Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dealing with Discipline

Last week Oscar and I started a type of chore chart for Gabe, with rewards for getting a certain amount of stamps on the chart for the week. Although really it's more about working through certain behaviors at this point, rather than chores. We're using printouts that you can get from Chuck E. Cheese, although we do not plan to go at the end of two weeks. Instead the plan is to go at the end of four weeks. Unfortunately we still are working out the kinks.

I'm reasonably certain that Gabe will be diagnosed with ADHD, it runs in my family, and he displays many of the same behaviors I associate with my brother who was diagnosed with it. It makes concentrating on what he is supposed to do difficult because he is so easily distracted, which can be said of most four-year-old boys, I supposed, but it's even more so in his case.

Last night for example he was supposed to be getting ready for bed, which starts with him getting undressed, which he is perfectly capable of doing. I asked him multiple times and even set the timer and got no results. At one point he was under his bed, still completely dressed. When I let him know that we wouldn't have time for stories if he didn't hurry, he threw a brush at me. There might have been a raised voice on my part, but still...

So he got picked up, placed on his bed, and the door closed until he was ready to get undressed. Then I had to remind him when he went to the bathroom and wash his hands, to not soap up his hair, because he was taking a shower. When his hand washing involved more noise than it should have, I had to stand with him while he brushed and flossed because there was no way it would get done in a reasonable time if I did not.

The entire time he was difficult and whiny, and did not end up getting story time. I always feel a little bad about that, because I like story time. I've brought out all of our Halloween stories, which are fun, and it's always nice to have him cuddled in my lap while I read. I just wish he wasn't so difficult some nights.

What about you? How do you deal when your child is determined not to listen?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Year and a Half

Today Nick is officially 18-months and he can do so many amazing things. I wish I captured more of them in pictures or on video. He still looks like a very large baby in his footie pajamas, but when I dress him in jeans and a t-shirt with tennis shoe he looks like such a little boy, it breaks my heart.

He's always been very much an individual, but lately he has been realizing that he is an individual. His emotions have been maturing. He's not just getting mad and then getting over it. He's getting mad and staying mad. He's learning to understand that actions have consequences beyond if I throw something down the stairs it's gone. It's now if I keep hitting my brother with this toy hammer I'm going to lose the toy hammer.

His vocabulary, is rapidly expanding. He knows so many words, and usually says both syllables for two-syllable words (although cats are mows). He thinks it's funny to call me by my name. When asked to say I love you, he says "luv luv". He will say please (pwease) or thank you (thanou) when prompted, although sometimes he'll say it on his own. If he hears the word eat he goes running to his highchair.

He can also understand complex commands. Such as go pick up that toy and put it in the playroom and then come upstairs for bath time. He insists on trying to walk up stairs by himself, which means I'm hovering behind him ready to catch him in case he starts falling backwards.

He's friendly and sweet to most people, but saves his cuddles for his family. He's a little overwhelmed by the large number of older children in his gym class. At 18-months he's the youngest student in a class that includes 3-year-olds. He loves to bounce and walk across the balance beam. He also likes to hang onto to a bar while I gently swing him back and forth. He loves the balls, but most of all he loves the bubbles.

He's really starting to get excited by books and will often spend a good 10 or 15 minutes entertained by flipping through a book. Especially if it is one of his beloved touchy-feely books, which amuse him to no end. He also loves books about Elmo, Dogs, and Monsters. He gets jealous of Gabe sitting in my lap at story time and will often try to crawl over him or behind him or otherwise distract me and get my attention.

He still wakes up at least once on most nights and usually gets up right before my alarm goes off. Sometimes I'll bring him into bed with me and we'll cuddle for a few minutes. He'll lay his head on my arm and I'll breath in the sweet scent of baby as I feel his chest rise and fall as he breathes. He doesn't like it if a try to read while we rock at bedtime. He wants my attention, and will either start kicking or grabbing at my book to get me to put it down. When I ask him if that's what he wants he says da (for some reason yes is da).

