Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Yeah, yeah.  Jumping on the bandwagon many days late.  Christmas was really nice this year...other than everyone had a stomach bug.  We fortunately missed Christmas day itself, but it's been an interesting week.  My immediate family had it the weekend before while my in-laws were here, my in-laws got it ON Christmas, but were no longer at our house, and my parents got it after.  Fun times.  It was a good week for Robby to be out of daycare, for sure!

Earlier this month, we went to see Santa...and that didn't go so well.  Well, Robby did a GREAT job in the hour and 1/2 line.  But he flipped out when he saw the jolly old elf.  Chris wouldn't let me get the screaming one, so there's just a sad face.

Robby got all sorts of practice with presents.  On both Thursday and Friday, he got to open presents at daycare, and on Friday Santa was there again!  Robby was actually the only one in his class that was brave enough to walk up to Santa to get his present.  Lots of new, wonderful books!

Saturday he was a total slug, as was Chris.  There was lots of cuddling on the couch, book ended by lots of clean-up from illnesses.  The real mess didn't come until Sunday, though, while Chris's parents and my parents were there.  Thank goodness, actually!  I had gone up to settle Robby since he had been screaming and refusing to fall asleep.  I picked him up, holding him, rocking back and forth.  He settled, laid his head on my chest, and then projectile vomited all over me and the entire room.  It was lovely.  I still haven't finished cleaning out those shoes.  But Mrs. P was a huge help.  And Chris gagged a lot while scrubbing the floor and carpet.

On the way to church.  I was the sick one here.
Surprisingly, while my in-laws got him many great toys, the fire truck scared him because it moved, and the cell phone was the HUGE hit.  It can record your voice and plays music.  He carried that thing around all evening.  And it terrified us as it would randomly ring loudly without prompting.

My in-laws left Monday, I got sick, and thank goodness there were people to entertain Robby.  Church was interesting, as I really didn't feel very good, but Robby did as well as could be expected.  It really isn't the most child-friendly parish.

By Tuesday, Robby had the opening presents thing DOWN, but even he couldn't finish it all in one sitting.  He had a grand ole time tearing into everyone's gifts.  The hit of the day was the trash truck from my parents, and he's developed the cutest little routine of picking up the trash, then insisting that everyone in the room waves "Bye" to the trash truck, driving it in a circle, then starting over.  I need a video.

It was fun finally being at an age that at least the presents excited him.  Next year I hope he'll understand more traditions, and more of the meaning.  For now?  It was still great!  And as Chris said, "At least the dog didn't bite your eye this year."  I have such Christmas luck, don't I?
Christmas 2011 & 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Party Time

So, I don't have my Christmas photos uploaded (surprise surprise), but I hope everyone's holidays were fantastic.  We decided that we were such ridiculous slackers and so terribly out of touch with our friends that we needed to have them all over at once.  Ok, this was decided awhile ago, but it HAPPENED recently.  And, thank goodness.  I don't know how we get so wrapped up in the standard, daily grind of work, play, clean, sleep, that "people" just don't happen.

When I started inviting people, I anticipated lots of "No's" because of the holiday season, so went wild.  And I continue to think of people I missed and feel terrible!  HOWEVER, once I hit 7 toddlers (plus their parents and real-life adults that didn't add to the kid craziness) I started to freak out.  Not only 7 toddlers, but FIVE of them were between 10 months and 20 months.  3 18's.  WOAH.  And, let me tell you, there could have been 5 more if everyone came!  Must...consider...the toddler ratio to protect my sanity in the future.

As I got to planning, all thoughts of "fancy" went out the window.  Paper products, comfort food, and child-proofing were the plan.  Ok, child-proofing SHOULD have been the plan, but it wasn't.  I left my tree up, the glassware in an accessible cabinet, and didn't gate all the stairways.  For the most part, this went fine, though it worried one mom that wasn't as fancy-free with letting her kid have access to stairs.  Yes, mine rolled down them once last week, why do you ask?  (He was fine, and it's the only time it's happened.)

