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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here comes Aunt Lori!

I feel so fortunate to have family who comes to my rescue when needed. We can now add my sister to this elite list of heroes.

My husband went to Lake Tahoe last weekend to help Ben (future Brother-in-law) celebrate the ending of his bachelorhood. While I am more than capable of taking care of both kids by myself, I am sure by the time Jeff walked back through our front door, I would've been more than a little harried. And who wouldn't want an extra pair of hands to help out? My sister, who is a 3.5 years younger, was up to the challenge and came to visit.

For those who know us best, you can usually count on at least one good fight between my sister and me whenever we come together. I won't go into the details, but we fight, well, like sisters. We also get over whatever it is that is bugging one of us pretty quickly and move on. This visit was different and it was refreshing relating to Lori on a new level.

From the moment Ian heard Aunt Lori was coming to visit, he had a smile on his face that went from ear to ear and nearly stayed like that the whole weekend. At least 4 or 5 times a day, Ian asked Aunt Lori to move to the area or in with us. Upon further questioning, because we only have a 3 bedroom house, Ian said he would build her a bedroom. Aunt Lori said she would do bunk beds and Ian was happy with that as answer as long as he could have the top bunk. He even suggested she pick up a kid or two to have when she relocates here. Seeing them interact was priceless. Ian couldn't wait to show his aunt all his toys and invited her to go fishing with him and Pop-Pop Jim when Ian goes to Florida in August.

Ian was on his best behavior around Lori and I am sure Lori still has no idea just how much work is involved taking care of two kids. Both of the kids did the unheard of and slept till 7:00am on Saturday and Sunday, and Samantha took some nice, long naps each time we put her down.

I splurged and got a babysitter for Saturday night so Lori and I could go to dinner and a movie. We saw "500 Days of Summer" and it was fantastic. Amazing script, cast and a fun soundtrack. It was nice spending the evening with her and of course, it makes me wistful to be closer to family again.

My only disappointment is that the opportunity did not present itself for Lori to change a dirty diaper. She got away scott-free! Come to think of it, I don't think Lori has ever changed a diaper. However, us getting along and being great friends for 48 hours was anything but a disappointment. I love you Lori! You're the best!! And, I can't wait to dance at your wedding.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Put on your swim suit Pinky!

Sam has a new hobby. Bailey's food and water bowl is elevated for the size of a large dog and the perfect height for her to stand. She likes to see how many items she can put in his water bowl before I realize what is going on and stop her. It used to be just the dish towels that were hanging on the stove. One by one, they would get dunked in the water bowl and then come out causing a big puddle and mess on the floor by her feet. One by one, I'd take them away and after running them through the washing machine and dryer, she would continue her new favorite activity. From time to time, she'd look up and smile at me to see if I was watching her. At first it was really cute and I'd let her get away with it for a little while. Then when I got tired of fishing out the dish towels and mopping up the floor, I put the towels up on the counter top to where she couldn't reach.

Without the dish towels handy, she likes to stand at the water bowl and cook up new things to do. For a while she was taking one piece at a time of Bailey's dog food and moving the nugget from the dry bowl to the water bowl. It must not have been as exciting as originally thought in her mind, because that activity didn't last long.

Just yesterday I found her lovey, Pinky, swimming in the water bowl. Samantha got a big kick out of this one and her laughter gave her away to what was going on. Once I rescued Pinky, she went for the one cabinet she has all access to and started piling the Tupperware in the water bowl. She thought that was great fun too and continued making a mess. It was quite a sight watching me trying to fish the Tupperware containers out, put them in the sink, meanwhile she is scurrying back and forth as fast as she can to grab another one and start the process all over again. Fortunately her laughing slowed her down a little and I was able to catch-up.

I can only imagine what Bailey must be thinking. Ian never had this much fascination with the dog's water bowl so this is new territory for him. Bailey must really like Sam to not be agitated with Sam messing with his food and water supply. But if you think about all the food Sam has slipped Bailey in the past from her high chair (and I am not talking about stuff that ends up on the floor, but food she actually hands to him when we are not looking), he probably thinks this little inconvenience is nothing compared to what she does for him.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A friend for all seasons

I am a big believer that people come in and out of your life for different reasons. The purpose of their presence and the effect they have on you may never come to light, but it happened for a reason and then it has served its purpose. Or, maybe it was you that was supposed to have an impact on them somehow. And, then it is time to move on and cultivate new friendships and acquaintances for another season.

