Saturday, October 31, 2015

Changes



Haven't been able to write much because I planned to update this summer and life got a bit crazy in July when my mom got an offer on her house. The house sold and we moved to a cute house in Kirkland not far from her river house. I do miss my mom's house and it was a crazy stressful moving but I'm a firm believer everything happens for a reason and currently very happy where we are. 

Coolidge is now in Junior High. I had massive anxiety that this transition would be hard for him. Most of my fear came from my own horrible experience in the 7th grade. However, he has taken it all on and really shocked me with his new maturity. I got a quick lesson that he may be very mature but I still need to keep an eye on him because he also got his first F. I almost fell off my chair when I saw it on the computer screen. I immediately took it personal. As far as I was concerned I got the F. I chatted with his teacher and he was allowed to retake the test and turn in late work. In one week his grade went up to a C- and the 2nd week up to an A-. It shattered his confidence for a few days but now he is back to feeling good and motivated. 

He's also found a love for clothes. My little boy went from begging to go to Toys r Us to begging to go to the stores like Zumiez and the Mall. I always loved the idea of clothes shopping with him but my bank account is not happy. He also never cared about his hair. I could cut when I wanted and how I wanted but now he is very particular and makes sure to style it every morning and if the front doesn't do just what he wants it to do he gets quite upset. It is safe to say he is officially a teenager even though he is only 12. His teen attitude I could do without but I do have to say I love our conversations and watching shows and movies are a lot more enjoyable. 

When he started the school year he was given drama as an elective. This was not a class we chose but they couldn't fit him into stem. We complained to the counselor and she said she could move him but would have to change his entire schedule. I think that was more upsetting to him then taking drama so he stayed in. I thought this was going to be a class he hated and complained about all the time but he actually loves it. He is going to be in his first production tomorrow and I can't wait to see him on stage. I never thought I would say those words. I'm so proud of him stepping out of his comfort zone and learning that drama is fun. 

Brody shocked me about how sad he was about selling grandma's house. He shed a few tears and was also nervous about the new house, sleeping alone, and that he might have to go to a new school. The first couple of weeks in the new house he asked to sleep with Coolidge on his floor.  I think he need to build his security before sleeping alone. Now he loves his room and bed but was a bit of an adjustment. He has slept in the same room as Coolidge since he was born, you'd thought I would have predicted it. 

Now his is in the 4h grade and doing great in school. Still hates homework but has a some good friends and for the first time asking to play a sport. He has shown a lot of interest in basketball. Ever since T-ball he hasn't wanted to play any team sports. I'm excited to sign him up and find a new passion of his. 

Life here in the Northwest has been pretty good so far. Ben has struggled getting work but he is involved with his own project so I'm sure that it is the natural plan of life right now. I have loved all the family support. So many stepped up to help when we went through the move. My family and friends here are amazing and I couldn't have done it without them. Living in suburbia has some challenges. I have lived in the city for so long that I am learning all these crazy things like buying a lawn mower. That is one item I have zero excitement over. I love how you don't have anyone living bellow you or on top of you but I'm having to get used to all the heat escaping. I wear more sweaters and sweatshirts inside in 20 plus years. I also miss that false security you get when you live in an apartment building that nobody will break in. In a house it feels like someone can get in so many different ways. I know it silly but a huge transition for me. However the pros of living in a house are so much more. Coolidge recently said to me, "remember when we had to drive around a lot looking for parking"? Oh god do I remember it and don't miss it at all. I love garages and don't think I can go back to street parking. It is fun to write about our new adventures in suburbia living. Looking forward to sharing many more. 

Friday, January 09, 2015

Holidays


We are all settled in and just celebrated the holidays in Seattle. It was so strange and exciting to be here and get a chance to experience with my siblings and all there kids. The last time I did that all my nieces and nephews were very little and some of them weren't even born. I also had some family fly in and drive here from other states. In some ways it was surreal and in others it felt just right. 


