Ranging Emotions

We are down to just 6 days before we make the big move from Richmond, VA to Athens, GA.

My son and I are busy crossing off our Richmond bucket list and my husband is finishing his last days of residency.

Every morning my son and I are doing activities around Richmond and seeing friends while my husband works, and every afternoon we are all working on packing up the house.

One afternoon my husband came home not talking, and I was sulking. Our son was running around with enthusiasm saying “Yay, it’s almost moving day!”

“What’s up?” I asked my quietly brooding husband. “I’m really stressed,” answered, an honest and vulnerable answer for a man who never gets stressed (or at least never admits to it.)

“And you?” he asked, already knowing my answer. My emotions have always been transparent. “I’m just really sad,” I said, and started to cry, because lately there’s nothing that doesn’t make me cry. The combination of making a big move, leaving the city and friends that I love and being 6 1/2 months pregnant all at the same time has resulted in me crying on a daily basis.

“Mommy, stop crying!” our four year old said as he continued to gallop around the living room. “This is so exciting! I can’t wait to move to GA!”

“Well,” I said, “at least one of us is happy! Daddy is stressed, Mommy is sad, and Noah is excited.”

And there we were in the midst of boxes and transitions and endings and beginnings and all feeling differently about where we were.

In that moment, as in so many moments of my life, I was incredibly thankful for the blind enthusiasm of my son for adding one more dynamic to our little family. A ray of sunshine in our modes of stressed and sad, our little boy is so excited for our new adventure. Maybe it will be ok after all.

excited boy

Back to the Present

January, February, and March were lost to sickness and April was lost to stress, then May was lost to arranging our new lives.

I was so terrible about blogging about all of it, but honestly all it would have been would have been post after post of complaints and questions and I’m sure no one wants to read that. I also hope that years later when I look back at these times I will be thankful I did not type out the ramblings of my very-stressed-for-months-mind.

After we finally had a job secured, I began the daunting task of researching EVERYTHING else. Where would my son go to school next year? Where would we live? Who would be my new care provider when I switched doctors in the middle of a pregnancy? What hospital would I deliver at? What are the logistics of this move? How are we moving? What are the details of my husband’s job? What about insurance? We need to set up new utilities, find new family friendly things in our new town, figure out how to change everything about our lives. In the midst of dealing with selling our current home and being pregnant. And, you know, still live our lives here in Richmond in the mean time.

So, in May, we dealt with all of it. Tons of paperwork for the new job. Sleepless nights of research online. More tension and stress. The end of a school year. The end of my job at Richmondmom.com. (Speaking of, want to know how we sold our house in three days? I wrote about it here.) Continuing to negotiate on the sale of our home. Lots of phone calls to a lot of different people about a lot of different things. One more month of night shifts for my husband.

We had one weekend to go house hunting and were actually looking forward to a mini vacation in the midst of everything. We are moving back to the town where we went to college, so we were very excited to show our son all about where Mommy and Daddy went to school and where his new home would be. Have you ever been house hunting with a four year old? Turns out they aren’t all that interested. We toured 10 properties that weekend ranging from rentals to apartments to homes to buy. We had an exhausted and bored little one and it turned out he really didn’t care when we drove through campus and said “Daddy used to take a class in that building!” or “That’s where Mommy used to teach!” or “Mommy and Daddy used to go on dates there!” We got nothing but blank stares and I’m pretty sure the four year old version of an exasperated sigh and an eye roll.

Smile! We're having fun on this house hunt!

Smile! We’re having fun on this house hunt!

In the end, we hated all of the rental houses, found one apartment complex that we liked, and found one house that we LOVED for sale. We left with no definite answer and tried to decide between the house and the apartment. Which also meant deciding between schools and grade levels. Apparently in Athens, there’s one really great elementary school everyone sends their kids to or you do private school. (Or you can live in a county about 20 minutes outside the city.) I am a huge advocate of public education, but getting our son into a school district meant buying a house which we weren’t sure we were ready for in a one weekend house hunt spree. We were also trying to decide between one more year of pre-K or sending my son to Kindergarten. His birthday is September 1st, which is the cut off for school enrollment in GA, so he could either be the VERY OLDEST or the VERY YOUNGEST in his grade. We really hated to spend the money for one more year of pre-school, but Georgia has a lottery funded (free) full day pre-K program that is hard to get into. We had missed the registration by a long shot since it was in February, so we ultimately decided we’d pony up the money for private school if we had to, and go with one more year of pre-K since my son’s birthday is right on the cut off for enrollment.

