On the up & up.

It’s amazing to me how getting thrown out of my comfort zone in every single way has actually been good for me. Who would have thought? (Almost everyone you ever hear talk about comfort zones and getting out of them).

Anyway, after a weekend of exploring this truly gorgeous, fabulous area (Sonoma County, Google it) I am feeling so much better about life here. We drove through vineyards and around curving hills where the grass flows in the breeze and cows are lazing around and sheep frolicking. We drove up the Sonoma coast and along the Russian River Valley through the Redwoods. We made plans for the future and talked and laughed and spent time with our son as a family. It’s what I needed in a big way.

sonomacoastIt was cold and I forgot his jacket. He was not thrilled.

I signed up for the mother’s group here in town today. I already have a play date for next week with a mom who has a son the same age (and nap schedule) as Henry. By the way, if you don’t have kids yet, the nap schedule always comes up in conversation when making plans unless you are one of those people with children who don’t have a nap schedule and are totally fine if no nap is had. In that case, shut it. My son runs to the bedroom door with his blanket and pacifier at nap time and giggles as I put him into bed, sooooo it’s kinda important we don’t mess that up. So I’m excited and nervous for the play date. Like I said, this stuff is out of my zone de comfort, but I know that’s what I need right now to make the changes that are needed. Like friendships and a social life, for instance.

For the most part, I’m feeling good about life here in the Bay Area and the future. It’s taking me back to my previous life in Los Angeles where despite not really enjoying living there, I felt like opportunity was abound. I have that same feeling here, but with much nicer people and a greater sense of community. Also, they celebrate something called Butter and Egg Day here SO THAT CAN ONLY BE GOOD. All caps.

So yeah. Things are looking up.

 

 

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Trains and tantrums.

My social media experiment worked and also did not work. See, I didn’t tell people I was deactivating so I made some friends get all panicky (since they know I’ve been bummed lately and all). So I reactivated, but deleted all the apps from my phone. So now I’m just checking it when I can get on an actual computer, which is not a lot since Henry does not like me being on my laptop. Not unless he can punch every key, I mean. The Facebook detox worked because I barely picked up my phone today, except to text a few friends occasionally and checking work email (just to see if I had any). But before, I had my phone glued to me, checking it constantly for….nothing. Really. Nothing. So, maybe I’m making progress in kicking this addiction.

So yesterday I decided to put Henry in the car and just drive. I needed to see what else this town had to offer. I found out there is a post office, a Starbucks, and a chinese place like 2 blocks away. That is very handy. Then we drove to Trader Joes. As I got out of the car and walked toward the store, I saw a little toy store next door. The door was open and it looked so inviting, I had to take Henry in. The place is adorable and had all kinds of toys out for the kids to play with. Henry played with trains and a toy kitchen and had a blast. As a matter of fact, I had my first public toddler meltdown when it was time to leave (after an hour). He did that limp noodle move when I tried to pick him up.

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Am I the only mother who finds these things kind of humorous? I’m sure it won’t be so funny later on, but right now, I have a hard time not laughing when he pulls that stuff. However, I know it’s not cute to anyone else, so we do exit the premises with the quickness as to not disturb the peace. We never did make it into Trader Joes. Henry snapped this pic of me as I was putting him in his car seat (the phone was my only line of defense in getting him to sit still).

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I also emailed the local mother’s club for info on joining. Joining this group will take me waaaaaahaaahaaaay out of my comfort zone as I usually don’t like group settings with strangers and have bad experiences with other moms in general. HOWEVER. I need to get out this house, I need to make friends, my kid needs playmates and most importantly, having a support system is necessary and it seems that’s what this group excels at. I guess I’ll keep you posted.

**Please excuse the photos in this post. I was playing around with Afterlight to edit them and it (I) need some work.

Getting out there.

Henry slept like crap last night (I honestly think he ate way too many bell peppers and they gave him indigestion. Remind me to write another post about how much my kid loves bell peppers). So after his 2.5 hour long nap today, we decided to get out of the house as a family. The farmers’ market started today and I really wanted to get some local honey and spices. So we get downtown and it’s super packed. Like, not the market, but the streets. Turns out there was a car show to commemorate American Grafitti, which was filmed here, at least partially. It took us for-ev-er to find a parking spot and I almost ALMOST told Chris to just give up and go home. My stomach was kinda hurting anyway. But then someone pulled out of a spot in front of us and in Chris went. I didn’t mention to him that my stomach was hurting.

