Sunday, September 18, 2011

Quick Check In

We are trying to get back in the swing of back to school. This year is tough because I have four preps. I am forcing myself to stay organized and stay at least an hour after school every day. Liam's new room does outside playtime from 3-4 so he would rather be there anyway. I get more done at school without distractions. Liam gets to play outside with his friends. When I pick him up, the rest of the night is ours. After he goes to bed, I usually go over my lessons for the next day. He adjusted to the toddler room at school. We went an entire week of tear free dropoffs!
We went to a first birthday party for the son of Mike's coworker. Liam loved the balloons. He loved letting them go. We tried tying one to his wrist of belt loop but it just wasn't the same. Photobucket

When we got home, Liam had to play basketball. He is obsessed with basketball. He loves to "swoosh." I was thinking of getting tickets to take him to a Providence College game but I would be scared he'd get upset that he couldn't play. We'll wait a few years for that. He sticks his tongue out when he concentrates. He is such a boy.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tuesdays With Morrie

I must start with a confession: I hadn't read a single book since buying my iPhone. I spent any such time checking the news, surfing, playing Angry Birds, etc. When I got back to school and students wanted to talk to me about what we'd read over the summer, I had to bow my head in shame. I am trying to make up for it by reading two books; Tuesday with Morrie and rereading Erma Bombeck. After my seventh grade English teacher told me I would replace her one day, I read everything she'd written in middle school. Rereading her as a wife and mother is like sitting for coffee with a fellow friend who fully admits she isn't close to having it all together. I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven early in my pregnancy and cried like a little girl. Tuesdays with Morrie is therapeutic. It has been making me think about my mom a lot. I was 1,500 miles away for the worst of her sickness. There are so many things I wish I knew about her. It wasn't until after her death that I learned her own father, unable to deal with the loss of his wife when my mom was only nine, sent my mom to live with her older sister for two years. My mom lost her mom at nine. I remember turning nine and trying to imagine not having a mom. At thirty-four, it is still difficult. I know so little about her childhood, her dating Dad, and her in general. I'm sure I can ask my dad a lot of these questions I have about her and about their relationship. I've asked my dad about me as a baby a few times simply out of curiousity and to compare myself to Liam. I was embarrassed to admit that the only things I knew were what I remembered and say in pictures. When did I started walking? (11 months.) Was I as happy of a baby as Liam? (Yes and I loved pans and wooden spoons, too!) Did I also get ear infections? (No.)

Anyway, we survived the hurricane. We were on the windy side rather than the rainy side. We had a lot of leaves to rake up and only lost our power for nine hours. We were very fortunate. This is a tree at the end of our street.
Liam was amazing by the rain.
Others were not as lucky when it comes to electricity. My sister lost power for five days. I went into my school year having four days to make up because schools were without power. Since we paid for daycare, I dropped Liam off and let him get used to school again. He is in the next room with new teachers. It was a rough start but now I have to drag him out of there in the afternoon. I used one day to organize my oddly shaped closet.
It's a lot of shoes when you take them all out.
Let's see how long this lasts.

Liam is turning into a little boy. He loves his Mega Blocks
He is a little man:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Extension?

We are in the path of the hurricane. In my upbringing, hurricanes usually mean one thing: build up and let down. We had one heading to us last year that fizzled. People panic, buy everything from Stop and Shop and Home Depot, then nothing big happens. This one seems to be different. Some school are already closed for Monday. Mike is playing video games to get his technology fix since power outages are expected.
After last year's floods, Mike and I are taking no chances. We just refinished our basement. We kept the waterlines up as a reminder. This is the only one I could get a decent picture of.
Twenty two inches of wet goodness in our finished basement. Oh, the perks of living within walking distance to the ocean. The state released a bunch of evacuation maps; we are two blocks from the evacuation line if a hurricane hits. Still love living near the ocean. Anyway, we've spent the last two days getting ready to avoid the chaos in any store that will arrive tomorrow.
Yesterday, Liam and I went to Benny's for gas cans and batteries.
We brought all of Liam's toys to behind the shed so they don't blow away int eh eighty mile and hour winds. He was excited to play this game and wanted to help.
Then he realized his toys were out of his reach and was less than thrilled.
Our shed door blew open two years ago and now usually blows open and off the hinges in any high wind. Mike solved that. Liam also wanted to help with that.
Liam was the offical screw hander to Dad.
This is not the end of summer excitement we were hoping for but at least we are prepared. The latest reports says the storm is slowing down. Here's hoping.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lesson of the afternoon

Finger painting with a toddler is much like a middle school dance; there's a good chance someone will wind up crying in the bathroom.

