We have a 2 year old!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apartment Hunting! This is real!

As my really close friend said to me today, this is getting real. Last night, I made a spur of the moment decision to make a trip down to VA to look at apartments. I'm going down Sunday, and staying until Wednesday - which happens to be Halloween. It needs to be done though. I figured that, while I'm looking at apartments, I can also take care of some of the pre-employment paperwork at the hospital, and my physical.

After spending (literally) all day on the phone yesterday, and half the day on the phone today, I managed to talk to all 3 moving companies provided to me by the hospital, and got the ball rolling on obtaining estimates. I called at least a dozen rental places, and have 3 appointments set up to look at apartment units to rent - all apartment complexes. One on Monday, and 2 on Tuesday. Today, I also called and scheduled my physical, and made an appointment to sign the employment paperwork. YIKES! My brain feels like mush. At least this morning, I had Matt to watch Cael while I made phone calls. Yesterday, I had to wrangle him while he climbed and got into everything, while I had my ear to the phone, and a pen in my hand. Talk about multitasking! I am Woman, hear me roar!!

Matt and I decided on trying to just rent an apartment complex, just to get down there. It was last on our preference list, with renting a house first, but I think it would be easier to rent a complex. We can do a 6 month lease, and once we're down there, look for a house to rent. The plan is to hopefully buy our own home within a year of being there! How incredible would that be!? It seems like just a few months ago, that thought didn't seem possible at all. I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but if all this works out the way we anticipate, I'll be making enough money to cover all our bills and have some left over to actually save. Saving money? What's that?! And then whatever job Matt gets will all be extra money we can save as well. And of course, we'll have my sign-on bonus to initially lean on until we get settled down there.

These complexes I'm looking at next week are gorgeous. Some have fireplaces, all have pools, all accept dogs, and 2 of the 3 have a fenced in dog park for us to let the dogs run around. Two of them are on the higher end of our rent budget, and will put us over our budget when we include utilities, but it's only short term. And I also estimated low on the budget, so we should have a little more than originally estimated, left over.

It's going to be crazy for me though, because it will be just Cael and me. I can only imagine how stressful and tiring it's going to be to chase after Cael, while looking at apartments AND filing out paperwork (hopefully both hospital and apartment paperwork). But it should be a nice trip there, and hopefully I'll be able to get a lot accomplished.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Oh my goodness, where to start!? I have been slacking on my blog entries lately - I've been so busy. Between chasing after a toddler, doing errands, and the recent happenings going on our lives, I haven't had a chance. But finally, I have time to write.

First and foremost, I'll discuss the changes with breastfeeding. I've successfully managed to wean Cael from all nursing sessions during the day. Lucky for me, he didn't put up a fight when I dropped the session during the day, right before his nap. He whined a little that first day he didn't nurse before his nap, but fell asleep relatively quickly. And each following day got easier and easier. No fight whatsoever. I was really concerned about the possibility of going through hell dropping that feeding, but he did really well. That was about a week ago. He still nurses in the morning when he first wakes up, usually around 6 am, and then right before he goes to bed at around 8 pm. If he's not feeling well, or teething and wakes in the middle of the night, then I'll nurse him then too, but that hasn't been happening too often :::knocks on wood:::. He'll usually sleep through the night from 8 to 5-6 am, so I'm happy about that.

I'm surprisingly ok with weaning all daytime nursing sessions. I think because it was gradual, it made it easier on me. It makes the day so much easier, because he doesn't have to nurse if I'm out, and I don't get engorged. I'm happy that my breasts and milk supply have adjusted so well to the change. And I know I still have milk, because when he nurses in the morning and at night, and I compress my breast, milk will come shooting out. So it makes me happy to know it's still there, but I didn't have to go through engorgement issues. I'm happy with the nursing schedule we have now, and I hope it continues until Cael is at least 18 months old. That was my long-term goal. Anything past that is a plus. I do get looks and questions when people find out that I still nurse. But I don't care. It's such an important and intimate bonding experience between my son and I, and I will continue to do so for as long as I see fit. And there is no research anywhere  that suggests nursing past the age of 1 is harmful. In fact, it's quite the opposite. If Cael and I are happy, and it's benefiting both him and I, then we'll continue to nurse. :-)

Secondly, I've been slacking in the cloth diapering department. To be honest, Cael hasn't had a cloth diaper on in about a week. :( I know, I know. I'm extremely disappointed in myself. I've caved into disposables. And I don't have a real reason as to why, either. I always just found it easier to put him in a disposable when we go out, and of course he wears a disposable at night because he leaks really bad through the cloth diaper. And then when my mother-in-law watches him, I have her use disposables because it's easier for her. So since we use them at night and with my mil, I have them around, and I'm more tempted to just reach for them. I'm going to make a much better effort to start using them again.

