Archive for December, 2015

Looking Back at 2015

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
As the New Year approaches, I always think about the year and what we enjoyed and what we endured. It began with my husband starting a new career. Initially, I was a little worried about the transition, but once we figured out the new routine, it’s been great for our family. Although he is away from us more than we’d like, it’s taught us how important quality time together as a family really is.

Tate started Kindergarten in the fall, uncertain if he would like his new school. Within days, he was comfortable, and he continues to perform well. He’s made new friends, he’s learning all kinds of new things, and best of all he is happy. Tate came a long way. He is still feisty, but he is much more well behaved.

Jack took on a little more responsibility this past year with schoolwork, as well as sports and dedication to both. He is learning to manage his time better and striving towards his goals. He’s learning that things don’t always go his way and sometimes that’s life. He’s helping more around the house and making his mother proud.

I’ve learned a lot myself over the last year. With a husband traveling for work, and two busy kids, my job as a mom is more important than ever. I’m doing my best to keep Jack and Tate in line and encouraging them to excel. Our days are long, but the years are flying by. I’m looking forward to 2016 and all it has in store for us. Happy New Year!

The Most Wonderful Week of the Year

Monday, December 28th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
I’m starting to really love this time of year, the week in between Christmas and New Year’s. Haley is off from school. We spend a lot of time with family. My husband takes several days off from work. And the best part? We usually plan to get very little done. My big plans this week include servicing the car and getting Haley in to see the dentist (maybe).

Relaxation is a lovely way to wind down a year. Even though it’s really a week like any other, there is a palpable feeling of rebooting for the year ahead. Now that I’m a mom, so many of my goals relate to the kids and what they have in store. I think of the trips we’ll take, the classes they’ll attend, and mostly, how much they’ll grow! In a year’s time, they’ll be unrecognizable. Especially Hudson who will be over two—wow!

I’m an eternal optimist, which is probably the main reason I love thinking about a new year ahead. I’m excited for all of the possibilities. Anything can happen. Hopefully your 2016 and mine will be filled with health and prosperity, with a generous dash of giggles and wonder.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 28th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Watching the holidays through the eyes of your young children is a truly, truly magical thing.  We’ve been so busy over the past month that we haven’t been able to partake of too many “extra” holiday affairs, but the glow on Rory’s face (and sometimes Charlotte’s) while we’ve undertaken the few choice things we have done has been a terrific sight to behold.

From helping daddy pick out a tree to helping me make break-n-bake cookies, his enthusiasm for the holiday has been infectious.  He’s still talking about going to see Santa, and he LOVES opening his Advent calendar gifts each morning.  We’ve even been able to milk Santa’s naughty and nice list for a few spells of better than usual behavior, too.

On Christmas eve morning, we sat down to create what ended up being a fairly homely looking gingerbread house.  It was the second year in a row and is becoming our little Christmas eve tradition.  His focus is remarkable, and his excitement for placing the little fruit candies in precisely the right place is almost too much to bear.

Of course there will be presents– in multiple rounds.  But as Linus will tell you, that is not what Christmas is all about.  For me, right now, this Christmas is about creating and keeping the magic alive for two young children whom I love with my whole self.  Whatever the tradition– whether extravagant or simple–we are loving sharing traditions of our own childhoods, and creating new ones as a family.  And I am looking forward to sharing the new and old with our extended family this weekend.



Home for the Holidays

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
This year, our Christmas plans are different than years past. My husband has to work on Christmas day, and my children’s holiday school break is two weeks long. So, we decided to travel “home” to Pennsylvania for holidays. It’s been years since I’ve shared Christmas morning with my folks, and I look forward to sharing time with our entire family.

The boys and I flew in over the weekend, and managed to get a standby flight, despite the busy travel season. My husband plans to meet us for a few days over the holiday break, but we’ll miss him on the 25th. As an airline pilot, that’s to be expected, especially your first year. The boys did great on the plane ride, and I was able to get a few minutes of shut eye.

