Poking a snake

Since Pappa S is working 15-hour days opening his hotel, I find myself with a lot of solitary time in the evenings. Our miniature meatloaf goes to bed around 6-6:30 every night (I know, I know, everyone hates me….), so there are still several hours to kill before I can reasonably permit myself to go to bed as well.

I’m not complaining, I enjoy a quiet night alone just as much as every other full-time mother. I have a couple different options of how to spend my time – take a look and see if you can figure out which one should not be included on future lists if I want to preserve what little sanity I have left:

  1. Reading – I go through books as quickly as a French chef goes through butter. I thought I’d have less time to read after our baby was born, but it turns out it’s quite the opposite. Every guest that visits us is instructed to bring me their latest reading treasures, and I’m not picky about the genre. If you enjoyed it, pay it forward and send it my way.
  2. Graboid – I discovered this online streaming service a few years ago as a way to keep up with American television while living abroad. I may be far away, but I still need my weekly dose of Grey’s Anatomy every now and then. When I’m home alone in the evenings, I watch the really trashy shows that I can’t admit to in real life (hellooooo, Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad). I’m so ashamed.
  3. Cooking – All my friends know that I’m a fanatic list-maker. And without a regular job in Gran Canaria to occupy my brain and list-making mania, I do the only other reasonable thing you could expect… I plan meals. I make lists of ingredients. I take Per Christian to the market during the day. I buy ingredients and cross them off my list. And then I cook all night because our refrigerator is overflowing and needs to be emptied. So if Pappa S isn’t at home in the evenings, you can find me either in the kitchen cooking or else making another list somewhere. (And, yes, I realize this sounds slightly sad and pathetic to all my fellow MBA colleagues out there, but I promise you’ll enjoy a full stomach whenever you visit Casa Svendsen.)
  4. Blogging – I have more than one post on here that was written in a cloudy haze of solitary red wine drinking (present post included). Probably not a great idea, but I do notice that those posts tend to get more hits than the soberly-written ones. Go figure.
  5. Look at Old Photos and Videos of Per Christian – This one is definitely the kicker. Right as Pappa S and I have decided that we’re perfectly content with our little threesome and feel no need to repeat the experience, I do something stupid like watch old baby videos. The problem is that they’re just soooo cute, it makes me want to do it all over again. Uh oh…..

So, yeah, of all five items above, the last one is the most likely to send me flying over the cookoo’s nest. Of course these videos make me nostalgic for baby-hood; they capture all the wonderful giggles and first-time movements of our own freshly-minted human being. We don’t have any videos of late-night feedings or screaming sessions. There are no videos of mommy slurping coffee with her hair standing on end after a sleepless night. There are no videos of me scouring the internet for answers to why my baby won’t sleep/eat/poop/sleep. They’re all good times, and they make my uterus scream out for a repeat.

So I think it’s best that I stick to drunken blogging and trashy television on my nights alone. We really are a happy little threesome over here – and I even have the videos to prove it.

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Leaving town

Here is a standard sequence of events in the Svendsen household lately:

  1. Per Christian goes to barnehagen.
  2. Per Christian plays and cuddles with lots of germ-y babies.
  3. Per Christian brings germs home to Mommy & Pappa.
  4. Per Christian gets sick.
  5. Mommy gets sick.
  6. Pappa gets sick.

So, yep, fun times.

Prosecco & Pampers has been a bit more quiet than usual while this cycle plays itself out. Luckily for us, by the time we reach number six, it’s a new week and Per Christian goes back to barnehagen, thereby beginning the cycle at number one all over again.

It seems like as good a time as any to get out of Dodge, so I’m splitting town this weekend for an all-girls Mommy-palooza gathering in Amsterdam. Just four old married ladies, sans hubbies and sans babies, spending a few precious days to ourselves away from home. It’ll be my first weekend away since Per Christian was born 13 months ago, so I’m thinking it’s long overdue.

I’ve got friends waiting and a sexy new dress packed in my luggage – and the fridge is stocked with beer and frozen pizza for Pappa.

Amsterdam, here I come!

An unfortunate interlude, where I spend my days glaring at the neighbor…

Our neighbors in Arguineguin are pretty great, they really are. They’re a nice, older Norwegian couple who bought their house a few years ago and have renovated it just perfectly. They smile and wave whenever we meet on the street, and their helpful tips about where to buy furniture and plants are always most welcome.

