Archive for March, 2010

Pool Pass

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Summer in a small southern town brings two things to mind…Heat and Humidity.  We lived in this same town about five years ago so we remember the hot temps and sticky humidity that creeps up during summer.  The only way to stay cool and refreshed is to have access to a swimming pool.  We asked some friends their recommendations on area pools and came to find that they joined a pool last summer that they absolutely loved.  Bingo!  We are official members of one of the local country clubs for the summer.

The last two summers, my husband has been away on deployment and not been able to spend time with our family.  Jack and I had the opportunity to visit family in PA for months at a time and took advantage of the nice swimming pool in his grandparent’s neighborhood.  My husband was a big swimmer growing up, and he still is.  He has been looking forward to swimming with Jack and teaching him all his techniques.  Jack has come a long way from two years ago.  Thanks to the help from his grandmother, he has learned a lot already.  I’m so anxious to see how he does this summer with daddy’s help.

I have a feeling we’ll be living at the pool, since there isn’t a whole lot to do in the hot hot sun here.  The heat is terrible at times so the pool will be our escape.  Being pregnant, I think the pool sounds like a great idea, although being in a bathing suit, maybe not so much.  The friends Jack has made so far also have memberships which will make it more enjoyable.  Opening day is the beginning of May so we will have our suits, sunscreen, flip flops and towels ready to ring in summer.

My Brother, Obvious

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Last weekend I attended a concert. At the concert, they did a special piece about the devastation in Haiti and the living conditions for many children throughout the world. That night I decided I was going to sponsor a child. His name is Obvious (really!), he is 16 days older than Brady, and he is from Zambia. I wanted to find a boy around Brady’s age. I thought it would be a great experience for Brady to write letters to Obvious, send him small gifts, etc.. So while at the concert I called Brady and told him that we were going to be helping a little boy get food, water, and an education. To this Brady asked me “which room is going to be his bedroom.”

I guess Brady thought that Obvious was going to leave Zambia and come and live in America (in our home). I explained to him that I would show him his picture and talk to him about it the following day, since he was heading to bed with Mammaw and Papa soon.

Well, the next day Brady asked me to meet his “brother.” So I got out my picture of Obvious and Brady looked at him and smiled. Then he showed his picture to our dog, Molly, and introduced him. He took the picture card for a tour of our house. He was talking to the photo card just like Obvious was really here, showing Obvious his playroom, bedroom, kitchen, etc.. We have started the first letter we plan to send to Obvious, but not finished it yet. We plan to send along some stickers and paper. Brady prays for Obvious before bed and we often talk about him.

Brady naturally has a very giving heart. So I am so excited to be able to nurture that sense of giving in this new way. I am going to show him Zambia on a map, try to find some pictures of what Obvious’s home may look like, etc.. I hope this is the beginning of a long friendship between Brady and Obvious.

Adventures in Dining

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I can remember sitting in restaurants with my friends or out on a date listening to little kids screaming their heads off. Inevitably, one of us would roll our eyes and complain loudly about how the parents should keep better control of their kids. Of course, OUR children – when we eventually had them – would be perfectly behaved in public.

Of course, as my mother would happily tell you, I actually got my parents kicked out of a Friendly’s when I was younger. Waitresses threw crackers at our table, hoping that would “shut me up.” And when that didn’t work, we were cordially asked to leave their fine dining establishment… I probably made history being the only baby ever kicked out of a Friendly’s!

It’s funny how things have changed… Now I look at the parents struggling with their screaming kids with total empathy. (And I’m totally grateful for the blissful, all too infrequent, moments where my child is the angel baby of the restaurant.) If the parents – why is it always the mom? – actually look over at my table and apologize, I laugh and tell them not to worry because next time it’ll be my son. And inevitably, the next time it is…

Those are the worst moments.