I’ve been having stomach issues since
Henry was born. I’ve seen a doctor and was told it was hormonal, but Henry is now almost 17 months old (tomorrow), soooooo I dunno. Part of me fears it’s related to the c-section. But what’s crazy is since we moved here, I haven’t had any issues. Not one. I was thinking about that this morning, and then as soon as we are walking through a crowd of 1,000 people, it acts up. So yeah, it was miserable at first but thanks to a kind young man at 7-11 who let me use their employee bathroom (which looked like a prison toilet) all was ok and I was glad I didn’t bail.

There’s a few things I know about this town:

1) There’s a nice Target nearby
2) There’s a nice Safeway nearby
3) Construction on the 101 can be heard very loudly during nap time (we are not that close to the freeway either)
4) From what I’ve seen, it’s beautiful
5) Everyone I’ve met has been super nice.

EVERYONE in this town is so nice! It almost throws me. Like, I can’t be anti-social here. People just come up and talk to me. They genuinely want to know about me, this new person in town they’ve never seen with the cute baby. They all tell me I have a cute baby! Even moms with their own cute babies! It’s weird and great. If for no other reason, I’m glad we got out and talked to people.

So. I think I’m gonna like this place. At least, I’m feeling more confident about it today and hopefully even more tomorrow. I just need to muster the courage to get out there on my own without the comfort of having Chris standing next to me. He’s super outgoing and that makes it easier to strike up conversations.

You can see a pic of Henry on the swing at the Farmers’ Market in Instagram link on the side bar. Follow me on there too, if you want, PS.

Ok, here’s another swing photo:

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A little bit of whine in wine country.

I have written several posts since arriving in California, and I end up typing a looooong diatribe of nonsense and whining and I scrap it.

There is so much good in my life but I’m having a really hard time getting over the homesickness and worry. I think that’s just part of my personality. I will always and forever be worried about money and always and forever miss something and/or someone. Anxious and nostalgic, that sums me up. Sounds like a party to be around, right? I’m sure Chris just loves coming home to this mess every night (he’s very sweet to me).

I miss my mom. I miss my friends. I miss everything. I’m super lonely. But here’s the thing that’s been getting me lately: I’m INCREDIBLY SUPER DUPER LUCKY. I have a healthy, happy, funny, amazing toddler who is my world. I’m blessed enough that I get to stay home with him every day. Sure, money is tight. Like, stretched to the penny, but we make it work. What set off a panic attack tonight was getting health insurance for myself and Henry (Chris’s is 100% paid through his new job — again, grateful). But just looking in our already tight budget and trying to fit that extra necessary expense is stressful.

So anyway, this town is beautiful and I love it. I just need to put on my big girl panties and get out there and discover more of it. I’ll get on that after just a little more wallowing, ok?

In the meantime, here’s a little bit of what everyone comes here for, pics of the kid and other misc. I promise I’ll get back to normal soon.

BiscottiSharing some really great biscotti with chocolate mousse and hazelnut whipped cream with daddy. My inlaws took us to a great little italian place for Mother’s Day.

MD FlowersMother’s Day flowers. Our allergies have been going insane but they’re too pretty to throw away yet.

CarouselCan you see us? Henry looks unimpressed, but lemme tell you, the kid had a blast. There were very vocal protests when it was time to get off. This was at Pier 39 in San Francisco.

mmmm yeahYESSSSS!!!!

mom san franLunch with a view. I miss my mom.

Henry ThroneHenry on his new couch. Yes, his. We’re allowed to sit on it sometimes (like when he’s asleep).

Henry SlidingMy big boy. 

 

California living.

We’re here. Our new home just north of  San Francisco. If I’m totally honest, I kinda like it here. The area is beautiful, the people are great, and our little apartment is really cute. But…it’s not home home. It’s lacking things like my mom, my friends, my job, green chile, etc etc. I am giving myself a couple more days to mope and then I’m pulling up the big girl panties and moving on.

Wanna hear about the 1,100 mile road trip with a toddler? It was actually ok. So here’s what you need: an iPad or DVD player (we had an iPad); snacks; sippy cups; books; my iPhone; and another pair of hands (aka my mom). For serious, if my mom hadn’t come, I would have been screwed. Majorly. She reset the Daniel Tiger episodes on the iPad, handed out snacks, sang him songs…you get the picture. And if you have hang ups about your kids watching TV, you will get over that hang up about 2 minutes into a late-April snow/ice storm in Northern Arizona. That damn Tiger possibly quite literally saved our lives. I love the child more than life itself but that high-pitched scream he belts out when he wants something is enough to fray even the steeliest of nerves.

