Friday, December 28, 2012

Just a little peek into all the Christmas fun we had this year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Here comes Santa Claus

Last year's visit to Santa involved waiting outside in the freezing cold, while Nathan had the best time playing with the other kids and looking inside the windows into Santa's "house". Fast forward to when we finally reached the front of the line and the doors opened and we were welcomed in to see the big man in person and Nathan clung to my leg and refused to go anywhere near Mr. Claus. Sadly, we don't even have a picture because we couldn't peel him off my leg.

So, this year we made some changes. Instead of the adorable little house across the street from where we live (which involves waiting outside), this time we went to the crowded mall, which is heated!  We brought snacks and toys to keep Nathan entertained during the long wait. And most effective I think was that for the past week or two, we had been talking about meeting Santa. Reminding Nathan how friendly he is, how silly he is with his loud "Ho, Ho, Ho" laugh and that most importantly this is the guy who brings lots and lots of toys!!! So after waiting in line for over an hour, we were really hoping Nathan would be excited because Will and I had already agreed that if he got scared and didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, we wouldn't force him to.

I am happy to report that he did great. He happily sat on Santa's lap, playing with the jingle bell that was passed out to all the waiting kids. When Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he looked right at him and said "A lollipop." (Easy customer)

This year we got a picture. Next year, we'll work towards a smile. Baby steps.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The infamous fruit turkey

Growing up, we had big Thanksgivings with nearly 20 people which usually meant a turkey weighing in at more than twenty pounds. My mom got up at 5am to put the bird in the oven and we spent the day cleaning and cooking, preparing for the feast we looked forward to once a year. There was the formal adults table in the dining room and then there was the "kids" table in the living room.  We fought over who had to say grace and then began our meal with my Nana's fruit cocktail and sherbet  (This was so normal to me growing up but looking back at it, how strange to begin a meal with ice cream?!?!) We then proceeded to sit for way too long eating way too much food and loving every second of it. There were lots of people, lots of noise and lots of food.

Part of being married is learning to let go of the traditions you grew up with and embrace the new ones that come with gaining a second family. Since getting married, Will and I now spend our Thanksgivings in New York with his parents. It is a much smaller, much quieter holiday now but still just as lovely. (However, with with the addition of Nathan and soon to be Baby #2, I am sensing a little bit of the wonderful chaos I grew up with seeping back into the holiday.)

The first Thanksgiving we spent with Will's family, I will admit I had a small, emotional breakdown when I found out we weren't having turkey. NO TURKEY??? ON THANKSGIVING????? I couldn't even comprehend the words as they came out of Will's mouth. "But that's the whole point of Thanksgiving!! Eating  turkey!!" (Sure, there's the whole giving thanks for all the blessings in your life too, but at that moment, I could think of turkey, and nothing else.)

I told myself it wasn't a big deal and that I would prepare Will and I a traditional turkey dinner later that weekend to enjoy together. In addition, Will did a little research and found every single restaurant in NYC that would be serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner that weekend and let me know we could go to whichever one I wanted, bonus points for him that year. Deep down though, I was still a little sad on the morning of Thanksgiving to know that I would NOT be eating turkey. I'm sure a lot of that emotion had to do with spending my first Thanksgiving away from my family but on that day, I focused all of my emotions on the turkey-less dinner we would be having.

I'll never forget that day. As soon as we arrived for dinner, my mother-in-law (who must have heard that I was a little disappointed about the turkey, or lack thereof) turned to me with a big smile on her face and said "We have a turkey." Words can't describe how excited I was. In what felt like slow motion, I turned towards the table, eyes darting, searching frantically for the bird. And what I saw instead, there in the center of the table, was this....

The original fruit turkey

It was a fruit turkey, completely made by hand by my mother-in-law. "I saw it in a magazine at the dentist's office the other day, isn't it cute?" I don't even know how to properly describe what went through my mind in that moment. My heart sunk as my first thought was "That's not a real turkey" but then I immediately starting laughing and smiling at how thoughtful her gesture was. I had been so focused on how I felt about the changes that were happening, I hadn't given any thought to how they were feeling. Suddenly they had to welcome someone new to their holiday and instead of celebrating their usual way, they welcomed me with a fruit turkey, possibly the most thoughtful gift I've ever received.

Our first Thanksgiving together, 2008

In the years since, our meal has evolved. We now have a ham and a turkey. Sauteed vegetables and stuffing. Fruit turkey and pumpkin pie.The fruit turkey serves as our centerpiece every year and will always remind me of the first Thanksgiving we spent together as a family. To me, it symbolizes two families coming together, forming new traditions and making new memories. And that is certainly something to be thankful for.

Friday, November 9, 2012

My morning routine - 0 to 60

When Nathan wakes up in the morning, he is on. From the second his eyes open, his day has officially begun and I'd better keep up or get out of his way.

In those first 20 minutes when I am half asleep/half awake, I can change a diaper, find a missing Pooh Bear, brush a set of teeth that more often than not do NOT want to be brushed, whip up breakfast and put on a Barney episode that will hold his attention long enough so I can brush my own teeth, pour myself a bowl of cereal (which he will most likely eat half of even though his breakfast looks just as tasty) and if I'm lucky, pop a coffee pod into the Keurig.

