Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Lorax

Every single time I think about buying Cole a toy, I always stop myself.  Because this child of mine?  He literally hardly EVER plays with toys.  All he does is read.  No joke.  We read to him, his grandparents read to him, he reads on his own... hours and hours each day of just READING.  And his attention span with books is out of this world incredible - like long Dr. Suess books, which I rarely could get my kindergarten and first grade classes to sit through just one - Cole will listen to us read three or four and then read them on his own.

One of his very favorites?  "The Lorax":

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Random Pregnancy Notes

1. I've decided we should invent the Pregnancy Olympics.  Events to be included: walking up a single flight of stairs (whoever wins is the one who is less winded at the top) and rolling over in bed (because for some reason that has become similar in strenuousness to climbing Mt Everest).

2.  The other day, Cole was walking and not watching where he was going (a shocker to any of you who know him, I know...) and turned around and walked right into my belly.  You know those cartoons where "BOING" and then they bounce off?  Yup, it was exactly like that.  Hysterical.  I'm like, I know buddy, it's way bigger than I think it is too!

3. I love love love it when people touch/rub my belly.  Wait, let me PREGNANT belly.  I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in existence.  Strangers, family, little old ladies in the grocery's all cool with me.  Now, once the baby comes out, I'm not a fan of ANYONE touching without first lathering up with I must be getting it all out now.

4. My belly jiggles when I laugh.  Serious jiggling.  The quote from "The Night Before Christmas" always goes through my head: "He had a broad face and a little round belly  That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly."  Yup, that's me.  A bowlful of jelly belly.

5. I may be waddling, but at least (THANK HEAVEN) my shoes all still fit.  At this point when I was pregnant with Cole my feet were so ridiculously swollen I could not even wear flip-flops.  It was insane.  So I'm taking advantage as long as possible by wearing all my cute flats and wedges, despite the not so cute waddling.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So true...

Oh yeah, I love this:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

my favorite

This morning, we had a couple errands to do.  Usually, we don't leave the house till the afternoon, because it's just too much work to get out and about before Cole's nap at 10:30, but our afternoon was already booked. 

First, we stopped at the mall.  Even though most of the stores were closed, Cole requested we take a few minutes after we made our purchase to walk around and "SEE THE CROWDS, PEESE!".  Well, "crowds" consisted of elderly mall walkers, but we took our time and peeked through the bars of each store we passed.  Cole pointed out trains, stuffed animals, store displays that he enjoyed.  We observed the hanging Christmas garland and twinkle lights from the ceiling ("EMPLOYEES USED A LADDER! TALL TALL TALL LADDER!").  Then, we discovered Santa Land, all set up but no Santa yet.  Cole was enamored with joy, taking ten or fifteen minutes to walk all the way around and make all his observations about each tiny Christmasy detail. 

After our leisurely walk back through the mall and to our car, I reveled in the sweet moments.  So, so often I feel as though people rush their kids through life.  I'm totally guilty of it as well - errands to do, playdates to make, dinner to arrange.  Some days are just busy - and as a stay-at-home mom with not too much to do, I can only imagine how crazy it must be for working parents. 

But those precious, precious moments just walking through the mall - no hurry, no schedule, being able to say "yes" to each one of Cole's requests - it was so indescribably fantastic.  Relaxing.  Chatting with each other.  His little hand holding tight to mine while he takes in life at his own childish pace.  I am so very grateful that we can take the time to just slow down and look at twinkle lights for five minutes.  What better way to help my son know how important he is to me, right?

We are so fortunate that we can give Cole and each other so many things - an incredible house and home, good food to eat, all the toys and clothes any of us could ever want.  But it seems I constantly need a good reminder that TIME, just quality, unrushed, "yes" time, is the best and most precious thing of all.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


There are so few opportunities that we are all together, we always seize every chance to have a family photo taken.  I was thrilled that everyone (the little ones specifically) cooperated so we could capture some great shots:



Monday, November 18, 2013

Links to Love

1.  I just adore this article, I Don't Own My Child's Body.  We don't force or even ask Cole to dole out hugs or kisses to relatives or friends, per recommendation of the AAP for preventing sexual abuse, and it's nice to have an article that highlights manners vs. forcing a kid to use their body in a way he/she is not comfortable.

