Monday, December 21, 2009

Moving Day- Guest Blogger Edition

So, last Saturday was our moving day! We are slowly unpacking, arranging furniture and getting settled in. I love our neighborhood, love our community and love, love, love our house. It is totally more than I ever expected and honestly, I'm thrilled with this "down" market and the fact that we can afford this place. Well, more pictures and updates on the house will follow. 

Without further ado.... I have a guest blogger (my best friend and James' godmother) who wanted to recount (vent) her adventures with James as we were moving on Saturday.

Here goes........

A Day with James-

To give you a little back ground, Tom and I are James’ Godparents.   We adore the little guy and have watched him on numerous occasions, including several overnighters.  With the exception of James teaching himself to unbuckle his car seat while I was driving, or locking me out of the house (fortunately I had a key) these experiences were a little exhausting but lots of fun.  Then came Saturday December 19, 2009… 

December 19, was moving day for the Hayman household and I volunteered to help.  It was determined that my usefulness could be best maximized by taking James home with me.  “Ahhh,” thought I, “the easy job.”   It started well… I got a great big “Aunt Veronica” hug.  We loaded my car with enough toys to keep a platoon of two year olds happy for a week (or so I thought) and his car seat was strapped in and made escape proof.  

First stop…. the park.   James loves the park by our house.  It has many elaborate slide sets, swings and lots of kids to watch and play with.   He especially enjoyed being swung while there was a pretty two year old girl on the swing next to his.  (Wonder where he gets his love of the ladies from?)   Then there was the “Run Away from Aunt Veronica” game.  He was winning hands down until he fell and got an “owie” on his arm.  Got to give him credit, he never stopped laughing let alone started to cry.  The only way I knew he got injured was when I saw the scrape.  Time to get lunch and get his “owie” cleaned up.  This met with significant objection as James was not yet ready to leave the park, owie be damned.   I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no objection like a two year olds objection.  The owie had no power to cause tears but leaving the park brought him literally screaming to his knees. 

Off to McDonalds drive thru for the kids meal with chicken nuggets, apple slices and milk.  He wanted his milk immediately but his sippy cups were in the back.  I didn’t want him to have an open milk carton in the back seat of my car so told him he could have his milk as soon as we got home.  Have you ever driven five miles with a two year old screaming…. “I WANT MILK!” the entire way?  It makes for a very long five miles.

Home at last!  Now I have Uncle Tom to help and nap time is fast approaching.  Things are looking up.  It’s ok that he decides to use the caramel dip he got for his apples on his chicken nuggets!  Don’t worry about the sugar in the caramel dip because most of it is on his shirt anyway.   With a couple of minutes to clean the Owie and terrorize our cat and it’s time for nap, blessed nap.   Pack and play is set up, James is deposited in it with his blanket and pillow.  James is told to go night, night and I shut the door to his room. Uncle Tom and I lay down for a nap ourselves since we got up at 4:00 a.m. to run.  Two minutes of quiet, then I hear it…  A door opening that shouldn’t be.  Kind of like something out of a Hitchcock movie.  I creep out of bed and see the door of the guest room ajar.  Behind the opening a little face peeps out and says… “Milk!”

Somehow, James figured out how to climb out of his Pack & Play.  Why does this child turn into Houdini when I watch him?  First the car seat now, now the pack and play!  I put him back in the crib and admonish him to stay in there.  He angelically says, “OK”.   Two minutes later the door opens again.  Uncle Tom suggests a diaper change, which I do (it was barely damp) and deposit him back in the bed.  Two more minutes… the door opens again.  I send in Uncle Tom who yells… “We’ve got a gusher going.”   Big poop blow out.   Uncle Tom got him over the toilet and his diaper off before handing him to me.  I got him on his back on the bathroom rug (no time to lay down a towel) before I realized blow out residue was all over his butt and now ground into the throw rug.   While I’m frantically trying to get a towel, James jumps up and steps squarely in the poop on the carpet.  Carmel on his shirt and poop on his socks!  I’m figuring Kalani will never let me watch him again but at that moment I was thinking “I can live with that.”  Uncle Tom now abandons all thoughts of a nap retreats to the garage where he has a woodworking project he needs to finish for a Christmas present.   (Sounded like an excuse to me.)   I lay James down once more.  This time, he not only escapes but locks the bedroom door which required Uncle Tom to come in from the garage to pick the lock.  Finally, I lay down on the bed next to James’ pack and play as that is the only way he won’t try to escape.  He falls asleep and dozes soundly for all of ONE HALF HOUR.   I’m like, “Only HALF HOUR?  He’s always slept 2 – 3 hours when I’ve watched him before.” 

