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This weekend brought summertime weather and we got busy. I think we’ve started running on summer energy.

On Saturday we:

~Cleaned

~Washed diapers and hung them out to dry

~Took Mr. E to watch the herring swim upstream at the Herring Run in our town

~Purchased the materials to build two raised garden beds

~Built two garden beds

~Baked a cake for my father’s birthday

~Washed 6,000 loads of laundry

And today we:

~Went out to breakfast to celebrate my father’s birthday

~Shoveled a truckload of mulch into the truck; into garden beds

~Got a truckload of top soil; shoveled truckload of top soil into garden beds

~Drank a beer

~Ate birthday cake

~Made laundry detergent (have I mentioned I’ve started making this?)

~Took Mr. E to the beach, played in the water and built sandcastles

~Came home, cleaned up, made dinner

~Took Mr. E on his nightly walk, put him to bed

~Put away 6,000 loads of laundry

And now…we are heading out to sit by the fire pit…time to relax!

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There seems to be so much going on and so little time to document…

Cling: we are back in clingy baby hell. E is just attached to us and it’s very taxing. There are times when I have to put him down and he refuses to sit so I have to lay him down – and he protests. I think I am an incredibly accommodating parent, and I just about do back flips to give him what he wants, but sometimes, I have to do something that does not jive with his plans (i.e. use the bathroom). I knew I’d be using the Ergo for a long time but I never thought I still be using all three of our carriers at this point— and yet I can’t make it through a day with out them.

Sleep: Same old broken record. We’re up a lot. I nurse him to back to sleep. We repeat an hour or two later. We’ve talked about night weaning but it really just seems like too much work at this point. Our co-sleeping arrangement makes the night wakings manageable most nights.

Going to sleep: E has always been pretty good at going to sleep on his own. This is something I worked on from the start –never nursing or rocking him to sleep (except in the middle of the night). We always put him down awake and he’d nod off to sleep. Recently- with the cling and the co-sleeping – he seemed to be fighting going to sleep at night (he starts the night in his crib around 7:30). One night he wanted to take a book to bed, so I let him, and I left the light on. Ten minutes later I checked on him and he was sound asleep. There was no drama. From then on – for naps and bed – we put him in sitting up with books. We return ten minutes later to cover up our sleeping boy. I am amazed.

Walking: He’s →this← close. I predict it will happen in two weeks. He is cruising like crazy and standing on his own. He’s taken a few steps when he can grab onto something. He needs just a little more confidence. This is exactly how crawling went down. He really has to work it out for himself, really understand it and one day soon I know he’ll put one foot in front of the other and take off.

Signing: After nearly six months he’s finally developing his “sign clusters.”  He’s learning at least one new sign a week and his communication is amazing. When he woke at 6:30 this morning and had gas, I asked if he needed to use the potty, he signed potty back to me, and sure enough he needed to go!

Childcare: I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago. I’ve wanted to do this for months. I’ve been ready to get back to running but I could not leave him. Well I finally sucked it up, joined the gym, feel great, and begun using the childcare. E is less than thrilled. The first time he did OK. The second time he cried when SIL picked up his cousins before he was getting picked up, the third time I got called in after 35 minutes because he was so upset. We’re working on it. I think it goes back to #1 above: cling. As hard as it is, I feel really great and have pretty much gotten back to where I left off 22 months ago!

Life before E: A and I went out last night. We left E with my mom and really went out. Met friends for drinks, then went to a ball (LGBT church fundraiser with 200+ attendees). We partied and danced ’till midnight, closing the dance floor. For the first time in about two years we went out and just had fun. We didn’t spend dinner talking about how amazing our son is, we left him and all thoughts of him at home, we stayed out for a long time and just had fun! Of course getting home at 12am, getting up with E all night and then getting up at 6:30am was not fun, but it was well worth it in order to gain a sense of normalcy– of life as we used to know it.

Life after E: There have been times lately that have been hard. It’s no secret that this economy sucks. We left our well paying stable jobs before the economic nosedive. We knew it would take a while to get on our feet but we didn’t know the economic situation ahead and how it would present greater challenges. While A is employed, she is still seeking the full time benefited job. Lots of teachers who were set to retire have changed their plans due to the economic situation. Other teachers are being laid off. And thus we feel the tightening of the job market, while remaining thankful for the jobs she does have.

We have an amazing community here – we did before we moved here, but it’s even more so now. We have real meaningful friends. People who are not transitional – are not going to move away. People we have lots of things in common with, people we really like hanging out with. This was hard in Western MA. After five years we left feeling like we never really established the community we needed. It feels really good.

