Saturday, December 11, 2010

e-readers

I've been reading a lot lately. Well a lot for me, anyway. I'm going through anywhere between 1 - 3 books each week. I've been asked on a few occasions if I'd like an "e-reader" for Christmas. When I was first asked, a few months ago, I was honestly more touched that anyone had noticed my new hobby, and less concerned with the actual questions. However, the more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea.
A lot of the fun in reading is picking up the book. I like the "task" of going to the library (yes, I borrow from the library), finding something new, and taking it home. I like the feeling of turning the pages. I like sitting cross-legged on my bed with a book in my lap. I like anxiously grabbing at the next page, waiting to be able to turn it. I just don't feel like I would enjoy reading if I were reading a book on a screen. Even when I read blogs I find that my style of reading completely changes. I'll skip over things, and am very easily distracted. With a book in my hand, I am in another world. I have to make a conscious effort to pull myself out of the story and interact with reality.
This got me thinking about technology in general, and how it is a completely double-edged sword. Yes, technology makes things easier, more efficient, and sometimes better. But it's also taking away a lot of life experience. Do kids know how to spell anymore? Why would they, there's always spell-check. Need to do a research paper? Who needs a library with the internet at your fingertips. Want to ask a friend a question? No need to dial the phone and have a conversation, which fosters social abilities... no no. Let's just shoot them a text, or e-mail, or facebook message, and avoid interpersonal relationships as a whole. Want to go buy groceries? Don't count on interacting with any humans while you're there, oh and while you're at it, you can complete the checkout process yourself because it's cheaper to have a "do it yourself" register than hire a cashier. Need directions? Don't fuss with a map, just type your quest into mapquest or google maps or hell, why not use your GPS. No need to know street names in your own town when you have your handy GPS to do all the thinking for you. It infuriates me - yet I completely take advantage of all of these things.
It seems to me that life is on the fast track, and I don't know how much I'm really enjoying it. There's something comforting about a book for me. It reminds me that there is still time to slow down, and enjoy something that has been a leisurely staple in society for ages. It allows me to take a time out from my phone, or facebook, or e-mail, or TV and just escape to someone else's imagination (or reality depending what I'm reading). I don't want to make it "easier", or "quicker". I like it just the way it is. Just like I enjoy chatting with a grocery clerk/cashier, and I genuinely enjoy looking at maps, and chatting with a friend on phone.
I will admit I love advances in technology that help me keep in touch. I've recently starting using Skype with Lucas to chat with John's mom who lives an hour away, and with my best friend who lives in Florida. I feel like video-chat technology is a really useful service for me. It doesn't take the place of a visit, it's not a subsitute for face time, but it does help ease the pain of missing someone. It helps me feel connected when it's just not possible to visit.
I think facebook can be a great tool to stay connected, but a lot of times I feel like it's being abused. People seem to think that they can say whatever they want while hiding behind a computer screen. I've tried to make it a rule for myself to keep anything I post on the internet as light as I can. If things do get heavy or negative, I better be ready to back them up during any face-time situation. If I wouldn't say it to your face, I'm sure not posting it on the internet. If only other people had the same common sense.
Maybe I'm just an old fart, but sometimes I wish a lot of these things just didn't exist. I mean, I can't remember much about pre-internet days. AOL was all the rage when I hit Junior High, and it's been a wildfire of growing technology since then. I just worry that Lucas and future generations will grow up in a virtual world and will miss all of the wonders of reality. I want him to ride his bike to a friends house, not play xbox live with him from across town. I want him have a paper route, not grow up having no idea what a printed newspaper looks like (as they are in danger of being outdated!). I want him to pick up a book at bedtime for me to read, not hand me a fucking e-reader that we can click together. Is that too much to ask? Simplicity? Reality???

Monday, November 29, 2010

Words, words, words.

3rd post today, oh well.

I was talking to John last night about trying to chronicle Lucas' language development. He picked up about 3-4 words just last week. I'm pretty sure this is going to snowball quickly... Right now he can say the following words:

-Mamma
-Dadda
- Doggie (pronounced "deej-da")
- Joey/Doughie (we call him both, lucas "do-do-do-eeee")
- Cracker (clack-ah)
- Juice (douche. yes he says douche, or jouche. same word also means milk, beverage really)
- Stop
- Bad
-Yes (or YEEAAAA)
-Yay!!
-Uh-oh (that counts as a word, right?)
-Car
-Truck
-Ball
-Bob
-Jackson (one of his first words, sounds like "jack-shin")
-Bye &/or Buh-Bye


He has said, but inconsistently:
-Nana
- Nono
- Auntie
- Pa
- Lucas
- Baby
- Hi

I'm sure there are many many more. I'll likely edit this post a few times in the next week. I'll make this an "update" item when I do my typical updates about Marriage, Motherhood, Lucas' developments, Norm, Business, Family, etc...

last year's list, rewind.

REWIND:

2010's "list":

Get out of debt.i'm very close, only a couple hundred dollars left. less than one thousand.
Maintain consistent "family days" on Sunday. accomplished
Monthly date night (seems easy, right? HA! Have a kid... Not easy)hahaha not even close. we've been on maybe 4 dates all year.
Really start playing with & enjoying my camera I used it, but def. not how i wanted to
Work on the house (stairs!!!!) didn't happen.
Create & adhere to a monthly budget HA... nope
Begin process of getting after-school license. did this, learned it wasn't realistic for my situation
start a vacation fund we went on a mini getaway, that was it
Have at least 2 girls getaways - overnight, mini road trip. ...uh, right. not so much.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was a blast, aside from my Dad's decision to hook up a television in the dining room. I'm not super traditional, but TV at dinner is a bit much for me. No big deal, it was a good time. I didn't spend much time visiting, due to some tension in the family lately, but I put 100% of my effort into being cordial and releasing my frustration by helping clean up.

We went from my parents' house to John's Mémère's house in Woonsocket. We visited with Mémère, John's Mom & Step-father, and Aunt Lorraine. We enjoyed a few stories about Claudette's childhood that gave us all a good laugh. Turns out, John definitely inherited his propensity for accidents.

Then we headed to John's "Aunt" (cousin) Nancy's house. Her daughter, Jeanne Marie and her boyfriend, Mark, where home from CA for the holiday. It was great to spend time with them, along with John's father and Uncle Louie. Nancy & John (sr) grew up in the same home, so they are more like brother and sister than cousins. They were hysterical. Listening to them reminisce about their parents, and old times growing up, is my favorite way to spend an evening. Nancy's mother, Mary, and John's mother, Santina, were sisters. And man, the stories are just amazing. So funny.

We talked a lot about family research, and genealogy and John's Dad wants to pay for my Ancestry.com subscription when I'm ready to start digging in. I'm so excited. I was worried at first about stepping on Karla's toes, as I know she's already begun some research on her own, but I'm coming from a completely different place. I think we have different motives in our research. I'm just interested in the family structure, and learning what I can. She is interested more in the history and heritage of the family. As someone that is marrying into this family with such strong heritage and character, I am just eager to understand. I want to piece it together, and this is something I'd like to do myself. I hope she doesn't get upset, but this isn't really about her. It's about me. As selfish as it sounds, this is something I need to do for myself.

Thanksgiving was followed by Morgan's shower. I had a great time, and she was gracious enough to let me shoot some photos. I have NO idea what I'm doing, still. It was a lot of fun to play with the settings and try to figure it out. There were a few "keepers" among a slew of terrible blurry shots, but the whole experience has definitely renewed my love of photography and makes me want to learn some more. I'm going to attempt to read the exposure book that Heather lent me ages ago. Auntie Kim (not my aunt... actually not John's either but thats what I call her), asked me to take some photos of her and her son. I'm honored, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm feeling some pressure. Capturing the love between mother & son is a heavy task. And let me tell you, she ADORES her son. He is her sun & moon. He is her heartbeat. I just want to do justice to their amazing bond. I've been browsing the web for photos that I find inspirational. I'm hoping to get a vision soon because right now my mind is being clouded by cheesy photos. I don't want to do the "khaki's & white top, barefooted" photos. I know those are what some people want, and to each their own. But I don't think those super "typical" photos are my style, or Auntie Kim's. I guess we'll see.

I worried at first that Keri would feel like I was stepping on her toes, but I need to stop worrying about everyone else's feelings all the time. I was interested in Photography long before John & I even started dating. Granted I didn't invest much money in a camera or anything until we'd been together a while, but that was a financial decision. I'm going to do what makes me happy, and if someone gets upset then we can work it out. Families should support each other, in my opinion. I'm not "stealing business" from anyone. I'm just exploring a hobby and there is nothing wrong with that. I come from a family of hobby photographers. It's in my blood.

Looks like I'll be working on my New Year's resolution list early this year... Another year, another list.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

List

I love lists, and conveniently this list is about things I love!

