Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Daddy: Monkey, where is your head?
Daddy: Where are your eyes?
Daddy: Where is your mouth?
Daddy: Where is your foot?
Monkey: (notice the foot underneath the tray and the vacant stare as he watches The Wiggles)
He also knows where his belly is but that becomes difficult to show you when he is in a high chair. We are still working on nose and ears. And, after I did all this, I turned to Brian and said... "This was one of those time I should have video taped it... huh?"
Happy Holidays all...
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
- Turns out I'm only home for 19 days in December.
- Of those 19 days, Brian is gone for 6 of them (so I'm playing "single mom" this week - a role I'm not a fan of).
- I'm pregnant (yes, still... I know I haven't talked about it much but that doesn't mean it isn't real).
- It's Christmastime which means I have to buy presents, coordinate travel, and cook baked ziti for Brian's work Christmas party (it makes sense in my head... must go with it).
- I'm building a house (cross your fingers, supposed to be done in mid-January) and I surprisingly have responsibilities attached to that - even though we leave a lot up to the builder.
- My mom has cancer (come on, if she can throw the cancer card why can't I?).
A while back Monkey began tearing out pieces of books with thin pages (i.e. not board books) and the pages of catalogs that Daddy would give him to play with because "he wanted the catalogs." I would find these little pieces of paper all over the house. But recently, Monkey has become quite considerate and now, after he tears out the pages of catalogs that Mommy gave him because "well, Daddy already did it so it was just easier to continue to give them to him" he brings the torn out pieces of paper to me. Now, I get to collect all the paper and I don't find any sitting around the house.
So, if you recall, a while back Monkey found my underwear drawer and had started to wear my underwear as scarves and other accessories. I had to relocate my underwear and I left a few pairs for him that I never wear. Well... what I didn't tell you is that my bras are in a drawer underneath where my underwear used to live. So, Monkey has also been in my bra drawer. Usually he just takes them out and piles them on the ground. But, the other day he decided to wear one along with his underwear (that sentence was just really weird to write) and when I went to put on one of my bras the drawer was empty.
My tall and lean baby has some wardrobe malfunctions. Since his torso is long but his legs are short, he is still wearing 12-month pants. But, since he is lean even the 12-month pants are too big in the waist. So, when he isn't wearing his shoes, his pants start to slide down. While this gives him a very "urban" look, it also makes him trip over his pants while he is running with abandon throughout the apartment. So, I started to tell him to pull his pants up. At first he looked at me like I had two heads. Then he "figured it out" and would start to pull his pants down. But, just last week, when I said it again he actually pulled up his pants. He has repeated this behavior enough to make me think he now understands the actual words.
And finally, my new favorite thing... Monkey blows kisses. Granted, I have to blow about 6000 kisses to him, then he smiles and I get one kiss in return, but it is so worth it.
Okay, we are soon off to NJ for Christmas. I'll try to remember to take lots of pictures and videos and post them. Hopefully, next year Monkey can spend Christmas in his own house with a tree since last year we were moving and this year we will be up North.
And I'll leave you with this image... Monkey climbing out of pot in to which he had previously climbed. Happy Holidays!!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
When she was first diagnosed it felt like she had the flu - something she just had to get over by resting and drinking plenty of fluids. And then she had her mastectomy and somehow it all became real. And all those years of sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner while my dad was on the phone talking cancer became very very real. From what I'm told, the good news is that she has slow moving and well-behaved caner (because what other kind of cancer would dare infiltrate my mom) but she still has cancer. And let me tell you something, having cancer sucks.
