Monday, February 9, 2015

7 Years (84 Months)

My Little Smush,

And then you were 7.  That can't be right, surely.  It seems not to long ago that you were flopped on my chest at 10:23am, a little squirmy pink bundle.  And yet, now you are 7.

You can read.  You can run, jump and play.  You have the most detailed imagination.  You get yourself snacks and drinks.  Hell, you have finally learned to wipe your own butt.  You have your own ideas and demands.  You have friends and teachers.  You know how to work the computer and watch YouTube videos.  You are adventurous but don't like to try new foods. You are kind and generous with most of your things.  You turn on the fireplace when you are cold.  You take showers and read magazines when you poop.  You get embarrassed of my love notes in your lunch box at school.  You still flap and rub your hands together when you are excited.  You have favorite TV shows and know what to say to get me to let you stay home from school.  You need pep talks sometimes and usually they work.  You make fart jokes and want to cuddle at the same time.  You are sympathetic and understanding.  You like "fizzy wine", aka ginger ale, when your stomach hurts. You have favorite songs and sing along when they come on.  You love our home and love making it better with me.  You get grumpy and angry and confused and anxious and you can TALK about it.  You have homework and responsibilities.  You have a healthy respect for fear but know when to push yourself.  You know what "the weekend" means and you take it seriously.  You have morals and a conscience!

My God.  I guess you have grown up.  You are a kid.  Not just a baby, or a little boy.  You are an authentic, true life kid.  When did that happen?!  I have been present for almost every day of your life and it has still seemed to slip away from me. I guess that is just what happens when you are a parent.  All I can do is make the biggest impact I can while you will still listen.  Every parent has their doubts about how they parent.  But if you are any indication, any reflection of what kind of parent I am, I think I can give myself a pat on the back.

The other day when the kids were over, you got in a little fight with Dylan.  This has been known to happen from time to time.  If Byron and Dylan don't get their way they tend to physically fight it out, way more than you would.  You would rather talk about it.  (Maybe that is just an only child thing.  You have never had to fight for anything)  John came in and watched Dylan push you.  John told you to push him back. (Not my go-to method of parenting, but I wasn't there.)  You responded with "But John!  I'm a lover, not a fighter." and turned around to finish working on your lego.  John, Byron and Dylan stared at you like they didn't understand that was even an option.  I got to hear the story later and say "that's my boy."  I am proud of you all the time but there are little moments that stand out more then others.  I am so proud of you that you are confident enough to stand up for what you believe in.  And stand up for what I taught you is right, no matter what the situation.

One of my favorite parts to my day is picking you up from the bus stop. I love it so much I even made you walk in a blizzard.  Its time together that's not spent rushing to do something else, or be somewhere else.  It is just a walk around the block.  You tend to hang back for a few minutes, give me your book bag and tell me a little about your day.  You still hold my hand before you take off down the street.  Its those few minutes of undivided attention that I cherish so much. 

I has been amazing watching you all grow.  I hope you stay friends with Ryan and Gwen.  Friends that are down the block are the ones that seem to last the longest.  If for some reason, you can't run or I need to drive to the bus stop, we are both disappointed. I can't wait for the weather to get nicer so you can run and we can have our 15 minutes just to us, with no distractions, every school day.

I know I probably say this every year.  It has been the pleasure of my life watching you grow and learn before my eyes.  You amazing me almost everyday.  With the things that you say and the personality that is unmistakably Wyatt.  The kindness in your voice when you ask how my day was.  The confidence you have to be yourself.  The silence when you are thinking and I can almost see you brain working.  The laughter (minus that fake dolphin laugh you have been doing lately) that you bring to all of our lives.  The curiosity that you have when you need to figure something else.  And especially how seamlessly you have transitioned to our new family.  My big boy is 7.  I am so proud that I get to be your mom.

I love you everyday,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

83 Months


Ahhhh, Christmas.  Where do I even begin?!  Since it was our first real Christmas, as a family, living in the same house, John and I got a little bit excited.  Definitely more then you kids.  You are always excited about Christmas, John and I were down right giddy.  We wanted it to be special.  We wanted to respect the traditions that had already been set in motion with a 5, 6, 6, and 8 year old.  We wanted to spoil the shit out of you.  We wanted to shock and awe.  And we wanted to do all of this in two hours.  Because that is all we had.  John was picking up his kids at 8am and they had to leave for the airport around 10 to go to Texas.  You and I were meeting them in TX a few days later.

John and I were meticulous on making sure you all had the same amount; of gifts to open as well as money spent.  It was hard.  There was always one of you coming up short and then we would buy more and the process would continue.  I had a stash of gifts in my office that I would wrap in brown paper when I was on lunch. Gwynnie was very curious about the three present tradition.  She questioned you several times and of course you had the response that I have engrained in you readily prepared.  "Jesus gets three, and so do we.  Its his birthday."  I eventually had to intervene because she didn't understand that she once got a million presents from Santa and now only three. I told her on the first child's first Christmas, the parents write a letter to Santa explaining the rules of the house.  Because every home is different and every family celebrates in different ways.  So, Santa brought 3 presents in our house, but they would also get things from John and I.  (Hey.  I still think that's pretty good.)  She hesitated, but then ran with it.  At least for this first year, I think we got away with it.

Santa Pa paid us a visit!
You tore through your presents Christmas morning, as per usual really.  I felt bad that John missed so much of it because he was busy packing the kids up.  You all were thrilled.  I think favorites were Dylan's skateboard, Byron's vintage GI Joe Guys, Gwyn's tickets to see Taylor Swift and your new Skylanders video game. Mine was my tickets to see Book of Mormon and John's was the Walking Dead set (against my better judgement) but he would say it was his new work pants (boring).  However, I thought the pickle present was by far the best.  I wrapped up all these tiny boxes with clues in them, that sent you all on a scavenger hunt around the house and outside.  You were all running around in your pj's and having Gwyn read the clues along the way.  You were so freaking adorable. I had a TV in the basement for our famiy pickle present.  There was lots of screaming all around.  Actually, even though John was in on it, I think he was the most excited.  Since Dylan found the actual ornament, he claimed that it was his only and it would go in the boy's room.  Yeah, that idea got squashed pretty hard. 

