Archive for December, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Friday, December 31st, 2010

It’s New Years Eve. I could take the easy way out on this post and write about my new year’s resolutions or something like that. Or about how much the new year’s celebrations have changed since we became parents.

But I’m not.

Maybe you were affected by the blizzard that ravaged the east coast earlier in the week. Hopefully you weren’t. But my family was supposed to fly back from Florida Monday afternoon – you know, when Newark was totally closed down.

By the time they got around to canceling our flight, the earliest we could have gotten a flight back into Newark was January 1. Thanks to my dad’s insane travel schedule and the crazy number of miles he accumulated this year, we actually were able to get ourselves on a flight the following day. It was into DC, but from there we planned to take a short train ride home.

Except it took almost an hour for them to get our bags off the plane, which meant we didn’t get to Union Station on time. All the other trains were booked and we had to spend the night in our 3rd hotel in 2 days.

Traveling like that was hard for me – and I’m 32. I was cranky. I was tired. I was hungry. And I just wanted to spend the night in my own bed.

So imagine how hard it must have been for a 3 year old. One who is very active and loves to run around. One who was sick. Who was totally off his schedule. Who was hungry and tired and just wanted to be in one place so he could watch his “favorite movie” (“favorite” depended not on the day, but by the minute on this trip), while sipping COLD water straight from the bottle like a big boy.

We all had our moments to meltdown. Some of Andrew’s were horrific. I’m talking the embarrassing kind where your kid throws himself down on the ground, kicking and screaming with huge crocodile tears rolling down his cheeks. That had hubby declaring that we would NEVER take him out in public again.

But really, who could blame him? I wanted to do the same thing!

So I’m happy to say that we all survived the insanely long trip back. It’s good to be home!

Have a great weekend everyone. And, of course, I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Looking back at 2010 reminds me of some great memories. As a family, we finally experienced a full year together without daddy being gone on a deployment. It was great.

Jack finally got to have a fun summer in both Mississippi and Pennsylvania. He has grown and developed so much over the last year. I can’t wait to see what next year has to hold. We also welcomed another wonderful baby boy.

Tate has brought a lot of joy into our family with his big smile that lights up the room. It’s such fun seeing both boys interact, and it makes me excited to see how they will play together as Tate gets older. There were many other highlights that I have mentioned in my blog posts so I’ll refrain from the duplication. I asked Jack what his New Year’s resolution was, and he wants to make sure that he can keep all his new tiny Lego pieces away from Tate. Ha! We couldn’t have stressed enough to him that he must only play with those in his room because they are an extreme choking hazard for Tate. I think he got the hint at how many times we stressed how important it was. It’s great to see how caring he is, especially at age three.

Here’s to hoping for a blessed new year in 2011 and may all your resolutions be successful. Cheers!

No School – Woo Hoo

Monday, December 27th, 2010

When I realized that Brady’s preschool was closed for 17 days over the holidays, I had mixed emotions. Okay, maybe I even panicked a little bit. How would I get my work hours completed? Would he get bored? Would he get out of the habit of going to school? And other thoughts crossed my mind. We had a definite routine established.

Here we are past the halfway mark, with his birthday and Christmas behind us and I have to say I have a new child. I have heard many friends grumble about having their children home for extended vacations, and having to entertain their bored little ones. But Brady has been a slice of heaven. His entire demeanor has changed since out of school: he is more obedient, less anxious, less mouthy, my old “angel” has returned.

One has to wonder, is school causing Brady to misbehave and be mouthier overall? Or is it possibly the influence of other students? I am honestly not sure. There are so many other factors. I know his friends at preschool, and I really don’t think it is the school. I think the issue is more the home. The main difference now is downtime. My son seems to need an unusual amount of downtime. He still sleeps 12-13 hours each night and enjoys lying around and cuddling with books a lot.

Now don’t get me wrong, little man can have LOTS of energy also. But I think this week has taught me that one thing I need to provide Brady with, is simply more downtime to enjoy life, his home, his books, and his mama. I also wonder if 4 days of school each week is too much, at this point I can’t afford to change it: as those are my working hours. But at least I can work on slowing down his schedule before and after school. I guess we all need to take more time to stop and smell the roses. Not that roses are blooming in Pennsylvania in December, but take time this week to just enjoy the quiet (or noise) and spend some 1-1 time with your kid. You wont regret it – I promise!


