Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Happy Dude

Thankfully, last night was the end of birthday celebrations for a couple days - which is great because I just can't take any more "surprise!" Fortunately I will be doing a little more celebrating about a week from now but with my birthday being passed it just doesn't seem as much or really at all about me and that's fine because over the last week I have accumulated:

1. Too many unwanted celebratory shots
2. A new bookshelf - which I get to paint (which I really want to do!) but this takes more time that I need to squeeze out of my day
3. A very sore upper body from an awesome powder day
4. Over 1,000 miles on my car in under a week
5. New ear buds to take to the gym which I really need to get to
6. Another birthday party this weekend which will be surrounded by more boarding, more driving and leave no time for homework so I have to take a day off work next week to do a project - again loving the birthday lovin - just not the responsibilities that seem to have piled up while I was enjoying spring break.
7. So many left overs that I feel guilty for trashing but I think if I eat one more piece of cake I will need a new bridesmaid's dress
8. Soooo many clothes thus a huuuuge stack of Good Will boxes which will more than likely sit in the hallway until the end of the Summer

Fortunately, all of this has led to some quality family time that I have really been craving since things have been so busy.
Last night I celebrated my birthday with my Dad, Sister, Grandma, and Steve's parents. Of course a big dinner like this gives Aiden a big audience and boy was the "Ham-Switch" turned on last night...
He took it upon himself without being told to do so - to tuck his napkin under his chin, into his shirt. When I noticed what he had done I pointed it out to Steve who then decided to do the same which Aiden thought was hilarious for whatever reason. Then he thought it was even funnier to just stuff his napkin in it's entirety into is shirt. And then everyone else's napkins too...

He was also having a wonderful night because Aunt Dana was there. Aiden is so enamored with everything she does and constantly wants her attention. Once he had her laughing, it was all over...

After a late dinner, Aiden went for a sleep over at Grandpa's and luckily slept in for him so everyone got lots of rest. While he was hanging out with PaPa, we went for a couple drinks and watched the Buffs take a hard, one-point loss to Alabama. It was so nice to just hang out the two of us and get caught up on what's been happening in our lives and make jokes and share kisses without anyone else around. Whoever tells you life is over when you have kids is a highly impractical and inflexible person. Sure it doesn't happen often but when you get to reconnect with "living your life" every so often, it's wonderful, and it really is all a matter of finding balance and making your own flexibility.

I was so focused on being left out for the first year of Aiden's life that I came to realize - it's a matter of doing what you want, when you can, and with comfortable timing for yourself. I kind of like not caring about anyone's schedule but Aiden's -- in a lot of ways it has been extremely freeing for me.

Stay tuned :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

brithday wisdom

time and fate can't be controlled, you play the hand that you're dealt and the dice that are rolled - who am I to question God anyway? these days when I look back, I know am blessed to have been loved like that but I still miss you everyday...

for whatever reason, my most memorable birthday was the last one Uncpa was alive for and I always feel a bit sad every year thinking about it, but I also remind myself - he would have wanted for all of his girls to have no regrets and to live each day to its fullest.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Cleaning or Something...?

Out with the old, in with the new(ish?). Over the last sunny month or so, I have been digging through Aiden's drawers every morning looking for t-shirts, and the drawer seems to stare back at me and say "this stuff is never going to fit! Time to clean me out and fill me back up!" Luckily, one of Aiden's little pals from the lake seems to go through growth spurts at the same time he does and he is one year older so we get all new(to us) clothes every six months or so.

So, after a busy weekend away celebrating my birthday, Aiden and I spent the afternoon at home together sorting clothes - reminiscing is so bittersweet. I've gotten better at letting go of all the things that don't fit anymore and before I put anything away in storage I save the boxes a couple months and go through again to weed some more things out for donation. I don't know what I am going to do when my only friend with a baby is all moved home - who am I going to give these cutesy little outfits for??

Aiden helping pack up old clothes

Showing the camera his favorite toys

fewf, this is some hard work
After going through all these old clothes I got all caught up thinking about how no one tells you before you're baby is born how hard it will be to watch them grow big. Sure you hear how fast they grow out of things, but letting go of those tiny little clothes really is painful.

All I can think of are the days when my baby needed to be held 24/7 and fed every 2 hours and snuggled to sleep. Every now and then I get to hold him because all he wants is his mommy, and every now and then we fall asleep together in the rocking chair - but this is happening less and less. Surely, Mommy is not being replaced by bikes and tools and baseballs already is she?

