Friday, October 23, 2015

A Letter to Periwinkle at Three Years Old

Dear Periwinkle,

In less than two days, you will be three years old. Three years ago, I was searching for apple cider donuts at Dunkin, complaining of an aching back, cleaning the house, and eagerly awaiting your arrival in 3 weeks. Little did I know it’d be only 36 hours. Little did I know how completely my world would change.

And so here we are. You are so smart and conversational, I often forget you are only three, rather than thirteen. Your logic and reasoning skills are rather astounding (though I may be biased) and absolutely adorable. You informed Boomer he could not come in the playroom because he did not have fingers and thus could not play with the toys. You negotiate more time before bed, more cookies, more pears, more trips to the library, more stickers, with the ease of a studied lawyer. You are an expert at dealing with an Indigo meltdown, often giving way in an attempt to soothe him. “Okay, Inno. We can watch Mickey first, then Daniel Tiger,” even though it is your turn to choose. My heart swells with pride when you do that, seeing your empathetic soul. When we brought the cats to the vet and they were crying in their cages, you started crying along with them, begging us to let them out. The cats barely give you the time of day, and yet your heart ached for them. 

You are sweet and loving, yet still fiercely independent. “I do it” has turned into “Let me do it myself!” but your stubborn pride is the same. Often, you will turn back to me moments later, “Can you help me?” on your lips; but more and more often, you succeed where once you struggled. It is bittersweet seeing you accomplish more and more on your own, my girl who from minute one pushed away from me to look around the recovery room in the hospital. You still take in so much of what you see and hear, recalling it days or even months later when I think you must have forgotten by now. 

You handled moving (again) like a champ. You transitioned into your new shared room without issue, and this past month you transitioned again into your big girl room with little struggle. In the morning you proudly announce, “I slept in my room all by myself!” If only falling asleep all by yourself were easier, but we’ll get there.

You have taken to preschool like fish to the water (although swimming lessons this summer were a failure—things to work on). I love seeing the worksheets sent home, with your circles around all the letter A’s and B’s, your scrawling handwriting as you learn to trace letters and now words. I have no doubt you soon will be reading me stories instead of vice versa. I’m so very proud of all you are accomplishing. You are also pretty much potty trained, which is awesome. Just . . . awesome. Keep it up!

This year has been so much fun, seeing you experience everything around you and seeing you turn from a baby into a little girl. I’m in complete denial that you are old enough to not be in diapers, old enough to pedal your tricycle and help me bake cookies. Old enough to remind me to stay within the lines when I’m driving (I always do), and to tell me that a stop sign is an octagon, not a hexagon. But you’ll always be my baby girl.


A Letter to Indigo at Three Years Old (YIKES!)

Dear Indigo,

We got into a routine, you and I (and Daddy too, though he less willingly) over the past month or so. Every morning around 6am—though sometimes 3am, if we’re honest—you would pad into our room, give a plaintive, “Mommy…”, and I’d lift you into our bed, put you between us, and fall back asleep as you snuggled in. And kicked Daddy in the face. I often wouldn’t even recall you coming in; I’d just wake up with you beside me. Sometimes I’d try to cut you off if I heard you getting up, try to bring you back to bed, to no avail.  You took my hand one time, said “Come on, Mommy,” and led me to my bed, snuggling in even closer than normal. It was adorable. When we informed you that it was time to move to your big boy room upstairs, you bawled like the three-year-old you are soon to be. “Can I still come in your room in the morning?” I reassured you that yes, just call for me and I will get you. But it hasn’t happened yet. You seem quite content in your new room. Which breaks my heart just a little bit.

Yet when I see you building giant towers, doing puzzles, or when you tell me a fantastical story about a dinosaur and a monster, I can’t help but be happy to see you growing up, learning, using your imagination, becoming more YOU with each day. You are still my quiet, snuggly boy with a biting temper (literally, you randomly bite; please stop). You still seem to feel things deeply, like when you began crying about preschool and how different and loud it was, how it scared you. Such feelings I hadn’t really processed that you had yet. Such big feelings for such a little boy. 

I often wonder what is going through your head as you stare out the window at dinner, watching the birds and the trees. Or at night, when you lie in bed, eyes open, staring into nothing, thinking, thinking, thinking, taking forever to fall asleep. What huge thoughts so occupy your little world? From the beginning, you have been my worrier, concerned about the world around you, even as your sister stared it down and said, “Bring it!” I have photos of you, weeks old, with huge, worrying eyes. You are more like me than you yet know. I am a worrier. I, too, stare into the night thinking, thinking, thinking. I like seeing that we are alike, but I wish it were in other ways. Try to live life a bit more freely, a bit less worried. You are surrounded by people who love you and will protect you, for as long as possible, so don’t fret . . . yet.

But you also feel joy deeply, with your big, whole-body, infectious laughter. I love that laugh more than almost anything in the world. Your eyes light up and your entire face along with it. I hope to find more ways to make you laugh instead of worry. 

