Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Months

Dear James,

Someday I hope to share all of this with you. 

With that being said, I need to tell you that I never intended to stop writing the way I did.  Life just got turned upside down during this busy period at work for me.  Add the new addition of your Uncle Ian and Aunt Courtney to the mix and most days have been more activity and visitors than we have ever had in the entire time we've lived in Virginia.

You, by the way, have been awesome.  I will always believe that children know who to trust because you talk and show off to them more than anyone else outside of your great grandparents and grandpa Tom.  They think you are a really well-behaved toddler, and that is true 99% of the time.

About that 1%: it's all out of frustration on your part.  You still refuse to talk most of the time, and even when you are desperate to get us to do something for you it is like pulling teeth to get much out of you.  We know you know the words.  How?  Because you point at things, waiting for us to say what it is, and if we don't say the right word you get mad and shake your head.  Prime example is your sippy cup.  If you point at the straw, Daddy will say straw.  You do not accept this answer, will shake your head, and if Daddy doesn't make the connection that you wanted him to say "cup", then all hell breaks loose.  We have had to learn your words for things, and for the most part it works because we use the adult words and you accept them.

You are intrigued by letters and numbers.  Super Why has always been your favorite thing to have on in the background, and suddenly 2 weeks ago you began really showing that you are paying attention.  You recognize "o", "a", and sometimes "e".  When other letters come on the screen you now point at them and insist that someone say them for you.  This has made us both giggle on occasions, especially because you sound like you are from Boston with the way you pronounce things.

This has lead to you having a new love of your books.  You want to point at letters and numbers and have us tell you what they are.  We make you tell us the ones we know that you know, and you will play along if only for the applaud and praise.

In September we began going to a Mommy and Me play date group on Mondays.  It's 1 hour a week, but it's just enough and you are enjoying most of the activities.  The coloring is something you are loving more and more, and you run through the gym, playing with balls and the parachute, as if you've always done it.  I've managed to get you on the ride on toys a few times, and you are slowly getting the hang of it.  Another triumph for parenting!

The flip side of that triumph is my needing to apologize for the swim lessons.

Your Uncle Barry in Texas has always had a way with words.  Some of the sayings he has shared throughout the years have made me giggle, and until we went to Tiny Bubbles I never truly appreciated when he said leading Mommy and her friends through Las Vegas was like herding cats.

One teacher, 10 kids from the age of 18 months to 3 years, and their parents in a pool.  Most of the kids had never done this, but had been to the rec center to play in the kiddie area, and that lead to disaster as that was not open during lessons.  Definitely like herding cats.

I've learned some basics on what to teach you, and maybe when you are older if you need formal training we will try it again.  For now it's more important to just let you play on the slide in the pool for 45 minutes and not harass you.  We all win that way.

Last week, out of nowhere, you jumped.  As in you were standing in the living room, and suddenly you squatted down and launched yourself up with this wicked grin.  Now we can ask you to hop and you will do it and giggle.  I still don't know what prompted you to do this.  Though, now that I think about it, you do like to launch yourself when you are up on a bed....

That has to be a boy thing.  You want to leap and jump off everything.  Including the couch.  On your knees.  I'm prepared for broken limbs.  You are a boy and it will happen.  But you are going to put Daddy in an early grave if this continues.

You have discovered a love of playing in play tents and that prompted us to attach the tent to your toddler bed.  Which has been the greatest thing ever as far as you are concerned.  We now have to remove a good chunk of your toys from your bed for naps because you like climbing in there with everything you own in order to play. 

Lately all you have wanted to take to bed with you is your Leap Top and a truck.  I mention this because both are battery operated and make noise.  And you have rolled over onto these things in your sleep twice now, only to be awakened and ready to play rather than go back to sleep.

Both times were at way-too-early o'clock, and so I've take you to the spare room and climbed into the bed there to get you back to sleep.

We never co-slept because I didn't want to have to train you to sleep alone after having to train you to sleep with us.  These early mornings mess with both of our sleep schedules, but after you fall asleep again next to me we both get at least 2 more hours of rest.

Then comes the waking up to you snuggled in next to me, watching you sleep and look so peaceful.  And then when you do open your eyes and see me there you get the most amazing smile on your face.  We wake up and have tickle fights and giggles, and you play with my hair and just look like you are in heaven.

We had one of those mornings yesterday, and I was amazed at how much I love you.  It's been 30 months today since we welcomed you into our lives, and I can't believe you weren't here all along.

I promise to try and write more, to chronicle more of our lives together.  Next month you will get time with your Uncle Ed and then what I think will be the first Christmas you will really enjoy.  I plan to show you how to jump in puddles, and there will be time outside in the snow.

I just need you to stay little a little while longer, okay?

I love you, baby.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Level Unlocked: Gamer At Age 2

One of my favorite stories about one of my "nephews" is the one where his parents had to take away his handheld gaming device.


Well, after the little guy (who is now taller than me) was having problems with staying awake in school, even with an earlier bedtime, they walked into his room to find him playing video games.  He'd hidden it away so that after everyone had gone to bed he could fire up his game and play until he couldn't any longer.

I remember doing that as a teenager.  He wasn't that old, so he gets points for starting young.

The husband and I talk about that and have often commented on how we'd have to be careful once James was older.  Make sure that we had accounted for all gaming systems, flashlights, and set a firm bed time.

I mean, our son is 2.  We have a few years.


Ha. HA I tell you!

At the beginning of this month we picked up Diablo III for the 360 and have been playing at night once James is in bed.  It's our time to talk and unwind, and we get about 2 hours a night together this way.

Yesterday, James spent time with his great grandparents, and so by 9 was dragging himself along.  We tucked him in, shut off the light, and closed the door.

At about 10:30, our game was paused because someone thought he'd heard a noise from his room.  We listened, but there was nothing, and I told my husband he was nuts.

20 minutes later we both heard something.  Something that sounded like an episode of Super Why.

From past experience, going in to disturb James in his sleep does not end well for anyone.  So we finished our level and logged out. 

The time was now 11:05pm.  Two full hours since we'd said good night.

I opened the door to his room and there he was, in bed, with the blankets still tucked around him, eyes half open, and barely focusing on me.

With his Leap Pad in front of him.

He'd apparently been watching Super Why and after it ended was playing with his digital pet, giving it a bath and treats.

Yes, he has figured out the apps on that thing.  And apparently he functions well in the dark.

Damn his night vision.

So, that great plan for the future?  It starts tonight.

Oh, and someone had better take a nap this afternoon.  His body may have wanted more sleep, but his stomach still had him out of bed because he was ready for breakfast.  It's either a nap or one nasty evening with a 2 year old.....

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The One Where He Makes A Confession

"I think I kinda hate kids."

"Excuse me?"

"At first I thought it was little British kids with those accents in movies that made me cringe.  But after watching these kids on this cooking thing I realize that it's all of them.  They just seem too full of themselves at such an early age."


"I'm sure it will be different with James."

"Well, he'll be more like us, so I hope so."

"Yeah, we should be fine."

Mental note: I need to teach James a fake British accent.  Just for kicks.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The One Where James Talks

After 3+ years here, we've made friends.

Non-family, real, actual, friends.

Which meant going out to a casual diner and enjoying dinner and drinks on a Friday night.

With James.

Now, we are the only ones with children that are human and not of the four legged variety.  At first we wondered how this would work, and after much discussion about how this was fine, we enjoyed a night out.

James was the perfect child, coloring and playing and munching on his snacks.  We ordered him a chocolate milk, and that was the greatest thing in the world apparently.

Seriously.  Over 2 hours of talking and laughing and him playing at the table.


So, time to say goodbyes came.  We were outside the restaurant, and took James to do the rounds and give hugs and kisses.  He was a ham and snuggled up to everyone, smiling at them all.

They'd parked at one end of the restaurant, and we were headed the opposite way.  As we started walking we did the yelling of "bye" across the parking lot.