Another thing that made it doable was stopping every evening for the night. My preferred method of travel is usually “get in the car and don’t stop until you need gas.” That’s just not feasible when you have a toddler who loves his routine. Speaking of which, he stayed on his nap schedule in the car. Fell asleep at nap time, awake for the rest of the day until bed time. Henry even took to his time zone like a champ. I am lucky that he’s transitioned seamlessly into his new California life. I was dreading the long nights and messed up schedules, but nah, it’s the same (if not a little better, really).

On Sunday, we drove the half hour to the City. The trip brought back all of those feelings of love I have for San Francisco. It’s an amazing place. But it felt surreal that I wouldn’t be going home with my mom, back to New Mexico. I know I’ll get used to it soon and I really am excited for all of the fun stuff we are going to do as a family here. Really, I am. Lucky you will get to read all about them, too!

My mom stayed until yesterday. She helped me unpack and organize our apartment as well as teach her culinary-challenged daughter a few easy recipes. Dropping her off at the airport yesterday was SO SAD. I basically moped around feeling sorry for myself for the rest of the day. It’s kinda pretty pathetic. But driving over the Golden Gate Bridge twice on the way and way back was pretty awesome. And coming over the hills into Marin and Sonoma Counties is really spectacular, too. Imagine lots of green, rolling hills and cows. And some trees. I’m an awful writer, but believe me, it’s really pretty.

Now, I’ve got my laptop set up at the dining room table, all ready to get to work tomorrow. My awesome boss/friend Derek has let me continue my employment from home, which is good because babysitters. We don’t have ’em.

There are pictures, but I am too tired to get them on this computer tonight. Don’t panic though, I’ll be back with lots and lots of pics soon. I am sure you were just rife with worry until I reassured you. (smiley face) Also, sorry for the jumbled thoughts. I’ll try to get my act together quickly.

Goodnight!

Tonight is rough.

A week and some change before we hit the road. I’m starting to feel anxious and nervous and excited and terrified. Part of me wants to get there and get settled in already, but the other part of me wants to slow down time. I’m just not quite ready to say goodbye. I don’t like that I’m texting my best friend telling her I want to see her just one more time before we leave. There’s also this nagging feeling that I’m leaving unfinished business behind. But that business wants nothing to do with me as far as I can tell, so it’s probably best I leave that in the rear view, however difficult that might be.

But let’s talk about happier things: Henry. OMG you guys, this kid is growing up fast. I know he’s just your average 16 month old (tomorrow) but he’s amazing to me.

The kid is so well behaved in public. The tantrums he throws at home are epic, but in public he’s an angel. He holds my hand, minds me when I say “don’t touch that” or “put that back”, and he’s so patient. We went to the bookstore, just the two of us, last weekend and he stood there in line with me, holding my hand for a good 10 minutes while a chatty German woman checked out. I was honestly shocked.

Ok he’s not always an angel in public. When it’s nap time and I won’t let him dump the salt shaker all over the table in a restaurant…yeah that’s our cue to exit swiftly.

Honestly though, I love these toddler times, tantrums and all. He’s starting to become a little kid with a personality. He loves his shoes and would wear them all day and night if I let him. Daniel Tiger is still his BFF. He is a pro at navigating the iPad and taking lots of (mostly black) photos and some pretty cool videos, really. He likes to grab a book and sit on his Sesame Street chair. I bought him a back pack and it’s his new favorite thing. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you. I’ll leave you with some pics of my growing little boy.

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I love you first, New Mexico.

I love New Mexico. I’m a New Mexico girl deep down. I wasn’t born here and I wasn’t raised here, but I spent my childhood summers here with my cousins and became a grown up here. My first apartment was in Albuquerque. I graduated from the University of New Mexico, so just imagine all of the firsts that had to offer. Hint: a lot. Before I moved to LA, I applied to every journalism job in the state (I was later offered one, but that was months after I moved and living with my now-husband). That just wasn’t a great time to be working in journalism and jobs were scarce everywhere.

