Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monkey Growing Up

Monkey turned 11 months old on Monday.  I didn't even realize it until there was an email in my inbox automatically generated from Gerber that was titled: "Your Baby 11 Months: Week 1" (these are little information about what your baby may be doing).  At first I thought they were wrong.  Then, when I realized the date...yup, a little tear escaped.  Then Brian called me "ridiculous" and we moved on with our day.

I am sad that Monkey is growing up.  Sad simply that my little boy is taking a step away from me each day.  However, on most days this sadness is completely overshadowed by how much I love Monkey's personality as it emerges more and more each day. 

First off, this boy is funny.  I mean he is very funny.  He loves to peek around corners at you and disappear and reappear for some time. He loves to chase you and be chased.  He thinks it's hysterical that Brian tries to hide behind our ottoman but most of him is still sticking up in the air.  He loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.  Just take a look at this:

Secondly, he is smart.  I know, every mother says this and it's probably true for a lot of babies.  My baby is one of them.  Don't let him see what you are doing or he will figure it out.  He knew how to turn on all the faucets in the loft and is working on figuring these out.  He knows how to open all the cabinets and drawers.  He knows things I wouldn't expect an 11 month old to know... like how many numbers are in Pi (just kidding... he can only do the first 3). 

Thirdly, he is so adventurous.  I don't think he had any understanding of danger just yet (even though the cats are trying hard to teach him about it).  He just plows ahead - whether it is jumping in the pool, crawling off the bed, or hanging out with strangers.  It's all something new and wonderful.

And the last thing that makes my heart soar about Monkey, the one thing that hasn't changed since his birth is that he is my precious little angel.  I had to go and wake him from his nap today and here is what I found:

I know, you want to crawl in to that crib with him and just cuddle.  But just know that if you did he would hate it - he's like his mother, not much of a cuddler.

Of course what you don't get to experience is the fact that he had a giant poopy during his nap... but still my precious little angel with a good evacuation system.

Let's hope this is a stage he never grows out of (the angel stage... not the pooping).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Since this is my “day off” (I’m only blogging on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) I thought I would share something about me with you all.

I think that the recent events in my life have made me take a closer look at who I am… at the moment. For instance, becoming a mom has made me very aware of what I say, what I do, and inconsequential things that might have a giant impact on Evan. Everything I am he watches. I’m hoping he will pick only those good things but history has taught us that we are all made up of good and not-so-good so I’m assuming he will choose from both sides of my personality.

I also think moving a lot has made me think about things differently. I’ve tried to see how I handle different situations and what I can do differently for the next move… because there will be one.

And so, lucky you, you get to benefit from some of my introspection through today’s post. I’m going to post 10 things about myself that I’ve learned over the past 5 years, some I like, some I don’t like (but I’m not going to tell you which is which – you can make your own decisions) but they are all part of me… and some of them are probably a part of my parents and some of them will probably be a part of Monkey.

1. I appreciate moments over events. This one has been the most “annoying” for Brian. For instance, when he was figuring out how he was going to propose to me he had decided on proposing to me on the boardwalk in Atlantic City (the site of our first kiss) and then ushering me into a big surprise engagement party. I can appreciate that someone would love it, but not me. Instead, I love that he did it on Christmas Eve, on the patio of my condo, just as snowflakes fell. It was quiet and beautiful and nothing could have been more perfect. I think I remember the details of moments and events just overwhelm me.

2. I’m always one step away from being a hoarder. This is because I attribute memories to things. In most cases I can remember where I bought something or who gave it to me. The things then become the memories and it becomes difficult for me to part with them.

3. While “things” are important to me from the point of view of memories, I think I would be much happier if I owned less. I have a closet of clothes and I wear the same 6 things. I have whittled it down to 8 pairs of shoes and I probably wear 4 year-round.

4. I am in a constant struggle with giving into and fighting against stereotypes. Living in Atlanta has made this even more difficult for me. From a logical point of view I can say that stereotypes exist because there is some truth behind them. For instance… there is a lot of big hair and even bigger accents in New Jersey. So, my struggle is that when someone performs an action and that action can be attributed to a stereotype of their race/ethnicity/gender I have to fight against grouping that person and instead deal with them as an individual.

5. In non-professional settings I am shy… very very shy. I am best if I have a “buddy” who is outgoing and can introduce me around. Otherwise I have to give myself a serious pep talk and can often come across as fake on the first meeting. I am always anxious about social situations because of this.