And that is when he did it.

He let go of daddy, turned back, lifted one hand, waved, and yelled, "BYE!"

They all laughed and said it back while he smiled.

It's been 3 days and we can't get him to do it again for us.  But can we say overjoyed by one simple word?

Cause, yeah.  We kinda are.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The One Where I Think We're Doing It Wrong

The next big step for James will be potty training.

While I am going to be happy to be rid of diapers, I am wary because there are a couple of crucial things I think he needs to be able to do in order to have success:

Pulling down his pants.

Telling us he needs to go.

Currently, if I say I have to pee, he runs ahead of me to the bathroom.  He lifts the lid off the toilet and then waits.

If I sit too long, he will either motion at the roll of toilet paper or just help himself to some.  I have to be quick in either scenario because if I don't get it myself he will attempt to clean my tummy for me and then try to get the toilet paper into the toilet I am still sitting on.

As soon as I no longer have contact with the seat he is flushing, checking to see it all went down, and then closing the lid and waiting for the appropriate exclamation about what a great helper he is.

See, he has the steps down.  I don't think he know what I am actually doing at all, but he know what needs to happen after.

He still is not talking.

And I'm afraid to show him how to undress because that could lead to more messes.

Why does he have to grow up?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

5 Things He Learned In 5 Weeks

We've been a family again for about a week now and there are some noticeable changes in James.

For better or worse, he has learned a lot this summer, and not from us.  His great grandparents have been actively involved as they basically took care of him for the 5 weeks we didn't have a home.

Here is what we've observed:

1) He can and will twist the top off the bottle of anything that can be twisted open.  From bubble solution to bouillon cubes, if it comes with a lid that can be unscrewed then he can get in to it.  I now understand why there is such a thing as child proof caps.

2) All door knobs are fair game.  All of them.  We have 1 cover to use to keep him from being able to open a door and have had to place it on my niece's door.  He just wants to go in there and see her.  And take her bottles of lotion.  Which is a problem due to item 1 on this list.

3) Climbing up on things has accelerated.  He has figured out all the beds, and likes to be up there with us all the time.  It's cute, but it scares my husband.  Apparently he walked out of the room to get a roll of toilet paper for our bathroom, walked back in 20 seconds later, and was greeted by James sitting in the middle of our king size bed smiling at him. This may not end well.

4) Going up and down steps is something he wants to do all the time.  And he prefers to attempt it alone.  He won't fight you taking his hand, but he gives this dirty look as if to say that he was doing fine without you.  This goes for steps in and out of buildings as well as the slide at the park and indoor pool.

5) Getting up in the glider/rocker and swinging his body in order to get movement is the greatest source of giggles ever.  They taught him "rock the baby" and so or glider has been moved from a corner of one room out to the living room so he can sit himself in it.  It's not an everyday thing, but I think it's a little safer than climbing on our bed.  For now.

Leaps and bounds.  He is learning and growing in leaps and bounds.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

They Grow So Fast

James came home Tuesday after his nap. 

I honestly think that once he saw his things it took all of 2 minutes to decide he was not going anywhere.  When his great-grandparents left he had no problems closing the door for them.

Getting him out to do some shopping was a little harder, but we made it.

The big thing about his homecoming was that we moved him to a toddler bed immediately.  After 5 weeks of sleeping in a playpen I think that he was ready for anything.

And once again he made it so easy.

No crying, no falling out of bed, no playing with toys.  He went right to sleep that night, and we started a new routine for ourselves.

We always close the door when James is put to bed.  For naps we leave it closed the entire time he is asleep, and open it at the end of nap time only.  At night it is closed until we go to bed and then we have always opened it to allow for circulation through the night.

He is loving his new freedom, and has learned a lot in the last month, so our fear was that he would wander into the kitchen and start going through everything if we kept sleeping.

So we bought a baby gate.

On the way to our room we stop, open his door, make sure he is covered, and then leave and put the gate in his doorway.

Two nights down and no problems.  He gets up and immediately plays with his things.

In fact the first morning we were awakened by his playing on his keyboard.

The other piece we were hoping for was that he would be comfortable getting in and out of bed.

Yesterday morning we watched him playing in his bed quietly with toys after breakfast.  I think he has finally found a nice place to sit.

Of course he is also doing things that made us laugh and wonder if he was growing up TOO soon.

Remember how I said he is loving his new freedom?

He really has full reign of the place, and we make an effort to place things out of reach so he doesn't hurt himself.

Not having the majority of his toys for 5 weeks means that he is examining everything and loving things he had minimal interest before.

So when I walked in to his room yesterday and saw him sitting in his bed all I could was smile.

James had taken his Leap Top, a toy laptop, in to bed to play with.  It's something he has seen us all do, even my niece.

What I wasn't expecting to see were the 2 bottles of baby lotion in the bed next to him.

Lotion and a laptop.  My husband burst out laughing and said all he was missing was a box of tissues.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The One Where The Door Is Slammed In My Face

The carpet installers arrived Friday.

With only enough carpet for the 3 bedrooms.  Leaving the hallway, dining room, and living room still a concrete mess with carpet tacks along the edge.

Needless to say that James has not come home as planned.

We visit him nightly.  Either we play there or go to a park or the mall or swimming.  Something to get him out and spend time with us.

He has come to call their place home.  He gets excited when we pull up to the house.

The first few nights he wasn't completely okay with us leaving.

It's gotten better.  Now he kisses us good bye.  His great grandma has taught him to give big hugs, and he shares those with us.

We stand at the door and blow kisses as he giggles.

Then he slams the door in our faces because he is done with us.

This has been the worst (almost) 4 weeks ever.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Exhaustion, My Old Nemesis

Today we are taking a break from parenting.

I know, you are rolling your eyes.

We haven't been full time parents since July 9th.  But I think it's been harder this way.

Working 40 hours, grabbing dinner, and then finding something to do with a  2 year old until his bedtime is exhausting enough when you are at home.  Add the complication that you can't take him home and have to do other things and then drop him off with family to sleep....

So tonight we are taking a break from 3 weeks of non-stop moving.

Two more nights after tonight

Just two more nights.

Then I can bring my baby home.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Never Ever Say You Have A Plan

We are still without carpet.  Which means that James is not home with us.

The weekends have meant time at a hotel so that I can spend every moment with him.  This has lead to swimming and play time at the mall and a dip into co-sleeping.

He has loved every moment of snuggling with me.  I sleep well with him next to me.  Overall it is a win.

Before we move on after our flooding we have to deal with how life is deviating from our plans.

The husband missed work for a week because of the flood.  Then he managed to catch a bug from James, and had to miss one more night.

By this point we had moved back in to concrete floors, so we moved his equipment back in so he could work from home.

And his work phone broke.

So he called in and explained the situation.  They said something about their attendance policy and asked him to submit a resignation letter rather than firing him outright.

With that our lives with 2 incomes came to an abrupt end.

The positive take away: we are out of debt again.  No outstanding bills over our heads, so we are just back on a budget.

Add to that a friend who manages a store in the mall who has been asking my husband to apply and help out 2-3 days a week, part-time.

Which leads to his job interview in 1 hour with her and hopefully him starting work again soon.

So, I'm not saying we have a plan anymore.  Every time we say that out loud then all hell breaks loose apparently.

Right now we have a direction.  An idea.  A glimmer.

And Friday we will have carpets and my son will come home.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Actually Envy Noah

When the great flood happened in the Bible, Noah received advanced warning, and so had his belongings, family, and all those animals all set to go.

There was not rush or worry about what would happen to their belongings.

Especially not their electronics.

Last Wednesday there was some flooding in Roanoke, and our apartment was a part of it.

Enough so that the carpeting in our bedroom could be seen FLOATING in the center where there were no carpet tacks holding it to the ground or padding.

Once more, even in the worst scenario, we lucked out.