It isn't the actual disease that sucks so much, it's everything else. My opinion is simply based on my observations and the amount of times (I think it was approximately 2, 351 give or take a thousand) that I heard my mom say "Having cancer is like having a job." Because, you see, when you have cancer you have about 100 different doctors that all "coordinate" your care (and add to that my Dad who is still wearing his doctor's coat at every turn). Just last week my mom had appointments to see her breast surgeon, plastic surgeon, and oncologist. This week she has / had appointments to get a MUGA (I know I'm so not spelling that correctly especially since all I could think about when they were talking about it was that it sounded how my husband, with his Cambridge accent, would pronounce "mugger"), see her dentist (not specifically related to the cancer but in a way it is), go to her vascular surgeon to get her portacath put in and see her plastic surgeon again. I know she still has to make appointments with a radiation oncologist and a physical therapist and I'm sure she has to see a slew of other doctors at some point, like maybe an orthopedic doctor or heck, why not a gynecologist just for fun? But somehow she has to see all these physicians, keep track of what they tell her, and make sense out of all the opinions.
And now she gets to look forward to 16 weeks of chemotherapy (4 weeks of the big guns and then 12 of the not-so-big guns if there is such a thing), however many weeks of having her expander (a torture contraption they put in her breast so they could expand it - hence the name - a little at a time and stretch the skin for her impending implant) expanded, possibly some weeks of radiation, and then another surgery to put in her new boob. I mean, I'm jealous of her just typing this all out.
But, my mom being my mom, looks at all the positives and she has found quite a few. She is amazed, awed, and humbled by the amount of people who are praying for her and sending her good wishes. The 2 buffets in her dining room and the dining room table are covered with cards from more people than I think I even know. When I arrived at her house last week she had at least 5 beautiful flower arrangements out and more were delivered. I didn't even have to cook while I was there because people just kept bringing her food. And the phone rang off the hook of people who wanted to make sure she was okay and tell her they love her. And, to top it all off, my father has started going to church with her again (but much to her chagrin she still has an unbaptized grandchild which I'm sure she is praying about this very minute).
At the moment, I don't know how I really feel about this whole situation. All I keep hearing is good news from her doctors (even though her breast surgeon may want to rethink the phrase "killer report" when referring to a good pathology report), she is healing well (already driving and reaching her hand above her head 2 weeks out from her mastectomy... what do you want, she is an overachiever), and everyone is positive. But, my mom has cancer so there is that.
I'm just glad she allowed me to come up and help her out for a week and I guess, much like her, I'll just have to wait to see what the next step is. But I know whatever it is she will face it head on with a legion of people behind her supporting her and loving her. And that is a testament to the amazing woman my mom is (which hopefully someday she will be able to acknowledge and not be constantly surprised that people are affected by her diagnosis).
Sunday, November 28, 2010
While Brian's parents were here we had a little day trip out to Lake Lanier. It's this beautiful lake about 1 hour north of Atlanta that has a couple of islands. It's super popular in the summer with all of the water sports, but it was still beautiful to walk around in the winter.
Here is what it looked like when we went up:
Monday, November 22, 2010
Of course, I tried to get him using a fork on video and this is what I got:
By the way, if you know someone who has a messy eater, these bibs have saved my kitchen floor (and it's much less embarassing eating out now).
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Anyway, I have some shocking news to report. I am the mother of a blondish, blue-eyed, tall and lean toddler. I know your shock... but I swear I've checked with Brian on numerous occasions and he says that Monkey was never out of his sight from birth. I mean, let's do a quick comparison:
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Recently a friend of mine asked me about my experience as a SAHM (I swear I didn't forget Nora). She asked me about "my" experience because hers was a little different than mine. She started out as a SAHM and decided to go back to work. And I thought this might be a good post topic since I've run into people with so many different thoughts and ideas about it.
But, before you read on, let me give some information about this post. This is not a post that will decide which is a better option for a mother. I believe there are pros to being a SAHM and pros to being a mom that works outside the home (just to be fair, let's give them an acronym too - MWOH). I believe there are cons to being a SAHM and cons to being a MWOH. And I believe that the choice is personal to the individual and the family (for those where being a SAHM is actually a choice - for many people, sadly, it is not).
And another point, before you read on, if you are someone who comes to this post with the pre-conceived notion that being a SAHM is a cakewalk and the easy choice made by lazy people (and I have been told this) then you will not enjoy this post. For me, and remember this is my story, well because, it's my blog and I can do whatever I want, being a SAHM is not an easy choice at all.
