Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Autumn Leaves and Such

Me thinks it is time for an update, seeing as how it's the end of September already. Fall has definitely arrived- the mornings are cool and crisp, leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, and I feel a cold & sore throat coming on. I ALWAYS get sick around this time of year when the weather changes. I could seriously use some chicken soup and Vitamin C right now.

First off, things at Gregg's job are going really well. He recently designed something with his super fantastic IT skills that will help streamline a lot of things his company does. The president of the company was very impressed and presented it to a group of other wholesalers to use as a great resource in their own businesses. He said that Gregg should license and sell it, and any profits would go directly to him rather than the company. The president also sat down with my husband in an impromptu meeting last week about his success there so far, which could very likely mean a promotion in the near future. We're both pretty floored by this, since he's only been at this job since January. I'm glad he's being recognized for all his hard work and effort though!

As for me, I finally joined a MOMS Group. I inquired about my local chapter on the website, and got a response almost 20 minutes later. The woman who contacted me was also kind enough to pick me and Colton up the morning of their monthly meeting and for a playgroup the following week. It turns out she has a car seat that's not in use during the morning since her oldest daughter is in school. There's about 15 active moms right now, mostly with kids two and under. I'm happy that I can get out of the house once in a while to meet with other mommies, and that Colton can play with other kids his age.

Gregg and I talked about him taking the train into work occasionally too, so that I can have the car during the day. We tried it out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, when I had a doctor's appointment in the evening and he had to work late. The train station is less than five minutes away, which is great, but it did take him a long time to make it to work. We figured that it would cut his commute significantly if we just drove anotehr ten minutes out of our way to drop him off at another station that doesn't have quite as many stops. It's not the most convenient arrangement, but it'll work for now.

I knew moving back to Jersey would be expensive and that staying at home full-time would be a sacrifice, but I didn't think it would be as tight as it is. I didn't anticipate that our minivan would blow up on us back in February, leaving us with only one car that we scrambled to replace the van with. Our plan shortly after moving back last year was to get a second car in addition to the van. I do wonder sometimes if it's worth it for me to go back to work. While Colton is still this young though, I think it's ultimately better that I'm home with him and we'll just have to make the financial sacrifice for the time being.

Now that my little boy is getting a bit older, he is trying to do a lot of things on his own and I feel like I can't take my eyes off of him for a second. I feel guilty that I get so frustrated with him for repeatedly playing in the dog's dishes, or touching/throwing all the diaper changing supplies while I'm trying to dress him, or crawling over to the nightstand to play with the remote control for the 100th time. Even though Colton's only 13.5 months, I know he knows what "no" means. There's really no way to discipline him at this stage other than putting him in the pack 'n play for a very short time-out and using a firm tone of voice. He may not listen very well, but I don't think he's necessarily doing things on purpose and at least he's not aggressive.

The nursery situation is still touch and go. The week before last, he did stay there for the entire hour and cried off and on. He was really tired because that's during his nap time, so he tried to lay down on the floor and go to sleep! This past Sunday, I made it through most of the service before a nursery worker came to get me. He had calmed down a little, but then started up again and when I got there he was hysterical. I just ended up staying in nursery the rest of the time so he wouldn't freak out. Even with me there, it took him a long while before he'd let me put him down on the floor to play. I don't know what to do. I feel really bad leaving him there, but I'm with him every minute of every day and this is the only "break" I get to have during the week. All I'm asking for is one hour!!

Other than that, Colton is doing great. Gregg's mom came to pick us up on Friday to get him his first pair of shoes. They're so tiny and cute. I do think they help him "walk" better. He's still not really walking yet, just cruising. Aside from getting into things he shouldn't, he is a really good baby. That temper does flare up every now and then, though, when he doesn't get what he wants!

Monday, September 14, 2009

13 Months

Already through the first month of his second year! I'm so impressed with all that Colton's been doing and learning since he turned one. Of course, the biggest development over the past month was the cutting of his first tooth!! I noticed on Saturday night that he has another one coming through the gums, this time on the top.

