Tag Archives: relationship

She Says… Getaway

You know in the movies when a man whisks a woman off to a fancy schmancy date and gets her a new dress to wear for it, so it can be a surprise? I always roll my eyes when that happens, because how in the world does he know if the dress will fit? Or if she’ll like it? Or what shoes would do with it? Or which bra, for that matter? But still, the sentiment is very sweet and it would be very exciting to be whisked off for a surprise date like that.

That isn’t exactly how our little getaway went down, but it started by Benjamin saying, “Get yourself a new dress. I’m getting an overnight babysitter and we’re going to go for a little mini vacation — a weekend getaway”. With all of the traveling that he’s been doing, it was the perfect time for a little one-on-one trip, sans toddler.

So on Saturday we embarked on our second-ever overnight away from Owen (we’ve both traveled quite a bit individually for work, but we’ve only done one other night “away” with us together since Owen was born).

A few days prior, we started prepping Owen for what was going to happen. “Your new friends G and A are going to come over and they’ll put you down for a nap and wake you up, and you can go to the playground, and they will make you dinner and even give you a bath and put you to bed! Mommy and Daddy are going to go sleep in a hotel, but we’ll be back by lunchtime on Sunday”. He actually understood everything about the plan, and kept asking me what kinds of fun things he would do with his babysitters and seemed happy that they would be putting him to bed. I told him it would be “an adventure” and he was really looking forward to it.

Just like the last time we went away, the cold/bug Owen has been fighting all week came to a climax and threatened to jeopardize the the carefully planned trip. We spent Saturday morning at the doctor’s office diagnosing a double ear infection (which he hasn’t had in several months, a record for us!) and came home with antibiotics and directions to start up his breathing treatments again. Another thing to add to the babysitters’ to do list, but not a dealbreaker.

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Owen was happy as a little clam when the babysitters arrived, and didn’t really bat an eyelash when Benjamin and I said goodbye. He was too busy showing off for his new girlfriends. We slipped out the door around 1pm and started our date. (Ahem, after a quick stop at the mall to get said dress — I know, I know, NOT Benjamin’s favorite way to start a date, but I hadn’t had time to get one yet).

We drove about 1.5 hours to Foxwoods casino in Connecticut. Like a little mini-Vegas without the flight! Even the car ride there felt a little bit like a date without a chatty toddler in the back seat.

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It immediately felt like we were “away”.

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We started the night off with a little champagne while we got ready. It felt like college again. We had so much fun!

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We gambled. We switched off playing Blackjack and even enjoyed just walking around the casinos.

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We ate. And drank. And ate some more. We had made a reservation at one of the celebrity restaurants there and splurged on a fabulous meal.

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(Benjamin is making that weird face because apparently his chair was one of the most uncomfortable chairs he had ever sat in.)

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They give everyone cotton candy with the check. So fun!

Throughout the afternoon the babysitters sent us pictures of what Owen was doing and we had an even better time knowing that Owen was having SO much fun at home.

The next morning we lingered in the hotel room and even went out to breakfast (which, I might add, is an entirely different experience than dining with a toddler!). It was lovely.

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The drive home was quick and painless, and we were home by lunchtime on Sunday. Not exactly a full weekend away, but that 24 hours felt so different from our normal life that it was the perfect little getaway.

Owen was out in the backyard blowing bubbles and singing songs when we arrived — couldn’t have been happier. He ate well, slept well, took his medicine happily and acted like a total angel while we were gone.

Total. Getaway. Success.

She Says… Vacay

First things first, thank you to those who were equally as excited as I was about switching Owen’s carseat around.

Our drive by the numbers:
45 = the number of minutes Owen actually slept (even though we left during naptime and expected 2+ hours)
15 = the number of minutes he was cranky on THE ENTIRE RIDE. Totally uprecedented.
2 = number of times we had to stop to get gas/coffee/go to the bathroom
0 = the number of times Owen got out of the car
4.5 = the number of hours we spent in the car total
1,000,000 (at least) = the number of times I said “I can’t believe how happy he is in the car” during the drive

Personal music player + forward facing carseat = magic.

