Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Creatures of Habit

I'm beginning to think a shrink would have a field day with all that's been running through my mind through this entire moving process. Stress certainly does funny things to people, and I know, based on a couple instances, that I was a total basketcase by the end of the weekend. This week has been a total fiasco itself. I worked half a day Monday, took off yesterday, and was back to work today...except that the guys that Time Warner sub-contracted to do our cable/phone/internet installation yesterday screwed up the phone part, so I was back home for a couple hours today while the real technicians fixed it. I should have a full day of work tomorrow, but Friday our office is closed for Good Friday and Jacob and I will be off to Buffalo for the weekend (I think). Most nights since the move we've tried to go to bed at a reasonable time, and yet, we're still so tired!

It's been a bit of a trying week trying to find "missing" stuff and work around the maze of boxes in almost every room of the house. It's been crazy. I think I've remained relatively calm through most of it, but I've definitely had my yesterday when I had searched everywhere and still hadn't found one major element of my morning routine--my hot air brush (imagine if a hair brush, curling iron and hair dryer were combined into one). I did finally find it in a bag within a bag, but it was making me nuts!

But on top of those usual moving inconveniences, I was so completely thrown off by the change in routine. That affected me so much more than I thought it would. I never realized how well I had programmed myself with almost everything, all based on our environment and way of life in the old house. All of a sudden I was out of that routine, and poof...I'm clueless! Whether it's driving my car in new routes, packing my lunch, or getting ready to leave the house, I'm all out of sorts. Last night we went out for dinner, and I forgot to bring a sippy cup or bib for Jacob. That almost NEVER happens. I keep forgetting to lock the deadbolt on the front door and lock my car when I leave it. I never do stuff like that. I forget stuff when I'm walking out of the house. I'm even all confused about stuff in the kitchen, including how best to load a dishwasher and when to wash my dishes in the sink. Even cooking has me a little concerned...after all, I haven't really done a regular meal in days. I just feel so completely out of sorts! And I can only chalk it up to being out of my normal traffic pattern. I suppose all the little parts of my daily routine served as triggers for all these other little things, and without all those little cues, I'm lost. I don't know if it's because I'm in a different setting, or because I haven't had a normal work schedule, or because I'm too busy unpacking (or thinking about unpacking) to do the normal stuff, or because everything in my house is sitting in piles...or maybe it's all of it. As if I wasn't scatterbrained enough before! Even tonight is making me nervous. It's my first evening home alone with Jacob, and I'm just a bit nervous about the whole process. I haven't done it in this house yet, and I'm not sure how I'm going to make dinner, keep an eye on Jacob amidst numerous boxes still in the living room, get him fed, and keep him occupied until bath and bedtime considering the limited play space. Time to get creative, I guess!

I suppose I'm especially nervous because Jacob has been more than a handful lately. Perhaps he's a creature of habit, too. I don't know if it's the move, or the official arrival of the terrible twos, but he's been pretty hard to deal with lately. Lots of screaming, squirming out of our grasp, whining for stuff he wants NOW, deliberately doing what we're telling him not to (with a smile, no less), fighting us on everything....the list goes on. He's been sleeping well, so at least that's been a positive, but once he's awake, all bets are off. I feel a little bad because all of this unpacking has left less quality time than usual, and I wonder if he's rebelling a little as a result. I try to hug him and kiss him a lot and still do what I can to make him laugh, but it's been a challenge. Hopefully we can get back into a decent routine tonight and he'll feel like it's old times again...and his behavior will follow. Wish us luck...again! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Big Move

I'm not even sure where to begin with this post, but we'll see where it goes. I've had about a million thoughts running through my brain the last few days, some of merely factual things that I wanted to share, some philosophical thoughts, and probably everything in between. So...we're moved in. Unpacking is going slowly, but it will get there. I hope to live in this house for a very long time so I'm not sweating it if the unpacking takes a little while because I want to do it well. As I've mentioned before, I want to do a very thorough unpacking that involves thinking about stuff and where it will best be stored in our new house. A lot has changed in our lifestyle since we moved into our old house, most notably having a child, so there may just be things we never "fixed" after Jacob arrived, because we were used to how it was and it never occurred to us that there might be a better way. A simple example of this is that Jacob had his own cabinet in our old house. All of his sippy cups and food and bowls were in one cabinet, separate from the rest of our stuff. However, in this house, instead of doing one Jacob cabinet, his cups will go with our cups, his bowls will go in the same vicinity as ours, etc. It would have been easy to see the one skinny cabinet in the middle of the kitchen and make it his, but I thought better of it. I've been encouraging Craig to do the same, which probably drives him nuts. However, we just moved a ridiculous amount of stuff, a lot that I know we don't use, and I don't plan on doing it again if/when we decide to torture ourselves like this again down the road. I kept certain things for the move just in case they came in handy in our new home...but if I decide they won't, a lot of stuff will be going. I hope, anyway.