His latest fascination is with eyebrows, which I guess catch his attention while he drinking his bedtime bottle. He'll point to one and wait for me to name it. And then the other one. Then he'll point to each of his eyebrows. Sometimes we move on to eyelashes and eyes and forehead. Other times he'll just snuggle in to me.

And yes, I know, he really shouldn't still be getting a bottle of milk before bed, but we brush his teeth afterwards and only give him water if he wants a drink at night. He uses sippy cups for everything but milk, and always at meals. We're still working on milk in a cup.

He wears 18-24 month clothing and size 4 diapers. He wears size 5 shoes. He looks best in oranges and browns and greens. He looks adorable when he dances, waving his arms and stomping his feet as he turns in a circle. His whole face scrunches up when he smiles. His hair is still strawberry blond, and looks redder when the sun hits it. His eyes are a beautiful shade of pale brown that almost look translucent. Like if you took a piece of brown glass and held it up to the sun. He has 10 teeth - four on top in the front, two on the bottom in the front, and four molars.

He still gets excited when I get home from work, and expects me to drop everything and scoop him up, which I gladly do. He's learning to talk on the phone and will say hi, momma, and bye when I call. He's getting to be such a big boy. Where did the time go? Where did my baby go? It seems like only yesterday he was growing in my belly. Or that I brought him home from the hospital. Or we celebrated his first birthday.

Am I the only one that is sad their baby is growing up even while enjoying every new achievement?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Just Wanna Be Mad for Awhile

Nicholas is my baby. Of that there is no doubt. We have the bond that I knew was missing with my first-born. He loves his daddy, and often wants to go play with him. He adores his grandparents, especially his grandpa, and I love that my in-laws (er, MIL) watch the boys during the week. But Nick and I have a very special bond.

Just like with Gabe, I adored him from the moment he was born, but this time it was equally reciprocated. When he woke up crying he wanted Mama, and he still does. For him I feel like I top his list of favorite people, whereas with Gabe I often feel as though I’m an after thought. Oh look, it’s Mommy. I like Mommy (although he was really happy when I surprised him by showing up to his swim lesson this morning).

So it should come as no surprise that I was a little hurt on Sunday when Nick was mad at me. It should also come as no surprise that my toddler knew exactly what to do to show he was mad at me. Oh Mommy loves my attention and hugs and kisses, well, I will give it all to Daddy.

You see, I had committed the unforgivable act of putting him in his crib when it wasn’t time to sleep because I didn’t want him pulling the books off the bookshelf that I had just picked up for the 11 millionth time while trying to get ready to get out the door. He persisted in pulling books off, not to read, just to get a reaction, so I put him in his crib until I was finished getting dressed and was ready to dress him.

He spent a good deal of the rest of the day ignoring me. Calling for only Daddy. Running up and cuddling Daddy and then giving me evil looks (okay, I might be imaging the evil looks), and basically just letting me know that he wasn’t happy with me. He had forgiven me by bedtime, but still I was hurt that he could hold a grudge like that for that long over something small like having to sit in his crib full of stuffed animals, and a glowworm that sings.

Glad he didn't stay mad for too long, because I was missing my cuddly baby.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tired Doesn't Even Begin to Cover It

I spent this past weekend constantly on the go. Not that it wasn't a fun weekend, or rather Saturday was fun, it just that it was so much. And Nick topped it off with not sleeping last night, so I'm incredibly exhausted.