Robby and I baked cookies pretty much every night the week before, though I took one day off to have a 24-hour stomach bug.  I'm sure my guests appreciate that I didn't bake them some germs.  He learned the wonders of cookie dough, though it's not really my thing.  I know!  Blasphemy!  I really don't have that much of a sweet tooth, but Robby's got his father's.  While making Chocolate crinkles, he snagged some dough.  And then...woah...all bets were off.  He was lunging for that bowl.

The ultimate menu:
Mac n cheese (crock pot)
Meatballs (crock pot)
Pigs in blankets
Spinach dip
Pizza pinwheels
Chocolate crinkles
Peanut butter blossoms
Chewy ginger cookies
Way too much to drink

And lots contributed by other people.

You should now be as shocked as me that there were virtually no leftovers.  How dare everyone!  My meal plan included a night of raiding the fridge!  ;)  Really, I'm glad that I didn't have more junk left in my house!  I'm sure I would have eaten it all.

Honestly?  It couldn't have gone better.  The kids were all largely well behaved, with only a couple scuffles over their preferred chair.  It was so great to get to see everyone, even if the girls' parents ruined the lie I've been telling Chris of, "It's just the mama's boy/daddy's girl phenomenon.  A girl would choose you."  Apparently, all the toddlers prefer mom, except one BOY prefers dad.  Who knows.  It'll change.

So, there's a quick glipse into our holidays.  Below, since I failed to take pictures, I swung the video camera around when I caught Robby and Kaden being cute.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Egg Video

I don't have much more to say, but here's the infamous egg video:

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Sous Chef

One of Robby's true loves at the moment is cooking.  As he's fussing in his car seat on the way home from daycare, one of the easiest ways to distract him into conversation is by asking, "What should we cook for dinner?"  And a little voice will immediately pipe up, "COOK?!?"  

Note: These are pictures of Robby making Peas and Thank You's Falafel  Delicious!

As we walk in the door, he's flying to the pantry or refrigerator or where-ever his version of ingredients are located.  With the "child-proof" hooks, there are only a limited number he can squeeze his hand in and retrieve, but that doesn't stop him from trying.  Consequently, he's almost always retrieved the rice by the time I get my coat off. 

Once I can "Hep!" (help) and open the cabinet, he goes for an over-sized can of broth or, if I'm holding him, the spice shelf.  Those miniature containers are just too tempting.  But he MUST be set back down, and allowed to carry the items over to the counter on his own.  He'll run to the dining room to retrieve a chair to stand on, and then start screaming in frustration that it's too big for him to move.

He stands in front of drawers that have measuring spoons, cups, and silverware, and usually uses about 10x the number of utensils that are needed.  Taking one out, stirring once, and putting it back.  This makes for some extra washing.  But he likes loading and unloading the dishwasher, too.

His favorite parts are getting to dump in ingredients, and to stir.  Both of which he's pretty good at.  Strike that.  His favorite part is "CACK" -ing the eggs.  He whaps it against the counter and hands it to me.  This...does not always go smoothly.  But that's ok.  It's fun.

It's so much fun having a helper in the kitchen now.  He scares me standing on the chair, messing with the knobs on the stove or climbing the oven (though he will tell you they're "hot!"), or reaching for knives, but it's a learning process.  One of these days I'll put up the video of him beating eggs.  But, while I succeeded in downloading my camera, the videos have not made it off yet.  Baby steps, folks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Quick Rundown

Since I have a bunch of posts in the queue, that I haven't posted because I never upload pictures, and it's been quiet for too long, here's a quick rundown of the past 2 weeks.

-  Our Christmas party was a success.
-  Christmas shopping is almost done.  Christmas WRAPPING is not.
-  Chris was too sick for his work Christmas party.  That day was awful.
-  Robby's gym class session is over.  Bummer because of not seeing people anymore that I met, but good in that he really was too young for it.  He got pretty good at the trampoline, though.
-  I went to bat complaining about our gym's life jacket policy...and their response was trying to get me to teach swim classes.  Ha!  I actually want to but my certifications are all out of date, and I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars to renew them.
-  I was a success at meeting up with people yesterday!  This never happens!  We hung out with Karen and Kaden at the park (and, even though he's a couple weeks younger, Kaden kicks Robby's butt at going down slides).  And then we walked with Laura and Ally.
-  I've actually worked out at least a couple times a week for the past couple weeks.  Again, doesn't happen.  And, amazingly, I can still run 2 miles straight, even though I hadn't run since April.  Apparently chasing toddlers keeps you in shape.  

