Friday, February 25, 2011

As We Live A Life of Ease, Everyone of Us Has All We Need

This week my mom and I went to see a Beatles cover band called Rain. They're surpringly good, they play all the music themselves and run through a good sample of songs from each Beatles 'era' complete with costumes and vintage videos.

Aiden and I always like to listen to the Beatles and this week I've been playing them a lot. Yesterday, during Sean's day off, they were working on building a Lego train and Aiden piped up with his own cover of Yellow Submarine.


video

I'm glad we're instilling a good taste in music if nothing else.

Friday, February 18, 2011

This and That

I know I said I wouldn't comment on the weather until spring but it's actually sunny out and 50 degrees today! Yesterday was gorgeous too which meant that Aiden and I could go for a walk around the neighborhood (shockingly, he actually walked the whole way. Goodbye stroller!). We also took a little time to blow bubbles.


Since the snow has been rapidly melting he also asked if we could make a snowman before it was all gone. We made the world's tiniest snowman.


Frame of reference for you:

Aiden has been full of energy lately which is pretty taxing. However, he's also been incredibly sweet. One day, after going to storytime at the library we decided to run over to Starbucks. I'll usually grab a coffee and head home when it's just me and him. That day we grabbed our beverages and headed to the door but he said 'No mommy! Sit down!".

He found a table and plunked down in a chair. I came over and said "Why are you sitting here? What are we supposed to do?" and he looked at me like I was crazy. He said "Talk to me mommy!". So we actually sat for a half hour or so and talked. He told me all about a dream he had with Thomas the Tank Engine, we talked about all the cars and buses outside and the photographs on the walls. I cannot believe I am the parent of someone who can sit and chat at a coffee shop. Where is my baby?

In other news, Sean and I went on a date. I even got to wear high heels. It was lovely. Photographic evidence:

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Never-Ending (We Hope) Story

So, in honor of Valentine's Day I thought I would share the story of Sean and I. For those of you who only read to hear about Aiden you may want to check back tomorrow because this story has little to do with him. Well, sometimes it has everything to do with him. It suppose it depends...

Anyway, here is a photo of Sean and I at age 18. We actually met at 17 but I don't have those pictures on the computer. (And we still look exactly the same).

We were both taking a psychology class. I had researched it thoroughly and decided it sounded like a perfect introduction to my future college major. He just had time to kill.

Fate would have it that the seating was alphabetical in this class, placing Sean directly behind me (a big thank you to our ancestors for carrying the family names to America and allowing for our serendipitous meeting). At first I ignored him because he talked NONSTOP. To anyone. To everyone. Sometimes he would poke me in the back and try to talk to me. I'd lend him a pen. He'd share his notes with me. Very romantic stuff.

Soon we were assigned a group project together. We started to talk and I discovered that beyond the sophomoric sense of humor and jock attitude and constant chatter he was...nice. Like really, really nice. Oh, and smart. Very very smart. And also? Everyone loved him.

I had grown up two blocks away from him, going to the same elementary, middle and high schools and often having the same friends and I had never met him! But everyone else had. He was friends with all of the guys on the sports teams. He was friends with all of the nerdy kids. Teachers would stop him in the halls just to make conversation about skiing or tennis or concerts. He scared off bullies who picked on smaller kids. Unfortunately he also thought I was 14 and a freshman. I finally set him straight on that point and he asked me out.

Then came Prom-gate. He went on and on about how since he was a senior he wouldn't be going to Prom (we only had a junior prom). So I asked him to go with me (I was so brave, right?). He got very shifty and uncomfortable and laughed it off, telling me to ask him again in a month or so. To my seventeen year old heart that was a definite NO THANK YOU CRAZY GIRL. To him, he actually meant for me to ask him again in case we had broken up or someone in my own grade needed a date or whatever. A month, and then two, went by and I'd rustled up a different date and someone else in my grade asked him anyway, AND HE SAID YES. This should have been grounds for immediate dismissal as a boyfriend/friend and yet? We kind of just went with it. Well, we still argue to this day about whether I should have asked him again or whether he should've just said yes in the first place. But it's all good natured. Mostly.

We started dating pretty casually. He was a senior, I was a junior, he was leaving for college eventually and we figured things would run their course and we'd probably break up before the fall. However, things started to get complicated because the more I got to know him the more I kept thinking about what a fantastic husband he'd make. Like, I could spend my WHOLE LIFE with this guy because he was perfect. Normally it would be wonderful to know you'd met such an amazing person, however, I was 17 and that kind of thought was downright scary. You see, I had a pretty tight ten year plan and meeting my future husband at 17 was definitely not on it. I would meet my future husband in grad school maybe. Or at the law firm or private practice I'd be working at in my late 20's. So naturally, I couldn't let myself fall head over heels for Sean.

