Saturday, October 31, 2009
Ian: My soccer ball is getting a little dirty. I think we need to give it a bath.
Ian picking out his clothes in the morning to get dressed:
Ian: I need fast underwear.
Upon hearing that Ian will be up way past his bedtime, in order to make an appearance at Lori's wedding:
Ian: Daddy, I can stay up all night if you need me to.
After wearing the suit for only 10 minutes to have pictures taken:
Ian: I am never wearing a suit again, not even for my own wedding.
Ian: Momma, I am going to be a racing man when I grow up. And, you are going to be in the pit crew. I will needed the fastest tires you can put on.
Ian: Is James going to turn 4 1/2 before me?
Me: Yes, Ian he is.
Ian: Then I am going to change my birthday.
Ian: When I get the Flu Mist, will I need a band-aid?
Me: No Ian, no band-aid is needed.
Ian: I am going to get the Flu shot in my nose every year. This is the only flu shot I am ever going to get again.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
With just one week to go until Oct. 31st came upon us, it took Ian to bring up the fact we did not even have a pumpkin in our preparation for Halloween. Since I am all about efficiency and multi-tasking, I said let's go to Burke Nursery, where they have the pumpkin playground, and we can also pick out a pumpkin to take home with us. In my personal opinion, the cost of admission ($12 a person for everyone over the age of 2 on the weekends) is a little high and and not completely worth the money for what you get, but you can't beat the convenience factor of how close it is to where we live and it was a beautiful day to be out. Plus, at the end of the day, I'd be able to cross two things off my Fall activity to-do list.
We get to Burke Nursery and do the wagon ride first. Then we start tackling the slides and take our cue from Ian on what he wants to do next. Everything was going well and after about 40 minutes we ask Ian where to next. He said he wanted to get the pumpkin. Jeff and I look at each other and realize that our time at Burke Nursery was so not worth it if we were about to go pick out a pumpkin and leave. One lesson we've learned over the years is that when things are going well, not to push it. If Ian no longer wanted to be there, we weren't going to force it. So we go pick out a pumpkin. Ian takes his time, looks at each pumpkin of interest at every angle possible. He picks up a few, says he wants that one and then changes his mind. Finally he settles on a pumpkin and we go pay for it. As we are walking to the car, Ian asks where we are going. Both Jeff and I answer in unison, "We are going home." Ian says he is not ready to go home and wants to go back to the slides, the wagon ride, all of it. Jeff and I stop in our tracks and realize what just happened. Ian's main goal was to get a pumpkin. He was focused on this single thing. Everything else was inconsequential. But Jeff and I had it in our heads that we would get the pumpkin on the way out as it would make the most sense on exiting. It's funny how this lack of communication shows just how literal Ian takes things.
So after delivering the pumpkins to the car, we head back to the pumpkin playground and spend another 2.5 hours having a blast. The weather was perfect and I am guessing that the pressure of having gotten the pumpkin picked and out of the way helped Ian to have a better time.
As a side note, the pumpkin playground that is worth the money is Cox Farms. This place rocks! It is a little more expensive ($15 a person on the weekends for everyone over the age of 2), but the grounds are enormous and you can easily spend the whole day having fun.
While we missed the boat as a family apple picking this year (however, Ian did go with a good friend of his and their family), we plan to tackle Cox Farms this coming weekend. Fortunately we won't have the interruption of picking out a pumpkin.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Upon arrival, Jeff & I, start plugging in the various technology gadgets we have and realize that this power strip of 6 outlets will not be enough. How can that be?!?! We've made do before with just the one or two outlets we'll find randomly around the room. Now that we know we have 6 at our disposal we must prioritize what gets plugged in. Each of us have a cell phone that needs to get recharged. Then we must recharge the iPod Touch from the airplane ride in case Ian would like to use it over the course of our stay. We also have the white noise machine to plug in for Sam because she is such a light sleeper. There is the video monitor to plug in so that we can watch her while she is sleeping. We need to know when she is really awake to go in & get her and not disturb her prematurely. Lastly, I have a digital camera, video camera, and iPod that may need recharging at some point in the weekend and of course, we can't forget about plugging in the laptop. Oh my! When did we become so dependent on technology and create this need for all things electronic? It is crazy! And I know, I can't turn back now and give anything back. I love my gadgets and wait anxiously for each new invention and what cool, awesome conveniences it will do for me.
