Monday, December 20, 2010

December musings... Cheers to a Happy New Year!

Hello again. Does it seem like this month has flown by for anyone else? I cannot believe that this month and year are so rapidly coming to an end. This will likely be my last post of the year. We are gearing up to visit our families over the holidays. As we close the chapter that is 2010, I have a few things to reflect on. First, I was miserable at accomplishing my resolutions from last year. I did not learn to knit cables, nor did I learn to cross country ski. I did join a book club online, but never went to a meeting! I did, however, take up snowshoeing. And, let's not forget- I did create human life! Ha! Resolutions - you've got nothing on me!

This month also marked an important milestone for Adam and me- our 10 year wedding anniversary. We can't help but feel awesome about that. Marriages get thrown away pretty easily anymore. Life throws curveballs and people change. I am so happy with the life that we have created together. It's truly great. Now with two little sidekicks, I imagine our next decade will be that much more interesting!

Finally, with January right around the corner, all of the magazines I subscribe to are sending their New Year's editions. The theme seems to be about happiness; how to be happy. January 1st- the official reset button: we evaluate our lives and make changes where we see fit. It seems funny to me that we all struggle with finding contentment. I seem to write an overly reflective post almost quarterly... Is it really that hard to just be happy? Apparently so, because I have 4 magazines in front of me that are dealing with this very question! I have been drawing my own conclusion over the past couple of years and it's simply that we should try and direct our energy to the people and things that we love. Unfortunately, everyday stressers can fuzzy up this point. So, for the sake of the happiness project- here are my 2011 resolutions that I think will make me enjoy life just a little bit more!

1. Run a 10k - (I'm too much of a chicken to write, "half-marathon")
2. Grow pumpkins in the garden
3. Learn a *successful* method for making gnocchi
4. Eat a more seasonal diet- which means embracing unfamiliar produce
5. Practice more patience, and maybe a little yoga too

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Life with Olivia at 5 months

Olivia is now 5 months old. Time continues to pass quickly. Yet, somehow, it feels like she has been in our family for much longer. It's becoming easier for me to fathom leaving the house with both kids by myself. We are still in the stage where we have to pack up the diaper bag with all the necessities. It's even more work now that the weather is cold. Big coats, hats, and mittens are required. But before I know it, the hats will come off and I will be back to just tucking a couple of diapers and a little baggie of wipes into my purse. I will be yelling at the kids to stop fighting in the back seat. So, for now, we enjoy our little peanut girl as a 5 month old.

She has gotten so much stronger. We have added an exersaucer and a Baby Jumperoo to the living room. Nothing like huge pieces of baby paraphernalia to give your home that extra something! Do you remember that post I wrote when we first moved here, about The Pottery Barn colliding with Toys R Us? What a joke! It's just crazytown here. And really, no amount of wicker baskets can save us! I do my best to keep things tidy, but to be honest, I don't even care anymore. I just want my kids to be happy and not crying. So, bounce away little girl! It's nice that she has things to entertain herself. And I have my Real Simple magazine to escape to... an organized world that seems very far away at the moment.

Over the last month, not much has changed with Liv. She continues to smile a lot and her giggles are more frequent. Gavin loves to make her laugh. It's nice that he loves her so much. When she cries, he says, "It's ok, Yidia. You're alright." It's so funny that he pronounces her name, "Yidia." I love to pick out funky outfits for her and give her a little style. Adam likes to tell her about how he intends to make her a tomboy. She is really cute with Adam, kind of flirty. When he smiles at her, she smiles but looks away really quickly, burying her face in my shoulder.

She now weighs 16 pounds and is getting all chunky. I like it when babies have a little bulk to them. She seems a lot less breakable now. I can carry her around on my hip, which makes things a little easier. Her sleeping patterns continue to be ridiculous and I don't see much point in discussing them. It is what it is. I know that she will give me 8 hours of sleep someday... when, I really don't know.

We are really looking forward to our trip home later this month. Can't wait to introduce her to family and friends. Until then, here are a couple of pictures.
Dressed up for a Thanksgiving party with friends

This rice cereal is still gross, even if you did add applesauce to it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas in the City

New York City is exciting. It's a city that once you visit, you crave it. Last Monday, I woke up and felt that a weekend visit was in order. Adam agreed and we decided we'd take the kids to see Santa at Macys on 34th Street. Why not, right? You gotta do it! We had not been to the city during the holiday season and it was something we had on our list to do before we head back to the west coast. We knew it would be crowded and somewhat chaotic, but it's New York- 100% worth it.