Best things about today:

- Into work late
- Kids were pretty good
- Out of work early
- Dancing with Lucas to awesome music such as Save Ends & Born Without Bones
- Getting a million kisses from Lucas
- Snuggling & watching Dexter with the love of my life
- Hot cocoa with that same dude
- Nice warm bubble bath & a book after putting Lucas to bed, and before hubby gets home
- Lucas pinching the fat on my butt that's hanging over my pants
- Lucas holding an unopened package of Skittles and pretending to chew them
- Watching Lucas walk around with my sneakers
- Long chat with my bestie in FL

After a LONG past 10 days, I needed to sit back and write down as many "little things" that cheered me up today. The house is a mess, my siblings make me want to strangle them, and I'm so close to my inevitable lay-off from work that it's nice to remember that there are reasons to smile. Everyday. Lots of them, in fact!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Deception

You'd think that I'd be used to being disappointed by now. She's been nothing but erratic lies, neurotic stories, and just general mayhem for her entire life. I mean, we're talking right from her birth. But it never fails as we hit yet another peak in the ebb and flow of her deceit, that I am completely floored. Every time I'm completely flabbergasted.

This one hit a sore spot, though. A recycled lie, aimed at a new target, that completely dismantled our family structure in it's first life. In it's second life, she seems to think she's some kind of hero. Wrong. She's a selfish buffoon, with no concept of consequences. She has rehashed an old wound, that would never heal, even if it had been left alone. It's taking a while to trickle through the family web, to reach each person. It's not going to be a pleasant journey, for anyone involved.

This leaves me with only a few concrete options. Obviously there are variations to these options, but it comes down to a tough decision. Cut her out of my life before her antics effect Lucas, or continue on this ridiculous roller coaster ride. There are so many variables, so many negatives to both options that it's hard to really see a positive at all. There is no positive outcome. There never will be. She's taken that option away from all of us. She took it away a long time ago.

If I cut her out, I'm also cutting out a niece and a nephew that I adore. I'm taking that close cousin relationship away from Lucas. I'm also creating tension for my parents, which is the last thing I want or they need. I'm not setting a wonderful example for Lucas by just severing ties.

If I don't come up with some kind of absolute resolution I'm sending an even worse message to Lucas. I'm essentially saying "When someone drags the family through the mud, disgraces us all time and time again, and makes life nearly unbearable, we just have to smile and keep on chugging because, hey, she's family" -- No. I need some kind of balance. She needs consequences. Lies upon lies upon lies, and I'm drowning in a sea of untruth while she just swims along as if nothing has changed. It's maddening.

I just hope I'm around to see her finally catch hell from all of the heartache she has caused. The turmoil left behind her is something that is indescribable. John says I should write a book. I probably should, but that would only further hurt my parents. I suppose I could write under a pen name to avoid further disgrace to the family. I just may do that. Maybe it will be a kind of therapy for me.

"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions."
THOMAS JEFFERSON, letter to Peter Carr, Aug. 19, 1785

Friday, November 12, 2010

Re: My Son is Gay by Nerdy Apple Bottom

If you haven't read "my son is gay" @ Nerdy Apple Bottom you are likely living under a rock. However, you'll need to read it now, so you can follow what I'm about to say.

If you're too lazy for the link, story boils down to this: A 6 year old boy dresses as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween, Mom supports his decision, and other Mom begin giving them a hard time at school.

I've always said that if I had a homosexual child I would be 100% supportive. I couldn't understand how parents could be upset with their children for something that is not, in my opinion, a decision. Now that I have a son, I can't say I feel the same way that I did before. Now, I completely am baffled by it, but I'm downright offended by it. How can you have a child in this world and not love him/her to pieces, just as you have received him/her??? Sexual preference, in my opinion, is not really a "preference" at all. Preference implies that is a choice. Why would anyone CHOOSE to put themselves through the pain that society inflicts on anyone that is "different". And furthermore, how can anyone deny their support to their own child?? Ugh it infuriates me - but I'm getting off topic.

I lived in this happy world, ok call it delusional, where I thought: "Hey, I live in Massachusetts. We are super liberal here, sexism and gay bashing is super uncommon here. No one would bat an eyelash if that (Scooby costume) happened here." HA!! SO wrong... I learned this lesson quite a few times over this past week.

You see, my son, Lucas, has taken a strong liking to baby dolls lately. Now, we don't have any in our house because, well I honestly never thought about having one for a boy. But, I nanny for a set of boy-girl twins and when they were born they got American Girl Bitty Twins for their birthday. Lucas LOVES the little boys' doll. He carries it around, kisses it, tries to change it's clothes, puts it in the stroller. It's heartbreakingly adorable. Seriously. Painful. He has such a strong paternal instinct, it's unreal. I mean, the boy even hold the doll up on his shoulder, and pats it's bum!! Exactly what I do when Lucas is upset. It's amazing. It's awe inspiring, and I LOVE every minute of it... cue the "haters".

First, it was my boss' Realtor. She walks in to pick up some paper work, and sees him with the doll and says "Don't worry, they grow out of that... it doesn't mean anything...", to which my best on-the-spot response was "I certainly hope he doesn't out grow this. He's going to be a wonderful Daddy to some lucky child someday". I brushed that experience off, telling myself that she was from an older generation. It wasn't her fault...

Then I went to Toys R Us with my mom today, with the specific purpose of finding Lucas a doll for Christmas. HOLY CRAP... the looks we got from the other women in that store, you would have thought I was shopping for a weapon of mass destruction to give my toddler. Seriously. It was unbelievable. Eyes were rolling all over that place, and the "hmpphhhs" were unreal.

The only thing this experience has done is cemented my decision. I WILL be buying Lucas that doll for Christmas. And a shopping cart. And anything else that fosters positive self esteem. And if all these angry women are right, and he ends up being gay, I won't be upset. I won't feel guilty. I will love him just the same. He will ALWAYS be my son. I will always love him. I will always support him. If he wants to live the rest of his life with a man who makes him happy, who am I to tell him that's wrong? That's how I intend to spend the rest of my life; with the man I love. Love is love. And that is one thing I will NEVER deny to my children. Ever.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Norm update

It may seem that I neglected Norm in my last post. Not entirely true. I am more confused than ever about the Norm situation. John has been keeping tabs on Norm for me because my work schedule is wonky, and I don't get the opportunity to check in much. I'm usually in his area at night, and since he has no electricity or anything, it's tough to check in at that point.

Well, the other day John let me know that Norm was wearing a new coat, which made me deliriously happy. Then the next day John saw him eating a can of beans on his front stairs and I was instantly depressed again. I concocted this whole big plan, completely in my head, to anonymously start mailing Norm various supplies. Food, warm clothes, gloves, coats, etc... I happened to drive by again on the same day, and there was Norm checking his mail box, and waiting to cross the street to his house. Of course I stopped to let him cross and he flashed me a smile that completely melted my heart. I could just TELL that no one shows the man an ounce of respect or consideration. So I did what any rational woman would do...

I circled the block, and checked what # was on his mail box, with the intention of mailing him supplies or a letter or something. I was determined. I voiced my plan to John and he was on board, but he did mention that I should probably wait till we are financially able to help someone before we take money that we might need for Lucas. I had to agree with him. I can't take from my own child to help a stranger... we are struggling entirely too much at this point.

But, as usual, curiosity caught a hold of me. I googled Norm's address. HOLY SHIT. And I mean. There was a legal notice that popped up first, about his home. Too much legal jargon for me, but it seemed consistent with the story that went along with the photo of Norm... So I went to www.masslandrecords.com to see if I could make heads or tails of it. More PIOUS POOP! (holy shit... sad joke, I know) -- 65 records for the man. I now know his full name, but I won't disclose that. I know he's never been married. I know how he came to own the home he lives in. I learned that he actually owned quite a bit of land in town. He's sold most of it, I think... I wish I understood legal jargon. I really do.

Now I'm really conflicted. It appears from my best attempt at understanding the legal stuff, that Norm may have gotten himself into this bind completely by his own fault. At first I was furious at him, as if I even know this man!! Then I felt really sad for him. Now I don't really care how or why he ended up in his situation. I mean, I'm obviously curious, but it doesn't change the fact that he is living a really tough life. And if a package might brighten his day, even for just a moment, well then I think it's all worth it. Now I just need to decide what to send, and how to word my letter so I don't sound condescending or rude. We'll see how this all pans out...

Family...

If you know me, and if you're reading this you likely do, then you know that when I find a new hobby or task I become TOTALLY obsessed with it. Scrapbooking for a while, photography for a brief stint, a few other random crafty things here & there. Well now, aside from my obsession with Norm I have been obsessed with researching my family and John's.

I have tracked John's Meme's family (his mother's mother) back about 5-6 generations. I've tracked his Noni's side back pretty far too (father's mother). His Nono's side is a little tougher, as there were some name changes, but I'm getting it. I want to learn as much as I can.

As for my side of the family, it's a little tougher. Ma Walsh's family, (my Dad's mother) I just started asking about yesterday. Dad didn't know too much, only my great grandparents names (which i knew), their kids, and their kids' kids. I knew most of that.

To the point(s) of the post, Nicole. Jeepers!! I spent yesterday with my Mom at Nana's house. Since she is my last surviving grandparent, I feel this incredible need to get as much information out of her as I can. We spent 3 hours going through old pictures. HUNDREDS of them. Her wedding album, pictures of her growing up, pictures of her mother's childhood. I couldn't believe how much information she has tucked away in that brain of hers. She amazed me. I mean, she was sitting across t he room from me, a solid 8 feet away, and she while looking at her yearbook she would say "Hey, see that girl second from the right, top row?? She and I didn't get along, but she ended up marrying so&so and they have # kids now and they live over by New Pond!" Seriously, Nana?!?! You are unbelievable. My own mother impressed me. Her memory is usually not too great, but she remembered so much of her childhood, and listening to them laugh about old times, and funny stories was just what I needed. Such a fun day. And as much as I love Lucas with all my heart, I was glad I chose to leave him with John for the day. I needed some adult time, to just relax.

