Friday, October 12, 2012

What To Do With a One-Year-Old On a Rainy Day

Last Tuesday I woke up hearing rain hitting the roof.  I just wanted to crawl back under the covers, but of course the Little Man does not understand that rainy days = lazy.  So, we had breakfast, I drank a cup of coffee while CJ played in the family room.  We try to get out of the house every morning now that he is only taking the afternoon nap- even if it is just to go to Target to spend the obligatory $100.  However, this morning there were no plans, and no motivation to go anywhere as just getting CJ out of the carseat would have make me soaked.  And it rained like this ALL MORNING.  Well, at around 11 I figured that CJ needed some structured play (and to get out of his PJ's).

I guess his pants are a little too big. 

What to do with a One-Year-Old?  Here's where I actually revisited a pin on Pinterest that had activities for 1-2 Year Olds.  I follow a lot of blogs, many of them parenting (with ideas for kids) but CJ is just too young for most of the activities.  So, Pinterest it is.  I also needed to find something that I had all of the materials for- so I decided on "Sensory Tub with Shredded Paper."  Basically, you fill a bin with paper from the paper shredder and then add a few "surprises" (I put in some cars) and let the kid go to town.   Just a week ago I witnessed CJ be able to entertain himself for at least an hour just playing in sand- same thing, right?

I set the tub in our living room, where there wouldn't be any distractions (he's not into ceramic bowls or expensive coffee table books quite yet) and thought he would dig right in.  Nope.  The stairs were just too close and he hardly ever gets the opportunity to climb them on his own accord!

Then the Little Man decided we were going to play a game where he walks (on his knees of course) around the house in circles while I chase him.

Finally, he thought maybe it would be fun to take out all of the paper and put it back in the bin again.  This occupied him for about 10-15 minutes until it was time to do another circle.  The circles and actual time at the bin took us up to lunch- so success if you ask me!  Here is the website that provided the activity-

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall(?) Beach Vacation

My parents own a condo in Nags Head, NC, which is AWESOME- but with one downside.  We can't use it in the summer so they can rent it out to paying vacationers and not freeloaders like us. ;)  We've taken CJ down there three times now- last September when he was about 3 months old, in April when he was about 10 months, and last week (15 months).  Of course last year the Little Man could have cared less about the beach and I tried my best to make sure absolutely NO sand got on him.  (What can I say, I was a new mom.)   However, it rained the majority of the week we were there so only one or two beach visits.

The next visit, in April, CJ was crawling and at that point it really didn't matter to me how sandy he got.  I was more anxious to see his reaction to a huge sandbox.  Turns out, he thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was a little chilly so he still didn't get too sandy since he wore pants and a jacket.

I was CRAVING the beach this summer but we didn't get to go until this past week.  However, while I could have been sweating under an umbrella in July, I was basking in sunny, mid- 70's temps at the end of September.  It was gorgeous!  Again, CJ entertained himself in the sand, and did even get his feet wet in the ocean one day.  Although still not walking by himself, he got lots of practice holding our hands on the beach.  We made a point to come down almost everyday, usually after his nap so we wouldn't have to deal with getting sand in the pack n play. 

I was so thankful for the great weather.  Last year, the gloomy, rainy days weren't all that bad- CJ was still taking 3 naps so we had to be inside a lot anyway.  This year, we have a one-nap-taking busy toddler who is not appreciated by my parents' cat Phoebe.  In the mornings, we took excursions to Manteo, the aquarium, Duck, or on the semi-chilly days down to the beach so CJ could play (but with enough clothes on so he wouldn't get too much sand on him). 
I also was thankful for Kevin, who stayed back at the condo while CJ napped a few of the days so I could go be my lazy-self at the beach and read/nap.  My parents were awesome as well, keeping CJ entertained for a few minutes on the beach so I could grab a quick snooze.  Kevin and I even had a date night.  It truly was a snap back to reality on Monday as Kev started a new role at work and I went back to my giant To Do List (and 45 degree nights! Brr!).  And don't forget CJ, who again just has to be happy with me and walks down the street listening to birds and airplanes and no ocean.  :)

By the way, for those of you who do travel down to that area, there is a new frozen yogurt place called "Surfin' Spoon" on Beach Road- probably at about MP 10 that is really cute.  Check it out!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hey! Wake up!

This week through our CSA we got TONS of apples.  Aren't they beautiful?  Even though it is still 85-feels like 100-degrees outside I am ready for fall baking and comfort food in general.