6. I am territorial inside my house. If you come to visit me don’t do the dishes. Don’t try and put things in the dishwasher and don’t try and clean anything. I ask this of Brian as well. You see, I am the only one who knows how to do these things… in my house. I could care less how you do it at your house but I will ask first in case you have a special way of doing something.

7. I get bored easily… very very easily. Brian is always amazed we are still married but that must say something about him. One of the downfalls of getting bored easily is that even people’s conversations can bore me. I’ve been known to tune in and out of conversations simply because I was bored. Don’t take it personally… this is my bad habit not your problem.

8. I have never had a life timeline or a life plan. I know this is shocking to most people (just kidding) but I have always taken life as it came to me. There was no thought that I would be married by a certain age or that I had to have children by a certain age. For the most part I am satisfied that I live my life this way, it has brought a lot of interesting opportunities to me. But sometimes I wonder where I would be or who I would be if I had had a plan.

9. I am surprised on a daily basis that I like being a mother. It’s true. Before we decided to have kids I wasn’t sure I would even like them until they grew up. Then, once I went through all that work to get pregnant, I was convinced I wouldn’t like Evan until he was about 3 years old. And now, I enjoy him almost every minute he is awake. He is so full of personality.

10. I am more than a mother and a blogger. I am a cook, an artist, a poet, a short story writer, a really really bad singer, an amateur decorator, an adult educator, a dancer for babies, a woman constantly searching for zen, and many many other things. I try and remember this is true of everyone else too and not label them so quickly.

11. I am not good with rules – not even ones I set for myself (hence the 11th point).

And now it’s your turn. If you’re brave, leave me a comment about a self-realization you recently had.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Move #4,356,781

Well, no, there haven't really been that many moves.  But, since I've met Brian (8 years ago), we have moved a total of 5 times so far (with the 6th time hopefully happening within the next 6 months) and this counts moves within the same state/town as well as cross-country moves.  You would think that since I've moved so many times that I would be better at moving... but sadly I'm still a slacker which is why it took my so long to get back to my blog.

Here is a brief run-down of our most recent move:

July 11: Brian's dad comes to watch Monkey while we move
July 12: I run around trying to finish all the packing while Brian's dad entertains Monkey
July 13: Most of our stuff moves from one apartment to another (there were some last minute things that we had to move on our own - like Brian's clothes - and some stuff that has to go in to storage that wasn't moved)
July 14: Brian's dad sticks around for most of the day so I can manically unpack most of the kitchen and all of Monkey's room
July 15 - 17: I'm on my own with Monkey and slowly (very slowly) get another box or two unpacked, get to the grocery store, and do some other tasks that let life keep going.
July 17: Brian has a meltdown about the chaos in the house.  I paraphrase, but he said: "I'm chaos already, I can't have my house be chaos too."
July 18: Brian leaves for a conference in San Antonio and my Mom arrives to help me finish this unpacking thing
July 19 & 20: My mom drives me insane by insisting we do everything right now... but we get it done... all boxes are unpacked and most items have a home.
July 20: Brian arrives home late in the afternoon and makes some comment about how the house looks "good."  My mom reminds him that we worked hard to get the house to this level and that he should find another adjective (she did this in a really nice way, it only sounds snarky because I'm writing it) and Brian agreed.  I believe his next adjective was "fantastic" which my mom approved.
July 21: My mom returns, exhausted, back to New Jersey.
July 22: Molly Maids perform a final house clean at our loft. We inspect it later... they did a poor job.
July 23: Molly Maids performs another final house clean while I oversee it with Monkey.  I bring back most of the remaining items from loft to apartment.
July 24: We go to Ikea to return the first set of bar stools we bought because they were too high and return with 2 more.  I put together one.  I try to put together the other one but it turns out a bar is not threaded and the screw doesn't fit.
July 25: Brian cleans out remainder of loft.  He also returns the defective chair for another one.  We go out to lunch at a fabulous barbecue place and Monkey eats a pulled pork sandwich.  I try to put together the Ikea chair... same problem different chair.  We return this chair to Ikea, test the next one AT the store, return home, and I put together the second chair.
July 26: I accept the fact that the apartment has earwigs (what are earwigs you ask... well look here if you are brave).  I accept that no apartment is perfect.  I accept that the insect world has completely defeated me (you may remember I had an ant infestation in the loft).

So, what is to come next for the Castruccis?

