Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

We had a great Easter! The kids were overjoyed to find that the Easter Bunny did, indeed, bring them each a basket filled with chocolates, candy, and a couple of small gifts. Last night, when the boys went to bed, Christopher began crying. When I asked him why, he told me he wasn't sure if he'd been good enough this year to warrant a stop to our house from the very busy Easter Bunny. I said, well, what things have you done or not done that you think you could have done better? He went on to tell us that he felt bad for not obeying his Mom and Dad all the time. And that sometimes he takes snacks from the cabinets after we tell him the kitchen is closed. All true statements. While neither of us loved the idea of him crying before bed, it was nice to see him reflect a bit and be thoughtful about these things. All of this worry notwithstanding, the Easter Bunny did indeed show up at our house! Eggs were hidden, notes were left, and two little boys were very, very happy!!

Friday, March 22, 2013


The neon trend has hit the Marek household. Joey needed new sneakers, so we took a trip to the store to get him some new shoes. He immediately gravitated toward the loudest pair in the aisle. He pulled them off the shelf, tried them on, and then proceeded to run around the store. He hasn't taken them off since!

While the fashion bloggers are all wearing neon, I am not so sure about the whole neon look for myself. This  striped sweater from Ann Taylor is a subtle almost-neon that is bright enough to feel upbeat, but not too over the top. I toned it down with a neutral necklace.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sick Day

Today, I'm spending a quiet day at home with my sick little lovie. Poor Joey has been sick since this weekend. He started out with a fever and congestion, but by Monday his fever was gone, thankfully. He is still sick with bad croupy cough due to the congestion. He didn't sleep well at all last night, so he's spending the day at home.
He's definitely on the mend though! Eating and chatting up a storm!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Joseph's Day

This morning, I was reminded by my wonderful sister in law that today is St. Joseph's Day. St. Joseph is special to us. Joey is named after him (well, he's named after Greg, who is also named after St. Joseph).

Here are a few pictures to celebrate our special Joseph. May God bless him always!

My baby at 1 year old
One Year Old
Such a good boy
Just a baby!
Checking out the ducks
4 years old!

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

Growing up, my half Irish mother made sure we celebrated St. Patrick's Day in a traditional fashion and never wanted us kids to forget that we are part Irish. Sometimes it happened. My Dad was 100% Italian, and though he considered my Mom an equal partner in everything (they had an admirable marriage made in heaven, best friends for life with deep respect for one another), he was "more" Italian than she was English or Irish (if that makes any sense). But, he was not the traditional Italian stereotype at all, but yet people often assumed that we were brought up in a more traditional Italian way when in fact we weren't. We were good old New England Yankee thanks to my Mom and her English and Irish heritage. What's funny is between he and my Mom, *he* was the one who looked Irish! He had bright, vivid blue eyes, and his full head of hair turned a beautiful shade of perfect white at a very young age.
Every year on St. Patty's Day, my Mom made a traditional boiled dinner of corned beef and cabbage, with potatoes. We always had the Irish Soda Bread. Everyone had to wear green! Mom would remind us at every turn "hey you're part Irish you know!"

Now that I have my own children, I don't want them to ever forget they too have a little bit of Irish in them. In an interesting comparison, I am married to a 100% German. The dominant "heritage" can sometimes take over in a family. Greg has very rich family traditions that he has instilled in our kids, which makes me very happy. It's important to never let go of that.

I found myself repeating my Mom's words to my own kids this weekend "hey, you're part Irish too you know!" But, I thought it was even better when I overheard Greg tell Joey "you know what, you're Irish! Your Grammy was the Irish one in the family!"

Making Rice Krispies Treats- wearing his green

Saturday, March 16, 2013

My tried&true method to get through a Head Cold

As everyone knows, the subject matter of this blog is my kids. So what am I doing posting about a topic like head colds? First of all, thanks to my two charming and wonderful little boys, the number of head colds I've experienced since giving them life has increased exponentially. I can vividly remember never being sick (ok, maybe "never" is pushing it, but rarely is the truth). And then I had the kids, and sent them off to daycare and preschools. It's true what they say about youngsters. They catch about 10-20 viruses a year. We averaged about that, if not more, in the beginning. Thankfully, it's become less and less the older they get. I think they have better-toned immune systems, and also can understand why washing their hands is so important. That said, we still get sick.

I've had my share of completely miserable colds, and I spend a good deal of energy trying to "beat the system" when I get one. We all know there's no cure. A vaccine would be nice, but unlikely given how many strains of the common cold develop at any given time. I've always thought that I should write down my tried and true tricks for getting through a bad cold, so here we go!

First things first. I'm no medical professional. I'm a Mom who gets every bug my kids bring home, and hates it. I'm a Mom with a high-energy full time job that requires a lot of focus, and I have no time for such things as colds (or the stomach bug for that matter, but I have not figured out how to not catch it, or make it less severe when I do catch it).

