Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

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The kids had a great time. Michael enjoyed scaring other kids, Willow was declared "cute" many many times. The weather was fantastically warm, although windy. Willow really "got" it and within 2-3 houses, she was walking up to doors and going for that candy. She got a lollipop, and at home she ate a Hershey bar through the wrapper--I mean, she ate it, and the wrapper was left in her hands...we had not opened it up for her yet! Michael made sure "Halloween was not over yet", as we did our traditional ride around the city to see different decorations. Afterwards, Willow totally went to sleep--like she was asleep before she hit the crib. Michael needed to watch a Simpsons Treehouse of horror and then up to bed (we think!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

October Thoughts

At work on a Friday, Halloween and fun with the kids on my mind. Autumn is going by so much quicker than I thought it possibly could. Things we were going to do. Things we have done that are now memories. Michael’s new school portrait is up at my desk. I look at it and wonder where my little boy has gone? This portrait shows his lanky maturity, his teenager self.

I love this time of year. I love planning and organizing activities. I love seeing the world through their eyes. What a wonder this world is. How lucky I am.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Happenings

The Halloween Party went off without a hitch. I made more food than necessary (marshmallow eyeballs and mummy hot dogs and, of course, the "famous" jello brain--for some reason this is always a big hit). We had them play some games, they ran around, they (mostly the boys) danced to music. I have some interesting video of my son and another "grim reaper" dancing to "Don't Fear the Reaper"...at one point my son uses his syche as a guitar...but I digress. The bobbing for apples, as usual, was the BIG event--and Willow was intrigued...because, when it comes to anything with water--this girl LOVES it! So, she tried to bob for apples too. After using mini pumpkins for pumpkin bowling, we used the mini pumpkins for bobbing too! (A new tradition born) All in all, we had a fun and exhausting time--the clean up is still going on...

The next day we went to Halloween Town in Boston. We had a blast there. Willow got to see her second Dan Zanes concert, Michael went through a Haunted Mine, and there were tons of fun and games. I even saw a really good Jabba the Hut costume.

And Halloween isn't over yet, of course! We have Michael's school Halloween Party on Friday (they really do it up!) and this year, since he is in 5th Grade (the top of the school food chain) he gets to hand out candy to the younger grades for a while. THEN, Saturday, Willow's gym class has a Halloween party--and then HALLOWEEN! (Well, at least I am getting my money's worth on the costumes!)

Hopefully, I will download some pictures next post...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Willow - 1.5

Today marks Willow's half way mark on her way to being a two year old.

Milestones:

Words she says: done, mamma, up, milk, thank you, dad, john, kitty/kat, and many more that surprise us daily.

She has many, many teeth now, and can eat carrots and apples whole, has had her share of pizza and cake and ice cream.



She can go up and down the stairs.

She can kiss and hug and "feed" stuffed animals, baby dolls. She even fusses to put them to "bed".

She can run and kick a ball.

She plays games. Her favorites: "Tickle/Tummy Fart Monster is Coming to Town" and "Willow the Revenge Monster hides out and then Surprises Everyone"

She understands simple instructions. She understands stories and is starting to have favorite books.

She has opinions on her clothes, her shoes, what she eats, what she should be doing (bath time should be all the time!).


-------------

Willow,

You are becoming such an amazing little girl. You are curious and adventurous. You have a girly streak and I can see you will be obsessing over shoes and clothes for years to come. Your smile is infectious and your chatter is delightful. Every day I am amazed by you. Every day I find myself more and more in love with you.

Time is going by so quickly, and I find myself wistful for this summer and the fun we had on the beach and playing outdoors. And then I realize that I can show you all the leaves in the fall--and I am looking forward to seeing what you really think of snow this year!

From one of your favorite books:

Rock-a-bye Seasons
(to the tune of "Rock-a-bye, Baby")

My little pumpkin,
What do you do
Every fall season
When sleep time is through?

Do you pick apples
So red and round?
Or gather up leaves
That fall to the ground?

My little snowflake,
What do you do
Each winter morning
When sleep time is through?

Do you go walking
Through the white snow?
And wear big red boots
Wherever you go?

My little rosebud,
What do you do
Every spring day
When sleep time is through?

Do you pick daisies?
Smell a red rose?
Run through the grass
That tickles your toes?

My little sunshine,
What do you do
All summer long
When sleep time is through?

Do you have picnics
Under a tree?
Go hunting for seashells
Down by the sea?

My little dear one,
What will you do
As days pass us by
And each year is through?

As you grow older
What will you be?
You will be loved
And precious to me.


