Thursday, September 30, 2010

Free Time

We have started a babysitting swap with a neighbor, so tomorrow I have four hours of free-time tomorrow morning. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do during the time. In some ways it feels like it will be an eternity, in other ways it feels like it's no time at all. Nothing seems like it's worth it. C is going to take Wiggle over in the morning, so I can sleep in a little bit.

Today we went to music class, and it was raining, so on the way home we had to stop and do a little splashing and some singing.

video

He insisted on holding the umbrella

C said this shirt was too preppy, but I think he looks great.
(That's also the New Yorker that he's reading)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things Are Really Cooking

Tonight I cooked dinner for the first time since we moved here. For those of you tsk-tsk-tsk-ing, let me say that I have prepared and assembled many meals, but I had not yet cooked. I looked through a cookbook today, chose a couple of recipes, went shopping, and then made dinner. We've been doing a lot of shortcuts lately, and it felt really good to have multiple pots on the stove, to chop a variety of vegetables, to smell good cooking smells. I decided on Indian food because I have wanted to introduce more ethnic food into both our eating and cooking repertoire. Plus, C really loves it, and I wanted to have a nice dinner for him when he got home. I chose chicken in a sweet red pepper sauce, potatoes, peas, and carrots, and an aromatic rice dish, all from the same cookbook. Everything was delicious and there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrow.

It felt good to cook again, to move around my kitchen; I always feel more grounded when I cook regularly.
I also have been neglecting part of my stay-at-home mom duties by not cooking. C doesn't care if I have planned dinner, but I do feel that it is quite a luxury to be able to be at home with Wiggle, and that my "job" rightly includes a good deal of cooking and cleaning. Plus, after a day of taking out and putting away blocks a million times, or vacuuming in the morning only to have cat food spilled all over in the afternoon, preparing a nice meal gives me a not-insubstantial feeling of accomplishment. And C is very appreciative, and it makes tomorrow easier in that I generally either have lunch or another dinner taken care of. It's really a win-win-win-win-win... I don't understand why everyone doesn't love cooking.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I Need Counseling

Or, rather, a degree in counseling. Tonight I went to the info session for the MSW program at Mason. It seems fine, and I will definitely apply, but I am also toying with the idea of applying to PhD programs in counseling psych. From what I've seen so far though, I doubt I'd be accepted. For the relatives in the audience, I am not being self-deprecating, rather I am being lower-GPA, who will I get for letters, no research experience realistic. I just thought I should try to have a couple of options.

Ugh, this would all be so much easier if I knew where we were going to live.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Up All Night, PB & J

video
Then we went to a fellow faculty member's house to meet-n-greet C's graduate students. Wiggle insisted on wearing his argyle sweater because C was wearing one. I didn't get a pic, but trust me, it was exceptionally cute.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Howdy, Neighbor!


Today was the Masonvale meet-n-greet barbecue. Other than the blinding sun and scorching heat, it was quite a bit of fun. We had seen most of the neighbors last night at the potluck, but you can't really have too much of a good thing, can you? Wiggle ate a hot dog, played with the other kids, and looked apprehensively at the world's most depressing clown. Not only did I never see him smile, but I tried to get a picture of him for 20 minutes, and he never even looked up enough to get a full-on shot. Also, the Masonvale representative looked like someone that some neighborhoods would form a watch-group about.

The barbecue also brings up a new blogging problem I am running into. While my blog is basically anonymous, I obviously do let family and friends know about it. There have been several things that I would have liked to blog about, but I wasn't sure if the people I would be blogging about would eventually be reading the blog. It's not that I want to trash anyone, but if something frustrating or unusual happens, I might want to write about it. I have seen other bloggers talk fairly freely about their reactions to situations in their lives, but, of course, I don't know what the reactions of those in their lives are. I guess I'll just take it on a case-by-case basis.

For your viewing pleasure -
Trying to put my creation on as a hat
Still trying...
This was seriously my best shot of the clown. I guess, this is why people are afraid of clowns.

Out with the Old...

Today, I threw out old and bought new underwear. It sort of got me thinking about other stuff that I have been holding onto that could use some updating. Thing-wise, we are doing well because I did a lot of purging before the move, but I have a lot of ideas and attitudes that I should really try to put out with the weekly trash.

