Monday, May 31, 2010

Scenes of Thanks

I hope everyone's having a great Memorial Day weekend. Ours has been busy with a lot of fun times, though I've been beaten down by a nasty cold that has prevented me from really relaxing like I wanted to. I'll have a full review of the weekend soon, but in the meantime I just wanted to share a little snippet of the weekend that sums up, I think, what this blog is really about.

On Saturday I had a chance to get a few things done while Craig and Jacob were napping together on the couch. As I think I mentioned the other day, for Mother's Day Craig and Jacob got me a flash drive that was meant to store pictures for a small but very nice digital frame that Craig won me at his brother's campaign fundraiser. I wanted to go through all of our digital photos (nearly four years' worth, which is hard for me to believe!) and pick out my favorites. During the boys' nap, I picked out nearly 200 pictures, I think. There were photos ranging from our trip to Seattle and Portland to our baseball trips to Pittsburgh and Cleveland, from our pre-baby trip to Florida to my favorite artistic shots over the years, and finally, to a Jacob-heavy batch of photos from the last two years. As I watched the photos flip through the first time, it really amazed me to see all we've been through in the past four years. From our fun times as a couple to the absolute joy we experience most days now with such a happy, funny little boy. Amazing to see. We are indeed very blessed. The title of this post was taken from the moniker that the long time Pastor at our old church gave to the annual Thanksgiving service slide show showing various happenings throughout the past year. It was always a big deal to watch the slides and see if you'd make an appearance from some church or school function, but as a whole it was just a nice year-in-review. But to have the pleasure to watch a slide show of just our little family and its development over the years was a nice bright spot in my holiday weekend. Definitely a lot there to be thankful for.

Well, time to go wake up Jacob from his over three-hour-long nap. I think his second cousin wore him out playing hockey and lacrosse today...and I'm sure the crazy heat didn't help! I think we're definitely going to have to rehydrate ASAP once he's awake. Been a great weekend...I'll check in again soon!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Photo Friday

I braved the chill of our downstairs office last night (seriously, it's generally a lot cooler down there, but even with the vent closed the A/C made it downright fridid) and loaded up the pictures and video I mentioned yesterday. I called the pictures "honorable mentions" in yesterday's post because I love them but I didn't think they were necessary in retelling the story of last weekend. When I print pictures for our photo albums I tend to pick one or two pictures out of a certain group, and I guess to some degree I do that on the blog as well. But once in a while it's too hard to pick, and in a post as long as that one, I felt I should. But nothing prevents me from posting them later, right?! So, here goes...

These three pictures are from our nephew's baseball game. I don't know what the draw is of this first one, but I suppose it's just cute how intensely he's checking things out, with such a distinctly wrinkled up nose! Such a little boy! I also love in all these pictures how he's such a rainbow of colors...



I think he's even more of a little boy in this one, with his jeans and baseball bat...so cute!

Here he is getting baseball pointers from Daddy...and loving every minute of it!

And finally, here's a little snippet of Jacob playing basketball...or bakeeball, as he calls it.

Enjoy :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So much to do...a.k.a. Misc. Ramblings

I've been meaning to post all week with a couple of "honorable mention" photos from the weekend (and maybe a video too), but I haven't taken the time to go on to the computer at home in the evenings. I think we've been too busy trying to empty the contents of our DVR. I also had one night this week where I absolutely HAD to sort through piles of stuff...bills, stuff Jacob brought home from daycare, coupons, etc. They were piling up and it was driving me nuts. Plus the last couple evenings I've been outside doing the never-ending trimming around our property. I either need a better trimmer or Craig and I need to take shifts, because it kills my back and takes FOREVER. The trimmer starts losing its charge by the end, so it's quite the job. But I do love many parts of our yard and hope to enjoy many years of just chilling back there, enjoying the pool and the swingset and all of the lovely landscaping around the patio. It's a great yard. And we do still love the house. I know, duh, we better like it! But it's nice to really be able to say that we do. I love the dishwasher, I love my big sink with the little side section, I love how open and airy it is (and on less hot days, I like the fans instead of the central air...but on hot days like we've had this week, I love the central air, too), I love all of the flowering bushes we have, and I love all of the storage. Oh, and I love that our neighbor brought over a big box of pizzelles...yum. Sorry, high cholesterol, you're just going to have to wait a few more days.

So, anyway, there isn't a lot to talk about but I wanted to post something since I wasn't sure how the next few days would go with the holiday weekend and all. Sometimes that means more time, sometimes it means less. Although I am loving the house, I am starting to get agitated by the piles of stuff that's still sitting around from two months ago when we moved in. There isn't a lot, but there are a handful of low priority items--donations, stuff without a real spot, a handful of decorations and pretty much the entire contents of our garage--that need a new home or some sort of better organization. At first they sat there because they weren't a high priority when boxes needed unpacking, pictures needed hanging, and closets and cabinets needed to be stocked. But now most of that has been done for a while and yet there the stuff has sat, victims of Jacob time or busy weekends or the aforementioned trimming or our full DVR or just plain laziness. But they're really starting to bother me. So maybe this weekend I will have a few minutes here or there to get that stuff done. Or maybe I will finally put some pictures on the flash drive I got as a Mother's Day gift so I can view them on the digital frame that Craig won me at his brother's campaign fundraiser. Or maybe we'll try to cram so much into three days + an evening that I won't get anything done. One way or another I'm hoping for a good weekend with fun visits with/from family and friends. The weather is looking decent right now, so that's a start. So...I'm hoping to post again soon with the stuff from last weekend. But if I don't, have a nice holiday...and sorry for the random ramblings today...

Monday, May 24, 2010

(Not) Long (Enough) Weekend

I hope you all had a nice weekend and that you had a chance to enjoy some lovely weather like we did. Craig and I decided to take off on Friday and head to Buffalo a little early this weekend. Since we didn't get to spend much time with the families on Mother's Day, we tried to make up for it over the weekend. But before I begin, here's a cute picture from mid-week last week...Jacob and his monkey got a "boat trip" in our living room courtesy of the laundry basket and Craig. Too cute. So, yeah, this wasn't actually from the weekend, but I didn't want it getting lost in the shuffle.

