Sunday, October 16, 2011

weathering the storm

In the last few days I've written five papers, read a billion pages of material, researched for a presentation and starting looking for a practicum site (phew) so it's safe to say my mind is mush and my musings are limited. Mo's life has been the same midterm nightmare except he's been going through the recruiting process at LeMoyne which means many interviews at local firms. Of course that's a good thing! But we all know that the interviewing process can be a bit of a grind - putting yourself out there and hoping to be "chosen". I guess it's better than not going for anything at all. He also took the first portion of the CPA exam (with 3 more to go) so it's safe to say we are officially in the thick of it right now. As much as I'm complaining about everything I know that this is choice we made and we can only hope the end result is as grand as our vision. Speaking of things being grand - I'd like to give thanks to all of our family and friends who've helped this semester with our night classes and weekend homework getaways. They weren't lying when they said it takes a village to raise a child... that's for damn sure! Neither of us could be doing this without the help of others so for that we give our gratitude ;)  

Also, here's a little illustration of the next few months. We came up with the bright idea of using google-calendar to get a clearer idea of our assignments, appointments, etc. basically in an effort to create structure in the mist of chaos! October's filled in and it's working pretty well for us. It's a geeky move, however, having a countdown or a check off the list helps keep the wheels spinning and fuels motivation.

Anywyas, on to Elias and the fact that he's officially 10 months old!! Holy crap, it's unbelievable for sure. I know I'll look back on this blog and be really happy that I've chronicled my feelings about motherhood and Elias's growth, which by the way has been off the charts! The laundry situation had gotten so out of control that I finally had to clean out his closet and drawers and stow away all of his "little" things. I can't believe my baby has grown so fast AND that he's such a huge baby that he's actually the size of a toddler! He's bridging between an 18 month - 2T in clothing and he just grew out of his size 4 shoes (which I just found out a size 5 = toddler). I mean, I know he's got tall parents but I was hoping to keep my baby around a little longer! He now has a total of SEVEN teeth! Four on the top and three on the bottom. He's still trying to teethe on things except he's leaving a serious mark - so we're going to have to figure that one out for sure. The other major development has been Elias's language and identification of objects. He's had "uh oh" under his belt for some time now, but we've got "mama" which he says TO ME (amazing), "baba" to Mo, "up" if lift him out of a chair or off the floor, "boom" if he falls on his butt and funny enough if I'm changing a stinky diaper he says "poopoopoo". If you ask him "where's Ringo?" or "where's mama?" he looks in the direction where we are. He's communicating with us already and he's so little. He also knows "dance dance dance" and "Hercules Hercules" both of which he bounces up and down and sways side to side (I'll have to get a video of that up here - hilarious). He's pulling up and trying really hard to walk...but he's not quite there yet and I'm OK with that ;) The one thing he's having a bit of trouble with is using his finger and thumb to pinch small objects like food - instead he'll gather all the little pieces in his palm and squishhhhh and squishhhh them and then wonder why they can't make it into his mouth. Then he gets frustrated because he's hungry. I must admit it's pretty funny to watch but we're working on it! The baby puffs seem to be a good learning tool. 

So, here's my picture show! We had one small window of opportunity for his 10 MONTH photo shoot this week and it didn't turn out that great. The lighting was crappy, I couldn't figure out what settings I changed on my camera and Mr. Hercules was NOT interested in being my model! So here we go:

And then he had enough: talk to the hand mama!

...and then he started moving! I like this one even though in motion.

I tried to pin him down but all we got was this blurry shot! It does show a lot of his teeth though.

According to Elias, the photo shoot was now over and he was going to look out the window...

look at his buttons...

climb off the futon...

consider going "boom" on his butt!

...and that's where it ended :)

As for fun or socialization - I can't say we've had much of it! We've missed out on some really great gatherings with both our friends and family. It's hard having to make the decision that your paper about existential psychology is more important than people you love. Unfortunately, in the world of academia you only get one chance to turn in an assignment. With that being said, it's important the Elias doesn't completely suffer for his parents choices - so here's a little fun we've had.

I'm in charge of my companies picnic and this year we did a fall bonfire, pumpkin carving. 

Elias fell asleep by the bonfire (no worries, not too close)

We've been trying to encourage his interest in music :)

We inherited an Kelty carrier (which is awesome) and have been taking family walks to the park. 

Hi Ringo!