I guess, traditionally, John's kids stockings were less the full.  Santa only brought some candy.  John failed to mention this.  So I packed the crap out of all the stockings.  With candy, sea monkeys, light saber lipgloss, jellybean pooping grumpy lambs, socks, pencils, camo bandaids, hair clips, toothbrushes, etc, etc, etc.  For you this was normal.  For the kids, this was extraordinary.  I got to sit and watch as Byron carefully unwrapped each item with awe and surprise, putting mostly all of them in his backpack for the trip.  It was a great Christmas.  One that I hope you will remember.

And then John and the kids left for the airport.  And you went with your Dad for a little.  And I was left, in my Christmas PJ's, in an empty house, surrounded by wrapping paper.  It was ..... weird but not entirely unpleasant.  Dadda and I decided to switch things up a little this year.  We both wanted you to be able to do everything with all the families.  So you did some bouncing around.  As part of this, you came to my church on Christmas Eve and got to participate in the Christingle Pagaent.  You have been coming to Sunday School fairly regular with me and quite simply the Pagaent is just a rite of passage.  You happily played a very adorable shephard.  And Lizzy and I quite made you laugh with our ridiculous faces and miming playing "Trumpets" by Jason Deruo from the choir loft balacony. I look am looking forward to making you laugh from afar for years to come.

I have always wanted you to have a sibling.  At least one.  I always felt that more keenly around Christmas time.  Some of my best memories are from Christmas with my sisters.  They were always my partners in crime and witnessing their joy was contagious happiness and excitement. You went from none to three in less then a year.  I loved watching you this Christmas, opening your presents and excitedly sharing them with each other.  And you helping Dlyan open his. And Gwyn reading all of you the clues.  And your hands a mile a minute watching Byron open the GI Joes. And Gwyn screaming at her Taylor Swift tickets and you all screaming with her without understanding why.  And watching you all seamlessly, overnight it seems, becoming siblings.  I know from the outside looking in, it must be choas.  But being on the inside, it is watching love take root in our living room.

I love you everyday,

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Things I Learned in 2015

I learned, once again, that moving is beyond stressful. Clearly, I block it from my memory.
Power tools are awesome.  Having some one that appreciates my love of power tools and buys me them is even more awesome.
Mom's stories get longer and longer with each telling.
Making the jump from a family of 2, to a family of 6 has had its challenges but nothing that I wouldn't want to do over and over again.
I take a lot of pride in how far our home has come and relish in my new projects to make it even better.
I learned that I am very Type A with our finances.  I am so grateful that John trust me with his money so I can handle everything.  It would drive me nuts not knowing.

I don't think it mattered how we got engaged, all that mattered was that it was John.  He was the one that made it perfect. Even down to his excitement over continental breakfast.
I am still a little disappointed that Lizzy chickened out for our sister tattoos and I am way proud of Rebecca.  I would have bet money that it would have been the other way around.
Shooting sheet is harder then it looks but also way funner.
I will be forever grateful that all of our children get along as well as they do.  Our mini-miracle.
I am a perfectionist.  If I am going to complete a project myself, I will watch YouTube videos until I can get it absolutely perfect.
Work has been stressful this year. It is amazing how that stress can hang with me even after I have left the building.

The Audi is still amazing. I would buy it 12 times over if I could.  I am so cheap on so many things but this is one thing I am so glad I didn't cheap out on.
John is terrible at picking out movies, I have just grown to ignore his recommendations.
Its the little things, like coming home to a clean house and the lawn mowed, that makes a world of difference to me.
The flu sucks but I still refuse to get a flu shot even though I have gotten sick 2 years in a row.  Stubborn much.
I learned that I actually enjoy gardening.  Who knew?!  I guess the apple didn't fall very far.
Watching your child struggle - with anything - is one of the hardest parts of parenting.

I love going out but family happy hour at Walls always seems to be my favorite.
The older Lizzy gets the stronger our relationship is.  Considering I hated her when she was first born we will most likely be inseparable in a few years.
Trying on a wedding dress for the first time was a terrifying and anxious experience.  It is not that I have doubts, its just that I don't really think I ever thought I would get married.
Every time I have my mother over she rearranges my pillows and throws.  I have learned to just let her do it.
I learned that the one time I have been compelled to curse at John was over snot filled towels.  It could have been worse, way worse.
The great generosity of others surprised and overwhelmed me this year (Really. Some one is letting us borrow their HOUSE).  I would like to focus on being more generous to people not in my family this year. 

I learned that it is monumentally important to make time for our date nights.  Reestablishing, grounding and relishing in 'just us' in our mostly chaotic life has given our relationship a tremendous amount of strength.
Passing on traditions and watching those traditions take root are the stuff memories are made of.
There's not much a bottle of wine, a warm house, a string cheese, a jigsaw puzzle, and some sisters can't fix.
I am a saver and I enjoy saving.  I like being able to pay things off in full right away.
Rebecca is already the most amazing bridesmaid ever, from dress shopping, to meticulous invitation overhaul, to surprise engagement parties, this girl is going to out do herself in 2015.
My heart is much bigger than I even realized.

I have begun to understand and emulate my parents unfaltering desire to give and support their children no matter how many speeding tickets they get.  (Ahem, Lizzy, ahem.)
My dad is still the best baseball coach out there.  Wyatt is so lucky to have him.
My Christmas Santa wrapping is over the top but seeing all of their faces makes it so worth the effort. (I do brown craft paper with tons of colorful bows.  Even on stockings.)
I am looking forward to being a stepmom. Even if it is just to rid the world of Disney stereotypes.
My favorite time of day is still putting Wyatt to bed.  The routine might be different now from several years ago, but he still reverts to that snuggly baby I miss.
2015 is looking to be one of the best years yet.

Monday, December 8, 2014

82 Months


Despite both of us being sick for most of the month, we really jam packed it with fun!  I have had a sinus infection for about two weeks now and you got a bad cold and pink eye.  So exciting!  You couldn't go to school so you had to come into work with me.  You helped me unpack boxes from Staples and played Legos in my office while I worked.  For not feeling well you were the best working buddy.  It kind of made me miss those days I brought you for a hour everyday.

