Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and Gifts

I haven't posted anything since Aiden's birthday because we've been really busy this month, but I did remember to take some pictures of our own little Christmas morning. It was hard this year because Sean had to work Christmas Eve although he did manage to get Christmas night off. So he came to church with us and then had to run off to work. Aiden woke up on Christmas morning and was shockingly patient. We went downstairs to see if Santa had come, and he had indeed, but we ate breakfast while we waited for Sean to get home from work before we opened any presents.

After presents Sean went to bed and I took Aiden over for Christmas at my mom's house, which was lots of fun as usual. After that I picked up Sean and we headed to my dad's family's Christmas get together. Poor Sean is always overwhelmed at this get together as he was an only child for most of his life and has three cousins who he doesn't get to see much. I, on the other hand, have six aunts and uncles (plus their spouses), there are thirteen of us kids and two great grand children. We are also very noisy and by the time we arrive everyone is usually full of the Christmas "spirit". I'm constantly having to prompt Sean with names and names of spouses and which person does what, and he usually has to explain what he does for a living about five times.
Anyway, we had a lot of fun and Aiden enjoyed hanging out with my cousin Alexandra who is only two months older than him.

Our big exciting gift this Christmas wasn't actually a present, but the fact that we're having another baby. It has been such a long road getting here that I can't believe how different things are from our experience with Aiden. Aiden was a surprise when we were totally unprepared for baby. This time we planned and waited and when we were finally ready...nothing. It's been over a year of trying combined with some health issues on my part and now we're actually pregnant. For a while I was really trying not to get my hopes up or even think about it too much so now that we're starting the second trimester and hopefully in a safe place it seems so odd to finally tell everyone. It still seems surreal and I'm nervous to really wrap my head around it, but hopefully it starts to seem more like reality. It has definitely been the best thing we could've hoped for. Today is also our second anniversary, so here's to two babies and two wonderful years together!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Aiden Is 4!

My baby turns 4 today! This was a special year because he got to have an honest to goodness birthday party with all of his school friends at a local children's museum. This museum is seriously cool. It's two floors of all kinds of hands-on play areas such as a "pond" with lots of stuffed animals, a "bandstand" with sensors that play music when you cover them, and a vet area with real animal x-rays and a trolley right in the middle. That is a tiny sample of what's in this place, and when all the kids got there it was a free-for-all of fun and playing. After an hour and a half of play time the kids all got together and had pizza, ate cupcakes and did some crafts. All of the kids in Aiden's class are so adorable, and one girl even sang him "Happy Birthday" in Swedish! It really is so nice to seem them interact and to get to chat with all the other parents. Aiden had a ton of fun too, which was the whole point after all.









Today he brought some treats to school to celebrate and the teachers had made him a paper crown to wear all day. It was adorable!

Since he's turning another year older I sat down and "interviewed" him so that he could look back and remember what his "favorites" were at this age. I thought it would be impossible to get him to sit still and pay attention but he was very interested in answering all my questions. He's ready for the spotlight apparently.

Aiden at Age 4

His Favorite Book: "Green Eggs and Ham"

His Favorite Song: "The Polar Express theme song and The Dog Song" (that's The Dog Days Are Over by Florence + the Machine, mommy and daddy's favorite singer)

His Favorite Food: "I love shrimp! And pizza, grapes, bananas, donuts..." (this list went on and on. He's not too picky I guess!)

His Favorite Drink: "Chocolate milk and real milk"

His Favorite Toy: "My firetrucks... Oh yeah, my trains!"

His Best Friend: "Rainbow" (awwwwwwwwww)

His Favorite Place: "I really like Disney World, but I also really like Starbucks"

His Favorite Color: "Color...hmmm....purple?"

His Favorite Game: "Playing with my blocks!"

His Favorite Dessert: "CAKE!"

What He Wants to Be When He Grows Up: "An alligator"

Friday, November 25, 2011

All the Rest of November!

So! Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had dinner at our house this year and everything went off mostly without a hitch. This amazed me as we got back from a week in Disney World last Saturday and I was certain I'd be going crazy this week, but not so much. All went well.