A friend of mine, who does not have children, recently spent the night at our place and when Nathan came charging out into the living room he started up a full conversation with her. Her slow, hesitant response, eyes half open, was "Wow, you are a morning person!"

There are days when I miss taking a long hot shower, drinking a cup of coffee, half listening to what Matt and Al are talking about on The Today Show while I dry my hair, choose my outfit and put on my makeup while I get ready for "work." But then there are other days when Nathan does something adorable or says something hilarious over a bowl of cheerios and I remember that none of my morning meetings at work were ever this much fun.

People say children keep us young but I don't know about that.
When I compare the amount of energy I have to the amount he has... I'm feeling pretty old!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rock the Vote

Today is Election Day!!

Nathan hit the polls bright and early with my mom and dad.

And baby #2 snuck in with me right before closing.

We start them young around here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

For Nathan's first Halloween, he was only 6 months old and of course had no idea what was ever going on. We dressed him up like an adorable dragon and he happily obliged.

Last year he was a year and a half. Fully aware of costumes and but not sure how he felt about them. My first attempt was a semi-homemade family costume. Nathan was a hot dog and Will and I were Mustard and Ketchup. I thought this was great, Nathan was not quite on board.

So a last minute run to Target the day before Halloween and we were lucky to find a suitable alternative. Much more comfortable, Nathan trick or treated as Superman. 

This year, he picked out his own costume (he's had an obsession with frogs ever since my dad got him a little stuffed one a few months ago). He loves the costume and has happily worn it to more than one Halloween playdate, two Halloween festivals and even got his picture taken for our town's local newspaper wearing it. (We definitely got our $20 worth!!)

He had been practicing saying Trick or Treat for days before the big event. Trust me, he knew those were the magic words that would get him lots and lots of candy! Halloween night was definitely a success. We trick or treated in my parent's neighborhood and although he usually forgot his line by the time we got to the door, he was very good about saying Thank You each time he got a piece of candy.

We put him to bed at 8:30 and for the next 2 hours listened to him jump up and down in his crib singing the ABC's..... signs of a well deserved sugar rush. He finally crashed around 10:45 and when he woke up this morning he immediately asked where was his costume and when were we going to do trick or treat. So aside from the cruel reality that Halloween only happens once a year, and he's now got 364 days to wait for his next one, I would say our 3rd Halloween was our best so far!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Changes...big and small

It's hard to believe in just a few short months, we will be welcoming our second bundle of joy! Since this will be our second time around we are in on the secret and know that a very small person brings very big changes. So from now until March, I will be savoring my 8 hours of sleep each night as well as my 2-3 hour "breaks" during Nathan's afternoon nap. Both of those luxuries will pretty much be non-existent once Baby #2 shows up. But I guess an adorable little newborn is totally worth the sacrifice!

We have been trying to prepare Nathan as much as possible. He has been the center of our world for the past 2 1/2 years and although I am so excited for him to have a sibling, I worry that his tiny little world will be shaken up big time. We have stocked his bookshelf with lots of Big Brother/New Baby books. We talk about the baby in Mommy's belly, although according to Nathan it's in his belly. And we tell him all the exciting things he'll get to do as a big brother.

I have moments where I get very sad knowing he won't be my little baby anymore, that someone new will be taking over that title. However, the truth is that he he hasn't been a little baby for a long time. In the past couple months he has changed so much. I can carry on full, coherent conversations with him. He can dress himself including putting on his own about a time saver! And this week he learned how to pump on the big boy swing! In our little Chenivan world, it's the little things that bring us the biggest joys.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The black ring of defiance

Nathan loves taking baths. What he doesn't love is having his neck washed. Every single night he willingly lets me pour water over his head and his eyes to wash his hear but try to go near his neck? This kid has the reflexes of a jungle cat.

He bends his head down as low as it will go and yells "No tickle, no tickle" over and over. Apparently his neck is extremely ticklish! I try telling him "I have to clean your neck, it's my job." And then the screaming changes to "No it's your job, no it's your job."

I don't know what to do. On days that he's been out playing in the dirt, he can get really dirty and I've seen the infamous black line kids get in their little neck creases. If he doesn't let up on me soon, I'm going to have to invest in some turtlenecks. Good thing the fall weather is coming!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Driving Mr. Wonderful

We spent Labor Day wknd back in NYC and we had a great time hanging out with friends and family. Today's drive back was not ideal though because of the non-stop rain. However, after being stuck in the car for 7 hours (Rain = Traffic) and not feeling well due to an end of summer cold, my main squeeze never cried, or even fussed, the entire ride! He's done this ride so many times, since he was just 2 months old, that he is a pro now. He sings, he colors, he plays, and lately he carries on LONG conversations with me. We have never once used a DVD player or suffered through hour after hour of a children's CD. Did I luck out with this guy, or what??

**Disclaimer** Nathan does not drive naked. This is actually a picture from last week when we were driving home from the beach. His bathing suit is hidden beneath Winnie the Pooh. But the picture went with the driving theme so I used it anyway.