Our schedule for Saturday when like this:

7:00 - Eat breakfast
7:45 - Leave house to get coffee and get to Ashburn by 8:30 for Nick's gym class
8:30-9:15 - Nick's gym class
9:45 - Leave gym class to get back home
10:30-11:00 - Gabe's soccer pictures
11:00 - Eat lunch
12:00-1:00 - Gabe's soccer practice
1:15 - Leave to get to bowling alley
2:00-3:45 - Go bowling with friends
3:45 - Leave to get to opening day of local farm fall festival
4:00-6:00 - Hang out at fall festival with friends
6:00 - Leave fall festival and get McDonald's for dinner
6:30 - Put boys to bed
7:00-9:00 - Work on homework
9:30 - Go to bed

Nick's gym class went really well. He's still a little clingy when we're doing group activities, because he's the youngest at 18-months in a class that goes up to 3-years-old. However, during the activities he's a champ. He's getting so much more confident at certain skills, like jumping off boxes to me, or holding on to bars while I swing him or do a basket hang. His strength is increasing.

Gabe's soccer practice continues to be a mixed bag. He does really well at the drills, so we're not concerned with his ability. It's the practice games that they play that throw him. Oscar thinks it's because he's so shy. If he's the only one near the ball he'll kick it, or if his friend S. has it he'll go after it, but if it's a bunch of other children he backs off. I'm not sure how to build up his confidence in these situations, since I'm so shy myself.

Bowling was fun. Gabe was good for the first game, but started to get really restless during the second game. We met up with Gabe's favorite teacher from gym class and her two daughters, one is 5 and one is 3. They're both as shy as Gabe, so it was an interesting social situation. Gabe was also making the girls jealous because he adores his teacher and was trying to hang all over her. Again I was reminded that I rank at the bottom of Gabe's list of favorite females.

The fall festival was probably the highlight of Gabe's day, heck probably his whole month, since he's been asking to go since he first saw the pumpkins advertising the festival a month ago. Our friends had discount coupons for the opening day and invited us to go with them at a time that worked for us. Gabe had a great time playing with S. and C.

The first thing the kids did was play on this "hay stack" jungle gym that basically was a ton of hay bales all stacked together over tunnels and ladders. There were also a ton of slides, including one of those giant slides you go down on a burlap sack, which the kids did over and over. The hay ride was great - really long, and with lots of different scenes and "actors" set up as you went through woods and corn fields.

We were all exhausted by the time we left, and Nick fell asleep drinking a bottle before we even got to McDonald's for dinner. Unfortunately, I still had to work on homework before I could go to bed. Luckily this is my last class for a while, it ends this evening.


On Sunday we stayed in for most of the day, leaving only to drop off my van to get the reverse sensor fixed. This was great for the boys, but I was too busy trying to tackle all the laundry to relax. Nick had three loads that needed to be folded. Plus his closet was a mess so I reorganized it. This was in addition to all the other laundry I did. I also made breakfast in the morning, nothing impressive, just Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and bacon, but we're trying to make it a family tradition to have a hot breakfast on Sundays.

I tried to take a nap mid day, going upstairs shortly after lunch and the start of Nick's nap, but Nick woke up shortly after I laid down so I missed out. He hasn't been feeling well the past few days, I think it's a combination of teething and a cold, but his stomach has been upset. He hasn't really been wanting solids.

I managed to do a couple of posts for school, but was too tired to work on a paper, so we went to bed early. However, sleep was not to be mine last night. Starting at 10, Nick was up every hour to hour and a half. At one point he spit up all the water he had been drinking and needed to be changed. It was not a good night for anyone involved. Luckily Gabe's a pretty sound sleeper and wasn't disturbed at all.


I'm really looking forward to my extended break in school. I'd like to have time to establish a good exercise routine by the time I start class again in January. Not that the holiday season is the best time to start, but there's not time like the present. I also have my 5-year anniversary and a winter vacation to look forward to. Also, I might be able to catch up on some sleep.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Changing Routines

Evenings are always hectic when I have to commute to work, which isn't often, but often enough to be inconvenient. My normal office is 10 minutes from my house, but occasionally I have to drive to a location that is about 30 minutes from my house without traffic, closer to an hour with traffic. After a long day and longish commute, I am always tense and exhausted when I walk in the door.

However, I am greeted by my two little boys who are always so happy to see me. Nick practically starts dance in his joy to get picked up by Mommy. Unfortunately I don't have much time to play with them, because there's dinner to be fixed, baths to be run, and two little boys that need to get ready for bed.

