Friday, January 16, 2009

My kids are AWESOME!

OK, I just had to share that. I am so proud of my children it just makes me look silly. I have this stupid grin on my face and every time someone tells me how great they are, I am just doofy! They are doing so well! They are now officially 3 1/2 years old (as of 1/7) and they are just the greatest. My big guy is now completely potty trained. He told me this morning (after two consecutive nights of wearing underpants to bed without an accident) that he is a big boy and he doesn't need silly baby diapers anymore. The first night without a diaper was a complete accident. I forgot to change him before bed. I'm glad that he was dry! Last night, as a result of the previous night, he insisted that he didn't need a diaper and he would get up. The resulting conversation:

Me: Aidan, let's put a diaper on just in case.
Aidan: No mom, really, I don't need one.
Me: but what if you're asleep when you have to go potty.
Aidan: I'll just get up and go, even if it is the middle of the night, OK? You said that we can just go, we don't have to ask. Isn't that why you put the little light in the bathroom?
Me: Good point, I can't argue.
Aidan: See, I told you!

Such a smart little boy. It may have taken a while, but he decided that he likes going on the potty. He insists that he never needs any help. He likes to tell us that he wants his privacy. Occasionally if he thinks he'll be in for a while, he requests a book for entertainment :)

My little Miss Amanda (as I like to call her) is in a very snugglie mood lately. She always wants to be held or cuddled. She did have a nasty cough for which she blames Aidan. To be fair, Aidan did have the cold first. The cough is getting better. Sometimes she tends to "play it up" but that is just Amanda. She loves to be loved. She is obsessed with princesses and as much as I thought I might avoid having a girly girl, she decided otherwise! She insists on putting on her dress up gowns every day and most days when I pick them up from school, she is dressed up. She loves wearing her "dancing shoes" which are the plastic princess shoes that she has. After she has put on all of her dress up clothes and shoes, she announces that she is going to her dance party. I have never bought her dresses because I always thought that she would be uncomforable playing in dresses. She received a bunch of clothes from her teacher at school which included a few skirts and 3 nightgowns. She insists on wearing the nightgowns every night. I can't argue with her regardless of how cold it is. I guess I'm just going to have to go with the flow. How am I going to deal with having a girl? I guess I've been in denial since she was born that she would actually want to dress like a girl :) I'm going to have to do some reading and take a few lessons.

So, a brief school update. They still love school! Their teachers have noticed a huge increase in Aidan's confidence since he started using the potty. They are both doing very well with their lessons. They worked on learning the senses this week and they are getting really familiar with the alphabet. They can both count to twenty and sometimes higher with a few mistakes here and there. They are both very friendly and love to be leaders. When I pick them up from school, it takes a long time for them to say their goodbyes. They insist on saying goodbye to each of their classmates and give each one a big hug and occasionally a kiss.

Hugging and kissing, that leads me to the next point. They are both incredibly affectionate. So much that it can be a bit too much at times. I took them grocery shopping last week and they both waved and said hello to every single person we passed. That was cute. It morphed in to them giving each other hugs. The hugs led to kisses. The kisses became a bit too much. I had to ask them to stop kissing each other so much. I love the fact that my twins are close and they love each other but we're lacking personal space. Perhaps we're too affectionate with them? I never saw it as a bad thing. Now they won't go to school unless they get hugs and kisses from both mommy and daddy. They want to hug and kiss everyone. Cute, but a little creepy...

Boy, am I glad it's Friday. Tonight is our bowling league. Yup, we're super bowling geeks. At least we have fun and we're pretty good! Last week I bowled really well for me (512 series with a high 180 game) so I'm hoping to continue the trend this week. Jon and I are planning to go see an Irish band along with a bagpipe group tomorrow afternoon at a local Irish Pub. I'm super excited. Aidan and Amanda will be spending the afternoon with the Meeker's sons Sean and Kevin. All four are so excited. They'll be having pizza for dinner and hanging out playing games and watching movies. Too bad the high temperature for tomorrow is predicted to be in the teens. The kids have wanted to play in the snow with Sean and Kevin but I think tomorrow might be a bit too cold to go outside. We'll have to see. There are currently no plans for Sunday but I'm sure that will fill up fast with cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and normal weekend catch-up. Oh well, that's all I got!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dashing through the snow!

Spending a few years in Colorado will do strange things to my memory of winter in the northeast. Obviously I did block quite a bit out of my memory. It seems like there is forecasted rain or snow every couple of days. Sometimes is amounts to something and other times, not so much. Last Sunday it was close to 60 degrees. Then it snowed on New Years Eve. Since we both had no work on New Years, we decided to take the kids outside to play in the snow. They had their snow saucers from my dad and away they went! I finally have some pictures to share.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009!