Problem is, I have a pair of jeans.  Lucky Brand Jeans.  Pre-pregnancy.  That actually fit me as good as American Eagle Jeans, but none of my students pointed to them saying that they were wearing the same pair.  After being so disciplined with working out and Weightwatchers during the winter and spring I got to the point where I could put these jeans on again and even button them, but they did not look good.  It was okay, though, I had all summer to lose some more weight and probably wouldn't really need pants until late September.  And then we went on vacation at the end of June.  After we returned, the excuses started. 

When I was working, I couldn't go to the gym until after work because the alarm clock already went off at 5 AM.  I used to say after having a hard day and just waving to the gym as I drove straight home that I would be so much more consistent if I could go before work.  Now, "work" does not technically start until 8 AM.  I have plenty of time to work out before the little man wakes up! 

Who wants to run outside when it is already 80 degrees with 100% humidity at 6:30 AM though?  I stayed up late the night before to catch up on Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef and you should really get at least 7 hours of sleep a night to stay healthy ... the excuses go on and on.  I tried a gym class later in the day once, but apparently CJ would rather not play with a bunch of new toys in a new place.  (Read- the warmup during cycling class wasn't even finished but "CJ's Mom" was already called to fetch her screaming baby).  Having fresh produce every week has helped us eat better, but I certainly have not been strict with WeightWatchers after gorging on treats in the Adirondacks. 

So, I have 2 weeks until I am going to the beach, and who knows when I will need jeans.  Time for the excuses to stop.  I WILL start getting up early, maybe even making that 5:30 AM strength training class.  Or at least getting out more consistently for a run or bike ride.  I can't say I won't cook or bake with apples and pumpkins, but I'm going to find healthy recipes and keep the treats at a minimum.  If I write it here, I have to live up to my word, right?

Anyone have some healthy fall recipes they would like to share? 

On a parenting note, does anyone have any suggestions to get past separation anxiety?   CJ would rather have a complete stranger come to our house and watch him than me drop him off at a friend's house.  Don't even think about a non-familiar place, such as a gym nursery that will come get you after 10 minutes of crying.  I think I know the answer- either drop him off somewhere and let some poor soul deal with him for several hours until he can handle the separation, or "this too shall pass."  I'm sure, as with many situations, I will be thinking the latter.  

I know, sometimes I just don't make sense

But since I'm so darn cute, who cares?


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's Been a Year!

Forgive me, first of all, for not having posted on this blog since May.  It's been a busy summer!
August 29, 2011

One year later

I can't believe that I started this blog a year ago.  I just went through all of the pictures taken for my 365 Day Project (sadly, there weren't 365 pictures though) and marvel at how much CJ has changed over the past year.  Crazy!  I have also learned so much about myself and being a mother in the past 365 days.  As CJ enters Toddlerhood I am learning more and more about parenting everyday- and I guess this will continue, well, forever.

So, general update since the last post:

I have been cooking A LOT this summer.  We decided to join Great Country Farms' CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where every week CJ and I drive to Blumont and pick up a box of produce from the farm.  We also have a U-Pick bonus every week- a plus since we opted to pick the boxes up as opposed to having them a delivered.  We have not been inundated with produce as much as I thought we would, but we still have enough to keep me busy with planning and cooking different dishes to make sure we use up all of the fruits and veggies.

At the end of June, we traveled up to Old Forge, NY in the Adirondacks for our annual Swift-Sheldon vacation.  It was nice to enjoy the lake and mountains with family.  At the end of the week, we celebrated CJ's first birthday in Syracuse.  The Little Man is entering Toddlerhood.
Funny Family Picture with the stuffed wolf that was found in our lakehouse

He wanted more cake after his first piece

Speaking of which, I do have (almost) a Toddler on my hands.  The reason for the "almost" is because CJ is not quite walking yet.  Although he has been cruising since May, he is quite happy walking on his knees.  That's right.  His KNEES.  Although it's quite normal for babies to not start walking until well after their first birthday, many of my fellow mom friends have commented that they haven't seen too many kids walk on their knees as CJ does.  I guess he just wants to be unique.  :)  Last week, however, he did start walking with the help of a push-toy.  He actually can walk all the way down to the end of our street and almost all the way back!  I know once he gets that confidence to let go he will start running.

We have been filling up our days with playdates, walks, projects around the house, and other outings.  I truly am amazed that Labor Day weekend is approaching, school has started, and I am in my second year of being a Stay At Home Mom.  Even with the tough days where I feel like all I am doing is calming a screaming child (CJ does not just cry or whimper, he lets it ALL out) and cleaning up food, life is pretty darn good.
Ahh, toddlers. 