Last night was one of the good nights. Gabe ate pretty well and with little resistance. He even wanted more of his main meal (leftover Hamburger Helper beef stroganoff). He took a little too long to get ready to get in his bath. He decided he wanted to crab walk into his bedroom ("Mommy, I'm doing my exercises".) Nick was in a giggly cuddly mood. After his bath I put him on our bed and he was rolling around and giggling and begging to be tickled. A baby's laugh is one of the best sounds.

Story time was Halloween-themed. I pulled out all our Halloween books last weekend. So we read Little Einstein's: Halloween Surprise, which comes with lots of sparkly stickers. We followed that with a favorite - Go Away Big Green Monster, which is a fun story to read. Both the boys were giggling. It's educational too, as it identifies colors and parts of the face. You gradually add different features to the monster's face and then you take them all away. Finally, since Nick still loves both dogs and touch n' feel books, we read Biscuit's Pet and Play Halloween. I thought the retro Halloween costumes the children were wearing were cute.

After stories, Oscar tucks Gabe in and I go feed Nick a bottle before brushing his teeth. I know he's too old to be getting a bottle before bed, but I love the routine. So he gets his milk, and then his teeth brushed. When he wakes up at night looking for a drink, we just give him water. I try to read while he's drinking, which sometimes work. Other nights he gets irritated with the book and will bat at it or kick it until I put it down and pay attention to him.

He's really fascinated with facial features, especially eye brows. Every night he points to both my eye brows and waits for me to identify them. Then he'll point to his eyebrows. Sometimes he moves on to eye lashes and nose. Other nights he's just focused on the eyebrows. When he's done he wants me to wrap both my arms around him and cuddle, which I gladly do.

Gabe is usually still away when I'm done rocking Nick, so I'll usually go in there to kiss him good night again. I really do love being a mom. The amount of love I have for my boys is amazing.

After their in bed it's time for exercising or homework, often followed by TV. Last night we caught up on last Friday's Psych, which is one of my favorite shows. We go to bed between 9 and 9:30, so we rarely watch shows live. Tonight we'll probably watch last night's Glee (so cute), and tomorrow we'll watch the season premier of Bones (which I'm super excited about).


In other non-related news, I recently (over Labor Day) cut and colored my hair. I had really long light brown hair with highlights that were way grown out. I hadn't done anything with it in quite some time. So I cut it just below my shoulders and dyed it a dark reddish brown (I know, I know, where's the picture).

I've been getting a lot of compliments at work. And a lot of comments about it making me look older and more professional. Apparently I didn't look old enough to be out of high school, let alone a working professional with two children. I get that a lot. I've been in the workforce for almost 10 years, including 5 in the military, and get discredited a lot because I look so young.

It's nice that people think I look young in most situations, but at work where most of the people are much older (like my mother's age), it's a liability.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why I Blog

I discovered the world of blogging about two years ago when I came across a blog called Mom Moments on REDBOOK.com. At the time it was written by two writers, one of which is the delightful Julia, who at the time, was pregnant with twins. It wasn't until after the birth of her twins that I discovered she had a personal blog. Shortly after I also discovered Bree's Parental Discretion Advised written on parents.com. I only recently discovered her personal blog, and am glad I did, since she is no longer writing on parents.com.

I have added many more personal blogs to my Google reader since then, and was also inspired to start my own blog last year. The reason that reading blogs by other women who are mothers is that it is nice to have people I relate to. Who have moments I can understand or ask for advice I can give. The reason I blog is because sometimes I have something I want to say or something I want to remember and want a place to put it. Does it matter that nobody but me reads it? No. It's a way to hold on to a feeling or a memory.

When I read a blog with an experience I can relate to, I go yes, exactly, I know how you feel. Or if somebody with a child my age is asking for advice on a situation I've experienced I'll offer a comment. I feel like I'm part of a larger community. The best post I've read lately on how conflicted we often feel as mothers is this one by Linda of All & Sundry. I have those feelings. I've had that moment.