2.  One of my favorite songs, rewritten with Disney villain characters - I love it!

3. Since Christmas is rapidly approaching, I really loved this blog post about gifting experiences instead of more STUFF.  This is a common refrain for me, but I always try hard to remember it, especially around the holidays.

4. Here is 26 of the Most Thought Provoking Photos of All Time.  So fascinating, so tear-jerking, and so powerful.

5. What happens when you've got one chance:

6. And my favorite of the bunch: this article here about allowing your child time to play.  There is seriously NOTHING that makes me more frustrated and irritated than when someone "plays" with Cole.  You know why?  Because that ruins kid's imagination and play time.  When an adult "plays" with a child, the adult is the one using ideas and imagination, and the child is the one who is following the adult's lead.  Isn't it so much better to just stand back and OBSERVE the child's own creativity, discovery, and ideas instead of projecting (however unintentionally) your own ideas onto the child?  Cole has had some major problems with entertaining and playing by himself lately, and I'm sure one of the reasons is because of how much adults in his life "play" with him, essentially teaching him to not be able to entertain himself.  Just watch, just observe, don't interrupt such an important skill being learned.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Maternity Photos

I'm not gonna lie, this pregnancy has been Rough with a capital R. 

From the incredible morning sickness (yup... 31 weeks and I'm STILL throwing up), the horrendous heartburn, the lack of appetite for anything solid, the hip pain...and then the craziness of trying to get insurance coverage and give birth at the birth center we'd prefer...oh yeah, it's been pretty miserable.

When I was pregnant with Cole, even though I had morning sickness the whole time, I still felt relatively awesome during the pregnancy.  More energetic, more glowing...but this pregnancy?  I've felt just yucky.  Ugly, large, miserable.  My skin and hair have been dry and flaky, I've had terrible acne, and my stretch marks are pretty ridiculous.

So a few weeks ago when I was feeling pretty blue, I asked Chris if he would take a few maternity photos for me - some flattering shots to make me remember the positives of pregnancy and help me feel just a wee bit prettier in the midst of all the throwing up, heartburn, and dark circles under my eyes no matter how much sleep I get.

Mission: accomplished.  Just looking at these photos makes me feel better.  Thanks, babe, for helping lift a hormonal pregnant lady's spirits!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Baseball Bonding with Daddy

Cole has been absolutely dying to play baseball for months. He insists that he will be a baseball player when he grows up (actually, he usually says he will be a baseball game), and has been begging for a baseball bat forever. A couple weeks ago, Chris bought him a plastic bat and ball... And Cole's baseball playing dream literally came true:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Random Adorableness

Some adorable things Cole's been up to lately:

- His love of books and stories is evident in everything he does.  During his imaginative play, he's been making "tearwater tea" (from "Owl at Home"), and porridge, (from "Goldilocks").

- He recently discovered our copy of "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" by Dr. Suess and enjoyed it so much he searched for all our other Dr. Suess books.  His newest favorite? "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", which he refers to as "The Grump" :)

- He has an incredible memory still.  He's literally the MOST observant child I've ever met.  The other day, he repeated an entire inane conversation Chris had with our neighbor almost word for word, even though the conversation took place several days before:
"Daddy was outside working on gutters and neighbor Mike came over and said hi and daddy said how are you doing and neighbor Mike said good and Daddy said 'just working on these gutters' and neighbor Mike said yup and dat little girl had bowl of ice cream and she was patting it with spoon like dis."

He also notices crazy tiny things, like when our neighbors took down their flag and when a teeny light changed color on the inside of our refrigerator.

-One of his favorite things to play with is instruction manuals.  You know those little booklets with teeny tiny print that come along with your electronics?  Yup, he adores them.

-He refers to umbrellas as "SUNBRELLA"s, he asks me to put sunscreen on him so he doesn't get "BURNED OUT" instead of sunburned, he calls pineapple "PINEPEPPER", and he calls Raisin Bran cereal "SUNSHINE CEREAL" (because of the sun on the front of the box).

- We were in Target and a (rather large) lady bent down in front of us to pick something up off the floor.  Cole looked at her, then announced very loudly, "THAT LADY HAS A WEALLY BIG BUM!"  I just about died from both embarrassment and from trying not to burst out laughing! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Asking questions about asking questions


Three and half years into this parenting gig, and that's the one that STILL tricks me up the most.

