Sunday, December 8, 2013

Thankful, Even for the Growing Pains

We celebrated Thanksgiving a week ago. We did dinner at our house which I love because cooking and thinking about cooking are two of my favorite things. We rarely get to have nice big dinners, usually I'm refereeing a child who doesn't want to eat and a child who eats but also flings food and it's not a lot of fun, so it's wonderful to sit down with the whole family and enjoy a leisurely meal. The only downside was that  Sean was working the night shift so he could only join us for dessert.



The next day I attended my cousin's wedding which was lovely and also really weird because I remember us all having pillow fights in my grandparent's basement and there he was in a tux with a pretty new wife and a law degree. Time flies! 

In between the Big Meal and the Wedding, Sean and I squeezed in some Black Friday shopping where we purchased our annual haul of movies. We own more movies than I can count because we so rarely make it out to the theater, plus watching them at home means you can wear pajamas. I guess you could wear pajamas to the theater but you might get weird looks.

I was a really busy couple of days, I even had a doctors appointment squeezed in there. Baby-wise, things are going fine. She's growing right on track and seems so be much more laid-back than her brothers. Please let this mean she will be laid-back on the outside too. PLEASE.

I have reached that point in pregnancy where I am OVER IT. So over it. Being this large and tired makes doing all the fun holiday stuff much more strenuous and I never remember to take it easy until I'm physically and emotionally exhausted. Even something as simple as standing for the length of the cocktail hour at my cousin's wedding left me so lightheaded and dizzy I was afraid I'd faint. I do not cope well with having to delegate tasks or admit that I  need a break, and it was especially hard during the holiday weekend because there was so much to do. From here on out however, I pledge to take a giant dose of Sit The Heck Down whenever I need it. 

Notice the mommy snowman, on the left, has passed clean out

Another special  "holiday" we celebrated this week was Aiden's sixth birthday. He is just like his father and spent the days leading up to it lamenting turning six and telling everyone he didn't want to get any older. He certainly enjoyed the cake and presents however. We also got our Christmas tree, at his request, on his birthday so that was fun too.

I cannot believe how big he is getting. Physically he's all long legs and arms and we have to warn him to be careful whenever he tries to climb on us or curl up near us because he's just so big. At school he's gone from the silent child to one of the chattiest. He can count by fives and tens and we're seeing that math is definitely his forte. He and Sean will go back and forth asking each other math problems and this word-oriented girl is left trying to encourage him to read.

 Emotionally, he's like a teenager. This has been, by far, our hardest year yet. Our very compliant kid who never threw tantrums (or at least tantrums the way Rory does) has become opinionated, strong willed and kind of high strung. It is really hard for me to cope with but it all makes so much sense in the context of learning to deal with new siblings, starting Kindergarten and becoming more independent than ever.  I'm trying to remind myself that this is necessary for him to figure out how to stand on his own but it's trying at times, mostly because I realize how much of his life, from all day at kindergarten to the time he spends with his grandparents or friends, that doesn't revolve around he and I anymore. He too must be realizing that he is his own person with his own experiences and it's a lot to process.  Despite the challenges, I am so proud of him. He has embraced these changes and grown so much, he really is going through a whirlwind of growth and change and doing a spectacular job of learning to navigate it all. Basically, he still needs me, but just a little less than yesterday. That's really the blessing and the curse of it.

Monday, November 18, 2013


It's been a week (uh, plus a little) since we got back from Disney and we've juuuust about recovered.  We left two days after Halloween (which I don't even have photos of because it was such an insane day). There were four adults and two children to wrangle and our arrival at the airport was very reminiscent of Home Alone. All the adults were split up, a suitcase got left behind and Aiden slipped through security without a ticket.

We were all reunited with each other and our luggage and in the grand scheme it was a pretty smooth trip. Rory was pretty cranky and clingy but that was to be expected with the early departure ( we were up at 4:30 am). We stayed at a resort rather than at Disney and we rented a big honking minivan this time instead of relying on resort transportation and it made for a much easier time.