Second. This post is all about OTC medicine and using what's available to you at the drug store. There are no alternative medicine approaches here. I will not be recommending taking copious amounts of Vit. C, Zinc, Emergen-C, and any other herbal supplements because in my humble experience, once you've caught or are coming down with a cold, they don't work. They may help your immune system in general, and help you ward off a cold, but once you are in the throws of it, you need good old-fashioned cold medicine. If the concept of Sudafed bothers you, then stop reading now.

Third. This is a routine/list of things that worked for me. It does not mean they will work for everyone, but I've deployed this approach on many colds, and have had good results (meaning less severe colds, and maybe one day out of the five day course of feeling really lousy instead of three). 
Here Goes:

1. At the first sign of a cold...the scratchy throat, slight chilly feeling, very minor congestion...those signs...take a Sudafed (generic name: pseudoephedrine hydrochloride). Do not wait until you've convinced yourself that you really are coming down with a cold, or until the cold is in full swing! Catch it early, and you can get ahead of the congestion that is forming. I'm not saying you won't get congested but if you begin taking the drugs while your cold is developing, it will seem a lot less severe. This is the most critical step, and the one that really makes a difference for me.
The dose of Sudafed I highly recommend is the 12 hour slow-release variety. There are tons of cold medicines, but Sudafed (you have to see the Pharmacist) is the only medicine that really does the trick. You need to ask the pharmacist for it, because it's distribution is regulated. In other words, if you walk down the aisle, it won't be there.  All of the meds that are on the aisle don't work as well as this stuff. This is something I've learned not only from experience, but also from our family physician.

 2. Ibuprofin: Ibuprofin (Advil, Motrin) are anti-inflammatory medicines that help reduce the swelling and inflammation that occur when you have a cold. Inflammation is one of the contributing factors to severe congestion (again, information I received from my Dr., and from Advil's web page). I take 3 Advil every 6 hours during a cold. It's helped me quite a bit. Remember the goal is to reduce the congestion to help make the cold less severe/miserable. Tylenol or Aleve won't do the trick, as they are not NSAID like ibuprofin is.

3. Saline for your nose. Use it frequently to flush out congestion and help control the awful post nasal drip. Saline is also key for helping you to not get a sinus infection or anything else from mucous lingering in your sinuses. Many people swear by the Neti pot. I have not tried this yet. Simple saline mist helps me and it's very inexpensive.

4. Go for a walk. Outside. Sounds like an old-wives tale I know, but taking a walk outside on a chilly morning helps your sinuses to really drain even when you don't have a cold. It's really helpful when you do have a cold. If you're feeling up to it (sometimes a challenge when you're sick), then give it a try. It helps to get the mucous out of your system, instead of staying in and causing secondary things to happen like the impending chest cold or again the sinus infection. I find that as a cold is winding down, I have enough energy to go out for a walk, and this helps flush the cold out for good. Bring a lot of tissues in your pockets, you'll need them as your sinuses drain!

5. Not sick yet, but others in the house are? Here's a few things I do to try to stay healthy once a family member has become ill. I have found that simple things like changing out the hand towels in the bathroom a lot more frequently (daily!) and keeping the bathrooms extra clean helps control the spread of a cold. When the kids brush their teeth, they often times rinse out around the sink or wherever simply because they are not tall enough to get inside the basin. Because of this, I find I'm cleaning the bathroom more often anyway, but especially when the boys are sick. Also, it's very easy to see the tissues pile up wherever the sick kid has planted himself for the day. Discard them quickly and obviously wash your hands afterwards. I make sure to use the dishwasher for everything, and in general, I wash my hands a lot more.

This post sounds OCD, I know. But, this has become a survival thing for me. Being a working parent is hard enough, and when the kids are sick, it's a huge source of anxiety for me.

Hope you found this helpful. If these tricks don't work for you, I'd love to know what you have found to be helpful. Again, I'm not making any claims. None of these links are affiliate links. No one paid me to mention their products. I'm just a mom. A mom who has had too many colds!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Goofy One and Goofy Two

Nothing brings me more happiness than knowing that my two boys are so close with each other.  They have their moments, but for the most part, they are best buddies. I love using the PicStitch app to do side-by-sides of them acting completely goofy. They ham up for the camera quite nicely, and try to put on as silly a face possible. They ask for re-takes if they feel they weren't quite goofy enough. They've come to be known as "Goofy One" and "Goofy Two" around here. It's the best way to describe these two fun-loving kids who are always laughing. I hope they never change. I hope they will always be close and be good to each other. I always tell them that they will have each other for the rest of their lives, and that they need to stay together. It will be my best accomplishment in life if they stick together forever, and look out for each other!


design + development by kiki and co. creative