James was in his crib - supposed to be napping, but not really doing that - and we were all home.  We saw it in the living room, so I called the landlord/property guy, and he said he would be over within the hour.

And here is where timing is our friend.

Working from home, I'm normally in shorts and shirt or a nightgown.  That day was nightgown day, so I had to go back to our room - the 1 room in the place exposed to the outside on more than 1 wall - to get some clothes on before we had anyone come in.

The carpet was wet.  Really wet.  And I yelled for my husband.

The next 90 minutes was a blur.  Great grandparents were called for James, all electronics were unplugged and moved to higher ground, and my niece was getting her things up and then moving to James' room to get all his things up off the ground.

I don't know how, but we are only losing 5 pieces of furniture: 1 bookcase, a nightstand, 2 dressers, and my husband's desk.  Nothing else was lost or ruined.  I think that's the fastest we have ever moved.

Working from home has helped us both in the last 3 years, but Wednesday would have been an even bigger disaster if we had not been there.  A typical workday would have meant another 2 hours before either of us was home to see the damage.

We spent 3 nights in a hotel, and tonight will be our 3rd with my MIL.  James has spent all but 2 nights with his great grandparents.  He actually seems upset to leave their house when we have taken him.

This was the first morning that I haven't had to run around and move things or drive people or take care of anyone.

I slept 11 hours last night because of that knowledge.

Work begins again tomorrow.  I was supposed to be on vacation and at Myrtle Beach with James, but life happened as it always does, and so a real vacation is on hold.

Noah had a plan and was lucky.

Right now I just want to sleep for another 12 hours if that's okay.

Monday, July 8, 2013

3 Minutes of Honest Reflection

The day we picked up the keys to our new place in February I learned that my closest friend in CA was expecting her 2nd child.

I believe my exact words were "I am so jealous of you right now."

The husband was not thrilled.

Fast forward 3 weeks and we were in the middle of a pregnancy watch.  Which was never really a pregnancy watch, just the stress of the move and irregular pill taking, and eating bad food.

I remember the sadness over not having gotten that positive test result.  While it's not what we both wanted at that moment, I just had hoped that maybe it would happen.

Last month I had a surge in appetite and extreme sleepiness.  My niece asked if I was pregnant or something, so we bought the home test and I peed on the stick.

We couldn't tell if it was in imperfection in the plastic or a faint line, so I called the doctor, had blood drawn, and eventually confirmed another negative.

This time, the result didn't depress me.  James is at a point where we see potty training as a possibility.  We have 2 incomes and are comfortable for a change.  We have a plan!

I think I've mentioned this all before.

Since there was still no cycle this week, I picked up a test on Saturday just to make sure.

That was the longest 3 minutes of my life.

I've gone from wishing we could have at least one more to hoping that our family of 3 stays like that.

Everything I need is here.  Everything I want I have.

That negative result made me so happy that I think I was dancing the rest of the day without realizing it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

He Loves Me

As we near the end of week 5 of husband working, life is getting more into a groove.

I know my busy days of work, so I ask the great grandparents to take him.

Sundays I work to get organized during James' nap so that on Monday I am starting with a clean in box.  It helps me sleep at night because I know I am all set.

I tend to work an extra 45 minutes to an hour each night.  I'm in no rush to cook, so I try to get as much as I can done while I can.

James knows that if I am in the dining room in front of this infernal machine that I am busy.  I don't know how, but he manages to play and entertain himself, occasionally coming to me for small things or to laugh and sing.

Earlier this week he surprised me by doing something he has never done to me.

We had been playing on the couch during a break for me and he wandered off to his room after a while to do something.  I returned to my seat at the table and went back to work.  After about 5 minutes he came out, looked around and came to stand by my seat.  He reached up, grabbed my hand in the middle of typing, and pulled me.

I was escorted back to the couch and pushed to take a seat.  And then he climbed up and began to play with me as if he had never left the room in the first place.

There was no way I was going to go back to work after that until nap time.

The same thing happened that night.

We were all on the couch, and I eventually moved to the floor so he couldn't tackle me.  When he left the room I moved to the dining room to check email.  He came running in, pulled me back to the couch, and made sure I sat while he stood grinning up at me.

Someone loves me.  And I'm so happy to be pulled back in to his life when he wants me.

Which, luckily, is all the time.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's A Routine At Least.....

One of the jokes from James' birthday party was that we should have just bought him a pile of light switches and put them in a kitchen cupboard.

He is obsessed.

All lights must be one.  All day.  Every day.

And he has to be the one that turns them on.

While it makes me a little insane most days, it has a great advantage at least twice a day.

You see, when it's time for bed, James knows that the lights are turned off.

No, I haven't started reading to my child at sleep time so he unwinds.

I carry him around the house and he turns off all the lights that he turned on when he got out of bed.

This works for naps and bedtime at the end of the day.  It is amazing how there is no fight in him because he turned out the lights and knows it is time to sleep.  And if he isn't sleepy then he won't turn off the lights.

No matter what.

The other comedic part of this tale?

When his great grandparents come to pick him up, he is so excited to go that he greets them at the door and literally squeals.

Then goes running from room to room to turn off the lights.

This is the same thing if we get dressed and tell him we are going out.  He gets his socks and shoes on and then starts turning out lights.

He won't leave the house unless all the lights are out, and checks every room before leaving.

On the one hand the kid is in debt for his share of the electricity bill each month.

On the other hand, he will never leave a light on while out of the house.

I'm seriously thinking of getting him a step stool to climb on, but I'm afraid he'd either fall and break something or just stand on it turning the same light on and off for hours.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Life From The Toilet

Sadly, the title of this post has a lot to do with this last week.

I'm currently in the bathroom while James takes a bath.  Sitting on the closed toilet.  Taking a 5 minute break from working.

From the bathroom.

These days, some of the only peace I get are in the bathroom.

Not ours, though.

Since the change in life (AKA Husband has a job), James has been more of a mommy's boy than ever.  I am loving the extra cuddles after nap time and before bed time.  He doesn't want anything more than to let me hold him and hug him, all while he hums this odd tune that makes me think of a waltz.

But this also means that if I leave the living room he comes looking for me.

Internets, I have resorted to using the bathroom with the lights off, with only the iPhone as company and a way to see my surroundings.  If he sees the bathroom light is on from under the crack of the door then he will lay there, sometimes crying, sometimes just saying "mama" over and over again, until I reappear.

I seriously do not know which one I prefer.

Today, Daddy had time before logging in to spend in the living room with us.  James was ecstatic to play, but mad when it was over and the door closed.  I lasted 35 minutes and then filled the tub.

James brought his caps and tub toys, threw them in 1 by 1, and has been in there peacefully playing and humming his waltz.

I have managed to complete 4 little projects and get prepped for the major one that will occupy his nap time for me this afternoon.

Last night, I admitted to my husband that I understood why, after a week of me working, he'd ask if we could drop him off with his great grandparents so we could get out alone.  I didn't get it just 3 short weeks ago.  I wanted to take James places with us and enjoy him.

Last night, after a family grilling session, I asked them to take the boy so we could go to Target and play for an hour.

I love my son, and feel a little guilty for admitting it, but I needed the break.  No laptop.  No work phones.

No James.

Which means that arriving to pick him up was so much fun.  He was laughing and playing and running through their house.  We all got hugs and kisses.  He came home exhausted and was asleep 20 minutes later.

I'm thinking that he needs these breaks as much as we do.

Now, if you'll excuse me, someone is staring at his fingers and trying to smooth out the wrinkles from sitting in the water for too long.  A little shampoo, some soap, and a quick rinse will finish this break for me.

And then we are off once again....

Monday, June 10, 2013

Single Mothering: An Adventure in Exhaustion

We are starting week 3 of 5 weeks of training for my husband.

In the end, he will be working evenings, and other than needing to sleep in each morning, he will be around for the main parts of James' day.

