Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well Nicky had a really fun Christmas. He was up around 8:30 and came out to see that Santa had filled his stocking and left him two toy construction vehicles: a front loader and a dump truck. He was allowed to eat as much candy as he wanted. In fact I'm pretty sure the only 'real' food he ate on Christmas was a waffle for breakfast, peas for dinner and pretzels for a snack.

He was having so much fun with the toys Santa brought that it took quite a bit to get him to try opening some of the other presents! But when he did, he had a great time playing with each. Especially the toy grill (from his Aunt Leslie and Uncle Jim) and the toy electric saw with interchangeable parts (from Aunt Maryellen and Uncle Scot). In fact, after those were opened, it was pretty much impossible to get him to stop playing long enough to open anything else!

In the afternoon, Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Maryellen came over for dinner. Tom's cousin Mike was already here, he'd arrived on Christmas eve and spent the night with us. And Nana was here already too. So we had a nice big group for Christmas. While Nicky played, Nana, Tom and Mike cooked a beef wellington for dinner. It was gorgeous, huge and tasty!

After dinner, we finally got Nicky to finish opening his gifts. The last one was the BIG package that had been under the tree for weeks! Turns out it was a Red Flyer wagon. Tom and Mike put it together, with Nicky's help of course, and Nicholas LOVES it! I took him for a ride in it up and down the street for a while. I tell you, it's a deluxe wagon compared to the ones they used to have! It has folding seats, seat belts and cup holders!

Nicky never did quite settle down for a nap, so when we were snacking on the pretzels and other assorted yummies in the gift basket from Mike (Yum! What tasty treats in there!) which Nicky was grilling on his grill before eating, Nicky actually started yawning and saying "I so tired!" It wasn't even 8pm, but we got him into bed and he fell asleep pretty quick.

We had a really lovely, relaxing Christmas. I hope your families did also!

Now this morning, the day after Christmas, JM and I are going to drive Maryellen home to Alabama. Tom, Nicky and Nana are staying here this time (Tom and Nana had been the ones to go pick her up last weekend). This will be the first time I've seen Maryellen and Scot's house, so I'm looking forward to it. I think I'll pack some knitting to do on the way. Maybe a warm scarf! It's going to be cold up there!

We're driving up Friday and coming back Saturday. My dad and Gwen are coming on Sunday, so I'd like to be back for that. They'll stay with us for a few days before heading home to GA.

My mom and her sister Melanie are in GA right now having Christmas with my sister Jessie and Melanie's family up there. They're staying at the lodge at the top of Amicalola falls and I'll bet it's just gorgeous! Hopefully they'll stop by on their way back to South Florida though. We have one more present for my mom from Nana. And I'm sure Nicky wouldn't mind seeing Grammie one more time! He had a great time with Grammie and Aunt Liz the weekend before Christmas.

Well it's about time for me to start thinking of what to pack for my trip today. Tom and I woke up early this morning! I just might have to squeeze in a few more hours of EQII playing before I go!

Photos and movies of Christmas to come soon upon my return!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting it done

Almost done with everything for Christmas!

All the cards are done and getting mailed today. Just had three addresses to get today and Tom did that.

All the shopping is done and either wrapped or ready for Santa to do his magic on Christmas Eve.

All the gifts are made except for a few ornaments. I'll finish those tonight and wrap them.

And then I'm DONE!

Cheapest Christmas ever probably, but I think everyone will LOVE their gifts.

Preview of them here if you have a high-speed connection.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

(oh, and Gayle, I am pretty sure I totally misspelled Hanukkah in your card. Sorry!)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Time to make the presents

Whew, the first semester of grad school for TOm and I is finally over. We're still awaiting our final grades, but we both turned in our final papers on Friday evening. What a relief to finally be able to sit on my butt and not feel like there is homework I should be doing.

Have I mentioned I'm not really all that thrilled to be doing this whole "school" thing again?

Tom and I have been working on putting the house into some semblance of order. With school, Nicky and that stomach flu we all had, it's been about a month since any real housework was done in earnest. I must say though, we're doing pretty well now. Tom's catching up on dishes and laundry. I've gotten the den into pretty decent shape, organized all the stuff we had in there into storage stuff and give-away/sell stuff, and gotten the den into good enough shape that when Nana came this weekend she was actually able to sleep in there comfortably.