A few days before Thanksgiving, John and I decided that none of you had ever been to the parade before and it was about time.  Both of us have such fond memories from when we were younger.  So, I called up Auntie B and begged her to let us borrow her apartment.  We thought it would be easier to sleep in there and then take the subway the next morning from Astoria.  You all were so THRILLED to sleep over somewhere new.  As soon as we got into her apartment you, Byron and Dylan ran through every room and then started playing some hide-and-seek crawling game.  It took us forever to get you all to bed you were so excited.

We bundled you all up the next morning and set off.  We stopped to get some coffees and you guys were so patient that they gave you all cookies for the subway ride.  And us free coffees, probably because it looked like we needed them.  Then there was the SUBWAY!!  You have been on it many, many times.  But because it was Gwyn, Bryon and Dylan's first subway ride I think you got in the spirit.  Honestly, you were all asking a million questions to a very tired 7:30am subway car.  I think you would have been content riding the subway all day.  We got off at 5th Ave to another round of questioning and found a great spot on 56th.

The police had barricades up a little into the streets off of 6th Avenue.  So we weren't on the direct parade route but you could see the whole street clearly with no one in front of you.  Once the parade started, the police let just the kids go into the blocked off area.  At one point, you were having a kids dance party with rollerblading clowns dumping confetti on your heads.  The looks on your faces when the first balloon rounded the corner was priceless.  Byron is still talking about the Kiss float.  Mamie swears that she saw us all on TV all the way from Texas but we couldn't find it on the DVR later.  There was mild "I'm cold" complaining from you and Gwyn but other then that it was seamless.  We were home by 1 to start the festivities at Aunt Candy's and down the Club.  It is definitely something that John and I plan on doing again.

Then on Friday, we took you to the light show at Jones Beach.  It had been shut down for a few years.  I'll admit that the light show was a little underwhelming.  You guys liked it but I think you were expecting something more.  Maybe we talked it up too much.  I don't know.  What I know for sure is that my most favorite part was having all six of us laughing in the car.  Between John's running commentary, stirring rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas", and you getting a little rowdy after seeing a reindeer in a bikini, it was hilarity and chaos. I think those are the times that I love the most.  Just us and our laughter.

On Sunday was the Annual Tree Cutting, which deserves a post unto itself.  The whole month has been so fun but especially this last week.  All four of you have been meshing so well with each other lately.  We have been officially living together for a few months now and I guess I thought there would be a little more transition time.  More boundary testing.  More arguments.  More whining.  But there really hasn't been.  Of course there are times when you get possessive of me. And times when you argue over toys.  But on the whole, I am just so proud of all of you, especially you, Bud.  Simply because you have to share your everything.  Your toys, your mom, your room, your Gammy and Pa and you have done it with such grace and understanding.  You amaze me, my little one.

I love you everyday,
Your momma.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

72 months, 6 years

My goose,

So now you are 6.  I seem to say this every year, but time is just flying by.  I guess when I found out I was pregnant with you, I didn't allow myself to think this far into the future.  There was baby and there was college but all the in-between was fuzzy.  Now my baby has grown into this miraculous and loving 6 year old with thoughts and plans, and I am just in awe.  I am in awe of this little gentleman that you are becoming.  The way you still call me "Momma" and say "excuse me" and "wait, wait, wait" when I am explaining something you don't like.  When you need a lazy day you tell me "I just don't feel like myself today, Momma."  And when you got angry with me the other day you started yelling, "Why can't you read my mind?  I was thinking about it!  Why can't you tell?".  Because that makes perfect sense.  I wish I could read your mind just so I could get a glimpse of all the thoughts running through your head at any given moment.  A tiny glimpse into this wealth of imagination.  Expect when you are tired and your "imaginator" isn't working. 

We did the whole Disney thing instead of a big kids party but you were still pretty insistent that you have some kind of party.  So, we picked up Ryan, Cubby, Byron and Dylan and had a boys day to see the Lego Movie.  You have been talking about the Lego Movie ever since you saw the preview in June, of last year.  And it just so happened to come out on your birthday weekend.  You all were so mesmerized.  And it was actually pretty good.  Then after you were all hopped up on popcorn and candy, everyone came back to our house for cupcakes and marshmallow Lego heads.  And the family came over after that for a little celebration.  It was understated in comparison to some of your other parties, but it was nice.  I think there is something to be said about a smaller party that is more intimate.  I got to spend more money and time on the 5 of you then just cheap dollar store favors and a two hour time limit for 15.

On the Monday after your birthday, I pulled rank and go to go on a field trip with you.  I had assumed that you would ignore my in favor of your friends because that is what you would normally do on play dates.  But instead you seemed to be excited that I was there.  You wanted to hold my hand and sit next to me on the bus.  In the back of my head, I understand that these days are numbered.  You are not going to want to kiss me goodbye in the morning.  That holding my hand on the way to the bus stop is going to lose its appeal and that is my most favorite part of my day.  When you run to me yelling my name, grab my hand, and I get to ask you about your day before you start running with the other kids.  So I am focused on cherishing every moment.  I am going to love on you every possible second until you won't let me anymore. 

You had to fill out an "About Me" form for your birthday.  Pretty standard.  But when we got to the bottom it asked you what you thought you were good at.  The Legos and Wii came pretty easy but the third one had you stumped.  I was giving you options and you just kept brushing them aside.  Then you settled on "I am really good at sharing my mom."   This surprised me.  I hadn't realized, until that moment, that you might feel like that.  Yes, our lives have changed in the last few months but you never seemed overly concerned.  Yes, I have noticed that you get a little jealous when Dylan wants to sit on my lap for the entire day.  But I think that's normal and I didn't think it carried over to when they aren't over.  Of course, I asked you more about it.  You told me that you have to share me with John, the kids, the house, and the church and you are really good at being patient until its your turn.  I couldn't argue with you. The older you have gotten the more things I have added in our lives to occupy our time.  First it was just work and friends and family, then soccer and baseball, then I added the house, and John, and the kids. When you put it like that you are really good at sharing me.  You are always so patient when I have just one more thing to do.  Or when I have to drag you to the church with me.  Since that conversation, I have been extra careful about making sure you have just momma and me time, at least for a little while, everyday. Because it is important for you to feel like you are not just another priority, you are my first priority. We will always have other people in our lives but I always want you to feel like I have time for you.  And that I love you enough to protect, respect, and make that time.