I'm sure that was thoroughly uninteresting, but it's proof that I still exist, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Lion at 18 Months

My baby turned 1.5...well, over a week ago.  But I'm finally expressing my horror!  One and a half seems so VERY old.  There is no remnant of baby left.  He even thinks it is hilarious when I wrap him up in a towel and tell him I'm going to "hold him like a baby".  Sigh.  Love my little man, but it's going too quick!

Favorite activities:
COOKING.  Most of the time now, I have an assistant in the kitchen.  And I'm going to have to do another post on this because I have the most adorable video of him beating eggs for last night's phad thai.  Yes, he cracks the eggs, I empty them into a bowl, then he whisks them.  Serious business folks.  At least now it's actually easier to cook because having a helper (even one who is trying to light every burner) is easier than having a sack of potatoes you have to carry and incapacitate one arm.
TRUCKS, CARS, VEHICLES.  He is all boy.  He was in HEAVEN at my parents' because he got to play with all the old matchbox cars.  3+?  Pssh.  He now is upset that his "baby" dump truck does not have a dump part that moves.  He has a large, Green Toys, dump truck that does (and is awesome), but not his little one.  He whines about this often, and hands it to me to "fix".  Which leads to...
BREAKING THINGS.  He likes to remove parts from his toys for me to fix.  The door off his little people's bus, the back end of his little tractor, etc.  So far, he's only "broken" things I CAN fix.  Dreading the day I have to explain that something can't be.
OUTSIDE.  Pretty self explanatory.  He loves running, parks, slides, being outside.  He was initially nervous about snow, but then thought it was pretty awesome.

Eating is quite poor right now.  To the point we're almost wondering if his 2 year molars are coming in.  He's not very interested in it, though he'll still "suffer" and eat junk food or any "bread" variety.  So, this week I've made both pumpkin and banana bread, and I'm pretending there's enough nutritional content there.  He recently had his first Hershey kiss, and thought that was fantastic, and now tries to raid the pantry for all my baking chocolate goodies.  The dog continues to be fed too much, but we've moved to eating from the table, not his high chair tray, so it's a little reduced.  

Eh, generally it's alright, though last night was rough.  He's a little sick, though.  But, it was a milestone!  Chris was able to go in and put him back to sleep!  18 months, and this is a first.  Chris has also put him to bed 2x this may have guessed...yep, we're on day 5 of weaning.  (More on that later.)  He's a fan of sleeping with me again right now, but we're trying not to give in too much.  This got re-started when we were in Columbus for Thanksgiving, and the pack-in-play was just NOT cutting it.  

I have never been good about keeping a list of new words.  Recent ones I can think of: dinosaur, waffle, Gianna, Isaiah (daycare friends), grandma, outside, inside, "Robby, NO!", "Mommy, NO!", "Daddy, NO!", up, cup, "bad dog", "Bubba outside", snow, bubbles, bath, penis, diaper, football, touchdown, JoePa, soccer ball, yeah, cocoa (which he's never had), crack (as in egg)...I'm sure there are a ton more, but you get the point.  

I think this is the age when you really start seeing the effects of how you handle situations.  Are we having more temper tantrums?  Sure.  But he 100% understands "time out", knows when he's doing something wrong (and is usually shouting, "NO, Robby" as he does it), and is sneaky when he doesn't want to be found out (like hiding behind a couch with a bag of chocolate chips).  Also, on the positive end of the spectrum, he has started developing some very GOOD behavior traits, as well.  I have to give daycare a lot of credit for this.  For example, at gym class this week, a girl cut in front of him in line and pushed him out of the way.  Her father saw and pulled her aside to talk to her.  As he was explaining that you don't cut or push, he said, "You need to say you're sorry."  Robby, on hearing him say the word "sorry" walked over to the girl and gave her a hug.  Which is absolutely the routine at school.  Yay!  

