Author Archives: strawberry

Five.

It’s been a while, and we do apologize, but it’s time…after 6 years, to perhaps officially bid this blog farewell.

We began blogging a few months before Curly was conceived, having a fairly easy journey of it overall. Yesterday, Curly turned 5 years old…forever leaving the territory of baby/toddler/pre-schooler (well, until he graduates at the end of the month) and entering the realm of “kid,” at which he will stay for years to come with any luck.

We’ve learned so much as parents, and continue to keep learning every day. Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned, which I thought I already knew but still come to terms with on a daily basis, is that you get what you get. Your child will have their own ingrained, larger-than-life personality no matter what you do, and it’s your job as a parent to deal with it, cherish it, foster it, or whatever you need to do, but there it is. There are a million highs and lows of being a parent every day, and there is nothing quite like it, no matter how it came into being. Caring for, loving, and being fully responsible for another human being is the most insane thing anyone can possibly do, and yet, there it is.

Anyway, Nutella has been feeling particularly nostalgic about this birthday. It’s a combination of losing the “babyhood”…a reflection of the birth and how hard it was (even 5 years later, sigh)…being grateful for what we have…sad about what we don’t… yeah. 5 is big. Curly was over the moon though. We gave him a freshly-baked scone for breakfast, put out a pile of presents for him, made fruit skewers and goody bags for school, he got a purple paper crown from his teachers, hugs from his friends, and a spectacular cake in the evening, complete with more friends and laughter and screeching and presents. Happy kid (until it had to end that is!) We’re also headed to the land of the Mouse this weekend so he can have breakfast with his favorite characters and, his favorite thing, go on some rides. His present from mommy and Ima was the official autograph book for the event.

We are settled in our new home, happy with our jobs, feeling better about the house, and connecting with some great people. It’s all fallen into place, but we’re still open to see what the future holds. Thank you to everyone for following us on our journey. Happy to be in touch with so many of you still, especially other “alumni” bloggers. And don’t worry, we’ll still be around the blogosphere and commenting sometimes. Adieu….

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The New New Normal

It’s now been nearly 6 months since we made the big move to the Sunshine State. Things have improved, although there are still ups and downs. The biggest news is that Nutella was offered a job today, which she gladly accepted. It is *almost* exactly what she wanted- a good paying, part-time job close to home (2 blocks from where I work actually). 4 hours a day at a large, reputable company as a senior executive assistant. Not in the field of education, and it’s a year-long contract, but it’s not going to look bad on her resume in the least. It’s going to help a lot financially and for her self-esteem and extrovertedness. Curly will go back to preschool/aftercare full-time for now, although Nutella will pick him up early twice a week for a class…right now he’s in a swim class at the Y which he’s been enjoying for the most part. When that ends, he’ll probably go back to taking gymnastics which he loves. In the Fall when he begins Kindergarten, she’ll be able to pick him up after school around 2:30 and spend more time with him, which was partly why we moved in the first place. So that seems to be working out.

My (second) job is going well. I’ve been there almost 3 months. I like the environment, most of the work, and my supervisors. I’ve also made a co-worker friend and am feeling comfortable and respected there. Today was a rough day since we had a client on site and I spent over 3 hours in a meeting with them and we got asked to do twenty other things on top of what we already do for them. But as I walked past the Director’s office and saw him pouring a shot of Maker’s Mark for himself and a co-worker, I popped in and joined them. It’s THAT kind of a place. Still very typical in Marketing environments I think.

We’ve been meeting lots of people, including a few lesbian couples and singletons with kids. We generally like our neighbors and they have surprised us on more than one occasion with touching acts of kindness. We are part of our Neighborhood Association which holds monthly parties at people’s houses, and have met more people that way. I wouldn’t say we’re close with anyone yet, but I can see us getting there in time. Still, it’s hard missing our friends up north.

But…we have a trip planned to visit our old stomping grounds in April for a long weekend. So that’ll be nice. And we’re planning our first cruise hopefully in November, possibly over Thanksgiving. Nutella’s mom is staying with us now for a total of 10 days, and her sister stayed over the weekend as well. The extra company (and built-in babysitting) has been lovely. We had visitors in January, and are expecting to see more friends soon, too.

We also renovated our Master bathroom, making it way more efficient (and pretty and leak-proof), and just finished getting our chimney repaired today, since it tended to rain inside the chimney whenever it rained hard outside. Yeah. Next up is working on the backyard, but it’s not nearly as imperative as the other work was. 

