Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Holy Crap! Was that an earthquake?

Those were the words screaming very loudly in my head as I descended the stairs after checking on my, just put down for a nap, daughter.

It started off just like any other day. Sophie waking up way too soon, but since she just stays in her room till someone comes to get her (and that might be 20 minutes later), I tend to stay in bed and get a few more minutes of rest till Mason comes charging in the room. After breakfast and a much needed cup, or two, of coffee, I join Fred and the kids outside for a morning bike ride. What a morning it was too. A nice breeze, probably in the upper 70's or lower 80's, much cooler than it has been. Mason rides around and around on his two wheels, while Sophie tries to keep up on her tricycle and at times just giving up and running after him. We wave good-bye to daddy as he drives off for his meeting in Maryland.

A few hours later, we are having lunch. Sophie is looking tired so I put her down for a nap. Then Mason and I settle down into the family room to work on a Transformers puzzle we picked up earlier in the day. It was a hard puzzle, later I realized it was because I had the edge pieces in the wrong spot. The point is that we were concentrating hard on this puzzle, sitting on the floor, when all of a sudden we heard a loud rumble and the windows rattle.

My first thought was that it was a big truck coming through the neighborhood, that was until everything started to shake. Mason looked at me, almost horrified. I kind of froze trying to settle myself as I looked up and saw the house moving. I felt dizzy and nauseous and knew this was not just a low flying plane or a tremor from the local quarry blasting. I went to grab Mason and heard picture frames falling in the other room. That was when my mind went to Sophie, alone upstairs. I jumped up, running up the stairs as fast as I could, Mason close on my heels. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do, I just knew I needed to grab both kids and have them with me. I was also afraid that stuff would be falling off the shelves and walls of Sophie's room and onto her laying helpless in bed. About the time I reached the top it was all over.

I opened the door to Sophie's room. She sat up in bed, looking so innocent and confused as to why I was there and looking scared. Are you o.k.? I asked. Uh, huh, she mutters through her pacifier. Everything looked normal, only her butterfly mobile slightly swaying above her bed. I doubt she knew what happened or that it was potentially dangerous. I told her to go back to bed and quietly closed the door.

My hands trembling, my legs feeling of jello, my head reeling. Mason is practically in tears, the house is going to break. Is the house going to break, Mama? Was that an earthquake? I thought you said earthquakes don't happen here. I said we'd check on the computer, see if the news sites were reporting anything. Nothing, yet. But Facebook and Twitter were on fire. Wow, that was really an earthquake. Then CNN confirmed it, 5.8 earthquake hits the Washington D.C. area. That's when the phone rang. I rushed to get it. Fred was calling to ask if we just had an earthquake. I choke back some tears, the need to be brave for my kids starting to wear off, yes. Did you feel it too?

I spent the rest of the conversation walking around the house, picking up picture frames, checking on everything else to see if anything was broken. It wasn't. I called my dad in D.C. to see if he was o.k. We talked for a bit. Mason and I finished the puzzle. He begged for another bike ride. He rode his bike, I caught up on some reading. I talked with my sister, turned on the news. Talked with a friend, updated Facebook and Twitter.

All in all, everyone is o.k. and everything seems to be in good shape. Though, we will be making a few walks around the foundation, checking the gas lines and such just for good measure.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

The training wheels are off

When we first got Mason his 16" inch bike because he was seriously outgrowing his 12", it was a struggle, and hit my fear nerve trying to get him to ride on both training wheels. He tended to favor one training wheel over the other and I was certain he was going to bite it when he sped through the turns on our cul-de-sac. So much, that my body would temporary seize in fear each time.

This was only back in April or May. So when Fred and Mason came running in the door this morning insisting they had a surprise, Mason was riding without training wheels, I was shocked. You mean the training wheels are off the bike? Oh, yes they were indeed.
Doesn't he just look so cool?
Occasionally, he'd fall down. But he'd get right back up.
but not before Sophie ran to his side to see if he was o.k.
Right now this is our fourth time outside to ride bikes. Clearly he is proud of himself, as he should be. Taking the training wheels off is a big step, and at only four years old no less. He never fails to amaze me. His courage and determination alone are inspiration for my own life.