My wonderful Smush, I will love you until the end of time.  When we play the who loves more game, I am pretty confident I will always win no matter how many times you tell me its not possible.  I couldn't imagine myself or my life without you in it.  You are the biggest part of my heart.  Everyday, my love and pride, and awe for you grows.  I am so proud of you for being able to share me with the rest of the world.  But I am more proud of you for being kind, compassionate, witty, patient, resilient, funny, persistent, outgoing, confidant, forgiving and most of all loving.  You are turning out to be one phenomenal boy.

I love you everyday,

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Excessive Amounts of Disney Pictures

 Totally a normal way to navigate the airport.  Kid has got the right idea.

 Obligatory Magic Kingdom picture.  I unsuccessfully tried to get one of all of us.

Happiest place on earth.

 Before we went through security.  Best time.

 Pretending to be a Super Hero

 Too excited to breathe!!!  This was just outside Hogsmeade village.  That is definitely not real snow. 

And this is what happens when your kid refuses to pose with you.  You get pictures knocking out a very short Wolverine while hiding a beer behind your back.  How about them claws?

Da da da da dum. Da da da da dum.  

This kid.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Surprise Birthday Disney Extravaganza!!

In a fabulous bout of luck, I got put on an Ideas to Go project right before Wyatt's birthday on a Friday in Orlando, FL.  And then I found out Michael was on the project too.  Of course, off and running, we decided to plan a trip around it.  I felt mildly guilty about going to Universal Studios without Wyatt but Hogwarts was winning over my decision.  It wasn't until I spoke with Rebecca and she said she was on board that it turned into a Surprise Birthday Extravaganza!  I booked Rebecca and Wyatt's tickets on our flights from Wednesday to late Saturday night.  It wasn't going to be a ton of time, but it was going to be enough.

It wasn't until Monday night that I got everything booked.  And we all kept it away from Wyatt.  He had NO clue.  I sent him to school Wednesday morning like normal with the intention of picking him up early and telling him we were going to the airport.  I had written to his teachers to collect his missed work and told them about the surprise.  That morning he definitely figured out something was up when he realized I hadn't packed him lunch.  "Mom, I don't want to be a buyer.  Where's my lunch?"
"Don't worry about it, Buddy"
"But Moooooooom!!  I need lunch!!"
"Yes. I know.  But just don't worry about it.  You will have lunch."
"Are you coming into school?  Am I having lunch with you?  Do my teachers know?  Are you coming to the class?"  Etc, etc, etc.
I literally shoved him out the door.  I WAS NOT letting lunch ruin my surprise.  Most kids dream of having a surprise trip to Disney.  I sure as hell did.  I was determined to make this happen.

Of course, it became a contagious surprise so Gammy, Pa, John and I needed to pick him up.  All of us were so curious to his reaction.  And it went something like this:


PURE.  BAFFLEMENT.  He had no freaking idea what was going on.  AT ALL.  All the way to the airport he just kept hugging me.  An 'its ok if Mom's here, I guess' kinda hug.  I thought he was finally comprehending by the time we got to the airport until he said me "Mom, I'm still not really sure what's going on."  Classic 5 adults are too excited to breathe and the one kid is totally confused.  I think it took until checking into our hotel for him to really get it.  But once he did, man, it was ON.

Early Thursday morning we hit the Magic Kingdom.  It kind sucked, simply because the weather wasn't great.  It was rainy and cold-ish.  But considering we were coming from the teens, 40-50 didn't seem that bad.  However, the upside to the nasty weather was the amazingness of NO LINES.  Literally, I have never been to Disney and walked onto so many rides.  The longest line we waiting on was 30 minutes and it was Flight of Peter Pan, which we were NOT missing.  I am not joking when I say that Wyatt was so excited he couldn't even walk in a straight line.  He was jumping and skipping, his hands flapping uncontrollably.  Pure joy.  Pure amazement.  I think this trip was my favorite so far.  He fell right into every story.  When we went Soarin', he really believed we were flying.  When we got into yet another clam shell, he was convinced it was real and we were underwater.  You could see his mind exploding on every ride we went on.  It was all the excitement and magic without the junk lugging and carrying.  I am pinning 6 and up being the perfect Disney age.  Plus, I got to take him on his first "roller coaster".  Which Rebecca strategically filmed and we had to go on more then once.  Because he loved it.  Awesome.

The next day, Rebecca and Wyatt headed to Hollywood Studios because that's where all the Star Wars stuff was and Wyatt was BEYOND fixated on going there.  Michael and I had to work, but thankfully it was a relatively easy day.  I can't say much about what happened at Hollywood Studios.  But Wyatt definitely got to sit on a speeder bike and they had to ride on Star Tours 3 times.  On their last ride, they picked Wyatt to be the rebel spy on his ship and showed him on the screen for everyone on the ride.  They gave him a "Happy Birthday" button when we bought our tickets.  He wore it everyday.  But that also meant that every single Disney staff person was wishing him a happy birthday.  He was thrilled and mildly confused that everyone knew his name.  He MILKED that button.  It got to a point where I think he was insulted if he wasn't recognized.  Rebecca and Wyatt were so tired after there adventure and then being stuck in traffic picking us up that they decided to chill at our Port Orleans hotel pool. While Mike and I decided we should go to Epcot to drink around the world!

Saturday was our last day with our flight leaving at 6:50pm.  None of us had been to Universal or the new Harry Potter world, which I think was the highlight for the three adults.  We were DEFINITELY more excited then Wyatt was.  He has no frame of reference for Harry Potter.  We haven't read the books and he hasn't seen the movies.  Trying to explain the premise seemed impossible.  But he was a sport and let us have our fun with promises to visit the Superhero area.  Honestly, it was incredible.  Universal is knocking it out of the park.  The rides were cutting edge and so entertaining.  I don't want to ruin it but the main Harry Potter ride was beyond amazing.  Hogwarts and Hogsmeade was like walking right into the movie.  There were talking paintings, a real sorting hat, Olivanders Wand shop that looked exactly how you would picture it, digital snow, Honeydukes etc, etc.  I am still in awe.  Disney will always be Disney, but we are definitely adding Universal to every trip now.