We headed to my parents' house on Thursday night so we'd be there and ready to go on Friday. We decided to leave Jacob with my parents for the day and head out to Niagara Falls to enjoy the weather and do our usual wander up Clifton Hill. We didn't rush out in the morning, though, so we still got some quality time with Jacob. Before we left, Jacob got his early birthday present from my parents, a basketball hoop. The inspiration was Jacob's temper tantrum on Easter weekend when he desperately wanted to play basketball with the real hoop next door to my parents. This one is actually going to come home with us soon, so we'll probably still have to fend off the basketball freak outs when we're there, but he had a really good time with it...and we have plenty of basketball hoops to tempt him in our neighborhood as well.

Check out this look of intensity...

He had a lot of fun, though we'll see how it goes when we raise it up a bit--it's at the lowest setting here to keep it easy to transport!

Craig and I had a good time in Niagara Falls, though we weren't successful in any of the random shopping exploits that inspired the trip. We also didn't have any luck at the casino. Still, the weather was lovely and we had a very pleasant walk around the Canadian side (and across the bridge both ways). When we headed home it started to sprinkle a bit, which was a concern because we were headed to the Buffalo Bisons baseball game that night. Fortunately the weather held out and it turned out to be a beautiful night to watch baseball. But anyway, once we got back to my parents', we had a very nice dinner with them and their friends from Rochester (you may remember them as Colin's grandparents), who were in town for an evening show at the casino and some (apparently wet) geocaching the next day.

The baseball game was great, though I didn't take any pictures. I think when I remembered to take pictures at first, Jacob was still in his "zone" that he gets into when we go to a sporting event. He's sort of quiet and focused, just staring at the action. Eventually he loosens up and starts talking again, which he did. But then we got in the bathroom break/food break/take a walk/watch the game routine, and I forgot about pictures until it was late in the game and Jacob was getting sleepy. And at that point I knew I wasn't getting a smile. Still, we had a great time. Jacob wasn't a fan of fireworks after the game (neither was his mother back in the day), but he did enjoy his new mini-bat that came with the ticket package we got.

Saturday morning we headed out to see our nephew's Little League opening parade (sort of missed that thanks to the road closures it caused--but we did drive behind it for a while!) and his season opener. It was a pretty miserable morning...cool-ish, and on and off rain. We held out for the whole pregame and a few innings, with Jacob losing patience with his stroller and and constantly wanting to run around with his mini-bat. He kept saying "Pay!", which means "Play!", but obviously he couldn't join in with the kids on the field so that got to be a bit of a challenge. But here he is in the midst of a happy moment...
Eventually the rain got worse. Jacob needed a change, it was lunchtime and Craig wanted to stop at the mall to pick up some shorts that fit him...so we headed out. The mall was productive but it had its moments. Jacob fell asleep on the way there and we successfully got him into the mall and in his stroller without him waking up...victory! He slept through lunch and a bit of shopping, then finally woke up while I was trying on clothes (no victory there--you know how everyone thinks they're between sizes? I seriously am. Juniors stuff is skanky and not made for curves, but women's stuff is too big. Even in between places like Target and Old Navy aren't working. Do you know how hard it is to find a size 2 of anything in JC Penney? Not complaining about the size 2, mind you, but seriously...I'm running short on bottoms because nothing fits!). Shortly thereafter he said "Potty", and I immediately looked down and noticed a wet stain on his shirt. Remember how I said he needed a change? Well, Craig convinced me to wait until we got to the mall since it was raining so hard at the game, but then Jacob fell asleep so I couldn't change him. Apparently his first awake duty was peeing, and it was a little more than the diaper could handle. Ugh. Of course I didn't have any extra clothes (that rarely happens and since we're out of the poop blow-out phase it hasn't been a high priority...though I suppose we're getting into the age of spills and mud baths, so I probably should start again), so I changed his diaper in the dressing room amidst loud screaming, and headed out to find Craig and get out of there. Lesson: Always trust your instincts and change your kid when you think you should!

After that we headed out to another nephew's birthday party (same family, VERY busy day for them! They still had an art show for another child later that day!). Other than Jacob's constant need to climb upstairs and raid his cousins' rooms, we had a nice time. Here's Jacob playing with his hockey stick...

Sunday was a lovely day! We had a pleasant, lazy morning, and headed to church at noon. Mercifully, Jacob fell asleep shortly after we got there, so at least the first half of the church service was quiet and uneventful...and we had that much less time to kill once he woke up, so the handful of ammunition we had was sufficient! After church we got some lunch and then got ready to go in the pool. Craig's parents have a lovely heated pool, which was probably a tease since our pool (assuming we ever figure out how or when to get it open) is NOT heated and probably will not warm up quite that well this summer. Oh well. I guess we're easing into pool life with a pleasant water temperature. Here's Jacob looking cool...though it never ceases to amaze me when you can see ribs AND a gut at the same time. That pretty much sums up his eating habits, I suppose.

Here he is down at the pool in his floaty suit. Of course, Craig convinced him it was a hockey suit (the built-in floaties do sort of look like hockey padding) and he loved it. Here he is throwing a ball...
As a whole he really liked being in the pool. At first he rode around in an inflatable car, and then I walked around holding him for a bit, and then he sat in this tube thing with a seat in the center and played catch with Craig. He loved that stuff but freaked out anytime I tried to put him on his belly and teach him to swim. He can kick his legs like a maniac, though, so that's a start. He did get a couple mouthfuls of water when he slipped out of my grasp or reached too far out, so he stuck to me like glue whenever I had him. The suit can keep him afloat, but he still needs to control his head--not ideal, for sure. But we had a nice time and eventually he took one of the deepest sleeping naps ever. I don't think he moved a muscle for the first hour or so of it. That might be a good thing to know once we start using our pool ;-)

