To my children: Spring 2015



You wanna mess with this?!

You wanna mess with this?!

In keeping with my quarterly journaling to my kids, here goes my most current thoughts on those 3 crazy, loving, little people that call me Mom :

My peeps

My peeps

April 10, 2015


5 years and 10 months old

Young man. You really are! You just about eat as much as an adult many days, and sometimes more, but I’m not sure you have an ounce of fat on you! You spend hours playing Legos, and your creations are very innovative. You are a great kid, and a great brother to your sisters.  The outdoors is your favorite place to be.  You can be entertained with water for several more hours, making locks and dams, mud, rivers, spraying things, and seeing what happens if you mix this with that.  You ask a lot about how things work.  You are obsessed with getting something, anything, remote control. As soon as we leave preschool, you ask if you can have a playdate today. Every. Day. You are shy and reserved at times, obnoxious and defiant at others.  You are thriving at school!  You dislike potatoes.  You are learning to stand your ground with your peers.  Soccer is your favorite game, along with sharks and minnows. You despise the sound of canned laughter during a TV show and refuse to watch once you’ve heard that. You daydream a lot and come up with very fascinating scenarios, stories and questions in your head.  You talk about kindergarten a lot and you are really looking forward to it.  You love to wake up early and sneak downstairs to watch cartoons.  Amelia adores you.  You remember stories well, especially Bible stories.  You are always making something.  You are headstrong, smart, creative, funny, helpful, caring, energetic, hands-on, and fun.


3 years and 11 months old

About 2 weeks ago you declared that you were done sucking your fingers.  After almost 4 full years of this habit, you have now broken it, just as easy as that. We painted your fingernails bright red as a reward, since you were never able to have your fingers painted before this.  You make cards for people out of empty envelopes and cover them with a lot of stickers.  You are especially an auditory learner and memorized the Hail Mary prayer  in about a week, and now can recite it.  For about the past 6 months, you have a female doll named Jason.  You have imaginary friends named Creesa and Reesa and Mia, and several others, depending on the day.   I hear you make up prayers while you are playing.  You decided you no longer want to be Rapunzel when you grow up.  You asked yesterday if you are old enough to clean toilets.  Today you asked me if a mouse is a kind of rodent. You wear a ring every day.  You enjoy ballet class and being on stage. I caught you today brushing your hair and counting the strokes.  You are mature, interactive, smart, persistent, a leader, brave, artsy, and fun.


1 year and 4 months old

At 16 months, you are my most cuddly baby.  You love to be held, rocked to sleep, slept next to, and cuddled and carried.  Despite this, you are very independent and want to do things your way.  You prefer to eat sitting on my lap, not in your highchair. You insist on wearing your winter coat and hat most days, all day, inside and outside, although it’s getting warm.  Sometimes I think that you believe you are much older, like 3 or 4 years old instead of 1.  You recently figured out how to open outside doors on your own.  You ride small 3 or 4-wheeled toys now and pull wagons to collect sticks or bark.  You love to dig in the dirt and play in the playhouse.  You have mastered the playground and love the slides.  Your feelings are hurt easily and are somewhat of a tender heart. You take a paci to sleep and we are trying to keep it out of sight during the day. You run, climb, hide, laugh, and roam around.  You *must* wear shoes at all times, according to you, and you like to wear a backpack around the house.  You are a funny little personality that keeps us on our toes and we love you!



Having fun together... for now....

Having fun together… for now….

-The {capturing memories} Costellos


Sarah and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad {Morning}

This morning, I woke up in BEAST mode. Not a good type of beast mode.  Not the type where you get things done and conquer the world. No, this was more like I was angry. At what? Who knows, but I knew it was going to be a day….and suddenly I knew how Alexander felt.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Book

Alexander is a friend of mine. I like his book.


So it went like this:

I woke up to Gabriel telling me he needed a shower because he was, well, wet.

The water was too cold, he cried.

The baby needed me immediately. When I gave her breakfast, she dumped her yogurt all over the kitchen. Then she screamed some more.

Daniel Tiger was on. I despise Daniel Tiger and his sing alongs, they get stuck in your head all day.

Lucy refused to get dressed.

Wet clothes were in the bathroom and on the carpet for who knows how long.

I had to wash dishes for 45 mins. In the utility sink I despise. In the bathroom. While listening to aforementioned Daniel Tiger in the next room.

The toy room was a disaster and puzzle pieces everywhere. I depise the toy clutter we currently have. It’s too much.

Kids cried when I threw away gobs of puzzle pieces because I knew the 4 puzzles thrown on the floor were beyond the point of return.

