Thursday, November 29, 2012

Communication is Key

I don't know when it happened, but James has realized a few things.

First and foremost we know that he knows names.  If I say that "Gamma and Gampa" are here, he tears out of his room, down the hallway, and arrives in the living room with a huge grin for his great grandparents.  He also has proven that if you tell him to give kisses to someone, and use the pre-approved name for that person, he will look around until he spots them and then deliver kisses on the cheek.

To go along with that, he has discovered the art of being a ham.  If he does anything that is followed by praise and hands clapping you can be guaranteed that he will continue to do that for the next 20 minutes.  That includes kissing on the cheek.

Apparently it is all a game to him.

Now we get to add in that he has learned how to indicate he wants something: he raises his hand, palm out towards the item, and stares at you.

This is used for everything from a drink of water to his Honey Nut Cheerios, to even my iPhone or the pad of paper I am using for a grocery list.  It's something he started doing at the beginning of November, while with my sister in CA.  Something clicked when he would indicate the fan over the living room and she would turn it on.  Now it's pretty much the go to for him.

Well, that and hitting what he wants.  Like the couch.

Someone likes to have the couch to himself, going from one end to the other, bouncing on cushions.  Whoever is in charge of keeping him from landing on his head will normally sit on the floor in front of the couch, tickling and giggling with him until he is tired.

Normally we're tired before him.  That last activity can go on for 45 minutes.

Finally comes my favorite new thing for my little 18 month old:

He now attempts to mimic what we do.

The little guy was doing his version of monkey noises, but we can officially chalk up growling when he is asked what a monster says, as well as growling like a tiger when the tiger comes up on his app on my iPhone.  And yes, they are different growls.

But it's not just noises.

There's nodding and shaking the head, waving his arms around like his daddy does when they are playing chase, and then the stomping of the feet.

I even think I heard him humming something that his toy cookie jar had been playing early.

His personality is showing more and more.  He still prefers to be left with his toys to figure them out, stack them, spin them.  Though I have to admit the one frustration we've had that forced us to hide a couple of toys.

James realized that the pictures on the puzzles he had matched the pieces he carried and played with.  I don't know where it clicked, daddy says that he did work with him on them, but it happened.  The problem is that you can tell he knows where they go, but he can't get the animal shapes in all the time.  He is still learning to adjust them to fit, and when it doesn't happen he will get mad.

You wouldn't like him when he's mad.

So, for the sake of all our sanity, the boards are up on a shelf.  He still has all the pieces, and the boards come down so we can work the puzzles together.  When he gets tired of it, they go back up and life is good.

I'll let you know about climbing next time.  That has started. 

We are so not prepared for this.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The One Where He Doesn't Gain Weight

James had his 18 month check up today.

In 3 months he has grown 2 1/4 inches and not gained a single ounce.  His weight stays the same, but his body keeps growing.

I asked the pediatrician if this was normal, and he said not to worry.  The only concern would be if he lost weight, which hasn't happened.  We let him know that his appetite is obviously there.

The kid eats 2 packets of Quaker's oatmeal for breakfast every single morning.

I can't even finish that much.

James is active, though.  Constantly playing, running, bouncing, and spinning.  He spends time stacking things, trying to fit shapes into puzzles, even paging through books.

But he prefers to run and spin.

I love that.  That he wants to explore and play.  It's one of the reasons we moved here to start a family. 

This Spring we'll be moving again.  Into a house, with a yard, and stairs, and room.  He's going to have so much to explore, leaves to gathers, rocks and pebbles to play with.

For now, my wooden spoon will have to do.  He's learned that if he lays it a certain way it spins.

So that's what he's doing.  For now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Exhausted....But In A Good Way

I fell asleep before James did last night.

Thanksgiving was a success.  Food and family together, eating and talking, playing with James.  It was all good.

And I managed to get all the plates into the dishwasher in 1 load!  There are a couple of bowls left, but they'll be washed with the next batch of dirty things.

Even the trash went out last night!

Today means movies and leftovers and video games.  Nothing productive whatsoever.

This weekend, the tree will come out.

Right now, it's Finding Nemo with James.

Here is hoping you all are enjoying a quiet holiday weekend!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

We are on a pretty tight budget, as usual, and so we can't do to much in the way of helping others. What I can do, personally, is make time to donate blood.

Monday, I clocked out for lunch and made the drive to a local mall to donate. Of course I parked at one end of the mall and they were at the other, so I quickly trotted past the stores and got to my location.

As I was leaving, I realized that this mall had at LEAST a dozen trees with tags for people to take and purchase something that another family needed or wanted. We've all seen these at malls and even in some offices, and a few years back I actually took one and bought the wanted toy for the little boy who had asked.

What struck me as I was leaving was a tag on one that simply asked for some diapers. That's it. A box of diapers.

I am so thankful for the love and support our families have given us. Our son has so much, and we are still spoiled regularly by everyone. I make sure to always thank everyone when they give James something, make sure they know how much we appreciate them. We had so many diapers when he came home from the hospital, gifts from family and friends, that we didn't buy our first box until he was about 7 months old.

It's Thanksgiving. Today I am making a huge meal for the family here, and will hopefully talk to my family in CA as well. And I will always think of the fact that our son has never been left wanting for anything and it's because of all of them.

And if you can, take a tag and make someone else's life a little easier. I actually think we are going to go look for that tag I saw and make a trip to Sam's Club for a huge box.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And Now A Break

Not from blogging.  I enjoy coming here and sharing.