I categorize these time periods as seasons in my life. For example, our neighbors across the street. We help each other out and will be the first to lend a hand if they so require. There are some neighbors that we are naturally closer to than others. But, if we or them move, there is really very little reason to keep the connection going.

Another example is the mommy friends I have made once Ian was born. We seem to collect these friends (usually all SAHMs with kids Ian's age and now younger siblings that are Sam's age) left and right and find more every time we leave the house. It is a natural thing for us to get together and see each other constantly. But once both kids are in school full-time and have started making their own set of friends, without me involved, there is very little reason to keep in touch with all these moms and their kids. It will happen slowly, but before you know it, everyone has moved on and the frequency of our playdates will be less and less.

And of course, you can still run into these people out at various places or maybe even other friend's houses, and be cordial and exchange pleasantries, but you will never be close like you once were.

I am totally okay with this and think more and more people need to realize this is the way of life and embrace it. There is one big exception to this seasonal friendship theory I have. There are going to be a handful of friends you make, that no matter what the circumstances are that brought you two together, you will never leave each other's life. If you have five of these type of friendships, you should consider yourself blessed. I feel so fortunate to have a couple of these friendships from growing up in Orlando, one from college, a few post college (the girls), and now two of my mommy friends. We don't have to talk every day or even monthly, but I know that I can pick up the phone or send an email and it isn't awkward to try to catch-up. There will always be a special connection that is mutual and goes beyond the 'season' or reason we were first introduced.

When the separation begins, I am usually not caught by surprise and realize this is just a natural evolution of life. It would be impossible to stay active with everyone you become friends with. For a couple of years now I had thought I lost a really good friend and couldn't understand why it ended like it did. I was incredibly disappointed and hurt. I inquired with many people who knew this person trying to make sense of the situation. I emailed, called, sent handwritten notes/cards and never got a response. I was just getting more and more hurt every time my effort at communicating went unanswered. I had to let it go because it was eating me up.

Through the beauty of Facebook, my missing friend reached out to me. I am happy to say we've reconnected and I can now understand the disappearance. I wish my friend well and would've loved to have been there and provided support this person so badly needed. July was an already packed month, so we are going to try to get together in August. My friend asked that I bring both kids as it has been before I was even pregnant with Sam that we last spoke.

I feel like I have closure now and can sleep a little better at night knowing that this particular friendship has stood the test of time and crisis and will hopefully continue to flourish.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not a good day for a swim

At 3:30pm, the phone rang just as I got the last of our stuff loaded on the stroller to head to the pool. I ran back inside the house to answer it. It was Annaliese, one of the Oaks Pool lifeguards and Ian's swim teacher. Our lesson was scheduled for 4:00pm and she was calling to let me know that a kid just threw up in the pool causing it be shut down for 2 hours. "Oh Man!" was my reaction. Annaliese offered to give Ian his lesson at 5:30pm. We accepted the new time and I asked her if the baby pool was still open during these next two hours. She said yes. Already loaded and ready to go, we made our way to the Oaks Pool. Some say I overpack for the pool, but I am ready for any situation. We can be at the pool for 1 hour or 10, it is the same amount of crap being schlepped. The pool is a 3 minute walk (at best) from our house and I am an extraordinary packer when it comes to utilizing any bit of free space on the stroller -- the basket, handle bar, and above the canopy are all fair game. I've got beach towels, dry clothes for each of the kids to change in to, snacks, drinks, back-up swim diapers, multiple cans of sunscreen (you never know when one will run out), pool toys, arm floaties, float for Sam, goggles, kick board, etc. Yes, it is crazy, but if one of the kids needs something, you need to be ready.