I keep telling people I'm going to post the Disney photos and then I get really busy doing something like taking a nap or making a snack. And then there was that whole Thanksgiving thing. But now, as promised, the photos!



We got there on a Saturday, after getting up at the unholy hour of 4AM to catch our plane. The plane ride and our connecting flight were totally fine, Aiden was an angel, we got there in three hours total. The only hitch was the vicious air sickness that overcame me on our descent. That, and the lack of airsickness bags. Yeah. We got off the plane and Aiden and Sean were all "YAY DISNEY WORLD!" while I looked and felt like hot garbage, and prayed someone would please put me out of my misery. We spent the rest of the day relaxing at our hotel, the boys went out for a swim, and we all went to bed very early.



The next day we went to Hollywood Studios, which has more along the lines of shows and tours than rides. One ride we did go on was the Toy Story ride which was AWESOME. We saw the classic Indiana Jones show and did a couple of the backstage tours. Perhaps the coolest part of the park was the Star Wars ride. We didn't go on the ride because it was too scary for Aiden but we ate dinner next to it and got to watch the little show they put on right outside. They pull all of the kids out of the audience (the young padawans, if you will) and dress them in Jedi robes and give them light sabers so that they can complete light saber training with a Jedi. They learn all these moves, and then when they think the show is over, out comes DARTH VADER!!!! And each child gets to try out their moves against Darth Vader until they finally defeat him, whereupon they receive their official Jedi certificate. HOW COOL IS THAT? I don't even like Star Wars but these kids were having so much fun, and were so excited to face Darth Vader I can only imagine they returned to school after vacation and were catapulted to immediate popularity by showing their friends photographic evidence of their Jedi prowess.







The next day we went to Magic Kingdom which is by far the best park of them all. We even set aside two days for this park because there is just so much to do. All I can say is that we went on every ride that Aiden could get on, which is about 99% of them. Aiden did all the classic rides including Dumbo and the teacups. Between him and Sean I thought our teacup would spiral off into the upper atmosphere they had it spinning so fast. Aiden's favorite ride was the speedway cars. They are little go carts that ride a rail so you can steer but you can't go too far off course. First he rode with Sean and spent the whole day begging to go again. I took him on it the second time and, because I'm a fun mom, I let him drive. He was having SO MUCH FUN. I had to push the gas because he couldn't reach, but he steered with everything he had (although he could barely see over the steering wheel so it was quite a bumpy ride). They even gave him an honorary Mickey Driver's License. It was constant fun and rides and Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream. Aiden had so. much. fun. We loved that this park is totally geared towards the kids. They have Fast Pass so that you can return and skip the line incase it's a really long wait, but even waiting in line was fun because so many rides have toys and games and interactive parts along the waiting area.


We did Epcot on Tuesday, which was another day of nonstop action. In the morning we did all the science and technology rides on the one side of the park and then in the afternoon we went and did the World Showcase. They also have a whole undersea area that they've updated with a Finding Nemo ride and an interactive show where you can talk to Crush, the sea turtle from the movie. We were trying to be budget conscious when it came to food, but at Epcot we stopped in France and had ourselves a ridiculously rich, multi-course meal. It was SO GOOD. Towards the end of the meal a man came over pushing a little food cart and stopped in front of us. He lifted the lid off the platter on the cart and underneath was Remi, the little rat from Ratatouille. He chatted with Aiden and decided that although he really liked Aiden he couldn't come home with us because we have a dog and he's very afraid of dogs. The whole interaction was such a surprise I didn't even get a picture. That's Disney for you though. You never know what fun thing might happen.










Wednesday we left Disney and went to Universal Islands of Adventure. I had never been before so I was curious. The park is basically different areas dedicated to different themes. The first area we saw was the Dr. Seuss area, with rides and attractions all based on the books and drawings. It was perfect for Aiden and he went on every ride twice. Or three times. The second area we came for was....THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER!!! It was fantastic, everything we hoped, although it could've been a lot bigger. We saw the Hogwart Express, enjoyed a couple mugs of butterbeer, had a very delicious lunch at the three broomsticks and visited the Hogs Head. Sean and I loved just wandering around, visiting Honeydukes and Zonko's, so neat. Other than those two areas however, we were not impressed. Aiden was too small to get on any other rides and they just weren't particularly interesting. Pales in comparison to the Disney Parks.



