Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer Recap, part 1, the beach


I love summer. That's no surprise. I'm a teacher. The last bell rings and I am out as fast as possible. I love summer. Have I said that already?


So school finished. And when the snow days "stole" a day from the summer, I took leave. So school was officially out on Monday, but I was needed... at the BEACH!


Like two years ago, Colleen and I went for two weeks. Because every teacher needs time to unwind. This time, instead of dogs, Eliana came with us. And instead of pictures of us drinking... there were adorable pictures of my monster at the beach.



Eliana spent the first few days eating sand. And chasing Colleen's niece around the kitchen. She learned how to sit in a chair like a big girl, and how wonderful corn is to eat. We spent almost all day at the beach. Playing in the sand, in a little pool, napping on momma.

 

Could life be any better?



In the middle of the trip, we paused. We had reason to celebrate! Colleen is getting married this Fall. And so there was a bachelorette party. Filled with dinner, beach, and drinks. And that's all you get to know. Because it's not your business.



When we left Colleen, we were not done with the beach. We spent the weekend with Allan & Gail, on a boat.


Then we spent a week exploring Ocean Pines with Linda. We spent time at the beach, visited the boardwalk, and played in the park.




And then we went home. This was a lovely way to start the summer. We were able to spend time apart, and time together. We were able to be with friends and family. I love the summer. I love playing with our family and friends. And this was the PERFECT way to get us started!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

And thus starts the summer season

So I wrote this post 6 weeks ago. And a lot has happened since then. I haven't been able to come back and finish this post until now. In order to leave room for healing. 

Happy Memorial Day! Happy first weekend of SUMMER!!! And like Reese's do, ours was JAM-PACKED!

Friday afternoon, we were supposed to close on the townhouse, but life got in the way and the buyers' realtor is a real pain in the butt. So that didn't happen.

Saturday morning we woke up and went for a hike up Sugarloaf. Matt wanted to try out his new backpack, and I went along (against my wishes, but changed my mind in the end) to help him take care of her (READ: to change her diaper on my lap instead of him) and make sure she was okay during the hike. Didn't want to overwhelm her with change and such. It was AWESOME! It was a nice hike and fun to spend the time together as a family.

Saturday afternoon we went to Brew at the Baltimore Zoo. We bought tickets to a beer tasting event with live music and food. Last summer we went to an event like this at National Harbor and had a great time. Brew at the Zoo? Even better, because we got to go to the zoo again. And Eliana LOVES the zoo. It is filled with DOGS! And she loves watching all the animals. Especially when they jump and walk and move. The monkeys are the best.

Sunday morning/afternoon we had music and then went to share a late lunch with the Reese's. Also Matt needed a haircut. It's always nice to see family and for Eliana to show everyone how big she has gotten.

Then we spent the evening with Ken & Jordan. We grilled. Played in Eliana's water table (thanks Liz ~ it gets a TON of action!!) Had a bonfire (thanks Grandma ~ we LOVE IT!!)

Monday. We made friends and found ourselves a babysitter. I had a student come over to play. They had a wonderful time. Then we grilled lunch. Colleen & I went out for some lite shopping. Came home and took Eliana to the pool ~ which was suprisinly an EPIC FAIL! She loved the water over winter break. But it was just soooooo cooooold. So we got in the kiddie pool, and she face-planted. And that was the end of that.

When we got home, we realized that Misty had not really moved in a couple hours. She wasn't sitting up or even looking up when we moved around. In fact, she couldn't seem to find us when we called out for her. Misty had another stroke. (She had one 2 years ago, about this time). So we gave her motion sickness meds (that's what they told us to do last time) and I took her to the vet. They agreed with me that she had had a mini stroke, but with anti nausea and motion sickness meds, she could make a full recovery.

So that was our weekend. It started off so well. We had so much fun this weekend - and almost entirely as a family. We just hope we finish the week as a family of 5 not a family of 4.

And here I begin again.
Misty did not get better. Two years ago she had a stroke. And within a week, she was mostly back to normal. She could walk around. She could take herself outside. She went on vacation with me to the beach. Misty did not get better. On Wednesday I made THE decision. It was one of the hardest and easiest decisions I ever made. I knew that I didn't want to prolong her life (in pain) just to be there for me. I knew I needed to be there for her. And so we took her in. She lay down with her on the floor. I was right in front of her kissing her nose. And we said our goodbyes. It was the right move.