We actually had a nice afternoon at the baby pool. A mommy friend who has kids Ian's age arrived and we had a pleasant time chatting while the kids played. It eventually got to be 5:30pm and time for Ian's swim lesson. The big thing you need to know is that we've done many, many sessions of swim lessons in the past and Ian has never gotten his head wet. Ever! Annaliese is the first teacher to have gotten as far as she has to actually getting Ian to swim on his own. It is very exciting and one reason I didn't want to miss a lesson. I feel like we've got good momentum and I want to keep it going.

Everyone was excited to finally go into the big pool. People had arrived over the course of the 2 hours and was counting down the minutes until they could get wet. At a quarter to the hour, every hour, it is an all-adult swim for 15 minutes. I wholeheartedly disagree with the lifeguard blowing his whistle and making the kids get out at 5:45pm. Talk about being unfair; these kids had only been in for 15 minutes after most of them had been waiting up to 2 hours. Fortunately Ian was able to continue his lesson during this time. Just when the whistle blew to signal the adult swim was over, and everyone was making their way back in the pool, Ian swallowed a little pool water. He started coughing and, you guessed it, threw-up in the pool. With the pool only officially being open for 15 minutes for the kids, Ian managed to shut it down again for another two hours. Ian got the whole 30 minutes of his lesson in and was pretty much done when the incident occurred. I am not entirely certain he fully understood what happened, because he got out of the big pool and returned to the baby pool. He was ready to start playing again.

We had to have set a record for shutting a pool down again so quickly after it finally reopened. I am just thankful all we saw was Ian's snack come back up and not the dinner he was about to eat.

Below is video of Ian learning to swim. If I kept it recording even 2 minutes longer, it would've been video of something else too!

video

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Longest day of my life

Fortunately I was able to get out and go to the movies earlier in the evening. Because what I came home to was not pretty. Around 10:30pm, Jeff started to freeze. He couldn't stop shivering and no amount of sweat pants, sweat shirt and layers of blankets helped.

Now Jeff doesn't get sick often, but when he does, watch out. It hits him hard and not only does he suffer, but I do too. I liken Jeff being sick to being on his death bed. He is very dramatic, moans and can barely move. The only way you know he is still breathing is because of the moaning. Meanwhile, he takes his temperature every 30 minutes and reports how high his temp is. Granted, he gets these really high fevers that usually top out at 102.5 for hours on end. And that's even with Tylenol helping to bring it down.

When he is sick like this, I know it will only last 24 hours and then he begins the transformation to his sweet self again. Fortunately he gets exactly 24 hours of me being sympathetic before I can't take it any longer. His 'bugs' generally don't require a trip to the dr, but if it lasted beyond one day, then I would personally take him there myself. The sooner he can get some medicine prescribed, the better it is for all concerned.

Ian and Sam were phenomenal during this last bout of sickness and didn't question not being able to go in our room or interact with their daddy. Give him his space to get well and bring lots and lots of water. Jeff does a great job of staying hydrated and I do an excellent job of being his nurse. But only for 24 hours. After that, all bets are off.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A girl on the go

My golden girl is starting to lose her shine. Content and laid back are two words I can no longer use to describe her sweet personality. I guess this is a normal progression of developing and growing up. But, it was so nice when she would happily sit in her stroller and watch the world go by. I could count on her, like the sun rising on a summer day, that she would be happy to hang out and be good for easily an hour or two while Ian was doing his thing - playdates, Chuck E. Cheese, library, ice cream breaks at DQ or Cold Stone, lunch at Panera Bread, mall play area, playgrounds, pool, and parks.

Sam has had enough and made her intentions known! She watched Ian bowl one too many times and saw all the fun he was having. She needed out of her stroller and to be put down on the floor so she could reach the destination she had her eye on for some time. Not even tempted by the popcorn that had fallen on the floor, she crawled directly to the ball return machine. She promptly pulled herself up to standing position and tried to lift a 6 pound ball. She was going to bowl and nothing was going to get in her way.


Unfortunately the weight of the ball won out and barely budged. The girl can't even walk yet. What was she going to do with a bowling ball in her hands?!?!?
We've entered a new dimension when entertaining Ian, now we need to make sure Sam is getting treated like one of the big kids too. Hmmm, after close to 14 months she is starting to show an impatient, stubborn, determined side. Could it be genetic? But which one of us? :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I survived a colonoscopy and can live to tell about it

*WARNING: This blog entry is not for the faint of heart. I talk about gross, gross things.