In addition to cruising all the furniture, Colton will walk when we hold his hands. He is starting to figure out how to stack things and put objects inside one another. He likes to "help" me put away things, too. They're usually not in the right order, but it's so cute that he tries. Once he piled Gregg's socks and shoes on top of each other and made a tower out of the pots & pans, putting the big soup pot on top of the little sauce pan! The other day Colton worked at fitting the lid back on his blocks container and even though it was upside down, he managed to line it up correctly.

He says "momma" frequently now, usually when he wants something. Colton is still really wary of other adults. I tried leaving him in nursery these past two weeks, but he wouldn't stop crying for me. So I just stayed with him in the room and talked to the nursery workers, which was good fellowship at least. I'm not sure if I should just let him "get over it" by not coming back to the nursery once I've sat in the sanctuary. It's frustrating not being able to get a break and sit through an entire service.

Here are some pictures of my cutie:

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning, that September day?"

It's hard to believe that it's been eight years since 9/11. Today my heart is heavy for those who lost loved ones in the attack. There were so many innocent lives destroyed needlessly, senselessly.

To be sure, it was a national tragedy affecting millions of Americans, but for those of us who grew up seeing the spectacular view of the Manhattan Skyline from any high point in New Jersey, it hit a lot closer to home. Today is wet and grey, but eight years ago there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful late summer day, the second day of my graduate level internship at a behavioral school. I was pretty apprehensive about the placement, but I decided to make the best of things and try to learn all I could. That morning, I arrived a little early and grabbed a cup of coffee from the teacher's lounge, preparing to observe some of the students I would be working with over the next several months.

As I sat in one of the classrooms, someone came in to tell the head teacher that the World Trade Center had just been bombed. She became very upset because her son had just started a new job there that day. She excused herself to leave the room, asking her assistant to take over. I decided to follow her into the main office to find out what was going on. It was then that the secretary informed us that two planes had crashed into the WTC, at least two other planes had been hijacked, and the Pentagon had also just been bombed. We also learned that it was a real possibility that the White House and Capitol could be attacked as well. I immediately thought of my sister who was a sophomore at George Washington University in downtown D.C., and wondered if she might be caught in the middle of all this chaos.

Of course, all the phones and the Internet went down so the only information any of us could get at that time was from a talk radio station in the office. They couldn't report what was happening fast enough. I didn't really know what was going on or how bad things were. Things kind of quieted down for about an hour while I visited another classroom and tried to concentrate on doing my job. During lunch, I remember thinking the skies seemed awfully calm. In fact there was this strange, almost unsettling feeling of calm during that time. I don't know how to fully describe it.

I finally got in touch with my mother around 1:00 in the afternoon, who told me that my sister was alright. She had been dismissed from class early and told to go straight back to her dormitory. Shortly afterwards, I went ahead and met with my first client, a teenage boy who was all worked up about the events he heard going on that day. While I took a look through his file, my supervisor began flipping through students' emergency cards to see if any had parents that worked in New York City. I tried to read the open case report in front of me, but I was so anxious by this point and sick to my stomach. All I wanted to do was leave there and go home since I was desperate to talk with family and friends. I wanted to make sure they were all okay. I wanted to receive the strength that comes through being around people I love and who have faith.

When I arrived at my apartment 15 minutes later, there were three notes on the door, one from each roommate. There were about ten messages on the answering machine from friends and family, all calling to either find out if we were alright or to say that they were. I flipped on the tv to a broadcast about the attacks, and it was like a scene straight out of Godzilla with people running down the streets of Manhattan trying to shield themselves from the flying debris of ashes and metal. I got ready to get back in my car and drive to a prayer meeting that my campus ministry was having at a leader's house, but I couldn't remember how to get there. I drove in a daze and made several wrong turns, so by the time I got there the meeting was over.

My roommates and I stayed glued to the television for the rest of the afternoon. I finally tore myself away to work on a response paper for a class the next day. I honestly don't know how I was able to put five paragraphs together that made any kind of sense, but it didn't much matter because we had just found out classes were cancelled for the following day. After eating dinner, we all piled into somebody's car for another prayer gathering and I just sobbed the whole time. I didn't even know someone personally that died on that day; I was just so shaken up that something like this could happen, right in my own "backyard".