Finally, the biggest change and update of all! No, we are not pregnant. I'm returning back to work full-time! In another state!! Yes, Matt, Cael and I are moving to northern Virginia at the end of November. After many discussions between Matt and I, and a lack of jobs here, we decided that we would look elsewhere. Since our friends moved to VA last year that was always an option. So the search for jobs began there. And BAM! Tons of jobs are posted in the Fredericksburg, VA area. After months of thought and debating, and MONTHS and MONTHS of struggling financially, I finally decided to take the leap, and apply to a few ultrasound positions in VA. Within HOURS, I got a personalized e-mail from HR, expressing interest in my resume, and that they wanted to do a phone interview. I applied on Monday October 1st. Three and a half weeks ago. Yes. Weeks!

Enter a roller coaster of emotions! Honestly, I only gave into Matt and applied for the position because he wanted to really move down there, and there was nothing here. At that point, I just did it to shut Matt up. I didn't really want to move down there. I didn't want to go back to work. What had I done!? I didn't want to move, and leave my friends and family. I was disappointed, sad and terrified. But. But they responded to me within hours. Am I that desirable? Could this be a good opportunity? I guess we'll have to see how the phone interview goes.

I had my phone interview on Thursday the 4th, and it went well. She was impressed, and said that she would definitely pass my application along to hiring manager. The next step would be a technical assessment, and she said I will definitely be hearing from someone shortly. Wonderful I thought. I don't want this. I don't want to move. But deep down inside, I was starting to feel something. What is it...is that...excitement?? Shhh!! Don't tell Matt!

The next week on Wednesday I think, I had a surprise phone call from the chief sonographer at the imaging center for women. I was completely caught off guard, but our conversation went even better than the first phone interview. We were on the phone for over an hour, and I was so comfortable speaking to her. She did character questions, we talked about my breast ultrasound experience, equipment, etc. She told me that she is definitely impressed with me, and she would love to have me visit the hospital for an on-site meeting/interview. Say what!?!? I said that I would be more than willing to do that. I asked her when they were looking to fill the position. Her answer? As soon as you can come down here. Whenever you can start. WHAT?!?? Not, "As soon as we find the right candidate," or "As soon as we are finished interviewing candidates." It was as soon as YOU. Holy.Fuck.

The next day, I got a call from HR again, confirming that I wanted to come on-site. I agreed, and she said she would send me the hotel information via email, and that the hospital would cover the costs of our hotel stay. I got the hotel reservations on Friday the 12th. We were going to VA Tuesday night, and staying until Thursday. This is going way to fast. WAY too fast for me to deal with!

Virginia is beautiful, I have to admit that. The hospital is beautiful. This would be a nice place to work and live. Everyone was so nice, especially at the hotel. It was a 1 bedroom suite we stayed in, and the entire staff was so friendly. I told one person that I had a job interview, and before I knew it, everyone was saying "good luck on your interview!", or asking how my interview went. Wow. It's crazy, and almost sickening, how nice everyone is.

I went on my interview on Wednesday the 17th. I first toured the on-site daycare center, which was really nice. A bit pricey, but I love that it's curriculum and education based. Plus, they have an open door policy, so I can call or visit anytime I want. Perfect! Then the recruiting rep took me on a tour of the hospital, bought me lunch, and then we headed over to the woman's center. I met with the chief sonographer and she showed me around the center. We talked for a while, and then she had me scan.

I knew I'd be scanning someone, and I thought it would all come back to me like riding a bike. Well, let me tell you, I felt like a complete.failure. She was quizzing me on abdominal anatomy that I SHOULD have known. But because it's been a couple years since I've scanned general ultrasound, I was really sketchy and iffy on the answers. And even got some answers wrong. I told her to let me scan breast, because that is where I really shine. So I did, and she was impressed with my scanning. Since the center scans 85% breast, she was more concerned about how I scanned breast, and because I did well, she wasn't concerned about my incorrect answers, or discomfort with scanning general. I, on the other hand, was very upset. I hate being wrong, especially when it's about something I know I know well. I just need a refresher, and she said that is something I can work on.

After I scanned, she told me that she definitely wants me to join their team. I told her I would love that, and then she said she would inform HR, and I'd be hearing from them. Holy.Fuck. I'm going to be getting a job offer!