At this time in my life I have limited interaction with women in a similar situation, and those I do interact with are usually much older.

I grew up in Washington State, and now live in Virginia, so all of my high school friends are still where I grew up.

I was in the military, which is how I met my husband, but not in Virginia. Any friends I had in the military have either gotten out and gone back home or traveled to another duty station.

I work full-time in a job where I am surrounded by people much older than me. The women I do work with either have no children or grown children. When I'm home I'm interacting with my boys or doing schoolwork online, where I don't meet people.

I'm not in a position where I have the opportunity to meet many like-minded people. This is why blogging is so important. I can air my feelings in a semi-anonymous forum. I can read blogs written by women whose situations I can often relate to and understand. I can write comments and participate in this community. I feel like it is a place where I belong.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Sister's Keeper

I finished reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult last weekend and have had trouble defining whether or not I liked the book. I've read a bunch of reviews on Amazon, which are mostly positive. There were some complaints about the switching viewpoints and the alternating between past and present tense within various characters viewpoints, mainly Brian and Sara. That didn't bother me. I liked seeing the various viewpoints and also like knowing some of the past events that led to this point.

Many people also had an issue with Sara, who didn't come across as the most sympathetic character. She was a little hard to like, but I understood. As a mother I understood the desire to do anything and everything I could if it meant it could help my child.

That part that bothered me was the ending. I think I liked the book until I got to the ending, which is why I can't decide if I liked the book. I felt that the author cheapened the story with her choice for an ending. It didn't feel realistic. It didn't feel like this was the way the story was supposed to end. For those of you that have not read it, I won't spoil it here, but I will say that it's not how you will expect or want the story to end.

I did like the writing, and was really invested in Anna's story. As much as I felt bad for Kate, and her parents, it was Anna who I was rooting for. She's a girl who wants the chance to live, even at the expense of her sister. She's a girl who wants her sister to live, but struggles with the idea that it might be at the expense of her.

I would recommend the story if only because I really liked it until I reached the ending.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wanting More

I want another baby.

Another little boy to chase after his brothers and wear their old clothes. Or a little girl to try and stuff into dresses when she’d rather chase after her brothers.

Even as I worry that I have too little patience and get stressed too easily I want more. More children to love. More children to call me mama. More children to watch grow. Even if it is just one more. I want more.

I don’t feel done. I don’t feel that my family is complete. I adore the two boys that I have. I love watching them learn new things. I love their delight in the simple. A pile of rocks. A small fountain. A caterpillar. I want to watch it again an again.

Even as I worry that they will resent not having the most playful mother. Or a mother that doesn’t stay home and bake. Or a mother that doesn’t like to be outdoors. I want more.

I want them to be close. I want large family gatherings at the holidays or summer barbecues. I want lots of grand babies. I want a full house.

Even as I worry that I’m not ready for more. That I might never be ready for more. Even as I miss not having space and no longer being just me. I want more.

The Plight of the Working Mother

This week my MIL is in Alaska to help my SIL who just had her first baby. My MIL’s other son, is currently deployed, and has been for most of his wife’s pregnancy. He is not supposed to be back until right before Christmas. My SIL’s mother decided to not come out for the birth or to help her daughter, who was induced nine days after her due date. An induction that turned into a c-section, which is the complete opposite of the natural birth my SIL wanted.

Unfortunately I am not able to be home all day with my boys. I have limited leave and a fairly inflexible schedule. I need to be at work during the core hours and in contact with my coworkers. I also took a half day last Friday, so that Oscar could work a 10 hour day, because my MIL needed to be at the airport by noon, and Gabe had his first fall session gym class at 12:30. So instead Oscar is going in at 2 a.m. and working until 6 a.m. to get home in time for me to work my normal hours since I don’t have enough leave to cover the week, and want to save a day or two for the holidays.

