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Archive for the 'Holidays' Category
Tags: easter, Family, holiday, painting eggs, Photos, spring
Tags: christmas, Holidays, Photos
You can see more on flickr.
Tags: halloween, imagination, toddler
Jack doesn’t have a costume this year. Instead I stuck last year’s pirate hat on his head. In the car on the way to daycare he said, “Mama, I’m a pirate chicken!” Then he proceeded to crow.
Who needs a costume when you have imagination?
Tags: Family, maryland, toddlers, travel, vacation, washington dc
I’ll have to post some pictures when I am not bogged down with catch-up work and the intracacies of adjusting to the new daycare drop-off/pick-up routine (since Joe started his new job today), but here are some highlights of our trip to Maryland:
- The plane rides were decent (considering that we had a 2 year old on our laps) thanks to sitting by the same folks to and from DC. After the mom who I sat next to loaned Jack her daughter’s Magnedoodle, I promptly bought one when we arrived at our destination. Jack is obsessed with it and drew constantly on the way home (his drawings actually look like things!).
- He is now obsessed with airplanes, as well.
- Jack was sick with a nasty fever the first two days of the trip. It was pretty sad to watch the little guy stare dull-eyed at animals in the aquarium in Baltimore. I wish he could have enjoyed it more. On the plus side, he is a total sweetheart while sick (no tantrums!).
- Jack learned how to say “Dad’s coffee” and “Jack’s milk” and “Aunt Holly’s computer” and “Cayenne’s toy” - he is quite impressed with pronouns.
- Every night at bed time, we were treated to several performances of what we think is the Portuguese version of “Ring around the roses” wherein he sang what sounded to me like “ba ti ba,” then switched the verse, then purposely fell on the bed. (I must remember to ask about this when I pick him up from daycare today.)
- The boy decided to refer to his uncle as “Miken” – we can only guess that this is a clever contraction of Mike + Cayenne (the dog).
- We all ate more junk food and watched more tv than we would normally. Vacation rules are different, though, right??
- Jack may have a little cousin arriving in 2009!
- We saw the Washington Monument & the Smithsonian Natural History Museum on Memorial Day. It was disgustingly hot and Jack was a tyrant but we did manage to have fun.
- Jack rode his first carousel! After shrieking with delight when the carousel started moving, he nervously rode the horse for about 5 minutes before deciding he felt safer in my arms. I spent the rest of the ride precariously hanging on to him and the moving pole. Upon exiting the carousel, Jack cried for more. Of course.
Tags: mothers day, parenting, stubborn kid, tantrums, terrible twos, toddlers
Yesterday was one of those not-so-fun type of parenting days. Jack was in the midst of Terrible Twodom (and yeah, he’s not 2 yet!). Fits galore, making it difficult to even get out of the house for my brunch (damn it, I was having my brunch even if I had to go by myself!!!). Jack is too strong for me to handle when he is in a fit, so Joe had to take over trying to get him in the carseat. There was no way to entice him to sit down (usually a bribe works, or a forbidden object such as a cell phone) so Joe had to pin him down while I helped buckle the straps. All because Jack wanted to stand in the carseat and yell at the back of the car.
Brunch was great. I got a free mimosa and delicious gingersnap pancakes. Jack was entertained by his crayons and coloring book, ate well (including eggs, which he usually disses) and I felt so happy. This is the part of the day I will try to keep foremost in my memory!
We spent the day at BIL & SIL’s so that Joe could help Justin put together a gazebo. Jack was running around everywhere and getting into everything so he went from banging on the window to playing with the wine rack to giving himself power bombs on the bed to snatching his uncle’s cell phone to stealing his cousin’s toys…worn out, I fell asleep putting him down for a nap in the afternoon.
Dinner was fabulous, as was dessert (I had two helpings, yum!). SIL is an awesome cook! Afterward, Jack started to completely melt down. We got out of there when he started chanting “I want I want I want I want” over and over, wrestled him into the carseat again, and headed home. Jack flipped out some more there, and started hitting me with fists and books. When I told him not to hit me, that it hurt, to give hugs instead, he laughed in my face. Joe had no more luck. So infuriating! I don’t know if this is just a toddler thing, or something he learned at daycare, but my kid hitting me makes me want to cry! He also kept biting me during nursing and continued to hit when I was trying to put him to sleep. So my mother’s day gift from my son? Abuse.
