Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vacation Pics

Hi everyone! We had a fantastic second day on our little mini vacation. I am far too busy relaxing to put together a real post for you all, but I am never too busy to share a few photos... Here is The Boy when we finally went down to the beach last night after we got here. It was a little late in the evening (hence the heavy clothes), but The Boy was thrilled nonetheless to finally run some sand through his hands...
Peanut wasn't sure what to make of this whole thing we called "the beach." She had been to the beach before (in Hawaii when she was only 9 months old), but this was the first time she had been to the beach since she was old enough to comprehend what it was. As you can see...she was just taking it all in...
Then today we had a relaxing morning and then headed out to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We have been many times before, but it is always a hit. Those of you who have been before will recognize this picture, but to those who haven't...this is a little tunnel type room made of glass where a "fake wave" comes over you every 30 seconds or so. The Boy has always loved it, but he also gets a little freaked each time the wave you can see from his face. :) (But trust me...he loves not only this exhibit, but the entire experience at the aquarium...)
Again, if you have visited the aquarium, you are aware of the obligatory clam shell picture...
Once back from the aquarium we headed back down to the beach for a little sand-play time...
The Boy was making sand angels...
And as you can see...once back from the beach, the kids had nice warm baths and had some dinner. I went and picked up some yummy Mexican take out and we hung out in the room tonight and we all enjoyed the relaxation. Especially Peanut...
Tomorrow we are going to hit the Boardwalk and do a little pool time. Then tomorrow night my mom and step dad (who will be driving down to join us tomorrow morning) are going out to a nice dinner. I might treat myself to a little room service, and perhaps even a glass of wine. And then sadly, on Saturday morning we have to check out and head back to reality. Such a wonderful time, I can't even tell you all. I needed this. No seriously. I really needed this. :)

PS--to my very astute commenter who wondered if we were staying at The Sand and Sea Inn... You were SO close. We are next door. We are here. :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We're Here!!!

This is what we are looking at from our balcony right now...

Here are the kids checking out the view...
And here is the other direction (toward the Boardwalk, but hard to see in this pic) off our balcony.

For some reason I can't move the pictures around right now. But hey...I am on vacation, with FREE internet so that I can give you all updates along the way. We are about to head out to check things out and find something for dinner. And despite super crappy weather reports, right now it is clear and nice. I wouldn't call it "warm," but it is certainly much better than I expected. Oh and the aforementioned fabulous friend who got us the rooms had a basket in each room specific for each one of my kids. The Boy had a basket filled with bugs and spiderman stuff, and The Girl had a purse with stickers and butterflies. They comped our parking rate, brought us up two extra refrigerators, and generally are treating us like royalty. So freaking stoked right now!!!

Did I mention we are on vacation!?!?! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

With A Little Help From My Friends

I have the best friends in the world. Seriously.

Things have been a little rough lately in our household. First the stomach we are all fighting colds...the finances...I have been in a slump. I've been trying to shake it off but I've been a bit down in the dumps.

For the year 2011 there are no vacations on tap for my little family. Usually we do one big trip and perhaps a couple of little ones to family cabins or weekends away. This year...not so much. Just not in the finances. And honestly, I am cool with that. My son is going to go to an amazing school and the peace of mind that gives me is a whole lot better than any vacation I could plan. So it wasn't a big deal. Plus I'm going to head up to the family cabin in the mountains sometime this summer.

I have a good friend who is a big-wig at a hospitality company and he essentially oversees and manages about 9 (fantastic!) boutique hotels within a couple hour radius of where we live. He is awesome and does so much for me and my little family that I seriously NEVER ask him if he can hook me up with a room...or get me a deal. Lots of people take advantage of his generosity, but I try not to. But a couple of months ago (well actually we were talking about this for my birthday, which is in September, so I guess it was a while ago...) he was saying that for my birthday he would like to get me and the kids a room at one of his hotels. There is a certain hotel, which is right on the beach that just recently had a HUGE renovation, so we talked about that.

Long story short, we booked three nights (Wednesday, Thursday & Friday) at this fabulous hotel next week for a little vacation. We have two adjoining rooms and my mom was going to come with me and the kids and her hubby was going to drive up at the end of the week and join us. Knowing this is my only "vacation" for the year, I have been super stoked and excited about it. Yes, it was only three days, but still...a hotel! I don't have laundry! I don't have to cook! Super stoked.