Underneath it all, I don't think words can ever express the insurmountable pride I feel when he picks his bike up after a fall, tells me something new, or hits a baseball - the joy is indescribable and my pride swells beyond belief. But what a difficult trade, to lose all the things that made my baby a baby in order to see him grow into an independent boy.

Aiden stands next to his first pair of shoes ever - now he's a monster size 8!
No one tells you either that 1. burp cloths are useless 2. hot dogs are their own food group 3. Sponge Bob is the most annoying cultural phenomenon ever 4. other kids will push and hit your kid 5. baby socks disappear in the dryer at a rate 5xs faster than adult socks and 6. one night without a two year old's favorite puppy stuffed animal will be harder on you than them.

Sorting through some new summer clothes 

Trying really hard to dress himself

After all is said and done, it seems parenting is a series of disasters that you have to learn to avert and a lot of conundrums that you just kinda deal with as they come - next time around I swear I won't buy a single burp cloth and save the money for more Sponge Bob stuff.

All the stuff that we have gone through in 6 months
On a less nostalgic note, I have spent the last couple weeks doing all kinds of birthday shopping for myself - shameless I know...but I brought home a birthday present for myself tonight:

Happy Birthday to Me!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Expanding Aiden's Interests

As I have mentioned, my darling little boy has become a real terror in the mornings. It's so hard to get him to do anything past getting out of bed. So I have been trying to get him more involved in his routine - now he has a new toothbrush that he really looks forward to using, I let him choose between a couple shirts so he'll let me put one on him, and most to his liking he is now in charge of making his own chocolate milk (Ovaltine - don't worry I'm not loading my 2 year old with sugar at 7 am...).

This has been so helpful, usually as soon as he starts stirring his chocolate milk, all grumpiness disappears. He seems to really like having this new job and feeling important. Since we normally get home in the evening and I cook dinner while he plays choo-choos, I've decided he might really enjoy helping cook dinner. He gets to help me and have special important jobs, learn about what is and isn't safe in the kitchen, and hopefully it will keep him from forming this notion that only women cook and that it's the "mommy's job."

Finding recipes that are easy and affordable/don't involve nightly trips to the store has been the challenge. I picked out pigs in a blanket first and thought he'd really like it because it's hands on, and its hot dogs - one thing I know he will eat for sure! While I was surfing the intertornado to find approximate bake times and recommended ready made dough brands, I found cheesy pigs in a blanket - EVEN BETTER!

Aunt B came over to help when she heard what we were doing and we had a blast!

He had to test the ingredients first.

Once he mastered rolling the hot dogs he was really anxious to put them on the tray himself

It was so totally simple, roll them in cheese, wrap them in dough, bake 15 minutes on 350 and enjoy!! 

Because he was so helpful with dinner, we decided to make cookies afterward too. Again, my domesticity has its limits - I am addicted to the effortlessness that is frozen cookies, so Aiden got more practice placing things on the cookie sheet.

Aiden tryin it alone
Getting a few pointers from Aunt KiKi
Almost losing his cookies to Miles

On top of all this fun stuff, Aiden was finally in bed before 9:00 for the first time this week. I know he needs it more than ever but the time change has been harder to adjust to that we thought it would be and things always seem to come up at the last minute - we need to go to the store, dinner runs late, we get invited to someone's house. 

And! Cross your fingers for this one *Aiden hasn't thrown his stuff out of his crib in a whole week* I am ecstatic. Finally, something that really was only a phase!

Here's hoping for a beautiful weekend to all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I hope I never have to

Day 6 - Something you hope you never have to do.

I think we complain a lot, say things aren't fair when we can't have all we believe we deserve and want. It's easier for us to say things are out of our hands and that we can't control them when they go wrong.

For me, I am thankful that I have the power to make all my decisions good and bad, and I hope I never ever lose that freedom. I hope that I am truly never out of control of any situation set in my hands. And I hope I never have to make a truly hard choice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boy about the town

Aiden had a very busy weekend. Part of my  new kick to get out and get doing as much as we can when we have downtime. I realize that no one thinks I am a slacker of a mom, what with school and work and all, but my New Year's resolution this year was to work just a little harder - push Aiden to potty train, make one meaningful memory with him every day, be proactive about his interests, be more active myself.