I was amazed when Jack was a baby that he was such a sweet little guy, so unlike me and apparently a little clone of Joe. I was sure I’d get a sassy, stubborn child that was just like I was as a kid (okay, I’m still like that…). Alas, it seems that he was just biding his time before showing all his cards. What scares me most is that no adult was ever able to sway me as a child…so I am facing a littler version of myself and I have no idea what to do.
Sorry I’ve been gone so long, folks! It’s been a busy holiday with lots of visitors. All of our guests are gone now and it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming! I’ve still got to get all of our pictures up on shutterfly, so stay tuned for that. For now, here’s a summary of the past week.
My sister and her husband came to visit. We had lots of good food (Italian, German, Indian) and really enjoyed spending time together. Jack is madly in love with his aunt and uncle and we can’t wait to visit them in Maryland in the spring.
Our holiday was busy yet relaxed. We saw my grandparents on Christmas Eve. They brought Jack a wonderful gift – a fifty year old child-sized rocking chair that used to belong to my great aunt. A fabulous family heirloom that my grandfather shined up for Jack. It was wonderfully thoughtful! We all went out to dinner and it was the best time I’ve ever had with my grandparents!
Christmas day we had breakfast at my mom’s. Jack played dominos and then took a walk with Aunt Holly and Uncle Mike. We then went to my uncle’s house for dinner, games, and presents – something I haven’t done in about 10 years. It was wonderful introducing Jack to everyone and catching up with the family!
We had Christmas dinner with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and niece. The kids were set up on the couch and we got some lovely snapshots of them together. It really completed the day to see Jack giving his cousin kisses!
Joe’s parents arrived on the 26th and we had our holiday celebration brunch on the 27th at the rec room in our apartment building. This was my first attempt at entertaining family (I even cooked!) and I think I pulled it off fairly well. We had a relaxed rest of the week and Jack was giving his grandparents hugs and kisses and even called them “Gama” and “Papa” which was just great!
There were also a couple days in there where I got to see my friends Beth and Jenn. I will see them both again (separately) today!
I have some interesting updates to post regarding food but I will save that for tomorrow. I am just so happy to report that the holiday went well and will be remembered fondly. Best of all: we don’t have loads of toys to get rid of because most people gave Jack books and clothes. Yay!
The last two days have been basically napless. That’s probably all I need to say to the other folks out there to whom naps are sacred (ya know, other parents), so I won’t go into annoying detail. Suffice it to say that I’ve had friends and family in town and I’d love to spend time with them but Jack doesn’t make it entirely easy to do the things I’d like to do. Juggling a busy holiday social calendar with a cranky kid is…difficult.
I’ve managed to enjoy myself for the most part, in between Jack’s tantrums, but I am exhausted and it will be a bit of a miracle if I can sustain enough energy to get through Christmas.
But I’m happy to have my sister here.
And Jack is pretty awesome when he’s not being a little punk.
Happy holidays everyone! I’ll be back in a few days…
The way I survive the working day is to NOT THINK about Jack. Harden my heart and all that, ya know? But it’s extremely hard when Santa is here and everyone (except me) has brought their kids in to see him! Giggles and cries and Daddy! and Mommy! and all of those little voices floating to my ears. They all suddenly sound like Jack and I miss him so much!
It doesn’t help that I saw him only briefly yesterday when I nursed him to sleep before departing for the ballet. Oh, and a few times during the night when he sat upright in bed and said “hello!” before nursing a bit and then saying “night night!” and laying down again.
As if that wasn’t enough, Santa is usurping the Mom’s Room to change in and out of costume. I understand that Santa has needs, but why is the bathroom not sufficient? A mama’s gotta pump, especially when said mama has a rather painful plugged duct!
