Dominic started at the new daycare this week. We celebrated.
Nathan and I spent much of the previous weekend contemplating the opportunity to enroll Dom in this new daycare. As mentioned, we had been on the waiting list for about two years. It was a comparison of two good things: his current daycare and this new option. I’ve found when I am praying for a little help in deciding between two good options, I often get the answer: “yeah, that’d be good.”
Can you imagine if that was the answer you always gave your spouse?
“Honey, where do you want to go and eat? Crown Burger or Costa Vida?”
“Yeah, that’d be good.”
“Hey babe, do you want to go to Smith’s or Rancho Market for groceries?”
“Yeah, that’d be good.”
“Sweetheart, would you like to go sky diving or free climbing with me?”
“yeah, that’d be good.”
That seems like a relationship recipe for success.
In the end, we chose the new daycare for various good reasons and reluctantly told the teachers and director at his old daycare goodbye. This entailed a goodbye party with his class (I think they decorated cupcakes together or something), a parting gift from teachers with loving notes written to Dom, and farewell tears.
Dom has done great at his new daycare, even though it’s only been a day and a half. He hasn’t cried when I’ve said goodbye, he was devouring his lunch of chicken parmesan and pasta on Monday, and he slept for two hours on his little cot. His new teachers told me that he’s “lovely”. That’s their word choice. They wrote it on his daily report. I wonder how lovely the other kids are.
Cousin Bamble (and the rest of my sister’s fam) came over for a little party Monday night. Let’s pretend it was a successful-daycare-transition celebration. Next time I will get balloons and a cake with a carefully cursived message: “Congrats on surviving one of the first of many, many changes in your life, little man.” We celebrate the effort and the journey, right?
The BBQ was excellent. Nathan cooked ribs all day, we devoured corn-on-the-cob and fresh fruit, and we topped it off with a Mern-made cake for dessert. You should be jealous of our bourgeois swimming pool in our backyard, filled with fresh, artesian-well water.
Bamble was sure to show us, through expression, how excellent the party is that Dom does throw.
It was a long day at work: one day, but it felt like an entire week. Let’s just say an English degree doesn’t really help with software design. The neurons in my brain hurt. But…
Several people on my project team took a lunch time walk up to the cemetery in Research Park. We actually enjoy being around each other even though we mostly work in a shared office together. That’s at least 40 hours a week breathing the same air. I’m lucky to have good people to work with. We’re good too. Good at what we do.
I went to the abs/core class at work today. It’s a 15 minute class so it’s just a short break but it was beyond hard. Shaking and breathing-spitting hard. Sometimes I miss the ab muscles I once had but the trade off was worth it.
After work Dom and I went for a short jog. It was nothing amazing and I am slow but Dom enjoys them. He likes to look up at me every few blocks, glance back over his shoulder and just smile big. He held onto a leaf for about a mile.
Back at home we lounged in the backyard, watering plants, fussing over finicky sprinklers, watching the birds at the feeder, and getting dirty.
When Nathan came home, Dom didn’t want to go inside so I followed him up the street where a neighbor has a German Shepherd. That dog gets its heckles up and barks rather threateningly, but Dom often wants to go say hello. Today, that dog did not bark at us but licked our hands through the chain link fence.
Nathan read Dom bedtime stories after dinner. I think that’s the best. I know Dom loves it too.
I accomplished today. And it was good.
We did a lot.
We took a lot of pictures.
We saw lots of family.
We took even more pictures.
There is a lot to say and a lot to share.
Let the Christmas 2013 Blog begin:
A few nights before Christmas, we had some cousins over to celebrate with Dominic before we headed down to Texas to celebrate with other cousins. And then we came back to celebrate with more cousins. Dominic dealt with cousin overload. Definitely. Not a bad thing.
Bears, Biscuits, Campbell, and Gwen came over for dinner. They brought their parents as well. Nathan made mighty delicious lasagna. What would you expect from Chef Guapo?
In case you didn’t know, Dom’s cousin, Bears, likes to dress up. If you can tell me what he’s dressed up as in the second pic below, I will make you cookies. But you’re disqualified if your name is Ryan or Laura Elkins. Not fair.
At one point in the evening, it seemed a little quiet. I asked Nathan if he was with Dom. Nope. Maren asked Dustin if he was with Campbell. Nope. The two boys were somewhere together. Alone. Unsupervised. Not even Pogi was watching them. We found them in the nursery. Chaos.
It was a delightful evening.
Then we took off to Texas.
Nathan, Dom and I flew to Houston and then down to Brownsville. Both flights were delayed. Three cheers for holiday travel. Dom did pretty well, though, sleeping some on both flights. He napped better on our full day of flying than he did his first day back at daycare.
In Texas, we stayed with Grandma and Papa Elkins. Dom crashed in the little pantry room, enjoying the comforts of a round crib and the white noise of the air conditioner in there.
On Christmas Eve, Noah, Jake, and Kylee came over to play with “BABY DOMINIC!” and they brought their parents with them so Nathan got some quality time with his brother Randy and Marissa and I sat back to watch the brothers’ loving interaction. The weather was pretty fabulous so we played outside in the afternoon.
