Archive for December, 2012

We’re Gonna Stay Up Late Tonight

Monday, December 31st, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
Many years back, Joe and I were at the movies. This is before we had a child, obviously. People with children rarely go to the movies. (This is something they should put in the owner’s manual.) Anyway, when we were buying our tickets that evening, we witnessed a couple of young children getting set to see a children’s movie. I suppose they realized that they were off of their regular schedule because all of a sudden they started jumping up and down and screaming, “we’re gonna stay up late tonight!” over and over. It was really sweet. Since then the phrase has become an inside joke between us. Anytime we have exciting nighttime plans we invoke the special phrase.

Haley usually goes to bed between 7:30 and 8. Yet her sleep habits are always in flux. Lately it takes a long time to get her down and she’s been waking up through the night. The question we are always wondering is “why.” I don’t know what the reason is. Sometimes it seems like separation anxiety, other times it seems like teething is the culprit. Mostly, I think her sleep problems are developmental in nature. She’s at an age at which she’s maturing and learning new things at a very rapid place. That tends to screw things up at night. The wheels in the brain don’t stop.

Which brings me to staying up late tonight. Now the question is, do we let Haley stay up a little late and enjoy New Year’s Eve? Despite the reputation for very adult debauchery occurring on the last day of the year, I always spent New Year’s Eve with my parents and thought of it as a family holiday. Our family friends are throwing a party, and I thought it would be fine to bring Haley. After all, how much worse can her sleep get? Of course, over the weekend, Haley’s sleep improved! She slept as many as 9 hours straight. Best practices in child sleep dictate that most usual sleep problems are caused by overtiredness. One wayward night is not going to ruin everything—but we just got things back on track. Should we push our luck?

Survey says yes! Haley’s sleep problems have been frustrating and felt never-ending, but I know in the grand scheme of things, this is just a small moment of her childhood. It may be hard to believe it now, but soon I’ll miss the nights spent rocking her and singing to her. I can deal with whatever comes. It’s going to be a fun night with family and friends, and I want to enjoy it with my girl.

Have a great night! Stay up late tonight.

Time flies

Friday, December 28th, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
The week between Christmas and New Years daycare is closed. It’s always interesting trying to figure out what to do with this week because our offices are always open. Hubby and I usually take turns, one day going in to work and the next hanging home with Andrew.

It’s fun now that Andrew is older, because we can do so much stuff with him. Today I took Andrew to the Morris Museum. They were doing a special kid event, complete with readings of Polar Express, arts and crafts and special exhibits. Kids got to make all kids of stuff – jingle bells, gingerbread men, ornaments, toy soldiers… Andrew wasn’t thrilled with the “Journey Into Candy Land” performance, but he was psyched to check out where they were hiding all the different crafts stations.

“MOMMY! Let’s go find more art stuff!” he would yell, grabbing on to my hand. It was adorable, but I also confess to melting a little bit every time he still calls me “Mommy” or holds my hand in public…

I feel like my little boy is growing up so fast, and I know I have to enjoy moments like that while I can.

I still can’t believe that he’s already 5. Andrew was asking me today about when he was born. He cackled uncontrollably when I told him that he bit the doctor, who had never before (or since) had a baby gnaw on her knuckle as part of his or her entrance into the world. It doesn’t seem like that long ago, but it goes to show everyone was right when they told me not to blink. “Don’t blink. Before you know it, they’ll be all grown up and you won’t know how it happened.”

I didn’t believe them then. But now I know how true their statements were.

Have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy this time with your little ones. You know, while they’re still little.

Christmas Joy

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Christmas morning was a blast in our house.  All the kids were excited to see Santa had come and delivered a plethora of gifts.  It was a little crazy at first, but so much fun to see the excitement on the boys’ faces.  For the first time, Tate understood what tearing into presents was like.  He saw what Jack and his cousins were doing and demonstrated he could tear open everyone’s gifts.  He still loved to play with the wrapping paper, but quickly realized all the fun toys that were inside the wrapping paper.

