Monthly Archives: December 2010

Communication

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So… I’m not sure how much about my evening I can post, since I’m still frustrated about it. This is the frustrating part about knowing that my spouse reads this blog… All I can do is urge you to please be clear and concise when communicating with spouses. And then be more clear. Maybe put it in writing. In several places.

And now, since I’ve urged you to be concise, I will be as well. More for the sake of getting back to level 15 of Angry Birds than being concise, but…

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Bourbon Trail

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I don’t like to think of myself as one of those mom’s who arrives at her parents’ house and doesn’t do anything to take car of her child until she’s on her way home. But I am. I haven’t gotten Robbie up in the morning since last Thursday (actually, he got me up pointing to Barkley’s eyes and nose at the other end of the bed). Come to think of it, that is the only time in his life that Robbie has slept with us all night. But back to me being a dedicated mother…

When we come home, Mom puts Justin and me in the basement bedroom. This allows us to escape completely from the sounds of a little boy early in the morning. I tell myself she doesn’t get the opportunity to do this often, so really I’m doing her the favor. Right…

Then there are days like today, where I sleep an hour later than my son. Days like today where I’m not the one feeding him breakfast or, for that matter, doing anything with him. Days like today, I’m headed out for some fun on my own and leaving Robbie at home with Nona. And, being the excellent mother that I am, I have a phone that dies at approximately 10:45. Justin’s died around 1:00. Fortunately, I knew Robbie was in the hands of someone far more patient and capable than I. This is why I found it perfectly acceptable to travel the Bourbon Trail all day today with Tom (stepdad extraordinaire) and Justin.

Maker’s Mark was our first stop, and it was incredible! There were fresh baked cookies in the kitchen. Everything was hands on (yes, I sampled the different stages of bourbon by sticking my hand right in the vat). Justin and I both dipped our own bottles. It’s pretty evident whose is whose. The dipper lady told me that the “professionals” aim to have between 5 and 7 drips on a bottle. I had six. Justin had one. But it went all the way down the bottle. The one I dipped is for Robbie’s 21st birthday.

Does that count as another strike against me? I didn’t get up with Robbie (1). I didn’t feed him breakfast or get him dressed (2). I left him all day (3). My phone died two hours after I left (4). I’m already planning his 21st birthday. Nah, I won’t count that one. I will count the fact that I didn’t change a diaper all day (although that may just be really smart parenting).

None of the other distilleries measured up to Maker’s Mark… But we went to all of them: Jim Beam, Heaven Hill (OK, we just drove past it), Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve. It’s hard to believe that I lived in Kentucky for over 23 years and never did this. It’s even harder to believe that it took 31 years for me to realize there are tourist attractions in my state!

On, On U of K!

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Justin and I went to Rupp Arena for what has become our annual Christmas break basketball game (I think after three years it becomes a tradition). Always against a no-name team. Always a blow-out (I think it’s been 30 points the past two years). Always a great reminder of what we are missing living so far away from Wildcat Country.

Justin and I hauled ourselves across downtown Lexington in about ten minutes tonight (a perk of a smaller town than Boston!) and made it into our seats just as they began announcing the starting line-up for Coppin State (you know you haven’t heard of them before, either; according to Justin, they’re a school in Baltimore not known for their basketball). We were there for the fireworks. We were there for the tip-off. We had amazing seats. But something was missing, and I don’t mean Robbie (don’t panic; he was at the dinner we left early with my parents).

Although the game was more exciting than the lackluster showing of Billy Clyde’s Cats in 2008 (can you believe that guys STILL doesn’t have a job?), it didn’t have the magic about it that last year’s did. There was no John Wall. There was no Cousins. There was no anticipation about seeing the NEW Kentucky Wildcats.

But you know what? None of that really mattered to me. Well, it did a little. I think what was more important was the nostalgia. Watching the student section, seeing the college students living the life that I had ten years ago (how has it been a decade?). Remembering the most important games we’ve been to (mine is still Pitino’s first game back as Louisville’s coach in 2001). Waiting for the UK pyramid at the end of the second half.