That’s the good news. The bad news, however, is that our vacation so far has not been puke-free. A rough combination of a little fever/bug, too much dinner one night and perhaps a little too much jostling around resulted in a few rounds of puking on Sunday. To be honest, though, I was so happy it wasn’t car-related that it wasn’t even a big deal. Par for the course with this glass-stomached child.

Other than the minor puking incidents, our vacation has been LOVELY so far. On Saturday Benjamin’s parents watched Owen in the afternoon so we could go on a date. And not just any date. We decided to take a 3+ hour zip line tour over the White Mountains.

Let me rephrase that. Benjamin heard of the tour and had to convince me to do it with him. And so, despite my fears, we harnessed up and headed up the ski mountain at Bretton Woods to begin our descent via zip line.

Smiling through the jitters.

At the top of the mountain (after taking the chair lift up), ready to start training and zipping!

In “zip line school” close to the ground before we really get flying high.

And then the real fun started!

The course was a series of zip lines to scaaaaaaaaaaary rope bridges that swayed in the wind to platforms that were 70 feet off the ground, connected by short hikes through the woods.

For some reason, rapelling off of the platforms was WAY scarier to me than zipping. That’s me rapelling from a platform that was 70 feet off the ground to one that was 30 feet off the ground. The good news? The only way down was to conquer my fear and just GO.

The most intense zipline went from about 90 feet off the ground to 170 feet as it went over a deep valley.

Oh how I wished I could have stopped to take a picture from the middle. It was breathtaking. Mount Washington on one side and treetops as far as the eye could see. And there you are… just… hanging out. On two little tiny wires. Exhilarating, to say the least. That zip line (around 800 feet long, I think?) was actually long enough for me to 1) start off screaming with my eyes screwed shut, 2) to relax, look around and actually take in the beauty around me, and 3) get into position to brake and dismount on the platform on the other side with time to spare.

It was AWESOME.

When our feet were back on safe ground (after being caught in a surprise thunderstorm that we had to wait out under a tarp a little more than halfway down the mountain), I could fully appreciate all that we had just done. AMAZING. I’m REALLY proud of myself for rallying and giving up fear to just… do it.

What an incredible date.

She Says… Mommy Phase

First of all, I have to say I am loving the discussion in the comments of my post on what kids should call adults in various situations. So interesting! A little update from our end: yesterday Owen’s daycare teacher showed me that he has learned all of his teachers’ names. He came up with a solution I hadn’t even considered — he calls them only by their last names. I assume this is because they are saying “Ms. Last Name” to him, and he is just skipping the “Ms.” part, but I think it’s a wonderful way to combine familiarity with the beginnings of formality. Cute boy.

Now that Owen has so many words, it’s pretty easy for him to express what he wants (and, perhaps more passionately, what he doesn’t want). We’re constantly working on “using our words” instead of grunts and whining, and to be honest, I think it’s going really well. He’s a natural communicator. But one thing he’s been communicating recently isn’t so nice.

When we came home from daycare last night and had a little time to play before dinner, Owen grabbed my hand and led me over to his play kitchen and said, “Gub!”. (Come). “See-DOW”. (Sit down). “Peh”. (Play). I sat on the floor and we pretended to cook together. Benjamin sat down with us too and almost immediately Owen was pushing him away and shouting, “Nooooo! No! No!”. No Dada.

Unfortunately for Benjamin, this is kind of the norm. When Benjamin kisses me; Owen whines. When Owen brings over a book that he wants to read, he demands, “Moooooommy”, even when I say, “Can Dada read you that book?”. At meals he only wants me to sit next to him and cut his food and give him his cup of milk. I get cuddles and hugs and kisses and pats; Dada gets none. Even when he asks nicely. Thankfully I think this dissipates when I am not around, but when there is a choice, the answer is always Mommy.

Someone is going through a bit of a Mommy phase.

Which shouldn’t be a big deal. Right? I mean, it’s totally normal for kids to choose one parent over the other at different times in their lives. I’m sure there will be days (months? years?) that he chooses Benjamin over me, especially given that he is a boy and there will be guy things that he just won’t want Mom to be a part of.