No no no.

Every vacation in the last year has been planned.  There were things to do.  People to visit.  Surgeries.  Reunions.

Today I start a little stay-cation.  Just nothing but cooking for the family this Thursday and spending time with James.

Which seems a little redundant to some people.  I work from home.  I play with James throughout the day to be completely honest.  But when there isn't work, when I can turn off the laptop for a bit, then the focus is on him.

He knows the difference.

So does my husband.

I do need to share something that apparently happened this morning while I was at the optometrist.

James was in his high chair, eating oatmeal, and Super Why was on in background.  At the beginning of each episode, the characters identify a problem, and once it's stated they normally respond with  "Oh no!".  As they did this today, James apparently turned to the screen and said "uh oh".

Those moments when we realize he is paying attention are what get us both.  My husband says he couldn't stop giggling at our son, which just made our little ham smile.

I think we have the makings of a future class clown!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Unique and Personal

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Today and tomorrow you can do that!  Go HERE and see what I am playing with and loving right now!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seeing It Makes It Real

While I've thought myself as a planner of things, not until reading My Life Map by Kate and David Marshall did I actually PLAN.

The thought of making a life plan or a vision board of some kind is not something I thought I'd ever do.  I've seen others do this for different things, from goals to organizing for a remodel.  And now that I think about it, isn't that really want Pinterest was made for?  Though, admittedly, I pin recipes there more than anything else.

Using this book, I took a look at life in all its aspects and was able to stop and think about where I am, where I've been, and where I hope to be.  This includes everything, from work to play, and even family and friends. 

Have you ever really stopped to think what friendships would be there in 10 years?  I have now.

If you are looking to make changes and need a place to start, pick up My Life Map and work through the book.  Still on the fence?  Head over to the BlogHer Book Club , read more about it, and join the conversation!

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club. While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Perils of Traveling

So, we both have a cold.

Luckily this isn't like last time. This time it's just a stuffy nose that is almost gone for me, and James is just starting.

It's been a week since we returned home.  My sleep pattern is finally feeling normal.

James is trying.  He really is.

I remember hearing once that the rule is you need 1 day to recover for every 1 hour of time change while traveling.  While that was the case for me, with the little one it is anything but that.  He still can't decide when he wants to sleep, some days opting for 4 hour naps, and we are at the mercy of the sleep whine.

Have you heard of it?

It's the noise - the constant, incessant noise - made by a child who wants to sleep but the parents aren't sure if that is the case because they've only been awake 2 hours and shouldn't need to nap yet.  It's this whining noise that seems to be coming from the very core of the child, and if you hear the noise then you have exceeded their expiration date and have only moments to get them to bed.

If you miss that moment, they may suddenly have a burst of energy which will only delay a bigger meltdown.

I really am sick of that noise.

So we watch the clock.  Time it from when awakes, and estimate that perfect sweet spot.  The one between when he isn't tired enough to nap and might just yell and throw things from him crib and when he is too exhausted and will do nothing but cry for 20 minutes before crashing from pure exhaustion.

It's a delicate balance, but we're managing it for now.

Well, as well as you can manage it.

The joys of parenthood.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Whose Bright Idea Was This??

Okay, I understand why there is a Daylight Savings Time thing.  It made sense long ago.


Not quite as much.

At 17 months, James has gone through 3 time zones overnight, changed seasons from CA's version of Fall to VA's version of Fall, and now his schedule is all over the place.

This is just nuts.

We all need a nap.  It's the only thing on the agenda for this weekend.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tales From the Flip Side

Well, James and I made it to CA and back again. 

The trip out was easy.  He did well on both flights, getting antsy on the second one because he wanted to run around.  Luckily we shared a row with this wonderful woman who had 2 children at home and had traveled alone with them.  She told me not to worry about him, and played and talked to him even when he interrupted her reading.

The actual time on the ground was great.  I spent plenty of time with my sister, got to meet my niece's husband and talk with him, spent time with my mom  and brother, and met the children of my friends who are younger than James.

Biggest surprise: my aunt flew in from Indiana to surprise us and meet her great god son.  That was just the best.

I learned that change is not easy for someone so young, and bombarding him with change without his dad made it hard for him.  Since we've been back he has slept 12 hours each night and 4 hours each afternoon for his nap.

That is an insane amount of sleep, but he apparently needs it. 

My high school reunion was okay.

The people who mattered most to me were at my table.  Dinner was okay, though not worth $75 for a chicken breast and a scoop of mashed potatoes.  I will never understand the need to have a DJ there to blast music.  I would have preferred time to talk to people.  In the end, our group spent most of our time in the hallway, talking where we could hear one another.

The flight home was not the same as the one out there.

James refused to sleep.  We were on a red eye flight.

That's all I am saying about that.

I honestly have never seen him attempt to climb out of his stroller until he caught sight of his daddy at the airport waiting for him.  That was just the greatest thing.

Now we are readjusting to life again.

James misses his Aunty.  She played with him all day, and you can tell he misses that level of attention.  His appetite is back in full swing, and he is sleeping like he would prefer to hibernate.  His daddy is having to get out of vacation mode, and that's been like waking up slowly from hibernation.

Today is a better day, the best one since we returned.  And it will keep getting better.

Next trip will be via train and all 3 of us will be together.  I think it will be easier on all of us, and if so then we will be doing more visits, maybe even directly to Disneyland and then have them meet us there for a family vacation.

Time will only tell.