Being home is a very conflicting thing for me (and Justin, too). Being here makes me want to move home, be closer to family, live a life that I know would be comfortable and “easy”-ish. But I also know that I’ll go home to Boston on Sunday and fall in love with life up there. I’ll love the snow and my friends and my job. I guess this is the part of life that we can’t necessarily plan. I worry that if I want to be home in Lexington so bad that I try to force it to happen, I might be disappointed in how it all turns out. So I’ll enjoy my time at home and let life take me on the journey I’m supposed to have. And I’ll thank God every day that he gave me a wonderful man to travel with (oh, and a pretty great little boy, too).

Tangled

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We took Robbie to his first real movie today. I say “real” movie because he saw The Hangover when he was two weeks old and Avatar when he was five months old. But today was the real deal: Tangled at the Movie Tavern. And it was a fail. Not an epic fail, but a fail nonetheless.

Robbie was bored with all of the “no talking/no cell phone” portions, but he immediately became entranced when the previews came on. He stayed that way until about thirty minutes into the movie. That was when the real fun began. Robbie started yelling, “Hi!” every few seconds. And then he started his loud fussing. Thus ended any attempt I was going to make to actually watch the movie.

Now, even though I said the afternoon at the movie was a fail, that just meant for me. For Robbie, it was probably one of the best afternoons of his life. He ran up and down the hallway. He met all the people working in the theatre. He busted into different movies. He ran up and down the aisles in an empty theatre and managed to conquer going down stairs. It was an ultimate win.

I don’t think I’ll have enough energy to try taking him to a movie until at least spring break. But, since we’re going to be on vacation then, I think I’ll be able to get away without taking him until at least Memorial Day weekend. And even then, only if there’s something good out.

Christmas Adventures

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Where did Christmas go? I spent the past five (seven?) weeks so excited for it to get here: making Christmas cards, decorating the house, dragging my family out to buy the perfect tree, shopping, traveling to see family. And now it’s gone. Over. I cleaned up all the presents and boxes and paper in my mom’s basement after we got home this afternoon. The tree looks empty; it’s uneven branches are even more apparent. But, as I type, I’m sitting next to the tree, surrounded by my family and thinking that maybe I need to remember that Christmas isn’t just on 25 December…

Roberto had a big day on Christmas; he got to celebrate three different times! As soon as we got up, we went over to my mother-in-law’s house. Robbie got all the classic toys: the wooden bench with pegs to hammer, a Bozo punching bag, a sled, and a Sit ‘n Spin. I wasn’t sure what he would do when faced with a four-foot tall Bozo replica. Personally, I was a little disturbed. But, Robbie, undaunted, immediately tackled the clown to the ground and went back for more as soon as he popped up.

When we got back to my mom’s house, it was almost time for breakfast. However, Hilary and Hunter wanted to get Robbie ready for his big day. As soon as he got upstairs, I heard the screaming start. And continue. And get louder. And louder. It didn’t stop until my child was back downstairs and running into my arms. In a pimp suit. That’s right. Robbie was fully outfitted in a gray Little Kings suit, complete with a purple shirt, vest, and coordinating striped tie. I’m not entirely sure it was designed with a white boy from Boston in mind, but Robbie wore it as well as he could.

The present-opening extravaganza continued all day, only interrupted by a brief nap before driving to Cincinnati. There were presents to open, trash to throw away (how did I manage to get a child concerned with picking up after himself?), and food to eat. He played with his toys, focusing mostly on his new baby laptop, which I’m hoping will be a nice substitute for banging on mine. I almost burned the fire hose meant to go on the truck of Robbie’s new fire station. I’m still enjoying the irony of that.

Robbie doesn’t really understand the meaning of Christmas, but it was so fun to watch him see presents and have his eyes get big. They say Christmas is for children. But for my money, I think it’s for the parents who get to watch the children.

What Did You Say?

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We survived the ride home in relative silence yesterday.

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

We found the noise preferable to constantly pulling over to readjust the luggage rack. It also drowned out any fussing that Robbie might have done (not entirely sure that he did any!). And it meant that Justin and I sat in the car without listening to music or talking to each other. For nine hours.

Even now that I’ve been out of the car for twelve hours, I can still hear the ringing in my ears from the luggage rack. As one friend put it, it sounded like we were sitting on the engine of a small plane. Hopefully, we’ll remedy the situation before heading home. Mom already has a few suggestions for things that might make it better. And she usually knows best.