My sister and family have been here several days now and my kids (and I) couldn’t be happier.  A weeklong play date for my kids is better than all the cookies they’re eating. The boys are interacting so well together I couldn’t be happier.  Also, extra helping hands for mommy and daddy is a wonderful Christmas present.

We finished off our evening with some yummy cheesecake and tornado sirens.  Again, we were in another tornado warning.  Thankfully, we dodged any severe weather and were able to continue on with our evening.  The boys fell asleep early and the adults shared some quality time.

I hope you and your family made many memories this holiday season.  Happy New Year to all!



Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Monday, December 24th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika

The holidays are a fun time of year. It’s adorable to see your children’s enthusiasm in the biggest and smallest traditions. However, there are times that as adults, we don’t feel quite as enthusiastic. Sure, it’s fun to decorate cookies and eat a big meal—but who has to do all of the shopping and preparation? Everyone loves opening presents—but who braves the mall and hunts for the best deals; who stays up late wrapping gifts and setting up the big ticket items so they are ready for immediate play? I’ll give you a hint—it’s not always Santa! It can be tiring to create a festive holiday environment for your family. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean we get to take an actual break from reality. The house still needs to be cleaned. There are often additional year-end responsibilities at work. We still have to pay bills in December. Someone is always coming down with a cold.

Over the weekend, I took Haley to see Santa Claus. Even though she has been talking about “San-a!” non-stop before and after this visit, she was a sheepish mute when confronted by the white-bearded man. It did not go well. She didn’t cry or scream. She just looked down, frightened, and tried to leap from his arms. It didn’t seem to matter to her that we wanted to get a nice photo memory. She was dressed in an adorable Christmas outfit complete with red teddy bear sweater, plaid skirt and sparkling red shoes—I had her all ready to go for the big moment. Haley didn’t seem to care. It was then that I realized that I couldn’t control every special holiday event. We came, we tried, and we failed. Haley still had a great time looking at the neat Christmas displays and had tons of fun out with Mom and Dad—and that is what matters.

I keep telling myself that it’s okay if things don’t go perfectly this Christmas, because Haley won’t even remember it. But what about when she is old enough to remember? Does it matter then? Is it my responsibility to make her childhood perfect? Obviously that’s ludicrous. But when your kid is just a toddler, you still hold on to the idea that you can ensure his or her total happiness. You know you’ve screwed a few things up in the first couple of years, but since the child is so young, you figure you have time to get everything right. Haley understands more and more every day. Surely she can grasp if Mom makes a mistake. But she doesn’t care. And neither should I. Kids are more perceptive that we think. And what they perceive most of all is love.

Merry Christmas Eve! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy Holidays and a VERY Happy Birthday

Friday, December 21st, 2012

From Friday Mom – Jaime:
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, a very special celebration was brewing for… Oh forget it. I can’t think of a decent rhyme for house that wouldn’t sound ridiculous. 🙂

Let’s begin again.

It’s almost Christmas Eve. I hope you all are done with your holiday shopping. If not, get to that mall for some last second insanity shopping! (I can’t even call you guys slackers. I did most of my holiday shopping at the last second too this year!)

Where Christmas Eve used to mean Chinese food and movies, for the past 5 years, it now means Andrew’s birthday. The tradition of the family pizza party continues this year, and some of Andrew’s favorite girls will also be in attendance. He’s been excitedly talking about the end of Hanukkah because then “the next day is my birthday and then Christmas.”

Yeah… Not only is that not a totally accurate in terms of timing, we’re still working on Andrew understanding that Christmas isn’t really our holiday… The other day he got wildly upset because we didn’t have a Christmas tree or stockings. “MOMMY! I need a stockin’! If I don’t have a stockin’ how is Santa going to leave me presents in a stockin?”

I always had visits from Santa (and Grandma) Claus when I was this age, so I try to temper the “it’s not our holiday” with the “it’s okay to believe” kind of message. For now, it’s adorable how excitedly Andrew sings Christmas songs and speculates about how Santa can possibly get around the world to bring all kinds of toys to all the girls and boys in the same night. Though he’s seen enough holiday movies to know Santa has a very cool sleigh and some powerful reindeer power to motor him around the world…

Even though Andrew sings about Rudolph in the middle of the summer and talks about Santa like Christmas is the main holiday we celebrate this time of year, I don’t see anything wrong with him believing in Santa and looking forward to his visiting us… Believing in something good and that makes him so happy is just fine by me.