Nap time over and it’s time to run and I mean that literally.  He loves sidewalks and would go a quarter mile out and quarter mile back (we repeated twice).  He’s already faster than I am so I got quite the work out.  Upon our return, he set up a litany cry of “I want Tom.”  Unfortunately, saws and woodworking tools are not items you want two year olds hanging around.  In desperation, I called Kalani who suggested I get his DVD going.  Great idea except for one little problem, the DVD Kalani sent was “Brier Rabbit” and James wanted “Thomas the Train”.   This caused a tantrum as Tom and I don’t keep any Thomas the Train videos in our house.   He finally acquiesced to watch Brier Rabbit for about 10 minutes.  During this time, I cleaned up the kitchen and got some snacks ready.   In the mean time, Tom realized I locked the garage door (to keep James from sneaking out) and had to beat on the door to gain entrance.  Turns out that locking that door only inconvenienced Tom because James promptly figured out how to unlock it once the DVD ceased to hold his attention.  He was into the garage to “help” Uncle Tom almost before I heard the door open. 

The next several hours are something of a blur.  I have vague memories of things like:  1) James getting my tooth brush (long story about step stools could be inserted here) and almost putting it in his mouth before I caught him.  2) James “carrying” our cat across the room with his legs dangling and a look of desperation on his little feline face.  3) James trying to use our bed and couch as trampolines.  4)  James trying to drink out of the cat’s drinking fountain.  5)  Having to hunt down the phone that James had taken off the hook so we could again receive phone calls.  6)  James going into meltdown because he was exhausted from having only ½ hour nap.  

About 6:30 Kalani called to say they’d be by soon.  I heaved an audible sigh of relief and had James packed and ready to go in five minutes.  Kalani was a little worried I’d have him sitting street side when she pulled up.   

Tom and I continue to adore our little guy but he really put us through our paces.  Tom, who rarely drinks, said… “As soon as he leaves, I need a drink.”  We’ll recover enough to babysit another day (in a year or two – lol – at least I think lol.).  Seriously, we can’t wait to see him enjoying his first REAL Christmas and are very happy (usually) he’s in our life.

(James, if you’re reading this, the story about you walking through your own poop is so going to come up when you bring your first date home.) 

Aunt Veronica

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas in Florida

Last Sunday, we had our annual family photo session with our very talented friend, Susan Gentile. The weather cooperated BEAUTIFULLY and instead of sweating to death in 85 degree weather, we actually got to comfortably wear our sweaters! Yeah! 

Even though James was FAR more interested in the playground looming in the distance, he cooperated just long enough for us to capture some quality family Kodak moments. If you want to see more of Susan's great work, click here to take a look at her absolutely adorable website. Hope you enjoy! 

Click to play this Smilebox collage: Christmas Pics '09

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Smiles for Santa

Last Sunday, during a whirl-wind trip to the mall to visit an "old" college friend of mine, we happened to walk by the Santa Station and low-and-behold, there was NO line. After asking if they were already closed or if Santa was taking a break, I was assured that Santa was ready and available for a picture. 

I was a little hesitant to go forward with the Santa photo considering the pure horror from last year, but I am a brave, brave woman-  and a bit of a gambler! But, it seems that the stars were aligning for a bit of pure cuteness and holiday magic!

No, his jeans weren't too short for him, but I didn't have the time to adjust them before the photographer snapped the picture. Luckily, James was all smiles after an initial but brief moment of panic. I assured him that the man was very nice and might bring him toys, if he was a good boy. That's all it took for this little one to turn on the charm!

James even indulged Santa in some light conversation....

Santa: What would you like for Christmas?

James: I want TRAINS!

Santa: Okay then! (push over Santa! Good thing his Kidcraft Limited Edition Train table has already been delivered!)  Since you've been such a good boy today, why don't you take this!  (Santa proceeds to hand James a cute little coloring book.)

James: (After inspecting the coloring book and observing that it is NOT a train, hands it back to Santa and says....)   No, I don't want this. I want TRAINS!

Yeah,  just like his mama, the kid knows what he wants! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dude, Where's My November?

Sorry for the lame-o title, but seriously.... where did the month of November go?

Above is some of the latest handy artwork from our little sunshine. I'm so thankful that James loves his daddy, but why does it have to make me feel like chopped liver? Can't he be thankful for BOTH mommy and daddy? geesh!

And, here is the latest picture taken of our little  sunshine! At first, I wasn't too fond of this picture. I mean, where is my little baby? Who is this toddler-going-on-six-years-old for crying out loud? No, I didn't cry out loud, but I feel like it. I wasn't even going to buy this picture from his school, but my husband saw it and HAD to have it. He says it reminds him of a photo of himself when he was a little boy, same grin and everything. Okay, how could I resist?

As for our little sunshine, he continues to amaze and exhaust us all at the same time. He loves repeating new words and phrases that he hears from songs or from his bedtime books. He is so structured in his bedtime routine and LOVES picking out books for mommy and daddy to read to him. He is still in  LOVE with everything trains! One new favorite cartoon that we found is Dinosaur Train. The creator must be a genius because he combined everything a little boy loves, dinosaurs and trains! Plus, its educational and science- y. 

He is such an explosion of personality and full of life. He loves greeting people and plays so hard ALL DAY LONG. I can't wait to see what Santa has in store for him this year!

Marine Corps Marathon- Hoo Rah!!!!

Sorry to hijack the blog with my running updates, but I couldn't resist this one.