Jack and Tate made sure to write Santa a letter explaining our holiday plans to him. Our elf, Zack, delivered the letter directly to Santa. I’m trying to keep my stories straight this year to preserve the innocence of my two “Santa Believers.” The boys more skeptical this year, and they ask questions about Santa. I’m sure they will figure it out eventually, but I hope they continue to believe as long as possible.

We are very excited to be with extended family this year on Christmas. I hope you get to do the same, too. Merry Christmas!

Kid Cuisine

Monday, December 21st, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
If my kids had their way, all they would ever eat would be the three P’s: Pizza, Pasta and Pancakes. They’re devoted pioneers of the high carbohydrate movement. Some goldfish crackers here, some apple slices there, and Haley and Hudson are content. Well, I’m glad someone is, because their shared lack of nutritional balance drives me crazy.

Don’t get me wrong; we have good days. Hudson will devour the grilled chicken I make for dinner or Haley will try and enjoy the avocado she has at a friend’s house. Yet it always feels like such a struggle. I am constantly tabulating in my mind—where have their calories come from lately; what are they missing?

So many parents and feeding experts tell you the same thing: keep offering. But you know what? It is hard to keep preparing steamed broccoli, baked pork chops and mashed potatoes and watch them sit uneaten. As much as we all in the family should be “eating the same thing,” sometimes their dad and I are eating things that just don’t suit them for various reasons. There is no point in trying to force Haley to try a spicy yellowtail roll—none.

Truthfully, my kids aren’t as picky as others. Their willingness to explore new dishes basically depends on the moods that they’re in. I may not be perfect every day, but when I have the will, I do cook those foods that will remain uneaten, because I know exposure is key. If you stare at a bowl of cheese-topped chili long enough, you are bound to want to try it at some point! I just need to keep dishing it up and hope that at some point—fingers crossed—the mood will strike.


Friday, December 18th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
Our little girl has been sick this week.  She started running a fever on Monday morning as we were trying to get ready for the day and ended up staying home from school for four days straight.  Her demeanor has been fine, and her spirits have been high, which makes it all a little more tolerable.

My spirits, in contrast, have been quite low.  This week has been a roller coaster of stress and frustration.  My work load has managed to pick up to unbearable levels right as we head into what I had been hoping would be a quiet holiday season.  Between working from home to monitor the new baby sitter, taking Charlie in to see the doctor, and  keeping my previously scheduled teacher conference with Rory’s teacher, I have gotten much less that I would have liked from a work perspective.  That, in turn means that I have been working late and sleeping too little.  Even as I write this, I should probably be preparing for a meeting in the morning.  Unfortunately, my eyelids have gotten too heavy to bear.

At this point, all I want for Christmas is a good night’s rest and a healthy family.  Here’s hoping that a week from now I’ll get at least one of those things.

The Force is Strong

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
I’m certain, unless you live under a rock, you know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in T minus 2 days. The Star Wars franchise is always a big box office hit, and this one is supposed to be the best Star Wars release yet. My marketing mind notices the Star Wars logo cross promotions on just about every product. The latest advertisement sent to my inbox was a coupon towards a Baskin-Robbins “Star Wars” cake. My kid’s even want a Star Wars Christmas. Their wish lists are filled with the words “Star Wars.” To say they’re obsessed is an understatement.

Ever since the announcement of the movie, all three of my boys (husband included) have been extremely eager to see it. They’ve watched countless previews, talked about what the storyline may be, and which characters, new and old, will play an important role. The excitement in our house is through the roof. I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I am the biggest fan of my kids when their faces light up hearing the theme song.

My husband is planning to take the boys(and possibly me too) to the IMAX release of the film for the best possible experience. With so much marketing exposure, we have been trying to keep the boys expectations in check while still nurturing their excitement for Christmas. I know it sounds like I am talking out both sides of my mouth, but I hope we have a good balance…May The Force Be With You.





