Sunday, June 26, 2011

What We Do for Fun

Some people think that staying home with your kids is boring, but I think those people just lack imagination. Of course, we all need some adult interaction, but that's what playdates are for! Anyway, maybe it's because I know my days at home are numbered, but I am thoroughly enjoying it.
Here are a few of the things A and I have been doing to entertain ourselves (besides playing trucks, doing the dishes, going on the swing, and visiting neighbors, etc...).

- We go to the zoo with friends (gotta love that yearly membership!)
he loved milking the cow, but handing over the teats to the other kids was not really part of his plan...
 - We pick berries (but you already knew that)
 - We go feed the ducks at the village pond, then sit by the Mobil station to watch cars and trucks go by...

and sometimes we flash them....
And here's what I consider a perfect morning (that was Monday)
- we started out with breakfast on our deck (nutella anyone?)
- spent an hour or two playing cars, then headed to the pool
- ran a few errands (post office/ shopping), then treated ourselves to lunch at TGIF Friday's

- and A fell asleep in the car on the way home, can life get any better?

Monday, June 20, 2011


As much as I hate living here in the Winter, I have to admit that our area is quite nice once the weather gets better. One of the things Sleepypapa and I have always enjoyed is going fruit picking. So on Sunday, we got up and had a late breakfast, then decided to head out to a strawberry patch. A and I went strawberry picking earlier in the week.  We had fun, but the farm we went to didn't do anything to fight off the weeds, so it was tough to pick and A just stood there and ate the berries I picked.
So on Sunday, we decided to try a new farm. We found this great patch, the farmers are retired and just do strawberries and a bit of sweet corn. Their strawberries are organic, but they do some weeding, which made the patch more accessible, and the strawberries far more beautiful. Even A got into the picking!
and he got to check out the tractor...

check out those berries!

I got some rhubarb from my little garden, and cut up everything while A took his nap.

When A got up, we made a crumble together

he enjoyed eating some of it while we made it... who can say no to butter and sugar?


here's the result...

And do you think A had any of it once cooked?

Of course not, he had some raw strawberries and pizzelles...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bedtime Wars

Wow, this week went by so fast, I didn't even have time to sit down and write about it. It doesn't help that bedtime has been a struggle, and I have spent a few evenings in the crib next to A's bed. I know, you probably think "oh that's a terrible idea... blablabla", well, I'm willing to bet you money that if you are thinking that, you either haven't had a baby in over 20 years, and therefore don't remember what it was like, or you have one of those "good sleeper" children and you therefore have no idea what it's like...

Bedtime usually is easy for us, so it's just that much more frustrating when it isn't. These past few days, A has been refusing to fall asleep by himself. Let him cry, you say? Now that he's in a toddler bed, he is more than likely to trash his room rock-star-style, and hurt himself in the process... So we go up, and we stay with him, and then he plays this game of "I can keep my eyes open for hours even though I'm tired". Then, when he finally shuts them and you think he's been asleep for a little while, you start to get up and walk out of the room, but at the first crack of the floor, he springs up in bed, like a jack-in-the-box and you're back where you started... It is incredibly annoying, not to mention that I feel like I have no evening whatsoever. The worst of it, is that I clearly remember doing that same number on my own mother... and if I can remember it, it means I was much older than A is right now.

I know it's probably just another phase, but it's a highly frustrating one and my patience is reaching its limits. Anyone have any suggestions, or should I just stick with "this too shall pass"?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Special Bond

Some people put their family above all, but to me, great friends are just as important, and I have to say I am blessed with many amazing friends that I have gathered throughout my life and that I consider part of my family. Some of my more recent friends are part of a special group that formed about five years ago, and has slowly been disintegrating, because its members are all moving away.
The group was  made up of dynamic, fun-loving, smart, beautiful young women and most of us shared a unique time of our lives together. When we first met, most of us were newlyweds. We would get together at monthly dinners where we all brought a dish we made, and a little bit of ourselves to share... The conversations were so much fun, we just couldn't wait for the next dinner. Then, we started talking about having babies, and month after month, we would start watching who was drinking wine and who was not...

in 2008, the five of us either had a baby or got pregnant

We all started getting pregnant and having babies, and we shared all of that too; we helped each other through the hard parts, the lack of sleep, the breastfeeding... and we delighted in each other's babies' births, first steps, and other milestones.

The "girls" visited when A was just a few weeks old

My best friend here in the US, who was part of the group, moved away when A was three months old. That departure was really hard for me. It's been almost two years now, and I still miss her daily. Four of us remained and got to see our children share special moments throughout their first and second years....

But after another year, one more left... and this year, a third is leaving. I write this post now because three of the group members got together today at my house, and it was a blast.

After our normal "warm up" period, the little ones played and laughed together, and the moms got to chat. Like all good things, it was too short, but it was so good to be together! It was a little bittersweet too, because only two of us will now remain here in Syracuse, and everybody else will be spread out around the country.