Your kid is screaming his head off. You’ve tried distracting him with books, toys, food. You tried passing him off between yourself and everyone else at the table. He’s been in the high chair, out of the high chair, in his own seat, in your lap. You’ve walked an insane number of laps around the restaurant. Even the diaper change didn’t help things.

Nothing seems to work… Nothing stops the screaming, the sobs, the crocodile tears for no apparent reason. So now what?

Well… we usually end up leaving the restaurant at that point, embarrassed to be “those parents” with “that kid” who the entire restaurant is staring at. Half the patrons are sympathetic and just thankful it’s not THEIR kid having the meltdown and the other half is angry that you’re ruining their good time with your screaming baby.

We had one of those nights tonight. In the moment it was so frustrating. My son was so upset and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. It was embarrassing. An entire table of women (10 of them – yes, I counted) were glaring at me every time Andrew started howling. Part of me wanted to melt into the booth and the rest of me wanted to shout, “Just because my son’s having a bad day doesn’t make me a bad mom!”

Instead, I held Andrew’s hand and walked out of the restaurant with my head held high while hubby paid the check and got our food packed in to-go containers. Outside in the parking lot, I scooped Andrew up in a bear hug and gave him a big kiss. We ran through the parking lot, arms wrapped around each other, smiling and cackling as we got drenched in the pouring rain.

It certainly wasn’t his best showing. But it’s not going to stop us from trying again.

Spring Project

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

This past weekend my family and I took a trip to that wonderful store, Lowes.  We had a few things on our list to purchase and as usual, we ended up buying a few additional items.  One of those items was a little Elmo tomato growing kit.  Having some marketing experience, the Lowe’s team knew exactly where to place this display, right up front by the main door.  What a great way to attract little kids and have them beg and beg and beg to take it home.  Jack won the battle and we are now going to attempt to grow some cherry tomatoes.

When we got home from the store Jack and daddy assembled the little plants.  He taught Jack the basics of growing a plant like sufficient watering, sunshine and patience.  Once the plants germinate we will transfer them to other pots and hope we are successful at growing at least one.  The first thing Jack does in the morning now is to check on his plants to see if anything has changed.  Still nothing, but soon enough we’ll see something sprout.

If Jack has a green thumb I’ll be impressed.  I don’t seem to have much luck with any kind of plant unless it’s something that doesn’t need much attention.  As much as he cares about these plants, I bet he’ll be a happy camper when he actually sees some tomatoes on the vine or not so happy when he doesn’t.  Either way, he will learn about responsibility and how certain things in life might not always turn out the way you want them to.

Bye, Bye naps – Bye, bye….

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

There is a song from back in the day “Bye, Bye Love” that reminds me of saying goodbye to naps. It appears that after over a four year run, Brady is no longer going to be napping. It changed pretty suddenly. If he napped, he would only sleep about 9 hours at night (opposed to his typical 12 hour nights). This of course resulted in “grumpy bear” in the morning until naptime. If he didn’t take a nap, the “grumpy bear” still came out about an hour before bedtime. But he has a good night of sleep and wakes up feeling happy. Well, maybe not “happy.” Brady is far from a morning bird. But he is happy after his fingers leave his mouth and he is actually coherent!

Now to many people this would be sad, no more naps. However, to a work at home mom, this is a HUGE deal. I used to work about 90 minutes per day during nap. When you add that up throughout the month, I am technically loosing 45 HOURS of work time. This, of course, sent me into panic mode. Luckily, I found a sitter (who is a close friend) who is going to be having Brady over to her house to play for five hours one day per week. And then he has a 3 hour gym class another day. Those eight hours per week won’t make up for all of the missed time, but it is a start. There are also there are many localities that have childcare and wi-fi, so worst case scenario, I go there and work while Brady plays for an hour or two. I haven’t done it yet, but what else is a work-at-home mom to do?

