Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Today is the second time I am celebrating Mother's Day as a mother myself. It may be one of those holidays invented by advertisers or greeting card companies, but, frankly, I like it. And, though I'm still kind of waking up, before the day really starts rolling -- breakfast, play, lunch, nap, play, dinner, bath, books, bed -- I thought I'd share a few random, if a bit disjointed, thoughts on this beautiful, sunny Mother's Day morning.

I got to sleep in today, a little bit, but it was hard to stay in bed when I could hear Jonah chatting and playing happily, practicing some new words that we understand -- "pup" (cup), "tee-eey" (kitty), "cruck" (truck) -- and a few that sound really cute but we haven't quite figured out yet. (We think he is practicing "Hugo." Yay!) And, when I did get up, Jonah walked up to me and said, "Mama" and then gave me a big hug. Does he understand today is a special day? Maybe. Even Sammy, our cat, jumped into my lap this morning, something he rarely does.

Matthew is making a special breakfast today. I requested French toast. We are having whole wheat French toast topped with sliced bananas and real maple syrup. Yum, yum and yum. I love it when Matthew cooks for me. I especially love it when he also cooks for Jonah!

When I was a kid, my sister and I knew how to be royal pains in the asses at times. When Mother's Day or Father's Day rolled around, we would almost always ask, just to be brats, why isn't there a Kid's Day? Mom's answer: "Every day is Kid's Day." It's really true and I'm sure some day I will say the same thing, but right now I am still in awe of my sweet, beautiful, blond-haired little boy, who is less and less of a baby every day. Right now, he is looking at the coloring book that the clerk at the post office gave him, calling the cartoon pictures of beevers "tee-eey!" and scribbling a bit with the crayon here and there. I still wonder where the heck he came from while at the same time finding it hard to remember my life before he was here. Today is Mother's Day, but I know it will be all about Jonah, because really, isn't that what Mother's Day is all about? The kids. And, that's fine by me.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's in my life. Love, Nicole

Friday, May 1, 2009

Guest blog: A visit

Note from The Adventures of Jonah Cavanaugh: I would like to thank Jonah's Auntie Dani for contributing this special guest blog post. If you would like to contribute a special guest, please let us know!

Jonah has come to Western MA before, but this is the first time he has stayed with us. We spent a lot of time preparing, getting groceries and baby gates and toys for him to play with. It was great to have Jonah, and also Nicki and Matt, stay with us. So here are the top 10 things we did with Jonah during his visit to Garfield Street: - by Auntie Dani

1. Breakfast! I am not a morning person. At all. Somehow waking up to that smiley little boy was such a joy. He always looks so happy to see people and he loves sitting at the table eating with us and pointing back and forth from Uncle Marc to Auntie Dani, to Daddy’s nose, to Mama’s nose. It was like I needed one less cup of coffee. He made it difficult to leave for work.

2. Playin’ with Ted – We have 2 cats, but only one of them was interested in being anywhere near Jonah. Elaine watched suspiciously from afar. But it is so cute to see how interested Ted the cat was in Jonah the toddler. And Jonah sure loves animals. He took apart the Alpine Scratcher Cat Toy and sat in the box part, insisting on being pushed around as if it was a sled. Ted watched and was never very far from Jonah.

3. Bedtime - There are a couple of reasons I place this on the top 10. There is something soothing about quieting the house down every night by 7:30 and making it dim and calm, making sure the dishes are done and settling in for visiting or reading or TV upstairs. Marc and I don’t always do that.
The other was hanging out with Nic and Matt. Whenever they came to visit and stayed at Pepe’s, Marc and I usually left after Jonah went to bed. We really miss out grown up time together with my sister and Matt. Marc and Matt are almost like brothers, and the 4 of us have had some really great times as adults over the last 7 (!) years.

4. Fisher Price Barn Yard- I’d been wanting to play with this thing since I brought it home a week before the visitors arrived. I borrowed it from a friend at work and I knew it was going to be awesome. It was. It still is. I haven’t given it back yet….

5. Secret Disc Party - Nicki actually went out with the high school girls one night and I got to baby-sit for Matthew and Marc while Jonah slept soundly downstairs. We played the ol’ secret disc party game - a Cavanaugh tradition, I am told – and drank some Berkshire Brewing Company Beer. Here is a sample of what we played: Johnny Polanski, Permanent Disorder, Velvet Crush, House of Pain, REM, Pete Drouge, Devo, Stone Temple Pilots, Liz Phair, Lemonheads, Ice Cube, U2, Zappa, Strokes, and Urge Overkill.

6. Energy Park – We walked to the Energy Park downtown several times. They have some really cool trains, one is a wooden play structure and one is an actual caboose. Of course, Jonah wanted to play on the real train. So I cautiously brought him aboard. He put his hands on the big wheel and tried to turn it with all his might. He also pointed out a miniature train over the sign to the park, something I had never seen before. I now think of him when I see the sign.

7. Jonah’s Cousin Hugo’s birthday - We don’t have any kids, so it should come as no surprise that going to another 1-yr old birthday party is not on the top of our Saturday to do list. But we had a great time. Marc took the day off from work and all the extended friend-family people, who we don’t see a lot, were there. Eliza and Gerard were such great hosts. The house was packed and the cake was delicious. Who could ask for more?

8. Cooking - I like to cook, and Marc and I do make a dinner plan every night, which I think was one of the appeals to staying with us. I am used to whipping things up for 2-4 people, saving leftovers and using some the next day. Cooking for 5 people, including one hungry little toddler was something else. I kept thinking how fun it was to use the WHOLE box of pasta and to buy THREE packages of chicken thighs and I really enjoyed using my big pots and pans. Jonah eats everything and he eats a lot and he eats often. It is so cute. Making these large meals reminded me of the holidays when we sometimes have 10 or 12 people for dinner. Only it was better weather.

9. Seeing baby cows – the five of us and Pepe went to Davenport Maple Farm to take in the last weekend of maple sugar season. After breakfast we headed over to the area where they keep the cows. There were two little baby cows that Jonah wasn’t too afraid to be near, as long as he held tight to Mama’s neck with one hand. Jonah also enjoyed seeing the big vat of maple sugar, the big truck and junk parked near the building, and looking out over the huge open field.

10. Seeing our best friends! I think I speak for both Marc and myself when I say that Nicki and Matt and Jonah are out very best fiends in the whole world. We look forward to seeing what the future has in for Jonah as he grows, and at family holidays, on trips, and hopefully lots of regular days with our extended family.

There is a saying that Nicki and I exchange when we want to express everything one could possibly want to express to your dearest only sister who is far away. At the end of the email or letter or card we write “Keep…”, so…