If we’re being honest.

I’ve never been a big fan of change. I’m a creature of habit, a lover of routine. I take comfort in familiarity and am all about my planning and my schedules. It may sound boring, but it’s what works for me. Since my son was born, my family and I have settled into a groove that has worked for us and life ran pretty smoothly.

With my husbands job switch, that all changed. Going into this, we knew what to expect and decided that it was worth it. There would be three months of out of state training during which we would live separate lives thousands of miles away from each other. After returning, my husband would be working from home for the first time ever and instead of traveling to his previous territories for business, we would now be traveling to Arizona. We knew what we signed up for, but I don’t think either of us fully understood just how hard all of it would actually be on our family. Sometimes I can’t help but to feel as though our perfectly put together puzzle was taken apart and all jumbled up, and now we are left with entirely different puzzle pieces to form a new picture with.

None of this is a bad thing whatsoever, it is simply a different thing. While we are so excited to begin our traveling with this new company and we are so excited to settle into a life where my husband gets to work from a home office, it has not been an easy road. Three entire months away from the man that I have never spent more than 3 days apart from has easily been one of the most trying experiences of my life. There are visits for a couple of days every other weekend, but its just that… visits. Visits that never feel long enough. I cannot even begin to tell you how often I fantasize about the day that he comes back home to us, not for a visit, but to stay for good. To settle back into our home and our life together. To settle into a new routine, a new groove, a new normal.

We have both talked a lot about how this time apart feels pretty purgatory-esque. He’s away training, unable to actually start up new business ventures until he’s finished. I’m at home with our son, unable to fully settle into a new way of life knowing that once he’s home, everything will change again. The entire summer has just felt like the longest wait of my life.

It’s safe to say on any given day of the week that at some point I’m having a mild emotional breakdown. Going from co-parenting with the best most helpful spouse around to solo parenting entirely on my own 100% of the time has been a shock and a total roller-coaster. Like, I’m talking the craziest roller-coaster the amusement park has to offer. Mind you, all of this came in the midst of the terrible twos transforming into threenagerhood, or as my friend informed me the other day “the trying threes”. My son’s new favorite hobbies include having meltdowns over simple statements like “you can’t have ice cream for dinner”, as well as jumping off of the dining table and climbing up onto the kitchen counter (claiming that he is “rock climbing”, duh). I am fairly certain that he shows all signs of being a future extreme sports star, which isn’t exactly comforting for this overprotective mama. These days, I consider it an accomplishment worthy of a trophy (or maybe like…a free pedicure)  if I manage to get through an entire five minute shower without him destroying something and I’ve become accustomed to warming up my dinner a good five times before I actually have a moment to finish it. This blog post has been in the making for a good 3-4 weeks now and is only finally happening because I’ve been blessed with a small miracle called “my kid has decided to nap every day this week”. Then of course, right when I am at my wits end and about to finally suck it up and hire a babysitter to take him off my hands for a while, he snuggles up next to me and gives me the sweetest cuddles. He kisses my forehead, tells me he loves me, falls asleep holding my hand… and just like that, all is forgiven and I am ready to brave it out another day.

Perhaps the only few things getting me through this incredibly difficult stretch are my occasional weekends with my husband, really good friends, and visits from my grandparents. At the end of a long day, a wine night and adult talk has a way of totally renewing my sanity. In the middle of a rough day, lunch from my grandma has a way of just lifting my spirits (those cafe rio salads are magical I tell you). And at the beginning of an already exhausting morning, coffee with my grandpa while he goes on and on about politics/his homeland in Italy has a way of distracting me in the best way possible. I’ve found during this time that the only way to get through this is to count the small achievements and to focus on still doing things for myself sometimes, even if that just means curling up on the couch with a pint of gelato and binge watching bad reality tv for two hours after my son has gone to bed.

Beyond the difficulties of parenting on my own, there has been the obvious difficulty of living so far away from the man that I have always had such a deeply close connection with. We understand each other better than anyone on this planet. He’s my best friend, my partner, my love. Distance sucks.  Feeling as though we have had two different lives this summer sucks. I will never have a true understanding of what his life and training in Ohio has been like and he will never have a full understanding of what my life as a solo parent has been like. The best we can do is focus on communication, understanding, and always always always loving each other through it.

Our mantra through all of this has been “this is just temporary”. We like to envision ourselves a year from now, settled into our new way of life, looking back on this time and laughing at how dramatic we were to feel as though it would never end. I am fully aware that it could be worse. It could be longer, there could be no weekend visits, there could be far less opportunities to talk on the phone. All across the country right now there are military wives with deployed husbands that are going through a far more difficult experience than I probably will ever know. There are single moms that do what I’m doing day in and day out with little to no assistance. This experience has given me the utmost respect for these strong women, that’s for certain.

We are officially two and a half months into this training with only a couple more weeks remaining. Mid August, my husband will return home briefly before heading out to shadow for a couple more weeks. And with that, it will all be over. He will be fully trained for this new and exciting position, he will be living back home, we will be traveling on business adventures to Arizona… together.