Nana also mentioned that she has TONS of slides and 35MM negatives lying around that I am welcome to. So for Christmas, I REALLY want to save up and buy this negative scanner. I also want to borrow or puchase a good photo scanner. Nana let me borrow a bunch of pictures and I NEED to make copies. I want prints of Nana & Papa's wedding with Grandma & Grandpa Bunney (Nana's maiden name was Bunney!) and Grandma & Grandpa Aitken (Papa's parents). Also I adore Nana's engagement photo and high school photo. She was so beautiful! I have really attractive grandparents, I must say! I really want prints of as many family members as possible. I want to make a scrapbook of a family tree for Lucas and I want to hang prints in my dining room or living room or hallway or all of the above!

I realize these projects will take years, but they are so worth it to me and it's a great way to combine a bunch of my little hobbies into a greater purpose, I think. I love the research, it's like a wild goose chase. I love getting results, and I even love hitting a wall or a dead end because it forces me to think outside the box and get creative which is not a strong suit for me!

Here's to getting to know as much as possible about the family I grew up in, and the family I've married into . For better or worse, every family has a story and I can't wait to see mine unfold from both past and future!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Hiatus?

I've been on another blogging hiatus. I'm still struggling with the whole "keep private things to yourself" battle. Here's my thought process:

I hate when people use facebook as a way to:
1. argue
2. voice opinions they would NEVER voice in person
3. hurt other people
4. air dirty laundry/ be generally catty
5. GET TOO PERSONAL!!!

In general, my facebook status posts are about my day-to-day activities, or a way to get information to a mass number of family/friends. I've used facebook for charity events, or the park. I've used it to voice my support of gay rights, etc. I don't make a habit of having cryptic status about other people. or an argument. It's stupid. It's childish, and it makes me want to delete facebook altogether. The internet is a wonderful tool. It can work wonders, and I'll be the frist to admit and praise that quality. Howeever, FB is tearing people apart. Kids can't communicate with one another in person. Families fight over FB statuses. It's rediculous.

Am I doing the same thing here, however? I'm not sure. Yes I do talk about squabbles here. I certainly voice my opinion about things that are not necessarily my place to have an opinion about. I may occasionally "shit talk" here. And this is a public domain. Anyone can read my blog, if they happen upon it. It's not "private" in the sense that you need permission to read it. It's also not linked anywhere. Someone would have to seek it out. As far as I know, I'm the only that reads this thing. John does occasionally. Heather did, but who knows if she still does. A few random people have happened upon it by clicking about blogspot. I just have a tough time deciding if this makes me a hypocrit. I don't want to upset anyone, especially my family. However, I find blogging to be very therapeutic. Whether anyone reads it or not, having my thoughts out there, and available to anyone is comforting in some way. I will continue, and I'll try not to censor too much. But I really am worried that this blog could eventually sever some ties. Who knows.

At any rate, the typical updates, in no special order, of course:

Norm is doing well, as far as I can tell. John has seen him more than I have, since it's dark when I get out of work. Today I received a text that Norm has a new jacket. I'm happy about that.

Marriage is back on track, I think. We seem to have fallen into a wonderful reconnection. Recent events being as they are, we were forced to really re-evaluate our situation. There was talk of a move, there was talk of LOTS of possibilities. We realized that we have it a lot better than we realized, and we need to cherish each moment that we have. Talk about cryptic, holy shit. -- I am losing my job. That's the situation. I won't blog any further about it until it happens. In January. That puts us in a financial bind like no other, but we will persevere. We always do.

Lucas is the best friggin thing in the universe, and no one can convince me otherwise. He's adorable, he's hilarious, and he lights up my life in a way that I never would have thought possible. Every day with him is an adventure. There are no "right" or "wrong" paths with parenting, I've found. Well aside from obvious ones. But I've been doing things a little backwards, focusing on different milestones than some might. It's working out, and I couldn't be happier.

One thing I know for certain, there is no "easy" way. For example, one would think that a suction cup bowl would solve the dumping issue of toddlers. I submit exhibit A:

Closely followed by exhibit B:
Love my life.





Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tomorrow's mission, Sunday Fun Day -- Get a photo of ME with Lucas. I have more fingers than I do picture of me & Lucas. That's sad.

Hopefully he feels a little better by tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dance & Sing, Baby!

video

Animal by Neon Trees

Lucas loves this song. He always sings and dances. Notice the arm swing, that's his new move. He also repeats "Buh Buh BYE!" after the song sings "Say goodbye to my heart tonight..."

I can't get enough of this munchkin. I also enjoy the hung I get at the end.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

video

I love this idea. I'd like to put together a montage of Lucas. Only problem is, we don't have a video camera. So that will be my mission. In the next month, I'd like to somehow scrounge up the roughly $200 it will cost to buy a small digital camcorder. Then I will video tape Lucas every Sunday during breakfast. I was thinking i would do a few minutes at breakfast and a few minutes of random play time. I'd like each week to have 6 min 30 sec - since he was born on June 30th.

It will be interesting to see his growth and development laid out in front of me.

I need $$!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ok, so I couldn't quite bring myself to delete facebook. Who am I kidding, I'm too nosey. And I do like reading some of the stuff on there. For example, I wouldn't have known about a friends' new job if it weren't for facebook. I wouldn't be able to reach out to large amounts of people at once. I've decided that I need to compromise with myself. While I get annoyed with some people's priorities or lack thereof, I'm just as guilty as the next person of pointless status posts. I need to work on myself and not worry about other people. I need to stop passing judgment. I don't know what these people are dealing with on a daily basis. If deciding on a pair of shoes is the biggest dilemma in their life, well then, so be it. I'm jealous, in fact. I wish shoes were my biggest concern.

I am in the process of trying to make a good plan of what to do with my life when this nanny job is over. I don't need to worry until Sept 2012. My job is secure until then, barring something crazy happening between now and then. I am torn between going back to school to get a certificate as a certified paraprofessional (teacher's aide, really), or if I should just go back to being a preschool teacher again. The sad part about it is that I will likely take a pay cut either way. Going to school is really not possible for us financially at this point. And scheduling-wise, I'm not sure I could make it work. But who knows if I'd be able to find a preschool teaching job in September 2012. I'm a planner. I like to have a plan. And while I realize this is 2 years away, I don't like the "unknown". Scares the shit out of me. The reality of our situation is that I pay the mortgage. My entire paycheck goes there, and John manages to pay the rest of the bills. If I was to stop having an income, or take a paycut, we would have to find alternative housing. This scares me. I need to stop stressing about this, but I can't. I check job postings feverishly. At this point, I would leave where I am for more permanent position somewhere assuming the finances and scheduling would work out.

Seriously, being a grown up kind of blows. I always thought that I would be in a very "secure" financial situation when I grew up. I would "NEVER end up like my parents". HA! Not true. I was wrong. Not I'm struggling just like they did. But I'm happy. I mean, if money is the only thing I have to complain about, then I think I'm going alright. I have a happy marriage, a beautiful healthy son, a roof over my head, and I don't go to bed hungry.

Couldn't I just win the lottery or something? By magic, of course, because I won't waste money on that kind of crap...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Reason



He's the reason I wake up in the morning. He's the reason I rush around the house trying to make it "clean" (a very relative term in my home). He's the reason I bounce from relative to relative, visiting everyone. He's the reason I drag my ass to work every week. He's the reason I cook. He's the reason I try to take care of myself. When it comes right down to it, he is the reason that I am here. I was put here to be his mother. As long as I'm doing that, I'm doing just fine.

Monday, September 20, 2010

goodbye social media

Essential Updates (before I rant):

Lucas is doing great. No real milestones, as far as development goes. Still working on cutting those one year molars, so he's been a bit grumpy. He wants nothing more than to walk around and explore the house. He painted a picture for John's birthday, and I attached two pictures of him mid-creation. John enjoyed it.

I saw Norm on Friday. He is, in fact, alive. His front door had been in the same position for a few days, no movement on the laundry line, and no sighting for a while. I was nervous. I intend to drive by today to check on things for good measure.

(Cue Rant) In other news, I have deleted my twitter & tumblr accounts. I just need to be more selective with teh internet browsing that I indulge in. I can't be bothered to read pointless posts about the "hardest decisions" people are making, such as which shoes to buy. I can't be bothered to look at an infinite number of scenester, hipster idiots posting photos that they created. Everyone is a fucking graphic designer, oh please. Everyone is an artist, come on. Seriously.

Don't get me wrong, I love reading blogs. That is, I love reading well thought out blogs about topics that are relevant to my interests. I like reading "mommy" blogs, because it's nice to get some perspective every now and then. I like reading my friends blogs. It's a great way to keep in touch with day to day goings on, assuming they are relevant. I even enjoy a well organized photo blog, assuming it's a portfolio of sorts. Not a ramdom collection of other people's work. Maybe I'm just becoming a crotchety old woman, but I have had it. I'm overwhelmed, and I need to simplify. I need to cut out things that make me angry, such as the blogs of people in their mid twenties with terrible cases of peter pan syndrome.