It's been a brutal process from start to finish. Friday wasn't a bad day, for the most part. Our closing went pretty well other than one minor scheduling glitch. The old stove in our basement got picked up by the scrap metal folks for free. The console record player that also came with the old house got rejected by charity for being too old, but they did take the other couple boxes of stuff we purged ahead of time. Jacob's room got packed pretty smoothly for the most part, and after that it started to go downhill. My mom did come in Friday night to help, which was huge. But regardless, packing got very frustrating near the end, and I never really did get it all packed. The movers showed up at 7:30 am on Saturday and I sort of lost control of the situation. My very fragile boxes were loaded on the truck before I knew it, and things I had been planning on packing up a little better ended up on the truck before I knew it. By about 9:30 it felt like noon, but the movers made good time and finished up at least an hour earlier than quoted. Still, those 6.5 hours felt like an eternity. The morning was freezing cold and such a blur. Thankfully we had a lot of help from family and one friend. My dad and Uncle Mark came in in the morning, and our friend Dave came in to help for a couple hours, too. My Uncle Cliff offered up his truck (he had shoulder surgery so he thankfully had an out for the actual move), and my Aunt Lynne and cousin Lori came in in the early afternoon to help with the last (big) bit of stuff. Thank God for everyone's help because I don't think we would have survived without it. Having to move in one day, not to mention with Craig having to go into work once the movers left, was overwhelming. After the movers left we tried to go back into the old house and finish things up. It took a few trips back and forth with everyone's vehicles, but we got it done. Of course, by the end (about 12 hours after the craziness started) I was spent, but I insisted we stay there and finish up the last bit of cleaning, quite frankly because I couldn't bear the thought of having to go back and do anything of substance the next day. All I could take mentally on Sunday was a quick run-through to double check cabinets and closets and grab any remaining things that might have been missed, like mail, outlet covers, a random over the door hook, and, as it turns out, a half a cabinet worth of snacks that were somehow missed. We left the keys and said goodbye. It was sad, but by that point I was ready and I didn't even cry. I suppose that if it was a movie, the last walkthrough would have been one of those montages where a ghostly image of the former contents of each room would have appeared, each portraying a memory. Late nights in Jacob's room, playing in the living room, the satisfaction of finally fitting all of our bedroom furniture in the day we moved in, etc. But with that house goes a lot of stress and potential projects we'll never have to do. Not that our new house won't have its fair share, but let's just say the pressing ones are less (that we know of). It did occur to me at some point in this process that Jacob really made that house a home. I don't think there would be quite the sentimental impact that this move had if Jacob wasn't in the picture. I never really got emotional about my apartments, so I think that he really made the difference.

Speaking of Jacob, it's been an interesting process for him. When he got home from daycare on Friday, I fully expected him to be totally confused when we walked into his room and it was in shambles. His crib was disassembled and most of his stuff had been packed. A pack-n-play sat where his crib was. It didn't even seem to phase him. When I asked where his crib was, he pointed at the pack-n-play without hesitation. He slept pretty good that night (one brief wakeup) and seemed pretty okay until about mid-morning when he completely melted down. My mom tried to calm him with a walk, but no such luck. He was inconsolable for quite a while. I don't know if he was just thrown off by everything, scared about where everything was going, or what. It probably didn't help that his napping and eating was all off-schedule, and that I was stressed out and not particularly available for him. I wanted to be, of course, but I was still packing and disassembling our computer and gigantic desk, among other things, and it didn't really work too well with Jacob's agenda of hanging out and playing hockey. He constantly wanted me to hold him and could only be distracted for so long. As the day went on he seemed to get a little better, but it was hard to deal with when I was on my last nerve. I definitely felt like a terrible parent...and actually, I'm still in that mode a bit. Soon enough, I hope. He seems to have settled into the new house okay. He's been sleeping fine, though it's taken him a little longer to go down both nights. He loves the stairs, of course, and is making the best of the situation. He's still getting into everything and wanting a lot of attention, but who can blame him? This had to be a little jarring. I knew he wouldn't understand when I kept trying to tell him about our new house, but I kept hoping. He seems ok with his room, despite the purple walls and colorful flowered border (it's at least a fun flowered border with lots of circles and stars woven into the pattern, so he likes pointing out that stuff), and the living room will be a nice big room for him once the boxes get out of the way! In the meantime, he'll just play with the boxes, I guess!

I have a lot of unpacking to do in the meantime. So far so good with the house, though we already have a list of questions for the old owners and are a little nervous about how some things will fit. But as a whole we really like it and I think it will work well for us. There's a lot of storage and I am indeed loving the crawl space. Sure, I've banged my head a few times on the way in, but I love putting stuff down there and knowing it's out of the way. Great feeling! I need to keep things in check, though, making sure that we're not just shoving stuff down there and forgetting about it. Like I said, I don't want to move a whole lot of crap next time around! So at this point I'm sure you're dying to see it, right? Well....most of the house is not in photo shape yet, so this is the best you'll get for now, from a rainy Rochester morning...

More to come soon, I promise!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh, Trading Spaces, where art thou?

I'm not a great decorator. Yeah, I can at least put a room together somewhat tastefully. It's not going to look like a magazine, but I think I can generally match colors and keep things somewhat tasteful. Of course, it helps when you keep things simple, hence the mostly white walls in our current house. The one room we did decorate in our house now was the living room. We painted the far wall a deep red and the rest of the walls a butterscotch color, both specially selected based on the colors of our new furniture that we bought when we bought the house. I was inspired by Trading Spaces to use a daring color like red, and to do the accent wall in general. The red was a pain to paint--lots of coats--but the result was fantastic. I still love the look of that room and will miss it a lot. Thankfully, our new dining room is a deep red as well, so I'll still get my fix. The new living room walls are too high to paint easily or cheaply (thanks, cathedral ceiling), so they'll be staying the pleasant taupe color they already are. So, with this move, the one piece of proof that I can decorate a room will be little more than a memory.