I don't get it. Not one bit. Not even a little. We can put a man on the moon; we can remotely program our DVRs; heck, we can even perform heart and face transplants. So, please tell me why we can't create a better tasting Trilyte solution?

Everyone says preparing for the colonoscopy is the worst part. I am living proof to tell you, yes it is. I had high hopes leaving CVS with my Trilyte solution when I saw 4 different flavor packs were included. Cherry, Pineapple, Orange and Lemon-Lime. How bad could it be when I can flavor it like kool-aid?!?!?! Ha! I made the solution and followed the directions very carefully. I put in a packet of cherry flavoring and was eager to get started, only so that I could be finished. I had to drink 8 oz glasses every 15 minutes until half the jug was empty. My husband and I figured out that equated to 64 oz. It couldn't be that bad, right?

The first glass went down and I knew I was in major trouble. It didn't even come close to tasting anything like cherry. My printed instructions from the drs office said that most people find it more palatable if it is very cold and to try putting it in the freezer for a short time. Ok, I can do that. Ugh. This didn't help it in the least bit, other than make me freezing from the inside out. Then the instructions said that some people feel it is easier if you use a straw. The only straw we had available was one from a juice box. I tried glass #3 that way and besides feeling silly, it worked a little. But not enough to make me no longer concerned I was going to throw-up. I even tried taking the other flavor packets and seeing if adding a little of that to the 80z glass would help. Maybe the pineapple flavoring would have me dreaming of pina colodas on the beach?
Each glass that went down had me more worried that I'd be seeing it all over again. I wasn't confident that I wasn't going to throw-up. And then what? Do I have to start over from scratch? No sireebob, I was making sure this stuff stayed down and came out the other end.

After finishing exactly half the jug as per the directions, I waited and waited for it to do its thing. I ended up falling asleep at 10:00pm and woke up in a panic at 1:15am that I hadn't gone to the bathroom....not once! Oh my! Was forcing this drink down my throat for nothing? Was I going to get to my appointment and the dr wouldn't be able to see a thing? Thoughts of having to do this again scared me to death and I quickly ran downstairs to drink more of the solution. Another 32 ounces later, I started to have movement. Lots and lots of movement. Finally I was going. Now I just had to make sure my bowel movements were clear in color. It literally took all night to see the results I needed, but I can hold my head up high walking in to the drs office knowing my insides are as clear as they are going to get. It only took an entire night of losing sleep and drinking a double dose of this wretched solution to get me where I needed to be.

Fasting the day of the appointment was a piece of a cake, as well as the procedures itself. You get knocked out into a deep sleep and before you know it, it is over. You don't feel a thing and that's the way I like it.

It turns out the doctor rates you on how well you did to prepare. If you fall below what he considers optimal, then you need to come back and do it over again. I was really hoping for the top rating of 'excellent'. In reality, I only got a 'good' rating. Bummer! After all that!! But you know what, it was good enough to keep me from having to repeat this process.

The results didn't show any reason for my body to not be absorbing nutrients. Once the biopsy for celiac disease comes back, I'll be in the clear and just need to take more supplements. The colonoscopy and endoscopy did reveal a hernia (and a pretty good sized one at that), plus I apparently suffer from acid-reflux. Who knew? I never realized I had this nor have been suffering any symptoms from it. Interesting. Very interesting. At least it was worth the trip to find this out. I wonder which child of mine caused it. :)


Always one to enjoy a good Kodak moment, here is a picture of the hernia.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Small price to pay

One of the things that my husband and I agreed to when figuring out what cuts we'd make when I gave up my career to stay at home with the kids was the cleaning lady. Carol came like clock work every 2 weeks and with the blink of an eye, the house would be clean. It was delightful and something that if you can afford it, I'd highly recommend. Well worth every penny.