So, what I have I learned this year?
  • 365 Day Projects are hard.  I didn't count, but I would say my project was probably a 330 Day Project.  I got lazy this summer (with taking pictures, that is).
  • Babies are unpredictable.  Some days I can check off everything on a To-Do List, other days, nothing gets done for various reasons.  For example, I am not supposed to be sitting on my deck right now writing.  All plans for today were cancelled because CJ woke up with his first fever (I think due to teething, hopefully).  
  • Patience is essential for being a parent.  I think dealing with teenagers has helped with this, but there are somedays that it gets the best of me.  I hope CJ forgives me for leaving the kitchen when he suddenly stopped letting us feed him one morning and I just dumped the cottage cheese on his tray, gave him a spoon, and went to another room and cried while he screamed.  
  •  It is very important to get out of the house- and I mean this in several ways.  CJ and I.  Myself.  Myself and other moms.  Kevin and I.  Kevin.  I don't think I need to elaborate. 
  • We are SOOOOO lucky to have a good sleeper.  I know we may not be so lucky with the next kid, but I am glad I have not spent my first year of being a parent feeling the need to nap everytime CJ naps (only sometimes :) ).  It has allowed me to be so much more productive.
  • I know I have and some days still do struggle with my choice of being a Stay At Home Mom, but I am now proud of my choice and know I am doing what is right for our family.  Someday, I am sure I will venture back into that crazy world of teaching high school.  For now, though, I'll get my experience with the younger ones.

What should I do about this blog?  It was started to document my life as a new SAHM and to show some of my pictures taken for my 365 Day Project.  Well, the project is over and I am not a new SAHM anymore.  I don't think I should discontinue blogging though.  Over the past few weeks especially I have become quite obsessed with following several blogs catering to all my different interests- parenting, food, photography, travel, etc.  I think I am going to continue to blog, hopefully more frequently than the past few months, and just write whatever inspires me that day.  Maybe I took a really good picture that day.  Or cooked/baked something awesome that I want to share.  Maybe I have a question about how to handle a toddler.  Or just have a thought about anything.  We'll see how it goes.  Now, to think of a title since I don't have a "New Job" anymore... some of the blog names are so creative but the only title I came up with is "Type A Mama."  Ha.  Well, I am Type A.  My name starts with A.  That's the best I've got.  :)

Enjoy Labor Day Weekend!  When the inspiration hits me, I will post again, under the new title!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Whew.  The past 5 weeks have been quite the whirlwind of visiting family or traveling.  It's been a nice change of pace for me and CJ, but now I'm happy to not have any set plans for the next few weekends.  Here's an update of all we've done.  Since I haven't posted in almost a month, I'm not going to include all of my 365 project photos- just the pertinent ones. 

First of all, throughout the past several weeks, CJ has become more and more mobile.  We now have to move our ottoman in front of the step into our kitchen from our family room since he can climb over it.  He also is pulling himself up and as of yesterday even started cruising along the furniture.  I'm sure he'll be walking soon, and I don't care what anyone says, I can't wait.  It will be so nice to not have to carry him all the time.  Our 2-year-old neighbor REALLY wants to be able to play with him as well outside (and crawling around on the street can't be good for the knees).

Beatrice love to play with CJ!  If only he could run around with her!
Easter weekend Kevin's parents and sister came down from Syracuse to see us (but mostly the Little Man).  We spent one nice afternoon at Sunset Hills Winery.  CJ was not happy that he could not partake in the wine and cheese so he instead went to town on Grandpa's hair...

The next weekend in my cousins came to visit from Pennsylvania.  CJ had a great time playing with Sarah (almost 2).
My parents were also up at the same time, so CJ and I rode back to North Carolina with them that Monday.  We stayed in Elizabeth City until Thursday when we drove over to their condo in Nags Head.  Kevin drove down after work Thursday and we came home Sunday.  With not working, it was nice to have the flexibility to get some quality time with the 'rents during the week! 
Hanging out at the Elizabeth City Waterfront

Turtles at the pond in my parents' backyard
The last time we were at the beach with CJ was in September, when he was just about 3 months old.  Everything is so different now!  We only went down to the actual beach once during that trip because it was very rainy.  Even then I was so nervous about CJ getting sandy- and it didn't matter because he just laid on a beach towel anyway.  Not this time!  He was ready to explore in the sand, and seemed to love it!