It seems quite silly really. I am so happy that 2009 has begun. I am ready for a fresh year. 2008 was a very difficult year which was full of changes. 2008 was also a very good year in that we watched our children learn and grow by leaps and bounds! We started the year with a definite plan in mind and we finished the year accomplishing our goals. I had hoped that the details would have gone more smoothly. At the end, we are where we wanted to be.

We wanted to start a new life in New York. We wanted to be closer to family. We wanted to give the kids the life that we thought would bring them happiness. Colorado was wonderful but it wasn't home for me.

Boy, did it start off rough. There was a lot more work that needed to be done to the house in Colorado. We could get it done. It would bring us more money in the long run, right? Right? OK, we were a bit optimistic on that one. Who would have known that the market would tank in the most horrific manner since the great depression? We did come to realize after everything was said and done that we would have been in much worse shape if we hadn't done the upgrades. We had hoped to sell by summer. By October we were lucky to give the house away without having to give the shirt off my back.

There was a lot of stress and anxiety through those months. I look back now and I'm amazed that we were able to keep pushing through the entire time. The kids started school in September. We rented an apartment in October. By November we had really set in to a routine. December rolled in and threw a wrench in the mix. I had hoped that the holidays would give us a little bit of joy in a overwhelming world. Unfortunately it just made things a whole lot more difficult.

Thankgiving is always a wonderful holiday. Lots of food and lots of family. This year was no exception. While living in Colorado, Jon and I spent Thanksgiving with a group of friends that were all away from their immediate families. It became tradition. This year we traveled to Albany to be with my mom's family. My grandmother flew in from Florida to spend a week with 4 generations of our family. We spent Thankgiving chatting and catching up. Aidan and Amanda love spending time with their cousin Emma (who turns 5 in March). They always have a good time playing with toys and having the most adorable "kid" conversations. We had such a nice time that we decided to come back on Saturday for more visiting.

Once Thanksgiving was over, the clock seemed to jump ahead so quickly. Days turned into weeks and it just went so quickly! There are so many details. I'll spare you :)

I had every intention of pulling out a miracle for Christmas and Chanukah. I wanted to make it a special memory. I went in with the best of intentions. There were sacrifices along the way. We started off strong. I took a day off in the middle of the week and went shopping with my friend Jen. We bought quite a few gifts. She was far more successful but I figured that I had plenty of time. That weekend we went to a Christmas Tree Farm in Pleasant Valley and cut down our own beautiful tree. We decorated it the next day. Throughout the day Amanda kept saying that this was the best Christmas ever.

That was when it started to get a bit hectic. My primary job responsibility is budget and forecasting capital spending. I am responsibile for telling the CEO how much money my department is going to spend. Since it was December, I was feeling a lot of pressure to get the 2009 budgets ready. I was constantly receiving phone calls and emails. There was a LOT of money involved. I worked a bunch of late nights and weekends. Fortunately I have the ability towork from home but it is very difficult to be productive when you have two 3-year-olds. Waiting until they go to sleep is the only option. As you could guess, this leds to a lot of things to do after bedtime. The stuff got stacked up and I started feeling overwhelmed.

That was when it hit me! I don't have to be superwoman! Will people be disappointed in me? Should I care? Well, it doesn't go away that easily but I was able to deal with the guilt. What am I talking about? Did you receive a holiday card from me this year? By the end of the second week of December I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to do everything on my list. There were a few things that were going to take priority. In the end it was worth it. I saved my sanity and a few things didn't get done. I decided to make cookies for the kids' teachers instead of buying gifts for each teacher. I didn't have the time and the budget was tight. We had fun making cookies. It did take a full weekend which is a huge commitment. I could have gone to the store and spent $10. Oh well. Those are good memories.

Friday, December 19th was the first big snowstorm of the season. It was also the busiest day scheduled by far. I had my company holiday party in the evening. We had Murphy family Christmas caroling which is one of my favorite all time activities. Jon and I also had bowling. It was position night which is very important and we couldn't miss. I was very disappointed that I was going to have to make such a difficult decision. The kids had school and I was going to skip the company party, pick the kids up, head to Beacon for caroling, leave the kids with Kelly for caroling, head to the bowling alley, bowl league and then head back to Uncle Dick's for the rest of caroling. On Thursday, the 19th, the forecast indicated that we might get a sizeable snowstorm. The radio stations were all saying we'd get a foot. The kids' daycare decided to close at noon and my company announced that the party would be moved up to 2pm due to the forecast. Jon decided to leave work early to pick the kids up. I had responded "no" regarding the work party. My co-workers impressed upon me the importance of making an appearance at the party. With the earlier start time and Jon picking up the twins, I had no excuse. I decided to go for a while.

