Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mr. Mom

My husband is so great. So last night on my way home I got a text asking me if I wanted onions on my salad. Wow. Making a salad! I said, "Green."

I got home and the house smelled of apples and cinnamon. Stuart was in the kitchen slicing vegetables for our salad to go with the mashed potatoes and apple baked pork chops he'd prepared. What a great guy!

I rushed upstairs to shower while dinner finished and then got to greet my boys with dinner on the table. It was kind of funny too because earlier in the day Stu sent me a text saying how well-behaved our son is and how great it is to hang out with him. But by 3:30, he's a terror and is just ready for something "new" (something I've said to Stu a hundred times, but now he understands, hehe).

Then he said the sweetest words ever: "I never gave you enough credit for doing this." Ahhhh... there is nothing better in the world than having someone understand you. :) He couldn't believe how exhausted he was from taking care of a toddler all day. (Told ya! :)) What a great opportunity for our family. Not only have we both had the opportunity to be the breadwinner, but now we have both had the opportunity to be the stay-at-home-parent. And Stu can appreciate how hard it really was for me staying home all the time in Abu Dhabi (I said, "Imagine doing all of this with no vehicle, no yard, and not leaving the house but once a week..."). And now that I'm working again, I know all too well the feeling of "missing it" being gone all day and then feeling too tired to really play when I get home. I am so proud of Stu for taking the initiative to take care of Kaden and the house AND dinner because I am gone all day.

On a side note, he also went to RC Willey yesterday and bought a 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD TV, a surround system to go with it, and a new dining room set (to be delivered and set up on Wednesday! Yay!). Today he has his sights set on a stand for the TV "stuff" (you know, DVD player, Wii, Xbox, etc.). I am hoping he picks one that is reasonably cheap. Heh. We HAVE stayed far under budget for everything we'd planned (the cars, living room set, bedroom set, etc) thanks in large part to my super skills (i.e. standing in line at RC Willey for 2 hours on Black Friday), so that makes me feel much better.

The caffeine Nazis will be happy to hear that this morning I made MYSELF a decaf Hazelnut latte instead of giving in and heading to McDonald's for a caffeinated one made by someone else. :) Soon I will have steamed milk, not microwaved, and real espresso, not just super-strongly-brewed decaf coffee. But it is still yummy! :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Daddy's First Weekend Home.

Our first weekend with Daddy home went great! We stayed super busy and it was full of running around AND relaxing and, mostly, just spending as much time together as possible.

Stu is so happy to be home, just like I knew he would be. He got his truck all ready to go (changed fluids, rotated tires, etc), got a phone, and today called me to clear spending almost 3 grand at RC Willey! Lol. He sure is taking this living life to the fullest thing pretty seriously. But, on Wednesday we will have a 52 inch TV in our living room, a surround sound to go with it, a new dining room set…. All so that we can watch local programming because Stu doesn’t want to spend the money on DirecTV, lol. Silly boy. I think he’ll be changing his mind after a few more days of him and Kaden having nothing else to do but watch movies. Hehe.

Friday night we had some friends over for snacks and to welcome our boy home. It is always nice seeing everyone and maybe next time we’ll actually pull out the games we’d planned on playing. Haha.

We got to go on a date to the movies this weekend! It was our first alone date in over a year and it was nice. We also got up early on Saturday morning and headed off for Cracker Barrel for a super yummy breakfast (with sweet tea for Stu). It was fantastic.

We got most of our Christmas shopping done and Stu has been pretty motivated to get the house done and organized so he keeps putting himself to work on that. Which, of course, is fine by me, because I hit my threshold for organizing last week.

We made a homemade pizza last night and then decorated the tree and went for a drive to look at Christmas lights (if you’re in Boise and haven’t gone up to Quail Ridge yet to see the crazy guy with the lights, do so, it was indeed crazy). We brought thermoses of hot chocolate and a snack-sized bag of marshmallows for Kaden, which he thought were the best things EVER! He kept falling asleep on the drive so we headed home after a bit and Kaden played with his cool new Cars bike he got from Kyle and Melissa for the millionth time already before we all headed off for bed.