I feel so fortunate that I married a man who sees himself as my partner in everything; child-rearing, cooking, laundry, and cleaning. Just because I have the opportunity to be home during the weekday, he doesn't expect every little bit of down-time throughout my day to be used trying to keep up with the housework. Also, Jeff is the first one to jump in and start cleaning if he sees something that requires it. If he sees me vaccuming, he'll ask what's the next thing that he can get started on. Yes, I married well. Very well.

HOWEVER, my husband is fast. Too fast sometimes when it comes to cleaning. He'll breeze through 2.5 bathrooms and I'll still be vacumming the same floor of our house. I'll ask him if he used this cleaning product specific for the toilet; he'll say yes. Did you use this different one on the bathtubs and again, it will be yes. Did you get the sink? The floors? The mirror? Yes, yes, yes.

I wish I could go in to these bathrooms after he's cleaned them with one eye closed. I know spots that need extra attention. We have a 4 year old boy that doesn't always have the best aim. And I know exactly where my long hair gathers on the floor by the cabinet when I go to brush it each morning.

When pointing out these overlooked areas, sparks fly. Jeff feels I am doing it in the most insulting and condescending way (his words). It is like 4th of July at our house. We've never had a problem communicating and this is taking the conversation to a whole new level.

I have to ask myself; do I want to point out the shortfalls or just embrace the idea that my husband is so willingly ready to jump in and do half the housework? If only the result could look like something I did. I have a feeling that if I don't start biting my tongue (and of course, stop writing about it), I'll have no choice but to have it look like something I did. So my question has been answered by me and enough said.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Taking it to new heights

My group of best girlfriends and I always celebrate each other's birthdays. The birthday girl gets to chose the activity and the rest of the girls (there are 7 of us total) must go along and participate. Best intentions are made to pick a date that everyone can make, but inevitably, there will be one or two who have something else going on.

For as long as I can remember I have picked going to a movie and either doing lunch beforehand or dinner after. I was known in the group for my zany indie film choices that no one had a desire to see but me. But no more! It's always good to challenge yourself and move out of your comfort zone. This year, I decided we were going to try rock climbing. Alexandria, VA offers an indoor rock climbing gym called Sportrock. Five of us were able to come together and give this a shot. There was a 2 hour basic skills instruction class and then they let you loose the rest of the time to test out your new skills.

What a thrill this was! The building is covered with rock climbing walls that range from 22 feet to 40 feet high. Some walls are more challenging than others and offer cliffs and overhangs that you have to scale 2/3rds of the way up. In addition to the challenge of moving to a dizzying height, the hand and footholds are spaced sporadically apart and it takes major upper body strength to keep going, while trying to figure out the quickest and easiest place to put your foot and keep from slipping.

Since we weren't certified in 'belaying', one of us was the back-up spotter to the person who was doing the belay. There was a particularly funny moment when it was my turn to rock climb and Wendy was going to belay me. Kristin was the spotter for Wendy. We doubled and tripled checked everyone's ropes, knots and holds to make sure we were good to go. I got ready to start the climb and turned around to make certain Wendy was in position. Who did I see wearing the helmet? Kristin. We were so caught up in making sure everything was done correctly, that we forgot to transfer the helmet to my head. Although, if I did fall on her, I am sure she would've wanted protection from my body plummeting on top of hers.

We had a great time. And of course, when the girls get together, always some good laughs.




Sunday, July 12, 2009

My girl is wicked smart

I need to brag. It isn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last. But I do think Samantha is showing early signs of genius.

I had purchased some stacking/nesting plastic cups Friday morning during a trip to Buy Buy Baby for more diaper dekor refills. I figured this would make a great, quiet restaurant toy for her to play with. And, since we were meeting Jeff for lunch in a couple of hours, the timing was perfect.

As suspected, the stacking cups were a huge hit and gave us a little wiggle room on what seemed to be taking a long time for our food to arrive. Or, maybe I was just really hungry, who knows? I figured Sam had to be hungry too and gave her some graham crackers to munch on. There were two sizes of graham crackers - a small square and a much larger sized square. The cups were currently in stacked mode and I put the small square cracker in the top cup and gave Sam the larger square in her hand for her to eat. She immediately, without hesitation, removed all 7 of the nesting cups to reveal the largest one on the bottom and put her large square sized graham cracker in it.

