Sunday, December 29, 2013

What We Learned: 38 Months


This monthly check-in seems to coincide nicely with the end of the year. When I try to recollect all the things that the past month has taught us, it's hard not to think of what the past year has taught me. 2013 was the year of no pants. Yes, dear readers, my 38-month old munchkin has become a pseudo-nudist. I'm sure I'm supposed to be embarrassed about this fact, but the truth is I love it. You just never know what you might find when you come home from the grocery store or come down stairs, or enter the playroom. My little pants-less wonder is still a wonder, even after 38 months.

Bennett learned that in the winter, the house is freezing.

We learned that while socks are necessary, pants are not.

Bennett learned to take his clothes off.

We learned that unfortunately, he still needs our help putting them back on.

Bennett learned two verses to "Jingle Bells."

We learned that hahahaha is best sung in a toddler falsetto.

Bennett learned that Christmas is for candy.

We learned Bennett has "hands good for opening presents."

Bennett learned to roll dough, use a cookie cutter and dust sprinkles.

We learned that his new favorite phrase is "howbou howbou howbout." Also known as "how about" on repeat.

Bennett learned that Santa gives toys to boys who share.

We learned that even dozens of cookies will not compensate for one missing.

Bennett learned that tennis shoes are not made for puddle jumping.

We learned that Bennett thinks all hats in the house belong to him.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Making Merry Memories

Bennett is at such a special age this Christmas. Last year, I was able to enjoy the fact that he was old enough to appreciate the decorations, the treats and the presents without all the gimme gimmes that accompany the season. Unfortunately, I am not sure we can say the same this Christmas. This child has changed his mind about his list about 14,000 times including things from pirate telescopes to drums to capes to trucks with buttons. Thankfully, I've been able to fulfill some of the more reason requests and ignore the ridiculous. Ahem, arrrr.

We are also trying to start a few family traditions while also taking stock of what we should really be grateful for this season. I found an adorable advent calendar at a craft shop and was thrilled to find that the little pockets were large enough to accommodate chocolate, matchbox cars or even Christmas socks. I was not thrilled to find my little sheister starting to request more and more preposterous things for said advent calendar. Ahem, arrr and vroom vroom and toot toot. I do think it is possible Christmas jumped the shark around the third of December. My hopes for the advent calendar were further dashed when I noticed I purchased an advent calendar with a typo.

Ok, let's try another memory maker. Let's do something kind for a stranger! I spent several hours in the cooking, baking and decorating for our local fire station. When we arrived the fire fighters were very engrossed in their lunch and didn't seem to be very surprised that a toddler was giving them cookies. Then, said toddler remained too embarrassed to sit in the fire truck or even say Merry Christmas. Ahh, maybe next year?
When it came time to visit Santa I believed I had done enough coaxing to persuade my little munchkin that he didn't need to be afraid. Sure, he had been negotiating that he wouldn't sit on his lap, but rather sit next to him and in no way would he be coaxed onto his lap. I was so proud when he stood in that line for nearly an hour with nary a tear or a groan. By the time we were up next he flipped out and told me I had to go up there with him. And that is how I found myself in the Santa picture for a second year in a row.

At least he looks happy, right? Of course, as I went to pay the elves, he stood there chatting with St. Nick for a good five more minutes, delaying the rest of the kiddos. I would have much rather had a picture of that!

However you choose to celebrate, I hope your holiday is very Merry!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Friday

I hope you all have a great day. I know someone else who is!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Justified