That is all.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The L Word

Last year at this time, I was a wreck. After having spent seven months home with Liam, the thought of going back to school and transitioning to working momma terrified me. I was itching for adult conversation, a reason to get dressed, and getting out and felt so guilty for it. Mike was fantastic about helping and checking in, but there is only so much time a momma can spend alone with a baby before she climbs walls. Within a few weeks, we were all in a routine. In April, I realized Liam had been in daycare half his life.

Fast forward a year. This past summer was amazing. If the economy would allow me to take a five year career hiatus and winter never arrived, I would live on peanut butter sandwiches and stay home with the Boo in a heartbeat. I say that now but will admit that there is a part of staying home that I always feel guilty for admitting: it can get very lonely. I love Liam. I love him more than I ever imagined I could love a toddler. I love everything about him. That being said, he has a twenty word volcabulary. Poor Mike comes home and I cling to him for any touch of adult interaction. I wonder if Liam feels the same way about me. I know he loves me, but he also loves his friends. He didn't want to leave daycare yesterday. He's gone two days this summer while I have PD.

I find that the journey to motherhood has been interesting. Mike and I feared that it would alienate us from our friends. We worried that we would have no time to ourselves and our relationship would suffer. We made a point of making each other a priority. I make sure he has time for his hobbies or even time to play video games. He is always offering to watch Liam so I can go out. If anything, he and I have made a better effort regarding each other than we did before Liam's arrival. In spite of the fact that our last date out was April 2, we are not feeling too too overwhelmed.

In a lot of ways, motherhood alienated me from the rest of the world. Going out at 7:30 is no longer an option. The word "babysitter" is not in our list of possibilities. There are people who have offered that I would trust to watch him, but I feel like a bad mother asking someone to watch Liam for a few hours so Mike and I can go drink at a bar and watch a Sox game or something along those lines. He and watch games in the basement or have a drink together after Liam goes to bed. We catch up on each other. I'd rather take a walk to the park, play on the slides, read Goodnight Moon three times, and have a glass of wine with Mike after Liam goes to bed.

When Liam was first born, everyone who called, emailed, or stopped by had an opinion. To a new mother, these "helpful hints" came across as "You're doing it wrong. Your child will grow up to rob 7-11's and it will be all your fault." People have the best of intentions. They really do. I shyed away from a lot of those people whose visits had the feel of a CPS meeting where I had to defend not giving Liam cereal in his formula, not putting rum on his gums, using a Moby wrap, not having another baby, and refusing to let a one month old cry it out. When Mike's step grandmother commented,"It's ok, we all have our bad mother moments," when I refused to let her put cereal in Liam's bottle, I almost snapped. When a friend of mine told me she thought it was selfish to be induced just because of gestational diabetes, I also cried the entire ride home. I was prepared for a lot of things before Liam came. Defending your parenting choices came out of left field.

I was very niave about a lot of things about motherhood. I pretty much skipped over the C-section parts of pregnancy books assuming I didn't have to be familiar with them. I was right about that but it was close towards the end of my pregnancy. I assumed that breastfeeding would be natural to me because I was determined to do it. No such luck thanks to a thyroid issue. Poor Mike had to keep watching Liam and I cry as I tried to get him to latch to get nothing.

I have a few people I can talk to and make plans to go out with. I get out without Liam maybe once every six to eight weeks. Sometimes, I feel like the world has moved on while I was changing diapers. I don't expect the world to stop because Mike and I decided to have a child, but I feel like I have such a hard time finding my place in the rest of the world. Like other aspects of motherhood, I was very niave about the loneliness. When we do get together in social situations, I feel like I have very little to contribute to conversations. My life revolves around teaching and being part of a family.