Back in October, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC and had a great race. Well, great in the fact that, unlike last year, I made it to the Starting Line uninjured, I had a great time during the run and I finished uninjured. My overall time was just over five hours. My GPS recorded  11:32 minute miles. Remember, I am a DIE-HARD Galloway fan. So, I walked for one minute after every 3 or 4 minutes of running. I swear that this method is the ONLY way I am able to successfully train and complete my marathons. I wanted to break five hours, but that was a pretty lofty goal considering I didn't train with ANY speedwork. I'll save that for a future marathon...

Mile 1: 16:04  (lots of slow traffic to weave through when you start waaaayyyyy at the back like me!) It took us over twenty minutes after the race had started to reach the Starting Line.

Mile 2: 12:39

Mile 3: 11:22

Mile 4: 11:49

Mile 5: 11:26

Mile 6: 11:11

Mile 7: 12:20  (potty break)

Mile 8: 10:29  (see how fast I am without a full bladder!)

Mile 9: 11:03

Mile 10: 12:34 (another potty break, I broke the seal.)

Mile 11: 11:41

The marathon was very memorable because the crowd support was amazing, the weather was ideal, the course was very scenic and all the men in uniform at the hydration stops were some great eye-candy!  I got to run past several national monuments, even the White House. At about mile 12, I looked to my left and gave a quick wave to the Obama's. 

Mile 12: 11:22

Mile 13: 11:41

I started the marathon with my good friend, Veronica. She is such a strong woman and I wish I had her drive and determination. Her knees are in pretty bad shape, but she keeps pounding away on the pavement as much as she can tolerate. We got to about mile 11 and she let me know that she was hurting. I know how much pain she can tolerate, so I expected her to keep going strong. At about mile 14, I was rockin' out with a band playing along the course and I think she was fighting back tears of pain. It was a grunge rock band and I forget what song they were belting out at the time, but it totally made my mile 14. I was singing along with them and the drummer pointed me out (you know the scene, standing up with his two drum sticks pointing at me, yes , me!) But, then I looked over and saw the anguish in V's face. At mile 15, we decided that she would hang back and that I would keep running on schedule. We both knew that she had another runner waiting to pace her in a mile 20, so she only had a few more miles to run solo. I had already had to make THREE pee stops at this point, but I had been able to run and catch up with her without expending too much energy. (race day jitters?)

Mile 14: 10:44

Mile 15: 10:42

Mile 16: 11:09

Mile 17: 10: 39

I felt really strong and was just really enjoying the race, at this point. There is  a saying about marathons,  "if you feel good, don't worry. It'll pass."  And, it's true. At about mile 18, as I was pretty much worn out. I felt like I was dragging along, but I just kept pushing one foot in front of the other. Your body is basically on auto-pilot at this point. 

Mile 18: 10:41

Mile 19: 11:11

Mile 20: 12:03  (I'm really hating life right now. Wishing I was still running with my best friend. Wishing I was done already. Wishing I was anywhere else but still on this course!)

Mile 21: 11:25

Mile 22: 11:56 (At this mile, I run into the local Hash House Harriers hydration stop, ie BEER stop. I'm thinking, I'm already dehydrated and running slow, why not add some beer into the mix? So, I take a few second to stop, introduce myself as "Cocktail from Tampa" and partake in a shot of beer. Nothing wrong with some on-the-course carb-loading and I needed the morale boost. 

Mile 23: 11:10

Mile 24: 10:23 (At this point, I'm fighting back tears. Your body can only hold up barriers against emotion for so long. After running for almost five hours, raw emotions come to the surface. Everything made me teary.... seeing military men running with the American Flag along the course, seeing the beautiful faces of the men and women in uniform who were cheering ME on along the way (don't they know that THEY are the heroes?), seeing the national monuments and thinking of our wonderful country, seeing all the babies and families along the course and wishing my family was there to cheer me on. Yes, at this point, it didn't take much to bring a tear to my eye. 

Mile 25: 11:11 (I had to stop a walk just a bit here. My legs were getting really stiff and my left knee was just screaming at me. Nothing major, just your typical marathon pain.)

Mile 26.2: 11:04   

Ahhhhhh.... the last two tenths of a mile were UPHILL. But, I didn't even care. I was prepared for it. Ready to tackle my Everest. Somehow, I mustered up the energy (barn door syndrome, I have it badly!) and sprinted my way in. I didn't care that I was blowing past injured walkers and slower runners, I had my eye on that Finish Line and no one was going to slow me down!

Best of all, I caught a glimpse of some fellow BRA (Brandon Running Association) peeps in the crowd at the Finish and I could hear them cheering me in. 

I was so happy to finish STRONG. And, I was so happy to just FINISH! I felt honored to run that marathon in the presence of such greatness. By greatness, I mean all of the men and women who serve our country and who were also out there to support us runners. I also felt honored to run it for my dad (a fellow Marine), my brother (a fellow Marine), and my dear husband. (Okay, not a Marine, but still a damn fine military man who makes me so proud every day.) 

I highly recommend the Marine Corps Marathon for those of you who are deciding what's on your 2010 race calendar!