I’m feeling much more human now that I’ve slept for ten hours. Rob seems to be adjusting to life outside of his car seat, although I am a little concerned about him going through movie withdrawal. That’s all he did for 17 hours in the car. Movie after movie after movie. I’m a little worried about how easily he zones out in front of a screen, but I’m willing to overlook that and exploit it during travel.

Now that we’re finally home, it feels so good to just be. Sure, our room is a disaster. Some of my presents came unwrapped. One of them broke (my loving seester went out last night and found a replacement for me). Justin lost (and found) his wallet. But we’re here. Now it’s just time to relax, enjoy family, give some presents, and relish in just how wonderful life can be. Because it sure is fantastic.

Happy Christmas Eve!

The Morning After

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We left for Kentucky last night. Since I only have minimal time before we leave the hotel, here are the highlights:

1. The framed work that was supposed to be ready for pick-up at 4:00 wasn’t. It took an extra twenty minutes with Robbie, Justin, and Barkley in the car waiting.
2. Don’t tie luggage straps to the care across the width of it. This makes a horrible noise that is only slightly preferable to screaming child.
3. It was snowing when we left Boston and the traffic was horrible.
4. Wendy’s in Meriden, CT, does not have a baby changing station. This is extremely inconvenient for anything involving poop and total clothing change.
5. A small Frosty comes with a kid’s meal at said Wendy’s. This makes up (almost) for the lack of a changing station.
6. Hubands can be unforgiving when a child comes out of the restroom with crisscrossed overall straps. They often refer to it as an “epic fail”, which just seems cruel.
7. Being the watcher of the luggage rack is stressful. Particularly when it moves suddenly in a high wind are and the only place to stop is the side of the road as truckers race by. It’s even more stressful the second time you have to do it.
8. My child does not sleep on road trips. Ever. Even at 12:15 in the morning. He prefers to scream and did so from 11:00 to 12:30.
9. It is not easy to watch a luggage rack in the dark.
10. My child thinks hotels are for playing. We arrived in our room at 1:00 this morning. He went to sleep at 3:00 this morning. THIS constitutes an epic fail.
11. My dog is crazy. He needed to be let out at 12:30, 2:30, and 7:30 to make sure we are safe.
12. I’m not entirely sure we’ll make it to Kentucky in one piece (or at least with the luggage on top of the car).
13. Our hotel room is stocked with a variety of Jolly Ranchers. Most of them are watermelon. My son is trying to make up for last night by bringing them to me.

See? I told you there would be stories!

Ready? Set? Road Trip!

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Somehow, I made it. It’s 11:00, and I’m exhausted. But, I’m also as ready for this trip home as I’m ever gonna be. I didn’t get the cookies baked, but that’s OK. Justin’s finishing up the laundry (he politely did mine first). The presents are all wrapped. The suitcase was broken, but we found a bigger one to fill.

Just one more day of work and then it’s time to hit the road. I’m so ready for 3:07 tomorrow afternoon. For now, I’ll settle for a hot shower and six hours of sleep.

Since I know you all wait with baited breath for a post every night, I want to give you fair warning that there may not be one tomorrow. After a full day of work and eight hours in the car… It just might not be in the cards! I’m sure there will be some great stories, though.

Unprepared

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My entire day today can be summed up in one word: unprepared. Unprepared for how crazy the kids would be at school. Unprepared for snow on the ground (I was wearing flats with no socks). Unprepared for all the work left to do before leaving for Kentucky. Unprepared.

I accomplished a lot today. I graded half my email inbox (the best way for kids to turn in assignments, by the way). I made my way through most of the papers on my desk. I got all the snowflakes my students made hung (there’s nothing like seeing grown boys cut snowflakes and then get competitive about it, unless it’s watching inner-city boys do this). I got the house picked up. I rolled, cut, baked, and decorated 90 sugar cookies. I started a load of laundry to ensure clean clothes tomorrow (the pants I’m currently wearing have been pulled from the hamper three times). And now? Now I am tired. But I thought you’d like to know how my day went.

There was a highlight to this crazy Monday. When we got home, there was about half an inch of snow on the ground. I set Robbie down on the porch to open the door, and he realized he was standing on something difference. He did a little dance on the porch and watched the snow move under his feet. I can’t wait to see him the first time he really gets to play in it.

And now I’m off to finish my day of unpreparation (is that even a word) with a hot shower and a comfortable bed.