But with all the financial drama of late, even the super-fabulous rate that he had gotten me was a bit more extravagant than what I should be spending right now. Two rooms, plus three nights...even at a great rate, it can add up. Plus (of course) the weather might be crappy, so after much whining, my mom and I decided to just do two nights instead of three and still enjoy a couple nights away, and also hopefully save a few bucks. I cancelled the Friday night (hoping to allow his other guests the more popular night given the fact that I knew I was getting the room at a reduced rate) and let my friend (and of course the hotel) know. I was super embarrassed to have to tell him given that he had done me this huge favor and now I wasn't even going to take advantage of all he had offered...and of course he was lovely about it. So we have been going about packing and planning for our little two-night get-a-way later on this week.

Tonight I got a text from him. It said, "Hey...So I'll comp your first night for both rooms if you guys still want to stay three nights...? Because that's how I roll. :)"

How fabulous is he? And how fabulous to have friends like him. Friends that help you out, even MORE than they had originally helped you out (which was HUGE to begin with), and do it with a smile on their face. So now we have a great THREE night little stay planned. And I am so excited!!!

(I just re-read this and hope it doesn't come off as snotty...the only reason I am posting it at all is for ME to remember, when I'm feeling a little bit down, that I am a damn lucky woman who has the most amazing people in her life.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Like Night and Day

We have a weekend with two different birthday parties for The Boy this weekend. I got both the invitations about a month ago and the first party is held at a kind of sport center complex at a Country Club. The second one is at one of those big places that is filled with trampolines and everything bounces and the kids can play dodge ball etc...

Six months ago this would have sent me to my shrink for an extra session. See...The Boy has never been into all of the physical things like other boys. Obviously that is because of his OT issues, but makes attending a party like that a bit rough. For both of us. Of course you go, because thank god your son is actually getting invited to those parties, and if you never bothered to show up people would get the hint and stop inviting. So we go...but while all the other kids are running off to go jump, bounce and play, The Boy stands right next to me and smiles and says very politely, "No thank you." He was always very social and he wanted to go watch the other kids, but he wasn't interested in participating. The other parents would come up and ask him if he wanted to go and play with his friends..., "No thank you." His friends would run up and ask him to come and play..., "No thank you." It was really hard.

A few years back, when I took him out of OT the first time I signed him up for one of those little kid gym classes thinking that might help take the place of the missing OT. It would have been great...if he participated in anything. He loves to run, so he would run around and do some jumps, but when it came time to balance, hang, tuck, roll...anything..., "No thank you." So it probably wasn't the best use of my money.

So that has been our past.

But you guys? You know that really freaking expensive OT I am paying for now? Wow. It's like a different kid. He wanted to have his birthday party at a place like that. About a month ago he went to the super-big bouncy house party place and he freaking ROCKED it. I was SO proud of him. He jumped, he climbed, he went down slides and over obstacle courses...and I literally kept having to look away because it was making me cry. And that's kinda hard to explain to the other parents... :) So last month he conquered all of the things I mentioned above and the only thing he didn't do was the super high slide. I don't think he trusted the very steep blow up stairs leading to the top. But still. Whole day? Major win.

So today was the first of his two parties. I had The Ex take him because The Girl was in swim lessons (and plus, I have another party tomorrow, so she needed to handle one of them) and it was during their time together. About a half an hour into the party time I got a text. It was a picture of the really tall slide thing that he wouldn't do last time. There was a blur at the top of it, but with the text-quality cell phone picture I couldn't tell what it was. I wrote back super fast, "Did he go down that thing?!?!" No answer. About another half an hour goes by and I get another texted picture of him on what looked like an indoor soccer field throwing some big red ball. She followed this one with "He is playing dodge ball and he climbed up that big slide using a rope! And went down like 5 times!!! He is having a great time."

You guys...I can't even tell you how huge that is. My son, my son, held onto a rope and climbed up the back of a huge slide, went down it...and then DID IT AGAIN. Like 5 times. I can't even put into words how huge that is. And not only that, he was playing dodge ball with his friends. This is the kid that at the end of soccer last summer (where he regularly layed down in the middle of the field because he saw some sort of random flower or bug that he wanted to check out), when asked if he wanted to do it again and if he liked soccer responded, "Well. I really like the water breaks. But I'm not so sure about that whole kicking thing. It takes a lot of work." This kid just played dodge ball. After doing that monster slide things 5 times in a row.

So it is absolutely true that between his therapies and his new school, I am more financially strapped right now than I have possibly ever been in my adult life. But you guys. It is worth every cent. Every. Freaking. Cent.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mystery of the Disappearing Post...

