The month of love

I’m not generally a big Valentine’s Day fan. It’s too commercial and I’d much rather get flowers on a random day than anytime around a holiday.  Sure, Robyn and I have some traditions for V-day, like buying a new specialty box of chocolate each year to enjoy together and going into Boston to get Burdick’s hot chocolate, but that is the extent of our V-day celebrations.  However, when you have a child, you are always looking for a way to make them feel special (year round) and I found something that happens to fit in well with the month of February.

I’m not sure where I found this, probably Pinterest, but I remembered that I saw something where someone cut out hearts in different colors and wrote down compliments for their child and then put one on their door each day for the month of February, so when they woke up, there was a new message for them to read. Since February is “the month of love” and also Ashton’s birthday month, I thought this was a really cute idea to do with Ashton to let him know how much he is loved and appreciated by Robyn and I.  It also tied in nicely with his preschool and their “kindness curriculum” the past two months.

So, I got to cutting out 29 hearts in pink, red and white and wrote things on them like  “You are kind,” “You are smart,”  “You have great ideas,” “We believe in you,” and “We love you.”

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I have loved hanging his hearts on his bedroom door each night after he has gone to bed and hearing about them when I pick him up from school in the evening.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be woken up to a new surprise each day that let them know all the great things others feel about them? What a great way to start each morning, right?

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In a day and age where things are so busy, so structured, everyone is so pressed for time, people don’t take the time to let those in their lives know how they feel, it’s important to me that Ashton always knows how much Robyn and I love and appreciate him, and that while we have very small family, he always has him Mama and Dad to be there to support him.  This was just a small, fun way to do that and for us to celebrate the month of love at the same time!

 

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Question of the day

Do you celebrate Valentine’s day?  How do you let the ones you love know you care outside of “commercial” holidays?

Fixing Ashton’s foot

**Warning: this is a bit of a long post**

Back in late 2014, Robyn and I started to notice that Ashton’s right foot was turning in a bit, it was nothing drastic, but we noticed it from time to time while he was walking.  We talked to his pediatrician who took a look at it and said to keep an eye on it and if it continued, we would send him to a specialist. Flash forward to this summer and while on a hike, Ashton ran ahead of us and we both turned to each other after seeing a much more prominent turn of the foot. I told Robyn we needed to get it looked at now, I didn’t want to wait anymore and he agreed.

That was on a Saturday and on Monday morning I immediately called my amazing podiatrist and asked if he saw toddlers, thankfully he did. He was able to squeeze me in that week due to a cancellation and Robyn, Ashton and I showed up in his office to get to the bottom of this problem and fix his foot.  He asked us some questions and then put Ashton though a bunch of movement tests.  Thankfully, there was nothing SERIOUSLY wrong with him.  What he did have was a slight weakness on his right side, mainly in his hips, which he thought he could quickly address with a small tweak.  Of course, when he said that I was thinking the worst. Does he need surgery? What kind of tweak?  But it was something much simpler…we needed to get Ashton into minimalist, zero drop shoes.  What?? That’s it?

Dr. Feldman taught us that the worst thing we can do is put our kids in hard soled, heavily structured shoes (which is basically what we have been told to do for YEARS.)  He said this is counterproductive and that we want children barefoot as often as possible (which was great since we always have him barefoot at home), and when that is not possible, they should be in ultra-thin soled, zero drop shoes to allow proper alignment and the ability to actually feel the ground below them.  That was Ashton’s problem, it was his foot’s lack of sensory ability to feel the ground because his shoes were TOO supportive.  He said he sees countless people (children and adults) that have problems with their feet and knees because they have been in overly structured shoes their entire lives and their bodies try to adjust to the shoes, instead of moving naturally as we were designed to do.