After dinner, Jacob was standing at the sliding screen door looking out at the pool, and despite our constant warnings this weekend, pushed on it. The door slipped off the track and fell, creating a ramp down the two steps to the patio. Jacob tumbled down with it, and banged his head pretty good on the step...with the screen as a buffer. It was pretty scary and definitely one of those moments you play back in your mind as a parent--trying to dissect the fall and what might have been hurt, or trying to figure out if there was anything you could have done differently to stop it or make it less damaging. Ultimately you can only do so much. We told him not to touch it, and up until the moment he pushed on it, he was just standing there looking outside. It only took a second. And that's the scariest part. We're lucky it wasn't worse. He had a tiny cut on his nose that bled for a minute or so, and a BIG goose egg on his forehead with some minor scrapes. No scabbing yet, though, thank goodness. I think he was mostly scared, though I'm sure the bump on the head hurt like heck. But he seemed back to normal fairly quickly, with none of the symptoms of someone with a head injury. He was in a good mood (so I'm guessing no headache), running around (no balance problems), talking up a storm (so his brain was working fine), and no vomiting or anything else...so we're assuming that he's ok. He whined a little this morning when he touched the goose egg, but was his normal self in no time. But yeah, that was tough to watch. We did try to use it as a lesson later on, telling him that we had told him not to touch the screen, but because he didn't listen, it fell and he got hurt. We tell him no about other things, too, so he doesn't get boo-boos like that one. I'm still not sure he got it, but let's hope so. It's hard to see in this picture, but here's a shot of the goose egg on his forehead...



We had a pleasant trip home and it was so nice to come home to our wonderful (albeit warm) house. Unfortunately the evening ended on an annoying note, as I had a message from my doctor that the bloodwork I had done a while back came back showing that I have high cholesterol! I know I don't eat perfectly, but sheesh, I think I eat well enough to not have high cholesterol. Must be the genetics finally catching up with me. Ugh.

On the bright side of medical news, Jacob had another visit with the pediatric pulmonary specialist this morning. He looked good so she gave us the green light to start weaning him off the Reglan, which he's been on since last March. I can hardly believe he's been on it for over a year, considering how stressed I was thinking about him being on it for the original six months they guessed! We have to keep him on it--but only one dose a day--for another couple months, and then he can go off it and we'll see how he does. He still has to have two doses of an acid reducer, though, but there aren't any side effects for that one so the doctor's less concerned about keeping him on that for now. Cold season is over, mercifully, so Jacob's cough has subsided for the most part, making this a good time of year to wean him from the Reglan. We'll see what happens next fall when cold season returns and we go back to the doctor. That's the other good news--no specialist visit for six months--and with a $40 copay, that's a big deal these days.

Well, that's enough for now...more to come soon, I'm sure!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

23 Months

Yup, my little baby turns 23 months today. It's hard for me to fathom...not just that it's been 23 months, but we're just one month away from his second birthday...which means that we suddenly have another party to plan. Seems like yesterday that we were trying to get ready for the first one. Time flies. And yes, you hear it from older people all the time, but they're right...it really does go faster the older you get. I think today is also the ten-year anniversary of my college graduation, which is just sick. It seems like yesterday as well, as does my ten-year high school reunion, which was almost four years ago. And to think for that reunion we were still a year away from even conceiving Jacob. And now he's almost two. Geez.

So, on the heels of yesterday's post about how Jacob is growing up, we had another moment last night. He almost had a successful potty experience! I'm still not thinking we're on some great road to potty training, but I'd say this was a little baby step. Not to be gross, but here's a little background to set the scene. Jacob hadn't pooped in a few days. Usually when that happens (which isn't often, thank goodness), he ends up with a doozy of a BM. Usually it's rock hard and frighteningly large in diameter. He hadn't been showing any signs of discomfort, but each day that went by without a BM (never thought I'd be so disappointed to see the straight set of circles around "Wet" on the diaper rundown on his daycare sheet) was becoming all the more disconcerting. And we're probably extra paranoid because (can't remember if I mentioned this or not) we're slightly concerned that he may have swallowed a little table hockey puck a couple weeks back. We can't find it anywhere, which means nothing when you have a kid that gets into everything and drops things whenever something else comes up, but still...it was a thought. And yes, I would think it should have passed by now. But there's still that question mark when something like this happens....is there any chance it's stuck in there and blocking things up? Anyway, as a result of all of this, anytime he seems a little extra out-of-sorts (extra cranky, crying out of nowhere) we've been asking him if his belly hurts or if he has to go poop. We asked him that a bunch last night around dinner in particular. Finally, at some point after dinner, Jacob disappeared upstairs into our bedroom. He does that sometimes, but this time when we followed him there, he said, "Poop" and seemed to gesture that he had to poop. So, we headed into the bathroom and he immediately put his potty seat on the toilet. Unfortunately, Jacob has this thing about being naked while on the potty. I think it happened by coincidence, since he frequently sat on the potty naked because we did it before baths or it came up when we were changing him or whatever. The other night when he sat on it, he made us strip him down. So I rushed to get his clothes off this time around, and by the time I could get his diaper off, he had already pooped. However, the big poop was pretty dry and it was stuck in his butt crack (as opposed to being in the diaper) so we put him on the toilet and voila...the poop fell into the toilet. Now, I know this doesn't count because he did actually poop before he was on the toilet. BUT...he did tell us that he had to go (and I do think he was going just while we were undressing him, because he sounded uncomfortable at that moment--and that poop looked like it would have been uncomfortable) AND once he was sitting there for a minute or two we did hear a little liquid dripping into the toilet. We're pretty sure he peed a bit, but not positive. See, we have an Amerks cup in the bathroom and Jacob likes to drink out of it. While he was sitting there he asked for water, and then proceeded to dump it on himself. Thank goodness for his lack of clothing. So, there's an off chance it could have been the water dripping into the toilet after he spilled it. But still, we're pretty sure Jacob peed just a little. So, of course, we made a big deal of it. He seemed to enjoy that part of things, and then proceeded to sit there for quite a while longer, to no avail. Finally I convinced him to get up, at which point I discovered how awkward it is to try to wipe a poopy butt when it's not on full display on a changing table. Any tips out there? I let Jacob flush the toilet, and that was about it. We'll see if it starts happening more, or if we just get a bunch of false alarms because he wants to receive more praise or he wants to flush again. But I still maintain that it's a step in the right direction.