We did Animal Kingdom on Sunday,  spent two days of the week at Magic Kingdom and two days at Epcot and spent our last day at Hollywood Studios. Our trip coincided with the Epcot Food and Wine Festival which turned out to be fantastic. I didn't know much about it before we went but it was food from all over the world and it was so delicious. We ate hamburgers and fries at most of the parks but at Epcot it was filet mignon, escargot, mint lamb chops, fried pork belly and on and on. It was amazing! I was a little sad that being pregnant meant I didn't get to try the wine or alcohol and they had some pretty interesting sounding cocktails: Singapore sling, Eiffel Sours and Tipsy Ducks in Love. Yeah, that last one was especially intriguing. But the food was just beyond.

Aiden had a great time and was so eager to go on all the rides he remembered from last time. In the afternoons he'd start to get pretty run down but once we got into the habit of making sure we relaxed a little or left the park early, he did great. Rory swung between crazed enjoyment of the sights and sounds and being totally overwhelmed and cranky. We knew he was on the young side but he was still able to go on almost every ride and I think he had fun. I can't speak for everyone but I know that I simultaneously enjoyed myself so much and was so exhausted. That's Disney for you though, so much to do and see and we collapsed into bed every night by 8pm.

It was really a vacation to remember and having our moms there made it so great, spending time with them and also having an extra set of arms to help wrangle the kids. We will always remember this one!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Waiting on the Weekend

This week has felt like the longest week ever. You see, way back when, we made plans to go to Disney World, despite ferocious toddler and pregnant me. Only last week did I realize that woah, we're going THIS WEEKEND. That kind of crept up on me and now my week has been filled with making phone calls to the school, the vet, the resort where we're staying, doing infinite loads of laundry and making lists upon lists of things to pack.

I probably over think the whole packing thing but you really have to be prepared when traveling with kids. The best thing we're bringing with us: the two grandmas. Oh yeah, we need all the help we can get this time and I think it's going to be so awesome having them there.

Besides all the packing and repacking and fretting, Aiden got a haircut. He's been complaining about his hair being in his eyes for weeks and when I offered to cut it he would say that he really only wanted a three inch chunk in the front cut. So finally he agreed that he really did need a haircut and he sat down and let me get to work. Or he let me get the clippers out and turned on before leaping out of the chair because he'd changed his mind and he didn't really want a haircut after all. Except, whoops, that fantastic leap out of the chair included a brush with the clippers and there was a large chunk already cut. So he ended up going much shorter than usual because I had to even it out and he was so fidgety that he started to sweat and the sweat made the hair curl which required more evening out. Not fun times. But now I figure he can go for quite awhile before I ever have to deal with it again.

 Here's Aiden, giving the people what they want, a smile:


 His true feelings about the haircut:

Rory witnessed the entire ordeal. Here he is, as always, being the Yin to Aiden's Yang. Or Yang to Yin. Whichever.

Of course,  before we can get too carried away about our vacation we still have Halloween on Thursday. Aiden is very exited about his costume and very excited about his big school party and less excited about trick-or-treating but someone needs to get out there and bring me home mini snickers bars. I'd go myself but this big belly is fooling no one. Oh well. Here's to Halloween and the Happiest Place on Earth.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Bumpdate

It's sort of like an update, except it's about my bump. I actually just cringed a little writing "my bump" but it sounded less weird than "physical rotundity resulting from the gestation of a human".

Anyway, semantics aside, I feel like I haven't written much about pregnancy this time around and I figured I'd better record some of my thoughts before I forget them (in five seconds or so). We've pretty much already told everyone the saga of the mystery baby but after 3 (3!!!) ultrasounds, the last of which we paid for out of pocket and out of desperation, we found out we're having a girl! My feelings about that? Imagine a pink cannon shooting off a trillion pieces of pink confetti over me while I'm riding around on the back of a pink convertible while wearing a pink sash and crown and waving joyfully to all of you. That about sums it up.