I'm considering deleting all my facebook stuff too. Starting over, possibly. Keeping it much more simple, just for immediate friends & family and not high school, college, or people I have no intention of "keeping in touch with". If I don't send you a Christmas card, or an invitation to a birthday party, or any other indication that we are still close, then I can't be bothered to hear about your commute to work this morning. I do realize that these people also don't want ot hear about how excited I am to watch Dexter (my last status update) - So I am, in effect, going to be helping them out too. I think I'll begin the process tonight.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

well i guess this is growing up...

Two days in a row without a Norm sighting. His door was in the same position both days. If it's the same tomorrow, I may be forced to either stop or maybe ask the police to do a well-check? I just don't know. Why am I so concerned about the well being of a complete stranger. I think it's because I have this heartbreaking fear, which is probably a complete figment of my imagination, that I'm the only one that cares. It makes me want to cry.

In other news, Lucas has decided to start saying "Up" now when he wants to climb the ramps at hte park. That's right... he says up NOT to indicate that he'd like to be held, but rather the opposite. He hates being held or carried. He wants to walk everywhere. He will crawl occasionally too, like here, where he plays with his fire truck while repeating "vrooom vroooooooooom":


video

My little guy is growing up. He walked the entire 53 foot length of the half pipe at the park without even a stumble. I can't believe it.

the world keeps spinning

Update:

Lucas is walking all over the place. He's a big boy now. He still crawls when he falls, but only so he can get to a place to pull himself back up. He has practiced squatting down, and sitting more gently. I think he will be standing up without needing to hold something within a month. I can't believe how big he is. Time flies.

Last night, he was getting a little cranky near bedtime. He was tired and kept falling down, which frustrates him. He sat on the floor and looked up at me with those sad eyes and a big pout, and laid himself down verrrrrrrry slowly. I took my cue, knelt over him and nuzzled my face between his jawline and shoulder. I growled and grumbled and kissed his little neck as he wriggled and squealed. I would pull me head up, and switch sides and take a moment to enjoy that big smile. That smile is the most important thing in the entire universe to me. No matter what happens, if I can get Lucas to crack one of those big smiles - it will all be ok.

In other news, Norm is doing well, I think. I have seen him quite a few times this week, but not in a couple days. I'll pass his house on the way home today. I worry about him as the weather gets colder. I know he has a fireplace, which he utilizes for warmth. I've seen the smoke billowing out of his chimney in the winter.

I have had two dreams about buying various food/necessities, wrapping them, and leaving them on his doorstep when I see him walking about town. I can't bring myself to do it, though. I don't want to make assumptions. Maybe he he's perfectly happy.

We've had a busy month already. We grieved the loss of a wonderful woman; the mother of a good friend. It was tough. John took it pretty hard, which is to be expected, and buried himself in work to help himself through it.

Our anniversary was this past weekend. We enjoyed a little exploration through some woods at the secret pond, since it was too cold to swim. We've been there every year since we starting dating, and never walked any of the trails. We need to do this more often. Then we got a hotel room in sandwich for the night, and we got the very rare chance to reconnect. There was nothing to worry about, aside from each other for a night. It was perfect, and we both came home feeling that everything was back in place.

John's birthday is this coming Sunday. Being the wonderful wife that I am, I have nothing planned. Great. I'm also broke. I will have to figure something out.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Let's go back, now. Please.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Norm...


I can't believe I'm going to actually write about this. But I have a secret obsession with the well-being of a stranger. Weird, no?

Ok, here's the story: One day, there was a show at the park, that got shut down because our permits were not in order. (That's a story for a different day) at any rate, I was lurking through facebook and came across a friend of one of the bands that played who is a photographer. I was poking around his albums because I'm nosey and I'm extremely interested in photography. I love to see different artists perspective, it really fascinates me. At any rate, I came across this photo:
( Photo credit: Justin Ball Yes I just gave a perfect stranger a photo credit. I didn't take the damn photo!!)


At any rate, I have always had an odd fascination with this house. I remember the first time I saw it, like it was yesterday. John and I were on his dual sport (street legal dirt bike), driving from Douglas to Bellingham and we went by this house. I remember thinking "God, that delapitated mess would be great to photograph." -- Fast forward a few years later and it's the day after my wedding, and my two friends Heather & Heather and I are out breaking into abandoned houses to photograph them. I immediately think of this house, but I can't remember where it is, or how to get there. -- Fast foward 1 more year, and we open the skate park. Now I drive by this house nearly everyday from the park to HOme Depot, or from work to the park. I notice that there are clothes out on the line one day. The next time I drive by I notice that the clothes have changed and the front door is open. The weather gets colder and there is smoke coming from the chimney. HOLY SHIT! Someone lives in this house?!?!?!

In comes my lurking, and I find out that the man's name is, in fact, Norm. There is a lot of rumor about exactly what Norm's story is. Some claim that he fell on financial hard times (clearly) and that a wealthy man offered to help him out in exchange for the deed to his home upon his passing - but when the time came to help him, he backed out and now the property is owned by a real estate company. I don't really believe this story, in it's entirety.

I am SO curious about Norm's story. I find myself driving slightly out of the way just to drive past and see that he's ok. I love catching a glimpse of Norm. Sometimes he's walking down the road, hands always behind his back looking at the ground. Sometimes he's out in his front lawn cutting the front foot of edging with kitchen sheers. (No, I'm not kidding). Sometimes he's out putting his clothes on the line. If I happen to drive by at the right time, usually around dinner time, he is standing at the foot of the staircase, near the front door. My favorite Norm-sighting was when I saw him reading a flier. He was grinning ear to ear. To see this man so happy brought tears to my eyes. I was so happy to see him in such a state of bliss. Here his is, living in a house that is falling down around him yet he still finds humor and joy in the world. There are holes in his roof bigger than my car, but that flier still brought a smile to his face.

I wish I had the courage to just stop one day and ask him his story. I'd love to help him fix his house, as much as I could. I'd love to help. I wouldn't love to insult the man. I wouldn't love to invade his privacy. It's such a fine line between being a good "neighbor" and overstepping your boundaries. Maybe he's happy living the way he lives. For all I know, this could be a very intentional choice. Maybe he's miserable and would be happy just to have someone stop and say hello. Maybe he's lonely, or maybe he is content and fulfilled. I'm at a loss. The only thing I'm certain about is that his property is beautiful in it's imperfection. It evokes a lot of emotion in me, and I can't place my finger on the reasons.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I have been reading a ton this summer. I'm not going to lie, since college, I haven't done much reading. In college I read books to "impress" people. So fucking stupid. So dumb. I was so concerned with what people thought about what I was reading. Then I just stopped reading altogether.
Then the Twilight Saga entered my life. And yes I realize how cliche it is. A mid-twenties MOTHER reading young adult fiction, but you know what? Screw your logic. Those books got me through my pregnancy. And I enjoyed them. Maybe they aren't literary genius, but I'll be damned if they weren't entertaining.
At any rate, just this summer I have read the following books:
-Mothers and Other Liars
-The Castaways
-A Summer Affair
-Summer People
-The Island
-Remember Me?
-Barefoot
-On the Road
-Blink

I'm currently reading The Lovely Bones. Now, I realize that this list isn't huge, or staggering. However, for me this list is enormous. I have read 3 of those books just this week. I just can't seem to get enough of reading lately. It's nice to read purely for entertainment. Not to impress. Not to keep up. For no other reason but to enjoy a story.

I am going to use the bookshelf thing on facebook to make a list of books that I still want to read. That will help me from getting overwhelmed and frustrated in the bookstore or library.



Monday, August 30, 2010

Anniversary

My anniversary is coming up. It's next weekend, the 12th to be exact. I am broke. Financially strapped. Buying something is NOT an option.

I need some creative ideas to celebrate. Nothing too elaborate, because that's not who we are. Nothing extremely cheesy either. I need something small to make a statement. We are going to dinner (assuming we find a sitter) using a gift certificate we got months ago. We even get to dress up, which we both LOVE having an excuse to do. We clean up a lot nicer than you may think!

It's hard to plan an anniversary gift for a husband. Women are easy to buy gifts for. Bring home some flowers, or jewelry or in my case a yummy treat and you're golden. Men are not so easy.

I suppose I could attempt a yummy treat. I mean, John would never turn away a delicious treat. But, what the hell could I make. Anyone? Does anyone even read this? I got a random (and very well-stated and appreciated) comment from a stranger the other day which made me think... are people actually reading my babbling? If so, help me recapture the following picture, in treat form...


It's hard to believe we went from being these two goofy ass kids (circa 2005, eeek). No "real" jobs, living at home with our parents, out super late on the weekends, dancing the night away:

To these "adults", in 5 1/2 year's time. Married, parents, homeowners, business owners, in love. We think midnight is late (ok, well, I do). Sleeping in is 9 am. We have a car payment & a mortgage. We have a SON, a dog, 2 cats. A home with a white unpainted picket fence. How is it that we managed to do all this "growing up", and still our love is growing daily. It all happens so naturally, so quickly. Life is funny like that. I am glad I get to spend my life with the best person I know.



