Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Getting Cozy

Heeeeeey friends. I hope your week is moving along swimmingly. My parents headed out this morning, but not before spending one more hour with their grandson. Marshall is so spoiled when any of his grandparents plays with him. This weekend he gets even more time with them!

Terry headed back to work yesterday (Monday) after two weeks off for paternity leave/family bonding. It was a wonderful--albeit hectic--two weeks, and we really tried to take advantage of the time. I had hoped to make it out to Getty Villa (one spot in LA we haven't been but have always hoped to go), but now that we live less than 30 minutes away we can definitely make that happen this summer.

Speaking of where we live, I'm getting more and more comfortable here. In fact, I dozed off on the couch last night before Terry made it home from his (championship!) football game. Normally when I'm home alone (or with just Marshall), I'm a little on edge, conscious of the fact that I'm without my studly and intimidating husband. But I guess I already feel pretty cozy here!

Here are some things I love so far about our apartment:

  • We have a single-car garage (not attached to our unit, but still). We have already stored TONS of stuff in there, and there's plenty of room for more. In fact, half of our couch is in there right now because we decided to configure our living room in a way that doesn't fit the entire sectional.
  • The noise! Oddly, I grew quite accustomed to lots and lots of noise over the last ten years. Sirens, car alarms, dogs barking, traffic, helicopters...I guess I'm a city girl, because those sounds have become comforting. Our last place was pretty quiet (with the exception of some noisy neighbors), so every unfamiliar sound made me jump!
  • The laundry room and (high efficiency!) washer and dryer! Obviously.
  • The feel. This place is old and lived-in and super cozy. It has some silly character to it, like these hideous light fixtures and a door that kind of sticks when you try to open it and creaky floors. But it feels like home already.
  • The neighborhood! We're very near where we used to live, and walking distance to some of our favorite places and restaurants. Plus we're a very short drive away from some of our best friends (especially compared to where we used to be, which added at least 45 minutes!). I am already so excited to spend more time with them and ensure that Marshall knows that these friends are truly family! Bonus: Terry's commute is shorter, so we get more time with Daddy!
Clearly Scout is struggling with his adjustment.

(He's glaring at the baby in this photo, but he really is happy.)

Today I did some important things like figuring out how many walking lunges I can do in a straight line in our new place. Verdict: 6. 

Our kitchen has a huge empty space between the stove and a wall, and I need more counter space, so we're going to buy an island cart. Not this one, because it's insanely expensive. But something. And it's gotta happen soon, because even just cooking two meals in there has been a struggle with space!

But as long as this little guy is happy, I'm happy. 

Tomorrow is a normal day, no My Gym classes or anything, so I'm excited to see how Marshall and I spend our time! Definitely a walk, maybe a trip to Santa Monica for the farmers' market...who knows? 

Hope you have a lovely night!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Settling In

Well, we're all moved in, Marshall's first birthday party is over, and we're already packing for Memorial Day weekend. Talk about a crazy week (or two, or three...)!

I'll do a little recap of Marshall's birthday party once I get photos from my dad, but I still wanted to stop in to share a little about the move. I mentioned previously that my dad came down to help last Monday (he's been here over a week now!), and I cannot say enough about how helpful he was. One morning he woke up at 5 am with Marshall to let me and Terry get a little more sleep; he patched all the holes in the walls from the hangings in our old apartment; he has run to the hardware store countless times to ensure we have everything we need for the new place. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dad!

Our new place is quickly becoming more and more like home. My mom joined us in LA on Thursday, so we had even more help with watching Marshall, unpacking boxes, and making the transition. At this point, we're about 83% unpacked! Not bad for five days in the new place, and there's no way we could have done it without all the help (shocking: an eleven-month-old makes unpacking slightly more difficult). Bonus: My parents offered to put Marshall to bed last night so Terry and I could go out for dinner! First date night in what felt like forever (a lot of our outings lately have been events or parties, so it was lovely to go out just the two of us).

Some scenes from the week:

Scout loves and hates moving. He can't help but hop on all the boxes, but he can't stand the chaos and the adjustment period. He cowered in the corner of the bathroom the entire time the movers were there.

Our close friend--Jenn's mom--is an aspiring photographer and offered to take Marshall's one year photos. This photo is from Terry's phone, but the images we've seen are AMAZING!!!

Getting settled...

(The towels on the floor are protecting the carpet because of course it rained on moving day...but hooray for rain! We need it!)