For now, he works from 10-6:30 each day.

I work from 8:30-5 each day.

James wakes up around 8 each day.

My day never ends.

Luckily I've had help, but the crazy work going on for me is major, and will continue for another 3 weeks at least.  James has been okay most days, though you can tell he misses having his daddy to play with all day.

There are moments where he is tethered to my side, and luckily he will bring some things and ask to get in his high chair to sit with me.  It makes it easier, but I still have to practice typing one thing while saying another, all while not looking at my monitor.

Which I think is why I need a nap by 3 each afternoon.

And why I'm glad I haven't had to do this all alone for the last 2 years.

Meanwhile, my plans to attempt potty training are on hold.  He still isn't "talking", and until we are more in a routine in 3 weeks where we can work with him, it's not a priority.

What is?

Making each day as normal as possible and keep James on his normal schedule.

That and figuring out how to sneak a nap in without work knowing......

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fun Without Electronics

James' birthday presents included 2 large electronic toys and plenty of other things to play with as well.

My sister bought him a LeapTop by Leap Frog, and we programmed it with his name and info.  So far the music is what he loves the most.  It's not meant for "throwing" so we've made sure to put it someplace safe that he can play with it and not hurt it.

We bought him a LeapPad in the vain hope that he would leave my iPhone and Kindle Fire alone.  It almost has completed this, but because his new favorite game is on my phone that may not end soon.

There were 2 big hits for him, though.

The Little People Farm from Fisher Price was a gift from my mom, and he can't help but play with it and giggle.  He loves animal noises, and when he can swing a gate and it makes a "mooooo" noise he is happy.  He is also loving stacking the animals in the silo.

And then there is the one thing that keeps him busy and quiet for long stretches at a time:

He loves to open and close the doors to the oven, fridge, and microwave.  I've caught him putting play food and his Batman toy in a skillet and playing it on different surfaces.
This has taken over the space in our living room where the husband's desk once was.  With his new job, he is in our bedroom all day, using it as an office.  James uses our living room as his own kitchen.
His other latest obsession?

Making them stick to the fridge, his high chair, the oven, and the microwave cart is funny to watch.
Digging them out from under the fridge, his high chair, the oven, and the microwave cart isn't as much fun.
But he is playing and being active and figuring things out.
The old-fashioned way.  Which is actually pretty quiet.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

He Knows, But He Won't Say It

The age of 2 got off to an interesting start.

He turned 2 the 25th, and on the 26th proved that he knows what he wants more than we do.

It was a typical Sunday, which meant we stayed home in pajamas and took it easy.  When James got up from his nap, he was ready to eat, but wanted only yogurt.

Totally doable.  We buy the Greek yogurt with fruit.  If he is going to be picky about his foods then I will find a way to do it with healthy options.

So, Greek yogurt and a glass of chocolate milk.

We all can't be perfect, right?

My MIL and SIL came over to set up a new laptop, and after that and a visit they headed home.  It was now almost 8, and we went in the kitchen to get ourselves a snack.

Followed by someone grunting and waving his arms.

You see, James' snacks are in various areas of the kitchen:

Veggie chips are in a corner with our chips.

The 2 ton container of animal crackers is on top of the fridge.

The Goldfish crackers are in the cupboard on the top shelf.

Oddly, this configuration has helped eliminate the game of "what do you want?" when he won't say anything to us.

When he stands under the cupboard and points up, we know it's for Goldfish.

Or so we thought.....

After he smacked the bag out of daddy's hand twice, I turned around from the other counter and realized he was still pointing up.

And directly at the box of Easy Mac that he could see.

5 minutes later he was inhaling that.

He still won't say much, but he knows the words.  And where everything is.

And I mean everything.

Last night?  He pointed at the cupboard again.  We opened the left door and he was mad.  We opened the right door and he smiled.

Right at the package of Nesquik.

He loves his chocolate milk.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The One Where Everything Has Changed

So, life here in the last few weeks took an interesting turn.

We received a bill from the old apartment for the final rent plus clean up fees.

All I am going to say is that we are NEVER getting a cat again.  EVER. 

Oddly, the amount was the much needed kick to adding another income to our household.

After 3 1/2 years, my husband applied for a job.  And got it!

He will be working from home in the evenings as a phone representative, with his shift starting while James is napping and only overlapping my workday for 30 minutes.  The only change to our lives is that he will need to sleep in so I have to get up, but luckily James isn't an early riser anymore.

Once we get things paid we will have a 2nd income each month that will basically go towards things we need and a couple of wants for both of us.

I joked with a friend that I don't feel right buying Lotto tickets since we've managed some good karma and gotten lucky with life.

Pretty freaking lucky.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You'd Think They Were Scalping Him

James will be 2 in 11 days.

I still think of him as my baby.  He is my little scruffy man.  Just look at that face!

The only thing I really wanted to do was get him a haircut before his birthday.  We are doing a party, and I have an outfit picked out, so I wanted to make sure he was cleaned up.
So that's what we did Saturday.
And I am so glad the place was empty.
He was fine until the lady touched him.  Then he spend the next 15 minutes crying as I held him in my lap and she trimmed him down.  There was enough hair on the floor when we were done to make a small Ewok.
And James was not happy at all.
That is the face of someone who is not so thrilled about what happened.
It is also the face of someone who is growing too fast for me.
After a trip to the grocery store, someone came home and played in the tub for 20 minutes and came out acting as if nothing had happened at all.

Can someone explain to me why boys head straight for rocks and mud as soon as they are clean?  It took my a bit to get the mud out from under his nails, but he is so happy playing there that I didn't want to make him stop.  The landscapers are going to hate us though.  My son has shown he has a strong throwing arm with all those rocks you see there. 

So, he's a little man now.  He looks like he is ready for business, and so much older.

All in 15 minutes.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Observations From Someone New

We've now finished 2 weeks with my youngest niece staying with us.

She's adjusting to life here slowly.  James and his early morning routine isn't helping too much.

He has a habit of opening and shutting cabinets.  Loudly.  Starting around 8am.

While last weekend she went to see her husband on base, this weekend she stayed home with us to relax a little.  It was her first weekend with us, and last night she made an observation to my husband's family that I hadn't thought about.

She told them that she liked me not being in front of a lap top all day long and getting to do things with me.

And that must be exactly what my son thinks, too.

Monday through Friday I actually have a paying job.  I spend all day working on projects and doing my day to day things for them.  I finish at 5, make dinner, and then finally get to sit somewhere where there isn't a computer monitor in front of me.

Her observation started a conversation about how James reacts to my time away from the laptop.

Lately, when I get up to work, James will come to the dining room where I am at and tries to climb into his high chair.  He wants to sit at the table while I work, usually with my iPhone on, for about 45 minutes.  Then he will go play and do his thing.  If I get up at any time, his spidey sense goes off and he is at my side.  Whether I am pouring some lemonade or using the bathroom, there he is.

His nap overlaps with my last 3 hours of work, so when I finish he is waking up.  And from then until bedtime I have a shadow.

This weekend, my niece watched as he went everywhere with me, tagging along and helping.  We saw a movie on Saturday (OMG - Iron Man 3!  GO!!), and he spent 4 hours with his great grandparents.  When we arrived to pick him up, my husband and niece walked in first and I could hear him squeal with excitement.

When I walked in he hopped off the recliner he was sharing with his great grandma and ran at me with his arms open.

That was the most wonderful hug I have ever gotten.

He missed me.

I try to spend time throughout the day with him as work allows.  But the last few weeks have been real work, and so that hasn't been as easy.

So the weekends are his.  He and I watch cartoons and play and wrestle.  I take him with me to run errands and make sure he gets to help in the kitchen.  He gets all the hugs and kisses, and he returns them so easily to me.

My husband jokes that he apparently just isn't enough for him.

I have to explain that it's different.

I've just known James longer than anyone else.  And James knows that.