Prior to Jack’s first birthday, I had this idea that kid birthdays were boring and our non-parent friends wouldn’t want to come. It’s not that kid birthdays were boring to me, just that I am aware I am in this parenting bubble where everything my kid does is uber interesting. I know that others might not share my interest. Then Jack’s birthday came, and our small apartment was packed with people, most of whom were kidless. It was readily apparent that they were having a great time, and everyone was extremely excited to see Jack’s reaction to the gift they had picked out for him. It was wonderful watching Jack enjoy his special day, and I will always have this memory of celebrating with all of the people who love Jack and had been there for us at various times during his first year of life. Suffice it to say, I was surprised at the enormity that is the first birthday.
Last night we attended a birthday party for my boss’s 2 year old daughter. I did not hesitate in accepting the invitation because now I know that kid birthday parties are fantastic! After acquiring a small gift for the birthday girl (the book The Gift of Nothing* because the invitation said no gifts** and I am ever so clever), we drove into San Francisco, the city welcoming us with festive lights strung across the Bay Bridge and around the buildings downtown.
The party was just as wonderful as I thought it would be. There were toddlers everywhere, and they were highly entertained by the mylar helium-filled balloons shaped like dogs, with feet weighted to the floor. I picked one up and barked at Jack. He was startled at first, and then he giggled uproariously. He begged for more and chased the dogs all night. He also had a great time playing with the birthday girl’s toys. It was a whole new world for him, drawing on the easel with crayons, shaking maracas, and pounding on the toy piano. Gotta love going to other people’s homes to test out toys!
My boss dressed up as Santa an hour into the party to hand out gifts to all of the kids. The kids were terrified! One little girl kept repeating, “No more Santa!” over and over for the rest of the night. Jack was mostly ambivalent but as soon as we got near Santa to get his present, he started crying. We quickly got his gift, a book, and redirected his attention by reading it. I felt for the kids, I really did, but it was also amusing to watch them freak out over a big guy with a white beard and red clothing. Only two of the kids (who were decidedly older than the others) out of ten enjoyed Santa. Poor kids! And poor Santa!
Jack’s second birthday is seven months away, so presumably I have a lot of time to plan, but with as much time as it takes to do anything these days and as fast as time is flying, I want to start thinking about this now! (Have I mentioned I’m a planner?) There is so much to be done! With that in mind, I’d love to hear your best (cheap, practical, yet creative) ideas for kid birthday parties. I open the floor to you, dear readers!
* Do you know about Patrick McDonnell’s books yet? I had to resist buying them for every kid I know! I bought Hug Time for Jack but want them all.
** I did check with her parents first to make sure it was okay to get a book.
All of a sudden I have this wacky desire to do the whole xmas bit. This has never happened to be me before! I am not a xmas person! I don’t like the whole, “we cut down a tree to put up for a month and then decorate the hell out of it, shove a bunch of decorated boxes containing stuff no one really needs under it, and drive ourselves crazy over the holiday stress” thing. I don’t like santa, never have, and I hate being the center of attention when opening a gift, mostly because I hate pretending I like something that is purely crap and ‘thank you’ never seems to be enough for the stuff I do like. I’m not a good gift receiver (as you can plainly tell).
How did I suddenly get here? Well, I wrapped the gifts we bought for our Wisconsin niece and nephew this weekend and then realized I had nowhere to put them. I am shipping them, so it’s not a big deal, but I got a strong urge to put up a tree under which we would store the gifts until they take a trip to the post office. I resisted the urge but it continued to plague me until one night I came home from work and spit out, “I want to put up a tree!” And my husband gave me a bewildered look and said he was okay with that. Then I went on my merry way, reminiscing over the wooden ornaments from my childhood that are stored away and waiting for fresh air.
Next up: stockings. Stockings are stupid! They contain a bunch useless crap that just gets tossed in the trash! I mean, sometimes you get useful stuff like toothbrushes (who doesn’t need a new one?) and lotion but really – no one needs another pair of snowflake socks. NO ONE. But ya know what? I kinda want stockings even if they have nothing in them. I’m off to etsy to find a stocking for Jack, at least.