It is so, SO hard to get up and go to work when there are two sleepy-eyed, jammies-ed, cuddled up, warm boys just sitting there. I was kinda late, but they’re lucky I got here at all. :) Oh, and fat-free vanilla yogurt with French Vanilla granola was just as heavenly as I’d imagined it would be. Thank you, Winco, for your practically free food.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Homecoming: How Sweet it is.

He’s home! He’s home! And I actually still can’t believe it. After everything that we went through yesterday, I didn’t think we’d ever get to see him walk through those glass doors at Boise Airport!

So, as some know, my Mom was also supposed to fly in yesterday in the early evening. She called me a half hour before her plane was supposed to board to tell me that because of dense fog in Boise, her flight was cancelled (for a few seconds I thought she was joking as Stu pulled the SAME joke on me before he got on HIS flight!). I walked out of my office to the huge picture windows in the breezeway and sure enough, I couldn’t see a few dozen yards. Crap.

So, after getting ultra-bummed, I had to accept that she really wasn’t coming and move on with my plans without her (she’d played quite heavily into my weekend plans and now they have to be changed. Poo.)

So I left work bummed about my Mom, but also worried because Stu said he would call me when he landed in Chicago. Being that it was nearing the time he would have been boarding his flight to Boise (after a 5 hour layover), I was nervous/irritated and trying to figure out what logical reason he would have had for NOT calling me when he said he would (topping my list were: he was detained by customs for possession of pirated material, he had a stroke in Abu Dhabi and never actually boarded that plane and was dying in an Abu Dhabi hospital, or that he fell asleep waiting for his connection and was about it miss it and sleep in Chicago overnight ß I’m pregnant, what do you want from me?).

So after going grocery shopping I finally made it to Marcia’s where I had to break the news about Momma E to my son, who then decided he didn’t want to talk to her on the phone if she wasn’t coming to see him (spiteful much? Lol). I rounded up the phone numbers to United Airlines, Chicago O’Hare and Boise Airport and started making calls. Southwest had told my Mom that all flights coming into Boise were being diverted and that they would probably not tell me that until minutes before their expected arrival time (WHAT??). So I called United and they assured me that Stu DID, in fact, check in (so he wasn’t dying in Abu Dhabi at least) for his Chicago to Boise flight. That made me feel SLIGHTLY better and then irritation won over (“Then why the Hell hasn’t he called me?”)

After two hours of stressing about the fog and watching every flight before his get cancelled or diverted (as Southwest prophesized), Kristin finally called Boise Airport for the last time and asked if it would land or be diverted. He assured her that “it will land in 30 minutes”. Woohoo! So we let Jo and Aaron know and then headed off to the airport.

Upon arrival, our meager little welcome home party seemed just that when we realized a bunch of guys that were coming straight out of basic training were arriving too, and all their families had come out in full force with signs and balloons and great grandmas, despite the after-11 hour. One girl was obviously being surprised. She had a scarf tied around her head, an ipod in her ears, and ear muffs over those. We were almost as excited to see her reunion with whoever was meeting her there as we were for our own (almost, heh).

Kaden was none-too-excited about the hour and would only look any one of us in the eye if we reminded him that Daddy was coming home. He would perk up a bit and tell us that Daddy would be coming through “those doors”. Sure enough, a few passengers start trickling through and then Kristin and Jo assure me that they could see Stu (I’m blind, as some know), in the outfit I described he’d be wearing. Eventually I saw his pretty face too and couldn’t contain myself. I had to rush up and tackle him. :) I said, “I’m so glad you’re home!... Why the hell didn’t you call me?” He seemed shocked by the fact that because he said he’d call me, I’d expect him to and he assured me, “Well I would have if something went wrong.” Greaaaaat.