Oh, I was so happy with the stats!  He's running 50% in weight at around 26 lbs, 75% in height at 33.25", and...he now has my giant noggin.  90% with 19.5".  What is a little sad, is we have now moved into the realm of only going to appointments every 6 months, so the stats are going to dry up.  He wears size 5 diapers and 18m or 2T clothes.

Watching "mo mo"

At the playground yesterday I almost teared up, because I got thinking how thankful I was for how absolutely perfect you are.  Don't get a big (well, bigger) head now.  You can always work on behavior, but goodness I'm a lucky mom.  I only hope that we can continue to make the right decisions, and, well, luck out as much in the future.  You are so sweet, energetic, intelligent, athletic...I could go on and on.  Thank you for being such a great kid.  Now cool it on the tantrums. ;)  Love ya, buddy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

My Marriage Role Models...and the Party

Honestly?  I have never been so happy for a party to occur in my life.  Of course, I'm thrilled that my grandparents have stuck it out so long, but there was a selfish component, as well.  I was responsible for assembling a scrapbook of memories and photographs between the time I arrived in Columbus on Tuesday evening and the party Friday afternoon.  I became a little stressed with this task, and I am very grateful for my aunt who madly glue-sticked with me for the last couple hours prior to the event.

My grandparents.  You must understand, this is not a Donna Reed-esque marriage by any means.  Both of my grandparents have strong personalities, and thrive on their differences, to some extent.  This made writing up memories a little interesting.  All of us recited moments where it took 10 minutes to enter a store because there was a debate over which shopping cart to use, or the like.  (True, it happened with me.)  We decided that, perhaps, these were not the memories we wanted to highlight.  Obviously, we came up with ample positive stories, but we certainly had to turn on the internal filter!

That being said, I think this is what makes them GOOD role models.  I came from a family that had grit.  We have fights, we have "words", but we are a very loyal stock.  You stick it out.  You get over it.  And that is why you are strong.  You don't leave things unsaid, or bottled up, or hanging out in the wind.  To be fair, to some extent, this mentality has been difficult for my husband.

Recently, we have dealt with our opposite styles of "discussion".  Ok, arguing.  I let down my filter.  I say what I'm thinking.  And I expect him to do the same...but he doesn't.  Most of the time.  Chris's fighting style is to get quiet.  And there is no quicker way to aggravate me than to refuse to discuss what I see is the problem.  BUT, I do see this as an homage to my grandparents' successful marriage.  Is that bizarre?  I witness two people with the same style that succeeded.  They both have a minimal filter, and for that reason, or perhaps in spite of it, their marriage has bloomed.  

Back to the party.  We spent about an hour taking pictures at my parents' church, then headed over to Anna's Greek Cuisine.  You have to understand that Anna's is a Thanksgiving tradition for my family.  Sure, only my uncle is REALLY Greek, but we all love the food, and have it every post-Thanksgiving Friday.  Anna's wonderful, and specifically makes vegetarian dishes for the family, and we can't say enough good things about Anna and her restaurant.  It's very small, and in a strip mall, so we took up most of the restaurant from 4-6pm.  Well, maybe a little later, but we were supposed to leave!  Everything was DELICIOUS, and we had brought in cupcakes, which Robby indulged heavily in.  My grandparents seemed genuinely touched by the album, and we had a wonderful time.

The moment when he realized that the cupcakes had made my little OCD man "Dirty"

At home, my parents presented them with their project...a HUGE box of letters.  My father had snagged their email contact list and sent out emails to everyone, requesting letters and cards.  Then, some groups they belonged to had sent out further emails (including, accidentally to my grandparents), and my mother and aunt had posted the request on Facebook.  So, this ended up being less than a complete surprise to my grandparents, but they were overwhelmed by how many people responded.  We're talking about well over a hundred!  And they are continuing to show up at my parents house, even today.  They obviously have made a huge impact on people in their 60 years of marriage.  