So this weekend, we did a lot of bike riding:

Notice, no pedals - it's a balance bike so that he can get ready for a dirt bike...

We also got to spend the wonderful, sunny day at the zoo with one of my best friends and her sister. Aiden loved it! As always, all he cared about was the monkeys - I think he asked to see them abotu once every 2 minutes for the whole first half of our outing.

Some highlights:

Aiden and the ladies at the zoo

Sleepy lions

Playful kitties

Checkin out those animals with a little help

Up close and personal with the polar bear

Catchin some rays at lunch

After the zoo he took an amazing 2 hour nap (as did I) and we both really needed it. Generally these days we use what Steve calls the corvette stroller (actually a light umbrella stroller that pops up and down with no fuss) unfortunately it doesn't hold much more than Aiden himself and with a day at the zoo I didn't want to carry my purse and the diaper bag. So I took along the "Cadillac Stroller" which is the original jumbo stroller that was part of a travel system we got when he was born - it has space for all our crap below plus cup holders and compartments and all the goodies you need for a day at the zoo. It also comes along with about 20 extra pounds! I definitely got a work out, so our afternoon nap was amazing. We felt so refreshed that we went out for a little bit in the evening too!

Lucky me, Aiden slept in Sunday morning til 9 am - a big shock since he did this on Saturday too! I haven't been so grateful in a long time! And what's better is he hasn't gone through his "throw-everything-out-of-the-crib-before-falling-asleep" routine in like 4 days. 

Times they are a changin, unfortunately not as fast as Aiden would prefer. Today we played softball and he was the outnumbered one. He really wanted to play with the big kids and just couldn't - we worry about him being hit in the head with hard things quite a bit ;) but he still got to have lots of fun!

Playing golf more than softball

Big Swing!

Being cool like Uncle Nik

Doing his best to help Elise in the outfield

Inspecting the grounds

Aiden really has been such an awesome little guy this weekend! So I wasn't at all surprised when he put up with some extensive grocery shopping, but I was never the less grateful and thought dinner with Grandpa would be a nice treat. Grandpa thought chocolate cake would be a nice treat...

Hope everyone else is filling as fulfilled as I am this Sunday night :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

conquering my fears

I HATE yogurt, as in I am totally and completely terrified by it.

I had a rather upsetting doctor's visit Thursday, in which I learned that the cell turn over in one of my *rather important* organs isn't quite where it should be (likely a result of the same deficiency that has caused so much trouble with my health in the past). Fortunately, there is no significant damage and the doctor doesn't anticipate anything to the magnitude of my stomach ulcers. Never the less, I have to make some changes if I want to keep it this way.

For one thing, I need to start stimulating cell turn over for my connective tissue which involves a really simple yet time consuming pain in the butt daily routine of medicine.

Also, I need to get busy growing some good bacteria in my body since my organ tissues are more susceptible to the bad bacteria by being damaged, weak, and not properly regenerated. And wouldn't you know it, yogurt is the best source of good bacteria for your body. Lucky me.

I am not sure what to expect of the taste because I have always kept it so far from my face that I don't even know what it smells like. And I hate when it gets on my skin while I am feeding it to Aiden, literally I think it will infect me through the skin on my fingers....

After explaining this to the doctor and nearly crying because I DON'T WANNA DO IT, she shook her head and said, "Suck it up, one serving a day from now on."

Drat! "Well," I said, "At least they have dessert flavors now right?" I'm sort of hoping that it goes something like the commercial where the woman tells a friend on the phone how she eats lemon pie, and chocolate strawberries, and key lime pie - and then he searches the fridge only finding her yogurt...

"I guess," the doctor tells me with a sigh, "Better to eat yogurt loaded with sugar than not at all, but eventually you will want to cut back on the sweeter stuff..."

Whatever lady, if I have to put that sh*t in my mouth it better damn well taste like Boston Cream Pie!

So, with a little (okay a lot of encouragement and pep talking) from Kelly, I made it through.

My choices - in case I threw one up

Pop the top!

I got some on my fingers and almost chickened out totally

To protect myself at the last second I covered my mouth

Thinking hard about keepin that bite down

Ugh! Such a mental thing!

All Gone!
Kelly had to all but hold my hand! She might as well have been spoon feeding me but thank goodness because if no one was sitting there with me, I probably wouldn't have done it and said I did.