So we broke up. And then we got back together. And then we broke up. And then got back together. Each time initiated by me regrettably. But there were my plans! And...and...people don't marry their high school sweethearts except in country songs and romance novels. Right?

Sean was entirely baffled. I didn't want to let on, but so was I. I really really loved him and I couldn't imagine dating him and falling that hard only to break up eventually. Because I was certain that would happen. Again, people don't marry their high school sweethearts. That's just not something that level headed people with lots of plans do. So, in a move that makes no sense whatever, I'd break up with him to spare myself future heartbreak. Except that I'd be really heartbroken and so would he and it would rain all the time and the flowers would all droop and all the colors in the world would turn gray. Okay, so I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

So there were three or so years of mostly blissful dating with this occasional on again off again and back on again nonsense... and enter scene: Aiden! And let me tell you, Aiden was NOT in the plan. This was obviously a point where we had to stop and really look at ourselves and what on earth we were going to do about the future. Each stepping stone towards my goals that I thought would be neatly laid out one in front of the other were suddenly all rearranged. Everything was up in the air but we took a leap of faith and headed forward. Initially I resisted the whole getting married thing. We needed to simply see how we handled having a baby before marriage would come into play.

Both Sean and I know what it's like to have divorced parents and we knew that was not something we wanted our own child to deal with. We both realized that what was waiting for us on the other side of pregnancy would stretch us to the limit. Trying to figure out marriage wasn't something I could do just then simply because we took marriage very seriously. Ours would not be some shotgun event we plunged into for appearances. Ours would be something we discussed and considered and stepped into when we were fully ready to take it on. Having one major, life altering event unfolding before us was enough. So we waited. And honestly, I'm glad.

The intensity of dealing with a newborn, school and work was mind blowing. Everyday was like running a marathon. There were days were I felt like I couldn't do it. It was too much. That was when Sean would step in and take over. Like a life ring in the middle of raging ocean tide, the love he had for Aiden and for me was the most achingly beautiful thing I'd ever witnessed. It became very clear to me that we'd be together forever. Someone who would stick by me everyday through late night exhaustion and hormonal outbursts and empty bank accounts was all I could ever ask for. There was this greater love and commitment there that I hadn't been able to see before but was abundantly clear to me now. Suddenly it didn't matter about how old we were or what huge obstacles we were hurdling or even what was in the stupid plan. This was happening now. He was here right now. He could have been anywhere else and yet he was changing diapers and coaching me through my computer class and gladly eating my overcooked chicken dinners.

Still, we waited until he had graduated before having a wedding. In the meantime we moved to NYC and shared a crushingly expensive apartment in a trendy part of town where we knew no one. I set the very sensitive smoke alarm off every few days with my sauteing on the stove. We watched Seinfeld reruns at night and listened to the nonstop sirens. We explored the park and met lots of children and their nannies and learned to love food out of a truck on the street. We learned more about each other and what it takes to get along together, alone.

And then in December 2009 we finally said our vows in front of our parents and friends. Embarrassingly, I sobbed through mine and worried about my nose running when we finally got to kiss. I didn't worry about whether or not this was the right thing to be doing. We'd had a trial by fire. The 'worse' of 'for better or for worse' had come already. I have faith that when we face trying times again we'll remember how much stronger we are when we lean on each other.

And now? We're busy living the rest of our lives together.

So lesson one: when you find a good guy, just be happy and hang on to him. Lesson two: "Want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans". The story of my life.

Still, we think it's gonna be a happily ever after. We're obviously made for each other.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What Else Would We Do?

Our standard way to celebrate any holiday: make cookies.

Heart shaped for Valentine's Day, naturally.



Mr. Muscles helped roll out the dough.



Red Hot's and red sugar.



A whole batch of masterpieces.



Delicious.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sowing Bountifully

Last week Aiden was eating an apple and bit into the core. He saw the apple seeds and wanted to know what they were. I explained how all trees and plants come from tiny seeds like these. Naturally, he asked if we could go outside and plant them.

