Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why we're the meanest parents in the world

I'm knee deep in preparations for Cole's first birthday party coming up in less than a week.  I've made the birthday banner, the cake plate, the birthday bib, the water bottle labels, and the favors and of course, the invitations:

And yes...see right there?  There at the bottom?  THAT'S why we're the meanest parents in the world.

No gifts please.

But I swear, I have some really good reasons.  I know this might be excellent fodder twenty years down the road for a therapist to delve into, but I am holding firm.  Here's why we requested no gifts:

1. Truly, this kid has so.many.toys.  We're talking hundreds. Baskets and baskets full.  He really doesn't need anything else, especially in this economy when so many people really can't afford to be giving gifts.

2. You guys.  He's one.  He thinks a whisk is just as cool of a toy as a wooden train - and as I write this, he's enthusaistically playing with a pop-up sticky pad:

3. Ok, so how many of you have every been to a young kids' birthday party?  You know, they are sat down (with a bunch of strangers staring at them), you give the baby a present, help him open it (when he's really more interested in playing with the wrapping paper and bow), let him admire it, and just when he starts to get excited to play with it, you take it away and force him to do the whole process all over again.  Then he's REALLY overwhelmed with all the attention and new toys that, for some inexplicable reason, he's not allowed to play with - sounds pretty confusing and frustrating to me!  I just don't want to overwhelm Cole at such a young age.

Now, this doesn't mean that I'm going to be a mean old mama and NEVER allow my child to have birthday presents - I do believe it's an important social skill to learn how to graciously accept a gift and write a thank-you.  But not at age one.

What's your opinion on gift-giving at young ages?

Monday, May 30, 2011

A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all might that which he desires.

- Paulo Coelho

Friday, May 27, 2011

Patting, not hitting

I know this looks like Cole is hitting Chloe, but he's really just "patting" her...he just doesn't quite know his own strength!
Truly, I am so grateful for how good-natured my dogs are toward Cole.  He's totally a dog-loving little boy!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Quiet Book

After almost six weeks of work, I've finally finished Cole's quiet book.  I totally underestimated how much work it would be, but I truly enjoyed working on it - and I can't wait to let Cole play with it at church on Sunday!
 The letters in Cole's name are VELCRO so he can take them on and off to practice spelling his name:
 The sports balls are attached with elastic and each one is crinkly:

 I embroidered an outline for each shape so Cole can practice matching his shapes:

 Cole's favorite page!  He loves the beads - supposedly they're to help him practice counting to ten, but in reality they're to suck on and chew and rattle.  Don't worry, I sewed the ribbons back and forth about ten times to make sure they are sturdy and won't let the beads come off as a choking hazard.

 My favorite page! Inside the barn are three finger puppets:

 Color matching traffic light:

 And camping in honor of Daddy and Papa:

 Flowers - the middles are buttons for Cole to unbutton and button:

I can't remember all my sources for ideas for this project, but several ideas came from Jill at Homemade by Jill and others were my own creativity! 

Got any more great ideas for pages I should add?  Let me know, I'd love to hear your thoughts! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Proof that my child is a genius

In case you had any doubt, here's the video proof that my son is a genius:

See how he took the books out of the basket until it was light enough for him to move?  See how he persisted, even when he was frustrated?

My favorite part is when he manages to get through my barricade - the look of pride on his face!  I can just hear him saying, "I did it all by myself, Mama!"  I love letting him struggle a little, challenge himself - and he rose to the occasion and succeeded!

I'm one proud mama!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cake Stand

In preparation for Cole's first birthday party (just two weeks away!) I've been slowly working on a few little details.  Cole's cake is going to be adorable, but just as adorable is the cake stand I made for him.  I searched high and low for a super cheap cake stand that wasn't plastic, and just couldn't find what I was looking for.

So then I started perusing Goodwill and thrift stores for one - and lo and behold, I found this pair of candlesticks:

It made me think of the exact kind of pedestal stand I wanted - so I looked around again and found a nice white ceramic plate that matched.  I used E-6000 glue to glue them together and voila!:

A cake stand, exactly what I wanted, for less than $3! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

picking dandelions

I always knew that as a parent, one of my greatest struggles would be between my practical side and my parenting side.  Practically, it's hard to let your child make a mess, over and over again, knowing that you'll have to clean it up over and over again.  It's hard to let your child do something on his own when it would be so much easier and faster to do it yourself.  It's hard to let your child make mistakes, when you can protect him.