WOW!!! What brilliance at 13 months of age. I was seriously impressed. She imitated what I had done with the small piece and knew that her larger piece needed the biggest cup for it to fit.

When are applications due for Harvard?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Couch potato label up for grabs

According to Wikipedia: A couch potato is a person who spends most of his or her free time sitting or lying on a couch. This stereotype often refers to a lazy and overweight person who watches a lot of television. Generally speaking, the term refers to a lifestyle in which children or adults don't get enough physical activity.

I can fully admit, I was a former couch potato. I embraced the idea of popping a HUGE bowl of popcorn and getting comfy on the couch watching hours upon hours of tv. If you didn't find me at the movies (usually doing a double or even a triple feature), then you could count on me to answer the phone if it rang at home. Being a couch potato was my thing and I was more than okay with that.

Something miraculous happened over the past couple of years. It started very slowly and incredibly subtle, but a change has metamorphosed within me. I am now an athlete. Yes, you read correctly, I used the term "athlete". It is surprising to even me. I didn't fully realize the change that occurred until the other day.

As most are aware by reading earlier posts of my blog, I put myself back on my to-do list and this involved getting to the gym on a more consistent basis. Since early April I had been going every morning at 5:15am and working out. It became habit and I usually went through the motions of waking up, getting dressed and driving to the gym on autopilot. Over the weekend, my husband expressed interest in getting on the fitness bandwagon and going consistently too. If he goes in the evening he has a hard time falling asleep before 1:00am. I've got a lot more flexibility in my day and offered him the 5:00am time slot to work-out. This is our first week of trying the new arrangement. On Monday I woke up incredibly grumpy and stayed that way throughout the day. It wasn't until I made it to the gym at 7:30pm that night that I could fully realize what I was so badly missing. My body has started to crave the exercise. The benefits I am getting by going to the gym has become more than a great way to continue my weight-loss efforts, it is also providing big-time benefits to my mental well-being.

I am finding great satisfaction in pushing myself and seeing what I am capable of. You don't know what is possible until you reach impossible. And I am finding that there is very little that is not possible. I am inspired beyond my wildest dreams to keep going.

For 43 weeks now I've been doing Weight Watchers. Having lost 40.2 lbs so far, I know I am doing well and will keep going until I eventually get to my goal weight (16 lbs more to go). But the changes I am seeing in my body is phenomenal and goes beyond a number on the scale. I've never been a vain person before, but now I have problems walking by a mirror without stopping to admire the new me. Things have gotten tighter, firmer and even my 'skinny' clothes are getting baggy. It is a great feeling. It's taken a long time to get to this point, but I think I am finally understanding the transformation that has taken place.

I've not only changed the physical aspects of myself, but the mental too. I am now one of those people who needs to work out regularly and be active. I've always been known for picking the movie/meal combo for my birthday activity with the girls. Tomorrow we are going to a indoor rock climbing gym in Alexandria. I am so excited about trying a different type of exercise and pushing those limits even more of what I think I can do.

So without further ado, I hereby declare I am no longer a couch potato.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Two peas in a pod

A while back we were at my in-laws house and happened to find ourselves looking at old family photo albums. A gem of a piece of paper fell into my hands and I couldn't believe my eyes. It was my husband's kindergarten report card. The teacher's comments were, "Jeffrey enjoys a good joke but sometimes does not know when to stop."

Ian has this joke that he will readily tell anyone who listens.

"Why did the chicken cross the playground?"
"To get to the other slide"

Then he says, "Get it?!?! To get to the other slide!! Isn't that funny?"

Granted, this joke is pretty good. When you hear the other ones he has been telling lately, this chicken crossing the playground joke makes him look like Bob Hope. His newest thing is to come track me down wherever I am at the moment and say something to the effect of "A cow singing Old MacDonald had a farm. Isn't that a funny joke?!?!" "Or Mommy, listen to this joke - a cat wearing underwear on his head. How funny is that joke?!?!"

Somewhere along the way Ian has forgotten the mechanics for what makes a good joke. An opening line and a punch line have seemed to have left his repertoire. I can hear him downstairs watching his shows and every now and then, he'll say "Now that's a good one!". Ian will start laughing this very loud, obnoxious, fake-sounding laugh. He does it with this inflection in his voice that makes him sound like he is heckling the tv.