Let's start with how I got here. When Brian and I met, one of our pre-marriage conversations was about children and whether or not I should stay home. I wanted to stay home. At that point in my life I had a job, not a career, and felt I could walk away from it easily. My mom was a SAHM, my sister is a SAHM, and it just seemed to be the choice I wanted to make. Brian agreed that he would prefer me to be a SAHM (I secretly think he chose this because he had images of Donna Reed - that I would cook, clean, set up parties, always have my hair done and make-up perfect, etc, etc, etc... poor delusional man). So, when I finally got pregnant we revisited this topic and found out that we weren't as black and white as before.
First off, I had a job I actually liked and wasn't sure how I felt about leaving it. Secondly, we had more bills than we did when we first met and even though Brian was making more money there would be a lot of sacrifices. We talked about it a lot and honestly, the deciding factor was my salary. Because, while I liked my job, I wasn't making tons-o-money at it and it turned out that if I continued to work then most of my salary would go towards daycare. This didn't make a lot of financial sense and it pushed us to the decision for me to stay at home.
Me staying home meant we had to look very closely at our finances and figure out how we were going to make it happen. We made changes in our eating out lifestyle (Chili's and their promotion of eating 2 for $20 became our splurge), we cut out any miscellaneous bills (bye-bye phone... we only used our cell phones), I became the one who did the ironing, cooking, and anything else we used to pay for. And out of this emerged my #1 fear of being a SAHM: Money (specifically having enough). I spend a lot of time looking at our finances, figuring out where to cut corners, and basically just worrying about money. This makes Brian insane because about once a month I turn to him and tell him we need to cut back on spending. I probably have a little obsession but I think it's a normal obsession when you're a SAHM.
Now, let's look at my responsibilities as a SAHM. To put it blankly, I take care of the house and all its contents. My responsibilities include: grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, decorating, organizing, ironing, running errands, finances, and taking care of Monkey. As a sub-set, the responsibilities of taking care of Monkey include: feeding him three meals and two snacks a day, changing his diapers, bathing him, dressing him, getting up in the middle of the night with him, soothing him, teaching him, disciplining him, etc. Now, Brian does help me with the running errands, decorating and taking care of Monkey, but everything else is pretty much me. My day begins at 7:00 PM and if Monkey sleeps through the night, it usually ends around 8:00 PM when I've completed my last chore. But I'm on call all through the night if Monkey needs me. Now, none of the above should sound shocking to any mom, whether a SAHM or a MWOH. Sadly, the responsibilities don't change for moms and in fact, they've probably been the same responsibilities of moms over the last few centuries.
For me, what makes being a SAHM a difficult choice, was the realization that I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Turns out I don't know a lot about children. I don't know how to balance being a mom to Monkey, a wife to Brian, and the keeper of the house. More often than not, the cleaning and the laundry fall to the wayside while I tend to one of my men, little or big. There have been many days where I've fantasized about going back to work. In my fantasy, I would drop Monkey off at a daycare and he would spend his day with people who are fully equipped to take care of a 14-month old. He would be stimulated by the professional childcare providers, he would be socialized with all the other children (another of my fears, that I'm raising a child who has no idea how to socialize with other children his age), and I would be in a job where there would be clear indications of success and failure. And then I remember that financially it wouldn't be worth it and that the daycare wouldn't have pants hangers for Monkey to play with and that wouldn't be fair to deprive Monkey of that.
This fantasy usually comes on the days where I lose my cool. When Monkey is being a typical 14-month old and I react irrationally to him. The day care fantasy is often followed by the fantasy where my children are in school and I can clean the toilet without being interrupted. That fantasy is followed by the one where my children are in college and I can do weekend trips with my husband again. And then Monkey does something cute and I'm back to my reality and I remind myself to enjoy this time because all the fantasies, except for the daycare one, will come true. And sometimes, this day turns into a week. But so far the week is the longest it's lasted.
