Monday, November 29, 2010

The Post Where I Make You Cry

Aiden turns three next Sunday. For some reason, this birthday has hit me harder than the others. When Aiden turned one it was like a sigh of relief. I was sad to see him growing up but it was a relief to see some of the stressful parts of caring for an infant fall away. When he turned two it was so much fun. He was walking and talking (a little) but definitely still our little guy. Now that he's about to be three....I don't know. He's his own man. The change in him this past year has been amazing. Physically he's grown so much just over the summer that he's more than half my height. He's talking, he's potty trained, he's got his own interests and a hilarious sense of humor.

It suddenly feels like someone has pushed fast forward and time is just slipping away. I'm just totally bowled over by the fact that he's no longer a baby. He's a boy. When he was younger I was so eager to see what he'd be like and now that he's starting to blossom I'm getting that panicked feeling as it dawns on me how one day he'll be grown, and he'll go off on his own. When you put love and hard work into something you want to hold onto it and savor it, but our children are one thing that we have to turn out into the world. You love them and care for them and drive yourself crazy trying to be the best for them, all so that they can stand on their own.

I know he's only three, that I have many more years ahead to love and hug and hold onto him, but I can already see that day that we send him down the road alone.

So, we made this video to celebrate the three years we've had together with our baby. I mean, our boy. The song is "Stop This Train" by John Mayer, and it's one of our favorites, all about how the best balm from the sting of passing time is just to savor each moment and don't look back (except at the pictures ). I'll warn you: get a couple of tissues and be prepared.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The New Car

Guys, guess what? We got a new car! Well, it's used actually, but somehow it still has less mileage on it than our '09 Honda. Our one requirement for the new car was that it a) work and b) have all-wheel drive since Sean has a 40 minute commute on windy country roads that don't often see the snow plow. We searched high and low and settled on a '08 Kia Sorrento which we picked up this Saturday.

I was excited to have an all-wheel drive vehicle since I regularly curse our driveway every time it snows and the little baby Honda fishtails up the steep incline, narrowly missing the retaining wall. Sometimes it just can't make it and our neighbor lets up park in her driveway.

Now we have a big manly man vehicle that can easily tackle a snowy driveway. I truly was excited about the SUV until I read the manual. Every other page has yellow warnings that say things like: "Drive at slow speeds around corners as this vehicle can tip over easily!" and "This vehicle may roll over when in all-wheel drive mode!" and the worst one "Do not steer using the inside of the steering wheel as it may adjust suddenly without warning and SNAP YOUR WRISTS LIKE MATCHSTICKS!!!". Okay, so maybe the wording was slightly different on the last one, but you get the picture.

No joking: Saturday night I kept dreaming that I was stuck in a parking lot with half sized spaces, trying to park without scratching the others cars. I also dreamt that I did in fact roll the car over and Sean picked it up like it was made out of plastic put in back on the road. Strange right?

It's not all bad though. Sure, it has all the maneuverability and turning radius of a Sherman tank, but I do get a sense of satisfaction from being able to look down on all the smaller cars on the road. Maybe that's because I'm all of five foot two. It's got amazing trunk space and tons of leg room. Although, I did go to step out of it and miscalculate the height which caused me to plummet to the garage floor.

I will definitely get used to it, but maybe I could use a step ladder and a signal crew in the meantime.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's My Birthday!

Today I turn, in Aiden's words, "twenty-pweeee!". Or 23, for those who don't speak toddler. I get very nervous around my birthday, especially as an adult, because a bad birthday feels like a bad omen for the whole year. Frankly, I've been completely spoiled on birthday's past, so there's always pressure for the next one to live up to that standard.

When I turned 4 my mom hand decorated my cake with little candies so that it looked just like the Little Mermaid. I think I'll ask for that again next year. When I was 15 my mom, Laura and I went to NYC for a girl's day out. When I turned 16, Laura organized a huge surprise party and gave me an album of letters written by my friends and parents. When I turned 18, Sean took the train home from Boston so that he could surprise me before school. We went and saw "Harry Potter" (for those of you who know us, you know that it was a VERY romantic gesture) and then we drove to Montreal (where the drinking age is 18 so I actually got champagne on my champagne birthday!). Needless to say, I've had some fantastic birthdays. And one horrible one: on my 17th birthday not one single person came to my party except Laura, and it was at her house.

As a grown up though, it stops being an All About You party. Everyone's busy and there's just not enough free time. It's just less of a big deal as you get older. I figured today would be like that, especially since Sean and I are down to one car so I've been stuck at home. Except, it's actually been great!

Last night my mom took Sean and I out for dinner,where I enjoyed the double whammy gift of great food and a well behaved child. This morning my friend Tierney stopped by with a latte, which was the nicest pick-me-up. My brother came over at lunch time and played with Aiden and took us out so I could run some errands. My grandparents even popped by with a card and a gift. I was so surprised that everyone called or stopped by and it was so nice to know that they were thinking about me.

Plus, Aiden helped me make some cupcakes, and I realized that watching him make them was so much more fun than actually eating them. I think we're definitely going have to make them for his birthday.

Safety First!!!

Future Pastry Chef

Very Excited!


A masterpiece.

Official Birthday Portrait.

Uncle Ben and the choo-choo's. Wow, that could be a band name.