Thursday we headed to Animal Kingdom which Aiden loved. We went on Kilimanjaro Safari, where they take to out to see all the animals native to the Savannah, such as Hippos, Elephants, Giraffes, Lions, Monkeys Rhinos and everything else you can think of. Aiden kept rattling off the names of all the animals he'd seen to anyone who'd listen.

Friday we did one last day at Magic Kingdom, it was both my birthday and MICKEY MOUSE'S BIRTHDAY!!! How cool is that??? Also, how strange is it that Aiden was born on the same day as Walt Disney? We are obviously a Disney family. It's in the stars.

Our flight back the next day was uneventful, no airsickness! And basically it took us about four days to recover from all of the fun and sun. Seriously, it was exhausting and just completely magical. Everything we hoped for as Aiden's first time at Disney.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Holiday Season Has Begun.


On Sunday Laura, Tierney, me and all three of our moms went down to New York to see "How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" as a day long birthday extravaganza and it was FANTASTIC. Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette headlined and it was incredibly funny. The whole trip was so wonderful, from spending time with my friends and our moms to eating at Carmine's and watching the show, everything was fun. When I was thinking about the whole trip I couldn't put my finger on what exactly made it so special, above and beyond the obvious, when I realized that what really sealed the deal and made it such a relaxing break was the fact that I was not in charge. I didn't have to plan a thing!
I am so thankful that these wonderful women arranged for show tickets, train times, reservations and a carpool to the train station. My friend Tierney even had warm bagels waiting for everyone right as we left that morning. The most strenuous decision I had to make was what to order for dessert (and trust me it was one I really pondered over). What a nice break to just be able to show up for the fun and not be in charge of arrangements. My friends are the best.


Now that the fun of that trip is over we are heading straight into Holiday Mania. Today Aiden and I sat down to write out the invitations for his birthday party which we have to hand out this week since next week we'll be in... DISNEY WORLD! Yay! Then four days after our return we're having Thanksgiving at our house and a week after that will be his actual party. And then it's a slippery slope straight into Christmas and New Year and we'll reemerge in 2012 with our heads still spinning from the madness. Full steam ahead.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Aiden has his party at school today along with the costume parade and a little show with lots of Fall an Halloween songs. Aiden sings his heart out at home but the minute he saw all of the parents watching he clammed right up. Still, he was adorable and all of the kids at the school had fantastic costumes.
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All the kids singing! Except Aiden of course.



Aiden the bumblebee.




Aiden and his wonderful teacher Mrs. Booth




Even Bo is getting into the holiday!



Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like....Halloween?

It snowed last night, which is not all that unusual for late October except for the fact that it actually accumulated a little. It started in the afternoon and when Aiden got up from his nap and saw the snow he turned to me and shouted "MOM! GET MY SLED! GET MY SKIS! WE'VE GOTTA GO OUTSIDE!". After dinner we did spend a little time outside making and throwing snowballs and watching our boot prints fill with wet flakes.

Suddenly it felt like Christmas rather than Halloween. It was lots of fun until 8:30ish when the power flickered a few times and finally went out. Apparently the combination of wet snow and trees with all their leaves proved too much for a power line. I was bumbling around in the dark looking for the flashlight when Aiden came running into our room completely terrified. Sean was the only person who remained calm. We all climbed into our bed and watched Harry Potter on the portable DVD player until the power came back an hour or so later. It was definitely a fun adventure but I'm ready to have fall back at least until Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Autumn in New York






Stuff keeps happening, and I keep intending to sit and write it down but then life happens. Honestly, between October and January we're booked solid. It's truly nuts.

