is exactly what you are!

"Never been so happy, never felt so high, and I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise."

Love always and forever and ever,

(PS "Litte peanut happy pant" is the name on the tag of a pair of pants your Aunt Lisa bought you. When your dad and I read it we both said, "Oh my gosh! That is the perfect description for her!"  It's what you are, a little peanut and happy!)

(PPS Here is last year's blog with the story of you, HRP - I Will Follow You Will You Follow Me)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Big Things

Big things are happening!  My youngest, my third bird, my baby will be one on Saturday.  Both sadness and joy creep around my heart for this one.  I'll write more in her birthday blog, but it's something I've thought about everyday this week.  Yesterday I spent time going through the pictures of her birth and first week at home. God, she is a cutie!

CJ and GB are starting school after Labor Day.  C will be going 5 days a week and G 2 days, both 9-12.  Again, sadness and joy for these big events.  I'm hoping to blog about it, but we'll see if I can handle it!

I'm also in the process of potty training CJ.  She doesn't have to be for school, but I think it's time and just needs to be done.  So far so good.  I guess.  One little hiccup (that I won't write here because it's private) but we are working through it!  Cross your fingers for me. What's fun though is that GB takes a turn every now and again and does a great job.  Man, a life without diapers sounds wonderful. Well, at least only having one in diapers!

Still on my Facebook boycott.  I've cheated a few times and reactivated, but I've only stayed on for a few minutes each time and then quickly deactivated.  It's quite freeing, actually.  But the whole reason I did it was so I could spend more time with the kids before school starts.  What I've learned is you can pay attention to them for 23 hours out of the day and the one hour you try to do something (shower, talk on the phone, check email, sit and be quiet) they are all over you, little buggers!  C was as happy as a clam playing by herself until I got on the computer to type this blog, now she is all over me! So if this blog makes no sense, that's why!

Oh, yeah, HR is cutting at least four teeth and it has been a rough ride.  She is not happy, she isn't sleeping well, and a little bit of a crank from time to time.  I do feel awful for her, but I'm not sure what else I can do for her.  Even holding her, which always used to work, doesn't seem to be working.  Ahhhh, the life of a mom, right?!

The summer league of volleyball ended last night and I have a few weeks before the fall season starts.  I have to say, I had fun this summer. Playing outside was great and we had some great people on the team.  Good times!  Luckily I'll have yoga each week so I'm not fully out of doing something for myself.  Yes, once, twice, sometimes three times a week I do something just me, all alone. Selfish, maybe, but much needed.  I STRONGLY suggest it!

Ok, so that's it for now.  Baby #3, TBD, Harper Ri birthday blog to come on Saturday.  If I can make it through a wet keyboard!

Friday, August 10, 2012

ENP Truths

Back in May I read this blog - The Story of Us: My Truths and then in July I read this blog - Womb With a View: Truths.  I love both, a lot! So I have been thinking about my truths.  I've decided to do it a bit differently.  I have three categories because it was too hard to just pick some truths about myself.  I am a mom, wife, and person, and quite honestly I am sort of different, yet the same, in each role.  (Not to say they aren't or anything!!!  They chose to focus on parenting and that's awesome! I am just super wordy and narcissistic and like to blog about myself!!!)

Here I go!

Mom Truths
  • I will always kiss and hug my kids to the point they have to wiggle away. Even when they're 30.
  • I'd go crazy without modern technology. I'd probably be a very bored SAHM.
  • I treat each child differently in almost every aspect-sleep training, discipline, eating, worrying about, love, etc. The one constant is that I'm crazy about them.
  • I'm shocked at how much I love being a mom.
  • Never, ever, ever have I thought about using cloth diapers. It makes me feel icky.
Wife Truths
  • Forever and ever I will worry about Marc liking me.
  • My husband is far and away my best friend. But it's crucial to me to have a girl best friend.
  • Marc is the cutest boy I've ever met. With a super cute butt.
  • I will always feel badly about not giving my husband 100% when he gets home from work. But I'm really tired.
  • Laughing very hard with my husband is a key component to our very happy marriage. He's hilarious!  Him making me laugh means more to me than anything else.
Personal Truths
  • I will always, always laugh at inappropriate things and at the wrong time.  You fall down, I laugh.  We're at Christmas Mass, I laugh.  Off color joke, I'm laughing!  
  • My hair is my favorite feature. It's pretty and low maintenance.
  • I think I believe in God. I pray every night, but still question Him a lot.
  • I develop girl crushes all the time.
  • I'm still dreaming about being 5'10. I'm almost there at a whopping 5'5.

What are your truths?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Would You Like to Dance Around the World With Me?