Have a great weekend everyone. Merry Christmas. And to my little guy, a VERY happy fifth birthday.

Christmas Countdown

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
My older son is a human Christmas countdown clock. Every morning he checks our homemade advent calendar for the day’s ornament/small gift. Then he and his brother look all over the house for “Zac,” our Elf on the Shelf. Then they play for an hour until the sun finally comes up. Our boys are averaging an hour and a half less sleep per night because they are so excited for Christmas morning.

My husband has been out of town for over a week. Today he came home as an early Christmas present for the boys. Jack presented him with a hand crafted Christmas card and Tate gave him a 5 minute long hug. Our family is really getting in the spirit of the holidays.

We have had a busy year, and the holidays are going to be no exception. We are welcoming my sister and her family to our home for the first time. They are making the 14+ hour drive to see us next week. Our boys cannot wait to see their cousins and make it the “Best Christmas Ever!” Constant play dates for a week is Jack’s idea of some fun.

We have many friends who will be spending this Christmas away from loved ones deployed all over the world. We know the pain of missing these moments with your family. So we are making the best of our time together. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.




Monday, December 17th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika
At the moment, the entire nation is mourning the horrible tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. I wasn’t sure if I should or could write about this, but as a parent, it’s all I’m thinking about. Like everyone else, I feel shattered. We wonder “why,” and there will never be a satisfactory answer. Something like this will never make sense.

It’s particularly hard to come to grips with these horrific events as a parent. We want to believe that we can keep our children safe. A simplistic theme may be that no, we cannot always protect our kids. But the truth is usually, we can. Under reasonable circumstances, we can take precautions to ensure our children grow up safe and healthy. Unfortunately the world is not always a reasonable place.

It’s difficult to fathom what the people close to the victims are going through right now. The holidays are upon us, and their loved ones are missing. It’s not right. It makes you sad. It makes you furious. It makes you really wonder what the point of anything is, when everything you love can be taken away without a moment’s notice.

For those of us who remain, our only choice is to go on. To be thankful for what we have. To live our lives to the fullest, appreciating each and every day. On Friday, my family had a difficult day for an additional reason, as my uncle lost his battle with cancer. We’d been procrastinating setting up our Christmas tree and when we got that sad news, my father announced that we would be trimming our tree that evening—no more excuses. We are not putting off joyous events any longer. We are not getting stuck in the minutiae of our lives and forgetting what’s important—the people we love.

I hope for comfort for all those who need it—and at this time, that’s everyone. May you and your loved ones take care.

The Man

Friday, December 14th, 2012

In under 2 weeks, Andrew will be 5 years old. Before he was born, I remember the daycare director telling us not to blink because before we knew it, Andrew would be all grown up. We didn’t really believe him at the time…but it’s been so true.

I ran into one of the defendants in one of my cases last week. We both sustained pretty bad damage to our homes in the storm. And even though my client has sued her, and we fought bitterly for HOURS at our last mediation session, she gave me a big hug as soon as she saw me, saying that she said a prayer for us every night. Then she immediately asked how Andrew was doing. I told her the story about how after we got to my parents’ he ran around to every room with a flashlight to inspect all the rooms so he could tell me we were safe and everything was going to be okay.

This woman, who is tough as nails, got a little misty-eyed before telling me that he’s such a little man. That it was amazing how he had such a fierce instinct to protect me. And how it was a reflection of what a great job I had done, and was doing, with him.

At that, I got a little misty. And I hope she’s right.

There are still some days where I feel as clueless about being a mom as I did the first day we brought Andrew home from the hospital. I can still remember the feeling of utter hopelessness that first day when Andrew did nothing but cry, no matter what we did. I remember looking at Hubby, crying along with Andrew, wondering what in the world we got ourselves into.