Huge flub on our part: After moving in, we started realizing that maybe our bedroom (the "master") would be better for Marshall. It's tucked back away from all the noise of the kitchen and the TV, and it gets darker than the room we originally chose for Marshall. Unfortunately, that means we have to find a day or two to break down and move all the furniture again and rearrange everything. Oops.

Our first dinner in our new place (I went with steak tacos). Now we've finally unpacked our kitchen, and it's awesome to have a gas stove/oven again! Tonight we made our first homemade meal here: salad with (previously cooked and frozen) ground beef with Italian sausage, roasted sweet potatoes, cheese, black beans, plain Greek yogurt, and salsa. 

First photo in the new place!

We only lived in our last apartment for about 14 months, but we will always, always remember it as Marshall's first home. The place fills me with a million emotions (we won't officially give up the keys until the end of the month), and I am surprised to find myself a little sad to say goodbye.

As always, though, home is where my boys are.

(Terry and Marshall enjoyed their last swim lesson...for now. We'll find a new place closer to our new home soon!)

We attended a baptism and a gender reveal party this week! The theme for the latter was "Bikini or Board Shorts?" (how cute is that?), and...board shorts it is!

Boys are fun. :-) I sort of suspected I would have a boy at some point, and I'm loving every minute so far!

The rest of the week promises to be insane, too. We're spending Memorial Day waterskiing with my family (Marshall has a life vest; I can't contain my excitement), and we're also celebrating his actual first birthday on Saturday. Prepare for a super emotional post in the near future, which I shall write while openly weeping. How is he already one?! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This Move is Sponsored By...

This move is sponsored by...

RiteAid, for providing dozens of boxes without any notice. I walked in after calling multiple stores and stopping in a few other places, and the ladies at RiteAid took me to the back of the store so I could choose as many boxes as I wanted! Hooray for free boxes!

Chipotle and Burger City Grill, for providing much-needed sustenance today when we had already packed up the kitchen. Bonus points to both restaurants for offering online/text ordering (Chipotle's app is amazing!) so we could grab and go!

Our rental agent, for providing the keys to the apartment a WEEK early. I cannot tell you what a huge help it was to bring three loads of boxes up to the new place before we were even supposed to get in there.

Marshall likes the new kitchen!

...almost as much as Terry and I love the new LAUNDRY ROOM!

My dad, for offering (insisting) to drive down and stay the week with us. He's been a HUGE help with watching Marshall so we could pack, helping load boxes into the car and the new place, and helping us assess things we might need to do or buy as we transition. Today my dad and I sat in the car carting two loads of boxes up to the new place, fighting traffic all four times. And then he thanked me for letting him help us! Hell of a guy.

My husband, for not complaining that his two weeks off for bonding time/paternity leave with Marshall has become a moving/packing/loading extravaganza. I'm doing my very best to ensure that he and Marshall get to enjoy lots of time together, but I know it's not the way he saw these two weeks going. Today, though, they were together from sun up to sun down--hanging out at home, going to MyGym, eating three meals together, going to swim lessons. Terry took care of lunch and dinner for M and totally rocked the stay-at-home dad thing. No surprise, but I was giddy to see the two of them enjoying such a great day together.

(By the way, this is how moving happens with a baby.)

Terry is also working hard with Marshall to teach him how to use a spoon on his own. Today he managed several scoops and bites by himself! Way to go, Marshall!

I'm really hoping Friday will be a family day for the three of us, but we'll see if that ends up being the case. It's naturally going to be hectic with the move and trying to get organized for Marshall's birthday party, but I hope we can find some time to celebrate the fact that my awesome husband took time off work to hang out with his kid--that's not always possible in a lot of jobs, and it certainly wasn't easy for Terry to arrange, but I'm thrilled he did it! (Huge props to his boss and team at work for supporting family/work/life balance!)

Okay, today was a long day and tomorrow promises more of the same. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My First Mother's Day

Today was practically perfect in every way (Mary Poppins would be proud). Terry woke up early with Marshall and let me sleep in. I woke up to find the two of them playing, one of my favorite sights.

Terry made delicious pancakes for breakfast, and we spent the morning relaxing, packing a little, and getting organized for Marshall's first birthday party this weekend. After Marshall's nap, we headed to the park for a family walk, some jogging(!), hanging on the swings, and climbing on the playground.

We even saw a little family of ducklings!