And, to be honest, Benjamin takes this behavior WAY better than I would. Oh sure, I would play it cool and say, “Ok, go play with Dada” and try to enjoy having the opportunity to do something else, but I’m pretty sure it would sting. Like, a lot. But the truth is, that hasn’t happened yet. It feel like Owen has been going through a Mommy phase since he was born.

On one hand, I love being the chosen parent. It’s undeniable that Owen and I have a special bond. Hopefully we always will. But on the other hand, it’s kind of exhausting. Even when the whole family is together; I’m the one who takes the lion’s share of Owen duties because he wants me to. Usually I want to too, which is good all around, but once in awhile I’d like to be the one checking my email while Owen and Benjamin play blocks together. And, frankly, it makes me feel bad for Benjamin when I see Owen quite literally pushing him away.

We’ve been trying to push back on this behavior a little bit. I’ll say, “Dada can sit with us. Pushing is not ok” and we’ll go from there. Or “Dada can read with us too”. Usually there’s not a big temper tantrum about it, so I’m using it as an opportunity to practice compromise. I don’t want to ignore Owen’s wishes entirely, though, because it’s important to me that he feels heard and understood. I think that is essential to why he is such a great communicator. We listen. Err, we do our best to.

I know some people will probably say that we’re letting Owen “boss us around” or run the show. But I think that letting him make some decisions for himself is a very powerful thing. It shows him that when he expresses himself (with words, appropriately, without temper tantrums), things happen. It’s the same philosophy behind giving him a few choices of what he wants to eat (when it’s practical). Practice making decisions and communicating them. I love the opportunity to let him decide how things will go, whenever possible, because so much of his life is out of his control. It must be tough being bossed around and moved around and talked over all the time by everyone else, so I try to empower him when he expresses his feelings.

Unfortunately in this case they are at the expense of someone else’s. Poor Dada.

I’m sure almost all parents experience this at some point. Right? RIGHT?! Please tell me I’m not alone. How do you react when your kid chooses one parent over another? Does it hurt when you are not “the chosen one” or do you appreciate the time off?

She Says… Mini Vacay

Christmas is over. As a kid I can remember feeling a certain sort of melancholy after the big day ended. Yes, I had new toys and clothes and blah blah blah, but the anticipation was over. The prepping and dreaming of what Santa will bring and fussing over the details is most of the fun, isn’t it? This year, though, I don’t feel like that. The warm and fuzzies from Christmas are still lingering and Owen is having a blast playing with all of his new toys. We’re gearing up for a trip to see some of Benjamin’s extended family, too, so there’s no time to devote to the “Christmas is over” blues. It’s onto the next big thing!

Between the Christmas buzz and the upcoming trip, though, is a rare period of quiet. Benjamin and I are both taking time off of work and Owen’s daycare is open (and paid for), so we’re doing something we haven’t done since Owen was born: taking a few days of vacay just the two of us. And by “taking a few days of vacay” I don’t mean sitting on the beach somewhere (though that would be nice too!); I mean sitting around our house and running errands and doing all of the little things we’ve been meaning to get done since we moved in. Organize the basement. Pack up Christmas stuff and organize the baby stuff Owen is growing out of. Sew some curtains for naked windows. Return things and get a few other things and generally tie up loose ends.

This may not sound very relaxing to you. But it is to me.

Don’t worry — it’s not all boring chores. Yesterday Benjamin and I went to the mall, got lunch and went to a matinee movie. A movie! I can’t remember the last movie we saw in the theaters. It was probably before Owen was born. (Mission Impossible 4 at the IMAX — Whoa!)

It’s amazing how much can get done in a day without a toddler to entertain/feed/clothe/nap/play with/read to/diaper/etc.

She Says… This, But Not That

I was so proud of myself. Last weekend I upholstered some barstools in a cute fabric to go around our kitchen island. I was proud because, not only does the upholstery job look great, but I remembered to take pictures of the whole process for the blog!

We have been living here for 2 months without barstools because I was obsessed with finding this chair that was in my head but apparently not in any stores or online. FINALLY I found something that I liked, but the upholstery on the seat was a boring dark brown pleather. After a little investigating to make sure I could handle the project, I decided to upholster them myself in a cute fabric to bring some color into our kitchen. The project was even easier than I expected, which is good, because I can guarantee that as Owen’s dirty little fingers touch them and drop food on them over and over again, we may need to re-upholster them pretty regularly.