Kylee spent a lot of time squeezing BABY DOMINIC! Noah and Jake were more focused on getting in some sprinting time, racing to the other side of the yard. I’m still learning a new camera so sadly, those pics came out all blurry. Oh wait. It wasn’t the camera. It was Noah and Jakey. They’re too fast for the average camera.
Eventually we were too hot (yes, that’s right: too hot on Christmas Eve playing outside) so we brought the games inside. Noah drove Dominic all around the house and Kylee supervised.
Christmas morning, Dominic visited his Great Grandparents. He walked around a little with Po and eventually sat down on the edge of Great Grandma’s bed. He wore his Christmas PJs to be festive and had his first taste of eggnog.
End of part 1. Take the time to enjoy all of those pictures, mmkay? Still to come: opening Christmas gifts, visiting the beach, hitting up the zoo, and then a massive picture of 18 Campbell grandkids. Are you excited?
Dom’s first Halloween. Epic.
Daycare called me on Halloween to pick him up early. The culprit: a rash. Poor guy can’t get a break. He was still in good spirits, though, despite the skin irritations, and we continued on with our celebrations.
He briefly donned a C3PO costume, but his bat costume really stole the show. We also put up a smattering of Halloween decorations: spider-web lights as pictured; Halloween door mat; and a skeleton “pink” flamingo in the garden. It was the first year that we displayed our flamingo in a yard instead of in a pot. How fun!
Dom had to stay home today until we could get a doctor’s note that his rash wasn’t anything serious. Nathan was blessed with the day off as well so I worked while they played. At one point, Dom decided to draw us a picture. That boy needs to work on his skills and decide if he’s right or left handed. Tough life decision.
We haven’t taken many pictures of the new house because it’s still hiding underneath boxes. But here are pictures from ye olde condo living days. Those were the days.
Okay so really those were pictures of Dom and Nate. They dominated those pictures (har har). But, you could see the walls and carpet of the old place. Neat.
One of the tough decisions with moving, I find, is determining where to hang things in the new place. So far, we’ve only hung up one thing: a mirror. This mirror pictured below, in fact. It was horizontal, as you can see, in the condo, but it’s vertical in our new place. Alice was enjoying the reflection tonight as she sat at the table, looked down the hall and saw herself and her Mom, Laina. Reflections make for oodles of entertainment. Oodles.
Yesterday evening, Nathan was at class until a little after 9:00 p.m. so Dominic and I were on our own. We went on an outing together. We went to visit Aunt Natalie, our Auntie N.
The problem, though, was that she wasn’t really there. When we first arrived, a friend of hers was just inside the door and told us that she was sleeping. We talked with this friend (sorry, I forgot her name) for a while and then went in to see Nat before we left. As we went in, she opened her eyes. She was staring somewhere, but it wasn’t anywhere in the room. It seemed that her spirit wasn’t really there. I looked into her eyes and didn’t see my Aunt Natalie. She wasn’t smiling so clearly, it wasn’t really her.
She mumbled a few things that I couldn’t understand and neither could her friend. Then her friend asked her, “Did you see the baby?”
She turned to the side, looked at Dominic and said, “Hi, Dom.” Then she stared off again. Eventually, she asked for something. After having her repeat it a couple of times, I understood that she wanted the blinds opened, so I pulled them open and the sun brightened her room. She rolled to her side, facing the windows, and closed her eyes again.
I knew that I already missed Nat. I knew that wasn’t really her in that body anymore. I wondered what it was like to already by in limbo because tumors have taken away the desire to be physically connected to her body and because the medicine must numb things as well.
I also knew that I would forever be glad that Dom and I could make that visit last night. He won’t remember it, but I will. He won’t remember her, but I will.
So I will teach him about her and how she always looked out for me and took care of me.
I will tell him about what happened when he wasn’t even a month old yet. I was at home on a Sunday evening waiting for Nathan so that we could go to dinner at my parents. We would be late and I didn’t know how late because I didn’t know when Nathan would come home from church meetings. And then I talked to Natalie on the phone. She was at my parents for dinner as well. She didn’t usually go to Sunday dinners, but I suppose that she wanted to this time because she had just found out that she had cancer. I couldn’t even imagine what she was dealing with emotionally, but she was more worried about me.
I didn’t want to admit it to anybody (let alone put it on the blog, even now after I’ve already been through it), but I was in a dark place and had post-partum depression. I had this beautiful little boy and I was so very sad so much of the time. And she knew. We were only talking on the phone, but she instantly heard it in my voice and knew exactly what to do. She told me to get in the car and come over. Nathan could come later. She knew that being home with just a newborn, watching the clock, and waiting, was not where I should be. That instead, I should be surrounded by family. She knew.