We went to Mo's friends graduation party. 
Elias listened very intently to the speech and clapped "yeah" afterwards 

We're in the process of possibly adopting a kitty! This is Beatrice (I named her). I saw her in the yard about two months ago and she was deathly skinny and had patches of hair. She looked like she had just finished nursing but there were no kitties in sight! My heart went out to her so I started leaving food and water and before I knew it she found a home (we made her one) on our porch. She is there day and night and now that the weather is turning cold we really have to do something about it. I'm taking her to the vet tomorrow to get her checked out and hoping to add her to our home. Ringo does NOT like kitties - so we'll see how that goes. I'm hoping to be able to keep her. Poor girl, got kicked out of the house for getting knocked up! Rude!!

And finally, a random iPhone shot of myself - only because I wanted to prove I exist :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

back to school

So it’s back to school - except this time it’s for us both...which is probably why this blog is way overdue. Finding time was already getting difficult but things lately have just been taken to a whole new level. It's pretty clear that we have taken on a bit more than we imagined. We both need to do homework, so who babysits? It's fun. So what are we going to do about it now? Nothing really, let it play out. It’s all in motion and will end this December. I am missing my time with Elias very much to say the least. It's been hard to listen to reconcile both sides of myself: one that is questioning all of my decisions and the other that is very excited to be back in school. It’s confusing and conflicting and interesting all wrapped together. How do we find balance for this kind of stuff? I’m guessing it’s just another see-if-it works parenting moment. I have to believe that we’re setting a good example for Elias: the world is your oyster, you have to work hard to accomplish your dreams, what you put into something you get out of know, all that kind of stuff.

Speaking of school, one of the premises of becoming a counselor is that you have to take on your own inner workings and bring to the surface your stowed away baggage (emotionally speaking) and put it out in plain sight. I’m not saying that the professors are making us dump our dirty secrets for all to see, moreover that if we are to become competent professionals and truly serve our clients we have to be aware of ourselves and what we bring to the table. I just had to write a paper explaining my personal theory about what makes a person who they are. It seems kind of like a simple question, but if you genuinely try to answer what makes you who you are, what makes us who we are, why are we this way, what IS personality….well as you can imagine there is a lot of digging to do. In my personal laundry-doing I have found that there are some wounds that I have not properly addressed in my life. I am not going to lay it all out for you all here due to the obvious personal nature of the topics, but what I will say is that sadness just doesn’t disappear. A theory in physics explains this idea best: energy can nether be created or destroyed. We may think feelings have gone away…but oh-no…it isn’t so! What do you with them then? People choose many avenues in dealing with life’s adversity. Some want to tuck it neatly away while others like to swim in its mess. It’s amazing that we all experience life seemingly one in the same, and yet everything about it is so very different. And to take it a step further (which is why I’m discussing this here) I believe that these explorations directly relate to who and what I am as a parent. What shaped me will shape Elias, and so on and so forth. I may not ever be the perfect parent but I can strive for being an honest and open one.

As for my little photogenic ham-bone, I think I should now refer to him as my giraffe baby!! The stats came in today: tall and skinny! He's 30" long (93rd percentile) and 21.1 pounds (57th percentile). Kind of makes a Greek mama worried, am I feeding him enough?! Except I KNOW that he eats plenty! Then you look at pictures of Mo as a child and the long bean-pole figure is definitely an inherited trait :) He'll be alright. As for other changes, it seems that in general his easy going personality just gets more and more fun. I get a lot of compliments from other parents in daycare that he's "just, such a good baby". I'd have to agree, he really is. In general, I think he's just slowly coming into his own and it's truly a joyous ride. He's a mover and shaker! He's both dying to walk and very interested in people and socializing. His vocabulary now includes uh-oh, ma ma ma, ba ba ba and la la la. I of course love the ma ma's - except I'm not so sure he relates them to me or not. He still loves to mimic both sounds (within his vocabulary) and hand motions.Things like counting to 5 or waving his hand are pretty exciting. He still loves LOVES music! We randomly had on some concert on TV and he just stopped and listened, didn't move, became entranced by the concert (It was Eric Clapton playing the guitar). It's interesting to see what we love even from the beginning.

So, without further delay here's my not-on-the futon 9 month photo shoot! Daddy got in on the mix and I really think they turned out nice. OK, so we have a few on the futon ;) But then we decided to go out for a walk!

Here he is! 2 teeth on the bottom and 2 teeth poking threw the top (not sure you can see them here).

Look at those eyes...

Acrobatics with ba ba ba (that's what he calls Mo, we think)

How sweet is this pic!

It's a bird, it's a plain, it's a baby!

Where's Elias? With that camo shirt he looks like a floating head! 

So proud and loving trying to walk.

Ringo happiness

We also had a family adventure to the great NYS Fair! It's not something that we do every year - I can't find many gluten free delights and Mo doesn't prefer crowds - but Elias enjoyed the farm animals and it was fun just to be out together.

Mama drinks a wine slushy, baby drinks a's all good :)

Elias likes the sheepies...obviously!