I know this is the arrangement that works best for ensuring that our boys are cared for during the day. Yet I still feel guilty. I feel like I should be the one at home with them. I’m uncomfortable being at work when they’re at home. I know there’s no reason I should feel this way. This was the arrangement that made the most sense, and Oscar is perfectly capable of caring for them. And yet I do. I want to be fixing their meals and taking them to the playground. I don’t want to be reading documents and sitting in meetings.

It’s harder to have them at home with Oscar than it is to leave them with my MIL. Perhaps it’s because Oscar is usually in the same boat, working like I am. Perhaps it’s because she’s a more hands on mother than I could ever be so I know that they are doing way more with her than they would ever do with me. I still feel guilty, which seems to be part of being a working mother, but not as guilty. If that makes any sense.

It doesn’t help that I feel like I get so little time with my boys and that the time I do get with them is either after a long day at work when I’m exhausted or on the weekends when there are errands to run and chores to do. Our time together isn’t quality playtime. I’m either too tired or too busy to sit in their playroom and build towers out of blocks.

I resent not being able to be a stay-at-home mom, even as I know that it is not practical or even the best role for me to have. I feel guilty for not being able to be at home with my boys this week, even though I know that they’re well cared for by Oscar. Being a working mother is not an easy role, even though I know that it is the best role for me to have.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Diaper Failure

Do you ever have those mornings, when you're trying to get out the door for work with the kids, and everything seems to be going okay, and then all of the sudden something happens and now you're late for work? Yeah, today was one of those mornings.

Both Gabe and Nick slept in until 6:20 this morning, which is great for them, especially Nick. Although, Nick was asleep on our bed, rather than in his crib, because I cuddled him back to sleep when he woke up at 5:13. So I decided that instead of getting them dressed before going to my MIL's, I would just leave them in their pajamas. I've done this on occasion, and normally still change Nick's diaper. This morning I decided not to, because gee, what could happen in the 15 minutes it will take to get into the car and drive to my MIL's?

A lot apparently. As we were walking down the stairs to the basement, I suddenly felt something warm and wet on my hand (Nick was sitting on my hip), and look down and see that his entire left leg is soaking wet. I was like okay, fine, I'll just change him, his clothes and a diaper are in the diaper bag. No big deal. So I change him and then get up to walk out the door and notice that my left leg is soaked, and then realize my nylon is too. So I pick Nick up and go to get my lunch bag off the floor. The outside of that is covered with warm dripping liquid too.

So I go upstairs to grab the only other pair of clean grey pants I have. Because my third pair is at the cleaners. I don't wear this pair often because they have pockets that bulge out on my hips, and are a little snug on my hips, but it's all I've got, because I don't want to change anything else I'm wearing. Then I put my lunch in a fresh bag, and finally get out the door about 10 minutes later than normal. It could have been worse. I should have changed Nick's diaper.

I use Huggies Overnights for Nick at night, and usually they serve me well, but we still on occasion have diaper failure. Usually it happens while I'm holding him, which means that not only does he have to be changed, but I need to change too. I had it happen in the middle of the night once while I was rocking him back to sleep and he was curled up chest level. Had to change his diaper and pjs, and then change my pjs.

Gabe's actually gotten a lot better at night. We used to regularly have pull-up failure and he would need clean sheets and pjs, but ever since we switched him to a twin bed, he hasn't had that issue. It usually happened in the very early mornings, and lately he's been waking up at that time if he needs to go. He also refuses to go poopy in his pull-ups so he usually wakes up if he needs to poop.

(I know, more than your really needed to know about my children's bathroom habits).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sleep-Deprived Parenting

Nick has started this wonderful new habit of waking up 10-15 minutes before my alarm is set to go off. This leaves me with the dilemma of rolling over and attempting to ignore him (resistance is futile) or getting up and getting him before he decides to climb over the rail and land on his head. I've been alternating picking him up and rocking him for a few minutes and bringing him back to bed with me, so I can lay down for a few more minutes. Not sure which option is best.

