We have a 2 year old!

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Welcome Home!!

We finally made it to Virginia, and are settling in nicely. The moving company came on Sunday November 18th, and loaded everything up. Since we had no furniture to sleep on that night, and we weren't planning on leaving for VA until Monday morning, we slept upstairs on Matt's parents' couch. We loaded everything left over into our cars Sunday night, and were on the road Monday morning at around 9:30.

Long story short, we checked into the hotel for Monday night. The driver of the truck told us on Sunday that he would be able to deliver our belongings on Tuesday morning, from 8-9. We were thrilled, because originally, the estimate was anywhere from Tuesday to Friday, and Thanksgiving was on Thursday. So we changed our hotel reservation to only Monday night, checked out Tuesday, and drove to our hotel to wait for our delivery. Well, 9:15 rolled around, and there was no sign of the movers. So I called the company, and the dispatcher informed me that we were on the schedule for Wednesday morning. Say what?! Uh, well, that's not what we were told, and we already checked out of the hotel with our 2 dogs, and nothing to sleep on. That's not going to work at all. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do. They were picking up a 15,000 pound shipment as we were talking. So we decided we would try to see if we could get an air mattress to sleep on for the night, and sleep in our apartment.

We ended up sleeping on the floor with just a blanket. Definitely not the most comfortable sleep we've had. It was horrible. Oh well, there was nothing we could have done. We were told the movers would be coming between 8-11. They showed up around 9:15, and were done unloading everything by 1 I think. So not too bad. But they did have 4 movers, which was awesome.

So at this point, we've been officially in our apartment (with furniture) for a week now. And I would say we're about 98% unpacked, and settled, which is amazing! Our friend stayed with us for a few days starting Wednesday night, and he helped a lot with the unpacking. He was hopped up on RedBull, and helped me unpack and put away my entire kitchen in 2 hours. I was so happy, because I was afraid we'd be living out of boxes. Much more unpacking soon followed in the following days, and at this point, we have only about 3 or so boxes left to find homes for. The boxes have crap in them that we threw in at the last minute, so it's just left over junk. We'll find a home for that stuff, but for now, I'm just happy we're mostly unpacked. It feels like home, and I love it.

All loaded up in the car Monday morning for our drive to VA
We made it to the hotel! Sharing some cuddles with Tyson
Tuesday! Checking out his bedroom.
What a view!

This is what you do when you have no furniture for a whole day.
You do what you gotta do to get a sick baby to sleep. Yes, I curled up in the PnP with Cael
Five Guys for dinner? Hell yes! Now if only we had a kitchen table.
It's moving day! For real this time!
Enjoying some Kix while the moving guys unload all of our belongings.
Boys will be boys. At least we finally have our stuff!
We finally have furniture, and Cael decides to sit on Tyson.
It didn't take long to find the Tupperware drawer.
Cael's room is looking put together!
Reading some books in his new room.
Cael LOVES the balcony!

Monday, November 12, 2012

14 Months Old!!

October 5 - November 4

So here we are, 14 months old. I'm a little late to writing this post, as I have been lately. But you'll have to understand that. We've been packing up what we can, and preparing to move on the 19th. Not to mention the tons of phone calls I've had to make between HR, moving companies, apartments, etc.

So anyway, back to Cael. I feel like he's started doing so much the last month. Here are some key achievements/accomplishments/milestones from over the last month:
  • Cael has cut both top 1 year molars, and finally his bottom left lateral incisor. This brings the total teeth count to 10!
  • Starting to run. Or at least gain speed while walking. The boy is quick.
  • Dancing! More like alternating which foot he stomps, but he will do it if you tell him to dance.
  • Clapping! FINALLY! I couldn't wait for him to start doing this. And he understands when you tell him to clap too, so he knows what it means.
  • Temper tantrums. Oi veh. Consisting of throwing himself on the floor and screaming.
  • Learning how to use a spoon. He knows what he has to do, and the concept of how a spoon works, but hasn't mastered how to scoop the food onto the spoon.
  • Walks backwards.
  • Further breast weaning. He's down to 2 times a day - once when he wakes up, and again right before he goes to sleep.
  • Gives "high-fives" and "low-fives".
  • Shakes his head side to side, which Matt taught him. However, he doesn't yet know that also means "no". Which is good for me.
Cael babbles A LOT, and talks his own language, which mostly consists of similar syllables, but he hasn't really started saying anymore words. I guess I'm a little concerned, because I hear of lots of babies close to his age talking sentences, and Cael isn't anywhere near that. But at the same time, there are also babies that are doing what Cael is doing. So I know I shouldn't be too worried. He will constantly babble "dada", even when Matt isn't around. He still doesn't really say "mama" or "mom", but he will say "yum" whenever he eats or drinks something. I just have to keep reminding myself that babies all develop at different rates. AND once he starts talking, I'll probably wish he didn't talk..Haha.