Written by Diane C. Ohanesian ("Bedtime Sing to Me")

Love ya, my little Bean.









Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Show & Tell - #50

My friend Ana and I went horseback riding last Saturday. It was the first time I was on a horse in 20 years (!)

Ana had never been on a horse before:



Here is me getting ready to get on the horse:



And here is the view from above:



(Husband was supposed to take more pictures, but had hands full with kids--who went to the petting zoo and small zoo they had at the farm.)

We rode along a wooded trail in New Hampshire. There were still some fall foilage, and I got to see some of the sets for the haunted hayride...

Being on a horse after all those years was refreshing and fun. And I want to go do it again and soon!



Show and Tell

Click to see who else is Showing and Telling.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday: 3 a.m. Conversations

Willow knows her eyes, her nose, her belly botton, sometimes her ears. She loves to point them out on herself and others. She is also working on pointing out her mouth and teeth.

I just wish she wouldn't choose to work on the enterprise at 3 in the morning.

Conversation last night (I guess early this morning) with my nearly 1 1/2 year old:

Her: "Eye" [she puts her finger into her eye to point to it]

Me: "Yes, that is your eye."

Her: "Eye" [again with the finger pointing]

Me: "Yes, that is your eye. Your eyes should be shut now, it is time to be asleep. Shhhh...."

Her: "Eye!"


More Perfect Moments Here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Work - All in the attitude

The other morning I was saying good-bye to everyone, and Michael said "You'll have a good day, right?" And I did the cynical adult thing which was to say "Eh, it will be okay, I guess." Michael looked at me quizzically and asked me if I liked my work. It was then I realized that, for him, he assumes I work for the pleasure of working--something we tend to instill in kids. "What are you going to be when you grow up?" is a big deal and we tell them they can be and do whatever they want in life. So, of course you grow up and do what you love, right?!

Thing is, being a working mother is a bit more complex than that (just like being a stay at home mom is not just about the child care). I do get pleasure from working and doing a job well done. I do like the social interaction and the intellectual exercise. But, to me, work is a means to an end. At the end of the day, it is the money that is important to me as it means I can give my children what they need materially and intellectually, what we as a family need to not only survive, but thrive.

While I am at work, I am always thinking about life outside of work. I am thinking my son's Halloween party or the next adventure we are going to take the kids on (meaning anything from the zoo or museum to chinese acrobats or a concert). I have pictures of my children and husband all around me. I am taking this one for the team. I enjoy doing this as part of the team.


Here is what keeps me going at work: the egg is a paperweight from my husband. The plastic bear is something my son made for me last year. The party favor is from my old work, one of the decorations at my work baby shower. I keep them near, even at work.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Corn Maze

Sunday we went to the Family Guy Corn Maze. It was well thought out and was tons of fun. They had ten outposts and at each outpost you had to answer a question, depending on your answer you turned right or left. You could pick different themed questions. Michael's questions were all Halloween themed. My husband's were all Family Guy themed, our friend John's were biblical themed, mine were Toddler Themed (Willow and I shared).
Of course, we had a harried morning, and I ended up forgetting my camera (or video camera), but my husband and I both had our cell phones--so here are cell phone pictures!



Here we are in the midst of the maze. I think we might be in the Stewie part.

There were two bridges in the middle of the maze. Nice way to see above. Here is Willow and John and me going up the bridge.



Michael and John figuring out their way, based on our questions (the pieces of paper in their hands). At first we got lost and came to this bridge three, four times...



Every so often Willow wanted to stop and pick up rocks, stones, twigs, corn...and try to put them in her mouth. We gave her perfectly good grapes instead. (She still liked the rock that had mud on it) (Oh, and look--my cell phone!)



Once we finished the maze, they gave us stickers which read "I survived the Corn Maze!" (Those who fail to survive are piled up in the feedlot out back)




Afterwards, Michael and Willow explored other parts of the farm...(that's dad there as a horse--he is awfully tall, so getting into those head parts low to the ground was a bit hard)






There was so much to do, we did not even have time to do everything (including a hayride). Definately we will go there again!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Book Tour: It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita by Heather Armstrong

Time for another Book Tour (see the end of this post for more information):

I did not know about Heather Armstrong before I read this book. I did not know she has a popular mommy blog. I really try not to follow the so-called "Mommy Bloggers", partially out of time issues, partially out of irritation issues.

However, I did find some common ground with sections of this book, and I even did find myself sometimes chuckling along with her over the many absurdities of being a first time parent.