He then spends the rest of the time we're at home, while I'm trying to get ready, getting into anything and everything. To include trying to wake up Gabe, who usually sleeps until at least 6 a.m., sometimes later. Usually I'm fast enough to catch Nick before he bangs on the door, but some mornings, like today, he gets there before I get to him. I feel bad for Gabe, who actually wants to sleep, but can't due to the fact that Nick wants to attention him.

The boys are really displaying signs of a strong friendship. Although the sharing thing is becoming a big issue. The area that used to be Gabe's playroom is now a shared playroom, but it still has a gate on it that Gabe can open and close, but Nick can't. Often, Gabe likes to close the gate so Nick can't get in, because he doesn't want to share. That is always followed by Nick yelling at the gate. They also have issues with toys in general - they both inevitably want whatever toy the other one is playing with.

The one thing they're good about is sharing what they watch on TV. Nick is generally okay with watching whatever Gabe wants to watch. Lately though, he has been requesting Elmo on TV. We have some cute DVDs - Elmo Goes Green and Abby in Wonderland seem to be popular with both. The green Elmo makes Nick very giggly. It is nice to have something that they don't fight over.

I really enjoy watching the relationship develop between my boys. It was one of the main reasons Oscar and I wanted to have a second child, and a big factor in why we want to have a third child. We love that they are close, and we want them to continue to be close. Watching them together is so rewarding, and yet another reason why I feel so lucky to be their mom.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dancing in September

I love September. Then again I was always one of those crazy kids who looked forward to going back to school. It always meant new clothes and school supplies. New classes and reconnecting with friends. I also have always loved the fall holidays, the changing of the leaves and the crispness in the air.

I don’t have to worry about school for Gabe for another year, but fall has come to mean some new things for me. One is that it is pumpkin flavor season. Everybody seems to break out pumpkin flavored things. Some are not so good (pumpkin flavored smoothie, so gross). Others top my list of favorite foods, like pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cheesecake, and pumpkin pancakes.

Fall also includes my anniversary. We got married on October 30th, which just happened to be the best Saturday for us in October of 2004. Oscar remains irritated that it is the day before Halloween, and I admit that the date could be better, but it’s still something to look forward to. This year we will be celebrating five years together. We’re trying to plan what to do.

Originally we were going to spend the night at a hotel, but I think we’re ditching that in favor of a nice dinner at the Melting Pot, followed by a relaxing night alone. The boys will be watched overnight by my MIL. It will be our first night away from Nick, which is a little scary, but she does have a crib where he takes naps during the day, and we’ll make sure she has a monitor, since his crib is on a different floor from her bedroom.

This fall, or rather starting this September, I’m making an effort to make my health a priority. I’ve started an exercise routine and diet, numerous times and failed this summer, and realize that perhaps I have too much on my plate right now to really make it stick. In light of that, I’m thinking of taking a break from my degree. I’m starting my third week of Business Law right now, and think that it might be a good idea not to take anymore classes until next year. Start fresh in January.

I officially started last night by dusting off my treadmill and running for 30 minutes. Tonight I plan to strength train. Ideally I’d like to run three days a week, strength train two, and maybe stretch or do yoga one day on the weekend.

As for my diet, Slimfast seems to be working really well for me. I really don’t feel that hungry having a Slimfast first thing in the morning and again for breakfast, along with small snacks and a Lean Cuisine for dinner. It’s the reason I lost so much weight after having Gabe, and I think I will be successful using it again. I’m also trying to cut out more of the extras on the weekends, like eating out for every meal, and snacking on chips and ice cream. The only thing I have a hard time giving up on the weekends are my lattes, see love of pumpkin spice lattes above.

Fall has always felt more like a time for fresh starts than the New Year. I have a lot of good intentions and Oscar’s support. So hopefully I can achieve the results I’m looking for, while still enjoying the fall treats I love.