This week I have been coming to terms with our new budget. Although moving here means we have more job stability than ever, it also means some belt-tightening. I don't mind living cheaply, but I hate trying to live with a specific budget. Keeping track of each and every item we buy and categorizing it, gives me a stress headache just thinking about it. More importantly, when I get stressed about things, especially money, I tend to catastrophize. One minute I'm going over the bank statement,  looking for where we can make cuts, the next I'm telling C that we will be homeless living under a bridge if he continues to buy coffee on campus. I need to learn to take a deep breath and take more responsibility for what's making me nervous about a situation. In this case, after the move I hadn't been paying as much attention to our spending habits as I normally do, so that when I looked over our monthly spending, I felt ambushed by a month's worth of purchases all in one sitting. It wasn't, in reality, a bad situation, but it felt out of my control, so I felt like my whole life was out of control.

The weird thing is, I am really good at feeling out of control where Wiggle is concerned. One day a few weeks ago, we were at the library, and he kept running away from me up and down the aisles. I was having trouble catching him without making a big commotion, so in effect, we were playing peek-a-boo, with him at one end of an aisle and me at the other. Then I popped my head around the next aisle, and he wasn't there. I tried the next few aisles, the last few, I hurried to the end where he had been. I didn't see him. My heart started to pound, and I was beginning to feel frantic because I wanted to yell, but I was in the library. Instead of totally freaking out and yelling his name as I ran around like a freak, I was able to calm myself down by remembering that a lot of people had seen us playing and were therefore aware of him and could help me if needed. Also there were a ton of families there; I felt pretty sure that if an unattended little boy was wandering around, a concerned mother would probably look after him until I could find him. Plus, if I decided I did need to yell his name, since it was a library, everyone would hear me, so everyone would look up from whatever they were doing. It would not be a proud parenting moment, but he would be safe. All of this went through my head in a matter of seconds as I looked around the unfamiliar library. I found him after maybe a full minute; he was "hiding" under a computer station. He had felt nature call and was taking a minute alone to complete his business, which seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation for abandoning our "game" in the stacks.

Why can't I do the same thing with our budget? Or thinking about going back to school? Why can't I see a frivolous purchase and think "that was not the best way to spend that money, but all I can do is change how I spend our money from now on" ? Why can't I realize that even if that latte pushes us over our budget, if we change our behavior the next month, we will only be over budget by one latte, which even I can see will not cause us to live in a refrigerator box under the freeway?

I still need to make that penny-pinching budget this weekend, but I'm feeling less overwhelmed by it. Now I need to sign up for the GREs, make sure I have done everything I can to establish Virginia residency, study for the GREs, and start looking at application deadlines. Perhaps my money stressing has just been masking my going back to school stressing.

So many things to stress about, so little time. Scratch that. So little time, so few things worth stressing about.

Who knew new underwear could say so much?
Painting on the porch
Hamming it up for the camera
Strutting his stuff while putting a crayon in his "button"
Just a guy starting his day by taking off his pants, putting on his hat, sitting in his chair, and drinking his milk. You know, a regular guy.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mr. Preposition


Little boy on the prairie

Wiggle is all about prepositions lately. If you give him something he doesn't want, he gives it to you and says "from me, to Daddy." If you have something he wants, he says "for me."

He also had a spoon in his bowl hanging over the edge, and he started moving it around in a circle and saying "tick, tock." He has been able to identify clocks for a long time, and somehow realized that analog and digital forms are both clocks, but I have know idea how he knows how a clock works. We don't have any analog clocks in the house. I have no idea where he comes up with this stuff.

Today Wiggle showed me C's old cellphone and pointed to the back where the camera hole is and said "cheese!" He has gotten a jaded, I guess.

video
Say "Cheese!"

Helping me take out the trash

      

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dead Tired

This might be categorized as TMI, but ever since Wiggle, before I get my period, I get absolutely exhausted. I mean, I just yawn all day. I even nap when Wiggle takes his nap, but I could sleep until 6 or 7 at night easily. I started taking a B12 supplement today because I read that is supposed to help. In the meantime, I will sleepwalk through the next few days.

This morning Wiggle and I went to our new playgroup. There were a couple of other kids around his age, and all of the kids and their parents seemed very nice. Wiggle loved playing with "kids!" and went down for his na[ around 12:30 pm instead of 1:30 pm, which I welcomed.