Lucy changed her clothes 3 times after I have repeatedly asked her to get dressed just ONCE in a day to save on laundry.

Amelia wet through her pajamas.

I fumed, ranted, and raved about getting the toy room cleaned up so one could at least WALK through the hallway to get there.

Amelia tracked macaroni and cheese that she had dumped on the floor. all. over. the. house.

Amelia cries when Lucy whacks her on the top of the head with an Ariel doll.

Kids all cry when I make ‘breakfast cookies’ and make them wait until after lunch to eat them.

My stomach hurt.

It was a cloudy day.

My eyes were tired.

I didn’t get to shower until the clock read PM.

My orange was moldy.

I had to clean the vaporizer in the kids room. Scrubbing those scales off makes me unhappy.

I thought about going back to bed. But alas, I had to be an adult and go to the eye doctor, Menards, make dinner, pay bills, prep dinner for tomorrow, give baths and do all those other adult-ish type things that you don’t always want to do.

Tonight after the girls were asleep I laid with Gabriel, talking about his day. “Sorry I was grouchy this morning”, I said. He replied with, “What?”  I stated my apology again, and again he responded with “What?”.  “You know, I wasn’t very nice this morning, I was kind of mad…?”  I said, trying to explain. “I didn’t notice,” G replied, then added that the favorite part of his day was “Playing with the Transformer toy in the waiting room at the eye doctor’s office”.

OK. Guess I didn’t mess up so much after all.  Beast mode: OFF.  Good thing we get second chances. Lord knows I need them.


-The {still despising Daniel Tiger} Costellos


Round ’em up

My baby G. My first born. My son. My oldest.


Sometimes I feel like my kids don’t get any older. I know this sounds absurd as most people feel like their kids grow in the blink of an eye. I sometimes feel this way, but I’ve only ever had little kids and preschoolers. I’ve always had littles. Then we attended kindergarten roundup for Gabriel yesterday.

When I was laying with him in his bed the night before roundup, G told me he was nervous, excited. We talked through his emotions. His mature emotions. 

We were getting ready to leave the house the next morning and G was rushing us.  He didn’t want to be late.

We got to school and he was shy, hiding behind me and refusing to say much. I thought my Baby G has returned.  The Superintendent of the school saw G’s hesitations and offered to let him feed the fish in the big tank by the school’s front doors. He jumped on it while we completed some paperwork.

We got a tour of the school, got to sit in on the kindergarten activities that his class did, got a run down of what kindergarten will entail as well as meeting much of the staff. G’s hesitations quickly faded. He was skipping down the hall. He was happily interacting with his classmates and enthusiastic teacher.  He was loving every minute of it.


The teacher had everything as a ’roundup’ theme, complete with cowboy hats, sheriff badges, roping letters…. yeee-haw! They read a book about kindergarten, played, did a science experiment, did some work with letters, got a tour and their picture taken. Perfect. The science experiment was by far his favorite. The teacher said they will do science every day in kindergarten. G was beaming.

I was absolutely thrilled with the school. It is small, very small, and we LIKE that! Very personable. Very friendly. Very, very, very successful in educating kids. They have been ranked as a Blue Ribbon School before. We could not ask for a better fit.

Tonight Gabriel asked if he could go to Kindergarten tomorrow. He adores his preschool, but is ready for more. He was disappointed that kindergarten doesn’t start until August.

I am a little sad to watch my first go off to kindergarten. But more so than that, I am so excited to watch him continue to grow and thrive, just as he has in preschool.  He’s a thinker, a builder, an inventor, a question-asker. He’s going places in this world.

Yay, Gabriel!

-The {growing up} Costellos

Why Bother?

As a parent of 3 young children, there are some things we do that I sometimes wonder to myself ‘why bother?’.  Hear me out;

This morning we woke up earlier than anticipated (ahem, Amelia) and figured we could go to early church (before Sunday school) instead of late church (which is after Sunday school).  We no more than get into our pew this morning (on time, for once), and the shenanigans begin. Amelia dumps cheerios everywhere.  Lucy proceeds to unpack the diaper bag looking for some elusive item she believes to be in there. Lucy and Gabriel fight over a book. Amelia and Gabriel fight over a book. Amelia yelps for the umpteenth time. Amelia proceeds to follow in Lucy’s footsteps and tries to not so gingerly unpack the diaper bag and finds a ball-like lip gloss that she plays with. Until it rolls away in front of the pews in front of us. Amelia yelps some more. Books and sippy cups get shoved under pews into other peoples legs.  Sippy cup leaks on the floor. More fighting between I don’t even know who. More dropping of cheerios. More crunching of cheerios under my feet, more destroying of the diaper bag. More time of me tending to my children and less time of me paying attention or actually participating in Mass. Lucy goes up a few rows and sits with an adoring cousin for awhile and it helps. 2 is a lot less than 3 some days, it seems.  All of a sudden it’s Communion time and I realize I have sung 1/2 of one song and have no idea what the Gospel or any of the readings entailed. We go up front for the Sacrament and return.  By the end of Mass, J and I look at each other and just shake our heads. Some times are better than others. Some Sundays our kids behave great, other days are more like today. We stopped taking loads of toys to church because they ended up being more of a hassle than it was worth.  So why bother?

