Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Space Cadet

On Tuesday, Gavin turned 4. I was full of excitement for his day & feeling a little said that another year has come and gone. It was an amazing year. He has grown so much this year. His philosophies on life make me laugh. The information he has stored in his head never cease to amaze me. Watching him become a big brother again fills me with pride. He is so protective of his siblings.

His birthday started with lots of birthday hugs. I brought pizza to his daycare, so they could have a pizza party. I rushed home before heading to work to decorate for our family party, complete with super hero balloons. He requested Spiderman mac & cheese for his dinner, but Kraft no longer makes this variety, so we settled on the Toy Story version. Side Note: River would not eat the Buzz or Woody shaped noodles. It was fun watching the excitement on his face as he opened his present from mommy & daddy - VTech camera. He took about 100 photos before bed time. He built with is dad his Trio block Siege Tower, which his brother & sister gave him. We ended his night with an extra special treat - ice cream from Kerber's Dairy. I think it was a great birthday, though he can hardly contain himself, waiting for his big party day!

In the spirit of my post for River, enjoy my little letter to Gavin & some pics of him growing up...

Gavin - my little space cadet...

Your Grandma Tost used to call your dad that and you are very much like your dad. You have a great imagination. You like to draw. This year you drew my favorite family portrait. You like to solve puzzles and are very inquisitive. You love to go on discovery hikes. Some may say that you are a slow walker, but I say you are just taking in all the details. I love watching you play chase with your brother & listening to your little giggle. I love how you stick up for River when he has gotten himself in trouble. I don't understand, but think it is cute when you say you have to go potty, but on the way to the bathroom you get distracted and I have to remind you where you were going. Oh, my little space cadet. I love when you give your baby sister a kiss on the head. I was so proud of you when you spelled Stop for the very first time and even prouder you came up to on the desk, grabbed a pencil, wrote S-T-O-P, and said "Mommy, I just wrote stop!" I love it when you sing your favorite Weezer songs. I especially love when you spontaneously come up to me, give me a hug and kiss and say "I love you, mama." I treasure these moments always.

Here are some things to remember from your year:
  • Your favorite color is black
  • Your favorite PBS show is Superwhy
  • Your favorite sandwich is PB&J
  • You like Star Wars, Spiderman, X-men, Scooby Doo
  • You like building with you click it blocks (Trios)
  • You went to see "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Toy Story 3" at the movie theater
  • Your favorite songs are "Partying", "Troublemaker", and "Keep Fishing" by Weezer
  • You love listening to Daddy make up stories at bedtime

I love you Gavin, as high as the sky and as deep of the ocean...

Happy 4th Birthday!



4 years old!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crazy Days of Summer

We survived another busy week/weekend.
  • Livvy turned 3 months old - can you believe it! Every morning I hold her and think, this is the smallest she will be today, tomorrow she will be a little bigger.
  • We got to visit with old friends. It continues to amaze me that friendships that I created 15+ years ago at camp still continue to grow. That we can go incredible lengths of time between visits but after 5 minutes of catching up it's as if we were never apart. Except now we have a kid, or two, or three in tow!
  • Jayce and I got to go on a real date. We ate/gorged on delicious Italian food, talked to each other in complete sentences, and watched a movie in its entirety. Thank you Grandma & Pap for watching the kids overnight.
  • We celebrated Gav's best friend Dominic's 4th Birthday - they are growing up too fast
  • We entertained overnight guests
  • The high point of my weekend was celebrating Olivia's baptism and spending the day with family. She was so precious!
I am sure that I am not alone in thinking that this summer is just flying by. I started a family calendar on our refrigerator. As I began filling in the little blocks, I realized all of our weekends, I repeat ALL, but one of our weekends are filled until Labor Day. How is that possible? And I thought that once Livvy was born we would never have a family social life. At that time I would become overwhelmed with just the thought of getting everyone packed up and ready for an outing, now it just feels like second nature.