We spent the afternoon coloring and Wiggle correctly identified red, green, purple, blue, yellow, black, and brown. Then he requested his dinosaur coloring book which was quickly followed by dumping all of the crayons and pencils on the floor.

This evening we went outside and Wiggle rode his tricycle down the street. It was pretty awesome. We met C on the way home, and then we played at the playground for a little while before dinner.

Other than the exhaustion, it was a pretty good day.
At swim class today, Wiggle was zoomin'. All the other parents and the instructor were saying that he would be swimming by himself in no time. He spent a lot of time going under the water, laughing and smiling the whole time. Afterward, I went to the gym, and did my time on the treadmill unenthusiastically, but diligently.
Tomorrow, we have our first Mommy and Me class at the local rec center. I hope Wiggle and I meet some fun new people.
video
Mommy's little boy

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sugar Crash

Not actually sugar, but the equivalent in Grandparent and Great Aunt love. The in-laws left today, and Wiggle crashed around 6:30. He was in bed by 7:00 pm, and he was trying to climb into his crib as soon as he got upstairs. He loved seeing them and playing with them, but it is more intense attention than he gets most days around here.

C and I got to go out again last night. We didn't get home until after midnight! I can't remember the last time that happened. We had dinner and a couple of drinks, and then saw a movie. It was absolutely wonderful. I think we tuckered the in-laws out a little by staying out so late. Another sterling argument for staying at the house; you can babysit while sleeping. We went out to breakfast this morning, where Wiggle inhaled all of C's and my lox, and then picked at his own eggs. Then he went to church, where he was apparently very well-behaved.
The extended fam
A boy and his other favorite aunt
Boys being boys

Friday, September 17, 2010

Our Own Private Economic Stimulus Package

We did our part for the economy today. Wiggle made his first trip to Toys-R-Us, and I didn't know if we'd ever get him out again. He got a big dump truck with plenty of "beeps." I tried to push for a non-noisy one, but was told "no beeps, mom!" and was vetoed. He also got some new puzzles, a big megablocks set, a playmat, some Matchbox cars, and a couple of books. Quite a haul. Then we went to Target, where the boy charmed us into buying him yet another fall jacket by looking so darn handsome. Don't worry, there will be pictures. Oh, and shoes! Some really cute brown boots. The boy was flying high with no nap and more attention than is good for anyone. To top it off, I procured a tricycle from Craigslist that he pedaled himself his first time on it! The boy is amazing.
Nonna, Aunt M, and Pop-pop babysat while we went out to dinner. We sat outside at a little Thai place; it was so nice to go out and have some time to ourselves.
Tomorrow, Nonna has requested a trip to IKEA because she's never been to one. I am quite positive she has no idea what she's in for, but it should be a fun trip. Plus, there are meatballs, a Wiggle favorite.
I will try to remember to bring a camera tomorrow because my recent posts have been sorely lacking in photos.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Family -Time

Nonna, Pop-pop, and Aunt M arrived today! Wiggle was super excited. He went through all of the paces, impressing and entertaining the troops, so to speak. C had to teach tonight, so the rest of us went out to dinner at Coastal Flats. I had a shrimp roll, and Wiggle had a lot of bread, butter, and some crab dip. Wiggle, of course,  charmed all of the waiters and the hostesses and the patrons in nearby booths.

I was a little disappointed to find out that Nonna wouldn't be staying at the house because I was looking forward to going on a date or even two? with C, but, hey, going out, on the weekend, at night, is overrated, right? Perhaps a lunch date is in order.

Tomorrow, Wiggle will be spoiled with clothes and toys, which is just the way he and the in-laws want it, so I think everyone will be happy. Then, if the weather is nice, the neighborhood block party. Friday night looks pretty good from here.

Double Header

So I totally forgot to post last night. I went to the gym after Wiggle's swim lesson, and it totally kicked my butt. Also, my in-laws are coming today, which is great, but I was a little distracted. I've been having trouble sleeping lately too. I find myself lying in bed thinking that I'm relaxing, but then I realize that my muscles are all tensed up and my jaw is clenched. I have traditionally had trouble sleeping, but since Wiggle was born it had been better. Now it is worse than ever. Here's hoping for easy slumber in the near future.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Farmers' Market and Playdate

We went to the farmers' market this morning and met our neighbor and his son at the nearby playground. The weather was absolutely perfect, not too sunny and warm with a slight breeze. I got some great looking peppers and tomatoes, and some Romaine that actually had flavor.
Grilling the delicious veggies to go with some flank steak

We spent some more time at the playground behind our house before dinner. Wiggle ran around and we played "I got you!" which consists of me chasing him around calling "I'm gonna get you!" 

