Disney: It’s Happening

The pitiful paid time off that I was given during my various jobs as a nurse never left much wiggle room for vacations. We were very luckily able to make a Parents-Only-Romantic-Vacation happen not just once, but twice, during the last few years thanks to going at really random times, saving up a year’s worth of paid time off, and, most importantly, amazing, phenomenal, grandparents who were willing to watch Alex while we sat on beaches. Other than that, it was a rarity for me to even manage a few days off around the holidays.

Each and every time I got sick, which sadly was pretty often, meant that I had to use paid time off. Every day I spent at home nursing a fever, my own or Alex’s, meant a day that I couldn’t take a vacation. Every time I needed to go to an appointment, deal with a household situation, fix my car…

(And I shouldn’t even complain. I had a paying job. I had paid time off. It was just…not well done where I worked.)

Now that we only have to worry about Zach’s time off, and getting Alex out of school, it became pretty obvious that we had to do something special. Something pretty amazing. Something that the whole family would love.

Disney World. It’s happening.

Disney 2015

We leave next month for four nights in Disney, after which we will spend three nights with my wonderful grandparents who live a few hours away. Being able to combine two trips that we have been meaning to take for a long time is pretty awesome. Disney World will surely be intense, and then being able to spend a few nights recovering by a pool, leisurely reading, walking around, and generally relaxing with family? Pretty amazing.

Disney 2015

Needless to say, we are pretty stoked. I’ve never been to Disney World, and Zach hasn’t been since he was a child. Alex has obviously never been, and, if you ask him, he’s “the only kid EVER” that hasn’t taken a trip to Disney World.

It’s going to be awesome.

Disney 2015

(Disney World lovers, people who have been only once, and people who have any level of opinion on these things: What are the Musts? Must See? Must Do? Must Eat? Must Watch? Must Skip?)

Some Days, Part 3

My little Valentine getting ready for bed. (Feb 14 part 3)

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Can't beat this view. (Feb 15)

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Another day of no school due to cold temps, so we recreated a picture from seven years ago. (Feb 20)

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Date night is happening. Dropping Alex off. EF you, winter. (Feb 21)

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My cuddly dudes. Love coming home from tap class to them! (Feb 25)

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FINALLY. (Mar 1)

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Breakfast with a ninja on snow day number 3. (Mar 5)

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Red dress for (double) date night! (Mar 7 part 2)

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Some Days, Part 2

Playing cards with the small person. (Jan 19 part 2)

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Pippin date night! (Jan 22 part 2)

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Drive back home from upstate NY. (Jan 25)

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Hair looks awesome even after being in a bun all night. Love my hairdresser. (Jan 30 part 2)

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Another one bites the dust (bottom left). (Jan 31)

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"BOOM, mom. Mind? Blown." (Feb 3 part 2)

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Looking lovely today, beautiful city. (Feb 5 part 2)

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Walking to the coffee shop! (Feb 7 part 2)

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Good night, little love. (Feb 10 part 2)

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Dressed up for the Valentine's Day party. (Feb 13)

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Not What I Wanted To Pass Down

Alex is a mini Zach. He looks so much like him. They have similar attitudes and personalities. Their interests are aligned. They are just two peas in a pod, and it’s wonderful.

I love to watch them together. They are so meant to be an amazing duo and it’s evident in nearly every interaction they have. Between the wrestling, Lego building, and comic book reading, they are just the best.

But! Alex is my kid, too. He isn’t only a mini Zach. He’s a mini Me, too, although it’s not always quite so obvious. We actually do look pretty similar as kids. He is very sensitive to the material his clothes are made of, something that surely drove my mom nuts when I was a kid, and is something I still, to this day, deal with. (Wool? ACK. MAKE IT GO AWAY.) He’s not particularly coordinated, so, sorry, Kiddo.

It turns out that he got one other thing from me. A tendency for cavities.

Alex has a cavity. It’s between two of his teeth, so I couldn’t see it. The dentist seemed really surprised, given that he never has had any issues and his teeth are “spotless!”…except for the cavity, clearly.

Needless to say, I was heartbroken. I felt like I had failed my child. “You had one job!” kept ringing through my head in an admittedly jokey way. Alex has a cavity and it’s my fault. I’m the one who is supposed to keep him healthy. I’m the one who is supposed to protect him.

I know it’s not my fault. I know that there is likely little to nothing we could have done to prevent it. And if we had prevented it, it probably would have happened eventually. We use a Sonicare, floss daily. He eats very few sweets, nothing gummy on a regular basis. He’s tasted soda maybe four times now in his life. Juice is a very special treat, and usually just when we are out. We do everything right. But it seems he may be like me and just, well, prone to cavities.

Fortunately, he’s not upset about this at all. “It’s a little bit of a bummer,” he told me after the dentist appointment last weekend. “But it’s okay. We’ll be even better!”

He’s not even nervous about them fixing it tomorrow. (I am.)

February 2015

He Still Fits, But Barely

“Stop being a jerk,” I told Alex as I stood up from our position on the couch, side by side, and walked away. He was refusing to listen. He kept sighing, loudly, and squirming, purposefully stalling, during his reading homework. He wouldn’t even look at the words to read them, and instead just blurted out whatever word he felt like. He was being rude, an ongoing issue, and not doing what I told him to do the first time. He had ignored multiple requests that afternoon. He yelled at me. Twice.