Small highlights from this week:
  • Watching Riv's face light up as he watched Weezer's "Represent" video for the first time. Soccer balls, need I say more.
  • Getting random hugs and kisses from Gav accompanied by the words, "I love you, mom" because one day he will think he is too old to do this anymore.
  • Taking some quiet moments to sit with Livvy and watch her eyes gleam as she smiles and tries to work herself up to a little coo.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A better Mama

This weekend was a major milestone for me since Via was born.I'm calling her Via now. It is Riv's creation. I got to bust out and have an evening out. I truly believe I am a better mom to my kids & wife to my hubby when I take this time away to re-charge. I am very blessed to have a hubby who understands this side of me & encourages me to take the time. Without it I feel extremely isolated.
So, Saturday night I busted out with my best friend from high school. I was feeling trendy & artsy, so we ventured to the Southside for an art opening at the bicycle bar. There we met up with her brother - who actually is a biker, and a friend of mine who was displaying a piece of his art. Time passed quickly, I quieted the voice in my head that usually makes me feels guilty for such outings. Jamie and I came to the conclusion that bikers are indeed a different breed...bacon on a triple layer PB&J sandwich. Really? Why would you do such a thing?
Family adventure this weekend - Toy Story 3! Yes we all went. Gav loved it. Riv enjoyed what he saw. Via was quiet the whole time. I had tears fill my eyes at the end. Jayce fully appreciated the technology to make such a movie come to life. We only temporarily lost Riv's shoes. A major feat for the Tost family!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Survival

With Jason heading out on his annual guys trip, the decision to be made was:

1. Me stay home with the kids until Sunday, then pack them up and head to Pappy Tost's on Sunday or...
2. Head to my parent's house in Uniontown, hang out with the family, swim, maybe sneak out for coffee or an adult beverage with an old high school friend, and then head up to Pappy Tost's on Sunday.

Needless to say option two won. The promise of a refreshing dip in the pool & seeing Rhonda out wayed the stress of me trying to figure out how to put three little ones to bed on my own, which is a very daunting task.

So, Pap Softcheck got to hog baby Livvy. I think Grandma got to hold her for all of 30 minutes the entire weekend! The boys & I, with the "help" of my niece, Kaylee, went for a swim in the pool. Gavin enjoys the pool but has a reasonable amount of fear to keep him from jumping in or straying too far from an adult. River, on the other hand, was convinced he could swim on his own & didn't need the help of his mama. So, mama let him slip under briefly to show him that we still needed to perfect his swimming skills. Aunt Terra took Gavin to the movies, which he consumed an entire Hershey's chocolate bar! Argh. Quite a shock to his system since he's never had more than a bite size piece of chocolate at any given time. Finally, my family got to see the consequences of the sugar overload. After much kicking, screaming, tears, and a calming time out, I headed out with my best friend from high school, Rhonda, for beverage or two. We only lasted an hour and a half out, but it was filled with catching up & planning camping/canoe trips. And if this wasn't enough for our weekend, Sunday morning I am tapped on the shoulder by Gavin saying "You ready to wake up mommy? We have lots of people to see today!" Which he was absolutely right & we couldn't get out of bed until we named them all.

Coffee in hand we pile into the van & head up to Pappy Tost's for a Father's Day/Birthday/Reunion with Daddy celebration. Plus Livvy is meeting her Uncle Jeremy, Aunt Rebeccah, Uncle Seth & Aunt Lydia for the first time. She, of course, charmed them all & looked very content having her Uncle Jeremy feed her a bottle. We look forward to spending more time with Jeremy & Rebeccah since they have moved back to the farm. A delicious spread was consumed. Stories were told. Boys running around & playing could be heard all afternoon, with only minor tifts & only a few tears were shed. An impromptu hay ride (minus the hay) was taken. Croquet was played. Star Wars figures were found in the shed! Pictures were taken. The event was very well documented. Anyone that knows the Tosts' know that they are a bunch of shutter bugs.

So, exhausted & on my second cup of coffee this morning, I survived the weekend without my hubby. I missed him dearly. Intrigued, I am looking forward to tales of the annual trip. Tidbits I have heard include a rabbit dinner & an abandoned circus. Hmmm, maybe ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vacation 2010

Before I dive into vacation stories, here's an adventure just days before we left...