September 11 will always be one of those days on which I can recall exactly what I was doing, what I was wearing, and what I was feeling. It shook me to the core, and brought a true realization that evil exists in this world. It gave me a pride and appreciation for America that I had never had before. I confess that I didn't vote for George W. Bush in the 2000 election. I was a registered democrat, and very proud of that fact. After 9/11, I started leaning a little more to the right. I began to really admire President Bush for how he stepped up as a leader in the days and weeks of the aftermath. I still think he was one of our greatest presidents, despite what all the critics say.

Eight years have passed since that day. We all moved on with our lives and things returned to normal, though for a period of 24 hours or so, it felt like the world had literally stopped. I know to some September 11 is just another day on the calendar. I guess this is my way of saying that I will never forget.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Whoo Hoo!

Yesterday, I felt something sharp and bumpy in Colton's mouth. Today, I was able to get a glimpse of the most adorable little... tooth!!!! Almost 13 months old, and he finally has his first tooth. I hope to get some pictures of it to post soon. 'Cause you know, everyone is just as excited about this as me. :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September Snuck Up On Me

September already??? It's just another one of those times where I shake my head and wonder where in the world the time went. August was over in the blink of an eye. The air is definitely starting to have that "end of summer" feel to it. We can actually turn off the A/C and leave some windows open!

When this time comes around each year, it always makes me think of returning to school. Which, because I'm a total dork, I loved since I liked going to school. In the neighborhood where I grew up, the local Catholic church held an Italian festival during Labor Day weekend with rides, games, and all kinds of yummy (greasy) foods. This signaled our official end to the summer, right before we had to head back into the classroom with our brand spankin' new No. 2 pencils and Trapper Keepers.

Anyway, enough nostalgia. I thought I'd update a little since it's been a while, in case anyone actually reads this anymore! Colton is finally over the cold he picked up at the doctor's office. It really didn't seem to bother him any- he still ate, played, and slept fine. I just couldn't stand wiping his nose every five minutes. He pulls himself up on practically everything now. He's also started cruising the furniture, and his balance has gotten so much better. Today he began walking a little bit with the push toy my mom got him for his birthday.

I have to say even though I miss being able to cuddle with him like I used to when he was a newborn, I am really enjoying this stage so much more. He is completely on whole milk now and hasn't had a bottle in over two weeks. No more measuring out water and formula, mixing, or washing bottles. :) I love that he eats when we eat too- so convenient! More of Colton's personality comes out each day and he is so much fun to spend time with. He makes me laugh with all the funny things he does.

Yes, he does drive me crazy with his rolling like an alligator during diaper changes, and getting into stuff he shouldn't, and whining when he doesn't get his way... But for the most part he is really good. I feel fortunate to have Colton when I read what the other mommies on my August '08 board say about their little ones. They won't eat, they won't sleep, and they throw awful temper tantrums. Coltie is an angel compared to them.

In other news, we may have actually found a church home after all this time!! We found it through the internet search I did about a month ago, and after visiting a few and ruling out (many) others this one seemed to impress us and fit our needs. It's a small congregation that seems to really put into practice Jesus's example of loving and meeting people where they're at. They do a lot of outreach in the community and purchased their own building in the middle of town last fall so they could be accessible to people.

We felt extremely welcomed our first time visiting and felt a connection right away to some of the members there, so we decided to go back this past Sunday. We kept Colton in church with us since he was still getting over his cold and because of the stranger anxiety he suddenly developed a few weeks ago. Everyone commented on how good he was during the service. I like that I didn't feel pressured to put him in the nursery. The pastor's wife offered to show us the nursery, though, when we do feel comfortable taking him there.

Finally after a year and a half, we feel like we have a regular place to worship at, and I no longer feel like I'm just drifting along, not able to put down roots anywhere. I can honestly say this whole experience, while frustrating and sad, has taught me so much about how the unchurched person must feel visiting church. After a while, you start to feel like "why bother?" No wonder so many people stop attending church- they find better fellowship ultimately with their own friends, family and even co-workers than they do there. I started reading The Church Experiment after Angela mentioned it to me and I can totally relate to pretty much everything in it! If you have not yet checked it out, I highly recommend getting yourself over there ASAP and diving on in. :)