Christmas Miracle & the End of an Era (5m4w)

What a week this has been!  Kieran’s first Christmas, surrounded by family.  I took some vacation time off work to combine with paid holidays to give us some time together as a family these last few days, and most of next week.

Turns out it’s a good thing I took the time off this coming week – because Paul won’t be home with us for a good portion of Monday – Wednesday.  You see, Paul will be AT WORK.

That’s right: PAUL GOT A JOB!!  A FULL-TIME JOB!!

The short story is that these folks came to Paul because of a tip from a VERY unexpected vector, based on work Paul had done while at the Venetian.  His photography and video (shooting & post-production) skills, his IT knowledge, and his ease when working with ‘talent’ are all coming back to serve him once again.  The job is full-time, Monday through Friday, at decent pay.  We are THRILLED.  (The “interview” was on Christmas Eve, with one day notice.  Not that it was an interview, really.  More like: “Here’s what we want you to do and here’s what we can pay you for it.  Does that work for you?”)  Paul will be working a couple of half-days this week to get up to speed.

But what this means is that Monday January 3rd marks the end of an era.  Daddy Day Care is closing, and Kieran will be spending his days in a daycare center.  Paul and I are doing our best to get right with this as quickly as possible.  We knew this day would come eventually.  It was supposed to happen much earlier.  But it doesn’t make it any easier.

We know that Kieran will do wonderfully at daycare.  He’ll probably learn to nap.  He’ll be surrounded by teachers who will play with him and hug him and make sure he’s well taken-care of.  He’ll learn sign language, and sharing and playing with others.  He’ll get over his burgeoning stranger anxiety.  All of this is to the good.

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Thanksgiving 2010 (5m-1d)

After the first volley...What an incredible weekend.  We had a house full of family for Thanksgiving.  Aunt Juanita flew in on Thursday morning and joined her son Glenn, his girlfriend Katie and their two boys (from Sacramento) to surprise Grandma Cat for her 75th birthday on Thanksgiving.

We had a total of 13 adults, 2 toddlers (Glenn’s boys Glenn Edwin [2yo] and Greylon [1yo]) and two babies for Thanksgiving Dinner.  Grampa John, Great-Grandma Cat, Grampy Tom, Grammy Jeanne, Great-Aunt Nita, Uncle If Kieran at 16lb fits, the 21.5lb turkey should too!Oin, Auntie Cynthia, Aunt Cassie, Cousin Glenn + Katie, and our friend Sibyana.  There was plenty of food, and everyone seemed to enjoy dinner.  I made  good use of multiple crock pots once again and had everything served at 6:00.

Our turkey this year was 21.5 pounds, 5.5+ pounds heavier than Kieran!  Ridiculous pictures were had before I got to fooling around with the turkey.

Juanita stayed here with us, along with Dad and Grandma.  Oin and Cynthia Kieran's ready to start cooking!stayed at a timeshare, and Glenn and his family stayed at the Hilton.  (Oin and Cynthia will be here with us for their last night in Vegas.)  Kieran stayed with us in our room in the pack & play.  That went better than I expected, but I was afraid our squeaky bed would wake him up every time one of us got in or out of bed.  (Well, that and Paul’s snoring…)  Kieran’s (ah hem) schedule is mostly shot to hell, but we’re hoping we can maybe tweak things Surprisingly fun times with Great Aunt Nita!as we put them back to rights.  I’ve got him d0wn for his third nap of the day as I type this.  (We actually managed four by the time the day was over!)

We’ve enjoyed the rest of the weekend, just hanging around the house, talking and laughing – wherever Aunt Nita is, there is always laughter.  Kieran has Lemme taste your nose, Grampa!been such a great little guy – smiling and laughing for everyone.  I’ve been trying to take pictures with everyone, saving memories as best I can.  There have been many tears, most of them happy. I wish mom could have seen this, her kids and her grandson; her daughter as a mom and her son as an uncle.  But Dad (Grampa John) is enjoying Kieran to the max, Having a snooze with Great Grandma Catso that is really great to watch.   Watching my grandmother playing airplane with my son and then later taking a snooze with him in the recliner have been some of the episodes of happy tears this weekend.

What a difference a year makes.  Kieran will be 5 months old tomorrow.  He has been such a blessing to us, in what would have been a really tough year.  Things aren’t perfect for us, and we have a tough road ahead in a lot of ways, but we have SO MUCH to be thankful for.  We’re looking forward to spending a family Christmas focusing on love and togetherness and starting the new year as a family.