These last 6 weeks have been weird. It's odd to only have one dog, and have that dog be Bones. It has been an adjustment. But I remember her healthy ~ running around the backyard chasing deer a few years ago. I remember her playing in the stream after a particularly long walk. I remember her INTENSE LOVE of snow!


And here she is when we first met

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lessons learned

Becoming a parent is hard work. You are thrown into the deep end with no instructions on how to survive. You get all sorts of unwanted advice and some that you want. But most of the time we play with trial and error and we learn from our mistakes. So here are some of the lessons I have learned the hard way.

  1. don't wake her up unless you mean it.
  2. Don't let her nap until 9 p.m. And definitely don't be naive and think she will sleep through the night after that nap.
  3. Trust your instincts and ignore the advice of well meaning family members and friends. If you wanted their opinion you would ask for it, but that doesn't mean you are going to act on it. And that's okay.
  4. Stick to your guns even when it hurts. If you want to breastfeed or use cloth diapers do it because it's important to you, but don't give up because it's hard. You don't know if you can be successful until you try. And if you quit just because it's hard you might regret it later. And don't let someone talk you out of it just because it might be easier.
  5. Be willing to make mistakes so that you can learn from them. Learning how to be a parent is one of the hardest things I am learning how to do. But when she smiles in her sleep, it is absolutely rewarding. Even though it is not intentional.
  6. It's okay to call the pediatrician every time you have a question. And it's okay to call your daycare provider too. They both have a better idea of what is going on and more experience than  you. Why not use it? It's what they are there for. To help you out. Ask questions - especially the dumb ones. You will feel so much better having asked them.

  7. As the parent you get to make the rules for everyone else interacting with your child. You can say no to your mother and mother-in-law. They were both upgraded to Grandmother status and are not in charge. Tell them no ahead of time instead of correcting them afterwards. I still struggle to tell my mom to stop doing things that make me uncomfortable with Eliana - because she is my mom. I am getting better about it, but it is hard.
  8. Go with it. You never know what she is going to show you. She could show you how to sit, crawl, walk, talk, share, smile, go down the slide face first. You just never know. So take a breath, let her hold your hand, and smile. Your child is about to do something amazing. 

I love being a mom. I love it so much. I can't imagine my life without that little Jellybean. She has taught me so much and changed the way I live my life. She has mellowed most (not all) of my rough edges and made me more able to go with the flow. 

My favorite memories of these last 14 months? When she smiled at me for the first time. She held my hand for the first time. She hugged me. Her face lit up as I walked into the room.  In fact, it does every morning as I go in to wake her up. When she calls for Mama at daycare - Marilyn tells her that Mama is there, and she calls for me. I love it. 

Happy Mother's Day to me this year and every day that I am blessed to be a mom and the Mom in this family and house. It is a blessing. And I am thankful for having the opportunity to learn every day from an amazing little runt.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Let's recap

So much has happened in the last two months. I don't even know where to start. Let's go back to the beginning of March...

So we bought a house, you knew that. And two week later Miss Eliana turned the BIG ONE! We had a lot of fun celebrating her birthday. It was a fun filled weekend with tons of family and friends. On Friday Mommy took the day off from work to bake 80 cupcakes. Friday night, Tia Sarah came down to spend the weekend with us. Saturday morning, the parties began.

Grammy Linda hosted a party for the family. All her Grandparents were there, aunts and uncles, and family friends. We ate fajitas, opened presents, and ate cupcakes. All in all a great day.

On Sunday, we hosted all our friends for one last party in the townhouse. It was bittersweet. But we had a great time celebrating how big this little girl grew.

After that party, it was full steam ahead, in terms of packing. We had two more weeks until we officially had the new house and could start moving, but the townhouse felt empty. We were getting things ready for professional pictures and an open house.

Tuesday April 1. We settled on the house. We dropped Eliana off at daycare and walked through the new house for a last time (to see if they finished the work) and went to sign the papers. 45 minutes later - we were home owners of TWO HOMES. Oh crap. We spent the afternoon in the house. I painted Eliana's room and installed the closet systems. Matt & Ken spent the day unloading the mini storage unit.