He then used the example of how people always use watching young kids run barefoot as being the prime example of how we are supposed to move. Now if that is how we are SUPPOSED to move, then why do we put ourselves in shoes that do everything to stop us from moving this way? The way we were born to move?  We talked a bit about the minimalist movement in running (since he is a distance runner) and all the points he made, made perfect sense, but goes against everything we have been told over the course of the last few decades.  However, the tides are changing and there is so much more research and science behind this minimalist movement.

He said at Ashton’s age,  we should have him in shoes that are soft to allow a natural foot function and that the soles should bend easily at the toe joints because this is where the foot is designed to bend to recreate the arch on take off.  They should have a zero drop which will enhance his lateral movement since the foot will not be up on a platform or have a slope from heel to forefoot, and that they should have a wide toe box so the toes can naturally spread.

Of course, after this information overload, I asked if he could recommend a shoe that had all of this.  His answer was Vivo Barefoot shoes.  He said this was all his young children wear and that was all I needed to hear.  I was sold and bought Ashton his first pair as soon as we got into the car post appointment and we had them in hand in less than a week!vivobarefootHe also wanted us to schedule a consult with a PT for Ashton to ensure there were no other imbalances in his body. The podiatrist works very closely with my amazing PT Mike and he was able to get him into see him a month later and we scheduled a follow-up appointment with Dr. Feldman in December.

Well, within a few days of Ashton wearing the shoes we saw a change.  By the time we went to see Mike to go through the PT evaluation, he couldn’t see any turn in on the right foot. He also put him through about 30 minutes work of drills to evaluate all his movement and he came out with perfect scores.

We had our follow-up appointment last week with Dr. Feldman and he said there is no turn it at all anymore and that the shoes were clearly working!  He fixed Ashton’s foot with the right pair of shoes–crazy right?  We talked a lot about his shoes since his feet are getting so big (he jumped 2 sizes in 6 weeks and then another size about a month later! Yeah, buying shoes for him has been awesome!) and the fact that I love the Vivos but they keep a very low stock of their little kids shoes and in between two pairs, we had to get him a pair of Nikes to hold him over because they were out of stock. He recommended Altras or something similar (as long as its zero drop).  Ashton should be able to size into the Altras soon if his current foot growth is any indication and we may give those a try next!

It’s incredible how drastically Ashton’s movement patterns changed once he was out of the Nikes and New Balances and into the zero drop shoes.  We have learned so much through this experience, most notably that proper shoes make all the difference and moving forward, Ashton will continue wear zero drop shoes…strong feet=happy feet!

Have a good day!

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Question of the day

Anyone else wear zero drop shoes? What shoes do you wear to run and for leisure? Did you know you shouldn’t put babies/kids (or anyone for that matter) in structured shoes?

A fun night at the park {in pictures}

Hi guys–I know I’ve been MIA lately…I’m sorry and I miss you all terribly.  I am in my busy(est) season of work right now and most days I barely have time to eat, so blogging has really taken a back seat, but I just had to share with you some new pics of my little monster.

I am lucky to have a great friend of mine, Michelle, who is also a professional photographer and she offered to take some pics of Ashton for me, so one night late in August we headed out for a fun night at the park and this was the end result. I am absolutely in love with these pics.  I know I say it a lot, but I cannot believe I now have a 3.5 year old preschooler! This boy just melts my heart.

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I can’t even pick a favorite, I just love them all for different reasons. She was able to capture this silly boy perfectly.  Thanks Michelle, you are the best! <3

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Question of the day

What is new in your life?