Little Notes

Friday, March 19th, 2010

When I bring Andrew home at the end of the day, I always check his school bag for notes. Every day, they send home a sheet with his daily activities, what he ate, how long he napped, how many times he went to the bathroom. (I would really hate to be the one who had to record that activity, but I digress…) They send home Andrew’s art projects, some of which immediately go on the refrigerator and others go into a pile that we let the grandparents and great grandparents fight over when they come to visit.

The incident reports make a periodic appearance. No one ever likes to get those, particularly if a fight is involved. Fortunately we haven’t had many of those – Andrew’s “incidents” tend to involve him running to fast and tripping over his own feet. My darling boy can be a bit of a klutz, just like me…

They also send home notes to remind you of things going on around the school. Wear green for St. Patrick’s Day. Bring in your favorite book for story time tomorrow. Stuff like that.

Yesterday we got a note announcing the upcoming “week of the young child” at the school. They do a week of special activities for the little kids. Parents can sign up to read to the kids at story time. This year, they started something new. All the kids will be receiving certificates telling them how special and wonderful they are. We have to send in a note telling the school at least one reason why our child is so special. You know, like “Little Johnny is special because he helps put away the dishes.” (Yeah, that was the example they gave)

My first thought was: ONE REASON? I have to come up with a single reason why my kid is special? How can I possibly narrow it down to just one?

Andrew has a smile that lights up the room.
His laugh is contagious.
He has the biggest heart and can melt anyone’s with a single look or smile.
It looks like he’s a lefty – a fact which delights his grandpa to no end because all the best baseball players were, of course, lefties.
He has one heck of an arm.
He can switch from roughhousing with the big kids to being sweet and gentle with the babies at the drop of a hat.
Andrew defends kids who are being picked on and rushes to help little kids who are hurt or not feeling well.
Even though he wants to be a big independent 2 year old, he still will curl up in my lap with his head against my heart and hold my hand when he wants to fall asleep.
He gives great hugs and kisses.
He shares his favorite animal crackers (even if you don’t really want them shoved into your mouth).

I know most parents think this about their kids, but Andrew is just the best.

Clearly, I still have a lot of thinking to do before I can boil this down into one little note about the one thing that makes Andrew special.

Lucky Day!

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Today is St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s a day to sport the color green, feel festive and hopefully receive some good luck.  I always like to bake some kind of special treat with Jack on holidays as a fun way to show and tell him what it’s all about.  He loves to help me bake and I love sweets so we are a perfect combo.  Below is a recipe we’ll be making today to celebrate this fun green holiday.  If you have time you should make them, too!

Lucky Shamrock Treats


  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz. about 40) regular marshmallows OR 4 cups  miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups  Rice Krispies®
  • Canned frosting or decorating gel
  • Green decorating sugar (optional)


1. In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add Rice Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool slightly. Using cookie cutter coated with cooking spray cut into shamrocks. Decorate with frosting and decorating sugar (if desired). Best if served the same day.


Chatty Kathy, I Mean Brady…

Monday, March 15th, 2010

My son talks a lot. Now he does get the gift of gab honestly (from his mother), but seriously, this child is just overly friendly. It scares me at times. It is nice to have the innocence of a child and feel safe talking to everyone. Yet, I don’t want him to think that strangers are his friends. It is a tricky balance at 4 years old. Of course if I taught him about “stranger danger” my nervous little guy probably wouldn’t leave the house until 3rd grade!

Last Sunday, we went out to a local restaurant. Brady saw a man about the same age as his papa. He went up and said “what is your name, I am Brady.” The gentleman told him his name. Brady went on to ask if “that girl” the man was with was his family. The man explained that “the girl” was his wife. Brady told the man that I was his mama and he had a cool swingset with two slides. He asked the guy if he and his “girl” wanted to come over and play sometime. I could tell you many other stories about Brady talking to complete strangers and pouring his little heart out.

Ironically, this child was tested at 2 years old because he wasn’t talking (he used only 4 words). God definitely has a sense of humor! Brady definitely doesn’t have any speech problems. Well, maybe he does. Maybe he talks, shares, and trusts too much. But for now, that is okay.

