Tag Archives: toddler

Happy!

9 Apr

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There are a lot of things going really well for us right now (as well as continual drama), and I think it is important to remember the little happinesses that occur every day. So here’s some of the things that are really, really good around here:

N is learning at a rapid rate–every day is a new adventure with him! He’s learning new words and new things (like his alphabet) and he’s always curious!

I’m not teaching this quarter!!! And yet I’m being paid for it 🙂 This is the great benefit of teaching a double load last quarter. My key task for the next 2 1/2 months is to collect data for my dissertation (an instructor focus group, student survey, student focus groups, follow-up individual interviews, and analyze the curricular materials and some essays from the course i’m studying). No biggie.

I really like my dissertation topic. It’s concrete yet connects to many of the important debates in my field right now. It’s easy to talk about and I think the things I’m studying and talking about are readily applicable to virtually all classrooms. This is a great thing for when I go on the job hunt (the “market”) this fall.

Can you believe it? I’m going on the market this fall?! I’ve had a lot of anxiety about it (Because of the lack of publications, lack of much on my resume for the past year or so while my personal life melted down) but after settling into a new pace (and getting some new things on my resume), I’m feeling excited about it. Which brings me to my next point…

In March I went to 2 conferences and it was a GREAT experience! The first I got a grant to attend, but didn’t have to present anything, so it was a stress-free way to learn about my field. It’s the main conference for what I do, so it was really wonderful to make connections across the field and prepare for next year when I really do need to be contributing. It was also fun to fly to Indianapolis and see a new city (not amazingly impressive, but what city is from the perspective of a conference hotel?).

One of the key things I learned is that I’m one of a few people who does what I do. In fact, one of the top research universities in the US was looking to hire someone just like me last year and couldn’t fill the spot (because they’re waiting for me, I’m sure). So now I have a target in mind and I’m already beginning to work on my job materials for this fall.

Sunshine and spring weather is here – we’ve had weather in the 60s and sunshine, which warms my soul. Today, N started “developmental preschool” which will include his speech therapy and also some special education which should help him get caught up on some of the skills where he’s a bit behind and work through some of the emotional stuff related to his dad. It was new to him so there were some rough moments with the new place and new expectations, but he had a blast playing in their indoor gym. He’s kind of a daredevil–when he first learned to go down the slide, he went head first. Well, today, he learned how to swing on a little trapeze and LOVED it!

We also went to the zoo today. I renewed my membership so we can go weekly while my schedule is open and flexible. I’ve quickly realized that its really difficult to entertain him all day for days on end. He’s SO energetic and he hasn’t even been napping well recently. We both do better if either a) he goes to preschool or b) we have a busy day of fun plans. So I really need to plan outings into our schedule. We need to enjoy this time because, fingers crossed, in just over a year I’ll have a full-time real job!

I’ve been cooking a lot again and I started running! I ran with N in the stroller on Sunday morning and it went ok – I can run 3-4 min straight before my heart rate goes up and I can’t exactly breathe. So I’d run, then walk, then run, then walk so that I can slowly build up my endurance. Although we walk a lot, it’s amazing the muscles you use if you run–my thighs were sore, my back was sore.. . . so hopefully this will help me burn more fat and tone my body more. It’s nice to build up my my physical strength. Tonight was a shorter run, but even short runs are important for building endurance 🙂

So, many things to keep me busy and happy! After 6 months on our own, we are thriving 🙂
And, now some pics from today:
Preschool

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Zoo!

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2.5

7 Apr

IMG_0213N is now two and a half, and I can’t let this milestone pass without an update. He’s made so much progress with speech in the last 6 months. He is growing up to be the sweetest boy, shy and observant in new places, wily and gregarious at home. March also marked 6 months as a family of two, and although the drama is ongoing, we’ve settled into a happy little life together.

I’m gonna be posting a lot tonight (mostly because posting happens in fits-and-starts) but it’s better to get things written than leave them ignored since this is the chronicle of a childhood.