Reflections on a Sunday...

John and I had a wonderful Sunday. We celebrated his mother's birthday, and had a wonderful time. However, a certain part of the day is still bothering me as I'm sitting here.

This has nothing to do with our family, or anything like that. I love them all dearly, and we truly did have a wonderful time. But, before going to John's mom's house to celebrate her birthday, she asked us to attend a memorial mass for Tom's father, who recently passed away. Since we were unable to attend the funeral or wake (they were in a different state), we decided that it was the least we could do out of respect for both Tom and his family.

I will speak for myself, and not on John's behalf about the mass. Upon entering the parking lot, I saw a monument. It had an angel, with a baby in her lap, with an inscription reading "In memory of the innocent victims of abortion". I instantly wanted to vomit. I believe that some things are better left unsaid. I realize that abortion is a hot button for the Catholic Church. We all know their official position on it. IF we have any doubt, in lovely MA you can find out on a friggin license plate. At any rate, we walked into the mass, and it truly was lovely. I find a lot of comfort in the familiarity of mass. I do enjoy the prayers, because they remind me of my childhood. They remind me of my father's parents. However, my love of organized religion and church ends there, with nostalgia.

The reading during the mass really stuck with me, and I'll quote it here only to prove my point:
Luke 14:1, 7-14

On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”


There was a deacon that gave a homily based on the reading. He preached about acceptance, and being an inclusive community. He preached about tolerance and love. The entire time I had to stifle my INCREDIBLE urge to stand up and scream "YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES, Look at the friggin monument you have outside! Who are YOU to pass judgment on those women!".

Religion is responsible for the persecution of so many people. The GLBT community is harassed endlessly by many religions, Catholics included. Abortion clinics are bombed in the name of religion. Innocent people die in the name of religion. I guess I'll never understand how people can organize themselves into groups, interpret what they believe some higher power is telling them, and then use that as ammunition to hurt others. What "higher power" would tolerate that? It's inhumane. It's wrong.

I have my own religious views. I was raised Catholic, and I baptized my son into the Catholic church. I can't say I stand behind the Catholic Church as a whole. I just think that organized religion, any organized religion, is in itself a contradiction. I have my beliefs, and I believe them wholeheartedly. I try to make decisions based on what i believe to be the "right" decision, in both a personal and spiritual sense. I just can't believe humanity. I just can't believe the complete disregard for other people based on their beliefs. A person is a person. Right?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bittersweet... Can my heart take it?

I find myself both celebrating and mourning each new accomplishment in Lucas's life. SIDENOTE:::I seriously need to figure out if it's Lucas' or Lucas's.... anyone? - I can only imagine the abundance of help I'll be when Lucas has English homework in high school.

Back to the point. Each milestone is incredibly bittersweet for me. His first haircut bring tears to my eyes each time I think about it. I remember the immense joy, incredible relief and intense pride I experienced when he started crawling successfully. Now, we're on to walking. And this kid, in true Romiglio fashion, can't ease his way into this incredible task. No, no. One day he figures out how to stand up from his armchair. The next day it's a bumbly step. The next day he walks 3 steps from Dadda to Mamma. Literally, within 3 days of his first couple steps, the kid is near running speed. He is walking clear across the living room. Granted, we don't have a huge living room. It does require a solid 15-20 steps from him though. He's mastered the transition from carpet to hardwood. He's even walking around the skatepark holding ONE of my hands. That's right. He grasps my hand, and it doesn't matter which one, and we are off. He even walked up a couple ramps today. Ramps that I have trouble walking up; the incline is pretty tough. He has no fear. I'm afraid that I carry the burden of enough fear for the two of us. I worry constantly. Will he bump his head? Will he twist an ankle? Will he scrape his knees or palms? OF COURSE HE WILL!
As a preschool teacher, daycare worker, and nanny I have always laughed at parents and their sentimental way. I always thought Moms were crazy in their instinctual over-protectiveness. Even the most laid back parents I know worried incessantly. Oh, man- what I would do to go back and erase those judgments. Who the hell did I think I was? I had NO IDEA. None. I may have worked with kids for 10+ years before having my own, but I didn't have the slightest sense of empathy for the bittersweetness of it all.
And until today, when I read this post on The Girl Who , I thought that I was the only one that both celebrated and mourned each milestone. I thought that I was teetering on a line of insanity. I thought that maybe something was wrong with me. But now, upon reading her blog entry, and reading a few others, I realize that all mothers feel some degree of sadness as their baby birds get their wings ready for flight.
I can't believe that at some point I'm going to look into Lucas' (Lucas's???) eyes as he gets ready for kindergarten, or baseball practice. I'll have to help him put on a boutonnière for a prom. I'll have to try to figure out have to comfort him when he has his first broken heart. I'll have to help him learn to drive, and teach him how to treat girls. I'll have to help him find his passions, and encourage him to strive to achieve his dreams. I'll have to let him grow up. I'll have to come to terms with that fact that he will reach major milestones that I won't witness. I won't be there when he proposes to someone. I won't be there when he has his first (likely extremely awkward) kiss. I won't be there for his first job interviews, or when he takes his SATs. Well... maybe I won't be there physically but I certainly hope he carries me with him everywhere he goes. Like his Daddy does. He carries a bit of his mother with him at all times. Every decision he makes is rooted in what she has taught him. Every goal he achieves is due to her diligence as a mother. Every milestone he reaches is just as much her accomplishment s as it is his. I can only wish that one day Lucas will hold me on such a pedestal as John holds Claudette. I hope he realizes that everything I do is for him. Everything.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reality? It's all relative, right?

Is it possible for other people's deluded behavior to make me question my own reality? Because honestly, I feel like that is what is happening.
Maybe I'm the delusional one. Maybe I'm the one that has lost all touch with reality, because I have a hard time believing that this many other people can be THIS far off the deep end.
Maybe my reality is just fine, and I need to choose better company. The thing about that is that I don't get to choose family. I do, however, get to choose how often to interact with them. For now, my plan is to keep my distance because I don't need the extra stress.
I hope these people take a minute to stop and think about all the help other people have given them (myself included), and how much other people have sacrificed to help them out in times of need. Maybe they could be reminded of the amount of manipulation, lying, and general bullshit they have been guilty of. Maybe they could take into account the RIDICULOUS amounts of "second" chances they've been given.

Ok. Back to "my" reality - however deluded it may be. I'm going to enjoy the sight of my little boy toddling around my living room with my cell phone up to his ear, while babbling his little head off. He is my saving grace and I'm not sure who it benefits more; me or you. If it weren't for him, others would be hearing from me in a much more confrontational manner. So I guess we all win in this situation. I'll just bitch to my blog, to get it out, and spare you the embarrassment of having your ass handed to you verbally. Again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Less than adequate

I am having one of those days, where no matter what I do or what happens I feel completely inadequate. Like it's impossible for me to see the positives in my life at the moment. Sorry, but I use this blog to sort through my own thoughts and hopefully see the silver lining. So that's what I'll do. What i always do. Make a list (Hello, Tye A Personality? First born child, much?), and then berate myself into realizing my problems are rediculous first world problems. Nothing like some good old Irish Catholic guilt to brighten your day!

1. I've been super down about financial stress. We had to empty all of our accounts, and Lucas' to pay the mortgage this month. The first and hopefully only time I have cried while at the bank teller window. Talk about feeling inadequate, "Sorry Lucas, we had to empty your tiny savings account because your parents can't make ends meet at the moment. But don't worry... we're only responsible for your well-being. No big deal" --- Really, Nicole? Boo hoo, you own a home, things got tight. Welcome to reality. Welcome to your parents' reality for the entirety of their marriage thus far. You will replenish Lucas' account long before he's even old enough to know he HAS a bank account. You did what you had to do for your family's survival.

2. This goes hand in hand with the above, but Lucas's first steps were captured on a shitty cell phone camera. I had always envisioned myself with a nice (or at least decent) video camera to capture his "firsts". I sit back and look at the crappy, tiny, grainy video and I can't help but shed a tear. Reality check, there is NO video of your first steps. Or John's for that matter. I'd be willing to bet 90% of people don't have videos of their children's first steps. Hell, I'd bet more than that. Stop whining. Seriously.

3. I'm not really 100% happy at work. I mean, who is. But I can't decide what to do about it. I have it pretty good here. Decent pay, part time hours that allow me to have a couple days with Lucas, and a not so difficult work load. At the same time, I leave my son every morning, before he wakes up, to care for someone else's children. The guilt is staggering. And I have no benefits. This job is not helping me save, plan for retirement, take a vacation, and most importantly I have no fucking insurance. How can I be a good mother, if I can't even take care of myself properly?? It's maddening. But in order to get a job with these benefits, I'd have to get a full-time job, which means less time with Lucas. It also means finding childcare for Lucas because John can't juggle him and the park on a full-time basis. It's just not fair to him. And while I've been in childcare nearly my entire working life, I can't justify daycare. The thought breaks my heart into a million pieces. Nevermind the unrealistic cost.