Using a spoon
Milk dribble!

Helping mommy pack!
Big belly!!
Little Man fell off the couch, and onto a roll of parchment paper he was playing with earlier
November 6th - Election day!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012!!

Trick or treating was postponed from the 31st, to Saturday November 3rd, because of Hurricane Sandy. Most of the surrounding towns rescheduled trick or treating because of the superstorm. Matt and I took Cael trick or treating, along with one of our friends and some of Matt's family. We also took advantage of the awesome wagon that Matt's parents gave Cael for his birthday. We used that instead of the stroller, so that we wouldn't have to keep buckling him, unbuckling, buckling, etc., when we took him door to door.

Cael seemed to enjoy himself, even though he won't remember it. After going to a few doors, he finally got the idea of what was going on. Hmm, mommy takes me out of the wagon, walks me to a door, and some stranger puts colorful looking things in this pumpkin bucket I have. Okay, I can used to doing this.

Trick or treating here is different than on Long Island. It seems that the houses here that you would go to are more spaced out, because not every house hands out candy. And those that do, are decorated, have lights on, and the residents are usually outside handing candy out. And even though the houses in town are close together, you don't walk house to house like you would on Long Island, because like I said, not every house hands out candy. On Long Island, from what I remember, you went to several houses in a row, and the houses you went to usually handed out candy. I guess it's different with every location. I wonder how trick or treating works in Virginia, and with an apartment complex.

I was a little upset that we didn't get to go pumpkin picking this year, or even carve a pumpkin. I was really sad over it, actually. Because I know he would have had fun doing those things. But between going to VA to look for an apartment, and taking care of job/moving responsibilities, we just didn't have the time. I know there's always next year, but this is the first year he would have enjoyed Halloween.

Oh well, here's my little Raccoon having fun trick or treating!

It was freezing out!!
What a tired little trick or treater! He just couldn't
keep his eyes open.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Relocation - Phase I & II Complete!

I've decided to break our moving journey down into four phases. Yes, I'm a dork. But I need to do things like this to keep my sanity. We have 2 weeks before we move, and my mind is in a million and a half different directions. I bet you didn't think that was possible. Well, I assure you, it is. Holy shit.

Phase I - Which is completed, entailed applying too, interviewing for, and accepting a job in VA. That was completed a few weeks ago.

Phase II - Is finding a place to live in VA. This was, fortunately, completed 2 days ago on the 30th! I'll discuss below.

Phase III - This phase will be packing, actually moving to VA, and unpacking. Part of this starts now, with going through everything, getting rid of what we don't want/need anymore, and packing. The rest of it will be when we actually move, which is scheduled for November 19th. Once again, Holy shit.

Phase IV - This part encompasses actually starting at my new job, which will be a journey and a half. I will experience a whole slew of emotions, ranging from sadness of leaving Cael home with Matt (for the first couple of months, anyway), to nervous excitement to being overwhelmed. I officially start on December 3rd, with 1.5 days of orientation, and then I start in my department.

On our way to Va!
Stopping for a coffee, and Cael got a free
munchkin, which he loved!
So now I will update you with the journey Cael and I took earlier this week to VA to find a place to live. Last Friday, I started calling some places for rent. I came to the realization that I would have to see these places before making a decision to rent, so then the spontaneous idea of going down to VA with Cael on Monday came to light. And since I needed to get some pre-employement things done, such as a physical, I figured I could get it done then as well.

So I made some appointments with a total of 3 apartments, all complexes. Two of them really nice complexes - pool, playground, walking trails, dog parks, fireplaces in the living room, and gated access to the apartments. And all 2 bedrooms/2 baths. However, there was the threat of Hurricane Sandy coming up the eastern coast, expecting to make landfall on - yup - Monday. Taking that into consideration, in addition to having to get my physical early Monday morning, I decided to go down to VA on Sunday morning, and plan to stay until Wednesday, taking a huge chance that I may not be able to get anything done because of Sandy.

Cael relaxing. I gave him the bag of cheerios
to keep him quiet, which he
then emptied everywhere.
Well, Sandy hit hard. And without remorse. But that'll be another post. Fortunately, where I was in VA didn't get hit too hard. Just rain and wind. But I was worried I wouldn't get to view the apartments on Monday and Tuesday.

