Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's been one of those nights...

Nathan had a meltdown because he didn't like dinner. Salmon, zucchini and sweet potato.
Ryan somehow got his diaper off and played with the content inside. I won't go further into detail.
I tried to give Ryan a bath and he screamed and pulled and twisted so much that he fell several times and nearly cracked his head open. Then peed all over the floor when I was drying him off.
Nathan then had another meltdown because I wouldn't  give him a graham cracker. Sorry kid, if you don't eat dinner, you don't get a post dinner snack.
And when I went to pack lunches for tomorrow, I discovered the carton of milk had a hole in it and spilled not only all over my counter but also inside the door of my refrigerator.

We've sill got 25 minutes to bedtime but I'm going to go ahead and call it a night. I'm done.
Nathan can put himself to bed, right?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ryan's 1st Birthday

March 1st, 2013

Dear Ryan,

You normally sleep until 6 or 7 each morning. But when you woke up today the clock said 5:08, 3 minutes until you would turn one. Normally I would let you fuss and fall back asleep on your own. But not today. Today I happily went into your room and picked you up out of your crib. I kissed your nose and smiled at you. You smiled back at me with your big, bright, beautiful smile. I held you in the rocker and ran my fingers through your hair while I nursed you. We sat in the dark, in the quiet, just you and me while the rest of the house slept. I looked down at you, my precious boy, remembering all we've gone through in the past year and how much joy you have brought our family. I felt my heart swell with love and sadness at the same time. I'm so happy and excited for this milestone; you have grown into such a happy, smart, curious, fearless boy! And yet I also felt so sad because my baby is no longer a baby. 

There's no clock in your room so I don't know the exact moment it happened but I do know that at 5:11, the very same moment you officially turned one, I was holding you, my sweet boy, in my arms. Just like I held you one year ago in the hospital, with tears running down my face because you had finally arrived. 

I held you tight the day you were born. I held you tight today. And I will hold you tight for as long as I live.

Happy Birthday kiddo, I love you as high as the sky.

March 1st, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Party plans

Ryan will be a year in 6 days. I am having such a hard time wrapping my head around that and partly it's because I haven't given it much thought. Cue the "second child guilt".

We are having a small birthday party for him this weekend and I have barely prepared for it at all.

For Nathan's first birthday, I spent weeks making an elaborate poster with photos from each month of his life. I don't even know if we took photos of Ryan each month, but Will and I plan on sorting through what we have tonight and trying to come up with a few good ones!

For Nathan's first birthday, I planned a theme and ordered party supplies weeks in advance.
I may have been running around yesterday trying to find some last minute plates and napkins for Ryan this weekend and I definitely just placed a rush order on a birthday party website. (Fingers crossed my order ships in time.)

For Nathan's first birthday, I made his cake myself, a pretty good lion if I say so myself. For Ryan, that internet order I mentioned includes an edible decal that I will be slapping onto a sheet cake from the grocery store.

For Nathan's first birthday, I wrote down how much his first year meant to me so I would never forget what I was feeling.  For Ryan, I keep having moments of "Holy crap, I forgot Ryan's going to be 1 this weekend!"

I tell myself that with Nathan, he was my only child, I was home full-time and Will was home every night so I had free time to plan and prepare. This time around, I have two kids, I'm working full-time and Will travels so any spare time I have usually involves my butt, the couch and bad reality TV.

I know at the end of the day, it's not the party that matters. And I know that without question, I am just as excited for Ryan's first birthday as I was for Nathan's. It's just going to be a little more low key than it was the first time around. That can even be my theme, "Less is More."  And that's OK. At least that's what I'll keep telling myself all week while I scramble to pull this party together!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Student Teaching

I was laid off back in February 2011 and although that was one of the worst days of my life, it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I had always thought about becoming a teacher (and even attempted to teach Middle School in the South Bronx at one point but good god, that was scary and I lasted less than one semester) but kept finding reasons to put it off. So when I lost my job, I started to think about going back to school and for the past two and a half years, have slowly been chipping away at a Masters in Elementary Education.