4. I realize this is going to sound so snobby, but I need some "me" time. I just don't even know what I'd do with it. I brought up the idea of training for a triathlon to John. He laughed in my face. He's always been 100% supportive of me, and this is the first time he has been the complete opposite. While part of me wants his to turn his lack of support into motivation, I can't help but be a little crushed by it. I mean, why couldn't I do a triathlon? I realize that I'll have to train until summer of 2012 before I can even consider, but still... I mean, why not? I'm not crippled. I'm fucking 26 years old. I have no major health concerns. I'm just wildly out of shape. Conditioning-wise. I'm be no means overweight. Ok, I could lose a couple pounds, but find me a woman that has had a baby and doesn't have a couple extra pounds to lose. I'm going to do it. I'm going to do the "Couch to 5K" program for the next 9 weeks, and then I'll combine that with some swimming training in the winter. Then next spring I'll start adding some cycling to my training. Hopefully by summer of 2012 I'll feel comfortable enough to try at least.


Ok enough whining. I need goals. That's what I need. Goals. Fuck... another list. Not now.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Life moves...

...and it's going too fucking fast.

I cant keep up, lately. I feel like I'm constantly playing a game of tag, and I'm always "it". Lucas is already one year old, and holy moly is he growing leaps and bounds. Just today he managed to crawl up onto the second stair and stand up on it in the time it took me to open an envelope. (Yes, I will now install the stair gates. Leave me alone, he's still alive, ok?) He crawls at lightening speed. His knees and feet are perpetually dirty. He loves to be in the water, and I honestly think he could learn to swim next summer. He is blabbering in his own little baby language constantly. I just wish I knew what he was thinking. I just never have enough time with him. I try to spend every second I can with him. On days that I have to work, I sometimes only see him for his last bottle and to put him to bed, which is a terrible feeling. And since I snuggle the crap out of him in that small amount of time, I have now created a nighttime bottle monster. He will only drink his last bottle (which is actually a sippy cup, of milk) if I am holding him or he is leaning on me. Scratch that. It doesn't have to be me, but someone, anyone, must be holding him or snuggling next to him. I probably should nip this in the bud now, but you know what? I only have so much time with him, and he'll only be a snuggly baby for so long so I'm going to enjoy every second of it.
Lucas is the light of our lives. Sometimes he's the only light. Times like today when everything seems so far gone, out of reach, and beyond repair. He smiles, and I know everything will be fine. And for those fleeting seconds, everything is fine. The flea infestation of the Romiglio house doesn't seem so bad (Thanks cats, for bringing those home). The lack of financial stability, while a huge burden, doesn't seem like the end of the world. The incredible amount of small household tasks and repairs that need to be done can all wait. Because my number one priority is that little boy. And jeepers creepers if he doesn't need all of my attention while he is awake. As we speak he is eating lunch about 5 feet away from me. Just out of reach, which he is taking advantage of by hand feeding the dog some Chex. Have I mentioned that Lucas loves all kind of cereal! Cheerios, Chex, Life... the list goes on and on. He is a mini-John. It's so funny. He picks up so much of his personality, his likes and dislikes, his facial expressions. It's amazing to watch.
Next week is officially vacation. I'm on vacation now, which started on Tuesday, but it won't be a real vacation until John is home with us. Thanks to our (my) stellar lack of financial planning, we will be spending it at home or doing things that cost nothing. We will do a beach day, visit WWII park in Attleboro to see the petting zoo, and probably spend a few days at Nono's pool. We'd also like to go visit Meme's lake. We spent the past two days at Nana's doing laundry (thanks fleas) and staying out of the house while it was sprayed (Thanks, Phil!). Unfortunately, our tiny house guests have decided that they were not ready to go.
I've never wanted winter more than I do now. Winter brings warm meals, snuggly movie nights and above all else, a little financial security. Winter means cold, ice and snow which are not really conducive to skateboarding. Works out great for us, but the summer is the complete opposite. At least we have a full year under our belts and now we know that we need to tuck quite a bit of money away in the winter to survive the summer.
Ok, the boy is done eating lunch, time to go bring some sandwiches to Daddy at work, and get a few things done.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday (tomorrow)

Dear Lucas,

I'm beginning this letter on the day before your first birthday. I intend to write a letter each year to reflect on how much you've grown. I expect it will take me quite some time to write this one, since the mere thought of you being a year old makes my eyes well up, and a lump creeps up in my throat. 365 days. 52 weeks. 12 months. I can't believe how quickly it has gone by! So much has happened in the past year, too!

You were born right around the same time that we opened the skate park. You were there for our official Grand Opening, and you made an appearance in a few local newspapers that covered the event - your first media attention! Then we celebrated Auntie Steph & Scott's wedding in Dartmouth. You were such a trooper, getting dressed up in that handsome little white pinstriped suit. Next was our mini road trip to Auntie Keri & Uncle Kyle's wedding. Nana & Auntie Jeanne came with us to help take care of you. We all had such a blast. The weather was rainy, and you were a little cranky, but it was a wonderful time. Then summer was over, and in rolled the fall. Mommy & Daddy celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and Daddy's 27th birthday. You celebrated your first Halloween, as batman. Your first Thanksgiving landed right around the same time that you started eating "solid" food (mush!)so you enjoyed some turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce & mashed potatoes. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year! Then your first Christmas was very eventful. We went to Thedie's for Christmas Eve, then to Meme's house for a sleepover. We had breakfast with Meme & Pepe, and opened some presents and then were off to Uncle Billy's to celebrate with Nana & Pa. We rang in the New Year at home with Heather, Matt & Adrian. 2010 has been full of firsts for you! You learned to crawl, and pull yourself up. You finally started holding your own bottle, which Daddy was very happy about. You also started using a sippy cup, and eating "big boy" food. We celebrated the births of Jaxen and Alexandria. Uncle Bobby graduated from high school.

The last year has been a blur of wonderful memories. I have enjoyed watching you grow more than you could ever know. Each stage of your development has had it's favorite parts for me. When you first came home, I loved how you would open your mouth when you were hungry, just like a baby bird. I called you baby bird for a few months. You were so long and skinny! You lifted up your head from day one, and the look in your eyes when you see Mamma or Dadda, has always remained the same. Pure joy.

Your kisses have evolved over the past year. They started as open mouthed licking on cheeks. Then it turn to the typical open mouth to any skin. Now your kisses are more deliberate. You snuggle right up, nuzzle in, and then rub your lips all over my face. I've never been more happy to be covered in slobber. Your dancing has also evolved over time. You began with a little wiggle, then there was the full body rock, then the head bang, and now it's various combinations of the two.

My favorite time is picking you up after work and driving from the skate park to our house. You blow me kisses, tap your belly, tap your head, dance, sing. You pull everything you have in that bag of cute tricks, and it's exactly what I need after a day of work. You know how to brush your teeth, your try to brush your hair. You've been pulling yourself up to a standing position using Daddy, and your activity tables. You've gone swimming at Nono's pool, where you wanted nothing more than to splash, lounge and to like the water off your fingers.

Your relationship with your "DAHHHHWWWWGGEEEEE" is the best thing in the world. You love Spooky with every single inch of your heart. You give her more kisses than she can handle, and she does her best to return them all. You love playing with her tags, and you have for as long as I can remember. I swear that her tags were one of the first things you ever reached for! Your newest obsession is crawling under the dog, like a tunnel through her legs. She's been patient with you so far, but I'm waiting for the day that something scares her and she tramples your little body! Who am I kidding, you are a tank. You're one tough little guy!

You've been to work with Daddy at least a couple times each week. He built you a play room in the office, so you can enjoy yourself. You've come to work with Mommy occasionally too, and Anna and Jackson adore you. You love crawling around after them, and giggling at their antics. Speaking of that giggle, you have the best laugh. No one can be mad, upset, or in any kind of foul mood once you start laughing. It's the cutest thing. You have biggest smile, with 6 big teeth! Yup, 6! 4 on the bottom and 2 on the top. You are cutting a couple more as we speak.

I'm not really sure how to describe to you how much you mean to me. I grew up knowing that I was destined to have a family. I was born to be a mommy, but that doesn't mean I was 100% confident in my parenting abilities. It's one thing to take care of other people's children, it's entirely different to have your own. I've second guessed myself the entire way through. I always think I might be making the wrong choices, but you always have a way of reassuring me that we're doing alright. You look at me and give me a big "haaaaaaa, mama" with a smile. Or you screech at the top of your lungs and come crawling toward me with fierce determination to plant a kiss on my face. You look at me, smile and tap your "belly" (you always pat your chest when we ask where your belly is). Honestly, I think this is your way of saying "I love you, too". (Just fyi, typing that sentence made me cry for a solid 5 minutes...)

My heart could burst with the amount of love, pride and joy you bring to me. Each day is a new adventure. Whether its running errands, or a big event, or even a day at home, there is never a dull moment with you around. I wouldn't trade a single second of it for the world. You and your Daddy are the best family anyone could ask for. I love you with all of my heart! Happy Birthday, Lucas Matthew. May this one set the bar for many more wonderful birthday celebrations!

xo
Mamma

Monday, June 28, 2010

Am I middle aged? Uh... not quite.