Clicky the piccys to see more pics than you probably want to – but many of them are absolutely adorable.

Oh yes Mama, we need onions for the stuffing...A happy Kieran the morning after with Grampa JohnOh hi Mama!  I didn't see you there!There were serious tweets to be sent!Kieran modeling his new dinosaur hat from Auntie LisaKieran and Uncle Oin on Sunday morning

First Family Photo Session (4m3w)

I gotta say, the folks at the PictureMe photo studio inside Walmart have their schtick down.  I got hit up in the baby medicine aisle at Walmart by a young lady with a clipboard.  She had awesome coupons with her, and I was sold.  I made an appointment for two weeks later.

We lucked out that our appointment on Saturday fit with Kieran’s schedule for the day – at 10:00am he was 20 minutes up from a nap, dry and had a snack.  Paul and I made sure we looked presentable, but the focus was on our little man.  The photographer girl was good at her job and tried to get poses of just Kieran to start with.  But since he can’t sit up unassisted, and he HATES being on his tummy for anything, most of the kid-only poses don’t work right now.  No worries though.  We were able to get some great photos with all three of us, just Mama+Kieran and Daddy+Kieran, and one of just Mama+Daddy.

Another candid that actually turned out pretty good!The photographer girl was good though – as I held Kieran and entertainedKieran loves to stand with help from Mama & Daddy! him while she was readying the camera for a different shot, she noticed that we were having a good time and kept clicking that shutter.  One of the two ‘official’ Mama+Kieran pictures came from those candids.  She was cool with suggestions too – Paul suggested a pose where we hold his hands, but he’s the focus of the shot.  It’s one of our favorites.

We took a while to look at the photos as the photographer added vignette borders and cropped them.  We were obviously not her average customers, with our combined photography & design experience.  (Paul and I both were fondly remembering photo sessions with Kim Plahuta a billion years ago too.)  She showed us some custom things they do with photo collages, which I was surprised that Paul liked as much as he did.  When it was all said and done (they’re smart to have you look at all the pics for a while before they spring the prices on you) the package we ended up getting was more than I expected to pay, but less than Paul was thinking – and because our photographer liked us, we got some extra big pics thrown in.  But the best part is that in addition to the prints we have coming, we have the CD of all the pictures from the session now.  So without further ado:  The Gorman Family.

Happy little family.Collage PrintInformal Family B&W

What a Weekend! (29w3d)

Wow, what a weekend. The carpet is in, and the house is about 70% put back together. Most of our furniture is back inside (from the back patio) and in the right rooms.

Paul really really stepped up this weekend. I commended him for doing real Daddy stuff this weekend by working SUPER hard doing stuff he didn’t wanna do simply because it had to be done, and I couldn’t physically help him with it. Paul was up until 4:30 on Saturday morning clearing out the house. He was unloading bookcases, liquor cabinets and dressers and then moving the furniture outside onto the patio until the wee hours. I had to stop before midnight because I was having some pretty painful contractions that forced me to go lay down. (Whoever said that Braxton Hicks contractions don’t hurt was a LIAR.) I dozed off and on, trying to get up and come help every hour or so and collapsing back into bed within a couple of steps.

Paul came to bed at 4:30am. I got up at 6:30 and started working again, letting Paul sleep until 7:00. The installers called at 7:00 and said they’d be there at 8:00. But we still had our bedroom to finish packing (our nightstands and general daily use stuff…) Paul ended up finishing that part of packing because I had to take our dog Kishou to go get a bath at Petsmart to get her out of the house while the installers were there. I came home later with bagels for breakfast to find the couches and bedroom dressers in the backyard, the bed in the garage and pad already laid down!

Paul and I spent the next couple hours on the back patio doing maintenance and cleaning projects while the installers worked. (Paul cut a new ventilation hole in our entertainment cabinet and installed a fan to help cool our system that it trying to overheat.) I got cleaning supplies so that I could clean/dust the furniture before it came back in the house. (I wanted to clean the leather couches, but they were sitting in the hot sun.)

In just under 5 hours, the carpet was done! The installers helped Paul put the bed back together (even though they’re not supposed to) because Paul had moved so much of the furniture for them. The couches and recliners came back in and that’s about it. We tipped them (and gave them a 6-pack of beer) and Paul and I left to go get food and collect the dog from her bath. We returned and collapsed onto our bare mattress for a fantastic (in Paul’s case) nearly 4-hour nap.