We celebrated our first Halloween suburbia style. We got lucky that it wasn't too cold and it managed to not rain up until 9pm and we were done trick or treating by then. We drove to my sister Lindsy's neighborhood in Monroe to trick or treat with cousins, Aunts, uncles, grandma, and grandpa. The whole neighborhood really enjoys this holiday and they decorated their houses spooky yet fun and there were kids all over the streets. My kids just loved every moment of it and once we were done they passed out candy to the other trick or treaters. Living in a building without kids we have never experienced little ones coming to our door. It was fun to experience a different style and we are already looking forward to next year. 

I haven't been home to celebrate Thanksgiving in 18 years. I got very emotional thinking about it. I've been very blessed to spend turkey day with Ben's family for all those years. They always make it special and we always have a great time with them. I will never forget the first one at Mitzi's studio apartment eating on tv dinner trays. It was the true nyc style. It was never easy to be 3000 miles away from home on that day but the Abel-Bey's always made it wonderful. This year I spent it at my dad's house and we all watched the seahawks game. It was super relaxing, full of laughs, and the kids just loved having all their cousins to play with. 

Right after Thanksgiving we all went into Christmas mode. For the first time we bought a real Christmas tree. I wanted to take them to a farm to get it but it was raining so we went down to Mc Lendons and got a beautiful 8 ft Noble fir for only $50. It wasn't how I planned it because it was pouring down rain but I wanted to decorate it and have it up so we could enjoy it for a whole month. I used to flock my Christmas tree when I was a kid so this year I did just a lite dusting and the kids just loved it. I have had a 4 ft tree for so many years I thought a 6 ft tree was going to be huge. My sisters laughed at me and said I needed an 8ft tree. I wasn't very excited about a real tree because of all the watering and vacuuming of needles but I have to say it was so beautiful and smelled so amazing, I didn't mind one bit. My mom has two living rooms so it was in place that never made me feel crowded. For the first time ever I didn't feel the immediate urge to take it down. I took it down after New Years because it was dying and becoming a fire hazard. I already miss it. 

We spent Christmas Eve with my dad and family just like old times. It was just like I remember growing up. I just love that my kids are getting a chance to experience the tradition of when Ben grew up and now how I grew up and also creating new memories. For many years my kids would open the gifts that our family sent and I would take a photo or a video and send it to say thanks. I always tried to imagine what their expression was like and if they "really" liked it. This year I got see their smiles and sometimes confusion. I made scarfs for a few family members but seeing my Sue Poo's expression and gratitude was priceless and I am so glad I got to be there to see it.

We spent Christmas at home with my mom. It was so nice to wake up in the morning hearing my kids run down the stairs with all their excitement. My Aunt and uncle were also with us and it was nice to be surrounded with family. My kids opened all their gifts and spent the day playing with all their toys while my mom, Aunt and I made a feast for Christmas dinner. The house was full of family and it was a Christmas that I will never forget. I love how the holidays can bring out the happiness and grumpiness in people. If there isn't both well then something is wrong. I loved surprising my mom with a sewing machine. It isn't easy keeping a secret from her. She was shocked and very happy.




We started a new tradition this year, the Elf on the Shelf. I have been very reluctant to get into it but after a lot of begging I thought what the hell. Brody wasn't too excited because he was a little scared of the idea of some elf running around our house getting into mischief. I promised he would never go into his room so he was ok but still a bit frightened. He had one nightmare about it and then once it started he soon realized this is fun. I was on pinterest every night trying to find something fun. It was so fun to see the kids look for him and laugh at all of his creations. By the third week I was getting tired of coming up with new ideas but for the most part it was more fun then a pain. However, I'm not sure what I am going to do next year because my creativity has a limit. Coolidge also revealed that he knows I'm Santa. He needed me to confirm it which I did. He didn't mind but seemed a little sad that he might not get presents from Santa anymore. He said he hopes Brody always believes. I told him the tradition will always be here so not to worry. I love how he protects his brother. They have a wonderful bond that reminds me of Christie and I. I hope they always have it.