So, N at 2 1/2!IMG_0370IMG_0247Nicknames: Angel, Muffin, buddy

Temperament: We’ve reached a nice balance between tantrum-land and not really speaking up at all. N has opinions and he vocalizes them, but he’s getting much better at using words and gestures to communicate. Even his preschool has commented on how sweet he is and how much he’s grown in the past 6 months. He really is growing up! Running, climbing, and wrestling are still his favorite games. By far, he prefers to be outside and doing something. We LOVE the wildlife area right by our apartment where we can walk and look at birds and water. Despite this physicality, N is getting better at playing with cars and trains quietly by himself. As usual, when he’s fussy or cranky, there’s a reason behind it.IMG_0174IMG_0153What we’re eating: I’ve been trying to sit down and eat dinner with N every day because I think it’s a good routine and model of healthy habits, how to use utensils, etc. BUT N doesn’t really like real food 🙂 He still prefers carbs and proteins to fruits and veggies. He is getting more curious, so he’ll try some new foods sometimes. Likes sweet potatoes, blueberries, bagels, waffles (fa-fa!), eggs, chicken (sometimes), veggie burgers, raisins, cereal, graham crackers. .. anything with peanut butter & jelly or nutella.

What N’s Saying: Happily, the word list is getting longer and longer! He mimics a lot and he’s picking up more complex words. He’s also putting multiple words together for meaning (awa-off means “water off” – which to us, means that the fountain he really likes to visit is turned off right now). Tonight, we learned ice cream (aye -ee). He now says hi to people we pass on the street, bye at stores to strangers, and points out airplanes, birds, tractors, etc. He often drops the beginning or end of words (awa, not water) and doesn’t pronounce a lot of consonants. But he’s getting the idea of speech and we have our own little language 🙂

He spent the last few weeks with grandma and grandpa and he does so well with them! I think he just loves being the center of their attention 🙂 He always picks up a lot of words when he’s with them–and they understand him too, so that’s a good thing!IMG_0335Playing with his kitty!IMG_0233Meeting “Dubs” our university mascot

Things I Could Do Without: 8am wake-ups? Now that I’m not teaching this quarter (in order to work on my data collection), I’d love to sleep in just a bit. Maybe in a few weeks we’ll settle into a later routine. More than that, N is SO energetic, but it’s taxing to be moving at his pace all day. Right now he’s obsessed with playing outside at all times, and he loves to play outside the apartment. But we’re right next to a parking lot, next to a busy street, so I have to constantly monitor what he’s doing so it’s difficult to get anything done. He is going-going-going all the time and is even taking shorter naps, so I find that I’m using all my energy just to keep up with him, never mind cooking, cleaning, or getting my own work done. Tomorrow’s a preschool day, so it’ll be a nice break.

Things I Love the Most Right Now: N is my little buddy, my little shadow. I love his personality, and now that we can communicate better we do fun little things together–like going out for ice cream before bed, hiking, chasing ducks, climbing trees…IMG_0283IMG_0282Item/Toy N Loves The Most: Choo-choos! He currently really loves trains: we watch Thomas on Hulu, play with train sets, and my mom even found my brother’s old train sets to play with while visiting. He has a choo-choo blanket he sleeps under and enjoys sleeping with his trains. Or airplane. Or car. IMG_0408IMG_0365Silly uncle Mike!

The past couple months have been busy. We went to a protest in support of Ukraine together & Mama was on TV speaking about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. IMG_0142 IMG_0141Little patriot! 

We drove out to visit the grandparents, exploring practically every rest area along the way. Every day is an adventure!IMG_0328Hiking in my hometown. At Christmas we made it only a short hike. This time we went with Uncle Mike, and although N went most of the way on my back, he definitely enjoyed playing in “Devil’s kitchen” at the end.IMG_0450 IMG_0449 We have many more adventures planned: Wednesday we’re starting developmental preschool through his speech therapy school. Since our schedule is more flexible, there’s no harm in getting a little bit more support (and another activity on the calendar–for free). I’m also going to renew our zoo membership so we have another place to go as the weather gets nice. I’m considering swimming lessons, but I’m not sure if the logistics will work out. I’ve started running with N in the stroller, and we plan to run/walk a 10k with my bro & daddy-o in June, so we’ll be spending plenty of time outside.

