Friday, October 28, 2011

So... how`d you meet?

I live someplace new, so I am meeting new people. Inevitably it is asked... so, how did the two of you meet? More than just a tiny part of me is somewhat hesitant to share our story with strangers. Sad to say, but I fear the judgment. Because ours isn't a classic love tale.

It does not take a math wiz to figure out what the following dates mean; Jeff and I became a permanent party of two in May of 2008 and Noah was born in December of 2008.

Let`s rewind.

I had been living in Maryland where I first worked as a manager for a fantastic little winery and then an event planner for a fantastic little museum. Meanwhile my brother in law was starting a fantastic little business himself and asked if I would be interested in coming back to Raleigh to help him in his efforts.

I had been back in Raleigh for only a few short weeks, living in an apartment right on Glenwood South, within walking distance to wonderful restaurants, night life, shopping... I had started a new chapter in my life and was probably the happiest I could recall being in a very long time.

One night I decided to walk out my front door and down a few blocks to a wine bar to meet up with some girlfriends. I was sipping on a perfectly chilled glass of vigonier when in walks the most handsome man I had ever seen. Those were, literally, the exact words I said to my girlfriends when I first spotted Jeff from across the bar.

I am horribly shy when it comes to talking to guys (you should hear almost every 'first kiss' story I have, they are roll-on-the-floor-with-laughter hilarious) so I sent one of my friends over to see if she could get Jeff and his friend over to our group. Said friend had been drinking all day at the NCSU football game and, while I do not know what was exchanged between the two, my friend came stumbling back saying he was a jerk because he did not like to tailgate.

This was my in, 'I have to apologize for my friend...' I said, trying so hard to seem cool.

And then I was in. I can't even remember what we talked about, but we talked all night long. Jeff offered to drive me the 3 blocks home, and when we were sitting in my driveway he asked me to brunch the next morning.

And so we started dating. It was very casual; not only was he twelve years my senior, but I knew that he was planning on moving to Japan in a couple months. I decided that it would be best if we didn't start a physical relationship because we both knew it would be ending when he moved to Japan.

But then one night I had to go and have a wine party.

Yep, I am that cliche girl who has a little too much to drink and gets pregnant the first time she has sex with her boyfriend.

After I found out I was pregnant it was like the proverbial switch inside of me was turned. Everything I did and all that I was, was for this baby. The change that happened in me was immediate; my life was no longer about me, my cool apartment in the cool part of town, or my social life. I was going to be a mother.

We decided to get married so that I could be on Jeff's medical insurance. I was self employed, working for my brother in law, and could not get private coverage because of my 'pre existing condition' of being pregnant.


Look at me; nervous smile, thinking `what the hell am I doing?!`

I have to pause here and reflect. This is not how I imagined my wedding day. I am, for the most part, more of a realist vs. romantic. But I did (and still DO) have the perfectly planned, just yet to be orchestrated, wedding in my head. There was nothing romantic about that day. My mom brought me the flowers I am holding, tied together with pink and blue ribbons, because she wanted me to have a bouquet. I made it clear that the marriage was just for the baby which is why she chose the pink and blue ribbons. 

Six weeks after we married I was driving Jeff to the airport for Japan. Before he got out of the car he looked at me and told me he loved me. The first time we said those three words to one another.

And we did love one another. We arrived at love in an unconventional way, but there we were, in love.

I decided to come to Japan with Jeff, that we would be a family.

And somewhere along the line, our love has grown. It has changed, it has been tested, it has been strengthened. But it is love. However unconventional. 

I call Noah our little matchmaker. 

Now I have to pause and reflect again. I can not imagine my life without my children. And I can not imagine having any other children than THESE children with THIS man. They are our `meant to be babies`. 

And who knows, maybe one day we will have that perfectly planned wedding. With Noah carrying the rings and Amelia sprinkling flower petals. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fine, I admit it...

Noah is a picky eater. 

And when the only thing in this whole world that he will eat is oatmeal (which he waits to be room temperature before eating, nasty) our trash can starts to stink pretty bad, pretty fast. 

He poops a ton. In his diaper. Because I have yet to start hard core potty training.

He has been ready to start potty training for about 2 months now. How old is Amelia, you ask? Wonder if that has anything to do with it? I wonder what else I have been slacking off on with Noah because of Amelia?

Both kids are napping. I should be cleaning. But instead I am going to create an even bigger mess in the kitchen and make these bad boys because my love for muffins knows no end. 

Have I mentioned that Noah is a picky eater? And don`t come at me with `hide the veggies in the sauce, he will never know` because Noah discovered a loop-hole; he won`t eat a single thing that I cook from scratch. 

No, really.

OK, I lied, last night he ate some pasta that I made with a creamy tomato sauce. It had bacon in it. I am convinced that is the only reason he ate a few fork fulls.

I never make him sit and eat his veggies. Or make him eat his whole dinner. I let him play in between bites. It`s my fault. But part of me does  not care. Is that bad? I mean, I am sure he isn`t going to start high school having never eaten a veggie. 

Today I told Noah to sit and watch a movie because he was getting on my nerves. Really, I used those words. And all he was trying to do was play with me, he had no interest in watching a movie FOR ONCE. Parent fail. And Amelia was crying because she was overly tired and I almost lost my cool with her. A three month old.

But they are both napping.

And the smell of muffins will be filling the air soon.

And when they wake up, we will all feel better.