A letter to Ashton on his first day of Pre-school

***I wrote this letter to Ashton on his first day of Pre-school last week, but didn’t post it, mainly because I spent most of the the day crying.  I’m better now! :)***

 

My sweet little monster,

Well, it’s finally here, your first day of pre-school!  I am certain that I am 100% more anxious about this than you. For the past 3.5 years, you went to Carolle’s house for daycare.  You loved Carolle and she loved you like you were one of her own children. I never worried about you with her. I knew you were safe, having fun, learning a ton, and most importantly being loved. Now, Daddy and I are dropping you off at real school. A place filled with teachers and children we don’t know. We are starting a schedule that is new for all of us. With that comes uncertainty and of course, a bit of anxiety for me (and maybe for you too!)  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to think Mama is unhappy, because I am not. I am really excited for you to start preschool because I know without a doubt you are ready for it. I know you will thrive in the new independence.  I know that you have been ready for this experience for a while, it was me who held off putting you in school last year because, well….because you are growing up so fast and I still look at you like you are my little, tiny baby who needs me for everything and I didn’t (and still don’t) want you to grow up so fast. I know growing up is inevitable and I know that there is only so much that Daddy and I can teach you in the evenings and on the weekends, there is just SO much for you to learn outside of what we can teach you.  There is this whole, great big world out there and I know you are ready to start soaking it all in and I am excited to watch this happen!

So, this morning when you are confused as to why Mama is home and waking you up, it’s because I took the day off of work today. I wanted to be able to drop you off on your first day of school (something Daddy usually does) and I knew I wouldn’t be able to go into work because there would be a lot of tears (mine not yours.) After I hug and kiss you and leave you at school…I have some hopes for you today, as you start a what will be many years of school and education….I hope that your first day is met with your usual zest and curiosity for life, I hope that you love your new teachers and meet some great new friends. I hope no one is mean to you.  I hope that you don’t get scared and cry because you are in a new environment that you are not used to. I hope you have fun and laugh and I hope you learn something new.  All day I will be wondering what you’re doing, if you are okay, if you are having fun, making friends, and eating your lunch. I know I worry too much, but how can I not–I’m your mama and I love you.

Always remember that no matter how old you are Ashton or how independent you become, you will always be my baby.  So go off my little monster, grow, learn, have fun and be awesome.  I can’t wait to pick you up and hear all about it tonight!

Love you always,

Mama

Here are a few pics of him on his first day!

Preschool collage

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Question of the day

Parents…does it get easier as the years go by?

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One Sentence per picture

Happy Friday my friends.  How are you all doing?  I am REALLY excited for the weekend and counting down the hours.  I have 20 minutes before my next series of meetings starts so I thought it was just enough time to check in and say hi.  I think today is a one sentence per picture kind of day, don’t you think?  I thought I’d share with you the last 10 pics I have on my phone and give you a little snap shot into my life lately, since I have been so great at posting 😉

              Pretending to ride a bear is actually pretty fun!

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Ending our weekend away on the best note possible!

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Meanest Mama award goes to me for not letting him play with electronics!

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This hasn’t happened since he was a newborn!

 

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A fun day at the park!

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The cure for a lazy summer day is a sand box and toys.

 

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We have a gnome living in our backyard tree.

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With this delivery,we now have every published Dr. Seuss book for Ashton!

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“Mama, you can’t catch me!”

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We break the rules and get the lollipop first!

 

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Well, that’s it for this edition of One Sentence per picture!  Have a great weekend!

 

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Question of the day

Tell me one good thing that happened to you this week!

Ashton’s first race

Hey friends, I hope you had a great weekend!   I am really excited to tell you all about Ashton’s first race yesterday. There is a local race near us called the Worcester Firefighers 6k that started back in 2000 after 6 firefighters lost their lives battling a fire at the Worcester Cold Storage.  Since it’s inception, this race has been a huge local draw.  They also offer a Youth 1k race (0.62 miles) and I thought this was the perfect first race for Ashton.  Not only would he get to race, but the money goes to a great cause, a win/win for me!

Yesterday morning we left the house at 10 am to drive to Institute Park in Worcester where we picked up his bib and shirt.  It was a super quick process and everyone was really sweet.  His first bib number was #792

2015-06-14 10.23.59He fueled for the race with a tootsie pop! Just kidding, he has chocolate chip pancakes that he and Robyn made earlier in the morning! 🙂  This race has a lot of fun features like a DJ, clowns, face painting, a moon bounce, a silent sports auction and a free BBQ in the park for everyone after the race.  