Last week I did something I rarely do. I didn’t put on a Suit and Tie. I played hooky. It was about time I spent some time with My Kind of Girls. We know this girl needed it.
Mel, Aubrey and I are no strangers to finding an excuse for a reunion, even if it happens on a Wednesday in Indianapolis. I certainly didn’t mind the drive because I had more than Four Minutes to myself. More like four hours to think about Rock Your Body and Bringing My Sexy Back.
This was no Summer Love. This was a ride with intermittent flurries and frozen wiper fluid. Miles after miles of snow covered plains that reminded me over and over again that What Goes Around Comes Around. Comes Around Comes Back Around. With a pile of snow.
But a random trip to the heartland is worth it with or without the Casanova. I needed my Senoritas. They listened to me Cry Me a River. They were like my Mirror, trying to pull me through, saying “you just gotta be strong.”
Then we composed ourselves and made sure Justin Timberlake would Give it To Me, with a full band, (tubas included!), light effects, travelling stage and some hunky back up dancers.
It was a great reminder that I don’t need a superstar to Let The Groove In, just a few Sexy Ladies. Now we’re planning another trip, it’s just Why, When, How? Because these girls are My Love, Until the End of Time. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Once upon a time I made a similar list and my husband almost killed me. He had already finished his Christmas shopping and Santa's bag was filled with some eerily comparable gifts. Apparently, the man reads my mind. Since our gift giving philosophies have evolved over the years, I don't have to worry about such a conundrum. 

I don't share my list for spoiling me purposes, but for spoiling yourself purposes. And with pop culture hating on Carrie today, I figured maybe my vast readership could change the conversation and focus on my favorite things and not Ms. Underwood's lederhosen. 

I've been loving on this Boden booties for years. This year's version is velvet. Velvet!

The most adorable gloves from Anthro.

Continuing the bow trend, Kate Spade's new clutch. This is a must for all the yachting I anticipate next year.

I love love love this candle. You don't even need to light it to smell the pretty peonies.





Now this is where my list gets weird, but really all I need for Christmas (besides a baby of course) is a pint of ice cream from Jeni's. I think Santa could figure a way to keep it frozen in my stocking, right? Salty Caramel is my fave, but I can't wait to try the dark chocolate peppermint. 

Continuing in my shop local/eat my feelings category, is the amazing house salad dressing from bread and company. Maybe Santa could replace the coal in my your stocking with dry ice?



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

That whole no babies thing


This might be difficult to read and I give you permission to skip this entry if you don't want to hear the tough stuff.

This spring, I had a miscarriage. Then, a month ago I had another. Both times the baby stopped growing but my body continued to produce hormones and I failed to miscarry on my own. I needed surgery. It was painful and very sad. Some days I feel broken and other days I feel like hurrying up and trying again.

What makes our situation more complicated, is that we can't just open a bottle of wine and wake up to a second pink line a couple weeks later. For us to have a baby it takes medicine and a miracle. Some of our friends and family know the dirty details, but for my sake and the sake of my child(ren) I hope you will forgive me for leaving the specifics offline.

When we felt ready to start our family and quickly learned we needed help, I couldn't imagine living childless. I was desperate and got down on my knees to pray. I begged for a child and fully believed that as long as I had one I would be happy. I begged for at least one and we know I finally got lucky. For nine months I tried to savor the experience knowing it might be my only shot. When I was in labor with Bennett, I vividly remember standing in the shower, rubbing my belly because I was so afraid it would be the last time.

I have waffled back and forth about writing about this here. Once upon a time, I wanted to but I couldn't and wrote an anonymous blog instead to get my feelings off my chest. Part of me needs to write to help process the weight of these emotions. So much of my silence this year and so much of what has already been published is influenced by my infertility. Yet, I need to discuss it on the blog and perhaps even let other people know they don't need to suffer in silence.

We have known since the beginning what a miracle that child is and I don't want to take it for granted, but I know that my heart still wants another. I just have to believe that with the trials and tribulations we have encountered on this journey, this is going to be one very loved baby. And that's just it, I have to believe.

Friday, November 29, 2013

What We Learned: 37 Months

I nearly quit this blog series two years ago, but you folks encouraged me to forge ahead. It's a good thing I did because this blog would probably have about 1/3 less content if it weren't for these little updates. A third birthday felt like a good place to close this chapter, but Bennett continues to enlighten and delight us. My failure to produce a legitimate baby book is guilt trip enough to continue on with these entries. These entries are safe for another year.