Showing his button on Its a Small World
Wyatt was more interested in the Superheros, which was pretty awesome in itself.  They had some of the characters just walking around.  He loved pointing them out as we walked by.  But when I tried to get him to take a picture with Wolverine, it didn't happen.  They had a whole Jurassic Park area too.  Which, again, despite not knowing it, he was really into.  Michael wanted to drag him on this splash down ride.  I was against it, as was Rebecca, but finally the boys won out.  I was a boat ride, that goes into the dinosaur run compound with Raptors spitting at you and a giant T-Rex that is about to eat you before a huge splash down. Wyatt loved this ride.  Thought it was just the coolest.  I LOVE that he is not afraid of this kinda stuff.  That he actually enjoys these rides.  I love roller coasters so I am too excited to get him back here when he is tall enough to ride the big ones.  This was his reaction:


We barely made it to the airport in time for our flight.  We were just having so much fun.  We definitely could have stayed another 3 nights and next time I am sure we will. I am so glad we got to do this.  Beyond glad.  Seeing his face light up all over these parks was worth every penny.  I am sure every parent says that or else no one would go.  I already can't wait to go back.  When I became a parent I became fixated on providing more for Wyatt than I had.  Which is extremely hard because I had a lot.  But I think you always just want more for your children.  We took family trips to Disney all the time as a kid.  But a Surprise Birthday Disney Extravaganza?!?!  That is definitely a first I was proud and thrilled to provide.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Things I Learned in 2013

I learned that most of the time my parents have been right.  This was an incredibly painful realization to make.  I am not saying they are right all the time (HELL NO) but they did get it right more often then I am prepared to admit to.
Having a home is a never ending battle of Home Depot runs on Saturdays.
The older I get the more secure of myself I am.
I will never get this parenting thing down.  Just when I think I have it right, Wyatt changes and grows.
Kindergarten is nothing like I remembered it to be.
Its true.  When you know, you just know.  Without any force or effort.  Its just there.

The best Aunt fight of 2013 was inconclusive.  Let's see how they do in 2014.
I will forever burn popcorn.  Its just a thing.
I still go to therapy but friend therapy seems to be just as needed and just as good.
I still think of Faetra all the time.  I hope I always do.  I have adopted a 'What Would Faetra Do?' mentality to force me to think like her just a little more.  Make me live a little more fearlessly.
Watching any 5 year old play any sport is endlessly amusing.
I'll admit it, I kinda like the Legos.  Its like a jigsaw puzzle for me.  I like when things fit nicely together.

Creating new traditions for my little family has been the most surprising joy of parenting.
Sonos and Songza changed my life.
Turns out I am a kid person.
I might make fun of her mercilessly but I am endlessly proud of my mom.  I honestly can attribute most of what I know to her.
I love my home but it feels empty without Wyatt in it.  Its like I'm lost. Goes to show how much a part of me he is.
Finding the right person and being with the right person is the answer to most things.

My home still smells like my Nana from time to time.  I don't know why and its usually after we haven't been home in a while.  It is oddly comforting and a gentle reminder to appreciate the history in these walls.
I always try to make my time away from Wyatt productive but there is something utterly glorifying about being able to sleep late.
I am becoming more and more like my parents.  Demanding everyone come to Christmas Eve mass was like having my Dad take over my voice for a few minutes.
Cards Against Humanity can make me laugh until I cry.
I am addicted to live music.  Any time, any where.
To date Wyatt has traveled with me to: Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, California, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, all over New York, and most recently Texas.  Kid is well traveled already. Maybe out of the country next?

I enjoy spending time with my family.  Ain't no shame in that.
Sometimes all the heartache makes sense.  Its all just preparation for the real deal.
The Audi.  My God, the Audi.  So outlandish.  So amazing.  6 months later and I'm still waiting for the buyers remorse to kick in.
Spying on Wyatt in Ski School was beyond worth looking creepy for.
Unsuccessfully spying on Wyatt on his first day of kindergarten was definitely creepy.
I always knew the homeownership was hard but I don't think I was physically prepared for the seasonally drudgery.

I have much more love in my heart then I could have ever dreamed of.
I learned that the top 3 things that I am most grateful for this year: was meeting John, our new home, and Wyatt and our ever-suportive, loving family.  Makes you realize whats really important.
The Star Wars obsession is getting a little out of control. I mean really.
Sometimes the best things happen when you're not looking.
When it comes to my son, I am fiercely loyal, beyond proud, and so filled with love.  He continues to be the best part of me and the most amazing source of joy and pride.
Despite its slightly rough beginning, 2013 turned out to be one for the record books.  I can't wait to see what 2014 holds for us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