I know for a fact that I put a post on here with pictures of Mother's Day. In fact, I even believe that I got a couple of comments on it...

And now it's gone. And unless someone overtook my body for a while...I'm pretty sure I didn't take it down.

What the hell?

So strange...

Has this ever happened to anyone else before?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day Pics

Let's step outside my neurosis and talk about the nice part of Mother's Day...

Here I am with Peanut right after she woke up from her nap...
...and here I am bonding with my Boy later on in the evening...
...and here is our Boy being smooched on by BOTH his Mom's on Mother's Day (I have said before that The Ex and I both worked really hard during our break up to make sure that things remained good between us for our boy. To this day he has never had to have 2 birthday parties, or 2 Christmas's or two Mother's Day Celebrations. We do it together for our son...)
And here is my mom and HER mom...all teary-eyed after a particularly emotional gift...
And is a pic of myself, my brother and my mom on Mother's Day...
I look pretty horrible in these pictures given that I was barely able to shower the barf out of my hair, much less actually have time to blow dry and flat iron it became a "bun" hair day. :)

Update on The Boy: It sure takes him a while to bounce back from things. Fortunately he only vomited the one time, but today is the first day he is back at school. I think because he is so little and skinny he has absolutely NO reserves in his body. So when something like this happens, it flattens him. He has had absolutely NO energy or appetite for the past three days and we have tried to force him to eat bits of food here and there, but he just has nothing in him. And therefore he has no energy. So he has been SUPER tired and napping a lot etc... But today he is back at school and I told them to call me if he was so tired that it was interfering with anything and (knock on wood) there have been no phone calls yet. So hopefully we are on the upswing!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day To Me...

So while overall the day was really was...there was just one thing.

See, those of you who know me in person know this about me, but all you internets probably don't. I have a serious phobia. I can't tell you why, or where it originated, but I have a serious phobia...with barf. Now I realize no one really enjoys barf, but I freak out about it. Not on the outside mind you, but inside I obsess...and I freak out...and...well I bet you can guess where this is going.

My son got some sort of stomach flu thing yesterday and barfed all over me, himself and his bed. He was totally freaked out, and even though I think on the outside I handled it perfectly well...I am still obsessing and thinking/worrying about it. He rallied afterwards and I even still hosted the BBQ for everyone at my house. The Boy was a little pale, but played with his cousins and even ate (and kept down) his dinner. He slept through the night last night.

I, however, was up ALL night long. For no good reason. I was half afraid I was going to get sick and half afraid HE was going to get up and get sick again. And in my rational mind, I can say, "So what if that happens?" I mean, it isn't exactly pleasant, but you do a little laundry and you move on. Only I don't. There is something seriously wrong with me. :) And I wonder where my boy gets his OCD tendencies. Or maybe I don't...

Other than that, it was a lovely day. My kids and I lounged around all morning in our jammies watching movies. The barf happened after lunch time and then it was a mad dash to get everything done in time for the arrival of my family. The party/BBQ was great. Everyone had a good time...the food was was all good.

Today The Boy still looked a little pale, and kept complaining of being tired and his stomach being a little upset. But he kept telling me he wanted to go to school. So I took him to school, and right outside the door, he turned white again and told me he couldn't do it. I turned the car around and took him to Gigi's. He is there with her today relaxing and getting his little strength back. So all is well. But I still feel like I survived a car accident, or something totally traumatic happened in my world. I need to get over it. Or perhaps I just need a good night's sleep. :)

How was your Mothers Day?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Bullet Points

Because I want to get that anxiety-ridden post off the top of my blog...
  • Still utterly freaked out about the school/cost thing but trying not to obsess.
  • Speaking of obsessing, my son seriously has OCD. Like I might need to talk to someone about it...
  • His Mom bought him some books and made the mistake of telling him a package was coming in the mail yesterday. He spent ALL day asking/obsessing/staring out the window waiting for that package. It was so bad that when his best friend came over for movie night last night he basically ignored him because all he cared about was the damn package.
  • The damn package didn't arrive until 6:00pm.
  • Once it arrived and was opened he became a human being again.
  • I was seriously embarrassed at his actions in front of my friend and her kids.
  • Tomorrow is Mother's Day and everyone keeps asking me what I "get" to do.
  • Here is what I "get" to do: Starting today, I have to hose down the entire back patio and clean everything from a winter full of dust and filth.
  • Go to the grocery store to buy enough food and dessert for almost 15 people.
  • Host a backyard BBQ for said 15 people including MY mother and HER mother (who have seniority it has been told to me...)
  • Buy a Mother's Day gift for The Ex from our son.
  • Buy birthday gifts for The Ex from our son (birthday is on Wednesday).
  • Wrap all the gifts that I bought for The Ex.
  • Once happy that gifts are all bought and wrapped and therefore don't need to be thought about anymore...come out into my living room this morning to discover that The Girl climbed up on the table, retrieved said gifts and ripped open ALL the wrapping paper and broke the picture frame. *Sigh*
However it should be noted that while typing this (rather cranky-sounding) post, my daughter came up to me, rubbed my back for a minute, went in to give me a squeeze and kissed my cheek and then walked away. So while yes, I am super stressed out at the moment, I have not lost sight of the fact that I *AM* a mother and that I get to be around these amazing kids. I am super grateful for all that I have and for the two children that I am lucky enough to call my own. Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. And to those still trying...keep the faith. I know this is a tough day for all of you.