The funny side effect to all of this is that Jacob is now slightly obsessed with poop. He kept pointing to the rear ends of his stuffed animals last night, saying, "Poop!", even going so far as to pretend to wipe them. And then this morning he was taking the pants off of a stuffed monkey and saying, "Monkey poop!" Hmmm. Hopefully this isn't a trend. Cute though it is in the confines of our own house, I can anticipate it being less cute in public. Say, at church. Or in the grocery store. Or amidst a large crowd of people. Or in a pool. Take your pick. But I guess it can't hurt to get him aware of poop in general, though I suppose we've been trying to do that each and every poopy diaper change when we comment on what we find. So why, now, is it funny? Ahh, the mysteries of childhood...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Growing Up...

Based on some recent happenings in our house, I think it's official that Jacob is growing up. Sometimes he does things that surprise me and really show what a big boy he's becoming. Of course, it's usually followed with a massive meltdown or something that reinforces that he is still less than two years old...but still, it's progress. Allow me to present the evidence:

Exhibit A: He can take off his own coat. He's been working on this for a while, but the other day he unzipped his jacket all by himself and even got it off of both his arms. He handed it off to one of us and went to go play. Wow.

Exhibit B: He put his own cup in the sink. The other day Jacob started falling asleep during dinner and kept wanting to be held. He hadn't eaten much but we didn't have a choice so Craig picked him up and Jacob was getting so tired. I didn't want to deal with him napping then and being wide awake at bedtime, so I immediately took him up and got him into his PJs just in case he fell asleep for good. Of course, he woke up at some point in the middle of that and we can back down to try to finish eating. It always seems a little odd to me when he perks up out of the blue like that, but then again, I probably do much the same a lot of days at work in the middle of the afternoon. Anyway, after he ate quite a bit more of his dinner sitting on my lap, I let him get up and walk around while finishing his milk. I rarely do that, but we were already out of our routine anyway. When he finished his milk, he proudly walked right into the kitchen and threw his cup in the sink. He can hardly reach up there so I'm not even entirely sure how he did it, but he did. He's done it once or twice before, as well, so I know it's not a fluke.

Exhibit C: He can navigate the stairs. I still don't entirely trust him with this, but it's fairly routine these days that he'll climb up and down the stairs on his own. He's got almost no problem going up, even standing, and he's getting better at coming down...as long as he focuses. If he's distracted by the TV or anything else, all bets are off. We knew it wouldn't take him long to master them so we didn't bother with gates when we moved, but I've been thinking lately that we might have to get one massive gate to encircle both staircases for baby #2 someday. Seeing as they're right in the middle of the living room and are the gateway to, really, anywhere else in the house, I can see them being a huge temptation for a younger and less skilled baby down the road! Still, thank goodness there's only 6-7 steps in either direction.

Exhibit D: He can wear hats and glasses for an extended period of time, and even put them back on himself. Last summer when we were outside for a long time, Jacob was constantly ditching his hats...and don't even get me started on sunglasses. He had a pair with a strap and it was like pulling teeth to get him to keep them on....hence why he was routinely blinded by the sun in the car. This year we spent a good hour or so wandering around the Lilac Festival, and Jacob didn't touch his hat or glasses the whole time! And even still, if he did, he's pretty darn good at putting them back on.

Exhibit E: He can actually eat with silverware AND he uses a napkin! Getting Jacob to eat with silverware has been a long and frustrating process. And some days he still doesn't exactly do it willingly. But he CAN. I've seen him do it, with a bowl of macaroni or cereal, or even a plate full of something easily stabbed with a fork. He can be so good at it! And yet sometimes he just reverts. But nowadays when he reverts he notices how messy his hands get, at which point he says, "Messy," and asks us for a napkin. He will wipe his hands and hand the napkin back to us.

Exhibit F: He can drink from a drinking fountain. I won't say that it's always a dry process, but he can physically do it. He's pretty good at the one at daycare (there's a stool to get him high enough) and can even push the button himself. Of course, then he wants to drink out of them elsewhere and it's a little trickier when he has to be held up to do it.

Add into this that he can say a ridiculous number of words (and identify a ton more beyond that), he can (sort of) sing songs, and he's so ridiculously cute when he runs down the hallway in our house looking like a man on a mission (clothing optional), and I just can't get over it. And when I think of all the little victories we experience on a daily basis, I can barely process it when I start thinking of all of the experiences we have to come--potty training, school achievements, bike riding, athletic accomplishments, etc. And I won't even get into graduations and marriage and kids because that's just beyond comprehension right now. But the little victories are fun for now... :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jacob-isms

First of all, as promised, here's that video from my last post with the exploding Iron Man. Please pardon the bad camera work and my really annoying gum chewing. I was chewing gum from a Razzle, and it was a really small piece, so it caused me to chew very awkwardly and cow-like. But Jacob's smile and laugh are too cute so I had to keep the video anyway.


Now that Jacob is talking quite a bit, it's been interesting to hear the things that come out of his mouth. And it's also amazing how you can say something once and it sticks with your child...they're so impressionable, as any parent with a kid who said a swear word early will tell you. For example...

Jacob has his "hockey sneakers" and "hockey boots". Of course, they're both just regular pairs of shoes, but one day Jacob was fighting us to put on his sneakers, and we told him they were hockey sneakers...and sure enough, he happily put them on. I had a similar experience with a different pair of shoes, a slightly nicer and bulkier pair of sneakers, so I called them his hockey boots--inspired, as I recall, from him referring to hockey skates as hockey boots the first time he saw them. He picked it up right away and continues to use those terms to this day. "Hockey" tends to be a big adjective in our house in general, though...from his "hockey books" (yes, he really has hockey books--the fantastic Brady Brady series) to his "hockey guys" (the mix of table hockey guys (yep, the flat ones) and hockey player keychains that make up his "hockey game" on Craig's air hockey table) to his hockey sticks and hockey pucks. This morning he actually said, "hockey player". It sounded funny to hear him put four whole syllables together!

Jacob calls M&Ms "beans". I think this dates back to Easter, the first time he really got to eat M&Ms regularly. I would give him a few jelly beans and a few M&Ms at the same time, and I guess he just got stuck on the "beans" part of jelly beans. I have no idea how that happened, really, but all of a sudden he started asking for "beans" and pointing to the spot on the counter where we keep the candy. Odd. He loves them, though, and gets very excited whenever I give him "beans" after he eats his dinner like a good boy.