We got to see the reunion with the blindfolded girl and her boyfriend. Very cute, and then we proceeded to the baggage claim. Kaden latched onto his Daddy and kepy pointing his little finger into his chest and telling everyone, “It’s Daddy.”

I’ll tell you what, homecoming is great. I was nervous and slightly apprehensive about it. I mean, he HAS been gone for a long time and would he still like me?, heh. But as soon as I saw him and smelled him, that all washed away and it, of course, felt absolutely right. AND, I forgot how good looking my husband is! My memory-face of him is just that: his face. I didn’t think about his whole body and the way he walks and moves and smells. That sounds weird, but he has such a distinct, yummy smell that I definitely missed it. I couldn’t stop looking at him while we got his bags and (unsafely) in the car on the way home. I love this man.

When we got home I felt elated. Our home has just not been home yet without Daddy. Our family isn’t our family without him and him coming in and getting the grand tour just made it feel so much more like “ours”. I was so giddy and smiley that I never thought I’d be able to sleep. Kaden kept smirking and saying “Hi Daddy!” and didn’t want him to put him down for any reason.

This morning when Kaden woke up, he called for me as he always does to go get him from his room. Then as soon as I opened the door he said, “Where’s Daddy?” and the two of them got to cuddle and read books while Mommy got ready for work. I haven’t seen my baby boy so happy in a long time. He kept smiling and hugging his Daddy and petting him. Sweet boy.

And I’m at stupid work while my boys are home playing and unpacking. Stu is going to be exhausted later, but I offered to take Kaden to Marcia’s so he could sleep, but I couldn’t have resisted that bright happy face either if I were him. :)

I only have to work a half-day today because I worked an extra hour a day the whole first part of this week in anticipation of this day, so I get to go home in a few hours and see my boys for the whole weekend! I am so excited to get to know Stu again and share everything we’ve been through and done in the past two months, including all the new words that Kaden has learned!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I certainly will.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Has being a parent made you a better person?

As today was my 5th morning in a row waking up before my alarm (or, in the case of the weekend, waking up at all) to comfort a crying and frightened child, I began to think about all the ways being a parent has changed me.

As all parents are undoubtedly aware, there is a distinction in my life of “before Kaden” and “after Kaden”. And it occurred to me that I really like my “after Kaden” self much, much better. Being a parent has made me a better person and I finally figured out why: for the first time in my life, I love another person more than my own life. That sounds decidedly trite, but it’s the defining factor in what changed me so much.

After putting my wants (quiet hot baths, alone with a book until the water got cold) and needs (sleep) aside to get up every single day for a solid year to feed a helpless, crying baby in the middle of the night, my perspective on life really changed. I know every parent has to do this, but I find my life now surrounded by people who are not parents (grouchy, unkempt 18-year-old college kids, heh) and I feel wise (read: old).

This morning Kaden cried out for me as he has every other morning this week, and my feet were on the floor before I’d even realized I was awake. I didn’t bother feeling sorry for myself and that hour of missed sleep, instead I greeted my sleepy boy and asked him how his sleep went. All HE wanted to do was cuddle with me in “Mommy’s bed” and read his books (I had to get ready for work). So today I am sporting a messy bun and the bare essentials of my make-up routine so that I could read “Miss Honey’s Busy Day” one more time before work.

I find myself being much better at my job and I think it’s because after having to multitask to get anything done for the past two and a half years, as long as my coworkers are not hanging on my leg and whining at me, it feels like their requests are laughably easy to handle. I’m more focused when I’m working on a project and I get it done in record time… because let’s face it, my “real” life has precious little time available and everything still needs to get done.

And the biggest change has been that I am easier on people now. After comforting a toddler who’s had a stressful experience, I realized that most people could really just use a little more compassion, especially other parents. You’ll never see ME rolling my eyes on an airplane because a Mom can’t get her toddler to sit still or stop crying.

