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 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!

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.

bad week

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!

Ash 0-3

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.

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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?

 

Holiday Photo Shoot

Hey friends, how’s it going?  We’ve made it to the half way point in the week, thank goodness!  It’s pretty dreary here in Boston today, cold and raining, but I am heading to Buffalo for work tomorrow morning, where I am sure it will be much colder, so I am trying to be positive about the weather today!!  It’s all about perspective right?  Anyways, a few weeks ago, my beautiful and talented friend Danielle texted asking if I would bring Ashton in for a holiday mini-photo shoot.  She has a very busy and successful photography business and had a last minute cancellation for one of her famous holiday mini sessions so I was thrilled that she offered to take some shots of Ashton.  I didn’t have a Christmas outfit lined up for him so we improvised with only a few hours of notice and while I was worried, I think it turned out okay.  Ashton had a blast during the photo shoot, playing with the props and being a general goof. Well, I just got the proofs back and I LOVE them!  He is such a little ham!

He loved the snowballs…thankfully we kept him from throwing them!!

ASHTON 9

Ashton also loved the reindeer, he kept saying, “Mama, I like reindeer!” and kept petting it like a dog!  The Winter set Danielle handmade was beautiful!  She is so talented.

Ashton 8

This is his new thing, ask him to smile and he gives this scrunched up face and then starts cracking up!  This picture captures him perfectly!

Ashton 7

A more serious picture, is it me or does his hair always look reddish in pictures?  And he clearly inherited my pasty white skin..poor kid, I guess he got more of my genes than I thought!

Ashton 5

I think this one my be my most favorite, I think I am going to have it put on a large canvas for our house!

Ashton 3

Here’s that funny face again!

Ashton 1

And to top it off…last week we got our pics done with Santa…so this is the 2014 edition!  There were no tears this year and he got on Santa’s lap and had a nice conversation with him about blue trains, so I’m calling it a win!

Santa 2014

 

Have a great day friends!!!

 

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Question of the day

How is your week going?  What’s the weather like where you are right now?  Anyone live in Buffalo?

A first time for everything–some unproud moments

Over the past 24 hours I have done two things I have never done before, neither I am extremely proud of.  Let’s start with last night.  I had a tough day.  Hell, if I am being honest, I have had a tough few weeks.  I love my new job but it’s freaking killing me right now.  I am drained when I get home.  I spend the days running from one meeting to the next, half the time straining to follow along and then working after Ashton goes to bed because how do you get anything done when you sit in meetings for 8 hours a day?  It all happens at night after 8 p.m.  So, the one part of my day I look forward to all night is picking up Ashton at daycare. I don’t get to see him in the morning so the evening is my time with him.  Robyn does the cooking and dinner clean up so I can play with him, give him  a bath, brush his teeth and then Robyn reads to him while I sit with them.  It’s great and even when I am tired, I look forward to it.

Well, I picked Ashton up from daycare last night and he wanted nothing to do with me.  He told me he didn’t want to go home and after coaxing him out of daycare and getting him in his car seat, he told me he didn’t want me to pick him up from daycare anymore, that he wanted Daddy to pick him up.  When I asked him why, he said “Because I don’t like you Mommy.”  GULP.  I was already frustrated with my day, my long commute and my welcome from him and this shocked me. I took a deep breath and said I am sorry you feel that way but I love you.  We got settled in the car and I asked him if he wanted his book (He likes to listen to Dr. Seuss audio books on the way home) and he said yes, so I put one on and started to drive home.  I tried to ask him about his day like we do every evening and he turned his head away from me, held his hand up to me and told me to stop talking.  Who the heck is this child and where is my sweet boy?  Then out of the blue he said, “Mama, I don’t love you.”  I didn’t think I heard him correctly so I asked him what he said.  He repeated it confidently and then said, “I love Daddy, not you!”  Thankfully it was pitch black outside and in the car because the tears started.  Before I knew it, I was sobbing.  I told him that made me really sad that he felt that way but I loved him.  I couldn’t speak to him for the rest of the ride home–a first for me.  I didn’t want him to see me crying in the front so I turned up his audio book and he proceeded to recite Fox in Sox for me while I drove.  I know this is a phase.  I know a lot of my friends with kids the same age go through similar things, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt like hell.  I should have handled it differently last night, I shouldn’t have shut down. I should of brushed it off, but I just couldn’t.  I am not proud of the fact that I stayed silent and stewed in the car feeling angry and sorry for myself instead of trying to engage with Ashton, but I just couldn’t. I suppose it’s better than me yelling at him or showing him how upset I was, but I need to get a better handle on this because I am pretty certain this isn’t going to be a one time thing. A true #mommyfail on my part.