With each day I find myself breathing a little easier knowing that we have almost made it. This summer certainly has not been what I’d had in mind, and while it may have been far from easy, it did come with its share of experiences. It has allowed me to strengthen my friendships. It has reinforced the importance of communication and being open and honest with my emotional struggles. It has taught me that I’m a pretty badass mom. It has taught me that no matter what total curveballs life may throw at me, I will deal with it and I will be ok. It has given me time to become a more creative parent and to work on my parenting techniques. Most importantly, it has reminded me that no matter where my husband is in the world, our love will always get us through. No matter how hard this has been for both of us, and no matter how much has changed this summer, the one thing that has never changed is the crazy amount of love that I feel every time I hear my husband on the other end of the phone (Yeah yeah yeah, I know that sounds so cheesy and sappy but it wouldn’t be us if it wasn’t).

This summer took me far out of my comfort zone to say the least, but we have finally arrived at the final stretch and we are SO close to creating a new “normal” for our family. 2.5 months down, 2 weeks(ish) to go. In my husband’s words, “This has been hard, but it has not left us shaken”.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

 

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Palm Springs 2016.

My husband and I have not been on a solo vacation since several months before I got pregnant with our son. That’s almost 4 years you guys. 4 years of not one single true vacation. Don’t get me wrong… I have so much fun traveling with our son. But as every parent knows… a vacation with a toddler is rarely a true vacation. Since becoming a mom, I could not help but fantasize about a vacation in which I could sleep in until whatever time I wanted… lay out by the pool relaxing with a drink in my hand without having to keep anybody entertained… pick restaurants based on trendy atmosphere rather than the children’s menu… and so on. Well, that vacation finally came and it came in the form of Palm Springs last week.

Several months ago I got a promotional email from hotels.com, which is really what sparked this whole thing. I sat there for a few minutes thinking about how great a romantic summer vacation with my husband would be, if only we could find a convenient time. And then it dawned on me… there would never ever be a “convenient time”. Whether it be work, money, lack of babysitting, or a million other variables… it is so easy to always find a reason not to take some much needed adult time to yourself. The truth is, it will extremely rarely (in fact probably never) be easy to find someone willing to watch your super high energy toddler for two whole nights while you run off to a desert oasis to lay by the pool and drink mimosas all day with your spouse. It’s just not going to happen until you make it a priority. So, that is precisely what we did. I booked the hotel right then and there, texted my saint of a sister begging/bribing her to babysit, marked it in our calendars, and just like that… we at last had a romantic get away set in stone.

Not surprisingly, Palm Springs turned out to be everything that I needed. We spent our stay at the Ace Hotel/Pool club and couldn’t have been happier with our hotel choice. Our room had a really cool private patio entry, the decor was spot on to the bohemian desert oasis vibes of the hotel, and possibly the best part… it was about 15 steps away from the pool entrance. The great thing about Palm Springs in the summer is that it is so absurdly hot and dry that there is almost nothing to do other than relax by the pool, so the place just has vacation written all over it. I really don’t know how anybody gets anything done around there because I know I personally found myself just wanting to be in the pool at all times. The small fraction of time in which we weren’t being total sloths by the pool, we were able to check out a few other cute spots around town, like the beauty that is the Moorten Botanical Garden, as well as the stunning ‘Alice in Wonderland-esque’ grounds of Le Parker Meridian Hotel.

After that vacation with my husband, I can confidently say that every couple with kids should make it a priority to do a “no kids vacation” every so often. Whether it be to Palm Springs (which I would highly recommend) or just a fun staycation in your own city, child free bonding time is so very important. Not only did I return from the trip feeling refreshed and relaxed and ready to be a good mom again, but I also came back feeling closer than ever to my sweet husband.

And as for my son? He apparently hardly noticed that we were gone. No matter how guilty you may be feeling for leaving your little one(s) for a couple of days, the truth is, sometimes they need a change-up in the schedule and a little bit of time away from you as much as you need a little bit of time away from them. My husband and I got a relaxing vacation, and my son got some quality bonding time with his aunt, so it was really a win-win.

I have no idea when the next opportunity for another romantic little getaway will be, but I sure am happy with the time that we got. Until next time, Palm Springs.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

 

Some Fathers Day Words that don’t quite fit into a card.

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They say (whoever they are) that watching your husband be a good father is the most attractive thing he can do. They are not kidding. Not even a little bit.

My son has recently decided that 8am wake ups are simply not early enough, and that 5:30am wake ups would be a little bit more exciting. No matter what time we put him to bed, how long of a nap he had the day prior, or how much energy we allowed him to run off at the park before bed, like an alarm clock… He is up at 5:30 every weekend. The first few times that this happened, I let out a complainy little groan, rolled over, and mentally pleaded with my son to go back to bed. As I did this, my husband (who was easily just as tired as I was) hopped out of bed, grabbed my son, changed his diaper, and brought him into our room to hang out in our bed with us while we tried to fully wake up. My husband did this without me saying a word about it, and I thought to myself ‘oh man that was wonderful. I guess it will be my turn next time’. But then next time came, and again, my husband was the one to jump out of bed without any hesitation or negativity. The following weekend was the same way. And this time all that I could think to myself was ‘this guy that I married is the absolute best’.