But it's all for the better and you know what? Turns out it tastes pretty good! It really is just a phobia and in a couple days there probably won't be anymore urge to barf at all :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kids do the darndest things

So tonight at dinner with my Dad, Aiden finally crashed. He did not want to go to bed last night (on account of daylight savings time) and this morning he didn't want to get up. He is getting quite like his dad when it comes to getting up in the morning...they both believe if you hide under the covers, mom can't see you and you don't have to get up.

I realize this sounds funny, but to me it's a downright miracle. One of my friends has a 4 mo. old baby and she is exhausted! I can't help but ache for her when I see how tired and frustrated she is some mornings (It was about 4 months when I gave up on breastfeeding - so she is about at my breaking point). Even after that though, things stayed hard for awhile. I didn't know about sleep training - I was doing up all nighters with Aiden until he was 9 months old! I would spend an hour rocking him to sleep at 9 o clock at night. Then be up with him twice a night to feed at 4 months and once a night to feed after 6 months. This involved 30 minutes to finish a bottle, anywhere from 10-20 minutes to burp, then an hour to fall back asleep being rocked and another 30 minutes or so of back patting in the crib once he woke up from being laid down.

I did this for 9 months! Granted the first 6 weeks are pure hell that no one can prepare you for and the first 3 months are about as bad but you at least find a groove. But when this didn't end for me after months and months and months....I would be up all night with Aiden asleep in my arms, sometimes crying from sheer exhaustion, sometimes counting the leaves painted on the nursurey wall because I was sucked.

Aiden put himself to sleep for the first time 9 months old, while on vacation
The miracle? Now, it is impossible to get him up at 6:45 in the morning to get dressed (I can't even tell you how upsetting it is to have to remove his pjs once he is up). During that first 9 months I thought "I will never do this again" and now it's like, "well I survived once, and tons of other people survive everyday...maybe it wouldn't be so bad." That is until Aiden is up an ready to go at 7:00 on Saturday morning...hey I said miracle not "wonderous sign of God that I am meant to get enough sleep."

On top of the joy of getting more sleep when babies get older you get to see all kinds of other miracles. Like learning to talk. I hear about one new word from him every day plus a few garbled words that I've dubbed Aiden language which he can't quite pronounce but very specifically knows what he is talking about. Tonight on the phone, we called Steve to say good night (hate when Daddy isn't there to interrupt story time with his ridiculous antics) and Aiden perfectly annunciated "I love you Daddy," clear as day. That is 5 syllables!!! I know that sounds so silly to be excited about but really, when your kids put together 2 syllables it is a huge milestone. He has done 1-2 words together before but this was just awesome, Steve heard it over the noise in the shop and got so excited. I almost dropped the phone (just like my jaw) and thought, "You are a boy genius!"

He's also getting into all kinds of curious behavoirs, some good, some bad. He likes spending time with the boys (Steve, Nik and Grant) even though I am not always sure he knows what they are doing, he wants to be a part of it. And he is absorbing everything he sees. Last night I was so totally captivated watching him watch Toy Story. Since I have a fully developed adult brain, I never thought Toy Story was too complicated - but he scanned every inch of the TV over and over again to make sure he didn't miss anything and there was a lot going on. A couple months ago, his mode of learning was monkey see-monkey do, these days it's "Aiden will try it his was 3 times then ask Mommy and maybe try his way one more time before doing it her way." This sometimes leads to time outs or tantrums. But sometimes it leads to total independence and creativity and much laughter.

Being Creative....

Being really creative....

My little monkey

I Hope - A Photo Essay

It's that time again...
Visit Greece
Be a soccer mom - or little league or lacrosse or ballet coach..whatever Aiden wants to do, oh yeah and I wanna be fierce while I do it

I want a gazebo where I can drink tea and read books and paint and remember my childhood

I want to paint a mural in my own home

Friday, March 11, 2011

How you can help

In response to the earthquake - here are some options.

In response to the quake, The Red Cross has already launched efforts in Japan. Visit Redcross.orgor text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone.
Save the Children has also responded. Eiichi Sadamatsu of the organization released a statement, saying:
"We are extremely concerned for the welfare of children and their families who have been affected by the disaster. We stand ready to meet the needs of children who are always the most vulnerable in a disaster."
The organization is currently organizing efforts and donations to their Children's Emergency Fundwill support their outreach.
The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund was launched at to garner funds for relief organizations helping victims and has already raised thousands, particularly from concerned Twitter users around the world.