You love playing pirates and are pretty good with a lightsaber. Your obsession is Paw Patrol now, not Elmo or even Mickey Mouse. You can sing the theme song and say all the catch phrases. You take my phone and call it your Pup Pad and summon the Paw Patrol “to the lookout!” I love it. 

This week you guys discovered Wall-E. You get so anxious for him, jumping up and down and yelling at him to run, to look out, to go faster. You run in and out of the room, barely able to take the suspense, but you love every minute of it. One of these days I'll catch it on video, before it all becomes old hat. Seeing your excitement makes me so happy.

You love running around outside, especially if it’s away from me as you look back with that devilish grin you got from your father. You enjoy reading books (repeatedly) and going to the library. You are doing great at preschool, learning to identify your letters and numbers, and to write them too! You love pasta with sauce, bananas, pears, and grapes. We’re still working on the veggies. You are doing pretty great with potty training, and I’m so excited to get you out of diapers once and for all. You still won’t pedal your tricycle, because it’s just easier to push along with your feet, but I know one day you’ll wake up and simply get it. You love playing in the sand at the playground, less so going down the slide. I’m wondering if you have a fear of heights. You love your sister, too, and it’s the best thing ever when I see you working together on something instead of fighting over it. You are good at sharing, once reminded. You like to help me around the house, and I let you, even though it’s really no help at all. 

In short, you are a three year old. My little three year old baby boy. Happy Birthday.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

We Bought a House!

After more than eight months living in the lower floor of my in-laws' house (for which we will be eternally grateful, but it's time), we finally closed on a new house this week!

Blue's first order of business was emptying our two smaller storage units so we don't have to pay for the month of May. His brother helped and they got that done, plus moved a bunch of patio furniture from the in-laws' house, which will save us some moving costs in a few weeks. Woohoo!

That's a lot of stuff. We just put it in the dining room and living room to begin with. Today, we moved it to the basement. The basement is huge, folks. The square footage of the basement is larger than the square footage of our entire old house. Ridiculous.

We put all the stuff from storage (and some from my mom and stepdad's house) into piles divided by room or theme (Christmas stuff, kitchen stuff, baby stuff, etc.) so that it'll be easier to organize later.

Like I said: HUGE. This was a major selling point for us. One of the biggest, in fact. We have big plans for this basement. Think projector, movie theater, poker table, pool table, a bar. Paradise, my friends. For now, it has all our stuff, so that we can refinish all the floors upstairs. A good portion of the main floor was covered in grody carpets that were probably 20 years old. Underneath which was imprisoned perfectly lovely original oak hardwood floors. So, of course, we had to free them.

Here are some before/after photos.

Old owners' listing photo

Not even refinished yet, and I love it more

The den. The carpets in here were multi-colored (not on purpose) and had to go.

A work in progress, of course, but so much potential.

Owners' master bedroom photo

Gorgeous flooring

It's amazing how much light the window can let in when not hidden by drapes!
Another big selling point for me was the master bathroom. After 5 years of having to go downstairs to pee in the middle of the night (extra fun when pregnant; you may remember we put a bed in the living room toward the end), I am super psyched to only have to walk a few feet. I won't even have to wake up!

So, that's what Blue and my dad have been doing the past two days. Blue did most of the ripping up himself yesterday, and then my dad has been helping pull up staples and nails today, among other things. Huzzah for helpers!

Meanwhile, I got busy as well.

Lining shelves and drawers might seem silly and unimportant, but it had to be done. Some of these shelves just needed to be hidden (after being washed, of course). I love the fun pops of color it brings to the otherwise fairly drab kitchen.

Listing photo
Plus, it allowed me to start unpacking (and washing) dishes that have been in storage for the past 8 months. The kitchen feels homey already!

Monday, the floors will start getting their makeover. We are going to refinish not just the floor we uncovered, but also this prettiness in the living room and dining room (unless they say they can match the color exactly, in which case we'll just leave it, but we're not terribly hopeful).

I cannot wait to tackle designing this room. I have curtains, rugs, and pillows all picked out. Blue tried to veto my curtain choice, but he was overruled. I told him to give them six months. I look forward to your opinions when that's done.

And yes, I hope to blog the next few weeks of decorating and home-making. The kids will show up too, don't worry! They are very excited to finally "go home" and love running around in the backyard. The first order of business out there will be to put up a fence around this bad boy:

It's like there's a magnet that draws them toward it. Exhausting.

We also have a friend who likes the pool, too!

 Yup, a duck. He came by twice today to take a bath. Methinks we need to add a bit more chlorine...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

So I don't forget...

These little snippets of conversation are so easy to forget, so a brief post from today, taken from my Facebook.

As she screams during bedtime, I must remember cute moments from today so she doesn't drive me completely crazy.

Me: (sneakily eats a piece of chocolate)
Peri: What is that? (how DID she see me?)
Me: Nothing.
Peri: Show me, mommy. Show me what's in your mouth right now! (perfect mom-flection)
Me: Here's some chocolate... you win.

Me: (singing Tomorrow from Annie)
Peri: No, mommy. No more Tomorrow. No sun tomorrow.
Me: Is my singing that bad?
Peri: Read a book.