The craziness ends there, at least. I can’t think of any other traditional xmas things that I really want. Okay, well, I DID buy some egg nog, and I also have apple cider in the fridge. But at least those count as food…
I think I am just really sad that we aren’t going to Wisconsin this year. First time in 9 years or so!
I’m typically kind of a grinch, but one who has apparently just been possessed by holiday spirit…
I was quite the sleeper before becoming a mother. I looked forward to every Saturday when I knew I could sleep in until noon and then lounge around the house the rest of the day. I was never a napper but boy did I love 12-14 hours of uninterrupted sleep!
I was nervous going into parenthood because I don’t function well when tired, and both my mom and Joe have learned the dangers associated with waking me up. I was surprised that I was able to adapt to the lack of sleep in the newborn phase. I think pregnancy helped prepare me, as I could not sleep for long stretches without waking up in pain. Still, I have spent a goodly amount of past year and a half lamenting the days when I could sleep in and laze away the day.
The extended Thanksgiving holiday provided me with an opportunity to relive my pre-parenthood days. Joe and I both seemed to be focused on catching up on sleep, and he chose to go to bed early most nights whereas I decided to sleep in late. Most days I slept in until 9 or 10, which seemed amazing enough, but then Sunday I slept until noon! Then I proceeded to laze around the house all day, only breaking the monotony by baking brownies in the afternoon.
And you know what? It wasn’t that great. I can hardly believe it but I have actually gotten used to less sleep! I prefer a 10pm bedtime and mid-morning rising time. I love waking up at the same time as my husband and my son, lounging in bed for hugs and kisses and tickles for a while before getting up to eat breakfast and drink a cup of coffee. So this Thanksgiving gave me one more thing to be thankful for: a new appreciation for a lack of sleep.
Obviously I am thankful for the normal things, like food and family and overall well-being. Of everything to be happy about this year, I am most thankful for my mental health.
Over the last three years I’ve struggled with varying degrees of depression, related to the miscarriage in 2005 which sent me to a place I never want to see again, a very stressful pregnancy, and the extremely challenging postpartum period. I needed a lot of help in 2005 but I was able to get through 2006 and 2007 pretty well thanks to support from family and friends, a cheerful Jack to wake up to every morning, and, honestly, this blog.
Writing is cathartic to me, and it’s even better when I know I have readers who are willing to listen to my thoughts and share theirs. When I am writing, my mind isn’t boggled down with emotion. Writing is the only way in which I feel I can express myself effectively and unburden my mind from my thoughts.
So a big ol’ thanks to my readers. You touch my life in more ways than you know! Have a great Thanksgiving!
This is the first year in about 10 years that we’re not going to Wisconsin for the holidays. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are expecting a baby sometime in the next couple of weeks, so they decided not to fly with their newborn for the holidays and we followed suit. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to leave them here while we hop on a plane with our spastic toddler for a 4.5 hour flight. I don’t have enough vacation time built up even if we did want to attempt the craziness that is taking a long plane ride with Jack. Joe’s parents are flying here the day after xmas to meet the newest member of the family and celebrate the holidays with us, but we don’t have any formal plans set for the day itself.
If all goes well, my sister and her husband will be flying to California for xmas. Most of our family is located in Sacramento, which is about an hour and a half away. I have friends there, too. We could make our rounds and hit up all the people we haven’t spent time with in the past decade. That sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it? I have this bug in my ear that is insisting that I reconnect with my family members. It’s been get louder since Jack was born.
I also have an urge to do the traditional thing and bake a dinner in our home – something I have never done before! We have the space, although our kitchen is miniscule. Still, most things can be made ahead of time. So, who knows, perhaps I’ll do put on my Suzy Homemaker hat and get all domestic for the holidays.
Then there is the question of HOW to celebrate. As most of you know, Joe and I are not religious. We have in the past exchanged gifts with family to be festive but with every move we’ve made it’s become more evident that we really don’t need any more stuff! This year we are going to focus on the kids in the family since they are the ones having all the fun anyway. I am more interested in the food, to be honest.
This is our break out year. The year when our little family starts it’s own traditions. There are so many options! I’m highly interested to see where it all goes.