Break

Let’s be honest–we’re really just trying to survive until Tim is on Christmas break for 2 weeks.  

It’s been a long month.  Really it’s been a long year, and we are reeeeally feeling the effects as life spins to an unruly halt for the holiday break.  We adjusted to life with a (terribly sleeping, excessively refluxy) infant just in time to finish renovating our house in the woods last Spring.  We listed the house in June sort of on a whim and it sold in two weeks, so we found another house, bought it and moved, as you know.  

A full time grad student since last Spring, Tim has weathered the most change.  He walked into a good job not even a week after our move, which includes a long commute and being away most of the week.  This has had a pretty big impact on our relationship and family dynamic, and I think it’s harder than we both thought it would be.  His much needed Fall Break was interrupted since he had a conference out of state, and Thanksgiving was usurped by Papaw’s successful (second) open heart surgery–thank goodness he’s ok and with us for Christmas!  And so here we are, feeling like we’ve been running a marathon for a full year now.  

But life is like that.  Sometimes the years pass smoothly (or dare I even say mundanely) and we lament, feeling like we have made no progress.  Then there are years like our last one that make me really proud of all we have done, and I feel a little more like it’s ok to be tired and at the end of my rope right now.  We are allowed, and it will pass. 

Tim has two weeks off from both work and grad school beginning tomorrow night.  We will be driving all over the place for the first half of that, but the second half we are doing nothing.  Nothing at all.  Because we need to.  It’s really, really time for a break for all of us.  

It is my favorite time of year, but every year I have the same realization right before Christmas:  the holidays are stressful.  December has been busy, largely because of our commitment to socialize more.  We ran around all of last week exploring Lafayette and play dating and finishing shopping, and then Tim’s parents came for the weekend.  Silas was in heaven.  This week has been full of doctor appointments and meetings and frantic scurrying to make sure we didn’t leave anyone off the gift list for either extended family.  

Don’t get me wrong, we love the family time and the food and the relaxing!  But holidays with kids are equal parts more stressful and more fun, I am finding.  Everyone wants to see Silas and buy him loads of presents to show their affection.  We are quasai minimalists and this is not a society that promotes holidays without an inundation of gift giving, even upon request, as I learned with Si’s first birthday.  

We’d love to do extended family celebrations with a focus on a charity or on just spending time together and playing games instead of focusing on the gift giving.  There’s value in teaching our kids that giving is as fun as getting, and I want our kids to develop a realistic perspective about the meaning of the holidays we observe and the reality for most of the kids in the world at this time of year and every other year.  But go ahead and try to defy the American way of gift giving–people just won’t do it.  Too many presents is a good problem to have, but we could be turning all the excess into meaning instead, and we hope to be able to do that in future years.

We are getting excited to see our big families!  We are happy to be much closer this year–an hour and forty minutes to each family.  Luckily, that’s the length of a good nap since we still have a kid who cries the whole time he’s awake in the car.  I won’t be placing any bets on his naps or night sleep while we’re away, either.  We will just go with the flow, and by flow I mean an ever-flowing cup of Joe for mama.  

I will probably not post again until after the holiday.  I have a file of topics I’d like to post about, but nap time doesn’t last forever and the blog tends to get bumped to the bottom of the list.  Our next post will be our holiday in photos.  Stay tuned.  

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Big Baby

In big baby news, Si had his one year check today and he’s so big.  He has looked tall lately (I think it’s the jeans), but he actually has grown so much.  He was 22 pounds and 31 inches tall this morning.  He’s a giant!  I’m sorry to say he’s a high allergy kid…  don’t give him peanut butter cookies with milk.  He can’t have either.  Aside from the 2 days of molar teething, Si has been consistently sleeping 10-13 hour stretches at night.  Merry Christmas to us, eh?  And it only took a year.

In little baby news, we have lots of wiggling going on in there and we will find out what we’re having and how s/he’s doing developmentally on January 2nd.  I still feel fantastic, and last week I became a ravenous monster at pretty much all times.  Silas and I could compete in some sort of competition.  But we won’t.  But we might with all the delicious holiday food coming our way.

We met our new pediatrician today and we really like her.  She will be little baby’s doctor as well, so it’s nice to know her now.  We loved Dr. Malone in Bloomington, so we were a little discouraged about finding a new doctor, but we’re happy!  We are classic granola in that we prefer natural medicine to Western/American medicine and she seems totally on board with that approach to whole health.  I also adore my midwife, speaking of natural medicine.  The pediatrician and midwife searches were pretty daunting when we first moved, but all worry was for naught.  Huzzah!

We’ve been enjoying the winter wonderland up here in the “North” as we call it.  Mary Kay and Rog came for the weekend.  It was a cozy weekend–we didn’t do much, but we got to enjoy good company and several inches of snow.  We haven’t made cookies yet at our house, but we watched Rudolph and listened to Christmas music.  We made cookies with kid friends John and Thor last week–fun!  Silas is loving the big windows with the snowy landscapes and so am I.  I’ll be glad when Tim doesn’t have to drive so much in the dark when it’s slick, though.

Some pictures of our weekend:

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The last picture is Silas talking to Daddy on the “phone” like we do in the evening before bed.  But first he threw the diapers all over the living room like they were confetti.  He’s developed quite the throwing arm all of a sudden.

We’re ready for the weekend–may the holiday festivities begin!