But now for the “this, but not that” part.

I can tell you about the project, but I can’t show you. Do you know why? A certain someone who shall remain nameless deleted the pictures from our memory card before they could be uploaded.

Ooops.

Here is the “after” picture. Just imagine the chairs with a shiny, brown seat the color of horse manure. They look better now, I promise.

As payback for deleting my blog post pictures, I will let you, my lovely readers, in on an embarrassing little secret about Benjamin. He has become a total “Dad”. Does anyone watch Modern Family? We just started watching the episodes from the beginning on Netflix (because we finished watching the entire collection of Mad Men, which we ADORED, but needed something a bit lighter!). Phil makes me just about die laughing with his “Dad jokes” because they are SO things that would come out of Benjamin’s mouth. While we watch the show and I die laughing, Benjamin is sitting on the couch straight-faced saying, “That is NOT me!”. Sure honey, sure.

Today we were eating smoothies and I said, “We need to get those long, sundae spoons to get to the bottom of the glass.” “But honey”, he said. “It’s Thursday.”

Bah dum ching!

He’s become the kind of guy that when you say, “You got a haircut!”, he replies, “I got all of them cut!”.

Bah dum ching!

He’s here all week, ladies and gents.

And I bet he’ll never delete my photos again.

She Says… 5 Years

Today is Benjamin’s and my 5th anniversary! It’s pretty amazing to look back at pictures from that day and think about how much we have been through since then. Even thinking back to 2 anniversaries ago it’s awesome how our family has changed and grown.

Benjamin, these 5 years have been a whirlwind of houses and renovations and babymaking and babyhaving and traveling and cooking and enjoying life together. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to share all of that with. I can’t imagine what craziness we have in store with Owen as he grows, and I look forward to many more years sharing all of that with you.

This year we’re celebrating by a day on the beach with all of the babies, and attempting an early (read: baby friendly — 4:30pm!) dinner out at a lobster/chowder place for our last night on the cape. We have had enough family around this week that we planned a “night out” for each couple, and Benjamin and I had a pseudo anniversary dinner two nights ago at a DELICIOUS restaurant where we sat overlooking the ocean and sipping wine together. It was lovely.

Next week we’ll be back to adjusting to life in our new home and more regular blogging. The beach has been wonderful, but we’re more than ready to get home (mostly to our own beds)!

She Says… My Dirty Little Secret

Here it is, folks: I HATE doing dishes.

I will do just about anything NOT to do dishes. I hate them so much, I may have even written a post about it before. I honestly can’t remember. I would do just about any other chore before I would choose to do dishes. Scrub a toilet? Sure, no problem! Clean the windows? Hells yeah. Vacuum under the bed? Yes, please.

I’m not really sure what it is about dishes that I hate so much. Maybe it’s that I don’t like my hands to be wet when the rest of me is not wet (like in the shower). I don’t like that sticky feeling after you wash your hands and the towel doesn’t get all the water off either. Or when you have to use wimpy hand dryers in an airport bathroom or something like that. Yuck. Perhaps it also has something to do with touching all that mushy, soaking wet food. Double yuck.

Anyway, when Benjamin is away, I get a lot of things done. Yesterday, for instance, I took the dog for a walk (with Owen, in the rain), washed and folded (!!!) 3 loads of laundry, meal planned for the week and went to the grocery store, put away all of the groceries, and had some awesomely fun playtimes with Owen before handling the night time routine single-handedly. I even made Owen’s meals and filled out his drop-off sheet for a quick daycare departure in the morning.

Do you know what didn’t get done? DISHES.

Generally I have no problem letting the dishes pile up until Benjamin gets home (unless he’s gone for several days at a time, then that’s just gross). But since Owen came into our lives, a new element has been added to the nightly dish routine: Bottles. Washing bottles is even more irritating to me than normal dishes. So many nooks and crannies. We use these special bottles that have a uniquely shaped nipple that Owen preferred when we were dealing with his tongue tie/reflux issues. The bottles consist of a top, a nipple, a nipple ring, a bottle “middle”, a plastic valve, and a screw-on base. He drinks 4 bottles a day, so that’s a lot of parts! I’d be fine with letting these pile up in the sink too (don’t judge), except we only have 4 of them, so they have to be washed every night. It’s actually great to have exactly the number we need, because we clean them every night, and I “build” them all in the morning so they are good to go for the day. And we don’t need to sacrifice a cabinet in our kitchen for bottle storage. The downside, of course, is that I STILL have to wash them, even when Benjamin’s gone.