I love my life and know I am beyond blessed. Mike is the best friend and husband a wife would wish for. I know this is the only time I will ever be the mother of a toddler and cherish every moment of it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thrity Day Dropout

I stink! I spend so much time with Liam that I never get to this. I think I'd have better luck if I was working and sat at the computer a little more.
We had our yard sale Saturday and played on Sunday. Monday was VJ Day here in Rhode Island, also known as Victory Over Japan Day. Yes, we celebrate dropping a bomb to get a three day weekend in August. We took Liam down to Mystic. Mystic has always been our little place to get away for a day. While Liam napped, Mike adn I stopped to get a coffee and sat in the cemetary, watched the water, and learned about one of the founding families in Mystic.
We had to get Liam a Del's Lemonade.
I am down to my last two weeks of vacation. I am so lucky to spend my summer with Liam. We've had a ball. I've started trying to get materials together. I know what I'm doing for nine, ten, and eleven. Eighth grade will be short stories for the first few weeks. I am getting nervous about adjusting back to being a wokring mom. A part of me is looking forward to seeing my stduents and getting back in the swing of things. There's always the nervousness about getting back to not having all the time in the day top get things done. I enjoy taking care of the house so when Mike comes home we have family time. Liam will have to adjust his sleep schedule back. We've been sleeping an hour later in the morning, which sets him an hour later for the rest of the day. He'll go back to the next room in daycare.
For the next two weeks, I get to do as much as I can with him. We can go to the zoo, the library, or just fingerpaint in the backyard. We can read books and go for walks. How lucky we are.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Aug 4-5

I am getting bad at this. I have always been of the belief that Liam is only going to be little once. Fun with him always comes first. And fun we had. Blueberry picking in the morning.
He was a natural. In the afternoon, Liam had his 18 month appointment. He is right where he should be. That evening, Mike and I did our annual recreation of our first date. Six years flies by. Anyway, on with the challenge:
August 4 – Guilty Pleasure
This summer, my guilty pleasure has been badminton. Mike and I play it almost every night and are almost getting good at. What's not to love? It's enough of a workout to make me kinda sweat. The birdie thing is called a "shuttlecock" and that sounds dirty. Liam plays in the yard or grabs his racket and tries to join us.
There are certain things that just seem to be a part of who Mike and I are.
Badmintion is now one of those things.
To remember our summer of badmiton, Mike got me the Pandora badminton bead.

August 5 – I really should get rid of…
Do be honest, there isn't a lot I should get rid of. I go through the house several times a year and purge anything we haven't used in awhile. The flood last year forced me to get rid of old lessons, books, and other things I probably should've gone through but never did. I've been saving Liam's baby stuff as he outgrows things. What I haven't passed on to pregnant friends, I'm going to sell at my first attempt at a yard sale tomorrow. Hopefully, it goes well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August 3

August 3 – What do you love most about yourself
Growing older made me much more comfortable in my body. Months ago, I wrote in my journal an analogy about growing into my own using my hair. I keep saying I need to type it out. Otherwise try to make it into something is isn't. When I entered my thirties, I let my hair be what it was meant to be. It is more than half grey. I do dye it, but I no longer spent hours and a small fortune putting blond highlights in it. I no longer try to fry it into straight submission. Here is a picture of my sister and I on her thirtieth birthday. That hair took forever, lots of product, and a flatiron to achieve.
My hair has always been a great feature. Much like the rest of me, when I stopped trying to make it something it wasn't, it flourished. It is healthier than it's even been. It is easier than it's even been and found its own way of doing things.
Here's my hair over the winter.
Not glamorous. Simple. Content. Me.

One of my favorite things about me is my hair. It is as telling as a journal. I just looked to see if I had any of my big hair middle school pictures of half buzzed pictures from high school. Luckily for everyone, I don't.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Little Mimic

Of all the things Liam could learn from me, he has learned to spit. Teeth brushing is a big event in our house. He sits on the toilet because this is a treat and it keeps him from trying to run after the dog with a toothbrush in his mouth. When we are finished, he watches me rinse my mouth. Since I spit, he leans over and makes a "pphhhuuu" sound. This is cute in and of itself but my little Booba had to take it a step further and fake spit every time he is at the sink. After yesterday's brave finger painting episode, we went to the sink to wash up. After I turned off the water, he had to lean over the sink and "ppphhhuu."

Mike often says I need to make things as difficult as possible for myself. Liam is following me. He is up to about twenty words, most of which are not very useful. He says sea"shell," "picture," and "button." He yells "button" and "books" whenever we enter the library. Books for obvious reasons and button for the elevator. And, yes, he yells these words out in the library entryway. When we get to the children's library, he runs off calling out "fish." How excited am I that my kid already knows his way around the library? He's trying to work together sentences. "Where's dog?" and "Hi moma/dad." are his two right now. He won't say "cup" or and food items, but he can say "Jeep." He can say "more," but prefers to sign it. I love when we don't see him do it or immediately jump to get him whatever it is he wants and he signs it faster, almost as if yelling.