Jacob is currently obsessed with zambonis. I think that came from a commercial that kept popping up on the NHL Network, which is almost always on TV in our house (I know, bad). He's seen zambonis in action before and never showed much of a response, but all of a sudden he was running around the house talking about "Boni". Craig convinced him that the little tow truck that came with his Little People parking garage was a zamboni (it does look a little like one), and eventually Craig found a cheap enough mini-zamboni (an Amerks one, no less) that's the size of a Matchbox car. Jacob loves it. He got to see a real life zamboni (parked) when we went to an ice rink the other night to watch a lacrosse game, and tends to label any moving vehicle that's not a car as a "boni". There was one of those lift vehicles (basically a scissor lift on wheels) at the ice rink, and then we saw someone riding one of those mobility scooters at the Lilac Festival last night...and yes, both were 'bonis.

The one day we were both stumped as Jacob kept saying something that sounded like "dubs". At one point he was with Craig and he said it over and over again, making them both quite frustrated. Finally we figured out that he was saying, "gloves". He gets to use it more than you'd think for this time of year. There's a pair of lacrosse gloves floating around that Craig lets him wear--very cute--and he's obsessed with Craig's baseball gloves as well. He constantly points to the front hall closet where they're stored, asking to see them.

Listening to Jacob rattle off his colors still makes me smile. "Ret, ye-yow, geen, bru"...seriously cute. And he knows other ones besides those, but those come up most often. He's really good with his colors, even surprising the folks at daycare.

Finally, here are a couple pictures from Mother's Day weekend...First a cute one from hanging out at home on Saturday...

And another featuring the "cheese face" from near the end of the festivities on Sunday...gotta love my boys!


Enjoy :)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Random Moments of Note

As I've mentioned, Jacob is growing up so much. It's affording us some of those moments that you hear about over and over again from parents about the random things their kids say and do. We're still not in the heyday of that yet, since Jacob can hardly talk, but still...we have our moments. And thank goodness for that, because after a night like last night, we need them.

1) This morning on the way to the bathroom for teeth brushing, Jacob mentioned something about the potty. I asked him if he wanted to sit on it, and he said yes. We finished brushing his teeth and I asked him again, because toddlers are, well, fickle. He again said yes, repeated "potty", but shortly thereafter said, "bear," as well. He was, at the time, holding his teddy bear. At that point I informed him that bears poop in the woods (what, haven't you ever heard the expression...?), not on potties. And yet, when I got him down to take off his PJs and put him on the potty, he proceeded to put his teddy bear on his little frog potty. It was pretty darn cute and I wish I would have had access to the camera. He did eventually sit on the potty, but no dice. He actually doesn't want to sit on the potty or the potty seat we bought him, and instead wants to take his chances on falling into the toilet by sitting on it like mommy and daddy, without the kid seat. It's a balancing act, literally, and I think the coordination it takes to keep him up probably does nothing for his relaxation in preparation for peeing, so that's a problem. Ugh.

2) The other night Craig had his first softball game in years. He was persuaded to play by our real estate agent and our mortgage broker. He stopped playing a few years ago, mostly because he kept injuring himself. However, now that Jacob's old enough to comprehend things and is an absolute sports nut, I think Craig wanted to get back into it so Jacob could see him play baseball (well, yes, it's softball...but a nearly-two-year-old probably wouldn't know the difference. I don't really want to co-mingle the word "soft" with "baseball" because I'm having a hard enough time breaking him of his throwing balls in the house habit...let alone if he ever started thinking that baseballs are "soft"). So, the other night, despite the crappy forecast and an early start time, I rushed Jacob home from daycare, grabbed a couple blankets and some sports equipment, and headed back out to grab fast food and go to the game. We only managed to catch the end, which was just as well since it started pouring just as we were getting in the car. Anyway, Jacob did sit contentedly for a couple minutes eating some of his hamburger and watching the "baseball guys". Of course, with his meal came a toy. And I should have asked specifically for the under 3 toy, but I was lazy and figured we'd just get whatever it was and if it wasn't good for Jacob, we could just chuck it. It ended up being an Iron Man guy (ugh) who Jacob thought was a hockey guy. He thought the same thing about his cousins' Power Rangers too. Who am I to steer him differently? :) This Iron Man toy is about six inches tall and looks like your typical action figure. The only difference? When you press a button on his chest, his arms and legs fall off. Now, I have never seen the movies to know if this is a special power than Iron Man has, but I found it pretty comical. And when I showed it to Jacob yesterday, I had him laughing hysterically every single time I pressed that button. He thought it was hilarious. I even remembered to take some video of it, though it's pretty awful footage. I'll try to remember to post it soon. But it's worth it for a big smile and lots of laughs coming from my dear little boy. Who knew that falling body parts were that funny? I just wish that the body parts would stay connected better when the button isn't being pressed, because a one-legged superhero is pretty lame...and that's exactly what he ends up being every time Jacob grabs him out of my hand.

I may have more to report on but I don't just want to let this post sit around...so maybe there will be a sequel, maybe there won't. At least it was something to give you a smile :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

At long last...

I don't know if I've ever specifically blogged about it, but I've often termed the hour between when work ends and when I finally get home on days when I pick Jacob up from daycare as the worst hour of my day. You'd think getting out of work would be a relief, and it is, but immediately after that moment of relief I jump right back into insanity...running to my car, dealing with rush hour traffic (which, admittedly isn't bad here in Rochester...I'm spoiled, but that also means that when things slow down even a bit on a road that's normally running at 55mph, I get cranky), and hoping I don't run into any obstacles major enough to make me late for the 6pm pickup time...because God forbid we have to pay $5 for the extra couple minutes of care. Ugh. And while my arrival at daycare all these months should involve a happy, wonderful moment when I get to see the smiling face of my little boy, it hasn't been quite like that. Once I gather up his stuff, drag him out of the building (sometimes literally kicking and screaming), strap him into the carseat, drive home, unload and finally face the challenges of dinner, it's been a busy and generally miserable hour. It's just hectic and at times frustrating.