  • Trip to Florida to visit Brian's parents this week

  • My sister visits the second week in August

  • Monkey's 1st birthday (I know, I'm already crying) at the end of August with my parents, Brian's parents, and some dear friends we haven't seen in a while (yay Huebin)

  • September... month of rest
But, I know the real reason you come to this blog... Monkey photos.  So here are some of Monkey in our new house (I've been a little behind in picture taking - please reread this blog if you aren't sure why).

Here is Monkey playing in our bedroom when it was still in chaos.  Notice him eyeing the water gun (that we use to "discipline" the cats)... he loves it and likes to walk around with it.  You can take the boy out of Texas...

Here Monkey is playing in his new bedroom.  It has a lot more play space for him and I was able to put most of his toys in here on a bookshelf you can't see... it's around the corner on the right.  Notice the windows?  We have them everywhere.

Monkey is crawling, rapidly, to Daddy (who is the coolest person in the world according to him) in our main room.  See the cat behind Monkey?  Yes, that is fear on her face.  This apartment doesn't have nearly the same amount of places for cats to hide from the baby so they spend most of the day in our bedroom behind a closed door.  Don't feel bad for them... they are cats... they are nocturnal.

And here is my big boy playing with one of his balls.  He has taken a step or tw without holding on and uses everything that moves to help him walk.  Any day now he will be going off to college.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We're Here....

I'm working on some posts for you full of stories of our move but I wanted to touch base and let you know we are here and we are almost fully unpacked and put away.

And, I wanted to let you know that Monkey is acclimating just fine.  For instance, this morning I opened my drawer of wraps and whatnot and this is what I found:

Looks like someone was being a little Monkey.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Taking a Break

Due to the move to the new apartment, I'm taking a break for a little while (unless something monumental happens).  So this will be my last post until we are happily established in our new apartment. 

Since I've recently been obsessed with what Monkey eats, I thought it appropriate that I leave you with pictures of Monkey's dinner last night.  He ate ground chicken and peas.  I thought for sure the ground chicken would be the highlight of the dish based on his obsession with ground beef... but the peas definitely won out.

Enjoy... becaue Monkey sure did:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Because I Forgot to Post Yesterday...

Who Let The Dogs Out? Who? Who? Who?

Yes, yes.. I did just use that as my blog title.  And you are quite welcome if that song is now stuck in your head for the rest of your day (and for those of you who don't know this song... that is a travesty... Google it now and thank me later).

Anywho - let's not ignore the elephant in the room.  I didn't blog on Friday.  You know, I have a move, 4 cats, a very active baby, and we had to go to Ikea and run about 10,000 other errands on Friday - so it didn't happen.  It's not you... it's me.

But there was at least one exciting thing that happened while I was away.  Let's see if you can guess what it is?  Take a look:

Can you guess?  Can you?  Come on, you know you can do it...

And the answer is: The corral is gone (also known as Monkey's gated and baby safe play area). 

Here is what happened.  For the last two weeks I've had a very cranky baby on my hands.  Brian and I assumed it was due to his teeth coming in (one more on bottom for total of 3 and the two big ones in the middle on top peeking through).  But then this past Thursday Brian mentioned that maybe it was the gate.  So, since we are leaving soon anyway (for the new apartment) we decided to take down the gate.  The only gate left is protecting the stairs from Monkey (I mean that... the boy bangs them something fierce).

And now, I have the happiest little baby back.

So, what does Monkey do with his newfound freedom?

 He has made friends with the vacuum.  He LOVES it.  He used to not like the noise, but now, whenever I use it, he follows me around.  And when I'm not using it, he lovingly caresses it (or smacks it as hard as he can... remember, Monkey Love hurts).

He also cruises on anything he can get his hands on.  This ottoman used to be the favorite spot of sleeping cats.  But... ummm... once they saw how far his reach is they quickly found new spots.

One of his favorite places is our front door.  This is the only spot in the entire shoebox where he can see outside.  In this photo he is showing off his "bang the shade on the glass door as hard as possible" technique.  Mommy raised the shade.

And this is his "neighborhood watch" pose.  He is like that old lady who peeks through his curtains - although he isn't peeking, he is full on ogling.  I wonder what people think when they see him.  This morning a woman brought her bear, I mean giant dog, up our front porch for him to meet Evan through the glass (I kid you not, and I was trying to hide because I hadn't showered yet and was wearing Brian's t-shirt for sleeping which makes me look like I'm 400 lbs).

And then he gave me this face:

And I surrendered to his cuteness.