I want to model a healthy, active, adventurous lifestyle for my son. Not just say it, but do it every day. I’m not perfect–most of Feb and March I ate quick freezer meals and N lived on “fa-fa” (waffles), but bit by bit, we are living better and living happier. And with the drama that still flitters in and out of our lives, that in itself is a victory 🙂

Muscle memory

7 Feb

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This week has been crazy and eventful and I need to blog it for a lot of reasons. But for now, just a fleeting thought.

Today I had to go to campus for a couple errands and the sun was shining on a very cold day. I thought it would be fun to get some fresh air, so I loaded N onto my back, tossed my book-bag w/laptop across my chest and set out. It’s a quick 10-min walk down a road, across a huge parking lot and up a ton of stairs to get to my building on the top of a hill. It was amazing to move my body, breathe in the crisp winter air and to feel the snuggles of my baby on my back.

And that’s when the memory hit–I felt the burn in my legs and the dull ache between my shoulder blades of a pack a bit too heavy. As I juggled the straps of a backpack with a cross-body book-bag: this felt like life 10 years ago when I was free and traveling across Europe. First Western Europe (and Australia) as I studied in The UK for a year, then Eastern Europe as I did the Peace Corps. It felt the same way as when I was young and free and had all my worldly possessions on my back.

Instead of bringing me down and reminding me of all the problems of this week/month/year, this realization, this muscle memory, reminded me that it will all be ok. Today, too, I had all my world on my back and even now, I am FREE!

Talking

30 Dec

IMG_9551At just over 27 months (2 yrs, 3 mo), N is finally having a speech explosion. He can now say:

Ma – call for mama

Ba-pa (Grandpa)

Bye-bye

See-ya

Hish (thanks)

aye (hi)

Sasha (his dad’s name)

Daa (Dog)

Bii (Bird)

Baa (ball)

buh (more)

baby

sha-sha (wash)

Cheese

Da (Down, with finger pointing down)

Ba-ba (open, rhymes perfectly)

Fish

meow

oink-oink (not cute like it’s spelled, but like the animal)

Rawr (for a lion or a bear or any ferocious animal)

kitty-kitty

shoes

fa (five – as in “give me five”)

Big Sky Christmas

22 Dec

With the way the calendar falls this year, I was able to take a long vacation to my hometown for the Christmas break. After leaving N with his grandparents for a week after Thanksgiving and then driving back on my own, we’ve had plenty of time to just hang out and enjoy a Big Sky Christmas.IMG_8772 IMG_8932when he first put on this hat, he wouldn’t wear it. When Grandma put it on him and showed him how cute he is in the mirror, he wouldn’t take it off (for over 3 days, day and night)!IMG_8959 IMG_8960 IMG_9006My first time building a gingerbread house – it was pretty fun (and took several hours of my afternoon). Built a graham cracker house for N. to enjoy, too! IMG_9027He had to try on all the stockings to make sure they were ok 🙂IMG_9100We had a fun morning at a local children’s exploration museum. He loved the shopping carts in the toddler play area!IMG_9138 Snow in my backyardIMG_9137Can’t wait for Christmas to finally come next week!!

December Update

21 Dec

IMG_8757On the drive

December has been a busy month so I’ve hardly had time to update. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from making N’s annual photo album, it is essential to keep this updated. So here’s a quick update before I blog some N & holiday updates.

The beginning of the month, I flew back home without my snuggle-bug. I ended up staying one week without him, wrapping up teaching, turning in my human subjects review board application for my dissertation research. It was lonely without him, but nice to get things done.

Also that week, the soon-to-be ex hubs flew back to the US. I have made it my mission to be neutral about the whole thing. He has citizenship and as long as he doesn’t bother me, he has every right to be here. He mad a friend online (a photographer we know from weddings) and she and her husband are letting him stay with them while he gets onto his feet. They picked him up at the airport and that evening, the 4 of us met for sushi. It was weird–he was trying to be super friendly (hugging me, cracking inside jokes, etc) but the husband pulled him aside later and told him to chill. I guess these friends have had their own problems so they are sympathetic to our situation. A couple days later, I told the photographer friend (the wife) about why we’re divorcing and she totally understood. It sounds like her mission is to try and help hubs out and allow our little family to make memories that are positive.

