The Taynors

The Taynors

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Year in Review - 2011

Mike and I are just about to go out and celebrate New Years Eve.  We are the lucky ones that have an over night babysitter, but since none of our other friends are as lucky, we will be having a quiet date night.  I am dressed and ready to go...and now waiting around for Mike to get ready (I don't agree with the stereotype that men are always waiting around for women to get ready)! 

Anyway, I had a few minutes to recap a great year.  Here are some of 2011's highlights.

On a personal level:

- Of course the birth of Ryan and becoming a mother.  This is by far the biggest life changer that will ever happen to me!
- Many of my friends also became mothers for the first time.  Kelli welcomed Noah, Kelly had baby #2 Brooklynn, Amanda had Bennett, Heather became pregnant with Baby Ryker (who we will hopefully meet very soon), and even though Jackie gave birth in 2010, this year really felt like Eloise's first year.
-Allyson and Eric got married. Yay!
-Megan and Matt graduated from college
-Mike got his MBA and started real estate classes
- Brian has been very successful in his training of the UFC fighters (especially Frankie Edgar)

Top News Headlines:
(in no particular order)

-The death of Steve Jobs and all of Apples technology
-Case Anthony trial (she is totally guilty!!)
-Michael Jackson trial
-Osama Bin Laden was killed
-The Royal Wedding (Prince William marries Kate)
-Final NASA shuttle mission
-Tsunami and earthquake in Japan that killed so many
- New Jersey experienced an earthquake and Hurricane Irene in the same week!
-Charlie Sheen went crazy
-The Kardashian's took over reality TV
-Oprah's last season
-US Women's Soccer World cup (made it to the final 4)
-Derek Jeter hit his 3000th hit

I'll be back to add more as I think about them.  What a year it has been!

Couldn't Resist

This week has been all about being productive. I guess because I had the week pretty much off from work, I filled my "free time" with projects around the house. So much fun right! I have cleaned out every drawer and closet throughout the house, I have organized anything I can get my hands on, I have done a million loads of laundry, I have cooked, cleaned, payed the bills, balanced our holiday finances, hosted a Christmas, attempted to organize NYE, dealt with insurance bullshit, grocery shopped...blah blah blah. You get the point, it has been a non-stop week. Anyway, it's just about midnight and I just finished putting away the last load of laundry (for now at least). As I looked over at our video monitor, I just couldn't resist... I had to go in to RJ's room and give him one last kiss goodnight.

I know a major mommy rule is to just leave baby alone if he is sleeping, but with his little tush up in the air, I had to go in one last time to give him a love tap.

I mean seriously, how can I resist one last peek at this sleeping angel?! Every once in a while I have to remember to stop trying to be super mom and just sit back and enjoy my baby. Now I can go to sleep with visions of my sleeping beauty instead of worrying about what I didn't get done!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Traditions

I love the holidays and I am a sucker for traditions.  I look forward to all the holiday celebrations, and even more so I look forward to knowing what we will be doing from Thanksgiving through New Years Eve.  What I mean by that is it is comforting to know that we will be celebrating our Girls Christmas a week of two before Christmas day EVERY YEAR and that I will get to see my aunts and female cousins at our cookie exchange on a week day in the beginning of December.  There is so much going on, and I really like traditions because they keep things familiar and there are not many last minute surprises.  It also helps ensure that you get to spend a little bit of special, quality time with all the important people in your life.  I have Girls Christmas, and Blue Christmas, and Boyle Christmas, and now Taynor Christmas, and I love each one of these events because each is different from the other.  Every Christmas brings a little something special that I always look forward to from year to year.

When Mike and I started dating, we had a very hard time figuring out our holiday "schedule".  We both have great families and a ton of holiday traditions... and neither of us really wanted to make any changes.  It has taken 6 years, but I think we have finally figured it out (for now at least)!  And then to make things even more interesting, we are not only combining our traditions but we are creating new ones for our children to grow up with. Here is a little taste of my favorite Christmas traditions.

Getting the tree-  I grew up with a real Christmas tree.  We would all go out as a family, pick out our favorite, and cut it down (Jackie, we did this at a Christmas tree farm, not just in the woods randomly haha).  Normally we did this the first weekend of December and we would go back to the house and decorate the entire space all in one day.  The house would go from nothing to a Winter Wonderland in just a few hours.  This is one of the traditions that Mike and I have decided to continue!