Since we had about a half hour to kill before the race, Ashton requested some time in the moon bounce so he got nice and sweaty before we even started the race! It was getting HOT (in was about 90 degrees when we started the race) so I was pumping him full of water to make sure he was hydrated and I got him all sun-screened up as well.

We spent some time watching the firetrucks raise the flag over the finish line, which was really amazing to see!

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Then, the MC called all the youth runners to the starting line and we made our way over there. I had to snap a few pics of him on the starting line.

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The MC for the race was awesome, she was getting the kids to sing and dance while we waited for the horn to go off.  Once it did, we were off!

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I love that the race has free pics, I love that it captured Ashton’s excitement as we started the race.  He wanted to hold my hand the whole time…who am I to argue with that??

He started off really strong but towards the turn around area, he was losing steam and saying how hot he was.  We stopped and I was carrying water for him just in case which I was glad I did.  He took quite a bit of water and then said he wanted to walk.  We walked for a little bit and then he asked me to carry him.  I didn’t want his first race experience to be a bad one, and it was SUPER hot out, so I grabbed him and started walking.   Then of course he said, “Mama, run with me!”  So, that is what I did…up a hill, with a  32 lb toddler on my hip. And…this is the picture of us crossing the finish line.

unnamedThe whole race was over in a matter of 4:35, but it’s a memory I will never forget.  We just ran our first of what I hope is many races together!

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Ashton said he had a lot of fun and asked if we would do it again….music to my ears!  I think we will wait until the Fall though, since running in this heat is not ideal.  After the race, none of us we up to sit out in the blazing sun to have a BBQ, so I grabbed Ashton a little ice cream cup and we headed back to the car to cool off and head home.

All in all, this was a really special race and I am just so happy to be able to share something I love so much with my boy.

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Question of the day

For the parents–have you raced with your kids?

For non-parents–do you remember your first race?

Colore Liquid Chalk Markers {Product Review}

Hey friends, Happy Friday!  I hope you are all having a great week! I’d love to be able to tell you things have slowed down a bit for me at work and life was returning to a semi-tolerable pace, but I’d be lying, so instead of talking about that, I am going to take about something WAY more fun (and colorful!!)  So, I recently was given the opportunity to review these really neat liquid chalk markers by Colore.  I knew these would be a bit hit in my house with my little monster, who is also a budding artist! 🙂

DISCLAIMER: I was provided these markers free of charge in exchange for an honest review of my experience with the vest. All opinions are of course, my own and 100% honest.

I received the markers a few weeks ago and I immediately opened them.

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Ashton saw me opening the box came running over and took them out of my hands and claimed them as his! You have to love a 3 year old and their sense of ownership over everything in their world!

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They were packaged nice and tight with plastic and came in a great blue silicone holder to keep them together and neat for storing.IMG_4680

So the skinny on these markers…. they can be used on nearly any non-porous surface, think things like windows (home, car, business) glass doors, white boards, menu boards, food storage containers, etc.  The pack I received came with with eight markers that were all very bright and bold with a neon quality.  The colors we received were blue, yellow, red, green, orange, white, pink, and purple.  What is great about these markers is that they have two types of tips, chisel and bullet so depending on the look you are going for, you can customize the tip.  To change the tip, you just pull it out of the marker, turn it around and put it back in, super simple.

The first time you use a marker, there are three steps that have to be followed in order for them to work.

  • First, you have to hold the marker with the tip facing the ceiling, push the tip all the way in and release it
  • Then you have to shake it with the tip still facing up so the liquid chalk mixes
  • Finally, you have to turn the marker towards the ground and put it on a flat surface so the tip fills with the ink

I just used a piece of paper and they filled relatively quickly (about 30 seconds or so.)  I did this with every marker before we got started so we didn’t have to wait around when we changed colors.  Ashton was “patiently” waiting while asking me about 100 times if they were ready to use!  Once they were all prepared, Ashton and I attacked our bay window in the upstairs living room.