I shudder to think what he is finding so funny and hope that there really is a joke going on.

I do however find Jeff funny most of the time. I've gotten repeated comments from my friends who thinks he is hilarious. While Jeff''s sense of humor 'had me at hello', there are times when his remarks, along with the 3 foot, 2 inch version of him, just isn't all that funny. I've given up on Jeff figuring this out, but I still have hope for Ian.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Good for each other

I am not sure who has had a bigger influence; my husband on me, or me on him. When I first met Jeff, he had a few things that needed working on. He wore tube socks straight up (almost all the way to the knee. Really. I am not kidding about this). His glasses were so big, they covered more than half his face. He would wear colored t-shirts (that did not match mind you) under his button down shirts. And, his hair style had more than the beginnings of a comb-over going on. But, I fell in love with the person that he was and knew the rest could be worked on over time. I am happy to report that my work with him is done and I only occasionally catch a sock creeping up above the ankle. I honestly thought I got rid of all the tube socks. Guess I was wrong.

The influence Jeff has had on me is much more subtle and not easily recognized by the casual friend or acquaintance. The ability to shop within my means and not take on any credit card debt. I've never been told not to buy something. If I see something I want and can easily tell Jeff which budget column it should come out of, then I know there is little getting in my way of having it. However, a change has come over me to the point that I am not recognizing myself.

For days I've been getting emails from Old Navy promoting their huge sales, both online and in the stores. Each morning I've been deleting these emails (along with all the other stores filling up my inbox promoting their sales) without batting an eye. On Friday, Old Navy finally wore me down and I ended up clicking through to their website and started shopping. Ooooooh! What a great sale they were having. I couldn't shop and click fast enough. It was like a huge adrenaline rush hit me. Pajamas - check! Work out shorts - check! Cute new capris - check! Some new shirts - check! All of this stuff looked too good to pass up. And, the sale couldn't be beat. Before I knew it, my cart was filled up and I was feeling pretty good. All I needed to do was check out. Ian needed something and I ran downstairs to help him. I came back to the computer a few minutes later and decided to see if everything I had in my cart was absolutely necessary. No, I really didn't need those PJs, so I deleted them. Then Sam needed my attention for a few minutes and I went to her. After I got back to the computer, I decided that the work-out shorts weren't completely necessary either, so I deleted them. Next thing you know, I talked myself out of the cute new capris. I was then left with 2 items. While both things were priced amazingly low, I was then stuck with a new dilemma. Were these 2 items really worth the $7.00 in shipping? Not hardly! The cost of shipping the stuff to me was a crazy high percentage of the cost of the clothing I picked out. Next thing you know, I no longer had anything in my cart that had to be mine. I completely talked myself out of everything I just shopped for.

Who is this person and what have you done with the impulsive, never-one-to-turn-down-a-sale Robyn?!?!? Where is the person that would shop until she dropped and then worry about where the money was going to come to pay for it? Where is the person who could always rely on her father to come through for her when she gave his Amex card for payment?

I guess this person grew up, got married and has two kids. I guess this person no longer thinks about only herself. She now realizes the importance of making sure it is needed than just getting it for fun.

Yes, this is the influence my husband has had on me. I am sure he would say his ability to change my spending habits is much more important than anything I could've done to his look. However, I must disagree. I think our influence on each other is equally important and we balance each other out nicely.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bike ride to nowhere

I have this dream. It is a simple dream. Wake-up on a Saturday or Sunday morning, gather the family and walk to the Starbucks that is exactly 1.5 miles away from our front door.

I've done this lots of times before with Ian in the stroller when he was a baby and would take Bailey on weekday mornings. It takes approx. 30 minutes to get there, stop and get a drink at Starbucks and then another 30 minutes to walk back. The walk is an easy shot down a path along Burke Centre Parkway, complete with shade from trees above.