The day after we got back from our house hunt we found out the gender of baby number two and put together a big gender reveal. My brother said he was more impressed with our ability to put a huge event together right after coming back from out of town than anything else, which made me incredibly happy. I love validation. :)

Lots of talks and number crunching and only a little bit of fighting later, my husband and I decided to sign a lease at the apartment and keep our eye on the house that we loved. Then, with the wonderful resource of Facebook and social networking I found a GA Lottery Pre-K program near the apartments with fantastic reviews that had one spot left! (We snagged it.) Through a lot of research I found a new care provider for my pregnancy and a lead on a new pediatrician. I even found and signed a contract with a newborn photographer. My husband lined up the moving logistics (because honestly I could not handle one. more. thing.) and I scheduled the cancellation of our house utilities and the installation of our apartment utilities. All of this is organized in a very lovely notebook with tabs clearly labeled for each section of life. I love organization. And labels.

At the end of May I tearfully made it through my son’s preschool graduation and then…that was it.

Cutest pre-K graduate ever.

Cutest pre-K graduate ever.

 

Family picture at graduation. So proud of my little one.

Family picture at graduation. So proud of my little one.

We had survived. There was finally a break in the storm and during the last week of May (besides one more day of getting the house spotless for our appraisal and the appraisal itself) I could breathe. My son and I did a whole lot of nothing and actually just lazed about the house which was glorious and necessary all at once.

June came and my son did a summer camp at his preschool. I was teary on his last day as I realized it was the very last time I would ever make the drive from our house to the little school we have loved for three years. And I was sad as I used my last week of mornings alone for coffee dates with friends and my last pre-natal appointment in Richmond. My sweet friends threw a baby sprinkle for me and the newest little one. My son and I enjoyed more house time and there has been lots of packing and more getting organized and set up for our new future. I started a Richmond bucket list and we are slowly crossing through each item in the weeks leading up to the big move.

And now here I am at almost 25 weeks pregnant, surrounded by boxes cluttering my house and finally, FINALLY feeling some sort of peace. Because this is sad. And hard. But things are in place for our next chapter and once we get there it is going to be great. Because it has to be.

 

 

Scavenger Hunt Gender Reveal

I can’t believe I’m already half-way through this pregnancy. With everything that has been going on in our lives, I have barely had time to focus on it.

Despite the busy-ness, 20 weeks came and so did the ultrasound to see if baby was healthy and, of course, whether it is a boy or a girl.

Our oldest is 4 1/2 and I really wanted the gender reveal to be special for him. On the day of the ultrasound, my husband and I dropped my son off at school and headed to the appointment. Where we discovered that everything was healthy (a very different reveal from my first pregnancy) and that the baby is a……….(you will just have to read this post to find out. :) )

My husband and I spent the rest of the day frantically getting our elaborate gender reveal together before we picked my son up from school and then we gave him his first clue:

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The first scavenger hunt clue we gave to my son in the car on the way home from school.

The second clue on the front door.

The second clue on the front door.

Third clue in the bath.

Third clue in the bath.

This one was on the oven.

This one was on the oven.

The next clue was above his bed...

The next clue was above his bed…

A close up version.

A close up version.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

The next clue hiding under the dining room table.

Another clue behind the clock.

Another clue behind the clock.

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

Which led us back upstairs to find another clue and a book!

The book

The book

The clue close up.

The clue close up.

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

The next clue by the toys. (Ignore the mess.)

Close up clue leading outside...

Close up clue leading outside…

The outside clue...

The outside clue…

baby gender reveal! 024

Leading to a tree...

Leading to a tree…

Which led to the most important clue of all...

Which led to the most important clue of all…

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon...

Hanging from the swing set was a big balloon…

baby gender reveal! 029

baby gender reveal! 009

Here it is, the big reveal....

Here it is, the big reveal….

The confetti is BLUE!

The confetti is BLUE!

It's a BOY!

It’s a BOY!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

Hurray! A baby brother!!

After the balloon pop there were two more clues....one revealing a yummy treat,

After the balloon pop there were two more clues….one revealing a yummy treat,
Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

Our BLUE cupcakes for a BOY!

And one telling our son how much we love him.

And one telling our son how much we love him.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Someone is a very excited big brother! Mommy at 20 weeks with baby number 2.

