Post-Christmas Hangover

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ahh, Christmas. Over just as soon as it began. I don't know about you, but I feel awful after Christmas is over. There's such a big build up, and then when it's over it feels like a friggin' hangover. I mean, where did the month the go? The year? Now I feel like I need something else to look forward to each month.
Despite this major low (as I sit here trying to work) we had a great Christmas--it was fun getting Lucca to say "Ho Ho Ho" once he recognized who Santa was, and watching him rip open presents was also a treat. We didn't go crazy on gifts for him since his birthday was just in October (and we had to create an entire playroom just for his toys) but he did get super excited opening up the $2 bouncy ball from WalMart. Best idea ever.

Greg wasn't sure if we were "doing presents" this year, but since I wasn't in the gift giving/receiving mood last year, I was all about it this year. I told Greg that yes, we were absolutely "doing presents" this year and I was going to buy him presents to GET presents. OK, call me selfish, tell me it's better to give than to receive, but screw that. I wanted gifts. I wanted wrapping paper. I wanted freakin' Santa Claus to pay me a visit. Granted, I picked out everything myself and it all came from the same bank account, but it felt good. Really good. 

Our annual holiday brunch was also a great time. Good food, great company, lots of bloody mary's and mimosas... it was a good day and was nice to spend time with the people we love. Every year we usually invite friends over for the "after party" to clean out the rest of the grub and booze, so we had a pretty late night and a long day on Sunday to recover.

And now to closing out 2014. A big year of change, growth, reflection.. I feel good about 2014 and I'm excited for what 2015 might have in store. But for now, I'm going to sit in this depressive slump until I'm fully over this holiday season. (I'm pretty sure eating 5 cookies a day isn't helping. I need to get that shit out of my house ASAP!)


Merry Christmas to All...

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

And so we've made it to another Christmas. This holiday last year we had a newborn and we tried out our new little family traditions-- a fancy dinner, reading The Night Before Christmas, leaving out cookies for Santa "just because", cozy-ing up in Christmas PJ' was so special and our first Christmas as a family.

I have great memories of Christmas as a kid: Finding the perfect (REAL) tree, picking out new ornaments each year at the Christmas Mouse on Richmond Road, ripping through presents in a matter of seconds on Christmas morning, saying 'thank you' for every single thing I received (down to a pair of socks or a new toothbrush) to show my complete appreciation. With 4 kids, we had sectioned areas under the tree where all our presents were placed. There wasn't any confusion as to who was getting what presents. My parents were the best about that. There were so many details that made our Christmases so special. Different colored wrapping paper for Santa's presents. Personalized notes from Santa on special gifts like books or dolls... I remember all of those things. 

I remember waking up at 4 a.m. and trying to get the rest of the house awake, only to hear my mom say to wait at least until 6:00. I remember my Dad ringing the "sleigh bells" outside after we had opened presents to wake up the rest of the neighborhood. I remember always checking out what cookies Santa decided to eat-- Chocolate Chip or the peanut butter hershey kiss kind? Waiting until a decent time to call all my friends in the neighborhood so we could share what we got for Christmas. These were the little things I always anticipated, year after year.

Our Christmases definitely changed over the years, kids growing up, parents separating, but these memories I'll never forget. My parents made Christmas special and I'll always be thankful for that. Not to mention I think back on all the wonderful gifts we got, and now as a working-parent who wants to give their kid everything, I realize how hard my parents worked to give us the bikes, the boomboxes, the jewelry, the dolls...etc. I hope that Greg and I can make Christmas as magical and special as my parents made it for me. We'll start our own traditions, carry on ones we've always had, and make new memories for our own family.
I love this holiday for that reason-- for the tradition, for the magic, for the family. Don't get me wrong, it's stressful, it requires a lot of cocktails and patience these days, but if I can make some pretty damn good memories for my kid, then it's totally all worth it.
Merry Christmas to you and your families, and here's to making new memories!


Weekend Recap: RVA Visit

Monday, December 22, 2014

Ahhh, Monday. 3 days before Christmas. Productivity level is pretty low around these parts as we are all in recovery mode. We had a great weekend in Richmond which seemed to be a whirlwind of parties, 2 hotel stays, driving back and forth, and visiting friends and family. To say we're a bit tired would be an understatement. Honestly, I don't know how we fit it all in, but we did. I think Lucca sleeping a solid 12 hours last night without waking up even once is a good indication that we had a jam-packed weekend.

Today I'm thankful for many things that made this weekend possible. On Friday, I was able to have a quick lunch with my best friend during her lunch break. That short one-hour lunch was such a good meet-up and made me realize how truly important it is to keep your girlfriends (kids or no kids) in your life. A bonus if they are willing to chase your kid all over the restaurant and aren't embarrassed by their disgusting eating habits or the occasional tantrum. If they get you, they get your kid.