The whole room decorating thing came up a bit when Jacob was still in utero and we were deciding what to do with his room. And actually, baby nursery decor is what sparked this post today. A friend of ours just posted pictures of her new baby's nursery, and I must say, she did a great job. She did this cool color blocking on the walls, put one of those neat decals above the crib with a sweet saying, and hung colorful paper lanterns from the ceiling. It looks really cute. And really, when you know your baby's gender it's a heck of a lot easier to decorate. I definitely struggled with crib sets when I wasn't sure if we could get our beloved but discontinued Baby Snoopy set that was the most gender-neutral I'd seen. Everything was either pink or blue-based...even the stuff that was meant to be neutral. I would have gladly put up something that was all green, but do you know how hard it was to find something like that that wasn't a designer look at a designer price? Yeah. Anyway...once we had our Baby Snoopy set, I had thoughts of putting up the matching border or painting something in the room with the same sort of bluish-purple color that dominates the set. But, alas, between pregnancy energy loss, my fear of paint fumes while pregnant, and Craig's busy weekends, it never happened. The room stayed white and I did what I could with what we had. This post and this one show the finished results. I thought that hanging the bumper like a border was near genius, and it will be among the things I will be the most nostalgic to take down pre-move. So, considering that we didn't paint anything, I think Jacob's room was simple and cute. It was perfectly acceptable. But as I mentioned the other day, Jacob's future room is purple. The room itself is a light purple, and the trim is a darker shade. So...yeah. We have some painting to do. Whether we just do it white or decide to get a little more creative while we have the chance, I'm not sure. But I just want to get it done soon, one way or another.

One of the things that made me cringe most as I packed it was our batch of painting supplies. Sometime before Jacob was born, we bought a can of paint. It's a pretty green, I think somewhere between a sage and a mint. It was supposed to go in our ugly kitchen, with the thought that the green might distract from the ugly cabinets and bring out the white tile backsplash. Well, between concerns about paint fumes and Craig's busy schedule, it never happened. That can of paint sat in our basement all this time, with all of the new rollers we bought with it, and now it's coming with us to the new house even though there really isn't anywhere for it to go at this point. I'm actually hoping it's a perfect green to go with the Baby Snoopy stuff, but I'm pretty sure it's not since that's more on the lime green spectrum. Anyway, there are some things that will need tweaking in the new house and I'm a little nervous about how long it will take us to coordinate it and get it done. Will Jacob's room still be purple when it's time for a new baby to take over? Will the wallpaper that we're not sure about in the kitchen still be there years from now, just because we haven't figured out how or when to change it?

It's a little frustrating, because it doesn't seem like stuff like this should be that hard, but when you've got a busy toddler and a full schedule of weekends (from fall on Craig is usually working, and if he's not, we're usually off visiting family or doing whatever we couldn't do when Craig was busy all those weekends), it's hard to make the time. It probably also doesn't help that I'm not quite as inspired these days. I used to watch home design shows all the time, but now I don't have the time or energy (not to mention that many of them aren't on the air anymore), so the cute, easy fixes and fun color palettes aren't exactly at the top of my mind these days. And without a major inspiration there isn't much of a push to get stuff like that done, because if it's not an inspired choice that I know will look great, what's the rush? I don't want to make a random decision and have it look crappy.

Of course, I've only been to the new house a handful of times so I'm still not sure of much. I have thoughts of where certain things might go, but beyond that, unpacking is going to be a big trial-and-error period. Let's hope I do get inspired! If I don't get a chance to blog between now and Saturday, wish us luck! We'll be short on internet access until sometime Tuesday, so I'll give you some updates when I can!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Deconstructing Life

Well, we're really in the home stretch now. We're down to less than three days before the big move. I still have more packing to do in a couple rooms, but most of the big stuff is done. I'm still using the kitchen too much to pack it all, but hope to pack less used stuff tonight. Jacob's room will be taken care of on Friday, and I guess Friday night will be some disassembly and last minute finishing touches. Other than those two rooms, I'm pretty much to the point where I can throw the remaining odds and ends in boxes and bags and be ready to go fairly quickly. That might not make for the most efficient move, but if that's how it works out, that's how it works out. I'm dreading the next few days for a lot of reasons--namely, handing over a big check, working out schedules, moving all of our earthly possessions from one spot to another (and unpacking it all), and going back for that last cleanup...which as I mentioned before, is probably one of the most torturous things going. At least it's not a big deal...just making things a tiny bit easier (and less gross) for our buyer. I know I'd be ticked if the house we moved into was overrun by dust bunnies, crumbs and fingerprints. Our house hasn't been lived in in a while so it was fairly clean, but there were some rather gross discoveries once we moved in. I still gag a little thinking of the unidentifiable crust I cleaned off of the bathroom fixtures. So, yeah...I'd like to leave it reasonably neat, for my own self-respect.

The other night I started taking down the remaining knicknacks and all of the photos hung on the walls. As much as things had been emptying out in the past couple weeks, that really started to make the house feel a bit more empty, and almost foreign. When you get used to something being in a certain place for nearly five years, and then it's suddenly not there anymore, it messes with you a bit. It was almost hard to navigate a darkened house because I didn't have as many "landmarks" on the walls to guide me. Such a strange feeling! But more than anything, it's just a strange feeling to deconstruct the home environment that you worked so hard to create over the past few years. Every picture that was hung with much thought and care, every little project that we were so proud of, every little quirk we liked when we bought the house...all of it will be going away (or at least changing) in the next few days. While our house wasn't our first home as a married couple, it was the house where we became a family...Jacob's first home, first bedroom, the place where I stayed up with him during late-night feedings, the living room where he learned to crawl, the front door where he loved to stand and watch the cats and dogs run by...a lot of memories in just a short period of time. I guess I should be grateful we spend all major holidays elsewhere, because at least we don't have those memories to attach to our old house! It's just a little sad when you remember putting a picture up, and now have to take it down and start over somewhere else. On one hand the fresh start is exciting, but it's also a big task to take on and it's always a little nervewracking to think about setting up an efficient, friendly, comfortable household for your family, somewhere where Jacob will have the space to be an active, happy kid and to access toys and other materials that will enhance his learning experiences. As I mentioned in another recent post, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get in some good, new habits. And I hope to set up our house in a way that will lead to more opportunities to enrich Jacob's allow him to access his toys without much help, to set up a good place for him to be messy and crafty without me freaking out about it, good space for him to play inside and out, etc. It was one thing to set up a household for just the two of us...but now that I have to do it with Jacob in mind, it's a little more intimidating.