Edited to add: While I was typing the "sweet" thing that my daughter did I heard a noise and went back out into the living room to discover she had opened and broken my stapler while trying to staple my mouse from my laptop...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Can I Let You In On A Little Secret?

I'm petrified. So unbelievably scared right now. And I probably shouldn't be feeling this way. I should probably be celebrating.

I got the offer letter today in the mail for The Boy to go to the super fabulous/super expensive private Montessori elementary school. It looks like it is really going to happen. And it scares the living shit out of me.

I could write a very composed post about how very excited I am that my son is going to attend such an amazing school. And I could list point after point about why I feel so strongly about how wonderful this school is and how much my son is going to thrive there. In fact, that is the post I sat down to write tonight. A celebratory post talking about all the amazing things this school is going to mean for my son. And it would all be true. Every single word of it would be the truth.

But instead I decided to be honest. I decided to tell you all what *I* am feeling. If I step out of my Mommy shoes for just a moment (which I very rarely do), I can let you in on what is happening in my head, but what will never actually be spoken out loud. The head of the single mom, of the "provider," and the person that is going to be responsible for paying for this school and subsequently keeping a roof over our heads and some form of quality to our life. And if I were to tell you the quiet thoughts going on in that head...the ones that very rarely make it from the inside of my head into the outside world...I would tell you that I am scared. I would tell you that there was a part of me that was looking forward to the day when my son would enter public school and I would no longer have to pay for full time daycare. I had dreams of being able to exhale a little bit financially. I had dreams of being able to save a little money to possibly replace my car (the one that currently has over 115,000 miles on it...). I had dreams of being able to afford health insurance for myself and my kids without having to rely on The Ex for that. I had dreams of not having to sit at my desk every single night after the kids go to bed and work until 11:00. I had dreams of not having to hold my breath and cross my fingers and pray to the sky that all those checks don't clear at once. And now...well none of those things are going to happen. Because not only am I about to sign up for at least 6 years of the same thing...I am signing up for something that costs MORE than I am paying right now. And although I have crunched the numbers, and it is do-able, it is barely do-able. And if anything out of the blue comes flying at me, it could really screw me. And I am afraid it quite possibly might suck the life right out of me. And I am worried about that.

I am hoping that this anxiety is because there is A LOT coming at me right now financially. I have to come up with over $1,000 of "one time" fees...I have to come up with 10% of this year's tuition...and I have to come up with all of it by Monday. The way the tuition is paid I have realized that for the months of July and August, I will be paying for BOTH the tuition to the new school AND the full-time daycare that he will still need because school hasn't started yet. And all of this makes my heart palpitate and my palms sweat and makes me want to burst into tears.

But I am confident that once I get into the groove...once he is IN and once the payments are consistent, I will be able to make it happen. But for now I am scared shitless. And I can't even say these things out loud. Because when I talked about the little things that I was dreaming about above...what I really want is for my boy to dream. And what I really want is for him to thrive and love school and have an amazing experience...and I know in my heart all of those things, plus more, are going to happen for him at this school. And I know that that is what this is really about. So those are the things that I talk about out loud. Those are the things that I tell people when they ask me where he will be going to kindergarten. I will smile and tell them the name of the school with pride and I will feel proud that I am somehow able to do this for my son.

But inside my head? Not a pretty place right now...

Monday, May 2, 2011

The "Sleep" Post...Seriously? At Age 2?

I have been SUPER fortunate with both my kids that sleeping has very rarely been an issue. Once we passed the newborn phase they both sleep through the night every night. I have never had issues with naps either. I have PLENTY of issues...but luckily sleep hasn't really been one of them. For the record, for my son I used tools from The No Cry Sleep Solution, and for my daughter I did a modified form of CIO. I just did what felt right with each kid, and like I said, after about six months we were good to go. (Knock on wood...throw salt over the shoulder...all those things we say to not jinx something that has worked well up until this point...)