Friday, May 3, 2013

A Farmer He Will Be

Yesterday, James went with his great grandparents to help prepare the backyard at his grandpa's house.

They started the planting for what great grandpa would like to grow this year.  We are expecting a wide assortment of peppers, tomatoes, corn, green beans, cantaloupe, and some zucchini and cucumber.

While great grandpa was planting, grandpa was setting up a canopy tent and backyard furniture for great grandma.

James came home exhausted.  Flat out exhausted.  He had been running all over the yard, playing with rocks and dirts, some old pots and pans, and "helping" for about 4 hours.  They bought him some fries for lunch, and he devoured those with his yogurt and a glass of milk.

When he woke up for 3+ hours of sleeping, dinner was no problem for a change.  He inhaled his macaroni and cheese.  He danced.  Then he snacked some more.  No whining.  Just happiness and joy and then bedtime with no whining.

My son the farmer, apparently.

Further proof he needs the time outdoors to be a boy.  And lots of it.

Monday, April 29, 2013

You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

Last week was just miserable.

Sunday night I noticed my throat wasn't feeling right.

Monday morning the runny nose added to the soar throat and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed.

Tuesday James started fusssing.  Apparently his next wave of teething had begun.

Wednesday I was feeling human just as James' nose started to run.

Thursday James was a giant mass of snot and drool.

Friday I was on the mend, James was eating and playing and happy.  Still a mass of snot and drool though.

Saturday was a lazy day where I slept.  ALOT.  James did well, and it looked like we were in the clear.

Sunday my husband woke up with a sore throat and runny nose.

This is the cold that never ends.....

Friday, April 19, 2013

Almost 3 Years Later

In a matter of days it will be 3 years since my husband and I arrived in Virginia.

We made the cross country drive with the help of his father and grandfather in roughly 4 days.  It took us another 5 to unpack the moving van completely and start organizing our lives here.

A year later we moved and soon were parents.

In another 5 weeks from tomorrow or son will be 2.

Tonight we drive to a town about 45 minutes west to pick up the youngest of my sister's twin daughters.  Her husband is now serving in the Army, and he will be completing his next phase of training about 200 miles or so from us.  She'll be with us for at least 12 weeks, longer if he stays or is deployed and she wants to.

This has me thinking of the last 3 years, and what has and hasn't changed.

I would eat a country fried steak at Cracker Barrel before going to a steak house any night of the week.  Outback used to be the favorite in CA, but here it's Cracker Barrel, with Logan's running a close second.  I just love the more casual and home cooked feel of everything.

I would give my right arm for a Cheesecake Factory.  I miss those dessert runs, sitting in a booth with my brother and husband and talking.

Jack In The Box is something I still crave.  There are days where being able to roll through a drive-thru and bringing home cheesy potato wedges and egg rolls at midnight would really hit the spot.

I love being able to see the sunset here and know the colors are truly from nature and not just reflections in the pollution in the air.  Breathing is different here, and I felt it there last November.

There is no such thing as rush hour here.  The traffic may get a little heavier in areas, but it is nothing compared to what the highways were like back west.  When my husband says he doesn't like driving during rush hour I still laugh at him to this day. 

I miss my family daily.  There are things that remind of them everywhere, especially my sister and our love of movies.  It is amazing to be able to send her a text with a quote from a song or movie that is on and she knows it from the one line and can immediately right me back with the next line or more.

Life has moved on, people have grown and changed.  I knew that this was where I wanted to grow old, and I have no regrets.  With my niece here I will be getting a little taste of the things I miss to keep me company for a while.  I hope she is able to enjoy it and not feel so homesick.

We just need them to put in a Cheesecake Factory.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The One Where His Height Will Doom Me One Day

Tuesday afternoon.  James was asleep.  Husband was playing his new game.  I had work that had to be done in the last 2 hours of my business day.

So I did what I normally do in crunch moments: Informed my other half that I was putting in my ear buds, blasting some music, and hunkering down.  He needed to listen for James, and I would reappear at 5 to make dinner.

I then spent the next 20 minutes looking for my ear buds before borrowing my husband's so I could actually work.

Why did I have to hunt?

Because some one's height is annoying right now.

And he's learning to walk on tip toe and stretch out for things.

I have found my wireless mouse in so many rooms it isn't even funny.  Now he tries to take pens and Kindle and iPhone from every low perch in the place.

It's to the point where I have to put things on a high bookcase - we are talking a tall 5 shelf one - in order to keep them out of reach.  So far he has no interest in climbing, thank the Users.

This is now an extra step/precaution when I want to get a glass of water or even use the bathroom.  If I leave the office for a split second, his Spidey sense goes off and by the time I get back the lap top is closed and the mouse is with him, practically under the bed as he clicks the buttons.

Oh, and he's found the on/off switch on the bottom and loves it.

I'm glad he's growing, I really am.

But does he have to want my stuff?

I'm off to dig through his toy chest for my ear buds.  Luckily they were in their case, right?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting In Some Mileage

With the weather finally doing what that stupid groundhog said it was supposed to do weeks ago, I treated myself to some new clothes.

This means I spent $40 on 2 pairs of shorts and a t-shirt at Old Navy, and then dropped another chunk of change on sandals at Zappos that were not by Birkenstock or just some cheap flip flops.

Another sign of getting older: I actually am shopping rationally and carefully.

The t-shirt I bought in my actual size, which is 1 size down from last summer, and fits just like it is supposed.  Which to me is odd because I normally go for baggy.  Baggy is comfy, and when I sit I don't feel self-conscious about things.

I think I look good in the new clothes, but I have been feeling frumpy. 

Spring to me always makes me want to exercise.  Some people do massive amounts of cleaning, I want to walk or do something.  Winter here is so cold, and I am quite content to spend it inside, so now it's all about the birds singing.  The windows and patio door being open for fresh air.  James playing with a pile of rocks as the breeze blows through that mane of hair that needs a desperate haircut. 

The in-laws had two pieces of exercise equipment in their basement collecting dust.  One was an exercise bike, and the other a treadmill.  After years of yard sales, neither item made it outside to be sold as someone would say they would still use them.  Not to mention that they didn't skimp on the equipment, so it's good and durable.

And now that treadmill is next to me in my office/the guest bedroom.

It arrived last Thursday, and I maneuvered it into position while my husband and FIL were out running errands.  Friday I put on my shoes once James was down for a nap, placed the Kindle in position to read, and walked my first mile.

The weekend was spent running errands and gardening with the great-grandparents, so no treadmill.

But yesterday I added another mile.  And today my third.

3 miles down.  Many more to go.

I refuse to stress about losing weight.  That's never worked for me.  But if I can just get a little leaner, a little fitter, so that we can do a beach trip this summer and enjoy it.

That's the goal.

Considering I look forward to this mile everyday, I think it will work.

Here goes nothing...

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Perfect Spot

We purchased our first real couch and it arrived last Wednesday.

Let me explain about that.

When I moved out of my mom's, my first place had no real couch.  After being there a little while my sister had to move and had no place for her furniture.  I took the couch and used that there. 

From there I moved into my first real apartment and that couch came with me.  When my mom moved out of her place, I took the futon that had been in her apartment and junked the couch.  It really was dying thanks to some pets I had had, and so the futon worked.

After the apartment came the mobile home I rented with my husband and brother.  My brother needed a bed and had a couch, so the futon became his bed and we used his couch in the living room.

The move to Virginia has us leaving anything and everything behind.  My in-laws gifted us with a couch and loveseat that they had purchased used from a friend of theirs.

Now, the material was a micrfiber and trapped heat really well.  Great for me.  Not so great for the husband, and now the munchkin.  They both run warm, and there was no way to get them comfortable in it.

Fast forward 3 years and we decided it was time to actually pick something out we both liked that would give us support.