The snow started later than expected. The storm blew in at around 11am. We were surprised at how quickly the conditions outside deteriorated. When we decided to head to the party, it was a blizzard outside. We made it to the party and I was suprised at the turnout. There were quite a few people in my office that weren't going due to the weather but the crowd was massive! The food was great and the drinks were free. I only had one since the weather was so bad but it was nice to have the free drink. They should have cancelled but I understand that it would have cost too much to do that. I was lucky to be there. I actually won a giveaway 19" HDTV. I tried to leave by 3 but the poor planning of the golf club caused a parking nightmare. I wasn't able to leave until one of the 8 cars blocking me in moved. I was able to get on the road by about 4:45. I got home at 6. The roads were miserable but fortunately our Super Trooper is amazing! I got home and we decided to head to Beacon. We assumed that bowling was cancelled and caught up with the caroling group. We had a wonderful time and by the time we were ready to leave, the snow had stopped and the roads were being cleared.

The rest of December is a blur. Chanukah started on a Sunday night. We went to my mom's house and lit the candles with her. She had both my grandmother and my sister on speakerphone. Aidan and Amanda received wooden pieces with laces weave through holes in the wood. It reminded me of the sewing cards that I had as a child. Amanda has been known to find a quiet corner with her blankie and her belt. She entertains herself by weaving the belt through the holes in her blanket. I tried to find those carboard pieces with a "connect the dots" type pattern that was "drawn" with the lace but I can't find them anywhere. This was a great alternative. The boards that Aidan received were street sign shapes with holes around the edges. Amanda's pieces were a bear and clothing to dress the bear by sewing them together. They both really liked them. I was unsure of how Aidan would react since he is less "artsy" than Amanda and tends to get distracted easily.

We enjoyed Christmas Eve with Taryn spending the night. We wrapped presents until 1am and we laughed. It was a special occasion. We watched Christmas specials and enjoyed the night. Christmas morning was amazing. The kids received so much stuff. I tried to have some restraint but at 3-years-old, they are so easy! This is the first year they have had any appreciation for the holidays. We spent the entire morning opening presents. I made pancakes first while the kids enjoyed a Black & Decker toolbench that Aunt Taryn gave Aidan. We slowly opened one present at a time so that the kids could pace themselves. I didn't want them to burnout quickly and get overstimulated. Aidan can be very difficult. We had so much fun trying out all of the gifts. There were playdoh accessories, a remote control bug and a remote control cat from Aunt Diana, a kiddie laptop computer from Aunt Taryn and the list goes on and on... So spoiled :)

After our celebration at home, we went to mom and Oscar's house for dinner with Grandma H. and Ellen. It was nice to see them and my mom made a delicious turkey. After dinner, desert and some visiting, we moved on to our next destination, my dad's house. Dad has been a bit down in the dumps for a few months now. He's having a hard time adjusting to life after a stroke. We haven't had many opportunities to visit with the schedule we've been living. We spent a couple of hours visiting. Grandma Linda went a bit nuts with the gift giving and the kids got even more! Amanda has a whole baby doll setup. She received a carriage, complete with blankets, cushion and a pillow, infant carrier, doll, and supply bag. Aidan recieved a few monster trucks and a remote control truck. They both received snow saucers which they can't wait to use. There was so many gifts given, I lost track of what they got!

The following Sunday was the Chanukah party that I'd offered to host at my house. I figured that it would be the perfect opportunity to show my family where we live. Was I crazy? Yup, this was the idea before December hit me like a freight train. I didn't want to back out but by the time the party started, Taryn was ready to kill me and Jon was muttering "never again" all around the house. Oh well, we survived. It wasn't the party that was going to be difficult. It was my insane preparations. I needed to get the entire house cleaned. I had a list far longer than I ever expected. There was cleaning and shopping and cooking that needed to be done. The Christmas decorations had to come down. Not because we were having a Chanukah gathering but because they were driving me absolutely nuts. I was done with the holidays and I needed January to start! The party went well. We had a very nice time. The kids received more wonderful gifts! They were obviously exhausted by the time everyone left. Their cousin Emma was here and as usual, they were bouncing off the walls!

After all that madness, we decided to quietly ring out 2008 by ourselves, at home. I barely made it through work. Jon and I both decided to work through the holidays. We each had Christmas and New Year's Day off. By Dec 31, I was so exhausted, I couldn't wait for a break.

I fell asleep on the couch at around 10pm on Dec 31. I gave up and went to bed at 11:15. Another year where I didn't care to ring in the new year. I was just ready to have the day end and start the new year on a positive note.

This year started difficult but there was a plan. We survived the plan. Now the future is whatever we want it to be. Will we buy a house this year? Will we stay in our current apartment? Can we pay down some debt? I've resolved to take it one day at a time. That's how it works and thats how I'll do it!

Happy New Year everyone!