Fortunately we had adjoining rooms and had access to an extra power strip just waiting for our plugs. But as everything gets made these days smaller, more powerful and extra portable, you so easily want to pack it just because you can. Rather than decide what comes and what stays, why have any regrets and just take it all with you? Our kids today are growing up never knowing what the world was like before cell phones and iPods. As far as Ian is concerned he thinks touch technology has always been invented. He knows how to use the iPod Touch better than his father and has his own digital camera. In fact he never new what life was like not being able to view a picture instantly after having taken it. It is a very cool, advanced world they are growing up in, but I've got to stop and ask myself; when does it end? How many more things will we have a 'need' for in the future that will require us to plug in and recharge? At what point will we check into a hotel room and tell them to please send up 3 power strips for us to use?
Sunday, October 25, 2009
For this and so many million other reasons, I love him dearly and so incredibly grateful that we met 7 years ago today.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Last week we experienced 4 days of non-stop rain in the Washington, D.C. metro area, with increasingly chilly temperatures that rarely got out of the 40s. Having a very high-energy little boy makes it difficult to stay indoors and find new things to keep him entertained without turning to tv watching as an all day activity. We invited one of Ian's best pals, Ethan, for a playdate on Saturday. The boys had soccer pictures to take in the morning (at 8:15am!!), but after that, we went back to our house and they did a great job of entertaining each other. As Jeff put it correctly, why does the addition of one kid make me feel like we have one less? Ah, this was so true. I almost wished that I had twins Ian's age for them to play like this all the time. At 4:00pm, the playdate was over and I took Ethan back home. He was incredibly well-behaved and a joy to have over.
During dinner that night, I asked Ian what the highlight of his day was. Without hesitation, he said his playdate with Ethan. Since they were together for 8 hours, I figured as much that would be his answer. The next day we went to the gym in the morning and Ian made a new friend in the childcare center at Gold's. We had a hard time getting him to leave after being there for an hour. Then I took Ian to a birthday party at one of his favorite places to go, a bounce place called "Kids N Motion". It was a fun-filled day for Ian and despite another day of rain, he got a great deal of activity and play with his friends. At dinner that night I asked Ian what the highlight of his day was. He took an extra moment or two to think about all he did earlier in the day and replied with the following: "I had so much fun with Ethan yesterday that my highlight today is that he was here all day yesterday."
How cute is that?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I saw an opportunity and I took it. The plan went as follows: One of my best girlfriends enjoys seeing the kids and was happy to come to the house after work one day and take Ian to dinner. While Ian was out of the house, Jeff & I would jump into action and go to work. All we had to do was disassemble the toddler bed, rearrange the furniture in his room, and vacuum the floor. Once that was done, then we go to the shed, get the bed frame, carry in the box spring and mattress and set-up the new bed. The whole time we are in execution mode, Jeff is in a seriously bad mood and keeps chewing me out for my lousy timing. I guess he felt there were other things we could better do with our time the night before we left for my sister's wedding. Eating dinner, packing, and taking the dog to a friend's house was at the top of his list. Plus, I don't think Jeff fully appreciated the time crunch to get everything done before Ian returned from dinner. His idea was that Ian go to a friend's house for a playdate (several hours long) on a free Saturday or Sunday and we leisurely make the switch. Has he seen our calendar!?!?! This switch wouldn't occur until the month of January when we don't have a new calendar yet to fill up.
Thanks to our awesome teamwork we got the job done in time and anxiously awaited Ian's return. I stood in the corner of his room with my video camera and digital camera ready to go to work. Ian and Wendy walked through the front door and Jeff told Ian to go straight upstairs to get his bath. As Ian enters his bedroom to take off his clothes, his eyes got bigger than saucers and he instantly went speechless. His mouth fell open and nothing came out. Ian being speechless in itself is no small feat. He was blown away by what he saw and couldn't believe his eyes. He ran to his new bed, jumped up on it and yelled, "This is better than I could have ever expected." Then Ian started kissing the new "CARS" comforter and pillows.
It was a really cool surprise and I, for one, is happy that we didn't wait any longer than we needed to. When you have something that you know your child is going to absolutely adore, you want them to experience it as soon as possible.
And, as an added bonus, Wendy took Bailey home to our friend's house for his stay while we went out of town. That alone, gave me more than an hour of my time back. Yes, so I could pack and eat dinner and hear more from my husband about what a terrible idea it was do this tonight.
Friday, October 16, 2009
If anyone asks Sam when she really first started walking, she can proudly answer it was in a bowling alley. One of my favorite hang-outs with Ian, we spent the perfect rainy day afternoon at what has got to be the most kid-friendly, sparkling clean bowling alley known to man. As reported back in July "A girl on the go", Sam has been intrigued by the game and does her best to get as close to the action as she can.