68 Months


I think that thing that killed me the most this month, well, besides that whole Kindergarten thing, was that you lost your first tooth.  Kindergarten is HUGE but I don't have many memories from that time of my life.  There are a few bits and pieces.  But I remember loosing teeth.  I remember how exciting it was.  The effort I took to get the tooth out.  The disappointment when all my efforts didn't work.  And the bliss of loosing one in school so you could get one of those little tooth-shaped pill boxes. From my experience, it marks the beginning of your long lasting memories.  The formative years.  You have a pretty impeccable memory as it is but this is when you are going to start outsmarting me.
I was totally unprepared for this tooth loosing. Yes, your tooth was loose, but barely.  I figured I had a good week or two before it actually happened.  You had corn on the cob with dinner and then said your tooth hurt.  When I looked it was still in but considerably looser.  After two bites of an apple that Auntie B had suggested you do weeks ago, it was out.  And you were thrilled.  Like beyond thrilled.  I had never seen you so excited.  You took videos, a thousand pictures, and made a million phone calls.  You were skipping around our house aimlessly forgetting what you were doing.  You kept putting the tooth down and forgetting where you put it.  Finally, we put your tiny tooth in a Tupperware (that you still kept loosing) and went to bed as quickly as possible.
I had this thought in my head that I wanted to leave a trail of glitter from your pillow out the window.  As if the Toothfairy left a fairy dust trail.  Naturally, I tore the house apart looking for glitter.  We HAD to have some SOMEWHERE.  Not so much.  So I settled with sequins.  Our Toothfairy would be a little disco, whatever.  Then came the 10pm call to Gammy to ask for money because I never carry cash.  "Um do you have $5?"  Her response was to question my lack of preparation and parenting because CLEARLY the first tooth gets a silver dollar.  Well you got a $5 bill that I miraculously found in a coat pocket and some sequins.  Hello new family tradition!!!  You obviously thought the sequins were the best part.  And you put your money right in your Toodling Butt Bank. You lost another tooth about a week or so later, right next to the other one.  This time you were sleeping over at Gammys' for the night.  She was thrilled because she figured her Toothfairy days were over.  You warned her that she was going to be vacuuming sparkles for weeks. Gammy got a little excited with the sequins taking them all the way down the deck as if the dogs chased her away.  It seems as if the tradition as stuck though.  I'm not sure which you enjoy more the money and toy potential or following where the trail leads. If you are anything like me, it is all about where the trail leads.
We went to Carly's end of the year beach party in Long Beach.  Once again it was pretty fantastic. It is just so nice to soak up the last of the summer rays and watch the sunset with kids running around.  We both love the beach and no matter what kind of clothes you are in, I guarantee you will be rolling around in the sand.  You found a bunch of other kids, that were a little older, and had all been surfing in wetsuits.  These kids were hard core awesome.  I am talking 7-10 years old that were legit surfing.  They found you and Liam trying to imitate them on boogie boards and sand dunes.  It turned into about 20 kids running around on the sand dunes pretend surfing. Then into a full on kids volleyball game, which you played valiantly.  For a kid who always had been a little hesitant you seem to be coming out of your shell.  You call for me a little less.  You try things a little more daring before asking for my hand. 

I continue to be absolutely amazed at the kid you are becoming.  You are charming, caring, and polite.  One of the smartest and wittiest kids I have ever met.  I am sure I am bias because I am so proud to be your mom but I honestly don't think so.  You amaze me everyday.  With your ability to laugh at most things.  With taking change in stride.  With being just stubborn enough for me to know that you are passionate.  With your empathy and compassion.  You just amaze me.  The other night before bed instead of saying 'I love you' I told you that 'I adore you.'  Jumping right on the end of my sentence, you proclaimed that you loved me more then any other door that existed.  That you loved me all the doors in the house, in Gammys' house, and in the whole world. That you loved me more then all the doors that hadn't been built yet. And then when I explained to you the definition of adore, you laughed right along with me.

I love you everyday.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


To say that the summer came to an abrupt end would be an understatement.  With vacations and laying around playing Legos for DAYS, school kind of crept up on us.  He was ready.  He had been ready.  But I also felt like it was this great thought that was never going to materialize.  Like it wasn't actually possible that he could be old enough to go to Kindergarten.  There was definitely that day before panic when I had forgotten to buy him a lunch box.  A quick, we have one night get into a routine mentality.  And am I actually going to be able to get him up and at the bus stop in time?!

The Bus Stop Crew
Wyatt has one of the earliest bus pick ups, 8:20.  Totally not good for us non-morning people.  I assume that I am going to be dropping him off fairly often but figured we should give it our fighting chance for the first week or so.  As predicted, we were running a little late and Wyatt has always traveled with an entourage.  Gammy and Pa were, respectfully, going to not be there for the first bus trip reserving that for Terry and I, but Wyatt INSISTED that they come.  More like demanded their presence.  So fine, the more the merrier.  Because of the lateness, I have almost no pictures of the first day.  Kid was a champ.  Waved goodbye to all of us and sat next to his friend Gwen on the bus.  Gammy thought there was a moment of hesitation but I didn't see it.  I thought he was mad at me for asking for that extra hug while his bus was waiting for him.  He gave me the "Mom, I've got things to do" attitude.  He couldn't be bothered with hugs.

Lunch box love notes begin!

Of course, I was the creeper that needed to drive past the school to see if I could see him get off the bus.  I know, I know, slight parenting fail. I ran the idea past Gammy and Auntie B.  They both seemed to be on board especially since I was driving to work anyway. There were some parents loitering around but I didn't want to intrude on his big day.  Kindergarten is a huge independent step that I have been preparing him for the entire summer, the entire year really.  We had talked about it endlessly.  Towards the end of the summer, we had "learning time" every day going over the basics and counting down on the calendar.  I wanted him to be able to take that step by himself and allow him to get the self satisfaction that he could, will, and did do it by himself.  So, I was the creep in the car.  I was late to work and I didn't see him.

Day Two

Then the waiting.  Ohhhh the waiting.  The longest 6 hours of my life.

We congregated at the bus stop extra early, all of us anxious to see how the first day went for our tribe. The first bus comes and one out of the five get off.  One of the mothers jumps on the bus to check the seats but they're not on that one.  Rumors abound.  About 10 minutes later the next bus comes, three more come off.  Great.  Of course the last kid missing is my kid.  I waited for another 3 minutes and decided to call the school.  I was still pretty calm at this point.  Maybe another bus was coming.  First day mess ups and all.  No big deal.  So when I finally get in touch with the school and their response was "OK, He's on a bus we are just not sure which one.  We're going to find him and call you right back."  FIND HIM.  As in they LOST HIM.  On his first day of Kindergarten. Total insanity.   After some bus radio contact and a few phone calls from his teacher, Wyatt was found on a bus going in the complete opposite direction.  Turns out they had our address as Court instead of Lane.  Simple computer error that cost Wyatt an extra hour on the bus and me a whole lot of vaguely veiled panic.

Wyatt was definitely miffed when he got home.  He stared me down "Mom! They put me on the wrong bus!! I had to ride it all by myself."  Thankfully our neighbor Chris with his daughter Gwen (they sit everyday together now, so cute) waited with me for Wyatt on their awesome quad.  Just as expected, as soon as Wyatt saw the quad, he quickly forgot about his solo bus ride.  After several calls to the school, I got the bus situation sorted.  Wyatt asked about twelve times if they were going to loose him again.  After much assurance, he agreed to have another try the next day.  I was and still am so proud of him for marching on the bus without hesitation the next morning.  That could have been pretty traumatizing for any kid.  Especially after finding out that they tried to make him get OFF the WRONG bus on the other side of town.  I was told that he, very politely, informed the bus driver that was not where he lived.  He is such a smart, self- reliant little man.

