New Year's Eve with Tots in Tow

Dear Hubby and I have never really fully embraced New Year’s Eve as a bona fide holiday.  To us, it’s always been a night to stay up late – and then cram in some sleep before the big day of football.  But, we do have our own New Year’s Eve custom we started a few years before we had kids. 

We get dressed up and go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner.  It’s not much, but since it’s not even a real holiday, we thought it was something.  When The Big Cheese arrived on the scene, we toyed with how to keep up our little custom without a babysitter.  Honestly, we found that it was really easy.  We still go to really nice restaurants (think linen tablecloths, romantic ambience, classical music piped in. oceanfront), we just go at the very beginning of the dinner hour when we won’t interfere with super romantic dates and annoy other diners. 

Her first New Year’s Eve, we went to a wonderful oceanfront seafood restaurant with a good friend from out of town.  Our waitress, a full-time teacher who waits tables on holidays for the tip money, absolutely fawned over The Big Cheese.  She brought the seven-month-old diner her own New Year’s tiara and introduced her to all of the neighboring tables.  Needless to say, she knew how to earn a good holiday tip from us! 

We certainly haven’t always had such success.  Last year was Bugster’s first New Year’s Eve, and we went to a different oceanfront restaurant.  We had family in from out of state, and we had our customary early reservation (5:30).  We were seated in a corner, surrounded by windows.  It was majestic.  Until the grouchy elderly couple was about to be seated next to us.  They took one look at our well-behaved and fashionably dressed darlings and demanded a new table.  Every time either girl eeked out a single noise that evening, they glared in our direction.  Oh, well.  All I can say is karma, baby.

This year, we waited too long to make our reservation.  In fact, we made it two days ago.  So, we are dining at the ripe late hour of 4:45.  We decided to mix things up a bit.  We’re going to take the girls to Rainforest Café, a super kid-friendly restaurant (floor-to-ceiling aquariums, gigantic gorillas, faux thunderstorms) with a tasty menu for grownups.   We almost never go, so it will keep the special occasion vibe going. 

It may not be much, but it’s our little way of maintain a piece of our pre-parenthood life.

Random Tuesday Thoughts

The first full lunar eclipse on a winter solstice since the 17th century, and Southern California, the place of eternal sunshine, is in the middle of an unending rainstorm.  Hopefully some of you were able to enjoy it.

I am looking forward to the big royal wedding. Hopefully, this marriage actually lasts more than a few years . . .

The Big Cheese is rather obsessed with The Grinch.  She’s really afraid he’s going to steal her toys on Christmas.  She asks us several times a day if we’re “really sure the Grinch isn’t real.” She loves the movies, the book, and stuffed Grinches, and she is a huge fan of the song. But some part of her just can’t give up on the fact that the Grinch might steal her Christmas presents.

My little bro is getting married in June, and The Big Cheese is gearing up to be the flower girl.  I am taking her dress shopping this week, and I am so excited to see her try on the “princess” dresses and tiaras.  She’s going to be gorgeous!

It’s easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holidays, but I want to take a second to make a little public service announcement.  Remember that the extra time off right now is a chance to spend time together as a family, doing things you don’t normally do.  Take a morning and head to Chuck E. Cheese, and leave your cell phones in the car.  Go to a theme park or museum you’ve been meaning to hit and just haven’t gotten around to it.  Also, call up friends you don’t see very often and make a point to get together. 

I tried Kraft’s new Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese tonight.  It requires that you make a cheese sauce, add crumb topping, and throw in some shredded cheese.  Dear Hubby and I thought it was some of the best mac and cheese we’ve actually ever had, but the kids weren’t such big fans.  Bugster really didn’t like the visible herbs on her pasta, and The Big Cheese also wasn’t a fan of the green stuff.  I personally thought it was scrumptious!

OK, Gleeks. What do you think about Sam?  I just don’t think he’s hot enough to be with Quinn, and I really think he’s pretty mousy.  His voice is just O.K.  I just can’t jump on the Sam train.  What am I missing?

Totally scarred The Bugster.  We visited Santa over Thanksgiving weekend, and I went up to him with the girls.  The Big Cheese wasn’t overly enthusiastic about the whole thing, but she was O.K. since I was up there, too.  The Bugster started screaming and asking for Daddy, but we stuck it out.  The Santa picture is priceless, with her bawling at the top of her lungs.  Now, whenever Santa is mentioned, seen, or even comes in to her thoughts, The Bugster says, “No Santa bup.” (Bup = Bugster-speak for sit.)  We have assured her repeatedly that she doesn’t have to sit on his lap at all this, but I don’t think she believes us.  Dear Hubby is convinced she’ll forget by next Christmas.  I’m not so sure . . .

Oh, and I need to tell you about my Christmas present to myself, because I think you, our readers, will actually appreciate it, unlike some of my “friends.”  I bought a ticket to see the New Kids on The Block in concert in July.  They’re performing with The Backstreet Boys, but NKOTB is all I really care about.  I have wanted to see them since I was about 12, so I am having a lot of trouble containing my excitement!

Have you heard our new tagline?  Gen X Moms Blog: For when you don’t get carded anymore

Happy Thanksgiving!

Now is the time of year for giving thanks, and we here at Gen X Moms Blog want to do that right now. We have so very much to be thankful for this year.

We have amazing husbands who support us 110%. We truly are all blessed to have such amazing partners in this journey we call life. Without each of you, we would be completely different, and worse, people. Thank you for being there for us.