Sean is excited too. Not pink confetti cannon excited, but he pointed out the fact that having a girl this time around sort of makes if feel like we're going through it for the first time. There is so much we haven't experienced. I realize that babies are babies, be they boy girl or puppy, but it feels different this time. Not better or worse, just different.

Emotionally, I'm in a pretty good place. The first six weeks were really hard and I realized that a lot of it was being so sick. It made it really hard to imagine how I could care for three kids when I could barely get up off the couch. Now that the morning sickness is gone, everything seems much more manageable. Sean even told me that I've been the nicest during this pregnancy. Thanks Sean.

Physically? Oh jeez I am so sore. My backs, my hips, my arms. Pretty certain it has nothing to do with being pregnant and everything to do with Rory. When I was pregnant with him I had tons of energy and felt all glowy and magical and now I just want some ice cream and a nap. This is what happens when you have a toddler to chase instead of a nice and independent four year old. Lesson learned.  I'm convinced I'm going to go into early labor this time around. Not dangerously early, just inconveniently early. This fear was solidified when my dental hygienist mentioned that with her last pregnancy she was due a week before me in January and had her daughter on Christmas. That would be.....not awesome.

All the backaches and tiredness and uncertainty totally disappeared for a moment though the first time I heard Sean refer to this baby as our daughter. I don't know why those words got to me but they did. We were in a bookstore and he had picked up a book covered in flowers and butterflies and he said "We have to get this for our daughter. She needs this" and off he went to buy it. Maybe it's because seeing how much he already loves her reminds me how much he loves me.

And now on a less sappy note, the first and most likely last picture of ze bump:

Just Sean, me and our daughter. Oh and that random guy in the back. One big happy family.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apples of My Eye

We took the kids to the farm and apple orchard for the past two weekends. We have had so much going on lately that it was so refreshing to take them out for completely kid-centric fun. We visited two separate apple orchards and each place had so much to offer. Of course, taking the kids out seemed like a good idea but right before we left I keep thinking how tired I was and how late it was and blah blah blah. I sucked it up, and wow, was it ever worth it. They had a ton of fun and I was able to eat my body weight in cider donuts. So much was right with the whole day.

Just look at Easy Rider over here. 

This is his "I'm on a to a purdy lady" face.


Other than these small breaks for recreation, we have been going nonstop. This transition into school has been wonderfully smooth for Aiden (minus a few exhaustion induced meltdowns) but a leeeetle harder for me. I won't lie, it's the getting up early thing. I actually like getting up early and have no problem getting everyone ready for the day, the problem comes at 11am when I suddenly want to go back to bed and nap into the afternoon. I can't do this obviously, so I end up sitting down to watch a movie at 9pm with Sean and falling asleep five minutes into it and demanding he turn it off. I'm so fun.

Aiden still has soccer every week and a game every weekend, which is another cause of all the crazy. Fate has it so that soccer practice and school events ALWAYS coincide. We run to one to the other and everyone's head it spinning and yeah, Tuesday has become the bane of my existence.

One such event was last night's Back to School night where Sean and I pretended to be grownups and went and chatted with Aiden's teacher. She reported that he is very, very quiet but just about the best direction follower she's ever met. Yup, between my social awkwardness and Sean's obsession with PROCEDURAL COMPLIANCE, we are not surprised. At all.

Aiden may not be talking but somebody else is!!! Rory, in the past month or so, has had some kind of language explosion. He started off the summer with this new head banging tantrum routine that had me really worried. It was obvious he was getting really frustrated at not being able to communicate, and since I remember that Aiden didn't speak recognizable words until the ripe old age of two, I was worried. Aiden had zero words at this age but suddenly Rory has many. You give him something, he says "Thank you". He wants to hug the dog, he says "Sit!". You leave, he says "Bye bye!". On and on, all these new words in addition to "What's that?", "Daddy" and his favorite word in the world: "AIDEN!" Not only is he speaking but he understands and actually follows simple requests like "Please come here" or "sit down" and "please stop". It has made life with him pretty wonderful.