Cole has entered the "WHY?" stage of his little life.  You know that random fact that four year olds ask over 300 questions in a day?  Yuh-huh.  It's totally true.  Question after question after question. you may think I'm crazy, but I was totally looking forward to this part.  Answering questions! Encouraging curiosity! Teaching him how to research and discover and learn! What's not to love, right?  Not to mention how much I knew it would challenge me as a parent, to think and explain things on his level - so awesome!  I envisioned Cole asking questions and me taking him to the library to read a book about it, or googling pictures to illustrate a point...  I have a lifelong love of learning, and it's definitely a quality that I aim to instill in my children.

But...then the stage hit.  And in actuality?  I spend half my day answering questions like, "WHERE'S MAMA?" (when I'm literally sitting RIGHT next to him...), "MAMA, I HAVE A QUESTION...I CAN GO ON A WALK?" (he asks this question about fifty times a day, no matter if I've already answered it or if we have already walked that day...), and "I JUST GAVE NALA A HUG...WHY DID I JUST GIVE NALA A HUG?" (umm...cause you wanted to??), "YOU JUST SCRATCHED YOUR NOSE? WHY YOU JUST SCRATCH YOUR NOSE?" (well, son, why do people usually scratch??) and "DID I HAVE A SPECIAL TREAT YET TODAY?" (again, already asked and answered about a thousand times). 

Yup.  Not so scintillating conversation.  And he asks THOUSANDS of nonsense questions each day.  Questions he totally knows the answers to, or questions that are just silly, or questions that I've patiently answered about a hundred times.   Those awesome "why" questions that I get to teach him how to research the answers to?  I get maybe one of those per day, mixed in with 299 questions like "WHY YOU JUST DID THAT?".

I know, I know... it's his immature way of trying to start a conversation.  I get that.  It's how he learns about the world.  I get that too.  It's his way of testing to make sure that he can communicate openly with me.  Yuppers.  I know all the scientific facts behind the constant nonsense questions.  But I'm telling  you... it does not make it any easier to patiently answer the millions of silly questions.

I also know all the "tricks" to dealing with nonsense questions: turn it into a game, ask the question back to him ("Why do YOU think I poured myself a glass of water?"), etc.  But even that gets old after fifty or so times.

So here's where I struggle with the balance.  This behavior, although it is normal for a three year old, is, well, annoying.  It's irritating.  If an adult behaved this way, or even an older child, I would consider it socially unacceptable.  Not to mention, it's not working for me - and one of my maxims in parenting is that both parties involved (parent and child) have to be content with how things are going.  At what point am I doing him a disservice by not teaching him better, more mature ways to act?  And then, am I squashing his natural, age-appropriate inclination for conversation and attention?  I don't WANT him to be irritating for other people (myself included) to be around- ways to get negative attention are not acceptable to me. 

But I have such amazing memories as a child of sitting at the dinner table, asking a question and being directed to our set of encyclopedias to look it up, or my dad taking me on a special one-on-one trip to the local college library to teach research skills.  I desperately want to recreate those memories and that curiosity with Cole... if I discourage his questions now, will it transfer to him not asking "real" questions later?

It boils down to this:  what is the most respectful way to deal with annoying, yet age-appropriate behavior in children?  Is it my job as a parent to just suck it up and wait for the irritating stage to pass, or is it matter of setting limits with the child so the annoying behavior is stopped?

What do you think?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject!  As long as you don't mention the irony of me asking a question about asking questions...

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Football with Daddy

Watching my two favorite boys playing football... it's one of my favorite things to do.  I love seeing Chris' patience with Cole, the lighthearted playing and tackling, listening to Cole's hysterical giggles.  I'm so, so glad that his favorite person is his daddy... and looking at these photos, it's not hard to imagine why.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Cole's new favorite joke:


"Yes Cole?"


(laughing hysterically)

I love this age.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rowen is One!

Last weekend, we made the trek up to Portland to celebrate our niece Rowen's first birthday.  She had an adorable Peter Rabbit themed birthday party:

Happy Birthday, Little Miss!
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