This group was unique because we met when we were all at similar points in our lives and we all "clicked". That kind of harmony does not happen everyday, so we should learn to cherish it when it happens. I can only hope that we manage to get together in the future, despite the distance, so we can keep our special bond going, and enjoy hearing our children laugh together for years to come.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Did It!

It finally came... the dreaded Oneida Shores Open Water Swim day! If you read my post on Thursday (Not Ready At All), you know I wasn't really feeling ready for it, but I sucked it up and figured, if anything, it would be an "experience". Following my friend Katy's ( and my cousin's advice, I ate pasta and bananas last night, and went to bed early. Of course, this is the night that A picks to wake up at 3:00 am and then 5:00 am, but SleepyPapa was nice enough to take care of him so I could go back to sleep faster.
At 6:15am, the alarm went off, I got ready, SleepyPapa got ready, and we transferred A to the car, still in his PJ's and still asleep. Everything went very smoothly.
When we got there and I saw the lake, I felt pretty pumped. Isn't this a gorgeous sight?
Then it was time to put on the wetsuit. Isn't it hot?
A woke up in a good mood and had a chance to throw some pebbles in the water before the swim started. He wanted to go swimming too, ("moi, piscine"... translation "me, pool") but that was not an option.

One last hug before the start...

my cheering squad!
As I went into the water, I told myself my only goal was to not be the last one. I know, it's not much of a goal, but I'm not much of an athlete either, so that was sufficient for me. At the start, everybody was going with freestyle and I succumbed to the peer pressure and started out that way too, even though I am much better at breast stroke. But very quickly, I realized that I was not going to be able to keep it up, I was almost out of breath. So I switched to breast stroke and got into a pace I felt was fast enough but still sustainable. I took a few looks back to make sure there were people behind me (I may not be an athlete, but I'm still competitive) and just kept going. It was really neat to see that booey become closer and closer, then make the turn, and head back to shore. I was happy to see that even though I was mainly doing breaststroke, I was able to keep up with other swimmers who were freestyling.

end of the race look: not-so-hot...

In the end, I finished my 800 meter in 20:31, and I reached my goal... I wasn't the last one, I was 24th out of 46 (men and women combined). I'm pretty happy with that.

 To top it all off, I won a medal!

 Well that's kind of a joke because I came in first in my age group .... but I was the only one in my age group. Nevertheless, I was happy to have a medal to take home. I set out to try this, I trained (or tried to), and I did it! To me, that's what the medal symbolizes, me trying something new, and completing the goal I set for myself. This was a great event, and it benefited the YMCA's Partner With Youth Campaign, in particular Y-Kids Inc., which supports children with special needs.
Now, all I need to do is figure out what other open water swim I can register for!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hunger Strikes

If you had not noticed yet, A is a pretty strong-willed child. His latest thing is to go on hunger strikes when I drop him off at the babysitter's.

This is not the babysitter who took care of him full time when I was working, because she just had a baby. Since the semester's over, I don't need anyone on a regular basis, but we have this really nice sitter who watches A at her house now and then. He knows her and her daughters well, but lately he hasn't really wanted to be dropped off there. So, in the morning, if I tell him he's going to K's, he warns me "Moi non manger K", translation: "me not eat at K's". I figure if he's really hungry, he'll eat.

So what happens while he's there? He doesn't cry too much when we leave him there, as long as he can go ride in K's car (not sure what the fascination is, but we just go with it). This poor K tries everything to make him happy, but he refuses to eat or drink anything that she offers (even ice cream and cake!), and refuses to talk... he just nods and shakes his head. He also refuses to nap, of course!
What happens when I show up to pick him up? He starts talking, dancing, and playing. He asks for, and eats everything that he had refused before, and doesn't want to leave K's place.
Have you ever heard of such a stubborn two-year-old????

He didn't act like that at all at his regular babysitter, he actually used to eat BETTER there than at home. Anyway, I don't feel bad, because I know he's not unhappy there, and that it's only for a few hours at a time. I am just amazed and amused at his will power! I often joke that I should have given him "Gandhi" as a middle name to make him more peaceful. He must have heard me and just added the 'hunger strike' method to his repertoire...

Have you dealt with similar behaviors? How did you handle them?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Not Ready at All

Some weeks ago, I signed up for this Open Water Swim (an 800 meter race in a nearby lake). It sounded like a good idea at the time, and I thought I could easily fit in two to three swims a week to get ready. Fast-forward  six weeks later... it's two days before the race and I'm not ready at all. To tell you the truth, I really don't know what I was thinking: I have no steady childcare during the week and no time on the weekends.
So I got to swim twice last week, and once this week. Actually, my swim today was cut short because I had to go to work.  I picked up the wetsuit I rented and the guy asked me "are you going to get an open water swim before your race?"... yeah, right! When, exactly? It doesn't really matter how often I swim anyway, because from the first day I started "training" (ahah, who am I kidding?), I clocked in at 18 minutes each time, not matter what I did or did not do.

Oh well, I guess I'll just give it a try, do my best, and see what happens. At least the whole thing got me swimming more than I would have otherwise. Wish me luck...