(Note: My appreciation of the neighbors does NOT apply when I hear them splash into the wonderfully refreshing pool right outside their door. They have a pool and we don’t. I’m pouting….)

Anyway, these neighbors have a visitor this week. And – I just can’t help myself – I hate that skinny B***.

This visitor has my pre-baby body from the not-so-distant past. And she flaunts it just like I used to. You know exactly what I mean… she struts around their pool (I’m still pouting, by the way…), pretending she doesn’t notice how awesome she looks, subtly turning this way and that in her itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikini so everyone gets a perfect view. And don’t even GET ME STARTED on that belly ring that perfectly accents her flat abs and her youthful fitness.

Skinny B***.

It’s unreasonable, I know. But nevertheless, I find myself glaring at this innocent visitor on a daily basis, firing gamma-rays of fat cells from my eyeballs straight into her body.

I get so irrationally angry at the unfairness of it all – I’ve paid my dues, I’ve birthed my baby, I’ve put in the long hours of nursing and thankless hours of childcare. I’ve hit the roads and the gym and the weights and the zumba class (yes, that uncoordinated and clumsy person messing up your last zumba class was me, get over it already…)

But despite all this whining and crying and struggling, I will never look like she does again. The numbers on my scale are back at pre-baby levels, but there’s a bit more saggy roundness to my curves these days, and I would just as well do without them thankyouverymuch…. For better or for worse, I will now forever be one of those people on the beach that you look at and think, “Wow, she looks pretty good for a mom.”

There are people out there who say that we should embrace our new maternal bodies with all their bumps and bruises, and that we should flaunt our saggy boobs and stretch marks proudly like military medals of honor.

Yeah, right… like that’s gonna happen.

Instead, I find myself choosing clothes from my closet that subtly hide and conceal and camouflage. My Google Reader list of contents has shifted from websites like “9to5chic” to other sites like “AintNoMomJeans” and “FightingOffFrumpy.” And now – horror upon horrors! – I need a new bathing suit for our many beach days ahead. I’ve never dreaded anything quite so much in my life as the upcoming trials of bathing suit shopping.

And this B*** next door, she’s just rubbing it in.

Please please please stop splashing around in that wonderfully refreshing pool and GO HOME already! Or, at least, go eat a sandwich and let my gamma rays work their magic (yep, still pouting…).

The Steps of Loma Dos

A few months ago, I briefly posted on the good and not-so-good parts of our temporary housing situation in Gran Canaria. We still have two months to decide if we’ll keep this house in Arguineguin or move elsewhere, but I think we’re feeling pretty settled where we are. And now that our shipment from Norway has arrived, I think the chances of us actually wanting to move again are fading with each box that’s opened and unpacked.

But there is one thing about our neighborhood with which I will never, ever make peace:

Welcome to The Steps of Loma Dos.

Our neighborhood is literally named “Two Hills,” which means that the town centre is downhill no matter which way you go. We’re at the top of the hill, the town is below us. The only way to get there is to conquer The Steps.

I’m sure that any normal (i.e. “non-mother”) reader in the audience is thinking “big deal.” But to those of us that know better, you know exactly where I’m going with this…

Steps + baby + baby carriage = Deciding to stay home

Maybe I was spoiled in Oslo, but steps were rarely an issue there. If there were steps, there was also a ramp. Easy-peasy. The only time I regularly confronted a difficult set of steps was getting on and off the city trams. But even then, there was usually a polite, kind-hearted fellow passenger offering to help with the stroller. (A side-note to the punk-ass teenage boys in Grunnerlokka who failed to assist me even when asked… Shame on you! Your mother would be so embarrassed if she knew…)

But not so in our little Loma Dos. No matter where you’re located in the neighborhood, you’ve got stairs separating you from your freshly-brewed cortado in town. So Per Christian and I bump up and down the stairs on a nearly-daily basis. And with our little 10-month meatloaf packing on the kilos, it gives Mommy quite a workout.

Here’s the thing I don’t quite understand… I get passed on the stairs on a regular basis by Norwegians who don’t stop to help. I’ve never been passed by a Spanish person, male or female, without them stopping for assistance. I just don’t get it – the same fellow countrymen and women who always help a stroller-wielding Mommy at home somehow come here and develop social amnesia. It’s as if they forget all sense of being decent, respectable Norwegians as soon as they take off their shirts and stroll topless in the streets.

Shame on you! Your children and grandchildren would be so embarrassed if they knew… Come on peoples, put your clothes back on and help a Mommy in need every once in a while!