We ran a few errands and enjoyed lunch at home, and I colored my hair (those motherhood-induced greys just had to go). Then I got to open my present! Along with two very sweet cards from my boys, I received a collage of photos of Marshall and me. I absolutely LOVE it! Good job, Terry!

Then Marshall showed off some new skills: stacking his rings! Way to go, buddy!

Marshall and Scout even hung out together. Until Marshall whacked Scout on the nose with his wooden spoon. Sorry Scout.

I got to cook one of our favorite dinners: Butternut Squash Soup with Curry Condiments. Thank you, Ina. And thank you, Terry, for providing Mumm sparkling wine for me tonight!

In fact, special thanks overall to Terry for making today so absolutely wonderful!

Naturally, today offered me some time to think about motherhood, so here are my thoughts.

Motherhood is, without question, the role at which I'm best. A lot of other times in my life, I've felt I was somehow less than capable, and certainly never spectacular. I was never the best dancer growing up, and I went to high school at one of the most intense academic schools in California (I graduated with a 3.8 GPA and felt wildly inferior to my peers). I attended UCLA but seriously questioned whether they had made a mistake admitting me until I received my diploma. As a teacher, I was often told that I was good at my job, but I don't think I ever believed I was that good. Obviously, I had a lot of doubts about my abilities. I wouldn't call myself insecure (I have the world's most supportive and encouraging parents and husband who are somehow convinced I am actually great at all these things), but I viewed myself as Average Abby (Just Julie?) most of the time.

And then last year, I became a mom. Of course I had a lot of moments of insecurity there, too, and we can get into those another time. But overall, I know I'm a good mom to Marshall. I feel confident that the choices I make as a mom are ones I can stand behind. I don't doubt myself constantly the way I have in other roles. And I truly enjoy getting to be Marshall's mom, which is the best part!

As we near Marshall's one-year mark, I find myself reflecting more and more about what I've learned about motherhood. I've learned lessons in patience (with Marshall, with myself, with my husband, with well-meaning people who want to give advice), sacrifice, and loving someone more and more each day. I have grown to admire other mothers for their patience, sacrifice, and love, and I appreciate learning from other mothers whenever I get the chance. I have lots of examples of incredible mothers in my life, from my own mom to lots of friends and family who have shown me what it's all about. I can't wait to see where this journey as a mom takes me next!

Today--and this weekend as a whole--was fantastic. Marshall got to hang out with his grandparents; I got to enjoy my first Mother's Day with my wonderful husband and sweet baby boy; and I was totally spoiled with all my favorite things.
What is that face?

And an extra special happy Mother's Day to my mom! Love you, JanJan!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, moms-to-be, and moms who wish to be!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Gearing Up for a Busy Week Ahead

What a day! It's late, so I'm just popping in for a quick hello to post about this crazy day. It was a weird one for sure.

Having Terry home is a dream.

(Family trip to UCLA!)

He's so helpful around the house and with Marshall; if we weren't packing everything I'm not sure we'd know what to do with all the time we have! But as it is, we're keeping plenty busy with tons of small tasks like setting up electricity in our new place and figuring out all the places that need to know our new address.

But the other bonus of having Terry home is the extra sleeeeeeep! I slept in until 8 one day and took a 90-minute nap today. WHAT?! Also, it doesn't hurt that Marshall has taken some extra-long naps a few days. Terry got to sleep in one day and took a short nap another day, too. We're really making the most of his time at home to relax and enjoy family time.

This morning I headed out to visit with my parents while Terry spent the day with Marshall. It was really nice to spend time just me and the padres; normally all their attention is focused on Marshall (and rightly so; that kid is pretty cute if I do say so), but it was awesome to just chat with them and have an uninterrupted conversation. We walked about 5 miles in the process, too!

After I left my parents at their resort to enjoy some vacation time, I headed out to run a few child-free errands. Without my sidekick, I can jump in and out of the car without strapping Marshall in and out of his car seat, so I feel twice as quick. I stopped for groceries, a gift card, and a finger splint (apparently I hurt my finger this week, although I have no idea how; it just suddenly was a little sore and swollen), plus I popped into a few stores to ask if they give away boxes, all within about a half hour. Super speedy!

Then came lunch with the boys and Marshall's epic (two and a half hours!) nap, as well as my own snooze on the couch. We took the afternoon pretty easy and then I helped Terry with dinner for Marshall before heading out. Tonight was Jenn's surprise birthday dinner up in West LA, so I got to have a little solo time in the car (chatting with my sister-in-law) and had a nice time visiting with friends and celebrating the birthday girl. Happy birthday, Jenn! I made it home around 10:30, said hi to Terry, and typed up this post.