I'll skip the other details and get right to it. I got a call on Friday from the recruiter in HR, and she offered me the position! Unfortunately, the hourly pay was a little less than I needed in order for us to move down there with just my salary. Matt and I had been crunching numbers and figuring out different scenarios, and we knew what I needed in order to move there. She also told me that they would cover my relocation expenses up to $8000!! I tried to negotiate salary with her, but she informed me that the salary is created using a formula, and there will probably be little leeway for negotiating. She said that she would talk to the manager, and if they couldn't increase the salary, maybe they could do something like a sign-on bonus for me. Perfect! I hung up, and waited for the phone call. A couple of hours later, she made me an "offer I couldn't refuse."

Salary would remain the same, $8000 towards relocation AND a $10,000 sign-on bonus. Excuse me, what? I told her I would call her right back, and I called Matt at work. I told him what they just offered me, and he nearly shit himself. My same reaction. He said that is something we can definitely work with, and even though the salary is less, we will be more than okay with that sign-on bonus (which I get in my first paycheck) until Matt can find a job. I called her back, and accepted the offer. How could I not?

I got my hire letter via e-mail today. My start date is December 3rd, in which I have to do 1.5 days of orientation. I have to so much to do! I have pre-employment paperwork to fill out, pre-employment physical to do, renew my CPR, oh and yea, FIND A PLACE TO LIVE all in 5 weeks! We want to be there the last week in November, which, unfortunately, is around Thanksgiving. But maybe we can have our first Thanksgiving there with our best friends. Not to mention I have to solicit estimates from 3 moving companies for my relocation costs.

What an amazing opportunity. At this point, I'm still really upset about moving, in addition to feeling sad and terrified. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little excited. What an incredible offer and opportunity for me. We can finally be out on our own, and we won't be struggling. We won't be living paycheck to paycheck, and we can give Cael everything we want; give him things we didn't have growing up. I'm not a big fan of change, but I think this change is worth the stress and anxiety.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

13 Months Old!

September 5, 2012 - October 4, 2012
Instead of counting weeks, I'm now going to just count months. Until Cael is 2, that is. Which makes it easier on me, too, because it's getting difficult to blog as often as I was, with an active and needy "toddler". Yes. Yes, I just used the word "toddler". I don't like the sound of it, but maybe I'm getting used to it more.

The last month went by in a flash! I can't believe I have a 13 month old now. And just last month, I was saying I can't believe I have a 1 year old already! Something tells me that this second year is going to fly by much faster than the first year. And that thought makes me sad. But it is what it is, I guess.

Cael is in the process of cutting his 1 year molars. I was wondering why he was going through a phase of crankiness and clingyness. Then I looked in his mouth a week ago on the 27th, and noticed that part of the upper left molar was already cut through his gums. On his upper right side, I could see the molar just under the gums. That explained everything! And also explained why he was waking during the night. I think it's funny that he's cutting his molars before there are even any signs of his bottom left lateral incisor coming in.

I'm so big!!
I finally went through all of the new clothes that Cael got for his birthday. I had to make room in his drawers, so I went through them and sorted almost everything. There was still a ton of 3-6 month clothes (mostly onesies) in the dresser. Yes, he can still fit into Carter's 6 month onesies. The pants that size are too short, but the onesies still fit. However, they're a little snug. He's been fitting in them for a while now, but the season is changing, so it was time for them to be packed away. He fits in 6-9 month clothes more comfortably now, with size 9-12 months being a bit baggy on him. Most of the new [winter] clothes we got for him are a size 12-18 months. Lots of cute clothes. But since he's not really wearing his 12 month clothes yet because they're too big, I'm a little concerned that he won't be able to fit in them by the time winter is over, and he'll have all these clothes that he never got to wear. But I'm sure he'll go through some sort of growth spurt during the winter at some point.

Meals have become a real fight between Cael and I. Or rather, I should say between Cael and the food. He used to love eating anything and everything I would put in front of him. But now, specifically at breakfast time, he is refusing to eat what I offer him. Unless it's Kix, he'll refuse it. He used to love yogurt, and basically inhale the entire container. Now, he'll eat anywhere from a few bites to only half a container. Even the mini pancakes he'll refuse. Or he'll eat only one or two. I have to search to figure out some new things for him to try. I hate how it's become a constant battle for him to eat real food.

Cael is now a master walker. I've even put him down a few times in stores to let him walk around and have some freedom. I have to get him a good pair of walking shoes. He's been wearing the pair that my mom gave me for him. They were actually my now 15 year old brothers first pair of walking shoes, when he was a baby. It's really cute and special, and I was shocked that my mom kept them. And even more surprised that they fit him perfectly. I'm sure he'll be running soon, as he's picking up speed when he walks excitedly.