Bennett learned to crack peanut shells, peel a banana and pop pomegranate seeds.

We learned that while he might not like spaghetti or cheerios, his palate is beginning to expand.

Bennett learned that wearing masks and mastering "trick or treat" is worth it.

We learned that our kid is surprisingly a surprisingly generous sharer.

Bennett learned that sharing and vegetables are a good compromise for taffy, chocolate and lollipops.

We learned that sometimes he likes his privacy.

Bennett learned that starting your sentences with "When I was a baby," gets your mommy's attention.

We learned that he has quite the imagination and quite the memory.

Bennett learned that riding ferris wheels, staying up late and eating doughnuts every day isn't half bad.

We learned that he still misses us, even when distracted and spoiled.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful

I hate how trite and contrived blog posts like this can seem, but this year more than ever I think I need to remind myself just how grateful I should be.

I am thankful for parents and grandparents who fill in and help out like back-up quarterback, ready, eager and grateful.

I am thankful that my husband is in a career and a job in which he excels and enjoys.

I am thankful for facebook, instagram, twitter and text for helping me feel like friends aren't too far away.

I am thankful for our neighborhood supper club to help us find our place.

I am thankful for each day we get closer to closing the chapter on 2013. 

I am thankful for waterproof mattress pads, M&Ms and Lightning McQueen.

I am thankful for my healthy, talkative, silly little boy.

I am thankful for his hugs, kisses and stories.

I am thankful for a calendar beginning to fill with concerts, weddings and trips.

I am thankful for heated seats, that sweet spot when your windshield wipers perfectly match the pace of the rain, and when a song from high school surprises you on the radio.

Despite the struggles and the challenges this year has brought, I know how lucky I am to have faith, hope and support. I am also so very grateful for this outlet and for the friends and connections this little space has brought. May you and yours have a lovely Thanksgiving!

And Bennett would like to add, he's thankful for race cars!




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Viva Las Vegas

Two weeks ago, Rocky's boss invited him to take his place at a conference in Vegas. It seemed like the answer to a prayer we hadn't even said. He happily agreed to go, got his mother to volunteer to take the barnacle, and bought me a plane ticket to join him. He was giddy and I was game. While Sin City isn't exactly my destination of choice, it was high time we took a break.

The weather was beautiful, our lodgings divine, and an expense account made the rest of the trip possible.

We didn't stay at the Encore.
 
Or the Wynn.
Or the Bellagio. 
Our digs weren't too shabby though. We loved the Cosmopolitan.
After a couple of  rounds of playing black jack at the machines, we came down with a little routine and walked away ahead every time. We're no Rounders, but our drinks were paid for our and we didn't feel too guilty when we dined with the Tom, Danny and Jose.

I'm quite the burger connoisseur, and this Buffalo Burger was delish. Too bad Rocky couldn't say the same for his fish and chips. That and the atmosphere left me thinking this place may not survive until our next trip to town.
We might have waited ages for a fountain-side table, but our second night with Tom English was better than the first.
While Rocky worked to pay for my supper, I was busy eating my supper. By the end of the trip, I got quite good at dining alone sans book or phone.  Fried brussel sprouts will do that to a girl. 

Jose Andres's China Poblano concept seemed like a Vegas version of Minneapolis' decade old Chino Latino. It's good the tacos were fresher than the concept.
While my pictures might make it appear otherwise, I did more than eat. I also spent an afternoon at the pool and a night at a show. Did you know in Vegas they don't print playbills? I'm not quite sure how they expect a blogger to review a show where photography isn't allowed and you don't have a playbill as proof you were even there. Anyhoover (which I still haven't seen), I would have to say that Jersey Boys was a winner, especially when you're thirty years younger than the rest of the patrons and the tipsy seniors sing along the entire time. 

All in all, it was a lovely trip. Even if this is the only proof I was there and not just my camera.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

That's What B Said

A: Hey Bennett, I'm going upstairs to change my clothes.

B: Ok, don't pee on your pants!


I was headed out to a meeting, hugged Bennett and started to leave. Bennett chased after me.