We’re really torn because on the one hand, we want to stay here. We want to raise E with family and among this strong community we’re weaving. And on the other hand, it is really expensive here and we desperately need A to get the full time job. So the current plan is to stick it out at least until the time E would start school. And if we’re still not on our feet at that time, we’d need to move onto plan B – relocate to a place holding a job for A. Ugh…

Joy: We’re so happy for the addition of little J to our family. We’re so happy for his mamas, and all of his family. I’m comforted knowing that within our family we have two donor babies – only one year apart – who will surely lean on each other as they navigate the nuances of our unique family compositions.

Sadness: For friends in pain.

Hope: For jumping back on the baby train really soon.

Today Mr. E is 10 months.

Life has been rough lately, as previously written. But this post is about the good.

Mobility. Mr. E, while still very clingy, has started full on crawling. A and I thought maybe once he started crawling he’d be less clingy, but no, he just crawls into our laps and continues playing. Sigh.

Sleep. Went from shitty to pretty damn good, back to shitty. I’ve decided to let go and let Mr. E… I’m done trying to predict when he will sleep through the night with any regularity. This way I can’t be disappointed by the lack of sleep.

Eating. It’s getting better. Mr. E has joined the baby ranks and realized that Cheerios are indeed really freaking fabulous. We’ve convinced him they are dessert! Ya, we’re sneaky. As far as other foods go -he’s hot and cold. This is another thing that I am trying to give up any expectations. I know that he’s getting all he needs from me, so if he only wants milk, so be it. I mean, by the time he’s getting on the school bus, he’ll kick the habit, I think.

Teeth. In the last month or so he’s popped out four new teeth on the top.

Cute. Oh yeah, he’s still got that.

Gross. And today for his 10 month birthday we attended a party to celebrate Obama. And he celebrated by eating dog food…while we weren’t looking. He’s got an allergic rash to prove it! (It’s taking all my restraint not to go on a rant about how he’ll eat dog food and not the homemade food I prepare for him.)

Even though I am out of the working madness world I still get excited about Fridays. It’s exciting because everyone is home on the weekends and that means I have help. (Well, theoretically at least). But lately, as Fridays approach and our family lets loose, I’ve started to feel frustrated. I want a day off! How amazing would it be to to just have one day off? I’d settle for an afternoon. How nice would it be to have a change of pace? Maybe I’d finally get my hair cut (it’s been six months). Or I’d do any number of the zillions of things on the “to do” list.

It’s hard to be at Mr. E’s beck and call 24 freaking hours a day seven days a week. A works long hours, and we only enjoy one day together every week; and I work a full day on her other day off. Our close proximity to family, (yes, it comes with trade offs, I know) nets babysitting requests. And they are coming more and more. I watch our two nephews one half day a week in exchange for one half day of care for Mr. E. In addition to my half day this week I had older nephew for about three hours today and have younger (who’s sick at the moment) nephew for about three hours tomorrow. I love our nephews, but it’s really hard to juggle three kids and I plain do not enjoy having Mr. E and younger nephew at the same time (they are 5 months apart). It’s too much work.

I know we chose to have a baby and tried really hard to get him. So don’t tell me I got what I wished for. I did, and am thankful everyday for our son. But that does not mean that I can’t get cranky when I feel every ounce of energy sucked out of me, and yearn for just a little alone time. It’s true what they say about babies changing everything. But until you’ve lived it, you just can’t comprehend just how much things change. I will never ever be first again. It’s all about his needs now.

A and I talk about this all the time – you have to or else you’d go nuts with the personal space/time deficit. I’ve begun dreaming of taking a weekend away. With A. Leaving Mr. E behind. It will be a while before it happens, but when it does, it will be amazing, and full of room-service, and champagne. As soon as the boy is off the breast and sleeping through the night, we need to plan a trip. Seriously, I need a a day off, or maybe even two.

I can’t remember a summer where the weather has been this good. Ever.

We’ve been having sunny 75-85 degree weather every day. And then rain over night. Which is of course Ideal (except for for poor folks camping…). It puts me in an amazing mood to wake up every day only to be greeted by bright bright sun and lush green plants and grass. This is how it’s supposed to be.

This is the first year I can remember not have a drought and not having water supply issues due to having to water in the absence of rain. It’s just so perfect.

Some days feel oppressively hot, but A and I always say ug, imagine how hot it must in W.Ma if it ‘s this hot here. And all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so bad. I wish we could get to the beach more, but with Mr. E we limit our trips or take shorter trips so as not to overexpose his baby skin.

That’s really all. I just felt like expressing how thankful I am to the weather gods for giving us this amazing summer, especially after having been couped up all winter long. This feels renewing. I love it.

As I drove home from Western MA last Saturday I called A. I’d been on the road for about two hours and had spent nearly every minute thinking about my experience in our old home. It’s hard to describe the way it felt to be there. I only went for a short trip- about 24 hours, but it was long enough to really be there. I carried on to A about how odd it was to drive the roads with such familiarity and at the same time, intellectually know it’s not my home anymore. She said, I know what you mean, wait till you read my blog. I really can’t say it any better than she did. So I’ve nixed the post I had drafted while driving home. But, as she said, Northampton will always hold a special place in my heart, and it does feel much like a first love, and like first loves, they often don’t last. So I bid farewell to Noho and will always love returning to visit.