See that corner they are in?  My husband tested it specifically for comfort at the furniture store.  Also but sections are long enough that he can lay without his feet dangling.  He is 6'3", so that's pretty impressive.
The couch has been here for 2 days and James has already realized that that corner is daddy's.  They watched Super Why together there yesterday.  Today, daddy sat at the end and helped James climb up.  The munchkin proceeded to crawl to the corner and then started indicating at it and then grunting for daddy to move there.  As soon as he was situated there, James hopped into his lap to watch his show.
I think we found the perfect couch for us.

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's In His Genes

Isn't that the greatest Captain Morgan pose you've ever seen?
Not that he even knows what he is doing.  Just that mommy took out her iPhone and he was caught standing there with one leg up.
He won't know Captain Morgan for a couple of decades.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Maybe I Should Find New TV Shows To Watch...

People who know me also know that I don't do scary movies of any kind.

I think I've written before about watching the Alien movies: 1 a week, on Saturday morning, with the lights on and blinds open.  I didn't want to run the risk of something keeping me from being able to sleep.

So, my choice in television shows seems a bit odd knowing that.  I mean, they aren't exactly chest bursters every night, but I prefer things like Supernatural, Grimm, and The Following.

And I think they are starting to influence the way I see things.....

For example, our first night in the new place.

When James goes down to sleep, we close his bedroom door.  During naps, the door stays closed for the whole time.  At night, on our way to bed, we open his door so that he gets the benefit of the heater or AC as he is sleeping.

That first night, we went through the normal routine.  On my way to bed, I saw the bedroom door open and assumed that my husband had opened the door and gotten him snuggled with blankets. I climbed into bed, turned out the lights, and fell asleep.  The next morning, I mentioned the door to him, and he said he hadn't done it. 

My first reaction: we have a ghost.

Logical, no?

That second night, as we closed the door, I made sure to pull hard on it.  Turns out that if you don't do that then his bedroom door slips open slowly.

So, no ghost.  Lesson learned.

Or so you would think.

We normally leave all the doors open throughout the apartment except for 3: guest room closet, James' closet, and the linen closet outside the guest bathroom.

Over the last week, I've noticed that the guest bathroom door was closed at odd times of the day.  Neither of us had been down there, so I immediately went back to my go to reason for anything odd happening.

A ghost.

On Tuesday of this week, I went in to use the bathroom, and my favorite shadow followed me.  James has a habit of following me in, pushing me down to sit, waiting for me to finish, helping me flush the toilet, and then after making sure the water has gone down he will close the toilet.

I see it as early training.  He knows to flush and put the seat down.  Mommy is going to win this one!

After I washed my hands, I picked him up to turn off the light, set him down, and then walked out and told him to come with me.

I stopped and looked back in time to see him grab the door knob and pull the door closed.

He was on tip toes for part of it, but he did it.

So, no, we aren't haunted.  There doesn't appear to be a ghost here.

My son is just getting tall.  And learning to use door knobs.

To be honest, I'm not sure which I would prefer.

I need him to be my baby just a little bit longer....

And a ghost would have been so cool.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Toddler As A Second Language

Thanks to the will my son has inherited from both of our genes we are being forced to learn another language.

All before he grasps ours completely.

I know that he thinks he is speaking clearly.  But the ramblings he gives us are more along the lines of something that really requires subtitles.  Or a full time interpreter.
The real kicker?

Get it wrong and he has a meltdown.

Case in point: snacks.

Before we could put anything in a bowl and he'd be content.  Now, though, you have to go with him to the kitchen and present him with all his options.  Cookie Crisp, 2 different kinds of Cheerios, and a tub of Animal Crackers courtesy of Sam's Club are proffered.

9 out of 10 times that will be it.

But, you see, my son has memorized where the good snacks are hiding.

So a shake of the head, a point to another cupboard or cookie jar, all these most be taken note of in order to ascertain if what you are currently juggling will work or if you will have to move fast for something else.

My husband is slowly realizing this. 

I just diffused a bomb that was about to blow because James had been eating a bowl of Cookie Crisp just fine and then suddenly went into the kitchen and began to whine.

The cause?

Well, he didn't want a sweet snack anymore.  Daddy kept saying that he had something in his bowl, but that wasn't fixing it.

Took 2 minutes, but I pinpointed what the new snack needed to be and got that out in time to prevent any further complications.

James is now happily sitting with both snacks at his desk and watching the news.

Don't even get me started about dinner time here....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Perspective On The Life of Someone With A Child

My cousin is finishing her 2nd year in vet school, and so keeping in contact can be a little hard at times.  Her last email to me asked me the question that I've chosen for the title of this blog.

I've been staring at her email for over 2 weeks, and wasn't sure on the response.

See, I always wanted to be a mommy.

Last November, I spent a Saturday in CA with two of my oldest friends and their wives.  One of them watched me with James and said that when he heard that I was pregnant all he could think was that it sounded right.

I've always taken care of people.  I don't know why, but I have.  At one point some friends were calling my place "Grace's Home for Wayward Boys".  Whenever they needed it, they knew they had a couch to sleep on and warm food to eat.  From running from abusive families to needing a place to crash during a separation, I've housed them all.

James is such a part of my every day, and has been from the moment I knew I was pregnant, that to me it doesn't feel like life has changed so as morphed into its next phase.  It's just another part of my life, a part of me, that I just have taken in stride.

Yes, I have to make arrangements for things.  Some chores are only done when he is napping or out with the great-grandparents.  Movies are missed more often than seen in theaters.  My trips to Vegas are long gone.  Even a day out means counting diapers, grabbing wipes, and making sure I have snacks and bendy straws available.  Not to mention watching for loose tennis shoes as someone has learned how to slide them off without using his hands.  Sneaky little Hobbit.

Life is life.  Sometimes it goes too slowly.  Some nights I look around the living room after James is asleep and wonder if I ever had a life before him.  And, yes, some nights I wonder if I will ever get that other part of me back that never thought about remembering the last time a diaper was changed or someone pooped.

I'm lucky to work from home, and luckier even to have a husband who is there for us when we need it.  I write all this as someone comes to my desk with tiny fingers and starts opening and closing everything, knowing that any minute I'll tell him to stop.  Once again, testing his boundaries and my patience all at once.

Life with a child is a challenge.  It's not a 9-5 job, but something that really is a part of every second of the day.  Even when he's asleep I am listening for a cry or yell from a bad dream, and giggle when he talks in his sleep as apparently my side of the family does.  The parenting thing never really stops, not even when I'm asleep at night.

When I think of it like that it seems a little overwhelming.  But so satisfying.

There are no exams or lectures on how to do it all.  No one is grading my work or his, giving critiques on how things were handled or completed.  For me, as long as we get through another day, he continues to grow and learn, and the appropriate number of bowel movements have happened, it's a success.

Day by day.  Each lesson learned, one at a time.

It's just life.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Desperately Seeking....Something

It snowed again yesterday.

Make a note.  April 4th and we got snow that was note expected at all.  There wasn't even time for the county to salt the major roads.

The sun is out today, and we are supposed to see warmer temps over the weekend.  That will be a happy change, and one I am looking forward to.

When I was a teenager, this time of the year always meant school was about to wind down and my summer job was starting up.

I ever tell you I worked at an amusement park?  It was so much fun running the rides and hanging out with friends.  These were the friendships built on something other than classwork.  These are the ones that somehow seemed to mean more.

Yesterday one of them posted a picture on FB and I immediately thought of someone I hadn't thought of in years.  By some weird coincedence she saw the same pic and thought of me, and not too long after added me.  It was some sort of perfect timing.

Which got me to thinking of all the things out there.  The people we've touched with our own lives and what they may be up too.

And that led to a game of FB searching (stalking is such an ugly word) that has me smiling and remembering them all today.

And also adding people that I should have added a long time ago just to catch up.