As I sit here watching him, picking up speed with each passing lap around the cul-de-sac, maneuvering turns with precision, it is hard to believe that just a short week ago he was practicing how to just balance on the bike. Now he looks as if he's been riding this way for years, instead of 5 hours. Our neighbors son, who is around 7 years, sees Mason and joins him. They ride together in a, we're part of the same club, sort of silence. Then,"I really like your bike." "Yeah, it's Transformers." "I know, and your helmet is Bumblebee." "He's my favorite Transformer." "Mine too." "Really?" And their off again, riding side by side. He looks so different on two wheels.
I still cannot believe my four year old is riding his bike without training wheels and doing such an awesome job! I am beyond proud. Practically speechless. It is odd for a four year old to have mastered riding a bike without training wheels already, isn't it?
It must be the energon seeping into his veins.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Project Big Girl

Recently Fred did some handy work for my parents, so we all found ourselves hanging out at Grandma and Pop-Pop's for the day. Train tracks were built, cars were raced and when it came time for Sophie's nap she decided she didn't want to go in the pack n' play. I thought, well great. Where can I put her to sleep? Enter the trundle bed from my childhood bedroom. It is low to the ground and where Mason usually sleeps when he is visiting. Sophie was more than excited, to say the least, but I was nervous as to how it would turn out.

Surprisingly, she did really well. After some coaxing and instructing to, not jump on the bed, she eventually calmed down from all the excitement (this was her first time actually being allowed to sleep in a non confining bed), and fell asleep. She stayed asleep for about two hours without even falling off (seeing as my parents don't have any safety bed rails). It was this that encouraged me to decide that now was the time to say good-bye to the nursery.

So the next day, while Mason had his Grandma Sunday and Sophie was busy playing downstairs, I dismantled the crib and set up her big girl bed.
It was a long time coming. Sophie has shown interest in Mason's bed since January. Running into his room, jumping on his bed, pretending to fall asleep and looking so happy while he looks at me in frustration to, get her out of my room. In honesty, I have wanted to transition her since she turned two. Now that she is almost 27 months and has proven she can sleep in a big girl bed, there were no more excuses.

Her reaction to the crib being gone was priceless. She spent the rest of the time hanging in her new room with me, making it difficult to put things together because she wanted to touch and explore and jump on things. It was all so new and exciting and so freaking awesome for her.

Months ago, while having dinner at the home of a dear childhood friend, we ended up in their basement going through piles of clothes their girls no longer fit into, picking things out for Sophie. In the process, we got on the topic of toddler beds and left that evening with not only a bag of clothes but a cute white metal toddler bed as well. I am so very grateful for their ability and generosity in helping us out.

It sat in our guest bedroom until this day. Putting it together, I was a bit concerned that it didn't include bed rails like the one we got for Mason. However, since she did so well with the trundle bed at my parents, I thought we'd try it without them for her nap.
Doesn't she look so cute, and so not a baby, fast asleep in that bed? I had to peek on her just to make sure she was doing o.k., and she looked so peaceful and adorable so, I grabbed my camera. She did really well for the whole two hours in bed. Then I heard her wake up and...BOOM! Followed by screams and tears. Yeah, o.k., we need a bed rail. I remembered we had some handed down to us from family, so I dragged them out of storage and began to put them together until we realized they were longer than the bed itself. Uh...

That night I took a last minute trip to Target to see if I could find a bed rail that would work. I thought I found success. Unfortunately, when we put it on, we found out that there was only a 5 inch gap for Sophie to climb into bed. It made do for the night, but I knew it had to change for the long term. I mean, come on, seriously? A five inch gap to squeeze into bed? She's only going to grow bigger and quite honestly it seems like she's still in a crib. What was the point in putting her in a toddler bed then? I was frustrated. Torn between decisions, I called my friend and inquired upon what they used. The next day, I drove to her house and picked up the bed rail they used. It is 5 inches shorter so that gives her 10 inches of space now to climb into bed. Not as much space as Mason, but much better than before. Also, these bed rails were meant for a twin bed with box spring so I had to rig it to fit the toddler bed. My friend said they just zip tied theirs to the bed. I might have gone a bit overboard with the zip ties, but I can tell you, that sucker ain't going anywhere.

Here is an overall look at her new setup.
Since moving into this house, I have always felt the nursery room was small. Not big enough for an older kids bedroom. Now that the crib is gone, the room feels so much bigger. I moved the glider and ottoman out and into the guest bedroom, turned the book shelf on it's side for easier access at toddler height, and kept the starlight rug and changing table where they were for now.

Mason had a clear theme in his room; Cars. Everything matched perfectly, from the wall color to the bed and bedding, to the hamper, valance and border. Sophie doesn't have a clear theme. The walls are still the yellow and green with the half torn border that fit the starlight/nursery rhyme nursery theme. It's been hard to plan her theme, because she really isn't into one main thing like Mason. Yeah she LOVES TinkerBell but she also likes the Princesses, Cars, owls and deer, Thomas, Dora, Strawberry Shortcake...the list goes on.

