Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

The boys are in bed (although I hear Noe bouncing a ball off the wall....he is still a couple hours away from sleep I'm afraid).  Asher asked to go to bed as soon as it started to get dark, around 5:30PM.  He didn't want to take a chance that he might be awake when Santa arrived at our house.  I logged onto the Santa tracker to reassure him that Santa was still busy delivering presents to the children of Hamburg, Germany, and there was no chance he would make an appearance before 9PM.  I will take no chance that Asher will be at my bedroom door at 3:30AM begging to open presents!

At 8PM, Asher assembled a plate of cookies and cup of milk for Santa (Actually, it took a couple of tries because Noe kept eating the cookies he put out) and headed for bed.  As I came upstairs from tucking them into their sturdy little bunk bed,  I could hear Asher singing Christmas carols to himself, totally enraptured in the holiday and joy it brings.

I love this time with the boys.  Their imaginations, sweet innocence, and charming earnestness bring enough holiday magic into our little home to completely neutralize the cynicism and crankiness left behind from the adults in the house.

Earlier today we went down to the National Mall to catch the holiday train exhibit at the US Botanical Garden, admire the Christmas tree at the National Capitol, and take in a couple of museums.  This holiday season we also made a gingerbread house, looked at Christmas lights, listened to a holiday concert at the local town center, and attended a special Christmas musical program at church.

There has just been one thing (or rather person) missing amongst all of this merriment.  My partner-in-crime, Easy Ed.  Have I mentioned his work schedule sucks?  Between travel and work, he has been Holiday MIA.  Christmas, both its glory and its never-ending WORK, has been 99% me.   Last weekend, we were able to sneak him out to dinner at our favorite Argentine restaurant and then to the Festival of Lights.  We had a great time together, we felt complete.

Tonight, I will fill the stockings and put out the Santa gifts.  Sometime in the early morning hours Easy Ed will stumble into bed.  Then I will get him up so he can watch the boys open their presents with bleary eyes.  And then he will sleep until he has to go back to work.

It is a strange mix of emotions. On one hand I am truly grateful for all that I have and I know Ed feels the same. The boys are healthy and flourishing within their given potentials, we have great family and friends who love and support us, and providing  Christmas for our family has never stretched us financially.  On the other hand, I am completely and utterly exhausted from our current life situation and crave change.

Ed has had this work schedule for many years and it is the nature of his industry.  At the beginning of our marriage, it wasn't such a big deal.  When the boys were babies, it meant he got to see a lot of them during their waking hours, which was great (not so great for me dealing with night time by myself, but I survived).  Now the boys are in school.  Ed can go days without seeing the boys because he has to leave for work before they are out of school.  Throw in a bit of travel and days can turn into a week.  It isn't the way either of us wanted to raise our kids.

We are on the precipice of a major life change for the better.  It is soooo close to becoming a reality. How wonderful it will be to have him home in the evenings for dinner and bedtime, and then up with the rest of us again.   

I can hear Easy Ed screaming in my ear right now,  "Don't you know you are TEMPTING FATE by writing this, Woman!"  

All I know is that if our Major Life Change does become a reality, I will try my very hardest to never take it for granted.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


When neighborhood kids come to our door and I tell them you are at the playground playing "Asherball," no one raises an eyebrow.  It has become the official sport of the neighborhood.

You always say please and thank you and have so much COMPASSION brimming out of that gangly little body.

When I stumbled downstairs one early morning not long ago, you were finishing up a game of chess with your stuffed bear, Turquoise.  With a straight face, you said, "I won. Turquoise conceded."

You agree with me that at some point, Turquoise the Bear will need to stay home.  Although, to you, college should be that time.  I was thinking more like the third grade.

You have a very interesting concept of how babies are created, which includes a seed in a girl's belly and mental telepathy.  I guess at some point we'll need to clear that up, but not yet.

You play soccer with a big grin on your face.  Actually, you do EVERYTHING with a smile.

You do your very best to be a good boy, and mostly succeed.

You were so excited when Noe called to you by name for the first time!  You remain your brother's biggest cheerleader.

I spend a lot of time on Google as I try to keep up with you.  What?  There is a fifth world ocean?  When did that happen?  Yes, you are right..."APPALACHIAN" does end in -ian!  Umm...I suppose a cloud would be considered a form of gas........  My brain hurts a lot.

You are a light and joy to our little family.  You insist we celebrate every holiday to its fullest.  I promise to do a better Kwanza this year so that you don't have to write in your class journal, "For Kwanza we went to the beach in Santa Monica" again.  Note to self:  Look up exactly how one celebrates Kwanza.
I truly treasure every day with you, my Ashercito.  Even if your questions do make my head hurt.  Happy 8th Birthday!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We had a nice, relaxing Thanksgiving Holiday.


*Ed had to work on Thanksgiving Day (surprise!), so we ate early in the day.  No food was burned this year.

*On Friday, we woke the boys up early to do the 1-mile Gingerbread Man run at Reston Town Center.
The boys did proud of Noe!  He was all smiles across the finish line and posted a respectable 10 minute mile with very minimal prodding along the course.  With his 0% body fat and endless energy stream, kid could really run if he ever put his mind to it.   We'll keep working on it.   Asher was at the front of the pack, but more whiny about the temperature and hour.  Easy Ed placed in the eight-and-under category.

*Directly from the race, we zoomed off to Charlottesville for some good old US History and bad collegiate pizza.

Photos: (in no particular order...I'm in a hurry!)

Eyes and feet straight ahead!

Only 10ish more years until all THIS begins!  Yikes!

Monticello Visitors Center

UVA - so fun to be in a college town for a little while!

UVA - gorgeous campus!
This is a good representative photo of Noe at
Monticello (TJ's home)....polite and well-behaved but
not very interested.

This is a good representative photo of Easy Ed at Monticello.
It was probably a tie between him and Asher as far as who loved this place more!

My boys
(Monticello in the background)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Me Part 2: Work

Digging my heels into outside-the-home work over the past three years has taught me a lot about myself and what I want my future to look like.  For instance...

- I think it would be extremely difficult for me to go back to full-time stay-at-home mode now.  I am so much happier, healthier, and more productive with another title besides mom.  Life can get hectic and stressed with so many "plates to keep spinning" but most days it is better.

- I like working autonomy and a flexible schedule (and have a lot of it in my current job) and someday want to own a business or nonprofit, even if it is just a side hustle.   I think I've always known this.

- I also still want to teach.  I don't know how I'm going to reconcile those two goals.

- It's interesting how much I value that flexibility and autonomy.  A year ago I was offered a potentially much higher paying position that would have put me directly back under the company umbrella.  I barely considered the offer...and it wasn't because I didn't have use for the extra money!  I love being able to plan my work schedule around my kids and life most days....even if it means I have to stay up late working some nights.  I don't take for granted how good I have things in this department.

- Work is also the reason why I post twice a month on this blog instead of twice a week like I used to.... it's not very appealing to sit down with my laptop after an entire day of .... sitting down with my laptop.