The next week or so is going to be a little insane, because it involves packing up the rest of our stuff, getting our new keys and walking through the new apartment, celebrating Mother's Day (x2!), celebrating our friends' daughter's birthday, hauling multiple car loads of boxes to our new place, and finally moving the big stuff over with movers. We are so thankful that my dad has volunteered not only his truck(!) but himself as well. He'll be staying with us a few days to help with errands, packing, and watching Marshall as needed. Also I'm thrilled not to be pregnant this time around and will be glad to actually get to lift and help with all the stuff! But please wish us luck in the process--moving is always a little stressful and tiring, even in the best of circumstances.

And now that this productive, fun day is done, I'm tired and ready for bed. Happy Friday to you! Enjoy the weekend and Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Perfect Little Visit

Terry is officially on paternity leave! Weird, right? He gets six weeks total, and he chose to take four weeks right away when Marshall was born last May (HOW was that so long ago?!), but his project at work ended up getting pretty intense after that, so he is just now barely squeezing in the last two weeks before Marshall turns one. The whole point is for Marshall and Terry to get lots of time together, but it's also coinciding with our packing for the move, so my job is to pack (which I love) as much as possible and allow the boys bonding time.

To kick off Terry's time off, we took a long drive up north to visit my brother and sister-in-law. They are just the sweetest hosts; Chris called ahead of time to ask what kind of tea we drink so he could have a box on hand. How cute is that? 

We left early Saturday morning and arrived at their house around 12:30. Marshall said hi to the dogs first! 

We took the day super easy, enjoyed a long walk to the park with the dogs,

 and struggled a bit with Marshall's second nap (his naps have been all over the place lately!). After the little guy finally went to bed, we had some deeeeeeelicious smoked pork. Chris is the smoke master, and we all agreed it tasted like bacon. Ashley's potatoes were perfectly cooked, I assembled a salad, and Terry sliced watermelon. We all devoured our meals--SO GOOD.

Then we adults decided to watch the big fight on PPV--a totally new experience for me! It was actually fun to watch (I definitely thought I would hate watching boxing, but these guys were impressive), and even though I slept through the middle of it I enjoyed the experience. Turns out a cold came on for me that evening, so I put myself to bed by 10 pm and fought through Marshall's multiple wake-ups that night.

On Sunday morning, Chris and Ashley offered to watch Marshall once he woke up. The best family members are the ones who take your child and let you go back to sleep. We have several of those, and we are so grateful. I got an extra two hours of sleep! Hallelujah!

Chris made breakfast on the grill (if you haven't had bacon and eggs cooked on a BBQ, you haven't truly lived), and we spent a quiet morning hanging out at home. Terry and I took advantage of some babysitters and enjoyed a "date" to JoAnn Fabrics and Costco. Try to reign in your jealousy.

Then we packed up some lunches and headed to Berryessa Brewing Company! Terry and I loved the relaxed outdoor atmosphere, complete with live music, dogs, and babies galore.

Marshall's first live band experience!

Marshall hanging with his aunt and uncle

Checking out the fans.

This gigantic dog was a huge hit with all the guests.

Two of my favorite people.

Marshall got to try watermelon for the first time this weekend! He loved it.

Sunday evening involved putting a very tired little boy to bed and enjoying some Mexican chicken soup. I was so glad Chris and Ashley liked it! 

We also played Parcheesi (Ashley kicked our butts--beginner's luck) and watched a little of The Fugitive before calling it a night.

Marshall slept much better our second night there, and he woke up just in time to say goodbye to Uncle Chris. By the way, Marshall fell in love with his uncle while we were there, and no one else could make that kid happy. He only wanted to be with Chris. Including when Chris was giving the dogs treats.

(This photo wins for best picture of the weekend.)

Marshall's face when Uncle Chris handed him back to Daddy. 

We took one more walk with Ashley and the dogs after Chris headed to work, and then we hit the road. The drive back was our last one before we move a little further north, and we can't wait to shorten that drive again! 

Special thanks to Chris and Ashley for hosting us, helping with Marshall, providing incredible food, and taking us to the brewery! We had a blast and can't wait to see you guys soon!

I'll be back tomorrow with some other updates, like some phenomenal enchiladas and plans for the week. For now, I'm settling in for some TV and early bed--gotta love productive days and lazy nights!