The locals have been saying this Winter was colder than usual, but February has been averaging around 70 degrees daily and we’ve been appreciating every minute of it. We’ve been exploring, returning to favorite places and finding new ones, and are still never sick of watching sunsets on the beach. So yeah, getting better…we’ll see how things are once Nutella starts the new job…

Bringing home the bacon

While we are settling in nicely since the move nearly 4 months ago, the fact remains that I’m working outside the home and bringing in 100% of the income, and Nutella has so far been unable to find suitable employment. This is very different than how it used to be. We used to make fairly equal salaries, have our own separate bank accounts, split the cost of nearly everything in half (not literally, but she paid certain bills and so did I), and it felt completely egalitarian. The original plan was to move to an area with a lower cost of living where I would be employed full-time and Nutella would get a part-time job and do more childcare, being able to then pick Curly up from public school at 2:30pm starting next year, thus negating any need for aftercare. It was a great plan, and when she was asked to come in for a second interview at a local college, we thought for sure that would be it.

Unfortunately that job didn’t work out and here we are. We’ve opened a joint bank account (which we would’ve done anyway) and I pay all the bills. Right now, Curly is in pre-school which is free until 12pm, so instead of paying for aftercare at the same facility, Nutella picks him up and spends the rest of the afternoon with him. So she is a “stay-at-home mom” (which is kind of a stupid title since they’re usually out and about, especially in the lovely weather here) and is the primary person who not only prepares dinner like she used to, but is now responsible for keeping the house in order, doing all the shopping, running all the errands, making all the phone calls, etc. Definitely a job, if not a paying one. Of course, this drastic change in roles has brought up a lot of different feelings.

I will say first that there isn’t “resentment.” I don’t feel resentful because she wants to be working, she and I both know she’d be happier working, and she’s trying. But the niche for what she does is small, and smaller still because she’s looking only for part-time work. We’re starting to wonder if she should just take any available job…barista at Starb*cks for example, just to be working. It’s a sticky situation, since to do so after having had a career in higher education administration and student services is to take a giant step away from that, but to not work at all for an ever-extending period of time never looks good on one’s resume. So basically she’s been applying to the jobs at the local college that come up and we’ve been holding our breath and crossing our fingers.

What I do feel is the heavy weight of shouldering all the costs on my salary alone. It’s a good salary, but at this point, we’re pretty much breaking even. Luckily we have some leftover money from the sale of our house, as well as some savings, but to not be able to save more, and to have to dip into that money for every unforeseen expense doesn’t feel good at all. And yesterday I had some weird “dad” feelings…I came home from work and Curly and Nutella were out in the yard. Curly was talking at me a mile-a-minute, blowing kisses, and all that….Nutella made a comment that “he’s all about you right now” and I replied that it’s because he’s with her all the time now while I’m at work. It brought me back to my childhood…having been with my mom for those few hours after school, and running to hug my dad when he walked through the door. Curly knows I’m the only parent working right now and that’s a little strange for us, too. Not bad, just different, and not what we want.

So…reaching out to the internets to ask for advice. Should Nutella continue waiting for a job she actually wants, or should she try for “any” job at this point? Is it better to have a gap on your resume, even if you have a good excuse for it (i.e. the move and the staying home to take care of a small child) or is it better to have not much of a gap, but to be working a job that is outside of, and what some may view as “below” your career aspirations? Anyone have similar experiences to share?

The Rhythm of Life

It’s been a while since we posted a “real” post…since October pretty much. The move really took a lot out of us, although we are firmly on the other side of it now. We’ve been through a lot of changes but there are still more coming. I’ll take the bullet approach to this update:

  • After our closing date on the house got pushed a full two weeks, we finally signed the paperwork and moved in. We’ve had a few expensive things to take care of, but at this point all the imperative work has been done and we’ve slowed down our seemingly constant list of stuff to do. We’re at the point of needing to just paint and decorate, which is nice. And it’s really feeling like home now.
  • I started work almost immediately after the move and….hated the job. It was a pretty toxic environment and made me miserable. After the first month, I applied and interviewed non-stop and recently landed a new job that I start on Dec 2 (provided the background check goes through in time). It’s a little bit of a career change, but I’m excited and hopeful. I only gave 3 days’ notice at my last job for my mental sanity and have been enjoying my break between jobs. It’s given Nutella and I lots of time to explore our surroundings and have fun adventures together.
  • Nutella has unfortunately not been able to find part-time work yet. We’ve had Curly in pre-school with after hours care up until now, but that will stop in December. I had to take a bit of a pay cut for the new job, and since Nutella isn’t working, there’s no need to pay for care after pre-school, which is free. So that’ll save us a good chunk of money. And Nutella is now planning both fun and “learning” activities for Curly in the afternoons.
  • Making friends has been hard. We’ve met a handful of people and hung out with another couple and their two daughters a couple times, but we haven’t truly “clicked” with anyone yet. We’re trying though, and realize it’ll take time. We haven’t been here that long. That’s probably been the hardest part though.
  • On the plus side, my family is coming over for Thanksgiving, which we’re hosting for the first time ever. Then Nutella’s parents will be visiting us over two consecutive weekends (they’re spending two weeks in the area and visiting other relatives as well). We’ve had other out-of-town friends stay over a couple nights, and others planning on visiting soon as well. So that helps with the loneliness.
  • Also nice is the weather. It was in the 30’s-40’s where we used to live, and today we were watching the sunset on the beach in t-shirts and shorts 🙂
  • This is a parenting blog, but I’m starting to feel like it’s a relocation blog. It’s hard to focus solely on Curly when so much is going on and when parenting is just one (albeit a very large one) of those things. As others have brought up on their blogs before, I’m not sure where this will go in the future, especially as Curly is getting older and as everyone knows by now, we’ll never be in the TTC/baby trenches again. That said, Curly is 4 1/2 and as big a handful as ever, although at least at this age, he can keep himself occupied for good periods of time. But it’s still all questions all the time, a crazy imagination, an irritating lack of logic, a sweet deluge of hugs and kisses, a total drama queen cry fest, and all the other hopes, fears, anxieties, joys and frustrations that come along with parenting a young child. Sometimes just the thought of trying to blog about it is overwhelming.
  • That said, we wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkah to our fellow Jews) and we’ve missed you.