Our gender reveal started as a nursery rhyme scavenger hunt, but turned more personal as I made the rhymes fit for our house and family. I LOVE the balloon pop part, which I ordered in this cute little kit from Etsy:

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy.

Balloon Pop gender reveal kit from Etsy. It came with confetti for a boy or a girl.

I loved our gender reveal and we all had a great time going around the house searching for clues and finding out it was a BOY with the blue confetti. The cupcake part was pretty delicious, too.

What do you think of our gender reveal? Have you seen other gender reveals you just love?

I Can’t Do Anything Right

I can’t do anything right.

No, this is not a case of low self esteem or a pity party, but simply a statement of fact according to my four year old son.

I’ve been writing these sweet posts about how much I love him and how much I cherish motherhood but the truth is in the day to day over here, I’m drowning.

“Mommy my soup is too hot!” 

“Mommy, why did you put ice in my soup? I hate ice in my soup!”

“Why is my jacket inside out?”

“No, don’t touch it, I can do it!”

“Mommy! Did you close my mouthwash?”

“There is too much toothpaste on my toothbrush.”

“Read these words. You aren’t reading this story right.”

“Mommy! I said count to four like this (holds up fingers) you aren’t counting right!”

“Mommy there’s not enough ice in my drink.”

“There’s too many ice in my water.”

“Are you speeding, Mommy? If you speed you will get another ticket.”

“You sound funny. Are you trying to talk funny, Mommy?”

“I don’t like peanut butter on my sandwich!”

“Mommy it’s not a peanut butter and jelly sandwich if you don’t put peanut butter on it.”

“No, don’t put my socks on like that! I will just do it.”

“You are playing hide and seek wrong!”

“Mommy, you have brushed my hair wrong once again.”

The kid really says this stuff. I am living in a world of constant belittling. By a pint sized person.

That tends to a number on your self esteem and patience.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t just apply to me. My husband can’t do anything right, either.

Yes, we say “You can’t talk to Mommy and Daddy that way.” “Please think about your words.” “Instead of saying that, I wonder if you could try (insert more appropriate words here.)”

But at the end of the day, we can’t do anything right.

Remember when people said the terrible twos would be hard? And they lied because as it turns out three is like the age from hell? And then you thought that four would be better and it kind of was until your pint sized person decided that they already knew everything there is to know and you are no longer of relevance? (Is this just my thought process?)

I hope the grandparents keep their energy up. He’s moving in with them when he’s a teenager and I’m going to take a nice long nap. And probably mess that up, too.

 

 

 

Four and a Half

“Mommy, can you come check the temperature? It says 8 6. Well, I know I’m right about the 8,” he poses as he wiggles and tugs for my attention.

I leave my school snack making for a minute to walk with him to our thermostat, which does, in fact display an 8 and a 6.

“You’re right!” I say to a beaming four year old. “The temperature says 6-8. It is 68 degrees in our house. That’s pretty warm. And this part says 2-1. It’s only 21 degrees outside, that’s cold!”

“Aw, man, so I have to wear a jacket?” he bemoans as he stomps away.

“Yes, you have to wear a jacket when it’s cold outside,” I reply as I make my way back to school snack duty.

He grumbles as he slowly lays his jacket out on the floor and does the cool flip it over his head trick his teachers taught him at school.

“Will you zip me, Mommy?”

We fall into our usual routine of packing and zipping and shoe Velcro-ing as we make our way to the door and out into the cold.

These mornings have gotten easier, now that he’s old enough to do part of the getting ready.

As we drive to school he points out the letters on the license plates he sees in front of us.

He asks how fast I’m driving and says “Mommy, I saw the speed limit sign that said 5-4. So don’t drive any faster than 5-4.”

I assure him I won’t, knowing that this must be a translation of 45.

He discovers an 8 and a 0 and a 6 and reads the word STOP to me.

And then he tells me that he sees “many more deciduous trees than evergreen trees but Christmas trees are evergreen trees.”

When did he grow up?

This little one is so big and observant. He likes to make plans and study pictures. He seems to remember everything I say except for the parts about “please clean your room” and “stop chasing the cats.”

We are still working on letters and numbers but he sees and notices them all around him and is beginning to pick out words in our bedtime stories. It won’t be long before he is reading in the slow, focused, and melodic way all children start.