It's finally, actually fall! The leaves have finally changed color thank goodness. This weekend we plan to go get a pumpkin to carve, while on Sunday we're hoping to help my best bud Laura carve one of her 100 pumpkins. Yes, that's right, 100 pumpkins. They love Halloween over at her house, and they've previously carved 50, but this year it's 100. I don't have the talent or energy to do it so I'm glad she does because I know it's going to look really amazing on Halloween.

On Sunday afternoon we'll be heading to a Halloween party hosted by one of Aiden's school friends. It's a costume party and Aiden has decided to be a bumblebee this year. He originally wanted to be a shark, then he thought he might go as Buzz Lightyear again, but then he found an old bumblebee costume that used to belong to Sean's sister and that sealed the deal. It's kind of funny, this costume is meant to bee a large costume for a small child (1 to 2 years) but Aiden is so skinny he can still fit into it despite the fact that it's more of a bumblebee vest than a full bumblebee suit. Still, he's resolute in his decision, so we've added some wings and he's good to go.

Then the next weekend Sean and I have a Halloween party, followed by Aiden's school parade and party on Monday. I'm making some goody bags for that and I can't wait to see all the kids marching with their costumes. So cute.

We've also got big things going on for every weekend in November, but I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself or I collapse in a pile of stress and anxiety. I'm trying to remember to actually enjoy everything as it unfolds rather than rush around planning for the next event.

Hopefully we'll get some good pictures of Aiden out having fun that we can share with everyone.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bo

Happy birthday to Bo, who is a year old today! He was born on 10/10/10, how cool is that?



Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The House


We've been quite busy these past couple of weeks. It seems like the fall and early winter are always the busiest times of the year. The biggest thing has been Sean's work. He spent the past three weeks living at work and coming home every 17 hours or so for a brief visit, or so it seemed. Just thinking about the amount of time he spent there and the fact that we never knew when he'd actually be home is exhausting. It was awful, but it's over. Test passed, promotion granted, life moving forward. Now he'll actually be able to take some time off and we're trying to plan a trip to Disney in November. Just thinking about how much fun Aiden will have is getting me twice as excited for it. I've tried to explain to him what Disney World is about and he doesn't really get it, so seeing his face when we get there is going to be one of those moments that makes the stress of raising a child SO WORTH IT.

Aiden is still cruising through school. He loves it and is making lots of friends, mostly girls since there are only 3 boys in a class of 11 and the other two boys are very reserved. He has already been invited to 2 parties which is something Sean and I forgot was a big part of school. Everyone has birthday parties, the whole class gets invited, gifts must be purchased and Saturday morning must be given up. I'm already trying to figure out what we're going to do for Aiden in December. Oh the pressure.

Now that Sean's work is leveling off, we're trying to fix up the house a little bit. It seems like everything has fallen apart as of late. That dishwasher and oven we purchased over the summer? The oven is still not installed. We thought we had a drop-in stove, two professional installers thought we had a drop-in stove. Only once the second installer had sawed through the wood cabinet that the stove is set into did we all realize that we have a free standing stove that was hidden behind the cabinet front. The stove cannot be returned. It also cannot be installed without serious work. While we tried to figure out what to do, the furnace broke. And then the garage door broke and the SUV in on the fritz. Basically we've been making phone calls and filling out paperwork in our free time.

Luckily, in the midst of the madness, we got to spend part of the weekend at the gorgeous Boston Harbor Hotel for the wedding of our friends Ben and Angela. It was a beautiful day and the wedding was right on the waterfront. My mom watched Aiden for us so we could have a child-free night which was something we desperately needed.


So we've been having fun, having some not- so- fun and doing a lot of repair work.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Young at Heart, And In the Face Too, Apparently.