I’ve kept quite about the transition at a time when A needed to pipe up. At times, it was hard to read what she wrote. I wondered if we’d made the right decision to relocate to my home town. It’s easy. natural. for me. But it’s a whole new reality for A. And she has quickly learned EVERYTHING happens through networking here. Somebody always knows someone who knows someone…and we’re all related too (I’m not even kidding). This can be overwhelming to an outsider. I’ve tried to support her as best I could. Things got pretty bad before they started to get better. And now, A really seems to have a plan. I am so happy to see her taking action in effort to get a job that will help her get a teaching job. Fingers are crossed that this one works out.

We’ve both been working part time which leaves Mr. E in his aunt’s care for two hours a week. But it’s left both A and I wanting something. She wants to work full time. I want to stay home full time. I’d like to cut my hours in half (down to 10, but not more than 15). If A gets the job she’s interviewing for I will have to cut my hours, as we won’t have childcare, and day care isn’t an option for us – we can’t afford it and even if we could, we don’t want Mr. E in DC. If she gets the job, we both get what we want. So will all of you please join me next Wednesday at 8am to hope/pray/whatever that: 1)the interview goes well, 2)that A wants to work there, and 3)that they want her to work there.

As A says, “we’re on the sandbar.” It’s been a little more than a week since we managed to pack all our belongings (ok, most, we had to part with some items that would not fit) into a UHaul and drive away from the place we moved to five years ago, with every intention of setting down roots and raising a family. We were sad as we drove away, in separate vehicles, A with the over stuffed UHaul, me with the baby. We’ve made the same trip East, hundreds of time since moving there but I can’t describe the feeling of leaving it all behind. There are things we’ll miss, friends we’ll miss, places we’ll miss, but our lives here feel full in ways that kept coming up short there.

The whole process has been quite over-whelming. The week leading up to the move may go down as one of the most stressful. Ever. Let’s just say that together we experienced enough transitions to last a few years. In all there were only two melt downs (one for each of us) and our boy was perfect. Moving day, while always exhausting, went quickly when many of my co-workers and students and A’s former co-workers descended on us. Mr. E was bounced from person to person while our truck was loaded. And many helping hands meant our stuff was packed into the truck rather quick. My heart warmed having so many people show up to help us.

We spent an exhausting three days unpacking and getting set up, while also working through the emotions that come with such a transition. In the middle of those three days we attended an orientation for the church we planned on joining. Crazy? Yes. The orientations are only offered four times a year and are a required step in becoming a member. We want to have Mr. E dedicated (this is Unitarian Universalist for baptized) over the summer, and while we could have him dedicated without being members, my catholic guilt wouldn’t let me. Heck, what was one more thing in the middle of all we were doing?

By Sunday night A and I were unpacked and starting to feel somewhat normal. We are very comfortable in our new home, at my parent’s house (for those wondering, we passed on the condo. There are too many financial unkowns for us at this time). We have a good relationship with them and it’s very nice to have built in babysitters, support, and let’s not forget the hot tub! That was essential after moving boxes all weekend!

I started my part time job on Monday. I am working for my father helping to run his business. So far I’ve mostly been organizing the office (it’s a NIGHTMARE) and also have started looking into some really cool techy marketing tools. I love my job- you’ve NEVER heard me say that before! I love that it’s stress free, that it’s flexible and part time, and that it allows us to work my hours around A’s hours, thus avoiding daycare. And I am enjoying what I am doing. I mean, one project I am working on is kind of like blogging!

A started her job on Tuesday. She’s enjoying having structure again and has already begun networking with the elementary school principals. She left one meeting with the principal trying to create a part time job utilizing A’s experience working with English Language Learners. She needs to get her foot in the door some how and this would do it! Everything is just coming together for us in ways we never imagined possible.

Mr. E had a very difficult growth spurt last week. It was by far our worst night. He cried, no screamed all night, unless one of us was holding and bouncing him. A couple times we’d trick him into thinking we were standing and bouncing when really we were laying down and bouncing him while he laid across our chests. He never slept more than an hour like this. He wore himself out and finally went to sleep in his crib from 7-11am. The next couple of days he remained crabby, but now he’s back to his cheerful, mellow self. He’s loving having his cousins around all the time -he and J, who are five months apart are too cute together and so interested in each other.

It was a long process to get here, and we remain in a semi-permanent transitional period until A finds a teaching job and we’re able to buy a condo, but it’s all working so well and we have no regrets about our decision to move. We’re so happy to be able to raise Mr. E with family. And to be in a place where we already feel woven into the community in such a short time.