I went back and read some old posts and realized that I haven't wrote much in the last couple of years. I know it was because I wasn't in a very good place back then. I don't really like writing when I am feeling down. I made myself write some because I didn't want to lose out on those memories. I also needed to write what I was going through so that I could maybe let others know they weren't alone. When I look back at my last 2 years my eyes fill with tears. It was one of the hardest times of my life and I have been through some serious shit. I struggle with saying I am a better person because of it because Anxiety crushed my heart. It took a part of my strength and I am working hard to regain it.  However, I am a firm believer nothing happens by mistake and I will learn from this lesson eventually. As of now I am feeling great. It is nice to have some space to breathe and family support was just what my body and mind needed. I hope all of you and my family have a great year. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Moving Across Country


When I moved to NYC 17 years ago, I only had to worry about myself. The idea of moving my entire family to Seattle seemed great and horrible all at the same time. 

3 years ago our living space started to feel very small and loud. Our needs started to change and the prices in NYC were outrageous. After going home from summer spent in Seattle Coolidge and I started to long for life outside of Manhattan. 

To many people moving to Seattle was an easy choice for me because it was my home town but, that was not true. My only connection to the NW is my family. It hasn't been my home for a very long time. Ben and I didn't have job transfers but we did have my entire family to lean on and my mom to live with. 

There were no guarantees it was going to be a good move for us. Ben would have to scramble for work, I would need a part time job, and the kids would have to make all new friends. There were a lot of what if's. What if Ben hates it and can't find any work, what if nobody wants to hire a woman who hasn't worked in over 8 years, and what if my kids hate there new school. Well luckily Ben works for a company that has some work in Seattle and my kids have a few summer friends and cousins to help before they make new friends. 

Packing up a family of four on a budget wasn't easy. To move a 2 bedroom apartment across country is at least $8,000. All of our furniture wasn't worth it so I began to slowly sell it all. We knew we would be living with my mom so we didn't need any furniture and would cost more money to store it. There was a lot of anxiety trying to sell our stuff, pack our clothes, and say good bye to all our good friends and family. I just kept telling myself it would all be worth it so keep on moving forward. After researching it all I found the best way to get our stuff from NY to WA was to send it through Amtrak. They wouldn't take anything with a plug or that is breakable. So I had to send some some items through USPS and UPS. After two shipments with Amtrak and the rest going through the mail we spent about 1,500. Quite a bargain but I did have to let go of quite a bit of stuff I loved. 

We are here now and just like I thought our quality of life is amazing. The boys share a room right now but at least they have their own playroom and bathroom. We moved here in June so we have had plenty of time to enjoy the kids playing outside without constant supervision. At first it was hard for Ben to allow Brody to ride his bike out of our sight. It has been a pleasure to not have a toddler running back and forth above our heads, having to call Dunkin Doughnuts to tell them to turn down their music, to watch a movie/show without competing with outside street noise, or feeling like I have no space to get away for some quiet.

Sure there are plenty of new challenges. We are currently living with my mom and she has been super gracious to let us share her space and all of her stuff. She helps me with the kids and cleans up after us a lot. I know it has been hard for her to go from only taking care of herself to caring for all of us everyday. Coolidge grumbles a little because he wants his own room but he knows as soon as we get ourselves situated he will soon get that. The first couple weeks of school were hard. Luckily I still didn't have work so I could go everyday with them and walk them to their classes. They looked nervous and scared at first but slowly made friends and started to get their smiles back. Ben's work is slowly picking up. I know all his down time will be worth it because he has plenty of time to write and prepare for his new project.

I'm very happy here where I don't have to constantly shift things around so that we don't feel burried in our stuff. I feel I have room to breath. I haven't lived with my mom since I was 18. I get very uncomfortable having to always use someone else's stuff or worry I'm not doing it right. But we are all doing our best to make each other feel comfortable. I imagine next summer we will all be more settled and we should have our own space. Fingers crossed this huge change in life will be all worth it. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

Skin Care



I am in love with this new soap that I found about a year ago. My cousin recommended and I have to say it is amazing for many reasons. Its all natural and from what I was told it helps with acne. I have to say I haven't had much acne since I started. What I love about it most is shaving my legs and washing my underarms. I know that sounds crazy but if you are anything like me you shave your legs and suffer from razor itch and itch arm pits. I don't know why but I thought, I wonder if I try shaving both my under arms and legs with this that it would stop the itch. Well it did. And now I can't live without it.  For some magical reason keeps the itch away. I wash my under arms every day with it and and have to say it is amazing at getting rid of the build up of deodorant. 