What’s For Dinner?

Friday, March 12th, 2010

When he first got into eating, as opposed to drinking his meals, Andrew was a great eater. He would eagerly chow down on everything. Fruit, veggies, cereal, yogurt. He would eat everything. Well, except green beans and the little jars of pureed meat that look and smell like dog food. But I really can’t blame him for not wanting to eat that. I could barely stand the smell of the stuff!

It seems that the older Andrew has gotten, the more picky he is with what he is willing to consume. Slowly, all the old favorites have fallen off the “approved” list. Strawberries? Blueberries? Grapes? No, no and a most emphatic NO.

Mac and cheese seems to be a fairly constant standby. We have tried sneaking a little bit of vegetable in there or some chicken. But he’s too smart for that trick.

We have tried to give him a buffet of all his old favorites. Forget it. This little guy is not going to eat ANYTHING unless he wants to eat it and it’s his idea.

It’s not all that unusual for us to suggest he have a banana as a snack and have Andrew turn up his nose at the idea, only to have him request a banana 30 seconds later.

If you ask the doctor about the picky eating, you get told it’s “normal” and to “keep trying.” Parents are offered insights like “toddlers do this kind of thing. They’ll do nothing but eat yogurt for months and then they refuse to touch it for just as long.” My favorite one was when the doctor told us “some days he’ll eat nonstop and other days he might eat one good meal and just pick at the others.” (Of course, this was actually a great comfort at the time because we were getting worried because Andrew had just started doing exactly what the doctor described).

So much of parenting is a learning experience – for the kids and us. I always find it helpful – and a relief – to know when other people encounter the same things. If dinner night at your house these days always consists of chocolate chip muffins or chicken nuggets (or whatever the food may be), how do you try to introduce other foods onto the menu?

Have a great weekend everyone and bon appetit.


Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Recently, Jack has taken on another obsession with Play-Doh.  He first played with it a long time ago and didn’t know what to think of it, except eat it.  It was put away in the crafts bin and never looked at until a few weeks ago.  He came across it when I made him a new drawer in our kitchen with all of his art supplies accessible to him.  Now, it’s the only thing he wants to play with indoors.  His choo choo trains are in the picture too, because he runs those through the Play-Doh and pretends it is snow, mud, rain or something spilled all over them.  I am a bit of a neat freak with some things, so of course I gasp when the Play-Doh is all over the rug, lodged in between the trains and other toys on the scene at the time, and especially when I find little tiny pieces all over the rest of the house and car.

This past weekend we were getting ready to go to his friend, Parker’s Birthday party.  He has been talking about this party ever since we received the invitation in the mail.  It was a train themed party so that made it even better.  It was held at a local gymnastics gym so I was actually excited about it myself.  About an hour before the party, Jack was playing with his Play-Doh.  I was getting ready and Jack walked in and told me “Mommy, Play-Doh in my nose”.  I quickly examined his nose seeing if there really was anything in there.  Sure enough there was a small piece lodged pretty far back.  It never fails that things like this happen when daddy is out of town and I’m the only one around to solve the problem.  I tried everything I could to get it out, tweezers, massaged it, I even made him smell the pepper shaker to sneeze.  At this point he started to get scared and cried.  I felt awful, but I knew if he cried and his nose ran that maybe it would force it out.  Luckily, he sneezed a few more times and eventually most, if not all, of it came out.  I think he learned his lesson about putting things up his nose, maybe (fingers crossed).

Jack had a blast at the party and met some new friends.  He was given a party favor bag that had some goodies in it.  The first thing he pulled out was a Tootsie pop and the second thing was another container of Play-Doh.  I had to laugh to myself that this stuff is now just going to be around for awhile and I need to get used to it.  I must say that I loved it as a kid so now it’s his turn to have fun with it!