Saturday afternoon we met up with some friends from college who are now all parents. 10 adults and 6 kids ranging from 3 months old to almost 2... it seemed like a madhouse but is now becoming our "new normal". Snacks all over the floor, crying, running around the house, diaper changes, chasing them up the stairs... a new type of Saturday. It was nice to be in the company of old friends who are all in the same boat. But wow, times have definitely changed...

I'm also thankful for my Dad who was so excited to watch Lucca overnight so that Greg and I could go to his company holiday party. Watching the two of them together is so wonderful. He's so willing to get down to play with Lucca, be silly and goofy and teach him things that only a grandfather can teach (like having a lesson on screwdrivers and hammers while eating breakfast). They have their own special relationship, and I love that. And even though my Dad is more than an hour away, their special grandfather-grandson bond is something that I know will continue to grow. It just can't get any better than that. It's something I had always imagined, but actually witnessing it is pretty amazing.

Alright, enough for reflection and time to do some work. Thanks for a great time, Richmond!

Let's Hear it For New York

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Two weeks ago, my mom and I excitedly boarded a BoltBus and took a 24-hour trip to NYC. I've heard my mom say a number of times over the years that she wanted to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and visit New York during the holidays.   "Let's just do it", I told her. And we did.
I don't know what it is about this year, but I've been really trying to check things off of my bucket list. Maybe I subconsciously think that the more kids we have, the less we'll be able to do, so I'm trying to take advantage of it now. But you'd think I would have wanted to do all these things pre-baby, right? It's very strange, I know. I think it's that identity thing again-I just want to experience life, but don't want the fact that I'm a mother to hold me back from any of it. 
We took the first bus from Union Station Saturday morning and were dropped off near Hudson Yards. Even though this was a little off the map, it was pretty organized and only a short cab ride to our hotel in Midtown. We had a great spot-- so close to Times Square but off a side street so it wasn't so crazy. We spent the entire day walking around and exploring-- seeing all of the window displays on Fifth Avenue (only in New York do they have a girl ice skating in a store window front), ducking into some stores to do some shopping, and of course stopping for coffee, a great lunch at "Maggie's Place", and eating a pre-dinner show at Rock Center Cafe with a view of the skating rink.

The only downside to our trip was the weather. I don't know why this ALWAYS happens to me when I go to New York, but it literally rained from the time we stepped foot into the city to the time we left. There is nothing worse than navigating the streets of New York with a billion people and a billion umbrellas. You have to have some serious skill while doing this. You can't ever look up and around you because you are constantly looking forward and doing the dance of the umbrellas-- the up and down and sideways dance to prevent from poking the tall people in the eye or to squeeze past a large group who is standing on the corner waiting for the walking signal to change. We were a little rusty when we got there, but I swear by the time we left New York we were umbrella-dance-experts.

We were completely drenched, cold and tired, but we made it to our 10 p.m. Rockettes show (which was magical as always), had a nightcap at O'Connelly's, and I had my "F*$!ing pizza" at 1 a.m. that I had been craving since we got there. (Seriously, I was on a mission to find a pizza slice the size of my face, and I almost did a cartwheel I was so excited...) 

I'm happy to have experienced this with my mama. The rain didn't hold us back, time didn't hold us back, money didn't hold us back--we just went. Honestly, you can plan and plan and talk about something for so long and you will never, ever do it. Just do it. Get off your ass, buy that ticket, board that bus and do it. I'm so happy for the memories that we made even on such a short trip. 

I'm excited for our next adventure.. and now we just need a destination...

To My Friends Without Kids

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This year has been strange. I've loved being a mama, with it's struggles and frustrations and joys alike, but it's been a strange time of really defining myself and who I am. I often feel out of place-- I'm a young mom and most of our friends are childless, or not married. More often than not, Greg and I have to ask if the dinner/party/BBQ we were invited to is kid-friendly. And we've definitely been those people who bring their kid to said dinner/party/BBQ when clearly there are no other children in sight. The transition from no-kids to kids is kind of abrupt-- there's no "easing" into it. Boom. Kids. You're done.
I think most people assume that when you have babies, you are automatically entered into a world where everyone around you also has children. You make instant friends; the "family" friends. The kids play together on a daily basis, the parents are just the best of friends because they have something in common--a kid. But no, that's not the case. It's almost like a mad hunt to find the perfect match for these types of people. It's frustrating. And lonely at times. It's just not the same as being around your own friends.
But that can be difficult when your friends have their own stuff going on. They have freedom. Freedom to happy hours, road trips... The freedom to be hungover on a Sunday morning and not emerge from their beds until 2 p.m. I'm not saying I want that life back, I just want my friends. The "me" that I am with my friends. 
I get it-- people don't always want to hang around my kid, they don't always want to come to my house on a random afternoon to sit around and watch my son bang blocks together. I also get that most people probably assume that I can't go anywhere or do anything. But you know what? I need a break from my full-time gig sometimes. I need to go out and not discuss eating habits or sleep schedules. I need a night out, a girls weekend, a late lunch-- just as much as the next gal. It might be for different reasons. I may not have a stressful career to complain about or boyfriend problems that I want to escape, but I need that time, too.
To my friends without kids: don't forget that your friends were friends before kids. Call that friend who's been locked in her house for 3 days because it's been raining. Send a message to the friend who hasn't slept in months because of their teething baby. Invite the friend who hasn't been shopping without a stroller. They need you, the same as before. There may be a few more obstacles in the way when planning anything, you may have to endure a million "hold on a second" phrases when you're on the phone, they may only have a window of opportunity to hang out with you. Just reach out, that's all I'm sayin'. 