In taking after Mike and I, he is an independent player. At Babies and Books, he prefers to play with the beach ball or the wall hangings himself. He isn't antisocial; he just likes to figure things out himself there. He was very comfortable with his friends in daycare so these other new kids will take some getting used to. If he wasn't such a social butterfly at daycare, I'd be worried. Mike and I have both always preferred solitary past times. I read, write, and play with my camera. Mike makes his models. Liam will play outside for a little bit by himself then make it clear that he wants us. He is much better about playing alone outside. In his defense, we don't really ask him to play alone. We like playing with him. I guess this is just one of my few "One and done" worries.

Liam's best friend is Jake. His first word beside moma and dad was dog. When he wakes up, his first word every morning is dog. On the one morning Jake had gone downstairs, Liam looked everywhere, looked at me lovingly, and asked "Where's dog?" There was some confusion for a bit that every dog was a Jake so we are trying to teach Liam names. He calls our neighbors' dog "Jakedog." They get along like siblings. Jake has the patience of a saint and lets Liam love him a lot. He will stay a few feet ahead of Liam to tease him and play tag. He instinctively knows not to take food from Liam, even when Liam picks up one of Jake's treats and tries to give it to him.
We used to take Jake everywhere and, as new parents do, we have been neglectful of our first parental responsibility. We took Jake with us to the park Sunday afternoon.
Like a true old man, Jake pretends to be crochity. He is such a good "big brother" to Liam.

Aug 1-2

August 1 – Your 3 favorite blogs
August 2 – Which lesson did you learn the hard way?

I lasted a week on the challenge. Life can get in the way sometimes. I am taking advantage of a sleeping Booba to catch up.
Favorite Blogs:
Aug 1
I love reading Bri and Kim's blogs. Bri's son is only a little older than Liam so I like getting a sneak peak of what is to come with my little guy. Kim is just amazing and I amthankful that being with Mike led me to know her. I love watching her and her family's adventures and seeing the kids grow up. Beyond that, I have a bunch that I follow. There are a few cooking ones that I get great ideass from to try.

Aug 2 Which lesson did you learn the hard way?
Lots. Like everyone else in this world, I had to struggle at times. It made me a better person in the end. I learned that anything worth having is worth fighting for. I worked my butt off when I decided to go back to school. It was worth every bit of hard work. I've learned how be in an adult relationship. I've learned how to be a mother. I don't really think a lesson sticks unless you learn it the hard way.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31

July 31 – Last thing you took a picture of

Ok, yesterday's entry was diffcult because we hadn't been up too long when I wrote. This morning, Liam set up his squeaky ball under his Elmo rocker so that when he rocked, the ball squeaker. He is hilarious! He is also super smart. Yesterday's fight of the nap turned "Operation Toddler Needs to Sleep" into "Operation Keep the Toddler Up Until at Least Seven." Liam finally crashed at 7:30, which gave Mike and I real date time. We played badminton and had a fire in the backyard. Badminton has become our favorite pasttime. Heidi and Jim stopped over for a little bit towards the end of the night. We went in about 11, showered the bug dope and fire off of us, watched a bit of SNL, and went to bed.

The last pictures I took was at Sunflowers for Wishes. Liam has been a little tease when it comes to pictures. He never sits still for them for me. His chair pictures are so difficult to get. He does, however, photobomb strangler. He jumps in everyone else's pictures. Oh, he makes me laugh.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30

July 30 – Today was hilarious because…
It is only 10 am so it is a little early for something amazingly hilarious to happen. I find it FANTASTIC that Liam slept until 9:15. This means mama slept until 9:15.
Yesterday, we drove to Sunflowers for wishes. Fourteen acres of sunflowers. Hayrides were offered with the proceeds going to Make a Wish. They also make amazing ice cream there, which we had to try. We brought home two bunches of sunflowers. I used this as an opportunity to do Liam's eighteen month pictures.

Liam fed the dog/cows.
This one is my favorite.