Geesh.

However, seeing as how the rest of Europe is covered in a blanket of cold snow, I suppose I shouldn’t complain too loudly. After all, once we’re actually down the steps, the view is pretty fantastic…

Casa Svendsen a la Loma Dos is quickly getting booked up for the spring and summer season! So make your reservations early – special discounts apply for polite, stroller-assisting folk.

A day in the life…

When Per and I moved to Gran Canaria a few months ago, everyone was imagining the Svendsen family living amid the constant sunshine, with long, relaxing days on the beach, Mommy sipping prosecco and little Per Christian cheerfully playing in the sand next to me.

So now inquiring minds want to know… how exactly does a Mommy on full-time maternity leave spend her days in Gran Canaria? Is it all sea and sun and a life of leisure?

Surprisingly, the answer is no.

I’m the mother of an active, inquisitive and sometimes challenging ten-month old. I’m not working at the moment, so I spend my days the same way as most stay-at-home-mommies all over the world – I feed my son, I play with him, I (try to) get him to nap, I clean his clothes, I change lots and lots of dirty diapers, and I (try to) get us out of the house once a day.

There’s not too much sun and leisure in there, I’m afraid. Here’s what a typical day looks like for Mommy Svendsen:

7am – In the shower, dressed and semi-assembled before Per Christian wakes up (Hint: this is the key to everything!! Getting myself up first means I’m at attention and ready for enemy fire from the very beginning…)

730/800 – Wave One begins. PC is up, gets his first diaper change and his morning bottle. Then a bit of playtime in the living room while Mommy catches snippets of the BBC and slurps down her first coffee of the day.

900 – PC gets breakfast, which means that he practices getting fruit in the general vicinity of his mouth and Mommy practices her clean-up skills. Second (and sometimes third) diaper change of the day. Second (and sometimes third) costume change of the day.

930/1000 – PC goes down for his morning nap. Angels sing in heaven and Mommy breathes a (small) sigh of relief. The morning nap used to be a good two hours, but lately our sneaky little boy has been cutting this down to an hour or so. I am not impressed with this development.

There is just enough time during the morning nap to quickly clean up the disaster from Wave One (dishes, laundry, pulling porridge from my hair, etc.) and to get ready for Wave Two. I prep his lunch “matpakke” so we can eat out during the afternoon wherever we are, I check and refill his diaper bag and make sure the car/stroller is all packed and ready to go. Also Spanish lessons twice a week during this time (all the while praying PC stays asleep just a little bit longer….).

1030/1100 – Wave Two begins. We have a good three hours to get out of the house around this time everyday. We do grocery shopping once a week. We hit up the local fruit & veggie stand (with a stop for cortados and shameless flirting with the vacationing grandmothers). We go down to the Norwegian church for their children’s sing-along hour, or we go by Pappa’s office and distract him. We even sometimes get out the dreaded baby jogger and try to put it to good use. When the weather gets a bit warmer, this is hopefully the time when we’ll get down to the beach and get little Per Christian’s toes in the water.

1330/1400 – PC goes down for his afternoon nap. Angels sing in heaven and Mommy breathes a (slightly longer) sigh of relief. The afternoon nap is usually at least two hours, and it’s the best time of the day for me to get my own stuff done. I do some writing, I take care our finances, I email friends, I research local barnehagens, I do a bit of dinner prep, etc etc etc. If I’m very lucky, I may even finish my to-do list just in time to put my head down for exactly 42 seconds before Per Christian awakens.

1530/1600 – Wave Three begins. Snack time and play time and, quite honestly, the nicest time of the day. We’re all finished with our errands by now, so it’s just me and my son and the fantastic afternoon sunshine. We bring the play-mat outside to enjoy the cool breeze on the terrace, where there is a lot of room for Per Christian to crawl around and play with his balls. This is the time of day when I’m most grateful to have this precious and oh-too-fleeting time with Per Christian.

1730 – A final race for the finish line… bath, pajamas, bottle, lullabies, bed. I love, love, love bath-time. Per Christian can sit on his own in the tub now, and he enjoys playing with his stacking cups and rubber ducky friends. He gets a nice, long soak in the tub to wash away all the debris from Waves 1-3. (Note: the length of time spent on dirt-removal increases in direct proportion to the length of time he’s crawling around the terrace. It’s getting longer every day…)

1830 – Glorious, glorious bedtime! Per Christian falls asleep very well on his own now, so there’s not much to worry about after he goes down. I get to make dinner in peace, and then Per comes home and we have an actual, real-life meal together.