But still, packing up all of our stuff and taking apart all of the bits and pieces of the place we've called home for the past few years has been a little sad. And I'm sure I'll probably shed a tear or two as we leave for the last time. Heck, I did that just listening to a song or two on the way into work today, so something really sentimental...oh boy. Though I may be too tired by then to have any emotion, but even still...later it'll hit me. It's been an eventful run. And it's a little sad to see this era of it come to an end. There's more good to come, I'm sure, but any sort of ending comes with a little bit of nostalgia and sadness for what will be left behind. Should be an interesting few days!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Two Words...

A funny thing happened the other night that made me realize how much Jacob is growing up. And it was such a tiny little thing. He said, "Hi Daddy!" Now, he's been saying "Hi" and "Daddy" for a long time now, but that was the first time I heard him put those words together into a phrase. And it struck me how big that was, and what a difference putting those two words together makes. A couple weeks ago he started saying "hockey puck", and "hockey stick" wasn't far behind. And just the fact that he's starting to string words together is amazing. He still uses a lot of incoherent chatter when he's talking, but he's definitely starting to use words more often. We get a lot of "hockey", "doggie", "Amerks", "Knighthawks", "ball", "basketball", and "star", among other words, but he's definitely expanding his vocabulary a lot lately. "Duck" is a new favorite, and he started saying "lacrosse" a few days ago, though it comes out more as "cross", which he can identify by the right name as well. He's saying "box" a lot lately since we have a lot of those sitting around the house. He does well with animal sounds and seems to be learning his books a little as well. There are a couple he knows parts of, even if it's just knowing that there's a "shhhhh" at the end of his Goodnight Moon counting book. It's amazing to see the wheels turning. And while he still has his moments, he can be so smiley these days. He's been so good lately that it makes me a little more nervous about the move, since a lot is going to change in the next week.

Speaking of which...we're getting ever closer to the big move. We got our official closing date on Friday, for the following Friday. We'll be moving on Saturday. We pretty much have one day to move, which is scaring me to death since I was hoping to spread it out over a couple days. But no such luck. But on the bright side, a week from now the worst will be over. My parents came up yesterday to keep Jacob busy for the day while Craig and I packed. We made a lot of progress, but we still have quite a bit to do. I haven't touched Jacob's room or any of his toys. I still have to take down and wrap up all of our framed pictures, and I still have a handful of knicknacks to wrap and pack. I haven't touched the kitchen either but I'll still be using some of what's there so I'm going to have to really think about what I pack. I still have a couple shelves in my closet, our front hall closet, and our linen closet to do as well. Hopefully I'll have the energy (or urgency) to get stuff done each night this week. I'll have off Friday for the closing, so hopefully I can get more done then, too, especially while Jacob's at daycare. Craig's working Friday night and the rest of the weekend, though he's going to try to cut out a bit wherever he can. I'm mostly just worried about the last minute stuff (taking apart beds, the crib, our massive desk, and figuring out all of the stuff that I don't want to forget. I still have a boatload of calling to do since I couldn't do anything Friday. We still need to confirm the movers, for example. I have to change over utilities and change so many addresses. Too much to think about! Should be an interesting week!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New House, New Habits

Within a couple weeks, we'll be moving into a new house. The mere thought of that is truly mindboggling right now. Yes, I've done a lot of packing, so the reality should be setting in. But we still have a long way to go, including at least a couple days of pure hell to get through before we're in and settled and can begin to enjoy the good side of this craziness. I've actually been likening this experience to pregnancy lately, where you have an approaching, momentously life-changing experience coming up at a generally pre-determined date (and much like pregnancy, we still don't know our exact date yet). There's a lot of preparation and stress, and the climax of it all involves a day or two of absolute torture. Beyond that there's a lot of hard work, but eventually you settle in and can enjoy the fruits of your labor. And while I do look forward to doing the baby thing again someday, right now moving into a house is the much preferred of the two. I find it hard to say that, because I know how torturous moving has been in the past. Of course, those were smaller moves that didn't involve an abundance of baby stuff or extra details like movers. By the end of each of the four moves in my adult life--into my first apartment, into my second apartment a year later, into my third apartment two years later (post-wedding), and then into our house two years after that (4-1/2 years ago)--I know that I was at my limit, where I just couldn't bear one more trip back into the old place and was practically in tears trying to do the final scrub-down. By then you just want it over. And I'm sure this one will be no exception. Buying a house is so much more stressful than renting an apartment (though no security deposit to lose if your house isn't spotless when you leave!), and the bigger they get, the worse it is--more money, more stuff, more stress. Still, I'm really looking forward to it, for all of the reasons I've mentioned in previous posts.

Among the things I'm looking forward to is the ability to start fresh and get in some new, good habits. I may have touched on this previously, but it's really been on my mind a lot lately. I know that I've gotten in some ruts at our current house. I'm not sure if it's because of laziness, or necessity, or maybe just never realizing that a temporary solution was a bad one. I just know that the way I do certain things doesn't seem to be the most efficient, and I'm just to settled here to change my ways without a lot of effort. I feel like this move will be a great opportunity to improve. As a mom I need to find the most efficient, effective ways to do things, and all of this "figure it out as we go" stuff hasn't helped that cause. But in a new house, perhaps I'll get a fresh perspective and figure out how to do things differently.