Yesterday she proved she can move. Every time I put her down, she would waddle as fast as her legs would take her and make her way to the ball return machine. When she realized I was hot on her tail, she would pick up the speed even more and attempt to go down the alley. Fortunately there was only one other family playing so it was ok for her to feel her oats and see how far she could get. She got a big kick out of it every time I scooped her up and had her start over again. This never-ending cycle must've gone on for over an hour. Not sure who got more exercise, me or her going back and forth, over and over again.
Our appointment with the service coordinator to get Samantha's evaluation is scheduled for November 10th. I have a feeling that in the next week or so, I'll happily be calling Carol and telling her we no longer need their help. Sam has proven in the past 16 months that she is doing everything in her own sweet time, on her own schedule. She needs to be motivated to want to do something, before she will practice the skill. Once she gets the idea planted in her brain, her determination kicks in high gear. While it is refreshing that she is her own person and plays by her own rules, I just wish she wouldn't push it so close to the edge of what is considered 'normal'. Although, I have a feeling that this is the beginning of many worries to come with her. After all, she is a girl.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
When my sister got engaged, I absolutely refused to be photographed looking chunky and went all out, giving it 100% to lose weight. I had 56 pounds to get to my goal weight (and this only puts me at the high end of what is supposed to be a healthy range for my height) and joined Weight Watchers to help me lose it. By the time Lori's wedding came along, I got within 14 pounds of my goal and felt pretty good about my progress. I would even be happy if I can just maintain my loss and not lose another a pound. But I am determined to keep going and figure out how to work being a vegetarian, going gluten-free and being on Weight Watchers.
I have now gotten to the point where the number I was willing to say out-loud is now higher than the actual number. I remember back in January when they were wheeling me on the stretcher for the appendectomy surgery and the nurse asked how much I weighed. Knowing there was no way they were going to break out a scale, I gave my "ok, here it is" number. 10 days later when I had to go for my follow-up appointment, I didn't realize I would actually have to get on a scale. Yikes!! It was the middle of Winter; there were only so many layers I could take off (I was wearing JEANS!!); I had just eaten lunch and was expected to get on the scale. Furthermore, the nurse had my chart and was about to compare the pre-surgery number with the post-surgery number. OMG! I was in trouble!!
Lo and behold, no one was more surprised than me when the number was one pound less than what was documented in my chart. Whew! It was then that I realized I needed to re-evaluate my verbal weight number. I was so used to saying this number, that it didn't dawn on me that in reality I was weighing less. I could now easily take another 10 to 15 pounds off what I told people I weighed. And yes, I have since been told that they were asking me my weight probably to figure out how much anesthesia to give me. Fortunately everything turned out and they sufficiently put me under.
I've always had issues with my weight and generally have no desire for anyone to know what I really weigh. A few years ago, my sister was in town and accompanied me to the dr to have something on my skin looked at. I told Lori she could come back with me to the exam room. On the way back to the room, the nurse stopped in front of the scale and asked me to get on. I replied back with a very nice, polite, "No thank you." Lori started laughing and said she had no idea that was optional.
I thank my lucky stars that my sister gave me enough time to lose weight for her wedding. It felt good to show up and feel like I had given it my all and this was the best it was going to get. I actually lost 25 pounds more for my sister's wedding than I did my own. Who knows what magical things I'll be able to accomplish by the time my other sister Meghan gets married.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Jackie was with us on Saturday for 13 hours and 10 hours on Sunday. For a good part of the time she was an extra pair of hands and jumped in when needed. She had these amazing instincts on when to help out and when to take a step back. Plus, with very minimal instruction, she was fantastic with Sam and remembered everything the first time.
Jackie made the logistics part of how we would take care of the kids for the wedding and all related activities easy. Because of her there was no stress and definitely no worry on if the kids were in good hands. She rocked!
I told Amanda we were keeping her. Since I am not rich or famous this of course will never come to be. But for 48 hours, it was nice to live like a rockstar and have a traveling nanny for the weekend. Fortunately we didn't have any run-ins with the paparazzi.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
During the Summer season to the beginning of the new year, I generally make 3 trips to Orlando to visit family. We'll go for a few weeks during the summer, come back for the Thanksgiving holiday and go back a third time to spend Ian's Winter break from preschool (the weeks of Christmas and New Years).
I've always had my work cut out for me when flying with Ian. But he has since become the golden boy and does incredibly well flying. I even temporarily misplaced the iPod Touch and he went the whole 2 hour flight without any electronic entertainment. And I know he was so looking forward to watching the CARS movie for the 100th time. Wow is all I can say for how far he has come.