Dad and I ran the First Flight 5K on Saturday.  It was Dad's very first 5K and he kicked butt!  It was a beautiful day, and a very nice race.  Sunday Kevin ran the Flying Pirate Half Marathon and unfortunately had to run in the poring rain.  He still finished though, with an awesome time as usual.
 The next weekend Kevin and I headed down to Charlottesville for our annual Foxfield trip.  Foxfield is a horse race held outside of Charlottesville every year.  We use it an excuse to have a reunion of sorts with VA Pep Band friends.  For the past 6 years a bunch of us have rented the same house to stay in for the weekend, and I would argue that hanging around the house Friday and Saturday is just as fun as the horse race itself. Unfortunately this year was a bit cold and damp, but we made the best of it!
All of us who stayed in "Cat Pee Manor" (don't ask) this year
Kevin's parents came all the way down from Syracuse to watch CJ for that weekend, so it was me and Kevin's first couple nights away from him!  It was very much needed, and we hope to make a point of trying to do more nights away here and there.  It's important to have time away from diapers and baby food!  
I definitely missed this little goober!
Finally, this past weekend we went to Rochester/Syracuse.  Kevin needed to go up to RIT for an alumni board meeting being held on Friday, so he flew up Thursday night.  I drove up with CJ on Friday.  I think CJ is getting used to being in the carseat for several hours because he did much better this weekend traveling than he did coming home from NC.  Although he still cried here and there, he didn't give me death stares like he did after sitting in I95 traffic.  

Friday night we met up with our friends Karl, Kelley, Matt, Lisa, and their kids Ian and Sasha at a cool Irish pub in the cute little town of Fairport.  
CJ and Ian
Saturday morning we had breakfast with our friend Mike and then walked around RIT's campus to check out their Innovation Festival.  Of course we got our picture with Richie the Tiger.  
CJ took his afternoon nap in the car as we drove to Syracuse.  Kevin's parents barbequed and Anthony and Cami (CJ's godparents) and their kids Alana (our goddaughter) and "little" Anthony also joined us.  All of the kids (sort of) played together and our little shy and timid Alana is now an energetic, outgoing toddler!  
Well, at least two of them are looking at the camera.
Finally, Sunday we visited Kevin's Grandmother.  She was so happy to see him!  
Then we headed home.  CJ has been such a trouper throughout all of these trips and disruptions to his schedule- he is becoming a bit more flexible.  We have learned that in the car we need to keep lots of little toys to pass back to him when he starts to fuss and to have snacks handy.  We also need to pack a lunch for long trips and not drink anything since stopping can wake him up.  Finally, we also have learned that eventually we will need a bigger car.  Let's see how my Civic will handle the 3 of us, our stuff for a week and kayaks when we travel up to the Adirondacks at the end of June!  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Why Can't Just Being a Mom Be Enough?

Good God, do I feel like I'm being self-pitying.  But sometimes things just have to be said, and maybe to some of you I'll sound like I'm completely ungrateful for being able to stay home, but maybe others will be able to empathize.

I have a confession to make.  I am not completely happy.  Even though I am happy to be home taking care of my son (who by the way is getting ridiculously cuter every day) I still do not feel fulfilled at the end of the day.  I feel like I need something to, for lack of better words, "brag" about.  Teaching is a very thankless job, but not many people can teach high school math.  I'm not saying that I want to go back to work right now, because I DON'T.  But, let's be honest, by today's standards, there is nothing special about what I do all day.  CJ gets up.  Bottle and breakfast.  Play.  Nap.  I fit exercise sometime before wake time or during morning nap.  Get up.  Bottle.  Errand.  Lunch.  Nap (I try to fit something in for myself or housework during this time).  Bottle.  Play/errands.  Dinner.  Bath.  Bottle.  Bed.  Everyday.  Nothing special, right?  Except that deep down, I know it is.  I know I have already been teaching CJ.  But why does that still not feel like enough?  Why do I feel like I need some hobby/job, money-making or not, on the side?  Do I even have time for that?  What would I even do?  Many of my hobbies I'm only mediocre at, and it seems like nothing I do is very special anymore.  Running a half marathon?  That's nothing.  Photography?  I've got my 365 project, a great camera, some decent pictures - but not good enough for anything more.  Baking?  You should have seen my caved-in creamsicle cupcakes that I made over this weekend.  Disaster.  (Although I will admit, tasted good even though you had to eat them with a fork).  Blogging?  Ha.  Everyone and their mother blogs.  I admittedly jumped on that band wagon way after it started.


I suppose I'll feel better when I can get out and do more with CJ.  I took him to Frying Pan Park the other week, thinking that he would enjoy seeing the farm animals now because he gets such a kick out of our cat, Izzie.  He could have cared less, and the animals just had babies!!!  Other Stay At Home Moms, (if there are any that reading this) did or do you feel the same way?  How did you get out of it?  Why don't I feel that I have had a completely productive day at 9:00 PM after putting CJ to bed and all of the dishes/bottles are washed, toys that he has happily played with are put away, and we worked some more or eating finger foods and using the sippy cup during the day?  Being a teacher, I know I have some level of intrinsic motivation- I guess I just need to dig even deeper for more. 

Sorry for the slightly negative post- I never was much of a journal-writer, but putting this out there has been helpful, if anything to see if other moms feel the same way.  Good night everyone!