So last night, instead of just washing the stupid bottles, I ran the dishwasher. Despite the fact that it was run the night before. And since I was the only one home and ate leftovers straight out of the ‘fridge for dinner (stop judging), the dishwasher was practically empty, even with all of the bottle parts. So I did what any normal person who didn’t want to do dishes would do: I made more dishes. I made some butternut squash and lentils for baby food (hey, it was on my to do list) and put the pots and food processor and spoons and everything right in the dishwasher.

Then I didn’t feel so bad about running the dishwasher two nights in a row. And I killed two birds with one stone! I’ll be the first to admit, this was not the first time I deliberately dirtied dishes just to run the dishwasher. What? It gets the job done, right?

Thankfully, my dish washer comes home today :) I have missed him!

What about you? What’s the one chore you would choose to never do again, if you had the choice?

She Says… BFFs

A dog is a boy’s best friend, right? Well it took a few months, but I think Schnitzel is finally growing into that title.

Now when Schnitzel and I go in to wake Owen up from a nap or in the morning, you wouldn’t even know I was in the room. Owen locks eyes with Schnitzel and sticks his chubby fingers against the side of his crib so Schnitzel can sniff them and give them a lick. Owen’s gummy grin opens up and he just stares and smiles. When we’re playing on the floor in Owen’s room, Schnitzel will go downstairs and grab a toy, and then come up and nestle himself right next to Owen as he chews away, dropping the toy on Owen every once in awhile trying to entice him to play tug-of-war. Owen practices connecting his rolls and new skill of scooting to maneuver himself closer to Schnitzel so he can get a nice handful of his soft fur.

Schnitzel has always been a laid back dog, but his patience with Owen is practically angelic. He lets Owen roll into him and grab his feet and his whiskers, and pays him back with endless licks all over his face and ears and neck and head (and hands and feet and tummy and arms and on and on and on). He also has this playful growl that we call his “Owen voice” that he only uses when playing with Owen. It makes Owen smile and open his mouth and Schnitzel does his best to get his tongue in there reallyfast before I can intervene.

Wanna see? I took this video a week or two ago, before Owen learned how to roll over from back to tummy. Warning: Mommy Cam alert. This is not Benjamin’s beautiful camerawork. It’s long, unedited, and I almost drop the camera pulling a dog toy out of Owen’s mouth. But you get the idea :)

Since we spend so much time playing with Schnitzel during the day, I also spend a lot of time saying things like, “That’s the DOGGIE. DOG. DOGGIE. Doggies say WOOF WOOF”, which Owen finds hilarious. I am going to place a bet now that Owen’s first word is dog, or some derivative thereof, and not Mama. THAT’S a best friend.

She Says… Owen’s First Trip to the Mountains

We had a wonderful weekend away. Owen did great on the 4 1/2 hour car rides there and back (even took a bottle in his carseat while driving!). He stuck to his regular sleeping schedule at night, too, which was a huge relief to the tired Mama!

He barely cried or fussed all weekend since there was always someone there to hold him or entertain him.

He got to taste the crisp mountain air on his first hike.

And Benjamin and I went on OUR FIRST DATE since Owen was born. Long-awaited. It felt wonderful, and it was surprisingly easy for me to switch off the mom brain and return to normal conversation. We did NOT spend our evening saying things like, “I wonder what Owen’s doing right now”, although we did come home a little earlier than we planned because my boobs were going to explode since I missed a nursing session while Owen had a bottle. Not so romantic. Nonetheless, it was pretty fun to put on some new (read: non-maternity) clothes and have a glass of wine with my honey.

Our thrush is going away, just very slowly. My symptoms are resolving quicker than Owen’s, but I have seen an improvement in his eating in the last day or so. So fingers are crossed that we’re through the worst of it!