Girls Christmas-  This year was our 13th annual Girls Christmas.  The tradition started when we were juniors in High School and I am so excited that it is still going on.  The people who have attended has changed a little bit over the years, but it has been myself, Jackie, Kim, Heather, Kelly, and Laura pretty much from the beginning.  I love this Christmas!  We rotate whose house it is at, we get all dressed up, we have a nice sit down dinner, and then we do presents (really awesome presents).  The gift exchange goes like this: each person buys for one person and then everyone buys a smaller gift for all of the girls (hence the name Small Gifts).  Because you are shopping for one of your very best friends, everyone tends to be extra generous in their gift giving.  It is also a great night for everyone to get caught up on all the craziness going on in each others lives.  Girls Christmas always leads to a bit too much wine and a whole lot of laughs.  I hope this tradition continues until we are 80 years old!

Christmas Eve-  Growing up we would go to Nanny's house for Christmas Eve and this was my favorite night. Santa would come early and we would sing Happy Birthday to Baby Jesus and we would watch for Rudolph's red nose as we drove home. Then as Nanny got sick we started to spend Christmas Eve with just our immediate family and celebrate Blue Christmas at different night (more about this is a minute).  So then Christmas Eve turned into a night were we would go to church and then have a quiet dinner.  Megan, Brian, and I would also exchange presents to each other just for some fun.  When Mike and I started celebrating holidays together, he would come spend Christmas Eve with us. 

This year was a big change for us, Christmas Eve became Taynor family Christmas.  It really worked great, so I believe this plan will stick.  We went up to Mike's parents house at around 1pm.  We watched the Giants beat the Jets, we had a big dinner, and we exchanged lots of presents with Mike's entire family.  My brother and sister in law were there, Mike's grandmother and uncle stopped by, and we skyped with Barbara and Wayne from Florida.  We pretty much did everything we normally do on Christmas Day, just on Christmas Eve instead.  The best part about it was that we were not in a rush to go anywhere... the day/night was all about spending time with Mike's family.  I think it was one of my favorite holidays I have spent with my in-laws so far.

Christmas Day-  As kids, Christmas day was pretty similar to what I imagine most kids Christmas day was like.  We would wake up early, wait for my dad to give us the o.k. to go downstairs.  We would open stockings and all our Santa presents.  We had a big breakfast which included cinnamon buns, eggs and bacon (as we got older we added mimosas to our breakfast).  Then we would go through all of our new, fun toys and get ready for Christmas Day part 2.  Mid day we would leave and go spend Christmas dinner with the entire family and DeeBee and Poppy's house.  There was about 30-40 of us for dinner and it was always a full blown party.  I LOVE being part of a big family.  Gift giving is always simple because there are so many people, once the cousins got older we started just doing a secret Santa.  Even though every person only gives/receives on gift, the exchange process is always very loud and very wild (I'm going to add a small video of this years exchange soon so check back). When Mike and I started celebrating Christmas together, things changed a little bit.  Instead of going to my parents on Christmas morning, we would wake up super early and go up north to be with his family first thing. 

As you can probably guess, this year was another big change.  I made it very clear last year that once we had kids, we would be waking up and spending Christmas morning at our own home.  That is why we went to spend Christmas Eve with the Taynors.  This year we woke up when Ryan woke up, we opened his Santa presents, we had a big breakfast (Cinnamon buns included), and Mike and I exchanged when RJ napped.  It was perfect and relaxing and exactly how I imagined Christmas morning to be with my own child.  Around noon we left to see my parents, Brian, and Meg.  We then did Christmas morning part 2 with them; exchanged presents and had lunch and just watched Ryan enjoy his first Christmas.  Last but not least we were off to our Boyle family Christmas.  This might change in the next few years and that makes me sad.  More cousins are getting married, having their own children, starting their own traditions and it makes it very difficult to get everyone together at the same place on Chrismtas Day.  Currently our immediate family is about 40 people... its crazy!  I really do understand that things will have to change, but I am not ready for it.  I really hope we are able to get as many of us together for Christmas day for as long as possible.

Blue Family Christmas- This is that Christmas that use to be at Nanny's on Christmas Eve.  Now we do it a few days after Christmas and we change who hosts it this year.  I was able to host everyone this year, and it was a great night.  For this tradition, we get together with my dad's brothers and their families, we have a nice dinner and we do a "White Elephant" type gift exchange.  This particular event is the one that has changed the most from my childhood, but it is still really nice to catch up with my dad's side of the family. 