He has a strong sense of humor and loves to feel authoritative. (Sorry, cats.) He is compiling himself and his experiences into his very own version of life.

It’s a conclusion I come to over and over at various stages in his life; my sweet little boy is not so little anymore.

My sweet boy at 4 and 1/2.

My sweet boy at 4 and 1/2. (And part of my husband’s eye.) 

 

 

 

The First Snow

“You guys, you guys, LOOK!!!”

His feet stomped heavily across the upstairs hallway as he ran, interrupting the quiet calm of early morning sleeping.

We stirred a bit in our sleep, more startled than awake.

“IT SNOWED!!” He declared in an excited yell.

We pulled back our bedroom curtain to reveal the white blanket that covered our lawn.

“It’s so beautiful,” I said, and I couldn’t help but reveal a sleepy smile to the animated face of excitement that stared at me as I fought through the morning fog.

My husband got up with him and set him up with breakfast and I slowly composed myself.

Soon my husband left for work and my son and I were left to start our day in the blanket of snow.

“It’s snowing again, Mommy!” We watched through our picture window; his big, brown eyes shadowed by long lashes and mine still clouded with the remnants of sleep.

The snow fell softly, inviting us to come out and play.

We dressed ourselves in careful layers and stepped out into the world of white.

My son’s entire face lit up as he ran through the snow laughing at his footprints and the cloud his breath made in the cold.

We made a small snowman as well as we could with just a dusting of snow, and laughed as he tasted snow and declared, “It tastes like cold!”

Our snow day was short lived as school was still running right on time, and we marveled at the beauty of the winter wonderland that surrounded us on our morning drive.

“It’s amazing,” we admired, partially for it’s beauty and partially for my awe that my son still had to go to school in this. My own childhood in Georgia meant that it almost never snowed, and if it did school would unquestionably be closed.

The snow melted quickly as the morning progressed and by the time I greeted his sweet face in the car pool line it was almost gone.

He told me about his day which included playing outside in the snow and building a snowman at school; a life experience I never had.

Our exciting morning turned into a normal afternoon and as I put him to bed that evening he mumbled, “I can’t wait until it snows again.”

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Did you know that when I’m not chasing snowflakes I’m hosting a giveaway on this blog? Click here and enter to win!

Living With Boys

Disclaimer: I have not been home a lot lately. I am swamped with nightly rehearsals for a Christmas show I’m in. (Remember it from last year?) So this means the boys are in charge. My house is not normally this out of control.

I walked into my son’s bathroom the other night to get his shoes he had haphazardly left by the bath tub and discovered pee. All over the floor. The place smelled like a port-a potty. Or a frat house.

I really didn’t have time to do anything about it at that very moment because my son and I were rushing out the door to get to one of my rehearsals for the Christmas production. After putting “scrub bathroom relentlessly” on my metal to-do list we headed out.

The next day, I wasn’t feeling well and my husband said he would deal with the bathroom. Which was so thoughtful!

And then this morning, I went into my son’s bathroom to help him get ready for school to discover that the floor was sticky and it still kind of smelled like pee.

“Why is this floor sticky?”

“Daddy cleaned it.”

“With what?”

“He squirted stuff all over it.”

“Did he wipe it up?”

“No.”

“Why won’t this water come on?”

“I don’t know. Daddy turned it off.”

“What?”

“Yeah, so I won’t waste the water.”

So now my son’s bathroom is layered in pee, covered up with “spray stuff,” and has no running water. There is also hardened toothpaste in the sink. Because it’s hard to brush your teeth with out water.

I also discovered baby powder all over the upstairs bathroom.

“Where did this powder come from?”

“Daddy used it.”

“For what?”

“I don’t know. Daddy’s not a baby, so that’s weird.”

I’m not even sure I even want to know the answer.

And truly, the amount of nudity I see on a daily basis from these two boys is astounding. I swear both of them do actually own clothes.

Don’t even get me started on how often I hear the word “penis.”

My husband once said, “Being married is not hard. Living together is.” That is an understatement.

Living with boys is incredibly strange.

I need some more estrogen in this house. Or at least a maid specializing in boy bathrooms.

Are you outnumbered in your house? How do you deal with it?

 

 

 

 

Potato IceCream

A recipe for potato ice cream as concocted and relayed to me by my four year old:

Him: “You need cheese, and onion and garlic. And probably a little sugar but not too much sugar.

And then you mix it up.