I just turned my husband on to it because He was complaining that regular soap doesn't get rid of the deodorant from the day before. I told him to use this and he is hooked. I have also recommended to sisters and cousins who deal with the same problems. They all say it works for them. 


However you must also use this coconut oil with it. Because the Dr. Bronners Magic soap with Tea tree oil is quite drying you must use coconut oil after you towel off. These two combined are miracle workers. My legs and arm pits rarely itch. They were so bad that I thought I was going to scratch off my skin. Also remember you have to keep applying coconut oil each day.

Let me know if you try it and what you think. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Growing up


I'm glad to say winter seems to be finally coming to an end. This was a very cold winter and living in a small apartment when it's too cold to play at the park starts to wear on you mentally. I do have to say my kids are getting older and that helps because they still have lots of energy but seem to have calmed down just a bit. 

Speaking of getting older, My son Coolidge came to me recently and asked me if I am the tooth fairy. I knew one day they would figure it out but asking me to my face, I never saw coming. I never asked my parents. I can't remember what age I figured it out but once I did I kept it a secret because I was afraid they would stop the tradition. 

I didn't know how to answer him because I hate to lie when asked directly but I also don't want to ruin the fun for him. I'm pretty sure by the look on my face he knew it was me putting the money under his pillow. I asked him why he thinks I'm the tooth fairy. He said, "because you are always counting my teeth." I know that is confusing you...but crazy me, started a new tradition where we give them a $ amount per tooth. Well I never wrote it down and every time he loses a tooth I count how many he has lost so I know how much to put under the pillow. I guess that back fired on me. I told him, "yes it is me. Are you ok with that?" He said yes. I told him to not tell his brother unless he asked. He ran off to bed and didn't seem fazed. 

I know what is coming next, "Are you Santa and the Easter bunny?" It would make life easy if the cat was out of the bag but I also don't want then to grow up so fast. I love their innocence and belief in what they can't see. It's so much fun to see them excited to visit Santa and to see if he got them what they wanted. It's funny how as they get older I try to slow them down. 

I feel the growth speed when I see my niece Kendal driving and my nephew Adrian getting acceptance letters from Universities. When you are sleep deprived after the birth of your child, getting up several times a night you long for them to grow up and sleep. When see your son applying to middle school you say whoa where did the time go and you start to see him moving out. Parent hood is a trip and a true roller coaster ride. 

I also have to say we dealt with one of the ugly parts of being so young and in school. Brody brought home lice recently. My kids have been in school for about 6 years and countless letters have come home about lice being in the school. I have had many friends tell me they found lice on their kids but I truly believed we would be able to avoid it. I have kept coconut oil in their hair for this reason and because of dry hair and scalp. However, for some reason I stopped putting it on their hair and lice found its way over to his head. 

If you have ever had this problem you know what a nightmare it is. I know it doesn't mean your kid is dirty but you immediately start to itch and feel dirty. You start looking at every one's head differently. We all got it except Ben who for the first time is lucky that he is bald. It is amazing how everything in your house starts to look infested. You feel should and you must wash everything and you don't even want to sit on your own couch. 

I treated each of your heads with rid and combed and combed and combed and combed and combed all the lice and nits out of our hair. It is tedious and grueling and GROSS! after you do all of this you need to keeping combing through it everyday and just when you think it is gone....you are wrong! Then we retreated with rid (which was 7 days later) and combed and combed and combed and combed all the nits and lice out. After that you keep combing every day and I also read that to use denorex because it dries out the lice and nits also with adding coconut oil every day. Lice don't like oily hair so it helps keep them away. Well it took 2 weeks and finally they all died and didn't come back. However, I still have phantom itching and look at everything like it has bugs on it. I know this will fade but right now I'm still on guard. 

I hope you never have to go through it but if you do remember it is tedious job to get rid of them but as long as you follow the steps you will. 