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29

Ok, I missed yesterday. I spent the day in PD. I missed Liam so much that we played all afternoon and evening. I didn't come on here at all. I worked on my six word biography in class but couldn't come up with anything worthy. So on to the next day.
July 29 – Goal to complete before Sept 1
I try not to make goals. I feel like the second I make a goal, I set myself up to fail. I've had lots of goals this summer: ride my bike every day, bump uglies with Mike more instead of crashing after Liam finally goes to sleep (dammit daylight savings time!), stay in better contact with friends.
In my goal to get healthier and try to get my thyroid under control, I made the decision to go gluten free. It's been three weeks. The scale hasn't moved but I feel better. I feel that my stomach doesn't look as bloated. I don't feel the need to nap with Liam every day. I'm finally regular again (I know, TMI). Gluten free wasn't really a goal but a decision I made. Hopefully, this will help my thyroid level off a bit since I have been struggling with it since before Liam was born. Liam knocked it for a loop.
Mike has been a great help with my decision. We've eaten rice pasts twice. I talked sense to me when I wanted so badly to "just order a pizza" when we drove six hours from Maine and unpacked all the camping gear. I even surprised me with Woodchuck cider so I could drink near beer while camping.
I'm on my way to reaching this goal of surviving the transition to gluten free. I guess I did have a goal disguised as a decision.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27

Thirty Day Challenge: Day Three
July 27 – What part of your life is moving too fast… too slow?
I don't think there is a single part of my life that is moving too slow. Liam is growing at such a fast rate. Mike and I just celebrated out third wedding anniversary. Next Thursday is our annual "recreate the first date" extravaganza. Summer is flying by. I have a month of summer vacation left. I have truly loved being home with Liam. We have made a point of having adventures every day. We are having a great time. I don't know if we could survive being cooped up in the house all the time if I stayed home forever, but having the summers off is a gift. I love the little man that Liam is becoming. I love seeing my marriage become stronger than ever as we work together to create this life for ourselves.
I'd have to say that every part of my life is moving too fast. We just have to savor what will quickly become "back when Liam was little" days.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bittersweet Milestone

Today, Liam and I had our first trip the the zoo without a stroller. To yet again brag about my area, I am eight miles from a fantastic zoo. We have the membership and go fairly often. We go during the winter on random warmer days. Liam and I race there after school for a quick visit from time to time.
Sunday, Liam spent six hours in the car. Yesterday was rainy so we stayed in, cleaned, and recovered from camping. Today deserved an adventure so off the the zoo we went.
I put the stroller int he car just in case. The last time we went to the aquarium, we brought the stroller and he never once sat in it.
The first spot we stopped was the zebras. Liam kept waving to them. In Liam's classification, everything falls into a few categories: dog, duck, car, ball, or boat. Zebras and elephants were dogs. Cranes and eagles were ducks. Somehow, pink flamingos are dogs.
He tried to get closer.

We stopped to look at the elephants.
The giraffes were fascinating.
One was pretty friendly and got up close.
The camels are always a hit. He finally sat on the wooden camel.
In typical Liam fashion, he refused to pose for any pictures for me. He would sit down nice nice in front of various exhibits and give the hint of a possibility of a photo opp but would move at the last minute. He did, however, photobomb at every opportunity. He would be in every strangers' picture if it were up to him.
Of course, one of the biggest attractions were the stairs. Ahh, stairs.

As nice as it was to not have to lug a stroller, it is bittersweet to realize that those baby days are behind us. I love the boy Liam is. I am truly blessed.

July 26

July 26 – How do your answer the question “What do you do?”

My job description is pretty straightforward. I am a teacher. This year, I will teach eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade English at an alternative high school.
My students are challenging in many way but very rewarding. On my way out of graduation this June, a former student jumped in front of my car so I would stop. I pulled over, got out, and received a giant hug. He thanked me for believing in him and let me know he'd received a scholarship to study architecture in Boston. We both teared up. That is priceless and worth every evening I spend grading papers and making graphic organizers.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thirty Day Challenge

I will admit that I am totally taking this from another blog. I was just thinking to myself that this blog is a series of pictures of Liam and updates about what we do. Not that I don't think that is entertaining since, in my opinion, Liam is the coolest little dude in the whole world. However, it would be nice to get something else up here every so often. So here it is, without fancy graphics, my "permanently borrowed" Thirty Day Challenge.