And for months, I downright hated this process. Why? Because I was worried about what Jacob would throw at me that evening, be it a total no-go at dinner or a night of non-stop whining. There just seems to be something wrong with dreading a period of time at home with your own child. And while that fear and frustration would never win out over the love I have for him, it can turn me into a person I don't so much like. And if I don't like myself, I suppose it's no wonder Jacob would be miserable if he has to spend time with that person as well--regardless of his role in its creation. And don't get me wrong, I get a lot of joy out of spending time with Jacob. But some days, I can only shake my head.

And yes, there are still moments that I roll my eyes when I pick him up from daycare and instead of running to me for a hug like most kids, he smiles for a second and then proceeds to ignore me. He'll try to pull out a new toy or run like a madman down the hall to escape, or at best, show me a new toy in another room. And there are still some nights when I'm tired and a little anxious about how dinner will go--what I'll make, if Jacob will eat it, if my patience will last long enough to not scream at him if he starts throwing food. But lately, I haven't let those things bother me. In general I truly look forward to it all now. The joy of seeing my silly little boy after a long day of work, the fun of him making me laugh on the way home...all of that stuff finally outweighs the fear and frustration. Even though there's still a lot of "work" involved in the going-home process, I'm practically excited to do it every day. Despite Jacob's periodic meltdowns, he's still been such a joy most of the time. Just seeing how much he's growing and learning these days is amazing. Every time he learns a new word, or puts two words or phrases together into a coherent thought, it's like a tiny little miracle.

Perhaps my change in attitude has something to do with less of an excitement about my job. Or maybe vice versa--Perhaps my newfound appreciation for all of this makes me resent my job's intrusion on it all. It's not that I don't like my job--I do. The people I work with are great and there are many elements of it that I enjoy. But there are some that I don't, and there are certain hints that some of those "don'ts" will become a larger part of my job in the future. Regardless, I have to work right now and this isn't a bad place to do it. I'm still not convinced I'd be a great stay-at-home mom anyway. But there are many days that I truly hate leaving Jacob at daycare and wish I could spend the day with him. I feel like I'm missing out on a lot these days...and while all the little baby milestones are awesome, watching an active toddler discover the world is that much more interesting. There are times that I look at Jacob and almost can't believe I have the power to leave him each day, and I feel bad that I do. But at the same time I tell myself that my working is building a better life for him down the road...allowing us to have a more comfortable house, hopefully do life-enriching things as he gets older, and hopefully save up enough money so he's not starting out his adult life with a mountain of debt. Whether or not that all really outweighs the importance of spending a ton of quality time with him is debatable. But right now it's the only way I see things working. Yet, it doesn't stop me from thinking about it almost all the time these days.

Of course, then we have a night like tonight. I wrote most of this post earlier today, and then tonight Jacob just HAD to have one of those nights. Everything was a chore. Dinner was a battle, playing was interspersed with a ton of whining, and no matter what I wanted to do, Jacob always wanted to do something different. I was actually a little cold by the end of the night, just going through the motions to get him in bed. My hug, kiss, and "I love you" were genuine as I put him down, but I wasn't much in the mood for giggles after all that. And I can only imagine how I'd be after a full day like that. So maybe our current situation is fine. But it's getting to be a lot harder than it used to be.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mama's Day

Ahhh, Mother's Day. A day for moms everywhere to kick back and relax, appreciate their children, and just generally enjoy themselves however they wish. Hmmm....maybe for some! Mother's Day in our world is a busy one. Not that it's just another day mind you. I did play the Mother's Day card a couple times yesterday. I made Craig drive home from Buffalo, and I did have him put Jacob to bed when I was too dead tired to get off the couch (seriously, I was asleep at 9). But while it was a great day, I did not get a lot of time to relax. And you know, as much as my body was protesting this morning when I got out of bed and got ready for another week of work, it's ok. You know why? Because I'll go to Buffalo to celebrate two other moms (and two grandmas, as well) any day, just because I'm thankful we still have moms and grandmas to celebrate. Mother's Day is only as special as the moms in your life. And as much as I'd love a relaxing Mother's Day of sleeping in, breakfast in bed, time to shop and spend time with my family, the crazy busy Mother's Days we have now are special. While we hope they'll be like this for many years to come, with long drives to Buffalo and back, we don't really know how much longer we'll have that privilege of celebrating Mother's Day with two moms and two grandmas. So while we can, I'll put off my relaxing Mother's Day for a wonderful day with family. I've been reminding myself of this for a few days now, but it really hit home last night when we were driving home and I was reading Facebook updates on Craig's phone. One of my best friends from high school lost her mom this past Christmas, and had the saddest status update about how Mother's Day wasn't the same without her mom around, that her dad forgot to get her a card (because her mom always did stuff like that), her husband was working, she did most of the cooking, etc. She did mention how much she loves her boys, but you could tell it was a bummer day for her. And I realized how ridiculously lucky I am (yet again) to have all of these great moms to celebrate.

And not only that, but I spent a good chunk of the day marveling at how blessed I am to have the little boy that makes me a mom. Despite a crazy off-schedule day, he was remarkably good. We had a busy morning running around to get ready and pick up some last minute gifts, then the long drive to NT. He slept for most of it, and slowly warmed up once we got to my parents'. The fact that my parents pulled out their yard sale find of two mini-lacrosse sticks helped!

He ate quite well, enjoying a delicious pork tenderloin, some broccoli, and some applesauce, then had a bowl of ice cream and strawberries. At first he wasn't really down with the ice cream, but slowly he got used to the cold and decided it was pretty yummy! Then he sat down and shared Grandpa's with him! I'm sure my dad reveled in this moment since he spent most of Jacob's first year trying to sneak him a dab of whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate, always coming up against my objections since those were generally no-no's during year 1.

Our time there wasn't nearly long enough, yet we were off again to Craig's family dinner. We had a great meal and some fun conversation, though Jacob got a little antsy after a while at the table. He kept wanting to run around the restaurant, saying he wanted to watch basketball (it was on TV in the bar), but then taking off two seconds after we'd sit down to watch it. But all things considered, he wasn't too bad. Thank goodness for the crayons I keep stashed in the diaper bag! Again, our time there wasn't long enough, but we decided to head back to Rochester after the meal was over for a few reasons. It was probably good that we did, because Jacob had a rough second half of the drive and as mentioned previously, I was passed out on the couch by 9pm. I may be getting a cold. It held off a bit today, though I'm definitely more congested than usual. It could be a dose of allergies, but the weather doesn't seem compatible with that, so I'm bracing for the worst.

