Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We're now officially in Michigan--kind of. We made the very long drive on December 21-22, stopping to sleep in Charleston, WV. Rowan decided to make this the trip that she will no longer sleep in the car. So, it was long. But, she did quite well considering she was in the car for 12 hours over the course of two days. We got to the Pellow's around 5 on the 22nd and had a good time relaxing, eating and opening presents. Then we made our way to my mom's house where we are now. Again, lots of eating and opening presents. It was fun for Rowan, but a bit overwhelming. In fact, Rowan still has some presents she hasn't opened. Her gifts, so far, include a great table and chairs, a Rose Petal Cottage, several outfits, boots, a tea set, an iron and ironing board, a backpack, books, a Little People nativity set, a sled, a sit and spin, a hula hoop, a little dog stuffed animal named "Harry", a bear named "Sam", some trucks, an Elmo doctor kit and I'm sure I'm forgetting many things. And, yes, there are still gifts to open. For the record, Lance and I aren't the ones who went overboard on the gifts. My mom was the biggest culprit, though everyone must have enjoyed shopping for her. Our gifts were a bit more practical--a new set of Calphalon pots and pans, an air purifier, hats, scarves and gloves and a toboggan. Okay, maybe the toboggan isn't exactly practical, but it fit with the whole "moving back to Michigan" theme and I'm hoping we'll be able to enjoy it a few times this winter.

We are now going to try to relax for one more day before heading to Holland to see our new house and try to get a little bit organized. Lance's parents are going to come in for the weekend and we may try to take advantage of the babysitting a bit to do exciting things like go to the grocery store and rid the house of small choking hazards. We may make also make our first attempt at putting Rowan in a "big girl bed" in the hopes that we won't have to purchase another crib.

Then on the first, Lance heads back to Charlotte. You see, the few days before the move, even more chaos happened. First, Lance was in a relatively minor car accident that somehow left the Volvo with more than minor damages. After considering our options, he decided it would be best to drive the car to Michigan and have it fixed here. However, when he went to his last day of work, the head of HR told him she had made a mistake. Though she initially told him his last day of work could be a vacation day, she was wrong. So, he has to take his vacation days now and then actually go back to work for 3 more days. So, Lance will fly back late on the first, work the second through the fourth and then drive all the way back by himself. During that time, I will probably stay at my mom's for part of the time and possibly visit my new nephew who is due the 31st.

I'm hoping that once Lance is back and we are officially living in Holland, things will begin to settle down. I'm certain I can't keep up this pace for long...

Despite the insanity we did, however, have a great Christmas and enjoyed time with our family and friends. The weather has been surprisingly mild which helped us ease our way into Michigan a little bit better. We're looking forward to settling in and figuring out what we'll be doing all day in our new house.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And the Frantic Cleaning and Packing Begins...

It's official. We now have a place to live and a date to move. I guess it's been official for quite some time, but I'm just now realizing how much we really need to do before we move! We finally signed with a realtor today. He had done a walk-through of the house a while back and was excited that we took his advice and made a few changes to the house--new light fixtures and ceiling fans in the kitchen and a guest room. New curatins in the master bedroom and bathroom as well as the dining room. Fresh paint in the master bath and powder room, coloring the grout in the kitchen, getting rid of some furniture, etc. Lance and I really like the changes, too, and wish we had done them years ago. What we still need to do is pack, pack, pack and clean, clean, clean. And now that I did all of the grout in the kitchen, I really think I should do the grout in the mudroom and entry as well. I think I'm really going to miss our house! Now if only the housing market would turn around a bit...

Last week I had three going away parties and managed not to cry at any of them. We also had friends over for the Panther's game on Sunday and said goodbye without any meltdowns. And I wasn't even that upset leaving Miriam (the girl I tutor) after our last session this morning. I think knowing that we have to come back for all of our stuff makes it a bit easier. We both kind of feel like we're going to Michigan for Christmas. Once we're actually moved into a house that's not ours in Holland, are freezing and are paying rent plus a mortgage and bills for two houses, I think reality might set in. I'm also sure that I'll probably spend a good deal of time crying on the very long drive to Michigan. Lance will be glad we have to take seperate cars.

In the meantime, Rowan has been her typical self, but crankier than usual. I keep contemplating calling the doctor. She is not interested in eating, drinking or even taking baths. At the mere suggestion of taking a bath, she breaks down into tears. She's also sleeping restlessly and waking up crying instead of the usual chatter. Poor little girl. I hope she returns to her spunky self soon.

Tomorrow will be my last appointment with Dr. Meek before we move. So the next time I hear Sprout's little heartbeat will be with someone (yet to be determinted) in Holland. This baby will be here before we know it! We probably need to sit down and really discuss names at some point. Our lists are somewhat long and we're having some trouble agreeing on the perfect name for this little guy or girl. We're pretty sure we'll use a family name for the middle name, but, for the record, here is our list of names (no need to give opinions, but if you'd like to share your faves, feel free).

Boys: Abram (Abe), Baden, Christian, Elliot, Ezra, Dalton, Grant, Gus, Jack, Cade, London, Malachi, Nolan, Oliver, Sullivan, Tate and Brockton. Middle name options include: Henry, Richard, Talmage, Mark, Carl, Eric and Christopher (all family).

Girls: Adelaide (Addy or Delia), Ashlan, Avery, Charlotte (Charley), Clare, Lauren, London, Alden, Lydia and Sophie. Middle name options include: Hope, Grace, Kathleen, Michelle, Jacqueline, Joyce, Monica, Mary, Sonja, Kristen, Amanda and Rose (all family).