Because, for me, being a SAHM is extremes. Some days I can't imagine how lucky I am to be able to do this. And other days I wonder why I hate myself so much that I would choose this every day. Some days I love spending time with Monkey and other days I go to the grocery store just to be able to talk to people who use more words than grunts. And here is the most amazing part, to me, I'm not yet at the point where I would say that no matter what I've made the only choice right for me. I think I have, today at least, but ask me tomorrow, it could be a whole different answer.
So, Nora, to respond to your question, I'm still not sure what is my experience of being a SAHM. It changes weekly, daily, and minute-by-minute. It hinges on how I'm feeling physically and emotionally, how Brian is feeling, and how Monkey is acting. So far, I can't think of a job that would make me want to leave my current one, but that doesn't mean that the job isn't out there. For right now, I'm content with where I am and each day I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing. But who knows, maybe I'll figure it all out someday, get bored, and need a new challenge (although I highly doubt that). The only definite I can tell you is that I'm learning more about myself as a SAHM than I have at any other point in my life and I'm intrigued by what I'll learn next.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Monkey's new favorite toys are a spatula (not featured here), a feather duster, and the carboard part of a pants hanger. He pretty much carries all three with him at all times. Oh yeah, and the blinds in our apartment.
Tell me why we buy children toys again?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
This is our lot before anything happened - about one month ago. (Ignore the box in the lower right hand corner - this is a screen shot from google maps since we didn't take a picture of our lot before)
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
But, I'm still doing it. Just not as often as you might like. But cut me some slack... 50,000 words is a lot. Go ahead, you try it.
And now on to Halloween 2010. Monkey went as The Incredible Hulk (he was a monkey last year so we couldn't replicate that).
We started off Halloween on Saturday night by attending the EAVoween. Our neighborhood (the East Atlanta Village) sponsored an event downtown where between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM all the businesses hand out candy to children. They also have activities like face painting, ghost stories, and other things for when Evan is older.
He loved walking around but he wasn't so sure about all the costumes. Every time one went past (about every 10 seconds, he stopped what he was doing and stared). Eventually he ended up on Daddy's shoulders.
Then, on Sunday, we went to Boo at the Zoo. More little people wearing costumes, more staring by Monkey, but also the addition of a Petting Zoo and one pine cone that became Monkey's obsession.
It's hard to believe that just one year ago Monkey as only 2 months old at Halloween and we were just excited he let us prop him up on the couch for pictures.
My little man is growing up. I'm not sure I'm mature enough to handle this.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
- Wow, DC is expensive. I don't know if it's because I've been living outside of the north east for the last 5 years or not... but wow.
- DC is beautiful. It reminds me of European cities.
- DC is NOT baby friendly. The restaurants aren't baby friendly, the museums aren't baby friendly, and the people aren't baby friendly.
Tuesday, October 19
2:30 PM - We land in Atlanta. As we are landing... Monkey falls asleep.
3:00 PM - Check in at hotel.
3:15 PM - Monkey tears apart the hotel room.
10:30 AM - Mommy and Monkey walk over to the Museum of Natural History where Monkey is awed by the dinosaurs.
12:00 PM - Mommy and Monkey eat an expensive lunch of yogurt and peanut butter and jelly (Monkey's first) at the museum. There are a lot of children to watch and this was a successful eating out moment.
12:30 PM - Mommy and Monkey walk around the Mall towards the Capitol. Monkey makes it very clear he has had it with his stroller.
1:00 PM - Mommy stumbles upon a cabbie who takes us back to the hotel.
1:30 PM - Mommy and Monkey nap for real.
3:00 PM - Monkey plays in hotel room, quickly gets bored and cranky. Mommy hopes Daddy gets back soon.
4:00 PM - Daddy arrives and Mommy and Daddy get Monkey dressed for the Awards Ceremony that night. Monkey looks adorable and Mommy and Daddy don't look too shabby either.