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He loved being able to draw on the windows and told me he was drawing a picture of his friends playing! So cute. He asked me to draw with him as well and I don’t know who enjoyed these markers more because they were SO fun! In full disclosure, I have NO artistic ability, so I just made some swirly marks with him!

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The colors came out very smoothly and were so easy to use.  The lighting doesn’t show the colors well, but they are very bold and visible across the room on the window.  I can see us using these a ton together throughout the year, and I think they are going to be awesome for the holidays where we can create seasonal pictures on the windows and sliding glass doors as decoration. They are really easy to clean up too, you can just spray a little glass cleaner and wipe and it’s gone! No scrubbing or anything which is great!

Overall, I think these Colore Liquid Chalk Markers are really cool and are great for people with or without kids, as they can be used for a ton of adult projects as well. I can’t believe I never thought to get them before this, but I am so glad we have them now and know we will continue to stock these in our house for many years to come!

Well, that’s it folks, I hope you have an awesome weekend and I will see you next week!

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Question of the day

Have you heard of liquid chalk markers before?  Ever used them?  Are you artistic?

 

 

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A bad week

I try to keep this blog light and fun, but let’s be honest, life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and one thing I am always is transparent, so you are going to hear a little bit of about the dark side of life and what I experienced last week.

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For those of you who have been with me for a while, we often talk a lot about balance and trying to find it in our everyday lives.  Lately I feel like I’ve been really slacking in this area of life.  Last week was probably one of the worst weeks I’ve had in my organization in almost 9 years.  As many of you guys know, a few months ago I took a new job within my organization.  When I started, there was a team of four of us. As of last week, I’m the only one of the original group still here. My boss took a “six-month rotation” in another group that has the potential to become permanent (I’m not actually expecting her to return,) one of my coworkers moved to another team and one suddenly quit last Friday leaving just me and a new “temporary”/potentially permanent boss with no marketing experience. Couple that with a very highly visible project that I had to have implemented by today and an agency that was late with all of their submissions and a review team that kept making changes, I worked late every single night last week and even throughout the weekend. I was stressed to the max, not sleeping well, and even had a tight neck from stress. That’s not much for balance if you ask me.

My breaking point however wasn’t so much all of this “other stuff” that was happening at work (although it definitely attributed to it) but rather the fact that on Thursday night as I was brushing our teeth with Ashton, he asked if I was going take a bath with him (he asks this question every single night during brush time) and I almost always say yes to which he responds, “Yay, that makes me so happy Mama!” However, my agency was late getting me something and I had a very quick window with which to review the piece and get it back to them, so I said that I couldn’t because I had to get some work done.  Well, he had a breakdown of epic proportions which made me feel like the worst person on the planet. This wasn’t one of his “I’m going to fake cry so I get my way” breakdowns, this was a gut wrenching, heart breaking sob. He kept crying and saying, “please Mama, I want you to take a bath with me, why don’t you want to take a bath with me, please Mama, please?”  Talk about a punch to the face.  Was my job really more important than spending 15-20 minutes in the bath with my son, something that I do almost every single night?  I was so stressed that I couldn’t see beyond this little boy asking his mama to spend time with him because I was so focused on just trying to get this work done that I completely crushed my little boys heart, talk about feeling like such a failure. I ended up saying screw work and took that bath with him and it was worth the additional 20 minute delay of not reviewing my work so that I could spend time with my boy.

I’d like to say that this was a one time incident at work, but these are the types of things that are happening more and more in my job and I’m struggling to find the right balance between doing my job, doing it well and also balancing night-time with my family. I know I’m not the only person who deals with these struggles, we all struggle with balance on many different levels, but I have never felt this bad at work, I can count on one hand the number of times in the past 8 1/2 years that I said I had a bad day at work.  Busy? Crazy? Chaotic? Yes, but not BAD.  Everything went to shit last week and it was so emotionally and physically hard on me that I literally collapsed on Friday night and I slept so hard that I don’t think I moved the entire night (which is a rarity for me). I don’t know what I’m going to do about this right now other than to try to strike a better balance between the number of nights that I have to work after I put Ashton to bed and trying to actually spend more than 5 minutes talking to Robyn at night and maybe even watch a show that we enjoy together.