She Says… Lessons from Mommy Group: Part 4

This week in Mommy Group we talked about fine motor skills and childcare options. The same small group of us met for lunch before class. As always, it was lovely to be out in the world with Owen and not stressing about naptimes. As I talk to the other moms, I am realizing just how strict I am in terms of sticking to our “schedule” and napping in the crib. Sometimes it feels like we never leave the house because I’m so worried about Owen getting overtired or not having the right naps, or (gasp!) sleeping on-the-go. The other ladies are going out to dinners while their babies sleep in the carseat under the table, meeting friends for afternoon coffees and taking their little ones shopping. While part of me feels like I should lighten up and enjoy his portability at this stage, part of me feels validated in that he is such a happy baby and such an awesome sleeper at night. He is on a better “schedule” than many of the other babies, and I do wonder if it’s at least in part because I am so vigilant about his sleep. That said, everyone else seems to be getting out a lot more and seeing friends. I’m, well… not.

When I struggle with daytime naps in the crib (like right now, it just took me 35 minutes of rocking Owen for a few minutes, putting him in his crib, leaving the room, having him cry, going back up there, lather, rinse, repeat, and finally I was so fed up that I threw him in his swing), it makes me think that I should just throw caution to the wind and go shopping or something, toting Owen along in his stroller. However, then there are times like yesterday, when he went down in his crib like a little angel for the morning nap and slept for 2 solid hours. Clearly he needed a good nap in the quiet comfort of home. He never would have slept two hours out and about. The jury’s still out on that one. My current theory is that if I stay at home and give him a good morning nap, then we could go out in the afternoon and nap here and there, and he should be fine.

That theory doesn’t always hold, though.

Fine Motor Skils

  • The teacher gave each of the babies little plastic rings (you know, those cheap, colorful linking rings that you can attach baby toys to the stroller with). We laid the babies on their backs and put the rings in their hands. Instinctively they grasp them and flail them around. Apparently this tactile experience helps them to learn to bring their hands to their mouths and to understand that they have control over their bodies.
  • Owen loved this game. He happily smiled away while waving his rings in the air, legs pumping and mouth and eyes opening and closing.
  • Unfortunately he loved it so much that he totally and completely wore himself out. We had been out to lunch prior to this playtime, so already he was on the verge of tired. But hey, he had such a long morning nap that I thought, “He’s fine! I’m going to relax like everyone else!”. Once he played for awhile, it was time to feed him again, so I calmed him down and tried to nurse. He would have NONE of it. Crying, screaming, kicking… you’d think I was trying to torture the poor child. Finally I realized he was wildly overtired and overstimulated, so I wrapped him up in a blanket and bounced on an exercise ball to help him chill out and take a little snooze. Since he was so overtired, he took forever to calm down, and everyone in class had to listen to him wail. Finally he fell asleep in my arms and I didn’t dare put him down. He got about a 20 minute nap, and then I tried to feed him again. Still fussy, but he ate a little. He cried the whole way home in the car, and then was absolutely impossible to put to sleep once we got home. Grrr! See what happens when I leave the house?

Childcare

  • After exhausting Owen with fine motor skills activities, we talked a lot about childcare options. I have a center-based daycare lined up for January when I return to work, so I didn’t contribute a lot to the childcare discussion.
  • However, I was very interested to hear the teacher ask how many of the moms had gone out for a date night with their husbands and/or left their babies with someone else for awhile so they could get out of the house. The verdict? Everyone in the room had except for me!
  • Ummm, really? I’ll be honest, I haven’t even left Owen with Benjamin except for when I got my hair cut last weekend. And everyone else has left their babies for date nights? With strangers?
  • Yet again, I’m learning the lesson that maybe I need to loosen the reins. Several of the moms are getting sitters to come on a regular, weekly basis so that they can have some time to themselves. While I don’t think I need that kind of help, it would probably be good for me to go out to dinner. Or go to the gym by myself. Or get my nails done. You know, exist without a baby clinging to my shirt. Obviously after 9 weeks of being with Owen nonstop, this is a tough concept to grasp.

When did you first go out without your baby? What did you do? Was the time away worth it, or did it stress you out more to be gone?