We have amazing readers who follow us on our journeys through parenthood.  Even though we launched less than a year ago, this blog has exceeded our dreams, particularly in the friendships that have deepened, our awesome and amazing readers (yes, we know that’s redundant, but you guys are really incredible!), the enthusiasm and reception we’ve gotten for our little idea here, and how much fun it’s been to collaborate and share with you all. So thank you for reading and helping make Gen X Moms Blog an exciting place to be! 

You have always allowed us to be honest and to bare our souls to you.  Thank you for this, and thank you for allowing each of us to do that again now. Please feel free to comment with your own list of thanks. 

THE PHOTO ADDICT

I am thankful for my family. I feel so blessed to have a family where we all get along, enjoy each other’s company, and are all relatively close to be able to celebrate the important days together.

I am thankful for my parents. Not only did they do an amazing job raising me, they instilled values and taught me how important it is to work for what you have. They still teach me and help me on a daily basis.

I am thankful for my husband. He is my rock, my stability and my best friend.  Without him life would be very boring.

THE SCRIVENER

I am thankful for my family and friends. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive and loving group. I really do have the best husband in the universe. He’s such a great dad (sometimes a better parent than me!), and I can always count on him for anything. And of course, my beautiful Mouse, who just gets more fun every month.

I am also so thankful for a roof over our heads, food in our tummies, and joy in our hearts. It’s so easy to take those things for granted, but so important to remember to be thankful for them.

THE COMPOSER

I’m thankful to be living in a community which has diverse resources for women/mothers, like pregnancy awareness events celebrating the divinity in all of us, mommy & me playdates so the munchkins can befriend other children and moms can confide in each other, and bottle holders so my breasts can have a rest a couple times a day.

I’m thankful for my successful VBAC this summer with the help of my doula Romy and midwife Geeta.  I’m blessed to have a loving and supportive husband who walked with me down this alternative path.

I’m grateful that my son Puppet was a super trooper throughout the 4 days of labor and was born vigorous and sweet.

Lastly, I’m thankful that I found a good threader, so I can look like a lady and not a wildebeest.

THE LEGAL EAGLE

I am thankful for healthy children who are full of energy, vitality, and wonder. They keep me young and on my toes on a daily basis. Life with you two is never dull!

I am thankful for the opportunity to purchase our first home this year. It is an exciting adventure, and it is all ours!

I am thankful that my high school sweetheart hasn’t tired of me, yet. Yes, Dear Hubby, you truly are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I am thankful for smart phones.  I can sync school calendars, appointments, and meetings, all right in the palm of my hand. I can also entertain my kiddos with music and videos when we’re stuck in a long line at the store. That is truly priceless!

THE LIBRARIAN

I am thankful for my family’s good health. As I get older, I realize how precious this can be.

I am thankful for my relatives, most of who manage to get along at least some of the time.

 I am thankful for friends who care (or pretend to care) about the trivial things in my life as well as the bigger picture things. Like the ones who click the “like” button whenever I post something new on Facebook so that I don’t feel lame that no one is reading it. Kelli, you rock!

 After hearing the Legal Eagle’s sob story about a plasma TV that died way before its time, I am thankful that my major appliances, my car, my TV, and my computer have not broken down (so far) this year.

Rocky says he is thankful for everyone who loves him. I second that.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!

Preemies Reunite: A Celebration of Life

Going through difficult times really make you appreciate the good times. Five years ago, Rocky’s condition remained uncertain. Born after just 28 weeks in the womb, he was a tiny 3 pounder who required surgery when he was two weeks old. Several blood transfusions and 2 months later, he came home. Though at risk for everything from cerebral palsy to eye problems to learning disabilities, he has now reached an age where we can confidently say that he doesn’t have any of these issues. This weekend we attended a preemie reunion party given by his birth hospital to celebrate life.

A great resource for parents of preemies.

With this joyous event came a remembrance of darker days. It wasn’t just our baby my hubby and I worried about in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). It was ALL the babies we worried about. Every time we walked in and saw a child had been moved, we were concerned. We witnessed loss of life (we remember you, baby 5), along with the many setbacks suffered by those preemies in their early days. We weren’t allowed to stay 24 hours and it really wasn’t practical after an emergency c-section. Leaving my baby in the hospital day after day was hard but at least I had the comfort of knowing he was surrounded by specialists. Not so when we finally brought him home. We were afraid to take our eyes off him and, at one point, even longed for the monitors we became accustomed to in the hospital that would warn us if there was any change in breathing patterns or heartbeats. The slightest cold could mean doom for a preemie so I hardly left the house for about 8 months. Whew, thank goodness those days are over.

It was so heart lifting to see so many survivors at the reunion, many of them multiples. I was in awe of one mom I met, she had 5 month-old quads and she and the babes looked amazing. Just imagine going from no babies to four at once! Delicate preemies at that! Did you know that Octomom’s kids were born at the same hospital? Her babies, too, were in the good hands of Rocky’s doctors. On this day, she spared the spotlight by staying away.

We were happy to reunite Rocky with one little boy who was born just a week after him. Facing even more hardship than my child, Junior was only 1.5 lbs at birth. The first time we saw him you could barely make out his body under the ventilator. Seeing the emotional state his mother was in at the time was like looking in a mirror. You wonder how you could’ve changed the outcome and then realize you sometimes have no power over what your body does. All we could do was hope and pray for the best. We were forced to put a lot of faith in Rocky’s caretakers. Our prayers were answered and on this day, before us, stood two healthy (and rather tall) 5 year-old boys. We cannot thank the NICU staff enough for their part in helping our miracle children thrive. Amen.

***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at:

http://www.jedismama.com