Four and a half years I ago I was given this note with a beautiful ring.

Four years ago, today, we shared our first dance as man and wife.

Today I get to dance with the loves of my life.


I couldn't have picked a better dancing partner.  I love you!  Thanks for your love.  Thanks for our birds.  Thanks for holding my hand.

Let's keep dancing!

Your Wife

DMB's "I'll Back You Up":

I remember thinking
I'll go on forever only knowing
I'll see you again
But I know
The touch of you is hard to remember
But like that touch I've known no other

And for sure we have danced in the risk of each other
Would you like to dance around the world with me

I'll be falling all about my own thing
And I know you're the heaviest weight,
When you're not here that's hung around my head

And your lips burn wild
Thrown from the face of a child
And in your eyes
The seeing of the greatest few
Do what you will, always
walk where you like, your steps
Do as you please, I'll back you up

I remember thinking
Sometimes we walk
Sometimes we run away
But I know
No matter how fast we are running
Some how we keep
Somehow we keep up with each other

I'll be falling all about my own thing
And I know you're the heaviest weight
When you're not here that's hung around my head

And your lips burn wild
Thrown from the face of a child
And in your eyes
The seeing of the greatest few
Do what you will, always
Walk where you like, your steps
Do as you please, I'll back you up

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mocha Cheesecake

Did you know that one dessert can change your entire life?

Mocha cheesecake did just that for me.  It was the main actor in the play that is my life.  It was present the moment that I knew I loved Marc.

It was our third official date.  Up to this point I had luke warm feelings for him.  Definitely thought he was cute. Definitely thought he was nice.  I had a good time when I was with him, but there wasn't a strong feeling of liking him.  No spark or butterflies.  Well that's a lie.  I had butterflies on our first date.  But those were nerves.  Which maybe is the same?!

Our third date was at a place named Pizza Bella (no longer there, which breaks my heart).  They sat us at our table, we chatted, we ordered, we had a nice time.  I must add, earlier in the week Marc asked if I wanted to go to dinner and see a movie.  On a MONDAY I told him that I'm usually pretty tired by Friday, so maybe we could do dinner and see if I was still awake enough for a movie. Hilarious!  He thought he was dead in the water at this point.  Anyhoo, the dinner date was going as well as all the other dates.  But like all the other dates, I still wasn't totally invested.

Until the cheesecake.

You know how in the beginning of a relationship you are still nice and considerate?  You know, you're starving for that last breadstick but you let them have it, you really want to watch Bravo but the Mets are on.  You let the other person be happy instead of yourself.  Now I take the food I want and Bravo is always on (when the kids aren't around).  So when looking at the dessert menu I was trying to pick something that I thought Marc would like.  AH! Cheesecake with a mocha flavor to it.  I thought it'd work great.  Well apparently he was doing the same thing! He knew I made cheesecake so he, too, picked the mocha cheesecake.  We were shocked that we both happened to pick the cheesecake, same flavor too!!!

Cheesecake ordered, cheesecake delivered, I take a bite.  He takes a bite.  I take another bite, put down my spoon and say, "I hate cheesecake.  I can't eat anymore.  I only ordered it because I thought you'd like it."

Marc asks, "But don't you make cheesecake?"

I explain that I do but it's only for my family.  I hate it, they love it, I make them cheesecake.

Well Marc and I started busting out laughing!  How in the world did we order the one thing on the menu that both of us HATE!!!  Like, cannot stand it, swallowing one bite was almost the death of me!

Right then and there, with tears rolling down my face, stomach hurting, cheeks hurting, I knew I didn't want to be a part from him for a minute.  I wanted him by my side forever.

Of course I didn't say "I love you" then.  It was just something I knew way deep down in my soul.  We ended up seeing a movie. A romantic comedy titled "Flags of Our Fathers".  There's really nothing like watching a movie about war right after you've figured out you met your life partner!

From this date on we pretty much became inseparable.  Like in that gross "they are always by each other's sides and do everything together" way.  It was awesome!!!

The official "I love you" didn't come for a little while.  It was said in Wilmington, NC. But that story is for another day!

Mocha Cheesecake, I salute you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Went to my first yoga class last night and I loved it!  I am really proud of myself for signing up and going.  Usually I'm pretty good at backing out of stuff I'm not comfortable with.  But I went and had a great time.

The whole point of this post, though, is so that I can look back on one moment that hit me the most.

At the end you are laying on your back, completely flat.  The instructor is telling you to relax your toes, then your shins, knees, all the way up.  It's VERY relaxing and it's been one of the few moments of true silence I've had in a long, long time.