love is not proud

Fast forward to this morning and I was looking forward to my spin class. I have talked before about how much I love my Wednesday morning class and instructor Erin.  She is AWESOME and I look forward to her class every week.  Well, she was away this week on vacation and we had a sub.  Now, I will preface this with saying that I know as an instructor myself how hard it is to come into another instructors class, especially with an established group of regular participants and teach.  It’s freaking hard, I get that so I always try to be sensitive to that when a sub walks into one of the classes I take.  Well, this morning the sub walked in to teach spin and I smiled, said hello and after she got her music queued up, she began.  This is where things started going downhill for me.  She blasted her music and didn’t mic up, so you could barely hear her, it didn’t help that she kept her head down too so we couldn’t see her mouth.  Then, she was off beat with the music, so the cadence was off and it felt all wrong.  Her music was terrible (however, this I will give a pass for since everyone has different music tastes) and she didn’t warm us up/stretch us at all.  She kept us at a level 4 for the first few songs and when the music was getting faster which would indicate we should speed up or power through a hill, she had us sit and recover.  Recover from what?  We were all at a really low-level and I hadn’t even broken a sweat.  I told myself to give her more time to find her groove but by the 20 minute mark I was done.  I mentally was fighting with myself to stay through the class but I just couldn’t do it.  I unclipped from my bike, wiped it down and walked out.  I have never walked out of a group fitness class before.  I guess there really is a first time for everything.

I was beyond annoyed.  I was mad that Erin was on vacation (irrational I know) I was mad that our gym had this terrible sub, I mean don’t they test their subs before allowing them to teach?  I am pretty sure that being able to follow a beat is a bare minimum requirement to teach a class with music.  I was mad at the instructor who ruined my favorite class for me, I was mad at myself for not bringing anything other than my spin shoes to the gym with me which meant I couldn’t really get in any other cardio today and I was mad at myself for walking out of this instructors class.  I started my day off on the wrong foot and I was just plain disappointed.  After I got ready for work and had time to cool down I gave myself a little pep talk and told myself that I could let this ruin the rest of my day or I could let it go and start again.  So, I dropped my gym back off at my car, walked to the Starbucks in our building, ordered myself a tall, skinny mocha and vowed to make today a great day.

stabucks

I have to learn to let things go, something I am not great at but am working really hard to change about myself and this was the first step to doing just that.  So, here’s to making today a better day and being a better, more patient person!

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Question of the day

Have you ever walked out of a group fitness class?  How do you deal with frustrating situations?

 

The Great Pumpkin Fest

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  I’ve said it many times before, but Halloween is my most favorite holiday so any excuse to celebrate it and I’m in!  The Ecotarium hosts an annual Great Pumpkin festival that we attended this past Saturday.  They open the museum for special hours from 2-9 p.m. and it is an afternoon and evening full of  family friendly Halloween fun! They have more than a thousand of carved pumpkins that are on display and lit up when it gets dark, they have trick-or-treating, they have vendors, crafts, you name it, it was there.

pumpkin fest 2

As part of the admission price you also get full access to the Ecotarium including a free planetarium show.  While normally we would love this, there was way too much going on outside that we cruised right through the Ecotarium and spent all of our time outside.  We saw a fire breather which I thought was pretty cool but Ashton saw her and the fire and said, “Mama, I don’t like this much!”  This kid kills me so we moved on to something we knew he would like..BUBBLES!

bubble lady

They also had face painting for the kids (the line was SUPER long so we didn’t do it) and they had this great area where the kids could look for frogs hidden in the hay and take home 2 that they found!  Ashton loved this!  Notice he didn’t wear his costume…he got up from nap was wasn’t feeling his costume at the time but he wore this monster sweatshirt.  Win some, lose some!

frog hunting

They also had tee-pees set up with pots, pans, etc inside.

ash teepee 2

Ashton also loved playing in there with some of the older kids.

ash in teepee

The Ecotarium recently set up a really awesome park about a month or two ago but it was PACKED so we didn’t get to play much on it, but I can’t wait to take Ashton here in the Spring to explore it more, I have a feeling we could spend quite a few hours there!

After getting some candy from a few of the stations set up along the grounds, Ashton saw someone with an ice cream cone and that is all he could focus on.  We went to find where we could get ice cream and noticed there were a ton of vendors selling sandwiches, chili, hot dogs, chips, cookies, popcorn, cotton candy and ice cream.  We got Ashton his ice cream and he was on cloud nine and Robyn got a cotton candy as a  little pre-dinner treat.  I’m telling you, I have two kids, one is just much bigger than the other 😉

We at the Ecotarium for quite a few hours and it was getting late so we headed out to get some dinner before getting Ashton to bed.  On the way back to the car, it was so awesome to see all the jack o lanterns lit up, we probably took half an hour just walking back to the car pointing out the awesome carvings.

pumpkin fest

I just love this time of year so much!  I cannot wait to go trick or treating tonight and see the joy on all the kids faces, it really is so priceless!  I hope whatever you do tonight, whether it’s passing out candy, hanging with friends or taking your little ones trick or treating that you enjoy it!

On a random note, I am going to get my hair cut tomorrow and am thinking of changing things up since I’ve had the same hair style for a few years now..I am still not sure what I am going to do, but if you have an thoughts, let me know in the comments!! I’ll let you know how it goes next week (or if you follow me on IG…you will likely see it there first!)

Have an awesome weekend!

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Question of the day

Do you like Halloween?  What are you plans for tonight?

What should I do to my hair?