Turns out, J and I have very similar beliefs on church. Go figure. We both feel very strongly that our children need to be present weekly IN church.  All of our children attended their first Mass before 2 weeks of age, which was also their Baptism.  They may not understand or know all of what is going on, but if they are not there, how are they going to learn? We are ok with them reading or looking at a book quietly during Mass since they are so young. Gabriel is getting to the age that he can participate in more of what is going on and we are trying to encourage him to do so.

We bother, because for us, it’s what we do and how we live. It’s how we build our life, base their upbringings. Its how we learn morals, values, and church practices and teachings. It’s important that our kids are there with us.  And it’s extra rewarding when we see the fruits of our labors thriving. Today one of Gabriel’s Sunday school teachers informed us that he was one of the few who could recite the Lord’s Prayer during their class. Lucy was the only one in the 3 year old class, which I help to co-teach.  I love hearing the kids’ questions about readings and God, sometimes quite humorous.  Today Gabriel specifically requested that he could have ‘The Kids Bible’ for his looking book during quiet time. And last night when G and I were out on a date, he didn’t blink an eye when I told him we were going to pray before eating our pizza, and he said the whole prayer. To us, it’s very important they are there with us.

Next time you see a family with young children attending church or any other social event, for that matter, be thankful they are there. They care enough to take their kids to a somewhat uncomfortable and possibly very embarrasing situation, in hopes that they are raising their kids in a better way, in a way that will hopefully produce positive influences on society and moral citizens.  And please, keep smiling at them, because that helps a little too. :-)

Dear Amelia;


Dear Amelia;

Well, we are all bunkered down for the ‘Snowpocalypse 2015′.  We ran around and did errands this morning and now due to numerous cancellations due to impending weather, we have nowhere to be until 8am Monday morning. Ahhh, bliss. I kinda like snowstorms!

You are asleep in your crib upstairs while the rest of us are watching a movie.  Tonight, for the first time ever, you didn’t want to be rocked to sleep.  I have mixed emotions about this.  My lap and arms felt empty, but it did leave me some free time to write this blog. Lucy as usual has been cuddly and is on my lap.  Very unusual for you, and I hope you still like to rock to sleep some nights  :)

In getting some things crossed off my to-do list today, (one of which was hanging kids pictures around the house), I realized that you have not had any professional pictures taken since 6 months old.  You are 14+ months and I haven’t even had your 1 year pictures done.  No wonder third children area always feeling jipped!  I did get around to buying you a picture outfit and shoes today which are super cute! You ran away from me at least 6 times in the store today.  I’m sorry I missed your 9 and 12 month pictures :(

I am so interested and excited to see how your personality forms.  So far, you know how to work it.  You always seem to get what you want. G and L love to make you happy.  You love people but are shy sometimes. You do not like to be alone, probably because you never have been. You even sleep with 2 others in your room! You love to sing.  You are getting very good at picking up and love to put things where they go. On the contrary, you also love to pull anything and everything out of it’s place.

You love chocolate and I do too.  You are definitely my daughter.

Thank you for being a better sleeper! At 14 months you seem to have a better handle on the whole thing.  After 12.5 months of you waking anywhere from 1 to 6 times per night, I was tired, to say the least. You are now going on a few weeks of going to sleep on time  at 8pm and staying asleep until after 6am. It’s kind of nice.  But I still wake a lot, tossing and turning. Sometimes I feel like I’m actually missing having you in our bed.  Sometimes I feel like waking you up so I have some company ;)

You sure do like your pacifier.  We cannot seem to get very far without one. Many times, you carry 2 pacisin your hands so that you can flip them in and out of your mouth intermittently. You sleep with one and definitely prefer one in the car, or it gets pretty loud.

I hope you like hand-me-downs. With an older sister already, you are not getting too much new-to-you stuff. I’m more than ok with it. I hope you learn frugality at a young age and embrace it!