Over the last year I have been creating and bringing things in, here and there, that she has shown interest in as she has grown. The bedding is from her first birthday. Woodland theme, with pillow and lamp and valance to match. The pinks and greens from the bedding go well with the current paint color in the room. She still has the butterfly mobile I made her a year ago. After she ripped it down a few weeks ago, I rehung it over her current bed at a height she can't reach. I fixed the butterfly collage and placed that on the bookshelf next to the vintage birdcage I picked up at Home Goods and was used for her second birthday. It still houses TinkerBell, hanging from some fishing line. I also utilized the two garlands from her party, the pictures from all the TinkerBell movies and the vintage scrap fabric. I plan to get wooden letters to spell her name and hang them above the fabric garland. Also from her second birthday party, I hung a second butterfly-TinkerBell mobile in the corner. It hangs over a big Birdcage we scored free from our neighbor when she moved out. The vintage Cinderella Poster we bought when I was pregnant with Sophie still hangs on the wall. It's a bit eclectic but I think it all works.

Of course Mason, not wanting to be left out, asked to have his room rearranged.
I moved his bed and bookcase to a different wall, so now we don't get woken up by his kicking the wall in his sleep anymore. His toy chest now sits at the foot of his bed and I moved the Cars table from downstairs, that went with his room in a box, into his bedroom. Now he can do school stuff and be creative in here. Hoping it will encourage him to spend more time in his room, playing on his own. At the same time, I decided to move the Lego table into Sophie's room along with the Mega Blox Legos and her talking tea set. The idea, to make it more fun for her to play in her room as well. It makes sense to utilize the space in their bedrooms and keep less toys downstairs to be thrown all over the floor.

This was a huge step for all of us. It was huge for Fred and I to trust that Sophie would stay in her bed all night and not randomly come walking out and accidentally fall down the stairs. It was huge for Sophie to be given the trust and freedom, so huge she hasn't quite accepted that concept yet. We still have to go and get her out of her room in the morning and after naps as she won't come out on her own. It has equally been huge for Mason to share the big kid role.

It's been almost a whole week with this new arrangement and all I can say is this. I love having her in a big girl room, and even after many months of knowing this day would come, I am finding it heartbreaking to admit that my baby girl is no longer a baby. Though, I have a feeling this realization was not so hard for her.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Mazel Tov!

This past weekend we attended the wedding of this wonderful couple. My brother-in-law, Chris and new sister-in-law, Cynthia.
She was gorgeous, he was handsome. The day was beautiful.
With the bay as backdrop, a slight breeze kissed our skin, and sunny skies hovered above. Just long enough for the ceremony and all the pictures outside to be done because as soon as the reception started the lightning flashed, thunder rolled and the skies opened up with a steady fall of rain.

Despite the fact that I had a serious migraine for most of it, I enjoyed myself at what I can only describe as the most laid back, charming wedding I have attended to date. A wedding, whose ceremony time rivals our own. I swear it beat our time, but Fred will not concede.

It was a much needed date-night out for us, as we chose to go solo. These days it is rare we get out, just the two of us. It was nice, but with all the other wee ones running around I began to miss my rugrats. Especially when the music started and no one would dance with me, including my husband. I knew Mason would, he loves to dance, we dance all the time together at home. I almost cried when, I got a feeling by the Black Eyed Peas came over the speakers. That is our song, Mason and I's. So I grabbed a drink and enjoyed the company of family and friends.
It felt so awkward to not be mommy, especially when every one of my girlfriends attending were. But it was equally satisfying, knowing that no matter how late we stayed up (which in all honesty was only like 11:30pm), we didn't have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. It was a rather peaceful wake up as opposed to the jolt of a whining child in your face.

What started out as a long week of events with friends and family and this and that, ended with a joyous celebration of the love of two wonderful people who I am blessed to call family. You can totally see how much they love one another, all you have to do is see them together. Is is hard to find two people who make a more perfect match than these two. I wish them all the best in their life together and that this love they share now, lasts a lifetime. And seriously, how cool is it that they start this journey in Israel? They both managed to get their P.h.D's while planning their wedding in only a month and a half. Amazing! Cyn was offered a post doc in Israel. So off they go, leaving Sept. 3rd, for what is sure to be a grand adventure in their new life together as newlyweds. I know most of the family is worried for their safety and what not, but I mostly think, what a unique opportunity they have to experience this together. Though, I too, will miss them greatly over the next year and wish they lived closer. But you can bet I will get their new address and try to write to them often.
Chris and Cyn, with all the love of family and friends, Mazel Tov!
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