Saturday night was very relaxed, as we were both still very tired after our nap. I slowly worked my way around the house cleaning stuff (OMG, ‘Magic Erasers’ are the single most appropriately named product EVER!) and Paul worked on cleaning up cables for our electronics. It was a quiet evening, and we both collapsed into bed (still unmade) around midnight.

Sunday found us starting the morning at Cracked Egg for breakfast (Peanut Butter
& Banana french toast!!) and then hitting Target to pick up what turns out to be the perfect light for the nursery! We came back home and were soon joined by Paul’s parents who were ready to help us build furniture. Jeanne spent the first hour+ wiping down everything in sight with her microfiber cloths, as there’s a heckuva lot of dust everywhere now. Paul and his dad tackled the new desk and hutch for the office – which turned into a MUCH bigger project than any of us imagined.

Jeanne and I built the 4-drawer dresser for the nursery (she and I built a couple of them a few months ago for our bedroom, so we were old hats at it) and then moved on to the crib. I picked up three battery-powered screwdrivers for the weekend and they made all the difference in the world! ($8 at Wal-mart and SO worth it!) It was pretty awesome to be sitting in my son’s room, building his crib. It went together much easier than I expected, honestly and looks just fabulous! (Thank you again, Aunt Nita!) Now all we need is a mattress for the thing! Ha!

We called it a night on Sunday and came back Monday evening to continue working. Tom and Jeanne have been great about helping us with this stuff. Jeanne and I put together the last dresser (baby’s room is getting one of our 4-drawer dressers, so we replaced it with a 6-drawer model) while Tom and Paul moved the trundle beds into the guest room/office and built the horizontal shelving unit. It’s SO great to finally have all those boxes out of the garage and have everything built! (Oh, and Tom took the slot machine and put it in his office at The Sun, so that’s even more room we have now!)

It’s been an amazingly busy weekend. Paul and I are still recovering – I accidentally took a 2-hour nap this afternoon because I sat down to have a snack. We’re plugging away at putting the house back together – there’s still a fair amount of stuff on the back patio. But we have this weekend to work on it and evenings this week and next week (altho not Thursday evenings, cuz our Childbirth classes start on Thursday) to get the house into shape before Oin & Cynthia are here for the shower, and all our other friends are invited over to see the nursery!

So for all of that – Paul and I are both astounded that we’re finally here. The point at which we’d be setting up the nursery and having the paint done, carpet in, furniture built always seemed SO FAR away. And now it’s here. It’s entirely likely that we will have our baby NEXT MONTH. Unreal.

(And no, there’s no pics yet. We’ve taken pics along the way as the nursery came together. I want to get the last things hung up on the wall and get the crib set up with linens before pics of the nursery are posted. Another week or so….)

Mr. Mom? (21w1d)

So, as of Friday we are a one-income family. An extraordinary set of circumstances came together to deprive Paul of his job. He’s in the process of fighting the (wrongful) termination, but we don’t have much hope in the prospects. Neither do we have much hope as of yet that unemployment will be forthcoming.

Prayers would be appreciated.

In the meantime, we are fleshing out the details to continue medical coverage for us – either through COBRA or through my employer. I can’t get on with my employer until April 1, so COBRA will probably be needed for this month at least, no matter how expensive it is. I have another appointment on March 24th.

If unemployment isn’t contested, we’ll be OK if we keep an insanely strict budget. If it is contested by Paul’s former employer, life is gonna get un-fun with a quickness. Paul is looking for jobs (and has been since this whole episode began two weeks ago) but with unemployment at 13% in this county, open jobs of any kind are thin on the ground.

We’re trying to see the silver lining in all of this. Paul has been able to use this time off to work in the office to turn it into a nursery, which is a really crappy task of dismantling and unloading our office/junk room. He’s making progress, but there’s still a week’s worth of work to do in there before painting can begin. He’ll be able to attend his Grandmother’s memorial service in Orange County next month. He’ll be able to attend all the upcoming childbirth/childcare classes that I need to get a move on scheduling. He’ll be able to attend the baby shower. (All of these last things were going to be HUGE fights to get with his old employer – even with a bunch of paid leave saved up and FMLA for the baby-related stuff.) So there is a silver lining to this. And if it comes to it, the baby won’t go to daycare if Paul is still at home.

But prayers for job openings and unencumbered unemployment processes would be appreciated.