As you can tell, I’m having some varying feelings about you growing up. You used to be such a mama’s girl, and mama’s girl only. Last weekend you stayed at Aunt Jen’s house for a few hours and didn’t even cry when I left. You never cry when I leave you with Nana either.  You like to run away from me now, but sometimes still to me.  You are starting to say words like ‘more’, ‘mama’.  You don’t need me for everything like you used to, and you are becoming more independent. I hope that you don’t grow up too fast. I hope that we relish everything you do, learn, say, become.  I hope that you retain the amazing spirit and headstrong will that you possess, and all the things that make you you.  I hope that you love this crazy family of yours, because we sure love you!



Maple Street Estate Update: Getting there!

View from the landing of the stairs; don't mind the 5 year old rolling up carpet...

View from the landing of the stairs; don’t mind the 3 and 5 year old rolling up carpet, that’s their stage…

So we have some floor! The wood floor we chose to install was a bit more complicated and timely than originally planned (what isn’t?), so it has taken a lot longer than we had planned (again, what doesn’t?).  Of course you have to *nail* every board every 4-6 inches with a pneumatic nailer and lay each piece one by one by one and painstakingly make sure they are not even 1/8 in off……..but hey – it looks nice, right? We don’t yet have any living room furniture as we got rid of what we had at the other house, so the kids love having all the open space to play tag, run races, or play soccer. We may/may not have family indoor soccer matches a few nights a week. So far, so good ;)  We still have about 2/3 of the kitchen to go.  It’s getting there!

The electricians came 2 weeks ago and gave us light! I cannot tell you what a difference this has mad in the functionality of our house! Yes, we have a fully functioning upstairs, but downstairs we had a lot of dropcords and lamps working. It was a bit of a hazard with 3 littles.  We still need to buy/install the light for above the island, but that may be awhile. The one we have picked out is a bit on the over-priced side….but isn’t it sweet?!  One can adjust the height using the ropes and pulleys by the handle on the bottom.  I’m just hoping the kids don’t figure out how to swing from it.

Farmhouse 44" Kitchen Island Light Fixture - Adjustable Pulley Pendant Fixture

A glimpse of some of the lighting

A glimpse of some of the lighting

And a bit more

And a bit more

We also have 6 cupboards in, with many more to be added. These have also made a big difference in the functionality of the house. The kids were getting into everything before the cupboards were installed. I had few places to keep kitchen things and many ended up in totes on the floor = play kitchen for kids.  It’s much better now :)  The lower cabinets are in progress.

This past weekend we had a huge house breakthrough. Get ready for it…..WE CLEANED THE GARAGE. I know, epic, right?  Well, it was.  When we first moved in, we put almost all of our belongings in our 3+ car garage due to the remodel and whatnot. It was stuffed, to the point that you had to walk the perimeter and finding anything was like a needle in a haystack.  My rule is that nothing comes into the house until it has a place to go, so there’s still a ton of stuff out there.  So Saturday, while J and L were staining cabinets, myself, G and A took to the garage. J and I decided that we did not need the majority of the stuff that was in that garage. After all, we have gone 5 months without it, and did just fine. We ended up keeping about 1/3 of it, the rest was taken to either a consignment shop or Goodwill.  A few things were put out for trash pickup.  So much less STUFF.  The best part? I can park my Expedition inside now and won’t have to scrape windows any more! Yes!

In other Costello news;

Gabriel and Lucy are loving school, after finally getting back into the groove after 3+ weeks off at Christmastime due to inclement weather.  Hard to believe that their school year is half over! Amelia is walking and climbing stairs like nobody’s business, and continues to scream for approximately 50% of the day, to express any emotion that she has (ie: happy, sad, angry, excited, to get your attention, laugh, need/want something, yell at a sibling, chocolate in sight).  She is getting closer to saying a few words, such as ‘yes’ and ‘hot’ and ‘mama’ (not all together ;) ), and she’s so darn cute.  I realize how much we have all tuned out the screaming when we go places and we get a lot of looks and people covering their ears. Ha! Oh well! The Costello’s make a presence! Is it a bad sign when your 14 month old sings lyrics to “Let it Go”?  L starts ballet again this weekend and G will do spring soccer come April. The one kids activity at a time seems to be working well for us, so we are sticking to it. L is already planning her birthday party for April, and I’m pretty sure the tri-county area will be invited if she has her way. J is coaching basketball at his school this winter (although he’s never played a day in his life), I’m finally resuming attendance with my monthly book club, as well as beginning volunteering at a local crisis pregnancy center (something I’ve felt called to do for a long time).  L got the green light at her last orthopedist appointment to do whatever she wants with the arm, including monkey bars, to her delight. We will go back in 3 months to look at it again.  G did amazing at the dentist this past week (so did L), but he has never had a successful trip to the dentist prior to this one. Hooray for a bit of maturity!