I often try to help John & Bob with skate park stuff, as much as I can. I'm not much help aside from maintaining the website, facebook, and lurking the internet for mentions of the park. Mostly I stay logged on a hardcore messageboard that is comprised mostly of teens & young 20somethings. I look for anything skate park related. While I'm only 26, I feel like a dinosaur when I poke around this messageboard.

Today there was a thread about middle-aged moms, and the things they do. It was pretty much a bunch of angst-ridden parasites bitching about things that their mommys do that piss them off. Oddly enough, I found that I am guilty of a lot of those things. I thought it would be fun to make a list...

1. Own a big ass SUV/minivan when you old have one kid
guilty, but I do nanny for 2 other kids, so i need room for 3 carseats
2. Get a triple bacon cheeseburger with supersize fries... and a diet coke.
guilty, but I honestly can't stand the taste of regular coca cola
3. Have their food sent back because a minor part of the order was wrong.
I've only done this a few times, but of course I would. I work hard for my money, I'm paying for a service. I expect to get what I'm paying for
4. Attend avon/pampered chef parties
Well of course. The few products I've purchased, I've loved. And there's always free food!
5.have like 40,000 reusable grocery bags, and carry them everywhere.
Yep I do. I keep Lucas' laundry in them. Anytime I need a bag, i use them.
6. get their kids names tattooed on them, usually on their ankle or somewhere stupid
Not guilty yet. But once I've ahd all my kids, I plan to have a large piece somewhere, that will be created with them in mind. Shoot me. Being pregnant is no cake walk. Child birth is no picnic. I've earned the right to show my affection in whatever way I choose. Thanks.
7.use insane amount of coupons at the grocery store and hold up the line for 15 minutes
Wait until you have to work for a living. And feed others. You will inconvenience the Dali Lama if it means you'll have a healthy happy family
8. they talk during movies and gasp at scary or violent parts.
This infuriates John. I don't know why I do it.
9. Refer to their friends as "girlfriends"
No real explanation. Just do
10. Wear "shants" during the summer on the reg.
It's hot out. my legs are not really in shape for shorts. this is the best option
11. Listen to terrible top 25 radio stations
12. Run the gamut of reality TV competitions.

To think... about 10 years ago I was totally on this message board, as a teen full of angst and would have been arguing about how ridiculous all these things are. And now I do them all, and can justify most of it. I'm not embarrassed. I just find it funny how my world comes full circle.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

This may seem silly...

There is no worse feeling in the world than having a sick child. I realize that in the grand scheme of things, a terrible ear infection accompanied by a terrible cough & runny nose is not teh end of the universe. However, in this moment, I feel completely helpless. There is nothing I can do to help the poor little guy, aside from giving him his antibiotics, and keeping eye on his temp/pain and medicating accordingly. I'm also not a fan of over-medicating children, so I only give ibuprofen/acetaminophen when I feel its absolutely necessary. I hate this feeling. He coughs until he gags as he falls asleep and I just want to cry. I want to snuggle him and rock him to sleep, but he won't fall asleep that way. He just gazes into my eyes, for hours. Which I'd much rather, but I know he needs rest and sleep to beat this infection. This is one of those times where you would give your right arm to trade places with your child; to take away their pain and absorb it yourself. I'd go through the pain of labor every single day in lieu of him having any kind of pain. It will be a long night for me...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

So much for turning my day around

Mission "Turn this day around" was a miserable failure. Treadmill didn't quite happen. I got lost in a very moving episode of Dr Phil (note the sarcasm). I got so wrapped up in this episode that I lost track of time, and then it was time for the kids to get up. Oh did I mention that it was an episode I'd already seen!?!? Ugh.
So anyway, the kids get up, and we decide to skip painting since it's nice out, and we play in the sprinkler. I'm enjoying my book and I realize... hmmm John hasn't called back to tell me that Lucas is awake. I was waiting for an update about his fever, which was low-grade when he woke up. I think it was at like 100.4 or so. No big deal, I figured it was because he's teething. Well I call him and he said Lucas was not awake yet, and up bubbled a bit of that maternal instinct. I wanted to tell John to wake him up, since he'd been napping for 2 1/2 hours and he usually only naps 2 hours, and he was due for another dose of tylenol, if needed, an hour before that. But, I felt guilty telling him what to do. He is Lucas' father. He takes very good care of him, and has only Lucas' best interest at heart. So to save myself a potential argument, or to save John's feelings I said nothing. John said he'd rather let him sleep, as he's obviously not feeling well. I had no valid argument for that, who's to say which was the better course of action?
Well, I got a frantic phone call 20 minutes later saying that Lucas' temperature was 104. That's right 104. I was panic-stricken. "GO! Take him to the ER. I'll call Bob and tell him you can't come into work, then I'll make arrangements to meet you there". It's now about 4:45. I call Bob, he's extrememly cooperative. I call my boss, and she jumps on the 5:00 train. (Mind you, she had to sprint to the train to make it there!)I told her that I was going to call a neighbor to give them a heads up that if I felt I had to leave they may need to take over for me. Then my cell phone died. SERIOUSLY?!?! So I pack the kids in the car, and go to the Verizon store to buy a charger because GOD FORBID I buy a universal charger that actually works. NO no, i get an error message that sais "not an authorized charger blah blah blah". So after a 20 minute wait to get the stupid charger, I finally plug the phone in - nothing. No texts, no missed calls. I rush abck to the house, feed the kids, and at 5:55 my boss pulls in and I jet. I called Lori, thank goodness for her, to talk to me on hte way to the hospital to keep my mind occupied. I made it back to Milford in record time (under 30 minutes). I run into the ER where I have to wait in line for 25 minutes to be buzzed into the ward.
And there is my little baby. He's sitting on his Daddy's lap, looking about as miserable and pathetic as I've ever seen him look. He has red eyes from crying, and no color in his face. But one tiny hint of a smile at me, and I think he's never looked better. All the way to the hospital all I could think about was worst case scenarios that are too scary to even put into words. To see him sitting up, breathing, and showing any kind of emotion was more than I could take. I scooped him up from his Daddy and snuggled his burning little body. He was so hot. We laid on that gurney for hours, as nurses came to take his temperature over and over again. Before I arrived they had already determined that he had a sever ear infection, and had taken a chest x-ray, which came back clear. We just had to wait until his fever was controlled, under 101, to go home. Around 8:30 we were discharged and I began a frantic search of area pharmacies for generic Infant Tylenol, thanks to the recall. No one had any - just Children's strength. Sooo I asked a pharmacist if there was a way to dose children's tylenol to infants, and wouldn't you know she had a box of infant's strength behind the counter. I was so happy, I bought and ran home. Oh wait... the dosing on the box is for ages 2+, despite it being INFANT STRENGTH! Ugh... so then it was telephone tag with the urgent care pediatrics office before I could even give him a dose. It was an hour late. I was panicky. They told us to wake him ever 4 hours for tylenol and every 6 hours for motrin, and to give him both throughout the night. So, we were essentially waking him up every two hours. He was a trooper though, and when we took his temp again at 8:30 am it was back to low 100's.
I'll tell you, there is no worse feeling than being stuck somewhere when your child needs you. I realize that John is perfectly capable of handling the situation, and Lucas is lucky that one of us is able to be with him always. However, it doesn't change the gut wrenching feeling I had yesterday. Today, I need to just relax and snuggle my boy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I know I'm having a rough, long, frustrating day when I hear A singing this song, and it infuriates me:

"Sally can do, and midge gets a boo, ahh bib-uh-dee, bob-uh-dee, boobie".

Seriously, this makes me mad? What is wrong with me! I need a nap, or a glass of wine, or something. Tonight, I wish it wasn't going to rain so I could sit out back, light a fire and enjoy a nice glass of wine or something. No such luck.

On a more positive note, my frustration stems from a positive milestone. John and I are officially out of debt. (This does NOT include our very low car payment and mortgage of course). No more student loans. No more credit cards. No more collection calls. Done & done. It wasn't easy, and I'm not happy about the timing of it all, because things will be very tight for a while. But, at least it's done.

Next mission: Turn this day around. Put the kids in their rooms for rest time, do a half hour on the treadmill, then shop online for Lucas' first birthday gift. My baby is going to be one year old exactly one week from today. AHHHHH!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tonight's ride home soundtrack was provided by the talented guys that call themselves "Paint It Black" -- And look out, Yemin. Lucas is totally going to take your spot as most attractive man in hardcore someday. At NEARLY 12 months old, I can tell you that he will be some steep competition if he keeps heading in the same direction.

I find it funny that of all the types of music that John and I have exposed Lucas to throughout his months, he has taken to the type we both enjoy most. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say that he has taken to the type we both MUTUALLY enjoy the most. I can't say I have a favorite genre, and I know John can't pinpoint one either, but most of our mutual musical interests like in the hardcore realm.

Lucas bobs his head, slaps his knee (or chest), and yells his little lungs out. Sometimes he even clenches his little fists when he gets really into it. I wonder if this is instinct or learned behavior, since I know I do all of those things. Either way, I wouldn't trade our ride home routine. It's the best. My neighbors must think I'm nuts because I sit in the MINIVAN with all kinds of random music blaring for a good 10 minutes every night when I get home. I bop around, dancing and singing. It must be quite the sight. Tattooed mid-twenty something, with disheveled hair, preppy hand me down clothes from her boss, in a minivan, dancing and singing various age-inappropriate songs to her *almost* one year old son. Eeep. I would totally make fun of myself!