My husband has been this way since day one. During my pregnancy he took me to get an Oreo shake each and every time I craved one, spoiled me with gifts, kept me company while I was miserable during bed rest, and he attended every doctors appointment with me. While I was in labor, he rubbed my head and did everything within his power to help (like ask the nurse once every five minutes when the epidural guy would arrive). The day we brought our baby home, you would never know how exhausted he was as he sat there holding our sleeping little Liam, staring at him with overwhelming amounts of pride. During the 5 month long period of multiple middle of the night wake ups, he made sure to help me with at least one wake up a night… Even when he had to be up for work at 7 in the morning. When he comes home from a long day of work and finds out that our son has been testing me all day, he sends me off to go get my nails done or take a bath. When the park is empty and Liam needs a playmate, my husband steps up for the job, chasing him around the park making loud ‘scary’ monster noises while Liam runs away from him squealing with joy. Through the diaper changes, and the endless messes, and the doctor appointments, and the tantrums, and the little baby colds, and learning to walk and talk and eat solid foods, my husband has been there for every single moment of it. Not because i ever once had to ask him to be, but simply because he wanted to be.

My husband is the type of man that every baby deserves as a father, and every women deserves as a husband. He makes mistakes, but does everything in his power to correct those mistakes immediately. Not even a few hours go by in my day in which he is not reminding Liam and I how much he loves us. He works incredibly hard and deals with a ridiculous amount of stress to ensure that Liam and I are taken care of, and he never stops talking about the future that he wants (and I know he will) provide for us. He is really terrible at giving back rubs that last longer than 1.5 minutes and he turns all of the lyrics to my favorite songs into parodies relating to gassy bodily functions. He puts the air in the car on full blast when it’s not even seventy degrees out and he always…and I mean ALWAYS wins the movie picking battle. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because at the end of the day, no matter how many very intentional attempts he makes at annoying me, he certainly keeps things amusing while he takes care of his people… Protects his people… Loves his people. And I am so very proud and blessed that my son and I get to be his people.

Happy Father’s Day to a man so great that I feel the desire to write a million braggy blog posts about him. My baby’s daddy, my best friend, my husband.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

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He takes care of me: A Father’s Day post.

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I would like to take a moment to talk about my husband.

It is no secret, we were not trying to have a baby. We also were not, not trying to have a baby either. When I delivered the news to my husband, he was the perfect level of excitement that I needed him to be in order to ease my nerves. As I sat there terrified at the thought of pushing a watermelon sized human out of my body, he sat there in complete and utter amazement that he had created a little life inside of me. And he promised that he would always take care of us. Always take care of me.

He went to every doctor appointment with me… even my pap smear. I realize that was a little ridiculous, but I was nervous and scared and so he went, no questions asked. He held my hand through each and every prick and poke, and he took care of me.

When I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks due to my incompetent cervix, he stayed with my every single night but one, curled up on a tiny little fold away chair/bed. When I was put on bed rest for months, he cleaned.. he cooked dinner.. he moved our entire apartment into a new place on his own.. he took care of my every craving.. he took care of me.

When my son was born, he did not leave my side once until it was time to take my son to the nursery. He changed the pads below me on the delivery bed. He got me ice. He let me squeeze (and almost break) his hand. He encouraged me. He took care of me.

When we brought my son home from the hospital, he made sure I had the rest I needed. He tended to my son so that I could sleep. He made bottles, he made me food. He helped me recover. He took care of me.

When I am too overwhelmed to make it through the day, he talks me through it. When I am stressed, or sad, or nervous, he takes care of me.

My husband works harder than any man his age, so that I can stay home to raise our son. He goes to work and comes home completely exhausted, yet still.. he takes care of us. I could not be prouder of the boy that I have quickly watched become a man. He is strong, he is proud, he is courageous, he is charismatic. He is a leader, he is a hard worker, he is a father, and he is a husband. He is mine, and he is everything I need.

Happy Father’s day Sweetie. Thank you.

Cheers,

T.W.C.

 

Family photos: tougher than they appear

Last weekend we finally had our family photos done! I have been planning these photos in my head for the last 7 months. Yeah yeah, don’t make fun of me. We are so very happy with how they turned out. If you live in the Las Vegas area and are interested in our photographer, please let me know and I would be happy to send you her way. Going into these photos, I was so nervous that my son wouldn’t behave. What do you know… he didn’t! He was so amused by the surrounding area that he did not want us to hold him, even for a second. We had a great time playing with him outside, but leaving the session I was feeling like we didn’t quite get any of the images that I had envisioned in my head for months. Then she sent us our photos… and I was absolutely blown away. I couldn’t be happier with these, and I couldn’t be happier to share them with you!

Cheers,

T.W.C.