Now that Ian has his big boy bike and endless amount of energy, my dream has shifted to Ian riding his bike, Samantha in the stroller and Bailey, Jeff and I walking. We attempted this once before on Mother's day. We made it 10 minutes before Ian refused to tackle any of the small elevations in the trail he called hills. So we turned around, more to get him to stop complaining than anything else, and went to the Starbucks that is practically across the street from our house. It just didn't have the same feeling and I felt defeated.

This morning I decided to try again. Before I could say "let's take a walk and go to..." Ian finished my sentence and said "STARBUCKS!!" He was totally up for it and every bit as excited as I was. Jeff exercised his option to stay home and planned to be back-up if a rescue operation was needed. I loaded up Sam in the jogging stroller, put Bailey's leash on him and Ian ran to get his helmet. This was going to be great!!!

Right from the start, Ian started complaining about the heat. "It's too hot to be out here." I told him it will get cooler once we get on Burke Centre Parkway and the trees give us shade. BTW, it wasn't hot -- believe me, I wouldn't be outside doing this if it was. It was 7:30am and only 72 degrees at best.

So we made it to the path and all is going well. Ian doesn't even realize he is tackling all the small inclines and seems to be enjoying himself. We get 3/4's of the way to Starbucks and then the complaining and whining kick in high gear. Very, very loudly he proclaims, "I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE." "I JUST WANT TO GO BACK HOME." "I'M NOT GOING TO BIKE ANYMORE." "I AM NEVER GOING TO BIKE TO STARBUCKS AGAIN." I totally give him the option of stopping and getting daddy to give him a ride the rest of the way. Or, for daddy to come pick him up and take home. Oh no, my little Jekyll and Hyde has it in his mind that he is going to finish this bike ride no matter what. So for the next 10 minutes he alternates between wanting to bike and make it to Starbucks and wanting to turn around and go home. We are now 35 minutes into our trip and I can totally see the promised land just down the road. This is killing me! Finally, I can't take it anymore and decide to call Jeff. Ian at this point has gotten back on his bike and keeps going -- of course he is still complaining the whole time. Jeff catches up to us in the car and Ian finally agrees that he'll go in the car if Jeff comes with us to Starbucks.

Sam, Bailey and I meet Jeff and Ian at Starbucks. We get a table and Ian enjoys his favorite 'cold vanilla drink' and a bagel. Sam munches on a apple bran muffin. Bailey is hanging outside tied to the trash can watching everyone come and go.

We started as four. We ended as three. Sam, Bailey and I did the walk back. It was actually very pleasant. The silence was so incredibly deafening that halfway back I hit the Pandora application on the blackberry and started playing music. Sam started singing along to Pink and Kelly Clarkson. It was pretty cool.

Ian has completely rebounded from his torturous bike ride and is ready to head to the gym with me.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Heard and Observed

HIDE THE KEYS:

As we are walking to the car:

Ian: "Mommy, I think I am ready now."
"Ready for what?" I ask hesitantly.
Ian: "Ready to drive"

Uh-oh, I think we are in trouble.

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DUH:

Having dinner with Jeff's family this past Saturday night at Maggiano's:

Jeff asking his parents where they have their next trip planned.
Ian: "They are going home after this."


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THE IMPORTANT THINGS FIRST:

A friend of Ian's comes to his school to take a tour of the place. Henry will be coming back a week later and going to camp there. Ian sees Henry walk into his room and the first thing out of Ian's mouth is, "Henry, let me show you where the bathroom is."


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WHAT'S IN A NAME?:

Ian has a camp teacher named Jeremy. Ian calls him Mr. Germy.
Ian's swim teacher's name is Annaeliese. Ian calls her Aunt Eliese.


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BUT, WILL IT REALLY DO THAT? -- THE SEQUEL:

Pocket Rod Fishing Wheel - "I need to be able to catch bigger fish." Coming from a 4 year old who has never gone fishing in his life.

Glow Doodle - "This will help me draw in the dark."

Touch N Brush - "Mommy, remember I still need to get back on that"

Paperoni (infomercial comes on during one of Sam's naps), at the top of his lungs, Ian screams, "MOMMY WHERE ARE YOU!?!?!?! Here is Paperoni. This is what I was telling you about. I want this for my next birthday."
BTW, Paperoni has one thousand pieces to it!!!

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