B: "No mommy, boys need two hugs!"



While we were trick or treating, we came upon a crumbled retaining wall.


B: "No worries. I can fix it. I'm a super hero!"


After wandering around Rocky's office, B discovered something was missing.

B: There's no toys around here. Can you believe it?


Typical bedtime shenanigans, typical bedtime toot.


B: I didn't toot, it was my engine.
A: Your engine?
B: Yeah, it's broken.



Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween With A Toddler

It was Bennett's fourth Halloween. For his first, he was only two days old and I was worried I would break him or something if I put him in his little pumpkin shirt. For his second, he cooperated and wore the sweetest little cow costume a mommy could find. Then last year, he had an epic meltdown when I tried to clothe him like the Cat in the Hat. Giant Failure of Epic Proportions.

I figured I had one last year to play up the adorable card before he wanted to accessorize with weapons or imitate an obnoxious video game character or some such nonsense. I selected not one, not two, but three costumes that were greeted with horror, stomping and the squealing of "NONONONONO!" But mommy really wants you to be a little lion, or a gentle bat. A pirate? 

Then one day a couple weeks ago, a friend brought Spider Man cupcakes to celebrate his birthday at school. My not quite three year old had decided. I ordered a fourth costume and a book about super hero to hopefully coax him into the costume. It might not have been my choice, but I did not want to have the one kid who refused to cooperate at the pumpkin party.

The package arrived and he wouldn't let me open it. Halloween arrived and he wouldn't let me try it on. When I told him kids who wore costumes got candy, he insisted he didn't want candy. Walking into his class he told me to take it out of his backpack and throw it away. But then, he saw two other spidermen and a Super Man. He wanted that thing on and he wanted it on "NOWNOWNOW!" He even wore the mask. I could hardly believe it.





There was severe weather here last night, so we get Halloween take II tonight. I am hoping for a few more smiling, less blurry pictures for the occasion. At least when he wears a mask he will smile for the camera!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What We Learned: 36 Months

We have known that Bennett was a miracle from the first fleck of a heartbeat we saw on an ultrasound. When we met that slimey, screaming, hairy newborn we knew he was a miracle. When we dedicated our wide-eyed baby we knew he was a miracle. When he finally crawled, finally walked, finally talked, we knew he was a miracle. On his third birthday, the knowledge of what a pure, sweet, amazing miracle our child proves to be day in and day out is still a surprise, still a miracle. Getting to witness this child grow and become his own little person has been such a delightful journey. Three years later I am proud to say I am not taking that for granted.

Bennett learned that you can celebrate birthdays for days.

We learned that one celebration calls for pancakes, one for doughnuts, and one for cake.

Bennett learned that he is three years old.

We learned that sometimes he's two and sometimes he's five and to just nod and go with it.

Bennett learned that bats are interesting, witches are scary, and mom is a princess.

We learned that it's normal to come home and find a nekkid little kid coloring, fighting snakes or playing trains.


Bennett learned to master the juice box.

We learned that everything is still splattered with milk and shoulders are covered in drool.

Bennett learned how to drive a truck, buckle in a baby dinosaur, and load the truck.

We learned this is the age of exploding imaginations.

Bennett learned that instruction manuals, calendars and coloring books tell the best stories.


Bennett learned to have opinions on jackets, underwear, socks and footwear.


We learned that our kid has some mad fashion skills, when he chooses to put pants on that is.




Monday, October 28, 2013

A Party!

Saturday we celebrated B's birthday with his first kiddy party. We have had a little shindig for the mister every year, but after far too many invites to classmates' parties, I didn't think I could avoid it any longer. When Bennett woke up on the wrong side of the bed Saturday morning, I wish I had.

I once worked with a woman who only had horrible things to say about her kid. Her daughter misbehaved, stole and lied. The kid was three. I felt bad for the mother, but worse for the kid. Then Saturday, at my son's third birthday, I was making jokes about his awful behavior. He was telling me he didn't want to have a party. He didn't want his friends to come and he was going to throw them and their presents in the water. Yikes.