Keep in mind we came up with Rowan's name quite a bit after making the initial "list" so we very well may decide on a completely different name before Sprout's birth.

Well, I'm off to finish some laundry and start on the grout in the mudroom. I know you're jealous.

Monday, December 10, 2007

80 and Sunny

That was the weather today--and is the forecast for the next few days. So, before our return to winter, I'm thrilled to continue summer/fall here for a few more days. Rowan and I celebrated this by going to two parks--Sardis Park in the morning and Boyce Park in the afternoon. Lots of swinging, but Rowan has decided she's done with the slides, which just last week was her favorite park activity. She has developed a fear of grated floors and gets scared every time she climbs onto a play structure. Very odd. She climbs up, freaks out and then needs help moving from the top of the steps.

Yesterday was the first of a few going away parties. My dinner group friends threw us all a party over at Kelly and Ryan's. Rowan didn't nap before hand since we were at a Christmas party, but she was a trooper and we had a great time. Fortunately we have dinner group on Wednesday so I didn't start crying. I guess I'll save it for Wednesday.

We finally made a decision about a house today which is exciting. We'll be renting a furnished house for about 5 months while we decide where we want to live. It belongs to a professor who's on sabbatical and I think it will be great for us. I think I'm most looking forward to the teenage girl next door he said they frequently use as a babysitter. The fully stocked play room is also a bonus. Since the house is furnished, we've decided to leave our furniture and most of our things here and come back for them when our house sells. That takes off a bit of the pressure of packing everything. However, I now have to go back through the things we've packed and decide what I want to bring and what I want to leave here. So I kind of wonder why I started all of the packing to begin with.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

One day Rowan will be a teenager, too

I'm beginning to realize that a toddler's temper tantrum is much easier to deal with than an upset teenage girl. When kids are little, it's very uplifting to imagine the "easy" life you will have when they are older. They can feed themselves, dress themselves, go to the bathroom by themselves, communicate well and are generally relatively self-sufficient. The thing is, once they become teenagers, I think this all kind of regresses. Yes, they can feed and dress themselves, but often choose to do so in completely inappropriate ways. Sure, they can go to the bathroom by themselves, but often choose to do so with their friends in order to gossip. Sure, they can communicate well, but often choose not to communicate at all--especially with their parents. And the self-sufficiency kind of fades away...

Tonight Sophie is upset because she wanted to talk to her dad on the phone, but her dad was "mad" at Harry (something about college essays) so she didn't get undivided attention. Tears were shed, Harry tried to console her, I stealthily e-mailed her mom's Blackberry and asked her mom to call her dad. Her mom then called her. More sobbing. Sophie is now mad at me, her mom, her dad and her brother. And, really, I would consider Sophie one of the easiest teenagers I know. So I can't imagine what I'm in for in the future.

In the meantime, I will do my best to step over my screaming child when she throws herself on the kitchen floor and enjoy the times when she loves mommy and wants to "wrap up" and cuddle and read books and "play, play, play" (yes, she always says this one three times). For the record, some of her favorite things to play are: pretend with her Little People (she has named them Dora, Aunt Michelle, clown, Ed, and the others have names that change and have been known to be Dora (again), Uncle Eric and Ava), puzzles (she has always liked to take them apart and is just now able to put them back together), her Kangaroo Climber and anything outside--especially the swings or anything any other older child happens to be doing at the park.

Today we had a playdate with Nathan and tomorrow we will have one with Madison while Lance gets a dreaded root canal. Then Lance will watch Rowan while I have a routine dental appointment, then hopefully she will nap well and Lance and I will try to make a few important decisions about our move (when we'll move, where we'll go, etc.) And maybe I'll actually get a chance to call a few friends I haven't talked to in ages.

I'm off to attempt to console a crying teenage girl. Wish me luck. I'm sure there will be many more years of this to come.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Rowee Counts to Ten

Where is my baby girl going? Today she just decided to call herself "Rowee" instead of "Ro Ro". She has been "Ro Ro" for months and she is now "Rowee". I have no idea if this will last, but I was shocked (and a bit confused) when she decided to change vocabulary on me. I'm still getting used to her calling Lance and me "Daddy" and "Mommy" instead of "Dada" and "Mama" and now she has to go and switch her own name! All kidding aside, it's pretty cute (though rather random) that she is now "Rowee". She also started calling "mac mac" (macaroni and cheese), "mac mac cheese". And she counted to ten. She really counted to four and then I kept asking what number comes next and she got them all right all the way up to ten. When I asked her what was after ten, she said "eight"! But, I was pretty impressed nonetheless. So, it seemed to be a bit day for vocabulary development. Who know, though. We just may wake up to Ro Ro who can count to four and wants "mac mac" for lunch.

It's amazing to me how much kids can learn in such a short time. Just a few months ago, I could easily count the number of words Rowan could say. Now I have no idea. She says so much. Some new things she is saying are: Christmas tree, baby Jesus, baby in Mommy's belly (she thinks it's going to be a girl, or at least that's what she says), Michigan (though I'm certain no one but Lance and I could understand her), Madeline (a new favorite book) and "out, out, out, out" over and over every morning until I come get her out of her crib. We had a fun day today with our moms group in the morning and playing in the park and reading books all afternoon.

Last night, tonight and tomorrow night I'm staying with Sophie and Harry while Gale is out of town. It was actually kind of nice to watch The Hills with a middle schooler and talk to Harry about colleges (he finds out about Tufts in 12 days). I haven't stayed with them since Rowan was tiny, but I'll really miss them! Next week starts an array of going away parties and dinners and I'm sure I'll be a crying fool, so it's nice to have had a relatively normal, relaxing day today.