Trust me, if you're there for your friends during this time in their lives, they will most definitely be there when you are in the same boat; desperate for friends whom you can truly relate to when you have a screaming toddler at your feet and you haven't showered in a week. It's a weird transition for everybody-- but believe me, just be there. You'll be glad you did.

'Tis The Season To Be Bitchy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I love the holidays. Once we round the corner of Thanksgiving, I'm eager to put up the Christmas tree, decorate the house, start ordering presents online like a madwoman, blast some annoying Christmas music..
But of course, with the holidays comes the stress. Lots of stress. The shopping. The traffic. The decorating. The perfect Christmas card photo. The traveling all over God's creation to spend time with family. But with such a big family between Greg and I, it's a lot to handle to try and do it all. I'm not sure when we established our little way of doing things, whether it was before the "I Do's" or not, but for a long time we have always spent certain holidays with each family to make it easier on everyone. And now that we're a party of three (and nobody wants to see us anymore, just Lucca) it's pretty much already set on where we'll be on any given holiday. 

A few years back, we also started our own tradition of hosting a Christmas Brunch at our house. Since we have a bazillion family members we wanted to make it easier on everyone to come to one place, eat and drink all day, relax, laugh and have a good time. I have always wanted to start our own family traditions, and I love that this has kind of become "our thing". 

It's always a fun day and a great opportunity for Lucca to see all of his family together. It's once a year, so even if nobody really likes to be around one another, it's a one-day deal and A LOT of mimosas. Anyone can handle this with a lot of mimosas. And my MIL's ham biscuits. (I'm pretty sure that's what everyone comes for anyway-- the booze and ham biscuits). 

I love my family, don't get me wrong, but nobody irritates the shit out of me more than my family. Especially around the holidays (*hey guys! Love ya'll!). Everybody has their own stuff going on, but I'm one of those people who just wants you to suck it up, get over what you're gettin' over, smile through it and remember what the holidays are about: a time for giving, thankfulness, togetherness, and all those other hallmark-worthy words that mostly make you want to vomit. The stress of all this-- combining families together, prepping food, decorating, hosting a party, it makes me super high-strung and super bitchy. How festive, right? But I know I'm not the only one who goes through this. So share in the holiday bitchiness with me--it'll be over by January 1st. I promise.
I'm going to try to go with 'Tis the Season to Be Jolly' and not so much 'Bitchy" but I can't promise you anything. 

Happy Freakin' Holidays.


Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

Monday, December 1, 2014

Well folks, another Thanksgiving is in the books. This year was much different. A lot less snuggling on the couch and more running around and sweating after a 14 month-old and making sure he didn't wreak havoc in the living room. I'm still in recovery mode. Not from the turkey, not from the wine, but from chasing my kid all weekend.

I'm also recovering from my first ever 5K race. To be honest, I'm not sure what exactly prompted me to do this. 1.)  I don't run. 2.) I hate running 3.) There is no number three. I'm just not a runner--plain and simple.

Whatever the case, I felt like it was a big deal for me so I signed myself up with the help of my brother-in-law and my dad. I have to admit though after watching all the Facebook posts from friends running half and full marathons, I felt kind of stupid for trying to "prepare" for this race. Those people literally run 6 miles in their sleep. And did I prepare? Ha! Not at all. I barely ran/walked 2 miles in my entire life, on the treadmill, not outside in 36 degree weather. I had no idea what I was getting myself into...

But, ladies and gentlemen, I have lived to tell the tale of my first 5K. I did it. And I'm damn proud of myself. I didn't pass a single soul the entire race except for the last mile, but when I finally started whizzing (more like coasting) past other runners, that was the best feeling in the world. I crossed that finish line and literally started crying. I don't know why. I think I was just overwhelmed with what I just put my body through. But, like my BIL said minutes before the race, "It can't be any worse than giving birth". 
And yes, he was right.

I'm not going to lie. I kind of feel like some kind of superwoman-- you know, I can birth 8 pound babies and run 3.12 miles. If that's not a freaking superpower, I don't know what is.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!