* this all from the Huffington Post - if you are anything like me and hate giving cc info and worried about scams, the text option is your best bet as Red Cross is the most legit organization. Plus you can do it as much or as little as you want.

I hope we all realize in moments like this how vulnerable we are and that sometimes it happens to third world countries but thriving countries are not immune and a life lost is a life lost no matter where it happens. 
All I could think of this morning watching the news was how frightened for my son's life I would be in such a terrible situation and in the aftermath how are the children going to be taken care of. I guess being a mommy really changes how you think about things.
In the end we are all the same and at some point we will all need help.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I cannot contain my excitement for spring!

So today it is a sunny, beautiful 60 degrees, I have the sunshine pouring in my office window, and flip flops showing my painted toes for the first time this year. Life is good. I am not even letting tonight's looming Anthro Exam or the depressing movie that is "The Romantics" get me down today.

A couple weeks ago, while on a binge shopping trip with one of my gal pals (I had to cash in my Christmas gift cards eventually...) we stopped by Burlington. I have no problem admitting that one of my biggest fashion secrets is wholesale/mark down super stores (a la: Ross, TJ Maxx, Burlington, etc.) on my Mommy budget, fashion requires creativity. Creativity means stretching your money by investing in flexible pieces that can be the center or the accessory to any outfit. Looking in my closet you might think, hmmm all this black, white, and grey is kinda drab! I myself am surprised when someone tells me how much they like something I am wearing. The reality is, all I do is stock up on these very simple pieces in large quantities and varieties. Alternately, I pick up a couple colorful things here and there and *Ta Da!* I have a million outfits for the cost of one or two.

Anyway, as I mentioned, a couple weeks ago, my shopping binge (this usually means $60 or so) led me and my friend into Burlington. I saw some nude colored, peep toe pumps that I kept circling back to. I had no reason to buy them, it was snowing outside (not conducive to heels at all much less peep toe pumps) and my number one rule for "fashion" is that if you aren't comfortable, it doesn't matter what label you're wearing - it won't look good. But for whatever reason, I kept coming back to them and thinking, "If I get these, all I am going to hear is how boring these flat colored shoes are and what a waste..." but my second rule for *fashion* is follow your gut. I am not one to hear what color looks good with my complexion, or does/doesn't compliment my blue eyes, even if someone says what I am wearing isn't flattering....I don't pay much attention. 

If you can't please yourself when you're looking in the mirror, that is the root of your problems. And if you let someone else tell you that you don't look good, the problem is proliferated. As funny as it sounds, the major person who I have gone to for fashion advice has always been my dad...cue your hysterical laughing now.

But really, my mom wasn't around when I was getting ready for school for 12 years - my dad taught me not to mix brown and black, he told me about clashing, he even acted as a personal stylist once when my sister told him she was tired of looking so athletic and wanted help dressing more feminine. I realize how silly this all sounds, I do, but it makes sense - until I was about 15 he was buying all my clothes so he had a great deal of say in what I wore. That's not to say I didn't branch out into the much less classy realm of clothing when I started shopping for myself, but to this day, Dad's voice is still right there with me when I shop.

It doesn't surprise me so much I guess, because I am sure any sort of fashion sense he found trendy was that of this lovely lady -- Arline Cormack. And she, like many women in her trendy days, got their fashion inspiration from Jackie Kennedy:

Unfortunately, being a preacher's wife, she didn't get to go out and buy all the lovely things she saw Mrs. Kennedy wearing - but there are stories of her standing a while at store windows, admiring dresses, then going home and making them herself. This must be where I get my disposition, to spend a little and make a lot out of it fashion wise.

This is all just a really long way of saying - wear what you like, love what you wear and trust yourself when it comes to fashion because no one will tell you the truth - unless you take my dad shopping with you....

In fact, I think it was him in my head at the store saying, go ahead, get the pumps! After all, rule number 2 is *follow your gut* and so I walked out with a pair of lovely knock off pumps for about $18. I haven't worn them yet, because it really does need to be sunny for your toes to be exposed if you ask me (note - I never claimed to be an expert!) and this morning my ever trustworthy Yahoo! told me....

OMG! Nude pumps and mini dresses for spring! Talk about luck...or coincidence...or and my pumps were destined to be together this spring!

Revel in the beauty that it my new shoes <3