Thankfully, when the first of eight children arrived with their parents, my kid was happy, polite and the perfect host.

We were shocked when Bennett said he didn't want a cake at his party, but would prefer doughnuts. Alrighty, works for me.

The rest of the day was just as successful, the scavenger hunt to fill the tool boxes, decorating the hard hats, the menu, the friends. Sure, the present opening was a hot mess, but with eight toddlers we should have expected nothing less.
But it was fun! My kid was thrilled. Everyone seemed happy they came.

I convinced my husband to help me assemble tool boxes from woodworking kits. I sent him outside in the cold to drill holes in construction cones. He went on a wild goose chase to pick up the balloons and we both stayed up late cooking and cleaning. I understand a little better why parties are at the park, Germy Cheese and anywhere but home. I also understand a little better just how much I was asking of my own parents when they wrote murder mysteries, baked my cake and hosted dozens of sleepovers. I also understand just how much your barnacles deserve to be celebrated, wood glue, construction sets and all.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Playing Hooky

Bennett attends a Montessori school full-time. It's one of those situations where the teachers and staff treat it like a fancy preparatory academy and the parents operate like it's a daycare and disregard rules about snotty noses (I'm a primary offender) and wish they were open past rush hour and on the weekends (only sometimes). Because of this confusion, we parents are faced with quarterly parent-teacher conferences and the corresponding school closings (this is only slightly less annoying than closures for "summer vacation" and "fall break"). We send our kids (with green noses) to school 40 hours a week because we work 40 hours a week and would much prefer daily texts and notes home than wrangling back-up child care or sacrificing our precious vacation days for said parent-teacher conferences.

The inevitable happens and yet another school closure sneaks up and you and you gripe and moan. But then you don't have to wake up and shower and you can enjoy your leisurely cup of coffee while you kiss your husband goodbye and you kick up your heels. Parent-teacher days maybe, perhaps don't suck.

Bennett certainly doesn't think so. When your day begins with the discovery of Lightning McQueen stamps at the post office, it has to be an indicator of a pretty awesome day. From there, we treated ourselves to breakfast smoothies immediately followed by a lollipop at the kiddie hair salon. You would have thought I blew this little kids mind when I took him to the indoor play area at the mall. I'm not sure we will ever take this kid on a legitimate vacation when this is the kind of fun he can find by himself at the freaking mall.

I didn't think this kid even liked to dance, but apparently super-sized faucets bring it out of him.
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We had a legitimate errand to run at the mall, but the kid got sidetracked by Build a Bear. The lights! The music! The stuffed my little pony on roller skates! The grown adults that program plastic hearts to contain teddy bear personalities! I knew we were a goner when he saw the play bath tub where he got to brush his new best friend's fur.
 
Not sure if he's concerned or concentrating.
But to this little kid, the supreme ultimate was the packaging. His new friend got a house! That we had to carry around the rest of the day! All future purchases had to go to the house! (We have not seen the new best friend since he can't come out of said house.) Next time, we're buying the cheapest creation there, going straight for the bathtub and departing with the house.
The spoiling only continued from there, grilled cheese and chocolate milk for lunch. A visit to the toy store for a "I'm sorry I made you get a flu shot on the best day ever" toy train. And as if mom hadn't spoiled this kid silly enough for one day, she taught him about licking batter off the beater. 

I'm going to have to negotiate for more days off because we can't wait until the next parent-teacher conference. For the record, his teachers told us he is smart, attentive and not the least bit spoiled. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 Is Not the Year of the Blog

So, in response to my lack of posts, I am going to fill you in with some pictures from my absence. In summary, my kid is still cute.

Master Cupcake Eater
Not embarrassed of his mom quite yet
Driver on the right side of the car, barn in the passenger's seat and cute kid relegated to the back.
Staying in the lines. 
Time for a haircut.
And a live action feed:

video

Pantless Joe Jackson


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Dinosaurs on their 225 millionth birthday