Next Day Smiles
The first few days were a little rough.  He went.  He was happy.  But he didn't have much good to say about it.  He said that the bus ride is his favorite, which is a slight miracle.  He said there is a lot of paperwork and focusing.  He said that his teacher is a little loud (understandably plus she does have a big personality).  He said he couldn't remember anyone else's names.  Or who he sat next to at lunch.  Or if he even ate lunch or just threw it out.  Very tight lipped my little one is.  Funny part is when we went to a Welcome to School Picnic a week later, he was like the mayor.  Rolled down our car windows and was shouting names and hellos as we drove past.  Its just an adjustment period.  Everyday is getting easier for him and I couldn't be prouder of the little academic he is becoming.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

66 Months

Exhibit A

This summer has been so brutally hot.  We moved into this fabulous home with all of these lovely cross breeze wide open windows.  So lovely but only really effective if there is a breeze.  Which, of course, there hasn't been.  I had made a big statement at the beginning of the summer, "No AC for us!!  Its easier just to not be in it at all."  I totally believe that.  However, when you get no relief for days and then decide to do cardio Pilates.  It's like inhaling sweaty hotness.  We really did put in a good effort though.  I finally had to cave when we woke up sweating, found you naked on the couch one too many times, and realized that surprise guests don't really like us playing Legos in our underwear.  I found a AC unit in the basement for your bedroom and one of your friends' mother took pity on us and gave us one for the den.  Even with both of them running it didn't make much of a dent.  I guess now I have time to prepare for next summer.
You took swim lessons at the beach again.  I was definitely being more diligent about it this year, simply because you are doing better with it.  You CAN swim.  You are just not a very confident swimmer.  Which I'm still not a confident swimmer, so I can relate, but I would like you to do better and the only way that is going to happen is if you spend more time in the water.  I've made a habit of having everything in the back of my car so we can just show up.  Then we would go to Gammy and Pa's after and shower there while Gammy cooked dinner.  They have better AC too.  Win and Win.  Total winning all around.

So, Pa decided one afternoon that he was going to come down and watch you at swim lessons.  You have been spending lots of time together having light saber battles, as if your bond wasn't strong enough already.  I think you just got excited and wanted to show off a little.  After lesson, you were paddling around with one of the kick-boards while Pa and I stood on the shore.  You got out a little farther then I would have liked and when I called you back in you lost your balance a little. You started struggling, bobbing up and down a little. I yelled at Pa.  I thought you were going down.  I guess I rattled Pa a little and he froze.  I jumped in.  Clothes and all.  You would have been fine.  I know that.  But in that split second decision, I wasn't really prepared to just sit around and watch what happened.  We all laughed about it afterwards.  Even you.  Who almost drowns AT swimming lessons?!?!  With like 12 lifeguards standing around!

We spent a considerable amount of time this month car shopping.  Both of us were surprisingly nostalgic to see Geraldine Ford Escape go.  I am not sure I was really ready actually but her mileage was getting up there and I wanted to trade her while I could still get a good price.  We had some great times with her and she had been a REALLY great car for us.  A far cry from the buyers remorse I had when I first bought her.  It took us both a long time to decide on what we wanted to trade her in for.  Believe me, you had QUITE an opinion.  And when we finally did decide, it was quite a surprise on all of us.  We ended up taking home an Audi Q5. (Which I named Heidi Das Audi and you call Hans) The Extravagance!!  The Luxury!! The heated leather seats!! The panoramic sunroof!!  The little light above your seat that you can turn on to read!! Honestly, I never ever would have imagined myself in a car this nice.  But she drives like a dream and after the test drive I was hooked.  Then after much haggling, we took her home. (You know I have to get a good deal).  The really pathetic part is, I almost started crying when I turned over the keys of Geraldine.  And you kept asking when could we go back and get her.  "Can't we just have both" you whined.

I have a point to telling all this, I promise.  I know that buying a car, is, well, just buying any other material possession.  But I learned quite a deal in this whole experience.  Ever since I had you, most of my energies have been focused on you.  Your needs, your wants, saving money for what you will eventually need, college funds, etc.  Of course, that is extremely important and I am grateful I have been able to provide all that you have needed.  However, I think I forgot that it was OK for me to want something.  I am a good mom, and I could afford to treat myself to something I wanted.  So, instead of taking a possibly more frugal, more conservative option, I decided that I was worth it.  That we were worth wanting something better.  Even if it was material.  Wyatt, I want you to remember, that YOU are worth it.  After you are done saving, and providing, and meeting your responsibilities; my darling Wyatt, treat yourself but only when all those other things are done first.  Thats a life lesson right there.  Write it down.

I love you every single day,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

65 Months

My Love,

I think it is finally safe to say that we are officially moved in to our new home.  Yes, I know that we have been here for a few months now (we still don't have curtains and I can't find anything in the kitchen) but it takes time to adjust things to the way we like them.  You are pretty particular about how your toys are organized.  I tend to KEEP everything in its place but you definitely WANT everything in its place.  If there is one toy where its not usually I am sure to hear about it.  But overall, its home.  I love hearing you say 'Let's go home.'  I love when you want to invite the family over our house for dinner.  And definitely when you want to help me get the house 'ship shape and nice' and follow me around dusting.  Yup, that is definitely my favorite.

To celebrate we had a big housewarming party.  We invited some of the new neighbors, friends, family, and of course waited until Nana and Grandpa were home to really take it full circle.  We set up tables in the front yard so people could come and go as they pleased.  You ran around with the kids from the block and gave tours of the house when asked.  Basically, your favorite spots including your room and the den.  I am guessing that most everyone wanted to see the house not just all your toys but it was cute how proud you were.  By the end of the night, there were a few select people getting drunk in our den, eating left overs, and gossiping.  It felt like the beginning of something wonderful.  Like us moving in to this home, that I already loved, has begun to open doors for us.  That we are going to have more room to let love in.  Maybe it was just a good party, who knows.