Spring is around the corner, and with it comes the promise of something new.  I'm itching for it so badly these days and I'm not sure why.  Maybe because James will be 2 in just 7 weeks.  Maybe because my niece will be here in 2 weeks to stay for a few months.

Maybe it's cause that groundhog got it wrong and I just don't have the patience to wait longer for warmer weather.

Stupid groundhog.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Parenting WIN!

Saturday night we both sat down and began the process of filling plastic Easter eggs.

While James is too young to grasp the concept, one of his aunts is 10 and still young enough to enjoy playing with him and doing these things.  She was coming over, had planned to hide eggs with him, and then play with him while teaching him to hunt for them.

The plastic egg set had multiple colors, so I sorted boy colors and girl colors, and then divided the neutral eggs so they'd each have some yellow and orange ones

For my SIL we had bought a bag of mini peanut butter cups.  Her favorites.  I placed 1 or 2 in each egg and then tossed them in a bucket.

For James I had originally thought of putting a few mini M&Ms in each so they would rattle and we'd be able to tell which were his of the neutral ones.

I was about to start filling his when I thought of the issues we were about to run into.  Like chocolate melting.  Or him realizing the eggs had things in them and then eating all of the chocolate in one mad dash.

So, plan change.

We opted for Goldfish crackers.  He had a bag of the rainbow colored ones, so I put 5 fish in each egg.

And we were right!

See, James had been playing with one egg for the last 2 weeks.  He'd figured out how to open them and close them.  As soon as the first egg he picked up began to rattle you could tell he was thinking about what was going on.

And he opened the egg with no problem and devoured the little fish as quick as he could.

And that's pretty much all he wanted to do for dinner.  With a side of grilled cheese.

I think we won that round.  He enjoyed his Easter basket, complete with Spider-Man sandals for summer, and devoured crackers like it was the greatest thing ever.

We didn't have a toddler with a chocolate high and then horrible crash later.

What a great Easter!

Monday, March 25, 2013

You're Killing Me, Phil!

With Easter coming up I have been itching for the promise of Spring.

I have shorts, t-shirts, and my Birkenstocks waiting.  James has new outfits, and for Easter I have been told he is getting sandals with Spider-Man.

Last week's trip to DC was wonderful because I was able to enjoy the capital without having to wear a heavy jacket.

Then on Friday the weather reports changed.

Saturday we did our grocery shopping and I announced that it could snow or sleet or hail for all I cared.  We were stocked and ready to go.

Sunday at 11am it started.

It just kept snowing.  By 2pm we knew that we'd made the right move in doing our shopping on Saturday.

This morning I took this one from my office/guest room.

The groundhog lied.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Sharing Leads to Learning

I love talking to my mom about the latest in James' world.

From his incessant need to turn on all the lights in a room, to having to close every drawer and door, or his latest animal noises. 

I say he has some OCD issues, my mom tells me he just has a need to be organized.

His need for organization can be a little trying, but we are working through it.

My latest favorite is that I learned about a Greek philosopher named Diogenes the other day.

Why would be discussing Greek philosophy on the phone?

Diogenes was apparently known for his stunts, and the one most talked about was his walking around with a lit lamp during the daytime and saying he was looking for an honest man.

You see, my son has discovered flashlights.  He likes to have one on, and he shines the light on the floor and walks with his eyes on that light.  It looks like he is walking in an attempt to "catch" the light.

Why do I say that?

Because when he holds the beam out a little further than the tips of his toes we noticed he would start to walk faster.  In what appeared to be an attempt to get to that beam of light before it escaped.

When I told my mom this story, and compared him to a little old caretaker, she laughed and immediately said there was a Greek philosopher that was known for walking with a lit lamp during the day.  I had no clue, and she couldn't remember the name immediately, but she found it for me later.

It would appear that our young Diogenes is in search of something.  We haven't quite figured out exactly what.

But I have to buy a large box of D batteries because if that light goes out we may all be in trouble.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Uh-Oh" Is Not a 4 Letter Word

You always here those stories.

You know the ones.

When you have a toddler in the house, and it's quiet, you should prepare for the worst.  Especially once they learn "uh-oh" and link it to something falling or spilling.

That isn't the case here.

In the continuing attempt to get James to talk more, he has developed his own way of communicating. 

There is his Jedi force pull motions that let us know he wants a drink.

He no longer throws things at us to fix them, but instead hands them to us.  That Jedi motion is still made, but the object is safely in our hands and it's obvious he needs help making it work.

There is also his way of indicating he is either done eating or needs more to eat.

We still need to work on how he shows that to us while in his high chair.  If not paying attention closely he will smack the spoon if you try to push another bite.

But if he is eating out of his bowl, either there or at his desk in the living room, he let's you know he is finished by turning the empty bowl upside down and walking away.

Don't know where that came from, but it works.

If food is still in the bowl he will walk away and just leave it behind.  Pushing him into eating more leads to him slowing pushing the bowl towards the edge, leaving you to decide whether to just take it away or let it come crashing to the ground, spilling food everywhere.

On the carpet, of course.  Cause his desk is in the living room so he has a place to sit.  So much fun.

Here is the one that makes us laugh every time.

You see, James learned "uh-oh" months ago.  It started out as something that was said when toys fell or were thrown to the ground.  Now it's become something else for him.

When James wants something he will come out to us and say "uh-oh mama" or "uh-oh papa".  That right there is the indicator to follow and see what he needs. 

If it's food, he will bring you his empty bowl if there is one around and then run to the kitchen and say his new phrase out loud.  When you walk in, he is standing and pointing at what he wants: animal crackers, drink, mini M&Ms, whatever is within view.

No bowl?  Not a problem!  He will still be wherever it is that needs you, saying "uh-oh mama/papa" and indicating his need.

Of course we were a little slow on picking this up at first.  Now that we know what he is trying to tell us, we follow and take care of things for him.  Whether it's the light in his room cause the sun is setting, or turning on a toy that he accidentally switched off, or just refilling his animal crackers.

The little man is growing too fast for my taste.  But I love that he is able to communicate, and he knows it.  There are less times when things are thrown lately.

Actually, that only happens when it's nap time and we haven't clued in on him being tired.

But that's a different post for another day.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Special Day

Being on the opposite side of the country from my family makes certain days of the year hard.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are the obvious ones.

Birthdays for all those I love are also hard.

My mother grows another year younger today.  She sacrificed a lot to raise the three of us after my dad left.  Working multiple jobs, we never went without food or a roof over our heads.  She'll say that she missed some things while my little brother was growing up, but we never felt that.

She always made time for us, took us on vacations, and there was never a time I didn't feel loved.

All my friends have called her mom or mama throughout the years, and she always welcomed them, even if she didn't necessarily like them all.  And in the end she was always right about the ones that stayed and the ones that passed through our lives.

Today, all I can think about is how much I love her, and that I hope she knows how much we all do really love her.  She's gone from a divorced woman struggling to raise 3 kids to a strong woman who can stand on her own.

Besides her 3 brats, she now has 4 grandchildren, a son-in-law, a grandson-in-law, and has been adopted by my brother's girlfriend as well.  Just look at our handsome group!

Happy birthday, Mom!  I love you and miss you and hope to talk to you soon!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Along Again, Naturally

James is allowing us to bathe him.  Alone.  In the big tub.  With no one else in it but him.

There was maybe 3 inches of water in there.  And I had to blow bubbles for 20 minutes to distract him.



He's clean! 

And there was no crying!

I love when he smells clean and fresh from the bath.  I need to set up a routine for him and specific bath days.  I know this.  And I need to get Daddy involved more as well.

In other news, I am in the market for something that will blow bubbles at the tub so he can play.  I think he will be getting that for Easter.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Still Getting Organized

We are still unpacking things and slowly getting completely settled.  I've set a deadline of Easter, which happens to be the 31st of this month.

Luckily we have a storage space.