Foto Fridays – Clouds…so many clouds…

We love the skies in Florida. Although there is abundant sunshine, there are also lots of clouds that make the most beautiful patterns and sunsets, as well as those quick isolated showers you can see from miles away.

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Metaphorically-speaking, there are have way too many “clouds” for us these past couple weeks. We still have not closed on our house. The original close date was Sept 25…then Sept 30…now it’s not until Oct 9. We have had to re-arrange movers, furniture delivery, inspections, contractors and the like over and over again. We have had to extend our rental on a weekly basis, but are so lucky it’s available until November so we’re not forced to live in a hotel or in a refrigerator box on the beach. The seller contractually agreed to fix very important things, like the electric for one, and every time he said he was done and we had a re-inspection, it was either not done or worse than before. Our electrician was surprised the garage hadn’t burned down, the wiring was such a mess. But finally, FINALLY the work is done (ok, like 90% done, but nothing at this point should keep us from closing). And we are all hopeful we can close on Wednesday. And if we don’t, I will have an actual mental breakdown so help me.

On a lighter note, we’ve been enjoying some lovely weekends, filled with festivals, farmer’s markets, kayaking, beaches, playgrounds, etc. Curly is really enjoying himself and getting so good at swimming in the gulf (with his flotation vest of course). He is also improving on writing his letters, singing songs and has a hyperactive imagination. We’re all excited about Halloween, and trick-or-treating in our new neighborhood. It all feels so close now…having a home of our own…just waiting for the final clouds to pass.

Settling in

Where to begin…

The past few weeks have been really stressful. We expected some stress of course, mostly having to do with moving and ending our jobs, but it ended up being a lot more than just that. My grandmother, who lives in the state we moved to and whom I thought we could see more often, took a very sudden change for the worse. It was so awful that I flew down to see her while she lay dying, and that was indeed the last time I saw her alive. The following week, she passed away and I spent most of the day that the movers came to get our stuff driving and attending her funeral (which was much closer to where we used to live). When I arrived home, the movers had just arrived and took the rest of the day (5 hours) to get our stuff in the truck. Then we stayed over at the house next door since those neighbors don’t live there full time, closed on the sale of our house the following afternoon, got our cars packed up, and drove 900 miles to stay with my parents for the following two nights, until we were able to move into our current rental (about 25 minutes north of where we will end up living next month).

While that was happening…the death of my grandmother, the ending of both our jobs, the packing of our stuff, the imminent move from one place to another and another, we were negotiating first on one house which we lost, and then another which we did end up getting a signed contract on but not without its own share of headaches. But thank goodness it is set at this point and we will have a house next month.

Curly has been a pretty good trouper for the most part, but there have definitely been some harrowing times with him. Behavior regressions, a push for more control, and downright bratty “4-going-on-14” stuff happening….but it is understandable (although that doesn’t make it any easier). Today was the first day of starting a new routine…me going to my first day of work, and Curly going to his first day of school. His drop-off went seamlessly today as Nutella described it- the kids were sitting in a circle while a teacher read a book and he joined right in, no tears when she left. They had a special gymnastics bus visit today and a puppet show…all really exciting things for him, and he was in great spirits upon pick-up, while still running and hugging her. Couldn’t ask for better. My day…well, it was boring and discombobulated, but I think now that I’m all set up, it should be upwards from here.

Nutella is currently applying for part-time jobs, and doing all of the necessary household management and errand-type stuff…like dropping off mortgage paperwork, meeting with inspectors, doing the grocery shopping and lunch-making, etc. We did squeeze in a couple fun things, like a visit to the gorgeous beach one evening and a trip to Univer.sal…but we’re still finding our way and starting to appreciate more relaxing times ahead. Onwards and upwards.

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