My daughter has not been napping at daycare. She is in a room with other kids (duh. daycare.) and apparently unless she immediately lays right down and goes to sleep, she gets bored and then stands up and starts talking to the other kids. If they don't answer her, she yells to them. After a few minutes that is (obviously) disruptive to the kids that are trying to sleep and she has to be removed from the room. The daycare ladies are FANTASTIC and then take turns rocking her and singing to her and sometimes they even lay down with her in a different room. In those instances she will, of course, fall asleep with them (spoiled much?). But obviously that can't happen every day. Fortunately the no napping thing doesn't happen every single day, but it does happen at least a couple days a week. And when it does happen? nights are rough. That is the understatement of the year. She is so freaking tired that she just sits (or stands) in one position and screams because she is so tired that she can't even decide what she's upset about. I have felt like that. I know how bad it sucks. Today was one of those days.

And for comparison purposes, I have absolutely NO issues getting her to nap at home. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, she goes down without any fussing at all, rarely even makes a noise, and sleeps soundly for at least 2 hours sometimes 3 hours (I think she makes up for not sleeping during the week at daycare). On a rare occasion she will chat in her bed and then lay down and go to sleep, but I have NO issues at all at home. Sleeps like a dream.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Obviously I understand that if she is being disruptive to the other kids she has to be removed from the situation. But that's not going to change anytime soon. She is going to be in daycare/preschool until she starts kindergarten. And she JUST turned 2. The girl needs her naps. It isn't her daycare ladies not trying; like I said, they are fabulous and do more to try and get her to sleep than I would probably do. But on the days (like today) when it simply doesn't work, she is an utter terror at night. And yes, it is horrible for me (and her brother) to have to deal with. But mostly I know it is horrible for her. I know that feeling of being so bone tired that you just want to stand there and cry. And it sucks. I feel horrible for her. But unfortunately she doesn't seem to understand the logic when I explain to her, " feel this way because you didn't sleep at school today. You NEED to nap at school when it is nap time...then you won't feel like this..." I don't know why her two-year-old brain can't comprehend that. :)

She has her 2 year appointment with her doctor this Thursday and I am going to mention it to him and see if he has any thoughts. But you guys are just as good as doctors, right? What do YOU think?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Perfect Spring Sunday

If you live in California, you know that the weather was picture perfect today. We have waited a long time for a day like today, and it was great. And apparently the week is supposed to be fabulous as well. When The Boy woke up today the first thing he said to me was, "Mommy, can we go outside and play today?" Very easy request. I told him "for sure."

After breakfast we loaded up on sunscreen, packed up a backpack and headed to a park a couple of miles from my house... Of course, The Girl was rocking the hat and the shades (the purse was in the car; those three things always go together).
The Boy was ALL about the slide...
The both dug the swings, but The Girl LOVED it. She cried and cried when I made her get out of the swing so her brother could go back to the play structure.
And a true testament to his is the boy actually swinging. With his feet (almost) off the ground. This doesn't usually fact most of this entire park trip doesn't usually happen with him. This is why we don't go to parks very often; The Boy used to avoid ALL the stuff. But today he did great. I was so proud of him!
He loved the twisty slide...
The Girl played peek-a-boo...from all angles.
After almost two hours I brought them home and they immediately ran into the backyard to continue playing. I fed them lunch and we had a little picnic out back. After that, while they ran around I went into the shed and brought out one of my favorite summer-time accessories to the back yard...Obviously the kids enjoyed it as well. Here they are chillin' on the hammock.
After that, they both went in and took a really long nap. I took a nice shower, got a bunch of stuff done around the house, and then when they woke up they asked if they could go back outside. And of course, they wanted the jumpy house...

Then Gigi came over to see them and the three of them played on the hammock. Here is The Girl telling Gigi to "go to sleep!" and covering her with her blanket...
Of course it is hard to sleep when a little red-headed boy keeps jumping on and off the hammock...
The three of them had some great bonding time. It was super sweet...
After Gigi left, I BBQed some turkey burgers and white corn and we had that plus fresh strawberries from the Farmer's Market for dinner outside. The kids were filthy so after I cleaned up dinner, both kids took a long bath, put on clean jammies and went to bed.

What a fabulous Sunday. I wish they could all be just like this. Hope yours was great as well!