Yesterday I was walking through the grocery store, pushing Aiden in a cart and just wandering through the produce aisle looking for garlic when a woman threw out her arm and stopped me.
"I just HAVE to ask: is he your son or your brother?". When I told her that yes, in fact, this was my child, she stared at me and said "But you look so young! I mean, you look really young, like you could be fourteen!".
I wasn't exactly sure how to respond to this so I kind of laughed and she hurriedly assured me that this was a good thing and blah blah blah. I'm sorry, someone assuming you're a 14 year old mother is not a compliment. I realize I look young, uh, because I am young, but fourteen is pushing it.
My friend Tierney has the same problem of being mistaken for younger than she is and I'll chalk some of it up to the fact that we're both short. Real short. It's just made even more awkward when you're with your child and people are giving you the sideways glance and trying to calculate in their heads.

Another time I was at a store and the cashier said "You look way too young to be a mom!" and I smiled and said "Yeah, I am too young" and just left it at that. I think the whole "you look so young!" business would be more flattering if I were 30 or 35 and looked especially young but being 23 and looking 23 (or 16 depending on the day) just feels uncomfortable.

I get this sentiment pretty frequently. No one has any qualms about commenting on my perceived age which seems so odd to me. Again, I assume it's supposed to be a compliment but it's still awkward to comment on a stranger's age or looks right? Am I being too sensitive?

The funny thing is that this has only ever happened to me here in the Northeast. When we lived in Charleston, South Caroline (a city with a lot of military families), a lot of the other moms were in their early to mid-twenties so I was completely normal. I never felt out of place or like I was considerably younger than anyone. It's a definitely a cultural thing since the average age of first time moms is still 25, not crazy far off from where I was.

Anyway, I guess I should learn to just smile and say 'thanks' but I do hope people will stop acting so flabbergasted that I have a child if we have another one!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Bushel and A Peck





On Saturday we went apple picking which is a fall tradition we missed out on last year since we were still in South Carolina where fall doesn't exist. My mom and I like to go early in the season because that's when her favorite, Macintosh, are ripe. Sean is on night shift this week so we'll have to go again with him although he could care less about the apples and only wants to know what kind of apple cider donut crop we'll be having this year.

It was unusually cold last weekend which made it feel even more like Autumn and we all had to bundle up. While we were waiting for the day ti warm up a bit I told Aiden about going apple picking and I think he thought we were going to the grocery store. When I explained we were going to pick them off trees he kept telling me how he hoped there would also be some orange trees too.
Well, we got there and he went bonkers for the hay wagon that takes you out into the orchard. Then he went bonkers for the animal pen with goats and sheep and tiny little pigs. Then he went bonkers for the glass bee hive that lets you watch the bees come and go. Same with the donut machine, the aquarium and the farm machinery.




I thought he would have fun but I had forgotten about all of the extras besides apples that he'd be interested in. It was a fantastic day and he passed out in the car just about when we pulled out of the parking lot.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Dream Guy


I had a dream the other night that I had gone to my bank and opened a new Roth IRA account (and yes, I realize this is the most boring dream ever). In my dream I went home and told Sean about it and he started panicking and yelling about how I had thrown off his projections for our annual contributions and that he was trying to keep track of our accounts. The dream continued with him in a royal conniption before I finally woke up.


Later that morning I remembered my dream and started telling Sean about it simply because it seemed so funny that he would have such a freak out over retirement investing. He apparently wasn't listening too closely and didn't realize that I had said it was a dream because right after I said the words "Roth IRA" he whipped around and said "YOU OPENED A NEW IRA ACCOUNT? You should have told me! How much did you put in? WE'VE GOT TO KEEP TRACK!".

Yep. I know him so well. Too well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Preschool: His Verdict

NO MORE PICTURES MOM!

I can't seem to get a decent picture of Aiden these days as I'm always aiming at a moving target in really poor lighting. He is totally over having his picture taken unless you catch him in a really good mood and then he decides it's the Aiden Show and will vogue like it's his job.

He started his second week of school today. Both days last week involved prying him off of us in tears each morning. Even though he raved about school and all the fun he had, he was still a little freaked out by the whole concept. This morning Sean and I walked him to his class where he insisted on hugging us both goodbye about 14 times before putting his backpack away by himself, taking a deep breath and charging into the classroom. This was unexpected as Sean and I were both pretty certain that it'd be a couple of weeks before drop-off would happen without tears. The teacher just stared at us, we stared at each other and then the teacher gave us a silent but very enthusiastic thumbs up. After the classroom door closed Sean and I both leaped into the air and high-fived. Yes! Score one for Aiden! GO PRESCHOOL!