Cael is getting quite the personality. He has his father's temper, that's for sure. Which means I'm royally screwed. He gets frustrated if he's trying to do something, such as fitting a block into its' shaped hole, and he can't get it in. He screeches, flails his arms, and sometimes throws the block across the room. Or if he's pushing a toy across the room, and it gets stuck on another toy, he starts getting frustrated and banging the toy. It's funny, and I can't help but giggle to myself. But boy, and I screwed.

Along those lines, is that Cael can throw a temper-tantrum like a 2 year old. According to an article I read online, "one is the new two". And Cael is living proof of that! If you tell him no, or don't do something that he wants (and most times I have NO IDEA what he wants, because he can't tell me), he'll start screaming, and lay down on the floor. A few times, he's thrown himself down on the floor. The first few times it happened, I couldn't believe it. He's only 1, and he's tantruming like a 2-year old. But apparently, it's normal.

Snuggles for his sock monkey.
He does have some favorite toys. For one, he loves his Aden & Anais muslin lightweight blanket. I got a pack of 4 of them before he was born. They're thin, breathable and lightweight, and ever since he was about 5 months old, he's been sleeping with one. He has to pull it up to his face, and I would definitely call it a security blanket. I bring it everywhere for him, and he can't sleep without it. I love how he cuddles right up to it. Secondly, he got a purple sock monkey from my cousin for his birthday. He loves that sock monkey, and it's the first and only stuffed animal that he will hug. He gives it such a big hug, and cuddles with it.

Cael fell asleep on mommy
Blurry, but he's sitting in a new chair he got for his birthday./
Lunch time with grandma and mommy
Pulling apart Aunt Lindsay's cabinet

Nomming on some pizza!

Who is this big boy!?
On top of the world!

In the big-boy cart at Kohl's
He loves that sock monkey!

Cael's NY 1st Birthday Mustache Bash!

After Cael's PA party didn't turn out the way I planned it in my mind, I was really hoping that the party on Long Island would turn out at least half as good as I wanted it to. Lucky for Cael, it turned out perfectly! The weather was gorgeous, and we had a good amount of family and friends turn up. It was so nice, and made all the hard work and stress worth it.

This time, instead of ordering a sheet cake, and spending a lot of money on it, I decided to make cupcakes and cake pops. I should have thought of that for the other party, before spending $70 on a cake that we only ate 1/4 of. But you live and learn, right? Plus, it was much cheaper, and added a personalize touch to his party. I made white and chocolate cupcakes, with white frosting that I dyed either red and black; and then yellow cake pops that I dipped half in black melted chocolate, and the other half in red melted chocolate. Then I dipped those in the opposite color sugar sprinkles.They came out really good, and they were a hit! We didn't have any left over, and we had only a handful of cupcakes left over.

What I liked most about the cupcakes though, were that I made chocolate mustache cupcake toppers, that I attached to a lollipop stick. They were very fragile, but came out exactly how I thought they were. I drew a mustache on a piece of paper the size I wanted it, then put that under a piece of wax paper. I then traced the mustache with the melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle. Let them dry and set, then gently peel them off the wax paper, and then flip them over. Using more melted candy chocolate, I put a glob on the back of the mustache, and affixed a short lollipop stick. Let them dry and set, and viola! After the cupcakes were finished and iced, and right before we put them out on the table, we stuck the toppers in the top of them. It definitely completed the look, and they were a hit.

Now here are the pictures from the NY party. You'll notice, if you paid attention to the previous post about the PA party, you'll notice I did a few things differently with this party. For starters, I wasn't able to use the highchair banner I made at the PA party. We attached the high chair to a picnic table, so no one would have been able to see it. I'm so happy it wasn't raining or windy, because I think that the banner added an addition special, little touch to the party.

Secondly, I had bought mustache finger tattoos, and costume adhesive mustaches. Again, I didn't use them at the PA party, because the weather was crappy, and it didn't seem like it would have been a hit. Plus, I didn't really have a table to "display" them. However, the Wooly Willy's I got from Michael's for $1 were a huge hit with the kids at the PA party. Anyway, I was able to put the tattoos and mustaches out at the NY party, and they were a HUGE hit! Even the adults used them. I'm glad everything turned out really well at this party.

High chair banner that I made. We didn't get to use this at the first party.
Here's the balloon that blew away shortly after the party started. Oh well.
Finger mustache tattoos. These were a huge hit!!

Cael and grandma

Even the dog had fun with the 'stache

I love my family with all my heart
Fun with finger-staches!

Cake pops!
Cupcakes with the toppers I made

Smash cake! I love how this turned out.

"Want some, mama?"
Such a good boy, sharing!

My sister, cousin and mom rocking the chocolate 'staches!

Proud of my craftiness