Within a few minutes, he was on the other side of our long couch, curled up in a ball, under a blanket, very upset. He wasn’t crying, but he wasn’t doing anything at all other than sitting there with a frown on his face.

I wiped the counter in the kitchen. I caught up on social media for a few minutes. I felt bad.

“I’m sorry I got upset with you, buddy,” I said as I walked back in to the room where Alex was staring blankly ahead.

“It’s okay,” he said, his voice sounding so small, so young, as I sat down next to him.

“I shouldn’t have called you a jerk. That wasn’t very nice of me, and I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings.”

He moved in closer to me, then stood up enough to sit on my lap.

Bringing his knees closer to his chest, his entire body taking up the length of mine, he tucked the blanket around us. “It’s okay,” he repeated. We talked about his behavior, why I got mad, what I should have done differently, and what he really, really, needs to work on (hint: it’s listening and doing what we say the first time, and being patient with himself and others when doing chores/homework/tasks).

I won’t have many more days to have him curled up in a ball on my lap. He’s so big, so grown up, so independent. He won’t want to cuddle with me forever.

It wasn’t a proud parenting moment. It was an exhausted, frustrated with behavior, unable to deal with the not listening, blurting-out-words parenting moment. It isn’t the first time I’ve said something mean to him, lost my temper and scolded him or yelled, and it won’t be the last.

We cuddled for less than a minute before he was up again, back to whatever activity he was doing before I interrupted him to do his reading assignment.

I don’t think he will remember this. I don’t think he will remember how he could fit so well on my lap for so many years, and then, suddenly, not. But I will. When the day comes when he no longer sits on my lap, I will grieve.

Calling him a jerk was not good. But the moment of calm and quiet, cuddled in the corner of the couch with a blanket tucked around me by my awesome kid? That was good.

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Some Days

I never succeeded in Project 365. Time and time again I failed miserably after a few weeks. I didn’t want to get out my camera, find a real subject, and click away. I didn’t want to work at it every day. But the thing is: I take pictures nearly every day anyway.

On my phone.

So, a picture a day, on Instagram, seemed like a reasonable thing for me to try to do.

And I figure I should share some of those shots here every once in a while.

These boys. (Jan 1)

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Snack time. (Jan 7 part 2)

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Photo booth fun. (Jan 11)

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Good morning, sleepyhead. (Jan 14)

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Hair is getting long again. Whee! (Jan 17 part 2)

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I think this is a goal I’ll be able to manage reasonably well. I have no doubt I’ll miss a few days here and there, but it will be nice to look back and have something from most days of 2015.

Instagram

We Just Were

For as long as I can remember, weekends have stressed me out. This is particularly true of Sundays, and any friends (especially poor Zach) can attest to that fact. Fridays felt great, but by Saturday and especially by Sunday, I was a walking, talking, annoying, frustrated human being. There is so much to do I thought every second of every minute of Sunday (and even parts of Saturday). I would tell myself to stop, there isn’t that much to do, our house isn’t that dirty, and maybe you can do some laundry during the week (even though you’ll be totally wiped from work and cooking and cleaning and okay…it’ll never get done that way)?

But I’ve always had this sense that people are relaxed during the weekend. That people are able to unwind the tightly wound knot we all put ourselves into every week. Mostly, it seemed to me that weekends are designed so that you don’t stress out. That in between school or work lived these days designed to help you not worry about school or work. I mean, aren’t weekends supposed to be this magical two-day period wherein everyone takes a deep breath and sits down? (Surely, thinking that life could be relaxing while also being totally maintained is one of the reasons I got so stressed out.)

Instead of this ideal I had created in my head of drinking tea while the house is somehow put together on it’s own, weekends were a flurry of activity and of Hurry-Up-And-Get-Ready-For-The-Week. During school, I studied, did homework, and prepared for the week. When I worked, I did errands, chores, and prepared for the week. I never relaxed. I never did, well, nothing. I never took a deep breath and sat down.

Rock Hunting

Last weekend was our last bit of vacation after a lovely break, where both Alex and Zach were off for a solid two weeks. We watched movies, celebrated holidays, and had a generally amazing time. The time was coming to a close, though, as Zach was going back to work on Monday while Alex was heading back to school. I knew that this would be the first week of my new job, my new life as a stay at home mom.

I felt anxious all day Sunday. There is so much laundry to do. Where is Alex’s lunchbox? We have no food in the house. What will I make for dinner tomorrow? Oh no, what will everyone pack for lunch? The house is a mess. The Christmas tree is still up! and on and on and on. I tried to take a deep breath and sit down.

But how do you take a deep breath and sit down when your house is a mess and there’s no food in your refrigerator? When you are ready to start your family back on track to healthy meals and regular exercise, and all you can do is order food? When you want to make sure you have clean clothes and that your son has his favorite sweater to wear for the first week back? How do you take a deep breath and sit down when there is so much to do?

Fortunately, it was an unseasonably warm day, so Alex helped me take a deep breath and sit down: he wanted to go on a rock hunt.

Rock Hunting

I let the thoughts leave my mind as I took a deep breath and reminded myself that my new life meant I could do laundry and grocery shop any time. We walked outside. We strolled up our street, looking for rocks on the sidewalk, slowly peering behind trees, and then strolled back down the street, making sure to check around every possible corner. We weren’t running errands, we weren’t doing chores, we weren’t doing anything that would prepare for everyone’s first week back after a long vacation.

We just were.

Rock Hunting