Monday, December 14th, 2015

From Monday Mom – Neetika:
The last few days, the weather was quite unseasonably warm in New York City. We’re talking record-breaking. We’re talking no jacket outside—in December. We’re usually shoveling our walks by now! The temperate atmosphere was wonderful. We hit the playground, took the kids to the zoo, and went for long family walks. It was glorious to get out of our apartment and not be freezing.

Not every moment was perfectly picturesque, though. At one point we thought it would be a fun treat to eat out for lunch. At the restaurant, our usually well-behaved daughter flat-out refused to give up her seat next to her brother, making feeing him and tending to him quite arduous. For some reason, she could not be convinced and the situation grew increasingly ridiculous. There were some raised voices at our table and stares coming from others. You could almost hear the thought bubbles from other parents: “Thank goodness that’s not us!”

I try to take those moments in stride, but to tell you the truth; sometimes they just really tick me off! I know I should be patient and understand that kids have their fussy and stubborn moments. But I’m not always good at it. I feel frustrated. I think about how well behaved I was as a child, and I feel like maybe I’m doing something wrong since I don’t always inspire the same results with my kids. I guess while Haley learns how to behave better, I’ll also be learning how to parent better.

As much as I have self-doubts as a parent, I’m comforted by the simple truth that my children are incredibly happy and most of the time, awfully sweet. As we face the New Year, we’ll keep working on ourselves and work on functioning better as a family unit.

Have a great week!

Holiday Traditions

Friday, December 11th, 2015

From Friday Mom – Erin:
I’m pleased to report that Rory is no longer afraid of the Christmas tree.  Having spent most of last year’s holiday season needing to carry him through our living room because he found the decorated evergreen strangely daunting, we were a bit apprehensive about bringing a new tree back into our home this year.  Thankfully, we’re starting to get a slightly better hang of how we need to set the little man’s expectations.  We started talking about the tree weeks in advance. Then, the week after Thanksgiving, we asked if he wanted to go help pick out the tree with Daddy.  Sure enough, by last Saturday morning, he was raring to go.

We put the tree up and go the lights on during his nap that afternoon, and then decorated it most of the way during his nap the following day.  We set aside five or six ornaments for him to place on the tree.  After he woke up, we realized we should have saved more.  He was so incredibly excited about helping finish the tree.  After placing all of the ornaments we’d saved, he went running to his playroom to dig out a stuffed penguin ornament that he’d kept amidst his other stuffed animals throughout the year.  With tremendous pride, he found it a new resting place for the season on a low-hanging bough.  Amazing what a difference a year makes.

Charlotte, on the other hand, isn’t quite sure what to make of the tree.  She’s very confused about why we pick her up each time she starts grabbing at the low hanging ornaments, and she’s particularly ornery when we pull her away from the tree skirt.  I’m pretty certain Christmas morning with her is going to be quite the juggling act.  But, it’s fun to watch the both take in the season in their different ways.  I’m sure no two holiday seasons will ever be quite the same, and I’m looking forward to continuing to celebrate this first Christmas as a family of four together.


Sing Your Heart Out

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

From Wednesday Mom – Janelle:
Tate loves music. He is always tapping his toes, dancing, or snapping his fingers to the beat. He will go from grumpy to cheery just hearing the intro to an upbeat song. His teacher told me, on more than one occasion, how much she enjoys watching Tate in music class. He loves to sample instruments, hum tunes, and learn motions to songs.

It’s no surprise to me that Tate’s new pastime is singing in the shower. He will sing for days in there if we let him. He happily sings songs he learned at school, heard on the radio, or lately, Christmas carols. He doesn’t like to know anyone is listening, so Jack, my husband and I, all keep our distance from the bathroom door, but listen from the adjacent room at how funny he can be. Sometimes he’ll sing his heart out, and other times he pretends he’s different animals singing. It’s the sweetest thing to listen to especially when it took me a solid ten minutes to convince him bathing is a good idea.

Although our water bills are gradually climbing, I think it’s great Tate is using his musical interest to bellow out his tunes. Surprisingly, he doesn’t like an audience while singing, but with his entertaining abilities, that soon may change. Perhaps Santa should bring him a microphone.