The ironic part is that, within an hour or two of Per Christian falling asleep for the night, I start to miss him. I find myself checking on him several times, just peeking into his room to hear him snoring away in his crib. He’ll be asleep now for 12-13 hours, and then we get up and do it all over again.

So that’s the less-than-glamorous island life for the Svendsen family these days. It’s a bit different than we originally expected, but make no mistake – I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Boys and their balls

Remember that episode of Sex and City when Charlotte was dating someone with a pair of “low-hangers”? Carrie was rebounding from Mr. Big with the Hot Yankee, but all they could talk about was Charlotte’s boyfriends’ balls… Because he kept playing with them all the time.

Well ladies, I’m here to tell you that this boyish fascination with balls begins early. We first noticed a bit of grabbing from our little one when he was about six months old in the bathtub. It was more funny than worrisome, and it’s my secret belief that Pappa Svendsen was actually proud and encouraging of his son’s new discovery.

But it’s getting out of control. Bath-time, diaper-time, you name it… our son is enraptured. Changing a dirty diaper has just become exponentially more challenging — as soon as the pants come off, his little fingers magnetically gravitate down there and begin fussing about.

Have you ever tried to keep a little boy from playing with his balls long enough to scrape a layer of smelly dirt off his bottom?! I swear, I must have missed some fine print in the baby contract somewhere because I did NOT sign up for this.

There must be something to balls in general though, but this ball-grabbing fascination isn’t confined to his anatomy. He seems to be learning to enjoy his miniature football as well (that’s soccer to my fellow Americans). It’s my not-so-secret belief that Pappa Svendsen is proud and encouraging of this new discovery as well:

At this point, he prefers to chase his football around the terrace and then sit by it, waiting for someone to kick it again. Kind of like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever we had when I was little – except not, because then I would be comparing my son to a dog.

And if you’ve managed to read down this far without turning off your computer in disgusted embarrassment, here is your reward:

What a face!!!

I just hope a bunch of spoiled thirty-something women aren’t sitting around wondering about my son’s ball-playing habits someday…

Our dirty little secret

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve been thinking about it for several months, what I wanted to say and how to write it down in words. But I’ve noticed a lot of discussion in the blogosphere world around the topic lately, so I really can’t hold back any longer.

Our son has been sleeping for 12 hours a night since he was about five months old. People seem completely amazed and perhaps a bit envious when they hear that the first time. But here’s the thing… we didn’t do it alone, and he cried a lot in the process.

After a particularly draining “vacation” to Greece last July, we hired an “online nanny” to help us with Per Christian. She was based in the UK, we were in Norway (consultants everywhere should make note of this telepresence arrangement). We had phone calls every morning and evening to talk about what was happening with our son, and she’d give us our marching orders for what to do next.

It was – in a word – a relief.

Per and I were beyond exhausted as new parents, and we were completely overwhelmed at the plethora of information (and mis-information) out there. We had no clue what we were doing and we needed help. We agreed to work long-distance with this baby consultant for three weeks, and to follow her instructions 100% during that time. If it didn’t work out or if we felt at all uncomfortable with the arrangement, then we’d go back to forging it alone. No harm done.

Our first order of business was to get Per Christian sleeping on his own. I quickly realized that we had been caught in a never-ending cycle of issues… Per Christian wasn’t nursing well because he wasn’t sleeping well, and he wasn’t sleeping because he wasn’t eating.

So we did the unthinkable – we left our fourth-month old to “cry it out.”

This is what’s garnering so much attention lately, the debate of “To Cry or Not to Cry.” Per Christian was left to cry for 20 minutes at a time – mostly during the daytime, and during periods when he should typically be napping. Trust me, those 20 minutes felt like an eternity to a nervous, new mother staring at the clock ticking down the seconds on her iPhone. But we received specific instructions from our super-nanny along the way, as well as some much-needed reassurance when I was ready to give up the entire experiment.

That very first night, Per Christian slept for eight hours. The next night for ten hours. The following night for 12 hours… and we haven’t looked back since. We of course still have the occasional sleepless night from teething pain or traveling chaos, but overall we’ve been good.

This is, understandably, a hot-temper topic among parents… Is it cruel to let our babies cry? Is it creating mistrust? Have we re-wired the neurons in his brain to hate the world? Is it putting the need for parents’ sleep above the need for infant comfort?