I know that we didn't use our current house's space as efficiently as we probably should have. We had our fantastic basement bar with a big room for entertaining, but because it was so far from the rest of the house--yes, just down a flight of stairs, but it takes a good yell to be heard-- we probably didn't use it as much as we should. Heck, we really wanted that second bathroom for times when we both had to go, but in the end I really hated going down to use it because that bathroom tended to be teeming with little critters...and because we didn't use it that much, the motivation to clean it was low. I'm hoping that the setup of our new house will allow us to use all of our space better. You can see all three floors from the living room, so I hope nothing feels too far away to be useful. And hopefully since our basement is only partially underground, it won't be quite as cold or critter-filled.

Even household tasks can use some improvement. For example, for some reason I never got in the habit of using a laundry basket. To be fair, Craig does most of the laundry (he needs it more often), but since I've been doing Jacob's laundry every week since he was born, I've just always done what Craig does, and what we did in our apartment--load finished laundry back into our laundry bags and haul it back upstairs. Once we're in the new house, I want to get in the habit of using a basket instead. It's not that I can't do it now, of course, but why bother revamping now when I can just start fresh there?

As a whole I just feel like a new house is an opportunity to look around at each thing you own and say, "Ok, in a perfect world, where would the ideal spot be for this item?" I'm hoping that a new kitchen and different storage opportunities will help me use things more efficiently and save some time. Perhaps I can store certain things more conveniently in my new kitchen and therefore be more likely to use them. Having a large entry closet and linen closet will be nice as well, because those present opportunities I don't have now. A few days back I posted about reorganizing Jacob's closet. One of the things that's stored in a hanging organizer in there are his bath towels. I suppose it made sense back in the day, since there was no room in our current linen closet and all the baby stuff was in his room anyway. But now I'm thinking I'd rather use that space for other things and put his towels in the linen closet with all of our other towels. Little changes, but they can make a world of difference.

As I've been going through things to pack, I've noticed a handful of things in spots that just aren't that logical or that have ended up in a place where I'm less likely to use them. I assume they got there because at the time I didn't know where else to put them or didn't have room to put them where I wanted to. And of course, over time you forget they're there or don't want to make the effort to relocate them. You get used to where they are, use them when you have to, and just deal with where they happen to be at that point...and in our busy lives, never take the time to think it through and find a better way. And I hope this move gives us the opportunity to do that. Of course there's always the chance that we'll get there and be so desperate to get our lives out of this limbo phase that we'll be stashing things wherever we can. However, I'm taking at least a couple days off once we move to have some uninterrupted unpacking time. Jacob will be at daycare and I'll have the time (and hopefully the sanity) to just take my time and put things where they belong. I really want to think things through and not just put things back where they were before. It's a lot to think about but I think all of the effort will be worth it if it gives us a more organized, efficient house.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Photo Session...

Yesterday Jacob was looking particularly adorable in one of the aforementioned hand-me-downs we got last weekend. His navy and gray Polo sweater was made him look so handsome that I just had to snap a couple pictures. It's been a while since I had gotten a slightly more posed shot that was worthy of printed photo enlargements, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Jacob was in a good mood, so why not? Well, I don't think I got one worthy of an 8"x10", but I did get a ton of cute pictures! If you want to see the full batch (just selected ones here), go to my Facebook album. But here's a sampling...

Ok, I don't know where this came from, but Jacob started making this face when I was trying to get him to smile. I guess it's his "cheese" face, because I taught him to say "cheese" to smile for pictures and he kept making the face. It reminds me of the son of a blogger I've been following for years. He made the same exact face around this age. Let's hope it doesn't stick around long!

Starting to crack a smile...
And my favorite of the bunch...he's sitting on a stool that my aunt personalized for us that's been living in my closet. Apparently he decided it's a perfect place to sit.
I took advantage of his willingness to sit and tried to put him with a different backdrop, in case I got one that was good enough to print as an enlargement. This one turned out really cute, despite his crazy hair, which I may try to Photoshop out...

For the last few weeks I've been on a hunt to find Jacob a new pair of sunglasses. He has one pair that technically still fit him, but they have a velcro strap on them and when Jacob inevitably pulls them off, he can't get them back on. I think they may still come in handy this summer when he's playing outside or in the pool, but for car trips (he sometimes gets so blinded!) I wanted to get him a regular pair that he'd be free to take on and off. He'll learn soon enough that he's better off keeping them on! Of course, most of the kids sunglasses that you see out and about this time of year apparently aren't for kids Jacob's age. They all have ages 3+ stamped on them. I have no idea why, but I figured that within reason I'd try to follow that guideline in case I'm missing something. Perhaps they're afraid kids under three will poke their eyes out, but why, then, do they have similar but slightly smaller versions in the baby department? I have no idea. So I found a cute pair at Target in the baby department. They're dark blue (almost black) and have three little blue paw prints up the left side and a picture of a dog on the one lense. You can't see it when you wear them, though...and it didn't show up in the pictures either. But it's cute. I tried to take a picture of the two of us while we were standing in front of a mirror so Jacob could see himself, with limited success. I was trying to hold Jacob, hold the camera, look in the mirror to see the camera screen so we were lined up right, and press the button, so it was a lot to coordinate. This turned out to the be the best shot of both of us, but I accidentally covered the flash so the color's a little off.

And here's one of our cool little dude adorable is he?