I know it has been a rough winter for just about all of us this year and I'm looking forward to spring and summer. I promise I will not complain about the heat this year. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014



I can't believe it is already the middle of January. It feels like we just started the school year. It is nice how the holidays keep us busy so we don't think to much about how long it has been since summer. However, now all the holidays are over and now I feel time is ticking by so slowly. I am not a fan of winter. I sometimes wish I lived in a state like California where is it warm year round. However I really do love fall and would miss it greatly. 

We had a great time this fall and the holidays were wonderful. My boys love Halloween and this year we tried something different. We were invited through a list serve to trick or treat over near Mt. Morris Park and each brownstone that had a  balloon by the door was looking for trick or treaters. It was a nice warm day and we loved running up and down the streets knocking on doors instead of going from floor to floor squeezing through hallways with gangs of kids. Ben and I couldn't believe we hadn't done it this way before. It was so much fun and stumbled upon a friends house. My kids dress up everyday but there is something very special about dressing up and going out to see what all the kids are wearing. 

Christmas was great. It is the second year my mom did not come and the boys really miss having her here with us. Traveling 3,000 miles is just not fun during that time. She has her dogs and she had family staying with her this year so we spent it just us and with the our family in Queens. It was also the first time in a few years that we didn't have the flu. We have had someone sick for enough years in a row that I started to think we are doomed. Luckily we only experienced a little cough and sniffles. That I can handle with ease. It's this time of year that I get very homesick. I realized on Thanksgiving that I haven't been home on that day in 17 years. Sometimes it is very hard to live far away. Before I had kids I used to go home 3 times a year and it made it much easier to be away. Now flying a family of four home is just not affordable especially when you live in an expensive city like we do. My kids love all the traditions that take place during the holidays. Lots and lots of food and entertaining along with making cookies, ginger bread houses, visiting Santa, and advent calendars. 

Last year was a very tough one for me. After Christmas was over I had several panic attacks and was very depressed. It took me about a month to find a doctor and therapist to help me through it all. I am so thankful that I have such a wonderful support system to get through it all. I worried this Christmas was going to be the same thing. I had to remind myself that Anxiety does not control me and that even though I can't control having a panic attack, I can control how I respond to it. Going through all of that last year has left me fragile but also much stronger. I'm a firm believer that it happened for a reason but just not sure why.

Coolidge is applying for middle schools right now. It's so cute to see him walk the halls of another school and see him contemplate whether the school is a good fit for him. I love his innocence and that his requirements of a good school are lockers and desks. You have to understand where he is coming from. One of his favorite book series is "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and believes that you are mature if you sit at desks instead of tables like they do at his school. It is fun to check out all of these other schools, but crazy to see that most NYC schools are not at all diverse. I'm not enjoying how competitive it is either.  A lot of parents want to help you get the school of your choice but some would love to trip you on the way there so they can get in first (if you know what I mean). I hate to see some kids are stressed about getting into a school they like. In a perfect world they all get in. Oh wait that's how it works in the suburbs, hmmm. 

Coolidge seems to be taking it all in stride. Right now he is busy with his new Xbox 360 that Santa brought him. Along with building legos and drawing. I have tried to get him in a comic book drawing class but they keep getting canceled because not enough people have signed up. So for Christmas we bought him a magna drawing book. He uses it to help teach him to draw hands, heads and bodies.  It is absolutely amazing how he can look at a drawing and recreate it on his own. For a kid who has a difficult time sitting still,  he manages to have amazing control when drawing.

Brody is having a great time this year. He is still taking violin lessons but this year he is not very happy with it. It takes a lot of discipline and sometimes he just doesn't want to take the time to stop building or playing wii to practice. I just love watching him read the notes. I never learned an instrument and always wished I did. I guess I am living through him a bit. I'm hoping he will get passed this hard part and keep it going. 

Overall we are doing great. We are out growing our tiny little apartment but still having a blast. I hope you are all doing well and enjoyed your holidays as much as we did. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Summer Vacation 2013

We had an absolutely wonderful summer. I'm sorry that I haven't written much on my blog this last year. A lot was going on and just couldn't get motivated to write on here. We are all doing well and both my boys are growing like weeds.