Maybe if everyone, even nonparents, had to comfort a child with the flu while THEY had the flu, the world would be full of compassion (and better people). :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trash v. Treasure

It's much more official today: Stu is coming home. The reason it is more official today is that he had the TV and Internet turned off and is coming home after work tomorrow to pack and clean and be ready to go! Scaaaary. I remember that feeling a couple months ago as I was packing that felt like I was forgetting EVERYTHING, but at least I could just have him send me the stuff I forgot or didn't have room for. If he doesn't send it ahead, or pack it in his luggage, it's staying there.

So right now, he has invited Qadir, our watchman, up to the apartment to go through some of the things that he can't or doesn't want to take (our folding beach chairs, a wicker shelf in the bathroom, kitchen utensils, food, shoes, etc). I think it's the perfect way to get rid of some of those things because otherwise, in a week or so, the company will send someone in to throw away everything that isn't "theirs" and what a waste. I've complained a lot about Abu Dhabi's lack of good, accessible charity services and it seems like such a waste to throw away perfect good usable things, so I am so glad Stu thought of Qadir.

I've talked to Qadir on many occasions about his home life and his life in Abu Dhabi and I know he will be grateful for anything we could give him, even if it isn't important to us anymore. His little accomodations consist of a cot, a hot plate to cook his food on, a small bathroom, and whatever he has come across as he has been here. He has maybe 5 different outfits total. And he always had various people staying with him in his already limited space. When fellow Pakistani's were on hard times, he always welcomed them.

He has a son back home in Pakistan who is exactly Kaden's age (and a daughter who is two years older) and he because of his age, really latched onto Kaden when we first moved there and Kaden was barely 7 months old and had just learned to crawl. As I watched my own son grow before my eyes over the next year and a half, I also watched the heartbreak in Qadir's eyes every time he would tell me, "now my son is this big too". I can't imagine missing my kids' lives so that I can provide a meager life for my family.

We also got pretty attached to Qadir's brother while Qadir was on his one vacation (every two years) to Pakistan. He was so respectful to me and always came to stand watch when there were workers in my house, "for security" for said (he didn't trust them alone with me). He spoke almost no English and I speak no Urdu, but we developed a good bond during his couple months there. He has since gotten a job as a delivery truck driver in town. I hope they can find the means to get back home and live alongside their own families and not have to resort to living and working in a foreign country in a 6 x 10 closet, just trying to keep their families fed.

Let's remember that even in America there are so many people who are in need this holiday season and take the time to do your part for your community.

For those in the Boise area, you can contact the following places to find out how you can help:

US Marine Corps Toys for Tots
Boise Rescue Mission
Channel 7's Season Of Hope
December Food Drive at the Morrison Center
Kissin 92's Keep Kids Warm Campaign
WOW Country 104.3's Hope for the Holidays

Monday, December 14, 2009

Home Sweet Home.

Kaden and I have officially survived our first two nights alone in our new house. The first night was more freaky than the second. I didn't sleep well and kept waking up a bit disoriented. But last night I had to get out of bed to check the front door lock again and then I slept pretty well until Kaden started crying at 5:15 and wouldn't go back to sleep. Ugh. I think he must have had a nightmare or something because normally his night-time (and yes, 5 AM is STILL night time) wakings just take me going in there and reminding him it is still dark and night time and he goes back to sleep. Not so this morning.

But speaking of Kaden, He has been doing so great with his words and communication. He used full sentences all the time now and he comes up with new words every single day. Here are a couple of my favorites from the past few weeks:

He thinks the word "scary" is pronounced "seggy" and it took Marcia and I a week to figure out what "Seggy" meant before we realized he was telling us when things were freaking him out. Which is adorable, btw. My little man rushing to me and saying "it's seggy!" Cuuuute.

The other word, which is starting to fade, is his word for Christmas, which is "crimson". So he helped me set up the "crimson tree" and I couldn't help but laugh. But last night we were reading about Frosty and he said "criss-us" which is a lot closer to the real world, and certainly not as cute. :)

This morning was great though. Because it was my first day of getting ready for work in the new house, it was even better than I'd guessed. Marcia decided she'd come to me instead of me bringing Kaden to her, so I didn't even have to get Kaden dressed and fed and out the door. I got ready, made myself some tea for my Starbucks to-go mug (which was like "new" after two years in storage, hehe), I didn't have to warm up my car or scrape my windows, and I was 2 stoplights closer to work than normal so I slid out into traffic and was already half-way there. :) Lovely.