Since then, we have been texting and talking a bit as we finish wedding edits so I can leave the business while still making our clients happy. If he gets pissy, I dis-connect, and he IS making an effort to apologize when he is a jerk. I have made it clear to him (and anyone in the world who cares) that even if he is a perfect angel, the divorce is still happening. This past year has forced me to re-examine all that I want in a relationship, companionship, and in a future for myself and my son and he cannot provide that. It is scary to go out into the dating world again, but I will find someone who will truly be my partner–or I’ll be stronger on my own.

I drove back to my parents’ house on the 10th/11th. It took 2 days because of the weather. Since then, I’ve been grading, editing, wrapping presents, and hanging out. It is nice to have many people to watch and play with N. He is loved!

Of course, being home isn’t all roses and sunshine. I feel guilty when I don’t do enough–when I’m on my own, I do everything and when I’m here I do nothing (and my mom does it all). I’m trying to strike a balance and attempt to clean up after myself, cook dinner for the family, still go on little adventures with N, and generally help out where I can. I also don’t want to disrupt my mom’s way of doing things. and I can always do better.

My uncle also had a re-occurrence of brain cancer. Six years ago, they found a large brain tumor. It was the most aggressive kind and his was stage 4. They operated, did radiation and chemotherapy and he radically changed his diet. He went into remission, but maybe a year ago something showed up on scans. They did a cyberknife procedure to cut it out. Later scans still showed something and so they biopsied it and the cancer is definitely back. He’s had some mini-strokes ( I think — or seizures. I’m not sure). Earlier this week he had a new operation and he’s getting out of the hospital today. He’ll get chemotherapy this time (no radiation due to scar tissue) and he needs physical therapy to work out the problems from the mini-strokes. It’s scary – and strange for him to be going through this. My family’s not that close, but he’s definitely the closest relative. He’s a great guy and I am scared for his family. But all information and emotions are filtered through my dad (his brother) and I have never built an adult relationship with him or his family. There’s a distance with my cousins (his sons). . .even though one cousin has a son N’s age, there still just isn’t anything to talk about. So this is something that occupies my mind but I’m not sure what to think about it.

I’m very much looking forward to Christmas. My baby bro will be in town and we have our set Christmas Even and Christmas day traditions. I’m excited to give some good gifts this year and to have some quality time with my family (secure in the knowledge that there’s not going to be any drama or drunken craziness going on). A boring, traditional holiday is just my kind of holiday.

My bro will be staying for at least a few days after Christmas, so we’ll be able to get out and have some fun. I really want to go snowshoeing and maybe hiking (depending on how much snow we have!) and just enjoy my hometown the best I can.

I’m not chomping at the bit to see my old high school friends. After going to college and everyone going their separate ways, it’s hard to re-connect. I think there was a lot of silly judgement that occurred relating to everyone’s choices in our 20s and I’m just not dying to defend myself, talk about divorce, or small talk with people who don’t get my life. So far, I’ve run into 1 whole person around town.

So that’s the update. I’m going to try and post fun pics and N updates soon. I have some good ones 🙂

Thankful

28 Nov

This year has been rough. One of the craziest, hardest years I’ve ever had (almost definitely the worst), and yet I have so much to be thankful for:

  • My family, who have supported me beyond measure,
  • My friends, who have supported me in my time of need despite being a negligent friend in recent years,
  • My health (although I’m pretty sure I’ve come down with hand-foot-mouth disease too),
  • My amazing graduate studies/dissertation committee that builds me up and pushes me academically,
  • My son, who is my joy, light, and happiness,
  • N’s preschool, which meets my schedule & budget and yet gas the greatest teachers who really care for my awesome little boy,
  • Taking charge and finding myself again, which includes things like reading for fun, doing arts and crafts, cooking healthy, and losing weight,
  • My students, who really seem to appreciate my teaching even when in a little flaky with all the upheaval (and sickness) in my life,
  • Having enough money to pay my bills and have a few nice things. I’m fantastically lucky that we seem to be managing financially thanks to pay increases in my teaching jobs & new place to live.

I am so looking forward to spending a peaceful holiday season with my parents, brother and son an looking forward to ringing in a new year!!!