Sunday, February 28, 2010

From a Talking Cat to an Enormous One

Our favorite day is Saturday. We never make many plans, we just see what we want to do when the morning rolls around. Yesterday we felt like going to Target, where they were (very unexpectedly) having a Dr. Suess celebration. There was the Cat in the Hat, reading Dr. Suess books in a cleared out section of bathing suits. It was weird. But it was also perfect, because Topher is on a Dr. Suess kick right now. He got a little goodie bag and a red balloon and I'm just sorry that I didn't have my camera because seeing the Cat in the Hat in the middle of Target was just very bizarre and funny. Once we were home, TJ showed Topher how to punch the balloon like a champion fighter.
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After that, Topher took a nap and then we decided it was the perfect day to go to the local animal shelter. This was a favorite past-time for TJ and I back in college, and we still love it. Topher was SO excited about the rows and rows of dogs and cats.
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There was even an enormous cat that we couldn't resist taking into the "hug room" to meet one-on-one. It weighed more than 3x what Squash weighs, and it looked like a miniature mountain lion. It was a very nice cat, and Topher impressed everyone by how nicely he was petting her. We aren't in the market for another animal, but someday I know we'll be taking Topher to the shelter when he's a little older and we'll all pick out a pet together. Everyone who met Topher said how cute he was (one of the shelter workers was about to kidnap him) and how adorable it is that he gets so excited about the animals. We couldn't agree more.
We never know what Saturday is going to bring, but we do know that it's going to be the best day of our week.

--KC

Friday, February 26, 2010

Little Victory

We moved to this house first and foremost to get far away from our flood house in Cambridge. But we also moved with the goal of lowering our monthly costs. With the sale of our old house, we had just enough to put 20% down on the townhome, thereby securing a conventional loan at a low interest rate that drastically lowered our mortgage payment. And even on one income we have found it a lot easier to save our money here. And this month, we paid off one more debt. We took some savings, our tax return, and TJ's work bonus and we wrote a check to pay off our car. We purchased our car new 13 months ago, so it was a huge accomplishment for us to wipe out that loan. It felt so good that it gives us motivation to attack school loans now. Depending on TJ's promotion this summer, we will set up a plan to pay those off in 5-7 years at which point our home will be our only debt in the world. And once Topher starts school and I go back to work, we will have an even greater opportunity to increase our savings. Of course, by that time we will probably need to start shopping for a house that gives us all just a little more elbow room. Having a rambunctious boy will eventually make this house feel too small, I'm sure. I know paying off a car sounds trivial, but it lets us know that we're on the right track. It's been almost 6 months since we moved into this home, but it still feels charmed. We're happier, we're paying off debt, and we love living in a populated city. Here are my two boys, both in jeans and white shirts, showing off how handsome and happy they are. To me, it looks like a little Gap ad. The winter continues to drag on, but we're glad that it's almost March. Today we're going to take Topher to the animal shelter so he can see all the "bups" and "dats." --KC

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Best Friends

Best friends do everything together. They play together, follow each other around, and share their favorite toys. They pop bubbles together. video

When one friend is missing, the other one feels contemplative and incomplete.

Of course sometimes they can get on each other's nerves, wake each other up rather rudely, and occasionally they even bite each other.

But always, always they forgive and forget because they can't imagine life without each other.

--KC

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Change of Plans

I thought I was off the hook. I had avoided Topher's sickness all week long, but I caught the dirty little bug last night. The thought of driving for hours in the car made me feel even more nauseous, so we made a change of plans. Topher is still going to spend the day and night with TJ's parents, but TJ and I are just going to stay home, drink Sprite, sleep at will, and watch movies. I'm a little disappointed that our trip has been cancelled, but the whole point was just to be able to spend time alone together. I don't care if that happens in Columbia or right here in our living room. A big thanks to the grandparents for a break and a chance to recover!
Besides, Topher was so excited to put on his coat and wave bye-bye to me before getting in the car. He likes to cling to me whenever I'm available, but when I'm not around, he's happy just being in the company of people he loves. He even gave me a big smile right before he left for his grandparent's house. I don't think anything can affect me the way that smile can.
I'm so lucky to be married to TJ. He is such an involved dad (the diapers, the baths, the feedings, the playtime--he can do it all, and he does it well), and I don't think anyone could make Topher and I feel more loved. He works hard so that I can be home with Topher, and then he comes home and loves us and everything feels right and whole. Whenever we hear the garage door open, Topher starts saying, "Dad, dad" and it's my favorite time of day. He's so wonderful to be married to that I don't care if our Valentine's Day is spent in a fancy hotel or just here on the couch. I don't want flowers or chocolates, just his massive arms wrapped around me. I can never thank him enough for pursuing (stalking) me even after I was repeatedly mean to him, but I'm so glad he could see past my rejections to my true feelings for him, even when I couldn't. I'm so glad that he hung on to all our good moments and shrugged off the bad ones, so glad for that arrogant streak that naturally runs through him. I remember him telling me one day after a quarrel that I was going to end up with him, and I said it would never happen. He asked me why I couldn't say that without smiling and he was right, I felt my mouth turning up even as I was trying to stay stern. I know the very moment I fell for him, I remember because I couldn't breathe when I looked up and he was standing in the doorway, and my life literally has never been the same since that day.
Happy Valentine's Day to the love of my life.
--KC