Even with our new jam packed schedules we have been really enjoying life as of late. Sean goes back to his previous rotating shift schedule next month so we're trying to enjoy the freedom we have right now. These two kids make that a lot easier.

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Day of School

This week has been pretty huge for us. Aiden had his first day of kindergarten! He had been both nervous and excited this whole summer but I was really confident. He was soo ready. He's lost his clingy ways and has enjoyed all sorts of new activities this summer and it seemed so obvious that he was ready for the next step.

However, this belief was immediately challenged last weekend. The weekend before the big K was his first soccer game. He'd had one practice already and loved it and so I wasn't worried about the game. I wasn't even thinking about the game at all. That Saturday we showed up at the fields and it was a total madhouse. It always is since it seems like our entire town, or at least the portion of the population with kids, comes to play. There were people everywhere, kids on every field, and Aiden was totally thrown for a loop by the huge crowd. He refused to play until the last minute of the game, and then he only wanted to play goalie where he'd be far away from all the watching parents, and basically refused to have anything to do with his team. It was especially awkward since Sean's the assistant coach. Good times....not.

Well, this had me suddenly wondering if he was going to have a huge meltdown once the bus came on Wednesday morning (don't ask me why they didn't just start on Monday). To try and prevent this we went over and over what to do when the bus came, what to expect at school and all the other little details. I had been pretty nervous myself but all the reassurance I was trying to give Aiden seemed ot work on me too. He was ready. He was excited. Nervous, but also really excited. And when the bus came Wednesday morning, he trooped across the road with his giant backpack and climbed on that bus by himself.

And he LOVED school. I knew he'd love it once he got there, and everyday since he's been so excited for each day.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The "Labor" in "Labor Day"

Sean had a four day weekend to celebrate Labor Day this year. We did the major back-to-school shopping trip on Friday and battled crowds and unenthusiastic little boys and managed to cobble together a wardrobe for Aiden with pants and shirts that aren't several inches to short in the leg or sleeve. After that we whizzed around finishing our errands and chores so that we'd still have three days of freedom to enjoy the last of summer.

Welllll, "freedom" "enjoy" and "summer" do not describe what the next three days looked like. Saturday poured rain. We are seriously in search of the dreaded "family vehicle" to fit our soon to be three children in  so we braved the rain and headed to our local Honda dealership....which was closed....until Tuesday. Great. Whatever.

We went home with plans to visit the much farther away dealership later in the day. I was sitting in the basement when I heard a dripping sound. Not outside rain dripping but something INSIDE dripping. The level of dread I experienced is roughly equivalent to what a horror movie character feels when they're alone on a stormy night and they hear the doorknob start turning. Bad things are about to happen.  And bad they were: the hot water heater was pouring all over the floor. Several hours, trips to Lowe's and the purchase of epoxy/soldering tools/pipes later: it's kaput. This was also the middle of a holiday weekend so we did not dare call a plumber.

We decided to forget our plumbing troubles and drive the half hour to the next Honda dealership.....which had been open when we called aaaaand was now closed. No hot water and no Honda's for us.

Basically we've spent the days since Saturday trying to get to the dealership, which hasn't happened, and we've made appointments to make appointments to make appointments to have someone look at the hot water heater. Someone came to clean our chimney (another mind numbing appointment it's taken FOREVER to get since no one will call me back) but when the guy arrived he claimed that he could only be paid in cash. Rrrright....let me just fork over a fist full of hundred dollar bills to a chimney sweep who looks a lot less like Dick Van Dyke and a lot more like fat Elvis. No thanks.

The toaster over broke this morning while I was trying to make the kids breakfast. My coffee maker malfunctioned fantastically and spewed coffee grounds all over the kitchen THREE times this morning. Did I mention we have no hot water? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!

A very frustrating, not relaxing, rainy end to the summer. But in the bigger picture, I get that these are all pretty silly problems. We're all healthy and happy and can I really complain about not getting a new car? We may not have hot water but we have unlimited clean water.  Although coffee and a hot showers are nice too.