I admit that I really was interested in her struggle with Post Partum Depression, as this is still a somewhat a taboo subject. I feel that she was very brave in showing her readers (both on her blog and in her book) this often unspoken part of pregnancy/child birth.

While in the end, I found this book somewhat dissatisfying, I would recommend it for any first time mother.

While there were times that I laughed as hard as I did reading Dan Savage’s The Kid, I felt the humor in her case served to distance the reader from the subject rather than bring them closer to it as it did with Savage’s book. In other words, I was laughing with Armstrong and then realized that she had distracted me from asking my internal questions and hoped that I would notice that she hadn’t told me anything of substance whereas with Savage’s book, I laughed and came to a deeper understanding of a situation. Two examples of humor, but only one truly working on illuminating a situation. Do you agree or disagree? What did you think of Armstrong’s use of humor?

Actually, I found myself having a hard time getting through this book. At first I couldn't put my finger on why. I too would have a chuckle every so often, but yet I could not really feel any empathy towards the author. Sometimes I took her as being a bit "snooty" and sometimes I took her as being very naive (which she admits to). I agree that her humor serves as a distancing mechanism. By the end of the book, I felt that I had not really learned anything that I did not already know and while I knew her better than before I picked up the book, I really did not know her at all. I guess would could say her humor was not constructive.

If you had postpartum depression to the degree Heather describes, would you have the courage to check yourself into a psychiatric ward? (It’s hard to say when it’s not actually happening in your own life, but I’d be curious to know if there are some people who are completely against it, some who would do it if they felt there was no other way, etc.)

I did not have PPD to the degree that Heather had. But I did have it. The first time was over 10 years ago when my son was born. I had no idea what to do. There were not as many resources available to women concerning PPD. Mental health is a slippery, messy and often unspoken health issue. The only reason why I knew it was not just the "newborn blues" is because my husband struggles with clinical depression. For the first time in my life, I could relate to his illness. When you are depressed, no amount of picking yourself up and "just cheering up" works. I struggled through my Post Partum Depression feeling like I was supposed to "deal with it". Vaguely, I knew I needed help. But I was a first time mother and had no idea where to turn. Some how I got through it. But I swore that, come the next time, I would get help if I felt anything like I did before.


In a way, it was a blessing in disguise for me to have had such a long time between children. Almost 10 years later, the medical establishment has become more aware of PPD and I found a lot of information out there. My OB office was particularly helpful and open with me. So when I did start feeling depression creeping in, I was able to go to my doctors office. They did set me up with medication and therapy. They even talked to us about hospitalization. In fact, the doctors did call my husband, and informed him that, at least for the next week or two, I should not be left alone. For the next couple weeks, my husband took a few more days off from work, our friends made sure to come by. I was never left alone, I went to therapy, I had meds. And I slowly crawled through. I am glad people were there for me. And I am glad there were options out there, including hospitalization. While there is a stigma concerning mental health, it was more important that I be healthy for myself and for my children.

If you are in a relationship right now, do you relate to how Heather talks about her husband, Jon, and what a great father and life partner he is? From what she described about Jon, what qualities do you have or want in your life partner?


The parts where she was talking about her husband dealing with her moods and her depression resonated with me. My husband understood more than others what depression can be like. He was there for me and was the most understanding person. He took time off to be there for me, more time than he was intending to, more time than he was supposed to. He normally works long hours, but, when I needed him the most, he shortened his hours just so I was not alone.

He is my partner in so many ways. We have a lot in common, science fiction, our warped sense of humor, etc. And we share in the parenting duties. He loves being a father, and understands that often I am shouldered with more of the domestic burden, so often times he "picks up the slack" on the weekends...for example, right now he is with Willow for her gym class while I type away.

He has all the qualities I want in a life partner: sense of humor, sense of obligation, unconditional love, intelligence.


Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens (http://stirrup-queens.com). You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Show & Tell - #49

Today for Show & Tell: My Amazing Technicolor I-Pod!

A few years ago, my husband created a monster by giving me an I-Pod for my birthday. Today, I thought I would share with you what is on my I-Pod. Recently I have been playing Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; yesterday it was Jesus Christ Superstar. But I don't just have show tunes (although I do have Phantom of the Opera, Le Miz, Lion King, Spamalot, Oklamoha, West Side Story, South Pacific, Camelot...and Once More With Feeling (the soundtrack to the excellent Buffy musical show))

I have eclectic tastes. Just searching through the song list on letter "L", I found songs from Paul Simon, Carpenters, Wierd Al, Iggy Pop, Winston Marsellis, Indigo Girls, Dan Zanes, etc. (Sorry the photos are fuzzy--from my cellphone)



Oh, and lets not forget 80s music and alternative...