While the new place is more room, we don't have enough shelves for everything we would like to have out.  There are some sacrifices being made, and some shelving we will be putting up, but overall we are quite content.

My next project is my office/guest room.  The youngest of my twin niecese will be moving in on April 19th, so I need to clear the room of boxes, get a bed, and have it prepared before that.

Then we need to replace our couch, and finally a television and stand for our room so we can all watch our programs happily.

All these changes take place between 2-5 pm each day.

There is no unpacking while a certain toddler is awake.  He likes to "help" and what would take a few minutes turns into 20 minutes of trying to stop someone from rearranging things.

His sense of style is rather interesting.  But not what I had in mind.

Especially for my cookbooks.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Superman

I always call James by super hero names.



Iron Man.

Captain America.



So the fact that this song is the one that he loves in the car and at home is appropriate.

That it's the one song he dances to at home and in the car as well is pretty perfect.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I call this phase one. From here I am thinking more red to the tint. Next appointment is already booked for 6 weeks from today.

Any thoughts?

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Haven't Been Dressed This Early In Years

Today there are a couple of milestones for me.

My MIL and I are taking a day trip with the local rec center to Washington, DC.  It will be my first trip to our nation's capitol, so I'm excited.  The camera is loaded, so hopefully there are pics to share.

The second part of this is the major one.

Today will be the first day that James and I are apart.  Ever.

He's still sleeping.  I leave in about 20 minutes.  And depending on his day, I may not see him before bedtime.

It's interesting to be here and thinking about not spending a day with him. 

And what he will do to his daddy.

The only bright side to this is that he ate like a horse yesterday and I won't see any of those diapers.

Happy belated birthday present to me!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mutant And Proud!

Okay, not really.

But you have to admit that that is one catchy title on so many levels.

Today I turn 39.  So maybe it should have been "39 And Proud!".

I mean that is 1 less than 40.

I've never stressed about age for the most part.  During the trying to get pregnant phase it felt like there was a clock ticking.  But now it's just another year with James, so it's not as crazy as one would think.

Except for the gray hairs.  I see them and want to color my hair.  Which I think will be done as a present to me this year. 

I'm also thinking I want to be a red head for a little while.

We'll see if that happens.

This last year has been a roller coaster.  We filed bankruptcy, dealt with James' cleft palate surgery, and just recently moved to a bigger place.  The lease here is for 2 years, so there is knowing that we have stability for now.

I'm looking forward to this last year of my 30s and to see what 40 will bring.  Who knows, right?  Maybe we'll finally win the Lotto!


I can't stop thinking about the gray hairs.  Sorry.

Definitely a red head.  Not Emma Stone red, but red of some kind.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Raising A Chocoholic

Going into my pregnancy I was already diabetic and had to watch everything I ate a little more closely.

That being said, I love chocolate, and need it to survive.

Yes, I said need.

I opted for peanut M&Ms early on, and each day I had 1 serving.  Read the bag.  I actually weighed out enough of those suckers for 1 exact serving, figured out what cup we had that would hold it exactly, and every afternoon for 37 weeks I filled it and enjoyed it.

I never said I didn't have issues.

Somewhere in one of the books with old wives tales I read that eating chocolate during pregnancy resulted in an early smiler.

Well, yes, James did smile early.  And often.  And I don't think all of it was gas.

What the book didn't warn me about was that another result would be an apparent chocoholic in the household that isn't me.

I am serious when I say that if you dip anything in chocolate that my son will eat it.  Or at least use his teeth to scrape the chocolate off of it.

He did that to a mini Twix until he got a taste of the caramel and cookie.  Then he decided he could bite it.

The great grandparents keep snacks for him at their place, and decided to buy him Chocolate Lucky Charms.  Which he loved so much that we bought for us to have on hand as well.

At least until last week when he walked up to me whimpering about his hand.  And I saw the melted blue marshmallow and tufts of carpet stuck to it.

You know, carpet from the place we had JUST moved in to.


Once that box was finished we moved him to Cheerios.  The chocolate ones.

I'm hoping this bodes well for potty training in the end.  I mean, what kid wouldn't do something for a mini Milky Way or 3 Musketeers as a reward?

Am I bad mother?

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Toddler's Basic Food Groups

James is a pretty good eater.

He will generally try anything on my plate, and if he likes it he will ask for more.

He hates juice for some reason.  I love that he drinks water all day long, and the occasional glass of milk.  The milk is usually chocolate or strawberry, and once flavored he will drink an 8 ounce glass in one quick sitting.

Last month he was Patient Zero, contracting some type of stomach bug that knocked both of us, his great grandparents, 1 aunt, and now his grandfather out.  I think it's hit everyone in the family it could, so here's hoping that that is it.

As a result of this illness, James has become a little more finicky about his dining.  He was reverted back from self feeding of anything that isn't dry.  That is to say that unless it's cereal, a grilled cheese sandwich, or M&Ms the boy will not pick it up and put it in his mouth.

He also has decided that chicken is not to his liking in any form.  He will eat a beef hot dog, and if presented with almost any form of fried shredded potato he doesn't stop eating.  Well, not just shredded.  He will down an order of fries, tater tots, or hash rounds so fast it's a little scary.

We had these high hopes of raising a real foodie, and we had that for a brief period.  But now it's more about what HE wants as opposed to what we are offering.

So we are down to oatmeal in the morning (he seriously eats 2 pouches in 1 sitting), then cereal snacking until his first official snack.  For that he gets a Greek yogurt.  We figured as long as he liked yogurt that we should be finding the one with the most nutritional benefits, so Greek yogurt with fruit it is!  Thank you, Oikos!

After that, his cereal snacking continues, right up until what I guess would be considered lunch.  From lunch it's nap time, then dinner, and more snacking.

He eats all day, but only will eat the following for lunch and dinner:

Ramen Soup
Macaroni and Cheese
Beef Hot Dog
Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Yeah, he has a limited appetite most days.

I've read this is a phase, that he is exerting his will and testing his boundaries.  At first we fought and there tears at feedings.

But I don't want to fight him.

So he eats what he wants.  We buy the healthiest options we can.

And when he pounds on the refrigerator door after dinner until we open, then looks around and points at his yogurts, we smile.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The One Where Bath Time May Never Be The Same

So, Day 14 in the new place was yesterday.  And I officially moved ahead with bath time.

I know, I know.  I procrastinated 2 extra days.  Life happens.

I purposely snuck in and filled the tub and threw in 3 toys while James was distracted with something in his room.  Once it was all ready, I picked him up and took him in to show him.

He stood by the tub as I removed his shirt and was about to do his pants when he bolted.

That was the first sign that this was not going to be easy.

I caught up with him in his room and managed to get his pants off, and then carried his diapered bottom back to the bathroom.  Once again, he stood near the tub as I removed that, and then began to whimper.

That was the second sign.

He began to reach for his tub toys, so I lifted him up and stood him in the water.

James has his days where he cries about nothing.  He's bumped his head and been hurt.  But neither of us have ever heard the noise he made when he stood in the tub and then reached for me and cried "mama".

Internets, I almost called it quits and declared he could wait until Summer to use the pool.


Daddy heard that noise and cry and came right into the room.  Again, we'd never heard this cry, which sounded as if we were beginning a slow torture process.  He doesn't cry when he's left with family or when we leave.  This was the sound of total abandonment and begging to please not leave him.

I was kneeling by the side of the tub as he stood in the water and clutched at me.

So Daddy did what needed to be done.

Last night, James took a bath with his Daddy.

James let me bathe him and played and laughed.  He had no issues as long as he could feel Daddy in the water next to him.

Daddy says he'll be doing this with him until we can get past this phase.

I'm going to look into foam toys to stick on the tub, or maybe water paints that he can play with, in the hopes that it will distract him into enjoying baths again.

Meantime, Daddy will be showering and bathing twice a day every 3-4 days. 

Cause that's what Daddy does for his little Stinksopotamus.