Peek-a-boo!

We are looking forward to Nonna, Pop-Pop's, and Aunt M's visit on Thursday. Wiggle keeps talking about them, so I think it will be a really fun visit. Plus C and I will get some alone time!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Swimming!

We had our first swim lesson today. Wow! What a difference a real instructor and a warmish pool makes. Wiggle loved it and so did I. These lessons are also twice a week, so he will probably be able to gain some actual swim skills. Then I did my run, which was hella hard today.
I also took a career-aptitude test which told me that I should be an accountant. Nothing against accountants, but I do not want to be an accountant. The next step? A career interest inventory, and some GRE studying. I'm also wondering if I should retake the LSAT. Of course, I don't have a problem taking tests; I LIKE taking tests. I just don't know what to do after that. Ugh. Blech. It will get better, but it feels slow going right now.
Tomorrow, the farmer's market and a play date at a really fun park.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Best Kind of Sunday


This morning I awoke to fresh blueberry muffins and coffee, thanks to my wonderful husband. It was overcast and rainy outside, which is my favorite kind of weather. In our new house my favorite weather is paired with my favorite view, green and hilly. What can I say? It's my Scottish ancestry, I guess. We lazed around inside for the rest of the morning.

After Wiggle's nap, we went to the library where Wiggle scored some new books to pour over, and I scored a GRE practice test book, a couple of career aptitude books, some cookbooks, and a knitting book. Overall, it was a good haul. I have a couple of fiction books in the hopper at home, but I wasn't able to get the book that my book club is reading. I might have to read it online, which I'm kind of dreading, but the meeting is this Saturday, so it may be the only viable option. Then we ran to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things, but made a pit stop at the frozen yogurt/gelato place next door. Wiggle enjoyed mango and mint chocolate chip gelatos.

As we drove home from the library, Wiggle said "house" and "playground" when we reached the neighborhood. Naturally, we walked over to the playlot and horsed long enough for Wiggle to start being a little wobbly with fatigue. On the way home, we met another of our neighbors and his son, who is almost three. Wiggle followed the older boy around, who was pretending to be some kind of monster, with rapt attention. His mom is home too, so we will probably be seeing a lot more of him.

For dinner, we had some more of the delicious candy tomatoes in a pasta salad. This is the way I would like every Sunday to go, and I don't really see any reason why most of them can't be like this. I have a pretty good life.
A boy wolfing down gelato and tasting our frozen yogurt

At the playlot

video
Climb it!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Beautiful Day


Today we got a late start, so we had to rush out the door to get to the farmers' market before it shut down. We hadn't been to the Saturday one before (there is also one on Tuesday and on Sunday), and it was both larger and appeared to have more local produce than the other ones, which is great.
We took home some peaches and nectarines so fragrant, that I kind of want to rub them on my neck as perfume. Also, we have cherry tomatoes in both yellow and purple, as well as some big, beautiful heirlooms. The tomatoes here are some of the best I've ever had; each variety actually tastes different, and they are so sweet, they are almost like candy. Even Wiggle, who normally eschews tomatoes, ate a bowlful tonight with dinner.
We also went to an awesome park today, Burke Lake Park. It is about 15 minutes from the house and is HUGE. There are trails and picnic shelters, a kiddie train, the lake, boat rentals, playgrounds, and a gold course. It is also very pretty. If I ever work up to running outdoors, it is a dream spot.
The park was very crowded today, partially because it was a beautiful day ("Hello, Fall! I've missed you!"), and partially because today was the last day of Ramadan, and there were many families out celebrating and grilling. We took a walk to the lake and on the way back we had to cross a part of the path that was separating two parts of such a group, as we walked by they had a huge bowl of grilled chicken that smelled strongly of lemon and garlic - two of my favorite smells. We made our way past the crowd hovering near the bowl, when a hand reached out the bowl to us, and a young woman asked us if we would like some. I said "yes!", but figured I would taste it and then give the rest of the piece to Wiggle, who was running down due to a delay in both nap and food. Then they offered C a piece and Wiggle, and it was delicious! We walked back to the car savoring our chicken and thinking how lucky we are to have moved to such a wonderfully diverse and welcoming place.
Here are some pics from the park.
Looking at geese and fish from the pier

The boat launch and view of the lake

Wiggle noshing on the awesome chicken

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend in the County

So apparently, we live in Fairfax County and not the City of Fairfax as I originally thought. For some small reason, this is a little disappointing to me. I guess my snob streak runs deeper than I thought. Oh well, that's not really a big surprise.