So as I am laying there, relaxing, I found out that my "happy place" is the memories of breastfeeding my daughter, in bed, when she was very little.  That shocked me! Shock and awe.  For someone that randomly decided to breastfeed for no good reason, now having it be her happy place is pretty amazing.  I laid there thinking back to the rhythmic sound of her feeding, her warm little body next to me, complete silence in the house.  In those days it was hard because I was doing this every two hours and I was exhausted.  But my memories are of only bliss.

After acknowledging this memory, it took me to another.  In the hospital I was trying to figure out this whole breastfeeding thing and it was very stressful and I was filled with anxiety. During my relaxation time in yoga I let myself go back to those moments and relax.  It sort of helped me let go of the pain/worry I felt at that time.

Anyhoo, strange post, but one I definitely wanted to remember. During relaxation my mind wandered back to a time of nourishing my child. Sweet moment.  Almost made me cry. (Surprise, surprise!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

New Olympic Sport: Eye Rolling

I won't go in to all the details, but I found myself quietly crying, in bed, at 10:30 last night.  I'm a crier.  It's what I do.  I was sort of teetering on the edge of crying all day long.  I have a baby that will be one soon, I have two kids that are about to start school, and "girly things" are happening.  A storm of emotion, if you will.  Or, if I were Ron Burgundy I'd be in a "glass case of emotion".

So, naturally, I texted my biffles.  Why wake the husband with crying when you can bug your best fran?!  Luckily she is three hours behind, so it's not as though I was waking her from a slumber to be dumb.  For all I know she could have been sleeping.  Or having a glorious time with her family and I was the turd in the punch bowl.

What's great about a really good friend is they can work through your craziness with you and by the end have you somewhere completely else, feeling better.  She ended with telling me to go to bed.  Exactly what I needed to do!

Anyhoo, what my issues were had to deal with something bigger than what I was complaining about.  You know, you complain about your shoes being wrong but it's really that you're feeling fat and don't feel pretty.  My issues last night had to deal with not feeling like I matter. That my family matters.

Of course I do matter.  Of course my family does matter.  But every now and again I get it in my head that we don't.  And, if I am being completely honest, it's not so much my family, this neuroses lays solely on my shoulders.  Call it being a middle child, call it being a drama queen, call it whatever you want, but for some reason, every now and again, I get a feeling like if I were to go away, no one would notice.  No one would care.  I watched an episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" in which she interviewed Carrie Underwood. Carrie said she was the girl that never ran for SGA because she was afraid she'd lose.  I'm the girl that doesn't want a funeral because I'm afraid no one will show up. As if I'd even know that no one showed up!  And I really don't want a funeral anyway, cause gross.  And sad.  Who needs all that?!

Now, I am not writing this blog for sympathy or anything.  I am simply writing it so it's not swirling around in mah brain.  And I guess so the whole world knows what I kooky mess I really am!

And for the record, since the day I met Marc he has done an amazing job at letting me know how much he wants me around.  How he likes life a whole lot better when I am in it.  So that's good!  And I gotta say, having kids has helped me a lot.  One of my goals in life is to let them know that they are special, they matter, and they make a difference in my life.  My poor little middle child, Gabey, I'll work extra hard at letting him know that he's special.  I bet Marc would say I've been doing that since day one! ;-)

My homework for you is to let someone, anyone, know that they matter to you.  Maybe it's someone you haven't talked to in a while, but think about often.  Let them know!  Even a quick text/email/fb post saying "hey" goes a long way.  Trust me!

And for real, writing this has already made me feel better!  Of course I have a private journal I could have put this in and not opened myself up to eye rolls.  But I like to hear feedback from others.  I like knowing that even if someone thinks I am nuts, they appreciate me sharing.  Go ahead and eye roll though, I do it a lot.  Talk about something that should be an Olympic sport. I'd win gold EASILY!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Bad Blogger

I've been a bad, bad blogger!

I have SO many things to write about and just haven't committed to writing about them.  Still on the list is breastfeeding and my trip to LA.  Now I must add my family vacation to the Outer Banks.  And I think maybe I want to write about how my views towards my momness have changed since becoming a stay at home mom.  More on that later!

In other news, we got teacher assignments and school supply lists for C and G.  ACK!  This made them going to school SO SO SO real for me.  And Harps will be turning one this month.  Can my heart be ripped out any more?!

But, again, more on that lata.

So, I apologize to the two of you who said they missed my blog posts.  Just as soon as I can I'll pick something to write about.

But to get discussion going, how badass is Gabby Douglas?!  Like for real!!!  Way to represent the Commonwealth!!!!!!!!!