Spring!

It took a long, long, time to get here. Something about this winter felt harder than usual, even though apparently last winter was colder. The cold, the snow, the darkness lingered. It held on and at some point I genuinely wondered how I would deal with a perpetual winter. Would I learn to deal with the cold? Would I whine less? Would I finally find a hat and gloves that kept me warm?

But then: Spring. It’s here, finally, and it feels great.

Spring! Finally!

Bunny Day

Holidays are tricky. Every family celebrates them differently. Beyond that fact that some families celebrate Passover and others celebrate Easter, and others yet do something different entirely or nothing at all, the way that they are celebrated is different. Some families go all out, with large presents, while others do no more than an easter egg hunt. For some families it’s a religious holiday, and for others it is completely secular. The emphasis of the day can be so different.

For us, Easter is about family. It’s about an Easter Egg Hunt. It’s about delicious food, stories, companionship, and, obviously, candy.

For us, for some reason that was probably not discussed ahead of time, the Easter Bunny is the one who hides the eggs for the hunt.

Similar to Christmas, though, I want the credit for the good stuff. The Easter Bunny may be awesome at putting jelly beans in plastic eggs, but I want the credit of the adorable Lego mini figure, the tiny Cars car, and the amazing little Iron Man toy, stuffed inside of the eggs.

Easter 2015

A few nights before Easter, I told Alex that maybe we could have two hunts this year. We could have the Easter Bunny Hunt, inside, in the morning, and then we could have a second hunt later in the day after everyone else arrived.

“How do you know the Easter Bunny will hide them inside?”

I mumbled something about the weather, and who knows, and that whatever the Easter Bunny did would be fine and we would still be able to do a second hunt later!

“So, you talk to the Easter Bunny, then?”

“What do you think, Alex?”

“TELL ME! Mom! I want to know! Do you talk to him? Do you know him? How do you know him?”

These are questions I don’t like and am not prepared to answer. I mean, what does a fictional human sized bunny look like? Does he talk? Is he as tall as Daddy? How does he get in our house? I hope he doesn’t hide the candy outside like last year because last year there were ants in some of the eggs. Where does he get the candy? Why does he give us candy? And sometimes toys? I can’t lie. But I also can’t tell the truth.

I simply told him that I was unable to answer his questions.

Like a spy or something.

Fortunately, he accepted that. And we moved on.

Easter 2015

And Easter was wonderful. We did two hunts! Both indoors, at his request, with the second hunt being, “harder! The Easter Bunny barely hid them at all. I literally saw an egg when I woke up. Like, I literally woke up and there was an egg right there, mom.”

So, I hid them in actual hiding places. Instead of placing them on a couch cushion, on the TV stand, in the fruit basket, I actually hid them. Inside drawers, behind cabinets, under tables.

Today we found another egg. I wonder how many more remain.

Easter 2015

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

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Can't beat this view. (Feb 15)

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FINALLY. (Mar 1)

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

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Gaining Big Kid Status

Alex held on to his baby teeth for as long as he could. We even have adorable first grade pictures with all of his baby teeth still in a row. His little smile remained little for almost as long as I would have liked. (I mean, I could have used a few more years of Little Alex, let’s be honest.)

But now? Now they’re leaving. Each one falls out and his smile changes again. The big teeth are coming in and suddenly wham! there is a Big Kid looking back at me.

Playing

The second top tooth is hanging on for dear life. It must know that I’m not yet ready for him to a Big Kid. I like my Little Kid just fine, thank you.

But it’s not going to last. In fact, if he comes home from school without it today I won’t be surprised. If he comes home from school today knowing ten new words, multiplication, and spouting Nietzsche, I won’t be surprised. It’s all happening so fast.

February 2015

Some Days, Part 2

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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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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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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.

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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.

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