Yesterday we put up the Christmas tree and today I decorated it. Nicky helped with a few items, but mostly he was de-decorating the tree. From about his head height down I've only put ornaments that can't be broken, so hopefully we'll not end up with shattered bits in the carpet.

And hopefully he won't pull or push the tree over. Back when we had cats, Tom and I quickly learned to secure the tree to the walls in a few spots. We haven't done that though since we don't have kitties anymore. The dogs haven't been much trouble, but I can see Benjamin's tail clearing off the outer layer of ornaments along the lower third of the tree too. So maybe some of the ornaments I'll inevitably find on the floor over the next few weeks won't all be from Nicky.

So now, I finally have time to get around to making all the Christmas gifts this year. I have everything I need, and now finally have some time to do it. I'll have to write about what they are later since a lot of the folks who read this blog are on the gift list.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Oh my heart

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.

- Elizabeth Stone

I've been thinking about this for a long time. I think the first time I heard a form of this quote was probably while I was pregnant with Nicky. And I don't think I really understood it. Oh, I thought I did, but I didn't really.

When I finally brought Nicky home I think I had some PPD. Not nearly as bad as some, but I did have thoughts of hurting him. However they weren't what I expected when I'd heard about that as a symptom so I didn't immediately make the connection. I wasn't thinking of me deliberately hurting him. I would find myself staring into space imagining all the horrible things that could happen to my baby in this huge and now very scary world.

I didn't even notice it consciously until Tom mentioned taking him to St. Augustine beach for a day trip. Immediately I was picturing us at the beach: surf, sand, lots of sunscreen, and a baby hat of course. Pictured me standing with him in the waves, maybe in water up to my knees of course. And we'd look at the waves, the sunlight dancing on the water, the people playing in the water.

And then, unbidden came the horrible thought, what if I wasn't paying enough attention to him, what if a big wave came, and knocked me over, and I dropped him and the undertow pulled him away from me? Immediately I was terrified to take him to the beach.

We eventually went anyway, although not that day, and I was super-vigalent and only let the water get up to my ankles and we didn't set him down for even a second. But still, that was just once instance when immediately I thought of the danger in something that before I'd have just thought of as a fun family outing.

I started noticing my thought patterns more consciously after that, and then it got worse but was totally unrelated to Nicky or my parenting and was instead wrapped up with changes at my job. A few sessions with a therapist was all I needed to iron things out, but still...the world is a very scary place.

Everywhere I turn, it seems there are horrible things happening. Natural disasters, kidnappings, murders, accidents... I rarely watch TV. I pretty much only watch Disney movies, Caillou (which yes, it is irritating), Curious George, Martha Speaks, and maybe a little Sesame Street, Clifford, and Word World if I'm home on a weekday. But still, I run across stories online, sometimes involving people I know on the net, that just strike me down.

These just fan the flames of my well-hidden, shoved into a mental closet, terror. I have to keep it squelched in order to even leave the house. Sometimes I even convince myself that I'm not worried. I think in some ways folks might even think I'm pretty cavalier about Nicky's safety sometimes. I let him explore, even fall sometimes.

But honestly, even beyond the fears (which fears really just isn't a big enough word here) about what can happen to Nicky, there's an even larger fear. One I only discovered once he was about 7 months old or so. I remember it because we were already moved into this house. And that is the fear of what could happen to me, or to Tom, or (heaven-forbid) to both of us.

There have been a few things that have really driven this home to me. One blogger, Whymommy, that I follow who has fought amazing odds and beaten her breast cancer and has two little boys close in age to Nicky. Another blogger, Lisa, who is fighting her 3rd fight with cancer and has two tween-aged girls. And the recent dual-hospitalization of Tom and I.

I mean, I have my faith (well my own version of it) and do believe in something of an afterlife. I know with my whole heart that should something happen to someone I love, I will see them again and they will not be unhappy or in pain while waiting for me.

However, the thought of something happening to me, Tom, or both of us. The thought of leaving Nicky here, behind, to fend for himself, even with the amazing love he'd have from the rest of our family. I just can't even examine this feeling too closely for fear it would just swallow me up and I'd never leave the house again.

Sometimes I think that parenting must be the bravest thing a person can do.