I think the event was a huge success, and I'm so lucky to have them in my life.  Happy 60 years, Grandma Jane and Grandpa George!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Family Portraits

So...I took on a task that made me very nervous last week.  I took the portraits of my extended family.  Most of them, obviously, had to be done with a remote, some I took, and then a few I handed off to my brother or cousin, as they were smaller shots that I was in.  I can't remember who took the grandkids photo for the life of me.  Anyone want to own up to it?  Quick glimpse.  I promise I'll write more about Thanksgiving and the party later, but this is it for now.

Taken by remote.

Taken by mystery person.  Shelly?  Dad?  Bueller?  These are all the grandkids (and one great-grandkid).  Bet you'd never guess which one is my brother if you hadn't seen pictures before.  Man we don't look alike.  I know you're relieved, Jim.  ;)

Remote.  And is it me, or do I look like "Overly Attached Girlfriend" here?

All me!  Such an adorable Lion and great-grandpa image.

Guessing...Toran?  Jim?  Not sure.  The bags under my eyes are *heavily* edited.  Thank you Picasa.  I really would like Photoshop, though.  Hint, hint.  Unless one of you recommends some other program.

I really was disappointed that that was the best one of my immediate family.  Not that it was the photographer's fault!  Robby was being a bear by that point (it had been a LOT of shots, and it was dinner time), and Chris was distracted.  Oh well.  Can't decide whether or not to use it for the Christmas card.  And anyone that receives it better still act surprised.  ;)

I'm proud of myself for overcoming my "1st photo shoot" fear.  Honestly?  It would've been a lot easier if I wasn't in the pictures!  But, yay for personal growth, right?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy 60th Anniversary!

My grandparents have been married 60 years! 

No, that's not Grace Kelly.  That's my ridiculously gorgeous grandmother.  People always ask about this photo, which I have hanging in my living room.  She had it rotting in her garage, so in person it doesn't look so great, but I spent some time retouching the digital one to get rid of water marks and such.

Friday we had a huge gathering celebrating, and assuming I get my act together, a post on the party, Thanksgiving, Robby turning 1.5, and a million other posts that I've been sitting on will all come out this week . HA.  MAYBE.  K, the kid has a vacuum cord wrapped around his neck.  See why I can't write?

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Ups and Downs of a "Momma's Boy"

Robby is a Momma's Boy.  Don't read that as dainty, he's not.  He's as rough and tumble and "boyish" as they come.  Rather, he is OBSESSIVE about Mommy.

This is both a blessing and a curse.  Do I absolutely love that his face lights up when he sees me, that I'm the one he wants to cuddle with, and I have a magical ability to make things better?  Absolutely, and I'd be lying if I didn't own up to relishing those aspects.  Does it make it harder for other people to care for him (including daddy), make his behavior worse for me, and never gives me a break?  Again, you betcha.

Robby knows the time when I am to arrive at daycare, and will stand at the gate plaintively whining "Mooommmyyy...".  In the mornings, I leave first, and there is always some hysterical crying when I leave.  It is heartbreaking.  I love feeling loved, but I hate that he seems so devastated.  First thing when he wakes up in the morning, I hear him calling "Mommy!" from his crib (which let me tell you, is a VAST improvement over the screaming), and apparently when I was out on Wednesday, he was banging on the rocking chair screaming "Mommy!" and wouldn't let Chris do the nightly routine.

Now, to the parts that are hard.  Chris is getting more and more hurt by the total Mommy devotion.  I cannot leave Robby in a room with him, or hand him to Chris without an absolute meltdown.  I say "Go to Daddy" and get an emphatic, "NO" with a lot of head shaking.  He refuses to hug or kiss him most of the time, unless it's a group hug, and rarely will cuddle on the couch with him.  This is not because of anything Chris has or has not done.  He loves Robby, plays with him, and is a great dad.  Robby just has a hang-up right now.  Chris has started to say that we need to take action to "break him" of this, and I am very opposed.  Partially, selfishly, I like being the center of attention, but that's not my main rationale.  It's a stage.  One day, he'll wake up and want nothing to do with me, and it will be over.  He's being a perfectly normal 1.5 year old by wanting mom.  There's no need to traumatize him (or me) by forcing me to be more distant.