5:30 PM - All arrive at the awards ceremony. Brian's employees and co-workers take Monkey and Mommy doesn't see him again for a few hours (which, considering how cranky Monkey was during the day this wasn't so bad).
6:00 PM - Daddy receives his award. As Daddy is receiving the award, the crowd goes silent and from the back of the room your hear "Da-Da."
8:30 PM - After having dined on fabulous quesadillas, sliders, and other yumminess at the reception, the Castruccis adjourn to bed. This time it's "silent 8:30s."
3:00 AM - Monkey wakes up screaming. Mommy settles him down.
Thursday, October 21
6:00 AM - Monkey wakes up and is ready to go.
6:30 AM - Castruccis make it to breakfast and try the same french toast with Monkey. This time he eats 2 bites, gets annoyed, and starts to act out. Daddy eats his breakfast and then takes Monkey to walk around the hotel so Mommy can eat her breakfast.
8:30 AM - Mommy and Monkey nap (both of them this morning).
10:30 AM - Mommy asks the concierge if there is a park or playground close by and (thank the Lord) there is one just few blocks down.
11:00 AM - Monkey, Mommy, and tons of Nannies with their charges are hanging out at the park. Monkey gets to walk around and explore. Leaves are the coolest thing ever.
12:00 PM - Mommy and Monkey meet Daddy for lunch at a restaurant... not a kid friendly restaurant. Monkey is exhausted and eats some food. The check is asked for quickly.
12:45 PM - Mommy goes and buys a book at a bookstore (yippee - new book). Monkey and Mommy make their way back to the park.
1:00 PM - Mommy and a sleeping Monkey hang out in the park. Mommy reads her book. Life is good.
2:00 PM - Monkey wakes up and continues to explore the park.
3:30 PM - Mommy and Monkey return to the hotel. They hang out in the room for 30 minutes before Monkey has a meltdown and then they walk around the hotel... for an hour.
5:00 PM - All go to dinner at a restaurant that Mommy found online that was supposedly "kid friendly." It was a lie. Monkey lasts 30 minutes before the start of a meltdown. The food was bad anyway.
7:00 PM - Silent 7's.
Friday, October 22
6:15 AM - Monkey wakes up... a little bit later every day.
6:45 AM - Breakfast... Mommy eats and then walks with Monkey while Daddy eats.
8:30 AM - Everyone naps.
10:00 AM - All are off to the National Zoo (which, as an aside, I have to say is, hands down, the best zoo I've ever been to and normally I hate zoos because I hate to see the animals captive but I would live at this zoo if they made a habitat for me... a habitat made of chocolate...). For the next couple of hours, all walk around the zoo in awe. There are tons of children and Monkey can't decide which is more exciting, the children or the animals... or the statues.
2:00 PM - Sleeping Monkey and Mommy and Daddy start the mile walk back to the hotel.
5:00 PM - Final dinner in DC. Mommy and Daddy try the Cheesecake Factory... bad idea. Monkey at his macaroni and cheese in 10 minutes and then was done thank-you-very-much. Daddy walked with Monkey while Mommy ate.
7:00 PM - Silent 7s... very silent.
Saturday, October 23
7:15 AM - Monkey wakes up.
7:45 AM - Attempt at breakfast.
9:00 AM - Off to the airport... about time.
So, what were our lessons learned on this trip:
- Staying in a hotel without any family around with a VERY active 14 month old is a bad bad idea.
- While Brian gets reimbursed for most of his trip because it was a work conference.... Ellen and Monkey do not... it ain't cheap.
- Babies/todllers don't like eating every meal at a restaurant... they really don't like it.
- Our baby is still one of the best little fliers around.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I swear, it's true and somewhere in the highlighted section of the photo below is a little baby at 12 weeks old:
Oddly enough, this was kind of a surprise to Brian and me. I say "oddly" because as you know from my posts about Evan's conception, I take Metformin to ovulate and therefore I check my ovulation monthly to make sure it is working. So, one would think that two intelligent people (that would be Brian and I), if they have marital relations (that was the best euphemism I could come up with knowing my mom reads this blog) when the female is ovulating, would then not be surprised when the test comes up positive. But we were... incredibly surprised and incredulous. The problem is that it took us so long to get pregnant with Evan that who would have thought... just one time...