But in the four years I lived in LA, I was miserably homesick for New Mexico. I hear that happens to most people who leave the state. There wasn’t just one thing I missed, there were countless things: food, friends, family, the smell when it rains, on and on and on. I was ecstatic to be able to move back here in 2010, where even more firsts occurred. Over the course of the few years we’ve been back, I’ve gotten married, adopted a dog, had a baby, made some new friends, lost friends, and I’ve changed (for the better, I think, although I am sure some people would disagree).

The Pacific Ocean is calling me back again, against my will, but I’m heeding its call for my husband. He sacrificed a lot to move here for me and it’s time to return the favor. And even though Albuquerque is in the midst of turmoil right now, I’m still going to miss it like crazy and only hope that one day I can experience some more firsts here.

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The Sandias, another thing I’ll miss dearly. Photo courtesy of moi.

Getting closer.

We have an apartment. It’s in a little town called Petaluma. On one hand, I am so relieved we have a place to move into on April 29, even if it is tiny. It’s got a washer and dryer. I’d forgotten all about California and how most apartment complexes do not have a washer and dryer in unit. In LA, our apartment had a garage parking spot and a w/d. We thought we hit the jackpot! In ABQ, you just kinda expect it. And parking is never an issue here. So after a couple weeks of searching and finding larger places for the same price sans washer and dryer, we settled on the smaller place with them. There is no way in hell I’m dragging Henry to a laundromat. That’s my idea of hell.

Anyway, we leave on the 26th and embark on a fun little road trip with a toddler and a U-haul. My excitement level is negative 100, if you can’t tell. I know it’s going to be great eventually, but I’m still sad about the whole thing.

On Saturday, my husband and I got out of the house for a couple hours after Henry went to bed. My BFF Natalie had us over to her new house for food and games. We had so much fun, but I cried almost the whole way home because I’m gonna miss her so much. Gah, I’m crying now, so change of subject.

Henry had his 15 month well baby check last week and he screamed the entire time. Well, from the moment the nurse tried to take his temp and all the way through the shots. If you have a kid who loves his naps, don’t schedule things at nap time, k? But, regardless, he’s perfect and right on track. Also has some healthy lungs on him.

Henry will be up from his nap soon, so I’m gonna go to the bathroom in private while I still have a chance. Later.

It’s officially official.

Oh damn. I forgot to update all you robots (I doubt I have more than 2-3 actual readers). Chris signed the job offer and we are moving to Cal-i-for-ni-a in about a month. I am experiencing mixed emotions right now. On one hand, I cry several times a day even thinking about leaving and on the other, I’m excited for this adventure. I’ve been in a slump for a while, long before even Henry was born, so maybe this is what I need. What we all need. Maybe.

Now on to the logistics planning like picking a place to live, figuring out the best way to get there, etc etc etc. It’s all a little overwhelming, frankly, and I kinda wish my husband would take the reins on that and tell me the plan when he’s done. But, ya know, marriage is about team work and all.

That’s all she wrote (tonight).

Real problems.

Chris got the job offer, we’re going to discuss is over the weekend but really. I mean, option a) take good job in the Bay Area but be a little broke on one income for a while or b) stay here and be unemployed until unemployment runs out and then do….what?

We sat down tonight and did a spreadsheet of our bills vs income. It’s doable, but tight. I don’t know why that panics me so much seeing as how we’d done the exact same thing here last year. I guess it’s because I won’t have a support system at all. Maybe that’s the root of all my anxiety. I can’t just run over to my mom’s with the baby to watch Real Housewives and eat dinner. I can’t go to Natalie’s house on the weekend and paint my nails while we chat. And any part-time job I get will have to be on the weekend, meaning I’ll never get to see my husband.

I’m being too negative aren’t I? There are much bigger problems in this world, I know. Oh, poor me, my husband got a great job in a beautiful area but I might get lonely sometimes. Drones are blowing up people in the Middle East and I’m crying about moving two states over. I need to get over it.

So I’ll start looking at it as a new adventure, a fresh start, and I know everything will work out for the best.

Someone in New Mexico better send me green chile though.

Henry break! This is his “Daniel Tiger is doing what?!?” face. If he’s not watching the show, he’s carrying around this book. Obsessed is an understatement at this point.

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Oh! And after doing baby sign with him forever, he can now do “all done,” “more”, and “fan.” I’m really working on getting “food” and “drink” down. Those would be super useful.

Side note: after he finished eating tonight, he did the sign for all done. He had pasta, so it was straight in the bath with him. As he approached the bathroom, he turned around, did the sign for all done again, and ran in the opposite direction. We had a good laugh over that.

Night guys.