Friday, December 24th, 2010

As you read this, I’m probably chasing my son through Disney World. He’s a big boy now, so he thinks he doesn’t need to hold my hand. He’s wrong; he just doesn’t know it yet.

A large segment of the family traveled to Florida at the crack of dawn on Thursday morning. It was a mass celebration for Andrew’s third birthday and my grandmother’s…well, she probably wouldn’t want me mentioning her age…so we’ll just say her birthday. And what better place to celebrate a birthday than Disney World?

Okay… some of us have their doubts about the wisdom of this plan. Andrew is not good on lines and likes to run off in a crowd. Maybe he’ll freak out when he sees Mickey Mouse in real life. Maybe he’ll throw a fit over the lines. But I’m hopeful he won’t, and that he will have an amazing time.

I loved going to Disney as a kid, and I still love it as an adult. It’s been years since I have been back, and I’m looking forward to my favorite rides, characters, sites and foods. Hey, I can’t help it that the Dole Whip stand is my favorite place to eat in the Magic Kingdom. (Or was. I’ll be severely disappointed if they don’t have it anymore and I can’t get my pineapple sorbet swirled with vanilla frozen yogurt)

Regardless of whether Andrew gets cranky over lines (or I get cranky over the loss of my favorite snack), what’s important is that we’re together. Isn’t that what celebrations are all about anyway?

Merry Christmas.
Happy birthday to my little guy.
And to anyone who isn’t celebrating Christmas or Andrew’s birthday today, happy Friday.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Christmas Break

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

From Janelle – Wednesday Mom:
Christmas vacation has already started for a lot of people, or is about to very soon.  My family and I are so excited to celebrate and teach Jack about our family traditions.  Jack asks everyday if tomorrow is Christmas and I keep telling him how many days are left.  He is obviously excited for presents, but is also aware of the real meaning of Christmas.  We made it a point to teach him the reason for the season as best as we could to a three year old.  We are also looking forward to Grandaddy and Candy-mum’s visit over the week of New Year’s.  Jack already told us he wanted to have a sleepover with them.

I’m also looking forward to not being a stay at home mom full time over the next couple of weeks.  I love my kids to death, but I’m still adjusting to two kids, and some days are better than others.  Tate is still up at night, which leaves me a little sleep deprived throughout the day.  Jack refuses to take naps anymore, so I don’t get a break during the day.  Having company here will make my job easier.  I’m looking forward to my Christmas “bonus” help and spending time with our family.

Happy Holidays!

Mini Get-Away

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Last week I left Brady for a business trip. Now, let me start by saying, this was my FIRST trip that wasn’t consumed entirely by work. So my first instinct was to take Brady along. Did I mention… it was in Disneyworld? But with our custody still in limbo, I wasn’t sure if he would be allowed to attend or not, since it would have been daddy’s weekend – if he had more custody by this point. So I decided to leave him home for 48 hours and take a relaxing trip.

I can’t believe I am actually going to write this… but I don’t think I missed him that much. I spend a lot of time with Brady: 1-1 having date nights out, play dates in, etc.. I only really missed him on Friday, as I saw him Thursday until 10am and Saturday after 8pm. But still, I had expected to miss him so very much.

I went to the company’s lovely anniversary dinner (and had a delicious dinner, in a fancy dress, with adult conversation). I also learned that “Still Water” is another term for water in a bottle ~ possibly Spring water, maybe just plain old tap water. I looked around the shops on my own with no little person to watch. I took showers in peace. And I generally enjoyed my time. Yes, I saw other families at Downtown Disney (where we spent most of our free time). And yes, I did start to plan a family vacation to the same spot. But this time, it was a Melissa vacation. A little getaway from all of the crazy stress that is going on in my life right now. And flying minus the 4-year old, wow ~ what a relaxing experience.

Then I got home. I should mention at this point that Brady did stay at his own home with his grandparents (my parents) who live at my house. So he did fine. But when I saw him, my heart hurt a little bit and I realized that I missed him now. Now that I was back home looking at that little face, curly hair, and mischievous smile – my heart felt enlarged and a smile spread across my face. That huge hug that I received made up for the many temper fights he threw few just days before. So in a way, I think that going away for a few days (even 48 hours), really makes you more relaxed as a parent, rejuvenates your soul for the next round of parenting challenges, and makes for one happy and “ready to play” mama.

Where did the time go?