A few days prior to leaving for vacation Gavin jumped off the couch & cracked his head off of the corner of our coffee table. Now, I wished there would have been a camera rolling to view the chaos after this happened. Jason was not home – in Apollo picking up Ben’s bike. Gavin jumps, heads his head, begin with “I’m ok!’ then a frantic “Nooo I immediately put my hand on his head to cancel the pain, on to feel the ooziness of the blood. At this point River decides it is appropriate to strip completely and run around the house laughing holding diaper the entire time. Olivia is screaming on the couch because her nursing session has been halted. I get Gavin to the kitchen, which I thought was a nice central location with floor that could be easily cleaned. I then proceed to call the pediatrician & Jason – who brilliantly suggests I take Gavin to a Med- Express place instead of an ER. Pediatrician agreed & assured me they would do a thorough evaluation & send him onto Children’s if they felt necessary. This poor pediatrician has already seen River & Olivia for their well appointments, guess Gavin felt left out. End result – a little bit of glue (Derma-bond). This was decided only after the doctor felt the need to clean & enthusiastically show me the difference beside Gavin’s laceration & one that needs stitched, have I mentioned that I am known to faint at the site of blood. The love of my child kept me conscious.

My Brave Boy!

Now vacation...This past week we made our annual trip to Rehoboth Beach. I am blessed to have an aunt that allows us to use her beach house for our vacation each summer. We were also blessed to have Ben & Allison join us. They were a tremendous help. Despite having a rough start, vacation was a good get away for us all once I stopped trying to plan things.

First news about vacation – no AC for a very hot & humid weekend! Jason always said that if I were a super hero heat & humidity would be my kryptonite.

Instead of boring you with a day by day replay, I will summarize our trip with a game Jason & I used to play called Hi/Lo – taken from the movie “The Story of US”

  • Lo – River getting sick
  • Hi – seeing the kids run around & give a tour of the hotel room we stayed in on the way down
  • Lo – being stuck on the Bay Bridge for 45 minutes
  • Hi –watching the kids play in the sand & be brave enough to get their feet wet
  • Lo – Gavin getting sick
  • Hi – walking up and down the beach with Olivia
  • Lo – discovering the place we really wanted to have a date at was closed for the night
  • Hi – stealing away an hour a day to read on the beach without the kiddos

Enjoy a few pics!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Middle Child


I wanted to blog on his actual birthday, but of course as I say, life got in the way. On May 27th River turned 2! As the middle child I often fear that he gets overlooked a bit, so today he gets a blog post all about him.

My feisty River, born two days early. There is a lesson in there about me trying to plan life instead of letting life just unfold. I am still working on learning that lesson, but the learning began with River.

River was originally supposed to be Dylan John. Named after two great musicians & my grandfather. But after a day at the park & some lady screaming "Dyl, hey Dyl" at the top of her lungs, I just couldn't use the name anymore.

As I am laying in the hospital bed getting prepped for my c-section, I look at Jason & say "River, I think we should name him River." Jason is completely shocked as I have sworn over and over again I would never use this name due to the association of River Phoenix who died of a drug over-dose outside of a club. But I like it & in that moment I felt it. We worried what the family would think, but figured they could call him R.J. if they hated it. So, River he was named & he is living up to the free-spiritedness of this name.

River-my free-spirited child,

I love the way you run at me arms wailing yelling "Mommy!" and give me a big hug. I love watching your determination to conquer whatever you set your little mind to - from scaling the entertainment center to attempting to carry all of your balls at once. I love your wavy blond hair & your blue eyes. I love the way you look over your baby sister & take care of her by making sure she has her comfort items (binky & blankie) whenever she cries. I love watching you wrestle your brother. I love the sound of your little giggle. I love watching you dance to music - Weezer being your favorite band. I love the mischievous look in your eyes - though I am sure it will cause me some worry in the future. I love that I am certain there is a stash of lost items from the house that you have collected along the way. Happy Birthday, River! Your Mama loves you more than words could ever express.

Monday, May 24, 2010

When I Grow Up...

Here's a little secret...I wish I could be a party planner.