Obviously, I am very blessed to have SOOOO many people to spend the holidays with.  Things can get hectic and sometimes stressful but its all worth it to have such wonderful holiday memories. 

In short, now the Mike and I have our own family, we will be celebrating Christmas Eve with his family, Christmas morning at home, and Christmas dinner with my family.  I really really hope that as Brian and Megan get married, they are able to make their traditions similar so that we can spend time with them and their future families too.  Now we have to decide the little things... like are all the presents from Santa or do mom and dad give gifts too?  Do you open any gifts on Christmas Eve? Do we do a Secret Santa with our brothers and sisters now that the family is getting bigger?  Do we wrap the presents in the stocking or just put them in?  What will we serve for Chrismtas breakfast?  When will we fit in Christmas mass?  I guess some of these decisions will just work themselves out over the years!

**Check back for this years Christmas pictures and videos in a few days... I am getting there!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Big Decisions

It's just about time to make a very, very big decision!  A huge decision that really affects our whole future.  I need to decide if I am going back to teaching or resigning from my job.  There are so many pros and cons to both sides and I am really having a hard time figuring it all out.  One thing I do know is that I have to decide soon or I'm going to go crazy thinking about it.

Right now I am working 3 jobs.  Things are busy and hectic and crazy each week but I am really enjoying it.  First of all, I am doing hair.  The salon is finished and I have about 40 regular clients.  In addition to my regulars, I am getting more and more interest each week.  I have an average of 4 clients a week.  The second job is working for my brother in law.  He owns his own business and I have been doing office work for him.  Its super flexible and I can work whenever I want.  The job entails making phone calls to potential clients to follow up and try to get them to book the work to be done.  From him, I get paid hourly and a commission for each job I book.  The third job is the newest addition and I really love it so far.  I am working for my chiropractor as his Public Relations CA.  I am re-writing and designing the website, creating brochures/newsletters/marketing material, I help plan office events and reach out to the community to get them involved in the office.  This job is also very flexible... I work from home and can go into the office whenever needed.  Between the three jobs I am working almost every day but I love the fact that I make my own schedule and I am in charge of how much or how little I work from week to week.  I have control over how much money I make and how hard I work.  Plus I am really having fun, so I don't mind working a lot.

Here is a sample week with my current arrangement:

Monday- Ryan goes to my mother-in-laws for the day so I am super productive.  This week I ran errands, grocery shopped, and went to the gym in the morning and then I had 5 hair clients from 2-8pm.

Tuesday- Home with Ryan in the morning, work at the chiropractor from 12-2:30, back home with Ryan in the afternoon, and then back to the chiropractor at 6pm for a meeting, then went to the gym at 8pm. 

Wednesday-My mom came to watch Ryan for a few hours in the morning, so I went to work for the chiropractor from 11-2:30 and then went straight into the Waterproofing office from 3-7:30pm.  I got home a little bit after 8.

Thursday- Pediatrician with Ryan at 10, dropped him off at my aunts for the afternoon, and went to work at the Chiropractor from 12-3.  Then I had a hair client come to the house from 5:30-7.

Friday-Gym at 7:00am. I was home all day so I worked from home while Ryan took naps (from 9-10:30 and 1-2:30) and we went out to do some Christmas shopping from 11-1pm.

Obviously, this is a chaotic schedule and I am by no means a "stay at home mom".  The hardest part about it is figuring out who will watch Ryan and when.  We have been balancing it between me, Mike, my in-laws, my mom, and my Aunt Linda.  But I have to say, this week I made significantly more money than I would for a regular teaching week.  Here is the thing... some people might hate this kind of week but I am really HAPPY!  The down side to this current situation is that there is no stability and no health benefits.  It is a little bit scary to give up such a secure career like teaching and go into something so unreliable.

Now on to the teaching side of things.  It's a great job, with great benefits, and I work with great people.  But if you read my past post about going back to work, you know I was really not happy there.  Being an English teacher is very stressful and very demanding.  I was working from 6am-5pm and then coming home with hours of work to do.  I would spend nights and weekends grading and planning and prepping.  The students were getting to be very difficult and I spent most days dreading going to work the next day. 

Honestly, I do miss the good kids at MTHS and I miss being part of the faculty there.  I had a lot of great friends and I loved being part of the team.  Its just that I really was miserable on a day to day basis.  The problem is, if I don't go back to work on February 1 its a permanent decision.  I would have to resign, back out of the pension system, and I would lose my spot as a teacher.  If I ever wanted or needed to get back into the career, I would be with every other English teacher out there fighting for the very few jobs that become available.  Its so scary to give that up. 