...not so sure about the pigs!

And he's a good Greek boy - happy at the Gyro stand :)

So that's that. I'll do my best in the next couple of months but things around here are about to get 
b-a-n-a-n-a-s! I wish you all a happy fall!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ready, set, go!

When they say that everything happens at once, they're not kidding! So far this summer has been a blur of both obligations and fun times, and needless to say not a whole lot of rest for the weary. Both Mo and I have been wishing for just a moment where there didn't seem like a clock or calender event didn't rule our lives. At times we've even discussed just falling off the grid for awhile and you know the saying: "live off love" :) And yes, I realize that's not realistic at all - but I do know that there are a lot of people out there that both think and live out of the box and I'm not opposed to flirting with those ideas now and again. As for reality, we both are feeling the pangs of starting another semester in a few weeks. Mo is lined up to finally GRADUATE this December (yeahhhh!) and myself to continue on with my graduate degree which I'm about 1/4 of the way through. I've been feeling a lot of things about going back to school (after my 8 month baby hiatus) but the thing that sticks out the most to me are the feelings of conflict. I am torn in two directions that are paved with "mother's guilt" and the other with "self satisfaction". I get the feeling that becoming a parent constantly challenges those two sides no matter what the choice or circumstance. Part of me feels sickened with the idea that Elias will have to be at daycare more hours a week so I can meet my obligations in school, while the other part of me feels excitement to continue on. It's like an internal Jekyll and Hyde conversation that makes one side hurt while the other feels pleasure. Honestly, it sucks! I'm haunted with the idea that "he'll never be this young again" while also feeling like I've waited long enough to be in a career I have a passion for...guess we'll just have to take it one step at a time and see what happens. Really what it comes down to is that both of us have a lot of potential that hasn't been tapped into and we owe it to ourselves, our son and our growing family to meet that's just not an easy juggle in the process.

As for little Hercules, well he's certainly living up to his name! As my babysitter eloquently put it today: "he's an 8 month old trapped in a one year old's body!". Which basically means that he's so big and strong for his age that he often gets frustrated with the things he can't do (because of balance, dexterity, practice) that he's certainly BIG enough to walking! Just yesterday I had to put his 12 month clothes away in a bin. He's wearing 18 month clothes now! But honestly, this month alone has marked the biggest changes and growth in Elias. It's almost on a daily basis that he's doing something new or exciting. Honestly, it's really scarey because he's changing and maturing at such a lightening speed I'm starting to feel like my little baby is slowly disappearing and in his place is this little ready-to-be toddler. It's so much fun to have the interaction and comprehension grow between us. I can only imagine what is to come! So anyways, since there's been so many new things that he's done lately it seemed best to document them. Here are a few pictures as evidence that my baby is growing up too fast!

Last month we had "uh oh" which now is his favorite word! Mostly mumbled in the early morning hours and when he takes a poop while sitting in his car seat or walker (smart kid). He will mimic you if you say "uh uh uh uh ohhh..." Which I have to admit is pretty cool because it's like were communicating in Morris code or something. Anyways, after "uh oh" has been YEAH!! I find that he claps his hands "yeahh!" most often when I'm changing his diaper (again smart kid, yeahh for not being in a wet diaper). Here are a few pics :)

Yeahhh! You can also see the bottom TWO teeth now - we got another one!

Next, he apparently is taking notes at daycare because he's shown an interest in holding his own bottle and knowing what a sippy cup is!

He's definitely moving and scooting around. Each day his crawling becomes more graceful - and the fact of the matter is that he now officially can get from A to B. Eeeek!

On top of that he is also starting to pull up standing. Please note the drool all over Mo in this process - but seriously BIG BOY!

Speaking of pulling up, I just so happened to have my camera the first time he pulled himself up in his crib. Blurry picture but it captures both his sense of joy and accomplishment! Seriously though, he's too tall - there's only one more level down we can take this crib!

We also had a couple of first time events - riding in a grocery cart at Wegmans and having lunch in a high chair out to eat with my Mom! He thought he was pretty cool.

And as always, the monthly photo shoot! It was a lot harder this time as he was more interested in crawling off of the futon than being my model - but we did get a few good ones.

My 8 month ham-bone...

Very interested in the camera

OK Mom, I'm ready to go!

Both captivated and seriously studying my hand and fingers doing 1-2-3-4-5....
you'll notice that he starts to stiffen a hand to mimic mine.

We're working on mama and dada at the moment. When he cries he does this "ma ma ma" thing but it doesn't seem legitimate. And man...he loves his daddy :)

Mo made them matching bracelets - too cute!

Finally, a little Mama love.

I'll be back soon :)