Anyway, the first trimester is behind me and this pregnancy is VERY different from Evan's. Yes, I was EXHAUSTED my first trimester and slept more often than not but I also had nausea and am now having hot flashes. I'm a little concerned... because with Evan the pregnancy was so easy and I got this even tempered little man... what does this temperamental pregnancy mean?
Anyway, my due date is May 9th (like I need another Taurus in my life - my Dad and Brian) and as it gets closer we will discuss delivery options (I'm hoping that the baby can just teleport from my womb).
And that's my secret...
Sunday, October 17, 2010
To make it up to you I am going to share with you all those things I should have blogged about didn't.
- Went to New Jersey for a visit and there was a purpose behind that visit. My Dad was honored by the Teal Magnolias for his work in ovarian cancer. It was really nice to be able to be a part of that special day with him and my entire family was able to attend. And... my Dad's speech was funny... I mean people laughed out loud and not one pun (one of my Dad's favorite jokes is to ask someone named "Denise" if their brother's name is "Denephew"... understand my joy at his funny speech?).
- Monkey has decided two things: 1) He is fully mobile and no longer needs his stroller thank you very much. Basically he walks almost everywhere and now things take 4 times as long. But he is so cute walking I don't even care. 2) He will no longer eat the same thing 2 days in a row. Or every other day. Or even within the same week. So now this means I have to be super creative about food all the time. I mean, I'm happy he isn't picky... but did he have to go to the opposite?
- Our house is being built... and I don't mean metaphorically. I mean our lot was cleared of unnecessary flora and fauna, there is a hole dug for our foundation, and concrete has been poured. I'll post some pictures once they start framing out the house which I think is either this week or next. I love our builder... he isn't going to make me pick out door knobs. I seriously love him.
- Brian, Evan, and I leave for Washington DC on Tuesday. Brian has been awarded the Young Leadership in Maternal Child Health for the 75th anniversary of HRSA (the men in my life really seem to get professional recognition). The awards ceremony is Wednesday night and Brian will be at a conference most of the time we are there so Monkey and I are on our own in DC...watch out!
- Monkey has learned how to give kisses. Really my mom taught him when we were in NJ AND when he first learned he would only give kisses to my mom but now he does it to Brian and me as well. The upside is that it is so adorable when he does it and he always smiles and giggles. The downside is that he kisses you on the lips with his mouth open and sometimes his tongue hanging out... it's bizarre.
- I understand there is some conversation about the validity of Brian's claim that Monkey, at 13 months, can accurately throw a ball to him. So, here is some video evidence:
I think that's about as caught up as I can get right now. I'll try and take tons of pictures in DC and share with you the latest adventures of the traveling Castruccis when we return.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The best part about doing errands on the weekends is that one grown-up can entertain Evan while the other one focuses on the task at hand. For instance, a few weekends ago we went to Dillard's so Brian could buy socks (which turned into we went to Dillards so Brian could spend a couple hours staring at suits, trying them on, and then not buying any of them). While Brian gabbed with the sales associate I played with Monkey. He had on his shoes, so I put him down and we were off. We explored every inch of the men's department at Dillards. He was so jazzed - running from one table to the next, pulling socks of the display, giggling and laughing - he loved the freedom. Thankfully it was a slow day at Dillards.
So, for the trip to The Container Store, it was Brian's turn to entertain Monkey. Following my lead of a few weeks ago, Brian put Monkey down and he was off. However, The Container Store is a little different from Dillards for two main reasons: 1) It was way more crowded, and 2) everything is at Monkey's level and fits in Monkey's hands. After about 10 minutes of restocking The Container Store, Brian decided it was time to entertain Monkey some other way and this is what he came up with:
Please excuse the quality... these were taken with my phone. But I couldn't resist.
Isn't Daddy the coolest?