All I can say is that it’s worked well for us. I feel more confident taking care of my son now because I know what to expect. I know he can settle himself for naps and for bed in the evening. And if he’s not settling – or wakes up crying in the night – I know something is wrong. I don’t have to lie in bed and wonder. I just know.

I do not believe that this sleep training taught Per Christian that nobody will come for him when he cries, so he might as well suck it up and go to sleep. I still come and comfort him if he’s not sleeping after 20 minutes, and if he cries at 3am then I’m out of bed in a flash. What I do think he’s learned is how to re-settle in the night without the need of a tight swaddle, or a pacifier, or food, or hours of rocking to sleep. I believe that this is just one of the things that every child will have to learn eventually… we teach them to eat properly, how to walk on their feet, how to say their first words. Shouldn’t we also teach our children how to sleep?

I’ve been reading a lot of anti-crying and anti-sleep-training rhetoric lately, so I thought it was about time to throw my own hat into the ring. Not many of us stand up and say, “Yes, I left my child to cry and that was the right thing for us…”, but there do seem to be a lot of vocal proponents of supposedly more “gentle” methods. So what’s the right way to teach your child to fall asleep on their own?

It’s an impossible question to answer.

I do know that our experience will not work for everyone. Those first three days were tough emotionally on the entire family, and I wouldn’t criticize anyone for going a different route. We did get through it, and I personally believe we’re all better for it as a family, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t had my doubts.

Anyway, there’s my two cents thrown into the sleep training arena. I’m extremely grateful that we had help along the way, but in the end I still believe every parent has to do what feels right in the deepest, darkest corners of their gut.

Who invented these things?!

Wall decals suck. I’m adding them to my new list (that started with the jogging stroller) of baby gear that seems like a good idea, but isn’t.

Let me explain… Today I purchased Per Christian a brightly-colored set of airplane wall decals, similar to this one:

I wasn’t sure where I was going to put them since his nursery furniture is still en route from Oslo, but he seemed interested when I waved them in front of his face. So purchase them I did. (Note – I did of course know he was only responding to my own big smile and dance moves and not the decals. Give me a little credit at least…)

Having no other place to hang them, I stuck them (temporarily) onto our landlord’s TV console, which is where Per Christian often gazes at his own reflection in the shiny plastic exterior. I showed my handiwork to him, expecting something akin to euphoria and excited curiosity.

But my son, of course, was more interested in the cardboard packaging the decals came in than those wonderfully-painted, brightly-colored planes. Hmmm… maybe he can’t see them from where he’s sitting? So I sat him closer, pointed to them with an excited smile on my face, “Look, Per Christain, aren’t these cool?”

I received a blank stare in reply, then a half-hearted attempt to peel them off the console. When that didn’t work, he returned to his important work of folding, biting and dissecting the cardboard packaging.

OK, I get it – he’s a nine-month old boy who wants to touch and feel and destroy things. Makes sense. Let me take them off the console and stick them onto the cardboard packaging instead. Yes, that’s it! I can cut out the cardboard around them, making them into real-life, brightly-colored airplanes that he can touch and feel and destroy! I’m such a smart mommy…

So the arts & crafts project begins. Pasting the decals onto the cardboard, cutting around them with our kitchen scissors and softening the edges so my little explorer doesn’t injure himself. This will be fabulous! I am a rock star mommy!

“Here you go, Per Christian, aren’t these cool?”

I received a blank stare in reply, then a half-hearted attempt to use the cardboard airplanes as a teething toy. When that proved to be lame, he returned once again to his important work of folding, biting and dissecting the pieces of cardboard now scattered around our living room

Wall decals suck.

The myth of the Baby Jogger

Once upon a time, a woman who considered herself a runner became pregnant. She and her husband were excited in all the usual ways a newly-pregnant couple are excited (in other words, they were completely naive and clueless).

And they, like all newly-pregnant couples, began to buy things. Not a ton of things (in their minds anyway), but things that were considered “necessary.” A car seat, for example, which you cannot even leave the hospital without having installed (this was not a bus-going kind of couple). Top of the list, like all newly-pregnant couples, was The Perfect Stroller.

The runner/newly-pregnant woman was already envisioning long, leisurely jogs around Songsvann lake with her blessed child peacefully asleep in his or her jogging stroller. She researched and read reports and talked to other runners online, until finally – to the great relief of her husband and Albeebaby.com – a decision was made.