But practicality is not always the best answer.  I've tried so hard to tame that practical and controlling part of my personality when it comes to some things about Cole.  Is it easy to let him throw the clean and newly folded clothes out of his dresser drawers? Is it easy to allow him to take every. single. DVD off the shelf and onto the floor?  Heck no. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath and remind myself how much he is learning and how important it is for him to experiment. 

So here Cole is, picking dandelions - even when it makes him sticky, or he blows dandelion seeds.  He's learning, and he's having fun - and that's way more important than anything else. 

(is it weird that I really want to munch on those chunky little thighs?)

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I have no words to go with this post.  But I think these photos speak for themselves:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top Speed Crawler

Cole is getting better and better at standing on his own, without holding onto something for support - I have a feeling walking is not far away!  But as excited as I am to see him walking on his own, I have to admit I'm really going to miss the pitter-patter of his hands slapping the floor when he crawls at top speed (especially when he's crawling toward something he knows he's not supposed to have!):

Friday, May 20, 2011


Cole has several very strange favorite "toys" - none of which are, in fact, actually toys.  He adores the TV/stereo/DVD remotes, any random kitchen item, his cloth diaper inserts (clean!), and empty plastic bottles of any kind.

His newest favorite "toy"? An old pack of playing cards:
"I'll see your ten, and raise you twenty!"

I don't know why we waste our money buying anything for this kid! He's so easily entertained!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

at last...

I think we've gone far enough that I can make this announcement without jinxing it:

Cole is sleeping through the night!

(Trumpets play, Hallelujah chorus commences)

Oh yes, friends, at just two weeks away from turning one, my little mister has decided that his Mama needs sleep or will end up in the mental hospital.  I kid you not, less than two weeks ago we were still struggling through 3-8 wake-ups per night.

So here's what finally worked for us:

Now, this book probably won't work for everyone.  It does involve a little bit of crying, which as any parent can tell you is pretty much the worst. thing. ever. 

But we got to the point that it was either Cole crying for a few nights, or Mama crying A LOT (from lack of sleep). 

And here's what else we tried:

The Ferber Method
  • This so totally did not work for us.  I just could not handle hearing my little baby cry and not do anything about it.  We tried this over and over again, with no improvement, so we tossed this method in the "not working for us" pile.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

  • This one was, in a word, CRAP.  I found it very poorly organized (NOT a plus for a sleep-deprived and busy mama) and was basically a verrrrrryyyyyy long-winded way of saying LET YOUR BABY CRY UNTIL THEY FALL ASLEEP STANDING UP.  Not cool and definitely not for us.
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

  • Interesting, but not super helpful.  I actually was given this book years ago and chucked it when we moved when Cole was 3 months old (thinking, "Oh, he's a great sleeper! I totally don't need these sleep books!" HA! famous last words), so I got this out from our library.  The author has some great ideas on the importance of routine for a baby, but not much helpful information on sleeping.
What to Expect the First Year

  • Yeah, don't even waste your time looking up "sleep" in this one.  Super un-helpful one paragraph.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution

  • My blogger friend Morgan of the -Ing Family recommended this book and I really loved it.  Simple, well-organized, and quick to read, it had a lot of really great ideas.  Unfortunately, after trying this method for three months, we were no closer to a full night's sleep then when we started.  I think my little man is just a little too stubborn for all of these methods to work (stubborn? now where did he get that trait from...probably his dad).  However, I will be keeping this book as a first resource for my next child, if needed.
which brings us to The Sleep Lady.  I am not kidding when I say we had one rough night (I picked a night when Chris was home to help out - sorry honey!), and it was all better from there.  Literally a week after starting this program Cole had his first full night's sleep. 

My mother-in-law and I were commenting that we used to put Cole down in his crib (even sometimes just holding him out to start to put him in his crib) and he would immediately wake up and start crying.  Or we'd get him lying down asleep, only to have his eyes pop open as soon as we started walking out of the room and the wailing would begin.

Now, my heart still stops when he peeks in between his crib bars as I leave the room, but he just blinks at me and falls asleep. I used to spend upwards of three hours a day rocking Cole to sleep - now I spend less than 30.  And we are all much better rested.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

WARNING: photo overload

Now that we are FINALLY getting some sun and spring weather round these parts, Cole is loving making a daily trip to the park:

Whew! That was a lot of pictures...but how could I narrow it down, they're all so adorable?
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