We had a lot of fun this weekend--still a few moments but generally he was a good boy and I stayed sane despite Craig working the whole weekend. Not to mention how our readily approaching move is infiltration most thoughts these days. Every spare moment I had when Jacob was sleeping was practically spent doing some sort of packing or organizing. We're getting there but still have a long way to go. Craig has an off-weekend this weekend so we'll be doing a lot then, thanks in part to the presence of my parents, who will be keeping Jacob occupied. And seeing as we'll potentially only be about 7-10 days out, I'll be a bit more ready to pack more useful things and the remaining decorative items that make our house feel like a home. I apologize in advance if this blog becomes a moving blog more than a baby-mommy blog in the next few weeks. This blog tends to document what's happening in our lives, at least to some degree, and needless to say a household move tends to dominate our thoughts and activities just a bit. I'll still always try to relate it back to Jacob in one way or another, but just a warning :)
Oh, and one final thought for today. This family is NOT a fan of daylight saving time, no matter how much we appreciate an extra hour of light in the evening. Jacob had a hard time going down last night, had to be woken up this morning, hardly napped today (an hour!), and then fell asleep at the dinner table. Seeing as how it was already about 7:30 by that point and Craig let him sleep on him for a little while, we figured 8pm was a good bedtime to try to get Jacob back on track...but of course he freaked out during his diaper change (sorry, Jacob...I don't need to deal with a wet bed tomorrow morning) and was a bit resistant to going down again. He seems ok for now, but we'll see how his night is. Let's hope it resets him and all is back on track tomorrow!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Clothes, Clothes, Everywhere!

One of the things I'm nervous about when it comes to our new house is Jacob's closet. It's the one small closet in the house. And actually, it probably won't be his closet for long, because he will pass along that room to baby #2, whenever that actually happens. But for now Jacob's getting the little bedroom, which is pretty much identical to his current bedroom. It's almost exactly the same size. The door and closet are positioned differently, but for the most part he's going to end up with an almost identical room, I think...assuming we can figure out the timing for painting over the purple walls. Anyway, the closet in that bedroom is pretty small. About the same as what he has now, but it's set up a little differently. There's built in shelves on the top and bottom, which I think will be really handy. But still, it's just a single closet and it's not a lot of space. The rest of the closets in the house, incidentally, will be nice. They don't look huge when you first see them, but both other bedrooms have closets that extend far beyond the opening, so that will be nice. And we'll have full double closets in the front foyer and in the upstairs hallway (linen closet). Can't wait to see how we fit.

Anyway, Jacob's relationship with clothes has been an odd one. When he was first born, we really had very few outfits for him. The good news about not knowing your baby's gender beforehand is that people are hesitant to buy clothes, so they fill up your shower gifts with more useful items. We got a few clothes as gifts shortly after birth, but most of Jacob's first couple months were spent in onesies. Our house was too hot, and really, no one saw us to worry about dressing up anyway. He'd poop out of his diaper about once a day, so why bother trying to clean more clothes? As he's grown, we've gone through a lot of clothes. I think I just finished up bin #3 of outgrown clothes, and that doesn't count any of the stuff that fit him at the end of last summer, which is still in his closet waiting for spring, just in case. And really, I haven't had to buy him much. A few things here and there, for sure, but most of it on clearance or on sale because we really needed it. We've gotten a lot as gifts, and more recently, a TON of hand-me-downs. We got a couple rounds of clothes from friends of ours who have a three-year-old son (they're big Knighthawks fans, and when I worked for the team I was actually instrumental in helping plan his proposal to her!), and we've gotten a bunch from Craig's brother's family. With three boys there, there's a lot to go around! Jacob's a year younger than the youngest, so the timing of seasons generally works out well. The clothes are much appreciated and they've all been in good shape. I especially like having them for daycare, because you never know what shape clothes will come home in. It's nice to have extras that we didn't spend money on or have an emotional attachment to, just in case. But there's also been some nice dress clothes, which usually cost quite a bit, and a lot of pajamas (and you can almost never have too many of those, particularly when they're sick or when you have a kid like Jacob that wakes up with a very wet diaper every morning). It's been such a nice thing to have.

However, there is a downside...I almost don't know where to put them! I have a couple bins set aside that are full of clothes that are still too big. The latest round of hand-me-downs last weekend pretty much filled up any empty space in those. Any that were close to fitting Jacob and were seasonally appropriate got washed and were waiting to be put into his drawers and closet. However, those were already full! One of my biggest problems is that I hate trying to do a trying-on session with Jacob. He hates it, and therefore so do I. Craig is the one that gets him dressed in the mornings, so I rarely have a chance to try things on as we go. I generally just pick out something each morning that I know fits him, and leave the stuff I'm not sure about sitting there until I psych myself up to do a marathon session. Once I clear out stuff that no longer fits, I generally have enough space to work with again.

Well, with a big pile of last week's laundry still sitting on the ottoman in Jacob's room, this morning was the time. I pulled out all of Jacob's pants in his overstuffed top drawer, and sat on the floor. I methodically put on and took off pairs of pants while Jacob tried to play with his little race car track, and despite a little resistance near the end, we got through all of them. I cleared out enough too-short pants to have room for the new ones. Mission accomplished. I should add that Jacob and pants are a bad mix. He is so skinny that pants rarely fit him in the waist at the same time that they're the right length for his legs. It's brutal. There are two pairs of jeans that I'm just cursing right now because they're the perfect length for him and seem ok in the waist (a little loose, yes) but they fall down the second he starts running around! It's so hard to find the right fit! Let's hope "floods" come back in style during his awkward period (sort of like they did in the 60s) so he'll fit right in! Craig was always the tall, skinny kid, and I'm sure Jacob will be too...assuming he starts eating enough to grow tall! Suffice it to say, though, that I am looking forward to shorts season, since a half inch here or there usually doesn't matter!