Well, come Monday, I had my physical, and met with HR to sign my hire letter, and other pre-employment paperwork. After that, Cael and I went to lunch at Denny's. My apartment appointment was for 2, so we had some time to eat. Well, then I got a call from the first complex, ML, that they were closing the office within the hour, and she asked if I could come by now. I told her I was just finishing lunch, and then I'll be on my way. I called my friends Ed and Stef, as they were going to go with me at 2, and they met me no problem to go early.

Now, the funny thing is, this is the apartment I wasn't planning on signing. Not sure why - probably because I was afraid it was too expensive. I don't know, it was just a feeling. The rent for this one was $1086, sans pet rent. Another complex I was looking at on Tuesday had rent as low as $766, so I thought I would like that one because of the price. But what I learned is you get what you pay for. Long story short, I'm so happy that I was able to make it there before they closed to view the apartment, because this was the one I ended up returning to on Tuesday and signing a lease for :).

Aunt Stef and Cael making faces at each other!
I didn't want to sign for the first apartment I saw, and I wanted to see the other 2 before making a decision. But since that was the last unit left, I gave her a $100 check to hold it for me, refundable up to 48 hours. Tuesday morning, I called the 2 complexes I was supposed to see, and the cheaper one informed me that the office was open, but that they weren't showing that day. Sucks to be you I thought. I was on a time constraint, and if you didn't have time for me to see your unit, I don't have time for you. I called the second complex, Brittany Commons, which was a beautiful complex (one of the 2 nice ones I mentioned, with the one I saw Monday being the other nice one), and fortunately they were still showing. But there isn't a doubt that I wouldn't have signed a lease for the first place if I couldn't see them all. I would have had to settle because of time limits, but it wouldn't have been a bad place to settle on. (Continued after photo dump)

I love that he's finally grown enough hair to do this!
My little Linus!

Getting ready to go home!
Helping mommy load the car up!
Home in time for Halloween! Even though
trick or treating was rescheduled because of Sandy.
Brittany Commons was nice, and the layout was very similar to ML. They had the same amenities as ML, but rent was a little more. However, Brittany Commons was a HUGE complex, having 500+ units, and it was right off a main road. ML has only 150 units in their complex, and it's "off the beaten path" so to speak. It's set back away from main roads, and you have to take 2 side roads off the main road to get to it. My decision was made.

Master bedroom
Our friends came with me to see Brittany Commons as well, since everything was closed due to Sandy, and they didn't have work. I was so HAPPY they came with me, because they asked questions I didn't even think about. They are definitely life-savers. So we all went to lunch, and I called Matt to discuss our two options. He left it up to me, and said he trusts my judgment (but also the judgement of Ed). ML was the fit for us, so I called and asked if I could come by and sign a lease.

So we all went over and I signed the lease. The unit is available November 15, so the rent was prorated for that month. So the total due at move-in, including app fee, pet rent, and one-time pet fee, was $1061. Our rent every month would be $1155, not including utilities or cable. With my salary, that's definitely do-able.
Living room
Now, about the apartment. It's a 3rd floor unit, and because of that, has vaulted ceilings. The balcony faces the woods, so it's completely private, which is a major plus for us. It's a gated community, has a swimming pool, dog park (which is AWESOME for the dogs, since they're going to be going through a big change from running freely outside, to being walked on a leash), 2 miles of paved trails with "doggie stations" for poop, and volleyball and tennis courts. Both Cael's and our bedroom have walk-in closets, and there is an extra, big closet in the dining room for storage. There's also a linen closet outside Cael's room, a closet when you first enter the apartment, and a pantry in the kitchen! No more storing food or cans on the floor in the kitchen! There's also a large laundry room with a washer and dryer. So we'll be storing our semi-new Samsung washer and dryer here until we have our own house and need them again. Those things are my babies, and I'm not getting rid of them. Not to mention we still have payments on them for another year. And one of my favorite things about our apartment, is there is a gas fireplace in the living room, with a built in table on top of it for the tv. It's going to be so nice.

Cael loved running around in the apartment. There was so much room, and we even lost him for a second. His bedroom is HUGE! He'll have plenty of room to have all his toys in there, so he can actually play in his bedroom. I'm so happy and feel so fortunate that I was given this opportunity for an amazing job, and therefore a better life for my family. Just a few months ago, Matt and I were saying to each other that we will never be able to get out of this apartment (and therefore his parents house), and we'll never get out on our own. What a different a few months makes.
Kitchen (And Cael doing yoga!)
Kitchen and pantry. And I love the sliding lights.
Kitchen again
Another view of the master bedroom and master bathroom.
Walk-in closet is behind the door.