We spent every afternoon of the next two weeks in the new house getting it ready for the big move. Matt... did whatever he was doing... lots of noise and dust. He moved tools and materials. I spent time unpacking the kitchen, unpacking fragile stuff, and making the beds.

Thursday April 4 - We spent our first night in the new house. We then got up Saturday morning for a very quick trip up to CT. My parents were being honored at their Temple fundraiser.

Wednesday April 8, we slept in the townhouse for the VERY LAST TIME.

Thursday April 9. We officially moved into the new house. Eliana slept in her crib in the new house and we loved every second of it.







Friday April 10. I took the day off from work and unpacked the house. Linda came over to help keep me on track and motivated. We made a Home Depot run. We finished packing the townhouse (it had almost nothing left in it at this point). And Linda was able to experience first hand how much clothing I owned as we put it away and hung it all up in the closet...

Saturday April 11. We have the best friends in the world. When we moved into the townhouse 6 years ago, Tim & Ken helped us move - and by us, I mean me. Matt rented a 24 foot truck. His stuff filled 4 feet, and my stuff filled 20 feet. Be aware I had all the furniture for the WHOLE HOUSE except for his bed. Fast forward to present day, we weren't sure they were going to be willing to help us again, but they did and this time it worked out in Tim's favor. Ken had helped us on the first move date, and little did any of us realize, he did the bulk of the moving. That Saturday morning, Tim & Sarah, Alicia, and Phil all showed up nice and early to help us move. All that was left was furniture and some random odds and ends. They all met up at 8am. I got there at 8:30, after Linda came to watch Eliana. By 9am we were done. By 10 am the furniture had all been placed and reassembled.

This was the easiest move I have ever seen. Every afternoon we unpacked and every evening we packed again for 10 days. It made the move so manageable. BEST MOVE EVER.

And in the last month we have done a ton. Matt has planted grass in the backyard; installed attic vents (read all about it on HIS BLOG), and spent a lot of time on the phone with comcast trying to keep our Internet working. I have hung lots of our artwork, the photos are still considered in progress. We had friends over for an impromptu BBQ - turns out the backyard is wonderful (if you don't need shade), we set up a water table for Eliana and co. We've had visitors, Beth, Grandpa, all sorts of closer friends. And most importantly, we've moved in. It feels like our house.

It's crazy to think of the last 6 years we spent in the townhouse as over. But they are. We have a lot of great memories from there - doing renovations with Gerry, painting every room at least 3 times, getting married, Thanksgiving, Ken's birthday celebrations, dancing in the dining room, adopting Bones, the first pregnancy, bringing home Eliana, Eliana's firsts: smiles, hugs, sitting up, words, crawling, steps, just to name a few. It was more than a house, it was our home.

I am really looking forward to making this new house into our new home. I hope you enjoy this new journey with us. Thanks for all your support through the last one.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Month 12. My big 1 year old!

Miss Eliana turned the BIG ONE! We had a lot of fun celebrating her birthday. It was a fun filled weekend with tons of family and friends. On Friday Mommy took the day off from work to bake 80 cupcakes. Friday night, Tia Sarah came down to spend the weekend with us. Saturday morning, the parties began.

Grammy Linda hosted a party for the family. All her Grandparents were there, aunts and uncles, and family friends. We ate fajitas, opened presents, and ate cupcakes. All in all a great day.

On Sunday, we hosted all our friends for one last party in the townhouse. It was bittersweet. But we had a great time celebrating how big this little girl grew.


There have been a lot of developmental milestones recently too.
  • Eliana talks constantly. She always has. But now she points to things and yells at us about them (it's cute). Some of her words include: Mama, Dada, Matt, Bones, up, this, that, NO!, juice, dog, thank you. She has starting repeating us as well. Marilyn (our daycare provider - who is beyond AMAZING) says "here you go" when she hands something to Eliana. So Eliana said it to Matt when she handed him a toy. She told Bones to "get down" right after I did also. Time to start watching what we say.
  • She definitely understands what we are saying too. When I tell her it's time to change her diaper, she walks straight to her bedroom. She knows where to go for juice, milk, and cheese. And she will dance on command - with or without music.
  • Eliana is a full on runner at this point. She has been cruising around the furniture for months. Definitely since end of January. Around Valentine's Day she took a few steps and then wouldn't do it again. She started letting go of furniture and walking a few steps to another piece of furniture around the end of March. By the big move, she was walking all by herself. She walked with her arms out like a zombie, but she was walking. Now, 2 months later, we are running. And we are running fast.
  • Recently, Eliana has been bringing her teddy bear with her out of her crib (shame on us I know because now Teddy comes out of her crib and he didn't until recently). And wanting to get him dressed. She understands the mechanics of getting dressed and doesn't need help to get her arms in her shirt (mostly). She tries to put T-shirts and socks on her Teddy, but struggles. She was so upset last week when Teddy's shirt came off by accident. Maybe a onesie will work better?