Once I got the pants worked out, I took all of the summer stuff off hangers and reorganized an organizer in Jacob's closet to fit those in for now. I used the empty space and hangers to hang all of his new hand-me-down shirts, and put all of the outgrown stuff into the aforementioned bin #3. So happy that's done!

The whole clothes thing never ceases to amaze me, because there are so many things that I hate to see him grow out of, and the sheer amount of them is astonishing considering I don't feel like I buy him very much. So many clothes go into those outgrown bins looking almost as nice as they did the day we got them, so I always feel like he didn't wear them enough...yet I know he wears most of his shirts at least once every 2-3 weeks. Yet there are some days that I'm not sure what to put him in because it seems like he just wore everything not that long ago. It's a funny thing.

On the bright side, one of the things I'm looking forward to most about our new house is the massive crawl space that I hope solves every storage issue we have here. The split setup of the house means that we don't have a real basement, at least not a storage-friendly one. However, the crawl space is basically like a 3-4 foot tall basement, and it's beneath the entire main floor of the house (living room, kitchen and dining room). All I've been thinking about every time I finish off another outgrown bin or stash some of Jacob's baby stuff is how nice it would be to have unlimited space to do it. And we'll pretty much have that. We need to keep the baby stuff for now, and it's nice to know that we can just store it and not worry about it taking up valuable space over the next few years. And it will all be waiting for us when the time comes. That will be awesome.

So, I suppose I should do a little packing while Jacob's still sleeping. I have plenty to do and hopefully he'll give me another full hour to do that (::crossing fingers::)...have a nice weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Busy Weekend!

We had a nice weekend in Buffalo this past weekend. Craig finally had a weekend off (first full weekend since the first weekend in January...when, of course, we were hit by the evil stomach bug), so we headed out to spend the weekend with Craig's family who we hadn't seen since Christmas. We had a good time. We spent most of the weekend at his brother's house, which was nice because Jacob could play with his four cousins and I didn't have to worry about him destroying anything because everything was already more or less kid-friendly. Of course, I did have to keep shooing him out of the kitchen while the oven was on and he insisted on playing hockey right there, and I did have to grab him from the stairs a couple dozen times (he made it all the way up once...oops.), but for the most part it was a pretty low-stress weekend when it came to keeping Jacob out of trouble. He had his moments as usual, but for the most part he was a happy camper as long as he had a hockey stick in his hand.

Saturday was a busy day, with lots of activities. We had the twins' first confession in the morning, Walt's hockey game at noon, and then a pleasant afternoon and evening just hanging out (but of course, Jacob spent that whole time running around!). It didn't leave a lot of time for napping, and other than a half hour or so in the car after church, I couldn't get Jacob to take a break. He was acting like a maniac by about 5, so I finally took him out into a quiet room and rocked him until he nodded off. He ended up napping on me for a good hour and a half. By that point dinner was on the table and I had to take a bathroom break, so I got up and put Jacob down on the floor with a pillow and a blanket. This is how he ended up...
Yeah, I guess he was tired! He didn't get to bed until quite late that night, but slept pretty well...even if he didn't sleep in enough to compensate. But still, I can't complain. He's been doing great lately (knock on wood).

Sunday we had another hockey game for Walt, did a little shopping, then headed back for more family fun. Craig's mom's birthday is this week, so we had an early birthday celebration--a great dinner and cake! While Jacob was playing I was determined to get some pictures of him, but the kid will not smile for the camera! I still did manage a couple cute shots, including this sort of terrible but yet pleasingly abstract attempt at a self-portrait of the two of us.
Jacob was just too focused on his hockey to bother smiling for me. But still, he was such a cutie, especially with his fresh haircut :)
He was even too busy playing hockey to eat dessert both days--Oreo pie on Saturday and red velvet cake with chocolate frosting and cherries, with Cherry Panda Paws ice cream on Sunday. Not sure if that's good or bad...but suffice it to say, Mommy and Daddy enjoyed both very much! All in all we had a very nice weekend, and even managed to get home around 8pm, which was nice considering all of the stuff that was waiting for us at home--unpacking suitcases, laundry, house packing--it never seems to end!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

General Updates

Hi, I know it's been a week between posts again, but what can I say? Life is busy and I suppose there hasn't been much of note to report on lately. We're still scheduled to move at the end of the month, and there is a boatload of packing to do. It's hard to find the time and energy to do it, because I'm usually so beat by the end of the day that it's the last thing I feel like doing once Jacob's in bed and I have the freedom. I'd much rather sit on the couch and tackle the long list of stuff sitting in our DVR. It'll get done one way or another, but I'm starting to get nervous. Having Jacob around makes it all that much tougher, because I'm hesitant to pack up too much of his stuff too early, either because he'll have outgrown it before we unpack it or because he'll decide he HAS to have that toy right NOW. Once we're only a week or two out I'm not going to worry about stuff like that, but I will have to make some tough decisions very soon about what can be packed, what needs to stay accessible, and what needs to be completely jettisoned from our world. It's a lot to think about in addition to our normal daily life, and that's not even getting into all of the decisions we have to make about movers, insurance, switching utilities, etc., and doing it all in the midst of a very busy time for Craig at work. I knew there was a reason we moved in the summer last time!