So one option would be, go back in February and work through June, and then make a definite decision this summer.  Of course its not that simple,  if I go back to school I wouldn't be able to keep up with my current work situation.  I would have to stop doing hair, quit the chiropractor, and not work for Jerome.  I would be giving up everything I just worked so hard to get.  Bottom line is... I can't put off the decision any longer.  I either need to dive in full force to my new "career" or go back to my old career and say "thanks but no thanks" to my current jobs.  ITS SOOO HARD. 

Really, I know in my heart what I want to do.  I have already made up my mind, but it might not be the smartest decision.  Mike and I really need to have a business meeting and weigh the risks and benefits.  I hope it works out and I end up in a spot where I am excited to start each day and I don't have the weight of dread on my shoulders every night when I go to bed.   

I'll be back with the official decision soon!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

9 months

Ryan- I seriously feel like I just wrote the 8 month update.  November flew by!  This was a great month, probably my favorite one yet.  You celebrated your first Thanksgiving (and first friends Thanksgiving), went to Eloise's first birthday party (I can't believe she is already one), had a sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa's house, and went to cut down your first Christmas tree.  We also have been doing lots of Christmas shopping, you love being out and about in the crowds.  Dad and I took you to get Christmas pictures taken and we had planned to go see Santa but you were so exhausted from the photo shoot that we decided to wait until next week.  This was also a HUGE developmental month for you.  Here are some details:

*We go to the doctor this week so I will update weight than.
*You started to crawl at 8 1/2 months old and you have not stopped moving since.
*You pull yourself to standing all of the time and by using anything you can get your hands on.
*You are cruising already. 
*You can stand by yourself for brief moments.
*You started eating puffs and have gotten much better drinking from a sippy cup.
*You are back to hating getting your diaper changed or changing clothes.  You literally wrestle and fight against me every time.  I am not a fan of this particular activity.
*You have several nicknames, all starting with B- Bubba, Booger, Buster
*You are always talking, its like you are trying to tell us a very important story.  You do say "mama" a lot but its not directed towards me.  Its more like you are just smacking your lips together.  Your common word (or noise I should say) is "Eh, EEHHHHH, Ahh"
*You are always moving and always talking.  You are a very active boy!
*You love to sing and dance.  We dance around the house and sing songs all day long.  I feel like I am always putting on a show for you!
*You are a much happier baby now that you can move.  I can't wait to see what happens when you can walk.
*You are back to loving your pacifier.  I am trying to limit you to using it at nap time and bedtime.  But I'll let you have it if you are realllly about to meltdown in public.
*You had your first bump on the head and 2 black eyes this month.  You play rough!
*You have super chubby, chunky thighs (hmmm I wonder who you get that from).  Chubby baby thighs are the cutest!

It has been amazing watching you grow this month.  I really feel like you are going to walk sooner rather than later because you really love to be on the go.  You have no fear and are willing to try anything, even if it leads you to getting hurt (hence the black eyes).  I have always heard moms complain about when their babies start to crawl... they miss the time when the baby couldn't get into things.  But I must say, I love crawling Ryan.  I will take you getting into everything and me chasing you around the house any day over the hysterical crying, miserable baby of a few months ago.  This stage is so much more fun!

I love love love you Ryan and am so excited to celebrate your first Christmas this month!

This was a particularly hard photoshoot because Ryan wouldn't stay still for even a second.  Most of my pictures like something like this...

Need Help...

Okay fellow bloggers or blog readers, I need your help.  For some reason I am having trouble with some of the silliest things on these blog websites.  First of all, when I "follow" another blog, my picture does not appear.  I have edited my profile to include a picture and when I select to be a follower I attempt to upload a picture.  But it never works!  In the end, I am still that silly gray box with  no picture.  I know this is such a silly thing to be bothered by, but I am just frustrated that I can't fix it!

Second, I can't comment on anyones blog.  When I attempt to leave a comment for someone, it keeps telling me I am unable to do so.  Sometimes I get a message that says my account is not set up to leave comments.  What am I doing wrong!  Again I am frustrated because I can't fix it.  I want to comment on the interesting posts of the blogs I read... or respond to a comment people are leaving for me.

Anyway... Help Me!  If anyone has any suggestions on how to fix these problems I would really appreciate it.  Alright I am done with my rant!