And then you have to cook it for eighty-one-hundred days!”

Me: “Wow, buddy, that’s a long time! And then when it’s done cooking what did you make?”

Him: “Potato ice cream, Mommy.”

Me: “I don’t think I’ve ever had potato ice cream before.”

Him: “Yeah, but it’s probably good but not healthy.”

Just a bit of an insight into my world with a four year old. Also? He’s going to be an amazing chef when he grows up.

Our First Family Camping Trip

I must really love my husband and my son.

I actually went camping this past weekend.

You have to understand, I am not an outdoorsy girl. I have never been camping in my life and really don’t understand the allure in pretending to be homeless for a night.

But having kids makes you do strange things, so this weekend my husband and son and I went camping.

It was civilized; we had a camp site and set the tent up right by our car. Our site was also in good proximity to the bathrooms, because I’m sorry, but no way am I peeing in the woods. We had sleeping bags and blankets and even an outdoor air mattress. We were for a brief time; only enough to set up camp, build a fire, cook hot dogs and s’mores, and sleep in the tent. We packed up and went apple and pumpkin picking the next morning. Dare I say it, but I actually had fun! My husband is an Eagle Scout and grew up camping and back packing with his Dad and brothers. While I don’t think I’ll ever love THAT, I did have fun with just one night out in the woods with my boys. And I loved how excited my son was about it. The best part was that a deer came right up into our camp site! Despite my reluctance, we really did have a great time. And the views were gorgeous.

 

My big boy in the mountains!

My big boy in the mountains!

Mountain View

Mountain View

So gorgeous!

So gorgeous!

Our tent all set up!

Our tent all set up!

Getting the fire started

Getting the fire started

Look at these handsome camping boys!

Look at these handsome camping boys!

Enjoying the fire. And some junk food.

Enjoying the fire. And some junk food.

The tent set up

The tent set up

The fire set up

The fire set up

Our camp site

Our camp site

So you see this deer?? It came right up to our camp site! I love the excited look on my son's face. :)

So you see this deer?? It came right up to our camp site! I love the excited look on my son’s face. :)

So beautiful. And so close!

So beautiful. And so close!

Breaking down the tent. He was such a good helper!

Breaking down the tent. He was such a good helper!

The next morning, we went apple picking in the mountains.

The next morning, we went apple picking in the mountains.

Love this one of my apple picking boys.

Love this one of my apple picking boys.

I love this picture. He has gotten so big and he was so good at collecting all of the apples!

I love this picture. He has gotten so big and he was so good at collecting all of the apples!

My happy pumpkin picking boy and his apple cider.

My happy pumpkin picking boy and his apple cider.

We had such an amazing time and it was a wonderful way to kick off the Fall season.

Do you have any good camping stories?

Find more Wordless Wednesday (Or Wordful Wednesday if you still need a story) posts here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting and Watching

I had completed all of my errands and found myself sitting in the school parking lot. With not enough time to drive home and be back in time I parked my car and waited.

A parade of little people soon trickled out followed by the soccer coach. My dad, sister, and brother all loved soccer and I so desperately want my son to like it, too, so he’s signed up for the after school session.

I couldn’t place him; he blended in so well with all the other parent hearts disguised in preschoolers.

I watched as he ran and stretched and played what he would later describe to me as the “cape game” which was the soccer coach’s attempt at organized chaos when directing 12 four year olds with soccer balls.

I know it was him, even from far away. I recognized his outfit that we had laid out together so carefully the night before. He was so proud of his new shark shirt that lifted a flap to reveal that shark ate pizza. (It’s actually quite adorable.) I recognized the new blue corduroy pants I just bought for him and his red hair that shines brightly in the sun. I recognized his run and his attention span and his mood.

He would tell me later that he liked soccer but it made him too tired and maybe he shouldn’t go back next week.

He didn’t know I was watching from the car. He didn’t know I saw him follow directions, and run with a grin stretching from ear to ear. He didn’t know that I saw him give the cape to another friend and that I watched him stand close to the coach so he could do his stretch just right.

He didn’t see my smiling from far away as I watched him laugh and play and that watching him made my heart swoon.

I don’t always know every detail of his day, now that he’s older and growing up and has his very own piece of the world. But yesterday I got to glimpse a small part of his life. His life separate from mine; his world that he’s learning to navigate all on his own.

I was watching him and finding myself in awe of this amazing little person I get to call my child.