I know that we are in a very busy time at work with launching new products and indications but this clearly is not the situation or the work/life balance that I signed up for when I took this new job. I’ve talked a lot to Robyn about the situation over the last couple days, which says a lot because we don’t typically talk work once we get home, but how long do you stick something out?  How does that timeline change when you really love the work you do but the environment is just chaotic? Is it like this everywhere in this function?

What I love about Robyn is that he sees things like this very black-and-white. It’s probably the only thing in life that he says there is no gray area for him, and that is family.  I guess if you’re going to see something black-and-white, the strength of the family and the importance of that is probably the thing that you want to see black-and-white. He just wants me to be happy, he wants me to come home and not be exhausted, he wants me to be able to enjoy my time with him and Ashton and not have to work every single night and feel stressed that my work needs to get done over spending time doing things together, and generally he wants me to just have more energy at the end of the day.

I don’t really know what I’m saying or what I’m going to do, it’s hard when you actually enjoy your job but the environment is just not exactly ideal.  I’m hoping that maybe in a couple of weeks things will settle down and get better, but I also can’t count on that either, so I may have to make some difficult decisions in the coming months.  I’m trying to be objective right now and open to seeing how these things play out.  I have to be realistic that it’s going to be uncomfortable for the next couple of weeks or months until my new boss gets his footing and we hire a new team member and I have to just try to go with the flow as best I can while trying to also maintain a balance at home of spending not just a certain quantity of time with my boys, but focusing on being present and the quality of the time I spend with them. Lately I’m so worried while I’m spending time with them about all that I have to get done after we put Ashton to bed that I’m not really living in the moment. I know a lot of us find ourselves looking to the future and not being present, but it something that I’ve been terrible about lately and I really need to focus more on the present instead of worrying about the next couple of hours.  This will not only help my sanity but be better for all of us. The last thing I want is for Ashton to have memories of me stressing out in front of him over work or picking work over spending quality time with him, because really, as much as I love my job, I love my son and my husband much more.

I would love any ideas opinions and suggestions on ways to find better balance because clearly it’s something I’m still struggling with.  It’s weird, I go through these ebbs and flows and I swear sometimes I have it under complete control and life seems to work like a well oiled machine and then something completely throws us off track and everything becomes so chaotic and I feel like I’m starting from square one again trying to regain that balance.

Okay, well that’s it folks. The good news is I do feel better this week. Things aren’t perfect, but I don’t feel like I’m in a constant state of flight or flight–so I guess that is progress, right?

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Question of the day

Suggestions? Any words of wisdom?

Three

Yesterday was Ashton’s 3rd birthday.  Three years.  While sometimes it feels like those years went by literally in the blink of an eye, there are other times that it feels like a lifetime.  He has changed our family so drastically that I almost forget what life was like before him.  When Ashton was born, I spent the first year writing down little everything and every month I would write him a letter with all the things he/we did together, the changes he went through, milestones, etc.  I would also write him a letter on his birthday with the hopes that one day he will sit and read what his mama had to say.

His second year I did the same thing with the monthly letters, but going into this year, I stopped the monthly letters mainly because a lot of it was repetitive and he isn’t changing as drastically week to week as he was from 0-2.  I still keep up with documenting important things like when he first used the potty (yes, theses are things that have gotten us really excited!) but I will always write him his yearly birthday letter.  So, I thought I would share with you his letter this year. But first, let’s look at him through the years! These are from 1 week old to 1, 2 and now 3 years! He has changed so much from the tiny little baby!