In general yesterday, though, Jacob was so much fun. I find myself so amazed every time he learns a new world or shows off his new skills. He's so good with his colors--even the daycare folks are amazed. He says a lot of random words now, and can identify so many more. Just tonight, we were reading a book that had the letters A, B, and C across the top of the page, and he identified B and C! Without me asking or hinting! It was awesome! Yesterday I was counting as I gave him his medicines, and after I said, "One...", he chimed in with "Two"! I think I was so shocked that I never got to three or four! (Yep, four things every morning...his quick-digestion meds, his acid reflux meds, his vitamins and his allergy meds--let's hope those first two go away after his visit to the pulmonary specialist later this month.) He's just such an amazing, handsome little man these days. I even love when he's running down the hallway in our house, always a man on a mission. And yep, nothing's cuter than when he's running to the bathroom buck-naked for his bath. That tushie is the cutest little thing. He's so sweet and so silly that some days I can almost overlook his crazy moments. I feel so blessed to have such an amazing little boy.

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Never forget how blessed you are :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How True...

Every day I read blogs on the Parenting Magazine site. They have a different blogger each day during the week, and I find them all very enjoyable and insightful. They come from varied backgrounds and have a variety of different child-rearing experiences to post about. One is a working mom (for Playboy, no less!) with an infant, another is a stay-at-home mom with three kids, another has two kids and a wacky sense of humor, one is a hip New Yorker with a newborn, and one is a black woman with a lovely writing style, two daughters of her own, and an older stepson. Each one has interesting insights each day, and I've found a lot I can relate to there.

I ended up finding those blogs because one of my favorite bloggers (one of the two that inspired this blog) moved to that site. She blogged at Glamour for years about her battle with cancer, then left that to pursue other things, since cancer wasn't such a daily part of her life anymore. She popped up as a Project Pregnancy blogger on the Parenting site when she was pregnant with her second child, then moved over to the Parenting Post section once her daughter was born. I'm so glad I followed her there, because the blogs are a highlight of my day (sadly enough). Anyway, today's blog was by the stay-at-home mom with three kids ("Daring Young Mom"), and it was particularly relatable for me. It hearkens a bit to what I wrote about yesterday, with being a little too distracted sometimes to feel like I'm giving Jacob everything he needs. Give it a read: http://forums.parenting.com/blogs/parenting-post/posts/do-you-still-feel-it.

The paragraphs that resonated the most with me were:
Emotionally, I miss that new fresh mommy feeling, the time when you're all
wrapped up in your baby and your baby can't get enough of you, the time when
every time you look at her all you can think of is overwhelming love and not the
desire to nag or correct or tell her to get her finger out of her nose.

I still feel love for my older kids, probably more deeply now than when
they were babies because I know who they are and I understand their
personalities which are so frequently an amazing gift to me. But I spend a lot
of time nagging them. I spend too much time preoccupied and semi-ignoring them.

I completely know what she's saying. And I've thought about it myself, albeit less eloquently. I still find myself marveling at what a little boy Jacob has become, that this crazy little man running around our house and talking up a storm is the same human being that was so helpless and such a complete little stranger when he first came into our lives. And perhaps part of the reason it is so hard to reconcile the two is partly because the way I see him has changed, in the way she describes above. Instead of just appreciating him for the miracle that every inch of him is, that vision is often tarnished by my constant and frequently unsuccessful attempts to be a good parent. I'm always trying to do the right thing, but in the end I probably overthink and make myself nuts...and too much of my time with Jacob is spent that way. I just want to appreciate him the way I did when he was my sweet little baby. And it kills me every time I step back and realize how far from that point we are now.

I think the blog was probably even more salient to me because I spent a good portion of my drive home last night thinking about pregnancy and Jacob's early days. I ran into a VERY pregnant co-worker on my way out of the office. She's due any day with her first child, a boy. We chatted a bit about dilating early, what she's been feeling, how I had no indication ahead of time that my fluid was going to start leaking, etc. She's obviously nervous about everything and is getting a little crazy trying to finish things up at work--because each day you want to leave things a certain way, just in case you never make it in the next day, but when you do make it in, you have to dig back into the stuff you had set up so carefully the night before. I was lucky enough to have a few minutes to come into the office and clean up a couple things the day I went into the hospital. I still get crap from my co-workers for that, but let's face it...we didn't want to go all the way back home just to come back into the city right away, so it only made sense to kill time at work and clear my desk until we got the "ok" to head to the hospital. But the conversation with her, complete with her nervous excitement, definitely brought back memories and had me thinking back to two years ago. Pregnancy was such a scary and exciting time full of ups and downs. So much to think about, yet so much to look forward to. There were so many bodily discomforts, but it was a miracle to watch that same body change and adapt. I'll admit that the picture in my head was quite romanticized. After two years, it's easy to forget about the endless doctor appointments, lengthy to do lists, frequent exhaustion, early morning leg cramps, and the constant state of worry that comes with pregnancy. Yet nothing compares to the excitement and anticipation of knowing there's a little baby in there, and knowing you're going to meet him or her very soon! I guess it's like the split personality of parenthood...where one moment you're ready to strangle your kid, but the next second they have you laughing and loving them infinitely more than you did the day they were born. How excitement and fear and joy and frustration can co-exist so seamlessly is one of those mysteries of parenthood, I guess. It's right up there with how you manage to put all of the bad parts of pregnancy (and delivery) out of your head enough to do it all again!

It was nice to think about, though, and I'll definitely have to keep all those romanticized thoughts in mind when we finally decide to start trying for #2. But in the meantime, I guess I should just focus on today, and every single moment I get to have with Jacob. And incidentally, last night was a really fun evening with him. Sure, there were a couple tantrums, but we sang together while he ate dinner and we played a lot afterward. I genuinely enjoyed my time with him. Quite the switch from the evening prior. Nice to know it's possible these days...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Disaster!