My head is spinning. Several weeks ago A and I looked at a condo in the town we want to live in once we move. We’ve pretty much decided when we’re ready to buy, we’d buy into this particular complex. There’s a lot of open green space, it’s a good size with all the things we’re looking for. And we’d get much more for our fee than any other place. Most charge the same monthly fee and all you get are exterior maintenance, master insurance, snow removal, etc. This place has a club house with a gym, indoor/outdoor pool, tennis courts, sauna, hot tub… all for the same fee range as the condos without the club house. It’s kind of a no brainer.

We looked at two condos in this complex. We loved loved loved one of them. It was an end unit, has two and a half baths, two bedrooms, two floors, attic and shed storage, laundry, wood floors in the kitchen and hall, a gas stove in the living room, sky lights in the bedrooms. It’s freshly painted and beautiful. And out of our price range. But alas, we were only looking to get a sense of what’s out there, until we’re ready to buy.

Well this morning, while A was dealing with two Crai.gslist people, one to take our piano and another to take a floor lamp, my dad calls. The realtor called him to let him know he has advised the sellers to drop the price and he also told them about a nice young gay couple with a new baby who loved the condo, but couldn’t afford the asking price. Now, the current owners are two sisters (and by this I mean they share a mother) who inherited the condo from them mother. Their response? “Sure, we’ll knock off $20,000 for them, our mother loved gay people!” And they’d be willing to push out the closing into the summer too.

Ummmmmm. Whaaaaaaaaaat? So essentially the message from the realtor is that he’s not advertising the new price until we get back to him. Because, at the new price it will sell. In an instant. And we have first refusal, or something like that. I’ve crunched some numbers and even with the new price it’s a little bit of a stretch given my part time employment and A’s transitional job. BUT, we could totally swing it if she had a teaching job. Which she is working very hard on obtaining.

I already feel nuts: returned to work after 12 weeks maternity leave, gave notice four days later, leaving us two and a half weeks to pack up and move, with a three month old (and we’ve yet to line up any real help…). And now we have to make this decision by tomorrow. And really it’s such a good deal that if we can’t swing it I will be so so so depressed.

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Mr. E had his one month check up this week. Our little man weighed in at 9lbs 11oz! How the hell did that happen?! He’s grown three inches and is thriving. Our pedi said he still looks a little yellow so we’re going back for another damn blood draw today. It’s very normal for breastfeed babies to remain Jaundice for up to six weeks, so I’m not too worried.

He’s really coming into babiness (I made that word up). He has somewhat of a schedule now. We can count on him fighting sleep in the evening. He gets so very over tired and then spends from 7-8pm fussing and falling in and out of sleep. By some miracle, he’s tired enough and ready to go to sleep by 8, which is when we all go to bed. The first leg of the night is usually our longest stretch of sleep – about three hours. Sometimes we get to sleep from 12-3am. Then 3-6am are rough for him. He’s in and out and making noises and his mamas don’t sleep so well. We’re up at 6am and then he usually falls back to sleep around 7 (we’re up just long enough so I can’t go back to sleep). I am currently reading this book…here’s hoping I can draw on it to get more sleep.

We talked to the pedi about giving him a formula bottle at midnight to try to get him to sleep longer; she was on board. We did it for two nights. And now we’re done. I need to feed him. I had to get up and pump at 4am today because I hadn’t feed him since 8pm, and I was in pain. I wasn’t entirely comfortable giving him formula, since we don’t need to, so now we’re going back to breastfeeding through the night and not really sleeping from 3am on. Fun times. But I’ve come to cherish the middle of the night snuggles we share as I comfort him back to sleep.

My older nephew (almost three years) has come out with some funny things lately. The birth announcement we sent was of Mr. E, naked from the chest up. Sort of an artsy shot. When he saw it he expressed some concern to my mother that, “Mr. E doesn’t have a bum.” We talked on the phone and I assured him, his bum is still there. Today I got an email from my SIL, saying nephew told her, “I like that Mr. E, he is so funny!”

A had a snow day and was home with us yesterday. It was so nice to have her home – nice to have a spontaneous day together and nice to share caring for Mr. E. It was a little preview into next week when she’s home all week! Glorious school vacation week!

Today’s a full day of running errands and going to my mommy group. We are so close to having all our documents in order for the second parent adoption. Today I need to pick up our marriage certificate and Monday we’re getting his birth certificate and then our work is done. I hated filling out the paper work, the questions we had to answer, about our relationship and motivations for A to adopt Mr. E were, well insulting. But it’s done (and we’re just thankful she can adopt him). I am also going to pick up Zac’s remains today. What can be saved will be loaded onto A’s computer and we’ll go back to sharing. Our tax return is better spent servicing our car and collecting interest in our savings account.

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November 2017
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