Yeah, it's been pretty awesome. Also, I know you probably thought Thanksgiving was the opening of the holiday season, but secretly, I like to think my birthday actually marks the start of it. So I give you full permission to start listening to Christmas music and bringing out the decorations.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes everyone!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Two Dog Night

This weekend Sean's coworker/friend Kelly headed out of state for the weekend and asked us to dog-sit her adorable Australian Shepherd. His name is Henry Jones Jr., also known as Indy, and he is AWESOME. For as calm and sedate as Bear is, Indy is every bit as energetic. It took me all night to get some decent pictures of him because he kept coming out as a black and white streak of fur.

It goes without saying that Aiden loves Indy, although he kind of pronounces it "Ninny", which makes me giggle. Last night the two dogs and Aiden played together for 45 minutes. In toddler time, 45 minutes is a lifetime. After Aiden went to bed, Sean took Indy out back to see how fast he could run a loop around the yard, and that dog is unbelievably fast. It's obvious why these dogs were bred to work on farms.

So basically it's been one big dog sleepover at our house.

There have been snacks:

And games:

And plenty of belly rubs:

And don't even get me started on the roughhousing:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Everything Since We've Been Home

Things have been crazy! I was looking forward to a week or two off with Sean but every morning we wake up and don't stop moving until 11:30 at night. I've been so busy some days that my feet and back start to ache the way they would when I was tromping all over Brooklyn, and I've just been running around the house! The laundry seems to have quadrupled now that it's cold, the house needed a bunch of small fixes and we've finally had the chance to finish a lot of random errands. It's good, it's just exhausting also.

What has happened in the past two weeks? Halloween! Here's a picture of the cutest Buzz Lightyear in the galaxy:
He looooved Halloween. He got to actually go Trick-or-Treating this year, just like a big boy, and it meant a bucketful of goodies and getting to wear this super suit. Huge thanks to Sean's stepmom and dad for finding such an awesome costume.

We also got our furniture back, FINALLY. It was a little disappointing as the movers basically tossed the boxes in, assembled the furniture incorrectly and then left both our couch and coffee table in pieces. At least everything was inside the house though, right? We're all unpacked and Aiden has adjusted wonderfully.

Hide and go seek: packing materials edition

Who needs Jack? Aiden-in -the-box.

Yeah...this game involves putting a box on your head and spinning in circles. Also great entertainment for the spectators.

Next up is Aiden's birthday! He's excited for year three, even though sometimes he says he'll be turning 1 again. However, I can't wait for Christmas. Sean and I had to make a stop at Lowes and we happened to wander down the aisle with all of the blow-up lawn decorations and Aiden's jaw dropped. He stood, just staring, at Santa and the reindeer and penguins and Frosty and Snoopy. He was starstruck over a handful of decorations and I can't even imagine how excited he's going to be when we get a tree and put up stockings. He really gets it this year and it's making me even more excited for my already favorite holiday.

P.S.: We visited Sean's sister at school the other day and realized that the kids in kindergarten right now will be in highschool with Aiden. Mindblowing. Also: the district just emailed us and let us know that Aiden (due to the Dec. 5th birthday, the cutoff is Dec. 1st) will officially be headed to kindergarten in 2013. You guys, that's like, tomorrow. Heartwrenching.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm A Stay At Home Mom

I thought people knew this but I guess I didn't make it very clear. I'm going to stay home with Aiden for now. Maybe until he's in school. Or maybe until he's in college. I don't know yet, but right now, being home with him is what feels right for me.

I often feel the need to defend myself when I tell people this since our society seems to think that it's okay to comment on/critique/criticize other people's (mainly mother's) life choices. People tend to look at me like I'm nuts or that I'm somehow giving up on life, which is so wrong. I know plenty of moms who love their jobs. They feel fulfilled and have a sense of purpose heading into work each day. I, on the other hand, during my last four years of going to school and working, was left with a feeling that my sense of purpose was sitting in daycare with strangers. I hated being away from Aiden, and not in an 'oh, I can't wait to see you at six o'clock (or nine o'clock) tonight' kind of way but in a way that made me realize I want to be the one taking care of my child and showing him the world, not a rotating crew of childcare workers.

I remember being in middle school and sitting on the afternoon school bus, watching a kid run off the bus and into his mom's arms and thinking 'wow, I want to be that kind of mom'. My own mom didn't get a chance to stay home (except briefly when we were very young), and I don't know that she would have even if she had the choice. She has a great job and she's awesome at it, and I'm no worse for wear having had a working mom, but I have always known I'd want to stay home with my own kids if possible. It just happens the baby is here sooner rather than later. So yeah, this is what I want to be doing now.

No one looks twice at a woman who works through her twenties and thirties and stays home when she has a baby at 39 or 40. Why can't I stay home with a baby who's going to be in college by the time I'm 40, and do what I want then? Sure, it's backwards but I've always been one to do things in my own time. And really, 40 is the new 20 anyway. I fully plan on going back to school or work or whatever the moment it feels right. (And I know a bunch of you are doing the sarcastic eyeroll because come on, she'll never go back! But plenty of people also said I'd never graduate after having a baby, in a neat four years no less!)

Sean and I have talked about it over and over again, and we both agree it's what's best for us. He's about to embark on a period of his career that requires 12 hour days and an ever changing schedule. Trying to work a forty hour week and care for Aiden while Sean works his own opposite schedule is my personal version of hell. I know that it would not do good things for our marriage or for my ability to be a good parent. It's not something we're willing do.

So I guess I just really wanted to come out of the closet about my firm decision to stay home right now. And to say that I totally support working moms and stay at home moms. And to say that I hope everyone voted yesterday.