Still, I'm definitely getting excited. The new house will have some extra space, lots of storage, a dishwasher and garbage disposal, and a hopefully a lot less headaches in general than ours now. Since the moment we had our inspection on our current home, I've been convinced it's a money pit...and that's always left some sort of dark cloud hanging above my mind, anyway. It's one thing to have a bunch of cosmetic things that you'd like to do to your house...and it's another to have things that you need to do to your house for safety/sanity purposes. And the thought of having a new house that doesn't have those issues attached to it is nice. I'm sure we'll find issues there, too, but hopefully nothing that causes us any additional stress. I'm really looking forward to having more room for an active toddler (and potentially more control over where he can roam, depending on how we work the baby gates). Jacob runs all over the place now, usually with a hockey stick in hand, and he's starting to make me nervous. He's also giving the wood floors a big test with all of his hockey playing, so I will be relieved to have a house that's mostly carpeted! I'm still nervous about the big yard and the swimming pool, not to mention a slightly larger financial burden that comes with a bigger house, but I think it'll be worth it in the end when we're not having to price out additional insulation/mouse poop cleaning, a new roof, a kitchen redo, etc., or having to worry about carving out more space when baby #2 becomes a reality.

As for Jacob, he's definitely making progress. As I said, he's now running around like a maniac. Of course, he's also super clumsy, so it seems like he's falling into things all the time. It doesn't help that when he's cranky he will flail around uncontrollably, inevitably throwing body parts into the nearest wall or floor. Lovely. He's still obsessed with sports. The latest addition to his vocabulary is the two word term, "hockey puck". He could say each one separately before, but put the two words together this weekend. I can definitely tell that he's understanding a lot of words these days. Even if he can't say them, he can identify things if you ask him. He's got this baby laptop that has a grid of pictures on it, and last night I was asking him to point to things that he's never said the word for, and he was doing really well. And just in general he's babbling a LOT. He talks all the time, though most of the words aren't understandable right now. But he sounds like he's having a normal conversation with full sentences, so I guess that's a start. He'll sit in his crib and chat to himself for a good half hour in the morning, and all I can think the whole time is how much he's practicing for when the real words finally come! Still, it's getting frustrating now that he's having a lot of wants and needs and doesn't have the words to tell us. He whines a lot and cries like crazy when he doesn't get his way, and no matter how many times I ask him what he wants or tell him to point to the body part that hurts or to calm down, he just keeps going. So. Extremely. Frustrating.

He's still not eating great, but if it's something he really likes he'll usually do okay. He loves fruit, garlic bread, fast food hamburgers, french fries, and a handful of other things. Even some things he appears to like one day he will completely reject the next. Lately he's reverted to throwing food, which gets on my last nerve. His last four teeth before the four year molars have all broken through (the last two relatively easily, might I add--no night waking for a change!), so Jacob will nearly have a full set of teeth in a few short weeks. He's still not the best chewer and routinely gags himself or spits out food when he gives up chewing. Again, very frustrating. You can only say "Chew!" and demonstrate it so much! I'm trying not to worry about how much he's eating, because his daycare reports look pretty good food-wise. He's not really gaining much weight, though somedays he does feel heavier to me...but that might be because he's getting squirmier, too.

He tends to be very Jekyll and Hyde right now, going from a complete and utter meltdown to a goofy, kissy kid out of nowhere. The tantrums are tough, but I'm trying to find the balance between discipline and giving him the support he needs. You read a lot about how toddlers don't have self-control and meltdowns are a scary loss-of-control thing for them. So, even though I don't want to encourage the behavior by giving in, I try to let him go until he either calms a bit or gets unsafely hysterical (writhing around on the floor, pushing himself with his feet until his head hits furniture) and grab him to try to calm him down. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When he's not having a tantrum, he can be the sweetest, most loving kid. He'll smile and kiss, share his food with people or his stuffed animals, make his stuffed animals kiss, or just act like the sweetest, funniest kid ever. Of course, it gets a little frustrating when he thinks he's being cute and is really just disobeying. He will flat out do what you just told him not to, all the while with a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye. He likes to be chased (especially up stairs...ugh) and will run from you without fear. He's already trying to shake off my hand when we're out in public, no matter how many times I have to tell him that he needs to hold it. He's definitely stubborn! But he's really stinkin' cute, which softens the blow a bit!

I guess that's all I have for now. Hopefully I'll have some pictures from the weekend soon...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Random photos from a while back...

Hi! Not much to report at the moment so I figured I'd share a few pics from a while back. These were from about a month or so ago, just a night at home with Jacob. In all of these he's hanging out on our ottoman. In the first two he's captivated by hockey on TV. Notice that he has a hockey stick in one hand and a maraca (from my parents' trip to Mexico) in the other. And his baseball bat isn't far from his grasp.

I guess I finally got his attention for this one!

Then a couple weeks ago we visited Great Aunt Lynne and Great Uncle Cliff, who live about 15 minutes away from us. Their granddaughter, Jordan, was in town on her 6th birthday and we were invited over for cake. Yum! Jacob, being the difficult child he is sometimes, didn't want any cake or ice cream. That should be a good thing, I suppose, but seriously...what kid passes up cake and ice cream?! Regardless, we enjoyed our cake and ice cream, and Jacob enjoyed playing with his cousins. A nerf basketball game broke out in the hallway, and Jacob wanted to be in the middle of it all! Here's Jacob and Daddy (Jacob's official slam dunk assistant) in the middle of the fun...and yes, the lacrosse stick makes yet another appearance on the blog...

Our little multi-sport man...the next Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders? Perhaps, but let's hope he's a whole lot more down-to-earth! :)

Not much else to report. Lots of tantrums these days, but we're managing. Good thing he's as cute as ever when he is behaving!