We are back in NYC and Coolidge just started the 5th grade and Brody just started 2nd grade. Coolidge experienced his first broken bone towards the end of summer. It put quite a damper on his activities but for the most part he is handling it like a champ. Coolidge has never been someone who likes to sit for very long so not being able to be as active as he would like is starting to aggravate him. The poor guy as gone through the ringer this last year. He started to get acid reflux in late November. We changed his diet and he still kept have stomach problems. He also had these strange pains in legs, groin, chest, back and arm. We tested his blood and found out he had a virus. We also saw a GI doctor who put him on acid reducer drugs to help his stomach heal. All you parents know just how hard it is to see you kid in pain. Nothing worse to feed him and do you best to make sure it is good food for him and still see him in pain. Its also hard to explain over and over that you can't eat that because it will make you tummy hurt. He is only 10 and is in great physical condition and eats very healthy 80% of the time. Once in a while a little boy would like a soda and I can't blame him. When it didn't go away after 8 weeks of acid reducer drugs we gave him an endoscopy. It's the first time my little guy had to have anesthesia. No parent likes that idea but we needed to know what was going on. The test came back great and basically the doctor said he has seen it a lot and not really anything you can do at this point. He is happy to be off the medicine and still has problems from time to time. But for the most part his belly is much better. Every doctor was very impressed with him and his positive attitude. They said he was better than many teens and adults they have seen.  Right now he is very excited to get his brace off and start his drawing classes. He is quite the artist and reluctant to have someone tell him how to do it but he also would like to learn some new techniques.

Brody has become quite the big boy who will give everything a try and wants to you take him seriously but behind the scenes he still likes to be cuddled like a baby, suck his thumb, and hold on to pink nye nye. Over the last year he started to learn violin. I didn't think he would want to do it but he was actually very excited about it. He would come home and show me using a book how he holds his violin and when he finally got to bring it home I was in tears watching his concentration. We were one proud family to see him get up on stage and play in front of an audience. He is counting the days down to more lessons starting this October.

 He has a lot in common with Coolidge but he is not as outdoorsy as him. This summer Brody enjoyed swimming and became quite a swimmer in a short period of time. He also became a diver. I'm not at all surprised because when he puts his mind to it he gets it done. His willingness to do it so fast motivated Coolidge and Coolidge also became a diver this summer. Brody doesn't like fishing like Coolidge but he did get a lot of time playing basketball. He's very athletic and enjoyed the trampoline parks this summer. Luckily there were no injuries for him. Now that we are home and back into the swing of school and weather changing I am reminded that Brody gets croup every September or October. It is amazing how immediately his lungs take on that change in germs and allergies and the cough begins and slowly becomes a bark as the night progresses. I don't want to rush them growing up until that night when I long for him to grow out of that. Its those sort of nights that I am glad I don't have a job to go to the next morning because I can't imagine getting up and taking my other son to school and then off to a job feeling like a zombie. My hat is off to working mother's.

Over the summer we spent a lot of time with family. Each summer is a little different and this one seemed to be all about cousins, aunts and grand parents. This year the boys chose not to celebrate their birthday at the park with some of their friends. Instead we went to Great Wolf Lodge with two of my sisters and their kids. They had a great time playing in the water park and solving their wizard mission with their new wands. I was exhausted but worth it to see how much fun they had.

We spent the longest amount of time in Seattle this year. We left the day after school finished and didn't come back until a week before school started. We were blessed with amazing weather in Seattle and made sure to do some of our favorite things to do and add some stuff we hadn't done. I just wish we could see them more than just once a year.

We are looking forward to some family visits this year. We were unable to take our annual trip to the Jersey Shore this last spring so we are excited to do that this spring. Looking forward to a new year full of fun and exciting things with my family. It truly is amazing that you never know where you life will take you. I spent last year just hoping the next day will be brighter and this year I look forward to what's coming my way.

I hope all my readers are doing well and if you are not trust me the storm may seem long and rough but it always passes.