Friday, December 17th, 2010

From Jaime – Friday Mom:
It’s hard to believe that we’re already more than half way through December. It’s harder to believe that next week this time, I’m going to be in Florida, where I hope it will be far less frigid than it is in New Jersey right now. But the hardest to believe is that my little guy is going to be THREE next week.

How did he get so old? (How did I get old enough to have a three year old?) Of course, he’s been telling everyone who asks that he is three and a half. The half is VERY important to him, even though he isn’t actually that age.

It’s like he is in such a big hurry to grow up. I’m not. I love when he falls asleep clutching my finger in his hand. Or comes running over to me, throwing his arms around my neck and buries his head in my hair just to say “I love you mommy.”

So next week, we’ll be celebrating in style – with Mickey Mouse – and hopefully some warm weather. Until then, I think we’re just going to try to stay warm.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Christmas Program

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tomorrow is Jack’s big Christmas program at preschool for family and friends.  It is in their large gym where there is plenty of room for everyone and refreshments.  My husband even requested the morning off from work to see his boy shine.

Jack’s three year old class(es) will all be singing several Christmas carols as well as reciting two bible verses.  Jack and I have been practicing all week to get ready for this program.  I’m not too sure if Jack really knows what to expect, but he seems very excited about it.  I am wondering if he’ll be nervous, scared, relaxed or just mind his own business.  I remember my elementary programs and I was always a nervous wreck trying to memorize lines or songs.

I’m looking forward to Jack’s first big performance.  Whether he gets stage fright or nails his lines, it will be fun to see him get into the Christmas spirit.  If we are lucky, Santa may even make a stop to say hello.

I Have An Addict Here!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

From Monday Mom – Melissa:
Last year we purchased a family gift: a Wii. Back then, Brady (just 4) did a few of the sport games: mainly bowling. He also beat us all!! Now at nearly 5, he has mastered a few other games, including Super Mario. It is hilarious to watch him play. While I am not a big fan of video games, Brady REALLY gets into it and uses his entire body to jump on those mushrooms, fight the turtles, and earn those coins. He jumps, he squeals, he runs to the left, runs to the right, and puts a lot of energy into his Mario game. However, I started to realize that as soon as he woke up, he would ask to play Super Mario. After school he would ask to play Super Mario. Any down time, he would want Mario Time! I realized that this little boy was addicted.

That is when the kitchen timer came to the rescue. His TV viewing is limited to 30 minutes per day. So I have given him 30 minutes of “Mario Time” now too. Most days he skips TV watching, just because he prefers trains and his other toys (thank goodness). But there are rarely days he misses his 30 minutes of Mario Time. And can I be perfectly honest… I think I am a little addicted too. Brady was in the shower last week, and where was his mama? Right outside the room on the TV… playing Mario!! Shhh – don’t tell Brady!!

Giving Back

Friday, December 10th, 2010

From Jaime – Friday Mom:
Last weekend, Andrew was in the middle of a massive meltdown. He had tried negotiating his way into what he wanted and when that didn’t work, he lost it. I’m talking hands on the hips, veins popping out of the forehead, kicking and screaming, red face, yelling “THAT’S JUST NOT FAIR” at the top of his lungs.

Yeah, it was fun.

That was when we hit him with, “Hey, bud. It’s too bad you’re so upset. You can’t enjoy your surprise if you’re so upset.”

That got his attention. “Surprise? Where is it? What is it?”

So we bundled him up, loaded him into the car and took him to the mall. (This is how much I love this kid. I avoid the mall like the plague this time of year…) We walked him through the mall to…the Build A Bear store.

Before he tore over to check out all the animals, Hubby picked Andrew up and explained what we were doing there. “Andrew, you’re going to make 2 animals. One is for you. The other, you’re going to give to another child.”

At that point, Andrew gave him the “WHAT are you talking about, Daddy?” look.

Hubby continued to explain that some people can’t afford to buy presents, so if Andrew gives away a bear, some kid would get a present who wouldn’t be able to have one otherwise.

Andrew surveyed all his options, checking out bears, rabbits, snow men, reindeer and doggies, before making his choices. He worked the pedals to fill them with stuffing and put a red heart inside each one.

He insisted on carrying both animals through the mall inside their boxes. I really expected him to freak out when the time came to give away one of the toys. Instead, he looked inside both boxes and decided that he wanted to keep the bunny rabbit (cleverly named “bunny”).

We boxed up the bear and Andrew happily placed it inside the Toys for Tots box. We were so proud of him.
Hopefully he learned that sometimes it feels pretty good doing something nice for someone else.