Going back to school allowed me to stay home full-time with Nathan, and eventually Ryan too, and go to school in the afternoons and evenings. My parents have watched the kids for every single one of my classes and Will has done weekend duty while I have spent hours reading through textbooks and writing papers. Without them, I never could have completed my program.  I have taken all 10 courses and passed all of my licensing exams so now the last step before graduating is a semester of student teaching. Full-time teaching means full-time childcare for the boys though so I had to enroll them in full-time daycare. I've been home with Nathan since he was 10 months old and with Ryan since the day he was born. Sending them to daycare 5 days a week for 8 hours a day has been a huge adjustment for all of us and we've experienced lots of meltdowns (from both the kids and me) and even a sick day already.

We are slowly adjusting to our new routine and although I do not like being away from my boys so much, the good news is that I love, love, love being in the classroom so that makes it all a bit easier to handle. I am in the first grade and I love everything about it so far. My coordinating teacher has 10 years experience and I can already tell she will be a wealth of knowledge for me and the kids are so sweet, I already feel attached to them. I taught my first lesson yesterday, how to write the lowercase e, and led a community meeting this afternoon, teaching them that school is a safe space where they should always feel welcome and accepted. Next week I will take on the morning meeting and read aloud each day. Each week I will take on more responsibility and the goal is that for the last few weeks of the semester, I will have total control of the class.

In addition to teaching full-time, I will attend a weekly seminar as well as build an extensive portfolio of lesson plans and assessments. It's going to be a LOT of work and an extremely busy 3 months but I'm up for the challenge. After I graduate in May I will most likely look for part-time work until the boys are older but for now it's full-time whether I like it or not. I have made myself a countdown sheet, which hangs in my kitchen, over a bottle of wine and I'm hoping that will get me through the really tough days.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My maniac

I lovingly refer to Ryan as my maniac simply because he never stops moving or yelling. It's like hanging out with... a maniac. I also call him Dino because he loves to screech, it's seriously like living with a pterodactyl. I was looking through some pictures and found the outtakes from our Christmas card photo shoot.

These pictures pretty much sum up Ryan's personality.

Never stop moving.

Never stop screaming.

Just never stop!

Even Nathan knows not to trust someone this crazy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

It's 11:55pm on a Tuesday night. Nathan just stumbled into my bedroom, put a stuffed dog in my bed and asked me to come back to his room and cover him with his blankets.

Who says late nights after kids are boring??

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baby Steps

As parents, we are often told how much our children look like us. He has your eyes, she has your smile. For me, it's hard to see myself in my children. When people ask me who they look like,  I immediately think "I don't know, they just look like themselves."

But other times, it's like looking in a mirror, not because of how they look, but how they act. Nathan is a very funny, talkative, outgoing kid. But he can also be very shy and timid in unfamiliar settings. He is not the child to join in immediately, he takes a while to warm up. He holds back at first, observing and taking it all in. Once he feels comfortable however, he is a chatterbox, walking up to anyone and everyone and starting conversations with them. I am the exact same way.

It was a cold and dreary day yesterday. It was too cold to play outside and we had already been cooped up in the house for a few days due to the snow so we told Nathan we'd take him to Mall Tots, an indoor play space. He was so excited and when we finally got there he held my hand, beaming as we walked through the parking lot, telling me everything he was going to do once we got inside. But when we got there, he immediately hesitated. He looked around and maybe it was the loud noise, or maybe it was the group of kids he didn't know but suddenly he wanted nothing to do with Mall Tots.  He clung to my leg and told me he wanted to go. I was frustrated at first, selfishly because I had just paid a $5.00 entrance fee, but mostly because I knew he would have fun if he just gave it a chance. But there was no convincing him, he wanted to leave and when he started to cry, I gave in. I held his hand and walked back out the gate we had just entered.

It's hard for any parent to watch their child struggle but I think it's even harder when we see ourselves in that struggle. I could see on his face yesterday that he simply felt overwhelmed, enough so that he was willing to skip out on an activity he had been excited about all morning. I have felt that way many times. I know I've missed out on fun due to feeling shy in a particular situation. I find large groups of new people overwhelming, especially when they all seem to be the best of friends and I feel like an outsider. I will sometimes skip an event because I am too nervous to participate.

I will most likely always be this way but what I've learned is not to let it hold me back; to try to put myself out there, even when it's scary and I hope I can teach this to my children. We stopped at the food court yesterday and got a snack. We snuggled together and talked about why he had wanted to leave the playspace. He decided to give it another try and this time he ran through the gate and jumped right in. We stayed for almost two hours.

He might not jump in, but even if it takes baby steps, I hope he always joins the fun.