Because we were just doing a day trip, we knew we could only have a couple of things on our itinerary. We wanted to see Santa and the tree at Rockefeller Center. It takes us forever to get out of the house for a day outing- two hours, exactly. By the time we got to the city, it was 1pm. We headed straight to Macys, and waited in line for an hour and a half. They organized it really well, so the line kept moving and made the time pass fairly quickly. Gavin was a bit of a pill, to be expected. It's a lot to ask of a little man. Once we got to Santaland, it proved to be worth the wait. There were beautiful displays set up with trains and snowmen. Signs that displayed the magic of the season, "Believe" and "Make a Wish." Gavin was a little unsure about Santa. He thought that Santa would give him his requested presents right then. He just couldn't understand why Santa wasn't handing over Zurg and Hammy (more Toy Story characters).

After visiting Santa, we headed out and walked up to Rockefeller Center. I have never seen the city streets so packed with people. It was a little crazy. But, as I read in an article, you have to just embrace the crowds and take in the holiday spirit or you will have a miserable time. Olivia was content in her stroller and Gavin was a trooper, walking all those blocks! The city looks beautiful with all the lights. The Rockefeller Christmas tree is stunning. The window displays at the department stores are truly spectacular. We took in the scene and then had dinner before heading home. It was a really fun day. I don't really know if Gavin will remember it, and Olivia certainly won't. But, as a parent and someone who just loves New York City, it was a special way to start off the holidays.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Grafton Lakes State Park

I have never thought of myself as a great outdoors type of gal. But, over the last couple of years, I have really taken to it. I find myself craving nature. I don't think this will graduate to any type of extreme sport. I don't see myself as a future rock climber or anything hardcore. I don't even think I could handle camping for more than a couple of nights. I like showers and beds. Give me a pleasant nature walk, any day. 

Last Saturday, I was itching to get outside. I had been wanting to check out another state park, so we decided to head over to Grafton Lakes State Park. It's about a 30 minute drive from Albany, located on a forested mountain ridge between the Taconic and Hudson valleys. There are 5 ponds and 25 miles of trails to explore. It was a really cold day, particularly with the windchill. Fortunately, there was some elevation-which means evergreen trees, to block the wind. It actually started to snow a little while we were out. 

Gavin is getting a little better about keeping up with us. He gets sidetracked easily so we didn't put much of a dent into those 25 miles of trails! Honestly, it's just nice to see him enjoy being outside. He loves to pick up things along the way, rocks and pinecones. He'll find branches to pick up and throw into the water. I can't wait until Olivia is able to run along with him. For now, she rides along in the baby carrier, tucked into Daddy's coat. We all had a fun time and look forward to visiting again with our snowshoes!
Long Pond, Grafton Lakes State Park
Walking along, singing Christmas carols
Olivia is in there somewhere, snug as a bug
Negotiating how many rocks can be thrown into the pond, before we get going on our hike
By the end, Gavin needed to be carried out. I am pretty sure he's going to be bigger than me by the time he's 5!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The resilient Buzz Lightyear, a medical marvel

As I have mentioned, Gavin is obsessed with Toy Story. He takes Buzz and Woody with him everywhere. Many times we tell him that he can only take one- so sometimes Buzz joins us at the store, and later, Woody will join us at the park. It's much like the movie, in that Gavin usually chooses Buzz. He likes to take him out on the front porch, where he throws him over the railing and then runs to retrieve him. He isn't exactly gentle with these toys.

About two months ago, Gavin was throwing Buzz around the kitchen and his leg fell off. It was tragic. We made a trip to the store and replaced him. However, Buzz 2 has been thrown around even more than the Buzz 1. So, when Buzz 2 lost his leg recently, Adam pulled out some of his procedural skills and Buzz underwent a hip replacement.
Buzz, being prepped for surgery
But first, a hug to wish him well. This was actually a very serious ordeal for Gavin.
Mommy needed to hug him too, for added measure.
The leg
The hip socket
The pin
The super glue- what all hip replacements depend on.
Buzz, post-op. He is indeed ready to go to infinity and beyond!
It should be mentioned that since this surgery, Buzz has undergone 3 back surgeries. Gavin is very happy that his daddy is a doctor. In his words, "It's ok Buzz, Daddy is a doctor. He'll fix your back again!"