Wiggle

Also, I have such a wiggly little cricket in my belly these days, especially when I am holding Silas.  So sweet.  I see the midwife tomorrow and we will schedule the 20 week ultrasound then.  I am excited to find out if a brother or sister is on the way!

Socialites

Ok, that’s probably totally a stretch, but we’re working on it.  We’ve decided to pick one focus a month for feeling rooted and connected here in our new home and community and December is our socialization month!  This is hard for me as an introvert and hard for Tim as a guy who spends the week away from home.  Nevertheless, we are committed to finding friends here and we are doing a great job so far.  

Saturday afternoon we had hometown friends come visit, which was much needed and really enjoyable.  Dan, Robyn and the kiddos came to play for a few hours and eat pizza and it was awesome.  Again, we don’t get out much.  This week, I planned a library outing with my only new acquaintance here, Freda, and her two little boys.  I met her on craigslist buying a rug.  (Of course I did.)  Despite the bitterly cold morning, we went and it was nice!  Si and I got library cards and explored a few sections of the library.  I even forced myself to talk to the mom in the darling yellow coat and make friends with her, and it turns out she is lovely!  Her daughter is not yet two and she is due again one week after I am.  They’ll come to play next week and then we coordinated story time at the library for next week as well.  I feel really proud and social!  And I feel like the library is that much more familiar now that I will know someone at story time.  Silly, I know. 

Here’s the thing.  Libraries have always been a haven for me in new cities, and this time around I was really reticent to go for a few reasons:  one, Silas is not a good car rider and nothing–truly almost nothing–is worth ruining a nap for, not even the library, and two, I loved loved loved our Bloomington library so much that I knew I’d be disappointed with this one, regardless of how great it was, so I wanted to allow a little time to forget the old and anticipate the new.  It worked.  I’m grateful for the new library, despite its much smaller size and selection and I am ready to browse the stacks and forget the world for an hour every few weeks with gratitude instead of disappointment.  I’m really looking forward to going back alone one evening this week when Tim is home!  Nerd alert.

Speaking of gratitude, Tim and I are focusing our attention on our energy and trying to eliminate the things that make us feel negatively.  My biggest and first one was Facebook.  I love seeing pictures of our families and their kids and experiences, but I hate the politics and opinion pushers.  They just make me feel alienated and tired.  And so we’re signing off for a while, which means the updating will be on here with words and on Instagram with pictures (www.instagram.com or on your mobile).  There should be a link at the bottom of this post if you’d like to subscribe, which means a link to the newest post will be emailed to you after I post it.    

We’ve been pretty wordy lately and lacking in pictures, so I’ll try to remedy that soon.  

Settling In

So, three months into life in Lafayette to the day, Silas turned one.  Since then, life has been a little hectic.  Apparently I’m only going to be blogging every two weeks while Tim works away from home and does grad school, the babe is learning to walk, and I am growing a human.  Forgive us–we’ve got a lot on our plates these days.

A few days after Si’s birthday, my Papaw had an aortic aneurism, and a few days after that he had open heart surgery that lasted 11 hours with weak lungs and an already quintuple bypassed heart.  Four days later, he woke and recovered quickly and was moved yesterday to a rehabilitation facility closer to home.  Thanks so much for all the support (both emotional and epicurean) provided by our huge family and network of friends.  Thanksgiving came and went amid the surgery recovery.  It was bigger than usual and, gratefully, felt like a nice family gathering, despite everyone’s minds being torn between holiday and hospital.  It’s fun to see the kids all together–we need a girl amid those four boy cousins.  Just saying.

A day or two before Thanksgiving, Silas took his first steps.  He took 3 steps several times, and even 5 a few times.  Since then, he’s mostly boycotted walking independently.  I don’t mind.  After all, the toddling around on his own will necessarily be accompanied by all kinds of bumps and bruises.  For now, he’s a super speedy crawler and wobbly assisted walker and that suits us just fine.  If I have learned anything about babies or humans in general, it’s that we all take steps on our own time.  There is no rushing the feeling of being “ready”.

Speaking of ready, our little family is really trying to be ready to embrace Lafayette as our home.  At the moment we are finding it quite hard to feel settled here.  Second guessing isn’t something I do, so don’t mistake this for wishing we hadn’t moved up here.  We moved for very specific reasons and very clear criteria and we still feel very good about those.  I love our new house (I’ll love it more after it’s new paint job in the Spring) and there is a lot to take advantage of here.  It’s a college town, which means the things we value are here, they just have to sought out a bit more.

No, we don’t regret moving.  Rather, it’s just to say that with all the commuting and having Tim away so much and renovating the house and passing through the first trimester of pregnancy, we’re finding ourselves running on empty in the windows during which we should be investing ourselves in socialization and exploration of our new home town.  This is usually my favorite time of year, and even I am feeling pretty nostalgic about silly things, like our old NPR station, our old UU church, our awesome old library, and our few really close friends we saw once a month.  We don’t have those here, and it’s really time to muster some energy to invest in creating those things here.  And so we approach the winter holiday season feeling tired and disconnected, but we are very much looking forward to some time off to recharge our batteries, meet some new people, and find our niche here.   It’s our first rodeo trying to make our way in a new place as parents.  Anybody have tips for feeling connected with a babe in tow?

This week:  New trees going in on our street, thanks to the city department; stringing the lights–Silas loooooves them; pushing 16 weeks of pregnancy and feeling back to my old self these last few weeks, which is lovely.

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