July 25 – Best/Worst blogging experience
July 26 – How do your answer the question “What do you do?”
July 27 – What part of your life is moving too fast… too slow?
July 28 – Your 6 word biography
July 29 – Goal to complete before Sept 1
July 30 – Today was hilarious because…
July 31 – Last thing you took a picture of
August 1 – Your 3 favorite blogs
August 2 – Which lesson did you learn the hard way?
August 3 – What do you love most about yourself?
August 4 – Guilty Pleasure
August 5 – I really should get rid of…
August 6 – Favorite photo of yourself
August 7 – Thoughts on body image
August 8 – What’s your addiction?
August 9 – Cash, Debit, or Credit? What’s your financial status?
August 10 – Funny Travel Story
August 11 – Today I am wearing…
Aagust 12 – Worst job I ever had
August 13 – Favorite spot for date night in your town
August 14 – Random fact about yourself
August 15 – Which article have you read recently that inspired you?
August 16 – Which small act of kindness was bestowed on you that you will never forget?
August 17 – Most embarrassing moment
August 18 – What can you not live without?
August 19 – I am the way I am because ______ happened.
August 20 – If you had a friend that spoke to you the same way you speak to yourself, how long would you remain friends?
August 21 – Toughest time in my life
August 22 – Easiest time in my life
August 23 – This is what I am changing TODAY to make my life better.

Day One:
July 25 – Best/Worst blogging experience
I've kept journals since seventh grade. Keeping journals reminds me of all the people I used to be. I look back on pages and pages about boys I don't remember, my countdown to seeing New Kids on the Block, my eating disorder, my dad's heart attack when I was in ninth grade, constant moving and chaos in high school. I wonder not only how did I not choke on my own lameness but how did I overcome my childhood? While I am not the girl who lusts after Joey McIntyre, I am also not the girl who sits back and settles for whatever comes her way. I've created this amazing life for myself. I pride myself on having a stable life for myself, Mike, and Liam. My six crowns are (literally) battle scars. These journals remind me of how hard I worked to get where I am. They remind me of my successes and mistakes. They remind me of what I will recreate for my son's childhood and what I will do differently.

What does this have to do with my blog? I started a journal three days after I got my positive pregnancy test. I was excited and scared and dreamed of passing this beautiful bound book to my little one someday. I wrote about being so scared before the first ultrasound, battles with my mother over possible names, debated over whether to find out the gender of Baby Day. I gushed about Mike painting the room and choosing the theme of the room. I wrote about mine and Mike's dates and trying to get in as much us time as we could before Baby Day arrived. that journal was the most imposrtant one to date.

March of 2010 was undoubtedly the hardest month of my life. I was struggling with breastfeeding issues and colic. I was tired and trying to fake having it all together as a new mom. On March 5, we flew Liam down to meet my mom. I knew it would be the first and last time she'd ever meet Liam. When we arrived, she thought Liam was my little sister. It was an emotional trip. I left knowing it was the last time I'd ever see her and wanted to go while she was still well enough to somewhat know who we all were. A week after getting home, we received a call asking us to come up to do a similar trip for Mike's Nana. We went from Orlando, Florida, to Bangor, Main, in the span of two weeks. We were back up there two weeks later for Mike's Nana's funeral. Mike's parents decided to be nice and offered to watch Liam so we could go out for the first time since having him. While we were out, my sister sent a text suggesting we have Jim check on the house since there had been a lot of rain and reports of flooding. Mike sent the text. About fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Jim. There was no way he was calling to let us know everything was fine. We were four hours away, with a two month old, and we had water up to the second step in our basement. We raced home, varying our route as we received text updates of closed highways. By the time we got home, the water was deeper than my rain boots. We scrambled to pick up the things we could. Kristy had driven down earlier and saved Mike's plane, my wedding dress, and left us a sump pump since they were worth more than gold in the area. It took five days to get the water under control. We spent that time in a hotel. We lost valuable things such as a laptop, Playstation, and furniture. We lost irreplaceable things such as six years of lesson plans, the last Christmas card my grandmother sent me, pictures, and my pregnancy journal.

After that, I had no interest in journal writing. Like a scorned lover, I swore I would never want to risk that loss again. In June, my mom took the turn for the worst that we had been waiting for. I grappled with making sense of it and decided to start the blog. I didn't make it public and kept it to myself. After my mom died, I sent some people the link. I also made the link available via a parenting board I frequent. I still haven't told a lot of people about this blog. I fear things being taken out of context and having to worry about what I write. No one at work knows about it for similar reasons. I (usually) enjoy my job and on the days I don't would never write anything that I wouldn't want my superintendent to see but it is just not something I ever want to worry about.