We’ve learned a lot together, just like Hubby said we would as I was freaking out about having a little boy. I’m begrudgingly learning about football and cars along with Andrew’s growing interest in them. I’ll never learn to like bugs, but Andrew comes to the rescue with his little shoe in hand to be my “bug killer hero” when Daddy isn’t around. We’re sharing our love of reading. Andrew is even into some of my favorite books from when I was his age.

Andrew and I may clash swords sometimes, and I may not completely have the whole parenting thing down, but I do have a great kid. He has a good heart. He really cares about other people. And I suppose that is, at least in part, because of his parents, his grandparents, and the rest of his family who have helped him grow into such an amazing little guy.

So I think it’s about time to shut down the computer and spend some time helping Andrew build his lego train set. That’s another thing I never thought I’d see myself doing…and I may not be very good at it…but I’m giving it a shot.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Angel Wishes

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
The holiday season is a time for giving.  I love to shop for family, friends and those in need.  I like to help out others who do not have much.  This year we sponsored an angel, a little three year old girl.  The organization she is part of provides Christmas for abused and neglected children who are placed in shelters and/or foster homes in the surrounding areas.  These children are separated from their families and even their siblings.  Some of these children have never received anything for Christmas and all have had traumatic abuse.

Each sponsored child has a Christmas wish list.  Our girl’s list consisted of a pillow and socks.  My heart broke when I read her list and immediately I wanted to give her the best Christmas yet.  I can’t fathom the life this sweet little girl lives.  Bouncing from home to home, missing her siblings and not knowing if she’ll have a warm bed at night.  I’m thankful the organization she is part of is thriving and able to help children in need.

Jack and Tate helped me shop for the little girl.  I explained to them both that not everyone lives a happy life like they do.  Not everyone has food handy in their pantry and not everyone has a coat to keep them warm.  The boys picked out an animal pillow and some colorful socks.  We also found a warm outfit, a doll, a game and some fun art supplies.  We wrapped the gifts and delivered them.  It was so nice to see the caring side of Jack and Tate.  It makes me feel good knowing my husband and I have raised our boys to have a heart of gold.

We hope our little girl has a wonderful Christmas this year.  If you are able and willing, please donate to someone in need.  It lets everyone involved experience the holiday spirit.

It’s The Holiday Season

Monday, December 10th, 2012

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I love the month of December! It’s kind of amazing, isn’t it? Every year, we get excited for the holidays all over again, as if it wasn’t just a mere 12 months ago we put up decorations, bought presents, baked cookies, etc., etc. I always laugh to myself when I see the displays in store windows and the commercials on TV. As I get older, time seems to fly faster. We just did this, I can help but think. Still, I love it. I adore that festive feeling. I love Christmas music and holiday movies (I’m a Home Alone fan, all the way). I love shopping for the great deals, especially online. Now I’m a parent, and the best part of the holidays is sharing them with my daughter.

We celebrate Christmas, though Haley is not old enough to understand the holiday. Yet she is at a good age to get animated about things, even if she doesn’t “get it.” Unwrapping presents? Fun! Twinkling lights? Pretty! Yummy desserts? Yay! Since she is getting excited about everything, I find myself trying to come up with ways we can make Christmas special with our own family traditions. Here is what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Tree Trimming. This one’s a no-brainer. I have great memories of getting the tree ready as a child, and I know Haley will too. She may be more in the way at this point, but in her mind she’s really helping, so that’s what matters!
  2. Baking Christmas Cookies. Another classic holiday event. I think this is a great way to build sense of a community with our new neighbors.
  3. Christmastime in the City. We’re planning a trip to Manhattan to show Haley all of the neat holiday displays the department stores put up. We’ll definitely visit the tree at Rockefeller Center, as well.
  4. Christmas Morning Rituals. My husband and I talked about making one of his favorite breakfast, cinnamon rolls, on Christmas morning. I also like the idea of everyone wearing special Christmas pajamas while opening presents—should be really cute for pictures!
  5. Christmas Eve Rituals. I know reading “The Night Before Christmas” is the traditional route, but we’ll stick to a Home Alone viewing!

What family traditions do you love for the holiday season?