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My little monster,

Today you are three! I can’t believe I just wrote that number.  Three years ago I couldn’t imagine getting to this day, it just seemed so far off.  The day you were born, coming into this world a month early and not by your own choice, was a shock and whirlwind of events.  The weeks following were filled with so much awe and love, but your Daddy and I were in pure survival mode, literally living in 3 hour time intervals, hoping we would make it to your next feeding, diaper change, nap.  We hoped we would get to a day when we would know what feeling well rested felt like again and that we wouldn’t mess up too much along the way….and here we are now three years later and life looks a lot different.

You have changed a lot in this past year, but they weren’t as much physical changes, although you are growing taller at an alarming rate, but more internal.  You have become your own little person with a great deal of personality and spunk.  You have very clear likes and dislikes (which sometime change by the day) and love to voice your feelings to us about these things. Your intellect amazes me daily and I love to listen to you talk. You count to 30, you know your ABCs, and you speak with such clarity and vocabulary that strangers often ask how old you are.  Where did you learn all these words?

You have never met a stranger, you try to befriend everyone you encounter by saying hi, telling them your name, which varies from just Ashton to Super Ashton, and how old you are, which is so ridiculously cute to watch.  Where did this chatterbox come from?  Neither your Daddy nor I would ever be labeled as chatty, but we love listening to your view of the world, what you see, how you are now making up stories and improvising with us,  and the way you relate to the world is incredible.  You have full on conversations with us and sometimes I sit back and wonder when all this happened. When did you become such a big boy?

You are incredibly perceptive to those around you, feeling when someone is sad or upset and you ask “Mama are you happy?”  And if I am sad, you try to make me laugh with a funny face or a hug and kiss.  You are most definitely a comedian, which both makes me laugh but worries me for the future. I already see you trying to get out of doing things with humor and you and your Dad are already ganging up on me, which means I am in for a long road with the two of you 😉  But you are also incredible sweet and loving, when you turn to me out of the blue and tell me you missed me today or that you love me and want me and follow it with a hug and a kiss and I melt.

You have a love of books, a hunger I hope you carry throughout your life.  You choose your own books and often recite the words while we are reading them, your favorite being pretty much anything by Dr. Seuss.  You can hold the phone and know how to call Gramma or your cousins to video chat and you will play with your trucks and trains for hours.  You love music and hearing your sweet voice singing in the back seat when we drive home from daycare fills me with such joy.  You also have some pretty sweet moves, which make me laugh when out of the blue you start dancing.

Over the past few weeks, you have honed your skills on how to throw an epic tantrum, which has both impressed, shocked and made us laugh.  Your face twists and turns red, your tears rolls down your face and you squeeze your eyes so tight.  I know that you are learning through your emotions, but it is terrible to see you struggle, even for the briefest of moments.  You constantly keep reminding me that you are a “big boy” now, but you are still so little to me. I secretly love that you still want to be carried often, even though I joke that within the next two years, you will be as tall as me.  I happily pick you up and carry you, knowing that far too soon; you will not want to be held by me. I cherish these sweet times because you can be incredibly challenging. You have brought me to tears with this part of your personality.  You have a strong will and that can frustrate me to no end, especially since you rarely are this way with Daddy. I know it’s not really your fault; it is ingrained in who you are because you inherited it from me.  It’s the fiery Irish and Italian in you.  I just hope as you grow and mature that you will put that fire into something worthwhile and positive.

You are totally a Daddy’s boy.  Daddy can do no wrong in your eyes and you would rather be with him over anyone else.  While this makes me sad sometimes, I understand it.  Daddy is so much more fun than I am and I hope as you grow, you take all the very best parts of him and make them a part of you.  I know my time will come.  I am still the one you cry for when you are sick or hurt, so that gives me a bit of hope for the future.

My sweet, sweet boy, you have made me a stronger, more forgiving and patient person and I thank you for all you teach me each and everyday because I certainly would not be me that I am right now without these past three years of you.  I love you Ashton Liam…to the moon and back!