What has really done in me in is Sam. She is a screaming, crying mess. It doesn't make sense. It can't be her ears because the screaming starts well before we even start pulling away from the gate. By the time we land at our destination, she has screamed for a good 1.5 hours out of a possible 2. It's bad. Really bad. Jeff and I even spaced ourselves and each took a kid to a different row. At least on this flight everyone was understanding and even came up to us afterwards and apologized for what we went through.
Until she outgrows this and I can get her to tell me what is going on in her pretty little head, I have no desire to go to Florida. I will be happy being grounded for the next year or so. Jeff thinks that by Thanksgiving 2010 we will be able to make a return trip. Right now that feels like way too soon.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
And, BAM!, just when you don't expect it to happen, when you think it never will, the perfect guy for you comes into your life. It all becomes clear and you know it was meant to be. This guy is your bashert (yiddish word, meaning 'destiny'). Lori was meant to meet Ben. It happened at Jodi's wedding in California; a family friend whose parents (hers and mine) were friends before Lori was even born. Jodi was marrying a guy named Dave, who went to college with Ben. Looking back and realizing all the crazy things that occurred to get Ben and Lori on the same shuttle from the hotel to the ceremony makes you realize that bigger forces were at play. And to boot, my mom was on the shuttle and witnessed the very first meeting too. Ben even asked my mom to dance that night. Anyone who knows my mom, knows this is HUGE!
From the way the story goes, Lori and Ben hit it off instantly. At the end of the evening, Ben inquired about seeing Lori again. Lori laughed and said, "I'm going on a cruise with my Aunt Hilda tomorrow morning. It is a 5 day cruise." In a move we come to later find out that is incredibly out-of-character for Ben, he got himself on the sold-out cruise and called Lori on her cell phone to tell her he was aboard the ship. Really. Lori and Aunt Hilda (who by the way grilled Ben endlessly for 5 days trying to get any kind of dirt on him. She couldn't find a single thing wrong with him.) enjoyed getting to know Ben better and had a fun week cruising. At the end of the trip, Aunt Hilda invited Ben to spend the weekend with them before Lori needed to head to the airport and Ben needed to drive back to where he lived, in San Francisco. Lori lived in Philadelphia at the time and upon telling her boss her great story of meeting someone at the wedding, arranged for Lori to go back to L.A. later that week for a work meeting. Lori called Ben, told him she could be in his area that weekend coming up and had a follow-up date in his city of S.F.
Fast forward 2 years later and Ben proposed to Lori. To say my family loves Ben is an understatement. He is easy going, very talented, musically gifted, incredibly nice and an all around great guy. He complements Lori and together they make a great pair. Ben started showing up at our family events and it is like he has always been there.
Lori ended up not having to go to the rest of the weddings that year or any of the other myriad of weddings she has been invited to since by herself. More than just finding a date to go to weddings with, she found someone to go through the rest of her life with.
It will be my pleasure to stand next to her and witness her nuptials. I can't wait to dance and celebrate the journey that brought her to this day. And I couldn't ask for a better man to become my brother-in-law.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
The other day, he woke up at 5:45am and proceeded to talk non-stop about how much he disliked his bed. Due to the hour it was in the morning, I laid very still in my bed and listened to him speak. And, yes, he was the only one in his room, talking to himself. He discussed how his bed is too small and very low to the ground. He said his pillow itched. He started listing all his friends who had bigger beds than him. He compared his bed to the one Papa Bear uses on the show "Bernenstain Bears". He spoke for more than an hour and didn't run out of things to say about his toddler bed.
Yes, we agree it is time for him to get a bigger big boy bed. Fortunately Jeff and I have a plan of action for upgrading Ian's toddler bed. The toddler bed has served him well and it would be nice to do something to reward all the magnificent behavioral changes we've been experiencing. We told Ian we would get him his new bed for Hanukkah. However, the mattress set is already in our shed (it used to be in the guest room before Sam took over this bedroom) and I ordered online the CARS bedding he has been requesting.
Ian thinks the bed transformation will not take place until December (when Hanukkah occurs this year), but Jeff and I have planned a surprise. As soon as the bedding arrives, we will keep him occupied and do a quick switch - out with the old, in with the new. We won't say anything to him about it and just wait for him to discover it on his own....mostly likely when it is time for him to go upstairs and get his bath. Or, the worst case scenario being (and I could see this being just the way it goes down), he is sent for a time-out in his room and discovers this wonderful treasure during a punishment. Ha! What kind of time-out is that going to be?!!?!?
I am looking forward to this surprise and will have our video camera ready to record his excitement. Who knows, maybe this will be just the trick to get him to sleep in a little later in the morning?