Summer, Summer, Summertime...

Summer is here. I love summer, and this summer brings all kinds of new joys. Driving home from work last night, I got out nearly an hour early, I jumped off the highway at the first exit that brings me to the skate park. Granted it takes an extra 10-15 minutes taking this route, but I just wanted to roll down the windows and enjoy some throwback pop-punk solo sing-along time with my buddies in Yellowcard. I love the ride, through Franklin, Bellingham and on through Mendon. I love the air blowing my hair all over the place, especially since my passenger window actually works now. I had a quick dinner with the hubby, while Lucas finished up his dinner in his chair. I played with him from across the room, prompting him to run his yucky hands through his cute little humidity induced curls. Then it was time for my favorite part of the day (most of the time), the ride home. It's just me and Lucas. Since I broke yet another Mommy rule, and turned his car seat around to forward facing a couple weeks early, I can peek over my shoulder and see his big toothy grin. I rolled down the windows, turned up the radio and began the ritual. While I back up out of my parking spot, I dance back and forth, with some strategic abrupt dance freezes that make him squeal and giggle. We enjoy a dance and sing along with the likes of Billy Joel and James Taylor, and to answer your burning question, no I'm not ashamed. I love them both. We dance and sing and make our way back to our humble little home. We pass families parking their cars, and setting up camp at the drive-in. I can't wait until we are one of those families. When I get to the last set of lights, I turn around to make him giggle, and my heart sink a little. This is the only time I wish we lived a little further from the park. We pull in the driveway and sit, parked, singing and dancing for at least one more song. We always do. Then I do the quick exit routine that makes his day. I turn off the car, grab my purse and dash around to his side of the minivan as quickly as I can, and pop my head up in his window. More giggles. By this time, he's usually tired and just wants his bottle and to snuggle and go off to bed. But last night, to top off my wonderful summer night, Lucas' schedule had been pushed back a bit so I had a couple hours to play. I opened the garage with the intent of taking him for a walk, but Daddy had the stroller in his trunk, so instead we went inside. Played, and played. And man does this kid babble. He babbles his little head off his shoulders. He does crawling laps around our living room, bouncing from toy to toy, always with a sand toy in his little fist. He crawls to where I'm laying on the couch, pulls himself up to standing, plants a big wet licky kiss on my cheek (or wherever it may land) and continues his pattern. I could spend days like this. Weeks, months even. I love it. Unfortunately I had to work at 5:45am this morning, so by 8:30 Lucas and I were in my bed, snuggling with his na-nite bottle, and he was off to bed by 9:30, after his tickle fight. I miss him terribly already. I just want to squish his cheeks, and wait for those slobbery kisses that I love so much.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Born to do this?

I never use this thing anymore. And why would I? I mean... I don't share it with anyone. I more or less use it to sort through my own thoughts, or to get out some kind of passive aggression. All seems a little silly to me, really. It is, however, nice when I'm more consistent so I can go back and remember how I was feeling in certain situations, at certain times in my life. I must say that in college I was an avid "live-journalist", for better or for worse. I really enjoy reading those old posts, aside from the fact that they are so god-damned cryptic that I can't even decipher them half the time.
At any rate, a lot of people I know with mommy blogs have been talking about their "fail" moments as mothers. I have to laugh at them, because BOY do my failures Trump theirs. I mean... seriously?
Well for one, there's the mom guilt of working. Everyday is a struggle. I'm emotionally drained when I come home, only to find that my little munchkin has grown leaps and bounds and usually has mastered some new skill. I feel like I'm never there for any "firsts" unless I control when they happen. (Like first time eating certain things... etc). That's the ultimate feeling of failure. Missing out. If I had a choice, I'd be a house-maker, and I'd be home everyday with my babe. But I don't live in that world. I live in a world where I am the wife of a struggling small business owner, who works every bit as hard as I do, but doesn't get any compensation for it, yet. I live in a world where mortgage, car insurance, car loan, utilities, and other various payments have a tight grip on me. So I do my best to keep afloat. I do what I feel is best for my family, unfortunately that leaves me with a huge feeling of doubt. Am I doing the right thing? Who the hell knows, sure as fuck not me.
Back to the topic, since that's not really a blatant failure but an overwhelming sense of dread. I have had MANY mommy failures. Like the time I let my son smoosh strawberry yogurt up his nose and in his eyes. Good job, Mom. And then there was the time that we ventured out to S & J's house for a cookout, and I got lost in the adult conversations (since my life lacks adult conversation most of the time) and completely neglected to see that my son was eating fistfuls of dirt. Nice, Mom. And how about the time I nearly FORGOT my sleeping son in the car. Yep, that's right. I did. I came home from god-knows-where and Lucas was sleeping in the backseat. I had to pee SO bad, so I grabbed his diaper bag, my purse, and few other odds & ends and dashed in the house. I went pee, and proceeded to walk to the dishwasher, open it, and THEN realize that THE BABY IS IN THE CAR! What an asshole. Seriously... I spend 100% of my time at work worrying about what he's doing, if he feels like I neglect him, yada yada yada, and yet I FORGET he's in the car because I have to pee? Needless to say, I ran out there, less than 2 minutes had passed, and there he was. Sleeping peacefully. Not a care in the world. And there I was, bawling my eyes out in the driveway, cursing myself for being so stupid. Wonderful, Mom.
Oh and then there was just last night, when I brought Lucas up to his nursery, only to find that Daddy had taken the sheet off his crib to wash it. I called for him to come up and help me (I'm too short to reach the mattress...pathetic). So he comes up, and I plop Lucas on the floor of his own bedroom. Should be a safe place, no? Well we struggle the stupid fitted crib sheet onto the mattress, and tag team the shit out of that bumper pad, and his crib is ready for him in under a minute. And what did Lucas manage to do in that minute... wrap the cord from his monitor around his whole body, including his neck. While it was plugged in. Yup. In under a minute I managed to let my child potentially electrocute and strangle himself. Awesome, Mom.
I also tend to break EVERY guideline and rule set in front of me. I use bumper pads, despite their "lack of airflow". I let Lucas sleep with us for the first few months. I let Lucas swim in his kiddie pool without a swimmy diaper. I let Lucas roam about the house, despite the fact that it's not 100% baby proof. I moved his car seat to forward facing 3 weeks before his first birthday. I introduced nearly every food "too" early. He's eaten strawberries, blueberries, eggs... all the things I SWORE I would hold off on. I let the dog kiss him - on the mouth. He loves it.
So, am I a terrible mother? I guess only time will tell. But I can tell you this: When I come home, and snuggle the shit out of that wiggly little munchkin, and tickle him until neither of us can breathe - he sure doesn't seem to hate me. In fact, his big wet "kisses", snuggles, headbutts, and other signs of affection seem to tell me otherwise. Maybe I'm doing just fine.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I haven't blogged in a while. Haven't felt the need to, aside from one or two times, and didn't have the time.

One of those times, I read a girl from college's blog. She & I have a ton of mutual friends, and would probably be friends too if it weren't for my terrible ways in college. Anyway, she's a great writer, and she was pregnant around the same time as me, so I read her blog. It reduces me to tears nearly every time. She captures the joys, woes, guilt, pride... all of it; she embodies it. In a lot of ways I envy her. I envy her style of writing. I envy her confidence. I envy her ability to persevere. She has not had it easy, and her story makes me yearn to be stronger.

The other time was more of a process, I suppose, than a specific instance. I felt like John and I have been in another marital funk. We go through these periods of complete and utter synchronicity; they are often followed by periods of completely off beat struggles. We have always been this way, and have always taken it in stride. Minor squabbles turn into major arguments about bigger issues. I think all marriages must have these struggles. I mean, if you don't have a difference of opinion, then you are essentially married to yourself, and that is just no fun. There's no challenge, there's no depth.

Anyway, John and I were in one of our off-beat periods a while back, and I wanted to get back in sync. Well an opportunity presented itself to go to a play. An actual date night. I found a sitter, and it was a date. We had a good time, and I feel like all is back to it's harmonious state. We are getting back to basics, and it feels great. We are working as the well oiled machine that we are. We've tackled the yard, the garage, and are moving onto small household projects. I feel good about where we are, and I am positive he would agree.

I still am not 100% happy in our house, however. There is this looming reality that we can't live here forever, for many reasons. The yard is too small, there is a LOT of work to be done, and it doesn't meet all of our needs. We are looking to possibly purchase a new (or additional) property. One that meets all of our needs. It needs to be in move-in condition, with minimal work to be done. It needs to have an in-law apt, or be a two family so that we can have some kind of income. It also needs to have a ground-level entrance or walk out finished basement, so that I can open an in-home day care at some point, if I want. Well... we found a property this week that meets all of these criteria: John's childhood home. Yup. Talk about back to the beginning. I emailed our realtor tonight, and hopefully we'll be checking it out in the next couple days. Craziness! (I just got an email back from her as we speak! We should be in to see it in the next couple day! AHHH!)

Ok, too much excitement for me. I need to get some sleep!

EEEP!