I was also the first one here by about 2 hours, which is kind of nice. I'm not really a morning person and it takes me a bit to get going, so having that time to myself was definitely nice. A good start to a Monday. :)

Guess what??? 3 days!!! Squeeeeeee. I can't believe I get to NOT be a single Mom again in just 3 days! When I won't have to handle everything myself. I am constantly thinking of things that are just so much easier with my husband around. Like bath time. I have to shower WITH my kid (playing with his toys on the far side of the shower) because he will get into everything or possibly even escape if I tried to shower and leave him unattended. And bathing him is a chore too without a bit of help. I was sitting on the couch, all cuddled up with Kaden watching The Incredibles last night and the light over the table was still on from dinner and shining right in my eyes and I thought how nice it would be to say, "Babe, will you turn off that light on your way by?" Instead, anything I want done, or that NEEDS done (the kid has needs, regardless of how crappy or exhausted I feel), I have to do myself. Last night I HAD to make dinner even though I would have been fine snacking myself full, because Kaden needed to eat more than a handful of M&Ms and Triscuits, like I would have done if I was alone. It definitely makes me appreciate having Stu in my life. Even when he drives me crazy. :)

I tried to get as much done this weekend so that when my Mom gets here on Thursday (and Stu gets here Thursday night) they can feel somewhat at "home". But it snowed again this weekend and when Kaden and I did venture out, I slid half-way through an intersection. Freaking snow. But I got as much as had occurred to me to that point, only to realize yet again that I missed a bunch of things. It's soooo hard re-outfitting an entire house again. (Like, of course I remembered a shower curtain for the kids' bathroom, but did I remember HOOKS for the shower curtain??? No. So there it sits on the counter awaiting another store trip for hooks (and the other 15 things I realized I forgot). But I have to work late every day this week so I can take a half-day on Friday and spend some time with my family, so I will be home late, dinner will be later, and there is just not enough time left of the day to also go shopping. So we will see how much I get done between now and then. I also still need to finish unpacking things like my (walk-in) closet, which is a 3-foot-high solid mound of clothes and comforters and jackets, etc. I have been sorting them slowly but surely, but there is always something else that needs done more.

Anyway, so here I am at work, fairly bored, worrying about all the things that are NOT getting done. Heh. Perhaps I should work instead. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Moving In.

Starting this weekend, Kaden and I will officially get to live in our "new house". Yay! The washer and dryer arrived today and I hope to get a shopping trip done tonight before the snow storm comes into town (or I might find a reason to procrastinate that, heh).

It is now only 6 days until Daddy and Momma E come (home) to visit! Kaden doesn't really understand what is going on, but I'm hoping he can get settled into his new room and environment before we screw it all up again with Daddy and Momma E around. Haha.

So I have been making a grocery list (and slowly, a menu plan for next week, ugh) and HOLY CRAP is there a lot to buy when you have NOTHING in your house/pantry. Poor Stu is going to have a coronary when he sees THAT bill. Heh.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Field Trip... er, Meeting.

This morning was interesting. I got to attend a meeting at the State Department of Education (and meet all those lovely people), but I found out that the Dept. of Ed. lives in the same building that I used to work in at the AG's Office! Talk about nostalgia as I walked in those doors for the first time in two years. The AG's Office has since moved, so I couldn't stop in and say hi, but it was so scary to be right back there once again. It felt sort of symbolic, my life has come full-circle (but a much prettier, better funded, nicer circle) since I last walked out of those doors. It felt good.

Then I got to come back to campus at 10:30, which if you ever get the chance to do, don't. There was NO parking so I had to park in the over-priced garage again. But it is good to know, in case I ever need to leave at weird times during the day. I need to really get a schedule of classes so I can plan my arrival to the times some classes let out so SOMEONE must be leaving their spot and I can grab it up.