Preschool seems to have opened up a whole new dimension of Aiden's personality which is just endlessly entertaining to witness. A new phrase he's adopted is "What was I saying again?". He likes to stop mid-sentence, cock his head to the side, and use that one before going on. Another is "You know." I always have to explain you him that no, I don't know, because I don't go to preschool.

He's got a buddy that he likes to play trains with. Apparently he and this other kid are both obsessed with trains and play with the train table to the exclusion of every other toy during free play.

Also, I found out tonight, he has a crush. He told me she brought a cat for show-and-tell and wore a pink shirt with sparkles and that he'd like to "hug her and kiss her and then say hi to her". We're obviously going to have to have a conversation about the order in which these things should happen and the fact that perhaps asking her to play at the macaroni table with him would be a more appropriate gesture.

He's also started singing. All.the.time. As in "Mommy, don't turn on the radio, I'm gonna sing" and he proceeds to serenade me with a song he's made up about school buses to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" all the way to the grocery store. I know they sing a lot of songs at school so that explains some of it, but I also think that a part of this comes from Sean. Neither Sean nor I can sing but Sean will make up the weirdest songs with the most complicated melodies about anything. He did it all the time when Aiden was a baby, epic ballads about whatever wandered through his mind at the time. I think maybe Aiden was paying attention.

It's so interesting to hear directly from Aiden about what goes on at school because he will give us a really monotone rundown of their activities that's occasionally punctuated with "AND THEN WE PLAYED WITH A PARACHUTE!" or "AND THEN I PAINTED WITH MARBLES!".

I'm just so appreciative that he's having a really positive experience and making new friends. I can't wait to hear about his day because suddenly he has so much to talk about and it's like meeting him for the first time.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our First's First

He went to school today! We've been talking about it for weeks and his teachers even sent him a postcard with their picture and a note last week so that he'd feel more comfortable on the first day. He hadn't wanted to talk much about preschool until last night.

We stayed up for a half hour past bedtime talking about what his first day would be like. We lay there, side by side in his car bed, talking about snack time, his teacher's names, where the potties are and what activities they might do. He learned a new word, the one to describe that funny feeling in your tummy before you try something you've never done before: nervous.

He went to bed excited about the next day but this morning was a different story. It was pouring rain and he was groggy and cold and did not want to get dressed for school. He dragged his feet through breakfast and put up a fight at every turn but finally we made it out the door.

Sean and I were just as nervous as he was and we were trying to make sure we found the right entrance, that we arrived not too early and not too late, that we played our part in making this a smooth transition. He was nervous from the moment we stepped inside. He cried and clung to Sean's shirt before it was even time for us to leave. There are about eight children in his class and some cried while others wandered away from their parents warily but without tears. One thing we noticed is that Aiden towered over most of the kids. His birthday is four days after the cutoff for the older class (it's the same for kindergarten) so he'll likely always be older than most of the others.

He has two teachers and two helpers in his class and each of them are so unbelievably nice. They immediately swooped in to help the kids find a toy or book and get comfortable. His head teacher came over helped us disentangle ourselves from Aiden. We left feeling a little drained by how distraught he seemed but I knew (or hoped at least) that he'd be fine once we were gone.

Sean and I had been musing about everything we could accomplish while he's at school but instead we sat and had breakfast and wondered what they were doing at school.

When we went to pick him up it was a complete turnaround. He marched out of the classroom with his teacher and immediately told us about how he played trains with the other children and painted a picture of a car and sang with his teachers and can we please invite everyone over to our house to play?

In the car ride home he announced that "This morning I was just nervous. Then I played with the kids and my teachers and had fun". Well, sounds good to me.

First day, all rumpled after a morning of fun.


...and a fish face for good measure.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Try This...

...on a day when you get to the office really early and no one else is around. I guarantee the rest of your day will be a little better.

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