Before I had my kids, I loved planing parties. I never made any money off of them, in fact, I probably went into debt for most of them. I was the one that always volunteered to host the events. I just love creating a theme, finding or creating the perfect favor, organizing, selecting a menu, and finally watching everyone enjoy themselves.

I started with small birthday gatherings and then New Year's Eve parties. I then moved on to my favorite, bridal showers, which have only been for family members thus far. This I hold dear to my heart because of a very special promise I made with a loved one many years ago. Then came the babies & their showers.

I wish I had the business knowledge to turn this little hobby into something that could contribute financially to my family. I wish I had the time to devote to actually developing this idea and going with it. I secretly wish the wedding coordinator at the church would resign & I could have her job.

I have come to realize this is for another time in my life. The time now is to focus on my kids and devote my time & attention to them. I can, however, throw them the best parties of all!

So, when I grow up I can become a party planner!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weighing My Options

Well, I did it and by posting it in my blog I will be held even more accountable...I joined Weight Watchers.

I've done this before and have been very successful at it, life just kept getting in the way - back surgery, fertility concerns, babies, knee surgery. I've tried doing it on my own, but I am a cheater. As much as I wish it wasn't true, I need the discipline of going someplace & having a stranger weigh me. I talked to my PCP about it & she agreed this program offered the greatest success among her patients. So, I did it, with no more excuses to get in the way.

What I hope to accomplish on this journey...weight loss is the apparent, but I want to create healthful eating habits for myself & my family. I want to explore & experiment with new recipes. I want to look for daily exercise that fits into this crazy life of mine. I want to set a good example for my kids. So, followers of mine, your job is to keep me on track, encourage me, & you will be rewarded with some yummy recipes!

Random Tost happenings/quotes:

Gav "Mom you are a rock star! Wait can girls be rock stars?"
Riv has turned his training potty into a basketball hoop.
Riv is binky free except at bedtime!
Livvy just continues to be the cutest thing ever. She is becoming more alert everyday.
Jayce starts a new job next week.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Big Bottomed Gal!

I am super excited...I have made the switch over to cloth with Livvy. I was so disgusted with the amount of diapers being disposed of around here. It was a necessity at the time. I didn't have any newborn sized cloth diapers & she was such a peanut, but she now fits into the size small ones.

We used primarily cloth with Gav until he was about 2 years old. Oh, the questions I would get when it was viewed as part of my baby shower registry. I liked living on the edge. See I truly can be a nature girl. Riv...well I tried. We'll say that he has been his own person since he entered this world. I love him even more because of it. As much as I wanted to use the cloth, he had other plans & would freak out at the slightest bit of moisture in his pants.

Back to Livvy, my laid back, go with the flow girl. Cloth thus far does not seem to bother her & her diaper rash has disappeared. I do realize that I am the mother of 3 now & that cloth all the time may get to be a little much, so I am making a small investment in the gdiaper system. They have a disposable that is flushable/compostable/biodegradable. I made a trip to Whole Foods this weekend to get a trial pack. Verdict...I like them. They are a bit pricier than regular disposables, but the idea is that I will only use them when out & about or when I just get to overwhelmed & need a break, so in theory I should not be using them too often. I was also looking for an alternative that I would be able to send in to daycare. I understand that even though I am comfortable with cloth, others are not. I am hoping gdiaper will be the go between.

So, cheers to my big bottomed girl! She instantly graduated to her 0-3 month clothing.

Now, I have to check out these flannel wipes & wipe warmer my friend Julie is gushing about!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Safe Haven

Lutherlyn - my safe haven. It's my place to visit when I need to feel recharged.

Yesterday we packed the family up & headed to Lutherlyn for the annual Open House & Hike-a-Thon - a feat in itself! Extra diapers...check, change of clothes for everyone...check, mud play shoes...check, bottle & pump...check, etc. A simple outing has turned into an event that could potentially require a suitcase!