Work is going pretty slow today. I didn't get an email with attachments that I need to start my next big project and I finished the last one a bit quicker than I planned so I am kind of out of stuff to do in the interim.

8 days until Stu gets home! Yay! And then him, Kaden, my Mom, and I can decorate the tree and go see Christmas lights! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Spirit?

So, for those of you not obsessively counting, it is just 11 days until Stu gets home for good! I can't WAIT to have him back and have our lives go back to a more busy version of our "normal". I miss everything we used to do together including just watching movies or talking over dinner about our days (and now that mine are infinitely more busy, I miss the conversation even more).

You would not believe how depressing it is to get out Christmas stuff all alone in a cold and empty house. Pathetic, huh? Marcia and Deven went grocery shopping yesterday and stopped by the house (which I'm still not living in, bastard delivery guys) to pick up Kaden while I was hauling out Christmas stuff. I set up the tree with Kaden and he thought it was awesome but once he was gone I started unwrapping ornaments and decor and I just couldn't bring myself to decorate the tree or hang lights by myself. So I decided we'll wait for Daddy to get home and then we'll all decorate the tree together. My Mom gets here the day before Stu, too, so I can decorate a tree with my Mommy for the first time in like 6 or 7 years too!

Work is going better now. I finally understand my job and I have been given some fairly complex and time-consuming projects for the next month so it is nice to feel like I'm actually there to do something and not just to kill time. The weekend went nice and slow too, which was nice after feeling like I'd just lived through the longest week of my life. Kaden likes me again on the weekends, which is nice because he's been mad at me after I get home from work and I think it's because he feels abandoned. Today at least I got a chance to love on him some and say goodbye before I left, so that might help.

Anyway, I am just truckin' along now. Hoping the next 11 days go by super fast and then I can play with my Mommy and hubby and feel more Christmasy. :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Job.

I know. I KNOW. I have been a huge blog slacker lately and I sure have heard about it. Lol. The problem is, at Marcia's, the "kids" computer is upstairs and Kaden is generally getting into one thing or another either up there with me, or downstairs without me (infinitely worse) that I really don't have much time to get on and spend any time on there.

So now I have a job again. :) Which means I do have some down time and you can probably expect more blogs again. Hehe. It's gone well so far. This is only my second day and I am just stumbling through all the new processes and freaking acronyms I need to know to actually do my job. I was given a list with "common acronyms" that was two columns and 8 pages long! Are you freaking kidding me? Is there any really good reason we can't just call it "No Child Left Behind" instead of "NCLB"?? A good reason? No? Ok, just checking. I'm calling it "No Child Left Behind". :)

I love love love my boss so far and the other woman I will be working closely with. I am the sole support for my boss who supports the whole state, so she is gone ALL the time (this week is only IN the office about 6 total hours), but my not-boss brought me hot chocolate today! What a doll! At first I was thinking that working in the same office as my painfully quiet office pal was going to wear on me, but she is friendly enough and the quiet is actually a nice change from the constant noise that I'm used to with a two-year-old. I have done more reading (work-related) in the past two days than I have for pleasure in the past month and all without someone asking me for a sippy cup of milk or to change their diaper. I'm telling you, being a working mom has its benefits. :)

But it has been hard to be away from my Kaden. I've almost cried when I had to leave both mornings now and when I get home there is just not enough time left of the day to really spend quality time with him. Meals have to be made, showers taken, etc. I felt very rushed last night and I really just wanted to sleep. So we will see how it goes.

I can't WAIT for Stu to get home! Just two weeks and two days until he gets back finally and it couldn't come any sooner! I miss him so much and I miss our little uncomplicated simple life. I know it will be a bit more complicated and busy with working and going to school in addition to normal life, but I can't wait to have my best friend back.

Ok, more to do so I will go for now. I'll really try to be more diligent about blogging. :)