The next week, she called to check on me. She was dealing with doctor’s appointments and finding out that there was so much cancer in her body that they would tell her she had six months left. And yet she was checking on me. She had also told my cousin, Laura, and my Aunt Annabel because she knew my sister and Mom were already checking on me, but wanted plenty of support. Because of her, I was able to admit that I should call up my doctor. I had an appointment. We could take care of this depression and I could better take care of Dom and be a happier wife for Nathan. Nat helped me be happier for my family.
I will tell Dom about how Nat has always taken care of me like that. About how she knew I was struggling with money in college and so she came up with “work” for me by having me help her with computer issues. She kept track of the time I spent helping her and paid me for it. I tried to refuse, but she wouldn’t let me. She made her living as a violinist so I knew she wasn’t rich, but she was still more concerned about her “starving-student” niece than her own cash flow.
I will tell Dom about how she would commiserate with me about the times when I couldn’t stand living in a condo with so much neighbor noise. About how she spent hours with me on several occasions organizing my life to fit into a small home. About how she was always there to talk to about dating and the single life. About how she was very straightforward with me about depression and other emotional struggles for both her and us, her family members.
I will definitely tell Dom about when she lived in Palo Alto and invited Maren, Laura and I to visit her for New Year’s. Maren and Laura were freshmen in college and I was a sophomore. We borrowed the Suburban from my Dad (because none of us really owned a reliable car back then) and drove out to San Francisco. We slept on the floor in her living room on air mattresses she’d purchased just for our visit. Somehow, we were locked out once and she had me break in through her kitchen window (which I don’t remember very well now how I quite managed, but it worked). We experienced “the coldest day of our lives” as she warned us when we went out on the ocean in a ski boat to look for whales early one morning. We put on all the layers that we had packed and eventually Laura and Maren were sweating buckets and had to take off five or six layers. We didn’t see any whales, but we did see porpoises and man o’ wars. We celebrated New Years at some friend of hers from her ward and forgot to countdown until midnight. She was too concerned that if we went into the city to celebrate, it wouldn’t be safe. We did ride the train into San Francisco on our own one day while she was working. We met interesting friends. We rode the trolley; we took pictures; we spent a little money; we laughed the whole time. Then we went back to her condo and told her our stories. We still laugh about things from that trip, especially the coldest day of our lives.
And I will tell Dom that I always knew that Natalie loved me. She didn’t marry nor have her own children. She didn’t feel like another Mom to me though, but more like the big sister I didn’t actually have.
When we visited her yesterday, my big sister didn’t look or act like my big sister. It seemed that her spirit may have already started moving on. And I already miss that spirit, but when I saw the body it was leaving, I knew that this would be a release for her. Cancer is awful.
And I’m glad that I have this picture of Natalie and Dominic from an afternoon sitting on the backporch at Maren’s. Grandma DeeDee also joined us while Campbell played in the sandbox, making Dominic giggle and giggle. Nat took a video of his giggling on her cell phone. I didn’t get a copy so I will have to count on my memory to recall it. We were all very happy. We were all smiling. Natalie has a beautiful smile.
We’ve been doing some work on the condo, but I’m saving that for a later post. Due to this, we spent a lot of time working on that over Labor Day weekend. I even have pictures… for later.
So despite my title, which I could change, but I just don’t feel like it, I’m going to show you pictures of the times we took breaks from our labors, or rested, if you will. (That sentence needed a few more commas, eh?)
Dom loves playing with his daddy. Nathan can get him to giggle. A lot. Saturday morning, we spent a little time relaxing on the porch, enjoying the slightly cooler weather. It was much better than the 100 degree days we’ve finished the summer with. The weekend was overcast and even a smattering of thunderstorms tumbled in.
That afternoon, Nathan was away at a baptism while I was home and Dom was napping. I was finally getting cleaned up and was in the bathroom cutting bangs because I decided that I wanted them again when Nathan came home and had a concerned look on his face. I, of course, whispered (Dom’s sleeping, remember): “What?!”
“Aaron and Ada are getting married!”
I was a little confused because, I had already replied to the Facebook invitation for the “After Party” so I figured they were getting married FIRST in order to party afterwards. What I didn’t know, though, was that their marriage was taking place in Salt Lake (they currently live in Seattle). Aaron and Nathan had been roommates for several years before he became my roommate. Ada had then become a roommate as well when she started dating Aaron. So once I learned the wedding was here, I understood why he was so concerned about missing it.
Turns out, our invitation to the wedding part was lost in the mail. Boo postal service.
Nathan rushed back out the door to at least show up for the pictures/food afterward and congratulate them. I waited for Dominic to finish his nap then we joined them at Jordan Park. They had a pavilion there and had put down white construction-paper tablecloths. I found their bucket of crayons and grabbed a handful. Nathan sat with Dom and tried to teach him to doodle. (What a funny word: doodle.) Mostly, Dom just attempted to eat the crayons, but he scratched out a few colors.
On Monday, we were able to meet up with the now married Aaron and Ada for lunch at Gourmandie’s. It was nice to get them to ourselves and just sit down and talk. That’s not really doable with everyone around celebrating their wedding and all. Dom enjoyed himself a breadstick.
Did you labor or play for Labor Day weekend?