Addendum: She's also good with the "Now let's calm down, Indigo" when he's upset, which is usually followed by "I don't want to calm down!" from him. And she'll take over negotiations with him when he's just manic for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Okay, we'll watch two Mickey Mouses and then Rapunzel, okay?" and he usually gives in. She's just so reasonable! It's sweet because she knows how worked up he gets and she legit wants to compromise to make him happy. Such a good sister!

They crack me up when they sound like adults.

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Letter to Periwinkle at 2 Years (and then some)

Note: My new job is very strict about Internet usage, so I handwrote this at work at lunch one day and didn't get around to posting until today. It was written in mid-December.

Dear Periwinkle,

I'm sorry it's taken me this long to write your letter. I fully meant to do it by your birthday, but then there were parties and Halloween and friend birthday parties and Thanksgiving and my birthday (thanks for the birthday wishes, but you can stop now), and now here we are, ten days from Christmas. I'm sorry, and I love you, and I do hope you forgive me someday.

In any event, here we are. You are nearly 26 months old, going on at least ten years old. You are an excellent mimic, with the correct inflection, and hearing my words coming out of your mouth is both hilarious and terrifying. Thankfully, the worst you've repeated is "dammit." Repeatedly. What is perhaps most scary is that you remember everything,  and weeks later you'll bring out, "What are you talking about, Mommy?" with the perfect note of exasperation, or, "silly goose" which I really don't think I've called you for months now.

You love waking your brother up when you are the first one up. First we do some snuggles though. Then we give you permission and you bolt into your room to wake him, all smiles and gentle "Wake up, Inno!" and then some shrieking to make sure he really gets the message. Sometimes you try to wake him at night too, when he is asleep and you are still trying to preserve the resistance.  You get this sneaky glint in your eye and then take off for your room. I usually catch you in time.

We are constantly getting notes home from school about how you hug your brother and friends when they are upset and you ask them if they are okay. You are such a sweet and caring girl - Mommy Peri, they call you. I was Momma Red in college, so it's fitting, I suppose. Always care for your friends, and especially for your brother. It will always be appreciated in this world!

You are very opinionated about what you wear now. Your socks must be pink. Anything slightly resembling blue is deemed to belong to your brother. You prefer shirts that have rosettes or bows. I can sometimes get you excited about your Supergirl shirt, and red stars are permitted if we call them Wonder Woman socks. Sometimes we do great battle. Sometimes you are okay picking between two items, since it is your choice.  Sometimes I am tempted to just leave you in your pjs (I did once).

You love penguins these days, and a little figure of Dora the Explorer's mom you found at Nonna and Nonno's house that you call Little Mommy. You say it looks like me. I am apparently made of plastic and love purple. I'm pretty sure you think Santa Claus is the coolest guy in the world, and you don't even know he brings you presents yet! You love seeing "mismas lights" outside the car, and you sing a pretty good Jingle Bells. You are also getting really good at singing Frere Jacques and the ABCs, although QRSTUV are starting to take it personally that you always skip them.

In short,  you are curious, caring, smart, and strong-willed, all important traits to have as a young lady these days. I have little doubt that you'll be able to hold your own as you grow up. I'm so proud of the person you are becoming. Just don't repeat everything I say, okay? And for that matter, stop saying "Okay?" at the end of every sentence. You're only two, okay?


Addendum: it's amazing how much has changed since I wrote this, although she still asks for Christmas lights and thinks Santa should bring her more presents.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye, 2014

So here we are again, bidding farewell to another year. And what a year it has been!
It started off with us putting our house on the market. Four months later, almost five years to the day we offered on the house, we accepted an offer. It wasn't quite what we hoped for, but it allowed us to move onward if not upward. More like a side-shuffle.
In August we bid a teary farewell to our first home together (okay, maybe only I cried...) and to our two cats, who were going to spend some time with my parents while we crashed with Blue's parents (cue bawling re: cats).
We closed five years to the day we closed buying it. Fitting. Huge sigh of sad relief.
And here we are, four months later, all surviving our new digs with all the patience and grace we can muster. And while my stepdad seems to enjoy caring for the cats, I know he is battling allergies too. And my mom misses her plants, which are enjoying their study abroad programs at her sisters' houses around the corner. And while my inlaws always welcome us upstairs, I am sure they miss having their space to themselves.
So today I filled out some pre-qualification forms with various banks and have started answering fun financial questions, a month sooner than planned. We are ready to move onward and finally upward. The kids need their own rooms and a playspace bigger than a closet. I need office space for my freelance work (had a fantastic year there!). We need a house again. So 2015 will be the year of the house!
This year I also got a new job (again), back in publishing. That part has been fantastic, as has the much much shorter commute. I do miss horribly the kind and funny people I worked with. Happy hour must be arranged in 2015!
2015 is also going to be the year I lose 31 pounds, as I am 31 now, and why not? It'll get me back to my wedding weight. I do so want to be a good example for the kids. So wish me luck there!
I think that's it. The kids are great, and hilarious, and awesome. I owe you all Nora's two year letter, I know. Hard to find time lately...
Happy New Year!