Oh, and on the television side, I have Robot Chicken and, of course....


Dr. Horrible!

A shuffle cycle on my I-Pod would be sure to cause seizures...which is why I do playlists instead (hey, my son loves the 60 song playlist of Wierd Al--wouldn't you??!)


Show and Tell

Click to see who else is Showing and Telling.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Thoughts on a Rainy Day

As I drive to work in the rain. Thinking.

Thinking about her kiss last night. How open mouthed and sticky. How her personality is forming and shaping. She is still a baby in many ways, but she is becoming more independent and curious each day. She is becoming another. She is becoming my daughter. I still find it hard to believe that I have a daughter. The hopes and fears I have for her are endless. As is my love for her.

Looking at him the other night at bedtime. Sometimes I spend some time just looking at him. While he talks to me, as I listen, I look at his eyes, bright and shining. The curve of his mouth. He is getting taller, almost my height. He is sometimes so mysterious to me, this first born child. I understand him and yet we can be distant sometimes. But here, in his room, before he goes to sleep. We know each other’s heart. I read to him and I remember him younger than he is. I wonder who he is; what he will accomplish. I will never admit it to anyone, but he has a special place in my heart that no one else can go.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

Alone in a movie theatre. Our first date in quite a while. We ordered popcorn, which we normally don't. (We do, but it is usually for the boy--who can down a whole large bag of popcorn on his own). A much anticipated movie on our parts, we sit waiting for it to start. We talk and eat popcorn (we also snuck in some chocolate--3Musketeers and Reeses Cups). The salty/chocolate taste mixed with soda and conversation. We are a couple. Not parents. The slight anxiety of leaving the kids at home with a sitter is mixed with the pleasure of each others company. And then the movie starts. And we share intimate knowledge of Nazis and gore. We laugh at the inappropropriate times, enjoying the violence and nonsense. We whisper "Who is that character actor? Haven't we seen him before?"

Later, we go to a small cheap taco/burrito bar. We had discussed Indian or Fancy Rib Place--but, we both worry about the expense of the sitter and, frankly seeing our children to bed. We eat at the cheap place and it reminds me of our first dates in college.



More Perfect Moments Here.

Friday, October 02, 2009

First Major Boo Boo and Random


Willow went apple picking today at daycare. There were apples all over the place, including the ground, and she slipped and got that nice bump above her eye. It looks a little worse than the picture, but obviously, she is a-okay. Always fun to come to pick up your child to find her with a shiner! (BTW, both kids LOVE apples--that is her third one today in her lap)

Random things:

As reflected with the poll, I actually got my heart set on getting Willow a giraffe costume for Halloween. Only to find the sizes left much to be desired...so, after much searching...I found a costume I couldn't resist:

Its got a pouch! And a toy! And its cuddly!

It's time for Michael to pick out an instrument to play in school. I am probably more excited than he is, but I hope he has fun with it like I did.

Time to start getting ready for Michael's Halloween party. Already picked a date (Oct. 24th). This weekend I think we will start getting invitations ready.

Ugh, already having the crunch with days off from school. October 12th is Columbus day and his school is off and his after school care is also closed. Guess who has to work--both of us. So, baring any other arrangements, I will have to take a vacation day off...and with things being wacky the last few weeks (daycare provider sick a few days last week, us sick the week before, etc.) I hope it doesn't reflect too badly at work.

Speaking of work. I am doing well, but I still miss my old job. I miss my co-workers. The funny thing, of course, is that my old job is non-existant as 1/2 the staff got laid off when I did. It is in the past, total and final. I still miss it.

Willow. Oh Willow. You need to learn that your father is not very good at putting things away. And please, quit taking your dad's credit card and keys. This week, mommy had to drive all the way back home from work because daddy couldn't find the keys to his car (I had a spare--on my set of keys). He has now bought some locator transmitters. I think he just needs to put things HIGHER.

Michael is doing very well at school so far. He likes his teacher, and he is actually doing pretty well at keeping up with the homework. We are both working out the work/play ratio.

Our life is overwhelming. So overwhelming that I got a note from our housekeeper today saying "could we please clean up the toys" before she comes on Fridays. Oh yeah. Those things I step on and trip over all over the house--welcome toddlerhood!!!

Things I haven't done yet...

Things I haven't had the chance of doing yet or been prevented from doing: See my son's presentation on Rabies for his biology ...