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine Getaway

Tomorrow morning we'll be heading out bright and early to drop Topher off with his Grandma and Grandpa. Then TJ and I will continue on down to Columbia, MO for a weekend getaway. We always gravitate to that town because it is where we met, fought, fell in love, and got married. We hope to live there someday. But for now, we'll just enjoy it in short bursts. This will be the second time we've left Topher overnight, and it is not any easier this time. TJ's parents are so good with him, and my apprehension has nothing at all to do with their abilities. In fact, I wouldn't leave him with anyone else at this point...but the truth is, when you love someone as much as we love Topher, it's not just who you're leaving him with but rather the mere fact that you're leaving him at all. Plus Topher has been under-the-weather this week, but we're satisfied that he's well enough now that we can still go. I know that short breaks apart are good for our marriage, and good for Topher too. Some of my best memories are the times I got to spend the night at my Nana's house, and I hope it is the same way for Topher.
It may only be a drive down, visiting our favorite spots, spending the night, and driving back the next day, but we're very excited nonetheless. We've had a countdown on our chalkboard for over a month now. And it's not that we're excited to be away from Topher--that's the part I'm still having trouble with--but we're excited for an uninterrupted car ride, for a lessened sense of responsibility for a couple days, and especially for turning off the alarm and sleeping as late as we want.
Topher, I love you so much and if I could choose any Valentine other than your daddy, it would of course be you. Please be good for Grandma and Grandpa and don't worry because we'll be home before you even know we're gone. Just know the only reason it's hard for mommy to leave you is because she loves you so much. This trip is not to get a break from you, it's just a chance for us to visit an earlier time in our life. A time that barely means anything now that you're here. Happy Valentine's Day to you, the little man who stole our hearts completely.
--KC

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Soccer and Saving

The snow continues to fall here, but we're glad to be out of the month of January which is, in my opinion, the worst month of the year. Just over the course of this week Topher has transitioned to walking almost always, crawling only out of convenience every once in a while. And now that he is up on his feet, his soccer training has commenced:

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Another favorite past-time for him: dropping coins into his football-decor piggy bank, appropriately named Pigskin (yes, I name everything). By the time I took this video, he had already been playing with the bank for about 20 minutes, so he was getting a little tired.

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I finished e-filing our taxes for the year, and we're going to use our refund to pay off our car (which we're very happy about, since we purchased it new only a year ago.) Aside from the weather, we're all very happy and healthy. The longer we're in this townhome, the happier we seem to be. I think we're just happy because we're living within our means, and because we no longer have to worry about flooding, and because this home is just everything we need and nothing that we don't. I would be feeling sick right about now if we still lived in the old house, worrying about the melting snow and the coming spring rains. We will never take a worry-free home for granted again.

Today we're having a play date for Topher with a little boy who is 4 1/2 months old, so we're looking forward to seeing him interact with a younger baby (just because we're curious to watch him, not because we're experimenting to see how he would be with a sibling, lol). Hope everyone is doing well and having a great weekend!

--KC

Monday, February 1, 2010

Somebody Switched Him On!

At church yesterday, Topher went from walking some of the time to walking most of the time. He was up and down those halls the whole time we were there. It's as if somebody found his "walking switch" and turned it on full blast. He may walk as though he's had one too many to drink, but I think his moments of crawling are very limited now. Here is a clip taken this morning of him walking around the living room as I was cleaning.
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He is also becoming very "helpful" at household tasks. This morning he saw me unloading the dishwasher and wanted in on the action. He began to hand me one dish at a time to put away, then he handed me one piece of silverware at a time until it was all done. It took about ten times longer than usual, but it didn't matter. I was just so excited that he wanted to be helpful and that he seemed to be having fun. After that, he helped me with the laundry (pushing the basket around and then throwing the clothes out of the basket so I can fold them) and then he got really hyper when the vacuum was on. He just squealed the whole time and was walking all around the room, following me as I pushed it.

Yesterday he also had fun dressing up in a gray sweater like daddy to go to church. I have two very, very handsome boys.

It's kind of fun knowing that by the time it warms up, Topher will be able to go out in the grass and run around. It's as though he's been secretly transforming during this cold winter that has kept us indoors, and when it's time to show himself to the world again, he's going to take it by storm. I can't wait.

--KC