We tried the next best thing. I remembered this trick from when I was in elementary school, and we wrapped the seeds in wet paper towel and tucked them into a plastic bag. We set it aside and I almost forgot about it. When Sean came home he asked what the heck was in the bag and I told him we wanted to see if the seeds would sprout. He was MIGHTY skeptical. He insisted that you can't just take seeds from a fruit and expect it to grow a plant. I asked him how he thought plants grew in the wild? Now, I realize we're not about to grow a prize winning, apple giving orchard starter here, but I was pretty certain it'd make a neat science experiment.

Lo and behold, a few days later I opened the bag and they had sprouted. Genuine roots were growing from the seeds in our meager little plastic bag. Over the weekend we took Aiden to Lowe's to pick out some pots and some more seeds and we've planted some herbs and put our little apple seeds into their own pot.


Everyday Aiden comes and checks their progress.

They might have had some very humble beginnings but it doesn't mean our little apple tree won't grow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Party

Sean is on day 2 of his 4 days off and we are hunkering down for...more snow! You'd have never guessed, right? I think I'll stop mentioning the weather until April because it's a little monotonous. We made a quick trip to the grocery store (and by 'quick' I mean 'we barely made it out alive'). Sean keeps forgetting it's Super Bowl weekend and was shocked that a) so many people were out shopping and b) they were all buying unsavory amounts of junk food. I had to point out the chili/cocktail weiners/bacon covered pizza I'd slipped into our cart.

Tomorrow Sean has big plans to go skiing with some friends. It will be nice since he loves skiing and has been reduced to escaping to the mountain for only a day or two a year. Then tomorrow night is, of course, Super Bowl!!!!

I am neither a fan of the Packers or the Steelers but I am a fan of chips, dip, chili, brownies, pizza and hilarious commercials. So it's worth it for me to watch. We're hosting our own Super Bowl party this year, although we do use the term 'party' pretty fast and loose around here. (Oh, you brought home bagels? BAGEL PARTY! There are three loads of laundry waiting to be done? LAUNDRY PARTY!). Mostly, it'll be Sean and I, my brother and my friend Tierney. Oh, and Aiden since we've decided he can stay up for this one. Sean doesn't have work on Monday so there will be two of us to deal with the inevitable overtiredness.

I LOVE FOOTBALL!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Turtle, The Monkey and The Snake

So, you'll never believe it but it's SNOWING AGAIN. We've had a full week reprieve between storms, which is good because this one we're having right now is supposed to be a super-mega-ultra mother of all storms. So big that Oklahoma is getting as much snow as New York. Yikes.

In keeping with the theme of the past two or so posts, we haven't been doing a whole lot other than our regular activities since the act of staying warm and out of the snow has become our main focus. I guess that's pretty typical of January/ February.

One thing I like to do to get Aiden moving a little is to turn on music in the afternoon and Aiden will dance and sing while I get some chores done. Aiden is becoming more and more creative and it shows whenever there's music on. Sometimes he sways along and lip-syncs and sometimes he comes up with the craziest dance moves you've ever seen. He's totally unselfconscious and fully committed to grooving which makes it the best entertainment. Here is one of his newest moves, the turtle:


video

****
In completely separate news, we found out there is a monkey living in our house. We put Aiden to bed on Saturday night and around one in the morning he came streaking into our room, completely terrified and babbling about a monkey in his room. We calmed him down and put him back in bed but not an hour later he was back with the same story about a monkey in his room.

He has some stuffed animals in his bed that make noise so Sean took them all out just in case they were the cursed 'monkey' that Aiden was talking about. Still, he returned to our room over and over again despite our best efforts to assure him that there was no monkey.

The next night we sat down with him to ask about this mysterious creature.
"Really mean monkey. Really sad mommy" he told me.
We asked him where the monkey was right that minute and he shyly pointed over his shoulder at the wall. The very same wall where his nightlight was casting a perfect Aiden-sized shadow.
We explained what shadows are and that they are nothing to be afraid of. The next morning he was still wary about the shadow-monkey, but then this morning he told me that he had kissed the monkey goodnight and that the monkey went to sleep.
Right. Okay. As long as he's gone I guess.

****

After all of the monkey-drama we went downstairs and Aiden started playing with some of his toy animals. He picked up his blue rubber snake and rested it over his shoulders.
"Hey mommy, I have a snake tie!" he said.
I asked him if it was just like the kind that daddy wears and he frowned at his snake before looping it around on itself and sliding one end through the hole, creating an almost perfect Windsor knot. I was shocked. He still can't put his own shirt on but he's pretty confident with a tie. Go figure.


Hopefully it will stop snowing sometime within the next ten years and we will be able to be a part of society again. Until then we'll be over at our house, staying warm and having all sorts of animal issues.