Our car rides would be a comic event for any outsider. We could take the easy way out & pop in a video in the DVD player, but when we inherited our van Jason & I agreed that this feature should not be used for any trip under an hour and a half. I could go off on a tangent with that but will save that for another time. So, if you were a bi-stander in our car you would observe, Jason & I pasting together sentences around interjections from Gav in the back..."I need a BIG backpack for camp" "Where's the tent?" "Are we going on an adventure?" "Can we play Dungeons & Dragons?" (cartoon, not role playing) "I'll be Bobby." Riv immediately takes off his shoes, then pretends he is an Indian & randomly shouts out "Bumble Bee!" (as he does frequently with no rhyme or reason). Weezer is playing in the background, everyone randomly bursts into song. It's chaos. But then the sacred drive up camp's off, silence observed, peace flows through the car.

Now the part I love...seeing & catching up with our camp family. Everyone there has been an influential part of my life at one point or another. Makes me so happy that I get to share this now with my kids & surround them with this unconditional love. Very few places I feel completely calm letting the boys run as far as I can see them & know that they are safe. I hope that Gav, Riv, & Livvy will grow up feeling like camp is a second home for them.

So, I feel recharged...I got to catch up with some of my closest friends and lounge on the dining hall porch with Livvy. Jason got to begin the planning of his annual guy's trip. Livvy got to sleep peacefully and soak up the fresh air. Gav & Riv got to be free spirits and run free for hours on end.

Now I feel ready to face the week ahead!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Leisure Time

Awww, the luxury of leisure time. Once upon a time, Jason & I used to spend our down time sipping coffee and skimming through magazines and/or books. We'd dream of exotic vacations to go on & work on planning the more practical ones. Over the years this has decreased significantly, especially the luxury of going together. But we do try to give this gift of free time to each other whenever possible. It's a wonder what it can do for the soul, to steal away an hour of just some quiet alone time.
Yesterday, I had a modified version of this quiet time. It was fueled by determination to get my life back on a healthful track. So, I packed up Livvy & we went for a walk at my favorite park, Twin Lakes in Greensburg. It was cold, but I didn't mind, we were bundled up, the sun was shining, birds were chirping, the grass & trees were a vibrant shade of green, & I spotted a turtle in the lake which I made a mental note to tell Gav about that evening. It felt good to take in the fresh, crisp air & to walk a mile around the lake. Now, I did get the dirty looks from the retired folk who were fishing or also walking around the lake. They obviously did not approve of having the baby out, though I believe the fresh air & sunlight did her as much good as it did me. So, I put on a big smile & said hi to each and every one of them!
After our walk, we headed out to Barnes & Noble, my favorite place to have coffee & flip through magazines. Livvy was very cooperative. I cradled her in my arms, sipped my coffee, and flipped through a magazine & thought life doesn't get much better than this. I left recharged, feeling like a new person.
Flash-forward to this morning...a good laugh also does good for the soul. Laughs for this morning...Riv greets us with standing up in his crib with not one, but two binkies in his mouth and a silly grin! Boy is he going to be sad when the binky fairy comes to take them away! Gav, who is working very hard at getting himself dressed in the mornings, declares he has a wedgie. As he tries to fix the situation we discover he is wearing two pairs of underwear...oh my little space cadet. Side story which will embarrass Gav in about 10 evening Jason responds to Gav screaming frantically from the steps to his bedroom "I have a fire in my pants, I have a fire in my pants!" Do not fear there was no fire, just a wedgie.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Taking on the Unfamiliar

I will be the first to admit that I am in no way computer savvy. Having a husband who is a computer programmer does not promote my initiative to learn. Just as easy to have him do it for me. So this, starting a blog, is quite intimidating for me. Bare with me as I build my page & get into a writing groove.

With that I begin.

Our newest adventure in the Tost Family is adjusting to life as a family of 5. Gav announces on a daily basis that we are a new family. He is an excellent big brother. He is full of hugs & kisses for his baby sister, Livvy. My heart melts every time he gives her a gentle kiss on the top of her head. He is the germ monitor. So, if you think you are going to get to hold Livvy without washing your hands, you better be ready to face her protective brother! Riv still seems surprised that his baby sister is still here every morning. It may take us up to 20 minutes to pack everyone up in our newly acquired van, but I wouldn't trade this life for anything.

I hope to use this blog as a journal for our daily life. So feel free to take a peak every now & then to see what silly antics 2 little boys are up to, how our baby girl is growing up, and glimpses into my life as a mother & wife.