Through my blog, I know people I otherwise would never have met. While it sounds lame and cheesy to talk about Internet friends fondly, I do look to them for advice about Liam and other friendliness. Knowing people read it keeps it positive. No one wants to tune in to hear someone complain. While I don't have much to complain about these days, having a public journal keeps from griping about family squabbles and other such things that pass. I enjoy being able to add to it from anywhere. There is no wishing I had my journal with me. Having the iPhone makes that much easier. I enjoy being able to add pictures. Blogging has introduced me to people I've never met but still care about. I do plan to have this printed and bound each year so I still have my paper journals.

Wow that was a lot of information to answer a very simple question.

Happy Campers

Mike's parents are beyond wonderful. However, they are hard to shop for because they usually get whatever they really want. Since they had the "things" they needed, Mike and I decided to get them memories for Christmas last year. Growing up in Rhode Island, my parents took my sister and I camping on Cadillac Mountain in Maine. Mike's family also took him camping in Bar Harbor every summer. Naturally, we wanted to take Liam camping there. For Christmas, we wrapped marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers for in a box with a note explaining their gift.

Last year, we took Liam camping locally. That way, if he was a terror, we could take him home but still go visit the campsite during the day. We were okay taking him a bit farther this time because we really know the area and were close to relatives. If anything went wrong, we had plenty of options. Since we both have been going there forever, we knew where the nearest stores, hospital, etc, were without having to use GPS. We were beyond excited to take Liam to the place we had already made so many memories.

Liam loved camping. We quickly gave up trying to keep him clean. He looked like PigPen and loved playing in the dirt.

Ah dirt! He was so happy. A quick spray under the shower cleaned him up.

He loved playing in the tent and the noise the tent made when he rubbed his fingers over it.

Camping is supposed to be simple. Liam's new favorite thing to watch at home is cooking. He was happy to watch hot dogs grill and snuggle Dad at Lamoine.

Jake is not the biggest fan of camping. He was relieved that, because of Liam, we didn't go sea kayaking like we usually do. Liam was happy to take Jake for a walk. Besides "mama" and "dad," Liam's first word was "dog." Jake and Liam get along like siblings. They enjoy tackling each other and teasing each other but deep down share a bond.

Liam slept pretty well camping. He woke up at 5:30 Friday morning. Mike woke up with him and took him to the water to see the boats. Boat is Liam's latest word. He's up to about twenty words.

Camping is tiring. There were a lot of "pick me up" moments. This may be my new favorite picture.

When I went to Bar Harbor with my family, my mom would take rolls and rolls of film. When she developed them, there wouldn't be a single picture of any of us. All of the pictures were pf the beautiful scenery. I actually rememeber her telling us to get out of pictures at the top of Cadilac Mountain. Therefore, I felt the need to take a few "Mom pictures."

I even let Liam in a picture. I would have loved to get a bunch with him but after four days, jake was done with the water and ran for the hill every time I put him down.

It was a very relaxing trip. We didn't even leave the campground for the entire trip. We played in the fields, went swimming in the ocean, dug for mussles, got dirty, went for walks, and ate hot dogs or hamburgers for most meals. We did our traditional fresh lobster bake. Liam wasn't sure how he felt about water bugs.
Since he's never had them and we weren't sure if he was allergic, he had T-bone with me. Mike's family gave us a T-bone from their cattle. I am getting used to the idea the meat doesn't magically wind up cut, on styrofoam, and wrapped in plastic. Not long ago, my dinner was named Skittles. Skittles was the most delicious steak I've ever had. Liam thought he was better than hot dogs, which is a big deal in liam's world.

Finally, it was time to back up and head home. Liam wanted to help so badly and kept taking things apart as quickly as we could pack them up. I had a mother of the year moment to keep him occupied long enough to let us pack the car.

Mike and I were worried about Liam and a six hour car ride. We invested in a portable DVD player and some new videos from the library. Liam is not a TV kid at all. He has no attention for TV. The best he would do is watch five minutes of Sid the Science Kid in the morning so I could put my contacts in and do my hair before work. However, six hours is a long time so we figured it was worth a try. He loves Sid the Science Kid. We watched the same three episodes for the entire trip. He would vary between watching it, looking out the window, and telling us stories. I wish I had a picture of Liam watching the screen while gnawing on his toes. When we got home, we put it away and it won't come back out until our next trip to Maine.

It is breathtaking there. I think a new family tradition is born.