You also graduated from pre-school!!!  And it was adorable!!!  Of course. You were all dressed like little chefs that had 'cooked up' your ABC's all year long.  You enthusiastically sang songs and walked across the church to get your diploma. They passed out a book with a picture of what each kid wanted to be when they grew up.  You decided you wanted to be a mailman because you liked getting packages.  That was definitely surprising.  I wanted your day to be extra special so after the ceremony you, me and Dad hopped on a train to the city. I promised you a trip to FAO Schwartz.  For some reason, despite all our trips we had never made it there.  It really is a magical place and seems a little more organized then the Toys R Us in Times Square.  I let you pick out a Lego set which took about an hour.  No joke.  You must have looked at every set 4 times each before making a decision.  Then we met Hayley and Pawel for dinner, maybe a little selfishly.  It is really a rare occurrence that the 3 of us are ever in the same city so I had to take advantage.  And pretty much the trick is, whenever there is a lego involved, you are bound to have a good time.

I am not sure if it is because we have been together more then normal or if there is any reason at all but you seem to be a little more loving then normal.  I wanted to say attached to me but that is not the case.  It is just that you are showing your affection towards me in a whole new way that is entirely too endearing.  Maybe it is because you once had several people that fawned on you all the time (who still do but see you less often) and now you just have me fawning on you everyday.  The other night you called me into your room, "Momma, I'm feeling a little snugglish.  Can you lay with me?"  Yes, of course.  How can I say no to that?  Once we were all settled, I started feeling these tiny kisses on my hand that was draped around you.  I kissed you back and in your sleepiness you said "Momma, when I kiss your it goes through your blood to your heart that's like a love meter.  So you can feel me loving you."  My sweetheart, my love meter is off the charts for you.  You make everyday better.  And I will always be there when you feel snugglish.

I love you everyday,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

House - Phase Two

I have the most amazing memories in this living room.  From hours spent with family eating cheese and crackers on the floor. A thousand Christmas' with the room close to bursting with family, wrapping paper, and stocking presents.  Nights spent with high school friends drinking illegally while my grandparents were in Florida.  In my memory it has never changed.  It couldn't have always been those plaid couches with that stencil on the wall but it feels like it has.  Changing the kitchen was hard for me but this room was worse.  It was Nana's kitchen but this was where I spent most of my time.  The plaid couches aren't really my style but I wanted to preserve the feel of the room, the memories, the happiness. 

I changed the couches but they are still in the same spots.  Ikea really is amazing (and really the only thing I can afford!)  I have yet to replace the curtains.  After all the changes I have made I can't seem to decide on curtains.  Its weird.  But for the most part, I left this room alone.  I repainted.  I refinished the floors through the entire downstairs.  I replaced and put up moldings.  But for the most part I kept the layout the same.  With the piano, the fireplace, the gorgeous arboretum, and the family as the focus.  Can we talk about the rug for a minute?!  I got the floors redone. (AMAZING!!  An incredible oak pattern in the living room and cherry in the dining room.) And then I bought these rugs on  Yes, overstock.  The first one was so beautiful and plush and just incredible that I ordered another one for the dining room, and a runner for up the stairs, and a different pattern for my bedroom.  Best purchase ever.  I kept the coffee table because I always loved it.  But it turns out that a Great Uncle made it for them.

One of the big changes that I decided to make (with the encouragement of Gammy) was to switch the dinning room and den.  Originally, in the Cape style house, the den was off to the back of the house, with the staircase going up the middle of the house it was kind of hidden.  The dinning room was the bright one with the gorgeous bay window off the kitchen. 

So, after a lot of help moving outlets, I switched them.  And got new carpet installed because there was no hardwood flooring in this room which kinda seemed appropriate for a den.  I also installed 3 ceiling fans mostly myself with Dads help throughout the house.  Go me. I have to say it is a choice that makes sense.  It gets the most sun in the morning.  Its directly off the kitchen, the rooms where Wyatt and I spend the most of our time.  It is also kind of removed from the stairs so I can watch a movie without worrying about waking Wyatt upstairs.   And, clearly, this is where we spent our first night's pouf party.

Lastly, downstairs, is the den.  Ahh the deer heads and the tiny couch.  My Grandpa spent a majority of his time here.  It was cozy, manly, always very dark.  The deer heads still creep me out.  I actually had to vacuum them at one time during this process.  It was terrifying.  They now live in the basement and they love it down there until they find another permanent home. (Ebay, anyone?) 

I tried to take the exact same pictures (although the before was with my phone and after with my Nikon) and I am pretty proud of myself when I see the side by side.  First, the chair rail.  This was the first one I have ever done by myself.  I say myself but it was with the help of my friend Jon.  I pretty much bossed him around and gasped when I thought he was cutting it wrong and I nailed it up.  It is beautiful.  And even though it is my least used room, I love it the most.  I think its classic and inviting and just big enough for a dinning room; comfortable but still cozy.

 Another dining room shot just to show off the floors.  Most of the downstairs is oak that I kept very light.  But the dining room turned out to be cherry.  The floor guys recommend that I stain it to try to keep it the same as the rest of the house.  I refused.  I made them leave it natural.   Throughout the house there is oak, cherry and pine. It tells the story of the house.  How my Great grandfather took the bits that he had and made it himself.  I love the history of it, let it be.  I love the rugs but I almost wish I got a smaller size in the living room just to show the floors off.

Finally I just wanted to show a picture from the kitchen into the den. I think it really shows how far along it has come.  Yes, a lot of it is painting.  The only thing I haven't painted yet is the stairway hallway. I've painted almost every wall, ceiling, molding, and radiator in the house. I picked out three colors for the majority of the house.  A blue, a green and a white.  My thought was to have all three color be seen in each room.  So the den has three blue walls and one green looking into the kitchen that has three white walls and one green.  It sounds chaotic.  Even to me.  But somehow it works.  From every person who has been here, they say how nice the flow is.  How homey everything is.  How it just feels comfortable, like you want to grab a drink from the fridge and stay a while.  Of course that is what you strive for but sometimes it doesn't quite get there.

PS. Don't you love that Wyatt is almost in the exact same spot in both pictures. Look closely.  He's a ham.

Upstairs coming up next...