Ever have one of those days where everything just seems off? Like you just can't win? That was last night with Jacob and me. I am well aware that sometimes my plans aren't the most conducive to Jacob's wants and/or needs. It's not that I'm purposely trying to do that, but it's just how things go. I work around his schedule as much as I can for errand running and things like that, but if Jacob had his way, he'd spend 24 hours a day playing hockey and would never want to take a break to eat or sleep. And obviously, that's not good. Life gets in the way sometimes! Life as a working mother provides very little flexibility at times. Sometimes you have to fit in grocery shopping right after work and daycare pickup, which pushes off dinner even later than usual. You can't always spend a full weekend afternoon playing because there are errands that need to be run that have been waiting all week. To maintain your sanity, sometimes you need to get out and do something fun in the evenings, even if it means that bedtime will be a little later than usual...though usually that one comes back to bite us big-time because Jacob is so thrown off the next day, even if he seemingly caught up on his sleep. That was the case Sunday, after we went to the Rhinos soccer game on Saturday night (sidenote: Jacob is already chanting, "Let's Go Rhinos!"). We had a decent weekend otherwise, with some good outside playtime (though I spent most of it trimming our property...yuck!). We also picked up a potty seat for Jacob, not to be confused with his potty chair. We've had the frog potty chair for a couple weeks, but Jacob still seemed interested in sitting on the big potty so I wanted him to have a potty seat as well. Never hurts to have both as they both have a function, and I finally found a potty seat with good reviews, so we picked that up Sunday night. No successes yet with either, but I wasn't really expecting any quite yet anyway.

But anyway, last night was the "disaster" indicated in the subject line. I picked Jacob up from daycare at the normal time, and he gave me his usual resistance when I got there. He never wants to leave and usually just wants to run around and pull out more toys while I'm trying to gather up his stuff. It's often a chore just to get out of the building, but at that point he usually is happy to be outside and will dutifully hold my hand and walk to the car. When we got home, I had to open the garage to bring in the garbage cans. Well, once I did that, Jacob just wanted to play. He wanted to pull out his big wheel, play with the hockey sticks (full size hockey sticks...he kept whining when he'd see them tucked in the corner, and this weekend Craig pulled out one for him to play with), and grab his baseball bat and ball. Of course, it was already 6pm and we needed to do dinner ASAP. I always feel terrible when dinner is late and we're rushing from dinner to bed...it's just as bad as rushing from daycare to dinner! I let Jacob ride his big wheel down the driveway to get the mail, and then told him we'd come back outside after dinner. Still, it was a bit of a struggle to get him in the house. Once we were in he was pretty good about playing with his toys while I cooked. At one point he brought his hockey guys into the kitchen (they're actually the little flat hockey players off Craig's old table hockey game, along with a couple Lil' Sports Brat keychain hockey players, minus their chains) and was playing with them nicely. When I said it was time for dinner, he took them all back out to the living room, a few at a time. Too cute. He ate dinner relatively well (have I mentioned he really likes broccoli? Sweet!), at which point Lori came to visit on her way through Greece. We finished up dinner and eventually headed outside to chat and play. He was pretty good while we were outside, but definitely started getting a little defiant. He'd throw his bat or throw a ball toward the street, which I repeatedly told him not to. When he kept going, it was time to go in, but again I got a tantrum. That lasted quite a while once we were in the house, but just as quickly as it came, the tantrum faded and Jacob happily resumed playing with his inside toys. But shortly after that it was suddenly time to take a bath and go to bed, so once again a tantrum started because he didn't want to do that. I carried him upstairs and put him in the tub anyway. He cried through most of his bath, and then suddenly he stopped and began happily playing with his tub toys. But of course, by now it was getting close to bedtime. I tried to get him to wrap things up, but once again he started with a tantrum when I tried to get him out of the tub. This is where things really started to go downhill. I pulled him out crying, though he started laughing when I put his hooded towel on his head and he realized he could play peek-a-boo. But when he didn't have enough slack to cover his eyes, he got cranky. He was quickly back to a full-on cry, so I tried to just hug him and settle him down while I dried him off. But mid-hug, all of a sudden I felt this pain in my shoulder...he BIT me! It caught me off guard and I inadvertently yelled and sort of dug my nails into him where I was holding him. Oops. That obviously made things that much worse, and as I was hugging him again, apologizing for the clawing and yelling and trying to ask him why he bit me, I felt a little splash on my leg. Yup, sure enough...Jacob peed on the floor. Figures, since he wouldn't pee on either potty before his bath. I don't know if the whole thing scared him, or he was just so out-of-control that his bladder went right with him, but geez. What a disaster.

It wasn't a bright moment for either of us. Jacob has had one tantrum right after the other lately, the second he doesn't get what he wants, and I probably haven't been the most patient with him. It's hard to be patient when everything's a battle. And I'm sure there's probably something I'm not doing quite right that's making him feel the need to have a tantrum all the time. I probably should pay more attention to subtle cues, the ones that indicate that he may need more attention, more sleep, more food or drink, or just more playtime. But it's hard when you're busy and don't get to spend 24 hours a day studying your child. But then again, why can't he just realize that he'd have more playtime (and quality time in general) if he'd just stop crying and relax! Ha, try telling that to an almost-two-year-old! But I think in the end a lot of the problems come down to just not having enough hours in the day. Jacob should be my priority, but yet I have to cook dinner and clean up each evening, which doesn't leave a lot of time for playing. And even when there is time, I'm often beat and it's hard to be enthusiastic. On weekends I'm always trying to get through the to do list that's been building all week, and I'm sure Jacob suffers there as well. Sometimes I don't even have enough time to do normal, easy stuff with him, let alone having a chance to get creative and do really fun stuff! I suppose it's the eternal torture of a working mom, and I get even more frustrated thinking about baby #2 someday. If I'm this busy and this frustrated with one, what will I do when there's two? Is it fair to Jacob or his future sibling? At least they'll have each other, I guess. I just keep hoping that our circumstances will change for the better, one way or another, before that's a reality. Wishful thinking, but you never know. God's provided before, so there's no reason He won't in the future.

Long story short, it just takes one night (or a series of little incidents) to start making you a little crazy and questioning your ability to parent. I try to be patient and I try to focus on Jacob, but it doesn't always work. But tonight is another night...we'll see how it goes...