Love,

Mama

I will leave you with a picture of Ashton that I took last night when he got his very first bike! Sorry the lighting isn’t the greatest, we moved our cars out of the garage so he could test it out!  He was a VERY happy boy!

ash on bike

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Question of the day

Tell me something good about your week–or just anything at all you want to share!

What’s keeping me up at night

Hey friends, Happy Friday!  Sorry I have been MIA most of this week, but when you get 3 feet of snow dumped on you, you just want to stay inside and cry all day.  I’m kidding…kind of 🙂  I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at home with Ashton and yesterday I was trying to get caught up on all the work that was piling up so I didn’t have much time to write, that’s really my excuse!  But today is a new day and the weekend is so close I can taste it…and I know you all want to know what is keeping me up at night, right?  No, I’m not trying to find an answer to world peace or cure a terrible disease.

cant sleep
What’s keeping me up at night is preschool. Start laughing now, this post just gets more ridiculous as I go on. Currently Ashton is at a phenomenal home daycare where I know he is loved, safe and has a good group of friends. Our daycare provider is truly one of a kind, how we got so lucky, I will never know but I am thankful. However, come September it will be time for Ashton to move on to preschool. I have known about this for a while and started doing research months ago, but suddenly I’m getting emails from the places I have inquired about saying enrollment starts in February…like in just a few days. Que the panic.I have a spreadsheet that is far too embarrassing for me to share with you, further showing that I am a bit crazy that I have a preschool spreadsheet. Who does that? Yeah, me! However, this is my dilemma. My town has a public preschool but it’s on a lottery system for 2, 3 or days, half or full day. Its super cheap and I like the idea of Ashton making friends with the kids he will go to school with for a few years. However, what they call ” full day” is a joke. In what world is 9-2 a full day? Certainly no job I know of and if you know of one, please send it to me so I can apply! Our town preschool also dropped their extended day care in the morning and afternoon and now it’s only available for kindergarten and because Ashton was born in February he won’t be eligible for kindergarten until he is 5.7 (you have to be 5 by December.) So, if we wanted to send him to our town preschool, we would have to hire a nanny to come to our house in the morning, bring him to school for 9 am and then pick him up in the afternoon and bring him home and wait for us to get home at 6 pm. That probably isn’t an ideal situation for a nanny nor do I really want Ashton in a car with other people (yes, I’m THAT Mom.)

So, where does that leave me other than losing way more sleep over this than is probably necessary? We have appointments over the next few weeks to go visit 3 private preschools that will work with the hours we need and that also go year round, since that was another problem we faced with public school, the ridiculous amount of vacation days they have and then the summers off. Ashton is too young to go to a summer camp right now (and even if he was old enough, the hours are an issue too) so again we would be looking at a nanny. I’m not averse to a nanny per se, but as an only child, I really like to have Ashton around other kids as much as possible. Plus, he loves being around people.

I’m already stressing about these appointments and how to make the right decision about where to send him. Education is so important and I KNOW it’s only preschool but of course I want to make the best decision for Ashton. There are so many studies that show that the first 5 years are the most important years of their lives and if they start to struggle with school at an early age, the chances of them liking school and doing well in school goes down significantly. Talk about pressure! I find that I get myself so worked up about these big decisions, so scared that I am going to make the wrong choice and it’s going to have a negative impact on him for the rest of his life (I told you, I am not rationale right now and not sleeping!) I know I am not the first person to send their kid to school or the first to deal with these issues but this just seems like SUCH a big deal right now, in this moment. So my friends, this is what’s keeping me up at night. Parents out there, please tell me I’m not the only one who worries about this stuff so I feel a little less crazy!

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Question of the day

Anyone else with little ones stress about things like this?  Any words of advice? Things to look for?

What are your plans for the weekend? Super Bowl parties? Who are you cheering for?