Some of the neighbors had a potluck right outside on our cul-de-sac tonight. I met some other nice families and their kids, and the best news, they have plans to do it every Friday night. Talk about a neighborhood; it's pretty awesome.

Wiggle and I have been avoiding the park as of late because it is unrelentingly bright and sunny here until 7:00 pm, and Wiggle has developed a new habit of rubbing sunscreen in his eyes to the point of needing his eyes flushed. Today it was fairly overcast and wonderfully cool, so we went over to one of the playlots this afternoon.

We spent a lot of time going forward and backward; playing hide-and-seek, and going down the slide, of course.
Chillin' on a park bench

Going "ovvvvaaaaa" the bridge

Riding the bulldozer






Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Slow Day

Thursdays C teaches until 10:00 pm, so I'm on my own for the evening, as well as the day. When I discovered at mid-afternoon that C had left the trash he had promised to take out last night sitting in the entryway, complete with a rotting chicken carcass, I took a bit of a "mental health" afternoon. Wiggle and I watched some of a movie and vegged out instead of going to the park as I had originally planned.

On the upside, I read a bunch today and last night.

This new blogging regimen is going to be trying, but worth it in the end, I think.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

VAriety




So, we've been in Virginia about a month, and we are starting to settle in. So far the traffic has not been as bad as everyone said, but then again, we don't try to go into the District at rush hour, so we haven't fully experienced it. Everything is crowded though. There is people traffic, as well as car traffic. Stores are crowded, restaurants seem crowded, parks, and trails are crowded. Not so much that things are at a stand still, but you are very aware that there are a lot of people around. Also surprising is the amount of diversity in the area. Coming from a city of neighborhoods, many of which are ethnically segregated neighborhoods, it is a welcome change to hear 4 or 5 different languages spoken while in line at the grocery store. This also means that there is a wealth of ethnic food and ingredients around. One thing we appear to be lacking so far, is cheap produce. Even the farmer's markets seem expensive compared to Chicago, especially considering that the food is generally not organic.

The days seem to fly by, so we haven't established much of a routine yet, but C only started teaching last week, so hopefully, the structure that I crave will firm up in the coming weeks. Wiggle clearly misses his friends, but loves his new, huge room, and our house in general. He has already met a couple of new playmates in the neighborhood, but it will be awhile before they are really chummy with each other.

The boy is growing up fast. I gave him his first haircut the day before yesterday.

He is talking up a storm. Sentences become longer and more frequent each day. He expresses preferences by saying "like it" or "yucky." He has been working on colors, although he tends to favor pink and blue as guesses. He also counts to ten, even if 5 and 8 don't generally make the cut.

One of my favorite things he does, is when he tries to get you to do something by as many means as he can. If he wants to watch TV, he will say "Watch!" When I say no, he tries "See!" or "Look!" Then he may ask for a show by name, or even try pulling me toward the remote. I wonder where he gets this stubborn streak?

On a personal note, I realize that I will not be running a marathon this fall. Am I bummed? Not really, I plan on doing a 10k in October, which will be 5 miles more than I could run at this time last year, so I feel pretty good. Plus, I have found I really love running, and I feel better than I have in a long time.

I also have a few more resolutions to put in print.

I am going to post a blog entry ------- EVERY DAY. In this case, I'm going for quantity over quality in order to get the habit ingrained. Now for all of you Wiggle-freaks out there, this does mean that there will be more pictures and Wiggle-related posts, but they won't all be about him, because, well, I am trying to have a life too.

Also, I am going to read every day. I would like to get through at least two books a month, which I know will be a breeze some of the time, but I have the resolution for those other times. And the newspaper - I have to read the newspaper every day. Now that we are where news happens, I feel woefully uninformed.

More amorphously, I need to find out what I want and can go back to school for and start that process. My goal is to be taking some classes by next fall.

Don't worry there are some pics...

A busy professional with a keen fashion sense

This blurry chicken is always on the move