Sean and I might be tearing our hair out but the kids are happy as clams. Aiden finally lost his first tooth! It had been hanging on by a thread and flopping around while he talked when I finally plunked him down in front of the bathroom mirror and told him to just get it over with. And voila, there's now a giant new grownup tooth pushing it's way through.

Aiden also had his first soccer practice last night. Sean is the assistant coach and the two of them spent the evening running around playing games and doing drills and other soccer-y type things. I'm obviously an expert on all things soccer. (Also, can I tell you how surreal it was for me to sit watching my kindergartener practice soccer while contemplating the merits of various mini vans? How old am I? Why am I wearing this cardigan?)

Rory isn't quite ready for soccer but he's practicing his walking. All over. Up and down and  sometimes right off the edge of the steps...whoops.


 (He's just a wiiiiild and ca-raaaazy guy)

I cannot believe my kids are this old. I cannot believe I spend so much time on the phone with repair people. I cannot believe I'm actually looking forward to a mini van. I need a nap.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No News Is Frustrating News

I have been waiting, not very patiently, for my Dr.'s appointment today so that Sean and I could get another peek at this baby and finally know if we've got a Mr. or Miss on our hands. Everyone I talked to this week seemed to dreamily reminisce about how they waited to find out the sex of their baby until it was born. I always replied something along the lines of "How very nice for you but I'm quite certain my head would explode if I tried to wait that long, pregnancy and childbirth are full of surprises and well I GOTTA KNOW". I'm, uh, not very laid back about some things, can you tell?

Well, in we marched at 8am sharp, and the ultrasound tech proceeded to poke and prod and huff and puff in frustration.

Her: "They're in a really low position and I can't see the brain very well, or the heart or the abdomen"
Me: "Yes, yes, right, whatever, keep going"
Her: "I can try and figure out the sex though.....(we waited for about 100 years here)....nope. The legs are crossed and they won't move".

NO. Nooooooooooooo. No no no no no.  This baby is grounded! Time out for you baby. The tech then said she'd venture a guess that it's a girl simply because she couldn't see any hint of boy parts, no matter the angle she tried, but we'll just have to wait two more weeks and they'll try again. Even though she had a difficult time seeing the rest of the organs they all look great. A healthy baby, but a stubborn one it seems.  

At least there's lots to do in the meantime. Aiden starts school in 2 weeks. We finally caved at bought his school supplies and are going to restock his wardrobe this week since he's grown out of every last item of clothing except a handful of tee shirts. He's had lots of play dates with fellow new-kindergarteners and gets to go on a practice bus ride this week. I have every confidence that he will have a great time at school, but I am worried about whether or not he'll actually get on the bus without hysterics. 

Rory is still not walking on his own*, although he will happily walk around just barely touching someone's hand. It like in the old road runner cartoons however: the minute he realizes he's walking or standing without holding on he just plunks right down to the floor. At least Aiden loves to hold his hand and walk around the house in circles over and over again. Hopefully with a little more practice he'll be confident enough to let go.

We're going to try and fit in a few more fun activities before the end of summer. Today I took the boys to the science museum to see an exhibit on dinosaurs and it was only as we were walking in that I realized maybe big moving and roaring dinos might be a little scary for the kids. Whoops. Aiden was a little scared at first but warmed up as we went along while Rory being Rory was ready to fashion a saddle out of my purse and ride them around the room.    

These two guys have been so much fun this summer that I can't even imagine the hijinks that will come with a third.


* About three hours after I wrote this Rory was clinging for dear life to the edge of the table where he spied some grapes he was not supposed to have. He then grabbed those grapes and WALKED away across the kitchen all by his lonesome while stuffing them in his mouth. So there. HE WALKS. 14 months old.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Afternoon Drive

These pictures sum up every one of our summer afternoons. These two boys driving around in the Cozy Coupe. Illogically, Rory insists on pushing even though he can barely keep up and Aiden insists on riding inside with his long legs held up at an awkward angle. Hours and hours are spent like this, around and around the yard.