As for behavior, oh goodness.  I hear from daycare, other providers, grandparents, everyone that he is an angel for them.  Not just "good", but downright saintly.  One day, I asked his daycare teacher what she did for discipline.  Specifically, did she use counting "1 - 2 - 3", because I had tried it for the first time at home, and it had miraculously worked, so I assumed that's what she did.  She looked at me like I had 3 heads.  She said, "Robby has never given me trouble.  Ever."  WHAT?!?!?!  What sort of drugs are they pumping into the air over there?  She described to me what she used with other children, but insisted that he was never a problem.  She also claims that he lies perfectly still to change his diaper.  HAHAHAHA.  Alright, at home?  THIS IS NOT MY CHILD.

At home he primarily misbehaves if I'm trying to do something other than pay attention to him.  Just this morning, he dumped a full container of face powder all over the bathroom floor (for the 2nd time), because I was trying to do my make-up.  This is after pushing me away from the mirror did not work.  Yesterday, we had to put him in time out before we could take the dog walk, because he was KICKING Chris, because he wanted MOMMY to put on his coat, and not Daddy.  You get the idea?  My attention must be 100% devoted to him, or there is dog water dumped on the floor, stereo cords pulled out of the wall, and crayon drawings on doors.  All of which he is very clear that they are wrong, but he does to get my attention.  And diaper changes are wrestling matches.  I just don't get it.  It is not because I'm permissive.  I'm not!  I think he just feels a little too comfortable with me, and also cares more about me doing something other than hanging out with him than he does about other people.  It also is painfully difficult for me when people tell me (or act like) I'm making it up.  They act like I must just be short tempered, or doing something wrong, or exaggerating.  THAT IS NOT THE CASE.  He is DIFFERENT when it's just me, or when there are other people around.  I think my mother is starting to believe me after phone calls where he is screaming continuously in the background.  Again, don't misinterpret that this is 100% of the time.  He's great if I can sit there and play blocks.  But sometimes, I need to cook dinner, answer a phone, drive a car, or use a bathroom.

I'm just a little at a loss.  I'm hurt when people don't believe me or downplay it.  I'm elated that I'm his first love (though I hear he's crazy about a girl at daycare).  I'm saddened that he won't do more with his dad.  I'm frustrated that his behavior is so poor for me, but relieved that it's good for everyone else.  Even through the aggravation I'm trying to enjoy it.  I know the idol worship won't last for long, so I guess bring on the bad behavior.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Trapped Inside

What do you do when you're trapped inside with a toddler (and a large dog) for days on end?  Got me!  Thank goodness our friend Meghan took Robby on Monday morning during Sandy, because otherwise?  Lil man would have gone truly crazy.  As is?  This was on MONDAY night (and he had been doing this for AWHILE so this was after he slowed down):

And...I forgot that I had a pumpkin video when I wrote yesterday's post.  In fact, I have forgotten to upload my video camera for months.  But, pumpkin video it is. 

Thankful Day #2: I am thankful for the roof over our heads.

Thankful Day #3: I am thankful for my memories, and my capable brain...especially when it works.  ;)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No guts, no glory

No guts, no glory, eh?  Lies.  The Lion managed to avoid every bit of pumpkin guts, but still ended up with a carved pumpkin.  You just need to have a sucker named Mom on your team. 

He was happy to do some scooping, but there really wasn't a need to take his shirt off.  Guaranteed, though, that if I hadn't, he would have been covered.

This was a good activity, though, on Monday when he was already starting to go a little batty being cooped up inside.  I think the biggest blessing of not getting hit so hard by Sandy is that our imprisonment was brief.  Still, wait for the video I post tomorrow.

As I said, he was intrigued, but like at the petting zoo, did not want to get his hands dirty.  He did not so much as touch one little orange strand.  He did try and eat a raw seed, but that's because he's familiar with the cooked variety.  (Loves them, and does a good job chewing, don't worry.)

He got very excited when I showed him the lid and spent quite a bit of time taking it on and off.  My notch that makes it easier for us to put on was helpful, too.

In the end, I'm fairly please with myself and thought it was cute.  Not my crazy carvings of the past, but cute. 

Thankful Day #1: Today I'm thankful for the harvest that pumpkins represent.  I'm thankful we have plenty of food on our table.