He did so well!

He did so great!


Selfie in the library bathroom!

Selfie in the library bathroom!

Have a great week!

-The {busy}  Costello’s

A Surgery Story

Yesterday Lucy had her surgery to repair a bone cyst in her upper left humerus.

It was THE MOST EXHAUSTING DAY AS A MOTHER that I think I have ever experienced.  Right up there with unmedicated childbirth.

We had been prepping Lucy for weeks about the surgery. She’s a very smart little thing and likes to know how, when, and why things happen, especially to her. So we told her everything that would happen, and she understood.

We were early getting to the hospital because, well, what else do you do when you are awaiting surgery? Lucy watched more TV in the pre-op room than she has in probably 3 months. I’m not exaggerating. They were late to get the surgery going as the procedure prior to Lucy’s took a little longer than expected. More waiting. We were going on 3 hours of waiting at the hospital. I’m about fit to be tied. One of the many times a nurse asked Lucy her name and she replied, ‘I’m a Costello!’.  J couldn’t have beamed more!

Finally the OR nurse, Val, comes to our room and introduces herself and tells Lucy they are going to go to a special room and ‘blow up bubbles’. She gets to ride in a wagon back there with her doll, if she would like to come. Sounds like a plan.

Then the anesthesiologist comes in. He will do a general anesthetic with a __???__ kind of device in the back of her throat to keep her breathing during the surgery. Its not intubation but she will have something in her throat. They will wait to do IV and all that jazz until she’s asleep.  Again, I’m about jumping out of my skin.

Dr Pyevich, the surgeon, comes in. Asks if we have any questions and explains how he will do an xray guided procedure to the cyst. If he cannot aspirate or fill it completely using just a needle, he will have to make a 2″ incision and go in manually to work on it. I’m thinking about having an anxiety attack.

The wagon shows up. Lucy gets in. I kiss and hug her a million times more and tell her that I love her and to be a brave girl like we talked about. J does the same. We tell her we’ll see her soon. She nods and Val wheels her away and the giant doors close.

Lucy, Val, and Cinderella

Lucy, Val, and Cinderella

And that’s when I lose it. 1/3 of my heart just went in for a surgery and I have no control over the next 1.5 hrs. J does much better than me and suggests we venture to the cafeteria for lunch. I tearfully oblige.

No more than 30 mins later the phone in the waiting room rings and Val tells us Lucy was successfully put under and they got her IV on the first try.  She will call again when surgery is over. Lucy’s surgery number on the screen changes from ‘Pre-procedure’ to ‘Procedure’. I lose it once more. I cannot stand the thought of my daughter having something put down her throat while she is unconscious and giant needles inserted into her tiny bones, causing her pain. I don’t want her to have pain!

No more than 10 mins later the screen changes to ‘Closing’. The procedure is finishing up and she will go to recovery soon. It was quick. Dr Pyevich returns to us and tells us he was able to fill the cyst completely. He will see her in 10 days and for several more followups over the next year when we will re-evaluate the cyst.

45 mins later we are still staring at the screen waiting for it to change from ‘Recovery’ to ‘Phase II’, meaning that we can come in to see her. The phone rings for the 3rd time and I answer, they are looking for ‘Lucy Costello’s family’ and that we can come back.

Lucy is sitting upright in the same chair we were in earlier, same room.  The nurses all tell us she was extremely well behaved, is the cutest thing ever, and that she was just having a conversation with the nurse about why her hospital bracelet is waterproof.  She’s quite pale, confused and wants her IV out immediately. She’s also not too fond of the arm immobilizer that she will be stuck in for the next 10 days.

We hang out about another hour while she drinks, gets sick, and we get discharge instructions and med scripts. She’s doing pretty well. We venture to the drugstore, she gets sick again, and we finally get home. I make a nest for her in our bed and she stays the entire evening. She complains her arm hurts and stays very still.

She hates that thing

She hates that thing



Today about 10am she kind of came to life again. She’s telling me stories and making me and G act out her scenarios in her head. She’s still in a moderate amount of pain and I can definitely tell when the meds wear off, just as I could overnight. She refuses to wear a shirt due to the immobilizer but I at least get her to change pants.

She’s a trooper.

Sleeping peacefully as I write this

Sleeping peacefully as I write this

To any mother who has ever had a young child undergo surgery, whatever it may be, my heart goes out to you.

I’m glad that’s over with.

-The {healing} Costellos

PS- An awesome recipe that I’m sharing. Made this week!