Sunday, October 4, 2009
One of "the girls" recently got engaged and the other girls & I co-hosted an engagement party for family and friends. It was a fabulous evening and everything turned out beautifully. There was a small group of guests who I hadn't met yet but they were all too familiar with Bailey. It was really weird being introduced, "This is Bailey's mom." Or, "I heard you are Bailey's Mom."
Over the past 8 years, Bailey has made his way into some of my friend's homes and even a friend's boyfriend's (now fiance) brother's home. In the case of the latter, Mike lives in a fabulous house (complete with huge pool in the backyard) and graciously opens his doors for Bailey to come and stay for a few days while we are away on trips. For the first time last night, I got to officially meet Mike's parents, who also live in this house where Bailey goes to stay. Bailey has quite a life away from us. Mike makes YouTube videos, set to music, and features Bailey swimming and playing catch. It is very sweet.
Also in attendance last night was the friend whose house was recently broken in to and she no longer felt safe living by herself. She borrowed Bailey for a week to help her sleep at night again and to be seen in the neighborhood with a scary-looking new companion. Sabrina had Bailey come visit once before when he was just a little puppy when I went out of town overnight. Now that Bailey was full grown, it was time for him to go to work. Bailey rose to the occasion and proved to be an invaluable help to Sabrina. She said if it weren't for her two bunnies she has as pets, she probably wouldn't be giving him back. They went for super long walks every day and he would lay at her feet if she was working from home. Sabrina brought a friend to the party last night who had met Bailey while he was at her house. He too, thought Bailey was amazing.
Before you know it, we had quite a conversation going about the 'fabulousness' of my dog. I do believe that Bailey really prefers living with a single person who has no entanglements (like kids or a spouse) to get in the way. For his first few formative years of his life, it was just the two of us. Bailey would sleep in my bed with me and even though he had his own pillow, most nights would find us sharing one together. I am sure we were quite a sight.
Now Bailey's life consists of two toddlers who test his patience, play with his food and cook up new ways to bug him. He no longer sleeps in my bed and is banished from being on the furniture altogether. I am sure he pines for the days of his youth when it was just the two of us.
For a brief period last night I got to remember just how cool my dog is and what he means to everyone. How much joy, fun and comfort he brings into the lives of those around him. I was "Bailey's Mom" and that was a pretty good person to be.
I think I will take him for a long walk this morning. Of course, his sister Samantha will be in the stroller next to him.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
A few days before I left for my Girl's Weekend, I heard that Judy Blume was going to be at the National Book Festival. Instantly I had visions of getting the book "Are you there God? It's me, Margaret" signed for my sweet little girl, Samantha. My mom gave me a box set of Judy Blume's books when I turned 9 or 10 and they forever changed my life. Judy Blume started my love affair with books. I absolutely love to read and owe this all to the wonderful books Blume wrote about being an adolescent.
One of the girls I was enjoying the weekend with is the wife of a good friend, John. Dana told me that her husband was taking their girls (ages 5 and 3) to the Book Festival and would be more than happy to get me a signed copy of the book. How wonderful!!
John made a valiant effort, but the line was more than 300 deep and not something that would be realistic to stand in and wait. I very much appreciated the effort and planned to come up with another way to accomplish my goal. Now that I had this in my head I wanted to do it, there was nothing going to stop me. Although, my back-up plan was to wait for her to come back to town and camp out if needed to get to the front of the line. I had 8 years to see this through.
John (determined to get me a signed copy too) and I must've come up with the same thought, because we both found an email address for Judy Blume and wrote her.
And to my delight, here is her reply:
Thanks for your email. Judy feels terrible that so many readers waited so long and then were turned away. It was really a problem of the organizers, most of whom were volunteers and so had no experience dealing with long lines at a book signing. They should have cut the line off but they didn't until it was way too late. Of course Judy will sign a book for your daughter. If you send it to the address below with these emails and your daughter's name we'll get it back to you ASAP.
Very best regards,
Assistant to Judy Blume
How incredibly cool is this!?!?!? I've always greatly admired Judy Blume as an author, but have now taken my love for her to a whole new level. It is so refreshing when you put someone you admire up on a pedestal and they don't disappoint.
I am most excited that when Samantha turns 9, I'll be able to give her a personalized, signed copy of "Are you there God? It's Me, Margaret". This means more to me than Samantha will probably ever know. However, if she is anything like me (and so far, indications strongly point us to being 'cut from the same cloth'), I know one day she'll appreciate the gesture and look forward to handing down the copy to her daughter.