And when sleepy Noah was putting his head to his pillow, he told me `loo you`, the first time he has ever said it. 

I love you, too, little buddy.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bunny shaped school busses and growing up

I have been researching possible preschools for my boy child since before we returned to Japan. With his speech delay I was pretty adamant about him attending a school where they speak English. When we were in Misawa, Noah attended a Japanese preschool a few days a week. This was his opinion on the matter:


Looking back, I am sure it was a pretty scary experience. I mean, he has a hard enough time telling me what he wants, and I speak his native language. In any event, I have been looking for international preschools and was pleased to see I had several options. Of course it was not that simple...

Problem #1

They are insanely expensive. I am talking the cost of tuition at your local state college. 

Problem #2

They are all far away. While they may not be far, milage wise, with traffic it takes about 40 minutes to get to the school we were the most fond of. Amelia hates the car. I hate driving in Japanese traffic with Japanese drivers. I get poo pains and sweaty palms, it`s not a pretty sight. 

Solution?

They have busses that come pick up your toddler.

For PRESCHOOL.

I know that it is just what they do here. Heck, once the kids are elementary age they walk to and from school all by themselves. But these busses, these cutesy busses shaped like bunnies or trains or pokemon, do not even have seat belts. To say I am uncomfortable with the idea is an understatement.

To top it off, once Noah turns three in December he will be considered `pre-kinder` age and will have to go to school five days a week from 9-2:30. But if we choose to have the bus pick him up he would be out of the house from 7:30 in the morning to 5:30 at night. HE`S THREE. 

There is actually a Japanese preschool right around the corner from our house. Literally, up a flight of stairs and one block over... I`m starting to reevaluate it all. 

Of course I do not need Noah to go to preschool for any reason other than for him to grow and have the opportunity to be amongst peers. He is going to start speech therapy this week (yay!) which will be in our home. But this program is only for infants and toddlers up to the age of three, at which point he will be reassessed to see if he qualifies for a preschool on Base where he will receive therapy (like the one we attended in Raleigh). They have a different set of qualifying factors than the early intervention folks, so we`ll just have to wait and see what happens. I can`t imagine him not qualifying... so this may be an option.

Anyway, I know my little boy is growing up. But I just can not bare to put him on a bus just yet. Even if it is shaped like a bunny. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

If I put it out there on the internet, maybe I`ll actually do it

I am hereby making it publicly known...

I am going to start training for the Tokyo Marathon in 2013!

I am going to be keeping a journal of my training and progress on a different blog site, but I am so excited and just had to share with the 4 people who read this blog.

What better way to show how far I have come physically? I am very ready to put the wimpy, sick and bad-heart B to bed; I have changed so much and feel that this is going to be a great way to celebrate good health and good attitudes towards life. 

I will share the aforementioned link once I get good and started. But for now, I am going to finish this cookie and go watch something on Hulu while the kids are sleeping;-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How becoming a mother has changed me

As I was organizing my closet the other day it dawned on me; I am not who I once was. I was packing away a stack of adorable designer dresses that I used to sport on a regular basis during the warmer months. I had not had the heart to put them in storage previously, thinking that an occasion to wear them might still come up. But as I sized up the closet space in the house, then looked at the stack of Amelia`s clothes that have yet to find a home, then looked at the real estate my `maybe some day` dresses were taking up...

I folded up my precious Marc Jacobs dress and Ella Moss top to make way for rompers and onesies.

I am a MOM. 

There are the obvious ways I have been changed; wardrobe, for example. But then there are the not so obvious. I have never known love for another like the kind I have for my children. It is consuming. And being witness to the love THEY have for US... is humbling. It has changed me. 

As I type this Noah is climbing on my back, begging for the last sip of my coffee (a habit he has started). The old me would have seen a  mother with this scenario unfolding and thought that she should put a rein on her child. But I never knew how much mothers really love their children, and from this love comes the patience to deal with a toddler who insists he is old enough for a cup of joe (it`s decaf, in your FACE, Noah!). 

And this patience is not only for the kids, it is for life. Today we went grocery shopping. It took a solid hour and a half because Noah wanted to walk and help put our goodies in the cart. When we finally made our way back to the car, I loaded all the bags and took Noah`s hand to walk across the parking lot to return the cart. I thought to myself how I used to rush this stroll. I thought how I would rush through the isles at the store and hunt down the shortest check out line so I could just get it over with and get home. How every task seemed like it had a time limit. But now I do not feel the same sense of urgency for getting certain things done. I can let my son explore and help and learn. I can take the time to hold my sons hand and walk at his pace through the parking lot while he looks at the sky and exclaims `BIRDS!!`.

I have never done anything as important as being a mother to my children. And I am a Mom. Every day. Recently when I am saying goodnight to Noah I am completely overwhelmed with my reality. And in the mornings when Amelia first wakes and is so happy (she is starting to smile and coo and melt my heart in the process) I become overwhelmed. An overwhelming sense that I have been forever changed by these little souls because, by some inexplicable reason, I have been chosen to be their mother. 

And I am so thankful to be a mother. And so thankful to give up my closet space for this little round mound of love. And even the slightest bit thankful for the wardrobe change. Who needs Marc Jacobs and Ella Moss when you have Noah Chapman and Amelia Anne?



Disclaimer: I am not completely without style. Because of this blog these jeans are going to be arriving soon. What, I am a mom, but I am still human.