Fast forward 18 months later, and you’ll find this same woman sweating and cursing at this originally-beloved jogging stroller as they struggle up a ginormous hill in Gran Canaria. It’s not because of the stroller, which is lightweight and manageable and blah, blah, blah all things a good jogging stroller should be. It’s because jogging strollers – although brilliant in concept – are a load of BS in reality.

Here’s why:

1. You can’t use your jogging stroller for actual jogging until your baby can sit upright and hold it’s head steady. Makes sense, of course, but by that time your miniature companion is most likely a 20-pound weight in the saddle. Get the most lightweight model on the market, you’re still pushing around a pretty hefty meatloaf. It makes running on even the slightest incline very difficult.

2. By the time you can run again after the delivery of said meatloaf, you’re going to really, really miss the old days. Your body will jiggle like it never did before, and in places you never really imagined. I’m not talking about just a pair of saggy boobs, either – those can be held in place with some magnetic force fields and a good running bra. I’m talking about those nether-lands that began to drip, drip, drip… ever since you got pregnant and still haven’t stopped. Nature’s laughing at you, my post-partum friend, and the baby jogger ain’t gonna make that one bit easier to bear.

3. The best part of running, in my mind, was always to get away from it all. Not to bring it with me, for heaven’s sake! So imagine you’re finally back in your running game and finding your stride again. This is the perfect opportunity to leave the baby at home with pappa, and go out on your own. It took me four months after Per Christian was born to actually take a few minutes to myself for a run around the neighborhood (which, let’s face it, was more a walk/jog at that point). I was so happy, I honestly cried mid-stride. No joke.

So forget about finding the perfect baby jogger to take them with you on your runs – instead, force your partner to get fat and out of shape for the next nine months while you enjoy some time off (quid pro quo, my friend…).

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my jogging stroller as a stroller in general – it has a great canopy for the Canary sunshine, it reclines back when Per Christian wants to nap (ha! as if…), and it has an ample basket underneath for when mommy & pappa take their Prosecco to the park. But there isn’t a jogging stroller in the world that makes it better than going out and running on my own.

So, for the meantime, pappa gets to put on a bit of weight while mommy gets out for her runs. The way I see it, he can complain about it only after his nether-lands start dripping…

Cleaning out the cobwebs

I suppose everyone disappears over the holidays, and this blog was no exception. My apologies to those readers sitting on the edge of their chairs, eagerly anticipating blog updates. If you do indeed exist, please forgive my absence.

I was traveling with our meatloaf from December 3 until the 28th, a trip that included Ireland, South Carolina and finally Disney World. (… admit it – you’re all picturing a crazy bag lady at the airport, holding up security lines with a stale meatloaf wrapped in saran wrap and mumbling incoherently…)

It was a great holiday in many ways, most of all because our little Per Christian got to meet and play with his cousins for the first time. He spent intense hours examining the inner workings of the laundry room with his cousin Thomas, and he finally discovered someone that spoke his own language with my niece, Emily. (Mommy of course stood on the sidelines with overly-emotional tears in her eyes, which is about normal these days.)

We then returned to the Island and had a quiet New Year’s Eve with multiple bottles of bubbly. Too many bottles actually, but that’s about normal these days as well.

We did our usual year-end reflection as the fireworks went off, recalling all the good times in the year that brought us our son. And I realized – selfishly, of course – that I am so happy that 2011 is over. This was a hard year, folks, the hardest of my life. I won’t lie to you, there were days (and looooong nights) when I wished I could jump ship and run away. I am self-admittedly NOT a baby person; I do much better with someone I can boss around and who does what I want. I love my son beyond belief, but I do not miss those early baby days for one second. And I’m leaving them all in the past with the turning of the clock.

2012 will be the year I get myself back. This will be the year that Per Christian takes his first steps, spends his first day in the kindergarten and celebrates his first birthday. I’ve paid my dues and gotten him this far, now I get to sit back (relatively speaking, of course) and watch him grow. This is the year I get to figure out what the f#$@ to do with myself here in Gran Canaria, the year I get my body back into pre-baby shape, and the year I can put myself first for the first time in over 18 months (relatively speaking, of course…).

So good riddance 2011! You brought me the best of times and the worst of times. Now I’m ready to re-even the score.

Enjoy the photos below from our holiday travels. I wish everyone a happy 2012!