And just to remember how far we have come...





And today you are 14 months old and I love you more than words can write. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

BIG NEWS!!!

So it's official. WE ARE MOVING. We have purchased a NEW HOUSE!

So from the beginning. After Eliana was born, and we were home on maternity/paternity leave, and we were stir crazy. We started going to open houses, because we like going through other people's homes. At one of these open houses, we met our realtor. She was amazing (and very patient with us).

At some point in the Summer, we decided to call it and stop looking. Our budget was too low, the houses were too small, things just weren't adding up and working in our favor. And then right after Christmas, we decided to look again. There were houses that were in our budget. And they were real houses.

So we found a house. It had 5 bedrooms, 2 HUGE living rooms, and a fully finished basement. And it was under budget. We put in a bid. And they decided they weren't interested in selling. In the end, it was a good thing. That house would have been beyond too big for us and we would have been in way over our heads. Especially when it came to heating it over the winter. That would have sucked.

So pause again. But only momentarily. We ran the numbers again. We modified our search. We found some homes we liked. We found some seriously TERRIFYING homes. There were a few houses we walked out of and talked about how they were the beginnings of horror stories.

Fast forward again. Maybe 3 weeks. We were looking. Again. We found a house. 4 bedrooms, 4 full baths, a 2 car garage, an additional family room. Split level.  A flip. A brand new kitchen. And space to grow.

We put in an offer. We knew there was a second offer. We knew we would hear back that weekend. Happy Valentine's Day. I got the call in Bed Bath. They took the other offer. I deflated. We really liked this house. But would we be the backup offer? Have you ever heard of that? I hadn't. But sure. Why not. 3 days later, we found out the first offer fell through because of financing. HAH! That's what you get for not knowing your finances. And so the house was ours!

We had the home inspection on Friday. And while it didn't pass. They agreed to all our demands. And so I would like to introduce you to the new house.


We are already packing. The pictures are all off the walls. The walls are being patched and painted. This house is already beginning to say its goodbyes to us. We have taken furniture out of the house to put in storage. It is official. We are moving.

11 Months

I can't believe that there is less than one month until my baby girl is no longer a baby. It's crazy. I can't believe how much my life has changed in the last year.

But this month. Because I was paying attention!!

  • Upgraded from 5 teeth to 6 teeth. Eliana currently has 2 on the bottom and 4 on the top. And she bites like a ravenous shark. SO PAINFUL!
  • She can officially go down the one step from our dining room to our living room. I showed her (by pushing her) for an hour and she had no interest. So I left it alone. A week later, she did it all by herself! And then she did it 3 more times to make sure I wasn't seeing things!
  • At daycare she has weaned herself off of her morning nap. That is NOT the case at home. But that's okay too.
  • Eliana eats more people food than bottles now. She gets bottle around naptime and bedtime, but that's it. She prefers to feed herself. We went out to dinner this week and she was frustrated that I insisted on feeding her from the fork since we had no placemat for her food.
  • Eliana can walk assisted. She will be a force to be reckoned with - she will only walk where she wants to go. If you turn her body to go another way, she drops to her butt and refuses to walk with you anymore. Trust broken!

My snow babies!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cancun. Nuf Said.

We spent winter break in Cancun. 

We spent the week playing in the pool. Eating for hours. And having a generally AMAZING time. That's all. I mean seriously. What other words do you need? Really, you just need some pictures!



Get ready for some pictures!


 Napping. Everywhere and anywhere.


So happy in the pool!


YUM! 



No worries, I'll feed myself. 


Scuba diving. Emma's first time. 


Not Eliana's first time



El Meco.




More napping. More pool.